Pastor Bob O'Bannon
Starting next week, I will begin a multi-part blog series that will seek to answer common questions about and objections to the traditional Christian position on homosexuality. Some of you might be sick of hearing about this issue, which is totally understandable, so let me offer three reasons why I think this is a good idea:
1. The constant presence of the issue in our culture. Honestly, I don’t want to be one of those pastors who rides a hobby horse or who keeps hammering one theological or ethical issue over and over again, at the expense of other very important issues. But the main reason I see a need to talk about the homosexuality issue so much is because our culture is talking about it so much.
We live in a time when athletes and actors and talk show hosts and politicians and business owners and musicians and governors and mayors and Supreme Court justices are giving their opinions about questions that are integrally connected to Biblical doctrine and Christian living — so why wouldn’t Christians want to talk about it? I am concerned that believers are reluctant to enter the dialogue, either because they don’t know what to say, or because they’re afraid they’ll be ostracized for saying what they think. But who knows if perhaps we have been raised up for “such a time as this”? (Esther 4:14).
2. The conversation taking place in the evangelical church. It’s not just the world outside the church that is talking about homosexuality — the conversation is taking place inside the church as well. Last week there was an article in the New York Times with the headline, “Evangelicals Open Door to Debate on Gay Rights.” The implication is that the evangelical church might finally be falling in line with the rest of the world on this issue.
Then, in a turn of events that seems strangely coincidental, evangelical leader Tony Campolo came forward the very same day to declare that he has changed his mind and now believes that gay couples should receive “full acceptance” in the church. This is clearly not just a cultural or political issue — this is a church issue. And so this blog series will not attempt to address the political questions raised by the issue, but simply to help Christians think through it in a careful and Biblical way.
3. The comments I’ve heard from people at New Life. On May 24, I delivered a sermon at New Life called “How God’s Wrath is Revealed,” based on Rom. 1:24-32, where Paul deals explicitly with the issue of homosexuality (you can hear the sermon by clicking here). This sermon generated more feedback than any other message I have preached in more than 10 years as a pastor, which suggests that the people at New Life are thinking about this issue and eager to talk about it. Since this is such a complex topic, and since my sermon might have raised just as many questions as it actually answered, it seems appropriate and good to launch a blog series that will explore the question in more depth.
What kinds of questions will I seek to answer? Questions like: Does your church welcome homosexuals? Aren’t homosexuals born with their sexual orientation? If Christians changed their mind on slavery, shouldn’t they change their mind on homosexuality too? Isn’t marriage mostly about two people who love each other?
So, if you are interested, be sure to check back here on Friday of each week for another installment. Feel free to participate in the discussion by adding your comments at the bottom of each blog, or by submitting a question you’d like me to attempt to answer. Also, take note that you can click on “subscribe” to receive future blogs by email.