The Teaching of Balaam

In an upcoming First Stone Ministries (FSM) Newsletter, we will remind everyone where the recently mentioned state and federal bills regarding LGBTQ issues stands. We are grateful Oklahoma’s bill has been withdrawn for now. The federal bill called the “Equality Act” was recently introduced. It likely won’t go anywhere right now but no doubt it will resurface in the near future.

Gay affirming organization, the Human Rights Campaign, defines the Equality Act as…

“The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. 

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law—including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government—to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.

Additionally, the Equality Act would update the public spaces and services covered in current law to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, and transportation services. These important updates would strengthen existing protections for everyone.

Decades of civil rights history show that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies targeted to specific vulnerable groups. By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in these fundamental laws, LGBTQ people will finally be afforded the exact same protections as other covered characteristics under federal law.”1

The problem with this is that their liberties would negatively affect liberties of a vast group of people in our society. Andrew Walker, senior fellow in Christian ethics at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said this act would have “sweeping effects on religious liberty, free speech, and freedom of conscience.”2

While Jesus called us to love our neighbor, scripture from Genesis to Revelation is clear that those who engage in sexual acts outside of a covenant marriage relationship between a man and a woman are in danger of death. To affirm to someone that God loves them, is not to release us from warning them that their sexual behavior comes with blessings and curses.

Of particular interest to me, is a brief study on the repeated mention of “Balaam the son of Beor” in scripture. He’s mentioned in Numbers 22-31, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Nehemiah, Micah, 2 Peter and in Revelation. This repeated mention should cause us to take note of the important lesson we’re to see.

In Revelation 2:14, Jesus says that some churches ascribe to the teaching of Balaam by putting a stumbling block before their congregants, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

How would a church do this? They either overtly advocate for sexual immorality or covertly, through turning a “blind eye” to sexual sin by not giving it the damaging weight it deserves.

Carried further, this teaching presents a Jesus who is loving but powerless and careless toward the sexual sinner. They misinterpret Jesus’ ministry to the woman caught in adultery as one where he no longer advocates for punishment of sexual sinners, when, in reality, He was advocating for her repentance so that she wouldn’t suffer eternally in separation from God. Also, I’ve heard several people misinterpret Jesus’ eating and drinking with sinners as His tacit approval for moral laxity.

When we make these correlations, we reduce our savior to a better representation of humanity. The world does that quite readily. If praying the sinner’s prayer is equivocal to getting into heaven, then repentance really isn’t needed. But that’s not what scripture teaches.

Already encroaching upon many churches, even yours, is the idea that sexual orientation is fixed. This gives way for leaders to welcome those who struggle with same-sex attraction as a sort of sexual minority. To challenge these to renounce even their “orientation” identity would in their eyes be unloving, perhaps even unjust.

Already present in our nation is this battering ram against the Church; it demands she adopt this enlightenment as a virtue. We at FSM are praying she wake up and repent!

As we’ve seen in history, dark, tough times bring clarity and refining to those who call Jesus Lord. With each prayer of repentance and step forward by making Him their focus, God’s power increases within them to do His will.

Is the mindset of Balaam in your life? In your church? Seek the Lord asking Him to search your heart on these things.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

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