Jesus had two dads

the-21st-gay-pride-parade-in-belfast-cityThe “Jesus had two dads” placard at this year’s Belfast Gay Pride parade has provoked a strong reaction from some conservative Christians. Some people from the gay community claim that it was simply an attempt to use wit and irony to make a point. Many will say that its immature mischievousness, bad taste and theological inaccuracy has done little to promote an intelligent debate on the issue of the adoption of children by same-sex couples, and has only resulted in many orthodox Christians looking the other way. Gay Christians might be ashamed and embarrassed by the placard, just as some orthodox Christians might not be totally enthusiastic about the fundamentalist protest.

So it raises the question: Is it possible for there to be an intelligent conversation between gay and straight people on the issue of human sexuality and the adoption of children by same-sex couples, other than by displaying mutually-offensive placards and shouting abuse at each other?

The gay lobby faces a difficult (and many would say, impossible) task when it comes to persuading orthodox Christians about the validity of their lifestyle. The Bible clearly sets out God’s will for us in the area of our sexuality, namely, that intimate sexual relations are only legitimate and meaningful within the context of the covenant of heterosexual, monogamous marriage. All other sexual relationships are sinful and wrong. And it goes further in that it specifically prohibits homosexual relationships and describes them as a sign of godlessness within a society. No wonder many Bible-believing Christians stand open-mouthed when they hear of Christian denominations taking steps so that openly gay people are allowed to hold leadership roles in the church.

Those who advocate the ordination of women in the church have had a difficult task in making the Bible’s clear statement “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” to mean the exact opposite of what it says, “I do permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man”. “A” must, by means of some clever exegetical footwork, come to mean “non-A”.

The gay lobby has faced an even more challenging assignment. They must demonstrate that behaviours and patterns of family life which the Bible calls immoral and sinful are actually God-honouring. Black must be called white. Clear biblical statements must not only be excised, but re-written to say the opposite.

Some have found the task of providing a biblical foundation for a homosexual lifestyle so impossible that they have resorted to the argument which we heard at this year’s Church of Scotland General Assembly, “We know better than the Bible”. For such people, the legitimacy for homosexuality, and for gay Christian leadership in the church, must be built on a foundation other than the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture. For orthodox, confessional Christians, that is an impossible position for us to take. But maybe we need to explain with greater clarity why we believe that planting our feet on any foundation other than the Bible is a dangerous and perilous place to stand. Our gay neighbours need to listen and feel the weight of our argument.

What is clear is, that whatever our orientation, we all struggle in the area of our sexuality. Sexual sin is not just a problem for those who experience same-sex attractions. In this matter, ‘there is no one righteous, not even one” and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). It is level ground at the foot of the cross of Christ.  It is there that all sinners, whether gay or straight, need to see that they are guilty before God and unable to save themselves, and that there is only One who can be their Saviour. The conversation and discussion between gay people and orthodox Christians needs to begin with that recognition of our common sinfulness and our shared need of a Saviour.

Ironically, maybe it’s here that the offensive placard has a role to play. If the theological background of the placard’s claim that “Jesus had two dads” can be accurately unpacked and become the starting point for our conversation, then we might make some progress in our discussion. After all, God’s Son was born into a human family precisely because we sinners needed a Saviour and Redeemer. It is only through Him that we spiritual orphans can be adopted into God’s family and know Him as our Heavenly Father. Then we can begin to talk together about how we can live so that we please and honour our loving and gracious Father.

4 Replies to “Jesus had two dads”

  1. The issue remains, that the church is fixated with certain types of sin within the context of the modern church but not all sin. So we will debate for hours the morality of certain sexual lifestyle choices whilst ignoring or refusing to deal others.

    Likewise there is constant ambiguity surrounding the whole question of “church discipline”, the maintenance of standards and the upholding of the laws and ordinances of the church.

    Like the difficulties that admission of women ministers has allegedly caused, the attitude to divorce, extramarital affairs, public honesty, public morality etc have all become matters for debate and thus open to interpretation/re-interpretation.

    Therefore, with the erosion of previously accepted biblical stances, largely due to cultural changes, more and more is open for debate. Trying now to close the door on gay culture is probably too little too late, treating homosexuality as something different or ‘special’ is clearly discriminatory, surely the whole subject of personal morality, under scripture, should be consistently considered as one subject, with the same standards being applied to all!

  2. I am so amazed that you use the words gay and Christian together, this is a misnomer( Words that cannot be used together because their meanings are so opposite). We rarely hear of thieving Christians, foul mouthed Christians,blaspheming Christians or any other sinful Christians.When we has been forgiven by faith in Christ our sins are removed,we are new creatures or created new,” old things have passed away, behold all things have become new” Our burden of sin has been dealt with by Christ at Calvary. That’s not to say that we are perfect nor will we be this side of eternity.

    That list of sinners in 1Cor.9-10 includes us all and I praise God for v11. Yes Christ is the only answer for sinners.

  3. I fully endorse both what Stafford says on homosexuality and how he says it, but I just want to raise a point about his suggestion that supporters of women’s ordination have to do some fancy exegetical footwork. If you substitute ‘wife’ for ‘woman’ and ‘husband’ for ‘man’ in the passage he mentions you get a different interpretation without too much shuffling of feet. Besides, opponents of women’s ordination have a bit of work to do not to have Paul contradicting evidence in other parts of the Bible which shows women in leadership. As with slavery, scripture contains many hints to support the liberation of women into roles which would have been unusual or unthinkable in bible times, The same cannot be said of homosexuality, however. There is nothing in scripture to support homosexual practice. There are indeed close same sex friendships but as Stafford has demonstrated these are quite different.

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