by Dr. Alan Snyder
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
The message of the Gospel is this: man is sinful; man must recognize his sins and repent of them; when he does, God, through the mercy of the Cross that Jesus suffered, will forgive all sins, and will set people free from the chains of sin that had them bound.
It’s truly the “Good News,” a positive message of redemption. It just doesn’t seem like good news to those who want to hold onto their sins. They refuse to see the freedom being offered to them in Christ.
Recently, the Presbyterian Church in America hosted a meeting in St. Louis that it called the Revoice Conference. The stated goal was to discuss the issue of homosexuality in the church and how the church should respond to it.
There was a decidedly mixed message in this conference. Yes, attendees were told that anyone with same-sex attractions should not give in to that temptation, but there was also an affirming message about “gay” orientation that existed side-by-side with that warning.
World magazine explained what else was heard besides the message of not practicing homosexuality:
One reason the conference was controversial: Its use of fuzzy pro-gay terminology such as “sexual minority” and “queer culture.” One breakout session on redeeming “queer culture” spoke of the “virtues of queer culture” and asked, “What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time?”
The use of the pro-gay terminology and the question at the end are both disturbing. Homosexuality might contribute to the treasure, honor, and glory of the New Jerusalem? Really?
World ‘s description continued, quoting Nate Collins, organizer of the conference:
“Is it possible that gay people today are being sent by God like Jeremiah to find God’s words for the church to eat them and make them our own; to shed light on contemporary false teachings and even idolatries—not just the false teaching of the progressive sexual ethic, but other, more subtle forms of false teaching?” he asked attendees. “Is it possible that gender and sexual minorities who live lives of costly obedience are themselves a prophetic call to the church to abandon idolatrous attitudes toward the nuclear family, toward sexual pleasure? If so, then we are prophets.”
Now we’re supposed to call “gay” people prophets, in the same manner as Jeremiah? While I realize that he’s talking about those who don’t give in to their inclinations, he’s simultaneously demeaning the nuclear family. Can some people make family into an idol? Certainly. But the tone of this statement seems to downplay the role of the family, as if being homosexual and remaining celibate is a higher glory.
What bothers me about the overall leaning of the conference is the almost-affirming nature of homosexuality and the seeming acceptance that this is how God has created some people. If my perception is accurate, that would be a wholesale sellout to modern trendy thinking.
We need to remember what is explicitly stated in Scripture, in a number of places, but most clearly in Romans, chapter 1:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. …
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. …
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Let me repeat what I said at the beginning of this post: The message of the Gospel is this: man is sinful; man must recognize his sins and repent of them; when he does, God, through the mercy of the Cross that Jesus suffered, will forgive all sins, and will set people free from the chains of sin that had them bound.
Any deviation from those central tenets of the faith is a betrayal of Scripture, which, in turn, leaves people in their sins. That’s not the good news we’re supposed to be offering.
CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/people-man-alone-reading-book-2599316/
Alan Snyder is Professor of History at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Ideas expressed in his books, articles, and online posts are his own opinions and do not necessarily represent the policy of Southeastern University.