If you haven’t already done so, watch this video:
Take a few deep breaths. Try to calm down.
There is much in Worley’s “sermon” that is detestable. And I want to rightly denounce his “preaching” and his message here. But for the full treatment of that you will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I actually want to consider the response of Welton Gaddy. I do that because I am claiming in this piece that Worley’s ridiculousness is what makes the non-sense spewing from Gaddy’s mouth actually seem plausible. So, before we can rightly tackle the problem with Worley’s rant it needs to be shown that Gaddy’s response is just as anti-gospel.
I agree with Welton Gaddy that Charles Worley’s tirade is wrong and flat out dangerous. In that much we agree. But why I think it is wrong and dangerous is much different from why Gaddy believes it is so.
Welton Gaddy, rightly, believes that Worley is simply cherry picking verses and then going on hateful rants against homosexuality. He rightly says that Worley does not consider the whole sweep of Scripture. I agree. Then Gaddy defines the whole sweep of Scripture as a message of a loving God who wants us to love each other. The message of the Bible is that we learn to get along and cooperate. Which he is quick to mention is also what our government is about. At this point we diverge.
What Gaddy says here sounds so good and so “like Jesus” when compared to a dude that wants to round up “queers” like you would a batch of mules that cannot reproduce. “That’ll get rid of them and then we won’t have to have this problem anymore”. Acceptance, tolerance, unity, and a message of love seems like a no-brainer compared to such ridiculousness.
One problem though. The whole sweep of the Bible isn’t fundamentally about humanities quest to learn to love one another. The message of the Bible is about the self-giving God drawing undeserving rebellious sinners into a relationship with Himself. It is about him rooting out of his world all sin and belief and creating in its place passionate worshipers.
Though Worley does cherry-pick verses and rip them out of context he is not wrong that God is “againt” (how do you spell that?) homosexuality.
It takes some serious exegetical gymnastics and a complete mutilation of the text to make an argument that Romans 1 does not place the sin of homosexuality within the grand scope of Scripture’s message. Homosexuality is a result of worshipping the creature instead of creation. And Paul uses that particular sin not because it is worse than any of the others listed in Scripture but because it provides a helpful picture of worshipping and serving “like” instead of worshipping and serving “Other”.
If it is true that homosexuality is image of God destroying then the most loving thing that we can do is not leave them in their sin. Yes, Jesus “accepted” the loose Samaritan woman. But he also told her “go and sin no more”. There really is such a thing as sin in the world and it’s far more wide-reaching than just “lack of accepting one another”.
Hate is a sin. So is homosexuality. Because both are sin doesn’t mean that both are now somehow acceptable and we just need to learn to love one another in the midst of our sin. It means that we both need Christ and as we both grab hold of the Cross of Jesus we find unity. That’s the story of the gospel.
Unity is found when broken and rebellious sinners find grace and acceptance at the Cross of Christ. It’s not found when broken and rebellious sinners put on fig leaves and then have a fashion show to encourage one another in their new rebellion-denying attire.
But rebellion-denying seems so plausible when compared to the anti-gospel rants of the Charles Worley’s of the world…
By the way, I find it really telling that a man of such acceptance and love can label the group of people that were listening to this man as those having “sick minds”. So it is perfectly acceptable, and tolerant, and together, to dismiss and insult those that aren’t deemed as acceptable, tolerant, and together? Actually, I agree with Gaddy that those shouting “Amen” have sick minds. But I can say that and not be a hypocrite because I’m not the dude trying to convince sinners (like myself) to hold hands and sing Kumbaya because we really aren’t so screwed up. But it is quite hypocritical to preach tolerance for all belief—except of course to those that aren’t tolerant.