From time to time, you’ve seen doubtful warnings in articles, reports, and news stories shared by email and on social media. They are very alarming and potentially of extreme importance.
Though they may or may not be true, but seem so important, people often re-share them just in case they are true, and in doing so they spread misinformation and even cause unnecessary harm.
Just in Case
Sometimes we approach religious issues similarly. Things we were taught as truth begin to seem less clear than we thought; harsh doctrines seem inconsistent with the Father who loves us; our hearts respond to the pain of those badgered by doctrinaire Christian leaders. Yet whether it is creationism, legalism, or some other questionable doctrine, we often decide to defend that doctrine just in case it is true.
We do the same thing regarding gays and the church. Biblical passages condemning gays and biblical passages supporting gays are all extremely weak. In fact the Bible doesn’t seem to address the issue of being gay at all. Since it is so unclear, we might decide to condemn gays anyway—just in case it’s a sin.
As a serious follower of Jesus, working in stages through this issue, I decided instead to give the benefit of the doubt to supporting gays as much as possible. My first step was simply not to joke about or ostracize gays; then I decided to defend common civil rights for gays; later I quietly advocated gay civil marriage.
I dealt with the lingering thought of ‘What if God really does condemns them?’ but, since the Bible is so unclear, I decided to be as supportive of gays as I could—just in case God accepted them. I chose the ‘just in case’ of love instead of the ‘just in case’ of judgment.
Four Positions of Christians Regarding Gays
Among believers today, there are four main ways to think about gays.
- Gays are evil and should not be tolerated or accommodated in any way.
- Gays are sinful, but we should not deny them civil rights.
- Same-sex attraction is not a sin, but gay Christians must not act on their attraction.
- Same-sex relationships are not sinful, so gay Christians in relationship are not sinning.
I held all four positions at different times as I wrestled with the issue, but my conclusion is that being gay is not sinful and that gays should be accepted as equals in the church—position #4.
I believe position #1 is terribly wrong; extreme position #1 advocates even call for executing gays. I don’t think believers should hold position #1; however, I applaud believers who move from position #1 to position #2, or from #2 to #3.
Gay Christians, themselves, are divided between positions #3 (called side B) and #4 (called side A). However, both side A and side B advocates agree that same-sex attraction is not sinful and there is no reason to reject those in the church with same-sex attraction.
The Example of Jesus
The driving forces in my acceptance of gays are the inclusiveness of Jesus toward marginalized people of all sorts and the growing confirmation that same-sex attraction is not a choice. The more important is the attitude of Jesus.
I can’t imagine Jesus expressing the harsh condemnation of gays often heard among some believers today. His sharp words were only for religious leaders who burdened and marginalized the people the Father loved.
Chas, one of my regular readers, shared this insight:
It seems to me that we are responsible to God for the way in which we respond to things, so that would include the way in which we respond to/react against people who are gay.
The actions that draw us close to God are to show love and tolerance; the actions that push us away from God are to show hatred and intolerance.
I agree with Chas. Love for others always brings me closer to the heart of the Father.
Christian Bloggers who Support Gays
I am a minor voice among Christian bloggers who support gays. You might want to check out some of these advocates:
Justin Lee is THE Leader among gay Christians. He blogs at Crumbs from the Communion Table. He is in high demand as a speaker, so he doesn’t blog as often as he used to, but his archive is excellent. He also heads the Gay Christian Network.
Rachel Held Evans is one of the most popular progressive Christian bloggers and blogs on a range of themes.
Kimberly Knight is an M. Div who blogs about being gay and Christian in America.
What are Your Views about Same-sex Attraction?
If you wish, I am happy to hear your thoughts about same-sex attraction in the comments section below, no matter what they are.
I invite your comments and observations below.
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Have a great day! ~Tim