It seems that suddenly the blogosphere is buzzing about the issue of homosexuality and the Church. Brian McLaren, the godfather of Emergent, tackles the issue and, not surprisingly, punts. He suggests that Christians not comment decisively on the issue for five years, giving us time to study and listen to scholarship in various fields in order to figure out how to handle the issue. Is Scripture not sufficient? A refusal to deal honestly with biblical truth is certainly not the right approach. McLaren is probably overreacting, in characteristic fashion, to an overemphasis on fighting homosexuality in Evangelicalism. He seems to think that speaking decisively on the issue means that we have become participants in the “Culture War.” It is possible to be wise and sensitive and yet teach truth. (Steve McCoy offers a nice critique. Joe Carter offers a very good in-depth critique.)
Over on the Founders Blog, meanwhile, Tom Ascol models and elucidates what I think is a much better approach to the issue.
Al Mohler’s appearance on Larry King Live seems to be the catalyst for a much-needed discussion. The media seems to think that Evangelicals in general, and Southern Baptists in particular, are waging war on homosexuality or hate homosexuals. Now I think Mohler did a nice job on the show. For most, however, anything less than full acceptance of homosexuality (and civil unions and whatnot) constitutes hate and aggression.
With that said, however, I think many Evangelicals do come across that way. I received a mailer from some “family” organization whose pitch for money basically amounted to fear-mongering related to homosexuals and schools. I think that far too often homosexuals are treated as pariahs by Evangelicalism, and homosexuality is singled out for special condemnation. Make no mistake – the Scriptures make it clear that homosexuality is not normative. But neither is adultery, fornication, or divorce. Yet we don’t yell and scream about divorce in the American church.
I suspect that part of the reason we make such an issue of homosexuality is that it is so alien and foreign to most of us; it is completely “other.” Rather than make major issues out of particular sins, we should focus on the call to all sinners, of every stripe, to repent of sin and follow Christ. (Refer to Tom Ascol’s blog, which handles the issue much better than I!)