My Musings

Real Hope and Change

Real Hope and Change

The contrast between Christianity and culture is clearly seen in the current debate regarding homosexuality. I am proud of Jesus’ church, his lovely bride, for the genuine respect I have seen her show to people struggling or living with homosexuality. This respect is rare and we see it contrasted with culture on two levels:

  • While our current culture dehumanizes homosexuals by saying they are biologically programmed and “born that way” (like animals) and have no real moral choice regarding sexuality, Christians rise to affirm their God-given humanity and respect their full free moral agency.
  • While the world denies that homosexuals can claim hope for being transformed by the love and power of God, the church holds that hope high for all sinners who repent.

To the extent that you are programmed by forces beyond your control, you are more machine than man. If inborn instincts and biological drives primarily animate you, you are more animal than human. Christianity dignifies human beings as distinct from mere machines and animals (for an overview of the crucial differences between humans and animals, see: Human)

About twenty years ago, a major news magazine featured a dog on the cover with the headline (paraphrased from memory): “Studies Say Animals Make Complex Moral Decisions.” The article was typical newspeak and proved nothing. Another article in this issue claimed as fact that humans have no choice whatsoever over their sexual preferences and orientations. So, the volitional qualities of animals were embellished while the complex moral capabilities of human beings (including how we approach sex and love) were drastically downplayed.

When the culture gets it backwards, Christians take heat for keeping it straight. Jesus taught that the first will be last and the last first because he knew human culture gets things backwards. When good is called “evil” and evil “good,” then good people suffer under the “new normal.” This began long ago in a garden when a slick deceiver claimed that obedience to God was foolish and disobedience was smart. Eve took the bait.

No! God made humans “in His image,” giving us a moral decision-making capacity that transcends nature and nurture. Sex was His idea as was marriage between a man and woman to put that idea into godly practice (see Matthew 19:4-6). Humans can uniquely participate in forming our moral inclinations, sexual preferences, attractions, identities and actions over time. The notion that homosexuals have no choice in one of the most intimate and fundamental aspects of humanity—how we approach sex and love in terms of preferences and priorities—is dehumanizing.

If the church wants a meaningful ministry that reaches people who identify with homosexuality, she must believe in the power of God to transform any human being who puts his or her life into His hands. It is popular to low-ball God’s power to change us because some want to wear the name “Christian” without being changed. However, Paul claimed, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). No human being is helplessly stuck in an identity or state of mind or behavior with no hope for real change on God’s terms. Whatever leads us into sin need not define us forever.

Repentance places us in God’s hands and makes us soft for His re-molding over time. It cuts through all the dehumanizing excuses sinners make to shield them from the hope of a new creation. Repentance is the soil from which real hope and change grows.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

Discussion

  1. Michael LeRoy Harrison  February 19, 2013

    Thanks for the excellent article. I agree completely. Please keep speaking out.

    (reply)

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