Posted by: baptistthinker | October 24, 2011

Christians and Homosexuality

Note: Because of the hot-button nature of this issue, I’m going to switch comments to need approval before being posted. I do not allow cursing on my blog, personal(ad hominem) attacks, trolling, topic-derailing, and otherwise obnoxious behavior is prohibited.

Over the past week, and several months in fact, there has been a bit of discussion among conservative Christians about our response to homosexuality, and how to converse with homosexuals, and how to properly respond to homosexuals about the Christian stance on this hot-button issue. There are several responses to the LGBT issue du jour, so I will quickly review them.
1. Homosexuality is a choice. This response says that homosexuals choose to be gay, and they can choose to become straight.
2. Homosexuality is genetic/the individual is born with it and it can’t be changed and is not a sin. This response is pretty much what it sounds like. Somewhere, inside the person, they are genetically or otherwise predisposed to be homosexual.
3. Homosexuality is not a choice, but is not exactly genetic either.

I’m sure there are other responses people have to this issue, but I think those are the main responses that we deal with regularly. Typically, the conservative Christian response is the first. The liberal Christian response is typically the second. And there tends to be a bit of flaming the other side whenever one side makes a stand on this issue. I’m primarily concerned with the conservative Christian response here.

Let me begin by saying, that the conservative Christian response is typically lacking. Lacking grace, lacking discernment, lacking love. I don’t believe that it is typically lacking Biblical truth. I am a conservative Christian. I believe that homosexual acts are sinful. I also think that conservative Christians have a tendency to miss the point. Most homosexual people that I’ve met, didn’t just wake up one day and say “hey, you know what? I think I like guys/girls now.” It’s something that many of them have struggled with, trying desperately to be normal, to be attracted to members of the opposite sex. And yet, they still find themselves attracted to members of the same sex. I believe that homosexual feelings are not a choice. I believe that they are a temptation that some people struggle with more than other sins. Some of us struggle with porn, with lying, with fornication, with lust, with stealing, and some of us with homosexual desires. As a result of the fall, we are all born sinners, and we all tend to have our own predispositions towards certain sins. And let’s be honest, Christians tend to be more against homosexuality than other sins. Now, conservative Christians do rightly point out that homosexual sex is indeed sinful, just as fornication, lust, adultery, theft, lying, and murder are all sins. But somehow we end up focusing entirely too much on homosexual sins rather than all sin. And that may be simply because it is very different than what we are used to.

Today, on Twitter, David Platt said “Homosexuality & heterosexuality: We don’t always choose our temptations; we always choose our reactions.”

Allow me to present a blog I discovered some time ago, and that I sometimes read. It’s titled “Gay and Evangelical“. In his “Why the blog title?” he says “What is my message? Despite my primary attractions being towards members of the same sex, my obedience to God’s commands stem from fruit keeping in step with repentance (Luke 3:8). I do not use my sexual attractions to excuse or hide my sin. Instead, I address those sins with repentance before God and before those with whom I struggle in my sanctification. I am in a church, have served periodically with my gifts of worship leading, choir direction, music composition and arranging and am currently attending seminary (which takes up a great deal of time).” This fellow is somebody who apparently struggles with same sex attraction. But he fights against his attractions and is celibate. He also has an interesting blog post on the “Born This Way” argument.

I’d also like to introduce a couple arguments that comes from the “homosexuality is okay” side. Well, I guess Justin Lee wouldn’t exactly characterize his position that way, but this is how most conservative Christians would summarize this position. Justin Lee is the executive director of the Gay Christian Network. Recently, he was featured on the blog belonging to Rachel Held Evans, in her “Ask a…” series. Justin was featured as the “Ask a Gay Christian” representative. He definitely had some interesting things to say, some of them quite worth reading. He does take a position against the “I was born gay so it can’t be wrong to have a same sex relationship” argument, stating “That’s a terrible argument. As Christians, we believe that we have all kinds of inborn temptations and desires that are wrong for us to act on. Just because someone is born with a certain desire doesn’t mean it’s automatically okay for them to follow through on it.” However, Justin also has some things to say that I don’t agree with, and I think he’s a little dismissive of the passage in Leviticus that condemns homosexual actions by saying ‘we keep some of the OT today, and dismiss the rest'(paraphrased). Justin’s personal blog can be read here.

Trevin Wax, on his amazing blog, made a post a few days ago titled “How I Wish The Homosexuality Debate Would Go“. Here’s a few excerpts.
“Pastor: I think Jesus’ teaching on sexuality shows us that there is something wrong with all of us – something that can only be fixed by what Jesus did for us on the cross and in His resurrection. That said, I understand why people might think I am attacking them personally. Most people with same-sex desires believe they were born with these tendencies. That’s why they often see their attraction as going to the very core of who they are, and so they identify themselves with the “gay” label. So whenever someone questions their behavior or desires, they take it as an attack on the very core of their being. That’s usually not the intent of the person who disagrees with homosexual behavior. But that’s the way it is perceived. I understand that.”
“It only seems that way because you believe sexual desire reflects the core of one’s identity. It would help if you and others who agree with you would understand that in your putting pressure on me to accept homosexual behavior as normal and virtuous, you are going to the very core of my identity as a follower of Jesus. The label most important to me is “Christian.” My identity – in Christ – is central to who I am. So I could say the same thing and call you intolerant, bigoted, and hateful for trying to change a conviction that goes to the core of who I am as a Christian. I don’t say that because I don’t believe that’s your intention. But neither should you think it’s my intention to attack a homosexual person or cause them harm merely because I disagree.”

Also, this video was tweeted this morning, with the comment “Christian’s have to address the issue of homosexuality. Tell me…what would you have said in this instance?”

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Responses

  1. As per the video: I think the church IS addressing this issue but so many of the silly, unbiblical, reactionary voices in the church are screaming so loudly that all the right/proper ones are being drowned out. Man i would LOVE to sit down with someone who struggled this way but was actually struggling and do life with them. Would be so encouraging. But, we need to get rid of our squeaky-clean veneer that pretends like we have it all together and allow others to see our struggles too.

    • To be honest, I see very few proper responses to this issue. Of course, that’s just my experience. It could be that there are better responses in different churches, but that’s not usually what we see happening.

  2. Good question: As a FP doc, I get this question from time to time and my answer has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. I am a heterosexual liberal theologian, white amle in Colorado. It is the life I understand. It is where I ‘come from’. The problem with theology and theological questioning is that everyone has a bias. Unless that bias is understood and acknowledged the conversation is tainted.
    Now from my bias and perspective, homosexuality would be wrong. I would be going against what is natural for me. Further, to judge someone elses action without understanding their bias is exactly what was meant by ‘thou shalt not judge’. Jesus did not mean you shouldn’t discern, he meant don’t pass judgement. So when we speak out against individuals different then ourselves, we are suggesting this rule is less important than ‘you are your brothers keeper’.
    However, none of that would be helpful at that moment. I would have to say that” the Jesus I follow is bigger than that. He walks beside you and meets you were you are. Fortunately, for me, he loves to much to leave me there. Most importantly, regardless of the reality of sin, You are a beloved Child of Christ. And as I am a beloved child of Christ as well, I will walk shoulder to shoulder with you in this. The most important commandment is Love your God with all your heart mind and soul, the second is the same, Love your neighbor as yourself. Love is Agape in this section, which means a whole love, a self sacrificial, complete love. When I am loving my neighbor, I am letting God shine through me and that creates a Namaste experience. (The God in me communes with the God in you.) Lets start there, the rest will come.”

  3. agreed there isnt the ‘right’ answer, there is only the right motivation behind the answer. We are all Moses and stutter and have trouble with words. However, if the goal is relationship and conversation rather than conversion-God will aid in the reception.

    • I don’t think the goal should ever be “relationship and conversation”. Those things should be a part of it, but our goal is always to preach Christ and Him crucified for the remission of sins.

  4. Interesting, I would have to disagree. Without relationship and true conversation, then Christ becomes a weapon. Confrontation without Love is brutality. The great commission is to go make disciples (learners), so we are teachers, not preachers, right?

    • So were Peter and Paul and the Apostles wrong to go and preach in the synagogues and town centers without building relationships first? I’m not against building relationships, but it is not primarily through relationships that conversion happens, but primarily through preaching the Gospel. The Great Commission is to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, to baptize them, and to then make disciples.

  5. Fascinating, I think we see this very differently. I dont think we convert people at all, I think God does that. We also seem to read different versions of the Bible. sharing the Good News and preaching are different understandings of the original greek translation. Really irrelevant. Nothing can be done before loving God with all h,m,s and loving neighbor, right? Loving is relationship. sharing the Good News is conversation. Peter and Paul did have relationship in many of those environments, having been good Jewish men, and good persecutors of Christ (Paul). However, I thnk the most important thing is they spoke of their love for people and desire to be in community with them. They were most harsh on people who claimed to be followers of Jesus yet did not show that in their daily life. They had stopped relating and began reacting. Most of Pauls letters to churches spoke to this hypocritical life.

    Thank you for you openness to discuss and for the conversation. I have learned alot, whether or not I agree. Good talk

    • I think I will make my next blog post about evangelism. I think it will probably help to clarify things in this area.

  6. interesting article. i will refrain from any “defensive” statements i want to make on behalf of David (the author of the “Gay and Evangelical” blog you mentioned) other than to say he is one of the finest, most gracious, Christian men I have ever met.

  7. […] i do want to say thank you to Baptist Thinker for posting what i have stolen from his blog (teehee!) and making me aware of […]


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