Yes, Christians Can (and should) Support Same-Sex Marriage

And yes, you can be gay or transgender, and be a Christian. Shoot, you can even be a heterosexual too. Nobody is not invited to the Jesus party. But I digress.Replacing that Flag

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional and therefore unacceptable. I support this decision and have long said that there is no other decision the court could come to if it is truly governed by fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, the 1st and 14th amendments in particular. Just as a reminder, the 1A prohibits our government from making laws that “respect the establishment of religion,” and the 14A guarantees equal protection under the law. It was the 14th that was specifically cited regarding the SCOTUS’s majority decision in favor of marriage equality on Friday. By contrast, the court rightly ignored religious claims against same-sex marriage, and the 1st amendment was not invoked in the court’s decision.

As I said, I believe that this was the right decision, but my conviction is not merely connected to the legal/ constitutional argument. I also believe that recognizing and supporting marriage equality is the right thing to do as a Christian. I am not ashamed of this.

Nevertheless, I acknowledge that I presently hold a minority position among fellow Christians in the United States. There are more than a few of them who want to “correct” me or judge me regarding my support of same-sex marriage (and almost always by quoting Scripture out of context or without any supporting rationale at all). They believe I am confused, at best, and downright deceived or in Bible-rejecting, God-hating, apostate territory at worst. Anyone who knows anything about me should know better than to go with the worst type of name-calling listed in the previous sentence. While I tire of all these accusations and the constant harassment and judgment of other Christians, I don’t necessarily blame them, at least not at first. The fact is that I used to be (perhaps too recently) among their ranks, and I used to believe similar things about the Bible and what God thinks about homosexuality.

So I don’t hate or ridicule Christians who are convinced that homosexual behavior is always sinful in all contexts at all times. I don’t troll their Twitter accounts or Facebook posts just looking for a chance to argue, judge, or inform them of my disapproval. I disagree with them, but I respect their opinions on the matter and their freedom to post whatever they like on their own social media outlets.

However, this does not mean they are welcome to post whatever they want to on my Facebook page. I do not often tolerate damaging words being posted on my page on the chance that they will hurt other friends who frequent my Facebook feed. I nevertheless understand that Christians who disagree with me believe their convictions are grounded in the biblical text. I accept that their opposition to same-sex marriage is connected to their understanding of morality and what good Christians should and should not do. If homosexuality (and same-sex marriage by extension) is always sinful, then they feel they would be remiss in not opposing it. I get it.

That being said, Christians who judge and speak out against homosexuality in general, and same-sex marriage in particular, are driving people (not just gay folks) away from Christians, away from the Bible, away from the church and even Jesus himself. This is another reason their right to free speech does not necessarily extend to my Facebook page. In expressing beliefs and opinions against the LGBTQ community, it seems to me that these Christians are actually working against Christ rather than for him. This deeply saddens me since I believe Jesus is legit and has a lot to offer our damaged world.

But how can I say this? If homosexuality is a sin, then how can I be for the LGBTQ community? How can I be against my co-Christians who call out the gay “lifestyle” as sinful, and how can I be for same-sex marriage? These are all fair questions, and as some of the commenters on Facebook have tried to prod me, they deserve a response.

For the sake of readability, I will be as brief as possible in describing my general advocacy for members of the LGBTQ community and marriage equality. Read on.

Here is my basic argument in support of same-sex marriage as a Christian

A. God is perfect justice.

B. It would be unjust for God to make a person a certain way and then categorically deny them appropriate means to express how he made them when that exact expression is happily given to others.

C. God makes gay people.

D. God indicates that marriage is the way his people can express their sexuality in a healthy and meaningful way.

Therefore, same-sex marriage is God-honoring and ought to be celebrated by all Christians instead of being banned and denigrated. If Christians want sexually active adults to be in committed, mutually consenting, monogamous relationships, then marriage is the way.

It is the premise, “God creates gay people,” that anti-gay Christians will take issue with. They have no other option in the argument above. Nevertheless, asserting that all gay people chose their sexuality while heterosexuals were merely created that way by God is hypocritical and completely unhinged from science, the testimony of many gay people, and even the biblical text itself. The bottom line is this: If a person legitimately and honestly knows that God created them with same-sex attraction/orientation, then it would exceed all credibility for me to claim that I know differently or that I know how God created them better than they do. That just doesn’t add up, and ultimately, a person’s sexuality is between them and God, not me and them and God. Thus far, I have found no reason to reject my argument as outlined in the paragraphs above this one. So I will continue my advocacy and support of LGBTQ communities and marriage equality. People deserve friends, not oppressors.

Beyond this basic argument, below is a smattering of other issues I believe should be considered before anyone gives in to the temptation of presuming that our secular nation is subject to their specific religious interpretations and before any more Christians make judgmental and hate-filled pronouncements against LGBTQ communities and same-sex marriage.

1. Bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. This conclusion has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. Theocracy has been tried and been found utterly lacking and destructive by the history of the world. The USA has Christians in it, but has never been (and never will be) a “Christian nation.” It is therefore inappropriate (and illegal) to let anyone’s religious dogma and doctrine dictate laws in the United States of America. If a person wants their opposition to same-sex marriage be taken seriously in this country, they’ll have to find a way that doesn’t lean on their preferred interpretation of any religious texts.

3. Those Christians who nevertheless want to make others live by their particular religious interpretations are closer to Islamic extremists -who want to impose Sharia Law on everyone- than they are to Jesus, who never forced anybody to do anything.

4. Heterosexual Christians who want to deny others the rights they themselves enjoy are not “loving” their neighbor. They are being hypocritical and bigoted.

5. Condemning same-sex marriage and being hateful towards LGBTQ folks will not change anyone’s sexuality or spirituality.

6. Same-sex marriage is not like bestiality or sexual exploitation of children. We aren’t talking about sex anyway. We are talking about marriage, and unlike marriage among mutually consenting, monogamous adults of sound mind, marrying animals and children has never been legal for anyone in our nation. This is the difference between equality and legality.

7. Quoting Bible verses at people is not a proper way to engage anyone. This is especially the case for folks who don’t understand the Bible or give the it (or an anti-gay interpretation of it) any special authority. And it has to be said that the favorite verses that anti-gay Christians like to quote often have deeper nuances than they are comfortable with or even willing to consider.

8. Judging people won’t make them like you, other Christians, the Bible, church, or Jesus. In fact, it will drive them away.

9. Judging others’ salvation is exactly what Jesus told his people not to do.

10. Even if a homosexual “lifestyle” was always a sin in all contexts (a claim I reject), it does not follow that being “perfect” is required of anyone who wants to follow Jesus. If that were the case, then all Christians, gay or otherwise, would be totally screwed. Sinful or not, There is absolutely no reason that a gay person cannot be a Christian. Certain people might want to believe that gay people cannot be Christians, but (spoiler) it’s just not up to them.

11. Nowhere does the Bible feature the word “lifestyle.”

12. Nowhere does the Bible specifically speak of same-sex marriage, but it does hint at the goodness of committed, monogamous, marriages among consenting adults of sound mind. If people are gay, then why on Earth would anyone want to deny them the chance  to be in a recognized, committed, monogamous relationship?

13. No bacon-eating hetero-Christian has any credibility when they quote Levitical Law to make negative assessments of homosexuality. And I love bacon.

And finally, a wise campus minister once told me, “Nobody cares what you know until they know that you care.” Pushing for oppression, spewing hate, and pronouncing judgment is a pretty good indicator that you don’t care about non-heterosexuals. At all. And if that’s you, you’re following somebody, but it’s not Jesus.

For my part, as a Christian advocate and friend, I support same-sex marriage in particular, and all LGBTQ people in general. I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. Because, you know… Jesus.

Sincerely,

-Lambeth

Additional comments, questions, and arguments are welcome provided that they honor the spirit of friendly conversation. Posts that violate this spirit will be edited and may not be read or posted at all. There are already enough a-holes with internet access. Don’t be one of them. -CL

Commenters: Eric Lebs, Alex Toth, Lane K.

 

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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42 Responses to Yes, Christians Can (and should) Support Same-Sex Marriage

  1. Pingback: Gay Marriage, Christianity and the Constitution | Exploring Faith

  2. C_Lambeth says:

    Tony Campolo has arrived at a similar conclusion. He has a lot more credibility and is much less confrontational in his approach, so please consider his words on this issue here: Tony Campolo: For the Record

    This is also an excellent post from another pastor who knows how to focus on the right things: The Bible and the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage

  3. B. Watson says:

    In spite of how we feel, God created one man and one woman, joining them together as an earthly picture of Christ and his bride, the church. Though we fall short, THIS is marriage, and there is no alternative.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Mr. Watson,
      You claim there is no alternative to your preferred means of living as a sexual being, but this is not supported by the Bible. The biblical text itself provides different examples of how people can live, and it does not say that these are the only options available. Yes, it speaks of marriage between a man and a woman here and there, but the Bible also endorses polygamy in several instances. It also places high esteem on singleness. In at least one other place, the apostle Paul says that folks should get married so that they do not burn with (inappropriate) lust. I have no problem with your preferred version of marriage, one that allows for a healthy expression of how God created you, but you cannot force it on others who were created differently or claim that your preference is the only acceptable way. The supreme court came to the right decision.

      Thanks for your comment.
      -CL

      • B. Watson says:

        So you support polygamy too? I think you are being inconsistent and being a bad representative of Christ.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          B. Watson,
          I apologize for not having communicated more effectively. My point was not that we should endorse polygamy, but rather that the definition of marriage is somewhat flexible, even within the very pages of the Bible itself. Marriage (as well as what is a God-honoring application of it) has absolutely been altered between the Old Testament and the New. I think this is completely lost on most Christians who keep chanting the demonstrably false mantra: “You can’t change the definition of marriage.”

          Perhaps I am inconsistent and wrong on this issue, but it will take more than your judgmental pronouncements to convince me. What else have you got?

          -CL

  4. Lebs Family says:

    “God makes gay people.”
    Can you please provide your scriptural reference for your claim?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Can you provide a Scriptural reference that says he doesn’t?

      • Lebs Family says:

        That isn’t an answer. You made the claim. Please provide either a direct biblical reference or something in scripture that implies support to your claim.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          The point of responding to your question with a question was to get you to think.

          The premise your query relies on is faulty.

        • Lebs Family says:

          Scripture, doctrine, & theology are things I have thought about & meditated on for quite a while. This is why it caught my eye when you made that statement. Surely it must be based on scripture somewhere if this is your belief. I can’t think of any scriptures that support it. I can think of many that clearly indicate male & female relationships are God’s design & anything beyond that is sin.

          Again, please provide scriptural support for your claim. If there is no scriptural support then the statement can be confusing & divisive for believers who are immature in their faith. As mature believers, we are to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

        • C_Lambeth says:

          Eric Lebs,
          You are not the only one who has spent “awhile” engaged with Scripture, doctrine, and theology.

          The premise you keep starting with is flawed. I think you will see it if you can humor me and honestly answer my next question: Would you say that you, E. Lebs, exist?

          The entire point of my writings on this subject is to help people understand God, that he loves everyone (gay, transgendered, and straight alike). Without any noise or confusion, gay and transgender Christians need to know that they are created and loved by God. Non-Christians also need to understand that Jesus’ message is one of grace, love, and fellowship rather than judgment, hate, and intolerance, and that Christians who engage in the latter three activities do not represent Christ or his church. That is “sound doctrine.”

        • Lebs Family says:

          My premise is simply this – the Bible seems to be very clear on marriage, gender, sexuality, and sexual relations. The Bible is our authority here, not the word of someone else.

          Would I say that I exist? Yes. God created me.

          You are correct, God loves everyone & has called all to come to Him. Non-Christians do need to know that there is grace, love, & forgiveness flowing from Jesus Christ. But they can also not come to the Father unless they confess & repent of sin – all sin. So when you say “God makes gay people” and homosexuality is not a sin, it confuses people. Rather than confessing & turning from all their sin, they are led to believe homosexuality is OK. That is incorrect.

          So once again, please provide scriptural support for your assertion that God makes gay people.

  5. C_Lambeth says:

    Thank you for answering my question, Lebs. Can you please provide Scriptural support for your claim that you exist?

    • Lebs Family says:

      Psalm 139:13-16

      13 For you created my inmost being;
      you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
      your works are wonderful,
      I know that full well.
      15 My frame was not hidden from you
      when I was made in the secret place,
      when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
      16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
      all the days ordained for me were written in your book
      before one of them came to be.

      Please provide your scriptural reference(s) that God makes gay people.

  6. C_Lambeth says:

    I don’t see where it mentions “E. Lebs” at all. But if this is the way you want to play it, here’s an equally appropriate Scriptural reference that indicates God’s creation of gay people:

    Psalm 139:13-16
    13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    • Lebs Family says:

      I don’t see where it mentions “E. Lebs” at all.

      OK, let’s not be silly. You made a doctrinal statement that God makes gay people. I do not see this supported by scripture. Please provide scriptural support for this. If instead, it is only your belief that some people are born gay, that is fine. Just don’t attribute it to God making them that way.

      • C_Lambeth says:

        I agree. Let’s not be silly. Let’s not pretend that all truth (like that Eric Lebs exists) is found within the pages of the Bible. Let’s also not pretend that asking for Bible verses that prove God creates gay people is any different from asking for Bible verses that prove God does not create gay people. You don’t get to play with special rules for your position. If it is only your belief that nobody is born gay, then you shouldn’t try to pass it off as a biblical claim.

        • Lebs Family says:

          As Christians, the Bible is our source for Truth. Does it specifically address every single issue we face today? No. Are there guidelines and truths that apply to virtually everything? Yes.

          You made the claim that God makes people gay. You are not posting any scriptural references in support of that. However all throughout the Bible there are references over and over again that marriage is a man & a woman, that the Church is His bride & He is the Groom, guidelines for the husband & wife relationship, prohibitions on same sex acts, specifically listing homosexuality as a sin, and on and on. So within the context of the Bible, I don’t see any support for your statement. If you have any biblical references to support your claim, please list them. If you are basing your belief on the claims of some scientists then you might want to clarify that.

  7. C_Lambeth says:

    I am glad you understand that not all truth is found in the Bible.

    I am also glad you can admit that you have no Bible verses indicating that God does not create gay people. Yes, you could say something similar to me, but that merely proves that we are in the same boat, although paddling in different directions.

    Yes, the Bible speaks of marriage, but contrary to your assertion, it is not just limited to a man and a woman. You may find my brief discussion with B. Watson (above) helpful at that juncture. The vast majority of cultural contexts in the Bible also made use of marrying off girls as early as 12 or 13. The fact is that what is an acceptable marriage arrangement changes, even within the Bible itself. We should also note that Jesus never mentioned same-sex relationships at all, but he did have much criticism for the traditional, religious big-deals of his day who acted like they were the sole purveyors of holiness. Jesus bucked the trends of what was traditionally held as godly. He also drastically rearranged Mosaic law and Levitical addenda for the sake of love and peace in the hope that more people would know him and his father instead of having the doors of the kingdom slammed in their faces like the religious big-deals were prone to do.

    As for the other parts of your invocation of the Bible, same-sex marriage does not challenge the notion of Jesus and Church as bridegroom and bride. You know that’s a metaphor, right? There is also no reason to believe that biblical guidelines among spouses is limited to heterosexual spouses. None of these arguments really support your opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage.

    That being said, I am aware of the few places in the New Testament that address homosexual behavior and negatively evaluate them. As for the go-to text most Christians like you cite in the early chapters of Romans, the problem seems to be that sexual beings were pursuing a sexuality that was different from how God created them. One could argue the same principle should be applied to a person created as a homosexual who gave up that natural predisposition to pursue sex acts with a person of the opposite gender. In either case, the verse indicates that people are indeed created as sexual beings with a sexual orientation. But you cannot play with special rules dictating that only you (as a heterosexual) have been created with an unselected sexuality, while those who are different “choose” theirs. That is the quintessential fallacy of special pleading. It is hypocrisy. It slams the door to the kingdom in the face of folks who are different than you, and that is what needs to be clarified (and rejected).

    • Lebs Family says:

      Genesis 2:24 “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – opposite gender

      1 Corinthians 7:1-4 “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” – opposite gender

      Jeremiah 29:6 “Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.” – opposite gender

      I Corinthians 7:10 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.” – opposite gender

      Just a sampling of a few verses of scripture that give support to the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman. From the entire context of scripture I don’t see how it can be argued that God approves of same gender marriages. I also cannot see any argument that He makes gay people. Homosexuality is clearly a sin just like adultery, lying, theft, drunkenness, etc.

      Lastly, to say “Jesus never mentioned same-sex relationships at all” is to misunderstand Jesus and the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16, it says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. All of scripture is God speaking. So when Paul clearly states homosexuality is a sin, this is Jesus making the same statement. And referencing the same verse, I am trying to correct you with scripture regarding your error. If you can show scripture that indicates homosexuality is OK or that “God makes people gay” then I may consider your position from a scriptural standpoint. Until that time, you are in error biblically.

      • C_Lambeth says:

        Au contraire, Eric. You have no verses that support your notion that God does not create gay folks. You are being hypocritical. There is also nothing in any of the verses you listed that would preclude them from being applicable to same-sex marriages today, especially when we consider the God-honoring practice of adoption. You also seem to have dodged the fact that the definitions of marriage have shifted even within the Bible itself, to say nothing of the shift between its customs and our own culture.

        Homosexuality is not “clearly” the sin you want it to be. You’ve simply failed to make the case (at least thus far). You may be trying to “correct” me, but it has more to do with your own dogma than the reality of human experience or the Bible, to say nothing of science. And I don’t find that particularly convincing.

        As for your quote regarding 2 Timothy 3:16, there is only one other part of the Bible that mentions God’s “breathing” something. That is humanity itself. Would you have us believe that all of humankind is perfect too?

        • Lebs Family says:

          Homosexuality is not “clearly” the sin you want it to be. You’ve simply failed to make the case (at least thus far).”

          Would you like all the scripture references that specifically call homosexuality a sin? I’m sure you’ve read them so why do you choose to disregard them? Do we also go ahead and say that adultery or theft is no longer a sin? Why not murder or the worship of idols? Those are all mentioned as sins in both the OT & NT. Are you choosing to place the claims of certain scientists over what the Bible clearly lays out?

          It sounds more like Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” I’m afraid that you may have given in to the deceitful “gospel” that we base our doctrine on human experience & science with the Bible being secondary. We cannot give in to a false gospel that gives only love while not also calling for repentance just like Jesus did. Many times Jesus demonstrated uncommon love & forgiveness AND told them to stop sinning.

  8. C_Lambeth says:

    Lebs,
    I am aware of several biblical texts that touch on the topic of homosexuality, but they need to be contextualized. I’m betting that even you “disregard” some of them or at least apply them differently than the Hebrews did, so be careful with the measure that you might be tempted to judge me by. What I am more interested in is if you have any biblical references that say homosexuality is sinful in all contexts? I’ve already discussed the most pointed biblical assessment of specific individuals’ homosexual behavior in Romans, and I’m not certain it was ever meant to be all inclusive of all gay-folks everywhere. Paul seems to have in mind a very specific group of folks that he knew about, or at least believed he knew about.

    It also seems to me that the Bible endorses sexual expression in marriage, but I don’t know of any Scriptures that prohibit the practice for homosexuals. Do you have any? I’ve already pointed out that the verses you previously quoted do not preclude same-sex spouses. Even if same-sex marriage existed then (it didn’t), the Bible was written to a broad range of people, so of course male/female arrangements would be the most common practice mentioned. There are also cultural considerations we must make note of. For example, the Bible is very male oriented, and in the New Testament encouragements and admonishments are often addressed to “brothers.” Surely you understand that these are equally applicable to Christian “sisters,” and not just males, even though they are not specifically mentioned in parallel. The same can be applied to marriage verses that involves spouses in a non-traditional marriage arrangement.

    As for the rest of your questions, the argument you are subtly making hinges on the choice of sexual orientation. As per Romans 1, IF we choose a sinful sexuality, then yes, it is in the same category as other sins. However, if we accept that our sexuality is a gift from God as he created us (also implied in Romans 1), then it is a categorical mistake to connect this sexuality with sinfulness. And that undoes the verses in Ephesians you tried to enlist against me. If God creates gay people, and you act as if he didn’t, then you are the one who is being deceived and following the crafty interpretations and teachings of men, not me.

    • Lebs Family says:

      Anytime that homosexuality is referenced in scripture, it is always in a sinful context just as with other sexual sins. There is no honest way of getting around this. The only non-sinful contexts of sexuality in scripture is either as a single person or in a heterosexual marriage.

      As your friend stated, “how is it that we know that God made them gay as apposed to god created them human and they became gay in a fallen world”. In my opinion, it would be unjust for God to make a person gay from birth & then also say homosexuality is a sin. There is no indication from scripture that God creates people as anything other than heterosexual from birth. Having said that, we know we live in a sinful world and are born in sin. All kinds of things can influence & encourage our sinful desires, even from a very early age. Our home life, media, friends, education, etc. all play a role in shaping our morality. If a person doesn’t have a solid foundation in the Bible, God’s Word, then it is easy for them to justify all types of sin. It is easy to buy into the lie that homosexuality is “who I am”. Even if a person comes to Christ, they can still be deceived into thinking that they don’t need to repent of certain sins.

      I believe one of the main problems that causes believers to stumble today is a lack of knowledge or commitment to God’s Word. These days scientists seem to be held as the bastions of truth. If what they claim contradicts the Bible, then they are made to feel ignorant or anti-intellectual. But some forget that all scientists are fallible people whereas the Bible is not. Where the Bible clearly speaks, we as believers must always default to what the Bible says even in the face of stark opposition. Where the Bible is less clear then we side with the overall context of scripture. We must never place the word of man over the Word of God.

      Does your claim that God makes gay people come from the Bible or from the claims of some scientists?

      • C_Lambeth says:

        Eric,
        We’ve already discussed the Bible and that “perfection” is not a claim it makes for itself. Even by the Bible’s own narrative, God’s “breathing” something into existence does not guaranty its perfection. Unless you go in for some sort of mindless process of dictation where God totally circumvented his various authors’ humanity and cultural contexts when he used them to write Scripture (an idea that’s unsupported by the Bible, by the way), we must allow for the likelihood that less-than-perfect humans put together a less-than-perfect Bible. And this is precisely what we seem to have. Do a google search for errors in the Bible and see what you get. But fasten your seatbelt because it will be a bumpy ride if you have a too-tight grip on the rigid, human-created, inerrancy doctrine. But don’t despair. Even if we had a “perfect” Bible, it wouldn’t follow that any of us understood it perfectly. Our status as Christians has never been about knowing, doing, or believing all the right things all the time. If anyone is saved, it is only by grace.

        I have also pointed out to you that marriage within the Bible itself has evolved. It is not the same in the New Testament as it was in parts of the Old. Marriage is not a static establishment.

        I nevertheless understand your position. I really do. There are only negative examples in the Bible when it comes to homosexuality, you therefore conclude that it is always sinful in all contexts. I don’t fault you for employing that reasoning on its own, especially if the Bible was the only voice weighing in on the issue. Nevertheless, a lack of positive examples for same-sex sexuality in the Bible is simply not the same thing as a universal prohibition against it. There are no verses that claim same-sex marriage is okay in certain contexts any more than there are verses claiming that it is never ok in any context. Like it or not, we are on the same page there and must look elsewhere to come to a fuller understanding of human sexuality.

        I used to think as you do on this issue. Then my beliefs ran into the world beyond my little, heterosexual, binary, evangelical microcosm. I met new friends and situations, new evidence if you will, that didn’t call the Bible into question so much as it cast doubt on my previous interpretations of it. The age of the Earth provides a neat example of the kind of move I am talking about: a plain reading of Genesis indicates that the entire universe was only 5 “days” old when humans entered the picture. Science has destroyed that notion. Completely. In 100 different ways. But this doesn’t mean we have to side with ignorant religious fundamentalists or militant atheists by denying either science or the Bible. It means that we need to re-assess our understanding of the Bible, namely, that Genesis was never meant to be taken as a literal accounting in various places (especially the first 11 chapters), that the Bible is not a scientific book, and that the Hebrew word for “day” (yom) is far more flexible than religious fundamentalists would have us otherwise believe. Even a close scrutiny of Scripture itself reveals that the first 4 “days” of creation were not in reference to literal, 24-hour revolutions of our planet in relation to its local star (because the Sun did not yet exist if taken literally). The end conclusion from all this is not that we must pick between either science or Christianity, but rather that we should consider them both as complimentary means to discover truth, both purpose and process. One clarifies the other.

        If I can get fundamental myself, since God is ultimately behind both Scripture and the physical universe, it is literally impossible for the two to be at odds when properly understood. When science destroys something we previously believed about the Bible, it merely indicates we should change what we believed the Bible was saying. We need not be afraid of the truth; we should see it as an opportunity to grow and learn.

        And it cuts both ways. When an atheist tries to use scientific knowledge to justify his or her philosophy or rejection of Christ (and to a lesser extent, the Bible), a Christian should intuitively know that the atheist has made a miscalculation or an inappropriate logic-leap somewhere in their rationale. When done properly, science leads to truth, not atheism or Christianity. To get to either of those theological, philosophical and religiously held beliefs, humans need something more than science.

        But to bring this back to your question about me and science, we must acknowledge that the science does more to support my genetic heredity (God given) argument than it does for your side of the discussion. We already talked about that in our private Facebook exchanges. Nevertheless, you ask if my claim that “God creates gay people” is from the Bible or scientists. Unfortunately for your argument, this incorporates a fallacy of the excluded middle. What I mean is that it does not have to be an either/or argument. Not only can my position be a both/and type of argument (as in the Bible doesn’t rule it out, and science rules it in), but the middle ground in an epistemological sense is human experience. We have various means to truth: Scriptural, scientific, and personal experience. And it is the latter of these three means to knowledge that takes stage when it comes to my course-corrected theology regarding my fellow gay and transgendered humans.

        As you have highlighted for us, it is popular in anti-gay evangelical circles (and perhaps with the fallen human, the Apostle Paul too) to merely assume that gay children or those who grow up as homosexuals have made some choice or had some sort of damage done to them early on that led to their non-heterosexuality. The narrative varies pending where specific blame is assigned. Maybe it was a personal choice. Maybe it was physical, verbal, sexual or psychological abuse. Maybe it was lead paint or some other environmental nature or nurture issue, or that the parents weren’t good enough Christians, etc. But such links are speculative, and for every gay person we might meet who can point to some questionable events in their upbringing (which one of us can’t?), there are 10 more who came from solid homes with solid Christian upbringing who knew from their earliest memories that they were different from the sexual “norm.”

        If you had ever been in a good friendship with a gay or transgendered person (Christian or otherwise), you would know that they did not choose their sexuality or gender identity. Because of the cultural baggage imposed on them, you would also know that they did everything to try and deny how they were created and who their true-selves were. For the surviving Christians, you would know that their relationship with God was real and deep and powerful, and how much (real) damage had been done to them by other Christians who knew their secret and tried to change them or pray or convert the “evil” gay away. If you knew some of these folks, you would realize how patently ridiculous and hurtful your claims are regarding their sexuality. If anti-gay evangelicals knew this, they would realize they are working against Christ and making gay folks “twice a son (or daughter) of hell” than they were before such Christians came along judging them and driving them away. This should not be, and I won’t play to it.

        The full measure of humanity indicates that more than mere binary, heterosexual males and females are part of God’s beautiful, created order. I simply lack the hubris to tell him (or anyone else) otherwise.

        • Lebs Family says:

          …we must allow for the likelihood that less-than-perfect humans put together a less-than-perfect Bible.

          This statement is the heart of the problem. This would be true if you were speaking of any other ordinary book written by man. However since we are speaking of the Bible then there is a significant problem. If one believes the Bible to be an error-ridden book, then anything stated in it is up for doubt. Did Jesus really say ….? Is this really how I should live? Is God even real? Why is Christianity any different than … ?

          Here is the shortened statement on Bible inerrancy by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. I believe it to be a good summary of traditional church doctrine & a correct view of scripture:

          1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.

          2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.

          3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

          4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.

          5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

          The only true errors contained within scripture are primarily in the OT and deal with a handful of numbers and some names. These seem to be just copying/translation errors & don’t affect doctrine at all. Aside from that other alleged errors & contradictions are put out to discredit the Bible & lead away Christians who don’t know any better.

          The whole general trend is to put “science” above scripture as our source of authority. This is a growing heresy in the church and come from confusing science & scientists. There is no conflict between science & scripture. There can be significant problems between the claims of a scientist & scripture. People are in error when they believe what a particular scientist says & equate that with “Truth”. Obviously there are things that are factual & that we know with certainty (gravity, planet orbits, etc.). But there are things that some scientists claim as known that are much less certain (age of the universe, evolution, genetic origin of homosexuality, etc.). When some of those claims come into conflict with clearly stated things in scripture, we must side with scripture.

          It does not matter to me when a scientist claims homosexuality is genetic & not a choice, particularly when other scientists disagree. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin & not the way God created people. When a gay person claims that they were “born” gay, I have compassion for them & love them but I know that they are deceived due both their sin nature & the lies of society. I know that if they come to salvation in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will begin a work on that person’s life to convict them of sin. As they draw near to Jesus, they will find more and more self control for their sinful sexual urges – just like heterosexuals.

          Your statement “When science destroys something we previously believed about the Bible…” I don’t see supported by anything. Again it goes back to the science vs the claims of certain scientists argument.

          So back to the beginning, the Bible does not claim “perfection” as you are stating but it does proclaim its inerrancy throughout. The Bible makes many claims for our lives that are clearly stated. There can be no honest argument from the standpoint of scripture. For a Christian to have a viewpoint that is in clear contradiction to an obvious position of scripture, that person is in error.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          You don’t seem to realize it, but your last post completely undoes itself. You first claim that any error in the Bible is a slippery-slope which leads to doubt about anything within its pages. Then you admit that there are errors. This is a problem for you. You try to limit the errors to the Old Testament and dismiss them as irrelevant, but that won’t save you. The fact that the Bible contains errors (even one), and that you acknowledge this, proves my initial point that God used imperfect humans to witness and testify about their meeting with God. This is also where point #1 in your quote of the human-based inerrancy dogma goes wrong: The Bible is not God’s testimony about himself. It is specific humans’ testimony about God. Once you see this, it will save you from a lot of frustration and making arguments that have already been lost.

          As for their point #2, it seems to be more human dogma. Or can you show me from the biblical text itself where it claims to be infallible? You assert that the Bible “does proclaim its inerrancy throughout,” but you’ve failed to provide any examples. As I’ve already pointed out to you, not even the passage in 2Tim 3.16, claims Scripture to be inerrant, and my case becomes even stronger when we consider the multitude of failings of God’s other “breathed” creation (humanity). What else have you got?

          I have no problem with #3, but it begs the question: What are Christians to do when the Holy Spirit leads them to different conclusions about the meaning and significance of precisely the same Bible verses? If you’re like those who have come before you, you’ll merely give in to the temptation of claiming that you are right and they are wrong when there are disagreements.

          #4 This plays on the same problem in number 2, but it also fails to acknowledge the fact that texts do not interpret themselves apart from fallible human minds and all the related baggage. Being a true student of the Bible never means simply believing what it says, but rather discerning and trying to understand what it says and means. I think this is apparent when you consider that both you and I “believe” the words on the biblical page, but come to different interpretive conclusions about what they mean here and there.

          #5 This seems to be more inappropriate human dogma you’ve bought into. Or can you show me in Scripture where a) “total divine inerrancy” is affirmed, and b) where it says that if one error is present, then the whole Bible needs be thrown out?

          You also claim that “other alleged errors & contradictions are put out to discredit the Bible & lead away Christians who don’t know any better,” but this fails to grasp that it is the Bible itself that “put out” these errors, not some cadre of evil atheists.

          I am glad that you can see that there is no conflict between science and Scripture, but it is nevertheless puzzling that you deny science, not when it conflicts with Scripture, but when it creates problems for your particular interpretations of Scripture. One would think that this would make you re-orient your interpretations to the truth. There is no debate about the age of the universe or our planet that is taken seriously. The same is true for evolution, and scientific consensus is closing in on the genetic predispositions of sexuality (both heterosexuality and homosexuality). Once you realize that the Bible itself does not require a young Earth, does not rule out evolution, and does not claim that God only creates heterosexuals, you might be more open to the truth that study of God’s physical creation reveals.

          The Bible is not as clear about sexual creatures as you would have others believe. Your position remains intensely hypocritical and hurtful when you claim that you (as a binary heterosexual) are created by God, but not those who are different in these regards. If you want to slam the Kingdom’s door on people who are gay, this is a good way to do it. Furthermore, I have already pointed out that even you don’t take the Bible’s commands regarding gay people seriously in all places. I’ve also highlighted that the go-to passage in Romans 1 asserts that people are created with their sexuality and that it is immoral to live in a way contrary to the way God created us. Romans 1 has a specific group of people in mind who gave up how they were created for an alternate sexuality. It does not say that this is the case for all homosexual relationships any more than it is for all heterosexual relationships. This (as well as others) is an honest argument from the standpoint of Scripture that questions your particular dogma. You don’t have to like it, much less adopt it for yourself, but your claims that I am in error are limited to that: your claims.

        • Lebs Family says:

          My last post is consistent and accurate. It does not “undo itself” in any way.

          In a nutshell what it comes down to is this – Do we believe God’s Word or not? Do we place the claims of certain men over what is clearly stated in the Bible? Do we present a Gospel that is contrary to what the Bible presents – a Gospel that has no call to repentance? The path to salvation is open to everyone. There is love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Along with that are the commands to leave your sins behind, take up your cross daily, & follow Him. If a person intentionally chooses to keep living in sin – whether in homosexuality, adultery, lying, stealing, murder, idolatry, etc. – that person should seriously be concerned for their salvation. To say that those things are not sin is to be deceitful and a false teacher.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          You’re going to have to explain that to me. How can you claim that the Bible is “inerrant” while simultaneously acknowledging that it contains errors? That seems pretty inconsistent to me.

          Similarly, how can you authentically claim that we should believe the Bible, not the word of people, when it is only people (not the Bible) who have invented the ideology of inerrancy? If it is merely a matter of “believing God’s word,” then you must abandon your notions of biblical perfection. It is simply not in the Bible, and the same can be said of your belief that God only makes heterosexuals. You can deny science when it doesn’t suit your purposes, and you can deny the personal testimony of others when it challenges the narrative you’ve been telling yourself, but you cannot make the Bible say things that it does not say.

          Your claims and judgement against all homosexuals everywhere remains untenable, hypocritical, and acts as a divisive wedge that drives people away from Christ rather than towards him. Your argument also goes wrong in assuming that human sexuality is always a choice. It isn’t. Therefore, your persistent claim that homosexuality is no different than lying, adultery, murder, etc. is a categorical mistake. I am not against calling sins “sins.” For you to suggest otherwise indicates that you might not be paying attention.

        • Lebs Family says:

          I have no denied any science whatsoever. I have denied the claims of scientists who are counter to what the Bible clearly states. There is a difference there as I have explained.

          “Your claims and judgement against all homosexuals everywhere remains untenable, hypocritical, and acts as a divisive wedge that drives people away from Christ rather than towards him.” As with any other sin clearly stated in the Bible, for a person to come to Christ there must be submission to Him for salvation as well as repentance of sin to include sexual sins – homosexual or otherwise. We cannot water down the Gospel based on what direction the winds of society are blowing.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          If you don’t deny science, then you should be open to the fact that the universe and the Earth are billions of years old, that God created via evolution and that he also creates homosexuals. These ideas are even easier to accept when we realize that the Bible does not contest them (and can even support them).

          As for the rest of your post, I completely agree with you. “As with any other sin clearly stated in the Bible, for a person to come to Christ there must be submission to Him for salvation as well as repentance of sin to include sexual sins – homosexual or otherwise. We cannot water down the Gospel based on what direction the winds of society are blowing.

          This is precisely why Christians can (and should) support same-sex marriage. Sex outside of marriage is not the biblical ideal for anyone. Well done, Eric.

        • Lebs Family says:

          To place our faith in the claims of certain men rather than scripture will almost certainly lead to error. Some people can be shown that error & correct their mistakes. Others continue in error & lead others astray. I will continue to speak the entire Gospel even if it is unpopular. I truly wish that you would put your faith back in to the clearly revealed message of the Bible rather than the whims of man. I continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will provide discernment so that you can see Truth. I’m finishing my part of the conversation.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          My faith remains grounded in my relationship with Jesus and my understanding of the dual threads of revelation (creation and the biblical text). You can deny this and make as many judgmental criticisms as you like, but I am not concerned with your self-righteous judgment and condescension in the least. I am beholden only to God, and if I make an error on this issue, I would rather that it be in the direction of grace, love, and acceptance than towards judgment, hate, and intolerance.

          My position in advocacy of same-sex marriage thus considers the fact that Scripture offers no universal prohibition of same-sex sexuality. The biblical passages that do address homosexuality include other important features, namely, that sexual orientation is in-born and that same-sex prohibitions had certain people in-mind who chose to act in a way that went against how they were created. Similarly, we should note that same-sex marriage was nowhere on the biblical authors’ radar (but temple prostitution, pederasty and conquest-humiliation rapes were), and that even most conservative, modern Christians (like you) do not take commands regarding homosexuals literally (or do you actually believe that they should be killed as Leviticus commands?). Surely you believe the word of God and have not substituted your own reason in for its wisdom, have you?

          When combined with broader human experiences and testimony, and to a lesser extent, scientific findings, it is quite clear that God creates folks beyond the strict gender binaries of male and female and beyond the sexual homogeneity of heterosexuality.

          Finally, it remains both hypocritical and hurtful for you to continue to assert that you were created by God, but that gay and transgendered folks weren’t. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. And at that point, I am with them. Your position is not believable, and that is why I have abandoned it.

  9. Lane says:

    Corbin, I struggle with sin in my life. did God make me that way? Did God make me a thief, liar, adulterer… If so did he not also ask me to turn away from that because he has purchased me with a price. I still attend church and my church welcomes me as the sinner that I am among other sinners (Most are admittedly so) but between God and I there needs to be repentance for sin. This may be unanswerable rambling, so let me state a question or 2
    1. how is it that we know that God made them gay as apposed to god created them human and they became gay in a fallen world
    2. What other “lifestyles” may God have created that are acceptable if he created them that way(burglars, murderers, adulterer or other)
    2a. if so did he create me as a sinner, therefor I am OK and I don’t need to change but instead embrace that which he otherwise said was wrong.
    On a personal note thanks for the thoughts and I miss climbing mountains with you.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Lane,
      It is always awesome to hear from you. Thanks for engaging in this conversation. And dang do I miss the mountains and heading outdoors with you. I will never forget the insane angle we took up the side of El Diente. Epic.

      I struggle with sin too, so I think I hear what you are saying, and I appreciate your perspective, questions, and ability to relate this issue to your own experience. Empathy is always a good thing. I am going to try and respond to your questions, even if not in the same order they were asked. All your questions are valid, and I hope my comments can engender more conversation rather than shutting it down. I can only offer responses, not definitive answers. I freely admit I don’t know it all.

      I think the most important thing that both you and Lebs have asked regarding homosexuality and sins like stealing, adultery, lying, murdering, etc. is the issue of choice. For example, living in polygamy is a lifestyle choice, but being sexually attracted to women (whether it’s just one or all of them) seems to be a created disposition. Nobody was born as a polygamist, thief, murderer, or liar, but we can make choices in that direction. However, we simply cannot say the same for sexual orientation, at least not in a way that speaks for all people in all contexts.

      What I mean is that even if one person chooses the gender and sex that they want to engage sexually, it does not follow that everyone does. For example, I didn’t choose to be sexually attracted to women. I just am. I believe God created me that way. I don’t have proof or scientific evidence or a Bible passage that says everyone is created as a heterosexual. All I have is my own self-awareness, testimony and happiness in a heterosexual marriage. And that’s all I need to know who I am and how I function sexually.

      So what gives me the right to make broad sweeping pronouncements about other people’s sexuality and how God created them? Why is that even my business? How happy and convinced, for example, would you be, if I tried to “confront” you and inform you that you were really a homosexual and that you were merely confused about your attraction to women. Would you believe me if I said that you weren’t created that way, but that you merely chose to be attracted to the opposite sex? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t be impressed and that you might even lose some respect for me and our friendship (and rightly so). You certainly would think twice about wanting to go climbing with me if you knew I was always judging you and trying to correct you, right? I don’t think you would be attracted to my spiritual convictions either.

      This is the kind of walk-in-their-shoes empathy that we heterosexual, married Christians need so badly when it comes to our homosexual friends. I’m not talking about the militant, flaming, anti-Christian, worst representatives of the gay community that Christians love to focus on and hate. Those people annoy me too. No. I am talking about the regular people around us, the folks who we already know (or should know) and have struggled deeply with the difference between who they know they are and how they were created, and the message that hateful (or at least judgmental and hypocritical) churches and Christians try to saddle them with. It is fundamentally hypocritical, hurtful, and ultimately, anti-Jesus to claim that my heterosexuality is how God created me, but that an alternate, in-born sexuality is somehow created by Satan. The same is true if we assert that we were just created this way, but that other people chose their way. And both of these are the messages being broadcast by most Christians to most gay folks. Is it any wonder that they don’t like us and would never join a church or give Jesus a fair hearing? And that is on us, as hypocritical, judgmental jerks, not gay folks, and not Jesus. And that really REALLY bothers me. What if people didn’t choose to be gay, but Christians choose to persecute them for their God-given sexuality? That makes us the disobedient sinners, not gay folks.

      Finally, to question 2a: This one incorporates many different issues, perhaps most notably is St. Augustine’s theological contribution of the doctrine of “original sin.” I’ve never found his argument to be very persuasive, so that will undoubtedly color my response here.

      I don’t think any of us were created as sinners. As far as I am concerned, the tragedy of the Garden of Eden is not so much that it happened, as it is that it happens. As Adam chose poorly, we choose poorly. I don’t believe that any human, except Jesus, can live a full life and not sin. However, if we are killed as infants (or as unborn children), before we ever had the ability to sin, then there is nothing for Jesus’ blood to cover. Death for children is a one-way ticket to Heaven regardless of their being baptized, dedicated or “accepting” Christ as savior (if you ask me). So to come back to your question, if God didn’t create you as a sinner, and yet you sin, then you would do well to repent and change. The issue is over the difference between creation and choice. If a person was created as gay, then they didn’t choose it and don’t need to repent of the way God made them.

      I hope that helps you understand where my head is on this tough issue. Thanks for taking the time to engage with me.

      -CL

      • Lane says:

        Could you cite science that you would recommend to back the point that Homosexuals are created that way. Not that I can’t do my own searches but for the sake of being on the same page where are your references.
        What about romans 1

        • C_Lambeth says:

          Lane,
          Before I get to your latest post, could you comment on what I already typed to you? Can you understand that if a person was created with a sexual preference, then it is categorically different from making volitional choices like stealing and lying, etc.?

          Could you also comment on the way you might feel if I tried to teach you that your sexual attraction to women was not the way you were created or the result of genetic programming, but merely a choice that you had consciously selected? Would that make you more interested in my perspective or in hanging out with me?

          Would you also address how I responded to your question “2a” regarding “original sin?”

          If you look at the other posts on these threads, you will see that most critical voices fail to address the counterpoints I make and merely change the subject when they lose an argument. It makes me think that I am wasting my time and that they are not interested in a conversation so much as they are interested in throwing things my way. I don’t necessarily think you’ve “lost” an argument here, but you have thus far not responded to what I previously typed to you. If you could follow-up on what I’ve already addressed it would be helpful and add to genuine discussion. Thanks in advance.

          As for Romans 1, it asserts that people are created with their sexuality and that it is immoral to live in a way contrary to the way God created us. Romans 1 has a specific group of people in mind who gave up how they were created for an alternate sexuality. It does not say that this is the case for all homosexual relationships any more than it is for all heterosexual relationships. Stated another way, it offers no mandate that the in-born sexuality be of the heterosexual variety. It just says that people ought not live counter to the way God created them as sexual beings.

          With Romans 1 in mind, IF we choose a sinful sexuality, then yes, it is in the same category as other sins. However, if we accept that our sexuality is a gift from God as he created us (also implied in Romans 1), then it is a categorical mistake to connect this sexuality with sinfulness. I have no problem with Romans 1.

          Sincerely,
          -CL

        • Lane says:

          Corbin,
          I am sorry for my choppy and perhaps incomplete line of thought and I wish to respect you and the conversation, instead of seeing what sticks. I am filled with questions and I got ahead of myself in my response or lack thereof. I do not want to be a pharisee, I wish to know God and not to put on a show about knowing the rules and being better than those sinners.
          I will agree that under the pretense of God making the person gay then I would have no recourse to call that sin if that their sexuality was carried out in the confines of a covenant marriage relationship. I also would agree with you that if you told me that I was wrong in my sexuality that it would be hard to swallow as would friendship with you (although your seemingly “liberal” bent in life compels me to engage more with you than others of my friends (online).
          In response to the question on original sin, I find more reference to sin from the point of conception. I agree that the quandary of baby death is difficult and once again not addressed to the point of absolution, however the biblical references are as such in Genesis, Psalms and in application with Christ not having an earthly father, etc. I will digress on this issue as I am sure you know that there are more volumes of this than I can rehash and still leave room.
          If you are relying on science for your extra biblical revelation and one of the characteristics of science is it’s ability to predict then shouldn’t science be able to predict which are gay and which are not before the individual commits one or the other.
          It doesn’t seem to me that gay marriage is applicable to the description of Christ being the head of the church, Christ being the groom and the church his bride, is this just a difference in understanding/perspective or a significance between homosexual marriage and traditional marriage.
          In regard to Romans 1 it seems to call out homosexuality specifically and not immoral sex in a broad sense as you assert.
          26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.
          And also in timothy 1
          8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 [f]and [g]immoral men [h]and homosexuals [i]and kidnappers [j]and liars [k]and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
          these are direct biblical references which unless that the context is WAY out there and I am missing it, that seem to eliminate any question in my mind as to whether homosexuality is a sin.
          Sorry for the long response time. Thank you for keeping me thinking .

        • C_Lambeth says:

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Lane. I am glad that you can relate to the potential harm it would cause to our friendship if we started judging each other’s sexuality. Perhaps it’s a moot point for you and me since we’re both married heterosexuals, but it is an important thing for Christians to consider when they / we are building friendships with people who don’t neatly fall into binary categories of male/female dominant heterosexual. If we start by judging and trying to “fix” others, we are aborting any chances for authentic relationships. That is anti-evangelism, and it will turn people off to Jesus before they ever get a chance to understand him. We should avoid that.

          Genetics and Sexuality
          As for science and its ability to predict, I take your point. Nevertheless, I think we can both agree that science has not solved or properly understood every issue under the sun. Just because science has not yet dialed in on the exact markers that construct sexual preference, it doesn’t mean that they do not exist. That’s a fairly weak argument on its own, but I think the case grows stronger when we consider some other genetic features that science has difficulty predicting with 100% accuracy. For example, biological parents with dominant genes for brown eyes may well have offspring with recessive genes that create blue eyes. We simply do not know until after a child is conceived, and usually only after delivered, but that does not mean that eye color is not controlled by genetics.

          Like eye color, sexual preference is apparently not just a matter of finding a single genetic marker, but rather consists in a combination of various genetic features. Furthermore, even if (and when) genetics predispose a person towards a sexual orientation, it is doubtful that this is solely a feature of nature but not nurture. Personhood does not occur in a genetic vacuum. Since that is true for both gay and straight folks alike, it seems underhanded and inconsistent to claim that only one combination of genetics and experiences is used by God to create, but not another. Christians simply lack the credibility and knowledge when they try to delineate between who God does and does not create based on sexual preference. We don’t get to play with special rules just because it suits our religious convictions.

          The Headship of Christ
          When it comes to the headship of Christ over the church, the marriage metaphor the Bible uses is just that, a metaphor. It is not to be taken as literal or as a complete mirror of the day’s predominant institution of marriage. For example, unlike typical human weddings, Jesus and his “bride” do not consummate their marriage by having sex. I just don’t see how gay-marriage destroys the marriage metaphor between Jesus and the church.

          Romans 1 and Interpretation
          As for Romans 1, I understand why you would focus on the same-sex eroticism of the passage, but I can’t pretend that this is meant as a wholesale judgment against all same-sex attraction everywhere. Paul clearly has a specific group of people in mind. It is also clear that these individuals have pursued a sexuality that is contrary to the way they were created, but nowhere does it say that this is true for everyone who is attracted to the same sex. We can write that into our interpretations if we like, but it’s just not in the Bible itself. Ultimately, we are invited to make an interpretive choice. We don’t even have to agree to be unified as believers, but we cannot (and should not) pretend that our own interpretations are the only valid ones. All of us are doing the best we can to make sense out of our world and our experiences, and their relationship with the biblical text.

          Thanks for your engagement here.
          -CL

  10. C_Lambeth says:

    Alex Toth, an acquaintance on Facebook, left the following comment on my Facebook page: “When Christ said to remove the plank in our eyes, he didn’t tell us not to deal with the speck in others, but that we must first examine ourselves…and this issue seems obviously plain in scripture.

    I’ve tried to engage with Alex on multiple occasions, but thus far, he is unwilling to do much beyond leaving one-off comments. Facebook isn’t really the best format for this sort of dialog anyway, I suppose. So after giving him ample time to reply on Facebook (which he did not take advantage of), I thought I’d briefly respond to Alex’s comment here instead.

    I never said that Christians weren’t supposed to address sins, be they “specks” or “planks.” But we are, indeed, supposed to examine ourselves first. It is precisely this examining that has helped me evolve on the issue of same-sex marriage. The fact is that most people are born with an innate sexual orientation. I certainly was. The Bible even confirms this in Romans 1, and it offers no mandate that the in-born sexuality be of the heterosexual variety. It just says that people ought not live counter to the way God created them as sexual beings.

    Not that it’s any of my business anyway, but when a person trusts me enough to tell me that God created them a certain way (homosexual or heterosexual), it’s not up to me to decide if they are not being truthful. I am in no place to say one way or the other. I must defer to the fact that they know themselves better than I do, and accept their testimony and experience as valid.

    I just cannot fathom the presumptuousness and arrogance it would take for me to try to tell them otherwise. Yet this is precisely the attitude and posture that far too many self-righteous conservative Christians assume when “dealing with” homosexuals. It is ridiculous and stupid, and the only thing it accomplishes it driving people away from Jesus rather than towards him. No, thank you.

    So, sorry, Alex. What “seems obviously plain in scripture” to you, isn’t as clear as you’ve been led to believe. Unless, that is, you can show me some Bible verses that say God never makes gay people or only makes straight folks, or that same-sex marriage is forbidden, or that marriage is only for producing biological offspring. Eric Lebs already tried this and failed, so I think you’ve got your work cut out for you.

    -CL

  11. Pingback: Yes We Can (be Christians and vote Democratically) | Exploring Faith

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