Pro-homosexual statements and actions are occurring more and more in our world. It shouldn’t be surprising to see a Christian response to the contrary. Of course, some “Christians” aren’t exactly shining examples of tact and grace, though such a tone should always be our aim. The New Testament urges Christ’s followers to share the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). And the Holy Spirit enables us to explain what we believe with gentleness and respect (1Peter 3:15).
But it’s usually the inarticulate, angry-faced ranter who gets the spotlight in our ’round-the-clock news world. Those kinds of “Christians” don’t speak for me and they certainly don’t represent Christ. True Christians graciously express what Christians have believed about marriage and sexuality for 2000 years. Do we really deserve the scarlet letter B (“bigot”) now just for believing that the Bible teaches what’s best for families and for society? The Christian view of marriage does have a pretty good track record for promoting thriving civilizations, after all.
Why Do I Even Care?
Like any father, I wonder what kind of world my children are going to inherit when they’re adults. I have two sons (12, 5) and a daughter (2). Where the world is headed isn’t a huge worry that weighs me down, though, because I know the world belongs to God. Ultimately, He’s in control. In His mercy, he allows sinful people to do whatever they do, even as He gives them an opportunity to turn to Him.
Christians certainly need to pray, be humble, kind, and serve the less fortunate. But Christians also need to know the Bible and accurately explain it to others. Those of us who are U.S. citizens have been blessed with the freedom (for now) to speak and exert influence in the public marketplace of ideas, and we do that without fear. Hopefully, much of this article will impact the general reader, but my main purpose is to explain what true Christians believe and what the Bible actually teaches about homosexuality.
There is only one arbiter over the Christian faith: the risen Lord Jesus Christ. He has clearly spoken through His inerrant Word. While people’s personal feelings do have their place, they are less important than what Scripture says. This article attempts to convey the view held by proven Bible teachers worldwide. It is the view of people who not only meet the requirements of being a Bible interpreter but who, along with me, care about the eternal souls of people.
What Does the Bible Teach About Sexual Relations?
The historic Christian view according to accurate biblical interpretation is that sex outside of the sacred bonds of male-female marriage is wrong. One practical reason the Bible forbids it is because of how powerful sex is. God created sex to be a strong adhesive, bonding two fragile souls together. This is why feelings of “heartbreak” often happen when people who’ve engaged in sexual intercourse then go their separate ways. In God’s good design, sex is reserved for a man and a woman who have entered into a legally binding marriage covenant. This kind of life-long commitment forms the basis for a garden-like relationship in which true intimacy can grow into a loving family. Multiply that same model many times over and a healthy society blossoms and thrives.
You may not agree with this view of human sexuality, but it’s what the Bible teaches. If the point of this conversation is to foster better understanding, let’s agree to accurately represent each other. To be a Christian, then, is to be a reasonable person who promotes wholeness, joy, and genuine love. We aren’t judgmental prudes who are dead-set against anyone enjoying life. We are for human flourishing. We aren’t bigots or homophobes. Such name-calling is weak, counterproductive, and it ultimately distracts from a fair consideration of the issue.
As fellow human beings, we ought to uphold and defend each other’s right to freedom of speech, including humane disagreement. All people are created equal, but the same cannot be said for all ideas. Some ideas are better than others. Professing Christians who engage in hateful rants do a very poor job of representing Christ and they do not speak for millions of ordinary Christians who unfortunately often get lumped in with the lunatic fringe of Christendom. Faithful Bible-believers shouldn’t be labeled ‘haters’ or be treated like Jim Crow for simply being true to the same historic Christian faith that led to the abolition of slavery, for example (contrary to the one-sided claims of men like James Cone).
Time Out for a Quick Disclaimer:
In recent years, it has become unpopular to question the LGBT claim, “God made me this way.” Such a question is being defined as “hate” by some. (And we’re not supposed to recognize this accusation of being a “hater” as a fallacious stratagem that undermines fair and productive dialogue.) However, there are good grounds to question such a claim, and I do so without malice.
But in light of this widely used tactic, I offer the following disclaimer to the reader:
If you are hide-bound by the dubious assumption that certain people are irrecoverably and genetically destined to act out same-sex impulses, and you habitually label as a ‘hater’ anyone who dares to question the belief that LGBT behavior is unavoidably mandated by one’s DNA, let me be kind and save you some time.
There is a truthful explanation for why people engage in LGBT behavior, but you probably won’t like it. You could continue reading this article, but it may do little good. On the other hand, there are probably more than a few readers who are genuinely interested in understanding why Christians so strongly oppose (or ought to oppose) the homosexual agenda.
If this openness to understanding describes you in the slightest, then read to the end and please add to the discussion with your comments. (Non-readers, please withhold your comments. Freedom of speech means that you’re free to write on your own blog or website. This article is an invitation for fair-minded readers to take part in a productive conversation.)
What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
Notwithstanding the abysmal image projected by the aforementioned professing Christians, homosexuality is not some kind of “special sin” that God can never forgive. All sins separate people from God. Christ died to free people from sin. To be a Christian is to be a forgiven person. And, yes, even as a Christian, I have to admit that I am still tempted to sin and I still commit sin. But the fact that I acknowledge my need for ongoing confession and spiritual growth does not logically lead to the place where an entire advocacy group must be formed on my behalf to convince the world that being say, short-tempered, is okay. It isn’t being judgmental to simply repeat what the Bible says is Christian activity and what isn’t. Sin is defined by God in His Word. We are meant to read God’s Word and understand it.
Furthermore, no Christian should ever want to identify personally with a sin for which Christ died. The hyphenated coupling of the word “Christian” with activities for which Jesus Christ died is a recent phenomenon that has no justification in either Scripture or church history. Understood this way, the term “Gay-Christian” makes about as much sense as “Murderer-Christian,” or “Adulterer-Christian.” Sin is not a label. It’s what we’ve been freed from.
If it helps take the church, religious edge off the word sin, what the Bible calls “sin” can simply be thought of in common sense terms as destructive behavior that promises fulfillment but doesn’t actually lead to fulfillment. Sin is the lack of conformity to God’s holy requirements in the Bible. It begins with a false view of God, which then breeds disregard for God and, ultimately, gives birth to attitudes and actions contrary to God’s moral will (1 Thessalonians 4:3). But sin also has a destructive effect upon the sinner. Sin leads to a hollow, unfulfilled human soul.
To anyone who prefers to live by his or her own rules, Christianity, particularly the Christian view of sex, is highly offensive, to begin with. It makes a discussion like this tense already. So, when people act or speak in a graceless, mean-spirited way it only makes matters worse. What we’re after is a healthy exchange of ideas. And that is what happens when both sides agree to follow the truth, no matter where it leads. We’re all aware of the benefit derived from a caring physician who gives a truthful diagnosis. Let’s keep that image in mind as we look together at this issue.
So, Does the Bible Need to Be Revised?
The bad news for those who engage in homosexuality does not go away simply by the spurious claim that somehow the Church has “misunderstood” these texts for centuries, only to be corrected by later revisionist scholars in recent decades. These New Testament Scriptures prohibiting any sexual sin outside the sacred bonds of male-female marriage are clear. Jesus said that Scripture stands permanently. It cannot be broken (John 10:35b). God’s Word, the Bible, is the binding authority over all people in all time periods, whether or not people acknowledge Scripture’s authority in the here and now or not. (Everyone will one day according to Philippians 2:10-11, et. al.).
For readers who are for the first time seeing Bible verses that condemn homosexuality, they aren’t quoted to be inflammatory. Rather, they are cited to make clear what Scripture actually says. Biblical standards of right and wrong have stood the test of time. You can ignore them at your own peril, but changing them isn’t a valid option.