William Booth complained that the Devil had all the best tunes – and promptly wrote Christian lyrics for some. At present those of us opposed to the pro-gay agenda which is so prevalent in many churches are faced with the ‘Inclusive church’ tag, which leaves us appearing otherwise. We must do better. ‘Inclusive church’ is a great tag, and when the gay agenda is appended to other, wholly uncontroversial inclusions such as disabled people, the tag become hard to resist. Yet resist we must; so the adoption of a suitable alternative tag could be helpful.
Four possible contenders spring to mind:
1) ‘Confessing church’ was the label adopted by the resisters to Hitler in the German Lutheran church. To adopt this would be surely be a step too far; we are not yet facing substantial persecution, and the evil of our society is less blatant, though the number of abortions does point to a similar scale of destruction; let us respect Godwin’s law and avoid parallels with the Nazis.
2) ‘Faithful church’. This picks up the phrase from Jude where we are told to ‘contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’. ‘Faith’ is a positive buzz word – even though in practice it implies no actual content; Prince Charles’ ambition to be ‘Defender of Faith’ exemplifies this. Sadly therefore the tag would probably be too easily adopted and therefore subverted by our opponents.
3) ‘Obedient church’. This perhaps goes to the heart of the debate; are we being obedient to what God has said, or are we seeking to bend the word of God to allow ourselves to do what we want? Sadly of course prioritising obedience is an emphasis that fits badly with much church ideology today; whilst this might be a barrier, it’s perhaps one that we should welcome. And of course much of the motivation for the LGBT person who chooses a celibate lifestyle is obedience, so we would be implicitly celebrating that choice.
4) ‘Loving church’. If we believe that having gay sex is inherently sinful – as is all fornication – then the loving thing to do is to be up front about it and challenge it. It may also generate questions about what we mean, in a way that the others probably wouldn’t. It would also act as a challenge: beyond the gay issue are we, as a church, worthy of the title ‘loving church’. Given that part of the experience of gay, single, people in many churches is that the church is NOT loving, it’s a challenge which church members may need to hear. Sadly however the way in which ‘love = sex’ is so standard in our society, the term may be unhelpful.
There are no easy solutions therefore – but it’s an issue that is worth consideration; having a ‘flag’ around which the opponents of the gay deception can rally, given the way in which the church is losing the battle, may be helpful. I suspect ‘obedient church’ is the right choice, but it would be good to at least see the conversation starting.