Where I stand on Homosexuality

Fairly often, I receive emails asking where I or our church stands on homosexuality. Here's a response I've used, which you are free to share or glean from.

Thank you for inquiring about our view of homosexuality. It is a timely topic. Above all, our desire is to worship God, our Creator, in whatever way he desires, as King of all. But relative to the one issue of homosexuality, here is our basic stance.

Our congregation doesn’t define others by their sexual attractions alone, which is just one part of the complex people we are. We do not look at someone and simply say, “you are a homosexual,” or “you are a lesbian.” Rather, we say, “you are a human being with an immortal soul, created to know God  and to enjoy him forever!” Nor do we withhold love from those who practice homosexuality, or any other behavior. We seek to extend our love to all on the basis of grace, freely given.

We believe, however, the Word of God reveals his perfect standard for human behavior, which is best for us. Specifically, God calls Christians to uphold heterosexuality as his normative design for human flourishing. Moreover, the identity of believers is rooted, not in their sexual preferences, but in Jesus Christ. For instance, 1 Cor 6:9-11 says:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Why does God call us to honor heterosexuality as the only acceptable practice for humans? There are many reasons, but one is intimately connected to faith and the good news of Jesus Christ. God created men and women as sexual opposites, not by chance, but as a special sign of the relation he desires with us. Think about it. Though fundamentally different by nature, the two sexes, male and female, can be united in such a way that life flows forth. This is prophetic of the way that God, so unlike humans according to nature, desires to unite with us in creative love.

This is most explicit in Ephesians 5. There we learn God instituted marriage between men and women for the ultimate end of portraying Christ’s unbreakable bond with his Bride, the Church. The Son of God and the Church are different, yet they are compatible, in a way analogous to the bond that can exist between males and females. And from their spiritual union, new life flows out in the ministry and salvation of others. Hence, the Church is also called “the mother of us all,” relative to God’s Fatherhood (Gal 4:26). 

Homosexuality unwittingly distorts this gracious symbol. By pairing men with men, or women with women, homosexuality re-casts a false image, one that presents Christ as having nothing to do with his Bride, or the Church as having no desire for Jesus. The good news of the Gospel, however, is that God, who is fundamentally unlike us, wishes to share intimacy with his creatures, through Jesus Christ. By creating us male and female, and calling us to marital intimacy with our opposites, God has given us a most beautiful picture of his fruitful covenant love!

For this reason and others, we abstain, and teach others to abstain, from sexual immorality of all kinds. Of course, we are aware that many genuine Christians struggle with same-sex attraction—just as many others struggle with lust toward the opposite sex. It is not our place to condemn anyone, but to nurture faith, change, and growth. For those who desire to be Christ's disciples, we encourage and hold them accountable to “run the race with endurance,” playing by the rules God gave for our good. This seems impossible to unbelievers, and indeed it would be, if we lived by our own power. But Christ “works in us, both to will and to do according to his good pleasure,” through faith in him (Phil 2:13)

Admittedly, this response was probably longer than you were expecting. We take your questions seriously. Our aim is to see you grow in the Lord. Please feel free to continue this discussion.