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wrong-way-truckIt is difficult to exaggerate how seriously the Bible treats the sin of sexual immorality. Sexual sin is never considered adiaphora, a matter of indifference, an agree-to-disagree issue like food laws or holy days (Rom. 14:1-15:7). To the contrary, sexual immorality is precisely the sort of sin that characterizes those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There are at least eight vice lists in the New Testament (Mark 7:21-22; Rom. 1:24-31; 13:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-9; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; Rev. 21:8), and sexual immorality is included in every one of these. In fact, in seven of the eight lists there are multiple references to sexual immorality (e.g., impurity, sen­suality, orgies, men who practice homosexuality), and in most of the passages some kind of sexual immorality heads the lists. You would be hard-pressed to find a sin more frequently, more uniformly, and more seriously condemned in the New Testa­ment than sexual sin.

When the Bible uniformly and unequivocally says the same thing about a serious sin, it seems unwise to find a third way which allows for some people (in a church, in an organization, or in a denomination) to be for the sin and other people to be against the sin. History demonstrates that such half-way houses do not stand. Every doctrine central to the Christian faith and precious to you as a Christian has been hotly debated and disputed. If the “conversation” about the resurrection or the Trinity or the two natures of Christ contin­ued as long as smart people on both sides disagreed, we would have lost orthodoxy long ago.

All of these third ways regarding homosexuality end up the same way: a behavior the Bible does not accept is treated as acceptable. “Agree to disagree” sounds like a humble “meet you in the middle” com­promise, but it is a subtle way of telling conservative Christians that homosexuality is not a make-or-break issue and we are wrong to make it so. No one would think of proposing a third way if the sin were racism or human trafficking. To countenance such a move would be a sign of moral bankruptcy. Faithfulness to the Word of God compels us to view sexual immorality with the same seriousness. Living an ungodly life is contrary to the sound teaching that defines the Christian (1 Tim. 1:8-11; Titus 1:16). Darkness must not be confused with light. Grace must not be confused with license. Unchecked sin must not be con­fused with the good news of justification apart from works of the law. Far from treating sexual deviance as a lesser ethical issue, the New Testament sees it as a matter for excommuni­cation (1 Corinthians 5), separation (2 Cor. 6:12-20), and a temptation for perverse compromise (Jude 3-16).

We cannot count same-sex behavior as an indifferent mat­ter. Of course, homosexuality isn’t the only sin in the world, nor is it the most critical one to address in many church con­texts. But if 1 Corinthians 6 is right, it’s not an overstatement to say that approving same-sex sexual behavior—like sup­porting any form of sexual immorality—runs the risk of leading people to hell. Scripture often warns us—and in the severest terms—against finding our sexual identity apart from Christ and against pursuing sexual practice inconsistent with being in Christ (whether that’s homosexual sin or heterosexual sin). The same is not true when it comes to sorting out the millennium or deciding which instruments to use in worship. When we tolerate the doctrine which affirms homosexual behavior, we are tolerating a doctrine which leads people further from God. This is hardly missional leadership or kingdom Christianity. According to Jesus, it’s repentance for sexual immorality, not tolerance of it, which leads to human flourishing (Rev. 2:20-23). Christians who get this fundamental point confused are not purveyors of a liberating third way, but of a deadly and dastardly wrong way.

For more on this and other related themes, see What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? The book releases in April.

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94 thoughts on “Why Can’t the Church Just Agree to Disagree on Homosexuality?”

  1. Pete Jermey says:

    @Grahame Smith, Curt Day

    Paul Reed is exactly right. Kevin DeYoung may take longer to say it, but is saying the same message “God hates gays” or rather “I hate gays”. If he’d written a similar piece about Muslims, there would be no doubt about his opinion of them. I very much doubt he is ignorant that being gay is not a choice. If he’d mentioned the option of celibacy and/or we serve a mighty saviour who can wipe away the foulest of sins, I would have still disagreed with his anti-gay stance, but it at least wouldve communicated something more than hatred. I also cannot believe there are many who are not aware of this viewpoint’s existence. This is really just sabre rattling.

    He doesn’t mention that this sort of theology is contributing to youth LGBT homelessness and LGBT suicide. This is the real SCANDAL between the church and gay people, not that parts of the church are being too soft.

    If I was a gay teenager in his church, struggling to come to terms with my sexuality, this article would make me very depressed indeed. The pastor has just told the whole world to hate me. How can I ever tell my parents?!

  2. Curt Day says:

    Do you believe that it is possible to both call homosexuality a sin and not hate homosexuals? For example, I believe the Scriptures when they say that homosexuality is a sin. But I also believe in marriage equality and full equal rights for homosexuals in society. In fact, I have argued for that, signed a petition for that, boycotted businesses because of what they have said about homosexuals beyond saying homosexuality is sin, and have taken verbal abuse on the blogs because of my support for full equal rights for homosexuals. Now, do you think that I hate homosexuals?

  3. Pete Jermey says:

    No of course I don’t think that all people who think that gay sex is wrong hate homosexuals, but I the original article is an anti gay piece. There’s nothing positive in there and, especially given the current environment, he is clearly advocating a purely anti gay viewpoint.

    Thank you for voting for equality

  4. Simon says:


    The no-fault divorce policies which have been in place now for the past 40 years or so, I would argue, have led to the widespread tolerance of divorce and remarriage. Do you think that is a problem for our society, in spite of it being almost universally considered as OK? Has Jesus’ stance of no exceptions to divorce changed, or has society’s?

    The West has unmoored itself from its Judeo-Christian roots and drifted into secularism and a morality of relativism.

    You state, being gay is not a choice, and I am sure many people are convinced of that. And whilst it can’t be denied many can’t remember a time when they didn’t feel that way inclined, no study to date (to my knowledge) has established any genetic link. Yes, there is a suggested epigenetic link, but that is quite a different thing and from my (admittedly poor) understanding it rather implies an environmental influence on genes. So, from a reductionist perspective, homosexuality is primarily linked to environmental causes interacting with genetic character predispositions (e.g. sensitivity or shyness in men). During pre to early adolescence, when young people are most prone to outside influences and feeling confused, the environment is of upmost importance. If we live in a society which has undoubtedly turned promiscuous and tolerant towards various other sexual mores which have always been considered as sin (e.g. adultery, remarriage (except after the death of a spouse) and sex before marriage), it’s hardly surprising homosexuality has become similarly more mainstream.

    Slippery slope arguers were dismissed as crackpots in the sixties and seventies and they still are, but with hindsight it’s fairly clear, in this case, they weren’t far off. Now, I see even articles from various atheist philosophers, such as Peter Singer and even in mainstream newspapers such as the Guardian, calling for more understanding toward pedophilia and bestiality. It’s not hatred to call a spade a spade. Actually it’s love. People do change (proving it’s not genetic) and they always have been able to change, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul wrote, “…such were. some of you.” when referring to a whole suite of changed sinners in 1 Corinthians 6.

    I do agree with you however, inasmuch as the Church needs to be more welcoming. Not to condone, or tolerate or lower spiritual standards but to be patient, loving and long-suffering while the Holy Spirit does his work in their hearts to convict them of sin – just like everyone else.

  5. Curt Day says:

    You don’t have to thank me for voting for equality, it is my obligation and responsibility. It is what is owed to homosexuals for both moral and practical reasons. The moral reasons are too obvious to require mentioning. The practical reasons have to do with the public and personal contributions homosexuals have made to all of our lives.

  6. Daniel says:


    You raise the question of whether homosexuality is a choice, then immediately change the subject to whether the cause is genetics, environment, or some combination of both. Can you see that your acknowledgement of an external cause is in itself acknowledgement at sexual orientation is not chosen?

  7. Curt Day says:

    The West has selectively followed moral relativism at least since America’s beginning. And when I say America’s beginning, what does one first think of despite the fact that there was an indigenous population here? Our treatment of those who are different racially, economically, or by national identity shows our proclivity to moral relativism. So why should sexual morals be different?

    Ambition and avarice are leading contributors to the embracing of moral relativity. With regard to how we treat homosexuals, fear also contributes to our acceptance of moral relativity. BTW, individual instances of people arguing for practices like pedophilia and bestiality do confirm the slippery slope argument. And in fact, the slippery slope argument needs to be examined on a case by case basis.

    Though some of us Christians want to make the issue into one of whether our society and culture is either religious or secular, there is another more important issue. We should note that society consists of both Christians and nonChristians. And so the issue for both is how will they share society with the other. Will either group try to share society with the other group as superiors? Or will both groups agree to share society with each other as equals?

  8. Curt Day says:

    Need to make a correction to one of my statements. individual instances of people arguing for practices like pedophilia and bestiality do NOT confirm the slippery slope argument.

    Sorry about the mistake

  9. Simon says:

    Daniel, yes, I did say that. But that shouldn’t be interpreted as though I condone the behaviour, or that it still isn’t sin. Individuals with genetic illnesses need medical attention. People with environmentally influenced behaviours need to be placed in a different environment. “Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'” (2 Cor. 6). People come from all sorts of negative environments which affect their behaviour and thoughts. Surely, you’re not saying we should just accept that just because someone has been influenced to have a certain mindset, that we just leave them to it and lower the flag on scriptural standards?

    I also didn’t imply that no one makes the actual choice to be homosexual. I am under the belief that women in particular are far more likely to make a conscious adult decision to change their affection.

  10. Pete Jermey says:

    Dear Simon (and others)

    I don’t want to get dragged off into arguments about divorce or bestiality etc because those are separate issues. I’m sure you’ll agree that comparing all gay sex to something negative requires you first to believe that it is always a bad thing. Here we are in disagreement. If I were to go down that route, I would make the comparison to mixed race marriages, for example.

    I disagree with you on the science. Biologists aren’t really in any disagreement that there is a gay gene, but that environmental factors also play a part. I suspect these will be not what we think and perhaps unidentifiable. Most identifiable environmental factors have been widely discredited because gay people are brought up in environments as diverse as those of heterosexuals. If environmental factors were at play, in the way you suggest, then the whole world would be straight…just count the number of heterosexual pop songs, movies, TV characters.

    Having said that a minority of gay people are likely gay due to sexual trauma. I would stress this is a minority. This is also seen in some adult women who experience domestic abuse.

    Having said all that, does the cause really matter? I doubt it would change anyone’s theology or treatment of gay people.

    Do you mind if I ask if you think that just being gay is a sin or just gay sex? Social conservatives tend to argue that the bible is clear on the gay issue, but there is this question plus “should gay people be allowed to go to church?”, “should gay people be allowed to serve in the church?”, “is this a primary or secondary issue?” “Is gay (celibate) dating OK?” “Is burning with lust better than marriage for gays” “is it OK to hate gay people” “can you be a Christian and support gay marriage” “can you be a christian and be gay” “can you label yourself gay and be a Christian” There are 1024 different combinations here (OK maybe some combinations are unlikely) all claiming the bible agrees with them and is perfectly clear. So which is correct?

    There is also the argument that we don’t want to be dragged along by culture, but arguably it is a cultural/traditional understanding of scripture that leads many to say all gay sex is wrong. We know, for example, leviticus 22.18 was not written in the context of gay marriage, it wasn’t even written in a context of sexual consent (it is addressed only to (straight) men). So is our culture falsely telling us to condemn all gay relationships (some people think condemn all gay people) or is it falsely telling us to approve of gay marriage?

  11. Simon says:


    thanks for your reply. I’m not quite sure of your line of argument. Anyway, in answer to your question on whether I think Christians should share society with non-Christians as equals, I believe the point is, it’s not a matter of “us Christians” sharing society with “those non-Christians” as equals – it’s a matter of God calling us all to himself. I’m no better than anyone. My life has been full of sin. To say anything else would just be a lie and then I’d be heaping another sin on the pile. These aren’t my standards, that I made up by myself. These are God’s standards which are impossible for any of us to live up to out of our own strength. That’s not an excuse that I may go on sinning so grace might abound but it does help me understand Paul’s words, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

    If it was up to us none of us would be saved. We just don’t have the capacity to save ourselves. We can’t change our behaviours, our thoughts or our proclivities. That’s the mystery of faith. I don’t know anyone personally who’s succeeded or grasped this mystery to it’s fullest, but that doesn’t negate the promises or the standards. That’s why God is loving, gracious, merciful, patient and kind towards us and yet he is still holy and disciplines us when we need it. We believe it and he does it.

    I don’t know how long these things take to change people on the inside. I daresay all our lives.

    As for the slippery slope argument, I do realise it’s a tenuous one to make and morality of societies waxes and wanes. Still, in the sixties, before the so-called “sexual revolution”, things weren’t obviously great but nonetheless marriage rates were high, divorce rates were low, de facto relationships were low and children weren’t growing up in broken homes and still had relatively healthy homes and role models. Furthermore, those who identified themselves as active Christians was quite high. Today, the picture really is a lot different. Divorce and remarriage rates are high, de facto relationships are high and there is a growing acceptance of all sorts of behaviour previously considered deviant. In other words, we are are now living in a society where adultery and fornication are the social norms. It doesn’t surprise me, as I mentioned earlier, that standards (our standards, that is, not God’s) are sliding as secularism is rising. I find that sad, don’t you?

  12. Simon says:

    Pete Jermey,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think all homosexual sex is a sin, regardless of “context”. I just wouldn’t know which pages to tear out of my bible. You’re reference to mixed race relations isn’t the same, regardless of how fervently racist “Christians” twisted their scriptures in previous generations. It is quite clear (now), obscure references to Noah’s sons and Babel etc as justifications for slavery and prohibitions of interracial marriage are quite different to the very clear edicts, both in the OT and NT and the general teaching on God’s intention for marriage and sexual standards throughout. The Bible is a heterosexual book. Sorry, but it is. There is not a single positive reference to homosexuality anywhere and any understanding that could possibly read otherwise is achieved only through rigorous exegetical massaging.

    I’m not sure where you get your studies from, but I have not read any that state there is a gay gene. Perhaps you could provide a link? And to say there’s no disagreement is misleading at best, I would suggest. Epigenetic explanations are the flavour at the moment, but like I said that is still very different thing to a “Gay Gene”.

    You have quite a few questions as well. Here are my very brief (personal) answers…

    [Do] you think that just being gay is a sin or just gay sex?
    Tricky. Probably just the act. That appears to be the core difference between temptation and sin in other areas of life. Although Jesus did talk about lustful thoughts, in Matthew, being equivalent to adultery in the heart…

    “should gay people be allowed to go to church?” Yes, of course…

    “should gay people be allowed to serve in the church?” No, of course…

    “is this a primary or secondary issue?” Isn’t everything a primary issue? Otherwise I’m not sure what you’re asking. Sorry.

    “Is gay (celibate) dating OK?” No. Dating is always done with the intention of leading to a relationship.

    “Is burning with lust better than marriage for gays” Have you stopped beating your wife?

    “is it OK to hate gay people” No! Do you hate everyone you ever met?

    “can you be a Christian and support gay marriage” I don’t. Others do.

    “can you be a christian and be gay” We covered this already under your first question.

    “can you label yourself gay and be a Christian” This is a variation on the previous question, which is a variation of the first.

    “There are 1024 different combinations here (OK maybe some combinations are unlikely) all claiming the bible agrees with them and is perfectly clear. So which is correct?” The ones that are correct…

  13. Pete Jermey says:


    Sorry, I think you misunderstood because I wasn’t clear. I was making the point that although social conservatives, like yourself, think the bible is clear on homosexuality there is actually no agreement on what that “clear” message is. I wasn’t expecting you to answer the questions, but the fact you aren’t even clear in your own mind on at least one of these demonstrates my point nicely.

    Here is the link

  14. Simon says:

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for attempting to pigeon hole me as a social conservative. Actually I consider myself politically left and morally conservative. My answers aren’t inconsistent and I am quite clear in my thinking, it’s just the way you interpret me that’s the problem. You think I’m a social conservative, and because you think social conservatives should all act and think a particular way, it disturbs you when we are different to your expectations.

    We don’t prohibit thieves from attending church, do we? Or tax collectors, or prostitutes…? But at the same time, we don’t let practicing prostitutes run the choir or the men’s bible study. Actually I think it’s you who misunderstands the difference between love and holiness, thinking it’s one or the other, when the reality is, it’s both. God wants to lead us to his righteousness, but like I said, I don’t know how long that takes in the heart of any particular individual. Restricting behaviour is a relatively easy start though. After all, we don’t have to have sex to have an identity. That’s a very human thought.

    Anyway, I’m off to bed. It’s getting late here in Finland. Goodnight.

  15. Pete Jermey says:


    I’m really sorry if I offended you by using that term, I was actually trying to find a collective term for Christians who oppose all gay sex, but boy did I fail!

    I was trying to do the opposite of pigeon hole you, I was trying to point out that there is a massive diversity of belief within that viewpoint and yet most people with that viewpoint would claim the bible only supports their view and is clear.

    I wasn’t accusing you of thinking all those things I was merely pointing out these are the things that anti-gay-sex-Christians disagree on, yet claim to be clear from scripture!!!

    With respect you don’t seem to think the bib

  16. Pete Jermey says:

    Simon appologise for calling you a social conservative. I was actually trying to find a collective term that wasn’t offensive for christians who are opposed to gay sex. I will use morally conservative if you prefer that. I also wasn’t trying to pigeonhole you, but demonstrate how much variety there is within moral conservatism.

    I wasn’t accusing you of believing all these things, but these are some of the things that moral conservatives disagree on yet claim the bible speaks clearly on the issue and agrees with them.

    Many gay Christians adopt celibacy their whole lives in an attempt to live righteously…that you do not think the bible is clear if they are still sinning just by having the orientation is deeply worrying. If they cannot be saved then who can be?

    I very much agree with your outrage over stopping gay people attend church. In the USA the PCA and some Southern Baptists ban gay people, even celibate gays, from their community inc Sunday worship. In the UK some Church of England churches do the same. I would say most churches marginalise gay people are do not allow full inclusion. This can be deeply damaging, especially if they are not getting intimacy from a romantic relationship. They arguably need community more than straight people.

  17. Hmmm Kevin has raised a hotly debated topic. What it has exposed is the differences the way God views certain behaviours verses how society views it. Society has a habit of changing its views over time but God never changes His views. As in most countries in the west the status and recognition of homosexuality is being hotly contested. In Australia gay marriage is an election issue. What is often missed in this debate about marriage equality is where the institution of marriage came from. Historically for Christians it came out the bible and was institutionalized in Its not the fault of the church that Governments decided to adopt that system as their legal system of marriage. As such its Governments responsibility to sort it out. That is… create a new system of civil union that provides the same rights that Christian marriage provides. The best way to fix this in my view is go to the people in a referendum and ask them to vote on it. The result would be binding on Government to then produce legislation to create a new system. In Australia the churches/denominations have most stated to government if you force us to marry same sex couples we will surrender our marriage credentials and no marriages will take place in church. Such is the polarization of opinion. This matter is not going away quickly.

  18. Curt Day says:

    At the same time, until either we die or the Lord returns, we share society with nonChristians. And how we share that society will help determine can depend on how receptive nonChristians will be when we share the Gospel. So how we share society with nonChristians is an issue and is mentioned in those scripture passages that mention discipline in the Church (see jesus’s words on what happens when one is thrown out of the Church and in I Cor 5).

    So we can’t escape the question. How will we share society with nonChristians?

  19. Pete Jermey says:

    Grahame Smith

    If you look back a few posts of mine, I demonstrate that,just amongst Christians who oppose gay sex, there are at least 1024 distinct opinions on what exactly the bible says about homosexuality. There is clearly no clear understanding of what it clearly says.

    I wouldn’t worry about the government forcing churches to marry gay couples. This is always raised when countries are thinking about bringing it in, but it is just a political spectre/scare story. In none of the countries that have equal marriage are any churches required to be involved. In fact in the UK it is even ILLEGAL to get gay married in the Church of England.

  20. Thanks for that Pete.In Australia the churches are only drawing a line in the sand just in case. Our Federal marriage act only allows a man and a women to be married so it would have to be changed by Parliament. Hence the political struggle. What I suggested was one way of ending the political wrangle but I doubt it will end the debate.

  21. JR says:

    Kevin, Excellent article!! Fight the good fight, Sir. Protecting the purity of the Church.

  22. JR says:

    Curt Day,
    A few comments about living together in society (outside of the Church body):
    We are equal with all other humankind because God created us in His image. That does not mean that we should not legislate morality in some way. Your argument is flawed, because it assumes that by legislating actions we somehow are denigrating a person’s worth and value as a human being. But that is a false equivalency.
    In addition, you also miss the fact that marriage is not defined by civil proceeding, but rather marriage has been defined by the Word of God Himself. Now, I think that a valid argument can be made for secular civil legislature to provide for the legal right of civil unions. But the government does not and should not get to redefine marriage (instituted by the Word of God alone.)

  23. Simon says:


    I’m not sure what argument of mine you think is flawed, because it seems by what you write we are mostly in a agreement. At least I agree with your last post (I think)… Of course we are all created in the image of God and are thereby equal. When did I ever suggest otherwise? I wasn’t suggesting we Christians form some form of parallel society of our own. True Christianity though, has always existed as a minority sub-culture within a larger secular or other religious majority culture. We can’t go out into the street and point out who are all the Christians. Even Elijah couldn’t see that there were seven thousand others who hadn’t bent their knee to Baal. God knows who are his and we know his voice.

    God approves of faith, hope, love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, patience and kindness but none at the expense of holiness, righteousness and doing what is right. These are my standards ONLY because they’re God’s. Without the moral standard by which we fall short, there’s no place for faith, repentance and crying out to God. And without repentance, faith and crying out, there’s no place for forgiveness, redemption and the indwelling of Christ by whom is the only way we stand and succeed.

    Secular society says we should be allowed to divorce and remarry for no reason whatsoever. That’s not something Jesus ever approved of, as far as I understand. Society also says it’s perfectly fine to live together before marriage or never get married at all. Society supports the destruction of family and supports and upholds divorce, adultery and fornication. I find it kind of ironic that “we” spend so much effort digging out the cornerstone of stable society by undermining the importance and sanctity of marriage and then say it’s a human right for same-sex partners to marry.

    I’m not sure what you mean by saying I’m suggesting we shouldn’t legislate morality. Are you suggesting we should or we shouldn’t? We do all the time with things which are commonly accepted as wrong to others (e.g. murder, rape, theft, fraud etc) but these sexual sins which are primarily against one’s own self are hard to legislate against and justify, without moralising, to a promiscuous secular society, which has largely rejected Christian morality. Redefining marriage legislates for immorality though and affects children, and I am against that. Marriage may have been many things throughout history and cultures but one thing it’s always been, has been heterosexual.

    I don’t know if you might be misunderstanding me, but I never suggested we shouldn’t be rubbing shoulders with LGBT people in our daily lives and that they shouldn’t have equal rights (although I don’t accept marriage is a human right) within the secular society we all live and interact in. For example, no one should be discriminated against in the workplace; people should be allowed to will their possessions to whomever they desire and no one should have to walk down the street in fear of life or limb. These are basic human rights. Didn’t Paul himself say that we shouldn’t be judging outsiders, but only those within the Church?

  24. Curt Day says:

    Whether a particular legislation denigrates a person’s worth depends on that legislation. But that wasn’t my point anyway. What was my point is that we need to share society with nonChristians as equals. That means two things: we regard those who are different as being equal to us, we jointly work on legislation together as equals which will govern our lives together.

    Thus, when Christians push through legislation that criminalizes homosexuality, allows for employers to fire employees because they are homosexual, or denies homosexuals from marry the consenting adult of their choice, then Christians are not regarding homosexuals as those who are equal to them in society. We’ve said to nonChristians that we have the right to control society. Now how do you expect nonChristians to react? And would they be reacting the same way you would if the tables were turned?

  25. Curt Day says:

    What I find to be a difference between us is that while I talked about how Christians should share society with others as equals, you seemed to indicate that we should kind of retreat from sharing society with others. Maybe I misread.

  26. Simon says:

    Yes, it does look like you misunderstood me. At no point did I suggest such a thing. That would defeat the point of Christianity altogether. Maybe it’s you who doesn’t understand what IT means to, “come out from among them.”? It certainly doesn’t mean to disassociate.

    Personally, I consider association quite distinct from participation. It’s also quite possible to have affection for an individual without approving their behaviour or lifestyle. It’s quite possible to compartmentalise in our daily dealings.

    Nonetheless, sin is sin and always will be.

  27. Garth says:

    If the person is calling himself a Christian, then yes, we are to disassociate. 1Cor5:11 “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”

  28. Pete Jermey says:


    The trouble with that stance is that many gay Christians are celibate and many are single which means, even under a theology that says that all gay sex is wrong, many gay Christians will be more sexually moral than the majority of the church.

    This can and does lead to woeful situations where gay people in the church are regularly interrogated about their love lives whereas straight people are assumed to be behaving themselves.

  29. Curt Day says:

    I understood you the way that I do because there are groups of Christians who want little to nothing to do with the world. They withdraw from the world and will only deal with church and spiritual concerns. That is their way of coming out from them. That isn’t my way.

  30. Simon says:

    Pete Jermey,

    I could be wrong but as far as I’ve read, the injunctions are about the homosexual act itself. As for lustful thoughts etc., well, they apply to us all and can’t be monitored as such – that’s the Holy Spirit’s realm.

    I think you are correct, many LGBT people may indeed be more sexually moral than their heterosexual brothers and sisters, especially if they are acknowledging their proclivities and remaining celebrate. What more could anyone ask. If a kleptomaniac acknowledged his/her sin in thievery but successfully resisted, in spite of their occasional urges, they are resisting temptation and should be commended, in my opinion.

    If anyone is interrogating homosexual people and singling them out above everyone else, they need to be having a good look at themselves. I have a suspicion though, most homosexual people consider themselves unbelievers and aren’t interested in change. Note the word “most”, not “all”. Having been a Christian for over thirty years, I don’t assume anyone is necessarily behaving themselves…

  31. Simon says:


    Yes, that’s true. They don’t understand what it means to be in the world but not of it. And there are plenty of them, sadly…

  32. Pete Jermey says:

    Dear Simon,

    I completely agree with you that celibate LGB people are not guilty of sexual immorality.

    However …

    There are different interpretations of scripture – some people believe scripture only condemns the act, but others believe it condemns both the act and the orientation. Still others believe it condemns the act and the labelling – so they would say it would be OK for someone to admit to feeling attraction to the same sex as long as they didnt self-identify as gay or homosexual. And of course some dont believe it condemns all gay relationships.

    I think it is awful that some Christians would reject even celibate gay people, but the OP and several posters in this discussion would seem to hold that view. It is also the official policy of the PCA and some Southern Baptists in the US and some CofE churches in the UK.

    I think, in addition to people who have firm scripture based reasons for accepting or rejecting gay people, there are a large majority of Christians who think they are clear (homosexuality is bad, for example) but actually are not clear how this impacts how they should treat gay people. So they may give an LGB person a hard time, assuming they are the stereotype without considering that that same person might be more righteous than they are.

    From my experience, in having contact with LGBT Christians, there are a lot more than you would think! There was a survey (I’ll post the link) which suggested 1/200 in British churches was in a gay relationship, which is about half the proportion who said they were gay in the UK census. Given that many gay LGB are celibate (I’ve heard it suggested by a preacher opposed to gay sex that it is half – which I dont really believe!) and maybe, say a third, will be single (inline with straight people statistics) I dont think it is unreasonable to suggest there are similar proportions of gay people in the church as outside of it. The article about the survey seems to suggest there are fewer gay people in the church than in the general public, but thats written assuming EVERYONE is in a relationship! There are of course lots of assumptions here and any kind of survey about gay issues is marred by the small number of LGB and the reliance on self-identification. This poll asked 1401 “practising” Christians – so 8 were in gay relationships – hardly a solid figure! But, I’m pretty sure that if you go to a reasonable sized church there are probably one or two in your congregation.

    I would say (although these are probably wildly inaccurate) about half of gay Christians go to church, another quarter go – but arent fully part of the community and the final quarter dont go because theyve been told to leave or had some other bad experience. If evangelism were down to the men and women of the church alone then no gay person would come a country mile near a church, give rhetoric such as in the OP. But praise God that we have the holy spirit!

  33. Meredith says:

    Kevin is not compromising nor misinterpreting Scripture as some of you are. And by strange interpretation would you also deny that the Quran speaks against homosexuality? See Quran – 7:80-82 and 27:54-56

    And would you further deny that such heresy within the western church makes us a stench in the non-western world? Is not “gay rights” no more than a religious sect? One’s sexuality is not unchangeable as one’s eye color or gender!

  34. Jon says:

    I’m wondering if this was written in response to City Church SF’s announcement about changing their stance on homosexual relationships within its membership.

    It might also be work knowing that there is push back to that within the RCA as well

    Thanks for your continued work Kevin!

  35. Angela says:

    I think this article is geared towards people in the church who foster homosexuality. I find myself there sometimes too. I find that people in general are very sexual beings and gay or straight people have TONS of baggage in the “love” department. But the truth is the truth. It would be wrong for me to tell a youth that sleeping with her boyfriend is 100% okay because she has a need to feel loved or telling my gay friends that they should embrace their homosexuality because it is how they were made. At the end of the day, I am resting my approval and acceptance on people and if I only care about how they feel about me, I am putting myself before them. To me, that is hateful. No, this article does not tell us how to maneuver our relationships with our brothers and sisters who struggle with and live the homosexual lifestyle. The words “struggle” and “homosexual” are being pushed further and further apart from each other nowadays. I think this article is valuable because lots of people in our culture are professing they love God, but have a disdain for His Word. When I read the Bible with my elementary knowledge of everything, I can still understand that God hates sexual immorality. Does that mean God hates gays? No. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for them, and heteros. He gave us a way to be with Him because He loves us so much and he understands our struggles. Our need for Jesus evaporates when we say being gay is a-ok. Unfortunately, it really is not. My gay friends know my opinion on the matter and it does make things a little awkward sometimes, but it is how I choose to have authentic relationships with the people I adore. I do not hate gays; I love them very much knowing that my own love is flawed, so I rest heavily on Jesus to love them perfectly. Btw, this goes for ALL people in ALL relationships that have members who struggle with sin.

  36. Ryan says:

    I am under the belief that homosexuality most definitely a sin, and is most likely (if not absolutely) a choice. Even if it were genetic, that doesn’t excuse it, nor does it permit a Believer to act in it. Imagine you were an highway patrol officer and saw someone going over the limit by 30 mph, passing over 3+ lanes, and lane-splitting. Naturally you pull him over to see his licence and before he gets out, you ask “Sir, have you been drinking?” “Officer, I don’t even know, but before you check me, I’ve gotta let you know, I got one of them drunk genes.” “Oh, well in that case, you may move right along.” Laughable.

    No secular has ever had a valid origin to their “morals”, thereby permitting everything and anything to them, as long as it benefits them. 1 Corinthians 10:23 tells us that to them, all things are permitted, but we know that God’s law is the most joyful law that can be given, and his decrees are not burdensome. God has spoken, Jesus has promised, and the Holy Spirit has authored that homosexuality should be listed among those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the avaricious, drunkards, swindlers, and revilers (1 Cor 6: 9-10). If any of you were to call thievery or drunkenness or adultery permissible to a Christian, you disagree with the Truth and tell him that in fact, they can inherit the kingdom of God.

    Of course, we are told “as such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God”. When we are saved, the sins of the past are no longer counted against us, and we live to erase current sin from our now justified bodies. 1 John 3:6 tells us that no one who abides in Him keeps on sinning. Of course, he isn’t suggesting that Believers stop sinning after their salvation, but that no Believer allows himself to continue living in sin after God’s Great Work of Mercy.

    If we continue to sin, and don’t feel godly guilt, it is either proof that we are not abiding in Him, or that we haven’t reconciled ourselves with the weight of our sin. It was our sin that murdered our Brother Who Knows our Weakness and hanged Him there in shame, and it was with His Passion that He accepted.

    Homosexuality, bisexuality, and any sexual perversion is a sin not to be underestimated. Christians may feel temptation to any sin, but vigilantly fight it off for the kingdom to come.

  37. Pete Jermey says:


    I think there is a problem with use of the term “homosexuality” because it isn’t really a thing in itself, but maybe a broad category.

    Orientation is not a choice. People who are gay are attracted to others of the same sex, but it doesn’t mean that they act on it and actually if you are gay you are far more likely to be celibate than if you are straight.

    Christians are currently divided over whether the bible condemns monogamous gay relationships or not, because the bible does not directly address this situation. The bible is clear that we are all created to live in relationship, but usually even celibate gay Christians are pushed to the edge of community, banned from a significant intimate relationship, nor allowed the sort of community that straight Christians enjoy. Christians who hold that all gay relationships are wrong need to demonstrate a loving community where gay people can thrive apart from intimacy, Christians who approve of monogamous gay relationships need to demonstrate, perhaps by fruit, that God has blessed these relationships.

  38. Kyle O'Hagan says:

    The problem I have with this article is that he is clearly making a case for hierarchy of sins. The anti-gay movement is is quick to say that all sin is treated equally by God, but then contradict it by saying sexual immorality is a serious sin, one that is mentioned in all the vice lists, essentially one that should be given more attention and has more dire consequences (such as being sent to hell). That being said, I think it’s completely irrelevant to compare the homosexuality debate to that of racism and slavery. Jesus says to judge a tree by it’s fruit. CLEARLY, the fruit of racism and slavery are bad. I have yet to see whether the fruit of same-sex marriage (or a committed, loving, monogamous gay relationship) is good or bad? In that area, God is still working out my salvation with me. Lastly, I think it’s so incredibly important that both pro-gay and anti-gay (if I can use such loose terms) individuals should approach this topic with more care, but most importantly with the knowledge that you MIGHT BE WRONG. We are all human and claim to hear from God what the truth is… but even some of the most respected theologians are wrong. It’s time to approach this topic with humility knowing there’s a chance you may be completely off the mark and might have to transform your thinking of the topic. As a gay man, I have to approach it that way. As a traditionalist, you have to approach it that way. Else I refuse to further engage in discussing this

  39. To Kyle
    You reply is well thought out and highlights the need to avoid judgement on all sides. God is our only judge and Christ is our advocate if he is our Lord and Saviour. The critical issue in my view is Governments in all centuries have legislated informed and ill informed laws. What was illegal 60 years ago is now legal. As a follower of Christ the only solution I can see to all this is pursue a ever closer relationship with Him and our characters will change and we will become more Christ like in what we believe, say and do. As a Chaplain and Crisis Counsellor I have found this to be best door to walk through for many people! Blessings

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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