Friday, May 4, 2012

Is it Hateful to Believe Homosexuality is Sinful?

Bigot. Hateful. Close-minded. These accusations are becoming more and more commonplace against Christians in our society today. And over what issue? All sorts of issues, actually, but one is gaining more momentum ahead of the others: the issue of homosexuality. On Tuesday, an anonymous commenter commented on an article I posted accused me of being hateful and close-minded towards homosexuals. Thankfully, Scott and Cory ran to my defense by pointing out the irrationality and utter insanity of those accusations. But let's face it folks, as soon as someone in Western culture uses terms like "bigot," "hateful," "hate speech" or "close-minded" the thinking part of people's brains shuts down and irrationality takes over.

Otherwise how could this anonymous poster make these kinds of accusations towards me? Did he not read where I specifically stated that I do not hate homosexuals? I stated that I am a fellow sinner with homosexual men and women; I am no better than they. I, likewise, was born into this world deserving of death, judgment and Hell. Please let me spell it out even further ... homosexuals are equal in value and dignity to Christians and non-homosexuals. I am not prejudiced against them, and wish them no ill will or harm whatsoever. In fact, if ever there was a law designed to physically harm homosexuals I would march in the streets to defend their human and Constitutional rights for a peaceful existence.

Having stated all that, Christians are required to recognize the lifestyle and behavior of homosexuality as sinful as taught in the Bible. What some folks are unwilling to accept is that Christians can disagree with a lifestyle choice and not hate someone. Going beyond that, Christians don't stop with not-hating the LGBT community, we do our best to love them. This doesn't mean that we approve of homosexuality, but we can still care about them as our fellow citizens, neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members. We desire to live peaceably with all men, so far as it depends on us.

The following video is from the National High School Journalism Convention this past April. It features a few minutes of Dan Savage attacking Christians and the Bible for supporting bullying of homosexuals. Be warned that Mr. Savage uses some foul, strong, and inappropriate language in this video that is not suitable for children at all.

Let me ask you something: were the Christians under attack the bigots in this video? Or was it Dan Savage? Ironically, and so far, Mr. Savage has been given a pass because he is defending homosexual rights (that they don't have?), therefore he must be left alone. The double standard and the inconsistency is almost too much to bear.

As Christians, we must be ready and willing to answer for our beliefs. It is unpopular to believe some of the things we are required to believe ... like homosexuality being a sin. But there are good reasons, logical reasons, reasons that actually make sense for us to believe them. If we want to love our fellow man, including the homosexual community, then we cannot pretend that their lifestyle is not sinful. Disregarding the natural order of male-ness and female-ness as designed by God would be the most hateful thing we could do to the LGBT community. It is out of love for them, and for the triune God of Scripture that we steadfastly hold to these truths.

We disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, and yet we do not hate gays and lesbians. Christians are able to do this, because we have experienced the undeserved love of God.


  1. So you love homosexuals by legislating against everything they do? christians used to advocate for the continued criminalization of gays and lesbians until the supreme court overturned that in 2003. now they constantly ban gay marriage, ban civil unions, ban gay adoption, ban anything positive or helpful for gays and lesbians. how is that not not hatred and bigotry?

  2. "Anonymous" -

    (1)Are you the same "Anonymous" commenter in the previous blog? (Just curious). If so, why the desire for anonymity? (Also, just curious).

    (2)I legislate (or vote to legislate) "against everything [homosexuals] do?" Really? It is true that I vote for Republicans that vote to uphold the view on marriage that has been in existence for millenia. It is also true that I would vote for laws that are opposed to redefining marriage to mean whatever people want it to mean. Why would I vote this way? Because I believe the view of marriage that has been in existence since the beginning on Creation is correct, and Biblical. That makes me hateful? For having a view different than yours? That makes me a bigot? Simply because I believe something different than you do? The inconsistency is striking, sir.

    Anonymous, what I mean is that were you to consistently apply your outlook on who is hateful and bigoted, would not your own views also be considered hateful and bigoted towards mine? You believe my views are dead wrong. Wouldn't you vote for laws that redefine marriage to include something that my religion is opposed to? My point is that we have different opinions, different religions, different political systems. Yet, we can honestly disagree and not hate one another - at least, I try not to hate you, or homosexuals. Can you say the same?

    (3)What is the most surprising thing to me is that I wrote an entire blog article about how I don't hate gays, yet I disagree with homosexuality ... but you (apparently) know myself better than I do! Isn't that odd, now? Or is your real purpose an attempt to prove that if I don't support the homosexual lifestyle and choices that I *must* be lying when I say that I can disagree with someone and love them at the same time?

    If you would like to have a friendly conversation, I welcome it. However, if you continue to make false and unsubstantiated accusations that I hate homosexuals - when this is clearly not the case - I would recommend you find another corner of the Internet to peruse. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not hate gays, or harbor any ill will towards the homosexual community ... I have gay friends, coworkers, family, and neighbors. Please don't pretend to know me and then make false accusations.

  3. "Anonymous"

    Did you read the last paragraph of the blog? If not let me remind you what Metzger said:

    "We disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, and yet we do not hate gays and lesbians. Christians are able to do this, because we have experienced the undeserved love of God."

    As a christian myself, one who shares the same beliefs as Metzger, I can affirm the above to be true. Just because we disagree does not mean we are hateful or bigots. I find it very inconsistent that because we have a different opinion than you that we are being hateful, yet you yourself disagree with us. I venture to say, sir, that you yourself are equally as hateful towards Christians. And since when is disagreement=hate?

    I would encourage you to consider your own beliefs in this area and hopefully recognize the inconsistency you hold to.

  4. As a Christian, I often struggle with where the line should be drawn between having personal convictions and seeing those convictions turned into laws. For the same reason that many Christians fear the idea of Sharia Law being used to justify Muslim legislation in a free country, I can understand why the homosexual community would feel threatened by Christians using the Bible to justify laws that legislate non-Christians.

    I worry that efforts to use the power of man to govern people according to the Bible will only confuse non-believers and make them hate Christians. After all, Christians can seem selective about what they want to legislate- there are no large scale efforts to criminalize no-fault divorce, sex before marriage, or working on the sabbath, subjects that The Bible devotes far more time to than homosexuality. It's easy for me to see why the gay community feels like they're being singled out and "hated".

    I'm not claiming to have any answers here. It's obviously a thorny issue and as a Christian I fear that showing a willingness to defend the homosexual community's concerns will make me labeled a heretic in conservative circles (which is why I'm also remaining anonymous). These days I'm wondering if "Hate the sin, love the sinner" would be improved by adding "Hate the sin, love the sinner, avoid legislating them".

    Anyway, I'm not looking to add fuel to this fire (BTW, Anonymous, you're not going to influence anyone with angry rants that ignore the topic). I'm glad that Christians are thinking hard about this topic. I think it's going to be a big issue during our lifetimes.

    - Also Anonymous (but not as vitriolic!)

  5. Anonymous,

    Homosexual marriage is a oxymoron. What Christians who oppose homosexual marriage are trying to do is uphold the meaning of the word marriage. If you can redefine it to mean a man and a man or a woman and a woman you can redefine it to mean anything. Marriage can be between a man and a dog, or a woman and a cat. Marriage is a man and a woman making a commitment to stay together for life, for the purpose of producing children and providing those children a stable environment in which to be raised.

    You seem to be implying that because other issues are discussed more in the bible they are somehow more important. So my question to you would be how many times does God have to say something is wrong to make it wrong? What's the number? 10 times, perhaps 20...

    I don't know anyone who is trying to make it illegal for homosexuals to practice homosexuality. Just like no one is trying to make it illegal to work on the sabbath or have sex outside of marriage. The question is should we just sit by and watch while the government directly supports immorality? Should we allow them to redefine marriage to mean whatever the current popular social movement would have it be? What if the popular movement was to allow people to marry animals, or adults to marry children?

    Without the bible there is no basis for any truth. If you are truly a Christian I encourage you to listen to what the bible and Jesus Himself (Matt. 19) clearly define as marriage, not what society would have you believe.

  6. Scott, thanks for your reply.

    For me, the crux of the matter isn't whether the Bible's definition of marriage includes homosexuality (it plainly doesn't, according to Matthew 19), but whether it's fair to use the Bible definition of marriage to make federal laws. The constitution doesn't say anything about marriage, so while I think it's worthwhile for the church to uphold the sanctity of marriage between Christian men and women, I worry that we might be barking up the wrong tree by trying to force it on everyone.

    Speaking of "barking" up the wrong tree, I just don't think that bestiality or child marriage are applicable here, mainly because they're non-consensual. Sorry about the bad pun.

    I think you may have misread my point about how often homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible. I'm not saying that the Bible considers homosexuality unimportant. Rather, Christians appear to be picking and choosing which Biblical commands they want to turn into legislation- why is there not a movement to protect the sanctity of marriage by making no-fault divorce illegal, or forbidding sex before marriage? In this context, I can understand why the gay community feels picked on.

    Again, I think this is a difficult issue for American Christians and I can't claim any clear-cut answers. I agree that the Bible should be our basis for truth. I'm skeptical whether it should be a basis for federal legislation in a democratic country without an official religion.

    Thanks again for your reply. I find this discussion refreshing!

    - Also Anonymous

  7. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your contributions to this discussion. I do want to first point out that this blog article was not addressing the political issues of same-sex “marriage.” In any case, I will side-step the point of this article to discuss whether the federal and/or state governments should recognize marriage for something other than what it is.

    Scott makes many valid points, especially that the idea of “homosexual marriage” really is an oxymoron. He also hits it right on the nose when he stated that what the LGBT community is really after is redefining what marriage is.

    While it is true that the Bible is abundantly clear that marriage can only be between one man and one woman (and I am thankful we are in agreement on this point), the logical and necessary application of this is that this is a truth that transcends time. At the point of creation marriage was between Adam and Eve; four thousand years ago marriage was between one man and one woman; sixty years ago marriage was between one man and one woman; and today marriage is between one man and one woman. Matthew 19 is an interpretation made by the Lord Jesus Christ (bringing it back to the source: creation) of the Genesis account of marriage, and it is because of this positive presentation in the Scriptures that there are passages declaring homosexuality as sinful.

    But think about Matthew 19 for a moment. The Pharisees, trying to trip up the Lord Jesus with a ridiculous question: is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? What was Christ’s response? He went to the creative decree of God in Genesis, and explained that one man and one woman can become one flesh. It may be obvious to some, but I’ll say the obvious truth: one man and one man, or one woman and one woman can never become one flesh. It is physically impossible. We were not designed that way. This is also Paul’s point in Romans chapter 1 where he points out that men and women engage in unnatural relationships with one another.

    Who does Paul think he is to declare homosexual relationships unnatural? Maybe he should keep his religious opinions to himself! Or, maybe the truth that Paul declares is … true. Again, it sounds like you will be in agreement with me, thus far. But if truth is universal then it ought to be recognized as such.

    If I’m interpreting you correctly, you might then argue: “But aren’t you just picking and choosing which moral truths you want to legislate?” Good question, and here is my answer: there are moral standards that are for the benefit of society and the government, and it is these standards that ought to be legislated. Other religious beliefs should not be forced upon people. What do I mean? Essentially, there is a huge difference between the moral requirement to worship God, versus the moral requirement not to murder. One touches on the essence of one’s worldview, while the other is a moral standard that affects the benefit of the society at large as well as offers benefit to the government (we don’t want tax-payers being murdered).


  8. In the same way, what business does the government have to recognize marriage, and offer any special benefits for married couples? The federal and state governments in America have always recognized marriage as between one man and one woman (as marriage has always been) because of the benefit to society and for creating life (more tax-payers). Let’s be realistic here: the government needs an ongoing supply of … people ... just to survive. It sounds rather simplistic, but is true nonetheless.

    The second reason government ought to recognize marriage between one man and one woman is because that’s what marriage is. As Christians, we recognize in God’s inspired Word that the world around us screams the truth that marriage is between one man and one woman only. It is natural, and this has been recognized from the dawn of time in every culture everywhere.

    After saying all that, I have 2 questions for you. (1) For what reason and for what benefit does the government have in recognizing marriage as being between anything other than one man and one woman? And (2) How can you Biblically support the government legislating the approval of something sinful?

    Thanks for the discussion, and I look forward to your response.

  9. Metzger, thanks for your thoughtful response.

    I agree that the Bible only describes marriage as being between a man and a woman. However, I don't think that there's a Biblical, moral, or constitutional basis for using that description to create legislation. For me, it boils down to 2 questions:

    1) Why should Christians be able to use the Biblical description of marriage as the reason for creating laws for all of society? It would be unconstitutional for Muslims to demand enforcement of Sharia laws based on passages from the Koran. So why are we trying to use the Bible to make decisions for people who don't follow it?

    2) How do we choose which parts of the Bible we want to turn into laws? You offered this definition: Moral standards that are for the benefit of the government or society ought to be legislated. That's fine, but I don't think that answers the question of HOW we decide which moral standards meet that criteria. A case could be made that any of my original examples (outlawing no-fault divorce, premarital sex, or working on the Sabbath) are "beneficial for the government and/or society". So why are we not pushing for those activities to be legislated as well?

    That brings me to the answers to your 2 questions.

    1. Your first question is misleading because the government has always allowed activities that don't have a practical benefit for society. The first amendment allows citizens to say all kinds of hateful, vulgar, blasphemous stuff. Giving citizens freedom of speech might lead to some nasty speech, but we don't think it's the government's job to force us to keep our mouths clean.

    Additionally, your question seems to be based on a Utilitarian premise. Are you saying that if the homosexual community were able to prove that gay marriage benefitted society in some way, you'd be for it? I've heard people argue that gay marriage would encourage healthy, monogamous relationships in the homosexual community, which sounds a lot better than the current mentality that allows gay sex, but not a gay marriage commitment. Also, the "marriage for procreation argument seems flawed since 1) gay marriage wouldn't stop heterosexual people from pro-creating, and 2) many married heterosexual couples are either infertile or choose not have children. Surely you wouldn't argue that infertile couples should be stripped of their right to marry.

    But let's get right to the heart of the issue: If the homosexual community is right in saying that the constitution doesn't prohibit them from getting married, then questions of societal benefit don't really matter. If they have the right to marry, it doesn't matter if some people think it isn't beneficial.

    2. The government allows for people to make choices that we might disagree with. It's what makes America, America. If a person wants to burn a flag, they have the right to do that. If a person wants to drink themselves silly in the comfort of their own home, they can. If a person wants to eat jelly doughnuts 3 times a day, they can. If a person wants to worship a God I don't believe in, they can. As a Christian that lives in a nation that abides by the constitution, I have be ok with laws that allow people to do things that I know are wrong.

    Does that stop me from preaching the good news? No. But it stops me from trying to use the government to conform people to a moral standards they don't agree with. And that's why I worry that legislating gay marriage is a red herring that's distracting Christians from their true calling. We can get so caught up in trying to use the power of man to stop sin, that we make political enemies out of the people we should be ministering to.

    Thanks again for the conversation! I look forward to your response,

    - Anonymous 2.0

  10. Anonymous,

    No, my first question was not misleading, and here is why: because the only business government has in recognizing marriage and offering benefits to married couples is because of the benefits of marriage on society. Only a man and woman can create life, and offer a stable environment for families - in fact, the term “family” refers to men and women, who then have the possibility of producing children. Two men or two women (or anything else) can never be a family. Why? Because this is inherent truth. What is true is true regardless if the whole world refuses to believe it. One plus one will always equal two even if the majority in America reject that fact in the face of all logic.

    You asked that if the homosexual community could somehow prove their benefit to society if the government could (or should) then recognize and promote homosexual relationships? The answer is that there is no benefit that homosexuality or homosexual relationships offer society. The only thing they bring is death; death to themselves and death to their sexual partners.

    As far as heterosexual couples (let’s assume, married couples) that are unable to reproduce, the norm still remains the same that life can only be created from a man and a woman. So again, the government recognizes marriage as beneficial because they create new life and offer stability and the best possible environment for families.

    Your response to my second question has many points I agree with. What makes America great is that we have the personal liberty to disagree with one another. Someone might want to foolishly burn the American flag, or engage in homosexual relationships. But what we are talking about is whether a minority in society has the right to redefine terms (like “marriage”) that have historical background and meaning, a Biblical, moral, ethical and rational meaning, to mean whatever they want it to mean. Marriage will always be between one man and one woman regardless of whether the majority thinks so.

    The Constitution of America, while established in such a way as to not create a theocracy, was based firmly upon Christian morality. To deny this is to reject history. Sure, you have a right to believe that the Constitution is a “living document” that can mean whatever we want it to mean (I hope you do not believe this), but it is beyond question that this is not what the founders wanted. The authorial intent of the founders who signed the Constitution certainly believed Christian morality be upheld - and yet they did not believe this was in conflict with the idea that the government (federal and the states) would not require people to be Christians. The purpose of having a Constitution is to maintain a stable system of government and justice in the land - including Christian principles that the vast majority of the founders held to.


  11. This brings us to the heart of the matter: if the basis for moral decisions in America is not based upon Christian principles and morality, then what standard shall we use? Majority opinion? Whatever makes one happy? If so, what happens when the majority is made happy by the right to murder? Oh wait … our government already supports the murder of unborn children, despite the Biblical teaching that murder is wrong. And based upon the stance you presently appear to take, you would have no basis whatsoever to say that abortion should be against the law. Western culture is running fast towards the edge of the cliff supporting everything that is anti-Christian, all to our detriment.

    What standard shall we use? Because if you answer with anything other than the inherent truth that God has revealed upon the consciences of all men, and expressed in Scripture, then we lower ourselves to the inconsistent and ever-evolving standard of post-modernity and relativism - upon which, there is no ground to make an argument for anything.

    My closing questions are these:

    (1) What standard shall we use, and why?

    (2) Do you believe that the Biblical Scriptures are the sole and infallible rule of faith for the church pertaining to all things relating to life, godliness, faith and practice (a.k.a. “Sola Scriptura”)? If so, do you conform your thinking based upon what God says? This second question is important because it will help me understand whether we truly approach this issue on the same grounds.

    (3) You implied that you wish to maintain a measure of anonymity, but for the sake of better understanding where you are coming from, what kind of church do you attend (you don’t need to tell me the name of your particular church, if you do not wish to)? In other words, what denomination does it belong to, if any? Or even better, what confession of faith (or statement of faith) does your church (and you) subscribe to?

    Thanks again,

  12. Anonymous -

    Thinking about it, it would only be fair if I added some of that info for myself: I attend a Reformed Baptist Church, and we use as our confession the 1689 London Baptist Confession



  13. Metzger,

    I think we may have reached an impasse. We can agree that homosexual marriage is not included in the Bible's definition of marriage. I still believe that Christians shouldn't be using the government to force this ideal on non-believers. I believe this is a misuse of worldly power, and at best, unproductive.

    As for your closing questions:

    1) You will get two different answers from me based on context. If you're asking about my personal decisions, the answer is scripture every time. If you're asking about what I think should be used to govern our nation: the constitution. For a practical example: according to scripture, I need to obey the sabbath and keep it holy. Would I try to make that a law that everyone has to follow, Christian or not? No.

    Let's imagine for a second that we were asking potential presidential candidates this same question. I would hope that regardless of what a candidate believed in their personal lives, they would want to govern the country based on the constitution. Should Mitt Romney try to govern the country based on principles from The Pearl of Great Price? I really, really hope not, as I don't look good in ceremonial underwear.

    2) In short, yes. But again, I see a difference between my personal convictions, and how they're expressed in a democratic country that isn't a theocracy. Forcing people to adhere to a religious belief, even if it's my own personal belief, is never a good thing. That's why the the pilgrims came to America in the first place. Our goal should be to preach the gospel, not to be satisfied with using laws to dress up non-christians in christian clothing.

    3) In order to protect my anonymity, I don't want to get specific about my church. I'm sorry about that, and I hope you respect my decision. Personally, I would describe myself as a Reformed Protestant Christian.

    Thanks again for the conversation,

    Anonymous dos

  14. Anonymous,

    I do distinguish between legislating behaviors exclusive to practicing Christians versus morality in general. Example: going to church is something only Christians do; but abortion or same-sex "marriage" is something sweeping that deals with the very nature of the way God created the universe. And again this brings us back full swing: which standard do we use to legislate morality? (Because the gov't does legislate morality ... examples include murder, incest, bestiality, etc).

    I will quote something I said in my last response: "What standard shall we use? Because if you answer with anything other than the inherent truth that God has revealed upon the consciences of all men, and expressed in Scripture, then we lower ourselves to the inconsistent and ever-evolving standard of post-modernity and relativism - upon which, there is no ground to make an argument for anything."

    However, if you and I will only be repeating ourselves, then I understand why it may be good to agree to disagree from here. But I would challenge you to think about the standard by which you would then legislate the great variety of moral standards.

    Thank you for this pleasant discussion, as it is most appreciated.