Posted on Dec 10, 2010 by Tom Gilson
- To Treat One Another As Humans
- To Treat One Another As Humans: Part 2a
- To Treat One Another As Humans, Part 2b
- Can a Homosexual Be a Christian? Can a Christian Be Homosexual?
- Christians and Gay-Rights Advocates: Hatred or Humanity?
- Facts, Values and “Your Personal Beliefs”
- Treating One Another As Humans (Redux)
Is there such a thing as a gay or lesbian Christian? Of course there is. I know that I myself am a saved sinner, so I am certain there are lesbians and gays who are Christians. I’m acquainted with more than one who say that they are, and one in particular for whom there is reason to believe it. It’s up to God, not me, to judge their relationship with him.
That’s a very minimal answer; one might even call it ducking the question. There’s much more to be said about it. Over on First Things: Evangel, Bret Lythgoe asked (see comment #29):
One could have a homosexual, who engages in homosexual activity, and accepts Christ as his savior, but doesn’t repent of his homosexual activity. Are you saying that he is still unsaved, and if so, how is this congruent, with the notion, that one is saved purely by accepting Christ as one’s savior?
I could see why he asked the question, but there were biblical principles he seemed to be missing. I answered in comment #30,
The notion that one is a Christian “purely by accepting Christ” is true, provided that one understands what it means to accept Christ. To receive and believe in him (John 1:12) is to recognize who he is and why we need him: that he is God and we are not; and that apart from Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for us, we will surely suffer the consequences of thinking we are in charge of our own selves.
Many things flow from this. Some of them are logical implications. If he is God and we are not, then he is in charge and we are not. God understands our best way of living, for he designed us and we did not; and of course he loves us, so to live according to his design is good.
Therefore to accept Christ is to assent to follow his ways. Otherwise it is like saying, “I accept Christ, I believe that he is God and he is good, but I won’t follow his ways since I don’t think he is the good God over my life. I accept him, but not that aspect of him.” That would be self-contradictory nonsense.
But it is not just this. When we accept and receive Christ, it is Christ whom we receive, actually indwelling us to direct our ways and to give us divine power to live in holiness. It is a deep and personal relationship, so there is also that relational incentive to live in congruence with God’s ways.
For these reasons, repentance is always involved in coming to Christ. No one ever repents perfectly, since we’re still humans living in a still-fallen world. But there is always a mental, volitional, and behavioral move toward following Christ’s ways when one is in Christ (“in Christ” is an alternate NT term for being a Christian).
So the person who says he or she has accepted Christ but evidences no resulting changed life has very likely not really accepted Christ.
To that I would add this: Romans 1:18-32 includes a list of errors that characterize a culture degraded by turning away from God. Homosexuality is just one of many sins on that list. It culminates in what I think Paul wants us to regard as the most serious fault of all:
They not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
It’s one thing to experience overwhelming temptation, to have a tough time standing up against it, and even to fail at times. It’s considerably worse to say the thing was right to do all along—as the gay rights advocates are doing. Even though it’s possible for a homosexual to be a Christian, it is not possible to understand and believe the Bible’s teaching, and at the same time to approve of immorality in any form.