Clearly, there are few contemporary issues more divisive than the issue of sexual orientation and how its viewed in light of Scripture.
Before I begin this particular essay, allow me to make two things clear:
- I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that many of us have loved ones who identify as LGBTQ. I say us because this includes me; I have a very close family member who is gay. I embrace them every time I see them – and I see them a lot. Had one of my children told me and my wife they were gay we would have loved them just as much as any other of our children. No one is saying this issue is easily addressed. No one is saying it’s not divisive.
- I typically limit my blogs to 500-750 words (less than a page). This one is different and, as such, requires significantly more room to not only convey my convictions on this issue, but to also respond to common uses of Scripture to support the homosexual lifestyle.
- This is a painful topic for me. I have tried (on more than one occasion) to make homosexuality work biblically. I desperately want to be able to read the Bible and say, “There it is! I found the verse/passage! God approves of homosexuality!” But it’s not there. Nowhere. In the end, I simply couldn’t make it work. And neither can anyone else who researches the Bible honestly and without bias. To do so would require us to re-write Scripture – which is exactly what some are doing.
Speaking out on this issue means one thing for certain: you will be persecuted; you will be called names (homophobic, bigoted, etc.), you will be misunderstood. NBC News recently tweeted: “A record percentage of Americans support gay marriage, new poll finds.” NYT best-selling author, Eric Metaxas, retweeted NBC’s statement and replied, “And this, of course, has nothing to do with their being told over & over for years that not to [support gay marriage] is unconscionably bigoted and despicable.”
Sadly, those who champion the call of “tolerance” are hatefully intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their worldviews. It is the most blatant example of hypocrisy in contemporary North America.
Personally, I have no issue with those who disagree with me and happily give them respect and freedom to believer whatever they choose. Sadly, I most likely will not be afforded that same respect in return.
But I am not afraid. The topic of “the Bible & Sexual Orientation” demands and deserves clarity where “correctly handling the word of truth“ is concerned. Here we go…
In Feb. 2010, Elton John made headlines by stating the following:
“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving.” Elton John
First things first: I love Elton John, patterning much of my piano-playing style after him. I’ve seen him in concert and think he is a brilliant songwriter. His piano skills are simply extraordinary. But, making sweeping statements about Jesus being gay was a bad idea, blatantly contradictory to what Jesus, himself, teaches in Scripture.
That said, is anybody really surprised that Elton John thinks Jesus was gay? I was anything but surprised by John’s comment. Satan’s been attacking the character and attributes of God ever since the Garden of Eden.
Make no mistake: had John said something similar about the prophet, Muhammad, public reaction would have been much different. But Satan’s not one bit concerned with blemishing the name or reputation of just any man – only Jesus.
In sum, John has never professed to having a saving faith in Christ. So it’s easy to discount his reckless comment.
But, what about when professed Christians announce they’re gay?
In 2008, Christian singer/songwriter, Ray Boltz, announced he was gay. And, according to him, God made him that way. Bolts, writer of huge Christian hits like “Thank You”, “The Anchor Holds”, and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb”, announced to the world his decades-long struggle with his sexuality.
Mark Mooring, of Christianity Today, wrote of Boltz’ “coming out” in Sep. of 2008:
Ray Boltz, who sold about 4.5 million records before retiring from Christian music a few years ago, came out of the closet Friday to announce that he’s gay.
“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid,” Boltz, 55 (at the time), told the magazine. “I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am; and I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore…”
Boltz also told The Blade that he doesn’t want to get into debates about Scripture… For him, the decision to come out is much more personal.
“This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is they way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be… I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
I suspect there’s a reason Boltz didn’t want to get into debates about Scripture. He would be forced to reconcile Scripture with his conviction that God made him gay.
In Oct., 2005, Texas Tech basketball superstar, Sheryl Swoopes, another professed Christian announced that she was gay. She told ESPN, “I know there are going to be some negative things said, too. But it doesn’t change who I am.”
So, what do you do when self-proclaimed “born again”, high profile Christians not only go public with their homosexuality, but then begin to state that that’s the way God made them?
We love them just like we would love anyone else.
Before I continue, allow me to offer two thoughts:
- Jesus Christ doesn’t need me to defend him. My objective in this blog is to, hopefully, offer a theological framework regarding homosexuality i.e. what the Bible says; what the Bible doesn’t say, and how to respond to common arguments delivered from those who try and support homosexuality biblically.
- God hates heterosexual sin every bit as much as he hates homosexual sin. Our modern Christian culture tends to ease up on the former while blasting the latter. David Kinnaman, in his outstanding book, UnChristian, quotes Shayne Wheeler. Wheeler writes, “The Bible is clear: homosexualt practice is inconsistent with Christian discipleship. (It’s sin.) But there is not a special judgment for homosexuals, and there is not a special righteousness for heterosexuals.” Kinnaman comments, “Rather than articulating a biblical perspective and living out a biblical response to homosexuals, [our] research demonstrates how inconsistent and un-compassionate we have been.”
- Homosexuality is nothing new. It’s as old as the book of Genesis.
- The Genesis 18-19 passages notwithstanding, the Scriptures – both Old and New Testaments – not only clearly categorize homosexuality as sin, but teach the biblical model for sexual relationships as being between male and female within the context of marriage. (cf. Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; Romans 1:26-28, Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31)
- In reference to God’s design for marriage, the Bible is replete with examples of God’s abiding principle and plan for romantic relationships. From Adam & Eve to Abraham & Sarah to Ruth & Boaz, Joseph & Mary, God’s biblical design for dating and marriage has, from the beginning, been male and female. There is no shred of approved same-sex marriage in the Bible.
The Gay Gene Debate
In 1993, Science Magazine published an article claiming that scientist, Dean Hamer, had discovered the “gay gene”, providing a “eureka!” moment for the LGBTQ community. But, in soon thereafter, the same publication, Science Magazine, printed an article stating the “gay gene” discovery was unfounded:
“Time and time again, scientists have claimed particular genes…are associated with behavioral traits, only to withdraw their findings [when they later discover they were wrong]. Unfortunately, [these theories are] announced with great fanfare, all greeted [without argument] in the media, and now in [disgrace]. Dr. Joel Gelernter, Yale University; Science Magazine, 1994
No Gay Gene! Case Closed! But it isn’t that easy…
This blog is in the process of being updated… More info to follow.
To view the testimony of Christian singer/songwriter, Dennis Jurnigan, click here.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick