An open response to my good friends Robert and Susie to my previous blog post.
First of all, Robert and Susie, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
I also agree, Susie, that the church has much to apologize for.
That apology, however, should not turn into an ad for a particular church.
Plus, those things worth apologizing for: stupid jokes, elevating the sin of homosexual activity over other sins like pride, lies, bitterness, etc., the belief that those participating in homosexual activity are automatically lost sinners... all of those legitimate offenses are never mentioned in the billboard.
Instead, the apology is for people with a differing opinion on whether Gay marriage should be legal. And, the billboard characterizes those with differing opinions as judgmental, narrow-minded, and manipulative. What is ironic is that the billboard itself is all of the things that it accuses others of.
But, now to the elephant in the room. I don't believe there is a Constitutional right to gay marriage. According to the billboard, that would make me a totalitarian bent on taking rights away in the name of God.
I wonder if others might vote against the right of a man to marry multiple women? Would that be judgmental, narrow-minded, etc. Or, would it be a vote of conscience, a genuine voice of concern that marriage has to mean something.
Our church (LifePoint) has apologized to homosexuals for the wrong headed sinful way in which Christians have built barriers to the truth of Christ with arrogance and outright rejection. We openly welcome all into our church so that we all may align our lives to Christ.
Of course, another elephant, I also believe that homosexual activity is a sin. I think that a clear headed examination of scripture will reveal this to anyone without an agenda. I realize, that in the last few years, an attempt has been made to say these things:
1. Romans 1 is talking about loveless, lust-filled homosexual orgies.
2. The sin of Sodom was not being a good host.
3. The O.T. Laws pertaining to homosexual activity don't apply.
4. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality... (or rape, or pedophilia, or internet porn, or smoking crack)
I have examined these arguments. Believe me, it is important to get to the truth on this. My belief is that we are all born with certain temptations... and you can't choose your temptation. But, even though we all have an bent towards sin, that doesn't make the sin itself ok.
I read Jay's, the creative arts pastor of MissionGathering, testimony of having good friends wanting to not be gay anymore. "Please, make me not gay", was one of the statements.
Well, some believe that pedophilia is a sexual orientation. I don't know whether it is or not. I just know that the activity itself is sin. It is sin whether or not Jesus mentions it. It is sin whether or not Romans 1 is specifically addressing it.
So, how do you communicate these truths with grace? How do you, as I really do, love homosexuals and still hold these beliefs? I don't find it that difficult.
I love Jason. And Jason (gasp!) struggles with sin.
I love Robbie Rob Rob. And he is a fellow struggler.
I love my wife, Amy. She is a world class sinner. She would say the same about me!
The church's problem has been the elevation of homosexual activity above the sins that we deal with because it made us feel better about ourselves. It was wrong.
But calling sin ok... that would be a bigger wrong. One that I am too fearful of God to commit.