Unpacking Part of the Gender Controversy
Controversy is inevitable as long as two people are gathered together. One of the major controversies facing the local church is to openly allow gay couples within the local church. Some churches/denominations have split over the controversy. Others have made it clear that all are welcome with open arms. Ultimately, we must answer the questions pertaining to if this lifestyle is a sin or not and if we will allow it in the church. What does the Bible say about it? Is it possible for gays and Christians to live in community together? If welcomed, is there an appropriate time to address the morality issue at hand? In his book, Over Coffee, Dave Thompson reaches out to conservative Evangelical pastors to dialogue about homosexuality in today’s world.
Amongst many conservatives, hands down, a gay lifestyle is sinful based on what Scripture says, along with the position that the Church has held for centuries. Scripture speaks to a man lying with a man as he would with a woman to be an abomination to the Lord. Is speaks the same for two females being together in such a fashion as well. Do we simply bypass and avoid such passages? Some believe those passages pertained to a specific time period; others disagree.
Beyond some of the biblical stances are social issues. What happens when a gay couple decides to divorce? Will it work the same as in a heterosexual marriage with kids and assets? Furthermore, what happens to modern families with children? How do we go about trying to sort all of that out? So one is able to clearly see that many conservatives stand in objection to homosexuality and that they also have more questions beyond the issue itself that are more in depth than what is posed here. While the author is clear on where he stands, he is not trying to get conservatives, especially senior pastors, to change their positions on the matter but rather to be open to think about a few perspectives.
As an openly gay Christian leader, Thompson sits down with a cohort of pastors over coffee to simply start conversation about how we are live together in this post-Edenic world. The author does not try to persuade the pastors to change their stance on traditional Christian/church views. He is seeking conversation in asking how a community might look by making space for members in the gay community in the local church. He is not argumentative or belligerent in his approach. At the same time, he makes it clear that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and that a homosexual partnership is not equal to a Christian marriage. That said, he is quick to speak out against the negative rumors and stereotypes projected onto the members in the gay community.
The gender issue will likely be with us for centuries to come. And while there is no quick fix, we must indeed continue on with the conversation. We must operate in truth, love, grace, and compassion. A rival on an issue is nothing new. Yet, how we choose to treat each other as the conversation continues matters.
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