Chapter 5 is title “Anti-homosexual”, and the thesis of the chapter is that Christians must become known more for there love of individuals regardless of sexual brokenness, rather that against the sin itself. I understand the basic premise, and agree with the conclusions, yet the latter half of the chapter is subtitled “A Biblical Response” which is woefully lacking in biblical content and exegesis. If the authors’ desire is to change the hearts and minds of Christians, then this section ought to include more than mere opinion and quotation, but actually resolve a biblical argument for the “complexity of the issue”. This is still my main beef with the book as a whole: a woeful lack of biblical and gospel engagement to the findings of their research.
Below are a few of the quotes that stuck out:
- “Our concerns about preventing the advancement of homosexual rights often translate into a desire for unrealistic boundaries on people’s lives” ~Page 97
This argument is definitely an interesting one, and is the issue concerning the legislation of morality. It would seem that the authors would be in favor of extending political rights in order to create greater personal freedom, and yet we must draw some legal lines for legislation of morality. The sticky question is where. All legal authority is based on some definition of morality, and we must decide at what point on the scale we draw the moral line. The issue is enhanced, however, because in an American context, this is both a moral issue and a personal rights issue, and the two certainly collide here. The majority of Americans would side with a more conservative stance on morality, and yet the minority is advocating for personal rights, which is in part why the conversation is so muddled.
Basically, I’ve confused myself, but the bottom line is political engagement on the issue is a very complex topic. The next quote will resolve something of my opinion on the issue…
- “You change a country not merely by bolstering its laws but by transforming the hearts of its people” ~Page 106.
A hearty amen to this comment…for too long the Evangelical right has thrown countless resources at reforming a nation through political engagement. Political engagement is absolutely necessary and the call of all Christians in a democracy, but we must understand that it will never have the power to transform, only to conform to morality, which is no saving grace at all.
When political posturing becomes our the Churches primary means of engagement, and not focusing on the call of believers to make disciples (baptizing and teaching), then we have put our trust in a false savior. I believe the call of the authors to be correct as they invite individual and ministerial engagement with homosexuals, rather than political and pulpit posturing. Platforming is a dangerous bedfellow for Christians and the Church when it is not accompanied by a similar commitment to relational ministry.
- “Born again Christians are more likely to disapprove of homosexuality than divorce” ~Page 94
This is an unbelievable frustrating statistic, more from the perspective of the political posturing of the “pro-family” stance of most evangelicals. The abject failure of the church in the area of marital fidelity should shock us, and force us to remove the plank in our eye first. Perhaps we ought to demonstrate our commitment to the sanctity of marriage within the church before defining it outside the church…
This chapter was probably the weakest I have read so far, most likely because the scope of the issue is beyond the book. It did whet my appetite to delve more deeply into the complexity of biblical engagement in the politics of this issue.