by Eugene Wilson
MILEY CYRUS IS AN American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is also a vocal LGBT activist. Recently, while discussing her sexual orientation, she stated, “I’m very open about it-I’m pansexual. But I’m not in a relationship. I’m twenty-two, I’m going on dates, but I change my style every two weeks, let alone who I’m with.”
Shortly after her comments Merriam Webster tweeted, “Pansexual is in our top ten lookups from the past hour.” I was uncertain what it meant, so I looked it up. A pansexual is someone who feels an attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity. A pansexual believes gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant when it comes to being attracted to someone.
Miley is immensely popular, especially among millennials. She has appeared on Times’s “100 Most Influential People” list more than once. She is also a reflection of much of the beliefs and practices of millennials.
Having surveyed 1,200 millennials, Thorn S. Rainer, in Sex, Millennials, and the Church, states, “While the trend toward approval of homosexual marriage is growing in society at large, the positive view is pervasive among Millennials.” Indeed, in the last fifteen years Americans’ views on sexual morality has had a major shift. According to a Gallup’s Values and Beliefs survey, while the majority of society still frowns on adultery it has accepted homosexuality. And consequently-no, probably-views pansexuality the same.
Yes, times are changing. It is imperative that we, the church, are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. (See Matthew 5:13-14.) The following are a few things we should consider.
RESIST REDEFINING SCRIPTURE
We should not be surprised when proponents of homosexuality and consequently pansexuality attempt to redefine what the Bible says. One example involves Paul’s comments in Romans 1:18-32. Some claim Paul was speaking against current and recent emperors of his . day. This, however, is incorrect. Robert A. J. Gagnon, in The Apostle Paul on Sexuality: A Response to Neil Elliott, states, “There is no way that Paul’s argument can be restricted to, or focused primarily on, current and recent emperors whom even ‘pagans’ recognized to be exceptional fruitcakes. The whole point of the discussion in 1:18-3:20 is to ‘charge’ that ‘both Jews and Greeks-all-are under sin’ (3:9), that ‘no one is righteous, not even one’ (3:10), and that ‘the whole world’ is ‘under God’s judgment’ (3:19), ‘for all have sinned and are lacking in the glory of God (3:23). A critique limited to a couple of emperors would not establish this point.”
Additionally, Romans 1:18-32 is not the only time Paul addresses homosexuality. He writes to those in Corinth, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV).
We must not oblige people seeking to redefine Scripture. Instead, we must be exegetically correct.
EXTEND HOPE AND DEMONSTRATE LOVE
Standing for what is right involves more than declaring what is wrong; standing for what is right involves proclaiming hope.
The Scripture is clear-the Holy Spirit is an empowering force for right conduct. Paul writes in Romans 8:13-14 (NKJV), “If you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” People who have feelings of attraction toward others of the same sex need to know there is hope. An impulse is not an excuse. Neither does it eliminate hope. The Holy Spirit gives a person power to overcome impulses. (See Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:31).
Unfortunately, the Christians some millennials have encountered are those who look down on them, or even worse, tell them that God hates homosexuals. This is not true. God does not condone homosexuality; neither does He hate homosexuals. We too must not hate others. Instead, we must demonstrate the love of Christ to all. Rainer writes, “Millennials will exit quickly from churches whose members are shrill and unloving toward those with non-biblical views on sexuality.”
Last, some people believe homosexuals cannot change-once a homosexual, always a homosexual. But that is not true either. Paul declares homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. But he doesn’t leave the homosexual hopeless. He continues, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (l Corinthians 6: 11).
There is hope.
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