The sermon at church this morning was about sexuality; specifically, it was about homosexuality as our Presbyterian church faces denominational changes. The denominational changes are unimportant to me at this point. What I am utterly fascinated by is the collision of culture and the church, and, therefore, I couldn’t stop thinking all day about homosexuality, one of the most important issues of our time-sensitive speck on the vast spectrum of eternity.
I attended the question-and-discussion panel led by our [daring!] pastors following the sermon. I wanted to get a feel for where the greater populace of our congregation stands on the matter.
I made one interesting observation.
It seemed to me that there were two groups of people there, all saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone Christians, but wrestling with very different questions. One group was mainly grappling with the question: “Isn’t the practice of homosexuality sin?” (sin = misuse of human free will to have power [often over another person] for the purpose of self-glorification* – or, I would add, for the purpose of self-justification) It seemed that this group was primarily seeking black-and-white rules, mostly, I perceived, so that they could measure themselves and others according to those rules. I’m guessing here, but it also seemed to me that most of the people in this group had never been the close friend or family member of a practicing homosexual.
The second group had, apparently, found an answer to the first question, but it wasn’t one that the first group liked. The answer went something like this: “We think so, based on our very careful interpretation of the Bible. But, we know that there are a growing number of by grace through faith in Jesus alone Christians who don’t think so, based on their very careful interpretation of the Bible. While that might be unfathomable to us, the most important truth is that the precise sin-status of homosexual acts (especially those within a monogamous relationship) and an individual’s belief about that sin-status is not necessary for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone. A person’s means of salvation are crystal clear in the Bible, and there will be saints in heaven on both sides of the issue, by grace through faith. Upon that, we can all agree. When we arrive at the figurative pearly gates, Jesus’ (or Saint Peter’s, if you prefer) first question to us will most certainly not be, ‘What is your view on homosexuality?’ as certainly as it will also not be, ‘What is your view on polygamy? Or premarital sex? Or masturbation? Or pornography?’ In addition, we realize that we need the Holy Spirit to heal in our hearts the ways which we misuse our free will to believe that homosexuality is wrong by feeling superior in our ‘right’ thinking and ‘right’ acting, just as much as homosexuals may need the Holy Spirit to heal their homosexual acts. In other words, ‘Which is the greater sin: to do homosexual acts, or to consider oneself superior to a person who does homosexual acts?'”
This group, therefore, had moved on to wrestle with the second question: “How do we communicate God’s grace and truth to the homosexual community in a culture that says, ‘The only truth is that there is no truth.'” This, my friends – especially those of you who call yourselves by grace through faith in Jesus alone Christians – I believe, is the real beginning of the many questions of our time. Please get over the first question so that you’ll stop making the second question more difficult for the rest of us.
*This was the definition of sin that our pastor, Tyler VanHorn, offered. I hadn’t heard it put exactly that way before, but I thought it was an excellent definition for this topic.
What say you? And, if you’re poised to ream me, consider in your heart that that might mean that you are still struggling with the first question. Then, be gentle. I’m a by grace through faith in Jesus alone Christian, you know.