Prayer Targets: Scripture & Human Sexuality; 3 Deceptive Bills; Stand Courageous; PVS
March 18, 2021
And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
Dear Praying Friends,
David Closson, FRC's Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, researches and writes on issues related to religious liberty, human sexuality, and the development of policy from a biblical worldview. A graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Th.M.) and the University of Central Florida (B.A., political science, cum laude), he is completing a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is a summary of David's Biblical Principles for Human Sexuality: Survey of Culture Scripture and Church History, edited for space:
The rapidly changing moral landscape of the twenty-first century has overturned centuries of norms concerning the family, marriage, and human sexuality, leaving many people--including Christians--confused. FRC's publication "Biblical Principles for Human Sexuality" helps Christians think about marriage and sexuality from a biblical perspective. What follows is a summary of this resource.
Timeline of the Moral Revolution - Several developments in the twentieth century contributed to our society's increasing hostility toward Christian beliefs about marriage and human sexuality.
First, the rise of urbanization helped remove a societal check against premarital and extramarital liaisons by lowering the chance of exposure. Second, advances in contraceptive technology allowed for seemingly consequence-free sexual activity by separating sex from potential pregnancy. Third, laws that had restricted certain sexual behaviors and conduct were replaced or overturned. Fourth, Christianity lost a considerable share of its cultural influence.
Defining Sexuality and Marriage - What is sexuality? Many people do not have a clear definition of sexuality and take their cues from recent academic studies, marketing campaigns, or cultural norms. Christians, however, ought to follow the Bible.
While the Bible does not provide a succinct definition for sexuality, it does provide a robust framework for one... We can gather that sexuality is the basis of the desire for male and female to be united in a one-flesh union called marriage. Such a union is both physical and relational, exclusive, and permanent. God intended sexual desire to draw people to marriage, not merely to sex. Therefore, understanding what the Bible teaches about the nature and purposes of marriage is essential to a biblical understanding of sexuality.
The Bible's Teaching on Marriage - Genesis 1-2 - The account of the first marriage provides us with four principles that frame and inform all subsequent biblical reflection on marriage:
First, marriage is permanent. A man and woman leave their families of origin and are united together in a life-long relationship. Second, marriage is exclusive. Third, marriage is a sacred covenant. Fourth, sexual differentiation is part of God's plan for marriage. God did not create androgynous beings; He created two complementary, biologically, and genetically sexed individuals.
Departures from God's Design for Sexuality -- While sexuality should lead men and women to unite in the permanent, exclusive, one-flesh union of marriage, this truth is often denied, suppressed, and disobeyed.
The Bible's Teaching on Homosexuality - Romans 1:18-32 - The apostle Paul explains that humanity has rejected God, exchanging the truth about Him and the things He created for a lie. While describing the sinful "exchanges" men and women have made, Paul uses the term para physin, which means "unnatural" or "against nature." Homosexuality is unnatural because it is a departure from God's design for sexuality. According to the passage, homosexuality is also a consequence of humanity suppressing God's truth and refusing to honor Him. Other verses, including 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, reinforce this teaching.
Jesus and Homosexuality - Jesus did not directly address homosexuality, but the available evidence strongly suggests that He would not affirm same-sex relations. Jesus believed in the binding authority of the Old Testament and affirmed the creation pattern for marriage and humanity's creation as "male and female" (Mat. 19:4-6).
Transgenderism - Another departure from God's design for sexuality is transgenderism. This ideology believes "sex" refers to the physical body (including the reproductive system), while "gender" refers to a person's inner perception of themselves (i.e., their identification with either maleness or femaleness). This is inconsistent with a biblical understanding of sexuality.
Church History - Christians have reflected on the topics of marriage and human sexuality for 2,000 years. Understanding their arguments can help today's believers navigate current issues in sexual ethics.
Early Church - Early Christian writers affirmed marriage as the only appropriate context for sexual intimacy. Theologians such as Tertullian and Augustine reflected deeply on marriage and sexuality, and their writings provide valuable insight.
Post-Reformation - After the Reformation, both Protestants and Roman Catholics remained committed to the Bible's teaching on marriage and sexuality. Martin Luther once explained, "There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
Modern Church - Christians remained committed to biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality well into the twentieth century. Only then, at the height of the sexual revolution, did many mainline Protestant denominations such as the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) change their view on homosexuality. There is a striking correlation between rejecting the Bible as God's authoritative Word and accepting homosexuality. Denominations that continue to believe in the Bible's trustworthiness and reliability remain committed to the church's historic teaching on sexuality.
Current Challenges - Today, a biblical understanding of sexuality is ridiculed as being outdated. It is also viewed as dangerous by many in government, higher education, and the media. Biblical beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality are called intolerant to drive these beliefs from the public square. Ironically, these efforts in the name of tolerance have resulted in increased intolerance on the part of secularists toward Christians who want to live their lives peaceably and in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.
Gospel Hope for the Future - Marriage and sexuality are deeply personal topics, and Christians must speak the truth about them with conviction and love. The gospel is good news for all people, including those who struggle with their sexuality and those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction. The church should affirm God's design for humanity while proclaiming God's faithfulness to rescue us from our sin.
Conclusion - The gospel has the power to save. Both truth and love must frame a biblically faithful response to the moral revolution that has upended the culture's understanding of sexuality. Upholding, teaching, and defending biblical truths in a loving manner is not easy, but it is necessary for the witness of the church and the flourishing of society. (Download David's unedited summary and/or his excellent full 72-page publication free from FRC)
Secularists, humanists, hedonists, and the political Left not only reject Christianity, but they also want to impose unbiblical, unscientific, immoral, and irrational views of sexuality upon Christians by law. In America, bible-believing Christians' right to the free exercise of their religion is protected by the U.S. Constitution. We cannot be forced to violate our biblical convictions. The public expression of our faith--evangelism, teaching, preaching, conducting church services, sharing the gospel on the airwaves and the internet, handing out tracts on public sidewalks, conducting Bible studies in our homes, charitable activities, witnessing, conducting baptisms, training our children, advocating for godly public policy, publishing, and distributing bibles, literature, writing, publishing books proclaiming our views, etc.--all are protected activities under the Constitution. But an insidious effort is underway to silence the truth of Scripture and its messengers. The cancel culture seems determined to completely silence us. And the government is being enlisted to finish the job. When Congressman Greg Steube (R-Fla.) read a few lines of Scripture regarding human sexuality on the House floor, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), after quieting the House, redressed Steube, saying, "What any religious tradition describes as God's will is no concern of this Congress." That is clearly the attitude and spirit of the Democrat majority as is made clear in the legislation they have passed in the House. And bills they have already passed--if passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden--will swing wide the door for wholesale persecution of faithful Christians.
The Senate passed the dreadful $1.9 trillion Covid relief package of which only a small percentage went for Covid relief. The majority went to fund a liberal wish list of initiatives. Since 1980, the pro-life Hyde Amendment has been included in all such funding bills to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent by any of the government agencies or grants to pay for or promote abortion. But the amendment was intentionally excluded from the bill that became law, despite FRC's and our Senate allies' best efforts.
We find ourselves now in a new era like that of ancient Rome. Christians defended the faith at great risk and cost to themselves and many lost their lives. In that cancel culture, they literally exterminated uncompromising Christians. But whether under duress, oppression, persecution, or liberty, our Lord has taught us to endure persecution and even rejoice that we have been chosen to endure it (Mt 5:10-16) and to use it as an opportunity to give witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ! But These official actions by the duly elected representatives of the American people do not bode well for the future of America. David Closson, in his larger study on human sexuality, pointed to the Apostle's teaching about God's wrath toward man's unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-32). He wrote, "Paul's analysis leads to a sobering conclusion: flagrant, high-handed, and unrepentant sin--including homosexual activity--is evidence of God's present-day wrath. In other words, rampant human wickedness is evidence of God's judgment already at work in the world. The flouting of sexual distinctions and homosexual activity are indicators of this judgment."
Tony Perkins, in his 15-minute daily Bible study, shared from Jeremiah 50-51, where Jeremiah prophesied the complete destruction of Babylon. He commented, "God judges nations for their idolatry and their pride. No nation was exempt... This should be a wakeup call for America. Our nation is dancing dangerously on the precipice of God's judgment." It is well known that the "Equality Act," if passed, will be used by activists in and out of government to harass and punish Christians who preach, teach, practice, or openly defend their faith pertaining to human sexuality. I have been a Christian for over 50 years. When I received Christ, young adults were creating the culture we now call the sexual revolution. It is now promoted in every sphere of culture, including some church denominations. If God does not send revival and Christians do not obey the gospel, give themselves to the great commission, and stand up to these culture-destroying political acts, the warning from Scripture that David and Tony speak of will come to pass in our own beloved nation.
The Equality Act -- To get the tone of the debate in the Senate, you can view the beginning of the Senate process as the Act was introduced and debate began in the Senate Judiciary Committee (begins at minute 30). We have already seen the many cases in which sexual activists have either brought charges against or sued Christian florists, cake bakers, wedding services, wedding venues, doctors, counselors, military chaplains, etc. in which the Christian could not accommodate the wishes of the activists due to religious conscience. Some have been in litigation for years and some have been sued repeatedly. If enacted, this dangerous bill would unleash a wave of persecution that in this cancel culture would be very ugly and potentially devolve into unthinkable consequences. Some Christians in the public square would shrink from standing up to legal challenges for fear of risking the closure of their businesses, because with this law, their antagonists would be the federal government. Bethany Christian Services, an evangelical adoption agency with branches across the nation, after years of reflection, decided not to fight, and is now placing children in the homes of same-sex couples. For years, Catholic Charities (CC) has similarly been required by states and localities to compromise their religious principles and place adoptive children in same-sex homes. Many local CC agencies, including the agency here in Washington, D.C., chose to close their adoption ministry rather than compromise. If this bill is passed, every Christian adoption agency will be targeted by activists. Over time, so will every one of the organizations and ministries mentioned above. Public restroom use, school locker rooms, and women's sports would all be forced to accept unacceptable requirements if this law is passed. It will be a shocking jolt for parents, and Christians will have to make some hard decisions as to what they are going to do for the education of their children. (See Bethany Services; The Unequal Equality Act; Forcing Faith out of Adoption)
- Father, we know that we are a nation on the "precipice of judgment." The very discussion of these things, and efforts to force men to deny their conscience, shows how very far we have come. Is this not what the communists are doing? Lord, please stand up for your people. Despite the split within the Senate, Lord, intervene! Prevent this bill from passage and turn the tide. May our prayers turn the battle with the principalities and powers at the gates. With you is an army of intercessors and at least 10 righteous men and women in the land. It is time for you to act, Lord, your law is being broken. Take pity upon your people! (Ps 103:13; 119:126; Is 28:6)(Gen 1:26-28; 2:21-25; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Dt 23:17; Ps 37:28; Jdg 19:22; 1 Kg 14:24; 2 Kg 23:7; Eze 16:49-50; 18:20; Mt 19:4-5; Mk 1:15; 7:20-23; 10:6-8; Rom 1:24-32; 3:23; 1 Cor 6:9-11; 7:2; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Tim 1:9-11; Ep 5:31; Jude 7; Rev 21:8)
STAND COURAGEOUS Chino Hills -- This Saturday, March 20, FRC is sponsoring a Stand Courageous men's conference at Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills. Please pray. Over 2,400 men will be there.
PRAY VOTE STAND -- PVS is broadcast every Wednesday evening at 8 PM. All the episodes are archived for viewing when you can. Watch the March 17 edition with Tony Perkins and special guests for important information about Fairness for All Act!
Finally, please pray over these matters: 1) The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (Dt 27:19; Ps 10:12-14; 20:1; 59:1-3; 68:5; 82:3-4; 140:12; 146:9; Pro 8:1-36; 18:10; 24:11-`12; 31:8-9; Jer 22:3; Rom 12:9; Php 2:4; Jas 1:27); 2) The Fairness for All Act (Gen 1:26-27; 2:21-23; 18:20; 19:5; Ex 23:6; Lev 19:36; Ps 37:27-28; 99:4; 106:3; Pro 11:1; 16:11; 20:10; 21:3, 15; Is 1:17; 32:17; 61:8; Micah 6:8; Mt 5:17-19; 1 Cor 6:12-20; 1 Th 1:4-8; 2 Pet 2:6-7); 3) The "For the People Act", which should be known as The Great Electoral Heist.
In these supra-critical times, thank you for praying!