[I’m rerunning this essay from December 23, 2013, since its topic remains so relevant.]
By Tom Quiner
Let us normalize homosexuality.
This is the mantra of many liberal Christians. In the Anglican church, we’ve seen the ordination of an openly gay bishop.
We are seeing this normalization movement filter its way through mainline Protestant churches in the U.S. A journalist for the London Times, Matthew Parish, vigorously disagrees. What makes his viewpoint so interesting is that Mr. Parris is gay … and an atheist.
He knows his bible and the interconnectedness of the Old and New Testaments. He warns against accommodating one’s Christian beliefs to the liberal cause of the day:
“It is time that convinced Christians stopped trying to reconcile their spiritual beliefs with the modern age and understood that if one thing comes clearly through every account we have of Jesus’s teaching, it is that His followers are not urged to accommodate themselves to their age, but to the mind of God.”
One can’t help but marvel at the contortions liberal Christians go through to square scripture with their notion that compassion toward a different lifestyle means the same as acceptance. In other words, these people believe Christianity should go with the cultural grain, not the other way around. Mr. Parris disagrees:
“Nothing they read in the Old and New Testaments gives a scintilla of support to the view that the God of Israel was an inclusive God, or inclined to go with the grain of human nature; much they read suggests a righteous going against the grain.”
Some push back and point out Jesus’ tenderness and compassion toward those that have sunk low, such as the woman caught in adultery and the prodigal son. Mr. Parris pushes right back:
“What these stories teach is that repentance is acceptable to God however late it comes, and that the virtuous should not behave in a vindictive manner towards sinners. That is a very different thing from a shoulder-shrugging chuckle of ‘different strokes for different folks’.”
Here’s what really struck me about Mr. Parris. He said, understandably, that his natural instincts call for him to support the normalization of homosexuality movement, and to rail against the evangelical Christians who stand in its say.
But he can’t. He explains why:
“Inclusive”, “moderate” or “sensible” Christianity is inching its way up a philosophical cul-de-sac. The Church stands for revealed truth and divine inspiration or it stands for nothing. Belief grounded in everyday experience alone is not belief. The attempt, sustained since the Reformation, to establish the truth of Christianity on the rock of human observation of our own natures and of the world around us runs right against what the Bible teaches from the moment Moses beheld a burning bush in the Egyptian desert to the point when Jesus rises from the dead in His sepulchre. Stripped of the supernatural, the Church is on a losing wicket.”
As a practicing Catholic, I find Mr. Parris’s remarks particularly relevant. The Church elected a new Pope this year. Credible reports suggest a large homosexual subculture exists within the Vatican. The secular press is salivating over a potential clash on the teachings of the Church in regard to human sexuality now that a more “liberal” pope, Pope Francis, runs the show.
It won’t happen.
The Catholic catechism is very politically-incorrect when it characterizes same-sex attractions as “disordered.” This blog has heard from critics of the Church who employ forceful rhetoric which expresses their displeasure with the Church’s characterization of homosexuality.
The Church won’t change its view on the revealed Truth of God’s plan for human sexuality for the reasons Mr. Parris states. Even more, the Church has been rocked by an abuse scandal where 80% of the abuse was identified as having been homosexual in nature, targeting adolescent boys.
Although Mr. Parris directs his remarks at Anglican modernists, his comments on Jesus resonate with Catholics, too:
“Jesus was never reluctant to challenge received wisdoms that He wanted to change. He gives no impression that He came into the world to revolutionize sexual mores. Even our eye, if it offends us, must be plucked out.”
Mr. Parris rejects the revelation proclaimed by Christianity. But if you do accept this revelation, he poses these questions … and answers them:
“Can [the Anglican modernists] point to biblical authority for what, on any estimate, amounts to a disturbing challenge to the values assumed in both Testaments? No.
Can they point to any divinely inspired religious leader since to whom has been revealed God’s benevolent intentions towards homosexuals? I know of no such saint or holy man. Most have taught the opposite.
Can they honestly say that they would have drawn from Christ’s teachings the same lessons of sexual tolerance in 1000, or 1590, or indeed 1950? Surely not, for almost no such voices were heard then.”
He suggests the reason the modernists are “going with the grain” of the culture is to keep up with the times out of fear of becoming isolated. In other words, the modernists are choosing to follow the culture instead of leading it.
Could you imagine what the early Christians would say? They were surrounded by pagans. The promotion of their faith in the public square could (and did) get them killed. And yet, that is exactly what they did. They went into the belly of the beast and converted souls to Christ. If you believe that a human soul is eternal, and I do, then the stakes for a Christian is high.
We will lose souls if we dilute Christ’s message to accommodate the age, which is what the modernists demand: accommodation. Mr. Parris says it well:
“Whispering beneath the modernizers’ soft aspirational language of love and tolerance, I hear an insistent “when in Rome, we must do as the Romans do. Times have changed.”
I think St. Peter or St. Paul would say it differently than the modernizers. They’d say, “when in Rome, evangelize the Truth, regardless of the cost.”
[Read Mr. Parris’ complete essay, “No, God would not have approved of gay bishops”.]