After a long and difficult fight, the struggle for maintaining the military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was lost for now. There are some hard truths for those who uphold traditional biblical morality to face. Being able to admit we have a problem is the first step towards making the changes we need to reverse this and other gains made by sexual anarchists and secularists.
The last thing we need to do is surrender biblical moral standards to sexual libertines, as if God’s holy nature has somehow changed with public opinion polls.
Homosexual behavior is intrinsically sinful and we cannot renegotiate God’s moral law. No apologies are necessary for agreeing with Jesus, the Apostles, the Law and the Prophets. History, science, scripture and eternity concur.
Homosexual sin, like every other kind of sin, always results in some kind of death. But sexual sin in general, and homosexual sin in particular, is singled out in the Old and New Testament as particularly deadly. Because of this, the unrepentant person trapped in homosexuality, just like all other sinners, is to be pitied and the object of our compassion.
Spiritually, they are dead to God’s mercy and transforming grace in Christ. Sadly, it was unrepentant homosexual Ellen DeGeneres who emceed the Christmas in Washington TV Show this year with President Obama and family smiling as they blindly celebrated the birth of the Savior. They never saw the incongruence of it all.
Spiritual estrangement from God results in emotional death and estrangement within ourselves and with others. In the homosexual community this leads to a higher percentage of pathology and substance abuse than in the heterosexual community. Is this what really we want for our children? (That’s not to say “heteros” don’t have a boatload of their own sins from which they must repent.)
Then there is the obvious physical death associated with sexual sin. The homosexual community is especially devastated with higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, premature death, violence and suicide. That’s according to Center for Disease Control.
No matter what man does, he cannot change the fact God’s law is revealed in conscience, seen in nature and confirmed in Scripture. We cannot exempt any one from God’s all knowing and searching eyes and His ultimate judgment.
The problem we have is the ancient one. As a nation we do not believe God or his Word. If we did, we would never countenance the kinds of public and civic wickedness we tolerate. One evening of network prime time “family” programs compared to a generation ago is all the proof you need of the corruption of the people.
Homosexual sin is simply the latest and most egregious sin in a long line of public/civic sins that we have tolerated to our own shame and demise. What’s next? Switzerland just proposed that their laws against incest be lifted.
We can argue why we are corrupt as a people. Yes, there is a relentless stream of corrupt, secularist propaganda. There is equally a lack of moral clarity in the pulpits of America. But by nature man is inclined toward sin, so we don’t have to be pushed very hard.
The hearts and minds of the nation have been lost when, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 77 percent of Americans approve of open homosexuality in the military. In a majoritarian form of Government, public policy is down stream from culture. Politicians are usually good at least one thing: counting votes, thus the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
This repeal is one more sign that we are drinking the dregs of civic debauchery. This illicit indulgence within the military will not be confined to homo-sex. If this can be tolerated, then all other sexual behaviors can and must be tolerated. Whatever arbitrary justification you can make for two men cavorting, you can make for whatever other illicit behaviors you can successfully demand.
Regardless of how we’ve gotten here, whether it's due to the slick marketing of evil or because of the moral cowardice of all but a few ministers, we have to re-think our strategy.
What are the means that God has given us to accomplish his will? It is pretty simple; prayer, preaching and the grace to suffer for the Truth.
According to historic orthodox theology there are at least three uses of God’s Law.
First, the Law of God is intended to restrain sin. Second, it drives us to Christ so that we might be saved. Third, the Law informs us how to live pleasing to God as His spiritually transformed people.
The problem all mankind has with God’s moral standards is that it exposes us as sinful creatures under judgment. Libertines refuse to affirm the Holy character of God and pretend that God loves all people even in their unbelief and sin.
Religion comes and says, try harder and keep the commandments and God might reward you for your works. Both are dead ends, spiritually speaking.
Christ offers the third way. Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it and by doing so affirms God’s righteousness. He lived the life we could not live, one of perfect obedience to God. Then he graciously laid down his life and died the death we deserved, the just for the unjust, rising triumphant over death. Now by faith in what He did for us we are saved and transformed.
That’s the second and third use of the law. So where does the law of God come into our civic life?
The first use of God’s Law
The Law does not and cannot save us from hell, but it sure can keep this world from turning in to one. The Law provides an objective standard of righteousness and justice which can be applied to all people everywhere to restrain murderers, kidnapers, homosexuals, perjurers, etc. (I Timothy 1:8-10) We will either have God’s inspired Laws rule over us or be subjected to man's arbitrary laws. Political force, not righteousness and justice, has become the standard and tends toward corrupt licentiousness. That's why religion and morality must be reaffirmed as the twin pillars of our nation.
Samuel Bolton wrote in his day (1605-1654), "Grievous and alarming is the present-day deterioration in the moral condition of society. For this decay the Church is partly blameworthy because, as the preserving salt of the community, she has largely lost her savour… The present prevailing [deistic] theology has not been able to elevate society and halt its moral decline, and unquestionably, one explanation of this is its misunderstanding of the place of the law…” (The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, pp. 10-11).
American theologian, the late Carl F. H. Henry, wrote in 1957, "Even where there is no saving faith, the Law serves to restrain sin and to preserve the order of creation by proclaiming the will of God .... By its judgments and its threats of condemnation and punishment, the written law along with the law of conscience hinders sin among the unregenerate. It has the role of a magistrate who is a terror to evildoers .... It fulfills a political function, therefore, by its constraining influence in the unregenerate world." (Christian Personal Ethics, p. 355)
Greg Bahnsen in 1980 makes it more explicit. “When men fail to see that God's law is meant to operate as external discipline within society, when they doubt and oppose the "political use" of the law, their societies inevitably suffer the accursed consequences.”
Martin Luther concurs. He taught that, "The first use of the law is to bridle the wicked. This civil restraint is very necessary, and appointed of God, as well for public peace, as for the preservation of all things, but especially lest the cause of the Gospel should be hindered by the tumult and seditions of wicked, outrageous and proud men" (Commentary at Gal. 3:19).
Luther anticipated the conflict the Church is experiencing today in the West as nations have abandoned God’s Law as its moral foundation. “Homosexual rights” are now being used to trump the rights of Christians.
John Calvin taught that, "The first use of the law is, by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice. Such persons are curbed, not because their mind is inwardly moved and affected, but because, as if a bridle were laid upon them, they refrain their hands from external acts, and internally check the depravity which would otherwise petulantly burst forth" (Institutes 2.7.10).
This view of the Law was the dominant view in America’s Founding Era. In the 1730s the colonies had experienced the transformative power of the Great Awakening. There was a unified sense of civic righteousness according to the moral law of God. That’s why in the 1770s General George Washington court-martialed homosexuals out of the Revolutionary Army.
We need God to change hearts and minds, but how?
The Unapologetic Declaration of God's Word
Rather than lift up the truth, the church has largely succumbed to political correctness. This is in part because ministers think that by being the “sugar,” and not the “salt” of the earth, they can attract more people to their churches.
The challenge we have is to re-frame the debate. As long as it is about “rights” the homosexualists are able to manipulate public sympathy and conflict the minds of the majority who otherwise find homosexual behavior unnatural and repulsive. The promiscuous, bizarre and deviant world of homosexuality is well documented and scandalous.
The most loving thing the church can do is to declare the whole law of God. Paul told the church at Ephesus that he was not guilty of the blood of any man because he did not fail to declare to them “the whole counsel of the Word of God.”
Stop sinning, flee to Christ and beg him to change your heart so you can willingly obey Him. In other words, we need a Great Awakening. But few ministers have the courage to declare the kind of deep, soul-searching messages like those that that shook the nation, humbled sinners and drove them to Christ to be saved and transformed.
Christ’s compassion for sinners of all kinds is what the church needs. When is the last time we have weep for the lost souls of dying men? Does our heart break for those trapped in homosexuality? Jesus wept for Jerusalem knowing they would soon crucify Him. The Apostle Paul pleaded with tears for people to repent.
George Whitfield, the great revivalist of the Great Awakening, was criticized for his weeping as he preached. He answered his critics saying, “I weep for you because you will not weep for yourselves.” Have we wept for America, for the church and for ourselves because of our dull and callused hearts?
What is God doing?
Ultimately, we must resolve that Providence has ordained the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for now. It could not have happened if God had willed otherwise. But why?
In times like these when our nation defies the moral law of the living God, we must ask, “Is God hardening our heart like he did the defiant Pharaoh?” God did it to show His mighty power in the outpouring of ten plagues on the gods of Egypt and by destroying Pharaoh and his army.
Is God letting America ripen in her rebellion before He wields the mighty sickle of His wrath? It’s worth considering as our nation’s military now serves under a shameful, pink flag.
In the meantime Christian, humbly pray, boldly preach and persevere by the power of the Holy Spirit knowing that God is not mocked and one day His righteousness will prevail.