Have you ever noticed how TV “debates” about homosexuality between Christians and non-Christians often go terribly wrong for the Christian? In the course of such shows, the Christian almost inevitably ends up looking like a prejudiced knave and the supporters of for the sake of oppressed and marginalized humanity.
Have you ever wondered why?
Trevin Wax, in one of the most helpful pieces on the issue I have ever read, suggests this happens because of how the debate itself is framed. In these TV “debates,” the issue of homosexuality and Christianity is almost exclusively framed as a sin issue rather than a repentance issue.
Wax explains this point well in his analysis of a Larry King discussion between a confessing Christian, Lesbian woman, Jennifer Knapp, and a Christian pastor:
“We’re all sinners” comes up again and again in discussions like this. In her Larry King interview, Knapp realized the power of having the pastor admit that he too is a sinner. Once she received this admission, she had the upper hand in asking, “Then why are you judging me instead of me judging you?”
Whenever the discussion centers on “homosexuality is a sin… but we’re all sinners,” the traditionalist inevitably comes across looking like he is singling out homosexuality as a worse sin than all the rest. His protests to the contrary always ring hollow.
But this is the wrong way to frame this debate. We are not saying that some of us are worse sinners than others or that homosexuality is a worse sin than pride, stealing, etc. We are not categorized before God as ” better sinners” or “worse sinners.” Instead, we are either unrepentant or repentant. True Christianity hinges on repentance…
If we are to reframe this discussion along biblical lines, then we must emphasize the necessity of repentance for the Christian faith. The point is not that the pastor and the Knapp are both sinners. It’s that the pastor agrees with God about his sin, while Knapp remains in her sin without repentance. That is why he is questioning her Christianity, for Christian teaching makes clear the necessity of repentance as the entryway into the Christian family.
Ultimately, the debate is not about homosexuality versus other sins. It’s about whether or not repentance is integral to the Christian life.
I highly encourage you to read the whole post here.
The four points he makes in the post for how Christians can better dialogue about homosexuality are as follows:
- We need to shift emphasis from the truth that “everyone is a sinner” to the necessity of repentance.
- We must not allow ourselves to be defined by our sexual attractions.
- We must expose the arrogance and judgmentalism of those who would so flippantly dismiss the witness of Christians for two thousand years.
- We need soft hearts toward Christians struggling with same-sex attraction.
Think deeply about all four of these points. I think they’re all spot on. It is becoming more and more important for all Christians to diligently work to better articulate God’s Word on such a hot issue with such a hostile culture. The hope we have in Christ is too glorious to settle for sloppy words and half-baked thoughts about this and other issues our culture wants us to fold on. May we sharpen our tongues that Jesus may be honored and loved by all.