Regular Sins and Dealbreaker Sins?

In a brilliant article on Huffington Post, Micah J. Murray speaks eloquently about the tendency of Christians to view homosexuality as a “special” sin. He refuses to “love the sinner, hate the sin” anymore because he feels it singles out homosexuals, keeps them in the “sinner” identity, and ignores their redemption in Christ. Greg Boyd, taking a similar view often speaks of a Christian’s tendency to see his/her own sins as “regular” sins but others, usually gay, as having “deal-breaker” sins.

I do embrace as a Biblical doctrine (see About Me) that two people of the same sex having sex together is sin (a later post will detail why I think that). But the Bible more clearly and more prominently speaks of many other things much more rampant in the world and even in the church. I embrace my fellow sinners as we struggle together to mature. I resist my spiritual laziness, greed, and avarice, while my friend may be fighting lust for his neighbor’s wife. We walk together in the maturing process because we both acknowledge our behavior/thoughts as sin.

But there is a difference with homosexuality. Gay Christians  do not believe it to be sin for them to have sex together. I understand this because from their perspective the very real love they feel for their partners seems wholesome, even holy. And I actually believe that it may be just that (more on that in another post). Therefore the complete relationship including sex can’t be wrong. I get that. But to me scripture is clear on this matter, so my relationship with a gay Christian is different than with a fellow sinner.

In this area, we are not brothers struggling together to mature; we have a more fundamental disagreement. We need to be brothers seeking God’s own truth. One of us (and perhaps both) is not walking fully in harmony with God. If walking in faith is our primary goal, as opposed to “being right” or any ridiculous political agenda or fulfilling personal desire, then we both need to lay our beliefs at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to show us what is right. Neither of us can be entrenched in his position. Above all, a relationship with the Lord demands humility, and that humility demands that we seek and embrace His truth, whatever it is. For Christians, our life is NEVER about our wants and desires, opinions and interpretations; it is about committing ourselves to our savior and lord and serving him with gladness, to walk with him and fulfill his calling on our lives. Doing that requires that we know and walk according to truth.

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3 thoughts on “Regular Sins and Dealbreaker Sins?

  1. Well done, Mark. Very articulately presented, and written from a good heart, as well as mind. I think we do differ on how to interpret scripture. In believing that all gay/lesbian sex is not sinful, I’m not trying to “get around” any particular verses, etc. I’m trying to be true to what I see as the message of scripture as a whole. Lots of verses, if taken in isolation, can have problematic, and even sinful consequences (e.g., slaveholding). I’m also being true, I hope, to what my God-given reason tells me. We Anglicans reach conclusions about belief and practice based on a combination of scripture, tradition, and reason, with scripture being primary. We can still err, of course, but we trust that, through all three of these, the Holy Spirit can and does guide us.

    • Yes, Scripture must be taken as a whole; any individual verse taken alone is dangerous. I don’t really know the specifics of your defense but I’ve never thought you were dodging anything or playing fast and loose with scripture. I’ve assumed it’s a fair minded consideration governed by reason and humility.

  2. Hi there Mark,
    I came across your website somewhat by chance. I say somewhat because I felt compelled to look up “gay” and “Christian” tags on WordPress and your page came up. None the less, I feel that everything happens for a reason, so never mind chance. 😉 I wanted to tell you that I quite enjoyed your article. I also wanted to share a few things with you as a Christian who just happens to be a lesbian. I am not sure how familiar you are with the alternate translations within Scripture that demonstrate how homosexuality as a whole may not be a sinful behavior. You seem at least somewhat familiar with a bit of this by what I have read on your newest post about David and Jonathan, but I wanted to share some additional information with you if you have yet to learn it. I feel that these alternate translations are such a puzzle and without all of the pieces, it appears weak and it is easy to fall short from understanding the full view. So I would like to share with you my website which encompasses years of research on the topic. I’m not here to change your mind, but I am here to give you any puzzle pieces that you might have missed.

    I’ll give one example here. I noticed that you said that the Mosaic Law is crystal clear in condemning homosexual sex. What many have failed to notice is the meaning of the Hebrew word “shakab” which translates “to lie with” in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. The word appears 213 times in Scripture and has multiple meanings (to sleep, to lay down, to die, etc.) Most interlinear Bible’s would say that it also means “sex.” But what many have failed to notice is the common sexual context across all 52 verses that use it in a carnal nature. Whenever shakab is used in a sexual context in Scripture, it ALWAYS refers to forced sex (rape) or sex by deceptive coercion. If shakab is always used for rape or coerced sex in all of the other verses, than wouldn’t it be quite plausible that it means rape or coerced sex in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 as well? If this is true, than could it be that the Levitical verses were a prohibition against homosexual rape rather than homosexual sex as a whole? Please see my website for clarification: http://moanti.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/gaychristians/

    Furthermore, I’m sure you can agree that we should always pray for discernment as we read the Scriptures. I would ask that you pray that the Holy Spirit help you discern between the truth of God’s loving Word and your own personal physical aversion towards acts which you would never naturally want to do yourself. If you are heterosexual, I believe it’s common for straight Christians to feel that they are Spiritually convicted that homosexuality is wrong because it is something they would never want to physically do. Perhaps they mix up being physically repulsed with true conviction? Also it is common to view the Scriptures in light of what others have taught while missing any other possible meaning.

    I do want to thank you for being kind in your post. Even though you believe homosexuality is a sinful behavior, you do come across as loving and quite a bit more understanding than many other Christians I have encountered regarding this topic. For those that do blatantly condemn with hatred, I feel that this produces bad Spiritual fruit which chases many gays and lesbians away from Christ.

    Lastly, I wanted to share with you something that has been recently placed upon my heart as I was reading the Scriptures regarding Jews and Gentiles. We can plainly see that the Bible gives many examples of marriage that are between a man and woman. We all know that homosexuals make up a very small portion of the population, so the fact that we are not (or seldom) mentioned in Scripture isn’t very surprising. But could it be that heterosexual marriage in Scripture is a blueprint for homosexual couples as well? Biblical marriage in the New Testament is a God-centered committed monogamous union. Just as the Word came “first to the Jew, then to the Gentile,” could it be that marriage (as a God-centered monogamous commitment) came first to the heterosexual, then to the homosexual? It’s just something for you to contemplate. Thanks for your post Mark. May God bless you in everything that you do so that He can be praised!
    -Moanti

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