My Thoughts on Homosexuality in the Church

Lately I have been feeling as if I was drafted into an invisible war; one that I did not sign up for, but sense pressure to choose a side, and fight fiercely. I look at both sides, read their theological arguments, listen to their stories, observe their lives, and search my own heart.

A few years ago I heard of a pastor whose daughter was bisexual. It was demanded of him that he choose a side or lose his job. He held a traditional biblical conviction, but he loved his daughter, and felt that if he publicly chose a side, she would have to endure the sting of open rejection from her own father. He chose to leave his church position (or perhaps he was pushed out).

I heard another story that broke my heart not too long ago. A teenage lesbian’s mother was in leadership at her church. She was confused by her daughter’s claimed orientation at that time, but didn’t sense it was necessary to demand her daughter to change, if she wanted to continue to live under her roof. As a result, the pastor removed the mother from leadership. The two stopped attending the church. I hear these stories and I know something is not right.

Many churches are not responding correctly and are driving more souls away from Christ.

But how does one accept the LGBTQ (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers) community with love and grace without compromising their own personal conviction and interpretation of the Scriptures?

So, I searched for answers. I read blogs and books by brilliant Christian men and women who are advocates for the LGBTQ Christian community. They argue that their sexuality is fixed and that as long as they are married, LGBTQ sex is holy within Christian marriage. There are now churches that fully support this.

To be honest, I wish I could totally agree with this side. It would make my life as a Christian blogger, who tends to lean more towards “liberation,” a lot easier. Plus, I am tired of hearing Christians use smug phrases such as “love the sinner, hate the sin” to describe the LGBTQ community.

Phrases such as these are not only demeaning, but they are also hypocritical because we are all sinners to some degree.

Each time I think about this battle, I envision a massively huge church building (medieval style) with a huge iron door. On the inside, holding the door shut with all their might, is the person having sex before marriage, watching pornography, struggling with lust, over-consuming food, alcohol, and chemical substances, mistreating their spouse and children, practicing greed, selfishness, pride, etc.

On the outside of the iron church door, I imagine the LGBTQ community banging on the door saying “Let us in, we want Jesus too!”

When we cannot relate, we begin to disassociate ourselves from others- looking at them for their struggle, rather than as a human being who Jesus ravenously loves. When we do this, the hostility becomes ugly, because it is easy to fire our weapons of destruction, when our target is a belief rather than a person.

Being right becomes more important than loving people. 

When we really take the time to hear the LGBTQ community out, we begin to understand that many of them would truly rather not be homosexual, etc.. Often, they say that if they could choose their sexuality they would choose to be straight to avoid all the hate they receive, as well as the inner-turmoil they go through.

Their struggle is real; and we can debate all day long the reasons, or we can simply accept that they are trying to be honest with us and tell us how they truly feel.

May I also propose that those in support of the LGBTQ Christian community understand that many Christians are for them and love them, but have a genuine conviction that the Bible is against homosexual sex. It is not fair to treat these types as “homophobic” and “hateful,” because many times their hearts are the opposite.

Further, many Christians are “working out their salvation with fear and trembling.” We are all growing in our faith, and renewing our minds each day. What we believed last week, may not be what we believe today. 

Are we spiritually mature enough to act like Jesus? Are we able to lie down our weapons of unkind words or even our fierce intelligent arguments, to stand beside a Christian brother or sister, we may disagree with?

Jesus had a way of inviting everyone to His table, even if He didn’t agree with their beliefs. Can we back off and give the Christian LGBTQ community a little space to figure out what Jesus may be asking of them, like we seem to do with most everyone else we accept into the Christian community? Can we feel for them and seek to understand their ultra painful dilemma? Can we listen to their stories? Can we be their friends? Can we love everyone right where they are at?

As for me, I have decided to take the time to really get to know some LGBTQ Christians, to listen, and to learn. I want to do unto the LGBTQ community, as I would want people to do unto me. And so, I am committed to helping LGBTQ Christians feel a sense of love, belonging, and inclusion.

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19 Comments

  • Very well said…I know several people who chose to leave their home church because of their serialize or that of a family member. I chose to continue to love and embrace them what life choice they choose I feel is their journey with Christ. My opinion/view is something I pray for and continue to ask for forgiveness for my sins while not casting stones at my neighbor.

  • I greatly appreciate the compassionate honesty of your blog Jory! This is a perfect example of “emotional correctness”. You have a beautiful way of stating your opinions that don’t make others feel attacked, judged. We need more people with emotional intelligence in this world 😉

  • Very well put. Perhaps one day I’ll be confident and strong enough to share my personal story on ths issue. For today I will say that was a very compassionate response to a very controversial topic both in the secular and Christian communities.

  • Sorry, this is going to be a super-long comment… hopefully your comment box doesn’t have a character cut-off!

    “Can we back off and give the Christian LGBT community a little space to figure out what Jesus may be asking of them like we seem to do with all the other sinners we accept into our community (including ourselves)?”

    I guess my question is what the response should be if the conclusion that the Christian LGBT community comes to is different from yours. To me, this question implies giving grace to those who might still be questioning and figuring stuff out. But what happens when/if the answer they land on isn’t one that you approve of? Do you still consider them fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are engaging in good faith, even if you personally disagree with them on their interpretation of theology? Do you accuse them of challenging the authority of the Bible, as opposed to simply challenging your interpretation of the Bible? It’s easy to talk about giving these communities space when you’re operating under the assumption that the only acceptable final answer is the one you believe, and that the others will soon get there if only they open up their hearts. (DISCLAIMER: Please interpret the “you” in these questions to be the general you, not directed at you specifically. I haven’t seen you do any of this so this isn’t meant to be as personally accusatory as it probably comes across. Writing with diplomacy and grace is not my forte lol.)

    “It is not fair to treat these types as homophobic and hateful because many times their hearts are the opposite.”

    But IMO anything thinking of homosexuality as “less than” heterosexuality is inherently homophobic. It doesn’t matter if it’s born out of genuine Biblical conviction or not. If it’s your genuine Biblical conviction that homosexuality is a sin, then your conviction is homophobic. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that I hate you, just that your position is bad and that I hate it. My mom is mildly homophobic – not out of any religious sense; she thinks homosexuality is “weird” but supports civil/legal rights. And I certainly don’t think she’s a terrible or hateful person. She’s kinda awesome, actually. But she *is* homophobic, there’s no way of getting around that.

    Honestly, I see this as a parallel to your idea of loving the sinner but hating the sin. (Yeah, I know you snarked on this particular line, and I’m with you on that, but that’s still the gist of your position.) If you can love me but dislike this particular sin (i.e. homosexuality, same-sex behavior) of mine, then how is that different from my loving you but disliking a particular sin (i.e. homophobia) of yours? It feels a bit like a double standard to talk about my sexuality in terms of it being a sin but object to people talking about your religious beliefs in terms of it being homophobic.

    Also, I’m not sure if you bring up this issue in another blog post, but someone once asked me how they could convince me that they still loved me even if they thought that my sexuality is a sin. I said that a good way to start would be to support civil rights for LGBT people. I’m not even talking necessarily about marriage – I’ll set that one aside because I realize the arguments over the definition of the word “marriage” muddies the waters for a lot of people – but about the fact that it’s still okay in a majority of states to fire or evict someone based on their sexual orientation. But I never hear proponents of traditional marriage speak up in favor of this sort of anti-discrimination ordinance. It makes their professions of love ring hollow. Actions speak louder than words.

    FWIW, I found this blog post (way late, I know) because I’ve read some of your excellent posts on complementarianism and started going through your other entries. I obviously don’t agree with you on this issue, but I do like you. Well, I like you as a blogger, obviously I don’t know you personally. 😀

    • Calling something a sin is not the same has having a phobia of it. If I call lying a sin, I’m not labeled a liephobic or some nonsense like that. The left uses the term homophobia/ic to demean those they disagree with. There may be people who are actually fearful of homosexuals but, as for the rest of us, we are not and just know that God has called it a sin, along with a lot of other things

  • Well, in the end you have to weigh the balances of your heart to see if your human fellows or the triune God of the universe take first place and hold your allegiance.
    There is nothing more difficult, or loving, than telling a person who thinks they know Jesus, “Christ will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but will cast out the goats who called Him Lord, ‘depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ”

    If you are in violation of God’s law, whatever that violation is, the most cold, dishonoring, demeaning thing someone can do to you is make you feel good about yourself.

    “If you love me, keep My commandments,” said the Lord.
    If you truly love the Lord, you must hate evil.
    You must know what evil is to hate it properly.
    Only the law and the Scriptures can tell us what is evil.
    Nothing is evil if God has not forbidden it.
    Nothing is acceptable if God has not permitted it.
    His commandment is exceedingly broad.
    The first message of the Gospel is that we are ALL filthy sinners.
    The second message is that God Himself descended from heaven to die for filthy sinners.
    The third is that to know you are saved, you must relinquish that filthy sin that crucified our Lord, and cling to His work and His holiness instead.
    Repentance comes before, during and long after saving faith.
    Repentance is not saying sorry, or even feeling sorry, but mending your ways in penitence, if the Scriptural meaning is to be respected. (See Simon Magus, Judas Iscariot, the rich young ruler vs Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene)

    I will love my neighbor, out of the overflow of love from and to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

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