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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. R says:

    Do you know why many LGBT’s are Athiests? It is because so many religious people are so unwelcoming. How do you expect to reach others when you call them disordered and unnatural? Did not Christ eat with the tax collectors and prostitutes? Did not Christ say do not judge lest ye be judged? What if God turned all away the way we turn away our LGBT brothers and sisters? Maybe try unconditional love instead condemnation and leave the judging of sins to God.

  2. E says:

    If you know something is a sin and consciously choose to do it anyway then that choice is not without its consequences. We will all be held to account for such choices one day. Speaking truth does not equal condemnation to hell. It takes courage to both face it and share it with compassion. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is, like so many other choices we have the freedom to make, distinctly against God’s will for our lives. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t or that I don’t love you and want you to go Home one day. You and I agree that no one should be turned away from hearing the Truth and learning of how much God loves His creation. Peace to you, my friend.

  3. R, you need to make up your mind. In one sentence you are equating homosexuality to “tax collectors and prostitutes” and then it seems you are suggesting homosexuality is not sin. I am confused. Is prostitution sin? I guess I just get very confused when supports of homosexuality say “everyone is a sinner” as a defense, then turn around and say homosexuality is not a sin. Which is it, a sin or not.

  4. Dave says:

    R, nowhere in the article did Kevin say we should shun LGBT people or refuse to associate with them in any way. We are called to love as Christ loved, yes, but that love is not mere acceptance of sin. We are all sinners. Homosexuality is not a “root sin”, as some writers have put it. The point Kevin is making is that a willful persistence in a sinful lifestyle is incompatible with Christian life. This is what Paul is addressing in his letters. The same application could be made for any number of sins. Sexual sin IS different, though, in that it not only affects the core of each individual, but affects the community as a whole with the devastation it can wreak.

  5. Garth says:

    R mentions Mt 7:1-5. Unfortunately, this is usually misquoted to mean, “Don’t hold me responsible for anything I do. I want to get off scott-free.” The term “move forward” is sometimes used to subtly mean the same thing. Or, the passage is used as a cop-out to mean “I’m not going to stick my neck out and speak up for righteousness.” This passage is about adding our own condemnation, something we are not supposed to do. That is not to say we are not to judge at all however. Note that the very next section, in v6: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs,” requires a judgement call! Who are the dogs and pigs? Heb4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it judges…” That is the judgment we are to apply, not our own. God did not give us His Word so we could throw it out and say “I won’t judge.” We are to call sin sin. If the sinner won’t face the seriousness of sin, he won’t confess, ie, agree with God about it, and he won’t receive forgiveness. In Rev2:2, the church of Ephesus is commended for not tolerating wicked men. BTW, no, according to the 1Cor6:9-10, gays are not my brothers and sisters, and Rom 1:27 says homosexuality is unnatural, indecent, and perverted, and that gays deserve the health problems that result from their lifestyle. Grace becomes meaningful when the sinner begins to understand the seriousness of the sin. We don’t need to make fake converts by enticing them to a false gospel that pretends God just accepts all this garbage. He does not; but besides forgiving the sinner who repents, He empowers him to change.

  6. Sab says:

    R, no, I disagree, many LGBT are “atheists” because they don’t want to be morally accountable and it’s just easier to say, I don’t believe in God because Christians are meanies, than it is to live a transformed life.

  7. From a social science perspective last century homosexual behavior went from being illegal, to then being outside of the societies norms thus seen as deviant behaviour. Now through social activism its being normalized and heterosexual behaviour is being seen as less than normal because we have been painted as homophobic. From a biblical point of view it is clearly labelled as wrong and a sin against God and our own bodies. However no different to other sexual sin. For us its clear love the person not the sin. In ministry I have been ab;e to help people (both genders) who no longer want to be gay and want forgiveness and transformation. Needless to say they are now in Christ and married to a Christian women/man. The message is really is in my view…free will can be exercised about ones sexual choices and genetics in this case are not the master of us. Blessings Kevin for taking on such a thorny topic.

  8. E says:

    This whole discussion needs to be predicated by a more basic conversation about how to interpret the Bible. All too often, the fundamentalist argument, “the Bible says homosexuality is sin” closes off all further discussion. But things are not that simple. For one must ask, “when, where, under what circumstances, using what genre, from what authorial position, representing what constituency (priestly, royal, commoners, etc…), to what audience, etc… are these statements about homosexuality made, and what (if we can even know for sure) is the exact nature of the kind of homosexuality being decried?” When faced with these nuances, it quickly becomes clear that the fundamentalist “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” type of argument turns out to be seriously deficient. For what about other statements found in the Bible, proscribing slavery, misogyny, capital punishment, and violence of all kinds? Upon serious examination of these issues, it becomes clear that not all biblical propositions should be given equal weight. Just as “love your enemy” trumps “an eye for an eye,” I believe that the view that “God accepts all loving, long-term, committed relationships, whether hetero- or homosexual” trumps any archaic notions of homophobia.

    I would be very interested in further dialog with the author along these lines, and realize that my arguments probably deserve some correction as well.

  9. Bill Pence says:

    Excellent post, Kevin. Really looking forward to the new book. Your message at the Ligonier National Conference was powerful, and I’ve already listened to it again. Going to re-listen to The Hole in Our Holiness again this weekend. Keep up the good work!

  10. a. says:

    appreciate this. the church must agree with the Lord about sin; if people don’t repent of sin, they perish
    Luke 24:47, Mark 1:15; Rev 9:20-21

  11. Donald Johnson says:

    I accept Scripture as inspired by God and authoritative for faith and practice. I agree that all of the verses in Scripture that may refer to homosexual acts in any way are negative; yet I believe that not all homosexual acts are declared as sinful in Scripture. Yes, there are some translations that imply all homosexual acts are sinful, but I think those translations are mistaken in this area.

    I believe there is a faithful way to understand Scripture in this way and I can help you understand it so then it becomes your decision on what to do next. You may well decide to reject my understanding, but at least you will understand that there is another way to read Scripture than what you are choosing to do. If you wish to discuss further, just indicate such.

  12. Donald Johnson says:

    Sorry, I forgot to click the link to notify me of followup comments.

  13. You reference 1 Corinthians 5 and excommunication, but lets also realize that this was mentioned in regards to a sexual sin that is “a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans”, so unlike when Paul is encouraging them to discontinue fellowship with this man in hopes that his nature as an outcast would drive him to repentance, we would be casting out the homosexual into a world that is increasingly willing to accept and affirm them with open arms.

    I’m not here to say that homosexuality is right, or that it is not sin, but it tends to be one of those issues that we seem to get really concerned about making sure that we don’t get “license mixed up with grace”. Perhaps people just need more practice with grace, if in trying to exercise grace we sometimes stumble and fall into license, maybe we will get better at grace in the future. I think that we have gotten plenty good at being legalistic, and judgmental.

  14. Curt Day says:

    My first question here is about those posting comments. Are those who are posting here with single letter names related?

    My next question concerns Kevin’s post in the first place. That is because the issue of homosexuality in America is about more than just the sexual issue involved. That is because of the current changes in law regarding same-sex marriages. For the answer to the question of whether homosexuality is sin depends on context. For if we are asking if homosexuality is sin in the Church or one’s personal life, the scriptures are clear in affirming that. But if were talking about whether one can remain in good standing in society and be homosexual or involved in a same-sex marriage, then we have no clear directives from the New Testament. And that is the problem.

    For a long time, Christianity’s privileged position in society has caused homosexuals to be marginalized. People eventually figured out that this marginalization was almost as sinful, if not as sinful, as practicing homosexuality. So when religiously Conservative Christians pressed for laws that would marginalize homosexuals in society, people who were sensitive to the marginalization of others were put in a bind.

    Therefore, it would be helpful if while speaking about the sinfulness and acceptability of homosexuality, that the different contexts in which the issue arises must be brought up. And what would also be helpful is to talk about the sins that come with our society’s sacred cows.

  15. laura says:

    its in the Old Testament as well, “Sodom and Gomorrah” ring a bell?

  16. buzz dixon says:

    Interesting that you raise the issue of there being no middle ground with slavery and human trafficking while ignoring the fact that for centuries the Christian church said such practices were ordained by God.

    Also, you conveniently left off Romans 2:1, which after Paul gives a laundry list of no-nos in Romans 1, states: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

  17. mike grappin says:

    this is well written and speaks so truthfully as to be refreshing to me. all people struggle with sin , but that doesn’t mean we can twist scripture to make God mean something other then what He says, as if that were possible. I am so grateful God doesn’t pander to political correctness. guess He just doesn’t need the vote.

  18. Pete Jermey says:

    1. He only talks about gay sex and not about gay people (many of whom wont even be having sex of any sort). Just saying negative comments against gay people without saying anything positive reinforces prejudice in the Christian readers minds and makes it harder for gay people to be allowed to worship.
    2. He doesnt acknowledge that many faithful Christians take a different view of what scripture says about gay sex. It is not rejecting the bible just to hold a different interpretation to him.
    3. He is right to say as Christians we do not meet in the middle. Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son (luke 15), who committed all sorts of actual sins at the fathers expense. Yet the father lavishes love and acceptance on him…while he was still a LONG WAY OFF! If todays churches really want to follow Christ we need to practice unconditional love and acceptance, however uncomfortable that makes us feel.

  19. Still Standing says:

    Kevin, I wonder how much of the current cultural trend is really just a matter of people no longer submitting to the authority of God’s Word. It seems more and more like what the Bible says is less important to people than whatever it is they have decided they are going to believe. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). We have even moved from a state of indifference to a state of open ridicule toward some of the most influential theologians in history, a great example being this video and the comments about it:

    How are we supposed to respond to a world that is increasingly hostile?

  20. jamiepeters says:

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Born again, blood bought, sanctified, justified, spiritfilled.. and I am gay.
    I loathed myself for many years because “I would be alright if I just wasn’t gay.”
    I tormented myself, I fasted, I prayed, begged God to change me or let me die. Was celibate for many, many, many years.
    Regardless, mainstream church still seemed to punish me because I wasn’t “Normal”.
    God never told me to torture myself, He never said that He rejected me… just the church did. JUST LIKE THE JEWISH LEADERS OF JESUS’ DAY. You know, I’ve got to believe that God knew what He was doing when He created me. I’ve got to believe that God is big enough to be in control. I’ve got to believe that when He said that He sewed me together in my mother’s womb and He knows everything about me and His ways are not my ways and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He quotes Jeremiah to me saying that He had separated me in my womb to be a prophet to the nations. He says so so that every hair on my head is numbered, not a sparrow falls from the sky that He doesn’t know it.
    He said that He created me just the way I am because it pleased Him. I delight Him, my Father says, my Father is God. He calls me Precious. He calls me His Delight, He has given me a new name, He calls me TamarAmana Gail.
    Perfect, loyal-faithful, her Father’s source of Joy.
    Now… I do not need your stamp of approval for what God has created. God approval is all I need. I hereby beckon you to stop persecuting my brothers and sisters and running them away from the throne of God.
    You are doing God a huge discounts service when you call something unclean that He has made clean. Also as a fellow servant, when you care enough to lay down your life, including your reputation and name for me and anyone that you are speaking to… you will be worth listening to. Until then, you are just a sounding gong.
    To my brothers and sisters… what is over your head is under His feet. And God is not a man that He should lie. He will send a messenger. A messenger of truth and love. Jesus is Truth and the very totality of love.
    Our Father does not torment… He would not create us in such a way for us to be miserable for some purpose of teaching us a lesson. The lesson I am learning is that I have been in sin in that I upheld the opinions of man higher than the call of God because I did not want the reprocussions of the message I have to the gay community and the organized church. I beg your forgiveness.
    Man’s word does not override the authority of the Spirit of God and pray dear Jesus redeem the time and multiply the opportunity to let truth and freedom ring. We are not in sin. We are in love committed to one another. Above all … we are in Christ.
    And if they aren’t in Christ, you have no place to speak into their lives anyway.

  21. E.S. says:

    @Curt Day Sorry for the confusion caused by the 1-letter names… I only posted once, as the second “E” poster. I’ve since updated my name to E.S. to avoid further confusion. Thanks for pointing this out. As an aside to the site admin, adding nested comment threads would be REALLY helpful for fruitful discussion.

  22. Joseph says:

    Reading through all the other comments, I feel compelled to point this out (Also, before reading this it may be a good idea to go read James 1, ’cause I mention it a LOT.):

    The Bible frequently tells us that sin comes when we are “dragged away by [our] own evil desires” (James 1:14, and I’m sure there are plenty other sources for the same basic point). The Bible teaches that no one is pure and that we are desperately wicked- constantly seeking out evil until we are awakened by the Holy Spirit. This applies equally to cutthroat businessmen, drug gangsters, stay-at-home moms, college professors, you name it. Furthermore, Jesus himself told his disciples to “deny yourself” and “take up your cross.” There are LOTS of specific verses that say the same thing. Here’s one that I think is particularly interesting: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

    The point is, though a desire may be utterly uncontrollable, though it may be as much a part of who you are as the shape of your body or the sound of your voice, desire never justifies action. We NEVER, NEVER have a natural desire to do good. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Some of our desires may be morally indifferent or even positive, but this is “common grace” that comes from God. (James 1:17). Sexual desire is almost never one of those good things- see David and Bathsheba, Samson and Delilah, Esther, Lot and his daughters, the rape of David’s daughter Tamar, just about everything Judah ever did, not to mention his father Jacob… the point is that we can’t trust ourselves one bit. There comes a time when we have to lay ourselves down and divorce ourselves from the things we love and desire most. We do this not because of the things of men, but because of God’s grace that He gives us. We can’t do good apart from Him.

    That being said, I’m a huge proponent of the power of will. If you pray for a willing heart, if you seek God in all your power, if you seek help and counseling and if you spend time with the Bible, he will certainly help you with whatever your problem may be. This is a promise from God in many places (Matthew 7:7-11, James 1:5-8, Psalm 145:18 and for contrast Proverbs 15:29, John 13:13-14, Luke 18:1-8) so if your problem is that you’ve prayed for held and not received anything, go back and read the book of James again (James 1:5-8, 4:3, specifically, but the whole book is a darn good read). We live our lives in a succession of choices- some good, some bad, some careless and some with much undue worry. Being a Christian means choosing to love and believe God no matter what, even when our own eyes and ears tell us something other than what he says. Did Abraham deny God or cease to believe when God asked him to sacrifice his son? No- even though Abraham didn’t understand, he followed and believed that the judge of all would never do wrong. He chose to love God and not himself.

    16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

    He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, let us now choose to submit ourselves to him out love and humility, as far as it is in our power.

    (Also, notice how I didn’t mention homosexuality the whole time? That’s because this is a lot bigger than homosexuality. It’s an everyone thing. But I want to point out that desire is not wrong, only action. The fleeting images and words that we see and hear in the back of are minds are not evil in themselves, only if we entertain them do they produce sin. Go ahead and check out James 1:13-15).

    Sorry this was so long! Hope it’s beneficial to someone!

  23. Daniel says:

    Doesn’t that same bible stipulate that rape victims are to marry their stackers, after the rapist pays a small fee to her father? Doesn’t seem like much of an authority on sexual morality to me.

  24. Daniel says:

    Also, why do the “faithful” feel compelled to speak out again not homosexuality, while saying so little about remarriage after divorce – a practice Jesus explicitly forbade? Certainly there are MANY more people in second marriages than in homosexual relationships?

  25. R says:


    May God bless you and keep you! Your cross is heavy indeed. I am so very happy that you have not let others drive you away from God. Please know I pray for you and all who struggle with the inhospitality of those who claim to be Christians. Anyone who drives another away from the father commits the most grave sin of all.

  26. Neville says:

    I think that there is no argument that Mr de Young’s understanding of the biblical teaching about immorality is correct. From scripture, homosexuality is definitely included in immoral behaviour.
    The apostle, Pau,l said that he did not judge those outside the church, but those in it. And as far as I understand Mr de Young is not judging the general community but calling on the church to hold to the moral standards handed down by the apostles in the founding of the church. Surely that’s solid teaching.

    I think that Daniel is half right. The issue of divorce statistics proves nothing about the morality of homosexuality. But the issue of uneven dealings in the church with extant wrongdoing is a valid point.
    Mr de Young states ( I think ) that sexual sins are the most seriously condemned in the NT, I suggest that the most uniformly and seriously condemned sin is the sin of Pride. A much more sinister and debilitating fault in the church than a few homosexuals I suspect.

  27. Donald Johnson says:

    Some parts of the church ARE disagreeing with Mr. DeYoung in his interpretation, for one I am.

  28. C says:

    jamiepeters, here’s the problem. Romans 1 makes it clear, 1 Corinthians 6 makes it even clearer – homosexuality is a sin. These are not MY words or Kevin’s words – these are God’s words. Now, whether anyone is reading this article or your comment and thinking you (or someone practicing homosexuality) a terrible person or sinner – I don’t know. Here is what I do know.

    I’ve been unrighteous pretty much my whole life. I’ve committed sexual immorality (sex outside of marriage). I have committed adultery – according to Jesus’ words (lusting after another). I have made things in my life much greater importance than God (idolatry). I have stolen. I have been greedy. I have probably reviled someone. According to 1 Corinthians 6 – I am a pretty bad person. I am a sinner.

    Here’s the best part. I’ve been redeemed. Romans 1 has a similar list. But Romans the book then continues to tell me how I’ve been redeemed. How those sins do not matter when I’ve come to Jesus. It doesn’t promise me that I won’t sin anymore, but that even as much as Jesus loved me when He died on the cross – He loves me SO MUCH MORE even today.

    Why? Here I am professing to be a Christian, a follower of Him, yet I still sin in many of those areas! How can this be? That He would love me? That He would accept me?

    So knowing this, will I use this as license to sin? Let me phrase that this way. Knowing Christ is loving me, accepting me, choosing me for His plans – while I am still struggling in this imperfect world with my imperfect life – am I going to make a mockery of that grace and continue boldly in my sin?

    Paul said certainly not. I wish I had the same strength every day. But I do not.

    This isn’t about “license to sin”. Or license to claim something so strongly proclaimed as unrighteousness as truth or “just being born that way”. This is about accepting God’s grace or spitting in His face. I love you as a Christian – but I will not stand here and say your sin is not a sin. Just as I will not stand here and say my sin is not a sin. To do so, simply denies the amazing transformation and gospel of Jesus Christ. And He is the one I seek to please. He is the one I see to serve.

    The debate and ever-growing proclamation of homosexuality as being a “normal” or “condoned” lifestyle is about rejecting God’s way of life. If you make the argument that Romans or 1 Corinthians do not apply anymore, fine! Then swindlers, revilers, haters of God, gossipers, adulterers – there is no sin in that anymore.

    Then the question because, what is so AMAZING about grace after all? What is so redemptive about Christ’s love? What is the purpose of Jesus Christ living a perfect life and then dying on a tree and saying “Father forgive them.”? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  29. Gibbs3030 says:

    Fine points, the same ones always made. And one’s I agree with. But for every one of these articles there should be two…no three…on the love of Christ and how to love our neighbors. In plain talk…how to be a friend to a homosexual. Valient doctrine, re-enforced, well done. But the emphasis is always this. And to most Christians homosexuals are like aliens. Only stranger.

  30. Donald Johnson says:

    Rom 1, 1 Cor 6 and 1 Tim 1 are clear in some translations that homosexuality appears to be wrong, but those translations are flawed in this area. Those translations are hoodwinking the readers, there is no other way to put it.

  31. kirk harris says:

    God’s love wasn’t unconditional, it took a perfect sacrifice, the shedding of blood; acts 20:28,rom.3:25,rom5:9,eph.1:7, col.1:14,col.1:20, Hebrews 9:22

  32. Pete Jermey says:

    @kirk salvation is very costly for Christ, but his love is unconditional. He showed his great love to us in this that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. I wish that certain bits of the church would stop being a barrier between gay people and the Lord. In secular society it is widely accepted that gay people neither chose their orientation nor can make themselves straight. So when churches reject gay people (or even just write articles like this condemning gay sex, but saying nothing positive in its place) they are just putting a barrier up between those people and God. I believe this to be anti christian since one of the things we are called to is to bring people to christ.

  33. Curt Day says:

    Jamie Peters,
    There are two points I would appreciate if you would consider. First, there are two kinds of self-loathing for sin. One revolves around our concern for how we have offended God and have hurt others. That is a Biblical concern and legitimate reason to self-loath.

    The second self-loathing is one we need to throw away. That self-loathing comes from perceiving that we have not measured up to others, that we hate ourselves because we feel inferior to others. Again, that kind of self-loathing must be eradicated from our thinking and feelings.

    But also I would like you to consider that when you look at how God created not just you but all of us, that we weren’t created as if we were ready for the Garden of Eden. Rather, we have fallen natures and thus to use ourselves and the assumption that God created us pure is not Biblical. And we are all in the same fallen nature boat regardless of our sexual orientation.

    So regarding your plea, we conservative Christians are at fault when we present ourselves as being superior to you. But, if I understand you correctly, you are asking us to contradict what God’s Word says about sexuality if you want us to say that homosexuality is acceptable to God.

  34. John K says:

    One reason why you can’t have members of the same local churches agree to disagree on this is because of church discipline. If someone in the church is found out to be a non-celibate gay or lesbian person, if one side says (rightly, I believe) that the Matthew 18 steps for church discipline should be taken, and the others don’t, those two groups can’t coexist in the church. Or course, it’s not about singling out gays and lesbians, but the same steps should be taken against people who sleep around (straight or gays), live together without being married, commit actual adultery, frequent strip clubs, etc.

  35. E.S. says:

    Just a thought for those whose case against homosexuality rests on the idea that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin in some places. I don’t deny this. But here’s the problem. What about eating shellfish then, or men with long hair, or male dominance, or slavery, or all kinds of violent acts? You can’t have it both ways, either you accept the “clear biblical teaching” on ALL of these issues, or on the other hand accept the notion that biblically speaking, sin and morality are not static. Many things once called sinful in the past are not so anymore. This is not “denying the plain meaning of Scripture,” rather it’s using one’s God-given common sense.

  36. Curt Day says:

    The eating of uncleaned foods was addressed in the New Testament. Peter was told to eat previously forbidden foods because what was unclean was now considered to be clean. But the New Testament does not do the same for homosexuality. Rather, its protest against it is based on how God designed us and that occurred before the Fall.

    In fact many other issues are contextually determined and even sometimes directly addressed. slavery was addressed in the context of the advancing of the Gospel during the 1st century. Male headship was promoted, not dominance. The two are distinct. The wars of the OT no longer fit the NT people of God because the latter were to go into all nations recognizing that they had no home here. We also had Jesus’ teaching about those who live by the sword.

    So, with the exception of the length of hair, what you are listing are prohibitions or practices that have undergone change because of the change in context and testaments. We should also note that though all sins condemn us to death, all sins do not indicate a particular spiritual state. Sexual sins, both heterosexual and homosexual, receive great attention, especially in the New Testament. And the warnings, from what I can see, are transcultural and transcontextual.

    I hope that helps.

  37. Kenneth says:

    This article puts a lot of “weight” on specific sins like sexual immorality. Sin is sin and a lie is no different than sexual immorality in God’s judgement. However, sexual immorality may be a much more slippery slope which is why the Bible warns against it so much. It is not because it is worse than the others in God’s eyes, it’s because it is more dangerous to our spiritual relationship with God because it is harder to get out of, more addicting. I was told at one point that if I(as a proclaimed Christian) had sex outside of marriage it would mean that I was never saved because how can someone do that knowing what Christ did for us. Sin is sin. Homosexuality is a sin like any other but the danger of it is that it is very hard to repent from and turn away from it. The Church, however, too often condemns the sinner rather than the sin itself. Our job as the church is, like Christ with the tax collectors, to accept the sinners and condemn the sin. The person caught in homosexuality is loved by God but their sin is hated. How can we help someone rid themselves of such an addictive sin if we never let them in the doors of our churches? Our job is to help people with the convictions that God has shown them in their lives. If a homosexual person comes to church and is accepted and in turn accepts the Lord and the Holy Spirit, over time they will be convicted of the sin that is in their lives just like the man who has a problem with cursing. Our job then is to provide accountability and grace to that person so they don’t turn away from their faith in guilt and shame over what they’ve done.

  38. Erica says:

    The article begs the question. Of course if same sex monogamous relationships are sin, then the church can not tolerate it. The question is what did Paul mean when he talked about unnatural homosexual acts and used 2 obscure words to describe homosexual activity. Some read those verses as specific types of adultery, idolatry, and prostitution since those were all common in the Roman world, whereas a monogamous, marriage-like same sex relationship was not.

  39. kirk harris says:

    Kenneth, I believe you are mistaken, Jesus speaking, “You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:11 (nasb); ” Whoever than annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19; “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” Mark 3:28-29 but all sin is against God.

  40. To John K
    One thing about bringing in the church moral police force you end up driving away people who need our help to overcome their openly often habitual sinful choices by and through conviction of God the Holy Spirit and grace from us. In leadership I had to deal with a young couple who decided to live in the same unit together. The young lady was a very recent convert. Before I could even say out loud to the church put away your 6 guns and leave it to the leadership to quietly help them see other alternatives they had been so openly confronted and judged they left the fellowship and never returned. Moral of the story is let the Holy Spirit do the convicting and let people with out sin throw the first stone……..I think Jesus might have said that one. I could give 4 other examples of moral Police pouncing on young people ,,,publicly revealing these poor souls wrong choices and being so traumatized by it never coming back. They are now so ant-church they openly speak against it. The result of all this public admonishing was the both churches involved took sides and they split over it. So end result of all this was the Devil having a great old laugh at the mess.

  41. Donald Johnson says:

    Peter never ate unclean animals, not even in his vision in Acts 10 and he refused to do so three times, which means it was a deliberate refusal, not able to be done accidentally. Peter even tells us later what the vision means and it has nothing to do with eating unclean animals. The challenge is to figure out how to map the vision to the meaning that Peter tells us is the case. This can be done, but involves knowledge of the purity laws in Torah.

  42. KDub says:

    The question is: how many people are you willing to lose over this issue? How important is it for you to be right? To have a few snippets of scripture to wave over your head when you’re pointing your finger at people? We’re leaving in droves. I grew up in a good church, but this mentality is part of the reason I can’t set foot in one without either crying or getting really angry. And I’m not even gay. To me, the number of people who are leaving and never coming back because Christians are confusing righteousness with self-righteousness, and placing both those things above loving one another (for the record, “I love you but hate your sexuality, which is something that is at the core of who you are,” is not love, in my opinion) are evidence enough that it’s the church that needs to repent, not the LGBTQ community. (For those who will want to quote scripture at me, let me assure you, I’ve heard it, read it and have no interest in hearing in what way you think it argues your point for you. I am sick to the gills of hearing that a different interpretation from your own is either a slippery slope or the devil in disguise, and I’ve given up on it altogether. Let “blue and black or white and gold” be an object lesson.) Jamie Peters has far more patience, forbearance and forgiveness than I do (and apparently, a much heartier faith).

  43. Paul Reed says:

    First, I just like to point out that the day will come when Kevin is recognized as the hero he is for standing against homosexuality. Everyone may be jumping on the gay bandwagon, but Kevin is a spiritual Leonidas who refuses to compromise.

    “But if 1 Corinthians 6 is right, it’s not an overstatement to say that approving same-sex sexual behavior—…—runs the risk of leading people to hell. ”

    Exactly. It’s difficult to understate the enormity of God’s hatred of homosexuals. As a small example, we might compare it to our hatred of a pedophile who rapes, tortures, and kills a child. Just consider that God has destroyed cities because of homosexuals. Clearly, He regards homosexuals as lower than we would regard a bed bug. And last, as Kevin points out, let’s not forget that he sends them to everlasting torment in hell. You’d probably get a little bored after torturing a pedophile after a couple decades or so. Consider a holy God that punishes them for all eternity. And then you’ll understand why we need people like Kevin to proclaim the truth.

  44. … and He esteems His Son so highly that even if that pedophile or (shock) homosexual were to call on His name, they will be forgiven.

    I’m not sure I can get on board with the idea that God is sending people to hell because they called on the name of Jesus in a PCUSA church.

  45. Daniel says:

    Some people (like Paul Reed) think the destruction of Sodom demonstrates God’s judgement on homosexuality. Ezekiel 16:49 suggests otherwise.

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

    I think we can all agree that gathering in a crowd demanding an opportunity to gang-rape somebody else’s houseguest is detestable.

  46. Pete Jermey says:

    @paul reed – does God hate all homosexuals or just the non-celibate ones?

    @daniel Of course Lot, who knew the Sodomites well, offered them his daughters rather than himself…It sounds like they were straight to me. It would be a bit wierd to have an entire town of gay people

  47. To Paul Reed
    My understanding from scripture is God hates sin not the person hence allowing His son to be crucified. If he hated the person than we would all be in trouble. Sexual immorality of all sorts God hates hence the need for the cross and forgiveness. I agree with Daniel the sins in Sodom are clearly identified.

  48. Curt Day says:

    Paul Reed,
    I think that the comparisons we make sometimes says more about us than the subject we are addressing.

    Also, in your praise of Kevin, you are misrepresenting what he says.

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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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