Homosexuality and the Biblical Storyline

deyoungWhen you need clear answers, you call in a guy like Kevin DeYoung, whose forthcoming book on homosexuality and Bible is very good and very clear on what God says about sexual sin.

When it comes to any culturally celebrated sin (and perhaps no sin is more widely celebrated than homosexuality), the stakes are very high for the Church to be clear and to maintain her convictions about what God has revealed in Scripture.

Here’s what Kevin writes in What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (Crossway; April 2015).

A holy God sends his holy Son to die as an atoning sacrifice for unholy people so that by the power of the Holy Spirit they can live holy lives and enjoy God forever in the holy place that is the new heaven and new earth.

Is this the story celebrated and sermonized in open and affirming churches? What about twenty years from now? And what if we flesh out the story and include the hard bits about the exclusivity of Christ and the eternality of hell? What if part of the story is believing that every little jot and tittle in the Storybook is completely true? What if the story summons us to faith and repentance? What if the story centers on the cross, not supremely as an example of love, but as Love’s objective accomplishment in the pouring out of divine wrath upon a sin-bearing substitute?

The support for homosexual behavior almost always goes hand in hand with the diluting of robust, 100-proof orthodoxy, either as the cause or the effect. The spirits which cause one to go wobbly on biblical sexuality are the same spirits which befog the head and the heart when it comes to the doctrine of creation, the historical accuracy of the Old Testament, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, the resurrection, the second coming, the reality of hell, the plight of those who do not know Christ, the necessity of the new birth, the full inspiration and authority of the Bible, and the centrality of a bloody cross.

Can someone deny that homosexual behavior is a sin and still believe every line in the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed? Maybe . . . for a time . . . loosely. But as the cultural pressure gets harder and our handling of Scripture gets softer, will we still acknowledge, as the Athanasian Creed does, that “it is necessary for eternal salvation that one also believe in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” that “at his coming all people will arise bodily and give an accounting of their own deeds,” that “those who have done good will enter eternal life, and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire,” and that all this (including an orthodox understanding of the Trinity and the two natures of Christ) is “the catholic faith” and that “one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully”?

What will it a profit a man if he gains a round of societal applause but loses his soul? (131–132)

Church Props

Kevin DeYoung’s latest book The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism (Moody, 2010) is good—real good. Kevin triggers the megaphone and provides us with a nice guided tour through the scenic Heidelberg Catechism. In the following quote Kevin speaks about the God’s appointed visual aids in the church and especially the importance of the Lord’s Supper. This is from page 138:

Too many churches overlook God’s preferred visual aids—the sacraments—and jump right to video, drama, and props to get people’s attention. We are making a big mistake when we think these “signs and seals” will be anywhere as effective as the ones instituted by Christ Himself. Pastors who don’t explain the sacraments and very rarely administer them are robbing their people of tremendous encouragement in their Christian walk. We can hear the gospel every Sunday, and eat it too.

Of course, this eating and drinking must be undertaken in faith. The elements themselves do not save us. But when we eat and drink them in faith, we can be assured that we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. More than that, we get a picture of our union with Christ. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we literally have communion with Him, not by dragging Christ down from heaven but by experiencing His presence through His Spirit. Shame on parishioners for coming to the Lord’s Supper with nothing but drudgery and low expectations. And shame on pastors for not instructing their people in the gospel joy available to us in Communion.