Last fall, James White teamed up with Michael Brown to take the negative side in this debate against Deweyne Robinson and Ruth Jensen-Forbell. Even if you think you’re very familiar with what the New Testament has to say on this subject, I still highly recommend watching this debate. There are a lot of useful things that came out of it.
Throughout the entire debate though, it’s confusing whether the affirmative side is admitting that homosexuality is sinful or not. Half the time they talk about how humans are imperfect and that the whole point of the gospel is that “there is therefore no condemnation,” and the fact that Jesus forgave the woman in Luke 7 but didn’t say, “Go sin no more,” leaving the door open apparently for a continuation in her forgiven sin.1 All of this belies an admission that we are indeed dealing with sin here.2 But then the other half of the time, the affirmative side argues that committed stable same-sex relationships aren’t what Paul had in mind in his writings (a claim that’s demonstrably disprovable by pointing out that committed same-sex couples were very much a reality in Paul’s day and that he would’ve known that by categorically condemning this perversion in general, he was leaving no room for that group), and that Jesus never condemned it either.3
I’m walking away from this debate not actually understanding the affirmative’s stance on the subject. They seem confused. Half of their contention is incompatible with the other half. There’s no point in talking about Jesus’ forgiveness and love and the fact that nobody’s perfect if what you’re talking about is ok in the first place. You don’t need Jesus’ forgiveness if you’re already righteous. It makes no sense.
Approaching this from a proper Biblical perspective, I think the answer is sadly obvious: they know they’re wrong. It’s written in their conscience and they’re without excuse. So they’re grasping at whatever inconsistent lines of argumentation they can to justify their sin. It’s incoherent babblings compared to the meaningful, consistent exegesis of scripture as demonstrated by the negative side.
- There would be no other reason for Ruth to point out the fact that we don’t have a record of Jesus telling the woman to stop sinning. ↩︎
- If both sides agree that this is a sin and the disagreement is merely over whether Jesus loves us as his ostensible children despite our habitual non-remorseful practice of our sin, then the main tenant of the debate is actually over. In other words, the affirmative side would have to admit, “No, homosexuality is not consistent with New Testament obedience, but that’s ok, because Jesus loves us despite our imperfections, and there’s therefore now no condemnation.” ↩︎
- As the negative side aptly points out, Jesus never condemned child molesting either, so by this line of argumentation, that lifestyle is ok with Jesus too. This approach ignores the fact that Jesus clearly taught he had come to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, and the fact that the Old Testament law is black and white on this issue. Since homosexuality was illegal in Israel, Jesus didn’t need to talk about it because nobody was openly practicing it, and everyone understood it to be wrong. Why talk about gluten in a gluten-free cookbook when there are much more practical things to talk about? Jesus focused on the sin at hand in his day. Had homosexuality been rampant in Israel, he would’ve most certainly talked about it, as Paul and the other apostles did once the gospel went to the Gentiles. See how the negative side has a much more consistent view of the whole of scripture than the affirmative side ever possibly can? ↩︎