Today’s Life Changing Book is “Where Are The Christians: The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion,” written by Eric Shuster
As the Supreme Court of the United States hears arguments on gay marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Christians on both sides are clamoring for what they believe rulings that favor their interpretation of Christian theology. Christians in support of gay marriage and the repealing of DOMA (signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996 restricting federal marriage benefits by recognizing only opposite-sex marriages in the United States) cite the tolerance of Jesus Christ, his love of the apostle John (thought to be a relationship between the two), the perceived existence of same-sex couples such as King David and Jonathan, and broad interpretations of scripture with respect to marriage and homosexuality. Christians in opposition to gay marriage and the maintaining of DOMA point to the condemnation of homosexuality in the Old Testament, the writings of Paul in the New Testament, and the historical record of the devastating social effects of homosexuality in ancient times. Both sides are passionate about their positions and are confident of the divine support they believe to be on their side of the issue.
In my upcoming book Where are the Christians: the Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion (May 2013 release) homosexuality is cited as one of the most explosive social issues that divide Christians in America today. The division comes in the form of Christians on both sides talking at each other and not with each other. There are compelling arguments on both sides and like all matters that seek to rely on scriptural interpretation there are no clear winners in the game of theological tennis. Such division among Christianity is toxic, diluting its influence on society as it relates to basic spiritual values that are meant to bless individuals, families, churches and communities. If both sides of the homosexuality issue would bring calm heads, open hearts, and contrite spirits to the discussion then greater unity among Christians will prevail. Unity does not imply agreement, nor resolution of the issue, but rather unity suggests understanding, respect, compassion, and the virtues expounded by the Savior during his public ministry. Those opposed to the gay agenda will learn about those who feel afflicted by same-sex attraction and are looking for an avenue of social relief, while those supporting the gay agenda will learn about those who are protective of their children and worry about the promotion of homosexuality as a positive and acceptable lifestyle.
Jude 1:3 from the Bible discusses contending for the faith and no doubt both sides of the issue of homosexuality feel inspired to do so, and to do so according to their interpretations of the doctrines of Christianity. It is when contending becomes contention that the line of Christian decency is crossed and the spirit of Satan is able to penetrate the hearts of men toward deep division among brothers and sisters in Christ. There will always exist the “extremists” on both sides of homosexuality, those who seek an all or nothing resolution to the issue and ignore the unintended consequences of their words and actions. It is not a time for extremism, but rather a time to exercise faith, love, patience and meekness (1 Timothy 6:11) among those who share the same belief in Jesus Christ as Christians, regardless of their belief as it relates to homosexuality.