Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

5 Reasons Why More Christians Are Becoming LGBTQ Affirming

If one follows the news they’d see that many major Christian denominations are split over LGBTQ inclusion. As I have followed these developments, one observation that has stood out in my mind is that the division over LGBTQ inclusion is a recent development, historically speaking. This means one thing: the movement to include and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the church is growing.

I believe we are seeing the early stages of what will be, within a generation, a seismic shift in the Church toward LGBTQ inclusion and affirmation. While some would assume this is due to younger Christians (who I do believe are leading the way) a recent Pew Research Center poll showed that increasing support for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters is actually climbing across all demographics– even the older generation.

Why is this dramatic shift happening?

No, it’s not because we’re in the “great falling away” that those end-timers preach about.

There’s actually 5 really solid reasons why more Christians are becoming LGBTQ affirming, and as your Explainer-in-Chief, I’d be happy to break this down for you. Here’s what’s happening:

More Christians are engaging with biblical scholarship than before.

Funny thing: many Christians are becoming affirming not in spite of the Bible, but because of it. As they engage some of the great work being done today, they’re realizing that when reading the six passages that seem to reference homosexuality, there is far more to consider than the unquestioned interpretations they grew up with. For example, they’re discovering folks like Dr. JR Daniel Kirk whose extensive work demonstrates Old Testament prohibitions are about more than meets the eye. Plus, Christians today know that OT law was completed through Christ, rendering those verses (along with that shellfish and mixed fibers stuff) relics of an ancient tribal people.

In the New Testament, more Christians are engaging the three “clobber” passages with a heart for understanding original language and context– something otherwise known as basis exegesis. Scholarship in that area reveals that the type of homosexual behavior observed and critiqued by Paul was hardly a 1 for 1 correlation to the movement for the monogamous, life-long relationships being advocated today. Instead, a cultural investigation shows that Paul would have seen a Roman culture where straight people were having gay sex out of excess, gay sex happening in conjunction with idol worship, and pedophilia in the Roman military, etc. The ancient realities of Paul’s day, compared to our modern realities, quickly make this an apples and oranges comparison.

Previous generations didn’t have this scholarship at their fingertips, and had to rely on their pastors (often not biblical scholars at all) who did their best to interpret English translations of the Bible, but did so in a way that simply reflected the views of the generation before them. Thankfully, we’re more biblically informed than our grandparents were able to be.

More Christians are realizing that being gay isn’t a choice.

No one chooses their orientation– orientation chooses you. While we do not yet completely understand the biology behind orientation to a scientific certainty, we can say with confidence that you are either born with it, or it develops so young in life that it could in no way be seen as a choice one can consent to, or reject.

A growing number of Christians are realizing that one can no more repent of being gay than they can repent of being left handed (and as a lefty, I’ll tell you: I’d die of starvation and exposure to the elements if I had to do things with my right hand.)

I’ve never met a single person of any orientation who claims they actually chose it. I have however, met scores of people who all tried to un-choose their orientation, only to realize that un-choosing orientation isn’t possible.

More Christians are aware of the harmful impact of non-affirming theology.

The struggles facing those in the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ youth, are undeniable and no longer unseen. More Christians are waking up to the reality that a non-affirming stance is leading to growing LGBTQ youth homelessness, as families reject their own children. They’re also more aware of things like suicide among our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, stemming from the rejection and isolation that non-affirming theology naturally cultivates, even if unintentionally.

More Christians are seeing these and other negative impacts of non-affirming theology, and are realizing that it produces bad, bad, fruit. For me, this was the precise turning point on my own journey to an affirming stance. It happened one night when a non-affirming friend asked me quite sincerely, “How can I hold a non-affirming stance in such a way that kids won’t want to go out and kill themselves?”

I thought long and hard about the question, and when I realized that I didn’t have a single answer for him, I knew that affirming was the only possible stance I could morally justify to my own conscience– and there’s a growing number of Christians who are with me on that.

More Christians are seeing people instead of seeing an abstract issue.

In the previous generation, LGBTQ was just a distant “issue” that many Christians didn’t have personal experience with. It was easy to be scared of “the gays” as they’d call them, because most folks only had distorted caricatures and stereotypes to go by– usually shaped by anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that had little resemblance to reality.

But today? Today it’s no longer a detached, dehumanized “issue.” As more and more of our LGBTQ Christian brothers and sisters have the courage to come out and share their stories, more Christians are beginning to see LGBTQ not as an “issue” but as the real life stories and experiences of their friends, neighbors, siblings and children.

When we humanize an issue by accepting the invitation to walk on the inside of someone’s sacred story, something magical happens: we develop compassion and empathy, and these eventually break way to acceptance and affirmation.

The more one knows and sincerely loves the LGBTQ people in their life, the harder and harder it becomes to hold onto non-affirming theology.

More Christians are are siding with the message of hope– and there’s no hope in non-affirming theology. 

Christianity has always been the message of hope and inclusion, but non-affirming theology doesn’t offer that– and a growing number of Christians are catching on.

Think about it. In traditional non-affirming theology this is the best it gets: “Your only hope of not going to hell when you die is to spend the rest of your life completely lonely, and to totally resist ever having your most basic physical and emotional needs met.”

And that’s not an exaggeration– that really is most hopeful scenario I can think of that non-affirming theology offers. Forced celibacy and loneliness in order to avoid hell.

It’s an easy message to preach when you’re not one of the people in the audience.

More and more Christians are awakening to the realization that Christianity was never intended to be so devoid of hope, and that such hopelessness and isolation has no room in the beautiful and inclusive tradition of Jesus.

Yes, it’s true that many denominations are finding themselves divided over LGBTQ inclusion, but remember: this is a good thing, because it shows us that a growing number of Christians are doing the hard work of rethinking this, and that love is winning.

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Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

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  • Thanks for eloquently capturing where I hope loving Christ followers are being led by the Holy Spirit. Living in the Bible belt, I still see far too much family rejection and harm being inflicted by the church. I pray that if Christians realized the harm they were doing, they would become affirming. If not, they should read Matthew 18:6, Luke17:2, and Mark 9:42. Too many children raised in the church are driven away by non-affirming doctrine when they reach puberty. For some, the conflict is so great that they end their lives. God made these children with their sexual orientation, and He loves them. Christ calls us to love them.

  • Excellent post on the pastoral front. For those looking for a more in-depth look at the 5 Clobber passages with references, I wrote two articles on them; Old and New. (And this is coming from a friendly humanist (i.e. non-faith) perspective, so I have no “ball in the game” so to speak!)

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/what-the-bible-doesnt-say-about-gay-people/

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/why-you-can-be-soft-on-homosexuality/

  • If they’re not sinners I’m rejecting fellow creations of God for no reason. If they are, they’re no worse than I am in God’s eyes.

  • Very well written article. Thank you. I hope that the complete inclusion you speak of will come to pass, sooner rather than later and that more and more Christians continue to educate themselves. Cheryl B. Evans (Author of I Promised Not to Tell: Raising a transgender child).

  • Romans 1:18-32 is obviously a paraphrase of the Book of Wisdom 14:11-31 Paul is rehashing to critique in Romans 2.

    Wisdom 14 says that the embrace of [literal] idolatry leads to all kinds of crazy, self-destructive, behaviour. Paul repeats it, referencing the pagan idols in Romans 1:23 (“exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”) and the same resulting crazy, self-destructive spiral of behaviours (see Romans 1:26-31) as in the Wisdom passage (see: Wisdom 14:22-26) which leads into his critique in Chapter 2. (“Therefore you have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things…”)

    Wisdom 14 judges idolaters. Paul’s point is that none of us can judge others because none of us are any better. It’s always quite ironic that those who quote this the most often miss the intended point of the whole thing!

    It’s clearly not a condemnation of loving same-sex relationships, but only references lusts, passions and acts that are “para physn” (usually translated as “against nature” but given how Paul uses the same phrase later to talk about Christians grafted onto Israel’s tree, it’s better translated as “unexpected”) that are degrading as they arise out of idolatry.

    Roman society didn’t divide sexual activity into homosexual or heterosexual; instead it was assumed that women, slaves and boys are supposed to be the “bottoms” (insertees) and “real” or “virile” men (“virile” coming from the Latin word “vir” which was a Roman free citizen) were always on “top” (inserters). Those who had too much sexual virility were believed to seek out other “virile” men for conquest, because it was more of a challenge than more “passive” women, slaves and boys. Idolatry was supposed to lead to an excess of lust which presented itself in a conquest of other men (or women for other women) as well as losing all inhibitions leading to the other behaviours. This is very different than the gay/straight understanding that exists today.

    Using this as an anti-LGBT “clobber” passage has been pretty much debunked outside of fundamentalist circles. Nowhere does Paul call “homosexuality” (in toto) a sin or say that anyone is going to hell for it. He’s just piggybacking on an existing passage in the Greek Septuagint to make a larger point about judging others.

    • That”s right.

      And Philo, a contemporary of Paul”s, relates the leviticus verses to pagan temple worship and sex with boys.

    • Excellent! And I would point out that young men being mentored by older men in Roman upper class society often had a homoerotic component. Also, there has been a general belief among men historically, that because women were inferior, good only for sex, child rearing and running a household, that other men of equal status were better companions for everything else. This view had persisted well into the 19th century. The relationship of David and Jonathan certainly qualifies as this type of relationship: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Sam 1:26) I would argue that because women in the ancient world were denied equality, marriage was probably not quite as exciting as it is today in our egalitarian views on marriage. Men, even heterosexual ones, looked elsewhere than their wives for intellectual companionship. How often this involved a homoerotic component is debatable, but certainly it happened.

      So, in Roman society there was two types of SS activity, predatory and the less common egalitarian. The vehemence in which Paul attacks these people and the dire description given in verses 29-37 of Romans 1 would strongly suggest he has the former not the latter in mind. Certainly the description does not fit today’s LGBTQ community.

  • For every Christian here insisting that the Bible explicitly condemns homosexuality and it must be treated as a sin:

    Do you treat divorcees like you treat LGBTQ people? Because Jesus seemed to care a LOT about divorce from what I’ve read.

  • “Scholarship in that area reveals that the type of homosexual behavior observed and critiqued by Paul was hardly a 1 for 1 correlation to the movement for the monogamous, life-long relationships being advocated today. Instead, a cultural investigation shows that Paul would have seen a Roman culture where straight people were having gay sex out of excess, gay sex happening in conjunction with idol worship, and pedophilia in the Roman military, etc. ”

    No, your “scholarship” is perpetuating lies without having the guts to show the text. The plain meaning is right there. Not pedophilia (MEN with MEN), not with idol worship (no mention of temples, prostitutes or temple prostitutes and there were no lesbian temple prostitutes anywhere).

    Romans 1:26–27 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    • Conservatives always stop at verse 27. You need to read the rest of the chapter where Paul describes their character, “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (ESV) Please let us know how you can then apply that to today’s Gay person, or Christian Gay couple. The only way to do so is to “bear false witness.”

  • “More Christians are realizing that being gay isn’t a choice.”

    Oh, good, I don’t have to stop being covetous, greedy, lustful, etc. because I didn’t “choose” those.

    “More Christians are seeing people instead of seeing an abstract issue.”

    Lie. We see them as people who need the truth, not LGBTQX propaganda.

    “More Christians are are siding with the message of hope– and there’s no hope in non-affirming theology. ”

    Lie. There is hope for all sinners who repent and believe. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.

  • You just need one reason to explain the phenomena: They aren’t Christians if they are affirming sin. Or they are really ignorant Christians.

    http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/problems-with-pro-gay-theology-2/ The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

    – 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
    – 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
    – 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
    – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
    – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

    Having said that, I believe that Christians should support and encourage those who are fighting same-sex attraction. And no one needs to grandstand on the issue before getting to the Good News of the cross: http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/evangelism-experiences-1/ .

    * The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

    1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
    2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
    3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

  • I don’t understand why a good and loving God would allow me to suffer like I have and then expect me to be LGBTQ affirming. That’s like making somebody get sick from poison ivy and then force them to grow more poison ivy.

    I was falsely accused of being gay and bullied because of it growing up. Not to mention to this day I’ve never had a girlfriend and I don’t think I’ll get married because I’m straight but people think I’m gay.

  • There is a pastor in California who not only does not mourn the loss of life in Orlando, he says, “…the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.”

    I don’t understand why anyone can hate us. I don’t understand why this man calls himself a pastor when he is anything but a pastor. He is a preacher, and I think he’s an evil one too boot.

    Read this link if you can stomach it.

    https://goo.gl/XWMbw1

  • How many of the people who are rejecting anti-LGBT theology are actually affirming, though? By this I mean actively working to provide welcome? Because I think that we have to take ‘affirming’ as an active verb and I think many people you describe are accepting in their private thoughts, but don’t want to trouble any waters in their own circles. While there is value in a private change of convictions, there’s also the human cost of lives lost to suicide, children cast out from families, etc. With the exception of specifically progressive Christian websites, you really can’t venture out very far without vitriol and disgusting expressions of hate. People ‘loving the sinner’ with vile rhetoric. Meanwhile in the larger cultural context, the voices of hatred are becoming ever more ubiquitous with Christianity every year, and the only denominations not in decline seem to be those deeply embedded in anti-lgbt theology. So what’s going on here? Are people merely expressing private thoughts in anonymous surveys? Are OnA churches a brave stand against declining membership? Are things really getting better, or are they polarized and lopsided?

  • Ben, oh dear you rather depressed and annoyed me! As you may remember, though I appreciate Im just one of many minions that read your blog, I am a gay Christian who remains celibate as I do not think the Lord approves of gay sex, in any circumstances.

    In this piece, it seems you have gone out of your way to effectively produce a caricature of those who disagree with your position and do not accept gay sexual relations as ‘good’ in God’s eyes.

    From what you have written, you strongly imply that all Christians (and Jews for that matter) who reject gay sexual relations:

    – havent understood the Bible’s teaching on the subject. They’ve been wrong all along, despite centuries of theologians and scholars, some of whom have been gay themselves, coming to the opposite conclusion of yours. To argue that only some of the more recent biblical scholars have finally understood what the Bible actually teaches on the subject is quite unbelievable.

    – believe that being physically and sexually attracted to the same sex is a choice, and that gay people could all easily change their choice in the same way you might change your job, and find people of the opposite sex physically and sexually attractive. That simply isnt true. Perhaps it is for high-profile American evangelist-types, but not for the majority of Christians (certainly not the ones I know). That isnt to say that ‘change’ isnt possible, I personally know of a number of gay Christians who have gone on to marry a woman and been happy. You cannot dismiss such people and their experiences. Though I am not one of those. I do not accept that you were ‘born heterosexual’ and I was ‘born gay’, but rather a complex mixture of genetic/physical and psycho-sexual development factors have all played their part, which is precisely why many do not ‘change’.

    – produce ‘bad fruit’ and suicide in others. I can understand why you say this, but I would suggest that such possible consequences come from unloving Christians rather than simply because they do not accept gay sex as good.

    – are immoral because having such a view may may lead to the bad effects in others’ lives as stated above. Again, in reality, it is unloving Christians that may have had such an impact. I am living proof that being a gay Christian does not lead to suicide! It can lead to loneliness, but that is often because of unloving Christians again (both gay and straight), who have failed to see the church truly as a family. This also applies to the significant number of particularly older heterosexual females in the church who have not met a Christian man they wish to marry, and so remain unmarried and celibate.

    – can only give a hope-less message to others and are unloving. I thought Christianity was all about ‘hope’. And love and faith. Why does rejecting a certain sexual behavior mean being hopeless? As a Christian, I have been given the Holy Spirit guaranteeing my salvation. God also expects me to behave in particular ways, and not in other ways, and in so doing, reflect the Father and the imago Dei. When I fail, my salvation is based on Jesus’ death on the cross. That is my hope.

    • There are many of us who can live a celibate life and be happy no matter our sexual orientation. However, most people want to live their life in a love relationship with another person. The message of many churches for gay Christians is that you can’t ever have a deep, loving, sexual relationship with a person you are attracted to of the same sex. Therefore, your only recourse to avoid hell is to live a celibate life and not have a loving life partner. For most people, that is a completely hopeless life.

  • Actually, it’s also okay to be bored with the subject.
    Gayness, of whatever kind, is either learned/taught by environmental factors, genetic, or a matter of in utero issues. That means several things. If it can be discerned pirior to birth, abortion against it might be a choice. Gene repair might be an option. And nobody can be against choice. Or, if it’s learned/taught, perhaps it can be unlearned. As more is learned, more decisions show up. Problem is, we’re not to judge others’ choices et tedious cetera.

  • People are born with their orientations, gay or straight, and it begins in Utero. An Endocrinologist is the best resource to explain it. It is very complicated.
    In summery, it is Epigenetics. It begins in Utero and finishes off in puberty. It is guided by hormones, Testosterone, Estrogen, and Androgen.
    Testosterone is the deciding Hormone.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21094885

    The above link is only one publication on this topic.

    Pub Med, Web MD, NIH, and many more good medical resources are available for folks to read or study about this topic. 🙂
    Sexual differentiation of the human brain in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation is what to search for.

    Higher education and reading are fundamental !!

    Amen to this post.
    We are all human beings regardless of who we are attracted to. Sigh…..

  • Of course they are doing the same thing to Muslims and immigrants .and certainly to the poor They love their country so much they end up hating 93% of the people in it

  • And conservatives haven’t used gays as pawns for ( their own political agenda? ( see the Presidential election of 2004) Or conservatives haven’t been using the infamy of gays to fund raise ( Jerry Falwell did this since 1981) I’m sure Democrats find it expedient politically to be more welcoming of gays. But the whole gay cooties / gay agenda conspiracy was started by conservative politicians

  • I’ve had exclusive homosexual attractions ever since I hit puberty. Recently I moved from a 6 to maybe a 5.5 on the Kinsey scale (not by choice, but by a sort of random drift that I can’t explain. I just find women prettier than I used to). That’s how gay I am. Since converting to Christianity several years ago, however, I’ve never once thought it was a choice, nor that it was genetic.

    I frankly refuse to subscribe to this whole debate. It’s ridiculous and makes me feel like a pawn used in a larger theological game between progressives/liberals and traditionalists/conservatives. I was born human. Human. Image of God. My sexuality developed due to experiences, people, places, events, etc., in my early life. The same as for straights and bisexuals and transgendered people. It’s all in the psychology of experience & association.

    Lumping gays into one big “born that way” group is ridiculous. Same for straights. Same for everyone. While I never chose it, and was certainly not born this way, I believe very strongly in a non-affirming stance. Sexuality is tremendously labile. I resent the gay community taking up the language of the Civil Rights moevment of the 1960s. Blacks were born black. Women were born women. They could use this language of birth or genetics as a backup. We can’t. We’re not a sub-group in the same way blacks and women are. I’m sorry.

    I am very happily celibate, and will remain so because I believe God considers all gay sex acts as inherently wrong for human life. These are not arbitrary of God, nor are they the result of my misunderstanding the Bible. Away with the chronological snobbery of this article. Away with the gay-elitism and prejudice against traditionalists and my straight friends who have a conscience.

    Unfortunately, I am part of the losing side. I acknowledge that. Even the Roman Catholic Church, of which I am a member, is full of clergy who not only ignore gay people having sex and being in long term relationships, I’ve met many clergy who personally encourage it.

    Also, for good measure: screw this stupid LGBTQI language. I’m gay, not a friggin’ lesbian, bi, trans, or queer. I am a man who is gay. I am not one of those other groups. Stop making me into part a label for your political and philosophical radicalism! I’m not a wine bottle! I’m a person!

  • I can’t speak for everyone else who supports LGBTQ rights, but I can explain my own personal reasons for affirming them and supporting their rights.

    First, because I’m a person who was born with something else society tends to look down upon. In my case, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I got made fun of a LOT as a kid simply for reasons related to that. While I was never bullied to the extent a lot of LGBTQ children were, I can still relate to the struggles a lot of them went through. Everything I’ve heard about LGBTQ children doing – from self-loathing to contemplating suicide – I did at points in my life as well, simply because I was a weird, geeky, autistic kid who was constantly getting harassed by my classmates for not fitting the mold they supposedly wanted me to fill, and there was nothing I could do to change that. I have since gotten over all of that and don’t care what haters say about me anymore, but I can relate to the struggles LGBTQ children experience because I had something not too far removed from that happen to me when I was growing up.

    Second, because I have no reason to feel any differently about them because of their sexual orientation. What they do in their personal lives is none of my business, just like it’s none of theirs what I do in mine. As long as what they’re doing isn’t illegal or done with an intent to harm others, I have no reason to be worried about them, and even then, that would hardly have anything to do with being LGBTQ in the first place.

    And lastly – from the more religious perspective – Jesus Christ’s main message was about love and acceptance, not of hate and rejection. The leaders in the religious right are nothing more than Pharisees and false prophets who have made a fortune off of stirring up paranoia and hatred towards LGBTQ individuals for over 40 years now, and that paranoia has led to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters experiencing bullying in the school, slander in the media, rejection from the pulpit, and discrimination in the workplace by those who have bought into the RR’s constant lies and demagoguery. Their behavior is something you might expect Satan to encourage, but not one a loving, accepting Jesus Christ to condone.

  • Nobody uses the terms “gay” or “straight” anymore. Sexuality is seen as a spectrum, which I think is a lot healthier. It’s easy to make fun of, but using initials, GLBTQAI, etc., expresses that each person’s sexuality is unique. I, for instance, am a cisgender graysexual who is prone to queerplatonic relationships. I wonder what Paul would say about that!

  • There are several things wrong with this article.
    1) what St. Paul talks about in the bible isn’t something completely different than homosexuality today. It is not comparing apples to oranges.

    2) while more Christians are realizing being gay isn’t a choice, that doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s a sickness, if you will. People are born with defects, even psychosocial ones. Just because you didn’t choose to have a same sex attraction doesn’t mean it’s right. It just means our world is broken and infused with sin.

    3) there is a way to love them and still tell them that they are sick. The problem comes from people flat out rejecting those who suffer from homosexuality, or from a lack of acceptance that homosexuality is a disorder. If you can’t accept what it is, of course you’re gonna be depressed and suicidal. This isn’t helping anyone, and accepting this disorder as normal doesn’t help these people get better or get closer to God.

    4) it’s true, seeing people can make a problem more real and better to understand. However we have forsaken our faith for making those who disagree with it feel better. We need to show them the kind of love and understanding and compassion that Jesus would, and help them overcome their deviance. Not tell them it’s ok and it doesn’t matter if you choose to live a sinful lifestyle. (To be clear, to be gay isn’t a lifestyle, but choosing to act on homosexual desires with free will is a choice, and therefore a lifestyle).

    5) to say there is no message of hope in non-affirming ideology is a lie. There is always hope in God, and God can do anything. God can heal someone of homosexual desires if he so chooses. There is no hope in affirming sin, but there is always hope in affirming God. Being homosexual does not reduce or dignity as human persons in any way, but we cannot encourage a life of sin for those who suffer from a disease that orients their sexuality in a sinful nature.

  • Hi all,

    For those of you who are new to Frank, he is a well-known troll of Christian websites. He is always “Frank” or “FrankXXXX” or some such variant, but he will have picked random Disqus logins, random email addresses that do not exist, and a proxy to hide his activity behind random IP addresses. As a moderator, I can tell you he has used four different email and IP addresses so far in this one article’s comments.

    He does this, because he is frequently banned and has been ejected from a veritble Who’s Who of online Christian Community – Fred Clark, Pete Enns, James McGrath, and many more, all of whom have sent Frank packing, but he gets bored, changes up his Disqus info, and comes back around. He is the herpes of Christian website Disqus comments. He is also the herpes of online dating websites. He may also have herpes, but I don’t know that for a fact. It’s a metaphor.

    You can recognize a Frank because he wanders into potentially controversial discussions on issues and says short quips that do not advance the discussion, like:

    “This is so unbiblical.”

    “Clearly, you are justifying sin.”

    “God hates this.”

    It’s sort of like having a Westboro Chat Bot in your comment stream. Frank has been at this for years and is very well known “around” for this behavior and has stirred up some debates about whether he is just a troll getting his kicks from riling people up (he feeds off response – more on this later) or someone who sincerely believes these things and is utterly incapable of actually reasoning about them. Possibly both.

    In any case, as your friendly neighborhood moderator, I highly encourage not responding to Frank at all. This is really hard to do. I still do it, sometimes. He’s been at this a long time and, like Satan himself, knows how to pull your strings.

    It is a facade, however. He does get bored and go away, eventually, if nobody interacts with him, and I highly recommend this course of action.

  • Benjamin:
    Yes, it’s true that many denominations are finding themselves divided over LGBTQ inclusion, but remember: this is a good thing, because it shows us that a growing number of Christians are doing the hard work of rethinking this, and that love is winning.

    Ronny to Benjamin:
    And in the end, love does win, for God/Jesus Christ is love! 🙂

  • I like your style, and appreciate your thoughts very much. But I wanted to comment, since the topic is interesting and I disagreed quite much.

    “More Christians are engaging with biblical scholarship than before.”

    Many of the best “liberal” scholars understand the issue is complex. This idea has only become easy for the one`s who have already made their mind or who have their axe to grind. For example Räisänen (1941-2015), was transparent about it (making clear you can not say OT/NT affirms homosexuality), even though he affirmed “liberal” politics and ethics.

    And about the OT law, in my opinion conservative sexual ethics are mainly derived from Christian theological anthropology (Gen 1-2), not from the law texts which only affirm it. (See for example John Paul II)

    Plus even Plato knew there are genuine deep (sexual) love relationships between males (and said they are the best soldiers), so the ancients faced something very similar we have in our culture.

    “Thankfully, we’re more biblically informed than our grandparents were able to be.” Amen

    “More Christians are realizing that being gay isn’t a choice.”

    For example Lisa Diamond has (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2rTHDOuUBw) pointed out how our orientation is not wholly biologically determined or “either-or”. Instead it`s (to a degree) fluid, open to change. Of course no one in his/her right mind thinks biology has no saying.

    “More Christians are aware of the harmful impact of non-affirming theology.”

    First of all, it is completely unchristian and SICK, if a family rejects their children. That should not happen, ever. This kind of behavior should not exist, in Christian circles. But aren`t there some other theological flaws at work then? So that the solution might not be lowering the ethical ideals?

    Anyway there are countless other things as well that we should learn to disagree on, without first changing our theology (or theological ethics). I might be an idealist, but I think we should be able to love people who think (or act) differently on different issues. Isn`t that like one of the basic Christian principles?

    “More Christians are seeing people instead of seeing an abstract issue.”

    Well again, I think Christian way should be that of “compassion and empathy” anyway, no matter what`s your stance on ethical ideals. There probably exists hateful religious bigots in this world, but I think it is not about their ethical stance on LGBTQI-issue per se, or political stance or whatever. Sometimes of course the political stance and personality type might correlate. But the issue is not settled by changing your stance on politics or ethics or with starting to wear skinny jeans or stetson, but by getting to know people. You can be a jerk what ever your side in politics or ethical issues.

    “More Christians are are siding with the message of hope– and there’s no hope in non-affirming theology.”

    “In traditional non-affirming theology this is the best it gets: “Your only hope of not going to hell when you die is to spend the rest of your life completely lonely, and to totally resist ever having your most basic physical and emotional needs met.”” What the heck!! Really? Is it really so that in the States people get saved by their “works”? I am a “traditionalist” on the issue, but that is even further away from my stance than total “LGBTQI-affirming theology”. I have though that the basic entity in Christianity is not a nuclear family or romantic relationship, but the CHURCH! …I know that we are miles away from the situation where churches really would be the love-shaped places for the broken and lonely, but that`s our goal, I think. Yes, one solution might be to move our ethical stances, but that does not sound “hopeful” to all same sex attracted people. There are (maybe a small minority of ) people, who are confused in their sexual orientation (or sexual identity), who seek loving support in their travel, but their deeply-felt ideal and goal is heterosexual. I`m afraid will these dear ones find a loving home, and HOPE anywhere. The term “hope” can be defined in many ways, and again, I think the ultimate hope should not be firstly about our family type or (romantic) relationship status. But yes, the church should be the place of hope.

  • The religious right is obsessed with sex. They have made gays and now transgendered folk their cause Celebre . But then when one of their own like Dennis Hastert gets caught in sexual sin they become pretty quiet

  • The fourth reason stands out to me personally. I know members of the LGBTQ community as friends and loved ones. I see no reason to hate them for who they are regardless of what any holy book says. I will always put human beings before religion.

  • Wonderful thoughtful post Dr. Corey. As someone who attended an evangelical college (Grove City) and seminary (Gordon Conwell) in the 1980s, but has a gay son today, I have struggled with this issue. At this point, I have chosen affirmation and I hope your theology is correct! I rest today knowing that when my time on this earth is done, I am willing to risk being wrong in my theology and having affirmed my son.

  • Thanks Ben. Great blog. I am turning 50 this year, and I have to say that my opinion has changed on this issue over the last 30 years, for many of the reasons that you discuss. Now I see see my gay brothers and sisters as full members of the church – fully welcomed and loved by our Lord. And I think that they should be able to receive all the sacraments offered by the church – including marriage, and they should be able to exercise their gifts of leadership for the building up of the body of Christ.

  • Books from BLC:

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