Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Clear Thinking on Homosexuality

And then hunting season and the holidays hit, Resisting Gossip got a publisher, my uncle died, and life intruded in a hundred other ways.

But I want to keep my promises and point readers to some of the best resources out there on this difficult topic.  I hope to post something on a weekly basis for a month or two.  (We'll see if I can keep up that schedule!)

The first resource is an upcoming resource: The EFCA Theology Conference January 30-February in Colorado. The theme this year is “Sex Matters: A Theology of Human Sexuality.”

I had originally thought of just addressing the issue of same-sex marriage, and I believe I would be warranted in doing so. But that misses the big picture, which consists of God’s good design, not just one deviation or perversion of that design. This is what led me to this broader framework. I also thought it would be important to address the deviations from God’s good design more broadly, not just the sin of same-sex marriage. It must be addressed, but so must other sins. We live in a day that when morality is addressed, the sin of homosexuality and same-sex marriage must be addressed or one’s silence will be heard as support of it. But then when one does communicate it over and over, which is necessary as it is the moral issue of the day, then we are criticized for having only one note that we play incessantly on our moral instrument.
We are planning to address the whole realm of human sexuality more broadly, same-sex marriage being a sub-category under that larger one. There are huge issues related to human sexuality: creation, male and female, image of God, marriage, singleness, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, GLBT, GID, pornography, cohabitation among young (including evangelicals), older people living together and not married so as not to lose benefits, etc. Moreover, how will pastors respond as custodians of the state when they may be asked to perform same-sex unions? Should the pastor serve the dual role of civil and ecclesiastical in marriages? Should churches no longer perform weddings, but leave that to the state? This question is being raised quite often.
As you know, this is a very complex issue. It touches on all of the following: cultural, scientific, sociological, biblical, theological, pastoral. But this complexity does not mean there is question about this in the Word of God. We need to go back to God’s Word, be reminded of what He says, listen and learn about these issues, learn to get to the heart of these issues in the lives of people, and be equipped to stand firmly on God’s truth with humility and courage, knowing that God knows and cares and desires wholeness, according to His original design, not the personal whims and wishes of men and women.
We will focus on this important issue, and address the contemporary pressure point of same-sex marriage, from an interdisciplinary format (New Testament, Systematic Theology, Psychology, Medical, Personal Testimony). I am grateful to the Lord because it is only His providential hand that allowed us to get the speakers we did. They are key individuals who are on the front-lines of addressing this issue from an Evangelical perspective, seeking to educate and equip the church to know the Scriptures, to discern the times and to engage lovingly with those who struggle or out-right pursue the life and lifestyle.
One of the things I love about the EFCA is that our leaders are not afraid to tackle difficult issues with confidence that God's Word will speak to them and that God's people can grow in their theological acumen and ability to apply the truth to the hard topics of life.

What the church needs right now is clear thinking, and I believe that this conference will help fill that need.

You can read more about the conference here and see the list of speakers. In years past, the audio from the conference has been made available for free about a week or so after the event.