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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Homosexual Christian?

Jul 6, 2015

I sometimes wonder why I have to keep repeating basic and vital Christian truths over and over again. I guess there would be various possible reasons for this:

-Many Christians don’t read their Bibles
-Many Christians don’t really value truth
-Many Christians simply soak up the surrounding culture’s values and thinking
-Many Christians have short memories
-Many Christians have no interest in the biblical worldview
-Many Christians don’t bother to think
-Many Christians are in fact not Christians at all

All that would be the subject of another article. In fact, I already have written often about the sad state of contemporary Christianity in the West. One could be tempted to not keep repeating oneself. After all, I have books and hundreds of articles where I already make my case over and over again.

question-mark-faceSo I could just forget about it all. But truth is vitally important, and it needs to get a wide hearing. The fact that so many Christians are ignorant of their own faith and their own teachings is woeful indeed, but if it takes more repetition to get truth out there, then that is what we must do.

Here I want to once again address an issue which still has so many believers quite confused. I would have thought all this was pretty basic and easy to understand from a biblical point of view, yet it seems to be too much for so many believers. So let me rehash it once again.

The issue is this: can you be a homosexual and a Christian simultaneously? While it may seem a straightforward question, a few details and definitions are needed to explain this properly. My short answer is this: it is one thing to struggle with any sin, and be a believer. It is another thing to cling to and defend any sin, and claim to be a believer.

That is the crux of the matter. In other words, is there such a thing as a practicing, unrepentant homosexual Christian? In the exact same way we can ask, is there such a thing as a practicing, unrepentant adulterous Christian? Or is there such a thing as a practicing, unrepentant fornicating Christian? ‘No’ would be the likely answer to all three.

Let me rephrase this and restate this to hopefully bring a bit of clarity here. It is one thing to agree with God and say that you are struggling with a sin but know it is wrong and want help to overcome it. You struggle with the temptations and sometimes give in to them. But you know this is sin, and it is something you are not happy about.

That is altogether different from shaking your fist at God and saying that your sin is just fine and you have no intention of seeking to overcome it, or even call it sin. As to homosexuality, it means saying that my homosexuality is just fine and I will definitely cling to it, no matter what the Bible says.

There we find two entirely different attitudes. One agrees with God and one does not. That seems to be rather straightforward. Of course we all struggle with various sins and various temptations. No one is talking about sinless perfection here. No one is denying we may have an ongoing battle with certain sins.

But whether one agrees with God or not is crucial here. Either we side with God and acknowledge that this is something condemned in Scripture, and must be fought against by the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, or we cave in and seek to make excuses for our sins.

While all this should be somewhat obvious, there is still some confused thinking out there amongst Christians. Let me offer a few things which other believers have thrown my way as we discussed such matters. For example, one guy said, “I even think actively gay Christian men are often still saved. Some know they are sinning and fail. Others deny that they are sinning; yet still trust in the cross for their salvation.”

Um, there are some problems here. I have already dealt with both sorts of people. His first group has the right attitude: they know it is wrong. That they are still struggling and sometimes fail is not the crucial point here. But the second group he mentions is a contradiction in terms.

One cannot continuously affirm and practice known sin, yet at the same time claim to be saved in any biblical sense. What is biblical salvation? To a large degree, it is agreeing with God about our sins and turning from them. That is biblical repentance and that is the heart of salvation as proclaimed over and over again by Jesus and the disciples.

If we call something good that God calls sin, then we of course are none of his. Salvation always entails making Christ Lord. When we tell God he is wrong on an issue like homosexuality, we are not making him Lord – we are making ourselves Lord.

As mentioned, it is one thing to struggle with homosexual feelings. If you agree with God about them and seek his help to reject known sin that is one thing. But to defiantly tell God homosexuality is fine and that you refuse to budge indicates quite clearly that you are not a biblical Christian. We need to go back to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 for starters here:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

This guy replied by asking, “How does your statement that someone who is an active homosexual cannot be saved reconcile with Galatians 6?” What he should really be asking is this: How does your statement that someone who is an active homosexual can be saved reconcile with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11?

And Gal. 6 (specifically verse 1-6) is all about church discipline. When a believer goes off the rails in behaviour or lifestyle we are to warn, admonish and correct that person. The hope is that they will repent and get back to being right with God.

We are aiming for restoration of the fallen brother. But if they refuse to repent, then Paul makes it clear that we are to have nothing to do with the person, and we must put him out of the church fellowship. See more on this topic here: billmuehlenberg.com/1998/02/23/in-search-of-church-discipline/

This guy continued: “I think 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 talks about our ultimate identity in Christ; this cannot be shaken if we currently sin. My identity is no longer that of a wrongdoer; even though as a redeemed sinner I continue to do wrong.”

Regrettably we have some more confused thinking here. He needs to read what Paul actually said there. It is quite clear! It is about specific behaviours and actions which will keep us out of the Kingdom. If we keep stealing with impunity and show no remorse or desire to change we are not saved. In the same way if we keep lying with impunity and show no remorse or desire to change we are not saved.

And the same with one involved in homosexual sin. If he continues in it, is proud of it, and refuses to acknowledge that it is wrong, then yes of course, his behaviour – and his rebellious spirit – are keeping him out of the Kingdom. That is just what Paul means in the Corinthians passage.

He continued: “There have been times in my life where, as a Christian, I have been blind to my sin and even rationalized it as not sin; but even though I was faithless; God remained faithful because he cannot disown himself.” Sadly we have more confusion here.

He is still missing the point. It is one thing to have perhaps some lesser sins that you are not fully aware of at the moment which, when they come to light, you take action on – bad attitudes, etc. But that is quite different from knowingly, defiantly and wilfully continuing to engage in and make excuses for known sin.

He said that we cannot make judgments about such people, since we might misjudge them. But to say we can ‘misjudge,’ therefore implying we must not judge at all, is a non sequitur. We are all to judge one another in these areas.

And we are not making a final pronouncement on anyone’s soul and eternal state. Only God can ultimately do that. But Jesus said clearly we will know where people are at by their fruit, and everywhere in the New Testament we are told to judge whether a person is in the faith or not based on two things: the life they lead and the teachings they hold to.

The guy then said: “If we applied the test of complete submission to Lordship for salvation; we would all fail.” Again, this is a bit of a red herring. No, there is no complete or perfect anything on our part – perfect doctrine, perfect obedience, etc. The point is our heart attitude.

Do we agree with God about our sin or not? If we agree and seek to change, even with imperfect obedience, that is altogether different from rank defiance and wilful and continued disobedience. That has been the issue here all along. This issue then is this: we either take God’s side on the sin question or we refuse it.

That is how we are to understand the “homosexual Christian” issue. Are there Christians who have same-sex attractions? Of course. But what they do with them is critical. Do they seek to find deliverance and transformation in Christ, as hard as that might be (and it is hard for any deep-rooted addictive sin, be it heterosexual promiscuity, porn addiction, etc), or do they simply give in and claim that God made them that way and there is nothing wrong with it?

According to the clear teachings of Scripture, the first person may well be a true Christian, while the other person may well not be.

[1737 words]

10 Responses to A Homosexual Christian?

  • Dear Bill

    Very well put, and I see this compromise in the Western Church all the time, ‘overlooking’ wilful sin because it is ‘easier’ than facing it full square and calling it what it is. In many ways this is why we are where we are now, with such a weakened and enfeebled body of believers, simply because for probably generations we have failed to reprove, condemn and turn away from sin, in ourselves and in our brothers and sisters. This is idolatry of course, putting something else before God, be it community, standing in the eyes of men, ease of life or whatever. It is painful to break fellowship with those who will not repent, be teachable or accept God’s Word as their ultimate authority but the Word of God is clear, this is what we must do..

    Blessings
    Naomi

  • I am constantly impressed with your ability to write so many words, Bill and still get so many correct. Well done. This is the way John puts it (ISV):-

    1Jn 2:3 This is how we can be sure that we have come to know him: if we continually keep his commandments.
    1Jn 2:4 The person who says, “I have come to know him,” but does not continually keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth has no place in that person.
    1Jn 2:5 But whoever continually keeps his commandments is the kind of person in whom God’s love has truly been perfected. This is how we can be sure that we are in union with God:

    and

    1Jn 3:3 And everyone who has this hope based on him keeps himself pure, just as the Messiah is pure.
    1Jn 3:4 Everyone who keeps living in sin also practices disobedience. In fact, sin is disobedience.
    1Jn 3:5 You know that the Messiah was revealed to take away sins, and there is not any sin in him.
    1Jn 3:6 No one who remains in union with him keeps on sinning. The one who keeps on sinning hasn’t seen him or known him.
    1Jn 3:7 Little children, don’t let anyone deceive you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, just as the Messiah is righteous.
    1Jn 3:8 The person who practices sin belongs to the evil one, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason that the Son of God was revealed was to destroy what the devil has been doing.
    1Jn 3:9 No one who has been born from God practices sin, because God’s seed abides in him. Indeed, he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born from God.
    1Jn 3:10 This is how God’s children and the devil’s children are distinguished.

  • In terms of the “fruits of the spirit” with respect to human behaviour, I think there is none more revealing than the whole “gay pride” thing. Pride is self-absorbing and self-obsessing and if the antics of much of the “gay liberation” movement is anything to go by, the fruits of the homosexual spirit is, with our doubt, pride. And self-prods is as total a rejection of God as any human can be. But if you read what some apologists for “Christian” homosexuals are concerned, its like this- if you accept the Levitical teachings on homosexuality, believe the earth is round while eating bacon, you’re a hypocrite.
    Yep, that the standard of debate that’s out there at the moment by well-meaning but sadly deluded Christians who support homosexual marriage.

  • The Rev Melvin Tinker, a parish priest in the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu’s diocese, said a senior cleric whom is due to bless the city’s annual Pride parade at the Minster on Saturday should be “ashamed of himself”, since this would the same as blessing paedophilia and serial adultery. He could have added bestiality as well.
    http://www.anglicanink.com/article/statement-dean-york-saturdays-gay-pride-rally-blessing
    However such is the state of the Church of England he was attacked by those clergy who were blessing the parade of shame. The Rev Canon Michael Smith, the Canon Pastor of York Minister, said he hoped launching the parade would help people “discover God’s love” and said it was vital that the church was “welcoming and affirming”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iujfenNp-Bk
    Here is a sample of the freaks who presently occupy clerical positions and who would rewrite the Bible or perhaps complete throw it away in favour of Eastern mysticism.
    http://www.anglicanink.com/article/statement-dean-york-saturdays-gay-pride-rally-blessing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6aI-fnllNg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjhExkEh4Hw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na2zW-1i2TA

    David Skinner UK

  • Yes Michael Weeks. The so- called Christians who promote homosexuality claim that there are no categorical statements in the Bible condemning homosexuality and that to claim such certainty is bigoted and arrogant. Clearly as you indicate, the first epistle of John is full of certainty. ” You know” and ” We know” is repeated many times. Even the devil knows this and trembles.

    David Skinner

  • Surely the problem is of those who say “homosexuality is MY NATURE, I was ‘born that way'”, and then say that one’s (present) nature is good, and to be accepted (rather than rejected), then, “God made me (all of us) the way I am”, and therefore, what God has made is good, and should be accepted and celebrated. There is a dangerous version of Christianity which says this, that Nature (including human nature) AS IT NOW IS is good, and to be accepted (in truth, all human nature AS IT NOW IS (post-Fall) is to be put off.

  • David and Naomi, I’m afraid we must expect more and more of this, and it is pretty much what Jesus predicted. We can expect no help or support from most of the mainstream churches, least of all the Bergoglio chapé. The positive side of all this is that it will bring together real believers to form new churches like in the first century AD. Who knows what persecution is down the road, but it all may be a blessing in disguise.

  • You can’t serve two masters!
    GOD blesses the hearers, readers, and the doers of his word.
    Why do you call me LORD, LORD, and do not the things that I say?
    Men will become lovers of themselves more than lovers of GOD.

    Need I say MORE?

  • To paraphrase John Thomas, “sinfulness is MY NATURE, I was ‘born that way’” – true statement! However, my Bible is clear that my present nature is NOT good – and I know innately that it’s NOT good.

    My wife and I had the privilege, some years ago now, to lead a young lesbian woman to repentance, and hence the saving grace of Jesus. She turned her back on 27 years of homosexuality and never went back. We were privy to some of her struggles.
    I asked her once, “What about those people who are ‘same-sex attracted’ from their earliest memories?”
    She replied, “Every single one of them made the choice, whether to live that way or not.”

    Straight from one who knew the truth of the matter. Like ALL sin, it’s a choice. That’s all I need to know on the matter.

  • Thank you!!!!
    Where are the church leaders in Australia? Why are they not speaking out about this?
    Are they afraid of losing their “tithing” members?
    Stand up people of God and speak truth again!

    God bless you Bill for taking up the Sword of the Spirit.

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