In part one I sketched the biblical evidence for the claim that homosexuality is a sin. In part two I address the argument that some make in defense of the notion that there are such things as “gay Christians” is the appeal to providence: “God made me this way, therefore it cannot be wrong.” First, the premise is false and second, the conclusion doesn’t follow from the (flawed) premise.
Since there are practicing homosexuals who profess Christian faith, let’s get back to basic Christian doctrine. According to Genesis 1, God created all that is by the power of his Word. Everything he created was “good.” Indeed, between v.1 and v. 31 the text says six times that creation was “good” or “very good.” In the beginning, in creation, before the fall, there was no human sin. There was spiritual corruption, among the angels, prior to Adam’s fall but Adam was not sinful nor did he have sinful proclivities. There was no disharmony between Adam and Eve or between them and nature. It is essential to understand this reality as best we can because our tendency is to imagine that the fallen world we know now is the way things have always been. We should not, however, read our experience as fallen, sinful, rebellious creatures back into creation.
So, no, it’s not true that “God made me this way.” All sin, including homosexuality, is a consequence of the fall but God did not make anything fallen. Our sinful dispositions, attitudes, and acts are the consequences of our fall in Adam. We sin because we’re sinners. On analogy with the other sins forbidden by God’s law, why can’t the idolater, the coveter, the thief, the heterosexual fornicator or adulterer or the murderer make the same argument? Of course he can’t! God has not violated his own law. God did not sin. He did not corrupt the world. We did.
“That may be,” one might argue “but isn’t God in control of all that happens? If so, why did he ordain that I should be born with these inclinations?” Again, as a consequence of the fall, every human is born with sinful inclinations. There are as many ways to transgress God’s law as there are imaginations and people. We are deeply corrupted by sin. Every faculty of our soul is corrupted by sin. We do not think as we ought. We do not will as we ought and we do not love as we ought. By nature, Scripture teachers, we are inclined to hate God and our neighbor.
If you’re asking if I can explain how God can be sovereign over all things and not morally liable for the evil that happens in the world, I reply by saying that’s a great mystery to which no one has ever offered a completely satisfactory answer. Scripture does address it plainly in Job 38 and Romans 9. The short answer is that God says that we sinful humans do not have standing to charge him with injustice. We are not competent. Further, whatever our difficulties with the mysteries of providence, it is not as if God has not fully involved himself in our predicament. God the Son graciously became incarnate, faced every temptation we have faced (Heb 4)—indeed he knows temptation in a way we can never know in this life because he did not succumb to it! Are you willing to shake your fist at Jesus, who obeyed, died, and was raised for the justification of sinners? Only a fool says yes.
There are other reasons to think that it’s not true to think that homosexuality is normal. Most of the studies (here’s a recent study) I’ve seen suggest homosexuality is usually connected to serious dysfunction in one’s nuclear family. Alcoholism, sexual abuse, neglect (physical and emotional) are factors. Though the statistical likelihood of homosexuality doesn’t seem to be much greater than it has been for decades—by now surely everyone knows that the old Kinsey numbers were badly skewed by their sample population!—homosexuality surely plays a vastly more prominent role in our culture than it did just a few years ago. There is obviously a correlation between the breakdown of the nuclear family, the rise of divorce, the rise of substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) and the general collapse of the culture and the increased visibility of homosexuality in popular culture and in the educational establishment. There may be a small percentage of a given population born with a biological proclivity to homosexuality but that is probably true for other disorders and sins. Remember, it wasn’t very long ago that homosexuality was listed in standard psychiatric diagnostic manuals as a treatable disorder. The evidence hasn’t changed but the political-cultural-social-economic influence of homosexuals has. I’m a free-market guy but we should be honest about the increased economic clout of homosexuals. They compose an economically attractive market. They tend to be more highly educated, with a higher disposable income (no kids to feed) and they spend. Mass media = advertising. All of it is advertising. The entertainment and news programs all serve advertisers and most advertisers only care about the quarterly earning reports. They don’t care about the social consequences of their programming and advertising. Sometimes Marx is right.
Further, even were it true that “God made me this way” it does not follow that, therefore the moral law no longer applies. No one is permitted to leverage the clear, unequivocal teaching of Scripture with his private interpretation of providence or natural revelation. Scripture clearly teaches that homosexuality (as defined in part 1) is sin. It’s against nature. Your claim that “God made me this way” does not grant you permission to violate the clear teaching of Scripture. Your interpretation of providence might be wrong. I think it’s clear enough that it is wrong.
Every Christian has sins with which he must struggle. Jesus did not call the Christian life a daily crucifixion for no reason. Those tempted by homosexuality are no more exempt than heterosexual sinners from this call to discipleship. Thieves must daily repent of their desire to steal (instead of working). Coveters must daily repent of their desire to have what God has not given them. Idolaters must repent of their desire to make a god in their own image. Liars must repent of their desire to control outcomes by twisting the truth.
Look, the culture always approves of one sin or another. Right now, homosexuality is fashionable. It’s the current way to rebel against God but fashion isn’t necessarily truth or righteousness. Of course I would rather see homosexuals embrace the Christian faith than repudiate it but it must the whole Christian faith and not an edited version conveniently amputated of its moral teaching.