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Articles

Everyone Has a Soul!

Everyone Has a Soul!

By Paul R. Blake

            I remember as a child in the 1960s hearing a despicable argument by two older professed members of the church over whether or not a black man had a soul. Even then, I could not help but think that the answer was obvious, “Of course, a black man has a soul; everyone has a soul!” But, when I dared to speak up and disagree with the older men, I was told that I just a kid, what did I know? These days nearly everyone would dismiss those two as bigots of the worst sort, and they would be correct in their dismissal. This evil spirit is ancient. Men have declared other men unfit to be God’s children for millennia. I imagine there were grizzled old Pharisees arguing about whether Gentiles had souls, and I suppose there were arrogant Stoics debating whether Epicureans had souls.

            Currently, I am hearing talk that sounds similar to that of the bigots of my youth. They are not arguing that the targets of their discussions have no souls, but it certainly sounds as if they are edging up close to it. Reason with me: If every person has a soul, and every soul is precious, and every Christian knows it is his duty to save those precious souls, then he will make every effort to save those souls. If he does not make every effort to save the souls of gay persons, then only three conclusions are possible; either: 1) he does not believe souls are precious, or 2) he does not believe it is his duty to save souls, or 3) he does not believe a gay person has a soul. In all three conclusions, the professed Christian finds himself under condemnation. Think, if I claim to believe that gay persons have souls, but I do next to nothing to save them, isn’t it practically the same as believing that they have no souls?

            “But wait,” someone may argue, “I post stuff in the social media in opposition to homosexuality; I speak up in Bible class and tell people how sinful they are, and I address their sin in no uncertain terms when I get the chance.” That’s what the Pharisees did for the Gentiles; how well did that work out? If we are going to help to save the souls of gay persons, we are going to have to do far more than just denounce the sin.

            I am growing weary with the well-meaning questions about why I don’t come out stronger against this sin. I do address the sin of homosexuality, but I also talk about the sins of gossip, self-righteousness, laziness, pride, jealousy, anger, materialism, and worldliness, et al. I am not going to unbalance my presentation of the whole counsel of God because some brethren have made this a hobby, or because it is the currently fashionable militant cause among a number of professed Christians.

            How many of us are capable of distinguishing between the sinner and the sin he commits? We often give people an identity based on a single characteristic that, fashioned from our own opinion, makes them stand out. Phil Mickelson? “He plays professional golf.” Lady Gaga? “She’s the singer that wears strange clothes.” The guy in apt. 4C? “He’s a homosexual.” Fortunately for us, and for gay persons too, God is capable of distinguishing between us and the sins we commit. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:8-12).

            If a homosexual, or an alcoholic, or a prostitute, or a drug addicted teen walked into a meeting house looking for something to give meaning to their lives, what lesson would best serve their needs? To hear about how evil they are, or to hear that their souls are precious to God and to His children? To hear about how drugs and homosexuality are destroying this nation, or to hear about how the Great Physician can heal them?

            Some years ago, I listened to a professed Christian excitedly tell me about the photographer in Nevada who refused to take pictures at a gay wedding. When he finished, I asked him why the photographer limited his objections to gay persons. Why not include people who were living together without marriage? What about taking pictures at a wedding with an open bar and wild dancing? I know members of the church who are outspoken in defense of the Nevada photographer, and at the same time arrange weddings with a toast using pretend champagne and have a father/daughter dance at the reception. I mean, sin is sin, isn’t it? What justifies one, justifies all, right? Wrong! What condemns one condemns all.

            All of us are dismayed about the turmoil in this nation over homosexuality. All of us know that homosexuality is a sin. But how often are we hearing about how to save the souls of these precious lost persons? Somehow, the apostle Paul reached the effeminate persons in Corinth to such an extent that they obeyed the Gospel and served the Lord. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither … homosexuals, nor sodomites … 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” (1Cor. 6:9-11ff). If he could do it then in Corinth, we can do it now in Smalltown, USA.

            It seems evident that a change in attitude would resolve much of this. Instead of looking at gay persons (or any other sinner) with revulsion, why not try compassion? After all. isn’t that the way Jesus looked at the mob that crucified Him? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Do you suppose there may have been some homosexuals in that crowd, maybe some alcoholics and prostitutes, too? Or are we prejudiced to the point that we think Jesus didn’t include them in His plea? Until we can look at sinners of every stripe with the same heartbroken compassion that Jesus had, we risk shaming Him whose name we wear.

             “Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance’” (Mark 2:15-17). “…Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him’” (Matt. 21:31-32ff).

            The way I see it, our choices are limited: 1) we can compassionately seek the lost and share the gospel with them now and share heaven with them later, or 2) we can point the finger of denunciation at them now and share perdition with them later. Don’t respond with, “But I can’t seem to get them to come to church!” Try getting them to sit with you in a personal Bible study at home. More often than not, that is an effective place to start.

            I have a matter I would be happy to debate: A self-righteous Christian has no more home waiting for him in heaven than does an unrepentant gay person.

Test Your Bible Knowledge

1. Pharaoh dreamed about what? __________, __________, __________, and __________

2. Joseph’s silver cup was in my bag of grain. What is my name? __________

3. Which son of Jacob received the double portion blessing? __________

4. Which son of Jacob inherited the blessings of Abraham? __________

5. What excuses did Moses give while trying to refused God’s call to speak to Pharaoh? __________

6. Which plague convinced Pharaoh to release the Israelites? _________

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