On such a crucial day in our nation’s history, and however that plays into world history, I felt led to log my thoughts on my response to the US Supreme Court’s decision today to legalize homosexual marriage in all fifty states. This post serves, if nothing more, than for my children to read in the future when they’re old enough. If you’ve stumbled upon this post as an evangelical reader, I hope it brings you stability in what I perceive for many of the Christian faith (though not all) to be a turbulent time; and if you’re someone who endorses gay marriage, perhaps my words will help you at least understand the position of the many Christians that you can’t quite figure out, regardless of how vehemently you disagree.
From the beginning, let me make my position clear, so you can hold my later statements against an overarching view. I do believe homosexuality in lust, in commitment, and in or not in any form of union, recognized or not, is sin and breaches God’s intention in building human kind after his own image. This has been the opinion of the church for many centuries, and it will most likely remain so for many more; I fully concede that it and I may be considered antiquated both now or in times to come. I’m at peace with that. I will elaborate below on some areas where, however, I believe this position alone is inadequate, and where the Church must embrace the nuance of fallen man into her observations if we are to love compassionately.
My doctrine of sin also informs me that all sin is bad, and more than being punished for our sins—a much debated point over the ages—we’re punished by our sins, explicitly, to death should they have their way, because they’re that destructive. Therefore, whatever grace I extend to my own immorality is the same I expect toward other’s. The question for any struggling creature made after God’s image is a simple one: are you walking in sobriety with regard to your lusts? My objective is not to appease them, but to appease him, and bring myself into submission to his design, regardless of my own desires. Jesus as King trumps me as lord of myself if, in fact, I’m submitting to him.
I am required Scripturally to treat all sinners the same, myself chief among them. This means that I guard my language, extend true love, and exercise supreme acceptance wherever and however I have occasion to, in all circumstances. Anything less is anti-Christ in nature, for if he wanted to distance himself from any single sinner, he’d have to have distanced himself from all of us, and should have never arrived on the planet in the first place. If Christians arrive at a place of suddenly loving gay people, this is not a change in theology, it’s abandonment of bigotry. Because if you’re treating a homosexual different than you’re treating a liar, a glutton, a gossiper (this one’s worth repeating), a gossiper, a pedophile, a thief, a cheat, a pornographer, a proud person, an adulterer, or a drunk, then you’re failing at the greatest and only command after loving God—loving your neighbor as yourself. Isn’t it interesting that we have plenty of grace for a pastor struggling with obesity, but we don’t have for one struggling with attraction to the same sex?
As mentioned previously, I’d like to add that I do believe the Church, at present, does lack many good answers in our classic approach to the issue of homosexuality and gender orientation. I don’t believe we have good answers for people in our churches (should they ever feel our churches are safe enough to let their guard down) who have XYY and XXY chromosome composition (the later often referred to as Klinefelter syndrome), nor do we have good answers for people who are born as hermaphrodites (yes, they exist), or ambiguous genitalia. Again, such sensitive circumstances are more common than we might think (statistically speaking, there are ten in my own church—I just have no idea who they are). As a Christian, a pastor, and a human, I should have answers for them, I just don’t at the moment. Perhaps future generations will make progress in this area. I can only pray.
With regard to the Supreme Court’s ruling, there are a number of things we must consider.
First, I have never believed that my government is the kingdom, nor God’s kingdom our government. Yes, the United States and our invented, flawed Constitution may be the best thing going on the planet, and I tend to believe it is, offering the most amount of freedom to the most amount of people—but it’s not divine. Not even close. Only King Jesus is divine, and his kingdom.
This means that it is illegal for me to expect a human system to conform to a kingdom model when only the kingdom can be the kingdom. In other words, God’s kingdom will never be anything else, and man’s governments will never be anything else. And if you’re wondering about Revelation 11:15 (NLT), “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever,” recognize that it all belongs to him, even the broken things, like the United States of America. No where is my government called to reflect Christ, that’s the Church’s responsibility. If the government happens to at times, wonderful; what is it to me? Worldly systems do not change my divine mandate as a representative of the divine.
With my doctrine on sin as it is, my government has already missed several sin-oriented policies which, according to what those on the evangelical extremes are saying about “judgement” and “losing our blessing,” we should have already seen California break off from the continent long ago. What are they, you might ask?
Do we ban drunkenness? Cause that’s a sin. Sure, we have rules against drinking and driving, disorderly conduct. But drunks are allowed to be drunks. And it’s anti-Biblical.
Do we ban lying? Cause that’s a sin. Sure, you can’t lie under oath, you can’t lie on your taxes, and you can’t dish information if you’ve been ordered not to by a court of law. But liars are allowed to lie.
Do we ban overeating? Despite some attempts to tax certain foods or penalize obese people (a problem almost entirely relegated to the US), it’s not against the law to be fat. Gluttons are allowed to glut.
Do we ban gossipers? No, though I wish we would. More damage has been done in the church world by this singular issue than any homosexual has. And it’s insulting to even make such a comparison.
My point is that if you’re looking or waiting for the United States to act like the kingdom, no wonder you’re so distraught today. The US never has nor will she ever. Because she’s not the kingdom. And don’t worry, the land of our forefather’s wasn’t “based on Judeo-Christian ethics” like you perceive she was: slavery is demonic, and we invited a national war that nearly wiped us out because of it.
The greatest point not to be missed, however, is in regard to those Christians who seem to think the other proverbial shoe has dropped. Now the nation is really in trouble because God’s blessing is going to be removed. Unfortunately, much of this apocalyptic thinking has been seeded by a sloppy and dangerous mishandling of the Scriptures in the hands of sensationalist teachers.
Dear Christians, the greatest blessing of God on our human nation is Jesus, and nothing can deconstruct Him. No decision, no action, no pledge, no law. There is no greater blessing to be bestowed, and the Supreme Court can’t “lift his hand” from us; his hand was nailed for us, and when he was raised from the dead, it was laid upon us, right, wrong or indifferent. He’s not changing, he’s not offended, and he’s not going anywhere.
How can I be so sure? If I wasn’t so theologically convinced, all I need to do is observe the nations that would definitely meet the requirements of most Catastrophic Christians. Like China. For all China has done wrong, and I’ve been there to see much of that wrong, the Church is alive and well there. In fact, the Church in China is estimated to be larger than the entire population of the United States.
With regard to humanity and those who are perishing, if we can’t find Jesus doing or saying something, then we shouldn’t be either. Consequently, we should be acting just like him.
Do not be dismayed. And do not play into the enemy’s hands by buying into a false doctrine of sin, or of believing that there’s some other blessing greater than that of King Jesus himself. Jesus is still on the throne and you’re still called to lay your life down for sinners and Christians alike.
Even homosexual ones.