Same-Sex Marriage: Five “But What About?”s

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. LarryTrotter 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

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, David Gundersen reviewed a great new book by SEBTS Theology professor John Hammett: “40 Questions and Answers about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” Gundersen writes:

I can heartily commend this book not only for its good research, clear writing, and sound doctrine, but also because Hammett’s pastoral heart shines throughout…he heeds Paul’s admonition to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), continually asking how Christians should obey, approach, celebrate, and appropriate these two sacred ordinances as means of grace inaugurated by the Lord of the church until he comes again.

Dr. Russell Moore (President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) published an article at The Washington Post pondering the question: A year after Ferguson, have white Christians learned anything?

The answer to racial injustice is precisely the way the Hebrew prophets once framed the answer to all social evil. It means working for courts and systems that are fair and impartial. But it doesn’t stop with policies and structures. It must also include people who are transformed, not just by greater social awareness, but also by consciences that are formed by something other than our backgrounds.

Dr. Thom Rainer posted a helpful article listing nine steps to using social media and blogs without losing your ministry. Dr. Rainer writes:

After nearly a decade of involvement in social media and, later, the blogosphere, I have seen the best and the worst. Allow me to share what I have learned from the best in ministry who are active in this realm.

Bekah Stoneking, an Ed.D. student from SEBTS, wrote a guest post at Ed Stetzer’s blog yesterday giving three reasons why your teaching style matters.

To be good stewards of the students in our care, to teach them well about God’s truths, and to equip them to participate in His mission, we must understand why our teaching styles matter.

Finally, all this week SEBTS graduate Aaron Earls has been running a series of guest posts at his blog ‘The Wardrobe Door‘ written by four ladies who share why they are pro-life.

Six Ways to Redeem Dating

J.D. Greear recently published an article which outlines six components of dating we desperately need to recover. In his post J.D. writes:

There was a time when people considered courtship old-fashioned, but now even dating seems to be passé. Is there any hope left for either? I still think so. It may not be easy in our hookup culture, but dating can still be redeemed.

To read the entire article, head over to J.D.’s blog.