Get to know homosexuals. You

will change your mind.

This is frequently true. When people get to know homosexual people, very often their views change. Why? We should be impacted by the realities that people face. Personal experience has a lot to offer that more removed study cannot. It is true that homosexuals have often suffered because of the attitudes of society and church and many people having heard those stories of suffering, have realised that something is wrong. Relationships give us understanding and empathy. It is absolutely commendable when Christians get to know homosexuals. However, several questions remain.

Response

Should personal experience trump the Bible’s teaching? Hopefully the answer is obvious. Personal experiences can be hugely diverse and must be interpreted. All sorts of conclusions can be reached. Two people with exactly equivalent experiences can come to opposite conclusions. Personal experience is not a reliable basis for doctrine. It should always be tested against biblical truth. A Christian’s faith is based in Gods’ revelation, not on our own experiences. It is true, of course, that personal experience will affect our thinking. The point is though that we need to interpret our experiences in light of the word of God. We need to see how the two fit together. We need the help of the Bible to understand our experiences. We do not use our experiences to overturn, or reject, established and agreed biblical teaching. If the two don’t fit – if there is an inconsistency between our experience and the word of God – then we do not change or dismiss the word of God. It might be argued that the Bible also must be interpreted and that people can come to opposite conclusions. That is true to a degree but it is hugely overstated by those who want to argue that it is therefore useless and we can ignore it. Many will say “you can get whatever you want to out of the Bible” but you cannot legitimately get whatever you want to out of the Bible. Only by distorting it can you do that. The Bible itself is a revelation of the mind of God and God is not hopelessly confused or vague. There is one message. Legitimate hermeneutics will sincerely strive to discern that mind i.e. discern the truth the passage contains. As we have seen, the Bible consistently condemns homosexual acts. That needs to be our bottom line and it is from that position that we then understand our relationships with practising homosexuals. The Christian will be motivated to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Consider the following two approaches. A Christian will say: 1. I love you and I will always love you, no matter what. 2. It is my conviction that God says that homosexual acts are wrong. It is disobedience to God and we cannot defy God without there being consequences 3. Because I love you, I am concerned about your relationship with God and your eternal salvation. I cannot stand by, saying nothing, and see you experience God’s judgement. 4. I appeal to you to trust God and to repent. God loves you and will, with no hesitation, forgive you and give you eternal life. That is an entirely consistent position. The inconsistency of the alternative position is immediately apparent. The person who knows what the Bible says but disbelieves that because of the relationship says: 1. I love you and I will always love you, no matter what. 2. The Bible says that homosexual acts are wrong and that they will be punished. 3. But I think you are a nice person. I don’t believe God would really judge you and/or I could never bring myself to say to you that the Bible talks about judgement. So, let’s just ignore what God says. 4. Despite the fact that God says it, I love you so little that I won’t warn you of the reality of judgement. That is clearly inconsistent. You cannot say that you love someone and then help him/her go to hell. The consistent message is the one that retains the truth and cares about the person. Christians need to make even greater efforts to know those who are involved in homosexual acts. Genuine love requires relationship. It is about being in the world (while not of it) and of caring about the lost sheep. The result should be greater compassion but it should not be a change of heart regarding God’s truth.

Related pages

© 2017 Peter Cheyne
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
Main sections Main sections

Get to know

homosexuals. You will

change your mind.

This is frequently true. When people get to know homosexual people, very often their views change. Why? We should be impacted by the realities that people face. Personal experience has a lot to offer that more removed study cannot. It is true that homosexuals have often suffered because of the attitudes of society and church and many people having heard those stories of suffering, have realised that something is wrong. Relationships give us understanding and empathy. It is absolutely commendable when Christians get to know homosexuals. However, several questions remain.

Response

Should personal experience trump the Bible’s teaching? Hopefully the answer is obvious. Personal experiences can be hugely diverse and must be interpreted. All sorts of conclusions can be reached. Two people with exactly equivalent experiences can come to opposite conclusions. Personal experience is not a reliable basis for doctrine. It should always be tested against biblical truth. A Christian’s faith is based in Gods’ revelation, not on our own experiences. It is true, of course, that personal experience will affect our thinking. The point is though that we need to interpret our experiences in light of the word of God. We need to see how the two fit together. We need the help of the Bible to understand our experiences. We do not use our experiences to overturn, or reject, established and agreed biblical teaching. If the two don’t fit – if there is an inconsistency between our experience and the word of God – then we do not change or dismiss the word of God. It might be argued that the Bible also must be interpreted and that people can come to opposite conclusions. That is true to a degree but it is hugely overstated by those who want to argue that it is therefore useless and we can ignore it. Many will say “you can get whatever you want to out of the Bible” but you cannot legitimately get whatever you want to out of the Bible. Only by distorting it can you do that. The Bible itself is a revelation of the mind of God and God is not hopelessly confused or vague. There is one message. Legitimate hermeneutics will sincerely strive to discern that mind i.e. discern the truth the passage contains. As we have seen, the Bible consistently condemns homosexual acts. That needs to be our bottom line and it is from that position that we then understand our relationships with practising homosexuals. The Christian will be motivated to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Consider the following two approaches. A Christian will say: 1. I love you and I will always love you, no matter what. 2. It is my conviction that God says that homosexual acts are wrong. It is disobedience to God and we cannot defy God without there being consequences 3. Because I love you, I am concerned about your relationship with God and your eternal salvation. I cannot stand by, saying nothing, and see you experience God’s judgement. 4. I appeal to you to trust God and to repent. God loves you and will, with no hesitation, forgive you and give you eternal life. That is an entirely consistent position. The inconsistency of the alternative position is immediately apparent. The person who knows what the Bible says but disbelieves that because of the relationship says: 1. I love you and I will always love you, no matter what. 2. The Bible says that homosexual acts are wrong and that they will be punished. 3. But I think you are a nice person. I don’t believe God would really judge you and/or I could never bring myself to say to you that the Bible talks about judgement. So, let’s just ignore what God says. 4. Despite the fact that God says it, I love you so little that I won’t warn you of the reality of judgement. That is clearly inconsistent. You cannot say that you love someone and then help him/her go to hell. The consistent message is the one that retains the truth and cares about the person. Christians need to make even greater efforts to know those who are involved in homosexual acts. Genuine love requires relationship. It is about being in the world (while not of it) and of caring about the lost sheep. The result should be greater compassion but it should not be a change of heart regarding God’s truth.

Related pages

© Peter Cheyne 2017.
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
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