Over the last few years, a number of people who would previously have been regarded as Evangelical Christian heavyweights appear to have changed their stance on homosexuality significantly. There seems to be a whole wing of Evangelicalism that is ‘coming out’- or do I generalise from the particular?
Is this accommodation with the changing views of culture- albeit lagging behind because of a dragging-anchor theological hermeneutic? Or is it the fact that Christians are finally catching the scent of freedom and justice on the breeze? Whatever, I celebrate the change.
I will not list the names I am thinking of, as this plays into the hand of the totemic brigade- you know the way it works, the degree to which a person is ‘OK’, ‘Biblical’, ‘Theologically sound’, depends on whether they agree with us on certain totemic issues. I try, but if I am honest I am guilty of a bit of this too…
I was first inspired by listening to Tony Campolo speak back in the early-mid 1980’s. He upset a lot of people at Spring Harvest festival some time around then (I think I was there, but the story might have become more important than fact on this one!) by telling a story something like this;
You know folks, X (can’t remember the exact figure) number of people have starved to death since I started to speak to you tonight.
And you know what is worse? Most of you people here do not give a shit.
And even worse that that, most of you are far more concerned that I just used the word ‘shit’ than the fact that those people have starved to death.
It is hard to convey how genuinely shocking hearing these words from a preacher at Spring Harvest was back then. Campolo has always been rather left field.
However, his stance on homosexuality in books of his I have read went something like this;
It is not the fault of gay people that they were born different, but the Bible is clear that the homosexual act is sin. It is however NOT a sin to be homosexual, as people have no control over their sexual orientation. Therefore to be gay and Christian is to be celibate.
I think he may even have used the old ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ argument. If he did not, others certainly did in his wake.
Contrast this with the clip below. He does not need to talk about the theology- rather he tells a story, which is a very Jesus kind of way of doing theology of course.
The emotional musical soundtrack is a bit naff, but Campolo is always (ahem) Campelling.