Last Sunday, I read this post, by a student Pastor who writes about how he would treat his children if one of them turned out to be gay. My initial response was not anger, but grief. Many people have read his article, and leave feeling like the only way someone could love their children is by accepting them as they are, and coming to grips with God making them that way (two assumptions that are invalid, as we shall see).
While reading the article, I struggled with processing the thinking behind the conclusions he made. You could tell he put a lot of thought into what he said; it seems like he has been developing his thoughts for awhile, and has held onto his opinions for years. But, there are too many problems to list here. If this guy is a student Pastor, I’m starting to wonder why he only mentions the Bible once in the entire post. Pastor’s are called to be Bible teachers, disciplined thinkers, above reproach, and gentle leaders (1 Tim. 3). But, the tone of the post was more philosophy than theology. The logic he uses in his piece seems to appeal more to our compassion than our faith in Christ. When you take our faith away, our love means nothing, because we no longer cling to God, who is love (1 Cor. 13). If this pastor cannot convince us from the Scriptures, then we should not be convinced at all.
I am grieved that he sees God’s love through the eyes of acceptance (of a person and their choices) instead of grace (modeled in Jesus). I am grieved at the future his (potential) children will face, as they are taught to ignore loving Christians who tell them they need to repent, and look at them as enemies. They will see the people who love them as the same people who tell them God made them gay. I am grieved that people will read his post and think that God made people to become what He never intended. I am grieved that they will be raised with a view of God that misses the mark of the gospel. How?
It’s because the gospel doesn’t tell us that God loves us for who we are (we have nothing to offer), but for His own sake. If God has already accepted us as we are, then why did He send Jesus?
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25 ESV)
For His own sake, God made the way back to Him. He made the way back because we ran from Him. Adam and Eve responded to their sin by running from God (Gen. 3). Our sin separates us from God (Isa. 59), and for us to think we are already acceptable to God is to ignore sin, plain and simple. Love is not acceptance, love is whatever God does. This is why we are told to imitate Him (1 Jn. 4:8-10, Eph. 5:1)
Some of you may be offended, but listen closely:
The love of a parent is unlike anything else in the world (Psalm 127). I respect him for wanting the best for his (unborn) children, and for having the courage to state what he believes is right. However, when I read his article, I couldn’t help but recognize that he didn’t mention the Bible very much (he mentioned “proof” verses and a general statement in Psalm 139). You can tell that he didn’t want to talk about the things in the Bible that would challenge his decision to accept his child’s sexuality. It seems like he made the decision already, to ignore any verses. As if, debating the Bible was pointless when it came to sexuality, that the issue was spelled out clearly and we missed it. But, he missed out on something else: an amazing view of God’s love that gives him more freedom with his child than he ever realized: the freedom to love him or her the way God does.
This issue of whether a Christian should accept having children who embrace homosexuality, is odd. It’s odd because concepts like love, fatherhood, and protection are Biblical concepts, if they’re looked at Biblically. Of course you should love your children, and not make them angry for the wrong reasons (Eph. 5), but first we need to define love. Is love approval? Is love acceptance? To put it simply, the best way you can love your children is to point them to Jesus while following His example. How did Jesus love?
The common argument is that Jesus loved everyone, and He did (and still does)! He healed the sick and ate with prostitutes, sinners, and tax collectors. He spent three years seeking the outcasts, and commanding people to love one another. Does that mean He was preaching acceptance of all (not necessarily tolerance)? Not at all.
It is easy for us to interpret the message of Jesus as a message of accepting each other and loving each other like the Beatles talk about, but that’s not the point He was making. Loving each other is only possible if the parties involved are saved. Love is only possible once the bad news is dealt with, and the good news is received (see Jn. 17:1-3). Our unredeemed self is not capable of love, until we repent and know God (1 Jn. 4). Before that happens, it is only a shadow of the real thing.
So, what does this mean about Jesus? Jesus had a mission, not an ethical practice He was trying to get everyone on board with (Jn. 3:17ff). If His message was acceptance, then the crucifixion and resurrection were kind of pointless. But, if we look closely, we discover that Jesus did not accept everyone into the Kingdom, but He loved everyone. What do I mean?
I mean this: He loved them so much, that He pleaded with them to be saved (see Matthew 23). He pleaded because He knew that God will not accept an unrepentant person (Rom. 2). Their sin was not ignored because of Christ’s affection, it was brought to light! For God so loved the world, He sent His Son (Jn. 3:1-17)! Let that sink in. If God accepts everyone for who they are, then why did He send Jesus?
Now, think about your own life: Does this mean you should reject anyone who is not a Christian? By no means! No one would be saved if we all huddled together in fear of the world. We love God, and fear Him, and we want others to know Him! What this means is that you don’t fully cling to the people in your life who do not know Jesus, that you don’t become unequally yoked and let them lead you away from Christ. That you point them to Jesus, and love them like He did, but never approve or silently condone their sin. Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes, but He never let told them to stay as they are.
God’s love is not an accepting, pacifistic applause, but a transforming relationship. He makes us into new people. We are sinners, and we are out of alignment with our design. But, the Bible promises us that we can return to our creator, who will transform us, and set us free from sin (Jn. 8:38). We are in chains and don’t even realize it, but through repentance in Jesus we can know God and enjoy Him forever (Eph. 2:4-10). This is what the Bible calls being made into the image of Christ (Col. 3), we are made to resemble Christ (1 Jn. 2:14).
The writer misinterprets Psalm 139 by saying that to be fearfully and wonderfully made includes being made gay. It’s one thing to say you’re genetically inclined, another to say God is the author of homosexuality. You could say the same for drunkeness, lying, stealing, anger, or sex addiction: God made me this way! He made me a lover of alcohol, to tell white lies to protect people, to steal to feed my kids, to be angry so that people will stay off my back, and sex because it makes me feel alive. The question is…is homosexuality a sin? If so, then to reason in favor of it is a grievous sin (Isa. 1).The Bible tells us that God did not make us sinners, rather, we need to be born again. We need to be made into new people.
You cannot be in continuous, unrepentant sin, and be a Christian at the same time. These are not my words, these are the words of the Apostle John: He says that if we continue in sin, we have no part with Christ (1 Jn. 2). Now, listen closely: struggling with sin is reality, but it’s not the same as embracing it. We will sin, but the difference is that we no longer want to keep on sinning. It’s something we actually want to fight against. If homosexuality is a sin, then you cannot be a Christian and involved in unrepentant homosexuality at the same time. In a previous article, I highlighted how homosexuals as a people group do not exist. We are sinners, and if homosexuality is sin, then it must be repented of, not embraced.
If we accept our sin as the definitive proof for who we are, then we are basically telling God that He is not powerful enough to save us, and would be wrong in changing us.
The Bible clearly tells us what the image of Christ is not:
– It is not drunkeness (Eph. 5, Prov. 30:1, 1 Cor. 6)
– It is not sexual sin (1 Thess. 4:8, Col. 3:1-8)
– It is not cursing (Eph. 4:29)
– It is not being a disobedient child (Rom. 1:18-32)
– It is not worshiping objects (Rom. 1:20-22)
– It is not embracing all your desires (Eph. 5)
– It is not homosexuality (1 Cor. 6, Rom. 1:18-32)
We can clearly see in the Bible that God did not design us for any of these things. We could justify ourselves and say, “but, God, I was born a sinner! I was made to be this way! Why won’t you let me be who you made me to be?” The curse of sin is passed down to us. That’s why God cannot accept us as we are: we are not capable of being who we were meant to be!
If homosexuality were a part of God’s design, then why would He introduce it as normal only after the world was placed under sin? Every creature God made had a partner, except Adam. Every creature was commanded to be fruitful and multiply (conceiving offspring, each being of a different sex). God designed a suitable helper, and made Eve. At the end of Genesis 2, a truth is issued: a man shall leave his father and mother, and hold fast to his wife (2:24). Not spouse, but wife. Man and wife,
This is because marriage reveals the mystery of Christ and the Church, represented by the bride and bridegroom (Eph. 5), not bride and bride or bridegroom and bridegroom. Marriage represents God’s story of love for His bride: He cleanses her with His word, He redeems her and leads her. That’s the story of redemption, that’s the story of love. Homosexuality is not an issue of choice, but an issue of design. God designed us to be HIS bride, His people. For us to say we can represent this union differently is to miss the point of love entirely.
God does not accept everybody, but He loves everybody. Is that unfair?