Oh. My. Goodness. Bill Henson rocks!

Last week’s class was divided into two parts. First, a testimony and challenge from Bill Henson, who Skyped in from Massachusetts. And second, an introduction to what Romans 1 has to say about Homosexuality. Clearly, the first half was the best.

Bill Henson
Bill Henson

Bill Henson is the founder and leader of a ministry called Lead Them Home, which is an outreach to people who are LGBTQ and to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Bill himself identified and lived as a gay man for a number of years before he found Jesus and fell in love with the gospel. I met Bill through a mutual friend, Lesli, who also Skyped in to our class a few weeks ago. I haven’t met Lesli or Bill in person, but I can say quite confidently—and on behalf of our class—that they have both reshaped how we should think about homosexuality and the church.

Bill is theologically conservative; that is, he does not believe that same-sex marriage is within God’s will. However, he has a heart the size of Texas for the gay community and has a very nuanced and compassionate approach to reaching the gay and lesbian people. His over-sized compassion probably stems from his many years in seeking identity and value in his own homosexuality. Now, he believes that Jesus, rather than his sexuality, should define and determine his value as human being.

Bill articulated with uncanny precision the need for Christians to unconditionally love people who are LGBTQ. No, this doesn’t mean that the church should affirm same-sex relations. Again, Bill is theologically conservative. But he doesn’t let the Bible—or a wrong interpretation of the Bible—prevent him from extending grace to undeserving people. We are all lost and in need of grace. Making such grace inaccessible, or creating a bunch of Pharisaic hoops for people to jump through to enjoy such grace, is neither gracious nor Christian.

“What the evangelical church needs to do,” says Bill, “is not change its theology but change its posture.” And “unless we change our posture, our theology will suffer.” A theology that believes that God died for undeserving enemies and extends scandalous compassion to sinners must—if it wants to be consistent—love others without footnotes and caveats. Again, such love does not demand affirmation of behavior, but neither does such love require prerequisites for relationship. If Jesus could befriend ancient gang-bangers, terrorists, and porn stars (Matthew 9), then His followers can certainly saturate the LGBTQ community with counterintuitive love and compassion.

Bill is also a huge fan of not reducing our view of LGBTQ people to issues surrounding sexuality. People are much more than whom they desire sexually, and Christians bill henson 2diminish the beauty and creativity of other humans by reducing them to a particular sex act. (I feel a passing reference to Phil Robertson coming on…but I refrain.) Gay and Lesbians desire relationship—like the rest of us. They desire love and value—like the rest of us. They desire acceptance, forgiveness, laughter, and joy—stuff that I have been given as a sheer act of grace by my Creator. A Creator who demands that I pass on such blessings to others.

There were too many truthful nuggets Skyped in last Tuesday night. If you desire to learn more, I’d highly encourage you to check out Bill’s ministry at blog.leadthemhome.com.

As far as Romans 1 goes, we took a look at the logic of Paul’s argument in Romans 1 (esp. vv. 26-27) and his use of the Greek phrase para physin, or “contrary to nature” (or “unnatural”). Everyone acknowledges that his phrase virtually makes or breaks one’s view of what Paul is talking about here in Romans. Is Paul talking about “nature” in the sense of “against cultural norms” (as he does in 1 Corinthians 11:14), or does Paul mean “against the design and moral will of the Creator?”

After looking at several Jewish and Stoic writers, along with Paul’s allusions to Genesis 1-2 in Romans 1, we concluded that he does indeed refer to the design and moral will of the Creator, not just to what is socially abnormal (like wearing a tank-top in Saudi Arabia, which is socially unacceptable but not intrinsically evil).

Now, many of you may be a bit lost. If you haven’t engaged in the raging discussion about the meaning of “natural” and “unnatural” in Romans 1, then theses distinctions may seem unclear. So, I’ll circle back around—both in this blog and in class next week—to make sure we all understand the interpretive options available to us. And as I said in class, while I believe that Romans 1 considers all forms of homosexual acts as sin, I would be the first one to acknowledge that there are some serious exegetical arguments to the contrary. Not everyone who disagrees with my traditional view of Romans 1 is tossing biblical authority to the wind. Again, traditionalists need to stop  quoting Romans 1 and start interacting with the contextual, historical, and exegetical complexities of this complicated passage if we are going to demand that people without the gift of celibacy remain single the rest of their lives, or pull our funds from particular Christian-based humanitarian organizations.

Series Navigation<< Homosexuality Class – Week 6: An Evening with Matt JonesHomosexuality Class – Week 8: Excluded from the Kingdom? >>

23 COMMENTS

    • Sure. I cut and pasted my notes below:

      Plato’s Laws “use the expression ‘contrary to
      nature’ in the same form that it appears in Romans 1:26 to describe same-sex
      eros (cf. Laws 636c, 841d)”

      Dio Chrysostom,
      Discourse, 7.135, 151-152 critiques homosexuality,
      seemingly pederasty, as going against “sufficient limit that set by nature” (physis); cited in Hays, 405 n. 22).

      Plutarch
      describes homosexual sex as “contrary to nature with males” (arenas) and the love between men and
      women as “natural” (te physei). The
      passive partner is described as acting “contrary to nature” (para physin) because they “allow
      themselves in Plato’s words ‘to be covered and mounted like cattle’ (Dialogue on Love, 751C, E).

      Musonius Rufus.
      “Those who do not live luxuriously or who are not worthless must conclude that
      the only justified sexual practices are those that are consummated within
      marriage for the purpose of creating children, since these practices are liscit
      (nomima) as well; and that those
      sexual practices which aim at mere pleasure are unjust and illicit, even if
      they take place within marriage. Among other types of intercourse, those that
      involve moikheia ([i.e. with freeborn
      women under another man’s control] are the most illicit; in no way more
      moderate than these is intercourse of males with males, since this bold act is
      contrary to nature (para physin). As
      for those types of intercourse with females apart from moikheia that cannot occur licitly (kata nomon): all of these are shameful as well, because they occur
      as a result of lack of self-control” (On
      Sexual Intercourse, 63.17-64.12).

      Jewish use

      Josephus: “…what
      are our laws about marriage? That law owns no other mixture of sexes but that which nature has appointed, of a man
      with his wife, and that this be used only for the procreation of children. but
      it abhors the mixture of a male with a male; and if any one do that, death is
      its punishment” (Ap. 2.199, alluding
      to Lev 20:13).

      Josephus
      talks about the intercourse between males as “unnatural” (para physin) and says that the homosexual intercourse among males
      in Greek mythology is “unnatural” (para
      physin) (Ap. 2.273, 275)

      Philo labels
      pederasty as “an unnatural pleasure” (ten
      para physin hedonen) (Spec. Leg. 3.37-42; cf. Abr.i 133-141, where the Sodomites threw off the laws of nature).

      Cf. also

      Athenaeus, Deipnosophists,
      XIII 565c; 605d; Pseudo-Phocylides, Maxims
      190f; Clement, Paidagogos, III. 3,
      21, 2

      • Do you notice that Dio Chrysostom spoke of these acts in the context of excess lust with his phrase “sufficient limit”? It seems it was thought that only those who live in excess were prone to homoerotic acts.

        I also found by Dio Chrysostom:

        “The man whose appetite is insatiate in such things, when he finds there is no scarcity, no resistance, in this field will have contempt for the easy conquest and scorn for a woman’s love, as a thing too readily given —in fact, too utterly feminine — and will turn his assault against the male quarters…believing that in them he will find a kind of pleasure difficult and hard to procure. His state is like that of men who are addicted to drinking and wine-bibbing, who after long and steady drinking of unmixed wine, often lose their taste for it and create an artificial thirst by the stimulus of sweatings, salted foods, and condiments.”

        This implies that those who lead a life of excess develop an appetite that can no longer be satiated with the “sufficient limit” (i.e. sex with wife), and, instead, they seek after that which is “hard to procure” (i.e. sex with men). I find the last sentence—the comparison—very telling. It was thought that the heterosexual addict lost his taste for heterosexual sex and developed an “artificial” (i.e. unnatural) desire for men.

        Do you notice that Musonius Rufus spoke of these acts in the context of excess lust with his mention of “Those who do not live luxuriously…”. Those who live in excess are prone to homoerotic acts.

        I also found by Musonius Rufus:

        “Not the least significant part of the life of luxury and self-indulgence lies also in sexual excess. For example, those who lead such a life crave a variety of loves, not only lawful but unlawful ones as well, not women alone but also men; sometimes they pursue one love and sometimes another, and not being satisfied with those which are available, pursue those which are rare and inaccessible.”

        Those who lead a life of sexual excess crave not women alone but also men, because they become dissatisfied with what is accessible (i.e. wife) and pursue those which are inaccessible (i.e. attempts to satiate excess lust with men).

        Plato (Laws, 4th century BC):

        “…the pleasure enjoyed by males with males and females with females seems to be beyond nature, and the boldness of those who first engaged in this practice seems to have arisen out of an inability to control pleasure.”

        They go “beyond nature” /because/ they do not have the ability to control pleasure.

        All this aligns with Paul’s Romans 1 passage where the homoerotic acts of the heterosexuals are in the context of excess lust.

        The writing we have on homoerotic activity centers around this warning that if one leads a life of excess, his wife will no longer sexually pleasure him and he’ll turn to males for pleasure.

        Even in 1 Cor. 6 and 1 Tim. 1, nearly all the prohibitions relate to some kind of overindulgence. Paul prohibits the act believing that the act is always a result of excess lust. I don’t see how we can know what Paul would say about homoerotic acts in the context of loving, monogamous marriage.

        • Two ways to know,, Julie: the context as stated above: “this passage’s context is the *ungodly and unrighteous suppression of the truth.* Paul is providing examples of the consequences of the suppression of truth. When humans suppress God’s truth, the end result is that we do things that are ungodly and unrighteous, such as pursuing that which is contrary to nature: lusting after the same sex.” Second, the Bible specifies many times God’s plan and purpose for marriage to be carried out in a heterosexual relationship. As Paul is one of the writers to expound on marriage, we can know exactly what he would say about homosexual marriage: there is no place for it and homoerotic acts are sinful with no God-permitted context to carry them out. In short: homosexual acts are unrighteous + marriage defined as 1 man & 1 woman DOES NOT EQUAL homosexual marriage is biblical & approved by God.

          • When a man suppresses God’s truth, the end result is that he
            may lose control of his lust and allow his sexual excess and uncontrolled passion to drive him to seduce other men. This is what Paul speaks against and it still applies. The married gay folks I know of did not pursue one another through the driving force of excess lust and uncontrolled passion.

            The Bible suggests the purpose of marriage, and although it always puts marriage between one man and one woman in a positive light (perhaps even elevating it as the ideal), it does not define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Biblical marriage has consisted of various combinations.

    • Even though WV has now reversed course, it will continue to plague them. Here is the best response of the many that I have read, MIguel writes:

      First of all, I’m willing to wager that most [I would wager ‘all’] of the people who pulled

      their support are not trying to cause children to suffer. Most of them
      have been loyal supporters of the poor, and to throw them under the bus
      as if they didn’t give a damn is disingenuous. Many would have
      continued to leverage their resources to help those in need through
      other organizations. These are giving people who care, not hypocrites
      bent on inflicting pain. These “Evangelicals” are objectively known to
      be disproportionately generous with their donations to charitable
      causes. They have put their money where their mouths are, and do not
      deserve to be thrown under the bus merely because they believe an
      organization bearing the name of Christ has crossed the line.

      Second of all, the hiring of homosexuals is not merely a civil rights
      issue. It is an ecclesial issue, a harmitological issue, and a
      soteriological issue as well. Here’s why: As an explicitly Christian
      organization, World Vision (like many other Christian organizations)
      hires specifically people who are Christians, exclusively. This leaves
      them in the situation of determining who is or is not a Christian. This
      is an unfortunate task for an organization to be stuck with (it is
      better left to Pastors and those who draw the lines of fellowship within
      the context of congregations and church traditions), …

      But anyways, once you have this system, where World Vision has to
      filter it’s potential employees for unbelievers, anybody who has gone
      through similar employment process knows the drill. You have to sign to
      a certain statement of faith that assures you’re not a Jehovah’s
      Wittness, Arian, or Buddhist. Then you have to agree to abide the
      teachings of Christianity, and live above reproach in terms of morality,
      especially sexual morality.

      Organizations that pursue this method will often dismiss employees
      who are sexually promiscuous. Such behavior is incompatible with
      Christian faith, and indicates a lack of sincere belief (unless it can
      be determined it is a sin of weakness an the repentant offender is
      willing to work towards recovery).

      Throughout the New Testament, issues of sexuality are treated with
      specific harshness in terms of church fellowship. A Christian church is
      not permitted to treat someone living in open sexual immorality as a
      bona fide disciple of Christ. You cannot claim the name of Christ and
      reject His teaching and that of the Apostles and church he founded. If
      you want to argue a new interpretation of Christ’s teaching, recognize
      that your spin is in fact new, comes from an ulterior motive, and will
      not be adopted by Christ’s church. We believe that the unrepentant
      sinner has no part of Christ, and it is our duty, as those who hold to
      Christ, to be clear about this. The hiring of homosexuals in committed
      relationships/marriages, in an organization which claims exclusively
      Christian employees, is a contradiction of this.

      There is no way in hell the response actually surprised the
      leadership of World Vision. You know it, I know it, and the American
      people know it: Any dolt off the street could have predicted this was
      going to happen. So I ask you, where does the blame truly lie? The
      supporters of World Vision who stick to their guns, or the leadership
      who flips to please a vocal minority and then flips back to protect the
      bottom line? I will not say for sure, but I do know this: If World
      Vision continues wants to deliberately alienate their support base for a
      cause they believe in, they shouldn’t complain about the cost they
      agreed to pay. Starving children is not a fair price for the
      progressive agenda, but Christians honoring 2000 years of consistent
      tradition and teaching know they don’t have to choose between them.
      Perhaps the solution is that World Vision ought not only hire
      Christians. Perhaps the solution is that it should stick to feeding the
      hungry and let the Churches bring the Gospel. Perhaps the reality is
      that an institution claiming the name of Christ should not be so
      surprised when it is held accountable by His church.
      Note, this entire argument is premised on the idea that IF World
      Vision hires exclusively Christian employees, then the hiring of
      married/committed gays implies that such practices are compatible with
      Christianity. The Church disagrees and calls this false teaching. We
      are not against married homosexuals having jobs, nice jobs, good paying
      jobs, or even doing charity work, and to paint us that way is neither
      honest nor fair. I’d personally rather that World Vision not require
      all their employees to be Christian, but I can understand how that might
      interfere with the spiritual aspect of their mission.

  1. The text doesn’t say the men abandoned the natural function for that which is against nature. It says they abandoned the natural function and burned in desire toward one another. Their abandonment of the natural function for something else was what they did “in the same way” as the women who exchanged the natural function for something else. Why do some assume Paul is calling the men’s acts “against nature” when he never actually says that?

    • Hey Julie!

      I’ve been reading some of your comments on FB, and I really do appreciate your compassion. As someone who has experienced same-sex attraction for at least 22 years, this topic is important to me.

      In my own studies, I’ve concluded that homosexuality is indeed a sin in any form.

      So in humility and love, I thought I would try to provide an answer to your question above.

      Rather than “assuming” that Paul is calling the men’s acts “against nature,” I believe this passage provides sufficient proof that Paul is indeed calling their actions “against nature.”

      As you mentioned, what the men did was “in the same way” to what the women did. Paul’s explanation, then, of what the men did is parallel to his explanation of what the women did. In fact, I would argue that Paul’s explanation of the men’s actions is also an expansion/elaboration of his explanation of what the women did.

      Here’s my own representation of this parallelism/expansion:

      Greek:

      αἵ θήλειαι // οἱ ἄρσενες
      μετήλλαξαν // ἀφέντες … ἐξεκαύθησαν
      τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν // τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν
      εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν // εἰς ἀλλήλους

      English:

      The women // The men
      exchanged // abandoning … burned [with desire]
      the natural function // the natural function
      for those that are contrary to nature // for one another

      (I’ve combined “abandoning” and “burned” because they’re semantically connected as a participle dependent upon the main verb)

      According to this parallelism, the men’s “burning with desire *for one another*” is parallel (read: equivalent) to the women’s acting “contrary to nature.”

      The women acted contrary to nature // [likewise/in the same way] The men acted contrary to nature

      Just as the women “exchanged” the natural function and replaced it with that which is contrary to nature, the men exchanged the natural function by *abandoning* that natural function and by replacing it with that which is contrary to nature: burning w/passion for one another.

      I appreciate your time to consider my answer. 🙂

    • Julie, Julie…we’ve been here before! The “likewise” in v. 27 along with the logic of the passage and the way para physin is used of both male and female same sex relations connects what Paul says in v. 26 with what he says in v. 27. Almost everyone who disagrees with the traditional view that I advocate for still agrees that Paul calls homoeroticism “unnatural”–they just disagree on the meaning of para physin.

      • Actually, we haven’t been exactly here before. Yes, you mentioned that you believe the “likewise” suggests that both are involved in homoerotic acts, but I don’t remember you saying that the “likewise” also means Paul is calling the acts of the men “against nature.” Technically, Paul never calls the men’s acts “against nature.” Those who believe Paul is speaking of non-procreative forms of sex with the women would not necessarily assume Paul is calling the men’s homoerotic acts against nature in the passage. Although, I guess both acts would still be considered against nature if that phrase was commonly used to refer to male-male sex.

  2. I am a heterosexual, conservative, traditionalist. Full disclosure. My plain reading of Romans (in context with book and Chapter 2) is that Romans 1 is more about straight folks who suppress the truth. Romans 1 speaks of a culture that suppresses truth and there are many diverse manifestations (Romans 1:28-32). Romans 2 describes the greater evil of hypocrisy.

    Hypocrisy (Pharisaical approach to truth) is the basest form of truth suppression.

    Romans 1 & 2 is primarily trying to get the attention of straight folks and their need for the grace & mercy of the transformational truth of the gospel.

    In Romans 1 it seems to me there is a nexus between the advancement of homosexuality in the culture with truth suppression (hypocrisy) in the straight community (believers & non-believers). It is almost like a sort of sign-post that straight people (believers & non-believers) have lost their way and these are the repercussions of a false ‘liberty’. A sort of release (letting go) has taken place in the spiritual realm as straight folks live lives of hypocrisy (truth suppression).

    Every time I hear a complaint about the LGBTQ agenda, I’m reminded that it is mostly the result of our own cluelessness about the Gospel.

    The advancement of homosexuality in the culture is the direct result of the impotence of the church (evangelical church). The very church I’m a part of.

    It’s almost like God using the LGBTQ cause to test the church – so, what is your offer? so, what is your invitation? so, what are you going to do about it? so, what is your answer? Crickets.

  3. Hi, Josh. Very nice to meet you.

    I don’t rule out that the men’s actions were considered against nature in Paul’s day. However, just because something is against nature doesn’t mean it’s inherently sinful (cf. 1 Cor. 11:14). The glaring point I see in the passage is that the acts of the men are in the context of burning lust. We don’t know what Paul thinks of homoerotic acts in the context of marriage.

    • It is nice to meet you as well. 🙂

      I believe the context of this passage gives us enough information to determine what Paul thinks of homoerotic acts within the context of marriage.

      As I understand it, this passage’s context is the *ungodly and unrighteous suppression of the truth.* Paul is providing examples of the consequences of the suppression of truth. When humans suppress God’s truth, the end result is that we do things that are ungodly and unrighteous, such as pursuing that which is contrary to nature: lusting after the same sex.

      I grant that “against nature” isn’t inherently sinful. But context determines how we should view “against nature.” In this particular context, Paul is without a doubt making the claim that “against nature” is inherently sinful—it is the ungodly and unrighteous suppression of truth. And as I showed in my previous comment, Paul believes *both* the women’s actions and the men’s actions are against nature. Paul doesn’t need to *explicitly* claim that the men’s actions are against nature; the “likewise” and the literary structure make it clear that he believes the men’s acts are against nature.

      With this in mind, I believe it is more than reasonable to understand that Paul views all homoerotic acts as the ungodly and unrighteous result of the suppression of truth—even within the context of marriage. I believe this claim is also supported by Paul’s discussion of marriage elsewhere, where he clearly has one man and one woman in view. It’s also supported by many other evidences, such as what Preston has already mentioned.

      • Is it contrary to nature to be attracted to the same sex when one has a same-sex orientation? What truth is being suppressed when one has a same-sex orientation beginning from age 8?

        It was “against nature” for men to wear their hair long. Is it inherently immoral today?

        Paul condemned all homosexual activity, but all men were believed to be heterosexual and such activity was seen as a case of excess lust leading to the shameful display of going beyond the ordinary realm of experience (i.e. unnatural). So, all the homosexual activity that Paul condemned was in this context.

        In order to condemn gay marriages today, we’d have to agree
        with Paul that both partners could find love and romance with heterosexuals; therefore, their marriage is an act that goes beyond the ordinary realm of experience (i.e. “against nature”) arising out of lust.

        I’m willing to admit that a valid argument can be made for either view. We don’t have Paul here to tell us which view is correct, so we can only guess. I need something more than my best guess to tell millions of people that their love is inherently sinful. Don’t you?

  4. Hi Preston –

    I’m still trying to process the events of last week; specifically I’m considering the evangelical response to World Vision’s employment policy change. There are two questions regarding theology that I would love your thoughts on.

    First, the evangelical church rejected World Vision’s attempt to classify the sinfulness of homosexuality as a disputable issue. In fact, Russell Moore suggested it’s a primary concern on a par with the creeds; he said “At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ.” With this primacy perspective, the evangelical church has impugned the faith of all gay-affirming Christians and the legitimacy of the churches where we worship.

    In your view, what is the biblical standard for deciding primary v. secondary, disputable v. non-disputable doctrinal issues? When are we to allow for Romans 14 type unity, and when are we to warn against apostasy?

    Second, in evaluating doctrine, what weight are we to give experience (alongside scripture and tradition)? In my view, the events of last week are more bitter fruit from the traditionalist doctrine. (I recognize that some people see last week as good fruit – a long-overdue step back towards traditional morality.) I would agree that emotion-based theology is bad theology. But I’m wondering if you think outcomes are a legitimate way to evaluate the sanctity of a given doctrine? Can we judge a theology by its fruits?

    I ask these questions to get a better perspective on conservative theology as opposed to cultural pressures and the role each played in last week’s events. In all candor, I’m stuck and trying to find a way forward.

    If these aren’t appropriate questions for the blog, would you be kind enough to email me directly.

    My very best to you.
    David

    • Hey David,

      Sorry about not getting back to you. Please know that it’s only a time issue, not a personal issue! I’m trying to keep my reponses to a minimum so that I don’t neglect other responsibilities in my life.

      In any case, you raise two very good questions. In brief, here are my thoughts:

      “In your view, what is the biblical standard for deciding primary v. secondary, disputable v. non-disputable doctrinal issues? When are we to allow for Romans 14 type unity, and when are we to warn against apostasy?”

      I honestly don’t know for sure, but here’s where I’ve always landed on this. First, the primary issues are those deemed primary by the early church as expressed in the creeds of the 4th-5th centuries. Now, homosexuality was, as far as I know, agreed upon by virtually everyone for 1900 years in Christianity, but it was not talked about too often. Probably because it didn’t need to be. Along with the creeds, I would also want to know just how fundamental such an issue (whatever it is) to the Biblical story and theme of redemption. The fact that homosexuality is only mentioned 6 times tells me that it’s not that fundamental; however, the fact that it deals with issues of gender and sexuality tells me that it’s a huge issue. So, in all honesty, I’m not sure if I’d put it as a primary or secondary issue just yet.

      “Second, in evaluating doctrine, what weight are we to give experience (alongside scripture and tradition)?”

      Ya, I’m still very conservative on this one. Scripture is our ultimate and final authority. I would give much more weight to tradition than experience. Experience is so tainted by sin, interpretation, wrong-headed impulses, deception, etc. People lie, or they convince themselves of things that aren’t true, or they mis-interpret events or experiences on a colossal level. I mean, even on a small scale, my wife and I can witness the same event, or person, or whatever, and walk away with two radically different interpretations of whatever it is that we saw. Only one of us is right!

      Now, I will say that our experience does influence how we interpret, and we need to interpret truth. So, in this sense, experience is important to how we access and interpret truth.

      Just thinking out loud…

  5. Hi Preston –
    I’d still be very interested in hearing your perspectives about the two questions I posed earlier. If you don’t have time to answer, I certainly understand of course. But any answer you could provide would be very helpful to me personally.
    My best to you as always.
    David

    • Hi Ford, love your challenges, questions, and inquiries. As a conservative traditionalist I too am stuck and struggling to find a way forward.

      Can you help clarify for me what does sexual morality (or sexual immorality) mean to someone who identifies as gay but follows Jesus Christ? This has caused me so much confusion. I have no interest in debate or judgment, I’m just trying to get understanding and clarity from your point of view. That’s all.

      As a heterosexual man, all I know is that I have found over the decades that my sexuality is a gift but a burden too. I’m keenly aware of sexual morality (immorality) for my life. The discipline, self-control, and denial have been more than challenging and frankly at times wished I had no sexual desire.

      I just wonder how the issue of sexual morality works with your Christian LGBT pov? Again, just seeking clarity and understanding of your pov. No judgment.

      • Hi Phyte_On –

        My husband and I made a wedding vow to one another: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”

        We pledged our whole selves exclusively to one another for a lifetime. We strive to love each other with mutual care-taking, grace, compassion, and self-sacrifice. Sex is an important part of our marriage; our emotional commitments and bonds are uniquely enriched and deepened by sharing our bodies with one another.

        We’ve joined our lives – spiritually, emotionally, and physically; together, we contribute to the greater life of our families and communities.

        Sex outside of my marriage would be a betrayal of my husband. It would be devastating and clearly immoral. I imagine the temptations I face are very similar (if not identical) to those of straight people. If there’s any difference, it’s probably that I would have less opportunity for physical infidelity because the vast majority of men are straight.

        Even before I was married, I understood sexual promiscuity to be immoral. The unitive property of sex is profound, and casual sex is harmful – it causes emotional distress to some degree. “No strings attached” doesn’t really exist when we’re talking about physical intimacy.

        I believe my lived experience is wholly aligned with the bible. Unlike Preston, I don’t believe covenantal same-sex relationships are proscribed by scripture.

        If we look beyond the clobber passages, I believe scripture shows us that we are relational creations – we are meant to be in relationship. Sexuality is a gift from God that is a mechanism for living into this creative intention. Sex is a unique and significant expression of emotionally intimate relationships. The unitive property of sex binds us to other humans in a profound way. Dating is good. Marriage is good. Sex within the context of covenant relationships is good.

        Scripture – even Paul’s seeming proscriptions on erotic homosexual acts – never says that the human condition is different for people who are gay. It never says that some groups of people are called to celibacy. (The traditionalist demand of people who are gay is a heavy, cumbersome load indeed! A demand that pulled me very far away from the cross.)

        The bible has a lot to say against sexual promiscuity. It calls us to express our sexuality in healthy, generative ways. For gay people, like straight people, I believe that sex is intended to be within the context of committed relationships.

        Thanks for asking. I hope my answer is helpful.
        My very best to you
        David

  6. “I would be the first one to acknowledge that there are some serious exegetical arguments to the contrary. Not everyone who disagrees with my traditional view of Romans 1 is tossing biblical authority to the wind.” Reading this blog, then came to these statements…and…well..it feels like you just debunked your own argument (?). If you believe these are true, this does not give a reader much confidence in your assertions here…If there are “serious exegetical arguments to the contrary” & the opposing view is also subjecting themselves correctly to biblical authority, how is one to come to any conclusion at all? My impression is that you are saying both sides are right rather than one, but I know the blog is meant to be sort of a short recap & may not have included your whole thought here. Do you mind clarifying briefly? Perhaps the clarification will come naturally in the posts ahead…thank you for this blog. I found it interesting and uplifting.

  7. I agree with LuvsGod. This sounds like doubletalk. How can people seeking the truth on this issue ever find peace and reconciliation with God if the people supposedly trying to help them are twisting the truth, even going against their own convictions. We shouldn’t ever try to help someone by lying to them. Better to speak the truth in love. Not everyone will receive it, but that’s what God tells us to do. Only the Holy Spirit can work to bring conviction, healing and deliverance.