I was reading an NPR article where the following two paragraphs can be read:
Chambers also believes that homosexual acts are a sin because the Bible calls for heterosexual marriage. He says gay Christians must either be celibate, or if they want to marry, it must be with someone of the opposite sex. But he says even if you are in a gay relationship, you can still be a good Christian.
“I believe that once someone knows Christ that they have an irrevocable relationship, that if someone has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that God’s bigger than removing something at the first sign of trouble,” Chambers says, referring to salvation.
Now, having “an irrevocable relationship” is NOT the same thing as being “in a gay relationship [while being] a good Christian,” as the article asserts. Maybe Chambers said this in the actual interview, but in terms of this NPR article, I’m not certain Chambers should be judged on a summary comment written by a (most-likely) non-theological writer.
Like Chambers, I don’t think my favorable relationship standing to God hinges on what I do. I’m not sure declaring that truth gives “false assurance” to those who are not living in repentance, as Robert Gagnon has expressed concern.
I think Dr. Gagnon’s concern is valid: we, as Christians, should avoid saying things that give false assurance of the goodwill of a holy God to those who are in rebellion to what Scripture says about sexual mores (or anything, really). However, that rhetoric can be pushed too far, as hyper-Calvinists do where they offer no hope to anyone at all prior to them seeing signs of regeneration.
Some who take the news that what they do doesn’t have a bearing on what God thinks of them can either rest in God and desire to please Him with their lives, or they can opt to show the fruit of their mucked-up hearts which are far from God anyway. Ultimately, the assurance of God’s favor comes from God’s decisive act in history by Christ on the cross. And to those who have been called, their hearts change and become softened to continual repentance. That is the message that the Church (and Exodus) should be telling others who ask.
The reason for the hope within us–all Christians–is not that we can sort out our childhoods and find healing. It’s that Christ has taken the sin we’ve experienced and perpetrated upon Himself and that all bad things are now being undone. Christ’s resurrection is the downpayment on that promise from God…and we can say with confidence that while peace does not yet rest perfectly on us, it is sure and certain.