A Better Conversation about Homosexuality: Not about Rejecting the Body

Photo Credit: Nick Sherman

Liberals and conservatives both get this wrong.

Far left liberal Christians say that the body is not really that important. 

Sex and bodily such things don't matter nearly as much as virtues such as kindness, hospitality, and honesty.  What we do with our bodies is a private and personal affair - not something that should concern the Church.  What really matters is our spirits or our hearts.  As long is our heart is right, who is in our bed and what we do there doesn't really matter.  Jesus said almost nothing about sex, and we should follow suit.  Just preach "love," and everything will work out.

Hearing these kind of arguments completely freaks out conservative Christians. 

They rightly recognize that perspective for the heresy that it is. 

Among other errors, the ancient Gnostics taught that the body is unimportant and that only the spirit matters.  Therefore, what we do with our bodies is completely irrelevant to relationship with God and spiritual health. 

A brief read through the New Testament debunks this theory. 

Obviously, the early Christians cared deeply about what is done in the body both in terms of sexuality and in terms of care for the poor. 

Therefore, upon hearing statements that imply that sex and the body don't matter, conservatives tend to go up in arms.  They feel that the whole Bible and all ethical reasoning is suddenly at stake on this issue.  They feel that if they acquiesce even a hair, then we will descend into the inescapable slippery slope of moral degradation.

However, both sides have gotten this wrong - starting with the liberal discounting of what is done in the body and then progressing to the conservative overreaction to this liberal error. 

When Jesus came "in the flesh," God forever affirmed the importance of the body.  When Jesus was raised in body as well as Spirit, that confirmed that our bodies matter both now and forever.

In actuality, the debate about homosexuality within the Christian Church is not about antinomianism (an anything goes ethical system).  The debate within the Christian church is about defining the ethical laws of marriage not abandoning all laws of marriage.  The question - rightly understood - has absolutely zero conflict with the long-upheld importance of the human body. 

The question for Christians is not whether we can now have sex with whoever, however, whenever we want.  For Christians, sex is still solidly rooted within marriage.  The only question rightly up for debate is whether marriage is necessarily only heterosexual or whether a loving marriage covenant might also be faithfully formed for a homosexual couple as well.  That is the only question worth discussing.  Everything else is beside the point.

This question (no matter how we answer it) continues to affirm the importance of the body and what we do with our bodies. 

So pay attention, people. 

Calm down, and talk about what really matters.