Over at the fantastic blog Mere Comments, Dante translator Anthony Esolen wrote a piece urging the church to “raise the stakes” in the debate on homosexuality in the church by “blistering and frank condemnations of fornication — based on a keen insight into what that sin can do to a human soul.” This would solve the problem by climbing back up the slippery slope the church has fallen into on sexual morality. It would also remove the oft-used argument in Christian-leaning homosexuals who say undue condemnationis brought on them by a finger-pointing church. The proverbial finger would still be pointed, but now broadened to take in all sexual sins.
Great idea, right? Well, I think so too, but there is one problem…
Here is the comment I wrote on Mere Comment’s blog.
“This is a great strategy, but with one little – and by little I mean paralyzing – problem: I honestly don’t think that the pastors in our nation are capable of “blistering and frank condemnations of fornication — based on a keen insight into what that sin can do to a human soul.” There just isn’t the theological background to do so. Our pastors are not adequately trained to understand how human sexuality relates to being a human being. Basically, I’m not sure our leaders know why sexual immorality is a sin (or even a robust understanding of what sin is). So the message against sexual immorality from the pulpit comes out: ‘God says sexual immorality is a sin, so it is bad. Sins are bad because they go against what God said.’
“Granted, congregations ought to respond to this message because they love God and want to do what He says. But such a superficial argument leaves doubts that linger and lurk only to rise up in the heat of the moment when that better understanding of sex and sin was needed.”
Our pastors simply don’t know how to talk about sin in an understandable way, much less sexual immorality. We need, so desperately, to educate Christians to think well and rationally.