Mark Oppenheimer, columnist of the biweekly "Beliefs" column for The New York Times, recently fired the next shot against Christians and churches in his article "Now's the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions." The elimination of tax-exempt status for churches is the obvious next "radical step" (his words, not mine) by the same minority of activists that use the courts and executive fiat to achieve what they cannot legislatively.
"If a certainty occurred and only Rob Bell was there to experience it, would anyone know it for sure?" This feeble attempt at a theological joke could be said of Rob Bell only a few years ago when he vaguely couched his beliefs behind the premise of dialoging with doubters/seekers/unbelievers. Now he's coming out the closet (well, his beliefs are, anyway).
Recently, Baylor University women's basketball player Brittney Griner outed herself as a homosexual (
). It's probably not a coincidence that she made these statements almost immediately after being drafted as a pro. What I find most interesting in this instance is not her sexual self-identity, but Baylor's response (or lack of response) to it.
The current code of conduct at Baylor includes a statement that human sexuality is a gift from God that has purposes that can only be achieved "through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God's gift will be understood to include...fornication and homosexual acts." (You can read the entire document HERE.)
Will Baylor discipline Griner? Slim chance. Too much money involved with this superstar. (As an aside, would the Mormon-based BYU discipline Griner? They recently disciplined an athlete who was guilty of fornication.) Baylor's position will probably be one of focusing on her actions ("We are not aware that she actually engaged in homosexual behavior") instead of her expressed desires. While this would be appropriate on the surface, Griner is nevertheless representing Baylor when she makes such statements. Does the administration at Baylor even address this with her?
In one sense I feel for the administrators at Baylor. Being in charge of any institution is difficult enough. However, it becomes all the more difficult when that institution begins to dismiss the core convictions of its founders in order to remain popular.
Today I received an email from a church member with a good question. He writes: "I was watching an interview with a Catholic priest this weekend and he stated that the Bible (New Testament?) does not condemn homosexuality anywhere—that this is a term that was not around in biblical times and its usage is by those translating from the original text." My reply: The priest you saw in the interview is wrong. My guess is that he's repeating what he has heard, and just wants to justify his own beliefs instead of letting God's Word speak for itself.
Romans 1:26-27 is pretty explicit in its condemnation of homosexuality, stating that God has given practicing homosexuals over to their own depraved way of thinking. Being under God's wrath (cf. Rom. 1:18), they receive in their own bodies the penalty of their ways.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10, Paul lists homosexuals among those who have misplaced desires and will receive God's judgment.
The Old Testament (Leviticus 18:22) calls the act of homosexuality "an abomination."
Sometimes it is claimed that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality. This is not completely accurate, as He spoke against any kind of sexual behavior outside the bounds of biblical marriage (which can be defined as a life-long covenant of companionship between one man and one woman). One example of this is in His use of the word "fornication" in Mark 7:21.