It’s in the news almost constantly now, and I’ve grown weary of it: Gay marriage, gay divorce, gay adoption, gay politicians, gay athletes, gay entertainers, and legislation dealing with all things gay. I’d much rather be writing about something else, like Obamacare’s stranglehold on job creation for instance. Or maybe the truly stunning fact that Eric Holder still has a job. But for me, as an Evangelical Christian, the subject of homosexuality is perhaps the most important of our day, and so here I am writing about it again just like everyone else.
This morning’s headlines are filled with mention of the proposed Arizona law which seeks to grant liberty of conscience to businesses who want to deny service on religious grounds. Everyone is breathlessly waiting to see if Gov. Jan Brewer will veto the bill.
Then there’s the aforementioned Attorney General Eric Holder, who this morning told a gathering of state attorneys general that they don’t have to defend laws they consider discriminatory. If your state has legislation in place banning gay marriage, just ignore it. That is classic Holder, and there’s much more to say about that, but that’s a subject for another post.
With regard to the Arizona law, Judge Andrew Napolitano reminded me again why I am not a Libertarian, denouncing the bill as “profoundly unconstitutional” and apparently said it was about hate and not religion. The Judge’s remark amply demonstrates that even someone brilliant can occasionally be a buffoon.
And we can’t leave out Kirsten Powers, who was nearly apoplectic when Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson made his now infamous remarks in GQ magazine. Powers recently played theologian for USA Today: “Whether Christians have the legal right to discriminate should be a moot point because Christianity doesn’t prohibit serving a gay couple getting married. Jesus calls his followers to be servants to all. Nor does the Bible call service to another an affirmation,” she said. She finished her dissertation with this: “Maybe they should just ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” I think he’d bake the cake.” There are plenty of articles that have been written critical of Power’s piece, so I won’t dwell on it except to say this: When a certain point has been reached, “service” most certainly does imply affirmation. I suspect she knows this. That’s why she stopped short of asking the obvious question: Would Jesus have officiated the ceremony?
I think the recent protest/demonstration of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s lecture at Wheaton College may have been a watershed moment for Evangelicalism. Wheaton, one of the best known Christian liberal arts schools in the country and a standard bearer of Evangelicalism, was the last place I would have thought such a protest/demonstration would have taken place. Butterfield’s story, detailed in her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, is a compelling one. She was formerly a lesbian and tenured professor of feminist studies at Syracuse University who converted to Christianity and is now an Evangelical pastor’s wife. One would think that the singular interest in this story at Wheaton would be its uniquely delightful manifestation of the transforming grace and mercy of Christ toward sinners, but, for some, it wasn’t. Anna Morris, Assistant News Editor of The Wheaton Record wrote this about Wheaton junior Justin Massey (who helped organize the demonstration):
Massey said that he feared that students would be isolated or marginalized by Butterfield’s story of transformation from “radical, lesbian, leftist professor to this morally good Christian,” which could make LGBTQ or feminist students feel that those two identities were “oppositional” or mutually exclusive.
I had read a blog post last December in which a youth pastor emphatically stated that our beliefs about homosexuality don’t matter. If the truth on that subject ever could be known (a notion he finds dubious), that time is past. Gay teens are committing suicide at an alarming rate, and that’s what we need to concern ourselves with. He sets up a false choice between what he calls being “theologically correct” and “morally responsible,” absurdly attempting to make his point by a reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He finishes his diatribe with this:
We no longer have the luxury to consider the original meaning of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. We are now faced with the reality that there are lives at stake. So whatever you believe about homosexuality, keep it to yourself. Instead, try telling a gay kid that you love him and you don’t want him to die. Try inviting her into your church and into your home and into your life. Anything other than that simply doesn’t matter.
This is why the Wheaton demonstration may mark a watershed for Evangelicalism. If we think we can dismiss the clear teaching of scripture and still call ourselves Christians, we are deluded and sadly mistaken no matter what allegedly noble motivation may guide us. And if such a delusion exists openly among even a handful of students at a place like Wheaton, we are in dire straits.
Truth does matter. The theology of the Bible does matter. The Gospel is at stake here. If the Bible can’t be trusted to tell us anything about human sexuality what makes us think it can tell us anything reliably about our creator, our existence, our condition, or our redemption in Jesus Christ?
Here’s the real problem with Evangelical Christianity today, and it’s really quite simple: It says in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We’re conforming to the world. It’s easier that way. No one will call you a hater or a homophobe. You can bake your cake and serve it too.
The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer wrote:
Here is the great evangelical disaster– the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this– namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.
Schaeffer wrote that thirty years ago. One can only wonder what he’d write today. Three words come to my mind: Lord help us.