Jennifer Knapp is an american Christian singer/songwriter who recently made public her relationship with her girlfriend of 8 years.
A few weeks back she appeared on Larry King with pastor Bob Botsford, and Ted Haggard. Yesterday I read a very interesting blog responding to the interview and trying to answer this question –
Why is it that whenever a proponent of Christianity’s historical view of sexuality goes head to head with an advocate for gay rights, the traditional Christian almost always loses the argument?
The post highlights 4 interesting thoughts. The first one is particular helpful I think, (although still flawed)
1. We need to shift emphasis from the truth that “everyone is a sinner” to the necessity of repentance.
“We’re all sinners” comes up again and again in discussions like this. In her Larry King interview, Knapp realized the power of having the pastor admit that he too is a sinner. Once she received this admission, she had the upper hand in asking, “Then why are you judging me instead of me judging you?”
Whenever the discussion centers on “homosexuality is a sin… but we’re all sinners,” the traditionalist inevitably comes across looking like he is singling out homosexuality as a worse sin than all the rest. His protests to the contrary always ring hollow.
But this is the wrong way to frame this debate. We are not saying that some of us are worse sinners than others or that homosexuality is a worse sin than pride, stealing, etc. We are not categorized before God as ” better sinners” or “worse sinners.” Instead, we are either unrepentant or repentant. True Christianity hinges on repentance. The pastor on Larry King Live eventually made this point later on in the broadcast, but the rhetorical damage had already been done.
If we are to reframe this discussion along biblical lines, then we must emphasize the necessity of repentance for the Christian faith. The point is not that the pastor and the Knapp are both sinners. It’s that the pastor agrees with God about his sin, while Knapp remains in her sin without repentance. That is why he is questioning her Christianity, for Christian teaching makes clear the necessity of repentance as the entryway into the Christian family.
Ultimately, the debate is not about homosexuality versus other sins. It’s about whether or not repentance is integral to the Christian life.
I think I want to clarify more by saying Christianity hinges on knowing Jesus as both saviour AND Lord. And its in considering Jesus as Lord that repentance needs to be discussed. None the less, it’s a very interesting read. Read the whole thing here.
As Christians, we really need to get our heads screwed on about these issues, and urgently- not just the moral truth of the matter but how to bear witness to it effectively and, more importantly, how to represent Jesus Christ to individuals and (increasingly) a culture for whom these issues loom extremely large. To that end, these are some helpful thoughts. Thanks, kt-rae.