But you know what's not great? You know what crushes my heart? When Christians who know what the Bible says about homosexuality make excuses for it and pretend it's ok.
Before you read any further, let me clarify that this beef I have here is with Christians who know what the Bible says about this. So if you're an atheist, Buddhist, Flying Spaghetti Monsterist (is that what they're called?), or even a new Christian who just hasn't learned what the Bible says about this, then I'm not upset with you, but feel free to read this and see what I think and what the Bible says. But if you are a Christian and have been for some time, then my beef is with you. Read on and maybe I can convince you that excusing homosexuality is harmful and not helping anyone. You may feel that your accepting attitude is a way to attract people to God, but you’re doing more harm than good by distorting the truth.
The Bible & Homosexuality
So I'm not going to spend a ton of time talking about what the Bible says about homosexuality. The summary is that the Bible says it is a sin. Is it the only sin? No. Is it the worst sin? No. Is it a sin? Yes. Who says? The Bible. Where? Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 for starters.
If you want more info, feel free to read an article I wrote a while back on the topic. Here's the link: The Bible and Homosexuality You can also read my response to a guy who argued against my claims in that article, but it's pretty long-winded stuff: In Depth Comments
Common Questions/Excuses and Why They're Not Helpful
Here are some common excuses and questions I hear from Christians that are trying to find ways to be tolerant and accepting of homosexuality. And here is why I think those excuses/questions fall short.
Why would God make them that way if he didn't want them to be gay?
Did He? This is the whole Nature vs. Nurture argument and it hasn't been resolved. Are people born gay because of genetics or are people gay by choice or perhaps because childhood events and other things have shaped them to be that way? The jury is still out on this one. While there are some studies that indicate homosexuality could be linked to genetics, there has been no conclusive proof. We have not found and proved the existence of a "gay gene." At the same time, there are studies that show that homosexuality is linked to your childhood development years. For example, this study found that 46% of homosexual men were victims of childhood molestation while only 7% of heterosexual men were. There is plenty to the debate, but at least this seems to indicate that there may be more to it than simply being born with a certain genetic makeup.
So despite the Gaga song, people may not be born this way. But let's assume for the sake of discussion that they are. Let's say that people are born gay as a result of a "gay gene" or something of that sort. Does that automatically mean that God made them that way and desires for them to be homosexuals?
If you say yes, then you have to follow that logic through. That would mean that the way someone is born is the way God intends them to be, live, and act. What about alcoholism, which has also been linked to genetics and heredity? Does God want those born with an alcoholic disposition to live lives as addicts and drunkards? What about those born with schizophrenia, dopamine imbalances that lead to depression, or the mental problems that drive some people to be serial killers?
You see, the argument that being born a certain way means that God made you that way and desires you to live and act that way doesn't hold water. From a biblical worldview, we see that God originally made the world and people perfect and sinless. However, we chose to rebel against God and we chose to sin. Since the fall, sin has contaminated everything. That's why people are born with deformities, diseases, or tendencies like alcoholism, because we live in a fallen and twisted world, not because God intended it that way. Through Jesus, God desires to redeem us and heal us and will one day set everything back to the way it was supposed to be. Until then, nature is a very twisted thing and we shouldn't look to it to tell us what is right and wrong. Where should we look? To God's Word, which is pretty clear on this issue.
Doesn't God accept everyone?
Yes and no. God is both inclusive and exclusive. Here's what I mean by that. The Gospel (the good news of salvation from sin and death through Jesus) is an open call to everyone who hears it (that's inclusive!) but it is also a call to acknowledge your sin and repent of it (that's kind of judgmental and exclusive) and it's only through Jesus (that's super exclusive).
Inclusiveness of the Gospel: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Exclusiveness of the Gospel: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)
Call to Repentance: "'I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'" (Luke 5:32)
What I'm trying to show with all of this is that God does forgive and save anyone who comes to Him through faith in Jesus. Salvation is offered to liars, the arrogant, homosexuals, and everyone. But God calls us also to change our lives when we come to Him. He calls us to repent of sin which means to turn away from it. God accepts people of all pasts who come to Him for salvation through Jesus but He never accepts their sin. He desires to cleanse them of their sin and help them change and live a life of repentance. As the saying goes, "God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way."
We're all sinners and God's grace will cover it
Paul dealt with that same excuse two thousand years ago in his letter to the Romans. If there is total forgiveness through Jesus, then why does it matter if I keep on sinning? If God truly does forgive and give grace to sinners, then why not let people keep living homosexual lifestyles?
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2)
Just think about this for a moment. Would you apply this logic to a Christian who was living in any other sin? Think of a Christian who is married and also has a mistress. Would you say, "No big deal. We're all sinners. God's grace will cover it. He doesn't need to change or repent"? What about a Christian who lies a lot to manipulate everybody? What about a Christain with a drug addiction? I'm pretty sure you'd call that person to change and repent. You'd try to get them help. But you wouldn't say, "Keep doing what you're doing!"
So why should we pretend that this sin, homosexuality, is somehow different and special?
Why can't you just let them be happy, they're not hurting anyone
First, because a homosexual lifestyle will not lead to real happiness. The Bible tells us that true joy is found only in walking with God.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV)
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
True joy in life does not come from pursuing worldly pleasures like money, possessions, or sex. It doesn’t even come from things that are worthwhile like marriage or children, though those things can certainly bring us some joy and happiness. True joy that lasts and endures and deeply satisfies the soul can only be found in God and walking with Him. When we live in a lifestyle of sin, whether it be homosexuality, alcohol abuse, affairs, or the like, we are robbing ourselves of true joy while chasing after empty wells to quench our thirst. When we tell our homosexual friends that what they’re doing is fine, we’re leaving them to pursue empty joy rather than inviting them to find true happiness in God.
Second, people are being hurt. People who live homosexual lifestyles, and Christians who excuse such behavior, are by example and word telling a watching world that this is a valid option for human sexuality. Young teens are especially vulnerable here as puberty and hormones provide plenty of confusion about their identity as it is. Seeing homosexuality lived out and hearing Christians excuse it will only lead more people to assume that this lifestyle is a valid option that will lead to a happy life and will not hinder their relationship with God.
Christians who excuse homosexuality are often unknowingly encouraging a lifestyle that will not lead to true happiness, encouraging young people down this road, and encouraging a behavior that harms adopted children, rather than calling people to Christ.
Look, I'm not advocating that we stand in people's bedrooms with a striped shirt and a whistle calling foul if two guys or two girls decide to sleep together.* To some extent, people are just going to do what they want to do.
What I am saying is that we as Christians need to be consistent and honest about what the Bible says about homosexuality and we need to stop excusing what the Bible says about it! God doesn't need you to clean up the scandal of what He said about homosexuality. God desires for you to speak for Him to the people around you.
We need to speak lovingly and truthfully. We need to stop making excuses for sin so that those in a life of homosexuality will not wrongly assume that God approves or that they'll find happiness there. We need to stop making excuses for sin so that those who are believers will not wrongly grow up thinking homosexuality is a viable option to pursue. We need to speak God's truth to call people to repentance, faith, salvation, healing, and true happiness in God.
*That referee joke was shamelessly borrowed from various Mark Driscoll sermons. I like it and hope you did too.