Discussion on Homosexuality Aug 25

Darrell L. Bock's picture

I almost hate to point this out for fear it will lead to a firestorm of responses, but under the "You Never Know" entry in the comments there has developed a detailed series of posts on homosexuality and the Bible. This might be worth checking out for those interested in the topic. There will be some rules on this one that will be rigidly enforced. The tone is to be respectful. No one will be allowed to hijack the discussion. I, for the most part, have had my say on the issue in the earlier exchanges and so will not respond as regularly as I have on other issues. So there it is. Again the entry where the comments can be found is under: You Never Know - Discussion on Homosexuality (Updated and Revised- July 11, Sept 3) July 10.08. New comments can be placed there.To read the entry for this topic, go to:http://blog.bible.org/bock/node/409#comment then scroll down to the comments.

Comments

I appreciate Jim's testimony and candor; but feel him to be in the minority of Christians who struggle with homosexual temptations. Indeed, a recent small study by Stanton Jones, Ph.D. revealed only 15% to ultimately "convert" to predominant heterosexual behavior.

The Bible, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, clearly speaks homosexuality is sin.

Christians believe the deepest need of the homosexual, and indeed any sinner, is to know and trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Truly, God seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and truth.

I am a Christian in the upward calling of Jesus Christ for a homosexual. Celibate for twenty-seven years, I have been secretly fighting these forbidden desires in my heart. My struggle has been intense and painful and dark.

Four years after becoming a Christian, I felt led to reveal my homosexual past to my pastor and another counselor. Unfortunately, and contrary to Scripture, I was counseled to never speak of my past or these desires again. Then, for twenty-four years, I walked isolated in the shadows of the church. I feared I would be condemned by other Christians if I told anyone. I lived daily in self condemnation of hypocrisy.

Early last year, I felt compelled to reveal my past and ongoing struggle with elders of my church. Over the next eight months, not one elder privately asked to pray for me. None asked about my testimony of how I came to be and live in Christ Jesus. None expressed empathy over my anguish of soul. I needed others to pray for me and share my burden. I needed a shepherd for my soul. Quiet and reflective by temperament, I could not demand their attention and sought fellowship elsewhere.

I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place. On one side are unrepentant homosexuals warring against those who have come into the Light. On the other side, Christians are angry at a “life-style choice” and fearful of contamination of the church and their country.

The root of homosexuality, indeed the root of all sin, is abandoning the glory of God revealed for the darkness of rebellion and idolatry. In the end, all sin is love of self rather than love for God and other people. The origin of homosexuality is we are all born sinners and some choose to idolize ourselves and rebel against God with a most depraved sexual sin. Homosexuality is a sin against God born from the same heart that generates pride, envy, disobedience to parents, lack of forgiveness, gossip and many other sins.

The only hope for homosexuals is Jesus Christ and His church . . . to know God and know who we are in Christ Jesus and to live in an open and accountable fellowship.

By God’s grace and power and providence, I have remained celibate for the past 27 years after He called me to His Son Jesus. And, by His grace and power and providence, I shall never again practice homosexuality. Commitment to live a holy life begets an intense, painful daily battle with indwelling sin, of which homosexuality is but one.

How should the Church respond to repentant homosexuals?

The first response to those facing an immense trial is to listen and pray for them. We should listen for that godly sorrow which leads to repentance. Listen for a desire to follow and obey Jesus Christ despite the cost. We should listen for the work of the Word of God in their heart to produce conviction of and cleansing from sin.

Secondly, we should hold them accountable to their calling in Christ Jesus. We must exercise that delicate balance between God’s inflexible justice and righteousness and His indescribable grace and mercy toward sinners (both elements clearly seen at the Cross). We must take heed lest we too stumble and fall. We must speak God’s Word into their hearts that they grow in the grace and knowledge of the One who called them.

In all of us who battle with sin, we need the church. We need Christian men and women to encourage us in God’s grace and blessings, to help bear our burdens and to keep us from stumbling. We need Christian men and women to pray for us. We need Christian preachers and teachers to help us understand Scripture.

Lastly, if only ten percent of American is truly Christian and if only one percent of those born-again believers struggle with homosexuality, then there are thousands of Christians who struggle with this sin. How is it most Christians do not know even one?

Richard

Richard,

Let me start by commending your faithfulness in the midst of the struggle. My heart breaks that you were treated like this. As my wife says, it is the one sin (for men) that no one wants to talk about.

Let me be clear on one thing: While the struggle is not at all what it once was, I don't claim it is gone. But I can say I have found something better that truly satisfies. To get involved with another man would be living a lie, not my being joined with my wife.

How did I get here? Well, 10 years of meeting with a godly counselor was a huge part. He helped me work through a number of issues in my life. His focus was not on my sexual feelings but on my developing a deep love for Christ and a willingness to walk by faith and enter into my struggles. Rather than burying them, I had to walk into them. I had to face issues about my parents, about my own choices, and about where I found life.

I don't know how God will work in others lives. But I strongly believe that far more than 15% can experience the freedom I have found. That will look different in each case. And I don't mean to imply, Richard, that you have done something wrong and have failed to find that freedom. But I do think there is hope for those who struggle.

Bottom line, it is all about grace. Grace that is greater than my sin. I loved how Mark Saucy, a Bible professor, put it in a sermon I recently heard (as best as I can remember it): "Our essential identity as Christians is formed by Christ and the Gospel, not by our own personalities, backgrounds, or achievements. Our standing with Christ does not depend on the degree to which we live up to His expectations. "

For all who are believers and struggle, know this: Christ's eyes are filled with compassion and love, not condemnation and rage, when he looks at you.

Jim

I just recently read the discourse posted by Richard. My heart breaks for anyone who is going through what he has. There are however, Christians who believe that we should reach out in love and support to any believer dealing with these struggles. Additionally Christians need to love the sinner as well. Jesus ate with and ministered to sinners. If we wish to be like Jesus (Christians-little christs) we need to do the same. Loving the person, but not the sin.

However, I believe there is hope for gays (most homosexuals I know prefer to be called gay). I've been reading a book called "You don't have to be Gay", by Jeff Konrad. In this book he speaks of homosexuality developing from a variety of factors, but stemming primarily from unmet homo-emotional needs. When these needs go unmet, the individual begins to convert the very real emotional needs and attraction towards others of the same sex as a sexual attraction. Konrad explains it all so much better than I can, because he was "gay" and he understands what that means, and what it feels like.

I encourage Richard and anyone who feels they are homosexual, or gay to read that book, and to research "gender identity". Which I believe lies at the root of the problem. I don't think God made anyone "gay". I think however, our society has helped to create this problem for a lot of young men and women. I also think giving in to the sexual attraction for the same sex, and committing homosexual acts is sin, but I think that "No temptation as overtaken you but such as in common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" I Cor. 10:13 NKV.
The key words of the Lord here are "...the way of escape..." There is a way out, it's not hopeless, and something that the "homosexual" must just suffer with all his life.

There has been a real deficit within the church of understanding and love for those who suffer in the way Richard has been suffering. I also commend you Richard for you dedication to live your life without sin, in the midst of unmet needs, and temptation.
I also will pray for you, just as I pray daily for my own son who has this same issue. However in his case he has given into temptation, and is living in sin. So he really stands in need of prayer.

If anyone chooses to pray for my son, his name is David Joshua. He asked Christ to be his savior when he was only 5, and was trying to live the Christian life until he finally left the church to be "gay" a few years ago. He is now 28, severely depressed, and standing in the need of love and prayer.

It was because of David that I searched for and found answers to the question, is there hope for homosexuals? I strongly believe there is, and that there is also support through a group called Exodus International, and another group called Desert Stream. If you or anyone you know is struggling with homosexuality, please love them, pray for them and find the help that's out there for them.

Valerie

Richard, I cannot say that I could shepherd your soul, but I will pray for you and share your burden as you asked others to do.

Dear brother Richard,
I am very encouraged and helped in my own struggles by your faihfulness to Christ in spite of the lack of love from the body of Christ. You, like all of us have a sin that attracts our base desires and that we will struggle with right up to death's door. God has delievered me completely from some things, but not all. Those that remain are for the testing and producing of my faith in Him. I am amazed that you found so little sympathy and support from elders!

Just keep the faith brother! You honor God by your honesty with yourself, us, and Him and are a source of great encouragement to those of us who sometimes fall for the lie that no one has it as bad as we do! Anyone who has kept their trust in God and lived a victorious life in Christ for 27 years knows a lot more about God than I do! God bless you!

Richard, I struggle with the exact same problem, although in a different way. I have never acted on my homosexual inclinations, but have remained celibate my entire life (24 years). It is tough. It is lonely. It is sometimes hopeless. I know, because I'm there. And the church, the place where we should be able to take refuge and gain comfort amidst our life-long struggle offers us only mockery and scorn.
I am active in my church, but I know that I would be forced out of it if I ever revealed my struggle to my pastors or elders. Insult to injury.
Richard, I will pray for you, and would greatly appreciate your prayers for me. Perhaps we can be the church to each other, even over a distance, as our churches seem to be dropping the ball.
-SQ

Blog Category: