Good message at Herescope by Pastor Larry DeBruyn
As one who has followed Rob Bell’s career for almost a decade, from the time he was the youth pastor at the church I grew up in, Calvary Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then as the founding pastor of the Mars Hill Bible Church in suburban Grandville of the same city, I wondered when he, as he seemed so bent to be culturally relevant, would finally out what he really thought about same sex marriages. Well, now he has, and not surprisingly, at least to me (I spotted him as a false teacher a decade ago, for false teachers always seem engaged to the culture more than to Christ), he recently endorsed same sex marriages in the friendly confines in of all places, the liberal Grace Cathedral in San Francisco during a forum held Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Now in addressing Bell’s endorsement, so to speak, I want to make my position on homosexuality clear, and do so by way of a story.
Years ago in my first pastoral ministry during the mid-1970s, in of all places, Grand Rapids, I was approached by a church member regarding some men who had just moved into the neighborhood, men who at least from outward appearances, were living together in a homosexual relationship. Bob (not his real name) approached me about the same-sex couple who lived in the neighborhood. (Actually, it was on the opposite side of the street I lived on, but several houses away.) He wondered what I thought about it and what I, as a pastor, was going to do about it. He was a burly man and he was angry about the same-sex couple living in the neighborhood. Calmly, I addressed him regarding his concern.
I said, “Bob, Let me ask you a question. You work in a factory, don’t you?” “Yes,” he answered. “Then let me ask you another question,” I continued. “Do you know men you work with who commit adultery and are unfaithful to their wives?” Again he answered, “Yes.” Then I proceeded, “Bob, do you get as upset with the adulterers you work with as the gay guys down the street?” He pondered, and honestly responded that he didn’t. Then I remarked to him, “Well, you should, because in the Bible God always uses the sin of adultery, not homosexuality, to describe people who are unfaithful to Him.” (See Jeremiah 5:7-9; 9:2; 23:10; Hosea 4:2; James 4:4.)
In short, though I believe homosexuality is sin, it is no worse a sin than adultery, nor for that matter, any other of the nine vices listed by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth (an ancient city where homosexuality was common), that if habitually practiced, would disqualify the practitioners from inheriting the kingdom of God (i.e., “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NASB).
As do the other sins listed, habitual homosexual practice disqualifies people from God’s kingdom, and no amount of linguistic and interpretive sugarcoating can make it anything less the sin that it is (See Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10).