Thursday, May 12, 2016

Facing Homosexuality

How do, we as Christians, deal with those we disagree with? Especially those we disagree with on fundamental doctrinal or moral issues. Particularly those our culture finds totally acceptable.  One of these issues is the question of homosexuality. Now Scripture makes it clear that homosexual behavior is wrong (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). Underlying this is the idea that God originally designed sexuality to be expressed in a permanent, committed relationship between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising the next generation (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7). Now there is room for some minor variation in this design, but God takes it very seriously. This fits with God’s principle of unity in diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:3-13; 1 Peter 4:10,11). This also fits with marriage being a picture of the relationship of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:7,8; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3). But how do we respond to those who totally disagree with us on this?

We must reject the strident self-righteousness that looks down on those we disagree with. We must remember we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9), saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9). Also, we are called to love all people, even our enemies (Matthew 22:35 -40; 5:43-48; Galatians 6:9,10). And we are called to correct people with gentleness (2 Timothy 2:24-26; Colossians 4:5,6; 1 Peter 3:15). But we also cannot just allow ourselves to be conformed to the world and simply follow its standards (Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4). We are called, as Christians, to recognize we belong to God and need to live a life that reflects this (1 Corinthians 6:20; Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10). And part of that involves opposing the wrong type of behavior (Ephesians 5:7-14; Jude 22,23; Romans 13:11-14).

How this works out in practice can be difficult. Especially when you are dealing with people who are willing to settle for nothing less than full acceptance of their behavior. We need to carefully walk the line between loving them as individuals and approving of their sin. It does not help that there is the claim made that their behavior is genetically determined, and that this justifies it. There are serious problems with this as a basic concept. If my behavior is absolutely genetically determined, then not only is all moral responsibility undermined, but all thought and knowledge. I can never claim that what I believe is really based on truth, because I am determined by my genetics. But if this is merely an influence and a tendency, there is no basis for saying it is right and I should not resist it. We are all sinners, and undoubtedly we each have tendencies toward some sins more than others. But this does not mean justifying that sin, either in ourselves or others.  Therefore, we need to resist this idea with a loving attitude, but a firm stance.

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