The Big Questions, BBC1, Sunday 5 July 2009, hosted by Nicky Campbell.
In the light of the half million person Gay Pride march on Saturday, Bishop Michael Nazir Ali’s call to repentance and the massive outcry against him, homosexuality is very much the subject du jour. The inevitable Peter Tatchell was joined by Christina Rees, of the CoE Synod, on the main panel, all of whom joined in the condemnation of Nazir Ali. The usual homophobia = racism equation was spun out, with Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement assistant chief executive Sharon Ferguson comparing homosexuality to left-handedness.
More interesting were the contributions made by Dr Mike Davidson and Phelim McIntyre, both of whom struggled with homosexual behaviours in the past. Davidson spoke warmly of his 29-year marriage, his children and the possibility of change, and questioned why a society so much in favour of free choice would not leave room for people with homosexual feelings to actually want to develop a heterosexual identity. McIntyre rejected the notion that there is any scientific evidence for a ‘gay gene’ and spoke of his success in counselling gay people. ‘Luke’, however, spoke of two years of counselling which did not change his behaviour. An Afro-Caribbean gentleman cited the well-known passages in Leviticus amongst others, only to have them explained away by the LGCM’s Sharon Ferguson who astonishingly argued that the faithful centurion’s servant was his sex slave. I was so stunned at this shameless display of special pleading that I did a bit of research. The Greek word pais is used 24 times in the NT, translated ‘child’ (e.g. the children slain by Herod) or ‘servant’ (e.g. Christ, the suffering servant). Indeed, a quarter of the references refer to Jesus himself, the servant or Son of God. It is an abuse of the text to argue from silence that somehow this godly centurion was having a sexual relationship with his servant, and that our Lord Jesus somehow endorsed this, especially in the light of the many plain texts that plainly outlaw this behaviour.
Though the Bible does condemn all sexual behaviour outside of marriage, there is forgiveness for all kinds of sins, sexual or otherwise. We thank God for Jesus, who did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).