A Biblical Justification for Accepting Homosexuality in the Church
© 2003, John P. Nordin

9.  The church's proclamation to its members

The law proclaimed to homosexuals

The church’s "position" on homosexuality should be similar to its "position" on heterosexuality: the question of sin occurs within the lifestyle, not about the lifestyle.  Some heterosexual acts are sinful, some are holy, as the term heterosexual sex encompasses everything from "the two becoming one flesh" to rape.  Homosexuals are indeed sinners, but sinners because of certain actions or thoughts, not because they are homosexual.

There are sexual sins to preach about to an audience of homosexuals.  There is the sin of reducing another person to an object, of cruelly judging others as insufficiently beautiful, of seducing someone when you have no interest in them.  There is the sin of feeling superior to boring married couples; there is the sin of desiring children because you seek to fit in to society.  There is a need to examine when a person’s sexual activity is healthy and when an addiction that robs them of their true purpose.  There is the sin of attacking other homosexuals who decide to be celibate, or who are too openly gay, too conservative, or look too straight. 

There are also sexual sins of self-denigration to preach about.  There is the sin of thinking that God hates you, of thinking that you can never speak, think, or feel your sexuality in religious terms, the sin of pushing God away because God couldn’t really want to be in relation with you, the sin of running yourself down so others won’t get a chance.  There is the sin of never loving, of never being open, the sin of walling yourself off from everyone else.  There is the sin of thinking that you’d want to kill yourself because you think you’re defective and broken.

The church should proclaim the Christian message to gays as it does to straights: with an uncompromising demand to love God and neighbor, to renounce self-indulgence and licentiousness.  The church will then be as hard on gays as it should have been on straights.  It will not be easy to be homosexual and a Christian because you will be called to a life of struggle against your human self-aggrandizement and towards placing all your life and gifts in God's service.  But, this yoke, when once accepted will prove to be light.

The gospel proclaimed to homosexuals.

In one sense, the gospel to homosexuals is the same gospel proclaimed to everyone: the story of Christ, told with its significance. [1] Homosexual persons are not alien beings without experience of doubt, pain, sorrow, heartbreak, and tragedy like other people.  Homosexuals also live knowing they will die.  The gifts of Christian community, baptism, being part of the body of Christ, the life of worship, prayer, praise gathered around the bread and wine are as valued and needed as for anyone else.

But there is more.  One gift the church can offer homosexual persons is the gift of marriage.  This gift of the spirit is part of a “structure that liberates people for sanctification,” in the words of Adrienne von Speyr. [2]   Given the troubled nature of the institution of heterosexual marriage, this may seem like a dubious gift indeed, but the same promise of a place to experience the terrifying and wonderful transformation that comes from someone actually knowing exactly who you are and loving you all the more should be available to homosexual Christians.

Those homosexual Christians not called to marriage, should experience the family of faith where they may take part in the raising of the community’s children like other un-married adults do.

What the church needs to say to homosexuals about sex, is the same as what it needs to say to heterosexuals about sex:

What we fail to make clear is that sexual passion (the good gifts of God’s creation) is now subservient to the demanding business of maintaining a revolutionary community in a world that often uses sex as a means of momentarily anesthetizing or distracting people from the basic vacuity of their lives. …

We believe that it is only when our attentions are directed toward a demanding and exciting account of life that we have any way of handling something so powerful, so distracting, and so deadly as sex. [3]

[1] Prof. Ted Peter’s formulation of the central message of the church.

[2] Quoted in Rogers, Christian Body, p. 247.

[3] Hauerwas, Resident Aliens, p. 63, 64