Should the PCUSA have cleared the way for gay pastors?

As a follower of Jesus who is convinced that God’s design for sexuality does not include homosexual relationships, I am saddened by the development outlined in this article: http://outsmartmagazine.com/2011/05/presbyterian-church-usa-vote-affirms-lgbt-clergy-called-to-serve-the-church/

From my reading of Scripture, this movement (LGBT) grieves the heart of God and undermines his expressed will and original intention of one man… one woman… together in a lifelong union of marriage (See Genesis 2).

All of us, if we are honest, have struggled with lust and sexual sin. I have had a number of friends who have struggled with their sexual orientation . It is always a delicate balancing act to hate sin in all its forms and to love sinners. It is especially difficult to hate the sin in our own lives. When a church council errs like this, we must redouble our efforts in calling ourselves and others to a lifestyle of biblical fidelity out of the manifold manifestations of lust that are waging war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11).

From my perspective, the most loving and God-affirming action we can take toward our homosexual friends, relatives, and co-workers is to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name–not to ordain them.

It appears that this article reduces the gospel to “the work of building loving, God-affirming communities.” That sounds nice and politically correct, but this notion does not conform to the Scriptures. For me, the fundamental goal of the gospel is to “save sinners” of whom we are chief and foremost (1 Timothy 1:15).

Remembering this word from the Apostle Paul not only helps us to recall the purpose of the gospel and why Christ’s church exist, but it also helps us to deal humbly with those who struggle with sexual sin and orientation.

I am the chief of sinners who has been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. I possess the log not the speck in my own eye. This serves to help me deal humbly with others who sin.

However, the church is a fellowship of sinners who stands unflinching and unapologetically upon the simple, truthful statements of the Word of God like 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Paul writes: “9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

This passage reminds us that entrance into the kingdom the God is opened to those who repent of  sin (including sexual) and trust Christ alone. It also reminds us that those who persistently practice a lifestyle of sexual sin or any other sin will not enter God’s kingdom. The issue is not whether we struggle with sin or not. The issue is what we do when we sin… Do we make excuses and condone it? Or do we grieve over it and confess it to the Lord?

One thought on “Should the PCUSA have cleared the way for gay pastors?

  1. My fear about pastors speaking about the sinfulness of homosexuality is that, even though they may be trained Biblical scholars, these faithful men/women may not have done the exegetical work necessary to really speak to what the Bible says about homosexuality.

    As you know, the Bible cannot say to us what it doesn’t say to it’s original recipients – people separated from us by both language and culture. Before you condemn homosexuality as being outside of “God’s design for sexuality,” it would be helpful to conduct a few word studies about the language Paul uses in 1 Cor and his letters to Timothy, the culture Paul was speaking to in Rome when he wrote is letter to the Romans, what Jesus had to say about Sodom and Gomorrah (and why), the meaning of abomination, and why the Levitical laws regarding same-sex pairings are placed where they are in the law.

    Our scripture is not simple and cannot be read simply. If the primary goal of the gospel truly is to “save sinners,” then it’s pretty important that we form an informed opinion of what is and isn’t sinful. Walking humbly with our God sometimes means walking contrary to culture… sometimes even church culture. I question whether many of our churches are more faithful to scripture or more faithful to tradition and the trappings of modern church culture.

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