I have been startled, and alarmed, by the rapid swing in our culture to endorse same-sex marriage. What was, until recently, a contentious issue is now mainstream and public figures are rapidly repositioning themselves to get on the kinder side of popular opinion. In coming days the Supreme Court is going to consider the future of California’s Proposition 8, the controversial amendment to the state’s constitution that protects traditional marriage. The amendment has some powerful challengers, including the Justice Department, and the future of marriage is very uncertain.
We Christians, who view life through the lens of Scripture, are finding this new cultural landscape alien. What we have learned from the Bible about human sexuality is no longer the accepted norm—it is quickly becoming anathema (cursed). So I was not surprised when a friend emailed me and asked for some advice. He asked, “How do we, as Christians, handle the growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle?”
Oh, how I wish we could speak about something else, but this topic seems to dominate our nation’s attention. It cannot be avoided, so this is my advice:
1. Anchor yourself in the Bible
The Bible plainly sanctions marriage between a man and a woman. It is equally clear in its prohibition of homosexual behavior. Some homosexual advocates have worked hard at reinterpreting the relevant passages to validate their persuasion. Their interpretive efforts are agonizing and those more honest in their camp concede that the Bible forbids homosexuality. They simply choose to ignore scripture.
We have no such luxury. As ‘people of the Book’, we must be familiar with the biblical standard. And when we speak with others, we must reference the Bible. Those we are speaking with may not endorse God’s Word, but in fairness to them, let us be clear about our foundation.
(see Lev 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:9-10)
2. Understand sin
The most vexing line that I hear being repeated by many homosexuals is that “God made me like this”. Their assertion is that their natural inclination is ordained and approved by God. I respectfully object. Homosexuality is a sin (based on Biblical truths) and sin is not of God.Just because a person has a predisposition towards a certain behavior doesn’t make that behavior good. It is widely acknowledged that those whose heritage includes substance abuse are likely to be susceptible to the same abuse. But this doesn’t make drunkenness noble; it simply means that this person has a proclivity that they must battle.
Sin corrupts the whole being and this includes sexual appetite. Many practicing homosexuals say that same-sex attraction is all they’ve ever known, and I completely believe them, but I don’t concede that this drive was God’s original design. Their desire is a consequence of being corrupted by sin.
3. Preach the gospel
The gospel is the good news that Jesus died as our substitute to absolve us of guilt and rescue us from sin. Those who believe are promised eternal life—a new life that begins at the moment of conversion. This means that the gospel liberates us from the consequences of sin in real time. While old appetites may persist, they no longer have dominion over us. Since Jesus is sufficient in every way, we who abide in him, can now say ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to righteousness.The gospel is the good news that God is changing things for the better, and that includes you and me. We who believe are being transformed by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. By God’s power in us, we are new creatures (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Homosexuality is a sin, but like every other sin, it is powerless against the gospel.
I have no delusions about the popularity of what I have written. These convictions are regularly mocked and repudiated, and if you speak them, you may receive a harsh response. That’s okay, just be sure that what you say isn’t said harshly. We have no moral high ground here—we are just beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.