On Oct. 31, Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas accused people who disagree with his opinion on homosexuality of worshiping “personal interest” and having “compromised the integrity of the scriptures to condone homosexuality.”
Unfortunately the eternal souls of those dealing with homosexuality are placed on the back burner to affirm or condemn their temporal sexuality. Most homosexuals understandably look at the church “battles” and think, “I want ‘none’ of that.”
But what some people find offensive is Thomas’ insistence on putting the souls of other people on the front burner — or any burner at all.
Earthly arguments convince them to walk way from the very house of Christ….
Not quite. Self-righteous and self-serving arguments by the political religious right cause some gay people to reject a Christian faith identification as patently immoral. What Thomas describes as “earthly arguments” are, in fact, discussions of faith, identity, relationships, history, and science.
Faith in Christ is a personal relationship not a social war. The “dialog” over homosexuality has essentially turned into the “art of one-ups-manship” and people will perish for the lack of saving knowledge in Christ. This is wrong and it must stop.
Thomas seems to lump together truce-oriented dialogue with a culture war that Exodus has escalated since 2001. This perception that dialogue turns into culture war may be a projection of Thomas’ own journey. Thomas abandoned dialogue-oriented efforts in the late 1990s, while still an ex-gay advocate in Texas, and then joined the Exodus staff.
Cycling through series of futile discussions, dialog and policy is not true fellowship and only provides stumbling blocks for seeking souls.
Thomas steadfastly declines to recognize that those who disagree with his political and moral opinions on homosexuality are just as sincere and well-founded, if not more so, in their commitment to morality and religious faith. Endeavoring to understand people who are different from oneself is not, by any means, a “futile” effort.
Instead of discussing faith-related differences of opinion with his foes within the Christian community, Thomas dismisses the discussion as untrue fellowship and a stumbling block to his evangelical intentions. But in nonpartisan evangelism, all parties recognize a need to understand God better; in Thomas’ style of evangelism, it would appear that he has the answers, regardless of his imagined foes’ questions.
If a group of people cannot agree on the character of God, His revelation through scripture and the issues of redemption from sin…why are we arguing theology with unbelievers?
In this message, and in his responses to some XGW readers in recent months, Thomas has declined to discuss his misstatements about the religious, moral and political beliefs of those whom he criticizes — and whom he implicitly threatens with damnation.
I regretfully observe that Thomas’ Oct. 31 message suggests a judgmental unbelief in grace, an insecure unbelief in fellowship with a Christian who disagrees with him, and a conformist unbelief in the essential disagreements (diversity) of any healthy faith community.
I respectfully direct the Exodus spokesman to the following writings of Christian blogger Allen Brill:
The Art of Interpretation, Brill’s history of biblical inerrancy
I also recommend “The Different Drum,” by M. Scott Peck. The book reflects on the disagreements that are implicit (and essential) in religious community-building.
(There are probably more recent books on the subject; suggestions welcome.)