Let me attempt to go back to the subject in my last post concerning Chik-fil-A, Dan Cathy, and traditional marriage. It seems to me that the church (and by that I mean everyone from the pastor to the guy in the back corner) has lost some of the saltiness that keeps a culture from going all rancid with worldliness. One of the problems is the inability to speak the truth of God in the way God speaks His truth. God speaks both to peoples and persons. He speaks to cultures and to individuals. And we must grow up to a maturity of faith that knows how to do the same.
Culturally, the pervasive embrace of homosexuality is on the lower side of the mountain in the decline of a nation. The Apostle Paul speaks to this in the first chapter of the book of Romans:
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Sexual perversions are certainly not the new kids on the block. Such sins have always been among us and within us. In our own nation, these sins have mostly lived in the shadows. Other sexual sins, such as adultery or pornography, also had their time in the dark before being invited out under the neon lights. To acknowledge the societal depravity necessary to embrace homosexuality is not to minimize the depravity of other sexual sins that have been living comfortably among us in the church for some time. It is actually to admit the connection between the two. When God gives a people over to their sins, it’s like cutting the cords of the parachute from 10000 feet. The decline is rapid and inevitable unless the hand that let them go in their unbelief takes hold of them again in their repentance.
Here’s where the church gets in trouble. As Luther was famous for saying, the church is like a drunken man who is always falling off one side of the horse or the other. We either speak to the culture in the way we should be speaking to individual souls, or we speak to individual souls the way we should be speaking to the culture. The church is to be both prophetic and pastoral in its witness to the world.
We do not want to proclaim the queerness of homosexuality for any number of reasons. Maybe we feel like hypocrites to call out the sinfulness of certain sins because of an acute awareness of our own sinfulness. Maybe we know people who struggle in this area or have struggled with it ourselves and have a certain amount of sympathy or compassion. Maybe we fear the shame and accusations of others. Maybe we love the respect and acceptance of the world.
We think that if we minimize the shame of the sin, people will come out of the shadows and seek help. We think that if we flatten everything out and make it just one more struggle in the journey of life, then the church will be given its rightful voice in the culture. But Satan doesn’t work that way. Sin doesn’t work that way. Shame is the very thing that makes the darkness look dark and the Light look glorious. Once upon a time, there was a scarlet letter “A”. Now, from A to Z, there are no more scarlet letters just 50 shades of grey.
Again, we have to grow up and have the mind of Christ about these things. When speaking of the Pharisees as a whole, Jesus did not hesitate to call them a brood of vipers. But when Nicodemas came to him by night, Jesus spoke words of grace and redemption. So, we must speak with humble boldness in these dark days. Light always drives out darkness. We must hate homosexuality before we can love the homosexual. We must love the Law before we can live out the Law of love. We must repent of our own sins that have brought our culture to this point. There is much to be discussed on this subject. The church’s work is far from finished. May God grant to His church a humble boldness and a holy compassion as He works through it to disciple the nations.