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"CAN I BE CHRISTIAN AND LGBTQ ?"
An overwhelming question that we are faced with is "Can I be Christian and LGBTQ?" Understandably this is not an easy issue that the church is having a hard time dealing with right now, so it is that much more important for individuals who are dealing with the internal struggle between their beliefs and their attractions toward some-one of the same gender as themselves. The following is put together to help you understand where we stand as a church and to maybe help you reconcile your faith and your feelings.
What is a Homosexual?
Many people are tripped up on the sexual part of the word Homosexual. Sexual attraction to be a person of the same of the same gender is only one small part of what it means to be a Gay or Lesbian person. It also means that the deepest sense of love, friendship, social interest, and emotional connection is directed toward someone who is of the same gender. This was not a concept that was understood very well in Biblical times.
Bible verses commonly used against Homosexuals
The argument: "God did not Create Adam and Steve, God created Adam and Eve!" This perspective ignores an important principle of Bible interpretation of Bible interpretation - context. The Genesis account is a creation story that was to describe how the Human race got here and how the genealogy began. The first couple had to be Heterosexual and fertile. It is an assumption to consider that God intended this to be the norm for all sexual relationship into the future. If that were the case, then even childless marriages and celibacy would be sinful.
The argument: "The sin that brought judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah was Homosexuality." This argument is easiest to address if you simply look at other verses that talk about Sodom and Gomorrah. Specifically, Ezekiel 16:48-50 says, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom. She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things in my sight." Other Scriptures to study - Isaiah 1:10-17 and 3:9; Jeremiah 23:14; Zephaniah 2:8-11 and Matthew 10:5-15.
"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death;"
Leviticus is a part of the Jewish law which Jesus fulfilled. As a result, it does not apply to Christians. Additionally, according to Christ Himself, a person who lives by the law must keep all of it perfectly...something no one except Jesus has been able to do. Christians who use this verse to identify sin, yet ignore others, such as the prohibition of planting two kinds of see in a field, (19:19), eating shellfish and wearing garments of mixed fabrics, (19:26), are using the Bible in a self-serving, uneven manner.
The New Testament teaches that we are not saved by the Law but by Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). The entire book of Galatians was written to address those who wished to teach a Gospel of works. In fact, one of the strongest condemnations in the Bible is directed to those who taught a Gospel of works (Galatians 1:8) instead of Grace. The whole witness of Scripture is that the only way we can stand "right with God" (Righteousness) is accomplished by faith alone. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:22-24).
The argument: "Romans describes God's wrath toward Homosexuality."
Once again, it is essential to consider the context of all Biblical scripture, and Roman 1 is no exception. Specifically, thesis verses condemn sexual acts of ritual prostitution that were connected with the rampant idolatry that occurred during Paul's day. "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles" (1:22-23).
Today it is hard to imagine a culture were orgies conducted in front of idols would be a part of worship. However, that was in fact a common practice at the time Romans was written. Additionally, there was little concept of a committed, love relationship between persons of the same gender - which is natural for someone who is Lesbian or Gay. In reality, an opposite gender relationship would be just as unnatural for a Lesbian or Gay person as it would be for a Heterosexual to commit the same gender sexual act described in Romans 1. Beyond all of this, to look at the message of the whole book of Romans and identify one group of people as a special category of sinners is missing the point, for "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." that is why we all need to the Grace to which Paul so clearly points.
"I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 refers to Homosexuality."
First, it is helpful to understand that "Homosexuality" is a clinical term from psychiatry that was first used in the late 1880"s. It refers to a concept that was unknown in the first century when this part of the Bible was written. Therefore, if it occurs in a translation almost 2000 years later, it cannot have the same meaning. The definitions of the words that have been translated as "Homosexual" are as follows:
The Greek work *Malkos literally means, "soft." It is also used in Luke 7:25 and Matthew 11:8 in reference to John the Baptist's clothes. The word Malkos was used historically to describe, "Self-indulgent" people. (Note Strong's Concordance Greek # 3120)
The other work *Arsenokotai (#733 Strong's) literally, "male bed," was used rarely in history but was translated as "male prostitute" until the fourth century. It is a word lost in antiquity, so no one with certainty can translate Arsenokotai at this time. Additionally, since the work *Sodomite (#6945 Strong's - Hebrew) meant "sacred person", references to it strongly indicate the sexual acts done in the context of the rampant idol worship of the day.
"What about the reference in Jude verse 7?"
This is the only reference that connects Sodom and Gomorrah to anything sexual. Some teachers think this refers to a kind of gang rape commonly used in ancient times to humiliate strangers visiting a city. Other Jewish traditions teach that, like in Genesis 6:1-3, the women of Sodom also wanted to have intercourse with the Angels. (Check out "men" in Genesis 19:4-Strong Concordance #582 this word is also translated as mortals.)
GOOD NEWS FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE:
Many people are unaware that there are any positive promises in Scripture for sexual minorities. There are! Here are some important verses to thin about! "To the Eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, who chose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant - to them I will give within My temple and its walls memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters" (Isaiah 56:4-5).
Eunuchs are a type of people who do not necessarily live as traditional, child bearing, Heterosexuals.
Many Christians say that being LGBT is a choice. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ re agonized a group of people who were born different.
"For some are Eunuchs because they were born that way..." Matthew 19:12
If you have an honest conversation with most LGBT people, they will tell you that they have known they were different for as long as they can remember - and if they were in the Church they often went to great lengths to attempt to hide the truth and be Heterosexual.
Many have tried Christian psychotherapy, Bible study, fasting, prayer, shock treatments, denial, Ex-Gay ministries, memorizing long portions of the bible, Heterosexual marriage and many other methods to change. However, most came to realize that praying to change from their sexuality is like praying to change their eye color...it is a part of who they are.
So, what does it all mean?
Unfortunately, and often with the best intentions, it means that many spiritually destructive teachings have been used in the Church. Sadly, thesis are often so hurtful that many LGBTQ people have stayed away from God and their rightful relationship with Him.
In Acts 10, there was another much-despised group waiting for God's grace to be revealed. They were called the Gentiles and they were every bit as despised by Jewish culture as Gay people are by some mainline Churches.
The Apostle Peter was sent to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, even though it was against Jewish law to enter their homes. Because God had confirmed this supernaturally, Peter obeyed God and did go to the Gentile's home (Acts 10-9:29). Peter's conclusion was, "God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean" (vs. 28).
And then God confirmed Peter's mission by pouring out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles in the same way he had been poured out on the Jews on the day of Pentecost (vs. 44-48).
WRITTEN BY: Freedom in Christ Evangelical Church SF www.FICCSF.com
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