God’s people have often been deceived by the smiles of their enemies. In the days of Esther, Haman had ten sons who rose up after him to betray the righteous (all ten of the sons were subsequently slain). Joshua was deceived by enemies from Gibeon who disguised themselves as friends. The believers at Jerusalem were no doubt impressed when Ananias and Sapphira presented their offering to the treasurer, but Peter’s discernment showed how wrong they were. The Apostle Paul contended against the Galatian Judaizers with the sanctified tactic of a Metternich and the singlemindedness of a Ghurka commando, and purporting to follow Paul in opposing all such legalism today is a nationwide group known as the Metropolitan Community Church, a church for practicing homosexuals.

There are more than twenty MCC congregations across the United States. The founder and present pastor of the Los Angeles church, the Reverend Troy Perry, appeared last summer on a popular television talk show. In that broadcast Perry spent most of his time arguing for the dignity of the practicing homosexual. Although his preaching appears to emphasize a conservative interpretation of the Pauline Gospel, the theme invariably distinguishes not between saved and unsaved or churched and unchurched but between “gay” and “straight.” Doctrinally, the church describes itself securely within the orthodox Christian tradition, and MCC elders have emphasized that they are “neither Catholic nor Protestant, just Christian.” What they have communicated to me is that they are more interested in the feelings of sinners than in the clear guidelines of God’s Word; they are more concerned with making homosexuals feel accepted as they are than with pointing them to the Saviour.

Unfortunately, most examinations have failed to reckon adequately with the hair-splitting exegesis of MCC leaders, who welcome objections from those who think simply quoting a few verses will win the argument. The following paragraphs are taken from an unsigned, unpublished pamphlet distributed by the MCC in Chicago. I hope my replies will clarify some of the problems, particularly for those Christians who are genuinely seeking the answers from God’s Word.

MCC: On Sodom: “Genesis 18:16–19:11 probably means only that the men of Sodom were anxious to interrogate the strangers to find out if they were spies;—very likely the story does not refer to homosexuality at all.… The sin involved was not homosexuality but gang-rape.”

Reply: If Lot thought the only sin involved was gang rape, why did he offer the men of Sodom his daughters? Could it be he understood them well enough to know that his daughters wouldn’t be raped at all? A basic hermeneutic principle is to understand the meaning of the passage in light of the reaction of those present in the account. Lot clearly felt the Sodomites wanted to “know” the angels in the same sense that he offered them his daughters. The basic kal form of the Hebrew yāḏa includes the meaning “to know carnally.”

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MCC: “To those who insist that the destruction of these cities was due to sexual sins, we can only offer the testimony of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, who state quite clearly that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for pride, lack of concern for the poor, etc. (Ez. 16:48–50; Is. 1:10–17; 3:8–9; Jer. 23:12–14).”

Reply: The testimony of these three prophets corroborates the traditional understanding of the reasons for Sodom’s demise. In each of the four passages listed, reference is made to unspecified wicked works in Sodom in addition to pride “etc.” Indeed, the prophets seem unwilling to define the “et cetera” for the reason suggested in Ephesians 5:12, where the Apostle, referring to the “works of darkness,” says it is a shame to speak of them! In any case, the prophets speak for themselves. Isaiah 1:13 and Ezekiel 16:50 refer to the Sodomites “committing abomination.” The Kittel Bible has four separate words for abomination in Hebrew, and the one used in these passages has unique to it the idea of the inherent repulsiveness of the act to God. What is described is repulsive and abhorrent to God. It is interesting to note that this word for abomination, tōeva, is also found in Leviticus in the command to abstain from lying with mankind as with womankind; “it is abomination” (18:22). Every reference to Sodom in the prophets and the New Testament refers to the wicked behavior associated with it, which did not bear further elaboration. “Their doings are against the Lord.… They declare their sin like Sodom” (Isa. 3:8, 9; also cf. 2 Pet. 2:1–9).

MCC: “Romans 1:26–28 is only about a particular type of homosexual activity and in no way condemns or proscribes the sexual activity of the twentieth century person who is exclusively homosexual. It is impossible for a homosexual to ‘leave’ the natural use of the opposite sex, because for him homosexuality is natural and heterosexuality unnatural.”

Reply: This is a very common argument among gay groups, and certainly the passage deserves a close look. Romans 1:26–28 goes into a detailed description of the para phusin (Gr., “against nature”) lust of the homosexual. Verse 25 refers to those who “exchange” the truth of God for a lie, and there follows a description of the “lustful” or “degrading” passions to which God gave them up. In Death in the City, Francis Schaeffer points out the unmistakable reference to homosexual practice in this passage and notes that the condition results as men turn from the truth. No one is born exclusively homosexual. Conditioning factors of many kinds create reactions and, because of the presence of sin, channel normal drives into para phusin expressions. But drives do not exchange natural functions for unnatural ones; people do. No matter what he may tell you, every exclusive homosexual at one time or another chose to conform his behavior to his desires. There is little difference between what Paul describes in Romans 1 and what the MCC is trying to elevate to a respectable level.

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MCC: “Homosexual love is not mentioned or condemned.…”

Reply: Their point here is that in our over-populated world there is room for two persons of the same sex to live together in a trust relationship based on “love.” The MCC is exactly right in saying that homosexual love is nowhere mentioned in Scripture; the Bible refers only to lust and degrading passion, as in Romans 1. What the MCC fails to say is that Scripture never approves any form of sexual love within a homosexual relationship. The polarity that brings people together God created to function only between a man and a woman.

The MCC encourages non-practicing homosexuals to express themselves by relating to one other member of their own sex. Seminars discuss such topics as how to find and hold a partner. Promiscuity and the “gay life” of bar-centered boozing and bed-hopping are discouraged, but hardly with the fervor of Paul’s treatment of fornication (1 Cor. 5).

The MCC criterion for valid Christian living is based totally upon experience and feelings, and through this humanistic determinism the MCC tries to explain what the Bible says about homosexuality. Although claiming to believe in the Bible as the Word of God, the MCC ignores the family base in Genesis and, finding no positive biblical references to homosexuality, suggests that the Bible is irrelevant to modern culture.

In fact, Scripture effectively refutes the heresy of the MCC. Paul wrote to Corinth to clarify the responsibility of the homosexual who has come to Jesus Christ for cleansing and pardon. He leaves no doubt that heterosexual marriage is the only provision for the human sexual drive. “Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2). In the preceding chapter (6:9–11) he states that he is aware of the presence of converted homosexuals in the church and wants them to understand that they are not to degrade their bodies any more (6:18–20). He goes on encouraging them by mentioning in 7:20 and following that there is virtue and value in the gift of remaining single. Other Scriptures corroborate Paul’s injunctions: Proverbs 17:20; 19:3, and also 18:22. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.…”

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As Great High Priest our Lord yearns in abundant compassion over “the ignorant, and those out of the way” (Heb. 5:2). Let us not forget as Christians that the responsibility to demonstrate this compassion now rests with us. And to any who may be struggling with a burden that seems unreasonable, there is encouragement from Scripture: “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11); also Matthew 19:12 and 29, along with Isaiah 56:4 and 5. Let each work out his own salvation. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful” (1 Cor. 1:9).

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