When it comes to Christianity and the subject of homosexuality it is important that we answer four questions:
1. Why is there such a debate about homosexuality?
2. What is the truth about homosexuality?
3. How should a Christian respond to the issue of homosexuality?
4. What is our definition of marriage?
1. Why is There Such a Debate About Homosexuality?
If we are going to really understand why there is such a debate about homosexuality in the world today, we must understand not only the positions each side holds, but also why they hold those positions.
First, we need to understand what the homosexual community believes and why they believe that. And they need to understand what Bible-believing Christians believe and why we do. The presuppositions of each side need to be addressed.
The homosexual community believes that their position is a moral alternative: that there is nothing wrong with it, it is just different. The presupposition is that they were born that way, therefore it is who they are – it is not simply something that they do, it is their identity. They believe that God made them that way, or genetics made them that way, or even early childhood rendering made them that way, but it is who they are. It is their identity. And therefore it is a natural and normal way of being for them.
So if it is normal and natural and that is just the way that they are made, then when people disagree with that, we really have a civil rights issue on our hands. Blacks are made different, Hispanics are made different, Asians are made different and we have rules, regulations and laws to protect them. Their thought process is, “If I am made differently, then I should have the same civil rights as other minority groups.”
That is their position and those are the presuppositions by which they function.
Now, it is equally important that the homosexual community understand how Bible-believing Christians see it.
The Scriptures teach that homosexuality is an immoral and prohibited sexual orientation. It is outlined as wrong, sinful and destructive. It is a violation of what God has ordained in the created order. Therefore, it is not simply an alternative lifestyle, but a sinful, destructive lifestyle that brings pain, premature death, and brokenness in relationships. So the issue is a moral issue, not a civil rights issue.
Can you see why there is such a passionate debate on this issue?
Now, let’s consider the second question…
2. What is the Truth About Homosexuality?
The Bible teaches that we are all born into a sin-sick world. Not only are we born into a fallen world because of sin, but we are born with sin natures.
Notice what one of the verses of the famous Ten Commandments says,
Exo 20:5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.
The impact of sin is passed down through generations. Everyone has a sin nature and a propensity to sin. Not everyone’s propensity to sin is the same. Some may have a propensity towards alcoholism. Others may have a propensity towards lying or stealing, and others may have a propensity towards homosexuality.
God didn’t make us that way. The entrance of sin into the world and our sin nature are what influence us to lean towards a certain sin. So, some may have a leaning toward homosexuality because of the sin nature and its’ particular leanings that have been passed down toward them.
Others may have had a traumatic experience, like sexual abuse, that also involved sin that caused them to lean toward homosexuality.
And Jesus came to break the power of sin in our life, no matter what that sin might be. Jesus came to bring a solution to the sin problem, whatever the sin.
But this answers an important question. Did God make anyone gay? The answer is no! Homosexual leanings or desires are the result of sin in some way, either directly or indirectly, but God did not make anyone gay.
But, is it possible for someone to have been born with certain sinful leanings that even include homosexuality? The answer is yes!
Does that make it okay? Of course not! Jesus came to reverse the curse. Jesus came to break the power of sin in our lives, whatever it may be.
Now, what about the question, “Do people choose to be gay?”
The answer, for the most part is no, they do not choose the feelings. They do not choose the leanings. But they do choose to act on those feelings.
An alcoholic may have certain leanings, but he does not have to act on those leanings that are in fact destructive to him and others. With Christ’s help, he can overcome those leanings and live a life that is pleasing to God. The same is true for the homosexual.
At this point, someone might want to argue that living a homosexual lifestyle is not destructive, it is normal and healthy. But the statistics argue otherwise.
In fact, 78% of male homosexuals have or have had a sexually transmittable disease. 50% have had gonorrhea. Homosexual young people are 23 times as likely to contract a sexually transmittable disease. Two-thirds of all AIDS cases in this country are a direct result of homosexual contact. Is that normal and healthy? In San Francisco, the sexually transmittable disease rate is 22 times higher than the national average. Lesbians are 14 times more likely to contract syphilis, 4 times more likely to have scabies, and are at 3 times the risk for breast cancer. Less than 3% of homosexuals are over the age of 55 years old and only 1% die of natural causes, specifically old age.
The average age of death of male homosexuals in this country is 42 years old. And the average age of death of all homosexuals is 50% of that of the heterosexual population.
Why are there so many diseases? Why such young deaths? It has to do with the sexual practices. It goes against how God created bodies to work. And when you violate God’s design, there are always consequences.
So, let’s transition and see what God’s Word has to say about the subject of homosexuality.
Gen 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it;
Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him. "
Gen 2:22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Lev 20:13 If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood-guiltiness is upon them.
Rom 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another; men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
1Co 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
How could we truly act in love toward our homosexual friends and not warn them, not try to help them out of that lifestyle?
3. How Should We Respond?
First, if the Body of Christ is to effectively address moral issues in the culture, it seems she must first address whatever moral problems she has within her own ranks. We cannot, with any integrity, speak to the culture about sexual immorality if we are just as guilty of some form of sexual immorality ourselves.
It is important that we repent of our hostility toward homosexual people and recommit to bold love.
Too often the message from the church to the homosexual community has been poisoned with elements of wrath and hostility. To hear some Christians talk, you would think that it is more important to politically defeat gays and lesbians than it is to see them won into the Kingdom. Bold love seeks to serve without compromising.
The church must repent of being intimidated by the gay rights movement and recommit to her prophetic role.
Within the gay rights movement there is a militant and influential faction that has an agenda. What is frightening about their agenda is that it is committed not only to the normalization of homosexuality, but to the silencing of anyone who opposes that normalization.
Now, the first part of that agenda has largely been accomplished. Even the President of the United States argues their cause. And over the past 40 years, most of the institutions that influence American thinking have shifted to a pro-gay position: the psychiatric institution, the institution of education, the news media, and the entertainment industry.
The primary institution that still opposes the normalization of homosexuality is the church.
As the culture has consistently shifted to a pro-gay position, it has then turned to us, the church and said, “Shift with us!” And, by and large, we are saying, “We can’t.” Hence, the tension.
In all fairness, we didn’t ask for this fight. We didn't go out into the culture to instigate a battle. Rather, the culture began saying to us, “We have changed and we now want you to change with us.”
And the more we are pressured to make that change, the more we are digging in our heels and saying, “We can’t!!”
Enter then phase two of the agenda: Silence those who oppose the normalization of homosexuality.
And we are already seeing that silencing promoted and enforced by the gay rights movement. Even the Bible itself is being considered a homophobic book by more and more of our society. And in different parts of the world it is becoming increasingly illegal to speak the truth of the Bible as it speaks to the subject of homosexuality.
We must remember that the heart of the gospel is not a compliment. To tell people that they are lost in their sin is offensive. If we allow ourselves to be intimidated out of speaking the truth here because it might be offensive, then we will eventually betray the gospel itself.
So, let’s be consistent... Let’s be compassionate... And let’s be courageous in the days to come. Let’s be full of grace and truth, and let the chips fall where they may.
4. What Is Our Definition of Marriage?
We believe that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.
We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other.
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one's sex, or disagreement with one's biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity.
Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church.
Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-32; 1 Cor. 5:1-2; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23; Mark 10:6-9