The university auditorium was packed to capacity for the debate between Dr. Hiram Love, author of Gays Are Holy, Too, and Paul Simon, a Christian businessman. The middle-aged businessman was a last minute replacement for a noted Christian apologist who suffered from the flu.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to tonight’s debate,” said the moderator. “The topic for our debate, Is Homosexuality A Sin, seems to be a hot-button subject in our state right now with the Prop 8 vote and its follow-up lawsuits. The format for our debate is that each debater has thirty minutes to put forth his views on whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Then, in the second hour, the two will go head to head in a point and counterpoint match up. Dr. Love won the coin toss and will go first. Dr. Love, are you ready?”
Dr. Love nodded and walked to the podium. His herringbone sport coat with brown leather elbow patches added a professorial look to his thin frame and bearded face.
“Do you know how many times Jesus mentioned homosexuality was a sin in the four Gospels?” said Dr. Love. He paused as his blue eyes scanned the audience, as if looking for an answer. Then, he added, “Not once!”
A short titter raced through the audience.
“That’s right, not once,” said Dr. Love. “Wouldn’t you think that such a supposed vile and abominable sin as homosexuality would have at least been mentioned once by our Lord? He mentioned divorce as a sin. He mentioned greed and idolatry. But not once did he mention homosexuality.”
Dr. Love spent the half hour laying out the hypothesis that homosexuality was not a sin by what Jesus did and did not mention. He referred to Jesus’ words, the red letter ones of the four Gospels, as the framework for Christianity.
When Dr. Love finished, the audience softly clapped their approval. He backed away from the podium and walked over to his chair on the right side of the stage.
“Mr. Simon,” said the moderator, “are you ready?”
Paul Simon nodded.
The audience checked him out as he walked from his chair to the podium. His short stature, undistinguished features and ill-fitting sport coat were noticed by all. Who let this country yokel in here? The audience collectively wondered.
“Jesus’ main message was about the Kingdom of God,” said Simon, in a stammering voice. “The Apostle Paul further defined the Kingdom when he wrote: ‘Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge themselves in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Simon caught his breath before proceeding, “The apostle Paul also stated that the Kingdom does not consist in words, but in power.”
Next, Simon stepped to the side of the podium and switched on his lapel microphone. Every eye watched him.
“When I was asked to replace the featured Christian debater, I told them I’m not a great speaker and I had two requests. One was for a lapel microphone. And two, I asked to be allowed to demonstrate my position on the Kingdom of God. They agreed to both of my requests,” he said as he walked down the steps of the stage to the audience level.
He walked over to a woman sitting in a wheelchair next to a front row seat.
“Ma’am, would you please stand up?” he asked.
“What?” said the thin lady who looked to be thirty years old, “I can’t stand up. I’m totally paralyzed and have been since an auto accident twenty years ago.”
“In Jesus’ name, stand up,” proclaimed the man.
She jumped out of the wheelchair. Then, realizing what happened, she walked and ran and jumped. She screamed, “I’m healed.”
Her parents ran to her and joined the celebration.
Simon turned away from the lady and continued praying for other people. A blind man received his sight. A woman’s lungs were cleared of emphysema. A college football player’s knee was healed. He prophesied over people and prayed for many others.
When his half hour was up, Simon returned to the podium. He turned toward Dr. Love and said, “Let’s see you confirm your teachings with miracles, signs and wonders. If you can’t, then why should anyone listen to you?”
Dr. Love stood up and walked off the stage, not looking back at the apostle of God.
And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
This is only a glimpse of the near future because the apostles are coming.
(Continued in Part 2)
This series is a continuation of the earlier eight part series which can be seen here.