The “Christian” Homosexual Debate

This debate is brought to surface again with the recent news of World Vision, the Christian international missions organization who is committed to serve the poor all over the globe, saying that they will hire Christian same-sex married couples.

Tension. This is a fitting word when you read a topic like this. Actually, tension might not be a strong enough word. Either way, this is something that erupts emotions and allows what’s really in us to spew out (and you will know them by their fruit; Matt. 7:20). Hot topics like this often seem to steal the day in debates and other things get lost in the discussion. I’m not sure if this dodging of certain issues at the expense of elevating others is intentional or not (for the quick witted, I’m sure it is, but for most, it’s likely an ignorant cover up).

What am I talking about, some of you are wondering? Well, I have heard many people say “Christian and same-sex marriages don’t go together in the same sentence; they are mutually exclusive.” In one instance, that is completely true, because to follow Christ is to become obedient to Him in all things, and Scripture is clear that men lusting after men and women lusting after women is an unnatural desire and a dishonorable passion (Rom. 1:26-27).

So yes, it’s an oxy-moron, but that means we all inhabit that oxy-moron reality everyday of our lives. After Paul uses the shameful desire of homosexuality being the result of worshipping the creature over the Creator, he goes on to give a whole long laundry list of others sin as well that come from the same debased mind that has worshiped the creature over the Creator:

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32).

Envy, strife (anger), deceit, gossip, insolent (rude; cocky), boastful, disobedient to parents, foolish… just to name a few. And for those who went through the list and excused their way out of being any one of these…. there’s your sign!

My point is this, Paul’s laundry list indicts us all, and if you are going to rail against World Vision agreeing to hire Christian couples who are in a same-sex marriages, then at least be consistent and rail against them for hiring those who are continually rebellious towards their parents; those who go around gossiping, trying to get people to like them at the cost of not liking someone else; the greedy millionaire business owners who support them thousands of dollars feeling really good about their large contribution while lining their pockets with more money than they know what to do with, buying multiple homes and saving more than most of will ever make in a lifetime; the foolish Christians who make a big deal about sins they aren’t committing, but are hush hush about the areas of sin that they don’t want to change (consumerism, not loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, ethnic pride, neglecting the poor, etc.)

Somehow homosexuality has become taboo to many Christians and is treated as a separate sin that is worse than all the others; this only shows people’s insecurity’s with their own sexuality. Why aren’t we angry about the amount of money we spend as Americans, the amount of gadgets we consume, the amount of food we eat, etc? At times, it seems that we love to hate and hate to love. We are sinners, and railing against homosexuality while ignoring the whole laundry list makes one a self-righteous bigot. Go ahead, go to the mirror and say, “I am a bigot.” It’s freeing, I do it all the time. It’s freedom to acknowledge the truth, and when you do, you begin to have love for others like yourself, who are living in sin, making excuses for sin, or ignorant to their own sin.
Paul goes on to say in Romans 2, after the long laundry list of debased thinking behavior and says this:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4).

“For in passing judgement on another, you condemn yourself.” Paul knows the Romans were (and God knew we would) passing judgement for certain sins and neglecting their own, this is a human problem. But Paul is very clear, that the “judge” practices that very same things, and reminds us that it is not railing, but kindness that leads the sinner to repentance. Ouch, that should hurt to all the judgers who presume to know hearts and intentions. Truth yes, but it is so seldom offered in love and kindness. The hate speech that comes from this debate (on both sides!) is a sick smell, not a Christ-like aroma.

Many people often think of divine wrath as something God does, instead of what God finally allows to happen. Like a good parent, God will protect a rebellious child from the full impact of their sin, but there will come a time when God treats all of us like adults. The Wisdom of Solomon states: “one is punished by the very things by which one sins”. It is clear that God reveals his wrath by giving us over to the desires of our heart, which can and does reveal itself in many ways. Do not brush over the ways that have you enslaved. Ask God to reveal them to you, and be humble enough to receive what Christ wants to offer you in return.

When in disagreements, be sure you’re not placing more emphasis on the sins “you don’t struggle with” while “ignoring the ones you’re guilty of”. We need Christ to be displayed, and although I’m not exactly sure where I’m at with World Vision’s decision, I trust God will use relationships with many humble servants within that organization to bring about righteousness, holiness, and purity; at least that’s what I’m praying for.

2 thoughts on “The “Christian” Homosexual Debate

  1. May I approach this from another place? First Jeff, thank you for your thoughts and I agree Christian Culture/individuals, myself included have a tendency to focus on the behavioral-external stuff when it comes to subjects like this. It’s often the place where we miss Jesus and become entangled with legalism or externalism.

    It’s easy to get behind some cause and miss who we are on the inside where the real changes must take place; where a worldview and biblical view can co-exist if that worldview is also biblical. So, rather than talk about whether World Vision hires a gay person or couple, my concern goes to another place which Richard Stearns went – possibly without knowing it.

    He makes this statement: He asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians. Then he says this decision for World Vision, “… is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.

    Talk about an oxymoron! Stearns statement has separated himself and World Vision out from the Body of Christ/global church and defined what they do as only being an operational arm of the global church. Can’t have it both ways in my view. So whether we’re talking the issue World Vision places before us or – let me be ridiculous – whether World Vision made a stance on whether it’s okay to serve cultures that chew bubble gum or not, to suggest what he/they have done as not being a part of the theological arm of the global church isn’t a biblical worldview, in my opinion.

    Here’s something to consider about cultural diversity of which this issue certainly raised. “The 1966 Wheaton Declaration states that syncretism is the attempt to unite or reconcile biblically revealed Christian truth with the diverse or opposing tenets and practices of non-Christian religions or other systems of thought that deny it.” Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission, pg 237

    May I say that in my thinking Stearns and World Vision have unwittingly done the above in making this issue about who they hire or don’t hire. Then they are unknowingly teaching there’s a sense of Schizophrenic Christianity that is acceptable, where we separate out who we are from what we do – whether it’s personally, corporately or economically feasible to do or not.

    I believe the global church is “me” “you” in the work place or ministry, or wherever we find ourselves in our cultures. It is an organism and can’t be separated out by terms like “Para-church” verses a “theological arm compared to a operational arm” of the Body of Christ.

    Stearn’s statement then goes to the place where he asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.

    So here we have his agenda; even a theological agenda centered around “unity” for every Christian that he says World Vision really isn’t involved with since they are only an operational arm of the global church.

    Jeff, you are correct about how hypocritical we can be on this subject by not going to places where we ask even tougher questions about ourselves and what’s going on in our communities. Questions that point out how easy it is to get on bandwagons and not see that the issue is about Jesus; about my personal sin (failure to love) and reaching a lost world for the sake of eternity and in the “now.”

    It’s interesting to me that “syncretism” has entered the picture again. When that happens, I’m not inclined to agree with World Vision’s statement that they’re just an operational arm of the global church and that they haven’t made this decision under pressure.

    If no one asked them to make this decision, why did they feel/think they have to issue one publicly? To dodge the divisiveness? Well I guess that didn’t happen.

    So let me be clear. The issue for me isn’t about who is hired or not. We all need Jesus and we get that authority from the Bible. The issue is about the danger of syncretism. It’s about the hypocrisy of hiding behind looking like the good guy and then separating ourselves out from the global church, which World Vision and Stearn say they are a part of. That raises suspicions about agendas to me.

    World Vision has done a wonderful job in serving the poor and supplying the needs for cultures in trouble from disasters. But, trust levels are in question now, not because of the issue of who they will employ but because of stepping into the slippery slope of syncretism; a position which raises questions as to what their motives are behind their need to make this declaration.

    • “I believe the global church is ‘me’ ‘you’ in the work place or ministry, or wherever we find ourselves in our cultures. It is an organism and can’t be separated out by terms like ‘Para-church’ verses a ‘theological arm compared to a operational arm’ of the Body of Christ.”

      I agree with you Jerry. I think you nailed it! This is double talking on behalf of WV. I have plenty of issue with WV’s stance and how they went about it. Their decision is thoroughly theological and can never be separated out from the church (operational vs. theological). Our operation implies our theology, etc. Thanks for seeing the multiple issues, which is easy to lose sight of them. Fundamentalism creeps in when we become single issue champions.

      This is the other side of the debate that can be engaged by believers who are willing to address the multiple other sin issues involved that isn’t just railing against a decision to hire those who profess to be Christians yet gay. You did a great job articulating the “real” problem behind this decision, which ought to be addressed, along with all the other ways we have syncretized our lives and ministries to slowly squeeze out the gospel.

      Thanks for taking the time to thoughtfully critique this.

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