How Should We Speak to the Issue of Homosexuality?
Of the many complexities involving the church and homosexuality, one of the most difficult is how the former should speak of the latter. Even for those Christians who agree that homosexual practice is contrary to the will of God, there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about it being contrary to the will of God.
Much of this disagreement exists because we have many different constituencies in mind when we broach the subject. There are various groups that may be listening when we speak about homosexuality, and the group we think we are addressing usually dictates how we speak.
- If we are speaking to cultural elites who despise us and our beliefs, we want to be bold and courageous.
- If we are speaking to strugglers who fight against same sex attraction, we want to be patient and sympathetic.
- If we are speaking to sufferers who have been mistreated by the church, we want to be winsome and humble.
- If we are speaking to shaky Christians who seem ready to compromise the faith for society’s approval, we want to be persuasive and persistent.
- If we are speaking to those who are living as the Scriptures would not have them live, we want to be straightforward and earnest.
- If we are speaking to belligerent Christians who hate or fear persons who identify as gay or lesbian, we want to be clear and corrective.
So how ought we to speak about homosexuality? Should we be defiant and defensive or gentle and entreating? Yes and yes. It depends on who is listening. All six scenarios above are real and not uncommon. And while some Christians may be called to speak to one group in particular, we must keep in mind that in this technological day and age anyone from any group may be listening in. This means that we will often be misunderstood. It also means we should make some broad basic commitments to each other and to our friends and foes in speaking about homosexuality.
Here are ten commitments I hope Christians and churches will consider making in their heads and hearts, before God and before a watching world.
We will encourage our leaders to preach through the Bible verse by verse and chapter by chapter that they might teach the whole counsel of God (even the unpopular parts) and avoid riding hobby horses (even popular ones).
We will tell the truth about all sins, including homosexuality, but especially the sins most prevalent in our communities.
We will guard the truth of God’s Word, protect God’s people from error, and confront the world when it tries to press us into its mold.
We will call all people to faith in Christ as the only way to the Father and the only way to have eternal life.
We will speak to all people about the good news that Jesus died in our place and rose again so that we might be set free from the curse of the law, saved from the wrath of God, and welcomed into the holy city at the restoration of all things.
Offering readers a valuable resource for thinking through a contentious issue, this timely book by award-winning author Kevin DeYoung summarizes the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians.
We will treat all Christians as new creations in Christ, reminding each other that our true identity is not based on sexuality or self-expression but on our union with Christ.
We will extend God’s forgiveness to all those who come in brokenhearted repentance, everyone from homosexual sinners to heterosexual sinners, from the proud to the greedy, from the people pleaser to the self-righteous.
We will ask for forgiveness when we are rude or thoughtless or joke about those who experience same-sex attraction.
We will strive to be a community that welcomes all those who hate their sin and struggle against it, even when that struggle involves failures and setbacks.
We will seek to love all in our midst, regardless of their particular vices or virtues, by preaching the Bible, recognizing evidences of God’s grace, pointing out behaviors that dishonor the Lord, taking church membership seriously, exercising church discipline, announcing the free offer of the gospel, striving for holiness together, practicing the “one anothers” of Christian discipleship, and exulting in Christ above all things.
This article is adapted from What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung.
A thoughtful answer to a question that we all—sooner or later—may need to face, and how to honor Christ with our response.
This is an issue about which Christians should not be indifferent.
You preach the same gospel that you would preach to someone who is not in the homosexual lifestyle.