A Word On Gay Christians in Ministry, or Music Ministry, or Gospel Music Ministry

A Word On Gay Christians in Ministry, or Music Ministry, or Gospel Music Ministry October 15, 2011

A lot of discussion has been had about this particular topic recently. There is much to say about it, but instead of saying everything that could be said, let me offer just a word or two.
First, the annoying thing about gossip is that it’s unfailingly vague. So when some know-it-all comes around talking about what his sources have told him about how umpty bagillion people in SG are gay, it’s never clarified what exactly they mean by “gay.” People can be proudly gay and act out on their impulses, or they can feel shame and try to fight them. The know-it-alls never make distinctions like that.

Second, there seems to be this false dichotomy about what a singer or minister in that situation can do. A friend said to me recently that if you’re gay, and you’re working in gospel music, maybe you shouldn’t be there… but then again, in this genre, with the fanbase it has, “coming out” carries a high cost with it. So, the argument runs, it’s difficult to blame singers/writers who aren’t proud of their orientation but are choosing to stay quietly in the closet. (Obviously we have no sympathy for so-called “Christians” who saunter out of the closet and flaunt their orientation to push their agenda. Nor should we feel sympathy for those who are coldly and calculatedly choosing to live a sinful double life.)
But for those who feel guilty and convicted, I think there’s a third option nobody’s ever really considered: disappearing quietly. If you sincerely recognize your desires as sinful, and you feel that they disqualify you from ministry, the best thing you can do for yourself, the industry, and the fans is to find some other line of work and keep your private desires to yourself. Obviously you should feel much more guilt if you have acted out on those desires, but I think even in that situation the silent exit is best.
The truth is we live in a “tell-all” society where people are expected to blab every private detail of their lives. Secretly living in sin (or with powerful sinful desires) while staying in the ministry is not the right way. But telling the whole world about it isn’t the right way either. Instead, disqualify yourself with dignity. Turn in your resignation and tell the good people who have supported you that God is calling you somewhere else. It will be the absolute truth. Then leave the ministry and bear your cross alone.
That sounds harsh. But I believe it’s what Jesus would say. You’ll remember he had his own cross to bear.

"I agree, it seems the religious divide is easier to bridge than the political one. ..."

Is There an Atheist Alt-Right Connection?
"Now you're just lying. I have not denied anything; in fact, as anybody can see, ..."

Sam Harris Asks Questions Jordan Peterson ..."
"Clearly we are not on the same page. I continue to state facts, like the ..."

Sam Harris Asks Questions Jordan Peterson ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • What about the power of the Gospel to radically change hearts and lives. I know you believe that is an option as well. In my mind it is the best option. A man or woman struggling with sin will find a cleansing, deliverance and victory in the blood of Christ.
    They must be willing to forsake sin and hate sin but they can overcome sin. Is it a fight? Absolutely! But it is a fight worth winning. We all fight mostly secret battles with sin and desires contrary to the Spirit but Christ will help us.
    Maybe a person needs to step aside quietly from ministry. Maybe they need to find a preacher and church that actually believes in the power or the cross, the blood and the gospel message. But they don’t have to live in sin and surrender to sin and the destruction that comes with it.
    I know you believe this YGG. I just wanted to include it in your list of options.
    God bless,

  • Actually I believe that fits with my option. I think that it is much easier to fight and overcome sin when you don’t have the weight of a ministry on your shoulders and people looking up to you as an example. My option was not a kind of “surrendering to sin.” It was shedding some burdens so that you can be better prepared to face it down.

  • Oh, but I should add an important note: I think that just like alcoholics will never become “non-alcoholic,” people with attractions to the same sex are always going to have those desires. So even if you are striving mightily and refusing to act out on them, you still can’t take the risk of falling off a platform. God can still use you, just maybe not in the way you personally would like to be used.

  • AmyH

    Davy, you beat me to it.
    And YGG, on the alcoholic thing, I could introduce you to a LOT of people who can tell you God isn’t bound by the limitations the sociologists put on him.
    Hey, we could start with my husband, come to think of it! Hopelessly bound by addictions to alcohol, tobacco and drugs for about ten years, yet when he got saved 4-5 years he was freed from even the temptation. He still remembers the moment when a carload of drunk guys pulled up alongside him on his bicycle and asked where to find a liquor store, and he suddenly realized he didn’t even know.

  • Yes, God can do anything! But for every person who’s been freed from the temptation to drink, there are several who have to avoid even the smallest amount of alcohol because the danger is still there. There’s a couple at our church who’s like that. I’m not saying we should underestimate God, I’m just saying that He wouldn’t want us to live on the assumption that He’s going to work a miracle.

  • Amy, this time you beat me to it. “..such WERE some of you..” Praise God for deliverance!
    I whole heartedly agree it’s easier and wiser to address many issues without the burden of public ministry. Amen

  • quartet-man

    As far as the alcoholic thing, I have heard of it both ways. I think it
    compare it to Paul’s thorn in the flesh with some people. God doesn’t remove the temptation in some to have them lean on Him and use His strength. Face it, we all are born with temptations and even Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife. He had the strength to remove himself quickly, but by the same token knew that hanging around was tempting fate so to speak and wasn’t wise.

  • mary

    I know a fair amount of people in SGM and I know a lot of people in different forms of ministry for God on a personal level. Some are married, some divorced and some are single never married like me. But I dont know a single gay person in any ministry so I am very surprised to hear that it even occurs at all.

  • quartet-man

    I’ve not known any pastors, but a former pastor’s son is gay and I have met one who was a music director at a church in a neighboring town. He later died from aids.

  • mary

    BUT, I used to have this buddy, we were best friends and he was gay. We went to the movies and out to eat; he dragged me to his moms house every Thursday to watch anime and I dragged him to see the Christmas lights every year and there was the annual Ren Fest. But then I heard the Lord calling me back to church and that was the end for us. He told me if I went back to the church we were through and so we were. He hated the church because he said the church hated him without knowing anything about him. I thought all gay people stayed away from the church.

  • I don’t think you’re familiar with the “gay Christian” movement. There are all kinds of pastors, singers, etc. who are walking around claiming they’ve “embraced who they are and embraced Jesus at the same time” and junk like that. You can find a testimony by this one pastor who says “Well, I used to hop around gay bars and had sex with multiple men, but then I settled down with my one true love and married him and now we’re living happily ever after in the Lord.” Wuv twue wuv, indeed.

  • The gay christian movement is blasphemy. There is no doubt about it. Gay and Christian should never be used in the same sentence although I just did it twice. All sin is destructive and damning. There is no room for habitual sin in the life of any Christian.
    But thank God for grace. Thank God there is forgiveness and deliverance from sin. I do agree we must remove every avenue of temptation that we can. All Christians should avoid temptation like the plague because that’s what temptation will bring if we give in to it. I believe in radical amputation like Christ taught us.
    But to say that someone should disqualify themselves from public ministry because of past temptations is taking it to far. If you have gifts, talents, calling and you are living and walking in freedom then God can use you.
    At least that’s my humble opinion.

  • My original post was directed to those who are still struggling. I don’t know of any confirmed cases where someone has literally lost the temptation altogether. If God chooses to work a miracle like that and calls you into ministry, by all means follow His will. It’s just that in most cases it’s not so simple.

  • T. Nelson

    Wow. The arrogance. The condescension. You take “right-winger” to a whole new depth. And I suppose you’ll take that as a compliment. Sad.

  • Ah, finally! My first trollish comment. I was beginning to wonder if I wouldn’t get one. Thank you very much.

  • mary

    I am thankful to live in the rural South. I was not even aware this kind of situation was happening.

  • It’s crazy what the world has come to. I was disappointed to hear that NQC was allowing pro-gay singers. 🙁
    I would like to point out that being tempted is not a sin. If someone in the public eye is habitually sinning (whether it be pornography, homosexuality, drinking, smoking, or whatever) then they should step down from their position. But if they’ve asked God to forgive them, and are not sinning, then sure, keep singing or whatever.
    I assume you feel the same way?

  • I agree that there is a distinction between sinning and feeling temptation (and I tried to get at that distinction in my post). However, I think it can still be unwise to stay in the ministry if you have a strong temptation of that nature. And this could apply to something like alcoholism too. Think about it this way: If you’re singing in a group (as most SG singers are), then your temptations are going to affect the people around you. This is especially true in the case of same-sex attraction. So even if you’re sorrowful and repentant, it may well be in the best interests of the people serving with you to step down and let somebody who does not struggle in that way take your place.

  • Gene

    First, I enjoy your comments. On the subject at hand “Ministry” of the gospel is a serious thing. I am an old man and when I was young, in our church everything was a sin. We were taught to not dance, go to movies, smoke, you know, “we don’t drink, smoke or chew and we don’t go with girls that do.” Well these things are no longer preached on but sin that God’s word calls sin is still sin. Paul speaks of quite a few of these in I Cor. 6th chapter. He was speaking to new Christians but Christians none the less.
    In this chapter he explains some of these new Christians were involved in such actions, in the past. But then goes on to say that people who continue in such practices will not inherit the kingdom of God. I am not going to put on my judge’s robe and judge them; God the righteous Judge will do that. But, in my opinion, anyone living these lifestyles should not under any circumstances go into a church as a “ministry.” The homosexual lifestyle is only one of the reasons. There are those who have adulterous relationships and are married and living with their spouse. One in particular claims to be licensed and ordained and yet even now keeps a page on a singles website seeking women. This is not hearsay but fact, of which I have proof. He has maintained this lifestyle for many years and has been fired for such behavior yet still maintains his “ministry” and hypocrisy. No pastor should bring such a person in to “minister” to his people, but they do.

  • That is sad. I quite agree with you that Paul would definitely be on our side here.
    As for me, I personally don’t abstain from going to the movies (I just went to the theater the other week), and I wouldn’t mind a good dance. But obviously there are good and bad movies and good and bad dances.

  • Gene

    Yes, the point I was trying to make is there are many restrictions people may put on someone and call them sin, whether it is dancing, eating meat, drinking caffeine or what ever. Paul also speaks of this when he says to “Work out your own salvation…” and you know… “If it offends my brother to eat meat; But God is very clear with what is sin and just because it becomes pc to accept it does not make it alright. If God says it’s sin well he is the boss.
    BTW, you have good taste. James Blackwood was a big fan of Steve Green.

  • Ah, I take your meaning now. Agreed.

  • Craig

    And it is comments like these above that cause gay people to stay out of the church. God made each of us in his own image. I can’t help it I am gay and I have been thrown out of a church for it. I am a born again christian and I am now attending a local church that accepts me and my partner as a couple and others gay couples in the church. Christians do a lot of things now a days that would be considered sin 20-30 years ago, but are considered OK now. I have worked in the church with kids in Sunday School classes, Children’s Church, and Church camps and have never had any feelings for anyone in those groups or in the church. Not all gays go around and sleep with everyone in the world. Some gay parents are actually better parents than are straight couples.

  • Craig, I considered not letting your comment through but decided to do so because I think it’s important for people to understand what is happening in the Church.
    I will try to keep my reply brief: People like you are not repentant at all. You are not fighting your sin. You are accepting it and making it a part of yourself, as if it were no sin at all. This sets you apart from people who may have the same desires but are abstaining from acting out on them so that they can be purified in Christ. You say you’ve found a church that accepts you and your “partner,” and that saddens me because it tells me something about the Church. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you’re hopping from gay bar to gay bar or “settling down” with just one life partner. What you are doing is still an abomination in God’s sight. You say, “Christians do a lot of things now a days that would be considered sin 20-30 years ago, but are considered OK now,” but I submit that a gap of 20, 200, or 2,000 years does not make the slightest difference when we are dealing with absolute moral truth.
    As for “gay parents” being better parents than “straight couples,” that shows that you have a twisted mind. Ordinary male/female couples can sometimes be bad parents, but that is entirely beside the point. It is wrong for children to grow up in a home with “two daddies” or “two mommies.” It is directly contrary to natural order and God’s plan for the family. It is just as bad as a broken male/female home in its own way. To compare the two is like comparing rotten apples with rotten oranges.

  • quartet-man

    Let me ask you something, Craig.
    There is a kid who wants to play with kitchen knives. The first set of parents tell the kid that it is wrong and will lead to the kid’s destruction. The second set doesn’t like seeing the kid unhappy or maybe a couple wants a kid so bad that they are willing to let him play with knives if he will leave his parents and come to their house.
    Which of the following set of parents would be the most loving?
    Is it in the kid’s best interest to get upset with the first set and go find a set who will let him have what he longs for, even though it will cost him dearly?

  • Craig

    Both sets are most likely evenly loving. The first couple is just trying to keep the kid say from the knifes. The second parents may love the kids but they don’t know how to discipline the kid properly.

  • quartet-man

    Okay, even if the second set loves the kid, they are more into getting their way by getting the kid, or in not being uncomfortable in doing what is best. Let’s forget about love and ask which set is doing what is best for the kid?

  • Craig

    I now see why I am the only gay person to comment on this. I tried to live as a straight guy until I was 27, then I realized that I can’t keep living a lie. I have know I was gay since I was young (under 12). I have fought and fought this. I am the same as several other gay christians that I know. We didn’t chose this life style. We were born gay and will be till we die. If I could change I would, but I believe just like my other gay friends that God made us gay. Sorry, but that is how I feel. I am sorry you can’t accept us that are gay. We are God’s creation also. This is all I have to say.

  • You need to understand that there are MANY people who are born with certain inclinations—it may be an inclination towards a gay lifestyle, an ordinary heterosexual lifestyle, or an inclination to drink. That is not because God “gave us” those desires. The desires we all have to sin are a result of the fall. God can redeem us from our sin, but only if we are willing to crucify it and ourselves with it.
    I don’t advocate marriage for homosexuals (I use marriage in the normal sense of the word, as in marriage to a woman). But I don’t advocate the alternative either. You could have chosen what men with heterosexual inclinations have chosen: a life of celibacy. If you’re a Christian man, and the right girl just never comes along, you’re supposed to abstain because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the same way if you’re attracted to other men.
    You say “We were born gay and will be til we die… I am sorry you can’t accept us… We are God’s creation.” Let me again be clear: We are not saying that having certain attractions is a sin. The sin comes when you take those desires and normalize them, as you’ve done. I am sure that if you were living your life as fully for Christ as you could by remaining celibate in his strength, you could find churches willing to accept and guide you on your journey. But when you walk in with your “partner,” you are sending a message that you don’t think this is a sin, and you’re challenging Christians to “accept” it as though it were completely normal. At that point, the church does not owe it to you to normalize that behavior with you. Coming in broken, repentant, and struggling is one thing. Coming in unrepentant is another thing.

  • Who does not have a strong temptation to some sort of sin? Define strong temptations and weak temptations. Whatever happened to us being saved by grace alone? Where does it say in the Bible that if one struggles with temptation or sin that should no participate in Christ’s Ministry? If that were the case, then no one would be qualified to be in ministry. All of us have temptations and all of us have sins or “areas of weakness” The Bible says that “all have sinned and have fallen short.”

  • Troy, homosexuality is a particularly crucial sin to struggle with if you are involved in southern gospel ministry because you are constantly working closely with members of the same sex, sometimes even living with them. And the fact is that not everybody has that temptation.

  • Wow, you really singling out that one sin! So if one struggle with that for the rest of one’s life, then they are not fit to be apart of God’s ministry. Wow. Thank God I’m not a big fan or singer of Southern Gospel.

  • Given yours and the majority of the posts on here, “Why would one be open and honest about that struggle?” “Why would one not keep that to themselves?” They will be rejected if they just go off and be gay and they will be rejected if they resist temptation and fight. What’s the point?

  • Homosexuality is a particularly vile temptation, and I’m not apologetic about singling it out as such. However, I think all of us have respect for people who have the temptation and are legitimately fighting it. It’s just that strong temptations towards ANY kind of incredibly destructive sin (homosexuality included but also adultery, drinking, drugs, etc.), puts you in an extremely vulnerable position if you are in the ministry. I am defining “strong temptation” as temptation that you feel as though you are going to give in to at any moment. A singer spreading the gospel, or a pastor in the ministry needs to step down from his platform of leadership and concentrate on fighting strong temptations instead of desperately trying to hold the balance and not let down his fans/congregation.
    I don’t know how much clearer I can be. That’s the best statement of my position, and I think I speak for other people as well.

  • I believe you do! God Bless you and your ministry!

  • The love of God is not in your heart! Judge not let ye be judged.” Whether you believe it or not you are being judgmental.

  • Troy, I will tell you that I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle for reasons already given by others. However, I do not think any less of you or others as individuals.
    In response to your comment “So if one struggle with that for the rest of one’s life, then they are not fit to be apart of God’s ministry,” it depends on how you define struggle. If you think that you can proclaim being a Christian while being fully involved in an openly gay relationship, you are mistaken. If you are saying that you have homosexual thoughts, but have never acted out on those thoughts and never intend to, I think you can be involved in ministry.
    YGG, everyone struggles with sin. Who are we to determine how God weighs the severity of each type of sin?

  • This was your best response on the topic. Your last paragraph says it perfectly.

  • People tend to take that verse out of its wider context. Jesus is not telling us that we can never make balanced, careful judgments based on Scripture. What he is saying is that we need to be aware of our own shortcomings and not be swift to point out faults that may be miniscule compared to our own.
    I don’t think it’s judgmental to point out that a) there are very destructive sins, that b) the temptation to commit them can be very great, because Satan is alive and well, that c) people in the ministry carry a crushing burden to fulfill God’s call on their lives while walking in righteousness, and that d) it’s very difficult for them to do this if they are powerfully drawn to destructive behavior. From these premises I draw a perfectly sound conclusion that people in the ministry with powerful temptations towards destructive behavior are not called to be ministers of the gospel. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love them, and it doesn’t mean that we are saying they can’t be brothers in Christ. We only recognize that they have a particular weakness that indicates they could best serve God in a different way.

  • It’s only what I’ve been trying to say over and over again.

  • I felt like the tone of this one was much less condescending. I think that many times people get offended by Christians is not because of the message being told, but by the tone it was conveyed with

  • Ah, but Craig was just as offended by my response to him as he would have been by any other comment. Some day, Josh, you will learn that it doesn’t matter how much conservatives bend over backwards to satisfy the left with our “tone.” They won’t be satisfied until we bow to the beast. Being nice doesn’t pay, so my philosophy is we may as well not bother.

  • Bobbysgirl09

    I loved your comments, yankee! Couldn’t agree more….it’s so sad that we have so many singing and claiming to minister when they are living in sin themselves (and yes, you could include other sins beside homosexuality here.) The Bible is very clear on homosexuality. We need to be so careful about what we allow in our churches and what we allow to influence us. God help us.