The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case held that a government cannot punish a baker for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony if that government has also shown hostility toward the baker’s religion. While hardly a resounding defense of the Christian’s right to both own a business and not celebrate sin, I suppose that it was better than finding against the baker.
This kind of case demonstrates the ever-increasing tension for Christians to decide if they are going to accommodate the public’s desire to embrace the LGBTQ movement or not. Refusing to cater gay weddings gives rise to charges of discrimination—never mind the fact that these same bakers regularly served gay customers. They only objected to doing something that would affirm same-sex “marriage” contrary to their conscience. This is why Justice Kennedy, who voted in favor of same-sex marriage, stated in the recent ruling that, “creating a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding would be equivalent to participating in a celebration that is contrary to his own [Jack Phillips’] most deeply held beliefs”).
The artists object to the MESSAGE being sent, not the person. They have routinely served gay people. But they do not want to endorse a message that is sinful or violates their religious convictions. These merchants (bakers, florists, photographers) were often targeted by gay couples who knew they could find services at a dozen other locations, but sought to publicly shame the Christian’s stance and close down their business. They wanted to make an example of them and to instigate cases that could go to the courts, which they knew would generally side with them.
Yet, when the situations were reversed, say, when a Christian went into a gay baker’s establishment and asked for a cake that stated, “We do not support gay marriage,” it was the Christian who was threatened with a lawsuit. Tolerance and freedom of speech seems to be a one-way street with the LGBT community, and indeed a misguided judicial system which prizes LGBT “progress” over religious convictions (and over bedrock truths which have been the foundation of Western civilization, not to mention most of recorded history).
In a New Mexico case, photographer Elaine Huguenin declined to participate in a same-sex wedding, not wanting to use her artistry to participate in that which violates her biblical faith. The two lesbian women decided to report Elaine for not endorsing their ceremony (so much for their tolerance), filing a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The Commission found Elaine guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination” and ordered her business to pay nearly $7,000 in fees to the couple (and cost her much business).
“One of the [New Mexico Supreme Court] justices said that the Huguenins are ‘now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,’ and he declared that this compulsion ‘is the price of citizenship.’”
However, when the roles were reversed, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission didn’t care. A homosexual hairdresser named Antonio Darden refused to cut Governor Susan Martinez’s hair because she opposed same-sex marriage. Both refused services, but the homosexual was applauded, while the Christian was fined. The media hailed the hairdresser as a hero, but when the roles were reversed, the Christian was a bigoted, intolerant, hateful, discriminatory, 2nd class citizen who opposed equal treatment. Yet, this was never said about Mr. Darden. And indeed, when the tables were turned, nothing happened to the gay coffee shop owner who refused service to Christians who were pro-life advocates. An outstanding article on the rampant, intentional double-standard and hypocrisy can be found here.
As James Hamilton notes in his commentary on the Song of Solomon:
“Our time is notable for massive sexual confusion, distortion, and perversion. Pornography is pervasive. Adultery is celebrated in the culture at large, the devastation of divorce normalized, the fiction of same-sex ‘marriage’ legalized—all satanic attempts to make immorality moral through the permission of the legislature. In this subverted moral universe, those who adhere to morality as the Bible asserts the Creator intended it are regarded as bigots, or worse.”
So, don’t be surprised if our sexually confused culture calls on you to compromise your biblical standards. If that happens, don’t do it. Let me help you, by asking the question this way: If Jesus was a baker, and He was asked to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony, would He do it? Various actors, journalists, and political pundits are sure that He would.
Here are three reasons why He wouldn’t:
- Jesus attested to the truthfulness of the Scriptures, which unanimously condemn any sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage.
Homosexuality is a sexual sin like adultery, fornication (pre-marital sex), prostitution, and incest, and all condemned by Jesus. See more on this below). Would Jesus bake a cake and write on it “Happy Adultery Day!”? Of course not. And in the same way He would never bake a cake which endorses the sin of homosexuality (the root) and same-sex “marriage” (the fruit). Anyone who says that Jesus would simply bake the cake is either totally deceived, politically motivated, or is completely ignorant of Jesus and the Bible.
For instance, Jesus said in Mark 7:21-22:
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)
Now, the word that’s translated “sexual immorality” [porneia] is a very broad word. If you look in any Greek dictionary, it will say that porneia refers to any sexual sin. It can refer to prostitution, adultery, incest, homosexuality, or other sexual sins.
Jesus didn’t need to list every possible sexual sin, because He simply upheld God’s original design of sex within marriage. But the very fact that he used porneia would no doubt trigger in the Greek reader’s mind that homosexuality was sinful or evil as Jesus said in verse 23. Jesus assumed Old Testament morality, and did not need to repeat what the Hebrew Scriptures said about incest, or bestiality, or a host of other sins, including homosexuality. They’re all captured in this term and in a host of other verses on sexuality throughout the Bible.
Don’t believe the myth that Jesus never condemned or disapproved of homosexuality any more than you should believe the myth that Jesus never condemned wife-beating since there’s no one specific verse from His mouth in the Gospels on that either.
God’s Word wisely often gives general principles because they address more scenarios than referring to one specific case. So, for instance, in commanding husbands to love their wives, Jesus ruled out all abuses, whether physical, verbal, or emotional. And in teaching that marriage and sex is between a husband and a wife (Matt. 19), Jesus ruled out all perversions, especially homosexuality, as any good Jewish rabbi would do. In fact, there are 10 major passages in the Bible, Old and New Testament, which uniformly condemn homosexuality as sin (see Dr. Kaiser’s excellent work on these passages in What Does the Lord Require?: A Guide for Preaching and Teaching Biblical Ethics, chapter 9).
Christians cannot endorse or celebrate homosexuality and its extension, same-sex “marriage” any more than they could endorse adultery or prostitution. Any sexual relationships outside of the one-man, one-woman procreative union is immoral and contrary to our biology, God’s design, and God’s Word. Jesus had the highest view of Scripture – all Scripture is equally God-breathed (2 Tim. 3). Because of this, He would never do anything to promote what His Word calls sin, such as bake a cake which celebrates or endorses homosexuality (cf. 1 Cor. 6). (For those who question our interpretation of Leviticus, it’s important to remember that Jesus set aside the food laws or civil laws that specifically governed Israel as a theocracy under the Old Covenant, but in no way annulled the “moral laws” in the Old Testament for the church under the New Covenant).
- In the New Testament, Jesus upheld the definition of marriage from the Old Testament.
In other words, Jesus did refuse to condone homosexuality by upholding God’s pattern for human sexuality and marriage. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus Christ about the thorny issue of divorce, Jesus referred them back to the creation account to remind them of God’s good, original, and holy design. Stay tuned as to why this is so critical.
It is written in Matthew 19:
And Jesus answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? [Jesus, quoting Genesis 2 here refers to the sexual union that only a man and a woman can experience according to God’s good design] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. (Matthew 19:4-6)
With this teaching, Jesus Affirmed God’s Design for marriage. Jesus didn’t have to repeat what God inspired in the Old Testament. God’s design is simple: one man, and one woman in marriage can have sex, and anything outside of that – premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, rape, or any perversion – is sin in God’s holy eyes. It’s wrong, and is to be shunned, not promoted as normal – and certainly not celebrated, even if it has been enshrined into law.
Jesus never directly spoke out against bestiality, incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, sex with minors, or any other sexual aberration. He didn’t have to. Why? Because by affirming God’s original design for human sexuality, He automatically condemned any and every deviation from that standard. By affirming biblical marriage, He excluded homosexuality as a viable alternative, despite the world’s attempt to make it seem normal, natural, or healthy, all of which are untrue. Because of Jesus’ firm stance on biblical marriage, He would never bake a cake which undermines His revelation about marriage and His creation of it (cf. Col. 1; John 1).
- Jesus called sinners to repent.
Jesus did not join them in their sin, promote their sin, endorse their sin, support or participate in their sin, nor celebrate their sin. He called them out of their sin through repentance, so that they could turn from their sin and follow Him as result of His saving grace and transformative power.
Whether it was the woman at the well (John 4), Nicodemus (John 3), the rich young ruler (Mark 10), Zacchaeus (Luke 19), or Paul (Acts 9), Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 11:19; Luke 7:34), but not of sin. He dined with these people in order to save, redeem, and transform them. He always called them to leave their lifestyle of sin in order to follow Him.
Jesus did not endorse their sin. He is the great physician who came to heal sick souls (Mark 2:15-17), not to leave them in their sickness by calling good evil and evil good (Isa. 5). He always called people to repent, to turn from sin, whether it was greed, idolatry, religious moralism, or sexual immorality. This is a form of love since love does not rejoice in unrighteousness (1 Cor. 13). Love sets people free from sin (John 8; 1 John 3; Rev. 1:5); it does not encourage them to continue sinning.
Typically, the people who say that Jesus would bake the cake, as if He would endorse the sin of homosexuality and the distortion of His gospel design of marriage, are the same people who say, “I can’t believe God would ever send anyone to hell,” or “I think God is in favor of no-fault divorce because I believe He just wants me to be happy.” But this is a god of their imagination, not the God of revelation. In other words, this is a god of their own making, a false god, an idol, designed to reinforce their presuppositions and never to challenge them. As Tim Keller has said, “If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case that has implications far beyond LGBT proponents vs. Christians. For instance, should a Jewish caterer be forced to cook and serve pork contrary to their kosher laws for a potential customer’s wedding (or to have to work on the Sabbath)? Should a gay person be forced to print shirts which mock their lifestyle?
We would not expect a baker, who was also a 9-11 widow, to be forced by the government to create a cake which said on it, “9-11 was a success! Allahu Akbar!” just because the Muslim customer cries “Discrimination!” Should a black woman who owns a print shop be forced by the government to print invitations to a KKK rally? (However, I am not equating civil rights based on skin color with sexual choices). In these situations, business owners should have the right to refuse service. If what is being asked of them violates their conscience (and especially their religion), then they have the constitutional right (and God-given right) to object to serving such customers.
Protect Both “Sides”
I submit that both homosexuals and Christians should have their convictions protected and that the government cannot and should not compel either to act against their deeply cherished beliefs. That means a gay baker shouldn’t be forced by the government to produce a cake that say something derogatory about their lifestyle. An atheist web designer can’t be compelled by the government to create an apologetics website, a Jewish filmmaker can’t be forced to produce pornography, and a Christian florist can’t be forced to make a floral arrangement for a ceremony that violates Scripture and her deepest beliefs about God, sex, gender, marriage, family, and the living picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tolerance used to mean that we could agree to disagree. Now, tolerance means you must agree with, affirm, and celebrate what I want. That’s not tolerance. That’s coercion or brainwashing. This incorrect definition of tolerance has led to an incorrect legislative interference that threatens our First Amendment rights. When the government steps in to force people of faith to approve of or celebrate perverse behavior, Christians must practice civil disobedience, especially when such governmental tyranny is unconstitutional and the customer is asking for the artist’s endorsement of their sinful behavior through their ceremony or celebration. This is certainly closer to an Orwellian thought police than the “inalienable” rights granted from God and the freedoms supposedly guaranteed under the First Amendment.
But more is at stake here than simply our freedom. Our culture has already lost the concept of marriage as God-given and God-defined, and if Christians join in celebrating gay weddings we will slowly see the understanding of marriage wane in the church as well. And when marriage falters, the gospel is eclipsed. Christ didn’t marry Christ and the church didn’t marry the church – as same-sex “marriage” pictures. Christ’s bride is the church and is a living illustration of the gospel, as the apostle Paul teaches (Eph. 5:22-33).
Fighting for marriage, as salt and light in the culture, as Jesus called us in Matthew 5, is a battle worth fighting. It’s not our primary objective – that is preaching the gospel and spreading the message of salvation. But, marriage is fundamental to any society, to any nation, and the church must never back down or give up when it comes to promoting what is good for all people and upholding the picture of the gospel (Heb. 13:4).
All biblical Christians believe that marriage is only the union between one man and one woman and cannot endorse or celebrate anything else. One day, when a polygamist asks for a cake, the Christian baker will have to decline this as well. This proves that the issue is not about discriminating against homosexuals, but standing for God’s design of marriage (Gen. 2; Song of Solomon; Matt. 19; 1 Cor. 7; Eph. 5; Col. 3; 1 Pet. 3; Heb. 13). Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead in order to free us from the power of sin and death (Rom. 6).
Because of the previous points and much more, Jesus would never bake a cake which celebrates that which He calls sin and distorts the symbol of His union with the church, namely biblical marriage which He designed. Put simply, Jesus would definitely NOT bake the cake.
This article is an abridged work. Please email Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a much longer and more-detailed argument which addresses a variety of other issues including how homosexuality is a choice and not genetically determined.
For additional study, I recommend: Robert Gagnon’s scholarly tome, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics; Kevin DeYoung’s What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? and https://bible.org/article/homosexuality-biblical-christian-view
Source: Would Jesus Bake the Cake?