Is the Bible Homophobic?

Is the Bible Homophobic?

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Romans 1:27 says, “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” 

There is no denying the fact that scripture clearly states that it is a sin to commit shameful acts that go against what God intended. Since this is the case, many will take this verse and others and claim that the Bible (God) is homophobic. 

While the Bible does label it as a sin, it does not encourage Christians to hate homosexuals or anyone else! Homophobia is defined as “having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against gay people.” The Bible does not approve of this. 

Several things we need to consider: 

  • Sin is sin. There is no greater or lesser sin. 
  • Just because some can’t fathom it and feel tempted by it, doesn’t justify hating those who are. 
  • Cheating on a test is just as much a sin in God’s eyes as homosexuality, and both will separate man from God. 
  • Sin will always be found in mankind. 
  • Remember that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 
  • Just because someone sins in a way that might be different doesn’t give us the right to hate and ridicule them.

Above all else, the Bible calls for us to love everyone. The second greatest command outside of loving God is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). 

We are called to love each person. Every sinner; even our enemies. Love the sinner, and hate the sin.

WHY STAY MARRIED?

WHY STAY MARRIED?

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Caitlin Flanagan wrote an article in TIME magazine entitled, “Why Marriage Matters.”  She begins by saying, “Buffeted by affairs and ennui, the intact, two-parent family is under assault. What America needs to get over its commitment issues. (Hint: it isn’t love)” (7/13/09, p. 45).  What was so fascinating about the article was that, whether sociologists, feminists, domestic policy-makers, or other experts, they all came to the groundbreaking conclusion that children are healthier, more successful, and more productive who come from intact, two-parent homes.  Flanagan kept returning to that conclusion, even as high profile cases of infidelity were offered to show how the guilty were selfishly putting their own ideals and needs about what their families truly needed.

While I believe that it is possible for a marriage to grow more romantic, satisfying, and enjoyable each and every day of one’s married life, such is a tangible benefit of the hard work and effort invested in marriage.  It is neither automatic nor an entitlement.  It is not to be “persevered” or patronized only so long as I am having a good time, get my way, or reap the “rewards” of it as I, subjectively, decide I should.  No doubt, God created marriage to provide companionship and suitable help (Gen. 2:18ff) and a legitimate sexual outlet (1 Cor. 7:1ff).  It is enriching and even thrilling to look back over years of partnership and see in one’s spouse the depth of intimacy built by shared time and experience.  God certainly depicts a loving, close relationship in marriage as the ideal toward which to be striven (Song of Solomon, Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).  However, first and last, marriage is a lifelong commitment, an ongoing fulfillment of a vow made to and before God Himself, and a relationship that can be severed with God’s approval only under extreme circumstances.

Flanagan had so much good to say about marital partners considering how vital their staying married means to raising well-adjusted, optimally-functioning children.  She hits the nail on the head regarding the deep-seated, lasting negative effects of divorce upon families and, ultimately, society.  Yet, while it may only be a matter of semantics, I disagree with her premise.  Staying married is about love.  It is about knowing how to love, God’s way, and intentionally, intensely, and indefinitely, nurturing and growing that love in the marriage.  Love involves duty, but it is so much more than that.  It is an act of the will more than a flutter of the heart. Yet, its payoff for marriage gives a man and a woman a lifelong glimmer of light that burns brighter even as the lights of our own lives gradually dim.  Let us love our spouses with biblical love and watch the seismic effects for good upon the home, the church, and the culture!

 GOD’S WAY TO GET UP AND GO 

 GOD’S WAY TO GET UP AND GO 

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

It’s hard to find a better Scripture to serve as a goal or vision statement than Hebrews 10.24. 

Let’s consider how to provoke one another towards love and good deeds.” 

First, notice the verse begins with the key to the beginning of biblical love and good deeds. In a group setting, love and good deeds should be considered together. One person’s dreams and schemes will lack the crucial insight of others. 

Second, consideration implies that putting to practice the love and work of God takes some thoughtful planning. In order for our families and church families to experience God’s love, we’ve got to personalize it for them. In order for us to move on from declaring that love to proving it, the action must stem from observational consideration. The proof of love is in a sacrificial point of good deeds. 

Third, in order to motivate (provoke or spur) people towards these goals, we must experiment. What gets people excited and moving? What gets your people excited and moving? Since all groups and family units have different needs, the motivation methods should be focused on them. It’s all too easy to formulate a strategy and perfect plan, but we’ll never know of any flaws in that plan until others have had the opportunity to communicate their own thoughts. They have knowledge and insight that one person alone lacks. If after careful consideration and prayerful provoking there still isn’t movement, reexamination might be necessary. 

The goal of creating an environment of godly love and work is not a walk in the park, which is why the Hebrew writing records these three steps to success. How much of an impact could we make if we changed, “let’s consider how to spur one another” to “we know what it takes to spur others on.” 

Dear Christian Teen,

Dear Christian Teen,

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Dear Christian Teen, 

Most of you have heard 1 Timothy 4:12, “let no one look down on your youthfulness,” at some point in your lives. But what about the second half of the verse? In I Timothy Paul has been instructing Timothy on how to deal with men like Alexander and Hymenaeus. These men had been blaspheming and teaching false doctrine. Paul clearly states that the goal of their instruction should be love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith (1:5).

Skipping down to chapter four, Paul tells Timothy that no one should look down on him because of his age. Timothy is charged to teach the gospel and handle the men that have been teaching false doctrine. To do so, he can’t let others’ view of him cause him to stop doing his job. When Paul says “youthfulness,” the original text uses a word that could be ascribed to someone as old as 30. Paul’s main point is that in “speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” This is what Timothy should have been doing. Forget the age, forget what other men are saying, and LIVE as an example. Paul wanted Timothy to be a “tupos” or “type” that men can follow. Timothy could do nothing about his age, so his effectiveness was to be rooted in his example.

So, young Christians today, what can we do to be an example? There are five things we can do. First involves our speech. This is external. People can hear the way you talk in your everyday life. Make sure it is blameless and pure. Don’t give someone a reason to reject you because of how you speak in your private life. Second involves our conduct. Once again this is external. Having proper conduct is vital if people are to see you as something more than just a youth. Be a man/woman of God whether you’re being watched or not. Third involves love. This is more internal than external. This love is an agape love. Sacrifice for others at the expense of your own good. This also goes back to 1:5 “love from a pure heart.” Fourth involves faith. This is also internal. Work on your own faith. Build your own relationship with God. Last involves purity. Be pure in your relationships and in your life when no one else is around. Do these things as “an example (type) to those who believe.”

Paul continues on in verses 4:13ff to discuss other ways he can be an example: giving attention to the public reading of scripture, exhorting and teaching, and using his spiritual gift he had been given by the Holy Spirit. 

Paul wanted Timothy to be a living example. When these men were looking down on him for his age, Paul didn’t tell him to focus on his experience, but on the source. Focus on your own spiritual life, your own personal reading of God’s Word, your own prayer life. Don’t blame them or use them as an excuse. Be an example they can respect and follow. Show them what a true Christian looks like.

Timothy had a hard job on his hands, since he was facing false teachers and blasphemers that were tearing apart the church. He had to work and be the proper influence for the Christians there at Ephesus. As teens today, you also have a hard task ahead of you. Many in the church think that you don’t need to be working yet. God says otherwise. You can and should be an example for others to see. Each one of you has your own group of friends that only you can influence. So be the example. In your speech, in your conduct, in your love, your faith and your purity. Show them the truth, and never neglect your own Christianity.

“Future Form” (1 John: Part Six)

“Future Form” (1 John: Part Six)

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

Future Form

Look into the kind of love the father gave us: we can be called “God’s children,” and we actually are! The rest of the world doesn’t know us, but that’s because they never knew God. 

We are God’s children right now, but we have no information about what we’re going to be in the future. What we do know is this – when it’s made known, we’ll be just like him. We know this because we’ll be able to see him the way he is now! 

Anyone who has the kind of hope that comes from him is pure, the same way he’s pure. 

The World (1 John: Part Four)

The World (1 John: Part Four)

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

The World

My loved ones, do not love this world or anything in it. If you love the world, God doesn’t love you! There’s nothing good in this world. Unhealthy sexual desire, materialism, and unhealthy pride are not from God. They’re exclusive to the world, which is disappearing along with everything in it. Anyone who does what God wants, though, will live forever. 

Little children, the end is coming soon. You’ve already heard that enemies of Christ are coming. Well, many of those enemies are already here. That’s how we know the end is coming soon. They left us, but they were never really with us or they would’ve stayed. They showed their true colors when they left. 

But you have been chosen by the holy one, and you know everything you need to know. I’m not writing to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, unlike those who lie. 

Love, Hate, And A Song (1 John: Part 3)

Love, Hate, And A Song (1 John: Part 3)

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

Love & Hate

Loved ones, I’m not giving you a new commandment here. It’s the same one that’s existed since the beginning of time: love each other deeply. You’ve heard this before. It is new in a way, though. The same truth that existed in Jesus now exists in you. Darkness is disappearing and the true light is already shining through. 

If someone claims to be in this light but hates their Christian family, they’re actually in darkness. If you love your Christian family, you’re a part of this light. You don’t trip other people in their walk, either. Anyone who hates their spiritual family lives and walks in darkness. They’re lost because the darkness has blinded them. 

A Song

Children, I’m writing to you because Jesus forgave your sins. 

Fathers, I’m writing to you because you’ve known this from the beginning. 

Teens, I’m writing to you because you’ve defeated the evil one. 

Children, I’m writing to you because you’ve always know the father. 

Fathers, I’m writing to you because you’ve known this from the beginning. 

Teens, I’m writing to you because you’re strong. God’s word lives in you, and has defeated the evil one. 

Loving The Lost (Introduction) pt. 1

Loving The Lost (Introduction) pt. 1

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Over the next few blogs I want us to explore one of the Bible’s most powerful chapters, Luke 15. These parables spoken by Jesus transformed the lives of those who heard back then, and continue to do so today. 

I was six years old and had no idea where my parents were. Every time we went to Walmart, mom would tell us to stay by her side. But I saw the coolest toy dinosaur I had ever seen. So I went to go look at it, and got lost. I ran up and down aisles but I couldn’t find her. So I started crying and just stood there. Eventually mom found me, and apparently they had been announcing over the loud speaker that my mom was up at the front, but I never heard. 

It’s a terrible feeling to be lost. We’ve all experienced it before. There’s a very special chapter in the book of Luke. It’s called by many, “God’s Lost and Found Department.” Luke 15 contains three parables that convey God’s love for the lost. If we want to be a true child of God we must love what the Father loves. In this chapter we find three examples of the lost and God’s love for them. In this chapter, one of the things that stands out the most is God’s concern for sinners, but also His overflowing joy for their return. In this chapter we will understand better God’s love for mankind and the value of a soul. The true Christian will try to imitate this same love for the lost soul that is found here in this chapter. 

I encourage you to read Luke 15 with God’s powerful love in mind. See you next week.

Advocacy And Standards (1 John: Part Two)

Advocacy And Standards (1 John: Part Two)

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

Advocacy & Standards

My children, I’m writing all of this to you to help you avoid sin. But when we do sin, we have someone who came from God and who advocates for us: Jesus Christ, the morally perfect one who gets rid of every one of our sins. He doesn’t just take care of our sins, he does the same thing for the whole world! 

We can know for sure that we know him if we do what he’s told us. Anyone who claims to know God but doesn’t do what he’s told us is a liar. The truth doesn’t exist in them. 

If we do what he’s told us to do, the truth is in us and God’s love is, too. That’s how we know we’re with him. If we claim to be with him, we’re obligated to live by the same standard Jesus lived by. 

Design And Efficiency

Design And Efficiency

Sunday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

Darrell Dubree

For everything there is a designer. There is an expected level of efficiency for the product that is created or designed. Or maybe labeled as its intended purpose or job. Just for example purposes these parts are out of a 400-ton, Carrier Centrifugal Water-cooled chiller. Running at peak efficiency and full load this machine in a residential setting would have the cooling capacity to condition the air for 100, 2400 square foot homes or 240,000 square ft. of living space. Each part performs a specific job that will add to the final efficiency that the designer planned for the machine. Each part has a different monetary value. The impeller is $10,000 and the Main Processor board $5000, but the individual electronic parts that make up the board $1 or less at Radio Shack.

All the parts are equally important in reaching the efficiency the designer intended for the machine. In this particular machine and many other microprocessor-controlled machines, there are sub level microprocessors that are controlling a specific function in the overall operation of the machine. These sub level processors are constantly collecting data and communicating to the main processor. They are content with all that is going on and all is well, or they are requesting a change or an adjustment in their area of operation. The main processor contains a micro chip which contains the designer’s operational software. In order for all the boards to communicate efficiently and effectively they must all be operating with the same operational software.

The operational software sets the parameters and adjustable setpoints which the main processor will use to grant or deny changes requested from the sub level processors throughout the machine. The main processor will take all these requests into consideration. The main processor will compare to the operational software and make a decision based on the operational software and the overall operation of the machine.

For example, depending on many variables and conditions the machine has to be considerate of the overall operation and keep the machine online and efficiently operating. Some request are granted or denied, depending on different operating conditions and stress on the machine. Stress being the difference being, operating on a 70-degree day with no humidity or starting from ground zero on a 100- degree day and a building full of miserably hot people.

Most of you look kind of interested, but some of you have the look of, I’m trying to get my brain wrapped around what your saying. What does this have anything to do with me as a servant of God???? 😊

Let’s compare this principal to the local body of servants of God. Actually, there are many similarities.
Designer: God
Operational Software: Gods inspired word, The Bible.

Main Processor: The local Eldership Sublevel Processors: Deacons Other parts: Members
Just as parts of this machine, all members are equally important in the efficient operation of the body (1 Corinthians 12: 14-31).

Furthermore, the Bible teaches that:

  1. God looks at the heart, not the physical appearance (1 Samuel 16:7)
  2. God shows no partiality (Romans 2:7-11).
  3. Good knows our hearts (Luke 16:14-15).

As we strive to fulfill the work that God intended in his design of the church. May we consider one another and take into consideration all the members and different areas of work. Just as the main processor of this machine considers all areas of the machines operation before a change is granted. How will this request affect the body short term and long term. Will it edify and build relationships or will it teardown and slow the work and efficiency of the body. The doctrinal decisions are the easy ones. We have had centuries of biblical scholars who have taken these apart and reassembled them. It is the non-doctrinal decisions that are difficult. Those we are forced to address in a situation that we have no former experience in dealing with. Hopefully passages like Philippians 2:1-18 will help us in this.

In any recipe or in smooth operation of machinery, there is that secret additive or ingredient that makes it just perfect. God has given us something far greater than a secret lube additive or a special secret ingredient to a recipe: Love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). Hopefully these passages will help us all perform the work of the church efficiently.

a 400-ton, Carrier Centrifugal Water-cooled chiller