“You believe what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, so then, do you believe all the crazy rules and regulations in the Old Testament too?” This question comes up frequently in public discourse on homosexuality. Michael Bird here provides what to me is the definitive Christian response in a brief, clear, and winsome manner.
Bird writes so much that’s good I want to quote him extensively, but since his response is brief I’ll only include his concluding remarks:
Mr. President, at the end of the day Christian ethics are based on love not law: love for God and love for our neighbors. Christians, within the precincts of their own consciences, cannot affirm behavior that they believe Scripture prohibits. The wisdom of our tradition is that sexuality is a gift from God, leading us to affirm celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage. Yet because of the command to love their neighbours, you can expect Christians to always treat people, irrespective of gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, with compassion and dignity, as we ourselves would want to be treated. If you wish to wag a finger at Christians for their hypocrisy, and I hope you do, citing texts from Leviticus is probably not the best way to do that. Much better is to accuse Christians of not keeping Jesus’ commands to love their gay neighbor, point out that they have not followed Jesus’ example to welcome those who polite society has rejected, and they have not embraced the lost for whom Jesus said he came to save! That is a word of rebuke Christians need to hear time and again.