Celebrity controversies are all over the Christian Fifth estate, right?
While Gungor's view on the Bible is an opinion and Driscoll's issues will go down as one man's craziness, Vicky Beeching's coming out story is different—it's a controversy on steroids and is more likely to affect the church at large (if it already hasn't that is!).
In fact, her saga has somewhat been akin to the recent Miley Cyrus circus with more or less similar results: intensely polarized reactions and opinions accompanied by truckloads of publicity. If Vicky writes a book now, I bet it will be a New York Times bestseller!
So Why is This Topic Catching Fire?
Maybe because it rocks the very concept of 'family'. Since it's family that shapes 'community' and the church is basically a community of worshipers, a shift in how we define family is bound to affect our worship.
And btw, this isn’t a post about whether Vicky Beeching is prophetic or heretic—I continue to respect her as a person, Christian and artist.
I'm posting my 2 cents 'cos I believe this topic is worth discussing. Though the challenge is in taking it on without judging/hurting/offending anyone, I'm going to try here.
How Did We Get Here?
The more I think about it, the more I believe that we have changed the way we accept scripture. Instead of studying it to understand what it teaches, we'd rather feel/believe something first and then look for verses to convince ourselves that that's what the Bible really says. Our fancy is more in what Scripture means to us than in what it actually means.
This self-centered approach is a clear and present danger to any Christian belief because ultimately, what's socially popular becomes truth. Instead of the church evangelizing society, the opposite is becoming the norm—society is deciding and lobbying for what Christianity should believe and teach... and successfully too in many cases, this subject being a prime example!
While a largely anti-Christian media and a confident pro-LGBT lobby are exploiting each other for their respective agendas, the collective voice of regular churches is being grossly undermined. We’re at a point where traditional Christians are facing an ultimatum of sorts: accept LGBT marriage or endure a variety of labels—like Obsolete. Judgmental. Uncharitable. Loveless. Graceless. Bigot.
But Why Can't the Bible Settle it?
'Cos appeals to Bible verses on this topic lead to predictable debates like this:
- Traditional Christian: See? In Romans 1:24-32, Paul has clearly taught that this is a grave sin!
- Pro LGBT Christian: Of course not! If you see the context of those verses, you'll understand Paul was condemning idolatry, not homosexuality!
- Traditional Christian: Really? Then let's apply the same context to the entire set of verses and declare wickedness, evil, greed, gossip, slanderer, hating God, etc. as also not sin. You can't have it both ways!
- Pro LGBT Christian: No, can't you understand that David was a man after God's heart, but was in a same-gender relationship with Jonathan?
- Traditional Christian: Oh yeah? David was gay? How do you explain Bathsheba...
...and so on! The absence of an acceptable authority (I mean in the non-Catholic world) to decide who is right/wrong ensures the Bible is effectively rendered inconclusive and powerless.
The Slippery Slope
A typical 'coming out' story of a Christian goes something like this:
- I realized I was different when I was 'x' years old
- Traditional Christian teaching made me feel awful and ashamed about myself
- I sought help and no prayer changed me
- God must have made me this way, therefore I am normal
- Why can't the church just accept me as I am and love me (love = accepting same-sex marriage)
But, same-sex attraction is not the only variation in human sexuality, right? A pedophile could also 'come out' with the exact same story. Ditto for a zoophile. Pedophilia is not mentioned directly in the Bible while zoophilia is not touched upon in the New Testament. So logically we could (not saying we should) make a stronger case for them than LGBT marriage.
If the church is to love all non-straight people just like how it's being compelled to love LGBTs, won't we go down a very slippery slope? Like child marriage with an adult? Or humans with animals? Not to mention others with a bone in this fight—polygamy anyone?
While the can of worms is well and truly open, it's likely that heterosexuality vs. homosexuality discussions are just the tip of a massive iceberg. In time, the ring will probably widen to lobby for all other kinds of sexual relationship preferences. You think that's impossible? Well, 50 years ago, people thought so about same-sex relationships and yet here we are!
Should/will we ever draw a line? If yes, where? And who decides?
The Way Forward
Please, let's not hate, judge and cloud ourselves with intolerance—we already have too many walls! Disagreeing people need not be enemies. See the example of Pope Francis apologizing to the World Evangelical Alliance and its return apology by Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe. That's a great example of how we should be behaving.
Let's put on the mind of Christ, talk, discuss, exchange thoughts, reach out and pray for God's Kingdom and His will.
- To the shocked and the outraged: calm down, the church has seen far worse—Christ will always see us through
- To the angry and the disgusted : please show respect for people with differing thoughts/beliefs/struggles—hear them out and reach out with love
- To the disappointed and the sad: please make Christ your role model/hero and you won't be
- To everyone: Let's pray for each other that the Holy Spirit may lead us to His Truth and His light