Stephen R. Bradd
Recently I read an outstanding article written by Daniel Howell, a faithful preacher for the Lord’s church. He articulated some important points very well and I’ve copied his good thoughts below for your consideration (with a few minor edits for clarity). Howell’s thoughts here deserve wide circulation.
To all my friends who identify themselves as being homosexual–we need to clarify a few things. I think we can come to something resembling a true understanding of each other. Let’s start with some foundational truths about my beliefs:
First, I believe that the God of heaven, the God we read about in the Bible, created the universe and all that is in it, through His Son Jesus Christ (cf. Col. 1:15-18). It all belongs to Him. He is also the Lord and Master over all His creation. He has the right to command and demand of that creation. Even those of that creation who choose to deny His existence are ultimately still subject to His power and authority.
Second, I believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant communication to mankind. It tells us of His power, love, and grace, but also of His judgment. It tells us of what He wants from His creation, but also of what He does not want. It is by the words of that book that the entire world will be judged in the end of material existence–even those who rejected those words (cf. John 12:48).
Third, I believe these things not simply because I need a “faith system” to keep me going. My faith is not a crutch–it is based on reason and reality. It is my reason for living. Jesus is the way, He spoke the truth, and the kind of life He came to give is the only one worth living (cf. John 14:6). I believe this partly because the men who wrote the words of the New Testament were eyewitnesses of the things they wrote about (cf. II Pet. 1:16-21), and they were willing to suffer and die for them (cf. I Cor. 4:9). In fact, many did. You would have to be crazy to die for something that you knew was a lie, wouldn’t you? Of course there are many other reasons beyond this, but those are for another article. So for me…no, scratch that…
For everyone, what the sovereign God of the universe has said are the words of (absolute) “truth and reason” (Acts 26:25; cf. John 17:17)–even if you choose to reject them.
This means that if I am going to be consistent in what I believe, I have to speak out against sin. Just because you don’t believe in God’s existence or that the Bible is His word doesn’t mean that it does not apply to you.
If I know that God will judge the deeds of every man and woman at the end of time, then I am compelled to speak about the matter. I have to persuade people to stop doing the things that are against God’s will, and that will ultimately harm them physically and spiritually (cf. II Cor. 5:10,11; Eph. 5:11). Think of it this way:
You are my neighbor. If I knew that you were about to step into danger, but instead of warning you I just stood back and let you be harmed, what kind of neighbor would you think I am? If I knew the truth and claimed to live by it, but I allowed you to be deceived and harmed by a lie, what kind of person would I be?
Let me answer that question for you–I’d be a hypocrite. So when Paul warns in I Corinthians 6:9 that those who practice homosexuality “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (i.e., go to heaven), it requires that I take a certain course of action–a warning against the danger!
You see, the truth is not made to be kept hidden and silent (cf. Luke 8:16). Christianity isn’t a “private faith,” but rather Christ is to be acknowledged and His words lived out before all men (cf. Matt. 10:32,33; Luke 9:26).
So in order to be consistent with what I believe, I must speak out against homosexuality. In order for YOU (as one who proclaims a message of tolerance) to be consistent in what you believe, YOU must accept that I am going to speak out against homosexuality. Yet that position is impossible.
The modern message of tolerance is a false, empty gospel. It promises peace, but it is logically unattainable. True tolerance would leave no room for outrage over “intolerant” views like mine. But the modern flavor tends to pick and choose what to tolerate, and what to be intolerant about. In practice, it tends to look more like this: “I’ll tolerate your beliefs unless you don’t tolerate mine–then I will become your worst enemy.” Obviously that can make a person very hypocritical!
So ask yourself this: Just how consistent in your own beliefs of tolerance are you really? You might think my beliefs to be ignorance, bigotry, and discrimination. You think I am against you. You think I just don’t want you to be happy. You couldn’t be more wrong. Have you actually taken the time to ask me the deeper reasons as to why I believe homosexuality to be wrong, and why I will speak against it? Maybe you should.
You see, I’m actually for you. I only want the best for you. I don’t want harm to come your way. I am more “tolerant” than you think–and maybe even more tolerant than you. Practically speaking, what does all of this mean?
I’ve never said that you should “pray the gay away.” That is an awful misrepresentation, and a terrible piece of propaganda. I know, and you need to know, that should you choose to repent of homosexuality (as many in Corinth did, I Cor. 6:11; Acts 17:30) that you might struggle with the temptation of same-sex attraction for the rest of your life. But a temptation is not an identity.
We are all tempted by past sins. A former drunk may still be tempted to drink, but that doesn’t make him a drunk now. A former thief may be tempted to steal, but that doesn’t make him a thief now. A former drug addict may be tempted to shoot up, but that doesn’t make him an addict now.
If you repent, you may be tempted by same-sex attraction, but that doesn’t mean that you are a homosexual. No, when you repent and obey Jesus, you become a new creation in Christ–the old “you” is gone (cf. II Cor. 5:17). Even the sticky goo those labels might leave behind is eradicated. You will be a Christian, and a child of God the Father.
If you don’t change, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to treat you any differently than any other human being. I will let you cut my hair and serve my food in a restaurant. I will sit next to you in a hospital waiting room. I will hold the door open for you or pick up something that you dropped. I will be cordial, friendly, gracious, and normal in the way I behave toward you–just as God expects me to be. That’s the essence of what it truly means to not judge (cf. Matt. 7:1-5).
I will behave in that way toward you, even if you are “creeped out” by what I believe, and don’t behave in that way toward me. It’s not because I’m better than you, but because Christ is better than all of us, and I follow Him.
Don’t be the person to make things weird. I won’t–unless you consider my sincere expression of my beliefs to be weird or unacceptable (which would be very, very intolerant of you).
I’m not going to stop telling the truth. Neither are those who are like me. The decision is yours as to whether you choose to accept, criticize, or ignore said truth. I’ll love you whatever you choose.
Just keep this in mind: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13,14).