A Christian's witness comes from the heart. However, the foundations upon which Christians frame their witness and form their opinions should be based on the scriptures. I thank Allstarflyer and Redngold for their contributions, and for using scripture in their responses. I think you guys used them well.
Though we rely on the scriptures, we're admittedly challenged as to how to apply them appropriately to our lives. This is one of the main reasons why we go to church, study the Bible, and seek its truth.
Of course, anyone can read the Bible, but theyÕll likely garner only a superficial sense of the truth if they donÕt first have faith in Christ. For me reading the Bible without faith was like reading a strange language. Many, if not all, of those who come to Christ experience an incredible revelation whereby they understand what other Christians had been saying to them.
Certainly, believers can be just as guilty of taking scripture out of context, and they can also error by applying it inaccurately or inconsistently to their lives. Just because someone is a Christian doesn't mean all the truths are revealed in one instant. Nor does it mean that they are suddenly Christ-like in all aspects of their lives. We are works in progress. The proper attitude of a disciple is one of humility, but one of trust in Christ and the Word.
When Christians fail to accept the entire package of ChristÕs teachings it undermines the Christian presence, but more importantly it undermines their own faith. Christians can certainly be guilty of picking and choosing which the truths to cling to, ignoring those that are particularly convicting or difficult. One can read the Sermon on Mount and find many such concepts that are difficult to incorporate into our lives.
Christ ruffled the feathers of many. He instructed His disciples to go out and tell people to repent, which means to turn away from sin. In John 14:6 Jesus says, ÒI am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.Ó This has been difficult for many people to digest, to say the least.
IÕve struggled with the homosexual issue primarily because IÕve found it difficult to say that in MY
opinion that it's aberrant. Furthermore, if it is aberrant, I canÕt say that in my opinion that itÕs one of a moral or biological nature. I simply donÕt have the knowledge on my own to make such a statement. I've heard nothing from anyone in the multitude of threads on this topic (nor in the medical literature) that convinces me that anyone else knows, either.
However, I can say that the Bible expresses a rather clear and firm stand on the issue. The Bible places homosexuality squarely amongst the other sins, and in doing so, it infers that one engages in homosexual practices by choice and that it is wrong in the eyes of the Lord. To echo that IS
the proper Christian position.
For anyone to come to Christ they must first realize that they need Christ. They have to realize that there is something lacking in their heart and impure in their lives that they canÕt fix. This is the most difficult step, as we all have varying degrees of pride that we donÕt want to let go.
We want to create our own worlds, make our own truth, and believe that we are in control. Often it isnÕt until weÕre knocked to our knees that we accept that thereÕs really little over which we have domain. Maybe then, if we have any wisdom left, we seek God.
It seems that the efforts of the gay community basically aim for their orientation to be considered normal. In a Biblical sense, they want to have homosexuality removed from the list of sins. They want to hang on to their lifestyles, and raise them up as if their behaviors were no less sinful than heterosexual relations.
The problem is, of course, that even heteros are sinful. Most of us heteros don't want to 'come out of the closet' with our sin, unlike those who are openly gay. We are not proud of our sin, and some of us may be shocked that anyone would be proud of theirs.
This is a matter to be ultimately taken up with God. You may be reassured that He is loving and merciful, and welcomes all who seek Him, even those who have turned their backs on Him (and worse). However, know that He is also all-knowing, just, and pure. You will therefore not be able to disguise sin as something different.
But that goes for all of us. We cannot make ourselves free of sin, nor can we hide our sin from God. It is why we see that we need a Savior, and cling to Christ in all of our imperfection.
We have so great a joy and reassurance in our redemption by Christ that we want to share it with others. That, in addition to Jesus instructing his followers to share the Good News, is why the rest of you folks have to put up with the more vocal Christians, even if we sometimes don't do it as persuasively as Christ could do himself.
However, there were those who even turned away from Christ during His ministry on earth. I take some small degree of comfort in that as well. But not much, though.
For Christ said "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." (Matthew 18:12-15)