(Note: instead of citing Scripture throughout this article as usual, I will list relevant passages at the end)
The comment I hear quite often about Christians is that we are bigoted/intorlerant/hateful just because we refuse to condone and enable a lifestyle that we disagree with.
Granted, there are a few “Christian” groups and quite a disturbingly large number of people who claim to be Christian that oppose the LGBT supporters and practictioners in ways and with words that are hateful or demeaning in tone. Some of that is in response to the hateful, derogatory, and malicious rhetoric that constantly flows from the LGBT activist community, some out of personal animosity – but all wrong and unChristlike.
The other extreme of Christian response is to either remain silent (and by doing so giving tacit approval) or to actively approve the lifestyle. This approach is often taken out of fear of reprisal or public disapproval, sometimes out of a belief that the LGBT stand is appropriate – but this response is equally wrong, and equally (perhaps even more) unChristlike.
Unfortunately, the constant LGBT rants and name-calling, setting up straw men to knock down, and focusing on the extreme opponents that descend to their methods of public discourse is quite effective in drowning out those of us who attempt to share Christ’s view of this matter in a gentle but firm way.
I’ve noticed that there is a basic reluctance on both sides of the fence to try and really understand the worldview and perspective of the other side. I expect that from the LGBT support side; I find it disturbing from the Christian side. How can we hope to have any kind of an impact, or expect the other side to even consider our view if we refuse to listen to them?
So, here’s a short summary of what I understand both sides to believe. Keep in mind that these are general statements.
LGBT: The individual person is the primary authority over his or her body, and has the right to do whatever he or she wants with it, including “gender reassignment” by surgery and/or drug use.
Christian: God, the creator, has the ultimate authority over our bodies, and we must live and operate within His limits as revealed in scripture.
LGBT: If there is a God, It’s primary purpose in dealing with humans (if it takes any interest at all) is to make us happy and fulfilled; therefore, anything we do that makes us happy is acceptable to It.
Christian: God is the sovereign creator of everything – including humankind. As such, life isn’t about Him making us happy; it’s about His rescue of those of us who choose to have an obedient relationship with Him from damnation and destruction. Therefore, it is best for us to what is acceptable to Him rather than what “feels right”.
LGBT: Homosexual practice is entirely a matter of personal preference, and no person, government, or religion has the right to infringe on a person’s right to indulge in such activities.
Christian: Homosexuality is not only unnatural from a humanistic standpoint – it does absolutely nothing to advance human biological progress or to perpetuate a genetic bloodline, but God both directly and indirectly prohibits such activity in both Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
LGBT: Gender identity is primarily a matter of personal preference and perception. The body is nothing more than a biological machine, so if a person’s gender identity does not match his or her biology, then it is perfectly reasonable (some say preferable) to, by surgery and drug therapy to change his or her biology to simulate that of the preferred gender.
Christian: Gender identity separate from biological physiology is essentially a 20th century construct. Gender, both historically and scientifically, is based on biology. If a male or female identifies as the opposite gender, it makes as much sense as identifying as a dog. No matter how much body modification and hormone juggling you do – hair implants, limb length surgery, dental implants, tail construction, etc. you do – you will still be a human that looks like a dog; you will not be a dog. in the same way, gender reassignment surgery/therapy is nothing more than self-mutilation and/or drug abuse. “Gender identity issues” are much more reasonably viewed as mental health issues rather than as biological deficiency issues – both historically and scientifically. Pretending you are something you are not does not make it so.
So, in light of these opposing worldviews, how should a Christian approach the LGBT practitioner or supporter?
Before answering that question, there are a some things to keep in mind:
1) Most LGBT people view their lifestyle as an integral part of their being, and will view ANY opposition or lack of support of their lifestyle as a personal attack on their being, not their actions. Do not be surprised if they respond to what you intend to be a compassionate, thoughtful question or remark with highly emotional and violent (at least verbally) reactions.
2) The great majority of LGBT people have bought into the “homosexuality/gender issues is not a choice” argument. Although there is at least as much scientific, historical, and anecdotal evidence to the contrary, most people (of any persuasion) will stick with the argument that makes them feel good. So, any appeal to “choose to be straight” is not going to do anything other than anger everyone (most likely including yourself).
3) Unless the person you are talking to professes to be a Christian, any references to Scripture or God other than a presentation of the Gospel and EVERY person’s need for Christ is a waste of time. Their primary need is not to renounce the LGBT life, it is to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything else is window dressing unless that commitment is made. Repentance is essential, but without regeneration it is not sufficient.
Why, you may ask, did I spend so many words talking about world views and such instead of answering the question? Why not just say, “this is how you address the issue” and jump right into it? Sheesh, Curly, why does everything have to be answered with a 30+ page dissertation? Gimme the quick and easy answer, and let’s get ON with it!
Good question. Here’s my answer: We as disciples of the Christ are called not to look for the easy answers, but to look for and act upon true and godly answers. A quick answer doesn’t address the question; it gives it a surface coating of compassion or righteousness or warm fuzzies but does not give any substance. EVERY human being needs that substantive presentation of the Gospel. My goal is to give that as best I can, and to enable others to do the same.
So – on to the ‘good stuff’ as some of you would say! But first, a reminder that do all with much prayer and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading.
First, let’s take a brief look at the LGBT supporters. These are the people who say things like “I’m straight, but I fully support the rights and privileges of my LGBT friends. Nobody has the right to tell them how to live.”
The correct, Biblical response is to calmly, without harshness or malice, point out that there is one Being – God – who DOES have the right to do so, and that He has stated that such behavior directly disobeys His commands, and considering the high cost of deliberately disobeying ANY of his directives it would be the most hateful thing you could do to support or enable it. The other important thing to do is be very clear that opposition to the lifestyle does not mean dismissal or rejection of the person.
For those living the homosexual lifestyle, because of the current state of the culture and the strident and hateful rhetoric (from both sides), the first thing to do is to make it clear that your issue is with the behavior, not the being; to repeat, opposition to the lifestyle does not mean dismissal or rejection of the person. In most cases, the only way to do this is to (surprise!) get to know the person, and let them get to know you.
Once you have at least attempted to do that, you can firmly but graciously explain that since God has declared homosexual activity forbidden, it doesn’t matter whether it ‘feels’ right or good or loving, it is sin – just like any other form of adultery or extra-marital sex, stealing, gossip, lying or pride. That is why, as Christians, we cannot approve of a sexually active homosexual lifestyle.
For those who are transgendered (or considering it), think on this: no matter how much surgery they have had done or how long they take hormones, they are living a lie – you can simulate another sex, but you cannot change your basic biology. Stop taking the drugs, and your body will slowly return to its’ original biology except for surgical mutilations and some irreversible effects related to the drug use (such as infertility, voice changes, and bone density).
Bottom line here is that it doesn’t matter if you are straight, L, G, B, or T.; Jesus and the Scripture are clear. God’s template for marriage and mankind is that sexual activity outside of a lifelong marriage between one man and one woman is sin. Just like the thief, gossip, bigot, or any other sinner, the LGBT people and their supporters need to turn from worship of self and serve the Living God who created them.
Below are some Bible passages that relate to this topic. In the next article, I’ll briefly address some common questions and objections to Christ’s views on homosexuality.
In this passage, Jesus, quoting Genesis 2:24, declares the Creator’s design of marriage: One man and one woman for life. Any other arrangement is not marriage, no matter what any man (or woman) may say.
The following verses deal specifically with homosexual sin:
Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:22-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11