One of the ‘fall-outs’ of the trial of Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, on charges of sodomy, was the sudden and widespread exposure given to the whole issue of homosexuality. Suddenly children were asking their parents, “what is anal sex?”
This must have been a difficult time in many households. I would venture to guess that this was a particularly difficult time in evangelical households given the evangelical penchant for avoiding complex issues.
But the homosexual issue will not go away. Daily we read of more countries giving legal recognition to same sex marriages. The latest issue of the Asian edition of TIME magazine, mentions the growing visibility of the gay community in Malaysia.
How are Christians to respond?
Clearly, the issue of homosexuality itself is too large and too complex to fit into an e-commentary. But we can look at the bases of a Christian response.
Ephesians 4:15 reads:
“If we live by the truth and in love, we will grow completely into Christ.” (NJB)
It would seem that a mature Christian response to homosexuality must take into consideration the twin concerns for truth and love.
A concern for truth means we take seriously the bible properly interpreted, as our final authority for faith and life. It also needs to be said that we also believe that the God of the bible is the true God, the God of all humankind.
It is so easy in this post-modern era to allow ourselves to be backed into a corner where we are told that biblical truth is true only for Christians but not true for those of other communities. The bible begins, not with Israel, but with Adam and Eve, the parents of all humankind.
When we advocate Christian principles in the public arena, it is not an attempt to ‘force’ Christian principles on others. Rather we are speaking up for what is true and finally what is beneficial for all.
Any fair reading of the Bible will yield the conviction that homosexual activity is against God’s will. D. F. Wright, in his summary of Pauline teaching on homosexuality says:
“It is nevertheless a safe conclusion that, whatever might be said about individual orientations or dispositions, Paul could only have regarded all homosexual erotic and genital behaviour as contrary to the creator’s plan for human life, to be abandoned on conversion.”
But then there is also the matter of love. I have come to learn that the church is highly selective about what sins it wants to get excited about. And homosexuality is right up there where ‘detestable’ sins are concerned.