Kevin DeYoung probably writes at least one “everybody-needs-to-read” blog post every week. This is one of them. Let me re-hash and highlight his arguments. He says Christians and non-Christians use four very faulty lines of thinking very often when trying to attack how evangelicals often approach homosexuality. Here are three of the worst arguments you will hear, plus one faulty way of arguing:
1. “Jesus Never Said Anything About Homosexuality.” Here is a great paragraph from DeYoung that blasts a hole in that line of thinking: “an evangelical understanding of inspiration does not allow us to prize instructions in the gospel (narratives) more than instructions elsewhere in Scripture…homosexuality from the pen of Paul in Romans…has no less…authority or relevance than if we read it from the lips of Jesus in Matthew. All Scripture is breathed out by God, not just the red letters. God’s gracious self-disclosure comes to us through the Word made flesh and by the inscripturated word of God…When it comes to seeing God and his truth in Christ and in Holy Scripture, one is not more reliable, more trustworthy, or more relevant than the other.”
2. “We Are Hypocrites Because We Aren’t As Passionate About Divorce.” DeYoung says that is like comparing apples and oranges. For one, many Protestants have understood some cases of divorce to be acceptable. That automatically makes the two issues different. Then he says “Furthermore, many evangelical churches are just as staunch in their opposition to unbiblical divorce. I know we take it very seriously at our church. The reason we are not fired up on the blogs about it is because there are no denominational groups I’m aware of rallied around the central tenet that divorce is a blessing from God.” LOL!
3. “This Is Why Evangelicals Have a Bad Reputation.” DeYoung is not sure how true this statement is. For one, he shows how evangelicals may not have that bad a reputation as the media might portray. He says “most non-Christians probably get along just fine with the evangelicals they know personally.” And at the end of the day, bad reputation cannot be a driving motivation, because ” Jesus never taught us, nor did he demonstrate, that something must be wrong when people revile us in the first place.”
4. The Use of Imprecise Language: regardless of the issue, those we disagree with often use language that sounds good on the surface, but is misleading (I wonder if purposely misleading). DeYoung picks out the arguments of another Christian, Peter Wehner, who says things like “people flocked to Jesus not because he preached moral rectitude but because He was willing to love them, to listen to them, and to welcome them,” and, “Jesus’ main mission was to convince them of God’s love and invitation.”
DeYoung responds: “These are the sort of sentences that sound the right evangelical notes, but I worry are playing a different tune. There’s no problem saying Jesus loved people, listened to them, and welcomed them. Yes and Amen. But to be accurate, most of the people flocked to him because of the wonders he performed. Others came because he called. Others because he came to seek and save sinners. And others because he spoke with authority. Jesus demanded much of the world, and it’s terribly wrong to pit the preaching of ‘moral rectitude’ against love and welcome. Jesus did both unashamedly. He made it harder for people to follow him. He told people to be born again. He demanded they hate their parents, cut off their arms, tear out their eyes. It’s not faithful to the gospels to paint a picture of Jesus the good listener who eschewed edges and the preaching of moral rectitude. What is the Sermon on the Mount if not, at least in part, a lesson in moral rectitude for the people of God?”
DeYoung also says “it’s just not true that Jesus’ main mission was to convince people of God’s love. [It] was to lead people to the conclusion that he was the Son of God and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 15:39; 10:45). He came out in public ministry to preach the gospel (Mark 1:14-15, 38-39). Jesus told people of God’s mercy for repentant sinners and the new life and new community that could be found in Christ, but he did not travel through Judea and Galilee trying to persuade people that God really, really loved them.”
All in all, read Kevin DeYoung as much as you can if you want to know and enjoy good writing. And prayerfully dig down deep in the Scriptures. Don’t just make truth assertions about life and godliness that are not anchored in the actual text of Scripture. Those who know their Bible and theology best are the ones who make the best (and most loving) arguments when talking about homosexuality, or any other issue.