Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Homosexual Problem

A friend asked me a while back to put my thoughts on homosexuality into an article. I told him I had no firm thoughts on the subject and possibly I still don’t but there is a good article and discussion on the issue at Julius Nam’s

In the article he notes that there is a difference in interpretation on certain issues that the Bible at first glance appears to give as a straight forward statement. He goes through several examples, some kind of questionable but we get the point that some things in the Bible are culturally relevant to a particular time and place. The question then becomes is homosexuality one of those things that was culturally forbidden and perhaps in a society where they are not culturally forbidden they are morally equivalent with heterosexuality.

Much of the discussion following the article is about the hermeneutics involved. Right there of course we have reached a loggerhead between people’s interpretations. So I can tell you now there will never be a consensus in Christianity on the issue. Not really all that surprising when we consider how Christianity has not produced all that much consensus between the different factions in its long history. It might be fun sometime for someone to list all the different contentions in Christianity, perhaps something someone could do over the next ten years. Don’t hold you breath waiting for me or anyone else to do it though.

That leaves us with the reality that we don’t agree, inside the SDA church and outside the SDA church as well as inside and outside of the other denominations. Which leaves us with the practical question how do we treat homosexuals in our local churches?

Can we love and accept them as sinners saved by a loving God or must we declare them to be sinners different from the rest of us sinners. In which case we have to start our list of which sins are worst so that we can order them properly. We should perhaps look at the Book of Lists I don’t have a copy but I suspect the list does not rank sins. Then again just as I never agree with lists of the 100 best songs or ten best movies of the year I doubt we would find a lot of agreement with a particular list of sins even one to a hundred. Probably we could agree on the top 1 (don’t murder people) but not much beyond that I suspect.

The next question is how will the local church react? If they can’t handle a Progressive Adventist leading out a couple weeks a month in an early teen class what will they do if a homosexual couple attends their church? What if one of those homosexuals offers opinions in a Sabbath School class? We can’t answer those questions until we know the health of the local church. Therefore I will offer up some ideal reactions to dealing with homosexuals in the local church.

  1. We love them as Jesus loves them.
  2. We accept them as equal with us (I am not talking same sex marriage here).
  3. We listen to what they have to say, respect their right to be Christians.
  4. We expect them to be tolerant of other views as others are tolerant of the homosexual’s views.
  5. We acknowledge their ability to mission as ambassadors of Christ which may be different from our abilities as ambassadors of Christ.
  6. We all seek to develop our thinking and interpretative skills as well as our communication skills so that we and others we interact with can continue to grow in the knowledge of God and man.
  7. We all acknowledge that we are sinners who see through a glass darkly, who tend toward selfishness and tend to be judgmental; we are not content to be as we are.

In short instead of living by the phrase “let’s call sin by its right name” perhaps we should live by the phrase “let’s call love by its right name”; as love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

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