Excellent presentation by a very well respected scholar! Thank you Ben Witherington.
I am in complete agreement with what Witherington presents here from scripture but i do have some questions and a small rant that has been rolling around in my mind for awhile now concerning homosexuality and the Christian response…
1. In light of the Gospel (The person and work of Jesus The Christ) why do we sound like moralists concerning this issue but not on many other sin issues? [By moralists I mean a people who follow a system of moral principles]
2. Why does behavioral modification seem to be a means of grace for homosexuals and not everyone else? (It seems like we are picking and choosing based on the “yucky factor”)
3. Is repent simply an evangelical synonym for behavioral modification?
4. If our response to hearing the Good News is to turn and follow. What exactly does this look like?
Who doesn’t hate the thought of being audited come tax season. I remember talking with an acquaintance about taxes and after I told him how stressful it was he pulled his cigarette out of his mouth and looked at me for a minute with all seriousness and said… “really do you have something to hide? Is that why your worried?” I remember walking off and thinking to my self “you @$%!@#& jerk, NO! I’m stressed because taxes are complicated and I am afraid I could have made a mistake… were you born on another planet?… Mr. Perfect Man?
Anyways… when issues like homosexuality come up for some reason some pretty understanding, peaceful, loving and kind Christian’s begin to look (in my opinion) a lot like tax accountants and their churches must look a lot like the department of the IRS or CRA. Full of people who smoke just ready to try to figure out what you have done wrong. I could imagine being a fall ridden (Rom 3:23), law broken (2 Cor 3:6) sexually confused person (which every honest person is as a result of the fall and the law) looking for grace and being really confused by some “Christians” who seem to have this whole “tax thing” figured out and love to make people feel unconformable who don’t.
Some people ACT like they will hold up well come audit day. Those people might laugh, mock or over simplify the complexities of this fallen world full of fallen people doing and thinking fallen things but in the end I won’t be putting my money on behavior modification when I stand before the great tax agent in the sky… I will be thankful for his Son Jesus just like I am thankful for H&R Block (well that is until H&R Block messes up, LOL).