Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Response to "Ten Things I wish the Church Knew About Homosexuality"

There's a list of "Ten Things" that the author states he wishes "the Church" knew about what he characterizes as "homosexuality." I'll address each item in turn.
1. If Jesus did not mention a subject, it cannot be essential to his teachings.
a) Jesus did mention the subject of sexual sin, and he did so repeatedly. For example:

Matthew 15:19
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

b) Jesus even specifically mentioned the example of Sodom as a group particularly worthy of judgment.

Luke 10:12
But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

c) Jesus affirmed the whole moral law of the old testament, both by not destroying it, and by instructing his disciples to obey his commandments.

Matthew 5:17
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

John 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.


Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

d) Whether it is "essential" or not is not the point. The central message of Jesus was to repent (of sin) and believe the Gospel. The emphasis was clearly on the gospel, yet it would be foolishness to ignore repentance from sin. Understanding repentance from sin requires that we recognize what sin is. That applies to a broad range of sins, many of which Jesus did not discuss in depth.
2. You are not being persecuted when prevented from persecuting others.
This point is somewhat vague, but the obvious counter-points are:
a) It's not in itself persecution to tell people to repent of their sins; and
2) It's not in itself persecution to prosecute criminal behavior, including criminal sexual behavior.
3. Truth isn’t like wine that gets better with age. It’s more like manna you must recognize wherever you are and whoever you are with.
a) Truth is absolute and timeless. It doesn't get "better with age," but it does stay true.
b) Manna was sent from heaven. So was the moral law delivered to Moses. If you recognized that, we wouldn't need to have this discussion.
c) Manna is not just whatever you want it to be, and neither is truth.
4. You cannot call it “special rights” when someone asks for the same rights you have.
a) People who want the "right" to sleep with someone to whom they are not married are not asking for rights that I have. I have the right to sleep with my spouse, and not with anyone else.
b) People who want the right to call their fornication "marriage" are not asking for the rights that I have. I don't have the "right" to call my fornication "marriage," and neither does anyone else.
c) People who want the right to marry same sex are not asking for the rights that I have. I have the right to marry opposite sex, and they have that same right - they just have no desire to exercise that right.
5. It is no longer your personal religious view if you’re bothering someone else.
a) I'm pretty sure one of the major reasons for having rights to express people's personal views is exactly because they bother other people. If they didn't bother other people, why would the state need to protect such speech?
b) It's not just our personal religious view - it's the view of our churches.
c) It's also not just our personal religious view, our the view of our churches, but it is an actual matter of fact, revealed by God.
6. Marriage is a civil ceremony, which means it’s a civil right.
a) This argument seems to be based on the particular cultural conventions of modern Western society. Modern society is not a source of truth - it's traditions and norms shift over time.
b) Homosexuals don't usually want to marry (in the normal sense of that word), because they are not interested in the opposite-sex obligations of marriage.
c) Even if in some sense marriage is a "civil right," surely does not mean that there cannot be limitations on it.
7. If how someone stimulates the pubic nerve has become the needle to your moral compass, you are the one who is lost.
Don't worry, that's not the needle of our moral compass.
8. To condemn homosexuality, you must use parts of the Bible you don’t yourself obey. Anyone who obeyed every part of Leviticus would rightly be put in prison.
It is always sad, but not surprising, when people are so morally bankrupt that they think the civil laws of Leviticus are bad laws - evil laws. But what is the basis for that moral judgment?
9. If we do not do the right thing in our day, our grandchildren will look at us with same embarrassment we look at racist grandparents.
Again, what is the standard of what is "right"? If the Bible is the standard, it is those who are exalting homosexuality that will be embarrassed on the day of judgment.
10. When Jesus forbade judging, that included you.
This text is an important text:
Matthew 7:1-2
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

So is this text:

John 7:24
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

And so is this text:

1 Corinthians 6:2
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

And most people who appeal to the first one are not even aware of the other two, or the proper harmony amongst them.

A full explanation would exceed the scope of this post, but suffice to say that Matthew 7:1-2 does not mean that we cannot or should not pass moral judgments on people or behaviors. If it did, that would mean we cannot say that murder is wrong, or say that thieves are sinning in what they are doing. That's an absurd result, and it should demonstrate the absurdity of applying the verse to say that we can't say that criminal sexual acts are sinful.


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