i love systematic exposition, because it obligates me to learn what i presume to teach.
in the fellowship i lead, we started walking verse-by-verse through the book of romans a few weeks ago, and already in chapter one, i’ve unearthed a couple of scriptural land mines. for example, last weekend we read this passage:
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Romans 1:26-27)
i gotta’ be honest, i’d have just as soon skipped this passage. a lot of church leaders do and they seem to get by with it.
on the other hand, i know many leaders that love to preach this passage. with voice raised and fists clenched, they rail against homosexuality (and the people respond with loud “amens!”) because they are pretty sure there are no homosexuals in their congregation (and they prefer it that way).
i contend (and i told my church family yesterday) that we are not allowed to choose one behavior to denigrate while ignoring or, god forbid, indulging in others (i immediately think of christian “hobbies” like gossip and materialism and unforgiveness).
i love the term david platt uses: “selective moral outrage.” we cannot afford that luxury.
i believe homosexuality is unnatural. scripture seems to teach quite clearly that homosexuality is immoral and indecent and perverse. still, homosexuality is no worse than any of the sins i harbor in my heart. i would even go so far to say that when homosexuals visit our fellowship (and i pray they do), that we are absolutely not allowed to judge them. if/when we treat them with insolence, then our sin–a proud and arrogant heart–is every bit as immoral and indecent and perverse as theirs.
i hope we have enough jesus (“friend of sinners”) to practice acceptance.
and leave the judging/changing to god.