“While most people might feel that as Christians our job is to advance God’s causes by winning cultural debates, I’m practicing what it means to be above a debate.
What does this mean? It means I focus on more important matters—like displaying the love, grace, humility, and truth that allows people to forge an authentic relationship with God.”
This quote is from the article posted here http://jesushacks.com/better-response/
Here are a few comments on the inconvenient truth I think the article avoided. I think we can know exactly how Jesus would have responded if CNN tried to get His opinion on the “same-sex marriage” question today.
The author made some good points. But he left out a few things which argue against his main point. We need to love our enemies because Christianity, by its very nature, makes enemies. Christians were killed a lot in the first hundred years because they were saying and doing things that made a lot of people angry.
The author seems to suggest that if we make someone angry we have failed. Of course there are good and bad ways of making people angry and it’s quite possible that we err more to the latter. However I don’t think the author remembered that this passage was characteristic of Jesus also:
John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.
Second, one of the more contentious social debates in Jesus time was actually to do with marriage. The author (conveniently?) left that example out. How did Jesus respond when they tried to draw Him into that debate? He jumped in and essentially said most of you men and your second wives are adulterers. Not sure that that is staying ‘above the debate’.
It seems to me that when Christians call other Christians to be more Christlike they mean more like the Christ in their favorite verses. It’s not unlike the popular call to always preach ‘the love of God’ when evangelising yet in the entire book of Acts the word love is not mentioned once and it is certainly not a focus of the preaching of the first Christians.
We all have biases one way or the other. I need to let the bias of those different to me pull me back into the centre which I think is probably more like Christ than I am without them.
The author argues that we should be “above the debate … like displaying the love, grace, humility, and truth that allows people to forge an authentic relationship with God.” If this means anything it would mean not calling others ‘adulterers’ or ‘immoral’. That would not come across as very gracious. Yet, this is precisely what Jesus did do!
If homosexuality is wrong then I think we could swap the ‘divorce’ question posed to Jesus with the ‘same sex marriage’ question and know exactly how Jesus would have responded if CNN tried to get His opinion on this controversial issue. Jesus’ response is very different to what the author is arguing for.
However if same sex marriage is acceptable then what the author is arguing for is probably too muted. We should be proclaiming the beauty of same sex relationships, not graciously tolerating them. The author has chosen what I think is a compromised and untenable middle ground.
I think there is a third option. That is, we can stay above the debate as he described but also respond the way Jesus did. That is, we can treat people with grace, humility and love and still declare plainly that homosexuality is wrong and its eternal consequences are dire. Sadly this is seen as contradictory by many, especially on the left, but I think it’s possible.