December 17, 2017

Compassion for Confusion – A Christian Response to Same-sex Attraction

A Christian Response to “Same-Sex Marriage” and Same-Sex Attraction:
Part 5 of 5.

by Ken Endean

In Part 4 I dealt with several key Bible passages that are challenged by “pro-gay theologians.” There I presented a Biblical answer to attempts to reinterpret the Scriptures to meet an agenda. In this last article, we will conclude this look at the subject with:

A Christian Response to Same-sex Attraction

Romans 1 speaks not only of action but also of desire:

v. 26 vile affections — i.e., dishonoring desires

v. 27 burned in their lust — passion, desire

Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) is the phenomenon of being attracted to people of the same gender.

We must recognize there is considerable confusion today surrounding the issues of sexual attraction and gender identity. There are various reasons for this confusion, including the problem of rampant sexual abuse. Statistically 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused as children. Don’t you think that creates confusion and complications for all involved?

The culture states that if you have an attraction you should act accordingly because that is your identity. The attempt to push even platonic friendships and emotional connections toward physical relationships further sexualizes and confuses relationships. When you read of the physical closeness of same-gender relationships in Scripture, they are viewed as awkward within our cultural climate.

imageA Christian response must seek to advance righteousness, not win arguments.

A significant debate exists pertaining to SSA & Choice.

To argue for “choice” in SSA is unhelpful, unproductive, and (I believe) unfair. People who experience SSA do not claim to “choose it.” While behavior is always a choice, desires are deceitful. In counseling people who are struggling with life issues, do you ask, “When did you choose to be attracted to your neighbor’s wife?” “When did you choose to be bitter?” “When did you choose to be angry?” Such feelings and emotions arise from mishandling thoughts and deceptive desires.

Arguing for the naturalness of some sinful desires over others fails to advance righteousness or give hope to struggling individuals. It is not natural for children to be abused or for desires to be awakened inappropriately though experimentation outside of God’s boundaries. It is unhelpful to oversimplify the complexity of the emotional and physiological consequences of sin.

It is better to argue based on Biblical principles:

  • If you cannot righteously fulfill the desire, do not feed the desire.
  • If the sin is wrong, the desires are wrong also (Matthew 5:27-29).

imageA Christian response must compassionately provide hope for people who are struggling.

While the culture asserts that attraction equals identity, Scripture does not allow Christians to self-identify with sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 the church is not comprised of thieves and drunkards and homosexuals but those who were formerly those things. Homosexuality is a behavior, not an identity. It is natural only in the sense that it is an expression of the sin nature. The church is made up of new creations with an upward trajectory of life. Yes, they sin, but they are progressing in sanctification. The studies of which I am aware that assert a biological causation contain significant bias. But even if a biological link were established, biology is not destiny and cannot cause a person to sin.

The person trapped in sin needs compassion and understanding. Heart issues must be addressed through the hope of the Gospel. Sin is a heart issue, and it is not hate speech to warn of God’s wrath and share the hope of Christ’s payment to save a sinner from destruction.

imageA Christian response sees holiness as the goal, not heterosexuality.

The goal for a person struggling with SSA is not to make them heterosexual but holy. When Ephesians 4 speaks of putting off the sinful patterns that spring from the corrupt and deceitful human lusts of the “old man” (v. 22), and putting on Christlikeness which is the will of God

(vv. 20, 24), it speaks of “being renewed in the spirit of your mind” (v. 23). To promote heterosexuality without holiness is merely behavior modification and moralism. A person can be attracted to the opposite sex and still have inordinate affections (v.19).

Spiritual transformation involves “putting off” the characteristics of the old nature with its governing lusts and being transformed by the renewing of spirit of the mind; so one puts on new thinking and behavior which is created in “righteousness and true holiness.” In 1 Corinthians 6:11 Paul gives hope to sinners — and such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

This is not denying that the sanctification process can change affections, but rather emphasizing the doxological foundation of striving to glorify God first. Right thinking of a renewed mind is vital to the sanctification process.

imageA Christian response recognizes the gift of singleness as truly a gift for some people.

Singleness is a noble calling, if that is one’s calling. I find it interesting that in 1 Corinthians, after delivering warnings against and hope of deliverance from sexual sins, in the very next chapter Paul addresses sexuality in marriage and also singleness. In fact, he considers singleness a gift that he desires others to have (v. 7). Be careful not to make marriage an idol or a “legal” way to gratify selfish desires. Marriage ought to be for ministry.

imageA Christian response will lovingly give the message of salvation, knowing the certain and fearful judgment of God.

Marriage is defined by God. Gender is assigned by God, determined by the chromosome structure, and distinguished by anatomical design. To surgically disfigure one’s body does not change God’s plan, nor does it remove God’s warning. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 identifies those who will not inherit the kingdom of God and includes those who practice homosexuality. But the chapter concludes with words of hope:

11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Today’s Concluding Article

Pastor Ken Endean is President of International Baptist College and Seminary.

This material was presented at a workshop during The Gospel Proclaimed Conference, March 8, 2016 at Tri-City Baptist Church, Chandler, AZ.

Selected Bibliography

Butterfield, Rosaria C. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: an English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith (Expanded Edition). Pittsburg, PA: Crown & Covenant Publications. 2014.

Hubbard, Peter. Love into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International. 2013.

Köstenberger, Andreas with David W. Jones. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2004.

Lutzer, Erwin W. The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage: 6 Things You Must Know About What’s Really at Stake. Chicago: Moody Publishers. 2004.

Sears, Alan & Craig Osten. The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group. 2003.

Mohler, Albert. “Homosexual ‘Marriage’: A Tragic Oxymoron — Biblical and Cultural Reflections.” Sermon preached at the Desiring God National Conference. 2004.

Special thanks to Mr. Nathan Mestler, Dean of Students at International Baptist College & Seminary, and Pastor Daniel Llorente, Young Adults Pastor at Tri-City Baptist Church (Chandler, AZ), for the notes they provided through a PMDiscipleship class on this topic (Fall, 2015). Also, thank you to Andrew Minnick for sending me his seminary paper, “An Overview and Analysis of Queer Theology” (December, 2015).

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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