Dear Church Family,
In the sermon this past Sunday from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, we took some time to look at the error of the “carnal Christian” doctrine that is sometimes taught from these verses. As we looked at this false teaching, I mentioned how one of the subtle takes on this heresy is when Christians learn to live with sin. That is, if one accepts the unbiblical notion that a believer in Christ can still be completely carnal or fleshy (unrepentant and enslaved to sin), then the believer runs the danger of eventually making a ‘peace treaty,’ as it were, with sin in their lives.
A Peace Treaty with Sin?
Instead of warring against the sinful passions of their own flesh, a person who believes that it’s possible to be a “carnal Christian” begins to think, “Well, I just have a temper [or insert any besetting sin here]. That’s just the way it is, and I can’t do anything about it.” In this same vein, I also mentioned how this subtle danger has gained some traction with respect to the sin of homosexuality among professing Christians in the last several years. Thus, some make the unbiblical argument that homosexual behavior may be sin, but the desire itself is not. Yet, most Christians would never make the same argument with respect to other sinful desires; for example, few would argue that the act of murder is sin, but the desire to murder is not.
Another contributing factor to this idea that a person may be a “gay Christian” is that instead of understanding human nature according to the teaching and categories of Scripture, it assumes the validity of the world’s understanding of sexual orientation. This, in fact, is basically one of the same problems with the unbiblical notion of “theistic evolution” (the idea that God did not create all things out of nothing, but that He used the evolutionary process to bring about the diversity of species that we see today).
To believe in theistic evolution, of necessity, one must also believe that death is part of the created order, not an enemy intruder which was the result of the fall as the Bible teaches (Romans 5:12). Likewise, the proponents of the “gay in Christ” movement, of necessity, eventually come to view same sex attraction as part of the created order, not as an enemy intruder – just like all sinful desires – which was a result of the fall (Romans 1:18-27).
Toward a Biblical Understanding of Human Sexuality and Desire
So, amidst a culture that is increasingly hostile to God’s design for marriage, sexuality, and human nature how ought we as Christians respond? Well, I’ve previously written on this topic of marriage, sexuality, and how we ought to respond here: “Marriage: The Bible and Human Givenness.”
But, I’d also like to point you to a very timely, pastoral, and biblically-based article by Richard Phillips entitled “Looming Debate Over SSA.” Phillips is the pastor of a PCA church in Greenville, SC. In the article, he explains the problems with how some have come to draw a distinction between sexual orientation and sinful desires, and how normalizing sinful homosexual behavior or desire is of no help to anyone. He concludes by explaining how Christians may faithfully seek the salvation of sinners by “holding out a holy identity in union with Christ and in the experience of his cleansing grace.”
We live in confusing times when there are many voices proposing many various theories about human sexuality. I encourage you to follow the link to Phillips’ article and read carefully his explanation and insights. He charts a clear, biblical, and loving way toward calling people to faith and repentance.
The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch