What Are Christians to Do with Those Pesky Gay Children?

by Dan Kaser

rainbow teen exdez.iStockphoto

illustration by exdez / iStockphoto.com

Last month, two very high profile Christian leaders, Franklin Graham and James Dobson, addressed publicly on a radio program how they believe Christians and the church should respond to LGBT people, and specifically to gay children. This broadcast was also published on James Dobson’s website. With 1200 stations and 3.3 million online followers, this particular program has an incredible reach. With that reach comes tremendous responsibility because, as the Bible says, the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Unfortunately, Graham and Dobson said a variety of things that do not accurately represent Scripture, are untrue, and are potentially harmful to the very real people, parents, and children who have to deal with these issues in their lives. The fallacies in their remarks need to be identified and called out so that believers will be able to respond in a holy and Christ-like manner as they encounter families and children who are dealing with these very real issues in their lives, rather than respond in an unkind and ungodly manner due to fear and misinformation. It’s not a task I relish. In fact, I’ve been a strong supporter of Operation Christmas Child, led by Franklin Graham, for many years, both personally and through the church I pastor.  However, when unbiblical misinformation is spread that threatens the physical and spiritual well-being of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, homes, and churches, we must step up to protect them, no matter how high-profile or well-respected the purveyors of that wrong information have been in the past.

So where did Graham and Dobson go wrong? It’s easy to take complex issues and try to reduce them to policy positions and soundbites, even more so when our fears, sometimes unfounded and irrational, come into play. That’s always unfair, but especially so when we’re dealing with real people and real lives. The inaccurate statements they made are the types of inaccuracies that have led well-meaning Christian parents to throw their gay children out of their home, that have led gay children to abandon their faith, and that have even led LGBTQ children to take their own lives. How big is the problem? On Christian forums that provide emotional support for gay teens and young adults that are considering “coming out” to their families, it is standard practice to advise these young people to have alternate living arrangements in place prior to “coming out.” Why? Because the experience of being rejected by their family and forced from their home is so commonplace. Because of these kinds of consequences, inaccuracies of the kind held forth by Graham and Dobson must not be left unchallenged, especially when the persons espousing such fallacies are persons of tremendous influence. The costs are simply too high.

Before I address the inaccuracies and fallacies in their statements, here is a transcript of what Graham and Dobson had to say:

Franklin Graham: “We have allowed the Enemy to come into our churches. I was talking to some Christians and they were talking about how they invited these gay children to come into their home and to come into the church and that they were wanting to influence them. And I thought to myself, they’re not going to influence those kids; those kids are going to influence those parent’s children. What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving. We have to understand who the Enemy is and what he wants to do. He wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation and we have to be so careful who we let our kids hang out with. We have to be so careful who we let into the churches.”

A moment later, after saying that gay people could go to heaven if they repented of their sins and accepted Christ, Graham said: “You cannot stay gay and continue to call yourself a Christian. You can’t do it.”

We’ll save Dobson’s statements for a bit later. For the moment, let’s break down where Graham made statements that were wrong and unbiblical with a few questions:

Is being gay a choice?

It appears that Graham thinks that being gay is a choice, since he suggests people can just stop being gay. So what does the Bible have to say about whether or not being gay is a choice?

Nothing. We can have great and lengthy theological debates about what the Bible says about sexual relationships as it relates to being gay, but there can be no debate about the origins of sexual orientation because the Bible never speaks to the subject. It only speaks to our behavior.

To draw our conclusions about the origins of sexual orientation, we have to turn to the life experience of flesh and blood gay people and what they tell us about how they came to be gay, as well as, for those of us who are heterosexual, our life experiences about how we came to be straight. And when you turn to those life experiences, they are remarkably similar in description. At the dawn of adolescence, some of us naturally, through no choice of our own, started to notice the opposite sex. Others, naturally, through no choice of their own, started to notice the same sex. Some gay people say they knew they were different long before those first actual sexual attractions appeared on the scene. What you don’t hear over and over again is that people made a choice. They didn’t. That’s not their description, and it’s not our own heterosexual experience, either. Since the Bible doesn’t speak to the issue of the origin of orientation, we can accept the validity of our experiences and move on.

Because of that, it’s inaccurate for Graham to tell people to just stop being gay. It’s not reasonable. It’s not biblical. To the contrary, the attempts to do so are often destructive. Countless lives have been lost to suicide, and countless families and futures have been destroyed by forced attempts at changing sexual orientation. For those interested, I can easily provide numerous examples, but because the idea that we choose our orientation is so obviously misguided, let’s move onto the next question.

Is being gay contagious? Can my kids catch it from their friends? Will a gay child convince my straight child to become gay? Will being around gay children lead my children to become too compassionate toward gay people?

We can’t be sure what Graham meant by his recommendation to quarantine our children and our churches from gay children. There are, however, three potential implications to what he said, reflected by the four questions above. So let’s deal with these related questions–all about the influence that gay children might have on our homes or our churches.

First, it’s possible that Graham might have been saying we need to be careful lest we end up feeling too compassionate. That would suggest that compassion is a bad thing. The Bible says that when Jesus saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matt. 9:36-38) I can think of few people better described by the phrase “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” than a gay child. Gay children have often been rejected, ostracized or shamed by their own family. They often feel detached from other kids and isolated. They’ve frequently been pushed away by their churches. We have every reason to feel compassion for them. When Jesus saw harassed and helpless people, he called them “the harvest” and said there is a need for workers to get out into the field and bring them in.

That sounds very different from Graham’s call to avoid or reject harassed and helpless gay children. Gay children are a part of God’s harvest. God feels compassion for them. God wants the church to get out into the harvest. To suggest that we guard our hearts, homes, and churches against compassion runs counter to everything the Bible teaches.

Second, it’s possible that Graham is saying that gay children might influence our children to become gay. That ignores a few basic realities. First, people don’t choose to be gay. We’ve already addressed that. We can take it a step further though. Find a gay person and ask her or him about their initial reaction to realizing they were gay. What you’ll hear–and what I’ve learned from conversations with many gay people and from reading the stories of numerous others—is that almost universally (and by that, I mean I have yet to see an exception) the first reaction of every gay person was that they didn’t want to be gay. They wanted to be straight. They fought against the idea they were gay. Let’s face it: Being straight is a much easier road. Less bullying. Less name-calling. Everyone accepts opposite-sex relationships. It’s easier to get married. It’s easier to have children. There is less fear of growing old alone. No worries about your parents disowning you for your orientation. No worries about being thrown out of your home or your church. If it were a choice, and it’s not, people wouldn’t choose it anyway. That gay child Graham says not to reach out to didn’t choose to be gay, and your child isn’t going to choose to be gay under their “influence.”

Third, it’s possible that Graham is repeating the age-old fear that being around gay people will somehow just naturally lead to more people being gay—as if it’s contagious. This might be inferred from Graham’s concern that if Christian families reach out to gay children to influence them with the gospel, those gay children will somehow influence the children of those parents instead, presumably to being gay.

If being gay were contagious, there would be many more gay people in the world. I had gay friends in high school and college. I have at least one relative growing up who was gay. And I didn’t catch one little bit of gay. It’s not something that just rubs off on you. Gay kids were in my home. I was in their homes. Some I knew were gay, and some I didn’t know about until later. And still, l didn’t catch a thing. Now logically, if sexual orientation is contagious, it might be possible that being heterosexual would be contagious, too—and with 95-97% of us running around as heterosexuals not caring who we infect, if that were the case, “gay” should be eliminated by now. Based on real-life experience, it should be pretty obvious that if you don’t choose your sexual orientation, you’re not going to catch it and change it just because you happen to be around people whose orientation is different from yours.

Consider this: Gay people have being trying to catch heterosexuality for years. They didn’t want to be gay. They thought maybe if they dated the opposite gender, they would stop being gay. Many gay people have even married heterosexually, hoping it would change their orientation. It didn’t—and it didn’t change the orientation of their straight spouse either. What it did, in many cases, was create a lot of pain for all involved.

Franklin Graham’s advice runs counter to the exact mission for which Jesus came and to which Christians are called.

I don’t know which of the three possible meanings Graham intended, but I do know that all three are inaccurate. Regardless, there is a deeper problem with his advice. It runs counter to the exact mission for which Jesus came and to which Christians are called. We are called to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). We are called to be people of influence, not to shut our doors—whether of our homes or our churches—to some of the people who are hurting more than anyone else. Let’s face it, despite our society’s alleged enlightenment, our society is not now and never has been pro-gay for children and teenagers. No matter how many laws are passed to outlaw discrimination, children are going to be mocked by their peers for any perception of difference no matter how many anti-bullying assemblies the school sponsors. (When it comes to housing, food, and employment, God is a non-discriminatory God. “He causes His sun to rise on the good and the evil and the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous.” If you want to be considered God’s child, you’ve got to be non-discriminatory, too. Check out Matthew 5:45.)

Gay children—rather than being people the church should turn out—are among the most disenfranchised members of our society. We might even call them “the least of these.” Jesus said if we meet the needs of the “least of these,” we’ve actually been ministering to him, and if we reject “the least of these,” we’ve actually rejected him (Matt. 25:31-46). Not only is Graham’s advice to churches dangerous to gay children, it’s also dangerous to the church. Essentially, Graham is telling the church to stop being the church. To stop being salt and light. To worry about our safety. To worry about what reaching out to gay children is going to do to our country. But Jesus taught that he is the kind of a shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to go after the one (Luke 15).

Over and over during his life on earth, Jesus was attacked by the religious leaders of his day for reaching out to the wrong people. One of the classic examples of this is when Jesus went to have dinner with a religious leader named Simon. While they were having dinner, a woman who had a reputation as immoral came in and began to wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, dry them with her hair, kiss them, and then rub expensive perfume into them. Simon was extraordinarily disturbed that Jesus would let a woman like that touch Him. Jesus’ response? He sharply rebuked Simon for his lack of hospitality and compassion, praised the woman, and sent her on her way with salvation. Jesus treated the woman Simon wanted Jesus to turn away with deep love and deep respect. Perhaps there is a lesson there for Graham and for us.

So let’s review: being gay isn’t contagious. Your faith, however, is supposed to be contagious. People should be catching that. Even gay children. But how are they going to catch your faith and the love of Jesus if you keep yourself quarantined?

Are gay children the enemy?

Again, Simon viewed the woman as enemy. Untouchable. But Jesus didn’t. Jesus never seemed to think the disenfranchised were his enemies. Graham, on the other hand, seems to imply that they are. I realize that Graham would say he was referring to Satan, but his words left the unavoidable implication that the gay children these Christians sought to influence were part of the enemy’s plot.

There is an enemy. Satan is our enemy. He does want to devour—but he’s not doing it through gay children. Ironically, Satan doesn’t need to devour the church if he can get us to stop loving people. Every person is created in the image of God and is the target of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. Are there people who behave as enemies of the church? Yes, but it’s not gay children—and even if it were, Jesus said to love our enemies and overcome evil with good. But again, gay children aren’t the enemy. They aren’t evil. They’re children who Jesus came to draw to himself.

Do we need to abandon love to reach people for our faith?

When Graham criticizes the idea that we can influence by being “nice and loving,” he negates the Scriptures that directly teach that we can and should. He negates Peter who writes that we are to be prepared to give an answer with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3). Jesus routinely influenced sinful people (amongst whom we are all numbered) by being loving. The woman in Simon the Pharisee’s house definitely felt that Jesus was loving—even though her sins were many. The woman at the well was almost certainly treated more kindly by Jesus than she had been by any man in her life up to that point and by any member of her community (John 4). Zaccheus was treated with so much kindness and acceptance by Jesus that he flipped his whole livelihood the day Jesus came to eat with him (Luke 19). In fact, in the rare instances when Jesus wasn’t “nice,” it was typically toward someone who was being harsh to others. We need to make sure we sound less like Simon the Pharisee and more like Jesus. We don’t need to abandon love to influence people for the faith.

Do we get to decide who we let into the church?

No. There are only two types of people that the Bible says have no place in the church: those who are being willfully rebellious against God, and a person who is being divisive. Being gay doesn’t make a person rebellious against God or divisive. It makes them, well, gay.

It boils down to this: God decides who gets let into God’s church. It’s God’s, not ours. God is not willing that any should perish (Matt. 18:4). I can’t help a child avoid perishing if I shun her or if I push him away.

Unfortunately, from beginning to end, almost every word Graham said was unfounded and scripturally inaccurate. The few founded words—that gay people can be saved but they have to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Lord—apply to all of us. In those founded words, however, he seemed to imply that they needed to repent of their orientation and stop being gay. That is neither Scriptural nor reasonable. Because of that, Graham’s teaching on the subject—no matter how many other good things he has done through Samaritan’s Purse—must be rejected to protect Christian parents, their gay children, and gay children outside the church.  Graham has misrepresented the heart of the Savior, and we must be sure we don’t imitate his error.

Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.] What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the 99 on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:10-14).

Graham’s advice bears no resemblance to the heart of the Father and the mission of the Son as described by Jesus. If we want to be children of our Father in heaven, we need to be sure we are imitating God’s heart in the way we live out our lives toward others—and especially toward wandering and searching children.

Now, let’s turn out attention to Dobson. Here’s what he had to say:

James Dobson: “You know, it’s a whole lot broader than just the gay agenda. LGBT people understand when they’re saying, well, you know, people who have this inclination want to fall in love and want to express this in the form of marriage and so on. LGBT: You know what the “B” stands for? Bisexual. That’s orgies. That is lots of sex with lots of people.

“And now transgender has taken over the schools, and they’re teaching that gender is not a biological circumstance with which you’re born. Gender is chosen and they’re teaching 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds that.”

So where did Dobson go wrong? Let’s break it down with a few questions:

What does it mean to be “bisexual”?

“Bisexual” simply means that an individual is sexually attracted to both genders. It says nothing about the person’s actual sexual activity. There are unmarried, celibate, bisexual people. There are heterosexually married and faithful bisexual people. There are unmarried, committed, sexually active bisexual people. And there are undoubtedly married and unmarried promiscuous bisexual people—just as there are married and unmarried promiscuous heterosexual people. Orientation indicates nothing about behavior.  By misleading his audience to connect orientation to promiscuity, Dobson unfairly creates suspicion and anger toward bisexual people, and, by inference, all LGBT people.

What does it mean to be “transgender”?

Transgender means that a person’s biological gender (sometimes called assigned gender from birth) doesn’t match their internally perceived gender.

No one is saying that anyone gets to choose their gender. In practicality, the experience of some 5- and 6-year-olds that Dobson references is not that they are being taught in school that they can choose whether to be a boy or a girl, but that they were born with a biological gender identity that does not match their internal gender identity. Like discovering that one is gay, gender dysphoria is not something a child chooses; it is usually a very unwelcome discovery to feel that one’s gender is incongruent with one’s biology. Are those of us who are not transgender able to understand that? Almost certainly not. Our sense of self is so interwoven that we can’t imagine what it would be like were it not so interwoven. We don’t need to understand something to be compassionate, however. Unfortunately, Dobson’s inaccurate representation tends to arouse anger towards transgender people instead of arousing compassion.

For those who haven’t inferred it from earlier phrasing within the article, I am theologically Side B. For readers unfamiliar with the terminology, that means that I believe the Bible teaches that sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage do not honor God. (Side A believes that all loving relationships honor God.) I share that now for this reason: If you happen to be a person who holds to that same theological belief, I want you to realize that we can hold that belief and still be loving, gracious, and even protective toward the LGBT community and most certainly toward gay children. If you happen to be a person who is Side A, I hope you can see that we can love and respect each other although we might theologically disagree and that all of us can do everything within our power to protect gay children, who are often just trying to manage Side S—Survival—because we can agree that every individual is loved and pursued by God.

Graham and Dobson are in error in their beliefs and attitudes regarding the LGBT community and what the Bible has to say about LGBT people. They are not a reliable source for information on how to build Christian homes and communities, because their errant information puts people whom God loves in harm’s way. If we follow their lead, we will cease to honor the heart of the Father and we will endanger people who have been created by in God’s image, who are loved by God, and pursued by God through the redemptive work of Christ.

Make no mistake: People will die as a result of their remarks. Parents will hear these errant teachings, believe them, and be influenced to reject gay children they otherwise might have helped—sometimes even their own. As a result of that, some of those gay children will take their own lives. Gay children are five times more likely to attempt suicide than straight children. Highly rejected gay children have been found to be eight times more likely to attempt suicide. Can you think of a higher rejection than being put out of your home by your Christian parents or put out of your church—as a gay or transgender child—simply for an orientation you didn’t ask for? Don’t let someone created in the image of God, loved by God, and pursued by God fall through the cracks because of errant information, regardless of the source. Instead, reach out. And while you’re at it, pray for Graham and Dobson—that they will experience the love of Christ themselves so that they grow more willing to extend that love to the “least of these.”

Dan Kaser is a heterosexual, married (29 years) father of two and a Side B pastor of a conservative church that seeks to genuinely reflect the heart of the Father.

Also of interest: Please Stop “Loving” Us (to Death)  by Gabriel Blanchard

 

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Comment policy: ESA represents a wide variety of understandings and practices surrounding our shared Christian faith. The purpose of the ESA blog is to facilitate loving conversation; please know that individual authors do not speak for ESA as a whole. Even if you don\'t see yourself or your experience reflected in something you read here, we invite you to experience it anyway, and see if God can meet you there. What can take away from considering this point of view? What might you add? The comments section below is where you can share the answers to those questions, if you feel so moved. Please express your thoughts in ways that are constructive, purposeful, and respectful. Give those you disagree with the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are neither idiots nor evil. Name-calling, sweeping condemnations, and any other comments that suggest you have forgotten that we are all children of God will be deleted. Thank you!

13 Responses

  1. Jim Cates says:

    I am also somewhat familiar with the struggles of the Old Order Amish, whose children enter rumspringa and choose to live in a way that runs counter to their parents’ beliefs, and plural marriage Mormons, whose children sometimes enter adolescence or young adulthood and decide against their parents’ beliefs. Regardless of what we believe about the stance of these groups as Christians, both sects and parents of gays face the same dilemma. Is the Christian response one of rejection? Or one of loving a child and believing that good parenting means that God is ultimately at work in that child’s life, whether we can see it at the moment or not? Parenting is a journey, not a recipe, and Rev. Kaser’s words remind us of the need to be spiritually mindful as we travel. Thank you so much.

  2. Tbstrube says:

    This article is so weak. It doesn’t go far enough. If I was born gay, then God made me gay. Why would God withhold my heterosexuality unless he wanted, and planned, for me to be, and love, as a gay person.

  3. Patrick B says:

    As a former heterosexual father of two I want to personally thank the author, Dan Laser, he really gets it. My road was long and hard but I’m finally at peace with myself, my family and my god. This article will no doubt help others make their road easier to travel. Thank you Can.

  4. Sara says:

    Wow, what a couple of hypocrites. So kick you gay child to the curb? But support abusive spouses? Graham is openly supportive of convicted wife abuser “Pastor” Saeed, while Dobson tells women, in his book Love Must Be Tough that divorcing their abusive spouse is a sin, instead she should make him really angry. I suppose so he can blow up an be done with it? Gay people are the enemy? I’ve been abused by several people in the church over the course of my life, but none of them were gay. Too bad. Then I could kick them to the curb, according to these two.

  5. Emma M says:

    Dear Dan,

    I agree with you that Graham’s notions for treating “gay” children a certain way is wrong and unbiblical. The church needs to change our reputation from those who hate gays to those who love them (John 13:35).

    What I don’t agree with you on is the idea that we do not have a choice in our orientation. You said we can not be certain if the Bible says whether or not being gay is a choice. However, the Bible consistently tells us that homosexuality is a sin (1 Cor. 6:9, Romans 1:26-27). The Bible says that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27). Let’s look at another orientation: pedophilia. Do you believe that those with pedophiliac tendencies have a choice, or not? Who is to say they believe God made them that way, and then why should we stop them? It is true our hearts deceive us and are wicked at the core (Jer. 17:9, Rom. 3:23). And where does sin come from? We are born with it, yes. But we do have a choice. A choice to turn from our own desires and turn to Jesus Christ. I too have struggled in the past with sexual immorality and can tell you with confidence that I have claimed victory over my sins in Christ Jesus.

    One thing I wish my other brothers and sisters would understand is that homosexuality is not an unpardonable sin. All sins are forgivable when we repent and turn to Jesus (Is. 1:18).

    I had trouble agreeing with your article, mostly because I did not see it as Biblically backed up as it should be, for we are talking of sin and saving lives for the kingdom. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you learn about redeemed sister Rosaria Butterfield, in her book “Train Wreck Conversion”, which tells an amazing tale of how the Lord delivered her.

    Thank you and God bless!

  6. Lynn L. Morris says:

    Good article, though I disagree with his Side B. Faithful gay Christians of present day, are not people who are disconnecting from God’s purposes. These people long to have God at the center of their lives. Their faithful, covenated relationships are fully capable of embodying God’s purposses for love and marriage. Commited gay relationships of today can serve as powerful instuments helping people to grow into Christ-like love and self-giving. This is what God intends the gift of marriage to accomplish. It is precisely this kind of growth into the image of Christ that Paul commends to the congregation at Corinth. The highest purpose for love and marriage in God’s plan was to form us in the image of Christ. Jesus’ loving gift of his whole self for the church was the model and prototype for the kind of joyful, self-giving communnion God wants us to experience in marriage, whether we’re straight or gay. So, loving, committed, same-sex relationships are fully compatible with God’s will and intentions.

  7. I applaud Dan Kaser’s Christ-centered essay. The good news of the Gospel draws all of us to the sin-liberating power of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.
    Kaser differentiates innate orientation with chosen behavior. Within ESA’s parameters I understand myself to be a “Side B” heterosexual. And yes, that has always been easier in society. However, some evolutionary theories posit that human males have an innate propensity toward sexual promiscuity and violence to pass on their own genes. I can believe it! An anthropological case can be made that marriage evolved to regulate sexual relations so that societies can protect heredity and minimize sexually-enflamed violent rivalry. (e.g. many animal species have violent sexual conflict). So heterosexuals also need to have self-control, which for Christians is aided by the indwelling Holy Spirit and an accountable community.
    Affection between people is a positive trait irrespective of sexual orientation. Can Christian “brothers” or “sisters” mutually share affectionate lives together without erotic behavior? Historical and contemporary examples abound in close-knit communities.

  8. Dan Kaser says:

    Emma,

    I appreciate your thoughts. What you are not drawing a distinction between, though, is orientation and action. The Bible verses you reference deal with actions, not orientation or desires. The Bible never addresses the subject of the origin of a gay orientation in the lives of an individual believer. This is one of the great failings of many Christians. They are imprecise in their use of language and use the term “homosexuality” (because of an irrational fear of the word “gay’) without carefully paying attention to the definition. Homosexuality is the state of being attracted to members of the same sex. Homosexuality says nothing about behavior. We are being reckless with our words when we fail to take that into account.

    Your use of Romans 1 as a basis for the origin of a gay orientation in the lives of individuals believers fails to take the entire passage into context, as well as ignoring the obvious reality in the lives of many gay believers. Look at what it says: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” Unless you are claiming that every individual gay believer followed this specific path: they knew God, but did not glorify Him as God or give thanks to Him (which contradicts the testimony of al most every gay believer, who, as a teen realizing they had these tendencies, LOVED God, PRAYED to God (to stop being gay), and often gave their lives to Him in significant ways (often believing that if they sacrificed more for Him, God would honor their request to stop being gay)), and then, along with that are claiming that they claimed to be wise and exchanged the glory of God for the worship of physical idols made in the form of various things from the animal kingdom — unless you are claiming that series of things — which I know you’re not — then Romans 1 can’t be used to blame every individual teenager who is gay that they have somehow made a choice to be gay. To do so ignores scriptural context and obvious reality. To be frank, I am regularly amazed by my gay brothers and sisters in Christ who worship and serve Him wholeheartedly despite often having been cast out by their own families and churches and despite being falsely accused of having chosen their orientation and somehow being so flawed as a child that God dropped this curse on them (which is exactly what those who use Romans 1 in this way are saying.). They love and worship God more deeply than many of my heterosexual brothers and sisters in Christ who have faced no such rejection.

    Your great and harmful mistake, beyond misusing the Scripture you cite, is to equate orientation with behavior. Your quite offensive remark is to attempt to compare a gay orientation to pedophilia. Having said that, however, you still make the same error. Pedophilia is attraction to children. The term says nothing about behavior. If you do not wish to harm your quite innocent gay brothers and sisters in Christ, though, please refrain in the future from in any way linking them to pedophilia, bestiality, or any thing else that you would not want to personally be linked to.

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for responding, I really appreciate it.

      I’m going to spit out a few thoughts, and even if we can’t agree, I will try to keep the conversation Biblical and polite as possible. I believe the Bible has the answer for EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE, including the root of all sin. Which in our nature. Having the excuse to be born with those tendencies in sexuality destroys your objectivity.

      All of us are born with fallen nature, right? This gives us the tendency to do wrong. Biology doesn’t make us do wrong, but is a convenient excuse for our behavior. What’s missing of our cause of attraction is the existence of a soul, the choice of the individual, and temptation of the devil (James 1:14). There is no genetic excuse for stealing or murder, and there is no genetic excuse for homosexuality. Environment, culture, decisions and choice make up a thief or murderer, and the same factors make someone a homosexual.

      According to the Bible, marriage is strictly defined as between a man and woman (Gen. 2:24), while the other option it to remain pure and celibate (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Yes, God DID design us for companionship, we can still choose to fulfill it in unrighteous ways. (Hint: it is still our CHOICE). What we desire is NOT who we are. In short, God did not create homosexuals (or any other sexually immoral practice), WE did. People did.

      The Good News is Christ died for ALL sinners. Me, you, and everyone else. In Christ alone we find comfort, restoration, hope, love, and forgiveness. My prayer is that God will continue to work in the lives of those who are still lost and in need of the Truth.

      • Dan Kaser says:

        Emma,

        While you claim that you will stick to being Biblical, you venture off mostly into your personal opinions. Your error is in equating sins — stealing and murder — with an orientation of any kind. Homosexuality is not an act — it is an orientation. It is not an act. There ARE homosexual acts, but those acts are not the same as the orientation. For whatever reason, many Christians seem to struggle with drawing a differentiation between orientation and act when it regards homosexuality, even though they have no such struggle with any other similar differentiation.

        Your opening statement paragraph contradicts itself. You state that the root of our sin is in our nature, but then you say that saying one is born with certain tendencies provides and excuse and destroys objectivity. What exactly is sinful nature other than sin tendency? You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

        Additionally, you make a blanket statement that has no Biblical foundation: that environment, culture, decisions, and choice make someone gay. May I ask for a Biblical citation for that? Of course, there is none. Additionally, your statement is unsupported by real world evidence. Many gay people grow up in the same homes as straight siblings. Identical environment. Same parents. Same religious exposure. Most are badly outnumbered by straight people in their home. What part of that environment caused it for only that one person? They grow up in the same culture. Many gay people grow up in a Christian culture and are devoutly Christian themselves.

        Have you spent much time with gay people? Talking to them and getting to know them — learning about them rather than just trying to tell them they are wrong? Because if you do, you will find those who claim they made a choice to be nearly non-existent — and somehow, I don’t think they are all lying. Most gay people have literally begged God to make them straight. Hardly the image of someone making a choice. And most gay people realize they are gay at the dawn of their sexual development — not after having made sexual decisions. Your statement about environment, culture, decisions, and choice is an attempt to shift blame directly to the gay person for their orientation. It’s not biblical and it’s not accurate.

        I pray that God will work in the lives of all people, and especially those who struggle with being compassionate as our God is compassionate.

  9. Grace Taker says:

    Ok, Church. We cannot have two such prominent leaders so misrepresent God on this issue. Pray for the wind of the Spirit to breathe into this issue. Pray for these leaders to understand what it means to BELIEVE that God loves every sinner IN SPITE of their sin, he longs for everyone to come to repentance. He loves me IN SPITE of my sin; God loves Franklin Graham IN SPITE of his sin – the ones he chooses to do and the ones he has a proclivity toward and would Never Want to Choose if He Had a Choice. Pray for Franklin Graham to realize the implications of what he has said and RETRACT his statements. People in Franklin’s organizations who have struggled with this issue or have family who have struggled and are serving God with their lives: SHARE YOUR STORIES. Do not be ashamed, do not be silent. These are such harmful statements in a season of such confusion in our culture. Pray that “suffer the little children to come unto me” would be true in the Church. Pray that a good samaritan life would be true in the Church. Pray that God would Shake Up His complacent Church toward understanding OUR OWN SIN and unworthiness. That is how you love another sinner, when you realize your sin is just as reprehensible to God as theirs is. …And the extra JOY that comes when you really see how vast is your redemption. Lord have mercy on your Church. We still don’t know how to love…

  1. June 27, 2016

    […] not always ready to hear that some of their biggest heroes in the faith have caused deep pain and damage to gay people. They’re not always ready to hear that the political leaders […]

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