An acquaintance of mine recently posted a series of videos that are meant to open a dialogue about homosexuality and faith. I am sad to say that she has changed her position since we last talked about 4 years ago. Here is my response to her latest video… (I suggest you watch the video before you read the rest).
Hannah, I appreciate the tone that you are trying to keep on this subject. It is really helpful to keep the volume down and to keep our wits about us when we talk about issues that provoke people’s passions. Additionally, as someone who has been accused of taking God’s grace too far, I understand the arrows in the back that come with it. That said, I’m am saddened to say that you are doing the very thing that I have been accused of; that is, making allowances for disobedience to God and calling it grace. I realize that you don’t think what you are supporting is disobedience, but please hear me out.
Grace is glorious and radical (as your merch. proclaims). It knows no bounds, when it comes to making sinners righteous. That’s what Paul gloriously declared in Romans 5:20 when he wrote, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” He reminded us that the rabbit hole of sin goes deeper into our hearts than we care to admit – but the grace of God goes deeper still. It is truly amazing. That is why it is so sad to me that what your movement is promoting as grace, is not grace at all. It is actually a redefinition of the Law. It is not God’s shocking scandalous free pardon and favor for law-breakers. It is a lowering of God’s Holy (and soul-crushing) Law to something that is humanly attainable and acceptable. By definition, if there is no sin, there is no need for grace.
I understand all that you said about sin and Shalom. I’ve heard it before and I agree with it 100%; in definition. But I disagree with your application. Here’s why. Sin is just one of the words used in the Bible to talk about human rebellion against God. There are others like transgression, trespass and disobedience. Yes sin can be translated as “anything that disrupts the Shalom of God,” but that disruption of peace is meant to remind us that we are sinners when we think we aren’t; not to convince us we aren’t when we actually are. Here’s what I mean. Whenever we convince ourselves that we have been obedient to the external laws of God, that we have not transgressed or trespassed against what God’s Word explicitly commands or forbids, we must then ask ourselves, “Have we broken Shalom? Have we broken our peace with God by failing to honor Him above all else; including elevating my wants above His glory?” Sin, as breaking Shalom, increases our understanding of what sin is. It does not loosen it. If, as a result of that, I find myself guiltier than I previously believed – praise God – because there is grace upon grace for the guilty. But refusing to call sin, what God calls sin, is not grace. It is license.
Again, this is so near and dear to my heart, because I have been accused of soft-peddling sin and preaching “too much grace,” simply because I point to what God has done for us more than I point to what we are to do for God. I do that because I’d rather talk about the remedy and the redeemer than the requirements that I can’t keep anyway. But! But, that doesn’t let me off the hook or give me the freedom to redefine God’s holy standards – I am not free to call acceptable what He calls sin.
Listen, I want to be part of this conversation. I’m not dropping a bomb and running. Now that you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe homosexuality is sin, I’d love to hear your biblical and theological arguments for that position. So far, all that I have heard is a claim that “calling homosexuality sin” is more disruptive to Shalom than acting on homosexual urges. That’s a pretty anthropocentric (man-centered) way to do theology. It is God who determines what disrupts our peace with Him; not us. And I think we’d all have to admit that Jesus did some pretty socially disruptive things in the name of holiness – and His Shalom with the Father was never disrupted. He flipped over tables and told people their father was the devil. He said that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword; and the people who were always on the wrong end of those comments and actions were those who refused to admit they were in sin; and in need of Him. Those who crumbled at His feet and admitted their sin always received mercy and were graciously told to go and sin no more.
Again, this is not a “mic drop.” It is part of the dialogue; from another perspective.