One of the great challenges in being a parent is understanding what to teach our kids about homosexuality. This is made more difficult, when many theologians in the church have contradictory opinions about what is right and wrong with homosexual acts.
In the light of this debate amongst Biblical scholars, Anglican Press Australia (an imprint of Youthworks, the publisher of this website) has published 'Sexegesis: An evangelical response to Five Uneasy Pieces on Homosexuality. Sexegesis offers a biblical response to another recent book, which claimed the Bible does not speak against the practice of homosexuality.
Sexegesis is a fairly technical book, and engages with theology at a fairly advanced level. It is a book that would be a great gift for your pastor, small group leader, or anyone in teaching and counselling ministries, especially as they deal with these complex matters at a pastoral level.
With this in mind, here's a quote from the conclusion of the final chapter of the book (pages 150-1). In it, author Barry McGrath reflects on the pastoral implications of homosexuality and the church. Many of his points are helpful for us, as parents, as we reflect on the nature of sexuality, the truth of the Bible, and the importance of straight talk about homosexuality.
There is not some place in the future where sexuality is neat, and organised. There is not some place in the future of churches where sexuality is not problematic and complex and challenging. It is mythic to consider that if we just get a bit more open and relaxed then sexuality will cease to be a fraught area in our churches.
The Bible is a story of the complexity of sexual relations. From David’s misadventures, to the woman at the well, the Bible records that often our sexuality is a part of the narrative of brokenness that is our life. It is buying the myths of the 60's sexual revolution to think there is freedom to be had if we just break free of the fetters of tradition. The Bible shows us that it will always be a challenging path for the believer to negotiate this life. Sexual expression and desire melds into that mix of the complex life, where we struggle to live in a way which gives honour to the life God has gifted us with, while recognising the fractured nature of so many of our desires.
Pastorally, churches will always be assisting and nurturing people in their walk with the Lord. Sexuality will always be an area where we sin so easily and so destructively. There is no easy turn in the road when all will be easy and straightforward. The great joy of sex is perhaps the great challenge, for how do we harness this desire so it is not our master but is a servant in the service of our faith?
Whatever decisions synods make; whatever pronouncements theologians make; whichever hierarchy declares a position on sexuality, as pastors we will still be left with God’s people trying to work out how to live godly lives. The Bible speaks to Christians across the globe in straightforward terms about their sexuality, so pastors will continue to hear stories of people wanting change. Pastors will continue to see people repent and make choices about their sexual behaviour, driven by the desire to please their Lord.
The future for the church in terms of sexuality is that we continue to be the open communities where anyone can come and hear God speak. Churches need to be places where people can repent and turn to Christ. They need to be havens where people can be honest and find a fellowship which affirms our need of the Saviour. We are to be communities where we can name our struggles and weaknesses, without fear of the condescension of the pious. Churches are to be where love flourishes, and in our differences we still strive to love those who name Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
And pastors need to continue to listen. "