Why Homosexuality is Different than Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Murder, Adultery, and Stealing

:: By Zach Lind, re-posted by permission from Finding Rhythm:

“It is as unloving to hold out hope to those who embrace a homosexual lifestyle as it is to assure idolaters, murderers, adulterers, and thieves that they are safe and secure from all alarm.”

That is a quote from a recent article written by Michael Horton. In the article Horton attempts to make the case that homosexual behavior is a symptom of “human depravity” in the same way other sin such as murder, adultery, and theft.

I can see how Horton is putting together his argument based on some verses in the Bible but I don’t think that’s a very effective way to form an argument. Based on his same treatment of scripture, I could make just as strong an argument that women should not be able to speak at all during church services. I could also make the argument that if a Christian man is not an elder, he is free to marry more than one woman. Both of those arguments are silly and could lead to all kinds of unfavorable outcomes but are equally as strong as the argument that Horton makes in this article.

The primary issue with Horton’s position is that it is not observable in a conclusive way that homosexual relationships are any more damaging or hurtful to human beings when compared to the other sins he mentions. When an alcoholic stops drinking, the general trend is that their life is improved. When a drug addict gets clean, they typically go on to lead more productive, happier lives. Marriages typically have a better chance of being healthy when adultery is avoided. If someone can fight off the temptation to steal items that don’t belong to them, they will have a much better chance of avoiding jail time which I think we can all agree is a good thing, right?

But what about homosexual behavior? Let’s compare the general experiences of homosexuals who have found acceptance and support from the ones that either repress their orientation or who are marginalized because of it. In my experience, I find those who have been accepted and supported by their friends and loved ones to experience much better outcomes. For those who experience rejection, who are encouraged to repress their orientation, to essentially be cut off from the prospect of deep, meaningful love with another human being…..we typically observe much worse outcomes. Horton writes about his own personal encounter:

At the end of his rope, a young man called me at the suggestion of a mutual friend. After a summer of discussing these questions and building new categories, with the support of a good church, he returned home. He told his parents that he was neither “gay” nor “straight.” Secure in Christ’s sufficient work, he was a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction yet who rejects the gay lifestyle. It was not a category for these folks. After his pastor informed him that he was one of those Gentiles whom Paul refers to as “given up” by God to their depraved desires, this friend and brother committed suicide. Superficial views of sin can be deadly, especially when the lethal weapon was a misuse of Scripture.

What’s particularly interesting about this article is that Horton doesn’t seem to think that he is any way complicit in the tragic ending of this young man’s life. Of course not, right? It was that other pastor who’s superficial view lead to it all. I’d beg to differ and suggest that anyone along the way who didn’t accept this young man’s orientation has blood on their hands. It’s a shame.

  • Travis

    What’s conspicuously absent from this post is actual Scripture or simple hermeneutics.

    • http://everythingnew.org Jeff Cook

      (1) Travis. There is a hermeneutic at work, showcased in the second paragraph. Lind is showing that when we read the scripture we do have a filter by which we interpret the text and there are times when we use such moral principles (I would assume advanced in other places in scripture) to understand controversial passages.

      • Todd Burus

        The only hermeneutic at work in the second paragraph is special pleading. Even if these were acceptable interpretations of the referenced passages, scripturally there is much more against homosexual behavior than there is against women speaking in church and the absurd claim that one can argue for polygamy for non-elders.

        Moreover, if the author thinks that things are easier for alcoholics or drug addicts when they drop their addiction in favor of Christ then he has absolutely no understanding of the psychology of addiction. That is exactly why this comparison holds up–because alcoholics and drug addicts live with these behaviors as their identity (even sometimes post-conversion) just as those dealing with homosexuality do. This is also why it doesn’t matter if you can be born gay or not. No identity–either genetic or psychological–is more important than one’s identity as a redeemed child of God, increasing in obedience and sanctification, being transformed into the image of the Son.

        • Zach Lind

          Hey Todd,

          In my article, I never assert that overcoming addiction or staying sober is easy. Just as it wouldn’t be easy for someone with same-sex attraction to repress their orientation. I’m simply pointing out that when drug addicts stop taking drugs, they generally experience better outcomes. And on the flip side, it seems that it’s the exact opposite for homosexuals. If you don’t agree with that then I’d love some kind of evidence that might show that outcomes for homosexuals who experience acceptance and support are generally worse than the outcomes of homosexuals who repress their orientation or are embedded in a niche culture that frowns upon acting on their attraction.

          Additionally, in regard to polygamy for non-elders in the NT, Paul makes it pretty clear that if you’re an elder that you should only have one wife. He doesn’t prohibit polygamy for non-elders. If there’s a verse I’m missing that explicitly prohibits plural marriage, then I’d love for you to point it out to me.

          Thanks!

          • Todd Burus

            Zach,
            Both arguments you present are specious. First off, the burden of proof is on you to show that those who leave drug addictions have better life experiences than those who leave homosexual lifestyles. It was you who initially claimed this, and since it is not obviously true you are the one who must show evidence in favor of your claim.

            In your second argument–regarding the plausibility for polygamy for non-elders–this is an argument from silence, and a poor one at that. In opposition to that argument we first see the models of marriage given by Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and Christ and the Church in Ephesians 5 are monogamous (i.e. it is not Christ and the many churches). Moreover, though examples of polygamy among biblical heroes exist, they are never looked upon favorably by God and almost always end in increased strife. Finally, it is generally agreed that the requirements for elders are ideal characteristics for all believers, and therefore elders practicing monogamy would be a model for other believers to do so as well.

            -Todd

        • Kathleen

          While it is true that we as Christians are to identify with Christ’s death and resurrection to newness of life, I do appreciate the sensitivity with which the author tackles this issue. Yes, I would agree homosexuality is a sin; the author does not argue that point. However, those trapped in sin’s bondage- and we all have been there or we can’t claim to be saved by His grace – need God’s divine power and provision to reveal truth to our understanding and to break free from the curse of sin that holds us captive. “Therefore….present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1&2 It is not God’s motive to cut homosexual persons off “from the prospect of deep, meaningful love with another human being” as this author suggests. But rather, by knowing and experiencing God’s redemptive, freeing and eternal love for us we can be set free from sin which destroys our lives and that of others. Perhaps the author has not yet experienced this. May God forgive His body for being ambivalent on this subject and may we walk circumspectly in this present age.

          • Aaron

            “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must remain silent.”

          • Zach Lind

            “Finally, it is generally agreed that the requirements for elders are ideal characteristics for all believers, and therefore elders practicing monogamy would be a model for other believers to do so as well.”

            If that’s the case, then why did Paul bother making the distinction?

    • http://everythingnew.org Jeff Cook

      Let me build. He writes, “Both of those arguments are silly and could lead to all kinds of unfavorable outcomes but are equally as strong as the argument that Horton makes in this article.” This is a well placed reductio argument. He shows that if we were to read other text (polygamy passages for example) in the same way the gay sex passages are read, we would experience absurdities. As such, that reading is apparently not a sound reading for all passages, and we therefore may be rightly cautious when reading the passages on gay sex in these ways. That is a hermeneutical position.

    • Robert Hagedorn

      For something different, a change, Google First Scandal. It’s relevant. And it really is all about sex.

  • Dave Burkum

    At root is the question as to whether or not homosexuality is primarily a behavior or an identity. The difference between behavior and identity is difficult to sort out. Simplistic conclusions on either side of the discussion are frustrating. I don’t think your “it’s not sin as long as nobody gets hurt” approach makes much sense. I also question your assertion that to accept homosexuality equals depriving people of deep and meaningful love. Do you really think sex is essential to deep and meaningful love?

    • http://www.missionalshift.com Steve Knight

      Dave, I can’t speak for Zach, of course, but I don’t think he’s saying “it’s not sin as long as nobody gets hurt.” He’s saying that with the other “sins” outlined in Horton’s article people’s lives improve or get better if they don’t participate in them, but it’s the exact opposite scenario (in most cases) with homosexuality. People who deny their sexuality (for whatever reason) face a life-long “struggle” or worse: self-loathing, depression, and suicide. (Again, not in all cases, but in the vast majority of stories I’ve heard.)

      To your last question, I guess I would just respond by suggesting you and your wife stop having sex … for the rest … of … your life. … And then see in 10 years (or 10 weeks) how it affects the deep and meaningful love I know you both share. (I’m not being snarky here, Dave and his wife Cheri and I are old friends!)

      Or, to reverse the analogy, stop having sex with your wife and start having sex with a man, because (in this scenario) that’s what you believe the Bible teaches. I know that’s not who you’re naturally attracted to, but you should just do it, because it’s “biblical.” See how it feels, see if you can find deep, meaningful love with a man, see if you can enjoy sexual intercourse with him. And then in 10 years (or 10 weeks) let me know how that’s working for you ;-)

      I’m just putting myself in my LGBT friends shoes and that’s what this message sounds like to them. (Or at least, that’s how I imagine it sounds to them.) Neither of those options sounds very appealing to me, honestly, and if Christianity hinges on having sex the right away, I’m not surprised so many LGBT folks just walk away. I’ve just come to believe that the Christian life isn’t about that really.

      In the kingdom of God, there is no male and female (Galatians 3:28), there is no marriage or giving in marriage (Matt. 22:30), so why do those things matter (the way that some Christians say that they matter) here and now? To be a sign and foretaste of God’s coming kingdom, we should really be living into the reality of a gender-less (and thus a sexual-orientation-less) body of Christ. But we’re not. We’re still fighting over what people do with their body parts, when there’s kingdom business to be about.

      • Dave Burkum

        Hi Steve.

        Cheri and I know the difference between sex and love. Deep and meaningful love (in fact MOST deep and meaningful love) does not require sex. I also know the difference between gender, sexual attraction, and behavior. The question really comes down to what it is that defines me as a person.

        Sexual attraction need not determine my identity any more than beliefs or commitment. There are ALL kinds of attractions and inclinations in my life that I refuse to let define me. Choosing to be defined by my faith in Christ constantly requires the relinquishment of natural inclination.

        [Incidentally, in the hypothetical scenario you proposed, I most certainly WOULD choose celibacy or homosexuality over heterosexual attraction or behavior if indeed that's what I believed was the clear teaching of Scripture. That's because I'm not hung up on sexuality, I'm hung up on submission to God.]

        I can’t tell you how flawed, illogical, and unreasonable your arguments are, Steve. For instance, if you really believe in orientation-less living as a sign of the Kingdom, then why are you arguing for same-sex orientation? I’m afraid you’ve just decided you’re personally okay with homosexuality, so that’s what you’ll advocate for. Just like some people have just decided they’re personally not okay with homosexuality and so just attack.

        Personally, I have no problem with homosexuality, but I do have a problem with ignoring Scripture based on my personal comfort or discomfort. If I always decided to choose my comfort zone over the most basic reading of Scripture, I might as well just throw my Bible away.

        Come to think of it, I guess that’s what a lot of people do.

        • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve K.

          Dave, I find it interesting that when I present an eschatological argument, from Scripture, for a gender-less, sexual orientation-less reality in the kingdom of God, I’m told my argument is “flawed, illogical, and unreasonable.” I’m *not*, in fact, “arguing for same-sex orientation,” as you suggest, I’m arguing for a lived expression of faithfulness to the kingdom of God that disregards (or perhaps subverts would be a better word) gender and sexual orientation, because ultimately it does. not. matter. I’d love for you (or anyone else for that matter) to make an eschatological argument from Scripture that refutes what I’m saying. Is everyone in Heaven heterosexual? Are we all going to be having straight sex in the kingdom of God?? I’ve read only one conservative Catholic theologian who tried to make a case for heterosexual sex in Heaven, and it was really not convincing to me (obviously) ;-)

          I think your accusation that I’m just “throwing my Bible away” is cheap and wrong, frankly. How am I ignoring Scripture when I’m appealing directly to it to give you my theological basis for believing in a gender-less, sexual-orientation-less already-but-not-yet kingdom reality? It’s an easy way to dismiss my argument, I suppose. Please do me the favor of giving it a little more thought before you toss it aside.

          This isn’t about my “personal comfort or discomfort” at all, BTW. It would be easy for me to be perfectly comfortable as a heterosexual man living in our heterosexist world. There’s a pretty big comfort zone for me to kick back and relax in if I wanted to, but I too am “hung up on submission to God,” Dave. I’m just crazy enough to believe (based on Scripture) that that actually includes human notions of gender and sexual orientation. I have to submit those things to the inbreaking reality of God’s kingdom. I don’t think those things ultimately matter to God, and so they shouldn’t matter to us either (as litmus tests or requirements for faithfulness, who’s in and who’s out, etc.). That’s the argument I’m making. Help me out here, how this is “flawed, illogical, and unreasonable” again?

      • Kathleen

        To base our theology about God on our own limited experience or the superficial observations of others is not sound. God’s word acts to us many times as a fenced-in-yard acts to those we wish to protect. It keeps them safe, limits them from going to dangerous ground, and reveals Christ. Those who love God also love His word and keep or obey it by the Holy Spirit’s power, who is the God-agent given to us through Christ. Please read 1John 2:26-29 and 3:1-10. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1John 2:3 It isn’t a thing where you can say to the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords , “OK God, I want a ticket to heaven but I want to do it my way instead of yours.” It’s a dying to self and letting Him live through us.

        • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve K.

          Kathleen, do you believe everyone in Heaven is heterosexual? Do you believe we will be having straight sex in Heaven? If that’s your theology, I’d love to know what Scriptures you base that on (please see the ones I’ve referenced in my earlier comment). It makes total sense to argue that everyone should be heterosexual here and now only if you believe that’s what God requires of us in the kingdom. I simply don’t believe that. It’s not what Jesus taught, and it’s not what Paul taught. So what else is there?

          • Todd Burus

            Steve,
            Your claim that, “It makes total sense to argue that everyone should be heterosexual here and now only if you believe that’s what God requires of us in the kingdom. It’s not what Jesus taught, and it’s not what Paul taught. So what else is there?,” ignores one important fact: “But nothing unclean will ever enter [the New Jerusalem], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21.27). Anything that God declares as sinful here and now will not be present in the eschatological kingdom. Therefore, if God declares homosexual behavior to be sin for us today (which I believe he does) then it is de facto the case that homosexual behavior will be absent in the eschaton. You cannot argue (from silence) for the reverse. This is not to say that marriage and heterosexual activity is something we should be expecting in the New Jerusalem either, but that discussion is in a totally different hemisphere from one which would want to make it look as if God/Jesus/Paul teach or condone homosexual acts among believers.

          • http://www.missionalshift.com Steve Knight

            Todd, it sounds like we agree that “homosexual behavior will be absent in the eschaton.” Good! We base our beliefs on very different premises, however, and I just happen to think mine makes a lot more sense than yours does. Taking your Revelation 21:27 example, are you saying that any who is not heterosexual will not enter into God’s kingdom (their name will not be “written in the Lamb’s Book of Life”)? Because I know a lot of gay Christians who would beg to differ with that suggestion. If you really believe that, just go ahead and say it.

            But just think my premise through again one more time (it’s pretty simple): no gender = no sexual orientation. There is no homosexuality in the kingdom because there is no human definition of sexuality in the kingdom of God, there is no human concept of gender in the kingdom of God, we are (Christ tells the Sadducees) “like the angels” with spiritual bodies/forms that none of us has any real clue will be like.

            No, Jesus and Paul did not explicitly “condone homosexual acts among believers,” but nothing they said or taught contradicts what I’m suggesting we ought to do, based again on their teachings. You can interpret it one way. I’ll interpret it another. You’re looking backward, to messages given in a particular cultural context for a particular time and place (and you have 2,000 years of heteronormative church history on your side, to be sure). I’m looking forward to the coming kingdom that Jesus and Paul talked about, a reality we ought to be seeking to live into as followers of Jesus. You can keep looking in the rear-view mirror if you want, but I really think there’s a better way.

      • Kathleen

        We are admonished by God to, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not now that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1Cor6:18-20 Yeah, Steve, it does matter to God.

        • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve K.

          Kathleen, I’m not suggesting there are no moral guidelines for us to live by here and now (God has revealed throughout different generations in Scripture what to do “so that it will go well with you”), but that morality question has been asked ten thousand times. I’m asking a different question. I’m asking: What does the Bible teach ultimately matters to God in Christ in terms of bodies and sexuality? I’m arguing that ultimately (in an eschatological sense) we will have spiritual bodies (not human, gendered bodies) in the kingdom of God. No gender = no sexual orientation. So all this arguing over what people should do with their body parts here and now in order to be “right with God” is misguided and a huge distraction. There’s kingdom business to be about for all of us — gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, etc. And, yeah, I think that’s pretty biblical.

          • Todd Burus

            Steve,
            The passage in Galatians 3.28 that you keep referring to is not a statement about eschatological realities, it is about access to the kingdom/gospel message. Previously there had been barriers to entering the kingdom (i.e. one must be a Jew) but the wonder of the gospel is that it is good news for everyone. To see this passage as something teaching gender-neutrality is to read it out of any sort of biblical context. That is like saying that the Constitution by granting rights to all people equal apart from gender, race or creed means that all Americans are now genderless, raceless, and creedless. That is not how one would interpret the Constitution and it is not how we should interpret the Bible.

          • http://www.missionalshift.com Steve Knight

            Todd, can you please explain why Galatians 3:28 is not about eschatological realities? Or, perhaps I should put it affirmatively: What Scripture do you base your belief that in the kingdom we will be gendered and have sexual orientation? I’m assuming if you disagree with my application of Galatians 3:28 that you have some biblical basis for believing in a gendered kingdom reality. I’d love it if you could explain that for me. Thanks.

  • A Medrano

    Travis, I’m totally with you. This is a big problem that I find with the open community I’d like to find myself emerging with. Both conservatives and liberals have it wrong. I consider myself a progressive and see a third way to it, but when I encounter progressive blogs dismissing not just a conservative view but also any scriptural view, I say it’s just another liberal blog masquerading as a progressive.

    Here’s how I see it. There’s orientation, personality, and practice. Homosexual orientation is an attraction a person has towards the same gender. There’s no where in the bible that states this is a sin. There’s personality. Most would call this a flamboyance personality. Coming off as a “flamer” for lack of a better word is not a sin. There are some who grew up with this personality and was told by culture that this is a characteristic of a homosexual, so these individuals end up “becoming” gay. So, you have some who are born gay by orientation or made the choice to be gay due to their personality. I believe people in these two categories can remain “gay” without any condemnation and still follow Jesus and serve in ministry. Now, the third category: practice. Throughout scripture, in both OT and NT, homosexual practice is forbidden. It is never allowed, permitted, accepted, or celebrated. And this must remain. For those in 1st and 1nd category to engage in gayl sex has committed a sin. That is where the line is drawn.

    So, with that, the LGBT community can find home in a faith community and should be accepted and allowed to serve in ministry. A church should show the truth found within the bible yet accept and celebrate homosexuals. A church can, in a way, become a gay church. As for the homosexual, there are options: find joy in marrying the opposite sex or joy in celibacy.

    • Matt

      Believe this all you want, just don’t call yourself a progressive…

      • A Medrano

        Define progressive. And would you agree that not all progressives agree on this subject?

    • none

      RIGHT ON! YOU HAVE IT CORECT HERE! Just like a very brave young man by the name of Matt Fradd!

  • Jeff Straka

    Great article, Zach. I completely agree. I was a little shocked to read the comments, however. It’s the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing. Really? What do you want to bet that these hetersexual commenters are either married or in a loving relationship and yet they DEMAND that LGBTQ Christians be DEPRIVED of the same fulfilling life of a loving relationship? And all because of some misinterpreted passages from a 2000 year old book?

  • Zach Lind

    To be clear, I’m not trying to make a hermeneutical case for my position and that’s why I’m not appealing to scripture. I’m simply pointing out observable trends that happen as a result of behavioral changes. As far as I can tell, Horton’s main argument is “the Bible told me so.” What I’m attempting to do is point out how these various behaviors (homosexual relationships, murder, theft, drug addiction, etc) affect the prospect of general healthy, stable living. For whatever reason, homosexuality seems to have the opposite effect as the others when given support and acceptance. If this isn’t generally the case, I’d love to be proven wrong.

  • A Medrano

    Jeff, here’s where most people misinterpret “loving relationships”. I have many loving relationships. They’re called family and friends. For same-gendered “committed” (whatever thats suppose to mean in regards to sex) relationships, I fully stand-by to allow the state to promote civil unions. Let the state do what it desires, and let the church stand where it should establish itself upon. Why do I say “committed loving relationships” isn’t the same as marriage. Well, here’s where liberal and most progressives miss the point. It’s not so much about a “committed loving relationship” as it is about sex. Marriage is for two purposes: 1) procreation and 2) pleasure. They both require sex. This can’t be ignored. If those wanting just a “committed loving relationship” without sex to fulfill either/both 1 and 2, then why marry? This isn’t about depriving people of loving others, it’s about keeping biblical marriage sacred.

    • Larry

      How does opposite-sex marriage become less sacred just because same-sex marriage exists? Is God less honored by a man and a woman’s holy union, just because other people aren’t doing it “right”?

      I really don’t think God cares about marriage, or circumcision, or eating meat sacrificed to idols, or keeping any day holy — he cares about our hearts.

  • Zach Lind

    Medrano,

    Is “Biblical marriage” one man and one wife or one man and multiple wives? Also, does this also mean that, as in first century Christianity, that the wife is literally the property of her husband?

    • A Medrano

      Crap. As soon as I hit post comment I realized I just used a term I’ve come to loathe, “biblical”. I totally agree with you on that “biblical marriage” thing. Biblical blah blah blah is up for grabs to everyone. What I meant was the common upheld belief throughout scripture. I know about how marriage could look like anything after creation and before Christ. Another common belief that was upheld throughout scripture was homosexual practice. After reading a couple replies, I understand (at least I think) this post wasn’t so much about whether it’s a sin or not, but how it affects homosexuals verses people who struggle with other “sins”. If that’s the case, I mostly agree. I think the church (most) don’t understand sexuality and haven’t really tried applying any alternatives which can promote the human value.

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    i just LOVE how all these straight and privileged people talk about us queer people and probably don’t even have queer friends. You talk about us like we are aliens from another planet. Sex is NOT just about procreation. What about the couple who cannot conceive and do not desire to have children? Or the later in life couple who lose significant others and remarry and are too old to have children. Should they all not be allowed to marry? You are all so illogical to me. AND marriage is more than about sex, which BOTH heterosexuals and queer people can and do engage in. It is about being there in good and bad times, sickness and health, enjoying life together and learning to love better. People like MOST commenters on here are some of the reason why i left Christianity behind. YOU ALL think YOUR interpreatations of scripture are the only way to correctly interpret them. Everyone else is wrong. You say the Bible is so very clear. NO it is not. WHY don’t you all look in the mirror and reflect on your own dismal lives and stay out of ours.

    • A Medrano

      You probably missed my second point “pleasure”. And yes, marriage is more than sex. But sex is reserved for marriage. It’s like saying “marriage is more than about sex, it’s about cooking for each other and raising kids…so, I believe all cooks and nannies should get married to each other.” So, the primary thing here is not about the “so much more”, but why the institution of marriage was established: sex. It’s a covenant to keep one from committing adultery. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to argue against you. And I’m not trying to “convert” you from your sexual orientation. That is who you are and I believe everyone should accept and affirm their orientation. But, I believe, one day, we won’t have to get into these debates because it won’t matter, because there’s a high possibility we will be gender-less. But until then, marriage is for procreating and pleasure as defined in our sacred scripture. If one chooses not to procreate and engage in sexual pleasure with another, but rather enjoy the presence of a person they can share their life with, that person should enjoy living a celibate life with them.

      • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve K.

        A Medrano, I just don’t see how the procreation argument holds any water any more. Are we still supposed to be dogmatically following God’s command to Adam and Eve (and Noah) to “be fruitful and multiply”? I really don’t think so.

        I’ve been trying to make the eschatological argument from Scripture that we will ultimately be gender-less, just as you said, “One day, we won’t have to get into these debates because it won’t matter.” Exactly! So why are we even having them at all? ;-) If you follow this to its logical conclusion (as I’ve tried to do), in order to truly live into that, we should be subverting gender and sexual orientation to God’s kingdom reality. Here and now sexuality is an integral part of who God created us to be, so let’s live fully and faithfully into that, but let’s do so with an understanding that ultimately those things will not matter, so let’s not exclude anyone (from the faith, from church membership/participation, from leadership, from marriage, from legal protections, etc.) here and now based on those things.

        I think as soon as you say “Until then, marriage is for procreating and pleasure” you are ignoring the obvious (you don’t have to be legally married to procreate) and falling back on a this-worldly emphasis on human institutions (marriage), which Christ himself said do not and will not exist in the kingdom. Faithfulness to Jesus is ultimately not about “marriage = one man + one woman,” it’s about all of us (regardless of gender and sexual orientation) = the bride of Christ + God (in Christ)!

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  • A Medrano

    Larry, he does care about your “hearts”…for those ignorant. But to those exposed to scripture, he takes your enlightenment into account.

  • John

    Todd,
    You missed the point! An alcoholic’s life is improved when he or she quits alcohol. The alcoholic may still desire alcohol but still their life is better without alcohol. A homosexual’s life is not better when they deny their God-given desire for human.

    By the way, Todd, you are less obedient than you think you are. Your words give off a squeaky clean “white washed” impression. If you really want to impress God in your eyes, give up sex and pornography for the rest of your life.

    Better still, focus on your own sanctification.

    • Todd Burus

      John,
      Not sure where the ad hominem attack comes from here. I in no way claimed to be “squeaky clean”. How do you know that I am “less obedient than [I] think [I am]“? Regardless, a person doesn’t have to be sinless to call sin out for what it is.

      That attack aside, as I said above, it is pure speculation that an alcoholic’s life is “better off” when they quit alcoholism than a homosexuals is when they quit practicing homosexual activity. First, “better off” is being subjectively defined (as you demonstrate by saying that a homosexual who leaves off homosexuality is “deny[ing] their God-given desire for human [sic]“). Second, you have no proof of this, which is the failing throughout this post.

  • Ron S

    Please do not misunderstand my next paragraph. I find it very difficult to sort out the dynamic tension between various strands of scriptures all of which I want to take seriously and all of which we should be attempting to reapply with integrity and love in the 21st century stage upon which God is allowing us to live. When I am honest, I know many sisters and brothers who are gay and who are in many ways more faithful than I am (and I am pretty certain many of you are) in many areas. And simultaneously, I cannot honestly say that I think being gay is a great and wonderful blessing from God rather than a tough reality to be dealt with as faithfully as possible in what we would hope can be a loving and supportive community of faith. I live in that deeply experienced tension. So, nothing that follows is meant to insult our struggle with a current “hotbutton” issue that is partly a biblical issue, but clearly also a cultural and social and political issue as well.

    Having said that – help me understand why we get so many, and so many intense comments on this topic, and so few on the far more biblically emphasized topics such as sharing our resources, helping the poor, caring about healing and wholeness, trust in military might, trust in money, speaking in a manner that is loving and honoring and gracious to all, etc. Where is the “heat” about these realities concerning which our churches and, for those of us who are U.S. Citizens, our culture are openly and proudly sinful? Surely God is not as concerned about an attempt to be more loving toward people who are gay as God is concerned about his people supporting bombing innocents by the 100′s of thousands in one country after another in order to maintain cultural military and economic superiority no matter what the costs to cultural morality and integrity. Somebody help me understand us! Surely, there is a more Godly way to “emerge.”

  • A Medrano

    Aaron, that only works half the time. Let’s not forget about them reformed folks.

  • Kimberly Knight

    Right on Zach!

    I hear this or some version of it every couple of weeks or so. I know that some who use the sentiment, that Christ loves all the sinners, is mean to be sweet, I do. I get it that for many this is meant as a loving statement and for some a radical pronouncement, really I do – but…

    I am a Christian that is faithfully sure that my sexuality is not in itself sinful. By naming homosexuals alongside the depths of depravity included is simply wrong. My sins are many; failing to be fully present to my family, treating myself unkindly, abusing my privilege in the world by consuming beyond my fair share, walking past hurting and hungry people as I rush along with a grocery cart spilling over, failing to fulfill commitments to my church and community to name a few. But God’s gift of my sexuality is not equivalent to murder, abuse, terrorism or the oppression of the sexual slavery of prostitution. The list of “sinners” surrounding homosexuals are states of existence that rob others of their humanity, of life.

    Being gay is NOT equivalent to that which robs others of their humanity (addiction, abuse or murder). My queerness is one of many gifts from God that gives me life and in fact enables me to share God’s love with others and honor the divine spark that makes each of us a living image, beautiful and broken, of our creator.

    Oh yeah, there is NO SUCH THING as one “homosexual lifestyle”.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/comingoutchristian/

    • Frank

      If you are faithfully sure please show the scriptural support that God condones or blesses homosexual behavior otherwise you just have an opinion that fits in with the way you want to live your life.

  • Tommy Crenshaw

    All this silliness and wasting time when we could be serving each other in real, meaningful ways as Christ did.

  • http://salamanderslam.com Dave H.

    Zach, I’m with you. Most (not all of course, but so very many) of the commenters here are talking about God and scripture in ways I don’t even recognize. They sound like slaves to a misinterpreted text, and it makes me sad. Their blithe declarations about submission to God are so hollow in the face of the wounds and suffering inflicted on queer siblings. It’s mind-boggling and baffling to me. So anyway all this to say thank you for raising a voice of reason and love.

  • jared

    im just happy you’re all preoccupied with homosexuals. i overeat like a madman.
    lucky for me, most of you have decided to vilify activities that you yourselves don’t participate in.
    funny how that works.

  • Todd Burus

    Zach,
    In response to my comment that the qualifications for elders are ideal characteristics for all believers you said, “If that’s the case, then why did Paul bother making the distinction?” The simple answer is that he didn’t. Look at 1 Timothy3 and Titus 1. He is not giving a list of things that elders must abide by as if they had been chosen and were now receiving the rules to live by. Instead what we see is Paul giving a necessary list of requirements for someone to be considered for eldership. This is an important distinction because it demonstrates that Paul is simply calling Timothy and Titus to recognize how these men were already living and not setting separate standards for certain Christians as you seem to be claiming.

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  • Clay

    It is amazing that in general all arguments that take a hard line on homosexuality appeal to the words of Paul and his secretaries for authority and to “whip everyone into shape”. It is so easy for any of us to point fingers at people outside of “church” and to thumbs down their behavior based on strict literal interpretations of scripture. Problems with this kind of interpretation and application occur when we forget that Paul probably was basing his writings on perceptions regarding the times in which he lived – Roman Culture et al and his belief in an imminent return of Christ. Believers need to consider our times today in which the same Spirit is still active in bringing people into fellowship with God and others. In the context of today you can hardly look out from a pulpit and not see someone who has not been touched by a divorce – friend, family member or themselves and if you include those who have committed adultery you would have even more people accounted for such that if these were all turned out some of our churches would be practically empty. Jesus spoke more and interacted with more people over these two subjects than the hot buttons of choice that some Christians choose to harp on.

  • http://registeredrunaways.wordpress.com RunawayChristian

    This is my own personal story of the psychological and emotional impact that church placed upon my dad. Immediately after coming out to my family, my father was told that it was his fault that I am gay. They said he was distant, and likely unloving. It’s a ridiculous claim, in light of my life, that my dad made me gay, but because the Church convinced him it to be true, he has battled some serious emotional demons ever since. http://registeredrunaways.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/forgive-them-father/

    We need to have a larger conversation about this.

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