Detecting Cultural Deception
“Do not be deceived.”
The phrase occurs four times in the New Testament. In each case, it warns Christians about downplaying the very real consequences of sin.
And it has never been more relevant than it is in our country today.
Just how subtle and hard to detect spiritual deception can be is evident from what has happened in America in the last few decades. Gay marriage is not only legal, but the gay lifestyle is affirmed almost everywhere.
I recently read a World magazine feature about the LGBTQ community’s strategy to make gay marriage legal.
The strategy focused around the success of the Civil Rights movement in gaining equal rights for racial minorities through the passage of the Civil Rights Acts in 1964. That act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. It said nothing about preferred gender identity, transgenderism or homosexuality.
LGBTQ strategists decided that the way to make gay marriage legal would be to identify gays as a minority, despite the fact that their “sexual orientation” did not qualify as a distinctive race, color, religion or national origin. For the first time in our history, a group of people would be identified as a minority group on the basis of “sexual orientation.” Then the plan was to paint them as a minority who were being discriminated against by anti-sodomy laws, and claim their plight was parallel to the racial prejudice experienced by African-Americans and other racial minorities. Of course, those responsible for the prejudice would be portrayed as xenophobes, intolerant bigots, purveyors of hate, and racists. Finally, the provisions of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against minorities, could be leveraged to persuade the courts, the culture and ultimately the Supreme Court, to legalize gay marriage and legitimize gay rights.
Sadly, from a biblical and Christian perspective, the strategy has been an overwhelming success. Not only did the LGBTQ lobby achieve its goal, but it has also had a profoundly disastrous effect on previously Christian families in my very small church. A father and mother have divorced their opposite-sex mates to marry same sex partners, leaving even their young children to make sense out of the resulting emotional and relational ruin and moral confusion spawned by their parents. The children of other families have rejected Christ because the Bible’s anti-homosexual teachings violate their sympathy for homosexual friends. After all, how can God truly be so prejudiced against an innocent minority who are merely doing what comes naturally and loving whom they please?
But let’s back up for a moment. Let’s reverse engineer this deception in accord with the divine and biblical perspective.
Since when have we identified minorities according to their “lifestyle preference”—especially when that “lifestyle preference” is actually a favorite sin? And why is it that we have accepted their preferred morally-neutral language to identify themselves and their sin? They do not simply have an innately different “sexual orientation.” The Bible calls homosexuality “gross immorality” (Jude 7), “going after strange flesh” (Jude 7), “detestable” (Leviticus 18:22) and “unnatural” (Romans 1:26). It repeatedly, plainly and undeniably states God has judged and will condemn homosexual behavior (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:18-27; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Jude 7).
What if we permitted every group of people who had a favorite sin—which they term an “orientation” or preferred “lifestyle”—to call themselves minorities, claim they were being discriminated against and change our nation’s laws?
Just imagine for a moment how this might play out. In addition to the LGBTQ community, we could also have organizations such as “Larceny International”–a group devoted to securing the rights of and promoting the businesses of theft, burglary, fraud, money laundering, phone and internet scams, and every kind of dishonest business practice known to man. We could also have another group called “Adulterers Anonymous,” devoted to defending the “rights” and privacy of adulterers, and making adultery a normal and accepted lifestyle in our culture. Imagine how you would feel if their slogan were, “coming to a family and neighborhood near you.” And how about this one: the Murderer’s Advocacy Council—a formal legal association committed to the rights and welfare of those who practice the sin of eliminating the lives of other people who are somehow inconveniently placed between them and their life goals?
Why don’t such advocacy groups exist? After all, they could claim constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to assemble. They could claim that they are minority groups based on their preferred “lifestyles” and immoral “orientations.”
The fact is that their preferred lifestyles are sin. All of us recognize that the proliferation and promotion of theft, adultery and murder—their sinful “orientations”—are crimes that would endanger our own lives and the welfare of society as whole.
That’s the nature of sin, according to the Bible. Sin destroys relationships. Sin kills. Sin, because it clearly destroys God’s design for how we relate to Him and others, is precisely why the Ten Commandments exist. They are the Tender Commandments, designed to protect human beings from the very destructive and abusive behaviors of other human beings.
No doubt some will argue that all gays want is to live and let live. They pose no danger to anyone else.
However, both recent and ancient history show this is a naïve and false notion. Consider:
- They are coming after our children: Gay and transgender books have invaded our public elementary school libraries, some advocating gender dysphoria, transgenderism and sex-change operations, others normalizing families with two daddies or two mommies, before the children who are reading them even know “the facts of life.” Many TV shows feature token gay persons or couples way out of proportion to the percentage of gays in our general population. Parents I have talked to tell me that their teen’s peers now regard those who are bisexual or transgender to be “cool.” A nurse in a psychiatric hospital told me that the hospital was littered with teens who struggled with two issues: 1.) a desire to change their gender, and 2.) suicidal ideation. Conversion therapy for anyone with homosexual tendencies is now banned in 19 states. A tenured professor, who merely suggested it’s best if people maintain the gender they are assigned at birth, was fired. And in progressive California, a study showed 27% of 12-17 year-olds claimed they did not identify with their birth gender. Many young people are seeking sex-change operations before they are old enough to fully appreciate the lifelong consequences of such a procedure. All this belies the original gay argument that homosexual desires are always something they are born with. If this is typically the case, why are they so heavily involved in recruiting our children to join them in their perversion?
- They are coming after our rights and freedoms: Colorado baker Jack Phillips has been sued several times because his Christian convictions don’t allow him to decorate a cake depicting same-sex marriage partners. Christian florists, funeral homes and others who have similarly refused to participate in or celebrate others’ homosexual proclivities have likewise been sued. And if the Equality Act is passed (the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates have endorsed it, and the House has already passed it), churches and other faith-based organizations will not be allowed to “discriminate” against homosexuals, transgenders, bisexuals, or queers who apply for any kind of employment, whether as teachers of their children or pastors of their congregations.
- They are coming after our faith: Simply “google” what the Bible says about homosexuality, and you will find the first, second and most dominant articles deny the Bible teaches against homosexuality, twist Scriptures to allow it, or reinterpret Scripture on the basis of today’s cultural trends. Some articles are by otherwise biblical pastors who have decided their churches will be “inclusive.” Some Christian celebrities, such as L.A. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, now deny they are anti-gay marriage publicly, fearing criticism and buying into the gay cultural deception. Under direct pressure from the LGBTQ community, Christian businesses, such as Chick-Fil-A, who formerly financially supported groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Home for Boys (both of which define marriage as between a man and a woman), have withdrawn their support.
So what ancient record of these kinds of trends do we possess? Consider Genesis 19’s account of Sodom and Gomorrah, and then connect the dots:
- Coming after the children: How was it that the culture of Sodom had become so overwhelmingly homosexual that “the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter,” demanding to have sexual relations with the men (actually, angels) Lot was hosting? (Genesis 19:4-5). Why was it that these men could and would not be satisfied ravaging and raping Lot’s daughters? Was it because their recruitment of others into their perversion had been so complete and pervasive that a majority of their community not only accepted their sin, but also participated in it?
- Coming after others’ rights: What kind of behavior prompted such a great “outcry” (Genesis 19:7) against Sodom and Gomorrah that God sent these angels to investigate? How was it that a gang of homosexual men could attempt to perpetrate such a crime so brazenly and with such impunity from Sodom’s governing authorities? How was it that the only hope Lot had of dissuading them from their intention was a desperate and ridiculous attempt to allow them to brutalize his own two daughters? And how was it that their deviant sexual lusts trumped the rights of their innocent victims? Was it that the homosexual culture had become so powerful that it perverted the laws and intimidated the law-keepers to the point that the criminally immoral could have their way, no matter what?
- Coming after others’ faith: Why was it that Lot’s family was the only upright family that could be found in Sodom? How did it come about that Lot was labelled as improperly judgmental when he objected to their rape of the two “men.” And how had the kind of threat the homosexuals levelled against Lot–to do to Lot something worse than they had planned for the “men”–possibly affected other upright families in Sodom? Had other godly families been terribly persecuted, run out of town, or worse, because they objected to Sodom’s political, moral and spiritual climate?
When the U.S. legalized gay marriage, we let the cat out of the bag. It’s likely only a matter of time before that cat grows into a ferocious lion demanding, at the point of its fangs, that its victims surrender to its every whim and will, even to the point of losing their own souls (i.e. faith).
Yes, God loves homosexuals just as He loves heterosexual sinners. Yes, Christ died for their sins as well. We must be respectful, gentle and compassionate in dealing with those who struggle with homosexuality. But God never sanctifies, excuses, accepts or justifies homosexual acts anywhere in Scripture. He does forgive them, but only where there is repentance (see I Corinthians 6:9-11).
The picture the Bible so vividly paints–the smoldering ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah the day after the gay siege against Lot’s house–starkly testifies to these facts to this day (see Genesis 19:25-28; Jude 7).
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:13-17).