What Do Theologically Conservative Christians Really Think About People with Same-Sex Attraction?

Online Comment: Christian conversion of gay people should be banned, especially to your type of Christianity. People cannot become un-gay. You do not realize the amount of teasing and bullying gay people receive.

Response: I can understand how being bullied and teased growing up might be very tough in this world. I have experienced my share. It is sad when bigoted people wish harm upon others. I believe those persons with same-sex attraction ought to be treated with the same respect as other human beings created in the image of God ... the same as I would want to be treated. But from this an other comments you have made I get the distinct feeling that you have a fairly limited understanding of what Christianity is really all about and what the vast majority of theologically conservative Christians actually think about those with same-sex attraction..

Are committed Christians really the ones out there who are bullying persons who are attracted to those of the same sex? I have been a Christian almost 30 years now... having been delivered at age 19 from bondage to sins, some that are far worse than the sins of people with same-sex attraction. Before being a Christian I do remember being around and hearing non-Christian friends tease and laugh at those who were attracted to members of the same sex but I have never, in public or private, heard any Christian in my circles bully, tease or harm people for this. If the topic was even discussed at all, I have only witnessed loving concern. The practice of sex between two men or two women, was only occasionally mentioned from the pulpit in all those years, as the grace to be freed from other sins seemed to be mentioned significantly more, but when it was mentioned, it was not set apart from the others as some kind of unforgivable sin, as some journalists, LGBT advocates and image consultants seem to imagine. Although sexual sins of all kinds are indeed destructive and deadly, but to be frank, same-sex attraction is a topic that very few of us have much obsessed about and we only talk about it more recently because it is constantly pressed upon us from the culture around us. And since my personal sins and the sins of many of us have far outweighed the sins of many people with same sex attraction that we have met and known ... I don't think theologically conservative Christians are singling them out.

Christianity is not moralism ... That is, if everyone tomorrow simply worked up the will to stop acting on their same sex desires and became straight... if everyone stopped having sex before marriage, stopped cursing and drinking and we all decided to become well-behaved citizens and attended church ... but in a church where Christ was not preached, then nothing ultimately good would come of it... it would just be exchanging one sin for another: exchanging a certain vice for pride in our own goodness. In fact, moralism is just as damnable as the worst sin. Having mentioned it on more than one occasion, moralism seems to even have been a pet peeve of Jesus (Luke 18:9-14). Frankly, me and my theologically conservative brothers and sisters are not particularly interested in MERELY seeing people with same sex attraction become straight. That is not our goal. While obedience to God does indeed make for a better world, mere outward obedience is not the kind of obedience God is looking for: Outward obedience, without an inner predisposition, is not the kind of help we are offering. In itself, that does nothing to advance their soul or the kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God does not add a new person each time people stop acting on their same-sex desires and then exercises his or her will to become straight. We want them and everyone else, rather, to experience something much more foundational and heart changing.... to behold the glory of God in Jesus Christ ... To know the ultimate truth and real purpose of life - to be set free from sin's captivity. Morality or behavior modification can't save because it will never be enough. God, by nature, is holy and He cannot lower that standard and remain God. Either morality will make us proud because we think we have attained it and are thereby better than others, or it will cause despair because we fall so woefully short that we wallow in the mud. None of us even comes remotely close to living up to this standard. Trying to please God by merely being good can't even hold a candle to the sun. So Jesus, seeing our woeful state, in love, came to do for sinners what we were unable to do for ourselves. Living the life we should have lived and dying the death we deserve. So in the end, the Biblical gospel is an offence to religious moralists and libertines alike.

But it does change us from within. There is real Change in Christ ... my own life radically so... and most of those who act on their same-sex attraction, frankly, have nothing on me... and if Christ can change someone like me, He can change anyone. So I honestly believe you have Christianity pegged wrongly... perhaps from a distorted media propagated version which paints the 40-member Westboro Baptist as the real face of theologically conservative Christians. But that it not Christianity. It's moralism - just as problematic as open rebellion, if not more so. People don't become Christians by sheer act of will. It is a supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit of God because of Christ's redemption....

Likewise, I, and most theological conservatives, would have no interest in outwardly coercing a child with attractions toward those with the same sex to change any more than outwardly forcing someone to change who had another any other vice. There may be indeed be some people out there dedicated to the outward perception of morality that may think this way, but they do not know the bible or the Lord. Mere outward conformity, without spiritual regeneration, may be a good habit but it has no redemptive value to God ... It cannot save us. A person must be persuaded and, by the grace of God, believe the gospel voluntarily, but once God works grace in a person, their disposition changes and the things they love are transformed and they recognize that they have no righteousness of their own but trust wholly in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. You may say "but people are born this way" Dear friend, WE ARE ALL born this way... and being born with same-sex-attraction is no different than I am. You think I can obey God"s holy law any easier than a person with same-sex attraction can? ... no, apart from the mercy of God, we are the same... Humanity is all born captive to sin and if left to themselves, none have hope. We sin because we are sinners ... so God's law is impossible for any man or woman, and if we try to obey it, apart from renewal of heart, will are undone ... all of us. Its purpose is not to show our moral ability or to show how we are morally superior than others (we're not), but to reveal the universal moral bankruptcy in humanity (see Rom 3:19, 20) which includes me and includes you.

So what the Bible and a Christian asks of a person who has same-sex attraction coming to Christ is no different than what we ask for ourselves who come to Christ ... God's law exposes all of our sin... and calls us all, by the grace of God, to repent. ... so, I believe, the theory about Christian treating some sinners differently than others is really quite off the mark. Yes there have been moralists who have treated people different from them shamefully... but their problem is not because they are Christian or take the Bible too seriously, but that they so not take the Bible seriously enough. Those who wish to maintain their pride and self-righteousness, they may use the shell of Christianity to further their agenda. But it is the grace of God alone which redeems us, such that there us nothing in us for which we can boast over someone else. True theological conservatives don't think they are better than you or people with same-sex attraction... we are all in the same fallen condition here on earth and each of us simply expresses that a little bit differently ... All of our sin and rebellion is deserving of God's displeasure ... my sin being no exception... and unless you try to grasp this basic teaching of the bible you are not going to understand Christians and the media will continue to fabricate news stories which portray us as haters and knuckle-dragging bigots, rather than a beggars leading other beggars to bread. You may think we don't know where the bread is, and refuse to be led, but our motive is far from hate and bigotry. Having known the God of Scripture and experienced the life-transforming power of Christ to change my heart from one of stone to one of flesh I know Jesus Christ is real and want everyone else to know as well. You have freedom of conscience. and I obviously have no interest in coercing you to believe this, but I will, by the grace of God try to persuade you. Will you deny us this, which to now has been a fundamental right of our country, by enacting a law to suppress our beliefs? It wouldn't be the first time in Christian history and is already the case in many totalitarian regimes in the world.

Sadly there is real prejudice in this broken world... real bullies who hate and want to harm people with same-sex attraction ... but theologically conservative Christians are not the ones who are your enemy... With you we stand against bullying, harming and teasing others because it is deeply sinful. ... those who are bigoted against any people are just as sinful as the rest. So may I encourage you to learn to differentiate between those who would harm you with those who simply think different than you.

So true Christianity has, as a first order of business, that we, by the grace of God, cast aside all hope in our self-righteousness and put away all pride in our own goodness. because nothing we can do will get us right with God ... God did not favor me because my sin was somehow not as heinous as yours. No, God had mercy on me in spite of being worse than most. I could, by God's mercy, only trust in the righteousness of Another... an alien righteousness. In Christ the only human to ever obey Gods law perfectly without sin. The only man with whom God was well pleased. If, by grace, God removes the scales from your eyes and you trust in Him you will see the world as it really is.

So when you say "no one can become un-gay" I believe you may not be seeing the whole picture. Yes some may continue to live their lives with certain potentially sinful inclinations and some completely delivered from some of them, but in Christ we have a new heart which beholds His beauty and so we now love Him more than our ourselves and our previous sin. Listen, you can at least count on two hands the number of same-sex attracted people in my own church who have been redeemed by Christ and now walk with Jesus. They have struggles against sin just like we all do, but are lovingly accepted into our fellowship as dear brothers and sisters, among others who have also been delivered from all kinds of bondage and spiritual blindness.It is natural to look down on others who have sins that are different than ours ... it is the grace of God which enables us to see each other with the same grace God has shown us We are all one in Christ. Having asked other pastors I know most theologically conservative churches have a number of members who have same sex attraction. Tell them that Christ has done nothing for them and that all future gospel preaching to people similar to them will be banned. They will be saddened, as will the rest of us.

Given what I have just explained, are we now being told that those with same-sex attraction should be banned from hearing such a gospel? That we can declare the gospel to anyone except those with same-sex attraction? Do you see that we are NOT requiring of them any more than what we also have required of ourselves. Your view which would have us ban converting certain persons gives me the impression that you would have us particularly discriminate against them by not offering them the good news of Jesus Christ. Do this mean that you and your friends are on the road to outlaw Christianity altogether?

While we think obedience to God's law is always best for society and receives God's blessing. But ultimately, the Christian hope is not in politics but in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Politics does not change men fundamentally. So we do not equate a political win in our column as victory for the kingdom of God nor a loss as a defeat. Victory comes only as hearts are changed through the gospel. We will vote our conscience in obedience to God but the result is in His hands. Though we prefer to live in free country, we will be ready for any change. Christianity and the advancement of the gospel in the hearts of men and women has historically flourished in difficult environments both in ancient times and modern. So you may be deeply underestimating Christians if you think applying the pressure of the law is going to do much to slow us down.

Lastly, from what I have said, it should be obvious that the words "homophobia" and "bigot" have been very carelessly pinned on the chests of theologically conservative Christians by journalists. It reveals a profound lack of understanding of what basic Christianity actually teaches. Such ignorance really does not belong in a civil and educated society like ours and is the cause of much needless division. Homophobia is a real problem especially with those who would like to physically or mentally harm people those who belong to this group. But when it is simultaneously used to describe Christians who believe same-sex unions are sinful, it fails to take into account the whole picture that we Christians are also among those who have been sinful and hell-deserving. We sin because we are sinners. Sex with a partner of the same sex is merely one among many of the catalogue of deadly sins of which we are all guilty of. God did not save me because I was more moral or righteous than you or anyone. No He saved me by sheer grace and because I needed saving. This is not just me and my personal version of Christianity. This is the witness of the historic Christian faith believed by all those who take the Bible seriously. If a person does not believe this about themselves then they have not even scratched the basics of the Christian faith.


Related Reading
You Should Care @Monergism Blog
Our Culture's Moral Outrage @Monergism Blog
Smearing Sexual Orientation Change by Robert Gagnon

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 16:01 -- john_hendryx

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