What Would You Say to a Gay Christian?

I have been tasked to write a teaching letter advising a church on how to deal with a Christian who self-confesses same-sex attraction. It is an assignment in my Theological Foundations for Ministry class in my M.Min. program at Harding University. This has me thinking in many different directions. Instructions are, of course, to start in the biblical text and go from there. The “there” for me naturally includes this blog.

So what would you say to a gay Christian? What advice would you give a Christian who confessed same-sex attraction? How would your church handle it?  What word might you speak to your church about this? Is same-sex attraction a sin? (not speaking of practicing homosexuality here.)

If you comment (and I hope you do because it would help me out!) please maintain the Spirit of Christ in your comments.

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33 Responses to What Would You Say to a Gay Christian?

  1. Samantha Furman says:

    Can you be a “Gay” Christian? I grew up in Kosciusko Church of Christ and I can NEVER remember being taught anything in Sunday school or from any preacher we ever had…I don’t know why but that was never spoke of. I have just always known that was a sin. Was I wrong?

  2. mary paul says:

    As a Christian and also a daughter of a gay father, I feel very strongly about this topic. While the bible does speak against same sex attraction/relationships, it also says that we are to love one another. While many might not agree with same sex partnerships, as Christians I feel that any and all of gods children should be welcomed into the arms of the church. We may not agree with their particular sin, just as we don’t agree with sins born from adultery, pride, dishonesty, theft. And yet these sinners sit in church and are welcomed there. Their sins are no less than the sins of same sex attraction. I believe the church, in the spirit of Christ has an opportunity to show christs love to everyone since we all fall short of god, straight and gay alike. No one should have to feel not wanted at a place of worship. The person having same sex attraction should only have god to answer to . So the church should be open to welcoming these people just as they welcome the liars, cheaters, a lost souls with a sordid past . No one should be denied a place to worship god just because their sins might be different than the guy a pew over. None of us are perfect, and yet Christ died for all of us….. so accept and embrace the differences in us all. We are all his children, and remember what you do for the least of his brothers, you do for him. Just love one another! Judgement comes from above so forgive your neighbors faults and love them anyway.

  3. Jordan says:

    I’d probably start off with “Hello” and then tell them that our group at church is a safe place where people can be who they are. I think I’d do more listening, though.

  4. Ilia says:

    Hi there, very interestig and relevant topic for our morden days. I would tend to concure with the first comment, can you be a gay-Christian? It is the same way as, adulterous-Christian, killing-Christian, stealing-Christian, coveting-Christian, not believing-Christian? One should be clear that Christ was not crucified because of love (of cousre His mission was to dya for the lost humanity and whoevere believes in him would not die but escape eternal punishment) but He was crucified because of his words of truth that so many people found inconvenient for them, Pharisees and etc. Do we see gay-Christians flourishing in the early Church? No! Why, becuase the teaching was clear, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…” 1 Cor. 6:9. Then the Apostol Paul says, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God”. 1 Cor. 6:11. Notice, that Paul says that such (homosexuals…) were in the past. And God changed these people and they became justified and sanctified (means not as people from the world, not confessing same sex-attraction any more) The church is not a social club, it is the body of Christ, people who are holy and reaching for perfection.
    What would I tell a homosexual? I would accept him and study the Bible with him, I would pray for him. If a person who confesses the same sex atraction and he comes to the church then he want healing and restoration. That what the chuch should provide with the Lord’s help. I strongly believe when we start call things in right names, (homosexuality is a sin) and provide healing in the Lord then we can call it love.
    Once I watch discovery chanel and it showed a nudist church where people come naked. The preacher said, “God created us this way and we feel so free to worship in the Spirit”. Looks like hell but these people wanted to be accepetes as they are not willing to change their habbits and lifestyles.

  5. Naomi says:

    Love the sinner, hate the sin.

  6. landsway says:

    I would have to deal with this the same way I would deal with any other sin. I found it interesting that you mentioned it was same sex attraction and not acting out. The Bible tells us that the Word is sharper than a two edged sword and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart so I am not sure that the actual act is necessary to constitute sin. I also think that in this day of political correctness we sometimes do not want to address sin and repentence. We are told in Matthew 7 that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. Whenever we approach anyone about any sin; we must do it in love and without condemnation. I would think a letter to the church that is designed to be a teaching letter would state in that letter what the Bible says about homsexuality. It is fairly clear what the Bible says but how WE say it must be done in a non-condemning, but uncompromising way. I would tend to tell the person involved that Jesus loves them. I would have a tendency to tell of the parable of the sower in Mark 4 and tell them that when the seed is sown and the heart has no understanding that is seed sown by the wayside and the Bible tells us when that seed is sown Satan comes immediately to steal the Word. It is because of that that we can and are deceived and anyone invovled in any sin where they think they are ok is because of deception. We should encourage the individual to study the scriptures that we show them and ask them to tell us; after study and prayer what they think. A sin like this; one that is a sin of the heart and is becoming an accepted thing in our society is not one that can be shamed out of anyone. We, in the church, need to point out scripture, encourage questions, and love the one involved. We should pray that the Holy Spirit would show them in their heart what is true.

  7. Juozas says:

    I would like to ask a counter question – What would you say to me? I’m not a gay. I’m a Christian; I’m a full time missionary in the Church. But … I’m a sinner like everybody. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3-23). Which sin deserves more hatred – being a gay or being haughty? Why you can’t sit by a drunken person in the Church, but are sitting with a person who stirs up dissension among brothers by telling that he likes another preacher, but not this one?
    Yes, God thinks that being a gay is a sin (I do too), but also He is telling us that “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pour out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
    The sin is not bigger than others because it has a smell (alcohol, cigarettes …) and the sin is not smaller that others if nobody really notice that (cruel at home and smiling in the Church). It is SIN and “For the wages of SIN is DEATH …” (Romans 6:23).
    So, what would you say to a gay Christian? I will tell him the same thing what I would tell to any Christian who is sinning – brother, you are wrong. If you want to be with your Father, stop sinning. Pray for wisdom how to stop sinning and I will do too for you. It could be harder than to quit smoking or stop downloading pirated movies, but if you will humbly come to God with your problem, He will help you to manage that. “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God’.” (Luke 18:27).

    “Whenever we discuss the biological basis of maleness and femaleness, it is crucial to remember that there are two specific periods involved in determination of any individual’s sexual and social behavior. The first, of course, is the moment of conception itself: the nature of the sex chromosome is determined at the instant of fertilization, when the sperm and ovum are united. If the resulting fetus combines two X chromosomes it will become a biological female; if there is a combination of an X with a male Y chromosome, then we have a biological male. This however is only half the issue.
    “It appears that the second half of our genetic sexual identity is formed just before we leave the womb. Immediately before birth there are sex hormones circulating in the blood of the fetus that produce anatomical differences between the male and female brain, and result in different patterns of connections between the nerve cells. This ’cerebral masculinization’ takes place only during this brief, critical period, and once the pattern has been established there is no way of changing it. One should always keep in mind, however, that this ’masculinization’ is only a matter of sexual and social behavioral difference; abilities such as intelligence and logical thinking do not become the exclusive property of a ’masculine’ or ’feminine’ brain.” – Reported in I Do, Eysenck and Taylor, page 168.

  8. John Dobbs says:

    Excellent thoughts Jouzas.

  9. dannydodd says:

    Good thoughts from all. I am impressed with your wisdom.

    Good discussion going on!

  10. dvdbrumley says:

    I think a quick jump back to square one is needed here. Believing that man is created in God’s image, is the argument that someone is “born gay” feasible? Is God gay?

    If not, then where did this idea that people are “born” anything come from?

    • Es says:

      dvdbrumley, God made us in his image and we were sinless in the beginning. But then, we decided to disobey God, which was sin, which brought sin into mankind (murder, lying, homosexuality…)

  11. Tony Black says:

    Jesus said, “do to others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a humbling thought. We need to show the will of God in our lives, not in our opinion. Thinking the wrong is natural but the way of Christ removes it by His righteousness. We should support all who seek to do God’s will.

  12. c3andp says:

    So what would you say to a gay Christian?
    Much depends on that person. Is the person wanting to practice a homosexual lifestyle, yet be accepted by God and his church? If so, the scriptures that already have been cited here which identify homosexuality as a sin, and call for repentance are the place to start. The church that does not call for repentance in that case is in the same situation as the 1 Corinthians 5 church that ignored, even flouted, acceptance of sexual sin among its members.
    However, if the person is seeking salvation and is willing to sacrifice any worldly bond (as we are all called to do), then the approach is different. We can perhaps help them understand why they have the attractions they do by a study of what it means to live in a fallen world in which sin reigns. We can help them understand the depths of God’s grace by a study on forgiveness. We can help them understand God’s love by showing them love. We can be clear about the choices they have to make by a study on repentance, and how ultimately that has to do with the direction of our life, not just a single action. We must be prepared to illustrate patience to help them through the times they struggle. And we can share in celebration when they sense, in one way or another, the power of God that enables them to overcome their struggles.
    One other thing. I hear in some of the comments already made that to say the church does not “accept” homosexuals is to say that we bar the door, either physically or emotionally, when they show up. Tha should never be the case. “Acceptance” means that no call for change is made. Christianity is all about change for all of us.
    C3

  13. dvdbrumley says:

    Great answer C3andp.

  14. Scottie says:

    I hope for mercy from whatever God there may be…for those who call themselves Christian, Jesus was silent on the topic.

    Paul spoke, but then Paul supposedly said a lot of things that have been used to make people second class citizens–women being the biggest thing that comes to mind. Frankly, I have real issues with the fact that most of Christendom uses Paul as the source for theology than Jesus…but that is my own opinion. I think it would be a different following if Jesus was paid more attention to than Paul.

    Jesus elevates the seeker with no qualifications (Matt 5)….funny how we are more comfortable with classifying people with respect to their level of sin, than building than up and encouraging their asking, seeking and knocking…

    For me, I don’t know if any of this is real anymore, but if it is, then it occurs to me that I need to worry about my own house first, show mercy to all others, and hope against hope that God will show it to me, because if I am honest, I don’t deserve it…

  15. dvdbrumley says:

    Scottie, I would say than no one has ever paid more attention to Paul than Christ Himself.
    A. He blinded him and set him free to be about becoming the greatest missionary ever.
    B. He called Paul up to Heaven to meet with Him face to face.

    I’d say that rather than less attention, more attention should be paid to Paul. I fear for those who are buying into the post-modern “New Perspectives on Paul.” Scripture is scripture. It says what it says. That’s the problem with the church today – we see where the scripture says something and rather than taking it and following it, we say “let’s vote on it.” Either you believe the Bible is what it is or you don’t. Sadly, to pick and choose makes the whole story in the Bible myth, for if you can’t believe that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write what he did, then how can you believe that Christ was raised from the dead after being murdered on the cross (Happy Easter by the way)?

  16. Scottie says:

    Hey David,

    i appreciate the thoughts, but you hit the nail on the head…I am not sure I do believe most of this anymore. At any rate, this discussion is off topic from Danny’s original question and they are really my issues alone. I am sorry if I de-railed it.

    Cheers,
    scottie

  17. jim says:

    Some of the early church had come out of a plethora of sins: adultery, fornication, homosexuality….lying cheating, slander, gossip. In God’s eyes, it appears that all sins is equal. and falls short of the glory of GOD. If there are recovering alcoholics in the church, why not recovering gays or adulterers or pornographers. I think most in the church single out sins that make them the most uncomfortable.

  18. Derek says:

    I attend church every Sunday with gossips, slanderers, adulterers, rebellious children, idolators, liars, drunkards, the sexually immoral, the greedy, the depraved, and, if statistics and common sense are any indication, people who are attracted to individuals of the same sex. Don’t even get me started on the man who peers back at me from the mirror. Suffice to say that I will require no less of God’s grace then the vilest offender. We are ALL broken people. To turn that person away would be the heighth of arrogance.

  19. c3andp says:

    I agree with your statement, Derek. However, the question assumed we were not going to turn them away. To the contrary, we are going to have a conversation. The question is, what are you going to say?
    C3

  20. D. Meadows says:

    Here’s my two cents worth. I have a gay male friend who is a member of the church. He and I have had many conversations about his “lifestyle” over the years. We have studied what the scriptures say again and again. He still believes he can’t help being the way he is. He has asked me numerous times, “Doesn’t God want me to be loved?” Of course, God wants us all to be loved and we are – by God. I know that is not what he meant, however. I compared his situation to that of a never-married, widowed, or divorced person. Doesn’t God want all of us to find love? If it happens (or happens again in the case of the widowed or divorced), then wonderful. If not, does that mean these folks should go out and fornicate? Of course not. A Christian can and should remain celibate regardless of his or her “orientation” in these situations. As Jesus told the prostitute by the well, “Go and sin no more,” so should we if we find ourselves in sexual sin. No matter what you were, you can live for Jesus and leave behind the “sin” that besets you. “Gay” or not, following God’s will means leaving worldly ways behind, living for Him and remembering that the blood of Christ continually washes us clean IF we are earnestly seeking and serving God.

  21. Edward says:

    Since I was asked to respond, I will respond with the following:

    If a gay or lesbian entered the doors of our church I would say nothing. I would remain silent, except if I felt compelled to speak up in defense of such a person.

    I personally am not offended by or uncomfortable with homosexuality, and I don’t believe it’s morally wrong or destructive. At least there’s no evidence to indicate such.

    I have my own views on what the scripture says about it, which I do not wish to share here.

    It is a personal choice or state, however you wish to view it, and it is not for me to decide if it’s right or wrong for any individual. It is up to the individual who leads that kind of lifestyle to determine for himself or herself.

  22. dholman says:

    My experience was on the teenager level. On two different ocassions it came out that a young man in the group was homosexual. In both those cases the young men, who were on the fringe of the group, moved even farther away initially. This despite a pretty good response from the other teens. In one case, after High School, a couple of guys were able to strike a relationship with one of the guys for a time… but eventually he jettisoned the relationship and ties to the church.
    Here’s what I learned…
    1. They expected me to teach against the practice of homosexual sex. They were not uncomfortable with my teaching against it as long as I was respectable, truthful, and handled the subject as it is in the real world… which is what we should do for everyone.[Edward I disagree. I have heard people who argue that the Bible doesn’t teach against it… but I suspect in the quietness of their heart they know. That is why the normal approach is to “shelve” certain passages as being irrelevant, rather than asking what they say about God and His will.]
    2. Defending the fact that gays usually don’t choose their attraction was extremely helpful. Bringing out the difference between attraction and practice was important.
    3. Personal acceptance opened the door to teaching. As long as they felt accepted they would hang around and hear the Bible taught. An arm around the shoulders, casual conversation, and interest in their life go a long way. It has to be established (1) I want you to change your life, (2)If #1 never happens you are still someone I choose as part of my life.
    4. Others in the group tried very hard to treat them right and be accepting… but it was very hard, and in the end they failed. However, the failure was at least equally shared by the homosexual young men. They were very guarded and hypercritical of the group. My gut hunch is that they were looking for a reason to exclude themselves.
    5. I found it helpful to remind them that God’s basis for morality is not arbitrary. I emphasized that “moral rules” were there to guard us from “ways that seem right, but in the end were ways of death.” I have never known a homosexual person who was not experiencing great emotional pain. They really believe that social acceptance will relieve that pain. As they gain more and more acceptance socially many will be discovering that social acceptance was not the problem. We must be ready, and have the relationships, to minister to this despair.
    At the same time I had the two young men in the group our congregation was often being slandered by two “gay rights activist” who lived across the street. The difference in demeanor was 180 degrees. Working with gay people like everyone means working with a person. One approach or policy won’t address all “gays”… each one will involve getting to know them and ministering to the hurt.
    I hope my experiences help.

  23. dholman says:

    Isn’t it interesting that our society equates “being loved” to being in a sexual relationship. Perhaps what homosexual people need most is someone who will communicate love for them without any sexual element involved.

  24. D. Graves says:

    If you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that He died for our sins. I am a heterosexual female, I am Christian and I am a sinner. I would hate to know that I would not be welcomed in a church because I had lied, cheated, gossiped, had an affair, had lusted in my heart, had just SINNED. I believe that homosexuality is a sin just like the sins listed above. What I would tell a “Gay” person is the same as what I would tell any Christian who had sinned, repent and turn from your sin. It is all about the love Jesus has for His children. Bible study and prayer are needed for all who sin (everybody). Why would we treat gay people any differently in our church than any other sinner.

  25. K. Rex Butts says:

    I don’t know what all I would say to a church on such an issue. I certainly believe that God intended for sex to be enjoyed in the covenant of marriage between one woman and one man.

    One thing I would say to any church is for the elders/leadership to gather in a private room and place a picture of the person in front of them and start praying for wisdom, truth, love, mercy, etc… One of the reasons Jesus desired mercy over sacrifice was because he always kept the real people in mind as he taught and practiced the will of God, while his contemporaries seemed to be very good at hammering down on religious and moral law without ever considering the people affected by their actions.

    I am not saying the principle of mercy over sacrifice means tolerating or ignoring immoral/unethical behavior but it should affect the way we go about dealing with people. And let’s not be mistaken, the question of your paper is about a person and not an issue.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  26. Lannie says:

    This is something real, worth wrestling over. I appreciate Rex’s approach along with others here. listening to the person, getting to know them and sharing our faith from the Bible is essential. Loving them in an intentional way is important. We mustn’t forget that Jesus died for his enemies Romans 5:6-8. He came for the sick not the healthy. Yet repentence is necessary for all who make Jesus lord. Another resource that might be worth your considering is http://www.strengthinweakness.org.

    Grace and peace.

  27. Sue says:

    Romans 9:30-33 “What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith, but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” We are all sinners, but believing in Christ helps you maintain your sexuality monogamously. This not only includes gays, but heterosexuals as well, cheating is cheating. That is why I fully believe that the law was primarily for bisexuals. If you establish your life as a Christian gay you will be saved. Reading God’s word will help you live a monogamous life. This is throughout Paul’s Epistles…that the old Testament was the knowledge of sin, and when Christ died for us Jesus fulfilled the law, God established a NEW covenant, that all who believe in Jesus will be saved through Faith. “Our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags”. We cannot live by the law for we are all sinners. Yes, in Faith we repent, and strive to be holy, but we will never be perfect. Jesus was the lamb of God who made us all righteous through Faith. So, all gay people are saved by Faith. So, believe repent, get baptized, read the word of the Lord, and you will know how you should live. My mom had a friend that lived religiously with her partner until she died of cancer. Her love for God was totally unmatched. She lived by example as a good human being. She was a guy in a woman’s body. She will be totally saved for she so loves the Lord our God, and is saved by Faith. Case closed.

  28. samuel welsh says:

    I dont support gay marrage but ,welcome gays into the church , they can make good friends.

  29. Pastor Pete says:

    Using the expression, “Gay Christian”, is like saying “Loving Murderer,” or “Modest Nudist,” etc. Those who think they are truly Christian and embrace the gay lifestyle without reservation or shame, are not truly Christian. Such people need to be graciously but firmly instructed in the way of righteousness. If the refuse to repent, there’s not much you can do at this point. Also, any church that is “open” an “affirming” toward the gay lifestyle is an apostate church governed by the Devil himself.

  30. shelly says:

    I just found this topic and I would like to weigh in. I agree with the above statement wholeheartedly. Should we continue in sin because He is just to forgive us? God forbid. Part of being a christian is striving to please God and asking for forgiveness when we do not; it does not give us the freedom to continue sinning. God’s forgiveness is not a revolving door because we eventually reap what we sow. Also, part of being a christian is turning or repenting. If you choose not to repent, there is little hope for you. it is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin; that does not mean ignoring it, but dealing with it. Being willing to change because the redemption of your soul outweighs all earthly desires. By the way, saying that we are born gay implies a mistake, God does not make mistakes!

  31. Richard says:

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    -What is written is what is written..lets not just give a comment that which in our mind seems to be look good..lets give a verse okay?…lets love them but as time passes rebuke him/her that this is what the Bible says..after all the bible says IF YOU LOVE ME! YOU WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS AND THEY ARE NOT BURDENSOME

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