Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
- Mark 1:14-15

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nebraska's Ron Brown Faces Backlash for Comments on Homosexuality

Wow, this story has got some sportswriters fired up and has gotten bigger than I thought.  Many people are demanding that Ron Brown resign from his job at the University of Nebraska because of his comments on homosexuality.  This last article I read by ESPN's Rick Reilly has some incorrect information about Christianity that I would like to comment on. 

I will start by saying this: the Bible says that any sex outside of marriage (Biblically defined as a union between a man and a woman) is sin.  This includes homosexuality.  Here are a few verses that address homosexuality specifically:

"'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."  
Leviticus 18:22

"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.  Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." 
Leviticus 20:13

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." 
Romans 1:26-27

Brett Major is an openly homosexual man who is referred to in the ESPN story as a "devout Christian." He came forward to make a "decision" for Christ during a speech made by Ron Brown himself. Here is the story of the event:

"'I think I was 11. He was such a dynamic speaker. And he was a Nebraska football coach. We idolized anybody that had anything to do with Nebraska football. I just sat there and went, 'Wow. He's cool and he's Nebraska football and he believes in God.' And that's all it took for me.'

At the frenzied peak of his speech, peppered with Huskers football stories, Brown called any listeners who were ready to devote their lives to Christ to come stand with him and join his 'team.' Brett Major came forward. Ron Brown took him by the hand."

It seems that the young man made a sincere decision to become a Christian and listed in the article are many good deeds that the young man has done.  So what's the problem? 

There are two main problems with this young man's claim to be a Christian: the "decision" itself and the Biblical test of obedience. Brett Major's "decision" is described in the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:

In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
Mark 4:16-17

The Bible says that in order for someone to be saved, there must be repentance (a brokenness over one's sin and turning away from sin) and belief (a turning to Christ).  If someone receives the word with joy, it shows that there was no brokenness and that they did not truly repent.  The word Gospel means “good news,” but man must first be broken with the knowledge of his own sinful nature and depravity versus God’s holiness and righteousness before he can understand his need for Christ’s sacrifice. 

The story also says that Brett "idolized anybody that had anything to do with Nebraska football," and his focus was more on Nebraska football and on Brown than on Jesus Christ.  He gladly received this message with joy, not brokenness. 

The other problem with this young man's decision is that he is openly living in sin by professing to be a homosexual.  He said in the article that, "I decided I wanted to live a Christian life from that moment on," but the Bible says that living a Christian life means obeying Christ.  Jesus tells us in John 14:15 that, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Now he has done many great deeds and sounds like an upstanding citizen, but that is not enough to get someone into heaven.  

The article says that, "There are millions of Christians who think Brown is wrong on homosexuals."  The problem in this country is that most people who claim to be Christians are not.  Making a decision or repeating a prayer does not make one a Christian.  Most people prefer to follow a "god" that they have created of their own imagination; an idol that does not punish sin, who is loving, will tolerate sin, and will forgive everyone, regardless if they repent or not.  This "god" is more like Santa Claus than the God of the Bible. 

There is a claim in the article that people are homosexuals because they are born that way.  That is not true.  If someone is born with a bad temper, that does not legally excuse them for beating somebody up.  The same is true with homosexuality.  Man is born with a sinful nature and some people have stronger feelings of lust than others, but this still does not excuse them for the sin of homosexuality.

Brett Major also says this: "I couldn't care less, I know God doesn't make a mistake. He didn't put me on this earth to be banished to hell."  God the Father gives all men free will to choose whether to follow Christ or not.  However, we are born with a sinful nature and cannot "choose" to follow Christ unless the Holy Spirit transforms us and causes us to repent and turn from all that the Bible defines as sin.  Those who cling to their sin and do not repent and believe in Christ will indeed go to hell.

The bottom line is that homosexuality is a sin.  It does not matter what the majority of those who claim to be Christian think, it does not matter what future laws are passed, it does not matter what Ron Brown thinks, and it doesn't matter what I think; it matters what the Bible says.  Brett Major is right in saying that "I don't have to report to Ron Brown at the pearly gates."  However, he will report to a holy God who hates sin, and who is righteous and must punish sin.  I pray that he will repent and believe in Christ.

If you would like more information on becoming a Christian, click on the Gospel links at the top right of the page.

Note: I would like to say one thing to professing believers and teachers of the Bible.  I don't know Ron Brown and I don't know the exact message he said that caused Brett Major to make a superficial decision for Christ.  I do know that we must make sure that we are truly preaching the Gospel to others, not "God's got a wonderful plan for your life, who would like to say a little prayer to let Jesus into your heart?"  That language is great in getting people to make a decision, however it is not found anywhere in the Bible when referring to salvation.

Know this, Jesus does not beg, plead, or ask men to say a little prayer and accept Him into their hearts, He commands sinners in Mark 1:14-15 to "repent and believe."  If you preach a gimmicky salvation message that is not Biblically based, you will be most severely judged by Almighty God.


  1. Coach Hoover - like you don't know Ron Brown, I don't know you. I have witnessed several of Ron Brown's presentations in person, but wouldn't say I know him either. This story has brought a spotlight to the issue of homosexuality in Nebraska.

    What is prompting me to comment is your statement: "However, we are born with a sinful nature and cannot "choose" to follow Christ unless the Holy Spirit transforms us and causes us to repent and turn from all that the Bible defines as sin."

    Does a new believer know what "all" sin is? Does an 11 year boy know what "all" sin is? Will the Holy Spirit make someone wait until a teacher goes through the entire Bible (to educate them on all sin) with that person before they are brought into the kingdom of God?

    Can an 11 year old boy still have faith like a child and "decide" to trust the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life without knowing "all" sin?

    And if it is possible to have that faith like a child - and receive eternal life - could he not quench the Spirit as he grew through adolescence?

    Homosexuality can be "seen" by others - but what if the sin is internal pride or gossip? Does that change anything?

  2. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. I will try to answer the best I can. That statement I made is an attempt to sum up a lot of theology. For a more detailed look at salvation, check out The Gospel links at the top right of the page, Part 7 - Salvation.

    I do not know exactly what the age of accountability is, but I believe an 11 year old can listen to the Gospel message and be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This work by the Spirit allows them to repent and believe, and to be saved. Jesus commands men in Mark 1:15 to repent and believe, and repentance and belief are in the perfect present tense, which means that we are to keep repenting and believing (as we keep messing up and sinning).

    The more aware we are of all of our sin, the deeper our repentance will be, and the more we will be able to love Christ. At first, as in the case of the 11 year old boy, that repentance will not be very deep, but it will grow over the years. There is a woman who washes Jesus' feet with her hair using her tears and perfume in Luke 7. Jesus said, "She loves much because she's been forgiven much." We will be able to love more as we see more and more how sinful we are.

    We all sin and quench the Holy Spirit at times. I meant to share my own testimony as an example of salvation, not to single out Brett Major. I made a "decision" to become a Christian in the 9th grade, I went to church religiously, and was president of the FCA chapter at my high school. However, when I went to college, I did not follow Christ at all. This was evidence that I never was saved in the first place as evidence by the fruits of disobedience in my life.

    As far as sins like internal pride or gossip, those sins take a while to see the fruits of. There were a couple of people I used to coach with that professed to be believers and it was not until years later that I saw fruits in their life that suggested that they really were not. Internal things take a while to surface, but eventually the truth will come out.

  3. Coach Hoover, I'm familiar with reformed theology. The scenario described for the eleven year old boy can become a sliding slope. As you stated, you do not (neither do I) know exactly what the age of accountability is. But if "We all sin and quench the Holy Spirit at times," the point becomes: How long can one be quenching the Holy Spirit - but still have eternal life?

    This becomes a subjective time frame. If a day is not too long - why not a week? Why not a month or a year? Does scripture present a definitive time frame?

    I have worked in youth ministry. I have worked/lived in a group home with at-risk teenagers. We would keep this idea in mind: "If you have a kid with substance abuse issues, sexual identity issues, authority issues, and cusses a lot - and they get saved. Now you have a kid with substance abuse issues, sexual identity issues, authority issues, cusses a lot - and now has eternal life with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them." But to put someone on a time table of how fast they will transform or what fruit is visible (from our limited vantage point) - or an expectation they will flee/resist "all sin" is to expect perfection on earth.

    This new believer will quickly realize, they will never meet your expectations - and they'll believe that's what God expects too. So how can they have any assurance they have eternal life?

    They need to repent - ok, how much is enough to give someone assurance they've repented enough FOR God to pleased to give them eternal life? If it's only God doing the work - then how can the kid be held accountable for not repenting enough? Repenting sincerely enough. It's subjective - or do you have a verse that defines a specific level of repentance a kid can know is enough?