Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. During the most recent SBC Convention, he clarified an interview where he said that the church should repent from the way that have ministered to the homosexual community up to this point. Here is the quote according to the Associated Baptist Press:
“Southern Baptists need to repent of a ‘form of homophobia’ that keeps gays and lesbians out of their churches.”
Mohler goes on to say:
“We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia…We’ve used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice.”
I wish I was at the convention because I would have given Mohler a standing ovation for his comments.
I think it is safe to say that Dr. Mohler and I do not agree on a lot of things regarding some of the secondary issues of the church. I believe that Dr. Mohler has good intentions and that he wants to see the Kingdom of Christ advanced just as much as I do, and for that I count him as my brother, even though we have differing views on a number of issues. This is something that I can support him on, because it is something that I have been saying regarding the church’s treatment of homosexuals for a long time. Here is my opinion, homophobia is one of the last acceptable forms of discrimination in both the church and society. The church’s silence is deafening, and we are in part culpable for driving people away from Christ. I would take it a step further and say that the church’s silence is partly responsible for the fact that the suicide rate amongst homosexuals is vastly greater than that of the general population.
The most interesting thing that Mohler was quoted to say is that there is a lot less of an aspect of choice regarding homosexuality than had previously thought. Consider this, who would willingly sign up to be treated as some sort of second class citizen, to constantly say that what you have felt and known your entire life is not only wrong, but wrong in a God hates you and can never love you kind of way. Furthermore, just because the church that you go to or in your neighborhood doesn’t actively say that “God hates [insert derogatory term for homosexuals here]”, its not like that they are standing directly in your corner either, or have a ministry that is directed towards you. So the statement that Martin Luther King Jr. made that in the end its not the words of our enemies that hurts the most, but the silence of our friends is more than just a theoretical statement…it is reality.
Homosexuality is the taboo sin of the church today and what is implied is that more of a sin than any other sin. We give sermons on the dangers of homosexuality and curse it as an abomination, but say nothing about the other sins that we deem as more socially acceptable. We scream that homosexuals are threatening the sanctity of marriage, but say nothing about the couple in the pew that is living together with no intention of getting married or the fact that the divorce rate amongst evangelical Christians is no different as compared to the divorce rate of the general population. We scream that it is an abomination and that it sullies the temple that our God created as our bodies, but say nothing about the people in our congregation that abuse their bodies through gluttonous behavior. Logically this would lead me to one of two conclusions: we either get down off our high horse and admit that we all need Christ to set us free from sin and that Christ came for the LGBT community just as much as he came for you or I, or the alternative is that we start bringing the same condemnation and begin ostracizing those who are overweight and obese, who cohabitate, who engage in shady business deals, who gossip and sow seeds of discord. In other words, we address the two by four in our own eye.
It is time that we start telling the truth and I applaud Dr. Mohler for beginning that process. The truth is that the church needs to reach out to an entire group of people that it has turned its back on and vilified, for a behavior that is at worst on par with any other sin that is engaged in on a daily basis. For Dr. Mohler, I applaud his brave stance and support him in this regard, and I am sure that he has had some interest phone calls, emails and text messages. His charge that the church needs to be better ministers, especially to this neglected and hurting community is a positive sign that the church can BE the church once again.
Now if you excuse me, I am late for my yoga class.