About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Homophobia

 

There are a few issues facing Christians these days that will test both our trust in Jesus and our confidence in the Bible.  I don't particularly like writing about homosexuality, but I'm afraid it's an issue we cannot avoid.  It's coming at us from all directions.  It's changing long-standing values in government, law, education, and even in that which is called church.  We have no choice but to address this issue in a spirit of love, understanding that Biblical love is filtered through the lens of Biblical truth.  Love has boundaries, and these boundaries are the source of the present conflict that results in Christians being labeled "homophobic". 

 

The word "homophobia" is derived from the words "homosexual" and "phobia".  We know what "homosexual" means.  The word "phobia" is a transliteration of the Greek noun "phobos" and the Greek verb "phobio", which as Wikipedia rightly states, is translated into English as "fear".  "Homophobia" in the strictest sense of the word is the "fear of homosexuality". 

 

Wikipedia broadens the above definition of "homophobia" that fits the general consensus today.  It defines "homophobia" as "a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender".  Wikipedia also says that the late Martin Luther King's late wife, Coretta Scott King, a civil rights leader in her own right, says the following.  "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood".  I wonder what Martin Luther King would think about this if he was alive.  Wikipedia continues by saying that "homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation that are non-heterosexual".  The clincher to what Wikipedia says is that "in clinical psychology homophobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear".  

 

According to Wikipedia, which I believe states the general social consensus, I have a "clinical anxiety disorder" that causes me to have "a range of negative attitudes and feelings" towards those who consider themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender".  Along with this, I'm a "racist", a "bigot", a "dehumanizer", and because of my "hostile behaviour" I destroy the "dignity and personhood" of a large segment of our population. Wow!  If true, that would make me a prime candidate for anti-anxiety medication and a trip to the psychiatric hospital.  Clinical anxiety disorders are normally treated with medication and in the worst case scenario with electric shock treatments.  Could that be my fate, or your fate, in our "Christophobic" world?   

 

The problem with Wikipedia's assessment of me is that for those who know me, I'm not what Wikipedia suggests I am.  In all my conversations with those who call themselves gay, I've been very kind.  I harbor no hatred or hostility towards anyone, and I don't believe I have a "persistent fear" of homosexuality that needs to be medicated or shocked out of my system.  I simply state the Biblical facts, and for that I'm perceived to be something I'm not.  As a matter of fact, 99 % of those who call themselves gay who I've interacted with have demonstrated the above negative traits to me.  Could their treatment of me be considered "Christophobic"?        

 

The real reason why I'm labeled as "homophobic" is not because of any lack of good will on my part towards those who call themselves "homosexual".  Iím considered "homophobic" because I simply repeat what the Bible states concerning this issue, which used to be the social norm in the western world. 

 

The Greek words "phobio" and "phobos" appear throughout the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. These words are translated into English as "fear", "terror", and other related words.  As Christians, there is a "phobia", a fear, that should be evident in our lives.  Hebrews 12:29 states that "our God is a consuming fire".  He's someone to reverently fear.  Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 and Psalms 111:10 state that this reverent fear (phobos) "is the beginning of wisdom".  Besides this, Jesus tells us not to fear (phobio) those who can kill our bodies, but rather fear (phobio) God who can destroy both soul and body. (Matthew 10:28) 

 

The apostle Peter tells us not to "fear" (phobio) the threats of those who oppose the truth. (1 Peter 3:14)  They do so because they have no fear (phobos) of God. (Romans 3:18)     

 

I find it interesting that Wikipedia defines  "Christophobia" in much milder terms than it defines  "homophobia".  "Christophobia" is not an "anxiety disorder" with all the negative side effects.  It simply says it's "an anti-Christian sentiment in opposition to some or all Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity.  Christophobia or Christianophobia are also names for every form of discrimination and intolerance against Christians according to the Council of European Episcopal Conferences". 

 

If there's one issue that is getting Christians in trouble these days, it's this issue.  May we fear no one but the Lord Jesus Christ as we represent Him in what is fast becoming a "Christophobic" world. 

 

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