Can someone be a homosexual and a Christian at the same time?
CR – no city given
Homosexuality and Christianity (Part 1)
Let me expand the question. Can someone be an alcoholic and a Christian at the same time? How about a murderer and a Christian? Or, what about a drug addict or a glutton or an embezzler or a gossip? Do you see where I’m going with this? Christians are sinners saved by grace. Most people will be hard pressed to find a day where they won’t need to seek forgiveness for some sin.
Let’s be clear. Homosexual activity is sin. The Bible doesn’t leave any wiggle room on this one despite what is pushed by the gay rights activists. “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But let’s be clear on something else: a person who struggles with homosexuality is the same as any other person who is struggling with any other kind of sin. This is also evidenced by the verse quoted. They need the healing grace of God and they need the Church.
It seems to me that the traditional Christian church has treated this sin differently than almost any other. Often treated like it is the “unforgivable” sin, the homosexual is viewed as a leper who needs to be thrown out of the camp. Therefore it is not generally “safe” for homosexuals to expose their struggle with this sin. What a terrible shame! The very people who need prayer and support are shunned or ignored. Often they are ridiculed or self righteously judged.
Yes, a person can be a homosexual and a Christian, but that is not all that needs to be said. Even though sin is sin and God hates all sin, the nature of some struggles is different than others. The homosexual struggle is unique in certain ways and we need to discuss that further. Both the Church and the homosexual have dilemmas which we will talk about in the next parts.
The Church’s dilemma (Part 2)
Why is the Church so judgmental and hard line about homosexuality? The Church is trying to walk a very fine line, and has not yet found its balance point. How does the Church call sin what it is and yet live out the admonition that God hates the sin but loves the sinner? So far in the case of homosexuality the answer is: not too well.
This is an especially difficult task in light of the cultural changes which have occurred in the last fifty years. The gay activists’ rights groups are pushing for equal legal status, equal respect and most of all, ACCEPTANCE of this lifestyle. They are sick and tired of being in a closet of shame and denial and second class status at work and at home.
They have been at least partially successful in changing the mindset of the American people. What is the Church to do? Well, some churches (which go by the Christian label) have also converted over to that mindset. “People of all sexual orientations welcome here” signs are popping up on church marques. Congregations are electing gay pastors and denominations are ordaining gay ministers and pastors are “marrying” gay couples.
This is more than scary to traditional orthodox Bible based Christianity. God’s Word does not change over time, and is not subject to cultural relativism. Liberal theology is a danger and must be stopped because it erodes truth. The Church is (or should be) a moral compass for society and scripture is a final answer on any subject.
The Church struggles with how to extend forgiveness and grace to those entrapped by the sin without seeming to condone the activity and lifestyle. For instance, how should the Church provide a welcome environment and remain true to their convictions? Should the sign out front say: “People of all sexual orientations welcome here with the understanding that homosexuality activity is sin but we love you as a person and will try to get you help to be released from this sinful lifestyle”? That’s a little long for most church marques, isn’t it?
The homosexual’s dilemma (Part 3)
The dilemma of the homosexual is pretty straightforward: most feel they can’t change. They have tried and failed or don’t want to try. Maybe they hid it or denied it for a long time but in the end, there it still is. So they are stuck. Their question is: what am I supposed to do? This is who I am. Many feel that they were born homosexual so how can you call it sinful if you can’t help it?
A person’s sexuality has very deep roots and affects their entire life view. It is interwoven with the fiber of their being. For someone who is heterosexual it is easy to say to stop or change, but for the homosexual it can be a very difficult road. Many have failed in trying.
So what are the choices? Some deny or hide their sexual orientation and others celebrate it. Some are ashamed and others flaunt it. Some embrace it and others have a deep desire to be free. Remember though that sin crouches at the door of heterosexuals too. In this fallen world there are plenty of temping sexual sins to go around. All who follow Christ are called apart to a pure life, and all who wish to are supplied with enough grace to succeed.
If a homosexual finds Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a new element is introduced. They are no longer living for themselves, but for him. The same sex attractions has to be surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus too. What does Jesus want them to do with it? How are they now to live? Even if they stop homosexual activity (which they must), isn’t this still who they are? NO! With Christ at the center they are much more.
Wholeness (Part 4)
I have read and heard the testimony of many individuals, both male and female, who embraced the homosexual lifestyle but who broke free. However, that is not promised. Each of us is broken in something, so for some, same sex attraction will follow them all the days of their life. Yet that is not the full story because each of us is much more than our sexual attractions. And each of us (both homosexual and heterosexual) are called to sexual purity.
Jesus said: “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) Or this; “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Freedom in Christ may come in different ways, but always starts the same way. This is a paradox, yet true: “He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal” (John 12:25). Surrender of our life to the Lordship of Jesus is the beginning of true freedom.
Final remarks (Part 5)
A question of this type is not usually just academic. Perhaps you asked it because it is something you are dealing with yourself or someone you love is struggling with it. No matter what your reason, I hope you feel encouraged.
Every question, simple or complex, can be answered within the love that God had for us when he sent his son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins. After we receive that love and commit ourselves as his disciples, we go through a sanctification process that lasts the rest of our lives. God calls us to be holy like he is and yet we find ourselves coping with sin and all of its attraction.
All of us fall over and over. We pick ourselves up, confess our sin and ask for the power and grace not to do it again. Then we go on in the love and forgiveness of our Savior. Along the way, God’s power and grace does work transformation in us. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) The more we experience the love of God the more we experience wholeness in our innermost being. Wholeness heals brokenness; wholeness breaks the power of sin.
Finally; “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
For more information, I highly recommend the small but biblically based book, Is God anti-gay? by Sam Allberry. Sam deals with same sex attractions, and he is also a priest with the Church of England.