An Anglican priest here, a fellow student, said to me just an hour ago, "The problem with the way the evangelicals handle the homosexuality issue is that many of those who are leading the charge against it are on their third wife--they've managed to comfortably do away with prohibitions on divorce. And they're up to their knees in investments, having conveniently discarded the prohibition on usury. They've swallowed those camels and are now straining out the gnat of homosexuality. They defend their focus on this issue by saying, 'It's not about homosexuality as such, but about Scriptural authority.' But what happened to Scriptural authority on divorce? Or on usury?"
I simply raised my eyebrows and went about my business for the next hour, but it just hit me, hard, like a freight train in my skull.
I don't think homosexuality is a mere gnat, and as for divorce, I would say it is different because there seems to be some Scriptural ambiguity on the question. But what about usury? Here is an issue in which there is no Scriptural ambiguity. Conservative evangelicals, to my knowledge, have not tried to argue that the Scripture actually permits usury. Rather, they have argued that cultural and economic circumstances have changed, so that the Scriptural ban on usury no longer applies; in our Christian freedom, we can free ourselves from that particular prohibition.
But that's exactly what the liberals are claiming about homosexuality! On what basis can we cry "foul" over the camel they're swallowing, when we long ago swallowed our own? If this isn't hypocrisy, what is? This isn't intended as any defense of homosexuality, but it does seem to render indefensible our attitude of refusing to associate with homosexual-tolerating churches, while happily embracing churches that have compromised entirely on the economics of Scripture.