Much debate as ensued in the current push to redefine marriage as accepting same-sex couples. This redefinition of marriage is touted as a “homosexual rights” issue. Within this current climate of said debate a new mile stone for homosexual rights activists has come to pass – the first active male professional athlete has come out admitting he is gay. That athlete would be, of course, NBA player Jason Collins.
OK, great! Now let’s play ball, right?
Not so fast because – for some reason – the conversation quickly turned to religion. It appears that Collins claims to be a homosexual Christian. In a TV interview, ESPN sports analyst Chris Broussard, a Christian, said it was the right time for Collins to come out. However, when asked about Collins profession of faith, Broussard also said he does not believe one can live an openly homosexual lifestyle and be considered a Christian.
Broussard recently defended his position well on a morning radio show. In his defense, Broussard explained the difference between professing Christians who sin and repent vs. those who are unrepentant and openly live in and seek out sin regardless of sexuality. He is right and points to the very important issue of repentance for those claiming the name of Christ.
Of course, Broussard has since been called homophobic. But I think the bigger issue may be called repentophobia. Repentophobia happens when theology is ultimately replaced with meology. That is, when God is replaced with self.
The love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ is often passed as the baton of acceptance. Yet, what is really happening is sin is passed over and repentance ignored. Repentance is an important part of this conversation no matter one’s sexual orientation. For example:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
This Scripture describes unrepentant people whose life reflects the listed sins including those who “practice homosexuality.” These sins are part of the identity and lifestyles of the people written about. Also note that there are some Christians who used to live the same way, but Jesus has washed them of that former way of life. Those Christians have repented, or turned away from, practicing those sins.
Some Christians may struggle with certain sins for a while or even most of their life. Yet, with struggle being the key word, they continuously repent and strive to find their identity in Jesus rather than in past sinful ways of life.
The issue for Christians (like Broussard) is not homophobia. We do not fear homosexuals; we fear God. The real issue is those who profess Christianity alongside homosexuality (like Collins) do not seem to fear God. They fear repenting of their sins so they may continue satisfying the flesh which is simply – repentaphobia.