Until a few days ago I had never heard of Tabiti Anyabwile. Now, less than a week later, I am tired of hearing about him. It all started with his blog post on The Gospel Coalition site entitled The importance of your gag reflex when discussing homosexuality and “gay marriage”. In his long post he expresses dismay that same-sex marriage advocates support their case by appealing to civil rights and emphasizing loving, committed relationship among same sex partners. He urges us to “return the discussion to sexual behavior in all its yuckiest, gag-inducing truth.” In making his case he goes on to describe same-sex sexual acts in shockingly graphic terms.
As you might guess, the internet has lit up with responses. While some have been supportive of Pastor Anyabwile the vast majority, including many by evangelicals, have expressed negative reactions ranging from dismay to outrage. You can find as many as you have time and interest to do so. Here is one that I found rational and interesting.
It is not my intent to add my voice to his critics and it is certainly not my intent to support his approach to the subject. About the only direct criticism I’d like to make is that I rather doubt that the gag reflex is an effective pointer toward theological truth. My wife and I are both 65. I suspect that a graphic description of married heterosexual senior sex might set off more than a few gag reflexes among younger folk. Other criticisms are ably presented elsewhere.
My question goes to The Gospel Coalition. I regularly read a lot of blogs ranging from wacky fundamentalists to screaming atheists with multiple stops in between. The Gospel Coalition is one of them. I’d describe their blog, which has many participants, as ranging from conservative evangelical to even more conservative evangelical. OK, fine, they are welcome to go for it as much as any other blog site of any persuasion. Here, however, is what I want to know –
Based on the name of your site, how in the world does an article calling a particular act you consider sinful get to be the Gospel? Do you feel that a graphic description of sexual acts such as this post has in any way advances the Gospel? Would the denouncing of anything you consider sinful then also be part of the Gospel?
Please don’t tell me that “speaking the truth in love” applies here. I get so tired of hearing my fellow Christians use that phrase to say any hurtful thing they wish. The phrase speaking the truth in love is not a ticket to say whatever you want. Words matter. Feelings matter. People matter. Jesus spoke the truth, even when the truth was unpopular. He did so however in actual grace and love. Grace and love aren’t just words, they are attitudes, they are foundational principles that allow us to communicate the Gospel.
And sometimes they are the things that make us want to put a gag on our gag reflex.