Live and let die

Last week World Vision’s president, Richard Stearns, announced a policy change that would permit the Christian organization to hire “someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ.” And two days later World Vision reversed the decision when it became apparent that the organization stood to lose millions of dollars from their sponsors.

For many this was just the latest sign that conservative evangelicals would rather wage war than offer compassion.

An exasperated Jen Hatmaker chastised those who just can’t come to grips with the fact that the church will never have consensus on homosexuality. Rachel Held Evans asked whether the “‘victory’ against gay marriage” was worth the ensuing losses and submitted her resignation from evangelicalism.

Not surprising but still noteworthy was a contention shared by Stearns, Hatmaker, & Evans — namely that the church’s debate over homosexuality should be treated like the church’s debates over divorce/remarriage, modes of baptism, etc.

Agree to disagree. Live and let live.

But the debate over homosexuality is not like these other debates.

First, Scripture’s teaching on homosexuality enjoys a clarity & consistency the other issues lack. Homosexuality (along with all other sexual immorality) is explicitly condemned & prohibited every time it’s addressed. No exceptions. No “problem passages.” No arguments from silence.

Second, the consequences for getting it wrong on homosexuality are fatal. Practice what you will when it comes to baptism—infants or believers, sprinkle or dunk—you have no word spoken against you. But those who practice sexually immorality (regardless of orientation) are said to be barred from entering God’s kingdom (1Cor 6:9-10).

So which is the greater danger: promising peace when there is no peace or promising grace for all who would repent?

For my part I can’t see the love in subscribing to a live-and-let-live theology that offers cultural comfort for eternal death (Rom 1:32).

My Costanza compromise

I was thinking about our latest intramural debate. Namely, Is it discriminatory for a Christian baker to refuse a wedding cake to a homosexual couple? and/or Would Jesus bake a cake for a homosexual wedding? Initially, I had hoped to craft a hypothetical that would illustrate the Christian dilemma. It went something like this:

A new chapter of Planned Parenthood has reached a milestone–their 100th abortion. Having much to celebrate they come to a Christian-owned bakery to order a cake for the upcoming office party. The cake is to read “The babies say thank you.” Would Kirsten Powers, Jonathan Merritt (not me, the less famous one), Rachel Held Evans et al counsel the Christian to bake the cake? Is that what Jesus would do?

Yes, yes. I know–bad analogy, apples & oranges. Scripture explicitly forbids murder and abortion clearly falls under the murder prohibition (even though the procedure isn’t cited in Scripture nor does Jesus ever speak against it). Homosexual union, however, isn’t so cut and dry because Scripture uh…is largely ambiguous…ancient cultures were so different from ours…the biblical authors had nuanced definitions…I mean, the are obvious. That we would even argue about acts of love and grace illustrates how poorly we read & apply Scripture to modern society.

Acknowledging the gaping holes in the abortion cake analogy I began to look for a compromise. And then it hit me. I’m told that refusing a wedding cake (a service) is tantamount to discrimination (no service). But what if the baker declined one service while simultaneously offering another?  Henceforth I propose that if a homosexual couple orders a wedding cake for their nuptials from a Christian baker, the conscientious Christian may refuse the order but will offer to bake them another item–of their choosing, equal or lesser value–at 1/2 price. Accordingly, the Christian will maintain his conviction while also doing business with the couple thereby avoiding the appearance of discrimination.

Surely our egalitarian bothers & sisters would find this satisfactory.