This treatise has been provoked by a recent article written by brother Leroy Garrett, in RESTORATION REVIEW. In a dramatic and inexcusable attempt to explain the existence of a "Gay and Lesbian church," he spoke accommodatingly of their conduct. In express violation of a Divine mandate, he ate at the Lord's table with a class of people summarily rejected by God. Judging solely upon the basis of appearance (something forbidden by Christ John 7:24), he considered them to be loving, affectionate, and sensible -- even though God correctly describes them as abased.
While we stand in grateful appreciation of several things achieved by Brother Garrett, we cannot and will not excuse this reprehensible commendation of a cursed community. Because his expressions were of a public nature, we call upon him to repent publicly. You cannot bless them that God has cursed without incurring Divine indignation, a brotherly spirit notwithstanding.
It is fortunate for our brother that God does not consistently react to sodomy as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Were this the case, Brother Garrett would have been consumed in a fiery holocaust when he chose to desecrate the Lord's day by gathering with confessed "gays and lesbians." It is one thing to be gracious and accommodating. It is quite another thing to act foolishly. In Brother Garrett's case it is inexcusable, and can in no way be justified. God has shown this brother too much for such conduct to be lightly passed over. If Paul rebuked Peter for acting as though the Gentiles were not accepted, does not Brother Garrett deserve to be rebuked for acting as though sodomites are accepted?
The sin of sodomy involves perversion - unnatural sexual activity. It is not ordinary, and is nowhere so viewed by God. It occupies the bottom rung of the latter of moral degradation. It is the direct result of rejecting God, and evidences abandonment by Deity. This is not a philosophical view, but one revealed from heaven. "Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie ... For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (Rom. 1:25-27, RSV).
The Law of Moses commanded, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination" (Lev. 18:22). Again, it is written, "If any man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Lev. 20:13). In a stern admonition Moses said, "There shall be no... sodomite of the sons of Israel!" (Deut. 23:17). By the law is the "knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20), and thus these words cannot be ignored.
The identification of godly and ungodly men was often associated with their response to sodomites. During the reign of wicked Rehoboam, sodomites were found in the land (I Kgs. 14:24). Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah, on the other hand, were specially commended for ridding the land of sodomites and breaking down their houses (I Kgs. 15:12, 22:46; II Kgs. 23:7). Truly godly men have never had any difficulty knowing how to respond to sodomy.
In a solemn warning to the Corinthians, Paul affirmed that no one guilty of "homosexual perversion ... will possess the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:11, NEB). The very affection of men for men and women for women is unnatural. When passions are inflamed after this manner, a departure from both God and nature has taken place. Not even grace can make place in God's kingdom for such.
I am aware that sodomites that claim identity with Christ, conveniently explain this condemnation to refer to acts of perversion. They give themselves the luxury, of course, of defining what "acts" are perverted. Such "acts," of course, exclude their own. But if one that hates his brother is a murderer, and, for that reason, does not have eternal life (I John 3:14-15), those that nurture unnatural affections - fulfilled or not - are also under the curse! The lusts of the flesh are to be mortified, not explained (Col. 3:5)!
In the case before us, the fact that those in question have called themselves a "gay and lesbian church" demonstrates that they have not "crucified the flesh, together with its affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). They have, by that admission, confessed that they are not of Christ Brother Garrett's analysis notwithstanding. It would make just as much sense to have a church for stealers and murderers, or for the covetous and drunkards ... etc.
God did not ask Adam to explain WHY he ate the fruit. He rather asked, "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Gen. 3:11). To "the woman," God directed the question, "What is this that thou has done?" (Gen. 3:13). To murderous Cain the Divine interrogation came, "What hast thou done?" (Gen. 4:10). At no point did the Lord ask for an explanation of their conduct. The reason ought to be obvious - there was no acceptable reason for their actions!
It is no different for the sodomite. For those with ears to hear, God is asking, "Did you do what I commanded you not to do?" What kind of answer will the sodomite give? Will he attempt to cast the matter back in God's lap by saying that God made him that way? He shall be condemned for such an accusation. God made "male and female," and sodomy is an attempt to make another order. That such affection and conduct is false to the core, is evidenced by their inability to have offspring. That alone should convince them of the error of their way!
If it is sinful for a man to look at a woman to lust after her in his heart, much more is it reprehensible for a man to lust after a man, or a woman after a woman! Those that appeal to David and Jonathan to justify their per-vetted desires shall themselves be judged by David and Jonathan! Theirs was not a sexual attraction, and to imply that it was is to discredit their identity with the living God.
Marriage is the Divine provision for fulfilling fleshly affection, it has been provided to "avoid fornication" (I Cor. 7:12). But what has been provided for the sodomite? How is his/her affection to be gratified? What is to be the means of gratifying their affection? Brother Garrett suggests that it may be all right for ladies attracted to each other to hold hands and kiss. Heaven hears such remarks, and they are noted in the books out of which men shall be judged! In this day of freedom of expression, it is good to remember that heaven is not as lenient as earth!
We regret that the believing community must deal with such things. Like Jude, we had rather speak concerning the "common salvation" (Jude 3). But the expressions with which we have dealt cannot be overlooked. They evidence an aloofness from God that cannot be excused. Jesus came to justify sinners, not to justify their sin. He summons them away from unlawful involvements, and provides Divine means for the accomplishment of that end. Those that fail to avail themselves of these provisions will find that God has made no place for them in His Kingdom on earth, or in heaven!
Editor's Note: The above was written by Given O. Blakely, editor of The Word of Truth. I was planning to comment on brother Garrett's article, and his apparent approval of "A Church For Gays and Lesbians," but the above seems to be a good response and adequate for now.
Brother Garrett apparently believes that Gays and Lesbians, and probably those practicing other such wickedness, are acceptable to God while still practicing these sins. He has often been found, from my perspective, as trying to be "gooder than God." That is, in his teaching and writings, he tries hard to save and justify (for God) those God has plainly said are under condemnation! This is another case in point. Leroy has also now proclaimed that all the "unbelievers" will be saved! More on that later.
Furthermore, over the past several months, Leroy has been making the rounds to visit, worship and fellowship with something like 80 different churches of all shades, grades, and brands. Apparently he believes that the members of all these churches are walking with God and acceptable to Him; that is, that they are saved, they are all His children. His report on his acceptance/fellowship with the Gays and Lesbians seems to indicate that he thinks "A Church For Gays and Lesbians'' is the right thing to do and acceptable to God. How tragic! CAH