I recently got into a discussion with someone on Twitter over a comment he made. He stated: “Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a gay Christian.” This was part of a series of tweets expressing views designed to be provocative.
I wanted to respond to this one because I have heard this statement before. Can someone be a gay Christian?
I suppose a good place to start is to define “gay.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one’s same sex.” This suggests that being gay, is about having same-sex attraction, usually in reference to men.
While there are certain very conservative Christians who would disagree, most even within evangelicalism agree that experiencing same-sex attraction is not a sin.
We do not know why some people are attracted to the same gender. It does not seem to be a personal choice and therefore not something they can be condemned for.
One might then counter and say, even if being gay is not a sin, one still should not use it as an identifier. Perhaps. There are those who believed that no adjective should be added to a Christian identification. That is a discussion for another time.
There are those who identify as gay, and who may choose to live a celibate life, but who still see their experience of same-sex attraction to be a significant part of their identity. Therefore, they will self-describe as a “gay Christian” since they are both gay and a Christian.
You can have the personal conviction that they should not do so, but that does not change the reality that there are gay Christians.
But what about those who are Christian and who do not see same-sex relationships as sinful? There is a significant group of people who identify #faithfullylgbt.
In order to prove to me that one could not be a gay Christian, the person who did the original tweet quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men…
I am not going to go into what the Greek word that Paul uses here means and how that fits with modern same-sex relationships. For our purposes, let’s assume that the NIV translates it correctly here.
What the person who quoted this neglected to do was to finish Paul’s quotation into the next verse.
…nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:10)
Those who believe it is a clear cut case that gay people cannot be Christians would never deny that greedy people are bound for hell. In fact, evangelicalism as wedded itself so closely to capitalism that greed is really seen as more of a virtue than a vice. Be as greedy as you want as long as you don’t break laws and you tithe on your riches.
And don’t get me started on slander. There is a very vocal “Christian” presence on social media (especially Twitter) that loves to slander fellow believers that they disagree with. These slanderers are often praised for being effective culture warriors.
Can one be a gay Christian? Ultimately it comes down to what we mean by a Christian. The Bible indicates that a Christian is a follower of Jesus, one who trusts in Christ’s sacrifice and who seeks to follow him. If a person is a Jesus follower, then they are a Christian.
You may disagree with this. If so, I would suggest that go carefully through the various sin lists found in the New Testament. You might find that part of who you are is found in there as well. You can start your search here.