• Franklin Graham was wrong

    May 11, 2012

    By now you probably have heard that Obama has endorsed the idea of marriage for same-sex partners. And it will probably not surprise you that Franklin Graham did not like hearing this, given that he was one of the biggest proponents of North Carolina’s anti-gay marriage amendment that passed on Tuesday. Fine. He’s entitled to his opinion, one shared by many, many evangelicals. What bothers me is the way he expressed that view. In a written statement, Graham said,

    In changing his position from that of Senator/candidate Obama, President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.

    Really? The president is shaking his fist at God? That implies Obama a) knows what God thinks about the matter, and b) has chosen to arrogantly, rebelliously give God the middle finger and support gay marriage anyway. Is that what Obama did? Here’s what the president said on Wednesday:

    I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married … I hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient … I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word “marriage” evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs … [but] when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

    That is shaking your fist at God? Quoting Christ’s Golden Rule as your reason for endorsing gay marriage? Really? Does Mr. Graham really believe that the president is, not just misguided or deceived, but actually standng in the face of God, flying him the bird?

    When I think of stiff-necked, willful rebellion against God, I think of Pharaoh refusing to let God’s people go in the book of Exodus. Pharaoh time and again resisted the clear will of God, and he did so angrily and full of spite for God and his people. Finally, Pharaoh said in Exodus, chapter 10,

    Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.

    Folks, THAT is shaking your fist at God, and it’s nowhere near what President Obama did on Wednesday. In fact, I found Obama’s statement rather tepid, almost anemic. He “um”ed and “uh”ed his way through it, looking at the floor half the time. It was certainly not an enthusiatic final step in his evolution on the subject. I saw no fists or fingers flying.

    Franklin Graham owes the president an apology, and he owes the church an apology too, for it is rhetoric like Mr. Graham’s that soils the reputation and witness of Jesus in our culture today. It wasn’t enough for Franklin Graham to have his marriage amendment, reinforcing what was already law in the state of North Carolina and further fueling the animosity between fundamentalist Christians and members of the gay community. He had to go a step further and impugn the motives of anyone who sees the issue differently, for one assumes he sees all of us in support of gay marriage rights as shaking our collective fist at God.

    I know very conservative Christians who voted AGAINST Tuesday’s amendment because they don’t think it’s a matter for the state, but rather for the church, to decide. They feel that, whether they like it or not, the US Constitution guarantees gays and lesbians the freedom to marry. Are they shaking a fist too? What about people like Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network, who wrote a brilliant piece on Wednesday arguing for calm, rational, Christ-like responses in the wake of North Carolina’s vote, even though he favors gay marriage? Is he shaking a fist at God? Am I? I spent two years reading thousands of pages of history and exegesis on the relevant passages of the Bible concerning homosexuality, and I came to a good-faith decision that homosexuality was not intrinsically disordered or evil. But even before that decision, I was on the side of same-sex marriages being legal because I simply believe that in America, unless I can demonstrate that you are hurting someone–and vague, fearful accusations about harming the institution of marriage are not a demonstration–then I don’t have the right to interfere with your pursuit of happiness. Does that mean I too am shaking a fist at the Creator?

    Christians really do need to speak out against this kind of crazy talk. Sure, go about it in a healthy, Jesus-like manner, but say this is wrong! Say that Franklin Graham was out of line. We have to hold our own in the church accountable. How else will people know that this man speaks for himself alone, not for the church as a whole, unless we tell them? How else will we avoid complicity in this man’s behavior except to disavow it?

    Franklin Graham ended his written statement this way: “This is a sad day for America. May God help us.”

    With that, I totally agree.

    Posted in: More Gay Stuff

Recent Comments

  • Tory said...

    1

    Hey Matt, quick question to make sure I am reading your article correctly. Are you saying that being homosexual is okay? I am mainly referring to this statement:

    “I spent two years reading thousands of pages of history and exegesis on the relevant passages of the Bible concerning homosexuality, and I came to a good-faith decision that homosexuality was not intrinsically disordered or evil.”

    Just want to make sure I am reading this correctly.

    05/11/12 12:34 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    2

    Yes. For my views and how I came to hold them, read “The Gay Posts” on this website.

    05/11/12 12:55 PM | Comment Link

  • Tory said...

    3

    Okay, interesting. This will probably sound like I am trying to argue, however I am not! I am not silly enough to think that after writing 20+ blog posts about it you would change your mind!!! Haha, so I am by no means arguing, just trying to understand more. So it may sound like I am trying to “argue” or sort of smash your views, but I am not , it is just the only way I know how to fully ask where you know sort of where I stand so that you can I guess answer my questions well,because I really am curious, hope you believe me!

    First off I live in Austin, one of the most homosexual friendly cities in America! I am a pastor, and am planting a church at literally the most homosexual friendly safe areas in Austin. My next door neighbors are lesbians and I love them, they are really nice people! I was actually hanging out at a gay friendly bar last Sunday, so I am for sure familiar with this community, I am not speaking out of ignorance!

    I have also gotten the privilege to lead a couple of gay people to know Christ. I have seen their lives change like crazy! I have also gotten to disciple two of those people specifically. One of which had a hard time with me because he struggled in seeing me as a possible relationship, so I had to back off of that a little so I wouldn’t tempt him! The other is now married, and leads a gay ministry in another part of the country helping people come out of that lifestyle. Of everyone in there, he says that only about 2% of his cases do not come from a terrible home situation of some sort (usually filthy gross sexual acts from an opposite sex). He has given me much of this “wisdom” below. (after the next paragraph).

    I also see that your main argue is to love your neighbor essentially (if I am reading your posts right). Which I fully agree with. I think the church has done an awful job at loving people, period. Not just GLBT’s but literally everyone. That to me makes sense because we have an enemy who would want nothing more then people outside the church to think we hate them, so that they then turn that against Jesus.

    However, I was honestly shocked to read that you thought it was okay, here is why. I do think we should be walking in love (or grace I will call it, I think love is a different term here), however I also think we should be walking in truth. I understand the whole mistranslation thing (although we are more sure about this word we translate into homosexual then many others that we just take!). I understand that for sure, however it just seems to be that you couldn’t become more clear then Romans 1.

    When speaking with homosexuals and they ask me do I think they are wrong, I tell them yes. I think the Lord has a totally different plan, I see this in Ephesians 5, Genesis 1 and 2, Song of Solomon, etc. However, I am a stupid, terrible luster. I desire to have multiple wives at times. And to be honest I could make a better argument for polygamy then I could homosexuality! But can I have multiple? No! Is that unfair? NO! Of course not, what a shame to my wife that would be! Do I think it would be unfair for them to live “alone” forever even if that’s the way that God made them! Heck no, heck no. If they have Jesus they are not “alone.” And, I do not see that as unfair. I am not sure why God would allow them to struggle with this, while I struggle with same sex issues, but man, if they have the Savior, what need do they have anyway? None, and if they have “need,” then they obviously haven’t tasted the goodness of Jesus! My other friend who was attracted to me is still alone, and struggles. But he laughs at me because he tells me while I am spending time with my wife, he is spending with the Lord! He is experiencing much better then I am! Haha, I love my wife, like crazy, wish I could express it on here, but I have to agree with him for sure!

    Now, do I think they (homosexuals) are now not able to receive grace? By no means! I am a sinner like they are in need of a Savior, and you know what, I could care less what gender attraction you choose or have before you come to Christ, there is only one thing that matters!

    If you stop being gay, and do not accept the gospel, you die and absent from the Lord. I literally don’t care if you burn in hell forever or are annihilated, both of them suck because you don’t get to spend it with the only Man from which I have ever felt true joy, love and peace! So I don’t care what you do.

    So you know what, I literally don’t discuss this with non-believers, because all they need is the gospel. If they need to know I’ll explain, but then get back to the gospel, nothing else matters!

    However, after conversion, there seems to be things we should be held accountable for. It seems old should be put off, and new on. I cannot have multiple wives. Why? I literally don’t know. I have some good guesses, but in the end Scripture says I can’t, so I know that He knows what is best for me and I have to try to kill that by all means possible!

    So for the gay, lesbian couples I tell them, I think God has a better, more free plan for your life then the one that you have chosen. I think He knows what is best. Yes, I need Jesus too, no, I am not judging you, are those two in contradiction? No, it is grace and truth, something our society swears can’t be mixed but it can, and Jesus was a pro at it!

    And no, it is not cultural when it says it over and over again in Scripture. And even if all of those words are incorrectly translated, I feel like Romans 1 is pretty clear, because there are no words to translate incorrectly there. And Scripture does not submit to culture, culture submits to Scripture.

    Okay, so you can see where I am coming from, you have heard the arguments before, I am sure! Thank you for reading all of this. I am sort of playing devils advocate, I know. However I have never met anyone who isn’t whacky on the other end of the spectrum 9instead of telling everyone they are going to hell, fire preachers, they are anything goes preachers, both detrimental) until you (we met in Colorado one year). So I don’t know, I guess I am just curious, Biblically you have really come to understand that it is wrong, or is it more of a gut feeling, and something you have experienced with people? And are my arguments totally philosophical, or do they have merit. To be honest, here is why I ask all of this.

    I want to reach these people with the gospel. I really don’t care about “loving” them to death, literally! I will never, in the name of “love” lack truth and lead them to absence from Christ forever! So far, I feel like the Lord has given me grace. I have seen several come to Christ, and the ones who haven’t respect and love me. However, I want to know your end, and I guess what your motivations are and stuff. Sorry for the long response, thank you for reading. Feel free to poke holes, I am not offended if you do.

    Grace

    05/12/12 2:29 AM | Comment Link

  • Tim Gardiner said...

    4

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve read a couple other posts you have about homosexuality. I’m still at a loss as to what you specifically believe about the issue. Is homosexuality a sin??

    If you don’t think so, how do you reconcile the Romans 1 reference (just read a post you had about it dealing with the mystery of its origination. I get that but regardless the passage makes it rather clear that it is a sin nonetheless. Doesn’t it?? Just because we perhaps never choose a specific sin doesn’t make us innocent of it if – original sin nature from Adams Fall)

    Also, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 make it rather clear that homosexuality is a sin. And of course Leviticus 18:22 which clearly says homosexuality is an abomination.

    I think I get what you are saying about Christians needing to be much more gentle and understanding regarding this issue. I totally agree. But with this Love we need to stand on God Truth as feel.

    Here is where I really disagree with your assertion of Franklin Graham’s comments. Any time we support the sinful actions of people – we are supporting the very thing that God hates. God hates sin – He abhors evil. I don’t think we need debate about this – I hope not. But, thanks to His grace He loves the sinner. So, if someone supports what God hates – isn’t that the same thing as shaking their fist at Him?? I think it very much is regardless of the temperament of their tone and words. Obama is a slick and crafty speaker. Lets not be fooled.

    05/12/12 2:41 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    5

    @Tory, thank you for your comments. I’m afraid we’ll simply have to disagree, but I appreciate your taking the time to read and consider what I’ve said. Yes, there is some theological wackiness out there on the pro-gay side. There also happens to be quite a lot that isn’t wacky. Unfortunately, people are so set in their beliefs by the time they’re old enough to come across the sound pro-gay arguments, I think it just bounces off. Ears they have, but not ears that hear. I would recommend a book called “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate” by Justin Lee. It comes out this fall but is available for pre-order now. I’ve read the manuscript. Best book on the subject I’ve ever come across. Condenses a LOT of info into a relatively short read.

    05/12/12 4:37 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    6

    @Tim, thanks for visiting the website and for considering what I’ve written. For my full thoughts on homosexuality, click on The Gay Posts, and start reading from the beginning. It’s a LOT, but I wrote it all down so I wouldn’t have to keep repeating myself. 🙂

    05/12/12 4:38 PM | Comment Link

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