Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hard and Soft Lines
In far too many cases, the options seem reduced to these--liberal churches preaching love without truth, and conservative churches preaching truth without love. Evangelical Christians must ask ourselves some very hard questions, but the hardest may be this: Why is it that we have been so ineffective in reaching persons trapped in this particular pattern of sin? The Gospel is for sinners--and for homosexual sinners just as much as for heterosexual sinners. As Paul explained to the Corinthian church, "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" [1 Corinthians 6:11].Look, I agree with Mohler here, I have said similar things in many instances, but there is something tonally about his approach that has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I think it is because of the large amount of other sexual sin I see in the church where we draw much softer lines, where we take a far less hardcore approach.
I believe that we are failing the test of compassion. If the first requirement of compassion is that we tell the truth, the second requirement must surely be that we reach out to homosexuals with the Gospel. This means that we must develop caring ministries to make that concern concrete, and learn how to help homosexuals escape the powerful bonds of that sin--even as we help others to escape their own bonds by grace.
Divorce is as common in the church as it is outside of it. Couples that have lived together outside the bonds of matrimony are routinely married in the church without so much as a mention of the sin that proceeded, sometimes with the progeny of the coupling all too evident. We've got Jim Bakker's and Ted Haggard's galore! The list is endless.
When you consider all these soft lines that are laying about the church, it does in fact seem arbitrary, if not downright mean, to draw a hard line when it comes to homosexuality. I have some sympathy for the cries of discrimination that come from many homosexuals. Why do we look at fornication and adultery with a wink and a nod, but not their particular sexual sin?
I agree with Mohler, but we CANNOT draw a hard line here without also doing a careful examination of the rest of what we let slide. Otherwise, the charge of hypocrisy will stick pretty hard.
Otherwise, logically, we have little choice but to start to treat their sin with the same lack of concern we treat our own.