The Maker’s Mark
About the Guest
Who decides who you are? Are you merely the sum of your DNA, your experiences, feelings, and beliefs? According to pastor Crawford Loritts, your gender essence is divinely defined, and that definition is not subject to adjustments based on whim, pop culture, or even your most deeply felt desires.
According to pastor Crawford Loritts, your gender essence is divinely defined, and that definition is not subject to adjustments based on whim, pop culture, or even your most deeply felt desires.
The Maker’s Mark
Bob: Just because you have a desire—even a strong desire—doesn’t mean that your desire is a God-honoring desire. Here’s Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: We don’t have a big enough appreciation of the devastation of sin in every aspect and area of our lives and humanity—even to our desires. Yes, you have those desires—don’t deny it. Yes, they are fierce; but: “Did God make me that way? Is that what God said I am? Is that my identity, or is that my struggle?” and “Have I sanitized my struggle to make it my identity?”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 29th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. What happens when a desire—specifically a sexual desire that’s condemned in Scripture—what happens when that becomes so consuming it becomes a part of your identity?
We’ll hear from Dr. Crawford Loritts about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. We have an important subject for our listeners to spend some time considering today.
Dennis: We do. This may be a message you want to review, and then, play it later for your children, who are maybe 10, 11, 12—a teenager or older—or, maybe, go online and send a link to your college-aged son or daughter or your adult children just to listen to this message because of the hot topic that is being dealt with here.
I heard this message in its entirety, and I think instantly I emailed Bob. I sent this message to the Board of Directors of FamilyLife, then, to the staff of FamilyLife:
“We all want to live and to love in a world that is challenging what the Bible teaches, and we want to do it in a winsome way. This message will equip you to know how to think, and also know how to act, and how to love others in this world that really needs people to stand up for what’s true and do it in a way that is attractive.”
Bob: The subject being addressed is homosexuality. The person addressing the subject, from a biblical grid, is our friend, Dr. Crawford Loritts—who is the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia, and who has been a regular speaker at FamilyLife events over the years, also serves on the Board of Directors for FamilyLife and for Cru®, and has done so for a number of years.
Here is our friend, Dr. Crawford Loritts, with Part One of his message titled “God and Homosexuality.”
Crawford: If you have a Bible, I want you to meet me in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6.
I chose this as an anchor text because of an interesting tension that this text has that in a way represents the delightful tension we ought to have when we think about the issue of homosexuality, the LGBT community, and all of the other issues that flow out of that.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul says here in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6—beginning at verse 9. He says: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Then, he says in verse 11:
“And such were some of you; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God.” Do you see the delightful tension there? Now, if you do these things—continue to do them—you’re not going to inherit the kingdom of God, but the good news is: “Such were some of you.”
As I approach this issue today, I’m well aware of the fact that some of you are not going to like how I approach this today. There are some here, perhaps, who want me to wave a flag and to be a little bit more confrontational about this issue—to rail on our country and where we are going morally and that kind of thing. Certainly, we could do that. There are prophetic words about that, but I’m not going to go there today—that’s not going to be my demeanor.
God has done a work in my heart and life over the last seven, eight, nine years as I’ve read and studied—and not only just read and studied this issue—
—but friends of mine and others that I’ve interacted, who are a part of the lesbian and gay community, and just seeing where we’ve come from. It’s forced me to go back to Scripture and find out what the Bible actually says about all of these issues.
Let me tell you a little story—I started out not to share this, but I will. Some time ago, there was this bank that we do business with. I was there in the back, and I went to the teller—there was a new teller there. As I went to this young man—let’s just put it this way—he had exaggerated mannerisms. He was obviously in the gay community. I’ve just got to be transparent with you—I thought I didn’t have these issues—but when I saw him, I just remember the conversation in my head—I’m going: “Oh, come on, man! Really? Does it have to be all this? Why do you have to exaggerate?” I’m thinking all of this, and just kind of giving him my stuff. This conversation is going on in my head—
—and maybe, you all won’t like that—I get in my car, and I’m still thinking this way: “Come on—really?—seriously?”
And I’ll never forget this. Almost immediately—this was unreal—it was like [Clap]—like that. Tears began to fill my eyes. I felt something before I thought it through, and it was as if the Holy Spirit said to me: “Crawford, who do you think you are? Just who do you think you are? He’s created in the image of God, and he deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and love.”
So, as we approach these issues, I want to warn us: “Don’t make the denunciation your demeanor.” And what makes this message today a little bit of an ouchy is that all of us in here—including yours truly—
—have friends, and family members, and associates, and people that we love deeply who identify themselves as part of the gay and lesbian community—people that we know. Some of you wouldn’t bring some of your loved ones here today because you’re afraid of what I was going to say that might alienate them, or hurt them, or make it hard for you to interact with them. So, that’s where we all live.
But what does God have to say about this issue that demands insight? It’s screaming to us. Too often, we codify our feelings. We make how we feel about our relationships, and how we feel about our gay friends, and how we feel they should be treated—we make a conclusion about that, and then, we make a foray into the Bible to see if we make the Bible say how we think it should say and how we feel about that.
But what does it actually say?
I want to speak to five fundamental questions. I think—and don’t get me wrong—I hate to hear speakers when they say, “The six insights…” or “The seven things…”—probably more than six / probably more than seven. But these are five fundamental questions that I think the issue, from a biblical perspective, needs to be addressed.
The first question is this—it’s the obvious one, so let’s get it out there: “Is homosexuality wrong? How could it be wrong when this person is so nice that I know?” Is it wrong? Is it wrong? Hang in there with me because some of you are not going to like what I’m getting ready to say here. Obviously, it’s wrong. I’ll say that up front—relieve the tension and not jam my inbox. [Laughter]
There are only—listen to me / listen to me—there are only a handful of passages in the Bible that speak directly to homosexuality—
—only a handful. When I say a handful, specifically, there are only five passages in the entire Bible that speak to homosexuality—only five. Now, you’ve got to understand—the Bible has a lot more to say about lying. It has a lot more to say about heterosexual unfaithfulness, has a lot more to say about money and the mistress of it, has a lot more to say about pride, and has a lot more to say about a number of other things by sheer number of verses and passages than it does about homosexuality.
And the message from that is simply this—and I want you to hear me on this—the Bible is not fixated on homosexuality. It is not what the Bible is all about. Now, don’t—hear me—don’t blink out on me here. Don’t say that Crawford says that somehow or another it’s a minor issue.
No, we’re going to get ready to change in a second here, but what I’m trying to say to you is this: “The Bible proportionately puts the sin where it needs to be placed: ‘You are no more holy—if you got out your car, and you looked at the other man’s wife, and lusted after her as you walked through these front doors—than somebody in the gay community.’” Excuse my frankness there, but that’s the whole emphasis here.
Now, having said that, what the Bible does say—what these five passages do say—about homosexuality is extraordinarily clear. There’s no room to question what is meant in these texts. If you believe in a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures, these five passages—there’s no equivocation. There’s no indirectness here. It is very, very clear.
And let me just click off—I don’t have time to read all the texts here / obviously, I’m not going to do that—but let me just summarize the five passages.
The first passage is Genesis, Chapter 19. It’s the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the message there is that God takes sexual sin very seriously. Technically, they would not repent, and they refused, and they kept coming after the men. It was just rampant. So, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
The second passage is Leviticus, Chapters 18 and 19. In those two passages, there is the meticulous prohibition of all homosexual acts, including consensual homosexual activity.
The third passage is Romans, Chapter 1, verses 18-32. Now, this is one in which the gay community would interpret it a different way. I’ll just say it and then explain it. In Romans 1:18-32, homosexuality is called unnatural.
If you have ever listened to some of the debates on this text—and there’s a Bible and this kind of thing and whatever about the Bible says about—they will camp on this text and say: “Well, of course, but what I’m doing is natural. I have no desire for the opposite sex. I have same-sex attraction. I was born this way. I have this desire. God made me this way; and because God made me this way, this is the natural way for me to express that.”
The only problem is that they hijack the word, “natural,” out of its context because he’s not talking about what feels natural to us. In context, he’s talking about creative order—in other words, the fixed way of things in creation. It’s unnatural because male and female have been created, and this was not a part of the fixed order. He’s not talking about whether or not it feels good for me to do this or it feels natural for me to have a sexual relationship with another man or another woman—that kind of thing—but he’s talking about creative order.
It’s unnatural because God did not create that.
The fourth passage is 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, verses 9-10—we just read that. Here—the emphasis there is that homosexual sin is serious but not unique. That’s the reason why it’s listed with all of these other sins. It is serious, but it is not unique. The continued practice of all sin is indication that there is not an authentic relationship with Christ. That is the point that Paul is underscoring there. If you keep lying, and there’s no guilt and no sense of repentance or remorse, it’s an indication that you never did have a relationship with Christ. So, it is with homosexuality. If you keep doing this and there’s no repentance / there’s no change—there’s an indication that there isn’t a relationship with Christ.
And Paul sort of says a similar thing in 1 Timothy, Chapter 1, verses 8-10, which is the fifth text—
—and that is that homosexuality does not conform to the lives Christians are now to lead. There’s a whole growing segment of churches that would essentially believe a lot of what we believe, except around sexuality. But what Paul says here: “It’s a contradiction in terms to say you are a believer / a follower of Christ. Even though you can give us all the doctrinal statements and the lines of agreement—but to practice homosexual behavior—it’s inconsistent with a relationship with Christ.”
So, the first question is: “Is homosexuality wrong?” Well, “Yes.” Now, in context, there are only five texts. God’s not fixated on homosexuality, but what He says about it is abundantly clear. The answer, consistently—whether it’s back in the Old Testament in Genesis or whether it’s over in 1 Timothy, Chapter 1—
—consistently, the answer is that: “It is wrong / behavior is wrong.”
Which raises a second question: “Did God make me this way?” You’re going to be surprised, perhaps, at something I say here; but I want to read Genesis, Chapter 1. Go back to the very beginning. Genesis, Chapter 1, beginning in verse 26-28: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
Now, here you have it: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;”—and to be emphatic, he says—“male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
You know, if you ask me, “Could someone be born gay?” I might surprise you—“Yes.” But the difference is this—hear me on this—inclination is not identity. When the Bible speaks of identity, it’s not talking about what we feel we should be; but identity in the Bible is declarative. “What do you mean by that?” It is outside of ourselves. It’s not who I feel I want to be, or the temptations that I have, or my bent toward certain behavior, or my desires—no matter how strong they are. In the Bible, identity is declarative. It comes outside of us.
God declared who we should be—male or female—and made us that way.
I would even say (from a spiritual component) this is also true in Romans 6—from a spiritual point of view. Identity is always declarative. God speaks in terms of what He’s declared us to be and tells us that our behavior needs to match what He declared us to be. Romans 6 says that we are in Christ, and we are complete in Him, and that we are to reckon ourselves to be dead, indeed, to sin but alive to right—do we sin? Yes. But he says, “No—your identity is this,”—so you behave consistent with what’s been declared.
This is a huge point. If you miss this point, then, you’ll allow the culture to hijack us. It’s not the strong urges, and the strong feelings, and the strong inclinations that I have, or the bents that I have. Can you be born with that? Yes.
It wouldn’t surprise me if they found a gene. I don’t think we need to have that argument any longer. At a certain point, I think that’s irrelevant.
Let me quote Sam Allberry—Sam Allberry is a pastor from the UK who struggles with same-sex attraction. He’s written a very helpful little book entitled Is God Anti-Gay? I love this guy’s transparency and honesty. He struggles with this. He hasn’t yielded, but he struggles with it. He’s struggled with it his whole life. And thank God he’s a blessing to all of us here. Allberry makes this observation—he says, “Desires for things God has forbidden are a reflection of how sin has distorted me, not how God made me.”
We don’t have a big enough appreciation of the devastation of sin in every aspect and area of our lives and humanity—even to our desires. It is not just the actions.
It’s the proclivities / it’s the bents—it’s all of that that has been affected by the fall. If you don’t appreciate that, you’ll always be managing and massaging behavior or changing what you see based upon how you feel where you are. When we say that we are anything other than what God has declared us to be, we’re guilty of mistaken identity.
Yes, you have those desires—don’t deny it / don’t deny it. I’m going to talk about that a little bit later. Yes, they’re fierce/powerful; but: “Did God make me that way? Is that what God said I am? Is that my identity, or is that my struggle?” and “Have I sanitized my struggle to make it my identity?” We are not what we are drawn to or what has happened to us.
As painful as it might be, we are what God intended us to be and what God is calling us to be—that’s who we are.
Bob: Well, we have been listening to Dr. Crawford Loritts today—Part One of a message called “God and Homosexuality”—a message that is rooted in truth but that demonstrates a lot of grace.
Dennis: It does, and it’s wrapped in love; but I want you to pause and—not just listen to the message—but really think about it, and where you stand with your beliefs, and who you are relating to. Yes, I do know what’s taking place in our world. There is a redefinition of marriage and of genders taking place, but we have to be centered back on the Book. The Book declares in Genesis, Chapter 1: “…male and female created He them,” / “…in the image of God He created him.”
Christians need to be wise in what they say—we need to be filled with love and with grace—but we need to know where we stand. We must train our children in knowing how to think, and how to react, and how to love people who don’t believe like we do. That’s going to increase, I’m afraid, in our day.
Bob: It is. And I have had occasion, over the last several months, to recommend to friends of mine books that are from authors we’ve talked to, here on FamilyLife Today. Kevin DeYoung’s book—What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?—is excellent in giving us a biblical understanding of this subject. The book by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau called Compassion without Compromise—again, a great book to help us navigate how we relate to others around this subject. And then, Crawford, in this message, recommends a book called The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield, which I recently added to a list of one of—
—really, one of the top ten books I’ve read, I think, in my lifetime. It’s Rosaria Butterfield’s story of her transition from being a lesbian professor to being a wife and a mother of four, who has yielded herself to Christ. That includes every part of her life being yielded to Christ.
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Tomorrow, we will hear from Dr. Crawford Loritts, again, with Part Two of his message on the Bible and homosexuality. I hope you can tune back in.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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