A Community of Penitents

If we aim to build a covenant community of faith, how can we not be friends with people who hold perverse sexual appetites?

I reiterate that the question is not, “Who is perverted?” Who isn’t perverted? We are fallen creatures, so the only real question might be, “What is your brand of perversion?” It is utterly impossible to build a community that excludes perverts in that sense. If you attempt to do so, all you do is drive such things underground. This is precisely why America is so perverse in every other way you can imagine: We don’t know how to handle the very natural sexual perversion that afflicts the entire human race.

But we know that acting on perversion is both self-destructive and also harms the covenant that holds a faith community together. Perversion destroys trust. It is a diversion from the healthy community-building choices God calls for us to make. For example, the danger of pedophilia is not the age of consent issue, but that the pedophile suffers from an appetite that destroys redemption, seeking something that is not in the best interests of the children they desire.

You misread Biblical Law when you see it as a harsh restriction depriving you of joy. The Law is aimed at awakening your consciousness of what constitutes moral destruction. We are fallen; we desperately need healing and redemption. The only way we can reach for that is to become aware of what is inconsistent with God’s design in Creation. Sexual appetites that are labeled “perverse” under Biblical Law are contrary to God’s design for us. His divine moral character is the substance of reality.

A covenant community of faith is an asylum, a moral hospital. We join such a community to share in the task of keeping ourselves on track. We commune with those who have different strengths and weaknesses so we can watch out for each other. There is no pretense of protecting our moral purity. We are all penitents trying to make amends. We gain access to the path back to Eden by building a frame of reference that encourages penitence. We seek out that Flaming Sword of revelation to use it on ourselves. It’s all about provoking that desire for holiness, an appetite for moral redemption that can drown out the appetites for moral perversion.

There is no way we could imagine legislating for those outside our covenant community. But we sure as hell will defend our community from outside raiders seeking to plunder our moral elevation. For this reason, we don’t recommend you publicize your perverse appetites, but that you keep it all private. We are a covenant family, bound eternally to respect each other as children of the Father. Confess your sins to like-minded penitents who won’t use it against you.

We don’t pretend to be any better than those on the outside, but we do confess that our Lord’s path for our redemption is good and right. He empowers us to overcome our own sin nature. That sinful nature doesn’t just go away, but it can be nailed to the Cross. It won’t stay on the Cross, but we become adept at renewing the crucifixion as frequently as needed. The whole issue is learning how to handle what will not die until we die and escape this fallen nature once and for all.

So we reject notions of Utopian solutions and we reject attempts to redefine sin as mere lifestyle choices. But we hardly reject the people who suffer from sinful desires, because that means none of us could be members of this community. We most certainly do reject the sin that consumes humanity.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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