Eric Gorski has reported that Highlands Church, an evangelical megachurch in Denver, has opened its doors to SAPH’s (self-affirming, practicing homosexuals) who are in committed same-sex relationships. Gorski speculates, through the voices of commentators pro and con, that perhaps this is the new direction for evangelical churches.
While most mainstream journalists would love that to be true, Highlands Church is probably more an anomaly than the new norm–at least for now. But who knows? Perhaps he is right and evangelicalism is bound for this ultimate conclusion.
This is my fear for Protestantism in general and low-church evangelicalism in particular. If a movement casts aside the entire history of the church (including liturgical, confessional, and theological traditions), then it is probably no small step to cast aside traditional sexual ethics in favor of more seeker-friendly standards. Likewise, if independent churches have no apparatus beyond the local board of elders to defend orthodoxy and orthopraxy (right faith and ethics), then it is a distinct possibility that they will slide on past traditional sexual teaching. And if the low-church evangelical movement encourages novel, individual biblical interpretation, then it is a definite possibility that worldly forces will crowd out biblical standards for sexual expression.
This is what I pine for as an evangelical Protestant myself: some durable, time-tested mechanism for maintaining the Faith (Christian doctrine and practice) that doesn’t bind the believer’s conscience beyond the Word of God.
So although I doubt that including SAPH’s in evangelical churches will become the norm, I lament–as an evangelical myself–that evangelicalism has devolved into a loose movement that too often accommodates the culture and sails in the direction of whatever prevailing winds are blowing.