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Re: Dialogue on sin and its treatment
> Br. Louie,
> I'm XXX XXX, pastor of two churches in YYYY. We exchanged e-mails
> some weeks back. Reading your inputs to the [HoB/D] forum I'm still
> struggling on the issue of homosexuality and how we all can bring the church
> closer as a nurturing arm of Christ instead of using this issue as something
> that causes fractures in our relationships.
> A starting point that might be helpful is to address sin and its
> acceptability in the church. No matter on which side one comes down upon with
> this issue it seems that talking through this as a beginning would be helpful
> as a start for some meaningful dialogue.
> My point of view is that we are all sinful creatures and are constantly in
> need of Christ's redemptive power of grace for our salvation. First question.
> If one takes my point of view how do we start defining "sin" or ?sinfulness"?
> The reason I start here is, of course the passage in Romans 1:26-27
> addressing homosexual conduct.
> (And if you do not read Romans 1 as I do how do we get around this passage?)
> This is just a starting point. Reading your inputs you have a thoughtful
> approach, even if different than mine. Please let me know if you would like
> to help. Thanks
> Your brother in Christ,
The best way to deal with your neighbor's sin is to forgive it.
Otherwise, we are in grave danger when we pray "forgive us our sins as we
forgive those who trespass against us." I do not believe that my loving
commitment to my husband for the last 27 and half years is sinful, except
when I do not love him enough, namely as much as I love myself. If I am
wrong, I urge you to forgive me, not to condemn me.
I disagree with your suggestion that the best way to start our
conversation is with sin. The Pharisees started with sin whenever they
encountered my spiritual ancestor the Samaritan at the well. Jesus
started with her thirst. I think that's a much better place to begin,
even if makes you run the risk of being called a friend of sinners (not
the 'friend of reformed sinners,' but the 'friend of sinners').
I don't know much about the righteous, but a lot about sinners, being one
myself. I doubt that sinners would have invited Jesus back to their homes
again and again if he kept telling them about their sin. When the
prostitute anointed Jesus' feet with her hair, his religious hosts on that
occasion started with her sin. He noted that she had cared for his
physical comfort with hospitality that they had not provided.
I'm willing to start with sin if you're willing to use these and dozens of
other gospel passages that tell us what emphasis to give to it.
The danger in talking about gay sin isolated in Romans 1 is that you leave
out the solidarity that appears at the beginning of Romans 2. Those
chapter divisions are much later additions, and no scholar that I know of
says that they are sacrosanct.
Too many want to talk about lesbigay Christians as all one of a kind, and
treat loving, life-long commitments as one of a kind with loveless
promiscuous relationships. That's a bit like defining heterosexuality in
terms of the Shriners parades and the red-light districts.
Not one of the six bible bullets called out to condemn homosexuality
describes the homosexuality of most committed lesbigay Christians. I too
am opposed to temple prostitution (the 'arsenokotoi' of Romans 1); I too
am opposed to the gang rape of Genesis; I am just as opposed to Lot's
proposal to sacrifice his daughters to the gang, even though scripture
says nothing to suggest that Lot was wrong to do so.
I don't have the luxury of extended private conversation on this matter at
this time, and if I did have the time, I would be prodigal to spend it
trying to prove myself right and my opponents wrong. That is not the way
to change hearts, yours or mine.
I'd much rather spend my energies in servant ministry than in trying to
proof text scripture to say how right I am. If you are in a stranger in a
ditch, I will try come to tend your wounds to the extent that I am able.
At Judgment Day, I do not intend to present myself to God telling Him to
let me in because if how good I am, but rather to throw myself on his
mercy as a sinner.
Now if you want me to tell you how much I have experienced God's
redemption, that I can go on about. Grace is amazing still!
Joy to you in all of your ministries.