The church struggles between two poles when it comes to sexual brokenness: the pole of being right or the pole of denouncing sin and the pole of being merciful or fearing condemnation. But is the church a place for healing sexual brokenness? This is the question being asked in Signpost #8 in Prodigal Christianity.
In the chp they bring up a variety of instances of sexual brokenness, including a (non-active) pedophiliac young seminarian who sought guidance for the requirement to serve in a youth camp, the debate about homosexuality, and the problem of sexualizing friendships. The church has to become a safe place for sexually broken sinners to find healing, but to do so in a culturally appropriate way — unlike the missionaries who barged into African communities and undid polygamy and, at the same time, undid a society.
Of the four options mentioned below, which do you think is the goal toward which we should strive? Why? And “How”?
They see then the two poles in “too” categories: Brian McLaren’s “too safe” place where he called for a moratorium on discussions about homosexuality, and the “too sure” place of Denny Burk whom they say is playing a culture war, operating out of Christendom, and offers too little for space in relationships. [I’m not sure either of these would agree with the description nor would they find the critiques that effective …] But the polarization is real.
The polarized church of Burk and McLaren must become unstuck. It either maintains a current position on sexual relations and defends it with all its might, or it offers those hurting and confused a place to talk while defending them from the other side. …
They see, in effect, four options: (1) unwelcoming and unaffirming [they don’t mention this], (2) welcoming and not affirming, (3) welcoming and mutually transforming, and (4) welcoming and affirming. They don’t say this, but to believe in mutually transforming they are inherently stating that LGBTQ sexualities are in need of transformation. But the framework for Fitch and Holsclaw wants some consideration:
1. First, they don’t want their church “labeled” because it hurts mission to those who disagree.
2. Second, they want to acknowledge that all humans are sexually broken and in need of healing.
3. Third, we are to live in fellowship with others in deforming and reforming desires as we seek to live under God’s Word, discern the Spirit, share life with one another and discern the will of God in mutual submission to Scripture and how it works out in our family.