Archive for the ‘Various Subjects’ Category

The “God of the Gaps” Fallacy

April 28th, 2014

What is it?

The god-of-the-gaps fallacy is an argument commonly used to belittle faith. It is predicated on the notion that as our knowledge of the natural sciences increases, fewer supernaturally motivated conclusions about our universe will be necessary. In other words, God is only a placeholder explanation for phenomena until researchers discover the actual cause.

The God Thor creates lightningFor example, modern man is well aware that lighting and thunder has nothing to do with angry deities; Instead, it is understood that it is actually an arc of electricity in the atmosphere. In the same way, modern man is also rightly skeptical of the conclusion that illness results from the anger of malevolent “spirits”. Research has revealed the causes to be known bacteria, viruses, cancers, and other related things.

In the past, because god-of-the-gaps was utilized to explain what could not be understood, some theorize that there is a coming time when the “god” of the gaps will explain nothing. In other words, science will explain all of man’s questions. Not only is this conclusion misguided but actually is utilizing the same logic it is attempting to decry.

Positive Arguments

The classical arguments for the existence of God (ontological, axiological, cosmological, teleological) are not negative arguments. They are not responses to unexplained phenomenon. Rather they are responses to what is known about the world.

Creation paiting on Sistine ChapelFor example, because we know all things which begin to exist need a cause, it is impossible for anything that began to exist to be self-caused; It follows then that everything from human consciousness to the universe would need a cause. Further, in all cases where something is caused, the producer of the cause must have certain features which enable it to be the cause the observed effect.

In the case of the universe, for example, such features must include: intelligence, consciousness, intentionality, and sufficient power. Thus, because of what we do know about the world, and how cause and effect works, the existence of God is not a lowest common denominator god-of-the-gaps response. Instead, is the best possible response to the data we have at hand.

Even if one argues that the existence of the universe is not restrained to the laws of causality, as some theoretical physicists do, believing that the universe is an anomaly of the “quantum vacuum” is still highly problematic. If as a recent paper from Japan asserts, the universe is indeed the result of such a rare occurrence as a the expansion of a quantum vacuum bubble, then one would have no justification for believing that such causation would be reasonably possible; Possibility does not necessitate reality. On the other hand, if one assumes it is possible, as the Japanese paper asserts, then why do we only see one universe? An even better question is: Why only universes?

Big  Bang TimelineOf course, if one wanted to be honest and go the route of saying that the universe is an anomaly of which we have only mathematical models, with little actual physical evidence, then that same person has just argued that we have no reason to believe the philosophical conclusions they create based on such a model. In reality, the only reason atheists argue that the universe doesn’t need a cause is personal volition. Many argue this way because they personally, but not intellectually, prefer to believe in a religion which allows them to do as they wish. They do not like where alternative conclusions take them.

The god-of-the-gaps fallacy occurs when one goes from what he does not know to god (or some supernatural phenomenon). The apologist is not following that line of argumentation. Instead, he is going from what he does know (e.g. causality) to God. Basing conclusions on what is known and logical could hardly be considered the a god-of-the-gaps fallacy.

In an ironic twist, if one defends the belief that science will one day answer all of men’s questions, that one should use the belief in science to fill in the “gaps”, he is actually making the same argument … merely with a different conclusion. Scientific methodology and mathematical models become “gods-in-the-gap”.

Conclusion

While the theist is charged with arguing from what is unknown to God, the skeptic is going from what is scientifically unknown (i.e. the answers to man’s problems and questions) to no God; The justification or evidence is the same for both scenarios. Thus if a skeptic convinces someone that they are refuting a god-of-the-gaps fallacy, they may also refuting their own argument. Usually, they are making a straw man argument, because it does not accurately portray the evidence, the conclusion, or the methodology of the Christian.

Who is This Christmas Babe?

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

Once again, Christmas is here. As usual, this holiday will be accompanied by last minute shopping, the giving of gifts, the singing of carols, and a festive meal. However, in the midst of our holiday preparations, we rarely stop to think what Christmas is all about. We seldom contemplate the identity of the babe born in a Bethlehem manger 2,000 years ago. Christmas has become so commercialized and so hectic, that we often forget why we are even celebrating in the first place.

We find out about the first Christmas in the pages of the Bible. But the Bible also tells us the true identity of the Christmas babe, for though this child is a man, He is much more than a mere man. The Bible tells us that the Christmas babe, a man named Jesus, is not only fully man, but also fully God.

The apostle John called Jesus “the Word” and said that “the Word was God” (John 1:1). The apostles Peter and Paul referred to Jesus as “our God and Savior” (2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13), while the apostle Thomas addressed Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The Bible teaches that, before He became a man, Jesus created the universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17).

Jesus Himself claimed to be God. He said “I and the Father are one,” and that “before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 10:30; 8:58-59). Jesus acted as if He were God by accepting worship and forgiving sins (Matthew 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Mark 2:5-7). In fact, He was arrested for blasphemy, because, according to His accusers, “He being a man was making Himself out to be God” (Mark 14:64; John 10:33).

Even the Old Testament prophets who predicted the coming of Christ said that He would be God incarnate. Isaiah calls Him “Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) and “the Mighty God” (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). Jeremiah speaks of Jesus as “Jehovah our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6), while Zechariah refers to the coming Messiah (i.e., Jesus) as “the Lord my God” (Zechariah 14:5).

Therefore, it is clear that the testimony of Scripture declares the Christmas babe to be God. As God, the babe born in a manger could one day say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us never forget the true reason why we celebrate: God has become a man and has provided salvation for all who trust in Him. The Christmas babe is truly God, the only Savior this world will ever know.

The Uniqueness of Christianity

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

Today, many people believe that all religions teach the same salvation message and acknowledge the same God. However, this is not the case. Even a cursory examination of the world’s major religions reveals the uniqueness of Christianity.

Christianity differs greatly from the two leading eastern religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. The God of Christianity is a personal God, a God that we can personally know and love, for He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, the Bible. But the god of Hinduism is an impersonal force, a god that cannot love and a god that cannot be known. Buddhists are often atheists or agnostics; many Buddhists either deny God’s existence or claim to have no knowledge of His existence.

Salvation in Hinduism and Buddhism is attained through human effort and reincarnation (the cycle of death and rebirth). The goal is the cessation of all desire when a person becomes one with the impersonal universe. On the other hand, Christianity claims that salvation comes only as a gift from God—it cannot be earned through human effort, and that salvation satisfies the greatest desires of the human heart. Clearly, in doctrines such as the nature of God and the way of salvation, there is very little common ground between Christianity and the eastern religions. The eastern religions have no concept of a God who loves us and seeks to save us.

When Christianity is compared to its two western counterparts, its uniqueness is still evident. Though Judaism and the Islamic faith proclaim the existence of one creator God who is a personal being, essential differences with Christianity remain. The God of Judaism and Islam can forgive the sins of men without demanding an ultimately worthy substitute sacrifice. But the justice of the Christian God demands that all sin be paid for in full. Christianity teaches that God the second Person of the Trinity became a man and died as the substitute sacrifice for the sins of mankind. In this way God remains just for He has punished all sin by punishing Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Still, God can justify and forgive sinners who accept Jesus as Savior, for Jesus paid the price for their sins (Romans 3:20-26). Therefore, the God of Christianity is more just than the God of Islam or Judaism. When the Christian God forgives sin, He does not ignore sin, for all sin has been paid for in full. Since Jesus is God-incarnate, He is the ultimately worthy sacrifice and able to atone for the sins of all mankind.

The God of Christianity is also more loving than the God of Islam or Judaism. For only the God of Christianity loved mankind so much that He sacrificed His only begotten Son in our place (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). And only the Christian God can feel our pain. Only He knows what it is like to suffer, to die, and to be rejected, for only the Christian God has become a man.

In short, the Christian God is superior to the gods of other religions. He is a personal God who loves us, a totally just God that must punish all sin, and an all-loving God that offers us the free gift of salvation that comes only through His Son. Christianity teaches a salvation that is so great that no man can earn it; it is a gift of God that man must humbly accept. Therefore, all religions do not teach the same thing. Christianity is unique, for it teaches a superior God and a superior way of salvation.

The State of the American Church

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

An elderly man lost his wife of forty years to cancer. He is heart-broken. He is looking for answers, but his quest appears futile. Sleepless nights have caused him to spend the early hours of each morning channel-surfing on his television set. He passes through the maze of shows until he stumbles upon a “Christian” television program. Hoping to find answers to his deepest questions, he sets the remote control aside, placing it on a chair—a chair his deceased wife once occupied. Unfortunately, the man finds no answers on this program. Instead, he is shocked by what he sees: the televangelist blows on his congregation as parishioners fall to the ground, many of them engaging in “holy laughter” and uncontrollable barking.

The widower mentioned above is a fictional character. But, there are real people just like him—people looking for answers to life’s deepest mysteries. As an evangelical minister, I believe the Bible has these answers. However, the American Church no longer seems interested in the diligent study of Scripture necessary to answer these questions.

Today, in many evangelical churches, love for theology (the study of God) has been replaced with a love for psychology (the study of the soul or the self). Doctrinal truths are now considered unimportant; experience and feelings are all that matter. Expository preaching of the Bible is now shunned.

A recent poll conducted by the Barna Research Group revealed some startling facts about the state of the evangelical church in America. Large percentages of professing believers denied several vital Christian doctrines. A few examples will suffice. 52 percent of “born-again” Christians denied the existence of Satan, while 55 percent rejected the existence of the Holy Spirit. 33 percent denied the biblical doctrine of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone by agreeing that a person could earn his or her own salvation through good works. 35 percent denied the physical resurrection of Christ.

In short, a large percentage of professing Christians in the American Church are not Christians at all. The essential doctrines that identify one as a true Christian are often rejected by those who profess faith in Christ. A totally experience based Christianity has replaced the traditional biblically based Christianity, making American Christianity look more like traditional Hinduism than traditional Christianity.

The primary emphasis of the church should be leading the lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It would be nice if the evangelical church in America could turn the world upside down. But first, we must lead our own congregations to Christ. The days of preaching “feel-good” messages and seeking religious experiences void of theological content must cease. Instead, evangelical pastors must teach their people the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith, for Jesus said, “and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). The American Church cannot help quench the spiritual thirst of an elderly, channel-surfing widower, if she has yet to drink of the Living Water herself.

The First Easter

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

Once again, Easter is just around the corner. It will bring with it spring weather, the Easter bunny, and Easter egg hunts. More importantly, however, Easter is supposed to be a celebration of Christ’s resurrection but did that resurrection really occur? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? What occurred on that first Easter?

The Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians around 52 to 54AD. In that letter Paul repeats an ancient creed or hymn that was recited or sung in the early church (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). New Testament scholars tell us that this creed or hymn was originally written in Aramaic and it dates back to before 42AD when the church was primarily Jewish. This ancient creed or hymn lists some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It states that, after His death, Jesus appeared to Cephas (the Apostle Peter), the twelve apostles, over five hundred people (most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this letter), James (the half-brother of Jesus), and Paul himself.

There are several reasons why this ancient creed or hymn is historically reliable. First, as a leader in the early church, it was unlikely that Paul would fabricate this account. Since most of the witnesses were still alive, if Paul had lied, his lie could be easily exposed. Second, Paul was himself a reliable eyewitness since he was sincere enough to die for his testimony. He was beheaded in 67AD. Third, the research of historian A. N. Sherwin-White shows that legends take several centuries to form. Legends do not gain a wide following until long after the eyewitnesses are dead. But the creed or hymn of 1 Corinthians 15 can be dated to within 12 years of the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, many of the eyewitnesses were still alive. In fact, some of them were leaders in the early church. Fourth, there was no reason for Paul to fabricate this account since it would not bring him any earthly gain; this testimony would only bring him suffering and persecution on earth.

In short, this ancient creed or hymn gives us historically trustworthy evidence for Christ’s resurrection. Skeptics can deny the resurrection 2,000 years after the fact; but, to do so, they must reject reliable eyewitness testimony. The witness of history proclaims that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead.

What does this mean for us as we enter the twenty-first century? It means that when one scans the pages of history, one finds that men and women, even great men and women, die and stay dead. But, there is one exception: Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter who claimed to be God and the only Savior this world will ever know. For Jesus has conquered death and offers salvation to all who trust in Him. Easter is more than the return of spring weather, the Easter Bunny, or egg hunts. Easter is a celebration of the empty tomb, a tomb vacated by the risen Savior. Easter is a celebration because death, man’s greatest enemy, has been defeated. Easter means that there is hope for mankind because Jesus has risen from the dead.

The Dangers of Pornography

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

A new pornography store has opened in Silverdale, igniting much debate between Kitsap County residents. Though many people believe that pornography is not harmful, I disagree. Both the Bible (the Word of God) and the Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (Rutledge Hill Press, 1986) discuss the dangers of pornography. There are several reasons why I believe pornography is wrong, even dangerous.

First, pornography is a sin. Jesus said that if a man looks at a woman to lust for her, he has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). According to the Bible, a person does not have to outwardly act in order to sin; lustful thoughts are themselves sinful (Mark 7:20-23; James 1:14-15). A person can sin in his heart, as well as in his behavior. For this reason, the Apostle Paul tells us to let our minds dwell only on that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). What we choose to look at and think about will eventually effect our behavior (1 Samuel 11:1-4; Mark 7:20-23).

Second, pornography enslaves its customers. I have personally counseled several men who have become slaves to pornography. The Bible tells us that sin will master those who practice it (John 8:34). Paul wrote that we should “flee immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Pornography is often a stumbling block that keeps a person from salvation in Jesus (Mark 9:42-48; John 3:19-21).

Third, pornography encourages a low level of respect for women. Pornography can warp a man’s view of reality so that he begins to view women as mere sex objects, rather than as human beings created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).

Fourth, pornography victimizes women. I am convinced that the high rate of sexual harassment, divorce, unwed mothers, and rape can be traced to a low view of women. As noted above, this low view of women is fostered by pornography.

Fifth, pornography arouses a person’s sexual appetite; it does not satisfy his or her sexual appetite. Once sexually aroused by pornography, how will the customer satisfy his or her sexual desires? At best, pornography helps to produce a sexually promiscuous and irresponsible society. At worst, in extreme though not rare cases, pornography has led some of its customers to rape and murder others in an attempt to quench their uncontrollable sexual thirsts.

Sixth, in most cases, pornography supports organized crime. Crime families from Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and Florida control and oversee the pornography business in Los Angelos. In 1975, organized crime controlled 80% of America’s pornography industry. Today, law enforcement experts believe that organized crime controls over 90% of this industry.

I believe that Christians must uncompromisingly preach against all sin, including pornography, and that local governments should seriously consider outlawing pornography because of its detrimental effects on communities. However, for those who are enslaved by pornography, Christians must offer hope. Though everyone who habitually sins is a slave of that sin, Jesus will set free any captive who turns from his or her sin and comes to Him for deliverance (John 8:34, 36).

The Bible Condemns Racism

April 10th, 2009

By Dr. Phil Fernandes

There’s a new “church” in town, but please don’t roll out the red carpet for her congregation. This “church” is actually a false church, an assembly of racists of the white supremacy mold. They call themselves “the World Church of the Creator.” At least this church is honest enough to admit that she is “anti-Christian” and opposed to the values taught in the Bible.

Unfortunately, many racist groups deceive others by trying to claim a biblical basis for their hatred of races other than their own. These groups pull passages of the Bible totally out of their context and twist the true meaning of these passages to support their sinful racist ideologies. Some racist groups that make this absurd claim to be biblical are: “the Aryan Nations,” “the Klu Klux Klan”, “Neo-Nazism”, “the Covenant,” “the Sword,” “the Arm of the Lord,” and “the Order.” These organizations are not Christian and there is absolutely no biblical support for the hatred of Jews, African-Americans, and other “non-white” races. The Bible does not teach that non-aryans are a “pre-Adamic race” or that the curse of Canaan is dark skin. These are misinterpretations of God’s Word, fairy tales invented by warped minds in an attempt to give the appearance of divine sanction for sinful prejudices which have no place in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It should also be noted that racism can be found on both sides of the spectrum. “The Nation of Islam,” headed by Louis Farakhan, perverts the teachings of the Islamic faith in order to justify this organization’s anti-white and anti-Jewish rhetoric.

To set the record straight, we must ask, “What saith the Lord?” The Scriptures teach that all people were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27); therefore, all human life is sacred. All mankind is related and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve (Acts 17:26). The Bible teaches that even though mankind was created perfect, we fell into sin in the garden (Genesis 3). We inherit a sin nature from our parents (Romans 5:12). Therefore, we are all sinners who need to be saved (Romans 3:10, 23; Matthew 19:25-26). The good news is that Jesus desires to save all mankind (Isaiah 45:22; 2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-18; 14:6). Therefore, we should love all people regardless of their race or nationality (Matthew 5:43-47; Galatians 3:28).

One further point needs to be made: no Christian should be anti-Jewish. Jesus, the apostles, the prophets, and the early church were all Jewish (John 4:22). In fact, all true Christians worship a Jewish carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to earth when all Israel is saved (Romans 11:25-27). Therefore, Christians should love the Jews and long to see them saved.

Therefore, we cannot extend the hand of fellowship to “the World Church of the Creator” and welcome her into our community. But we can plead with her people to turn to the true Creator, the God who created all of us and loves us so much that He sent His only son to die for us so that we could live forever.

If the Blind Lead the Blind . . .

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

On October 31, 1935, more than twenty-five years before prayer was taken out of the public schools, the late Christian thinker Gordon Clark gave a speech stressing the need for Christian education. Clark warned that public education, in its attempt to be non-Christian, would become anti-Christian. Clark stated that “education is . . . the responsibility of the family,” and that “it is primarily to parents . . . that God has entrusted the children and their upbringing.” He added that “there are powerful forces at work in the world and in these United States to destroy the family and to make children, yes and adults too, the creatures of the State.”1

Clark saw the centralization of authority in the public school system leading America down the path towards a dictatorship that would use its power “to destroy the family and to exalt the state.” He argued that public education was fast becoming a “means of political propaganda.”2

Clark knew that the Church and the world have different ideas as to what constitutes a good education. The Church believes that education must include moral and spiritual preparation essential to godly living. The world rejects the authority of the God of the Bible and encourages children to accept the “new morality” (i.e., a sinful lifestyle). Clark also recognized that the state would abuse its power and indoctrinate children, molding them into adults who would gladly and mindlessly accept their servitude before the presence of a totalitarian regime.3

Obviously, Clark was a man before his time, a thinker who could foresee, decades in advance, the future consequences of the anti-Christian ideas that began to permeate the American public school system of his day. He was also a patriotic American who agreed with the founding fathers of this nation and the constitution they authored. Clark saw that the federal government had no right to control public education, and that, if it did, the schools would become centers of indoctrination in political correctness, rather than centers of genuine learning. It was Karl Marx who believed that the government should educate the children rather than their parents; it was also Karl Marx who called for the abolition of the family.4

Today, we see that Gordon Clark was right. Currently, Goals 2000 and Outcome Based Education are being taught to America’s children, training them to be global citizens and to reject the moral values of their parents. Multiculturalism (curriculum designed to slander western culture, Christianity, and our founding fathers) and sex education (pro-homosexual indoctrination) work to tear children from the values taught them by their parents.5

In 1972, thirty-seven years after Clark’s speech, Harvard University Professor Chester M. Pierce gave the keynote address to the Association for Childhood Education International. He stated that “every child in America entering school . . . is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being . . . It’s up to you, teachers, to make all of these sick children well—by creating the international children of the future.”

In 1935, Gordon Clark pleaded with the Church to recognize the threat of public education, and called upon Christian parents to build Christian schools for the purpose of bringing up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). If we do not heed the warning of Gordon Clark—if we turn our children over to the anti-Christian state to be educated—then our children will suffer the consequences. For our Savior said, “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:39-40).

Endnotes

1 Gordon Clark, A Christian Philosophy of Education (Jefferson: The Trinity Foundation, 1988), 205.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid., 200-201.

4 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto.

5 William Norman Grigg, Freedom on the Altar (Appleton: American Opinion Publishing, 1995), 50-54.

The Biblical Perspective Concerning Homosexuality

April 10th, 2009

by Dr. Phil Fernandes

Statement from debate conducted by Dr. Fernandes vs. Rev. Farley Maxwell, Oregon Chapter President of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Tonight’s debate deals with the question, “What is the biblical perspective concerning homosexuality?” It is my conviction that the biblical perspective is narrow and clear. The Bible unambiguously declares homosexuality to be a sin. Still, as Saint Augustine has written, we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner.1 But, if we really love homosexuals, we will plead with them to flee from their lifestyles before it destroys them both physically and spiritually. A recent study which analyzed 7,500 obituaries revealed that the life expectancy of a homosexual male is forty-one years. The same study also uncovered that the life expectancy of heterosexual men who stayed married is seventy-five years. Other results of this study indicated that the life expectancy of lesbians is fourty-four years, while women who stayed married have a life expectancy of seventy-nine years.2 If we love smokers, we will plead with them to change their unhealthy lifestyles; should we not do the same for homosexuals?

Before we examine what the Bible says about homosexuality, we must keep in mind that the Scriptures do not consider homosexuality the only sexual sin. All sex outside of a monogamous marriage relationship between a man and a woman is declared by God to be sinful. Still, this debate is centered on the question of homosexuality; therefore, I will now turn to what the Bible teaches concerning homosexuality.

THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Genesis 1:27-28 tells us that God created mankind “male and female,” and He commanded them to “multiply and fill the earth.” Genesis 2:18 states that God decided to make for man a “helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:24 declares that a man “shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” It is clear from these passages that the intention of God’s creative purpose for human sexuality is a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman. Sexual intercourse within God’s will is limited within the bonds of heterosexual, monogamous marriage. This conclusion is confirmed by our Savior Jesus Christ when He said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'” (Matthew 19:4-5).

The Bible tells us of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. Though homosexuality was not the only vice of these cities, the Bible makes it clear that this sin was one of the main reasons why God judged them. Genesis 19:1-11 speaks of the men of Sodom gathering at Lot’s house and calling out to Lot, saying, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with” (Genesis 19:5). Lot’s two visitors were actually angels who manifested themselves as men. Lot’s carnal attempt to rescue his visitors was his offer to provide the men of Sodom with his two virgin daughters (Genesis 19:8). But, the men of Sodom rejected Lot’s offer. Finally, the angels miraculously struck the immoral men with blindness (Genesis 19:11). Jude, commenting on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, wrote, “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

Leviticus 18:20-25 lists several sins that, if they become widespread in a society, will destroy that society. The sins listed include adultery, idolatry, infanticide, homosexuality, and bestiality. In this passage, God refers to homosexuality as an abomination. He states, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). God tells His chosen people that His judgment would fall upon the inhabitants of Canaan for practicing these vices; He warns Israel that His judgment will also fall on her if she partakes of the same sins. The Lord proclaims, “Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:24-25). This passage should be viewed as a warning to all nations, both Jew and Gentile. As Dr. Tim Lahaye wrote in 1978, “A homosexually lenient society will incur the wrath of God.”3

Under the Old Testament legal code, the Mosaic Law, the sin of homosexuality was punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). However, Israel was a theocracy (ruled directly by God) and their religion was enforced by law. This is not the case in America. We are not God’s chosen nation; we are a pluralistic society. Therefore, the death penalty for homosexual sins should probably not be enacted in Gentile countries. Still, the fact that God ordered the death penalty for the sin of homosexuality in Israel reveals clearly that God considers homosexuality a heinous offense.

The New Testament is as critical of the homosexual lifestyle as is the Old Testament. In Romans 1:18-32, the apostle Paul speaks of man’s rejection of the true God, and the resulting descent into idolatry and gross immorality. Paul states that because men reject the true God, “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them” (Romans 1:24). Paul declares, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Romans 1:26-27). After listing several other sins, Paul proclaims,
” . . . although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Paul’s condemnation of homosexual desires is obvious, especially when one examines the descriptive terms he uses: lusts, impurity, and degrading passions. He refers to homosexual acts as unnatural and indecent. Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality, in both thought and deed, is extremely clear. If a person accepts the Bible as God’s Word, he or she should admit that homosexuality is one form of sinful rebellion against God.

The Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 makes plain the fact that a person cannot be a practicing homosexual and a true believer at the same time. For Paul declares:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Though a practicing homosexual is not a true believer, there is hope. For in the following verse Paul clearly teaches that a homosexual can be saved. Paul states, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The good news of the gospel is that Jesus can save anyone who genuinely trusts in Him alone for salvation. However, Jesus saves us from both the penalty and the power of sin. Though true Christians are not perfect, their lives will be characterized by righteousness and good works. For God changes believers from within. Believers don’t do good works to get saved; they do good works because they are saved (Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:26; Romans 3:31). Both Jesus and Paul teach that true believers are no longer slaves to sin (John 8:31-36; Romans 6:17-18).

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, two Greek words are used to identify homosexuals. The first is “malakoi.” This word means “those who are soft to the touch,” and it is used of males who submit their bodies to unnatural sex acts performed by other males. The second word used for homosexuals in this passage is “arsenokoitai.” This word means “one who lies with a male as with a female,” “a sodomite,” “a homosexual.” These definitions are agreed upon by scholarly works such as The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon,4 and the Greek dictionaries of the Strong’s Concordance5 and The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance.6 Greek scholars such as A. T. Robertson7 and Kenneth S. Wuest8 also identify these words as terms denoting homosexuality.

There is also universal agreement among the leading Bible versions concerning these two Greek words found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The major translations agree that these words denote homosexuality. The New American Standard Bible translates malakoi as “effeminate” and arsenokoitai as “homosexuals.” The New King James Version translates malakoi as “homosexuals” and arsenokoitai as “sodomites.” The New International Version translates malakoi as “male prostitutes” and arsenokoitai as “homosexual offenders.” And, the King James Version translates malakoi as “effeminate,” while translating arsenokoitai as “abusers of themselves with mankind.”

In 1 Timothy 1:9-10, Paul again used the Greek word “arsenokoitai” for homosexuals. In this scripture, Paul refers to homosexuals and other sinners as “those who are lawless and rebellious.” There is simply no way to honestly deny the fact that the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, declares homosexuality to be a gross sin. The biblical perspective concerning homosexuality is narrow and clear. The Bible calls homosexuality a sin.

Not only is outward homosexual behavior a sin, but the Bible also condemns homosexual desires. This was seen in Romans 1:24-27, where Paul denounced homosexual lusts as “degrading passions.” Jesus agreed with Paul that sin originates in the heart of man (Matthew 23:25-28). Jesus stated, “but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, according to the Bible, sexual sins can occur in one’s thoughts even if one does not partake of any sexually immoral behavior. This is why the Bible states that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

ARE HOMOSEXUAL TENDENCIES INHERITED?

Some proponents of homosexual rights claim that many people are born homosexuals; they had no choice in the matter. Homosexuality is viewed not as an acquired or learned behavior, but as something that is determined by a person’s genetic makeup.9 However, there is no undisputed evidence that homosexuality is genetically determined.10 Many psychologists and psychiatrists who counsel homosexuals still view homosexuality as an acquired behavior.11

Several factors seem to discredit the notion that some people are born homosexual. For instance, many homosexuals have changed their lifestyles and become heterosexual.12 But, how could this happen if they were genetically programmed to be homosexual? Also, there are many known cases where the identical twin of a homosexual is heterosexual. If homosexuality is genetically determined, this would not be the case.13

Still, even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that homosexual tendencies are genetic, this would change nothing. For the Bible teaches that all men inherit a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5). Because of our sinful nature, we naturally sin (Romans 3:10, 23). Still, the Bible holds us accountable for our sins and commands us to repent and turn to Jesus for the power to say no to sin (Mark 1:14-15; John 8:11, 31-36). Many infants are born addicted to nicotine or cocaine. But, we do not protect their right to smoke cigarettes or snort cocaine. Since we know these habits are unhealthy, we attempt to help them discard those destructive tendencies. If a man inherited a tendency towards violence, no one in their right mind would defend his right to beat people. If homosexuality is genetic, we would still be required to persuade the homosexual to flee this destructive lifestyle.

The good news of the Bible is that we can say yes to God and no to sin. Without Jesus, we are slaves to sin (John 8:31-36). But, with Jesus, we become new creations and slaves to righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:17-18). The homosexual who admits that he, like all men, is a sinner who cannot save himself, and genuinely turns to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation becomes a new creation. The Holy Spirit will indwell the former homosexual and empower him or her to flee from the destructive homosexual lifestyle.

The apostle Paul rejects the idea that a believer cannot refrain from giving in to temptation. He states:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Homosexuals can, as many have done, flee their sinful lifestyles by turning to Jesus for salvation. It is my earnest prayer that homosexuals would choose Jesus and reject their immoral lifestyles.

SHOULD HOMOSEXUALITY BE LEGAL?

We have shown that the Bible clearly calls homosexuality sinful. Now the question arises, “Should it be legal?” Americans live in a free country. This country does not enforce every detail of Christian morality. Still, the American concept of freedom is the freedom to pursue happiness, so long as one does not infringe on the freedom of another. Due to unhealthy practices such as anal intercourse (which is destructive to the body), the ingestion of feces (called rimming), the drinking of urine (called golden showers), and the insertion of one’s fist into another’s anus (called fisting),14 homosexuality has become the breeding ground for many dangerous diseases. Some of these diseases (such as Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis) can be spread through casual contact.15 Though AIDS apparently cannot be spread through casual contact, there are many homosexual diseases that can be spread this easily. Therefore, for the protection of society, homosexuality should be outlawed. Homosexuality is a public health issue; it is not a civil rights issue. We must never forget God’s warning to Israel that widespread homosexuality will defile a nation (Leviticus 18:20-25).

Since God instituted human government to protect the well-being of its citizens (Romans 13:1-4), Christians are biblically justified in their attempts to return homosexuality to an illegal status. If homosexuality is not outlawed, America will become a diseased nation. This is not homophobia; it is theophobia, a healthy fear of God (Proverbs 1:7; Galatians 6:7).

Homosexuals need Jesus to save them from their sin. But, let us never forget that we are all sinners. Except for the grace of God, none of us would be saved. God’s love drove His Son to Calvary to die a horrible death for our sins. Let us come to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness. Those who come to Him will not hunger, and those who believe in Him will never thirst (John 6:35).

ENDNOTES

1 Saint Augustine, City of God, abridged, ed. Vernon J. Bourke (New York: Image Books, 1958), 304.

2 “Homosexuality: A Lifestyle Leading to a Deathstyle,” National Liberty Journal, February, 1995, 5.

3 Tim LaHaye, The Unhappy Gays (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1978), 201.

4 The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1981), 75, 387.

5 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (Iowa Falls: Riverside), “Greek Dictionary,” 16, 46.

6New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1981), “Greek Dictionary,” 1635, 1664.

7 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 4, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1931), 119.

8 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament, vol. 2, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), 32 (2nd section). See also Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984), 392.

9Roger Magnuson, Informed Answers to Gay Rights Questions (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 1994), 81-90.

10 Ibid., 83.

11 William Dannemeyer, Shadow in the Land (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), 46-51.

12 Magnuson, 84.

13 Ibid.

14 Gene Antonio, The AIDS Cover-Up? (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 33-41.

15 Ibid., 19-20, 44-45, 62-63, 99, 119-122.

God is Bigger than Our Problems

April 10th, 2009

Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

The Israelite army prepared for battle on one mountain, while their enemies, the Philistines, stationed themselves on another mountain. In the valley between the two mountains stood a Philistine giant named Goliath. Standing over nine feet tall, he was known for his fierce hand-to-hand combat tactics. The giant blasphemed the God of Israel and challenged the Israelites to send out one of their soldiers to battle with him.

Saul was the King of Israel and his nation’s greatest warrior. Though much shorter than Goliath, Saul was by far the tallest Israelite (1 Samuel 9:2). However, Saul did not have the faith to come down from the mountain and into the valley to fight the blaspheming Philistine giant. Instead, he offered a reward to any brave Israelite who would accept Goliath’s challenge. Like their king, the other Israelite warriors did not have the courage to fight the giant.

David was only a shepherd boy of Israel. He was merely a youth and not yet considered a warrior. He left his flocks to deliver food to his brothers who were Israelite warriors. It was then that he heard the mighty Philistine combatant blaspheme the God of Israel. David remembered how God had given him the victory over a lion and a bear when he was protecting his sheep. David sensed that God was calling him to fight Goliath and that God would deliver the giant into his hands on that day.

The young shepherd boy came down from the mountain and walked into the “valley of the shadow of death.” David moved towards Goliath knowing that only one of them would leave the valley alive. David trusted his God, the God of Israel, to give him the victory. He recognized that the battle belonged to the Lord.

David ran towards the battle line and slung a stone into the forehead of the massive giant. Suddenly, Goliath’s huge body lifelessly dropped to the ground. As the ground shook from the impact, there was silence in the Philistine camp, for their champion was beaten. David then took Goliath’s own sword and beheaded the fallen ruffian. The Philistines fled when they saw their champion defeated, but the Israelite army pursued them and conquered them in battle.

Like David, we often face problems in life that are bigger that we are. Therefore, we should follow David’s example by remembering that, though our problems are often bigger than us, God is bigger than any problem we will ever face. When we are in the valley of the shadow of death, we should fear no evil, for God is with those who trust in Him for salvation (Psalm 23:4; Romans 10:13).

God is still in the business of killing giants. If His mighty warriors lack the faith necessary to defeat the giants of our day, then God will use a willing shepherd boy to get the job done. Our size and ability is not the issue; the size and ability of our God is what matters. If you worship the true God, always remember that “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:47).