An answer to the question of whether sexual orientation is a choice, and suggestions for improving how the Church interacts with the gay community, inside and outside the Church.
Readership: Christians only
A commentary on the debate between Matthew Vines and Michael Brown, concerning various issues surrounding the juxtaposition of homosexuality and Christianity.
The audio of the Matthew Vines vs Michael Brown debate is streamed here on the Moody site.
Can a person be gay and Christian?
The overriding question brought up in the debate, as suggested by the title, was whether a person can be both gay and Christian.
For a gay individual to be considered a true Christian, he must first demonstrate that he has come to know Christ by reforming his lifestyle. As hinted in the debate, this may be even more difficult than remaining celibate would be for straight people.
Michael Brown brought up the fact that thousands of people DO change. If so, then obviously, this can only be accounted for by the work of Christ in their redemption.
Judging by the number of Christians who have repented of homosexuality, one has to agree that there are gay Christians, but it is important to make a more accurate distinction by referring to them as Christians who were formerly gay, as opposed to practicing gay Christians.
Is sexual orientation fixed?
Another one of the issues that was brought up in the debate was the long-standing question of whether one’s sexual orientation is fixed or not.
According to my previous findings about defilement, it stands to reason that initially the homosexual lifestyle is a choice. But once chosen, it becomes a part of one’s identity, and therefore cannot be subsequently “unchosen”.
So, a homosexual who claims that their sexual orientation is fixed, and that their lifestyle can not (or should not) be changed, is inadvertently admitting that they are defiled, and that they do not believe in the power of Christ’s work.
As such, asking a homosexual if they believe that their sexual orientation is fixed, or whether the gay lifestyle cannot be changed, is a good litmus test to determine whether they truly know Christ. If the answer is clearly affirmative, then they are denying the power of Christ. On the other hand, if their answer indicates they are confused about the issue, then it is more likely that they might be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit.
But within the context of argumentation, especially with an unbeliever, it is absolutely futile to insist on the idea that gays can (or should) change their orientation, or expect them to believe that their sexual orientation can (or should) be changed, without them first being introduced to the gospel of Christ. Whether they will be able to believe in Christ and embark on their journey of rejuvenation all depends on the Holy Spirit.
But going beyond these basic questions and arguing about it is a wasted effort that will only create animosities, and deter the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Straight Christians who want to argue about it, are wasting their time, displaying their ignorance, inviting scorn and ridicule from society, and hindering God’s work.
How should the Church deal with gay Christians?
As to the issue of how to deal with gay Christians within the Church, consider the following passage in scripture.
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.” ~ 2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 (NKJV)
In effect, it is the Lord’s will for His people to take the hard-won lessons they have learned from their experiences, and help others who are going through the same experience.
So in the present application, straight Christians will naturally have great difficulties in relating to this subgroup. So it is most appropriate to let those formerly gay Christians within the Church conduct the ministry of Christ to other gays within the Church.
Should gay Christians be permitted to reinterpret the Bible?
It is reasonable and necessary for individual, formerly gay Christians to rephrase what Christ’s Word means to them in the form of a personalized testimony. But rewriting the Bible in order to make the formally presented doctrine more appealing or acceptable, especially to gays outside the church, is patently not permissible.
Homosexuality is one of the main challenges faced by most churches these days. In response to this crisis, many pastors are following the cultural trend by pressing all the members of their congregation to accept and interact with gays. There are two problems with this approach.
- Many straight Christians simply have very little sympathy for either the gay lifestyle, or the struggles of being a gay Christian, and for many of the faithful, no amount of preaching is going to change this. The result is that gays feel condemned by the annoyance of Christians, and do not experience Christ through their interactions with Christians.
- Many straight Christians simply do not have a need to interact with gays. Expecting them to do so, purportedly to become more “loving“, is actually detrimental and burdensome to the spiritual vitality of both straight and gay individuals.
There are two things that the Church can do to improve their work for Christ, concerning homosexuals.
- The Church’s interaction with the gay community should be the sole responsibility of Christians in the church who were formerly gay. Straight Christians will surely bumble the PR, and cause the name of Christ to be blasphemed among the LGBT crowd.
- Based on 2nd Corinthians 1:3-7, the task of ministering to gays should be left to the discretion of those reformed gay Christians within the church.
Following the last point, repentant gay Christians would be best qualified to administer an appropriate hermeneutical interpretation of scripture to other gays under their mentorship. Even so, any “reinterpretation” of scripture should not be comprehensively different from the Gospel of Christ.
H/T: Wintery Knight: Matthew Vines and Michael Brown debate homosexuality and the Bible on Moody radio (December 8, 2018)
- Dalrock: Chandler: Every Christian should have a gay friend. (December 10, 2018)