What is the Emergent Church’s position on homosexuality? As we have discussed earlier in this series, the Emergent Church puts a heavier focus on personal feelings than they do on what the Bible says. When they do crack open the Bible for answers, they will often deconstruct the text to make it say whatever they want it to say. The Emergent Church is not interested in what God clearly said; rather they make it a practice to change their view of theology to match the popular opinions of our culture. As you may have guessed, the Emergent Church does not condemn homosexual behavior as the Bible does, and in many cases, they actually approve of it.
What does the Emergent Church say about homosexuality?
“Christianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not bodily integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology. This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force us to consider new ways of being sexual.” Jim Wallis
“I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!), and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.” Tony Jones
“All the time I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am.” Tony Jones
Who said gays weren’t human persons? What does Tony Jones mean by ecclesial benefits? Does he mean that gays should be allowed to be pastors or is he just saying gays should be allowed to attend church?
The more I follow grace, the more I’m drawn to him (God), the more I’m willing to stand up for people being persecuted,”…“It sounds so churchy, but I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘(homosexuality) is not a sin.’ ” Jay Bakker
Should we follow subjective feelings or should we follow God’s word?
“It’s much easier to hold the line on the conservative position when nearly all gay people around you are closeted and pretending to be other than they are. Eventually for some, the pain of pretending will become greater than the pain of going public. Whenever a new son or daughter comes out of the closet, their friends and family will face a tough choice: will they “break ranks” with their family member or friend, or will they stay loyal to their family member or friend – which will require them to have others break ranks with them?” Brian Mcklaren
Who said disagreeing with someone’s sin equated to “breaking ranks” with them? We all come to Christ as sinners and through Christ’s atonement and the work of the Holy Spirit, we are sanctified. Sanctification is the process God’s people go through as they repent and remove sins from their lives. We all have sins in our lives that must be stopped. Homosexuality is no different. It is a sinful behavior that can and should be repented of and stopped.
In my case, I inherited a theology that told me exactly what you said: homosexuality is a sin, so although we should not condemn (i.e. stone them), we must tell people to “go and sin no more.” Believe me, for many years as a pastor I tried to faithfully uphold this position, and sadly, I now feel that I unintentionally damaged many people in doing so. Thankfully, I had a long succession of friends who were gay. And then I had a long succession of parishioners come out to me. They endured my pronouncements. They listened and responded patiently as I brought up the famous six or seven Bible passages again and again. They didn’t break ranks with me and in fact showed amazing grace and patience to me when I was showing something much less to them.
Over time, I could not square their stories and experiences with the theology I had inherited. So I re-opened the issue, read a lot of books, re-studied the Scriptures, and eventually came to believe that just as the Western church had been wrong on slavery, wrong on colonialism, wrong on environmental plunder, wrong on subordinating women, wrong on segregation and apartheid (all of which it justified biblically) … we had been wrong on this issue. In this process, I did not reject the Bible. In fact, my love and reverence for the Bible increased when I became more aware of the hermeneutical assumptions on which many now-discredited traditional interpretations were based and defended. I was able to distinguish “what the Bible says” from “what this school of interpretation says the Bible says,” and that helped me in many ways.
“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.’….Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements.” –Brian McLaren,
The Bible is clear about what God thinks about homosexuality. Why don’t we let God’s word speak for itself?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
I don’t see how you could miss this. How much clearer could God get? God calls the behavior of homosexuality an abomination.
Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Obviously we don’t put homosexual’s to death nowadays. This was an Old Testament command that was intended for the purposes of keeping God’s people, the Jews clean and without sin. God had a purpose in setting apart a people for his name that would one day give birth to the Messiah. This was not the only sin that had a death penalty attached to it. Other sins would include murder, rape, men stealing (for slavery) child sacrifice etc.
New Testament scriptures about homosexuality
Some people argue that since the Old Testament is filled with some strange commands, only meant for the levitical priests, we should reject OT scriptures calling homosexuality a sin. The following are some scriptures in the New Testament addressing the practice of homosexuality.
Romans 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
I don’t see how anyone could take this scripture any other way. God is refers to homosexuality as “vile affections” and an “error”.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
- “Abusers of themselves with mankind” is the Greek word arsenokoitēs, which means sodomite.
Jude addresses why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorah
Jude 1:7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
It is traditionally understood that when Jude says they were going after strange flesh, he was talking about homosexuality. Genesis 19:45 confirms this understanding that Jude is in fact speaking about homosexuality.
Genesis 19:4-5 “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: (5) And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”
God defines marriage between male and female
Matthew 19:4-6 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The Emergent Church’s position on homosexuality is unbiblical. God’s word is clear. God calls the sin of homosexuality an abomination. Condemning a behavior is not breaking ranks with homosexuals or hating them. It is simply a disapproval of their choices. We as Christ following Christians should be lovingly trying to lead all sinners to the cross and we should be helping all believers to find their way down the path of sanctification. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. God does not hate those who practice homosexuality. God hates sinful behavior. There’s a big difference.