By Not Known
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us … For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:14, 17).
Much has been debated recently regarding Singapore’s Penal Code, in particular Section 377A, following the recent decision by the Indian Supreme Court to rule in favour of decriminalising homosexuality. Several individuals (including prominent public figures) and groups have weighed in on both sides in print and online media platforms, and some have even been aggressively garnering support for online petitions either to support or repeal. What follows is a personal reflection on this pertinent and controversial topic, and by no means reflects our church’s official position. The intention here is also not to debate on a theological level, as if to prove or defend my position on 377A or homosexuality*. Instead, my hope is that it will encourage reflection of our own personal response, suggesting a more balanced approach towards this and related issues.
Paul reminds us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This has to be the starting point of our discussion. Do we as Christians and the Church believe and uphold the Bible as inspired, inerrant, infallible, and our supreme standard of faith and conduct? If we do, then that forms the foundation of our response and reaction to what is happening around us, not just on certain sensitive topics, but on all that God’s Word instructs us.
This means firstly that we need to come to clear and consistent convictions derived from God’s Word. We should not engage primarily in a war of words or on the legality of the law or on moral issues. We need to move beyond beliefs, or mere head knowledge of the Word, to convictions that are lived out and practiced. We need to teach and pass on those convictions to the future generations, that they may apply God’s truths in their lives, and come to know the Truth, the person of Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Saviour, to trust and follow all the days of their lives.
Secondly, however, it does not mean then that we go Bible-bashing or condemning homosexuals as the worst sinners. We are all sinners saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. We need to examine and remove the logs in our eyes before pointing out the specks in others (Lk. 6:37-42). We need to learn what it means to speak the truth in love, to speak Jesus into situations and discussions, to show the love of Christ even in our engagement with the LGBTQ+ community. We and our churches need to create safe environments and spaces for people, even Christians, who struggle with same-sex attraction, to open up and share about their questions and struggles, without feeling judged or condemned. That is part of the message of the recent Truelove.is movement, “Come out; Come home.” All of us struggling with sin need to return to our Father to seek forgiveness and restitution, and to be encouraged and empowered to allow God to transform our lives for His glory.
Thirdly, we need to show through our words and witness what it means to live as Christians under the authority of God’s word. We need to model biblical, wholesome values of family and love, and we need to encourage and promote these at a local church and nation-wide level. Even as we speak, there have been compromises made even within the Christian community and camps. In a recent briefing to church leaders on the Penal Code, our own national leaders admitted that laws are largely following societal acceptance and values, and encouraged religious groups to continue to speak up and out on preserving laws for the good of society. Studies have shown that where more than half of society moves in favour towards certain issues e.g. homosexuality, it is a matter of time before legislature is changed, and policies and practices follow accordingly. This is not to encourage us to be lobbyists or push a political agenda. We need to stand firm and live out our lives as convicted and compassionate Christians in the world, holding out and believing that God’s truths and Christ’s love can change lives, to impact society as salt and light for God’s glory and kingdom.
*For a balanced and biblical Christian perspective and position, please refer to the full NCCS statements on homosexuality (July 2003) and 377A (September 2018) on their website.