Yes, I know that McLaren and Driscoll are on "Out of Ur" but that's not what I'm writing about.
I firmly believe that homosexualty actions are wrong - sin. Of course, so are a lot of other things that are right out in the open at church. How homosexuals should be treated should very much depend on whether or not they are in the church (professing Christians).
Wherever they are at, whatever they are doing, our motive should be love.
But on to the real topic.
...and my struggle with gentleness...I'm going to be writing a letter to the editor and need to focus on gentleness and respect. My first letter "went away" when somebody rebooted the computer before I saved it and I think God's hand was in that.
I got my February copy of "The Banner" and read a couple of things that kind of mystified me.
The First Christian Reformed Church in Toronto, Ontario announced three years ago that it would allow its members living in committed gay and lesbian relationships to be nominated as elders and deacons.
In December 2005, after being on the brink of being disaffiliated, "The Council of First Christian Reformed Church, Toronto...resolved[s] to acknowledge the CRC guidelines with respect to homosexuality and agrees to tailor its ministry accordingly."
So far so good. Next up: First CRC plans ask the synod to revisit the CRC's position on homosexuality. So, they're going to go through the normal channels to get gays and lesbians into the formal leadership of their church. (Here's where I start to lose the "gentleness" thing.
I'm not mystified by this; I'm glad that the denomination's structure brought enough pressure to bring the church into line. The structure did its job.
What mystifies me is another article on "General and Special Revelation in Conversation" by Dr. Donald Oppewal at Calvin College (words from the article in blue. Special revelation is the Bible and general revelation is:
- an embodiment of the divine thought in the phenomona of nature;
- the general composition of the human mind and
- the facts of experience or history.
Oppewal maintains that special revelation alone is inadequate; the two sources are interdependent and...that general revelation promotes a proper understanding of special revelation."
(This is where I really start to lose my gentleness - not with sinners, but with the denomination)
Oppewal's final paragraph reads: "The Spirit moves most surely among us when Christians read the "facts of experience or history" as well as when we read the Bible. Christian thinkers in the vaeious disciplines, including theology, can give us counsel as we try to walk together toward that day when we shall all see more clearly the will of God for our communal lives, both in church and in society."
(Here's where I have to work to stay focused on gentleness)
Apply that final paragraph to Oppewal's final point.
"It remains to be seen how the question of homosexuality as a lifestyle comports with a Christian view of sexuality. But we can hope that the church will examine the evidence from general revelation just as seriously as it does the evidence from special revelation.
"Without also considering the evidence from biology concerning how sexuality is shaped, and without turning to the actual sociological evidence about same-sex relations, we'll end up doing only half our homework as Reformed Christians."
What Oppewal appears to be saying is that we have to look at God's Word through the lens of "sociological evidence" - not the other way around.
My desire is (with gentleness and respect) state clearly that we should be looking at the world through God's lens - not looking at God's Word through the lens of the world.