Ironic Faith: Homosexuality

It’s no surprise that the emerging churches have a special concern for homosexuals.

Emergents are not so much pro-gay or pro-lesbian as they are convinced that sexuality is more complex than many acknowledge. They are committed both to the Bible, which has strong denunciatory language for homosexual practices, and to live alongside gay and lesbian friends and family members.

That is, I think, the attitude of many a young Christian. Obviously, some refuse to see the sinfulness in homosexuality, but even for those who acknowledge the Bible’s teachings, they have grown up in a world that often prefers to treat gay men and women with dignity rather than hatred.

Where I grew up, homosexuals were treated as garbage, even taken out and beaten just for sport. I think the newer attitude is far closer to God’s. 

I find the scriptures quite plain in denouncing homosexual acts and quite plain as treating homosexuals as people to be loved. But we’ve never been good at hating the sin and loving the sinner. Rather, we tend to treat the sinner as too loathsome to have around.

And the worst of it is this: because Christians have treated gay men and women so shamefully over the years, we’ve lost our moral standing to say that homosexual relations are wrong. And it’s entirely our own fault. 

But we must resist the temptation to surrender to the world’s culture and ignore God’s teachings on the subject. Rather, our task is to rebuild our moral standing by truly loving the homosexuals we encounter, even those who are sexually active. I mean, Jesus showed compassion to prostitutes and adulters. We can do no less.

And for those in our churches who have homosexual feelings but who resist them and remain chaste, well, we should treat them as the heroes of the faith they are. Many of our heterosexual members don’t do as well.

For more on the subject, see the series “Letters to a Gay Man in the Churches of Christ.”

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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9 Responses to Ironic Faith: Homosexuality

  1. micah says:

    (I haven't read your "Letters to a Gay Man…" posts yet, so if I just repeat things you say, forgive me.)

    I think one thing that makes homosexuality different from other sins, e.g. hate, envy, greed, etc., is that for most homosexuals their orientation is a part of their identity. Most people, when they hate someone, are greedy, or are jealous, don't see these as part of WHO they are. So telling them that they have to stop doing that isn't as offensive.

    But when we preach and teach against homosexuality (as the Church should) we are preaching against what they feel is their identity (i.e. WHO they are). It would be similar to me telling you that Christ demanded you no longer be the children of your parents.

    So I can understand why they would find it a very difficult teaching–even an offensive teaching. (I couldn't imagine how I would react if someone told me that to be a Christian I could no longer be married to my wife. I'm sure that's how many of them feel.)

    Many people would accuse me of being too accepting of sinful activity. I'm not. I think homosexuality is a sin, and they need to repent and turn away from it. But I refuse to let our "culture wars" be played out in the church.

  2. Jay Guin says:

    Micah,

    Thanks for your insights. The first step in developing a Christian attitude toward homosexuality is to love gay men and women enough to try to understand where they are coming from. That doesn't mean we deny God's teachings. But it means we teach in a spirit of actual love — love that tries to understand and to serve.

  3. obamite says:

    "It’s no surprise that the emerging churches have a special concern for homosexuals."

    Of course not, considering that they ARE homosexuals.

  4. weswoodell says:

    Well Obamite, thanks for making me spew Dr. Pepper on my keyboard.

  5. Joe Baggett says:

    It is all in approach. Homosexaulituy is sin just like greed, pride and so on. It is the sin and not the tendency or temptation that is issue. It is so easy to judge but if we starting treating all (greed, lust, pride gossip etc.) sin like we treat homosexuality then we might learn why people who struggle with homosexuality feel so estranged from the traditional church.

  6. micah says:

    obamite: I don't know if you were joking or if you were serious, but I don't think that comment is appropriate.

    Joe Baggett: "…if we starting treating all sin like we treat homosexuality then we might learn why people who struggle with homosexuality feel so estranged from the traditional church."

    I like that point.

  7. rey says:

    All sin is not as sick as homosexuality, for various reasons, including that I can't recall one murderer in recent history who held a murder pride parade or who argued that the church ought to accept him as non-repentant murderer. Can you? Nor can I recall an adulterers pride parade. I can recall adulterers arguing that they have a right to remarry after they break up a marriage, but the church doesn't put up with that anymore than it does homosexuality! (Unless its Jay Guin's church of easy-divorcism, of course.) The fact is that homosexuality gets exactly the treatment that it deserves when it is looked down on with infinite disgust. And it should be looked down on with more disgust than infinite disgust (oh that it were possible!) because if you will do that with another man, then what's to stop you from molesting a child? Nothing. That's why most child molestations you hear about are homosexual in nature. Anyone who would do such despicable acts with other men (or even desire to) has totally discarded all morality and human nature, and is capable of any and ever vile crime imaginable and unimaginable, and how dare them beg for sympathy when they show none to their victims!

  8. Jay Guin says:

    obamite,

    You assert that those in the emerging movement "are homosexuals." Is this true? Can you defend the allegation with facts? Or is this false witness and slander?

  9. Jon Shelton says:

    Rey,
    That is a pretty bold statement to say that other sins aren't as bad as homosexuality. Now, I'm not speaking to the boldness with which the movement has tried to push that lifestyle, those people are in the dark and we cannot expect the darkness to act like it is light.
    You should do some study into the subject, and you would actually understand your statement of, "That’s why most child molestations you hear about are homosexual in nature."
    I do not excuse the actions associated with sin, but if we cannot love the soul of the sinner, where does that leave us as a church that's purpose is to be the light in the darkness. We have become a church of the clean and we run from the unclean that need to be ministered to, but those are the ones that Jesus would have been ministering to.
    Paul did not throw these people by the side of the road, he knew that these actions were in the past of the Corinthians. Sexual sins are included in most if not all the lists of "kingdom excluding" sins, but so are those "smaller" sins.
    There are things that I would address to you, but I do not feel that a public forum would be the proper place to discuss things, but from your words, you or someone you are close to has been deeply hurt in this area. It is hard when we are so close to some issues to look on them as Jesus would, and it has taken me years to move some of those things to that frame of reference.

    Jon

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