Desiring God: Homophobia Has No Place in the Church

Over at the Desiring God blog, Nick Roen has a post calling out homophobia in the Church:

Christians—of all people on the planet—must operate not out of fear, but love. We recognize that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are therefore sacred and worthy of love.

Furthermore, we are called to love with the very love of our Father (Matthew 5:48), which calls us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44–48). Such love casts out fear because it no longer fears God’s judgment and therefore is freed to love with lavishness (1 John 4:18).

Therefore, our comfort, our convenience, our safety, or our perception of our country’s values are no longer valid reasons to operate in any way that is opposed to genuine biblical love. And we love this way because this is exactly how Jesus first loved us (1 John 4:19). He wasn’t threatened or repelled by us; he wasn’t afraid to enter a relationship with us, sinners that we were (and still are), and to even graciously speak the truth about our sin. Instead, he loved us so lavishly that he died for us to present us clean and whole before his Father (Romans 5:6–8).

When we love in this manner, we expose homophobia for what it really is: pride. It is an attitude that puts beneath us others whose sins and temptations we deem “more depraved” than our own, as we wickedly proclaim with the Pharisee, “Well, at least I don’t struggle with that” (Luke 18:11).

Read the Whole Post.

6 thoughts on “Desiring God: Homophobia Has No Place in the Church

  1. Can someone on the SF team please define homophobia? I’m curious about how, in your paradigm, the traditionalist doctrine is not homophobic (i.e., gay coupling is detrimental to society and can never lead to human flourishing).

    • It originally meant an “unconscious/irrational fear/disgust of gay people or people perceived to gay” – hence the phobia bit. It has since morphed into “anything LGBT activists decide is anti-gay”.

  2. It’s nice, but I’m not sure it works as written. If we are to accept that same-sex sexual acts go against God’s design, then a properly ordered morality ought to be repelled in some sense to sexual e activity between two members of the same gender. Whether that manifests itself in fear or disgust seems irrelevant. You might point out that these particular passions tend to lead towards unproductive means of rebuke, but here we would need to distinguish between objective actions rather than the underlying passions that animate them since the passions are, in themselves, morally neutral.

    To deal with the specifics that Pastor Roen considers, same-sex attraction has been linked to a number of emotional disorders and particular impediments to healthy relationships with members of either gender. It may be that these correlations are either mistaken or exaggerated but, until they are positively shown to be so, wouldn’t prudence advise against allowing people subject to represent the faith community in terms of leadership or education? Might not parents wish to be cautious in exposing their children to an individual whose temperament is clinically questionable? All this is to say that even in the examples that Pastor Roen gives, there may be any number of just reasons to discriminate against an individual who experiences same-sex attractions. We might speak of discrete scenarios where an unjust discrimination may, perhaps, exist, but won’t the circumstances, like the individuals involved, always be too complex to arrive at any certain conclusion?

    In all, hoping for the greater inclusion of those experiencing same-sex attractions seems a fool’s errand. By its very nature, same-sex attraction corrupts the social faculty. Those so afflicted, it seems, will always be outsiders to the communion rather than full participants. This is their cross to bear; it’s only false hope to suggest they might exchange it for another.

    • Irksome12: the article mentioned leadership of youth groups. I assume that is what you mean when you say, ” might not parents wish to be cautious..”

      How about judging each candidate for leadership of the youth group on his or her own merits and drawbacks. When you say homosexuality has “correlations” with “emotional disorders and impediments to healthy relationships with members of either gender.” I am aware of the higher correlations with mental illnesses ( the reason for this correlation is disputed). I am not aware of any data showing “impediments to healthy relationships with members of either gender” –other than religious pronouncements that this must be so. If you have any data on this, please let me know. I’d be interested to see what measures they used.

      It is quite dangerous to use “correlations” to judge individuals. Being male is correlated with a much higher likelihood of being a sex offender–although most men aren’t sex offenders. Should we have only women leading youth groups? Being an Afr-American man is correlated with a higher likelihood of being convicted of a violent crime–though, again, most Afr Amer men are law abiding. Should we, just to be safe, bar them because of this correlation?

    • Correlations without causation are inherently flawed and using them to generalize a minority is bigoted. I could use Irksome’s own logic to make the claim that it is important to not allow darker skinned people to be alone in the Church because FBI statistical analysis shows that darker skinned people in the United States account for a disproportionate amount of theft crimes compared to white people and they cannot be trusted to not steal and pawn off the tabernacle and candle stick holders due to the tone of their skin. Sorry, pal, but I would call parents using such correlations to hate gays out for being bigots and suggest that, next time, they should try using their heads.

  3. Interesting piece. Even so, I tend to view the while Driscoll-Piper “biblical manhood” schtick as inherently homophobic, or at least effemiphobic. I found that a lot of my sexual anxiety subsided when I ditched evangelicalism, and no longer felt that I had to live up to some masculine ideal to be accepted by God. I’m glad that someone affiliated with Piper’s ministry believes that homophobia is wrong. Perhaps a next step would be to move away from a complementarian theology that demands that, to be godly, one must carry himself like John Wayne.

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