Even before the Grammy Awards showcased Macklemore singing “Same Love” and Queen Latifah presiding over a “same sex couple’s wedding” ceremony, I had most of this blog written as the topic has been on my mind for quite some time.
I am not a Kuyperian or a Neo-Kuyperian, but there are certain watershed cultural issues for every generation of Christians; issues in which they cannot be silent. For our generation, abortion and homosexuality are key watershed issues. They are watershed issues, because abortion snatches away life and homosexuality reaches out and grabs hold of death.
The average Evangelical Christian continues to believe we should speak out against the acceptance of abortion in our culture. And the pro-abortion forces have been losing ground over the past five years. No doubt, much of that is due to the church’s resolve to stand against this agenda. However, it seems to me that in the past few years, Evangelical Christians in the United States have increasingly and passively grown in their acceptance of homosexuality. This should concern all of us.
I understand the discouragement. Our culture has done a quick “about face” on this issue. It was just yesterday that the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom announced its main character was homosexual (1997) and a firestorm erupted. Now, it seems almost “normal” to have Queen Latifah presiding over a “wedding” ceremony of a homosexual couple. We cannot let it feel “normal.” Make no mistake, homosexuality may be the issue of the day. It brings secularism to the forefront like few other agendas and it undermines the foundation of family, church, and the Scriptures.
Therefore, it should concern us when Christians throw their hands up and declare with finality that the homosexuality debate in this country is over–the battle has been waged and lost. This agenda has fooled us into thinking it is here to stay and must be adopted and adapted to. It has bullied us into believing we cannot continue to speak out against the acceptance of practicing this sin in our culture. Too many denominations, Christian schools, churches, and individual Christians are raising the white flag. This is something we cannot and must not do.
Homosexuality is a matter of extreme importance to us. Make no mistake, this is a gospel issue. When our culture embraces something that sends people to hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:10) then it must matter to us. We cannot roll over and play dead. We cannot give up and just let the issue go. We are compelled to continue to engage our culture on this issue and challenge its wayward course. We are not doing this because we are feverish to return to the 1940’s or 1950’s or because we are a “backwards people.” Rather, we are a people looking forward to eternity and that is our motivation. Neither are we seeking to engage in this cultural battle because we are haters. We do so because we are lovers of men and God. We do not endeavor to be sticks in the mud, who refuse to change. We, of all people, know the value of change as we have been brought from death to life. However, we are only willing to change where we are freed by the Scriptures to do so. We are a people bound by the Word of God; our conscience is constrained by it, and from this position we cannot move.
We must be bold and courageous in our day. Not rabble rousers, but valiant and resolute according to our convictions. Our starting place, should be to disapprove of homosexual practice, knowing that we do so in the context of our own sexual fallen state. We are not haughty. We are not decrying the sins of others and ignoring our own, but neither are we willing to sit silently when our culture calls that which is evil “good.”
Let us resolve, that as we continue to speak against homosexuality and its acceptance in our culture, we will do so winsomely and lovingly; yet, we are also committed to doing so clearly. In our pulpits, in our conversations around the water cooler, with our children, or in simple talks over the fence with our neighbors, we will be clear that homosexual practice is a sin. We will not attempt to separate love and truth. A careful guard against the subtle language of “gay” and “gay marriage” should be in place. Neither one of those terms should be used in our discourse about the homosexual lifestyle or homosexual union. There is nothing “gay” or God-honoring about the homosexual lifestyle, and it is not a God-ordained marriage when two homosexuals join together in a “state approved marriage,” even if it is a monogamous and committed relationship. We, as a people of the Word, know the importance of language and words, and it is crucial we give clear articulation of God’s purpose and plan for sex and marriage.
Even as we exercise our voice, we need a generation of Christians who are willing to do even more; willing to be courageous enough to minister with compassion and truth to the homosexual community. We need brothers and sisters in Christ, who know the depths of grace and are deliberate in ministering to others by that grace. We must raise an army of men and women, who are compelled, in all humility, to seek to understand the homosexual struggle and enter into relationships that will challenge, encourage, and hold friends and loved ones accountable. We need elders and pastors with a vision to establish churches where a person struggling with same-sex attraction or even homosexual practices are lovingly warned, discipled, and given care. We need to continue to declare that homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin, but that repentance is called for. We must be clear in our application of theology that identifying the sinful desire and abstaining from such practices does not negate personhood or necessitate the deprivation of joy.
Above all, we need to pray. We need to pray for those in our churches who struggle with same-sex attraction, for those who have given into this temptation and sin, and for the salvation of those who are trapped in a lifestyle that leads to death. We need to pray that our society would alter its present course on this issue and never look back.
It may be an uphill battle, but our God moves mountains. We serve a God who can change things in an instant. Does it seem impossible? Our God majors in the impossible. May it take a miracle? There is good news, we serve a God who performs miracles. We cannot roll over and play dead on this issue. It is too important. It is an issue with eternal implications for the souls of men and women. We believe in the power of the gospel, so let us believe it is good news even in the midst of this debate, and declare it without shrinking. May God turn the tide and do a mighty work of change in our generation, for His praise and His glory. He can do it. Never lose hope.