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Commentary


Homosexuality v. Evangelicalism: God's Sovereignty Called Into Question

by Raymond Rooney


How pitiful the Lord God Almighty must be in the minds of many in the Church. He can never seem to get His point across. He is neither believable nor trustworthy. But most of all, in the minds of so many theologians, ministers, and lay persons...God is weak. He needs help. Usually theirs. Frankly, I am tired of it.

I am tired of homosexuals thinking God needs their help to legitimize their sexual preference. If they really think God smiles upon their sexuality then they should just do and live it and let the chips fall where they may in the hereafter. Why don't they just stand on Peter's word ("We ought to obey God rather than man") and stop trying to convince their fellow man that their sexual practices are ordained of God? In my 19 years in ministry I have come across those who do not believe in my calling. I don't care. I don't need to convince them God called me to minister. Something is rotten in Denmark when you have to convince your neighbor that who you are is a good thing.

But the same thing can be said about evangelicals and biblical purists who staunchly oppose the legitimization of homosexuality. If they really believe God is opposed to that kind of sexual lifestyle then why not simply state their opposition and let the chips fall where they may in the hereafter? When Annanias and Saphira lied to the Apostles about their giving who took care of them? God did. I wonder about the motivation of those who insist on repelling the homosexual movement in religion with great fervor. Is their zeal motivated by an authentic concern of who may get swept up in the homosexual lifestyle if it is legitimized or is it motivated by garnering the admiration of the rank and file church goer who despises the sin of homosexuality in the first place? Why does God need help either way?

He doesn't and both sides know it. I challenge either side of the debate to show in the gospels where Jesus behaved like an activist. Did He expose sin? All day long. But where did He try to sway public opinion against sinners? Sure He lambasted the Pharisees. But did He not also tell people to listen to them (Matthew 23:1-3)? We know He opposed adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). But I cannot find where He instructed anybody to withhold anything from adulterers except their participation in adultery.

On the other hand Jesus clearly taught forgiveness. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It is the will of God. Yet He did not go around hounding people who chose not to forgive. He told them what would happen to them if they continued in their unforgiveness but He did not force anyone to forgive anybody. We also know Jesus believed God's love and forgiveness were for non-Jews as well. He ministered to Romans and Greeks in addition to Jews. He let it be known that He wanted His disciples to do the same but He did not make them sign an agreement binding them to do it.

The thing that bothers me most about this debate in the Church is the apparent desperation both sides are exhibiting. Marching into a session of the General Conference in an intrusive and disruptive way in order to be noticed in an attempt to legitimize a lifestyle is sheer grandstanding. Bishops standing to show support or remaining seated to express solidarity with conservatives is infantile. Attempts to pass and block legislation both religiously and civilly is defended as upholding the will of God. The Reconciling Movement (pro-homosexual) obtains permission to hold meetings at a United Methodist facility (Lake Junaluska) and evangelicals threaten to withhold funds from the facility. If God has ordained the homosexual lifestyle why do homosexuals feel they need legitimization and official recognition from the denomination? If homosexuality is a sin why do conservatives and evangelicals need to rally their resources put a stop to it? Doesn't anyone remember the words of Paul's mentor Gamaliel in Acts 5?

I realize this is the kind of commentary that both sides will hiss at. But I am tired of this game. I am tired of homosexuals trying to make me embrace their sinful lifestyle and I am tired of conservatives and evangelicals (with whom I identify) trying to get me to use my position as a minister to cut funding to everything the homosexuals set a hand to. Let both sides trust to their interpretation of Scripture and believe that God is able to judge those who are wrong and bless those who are truly faithful. God doesn't need either side's help. I, for one, wish both sides would start acting like they believe God is in control no matter who seems to have the upper hand.

We in the Church are supposed to be following and walking in the Spirit. The Spirit woos and persuades. He doesn't threaten, cajole, or boycott if we turn our backs on His conviction. Jesus did not try to coerce or force His critics to accept Him and neither did He rally those who did accept Him to battle it out and triumph over His critics. Please tell me there is something more to this fight over sexuality than power, politics, and praise. When all the self-righteousness on both sides is stripped away I am afraid there is precious little more than that left on the table.

Raymond Rooney, Jr.

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