Thursday, 11 December 2014

Postmodernism and the Homosexual Christian (Part 3 of 3)

Reaching Homosexuals With the Gospel
     Today’s church overall (myself included!) has done a miserable job evangelizing the homosexual community and effectively ministering to Christians struggling with same-sex attraction. To help rectify these regrettable shortcomings, the following is proposed.
     First, we need to reverse our reputation (justified or not) for being judgmental, negative, and homophobic. This can only be accomplished by developing and maintaining regular and meaningful contact with the broader community. Rather than withdrawing from society, God’s people must be actively engaged as shining lights (Matthew 5:14-16), while providing a safe, loving environment for those held captive to sin.1
     Second, we need to do a better job contextualizing the biblical message to more successfully reach the postmodern world. The presuppositions of today’s younger generation are not the same as past generations (see Part 1), and our outreach approaches should be adapted accordingly. But even this is futile unless we exemplify the gospel with lives of confidence and hope.2 Efforts can be made to demonstrate that (a) objective reality exists (Romans 1:18-20); (b) knowledge of truth is attainable (John 8:31-32); (c) there are exegetical principles for properly understanding the Bible (Ephesians 3:1-4; 5:17); and (d) the truth of God’s word is absolute (1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:2; James 5:19).3
     Third, we must lovingly communicate the truth without compromise. A balanced biblical message affirms both the love of God and the holiness of God (1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 4:8); both the grace of Christ and the truth of Christ (John 1:14, 17). While postmodernism has left an intellectual and moral emptiness, void of significant ethical standards, there are still honest souls who seek genuine answers from the Bible with a willingness to be corrected. Offering anything less “amounts to the death of truth.”4
     Fourth, we must exhibit a strong faith in the transformative power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10). The concessive message of pro-homosexual advocates (see Part 2) essentially undermines God’s ability to change lives. But if active homosexuals in the first century were capable of repenting and being transformed by the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:9-11; 15:1-2), surely the same divine message is just as powerful today.
     Fifth, we need to promote alternatives to the homosexual lifestyle. Same-sex attraction is fundamentally no different than opposite-sex attraction when it comes to God’s expectation for purity (1 Corinthians 6:18). If marrying someone of the opposite sex is not considered a reasonable option for some, biblical singleness and the blessings of a single life devoted to God cannot be discounted (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Philippians 4:11-13).5
Conclusion:
     In the postmodern world, a person’s identity is defined by his/her sexuality with accompanying desires, attractions, and perceived orientation. But from a biblical standpoint, superficial matters of gender, race, ethnicity, social status, and even sexual proclivity are not the characteristic traits of one’s true identity (1 Corinthians 7:19; 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). God created male and female in his own image (Genesis 1:27) with clear relational and functional guidelines (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 11:3; etc.). 
     When studied carefully and honestly, without the distraction of preconceived bias or agenda, the Bible unmistakably condemns homosexual behavior in all contexts. While teaching against any sin must never be done arrogantly, unsympathetically or unkindly, teaching against active homosexuality with compassion and gentleness is biblically mandated (Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). At the end of the day, the gospel is still “good news” to all who are receptive to it (Mark 1:14-15; 8:35; 10:29-30; 16:15-16).
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1 Carson 147, 154; Gilmore, “Jesus” 135-37.
     2 Sanders 201-204; Gilmore, “Jesus” 131, 135. On the biblical concept of contextualization, see 1 Chronicles 12:32; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; cf. Acts 13:16 ff.; 17:22 ff.
     3 Gilmore, “Postmodernism” 142. See K. Moore's Relativism Vs. Objective/Absolute Truth.
     4 Gilmore, “Postmodernism” 142; see also Carson 154, 183-87; Erickson 126-27.
     5 See Moore, The Single Missionary.

Works Cited:
Carson, D. A. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.
Erickson, Millard J. The Postmodern World: Discerning the Times and the Spirit of Our Age. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002.
Gilmore, Ralph. “Can I Have Jesus Without the Church?,” in Perfecting God’s People: Christ and Culture in Corinthians. Ed. David L. Lipe. Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University, 2010: 131-38.
---. “Postmodernism: Change in World View/Change in Truth View,” in At His Coming. Ed. David L. Lipe. Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University, 1998: 137-44.
Moore, Kevin L. The Single Missionary. Winona, MS: Choate, 1998.
Sanders, Phil. Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 2000.



Related Articles: Jean Lloyd's Seven ThingsJonathan Parnell’s Why Homosexuality Isn't Like Other Sins 
  Image credit: http://augsburgchurches.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/prayer-612x3001.jpg

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