“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
I am writing about this issue for a couple of reasons.
- I have been asked to by many people.
- I have been avoiding it too long and it is arguably the biggest issue our culture is facing today.
To start off I posted a quote from Rick Warren. Many people have criticized Warren for being hateful and a bigot because of what he said. Looking at this quote from any sort of viewpoint, I cannot see what they are talking about. He stated his opinion, and he stated it good. Now, in terms of the issue of homosexuality, I have recently, in the past few years seen a few very, very big issues on the news and in the theological world surrounding the issue of same-sex relationships.
- The Chik-Fil-A issue – S. Truett Cathy states his view on same-sex marriage… JUST HIS VIEW! What happens? Protests, protests, and protests. In this area, many people who supported same-sex relationships showed just what they were claiming to fight against: hateful bigotry.
- Phil Robertson stating his view on homosexual relationships. Now, while it was his own view, A&E did have the right to suspend him for whatever reasons. I don’t have much to say about this issue because it was blown way out of proportion on both sides.
- Then we have good ole John MacArthur. MacArthur recently released a video describing what he thought about how we should handle professing Christians who are gay, claiming we should completely alienate them. He gave a very hateful response to the gay community that should not be advocated by any kind of Christian group.
- Then we have a new book that’s been put out on the radar. God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines has grasped the attention of many in the evangelical community. He offers a new outlook on how Christians should view same-sex relationships.
While these issues may be big, all they really show is issues on both sides of; (a) People who support homosexual behavior and, if you oppose it, you are being hateful, and (b) Conservative Christians who take issues with sexuality way too far and end up becoming hateful themselves.
So, where does the heart of the matter really lie? Is homosexuality wrong? To ask such a question, as the great theologian N.T. Wright says, is to admit defeat right off the bat. If what is “right” or what is “wrong” is defined by social or cultural standards, then we have no choice but to subject ourselves to an arbitrary way of thinking when it comes the issue of sexual ethics. For instance, Paul wrote Romans 1 in an effort to describe to the people of that time what was honoring to the Lord and what was degrading. It is so incredibly easy for us to jump on the bandwagon of “this was just a cultural issue.” Once we do that, the game is lost. Every single ethic, and in this case, every sexual ethic, goes directly against what is considered “love” in our way of thinking. This is a mistake that our society has made, and it is the very lie that Pastor Warren was describing in that quote.
Now, it is very important to discuss WHY many Christians claim that homosexuality is not sinful. The argument often goes like this: “Every moral or ethical issue in the Bible has one central problem behind it: It causes harm to people. As long as an action is out of love, such as homosexuality, then there is no harm.” Wait, so as long as it doesn’t cause harm, we are to disregard it completely, right? After all, who am I, a sophomore in college, to tell someone that they can’t love who they want because I think the Bible says so? Yes, homosexuality is counter-intuitive to our culture. I completely get that, but let’s not be so quick to jump to a conclusion because of our current cultural state. I think everyone would agree that there is something that they think is pretty screwed up about our culture. The purpose of Paul’s teachings were to establish just exactly what the creative order should look like. Not only that, but they are about how to become a renewed human in the sight of God, to restore his very image within us. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about this. Homosexuality is just the wrong way. Yes, I get that it’s counter-intuitive to the culture, but that’s because the entire system of sexual ethics in the Bible are counter-intuitive. It’s not supposed to be abnormal to our culture simply because, well, our culture has accepted a huge moral lie. Everybody struggles with SOME kind of sexual sin that they can’t seem to shake off (Pornography, polygymy, pre-marital sex, lust in general, HOMOSEXUALITY, etc.) Everybody craves sexual intimacy, and everyone struggles with it for different reasons in the wrong way. This does not in any way excuse the behavior. Just because “that’s the way you are” doesn’t mean the behavior is beneficial in any way. THIS is the point that Paul was trying to get across. Not that “homosexuality is wrong because your culture says so”, but “this is literally God’s creative order.” We must be very careful about our biblical compromises, because, what may look beautiful on the outside may just be a lion ready to attack.
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”