April 8, 2015

Where fellowship, tolerance, and cakes collide

When you are in the midst of a very long drafting and researching process to write a blog post, and you stumble upon one already written on the same subject even better than you could come up with….

you share that one instead. I try to, anyway.

Someone shared this post on twitter and it’s practically perfect in every way. Here’s an excerpt:

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that baking a cake, providing flowers, photographing, singing, or officiating a same-sex wedding is not necessarily a violation of Christ’s standard of holiness. Let us put it on the level of eating and drinking with tax collectors. What then is a Christian’s obligation?

First, as has already been made clear from the examples of Jesus, such interaction is a context for evangelism. Engaging with sinners without the goal of bringing them to a place of repentance is meaningless. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 6 writes, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” James teaches, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20) Perhaps I am cynical, but I find it highly unlikely that most of those who argue Christians ought to provide services for same-sex weddings are eager to use such circumstances – or any other circumstance – to evangelize homosexuals about their sin. Kantrowitz, who doesn’t believe homosexuality is immoral, certainly isn’t!

Second, Christians who participate in such conduct must heed the admonition to avoid causing weaker Christians to stumble. In 1 Corinthians 8:9 Paul warns, “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encourages, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.” Is there any doubt that the willingness of some Christians to participate in the celebration of sin while personally maintaining a biblical position on homosexuality has caused confusion in the Body? The minimum standard here is clear: if in the specific context of an interpersonal relationship of evangelism a Christian can in good conscience provide a service for a same-sex wedding they must keep their mouth shut about doing so.

You should absolutely read the entire thing. Especially if the whole kerfuffle of someone not wanting to bake a cake for a kind of wedding seems inherently hateful or foolish. Teetsel outlines the worldview behind the denial in a way that I think both fairly represents that perspective and makes sense to someone on the outside looking in.

The only possible thing I would add, particularly to Christians who take the opposing view, is to give 1 Thessalonians another read. The Holy Spirit used Paul to deliver some strong words to the church there regarding sexual sin. Not because the church was practicing it, but because the church was tolerating it from people who were. Tolerance is only tolerance if two sides are in disagreement, and tolerance can become sinful if one of those sides is God’s Word and the other side is the other side.

There, I think that’s everything. And if not, you can read previous posts I’ve written on the subject:
Holy Marriage, Batman! (why telling Christians to accept alternative definitions of marriage is a BFD)
Selling or Celebrating? (why creative contracting isn’t equal with public-access retail)

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