Today I talked to David Roach who interviewed me and published an article entitled, “‘Third way’ church may face expulsion.”
I met with Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church. One of the blessings from that meeting was him challenging me to be more sensitive and careful to communicate in a loving way toward the LGBT community. I certainly want to do that. I learned that some words we use are automatically pinned as “hate” and “intolerance” and “bigotry” and “offense.” I don’t hate those who disagree with me in theory or practice, but sometimes my words, and our words as Christians, unnecessarily communicate hate.
Everything Roach reported as coming from me is true. But it was less complete than I would have liked. I realize it is hurtful to say, “Homosexuality is a sin.” So I’ve tried to never reduce my position to the one sentence sound bite. It miscommunicates. If one feels I hate them or hate a whole people group with that sentence, I now understand. And part of this is unavoidable. But it’s not completely unavoidable. There is more to say that may better communicate my stance (and I hope, the stance of those Christians who agree with me). The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) says in article 15, “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.” So what is this spirit of Christ we want to communicate when speaking the truth in love? I would always want it to be at least 3 sentences, bound together, when this topic is discussed. Here’s my stance:
All of us are sinners who need forgiveness for our sins. Just like heterosexual lust and activity outside of marriage, same-gender-sexuality is also sinful before God. We were all invited to trust in Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose from the dead, and so part of truly trusting him is repenting from sin in general and all of our particular sins as God defines sin in the Bible.
That doesn’t work well for a sound bite. Here’s another attempt:
All of us are sinners who need God’s forgiveness. Sexual immorality is sinful, and this includes unchecked desiring and/or activity in adultery, fornication, wrongful divorce together with wrongful remarriage, and all same-gender-sexuality. We all need God to forgive us for our sins through repenting from sin and trusting Jesus Christ who died for sinners and rose from the dead.
Alright, both are too wordy, but in this conversation and debate we must resist speaking in sound bites and misconstruing the sound bites of others who disagree, where we take their words and set them in a different emotional or intellectual context. Here’s the 3 sentences in inadequate brevity:
We’re all sinners. The Bible tells us of all sins, and same-gender-sexuality is one of at least 6 sexually immoral sins. God saves sinners by calling them to repentance from sin and self-righteousness to faith in Jesus Christ.
In this article, at one or two times I cringed feeling the hurt or hate one who has same-gender-sexual-attraction may feel, and for that I thank God, Danny Cortez, and this open conversation.
On the Facebook page for the Baptist Press, one commenter, Gregory Peterson states:
“The Gospel involves “calling sinners to repentance,” Tibayan told BP. “Repentance is from all sin in principle, but even the particular sins and temptations each person faces, whether it’s greed or adultery or murder or hatred or gossip or homosexuality. “
Right…murder is like greed or adultery or hatred or gossip or homosexuality. Considering the condescending hate that constantly pours out of the SBC patriarchy, I suggest that you attend to the log in your eye before worrying about the motes in the eyes of others.
Gregory Peterson, I certainly want to attend to the log in my eye. I’m guilty of greed, adultery in the heart (Matt 5.27-30), murder in the heart (hatred) (Matt 5.21-26), and gossip. God has called me to repent from these and I have initially and try to continually do so as I see them or as others point them and other sins out. So thank you for calling me to re-examine whether I’m being hateful. That is certainly sinful as the Bible defines hate and want to see and repent from that. God forgives all sinners who repent from their sins and trust in Christ! This is good news!
I thought about the article and wrote this: http://wp.me/p1cwO-108