It happened again. Only, this time, I was charged with being intolerant, unloving, and bigoted. You see, I had written an article detailing why biblical Christianity is against the idea of “gay Christianity”. I was told—literally—that, “[I] hate gays as people.” Now over the years, I’ve heard this said repeatedly. After all, I grew up in Seattle, WA—which is considered one of the top three most liberal cities in the United States—and spent the first twenty-six years of my life there. I was educated in schools in Seattle, and went to a community college that had liberal teachers, who preached their liberal ideology to the maleable young minds there.
Some people will think that a Bible-believing Christian writing an article with the topic I have, in an issue on complementarianism, is different. And perhaps you are right—it is different—but not in the way you think. You see, I also went to a private school from grades 3 through 6. There the teachers were LGBTQ members, before LGTBQ was even a “thing” in the early 1990s. I was friends growing up with people who identified as LGBTQ. I ministered to people at the community college I went to in the early 2000s who were LGBTQ and wanted to know what a Bible-believing Christian thought about these issues. I told them, hopefully respectfully, what the Bible teaches, and why I hold to that position. Did they agree with me? No, they did not, but at least they learned what the Bible had to say, and hopefully heard good biblical arguments on biblical sexuality.
To be clear here, Christians are not against the LGBTQ crowd. It’s often thought they are, and there has, unfortunately, admittedly been those misguided folk who show animosity toward the LGBTQ community. It’s often assumed wrongly that all Christians are unloving and unkind because all they do is target groups of people and say how they are wrong, sinful, etc. because they don’t hold to biblical views. Without getting into a lengthy discussion here, I will say this, because this goes both ways: both sides shut down conversation with one another on this topic. The LGBTQ community says that Christians are unloving because they refuse to accept LGBTQ people as identifying as such. With that said, Christians often also do the same. Many Christians teach that homosexuality is the worst sin, when in fact all sin, including sexual immorality, as R.C. Sproul has rightly said, is cosmic treason against a holy God.
Some people also say that it’s unloving to say anything that goes contrary to the cultural norms of civilization. The problem with this is it’s culturally acceptable for people who openly identify as LGBTQ to publicly protest and say whatever they want. Yet, at the same time, if a Christian speaks out in the public square about biblical sexuality—that is, marriage between one man and one woman for life, and against homosexuality and transgenderism, and so on—they are “wrong”, “bigoted”, etc.
What we need to understand here is that everyone is engaged in theology. The person who identifies as LGBTQ is saying that they have convictions. They have ideas about how they want to function in life, where they want to find meaning, identify, value, and worth. They want to live from this worldview and this place and be accepted as such. They want, in other words, for people to accept them as they are, without reservation and without qualification. The main problem is that they want this acceptance universally and without equivocation. In other words, they want people to accept them as they are and then for people to also accept their doctrine.
Everyone has a set of doctrines they adhere to. Deeply embedded into every person is an innate desire for doctrine, for truth—the pursuit of which the Bible, in Ecclesiastes 3:11, says was set in their hearts by the Lord God. With that said, when we consider what identity, meaning, value, and worth are for in a biblical worldview, we can see the problems with interpreting the Bible through a lens of the world, instead of from the Bible.
The Bible invites us to know the grand story God has invited us into, that scarlet thread of redemption. And yet, to counter this story the world has its own story, one of cultural acceptance and cultural norms. This cultural acceptance is in vogue today. People can say, “Well you can’t tell me what to do with my sex life or my moral life! You have no control over me at all.” And yet in the next breath, they will tell Christians to be quiet, even trying to silence their viewpoint in the court of law, and in the public square, while remaining tolerant of those who support their perspective.
Behind the “gay Christian” movement, for example, is a radical redefinition of what it means to be a Christian. Bible-believing Christians rightly believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, and clear Word of God. And it’s because of those convictions that they interpret the Word. Likewise, when those convictions begin at the foundational level with the wrong convictions when such people come to interpret the Bible, or even ask questions of biblical texts, they get the wrong answer. So our convictions matter, to be clear, because they are shaped by our worldview, which affects how we interpret not only the Bible but thus also the world around us.
I remember sitting with one lady, having a conversation over a meal in a public restaurant, around a decade ago. She was a fellow student in one of my classes at a community college in the Seattle area, and she had questions. She knew I was a Christian and held to a biblical worldview. She had questions concerning what Christians thought about desire. What I tried to help her see is that her desires were out of order. God assigns a specific gender for men and women. They are to function within that specifically assigned gender according to the biblical worldview. After all, God created men and women equal in dignity, value, and worth, but also assigned to them different roles and functions. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman.
Well, this young lady didn’t like what I said. Over the past ten years or more since that conversation, I’ve seen this issue only get worse. But even before it got worse, I was in the thick of it growing up. And not only in the thick of it on issues of homosexuality, but also in ministering to people affected by homosexuality and pornography, etc.
Behind the gay Christian movement are the wrong convictions about the Bible and the wrong interpretation of the Bible. The gay Christian movement says it doesn’t support the viewpoint that the Scriptures teach: the wrongness of a man being with a man and/or a woman being with a woman sexually. And yet, what we have to understand, even at the most basic foundational level, is God Himself says that He created man from the dust, and then created Eve from Adam’s rib. So, in order to justify this position, the gay Christian movement has to completely disregard Genesis 1-2, along with Romans 1, and many other passages that contradict its viewpoint.
My question is this: “Why even refer to the Bible in the argument if you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God?” And yet, that’s precisely what the gay Christian movement teaches. The main problem with the gay Christian movement is that Jesus and Paul were not only not gay, but they never supported any redefinition of marriage; instead they defended the writings of the Old Testament, which informed their teaching. Jesus and Paul upheld traditional definitions of marriage—between one man and one woman for life, under God. Jesus and Paul taught contrary to the world’s definition of sexuality—that is, they explained that a man is to marry a woman and a woman is to marry a man.
Now this entire movement makes the argument saying, “Well, Jesus and Paul were single and celibate.” Now that’s true, Jesus and Paul were single and celibate. But, they also weren’t gay. Both Jesus and Paul upheld the biblical teaching of Genesis 2-3. In fact, Paul goes so far as to link in Ephesians 5, Christ’s finished and sufficient work, with that of sanctifying the Church. So, if we are going to press this argument further, those who hold that Jesus and Paul were single and celibate, and that either one of them would support the view that there is such a thing as a “gay Christian” and/or a gay-but-celibate Christian, then that would make Jesus complicit in sin. That flies in the face of what Paul is saying in Ephesians 5, namely that the church is blameless because of Christ. The Church is also redeemed by Christ. Furthermore, it would deny Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5 and other places. Why then would a man have to be commanded to love his wife in Ephesians 5? Why doesn’t Paul say that a man can love a man, or a woman can love a woman, and then command them to do so? Well, the reasons become apparent. The Bible throughout teaches that a man is to marry a woman, and a woman is to marry a man.
So the whole idea behind gay Christianity begins with the wrong presuppositions about the Bible. And yet, there are entire movements to make this normalized in the Church. One example is Brian McLaren, who years ago said we needed a five-year moratorium in the Church from talking about homosexuality. After five years to no one’s surprise at all, he came out and taught that the Church was wrong on biblical sexuality. His evidence? His opinion. Note, it wasn’t the teaching of Scripture that convinced McLaren over those five years. It was his thinking, his opinion on the topic. And this is precisely the problem with the whole idea of being gay and Christian and/or gay Christian and celibate. The problem is that it makes the Bible say what you want it to say, rather than what it actually says. It reinterprets the Bible to mean what we want our opinion to be and therefore we justify that opinion because of our preconceived ideas about truth and biblical authority.
In our society, we are facing an epidemic of massive proportions. We are facing challenges to biblical sexuality and gender roles on every front. To be sure, we should not be silent on these issues. But make no mistake about it, the issue of Gay Christianity and/or being a “gay but celibate” Christian is a massive one. And there is everything at stake. Is Jesus Lord over all, including our sexual organs? Is Jesus Lord over all, including our morality and life decisions? The answer the Bible gives is a resounding yes, but is grounded in the work of Jesus.
It’s interesting that when Jesus ministers to people—primarily, people in sexual sin—He does so lovingly. He doesn’t shatter them into a million pieces with wrath and harsh words. Instead, He comes with the power of the grace of God, and the full authority of the Son of God, and the Son of Man to purify and cleanse them with the forgiveness of sins. Think about the woman at the Well. Jesus asks this woman questions to get her to see her need, which she does. Think of other situations in the Bible. The same is true. And yet, today we are told that those people who sinned sexually in the Bible can do whatever they want. So, according to this position, we can live however we want because we are morally autonomous creatures, who will not ultimately be held accountable and responsible for our behavior by the Creator. The truth is, we are doubled owned by the Lord God, by virtue of Him being the Creator and Lord over all.
From every angle, the biblical worldview of the Scriptures has a better story and a better hermeneutic than the one advanced by the Gay Christian movement. If I walk up to a Mormon and begin a conversation, I am going to ask him to tell me about who Jesus is, and he is going to say to me he is a Mormon Christian. The Mormon identifies as such—as a Mormon, but also as a Christian. So when I ask whether he is a Mormon or a Christian, he is going to tell me he’s a Mormon and a Christian. The same is true with some of those who are LGBTQ. They are going to tell you they are gay plus Christians.
The problem with that viewpoint is that the Bible nowhere supports the identification of a Gay Christian. The only identity the Bible recognizes is Christian—one who has been legally forgiven of their sins by Jesus’ blood, and whose sin is no longer remembered before Him. And yet, we are seeing an entire movement of people who say that Jesus and Paul support the Gay Christian idea because they were celibate, and so, therefore, we must believe that one can be Gay and Christian while celibate. And to suggest otherwise is to be attacked, shouted down, and so on.
At some point, as Christians, we must recognize that doctrine divides. The Puritans were famous for understanding this, in fact, they called it “dividing the audience”. Jesus called people to a life that was all in, not to a life of cheap grace, but to costly grace and costly discipleship, to use Bonhoeffer’s famous phrases. And Jesus calls us to this kind of life, make no mistake about it, because He first lived that kind of life, and died because of that lifestyle in place of sinners and for their sin, being buried, and rose again for such people.
And let’s be clear here, Gay Christians are not the worst sinners out there. It’s often thought that homosexuality is the worst type of sin. It’s not. All sin is cosmic treason against a holy God. When we sin against the Lord, in our thoughts, deeds, and actions, we are choosing to find identity, meaning, value, and worth, in that thing or identity, more so than God. And at the root with gay Christianity is that problem—that they would instead identify as gay plus something else, rather than simply just Christian. They want the whole world to know them as gay and Christian.
Well, as we’ve seen, there are significant differences between the worldview of the Christian (from the Bible) and that of a “gay Christian”. One comes to the Bible and sees it as the very Word of God. Another casts doubt on the Bible to support his/her position, and then comes back to the Bible to interpret it to mean what they want it to say, rather than what it teaches.
Gay Christians have a faulty hermeneutic because they have an incorrect and wrong view of the Scriptures. Jesus and Paul were not gay; they did not tell people to go against the teaching of the revealed Scriptures, to violate the clear teaching of Scripture, all because of one’s opinion. Instead, Jesus expounded upon the Old Testament and viewed it as authoritative. And in the same way, Paul did also, grounding his arguments on elders in 1st Timothy 3 and Titus 1 on Genesis 2, and similarly from Ephesians 5, and other places on Genesis 1-2.
So, at the end of the day, when we consider where arguments come from, we must understand them at the foundational level. At the foundational level, Gay Christianity fails. It fails to account for the historical position of the Church on the nature of the Bible itself, and in sound and right interpretation because of those convictions. Furthermore, it has to rip biblical passages out of the Bible, such as Genesis 1-2, because to not do that would go counter to the argument. Moreover, in the very clear passages in the Bible such as Romans 1 and others on this subject, the Scriptures are opposed to the positions of LGBTQ.
Worldviews matter because people matter. And behind those worldviews are convictions and behind those convictions are choices. And behind the choices we make are the identity we choose to identify with. By beginning at the wrong place, gay Christians hand over the argument. They teach doctrine, but it’s not sound biblical doctrine. It cannot nourish your soul. It cannot help you grow in grace. Instead, it only leads people away from the God of the Bible and in open rebellion against God, who created man and woman in His image and likeness and gave them dignity, value, and worth. Through Christ, every person can have a new identity, but only when the Lord sovereignly removes their heart of stone and replaces it with a new one. That is where the Christian’s true identity is in, not an opinion, but in a Person, who is fully revealed in the Word of God. It’s not only a wrong hermeneutic being used in the Gay Christian movement; it’s an erroneous view of the Bible. And that leads to all sorts of errors, including to the wrong Jesus—the one of our popular culture—instead of to the real Jesus, who is fully revealed in the Word of God, the Scriptures.
The sad thing is those who advocate that people can be gay and Christian are the same ones who suggest that it’s unloving to point out what the Scriptures teach. They consider it judgmental to do so. They will shout you down, call you names. But calling names and shouting down people doesn’t prove an argument. Refusing to engage the debate and shouting down people, refusing to dialogue and even engage with the Scriptures supposedly being employed, is not intellectually honest, it is intellectually dishonest.
It is not unloving to point out the inconsistencies in the Gay Christian movement. True Bible-believing Christians tell people they are wrong from the Word of God, not because they get some enjoyment out of it. If they do, they don’t understand that they too can fall and need help. Instead, Christians point out the error to highlight the truth of God’s Word. We make the argument from the Scriptures to say a soul is at stake; an eternity is on the line. That is not unloving. Non-Christians should expect, even demand, Christians make that argument and engage passionately to see souls won for the sake of Christ. And sadly they don’t because many so-called Christians have chosen to live a worldly life instead of a godly life in Christ, which is part of the problem.
As Christians, we must stand on the full authority of the Word of God and proclaim the authority of the Son of God and the Son of Man over everything, including our pants and sexual organs. If we fail in that task, we will concede not only the argument, but the Gay Christian movement will continue to make advances in the Church. The best apologetic against error is to preach the whole counsel of God, since the Bible is it’s own best apologetic. The Bible speaks loudly to these issues. Either we are going to stand for the Bible, or we are going to fall on our “sword”. Either, we will see the Lord through the Word, and by the Holy Spirit do what only He can do to bring the dead to new life, and to equip the saints for service to make disciples, or will cave into cultural accommodation.
My sincere prayer is that we would stand on the authority of the infallible Word of God. As soldiers, we have been summoned by the Lord God to proclaim a message that is foolishness to the world, and that includes what the Bible says about sexuality. Jesus is Lord over all. Therefore, we must proclaim, since God requires us to preach the whole counsel to make disciples, the Word of God that testifies to the finished and sufficient work of Christ. To fail in that task is the height of folly, for it demands our all, everything we have, and we should strive, with all we are, to proclaim the Word. Christians have the right convictions about the Bible itself, and therefore interpret the Bible in light of those convictions, and make disciples of the nations through the gospel, as a result. May the Church of God repent, awake, and stand fast on (and for) the Word, to the glory of God, and the good of all mankind for His glory.