Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Homosexuals (among others) cannot love


Homosexualty is engaging in sexual acts with another human of the same sex.

Love is a commitment to pursue the greatest good of the object of one's love, with the revealed person and will of God as one's core motivation and ethical framework.

Only those born of God can love (1 John 3:10-18; 4:7, 16, 19; 5:1-2; 2 John 6).


It's tempting to say, "I'm done," because, really, I am.

Our glandocentric, relativistic, pomo culture focuses exclusively on feeling. So it is being argued (without much of a response) that homosexual "marriage" is as valid as any other kind, because homosexuals can love just like anyone else. For instance, one utterly mixed-up voter in Maine gave us the full benefit of her 26-year-old wisdom thus: "They love and they have the right to love. And we can't tell somebody how to love." Armed with this "reasoning," she voted for forcing all the citizens of Maine to redefine repeated acts of sexual perversion as "marriage." So agree the great sages of The Intrawebs.

In response, Christians tend to get into that mud-pit and try to wrestle, or they just ignore the argument.

I have this novel notion that Christians need to be Christians. Believe what we believe, and do it both out loud and without simpering or temporizing.

No, as a matter of fact, homosexuals cannot love. Because
  1. Only Christians can love, and the embrace and practice of homosexuality marks one as a non-Christian.
  2. Nobody committed to pursing the highest good of the one he loves would seek to involve him or her in that which will surely destroy him as a human being, and drag him down to Hell, where he will suffer the wrath of God for all eternity.
Now, note: I am not saying that homosexuals do not say that they love. I am not saying that homosexuals can't have warm, fond feelings for each other, nor passionate feelings. Nor, for that matter, am I saying that people who engage in bestiality nor pederasty never have such feelings for the objects of their perverse desire.

Nor, for that matter, that the man or woman who "sleeps around" may not have such feelings, and call such feelings "love."

It's just not love. By definition, it can't be.

This takes us right to the heart of why Christians are and always will be hated. People who would be infuriated by my argument may themselves not be slaves to these particular perverse desires. But they would insist on this: they should be free to pursue their heart's desires without criticism or interference, no matter where that pursuit takes them.

This is The Gospel According to Hollywood, and it's the most popular Gospel there is. Follow your heart. Your heart is never wrong. You must do what is in your heart.

Who could possibly stand against such a message?

Answer: the infinite-personal, transcendent, immutable God of Scripture.

That is why, even if we do not propose a single law nor a single penalty, just by virtue of believing what we believe, Christians are often so hated. We stand on the other side of the "You shall be as God" sales-line.

We know that in fact our heart can and usually does steer us wrong.   That is why we — every one of us, no exceptions — need a new heart. It is why, as Jesus says, we need to be born again, so that our heart that hates God and refuses to submit to His law can be given new life as a gift, and re-created into a heart that loves God, believes Him, and flees from sin to embrace His will.

None of that happens by our re-defining sin. I can redefine a baseball bat as a pillow, but if you hit me in the head with it, I'm still eating dirt.

Redefining the perversion of sin as anything else simply tightens the chains on its captives. Only the power of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly frees us.


DJP said...

Since predictions only count in advance, here are mine:

1. Any furious disagreement will ignore the entire argument, relying instead on cliches and/or gainsaying.

2. Any furious disagreement will amount to "OK, fine... just don't believe what you say you believe!"

3. Less-furious disagreement will try to trivialize the train-wreck that is homosexuality.

Michelle said...

"Follow your heart. Your heart is never wrong. You must do what is in your heart.

Who could possible (sic) stand against such a message?

Answer: the infinite-personal, transcendent, immutable God of Scripture."

Powerful, powerful, powerful. Thank you for all of it.

I do appreciate how you
"be a Christian, believe what you believe, and do it both out loud and without simpering or temporizing". It's a challenge to me, especially living up here in Canada where we are expected to be nice and agreeable, which requires remaining mute on our Biblical views, which are hardly perceived as nice and agreeable.

SolaMommy said...

Amen and hallelujah, Dan.

A homosexual friend of mine had on his Facebook status today: "Putting civil rights up for a majority vote is just NOT right. This brings to mind the Louisiana justice who refused to marry a black man and a white woman. One day our country will react the same way one someone refuses to marry a committed & loving gay couple. Shame on Maine voters. Shame on CA voters. Shame on EVERYONE who seeks to limit my pursuit of happiness."

The last line is the clincher.

The essence of his argument is pure selfishness. It really has nothing to do with any kind of moral good, just with personal happiness...and that being defined by his own feelings. And somehow his feelings make other people's feelings wrong.

Oddly enough, this friend hasn't been in a "relationship" in years, so I'm not quite sure how he's being limited anyway.

Brad Williams said...

Dan, you're going to get us killed. By tolerant people. Isn't that ironic?

Here's an argument that's more specific than the one you listed:

Dan, you are mean/a jerk.



SandMan said...

My uncle used to say it this way... If I knew you were walking into a minefield and I didn't try to stop you (no matter how badly you wanted to go in there), then I don't love you. God's wrath for sin is far worse than any minefield.

No matter how many furious disagreements you get, I know you said this because of your love for God and for the one being destroyed by the sin of homosexuality.

This is more encouragement to be speaking the truth boldly, in love. Thank you for the godly example

Jerry said...

This is also a challenge for us heterosexual married guys.

When you stop and think about the enormity of the command to "love your wives as Christ loved the church" you see how deficient we are in our love.

SandMan said...


No fair trying to make this convicting to ME... I don't like how that makes me feel. ;-)

Scott Shaffer said...

I'm with you in that the "love" homosexuals have for one another isn't the love that seeks the highest good. But, and you knew this was coming, you mention that only Christians can love. Therefore, even according to your argument even pagan heterosexual couples can't love one another. Yet, Jesus says in Luke 6:32 that even pagans love those that love them. How do you reconcile this?

~Mark said...

I had a similar discussion relaying that no human is capable of real love except the Christian. It was in the "off-topic" section of an aquarium website.

You can imagine how it went! ;)

~Mark said...

I had a similar discussion relaying that no human is capable of real love except the Christian. It was in the "off-topic" section of an aquarium website.

You can imagine how it went! ;)

Fred Butler said...

That Maine girl sounded like she was quoting that chick from Episode II when she was trying to convince Darth Vader not to go bats.

Fred Butler said...

I would seriously add that redemption in Christ is more than just deliverance from judgment. It is the spiritual ability to put off inordinate affections and put on biblical affections. Thus, those men who say they are attracted to men or women to women, can, by the power of the Spirit's enabling grace, change those affections and desires to honor Christ. They are redeemed wholly and thus there is certain hope.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Only those born of God can love (1 John 3:10-18; 4:7, 16, 19; 5:1-2; 2 John 6)."

I can hear some LibProt somewhere saying that all people are born in the image of God.

And they would continue that even though that image may be badly marred, there is still bountiful common grace given to fallen humans that it would indeed be the case that homosexuals (among others) CAN love.

P.S. I'm not a LibProt.

Joshua Allen said...

You say that love is "by definition" what you describe in this post.

As much as I agree with your definition, and have argued as much myself, it's not the dictionary definition, nor is it the common usage of the word. So, while the argument laid out here may be useful for convincing people who already agree with you, the appeals to the authority of "by definition" are misguided and unconvincing to anyone who doesn't already share your insights about the inadequacies of the conventional definition of "love".

What you are really arguing is that "love", in the dictionary and common usage, should mean what you describe here. Compared to the battle to preserve the traditional definition of love, the battle to get society to change their definition of "love" to mean what you propose seems much more difficult.

daniel vance said...

I agree entirely

...with Scott.

Your initial definition of love is incorrect, since Jesus Himself states that "even the tax collectors do this" (i.e. LOVE those who love them). Further, as a grecophile, you would know that the love being discussed in this passage is the Christian conception of selfless, agape love.

I do not have an ax to grind here; I would very much agree that Christians love in a more complete sense, and that homosexuality is sin. But to say that non-Christians cannot love is demonstrably untrue according to the Scriptures.

DJP said...

There are a few problems with the attempted counters.

1. You mustn't overload the word agape. It doesn't mean "the Christian conception of" Read — or, if you have, apparently you might want to re-read — Carson's Exegetical Fallacies. The fact a word is in some contexts used to mean "M" does not mean that the word itself means "M," and so "M" should be inserted into every use.

2. The passage cited underscores my point, not so much yours. "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them," Jesus says (Luke 6:32). Try reading that as "even sinners exercise selfless Christian love for those who love them." Clearly Christ is saying the opposite: if you simply love those who love you, you do no better than selfish, Godless folk do. What they do is not Christian love, Jesus says.

3. You simply seem to ignore the direct statements of 1 John 3:10-18; 4:7, 16, 19; 5:1-2; 2 John 6, cited in the article. That's not the way to come up with a whole-Bible view of a subject. I think I'll let the categorical statements of Scripture dictate how I see a subject.

4. If we are to accept the world's definition of things, then I guess we as Christians have nothing to say to them, do we? We'll just hide in our churches, pray and sing hymns, as they've been ordering us to do for decades.

That's for starters.

Citizen Grim said...

Also, for clarity's sake, it's important that we recognize the difference between:

A.) Openly practicing homosexuals (some of whom may even claim to be Christians, while their works demonstrate otherwise), and

B.) Christians who struggle with homosexual temptation, but in Christ find victory over sin and death.

There are some in the church who confuse the two, and incorrectly believe that a temptation to sin (especially rarer kinds of sin, such as homosexuality) is as bad as the act of sin itself.

The church is made of of people who still struggle against the old flesh, who confront temptations toward lust, anger, pride, hypocrisy, drug abuse, alcoholism, greed, idolatry, and yes, even homosexuality. Thankfully, God showed His grace and love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, having nothing in us that would merit salvation, Christ died for us, and we can know with certainty our eventual victory in Him over sin.

DJP said...

Grim, did you read my definition of homosexuality?

I think it's the first sentence.

Jay said...

But how do we talk to non-Christians, then? If only Christians love, do we tell a non-Christian man that he doesn't love his children or his wife? Do we tell a non-Christian homosexual that he doesn't love his partner of 25 years? If the answer is "yes," fair enough, and I know the Gospel is going to sound insulting to anyone who hears it anyway.

I just wonder if saying, "Well, your whole life and family and friends: you don't actually care about any of them. You only have warm fuzzy feelings" is just more insult than is necessary.

Also, I would change the first definition. Homosexuality is anything related to romanticism/eroticism of the same sex. Thus, those of us who experience exclusive attractions to the same sex still struggle with homosexuality, and by scientific definitions could still be labeled homosexual, even if we don't act out on our feelings. It's the homosexual behavior (both lust and physical) that is the sin. I experience homosexuality simply because it's my struggle or thorn in my side, but I don't engage in same-sex behavior.

Jay said...

Fred: Thus, those men who say they are attracted to men or women to women, can, by the power of the Spirit's enabling grace, change those affections and desires to honor Christ. They are redeemed wholly and thus there is certain hope.

I would agree, and that's the most important thing to remember here. Now, granted, this doesn't mean that every man or woman who struggles with homosexuality is going to become a virile heterosexual in their passions. Even the married ex-gays I know like to describe themselves wittily as "spouseosexual," meaning they've developed feelings and sexual functioning with their husbands and wives alone, but still struggle with homosexual desires for other members of the same sex (just like any married straight man is still going to struggle with seeing a young woman in a bikini).

And, we've talked about this before, but I know several people in their 50s and 60s who still have the same desires as they did in their 20s, and aren't married at all. They are redeemed wholly, even though the struggle is quite hard for them, and are some of the best Christians I know. It's our ability to actually follow the word of God, even when it's hard, that shows our redemption in Christ. It's not, in my opinion, how much a person has become heterosexual since their conversion.

DJP said...

I think that's because of your misdefinition of "homosexual."

threegirldad said...

From Merriam-Webster online:

1 a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties [maternal love for a child] (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests [love for his old schoolmates] b : an assurance of love [give her my love]
2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion [love of the sea]
3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration [baseball was his first love] b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address
4 a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person's adoration of God
5 : a god or personification of love
6 : an amorous episode : love affair
7 : the sexual embrace : copulation
8 : a score of zero (as in tennis)
9 capitalized Christian Science : god

2, 8 and 9 don't really bear on the discussion.

Dan acknowledges at different points in the post that homosexuals are able to do, and no doubt actually do, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7. He denies that they are able to do, or actually do, 4.

I don't see the problem being asserted in some of these comments.

daniel vance said...

1) I guess it was nonsensical of me to assume that when Jesus spoke about love--redefining its meaning for his audience--that he was commenting on the distinctly Christian conception of love...

2) It's an interesting piece of logical judo wherein you make the case in point 1) that agape does not always mean Christian love (and insinutate that, as such, my citing Jesus teaching as a counter-argument is invalid), and then make the case in your second point that Jesus teaching actually is about the Christian conception of agape, but that I have misunderstood it. I just have to disagree here: Jesus isn't saying that non-Christians don't love those who love them--He's saying that Christians are called to a higher form of love; namely loving those who don't love them (e.g. their enemies). This fits well with my counterpoint: "I would very much agree that Christians love in a more complete sense" ...but not really with yours (paraphrasing) "homosexuals (and, by the way, all non-Christians) cannot love at all."

3) 1 Jn. 3:10-18 basically says if you hate your brother, you are not of God (of course there is a great deal more in there! We never exhaust God's Word). This hardly proves that non-Christians cannot love--rather it says that true Christians do/must love. The logical restriction here is on Christians, not unbelievers. The implication isn't that all non-Christians cannot or do not love, but rather that those who claim to be Christians but do not love are liars. Perhaps you should re-read a bit on logical fallacies? ;)
1 Jn. 4:16 and 19 as well as 5:1-2 all deal with Christians demonstrating their love for God, or "abiding in love." This doesn't exactaly disprove my thesis, again, it's descriptive of and restrictive for Christians. Non-Christians do not "abide in love"--but it doesn't follow that they don't love at all. Non-Christians do not "love Him" but it does not follow that they don't love at all.
I agree that a very surface-y reading of 1 Jn 4:7 would prove destructive to my argument, but I would contend that John is again speaking of a deeper fulfillment of love here, not making the case that non-Christians cannot love at all. This is not just me reading in, either--the idea of qulifications of love isn't exactly alien to John after all--as he states later that perfect love will cast out fear. According to your totalizing logic that would mean that our present expressions of love are therefore not love, right? But of course you're too bright and biblically informed to say that. I'm just asking you to take the next step ont he logical path. Isn't it possible that non-Christians are able to love in some (sub-Christian, but still true) capacity because of common grace? Doesn't this square better with Matthew 5 and Luke 6? Also, isn't your proposition both anecdotally and experientially untrue? Must I source and link to a multitude of stories about non-Christians who neverthelss selflessly love their children? I know that Scripture trumps our perceptions and experiences, but I don't think your case is so iron-clad that the two are really at loggerheads; a perfectly acceptable, biblically informed resolution is available.

4)I openly stated that Christians love in a deeper and truer sense of the word, and I further stated that homosexual activity is sin.
I hardly think that qualifies me as some milquetoast waffler of the faith, beholden to the winds and whims of godless American culture. Your screed there is simply off-target.

I really don't seek a acrimony with you; I enjoy this site, as well as Pyro. I find the insight in both places very helpful and biblically accurate. But I do think that both the Scriptures and common sense reveal that are wrong in this particular case.

Anonymous said...

Dan you rock.

This post sums up my feelings from everything to Prop 8 to Disney films(the follow your heart crud)

God bless.

Jugulum said...


I'm wondering if you want to slightly qualify your definition of homosexuality.

It sounds like, in order for your syllogism to work, you have to say that those born of God will never engage in sexual acts with another human of the same sex. And that seems to translate to, "those born of God will never commit sin," or at least "never commit this particular sin".

Do you mean "habitually" or perhaps "unrepentantly" engaging in sexual acts with another human of the same sex?

DJP said...

Thanks Jug, but no, it's fine. Just also read the sentence that begins "Only Christians can...."

DJP said...

So, where are we now, Daniel?

1. I take it you are tacitly admitting that agape does not always bear the full freight of meaning you tried to load into it. That's progress.

2. I take it you are tacitly admitting that Luke 6:32 is in no way damaging to my argument, and was poorly-chosen.

So, that's progress. What else?

Oh, and yet....

3. You still try to save Luke 6:32 as if it were contraindicative to John's categorical statements — as if Jesus were in any way holding up pagan love as exemplary (other than in a negative sense). Well, good luck with that.

4. Yes, so John says if you don't love, you aren't a Christian; if you do love, you are. To be exact, "whoever loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7b). You agree with him, or not?

5. You want to tell the homosexuals what they want to hear about their claim to love, but you aren't trying to suck up to the world. Okey doke. So, tell me, what do you say to our homosexual readers who are appreciating your standing up for their argument? Open mike, Daniel; have at it.

I'm all for Biblical accuracy too.

Jay said...

I don't think my definition of homosexuality is inaccurate. Unless you want to say that heterosexuality is engaging in sexual acts with another human of the opposite sex. If that's the case, then you were not a heterosexual until you lost your virginity, and I don't think you're trying to claim that.

If, however, someone can be heterosexual without ever actually having sex, then the same would be said for a homosexual who lives a celibate life. No, I'm not saying that the homosexual person should identify as such. I think identifying as a Christian who struggles with homosexual desires is more accurate and healthier.

HSAT, if I ever entered a scientific study that wanted to, say, map the genomes of heterosexual vs. homosexual men, I'd pick the homosexual box simply because I am not, in any sense, heterosexual. I'm asexual in behavior and homosexual in my desires, which I struggle against. But I think most people use desires, not behaviors, as the measuring stick for labeling sexual preferences.

CR said...

Jay: But how do we talk to non-Christians, then?

To answer your question specifically, the only way to convict ALL people of sin is to put ungodliness before unrighteousness. That is the real essence of sin, ungodliness. It is a refusal in any shape or form to live entirely and only for God’s glory alone and to the praise of His holy name. Any failure to do that or any lack of desire to do that is ungodliness.

That is what God demands from us, that is what He expects from us, and to fail to live like this is to be ungodly, whatever the degree may be whatever the form may be, it doesn’t matter. We are meant to desire God with the whole of our being. And not to do so, is sin. We are to desire to know God and to regard it as the supreme object of our lives in this world. We must desire His glory, to live for his glory. We must seek His will to know his will and our greatest endeavor should always to do His will in all things and in all respects whatever the consequences may be. That is godliness and that is what is found in Christ (thankfully because we fail miserably in the above). His one concern while He was here in this world, was to glorify the Father. He could say in the end, I have glorified your name. I have finished the work which you gave me to do. Jesus came not to do His own will, but the will of His Father. He made men to that end. The chief end of man is to glorify God forever. And to fall short of that in any respect is to be guilty of sin.

That is what we tell the non-Christian, whether he is a homosexual or heterosexual. And we do this, because we've met people before who may read a particular list of unrighteous acts and say, "well, to be quite honest with you, frankly, I, I, I, don't really feel myself to be a sinner. It's incredible, but we've met people like that. If they're homosexual, they'll say, I really do love and I've never met killed anyone, or if they're heterosexual they'll say, I've never done any of those particular acts. Again, if it wasn't so tragic, it would laughable what these people are saying.

What that person is saying is that he has never really faced the question of godliness and the terrible sin of ungodliness. There is no worse sin than this: to feel as you are, unaided, your fit to stand in the presence of God. And the reason that is sin is because they have no conception of the glory of God, majesty and holiness of God. How many days have gone by where they haven’t thought of him or thanked him. This is how all mouths are stopped, not that they haven’t done this or that, but that they fall short of the glory of God. So, that's how you talk to non-Christians, Jay.

Jay said...

I understand what you're saying Carlo. I do. My question is, do you actually go up to a non-Christian woman and say, "You don't really love your husband. You don't really love your child. You only have warm mushy feelings for them."

Do you do that? Because it sounds like that's what's being promoted in this piece, and I've never seen another Christian take that approach to witnessing before.

DJP said...

I think the plain and clear point of the piece is that "homosexual love" is a contradiction in terms. That isn't complicated. There are no circumstances under which a homosexual can be expressing love by practicing his defining behavior, which is exclusively and (again) definitionally disgusting and sinful.

Jay said...

I would agree with you. To me, it's just important to make a distinction between what is and isn't the defining behvior. When my mother's lesbian college roommate's partner fell ill with cancer, she cared after her tenderly, and genuinely grieved when she passed away. Were their sexual acts together perverted and unloving? Of course.

But the care and support during illness was, I think, an example of common grace just like it would be with any non-Christian heterosexual couple. Not everything that a homosexual person does with another homosexual person is sinful. That's just my view of things.

DJP said...

I really don't think the point of the post is that complex. Unwelcome, maybe; particularly if one really wants to try to fabricate and maintain some sort of beauty and dignity for homosexuality.

Can't be done.

"Homosexual love" makes every bit as much sense as "rapist love," "child-molester love," and "horse-buggery love."

Does that help?

Jay said...

What I'm saying is there needs to be a distinction. Homosexual sex is the sin, here. Not everything a homosexual does with his or her partner is sex.

A lesbian taking considerable time and energy to care for her dying partner may not be love to you. Then again, according to you, a non-Christian man taking care of his dying wife wouldn't be love either. But it's something, and saying that it's the same as child molestation is just something I'm not going to support.

I'm not trying to find beauty and dignity in the sin of homosexual sex. I do think, though, that you are an absolutely ineffective witness if you don't recognize that there is mutual care and affection between homosexual couples outside of their sexual relationships. Get to know any ex-gay Christian who has left a long term partner to follow Jesus. They aren't going to try to say those relationships weren't sinful, but they also aren't going to use the same harsh language you're using.

Heck, look at the testimonies and messages on Exodus International's website. They aren't going to use the child molestation or bestiality comparisons, either, and don't you think that they might know just a bit more about this issue than you do, simply based on the experience of actually getting down in the trenches and witnessing to homosexuals, or leaving actively gay lifestyles themselves?

DJP said...

That's the homosexualist doubletalk, Jay.

1. Criticize the perversion of homosexuality, and the response is, "It's just like any other sin."

2. Persist, and the response is "You can't understand! It's unlike any other sin!"

Which is it?

What's important is to identify, regard, and deal with sin Biblically. Homosexuality is immoral, repulsive, unnatural. Under no circumstances can it be anything but.

Again, to reiterate what I still think is a pretty simple point, among the desperate attempts afoot is to try to transfer something apparently noble to homosexuality, and thereby gain nobility for homosexuality.

What a Christian needs to do is regard homosexuality as God does - something that is never noble, beautiful, acceptable or natural, under any circumstances. In a Christian, desires in that direction need to be put to death, with no quarter or mollycoddling, and no provision (Romans 13:14, among many others).

I'd really urge less fascination with homosexuality and its tragic mystique, and more fascination with Christ, holy living, the pursuit of godliness.

If I catch myself trying to ennoble sinful desires that tirelessly pluck at my heart, I seek God's grace mercilessly to deal death to the attempt.

It's the application of Romans 8:13. We all have to do it. Folks tempted by perverted desires for animals, children, or others of their own sex don't get a "pass."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...


If the militant anti-Prop 8 crowd ever finds you out, I hope your Karate skills are not too rusty!

I sure wouldn't want to see you crucified and martyred by hell-bound militants.

Jay said...

Okay, you're missing my point. Maybe I'm just not being clear enough, but I don't understand what I've said that makes you think that I'm trying to ennoble sinful desires. I have never said that the desire to have sex with someone of the same sex is anything but perverted and sinful. It does need to be put to death. I've put it to death in my own life. I still have it (just like I'm sure any married straight man still has sexual desires towards women who aren't his wife), but I don't act on it and I know it's wrong.

But guess what? Just like I'm sure having sex with your wife is only one small part of your relationship, the same goes for gay couples. If the couples weren't having sex, we'd just consider them close friends, right? Like two old spinsters or confirmed bachelors living together. I'm not finding anything noble about the sex. I am saying that the mutual care and support between two people, even if they are sinning together regularly, can still be recognized. If one wants to be an effective witness to a gay couple, I think one has to recognize it.

Of course, maybe you just wouldn't consider that mutual care and support as part of their homosexuality, based on your definition of homosexuality as being strictly the sex. In which case, I would agree. It's just something that needs to be made clear.

CR said...

Jay: I understand what you're saying Carlo. I do. My question is, do you actually go up to a non-Christian woman and say, "You don't really love your husband. You don't really love your child. You only have warm mushy feelings for them."

Do you do that? Because it sounds like that's what's being promoted in this piece, and I've never seen another Christian take that approach to witnessing before.

I don't believe that's what is being promoted, Jay. As DJP indicated in his comment, the point of the piece is that homosexual love is an oxymoron. DJP is not suggesting that we go to homosexuals and say, "you know, what your real problem with God is that you don't nor can you love your partner." As I indicated, and I think DJP would agree, the real problem is ungodliness.

But I think there is another point here. You (and others) seem to have a problem with the notion that non-Christians cannot love. Fine, let's look at it this way. Do you think it's possible to have morality (or real morality) or righteousness without godliness? I would suggest to you that not only is that not possible, but that it is insulting to the Lord to even suggest we can have righteousness without godliness.

In fact this is one of the biggest problems in the world today and it has infiltrated the church. We see the world do this all time. It says, "well, we want to make good citizens, we don't want drunkards, we want to teach people good manners, so let's do those things, and in fact, we'll even let the church help, but leave God out of it." And Christians have in some respect fell hook, line and sinker with the world's method. (See YMCA and Salvation Army which started off well).

And I think that's where DJP is going with this. Just as it is insulting to the Lord to suggest we can have morality and righteousness without godliness, he's saying it's wrong to suggest that you can have real love without being a Christian.

I see the trouble you're having with this Jay. Because just as we see some people who are godless that live moral lives (and in a sense and ostensibly they do), it looks like a lot of times, that non-Christians love their families as do Christians, but in my view, it's insulting to suggest that (at least to a holy and perfect and majestic God it is).

DJP said...

So now you're saying, Jay, that everything you've said has absolutely nothing to do with my post, and is just a riff on "homosexuals have warm feelings and relationships, too," which was already dealt with in the post?

Sure. Homosexuals, rapists, child molesters, murderers, thieves, folks who practice bestiality - they all have warm feelings and relationships.

So? Already dealt with in the post.

Jay said...

CR: Then what language do we use? What do you say to your non-Christian friends when they say they love their kids? Do you protest, and tell them that they don't?

Jay said...

Okay, then. Why don't you include non-Christian heterosexuals in that list, too?

DJP said...

Read the post. Anticipated and answered. (I don't have to copy and paste the whole thing into every comment, right?)

Anonymous said...

I think there is a love that non-christians have. But I also think Jesus made it clear hat it was nothing sacred when he said "Even sinners do that".

I think the point is that there can be no true goodness, no true love, unless it's on God's terms. Any 'goodness' people have apart from God is(and this is just conjecture on my part) a remnant of whatever goodness God gave to us in the first place.

So in the end, it's all His anyway.

Citizen Grim said...

Grim, did you read my definition of homosexuality?

I think it's the first sentence.

Oh, I'm embarrassed! I think my eye must have skipped right to the essay portion. My bad. :)

Jay said...

You don't. But I still think we're just going to have a different perspective about the words we use re: this particular issue no matter what we do. I, and no other Christian who struggles with homosexuality that I know, is going to use the same type of language you use. Not sure what the reason for that is, or even if it's necessarily a bad thing, but I suppose it's just something that will have to be accepted.

daniel vance said...

Just didn't want to leave things on a sour note (I'm headed home for the day and do not have internet)

I meant what I said about appreciating your site(s)--even if I don't agree with you on this issue.


CR said...

Jay: CR: Then what language do we use? What do you say to your non-Christian friends when they say they love their kids? Do you protest, and tell them that they don't?

I would say have you loved Jesus with all of your heart, with all your mind, and with all of your soul.

Again, I don't know that DJP is suggesting that we walk up to homosexuals and say, "You don't really love your partner." Again, ask and answered.

But I have to ask you, Jay, do you believe in the Bible's clear teaching (which DJP cited in passages) that you cannot love unless you're borne of God. Scripture is inspired by God and it is profitable for teaching. Don't you think it was profitable for DJP to remind us that only those born of God can love?

In fact, if we're quite honest with ourselves, some of us might admit, before we read this, we might be tempted to agree with the world that you can love without God.

I'll give you the last word.

Sir Aaron said...

You say the same thing to a homosexual that you do to any other non-Christian. You're a sinner. You need to be saved because as a sinner, you're going to hell. Fortunately there's a solution: Christ.

The homosexual argument is just a tangental take on "I'm a good person because I don't murder or steal.". I hear it all the time. You can't be good as a non-Christian by definition. Whose definition? The only one that counts. And with all due respect to Webster, that definition isn't his but God's. The same goes for love. It doesn't matter what people say it means, only what God says it does.

We Christians have too long tried to divorce morality from God. We argue in politics for the practical reasons of morality, i.e. the tangible, visible rewards of living in an orderly society based on God's definitions of right and wrong. And there are on obvious visible rewards and consequences for ordering society around those definitions. But if a man looks at creation and says to himself "there is no God", it's only a matter of time before they reject or refuse to see the other visible qualities.

Joshua Allen said...

@Jay: the problem is that about half of the dictionary definitions of "love", and the majority of common usage, contradicts the Christian definition of "love". Much of what people mean when they say "love" is in fact the exact opposite of "love".

So we do a disservice when we allow people to use words like "love" ambiguously. When we say things like, "We are all humans, and we all love", we don't establish "common ground", we just muddy the waters. The problem is that his definition of love is different from yours. You end up talking past each other, and you implicitly endorse his concept of "love", which may be opposite of yours.

You need to establish precision in the terminology before you can have this conversation with people. To be honest, I think homosexuals are more receptive to this insight than most. I've had this conversation plenty of times -- you simply discuss the fact that "'love' sometimes means the opposite of 'love'", and then start eliciting examples.

Of course, everyone clings to his or her own definition of love, but you first need to get someone to that point of "Everyone has different definitions of love; some of which can be shockingly contradictory; and I have mine". After that, it's natural to introduce the idea that "The Bible also has a definition of love", and you can discuss why the Bible's definition is the correct one.

I suppose that one way to initiate the conversation is to confront someone and boldly declare, "The definition of marriage belongs to Christians, and so does love!".

Joseph said...

I think that Christians experience and can give actual, complete, and true love. I think non-Christians do experience a very shadowy, mutilated, and crippled form of love. I think Joshua just said it well:

I think the point is that there can be no true goodness, no true love, unless it's on God's terms. Any 'goodness' people have apart from God is (and this is just conjecture on my part) a remnant of whatever goodness God gave to us in the first place.

I do believe that everything is meaningless without God. Our conventional ideas about wisdom, strength, compassion, beauty, etc. are nothing but filthy rags without Him. If any of those things exist in non-Christians it's due to His common grace, and like Joshua said, that's still all His doing.

We have to have some kind of word for the feelings of care and support that non-Christians give their friends, spouses, and children. If we can't use "love," even though that's the word they use, then what word do we use?

Jay said...

Oops, that above comment was me, from my actual g-mail account. You all know my real first name now! :)

SandMan said...

Does merciful behavior toward another necessarily constitute love? I mean, doesn't the farmer care for his animal so that he can fatten it and eat it later? Is it possible that a person can be deeply grieved and compassionate toward a dying partner because they are trying to console themselves and what this loss will mean to them? When you recognize the depraved nature of homosexuality, that it is suppression of the truth in unrighteousness, and couple it with the deceitful wickedness of the human heart-- aren't motives suspect?

In addition, as a married Christian man, I am no better. Anyone ever been sorry to see their wife sick because you knew you would be cooking dinner for the kids that night? I can only say that I love her because of the redemptive work of Christ sanctifying my heart and life and motives. Without Christ, I am void of that and have no basis to say that I truly love anyone but me.

I apologize if this is a repeat thought... tried to read all of the comments... but scanned some in the interest of time.

Anonymous said...

"If we can't use "love," even though that's the word they use, then what word do we use?"

I would suggest, "Mushy gushy stuff"


Jay said...

SandMan: I don't think that's a repeat comment, and I think it summarizes and answers things quite well. I do agree with you, I really do. My main curiosity (and this is something that I will largely have to work out on my own) is how that worldview (i.e. that only Christians can love) is expressed in our interactions and friendships with non-Christians. What do we say when non-Christians (including homosexuals) are talking about loving their families and friends.

I do think Joshua Allen said a lot of good about the types of conversations to be had there, but it's still just a lot to process. Time for me to work on a lesson plan for tomorrow, but thanks everyone for the discussion, and thank you Dan for the thought-provoking post.

Jonathan Vowell said...


In short (and in agreement with Sir Aaron), we don't have to question their (i.e., unbeliever's) "love"; we simply need to tell them that they are sinners in need of grace. Nothing more.

HSAT, I appreciate your frustrations. Dan's post (and points) sounds logical and scriptural, which they are. The "problem" that you point out is a practical one: What, then, do we say to them? Saying it around others who agree (or politely disagree) with us is one thing, but what about those "outside" the circle, so to speak?

Like most elements of existence, there is (paradoxically) a simple side and a complex side to this issue (viz., can unbelievers love). Dan has merely stated the simple side with his usual unapologetic (and highly appreciated) gusto and "to-the-point" syntax, though I think Joshua stated it more eloquently.

Joshua also revealed an important distinction, a distinction that defines the "complex" side of the issue. That distinction involves one's view of Total Depravity:

If you believe that the Fall completely destroyed/effaced/did away with all the good in us, which is to say that it did away with the imago dei, then of course you can say (perhaps unflinchingly) that unbelievers cannot love at all. They have not the capacity to do it.

If, however, you believe that the Fall marred/damaged the imago dei, then you can say (again, as Joshua eloquently put it) that there remains in all of us a "remnant" (a very apt word) of the "goodness" God originally placed in us, but apart from God it is incomplete. Thus, their love, though real, is a "filthy rag" when compared to God's love.

In the end, no matter which side (or some point in between) of Total Depravity you take, you will always finish with the same conclusion: Unbelievers cannot truly love (either because they cannot love at all, or because their love is a mere shell of its former self).

I'm glad you brought this up, Jay. You've mentioned one manifestation of a crucial topic that many Christians (Calvinists especially) have heroically wrestled with for generations. We know that the Bible says that "none do good" (Rom. 3:12), and yet we read about and hear and see people do "good" all the time: selfless heroics (like 9/11), wonderful parents and families, moments of care and affection (like your mom attending to her friend with cancer). The question left to us is: What do we do with these things? What do we call them? What are they? If they're not "good" or "love," then what? "Feelings"? "Warm fuzzies"? "Common grace"? These are important questions, and as I said earlier, I am glad that you raised them, and I hope that my comments about Total Depravity helped give you an additional context to think about them.


"Homosexual love" = "oxymoron". 100% in agreement, and your post is well-written and unapologetic (just the way I like 'em).

Since this post seems to have raised an important issue, perhaps now (if you like or care to) you could write a new post, this one dealing in depth with the above-mentioned question: We know that "none do good," yet we see people (apparently) doing "good"; so what do we call it? Feelings? Guilt? Grace? Something else? I leave to you to inform or ignore, as you like.

DJP said...

Daniel Vance...even if I don't agree with you on this issue.

That's okay, Daniel. Only person who has to agree with me all the time here is me.

CR said...

Gosh, DJP, that's so arrogant. You're writing as if this blog is about what you think on issues...oh, wait...

Scott Shaffer said...


Thanks for answering my question on how you would reconcile Luke 6:32 with your argument.

Do you agree with this statement: Non-Christians can "love others", but only if you define love as something less than the definition you gave in the original post.

CR said...


I don't mean to be disrespectful, but think about what you're asking. Would you ask this question in any other context.

For example, a single can be home run if you define it less than what the definition of a home run is. You can hit a home run (even though it's not a home run) but only if you define it less than the definition of what a home run is.

Scott Shaffer said...


No offense taken. Don't think for a moment I'm trying to redefine Christian love. My point is that Dan gave one definition, a biblical one. However, the word "love" has numerous definitions that are less than biblical, and are not up to the standards established by Christ, but are widely used nonetheless. So I see no problem using the word love in a context that doesn't require it to meet Dan's definition.

It seems to me that Christ used it in such a fashion in Luke 6:32.

Jugulum said...


Going back to my early comment and your reply: OK, I reread that sentence.

Is your point that you already included my suggested qualifications--in the form of "embrace", and maybe "practice" as an on-going kind of thing?

Or are you taking 1 Cor 6:9-10 to mean, "Anyone who commits sodomy even once is marked as a non-Christian"?

If the former: OK, your post later included the qualification--but the first definition still lacks it. (That would be a relatively small issue, though.)

If the latter: Really?

DJP said...

I pick... A.

Sir Aaron said...

seriously, did you guys miss the first sentence of the post?

DJP, you so need to Twitter. I would have tweet you about five times already.

steve s said...

without meaning, in any way, to trivialise the train wreck.
I wonder if this post would have elicited 63 responses (so far!) if it had contained the word 'revilers' or 'idolaters' in its title.
Is there a possibility that we christians are just a mite hung up on homosexuality?

Scott Shaffer said...

Here is what Spurgeon said about Luke 6:32.

Thousands have never reached so high as this standard, “If you love them which love you.” But even if we reach as high as that, it is by no means a great attainment, is it? Our Lord says that sinners also love those that love them. Divine Grace is not needed to make a man the loving husband of a tender wife! Divine Grace is not needed to make affectionate sons and daughters—we see them all around us! I am sure it does not require Grace in the hearts of the bulk of you to make you feel kindly towards those who treat you in a friendly manner! “For sinners also love those that love them.”

Anonymous said...

"Our glandocentric, relativistic, pomo culture focuses exclusively on feeling."

Classic DJP. Love it.

SandMan said...

steve s said: Is there a possibility that we christians are just a mite hung up on homosexuality?

Seriously? The homosexual-friendly culture has so indoctrinated society as a whole, with sweeping effects throughout much of the Church, that so few are as bold in the Lord as Dan has been here to tackle this issue in such a straight-forward manner.

It sounds like your saying, 63 comments have been made... it could have been less if you had just changed your topic (or called it something else)before you got started, Dan. That's the answer? People get mad when the sin of homosexuality gets spoken against, therefore, let's all not talk about it?

I strongly disagree.

steve s said...

Of course, and you're perfectly entitled to.
I just took two of the other sins from the list to which Dan referred at 1 Cor 6 : 9. so, with, respect, it's not so far off topic.
I was merely speculating that one or other of these might not have taken us past 67.
I would argue that the idolatry-friendly culture is every bit as dangerous to the church, but it fails to excite our ire to the same extent. (Look what's happening in Dallas!)

It may have SOUNDED like that was what I was saying...but it wasn't. ;-)

Joshua Allen said...

@steve s - most people commenting here were focused on the contradictory ways in which the word "love" is used. IMO, this topic is absolutely central to Christianity, and very much worth 60+ comments.

For example, when the apostle John wrote the famous words "God is love", the three most powerful cultures of the time all asserted the opposite: "Love is a god". Many are familiar with the Roman and Hellenistic deities of love, but during John's life, the Ishtar gate still stood, not far from the holy land.

Heck, you can go all the way back to the cults of temple prostitution mentioned in Genesis, to see how the human heart always deifies individual affection and lust.

Regarding the homosexuality angle, Roger Scruton's book "Beauty" deals with this issue extensively in Chapter 2. He explains how Plato's concept of beauty can lead to people getting all confused and drawn into something degraded -- if you want to understand the psychology of pederast priests, you can do no better than this chapter of Scruton's book.

Of course, homosexuals aren't the only ones confused about love. You need only listen to popular love songs to understand how pervasive this confusion is. Temple prostitution and Ishtar-worship is alive and well today, just sublimated into a different form.

Heck, one of the shining literary examples of western literature has two "lovers" committing a mutual suicide pact (Romeo and Juliet). Have you read Goethe's Werther, or Poe's Annabel Lee? This is the stuff that our culture holds up as being the highest ideal of love.

Seriously, I think DJP struck on a really important topic here, and it serves as a great counterpoint to the Driscoll book he recently reviewed. When people focus too much on the physical act, they miss the bigger picture. If you neutered every man in society such that the physical act were impossible, you'd still have the sin of tainted love, and perhaps even more so. It's the heart that sins, not the gonads.