I have an honest question for my Traditionalist friends — those who hold to a conservative and traditionalist view of homosexuality in the Bible.
This traditionalist view is based primarily on three hermeneutical principles: (1) What the Bible says should be taken literally; (2) what was commanded then is still commanded now; and (3) consistency with church tradition is a critical test of exegesis. (feel free to correct me if you think I am mis-representing your views…)
Here is my question… what is the practical or theological difference between the following two theological claims, the first made by what are often termed extremists and the second a common view held by traditionalists:
(1) “God hates homosexuals and condemns them to hell.” (this is in essence the view of people like Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church).
(2) “God loves homosexuals but condemns them to hell.” (this is in essence the traditionalist view espoused by many conservative evangelicals and other traditionalists).
Seriously, what is the practical distinction between these two theological statements? When talking to my gay friends, is #2 reallhy good news over #1? If #1 is wrong, what makes #2 right? Isn’t the only difference one of rhetoric and language, but not substance? In other words, isn’t fair to say that the conservative traditionalist view is not significantly different than the fundamentalist/extremist view?
This is an honest question and I would love for some traditionalists to post their thoughts…