Is There Such a Thing As a Gay Christian?


Photo by Royomar


all-hes-done asked a question:

Hey so There’s a question that has always bothered me and I’ve never really gotten an answer. So.. I’m not gay but, the bible is always condemning gays to hell. However, the bible always says that whoever loves Jesus will enter the kingdom of God. What do you think would happen to a gay Christian?


Hey dear friend, I’ve stopped discussing homosexuality on the internet because I think it diminishes real people into “debatable issues.” There’s just no nuance about it anymore. I’m nervous even writing this.

I also stopped talking about it because we live in an increasingly offended culture that’s too immature to handle discussion without devolving into a troll-war or getting high-fives from the choir. One way or another, I’ve made another Christian or SJW angry with knee-jerk overreactions because I could’ve “worded something better,” and I’m just too tired to defend myself to people who have already made up their minds. I don’t mean to be so glib — but really, can we talk about it without yelling?

I hope you’ll know that the Bible is not “always condemning gays to hell.” At most, the Bible mentions homosexuality about seven times. Of those seven, the translations from the original Hebrew and Greek are not clear-cut. Of the two that seem obvious, even those seem to be talking more about premarital sex than anything else. I don’t mean that the quantity of Bible verses necessarily equates to importance, but for all its bad press, the Bible doesn’t have a ton to say about sexual identity. The culture focuses on it much more than the Bible does. The Bible does talk about a good marriage, but that doesn’t instantly mean it’s an anti-polemic against anyone else. I think people made it that way.


I also want to question this term “gay Christian.” I don’t understand it. I don’t get how we can identify a Christian with an adjective in front of them. I don’t think Billy is a “super Christian” or Susie is a “sleepy Christian” or Hank is a “bad Christian.”

You’re either adopted into the family of Jesus, or you’re not. Saying “gay Christian” sounds like someone is more disadvantaged than others or as if that’s their sole description as a human being. It does not meet as equals. It calls too much attention to sexuality, when no one is solely their sexual identity. Christianity transcends these kinds of labels and pigeonholes. You’re more than the sum of your attractions and professions and accomplishments.

I think an over-importance on any single part of our identity will wrongly exclude “the other” and continue to demonize rather than harmonize. This is true for all sides. Both the prime-time talk show host and the red-faced angry preacher are sensationalizing sexuality as a slave to their own tiny platforms. They don’t care about the issue, much less the people. They’re simply trumping their ideologies with pop-culture tactics to reinforce their own flocks. Polarization always leads to dehumanization, until you don’t even know what you’re fighting for. Once you see this, you can’t un-see it.

Here’s the main thing. I want to know if you believe who Jesus is and what he’s done. That’s the priority. I wouldn’t ever say, “Here’s your problem, so change yourself and then we’ll talk about Jesus.” No. That’s putting the cart before the horse. The most important thing the Bible talks about is eternity. What matters is who you will belong to in a billion years. Our time on earth is so limited and only once, and I don’t want to be defined by who or what I’m attracted to inside this flesh-popsicle body. It’s important, but it’s not everything. In the ocean of timeless history, so many of our earthly labels will become shoulder-shrugs compared to the story we live through Jesus.

My hope is that every person I meet can encounter the love of Christ, then they’ll eventually read the Bible for themselves, and then hit on something that might contradict them — which will lead to conviction. That will look different for everyone, and I’m not the boss of your convictions. I’m not your Holy Spirit. I don’t get to legislate your morality. Only God can so truly uppercut our souls to bring about changes we never saw coming. I don’t know what that will look like for every person. But I do know that ultimately, it’s God’s business. No Christian was ever changed by shaming or persuasion, but by embracing His heart. My job and your job is to love people and invite them to the adventure of faith. That’s open to everyone, even to people like you and me.

— J.S.


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30 thoughts on “Is There Such a Thing As a Gay Christian?

  1. “My hope is that every person I meet can encounter the love of Christ, then they’ll eventually read the Bible for themselves, and then hit on something that might contradict them — which will lead to conviction. That will look different for everyone, and I’m not the boss of your convictions. I’m not your Holy Spirit.”

    This post was so refreshing. Thank you for always pointing back to Jesus.

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  2. An interesting start to a conversation most of us dare not enter into. I am Jewish so it is more of a question of what is a Christian. I know you believe in Christ. But what do you believe in? Do you feel that believing in Christ allows you entry into a piece of heaven and what is heaven? Really what is heaven? And why do you want to go there? You think Christ is there with God and talks or communicates to you>what would you discuss? The sky is blue, the clouds are white, is there rain in heaven. Do you discuss with others the weather. Do you met mom and dad and others? Do you have a conversation or mind meld with Abe Lincoln? Do you float, play the harp or piano, do you have a weight problem in heaven?

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  3. “I also want to question this term “gay Christian.” I don’t understand it. I don’t get how we can identify a Christian with an adjective in front of them. I don’t think Billy is a “super Christian” or Susie is a “sleepy Christian” or Hank is a “bad Christian.” ”

    What?
    You rock! This is an amazing point and I love your insistence on naivete!

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  4. Hey J.S., I just want to applaud you for the courage to write this post and put yourself out in the open, especially when so few Christians are willing to do it and get bashed from either the left or right.

    I remember do a bible study with teens on this subject. They really loved it that I dealt with this subject because no one in church wants to talk about it as an open discussion type of approach (as opposed to “No, it’s just plain wrong!!!” I’m not gay either but can sympathize with people who do have same-sex attractions. They just have to deal with it and there’s no way it’s easy for them. It can be a life-long struggle–internally and externally.

    Anyway, kudos to you brother.

    Kevin

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    1. Thanks Kevin! Please believe me: talking about this online is no fun. There are huge assumptions made on every side. I think sitting down with others, as you’re doing, face to face, is the absolute best way.

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  5. Thank you for a great article. I have come out of this world. This is satans world. These labels are not of a loving God. Love the lord your God with all your heart mind and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself. Fruits of the spirit, love , joy , peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, faith. I test the spirits and those around me with these two sentences. I work on me to become more like Jesus. I leave God to sort out the rest. I am a sinner. Jesus died for sinners. I confess my sins not anyone elses. Nor judge there way of living. I try to help the widow, the poor, children and all God shows I should help. I work on me. So when people meet me they see I use Gods holy spirit to bear fruit. Satan is pushing people harder. He wants your soul. Stop looking at your neighbor. Work on the log in your own eye. Its how I live and god helps me live. Pray that his kingdom comes soon. Satan wont win. In my life he use to win more. Now if he might get five minutes now and then. But i am self aware. I go to prayer. “Confront me with God” and pray he will lead others out of this world and more people will bear fruit.

    Peace,
    Marian

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  6. I believe it’s not so much a matter of one’s person proclivity that is important. It’s more about what the individual chooses to do. Example: I may have a desire to beat my wife (which, incidentally, is a sin), but I choose not to do so.

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  7. Reblogged this on Faith Hardships and commented:
    This is a great answer to a common question. I agree with most of it, though my answer would be a bit different. The way I define the word “Christian” is for a person to have a personal relationship with Christ. This can, of course be any person. You don’t have to be perfect to know the story or to pray. Thank God for that because no one is perfect. This question seems to me the equivalent of asking if a fat person could be a Christian. And the answer to that is of course they can. Sexuality has as little to do with your soul as your appearance. Make no mistake, homosexuality is not a flaw or a choice just as heterosexuality is not a flaw or a choice.

    This question provokes some interesting thought though.

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  8. I want to cry with relief. We start with Jesus. We finish with Jesus. We leave the change up to Jesus. We just love like crazy and apologize when we fail. It really takes the pressure off. Not that there isn’t work to do, not that I am without responsibility, but that, as I say to my first graders 100 times a day, “your responsibility is you.” My responsibility is me. I can only know what God has asked ME to do and I can love those around me as they figure out what God has asked THEM to do. So freeing.

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    1. Yes. I think there’s some to be said for both our personal responsibility and for communal accountability. I wouldn’t want to put one over the other! (Which I don’t think you tried to do either.) Some of the hardest moments in friendship was when I presented my disagreement and left it there, hoping they would see, and that I would be open to being wrong too.
      https://jsparkblog.com/2014/09/24/what-breaks-my-heart-is-when-you-dont-hear-mine/

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully said! Thanks for sharing. I find it difficult at times to keep my cool when fellow Christians appear to be consumed with focusing on people’s sins rather than their hearts (or, better yet, their own hearts). I know it does no good for me to get angry over it.

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  10. I think you’ve avoided answering the question altogether. It’s true, the Bible doesn’t speak often about homosexuality, but when it does, it condemns it as sin as stated in Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Romans 1:18-32.

    Now, what do we make of a “gay Christian”? I don’t think there exists such a thing. I mean, we don’t have “thieving Christian” or “murdering Christian” or “adulterer Christian”. I agree that there need not be an adjective to identify a Christian with. A person is only either a Christian or not a Christian. No in betweens. No adjectives. However, it is possible to be a Christian and experience the temptation of same-sex attraction. There is a difference between being tempted/struggling over sin and being unrepentant. I believe that the true Christian will acknowledge that it is against the Lord’s design for men and women and therefore sin, and must struggle against it, “taking every thought to captive and making it obedient to Christ.” He may need not be told what to do. The Holy Spirit himself within him will rebuke and convict him of his unrighteousness.

    Being Christian after all means surrender– total and complete surrender– to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That said, it’s not just homosexuality we should put an end to. We must put a stop to the everything we do that does not please and bring glory to the Lord. And we all have that. Our sins however come in different shapes and sizes. We all struggle with different things. The main difference therein lies whether we continue with our sin or to choose to put it to death.

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    1. Well said!

      It seems that in a world gone mad with political correctness, we are expected to tip-toe around these issues and accept a watered down version of Christianity that essentially glosses over the more unpopular teachings of the Bible. This version of Christianity proposes that we’re all going to be saved as long as we are nice people; however, this is simply not the case. Christianity calls for a sacrificing of our old ways; they should be “nailed to the cross.” What I don’t think many non-Christians realize is that accepting Christ does not mean we no longer face temptations; however, it does mean we should no longer want to act upon those temptations.

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        1. I understand your point of view. It does seem, though, that we have become more timid in expressing our beliefs because of criticism, ridicule, and labeling (even the word Christian has become a dirty word in our society, seemingly synonymous with homophobic, bigoted, war-monger?). Don’t get me wrong, I know there are problems in both sides of the camp. Even as a church member I’ve felt the judgement of my over-zealous “brothers and sisters in Christ,” but it seems as though the pressure not to offend is prevailing. That’s just my observation. Thank you for your reply.

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    2. Hello Dzadd! Thank you for answering with such grace and kindness instead of the usual internet-yelling.

      Again, I think your reply exemplifies exactly what I’m saying in this post and the other one linked above: we’re forced to choose between a binary camp of “for” or “against” into a very false dichotomy, which we only do because we’re a product of our history. It’s why I hate talking about it online; it’s hard to be thoughtful about this without either sounding like I’ve “watered it down” or “trolled you.” This entire conversation on sexuality is already starting from a faulty premise, on every side. No one thinks they do this, including me, but it’s our natural default position to self-isolate into constricted camps, all the while saying that we’re not.
      It’s more complicated than “Just answer yes or no,” because life (and people) are way more complicated than that. I did (and always try to) answer the question, but it cannot be in a way that fits our current Westernized patterns of sensationalized pro/con podiums. (It doesn’t mean I have the answers to that one nor do I think I’m “further ahead” than you) That might not satisfy you, but on the flip-side, a reductive take on sin & salvation doesn’t satisfy anyone. People are not light-switches nor can they plug in a formula to fit a doctrinal mold; they’re stories that need to grow. Until we each enter the other worldview, it won’t matter what you nor I have to say about repentance or the Bible or God’s glory. No one will care what the Bible says if they don’t believe it anyway; it might as well be Sumerian mythology.
      I say this with a broken heart, but I hope you consider it’s possible you’ve bought into a dogmatic war of propositions in which people must stand on one side of a line or another, blinded by flag-waving and abstract ideology. It creates a phantom battleground where we’re narrowed down to particulars as the totality of our entire platform. It also prevents us from doing what Jesus did: maintaining the balanced tension between love and truth, without compromising one for the other.

      As for the verses you brought up, many good scholars have dismantled the original languages and context to mean different things. Even in English translations, they’re translated differently almost every time. Some verses are plain reading, many are not. In other words, there’s ample evidence that Scripture doesn’t talk about homosexuality in the way our contemporaries have been saying. There’s probably equal weight to use those verses both “for” or “against” homosexuality (which is still not the point). In either case, I also think it’s okay for each of us to wrestle with these verses, and that our conclusions lead us to His authority.
      As for my particular view, I suggest reading Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion , in which he talks about his gay mother, or to hear Timothy Keller’s testimony about his gay brother Billy. I absolutely commend them for their profoundly biblical love.

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      1. …but the Christian faith is dogmatic, Pastor– we do believe and take what the Bible says as absolute truth (well, there are Old Testament practices to consider, but that’s for another time). I understand what you’re trying to say (of course, we don’t shove it to other people’s faces and act like we’re holier-than-thou), but the Bible was and has always been clear about Homosexuality and a practicing Christian cannot remain gay. (Well, we are talking about Christians, right?) That is… unbiblical. The same way we can’t be a Christian and keep watching pornography. In other words, we can’t keep indulging in sin and say we’re Christian.

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  11. interesting. i live in a society where it’s wrong to be openly gay, criminal even, and from a secular point of view i think that’s unfair, they may need help, certainly not jail term! …but as a christian, i believe it’s wrong. while there are actions that we can’t really legislate on…like alcohol, smoking, dressing, some sins are right in your face wrong, and i believe homosexuality is one of em’…. i think the issue with homosexuality and Christianity is the way ‘holy Christians’ tend to make it look like ‘THE SIN’…homosexuality is wrong, but so is lying, stealing, fornication, adultery…none is worse than the other…none is better than the other…my thoughts…

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  12. The resounding point for me is that there is no such thing as a ‘ Christian’, whether it is good, bad, gay, straight etc. You’re either Christian or you’re not. And being Christian, we enjoy a relationship with God that challenges us on every level according to His Word and builds and deepens our faith and understanding of Him and His will. Like you said: “the adventure of faith”.

    Thanks so much for sharing… Love, Ufuoma.

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  13. i BELIEVE WE ARE ALL AS GOD INTENDED US! We each have a purpose and service he will call us for, and some have to go through it before they can do the service he wil put upon them. So we as Christians should consider who we are judging and condeming before we do it. I have a male friend who for 22 years lived as a male prostitute and the homosexual lifestyle, he was as against Christians as they were him. But then God reveiled himself, and he is a minister for the Lord, drug free, desire free, and on a mission for the Lord to share the hell his life was and how wonderful it is now. We do not know who he will call, or why, but if we believe he is king of kings we must trust in his word and love one another.

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