Monday, December 6, 2010
Gays, God and Grace
Some times issues come to confront us, and the folks from Westboro Baptist Church in KS showed up in my town last Friday to protest. You can read about it HERE. They picketed the high school because of a play that they were putting on about Matthew Shepherd.
Certainly there are lots of views on homosexuality within the church. HERE is a survey review. It ranges from the judgmental hating of the Westboro Baptist Church to the folks at Gay Christian 101. That is one of the biggest reasons that it is tough to write about - if we oppose homosexuality we are haters and bigots, and if embrace it we are liberals and unbiblical heretics.
Is there a better view? I think so.
I think there are some real problems with our general approach to the issue in Christendom. We focus on cultures and lifestyles, and paint things with a broad brush strokes which sets up a "for" or "against" atmosphere that does not allow any of us to be challenged, listened to, or understood. There are more than enough generalities tossed about to make a civil discussion virtually impossible, but I am going to try; using the utmost compassion and empathy.
Not Welcome, Not God
First, the notion that anyone is not welcome in a church is sure sign of error - especially the unsaved! In the Kingdom, folks come to Christ, and then they work out their salvation in fear and trembling. It is between them and God. No one comes to Christ because they are good enough, no sin is unforgivable (except not receiving Christ), and no Christian is without sin. When we treat one sin differently than another we are surly in trouble. When we treat certain people (anyone who is not like us) differently in church, or do not allow them into a service we are in error.
If Someone Isn't Sinning, Why Do They Have to Change?
Second, the notion someone must change who or what they are seems foreign to the church. When a person comes to Christ, we don't expect them to stop feeling like they did the day before they first believed. What we expect them to do is grab hold of Jesus and begin the process of sanctification. If a single person gets saved, after the transformation, they are still single and probably still feel single.
Most folks, even the ones that have radical salvation experiences are not perfected. Most of us receive Jesus, and with the experience, we may have a powerful change, but it is not all the change that we will experience in a lifetime of walking with Christ. Christians come out of many sinful lifestyles. For some, it takes many years to actually change. Some may actually never make it.
The idea that someone who is attracted to the same sex will simply stop, seems to be a very rare occurrence.
That said, there are two ministries led by men for whom that has happened: Clay McLean and Tim Wilkins.
I believe that the Bible is pretty clear that the only sex that is godly, is that which takes place between a husband and a wife; a male and a female that are married. After many many years, I am no longer willing to debate this. I just don't think that we can make sin not sin. I didn't write the book.
- Jesus does not specifically mention same-sex behavior.
- The Jewish prophets did not specifically mention homosexuality.
- The Bible is only clear on the sexual act, not specifically the lifestyle.
Paul did have things to say to the Romans (chapter 1), and of course it is mention ed in the Old Testament too. My only point is that I just don't think that we need to hyper-focus on lifestyle; let's stick to sin and repentance.
Based on a lot of surveys, there is a lot of sex taking place outside of marriage even within the church along with adultery. As I previously stated, we have lots of work to do.
As Christians we don't think that we have the privilege of deciding whose sin is the worst - or worse, who is worthy of our love.
Sin and godliness will repel each other. One only needs to look around the church and see that there are lots of problems that require a few slaps upside the head. Holiness is the work of God, not of man, or his religious agents.
Can't we leave it at loving our neighbor as ourselves, and get on with preaching the Gospel, casting out demons, healing the sick and loving others with our gifts?
Before I go, I read some other blogs, and here is Charlie's thoughts on all this over at Nicodemus at Nite.
How about you, where do you stand, and why?