As many of you know, there is a debate among gay Christians about what the Bible teaches regarding same-sex sexual relationships. "Side A" believes that God approves of same-sex sexual relationships and that living a chaste life means abstaining from sex prior to entering into same-sex marriage. "Side B" believes that God does not approve of same-sex sexual relationships and that living a chaste life means living celibate (or, in some cases, being married to an opposite-sex partner, where both partners know it is a "mixed orientation" marriage). In my writings I have sometimes referred to Side A as the "affirming" position and Side B as the "traditional" position. I just like the idea of using terms that aren't judgmental or inflammatory when engaging in this debate.
Yet even though I take the Side B position, more than half of my gay Christian friends are Side A and we get along just fine. Why is that? I first began to realize that there were Side A evangelical Christians out there when I began meeting them at gay churches and gay Christian Bible studies. I'd worship with them, discuss the Scriptures, share testmonies and prayer requests. A group of Side A Christians prayed for me and supported me during the entire controversy I went through with my old denomination. When you experience that kind of close fellowship with one another, you can't deny the presence of the Holy Spirit is among you.
I also came to understand that many Side A evangelicals have scripturally-based reasons for believing as they do. Some arguments are very sound while others I can't agree with. But I agree with them on all the important things: the central doctrines of the gospel and the saving work of Jesus Christ. I just don't agree with their understanding of what the Bible teaches about the specific issue of whether homosexual sexual relations is sinful.
So this is how I've come to think of our differences. Suppose I were asked to write out a list of sins for which I think Jesus died on the cross. This list would represent my interpretation of what Scripture teaches to be sin. I might put down a thousand things on that list, one of which would be homosexual sexual relations. Then I'd leave a large section at the bottom of the paper blank for all the sins I might have left out, perhaps out of ignorance or self-deception or whatever. A Side A Christian might do the exact same thing, except he or she excludes homosexual sexual relations from their list and instead includes the sin of thinking homosexual sexual relations is a sin. So we have both included something on our list that the other person has excluded, and excluded something that the other has included. And we both acknowledge that our own lists are probably very flawed.
Now when we both come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness of our sins, we know that he pays for everything regardless of whether we have included them on our "list" or not. We both come with humility of mind, trusting that his blood will cover not just the sins we've acknowledged but also the ones we've failed to acknowledge because of ignorance, prejudice, hardness of heart, or whatever. So in the end does it really matter if a Side A Christian and a Side B Christian don't agree with each other's "lists"?
The main thing is that we both come before Christ knowing that he can remove all our transgressions, whether we fully understand what those transgressions are or not. In Christ there are no more lists. Our lists have been wiped clean, both what was on it and what we failed to put on them. And since we both come away from the throne of grace so thoroughly cleansed and perfected in Christ's righteousness, can't we forgive each other those disagreements that the blood of Christ has ultimately made irrelevant?
So, I subscribe to Misty's blog, initially because she had some candid food for thought especially during the times of Prop 8. I am very interested in the homosexual community and what's been going around in terms of society in the past ten years, and it seems like there are few people (besides Al Mohler and John Piper) who really address homosexuality in a balanced, loving, and curious way. I like where she goes with this article except I think where Misty and I part in terms of thought is in her last paragraph. The main thing is that we both come before Christ knowing that he can remove all our transgressions, whether we fully understand what those transgressions are or not. In Christ there are no more lists. Our lists have been wiped clean, both what was on it and what we failed to put on them. And since we both come away from the throne of grace so thoroughly cleansed and perfected in Christ's righteousness, can't we forgive each other those disagreements that the blood of Christ has ultimately made irrelevant? Simply because all my sins have been wiped clean does not mean that I continue sinning if I can help it. For a long time, I didn't know pride was a sin. I really didn't. When I found out (the hard way), I had to change! I had to change because sin is not to be taken lightly. One sin is all it took for a fatty cup of wrath to have my name written on it. One sin was all it took for that said cup of wrath to be poured upon Jesus Christ. One sin was all it took for my Savior to be physically mauled and humiliated and spiritually mauled and humiliated a gajillion times worse. One sin was all it took for the perfect relationship of the trinity to be split. One sin was all it took for God to take PLEASURE in killing His Son. The Bible is pretty clear. But our eyes are mucusy, there's a film. And as we grow in Christ, what used to be dim becomes clear; the way we thought as a child matures when we grow into an adult. Heck, that statement itself demonstrates this fact. I cannot condemn a brother or sister for engaging in a sin out of ignorance. I cannot judge. But, I can encourage the brethren and challenge predispositions and thoughts with the inerrant truth of the Scripture. I can do that at least because others have loved me enough to do that for me. We sharpen each other. We are USED by God to sanctify each other.. to clear our minds. We cannot judge because we are not the Judge; but pointing out error is not bigotry or prejudice. Pointing out error is loving. Because of these "Side A Christians" truly love God, they WOULD want to obey His commands. Same goes for me, as a "Side B Christian." I want to obey God's commands. That's why rather than throwing in the towel and refusing to fight over the "technicalities" of sin that Christ died for anyway, we need to be careful and really seek out within us that which we can submit to the Lord. Our sins have been washed clean, and while we're on earth, we can not be perfect. Yet we can bring joy to the Lord when we demonstrate repentance with a desire to not return to the things of the world. I think that goes for everything, whether it's sexual or dietary preference.