For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
— I Timothy 4:3-4
Pro-gay theology is untrue.
I remember a time, way back in the ’70s, when I had an ah-hah moment and it seemed obvious to me that the people around me — especially my fellow Christians — had somehow avoided the truth about homosexuality. Out of their in-bred squeamishness and hammered-in desire to look right and be right in the eyes of others, they were failing to see the obvious, the truth that was longingly clear to me. . . because of me. That truth? That God had made us all unique and that for me and many others, that uniqueness meant we were designed, even in His image, to be gay. In other words, if I feel this way, I am this way and if I am this way, I will be this way. It was a brief moment of unreal reality. In time, at a time that often seems too late to turn around, the ah-hah turns into oh-no, which can turn into oh-well as we sink into a realization of resignation.
In the simpler ’70s — the tell-it-like-it-is days — there was little support for a that position. Christians, coarsely and clumsily perhaps, were clear on the issue. So was God,, through His Word. The evidence was overwhelming and the acceptance of homosexuality was pretty much limited to the non-Christian crowd. Gay and affirming were two words not worthy of a hyphen. As time passed, emboldened ones learned to disguise deep deceits as simple truths.
So lets build a life on feelings. Whoa . . . whoa . . . whoa . . . feelings.
Feelings over truth.
Desires over doctrine.
Collective deceit over self-denial.
Besides, don’t you know, don’ts are so depressing. The search is on for the birds of a feather, as there’s a flock for everything these days.
Years earlier, as a little boy, I took a stroll through a Halloween carnival. I remember a booth where we had to put on blindfolds and reach into buckets and pick up objects and identify them through feeling them. In the environment of the darkening night and the musings of a searching mind, innocent everyday objects became everything from animal guts to eyeballs to elements of torture. That’s what they felt like. Guesses, right or wrong, were rewarded with candy.
A life built on feelings leads to a slow strangling, trying to swallow intangibles in efforts to convince ourselves that we are on some divine path . . . or, failing that, convince ourselves that there is no divinity. If that be the case, then indeed, why not let feelings rule? We can become rulers over our personally-designed kingdoms, dropping the drawbridge and throwing open the doors to words that match our mind’s eye on the things that matter to us . . . and bolting the doors tight to keep out thoughts and ideas — and truths — that might hurt . . . our feelings.
I wish it were that innocent: just a little pouting over petty disagreements, rather than people determinedly self-drowning themselves in deep deceit while the keepers of the life-rafts check the equipment and position themselves on the deck to be ready if needed, not aware that misled souls are dropping overboard in silence. Why do we think we need to watch people wear themselves out dashing between the dance partners of the culture and the church until finally we hear some near-death scream of desperation and have to make a decision whether to cut the rope to which they cling or haul them in?
Granted, when I was first struggling with same-sex attraction — back in the days when such a thing was referred to with slurs and obscene labels — I never said a word. I dug in and I dug deeper. I soothed my guilt by seeking some kind of justification. I covered shame by projecting purity. I stood on a tightrope doing what was right because I loved God and doing what was wrong because I loved the world too. People pretty much took me at my carefully-crafted word and I moved on, breathing silent sighs of relief, stealthily maneuvering the double life until the inevitable crash and burn. Putting it in relevance to today’s society, it now seems like such a tedious spiral, not so much necessary today since we, as Christians, have stood by and watched as pretty much all of the “stigma” of truth has been stripped of any power to persuade people to at least explore the possibility that the path on which they are tiptoeing is not God-ordained.
In the constant celebration of self that inhabits this era of enlightenment, the love of truth has been dismantled by those who have re-labeled it as hate. It’s supposed to be that not showing love is the clanging of a cymbal, but somehow that has been reversed so that when we look into the eyes of a bewildered and searching man or woman and share the truth, the pro-gay theology bunch — who have been busy spinning scriptural wishful-thinking — come pouncing forth, pronouncing disagreement as homophobia and compassion as hate and everyone goes all deaf due to the roar of confusion. It’s no wonder — though the lack of resolve is depressing — that Christians just look for other problems to solve.
Already we were woefully weak in our efforts to help the uncertain ones who were still trying to find out what the Bible really says and means. The record was dismal even before the pro-gay “theologians” realized they could usurp the position and play with the Word of God just enough to suddenly themselves look like the compassionate ones, curling their pointing finger to lure the exhausted with promises of finding out finally that they can live as they were intended and shake off all the weight of centuries of Biblical ignorance. It’s an empty promise that allows one to live as he wants, restlessly ruling over a kingdom of his own design, sitting on a throne that depends on loyalty and faithfulness to self, always searching for a way to keep himself satisfied as both subject and emperor.
They’re not told of the sorrow that eventually unfolds in the life of any Christian who puts anything above God. Yes, we all do it, but in the self-defined kingdom there is no route to repentance. Restoration only comes through the pursuit of pleasure, which, as it turns out, is an endless search to eventual emptiness. Why do we stand helplessly by while the captives we say we want to set free sit nervously around tying greater knots about themselves in a circle of others who nod approval?
I think one of the scariest things about today’s pro-gay theology is not that it has all the clarity of a Midwestern corn maze and all the promise of a Mayan temple of sacrifice, but that few people seem to even care. Embracing gay theology for personal relief requires that believing Jesus rejected the teachings of His Father. Being as they are One, we might just as well embrace theological schizophrenia. Embracing gay theology requires we believe that our personal satisfaction is more valuable than God’s truth and that what He really said is for us to do whatever makes us happy. That should put a new twist on “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Embracing gay theology would basically mean that anything Jesus is not quoted as being against, He is for. That would open all kinds of doors, including pedophilia, wife-beating, incest and bestiality. After all, He was silent on those as well, not that every word Jesus ever said was written down. Young Christian men and women are being sucked into the mass of lies like they’ve tumbled into a pit full of vipers. At the same time, most pastors and church leaders rarely move beyond the promise to pray, sitting back down behind their desks in their offices with their books and their bigger issues.
What then should a Christian who struggles with homosexual temptation do?
Open your eyes. — Examine the scriptures for yourself. Read them in context of the entire expressed Word of God. Probably more scriptural cherry-picking has taken place regarding homosexuality by both sides than anything else.
Open your mind. — Pray for wisdom and then read about homosexuality in Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. As hard as it is for those who are attracted to and even love someone of the same sex, homosexuality is mentioned only in the context of immoral behavior.
Open your heart. — God dwells in the hearts of men who give their hearts to Him. He’s listening; watching and responding. You think He can’t change you if that is the desire of your heart and if you turn your temptation over to Him each time it works to enslave you? Let 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 work in your heart.
Open your door. — Yes, it’s scary to even consider letting people in to know what is troubling you. Find someone you can trust; someone who does not struggle but truly loves both you and the Lord. Pray that God will reveal someone who can walk with you and not run from you; who can love you and not condemn you; who can forgive you if you fail.
What then should a Christian who does not struggle with homosexual temptation do?
Open your eyes. — We have become so accustomed to diverting our eyes for self-protection that we’ve not noticed that some of the people who used to walk beside us have been picked off one-by-one. By the time we wake up, they’ve embraced the empty promises of completeness presented to them as welcome answers to the questions we ignored.
Open your mind. — I don’t mean “have an open mind.” I mean learn something. Learn the scriptures. Learn how to apply them accurately. Learn how to support them. Learn how to share them. Learn how to listen to the refutations and reply with the truthful compassion of a Savior who pointed out sin and then helped the sinner stand and walk free.
Open your heart. — Is your neighbor’s son really of no value to you? Is your friend’s daughter of no consequence? Is your brother just a passing thought? Should the struggler be a distant memory? Is the sinner for whom repentance is a repeat performance someone we should just brush off? Is the gay man or woman who was once in your circle now to be conveniently redrawn outside the border?
Open your door — We know the King and we are the kingdom, but we have made it so foreboding that it has become forbidding and those who need it the most are rebuilding it elsewhere, fashioning walls without a true cornerstone. Who can blame Christian men and women, exhausted from the balancing act and the ups-and-downs of the temptations inherent in sexual brokenness for seeking a more welcoming kingdom rather than persistently throwing themselves into our moat? What if we really loved people as much as we say we do? That would be a love that could never be matched by the consumptive love of the other kingdom.
Ears are itching and hearts are twitching. Tears are falling and we’re afraid to wipe them away as if the proximity might make us unclean. Soon the crying become the smiling, finally free to be who they were born to be? And we turn away to more fish in the sea.
Pro-gay theology is the myth that keeps on growing, casting a lengthy shadow, yearning to squelch the light of truth.
If you really want to know how to move beyond your feelings and share the truth, let me know.
(Want to know more? Order Thom’s book: Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do at Amazon.com.)