A Brief Interruption: Reflections on an Outing

NickOfTime

This week the media have been carrying the report of an anti-gay pastor who has been “outed” as a closet homosexual. A conservative Lutheran, the minister had been vocal in his opposition to the ELCA’s decision to ordain openly homosexual ministers. He is now being held up to public shame as a person who experiences same-sex attractions.

According to the publishers of a homosexually-oriented magazine, this pastor has been attending a twelve-step program for men who are trying to live celibate lives while experiencing homosexual attractions. The publishers commissioned a reporter to lie his way into the group. The magazine then published several admissions that the pastor is supposed to have made while under what he imagined to be the confidentiality of the program.

The pastor is now being denounced as a hypocrite both by those who are pro-homosexuality and those who are anti-Christianity. His ministry is in jeopardy. Most people seem to think that he is getting exactly what he deserves.

As of this writing, no one has alleged that the pastor ever actually had a sexual relationship with another man. No one has documented an inconsistency between the man’s profession and his conduct. So far, the case is very different from that of Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals who stepped down from his post after being accused of a relationship with a homosexual prostitute.

The purpose of this essay is not to determine the guilt or innocence of the pastor in question. Indeed, the essay will name neither the accused pastor nor the publication that has accused him. The episode does, however, contain certain lessons that Christians need to learn.

Those lessons begin with an acknowledgment that the problem of homosexuality cannot simply be ignored. A generation ago, this conduct was considered such a shameful perversion that it was barely mentioned in public. On the rare occasions that churches actually had to confront homosexuals, such persons were rapidly and summarily excluded. The notion of a ministry to and for homosexuals was unthinkable.

The situation is now exactly the opposite. Within the “official” culture of our civilization, homosexuality is no longer viewed as a perversion, a disease, or even an abnormality. It is simply thought of as another way of doing sex, and sexual liberty has become the most inalienable right. Any opposition to homosexuality is viewed as almost intolerable bigotry.

This change in perspective is going to affect churches for the foreseeable future. More of the people in our civilization will have at least experimented with homosexuality. More of the people in our churches will struggle with homosexuality. We are long overdue for a conversation about how we intend to minister to them.

As we conduct that conversation, one distinction needs to be made clearly. Same-sex attraction is a different matter from homosexuality. Being tempted with the sin and being a sinner are two different things.

The same is true of opposite-sex attractions, of course. Married people may find themselves being drawn to individuals other than their spouses. Such temptations are not in themselves necessarily lustful, nor are they necessarily sinful. The temptations become sin when they are harbored and acted upon.

It is possible for a person with opposite-sex attractions to live a life of chastity in mind and in body. By the same token, it is possible for a person with same-sex attractions to live a life of chastity. It is as wrong to call such a person a homosexual as it is to call a faithfully married man an adulterer.

Homosexuality is not simply a matter of desires but of obsessions and actions. Nor is homosexuality a matter of identity. Virtually everybody experiences sexual desires of some sort. Those desires, however, do not define us. Our identity consists in our relationship to God. If we are God’s children and we are in Christ, then our conduct (including the conduct in which we engage in our own inner world) needs to be brought into line with our identity.

Homosexuality is not who a person is, but what a person does. Someone who chooses not to engage in the conduct is not a homosexual. Someone who chooses to stop engaging in the conduct is no longer a homosexual. It was possible for Paul, discussing homosexuality among other sins, to say, “such were some of you” (1 Cor 6:11) Whatever their desires, these people were now washed, sanctified, and justified by Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

A word needs to be said about hypocrisy. One does not become a hypocrite by denouncing what one desires. We all have the experience of desiring what we know is wrong. Labeling a thing wrong when we desire it is not hypocritical. Indeed, it is an act of courage.

We do not even become hypocrites when we indulge in vices that we know and profess to be wrong. Unless someone claims to have achieved sinless perfection, we must all admit that we sometimes actually do what we know to be wrong. This admission is not a confession of hypocrisy, however, but of akrasia [editor’s note: “lack of self control,” 1 Cor. 7:5]. When we sin we are weak, but we are not necessarily hypocrites.

Hypocrisy occurs when we knowingly label good to be evil or evil to be good. To be a hypocrite is to pretend to believe one thing when we actually believe another. Hypocrisy means attempting to excuse our conduct on the basis of a principle that we ourselves do not really hold.

So what about the pastor with whom this discussion began? Should such a person be barred from ministry? Should he be expelled from the church?

My response is that same-sex attractions by themselves are no disqualification from church membership. They are no disqualification from church office. They should be no disqualification from the friendship of God’s people. In fact, same-sex attractions by themselves should not even hinder Christians from entering the marriage covenant and bearing children.

Attractions are things to be managed. They can be rejected, or they can be dwelt upon and acted upon. They can be learned and unlearned. Those who reject them and seek to unlearn them are not to be judged as if they had acted upon them.

Helping Christians learn how to respond to wrong and even perverse inclinations is an important part of discipleship. Given the increasingly positive treatment of homosexuality in our civilization, this is an aspect of discipleship that churches no longer can afford to ignore. We cannot insulate our youth entirely from the influences of our culture. More of our young people are going to find that they experience same-sex attractions.

Also, more of the people we reach will have been touched by homosexual desires and practices. When they become Christians, they will have to deal with the attitudes and activities of their past. So will we. This, too, is an aspect of ministry that churches no longer can afford to ignore.

Easter Hymn
Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Death and darkness, get you packing:
Nothing now to man is lacking.
All your triumphs now are ended,
And what Adam marred is mended.
Graves are beds now for the weary;
Death a nap, to wake more merry;
Youth now, full of pious duty,
Seeks in thee for perfect beauty;
The weak and aged, tired with length
Of days, from thee look for new strength;
And infants with thy pangs contest,
As pleasant as if with the breast.

Then unto him who thus hath thrown
Even to contempt thy kingdom down,
And by his blood did us advance
Unto his own inheritance—
To him be glory, power, praise,
From this unto the last of days!


This essay is by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). Not every professor, student, or alumnus of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.

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Alen Basic's picture

Amen. Thanks for the post. This topic is too often shied away from and as a result ignorance becomes a festering ground for all sorts of unbiblical thought on the issue. Not to mention how the confusion between attraction and the actual committing of same-sex acts causes problems in trying to seek pastoral counsel.

I've heard enough sermons demonizing homosexuals and classing them as unsavable reprobates that if I had such attractions there would be no way I would ever tell anyone. Luckily I am in a different environment now where such issues can be discussed. Praise God for this issue being highlighted/

Aaron Blumer's picture

Some might find a couple of articles in the SI archive helpful on this topic. They make a case from Scripture that the capacity to be tempted by a particular sin (in this case, same sex attraction) does not indicate a believer has something especially wrong with him/her (compared to the capacity to be tempted by other sins like, say, stealing, gluttony, deceit, etc.)

There's been a tendency in fundamentalism and in parts of the biblical counseling movement to depict the attraction itself as a symptom of something deeply amiss and that believers who experience it should aim to eliminate the temptation entirely from their experience (vs. eliminating yielding to the temptation--which is how we handle everything else)
Part 1 http://sharperiron.org/2007/07/11/thinking-biblically-about-homosexualit...
Part 2 http://sharperiron.org/2007/07/25/thinking-biblically-about-homosexualit...

I've more recently come to the conclusion that "capacity for particular temptations" is a complex thing. In some cases, it really does reflect a problem of the affections. In others, it may be a genetic thing. And for some, both. So in some cases, we may be able to reduce or wipe out our attraction to particular sins, but the focus of Scripture is on resisting (and prudently avoiding opportunities).

edited to fix link for part 2 -Jay C.

RPittman's picture

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
As we conduct that conversation, one distinction needs to be made clearly. Same-sex attraction is a different matter from homosexuality. Being tempted with the sin and being a sinner are two different things.
The same is true of opposite-sex attractions, of course. Married people may find themselves being drawn to individuals other than their spouses. Such temptations are not in themselves necessarily lustful, nor are they necessarily sinful. The temptations become sin when they are harbored and acted upon.[emphasis added ]
To be perfectly fair to Dr. Bauder, we must recognize the constraints of time and space imposed by the very nature of a short article on a very broad and complex topic. Within these limitations, he simply cannot cover all of his bases. Thus, it is fitting to leave the door open for Dr. Bauder to comment and clarify anything that we may wrongly criticize or misconstrue.

The are numerous points, however, that need closer scrutiny, analysis, questioning, and perhaps even refutation. Dr. Bauder did error theologically, IMHO, by comparing same-sex and opposite-sex attractions. The two are not parallel. God obviously created within man the legitimate, natural sexual desire for the opposite sex to be fulfilled within the marriage covenant. Opposite-sex desire and fulfillment only becomes sin when outside the marriage bonds. Opposite-sex desires become sin only when man utilizes them for something other than what God intended. On the other hand, we cannot accuse God of creating same-sex desires because there is no legitimate objective and fulfillment. Same-sex desires are perverted desires without legitimacy other than one's own mind and flesh. Whereas we would not speak of a man's sexual desire for his wife as lust because it is a God-given desire, it is always lust for a man to sexually desire another man because there is no God-given desire and legitimate fulfillment.

Furthermore, Dr. Bauder fails to address a very important and obvious teaching of Jesus if he is going to compare opposite-sex and same-sex attractions meanwhile differentiating between desire and act. If same-sex and opposite-sex desires are parallel as Bauder fallaciously believes, then it follows that Jesus's teaching on opposite-sex desires (i.e. lust - επιθυμησαι) correlates with same-sex lust. Jesus clearly states: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." According to Jesus, lust is sin. How can we call same-sex lust anything other than sin too?

RPittman's picture

Aaron, the link to Part 2 of your referenced SI articles is broken. Would you please repost? Thanks.

Aaron Blumer's picture

RPittman wrote:
Furthermore, Dr. Bauder fails to address a very important and obvious teaching of Jesus if he is going to compare opposite-sex and same-sex attractions meanwhile differentiating between desire and act. If same-sex and opposite-sex desires are parallel as Bauder fallaciously believes, then it follows that Jesus's teaching on opposite-sex desires (i.e. lust - επιθυμησαι) correlates with same-sex lust. Jesus clearly states: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." According to Jesus, lust is sin. How can we call same-sex lust anything other than sin too?

Since his view appears to be very similar to mine, I'll answer this... w/the caveat that Kevin's view might be quite different.
Lust and attraction are not the same thing. Sins are always choices. They are not necessarily conscious choices, but are always things we can see later that we, in fact, chose. An attraction to something forbidden by God is not the same thing as a choice to covet it or mentally indulge. This is what Jesus was talking about--looking and choosing to indulge mentally.

About the difference between same-sex vs. opposite-sex attraction. It is true that they are not precisely parallel. But the question for believers is what Scripture leads us to believe about the ways they are different. Haven't reread it, but if memory serves, dealt with that a good bit in part 2.
The discussion in the forum archive might also be helpful. Can't seem to find the discussions on the 2007 version (the series posted in 2005 and again, revised in 2007). But here are links to the '05 discussions
http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1192&highlight=thinking+bibli...
http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1235&highlight=thinking+bibli...

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Furthermore, Dr. Bauder fails to address a very important and obvious teaching of Jesus if he is going to compare opposite-sex and same-sex attractions meanwhile differentiating between desire and act. If same-sex and opposite-sex desires are parallel as Bauder fallaciously believes, then it follows that Jesus's teaching on opposite-sex desires (i.e. lust - επιθυμησαι) correlates with same-sex lust. Jesus clearly states: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." According to Jesus, lust is sin. How can we call same-sex lust anything other than sin too?

Since his view appears to be very similar to mine, I'll answer this... w/the caveat that Kevin's view might be quite different.
Lust and attraction are not the same thing. Sins are always choices. They are not necessarily conscious choices, but are always things we can see later that we, in fact, chose. An attraction to something forbidden by God is not the same thing as a choice to covet it or mentally indulge. This is what Jesus was talking about--looking and choosing to indulge mentally.

Okay, how do you know? Do you have a Scriptural basis for this differentiation? How do you know this was what Jesus was talking about?
Quote:

About the difference between same-sex vs. opposite-sex attraction. It is true that they are not precisely parallel. But the question for believers is what Scripture leads us to believe about the ways they are different. Haven't reread it, but if memory serves, dealt with that a good bit in part 2.

I haven't read Part 2 yet, but I will. However, do you deny that homosexual lust is always sin because there is no legitimate fulfillment?
Quote:

The discussion in the forum archive might also be helpful. Can't seem to find the discussions on the 2007 version (the series posted in 2005 and again, revised in 2007). But here are links to the '05 discussions
http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1192&highlight=thinking+bibli...
http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1235&highlight=thinking+bibli...

Aaron Blumer's picture

Quote:
Okay, how do you know? Do you have a Scriptural basis for this differentiation? How do you know this was what Jesus was talking about?

It mostly comes down to definitions... and some inescapable inferences. If sin is something we choose, a desire is not a sin. The word "lust" has a couple of different underlying terms, but I'm not sure (can't remember) that any of them always occur in a negative sense (pleonexia might be an exception). So "lust" just means "desire" most of the time and the context supplies what it means.
But in the case of Jesus' statement, if you accept that sin is something chosen (though not necessarily consciously or intentionally, per the Wesleyan view--not saying that), Jesus must be referring to a choice. What else could "lust" mean there?

But I can do better than that. In James 1, James does a little post-mortem on temptation->sin sequence. I don't have the actual wording in front of me but as I recall the sequence is drawn away by lusts-->enticed-->sin-->death. Everything upstream of "sin" in that scenario is not sin but some kind of antecedent.
Of course, a desire can have a "sinful quality" in the sense that it's object is something forbidden to us by God but a desire is not an act until it crosses over into indulgence of some kind... an intentionally fed desire. But even then, it's not the desire that is the sin but the intentional stimulating of it.

Quote:
I haven't read Part 2 yet, but I will. However, do you deny that homosexual lust is always sin because there is no legitimate fulfillment?

I deny that any desire is a sinful act. It is not an act at all.

James Bliss's picture

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:

NickOfTime

A generation ago, this conduct was considered such a shameful perversion that it was barely mentioned in public.

The same is true of opposite-sex attractions, of course. Married people may find themselves being drawn to individuals other than their spouses. Such temptations are not in themselves necessarily lustful, nor are they necessarily sinful. The temptations become sin when they are harbored and acted upon.

First, I would like to address the use of the term 'perverse' or 'perversion' which a few posters used. This word is used by Jesus a few times and appears to represent sinners, unbelievers, or both. Which would indicate that we are all perverse or perverted in the manner in which it is used by Jesus.

Secondly, let me state that I do not believe that homosexuality is not a sin. I definitely believe it is a sin, just as many other items are listed as sins. I am just amazed at the focus which is placed on homosexuality to the extent that it drives homosexuals from Christ or even the potential to believe in Christ because they are essentially (if not directly) being told that they are going to hell. Well, without Christ, we are all unsaved and have that same potential (probable?) fate. But, I do have what I consider a significant question which I have never heard anyone address, nor preach about, nor indicate that the sin should be terminated. This sin appears to be completely accepted within many churches, both fundamental and not. This is the sin of adultery.

Now, let me define what this adultery is which appears to be so freely accepted and unaddressed to a great extent (if at all), and definitely not addressed to the extent which homosexuality is.

This adultery is the remarriage of divorced individuals. This has been happening much more aggressively in modern times and not more than 1 or 2 generations ago it was considered a shameful perversion. Jesus expressly defines this as adultery in Mat 5:31-32, Mat 19:8-9, Mar 10:2-12 and Luk 16:18. In most cases this is a blatant and ongoing sin which can be ended, at least to the extent of one of the two parties, by terminating the adulterous relationship which they are living in. But, I have never seen nor heard of any spiritual counseling in this regard. I do understand that there is the single caveat Jesus provides of the 'case of fornication'. Well, a large portion of marriages which end in divorce are not being terminated due to the fornication (although it may have occurred at some time during the marriage), but the divorce is due to some other cause (often 'irreconcilable differences').

The percentage of remarried divorcees who continue to live in sin are the same if not higher than the number of homosexuals. The number of marriages which end in divorce is in the range of 40 - 50%. The number of those which have remarried after divorce are between 40 - 50 %. This would place the number of adulterers who continue to commit adultery at roughly 16 - 25%. The total percentage of of homosexuals in the population appears to be 5 - 10%. Roughly balancing out these numbers to a percentage of population as a whole, they appear to be approximately equal (although I am sure that someone can construe this differently).

From looking at these number it appears similar numbers of the population are living in a perverse adulterous relationship as those living in a perverse homosexual relationship.

Perhaps we need to review how we approach this matter. Perhaps we need to bring these individuals into a belief in Christ and let Christ handle the judgment. Or, perhaps we should alienate all of the adulterers which may exist in the current population and our congregations and place the same stumbling block in their path as has been placed in the path of homosexuals in coming to know Christ.

Then we get into the VERY difficult to quantify number of people who are committing adultery while married by lusting after another person. This verse was cited by someone above. Even more difficult would be to quantify this number to those doing committing this perversion on a regular (ongoing) basis, although they remain married.

Aaron Blumer's picture

Quote:
This sin appears to be completely accepted within many churches, both fundamental and not. This is the sin of adultery.
Now, let me define what this adultery is which appears to be so freely accepted and unaddressed to a great extent (if at all), and definitely not addressed to the extent which homosexuality is.
This adultery is the remarriage of divorced individuals.

James, I'd suggest another thread for that conversation. The divorce debate is a complex one and deserves thoughtful consideration of all the facets.

As for preaching against adultery... I have not personally observed that it gets less pulpit attention than homosexuality. It certainly has not in my own ministry. But I'm sure some overemphasize it.
As for barriers to homosexuals coming to Christ, I think we definitely send that signal if we communicate that those involved in it are beyond saving or that those who continue to be tempted by it are "sick, twisted freaks" (to barrow somebody else's phrase) even when they do not indulge in it (either mentally or physically).

RPittman's picture

Does anyone know where the NANC article "Effective Counsel For Christians Tempted By Homosexuality" by John Street is posted on the Internet. The links to it are broken. Did NANC remove it? Does anyone know? Suggestions?

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Quote:
I haven't read Part 2 yet, but I will. However, do you deny that homosexual lust is always sin because there is no legitimate fulfillment?

I deny that any desire is a sinful act. It is not an act at all.
How can you say that sin must always be an "act?" How do you know? What is your Biblical basis? To covet (i.e. desire) something belonging to one's neighbor is forbidden as sin (Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21). Of course, you may hypothesize a mental act, I suppose. But, God does judge thought. Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). On the other hand, pride, covetousness, lust, etc. are mental conditions and God calls them sin. Furthermore, I don't think that you can rationalize away Christ's clear teaching in Matthew 5:28 (compare with Proverbs 6:25) as sexual fantasy. It just isn't there.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Quote:
Okay, how do you know? Do you have a Scriptural basis for this differentiation? How do you know this was what Jesus was talking about?

It mostly comes down to definitions... and some inescapable inferences. If sin is something we choose, a desire is not a sin. The word "lust" has a couple of different underlying terms, but I'm not sure (can't remember) that any of them always occur in a negative sense (pleonexia might be an exception). So "lust" just means "desire" most of the time and the context supplies what it means.
You are perfectly correct in that the context determines the semantics. But you haven't established a persuasive argument for the context differentiating between attraction and lust. Your contention falls short of a Biblical basis. Furthermore, the appeal to "some inescapable inferences" is weak. These so-called "inescapable inferences" are not inescapable because I don't see them.
Quote:

But in the case of Jesus' statement, if you accept that sin is something chosen (though not necessarily consciously or intentionally, per the Wesleyan view--not saying that), Jesus must be referring to a choice. What else could "lust" mean there?
Well, I certainly don't think it was sexual fantasy necessarily because there is nothing in the text to indicate this. Lust simply means desire or sexual attraction toward the woman. That's the desire (lust) of the flesh.
Quote:

But I can do better than that. In James 1, James does a little post-mortem on temptation->sin sequence. I don't have the actual wording in front of me but as I recall the sequence is drawn away by lusts-->enticed-->sin-->death. Everything upstream of "sin" in that scenario is not sin but some kind of antecedent.

Is this the intentional teaching of this passage. I don't think so. The sequencing does not necessarily imply that sin is only in the third step. Rather, sin is referent to the performing of the intent or desire. From Christ's teaching on lust, it is sin when lust is conceived because it is rebellion against God in intent and desire.
Quote:

Of course, a desire can have a "sinful quality" in the sense that it's object is something forbidden to us by God but a desire is not an act until it crosses over into indulgence of some kind... an intentionally fed desire. But even then, it's not the desire that is the sin but the intentional stimulating of it.
Aaron, you keep talking about an act. Scripture clearly teaches that sin originates in the heart and the act of sin is simply the outworking of what's within. So, how can you keep insisting that sin can only be in action. Am I misreading you?

RPittman's picture

There are problems in human sexuality. For example, there is the question, as discussed in a previous SI thread, of hermaphrodites or intersexual individuals. Although it is questionable that a human can be a true hermaphrodite, having fully functional organs of both male and female, it is apparent that pseudohemaphrodites do exist where it is virtually impossible to determine the sex of the individual. The debate rages whether genitalia, chromosomes, or gonads are to be the determining criteria. The Scriptures do not address these issues. However, the existence of difficult problems does not preclude us from establishing sound Biblical doctrine on homosexuality, which the Scriptures do address.

James Bliss's picture

The on going sin of adultery as a result of divorce and remarriage is the specific topic which I was addressing, not just divorce, nor just adultery.

My point is the compulsive conversation of the topic of homosexuality as a sin when an almost identical topic which I brought up is brushed off and virtually not discussed. I am definitely not trying to be insulting here Aaron, but you even quickly brushed off the topic by breaking it into the much less controversial 'divorce' topic or 'adultery' topic, and not keeping the two together with the seriousness with which it matches that of the homosexuality topic. Aaron, please do not take this as an insult for I definitely appreciate a vast majority of you comments. It is just that this white washing of a 'more acceptable' event in society aggravates me when it is given such little 'press time' (minimal at best) in relation to the homosexual sin. Many homosexuals point this out with zeal to show a 'hypocrisy' in the Christian church, as well as many other actions by Christians which should be denounced by Christians (protesting at a person's funeral?).

Even on this site the topic of homosexuality as a sin gets much more 'press' time than the similar sin (in both ongoing nature and number of participants) appears to be accepted. Ultimately, I personally fall back on the idea that the most important aspect of being a Christian is believing in Christ first, with the balance to follow. Just that topic, along with the of the entrance of the Holy Spirit can end up with volumes written on it (oh, there have been volumes written on it ;-)).

Alen Basic's picture

RPittman ][quote=Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
Furthermore, Dr. Bauder fails to address a very important and obvious teaching of Jesus if he is going to compare opposite-sex and same-sex attractions meanwhile differentiating between desire and act. If same-sex and opposite-sex desires are parallel as Bauder fallaciously believes, then it follows that Jesus's teaching on opposite-sex desires (i.e. lust - επιθυμησαι) correlates with same-sex lust. Jesus clearly states: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." According to Jesus, lust is sin. How can we call same-sex lust anything other than sin too?

I'm not sure if I am misunderstanding you, so please excuse me if I got you completely wrong. Anyways,

There is a differentiation between lust and attraction, at least as far as I am aware. I would think it's erroneous to assume the two to be the same thing as what I seem to gather in your post. It's recorded even noted within scripture of certain women who are remarked to be beautiful in appearance. Is it to sin to notice beauty? Or perhaps to push this limit further; is it sin to find someone of the opposite sex attractive? As far as I am aware, sin occurs at the point of lust, which isn't the same as finding a person attractive. Lust is as far as I am aware a meditation or a pursuing of the thought.

A person with homosexual desires has exactly that, homosexual desires. They find people of the same sex attractive, that is a given but it's what they do with that attraction that counts. They can meditate on it and lust, or they can physical pursue it. Either way the end result is sin. How they got those desires is up for debate. There are theories why it happens but nevertheless we are talking about the here and now. They have desires now, and now their responsibility is to abstain from sexual immorality, both physical and mental. That is what they control and that is what they are responsible for. Their desires are not controllable but with time as they follow Christ their desires change. Some become fully heterosexual, others somewhere inbetween but regardless God is glorified in their lives so long as they live as He has commanded all of us.

Susan R's picture

that women are used to market products to women as much as to men. But the attraction (at first) is not the same as lust... it's probably more akin to covetousness, but it is certainly how a significant number of girls begin to confuse their desire to be like those beautiful women with a desire to be with them in the physical sense. It's hard to draw a line and say "Here's where the thought becomes sin." But IMO it's in the neighborhood of where the thought is allowed to remain instead of being dealt with Scripturally.

Quote:
Pro 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

There are also those verses that indicate that certain affections are natural, while others are perversions, and homosexuality is definitely under that heading, so the inclination in that area is IMO evidence of some unnatural goings on in the mind. (Romans 1:26-27, 31; 2Timothy 3:3)
However- another thought that comes to mind is the cursed earth. Our world is deteriorating at an increasingly rapid pace. There is some evidence that pollutants, acting as endocrine disruptors, have an affect on unborn and developing children, and can literally 'rewire' their systems, affecting their sexuality. I think we have to take some of these factors into account when attempting to minister to people having issues in this area. They may not be struggling because they are exposing their minds to perverted images, but because their hormonal balance has been turned upside down and they are experiencing physical symptoms that have affected their mental processes. It's a possibility I think we'd be unwise to ignore.

Aaron Blumer's picture

Quote:
How can you say that sin must always be an "act?" How do you know? What is your Biblical basis? To covet (i.e. desire) something belonging to one's neighbor is forbidden as sin (Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21). Of course, you may hypothesize a mental act, I suppose. But, God does judge thought. Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). On the other hand, pride, covetousness, lust, etc. are mental conditions and God calls them sin. Furthermore, I don't think that you can rationalize away Christ's clear teaching in Matthew 5:28 (compare with Proverbs 6:25) as sexual fantasy. It just isn't there.

Haven't got time at the moment, but you can peruse definitions of sin in just about any systematic theology.
It really is a necessary inference. If we are commanded not to sin, it must be something one can choose not to do.

As for coveting, this too, is a choice. Isn't it pretty obvious that you do not control what merely crosses your mind? You can control what you decide to do mentally with a desire that you experience. When your stomach empties, you experience hunger--the desire for food. You do not choose to be hungry. You can choose to dwell on your hunger, think about sizzling steaks or fudge sundays. Then you are crossing a line into mental indulgence. But desire itself just happens a good bit of the time.

(I will say, though, that there are things we can do indirectly to influence many of our desires and make them stronger or weaker, and more or less frequent. I think it's likely that Jesus' statement about looking to lust is, more precisely, a decision to look for the purpose of experiencing desire. In that case, it is the act of inviting a desire that is the sin. This sort of thing is included in what I'm calling mental indulgence.)

Quote:
On the other hand, pride, covetousness, lust, etc. are mental conditions and God calls them sin.

Covetousness - when you experience a desire for something you should not have and you do not reject the desire, but rather nurture it
Pride - when you choose to believe things about yourself that are not true (you can be proud without knowing it, of course. We usually are. But it is still within our capacity to believe the truth and not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.)
Lust - literally, lust is desire. I have not seen your answer to my reference to James. James clearly distinguishes lust from sin. But, in a manner of speaking, any desire can become a sin when we start indulging it mentally.

One succinct definition of in in the NT is "sin is transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) A transgression is something one does--not necessarily outwardly and visibly, of course, but a choice nonetheless.

It's not a matter of rationalizing anything away. It's ultimately not possible to define sin in terms of things that happen to us randomly. That view quickly becomes incoherent. How would we obey a command to never want something? You can only obey in reference something chooseable.

Now I don't want to say the affections don't matter. We are to believe, do and desire according to God's will. But affections are things we do not control directly. So they can be sinful as a quality, but they are not sins. There is much I do not yet understand about them, but the affections are not the same thing as physical/emotional appetites. We're going to have the latter as long as we have unredeemed bodies. Thirst, hunger, sexual drive, fatigue (as in the desire for sleep), and others are built-in realities we will experience no matter how spiritually mature we might be. Isn't pretty obvious that we cannot call these sins?

No, a sin is what happens when we transgress by acting or thinking contrary to God's will or failing to think or act according to God's will. Scripture never says that something that occurs in us emotionally or physiologically is a sin.

My interest in the definition of sin is piqued now so I'll do a little research and post some results. Iron sharpening iron.

RPittman's picture

Alen Basic ][quote=RPittman wrote:
Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
Furthermore, Dr. Bauder fails to address a very important and obvious teaching of Jesus if he is going to compare opposite-sex and same-sex attractions meanwhile differentiating between desire and act. If same-sex and opposite-sex desires are parallel as Bauder fallaciously believes, then it follows that Jesus's teaching on opposite-sex desires (i.e. lust - επιθυμησαι) correlates with same-sex lust. Jesus clearly states: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." According to Jesus, lust is sin. How can we call same-sex lust anything other than sin too?

I'm not sure if I am misunderstanding you, so please excuse me if I got you completely wrong. Anyways,

There is a differentiation between lust and attraction, at least as far as I am aware. I would think it's erroneous to assume the two to be the same thing as what I seem to gather in your post. It's recorded even noted within scripture of certain women who are remarked to be beautiful in appearance. Is it to sin to notice beauty? Or perhaps to push this limit further; is it sin to find someone of the opposite sex attractive? As far as I am aware, sin occurs at the point of lust, which isn't the same as finding a person attractive. Lust is as far as I am aware a meditation or a pursuing of the thought.

A person with homosexual desires has exactly that, homosexual desires. They find people of the same sex attractive, that is a given but it's what they do with that attraction that counts. They can meditate on it and lust, or they can physical pursue it. Either way the end result is sin. How they got those desires is up for debate. There are theories why it happens but nevertheless we are talking about the here and now. They have desires now, and now their responsibility is to abstain from sexual immorality, both physical and mental. That is what they control and that is what they are responsible for. Their desires are not controllable but with time as they follow Christ their desires change. Some become fully heterosexual, others somewhere inbetween but regardless God is glorified in their lives so long as they live as He has commanded all of us.

Alen, I hear what you're saying but it is your own rationalization. How do you know? What does the Bible say? Do you have a Scriptural basis for making this distinction between lust and attraction? You are proposing scenarios that could go on ad infinitum and prove nothing. We do not establish Biblical truth by "what if's." BTW, you need to define your terms a little more precisely because you are confusing attraction, attractive, and the recognition of beauty. It seems that the Bible stresses an inner beauty of spirit rather than the outer adornment and physical beauty. Further, read Proverbs to see the fatherly advice for a young man who may be attracted by sexual charms. Cannot desires be sin? Would the desire to kill someone be sinful? If so, homosexual desires are inherently sinful because there is no possibility of a legitimate fulfillment as with sexual desires being fulfilled within marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

Aaron Blumer's picture

Moody Handbook of Theology, p.310

Quote:
Sin is a transgression of the law of God. The Greek word parabasis means “overstepping, transgression.” God gave the Mosaic law to heighten man’s understanding of His standard and the seriousness of transgressing that standard (Rom. 4:15). Thereafter, when God said, “You shall not bear false witness,” a lie was seen to be what it is: an overstepping or transgression of the law of God (cf. Rom. 2:23; 5:14; Gal. 3:19).

Sin is a failure to conform to the standard of God. The Greek word hamartia means “miss the mark,” “every departure from the way of righteousness.” Hence, it means that all people have missed the mark of God’s standard and continue to fall short of that standard (Rom. 3:23). This involves both sins of commission as well as omission. Failure to do what is right is also sin (Rom. 14:23).

Sin is a principle within man. Sin is not only an act but also a principle that dwells in man. Paul refers to the struggle with the sin principle within (Rom. 7:14, 17–25); all people have this sin nature (Gal. 3:22). Hebrews 3:13 refers to it “as the power that deceives men and leads them to destruction.” Jesus also refers to sin as a “condition or characteristic quality” (John 9:41; 15:24; 19:11).

Sin is rebellion against God. Another Greek word for sin is anomia, which means “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) and can be described as a “frame of mind.” It denotes lawless deeds (Titus 2:14) and is a sign of the last days, meaning “without law or restraint” (Matt. 24:12).
Sin is wrongful acts toward God and man. Romans 1:18 refers to “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Ungodliness refers to man’s failure to obey God and keep the commandments related to Him (Exod. 20:1–11); unrighteousness is seen in man’s failure to live righteously toward his fellow man (Exod. 20:12–17).


A H Strong is not very helpful
Quote:
We hold the essential principle of sin to be selfishness. By selfishness we mean not simply the exaggerated self-love which constitutes the antithesis of benevolence, but that choice of self as the supreme end which constitutes the antithesis of supreme love to God. That selfishness is the essence of sin may be shown as follows:
A. Love to God is the essence of all virtue. The opposite to this, the choice of self as the supreme end, must therefore be the essence of sin.
Strong, A. H. (2004). Systematic theology (567). Bellingham, Wa.: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The opposite of love of God is not love of self, but rather hatred or disdain for God. "Love your neighbor as yourself" punctures Strong's view.
But even Strong put's in terms of choice... "the choice of self."

J. I. Packer emphasizes sinfulness as a moral feature of man and sinful acts as expressions of that moral feature

Quote:
This moral deformity is dynamic: sin stands revealed as an energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious reaction to God’s call and command, a spirit of fighting God in order to play God. The root of sin is pride and enmity against God, the spirit seen in Adam’s first transgression; and sinful acts always have behind them thoughts, motives, and desires that one way or another express the willful opposition of the fallen heart to God’s claims on our lives.
Sin may be comprehensively defined as lack of conformity to the law of God in act, habit, attitude, outlook, disposition, motivation, and mode of existence. Scriptures that illustrate different aspects of sin include Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 12:30-37; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:18–3:20; 7:7-25; 8:5-8; 14:23 (Luther said that Paul wrote Romans to “magnify sin”); Galatians 5:16-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19; Hebrews 3:12; James 2:10-11; 1 John 3:4; 5:17. Flesh in Paul usually means a human being driven by sinful desire; the NIV renders these instances of the word as “sinful nature.” The particular faults and vices (i.e., forms and expression of sin) that Scripture detects and denounces are too numerous to list here.
Packer, J. I. (1995). Concise theology : A guide to historic Christian beliefs. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.
So Packer certainly allows for desires that are sinful in quality--as I already have--but in his perspective desires are not sinful acts.

It's a bit hard to find a succinct definition of sin in C T Shedd's Dogmatc Theology. If somebody knows where one is in there, I'd love to see it.

But really, I think this effort is looking increasingly like a waste of time. I think pretty much everybody is agreed that "sin" can describe a disposition, attitude or desire. But when it does so, it is not a verb. It is not something we do. This is just a feature of language.

But Bauder's point--and mine as well--is that "attraction" is something that just happens, has a huge physical chemistry component, and is not sin. It's what we do in response to it or in anticipation of it (which is "response" ahead of time) that can be a sin. I don't know that KB necessarily means to distinguish "attraction" from "lust," but for those getting hung up on the term "lust," a distinction might be helpful. What simply happens to us uninvited, unencouraged and un-nurtured is not sin, that much is sure. If it helps to put that in separate category from "desire," it seems possible to do that. I don't personally see the need.

I'm mostly thinking out loud here. It may be that the best way to approach the question is to go back to our innate condition and then distinguish between what comes from our sinful moral character vs. what comes from our sin-cursed bodies. We have responsibility for the former, and varying degrees of influence as we obey. But the latter... we're just stuck with it until the redemption of our bodies (Rom.8.23).

So the question with regard to same-sex attraction is, does this attraction necessarily come from the sinful character of our being or may it simply come from our bodies? The view that a person who struggles w/SSA is necessarily a spiritual shipwreck requires that we say SSA comes exclusively from our sinful moral character. But this cannot be demonstrated from Scripture.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
Haven't got time at the moment, but you can peruse definitions of sin in just about any systematic theology.
Aaron, don't you think that I've read the systematic theologies? However, I do understand and accept that you may not have time to deal with the subject in detail at the moment. I think that this is rather ironic, though, because we appear to have a reversal of roles here. In the thread Preservation: How and What? Part 4 (Post # 28), you wrote, "Roland, I respectfully suggest this is a dodge. I can explain my paradigm without recourse to 'go read a bunch of authors.'" BTW, it was not a dodge but I suggested reading for you because it appeared that you were not familiar with the Post-Modern authors and their ideas. My arguments were predicated upon an understanding of their thought.

In the present case, I trust that I am more charitable toward you in that I understand you to have more important things to do than debate me but please don't patronize me by pointing me to the standard pabulum that I already know. All that I ask is the common decency to accept what I say as truthful and mutually recognize that all of us are limited by time constraints outside of SI.

Aaron, feel free to take up this topic and explain your views when you have time. Until such time, we'll consider it on hold without any imputation against your arguments.

RPittman's picture

Aaron, I think that we're making progress here. I am taking it that we are in agreement that sin does not necessitate an outward act to be sin. This includes lust or desire as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:28.

Aaron wrote:
So the question with regard to same-sex attraction is, does this attraction necessarily come from the sinful character of our being or may it simply come from our bodies?
Is there any reason not to believe that it does NOT come the same source as every other lust (desire/attraction) (see James 1:14-15)?

One of my problems in this whole discussion is the word attraction. We do not find it in Scripture. It is part of what the Bible calls lust or desire. With our semantic manipulations, we are able to rationalize away and make Scripture compatible with certain modern attitudes toward homosexuality--namely that homosexual feelings are not the fault of the individual. It is something that they cannot help. Well, we don't know this either from Scripture or other sources. It appears that we are trending to blame it on the body. Blame it on the genes. Blame it on chemistry. IMHO, this is a dangerous path to a lack of moral responsibility and moral accountability.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
But Bauder's point--and mine as well--is that "attraction" is something that just happens, has a huge physical chemistry component, and is not sin.
What is the Biblical basis for this? BTW, sexual lust has the same "huge physical chemistry component." ( I assume that "physical chemistry" means body chemistry, not the branch of chemistry known as physical chemistry.) The indulgence in heterosexual thoughts and sexual activity produces neural pathways that lead to sexual addiction. Furthermore, there is a definite connection between sexual thought upon body chemistry as evidenced by the premature breast development in young girls who are exposed to sexually explicit circumstances. May I say as kindly as one may in confrontation and refutation, the idea "that 'attraction' is something that just happens" is without Biblical warrant and hopelessly naive and overly simplistic in accounting for all the factors in homosexual desire. Attraction is desire and desire for that which is forbidden (homosexuality activity) is sin. Because we don't definitely know the source of homosexual attraction (i.e. desire), it appears to us that it just happens but that is simply our ignorance. It is something that resides in our corrupt, depraved human nature that is restrained by a sense of morality, social taboos, moral teaching, etc. until aroused by some stimulus. After all, this is how sin is conceived (James 1:14-15)--the appeal to something within us. It may have been childhood sexual exploration, or a domineering mother, or a weak father image, or a thousand other factors in combination but it is originates in our sinful selves that makes us morally responsible and accountable before God. What more can be said?

AndrewSuttles's picture

Roland -

Good for you, brother! Thank you for taking a stand for truth.

The 'desire' to rebel against the will of God is sin. It reveals the heart of man which is wholly inclined to evil. Men hate God and their natural desires and inclinations are against Him and His will.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
What simply happens to us uninvited, unencouraged and un-nurtured is not sin, that much is sure.
How do we know that homosexual attraction is "uninvited, unencouraged and un-nurtured?" Are you depending on empirical evidence? What empirical evidence do we have other than the personal word of people with this attraction? Would they be prone to lie or be truthful in face of moral responsibility? Do we know exhaustively the background of people with homosexual attractions to rule out their involvement in allowing thoughts and desires? How do you know that homosexual attractions are spontaneous? Aaron, I think you and Dr. Bauder are positing a scenario that is not sustainable.

Aaron Blumer's picture

RPittman wrote:
Aaron, I think that we're making progress here. I am taking it that we are in agreement that sin does not necessitate an outward act to be sin. This includes lust or desire as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:28.

Not quite what I'm saying. What I'll concede is that a desire can be sinful--have a sinful quality--because of where it comes from or because its goal is something God has forbidden (and maybe in a couple of other ways). But feeling a desire is not a sinful act unless you have decided to feel it (I'm not sure that's even possible, so it would be more precise to say "decided to create the conditions that would cause it").
Jesus is forbidding mental indulgence either after desire has occurred or in advance in order to make it occur. It is the mental indulgence that is the sinful act. The desire itself may be sinful, as a quality because it may come from the sinful nature, but it may also come simply from our physical nature. In the latter case, it is only "sinful in quality" because the object is forbidden, not because it originates from inner corruption.

Aaron wrote:
So the question with regard to same-sex attraction is, does this attraction necessarily come from the sinful character of our being or may it simply come from our bodies?
Is there any reason not to believe that it does NOT come the same source as every other lust (desire/attraction) (see James 1:14-15)?
OK, I think I've already been over this, but "lust" is just desire. Are you suggesting that all desires come from our sinful nature?

Let's use an illustration.
Little boy loves apples. But he's already had too many for one day, so his mom says, "Son, no more apples today." He goes out in the yard where there's an apple tree. There are several ways he can sin at this point:

  1. He can go to the apple tree and look at apples with the intention of salivating over them
  2. He can take an apple and caress it lovingly (this is a sin given the situation... he is making provision for the flesh to fulfill it's desires)
  3. He can angrily resent his mother's prohibition
  4. He can defiantly fantasize about eating another apple
  5. He can grab an apple and eat it

    (There are no doubt even more ways he can sin in the situation.)

    But suppose he avoids the apple tree and a neighbor kid comes over, pulls an apple from his pocket and says, "Hey, want an apple?" The boy's mouth waters. He desires. He has not at that point sinned. At no time is the desire to eat an apple itself a sin. The desire is sinful in the sense that carrying it out would be wrong. It is desire directed toward a forbidden end. It is probably not sinful in the sense that it arises from his rebellious sinful nature! But either way, he did not commit a sin by salivating or even by wanting the apple.

    RP wrote:
    One of my problems in this whole discussion is the word attraction. We do not find it in Scripture. It is part of what the Bible calls lust or desire.

    Well, I don't really need the term. I was trying to make it easier for you to recognize the role of things our bodies do without our permission. Call it whatever you like. Since it's a reality that we experience desire for things against our will at times, it is probably helpful to coin a term for that. The word "modernism" is not in the Bible either but we all recognize that it is useful in applying Scripture to something we know exists.

    RP wrote:
    With our semantic manipulations, we are able to rationalize away and make Scripture compatible with certain modern attitudes toward homosexuality--namely that homosexual feelings are not the fault of the individual. It is something that they cannot help. Well, we don't know this either from Scripture or other sources. It appears that we are trending to blame it on the body. Blame it on the genes. Blame it on chemistry. IMHO, this is a dangerous path to a lack of moral responsibility and moral accountability.

    Well, we have your opinion. But we are not morally responsible/accountable for what is not sin and to decide what is sin, we have to go to Scripture and find out what God's opinion is. It is not automatically the opposite of every component of "modern attitudes." (Modern attitudes also include the idea that we shouldn't engage in dog fighting, for example... so is the "right" view that dog fighting is virtuous?).

    [color=black ]James 1:14-15[/color ]
    It helps that you mentioned that. Here's the text:
    Jas 1:14–15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
    The sequence here is: drawn away by desires --> enticed --> birth of sin --> mature sin/death
    Now why doesn't James say drawn away by sin --> death? Because the desire and enticement are not sinful acts. They may or may not arise from our sinful disposition. In the context they are desires for forbidden objects. But the sin happens after the desire and is, therefore, not the desire. An event cannot occur after itself.

Susan R's picture

One could say that since man is inherently sinful, all our actions are sinful in nature, just as all acts committed by a dog are canine in nature. But that's taking the topic and jumping off a cliff with it, IMO.

It seems to me that we are dealing with the nature of temptation, and in doing so we should address situations such as the temptation of Christ. Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Obviously thoughts passed through His head "I'm hungry", "I'm tired", "Ouch". But He did not follow those thoughts into discontent, covetousness, gluttony, or slothfulness.

However and IMO, there is a significant difference between being tempted by something that is a natural desire- food, comfort, resources, love, etc... and something that is an unnatural desire, such as homosexuality. I'm not going to say that I know where the line is, but I think if we are honest with ourselves, we know it when we cross it. For instance, I remember seeing pictures of Madonna and Britney Spears smooching all over the place at one time, so it follows that the thought of two women kissing goes through one's head at the sight- but to allow that thought to develop into contemplation... that's where you're nurturing a sinful seed. I think the progression that Aaron is pointing out is valid, but I have a problem applying it to something like same-sex attraction because it is a perversion of a natural desire. Hoping that makes sense.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Aaron, I think that we're making progress here. I am taking it that we are in agreement that sin does not necessitate an outward act to be sin. This includes lust or desire as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:28.

Not quite what I'm saying. What I'll concede is that a desire can be sinful--have a sinful quality--because of where it comes from or because its goal is something God has forbidden (and maybe in a couple of other ways).
Okay, if you concede that "a desire can be sinful--have a sinful quality--because of where it comes from or because its goal is something God has forbidden," then you have precisely made my point because very homosexual desire (attraction) is something that God has forbidden. In other words, a homosexual desire (i.e. attraction, if you please) is sin because it is rebellion against God by desiring what He has absolutely forbidden. As I have repeated pointed out, and you failed to contest, is that a homosexual desire can have no legitimate object whereas other desires such as heterosexual, appetite, etc. can.
Quote:
But feeling a desire is not a sinful act unless you have decided to feel it (I'm not sure that's even possible, so it would be more precise to say "decided to create the conditions that would cause it").
Aaron, you have failed to establish how this desire came about. I have suggested several possibilities, which you cannot or have not denied. Also, we are back to the matter of an "act." Sin can be mental thought against God. And this is precisely what homosexual attractions are because they mitigate against God's created order of sexuality between male and female.
Quote:

Jesus is forbidding mental indulgence either after desire has occurred or in advance in order to make it occur. It is the mental indulgence that is the sinful act. The desire itself may be sinful, as a quality because it may come from the sinful nature, but it may also come simply from our physical nature. In the latter case, it is only "sinful in quality" because the object is forbidden, not because it originates from inner corruption.
Nope, you can't have this one. Christ's plan statement is "[t ]hat whosoever looketh on a woman to lust (επιθυμησαι) after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28)." You will notice that the sin (i.e. adultery) specifically takes place in the heart, not necessarily in the physical consummate of the desire. Furthermore, you have not established that lust is anything other than desire. Your unsubstantiated statement is not enough. It's one man's opinion. There is nothing in the Biblical text that says otherwise. Anything else is one's own rationalization to make the clear statement and meaning of Scripture to fit the prevailing view.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
James 1:14-15
It helps that you mentioned that. Here's the text:
Jas 1:14–15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
The sequence here is: drawn away by desires --> enticed --> birth of sin --> mature sin/death
Now why doesn't James say drawn away by sin --> death? Because the desire and enticement are not sinful acts. They may or may not arise from our sinful disposition. In the context they are desires for forbidden objects. But the sin happens after the desire and is, therefore, not the desire. An event cannot occur after itself.[emphasis added ]
Why do you ignore my points? Is it easier to ignore them than to refute them? I have already addressed your sequencing argument. This sequencing does not hold water.

Compare and apply to Jesus' statement regarding the man lusting for a woman (Matthew 5:28). Christ clearly states that he was guilty of adultery before engaging in physical sexual relations--he sinned when he desired her and lusted but the physical commission, which was also sin, came later. Earlier in the same chapter, Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment....(Matthew 5:21-22)" The context of this chapter is a condemnation of the Pharisees, who displayed an outward show (i.e. act) of righteousness but concealed sin in the heart. The Apostle John wrote, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15)." Does hate precede the killing? Yes and it is sin. In face of Scripture, how can you deny that desire for a sinful thing (i.e. homosexual attraction) is NOT sinful?

Thus, I deny your sequencing argument as your own eisegesis. Although a sequence is there, it is not the intentional teaching of the text that the process is a benign, although dangerous one, until it reaches the sin act or physical commission. On the contrary, it is sin when the sinful desire (surely you will not argue that it is a good, godly desire even at this point) is conceived--the remainder is gestation and growth until the deed is done and ends in judgment. In other words, the whole sequence is sin from the conception of sin (lust) into the full-blown act of sin. In James 1, sin is the deed accomplished of what was conceived by the lust. When the lust is conceived, the guilt of sin is present.

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