Monday, April 26, 2010

Jennifer Knapp & Homosexuality

You've probably heard by now that the one time Christian artist Jennifer Knapp has come out as being a homosexual. I imagine there aren't too many people feeling neutral about this news, whether you're upset that she has come out and seems to be okay with it, or you're angry at those condemning her for it.

She recently did an interview with Larry King to talk more openly about her decision. You can find a summary of the videos or the entire interview broken up into four parts here. I confess I have only watched the summary so far, but am anxious to see the whole thing.

After watching the interview, Trevin Wax makes some good observations here. I particularly liked what he had to say about framing the conversation when talking about the sin of homosexuality and knowing at the same time that everyone is a sinner. He points out that the key is repentance:
"Whenever the discussion centers on “homosexuality is a sin… but we’re all sinners,” the traditionalist inevitably comes across looking like he is singling out homosexuality as a worse sin than all the rest. His protests to the contrary always ring hollow.

But this is the wrong way to frame this debate. We are not saying that some of us are worse sinners than others or that homosexuality is a worse sin than pride, stealing, etc. We are not categorized before God as ” better sinners” or “worse sinners.” Instead, we are either unrepentant or repentant. True Christianity hinges on repentance. The pastor on Larry King Live eventually made this point later on in the broadcast, but the rhetorical damage had already been done.

If we are to reframe this discussion along biblical lines, then we must emphasize the necessity of repentance for the Christian faith. The point is not that the pastor and the Knapp are both sinners. It’s that the pastor agrees with God about his sin, while Knapp remains in her sin without repentance. That is why he is questioning her Christianity, for Christian teaching makes clear the necessity of repentance as the entryway into the Christian family."
He also makes an important distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexual behavior:
There is a difference between homosexual attraction and homosexual behavior. Whenever this discussion takes place in public, the homosexual advocate inevitably merges these two concepts together and then fashions an identity based upon this attraction. The traditionalist is then considered judgmental for telling the homosexual that she should not be true to herself.

But the assumption that we are defined by our sexual attractions is a modern one and should be questioned. If I lust after a woman other than my wife, and yet choose not to act on that sexual urge, am I not being true to myself? Is it not better to be true to someone else rather than true to one’s desires on certain occasions? Could it be that the suppression of an illicit sexual attraction can also be considered true to oneself?

This is where the whole idea of Christian virtue needs to be revisited. Our goal is not authenticity. It is to be true to the self that is redeemed, transformed by the gospel and the power of the Spirit, under the authority of God’s Word.
And I especially love his conclusion when he says that we Christians ought to have soft hearts towards those who struggle with same sex attraction. If we don't have soft hearts, we are not really believing the gospel. The gospel says that we are all God's enemies, dead in our sin, and in need of another's merit and propitiatory sacrifice to bring us back in to fellowship with our Creator. Christ is this Savior. He's is all we have to rely on. This should make us humble, loving, and a repentant people.


1 comment:

  1. That was not a good interview to watch- though I think the pastor was trying to hold his ground, he came out sounding harsh and judgemental and patronizing....not much of a soft heart. And Ted Haggard was just a bunch of fluff (in my opinion). It was just sad that it turned into another situation where the traditional Christian appears condemning and narrow-minded. I guess it's a hard balance to find- being loving and having "soft hearts" (which I TOTALLY agree with and wish there was more of that towards homosexuality in the church)- yet also not giving into moral relativism. I don't know- it's a discussion the church needs to take up more instead of either just ignoring it or condemning it. Maybe this will help open some dialogue.