Friday, October 31, 2014

Acceptance, Yes. Approval, No.

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It appears the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) issue is getting a lot of press lately.

Here in the Philippines, a lot of airtime, online data and newspaper space have been devoted to this issue from the murder of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude to the declaration of Filipino international singer Charice Pempengco over “The Oprah Show” that, “Basically, my soul is male, but I’m not going to go through that stage where I'm going to change everything.” (Source: GMA News Online. Emphasis added.)


In the US of A, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly came out of the proverbial closet: “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” (USA Today. Emphasis added.) 


Of course, we witnessed the short-lived euphoria over the latest Vatican Synod document’s apparent reversal of the Church’s stance regarding homosexuals (“Are we capable of welcoming these persons…?”). Yet, the Church clarified that it was merely a reiteration of what She taught all along (“Are we capable of providing for these people…”). (National Catholic Reporter. Italics mine.) To be fair, it was a debate on whether the Italian word in the document should be translated “welcome” or “provide.” 

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Nowadays, there is more and more pressure on those of us who hold to a biblical pattern for marriage to tolerate same-sex unions. We are made to appear intolerant, disrespectful and unloving. 

From the 2010 San Diego LGBT Pride parade. Image credit

But we need to clarify that there is a difference between acceptance and approval. I agree with how Rick Warren explained it in an interview on CBS This Morning.
The problem is that ‘tolerant’ has changed its meaning. It used to mean ‘I may disagree with you completely, but I will treat you with respect.’ Today, tolerant means – ‘you must approve of everything I do.’ There’s a difference between tolerance and approval. Jesus accepted everyone no matter who they were. He doesn’t approve of everything I do, or you do, or anybody else does either. You can be accepting without being approving. (The Christian Post. Emphasis added.)
In a nutshell, acceptance, yes. Approval, no. 

That’s not hateful. That’s speaking the truth in love. Friends who sympathize with the LGBT cause have asked me about changing my stance. But, with all loving respect, I have to uphold what I believe for the sake of my conscience and commitment to the Word of God. 

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As Reformer Martin Luther (whose nailing of his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg in October 31, 1517 we remember today) declared, 

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen. (Goodreads. Emphasis added.)