Option 2. Deviation from God’s Intention in Creation: “Welcoming but Not Affirming”
The second option shifts the argument by distinguishing between homosexual behavior and homosexual persons. The advocates of this viewpoint generally accept the biblical warrants against homosexual activity characteristic of church tradition, but it does not reject homosexual persons as “perverts.” “Welcoming but not affirming” is an affirmation of Christian love that requires openness, receptivity, and kindness to all human persons…regardless of any other factor, including the particularity of any kind of human sin. Indeed, all those whom the Christian community welcomes into its worship and fellowship are sinners. The characterization of any human person as a “pervert” is a denial that all human persons have been created in the image of God and all persons are included in God’s affirmation of the creation of humanity with “Very good.” Like all persons who have failed in the intention of God in creation, the homosexual person is welcomed into the life of the church. However, like other patterns of habitual sin, the homosexual person must repent of his or her homosexual behavior and accept the intention of God in creation: the norm of heterosexual relationships. Repentance for this sin is mandatory, “to turn to” the recognition and that any homosexual relationship constitutes sin, requiring the forgiveness of God. Moreover, as all other forms of habitual sin, homosexual relations ultimately prove to be self-destructive. That is, homosexual relationships cannot provide the wholeness and productivity of life that God promises to heterosexual relationships grounded in monogamous love.
“Marriage” requires the union of a man and a woman committed to each other in a monogamous union. The affirmation of “marriage” has been defined through the creation of God and accepted in the social structures of common human history. The characterization of a “same-sex relationship” as a “marriage” rejects the action of God in creation and elevates a sinful human construct above the intention and purpose of God in joining male and female together as “one.”
Homosexuality is “an unfortunate deviation” from what God intends in creation, “a tragic given” that persons engaged in homosexual activity must accept. Sometimes persons who have been caught up into the practice of homosexuality are heterosexual, and these persons experience the healing of their perverse sexual behavior in the celebration of heterosexual marriage, i.e. the lifelong commitment to one another, male with female. In these instances it is quite clear, whatever the level of clarity, that the practice of aberrant same-sex relationships constitutes some measure of choice. To be sure, the measure of “choice” is shaped through human genetic make-up as well as the experience of their human environment. Like forms of sin, nonetheless, the person guilty of homosexual sins may not recognize that his or her behavior, attitude, and life orientation is sinful until he or she experiences it in the bondage of sin…a choice made without any awareness of the deliberation of choosing. Even after the liberation from sin through Jesus Christ, the continuing threat of homosexual sin remains a graphic part of life, the possibility of succumbing to the luring lust in homosexual activity a lifelong vulnerability (and therefore, for all practical purposes beyond the wholeness of healing). As with other negative predispositions, whatever the situation, the person living with daily homosexual temptation must exercise a ‘severe’ discipline for the sake of the integrity of her Christian commitment, for participation in the goodness of creation, and for escaping an otherwise destructive form of life.
Although sexual identification is an essential part of human personhood, sexual gratification, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is not essential to the wholeness of a person’s humanity. Neither the celibate person nor the single person can equate the absence of sexual gratification with human deprivation: Thanksgiving for the gift of life endures apart from sexual fulfillment. Granted, some persons remain celibate through the particular affirmation of the gift of their humanness, quite content with a wholesome life that does not include the element of sexual satisfaction. However, celibacy is not always a gift but the consequence of personal circumstances. Admittedly, many persons remain celibate despite their wholesome desire for sexual fulfillment in marriage. The intrinsic sexuality that significantly defines all human persons is only one dimension of life among other dimensions that remains unfulfilled, or perhaps better said, not actualized; but the specificity of one’s particular situation becomes an opportunity for God to bless a person in a fashion that would otherwise not be possible. Yet the hard truth remains: Fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness requires self-discipline and self-control, because the loss of self-restraint in self-indulgence, whether single or married, proves personally and relationally destructive.
NOTE: each of the four options posted are attempts to artuclate the perspectives on thier own terms and do not represent any particular individual’s view. Details can be found here.