My friends… your response to these posts has been wonderful. Some of you have found these posts hard, especially if you came into it certain homosexuality is a sin. I urge you only to consider this is not as clearcut as you have believed… and I’m glad you’re still reading.
But many more have found here a fresh breeze – long-awaited permission to rethink not only our understanding of those passages but more importantly, our whole relationship as Christ-followers to the LGBTQ community. You’ve sent tender-hearted messages saying you’re uncomfortable trying to “tough-love” gays into being straight, or making this a dealbreaker for coming to Christ by withholding fellowship until they change.
justanothermom captured my heart for this whole series beautifully: I can’t possibly KNOW the heart of God on every earthly issue…and since the Bible is relatively soft spoken on the issue, I feel that leaves room for the heart of God to move among His people. ALL of whom (male, female, straight, Gay…etc..) belong to Him and it is His job alone to judge, instruct, and intervene. Thank you. That’s it exactly.
As God diverted me onto this path a few years ago, I needed to know what the Bible said and meant on this subject, if homosexuality is a sin. The two links below answered those questions well for me, with an excellent analysis of exactly what the bible says. I will let them handle that instead of trying to restate it here. I hope you find them illuminating. And if you disagree, that’s perfectly okay — that’s what makes it a disputable issue!
The stakes are enormous if we continue to be at war. The casualties of depression, bullying and suicide, are staggering. Christians have been hateful to the LGBTQ, and LGBTQ have been hateful to Christians too. Both have suffered and inflicted many wounds. To let Jesus reframe our thinking in the conversation is not only right but strategic. Those who don’t will go the way of the corded phone – iconic, but irrelevant. If you claim Christ, your job is to be love to a world that sorely needs it. That’s what we signed up for.
When we continue in the great debate of gays vs. Christians, we are distracted from The Great Debate: Who is Jesus and what have we done with His incomparable offer of salvation?
When the world sees our hatefulness and judgment, they don’t trust us. They want to shut us down. If they hate us because they hate Jesus first, as He says, then I can live with that — that’s the price of being a follower. But if they hate us because we’re hateful and condemning (of something that feels intrinsic to them), then we have made it much harder for them to come to Christ. Far be that from me. Our hearts should break that anyone thinks from listening to us that He will not accept them. Whether it’s a gay person who does not believe it’s a sin; or whether it’s a Christian who believes it is: we have to find common ground. Jesus is the only common ground that matters. Read the life-giving story of Shane Windmeyer and Dan Cathy, if you haven’t yet. Beautiful.
To come to Christ can be deeply challenging. You must realize your brokenness, humble yourself, and admit you need someone else’s help. Let us not add behavior to the mix when Jesus didn’t tell us to. We can instead heed Paul who says: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this — not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).
Again, I love how justanothermom said it: I know that the Lord instructs us to be fishers of men and go forth and make disciples, I don’t recall ever reading in the Bible that it was my job to “clean up the fish” that I catch. Bring people to the Cross, the glorious, wonderful Cross. Love them right where they are. Let Jesus clean up the fish. He is far better at it than I am…and maybe His idea of “cleaning them up” and mine are different… When did we go from “Come just as you are” to “Come and fit the mold or be shunned”? Our Cross is an all access backstage pass to the throne of Jesus. Gay. Straight. And everything in between.
With love, Susan
* Matthew Vines, founder of The Reformation Project has made an excellent and well researched video. As nomorefreerent commented: If you are curious about what the bible says specifically about homosexuality watch Matthew Vines’ The Gay Debate: Homosexuality and the Bible. It’s on Youtube, and yeah, it’s long but thoroughly researched. Matthew is a Harvard student who put in over 4000 hours of work on this project. He learned Greek and Latin so he could study the text better and has read hundreds of books and articles on the subject.
* Justin Lee, author of Torn, founder of The Gay Christian Network, has posted several enjoyable and informative videos on his site, covering the common arguments. I highly recommend his beautifully told story in Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-Vs.-Christians Debate