In Christian discussions about sexual identity issues, the notions of “sin” and “morality” often come up. Typically, gay sex is in focus. There are often complaints about how the gay community is promoting particular sins or forms of sexual immorality. As someone who holds to a traditional understanding of sexual ethics, I agree with some of these concerns.
However, I think this is a far too limited way to view sin and morality. Christian morality cannot be reduced to sexual ethics; other issues are critically important as well. Furthermore, many complaints by Christians demonstrate much greater concern about certain sins committed by sexual minorities than about sins committed against sexual minorities, if sins against sexual minorities are acknowledged at all. Sins against sexual minority people are in fact serious and common, and as Matt Jones discusses in “What Is Love?,” true concern for sexual minorities requires us to acknowledge and fight these sins.
With this post I am beginning a series on the topic of sin and sexual minorities, focusing primarily on sins committed against sexual minority people. First, I will discuss why it is important to discuss both sins committed by Christians and sins committed by non-Christians. Then, because I think that a lot of Christians are genuinely not aware of many of these sins and moral issues, I want to provide some background. I will conclude with some preliminary thoughts on how to integrate all this into a holistic understanding of sin as it relates to sexual minorities.
I should acknowledge from the beginning that I am not just preaching on high about sins that other people commit. I have myself been guilty of some of the sins I bring up here, and learning to repent of them has been a process. I also can’t claim that my sanctification is complete in this regard. But just as learning to address sins against sexual minority people has been an important part of sanctification for myself, I believe it also important for others, and I hope that my thoughts here can be helpful.
Later posts in this series:
- Part 2: Why I Criticize Christians
- Part 3: Sins of Word and Deed
- Part 4: Sins of Omission
- Part 5: Sins of the Heart
- Part 6: How Doctrine Matters
- Part 7: Of Logs and Specks
Jeremy Erickson is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He previously studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Taylor University in Upland, IN.
I’m so much looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this, Jeremy. I think this series will be so helpful.
One problem in your comment that sexual sins aren’t the only part of the discussion on morality is that sexual sins involve sins against our own bodies. This is an especially egregious kind of sinfulness….to try to equate heterosexuals’ speaking against homosexual sin to the exclusions of say eating too much or lying or stealing, is to give the lie to something far more serious morally.
You’re replying to a point I haven’t made. What I said is that our discussion of morality must involve more than sexual ethics. I don’t see how you can deny this. Sexual ethics were only one of the areas that Jesus addressed during his public ministry, for example. I said nothing about what sins are more serious than others. However, a few of the sins I’m going to bring up in the series, like murder, are in fact more serious than sexual sin.
Thanks for getting back to me Jeremy! Maybe I jumped the gun there a bit, but since we’re discussing homosexuals on this site it does fit that no one has brought up the fact of how egregious this is………it isn’t just acting out but the fact none of the people seem to want to realize they cannot ’embrace’ their affliction and tell us they want acceptance just as they are but also believe going without the acting out justifies them to hang onto their ‘identity.’ This in itself is a tell.
To try to reduce the need to hang onto and want friends to join them in their ‘acceptance’ of the attraction instead of realizing they need not only abstain and be ‘celebate’ but they must realize that coddling their attraction only means it is likely to tempt them again.
So. I believe scripture has it right in saying this is one of the sins that cries to heaven for vengeance since it is akin to murder in that it is a serious offence against the person’s own body.
David and I are looking forward to this series! Thanks as always for your thoughtful and honest writing, and for reaching out towards others who think differently than you with grace rather than condemnation. You’re a great example to us both!! 🙂
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