Recently, Charisma magazine published an article by J. Lee Grady asking, Is It Ok to be Gay and Christian? You can read the article here. A friend of mine sent me the link and I have a response that I initially shared via email with the 2 or 3 of us to whom he’d sent the link.
To be sure, it was an interesting article. I thought his fourth and final point is, in its last two paragraphs, well stated. But there are a few problems.
- “Just because you are born with an inclination toward adultery…doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.” He’s mixing categories. What does “stay that way” mean? Continue to have temptation? Continue to act on the temptation? He never does say…and context doesn’t tell us.
- “The most strident voices…insist that if you are gay you must stay that way.” Really? Who says this? The lunatic fringe? Sounds like he’s beating a straw man to me. Most would say “if you are gay, you will most likely stay that way,” not that you MUST stay that way. Terrible rhetoric here.
- When he references 1 Cor. 6:9-11, he talks about our having been sanctified, but is making the common charismatic/Pentecostal error of putting into the text some degree of entire sanctification. He reinforces this in a veiled way with his scare-quotes around “strugglers” in the following paragraph.
- At that point, he makes a second error by dealing with homosexuality as a primarily emotional problem rather than a sanctification problem (using a biblical view of sanctification as something the Spirit does in us, first and foremost, not something we initiate).
- He deals with people involved in homosexuality who “get involved in gay relationships.” But what of those of us who try to live chaste lives? Nothing he says in the whole article applies to *me*.
- The essence of the Christian walk is NOT, in fact, denial. It is the Gospel. You guys have heard me rant about that enough, but if anyone wants to hear it again, I’ll publish as separate post about that. 🙂
- I’m not sure I’ve ever met even one gay Christian that advocates going out and having “all the sex you want.” I want a name. Any name will do. I think one of the LOUDEST names currently is becoming Wesley Hill…and he’d NEVER say that in a million years.
Mr. Grady, well-meaning as he may be, simply doesn’t have theology for people who are not sleeping around and yet find themselves attracted to members of the same gender. This theology is one reason why Swilley felt like he had no choice but to “come out.”
The bottom line is that what Mr. Grady here says about speaking the truth in love to homosexuals is true…but what he thinks the truth is would seem to be way off base and devoid of the Gospel. God DOES have the final say in the matter. He says, “You’ve sinned…and my Son has died for sinners.” Where was THAT message?
Christians, if we’re not going to give people the truth of the Gospel, we need to sit down and shut up. We’re coming off like jerks because we’ve opted to hold up God’s Law completely divorced from any proclamation of His Gospel. If the broader culture will malign us, let’s have them do it not because we refused to do things the way Jesus mandated, but because they hate the Gospel. Let us be, as Paul said, the aroma of death to those who are perishing, but the aroma of life to those who are being saved.
What does that look like for us in regards to Jim Swilley (or even Mr. Grady)? It very well may look like us praying that God would grant him repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, not because we have sin all figured out in our lives, but because we (hopefully) love these men who does not seem to know the biblical gospel.