Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was not impressed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni’s opinion piece this weekend on the growing body of theological work arguing for the acceptance of homosexuality within the church. In a column for the Christian Post yesterday (later approvingly reprinted in the anti-gay screed outlet BarbWire), Perkins argues that Bruni takes on “a tone of fascism” and that Christians who make biblical arguments for the acceptance of homosexuality are, in fact, committing “heresy.”
Perkins adds a dig at Protestant denominations that affirm same-sex relationships, saying that they are “becoming more like social clubs and liberal foundations than proclaimers of a faith delivered with clarity and finality, once for all.”
Woven throughout Bruni’s comments is a tone of fascism, a barely-disguised warning that if Evangelical Protestants and orthodox Catholics don’t bend in their theology and in their daily lives, they will be “made” to.
Theological history is repeating itself today with respect to homosexuality. Myriad scholars have demonstrated how fallacious are the arguments of those who wish to render clear biblical teaching obsolete.
In other words, heresy is not new. The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation are a series of indictments by Jesus Himself of churches that were already – at the end of the first century – falling away from the truth of the Gospel.
Bruni grants no possibility that there is a rich, articulate, persuasive, and sound literature by Christian theologians demonstrating how clear and unchanging is the Bible’s teaching on same-sex intimacy, marriage, and human sexuality in general. He is disinterested in such, and instead appeals to outliers like David Gushee and Matthew Vines. And in a particularly desperate move, he notes that the “United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” have all affirmed same-sex relationships. True, but these historic denominations are no longer mainstream. They are dying, becoming more like social clubs and liberal foundations than proclaimers of a faith delivered with clarity and finality, once for all (those are biblical phrases, Mr. Bruni; Mssrs. Gushee and Vines would know them).
Furthermore, it is clear from two millennia of Christian history that the church has always been infiltrated by false teachers. The Savior warned of them, and the milieu of theological conflict intrinsic to the New Testament, a canon of books composed both to instruct as to the truth and warn as to its distortions, makes clear that error is omnipresent in a fallen world – even as the truth, attacked as it continually is, remains sure, fixed, and unchanging.
Mr. Bruni, my Evangelical and orthodox Catholic peers have a message for you: We will not be “re-educated,” nor will we be silent. We are not going away. We love you too much to affirm sin in any fashion. We condemn any vitriol you receive from those who, outraged by your dismissive and hostile column, call you names or worse. And we love you too much to reduce Christian faith to simply being “nice” or affirming what the God of Creation and of the Bible says is un-affirmable.
Sin is sin. Our sin. Your sin. God sets the standard, not us. His standard is not unclear or subjective or ambivalent.
It’s your decision as to how to respond to it. We’ve made ours.