I’ve just become aware of this theology blog, which is the blog of the Harvard Icthus: A Journal of Christian Thought. The content of the journal itself is available online, and the newest issue has some interesting-looking articles like “A Christian View of Propositions” and “An Apologetic for God’s Existence.”
One of the recent posts I especially liked, “Commanded to Love,” makes the excellent point that Jesus’ command to love our neighbor in Scripture can’t be used as a blanket justification for any and all behavior—in this case, homosexual behavior.
The author describes a recent film called The Constant Process about a lesbian Episcopal priest named Susan Russell.
In the film, to defend her position on homosexuality, Susan Russell referred to Mark 12:28-31, in which Jesus declares the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Yet I am unsure as to how loving another person somehow translates into condoning any particular behavior. After all, we are called to love murderers, adulterers, liars, and thieves; that does not mean that murder, adultery, lying, and thievery are not sins. In fact, it would seem that practicing love includes condemning these sins.
1 John 5:3 tells us that love for God is “to obey his commandments.” When we consider this in the context of loving others, it appears that we should assist each other in obeying God’s commandments. In other words, when Christians sin, other Christians should point it out and try to help correct the behavior of their brothers. Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Jesus even provides a guideline for how to go about doing so in Matthew 18:15-18.
If loving each other means helping each other obey God’s commandments, then our arguments over gay marriage and homosexuality ought to focus on God’s commandments concerning homosexuality. It is a moot point to use the commandment to love each other as justification for any position on homosexuality . . .
Good point. Unfortunately, many people see “love” as a free pass for any personal choice. But true love often calls for opposing what is harmful. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6).