Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In our culture today, one cannot affirm the biblical truth about morality and marriage without the accusation of being bigoted, biased and a hater. There was a day when one could say regarding homosexuality or same-sex “marriage” that we in our churches would be “welcoming but not affirming.” By this we would mean that we would welcome any and all as fellow image of God bearers and extend love and grace to them. But we would not affirm sin or a sinful lifestyle.
Today this statement no longer stands to those outside the church. In other words, if one welcomes, one affirms. And if one affirms, one welcomes. The two are made equal, they are joined together, and what has been joined together culturally, let not a church put asunder (sorry for the sad irony).
Is it accurate to claim that Christians are haters of gays and homosexuals? Is it true to claim that because Christians are welcoming but not affirming that they are not only passively not loving, but they are more actively bigoted or haters?
Robert George, who has done a great deal in defense of the biblical and traditional view of marriage, was asked about this in an interview for Salvo Magazine. Here is the question and George’s response.
SALVO: One conservative Christian recently wrote that in the battle for traditional marriage, "Christians too often chose intolerance over charity when it came to how they treated gays." Have we, as Christians, demonstrated a lack of love for gay people?
Robert George: No, we've been falsely accused of showing a lack of charity and a lack of love because that was very convenient to the arguments of the other side, a very effective tool. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people of all faiths who've been involved in the protection of marriage have gone out of their way, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes out of its way, to proclaim the truth that all men and woman are precious. Human beings have a profound and inherent dignity, an equal dignity, as creatures made in the very image and likeness of the Divine Creator and Ruler of the Universe.
This has never been something hidden. It has been frequently affirmed and re-affirmed, yet there are those who wish to refuse to hear it because it's politically useful to their cause to depict Christians as mean-spirited or bigoted or hostile to people just because they don't like something about them. It's a slander. And for us to pretend that the slander is true is itself a sin against the truth. I'm all for confessing error and wrongdoing where error and wrongdoing have been committed. But I see no point in confessing sins that one has not committed, especially when doing so is the precise objective of those who wish unfairly to tar people or a movement as bigoted or hostile.
I agree with George. What about you?