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  • Thumbnail for “Loving the sinner, hating the sin" : an analysis of American megachurch rhetoric of homosexuality
    “Loving the sinner, hating the sin" : an analysis of American megachurch rhetoric of homosexuality by Duncan, Ann Stuart

    Recently the issue of homosexuality has come to represent a majorly divisive factor within American Christianity as more and more churches are defining their boundaries, or lack thereof, at homosexuality: many congregations believe that practicing homosexuality is not an acceptable aspect of one’s life that will allow passage into God’s Kingdom or salvation. Within megachurches, Protestant churches having at least 2,000 attendees per week, homosexuality often presents itself as a divisive and controversial issue. Megachurches tend to be situated on the more conservative and evangelical end of the spectrum of Protestant Christianity and, therefore, many of their congregations have expressed disapproval of homosexuality; they preach doctrines providing content for rhetoric following the guidelines of sexual purity as follows from divine law within their congregations. These doctrines include the biblical literalist approach to abiding by divine law, the presence of sin in today’s world, and the conscious choice to continue living a life in sin. Megachurches are also using rhetoric of love and acceptance regardless of sexuality. They preach their doors are open to all and everyone is welcome into the church, because everyone is welcome in God’s eyes. However, megachurches preach that all humans must repent for all of their sin if there is to be any redemption and entrance into Heaven. Therefore, those practicing homosexuality must acknowledge the sin and begin repentance in order to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. The contradiction comes when homosexuals do not repent for their “sin” but choose to live acting in their love. The churches are forced to accept their own belief that homosexuals not repenting will be condemned to Hell, therefore, going against their firm belief in love, hope, encouragement, and acceptance. Therefore, my thesis argues that the first stream of rhetoric, which combines the three doctrines, as the willful violation of divine law by homosexuals, in partnership with the rhetoric of an all-encompassing love, represents a fundamental inconsistency within megachurch theology concerning homosexuality.