“Gay Christian”: Is Such a Term Compatible With Biblical Teaching?
I wrote recently about the curious practice of parents changing their theology to accommodate their child’s sexual orientation. Many evangelical parents are suddenly realizing that it is perfectly acceptable to be both a “faithful Christian” and a “practicing homosexual.” More often than not this revelation comes in the after math of their child announcing that he or she is gay. Are we standing on the precipice of the normalization of “gay Christians”?
A recent article at Answers In Genesis (AIG) addresses this very topic.
Dr. Terry Mortensen, writing at AIG, comments on an article written by Brandan Robertson, the national spokesperson for the newly formed Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME). This organization seeks to change the dialogue Christians are having about homosexuality and to encourage them to reconsider what the Bible teaches. EME believes it is absolutely possible to be a faithful Christian and proud homosexual; and they’d like more Christians to agree with them.
Robertson went to a conference for LGBTQ Christians organized by the Gay Christian Network. Afterwards he wrote about his experience in extremely glowing terms. Dr. Mortensen addresses those comments with a little more biblical clarity.
First you have to understand where EME is coming from, what they are attempting to effect in the conversation regarding the biblical definition of marriage. They plainly state that their goal is:
“…to help change hearts and minds of evangelical Christians on the issue of same-sex civil marriage. . . . We make the case that you can be a faithful Bible-believing evangelical while supporting the right of same-sex couples to be civilly married in the United States and that whatever your theology might be, it shouldn’t dictate what you should believe politically and socially about this.3”
Notice that the EME is asking Christians to divorce their morality and theology. They are asking us to have a morality regarding sexuality that is entirely separate from our theology. How else could any serious student of Scripture ask another to think about marriage is a way that is opposed to Scripture? Only by divorcing our morality and definition of marriage from clear biblical teaching could anyone find justification in asking Christians to think “politically and socially” about same-sex “marriage.” If our politics and sociology is not informed by our theology we have divorced our theology from our life in a way the Bible never imagined.
Dr. Mortensen makes a statement that needs repeated and memorized by every professing Christian. He writes:
“The question is not, can a person be a Christian and a homosexual? The answer is, of course. There are thousands of people in America and many other countries who are both homosexual and Christian. The question is rather, can a person be a faithful follower of Christ and a practicing homosexual? The biblical answer to that is, absolutely not…”
Why do most Christians believe this? Very simply because this is the clear teaching of Scripture. Notice:
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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
There is no ambiguity in what the Bible teaches. The plain text understanding is that homosexuality, like many other sins, is wrong and inconsistent with those seeking to live a pleasing life before God. But we also need to be just as clear about the fact that pre-marital sex, adultery, drunkenness, theft, murder, and lying are all just as sinful and inconsistent with the life of a Christ-follower.
Just as important as refusing to single out homosexuality is the Christian “no no” list of sins, is the need to remind people that calling an action sin in accordance with biblical teaching is not hate. Just because I don’t approve of or celebrate the homosexual lifestyle does not mean I hate gay people. In keeping with the teachings of Jesus I seek to love all people without condoning sin. Jesus never affirmed or celebrated sin, He rebuked it. But He loved people enough to rebuke their sin, call them to repentance, and was not ashamed to associate with them despite that sin.
While the EME is seeking to find acceptance inside the church for their unbiblical idea of sexuality, the need for church discipline will become more critical. Dr. Mortensen rightly describes that people seeking to influence others to accept sin should be removed from the church in accordance with biblical teaching:
“If a person were in the church seeking to influence the church to accept and celebrate his (or her) homosexual behavior and same-sex attraction as a gift and calling from God…and if the church sought to bring this person to repentance and could not, then by expelling him (or her) it would be doing exactly what God’s Word clearly says to do with Christians living in sin (e.g., 1 Corinthians 5:1–13).”
Sadly, sin has been left unchallenged in many churches due to pastoral negligence, leadership vacuums, power struggles, and sinful greed. But the need for the exercise of proper church discipline is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy, growing church. As our culture continues to affirm and celebrate what God clearly calls sin it will become more imperative to the life of the church.
I appreciate Dr. Mortensen clearly refuting the unbiblical claims of Brandan Robertson. Such false teachings will serve only to further hinder the church and its mission of effectively sharing the truth of Jesus with a lost world. The last thing we need is anything that will muddy the waters.