20 Thoughts On the Rainbow in the Room
Dr. Braxton Hunter | Professor of Apologetics
Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, IN
**This article was previously posted by Dr. Braxton Hunter on his website www.braxtonhunter.com and is used by permission.
Dr. Hunter is: former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE), professor of apologetics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana
As I peruse my various social network labyrinths, I find myself experiencing a serious (albeit colorful) emotional whirlwind. I feel for those experiencing same-sex desire who have been mistreated rather than loved. I am disappointed by Christians who endorse same-sex activity, but would have spoken the truth three years ago. I’m embarrassed by some of what my fellow believers are saying, and I cringe at what some supporters of gay marriage are arguing. This is by no means a detailed article. I wrote one just a couple of weeks ago that is a bit more detailed. I just felt the need to jot down some elements that I think are being missed or glossed over in most of the discussion threads I’ve seen by reasserting my own view of this debate:
1. I love gay people!
2. I am not homophobic if it is defined as being scared of gay people.
3. I’m not biggoted, I just genuinely believe that scripture is authoritative and it says a lot of things I don’t like – I just don’t get to choose which things to believe.
4. I have good reasons for believing that scripture is authoritative (see my website).
5. I think the church has in the past responded shamefully (sometimes making jokes at the expense of those dealing with same-sex attraction). But I also know that the church has often been inaccurately characterized as unloving when much of the time it wasn’t.
6. The church needs to recognize that for those who do not see deliverance from same-sex desire, what the gospel asks them to do (give up a major part of their lives) is a huge sacrifice. We should encourage abandoning the sin, but admire those who do this for the sake of the truth.
7. I don’t know whether same-sex desire comes from nature, nurture or something else, but scripture speaks to the behavior. We live in a world that is flawed and broken. Being “born this way,” would not mean that the activity associated with the desire is ok.
8. The church needs to stop saying people aren’t born with a propensity for same-sex desire. Again, this debate misses the point.
9. Those who criticize Christians who are opposed to same-sex activity need to realize that homosexuality is mentioned before, in and after the law. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who fulfilled the law. Therefore, the bumper-sticker, “if you’re opposed to homosexuality, then you shouldn’t eat shellfish,” comments are uneducated and ignorant. Stop it. You don’t know what you’re talking about. (Gen. 19:4-9, Lev. 18:22, Romans 1:18-31, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:9-10).
10. The idea that gays aren’t allowed to become members in most churches is a myth. Someone who is experiencing same-sex attraction, but recognizes same-sex behavior as sinful will be embraced by most churches (and should be) so long as they are endeavoring to overcome. Gays, adulterers, gossips, liars or anyone else who is “proud” of sinful activity should not be allowed to join a church because there is no repentance. You can’t even become a Christian without repentance.
11. The claim that we should be accepting and loving is too broad to have meaning. We should be accepting and loving toward PEOPLE, but we should not be loving and accepting toward SIN.
12. If by accepting someone we mean – respect or affirm their sinful choices – then we are actually being unloving toward the person, because we are condoning something that God does not want and is therefore bad for them. Besides, try that thinking on your friends who are smokers. Why not be loving and accepting and affirm/endorse their use of tobacco products? Such would be unloving.
13. Critics need to recognize that the fact that scripture was used to condone antebellum slavery is irrelevant. Scripture was used wrongly in that case. Scripture is not being used wrongly in this case. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS RACISM. Racism focused on the color of one’s skin. This has to do with one’s behavior.
14. Bible-believing Christians who have decided to fly the rainbow flag should either 1) stop calling themselves Bible-believing Christians (if they mean that they think the Bible is inerrant), 2) Be prepared to give a competing interpretation of the relevant biblical data, or 3) do some tough thinking about their own worldviews.
15. Christians who think there is some biblical case to be made in favor of loving, monogamous, same-sex relationships need to read the biblical data and take it seriously. The most comprehensive and cleverly devised biblical cases for gay relationships are reaching at best and dumb at worst. Sorry.
16. If someone finds a way to interpret the Bible such that it is approving of same-sex relationships then words no longer have meaning. Such a person could interpret the Bible to say anything they please. Fortunately, words do have meaning.
17. Homosexuals who say that Christians are wrong in our opposition to same-sex activity need to provide us with some objective basis for morality. On what objective basis is a monogamous, loving, same-sex relationship a “good” thing? Is it the opinion of the individual? Is it the opinion of society? If it is either of these then it is merely subjective and not really “right” or “good.” It’s just an opinion. You need some objective basis for claiming that this is right and good.
18. Stop saying Jesus never affirmed traditional marriage. He affirmed the entirety of the Old Testament. (Matt. 4:4-10, Matt. 5:18, John 10:35, Matt. 22:29, John 17:17, Matt. 5:17, Luke 24:27, Matt. 23:35)
19. The fact that you or I may emotionally wish that certain things were not wrong, or were different does not change reality. It would certainly be a lot easier for some families in the short-run if same-sex activity was not opposed to God’s will, but that doesn’t mean we can decide for ourselves the nature of reality. I wish cancer didn’t exist, but my wishing this does not make it a reality.
20. Some Christians are going crazy with the slippery slope thinking, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t on a slope or that it isn’t slippery.