John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Judgment Call

You should know by now that by friend Dennis is a pretty smart cookie. He picked up on something important. He said, “I sense that it’s not people being gay that are the problem – you seem to recognize that they are created as such – it’s that they have sex. Am I right in reading you that it’s ‘eroticism’ that you can’t reconcile?

“Also, if you think that ‘we should get out of the judging business’ as Christians, then why do you feel the need to withhold ‘support’ from same-sex eroticism, like it’s a political candidate? I mean, you’re free to find it distasteful or yucky; I personally find liver and onions to be distastefully repugnant. But it seems ludicrous to me that I would ‘not support’ liver and onions.

“I’m sure my logic’s faulty somewhere in that last paragraph, but, heck, this isn’t an essay for publication, is it? I’m having fun with this.”

As bizarre as it sounds, Dennis is right. It’s the intercourse part that I have trouble with. The reason is that the Bible is rather explicit about that part – not feelings or fondness or affection or bonding or commitment – the Bible is blatant about the intercourse part. I don’t know what else to do with that, so I have to say that homosexuality is not compatible with a life that honors God.

I say that fully understanding that much of my own daily lifestyle dishonors God, myself and the people around me. I do not like an artificial hierarchy of sin. Still, there’s got to be a difference between judging and withholding support, right? In other words, can I make a judgment about something – say, a particular behavior – without judging the person who commits that act? Can I say that a thing is wrong (stealing, for example) without judging a person (you are a thief and thieves inevitably go to hell)? How do you use good, sound, wise judgment without judging?

That’s a tightrope that’s difficult to walk.

With that in mind, I continue to search the Scriptures and my own conscience. I read the scholarship. I think and reflect. I continue to engage in productive conversations like the ones you’re reading about here, and I try to the best of my ability to treat people – especially those with whom I disagree – with the respect they deserve.