We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. C. S. Lewis
Having returned from a brief sojourn, feeling a bit feisty, and acting against my better judgement, I have decided to wade into the controversial issue of homosexuality and the church. I fear I will get everybody on all sides of this mad at me. But who needs friends…. I plan to explore a broad range of questions and share a personal encounter at Wheaton College with Soulforce, an activist group, whose stated purpose is to be "committed to freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people from religious and political oppression through relentless nonviolent resistance."
During these posts, I hope that we never forget that we are discussing an issue that deeply affects the lives of individuals who struggle in this area. These are not homosexuals. These are people who struggle with homosexuality and we must always see their faces in front of us as we discuss deeply divisive theology.
I anticipate that there will be detractors who will try to twist our words and make them say something we do not intend. So, let me state this up front. As much as I wish that the book of Romans said something different, I believe that the Scripture has been most clear that the homosexual act is a sin. Romans 1:24-26. LINK
"24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."
We also believe that persons who identify themselves as homosexual must attempt to lead a celibate lifestyle in order to be communing members of an evangelical church. Nuff said.
We also do not intend to make this a discussion on the secular government's role in defining certain laws and statutes. This is a Christian, in-house discussion.
Finally, we believe that the Christian church in America has made homosexuality "Public Sin Number 1" while glossing over or hiding rampant sins within the church. And we should be ashamed. We have pastors and churches who have covered up for child abuse, pedophilia, and domestic violence. I believe that the divorce rate in the church is more threatening to the health of our families than the homosexual couple who lives down the street.
Today, we begin with a most interesting encounter that took place at the SBC 2011 meeting in Phoenix. Wade Burleson wrote an excellent piece entitled " Al Mohler Verbally and Publicly Spanks Peter Lumpkins at the SBC 2011 Phoenix, Arizona." LINK Here is an excerpt from his fine analysis.
"Peter Lumpkins attempted to humiliate Jonathan Merritt and Al Mohler on this very issue (being soft on homosexuality) at the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Merritt, son of former SBC President James Merritt, has written that Southern Baptists could do more to minister to homosexuals rather than simply condemning them. Peter Lumpkins has taken exception to Merritt's statements. What has particular drawn Lumpkins' ire is an article that Jonathan Merritt wrote where he interviewed Southern Seminary President Al Mohler.
In that interview Jonathan Merritt quoted Al Mohler as saying to him, "We've (Southern Baptists) lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as homophobia… We've used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice."
TWW applauds Al Mohler for his response in this matter. Peter Lumpkins, in his usual "take no prisoners" demeanor (we at TWW have been on the receiving end of his attentions) confronted Mohler in front of the convention. Al Mohler responded with grace and dignity when I would have been tempted to "pop Lumpkins one." We will post more on this matter on Wednesday. (A special note to Peter: We are working on a new nursery rhyme).
This is a short, 6-minute exchange and I believe that it kicks off the discussion we plan to have in the coming posts.