Three Things Many Christians Are Missing When Discussing Homosexuality

homosexuality-USE.svg_I’m very conservative on what the Bible teaches regarding homosexual practice. But I wonder if the way we conservatives talk about homosexuality needs some work.

It’s easy to rail on sins we don’t struggle with, especially sins that are as striking as homosexual practice. (It’s a striking example of rejecting God as He has revealed Himself in creation–Romans 1.)

The problem in how we talk about this is threefold:

1. We miss it when we condemn homosexual sinners without acknowledging that we’re sinners too.

This comes across as almost entirely unpalatable–especially to non Christians. It seems arrogant, proud, and belittling. It’s telling people, “If you were as good of a person as I am, then you could be good with God. But you’re not. So, ha!” And that is one thing people can’t stand.

This is why I tell our students (and anyone really) not to just tell their gay friends, “You’re gay and you’re going to hell,” even though the Bible is clear that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). Instead, we should start with, “The Bible says you’re a sexual sinner . . . and so am I.”

This helps break down a barrier people have in hearing the gospel–their perception that Christians are arrogant and self-righteous. “What? You think you’re just as bad of a sinner as you think I am? You don’t think you’re better than me?”

Does the way we talk about homosexuals show that we’re actually concerned about their eternal destiny from a heart of love? Or does it reveal that we’re only concerned about winning an argument or having our view held as the only legal one? If we love them, then may I suggest that we be vulnerable about our own sins, so they might at least be a little more willing to hear the rest of the story?

2. We miss it when we talk about homosexuality but leave out the good news!

Often, the sin of homosexual behavior is simply railed upon. “Look at what this world is coming to! Men sleeping with men! Sodomy! It’s damnable I tell you!” This may be true, but it is not preaching the gospel.

The gospel is good news! Do we even get to the good part? That Jesus Christ died to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15)? And that even though the sin of homosexual practice is not worthy of the kingdom of God, those who do can still be washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus Christ, just like some of the Corinthian believers (1 Cor 6)?

The gospel is offensive. No one likes to be told that the core of who they are is a sinner–not a murdering sinner, a blaspheming sinner, an adulterer sinner, or a homosexual sinner. But I wonder whether our approach actually even includes any gospel in it. After all, the point of telling someone about the ugliness of their sin is so they can then see the beauty of a Savior.

3. We miss it when we imply people can simultaneously cling to Jesus and their sin.

There is not enough room in anyone’s heart to hold both sin and Jesus as it’s master. If Jesus and the sin of homosexual practice are playing king of the mountain, only one will win. God is jealous that way. He demands total allegiance. (“You will love the Lord your God and serve Him only,” Deut 6:13.)

We are not doing our friends and family a favor if we claim that just because everyone is a sinner, then its OK to keep that sin around. No. Jesus demands that you leave everything else if you’re going to follow Him and worship Him only. No exceptions. Not even sinful tendencies that seem to be natural. Can we really hate people so much by telling them they’re good with God when they’re really not?

This is one of the biggest issues of our day, and it’s not going away. Will we humbly engage people and apply the gospel to the sin of homosexual practice, and actually do so in a way that lets the gospel be offensive instead of us?

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8 thoughts on “Three Things Many Christians Are Missing When Discussing Homosexuality

  1. As someone raised in the church (and the Free Will Baptist denomination at that), I would say the number one thing Christians miss when they discuss homosexuality is the fact that their opinion is not always wanted. If I were to go to you and say “Jacob, I’ve been struggling with homosexuality. Can you help me?” that’s one thing. But if my very existence as a homosexual is what’s bringing on the spiritual advice, that’s when it no longer is from God.

    • Thomas,

      Certainly. Not sure many of us are close enough with people who consider themselves to be gay to even talk to them about it. I personally am not, although I haven’t intentionally avoided it. But I have talked to several people who do have close enough relationships with gay people (family, close friends), and I hope this can help them and help others like me who might have that conversation one day.

      That being said, it’s impossible for Christians to not form an opinion about it. It’s the topic right now.

      Grace and peace,
      J

  2. Thanks for starting/continuing this much-needed discussion. Great thoughts! The good news of the gospel is powerful – no matter the sin. It should change us first – having been ‘apprehended’ by the Great Lover of the universe should fill us with love for others – and then empower us to share this love with others.

    In my conversations with a gay friend, I have found that I don’t have to be the ‘Holy Spirit Junior’ as God is certainly capable of doing His work. Yes, we need to be able to share truth of the Bible, but there is usually a lot of self-condemnation already. Sin of any kind is bondage and we need to share the freedom we’ve found. Respect and caring go a long way in introducing people to Christ.

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