Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 1: Slogans & the Gospel

January 2nd, 2009

Lately, I’ve been encountering the combined subjects of homosexuality, hypocrisy, and shallow interaction. I started writing one entry on homosexuality in Romans 1-2, but it ballooned, and became too much for one post. So this will be the first in a small series. (Hopefully, I can keep each post terse! It’s hard for me to be brief.)

The major theme will be “going deeper”. Which is pretty tough to do, consistently.

The Bible & Homosexuality

The biblical passages on homosexuality evoke strong reactions. Many people see them as harsh & mean-spirited. They’re associated with a self-righteous attitude of condemnation–a mindset that looks down on homosexuals as the worst of all sinners. A mindset that ostracizes and rejects. A mindset that doesn’t understand, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Slogans

There are standard evangelical responses. The most common soundbite is, “Love the sinner, and hate the sin.” Unfortunately, it has two major problems.

  1. It’s a slogan–one that’s easy to spit out, regardless of whether there is any love in your life. It’s something Christian kids learn to say, without necessarily learning what it really looks like. So it can sound empty and hollow. Especially if people have been hurt by those who say it without living it.
  2. More importantly: It almost implies a lie. It almost implies that gay people are sinners–unlike us. It does nothing to counteract the bad assumption that gay people go to hell, but straight people are fine.  As though gay people are unique, as sinners, instead of everyone being in the same boat. Self-righteous condemnation.

Canned Answers

There are better slogans, maybe. (“We’re all sinners in need of a savior.” “Jesus said, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged,’ but he also said, ‘Go and sin no more.’”) Pithy statements can be useful. Canned answers can help. But not when the canned answer reflects canned thinking. Not when the deeper truths aren’t deeply grasped, and lived out. Not when the only thing people hear is canned answers.

So we need to make sure that we know the truths behind the slogans, and that we live in accord with them. Our lives should be adorning the gospel.

Responding With the Gospel

When we talk about homosexuality, at the very core we need to be communicating the gospel. We need to be pointing to the universal need for salvation, and to the work of Christ to save us. To the need for repentance, to the need for trust in him, and to the power & sufficiency of trusting him, apart from any of our efforts to live well.

We’re sinners in need of a savior. Christians shouldn’t view ourselves as “righteous”, and scorn homosexuals as lowly sinners–everyone is together a sinner. And “not judging” doesn’t mean that we never say, “That’s wrong.” Rather, it means not condemning–we speak God’s grace to fellow sinners. In love. There’s no place for self-righteousness. When Christians understand Christ, then we respond with humility and grace and love and the free offer of the gospel. We look with love and care, in part because we know that we ourselves have been forgiven much.

When we understand the gospel, we cannot look down on anyone.

Wrap-up

We need to get past slogans. Or we need to put meat on the slogans we profess. It includes communicating the gospel more clearly. That includes rooting out any hint of self-righteousness. It includes avoiding the perception of being noxious, holier-than-thou “Religious Types”, by living out lives of Christ-like, loving, humble service.

————-
Update:
Here’s the entire series:
Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 1: Slogans & the Gospel
Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 2: The Gospel in Romans
Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 3: Hypocrisy, Stereotyping, and the Gospel
Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 4: Dealing with Stereotypes
Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 4.5: P.S. On Dealing with Stereotypes

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6 Responses to “Homosexuality & Hypocrisy Pt 1: Slogans & the Gospel”

  1. Tim Stewart says:

    Tim,
    You seen that Newsweek article wherein the author purported to offer a Biblical case for the permissibility of homosexual activity?
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/172653

    And here’s one response (there are others):
    http://blog.nj.com/njv_george_berkin/2009/01/no_religious_case_for_gay_marr.html

    Best to you!
    Tim

  2. Tim says:

    Tim,

    Yep! I was going to link to it in… uh, entry #4, I think. :) The Prop 8 musical, too.

  3. That first article, and some of the responses to the second article, make my blood boil.
    I’m pro-legalization of gay marriage, but stepping into the religious realm, I cannot understand why the argument always goes something like this:

    Point: I disagree with what the world says because of something outside of myself, that is, the Bible.

    Response: You are an idiot. I think you’re wrong. And because I think so, You’re Wrong.

    I don’t get it? We may or may not be incorrect in our interpretations of the Bible. And yes, I’ll be the first to admit, it’s our view of the world. But seriously, what makes someone think their only valid argument can be “uh-uh!”

    It’s so much easier to write when you make up your facts. Love it.

  4. Tim says:

    Hannah,

    Yeah, that kind of attitude is an example of the need to “go deeper”. I think I’m talking about that in entry #3.

    I cannot understand why the argument always goes something like this

    Ah, that’s because you’re not a Calvinist. It’s Total Depravity rearing it’s ugly head. :)

    Seriously, it happens because thinking that way is easier than considering the possibility that “the other guy” has an understandable, defensible, rational position. Everyone has the tendency to do that. It’s frustratingly easy to dismiss people.

    It’s particularly easy for non-religious people to stereotype religious people that way. (After all, religion is all about irrational faith, right? If it weren’t irrational, it wouldn’t be faith! *ahem*) Similarly, I think it’s particularly easy for “the liberals” to stereotype “the conservatives” that way. (After all, self-described liberals tend to pride themselves on being fair, open-minded rationalists. So it’s easy to assume that conservatives are closed-minded irrationalists…even when that’s not fair. A sad irony.)

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