LGBT Nicolaitans Shouting "Human Rights" Won't Make God Change

God's moral law is not subject to His creation's indulgences. It was heresy in the first century and it is still heresy.

Every generation has its own version of the Church in Pergamum. Since most people, especially journalists, have the Biblical literacy of a three year-old reading Tolstoy, let me explain a bit first, before I get to the main topic.

In the first century, the Apostle Peter ordained several church fathers; among these was Nicolas, Deacon of Jerusalem and Stephen, who was stoned in Saul's (later the Apostle Paul) presence. Nicolas purportedly departed from the faith, gathering a following around a heresy based on unrestrained indulgence, including prostitution. We know this because Isidore of Seville wrote of it 500 years later in Book VIII of his treatise "The Etymologies." (Anyone can look this up in 10 seconds on Wikipedia.)

Isidore knew about it because Iranaeus wrote of it in the second century in his piece “Against Heresies." Iranaeus is widely believed to have been a student of Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of the Apostle John, who knew Jesus Christ personally and in the flesh. These are all real people, not inventions or mythological figures.

It is important to note these things because when Christians purpose themselves to shout "human rights!" and "inclusion!" in the face of orthodox students of Biblical faith, they must either deny the existence of these people, and the body of scholarly Christian work over the last two thousand years, or they must acknowledge that they side with the Nicolaitans and Gnostics. Specifically, it means they are heretics.

Brandan Robertson is a self-described "LGBT activist," as well as a pastor, theologian, and commentator. He has authored titles like “Nomad”, “Our Witness” and “True Inclusion." I have not read these books, but I think by Robertson's Twitter timeline I know what is in them. He's simply the latest one spouting Nicolas' heresy.

The Apostle John wrote a direct quote from the Lord Jesus in Revelation regarding the Church in Pergamum, which specifically mentions the Nicolaitans.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Against this Biblical backdrop, Robertson tweeted:

"The inclusion and equality of LGBT people is non-negotiable. It’s not an issue in which we can “live in the tension” with. It’s a human rights issue and anything less than full equality should not be tolerated by Christ followers."

In this world, Christians of all stripes should be absolutely for human rights and equality. After all, God does not discriminate or play favorites. But God's Kingdom extends far beyond this world. And Christ's Kingdom is not at all of this world. In John 18:36, Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

So who is Robertson arguing with? Is he saying that he knows something that the Bible doesn't teach? Is he saying he has "special knowledge" of God's mind that Jesus Himself didn't know at the time of His crucifixion? Is there some sin that was not then included in the Passion of Christ that should now be added, but not repented of?

Is the sin of homosexuality now forgiven and permitted in the name of equality, inclusion and "human rights" in Heaven?

I won't re-litigate the issue here. Biblical teaching is well known, if not well studied or understood by the Biblically illiterate (which is a large super-majority outside regular church attendees). People like Robertson are simply echoing the same heresy as the Nicolaitans and the Gnostics. They claim to have some extra-Biblical knowledge of the mind of God on a particular issue, based on nothing but their own personal revelation of the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the age). This revelation allows them to indulge in their favorite sin, without repentance, because God is A-okay with it.

This particular heresy goes all the way back to Balaam in the Old Testament.

Evidently this error of Balaam was the chief principle of the sect of the Nicolaitans. Aside from the record in Revelation, little is known of them. Irenaeus, who wrote in the second century, nearly a hundred years after Revelation, said that they were founded by Nicolaus the proselyte of Antioch mentioned in Acts 6:5, and that they “lived lives of unrestrained indulgence.” Irenaeus attributed to them certain doctrinal vagaries which are not mentioned in the Apocalypse. It is possible that if the sect survived until this day it might have developed new peculiarities; but the main errors stressed here are eating things sacrificed to idols and commiting fornication. These carry out the practices which entered Israel because of Balaam, and illustrate the peril which Paul sought to avert by his warnings to the church at Corinth (I Cor. 10:7,8). In a civilization where temples to false gods stood on every street corner and in every public square, in which sexual indulgence was not only condoned but was in many of the cults promoted as an act of worship, the Christians who had been brought up in that environment had a hard time to break away from it completely. The teaching of the Nicolaitans was an exaggeration of the doctrine of Christian liberty which attempted an ethical compromise with heathenism.

(Source: Cross-Theology blog.)

I challenge anyone to read Robertson's books, or listen to his preaching, and not find his words strangely familiar in the context of the preceding paragraph. Homosexuals have a terrible burden in their sexual preference. Christians must be sensitive and compassionate to them in every way. But Christians must be "in Christ," meaning casting down heresies and unBiblical teachings. Any teaching that tells homosexuals that they can indulge their particular sin and gain entry to Heaven is heresy.

Indulging heresy is just as much as sin as indulging in the sin to which it gives license. God is not pleased, and will not countenance sin in Heaven. Regardless of how loud today's Nicolaitans scream, the God of Heaven and Earth, the Judge of the Universe, will not hear their pleas apart from their repentance. Repentance means "turning away." It means renouncing the sin.

God will forgive the sin and the sinner, once, twice, and ten thousand times, if the sinner repents and honestly realizes that their behavior is sin. God will save the repentant lifelong homosexual with his last breath on this earth, if the repentance is genuine and the person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord. All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Not might be, not based on social status or skin color, or political bent, or nationality, or sexual preference. But the only ones who won't be saved are those who don't repent.

Teaching the heresy of the Nicolaitans is sin. Those who follow Brandan Robertson are being led into sin, by a man who unrepentantly sins and teaches that sin as truth. For those, we Christians can only offer truth, and offer the same words as Jesus said to the Church in Pergamum. Repent!

@Alex Wilson - Totally understand the point, but a rewrite in 100 vs 2018 is the same thing. A rewrite. A reimagining designed to soften the blow for "modern" sensibilities.

This argument is only going to get harder. Science is surely going to confirm what is already largely suspected, that homosexuals and the like are created through non-selective mutations in the brain. You'll need to overcome the cognitive dissonance created by that reality, but I'm sure it will just result in more anti-intellectualism.

Maybe it's time for a New New Testament? Alex 1:1 "be chill my bros!"


@phantonym I don't think anybody denies that homosexuals exist

@Portage_and_Main - But they do often deny the pretense or overt rationaliztion, which was the point.

@phantonym I'm not sure it's denying anything, as much as exercising some discernment. Just as the rest of us can't be running around shaking our fists at everything in the world we don't like, Christians can be subtle about how they deal with homosexuals depending on how well they know them, what approach they think will be most effective, etc. much like we all do in our every day lives

My view is that it wasn't a rewrite, but rather a further revealing of what had always been true. The Old Testament system was never meant to be permanent (with the exception of the very beginning of Genesis before the Fall), but rather was about God's plan of redemption. The Old Testament is filled with signs pointing to Jesus and shadows of what would one day be apparent in the church.

My understanding is that homosexuality is likely at least partly related to the hormone exposure in utero, though I don't completely discount some environmental factors as well. I think that a lot of evangelicals were mistaken in assaulting homosexuality as unnatural. In a post-fall world, all sin can be described as natural. It's natural for me to want to have sex with as many women as possible, it's natural for me to be selfish and horde as much wealth and possessions to myself as I can, it's natural for me to strike back in anger rather than turning the other cheek. That homosexual behavior has a biological cause doesn't alter its morality any more than my biological urge to be promiscuous. Christianity requires us to behave in a way that at least feels very unnatural to us.

I'm more libertarian than conservative these days and don't think there should be any laws regarding sexual activity between consenting adults. I don't even think the government should issue marriage licenses at all. I also don't think we should expect people who aren't Christians to change their behavior without accepting Christ, but when a Christian is preaching that something clearly identified as sin in the Bible isn't sin, we have to oppose them for the sake of the Gospel. It's the same reason that I'm unlikely to ever be able to vote for or strongly support Trump, despite the fact that he hasn't been nearly as bad a president as I feared he would be. He has called himself a Christian while simultaneously saying that he hasn't done anything wrong and that he doesn't need to repent and that he tries to make things right himself.