A few hours ago I posted an exchange of comments on a New York Times Online article about gay marriage. In doing so, I violated my own guideline about such conversations, namely: on this subject (religion and homosexuality), misunderstanding is difficult to avoid; therefore, we must always lead with the Good News about God’s love for gays and lesbians. I didn’t do that, so I pulled the post. Please allow me to start over.
God loves homosexuals. Jesus His Son gave His life for them, just as much as for anyone. Christians are called to serve others – gays and lesbians as much as any – because He taught us that to serve them is to serve Him.
But we also cannot lose sight of the reason it was necessary for Christ to die for us: to atone for our sin. One of the conditions of God’s forgiveness is that we recognize our need for it. Homosexuals are also no different in this respect: we all need God’s forgiveness.
In spite of what some say, Christians are not as a class a self-righteous bunch. That is not to deny that there are plenty of hypocrites in the church – Christians are just as susceptible to that vice as anyone. One of our cardinal doctrines, after all, is that all sin (Romans 3:23). But Christians are not as a class any more hypocritical than anyone else. The difference between Christian hypocrites and other hypocrites, you see, is that, by definition, we Christian hypocrites realize we are hypocrites: that is why we are Christians: we have recognized our sin, we have renounced it, we have relied upon Christ’s payment of the penalty for it, and we come to Him for cleansing and for reconciliation to God. What this means is that as a class, we Christians are less hypocritical than we were.
We Christians believe – for excellent reasons – that the Bible is the Word of God, and binding on us. We couldn’t change it if we wanted to. Indeed, I think that in many instances we would like to change it. We might even like to change what it says about homosexuality – frankly, it’s not a fun topic for us, and I’m sure many of us would prefer to just ignore it. That is becoming less and less an option, however.
So when Moses and Paul unambiguously identify homosexuality as a sin, that pretty much resolves the question in the minds of most Christians. We cannot deny what the Word of God says. Furthermore, it would be wrong to pretend that the Bible is less than clear about this, because if some parts of the Bible are unreliable, then it would be impossible to know which parts are not unreliable, and hence, there would be no way to know that there is any forgiveness of sins. We would therefore be unable to say to gays and lesbians what we must say to everyone: believe in the Lord Jesus and you will have God’s forgiveness.