Pastoral Gagnon: Day 30
‘Ultimately, it is the individual homosexual who suffers in his or her relationship to God when the church shirks its duty to call a sin a sin. Far from being an unloving act, a sensitive refusal to condone homosexual conduct is the responsible and loving thing to do. The church deceives homosexuals by affirming a lifestyle that God deems to be sin. It is a nice, easy way out. No one is offended, the arguments go away, the tension dissipates—all at the “minimal” cost of forestalling the redemptive work of Christ. God did not offer up Jesus Christ for the purpose of rubber stamping and affirming all human desires. Christ died in order that human beings might be reconciled to God and begin the process of sanctification that will ultimately lead to glorification.’ (The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 484)
‘To denounce same-sex intercourse and then stop short of actively and sacrificially reaching out in love and concern to homosexuals is to have as truncated a gospel as those who mistake God’s love for “accepting people as they are” and who avoid talk of the gospel’s transformative power. It is to forget the costly and self-sacrificial work of God in our lives, past and ongoing.’
(The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 492)
‘This book has been aimed at showing that affirming same-sex intercourse is not an act of love, however well-meaning the intent. That road leads to death: physically, morally, and spiritually. Promoting the homosexual “rights” agenda is an awful and harmful waste of the church’s energies and resources. What does constitute an act of love is befriending the homosexual while withholding approval of homosexual behavior…, pursuing in love homosexuals while bearing the abuse that will inevitably come with opposing homosexual practice…The real difficulty for the church lies not in assessing whether the Bible’s stance toward same-sex intercourse is unremittingly negative…No, the real difficulty for the church lies in the pastoral dimension: the “nuts and bolts,” day-to-day compassionate response to people whose sexual actions are recognized to be sinful and harmful to themselves, to the church, and to society at large.’
(The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 493)
Here we come to Gagnon’s main intent: to offer a clear and redemptive way for ‘homosexuals’ to know Jesus through repenting of sexual sin and (re)discovering Jesus’ love. That is only possible if: we work hard on becoming effective pastoral arms of Jesus for them, and second, we do persons the hard favor of refusing ‘gay’ behavior as God’s best for him or her. As Gagnon says well, the Church deceives persons by condoning what God does not.
He broadens the call to all of us: have we forgotten the costly work that Jesus did to transform us? The deaths we died in order to live for Him? We know for sure that only His Love made the way for us to let go of lesser loves. We need to realize that conformity to Jesus takes a big God who condescends to our littleness. We choose whether we will humble ourselves and so allow Him to raise us. How can we not travail for our ‘gay’ friends who need to know that choice as much as we did?
Let us not be intimidated. Jesus’ love is far more fulfilling than any LGBTQ+ alternative. For Jesus’ sake and for the best option possible for our wayward friend, let us offer a loving glimpse of this Jesus who never gave up on us. May each friend see in our faces, hear in our voices, witness in our actions, truth-in-love. Jesus is better than anything this world offers: for us, for all.
‘Jesus, thank You for this brilliant, tender man whose work clears the way for us to love sexual sinners well. May we do so, Jesus-style. In mercy, use Your evident design in creation to call confused and deceived and hurting persons back to You. Make our joy complete as we share with You in this Kingdom adventure.’
‘Jesus, show us Your way through the uneven, deeply divided ground of our nation. Please compose and restrain explosive hearts. Use us as instruments of Your peace. “O blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Savior Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, we trust in You.”’