[This is Part 4 in a series. Please see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 as well.]
Greg Johnson writes…
So why gather for a conference? What is there to discuss? It’s a fair question. There are issues such believers have to address if they seek to flourish in the church. Does the Bible really prohibit all homosexual behaviors—when there are scholars who argue otherwise? (Answer: Yes, it does prohibit them. That’s one workshop.)
There’s that one key again.
Yes, sure; the Bible condemns homosexual intercourse, but it prohibits much more that goes much deeper. The Spirit of God never limits his work to the outside of the cup, leaving the inside of the cup hidden and filthy.
In addition to homosexual intercourse, Scripture condemns homosexual mannerisms. Read up on the Holy Spirit’s warning to the effeminate that they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It’s a stark warning, and we should grieve over the removal of that warning by Gospel Coalition’s English Standard Version in 1 Cor. 6:9.
The ESV’s scholars reduced the Apostle Paul’s warnings against both “effeminacy” (malakoi) and “men lying with a male” (arsenokoitai) to one warning. Not surprisingly, the sin of effeminacy is the warning they deleted. So just like Revoice, Gospel Coalition and their ESV hammers the single string of “no same-sex copulation.”
[Johnson continues] Then how do I deal with the shame I feel about my sexuality? How open with my church should I be about what I’m facing? Since I can’t have a gay partner, what will it take for me to live permanently de-coupled?
That word “de-coupled” is sad, isn’t it? The word elicits pathos.
Add the word “permanently” and we sense there may be another class of victims being born.
Why this new phrase? “Uncoupled” is not a word used in Scripture, nor do we come across it in any discussion of historical Christian sexual ethics. We used to speak of the gifting and calling to singleness, but “singleness” doesn’t evoke the pathos of “permanently de-coupled.” Yet we must recall these men lamenting their “permanent de-coupling” are the same men promoting “spiritual friendships.”
What are “spiritual friendships?” Excuse us for pointing out the obvious, but “spiritual friendships” are permanent coupling.1
Which leads to the question whether these Revoice men want the church to view men who live together having plighted their troth of “spiritual friendship” as single or married? Are we to think of them as celibate married or single-but-permanently-coupled? How are we to address the envelope of the wedding invitation to our daughter’s wedding? Would they be offended if we sent them separate wedding invitations? Would that offend their sensibilities? Since they are permanently coupled, is it gauche or hurtful to invite one and not the other?
Of course, that’s the point.
In previous centuries, Christians recognized two states—single and married. But now there are three—married, single, and spiritual friendship.
|↑1||For more on what these men mean by “spiritual friendship” please see part 2 of this series.|