THAT'S RIGHT. I SAID THE H-WORD.
Issues surrounding homosexuality are hot-button topics in both the Church and society today. My beloved Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is currently dealing with the aftermath of a Churchwide Assembly that approved ordination for qualified individuals living in committed same-sex relationships. Some ELCA members find this intolerable and are leaving our church body. They say that the ELCA is going against both Scripture and tradition, that is, the Special Revelation.
It is true that the Christian Church has no tradition for same-sex marriage. It is also true that the Bible, in the five instances where it addresses homosexual behavior, is negative.
But, the best empirical evidence—reason and experience, that is, the General Revelation—has given us a new understanding of homosexuality. We have learned that same sex attraction is neither an illness nor a willful perversion. It is, rather, an innate orientation. Very simply, some people are born gay. In theological terms, God made them that way.
The examples of Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin teach us that the Church gives privilege to the Special Revelation over the General Revelation at its own peril. Mistaking the content of the Special Revelation for the content of the General Revelation not only embarrasses the Church but also puts it at risk of denying the Truth.
I would suggest that, in light of our current best knowledge concerning homosexuality, the questions facing the Church are whether and how persons of homosexual orientation can ethically express their sexuality.
In the next several posts, I intend to examine some of the issues concerning homosexuality, beginning with an understanding of what the Bible says.