A while ago I came across this video of Tim Keller answering a question about homosexuality to a non-Christian audience. I thought it was disappointingly weak and shallow, and I came up with lots of things to criticize about it. However, there was one thing that stood out to me as particularly bothersome. So I thought that instead of taking the time to polish and publish a full critique of the video, I would just offer a response to this one statement.
It’s the part where Keller is talking about the so-called “golden mean” that Christians should be striving for with regard to how they treat their “gay neighbor.” He says that some churches have taken seriously what the Bible says about homosexuality while failing to love their gay neighbor (whatever that exactly means in Tim Keller’s mind), but other churches have ignored what the Bible says about the sin “in order to love their gay neighbor.”
Immediately, I wanted to say, “Um… no?” Because here’s the thing: If you are ignoring what the Bible says about sin, you are not showing love to the sinner. You are showing love for the sin. But not the sinner. The Jen Hatmakers and Rachel Held Evanses of the world who talk about an “underground” of peace, luv and fluffy bunnies where gay people are “accepted and loved” are simply accepting and loving the sin. And that is death to the sinner, not life.
Every time I read a story about somebody who grew up believing their same-sex attraction was broken and sinful but changed their minds later in life, it reminds me of the power of the flesh. It’s the same story every time: “I used to think the Bible said this and this, but then I started to re-evaluate and re-examine these passages, and I eventually decided my sin was okay.” These people are so desperate to find some excuse for continuing to hold on to their sin that they will jump at the chance to twist Scripture, or accept someone else’s twisting of Scripture. Those who aid and abet them are encouraging them in that act of self-love, that act of holding on to a part of themselves that they are unwilling to crucify and bury. And the Bible tells us that he who saves his own life shall lose it.
So no, Tim Keller, I don’t think you can say with accuracy that the churches who are ignoring the biblical definitions of marriage and sexuality are doing so “in order to love their gay neighbors.” Quite the opposite, in fact.