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A Redeemed Christian Speaks to Revisionist Episcopal Clergy

20 September 2009

Today I am pleased to unveil a new category on TEOSO – “the Real Deal.” The category is about people who are a bit more conformed to the image of Christ, than most of us, myself included. For this post, I will be quoting heavily from a rather stellar comment  I received earlier this week from ‘episcopalianated.’  The very first on this site, in fact.  Episcopalianated is a Christian who has turned away from his own besetting sin, to Christ. On the record, this man is my hero, and has also been the kind of ‘Nick’ friend to me and to my household that John Cusack talks about in ‘The Real Thing’ (..Google it).

I wish to point out that my friend tends to get a lot of flack for being a “self-loather,” because of the particular sin (homo-genital sex) that he has renounced. No doubt, some will read this (not now, since hardly anyone knows that this blog exists, yet) and be offended. Please know that while it is the position of this blog that homo-gentital sex is indeed a sin according to Holy Scripture, that it is simply no more, and no less, than that. For those who renounce it and turn to Christ, there is hope, just like there is hope for everyone who turns from their besetting sin, and clings to Christ. Period. 

I have noticed that the debates tend to get bogged down with the inevitable apoplectic reactions that accompany comparison of homo-genital activity to other forms of sinful sexual activity (e.g., pedophilia). I agree with the comparison, but I’m not sure I agree that it is always useful to the debate to bring up pedophilia as a benchmark. For this post, I’m going to ask the reader to consider the sin of stealing as being like the sin of homo-genital activity. The intent is to water down the apoplectic reaction to the notion that homo-genital activity is indeed a sin (for Revisionists) and also to water down any pride for Traditionalists who are secretly proud to only have dabbled in heterosexual sex-sins. I believe that there is Biblical warrant for softening the debate in this manner. 

So without further adieu, here is Episcopalianated’s stellar post, once again:

I was struck by the quote below from Bishop Breidenthal and wanted to leave a (rather lengthy) comment. “First of all, we strongly affirmed our desire to be part of the Anglican Communion. But we also affirmed that same-sex unions can be holy, especially when they are entered into by faithful followers of Jesus Christ.” I’m afraid the good bishop has it quite wrong. A same-sex union involving homo-genital activity of any kind is precisely the type of relationship that “faithful followers of Jesus Christ” can never enter into, regardless of the circumstances.

As a person who has never experienced anything other than same-sex attraction, I am certainly not indifferent to the plight of those who seek to find fulfillment with a partner or a lover. I understand some of the pain and anguish they’re going through for it has been my own, along with a desire to be loved by someone, somewhere, somehow. I do know where that comes from, and why.

However, if we are Christians we cannot presume to identify as “holy” that which Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church invariably identify as gravely sinful. We may accept that or we may reject it, but there simply is no way around it.

We are often told that the experience of those in monogamous same-sex relationships (what few there really are) provides evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives and their relationships. But what about the radically different experience of those of us who have arrived at an opposite conclusion? Does God say different things to different groups of miserable sinners? How many “gospels” can the Church proclaim?

When I first became a Christian, it was powerfully impressed upon my mind and spirit that everything associated with my past lifestyle would have to go. Not because the Christians who evangelized me caused me to internalize their homophobia (there wasn’t any of that anyway), but because God Himself spoke to my heart and placed me under conviction.

Did I hear from the wrong Jesus, the wrong Holy Spirit? I heard from the Jesus who speaks to us in the 19th chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, and if that was all I ever learned about the proper governance of my sexual appetites, it would be more than enough for all time.

Are we hearing from a different Jesus now, one who thinks that the pursuit of sexual chastity is no longer an absolutely necessary part of the Christian life? If we are, then we are not hearing from the Jesus of the New Testament and our beliefs and practices are not being informed and influenced by the same Holy Spirit who has guided the Church for 2000 years. And I cannot and will not accept the message that this new and very strange “Jesus” has to offer.

The Episcopal Church is making a terrible mistake. It has unwittingly embraced a very subtle form of homophobia itself by essentially denying that persons who experience same-sex attraction can truly respond to the gospel and be transformed by God’s grace. That would be too difficult and too challenging so, like the “children of a lesser god,” they must be left where they’re at and be held accountable to a lower standard. How very sad!

I refuse to accept that. God Himself calls sinners to repentance and He makes no exceptions in our case. He loves us too much for that, and what He calls upon us to do He also equips us to carry out. That is the message which must be restored to our Church if we are to be about His business and truly remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Thank you once again, episcopalianated, for your  friendship, your comment, your permission to repost it, and your continuing witness to the World. 

– E.O.

Categories: The Real Deal
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