Lead Stories

Homosexuals and the church

"Homosexuals and the church" Continued...

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In light of God’s redemptive story, let’s reword the four possible reasons for SSA silence in the church.

Reality #1

HOMOSEXUALS ARE LIKE US: WE ARE ALL MARRED IMAGE-BEARERS

If we are true followers of Jesus, we cannot move toward someone struggling with SSA in mercy and compassion—as Jesus would— while still viewing them as “abnormal” or unclean. Is not this struggler made in the image of God, a breathing billboard of God’s creative brilliance?[8] We value her because she is “fearfully and wonderfully made.”[9] And her intelligence and affections point beyond her to the Author of thought and the Composer of love. Her Creator defines normal. Calling her “abnormal” dehumanizes and distances her. “Abnormal” also deifies the deluded one who coronates himself as “normal.” What honest human being, other than Jesus, can look in the mirror and see the standard of normality? True Christianity creates a casteless society, because we see people through the lens of God’s particular creation: “you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”[10] Therefore, what God has knitted together, let no man tear apart!

Reality #2

HOMOSEXUALS HAVE TURNED ASIDE: ALL SIN IS TWISTED

The Apostle Paul did describe homosexual acts as “contrary to nature.”[11] However, he was emphasizing that homosexuality is a physical illustration of our spiritual condition. The bodily inversion reflects our spiritual inversion. God does not give a homoerotic person over to his sin because he is a homosexual, but because he is an idolater. “Therefore God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”[12] Paul’s point is not to rate homosexuality as a “10” on the sin scale, nor to warn the SSA struggler that he is approaching the last train stop on the track to hell, but to highlight the incongruity and insanity of idolatry. Paul widens the scope of his indictment to include “all manner of unrighteousness” (covetousness, envy, deceit, gossip, etc.) and then ropes in the hypocrite, “You condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”[13] His argument culminates in chapter 3, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”[14] Once again, we are “together.” Yes, we are all made in God’s image, but through birth and choice we have all turned aside. The image of God is distorted and perverted. Like spiritual zombies, we are “dead in the trespasses and sins … following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air … carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.”[15] We are victims swept along by abductors, marketers, and demonic forces. This is why homosexuality or bitterness or anxiety does not feel like a choice. We have been drafted by strong forces and engulfed by painful experiences. We suffer.

But we are also villains. We are “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.” In other words, we are doing what we want to do. We seek to mitigate our suffering, but end up exacerbating it. My sin always seems reasonable to me, and your sin inexcusable. Left to myself, I can find a way to justify anything I really want, and the choices I make can hurt the people I most love. I sin.

This is who we are. Our stories vary in detail as the fall leaves vary in color, but we are made of the same stuff.

Reality #3

HOMOSEXUALS CAN FIND A NEW IDENTITY

Our sin goes deeper than our sins: our sin seeks to define, permanently, who we are. We “went after worthlessness and became worthless.”[16] In addition, we often give ourselves labels that threaten to define us. We, the image-bearers of the King of the universe, mislabel ourselves “alcoholic,” “loser,” “workaholic,” or “homosexual.” But God refuses to leave us to worthless labels. “For our sake He made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.[17] Jesus absorbed our sin on the cross and rose again so that we could “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”[18] The gospel of Jesus is not an invitation to do better or try harder; it is a death certificate that unfolds into a new birth certificate, providing us with a renewed identity! The image of God that was marred in the Fall is revived in Jesus. We have been killed in Jesus’ death, buried in Jesus’ tomb, and raised in Jesus’ resurrection. When we turn from our sin to trust in Jesus, our old self no longer defines who we are and what we do. Our old slave masters have been exposed and deposed.[19] We have enrolled in the ultimate witness protection program and have been issued a new name, “beloved,” a new address, “in Christ Jesus,” and a new reason to live, “a holy calling.”[20] The gospel penetrates to the root of the heterosexual and homosexual dilemma: Who am I? Whose am I?

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