I originally published this article back on October 8, 2015. But Andy Stanley recently brought the issue of homosexuality up yet again, so I thought it might be profitable to run this article in response to his compromise.
People I’ve known for decades have decided to stop trying to resist their homosexual temptations and have bought into the lie that their sexual proclivities define their entire identities.
In one respect, I sympathize with them. I remember my years as a single woman with no prospects and my consequent struggle against idolizing marriage. The more I begged the Lord to take away my desire for a husband, the more I struggled to accept being unmarried. I engaged in fantasies about men who clearly had no interest in me beyond friendship, and I allowed my bitterness and self-pity to eclipse all the blessings and opportunities to serve that God had brought into my life.
But the comparison only goes so far. I idolized heterosexual marriage, which God instituted when He created Eve (Genesis 2:18-24, Matthew 19:4-6). My idolatry was a perversion of a desire that otherwise honored Him. In contrast, people with same-sex attractions idolize sexual relationships that His Word unabashedly condemns as sinful (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). They want something that God says isn’t good for them.
You see toddlers in the supermarket, from time to time, throwing humungous temper tantrums because their parent won’t purchase a desired item. You’ve heard the phrase, “But I want it!” increasing in both volume and passion. But perhaps the object of desire happens to be mouse poison. Certainly, those pellets might (to a three-year-old) appear to be a savory snack, but the kid’s father knows that ingesting even a handful of the substance could have fatal results. Mouse poison is not a suitable snack for a child.
I chose the word, “suitable” in order to deal with the first Biblical passage that gay Christians routinely distort in their quest to make committed same sex relationships a viable option. Genesis 2:18, in introducing the creation of Eve, shows God saying:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.(ESV)
In other translations, the word here translated as “fit” is rendered “suitable.” Pro-gay theologians use that English word as the springboard for their argument that, although a woman is obviously a suitable mate for a heterosexual man, she cannot be suitable for a man with homosexual inclinations. Therefore, since the verse in question also says “it is not good that the man should be alone,” pro-gay theologians reason that a gay man indeed makes a suitable–if not essential–partner for another gay man.
In his well-known YouTube video, “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality,” 22-year-old Matthew Vines made this emotional statement on Genesis 2:18:
In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive.
Notice his main appeal is not to examining the verse in either its immediate context or in the broader context of Scripture. Quite to the contrary, he depends on emotion. How could the God who declared singleness to be “not good” limit marriage to heterosexual formations? Aren’t such parameters imposing enormous suffering on lesbians and gays.
As someone who believed physical disability would more than likely prohibit marriage, I must empathize with Mr. Vines on this point. Yet Scripture doesn’t conform to our emotional expectations. As much as this man desires a male spouse (I’m not sure how “a family of his own” could be accomplished), imposing this longing on the text betrays his irresponsible scholarship. Mr. Vines, imitating the pro-gay theologians he has studied, takes Genesis 2:18 out of context, and then reads into it a provision for same sex marriage that doesn’t exist.
If we continue reading this passage, we can’t miss the implication that God had created the animals as male and female
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. ~~Genesis 2:18-25 (ESV)
As the Lord brought the animals before him, Adam saw that each had a corresponding mate. God thus made Adam aware that he was without a corresponding mate. His species needed a female, and human marriage would follow the male/female model. This passage no where suggests that a suitable helper could, for someone with same sex attractions, be anything but a opposite sex partner. Wanting something outside God’s design, however passionate that longing may be, doesn’t alter God’s pattern for sexuality.
I do sympathize with people who experience same sex attractions, but not with those who distort Scripture for the purpose of justifying homosexual sin. No person–least of all someone who calls himself a Christian–ought to claim a sinful disposition as his identity.