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Keep abreast of the International Bible Teaching ministry, and learn about faith, in just minutes a week.
Atlanta, 2 December 2015

Good morning! Thanks for all the great feedback on last week's article (1 of 2) on same sex attraction. This week we'll attempt to identify and think clearly about the main issues. This includes addressing some of the common misconceptions about SSA.

Like last week, you'll need to click to the website for the balance of the material (advice for all Christian leaders).
Think: Weighing the evidence
We are now ready to deal with some arguments and counter-arguments regarding same-sex attraction.
  1. Genetics. Some proclaim that SSA is genetic -- and it's impossible to deny one's nature. Go where the feelings lead you. But just how genetic is homosexual orientation? In fact, there is no "gay gene." Homosexual orientation is affected by a combination of genes -- as are all behaviors. Probably all human temptations have a genetic root. Click here for more. 
  2. Impulse control. While we can’t necessarily control SSA feelings, there are things we can do to weaken the pull. We aren't compelled to give in to our impulses. A glutton isn't forced to overeat, or a sluggard to oversleep. God provides an exit from temptation, so that we may do what's right (1 Cor 10:13).
  3. The Bible is clear. Both testaments speak of homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27; Lev 20:13; etc). Thus there's a consistent biblical position on homosexual behavior, whether you're reading the Torah or the epistles.
  4. Paul's opinion? It is claimed that Paul coined the N.T. Greek arsenokoites (sleeping with males). But this isn't exactly true. The Bible was translated into Greek centuries before Christ, and Lev 18:22, 20:13 is the obvious source (arsenos...koiten). Yet whether Paul invented the term or not, he wasn't the first to declare homosexuality sinful. That happened 1000 years earlier!
  5. The 10% myth. One often hears that gay people comprise 10% of the population. The statistic is exaggerated. The actual figure is probably in the 2-3% range. (Higher if we count those who have "experimented" with SSA.)
  6. Selfishness. Any lifestyle predicated on pleasure (sexual or otherwise), happiness (doing what is pleasant to me), or rights (demanding my way instead of yielding graciously to others) is sub-Christian. Those who live contrary to the spirit may be happy for the moment, but they'll never be ultimately fulfilled.
  7. Terminology. Ever since the Netherlands legalized "gay marriage" in 2000, the term has been diffused widely throughout western culture. I suggest an alternative term, "same-sex union" or "civil union." Unless we really do think it’s marriage, why call it that? 
  8. "Natural"? Claiming a behavior is “natural” simply because one is inclined to it is no "proof" at all. (It is a tautology.) After all, God calls us to live above the level of the natural. So when someone says sexual acting out is natural, we may agree. It is -- and so are many behaviors we ought not to engage in. When tempted to cheat, we opt for integrity. When tempted to drink, we abstain. When tempted sexually, we respond with restraint. Self-control doesn't characterize other animals, but it does humans. We have a choice: to behave at the "animal" level (the flesh), or to seek holiness (the Spirit).
  9. Sex-change? Even with a "sex-change operation," he/she is still his/her birth gender, male or female. All genetic material remains either XX or XY. It is simply not possible to change one's gender.
  10. Life isn't sex. Let's not give too much power to sex -- as the media does. The abundant life Christ offers (John 10:10) is far more than one's sexual feelings!
Crucial Counsel for Christian leaders
If you lead a small group, teach, preach, mentor, or are otherwise a person of influence, please read the important document, advice for Christian leaders.

Conviction and connection
After last week's article (Connecting) and this week's offering (Thinking), hopefully we realize that we can be compassionate towards our SSA
http://www.douglasjacoby.com/wp-content/uploads/btmFeature1.jpgfriends without giving up a strong defense of biblical truth. It is here that convictions must be based -- which is why right thinking is essential. The Lord wants us to be people of conviction and connection -- not just to adopt a biblical position, but to reach out in love to those living in error. 

Further study Shattering the stereotype
Let's shatter the stereotype of the bigoted Christian! Reach out to men and women who self-identify as LGBT. Have them over to dinner (the way of Jesus). Don't secretly wish them ill or oppress them. Defend their rights. Strive for empathy. Avoid caricatures. Don't talk about them; talk to them. Act in love.

The reach of the ministry

The International Bible Teaching Ministry has a long reach, with on-site lessons and training being delivered in 111 nations to date. Below are the locations of all 2015 events. The work is possible largely (about 60%) through your donations. Please, if you're in a position to make an end-of-year donation, consider the International Bible Teaching Ministry. Thank you.

IBTM cities, 2015


INTERNATIONAL
Berlin, Germany
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Düsseldorf, Germany
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Genève, Switzerland
Kingstown, Grenada
Laoag, Philippines
Manila, Philippines
Mexico City [WebEx]
Montreal, Canada
Nairobi, Kenya
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
St-Légier, Switzerland

St. Vincent & the Grenadines
San José, Costa Rica
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Singapore, Singapore
Wittenberg, Germany
Zürich, Switzerland

DOMESTIC
Atlanta, Georgia
Greenville, South Carolina
Jackson, Mississippi
Jacksonville, Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee
Marietta, Georgia (North River)
Miami, Florida
Norfolk, Virginia
Wilmington, North Carolina

Israel

Have you ever visited the Holy Land? (Or would you like to return?) The Bible comes to life when you have 3-d, full-color memories of the land where the story plays out! In October of next year Steve Kinnard (New York) and I will be heading up a tour to Israel, the seventh I've led to that country. Full details should be ready within a day or two. Look for it at the homepage.

Thanks for your continued support, interest, and prayer. All are needed and highly valued.

Your brother,
Douglas
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