Solidarity, clinical sterility, shame, and condemnation...
(Tim) Speaking of what words to use to refer to a certain type of sexual immorality, I don't remember leaving a comment on this blog where someone used the word David Lehr mentions in one of his recent comments, but I don't question David's accuracy. For myself, I prefer the word 'sodomy' and would be pleased for those who comment to avoid other terms, whether 'bugger' or 'gay.'
'Gay' because it's a word expressing solidarity with an oppressed people group and there's no hint of shame or condemnation. Souls who believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture--that it's every word of Scripture that's inspired, not simply the concepts those words convey--should desire to speak as Scripture does.
Those complaining here about a lack of love and gentleness in the comments and citing Scripture to make their point are, by their arguments, agreeing that Scripture is the standard for our words. Would they, though, take a confessing Christian to task for using the word 'gay?'
They ought to. 'Gay' says all the wrong things and none of the right ones...
What about 'homosexual?' It's good in that it avoids the expression of solidarity with an oppressed people group. But it's not good in that it's clinical and fails to express shame or condemnation. And in this second problem, we confront the essential dishonesty of most of the discussions about sodomy today.
Recently, a Christian gentleman visited Church of the Good Shepherd and was scandalized by my use of the word 'sodomite' in a sermon. What was the scandal?
He put it something like this: "That word is so dirty. I don't want to hear it or think about it."
Language means things, and Christians who are offended by pejorative terms expressing shame and condemnation while not also being offended by terms of clinical sterility and approval have not begun to see the true nature of love for those tempted by same-sex intimacy.
Maybe we could say that 'gay' and 'homosexual' are, spiritually, about on the level of you-know-what and 'bugger.'
But let me clarify: I use the word 'homosexual' about a third of the time, the construction "people tempted by same-sex intimacy" about a tenth of the time, and 'sodomy' or 'sodomite' the rest of the time. In other words, I'm not opposed to the use of the word 'homosexual' if it's used along with 'sodomy' or 'sodomite' so shame and condemnation are associated with our discussions of this sin.
Finally, all our conversations should be salted with tender entreaties to sodomites, adulterers, the greedy, egalitarians, and idolaters that expressly acknowledge that we ourselves are terribly wicked with no hope in this world or the next outside the foreign righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been freely imputed to us through faith. In other words, men should have the sense in discussions with us that we are in all ways tempted as they are, yet with sin. Only Jesus our Lord is without sin. Only Jesus our Lord speaks perfect truth. Only the Lamb of God is without blemish.
We can't speak truth to this cloying sentimental world without being accused of insensitivity and uncharitableness, but I'd like to see a few changes, here.
When we write about sodomy, it should be evident to sodomites reading these pages that we are holding out the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. These souls are lost in their bondage and shame and many cry out for mercy and hope of the day when they may be free at last. If we know Jesus, we will testify to that hope.
Jesus commands adulterers, fornicators, the greedy, feminists, sodomites, and the proud:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)