Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Gospel and Homosexuality

Al Mohler has written an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. Not surprisingly, Dr. Mohler clearly communicates God's standard on sexual ethics revealed in the Bible. There is no moral squishiness here.

We believe that God has revealed a pattern for human sexuality that not only points the way to holiness, but to true happiness.

Thus we cannot accept the seductive arguments that the liberal churches so readily adopt. The fact that same-sex marriage is a now a legal reality in several states means that we must further stipulate that we are bound by scripture to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman—and nothing else.

We do so knowing that most Americans once shared the same moral assumptions, but that a new world is coming fast. We do not have to read the polls and surveys; all we need to do is to talk to our neighbors or listen to the cultural chatter.

In this most awkward cultural predicament, evangelicals must be excruciatingly clear that we do not speak about the sinfulness of homosexuality as if we have no sin. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because we have come to know ourselves as sinners and of our need for a savior that we have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our greatest fear is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins.

This is not a concern that is easily expressed in sound bites. But it is what we truly believe.
But Dr. Mohler's primary point is not to prove that homosexuality is a sin. It clearly is. Mohler's main objective is to challenge Christians to see homosexuality as an issue to be addressed by the Gospel.

It is now abundantly clear that evangelicals have failed in so many ways to meet this challenge. We have often spoken about homosexuality in ways that are crude and simplistic. We have failed to take account of how tenaciously sexuality comes to define us as human beings. We have failed to see the challenge of homosexuality as a Gospel issue. We are the ones, after all, who are supposed to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin, starting with our own.

We have demonstrated our own form of homophobia—not in the way that activists have used that word, but in the sense that we have been afraid to face this issue where it is most difficult . . . face to face.

My hope is that evangelicals are ready now to take on this challenge in a new and more faithful way. We really have no choice, for we are talking about our own brothers and sisters, our own friends and neighbors, or maybe the young person in the next pew.

There is no escaping the fact that we are living in the midst of a moral revolution. And yet, it is not the world around us that is being tested, so much as the believing church. We are about to find out just how much we believe the Gospel we so eagerly preach.


Mike said...

Would love to know what Mohler means by the statement "evangelicals are ready now to take on this challenge in a new and more faithful way." Great words...but what does this really look like? This is always where the difficulty lies...and we typically go back to our already well-known and worn-out positions...blah, blah, blah. I want to know what "new and more faithful" really means on a practical level.

Todd Pruitt said...

I'd like to know what "our already well-known and worn-out positions" means.

Mohler is clearly not saying the church should change its position - that homosexuality is a sin, clearly condemned in the Bible. Mohler is calling us to remember that the Gospel is to be held forth to all. He is saying that just as the Gospel is the answer for liars, adulterers, murderers, slackers, the self-righteous, and those who are disobedient to their parents, it is also the answer for homosexuals.

The answer is not the spiritual violence of the emergent movement which celebrates the sin of homosexuals. They hate homosexuals because they are lying to them about their sin and the wrath of God.

Those who believe the Bible and love the Gospel must have full confidence in God's power to save any sinner who repents, including homosexuals. This means that Christians need to hold forth the saving promises of the Gospel to those who have embraced the deceitful pleasures and lying promises of homosexuality.

Mike said...

If you want to know what are the well-known and worn out positions I think you have stated them...homosexuality is sin (which is treated differently than other sins, despite what the Bible has to say), the answer is the gospel, you can be saved from homosexuality. The truth is that Christians (and many non-Christians) who are or struggle with homosexuality have heard nauseum. There is nothing "new" here or "more faithful" as Mohler describes...I am afraid it is just more empty words for a community that is longing for something...even close to redemption.

Here are some ideas that might be new or more faithful in my opinion.
1) start a discussion/support group for parents of kids who are homosexual
2) participate in an HIV/AIDS walk as a church group
3) make it a goal to get to know someone personally who is gay/lesbian; invite them to your home

Just to name a few off top of my head.