Q&R: Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?

Q&R: Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner? June 24, 2016

Here’s the Question:

I am a Canadian who attends [a contemporary evangelical church] in Toronto. We practice a third way of accepting LGBT people into our family with love and non judgement but do not conduct Same Sex marriages. My father came out to me a few years ago and my wife and I have embraced his partner as part of the family.

I feel a conflict, how can I practice faith in Jesus when I see brothers and sisters in America saying hate the sin but love the sinner. That is complete hypocrisy.

Any guidance or reading suggestions would be much appreciated. I love Jesus but don’t know how to love Evangelical right Christians.

Here’s my Response:

God bless you in your understanding and kindness to your dad. So many people are forced to make a choice between acceptance of their loved ones and rejection by their church. If your church will reject you for accepting your family, it’s probably time to find a new church.

This “third way” approach is a step up from exclusion, condemnation, etc., but my guess is that it is a transition zone … churches in it will either be pulled back to a more conservative position or will eventually move into a position of full acceptance. I think it’s important for you to let your pastoral leadership know that you are in favor of them continuing to move in the direction of full acceptance; you can be sure others are exerting pressure in the other direction.

I like Tony Campolo’s commentary on “hate the sin, love the sinner.” He says, “Love the sinner and hate your own sin!”

Many people are being driven away from evangelicalism (and Christian faith in general) by the hostile attitudes of right-wing evangelicals. It helps me be less angry at my evangelical brothers when I realize that evangelicals are just people, subject to the same prejudices, weaknesses, etc., as any other group. it’s our job to embody and model “a new kind of Christianity.” May God help us to do so, with the courage to differ graciously.

As for reading suggestions, you’ll find some resources I’ve recommended in the past by clicking here.

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