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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fuller

Gay Theology: Coming To A Church Near You?

Updated: May 20

"Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships." Matthew Vines, Gay Author and Speaker

The church is the last line of defense against homosexual ideology. And it is crumbling fast. How did we lose our way? There have been multiple wrong turns. For some of us, our churches and ministries wanted to be known as nice, nuanced, and winsome, so much so, that we sanded away the Biblical splinters, softened the Word's pointed edges, and revised the Scriptures' hard words so that they sounded more like a Jesus we could be proud of.

Some of us have looked diligently for an alternative route because of how personal this issue is to us. We have a member of our family, a close friend, or someone who made a profession of faith, who is now openly gay, and we can't comprehend or even process the Bible's strong, denouncing, language and promised future judgment.

You may struggle with homosexual temptations, yourself. That can often lead a person in the wrong direction too. We begin to ask, "How can feelings I didn't choose and that seem to be such an integral part of my identity, be sinful and categorically condemned in the Bible?" What kind of God creates a person with desires and then condemns them for seeking to fulfill those desires?

Still, others have taken the well-worn express lane that elevates psychology and philosophy above Scripture. After all, neither Moses nor Paul knew anything about sexual orientation, gay identity, or gender dysphoria, right?

And, then some honestly think "This ship has already sailed." Why can't we focus on other more important issues instead of what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? "Get off your high horse, Brian!"

I am aware of the thin ice ahead. Posts like this could easily be dismissed as insensitive, politically motivated, harsh, self-righteous, or even bigoted. But isn't it also just as possible that we have so idolized being missional, falling over backward so as not to offend anyone, that we have crossed the line and have become unbiblical?

Beloved, " is time for judgment to begin at the household of God."  (I Peter 4:17a)

"Make no mistake. We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman's discussion. It is a life-and-death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God's absolutes. But do we really believe we are in a life-and-death battle? "

-Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster

This is the third article in the series.

Affirming Theology. You can practice homosexuality and still be a Christian.

Homosexual activists understood in the 60s-70s that there were two significant obstacles to advancing their agenda: psychology and the Church. At the time, the psychological field categorized homosexuality as a mental sickness and the Church categorized it as sin. In 1973, one of those barriers fell. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed the diagnosis of "homosexuality" from the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). This change declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness or sickness. The result was a dramatic shift in public opinion and a significant win for LGBTQ+ equality. In the meantime, much of the visible Church, one Protestant denomination after another, has been moving towards affirming homosexuality in swift order.

What is Affirming Theology?

Most of us associate affirming theology with rainbow flags and welcoming LGBTQ signs near the front door of affirming churches. Affirming theology seeks to rectify and harmonize homosexuality with Christianity. But what is affirming theology? Affirming Theology is the belief that the Bible, rightly understood, does not condemn homosexuality but rather endorses and celebrates gay identity, gay behavior, gay culture, and the gay lifestyle as normal and acceptable. "Coming out" is cheered, gay marriage is celebrated, gay pastors are ordained, and activism for LGBTQ+ is encouraged by affirming Churches.

Affirming Theology is the belief that the Bible, rightly understood, does not condemn homosexuality but rather endorses and celebrates gay identity, gay behavior, gay culture, and the gay lifestyle as normal and acceptable.

Some even go as far as to say God created people as homosexuals and He has blessed the homosexual identity and lifestyle. To do this, affirming theologians must rethink and revise the Bible passages that condemn homosexuality. That's why affirming theology is often referred to as revisionist theology. One premise is that the New Testament writers, like Paul, didn't know anything about committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. Instead, they say, the Bible only condemns homosexual activity that is nonconsensual (rape), exploitative (pederasty/pedophilia), or idolatrous (temple prostitution).

Christians can't sit this one out. Affirming theology is a direct assault on the authority of the Bible.

How Do We Answer Affirming Theologians?

Christians can't sit this one out. Affirming theology is a direct assault on the authority of the Bible. Affirming theology is the latest version of liberal theology that since the early part of the 20th Century has thoroughly infected nearly all the mainline Protestant denominations. (Presbyterian, American Baptist, Methodist, etc.) Affirming theology will usually attack the traditional, Scriptural view of homosexuality by arguing (1) that there are not that many Bible verses that speak about homosexuality, (2) that it's not a big deal, and is more of an agree-to-disagree issue, (3) that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, and (4) that the homosexuality condemned in the Bible is not the same kind as practiced today. Here are some answers to their arguments:

"The bottom line is, that every time God mentions homosexuality in the Scriptures it is unequivocally and categorically condemned. "

All the Scriptures that speak directly about homosexuality consistently condemn homosexuality as sinful and destructive. (Genesis 19:1-38; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:25-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and Jude 6-7) One argument that affirming theologians use is that there are only 1/2 dozen passages that speak about homosexuality. That's it. Counting the number of Scriptures on any given topic to determine its importance is not good Bible interpretation. The Bible speaks clearly, but even more seldom, about other sexual sins like incest (sex with immediate family), and bestiality (sex with animals) but that doesn't mean that those transgressions are insignificant because they are mentioned only a few times. The bottom line is, that every time God mentions homosexuality in the Scriptures it is unequivocally and categorically condemned.

The Bible uses some of the strongest language and assigns the most severe punishments for homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality.

When my children were little they understood that there were rules that Mom and Dad had for them, and then there were RULES, that Mom and Dad had for them! Some things, they understood could have exceptions, if they appealed to the "softer" parent (mostly their Dad!). There were other RULES, however, that they knew were non-negotiable, and we would never be ok with them breaking. They understood the inviolable nature of these rules by hearing our tone when we laid down the RULES, understanding the consequences for violating those RULES, and, in some cases, observing that these RULES were the kind they would never outgrow and that they would likely enforce with their children. 

A normal reading of the Scriptures does the same. The strongest language possible is used to give us God's view of homosexuality. It is "an abomination." (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). In Biblical usage, an abomination is something God loathes or hates because of how offensive it is to His Person and character. In addition, there are eight "vice lists" in the Scriptures. (Mark 7:21-22, Romans 1:28-32, Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-9,1 Timothy 1:9-10, Revelation 21:8 ) It is noteworthy that in every list, sexual immorality is mentioned, and many times at the top of the list. Finally, we are warned that the practice of homosexuality will bring the most severe consequences. No sexually immoral person will be in Heaven. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

What about the Silence of the Lamb? Why didn't Jesus say anything about homosexuality? This is a common objection. First, homosexuality was universally condemned by all Jews in the first century. There was no reason for Jesus to speak about it. We don't have any record of Jesus teaching about pedophilia either. The idea that the red letters (words of Jesus) have more "weight" than the black letters from the other writers of Scripture, is to display a dreadfully deficient view of the inspiration of all of Scripture. And, Jesus did speak about our sexual ethic being established from creation. (Matthew 19:1-12) We are created male and female. And, sexual relations are only to be enjoyed between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. Everything else (pre-marital sex, adultery, self-sex, pornography, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, polygamy, pedophilia, etc.) is sexual immorality.

The homosexuality condemned in the Bible is the same kind of homosexuality practiced today, which is any form of homosexuality. There were Greek words for abusive or exploitative forms of homosexuality that Paul could have chosen to use if that was what he was referring to. Instead, however, in Romans 1:26-27, Paul talks about their "passions," not simply their behavior. Also, for the first and only time, female homosexuality (lesbianism) is mentioned. This counters the affirming theologian's claim that the form of homosexuality that Paul was condemning in Romans 1 was pederasty/pedophilia.

Other helpful resources on answering Affirming Theologians:

Who are these affirming theologians?

Matthew Vines-Founder of the Reformation Project and author of God and the Gay Christian (2014)

Justin Lee-Founder of Gay Christian Network (Now known as Q Christian Fellowship)

Adam Hamilton-Ordained Methodist Pastor (UMC) and author of Making Sense of the Bible (2014)

Kathy Baldock-Speaker and author of Walking the Bridgeless Canyon (2014)

David Gushee-ethicist at Mercer University and author of Changing Our Minds (2014)

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댓글 2개

5월 19일

I have been rebuffed by a family member when I tried to discuss "Affirming Theology." How is it that the once underground LGBTQ+ subculture has come to not only find acceptance, but dominate American culture so quickly and easily? (That's a rhetorical question.)

I have been looking for ways to reengage the conversation and am coming up empty.

Alas, I do have prayer... my problem is patience.


Matt Black
Matt Black
5월 17일

Thank you for posting this Brian. This is a very loving, caring, informed, and truthful read. There is so much good here. I so appreciate you loving the broader church and writing such a helpful and high quality post! Also, I really appreciated your modern parable post. I used it this week in counseling.

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