A Unique Perspective On Pride
According to a recent report, there are scores of countries that criminalize homosexual acts and scores more provide no legal protection for people belonging to these communities. Notable countries include China, Russia, India, Iran and Afghanistan.
A 2014 Pew Research study found that in the United States, 31% of survey responders thought homosexuality should be discouraged. This includes 14% of Hindus, 76% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 47% of Muslims and 12% of the religiously unaffiliated.
Although it may not feel like it to American Christians, large numbers of non-Christians in the United States and around the world disapprove of homosexuality.
When you see these statistics, it’s tempting to conclude that Christians share a common cause with many non-Christians.
Although many Christians and some non-Christians may disapprove of homosexuality, the way Christians disapprove is unique. We do not share a common cause. If we miss this distinction, we may unintentionally take part in a worldly disapproval that is ultimately destructive.
This week, I read an article by John Piper entitled, ‘A Peculiar Disapproval of Gay Pride.’ I highly recommend you check it out. In this article, Piper describes proper Christian disapproval of gay pride as unique and a work of the Holy Spirit. He describes three ways this is so.
First, Christian disapproval grows from the forgiveness Christians themselves have received. Forgiven Christians disapprove of gay pride as an expression of love. This love compels them to sacrifice so that others might know the same forgiveness and hope they have experienced.
Second, disapproving of what we find morally wrong or unnatural is easy; but to practice perfect unconditional love for those we disapprove of is humanly impossible. The Christian cannot do this on their own, but must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. According to Piper, Christian disapproval of gay pride is a “combination of negative moral assessment, natural distaste, and Christ-shaped sacrificial love” empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Finally, the Christian believes all things exist for the glory of God, including our approving and disapproving. Therefore, Christian disapproval of gay pride is motivated by a desire for the glory of God to be seen in the lives of forgiven sinners.
Christianity is not a means to an end or a weapon we wield to create a culture we feel comfortable living in. Piper observes, “Christianity is not a crusade against anything. It is a mission to save sinners, and restore the moral beauty of the bride of Christ — a mission pursued by the cross of Christ, through the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God. Opposing sin is never an end in itself. Christian denunciation of sin is for the sake of holy jubilation in the presence of God.”
For the church to reach the lost within the homosexual community, we cannot disapprove like the world disapproves. Our disapproval must be rooted in Christ, empowered by the Spirit and for the Father’s glory.