One of the key moments in the movie The Matrix several years back was when the lead character Neo came to realize, “There is no spoon.”
The spoon, in fact all of the world around us, is just a figment of our imagination, an elaborate hoax in the mind. And only when we finally grasp that truth can we truly begin to overcome the hindrances of this world. After all, there is no spoon …
That line of thought sounds eerily close to what the Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre said recently in an interview. At least in my view. See for yourself:
“As a Southern Baptist and an ethicist I believe that we can’t follow Jesus’ commandment to love God and our neighbor as our self if we start with the premise that homosexuality is sinful,” Torre argued. “Starting with the belief that people are sinful doesn’t allow us to get to know them, let alone love them.”
The comments are apparently in response to remarks made by Joel Osteen in a recent CNN interview. Osteen was asked if he thought homosexuality is a sin. He said yes. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin; therefore, Osteen affirms what Scripture teaches on the subject.
That affirmation has set off a furor of response, both positive and negative. You can read about it here.
The rather predictable uproar Osteen caused isn’t all that interesting. What is interesting is what Rev. de la Torre asserts in his rebuke of Osteen.
In essence, he asserts, “There is no sin.” That’s the starting point for loving God and neighbor. So long as you believe someone is sinful or wrong you can’t adequately love them. Only when you accept them wholly good as is can you truly love as Jesus taught. Such seems to be his assertion.
Now, mind you, I suspect we have all heard similar sentiments before. However, the boldness of the assertion is what has thrown me.
Does he really believe this? What does this do to the very foundation of the church? If there is no sin, why have a Savior? Why do we even need Jesus?
I suspect I know the answer Rev. de la Torre would give. Likely, it would be something about reforming society by teaching an ethic of unquestioning, nonjudgmental love.
That’s cheap grace as far as I’m concerned.
Is this where the gospel is going in our day? If so, no wonder the church is dying. Why go to church if it’s just a wishy-washy lesson on tolerance and diversity, an elaborate game of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’? If that’s all there is to it, why bother?
But then again, if there is no spoon, if sin is just a primitive imagination we’ve outgrown, what else is there to do with church?