The Lutherans have joined the ranks of the Episcopals, by voting in favor of actively gay clergy. This news hit the media over the weekend, and there’s a good chance you’ve seen it by now. I offer no additions to the news, just some thoughts on the implications.
First of all, homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, the Lutheran church has given approval for openly active sinners to be clergy. If you would like to see the reasoning behind this statement, please check out the following post: “Episcopal church wants a divorce.”
I have friends who will reluctantly agree that homosexuality is a sin, but they are quick to point out that it is a minor sin, with no real victims. Yes, it’s easy to come to that conclusion, but how does God look at it? What is God’s perspective on different sins?
A friend of mine once gave me the following illustration: draw a straight line one mile long, adding hash marks every 10 feet. The beginning of the scale, at zero feet, represents absolute evil; the far end of the scale, at the mile marker, represents absolute good. God is standing at the mile marker – absolutely good.
Take a mass murderer and place him somewhere on the scale, say at about the 10 foot mark. He’s not absolutely evil, since he did something good at one point in his life. Next, have an adulterer take their place on the scale, maybe say at 50 feet. Now how about someone who is very arrogant, selfish and uncompassionate; put them at about 75 feet. And finally, have someone who is actively homosexual stand at about the 100 foot hash mark; they are not nearly as bad as the other sinners on this scale.
The relative location and spacing of these different sinners is not actually important. What is important is how they look from God’s perspective. As God looks back at these sinners, almost a mile away, can He really see much of a different in how far away they are from Him? Now the length of my scale is most likely way off. Instead of one mile distance, God’s goodness probably places Him over a hundred miles from us sinners. To Him, we are all at the same level.
This is what He meant when Jesus said; being angry with your brother is as subject to judgment as murder.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
And if that message is not clear enough, thinking of sinning is the same as the sin…
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
From God’s perspective, all sinners are the same. Now do me a favor and visualize an actively arrogant and selfish Lutheran minister. Not very appealing, is he? You know where this is going… Now, visualize an openly active adulterer as a Lutheran minister. Some clergy have been kicked out of the church for less. Next, visualize the openly active mass murderer as a Lutheran minister. Time to run to another church. But finally, visualize the openly active gay person as a Lutheran minister. There is no difference. From God’s perspective, all sinners are the same.
What the Lutheran church has forgotten, and what the Episcopal church has forgotten, is that it’s God’s perspective that counts. But these churches have chosen to ignore God, in favor of the world.