As Long as We’re Talking About Homosexuality…

As I’m sure many of you already know, a group of LGBTQ Wheaton College students and alum have launched a page called One Wheaton.

In response, Wheaton President Phil Ryken issued this message.

For the past couple of decades, those of us in evangelical settings have been able to watch the homosexuality conversation from afar, as though “out there” in the world of the “faltering mainline churches” were the only place that Christians had to talk about these things. Recent conversations in several different settings, as well as this move by Wheaton alum, are underscoring that it is no longer possible for more evangelical types to avoid the conversation.

And hopefully we’ll realize that this inability to avoid the matter is a good thing. Most of us have waited far too long to engage and to thoughtfully process what we say, how we say it, and what it means to look like Jesus while holding to positions that others in our community find not merely offensive, but often deeply hurtful and even damaging.

Can we do it? Can we have a productive conversation that will move us more toward Christ-like love?

We’ll see…

6 thoughts on “As Long as We’re Talking About Homosexuality…”

  1. I was debating whether to respond to the prior post with a question. What do you mean by ‘religious reasons’? My most recent post on Hitchens via Claude may indicate why I disagree with ‘religious reasons’. I may have them, you may have them – and they may be the exact opposite of each other.

    I am convinced as I have said years ago in other places that Hashem has the capacity to deal with those who claim their place in the Anointing and who are committed to each other in love. Whatever their situation, gay, straight, divorced, remarried, and so on. Clearly I disagree with some aspects of the Pastoral Epistles – at best I would say they are complete as far as they go within that cultural situation. And I certainly disagree with many readings of Romans 1. I sometimes think that the problem with the Bible is that those who can read don’t read it and those who do can’t read. In your terms, they can’t tell a story.

    Anyway – teasing aside – God is love and God can teach all those who come to him in faith. I know – I am one of them.

  2. IMO no such “conversation” (wh is closely related to the idea of tradition) can happen without an understanding of the church as a community bound together by something more than agreement on sub-issues (that is, ideological agreement). My hope is that this issue will drive people into deeper catholicity by posing the question, “what is the church?”

  3. I’ve found, you can continue to take a very “hard-line” position, as long as it’s communicated with a hug. Maybe not a literal hug, but 1Cor 13 has never been more needed than on this issue. My position is love first (not love wins), but it’s also that simply “claiming Christ” does not a Christian make. Unrepentant homosexuals are not believers, at least not a believer in the same camp as I. But that means my response is love not judgment… After all “what do I have to do with judging outsiders?” Now, if you have people who profess to be in your church, and are unrepentant and openly not struggling to get past open sexual immorality (of any stripe), then you’ve got an obligation to speak the loving truth and hope (really hope) they come back ‘cuz you can’t really associate with fence-sitters and maintain an effective ministry… Just my humble thoughts.

    1. This judgement that you make here, this position of not being in the same camp is not one that any homosexual can accept – obviously. There is a danger that we put ‘our’ interpretation of the word of God above what it really says and does not say on this subject. Claiming Christ – i.e. Claiming the death of the Son of God cannot fail to put a person in Christ. We do not dispense the Holy Ghost. There is a moral stance to be taken, but not this one which seems to me to judge without knowledge and as James says to put ourself in the place of God. I wonder if we allow the Spirit to show someone to the death of Jesus without our permission. Or if we insist – well it is this sin that you must crucify – when we have not figured out ourselves how to crucify our own self-sufficiency. Do we even allow God to act in ourselves? It is not simply immorality that is acting against the traditional stance in this age. It is something else that the Church has ignored that God wants to become in us and that we like horse and mule are refusing. I noted this from JTS a few weeks ago. It is well expressed.

  4. The difficulty in any conversation on such an intimate & personal topic as sexual practice is that we tend to approve what we ourselves do, by the very fact that our minds produce reasoning & rationalization to justify choices enacted physically. (Confession short-circuits this pattern; but, one needs to acknowledge sin as sin to confess.)

    In addition, we naturally want to relieve tension – whether it’s internal to our own thoughts and personal experiences, or regarding differences w/ others. (Making or appealing to a [purported or real] law eliminates that tension, just as much as rationalizing does.) ISTM that Paul’s answer is to “stand in Christ”. I foresee a looong time ahead of standing & building one another up to stand for the faithful church, w/out retaliation against those who disagree most forcefully, castigate & berate bitterly. Should we react w/ similar tactics, we betray Christ. There will be many who simply won’t be able to stand in the middle of tension which requires loving God & neighbor, and allowing God to judge and reveal the Body of Christ. As Bob noted, “this position of not being in the same camp is not one that any homosexual can accept – obviously”, yet they, too, would betray Christ should they choose carnal weapons to fight or beat into submission those w/ whom they disagree.

    The confessing Church’s stance of humble faith is not an action of judgment, for such sinners were all of us “but [we] were washed, [we] were sanctified, [we] were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

  5. Ann – thanks for this – we start from the reality that “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its desires”. I think there are a lot of Christians who have not understood how to be in Christ in this way. Or if we are in a different place, i.e. if we are of the circumcision who are also ministered to by Christ (Romans 15:8) – all walls being broken down (per Ephesians), we start with the grace of Torah, the teaching of Yhwh that is found in the Psalter and is available to Jew and Gentile alike thanks to the work of the fullness of the Spirit accomplished by our Lord Jesus in his day.

    And yes, our weapons are not carnal. It is those who impose the law who fight with weapons that are carnal. I wouldn’t be too quick to define the carnal. The chief sin of the flesh is the desire to be right on one’s own terms. Nothing to do with sex of whatever orientation. Power, violence, exploitation, injustice, and hurting others are much more obvious sins of the flesh also.

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