Endorsing An Indefinite Moratorium

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality was not a disease simply by changing the 81-word definition of sexual deviance in its own reference manual. Since that time, and probably many years before that, Christians have wrestled with the subject of homosexuality and how to treat homosexuals.

A while back I read a great blog post titled An Evangelical Approach to Homosexuality - A Proposal. In this piece Derek proposes "an indefinite moratorium on pronouncements of the morality or immorality of homosexuality" saying that we need to "put that on hold for something much more important". Derek goes on to give us this advice:
Regardless of where we stand on the rightness or the wrongness of being gay, I think we should all realize that none of that matters much when people are dying. We need to change our priorities and focus on the critical issue of communicating love and acceptance to these people. Communicating it to a fault, communicating it so completely that we are "misunderstood" and get a "bad reputation," because that is exactly what Jesus did. I want to hear sermons only on how we should love and welcome gay people into our churches, and I want those sermons to be completely unbalanced.

We have spent so much time being "balanced" in the other direction, so much time worrying about "giving the wrong impression" that it is time to shift our lopsided boat the other way. Because as long as our priority is in looking moral rather than in showing compassion and grace to those on the outside, we simply do not have the priorities of Jesus. And when we do not reflect Christ, we are giving the wrong impression. So let's change that.
I so agree with what Derek has written.. ostracizing and excommunicating homosexuals is so un-Jesus. About a year ago I heard a pastor, after teaching about how we should love everyone, instruct his congregation saying something like this:
Now don't come away from this saying that it is okay to hate the sin as long as you love the sinner. I mean how would you like it if I came up to you after the service saying how much I love you but I hate your gluttony? Or if I said I really love you but wish that you weren't such a gossip?
Hating someone's sin can be such a cop-out and such a way to rationalize being unloving. If we love people then we will act in loving ways even if it makes us theologically uncomfortable. So I am asking you - will you join Derek's moratorium on pronouncements of the morality or immorality of homosexuality? I have decide to join. Hope you will too.


  1. Hi Bob,

    Do I understand homosexuality? No, I don't. Do I notice repeating patterns between childhood sexual abuse and the victims of the abuse "coming out of the closet" later in life? Yes, I do! It makes me sick, it makes me angry, it makes me sad, it makes me want to commit extreme violence against those who abuse children.

    Your topic really hits home today, Bob, because a young cyber-friend of mine "came out of the closet" to me a couple weeks ago. When I asked our Lord how I should react to this news, HE told me to continue loving my friend and to trust HIM with the rest. There is much I don't understand, Bob, but I do know what love is. My friend has already experienced more than enough pain and emotional anguish in his 18 years. I refuse to add to it by being yet another person who stands in unloving judgment of him.

  2. Hi Bob -

    I'm clearly in the minority here.

    While I don't hate gay people OR homosexuality, I don't want my church to soft-pedal it as acceptable behavior. Nor do I want my church to minimize the sins that I struggle with.

    I object strongly to homophobic rhetoric. On the other hand... IMHO, Scripture is clear that homosexuality is sinful.

    But there's far, FAR more scripture devoted to condemning the sin of pride... and I struggle with that one on a daily basis. And there's far, FAR more scripture devoted to condemning the sin of judgment, and homophobia certainly falls under that category.

    Put it all together, and it becomes clear to me that I have plenty to work on in my own life without poking my nose in the lives of others to chastise them on their sins. If I do so, I'm indulging in both pride AND judgment.

    Are gay people evil? No more than straight people. Should they be ostracized? No more than other sinners... such as myself. But our churches have a responsibility to guide us along the right paths.

    Our eternal welfare depends on it.

  3. Bob, this could become one of my favorite posts of yours. Your decision to join Derek's pledge is one that I celebrate.

    Is it a sin to be gay? I no longer believe that is so. But what I do know is that as one gets closer to God there is a heightened level of self-awareness. Of right and wrong. How our choices and behaviors affect our relatioship with God.

    Perhaps if all the money and effort that went into putting down gay people were spent on spreading the good news... bringing people closer to God... we all would see ourselves in a new light.

  4. Obviously we are to accept sinners into the fold, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And sin is sin, one isn't worse than the other. Where I might disagree is that in welcoming the sinner, do we make is acceptable. Part of accepting Christ is turning away from sin. If I am a thief, and I accept Christ, I then acknowledge my wrong doing. While I might not be able to quit stealing out right, I know that is what my goal is. I wouldn't expect to have my pastor say, "I like to steal, but I love Christ, so everything is good and you should accept me." If my pastor told me he was a thief but was turning away from that life, I would accept him.

  5. Oh, and might I add that having lived with a homosexual, because I did not judge, as a room mate, I found no comparison in lifestyle. I found it to be totally depraved and void of value. It was everything sodom was destroyed for. I think that this sin has certainly been sanitized for popular consumption, something that I would have continued to believe had I not seen it. I know about how it can go in the hetro community, but this is apples to lemons comparison. During this time, I asked question, and so many people, including my roommate, said it was a choice to live that way and that at some point, they would like to have a wife and kids. Maybe it was just the group that I was exposed to, but my naive eyes were open.

  6. @jrchaard - I hear what you are saying but I think that you have missed Derek's point about changing the way that we present Christ to the world and the focus to look moral instead of compassionate.

  7. I agree with the compassion instead of morally rigid and judgemental. Christ would be with the sinners, where the "sinners" hang out. That is the example we have. But, when he took "sinners" onto his staff, they didn't remain in sin. The balance must be maintained.

  8. Agree. totally. Really, I don't care what anyone feels or does sexually anyway, even marriage wise. It is not my business.


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