In an e-mail, one of my friends said this:
I linked to your article yesterday. I would be interested to know your
thoughts on my piece.
Church and Sin
last post with a link to an article by Al Mohler
about the need for Christians to truthfully confront the sin of
homosexuality. Trinitarian Don
also makes some very good points today about sin, objective truth, the
Church, and homosexuality.
While I fully agree with the truth of what both Don and Al wrote, I
don't like how homosexuality often gets singled out by Christian leaders
when referencing and discussing sin. Al stated, "The church is not a
place where sinners are welcomed to remain in their sin." It sounds like
Al hasn't been to Church lately. Churches nowadays are packed with
greedy, lustful, deceitful, proud, selfish, and sexually immoral
believers who are quite comfortable in most of their sins. Pastors and
other Church leaders are just as comfortable in some or all of these
sins. I'm sure I also have blind spots in regard to my own sins.
Some sins are worse than other sins and all sins have gradations of
evil. Homosexuality is no different. A homosexual relationship with one
partner is different than a homosexual relationship with many partners.
Advocating homosexual marriage is different than advocating acceptance
of homosexuals. Struggling and failing to overcome a homosexual
lifestyle is different than proudly proclaiming a deviant sexual
orientation. If Christian leaders and lay believers wish to demonstrate
the love of God towards homosexuals, they need to place homosexuality
and the gradations of homosexuality on the list of all other sins where
it belongs and quit singling homosexuality out as the worst of all sins.
Additionally, if Christian leaders and lay believers wish to be taken
seriously when proclaiming the truth of homosexuality, they need to
increase the references to the sins of greed, lust, deceit, pride, and
selfishness. Perhaps they could start by proclaiming the truth in their
own Church and make a few believers a little uncomfortable.
David M. Smith
My response was as follows:
In many ways I agree with your comment. I think we do not deal strongly
enough with common sins. It is a lot easier to be critical of sins that
you think "other people" commit and that you do not see every day in
yourself or your church. The church has a serious problem with
pornography for example. Yet you hear few sermons about it and most men
experience little real victory in this part of their thought lives, not
because it is impossible, but because we cut ourselves a lot of slack on
something seen as difficult to stop and in some sense, "natural."
You are also right that, while all sins lead to damnation unless covered
by the blood of Christ, there is a hierarchy of sins. Not all sins are
the same. This is why human law forbids murder but not anger, even
though Jesus makes it clear that without God's grace both will send you
to hell in the eyes of our just and holy God.
But, I do think that while advocating public measures that facilitate
homosexual recruitment or that say it is ok - such as gay marriage or
gay advocacy in schools - is far worse that Homosexual sex, promiscuous
homosexual sex is worse that occasional, and an open homosexual
lifestyle is worse that quietly struggling with it. And, acting on the
desire is worse than the desire. But, I think because homosexual sex is
"unnatural" and because it is avoidable for most people, even people
with the desire for it, it is "worse" than many other sins. Paul does
give it a prominent place in Romans 1, where he talks about the
consequences of rejecting God's truth. It is also an easy place to hold
the line on social values. On top of that, it is important because it
is the area where the current push to expand what society considers
acceptable conduct is taking place. We already lost the battle with the
"playboy lifestyle" in the sixties.
If we can keep homosexuality in the "antisocial" column of common
perception we can save thousands of kids from heartbreaking pain that
will occur if they are recruited to the "gay" life (I do not believe
they are hard wired that way even if there are biochemical propensities
or triggers). Next maybe we can drive the playboy lifestyle and sharp
business practices back into the "unacceptable" column. Such
perceptions matter. Life without major sins is nicer for everyone than
life with the major sins. It would be wonderful to have a culture where
we could focus on helping each other with pride, impatience, gluttony, and
sloth instead of the life threatening sins that currently hold our
civilization in thrall.
This said I do not think people should "hate" homosexuals or persecute
them. There but for the grace of God go we all. They need the gospel
and the love of Christ. But a gospel that says sin is not sin, or that
we are acceptable to God just as we are, without atonement or
justification, or that it is ok not to struggle against sin and just
institutionalize it, is not really the gospel at all. It is a dangerous