Gentleness, respect and homosexuality.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Gentleness, respect and homosexuality.

  1. Milly

    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.

    I am feeling a bit two faced here after reading this. On one side I think NO WAY yet on the other, Heck I don't know. The thing is that I don't think any one with known sins should be considered. Now I know we all sin. I'm talking drinking, stealing, the stuff that shakes us. I know they are all considered even the small ones. I've yelled at the elders in my church over an issue. People are human and make mistakes.

    I have no point except that those of us that are unworthy of leading a church for what ever reason should sit in the pews and rejoice. Those who can lead should sit next to us and rejoice. My husband was asked if he could be submitted for a position like a deacon. He was honored yet turned it down he isn't where he needs to be for that job. We should put our egos aside.

  2. Hi, Milly

    It was First Reformed in Toronto that I was referencing. Three years ago they made the first announcement and 2 months ago they announced that they would submit to the direction and rules of the denomination.

    As far as any open sin (key word: open) in my last church there was a man who had committed financial crimes and spent time in a federal prison. He was welcomed back into the church (after making reparations as possible to members that he had sinned against) but was not allowed to take part in leadership until he had demonstrated the "fruits of repentance".

    It's the same with heterosexual people who are living together. We have a couple that I know of in that situation. They are welcomed and included and loved, but they are not in leadership.

    We tend to "follow the leaders" and we are not different in church (a friend of mine uses the term "sheeple"). That's why it's important to have people worth following in leadership.


  3. Milly

    Hi, Ellen

    The big point is, Are they going to be good leaders and examples and are the families? It's a hard job to lead in any form, church is much harder. I know a same sex couple, I love them very much and trust them with my children. I don't think they should lead in church.I don't think they do.

    I wonder if some of our battles are because we want to stir up trouble. I've tried to teach my children to stand up for what they believe and always respect that others have different views. I feel that every person should go to church, should know God. I just think some of the changes are harmful. It seems that tradition is a bad word in some churches.

    My son is a Boy Scout, a troop here doesn't want women to camp with the boys. We picked a different troop because I camp. Someone suggested that I go in and change them. I responded with "Why?" "Because they should understand single moms and stuff." Hay! Look a troop right down the street that has lots of camping moms. Go where they are. The traditional troop also works with special needs boys. Why try to change them? (realizing I'm not making a point) Tradition isn't so bad. 🙂 I just don't know that we can stop the changes. My minister has been shaking the pews.

  4. Milly, I think we're probably on the same page.

    Some traditions are meant to be changed, others are just fine the way they are.


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