Monday, May 21, 2012

The Christian Case For Sin?

It seems like there is a contest between the religion pages of the Huffington Post and CNN to see who can post the silliest and most ridiculous pieces on Christianity. CNN might have pulled ahead with a post by Mark Osler titled The Christian Case For Gay Marriage. I will wait, hopefully in vain, for the article on "The Christian Case for Stealing" or "The Christian Case for Murder" or "The Christian Case for Adultery".  As ludicrous as that sounds, up until just a few years ago there would not have been any sort of semi-serious outlet for a article with that title. Mr. Osler starts off with this gem:

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

Perhaps Mr. Osler's Bible is missing a few pages, like for instance 1 Corinthians 5.....

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." (1 Cor 5:9-13)

You don't have to look very far to see that the authors of the epistles, post-cross and ascension, absolutely recognized homosexuality as an extreme form of sexual sin (later on in the very next chapter 1 Cor 6:9; Romans 1: 24-26; 1 Timothy 1:10; Jude 1:6-8). So if we are not to associate or even share a meal with people in the church in open sin, doesn't it seem to make sense that we would not extend to them the Lord's Supper or baptism, certainly not solemnizing what the Bible abhors by calling their relationship a "marriage"? If someone showed up at the gathering of the church where you meet and said "Sorry I am late, I had to steal this car so I could make it, stopped by to have an adulterous tryst with the lady down the street and intentionally ran over a little old lady in the cross walk. So, where are the plastic cups and crackers?", I would hope that you would not extend to them the blessings of the Lord's Table.

Mr. Osler then goes on in his flowery and vacuous essay to try to link acceptance of homosexuality with Peter's issues with eating with Gentiles, a completely untenable link especially when you consider that the same guy who rebuked Peter for not eating with Gentiles (Paul) is the guy who wrote so strongly against sexual sin and those who would try to use the grace of God as cover for their continued perversion. The New Testament is clear that what we eat doesn't really matter and the distinctions that separated Jew from Gentile have been done away with. It is also clear that homosexuality is still a gross sin, something that needs to be repented of, not celebrated.

There are lots of sins in the world, it is true. Homosexuality is certainly singled out, multiple times and specifically but there is a tendency to overemphasize opposition to homosexuality while turning a blind eye to other sins like greed, divorce, etc. The reaction we should have is not to brush over or normalize homosexuality but to be honest in confronting other sins within the church. People like Mr. Osler are not extending grace to those that the Bible says are trapped in sin by trying to pretend that the Bible doesn't say what it clearly says in order to placate the culture.The cure for cancer is not to cheerily tell someone they are not sick at all and send them on their way and the cure for sin is not to tell people that Jesus died so that they could keep on sinning. So-called "gay marriage" is going to be a highly divisive issue in the upcoming years and clearly the fickle winds of the culture are blowing in favor of recognizing homosexual relationships as "marriage". That may be true and I don't really think the church should spend a ton of time or effort combating secular, civil "gay marriage" but nor should we offer the truth as a sacrifice on the altar of political correctness in a vain attempt to placate the pagan culture and curry favor with the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you Arthur. Well said as usual.

The enemy is clever and sure has everyone (Christian and non) distracted and wound-up about one sin and pouring tons of time and energy into it...