As he watches “gay pride” celebrations celebrating the legalization of homosexual marriage in New York — and the constant push in the media and the entertainment industry for acceptance of gay marriage, bestselling author John Piper worries that Americans are being worn down.
The push for the normalization of homosexuality is relentless — and he says generations to come will recognize America’s mistake in accepting what for hundreds of years has been shunned.
“My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us,” writes Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. “Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery.”
He is the author of the bestselling Don’t Waste Your Life, The Passion of Jesus Christ and Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. He is the author of numerous other books, including the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s prestigious Christian Book Award winning What Jesus Demands from the World, Pierced by the Word, Spectacular Sins and God’s Passion for His Glory.
Piper made his observations in his personal blog “Desiring God.” He wrote:
Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.
His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6-9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.
For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.
Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).
But last weekend this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive celebration of sin.
One estimate said that 400,000 people celebrated gay pride in Minneapolis. That’s more than the population of the city. The number is probably inflated, but for the first time in history, it did include the governor of the state, Mark Dayton.
Homosexuality and its celebration are nothing new, Piper noted. What is new is the intense pressure that Americans are feeling — as the news media and entertainment push the acceptance and even normalization of what most Americans privately still consider sin.
“Homosexuality has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man,” Piper wrote. “What’s new is not even the celebration of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia.”
“What’s new,” he underscored, “is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.”
Piper touched on the irony that the Apostle Paul makes it clear in Romans 1:24-27 that homosexual behavior is sin and that “alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse stands the indictment of the celebration of it.” Also listed with homosexuality are gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness and ruthlessness, he noted.
A case can be made that homosexuality carries such a high degree of condemnation from most pulpits while other offenses on the list are ignored. Gossip runs rampant, It’s the rare pastor who preaches a fiery condemnation of insolent children, haughty adults, boastful athletes, faithless politicians, heartless bankers or ruthless lawyers.
Piper noted that everything on Paul’s list is sin.
Also guilty are those who “not only do them but give approval to those who practice” these sins, according to Romans 1:29-32. “I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame,” Paul writes in Philippians 3:18-19.
And that is where much of America stands today, noted Piper. A Gallup poll last month revealed that for the first time since it began tracking the issue of same-sex marriage in 1996, a majority of Americans (53 percent) believe marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid. Moreover, 56 percent of Americans say gay or lesbian relations is morally acceptable, another Gallup poll found in May. Only 39 percent perceive homosexual relations as morally wrong.
That’s very bad for America, wrote Piper. Christians should “weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, ‘who delivers us from the wrath to come’ (1 Thessalonians 1:10).”
And in our best moments, we weep for the world. In the days of Ezekiel God put a mark of hope “on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 9:4).
This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.
“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)