Written by Sam Logan
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 00:00
I suspect we immediately feel one of two things about this question:
1. Of course not! Just read John 8: 7.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (NIV)
2. That’s a trick question! Just read Matthew 21: 12 – 13.
(12) Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. (13) “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (NIV)
We know that both of these passages are in the Bible and we believe (at least I believe) that both passages are authoritative and inerrant. Just read II Timothy 3: 16.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (NIV)
But how do we apply these (and similar) passages?
How especially do we apply them when the question before us is one like homosexuality, perhaps THE hottest topic in both Christian and secular communities in the United States and some other parts of the world?
Biblical Seminary seeks to be missional. We understand that to mean, among other things, that we desire “to follow Jesus into the world,” to bring His grace to ALL of those who need it. That “ALL” includes liars, gossips, gluttons, racists, prideful individuals, and those who engage in sexual intercourse outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. We desire to bring that grace to sinners because it is only that grace which can transform sinners from enemies of God to worshippers of God.
But how do we do that while remaining faithful to the lessons of II Timothy 3, Matthew 21, and John 8?
Recently, I have read two superb pieces which seem to me to point the way ahead.
The first is a brief article by Biblical Professor Dr. Phil Monroe. That article is entitled “Does Acts 15 Give Us Direction for Solving Doctrinal Differences?” and it is found here.
Phil examines the way in which the Jerusalem Council handled the question of whether Gentiles should be required to be circumcised and, in the midst of his examination, he says this: “The council did not base their decision on Scripture. Rather, in their letter to the Antioch church, the council says: ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us’ not to set impossible standards or hurdles for either side in the dispute.“ What does that (inerrant) passage mean for being “missional” in the face of what Jesus SAID in John 8 and what He DID in Matthew 21? You will need to read Phil’s article to see.
But back to the specific question of stoning and moneychanger bashing.
The second article I recently read deals much more directly with how we ACT toward those whom we believe are sinning. Most precisely, it deals with how we ACT toward practicing (perhaps married) homosexuals.
And this article is also superb.
As I read it, I wept, especially at the very conclusion of the article where “stoning” is specifically mentioned. I found myself praying, “Lord, teach me to love as wisely and as well (and as missionally) as did Dr. Prior, Dr. Reeves, and Dr. Borland.”
Who are Dr. Prior, Dr. Reeves, and Dr. Borland and what exactly did they do?
Well, you will have to read THAT article to find out. It is entitled, “Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University” and it may be found here.
Read both articles and then let me know how YOU think we should ACT toward sinners, particularly BUT NOT JUST homosexual sinners.
Sam Logan is Special Counsel to the President and Professor of Church History at Biblical. He also serves as the International Director of the World Reformed Fellowship (www.wrfnet.org). He is an ordained minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and is President Emeritus of Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia).. He is married to Susan and they have two sons and two grandsons. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/samuel-logan