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Against the Charge of Homophobia – Part 1

Adapted from an article Peter Jensen wrote for GAFCON

It’s a pretty heavy thing to be accused of homophobia. The word is not an intellectual judgement but a more damning moral one.

There have always been examples of unkind attitudes, bullying and discrimination towards people who appear to be, or who identify as, homosexual, just as there has always been racism, snobbery and other ugly traits. Sadly, Christians have sometimes been guilty of this, and in doing so we are failing to follow the way of Christ.

However, in recent years the accusation of ‘homophobia’ has been levelled not just at these unkind attitudes towards gay people, but also reasoned biblical convictions about problems associated with homosexual practice, and any expression of concern about the power and intolerance of pressure groups. We are told that no matter how compassionate a person is towards gay people, if we do not fully embrace the goodness of the gay identity and lifestyle we are homophobes. We are said to rely on irrational feelings and thoughts to reject and damage homosexual people.

You cannot argue your way out of such a moral judgement. You are not being accused of using bad arguments to support a case, but of reacting viscerally in an immoral and damaging way.

Not surprisingly, in the West in particular, those who wish to argue for a traditional sexual ethic have been intimidated by the word. It is tragic to see once orthodox churches compromise with the world at this crucial point and become activists for a worldly morality. But it is even more tragic to see otherwise orthodox people lose confidence in their convictions because their compassion is questioned, and so find themselves unable to speak up for Biblical teaching.

Many ministers fail to teach clearly on this crucial issue and hope that somehow the intimidation will pass. The result is moral confusion and spiritual inertia in the churches.

Of course there have been mistakes made and unpleasant and hurtful language used by those who are commending the traditional point of view and of course there have been, and still are, unjust and dangerous laws and discrimination.

But there is a great peril in simply dismissing those who disagree with a consensus by using a ‘shut-down’ word like ‘homophobia’. We deprive ourselves and others of hearing the whole truth and we lose our capacity to form genuine moral judgements by using abusive language rather than civil discussion. Indeed, it is incumbent on Christians not to lose heart but to speak with care, wisdom and compassion despite the shouting of others on both sides of this debate.

To read a clear article on this subject go here.