(pri)DEMON(th): LGBTQIA(ntinomianism) in the Church

Let's talk about how many of our churches avoid talking about the LGBTQ specifically but other contemporaneous social issues more generally. I think there is a flavor of antinomianism towards issues that would make us unpopular with the culture, even in churches that would staunchly oppose the antinomian spirit in all other circumstances.

The article that got me thinking about this is The Antinomian Captivity of the Church by Matthew Cochran. He specifically applies antinomianism to the case of Mr. Ryan Turnipseed, but the template has obvious applications elsewhere. Allow me to extract a paragraph:

"This restriction they place on God’s Law has consequences for their preaching and teaching. They deliberately avoid teaching on specific sins, lest one who avoids them thinks themselves more righteous than one who hasn’t. All sins are equal in their sight to ensure no one thinks they’re better than their neighbor. They reduce sanctification to nothing more than getting used to justification. If a Christian makes any deliberate effort to avoid sin, they call it works righteousness. And whenever another Christian wants to learn the Law they neglect to teach, cries of “Pharisee!” quickly emerge from their lips."
"Soft antinomianism parallels this dynamic. The morals and values of the past are still abandoned, but for the sake of the Gospel rather than progress. "

    The template is thus:
    1. Deliberately avoid preaching on (a) specific sin
    2. Declare all sins are equal
    3. Reducing sanctification to "getting used to justification"
    4. Abandon the morals and value judgements of the past (they become the 'quiet part' we don't say out loud)
    5. Gospel must predominate over all
    I've seen this in my home congregation in several instances, but it became most clear in a Bible study on Romans. (As an aside - the Bible study as it is packaged by Northwestern Publishing House comes in a Part One (Romans 1-8) and Part Two (Romans 9-16). Part Two is where Paul starts making applications.  Such packaging would allow a pastor to run a bible study on part one and omit part two, essentially "antinomianizing" Romans - divorcing doctrine from practice) During the discussion on Romans 1 where Paul is forcefully condemning homosexual sin, our pastor intentionally kept things vague (1) typically euphemizing but reminded us that all sins are equal (2) and that we can't categorize the 'yucky sins' as something worse than our own sin (4), telling us to "love them to Jesus" (5) and describing the redeemed life as "our thank-you card to Jesus" (3).

    Another article by Ben Dunson (Therapeutic Antinomianism) explains how our therapeutic culture leads to a certain antinomianism (please read the whole thing). Allow me an excerpt in which Ben talks about the therapeutic antinomian impact on preaching:
    "Therapeutic-antinomian preaching follows a predictable pattern. Take any imperative of Scripture, tell the congregation how they are unable to obey that imperative, and then urge them to trust that Christ has obeyed it for them. Then end the sermon. Every sermon will be the same, no matter the text. The influence of the therapeutic mindset is seen in the fear that drives this kind of preaching: it is assumed that if the pastor insists that whole-hearted obedience is necessary in the life of the believer this will drive Christians to despair. In therapeutic thinking, nothing is worse than feeling bad."
    Nothing is worse than feeling bad, and so we have WELS pastors advocating for the use of pronouns. We recognize the sin of homosexuality but say it's no worse than any other sin, when the Bible makes it clear that sexual sins, and particularly homosexual sins, just hit differently

    We cannot avoid engaging the culture; we cannot use a selective or therapeutic antinomianism as a crutch to remain 'safe':

    “Also it does not help that one of you would say: ‘I will gladly confess Christ and his Word on every detail, except that I may keep silent about one or two things which my tyrants may not tolerate, such as the form of the Sacraments and the like.’ For whoever denies Christ in one detail or word has denied the same Christ in that one detail who was denied in all the details, since there is only one Christ in all his words, taken together or individually.” [D. Martin Luther’s Werke : (Weimarer Ausgabe) : [3. Band] Briefwechsel, ed. (Weimar: H. Bohlaus Nachfolger, 1933), 81–82].