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February 22, 2006

Creepin after 'strange flesh'

Creeping began long before the R&B group TLC popularized the problem in their 1994 monster hit "Creep" ,a culture driven song about cheating on men who cheat in relationships. Moral of that story: two wrongs will never make it right. That's the same moral ethic the Apostle Jude was implying when he addressed the church about homosexuality.

Jude 1:4, 17, 19 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude stated in particularly forceful language, that like the Sodomites, certain men in the church had gone after "strange flesh." His choice of phraseology is a combination of two Greek words: heteros and sarx meaning "another flesh with the same quality".

His inclusion of the word flesh highlighted the homosexual immorality (not the inhospitality) of the men of Sodom. Similar to the Apostle Paul, Jude selected strong language to adequately convey the seriousness of the issues facing the church. Allowing unrepentant and activist homosexuals into fellowship and leadership without applying the same standards of admission applied to other sinners would be a spiritual death nell for the church.
In such cases, repentance is the required action a (homosexual)sinner must take to be accepted into the family of God. Please understand that there is a difference between the church universal and the Kingdom or family of God. The church, Jesus said is comprised of "wheat and tare". Wheat symbolizes those who submit to his Lordship and tare those who follow their own path. Incidentally, tare looks almost identical to wheat, hence the difficulty in separating them without a supernatural measure of discernment. Christ acknowledged that our best efforts to eradicate the "tare" are futile and so he admonished us to let the two grow together and when he returns, he will do the separating.

I said that to emphasize that while we cannot and should not bar homosexuals (or any sinner) from entrance into the church, the standards of moral conduct prohibit them from leadership and positions of influence. In that, we do have specific authority from Christ to maintain order and discipline in the church. When the Corinthian church refused to discipline an unrepentant man who was having sex with his "father's wife", the Apostle Paul told them to excommunicate the man. When we allow unrepentant individuals to continue in positions of influence, the only logical conclusion is that they will cause corruption and chaos in the Body. As Paul stated even a little leaven will leaven the whole lump.

This is what Jude was referring to when he chided the church for allowing these individuals to creep into the church without anyone really paying attention. Some people want to believe that homosexuality is a benign identity and nothing more. But as the Apostle Jude pointed out these individuals were "godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." These persons are clearly not qualified for any type of leadership in the church.

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