How are we dealing with it? What are your individual responses to homosexuals? What do you see the church doing right/wrong? What can we do better? Why is it such an easy issue to sweep under the rug? Is our current method of "reaching out" to those [with a] homosexual bent really accomplishing a furthered righteousness and the kingdom of God or rather [alienating a] disenfranchised and lost people who will find acceptance and worth from another source?This is an excellent question. I’ve been feeling like a rumble myself, so I’ve decided to take it on in this space as well.
In regard to the usual evangelical stance on the issue, I have three major questions that I believe present considerable challenges to the way churches see and speak to persons of a homosexual persuasion.
Like Aaron, I will not countenance at this moment a discussion about what the Scriptures say and just what we are to do with that. For the sake of a more limited scope to the argument, I think we would do better to stand in the conservative evangelical perspective for this one. Please stay on topic. I will offer three installments over the course of this week, in which I discuss three major problems with the positive witness of evangelicals in this area. I will participate in debate in the comments section. Sometime next week I’ll offer my own ideas on how evangelical churches should deal with the issue, and a week after that, I’ll write an entry on how my own viewpoints have been challenged, changed or affirmed by the discussion.
First, if you know me and perhaps if you’ve been reading my writings for awhile, you know that I love the Church: Jesus and the People who comprise his Body, the new community of God. These will all be questions that I’ve asked myself before asking other Christians. This is not a rant or a finger pointing session. I would find that boring, besides.
Second, let’s remember who we are: the Church of Jesus Christ is a broken, sinful people who are being raised up and redeemed through mystical and sacramental union with the Lord and one another. However, moral perfection is not a prerequisite to offering challenge and a prophetic voice to the world at large. It is the place of those who bear the continuing Incarnation of God into the world to bear witness to his healing and resurrecting power in the midst of entropy and death. We bear witness and heal. We have no place condemning anybody, because nobody has a claim on God because of their faith or morality or any other stupid, supposed qualification.
With these things in mind, I maintain that a people who cannot call themselves to a “traditional Christian sexual ethic” don’t yet have any business preaching on it to other people. If they do, they are hypocrites in the plain sense, holding one set of standards for themselves, and a stricter one for other people. Mind you, people sin, people fall. Living one’s life in a sinful posture is another matter. According to that aforementioned traditional line of Christian thought (and sadly, a popular bumper sticker), marriage is God’s plan for one man and one woman for a lifetime. The earliest sources in the Scriptures seem to indicate that Jesus did not consider divorce to be an option for any reason. The Matthean version allows it for adultery – the work of an editor.
Strangely, to be divorced and remarried while remaining in the fellowship of an evangelical church is fairly commonplace. How can this be? Lots of folks offer the apologia that people must be allowed to repent of the things that had destroyed previous relationships and move on. I agree, but if they aren’t moving on in celibacy, they’re violating God’s clear intent for marriage as expressed in the Bible.
If we will be so much more liberal than Jesus on these matters, claiming that an invalid marriage (at least in biblical terms) can be blessed by God and operate within his redemptive action in peoples’ lives, why in the world do we not apply the same logic to homosexual unions?
It sounds thoughtlessly heterosexist at best, and hypocritical at worst.