One night I was reading the stories of people who had left the church because they thought God hated them simply because they were attracted to the same sex. I was so overcome with emotion that I put the book down, got alone in another room, fell to my knees and wept. The pain of these men and women for whom Jesus died was palpable and heartbreaking.
Could it be that we have been misinterpreting Scripture when it comes to their salvation? Could it be that there is some new understanding of the Bible that would allow us to affirm committed, same-sex relationships?
If not, does that mean that we tell a 15 year-old girl who identifies as lesbian, “If you want to follow Jesus, you’ll have to be celibate for the rest of your life, never enjoying the companionship of a spouse and abstaining from sex for life”? Do we tell her, “If you do want to be married, you’ll have to find a way to be attracted to men”? Is that the good news of the gospel?
A spate of books, videos, articles and blogs would tell us that, indeed, that is not the gospel and that the good news of Jesus is that you can follow Him and enjoy a committed, homosexual relationship too. And some of the authors of these books, videos, articles and blogs claim to be committed Christians themselves.
How do we sort this out?
It’s really not that difficult. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). It is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12-13).
If we will humble ourselves before the Lord, keeping our focus on Jesus and asking the Father to give us His heart for those who identify as LGBT, letting the unequivocal testimony of Scripture guide us, we will find clarity.
So what does the Word of God say about homosexual practice?
Here are five simple truths that will help separate truth from error and biblical revelation from emotion. (For those wanting a more in-depth treatment, please see my newest book, Can You Be Gay and Christian?)
1) The testimony of Scripture remains unchanged: The Bible forbids homosexual practice.
It’s clear that the vast majority of those who have changed their views on what the Bible says about homosexuality and now believe in “gay Christianity” have done so based on either their own same-sex desires and attractions or their interaction with “gay Christians” (or with any gay or lesbian person who challenges their assumptions).
In other words, they have not changed their thinking based on study of the Scriptures alone, since no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological or philological discoveries have been made in the last 50 years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently.
Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Instead, people’s interaction with the LGBT community has caused them to understand the biblical text differently. This means that, rather than interpreting their sexuality through the lens of the Scriptures, they are interpreting the Scriptures through the lens of their sexuality. This is a guaranteed path to deception.
The Word of God, which represents His heart and will for His creation, is absolutely clear on the subject, prohibiting all forms of homosexual practice. This is so clear that a number of leading gay and lesbian theologians acknowledge that they can only justify “gay Christianity” by rejecting the full authority of Scripture.