Since I began addressing the apologetics put forth by so-called gay evangelicals, I have received many emails and comments asking me to expand upon some of the things I had written in response to their arguments. I wanted to compile a list of the most “Frequently Asked Questions” I have received since engaging gay “Christian” apologetics.
Why do you put the word “Christian” in quotes when you describe gay “Christian” apologetics?
Quite simply I do not believe a person can be a Christian and a practicing homosexual. A person is seriously deceived if that individual believes he or she can be submitted to the Lordship of Christ and yet at the same time promote a lifestyle that is clearly condemned in Scripture as being a deviate sin against God’s holiness and created order. Christ is Lord over all areas of a person, including his or her sexuality, and He has revealed direct guidelines as to how a man and a woman are only to express their sexuality in marriage to a partner of the opposite sex.
Moreover, God has revealed through the pen of Paul that deviant, homosexual activity is a way of life from which a person is in need of salvation. After outlining a list of egregious sin which included homosexuality, Paul says of the Corinthians, “that such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11). In other words, he speaks of former homosexual practitioners in the Corinthian church who no longer lived that lifestyle. Thus, there is a contrast here, along with a biblical principle of spiritual living. That being, the former life of practicing homosexuality was contrary to those who participate in the Kingdom of God and a Christian puts off old ways of living and puts on new ways of living in light of the believer’s new identity with Christ’s Kingdom.
More specifically, I don’t believe a Christian can engage in the gay evangelical propaganda efforts of flagrantly twisting all the biblical texts condemning homosexuality so as to make them teach an entirely different lifestyle than what God has conveyed regarding human sexuality. Though gay apologists are not altering the physical text by changing words, they are certainly re-interpreting them by pouring alternative definitions onto words that they claim affirms homosexual orientation and behavior, rather than judging it.
So, when I use quotations around the word Christian, I am recognizing there are individuals claiming the name of Christ as their own and calling themselves “Christian,” yet they are advocating a way of living that is diametrically opposed to the very Lord they claim they serve. Hence, I am of the opinion that pretty much all those individuals are not Christians to begin with and fall into the category of those people Jesus says called Him “Lord, Lord” but in reality never really knew Him (Matthew 7:21).
What about a gay person’s desires? How can you deny the same-sex attractions and feelings they claim has been a part of their life since childhood?
This question is often presented as if it is unanswerable and cannot be trumped at all. The “feelings” or “desires” of the same-sex attracted person are a result of one’s sexual orientation which is something biological, and thus could never be changed even if they wanted to.
I once had a young man write to me who had struggled with homosexual sin much of his life. He told me how he had since the early age of 5 been attracted to other boys. Being raised in extreme, legalistic, fundamental circles, such desires were certainly considered wicked. He had tried to overcome them by thinking sexual thoughts toward girls, but to no avail. He had even tried marriage to a woman, but mustering up sexual interest in her was a challenge and they both eventually divorced over it.
His testimony was meant to convince me that his homosexual feelings went beyond just him “choosing” to live a gay lifestyle, but was a biological orientation which God had designed. His sexual attraction to men was something out of his control and thus unchangeable and it was unfair for heterosexual men to be allowed to act upon their sexual attractions, whereas he was forbidden.
The Bible provides for us some specific insight to the general nature of man, and it is from these insights I will frame a response to this line of reasoning. Allow me to offer a few thoughts:
1) I have always argued a person may well have homosexual desires from an early childhood. Yet those desires do not make them right, nor should they be stimulated by the person. That is because our desires come from our hearts, and the Scriptures declare the heart of man is sinful. The Scripture describes the heart as the inner person, the seat of a person’s volition and being and what orients the person in a specific direction.
Christians will mistakenly believe their desires and passions are distinct from their heart, as if the two are non-related. Additionally, they divide one’s body, or biological make-up, from this spiritual part of man.
Yet the heart and body function together as a whole. The sinful heart does influence the bodily desires. Sin has put our physical bodies under the corruption of death, resulting in disease and eventually physical death. So to, death’s corruption can certainly impact our desires which will in turn impact our attitudes and behaviors. Jesus affirmed as much when He told how our sinful defilement does not come from sources outside of us, but from the “out workings” of our own sinful heart (Mark 7:20-23). The out workings of that heart are expressed in a person’s thinking, actions, and repeated behavior, and I would also add, what the person desires or longs for.
2) Because all men and women are born with hearts oriented away from, and in rebellion against the Lord, it is only biblical to conclude one’s desires, even from an early childhood, can be corrupted by that sinful heart. Paul writes of inordinate affections in Colossians 3:5 as a vice in need of being put off by the Christian. Other translations render the phrase “wicked passions” or “lustful desires.”
If, as the Bible teaches, sin impacts a person’s mind, darkening his knowledge to live a life suppressing the truth of God (Rom. 1:18ff., Eph. 4:17ff.), sin can certainly be said to affect a person’s desires as well. Paul when writing to Timothy spoke of those who were “lovers of themselves” and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:2, 4). Here we have an example of those who have strong desires, but their love and passions are oriented toward sinful things. So too is it with homosexuals who claim the power of their desires over their personal lives.
3) Assuming this person is telling me the truth about his early childhood, no matter how early in life a person may experience specific desires, such an experience does not establish those desires as being right. We cannot appeal to our experience as the standard of what we think is correct about life. Our hearts are easily deceived and led astray, and unless we look to an ultimate authority in which we are to orient our thinking, what we “experience” will lead us into error every time.
4) I believe Christ is a redeemer. His redemption is more than from the judgment and penalty of God’s wrath, but it is also a freedom from the tyranny of sin. We have been freed from the power of sin so that we can live as we should before God. Roman’s 6 tells us we have been ransomed from the wages of sin and death and the judgment of the old man, Adam, and are now made slaves of Christ and righteousness. Our identity is with the New Man, Jesus Christ. Additionally, the sanctifying work of the Spirit redeems our minds to think godly desires. Hence, I believe desires, over time, can be changed. That is what the renewing of our mind entails (Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 3:10).
One thing to keep in mind, though. Many Christians erroneously think when they are saved, all the sinful desires and temptations will go away in an instant. Yet they are disappointed to despair when such does not happen to them in their personal lives. Salvation leads to sanctification, and sanctification is a life long process of putting off old, sinful habits, and putting on new righteous habits. We don’t get brand new minds, but we are given the spiritual freedom to now seek after righteousness and our duty as believers is to retrain our minds. Our minds have been warped by exposure to long periods of worldly thinking, and the process of sanctification is to shed off the worldly wisdom, to begin thinking biblically and according to a Christian worldview. That is the whole process of being submitted to Christ’s Lordship.
What I see from those individuals – even those struggling with any sin in their lives, not just homosexual feelings – is only a mindset to put off. They seek legalistic, works oriented means to deal with their sinful desires. Submitting themselves to lists of dos and don’ts, or perhaps seeking an unbiblical means to deal with the sin, like what my emailer wrote about trying to change his homosexual lusts by lusting sexually after girls.
What ever the case, when their futile efforts fail, they give up and resign to the notion they cannot have victory over sinful passions. Hence, some conclude that if they still have certain desires after all their efforts are exhausted to deal with those desires, then they must be okay. But Romans 8:2ff. tells us that dealing with sin according to the flesh will never work. One must have the Spirit of God indwelling him (Romans 8:9). One is not of Christ who does not have the Holy Spirit. Thus, those who are truly saved will press on to seeking righteousness because they have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them and so they not only put off sin, they put on righteousness.
Isn’t the reaction by the evangelical church of condemning homosexual feelings and forbidding loving, consensual marriage both anti-Christian and cruel?
This question is often presented from a false sense of persecution. The idea being that a person wants to enjoy a sexually satisfying relationship, but his “orientation” is toward the same-sex, and so to forbid the person the privilege of fulfilling such a relationship in marriage to a same-sex partner is cruel, because he or she could never be sexually satisfied with an opposite sex partner.
But, the question is disingenuous, because no one is forbidding this person from being married. What is being forbidden is the allowance of distorting who God says can participate in marriage. God is the one who has ordained marriage at the start of creation and He is the one who has limited the participants of marriage to being one male and one female. Any deviation from that model in the form of divorce, or polygamy, or homosexuality, would be against what God originally designed and intended for marriage.
Now, with some of those deviations God regulates them through laws. Divorce is the most common deviation, but those laws regulating divorce and remarriage are not meant to give affirmation of allowance to those other extreme deviations like homosexual behavior, but are meant to restrain man’s hand from more sin that what already exists in the situation.
Additionally, homosexuality goes beyond a sin in need of regulation to protect innocent people. What makes homosexual orientation and behavior sinful is the fact the sexual act is a perversion of God’s natural order. Men are not physically designed to have sexual relations with each other, nor are women with each other. Because two men or two women have the same sexual components, they cannot engage in sexual intimacy in the fashion God designed.
So, does that mean a guy struggling with homosexual desires is to just find a girl and get married anyways even it he is allegedly repulsed with the idea of having sex with her? Well, not exactly. I know there may be well intentioned pastors who have counseled some young man to do such a thing as if that would solve his struggles with this sin, but marriage in this situation may not be an option at all. The wiser response is to disciple the young man to think through the sanctification process of his temptations and allow God’s Spirit to retrain his mind to be in conformity with Christ’s righteousness in the areas of human sexuality as revealed in scripture.