Gender Identity, The Homosexual Agenda and The Christian Response
“Marriage is … in its origin a contract of natural law… It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.” –Justice Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws)
NOTE: I am a fifth generation Episcopalian, and watched with a broken heart two decades ago, as a small but very vocal group of homosexual advocates and undermined the most basic tenet of our American Anglican church, Scriptural Truth. The the world Anglican Communion has rejected the U.S. position as apostate. Additionally, as a Scout Troop leader, having watched in disbelief as the National BSA board acquiesced to pressure from homosexual advocates. It is clear that the homosexual advocacy movement can be very pervasive. Prior to publishing this essay I had it reviewed by several notables on the subject of gender identity, and also had several friends, who self identify as both Christian and “gay,” read and respond to the essay. Summing up the assessment of the latter group, one of those friends responded, “This is the first time I have read an exposition on this subject, and really understood the Christian opposition to homosexual advocacy. After reading your essay, I did not come away mad, but informed.”
People of faith are constantly confronted with secular challenges to foundational moral and cultural tenets. Christians, since the dawn of Christendom, have been confronted by secular challenges to the most basic canons of our foundational guidance, those set forth in Holy Scripture. These challenges have increased exponentially in the last century, in large measure because of cultural dissolution, which is the direct result of the dissolution of traditional families – broken marriages, leaving distraught children in their wake.
Marriage is the foundation for the family, which in turn, serves as the foundation for society. The Christian marriage paradigm is built on a foundation of five principles. First, God is the creator of the marriage relationship; second, heterosexuality is God’s pattern for marriage; third, monogamy is God’s design for marriage; fourth, God’s plan for marriage is for physical and spiritual unity, and fifth, marriage was designed to be permanent.
Marriage, as an institution, is currently under assault from many quarters, one of the most menacing being the challenge to traditional sexual morality. It is no small irony that not only are homosexuals challenging the status of traditional marriage, but sexual immorality leading to broken marriages also fosters homosexual pathology. In an effort to provide some context for understanding homosexuality, this essay briefly addresses the origins and pathology of such deviance, the social “homosexual normalization” agenda, the conflict this agenda has created within the Christian Church, and an appropriate Christian response.
Background: Family Origins
As Christians, we are constantly tempted by sin – particularly the sins of self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement. Consequently, perhaps the greatest affront to the Body of Christ is the most common injury to the family of man – marital infidelity and divorce.
Separation and divorce – which typically results in the absence of fathers from their headship role within the family – is the single most significant common denominator among all categories of social and cultural entropy. “Maturity does not come with age, but with the accepting of responsibility for one’s actions,” writes Dr. Edwin Cole, the father of the Modern Men’s Ministry. “The lack of effective, functioning fathers is the root cause of America’s social, economic and spiritual crises.”
Currently, only one in three children – and only one in five inner-city children – is in a home with a mother and father. Children who are raised in households without fathers are at much higher risk for psychological and emotional disorders, a plethora of behavioral disorders, chemical abuse, sexual deviance, academic failure, unwed pregnancy, abortion, criminal incarceration, poverty, self-mutilation and suicide. Adult children of divorce often harbor such deep emotional disorders that a very high percentage of their marriages also end in divorce – propagating familial generations of misery.
“The simple truth is that fathers are irreplaceable in shaping the competence and character of their children,” notes family researcher David Blankenhorn. “[The absence of fathers] from family life is surely the most socially consequential family trend of our era.”
This certainly is not to say that all children in fatherless homes are destined to fail, any more than it is to say that children in homes with fathers are destined to succeed. Indeed, in many cases where fathers have abdicated their responsibility for proper love, discipline, support and protection of their children, mothers and extended family members have been able to largely assume those responsibilities. But it is to say that the odds of failure are stacked against children of divorce.
While the burden of headship falls on fathers, and their absence in the home creates great peril for children, it should be noted that the majority of divorce cases are filed by women (and the majority of those claim no harm or abuse).
Concerns about divorce and its consequential degradation of social and moral order are not new. As Founding Father John Adams wrote, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families. … How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”
What is new is the vast number of fatherless children in America, kids who have been largely abandoned by their biological father, and the incalculable burden that places on them, and society.
The Fractured Exemplarity: Altering Sexual Normalcy
One notable outcome associated with some broken and dysfunctional families is the absence of a healthy sexual identity in children raised in such families – particularly their identity with their same-sex parent. Consequently, the paradigm of sexual morality has shifted – and has become a source of much controversy in our culture and in the Christian Church. Though pre-marital and adulterous heterosexual affairs numerically constitute the most significant departure from the Biblical family model, homosexuality is the more destructive course – and its advocacy is a vociferous insult to that family model.
Simply put, gender disorientation pathology threatens the Church and our culture because it threatens the natural order of the family, the fundamental building block of society and democracy. Though only 3.4 percent of Americans self-identify as “gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered,) the pernicious advancement of the homosexual agenda is very well funded, coordinated and executed. Consequently, almost half of adult Americans believe that 20-25 percent of Americans are LBGT, according to both the Centers for Disease Control. According to the Gallup Organization, women, youth and those with lower incomes and education, believe the numbers are much higher than they are. Part of the misconception might be that the highest percentage of LBGT live in among the high profile media and legislators in Washington, DC.
The University of Virginia’s Bradford Wilcox notes in a recent Heritage Foundation report that those who would deconstruct the natural order of family see the Christian Church as "a key factor in stalling the gender revolution at home.” For this reason, the church as an institution is high on the list of gender-revolution targets – second only to the assault on the traditional family.
Understanding: Gender-Disorientation Pathology
In order to understand how to respond to the homosexual agenda in the Church and society, it is helpful to understand the underlying pathology.
In 1952, the first edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official catalogue of mental disorders used by mental health professionals, listed homosexuality as a sociopath personality disturbance. In 1968, the revised DSM II reclassified homosexuality as a sexual deviancy. But in the midst of the sexual revolution, homosexual protestors began picketing the APA’s annual conventions, demanding that homosexuality not be identified as pathology. In 1973, under enormous pressure from homosexual activists, the APA removed homosexuality from its the DSM III edition to the dismay of about 40 percent of psychiatrists – particularly those who specialized in treating homosexuals.
Dr. Ronald Bayer, author of the book “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry,” writes: “The entire process, from the first confrontation organized by gay demonstrators to the referendum demanded by orthodox psychiatrists, seemed to violate the most basic expectations about how questions of science should be resolved. Instead of being engaged in sober discussion of data, psychiatrists were swept up in a political controversy. The result was not a conclusion based on an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times.”
But the APA is not likely to reverse their position.
The late Charles Socarides, as clinical professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, wrote, “We know that obligatory homosexuals are caught up in unconscious adaptations to early childhood abuse and neglect and that, with insight into their earliest beginnings, they can change.” Socarides wrote not just as a clinician, but from personal failure – he divorced his wife, and one of his sons was a homosexual.
Homosexuality is sometimes a promiscuous “lifestyle choice.” More often, however, as understood by many medical and mental health specialists, homosexual behavior is a manifestation of gender-disorientation pathology associated with childhood or adolescent emotional dissociation, and physical trauma or abuse.
Many homosexuals report that as children, they had a dysfunctional relationship with their same-sex parent, such relationships being their primary means of gender identification and affirmation. For some children, particularly those whose parents are separated or divorced, the dissociation from their same-sex parent can cause an unconscious but directive drive for gender identification and affirmation among same-sex peers, which, after puberty, can manifest as sexual behavior. The search for closure to a dysfunctional relationship with a parent can lead to a lifetime of misery.
Some homosexuals report that they over-identified with their opposite sex parent and peers – thus a boy becomes increasingly feminized while a girl becomes more masculine.
In both cases – lack of identity and over identity – there is a common denominator, which is emotional deprivation. In their formative years, all children need emotional and physical closeness with their parents – particularly with their same sex parent, and they need to develop a healthy sense of their gender identity as masculine or feminine.
Homosexual modeling and/or predation by an authority figure – often an influential person with access to the child through the family, church, school, neighborhood or media – can also promote gender-disorientation pathology.
Some adolescents and adults, who were victims of neglect or homosexual predation as children, compensate and cover their pain by manifesting some degree of narcissism, an unmitigated expression of self-love, which is antithetical to the embodiment of the Holy Spirit and the image of God.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a strong sense of entitlement, a preoccupations with utopian fantasies, elitism, manipulative tendencies and pathological need for praise. In the context of sexual preference, self love can define such preference because self infatuation drives the desire for same sex partners. Tragically, those so afflicted compulsively indulge in aberrant sexual behavior as a shield to avoid reconciling the pain of early emotional and/or physical abuse. This likely explains why such a minute fractional population, locked into that avoidance, has had such a persistent and pervasive influence promoting the homosexual agenda.
Other adolescents and adult victims suffer arrested emotional development, which often manifests in fear, and its pathological coefficient, uncontrollable anger.
Homosexual advocates who reject the notion of homosexual pathology, often resort to speculation about a “gay gene,” but that hypothesis has been largely rejected by both the scientific community and national homosexual advocacy organizations.
The genetic link theory has its origin in 1991, with the work of UCLA researcher and homosexual activist Simon LeVay, who claimed that there were some minute physiological differences between the brains of heterosexual and homosexual men. His research was heralded by pop media outlets as proof of a genetic link to sexual orientation, but even LeVay, upon publishing his research, noted, “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.”
Another researcher, Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute, believes some homosexuals may have chromosomal similarities. Like LeVay, Hamer’s research was also heralded by media outlets as proof of a genetic link to sexual orientation. Like LeVay, Hamer insisted, “These genes do not cause people to become homosexuals … the biology of personality is much more complicated than that.”
It should be noted, however, that some children may be genetically predisposed to exhibit masculine or feminine characteristics associated with the opposite sex – putting them at greater risk of being targeted by homosexual predators and more susceptible, psychologically, to homosexual modeling.
Given this insight into the pathology of gender disorientation, to abandon homosexuals in their mental illness (and sin) under the aegis of “love and compassion” is tantamount to abandoning a destitute homeless man under the justification that his condition is “righteous in God’s eyes.”
Indeed, there is hope for readjustment of sexual orientation, despite assertions to the contrary by homosexual advocacy groups, whose clear social and political agendas risk being undermined by such hope. Robert Spitzer, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, writes, “The assumption I am now challenging is this: that every desire for change in sexual orientation is always the result of societal pressure and never the product of a rational, self-directed goal.”
“This new orthodoxy claims that it is impossible for an individual who was predominantly homosexual for many years to change his sexual orientation – not only in his sexual behavior … and to enjoy heterosexuality,” notes Dr. Spitzer. “Many professionals go so far as to hold that it is unethical for a mental-health professional, if requested, to attempt such psychotherapy. … Science progresses by asking interesting questions, not by avoiding questions whose answers might not be helpful in achieving a political agenda.”
Hope notwithstanding, the normalization objectives of the homosexual agenda are plain. “When homosexuality takes on all the aspects of a political movement, it … becomes the kind of war in which the first casualty is truth, and the spoils turn out to be our own children,” warned Dr. Socarides. “In a Washington March for Gay Pride, they chanted, ‘We’re here. We’re queer. And we’re coming after your children.’ What more do we need to know?”
The Agenda: Homosexual Normalization
The primary cultural agenda of the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy groups is to promote it as being on par with heterosexuality. They advance this agenda through legal challenges, and two primary methods of childhood indoctrination – education and entertainment. This aggressive confrontation with the timeless Judeo-Christian foundation for the family and society is both well-funded and well-organized.
The legal agenda
The primary legal agenda of homosexual advocacy groups is to give this behavior “civil rights” status, as in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act supported by homosexual Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and others. Necessary components of this agenda are an insistence on corporate and government benefits for homosexual “partners” and state-by-state recognition of homosexual “marriage” and adoption rights.
In 2004, the Massachusetts legislature became the first state governing body to institute legal status for same-sex marriage and bar “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation.
“As much as one may wish to live and let live,” Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon wrote during Massachusetts' same-sex marriage debate, “the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Proponents use the language of openness, tolerance, and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.”
To that end, in 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston closed its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with homosexuals, which the Catholic Church considers “gravely immoral.” That prompted one advocacy group, the so-called “Human Rights Campaign” to proclaim “Boston Catholic Charities puts ugly political agenda before child welfare,” which, of course, is a projection of the HRC’s mission.
Consistent with Professor Glendon’s warning, the Catholic Charities case is the tip of the iceberg. Once homosexuals receive national civil rights status, a position paper such as the one you are reading could be classified “hate speech” making it a “hate crime.” It’s author could be censured, as was the case in Canada recently when a Christian pastor spoke out against homosexuality.
Legal challenges not withstanding, there is a much more insidious effort to undermine the Judeo-Christian family model – and it is being implemented with much greater success than legal diktats.
Entertainment as indoctrination
Every media form, particularly the “entertainment industry,” now has numerous outlets, which integrate homosexual behavior into the family context as if it were as normal as any other human condition in the family. Entertainment is thus the subtlest and most effective means of ideological and cultural indoctrination. It creates a psychological opening through which cultural messages bypass the intellectual filters that arrest most input for critical analysis. Because the context for these messages is “entertainment,” they get a free pass into the mind’s cultural framework, where they compete, at a subconscious level, with established ethical and moral standards. Those at greatest risk for this form of indoctrination are emotive adults and all children.
Parents beware that there are well-organized and well-funded “gender desensitization” programs and curriculums designed to indoctrinate children, K-12, in both private and government schools. Leading this cultural contravention is the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and other allied homosexual alliances across the nation. The syllabus is similar to that being propagated by the media – that homosexuality is an ethical and moral lifestyle choice, and challenging the merits of that choice is tantamount to social ignorance, prejudice and bigotry.
Children, as on a normal developmental track, experience sexual curiosity, sometimes including same-sex interest, though most don’t act out those interests. But Chad Thompson and Warren Throckmorton, who research homosexual trends in schools, warn that for children who do act on same-sex impulses, there is a growing network of homosexual organizations on campuses across the nation, pushing young people to self-identify as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered” as a result of nothing more than same-sex curiosity.
According to “The Battle Over Gay Teens” (Time Magazine) “In 1997 there were approximately 100 gay-straight alliances (GSAs) – clubs for gay and gay-friendly kids – on U.S. high school campuses. Today there are at least 3,000 GSAs – nearly 1 in 10 high schools has one – according to the GLSEN, which registers and advises GSAs. In the 2004-05 academic year, GSAs were established at U.S. schools at the rate of three per day.” Consequently, GLSEN is setting kids up for a lifetime of perverse misery.
Author and noted commentator Camille Paglia, a self-identified lesbian, writes: “Today, when a teenager has a [same-sex] affair, all the campus social-welfare machinery pushes her [him] toward declaring herself [himself] gay and accepting and ‘celebrating’ it. This is a serious mistake… It is absurd to say that one, two, or more homosexual liaisons make you ‘gay’ – as if lavender ink ran in your veins. Young women [men] are often attracted to each other during a transitional period when they are breaking away from their parents, expanding their world-views, and developing their personalities.”
Paglia concludes, “To identify these fruitful Sapphic idylls with a permanent condition of homosexuality is madness, and the campus counselors who encourage such premature conclusions should be condemned and banished. They are preying, for their own ideological purposes, on young people at their most vulnerable.”
And a footnote on academic agendas: It is no small irony that the most outspoken academic advocates for homosexual normalization at the collegiate level are often equally dogmatic about universal environmental preservation – preservation of the natural order. Surely, even the most humanist of these academicians must acknowledge the obvious – that homosexuality is a clear and undeniable violation of the laws of nature.
The Conflict: Scriptural Authority
Homosexuality is unanimously condemned by the foundational teachings of all world religions, and those teachings are the basis for societal norms worldwide. Thus, breaking through religious barriers is high on the homosexual normalization agenda.
The issue within the Christian Church is not one of Church unity, traditions or politics. Homosexual advocacy in the Church has become a primary catalyst for challenging Scriptural authority – the relevance of God’s word as received through Holy Scripture, the historic foundation of the Christian Church and Western society.
Homosexual advocates make the principal argument that Scripture is ambiguous about sexual immorality. However, both the Old and New Testaments are abundantly clear on their condemnation of homosexual behavior.
In every authentic translation of the Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek Old and New Testament Scriptures, homosexual acts are, indeed, explicitly condemned. However, as some have dubiously suggested that our U.S. Constitution is an elastic “living document,” likewise they suggest that Scripture is malleable and thus subject to the same practice of revisionist interpretation.
Homosexual advocates argue that citing Scripture’s condemnation of sin is isogetical (proof-texting) rather than exegetical. However, this essay does not turn to God’s word with the objective of finding verse that comports to a certain theological, social or political agenda, it returns to Scripture as the exegetical context for the Christian faith.
So convoluted has the debate become in some Western Christian denominations that a few have already approved the ordination of practicing homosexuals. Some have also come perilously close to recognizing homosexual “marriage,” resulting in intra-denominational schisms.
The Context: Scripture, Tradition and Reason
“The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his own creation.” –C.S. Lewis*
To discuss the issue of homosexual normalization meaningfully, we must move beyond the “pro-this/anti-that” labels. We must dispel a false dichotomy, which has infiltrated our dialogue on the role of homosexuals in the Church and the role of the Church in regard to homosexuals.
Homosexual advocacy groups often rebut Christian dissenters by claiming they are pharisaical, intolerant and judgmental – “homophobic” in current parlance – accusations which serve only to preclude discussing this issue consequentially. Those who apply such labels do so only as a means of arresting discourse.
The “judgmental” accusation is often built on the parable recorded in the Book of John, where Jesus challenges Pharisees who were preparing to stone an adulterous woman. To the Pharisees standing in her judgement, Jesus said, “Who among you has not sinned, let him cast the first stone.” But those who invoke the grace aspect of this parable to correctly assert that we should not stand in judgment, neglect to mention the second part of the parable. After the Pharisees dispersed, Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Go now, and sin no more.” Jesus shows her grace, but calls our her sin.
Disagreement with homosexual advocates' social and legal agendas has no correlation with one’s capacity to love or have compassion for others. Nor is such dissent necessarily related to judgment, which is God’s alone. Rather, it is about discerning between right and wrong and obedience to objective truth, rather than conforming to a code of subjective relativism popularly justified under the contemporary aegis of “tolerance, diversity and inclusion.”
It should be noted that objective truth does not constitute law without grace. In fact, law in the absence of grace is meaningless – little more than oppression. However, grace in the absence of law is, likewise, meaningless – little more than licentiousness. Law and grace are thus different sides of the same coin.
To discern right from wrong, Christians turn to Scripture as the first resource of our faith, and the foundation on which the tenets of reason and tradition reside.(1)
Opponents of Biblical authority must address themselves to an essential question: If Scripture is not the received Word of God, what then is our source of knowledge, of truth, as Christians? Epistemological certainty must begin and end with a reference point, an objective source, outside of the subjective self. If this presupposition regarding the nature of Scripture and the God of Scripture is denied, no common Christian foundation for truth or knowledge remains.
If the Word of God is subordinate to “situational ethics” and “cultural relativity,” if one is content to “interpret” Scripture such that it comports with a post-modern social agenda rather than receive God’s word as objective truth, then there is no further common ground for discussion of homosexuality (or any other issue) in the context of the Christian Church. Such subordination leads to a denial of objective truth, the advancement of subjectivist doctrines and, ultimately, the denial of any Scriptural authority.
In Luke 12, Jesus speaks about denial of objective truth: “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
Endeavoring to divine objective truth, some Christians suggest that the Church’s founding tenets of Scripture, reason and tradition, have equal standing. But there is nothing in the history of the Church to support this errant assertion. Reason and tradition rest on the foundation of Scripture, and are not to be equated with God’s Word. Thus, if we are to be faithful, we turn to Scripture for Divine guidance in the Christian Church.
Some Christians correlate Scriptural truth with reason in the Scholastic tradition of Thomas Aquinas. God’s universal plan and its inherent truths are thoroughly explicated in both the revealed and natural law, including the study of the natural order. Within that order, we are entrusted with the land and all living things, a trust frequently violated in selfishness and submission to evil. We are also entrusted with the sexual design and relationship between “male and female, man and woman.” This design is as clear in nature and reason as in Scripture, and should not be violated.(2)
Some Christian traditionalists differentiate between Scriptural truths, which transcend time and culture, and teachings, which are a reflection of historic culture. In Leviticus, for example, one may conclude that the legal stipulation for unrepentant homosexuals – death – is associated with an ancient culture. But, to conclude that all of Leviticus or the entire Bible for that matter is relative to whatever measure we choose, defies truth. The transcendent truth in Leviticus is its condemnation of homosexual behavior as “an abomination.”
Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law of the Old Testament through His atoning death on the cross – the ultimate and final sacrifice – instituting the new Covenant of Grace. Law and Grace are, essentially, different sides of the same coin, which is to say each is to balance, or to be understood through, the other.
That is not to say the New Testament does not clearly condemn fornication and homosexual practices. In Romans 1:24-32, the Apostle Paul says, “[T]hey exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who would practice them.” In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul adds, “Do not be deceived, neither the immoral … nor sexual perverts … will inherit the Kingdom of God.” Paul uses the Greek word “arsenokoitai” in these texts, which means “sodomites.”
Some homosexual advocates argue that Jesus is “silent” on this issue in the Gospels. Of course, Jesus does not directly speak about pedophilia or bestiality either. Is He really silent, or is His affirmation of marriage between “man and woman” sufficient rebuke for the homosexual agenda in the Christian Church?
In Matthew 19, Jesus speaks to us about marriage and sexuality: “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning made them male and female, man and woman, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh’. ”(3)
Note that Jesus concludes in this passage: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Clearly, the homosexual agenda is wholly antithetical to all of these teachings. Yet some denominations continue to raise up unrepentant homosexuals to positions of Church leadership.
Unity of the Body: Christian Fellowship
Of Church leaders and elders, Paul writes in Titus 1:7-9: “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work … he must hold firmly to the trustworthy Message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Holding firmly to the Message has always required much faith and courage. Paul also writes in 1 Timothy 3:2, “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife…” and notes, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s Church?”
It follows, then, that the church should not give official standing to homosexuals, ostensibly as an expression of “unconditional love.”
Though the legal status of “homosexual behavior” and “same-sex marriage” is being debated within the context of government legislatures and courts, the objective truth concerning such behavior was established by Scripture many centuries ago. Therefore, no institutional body of Christians should seek to normalize homosexuality or any other sexual aberration. Doing so projects the message that such aberrations are acceptable in God’s eyes and consistent with His creation. This projection is not only iconoclastic but deceitful in that it suggests overt sinful behavior is to be upheld and honored.(4)
Homosexual normalization in some denominations and para-church ministries has caused such confusion that laity are left to ponder, “How do sheep find their way when the shepherd is lost?” Of course, such confusion is resolved by the simple question, “Who is your shepherd?” Jesus is not lost. But there is great peril in putting faith in men. In Matthew 7, Jesus warned: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Again Jesus warns in Matthew 24: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
If we are faithful, then we abide by Scripture and uphold its revealed transcendent Truth. In John 8, Jesus speaks to us about this truth: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But, if Christians refuse to discern the transcendent truth in Christ’s words, what are the implications for Christendom?
On These Two Commandments: The Christian Response
So how do we respond to homosexual practitioners in the Church and society?
In Matthew 22, Jesus declares: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Indeed, we are called to love all people.
As for how to show God’s love to sinners, Romans 12:21 teaches, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We are thus commanded to reach out unconditionally in love, and seek to heal. Fortunately, because we are all sinners, the expression of unconditional love by other Christians is often the gateway to healing our own souls.
While discerning right from wrong in society, as Christians we are called to love sinners, and not predicate our love for homosexuals, in this case, on condition of their obedience to moral truth as set forth in Scripture. But “unconditional love” is not analogous with “subjective relativism,” and we should not uphold sinful behavior as righteous, which is a violation of God’s word and design. Failing to make this distinction constitutes grace in the absence of law, which, as noted previously, results in licentiousness.
As for unrepentant homosexuals (those who have been offered love and healing) and their standing among Christ’s people, 1 Corinthians 5:11 confirms: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral…. With such a man do not even eat.” As noted, this does not mean we are not to reach out to sinners and seek to foster repentance and healing in them. But it does mean we must not raise them up in their sin and provide them good standing in our fellowship.
Unfortunately, it is much easier to uphold sin than it is to confront sin and love the sinner enough to guide him toward healing. This accounts for why most homosexuals are abandoned to their misery.
It is sometimes difficult to stand in defense of God’s Word and plan for His people. Christians, however, must remain defiant in the face of errant teaching, and we must know that we have been called to do so in His name. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” (Psalm 1:1)
The Christian calling to defend objective truth in this matter may indeed attract much ridicule. But in the words of our Savior from Matthew 5: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
Stand firm in the Truth and Light.
NARTH – The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality – Helping clients bring their desires and behaviors into harmony with their values.
Exodus International is a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian organization promoting the message of “Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.”
LIFE Ministries International is a Christ-centered support group ministry focused on encouraging, empowering and equipping God’s people to live everyday in sexual integrity.
Courage is a national network of support for Roman Catholics who struggle with homosexuality.
PATH – Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality – is a non-profit coalition of organizations that help people with unwanted same-sex attractions to realize their personal goals for change.
(1) “If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new Church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or in the synagogue of Satan.” – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, First Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury (1533)
(2) Taking even the most humanist position in complete disregard of Scripture, homosexuality is still a clear and undeniable violation of the laws of nature.
(3) In Matthew, Jesus refers back to Genesis. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Later in Matthew 19:10, Christ also says: “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth…” (In the Greek text, one finds the word “eunouxoi” meaning one with a congenital defect or castrated, and without the ability to consummate marriage. The reference is distinctly different from the Greek word for homosexuals or sodomites as referenced by Paul. Homosexual advocates sometimes incorrectly invoke this passage as justification.)
(4) Our great nation’s first president, George Washington, a devout Anglican, advised: “The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes.”
*C. S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism (from Christian Reflections; p. 108)
(Portions of this essay were originally published in the essay “Homosexual Normalization and the Church – Perspective from a Fifth-Generation Episcopalian” published by Mr. Alexander in 2003)
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