Friday, November 7, 2014

Full Acceptance for the Homosexual but not for Homosexuality: Does this Compromise Work?

Today, many pastors are trying to strike a compromise between their biblical calling and social changes/pressures. Kristyn Komarnicki summarizes interview for Prism with one such Vineyard pastor:

  • Evangelical pastor Ken Wilson explains why churches should be inclusive [of gays and the gay lifestyle] but not affirming, why we don’t have to agree in order to have unity, and what life looks like from “out on the limb.”

Wilson believes that the church can grant full acceptance to active gays without affirming their lifestyle:

  • Granting full acceptance to gay people is not about following a social trend—“hey, the millennials are much more accepting of gays so we need to get with the program if we’re going to hold on to our market share in the marketplace of ideas.” No, it’s about a new way of belonging—to God and each other, through the faithfulness of Jesus, the Messiah.

What does it mean to be faithful to Jesus and to love our neighbor? Many today claim that Jesus accepted all, and so our churches need to do the same. However, according to Jesus, repentance is a necessary part of the equation:

  • I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3-5)

For Jesus, loving our neighbor wasn’t about hiding uncomfortable biblical truths. Instead, it was about comforting others with their need to repent of their sins, lancing the wound, and exposing it to the healing Light.

If we truly love, we will warn our friends about spiritual dangers. If we don’t love, we will not stir the water but simply enable. This doesn’t mean that we confront the gay person with their sins as soon as they walk into church. Love requires sensitivity and timing.

Wilson believes that the church should be about “granting full acceptance to gay people.” However, he stops short of declaring gay sex and gay marriage as biblically acceptable. But what does this look like?

It is one thing to welcome sinners into church. It is another thing “granting full acceptance to gay people.” For one thing, if a “believer” refuses to repent of their sins, they should be subject to church discipline and possible expulsion. However, it is clear that Wilson would be opposed to this.

Wilson also seems to be ignoring the many verses that teach against “granting full acceptance to” unrepentant sinners. Instead of accepting all into brotherhood, we are to bear in mind a sharp biblical distinction:

  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Cor. 6:14-16)

Practically speaking, to grant the unrepentant “full acceptance” is also to grant them leadership. To not do so after granting the unrepentant “full acceptance” would be hypocritical! However, this would destroy the teaching ministry and the character of Christ’s church. Meanwhile, Paul warned that a little leaven (sinful examples or teachings), will corrupt the entire church (Gal. 5:9).

Our silence regarding certain sins speaks loudly. It proclaims, “These behaviors are okay! If they weren’t, we’d be preaching against them.” Clearly, this is not the way to protect those entrusted to us.

However, Wilson believes that the gay controversy needs to be silenced:

  • I think the controversy itself is something like a demonic construct; it’s a supra-human phenomenon that is not from the Holy Spirit but has its origin in the dark spirit. It has an anti-human effect, and pastors have a responsibility to discern the impact of the controversy, resist the spiritual oppression, and protect the most vulnerable members of their congregation, who are gay and lesbian and transgender people—whether they’re out or not—and the people who love them. And in their own way those who hold the traditional view also experience anguish as a result of this intense controversy.

Should we apply this “logic” to every sinful controversy? Does it also represent “spiritual oppression” to call adultery “sin?” Or domestic violence or child abuse? Why should we not apply the healing balm of Jesus’ Gospel to the sin of homosexuality but instead to other sins – adultery, domestic violence, theft, child abuse…? Why should the sin of homosexuality go uncorrected but not other sins?

Wilson seems to make an unbiblical allowance for homosexuality:

  • I think sexuality is a very complex phenomenon, and it’s ultimately up to the individual person led by the Holy Spirit to discern what is the best path forward for them.

However, it seems that the Spirit is very clear in His denunciations of sexual sins:

  • Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-18)

How does Wilson defend his sexually permissive stance? By being “pastoral”:

  • And I have to grant that same dignity to the person who chooses a monogamous same-sex partnership as a faithful path to Jesus—unless I see some clear indication that it is clearly not a life-giving choice for them.

However, Scripture already gives us many “clear indications” against this lifestyle. Jesus taught the sanctity of heterosexual marriage (Matthew 19:1-8; 5:27-30). In fact, there is not one verse in the Bible that could possibly be used to sanction homosexuality. Meanwhile, there are many against it.

Will same-sex marriage “grant… dignity?” Not if the stats can be trusted! They show that homosexuality destroys. This lifestyle is associated with highly elevated levels of domestic violence, drug abuse, mental health issues, suicide, and greatly attenuated lifespans.

However, Wilson believes that homosexual sex is one of the uncertain areas of Scripture:

  • Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. (Romans 14:1)

However, according to Scripture, there is nothing “disputable” about homosexual sex! Nor is it an area where we are given freedom to choose!

By extending “full acceptance” to unrepentant gays, Wilson has set his church on a well-lubricated slippery slope. His argumentation has already prepared the way for the full acceptance and endorsement of all manner of sexual sin.

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