Why Would We? — Not Accepting Sin As Normality

September 22, 2009

by Fr. Vasile Tudora

Anyone that drives on some of the major highways in the Dallas/Fort Worth area can see a number of billboards carrying the logo: “Would Jesus discriminate?/Why would we”. The astonishing thing however, that almost made me loose control of the vehicle, is the big picture of Christ along with the words “Jesus affirmed a gay couple”. I quickly recalled my New Testament studies and could not remember anything like this. Then I noticed, in small print under the slogan: Mathew 8:5-13.

If you would make the effort and look it up in the Bible you will see that this is what we call the Gospel of the “Healing of the servant of the centurion” we read in the 4th Sunday after Pentecost. But what this has to do with “affirming a gay couple?” If you delve more into this hidden agenda trap and you actually go on their website to look it up you find out that their claim is in short, that the centurion’s servant was in fact his “love slave/boy” and Jesus Christ, by healing the servant supposedly “affirmed” their liaison. This is so preposterous that I am not going to refute this here but here is a link with a comprehensive Christian answer:

http://tinyurl.com/lwyg4l

Still in dismay, I wondered who can be behind this whole deviate propaganda and found out, without surprise, that the billboard campaign is the work of the local chapters of the  Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the same organization that performed the first same sex marriage in 1969.  The MCC is a libertarian Church and promotes what is called “queer theology”, if such term even makes sense.

Queer theology is supposed to be a new (1990’s) branch of protestant theology that concerns with the relationship between gay and lesbian individuals and God.  Using a deconstructive argumentation its main  focus point is to refute any traditional idea that might point to homosexuality as sin.

According to David B. Allison deconstruction “signifies a project of critical thought whose task is to locate and ‘take apart’ those concepts which serve as the axioms or rules for a period of thought.”

That is exactly what queer theology is doing, looking at essential texts for Christianity, taking them apart, removing or changing the context and creating new interpretations, or better a new reality that fits whatever agenda they are holding dear.

Tolerance is one thing, we all agree on that but in fact the motor  behind all this efforts is the legitimization (not just tolerance) of homosexuality. As Christians we are called not to judge the sinner but to condemn the sin. One can understand that someone may have fallen into sin and show compassion and acceptance, but one cannot accept sin and treat it as normality.

The Bible wisely advises:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;(Luke 6:37)

But also explains that:

God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.(Rom 8:3)

If we follow Christ we should also condemn sin and fight against it, with faith, patience, love, perseverance but working to resist  our passions and temptations, not let them kill our soul.

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. (Rom 6:12)

The main problem however is the Western culture has a very juridical understanding of sin, with deep roots in the Catholic/Protestant theology: I sin when I break the law. In the Eastern orthodox theology sin is considered more than a law-defying act, it is first of all described as missing  the target and therefore becomes an existential failure more than anything else. The difference is that in a juridical understanding all you can do is punish the trespasser while, if you understand sin as a failure and a consequence of our fallen nature, one should always attempt to cure sin and not judge or outcast the sinner.

As long as the society confines sin in a legalistic mindset it will always be in conflict with the libertarian agenda because it will always try to weed out the sinner together with the sin. If we could  think of sin as a  disease however we may be able to see that the only place for the cure could be found in the Christ’s Church that seeks to help the sinner: exterminate the disease but save the patient.

Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Jehovah. Is it not that he should turn from his ways and live? (Eze 18:23)

The problem arises when the patient does not understand his disease, doesn’t even wants to accept he is sick and unashamedly calls out tolerance and love so everybody else will proclaim his weakness as normality

For fools speak folly, and their minds plot iniquity: to practise ungodliness, to utter error concerning the LORD, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. (Isa 32:6)

This is not a matter of discrimination but a gross misunderstanding of the Christian life.  God indeed loves the greatest sinner more than the greatest of the saints could love God; this however does not mean He endorses sin; the love of God is not a license to do whatever you want, but a responsibility to be permanently alert and reject out of our lives anything that may lead us astray from the right path.

Jesus did not discriminate, we should do the same, but with responsibility and resting on solid theological background; keeping the faith, not changing it; loving the sinner yet condemning sin.

The Bible wisely advises:
BQ Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;(Luk 6:37)
But also explains that:
BQ God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.(Rom 8:3)
If we follow Christ we should also condemn sin and fight against it, with faith, patience, love, perseverance but working to resist our passions and temptations, not let them kill our soul.
BQ Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. (Rom 6:12)
The main problem however is the Western culture has a very juridical understanding of sin, with deep roots in the Catholic/Prothestant theology: I sin when I break the law. In the Eastern orthodox theology sin is considered more than a law-defying act, it is first of all described as missing the target and therefore becomes an existential failure more than anything else. The difference is that in a juridical understanding all you can do is punish the trespasser while, if you understand sin as a failure and a consequence of our fallen nature, one should always attempt to cure sin and not judge or outcast the sinner.
As long as the society confines sin in a legalistic mindset it will always be in conflict with the libertarian agenda because it will always try to weed out the sinner together with the sin. If we could think of sin as a disease however we may be able to see that the only place for the cure could be found in the Christ’s Church that seeks to help the sinnner: exterminate the disease but save the patient.
BQ Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Jehovah. Is it not that he should turn from his ways and live? (Eze 18:23)
The problem arises when the patient does not understand his disease, doesn’t even wants to accept he is sick and unshamingly calls out tolerance and love so everybody else will proclaim his weakness as normality
BQ For fools speak folly, and their minds plot iniquity: to practise ungodliness, to utter error concerning the LORD, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. (Isa 32:6)
This is not a matter of discrimination but a gross misunderstanding of the Christian life. God indeed loves the greatest sinner more than the greatest of the saints could love God; this however does not mean He endorses sin; the love of God is not a license to do whatever you want, but a responsibility to be permanently alert and reject out of our lives anything that may lead us astray from the right path.
Jesus did not discriminate, we should do the same, but with responsability and resting on solid theological background; keeping the faith, not changing it; loving the sinner yet condemning sin.

___

Above article by Fr. Vasile Tudora originally posted at http://tinyurl.com/kr9v7y. Fr. Vasile serves as presiding priest at St. John the Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. Read more of Fr. Vasile’s writing at http://dialogues.stjohndfw.info.

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