A Response to Jennifer Knapp’s “Coming Out”
by Pastor Bob Botsford
After today’s articles in Christianity Today (click here) http://alturl.com/kccz and ABC NEWS (click here) http://tinyurl.com/y7ehkrp, I prayerfully sat down at my desk in complete sadness and utter disappointment of another missed opportunity for God to be honored through a testimony of life-changing deliverance. Unfortunately, there’s no shock to me saying that most Christians who speak against homosexuality are more motivated by hate than love. And as careful as I preface my remarks, sadly there will still be a crowd who cries “foul” and jump to their own conclusion that I’m a hate filled, homo-phobe, preaching bigot that is forcing my perspective down a tolerant culture’s throat. With all my heart, I’m not.
For the record I love Jennifer Knapp. Eight years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with her (and her manager) as she was grappling with her departure from Christian music. I have known of her same-sex relationship since then (as have many) and chose to remain vocal only in my prayers on her behalf, until now. I also love my friends and family members who are (or were) involved in same-sex relationships. Say what you will, God knows my heart. This isn’t about hate. This is about love and it’s about caring enough to be honest about the Truth, God’s love, the inerrancy of scripture and sinful compromise.
The truth is, every human being is precious to God. In fact so precious that He sent His only son Jesus to suffer and die on a cross to free us from a life of sin. The truth is that God abhors any form of sexual sin, be it premarital sex, adultery, prostitution, or homosexuality. No pattern of sexual behavior apart from what God has created for us to enjoy is glorifying in His sight. Rather it is sin. Yes, I am well aware there is a suffering that exists among many in the gay community who feel ostracized from the evangelical community, so much so that they remain hidden in their sins for years on end. Yes, it is also true that when they possess the repentant heart of the Prodigal to return home, they should be welcomed back home with opened arms of complete acceptance and love. Yes, this happens often, but unfortunately without much press or fanfare. It’s hate that gets reported over heart change ten to one. However, in the story of the Prodigal, there is a glaring difference; the prodigal repents. He turned from his sin and humbly came home not expecting any semblance of his previous status to be reinstated, and yet received everything back and then some. That is the picture of the power of God’s love and forgiveness. Condoning sin or excusing it within some cultural argument of relevance is the wrong picture. Predicated upon things going well for the Prodigal (irregardless of what he had done) lies the essential and vital issue of his personal heart of repentance. In short he doesn’t justify his sin, nor does he drag his sinful lifestyle home with him. He left it behind with the hog slop, came to his senses, turned from his sins, and was lovingly reinstated back into the arms of his loving father and family.
In twenty-five years of ministry I have encountered countless examples of homosexuals describing to me the deep seated urges and subconscious desires they have battled with their whole lives. Many speak of early age rejection, emotional abuse, sexual violence and abandonment – just to list a few of the damaging experiences that wreak havoc on the formation of one’s identity. But regardless of one’s past, choosing a life path that Scripture specifically calls sin can never be tolerated or accepted as anything other than what scripture declares. Doing so is equivalent to treason. It is outright rebellion against God’s Word and degrades the loving act of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary as an unnecessary waste of time, life and effort.
Honestly I don’t expect the unbelieving world to understand that. How can they when they have yet to experience the redeeming love and forgiveness of our Lord? But when a well known spokesperson of the faith stubbornly chooses to remain in their life of sin, my heart breaks for them and for the diluted witness of the salvation message we are called to deliver to the world. No truly regenerate life can chose to remain motivated by sin rather than by His salvation. And regardless of how beautiful one may sing of the Truth, if they have stopped fighting for the Truth then there really isn’t much to sing about.
No one can deny that we live in a sinful world. But Christ has come to set us free … from Sin! So here are the questions everyone wants answered; Can you be a Christian and sin? Yes. Will God forgive you? Yes. Does He like your sin? No. Does your life glorify Him while you are choosing to sin? No. Does He want you to repent and turn from your sin? Yes. If you say no and stubbornly remain in sin are you in denial of the transformed life and true relationship with the Father that He created you to have? Yes. Do Old Testament laws pertaining to eating shellfish or wearing multiple fabrics equate with homosexuality? No. The New Testament brings a new level of understanding to food and clothing (Acts 10) while still condemning homosexuality (Romans 1).
If anyone we knew was trapped in a burning building (in this instance a burning building of self-destructive behavior) we would fault any onlookers who if given the chance could have called out in an attempt to save them, but just numbly looked on. We should implore them to get out while there’s still time. So I say in love, Jen get out.