This post will take a little time to develop, so I want to be clear about my purposes for writing it up front.
FIRST: If you’re a student somewhere being bullied because you are gay, and you are considering checking out – just to escape the pain of it – please don’t. You are loved. I know that to my very core. God didn’t screw up when he made you. He wants to fill your life with purpose. There are hundreds of voices on YouTube and everywhere right now sending you the message that “IT GETS BETTER.” And if you can make it through this tough season of life, where you’re surrounded by jerks, you’ll soon come out the other side and enter a new phase of life – free from that kind of intense bullying that cuts you down. So my first message to you is this: HANG IN THERE, because you’re deeply valuable. And I’m a Christian guy who believes that being gay is not God’s plan for you – I’ve written about this stuff before. But listen, you are more than your sexual nature, and you matter to us and to God, no matter what your sexual orientation. I hope you’re willing to keep reading this, and keep thinking.
SECOND: Gene Robinson is an enemy of God. He is one of the voices proclaiming the “it gets better message,” and I have posted his video below. While I believe he means well, and many gay young people have been encouraged by his message, he is misrepresenting God, and God’s Church. I do not hate Gene Robinson, and I do not oppose his message because he is gay. Rather, I oppose his message because he is wrong. More on that below…
You’ve maybe never read this blog before, so I want to help you put what I’m about to write into context. Everybody has a foundational set of beliefs building the framework of their life story, even those of us who never think it through or put it into words. Here are a few of mine:
With regards to Faith and Life:
(1) I believe that God is sovereign, and His Word (the Bible) is perfect and authoritative on all issues pertaining to faith and life.
(2) I believe that every single person on earth (myself included) has been born with a sinful nature, and is therefore condemned to an eternity apart from God. We can’t fix it through anything we do. Period.
(3) Jesus Christ died on a cross to save us from that sin. He is the only road to forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. Yes, that message is exclusive. Jesus alone is our only hope. That’s basic Christian doctrine.
(4) God is a God of love and justice. His standards are not flexible, because He is holy, and that means He is pure and “other than us.” Our human minds cannot contain or explain Him in this regard. But He also loves us with a fierce, protective, all-consuming, life-changing love that is not bound by the limits of even the deepest love of man. Our human minds cannot contain or explain Him in this regard.
With regards to homosexuality:
(1) I believe that God’s Word makes it clear that homosexual activity is sin. I know many believe they can explain away the several passages in scripture that make this clear. But those arguments do not stand up to sound standards of Biblical interpretation. Therefore, I reject the argument that “God didn’t really say that.” He did say that. People have the free will to choose to live set against His Word. But it is simply not true that the Bible is in any way unclear on this matter.
(2) I’m not sure what my Christian brothers and sisters would say to me in this one, but here goes… I believe that the evidence of nature, personal witness, and common sense makes it clear that some people are born with a homosexual proclivity. I am making a clear distinction here between homosexual nature and homosexual behavior. The clear testimony of many homosexuals, including some of my friends, is that their very earliest memories of a sexual nature involved same-sex attraction.
So, now what…?
The two statements above create tension. On the one hand, God is saying that acting on one’s homosexual feelings is sin, and a violation of His relationship with us – enough of a violation (actually, EVERY sin is enough) to separate us from God forever. No heaven. No hope. Just regret, guilt, pain, fear and darkness. On the other hand, some people seem to grow up with an attraction to people of their own gender. How can this be? How can God allow this? It isn’t fair. It is too much to ask…
I have a lot of empathy for those with a homosexual predisposition. Some fight it. Others embrace it. Still others live in the middle ground somewhere. At some point, to come to a degree of mental peace about this issue, a person with a homosexual nature has to examine what they believe about the morality of homosexual behavior. If you’re gay, and have looked at the Bible and agree that it seems clear that homosexuality (expressed through lifestyle) is wrong, you must be either full of conflict, or you have chosen to reject the Bible as a valid authority in today’s culture. If, on the other hand, you simply discount the Bible, being a homosexual today is much easier.
But easy does not equal right. It’s often the hard road that is the best one. And doing the right thing comes at a cost. That’s true in every area of life, and it really matters. It’s easier to cheat on tests and papers in school. It’s easier to follow the crowd into all kinds of bad moral choices than it is to humbly go the right direction. It’s easier for any man, gay or straight, to chase his sinful sexual nature into multiple relationships, but committing to one for life through marriage is so much better – and it is the only moral choice, with the authority of the Bible making that clear.
Unfortunately, the evangelical Christian community has often handled our relationships with gay people clumsily – or with venom. A mean-spirited approach to people with a homosexual predisposition destroys our ability to share the life-giving message of Jesus. We have not, in general, loved gay people very well as a community, because (to some degree) we don’t know how. But we do know that the Bible says “don’t do it,” so we point our fingers and feel justified in doing so. It is possible, Church, to be clear on moral lines, and still love people well. In his way, Gene Robinson is trying to tell gay young people that we (evangelical Christians) have failed to show love, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t loving. In as far as that goes, I agree with Gene.
HOWEVER, Gene Robinson is not just a random dude on the street. Gene Robinson is a Bishop – a “representative” of God and God’s people. He is influential, and many outside the church see him as a representative of those of us who identify ourselves as a part of Jesus’ family. For this reason, when he speaks on behalf of God, and boldly proclaims lies as the truth, he becomes an enemy of the truth. He is working against God. And he is working against you, too.
Here is Bishop Gene Robinson’s “It Gets Better” message:
Gene Robinson, I’m sure, wants to help and encourage you if you are gay and are facing hostility, bullying, or just differing points of view. I respect people’s freedom to live as they please in this country, and I am grateful for free speech. But that door swings both ways. Gene is free to proclaim things about God and about His people that are not true, and I am free to publicly oppose that message as not just a little bit off base, but actually demonic heresy. Gene Robinson is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He may be a nice man, but I will take a stand today against his message.
When he says that your Baptist parents’ message that God does not accept a homosexual lifestyle is “flat out not true,” he is wrong. God won’t stop loving you, but his moral standards do not endorse homosexuality. That is a hard truth, but being hard doesn’t make it wrong.
Mr Robinson goes on to say that God wants you to “be the way you are,” and that God made you that way… that He doesn’t want you to change. The hard truth is, sin in the world has corrupted men – every one – so that we want things that we should not desire, and we long for things that go against God’s will for us. In fact, all of us have sinned and have a broken relationship with God. That’s why Jesus came and died for us. So that if we trust Him, he cleanses us from our sin and buys us back from the kindgom of darkness.
Gene Robinson is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ by TITLE, but he is serving the wrong team. If he were truly serving Jesus, he would tell the truth – that Jesus Christ died to save everyone because we all desperately NEED him to save us from our depravity. Every sinner. Gay and straight. And Gene would tell you that God’s laws aren’t rewritten when they are hard to understand or seem too hard for us to live by. God’s justice (His law) and His love (Jesus’ rescue) never change, even when the culture does.
So, if you are gay, and wondering what to do with it all, I want to tell you the truth in love. Most Christians don’t hate you. They (and I) may do a lousy job of loving you, but don’t write off Jesus for the failures of his kids. We are all broken people. We may not understand your struggles and desires, because straight people just haven’t been there. But God does set a clear standard. Homosexual behavior is sin. And many, many, many people born with a homosexual inclination or nature have learned to fight that fight for love of God and the truth. The message of the gay community right now is “It Gets Better,” and they are right. This culture is making more and more efforts to affirm the gay lifestyle as a normal, healthy choice. If you choose not to wrestle with the moral implications of a gay lifestyle, it will only get easier for you the older you get. But there is grave danger in that choice. Your life on earth is only a blink. And then you face eternity.
You need Jesus, because it is too hard for you without Him. So do I, because in my way, resisting sin and earning heaven by living the perfect lifestyle is too hard for me, too. Only in Jesus do we have any hope. If you want to talk with me more about this, use my contact info and shoot me an email or call me up. God does love you like crazy, and there is great hope in that truth. But that isn’t to say we can do anything we want, and God will simply endorse it as a “no big deal” decision. Love and justice. Moral boundaries BECAUSE He wants the best for us.
Gene Robinson gets it ALMOST right when he says, “God wants you to live in the light of His love, and that light will take away all of this darkness…”
Unfortunately Gene is implying that we Christians, speaking the truth about God’s clear Biblical guidelines, we are the darkness. He would seek to put a dividing wall between God’s love and “religious people.” Gene is wrong. SIN is the darkness. He is on the wrong team. One day Gene will answer to God for his life. So will I. So will you. And on that day, the light WILL take away all darkness – all sin, of every kind will be eradicated. Between that day and this one, we all need Jesus. Thankfully,God DOES love us beyond our wildest imagining. He loves us enough to show us the hard truth in His Word, and to send Jesus to do the impossible on our behalf.
“it will get better, but that’s not the point :: a response to gene robinson, with my gay friends and the church listening in” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.