Pro-Gay Theology Overview
by Joe Dallas
Major denominations ordaining homosexuals, priests and clergy presiding over same-sex weddings, sanctuaries invaded by boisterous gay activists, debates over homosexuality ripping congregations apart, who would have guessed we’d ever reach such a point in church history?
The pro-gay theology is much like the broader gay rights philosophy, in that it seeks legitimization -- not just tolerance -- of homosexuality. Gay spokesmen have made no secret of this as being their goal in secular culture; activist Jeff Levi put it plainly to the National Press Club during the 1987 Gay Rights March on Washington: “We are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a protection from wrong. We also have a right -- as heterosexual Americans already have -- to see government and society affirm our lives. Until our relationships are recognized in the law -- in tax laws and government programs to affirm our relationships -- then we will not have achieved equality in American society.” 1
But pro-gay theology takes it a step further by redefining homosexuality as being God-ordained and morally permissible: “I have learned to accept and even celebrate my sexual orientation as another of God's good gifts,” says gay author Mel White.2
When God is reputed to sanction what He has already clearly forbidden, then a religious travesty is being played out in bold fashion. Confronting it is necessary because the pro-gay theology asks us to confirm professing Christians in their sin, when we are Biblically commanded to do just the opposite.
The pro-gay theology is a strong delusion -- a seductive accommodation tailor-made to suit the Christian who struggles against homosexual temptations and is considering a compromise. Some who call themselves gay Christians may be truly deceived into accepting it; others might be in simple rebellion. What compels them to believe a lie, we cannot say. What we do know, however, is this theology is false. But even as we say so, the caution of a proper spirit is in order. When we answer the pro-gay theology, we do so as sinners approaching other sinners, nothing more. Rev. Andrew Aquino of the Columbus Baptist Association expressed it perfectly: “My message to the homosexual is: We love you. Come and struggle with us against sin. Don't give in to it.” 3
The pro-gay theology in brief
Exactly what do the “gay Christians” believe, and how did they come to accept it? The first question is more easily answered than the second. Explaining what a group believes is not hard. Explaining how they have come to believe it is another matter.
We cannot read minds or motives. That, I am sure, is one reason Jesus warned against judging (see Matthew 7:1). We can be certain the teachings themselves are false; why people have accepted them is something we cannot prove one way or another. Yet the Bible offers clues, and testimonies from members of the gay Christian movement are also enlightening -- helping us understand what the gay Christian movement believes and what personal and spiritual factors may have influenced their beliefs.
Pro-gay theology is the cornerstone of the “gay Christian” movement (which is comprised of whole denominations, like the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, as well as gay caucuses within mainline denominations) just as the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds are the foundation of most Protestant beliefs.4 The movement is diverse; some of its spokespersons—Episcopal Priest Robert Williams and Bishop John Shelby Spong, for instance—promote flamboyant and blatantly heretical ideas. But most groups within the gay Christian movement ostensibly subscribe to traditional theology. (The Statement of Faith of the Metropolitan Community Churches, for example, is based on the Apostles and Nicene Creeds.) 5
Although the pro-gay theology claims a conservative theological base, it includes additions and revisions to basic, traditional ethics. Primarily, homosexuality is seen as being God-ordained. As such, it is viewed as being on par with heterosexuality. Gay author Mel White points out, quite accurately, that “if you don't see that premise (that God created homosexuality) then gay marriage looks ridiculous, if not insane.”6
But to be seen as created by God, the traditional understanding of homosexuality needs to be discredited. This is done in four basic ways within the “gay Christian” movement.
- Prejudice against homosexuals is blamed for the understanding most Christians have of the Biblical references to it. The founder of the Metropolitan Community Churches, Rev. Troy Perry, asserts this in his writings: “To condemn homosexuals, many denominations have intentionally misread and misinterpreted their Bibles to please their own personal preferences.”7 So, according to Perry and others, not only are most Christians wrong about homosexuality, but many or most are intentionally wrong—deliberately reading their prejudice against gays into the Bible.
- White goes even further, stating that major leaders in the Christian community—Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy and Pat Robertson—take public stands against the gay rights movement for the sake of raising funds and increasing their visibility.8 Casting doubt on the motives of conservative leaders, and numerous denominations, makes it easier to discount their Bible-based objections to homosexuality. No wonder this tactic is so common in the “gay Christian” movement.
- Others within the movement contend the Scriptures we understand to condemn homosexuality have actually been mistranslated. According to this view, the Bible should be taken literally in its original language; the problem with most Christians, they say, is that they do not know Biblical Greek and Hebrew well enough to realize our modern translations on homosexuality are all wrong.
- Another claim pro-gay theorists make is that the Bible verses (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10) which seem to prohibit homosexuality have actually been yanked out of context from their original meaning, or that they only applied to the culture existing at the time they were written. (Professor Robin Scroggs of Union Theological Seminary, for example, claims, “Biblical judgments about homosexuality are not relevant to today's debate.”9 )
1. From Jeff Levi's speech to the National Press Club during the 1987 Washington Rally, cited in Shadow in the Land, Dannemeyer, William (San Francisco: Ignatious Press, 1989), p. 86.
2. Mel White, “Stranger at the Gate” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), p. 311.
3. "Gays and the Church," ABC World News Tonight television special, February 28, 1996.
4. See Hank Hanegraff, “Christianity in Crises” (Eugene: Harvest House, 1993), p. 317 for the roles both creeds play in the essentials of Christianity.
5. Troy Perry, “Don't Be Afraid Anymore” (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), p. 342.
6. Randy Frame, “Seeking a Right to the Rite,” Christianity Today, March 4, 1996, Vol 40, No. 3, p. 66.
7. Perry, p. 39.
8. Perry, p. 39.
9. Robin Scroggs, “The New Testament and Homosexuality” (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), p. 127.
Pro-Gay Theology: 'Jesus Said Nothing
If the notions of truth and doctrine are becoming unimportant
to Christians, can the idea of sin survive?
by Joe Dallas
To the biblically ignorant, general pro-gay religious arguments can pass for truth. In the light of Scripture, however, they do not hold up under scrutiny.
A recent poll showed 66 percent (two-thirds) of Americans no longer believe there is such a thing as "absolute truth." More disturbing, though, was the fact that 53 percent of those not believing in absolute truth identified themselves as born-again Christians; 75 percent of whom were mainline Protestants.1 If "absolute truth" no longer exists, even in the minds of half the "born-again" population, it logically follows that doctrine, and the Bible itself, is given less credence. Pollster George Gallup Jr. noticed this in The People's Religion: American Faith in the 90s. "While religion is highly popular in America," he states, "it is to a large extent superficial. There is a knowledge gap between American's stated faith and the lack of the most basic knowledge about that faith."2
In short, self-identified Christians in the twenty-first century are Biblically ignorant. Doctrine has become less important than good feelings; indeed, a USA Today survey found that, of the 56 percent of Americans who attend church, 45% did so because "it's good for you," 26 percent went for peace of mind. Specific doctrines, the pollster noted, seemed unimportant.3
If the notions of "truth" and "doctrine" are becoming unimportant to Christians, can the idea of "sin" hope to survive? Probably not; 25 percent of Christians polled in 1993 believed sin to be "an outdated concept."4 "The awareness of sin used to be our shadow," Cornelius Plantinga writes in Christianity Today. "Christians hated sin, feared it, flew from it. But now the shadow has faded. Nowadays, the accusation you have sinned is often said with a grin."5
But the gospel truth is never so accommodating. John the Baptist was ferocious with the Pharisees (see Matthew 3:7-8), Jesus trounced Peter when he tried to interfere with His mission (see Matthew 16:22-23) and Paul was willing to publicly rebuke hypocrisy -- even when committed by a respected disciple (see Galatians 2:11-14). To be sure, there is a place for gentleness. But never at the expense of truth.
Yet, today the gap between truth and modern practice has been large enough to allow any number of false (albeit "nice") ideas to enter the church, creating a mentality that says, "Let's all get along without conflict, shall we?" Author J. Stephen Lang attempts to explain this phenomenon: “Love is understandable -- warm and fuzzy. Doctrine, on the other hand, sounds cold, difficult and demanding.”6
A desire for "warm and fuzzy" without a commitment to truth makes the general religious arguments of the pro-gay theology all the more palatable. Unlike pro-gay social justice arguments, these general "religious" arguments appeal to the themes of harmony and goodwill and bypass issues of mankind's fallen nature, sin and obedience. To the biblically ignorant they can pass for truth; in the light of Scripture, though, they have no leg on which to stand.
Since they are more religious in tone than social arguments, these debates can be answered almost exclusively in biblical terms. Remembering that members of the gay Christian movement say they believe in biblical authority, these arguments are best answered with a call to return to the objective truth of the Bible in lieu of the subjective winds of human experience and understanding.
Religious argument #1
"Jesus Said Nothing About Homosexuality."
This argument is a favorite at gay parades. Invariably, when the "gay Christian" movement is represented, someone in their group will hold up a sign with the following words:
"WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY: ________________."
The idea, of course, is that if Jesus did not specifically forbid a behavior, then the behavior must not have been important to Him. Stretching the point further, this argument assumes if Jesus was not manifestly concerned about something, neither should we.
Troy Perry (along with most gay Christian leaders) makes much of this argument based on silence: “As for the question, 'What did Jesus say about homosexuality?', the answer is simple. Jesus said nothing. Not one thing. Nothing! Jesus was more interested in love.”7
So, according to the argument of silence, if Jesus did not talk about it, neither should we.
The argument is misleading and illogical for four reasons:
First, the argument assumes the gospels are more authoritative than the rest of the books in the Bible. The idea of a subject being unimportant just because it was not mentioned by Jesus is foreign to the gospel writers themselves. At no point did Matthew, Mark, Luke or John say their books should be elevated above the Torah or, for that matter, any writings yet to come. In other words, the gospels -- and the teachings they contain -- are not more important than the rest of the Bible. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. The same Spirit inspiring the authors of the gospels also inspired the men who wrote the rest of the Bible.
Second, the argument assumes the gospels are more comprehensive than they really are. Not only are the gospels no more authoritative than the rest of Scripture, they are not comprehensive either. That is, they do not provide all we need to know by way of doctrine and practical instruction. Some of the Bible's most important teachings, in fact, do not appear in the gospels. The doctrine of man's old and new nature (outlined by Paul in Romans 6); the future of Israel and the mystery of the Gentiles (hinted at by Christ but explained more fully in Romans 9-11); the explanation and management of the spiritual gifts (detailed in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14); the Priesthood of Christ (illustrated in Hebrews) -- all of these appear after the accounts of Christ's life, death and resurrection. (And we have not even mentioned the entire Old Testament.) Would anyone say none of these doctrines are important because they were not mentioned by Jesus?
Or, put another way, are we really to believe that Jesus did not care about wife beating or incest, just because He said nothing about them? Are not the prohibitions against incest in Leviticus and 1 Corinthians, as well as Paul's admonition to husbands to love their wives, enough to instruct us in these matters without being mentioned in the gospels? There are any number of evil behaviors that Christ did not mention by name; surely we don't condone them for that reason alone! Likewise, Jesus' silence on homosexuality in no way negates the very specific prohibitions against it which appear elsewhere, in both Old and New Testaments.
Third, this argument is inaccurate in that it presumes to know all of what Jesus said. The gospels do not profess to be a complete account of Jesus' life or teachings. Whole sections of His early years are omitted; much of what He did and said remains unknown. Luke wrote his gospel so Theophilus would "know the certainty of those things wherein he had been instructed" (Luke 1:4). John's motives are broader: "These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing, ye might have life through His name" (John 20:31). But none of these authors suggested they were recording all of Christ's words. John, in fact, said that this would have been an impossibility: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
If that is the case, how can we be certain He said nothing about homosexuality? No one can say. But we know there are other equally important subjects left undiscussed in the gospels, but mentioned in detail in other books of the Bible. Homosexuality, while absent from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, is conspicuously present in both testaments and, just as conspicuously, it is forbidden.
Jesus referred in the most specific of terms to God's created intent for human sexuality: "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. ...'"
Fourth, this argument assumes, because Jesus said nothing specific about homosexuality, that He said nothing about heterosexuality as a standard. Jesus referred in the most specific of terms to God's created intent for human sexuality: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:6-9).
In this passage, Jesus was presented with a hypothetical question: Is divorce lawful? Instead of giving a simple yes or no, He referred to Genesis and, more specifically, to created intent as the standard by which to judge sexual matters. By repeating the Genesis account, He emphasizes four elements of the created intent for marriage and sexual relations: independence was one -- a man was to leave his own home to establish his own family with his wife; a "one flesh" sexual union was another; and, of course, monogamy. But the first element of created intent Jesus stressed was the complimentary factor: it was to be a union of male and female, man and wife.
In sum, homosexuality may not have been mentioned by Jesus -- many other sexual variations were not, either. But He could not have spelled out the standard for sexual expression more clearly: male to female, joined as God intended them to be. He cannot be assumed to have approved of anything less.
1. George Barna, What Americans Believe (Ventura: Regal Books, 1991), p. 36, cited in Rhodes.
2. J. Stephen Lang, "Is Ignorance Bliss?" Moody Magazine, January/February 1996, Vol. 96, No. 5, p. 13.
3. Charles Colson, The Body, reprinted in Christianity Today, November 23, 1992, p. 29.
4. Elliot Miller, A Crash Course on the New Age Movement (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993), p. 16, cited in Rhodes.
5. Cornelius Plantinga, "Natural Born Sinners," Christianity Today, November 14, 1994, Vol. 38, No. 13, p. 25.
6. Lang, p. 13.
7. Troy Perry, Don't Be Afraid Anymore (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), p. 40.
Religious argument #2
"I'm a born-again believer and I'm gay. How can that be, if homosexuality is wrong?"
This argument is most often promoted by a declaration: I'm gay and Christian, which is living proof you can be both! Mel White, upon his installation as pastor of America's largest gay congregation, made a similar affirmation: “Now, thank God, after thirty years of struggle, I can say at last who I really am. I am gay. I am proud. And God loves me without reservation.”1 The message, then, is that if a person is truly born again and homosexual, the two must be compatible.
The argument is illogical in that it assumes if one is a Christian, and if one is loved by God, then what one does must be right in God's sight.
We can assume Dr. White's assertions are true: he is gay, he says he is proud (and no one is in a position to say otherwise) and God loves him. But does God's love for him, or Dr. White's pride in being gay, justify homosexuality itself? Hardly. And while it is beyond the scope of this article to enter into the debate over eternal security ("once saved, always saved"), let us remember that Christians do not automatically become non-Christian just because they are sinning. The fact they are sinning -- even if they do not realize it -- does not automatically nullify their salvation. But neither does their salvation legitimize their sin. A Christian may, indeed, be openly homosexual; that is no proof homosexuality and Christianity are compatible. In fact, a Christian may be openly sinning; that is no proof sin and Christianity are compatible, either.
Ananias and Sapphira, a husband and wife mentioned in Acts 5, were evidently believers. Yet their sin of hypocrisy (pretending to give more money to the church than they actually did) cost them their lives. They were Christians, and they were in serious error. Their error did not mean they were not Christian; their Christianity did not legitimize their error. The Apostle Peter was, on one occasion at least, afraid to be seen associating with Gentiles, for fear of reprisals from Jews who felt Jews and Gentiles should never mix. So when Jewish people were not around, he was willing to eat with Gentile friends; when Jews were present, he avoided Gentiles (Galatians 2:11-13). His hypocrisy in the face of prejudice was wrong, yet no one doubts he was a Christian. Yet that in no way justified his hypocrisy.
In other words, being a Christian is no indication, in and of itself, that your life is pleasing to God. Any honest believer knows this. It is a waste of time to argue intangibles, such as whether or not a 'gay Christian' is truly born again, or "saved." We may argue that if he continues in sin, he risks hardening his heart toward God, or reaping corruption, since God is not mocked. But we cannot see inside his soul to determine how hardened or deceived he may be. No matter how proud, confident or loved by God a person is, he can be walking in darkness without knowing it. That is exactly why we have an objective standard by which to judge our actions. "Take heed unto thyself," Paul told Timothy, "and unto the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Timothy 4:16).
Saying "I'm Christian and gay" proves nothing. The question shouldn't be: Can a person be homosexual and still belong to God? But rather: Is homosexuality right or wrong according to the Bible?
Religious argument #3
"I attend a gay church where the gifts of the Spirit and the presence of God are manifest. How can that be, if homosexuality is wrong?"
When the late Rev. Sylvia Pennington, a defender of the pro-gay theology, attended her first gay church, she still believed homosexuality was wrong. But something happened to change her mind: “I became aware of the Holy Spirit's presence hovering around, about and within me. They [gay Christians] were sensing the same Spirit that I sensed and loving God back as I was. They were actually worshiping God. And God was there -- undeniably there!”2 The argument, then, is that if God's presence and gifts are manifest in a gay church, it is evidence that God accepts and blesses homosexuality.
"One of the most popular errors in the realm of Christian ethics has been the effort to make 'love' an omnipotent spiritual quality which has the power to sanctify anything that is done in its name."
The argument is misleading in that it assumes love sanctifies a relationship.
It is hard these days to say love is not the final standard for right and wrong. Love is nice, after all; in our culture, it has been nearly deified as something so intense and beautiful, it justifies almost anything done in its name. And with all the hatred and violence in the world, why knock a loving relationship between any two people? Because love, in and of itself, does not make a relationship right. In fact, contrary to the touchy-feeling wisdom of the times, love is not always such a good thing. An essay on homosexuality and ethics puts it well: “One of the most popular errors in the realm of Christian ethics has been the effort to make love an omnipotent spiritual quality which has the power to sanctify anything that is done its name.”3
Love can, according to Jesus, interfere with God's plan for an individual. He warns His followers that love for anyone, no matter how legitimate the relationship, becomes sin when it surpasses our love for Him (Matthew 10:37). King Solomon, in a similar vein, loved his foreign wives. Problem was, they turned his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3-4). In his case, love became a snare.
Love is not enough to justify a relationship. An unmarried Christian couple may be very much in love; if they become sexually involved before marriage, it will still be sin, no matter how much love went into it. And it will still be wrong. A married man can fall deeply in love with a woman other than his wife; that will never sanctify adultery.
Likewise, two men, or women, may be in love. Their love may run very deep, they may pledge fidelity to each other and live as happily as any married heterosexual couple. Again, that will not, of itself, justify a homosexual relationship. Scripture places boundaries on human relationships, offering no compromise, even if love is present and desires to cross those boundaries. If a form of sexual relating is wrong, it remains wrong no matter what degree of love goes along with it.
We would rather be nice. Indeed, today we see a strange tendency creeping into the church: "niceness" is taking precedence over truth. Immorality -- even among Christian leaders -- is going unconfronted, and many churches seem more concerned with making people comfortable than arousing in them a sense of their need for God.
In such an environment, it is no wonder erroneous teachings like the pro-gay theology are flourishing. Evangelist and Pastor Greg Laurie summed up the problem well: “What is being depicted to individuals is a 'user-friendly' God who will smile benignly down upon their lifestyles of choice, as they continue to live as they like.”4
While the general religious arguments of the pro-gay theology may compel us towards "niceness," the God we represent places a higher premium on truth than accommodation. May we, by His grace, never shun the two-fold mandate to speak the truth, in love.
1. Mel White, Stranger at the Gate (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), p. 268.
2. Roger Biery, Understanding Homosexuality: The Pride and the Prejudice (Austin: Edward Williams Publishing, 1990), p. 138.
3. Biery, p. 176.
4. Greg Laurie, “The Great Compromise” (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994), p. 8.
Pro-Gay Theology: Scriptural and
The pro-gay theology is much like the broader gay rights philosophy, in that
seeks legitimization -- not just tolerance -- of homosexuality.
by Joe Dallas
Major denominations ordaining homosexuals, priests and clergy presiding over same-sex weddings, sanctuaries invaded by boisterous gay activists, debates over homosexuality ripping congregations apart: Who would have guessed we’d ever reach such a point in church history?
Responding to these general pro-gay arguments
These arguments (in section 1) do not sit well with most serious Christians. The Scriptures mentioned earlier are so clear and specific they defy interpretation of any sort. “Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman” requires no more interpretation than “Thou shalt not kill.” It is intellectually dishonest to say conservatives “interpret” such verses out of prejudice against homosexuals. Those same “prejudiced” conservatives (Falwell, Kennedy, Robertson et. al.) also take Scriptures against heterosexual sins quite literally. If they only prohibit homosexuality out of their own prejudice, why on earth do they, as heterosexuals, also condemn heterosexual sins? The argument makes no sense.
Neither does the “mistranslation” argument. We can allow some discrepancy in minor areas of translation, but, on something as important as sexual ethics, are we really to believe the Bible translators we rely on got it wrong five different times, in two different testaments? And only on the Scriptures regarding homosexuality? (Pro-gay apologists seem to have no problem with the other Scriptures condemning sins like adultery and child abuse.)
Equally poor is the “out-of-context” argument. The fact is, in Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, homosexuality is mentioned in the context of sexual and immoral behavior! The context is quite clear -- a variety of behaviors are prohibited; homosexuality -- along with adultery, fornication and idolatry -- is one of them.
The “cultural” argument fares no better. In some cases, a Scripture may seem culturally bound (injunctions against long hair on men, or women speaking to their husbands during church.) But again—five times? Five different Scriptures, from both testaments, addressed to highly different cultures (from the Hebrew to the Roman) are obviously not culturally bound. The cultures they address are just too different.
All of which leave conservatives highly skeptical of the “gay Christian” movement's claim to respect Biblical authority. It takes mental gymnastics to accept these inadequate arguments; those not having a stake in accepting them are unlikely to do so. But those having a personal interest in the pro-gay theology are another matter. Twist the Scriptures hard enough and you can make them appear to say anything you please. Author Paul Morris raises this very issue when he warns: “But if I were a Christian homosexual, I think this one question would disturb me most: Am I trying to interpret Scripture in the light of my proclivity; or should I interpret my proclivity in the light of Scripture?”1
“But if I were a Christian homosexual, I think this one question would disturb me most: Am I trying to interpret Scripture in the light of my proclivity; or should I interpret my proclivity in the light of Scripture?"
An unfortunate pattern of doing the former can be seen in the “gay Christian” movement's testimonials. Rev. Troy Perry writes about having already decided homosexuality was acceptable, then searching the Bible to equip himself to answer conservatives.2 Mel White alludes, in his book, to some earlier studies of the destruction of Sodom;3 however, his turning point seems to have come not from a careful, prayerful study of Scripture, but from a psychologist who encouraged him to accept his homosexuality and find a lover!4 And gospel musician Marsha Stevens (composer of the beloved song “For Those Tears I Died” and now openly lesbian) gives a lengthy account of her acceptance of homosexuality without once explaining how she reached the point of believing homosexuality was Scripturally acceptable. (The closest she comes is in telling how she prayed one night for confirmation that lesbianism was OK; the next morning someone gave her a pin saying “Born Again Lesbian.”)5 Considering the background and theological training of the above-mentioned believers in pro-gay theology, their acceptance of it is astounding.
Or maybe it is not. Paul predicts an abandonment of truth for the sake of personal fulfillment: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Self over truth; man over God: Can a Christian be so deceived? Evidently. Paul referred to the Galatian church as having been “bewitched” (Galatians 3:1), and Jesus warned that a prominent sign of the days before His coming would be an increase in deception (Matthew 24:14).
To confront the pro-gay theology, then, is to confront a deceptive element of our time -- the tendency to subjugate objective truth to subjective experience.
That is one reason confrontation is not enough to change a heart. Being knowledgeable enough to dismantle all the “gay Christian” movement's claims will not be enough to persuade a homosexual to repent. The heart, having been hardened through deception or rebellion or both, has to be softened. And that is the work of God alone. Ours is to simply speak the truth, trusting Him to quicken it to our hearers.
1. Paul Morris, Shadow of Sodom (Wheaton: Tyndale Press, 1978), p. 89.
2. Perry, p. 39.
3. White, p. 36-39.
4. White, p. 156.
5. Sylvia Pennington, Ex-Gays? There Are None! (Hawthorne: Lambda Christian Fellowship, 1989), p. 388.
Joe Dallas is a former gay rights activist and staff member of a Metropolitan Community Church, and he has worked with hundreds of men and women struggling with homosexuality and related problems. Mr. Dallas founded Genesis Counseling and is the author of multiple books on homosexuality.
Answering Pro-Gay Revisionist Theology: Talking Points
by Focus on the Family
- Attempts to subjugate objective biblical truths to subjective human experiences lead men and women to accept lies. Often those having a personal interest in the promulgation of pro-gay revisionist theology twist the plain teaching of Scripture to support and justify their behavior.
- In light of objective biblical truth, general pro-gay religious arguments cannot withstand scrutiny:
- Scripture begins and ends with the picture of marriage as an institution ordained by God – designed for the union of a man and a woman in a life-long, faithful, covenantal relationship. This view is affirmed by Moses, Christ, and Paul, and has been upheld through thousands of years of Judeo Christian history and tradition. Pro-gay revisionists usually do not even attempt to address God’s created intent for human sexuality, but instead twist Scripture and argue against those texts which condemn same-sex behavior.
- It remains highly unlikely that Bible translators mistranslated five references to sexual ethics in two different testaments of Scripture. Even more unlikely is the possibility that they only mistranslated Scriptures regarding homosexual behavior.
- Scriptures against homosexual behavior—including Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10—are so clear and specific that they defy reinterpretation. It is intellectually dishonest to say that conservative individuals and leaders “interpret” such clear verses as “Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman” out of prejudice against homosexuals and use them for selfish gain.
- Homosexuality in Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy is mentioned in the wider context of sexual, immoral, and prohibited behaviors, casting doubt on the argument that Scriptures condemning homosexuality have been taken out of context.
- References condemning homosexual behavior were addressed to highly different Ancient Near East cultures (from Hebrew to Greco-Roman) – nullifying the argument that scriptural passages against homosexuality are culturally bound and inapplicable to today’s society.
- The argument that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality in the gospels is misleading and illogical for at least five reasons:
- The gospels are not more authoritative than those books of the Bible that condemn homosexual behavior. All authors of Scripture were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.
- The gospels are not comprehensive. Some of the Bible’s most important teachings—the explanation of spiritual gifts, the Priesthood of Christ, the doctrine of man’s old and new nature—appear in other books of the Bible.
- The gospels do not claim to be a complete account of Jesus’ life or teachings. Sections of Jesus’ life are not discussed in the gospels and we cannot be certain that Jesus never spoke about homosexual behavior.
- Scripture teaches that Jesus kept all the Law and affirmed all that the Law and the Prophets taught (Matt. 5:17-19). Undoubtedly, this would have included the affirmation of committed, monogamous male-female marriage and an unwavering condemnation of homosexual behavior. Given that all first century orthodox Jews would have held to this standard, the question of affirming homosexuality would not have been open to discussion in Jesus’ day.
- Jesus clearly referred to heterosexuality as a standard. He specifically described God's created intent for human sexuality: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matt. 19: 1-8; Mk. 10:6-9).
- The argument that “I’m a born-again believer and I’m gay, therefore homosexuality must be okay” is illogical because it assumes if one is a Christian and if one is loved by God, then what one does must be right in God’s sight.
- Salvation does not legitimize sin. Being a Christian is not an indication, in and of itself, that one’s life is pleasing to God.
- Conversely, Christians do not automatically become non-Christians just because they are sinning
- The argument that if God's presence and gifts of love are manifest in a gay-affirming church and in homosexual relationships, it is evidence that God accepts and blesses homosexual behavior is misleading in that it assumes love sanctifies a relationship. Love is not the final standard for right and wrong.
- Love can, according to Jesus, interfere with God's plan for an individual. He warns His followers that love for anyone, no matter how legitimate the relationship, becomes sin when it surpasses our love for Him.
- Love is not enough to justify a relationship. A married man can fall deeply in love with a woman other than his wife; that will never sanctify adultery. Likewise love between two men or women cannot justify a homosexual relationship.
References for Further Study
- Joe Dallas, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, Harvest House, 2007 (Harvest House).
- James B. DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and other Ancient Literature and Law, 2000 (Kregel Publications).
- Robert A.J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, 2001 (Abingdon Press).