The raging issue in the conservative church today is how to respond to the Gay movement. Dave Thompson in his book “Over Coffee” is an excellent attempt to bridge the gap and Thompson has a few new insights on how to bridge the gap. Thompson presents his ideas in the form of a non-threatening conversation with a pastor friend over coffee. The pastor has developed a friendship with a gay parishioner in his church and his friend has asked him to bless his partnership with a same sex union.
Thompson starts with the creation event. He presents the argument that God’s first goal with man was companionship. God said it is not good for man to be alone therefore he split man apart and created woman to procreate as well as to be a companion.
Thompson bridges the gap of marriage by promoting the idea that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman but same sex unions can co-exist in the church by a civil union ceremony. He separates the two.
Then the issue about the Bible describing same-sex unions as a sin is dealt with. Thompson reasons that conservative churches give special allowances to divorce situations. The Bible says that adultery is the only justifiable reason for divorce. Yet allowances are made to OK divorce based on physical abuse and remarriage (which the Bible would call this adultery). His point is if the churches make special allowances for adultery then why not make an allowance for same sex partnerships in the church? The church should error on the side of grace not legalism.
Thompson does a reasonable job bringing up new ideas regarding how the conservative church can begin to accept same sex partnerships with a compassionate motive.
On the other hand, I had an opportunity this week to have coffee with an executive church pastor who I am coaching. I shared the ideas presented in Thompson’s book. My pastor friend opened up and shared that he has a son who works in Hollywood and has declared he is gay.
I asked him how he viewed the same sex partnerships in the church. He said that he liked the ideas regarding the difference between the sacrament of marriage versus civil unions for same sex partners.
He did not agree with the special allowances as he believes the Bible is God’s inerrant word and it is the basis for our values. He said “if the Bible says gay relationships are wrong then the sexual acts are sinful and cannot be condoned and accepted. He equated the same sex sin should be treated like any addiction and just like alcoholics abstain from drinking, Christian gays can have victory in their life by abstaining from same sex sin. If God can cure addicts, he has the power to heal and sanctify gays. My friend dearly loves his son and accepts him for who he is. My friend also prays daily for the healing of his son from his gay lifestyle.”
There are some areas Thompson and my friend agree. The gap still lies in the sin issue. Until the sin issue is resolved with some form of compromise, I do not think gay couples will be able to be completely accepted with full rights to leadership in conservative churches.