Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Try To Re-think Bible and Gays

A corrective biblical word to Church and society.

Southern Baptists, America’s largest Protestant denomination, has announced through its Executive Committee of a “welcoming and affirming resolution on homosexuals.” In an extraordinary emergency committee session, the resolution concludes that “the sanctity of marriage for all unions joined in love under God’s grace is holy and should receive marriage rights by the Southern Baptist ministry regardless of sexual orientation.”

For all you startled, shocked and surprised readers this news report turned out to be a hoax. So there is no need to upset your blood pressure. Having a stroke over this is certainly not worth it.

Roger Oldham, a spokesman for the official SBC Executive Committee, said last week the report was a hoax and “… is clearly not an action of the Southern Baptist Convention or the Executive Committee.”

Gay rights activists did meet with SBC President Bryant Wright during the Southern Baptists’ recent annual convention in Phoenix. They reportedly had a civil 35-minute discussion but the two sides were running on separate tracks; evidently even going in opposite directions. Making it impossible for either side to be heard with any modicum of understanding. Dr. Wright maintained the Baptists’ stance that homosexuality is a sin.

Bruce Lowe, 96-year-old retired Southern Baptist pastor, wrote a thoughtful article in the Spring 2011 issue of Christian Ethics Today titled: Important Considerations Regarding Homosexuality: Why Churches Should Welcome and Affirm Gays-Lesbians.

In his article Pastor Lowe considers six important truths about homosexuality that have been generally overlooked. I would not recommend anyone swallowing his opinions whole, but neither am I able to digest what the SBC and many other churches proclaim about sex. Some of Pastor Lowe’s thoughts I feel deserve more attention:

• Sexual orientation is innate and is not a choice. In a Dec. 14,1998, American Psychological Association release concluded: “There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. … there is evidence such therapy can be destructive.”

• Homosexual people are often highly gifted. Theologian Helmut Thielicke found the homosexual “is frequently gifted with a remarkable heightened sense of empathy.” Think of the great music, books, poetry and works of art we lose if we exclude the contributions of gays and lesbians.

• Peter Gomes, the late Harvard professor and chaplain wrote: “The combination of ignorance and prejudice under the guise of morality makes the religious community, and its abuse of scripture in this regard, itself morally culpable.”

• No sex act has morality in itself. When the Bible speaks of “good” and “evil” acts it is speaking about the people behind the acts. God does not judge the sex act itself, but the hearts of the people involved. Any act involving sex is perverted if the heart is lustful, unloving. Lust in any sex act (adultery, fornication, same sex, etc.) degrades the participants. That is the sin the New Testament condemns.

The sin in Lot’s Sodom in Genesis, chapter 19, is explained in the words of the prophet Ezekiel (18:49). He compares the days in Israel as worse than those of ancient Sodom. You daughters, he calls them, live a privileged life of careless ease with abundant food, refusing to help the poor and needy. Their arrogance and lack of concern for those poor among them was the sin of Sodom, not homosexually. I find I can never truly grasp any message of the Bible in isolation.

It is time to stop making the homosexual the whipping boy. The Bible is concerned with the root problem – that is, the condition of our heart. There are occasions when we need to speak a corrective biblical word to the churches and our society.

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