Let’s see if you’ve heard any of these statements before:
- God made people gay and therefore being gay should be celebrated and affirmed.
- Jesus never mentioned homosexuality even once.
- The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about inhospitality and greed, not homosexuality.
- If the Bible were written today, it would be gay-affirming.
- The Bible doesn’t say anything about sexual orientation.
- Christians hate gay people and need to change their theology to be more loving.
If you’ve heard one or more of these statements before—whether on social media, in conversation with a family member, or even promoted by a supposedly Christian pastor—you have just encountered one of the many influences of “gay Christianity.”
Throughout two thousand years of church history, Christians have understood—and Christian churches have taught—that homosexuality is a sin. It is “against nature” (Romans 1:26–27). It is an “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). It can be described as “vile affections” or “dishonorable passions” (Romans 1:26). It is not God’s design for marriage or family (Genesis 2:18–25). It is something that God does not bless, nor can He because it is defiantly against His revealed will (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). And because it is against God’s will and design, to embrace and celebrate homosexuality is to evoke God’s judgment—as an individual, church, or nation (Genesis 19:1–29). Since Christianity took root in the West, the Bible’s teaching against homosexuality has defined public policy and social attitudes in Europe and America.
But a strange thing has happened in the years surrounding the sexual revolution. The Bible that had once been so clear on sexuality suddenly became pretty fuzzy. Morals and ethics were subject to redefinition. Study committees needed to meet in order to discuss what the Bible was now saying. Churches found reasons to defy their former standards and force others to change with them. And Christians became more and more confused about what was true. The influence of “gay Christianity” can be seen in many ways across the church and society today.
Fundamentally, gay Christianity is the attempt to reconcile the Christian faith with homosexuality. I use “gay Christianity” as a label for this general movement, although I recognize that there are differing streams of thinking within it. Sometimes these differing streams have competing goals and conflicting theological claims and are not nearly as unified as the general term may imply. However, it is important to see the points of similarity and difference while also observing the common thrust of the movement as a whole. That is why I wrote the book Dangerous Affirmation: The Threat of “Gay Christianity”, now available from American Family Association.
What do I mean by saying “gay Christianity” is the attempt to reconcile the Christian faith with homosexuality? The Christian faith is the body of beliefs, practices, and values—rooted in the Bible—that have defined the teaching, worship, and ministry of the Christian church throughout her existence. As briefly mentioned above, the Christian faith recognized homosexuality as sinful and unnatural—a view universally agreed upon until the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
Homosexuality is likewise a broad term—including notions of desire, attraction, sexual behavior, relationships, identity, language, community, and culture. One aspect of the gay debate within the church is the ever-broadening definition of homosexuality within Western culture. As homosexuality is lived out by people and embraced by society, the particular meanings that may be ascribed to the concept of homosexuality change. Even the words used to describe homosexuality change over time—such as the emergence of the word gay as the preferred term for identifying as a homosexual.
The last element of this definition of “gay Christianity” is the word reconcile. Reconcile means to bring into harmony, to settle a conflict, or to make two things consistent that were at one time inconsistent. If the Christian faith and homosexuality are seen as being at odds, then “gay Christianity” is the attempt to find some level of compatibility between them. It assumes that these two ideas are not fundamentally opposed but have points of common agreement. For instance, this is what “gay Christians” are arguing when they say that “gay Christian” is not a contradiction in terms or that God blesses same-sex marriage.
The book Dangerous Affirmation is intended to serve as an introduction, rebuttal, and warning. It was written to help the average person in the pew to understand what is being argued by major “gay Christian” thinkers and to respond to it biblically. Although the Bible is the primary focus, I did not shy away from discussing controversial topics like homophobia, LGBT suicide rates, conversion therapy laws, and the rise of “gay celibate Christianity.” Truth demands proper application to every aspect of our life and society.
There are five central ways in which “gay Christianity” is impacting the Christian church:
- The rethinking of theology (chapter 1).
- The rethinking of the Bible (chapter 2).
- The re- thinking of the church (chapter 3).
- The rethinking of identity (chapter 4).
- The rise of LGBT activists within the church (chapter 5).
Each chapter includes a careful explanation of some facet of that problem, illustrations of how these things have been seen, and guidance for understanding these issues in light of Scripture. A list of recommended resources that may help further inquiry is included at the end as well as extensive indexes to help find subjects or scriptures referenced in the book.
For those concerned about honoring God with your lives, I hope and pray that Dangerous Affirmation stirs you to think about the threat “gay Christianity” poses to the church and the world. I hope it renews your thinking because it presents the Word of God clearly and applies the truth accurately. That was my goal.