In response to my Inside/Out #70, “the Gospel for 21st Century Sodom,” sent out the week of August 22-28, 2010, I received a number of interesting and valid questions.
1. Where does a parent go for ideas and advice about how to inform and educate a child who is in this lifestyle without alienating the child from relationship and losing the opportunity for ongoing positive influence over the long-term?
2. How should we as Christians correlate (i) demonstrating Christ’s love and grace for sinners with (ii) judgment about the sin that you have articulated in your article? (I don’t understand how you define grace in the context of your statements on this topic.)
Thank you for your response and your questions.
1. Speaking truth will generally alienate those who do not or cannot hear it for a host of reasons. Paul calls pagan sinners “aliens.” So the full Gospel of grace (see my second response) will alienate before it reconciles. But in our approach can certainly avoid moralism. Our approach should b e cosmological, that is, based on worldview arguments. There are two worldviews on offer: One-ism or Two-ism. See my book, One or Two. A One-ist or homocosmological world will favor homosexuality; a Two-ist heterocosmological world holds heterosexuality as natural and normative. Speaking truth over the long term is the only positive hope. If you are unclear you are guilty of giving a confusing message that will only push a person into long-term, in-grained habits from which they may never return.
2. Grace is only meaningful in the context of the knowledge of sin. That is the only meaning of grace—unmerited pardon for thoroughly deserved punishment. The homosexual tendency is the result of sin. Homosexual acts are the embracing and committing of sin.
3. My goal was not to pick out homosexuals as the worst of sinners, since the hetero marriage scene is deplorable, but was simply to say that a culture that institutionalizes and sacralizes in law as normative an “unnatural” activity, as the apostle Paul describes it, begins to render the Gospel of Two-ism, and thus of grace, almost impossible to hear. One-ism denies sin and, in so doing, eliminates real grace. Then all you can have is sentimentality which finally does no one any good..
My point is that all One-ist activity, not just homosexuality, ultimately denies the objective status of the other, and tends to undermine the notion of faithfulness to the other. The objective status of the other begins with a serious belief in the otherness of God, the transcendent Creator who has made a Two-ist world. That is also the God who stands behind the Gospel and condescends to give sinners grace.
Another respondant wrote:
I recently posted Dr. Jones’ article “The Gospel For 21st Century Sodom” on my Twitter feed, at which time I received some major blowback from several homosexual friends concerning the article’s statement that “90% of gay relationships lasting more than five years practice promiscuous sex”. My gay friends believe this to be a fallacious statistic. I’m not surprised to receive the criticism, but I was wondering where the number came from so that I might have some answer to give to my friends in an article that I am writing.
I am not surprised that your gay friends have reacted this way. I was trying to get to the heart of the matter. My goal was not to pick them out as the worst of sinners, since the hetero marriage scene is deplorable, but was simply to say that a culture that institutionalizes and sacralizes in law as normative an “unnatural” activity, as the apostle Paul describes it, begins to render the Gospel of Two-ism almost impossible to hear.
In an essay of 800 words, it is impossible to document every fact one uses. However, I was able to go back and find my sources with the documentation which I give below:
A study of homosexual men shows that more than 75% of homosexual men admitted to having sex with more than 100 different males in their lifetime: approximately 15% claimed to have had 100-249 sex partners, 17% claimed 250-499, 15% claimed 500-999 and 28% claimed more than 1,000 lifetime sexual partners. (Bell AP, Weinberg MS. Homosexualities. New York 1978). See also http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html
These levels of promiscuity stand behind the statement of Gay author Gabriel Rotello, whom I cited: “Gay liberation was founded . . . on a ‘sexual brotherhood of promiscuity,’ and any abandonment of that promiscuity would amount to a ‘communal betrayal of gargantuan proportions.” Cited in http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html
I based my statement on the longevity of committed gay relationships from the following study:
“Far higher rates of promiscuity are observed even within ‘committed’ gay relationships than in heterosexual marriage: In Holland, male homosexual relationships last, on average, 1.5 years, and gay men have an average of eight partners a year outside of their supposedly “committed” relationships. (Xiridou M, et al. “The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam.” AIDS. 2003; 17: 1029-38.) Gay men have sex with someone other than their primary partner in 66% of relationships within the first year, rising to 90% of relationships after five years.” (Harry J. Gay Couples. New York. 1984).
My argument does not wish to stand on mere statistics, however. These studies may be correct or only true of Holland. My point is that all One-ist activity, be it sexual or otherwise, ultimately denies the objective status of “the other,” and tends to undermine the notion of faithfulness to the other. The objective status of “the other” which begins with a serious belief in the otherness of God, the transcendent Creator who has made a Two-ist world, finds its glorious expression in the redeeming act of the God who stands behind the Gospel.