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LIFE ISSUES

Homosexuality: The Debate Continues  

 

Just recently I watched a secular panel discussion on TV that touched on a number of "church" or "faith" issues. The theme of the overall discussion was a response to the fact that the Catholic World Youth Day was being held in Sydney.  

 

Predictably then, the subject of homosexuality was raised. While most of the panelists avoided disclosing their convictions on this issue, two participants were ready to express their convictions - one was very pro homosexuality while the other sought to represent the standard position of the Catholic Church.   While I applaud the genuineness of the Catholic lady as she tried to make a case for her Church's stance on this "hot topic", I was again frustrated by the fact that those opposed to accepting the homosexual lifestyle as a viable and equal alternative to the heterosexual lifestyle often come off looking (and sounding) like the villains or buffoons in the debate.  

 

As I have wrestled with this public perception, I have to acknowledge that I am not totally dispassionate about this subject. This is a reality that has personally and relationally impacted our immediate family. The details of that invasion do not need to be revealed in this article. I simply go on record that my own convictions about this subject are not just academic in nature. Personal experience plays a part in their formation. Some would see that as a good thing because it connects my head with my heart so that there is both objectivity and subjectivity. Others would see that connectedness as a bad thing for the same reason.  

 

Anyway, back to villains and buffoons.  

 

Why does it seem (to me, at least) that those who articulate the pro homosexual stance often do so with a clarity of thought and words that, generally speaking, is more acceptable to the thus far uncommitted listeners.   Some would say the answer is simply because their case is sound, logical and right while those who hold the opposing view do so with arguments that are unsound, illogical and wrong.   Frankly, I don't accept that as an answer. It is too simplistic. The issues in this debate are far too complex to dismiss with such a verbal "wave of the hand".  

 

As I wrestle with this vexed subject, a couple of factors present themselves for consideration and inclusion in this debate. What follows is anything but the end of the debate. I offer these as aspects that need to be recognized and included as we continue to interact with advocates and antagonists of the various positions. 

 

The first factor to recognize as we position ourselves on the subject of homosexuality is that it must not be considered in isolation from the bigger picture of our overall humanity and, to be more specific, from our total human sexuality. For example, if an opponent of the homosexual lifestyle wants to appeal to the Bible to make their case, that person must put homosexuality into the overall biblical context rather than discuss it in isolation.   In other words, homosexuality must be seen in the context of the overall brokenness and rebellion of humanity - i.e. what the Bible calls "sin".

 

To those who oppose homosexuality, I would ask this question: "Is homosexuality a sin that is worse than all other sins and, therefore, it deserves a category all of its own?"   Consider the following Bible passage that addresses, among other issues, homosexual behaviour:  

 

Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10 NLT)

 

Those who want to refer to a passage like this to defend their opposition to homosexuality must, in the name of integrity, recognize the other sins that are listed right up there with homosexuality. The passage includes homosexuality but is not limited to homosexuality. What about 'heterosexual' sin like adultery? What about greed? Cheating? Drunkenness? Abusiveness? Embezzlement?   I believe the case against the adoption of homosexuality would have more credibility if it was not treated as some kind of "super abomination" that was far, far worse than any other sin.  

 

A woman was once brought to Jesus by religious leaders because she had been caught in the very act of adultery. I'm not the first one to note that it takes two persons for adultery to be committed which makes me wonder, "So, where's the guy? He had to be there, too - assuming the other person was a guy!"  

 

Now there's a thought! What would the reaction of Jesus have been if that entrapment (because that is surely what it was) uncovered a lesbian liaison? Would He have treated this woman any differently than He is recorded to have done here? I think we know the answer, don't we? Surely Jesus would have treated her just the same - including the directive to go and sin no more.  

 

I'm not advocating that we go easy on any sin. I'm simply wanting to appeal that we don't categorize human sin according to our personal likes and dislikes. Let's not try and make a case that homosexuality is more (or less) heinous than any other expression of our rebellion and resistance against God.  

 

As Christians, we believe that all sin is destructive to those who are made in the image of God. We avoid adultery because it is destructive to the marriage relationship. "You shall not commit adultery" is a directive from a loving God who wants to protect us so we can enjoy the fullness of the marriage relationship. It is not a restrictive pronouncement from a God who wants to rob our lives of joy and fulfilment!    

 

The second factor that we somehow need to communicate in this debate about homosexuality has to do with our world view when it comes to spiritual realities. I believe that a basic mistake we make is trying to explain our case from the wrong paradigm or world view. We try to prove our convictions (which are based upon a new set of values) by appealing to a set of values that are no longer applicable to those who belong to a new creation.  

 

This is what I mean: such is the dynamic change wrought by Jesus Christ in the life of the person whocomes to Him in repentance and faith that a whole new creation has begun. This new birth (or being born again) involves much more than some simple acknowledgement or agreement that we now "believe in Jesus".   It involves the surrendering of our lives. It involves a form of defection in that we defect from the Kingdom of darkness and are relocated into the Kingdom of God. In turn, that act of defection means we abandon the values, priorities and morality that used to be the determining factors in how we lived our lives. It also means that we now adopt the values, priorities and morality of this new kingdom and its King - Jesus Christ.  

 

If we accept that proposition as true, the debate on our sexuality and its expressions - including homosexuality - now takes on a whole new appearance. No longer do we need wrestle with the kind of questions about what we think on this subject (or any other, for that matter). Since we have committed ourselves to the authority of this new King, we now ask, "What does our King require of us in this matter?"   There may still be a range of views but the discussion now fits within a whole new paradigm - a radically different world view.  

 

What I am trying to say here is that there are some more fundamental questions that need to be asked before we ever get to discuss the specific subject of homosexuality.   "Do we recognize the authority of the Lord, Jesus Christ, in our lives?" "Do we seek to live in the reality of His Kingdom?"  

 

The real division that comes about as we discuss this subject comes not from the subject itself but from the governing orientation of our lives. Jesus is Lord of our lives or He is not. Where His authority is denied or resisted, well, of course there will be differences from those who do accept and live under His authority. Such is the radical difference between these two kingdoms that the differences of opinions will also be radical.  

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