(Disclaimer: I am prepared for the fact that not everyone will agree with my take on this week’s reading. Furthermore, though I am sure all of us will be passionate about our reasons behind our views, I wrote boldly this week, knowing that if there was ever an avenue for scholarly sharing on a topic, I pray this is it. Please do not mistake my passionate views as aggressive or mean-spirited. Thank You.)
We have a long time running joke in my household; whenever it comes time to build something out of the box, my wife will offer me the instructions included with the project, and I simply respond… “I don’t need no stinking instructions.” I am sure is a quote from some movie I watched once, but could not tell you exactly which one. However, a few weeks ago, sitting in the middle of the flor was a new box…a large box; my confidence grew as my wife offered me the instructions, to which I replied; “I don’t need no stinking instructions.” Well, I don’t admit this very often, but I admitted it that day; “I was wrong…pass me the instructions.” Who would have known that they were going to start making a new kind of hardware I had never seen; or had such a maze of supporting patterns that could be so complicated and twisted. Had it been some simple gizmo, perhaps…maybe…but NO WAY was I going to figure that thing out. The fact was, not only did I need instructions, but even while following the instructions I did have, I still seemed to screw it up on more than one occasions.
Okay, so what does that story have to do with the reading we had this week? I guarantee it was not just so I could admit to being wrong; I truly hate when I have to do that. Instead, it is because of the topic of “Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church;” furthermore, it is because the reason for my own personal dissertation regarding the Church and modern-day views of baptism. Oops, I gave it away! Did you catch it? I’ll say it again… “Modern-day views.” Why do you suppose we even have to use this phrase in the church today? Could it be that churches have come to the conclusion that God’s Word is not relevant or applicable today? One such excuse was provided in this reading; “A further path, which some are willing to tread than others, is to ask whether what the biblical writers believed and said about homosexual orientation and activity should itself be questioned as to its accuracy and sufficiency.” The question was provocative to say the least; however, it was the following statement that seemed to get my cackle up; “Such an approach is not new and has needed to be taken in relation to many issues on which biblical writers held beliefs and attitudes, which for good reason we no longer share.” This type of thinking was obviously shared, at least to some extent, by Preston M. Sprinkle, the writer of the introduction, who wrote, “But it wasn’t until I got to know and love gay and lesbian people that I started to understand the ‘topic’ of homosexuality.” When this comment was placed in context, he emphasises that in spite of his study “dozens of books and hundreds of articles…insurmountable piles of research…biblical views of sexuality, church history, sexuality in ancient Mesopotamia…and Roman poetry,” none of this had the impact that modern-day interactions with people had had.
The question though; is this how we are intended to evaluate the bible? Is our understanding of the Word of God supposed to be infected and perverted by the preferences of modern-day desires and decisions? Yes…if you haven’t interpreted this yet, I am about as traditional, or bible-literal as it comes on a topic like homosexuality; and as my dissertation will express…baptism. I fear that the “church” as a whole are working to hard at pleasing self, pleasing the masses, and more intently…pleasing the flesh, than they are at pleasing God. The very verse that was mentioned numerous times in this text, Romans 1:26-27, seemed less intent on emphasizing the following verse, which reads,
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness…who, knowing such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)
This is not a mild text; nor is this some simple banter by Paul to soft-sell the message of righteousness; this is convicting speech set on reminding Christians how importance obedience to God’s will truly is. We see Christians that stand up against homosexuality accused of hate speech; but when do we consider that our acceptance of all things immoral is subject to hate speech against God. To preach against homosexuality is not hate; it is warning. There is the necessity to warn against the dangers of sin. The author seems to boasts as he writes, “Until recently, there was only one view of homosexuality within evangelicalism: the so-called non-affirming view.” To go on from there and continue the boasts that “there are a growing number of Bible-believing, gospel-preaching, card-carrying evangelicals who are either exploring the affirming view of who have embraced it and aren’t looking back,” does not show growth; it shows warning lights flashing violently. Why after 2000 years of the recognition that even the scholars in this book have recognized as God’s hate toward homosexuality, do we believe this is progress in the church today? We have had this warning before;
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
That warning is what I believe a “Bible-believing, gospel-preaching” Christian should really be listening too. We are not here to condemn homosexuals, nor are we here to tell them that they are going to Hell for their actions; however, we are here to teach what is sin, so that as God’s faithful, we are doing our best to repent of those sins and as Paul wrote, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.” The sinful temptations we all struggle with are not what defines us as Christians; but rather, our willingness to reject those things that may entangle us, thus seperating us from God.
Sprinkle, Preston & Stanley N. Gundry. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 2016.
 Sprinkle, Preston & Stanley N. Gundry. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 2016. Pg 21.
 Ibid, pg 9.
 Ibid, p. 11.
 2 Timothy 4:3.