Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Speaking the Truth in Love about Unconditional Love

  • The first section below is a post on a blog concerning Rob Bell's belief concerning homosexuality over at the Gospel Coalition website, and below it is my comment.  If we as Christians are going to engage in these discussions/talks/conversations/debates, then we must speak the truth and speak it in love.  The truth is confronting enough, and should be applied properly.  Shouting contests, name calling and inflammatory statements are not only not Christlike, they are futile.  Far too many Christians follow the tactics of the unsaved.  Only truth will win the day, and we must speak it in love for it to be at its most powerful and apologetic.

    @Joyce
    The difficulty with your argument is that some people understand those passages differently. They would assert that the (few) passages in the Bible that mention homosexuality do so in the context of forced submissiveness, as opposed to a mutually affirming, loving relationship. Many Christians believe that the overarching narrative of the Bible, especially Jesus, is primarily to love God and love your neighbor. Within that narrative the love for your neighbor is more important than your neighbor’s sexuality.
    So here’s my question for you: Why does this matter so much? Rob Bell’s affirmation of homosexual relationships seems to bring out a strong negative emotive response in so many people — why? What if you personalize the issue? Gay people are not some faceless group; they are family and friends and neighbors and colleagues. The dichotomy Christians face is that Jesus calls us to love our neighbors with a love that does not condemn (cf. the woman caught in adultery), and yet our neighbor may be carrying on in activities that we believe to be sinful.
    If we have a friendship with someone who is gay, and if that friendship is the kind of relationship where we hold each other accountable, only then have we the freedom to talk about things like whether one’s homosexual relations are God-pleasing or not. But for anyone else, we are called to love unconditionally just as God does.



    1. Mike,
      You don’t get a get out of jail free card because you “understand” the passages differently. They are plain, within the context.

      The issue is not loving unconditionally. God does not love unconditionally, if He did then there would have been no need for Christ to die; and why would God put His Son, and why would the Son go through, that grisly horrendous death and suffer the wrath of God, if His love was unconditional? Unconditional love is not loving us just as we are, but loving us in spite of who we are and in spite of our enmity with God (Romans 5:6-8) If things were okay between God and man, man would not be the enemy of God (Romans 5:8, 1:30) and there would be no need of reconciliation (Romans 5:10-11, II Corinthians 5:18-19) If God loves people just as we are (unconditionally) then there would be no need for man to be born again or made new (II Corinthians 5:17, John 3:3-7) The unconditional love that is offered in John 3:16 is only for those who place their faith in Christ. Do a word study, just in the NT, and see who are the objects of God’s wrath. If God loves unconditionally, then there would also be no reason for wrath, for any sin no matter how heinous.

      Additionally, if I truly love someone then I will tell them the truth…not condemningly, but truthfully (Ephesians 4:15). True love does not bash anyone, homosexual or heterosexual, but it also does not shrink back from declaring the truth to them. The truth is that you cannot continue/practice a sexually immoral lifestyle (homosexual or heterosexual) and be a Christian (See I John). However, the gay community has labeled anything that is said to them that is contrary to their lifestyle as hate speech, homophobia, etc. The most loving thing we can do is to speak the truth, but we must speak it in love, and not use it as as a cudgel. As it says in Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. A true friend speaks the truth, and as Christians we should speak the truth to others as we would want them to speak the truth to us (Matthew 7:13).

      Finally, for the context, I mentioned Romans 1:30 above. If you follow the train of thought from verse 18 through the end of the chapter you will see that homosexuals are specifically mentioned and then it goes on to list them among those who hate God in verse 30. Are those who hate God, and therefore are His enemies under the wrath of God? Yes, all of them. But God does offer them salvation, the deliverance from the wrath to come (Romans 5:9, I Thessalonians 1:9-10) if they will repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15, from the lips of Jesus Himself).

      Finally, why have I used so much Scripture? Because Jesus says this in John 12:48 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word that I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” And what is the word Jesus spoke? The Scriptures, all of them (I Peter 1:10-12), as He is the Living Word (John 1:1, 14).
      So what is the most loving thing I can do for you? Tell you the truth as I just have, not my truth, but God’s truth; and urge you to go to the Scriptures for your wisdom and not depend on the prevailing sentiment of the day, but on the eternal unchanging word of God.

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