“I recently became gay affirming after a 15-year journey,” said Danny Cortez, a preacher for the New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California.
In a letter to blogger John Shore, founder of “Unfundamentalist Christians,” Cortez said he “realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality.” The Baptist trained preacher said after reading many of Shore’s posts his “eyes became open to the injustice that the church had wrought.”
Cortez, a graduate of Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, revealed his Biblical change of position to the church in February, and informed the church’s elders that he now embraced same-sex relationships.
In his hour-long sermon that day, “Why I’ve Changed My Mind on Homosexuality,” Cortez focused on Romans 1 and his new belief. He said, “[Romans 1] wasn’t so that we could judge everyone else. Paul, in this magnificent, brilliant, writing style was saying, ‘I’m writing all of this, but really I’m getting you to agree with how evil it is and then telling you, guess what? You’re just the same way,'” he said. “And therefore, Paul says, ‘Don’t judge anyone.’ And yet we use this Romans 1 as the passage most often to judge all sorts of people.”
Sadly, Danny Cotez is not the first preacher, nor will he be the last, to go on a journey that ends in justifying homosexual relationships. His new interpretation of Romans is flawed. It contradicts the serious, scholarly exegesis of every Biblical commentator on Romans. More importantly it contradicts the plain teaching the apostle Paul himself.
Romans is book dealing with justification. Righteousness. And God’s plan through Jesus Christ to redeem the human race from sin. Chapter one traces the apostasy of the Gentile world. Through willful ignorance they rejected the Divine nature of God. This led them down the path to ignorance. Ingratitude. Idolatry. And finally the decent into gross immorality. Here’s what Paul says in Romans 1:24-28.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
This passage is clear! Homosexuality is sinful behavior. It is degrading. Depraved. Shameful. Unnatural. Indecent. And perverted. I can understand that it might take a 15 year journey to twist this to mean something different.
However, Paul turns to the Jewish people and says they too are guilty. What he condemned was not the righteous judgment of sin, but judging others in sin when you too are guilty of the same sins! As a nation Israel had rejected God. Stoned the prophets. Engaged in idolatry. Fell into immorality. And perverted the law. The Jews, too, were guilty. Their heritage and the Abrahamic covenant did not give them a pass from obeying God. In fact, it should have given them an advantage. But they rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
So in chapter three Paul’s conclusion is simple “there is none righteous, no, not one…All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:11, 23). The following chapters demonstrate there is only one way to be justified from sin, find forgiveness and enjoy peace with God–and that is through Jesus Christ! (Rom 5:1-2; 8:1).
Indeed the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. For both Jews and Gentiles! (Rom. 1:16-17).
Paul is not teaching that the Jew’s sins justify the Gentiles homosexual behavior! Both are guilty! Both need cleaning from sin! Both need Jesus!
There is much to lament from Danny Cortez’s heresy. But this may be the most pitiful. Soon after Cortez’s public admission of his Scriptural shift, his 15-year old son, Drew, revealed that he was a homosexual. Cortez said that he was glad that he changed his theology because, “I may have destroyed my son through reparative therapy.”
Sadly, I fear the opposite is true for the Cortez family.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman