Monday, December 29, 2008
Could walking humbly with our God really be homophobic?
Michael Adee, of More Light Presbyterians, in his article Going for More Light and O8-B in 2009: Will our Church be friend or foe?, uses the controversy surrounding Pastor Rick Warren’s invitation to give the inaugural invocation to focus on the word homophobic. He, now, is using that hate word, aimed at Warren, to also characterize those in the Presbyterian Church who are standing against sexual sin.
Writing of Warren, the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and those who are working (and praying) to defeat Amendment 08-B in their Presbyteries, he writes “There is no moral fence to sit on in the face of such blatant and harmful homophobia and discrimination in our society and sadly, even in the Church.
But the question must be asked, “is it homophobic to believe that homosex is sin. Or to put it differently do Christians who believe homosex is sin hate LGBT people? Can those two things even be equated? Well, first of all there are people, like Fred Phelps, who do hate. But he is hardly a Christian. He, in fact, has made his family into an abusive sociological cult.
But what about those in the Presbyterian Church (USA), who call themselves traditionalist, or orthodox or evangelical and believe that homosex is sin, are they hate filled? Or, instead, are they attempting to emulate the good Shepherd who goes out looking for the lost sheep with the desire to carry them home on their shoulders if necessary?
Adee asks the questions, “Imagine our Church being known by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, taking care of orphans and sharing the Good News of God's Love for all persons as reflected in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ? Imagine our Church being known for loving God, neighbor and self; by doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God? Passing 08-B paves the way for that kind of Church."
Strange that Adee should ask us to imagine what is already being done. Yes, we could feed the hungry, care for the sick, take care of orphans more than we have. We could do more in all of those areas but we are doing what he wishes us to imagine.
But if we vote in Amendment 08-B we will not be walking humbly with our God nor will we be sharing the good news of God’s love for all people.
To share the good news of God’s love for all people is to proclaim the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To proclaim that Jesus died and rose again that we might die with him to our sin and be transformed by his great gift of salvation. If we vote in 08-B we will instead proclaim that there are some people who are outside of God’s transforming love. That somehow they cannot be enfolded into the life changing grace of God but must live in their habitual sin. That would be unloving and untrue.
To walk humbly with our God means to be obedient to our Lord. To listen to his word and obey him. To trust that his will and word is greater than all of our worldly, human, desires.
In great love, and with humbleness, we are called, as a people, to “have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude (22b-23)
Michael Green in his commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, writes about the garments polluted by the flesh. He states, “The Christian worker has the wonderful offer of a change of raiment for the defiled, a robe of righteousness for the man clothed in filthy rags (cf. Is. 61.) and he must proffer it in love and mercy.”
Green continues with his clarification:
“For Jude insists, as strongly as John in the Apocalypse, that the man accepted before God is he who has not soiled his garments (Rev. 3:4); and these garments are looked upon both as the standing which God confers on the penitent sinners who ‘have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ (7:14) and also as that character which follows in the lives of those who have truly been justified (19:8).”
To be humble in the presence of God as well as loving to sisters and brothers, is to lead others away from a sinful, broken life and into the safe arms of a Savior who will not leave them in unrepentant sin. Who, praise God, will not leave any of us in unrepentant sin.