I'm really taking a risk with this post...I realize that. Let me make a statement from the start. I'm putting in bold letters hoping you hear my voice clearly:
- I believe that the Bible is authoritative and teaches that homosexuality is a sin.
I recently received an email that really disturbed me. It was an advertisement for the ERLC upcoming conference in October. The ERLC is the "Ethics & Religious Liberties Conference" of the Southern Baptist Convention. (I want to add here that I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church). What disturbed me was the title of the conference: The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage.
Here is their opening paragraph:
Are you and your church prepared for the moral revolution surrounding
homosexuality and same-sex marriage happening across America? While
human sexuality and social institutions are being redefined before our
very eyes, the Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the
gospel through the union of one man and one woman. The gospel announces
that the story of Jesus is greater than the sum total of our sexual
Hoping that I made my theological stance clear above before going further, what bothers me is that the conference seems to be drawing the battles lines. There is a protectionist stance suggested, even if not intended, by throngs of fundamentalist Christians, gathering to "get their ducks in a row" in preparation for the "coming revolution." I'm praying that this conference is less aggressive than it appears. I so respect some of the speakers and in fact, know a couple of them personally and regard them highly.
Here's my rub...while I understand the feelings behind why these brothers and sisters believe that marriage needs to be protected, The Gospel does NOT need to be protected. In fact, the Gospel is precisely for Gays and Lesbians, as well as for us. There is no protectionist agenda, no law of the land, no outcry from the Temple that is going to transform people's lives. It only comes from The Gospel and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Question...how will we be able to share this Gospel (good news) with those that need this transformation, if we're on a battlefield?
A person I respect made an interesting comment recently regarding gays and lesbians, in regard to fundamental Christian families. He said that it was interesting that in Muslim countries, if a child chooses Christianity, they are ostracized from their family and friends. This intelligent millennial went on to observe that in Christian homes here in America, if a child says they are gay or lesbian, they are ostracized also. His view, whether you agree or not, was that we Christians are just as closed minded as Muslims, just as judgmental. Something's wrong here...
While I totally believe that homosexuality is a sin, I also believe greed, gluttony, gossip, slander, lust and many other vices are sins as well, yet we don't have large conferences about protecting our lives from those. We sweep the seemingly smaller issues under the rugs of our homes and choose to vocalize our disapproval of someone's sinful life in homosexuality.
Somewhere in that Bible we carry, it talks about logs and splinters...as well, 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 becomes an interesting part of this discussion.
I am in turmoil over our society's acceptance of same-sex marriage. I believe it is a sinful lifestyle that God did not ordain, and even speaks against. I really wrestle, as a pastor, with how the church should deal with this rising bent of our culture. Yet, I love the individuals in this life style, just like I love my friends caught in other sins. So what will turn society toward God? I don't think it is a "Great Wall of China" approach to The Gospel. What will turn society toward God, is showing the love of God ourselves, in person (I think Jesus even commissioned us to do that). Without face to face conversation, we remain adversaries. It's hard to hear The Gospel over the sounds of cannons and muskets.