Yesterday, Justin Taylor alerted readers to a disturbing article written by Tony Jones entitled Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue: How I Went from There to Here.
I would encourage everyone to read it, not because I am in agreement with it but because it offers a striking illustration of how some, it appears, in the church have succumbed to the ethos of the present evil age (Gal. 1:4).
Before continuing, it needs to be pointed out that all men and women are sexual sinners (James 2:10). Sexual sin in every form is unacceptable.
It also needs to be stated that all sexual sinners are indeed fully human, made in the image of God. Thus, no one deserves ill-treatment. All antihomosexual violence is utterly deplorable and must be forthrightly denounced by Christians.
Yet, it seems that what is implied is that failing to accept and sanction GLBTQ relationships (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer) is some how tantamount to denying their humanity. This simply muddles the issue.
Sanctioning a GLBTQ relationship doesn’t affirm a couple’s full humanity, rather it denies their sin. All sexual sinners are fallen humans who stand in need of redemption (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
The church’s task is to proclaim Good News to all sinners in whatever state of sin they are. Church leaders must proclaim without reservation that Christ will save the vilest and most wretched of sinners who come to Him for salvation (this includes gossips and slanderers in the church!). In fact, the vilest sinners are properly qualified and prepared for the gospel’s design (1 Tim. 1:13-16), which is to show forth the exceeding riches of grace when God pardons their sins and saves them freely (Eph. 2:5-7).
What all sexual sinners (indeed all sinners!) need is not affirmation of their sin but rather redemption from their sin. The church is not to sanction sin but rather purge it (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
This purging is not for the purpose of denigrating but rather saving, restoring and protecting (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 2:5-11). Discipline is redemptive not punitive. It is to be carried out in humility and kindness (Gal. 6:1; Eph. 4:32).
Regrettably, this is not always the case. The sin of self-righteousness is a stench in God’s nostrils! It is certainly true that genuine believers can be guilty of great sins (Matt. 26:75; 1 Cor. 5:1) and that all fail to live up to the standards of God’s law (Rom. 3:10). There is no excuse for believers to fail to extend forgiveness, mercy and grace to repentant sinners (2 Cor. 2:7).
With that said, the Scriptures are clear regarding the sin of homosexuality as well as all other perversions of the God ordained complementarity of male/female sexual union in marriage.
Monogamy doesn’t validate the breaking of God’s law. Monogamous GLBTQ relationships are nowhere sanctioned by God’s law.
To put it bluntly, God’s law forbids same-sex intercourse and all forms of homosexual practice. Homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, etc… orientation is not the issue. All fallen sinners experience and struggle with all sorts of immoral, sinful urges (e.g., malice, revenge, ill-will, sexual lust, etc…). What matters is what an individual does with those urges, both in their fantasy life as well as their actions.
The most unloving and damning thing a leader in the church can do is to sanction that which God in His law forbids. To affirm a sinner (whatever the sin might be) in his sin is neither kind nor right. Sanctioning sin of any kind is to leave a sinner hopelessly lost in bondage to sin without any hope of deliverance.
The most loving thing the church can do is with humility uphold God’s law in all its severity. Only in this way, will the gospel be welcomed by sinners as good news. For, only after sorrow has done its convicting work is it to be replaced by joy and affirmation (2 Cor. 2:6-8).
For further reading, I recommend the following two books:
Same-Sex Partnerships?: A Christian Perspective by John Stott
The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Text and Hermeneutics by Robert Gaganon