I recently celebrated my 18th year of being saved. In a recent post, I shared my testimony of what happened. But I also wanted to tell you about what happened the next day and how God used Kim Burrell. Though I’d been filled with the Holy Spirit and my life had been changed the night before, I still woke up to the reality of unemployment and possible homelessness. I didn’t quite understand what happened to me because for the next several days, I didn’t want to do what I usually did. I usually started my mornings off with a blunt. I usually woke up to someone being in my bed. I usually woke up to music blaring in the background. This morning I didn’t. And for the next several, I wouldn’t.
Because I wasn’t doing my usual thing, I attempted to talk myself out of my conversion. I’d say things like, ‘How am I supposed to live? I can’t get high, have sex or even listen to music.’ You see, I have an unusual appreciation for it. But somehow, I instinctively knew I could no longer listen to Scarface, 8 Ball and MJG. This was in 1998, before Christian Rap was an official genre, so who was I supposed to listen to? A woman who’d become like a second mother, just so happened to let me use her car. She always listened to gospel stations. So as I drove, I turned the volume up, expecting to hear old time gospel. Instead, I hear Kim Burrell. Though the beat wasn’t my usual preference, there was something unusual about her voice that made me pay attention to the lyrics.
‘And I vow to You right now to never be the same…
Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you as a brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy’, which is your job…
Unto God it is your job. To give Him everything, every part of you…
So I give You my heart, my mind, my soul, my praise, my money.
It all belongs to the Father. I give it all to You…everything1…’‘
Before I know it, I’m driving to the grocery store with tears streaming from my eyes; wanting Who and what she sang about.
Headlines and Hell
Though I’d only been saved a few hours, I knew Romans 12:1 would play a vital role in my life, so ‘I vowed’ I’d do it. And 14 years later, I am still presenting my body as a living sacrifice. But what am I sacrificing? Interestingly enough, sex. And this is where my 14-year sacrifice meets today’s headlines. Headlines that accuse Kim Burrell of being homophobic and allegedly saying, ‘All gays are going to hell’. So, let’s begin by addressing the latter. Revelation 21:8 says, ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’ The word ‘whoremonger’ is pórnos in Greek and is defined as ‘a man who indulges in unlawful sex2’. Based on that definition, it is easy to assume that this is referring to ‘gay men’. But before we jump to conclusions, let’s look further at the definition of ‘man.’
Men and Mankind
The first time the word ‘man’ appears, in the Bible, is in Genesis 1:26, 27 where God says, ‘Let Us make man in Our own image, after Our likeness…so God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.’ We see here that when God created man, He created both male and female, at the same time. Though the male man, Adam was formed first, ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul3.’ Eve, the female man, was not made until Genesis 2:22, ‘And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman’. Therefore, the whoremongers Revelation 21:8 is referring to are men and women who indulge in unlawful sex. Now the question becomes what is unlawful sex? Before we answer that, let’s address sex so that we can better understand the lawfulness behind it.
What is Sex?
Over time, the definition and act of sex has changed. It is even said that the act of sex is not in the Bible. This is because the terminology is incorrect. In today’s vernacular, we often refer to sex as intercourse. Therefore, we should begin our study on the history of intercourse. When you do, you’ll discover that the Latin etymological origin for the prefix ‘inter’ means ‘between4’. While ‘course’ denotes ‘onward movement5’. Hence, we get the act of a man going ‘between’ or penetrating a woman’s vagina in an ‘onward’ motion. Fast forward from its early Latin origin to the year 1540, and its meaning changed to ‘social contact and relations6.' And by 1798, sex or intercourse simply became known as ‘sexual relations7.’ As you can see, both the meaning and the act itself has changed over time. And with this change, came confusion. That’s because sex or intercourse is not the most accurate way to describe the act. In order to get an accurate definition and understanding of sex, you must go back to the garden of Eden, to the beginning of time, to discover its origin.
The Origin of Sex
Again, the terms intercourse or sex are not used throughout scripture. It is often referred to as ‘knew, know, or known’. In Genesis 4:1, we find the first couple having sex; ‘…Adam knew Eve his wife.’ We know this because afterward ‘she conceived.’ There are several other instances in the Bible that confirm this: Genesis 4:17, 25, 38:26, Judges 11:39, 19:25, 1 Samuel 1:19, 1 Kings 1:4, and Matthew 1:25. Therefore, Genesis 4:1 is the first historical evidence and thus establishes it as the first act of sex. Which means we have a point of origin and can better understand its original intent and/or purpose. Next, we need to delve into the lawfulness of sex; the conditions, boundaries, and jurisdiction.
The first act of sex occurred in Genesis 4. But who had it? Adam and Eve. Therefore, the first act of sex happened between a man and woman and thus, establishes the conditions. But what is their relationship status? Genesis 2:24 lets us know that they were ‘…man and wife’ which means the first time anyone ever had sex, they had it within the confines of marriage which establishes it as the lawful boundary or way to have it. But we can take this even further and address the marriage issue. Like before, in order to do so, we would have to go the first couple, which would then of course lead to the jurisdiction of sex or who marriage applies to. But that’s not the purpose of my post. The purpose of my post is to address the comments, Grammy nominee and Pastor Kim Burrell allegedly made about gays going to hell. Again, according to scripture, Revelations 21:8 says, ‘…whoremongers …shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.’ We’ve already established, a whoremonger is any man or woman who indulges in unlawful sex. Lawful sex is done within the confines of marriage. Which means, unlawful sex is any type of sex outside of marriage which includes;
·Single men having sex with single men.
·Single women having sex with single women.
·Married men having sex with single men.
·Married men having sex with single women.
·Married women having sex with single men.
·Married women having sex with single women.
·Single men having sex with single women.
·Single women having sex with single men. And let’s not forget…
·Single women and/or men having sex with themselves. (Self sex/masturbation)
This means all acts of sex outside of marriage, whether homosexual, heterosexual, premarital or extramarital, is justifiably a hellish act; which unfortunately was miscommunicated by Ms. Burrell.
What’s Your Sin Preference?
When I heard reports of her allegedly saying ‘gays were going to hell’, though she meant well, the media’s assumption of what she said was based on a combination of three scriptures; Revelation 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, and Romans 1:27 which says; ‘Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.’ 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 reads,‘…Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators…adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God.’ The ‘penalty’ in Romans 1:27 is often associated with the ‘fire and brimstone’ in Revelation 21:8 and is taken to mean homosexuals will go to hell. However, 1 Corinthians 6:10 says they ‘will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ But also notice who else won’t inherit the kingdom; fornicators and adulterers. Which means not only homosexuals, but those who engage in premarital and extramarital heterosexual sex. Therefore, men having sex with men, women having sex with women, men having sex with women who are not their wives, and women having sex with men who are not their husbands will not only not inherit the kingdom of God, but will burn in the lake of fire. Sobering isn’t it? It was for me, because I realized that though homosexuality is not of God, neither was extramarital sex. I’d spent 18 years having both premarital and extramarital heterosexual sex outside of marriage - which means I have no right to compare my sexual preference - my sin - to someone else’s. We both have sinned. And this is what I think Ms. Burrell meant to convey. Though her heart was right, she just didn't communicate it well.
You see, none of us have the right to compare our sexual preference - our sin - with someone else’s. Though my sin preference differed from those in the LGBT community, we are similar. We both sinned and we were both destined for either the ‘penalty of error’ or ‘fire and brimstone’. Unfortunately, many stop at 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10 and mistakenly only preach penalty, fire and brimstone, and disinheritance. But there is another side and my prayer for you, is that you go on into 1 Corinthians 11. In fact, lets read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in its entirety;
‘Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.’
Notice he said, ‘and such were some of you.’ Were is a past tense word, which means though they were having premarital, extramarital, and/or homosexual sex, they didn’t continue to do so all their lives. Yes, there was a time when they were having casual sex, may have been the proverbial side chick and/or even indulged in same sex, but they did not stay that way. I know many believe they are born that way. But you can be born again; born of water and the Spirit8(of God).
No matter your sexual preference, there is hope for you today. How do I know? Because when I first heard Kim Burrell in 1998, I was a promiscuous, side chick who had never been faithful to one man. But I went on into 1 Corinthians 6:11 and have been washed and sanctified. So much so, that for the last 14 years I haven’t had sex. Am I advocating celibacy? Yes, but I don’t want to leave the impression that you have to go 14 years without it. My prayer is that you would simply consider a sexual hiatus; a time in which you go without it so that you can discover your real identity – apart from sex. However long that takes is between you and God. Should you choose not to, then may I simply implore you to repent; to ask God to forgive you for your sexual misconduct. What you do afterwards is totally up to you. So, would you do me the honor and…
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, please forgive me. I had sex outside of marriage and for that I repent. Lord, I ask that You’d wash me with the water of Your Word and sanctify me with the Word of truth and help me to live a sexually pure life. In Jesus’ name.
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3 – New King James Version, Genesis 2:7
4 - “Inter.” Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
5,6 - "Online Etymology Dictionary." Online Etymology Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
7 - Provided by google.com 1
8 – New King James Version, John 3:5