The Chick-fil-A drama of the past month pointed out the necessity for us to be able to speak clearly on the subject of homosexuality and Christianity. Among other things, this drama showed us that there is a great need among Christians for this issue to be framed through Biblical thought, as homosexuality and Christianity cannot occupy the same space at the same time. This means that we need to be clear and unambiguous as we stake out our ground. Everyone needs to know where everyone else stands.
Christians owe their highest allegiance not to their church, compatriots, family or friends, but to the Scriptures, and so must be willing to stand with the Word of God against all else (including themselves). Regarding the issue at hand, this makes it paramount that the Christian understand what the Bible says regarding homosexuality, and that the world understands this position. Whether or not the world accepts such a position is another issue altogether.
According to the Scriptures, God created humanity to engage in heterosexual activity (Genesis 2:24) within the confines of marriage (Malachi 2:14). Homosexuality is introduced to us via Sodom (Genesis 19:5), which was destroyed due to the wickedness of its men (Genesis 13:13; 18:20,21; 19:12,13,24,25). Our next contact with homosexuality in Scripture is when God gave Israel the Law, which required capital punishment for this detestable practice (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13), along with such practices as adultery (Leviticus 20:10) and bestiality (Leviticus 20:15,16). Importantly, this shows us that God wasn’t singling out homosexuality in these passages; it was simply being defined as a subset of sexual sin and immorality.
Moving on, we then see that the Tribe of Benjamin was decimated over the issue (Judges 19,20), and not least because the heterosexuals of Benjamin found homosexuality to be acceptable behavior from their fellow tribesmen. In the New Testament we see that it is deemed to be shameful behavior, and that when it is socially approved, homosexuality is both a sign that a people have openly rejected God and that they are being rejected by Him (Romans 1:26,27). Finally, along with the sexually immoral, the idolaters, the adulterers, the male prostitutes, the thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers and the swindlers, homosexuals will be denied entrance into Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9). Since Jesus died to make Heaven available, this means that homosexuality and Christianity are incompatible.
The first thing made clear by such an understanding is that the Christian has a duty to inform the homosexual that his or her lifestyle is a sin that will preclude them from Heaven. An adulterer can be an adulterer or a Christian, but not both. It’s the same with the homosexual.
The second thing made clear is that a gay-friendly church cannot truly exist. Why do we not insist upon adultery-friendly churches, where we welcome practicing adulterers to be comfortable in their adultery? Or drunkard-friendly churches, where people are welcomed to attend while inebriated? The lost should always be welcomed in our churches, but sin should not be, because the Word of God never welcomes sin. If the adulterer, the idolater, the drunkard or the homosexual is not being challenged from his or her sin while in our church, it is not a place where the Word of God is being taught.
The third thing made clear is that Christianity is off-limits to the practicing homosexual. The homosexual has as much right to be religious as the next person, but he or she does not have the right to alter the clear teachings of the Bible, any more than I have the right to rip the ten Suras I find most offensive from the Quran and then claim to be a Moslem. The homosexual needs to have the intellectual honesty to either take Christianity as it is, find another faith that supports his or her lifestyle choice, or design their own religion in which homosexuality is acceptable.
The fourth thing made clear is that such principles pit Christians against the homosexual political and social agenda, as demonstrated most ably through the Chick-fil-A episode. In our constitutional republic, everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, and everyone is entitled to seek to enshrine their morality into law. As followers of God and of His inspired Scriptures, we happen to believe that our ideas are far superior to theirs. As those called to be salt and light in our dark and dying world (Matthew 5:13-16), we are charged with attempting to legislate Biblical principles of morality, for they are simply what is best for humanity. This will most naturally put us at odds with the homosexual lobby and engender intense disagreement with them, but it must be done. We’re not called to be comfortable.
The final thing made clear is that Christians must be brave and able enough to have a reasonable dialogue with the homosexual regarding this issue. I can testify as to how difficult it is to be Biblically loyal when speaking with homosexual family members or friends, for it is gut-wrenchingly painful to confront someone you know and love over something so deep and so deeply misunderstood. But we must love them enough to do so, for if someone’s life is leading them to Hell, we must love them enough to point it out to them.
When I first began to pastor several years ago, my senior pastor taught me something most profound. He told me that pastoring was like a bank account, and that you could only withdraw from a congregation or a person if you had something on deposit with them first. This taught me that before I could challenge someone toward Scriptural principles I first had to invest in them – something that the homosexual community greatly needs from Christianity today. Someone is far more inclined to listen to and contemplate difficult ideas when delivered from a person known and appreciated, for faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6a). But one must first be a friend, and being respectful is always a good place to start (1 Peter 3:15b).
There is hope, grace, forgiveness, purpose and deliverance from sin for the sinner found in Jesus Christ, and He can save from homosexuality as surely as He can save from adultery, fornication, idolatry and greed. Let us therefore neither doubt His power nor alter His Word in order to make ourselves (or anyone else) comfortable during these times of shifting morality. God may be worshipped only on His terms – not on ours or anyone else’s. We must love the homosexual community enough to be honest with it.