Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The church's response to homosexuality (Part 4)

Speaking prophetically in response to a culture's rebellious, misguided and destructive bent -- whatever form that takes -- always has been a part of the church's responsibility. So it is with homosexuality in 2013.

This is a critical moment on this issue in our culture. We all recognize that. People and organizations are changing their minds on homosexuality and same-sex marriage at a neck-breaking rate as the cultural pressure rapidly escalates. Some appear to do so out of a desire to be understanding of and compassionate toward people who have same-sex attractions or identify as homosexuals. For others, especially some politicians, it seems little more than caving in to what they perceive is the new societal norm.

In the midst of this shifting cultural landscape stands the church, the guardian of "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3) and the herald of the only hope for all sinners. We are responsible before God to "stand firm in the Lord" (Phil. 4:1). We are responsible before God to "[speak] the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). We are responsible before God to present the gospel of Jesus, the only message that saves sinners, regardless of the nature of their dominant transgression. We are responsible before God to live lives of purity. We are responsible before God to pass on to our children and all others with whom we have influence an ethic that rejects all sexual activity outside marriage.

To affirm others in their sins -- whether it be homosexual behavior or any other -- out of so-called love is no love at all. To affirm others in their sins is an act of hatred toward them and betrayal toward God. By doing so, we act as enablers on their road to a hellish future. By doing so, we proclaim our mistrust in the gospel of Jesus.

May we speak the truth. May we do so lovingly, compassionately, sensitively and winsomely, but may we speak the truth. We are not truly speaking and acting as the church of Christ unless we do so.