My first exposure to homosexuality came in middle school when a new girl came to our school. Vivacious in personality, she loved boy bands (this was the era of “Bye Bye Bye” and “I Want It That Way”), and she had a strange expression that she used whenever she found something to be weird or crazy or when she wanted to issue an insult – “That’s gay!” My best friends at the time (and still to this day) have Gay as their last name, and around middle school, I started noticing the odd looks and snickers that would come when our families would be at restaurants together (“Gay party of nine!”). Then Queer Eye for the Straight Guy hit television. But while I learned what homosexuality is, for me it occurred outside my small town Christian bubble. If someone did struggle with same sex attraction in my hometown, they would not have dared tell anyone about it because of the ostracism they would have faced.
Fast forward to college when I left my bubble. Many of the middle schoolers I worked with were either openly gay or were trying to sort through which gender they were attracted to. And one of the first girls I met and became friends with at college had recently broken up with another girl, had started living with a guy, and was trying to figure out whether she was a lesbian or bi. As you can imagine, I did not always know how to respond to things she would say, for she operated under a completely different framework than me. In the summers during college and grad school, I worked as a camp counselor and had a fellow staffer whom I mentored and who talked about her best friend (a girl) in the same way that most girls talk about their boyfriends. Both came from dysfunctional families, and from my perspective, codependent described the nature of their friendship. And that codependency morphed their friendship into something more. Homosexuality quickly became more than a political issue to vote on as my state sought to outlaw gay marriage. I now associated names and faces with the term. I begin seeing how my beliefs and my voting record would affect people whom I knew and cared about – people who needed Jesus and His gospel.
As with most Christian college students, I did not always voice my beliefs in a respectful and loving way (if you’re into Meyers-Briggs, I’m a heavy “J,” very black and white). After reading some research by Barna about what unbelievers think about Christians, I became convicted about being known more for what I was against rather than what I am for. “Hate the sin and love the sinner” is so much easier to say than to actually do. It’s messy and complicated. How do I care for someone without worrying about them becoming attracted to me? Sleepovers with friends start becoming awkward and taboo in middle school/high school when friends start voicing their same sex attraction. What do I do if my college roommate is gay? And what if it’s a family member who comes out? While I disapprove of the nature of the relationship, I am still called to be kind and loving to that person and their partner. So how do I actually hate the sin and love the sinner? And we have not even touched the subject of Christians who might struggle with same sex attraction themselves. How should they respond to temptation? Is our sexual orientation fixed? Will God change homosexual desires into heterosexual desires, or will same sex attracted people have an attraction for their same sex for the rest of their time on earth? And is homosexuality actually a sin (and if so, why)?
Obviously, one blog post cannot sufficiently address all of these questions, so for the subject of homosexuality, I am providing you with resources and descriptions that can assist you in thinking through various issues related to homosexuality. It is in no way exhaustive, but it is a start to a conversation that we should be having as Christ-followers.
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
- "Is God Anti-Gay? Answering Tough Questions about Same Sex Marriage" by Sam Allberry (he also has a book by the same title)
- In this 55 minute talk, Alberry discusses four questions God's people must consider regarding homosexuality: (1) Did Jesus ever mention homosexuality? (2) Can't we just agree to differ over this issue? (3) Isn't a same sex partnership okay if it's faithful? (4) Isn't the traditional Christian position on sex and marriage deeply harmful to people?
- "Is It Okay To Be Gay?"
- This 41 minute panel discussion with Dr. Russell Moore, Christopher Yuan, Sam Alberry, Rosaria Butterfield, and Jackie Hill-Perry discusses everything from sexuality to singleness to how churches can minister well to people with SSA (same sex attraction).
- "How Can Homosexuality Be Wrong If It Doesn't Harm Anyone" by Matt Smethurst
- This post from The Gospel Coalition also includes a 10 minute video with J.D. Greear, Russell Moore, and Voddie Baucham discussing the question above
- "How Can The Gospel Be Good News To Gays?" by Sam Allberry (blog post)
- "How Does the Gospel Equip Christians Who Struggle with Same Sex Attraction?" by Jackie Hill-Perry (video)
- "Rosaria Butterfield: Homosexuality and the Christian Faith" by Rosaria Butterfield (you can watch this as a video or download it as an audio podcast)
- "The Unique Struggle of Same Sex Attraction" by Hadyn Sennitt (blog post)
- "The Gospel and Homosexuality" by David Platt (sermon)
- "The Cross and Christian Sexuality - Part 1" by David Platt (sermon)
- "The Cross and Christian Sexuality - Part 2" by David Platt (sermon)
How Do I Share the Gospel with a Gay Friend, Classmate, Professor, or Family Member?
- "'We Are All Messy': Rosaria Butterfield on Loving Our Gay and Lesbian Friends"
- This is a 19 minute interview that Mark Mellinger has with Rosaria Butterfield
- Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard
- For a review of this book, click here
- "Engaging Gay Activists on Campus: A Primer" by Rosaria Butterfield
- A former lesbian, feminist university professor, Butterfield shares some of her experiences and encounters from her former students who were Christians, and at the end of this article, she offers some tips on how to share the gospel with students and professors who are pro-gay
- "The Gospel for a Gay Friend" by Garrett Kell (blog post)
- "Should I Attend a Same Sex Wedding" by Matthew Hosier (blog post)
- "Preaching Like Jesus to the LGBT Community and Its Supporters" by J.D. Greear (50 minute video)
- If I Tell You I'm Gay, Will You Still Love Me? by Ann Mobley
- Ann shares her story as a parent whose son came out, and she has spent twenty years leading workshops and trainings to help Christians respond to homosexuals with love, compassion, and truth.
- For a review of this book, click here.
Other Helpful Resources Regarding Homosexuality
- "Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent" by Katy Faust
- While the writer of this open letter does not indicate her religious beliefs, she speaks from her own experience about how legalizing gay marriage is not in the best interest of children, even if they do have loving gay parents.
- Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
- For a review of this book, click here.
- Hill also has an helpful article on "Thinking One More Time About 'Identity' and 'Behavior'" with regards to homosexuality.
- "Gay Is Not the New Black" by Voddie Baucham (blog post)
- "Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God" by Christopher Yuan (21 minute video)