On discussing homosexuality  

Posted by Denis Haack in ,

I recently published a superb article, “‘A Few Like You:’ Will the Church be the Church for Homosexual Christians?” by a good friend, Wes Hill, which you can read here.

 

When I say it is a superb article I mean it is well written, discerning, winsome, and true—true to life and biblically orthodox. I was pleased to publish it, am pleased it is on our web site, and am convinced it contains a simple yet important point that must be faced by the church. The point is not original to Wes, but was stated clearly, for example, by Francis Schaeffer:

 

If a person who has homophile tendencies, or even has practiced homosexuality, is helped in a deep way, then they may marry. On the other hand, there are a certain number of cases who are real homophiles. In this case they must face the dilemma of a life without sexual fulfillment. We may cry with them concerning this, but we must not let the self-pity get too deep, because the unmarried girl who has strong sexual desires, and no one asks her to marry has the same problem. In both cases this is surely a part of the abnormality of the fallen world. And in both cases what is needed is people’s understanding while the church, in compassion and understanding, helps the individual in every way possible.

 

What Wes achieves in his piece is to explain how faithful Christians whose homosexuality is not transformed by regeneration face a life of deep loneliness. And he asks—properly—whether the church will be the church for these believers. This is hardly a radical position, nor should Wes’ piece be unsettling to those who take the Scriptures seriously. He is not asking for compromise; on the contrary Wes submits to God’s Word, even at personal cost. He is not asking that we dumb down our understanding of the faith; on the contrary Wes champions Christian orthodoxy.

 

I am happy to report that all the letters and emails—without exception—that we have received in response to Wes’ piece in Critique have been positive. That hasn’t been the case, however, on some blogs that have noted Wes’ article.

 

I’ve spent some time on those blogs, reading the various posts, and would like to record a few reflections here. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor is it meant to be a sufficient response to all the issues that have been raised. It is, instead, a few general reflections that I hope will be of some help to Christians wanting to think and live in distinctly Christian ways.

 

Reflection #1: Rhetoric matters. Be careful to say things with winsome compassion. Responding to blogs can undercut that aspect of faithfulness, so be cautious. Write out your response but don’t post it immediately. Wait a day. Or two. Remember that without love, the most you have on your hands is a clanging gong.

 

Reflection #2: Listen (read) carefully. Some posted responses are so unfair to what Wes actually wrote that the only fully godly response would be to say, “Shut up. Read Proverbs 18:13.”

 

Reflection #3: Conformity is not righteousness. Some seem to insist that orthodoxy requires conformity in how things are expressed, what terms are used, and how Christians express their own experience. And some even go so far as to insist this about experiences they themselves do not share. I find it difficult not to see this as arrogance.

 

Reflection #4: Be content with biblical revelation. Some have gone so far as to insist that anyone that holds Wes’ position is unqualified to minister God’s word as a preacher or teacher. They are not able to sustain their conclusion by biblical exposition, of course, for the simple reason that the Scriptures do not support their conclusion. It does not honor God to try to be more righteous than he. That was the error of the Pharisees.

 

Reflection #5: Be honest. All these tangents, all these red herrings, sadly, answer the good question that Wes has raised. Sadly, much of the church will not be the church. It is too committed to the reigning political ideologies of our secular age. At least have the integrity to say so, instead of trying to confuse the issue with all sorts of side issues.

 

Reflection #6: Be teachable. How many of you know someone like Wes? Have the honor of friendship, sharing the lovely fellowship of warm hospitality, unhurried conversation, and a kinship of spirit that comes from a deep commitment to the truth of the gospel in Christ? I need to learn from Wes, and am eager to do so. He is a man in whom the glory of God is evident. Perhaps all those commenting on the blogs are not like me in this regard, but I hope it is not hubris to say I doubt it.

 

 

Source: Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer, Lane T. Dennis, ed., (Westchester, Il., Crossway Books, 1985). To read more on this topic, see Mardi Keyes’ piece, “Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love,” which you can read here.

 

This entry was posted at Monday, April 06, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 comments

Ron Hoekstra  

Hey Denis: Enjoyed your comments here. I would ask you though to expand your statement "whose homosexuality is not transformed by regeneration". Or, what are your views in regard to regeneration and lifestyle, desire etc. Please note, I am not being adversarial to this man's original article, I am thinking of life in regard to a number of things. I am also wondering if you have read anything by Misty Irons on this issue? I believe her views are excellent and scriptural.

April 7, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Ron:
Thanks for commenting. I was referring to the homosexual who has come to faith in Christ and who finds their homosexual orientation remains intact. Some people find that at regeneration deep patterns, orientations, addictions, etc are suddenly changed or removed, so that they no longer are troubled by them. Others find that though their life and heart are transformed by grace and though the indwelling Spirit does his gracious sanctifying work, the troubling patterns, orientations, addictions, etc that were present before faith continue to plague them, requiring a moment by moment trust in God to be faithful in the face of temptation. It seems to me that regeneration always makes the dead alive by grace, but it does not guarantee what struggles of faith the one alive in Christ is called to face for God's glory. Hope that clarifies what I meant. If not, let me know, and I'll try again.

And yes, I've read Misty Iron's views and find her a kindred spirit, desiring to be faithful in an increasingly pluralistic world.

April 7, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Megan had sent me the link to Wes' post (she met him at the L'Abri conference in Minnesota) and I used it in my sophomore ethics class as part of our discussion on homosexuality. It was quite helpful. Many thanks to Wes for his vulnerability, as well as to you for publishing it.

April 8, 2009 at 12:23 PM

This was Rachel's favorite article ever published in Critique, and she disseminated it as widely as possible.

June 10, 2009 at 12:45 PM

I have begun looking for solid resources regarding the topic of homosexuality. On the one side, I see Christians, especially sensitive young adults, who see the hurt caused by believers' rage and come to the conclusion that we must accept the behaviour if we are to accept the homosexual. Of course, on the other extreme, I have many friends whose expressions, tone and words reflect a fury that is damaging to the gospel of truth and grace. I hope and pray that I can be one of the very few.

June 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM

24/7 Mom:
Your desire is a good one. The evangelical church (and community of believers) is torn because various parts of it are beholden to various ideologies. Others are reacting against societal trends or mistakes they see other believers engaging in, without realizing that reaction is almost never wise. If you haven't read the articles by Wes Hill on our web site, or his book, may I urge you to begin there. And in my blog "Spiritual Friendship," (January 31, 2014) I call attention to the blog he has helped launch. I am glad to learn from him.
Warmly
Denis

June 23, 2014 at 8:56 PM

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