Tom Gilson

Can a Homosexual Be a Christian? Can a Christian Be Homosexual?

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.

Series Navigation (To Treat One Another As Humans):<<< To Treat One Another As Humans, Part 2bChristians and Gay-Rights Advocates: Hatred or Humanity? >>>
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4 thoughts on “Can a Homosexual Be a Christian? Can a Christian Be Homosexual?

  1. Good post, Tom. I hope people don’t miss that last paragraph. That paragraph points to why Christian’s discuss the subject the way they do – in churches, politics, blogs and on street corners.

    There’s plenty of grace to cover the sins of the repentant (the humble). No grace is offered to the unrepentant (the proud) who celebrate and take pride in their sinfulness.

    Struggle as they might – and I’m sure they do struggle a lot – a Christian who is homosexual does not celebrate or take pride in living out that kind of lifestyle. Those that “come out proud” (keyword: proud) are making a public statement that they are not followers of Christ.

  2. SteveK:

    In that respect, Blaise Pascal said some wise things:

    “The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be wretched. A tree does not know itself to be wretched.” [Which means a proud (i.e., not humble) person reduces themselves to the level of plants, i.e., sin–or sin therapeutically argued away–denigrates the our very humanness.]

    “The only shame is to have none.” [Touché!]

    “There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.” [Amen!]

    “If we do not know ourselves to be full of pride, ambition, lust, weakness, misery, and injustice, we are indeed blind. And if, knowing this, we do not desire deliverance, what can we say of a man…?” [Er… um… not much]

    And then there’s G.K. Chesterton:

    “When people impute special vices to the Christian Church, they seem entirely to forget that the world (which is the only other thing there is) has these vices much more. The Church has been cruel; but the world has been much more cruel. The Church has plotted; but the world has plotted much more. The Church has been superstitious; but it has never been so superstitious as the world is when left to itself.”

  3. But how are people to distinguish between accepting what Christ himself actually teaches and accepting what humans who claim to speak on his behalf say that he teaches?

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