I’ve been in ongoing discussions about the Christian Church and how reconciliation with the homosexual community would look like. Many people have made the claim that we are nothing but nasty towards them. Others have said that the Christian Church ought to fall on our knees and beg for forgiveness for the way we have treated that community for our hateful, judgemental, homophobic attitudes. I’m not sure though that such an action is particularly helpful though, in the way they want us to, and I have a few reasons for it.
If the Church is to be consistent in its beliefs that poverty, rape, thievery, abuse, idolatry and homosexuality are sins, then that would mean that the Church should be allowed to speak against all of them in some way, and not have that to be taken as hateful. We don’t apologize to the rapists for preaching against his sin, nor to we apologize to the thief for preaching against his sin. In like manner, I don’t see why we would apologize to the homosexual for preaching against his sin. These actions of course are labelled as hateful- that is, when I speak against the sin of homosexuals, I am hating them, and am being hateful by virtue of the message I speak,. Many would hold that I need to apologize to the gay community for that.
Now, if we are talking about legitimately hateful acts, then that is another matter. I don’t think such acts are compatible with biblical Christianity- and I abhor the thought of that and would rightly condemn them. But we need to distinguish between these things. I don’t want to give the false impression about what I consider hateful actions towards homosexuals to be. There are implicit and explicit dangers there, as broad and borderless caveats are easy to misconstrue can lead to disastrous results. I don’t think the Church ought to hate homosexuals. In fact, I think more than anyone else, the Church should be loving towards them. But here is where we differ- I would say that it’s loving to walk with the homosexual and give him the gospel, and once he grasps that to call him to repentance and faith in Christ, so that he might understand God’s plan for sexuality and how marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and his bride, with the woman [bride] being the Church and the man [Christ] being the groom. I think that is the loving thing to do.
I think the Church ought to call all men to repentance and the forgiveness of sins- as an act of charity and love, and if anything, I would say that the Christians and so-called Christians who refuse to do this are the ones who hate homosexuals. I mean that. More than the people protesting funerals, or people throwing rocks through windshields, or the people beating up gays walking down the street- as bad as that stuff is, that pales in comparison to the real hate that believers exhibit when they fail to call homosexuals to repentance. These opinions come across as kind, when in reality they are cruel. When believers and so-called believers have no problem with homosexuality and endorse it, they are promoting a lifestyle which thousands of years of historical and biblical Judaeo-Christian orthodoxy says is an abomination and is profoundly evil. They are encouraging them to live in and become hardened to a lifestyle of unrepentant sin, which in the end will result in these men and women being damned and losing Christ forever. And so if anyone is going to apologize for the hatred towards homosexuals, and their personal complicity in the true hate of gays- I think it ought to be the ones who stay silent, or who take this brand new pro-homosexuality stance and advance that the loving position
As far as what I would apologize for, if I were apologizing on behalf of the Church- I would not apologize for the theology, but rather how we have presented it. I would apologize that we haven’t been more accepting of homosexuals in the congregation and have not aggressively been evangelizing them. I would apologize that we have related to them as lepers, instead of human beings needing Christ. I would apologize that we have not denounced the young men in our congregations who have made a habit of telling “gay-jokes” and other shameful humor. I would apologize that we have been ambivalent and have not paid attention to the men and women in our congregation who have been struggling with same sex attraction. I would apologize for not ministering to them enough, and for not supporting them enough in their desire to be free from this. I would apologize for the tactlessness that certain ministers have exhibited in public forums and for the lack of loving tone with outsiders and unbelievers. Last of all, I would apologize that we have not been clear and intelligent and concise and consistent in our theology of marriage. We have let people who have no theology of marriage hijack the conversation and speak for us. We have let people with billboards saying “Adam and eve, not Adam and Steve” represent us, instead of thoughtful, wise and well spoken men and women of god being able to intelligently lay out a wonderful, clear presentation of why and what we believe marriage and sexuality to be.