On August 24, students and friends of Dr. Michael Brown‘s ministry school conducted a survey at the Charlotte, North Carolina gay pride event. The results of the survey reveal the incongruent and emotionally-driven thoughts behind the respondents’ opinions about same-sex marriage and related topics.
But what is most jaw-dropping about the report is Dr. Brown’s conculsion, which highlights a dialogue with “two young ladies who identified as straight churchgoing Christians.” The following is my analysis of this exchange.
Dr. Brown reports,
Responding to the question, “Is it bigoted to believe that homosexual practice is sin?” they both said no, with one of them explaining, “Being gay is a lifestyle. Having gay sex is a sin.” (This, of course, begs the question: How many people live a “gay lifestyle” without having sex?)
When asked why they were at the gay pride event, the young women stated with enthusiasm that they were there to support people they love. (To watch the entire, extraordinary video interaction, click here.)
The same girl reiterated that gay sex was sinful but that supporting the gay pride event didn’t mean she agreed with it since, again, being gay was a “lifestyle.”
When asked once more if she believed gay sex was sin, she replied, “It’s a sin, but I’m not against it. I think you’re forgiven no matter what.”
She was then asked, “If you’re a Christian, you’re forgiven of the sin?” She replied, “Yeah, absolutely. You’re forgiven of everything except not believing.”
When asked, “So, you support people having gay sex?” she answered, “Yeah, I think that you can’t help your heart sometimes.”
And that about says it all. Biblical morality can’t trump the desires of your heart, right?
So, in this brief dialogue, at least three unscriptural concepts are asserted as true.
1) There is a difference between a homosexual lifestyle and having homosexual sex; that is, one is sinful, the other is not. Aside from Dr. Brown’s observation that this concept begs the question of who lives a homosexual lifestyle, yet does not participate in homosexual sex, the Scriptures make no such distinction between “lifestyle” and behavior. Indeed, there is no Scriptural concept of “lifestyle.” (In the video, the respondent seems to state that homosexual sex is a sin only because it cannot lead to procreation, not because Scripture says it’s wrong.)
2) Christians do not have to be against sin, because we are forgiven, no matter what. This, of course, directly contradicts Scripture, which repeatedly teaches us that forgiveness is not given “no matter what,” but requires repentance (see Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:38). Indeed, the Master Himself teaches us in Luke 17:3, “If your brother sins, rebuke him.” The Good News is that one who sins may be endlessly forgiven through repentence, that is, turning his back on his sin and being sorry for having done it. (We just need to be mindful of Paul’s warning in Romans 6:1-2, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
3) Christians can support homosexual sex because “you can’t help your heart sometimes.” And this is where the permissiveness of many Christians’ attitudes are revealed: the heart has greater authority in our lives than the Word of God; or, as Dr. Brown puts it, “Biblical morality can’t trump the desires of your heart, right?”
In his closing, rhetorical question, Dr. Brown astutely calls out what is identified in my book, Bearing the Standard, as the hostile influence of expediency. As I say, beginning on page 73,
[T]he consuming desire for emotional, mental and physical intimacy can mislead us into justifying all kinds of behavior that we know are contrary to the Word of God…. Taking that first step from the path, we are hesitant and unsure of venturing too far. But soon, the urge to justify our deviation fades, and we are overcome by a flood of sensual and emotional affirmation. The heavenly experience… assures us it is all “good”… welcome to expediency!
And of course, in keeping with the excuse that “you can’t help your heart sometimes” are Paul’s words beginning in Romans 1:24:
Therefore God also gave them up, in the desires of their hearts, to uncleanness, to degrade their bodies among themselves: [those] who changed the truth of God into a falsehood, and honored and served the created-thing rather than the Creator…. Because of this, God gave them up to degrading affections, for even their females changed the natural use into that [which is] against nature; and likewise the males also (having left the natural use of the female) burned in the longing toward one another—males with males working shame[less acts]—and in themselves receiving the reward of their error that was fit [for their perversion]. And, as they did not approve of having God in [their] knowledge, God gave them up to a failed mind, to do what ought not to be done….
The rationalizations these young ladies make ought not to be flippantly attributed to Biblical illiteracy; nor may we judge the confession of their mouth that they follow Messiah. Countless numbers of Christians are making their decisions about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and a whole host of controversial subjects based not on the Word of God, but on their own thoughts and emotions. Think about it: haven’t you ever allowed your feelings or aspirations to affect the way you understand and act upon God’s Word? Haven’t you ever tried to justify taking a short-cut past Scripture because of the “good” ends that your actions achieve? It is to these forces that these young ladies have been shown to be susceptible, exposing how truly untethered they are from the truth of God’s Word.
Do the desires of the heart trump Biblical morality? Absolutely—when confessing Christians fail to bear the standard of Scripture.