In the Line of Fire, by Michael Brown

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Kirsten Powers Gets It Dangerously Wrong on the Bible and Homosexuality

Kirsten Powers
Kirsten Powers

It is wonderful to read the account of Kirsten Powers' conversion from atheism to Christianity. But that doesn't make her into a Bible scholar or theologian, and Powers has made some grave errors in her recent article on "Christianity's new look on gays."

She begins by asking the question, "Could there be a future where most American Christians support same-sex relationships?"

The obvious answer is, "Only if these Christians renounce the Word of God and the God of the Word."

But that is not how she answers her question. Instead, she writes, "If so, it will be due to the emergence of conservative Christians who say orthodox believers can support lifelong, monogamous gay relationships without undermining their commitment to biblical authority."

This is a truly unfortunate statement, as riddled with self-contradictions as it is with theological fallacies.

In short, the only way a professing Christian "can support lifelong, monogamous gay relationships" is by ceasing to be a conservative Christian, ceasing to be an orthodox believer, and completely undermining their commitment to biblical authority.

Not surprisingly, Powers leans on the recent work of Matthew Vines (whom she wrongly calls evangelical) and Professor James Brownson, claiming that both of them "hold a 'high view' of Scripture, meaning it is the final authority on all matters of faith and life."

But that is patently false, since both Vines and Brownson know that the Bible never provides a single positive reference to homosexuality, that the Bible explicitly endorses heterosexual marriage alone and that every reference to homosexual practice in the Bible is decidedly negative.

How then can they claim that the Bible is the final authority for them in matters of faith and life?

The fact is that they can't. The highest authority for them is personal experience, which is why both Brownson and Vines start their books with their personal stories. In the case of Brownson, it is his own son coming out as gay. In the case of Vines, it is his realization that he was same-sex attracted.

That is the true starting point for both authors, based on which God's Word is now reinterpreted in light of their experience.

This is the guaranteed path to deception.

Powers notes that Brownson says, "The issue of sexual orientation represents new data that the church needs to ask itself, 'Should this change the way we look at this?' "

So, the "new data" that the church now has is the contemporary, post-sexual revolution understanding of "sexual orientation" (a tenuous concept indeed), and based on this, we are now supposed to throw out two-thousand years of biblical interpretation, not a syllable of which is challenged by this "new data."

Clearly, the Bible is not the final authority for Vines and Brownson in matters of faith and life, and that's why almost the vast majority of biblical scholars and theologians who embrace their position are liberal-leaning (or completely liberal) in their theology. In contrast, the vast majority of biblical scholars and theologians who reject their position are strongly conservative in their theology.

Powers should step back and ask herself why that is the case.

More importantly, Powers should ask herself if the Jesus whom Vines and Brownson preach is the Jesus of the Bible, the Son of God who looked into the heart and soul of every person He met and, as John 2:25 tells us, knew what was in man.

Gay Christianity tells us that Jesus did not really know what was in people's hearts; He did not really know who they were to the core of their being because He, like everyone else from Adam and Eve until the last few decades, didn't understand sexual orientation.

Such a proposal is as ridiculous as it is sacrilegious. Jesus didn't know? Seriously?

It's one thing to say that, while on earth, He didn't know the day of His return or, in His humanity, He didn't understand nuclear physics. But that is a far cry from saying that He didn't understand an alleged core component—some would argue a defining component—of a person's very nature.

According to Brownson and Vines, we are to believe that, in contemporary terms, the Son of God didn't understand that some people were "gay." (Some gay theologians allege that Jesus was including homosexuals in his reference to eunuchs who were born that way in Matthew 19, but that's the worst passage for them to cite, since it would mean, in clear context, that they were consigned to lifelong celibacy.)

Unfortunately, Powers—who is not a theologian and doesn't claim to be one—has been misled by recent scholarship which falsely proclaims itself to be conservative and evangelical. And she claims that, "The church has done this before on issues ranging from slavery to the solar system."

In reality, it was through a terrible misuse of the Bible that the African slave trade was sanctioned, which is why Christian leaders like Wilberforce led the way in abolishing it (for a free video lecture on this subject, go here). And when it comes to the solar system, Powers fails to differentiate between science and moral behavior, not to mention recognizing the divine design for men and women.

Powers also noted that the former head of the now-defunct Exodus International "has stated that 99.9 percent of people he has met with same-sex attraction 'have not experienced a change in their orientation,' " but that is a claim that is strenuously denied by countless thousands of ex-gays. (For my article on the collapse of Exodus, go here.)

More importantly, as a reader of my book Can You Be Gay and Christian? stated, while he feels that at the age of 70 he cannot possibly change his sexual orientation—he had been in a committed relationship with another man for 45 years until that man's death, after which he became a Christian—he is convinced that God wants him to change his sexual behavior.

We are called to holiness more than to heterosexuality, and from Genesis to Revelation, from Moses to Jesus to Paul, the consistent witness of Scripture is that holiness can never be found in a homosexual union. No amount of Scripture twisting can make sexual relationships between two men or two women holy in God's sight.

In closing her article, Powers appeals to theologian Lewis Smedes, who "wrote in 1999 that the closest parallel to this debate is the church's former opposition to nearly all remarriage after divorce. Scripture states that remarriage after an unbiblical divorce is adultery. To gain good standing in God's eyes, those who had remarried were told to divorce their new spouses and either remarry the first or remain celibate for the rest of their lives."

This, of course, brought great devastation to many families, causing Christians to ask, in Smedes' words, "Could Jesus actually have meant the church to cast away people?"

Powers then writes, "The answer was no. Perhaps the same question should be asked about gay Christians."

Once again, however, her analogy falls terribly short, since the church has done terrible harm to many families (especially children) by making light of divorce, and gay activists are absolutely right to point out our hypocrisy here.

As I have stated many times before, no-fault, heterosexual divorce in the church has done more to destroy marriage than all gay activists combined. We dare not compound our error by redefining marriage entirely.

Powers also fails to realize that in some circumstances, a biblical case for divorce and remarriage can be made, but under no circumstances can a biblical case for same-sex "marriage" be made.

The ultimate question is whether we will interpret our sexuality through the lens of the Scriptures or whether we will interpret the Scriptures through the lens of our sexuality.

The difference between the two interpretations is as vast as the distance between heaven and hell.

(Kirsten, if you get a chance to read this article, please allow me to send you a free copy of my book. I do hope and pray it will give you a whole new understanding of the issues involved.)

Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

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