Privileged sins...

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Imagine a Reformed pastor leading public worship by praying that those worshipping with him wouldn't focus on the splinters in the eyes of rapists congregating outside the church while ignoring the planks in their own eyes. Can't imagine it? Neither can I.

But I was recently in a service where this was prayed for worshippers' attitudes toward homosexual couples on the street outside.

When did homosexuality become a splinter? How did it achieve this privileged status? Why do even conservative pastors find it difficult to condemn homosexuality forthrightly? How did homosexuality become more worthy of compassion in Christian circles than, say, adultery or child neglect or even dogfighting?

I suspect the unstated belief of many is that homosexuals deserve compassion because their sins are victimless, involving only the willing. Meanwhile, they bring so much to the table culturally and aesthetically. Consider the art shows, concerts, restaurants and theaters we would lack if we didn't have homosexual culture. Homosexuals are bright, they're sophisticated, they're culture-shapers, they create and play beautiful music, now if only they would come to know God!

The growing idea among the sophisticated Reformed is that we can't condemn homosexuality without first understanding the good in the homosexual. We need a more nuanced approach which grants homosexuality understanding and patience rather than rejection or intolerance.

This idea is based on a false premise. No sin is without offense against innocence when every sin is against the God who created us in His image and calls us to be holy as He is holy. Beyond this, homosexuality is no less victimless than bestiality or idolatry. In each case sin's perversion degrades the entire culture. If we think we're serving as salt and light by refusing to call such sins wicked we're mistaken. We're not being salt and light, we're being silent watchmen. 

As Christians fidget and fumble, unwilling to forthrightly condemn homosexuality the stain grows.  (And here I find myself correcting the ingrained Evangelical/Reformed impulse to write "homosexual sin" at this point. Imagine writing "rapist sin" or "adulterous sin," as though there are forms of rape or adultery that fall short of sin.) And so we sit: a Christian army of Alfred E. Neumans smiling compassionately as the malevolent host of queers drag even our own children into moral and spiritual slavery.

In a day when many Christians have elevated disregard for the environment to the status of spiritual failure by making pollution a crime against the Creator, how can the moral pollution of the Creator's world at the heart of homosexuality ever be seen as victimless? 

There's one obvious way to have logs in our own eyes compared to splinters in the eyes of homosexuals, and that's by obstinately refusing to call homosexuality sin and homosexuals to repentance and new life in Christ. Such failure is knowing sin, sin against the Word we have been given. Paul warns in Romans 1:18-21 that sinning against knowledge is aggravated sin, the beginning of depravity's maelstrom.

True love for the homosexual holds out hope by calling for repentance. When it can, it does so with evident charity. But even when charity can't be prima facie evident, a call to repent is more loving than smiling acceptance.