That moniker seems to be synonymous with “Christian” in today’s culture. Granted, not all homophobes are Christians, but all Christians are homophobes—goes the accusation. I remember hearing the word for the first time only a few short years ago and wondering what it meant. The term, homophobia, is defined this way: “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.” I certainly don’t “fear” homosexuals. That’s why I was confused by the “phobia” part of that word. It’s the second part of the definition that is the real heart of the matter…antipathy. “Antipathy” can simply mean “a strong feeling of dislike.” But, how strong is “strong?” You see “antipathy” is the sophisticated word for “hate.” For the record, according to Wright, Adams, and Bernat’s Homophobia scale, I’m not a homophobe. Whew! That test is from 1996; so I wonder if the criteria have changed since then and who knows, maybe I am now. The media sure does seem to accuse me of it, only because I’m Christian and I agree with the Bible that says homosexuality is sin. Can I be off the homophobe list since my position is reasoned and thus doesn’t fit the dictionary definition?
See, “Christians are homophobic! Because you think it is sin!” (The exclamation points there are purposeful.) I get the impression from the world around me that to be a homophobe (a.k.a. Christian) is much more offensive than the lesser degree of “antipathy” would subsume. The harsh reality is that we Christians are told all the time that we are haters and that haters are gonna hate. I just did a Google search using the phrase “homophobic Christians” and I had no shortage of articles posted within the last 24 hours that support my claim. I picked this article because it came up near the top of my search. It’s harsh. And it’s somewhat related to one purpose of my website Head & Heart Ministries, namely Christian Counseling. Here’s the opening sentence of that article:
“When it comes to issues involving homosexuality, you can depend on The Gleaner to be incendiary, ruthlessly strident, rhetorically reckless and fiercely opposed to conservative Christianity, which it dismisses scornfully with the conversation-stopper ‘fundamentalist.’”
We Christians are very much hated and despised. Is “Christophobia” a word? According to my spell checker, it is not.
Thus far, I’ve made the case that not only are Christians accused of hate, but the other side can demonstrate a great deal of antipathy toward Christians. So, perhaps I am becoming truly homophobic after all. I mean, maybe I should fear homosexuals and those sympathetic to their social cause. What are these vitriolic people, represented by The Gleaner, going to do to me for being a Christian? The rhetoric is escalating toward hostility it seems. You seem to hate me because you think I hate you, when I don’t. I just disagree with you. That’s where I’m coming from.
[Going forward, I’ll not mention groups like The Gleaner anymore if you promise to not mention Westboro Baptist Church (boy, is it hard to use “Church” in that context).]
Some Civil Discourse
Now that I’ve gotten all of that name-calling and hate speech over with…can we bring the rhetoric down a few notches and have a civil and constructive discourse going forward? Truly, that’s what I want to accomplish in this blog series. I want to amicably and positively contribute to the larger conversation and appeal to the LGBTQ community who think Christians hate you. And I want to rebuke and admonish any Christians who do hate. You both have it wrong. It is my desire to sound a clarion call for the Separation of Church and Hate.
The rest of this blog series is going to deal with one question that was recently posed to me. It will address both of my anticipated audiences, namely, those sympathetic to the LGBTQ cause who may have wondered the same thing and Christians who may be stumped by the question. Here’s the question: How can Christians claim the Bible forbids homosexual acts, but then ignore all the other Old Testament laws?
Before I analyze that question in the upcoming posts, I will speak to how dealing with this question helps my cause of calling for the Separation of Church and Hate.
The question is asked from the perspective of the LGBTQ (May I use those letters as shorthand for the opposing view?). It can be taken two ways. First, it could be a legitimate question asked by someone who really wants to understand a seemingly inconsistent Christian doctrine. Second, it could just be a “gotcha” question meant rhetorically and asked merely to buttress another entrenched belief that all Christians are hypocrites. To the first type, my explanation should provide you with a good amount of biblical, historical, and theological analysis to satisfy your curiosity. To the second type, I hope you will stay with me to the end and at least be persuaded that some of us Christians are genuine, civil, reasoning people who do not fit the stereotype of being haters.
A Brief Bio for the Cause
- Failure Analysis Engineer
- Dallas Theological Seminary
- Dallas Reformed Baptist Church
These three bullet points of my background are key ingredients in my life that have shaped me and thoroughly inform the way I’ve approached this question. As a Senior FA Engineer in the semiconductor industry, I analyze things to death. I get handed a device that someone says has a problem. The first thing I do is determine if there really is a problem. If there is, I proceed on an investigative journey of troubleshooting, asking questions, and looking for clues that will point me to the failure. Once I’ve located where the problem is, I deconstruct it layer-by-layer paying attention to the subtlest of details until I’ve identified the mechanism causing the failure. I’ve analyzed this question and yep…I’ve found some problems with it.
When I was very young, my parents took me to Southern Baptist churches. I saw things there and within myself, as a sinner, that bothered me. In my early teens I switched to a Bible Church to get more of God’s word. Up until I was 30 years old I considered myself a “Premillennial Dispensationalist.” I went to the only seminary I knew of, thinking I’d finally understand what that meant. I include Dallas Theological Seminary in the bullet points only to represent popular evangelical doctrine. I see that in the question.
It was at that fine institution where I first began to come to my own doctrinal convictions. I studied Historical Theology and Bible Exposition. I analyzed the Bible and theology and I changed. I became a Reformed Baptist. That was a pretty big change. It came with a high price too. It cost me friends and strained family relationships. It cost affiliations with the only churches I had ever known and dearly loved. Perhaps you know something about a change in your life that caused you heartache. Analysis that forces you to corrective action often causes pain. Reformed Theology is my answer to the question.
In the next post, I’ll begin my analysis of the question: How can Christians claim the Bible forbids homosexual acts, but then ignore all the other Old Testament laws?