Debating Homosexuality

I’ve just put the following comment on the Covenant Blog thread which I discussed earlier:

I cannot imagine what standard conservative language does to LBGT people. Is there any way to state the conservative position *without* offending?

I would want to argue that the answer to this question is an unequivocal "yes".

The problem often with the stating of the conservative position lies in two key areas:

i) The conservative position is stated in conjunction with some non-scriptural (and sometimes prejudiced) objection to homosexuality (i.e. my complaint in this recent post)
ii) The conservative position is articulated in such a way that mis-states what the Biblical position actually is (i.e. "All homosexuals are going to hell".)

It IS possible to articulate the conservative position, but it can only be done within an articulation of the wider Biblical framework on sexuality and sexual expression. That’s what I increasingly try to do on my blog. It is not (IMHO) good enough to simply say. "The Bible says that sex belongs only inside heterosexual marriage". Our job as theologians / pastors is to explain *why* that is so. I have quite a few commenters on my blog who are actively gay, but I know that amongst them there are a number who respect me because I try to come to this debate with a more reasoned argument than "Stop doing that".

I’m increasingly convinced that here in the West we need to stop fighting the culture battles of the past 40 years, because when we do that we simply dig a deeper hole for ourselves. Our discussion should be theological, not sociological, because ultimately it is when the church has got itself sorted on this issue and presents a united witness to the truth of God’s design for us as sexual beings that we will be able to shine a welcoming light of resuce into a society that is messing itself up over sexual liberty.

What do people think?

Sometime in the next few weeks I will be posting more extensively on my position on how conservatives should be behaving and speaking in this debate.

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8 Comments on “Debating Homosexuality

  1. That’s very true.  This discussion really belongs in the realm of believers.  An unbelieving gay person isn’t any worse off than an unbelieving straight one, and with both, any statements about sin and obedience are going to fall on deaf ears.  We have to start at the beginning with doctrines of sin and grace before we can get into particulars like homosexuality.  And even then, it takes time.  I wouldn’t expect a brand new convert to Christianity to accept or understand every commandment immediately, though of course I would expect him to start questioning his previous positions on things like gay sex (or sex in general).

  2. I think Jay is right – a lot of things the church says are inevitably going to seem strange or even crazy to non-believers, not just what we say about sex.  It reminds me of something C. S. Lewis once wrote, that if you could find a way to convey to the lion that in heaven it would eat hay with the ox it would probably not be very keen on getting baptised!  But the current (and not only current) emphasis in the news on controversies about sexual matters is likely to reinforce the common misunderstanding that as far as the church is concerned the only really serious sins are sexual ones (because they are the only ones that seem to get you in serious trouble with the bishops/kirk sessions etc). Of course this is a travesty of Christianity, and Christians should I suppose be trying to bring the discussion (at least as far as our message to the wider world is concerned) round to the more important things at stake here; but it’s not easy when the media don’t seem interested in reporting anything else (apart perhaps from one or two other secondary controversies like teaching evolution or wearing crucifixes with uniform).

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