QUESTION: How do we as a church relate to those identifying themselves as “Gay Christians” but not living the “Gay Lifestyle”…?
REPLY: In short, we are to love them unconditionally; pray for them without ceasing; welcome them into our places of worship as souls needing salvation from sin, just like anyone else; accept them into the school of discipleship on condition of their willingness to be transformed into the image of Christ, as with all sinners. (Romans 12:1) However, baptism and membership should be reserved for those willing to “bring forth fruits meet for repentance…” (John the Baptist, Matthew 3:8)
EXPLANATION: “Fruits meet for repentance”, according to the dictionary, means “to respond to a situation with a particular type of behavior”. The Bible calls for acceptable fruit, suitable fruit, demonstrating transformation of character and lifestyle. The church and the world needs to see a change of course in one’s life before bringing that person into church membership with voting rights and eligibility to hold church office.
If a person wants to identify as a “Gay Christian”, then where is the evidence of discipleship, and a willingness to accept reproof, correction, and instruction from the Scriptures? (2 Timothy 3:16,17) If a person identifies as a “Gay Christian” not practicing the Gay Lifestyle, then why identify as Gay…?
Actually, the term “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron. It makes no more sense than the adding of any other prefix or qualifier to the name Christian, i.e., “Incestuous”, “Polyamist”, “Sex Offender”, “Pedophile”, “Drug Addict”, “Alcoholic”, “Smoking”, “Kleptomaniac”, “Liar”, add infinitum.
The question is asked, “What is wrong with a Gay couple living together though not practicing the gay ‘behavior’, or ‘lifestyle’”?
To answer a question with a question, a method often practiced by our Savior: Would the church accept into membership an unmarried heterosexual couple continuing to live together after “conversion”? Or, would the church expect them to separate until marriage…? What is the difference…?
Besides, the “Gay Lifestyle” involves much more than sexual intimacy. Gay couples do not usually have sexual intimacy openly, but privately like heterosexual couples. It is not the cessation of sexual intimacy thatdemonstrates conversion from the gay lifestyle. It is all that goes along with identifying as a couple openly: shared housing, close companionship, shared banking, a shared life, etc.
Obviously, there is much more to a marriage than sexual intimacy. In marriage, two become one in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of the community and of the church. They are bonded. They share life with all its ups and downs, ins and outs, finances, possessions. They commit to loving and cherishing eachother through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, til death do them part. In Bible terms, they “cleave one to another”. Sexual intimacy is only a very small factor in the bonding of two souls together. Many married couples, due to a multitude of factors, end up forgoing sexual intimacy within their marriage. That does not necessarily break their bond, their oneness, their commitment to one another for life.
If two want to identify as “Still Gay”, this means they want to continue identifying with their bondage, with their sin, rather than to take on the identity afforded them through Jesus Christ as “Free indeed”, (John 8:36), a new creature, with old things passing away and all things new. “The new birth consists of new motives, new tastes, and new tendencies.” And, “A genuine conversion changes both hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” (EGW Commentary on 2 Cor. 5:17)
Having come out of the gay lifestyle myself 20 years ago, these are issues that I, too, had to wrestle with. I wanted my Christian experience to be genuine and not an exercise in futility. I wanted salvation from my life and lifestyle of sin, for I was sin sick. (Genesis 3:15) I had to acknowledge that homosexuality is a “sin issue”, and therefore turn away from it, never more to identify with it. God says in Jeremiah 3, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity… and I will heal your backsliding.” Identifying as “Gay SDA” reminds me of Lot’s wife looking back upon all that she had to leave behind. She was still attached…
I hope and pray that these thoughts are helpful to you as you are faced with this challenge in your churches. Remember, we are, in a loving and caring way, to call sin by its right name, and also to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up [our] voice like a trumpet, and show my people [says God] their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
This is all a part of the redemption process…
Blessings to you!
“Victor J. Adamson”