If you were giving advice to a gay friend on LGBT issues… and there were two cases to be made both for affirmation and against… would you not be hesitant to give advice? Would your friend need not know all of the views… not just the one where he is thrown out of the kingdom of God and seemingly in hell?
Truth be told… would’t your best an honest answer be: “The views are too conflicting. I simply do not know.”
WOULD NOT THESE FACTORS COME INTO PLAY?
A) You would be working against the Great Commission for everyone you repelled. These people likely would be lost forever. Unsaved. Hell.
B) What kind of tree bears bad fruit to the extent that gay teens are killing themslves? These people likely would be lost forever. Unsaved. Hell.
C) Does a “good tree” export gay hate to other countries where gays are jailed or killed?
No one can look and see what is going on and remotely claim that there are any good trees bearing good fruit. It has been an unmitigated disaster.
Four Basic Views
Most Christians I have talked to fall into one of four groups regarding these verses, depending on how they address two questions. The first we’ve named directly at several points already: Do the passages refer to anything like the phenomena of life-long, monogamous or mutually consensual same-gendered relationships that we know of today? (It’s worth noting that the word “homosexual” was not present in the ancient world but was instead invented in the 19th century.) The second issue we’ve only alluded to: Whether or not the passages refer to the phenomenon we are describing today, are we bound to ethical determinations made by persons living in vastly different cultures and times and whose understanding of the world and of God’s activity was shaped and limited by their own cultural viewpoints.
Depending on how you answer those two critical questions, you will likely fall into one of our groups.
1. The passages in question refer to homosexual practice in all times and cultures and so universally prohibit such practice.
2. The passages do not refer to homosexuality as we know it today and so cannot be seen as prohibiting it. Other passages therefore need to inform our discussions about sexuality in general and homosexual relationships in particular.
3. The passages may or may not refer to homosexuality as we know it, but they — and the larger witness of Scripture — imply a view of nature and creation that supports sexual relationship and union only between man and woman, and so homosexual practice is prohibited.
4. The passages may or may not refer to homosexuality as we know it, but they — and all of Scripture — are conditioned by the cultural and historical realities of the authors and so offer an incomplete and insufficient understanding of creation and nature and so cannot be used to prohibit homosexual practice today. Rather, one needs to read the larger biblical witness to discern God’s hopes for caring, mutually supportive relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
As is often the case, one’s larger theological or ideological commitments greatly influence how one reads these seven verses. The first and third positions, for instance, reflect a more conservative view and make it difficult to find anything but condemnation in the Bible for homosexual practice. The second and forth, in contrast, invite a more progressive interpretation of the verses in common and open the way to supporting homosexual relationships as several major mainline church bodies have done.
For those Christians who look to the Bible for moral guidance, two additional questions may be worth considering. First, do you see yourself represented fairly in one of the four groups above? Second, can you imagine that someone holding one of the other three positions is also a faithful Christian who loves God and neighbor and searches the Scripture for guidance in these matters, even if that difference puts you at odds on this matter? How professing Christians answer these questions will greatly determine future discourse on these matters and, more importantly, how they interact with persons who are gay or lesbian.