7/16/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Homosexuality and such

Homosexuality and such

The biblical teaching on homosexuality is consistent and clear. It's regarded as sin in both Testaments. Very occasionally you find a serious scholar in this present age and Western culture that disputes that claim but more often you'll find a serious scholar who admits the Bible teaches against homosexuality and takes issue with what it teaches. At least that scholar has heard the Bible's own message though he isn't prepared to accept it.
Much more often you'll find scholars who feel the need to remind us often that heterosexual sin is just as surely sinful as homosexuality. This is legitimate and right since heterosexual sin is increasingly "understood" and put up with by believers while homosexuality is still seen as "in a class by itself" and intolerance I think would be the order of the day. This is tragically wrong even though I understand that homosexuality generates pastoral problems that are more difficult to work with than heterosexual sins. But that's another discussion for another time.
The number of practising homosexuals is still very small compared with heterosexuals (you might remember that the very inflated figures for practicing homosexuals were exposed several years ago). It's easy to be conned into thinking the number of practicing homsexuals is enormous when celebrities, TV personalities, TV presenters get the lion's share of the popular media time but the numbers remain tiny. The truth is, the numbers game doesn't matter much relative to truth on any life question. I won't stop even to illustrate that truth much less prove it.
The number of practicing homosexuals among seriously religious people is even smaller per capita so churches are sort of "sheltered" from contact with that kind of sexual sin and what you're not used to you tend to react more strongly against.
And since it's the case that seriously devout people see sexual behavior as something more than biological pleasure, since they see it as rich in theological as well as moral significance (see 1 Corinthians 6:13-20) their response to sexual sin is strong, even if the sexual since is the or own--in that case the response shows itself in feelings of guilt and shame.
Now it's true that Christians sometimes make more of sexual sin than they do of rank injustice or other forms of unrighteousness and show themselves to be imbalanced but a non-believer might be surprised that this is not normative (at least not in my experience) and that Christians have an honest shot at being a balanced people. (Maybe I'm painting a better picture of us than is warranted but I can only tell you that this is what I see and hear.)
We take sexual behavior seriously and we believe homosexuality is one of the marks of a society that has turned from God. And we believe that it is one of the marks that God is judging society (see Romans 1:24-27 and note "God gave them up" which stresses God's judicial act as seen in homosexuality, among other things). This belief may be true or false but it is what we believe.
Now, right or wrong, we have been shaped by the Hebrew-Christian scriptures and our opposition to homosexuality is the result of that shaping. That being true, maybe we should be given the credit for being sincere in our faith rather than being branded as irrational homophobics. I confess that I do personally know some believers who can't even bear to discuss the subject and a very few who appear (at times) to be irrational in their opposition to it. Add to that the almost lunatic behavior of some people you see publicly protesting on the streets. [I don't believe that all public protesting is objectionable but you have to be a different kind of religious person to walk the streets with a big painted sign saying something like: SEXUAL PERVERTS BURN IN HELL! and think you're furthering God's eternal purpose.]
It just isn't possible to persuade someone shaped by the Hebrew--Christian scriptures to pretend that homosexuality is a guiltless "sexual preference". I think homosexuals need to make up their minds to that!
I heard one homosexual gentleman on a television show rage, I mean rage, when someone said he thought homosexuality wasn't natural. No one can say what is "natural," the homosexual man fumed. I recognize that this can be disputed from various perspectives but there's little point in homosexuals trying to convince heterosexuals that "nature" has not designed females as the sexual counterpart of males. I know that doesn't settle the overall dispute but there'll be no mutually understanding if at least some of the patently obvious truths aren't being conceded.
Maybe this will help make my point clear. The question of bestiality and the rights of a human to have sex with dogs and horses and sheep is gaining some more interest in the American media. Harvard not long ago hosted a seminar on this very matter, taught by a lesbian who owned a flourishing sex shop. She called for great tolerance toward those who engaged in this behavior. It's all a question of one's preference, don't you see.
I don't doubt for a moment that once society and its government utterly dispenses with morality issues and debate about "moral standards" that everything is legally up for grabs and that one of these days some poor soul will be pleased to hear that the law allows him to lie down with his dog or anyone else's for that matter.
Right now those of us who judge homosexuality to be sinful (and hence immoral) are called homophobic so I wonder what we'll be called when the courts begin to debate the legality of having sex with sheep or pigs. I don't mean these last remarks to be nothing more than inflammatory or derisive [at least I don't consciously have that in mind] but I'd be pleased if homosexuals would refrain from calling us homophobic. The bulk of us are not Muslimophobic or any other phobic. Homosexuals are "citizens" and if they are to be viewed as "citizens" then they have "citizens' rights" and if they protest for changes in society's laws they are expressing their rights in a democratic society. That makes sense to me.
But homosexuals need to give Christian people the benefit of the doubt. We're not sinless, we're not always wise, we're not always courteous and we don't always treat one another well so we won't always treat homosexuals well. But our convictions run deep, we may be wrong in what we believe but we believe what we believe because we have been shaped by the Hebrew--Christian scriptures. We don't hate homosexuals, we fervently disagree with their views but, dear God, we have sense enough to know you can't one moment verbally beat the blood out of a homosexual and then in the next breath tell him that God loves him and has come to bless him in the Lord Jesus.
They should try to give us some credit and we'll try not to be self-righteous, pompous and overly-wise. Homosexuals should try to understand WHY we think as we think. We think that if we were to say, "Sexual preference is nobody's business!" that sex with animals is approved and from there marriage to animals is approved.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.