The conversation started off with my making the following observation regarding homosexuality seeking to draw some comparisons,
What would people think if Wheaton College invited a pederast or pedophile or someone who likes to bed farm animals to come and declare that these kind of perversions are ‘justice issues.’ Now I think (definitely not sure) that people would freak out over such an invitation precisely because such perversions are clearly beyond the pale. After all, who is nut case enough to actually want to listen to that kind of disgust? Is an invitation, to come speak at a Christian college, extended to somebody who is pro-buggery, indicative of the fact that among Christians Homosexuality is no longer seen as beyond the pale – every bit as detestable as pederasty, pedophilia, or bestiality?
Matt the pro-buggery advocate chimed in,
If somebody wanted to argue that God smiles upon pedophilia I would be dying of curiosity to know what his argument is so I would be inclined to give him a hearing just to find out what he had to say, even while expecting to disagree with him.
To answer your question, my perception is that among most Christians, even conservative evangelicals, homosexuality no longer is beyond the pale. The conservative church isn’t quite ready to embrace it just yet, but that’s the direction in which things are moving.
And there are two possibilities. One possibility is that the traditional position is true, God hates it, and judgment is coming. The other possibility is that the Holy Spirit is moving and it is a justice issue, and fifty years from now the church will view its previous anti-gay prejudice with shame, much like racism. (The racists had a pretty impressive set of proof-texts too.) Since we can’t predict the future, maybe taking a wait and see approach isn’t a bad idea. The Holy Spirit has surprised us before.
Let’s get this straight… you’re saying that you would be willing to suspend disbelief that it is prima facie true that pedophilia is an abomination before God and you would allow that it is possible that there might be a legitimate Biblical argument that grown men having intercourse with children from the age of 3 and above is perfectly acceptable? You might expect to disagree with him but you are admitting that it is within the realm of possibility that you could agree with him.
Immediately we must hold as suspect everything you will now say in the future on any subject touching morality. If it is the case that your moral compass is so broken on the issue of pedophilia (and presumably pedestry and bestiality as well) why should we entertain what you have to say about buggery?
Second, I would say that Christians are likely apostate Christians if they accept buggery, though unfortunately I have to agree with you that the acceptance of buggery seems to be the direction the Church is moving. Still, you certainly wouldn’t argue that all because the German Church between the years 1933-1945 moved in the direction of seeing Jews as less than human that made the idea that ‘Jews are less than human’ to be true. Counting noses has seldom been shown to be a acceptable way at arriving at truth Matt.
Third, I categorically deny that there exists an equivalence between the issue of civil rights and homosexual rights that you are trying to introduce into the conversation. People are born black but there is not one shred of non-homosexual science anywhere that people are born buggers. Certainly the case can be made that differing amounts of skin melanin alone should not be the determining factor in how people are treated. People didn’t choose to be black, it is the way that God made them. However, people do choose to be buggers and if we start extending civil right to whatever perversion people choose what will happen is that the civil rights of people who don’t choose those perversions will be violated.
Fourthly, all because we can’t predict the future, that doesn’t mean taking a wait and see approach is a good idea. What should we, who oppose buggery, be waiting for? Should we be waiting until it becomes even more widely accepted before we accept it? Are we waiting for a homosexual Church to report a Pentecost experience thus proving the Holy Spirit is surprising us? Should we wait for the ‘Holy Spirit’ to whisper to us that God’s Word is wrong? What are we waiting for?
Good night, Matt, you could drive a Mack Truck through this reasoning. All because we can’t predict the future and all because the Holy Spirit has surprised us before we should therefore take a wait and see attitude towards prostitution, or towards mass murder, or towards pedophilia, etc.
Finally, the Holy Spirit has NEVER surprised us before by bringing into the Church sin. Even with the issue of race, which you are trying to glom on to in order to support this ‘line of reasoning,’ the Church, following the Scriptures and the Spirit, sought to fold the black man into the Christian faith.
Responding to another conversant Matt offered,
The attempted gang rape at Sodom is no more a fair reflection of all gays than Ted Bundy is a fair reflection of all heterosexuals.
But here’s what I see as the issue: If you had been asked to predict, in advance, that the Gospel would be extended to Gentiles, or that Messiah would have two comings, or the Protestant Reformation, I doubt you could have done it. In hindsight there were hints, but absolutely nobody saw any of those coming. How can you be so sure this isn’t yet another example of the same phenomenon?
Remember Gamaliel? When the Pharisees were wondering what to do about the church, he advised them that if it was of God they couldn’t stop it, and if it wasn’t of God it would die of its own accord. That’s not bad advice.
Actually Matt, the attempted gang rape as recorded in Genesis was intended to communicate that it was a fair reflection of all gays in Sodom. Also keep in mind that God’s anger was kindled against Sodom precisely because of the presence of sodomites — whether they were of the gang rape or non gang rape variety (Genesis 13:13). Still, perhaps you are right. Perhaps you can show me from Scripture that God’s disposition towards non-gang raping sodomites is different than His disposition towards gang raping sodomites.
Secondly, it was the Scriptures that were appealed to in order to teach the inclusion of the Gentiles and the two advent appearance of our Lord Christ. It was the Scriptures that were appealed to in order to bring about the Reformation. Are you suggesting that an appeal to Scripture will reveal to us that God is not only not opposed to Buggery but quite to the contrary, the Church having been wrong from Genesis onward, that God approves of Buggery? Is that what you are arguing? In short the way we can know that God being pro Buggery is not an example of another phenomenon like inclusion of the Gentiles is that Scripture doesn’t teach it.
Finally that God used Gamaliel’s advice to help the cause of His people doesn’t suggest that should be our response towards evil.
Here’s why I think it’s at least possible that Wallis may be right: the clear, unmistakable Biblical and historical trend is to include people who had previously been excluded. I know of no case in which God limits grace more narrowly than it had previously been understood; he always expands it and finds a way to bring people in. Wallis’s theology certainly fits that pattern.
What you’re missing here is repentance from Sin Matt. God always expands grace and determines to bring repentant people in. You are advocating a Gospel that has a God without wrath bringing people without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross (HT — Richard Niebuhr). Both you and Wallis are fitting into that pattern Matt.
Here’s what I think it will ultimately come down to: Is homosexuality something a person IS (like being a Gentile) that they have no control over, or is it something a person DOES (like fornicating). What exactly are we talking about here? Because if it turns out that we are talking about a fundamental part of a person’s identity – like being a Gentile – then I think it’s all over for the traditionalist position.
Well I will have to agree here Matt. If it comes down to finding a Buggery gene the Homosexuals will have won, temporarily. I say temporarily because if homosexuality is genetic and if homosexuals don’t breed then I’m not sure how they reproduce both themselves and their position. This is one reason I don’t believe that homosexuality is genetic because if it were genetic it would have largely died out and whatever presence it might have would be of such a minuscule report we wouldn’t be having this conversation. No, Buggery is either chosen or learned Matt. Ontologically speaking God did not constitute Man perverted though with the fall Man may certainly have predispositions to certain varying besetting sins.