What about Homosexuality?

Posted: June 29, 2011 by Nathan in What About...
Tags: , , , , ,

Now here’s a subject not many people are brave enough to tackle. Not sure whether I’m brave enough or just stupid enough? Let me say from the outset that whatever I say on the subject there will be other Christians (even good friends of mine) who are bound to disagree with me. That’s OK! I’d like to say that the whole homosexual issue is very clear cut, very black and white – but unfortunately that is simply not true – there is so much grey – which is why it is such a difficult subject to tackle. So, let me start with what I do know.

God loves homosexuals. No matter what impression individual Christians give or what whole churches say – God unconditionally loves homosexuals. He loves those who refrain from sexual acts and those that partake. To go one step further if someone truly follows the teaching of Jesus they too will love anyone who is a homosexual, practising as well as non practising. I’d like to think that this is always the case and that the church has been very much misunderstood, but I know that this is simply not true. Christians all over the world have misinterpreted, misunderstood and completely gone against the teachings of the Bible, following their own agendas and using the Bible to try and justify their sinful words and actions. As Christians (as a whole) we get things massively wrong. We judge, we condemn, we hate, we sin and we are no better than anyone else. We let the passion that we have regarding our faith spill out in the wrong ways. We are, in many respects, human first and Christian second. We let our human emotions rule and things become twisted. So when it comes to the issue of homosexuality we see it as not being God’s ideal and end up giving the impression that God hates homosexuals. Fact: this is simply not the case!! God has many ideals, ideals that we as Christians fail to live up to every single day!

I can only give my opinion of what I believe that the Bible teaches and how we should live out that teaching in our lives. My understanding of the subject is open to change. If you disagree with what I say I don’t believe that that puts us at odds with each other. Each of us are on our own journey towards understanding and truth. I am always willing to learn from others and am hopefully open minded to the points of view of others. I urge you therefore to bear with me and dialogue with me instead of becoming annoyed or angry.

It is my experience that the major influence on a Christian’s theology of homosexuality is people they know well who are gay. It seems to me that a Christian who has a relative or close friend who practices homosexual acts is prone to change their theology to make sense of that relationship. Not many Christians would like to think of their child or sibling living a lifestyle contrary to that which God would desire. Therefore many Christians seem to change their theology to make things simpler, less awkward, less contradictory. It is very easily done, after all we live in an age where tolerance is at an all time high, belief is sidelined and everything is OK as long as it doesn’t impinge on someone else. However, does the church now believe that homosexual relations are OK in the sight of God or are Christians just falling in line behind a societal shift of homosexual acceptance? I believe it is the latter? I believe that the teaching of the Bible in not only what it says about homosexuality (not too much actually), but also its emphasis on family, marriage before God and man/woman relationships remains the same. Now I do believe that the church has gotten things wrong for hundreds of years in the way it has treated homosexuals. In my mind and I believe in God’s mind to, sin is sin. Why the church decided to single out the homosexual issue for more condemnation than any other sin is beyond me. I am as sinful as the next man. You are as sinful as me and I am as sinful as you. When it comes to sin, in God’s eyes we are all as sinful as each other.

So should a church welcome practising homosexuals? Of course they should! Should the church condemn homosexuals? Of course not? My view in a nutshell is this. I welcome homosexuals to my church, I love them and support them. However, if they were to ask me what they could do to draw nearer to God they wouldn’t like what they hear. I do believe that the practise of homosexuality is not what God would want for a person. I know of many people who would vehemently disagree and that is fine. I also believe though that the most important thing in the world to God is a person’s relationship with Him. I believe God would prefer someone to be a practising Christian and a practising homosexual than someone with homosexual tendencies to abstain from sex and not be a Christian. Practising homosexuals should be warmly welcomed into our churches. They are deeply loved by God and should be deeply loved by us as well. In my life I have been friends with a whole range of Christian and non-Christian people with homosexual tendencies. Of those who were Christians some having been practising, some celibate and some have pursued a heterosexual life. I hope that I have treated them all the same. When asked I have made my views clear, but I hope I have shown them that I love them whatever they do. It is easy to love and support those that agree with us and heed our advice, but we need to love people whatever! We are not here to judge, we are here to love, encourage, support, care and witness.”

Now, I know I’ve opened up a whole can of worms here, but I look forward to hearing from you. I know people will have differing opinions and as I said before that is fine, however please can we keep any discussions civil, polite and let’s understand that we are all coming from different backgrounds with different struggles and and are all on differing journeys. I will not remove differing opinions but I reserve the right to remove posts that I feel may be intended to be hurtful. That said, debate away!!!

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Comments
  1. A Brave effort Nathan to confront a difficult and highly emotive issue. On the whole I find myself agreeing with you on this one. I think the Bible is as clear cut about the issue of homosexuality as it is about God’s unconditional love for every single one of us – BEFORE any turning to him, let alone afterwards.

    I am reminded that years ago as a young man I was at Greenbelt with another Christian guy who told me that “all gays should be put against a wall and shot” and that they were hated by God. I felt sick in the stomach to think that I could even share the same name of ‘Christian’ with him. Alas, his view is still in the majority I fear amongst Christians though few would put it so bluntly.

    I am not sure how far I can agree with the practising homosexual Christian being accepted. If they are struggling with sin, as we all do, and pray to change then yes, absolutely I stand with them in love and fellowship. If, however, they are preaching a theology that permits such a lifestyle and claim it in the name of Jesus then I have to agree to disagree and part company. I think both the dogmatic, rigid beliefs of the young man described above and the ‘anything goes’ liberal theology that many turn to do not hold to a courageous yet loving belief system that was taught by both Jesus and the Apostles. To do this though, does not imply a hatred or discrimination merely that I don’t believe what they do and we’re both entitled to our view.

    I’ll finish to say I am proud to count homosexuals amongst my friends and have many. I know God loves them and so do I in my weak and far from perfect way. I hope and pray that the practise of my faith does not cause them unjust offence or send them further away from the Gospel or the doors of the church but at the same time I hope I am not guilty (or not too guilty at least) of denying Christ by conforming to the ideals of political correctness that society imposes on people all too readily these days.

  2. jwppsaml says:

    Well said. This is not an easy subject to take on and I will state here what I stress to the adult students I teach in my Sunday School Class. It is permissible to hate sin. In fact we are expected to. That said, it is never, under any circumstances, permissible to hate the sinner. Paul said that all of us are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. The last time I checked, “I” am a part of “all”. I taught another adult class a few weeks ago in which I stated that we tend to categorize sins. We consider some sins little as in “little white lies”. On the other end of the spectrum we put those sins we consider big sins such as murder. The truth is every sin we commit damages our relationship with God and underscores our need for Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are called upon to be discerning. At the same time, we are told not to be judgmental. The line that separates the two is not always easy to keep in focus. I think you have done well here.

  3. Owen Howlett says:

    Beautifully written, Nathan! I’m glad that you set out some common ground that most people (I hope all people) can agree on, before talking about the more contentious issues.

    The point you made about “the major influence on a Christian’s theology of homosexuality is people they know well who are gay” is borne out by some political research that I read here (in California) about the same issue–people’s voting patterns on homosexual ballot measures are most strongly correlated with whether they have openly gay friends and relatives. Assuming that people exercise the same intellectual rigor in their religion as in their politics, I’d assume that the same effect holds true for their personal theology.

    Not being a practicing member of a church I can’t speak from personal experience, but I can imagine that an “open” gambling addict or an alcoholic would be welcome in most churches, so it’s hard for me to see, even if homosexuality is considered a sin, why an open homosexual wouldn’t be accepted by a church.

    • Nathan says:

      Thanks Owen I really appreciate that! I agree with your point about the gamblers and alcoholics and it does seem strange why the church has struggled to accept openly homosexual people. On the other hand though if a church accepted gamblers and alcoholics and set up support mechanisms to help them stop drinking or gambling they would be praised by society. If they accepted practising homosexuals but set up support to help them abstain from sexual practise then they would be condemned. There is a tension that exists that I don’t really understand. Why are people so upset about what the church believes? The church still believes that two heterosexuals living together is not what God desires but society doesn’t actively condemn the church for that and heterosexual living together don’t seem to bothered by those church held beliefs. So why the difference. I believe that these ideals only apply to believers – you can expect someone who has no belief in God to abide by the ideals that God has laid down for us. I believe the church is wrong if it condemns non-believers for not living by the moral code that Christians (should) live by.

  4. Nathan, thank you for opening this sensitive issue. I totally agree that God loves all homosexuals just the same as all of us other sinners and that the church often treats them in a downright shameful way. I also agree that we should welcome them in our midst and not condemn them or become the stumbling block between them and God.
    I still struggle with a couple of questions here, regarding how far this acceptance should go. Should we baptise practising homosexuals? Allow them to teach our Sunday school or lead our youth group? Let them become ministers? If the answer to any of these questions is no, we will be accused of intolerance.
    Regarding the question of choice – if we say that homosexuals are free to live as they feel natural because they were born that way, shouldn’t we also say that paedophiles are free to do as they please because they were born that way? Or that it is OK for a man (or woman) to sleep around because that’s how they are naturally inclined?
    I’m not saying I know what’s right or wrong here, just sharing my questions while (selfishly) hoping that our congregation won’t have to deal with this issue any time soon, as we just had to deal with a church member marrying an unbeliever and it was controversial enough. But that’s another story.

    • Nathan says:

      Hi Eva, thank you for your encouragement and openness.

      The things you struggle with are not unique to you. Many Christians have wrestled with those issues and could probably give you better answers than me. However, I’ll have a go. Just remember that these are just my personal opinion which is bound to be flawed.

      Baptising Practising Homosexuals – I believe that baptism is a personal thing between you and God. If we as churches start to make judgements between who we baptise or not than I think we are on very dodgy ground. If we look at biblical instances of baptism we don’t see baptism classes of an interrogation as t one’s lifestyle. They are called to repentance, but only they would know. My guess is that some would have things in their lives that they wouldn’t have considered sinful and therefore didn’t repent of apart from a blanket “and forgive me for everything else”!! Can we really stand in the way between a sinner and God? After all we are all as sinful as each other.

      Practising homosexuals in leadership – Here I would have to make a distinction between someone who accepts that homosexual practise is sinful but yields to temptation from time to time and someone who does not see homosexual practise as sinful. None of us are perfect and therefore unless we are to disqualify everyone from leadership I see no problem in people who see homosexual practice as sinful but slip up occasionally being in leadership roles. However, someone who lives a lifestyle that I believe to be not what God would want from them is a different thing. So whether that lifestyle is homosexual practise, heterosexuals living together, gamblers, alcoholics, habitual liars etc. I would not want to see them in leadership. For me, leadership positions within the church are an affirmation of that person, their character and their lifestyle.

      I hope this helps, please do come back at me with your thoughts.

  5. John says:

    It’s difficult for anyone who believes that the Bible is true to articulate thoughts on the rights and wrongs of homoerotic relationships without inviting a chorus of outrage and accusations of homophobia.

    Political correctness (with its tactics of intimidation and caricature) has become the dominant paradigm in the Western world and it has effectively suppressed conscientious objection.

    How long before the Bible (or selected parts of it) is banned in a Western democracy and people are accused of ‘hate crime’ for quoting 1 Corinthians 6.9-11?

    Perhaps that is why you have over 100 visits to this page and less than 10 comments.

  6. Nathan, I think a big issue in this area is not just the question of choice, but whether we see “inherited” homosexuality as a “healthy and natural alternative” to heterosexuality or an “unhealthy” condition that can/should be dealt with, whether we believe “remedy” is possible or not. I know of people who were practising homosexuals and (through Christian ministry) ended up in a heterosexual marriage with kids. Unfortunately I also know of Christians who were married with kids and left their families for a person of the same sex. I know a Christian counsellor who would say (to a male homosexual) “It is not my job to make you lust after women the way you lust after men, but to make you a loving husband of one woman”. Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just quoting here.
    Again, if using the argument of “I was born this way and therefore it’s natural and OK as I did not choose it”, where do we draw the line? Paedophiles could use the same argument just like the followers of other alternative sex preferences. How long before political correctness will grant the same rights to paedophiles?

    • Owen Howlett says:

      Eva, I have to say that I think this is why Christians get a bad rap in some quarters. It’s extremely offensive to most people to equate acts of homosexuality with acts of paedophilia. Homosexual acts between consenting adults are totally different to a sexual act perpetrated on a child by an adult. If you wanted to draw a comparison between homosexuality and polygamy (for instance) that might be more appropriate.

  7. Once again I am blessed to read what you have to say. I am glad you were able to remind me how I need to love my neighbor, no matter what, how or who they are. How can I expect to be loved, and not judged, if I cannot show unconditional love? I thank God that He constantly reminds me to love others… This doesn’t mean that I agree with certain lifestyles, but God has called us to love, not to condemn… Besides, how can I be a testimonial if I condemn? As you said, I am as sinful as anyone else, there are no little sins and big sins, a sin is a sin, and it is only through Jesus that I can be made blameless! Me, blameless? after all Ive done??? but hey, that is grace for you! I am blameless through Jesus Christ and this is the best I could ever ask for anyone!

  8. John says:

    Owen: With respect, I don’t think Eva “equated” homosexuality with paedophilia. She compared them to illustrate her point about where to draw a line. That is different.

    Furthermore, the laws on free speech in this country entitle people to say things that are “extremely offensive” to others. Salman Rushdie, Frankie Boyle, Prince Philip, Danish artists and Abu Hamza say and draw things that are “extremely offensive” to others. That is part of living in a democracy. Perheaps it would be easier to live in Iran where everybody is coerced to think the same way?

    • Owen Howlett says:

      John,

      I think there was an implied equivalence in the phrase “How long before political correctness will grant the same rights to paedophiles?” As if paedophilia is just a more extreme kind of homosexuality. It creates the impression that the writer thinks those two activities are both on the same scale of “deviancy”. It creates the impression of a lack of understanding of homosexuality itself, which allows the reader to dismiss the writer’s views as being the views of someone who’s simply ignorant of the issues. And that doesn’t create a good impression of the writer’s religion.

      Like you, I was wondering about saying things that are “offensive” and whether that’s something a person should try to avoid, even if it means staying silent on issues they consider important. Of course, the laws on free speech vary by country, but there are precedents in the U.S. for homophobic speech being a felony, and if we were having this discussion about Jews or blacks instead of homosexuals, I think it would be clear that we’re on shaky ground.

      • Nathan says:

        Owen, John, Eva

        I’m not wanting to add fuel to the fire but did want to give my view having just caught up on your discussion. I believe that there is always a difficulty when putting into words our views and thoughts that we may not express them very well and that others may jump to conclusions that we didn’t mean for them make. I can see very well, your point Owen. However, when you talk about – “It creates the impression that the writer thinks those two activities are both on the same scale of “deviancy”. It creates the impression of a lack of understanding of homosexuality itself, which allows the reader to dismiss the writer’s views as being the views of someone who’s simply ignorant of the issues. And that doesn’t create a good impression of the writer’s religion.” It could be said that that view, although understandable and something I believe we should try and avoid, shows a lack of understanding of Christianity and Christianity’s view of sin. To a Christian sin is sin. I am as sinful as a paedophile and as a mass murderer. My little white lies are on the same scale as the genocide ruled over by Hitler.

        Societies around the world are progressing so fast we really have no idea where it will lead. 150 years ago it would have seemed totally inconceivable that children wouldn’t work in the mines and be sent up chimneys. 100 years ago it would have seemed inconceivable to most people that women would have the rights that they enjoy today. 50 years ago the idea that homosexuals would enjoy the freedoms and equality they have now would have been laughed at. Who knows what the next 50 years will bring. I guess the reverse of that is that 2000 years ago marriage at 12 for a girl was the norm. We tend to see the world as progressing but are we? In the UK and the States, to name just a few, Christianity was the bed-rock of these nations. Now it is being marginalised. Everybody’s rights are being protected bar Christians.

  9. Jamie says:

    This whole thing hinges on the question of, are homosexuals born this way or is this a learned perversion of sexual preference that is developed from experience and social environment? In my experience working as a fashion designer surrounded with many very open, very honest gay men, I formed the opinion that they chose their lifestyle and were not born with it. Mostly from them telling me this, but also from learning about their backgrounds. Granted this is a small and extreme sampling and has no scientific merit, but I got the impression that they were either afraid of women because of their mother, or lack of parents on either side, or just extremely sexual people that found that other men who felt the same were easier to have any kind of sex with.

    I was born with certain traits that today are labeled. I am a very talented artist, I love fashion design (hunting gear), I love decorating and sewing and can sit for hours with any group of women and talk cloths or food and not get bored (thanks grandma). When I was growing up no body told me that I must be gay because of this. In fact I also played Hockey, Football, hunted, fished and hung out with other guys, that I, to this day love as brothers and they me. My parents never said “oh, he must be gay” they said “oh he’s really good at art and has an eye for design”. Does having these traits make me a homosexual? Absolutely not. But when I worked as a fashion designer I was accused and assumed to be one just because I was good at certain things. Even being married and having two children at the time, only caused them to say that I just hadn’t “come out” yet. If homosexuality is genetic, shouldn’t it have been wiped out a long time ago through non-procreation? Or is it something that you are exposed to and given your upbringing and surroundings, either gravitate to or get away from? I was raised in a very strong family that promoted creativity, the Bible, Sports and family values. I was able to laugh off the comments said to me after college in the fashion industry because I had a solid Christian, family oriented upbringing. I became great friends with many gay men and would fire back in very humorous conversations about the differences in their lifestyle and mine.

    But today, our youth faces a society of churches, TV shows, School mandates, and who knows what else, all telling our children that it’s OK to be Gay. My son and Daughter tell my wife and I that many of their friends, “friends” have “come out”. These are 6th to 10th graders! Some have never even had any sexual relations with anyone yet and they have made a decision based solely on sexual preference that will change their lives forever! Being tolerant and non-confrontational is one thing, but when my pastor at our Methodist church told me that he was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, it made me very upset and we left that church to find one that didn’t promote sex as OK. Lesbian Sunday school teachers teaching our daughters that, “it’s OK to have two mommy’s” happened at the Presbyterian Church down the street a few years ago. Do we have to sit by and wait for liberal scientists to accidentally tell us that they’ve known all along that homosexuality is not a genetic disposition after all and that while we were all being politically correct we allowed our churches and our schools and society to sneak in ideas that make absolutely no sense at all when applied to science or the Bible? You stated that there are grey area’s, seriously? For me it is very black and white and deep down we all know what is real and what is a facade used to make a perverted society feel legit.

    Question: I have a best friend since second grade. We hunt together, played sports together, got in and out of trouble together. If his 5 kids and wife were suddenly taken from him and my 3 kids and wife were suddenly taken from me, we’d probably live together and try to rebuild our lives. I love him dearly and know he loves me back as strong as my love for my wife. Are we gay for this love? If not, then what defines being a homosexual? It is a sexual act that is the only difference between my best friend and I’s love and two other men that want to do “you know what together”. Since when is a “sexual act” the defining force behind a churches decision making process? Why are gay clergy allowed to teach that any sexual act is OK and accepted by God, to our youth? Why do so many clergy and professed men of God stand by and do nothing as our youth are brainwashed by the media, public school system and the mainstream churches? My hope is that this is genetic and that this massive growth of youth proclaiming that they are gay is just a fad or trend and that they will hopefully return to their hetero genetic orientation eventually. For some reason I doubt this is the case and by then the damage will sadly be done anyways. I think your site is great and things like this need to be discussed now!

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