The following post is the 4th of a 5 part series of posts on “Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality?” In this 4th post I will be answering the question “Can Someone Be A Homosexual Christian?” If you would like to see the other questions addressed in this series of posts, then just click the links below:
I originally wrote the content of these posts when I was asked to address these questions at a summer youth camp. The intended purpose of these posts are to help Christians who already have a firm conviction about the authority of Scripture. I want them to better understand what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. So my hope is that these truths will help instruct Christians who want to share the gospel with the homosexuals they know.
Can Someone Be A Homosexual Christian?
Like some of the other questions in this series, this question can be a bit tricky. If I were to be asked this question in a conversation I probably would not want to just answer it right away. Instead I would want to know what the person asking the question means by “homosexual Christian.”
What makes someone a homosexual? Is it having homosexual desires or temptations? Is it having a history of homosexual activity in your life? Does it mean that you are currently practicing homosexual behavior?
How we define what makes someone a homosexual really makes a big difference in how we answer this question.
For example, I do not believe the bible would call someone a Christian if they are actively practicing homosexual behaviors, they love doing homosexual activities, and they feel no guilt or remorse for doing them. I say this because an essential mark of a genuine Christian is that they are continually repenting of all the known sin in their life. Therefore, if homosexuality is a sin (as I argued it is in part 1) and someone is not repenting from that sin, then why would we call them a Christian?
Notice above that I said “I do not believe THE BIBLE would call someone a Christian…” Why would I say THE BIBLE would not call that person a Christian? Well, it is because of passages like these:
1 John 1:6
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
1 John 2:3-5
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in himought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
1 John 2:15
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
1 John 3:4-10
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness;sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning;no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
You see 1 John makes it really simple for us. It tells us there are really only two types of people in the world. There are sinners and there are repentant sinners. Christians are those who have repented of their sin and show a daily effort to fight against their sin till they die.
Even though the book of 1 John is not talking about homosexuality it is talking about people who say “I am Christian” but they are also making a practice of sinning. These people are saying one thing with their mouths, but they are saying another thing with their lives. 1 John teaches us that we should not believe their mouths and conclude that these people are not Christians.
Doesn’t The Bible Tell Us Not To Judge Others?
Some people might think that saying someone is not a Christian is too judgmental and that only God truly knows who are his true children. It is certainly true that God is the ultimate judge, but that does not mean we should not make judgements about the people around us. As members of Christian churches we have to make judgments about whether or not other people are Christians all the time. Every time we are letting someone into membership of the church we are essentially saying that we think this person is a Christian. Every time we choose a new pastor or appoint an elder to serve over us in the church we are making judgments about whether or not he is a Christian.
There is a big difference between being judgmental and simply trying to discern whether or not someone is a Christian. In fact, in the same teaching where we hear Jesus tell us “judge not” (Matthew 7:1) we also see him tell us “beware of false prophets…you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16).
There Is No Such Thing As A Homosexual Christian
In general I believe it would be good for us in the church not to use the term “homosexual Christian.” It would be like calling some people “alcoholic Christians” or “hypocritical Christians” etc… There is really only one kind of Christian. One that has been made alive to Christ and is no longer enslaved to the power of sin (Rom. 6:6). Christians are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). Christians should not identify themselves with some sinful behavior. We should be identifying ourselves with Christ and his church. In fact, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that all the sins that we have been saved from are what we once “were” but no longer are we those people. We have been washed by the blood of Christ from those sins and those identities.
This why I do not think it is helpful for people to call themselves a homosexual Christian even if they truly are a Christian and are no longer practicing those behaviors.
Can Someone With Homosexual Temptations Be A Christian?
YES!!! Absolutely! There is a HUGE difference between someone who struggles, wrestles and fights sin than with someone who loves practicing homosexual behaviors. Someone who has fully embraced the lifestyle is different from someone who wishes they did not have those desires.
A Christian can struggle with homosexuality in the same way other Christians struggles with temptations for pornography, lust, adultery, fornication, etc… As long as a Christian recognizes that these desires part of the sin curse that come upon the world, that homosexuality is a sin, and they are daily fighting against this sin, then I do not see it being any different from some any other sexual temptation that Christians deal with on a daily basis.
In fact, if you are reading this and you struggle with homosexual temptations or you know someone who is, then I would encourage you to fight against this sin with almost the same approach you have toward the other sins in your life.
Feed your soul with the truth from God’s word, be apart of a healthy local church, get good accountability in that church from people you can trust, confess your sins with those people, pray with them earnestly for God’s spirit to change your heart, and persevere in fighting the fight until Christ returns. I know that homosexuality will bring some complexity at times that other sins might not bring, but at the end of the day I think it is more helpful to treat it just like you would any other sin.
Could Jesus Have Been Tempted With Homosexuality?
One of the things that should give us hope if we ourselves are struggling with homosexuality or if we know those who are is that temptation is not the same thing as sinning. The bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we were but he did it without ever sinning (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, I believe it is possible that Jesus could have been tempted to sin sexually in his life and even to sin sexually with other men, but he never once gave in to any of those temptations. And if we can say that Jesus was tempted with homosexuality and he is the founder of Christianity, then his followers should not feel like they are some kind of weirdos for experiencing homosexual temptations. Our Christian culture might be making a big deal about this issue in such a way that it is causing some Christians to feel ostracized for these homosexual temptations, but I hope we all realize why this should not be.
Christians can be tempted to engage in homosexuality. Christians may even act out on those temptations and engage in homosexual behaviors. However, all true Christians will repent of those sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness of those sins. Christians are not homosexuals. Christians have a new identity in Christ and are new creations. The term “homosexual Christian” is an oxymoron and makes no sense with the teachings of Scripture.
We should encourage the homosexuals we know to repent of theirs sins and tell those who are calling themselves Christians to stop calling themselves that. We should love and support Christians who are struggling with homosexual temptations and help them to fight against this sin just like we are fighting against our many sins.