Animal Farm . . .

I am giving a heads up in advance that today’s blog may seem a bit lengthy and controversial, but I am encouraging the reader from the very beginning to read the entire blog and hearing me out fully before jumping to any conclusions.

When I was in seminary the infamous televangelist scandals of the 80’s began to break out. There were two within one organization that were both banned. One was offered a suspension and the other banned for life. The rumor was that one had not only had sexual relations with women but with men as well. A not so funny but true comment made the rounds at the time: You can run off with the church secretary and be forgiven, but you can not run off with the church secretary’s husband and be forgiven.

In the famous book, Animal Farm, by George Orwell, he makes the famous statement:

  • “All Animals Are Equal But Some Are More Equal Than Others”

We have modified that statement in the church to read:

  • All humans have fallen, but some have fallen less than others

Or in the classic local colloquial phrase “my poo does not smell.”  The reality is that no matter how much less offensive one may think their sin is before God, it stinks to high heaven just as much as the person they sit next to in the pew (or cushioned chair in modern, hip, cooler churches).

  • Romans 3:23 ESV – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  • Isaiah 64:6 KJV – 6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

I am building upon my last blog regarding not being able to love those that are different but will apply it to the LBGT community.  I made the comment that we need to love those who need it the most, but I was wrong, all relationships are in need of love the most.  No relationship is “less fallen” than any other relationship.  But in the church, we have singled out the homosexual relationship as more offensive to God than any other imperfect relationship.  So let’s take a walk through scripture on some of those imperfect relationships that God forgave as he established the household of God.

  • Leviticus 18:26-29 ESV – 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people.

Abraham and Sarah

  • Genesis 20:2 ESV – 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
  • Leviticus 18:9 ESV – 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home.
  • Ezekiel 22:11 ESV – 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter.

Instead of cutting these two off since their relationship is an abomination before for God, God made them the founding couple of his promise.

Jacob and Rachael

  • Genesis 29:30 ESV – 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.
  • Leviticus 18:18 ESV – 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

According to God, though deceived, Jacob should have stopped with Leah but he proceeded to marry Rachael in addition to her sister.  Yet God did not cut them off.

Reuben and Bilhah

  • Leviticus 20:11 ESV – 11 If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
  • Genesis 49:3-4 ESV – 3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. 4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it–he went up to my couch!

Technically, Billhah was his concubine, but still off limits as an adulterous relationship. Neither was put to death.

Judah and Tamar

  • Genesis 38:21 NASB20 – 21 He asked the people of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?” But they said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.”
  • Genesis 38:25 NASB20 – 25 It was while she was being brought out that she sent [word] to her father-in-law, saying, “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” She also said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”
  • Leviticus 17:7 NASB20 – 7 “And they shall no longer offer their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the prostitute. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.”‘
  • Leviticus 18:15 NASB20 – 15 ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Judah may not have realized that Tamar was his daughter in law but he did go into her believing she was a temple prostitute.  And Tamar did know that Judah was her father in law and did so, to prevent herself from being cast aside.  But no one was stoned nor cut off from the household of God.

David and Bathsheba

  • Leviticus 20:10 NASB20 – 10 ‘If [there is] a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Ironically out of all David’s wives, God chose to pass on the line of the messiah through this sinful relationship.

Solomon

  • Ezra 10:11 ESV – 11 Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”
  • 1 Kings 11:3-4 ESV – 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Esther

  • Esther 2:14, 16 ESV – 14 In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. … 16 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign,
  • Esther 2:16-18 ESV – 16 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17 the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.

We have sanitized the story of Esther.  (She would actually qualify as the very first episode of the Bachelor.)  Basically, God used Esther as the best sexually in bed with the king to save his people.

  • Esther 4:14 ESV – 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Alcoholics, adulterers, the greedy, and verbally abusive people

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV – 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Those that gossip or given to anger are guilty of immorality and sensuality

  • 2 Corinthians 12:19-21 NASB95 – 19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. [Actually,] it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps [there will be] strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

Gluttons

  • Titus 1:15-16 NASB95 – 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by [their] deeds they deny [Him,] being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

The Center for Disease Control reported that in 2017 America had an obesity rate of 42%.  For those of you who may excuse that behavior, in Biblical terms that does translate to a glutton, one that cannot control their appetite.  Yes that means 42% of the church would be classified as so, especially when there are so many starving and malnourished people in the world.

Now let’s turn our attention back to the homosexual:

  • Leviticus 20:13 ESV – 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

The unspoken theology is that the gay individual is more guilty of sin than other people in the church.  The reality is that if God’s grace extended to all of the above, knowing how all human relationships fall short of his standard, then God’s grace extends to everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, not just those who sin is more socially acceptable.

  • Acts 2:21 ESV – 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Notice it does not say some who call upon the name of the Lord but everyone!

And for those of you who still think you are righteous before the Lord with your relationships, then consider the following:

  • Matthew 5:28 ESV – 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

I recently had a conversation with someone, and I posed the question, ‘”Is adultery committed in the living room less offensive to God than adultery committed in the bedroom?”  The person responded “no,” all we have done is change the location of the offense. Then is adultery of the mind less offensive to God than adultery in the bedroom? And again I say to you “NO,” all we have done is change the location of the offense.

  • John 8:3-11 ESV – 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

What many people do not realize is that this passage was NOT part of the Gospel of John.  But the church founders understood it to be a true story of the nature of God’s grace that they placed it within the Gospel of John where Jesus is teaching in the court of the women.  (Note that both the man and the woman were to be stoned, but they only brought the woman.) As stated previously, verses eight and nine always stand out to me the most:

  • 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones,

Once you look back over your life and realize that we have ALL committed sin before God that fall short of his standard and are offensive to God, there is no human left to cast the first stone. In the end, there exists no one less fallen than any other.

And so with that final thought, I once again encourage you therefore to love much my friends.

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