Saturday, June 22, 2013

A consistent sexual ethic

A Christian who is gay responding to the news that Exodus International is closing down:
.... Exodus’s shutting down is a highly symbolic event that will, I hope, allow evangelicals...to revisit the merits of the entire “ex-gay” approach. Reparative therapy has never owed much to Christian theology in the first place—its roots lie more in Freud than in the teachings of Jesus or the apostle Paul—so it’s high time that evangelicals became much more familiar with what the Christian tradition itself has to offer those who experience same-sex attraction, namely, a long history of practice and reflection on both celibacy and same-sex friendship. These historic Christian resources haven’t been entirely absent from evangelical discussions, but I think most would agree that they haven’t been prominent. .... [more]
Another Christian sheds "No Tears for Exodus":
...[A]s a Christian who embraces a traditional biblical ethic of sexuality, I rejoice at the closure of Exodus International. I rejoice not in spite of my traditional moral beliefs, but because of them. ....

...[A]bove all, attention needs to be drawn to this error of equating the sexual wholeness in Christ to which all Christians are called with the conscious experience of sexual attraction to the opposite sex. Under the guise of promoting a biblically grounded vision of human sexuality, this attitude has done very little to encourage homosexuals in developing the virtue of chastity. Instead, it simply throws fuel onto the fire of the modern secular obsession with personal sexual fulfillment by its implied acceptance of the claim that asking homosexuals to live without sex really would be to ask them to lead lives of misery and deprivation. ....

The closure of Exodus provides for Christians once again the opportunity to embrace the rigorous austerity of a genuinely gospel-based sexual ethic, which yes, makes it clear that homosexual relations are sinful, but also has plenty to say about divorce, heterosexual pornography, the contraceptive culture, and other aspects of the crisis of virtue within the Western world.

Whether secular therapists should be allowed to promote orientation change is a scientific question to be settled on the sole criteria of whether or not it is beneficial and effective. But the Christian Church has no business promoting a course of action that does nothing to make people holier. Let those who wish to pursue secular therapy do so if they feel it necessary, but let it not be confused with the gospel. The Church’s message must be the same message to both homosexuals and heterosexuals, in season and out of season: “You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy.” [more]
Related: Gay and celibate

After Exodus, What? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog, No Tears for Exodus | First Things