A friend who considers herself both gay and Christian asks this question, "Are they mutually exclusive?" I have several friends who would say they are (or were) gays or bisexuals. Some would also say they're Christians, and some not.
I would like to answer this question in two ways: no, and yes. Let me explain:
No, they’re not mutually exclusive. A person can be a/an __________________ (you fill in the blank with whichever noun from the list below) and a Christian. He can be a/an:
- angry person
- divisive person
- immoral person
- jealous person
- person who doesn’t honor his parents
- person who doesn’t honor God above everything else
- person who verbally abuses others
- practicer of witchcraft
- trouble maker
- violent person
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Galatians 5:19-25. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
There are more lists in the Bible, but you get the idea. God isn’t happy with sin. You can be both gay and Christian or a thief and Christian or even a murderer and Christian, but it’s still sin, even though you say you’re a Christian.
Yes, being actively gay and being a Christian are mutually exclusive. The word Christian means “Christ follower.” Someone who is actively following the Lord won’t habitually engage in homosexuality (or any other sin). The Bible says that there will be a change in our attitude toward sin after we know the Lord as Savior. For one thing, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to help us recognize sin when we see it. We also have the Bible, which clearly teaches what’s right and wrong. Our relationship with Jesus Christ makes us want to please Him. The Bible puts it this way: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin (Romans 6:3-7).
When a person is in Christ, he is different. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Why is it inconsistent with Christianity to be actively gay? Read this part of a longer passage, For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet (Romans 1:26-27). Notice the adjectives used for homosexuality: vile, unnatural, lustful, unseemly, and in error. God leaves no doubt as to what He thinks about homosexual relationships. They don't please Him, and they aren't according to His design. They're immoral and erroneous.
The Old Testament Law says, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination (Leviticus 18:22). If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 20:13). Homosexuality was a capital crime. God labels it an abomination, something He particularly despises.
Remember God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you know why that happened? But before they (Lot’s household and the two angels) lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them (Genesis 19:4-5). It says all the men, young and old, wanted to have relations with the new men in town—the angels God had sent to warn them of judgment and rescue Lot and his family.
God cannot bless sin. He doesn’t want Christians to have any sinful lifestyle. God blesses those who crucify the flesh and live holy lives (Romans 3:6, above).
Being actively gay and being a Christian means that the lesbian, bisexual, trans, or gay person is living a lifestyle in opposition to God’s moral law. He's made his same-sex desires more important than his relationship with God. In the first and second of the Ten Commandments, God prohibits anything that takes precedence over Him.
So, what about my friends who were or are involved in homosexuality? They are still my friends. Some of them have put away their sin. (The Bible calls it repentance—turning from sin.) Others have not. One or two of them don’t yet know the Lord. Would you pray for them? Would you also pray for those who are struggling? Would you pray with me for those who think it’s okay?
What should any Christian’s attitude be towards their homosexual relatives and friends?
- Love—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself (Luke 10:27).
- Prayer—Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
- Share what the Bible says about homosexuality. Many homosexuals have been molested or groomed, and they may have been “led into” homosexual acts without fully realizing what was happening to them—especially if the abuse happened when they were children. Even some adults go through a period of denial, not fully understanding their situation at first. When you are in a counseling position with someone, be clear: homosexuality is a sin. It’s something God hates. It isn’t a “lifestyle choice,” like living eco-friendly, for example. Biblically, it's a sin. Like any sexual sin, it affects others, too. (See 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, some of this passage is found below.)
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).