This post offers a Christian perspective on homosexuality and all things LGBT. As a believer who seeks to prioritize my faith, values, and relationship with God as the most important thing, approaching the tensions between the LGBT movement and Christian faith is achieved only with great caution. But a personal reckoning on this issue is necessary if I am to balance my faith and desire for the truth to a relevant lifestyle in this day and age. To that end, the following is my personal consideration of a Christian perspective on homosexuality and the LGBT movement. You might also enjoy this podcast series.
The tensions between Christianity and the modern LGBT movement flared again this past week. The United Methodist Church met in a special conference in St. Louis yesterday to vote on the doctrine and roles of LGBT within their denomination. In a surprising result, delegates to the conference countered the preferences of their leaders and voted for stronger traditional values and teachings against LGBT. The moves in the UMC were not the first and won’t be the last in the ongoing debates and frictions regarding LGBT and the Christian faith today.
In recent years, Time Magazine and author Elizabeth Dias published an article entitled “Change of Heart” which described the massive shift occurring within high profile evangelical Christianity in the United States. She wrote how The East Lake Community Church, a famous megachurch in Seattle, became one of the first to come out in full support and inclusion of LGBT people. Church leader Ryan Meeks explained. “I refuse to go to a church where my friends who are gay are excluded from Communion or a marriage covenant or the beauty of Christian community.”
Wheaton College hired a celibate lesbian in the school’s chaplain office to help students navigate the questioning of their own sexual identity. In that same year, a Hillsong Church in New York was part of a brief controversy when it was discovered that one of their worship leaders was involved in a homosexual relationship with a choir member and the two were planning to take advantage of new same-sex marriage laws and be joined in “holy union.”
As a believer who seeks to prioritize my faith, values, and relationship with God as the most important thing, approaching the tensions between the LGBT movement and Christian faith is achieved only with great caution. But a personal reckoning on this issue is necessary if I am to balance my faith and desire for the truth to a relevant lifestyle in this day and age. To that end, the following is my personal consideration of a Christian perspective on homosexuality and the LGBT movement.
To begin, I have to subordinate political concerns and arguments when it comes to this issue. These barely register on my list of priorities when it comes to far more important concerns. Surveys and polls along with what is popular or acceptable politically, are not really that important in the search for truth. As a believer, my first concern is: what does the Bible say? How does God want me to respond and think about this issue? There is a standard of behavior I must identify and adhere to that is built on both the letter of the Word of God and also the Spirit of God.
Next, and closely related to this first concern, is a conscious awareness of the people who identify as LGBT. God gave his only Son to die for them because He loves them, just like He loves me. I don’t have to agree with them to operate in love and compassion. I know people who are kind and loving individuals who identify as LGBT. My love and care for them is important before God. That being said, affirmation is not the same thing as love. God loved me while I was a sinner and yet did not apologize for the fact that He knew I was wrong.
Also, at least part of my consideration has to recognize and account for the historical record of faith-based positions toward issues of politics, discrimination, and human rights. The record is very clear that Christians played significant roles in the abolition of slavery and the fight against discrimination. But there were also many who used scripture to justify those atrocities and others.
Ultimately, I will stand before God and be held accountable for my stance and response to the modern issues of LGBT. Truth, therefore, should be my highest priority.
The world’s perspective and the perspective of the generation I live in are not that important in defining what I believe. The Bible states clearly that the world will hate those who follow Christ (John 15:18,19; Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13). There is a stark contrast between our value system and that which the world around us adheres to. It is provocative! It is oppositional! That is simply the nature of two opposing worldviews.
But it is not mean-spirited. Even as Jesus said the world would hate us, He also said “Blessed are the peacemakers…” We are not expected to walk in alignment with the world around us, but we have an obligation to seek peace and walk in compassion.
We must have a basis to believe what we believe. That basis can be facts or faith, and sometimes a mixture of both. I suppose opinion could also be a basis for a belief system but that is a very fragile basis and will not stand for very long.
Tradition alone should not be a basis for belief. This is the way we have always done things or the way we have always believed, is the basis for a lot of error and misjudgments throughout history. Tradition can be good, but beneath the tradition, we should still identify the solid basis for our beliefs.
Having established the priorities and tone of the Christian response to the issues of LGBT, let’s look at the facts. Facts are separate from politics. They are separate from opinions. They are objective realities, supported by evidence or discounted for lack of evidence.
When it comes to facts as a basis for belief, we have to look at the realm of science. Science has a monopoly on defining and explaining the facts of life. Unfortunately, for those who agree and affirm LGBT, there are zero scientific facts to support their position.
Although billions have been spent on scientific studies and research in the past several decades, so far:
Please do not misunderstand what I am stating here. I am not stating that the scientific evidence is weak. I am not stating that I do not agree with the scientific evidence. I am stating there is ZERO objective scientific evidence to support homosexuality, transgenderism, LGBT, as a biologically based reality. Individual scientists or biologists might support LGBT and homosexuality in their personal opinions but there are no objective facts that back up those opinions.
I realize this is surprising to many people. You probably recall an article or a headline about a “Gay Gene” being found. Beyond the headlines though, in the actual articles about these types of discoveries, we always learn this is only conjecture and wishful thinking. These things have simply never been found although the search by LGBT activists and scientists continues.
(In my podcast series on this topic, I spend literally hours going through countless studies that have been conducted since the 1950s to the present in order to scientifically identify a biological basis for homosexuality. It is simply not there. Download the series here for a deeper dive into the data supporting my statements above.)
So, the facts do not support the LGBT position. Science does not support homosexuality. Science, biology, DNA, all objective evidence stand in opposition to the contention that people are born gay or transgender.
But life is more than biology. It is more than DNA. My identity is more than my genetics. It is more than the biological condition into which I was born. I totally believe and agree with this sentiment. We are more than the sum of our molecules.
That is part of the beauty of being human. The dignity and value for human life is a distinctly Christian belief system that revolutionized human perspectives and philosophy when it came onto the historical scene two thousand years ago.
My son was born with Down Syndrome. He has limitations on his speech, mental development, and cognitive capacities. This will be part of his life for as long as he lives. This is the result of a chromosomal anomaly. It is literally a genetic condition. He was born this way!
But note how I worded this: He was born with Down Syndrome. I did not state: He was born Down Syndrome. My son has biological, genetic realities that he was born with – but these alone do not define who he is. He is a very social young man. He is charming and possesses a dangerous sense of humor. He loves to work and enjoys having a mission to accomplish. He loves the Sylvester Stallone Rocky movies and yet he is in no way violent. When he was a young boy in pre-school something occurred (we do not know what) that traumatized him regarding flowers. He is afraid of them to this day. He loves to dance and he loves to be with people; the latter most of all. He is a unique individual, made in the image of God, and his identity far surpasses the boundaries of his chromosomes.
We are more than the sum of our molecules. We are more than our genetics. We are more than our biology. This is reality. Because it is reality, then the complete lack of facts, science, biology, or genetics to support homosexual and LGBT identities are not enough for me to state homosexuality is wrong or LGBT identities are illegitimate. I need something more than facts to justify such a position.
But pay careful attention to where this has brought us. We are considering identity now in a domain that is not governed by facts and not governed by science. It is a domain governed by the unseen. To a great extent, this area of consideration is governed by faith.
It is about what we believe to be true, no matter what the facts say.
We are more than our biology and our DNA. The human being, consciousness, identity is so much more than this. But what is it exactly? Identifying the answer to this question is the nature of the journey of life itself. “Who am I,” is one of the most significant questions we each encounter and reckon with in the course of our lifetime.
In the absence of facts to support the “born this way” argument, how do we determine what is right or wrong when it comes to the questions of LGBT? For a Christian, this is the easy part of the discussion. The basis for right and wrong and the operations and constructs of life are laid out in scripture. The Word of God defines what is right and what is wrong, and we are expected to align our lives to what is right.
Of course, not everyone believes in the authority of scripture. Not everyone believes in God.
I believe that God is the Creator and He has outlined a correct nature and standard of living that we are to adhere to. Our ability to live in accordance with His design is directly related to the measure of peace, fulfillment, and quality of life that we live. That is why I embrace His rules for living, including those about LGBT and sexual immorality. His perspectives inform and instruct my perspectives. That is why, based upon this philosophical standard and approach to life – LGBT is wrong.
You are not required to agree with me. That is a personal decision. But if you do not agree with the standard I have outlined above, what is your standard? Do you have one? What is your standard for what is right or wrong, good or bad, true or false?
Everyone has a philosophical underpinning to their life, even if most people are unaware of it. The most popular philosophical standard by which many govern their life today is simply the “pursuit of happiness.” This is counter to scripture and a God-centric worldview but it believes that the most important thing is our individual or perhaps even our collective happiness. Life is short, do what makes you happy. As Sheryl Crow sang, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.”
This standard, of course, allows for LGBT and all its various forms, privileges and rights. To oppose LGBT is to oppose another person’s happiness. Individual freedom, preference and the pursuit of happiness is preeminent and therefore all Biblical or moral injunctions against LGBT (or any other lifestyle choice for that matter) are restrictive, irrelevant, and wrong because the supreme law is the self.
The problem is not the logic of this philosophy, but its sturdiness. What quality of life does this philosophy produce? What is the end result of this? What if personal freedom, self-will, and the pursuit of happiness do not end where we think they should end (and there are mountains of evidence to suggest they do not)?
In my own searching, separate from this Biblically based Christian worldview described here, I have not identified any strong reasons to oppose or believe that LGBT lifestyles are wrong. In other words, if you oppose LGBT but do not believe in the Bible or the authority of God – you might indeed be a bigot.
However, I have so far not found a perspective and philosophy on life that embraces and condones LGBT that will also stand the test of time. The short-term allowances are justified but the long-term consequences, not merely of the lifestyle choice but of the philosophical standard, are extremely harmful.
What I have described here is a personal standard derived from a faith-filled review of scripture. This is not a cultural mandate. For many Christian believers, this is where things get confusing and the tension abounds.
They know what is right, but society keeps telling them otherwise. In response, they convert to extreme and sometimes harsh standards against society.
Would society be better off embracing these scriptural standards? Yes. Most likely they would. Can we enforce these standards on society? No.
Historically the most shameful periods of Christian and church history are when scriptural beliefs were attempted to be forced upon society. These moments were captured in eras like the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Religious Wars of Europe. If God worked by forcing His will upon people there would be no need for the cross and no need for us to ask for His salvation.
This scriptural standard and perspective should be carried and enforced within the life of a Christian believer. It should be carried and enforced within the life and culture of a Christian church. But we should not be surprised when the society that surrounds us does not carry these same convictions. That society lives by a different standard and belief system. We believe it to be wrong and do not need to apologize for that belief.
Recognizing the inaccuracy of the culture we live within is fundamental to the Christian faith. But a defining priority of the Christian lifestyle is not simply this awareness but what we do with it. Our responses to those we disagree with are as important as our knowledge of the truth.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:15-17
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