Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question 2: A Blogger's Response

Since posting Brian McLaren's commentary about homosexuality we've had difficulty keeping pace with the responses being written. Reading through the comments reveals why homosexuality is known as a "wedge issue" in our culture. Our readers appear divided between heralding McLaren as a prophet, and condemning him as a heretic. Below is one response we received by a blogger named Jeff who disagrees with McLaren's suggested five year moratorium on making pronouncements about homosexuality. But unlike many other critics, Jeff also writes about his very personal engagement with this issue.

1. To make the accusation that "we" (evangelicals or the church or the "religious right" whoever "we" are) consider homosexuality to be somehow "more sinful" than any other transgression based on the fact that we seem to be giving so much time, energy and attention to it at present is somewhat unfair. The church didn't have a secret meeting somewhere and decide that now is the time to take action against "those homosexuals." Our reaction has been totally defensive, forced upon us by court-mandated acceptance of homosexual marriage, the consecration of homosexuals to leadership positions in the church, the media's glorification of the homosexual lifestyle and the continuing actions of the militant portion of the homosexual community.

Just as abortion became a dominant issue for the church only after Roe v. Wade, so homosexuality has attained prominence in the aftermath of these significant events. Those "pronouncements" that Brian bewails are the equivalent of "raising up a standard against the enemy" who is truly "coming in like a flood."

2. I fear that Brian's desired "moratorium" is more likely to turn into a "surrender" than anything else. It will certainly be a unilateral one, for the voices crying for more and more acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle will certainly NOT be silent while we take our little siesta. We followed a similar path before in the areas of science, politics and education, somehow believing that if we ignored the problem it would surely go away, and those institutions are now almost exclusively controlled by the secular world view. Silence now in the area of morality, even in the name of reason and "seeking the will of God," would accomplish no more. Of course, if we're really not sure what to think about homosexuality, then this will help solve that problem without any undue exertion on our part ?

3. Many have suggested that the church does not speak out nearly so forcefully against such sins as gossip, gluttony and greed as we do against homosexuality, apparently suggesting that we take the same line with sexual sin as we have with these more common indiscretions. Is it not more correct to call us to speak with clarity and force against these sins as well? It is certainly not to our credit that we have allowed them to go unchallenged, and the condition of many of our churches today shows the results. The solution is MORE consistent preaching of the truth, not less.

January 26, 2006

Displaying 1–10 of 11 comments

Stan

January 28, 2006  6:11am

I don't normally do BLOGs and I think the first commentator responded well in defending the evangelical position on homosexualtiy. I live and work in England where there are possibly 60+ Ministers of Parliment that are either openly gay or need to be "outed" (according to Peter Tachel). It is also the case that to declare publicly that you are anti-gay is to incur the possible wrath of local authorities and that may include a police investigation and potential charges of committing a "hate crime." Consequently, I live in a culture that treats the homosexual as an ethnic minority. I don't agree with that position and continue to maintain the view that Scripture clearly defines homosexuality as an abhorrent practise to God. Now for the article. Without trying to change the writer's mind, I would offer some observations on his ministry and pastoral style. A few examples from his text: 1. "Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality." I would politely suggest that ths poor writer has either been living in a very secluded world or has somehow failed to keep up in his research. For a pastor to not have taken a positon of anykind and to confess that he is in the dark about an issue that is ripping cultures, families and politics to bits is tantamount to being in breach of contract. The very concept of being a Christian leader is to lead; an issue this serious is not one that can be relegated to the "No opinion" categorgy. 2. "Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do." No argument there; we always care for a person, even as we seek to pull them out of the water. 3. "We aren't sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn." Ummm... does Sodom and Gomorrah give us a picture of God's lines drawn? Not that I am suggesting torching someone of course! The fact is that the OT law and history is pretty clear that God was not prepared to just "live and let live." Very little ambiguity in the Mosaic Law. And yes, I know that we are not under that but the fact remains that when God wanted to start introducing His moral nature, He came on pretty strong. 4. "Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements ... When decisions need to be made, they'll be admittedly provisional ... Then in five years, if we have clarity, we'll speak; if not, we'll set another five years for ongoing reflection." OK, so you're saying it could be 10 years before you've made up your mind?!? That's 10 years of not knowing what to say to people, how to counsel on the rightness and wrongness of a set of behaviours, etc. If I told my people, "Look, I'm not sure what I believe so come back in 10 years", they'd go find another church. If it is going to take that long to make up your mind, maybe its time to admit that its already made up but no one wants to admit their postion. Honestly, I feel sorry for the writer as he is obviously struggling but isn't certain who's voice to listen to; maybe genetics, maybe theology, etc. I would find it difficult to practise my ministry with that level of uncertainty.

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Times Of Refreshing

January 27, 2006  2:44pm

Jeff, Thanks a lot for your clear possition. I believe that the Church (emergent or not) needs to have a clear position on the issue of homosexuality. It is important to highlight that being relevant for this generation does not mean compromising the faith, and the principles of the Kingdom. As Christian man, in ministry, and ex-practicing homosexual, I have to admit that in the midst of the current debate we need structure and reference, we need the truth. Bieng part of the leadership does not make me perfect, hence I need the truth spoken by the Church, reminding me that even what my eyes see (e.g. happy homosexual couples), I should not conform to the spirit of the age, but find and refind my identity in a relationship with Jesus. I need more of Jesus, and someone that clearly set the boundaries. It is indeed unfortunate that Pr. McLaren did not make a clearer statement. However, I may understand his pastoral heart trying to avoid hurting others. Thanks again for being relevant, and not compromising the principles of the Kingdom! Times of Refreshing

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Rob

January 27, 2006  9:57am

I think it is important to point out the weakness of the worldview underlying McLaren's suggestion of a "non-position" in regard to homosexuality. Since one of the highest virtues of the postmodern worldview is to be a defender of the oppressed, McLaren is running into a problem with his position on homosexuality because to call it sin would look like oppressing a people group. Furthermore, this is the same problem we see in other writings from McLaren where is takes a non-position on a potentially oppresive issue (i.e. universalism). I feel for McLaren because he is in a struggle that any of us face when challenged with filtering our worldview through Scripture. I would recommend he read William Webb's compassionate but honest, "Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals" which has already done what he is suggesting through a moratorium.

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Denny Burk

January 26, 2006  11:15pm

Great word, brother. A great word. Thanks for your testimony.

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pjlr

January 26, 2006  3:37pm

Double wow! That is the most articulate argument yet. Jeff is to be commended for understanding the mind of Christ on a level that most of us have yet to attain on this issue. I was humbled by his response. I will strive to show the love of Christ as I lift up the banner of the gospel. Confrontation without condemnation is a very difficult thing to do. With God's help I'd like to get better at it. Thank you Jeff. May God give me the wisdom to deal with my own sin(s) in a way that will bring honor and fame to his name.

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Alvin

January 26, 2006  3:11pm

Beautiful.

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James

January 26, 2006  2:19pm

I worked for and with lesbians for a few years in the horticulture business. They knew I was a Christian, and after years of building a relationship with them they began to ask what I thought of their lifestyle, as well as what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. I was honest with them. I did not coddle them, or dance around the issue. I presented them with the clear teachings of Scripture (and they are clear). They did not get angry with me, or stop talking to me. Instead they respected my beliefs and me for having the courage to talk to them about this very personal issue. You know why they responded the way they did? Because I loved them as human beings who were created in the image of God just like me. I loved them because I knew that apart from Christ I was no different than they were because sin is sin, there are no levels of sin in the eyes of God. All sin separates us from God. You know how they knew I loved them? Because I was a servant towards them. I went out of my way to show the love of Christ to them by the way I lived around them. They did not see a hypocrite who said one thing but did another. I tried to be consistent around them and show them what true Christianity looks like, because the stories they told me about other Christian encounters they had made me realize that far too often Christians do not look very much like the One whose name they wear. One of those women recognized the nature of her lifestyle, confessed to her family and to God that it was sinful, repented of that lifestyle, and is seeking to change her ways to be more in line with how God expects His people to live. Is that enough of a story to show why it is important for Christians to be up front and honest about this issue, but also to be representatives of Christ towards the lost which means consistently living what Scripture teaches? Telling someone else that they need to repent of their sins means nothing if those telling them have not done the same thing themselves.

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Laura Bowman

January 26, 2006  12:24pm

I agree with Brian. The Lord dealt with me some time ago about our attitude toward homosexuals and that we were cutting them off and alienating them. I remember a story I heard about Madlyn Murray O'Hara. She said she had received a letter that was kind and said they were praying for her. In all the years that is the FIRST one she received like that and it did speak to her. We need to stop screaming and boycotting and do some loving and serving with God's heart.

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David Holste

January 26, 2006  12:11pm

In response to this article everyone needs to understand Homosexually is a sin. (I sent a post yesterday, but oddly enough it never made it to the blog). I feel very strongly about this so I will try and post again. Old testament and New are very clear on this issue. Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. Let us understand we are to be like Jesus. He first loved his disciples, and then blessed them with knowledge. We are to show homosexual people we love them. Let it be known we are to love the person (John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another) and hate the sin (Roman 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good). We all fall short of the glory of God. Only through Christ Jesus can we be saved. To understand God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit we must love. (See 1 Corinthians 13). Once we have shown love, then the Holy Spirit can reveal God's truth to them. We are the Lord's servants and must act accordingly. Let us remember we are to seek the will of the Father not our own. May God's truth and love shine upon each and every one of us. May the Holy Spirit speak through us and guide us as we serve the Lord. Amen.

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Liz

January 26, 2006  11:45am

WOW! Well said. I am acquainted with several people who have declared their homosexuality. I truely love some of them because they are great people. I don't even like others of them because they are just not folks I respect, for reasons not even remotely connected to homosexuality. With the ones with whom I have a good relationship, there has been honest dialogue about the fact that homosexuality is sin and so is adultry and gossip and envy, JUDGEMENTALISM, and strife and I don't ostracize the people I know based on sin. If I did I'd have no friends and they sure wouldn't want to have anything to do with me. The key seems to be "truth and love." And you're right, it is a Divine balance and only through the active work of the Holy Spirit in our lives can we extend both (truth and love) in equal parts. God bless you in your daily struggles to live a Godly life. May you experience the full balance of truth, love and grace that is the true representation of our Abba.

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