Changing Attitudes of Ireland versus
the Unchanging Word of Christ
by Martyn McGeown
In his efforts to overthrow the biblical teaching on homosexuality, Church of Ireland Canon Charles Kenny urges us to pay heed to the "insights" of Jesus (News Letter; 28 June, 2008). Yet the only "insight" that the Canon offers is an argument from silence. That Christ did not directly address the subject of homosexuality proves nothing, for neither did He address rape. Yet who would dare say that Christ approved of rape!
Jesus Christ was no permissive and indulgent moral teacher, a figment of the liberalsí imagination. He spoke often and pointedly on the subject of sexual ethics. In the first place, He, unlike the Pharisees of His day, located sin in the heart and desires of man, so that He declared that a man commits adultery when he lusts after a woman in his heart (Matt. 5:28-29). Second, He taught that marriage is a life-long bond between a man and a woman, condemning divorce except for fornication as adultery and forbidding all remarriage while oneís original spouse is still living (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-12; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18). Thirdly, in His dealings with those guilty of sexual sins (such as the four-times divorced Samaritan woman of John 4 and the woman caught in adultery in John 8), He exposed and condemned their sins, forgave them and insisted that they sin no more (John 8:11). He ate with publicans, sinners and harlots, not to "affirm" them, but to call them to repentance (Matt. 9:1-13). Harlots repented and brought forth the fruits thereof, whereas the self-righteous Pharisees refused to repent and perished (Matt. 21:31-32).
Nor was Christ ignorant of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and warned the self-righteous of His day that their judgment would be worse than theirs (Matt. 11:23-24; Luke 17:28-29). In fact, since the eternal Son of God was "before Abraham" (John 8:28), He Himself, in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), poured out that fire and brimstone upon the sodomites, just as He will send the wicked away into everlasting fire on the Last Day (Matt. 7:23; 25:41).
Canon Kenny writes as a member of the "Changing Attitude Ireland," a group working within churches, like those in Jude 4, "for the full affirmation of gays and lesbians." In doing so the Canon and his associates, from various denominations, hope to reverse the unchangeable word of the unchanging God: a futile and wicked enterprise (Ps. 119:89; Prov. 30:6)! Revolting from the Reformation principle, sola scriptura, the Canon argues that we must seek the will of God "in the light of Scripture, tradition and reason." Yet, he gives no argument from any of these three sources that homosexuality is morally acceptable. In every text where Holy Scripture mentions homosexuality, it sharply condemns it; in the history of the church sodomy has never been deemed acceptable (that some churches are now trying to "affirm it" is simply a glaring example of wicked apostates calling evil good. Woe unto them! [Isa. 5:20]); and human reason is no guide because the heart of fallen man is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9) and "the carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). Besides all this, the Bible alone is the Word of God and the only authority for the Christian (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; Isa. 8:20).
The "Changing Attitude Ireland" representative seeks to deceive the reader by a false dichotomy, as if only the words of Christ recorded in the four gospels can be considered "insights" from Jesus. All Scripture is the Word of Jesus Christ, not just the words in red in many Bibles. Furthermore, Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth and the head of His elect church does not offer "insights" but gives us infallible, authoritative teaching, the very Word of Almighty God, whose Son He is (Matt. 7:28-29; John 7:16). After Christís ascension, He continued to teach through His apostles (Acts 1:1) and teaches His church today through the Scriptures, as preached by faithful pastors and teachers whom He gives to His church (Eph. 4:11-16).
The Canonís arguments about the OT law are puerile. The OT must be interpreted in the light of the NT which differentiates between the ceremonial and civil laws (abrogated; Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 9:8-10) and the moral law, which still applies. So, the fact that, in the OT, pork and shellfish were forbidden is no argument, since the NT strongly reprobates both the lusts and practices of homosexuals (Rom. 1:26-27), who are no longer to be executed but excommunicated (I Cor. 5:1-13). Is Canon Kenny unaware of Peter's vision, when God repealed the OT Jewish food laws indicating that He now embraces believing Gentiles in the church of His beloved Son (Acts 10-11)?
The Canon does not read far enough in Ezekiel 16. After Sodom is condemned for idleness and pride (no-one ever said that the only sin in Sodom was homosexuality!), God adds, "and they were haughty and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good" (v. 50). The "abomination" of Sodom is homosexuality, as Scripture indicates (Gen. 19:5-11; Jude 7; cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13).
Finally, the Canon tries to deceive the reader that it is the will of Jesus Christ that gays and lesbians be "fully affirmed" as members of His church. On the contrary, Christ Himself, speaking by His Spirit through the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 14:37), declares that such sinners are not members of His church and kingdom at all (I Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:5-6)! Those who, like "Changing Attitude Ireland," take pleasure in the sins of the wicked will share in their condemnation (Rom. 1:32).
Rev Martyn McGeown is a graduate (2010) of the Protestant Reformed Theological School in Grandville, Michigan. He is the current Pastor of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship of Limerick City, Ireland.