True freedom is possible for any sin or sickness that human beings have had to face since the third chapter of Genesis.
By Steve Prokopchak
I first started listening to stories of the sexually broken when I was serving in the United States Air Force in the early 1970s, a new Christian, in the midst of attempting to grasp it all myself. There I found a myriad of sexual addictions among young single men. When a roommate confessed homosexual tendencies, or the guy down the hall could not stop visiting the prostitutes downtown on a weekly basis, it put me on a quest to discover what God and His Word had to offer me and others.
I began to notice some similarities in many of their histories. I heard gut-wrenching confessions of self-hatred and emotional torment. What posed a particular issue for me was that some of these men claimed to be believers in Christ. Was I thinking that as believers we were fundamentally immune to such activities? Or, was it simply ignorance of the moral claims of Scripture?
In the early ’70s, there were few materials available on how to help persons wanting to recover from sexual brokenness. At the time, the only thing I knew to do was to befriend them, listen, and pray with them. We would also take time to read and study the Bible together. I knew I didn’t have the answers, but I had great faith that God did. We frequented different churches together and would hang out with friends on weekends. I discovered that the less idle time these persons had, the more they walked in freedom. I also discovered that being left alone with thoughts of depression about life circumstances made them vulnerable and more likely to ease that hurt with a sexual pain-reliever or some other form of medication.
Drug and alcohol use and abuse were rampant on our military base. I couldn’t help but connect the dots: taking drugs helped to reinforce how badly they felt about themselves and, of course, lowered their inhibitions. Initially, drugs and alcohol served as a numbing agent, but eventually they add a burden of guilt and remorse. I observed such self-destructive behaviors week after week. Life patterns actually what these persons were fighting to keep from feeling on a daily basis.
Another observation during those years was that the more time we spent together in God’s Word and prayer, the more these men expected a miraculous cure. They fully expected to wake up one morning and no longer desire sex or drugs. A miracle was what they needed, and they saw examples of the miraculous in God’s Word. Surely, they thought, one would come to them. Their thought patterns went something like this: If I was miraculously cured, my mind would no longer think the thoughts I don’t want to think, and my actions would change. Further, if my actions would somehow change, I would feel better about myself, and I could stop the destructive life patterns. Then I wouldn’t need drugs or sex to numb myself.
A Cultural Shift
I went on to work with sexual addictions and brokenness while as a social worker and then as a marriage/family counselor. This time frame spanned over twenty-five years. In those years, I sat with quite a few persons, including leaders (even several who have been featured on the cover of Charisma Magazine) who struggled with their sexual orientation and sexual temptations. I observed that the world has few answers for these persons. I have watched the laws of our land change drastically. The Air Force military staff sergeant whose case brought about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy change was stationed on my base in Virginia. I have seen blatant homosexual characters slowly but purposefully introduced into movies and TV shows, always humorous and happy in their character and demeanor.
I have observed in my lifetime God’s gift of sex turned into something casual that does not involve commitment. The HIV virus and many other sexually transmitted diseases have spread because our culture has taken sex outside of marriage and pushed back God’s boundaries as unobtainable, prudish and old-fashioned. When I was a child, Ricky and Lucy, a married couple on the I Love Lucy show, slept in separate single beds. Now, we are hard-pressed to find any TV show or movie that our family can watch that depicts God’s covenant of marriage and honors His sexual boundaries. I doubt that we could find one TV sit-com that does not have singles sleeping together, heterosexual or homosexual. Even if the program rating does not allow sex to be explicitly shown, it is constantly implied.
The funny thing is that I have my own generation to blame for getting us to where we are. It was my generation from the ’60s and ’70s that pushed the envelope for sexual freedoms. We rebelled against laws, and drugs and sex were taken “out of the closet” and done openly at concerts in the name of peace and freedom. We said it was our right to disobey the law, and it would hurt no one. As teenagers and twenty-something’s, we spread our wings and rebelled against our parents. We broke the only commandment that ends with a promise, and we have been reaping the seeds we sowed ever since. We opened the door to sexual brokenness, legalized abortion, and allowed for the breakdown of the family as it has been known from the beginning. We said, “Anything goes.” And it did go, especially the good foundation on which our nation was built. We threw away biblical values, declared God was dead, and got on with building our self-help, self-esteem idol.
My generation was wrong – dead wrong. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed by drugs and disease. Families have been decimated. Our world is so sexualized today that we now have young children experimenting with sex in elementary school. It has cost billions of dollars for resulting increases in health care and law enforcement. Drugs are at the core of crime all over the world because a generation wanted its freedom. How prideful; how self-centered. And, at its core is what Daniel Juster describes as an ultimate rebellion against God. He says that, ”…even if culture is driven by atheism or relativism…the root is a loss of the fear of God.”
In the book, The American Sex Revolution, Sorokin wrote that “both men and society are degraded” as a culture becomes sexually obsessed. “The members of such a society are habituated to look at the opposite sex as a mere instrument for pleasure… to these individuals, talk of human dignity, religious and moral commandments, and rules of decency is just bosh [nonsense]… the society degrades the values of womanhood and manhood, of motherhood and fatherhood, of childhood and… of marriage and family…” He then said, “Divorce, desertion and deviance become commonplace, when what used to be considered morally reprehensible is now recommended as a positive value… and is now styled moral progress and a new freedom.” Sorokin describes this condition as “moral schizophrenia.”
For example, is it moral schizophrenia to say, “I am a Christian homosexual?” These are the words we are hearing spoken today. At the same time, what I am not hearing is, “I am a Christian adulterer” or “I am a Christian drug addict.” Our culture is so desperately attempting to take the morality out of our own sinful actions. We tend to see ourselves as intrinsically good (some of us we even incorporated that view before we were a Christian), when in fact Paul the apostle wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Romans 7:18).
Looking for an Answer
In all the years I have counseled the sexually broken, I never met one person who was happy with or fulfilled by sexual addiction. I have never worked with a homosexual or a heterosexual who wasn’t scared of his or her own potential for destructive behavior and, at the same time, feared the consequences of that behavior. I have been told repeatedly by those persons that struggle with homosexuality, even while the laws around us are changing, that it is anything but normal to them.
However, at the same time, I was not finding people who had been successfully rehabilitated or had miraculous reversals of sexual attraction until I heard about Desert Streams Ministry. I observed Desert Streams for years, read their material, and listened to their tapes. I was amazed that they were writing about so many of the behaviors and feelings that I had heard expressed. I went to a meeting and was impressed with their Christ-centered group therapy sessions. I met with some of the leaders of that group and discovered that they had all walked through some form of sexual brokenness from their past. I decided to travel to southern California to enroll in their one-week training course.
That week was amazing. I even had the opportunity to meet the director. I had never before heard such wisdom and principles of healing so well communicated with such sensitivity. The director himself had been in a committed gay relationship for years and had lived with the belief that he was gay from early childhood. When I met him he was, and is to this day, walking in freedom from the gay lifestyle. There were numerous similar testimonies given that week.
Through this organization I was introduced to Leanne Payne and her superior work with men in what she wrote about as “the present crisis in masculinity.” Her years of study of men and sex in Europe and the U.S. were invaluable learning tools. Her scientific studies presented answers where there were huge holes in my understanding. It was her work that helped to provide a profile of the dysfunctional home environments and parental disconnects found within the sexually broken. It was her work that helped to identify male confusion in sexuality from sexual abuse and violation as a child, sometimes found within infancy, where there is no memory recall.
Payne discovered that many men find themselves “split off from their masculinity” due to a lack of male affirmation. She states, “The masculine within is called forth and blessed by the masculine without. An automatic and serious consequence of a man’s failure to be affirmed in his masculinity is that he will suffer…he will be unable to accept himself.” She believes that all the masculine qualities and gifts are innate; they simply have not been affirmed into life. Payne explains, “We cannot pass on to the next generation what we do not ourselves possess. Un-affirmed men are unable to adequately affirm their own sons…there is, in short, an overwhelming amount of gender confusion in great numbers of men today.”
Chad Thompson in his book, Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would, discussed his own same sex attraction and stated, “Men who experience homosexual attraction are, unconsciously, trying to recover their father’s love in the arms of another man, and women with homosexual attractions are looking for their mother’s love…in another woman.” This is why he states that so many people who experience homosexual attractions report poor relationships with their same-sex parents or peers. Thompson says that his fantasy was that a man would just wrap his arms around him, look him in the eye and tell him that he was of worth. Clearly it was not a desire for sex, but for genuine love and affirmation from someone of his gender.
So, what Thompson and Payne and other social scientists are saying is that anything that creates a sense of disconnection between a child and his or her gender can cause homosexuality. “This can manifest itself as rejection, real or perceived, from same-sex parents or peers, or as some form of sexual molestation.” Thompson then says, “I’ve found that anything that creates a sense of reconciliation between a person and his or her gender can eliminate homosexuality.”
Therapist and author, as well as ex-gay, Andy Comisky who I heard teach when I was in California with Desert Streams ministry said, “In joining with the same sex erotically, the needy child within seeks in adult form the affirmation and emotional intimacy from the same sex that was never properly attained in childhood.” He is saying that it is a legitimate emotional need as opposed to an erotic one.
The Old Makes a Way for the New
True freedom is possible for any sin or sickness that human beings have had to face since the third chapter of Genesis. While the Old Testament exposes the sin, the New Testament provides the truth of the Incarnate One, the Redeemer of this sin. The Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Covenant. It is the old that makes a way for the new.
Far too many Christians believe that there is no need to read the books of the law or the major and Minor Prophets. “This was the Old Covenant,” they repeat, “and we are under a New Covenant.” But this statement is only partially true. You cannot have a new without the old. Jesus Himself walked on this earth under the Old Covenant, and He addressed the need for the Law of Moses. He taught this law, and He walked in obedience to it.
Romans 7:7 tells us, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not. Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” Romans 3:20 reveals that through the law we become conscious of our sin. Galatians 3:24 states, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” I Timothy 1:8-10 reads, “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for the lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious…for those who kill…for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders…and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”
Jesus and the Law
Jesus never erased the law; rather, He fulfilled it. Remember, He lived under the Old Covenant. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).
The law of the Old Covenant teaches us about sin. The Ten Commandments were given to identify sin in our lives and in society. While the law did not lead us to salvation, it made us aware of our wrongdoing. The law was good in that it showed us our sin and identified our need of a Savior. Without the law and the writings of the Old Covenant, how would we know what is offensive to our heavenly Father?
An expert in the law once asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded by asking him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man said that one was to love God with all of his heart and love one’s neighbor as oneself. Jesus then told him, “You have answered correctly…do this and you will live” (Luke 10:25-28). Was Jesus actually affirming the teaching of the law? Yes, He was, not as a means of gaining God’s approval or love, but as a means of identifying our sinfulness.
The sins of the Old Testament are the sins in the New Testament: we are not to have or worship any other gods; we are not to worship any type of idol; we are not to use the Name of our God in any unholy way; we are to remember the Sabbath and keep it a holy day; we are to honor our parents, not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not lie and not covet what others have. While there were many Jewish traditions (related to food, for example), we are in this discussion looking at the Ten Commandments rather than the intricacies of rituals, dress, food, or ceremonial washings. That is, we are concentrating on the moral law of the Old Testament. Most Bible scholars would teach that Judaic law is divided into three parts: moral, ceremonial (related to cleanliness, the temple), and civil (including the judicial, the running of a nation.)
Is murder still wrong? Is stealing still wrong? Is adultery still wrong? We can still go to jail for most of these sins in our society. We must identify and accept our sinfulness in order to be healed from it.
The law cannot save us; it is by faith and through grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:5, 8). However, what we must understand and what is rarely taught today is that “where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15).
No Law; No Transgression
When the teachers of the law brought the woman who was caught in adultery (and it is interesting to note that they did not bring the man as well, because under the moral code of the law, both had committed a crime punishable by death), they wanted to know (as a test) what Jesus would do with her. Both they and Jesus were aware that adultery was a sin that required death according to the law. Jesus responded that whichever one of them was without sin could cast the first stone, and as they walked away one by one, He turned to the woman and forgave her. But He did more than forgive her; He told her, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:7-11). Jesus was saying that adultery is still sin, but that He had the power to forgive the sin and cleanse the sinner.
For too many, Jesus has become convenient, no more than a means to escape eternal separation from God. Meanwhile, they believe they can live according to how they personally interpret the Scriptures (if they are even reading the Scriptures). We cannot say we love Jesus only to the point where His words inconvenience us, and then rewrite the Scriptures to match our personal beliefs. Jesus was a reformer, a revolutionary who taught an inconvenient reality. Even in our culture today, if you or I believe what He taught, it will be inconvenient. In fact, Jesus warned us that as He was persecuted for what He exposed and taught, we would be as well (see John 15:18-19). Further, He said that if we stand with Him and live a life honoring to Him, without compromise, there will be those who think that they do God a service by killing us (see John 16:1-4).
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield found Christ in 1999 when she was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, also a lesbian. Today she is happily married and is a pastor’s wife in North Carolina and the mother of four adopted children. She said, “I didn’t really want to understand why homosexuality was a sin from God’s point of view. I just wanted to argue with Him and that led me to ask, ‘Why do I want to do that?’” A local church pastor was reaching out to her and dialoging with her. She attempted to approach everything intellectually, but he kept loving her, as well as giving her God’s Word. Further she wrote, “So these intellectual problems led me to realize that if a Holy God made me, and if I was born in Adam’s sin, it was no wonder I couldn’t think myself out of it. It wasn’t a thinking problem! Repentance is a strange idea… the fruit of the Christian life. But it struck me that maybe there wasn’t shame in sin – maybe it just proved that God was right all along. [But] of course there is shame in sin, Jesus paid for it in the most painful …ways, but the initial place is that sin means God… is right…”
God’s Moral Code
The New Testament was written in the Greek language. It is important to look at some specific words. The Greek word porneia is a biblical term that means illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery (intercourse between a married person and someone who is not his or her spouse); fornication (intercourse between two unmarried persons, or two persons not married to each other); homosexuality (intercourse between persons of the same sex); bestiality (intercourse with animals); and incest (intercourse with close relatives). Jesus used this term in Mark 10:11 when He said, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.” As you can see from the definition, the word had multiple sexual connotations and meanings. There is a different Greek word for just the act of adultery, moicheia, and it was not used. Why is this important? It is important because it includes all, a broader range of, offenses and not just “adultery.”
Throughout the Old Testament, a sodomite was one who initiated licentious wickedness, the wickedness that was found within Sodom and Gomorrah. In particular, a sodomite was a person guilty of unnatural sexual relations. Where in the Bible do we find sexual boundaries and moral guidelines when it comes to sex? How do we biblically define the word “unnatural”?
Leviticus 18 thoroughly discusses unlawful and unnatural sexual relations. Why is this so important, and why was God so explicit? When man is left to decide for himself in his fallen state, he decides what is right in his own eyes, regardless of whether it is good for him or good for society as a whole (see Psalm 36:2 and Proverbs 14:12). God left no questions with His written moral code. He required a higher moral code for His people than for the lost nations around them.
Jewish scholar, Daniel Juster in his excellent article titled, “Are Gay Rights Wrong”? states, “Our sexuality is a gift given to enhance the bond of a lasting marriage covenant between a man and a woman and to provide a stable foundation for raising children. Thus when the Bible speaks about homosexual relations, it is always with condemnation. We further note that our sexual desires are capable of being directed into many orientations and require social reinforcement. This is why there have been people married with children who later became homosexual, and in the reverse bi-sexual and homosexual individuals who have later become heterosexual…”
What Exactly Were theBoundaries?
The Scriptures forbid sex with close relatives, including your mother; your father’s wife; your sibling; your daughter- or son-in-law; your aunt; and your brother- or sister-in-law. Scripture also forbids having sexual intercourse with your neighbor’s wife or animals. Finally, the Scriptures say that a man is not to have sex with another man “as one lies with a woman” (Leviticus 18:6-22). God ends this chapter with a stern warning: “Everyone who does any of these detestable things–such persons must be cut off from their people. Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 18:29-30). These are examples of God’s moral law.
Chapter 20 of Leviticus discusses the punishment for such sin and reinforces that we need to consecrate ourselves to be holy because God is holy. Additionally in this chapter, God warns about committing adultery with your neighbor, sleeping with your daughter-in-law, sex with animals, sexual relations with your siblings, your aunt, your brother’s wife, and again, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable” (Leviticus 20:7-21).
So you can easily see that a bigger chunk of Leviticus 18 deals with sex acts like incest in various forms. If you dismiss homosexuality out of this list as many propose today, then what about sex with your siblings (v. 9) or your aunts and uncles (v. 12-14)? If homosexuality is removed from the list and sanctioned as acceptable then can we sacrifice our children to Molech (v. 21) orengage in sex with animals (v. 23)?
Under the Old Covenant law, the penalty for most of these sexual infractions was death. God was serious about ridding Israel of sexual sin. If God did not require accountability and follow through with punishment of sin, then God was not true to His Word, and neither did He care about mankind’s well being.
But the problem with natural-law arguments is that they get heavy handed, especially in a culture in which we claim to find our own reality in whatever we choose to believe. Dr. Rosaria Butterfield says, “Fifteen years ago, the gay-rights movement moved on from pathology [the scientific study of disease or deviation from a healthy condition] to …saying homosexuality is good.”
Jesus Takes It Further than the Law
The Law of Moses was certainly very strict. However, in Matthew 5, Jesus also addresses a number of issues, taking them beyond the Old Testament law. He reminded His listeners that the law said to not murder, but then added, “Anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (v. 22). He also affirmed that the law requires that no one commit adultery. Jesus takes this law further by saying, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (v. 28). Under the law, death was the requisite punishment for the act of adultery. Under grace, Jesus speaks an even higher standard of purity by stating that we can commit adultery in our heart, and it is just as unlawful as the act itself.
Jesus is so serious about this that He goes on to teach if our eye is a problem for us (a cause of lust for sexual sin) then we should remove it, for it is better to lose a part of our body than for our whole body to be thrown into hell (v. 29). Obviously, Jesus is not recommending that we literally gouge out an eye, but He is emphasizing the seriousness of sexual sin even beyond that of the requirement of the law. Jesus’ teaching requires a higher standard of morality than even the Old Covenant because of His love for us. If Jesus’ words don’t put the fear of God in each of us, perhaps nothing will.
Many persons are telling us today that since Jesus, they believe, did not directly address homosexuality specifically, then He is okay with it or at the very least it was a non-issue. So, since He did not address sex with children or sex with animals, my question is, “Is that type of sex okay with Him as well?”
What About Those We Love?
When the one struggling with sexual brokenness is someone we love, such as a best friend, son or daughter, or respected coworker, we may lose sight of relevant biblical principles. Even though for some the desires are deeply ingrained, the promise of grace is equal to or exceeds their life circumstances.
It takes just one trespass for humans to be condemned, but the good news is that it took just one act of righteousness on Jesus’ part to bring justification and life for all. So powerful is the scripture that tells us, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19; see also I Corinthians 10:13). God’s Word never condemns the person; it condemns the sin, but also provides redemption for the sin. Jesus took the punishment we deserved and died for us on the cross. The Father placed my sin and your sin upon His Son. Consequently, one does not need to change their sexual orientation in order for God, or for us for that matter, to love and accept them. If your child is bound by a drug addiction, do you reject them in order to heal them? Absolutely not. Author Chad Thompson says, “Many lesbian and gay people need Christians to be hateful and ignorant in order to convince themselves that our message is the result of ignorance, homophobia, or some massive right-wing conspiracy. But if we take the time to understand…show genuine concern…they might actually consider our message. Real love does not demand anything in return” (p. 35).
If our only message to our loved one is, “If you don’t change, you’re going to hell,” then we will effectively lack credibility with them and isolate ourselves from them in the process. We are to love whether or not a person chooses to change. Ultimately, we desire them to choose the message of the gospel, repent, allow God to change them and go to heaven. Do not discriminate, but rather find common ground. And besides, never assume that sexual brokenness is someone’s “biggest sin.” Note: I do not see Jesus standing in the crowd with a placard that reads, “My Father hates gays” or “Homosexuals are going to hell.” The following is what He did.
Jesus found a woman at the well who had five husbands and was presently living with a man. He had a word of knowledge about her life condition, but then told her that He had living water for her true heart need. (She was trying to get her inner most need met from men; she was most likely sexually broken. See John 4.) Why do we show so much grace for the drug addict or the alcoholic after repeated failures and show so little grace for the sexually broken? It is a question that each of us needs to grapple with. The point is that our hearts need to break… are suppose to break… and if you really want to touch this one suffering then you need to get as close to them as Jesus did the woman at the well.
The term “sexual brokenness” is not found in the Bible. Neither are our modern-day terms of “sexual orientation,” “homosexual lifestyle,” or “sexual addiction.” In biblical times, there simply was no such terminology. Some scholars believe that the very concept of a lifelong sexual orientation toward the same sex was unacknowledged and unknown to a biblical world.
In Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Terms, Bible scholar Thomas E. Schmidt writes about the ancient world and sexuality. He focuses on the Greco-Roman period because “there are writings from this period that demonstrate familiarity with sexual acts between members of the same gender.” He states that these acts were not understood as a result of orientation, but, “It appears that the rape of the other males and the use of boys for sexual pleasure (ped-er-asty – sex between two males especially when one is a minor) were performed as acts of dominance, violence, or experimentation by otherwise heterosexual men.” He also states, “In some circles, most notably those of the intellectual elite philosophers and poets, relationships between men and boys were lauded as the highest expression of romantic love. These relationships were not reciprocal, however.” Schmidt states that afterward, the willing or unwilling partners became “social outcasts” and some became slaves and were “discarded.”
In the Beginning
From the beginning, God created two genders to bear His image: male and female. The Bible states that Eve was created from Adam and the two became one flesh. Adam’s expression was that Eve was unlike the animal kingdom when he observed that she was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone (Genesis 2:21-25). The sexual differentiation found in Genesis 1:27 brought about the becoming of a “one flesh” union (Genesis 2:24).
The New Testament concurs with the account found in Genesis. Ephesians 5:25-31 is read at many weddings today because it gives this same scriptural order for marriage as the book of Genesis: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…He who loves his wife loves himself…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” In both the Old and New Testament, the only scriptural example of marriage given is between a man and a woman.
Paul, in the book of Romans, uses terms like “natural” and “unnatural.” More specifically, he relates that women exchanged natural relations for unnatural relations and that men abandoned natural relations with women and committed indecent acts with men (Romans 1:27). The result? “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:24-25).
This behavior was not only condemned as “deserving death,” but also stated in this passage is that those who “approve of those who practice” these acts do not know God’s righteousness (Romans 1:32). David Foster, author of the book Love Hunger, an autobiography said, “Simple anatomical design declares that…a man was designed to interact sexually with a woman…and when sex is practiced outside of that design, physical damage and …disease is unleashed.” Foster lived the homosexual life for ten years and says that he slept with over 1,000 men. He is now free from this lifestyle that he lived in for thirty-four years.
From his own life, he reveals that, “Homosexual behavior also tears at the soul, causing much higher rates for substance abuse, suicide, depression, domestic violence, early death–even in the most gay-friendly regions of the globe. Why? Because active homosexuals are trying to find something through gay relationships that can never be found there. The happiness that they seek can only be found in submitting their sexuality to the Lordship of Christ and allowing Him to bring healing to the broken areas that have caused their desires.”
The Normal vs. the Abnormal
Why is it so important to identify the normal today? If we cannot define normal, how can we define abnormal? The enemy of our soul works feverishly to make that which is normal become abnormal and that which is abnormal become normal. At one time in our nation, it would have been abnormal to become divorced from your marriage partner. Today it seems rather normal. No one seems to think twice about it. When my wife and I share that we have been married for thirty-nine years, most people listening raise their eyebrows as if to say, “Wow, that’s unusual,” and then they congratulate us.
Abortion, at one time, would have been anathema in the United States. Now, almost 1,000 babies are murdered daily. While it is abnormal behavior and the consequence of our sinful choices, it is so frequent and so accepted that it has become normal to us. Illustrations could go on and on, but the enemy knows that if he pushes his agenda long enough (and gets influential people with money behind his evil cause), what was once considered abnormal can be considered normal and acceptable. Even the laws of the land can change to support that which was once deemed abnormal by a Judeo-Christian foundation.
The Apostle Paul was clear that the wicked would not inherit the kingdom of God. According to I Corinthians 6:9, the wicked include the sexually immoral, male prostitutes, idolaters, adulterers, homosexual offenders, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers. Colossians reveals that we are to “put to death” that which belongs to our “earthly nature.” How was that earthly nature defined? The list includes the sexually immoral, the impure, lustful evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry (3:5-6).
The good news is found in verse 7: “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” I appreciate the past tense of this verse in I Corinthians as well, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (6:11). We cannot condemn those suffering from addictions; perhaps we ourselves struggled at one time in our life. The good news is that God’s love and desire is to “wash” the one struggling. There is always hope for change.
The Original Language
The New Testament Greek language carried clear definitions. If we take a moment to look at a few words in their original Greek form, it will provide keener insights into a number of biblical passages. For example, in Galatians 5 we have the discussion of the flesh warring against the soul; we are told to walk in the Spirit so we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Verses 19-21 provide a list of those “works of the flesh” and add that those who commit these acts “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
For our discussion and subject matter, we will look at four of them. The first four in the list are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness. Adultery used here in the Greek is moicheia, and it means unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married. This word or some form of it is found in the New Testament seventeen times.
Fornication in the Greek is porneia, which we have already defined. Porneia in the Scriptures had to do with adultery, incest, idolatry, harlotry, sodomy, and male prostitution. It is found in the New Testament twenty-five times.
Uncleanness is a translation of the Greek word akatharsia and means whatever is the opposite of purity, including sodomy, homosexuality, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion. It is found ten times in the New Testament.
The word lasciviousness in Greek is aselgeia and means lustfulness, unchasteness, or lewdness, essentially anything that tends to foster lust and sexual sin. It is also found in the New Testament ten times.
Sex is a generous gift from God to His creation. Unlike the animal kingdom, humans engage in sex outside of procreation, and He designed it this way for our pleasure. When God gave us boundaries for sexuality, He also did this for our pleasure. As man has been crossing those boundaries since Genesis 3, sexual brokenness and sexually transmitted diseases are the ongoing consequences.
Sexual brokenness is a worldwide epidemic, with human sex trafficking as the newest form of slavery to plague our world. Our insatiable desire for “sexual freedom” has led us right back to slavery in order to feed our base desires. How much more wicked can our world become than to take fellow human beings, sell them into the sex trade, and then discard them as though they were worthless? The heart of God surely must be broken over such depravity.
If there is no line drawn for our culture, our nation and our lawmakers, then how do we make any activity illegal or abhorrent, a “crossing over the line,” if we do not uphold a standard that establishes that line to begin with? That standard must come from outside of our personal desires and emotions, otherwise we are merely guided by what is “right for me” even when it is devastating for another person.
How Do We Explain our Stand?
When asked about my stand on homosexuality, I respond with two simple statements. I never mention as specific sexual brokenness, but instead, state the following. 1) All sex outside of the covenant of marriage is wrong, sinful and offensive to God and to His Word. 2) According to Jesus and God’s Word, the marriage covenant is between one man with one woman, as it was in the beginning when God created and designed marriage.
Stereotypes Have to Go
Will the sexually broken go to heaven. Can they be saved? Can the drug addict or the abortionist be saved? Of course, we know that they answer is “yes.”
But wasn’t hell created for the sexually immoral? Don’t they deserve hell? If that is the case, we need to ask, “Who of us does not deserve hell?” And by the way, hell was actually made for the devil and his angels.
But isn’t sexual brokenness a “greater” sin? The Pharisees felt the same way about the woman caught in adultery. Jesus’ view was different, and eventually the Pharisees dropped their stones and walked away.
Aren’t all evangelical Christian’s homophobic, just as we are told? Actually, homophobia was a word coined by psychologist George Weinberg in the 1960s. He came up with this term to describe heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals. According to his definition, we as believers should not be homophobic. Jesus most certainly would not be.
Sociologists tell us that sexual brokenness is the reality of our day–that we are living in biblical times. Again, Dan Juster responds to that by saying, “The cultural elite are constructing that reality for contemporary society through massive media conditioning.” The American Psychiatric Association states that they know not what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality or bi-sexuality and then at the same time denies the possibility of changing ones sexual orientation. Sociology and psychology can provide a lot of answers, but those answers will be void of the God who created and understands mankind.
Relationship, the Key to Healing
It is fully believed and has been discovered that closeness, affirmation, camaraderie, spiritual parenting (surrogate parents), and nonsexual touch (affection), in other words–relationship–is the solution in same-sex gender identification. When we touch, hug, kiss, wrestle and snuggle with our sons as dads, we are meeting this need in their lives. Roughhousing actually fills a deficit in a boy’s life. It is said and believed by many that nonsexual intimacy in any form, such as healthy hugs, will extinguish homosexual desire. As a church that actively disciples, we can do this for those who struggle or for the children of single parents.
Homosexuality is not ones identity. In Christ, we must all break out of our old identity in order to receive our new identity in Him. The Law will never save us; our psychology will not save us; our religious systems will not save us. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags as we all come up short of God’s glorious design. But, it is the cross of Jesus that declares the potential of our new identity, a new life, and it is the cross that brings salvation to the broken and contrite of heart.
A Reminder in Closing
Lest any of us compare ourselves with the sexually broken and conclude with our own feelings of superiority, we each need to remember that if not for God’s grace, there go I. I would not be a Christian, be forgiven, or be going to heaven if not for the grace of God. I have come up short and sinned against my heavenly Father far too often to deserve anything but hell. Left to myself, my potential is any form of sexual sin or any kind of sin for that matter.
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:11).
Scriptures for Further Study
Fornication, Greek porneia
II Chronicles 21:11 | Isaiah 23:17 | Ezekiel 16:15, 26, 29 | Matthew 5:32; 19:9 | | Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25 | Romans 1:24-29 | I Corinthians 5:1, 10; 6:9-11, 13-18; 7:2; 10:8 | II Corinthians 12:21 | Galatians 5:19 | Ephesians 5:3 | Colossians 3:5 | I Thessalonians 4:3 | Hebrews 12:16 | Jude 6-7 | Revelation 2:14-21; 9:21; 14:8; 17:2-4; 18:3-9; 19:2
Adultery, Greek moicheia
Matthew 5:32; 15:19; 19:9, 18 | Mark 7:21; 10:11-12, 19 | Luke 16:18; 18:20; John 8:3-4 | Romans 2:22; 13:9 | Galatians 5:19 | James 2:11 | Revelation 2:22
Uncleanness, Greek akatharsia
Matthew 23:27 | Romans 1:21-32; 6:19 | II Corinthians 12:21 | Galatians 5:19 | Ephesians 5:3 | Colossians 3:5 | I Thessalonians 2:3; 4:7 | II Peter 2
Lasciviousness, Greek aselgeia
Mark 7:22; II Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; I Peter 4:3; Jude 4 Payne, Crisis In Masculinity, © 1995 Hamewith Books, Baker House Company, Grand Rapids, MI Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Terms, www.biblestudytools.com
References and Materials for Further Study
- Prokopchak, Recognizing Emotional Dependency, © 1999 House to House Publications, Lititz, PA
- Payne, Crisis In Masculinity, © 1995 Hamewith Books, Baker House Company, Grand Rapids, MI
- Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Terms, http://www.biblestudytools.com/, Thomas E. Schmidt, author
About Steve Prokopchak
Steve serves on the DOVE International Apostolic Council and has been involved in the Christian counseling field for over 40 years. He earned a master of human services from Lincoln University. He is the author of several books, including Called Together, a premarital counseling workbook and Staying Together, a marriage resource book. He also travels throughout the world teaching and imparting to the lives of many, especially leaders. Read more about Steve or catch up on his blog.