The issue of gay Christians has played itself out as a sub-theme of the Orlando terror attacks. Because there’s some talk of Omar Mateen, a radical Muslim, possibly being himself a closet homosexual, now Christians are being drawn into the discussion as enablers of hate.
One such heartfelt opinion came from Isaac Archuleta, who wrote that he’s the son of two pastors, and that he is bisexual. Scholar and theologian Dr. Michael Brown* responded to Isaac’s open letter with one of his own.
I’m glad you also wrote that you know this is not our intention, and I hope you can also realize that, when the church encountered homosexuality beginning in the late 1960s, it was often in its ugliest and most extreme forms. (I wrote about this earlier this week.)
But this is what struck me as most important in your article. As one who had been raised to embrace the “love the sin, hate the sinner” attitude, when you discovered you had bisexual attractions, you determined to hate your sin, adding, “But when your ‘sin’ is loving, your left with no option but to hate your entire self.”
Thus, you concluded, “I am not clean emotionally, romantically or spiritually. I am a perverted boy.”
You were sure that, “As a diligent Christian boy, I knew God was going to kill me — an eternal life in hell,” and if He wouldn’t do it, then you should do it yourself, and so suicide was the logical option.
This is really the heart of the issue with LGBT Christians. They are who they are, and the Bible can’t be right if they are struggling so much. Therefore, the problem must either be: something is wrong with me, or the Bible isn’t right or being rightly interpreted.
That problem is so ill-stated that it’s almost impossible for Christians to respond to it other than to simply commiserate (which appears to be pious platitudes coming from non-gays) or to ask the question Dr. Brown posed:
If we are sure that our heavenly Father does not sanction same-sex relationships, no matter how loving and committed they may be, what would you have us do?
No good answer presents itself other than accepting the Bible isn’t what we think it is, which for over 1,800 years has been interpreted, without exception, to mean that homosexuality is a sin before God. But the fault for presenting this impossible choice lies not completely with the decades of homophobia exhibited by straight males in society. A great deal of responsibility for this lies with those who don’t believe the Bible in the first place, and wish it to be cast down, declared false, or positively disproved.
Author and philosopher Aldous Huxley wrote in Ends and Means:
“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption… For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”
A world totally without meaning frequently leads to psychological instability, depression, and sometimes even suicide. Nietzsche spent the last dozen years of his life insane, possibly due to wrestling with the question of meaninglessness. Though there are other ways to add meaning to life, for one raised in church, the draw of friendships, familiarity, and the heart connection brings many who have rejected Biblical living back to the fold.
Thus, we end up with exactly what Jesus predicted: wheat and tares in the Church. There’s the former deacon who cheated on his wife; there’s the fallen preacher who was caught with a gay prostitute; there’s the politician who chose his press secretary over his 49-year marriage. But there’s also the young person who feels attraction for other men. It’s a really difficult situation for a young man in a youth group, where bonding, close relationships, and love are encouraged. Just like we’d never keep the teen boys overnight with the girls, it’s not fair that the young men and women with homosexual urges are taught to repress them or face ridicule/bullying and even hate.
The church absolutely needs to do better to deal with these situations. But the answer isn’t to deny the Bible either. It’s disingenuous for the liberal, libertine, hedonistic, God-mocking Left–the Huxleys–to take up the cause of young homosexuals and make them a fifth column within the church, to destroy the orthodoxy and authority of the Bible. But that’s exactly what they’ve done. They’ve forced Christians, whole denominations and churches to accept the reality of a gay Christian and reconcile it to the Bible, which denies centuries of Biblical orthodoxy**.
To answer Dr. Brown’s question, I believe gay Christians like Isaac are being used as straw men by the Huxleys of this world, who would rather the Bible be false, so they can pursue whatever sexual fantasies they like without moral consequence. And they do this in the name of love–eros love, not agape.
Christianity does not promise a life without struggle. It doesn’t promise that you will love other people and they’ll love you back. In fact, it guarantees the opposite.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Will a same-sex attracted Christian find love in this world from other men? Love in the sense of romantic love, blessed by God? No. Who, then, will love the gay Christian? God Himself. It’s a hard truth in a world of hard truths (like “why is there cancer?” for instance).
“For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” It’s not the suffering gay teen at a church youth group who is evil. It’s the Huxleys of this world who have set him up for failure by telling him he’s entitled to someone to love by God’s law, when they truly would rather wipe God’s law away to pursue their own sinful lusts.
A hateful God who wishes suicide on people like Isaac would have long ago wiped out the Huxleys for their evil. But He loves them too. The fact that we have people like Dr. Brown on this earth to weep, pray, love and treat LGBT’s with respect and honor is a testament to God’s mercy and power.
*Dr. Brown is the author of over 20 books, including the comprehensive, scholarly and thoroughly researched history of the LGBT movement “A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been,” and the latest “Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homoseuxality.”
Dr. Brown also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program “In The Line of Fire,” and is president of the FIRE School of Ministry. He is eminently qualified to respond to people like Isaac.
**As an aside, it’s practically impossible for the Left to use this fifth column strategy against Islam, since Sharia calls for death to gays. That’s not saying there aren’t gay Muslims, but if they come out, they are killed. It’s just more proof that Christianity and Islam are not the same–the devil is in the details.