For the first three decades of my adult life, I was involved with ex-gay ministry on some level. Readers of my Autobiography With Purpose will find some details of that involvement here and here. When I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Greater Boston Area in 2002, I thought I’d never have to write about homosexuality again. Or even think about it.
Less than three years later, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same sex marriages. The first day it was legalized, John and I had to go to Town Hall, where we stumbled upon a wedding of two lesbians. Grieved and nauseated, I knew that I’d never be able to ignore homosexuality again.
Ten years later, the United States Supreme Court legislated from the bench (which, by the way, isn’t their constitutional function) and made same sex marriage legal in all 50 states. I doubt even a libertine like Benjamin Franklin would approve.
Since the Obergefell decision, LBGTQ activists have actually become more aggressive in efforts to coerce universal approval of sexual deviations from the Biblical model for human sexuality. Rather than regarding homosexuality as a sin needing to be mortified, our culture demands that everyone join in the celebration of it.
Scripture, however, describes homosexuality as the epitome of rebellion against God.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. ~~Romans 1:18-27 (ESV)
Contrary to Matthew Vines, this description of homosexuality does not exclude loving, committed same sex relationships. In saying “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie,” the apostle Paul indicates that the men and women in these verses actually believed that their passions were good and right and noble. Furthermore, although most homosexual relationships between men in First Century Rome were socially acceptable when the dominate partner chose someone from an inferior class, mutual relationships certainly did exist (source). While Matthew Vines can pretend that New Testament Scripture condemns only homosexual relationships that involved exploitation, Christians must acknowledge that Romans 1:18-27 makes no distinction between exploitative homosexuality and mutually loving homosexual relationships.
None of the passages prohibiting homosexuality make such distinctions, actually. The Bible uniformly calls homosexuality a sin.
The Bible also guarantees that God offers the same forgiveness and cleansing to homosexuals as He guarantees to all believers.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~~1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)
This passage isn’t exclusively addressing homosexuality, people! I recognize several of my sins in that list — if you’re honest, so do you! But Paul’s emphasis is on verse 11, which assures Christians that our sins remain in the past. We can focus on the redeeming work that Jesus Christ has accomplished in our lives.
The world doesn’t want us to proclaim either that homosexuality is sinful or that Christ frees people from that sin. Increasingly, it pressures us to adjust our theology to accommodate it. It threatens severe consequences if we fail to comply.
But the Lord calls us to faithfully stand on His Word, regardless of the world’s demands. Indeed, I feel the pressure to find some middle ground that allows me to have a form of Christianity without offending the LBGTQ community. So I really do understand the temptation to water down God’s Word to make it palatable. I simply don’t believe such compromise honors the Lord.