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Scripture Memory: Salvation
Matthew 7:13 
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

20 May 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Mark Chen (The Mirth of the Merciful, Mat 5:7)
10:45 am Worship Service:
Eld Lim Teck Chye (Blessed Are the Merciful, Mt 5:7)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Colin Wong (God Can Do the Impossible for Us, Gen 17:1-27)

27 May 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (The Vision of the Virtuous, Matthew 5:8)
10:45 am Worship Service:
Rev Ho Chee Lai (The Vision of the Virtuous, Matthew 5:8)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Mark Chen (A Man of Compassion, a God of Mercy, Gen 18:16- 33)

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REDEFINING MARRIAGE

On 9 May 2012 the U.S. President made a statement of his support for same-sex marriage. This statement is likely to produce worldwide repercussions. It will probably add momentum to the gay movement, and may possibly accelerate the legalisation of such marriages by more states and countries of the world. Since 2001, ten countries have legalised same-sex marriages. At least ten more countries are now considering legalising them. Besides this, same-sex civil unions are already sanctioned in 22 countries.

Marriage is not the only thing affected by this movement. Society is undergoing a trans-formation to accommodate its demands against any form of discrimination. The media and entertainment industry are already reflecting this transformation with openly gay themes and personalities. Clergymen are already seeking ways to avoid being sued in court for refusing to marry gay couples. Five years ago the Catholic Church in Britain had to close down its seven adoption agencies because of a new law that made it a crime to refuse to help gay couples adopt a child. And when such legislation is made, can Christian schools refuse to use text books that are rewritten to teach students that same-sex relations are merely an alternative lifestyle?

Singapore remains conservative for now. But increasing international pressure may one day make it most pragmatic to conform to the worldwide trend (though this will aggravate our declining birth rates). We may then find ourselves to be a lone voice in the wilderness in opposing tolerance toward same-sex marriage. If that should ever happen, we need to be equipped with solid convictions on the subject of marriage and sexuality.

The Bible’s Teaching

The Bible clearly teaches that God beautifully created marriage to be monogamous and heterosexual, i.e. it was meant to be a union of one man and one woman. According to Genesis 2:22-24, woman was originally part of man, and is rightly joined back to man as his wife. God had specially designed the man and his wife to have the desire and capacity to enjoy sexual intimacy with each other, and through that, to populate the world (Genesis 1:27,28).

While marriage and sexuality were defined honourably at Creation, they were defiled horribly after the Fall. Since then, people everywhere have manifested sexual desires that are unnatural and distorted. These sinful desires have not only resulted in prostitution, adultery and premarital sex, but also in same-sex unions.

Until 45 years ago, such unions were done covertly as they were punishable by law. But the sexual orientation which produces such unions was reduced to a mental illness in 1967. By 1973 it was no longer considered as abnormal. In the 1980s it was attributed to environmental conditioning. In the 1990s it was promoted as an alternative sexual orientation, and some proudly indulge in it as a preferred lifestyle that provides the highest form of loving relationship, and as the best means of population control. Today same-sex union is being promoted as never before through intense campaigning and lobbying despite the clear warnings in Scripture.

Genesis 19:4,5 records the awful judgment that befell the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their complete destruction serves as a permanent warning against this perversion of sexuality. It was also the subject of the prohibitions in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 – "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

Romans 1:26,27 describes how sin has changed human sexuality: "…their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.…the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…" (The word ‘unseemly’ means disgraceful or shameful).

However the usual response that is given to all this biblical teaching is to repeat the mantra, "I am born gay." This supposedly absolves people with a same-sex orientation of the responsibility to change it or restrain it. They even use this to hold God responsible for their orientation and hence, for their sexual behaviour. It is argued that if God has made them gay, then they should be free to indulge in same-sex activity without any guilt. It also follows that discrimination against them would be just as sinful as discriminating against someone of a different race.

Scientific Research

But are people really born gay? Much high quality research has been carried out by many scientists over the past twenty years to find out if this is true. These studies involved studying the sexual orientation of identical twins, tracing the sexual orientation of adolescents as they grow into adulthood, measuring a part of the brain called the anterior hypothalamus, and even scanning the entire human genome to find a ‘gay gene.’

In one study done in 1993, Dean Hamer and his colleagues claimed to have found the ‘gay gene’ on the long arm of the X chromosome – Xq28. But several similar studies done between 1999 and 2005 demonstrated that there is no linkage of this gene to male homosexuality. Other studies revealed no firm evidence to conclude that there is an association between brain structure and sexual orientation.

In a book which was published in 2010*, a well-known professor of genetics examined the scientific evidence for same-sex orientation. Here is a summary of the conclusions he reached after reviewing all the findings of research:

1. Genetic factors are much less important than environmental ones in the causation of homosexuality. This has been fully confirmed by all studies that involved identical twins. On this basis, the claim by homosexuals that "I am born that way, so I cannot change" is simply not true. For gays, the heritability is only 26%, and hence environmental factors account for 74% of the causative factors. This is not even statistically significant – i.e. it is not sufficient to predispose a person’s sexual orientation. For lesbians, the heritability is 43%. Environmental factors account for 57%, which is still larger than the role for genetic factors in the causation of sexual behaviour. Compared to this, the heritability of human intelligence is 75%, and yet we still go all out to make sure that our children have the right environment to develop intelligence.

2. A certain genetic constitution may make homosexuality more readily available as an option to a person, but is not the cause of homosexuality. (Illustration: A person may have genes that make him taller than others, and this makes a basketball playing career available to him as an option, but the gene for tallness is not the cause of his career.) The option to be homosexual may be selected by him for personal reasons or social reasons or both. It is reinforced each time it is selected, making it more likely to be reselected the next time.

3. Proving a genetic link does not necessarily mean that homosexuality is ‘natural’ in origin or ‘normal,’ since many diseases also have a strong genetic link (e.g. schizophrenia), but are clearly not normal, and treatment is required to prevent negative consequences.

4. Some statistical studies are biased because the recruitment of subjects was done through advertisement in gay publications, and thus it overestimates the importance of the genetic component. But even in these studies, environmental factors are still at least as important as genetic factors.

5. There is strong evidence that sexual orientation is very fluid. In those who are young, gender confusion may appear and spontaneously disappear. In a study of 1,037 people done in 2003, half of those who were attracted to those of their own gender for a time found themselves attracted to those of the opposite gender by the time they were 26 years old. This fluidity of sexual orientation shows that homosexuality is not caused by the genes. If it is caused by the genes, it cannot change over time.

6. It is observed that in cultures where homosexuality is endorsed and encouraged, its incidence increases. But in cultures where it is rejected, the incidence of homosexuality decreases. This shows how strong environmental factors are, in causing homosexuality.

7. One strong factor which may cause homosexuality is to have been molested or abused during childhood or early adolescence (Hence, children must be protected from such abuse by good law enforcement and national family life policies). National policies should therefore aim to promote heterosexuality rather than homosexuality as a social norm. This is important especially in children, because if they receive the wrong external stimulus (either from school textbooks which have gay-affirmative teaching, or from a homosexual role model), their gender confusion may persist and differentiate into homosexuality.

8. There is ample evidence that sexual reorientation is possible for some homosexuals who want to change. The success of change depends on the person’s motivation. In 2003 Spitzer did a study of 200 homosexuals who wanted to change. Complete change was reported by 11% of the males and 37% of the females. What is interesting about this study is that Spitzer himself is pro-gay, and so one can accuse him of being biased.

Marriage Restored

Since scientific research has conclusively proven that people are not born gay, it becomes clear that we are responsible for our own sexual orientation. We are also responsible to uphold the Bible’s teaching on monogamous heterosexual marriage, and to resist the increasing pressure to accept same-sex marriage as a norm. Thus, marriage, which has been redefined since the Fall, must be restored with God’s help to its original form.

The Bible also teaches that the power of God is able to change those who have fallen into a lifestyle or habit of sexual sin. In the time of the apostle Paul, some people in Corinth had successfully changed – "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

This power to change comes from the work of the Holy Spirit who is given to everyone that is redeemed from sin by the Lord Jesus Christ. But this solution is only found by those who admit that they have a problem. Someone has testified: "For many years I thought I was gay. I finally realised I was not a homosexual, but really a heterosexual man with a homosexual problem."

May the Lord help us to stand fast on God’s design for marriage so that those who have redefined it may realise their problem and find God’s solution for it. —Pastor

(*Born Gay – Examining the Scientific Evidence for Homosexuality, by Dr John S H Tay, 2010)

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE SEMINAR

Spiritual Insights into The Minor Prophets

by Dr John A Battle

18-23 June 2012 (Mon-Sat), 8.30 am – 1.00 pm at Beulah MPH. Details are available at http://www.lifebpc.com/erbl.htm 
Please complete registration forms available at the reception counter and place them in the box, together with payment. Closing date extended.

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE LECTURES

Time: 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm Venue: Beulah House.

Mondays: Historical Lessons from the Ancient and Medieval Church (Rev Jack Sin)

Thursdays: The Epistles of Peter: Triumph & Truth (Rev Isaac Ong). Lectures begin on 16 Jul 12.

‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 will be given to those who register before 18 June 12.

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1) Installation of Assistant Pastor: Rev Calvin Loh will be installed at the Chinese Worship Service today. Please pray for him.

2) Life B-P Church Camp 2012. 11-14 Jun 2012 (Mon-Thu). Theme: Unity in Diversity. Camp Registration Office set up in FEK Resource Room (the old MIS Office) for collection of camp fees, passport submission and enquiries. Opening hrs are 0930-1045hrs and 1200-1300hrs. To register online, please log in to http://www.lifebpc.com/churchcamp2012.htm. Limited vacancies. First-come-first-served.

Preaching appointment: Rev Wong at AF, 1.45 pm, Thai Grace BPC, 4.00 pm and Evening Service, 6.00 pm.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25