The LGBTQ+ Community and the Bible
I did a message this last weekend that consisted of FAQs on the Bible. It was the final message in our series, Best Seller watch the message here.
One of the questions that several people emailed me was regarding what the Bible says about the LGBTQ+ community. I answered it and I noticed people crying. When I finished answering the question people clapped in all three services. I was not expecting a response like that. Our community has many LGBTQ+ people among us. Frankly, I just wanted to answer the question and get out of the message still alive. I was shocked when I noticed gay friends clapping as well.
I thought it might be helpful for some if I put my answers in this blog. My answers were framed by seven statements.
1. Our sexuality is intertwined with our spirituality
How do I know? Because no one is an atheist when they are having an orgasm! Pause...now you can laugh.
When someone has an orgasm there is a sense of transcendence, wholeness, self-forgetfulness, union. When someone has a spiritual experience they feel a sense of transcendence, wholeness, self-forgetfulness, union.
Genesis 4:1 Adam knew his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
The word for know (aka sexual intercourse) is yada in Hebrew. It is the same word that is often used when God is known. Sex is born out of a desire to know and be known. God made us to know him and be known by him.
Maybe our culture is so hyper-sexualized because we are so hungry and thirsty for God?
Maybe heaven will be like one never-ending orgasm? It’s a just a theory, but why not? :)
2. Sexuality is fluid, social, genital
It’s fluid. Jesus was very masculine. He drove out the money changers in the Temple like Rambo meets Harrison Ford in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Jesus could be very feminine. He loved children. He was very nurturing. He longed to gather Jerusalem like a mother hen drawing her chicks to herself.
We all long to be sexually whole like Jesus. We need to embrace the masculine and feminine in each of us and each other.
It’s social. Jesus was just fine letting the apostle John lean against his chest at the last supper. He was also quite comfortable with Mary washing his feet with her tears and hair. Women in the first century let their hair down only in the bedroom.
Would we be less addicted to sex in our culture if we could be more comfortable without sexuality in social settings?
It’s genital. Jesus had a penis. He was not afraid of genital sexuality. He did not see it is dirty, but as created as a gift from God. He probably did not marry to prevent leaving behind a widow and orphans when he went to the cross.
Sex is good.
3. Sexual sins are not at the top of God’s totem pole of sins
Matthew 11:24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.
What was the sin of Sodom? Homosexual rape and inhospitality. What was the sin of Capernaum whom Jesus is addressing in the verse? Unbelief in God’s Son, the one true King of everyone. Jesus was God with flesh on. When we reject Jesus we are rejecting God.
We all create totem poles of sin. Some Christians have put the sins of the LGBTQ+ community at the top. Pretty easy to do if you are not tempted in that way. But Jesus did not do this. He put sins against God and society much higher than the sexual sins of straights and gays alike.
4. The church in the western world is split on the issue of gay marriage (no kidding).
Romans 1:26-27 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lusts for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
These verses, among others, have been debated by both gay marriage-affirming scholars and scholars holding to the traditional view for decades.
The gay-affirming theologians argue that it is not referring to monogamous, same-sex marriage. They say it is not unnatural for gay people to seek same-sex lovers. They call for a Copernican paradigm shift in our thinking about the kind of homosexual acts discussed in Scripture. They argue that just as there is a redemptive telemetry in the Bible for women and slaves, the same holds true for those wanting to participate in gay monogamous relationships.
Theologians holding to the traditional position say their gay marriage-affirming friends are arguing from silence. They say that Nero was married more than once to gay lovers and that people in the first century did have an awareness of same-sex attraction and marriage. They claim that Paul is referring to original design and that while the redemptive telemetry for the equality of women and slaves is evident in Scripture you will not see a similar telemetry in the passages discussing same-sex attraction. Homosexuality in the Bible is never condoned and marriage in the Bible is always between a man and a woman.
Our elders have read the arguments on both sides and believe the weight of Scripture favors the traditional position.
5. We are all sexually broken.
There are not two classes of people, straights, and gays. The Bible is not that binary. We are all broken! Every one of us.
80% of the men in our church struggle with porn. 33% of the women in our church watch porn regularly. 50% of us are divorced, including me. 80% of the women in our church have been sexually abused. 18% of the women in our church have been raped. As the wife of my friend Alan Hirsch, Deb Hirsch says, “We all limp into heaven and get there by grace.”
6. There is no room for judgment regarding gay people.
Our ethic is love. Jesus said we are not to judge anyone. God alone is our judge. The church in the western world has a stain on its witness that is very ugly. We have judged the LGBTQ+ community.
Not at Restoration!
We have many people in our church who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. We love you!
7. Restoration requires imagination.
The imagination of some Christians is very limited regarding what restoration looks like for members of the gay community. Ministries like the now-defunct Exodus International believed that gay people are not restored unless they have opposite sex desires and marry someone of the opposite sex. This is incredibly limiting and shame-producing, not to mention unbiblical.
Jesus never promised that any of us would be fully restored in this lifetime. Restoration for gays and straight people in our church may mean staying celibate. It might mean living in community with people we are committed to for life, while remaining celibate. It might mean a life partner we commit to while remaining celibate. Some gays in our church will marry and feel peace before God in making that decision. While we may disagree with them theologically, we will continue to love them and walk with Jesus together.
Regardless of our sexual orientation, we must prayerfully imagine what restoration and redemption can look like in this lifetime. We must discern and imagine together what restoration and abundance in Jesus can hold for us until we are fully restored in the future.
Between now and the resurrection we will put our arms around each other and limp together towards heaven until we all get there by grace!