(By Owen Strachan, Patheos). I have read and appreciated Eugene Peterson’s books for years. His take on pastoral ministry, with a focus on the theological nature of the work and a deep engagement with the beauty of spirituality, has marked me. I am not alone in this respect–not by a long shot. Even as I have disagreed with some of Peterson’s views, I have continued to read him.
It thus troubled me greatly to read Peterson saying homosexuality is “not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” Here is the full quote:
I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.
These are not sound words. We are called not merely to abstain from sin but to avoid giving approval to those who indulge in it (see the implication of Romans 1:32). None who practice homosexuality, and who take it as their identity, will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Romans 6:9-11). We recall Paul’s strong words: without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). This does not mean that Christians are perfect people; it does mean that we abhor our sin, fight it, and constantly repent of it.
This point bears restating. There is a great gap of a difference between people who sin and then repent, and people who sin and do not repent and even make it a positive part of their identity.