At first, it may appear odd to you that people could call themselves gay Christians. For many, the two terms are mutually exclusive—you can be either or, but you can’t be both. I want to examine this from a purely theological perspective, though. Is it possible for someone to be gay and, simultaneously, a bona fide Christian?
Before delving into this question, let’s make some assumptions. This is a gay-affirming website, meaning that I believe there is nothing immoral about homosexuality. I believe that God fully accepts gay people, and acknowledges and blesses same-sex unions. From this perspective, it would seem obvious that I’d conclude that being gay and a Christian is as innocuous as being straight and a Christian. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s toss that conclusion aside. Let’s leave the question of the morality of homosexuality unanswered. In fact, for the remainder of this article, let’s take the traditionalist position and assume that homosexuality is a horrible sin against God. From this perspective, is it crazy for someone to consider him or herself a gay Christian?
No, it’s not crazy at all! Even if homosexuality is a sin, it does not—indeed, it cannot—prevent someone from being saved. It never ceases to amaze me that traditionalists claim that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone (a contention that I wholeheartedly agree with, based upon the Scriptures), yet conclude that even though being straight didn’t save anyone, being gay can certainly prevent one’s salvation. Well, which one is it? Are we saved by works or not?
The Christian life is supposed to be characterized by a pursuit of holiness (Heb. 12:14). We are to be holy, for God is holy. We are to commit ourselves to the challenge of being transformed into the image of Christ from stage to stage… from glory to glory. We’re supposed to crucify the flesh daily, and continually surrender ourselves to God. These facts cannot be denied by a Bible-believing Christian.
But now that I’ve described what the Christian life is supposed to be like, let’s return to Earth and talk reality. Yes, these are the ideals—the goals that all Christians should earnestly pursue. But, our being in pursuit is indicative of the fact that we haven’t yet arrived. After all, who pursues what they’ve already achieved? Who goes where they already are? Or—in reference to Paul’s popular sentiment—who presses toward what they’ve already apprehended?
Paul understood what so many of today’s Christians seem to forget. None of us have arrived! We are all on a journey; and on this journey, we all fall short. We all stumble, and we all sin. There’s not a single person, save Jesus Himself, who can claim otherwise; and if one were bold enough to make such a claim, Scripture explicitly calls him/her a liar.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
If no one is without sin, then even if homosexuality is a sin, one can certainly be a homosexual and still be a Christian. If homosexuality prevents anyone from being saved, then no Christian actually is a Christian. We’re all still sinners!
Some claim that it’s not a matter of having sin in one’s life, but a matter of taking a sinful identity upon oneself, when our identity should be a in Christ alone. So then, while certain people may lie habitually, they should not call themselves lying Christians, but rather, Christians who struggle with lying. While certain people may whore around, they shouldn’t call themselves whoring Christians, but Christians who struggle with sexual addiction. Likewise, Christians with a same-sex sexual orientation should not call themselves gay Christians, but rather, Christians who struggle with same-sex attractions.
Ultimately, this is semantic foolishness. People who lie as a matter of course are not simply people who struggle with lying, whether they do, indeed, struggle against that habit or not. They’re liars, plain and simple. Fornicators are so because that’s what they do, not because that’s what they choose to describe themselves as. How many Christians, after all, attend Alcoholics Anonymous, yet stand up week after week and say that they’re an alcoholic? Are they sinfully taking on an ungodly identity, like gay Christians?
Likewise, whether people want to call themselves gay or not is beside the point. They can take any label upon themselves that they want to; but if they have same-sex attractions, they’re gay (which I take to simply mean not fully straight). It doesn’t mean that they’re homosexual, though (as in solely attracted to people of the same sex). They could be any range of bisexual. But, the point is that they’re not straight. Now, if they’ve accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, they are, indeed, Christian. If both exist in people’s lives simultanously—they have same-sex attractions and faith in Jesus—they are gay Christians, plain and simple.
But, there’s another problem with the traditionalist line of reasoning. Liars, fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, etc. are only what they are because of activity—something that they do. If people don’t lie, they aren’t liars; if they don’t steal, they aren’t thieves. However, if people have same-sex attractions, they’re gay regardless of whether they do something or not.
NEWSFLASH: Gay virgins exist!
Gay people aren’t gay because they engage in same-sex sexual intimacy. They’re gay simply by virtue of the attractions they have, whether those attractions are wanted or not… acted upon or not. So, whether the label “gay” is accepted or not, it’s a reality nonetheless.
So yes, even if homosexuality is a gross sin (and I don’t believe that it is), the term “gay Christian” is absolutely legitimate. Yet, that doesn’t tell you whether or not such a person is a virgin. It doesn’t tell you whether or not such a person believes homosexuality is sinful. It doesn’t even tell you if the individual has accepted his/her orientation or if they struggle against it every day. The fact is, you know absolutely nothing about a “gay Christian”, except for the fact that he/she is a Christian, and also has same-sex attractions.
The level of hostility toward homosexuality and homosexuals that is required in order to refute or disagree with this most simple and basic of notions is unbecoming of a Christian. But hey, I guess that even though malice and cruelty are sins, someone can be a malicious Christian just as easily as a gay one.
The moral of the story: Don’t be put off by the term “gay Christian.” It simply describes a Christian who is gay. It describes a person with same-sex attractions who has believed the gospel of Jesus Christ—that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!