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Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

Even before the Grammy Awards showcased Macklemore singing “Same Love” and Queen Latifah presiding over a “same sex couple’s wedding” ceremony, I had most of this blog written as the topic has been on my mind for quite some time.

I am not a Kuyperian or a Neo-Kuyperian, but there are certain watershed cultural issues for every generation of Christians; issues in which they cannot be silent. For our generation, abortion and homosexuality are key watershed issues. They are watershed issues, because abortion snatches away life and homosexuality reaches out and grabs hold of death.

The average Evangelical Christian continues to believe we should speak out against the acceptance of abortion in our culture. And the pro-abortion forces have been losing ground over the past five years. No doubt, much of that is due to the church’s resolve to stand against this agenda. However, it seems to me that in the past few years, Evangelical Christians in the United States have increasingly and passively grown in their acceptance of homosexuality. This should concern all of us.

I understand the discouragement. Our culture has done a quick “about face” on this issue. It was just yesterday that the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom announced its main character was homosexual (1997) and a firestorm erupted.  Now, it seems almost “normal” to have Queen Latifah presiding over a “wedding” ceremony of a homosexual couple. We cannot let it feel “normal.” Make no mistake, homosexuality may be the issue of the day. It brings secularism to the forefront like few other agendas and it undermines the foundation of family, church, and the Scriptures.

Therefore, it should concern us when Christians throw their hands up and declare with finality that the homosexuality debate in this country is over–the battle has been waged and lost. This agenda has fooled us into thinking it is here to stay and must be adopted and adapted to. It has bullied us into believing we cannot continue to speak out against the acceptance of practicing this sin in our culture. Too many denominations, Christian schools, churches, and individual Christians are raising the white flag. This is something we cannot and must not do.

Homosexuality is a matter of  extreme importance to us. Make no mistake, this is a gospel issue. When our culture embraces something that sends people to hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:10) then it must matter to us. We cannot roll over and play dead. We cannot give up and just let the issue go. We are compelled to continue to engage our culture on this issue and challenge its wayward course. We are not doing this because we are feverish to return to the 1940’s or 1950’s or because we are a “backwards people.” Rather, we are a people looking forward to eternity and that is our motivation. Neither are we seeking to engage in this cultural battle because we are haters. We do so because we are lovers of men and God. We do not endeavor to be sticks in the mud, who refuse to change. We, of all people, know the value of change as we have been brought from death to life. However, we are only willing to change where we are freed by the Scriptures to do so. We are a people bound by the Word of God; our conscience is constrained by it, and from this position we cannot move.

We must be bold and courageous in our day. Not rabble rousers, but valiant and resolute according to our convictions. Our starting place, should be to disapprove of homosexual practice, knowing that we do so in the context of our own sexual fallen state. We are not haughty. We are not decrying the sins of others and ignoring our own, but neither are we willing to sit silently when our culture calls that which is evil “good.”

Let us resolve, that as we continue to speak against homosexuality and its acceptance in our culture, we will do so winsomely and lovingly; yet, we are also committed to doing so clearly. In our pulpits, in our conversations around the water cooler, with our children, or in simple talks over the fence with our neighbors, we will be clear that homosexual practice is a sin. We will not attempt to separate love and truth. A careful guard against the subtle language of “gay” and “gay marriage” should be in place.  Neither one of those terms should be used in our discourse about the homosexual lifestyle or homosexual union. There is nothing “gay” or God-honoring about the homosexual lifestyle, and it is not a God-ordained marriage when two homosexuals join together in a “state approved marriage,” even if it is a monogamous and committed relationship. We, as a people of the Word, know the importance of language and words, and it is crucial we give clear articulation of God’s purpose and plan for sex and marriage.

Even as we exercise our voice, we need a generation of Christians who are willing to do even more; willing to be courageous enough to minister with compassion and truth to the homosexual community. We need brothers and sisters in Christ, who know the depths of grace and are deliberate in ministering to others by that grace. We must raise an army of men and women, who are compelled, in all humility, to seek to understand the homosexual struggle and enter into relationships that will challenge, encourage, and hold friends and loved ones accountable. We need elders and pastors with a vision to establish churches where a person struggling with same-sex attraction or even homosexual practices are lovingly warned, discipled, and given care. We need to continue to declare that homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin, but that repentance is called for. We must be clear in our application of theology that identifying the sinful desire and abstaining from such practices does not negate personhood or necessitate the deprivation of joy.

Above all, we need to pray. We need to pray for those in our churches who struggle with same-sex attraction, for those who have given into this temptation and sin, and for the salvation of those who are trapped in a lifestyle that leads to death. We need to pray that our society would alter its present course on this issue and never look back.

It may be an uphill battle, but our God moves mountains. We serve a God who can change things in an instant. Does it seem impossible? Our God majors in the impossible. May it take a miracle? There is good news, we serve a God who performs miracles. We cannot roll over and play dead on this issue. It is too important. It is an issue with eternal implications for the souls of men and women. We believe in the power of the gospel, so let us believe it is good news even in the midst of this debate, and declare it without shrinking. May God turn the tide and do a mighty work of change in our generation, for His praise and His glory. He can do it. Never lose hope.

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63 thoughts on “Christians, Don’t Give Up on the Homosexuality Debate”

  1. Karen K says:

    Hi Linden, you raise a couple important points. One–you bring up how Scripture came to be. You refer to “transcribing” which makes me wondering if you understand Scripture as being produced through some form of “mechanical writing.” That is not actually Christian doctrine (although many ultraconservative function as though that is the case). Christian doctrine is that Scripture was produced through a collaboration between human beings and God. Some books I recommend that grapple with this unique collaboration are: “Inspiration and Incarnation” by Peter Enns and “Sacred Word Broken Word” by Kenton Sparks.

    There is no dichotomy between Paul transcribing what God says and Paul writing from his own vantage point. Rather it is God speaking to human beings within their cultural context. “God with us” indeed.

    As for your question: do I believe that rejecting God (idolatry) results in same-sex desire? Not in the sense you seem to be describing. I don’t believe the practice of other religions leads to higher rates of homosexual activity–as you also note. Although I suppose its possible that some religions that include temple prostitution might incorporate same-sex activity in some fashion. Although same-sex activity is different than speaking of orientation, which brings me to my next point.

    But first to clarify, God “turning people” over to desires is not the same as causing those desires–you seem to conflate those two things. The desires are pre-existing. And then God punishes by not restraining them from the pursuit of those desires. He abandons them to it. Paul seems to be suggesting that the *particular form* of homoerotic desire he witnesses develops when people start to get curious about and seek out things that are contrary to God. Let me give a concrete modern example. I know of a straight college student who became addicted to pornography. At some point he rejected the ways of God to pursue an unhealthy habit. As can often happen with porn users, the more he used the more he looked for exotic fantasy and experience to achieve the same high. He finally went to get help when he realized his seeking for a greater high was leading him to become curious about homosexual activity and he began to desire that. He wasn’t gay. Rather his same-sex attractions began to develop as a result of a sex addict looking for novel ways to get high.

    I think it would be helpful to define what you mean by “same-sex attraction.” Are you using this as a euphemism for homosexual orientation? People can experience arousal in the presence of the same-sex for a variety of reasons–thus technically same-sex attraction can occur in those who are not gay. There are tribes were same-sex activity is common for boys before they marry. Men in prison will engage in same-sex activity. Straight women can experience spontaneous sexual fluidity that causes a one time same-sex attraction. Obviously arousal would not be possible with out some sense of same-sex attraction. But this is not necessarily the same kind of attraction a gay person feels which is romantic and more encompassing than just getting off, so to speak.

    But I get the sense that you are not referring to same-sex attraction as arousal and activity with the same-sex but rather same-sex attraction that a person with a gay orientation would experience.

    What I think Paul is referring to is heterosexual hypersexuality and excessive lust. The language he uses and the similar ideas from Philo seem to suggest that. So Philo says: “Not only in their mad lust for women did they violate the marriages of their neighbors, but also men mounted males without respect for the sex nature.” The context of Philo’s comment here is a treatise on flagrant excesses including around wealth, eating, and drinking etc.

    Do I believe that rejection of God can bear bad fruit like excessive lust and promiscuous hypersexuality that results in same-sex activity? Yes. And this is what Paul seems to speak of.

    Do I believe rejection of God causes someone to be gay or that God’s punishment of someone causes a person to be gay. No. I think people with a homosexual orientation likely have a combination of biological and environmental factors that cause it (also the view of the APA and scientific consensus at this point).

    We have to be careful about not reading Scripture anachronistically by importing our social constructs, categories, and terminology onto that of antiquity.

  2. Linden says:

    Thanks Karen, you have me lots of good ideas to research.

  3. Lupe says:

    Hi Karen. I don’t believe the Scriptures can be read anachronistically. By saying they can, one invalidates them. They are either the word of God or they are not. They are just as valid now as they were when first written. The belief that the Scriptures must conform to current culture or beliefs is why we have the perversions we have now. Not only homosexuality but murder, robbery, obvious lies, adultry, etc. Your argument can fit any of the above sins. If we attempt to make one sin culturally relevent, then we must make them ALL relevent. Sin is sin. None is worse than the other in God’s eyes. 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10 explicitly expose homosexuality as sin (along with other sins) that end in condemnation (hell). Continuing the fight against homosexuality is not one of haughtiness (as Jason says)it is a matter of shining the light of Jesus (Salvation) to those that need it. WITHOUT anger and with love and understanding. Even wnen they (the homosexual activists and their supporters) attack us. Please read this as written WITHOUT RANCOR.
    Lupe Torres (I am a male by-th-by. I say that because most people would assume the name is tied to a female. Heh heh)

  4. Karen K says:

    Lupe, your comment does not make any sense to me. I specifically stated in my last comment: “We have to be careful about not reading Scripture anachronistically by importing our social constructs, categories, and terminology onto that of antiquity.”

    So, I agree we should not be reading anachronistically. That is why I was providing the historical/cultural background that is essential for understanding what Paul actually meant.

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