Texas drivers on Highway 183 can’t miss the small sign with a big message: “Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom.” According to ABC affiliate WFAA, Pastor Larry Nunley of the Airport Freeway Church of Christ in Euless maintains their marquee displays truth from the Bible based on 1Corinthians 6:9-10. But Rev. David Wynn disagrees with Nunley’s claim of truth.
Rev. Wynn of Agape Metropolitan Community Church, a church that welcomes people of the homosexual and transgendered society, argues that the scripture reference in question is interpreted by scholars in various ways. In one version of the Bible, Wynn claims the word “pederasts” replaces “homosexuals.” The King James Version uses neither word, but rather the phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind.” The New King James, however, along with the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), and others have chosen to use the word “homosexuals” to represent the meaning of the original text.
Rev. Wynn believes that Jesus would be disgusted by the marquee’s message. He claims, “It minimizes a group of people. It diminishes their humanity.” But Pastor Nunley relates the uproar to Jesus’ teaching that the truth will offend people.
Point one: As long as there are disagreements between scholars regarding the original meaning of the biblical text, there will be disagreements between Christians as to what is indeed “truth.”
According to WFAA, “Nunley worries the sign in front of his church will turn some people away from faith. But he hopes they'll listen to the rest of his message.” However, “the rest of his message” is thus far indeterminable.
Point two: As long as people are negatively focused on one aspect of a message, they will have great difficulty receiving the rest of it.
Nunley remarked, “We’re not saying it’s us, we’re better. Homosexuals are no worse than me, and I’m a preacher.”
Point three: When leaders clarify what they didn’t say, they acknowledge that other people understood them to communicate exactly that which they claim not to have said.
My inquiry for Pastor Nunley is, “Why did you choose to display those particular words? What did you hope to convey and/or accomplish, and were you successful? If you didn’t want people to be turned away from the faith, how did your message work to turn people toward it?”
This everyday happening in the life of the church brings about several lessons for Christians to consider as they attempt to communicate in the world. We must be vigilant in seeking and sharing truth, yet be humble in the process. We must communicate in positive ways for people to receive positive messages. We must be more mindful of what we are saying, and even more so, of what people are hearing us say.
Above all, we must remember that we are not called to spread the bad news, but the good news of Jesus Christ.