a season of pride

The first time I found myself confronted with LGBTQ was about 20 years ago.
Heading home from work in New York, I was walking the mile-or-so from West 46th Street across to Grand Central Terminal, when my journey was interrupted by a large crowd gathered at 5th Avenue. A very noisy and flamboyant Gay Pride Carnival was passing down its length as far as I could see in both directions; and I have to admit, if ever there was pride in being LGBT or Q, this parade was shockingly, exuberantly, and boastfully so.
I indicated to a police officer that I needed to meet my train; he stepped out into the tide of pride and guided me safely with a few others to the other side.

Just recently, I’ve noticed children’s springy ‘pride’ rainbow headbands for sale at the supermarket; I couldn’t help noticing a Royal Mail lorry with a big rainbow and a ‘Pride’ slogan emblazoned across it; and overhearing a local radio this week, the presenter was earnestly asking what ‘pride’ means to his listeners.
Commenting on all this and other queer things I’d noticed, my wife remarked that when she was in a supermarket, a male shop assistant was swaggering about in a dress and woman’s makeup; and when my wife asked the woman at the checkout what was going on, she casually remarked that it was “just Gay Pride Week”, like it was perfectly normal,… 

Now, please don’t accuse me of being a homophobe.
I have several good homosexual friends; my dear cousin is legally married to his male partner; and where I work, some of our best customers are homosexual couples.
I am not hostile towards the LGBTQ+ communities, I do not judge them; but it is worth putting this culture, and its acceptance, into Biblical context.

It appears that, according to God’s word, this modern culture was already predicted in Paul’s letter to the Romans, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Chapter 1 of Romans describes God’s wrath on the world.
New Testament wrath is different to Old Testament wrath: before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s wrath could be expressed violently: like the flood that only Noah and his family survived; or in the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; or the plagues that cursed and crippled Egypt,…

But in New Testament end days, in which we now live, God’s wrath is expressed more subtly.
God’s wrath is expressed in giving us over, by God letting us go our own way, by God turning away from us, by God abandoning us to our own devices.
The human heart becomes darkened when we abandon God.
And then God abandons our darkened heart.
When God abandons a society, he gives them over to the consequences of their own behaviour.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Romans 1:18

‘Holding the truth in unrighteousness’ is an old-fashioned way of saying, ‘suppressing the truth’.  
Our society may consider itself to be wise, embracing LGBTQ+, and even educating our young children in homosexual acceptance as part of standard school curriculum;
But in reality, without God we are fools, no better than the blind leading the blind.
Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
Luke 6:39

Abandoning God is very prideful. But, what should you expect when society abandons God, and God consequently abandons that society?
Helpfully, Romans chapter 1 appears to illustrate a process:

First thing that happens is described in Romans 1:24
God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.
This refers to sexual impurity, and it can easily be identified with the late 20th century obsession with pornography, promiscuity, casual sex, unashamed adultery, people sexually flaunting themselves with scant and immodest clothing, and the blatant use of sexual allure in the media and all forms of advertising.

Second thing that happens is described in Romans 1:26, 27
God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned with lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their own error.

What God’s word is illustrating here is that when people abandon God, and God abandons those people to their own devices, there will be a sexual revolution, followed by a homosexual revolution.
Sound familiar?

But there is a third step described in this process:
Third condition to expect is clearly explained in Romans 1:28-32
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgement of God, that which they commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them.

There’s a lot to take in there, but it’s easy to relate to many of these vices from a quick scan of a newspaper; inventors of evil things and murder do not seem so distant when you consider the commonality of the convenience-killing of innocent human life at abortion clinics these days.
But the one word that catches my attention in that quotation is, proud.

Search for the word ‘proud’, or ‘pride’ in the Bible: there is generally nothing to be proud about being proud: pride is not a condition to be proud about.
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not go unpunished.
Proverbs 16:5

Pride is interpreted in God’s word as a sin.
Pride is about how you want to be perceived by others.
A proud person believes that they are autonomous, and can do whatever they want to do. 
A proud person declares that they don’t need God.
A proud person believes themselves to be their own god.

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1 Timothy 6:3-5

If I am asked my opinion of Homosexuality, Gay Pride Week, or LGBTQ+ rights, I reply that my opinion is irrelevant:
I do not point my finger in condemnation.
I have no authority to judge others.
It would be un-Christ-like for me to treat people differently, even if they are flamboyantly gay, or butch lesbian, or transvestite, or claiming to be a gender other than the sex they were born with. 

But, you shouldn’t be asking my opinion,…
My opinion is meaningless.
The only voice that ultimately matters is God’s voice:-

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 18:22

Even Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jude 1:7

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Deuteronomy 22:5

We should not be surprised at the condition of the world.
We have been living in end days for almost two thousand years.
Things that God’s word prophesied are coming to fruition, as he said they would, and in the order he said they would.

Last year the Methodist Church voted to allow same-sex marriage.
Last year, the Church of Wales passed legislation to allow same-sex couples to have their civil partnership blessed.
The Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex marriage in church in 2017.
And earlier this year Church of England members were asked their opinion about allowing same-sex marriage in church.

People voting!
People passing legislation!!
People offering opinions!!!

There is only one voice that matters.
It is not my voice.
And it is neither the voice of any man or woman, nor any variety of LGBTQ+:

It is only the voice of God that matters, and God’s word is printed boldly and clearly, black on white, in a Bible near you.
It doesn’t matter what the Methodists think, nor the Church of Wales, nor the Church of England; it doesn’t matter what I think, or what you think.

God’s word clearly states that all people who are fornicators, or adulterers, or effeminate, or who engage in same-sex sex, or women who dress as men, or men who dress as women, all these are excluded from the kingdom of God.
There is only one alternative to the kingdom of God, and you really don’t want to go there.
However, there is good news!
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11

This sentence was written in the past tense.
Here, Paul was addressing the church at Corinth, recognising that some of those Christians had been actively involved in sexual sins including homosexual sex.
However, they had repented, they had turned from their old ways, and through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they had received forgiveness from God for their sins, and they had been set apart from the world as children of God.

As with abortion, raising the topic of LGBTQ+ can quickly ignite a very hostile debate against the biblical truth.
And this is a real problem.
Christians who try to inform others of God’s word on this subject are labelled gay-haters.
But it’s the complete opposite!
If your house was on fire and I knew that you were asleep in your bed, it would be hateful for me to walk on by and let you be consumed by the flames.
If your house was on fire and I knew that you were asleep in your bed, awakening you to the threat of such an impending horrible death would be an act of compassion, an act of love, it would be an act of caring for you.

By definition, it is hateful for a Christian not to warn others of the judgement that is coming.
And if they mock and say that they don’t believe in God, I assure them that the day is coming when they most definitely will believe in God.
But for most it will be too late…

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24

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