Theologian John Piper has revealed why Christians today do not believe practicing homosexuals should be killed for their sin despite Leviticus 20:13, which reads, "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
During an episode of the popular podcast "Ask Pastor John," the Desiring God founder first explained that it's important for people to understand that the Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years through various times where God dealt with his people in different ways. Thus, not everything that the Bible designed for God's people Israel or for Christians under the apostles in the New Testament is the same.
He wrote: "Putting to death adulterers, putting to death homosexuals, putting to death the sons who curse their parents, all these penalties belonged to a particular season in the history of God's dealings with his covenant people, and those dealings have changed dramatically with the coming of God's Son Jesus Christ into the world. That is the basic nature of the Bible and of redemptive history that we need to get across to our critics."
Piper then pointed to several Scripture verses that demonstrate that the Old Testament laws are made obsolete through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, including Matthew 5:17, Hebrews 7:27 8:13, 9:12, and John 2:19.
"So all the Old Testament finds its completion and fulfillment in Jesus - and that is a basic truth that a person needs to understand," he wrote. "Everything in the Old Testament was pointing toward Jesus as the Son of God incarnate, dying and rising to save his people. And, therefore, in his person, in his ministry, the whole Old Testament reaches a climax and is dramatically altered."
Thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Christian life is put on a completely new footing from the law, Piper explained, citing Romans 7:6.
The church today doesn't function like Israel did as a national or political governmental agency, as Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36) and thus does not force its beliefs with the sword.
"So you can see change is coming to the world with Jesus in the moral expectations upon the people of God," Piper contended.
Finally, the pastor revealed that the "point about homosexuals being executed in the Old Testament is that the New Testament, when it is presented with an executable offense, dealt with it differently."
He pointed to 1 Corinthians 5:1, where the early church was confronted with a man who was having sexual relations with his stepmother -- an act so heinous it wasn't tolerated "even among the pagans."
However, instead of recommending the Old Testament method of stoning or execution, Paul prescribed church discipline, demonstrating the dramatic the change between the Old Testament and the New Testament laws.
Piper concluded: "So our overall aim in dealing with our critics who don't know their Bibles is to direct them to Jesus who is the goal of everything in the Bible and to try to help them see that God has been moving through history in different ways at different times to bring us into a relationship with Jesus for the salvation of our souls."
Speaking at the Bethlehem 2016 Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders last month, Piper encouraged believers to not become discouraged when they are faced with cultural indifference or derision in today's changing moral climate.
"Christianity is founded on a shamed Christ," Piper said, the Christian Post reported. "We have come to a rejected Christ. Thrown out. Despised. Hated. Slandered. Spit on. Mocked. Stripped. Nailed like a piece of meat to pole. And taunted. This is our forerunner."
He added, "This is what Peter is calling us to be in our day: unashamed of Christ! Unashamed of ridicule, sarcasm, mockery, snubbing, abandonment, suffering. Objectively shamed, and subjectively unashamed."
The pastor emphasized: "If, when you suffer, you are not surprised and you trust God, and despise shame and rejoice in your suffering, and overflow in good deeds, and you show that your treasure is not in this world but is in God, you show that He is glorious - gloriously satisfying."