Responding to the Vicki Beeching fiasco

This was my covering post on Facebook when I shared the latest article about this lady: I link to the article at the end of the blog.

Much of the problem comes from the church’s failure to understand what Jesus means when he commands us to treat those who are no longer to be numbered in the church as ‘pagans or tax collectors’ (Mt 18). Instead we treat them as the scum of the earth – which isn’t His intention at all – or dismiss their sins as peccadilloes that don’t matter. What she has experienced from her family sounds entirely appropriate by contrast. She is of course right that ‘the church… needs to break the taboo of homosexuality, enabling young Christians to talk openly about who they are’. But that doesn’t require us to accept them if they are sinning, any more than we accept the unrepentant alcoholic, or indeed sexually promiscuous straight person. And of course it’s totally fair game to judge bankers and child abusers unmercifully…

Jesus’ model for the church is that of a disciplined group seeking to grow collectively in holiness by God’s grace. This should overflow in great love for all. If either element is missing, then we’re doing it wrong. That the prospect of permanent celibacy is so negative that it provides an excuse for sinning also shows how badly we are doing as a church.

The gay issue has revealed massive failings in the church – but the solution does not lie in surrendering to the way of the world.

And – the mandatory disclaimer that needs to appear in every discussion of the gay issue: it is not whether one is same sex attracted or not that is a problem for the church, it is whether you live according to God’s law that sex is to be practised only within heterosexual marriage. There is therefore no problem with senior church leaders such as Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford being ‘gay’ – as long as he doesn’t succumb to the temptation to have sex with another man. Similarly there is no problem with Vicky Beeching being ‘gay’ if that merely means that that is where she is being tempted; it’s that she’s decided that  a gay relationship is acceptable. Of course there is a serious problem that many of the bible belt megachurches might never have accepted her ministry in the first place if she had been honest about her struggles – and to that extent, we traditionalists in this area have a major problem.


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