Many churches today are being torn apart by false teachings about human sexuality, so we can’t ignore this topic. In addition, the rapid radical changes in public schools are a serious issue and hate speech laws are a blatant attempt to shut down debate.
Many people who hold the orthodox Christian view would love to move on to other issues, but the problem is that the pro-gay theologians aren’t giving up. Therefore, we need to stand firm and do a better job of educating those in the middle ground.
While this issue isn’t an essential of the faith, such as Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity for salvation, those who take the pro-gay theology view typically have to deny the essential of the authority of scripture to arrive at their conclusions. And that is a dangerous thing.
The general Biblical ignorance of many Christians on this topic isn’t helping things. I know of people who have gone to church their whole lives and have been in multiple Bible studies but still ask questions like, “Does the New Testament say anything about homosexual behavior?” (Short answer: Yes.) And it goes downhill from there.
Before I dive in, let me state that while I firmly believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, I do not think it is something we should grandstand on. We all have temptations and stumble and fall at times. Romans 1 explains in no uncertain terms that homosexual behavior is an affront to God, but it also lists greed, gossip, deceit and other things as serious sins (anyone squirming yet?).
Do homosexuals have a legitimate complaint when they point out how many Christians are softer on divorce, adultery and pre-marital sex than they are on homosexual behavior? Yes. Grandstanding on sins that aren’t a temptation for us and downplaying or ignoring sins that are a temptation is not a Christian thing to do. But the lesson is to hold consistent Biblical views on all sins, not to water things down more. We need to raise the bar back up on all these sins because they have huge consequences and, more importantly, because that is in line with what the Bible says.
With all due respect to a fellow blogger with this name, I consider myself the Voice of Reason on this issue. Hey, I was even accused on my Bible Study Blog of dispensing pro-gay theology! I wasn’t, of course, but it shows just how fair and balanced I was being that I could be misunderstood that way (heh).
But we shouldn’t call evil good and good evil. I support the Methodist position on homosexuality, which regards the behavior as sinful but the people as having worth. I think it should be illegal to abort babies just because they might be homosexual (Ironically, that position puts me at odds with many liberals whose support for abortion is such that they think it should be legal under any circumstances). I mention these things simply to pre-empt any nonsensical allegations that I am homophobic, a childish and false putdown designed to stifle debate.
I also believe that homosexual behavior is a forgivable sin and can be overcome by the power of the Gospel. When I meet gays I don’t view it as my job to change them. I treat them like I would anyone else, developing relationships and hoping to be able to share the Gospel with them at some point. The real work is the job of the Holy Spirit.
I was sharing the Gospel with a young man once who happened to be gay. He was all over the place with his religious beliefs and questions. At one point he asked, “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexual behavior is a sin?” I could have glossed over it and said it was a debatable matter, but that wouldn’t have been true or loving.
I also could have spent an hour explaining all the verses around this topic, but that would have been overkill. Instead I just confirmed that yes, the Bible does say it is a sin – despite how some try to twist it. Then I just shifted back to the basic Gospel – namely, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior. It was a great back-and-forth conversation on a lot of topics and I pray that it planted a seed and that the young man kept searching.
Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories. They are all wrong, but for varying reasons. Sometimes they overlap categories. I’ll cover each one over the next few days.
- The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
- The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
- The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically condemn gay behavior as sinful. However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.
Come back tomorrow for an analysis of the first type.
Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic. We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).
Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and I believe the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.