Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tough Question: Are people born gay?

No adequate scientific evidence exists that suggests an individual can be "born" with a same-sex sexual orientation. Nevertheless, the testimony of those struggling with same-sex attraction reveals that the attraction and sense of sexual interest can come very early. Indeed, it can come so early that many people cannot pinpoint how early such an interest appeared.

Christians should not run from this question. Biblical theology reminds us that the consequences of the fall are so comprehensive that we should expect sin to impact everything from our self-centeredness to molecular structure. If a biological cause or genetic link explaining same-sex attraction is ever discovered, Christians should be among the least surprised. Such a finding would certainly inform our pastoral understanding and approach to persons with a same-sex orientation because we recognize that sin even affects our biology. Such a discovery would reveal what will likely be a lifelong struggle of sexual interest and personal identity, even for someone who knows Christ as Savior and seeks to live in holiness before him.

That being said, an analysis of the current data reveals no adequate scientific evidence for a "gay" gene. Furthermore, most geneticists believe that something as complicated as sexual orientation is not likely to be simply traced to a single gene. That is simply far too simplistic an understanding of human genetics.

While I believe no-one is born gay and there has been no scientific evidence to prove the claim that an individual is born gay we all have a broken sexuality. The Biblical narrative is abundantly honest about the brokenness of humaniy. The Bible is straightforward in its depiction of sexual sin-from adultery to incest and bestiality to same-sex behaviors.

Paul's classic statement in Romans 1 sets the issues squarely before us. Homosexuality is linked directly to idolatry, for it is because of their idolatry that God gave them up to their own lusts. Their hearts were committed to impurity, and they were degrading their own bodies by their illicit lusts. Their idolatry-exchanging the truth of God for a lie, and worshiping the creature rather than the Creator-led God to give them over to their degrading passions. For here, those given over to their degraded passions exchanged the natural use of sexual intercourse for what God declared unnatural. At this point, Paul was dealing explicitly with female homosexuality.

The women involved in lesbianism were not and are not alone. Men, too, had foreited natural intercourse with women and have been consumed with passion for other men. The acts they commit are without shame. As a result, they received the penalty for their idolatry within their own bodies.

The Biblical witness is clear. Homosexulaity is a sin against God and a direct rejection of God's intention and command in creation. All sin is a matter of eternal consequence. The redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ is the only hope for sinners. On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins and served as the substitute for the redeemed.

Our response to persons involved in homosexuality must be marked by genuine compassion. But a central task of genuine compassion is telling the truth, and the Bible reveals a true message we must convey. Those contorting and subverting the Bible's message are not responding to homosexuals with compassion. Lying is never compassionate-and ultimately leads to death.

In the end, the church will either declare the truth of God's Word, or it will find a way to run away from it. It ultimately comes down to trust. Do we trust the Bible to tell us truthfully what God desires and commands about our sexuality? If so, we know where we stand and we know what to say. If not, it is time to admit to the world that we do not have the slightest clue.

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