How endorsing homosexuality crosses the Rubicon

I would much rather write today about the wonders of authentic Christian faith but in the day and age in which we are living in often find it necessary to equip us against the tossing seas of error that threaten the truth (Jude 1:3).

Since homosexual marriage was legalised in the UK in 2013 many in the church have entered into great discussion on the subject, jostling between the direction culture is heading and what the Bible says (don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind [Ro 12:2]). Trying to make the church relevant by giving into culture in certain matters will only make it less potent and relevant. Given that I am from Canada, the fourth western nation (after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain) to make such unions legal in 2005, I have had even more time to reflect on the subject and write today to briefly demonstrate how endorsing homosexuality as a church or Christian crosses the Rubicon.

Firstly, what is the Rubicon? It is a figure of speech, quite similar to the phrase “past the point of no return.” It refers to a river in north-eastern Italy that the general Julius Caesar crossed heading south in 49 B.C. The significance? It was illegal under Roman law for a legion to enter Italy and by crossing he effectively declared war on the Senate and eventually brought about the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Caesar was intentionally doing something that he knew would have far reaching consequences that could not be [easily] undone. In a nutshell to cross the Rubicon means “to commit oneself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action.” Endorsing homosexuality is a departure from the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.”


How does endorsing homosexuality cross the Rubicon in ways which other authentic Christians may disagree yet still enjoy varying degrees of fellowship and cooperation? Many Christians disagree over the place of women in ministry, the subject and mode of Baptism, predestination, forms of church government, pacifism/ just war, and divorce.

The answer to the above question is that those are all secondary issues, which whilst very important (and an improper view will produce negative effects on personal and corporate Christian life), are not primary issues. Divorce is an interesting comparison to homosexuality. The reason why it does not cross the Rubicon is because while condemning divorce the Bible does make some exceptions, unlike homosexuality. The greater the theological agreement between Christians the greater the level of missional cooperation (Amos 3:3) and this begins with primary theological matters related to the Gospel (what it means to be saved and know and please God through Jesus Christ). The issue of homosexuality crosses at least three primary lines of Christian beliefs: Scripture, the Gospel, and sexuality.

Rejects the doctrine of Scripture

Central to the Christian faith is that the Lord has spoken light into our darkness by revealing Himself in the Bible. While we must remember context when studying the Bible (literary, theological, historical) the book in question is no ordinary human book but “sacred writings” inspired by God, because “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful…” (2 Tim 3:15­–16) and “every word of God proves true” (Prov 30:5).

Therefore Scripture is trustworthy, authoritative and sufficient. Because God is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8) the truths He has spoken to us remain the same today just as they were 2000 years ago, from eternity past, and into eternity future. If the Bible is from God we listen and obey, if it isn’t we can do what we want, but that is not Christianity.

The problem with endorsing homosexuality is it forces one to crop out significant portions of Scripture as uninspired (under the guise they are culturally bound texts) such as Gen 19; Lev 18:22, 20:10–16; Rom 1:23-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10; Jude 7. The problem is that not only is the cultural argument untenable, but that in dismissing these passages one dismisses a consistent teaching of the Bible that is intricately interrelated to other key texts and teachings of the Bible. To affirm homosexuality is to dismiss Scripture, including Gospel passages.

Rejects the Gospel

The Gospel message begins with the bad news of sin and ends with the good news of forgiveness from sin through faith in Jesus Christ and [eternal] life in His name. To reject homosexuality as sin is also to reject the Gospel. In 1 Cor 6 (cited above) verse 11 reminds the Corinthian believers that “such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” When we know we fall short of God’s perfect standard (Mt 5:48) and that faith in Jesus offers us not only forgiveness but the power to change, that is good news in light of our present circumstances. Homosexuality, similar to other sins, separates us from God. The good news is that—whatever our sin(s) or past— we can be restored to God through faith and repentance in Christ and transformed by His Spirit into new creations (2 Cor 5:17). If sin is not sin and the Gospel does not have the power to change it is not a message of good news.

Rejects God’s design for marriage, sexuality and gender

To endorse homosexuality is not simply a different Christian view on human sexuality, it is an entirely different worldview. All Christian teaching on marriage, sexuality and gender (including Jesus and Paul) trace their roots to Gen 1:26–28 and 2:22–24. This is further filtered through the lens of God’s moral standard in the Law such that when in the NT Jesus and Paul quote Genesis and the Law they are showing continuity and agreement with God’s original design consistent throughout Scripture. When Jesus warns the “sexually immoral” that includes homosexuality because it is a stock phrase used by Jesus to refer to the moral standard for sexuality expressed in the Law.

People can dismiss what the Bible clearly teaches on the subject, they are free in matters of conscience to do that, however, it is misguided to say the Biblical worldview for marriage, sexuality and gender is in anyway compatible with those views that endorse homosexuality.

Many objections have and will be made to similar lines of thought as those presented here. I would refer such people to 2 Tim 4:1–5. If we degrade Christ (His Word, Gospel and designs), He will surely degrade us. Recent studies show that generally those churches that remain true to orthodox Christian teachings (such as marriage and sexuality) grow, whilst those who go ahead of such teachings (2 John 1:9) are in general state of decline. Unlike many divisive issues within the church in the past this issue is a Rubicon that will separate the wheat from the chaff. Many churches and individuals have already or are considering crossing the Rubicon. To the former I would exhort you with the aforementioned words, to the latter I would say the following. While Caesar crossed the point of no return, whilst endorsing homosexuality does depart from orthodox Christianity, unlike the Rubicon, through repentance in Jesus Christ, a turning back to Him, restoration is graciously possible.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

Two types of Christians I really respect…part II

A couple weeks ago I posted a blog with this title and now answer the second half of it, another type of Christian I have immense respect for, and for whom we should all unite our prayers.

The unequally yoked after marriage

The Bible envisions the possibility of one person in a marriage becoming a believer, what then?

1 Cor 7:12–16 says (emphasis added):

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy[1] because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean,[2] but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved.[3] God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Jesus teaching had not handled the situation of one spouse becoming a believer but Paul here (with inspired authority) applies Jesus’ teaching to this new situation.

I know of a number of women who have come to faith later in life (or “returned to the Lord”) who now find themselves in this tricky situation and the tension that introducing heavenly values into what had been a marriage of worldly standards can produce in a marriage. In spite of these trials the spouse should seek to be gracious so they might be won by their conduct (1 Pet 3:1, though this is given to wives the principle would extend to a husband).

I am also aware of many women whose husbands left them after they became a Christian. One such woman was married for 11 years when she became a Christian and had 3 children. Two years later the husband had enough of her new found faith and gave the ultimatum that it was either himself or Jesus. She choose Jesus and he divorced her.

For women (and men) who find themselves in such situations, let us unite our prayers, asking that the Lord would sustain them in any trial related to their faith but ultimately that the unbelieving spouse might be won over by their good conduct.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Open to Christian influence. This should not be read as “saved.”

[2] Similarly, this should be taken to mean under sound moral and spiritual influence from the believing parent and not “saved.”

[3] Not compelled to seek reconciliation.

Two types of Christians I really respect…

There are two types of Christians that I have immense respect for (and would invite all believers to join with me in prayer and support for such fellow-believers): 1) Christian singles waiting to marry in the Lord, and 2) Christians who are married and find themselves married to unbelievers. This post will address the former.

Christian Singles

I have immense respect for men and women who’d rather wait and obey God’s command to not marry outside the faith, rather than disregard that for expedience (marry “only in the Lord” 1 Cor 7:39). While this could be anyone, because statistically there are more Christian women than men, it usually happens to be young women in their 20s or 30s. Though they may have a great desire to marry, though the social and peer pressure to do so may be enormous, though many seemingly good alternatives may come along among unbelievers and tempt them considerably, they patiently wait upon the Lord, obey His command and submit to His providence (Ps 130:5–6), maintaining their purity. For such people, would you join me in honouring them and praying for them?

Excuses to justify the opposite, however, abound and are rooted in a wilful disregard for what God has said for our benefit.

An excuse such as “I love him” or “no one better has come along” is to fail to recognise that the prudent look for a marriage of both the head and of the heart and trust the Lord until He provides a believing spouse (if that of course is His will). “I can lead him to the Lord” is also naively unrealistic. We by our influence can never convert someone as that is the work of the Holy Spirit. All such excuses recall Satan’s first lie, “did God really say?” All excuses are exposed for what they are—unsubstantiated—and are swept away after the marriage when the reality of being yoke to someone who does not share your values becomes evident and begins to cause endless headaches.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33)

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14)

This New Testament teaching is deeply rooted in the Old Testament (Dt 7:3–6; Ezra 9; Amos 3:3, Mal 2:10-16; etc).

While forgiveness is surely available for believers who persist and marry a non-believer, they will still face the consequences of their choice. For such people, would you join with me also, praying for the conversion of their unbelieving spouses, and the strength and grace to persevere under such circumstances.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris