We can now add to the list of risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle its impact on the frontal lobes and logic centers of the evangelical brain. Faced with the rising “gay” tide, multiple thousands—perhaps millions—of professing Christians are becoming both hosts and transmitters of a peculiar form of cognitive dissonance: embracing two incompatible ideas and somehow making peace with the disharmony.
I’m speaking here of the idea that active, unrepentant sexual activity between two same-gendered people is consistent with Christian beliefs and practices.
The solvent for forging this artificial union or peace (see Jer. 6:14)? A skewed view of Christian love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
An important distinction needs to be made here between this and the other, more manifestly rebellious method some professing Christians use to reconcile the two: twisting scriptural references to homosexuality to mean something other than their clear meaning and what 99% of biblical scholars over three millennia have taken them to mean. In other words, advocating that when properly practiced God blesses homosexual behavior and that it is just as conducive to human and societal flourishing as heterosexuality. I am specifically addressing here Christians who still believe that homosex is wrong—or at least sub-optimal—but also believe that Christian love and forgiveness call for us to accept it.
I was recently confronted with this insidious meme for the umpteenth time while strolling through a special event held at an upscale shopping and dining development. It was a Kid’s Fare and the streets were dotted with booths and presentations catering to pre-teens. One was sponsored by a local church. Still looking for a congregation to join after moving to Cleveland, I stopped and visited with a nice lady who was handing out gift bags and talking up the impressive variety of programs her church had to offer children in the community. As we chatted, it was clear she was genuinely sincere and excited about Jesus and her faith. Yes, her church believed in the inerrancy of Scripture. Ditto the bodily death and resurrection of Christ. And yes, Jesus was the way, the truth and the life. Not wanting to monopolize her time, I decided to cut to the chase and ask “the question”—one that sadly has become one of the better gauges as to a particular church’s position on the “pillar and ground of truth” scale. (1 Tim. 3:15)
“Where are you guys in relation to the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage?”
She blinked and opened with what I have found to be a standard, evasive response: “We love and support all people and want to help them on their journey with God.”
“Fantastic!” I replied. “But what does that practically mean for someone who is actively engaged in a homosexual lifestyle?”
After a few more ambiguous comments, she finally cut to the chase, revealing the infectious meme. To better understand this affliction, I will break it down—with brief commentary—in sections.
1. “Look, we’re all sinners.” Very true. And I’m a candidate for the chief of them. But note the clear inference here: homosex is sinful. No one would respond to a question about whether their church accepts homeless people, dentists, or Germans by noting, “We’re all sinners.” Somewhere in that brain of hers the Biblical truth was still alive, if not well: God never intended for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman. (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27)
2. “Jesus came to save sinners.” Once again the implication is that homosex is sinful. But here we need to remember that Jesus came to not just atone for sin, thus saving sinners. He also came to deliver them; to save them “from their sins” (Matt. 1:21); to work in them the grace so that they can “go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) And that certainly includes—more necessitates—that sinful acts be acknowledged as being just that: sinful.
3. Then she spoke about herself: how she had her first child outside of marriage, further that she was divorced. (Again, I can relate on both counts. Worse, as an unmarried college student I had my first child executed by an abortionist.) “My church accepts me,” she said. “Shouldn’t we accept gay people as well?” Well, that depends on what we mean by “accept.” Receive, love and honor them as broken, fallen image-bearers-of-God like the rest of us? Absolutely! Patiently, compassionately join them on our collective journey towards the Celestial City. Of course! But that also means acknowledging that there is a prescribed path to that City, a highway of holiness that God has raised up for us to walk upon. (Isa. 35:8) And divorce, abortion, premarital sex, homosex and a host of other beliefs and behaviors are not only not paving stones on that highway; far worse, they are pitfalls, sloughs and dungeons that can profoundly hinder our journey. It is true every pilgrim will experience one or more of them. And that’s why there are divorce recovery groups, addiction programs, ministries to women grieving over their abortions, and more. But there is a universe of difference between that and normalizing a particular sin by trying to pretend a noxious swamp is really a verdant pasture. And sacralizing homosexuality with the label “marriage,” or pretending that people who engage in homosex can have an inheritance in the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9) is to attempt precisely that.
4. Now a little defensive, she shrugged her shoulders and joined the chorus of other professing believers who have shared similar answers with me over the past five years: “Jesus is all about love and forgiveness. God desires mercy and not sacrifice. Judge not lest you yourself be judged. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Neither do I (Jesus) condemn you. Jesus preferred hanging out with those who had been marginalized by polite society. By grace we have been saved, not works. God is love, love, love, love, love…”
To her and any professing Christian infected with this meme and blithely suppressing the dissonance it logically, necessarily carries with it: You are not reflecting God’s love by making someone feel comfortable with their sin. That would be more like hate. And by adding your “Amen” to the chorus of those normalizing homosexuality, you are far from showing mercy. Like it or not, you have joined forces—however unwittingly—with the Dark Fowler. (Ps. 91:3) You are helping set snares for other souls. And that may well include a young man in your family, church or community who is estranged from his father, struggling with teen angst and identity issues and who suddenly finds himself being lead into temptation by a homosexual man (perhaps a relative or neighbor) that has shown an interest in him.
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