Chapter 8: “What about Gluttony and Divorce?”

This next objection points a finger at hypocrisy in the church. Many churches play fast and loose in their teaching on adultery and divorce, gluttony, and other sins: why does homosexual sin get so much attention if not for hypocritical motivations? Shouldn’t we take care of our own besetting sins in the church? What about…?

As the Sermon on the Mount would suggest, the most pressing response here is for the church to say, “You’re right, we need to get our house in order and take our ‘respectable sins’ more seriously.” With that in place in our hearts, though, we do have to confront sin. “The remedy to this negligence is not more negligence.” We have to confront homosexual sin as we do with any other sin: slow exposition of the Bible, pastoral care, and consistent discipline.

It is important to see, too, that the New Testament is far more interested in confronting sexual sins than it is with gluttony. An all-consuming attention to food is a problem, but the church knows where it stands on that issue. Divorce is an area where many Christians have chosen to look the other way to some extent as legislatures enshrine so-called no-fault divorce and many of us have grown up in networks filled with divorce. But the plank-eyed among us who need to take divorce more seriously would not be improved by ignoring the sin of homosexuality in the same way. As a church we should be clear and self-critical on both counts.