As we approach Christmas Eve, I’ve been pondering the magnificence of this Holiday Season. I keep my tree lights on all day and into the late hours of evening because they glisten ever so delicately, reminding me of the Perfect Light of the World. I’ve wrapped our family’s presents in beautiful, colorful paper which serve to remind me of the beautiful Gift that God gave to all of us the night Jesus was born.
A couple of weeks ago, the online Christian community was set abuzz during this otherwise joyous time of year, by singer Lauren Daigle’s response to questions about homosexuality during an interview. Lots of folks sharply criticized her on social media for presumably spinning an answer to such a culturally relevant question.
I resisted the urge to pen some kind of response at the time, but as the snowflakes fall and the dust settles, I thought that now might be a more appropriate opportunity to point out a couple of important things that many people overlooked in their haste to display their support or opposition to her answer. Here’s a summary of her response to interviewer Dominick Nati when asked if homosexuality was a sin:
“You know what? I can’t honestly answer on that in the sense of…too many people that I love that…they are homosexuals. Um, I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it, and I was like “I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.” So when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go-to is, like, I just say “Read the Bible and find out for yourself, because–and when you find out, let me know, because I’m learning, too.”
1.) Dodging the Question. Many Christians feel that Scripture is quite plain when addressing the subject of homosexuality (for the record, I count myself among that number), which explains why the church has historically identified it as sin for, literally, centuries. This also explains why so many Christians assumed that Daigle’s response was nothing more than a less-than-responsible attempt to avoid answering the question during her moment of national attention.
But I’d like to consider the possibility that she actually doesn’t know. For those of us who’ve been monitoring the research as of late, a string of studies in recent years has repeatedly indicated that Biblical engagement among Christians is woefully low:
- In this July 2018 study, Barna reports that only 14% of adults read their Bibles daily, while 48% read it outside of a church service/event at least 3-4 times per year. [emphasis mine]h
- The same study reveals that those who engage with the Bible more often are more likely to think more often and more deeply about its application, but this group has decreased slightly from 61% – 53% in the last several years (since 2011).
- A Lifeway Research study published in April of 2017 (entitled Lifeway Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It.) reports that “Almost nine out of 10 households (87 percent) own a Bible” but only “Twenty-two percent read a little bit each day, in a systematic approach” while “A third (35 percent) never pick it up at all…” [emphasis mine]
So its entirely possible that she really didn’t know the answer to the question, because it’s no longer commonplace for Christians to cultivate a sophisticated understanding of Biblical instruction and its proper application (Eph. 4:15; Heb. 6:1)
2.) Being God vs. Knowing God. If you’re like me, one of the beautiful blessings of Christmas lies in its slow pace, granting us more-than-the-usual number of opportunities to catch up with friends and family. We can huddle by snapping fireplaces, or on cozy couches, with cocoa and coffee while we reveal to others all the events that have happened in the most recent 12 months. Friends and families reconnect this way in a give-and-take exchange of personal information leading to greater depth of relationship with one another.
Fortunately for us, the same is true with God. We don’t have to be God to know God.
In addition to stating that she did not know the answer, Miss Daigle implied that she could not know the answer, since she was not God. To her point, its true that God’s intelligence is unreachably vast (Isaiah 55:8). He’s eternal in His being and, therefore, there are some things about God that we may never know this side of Heaven.
On the other hand, we can know whatever He’s chosen to reveal to us. He does that through natural revelation, through Jesus’ life and ministry as the “exact representation of His being” (Heb. 1:3) and through Scripture, whose consistent witness declares that God desires to be known:
- In Jeremiah 9 God declares that the truly wise person only boasts “that he understands and knows me.”
- Repeatedly in the Old Testament, God does or declares certain things so that those watching “will know that I am the Lord,” while OT prophets regularly made known God’s messages to the people, proclaiming, “Thus says the Lord.”
- God Himself asks us to be still and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).
- In Philippians, we find Paul praying to “know Him & the power of His Resurrection.”
- The Gospel of Luke attests to being an orderly account of historical events and conspicuously states “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).
- And in John 17:3, Jesus ties together our eternal salvation with knowing God, “Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.”
3.) The Difficult Reality of Sin. Unless you are the Grinch, you understand that the nearly-universal affection for Christmas lies in its themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption. The result is an almost magical season of warmth and hope and joy, even amid the deadest and coldest of winters.
The true, soul-soothing beauty of Christmas is its loving resolution to the soul-shattering ugliness of human sin.
Miss Daigle makes mention of her loved ones as the primary reason she’s reluctant to conclude that homosexuality is sin. I think her concern here is a very real, common & emotionally perplexing one, but it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding about sin that all Christians would do well to recognize and correct.
It doesn’t require an advanced Theology degree to know that sin (ANY sin) is a touchy subject. Most people find the discussion of sin totally cringeworthy, and for good reason.
- Scripture teaches that it kills (Rom. 6:23);
- It lies in wait for us, to devour us (Gen 4:7);
- It affects every one of us (Rom 3:23 & Is. 64:6);
- It lives in our flesh and can potentially disqualify us from the Kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21);
- It invokes God’s Holy ire (Col. 3:6) and so…
- We are instructed to get it out of our lives when we find it (Col. 3:5, Gal. 5:24, Eph 4:22).
Sin does plenty of bad stuff.
But what it does NOT do is strip us of our value and worth, even before God’s Holy sight. I think the problem lies here. Most people presume that identifying a sin in Person X entails a simultaneous devaluation of the personal worth of Person X.
But that’s just false.
Any good economics student can tell you that the price which is paid for something both inherently, and effectively, communicates the measure of the item’s value in the eyes of the buyer. This is excellent news for ourselves, and for all our loved ones who are guilty of sin, no matter what the sin may be.
This sweet baby, born to us in a manger, is not only the beautiful resolution to the ugliness of sin. He is, ultimately, THE answer to the question of sin.
God’s righteous requirements for sin are paid for in blood…
- The precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:19).
- The spilling of His Blood brings us right standing before God (Rom. 5:9) and …
- Through this sacrifice, completed & evidenced in history, God has bought us for Himself (1 Cor. 6:20), forever declaring that, despite our sin, we are indescribably valuable to Him as evidenced by the price He paid.
We don’t have to avoid the cringeworthiness of sin. We can reassure our friends and family – as well as ourselves – that the difficult reality of sin cannot even begin to compare to the love of, and acceptance from, God that we find in the magnificent person and extravagant work of Jesus Christ. This, my friends, is the true meaning of Christmas.
2019 is shaping up to be a year of growth for the SpoonFed Soul. Next year I plan on increasing my activity on this blog, as well as integrating its content with my YouTube channel. Click the following video to see what’s coming up and to share with me what you’d most like to learn in 2019:
 From the recorded interview with Dominick Nati as published on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXKHm_KPw6o