For the last two weeks, Larry Trotter, lead pastor at North Wake Church, has preached a series on same-sex marriage. Last week’s message covered five “contras” of same-sex marriage. This week (08-16-15) addressed five “but what about?”s–objections and lingering questions about the biblical teaching concerning same-sex attraction. The five “but what about?”s are:
1. But what about Leviticus? Leviticus clearly prohibits same-sex relationships (Lev. 20:13). But it also prohibits eating shellfish and getting tattoos. Are same-sex opponents guilty of cherry-picking the book? We don’t follow its commands about diet, dress, and the like. Pastor Larry points out there is a distinct difference between the ceremonial, civil, and moral components of the Mosaic Law. He notes that the New Testament repeats the moral prohibitions of Leviticus (including those about homosexuality) but not the civil or ceremonial edicts.
2. But what about all the other sins that Christians tolerate? For example, what about divorce? Or what about gluttony (a particularly Baptist sin)? Larry acknowledges that the Church has failed to stand consistently about certain sins. But the argument based upon the Church’s failure itself fails. In effect it is an admission that same-sex activity is also sinful.
3. But what about those in a same-sex relationship that is faithful, monogamous, and stable? Pointing to 1 Cor 5:1-2, Larry replies that faithfulness in a biblically forbidden behavior does not make the behavior less sinful.
4. But what about Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction? Larry appeals to Sam Williams in his answer. Dr. Williams serves on Southeastern’s faculty as professor of biblical counseling and as an elder at North Wake Church. He makes the distinction between same-sex attraction (SSA), same-sex orientation (SSO), and “Gay or Lesbian Identity”. The first two (SSA) and (SSO) are involuntary, but the decision about identity is a choice. We all struggle with a variety of attractions that are outside the will of God. Deciding to act on those inclinations, and deciding to find our identity in those inclinations, are moral choices.
5. But what about my family and friends who are involved in a same-sex lifestyle? Larry cautions that we cannot justify homosexuality. We are to tell them that in the Gospel there is hope for all, and that Jesus is worth it. And we are always to engage others with grace, humility, and love.
As I listened to Larry’s message I was struck by the pastoral sensitivity and care with which he preached. He pointed the entire congregation to grace and forgiveness of the Gospel (Rom 8:1). The audio of the entire message can be found here.
Cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com