Tom Gilson

Christianity’s hardest question concerning homosexuality

What is Christianity’s hardest question concerning homosexuality? I’m pretty sure it’s the one I write about in this month’s BreakPoint column. It’s not just a question for “somebody else” but for me.

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7 thoughts on “Christianity’s hardest question concerning homosexuality

  1. As someone who thinks that the Church and conservatives in general have poorly handled their approach to topics related to same-sex attraction, I have to say this:

    Everything I see about Marin’s attitude and approach seems not just mistaken, but gravely mistaken. And, sadly, I think it deals with one common Christian mistake by playing up another: romanticizing self-effacement and self-blame.

    I haven’t read Marin’s book, but I will be exceedingly blunt: if he manages to go through the entire book while talking exclusively about ‘same-sex attraction’ and ‘same-sex love’ while not once talking about sex – and I don’t mean “sodomy” but anal sex, oral sex, the LGBT sexual subculture in the main – then it’s, sadly, going to be a case of one more book that promises to tackle the most difficult topics, and then pretends that what is actually a soft, delicate, romanticized issue is ‘the difficult one’.

  2. I’m on my way out the door, but I have much to say in response to this (though oddly not about LGBTQ culture). I’ve been a lurker here for years, but haven’t really felt comfortable enough or that it’d be worthwhile to participate (in the sense that I’d have little to offer that would either be helpful or accepted). But it’ll have to wait a day. However, I am bothering to post now because, as I’m reading it, it seems that paragraph 7 in your article needs a preposition in the third line. I’m in a rush and read hastily, so I may be wrong. Until later, cheers!

  3. Crude, there are many things he doesn’t say in the book, because they are not his topic of discussion. What he does talk about is important enough to be said without saying everything else, too.

  4. No doubt, Tom. But there’s a problem – again, I say this without reading the book, but having seen Marin’s attitudes and interactions elsewhere.

    The problem is this: he slides back and forth freely between ‘people who are same-sex attracted’ and ‘the LGBT community’.

    People who are same-sex attracted are individuals. LGBT communities are either organizations or cultures. There is not a 1:1 correspondence between these two things, or even between their interests.

    When Marin talks about loving LGBT people, treating them AS people, being kind to them, not reducing them to being this act, this sin, that orientation? I’m all in favor of that, and that’s been a criticism of my own against this or that Christian – heck, I’ve nipped at your heels about language and stereotyping in the past, probably to the point of annoyance.

    When Marin praises the ‘LGBT community’, this organization, that culture, now we’re in a problematic area. Highly problematic. When Marin decides he’s going to apologize on behalf of all Christians for supposed past sins of Christians against the LGBT community, the problem explodes.

    Now, that’s not talking about his book. I can only go by your review, which seems to be intentionally light on detail or quotes. I can also go by Amazon’s reviews, snippets here and there. And there, I don’t see the ‘hardest question’ being addressed. I see it being avoided.

    You mention that Christ rarely gave or demanded strict binary answers. I suppose that’s true. But Christ did something else: he asked questions, he brought up topics, that made people feel uncomfortable. He asked rich people, quite directly, to sacrifice their wealth. He told people to stop sinning. He said things that didn’t ‘build bridges’ at times, but frankly torched them. That isn’t to say ‘torching bridges’ is in and of itself praiseworthy, but it does mean that gaining the favor of a community is only so valuable.

  5. Twenty years ago I was attending a large urban evangelical church which sponsored a well attended support group for Christians or church attenders who had either same sex attraction or same sex oriebtation (those are different categories). Though I wasn’t involved directly, I certainly fully support ministries like this. I was also supportive when the senior pastor when he denounced from the pulpit the use of the three letter f word, gay jokes and othe kinds of “anti-gay” bigotry.

    However, the church and pastor were also very clear that homosexual behavior was unequivocally sinful. Notice that I said it was the behavior that was/is sinful– not necessarily the attraction or orientation. (By the way, those are modern concepts that did not exist in ancient times.)

    My point is this: I am all in favor of being more sensitive but there is a very clear biblically defined boundary line that Christians cannot and must not cross (see 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11).

    It frustrates me when internet atheists show up here and play their duck-dodge-and-weave games. Why is it so impossible for them to lay their cards face up on the table? Is it because they are bluffing? Is it because they know down deep that they don’t have a winning hand? Why then do they persist?

    What do we gain as Christians when we start playing those same kind of games? To me it seems from the reviews that is what Marin is doing. It seems then it would be a waste of time for me to read his book. I don’t have time for people who play games.

  6. As Christians our actions should be discerned in matters like this. If any of my friend comes out as gay tomorrow what would be my response? Some of us conservative Christians have been taught to shun them outright!
    But I think there are two options

    If someone thinks that their faith is not strong enough and they may be swayed easily it is better for them to keep away but without hating the person as such.

    But if someone is sure in their convictions and think they will not be turned away from the Biblical truth. then they can be close enough with them. But should take the time to pray with them and teach them the position of the word of God. If you are really concerned about the eternity of your friend you will take the time to show that these simple pleasures are not worth spending your eternity in hell. All of us have some or other fleshly matters to fight with which we have to do with the help of the holy spirit. If all of us start giving excuses like the gays or LGBT who call themselves as Christians what is the purpose of Jesus death on the cross and the power of the holy spirit (I John 2|:13-17).

    Moreover the author of the book has tried to spend more time by being with them but at the same time we have to be clear about what the Bible says also. Just like how Jesus dealt with the adulterous woman he showed her compassion but also told her not to sin again (John 8:11). COMPASSION WITHOUT COMPROMISE!

    As Christians we are being constantly forced to compromise our Biblical values by the LGBT community. I believe we don’t have to go out of our way to do anything that supports it but if there is a family member of a colleague whom we come across as gay instead of outrightly shunning them we can try to be compassionate without compromising.

    As Christians we can be clear that every life is precious to God so we will not do anything intentionally or unintentionally to harm their lives. Because they themselves are answerable to God for the life style they have chosen against the word of God. But I don’t want to be a partaker in their homosexual behavior so I will stay out of any action that is directly or indirectly related to their homosexual behavior.

    BUT IF YOU ARE IN AN AUTHORITATIVE POSITION EITHER IN THE SECULAR WORLD OR THE CHURCH IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP any action that is directly or indirectly related to their homosexual behavior like homosexual weddings, adoptions or any kind of parties related to their behavior. Because as it was told to Esther “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

  7. Tom thank you for the article. I just found your website today when searching for answers to my questions about “genocide” in the bible.

    I think the best sermon I have heard on the issue of how Christians should approach the issue of homosexuality is from Pastor Chip Ingram of Living On The Edge ministries. It’s called ‘Homosexuality – What Do You Say To A Gay Friend?’ Pastor Ingram is straight forward about the scientific facts and what the bible says about homosexuality. He does so however in a way that is compassionate and loving. He makes right judgments without being judgmental!

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