Must a gay man go straight?
Under another post, a longtime reader named Jay asks a question that seems worth answering on the main page.
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Answering a question like this by writing rather than in person is very difficult, pastorally. How can I show you I love you and am very concerned that you know the mercy of God for your particular set of temptations, especially in a time and place when any condemnation of sodomy is seen as at least shrill, and likely smug, insensitive, and grounded in self-righteousness, to boot?
Still, I will work to answer you because you say others are unwilling to do so, and because you are a precious soul belonging to the Lord of us all Who bought us each with His Own Blood and has called us to be holy as He is holy. If you want, I can put you in touch with those struggling with your particular set of temptations who are a part of our church here in Bloomington and you may ask them if what I write here is from love or censoriousness? You may ask whether you’d find our church to be loving of all regardless of their particular besetting sin, or loving only of those with more acceptable besetting sins?
So on to the difficult work others have avoided.
You wrote, “I would not consider myself heterosexual at all. Is being straight a requirement?”
Let’s clarify the question. The opposite of straight is gay, so another way of asking the question would be, “My psychological and emotional identity and inclinations are completely homosexual, so can I be give in to them as long as I don’t go all the way?” Or another way of saying it would be, “May I give myself to gayness rather than straightness in everything but physical intercourse, and will this please God?”
The answer is...
You have already confessed it is sin to give yourself to gayness in physical intimacy and you have said you flee from that sin. May God bless you in this hard work of sanctification.
Now it is your next step of obedience to learn to confess the sin of giving yourself to gayness in your relationships and dress and talk and thoughts and affect and psychological and emotional life, also, and may God bless you in this work of sanctification. too.
Sexual identity is of God—not man. Like all of His good gifts to us, it is our joyful obedience to embrace them. So whether man or woman, the only godly response to God’s gift to each of us of manhood or womanhood is to live out His gift by living in a manly or feminine way—which is to live, as you put it, “straight.” By living straight we celebrate and embrace and love and live out loud the manhood or womanhood God decreed and gave to us.
As obedience and fruitfulness are submission to the physical marking God gave us in our Baptism into the Mother of us all, the Church, so obedience and fruitfulness are submission to the physical marking God gave us in our sexuality at the moment of our conception in our biological mother. For those whose desires have been perverted by Satan through the molestation they suffered at the hands of their parents and pastors who refused to teach and discipline their sexual identity, or at the hands of child-destroyers who twisted their sexual identity by sexual attacks, living in such a way as to maximize one’s sexual identity will be very, very difficult. It will require many tears and desperate prayers and all the love of fellow Christians standing with us as we resist our temptations and begin to live as the man or woman God made us. Yet we give ourselves to this discipleship with great joy knowing it is the first step of Christian faith and fruitfulness for every man or woman born again by the Spirit of God.
For this reason, it’s impossible to even begin to fulfill the Great Commission without preaching and teaching Biblical sexuality—Biblical manhood and womanhood. And thus, almost no church or pastor in the Western world, and precious few anywhere, are fulfilling the Great Commission. The Apostles fulfilled it—read the New Testament! The Early Church fulfilled it—read the Early Church fathers. The Reformers fulfilled it—read our Reformed fathers. But although we blather on and on about being evangelistic and missional, we refuse to take the most basic steps toward making disciples of all women and men.
From the Garden of Eden, sexuality has been foundational to personhood, and therefore the first and most basic step of faith and obedience is to jump into the crystal-clear waters of who God made us, doing so with joyful and faithful abandon. God told Adam not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but Adam instead listened to the voice of his wife, Eve. And right there at the Beginning, Adam wasn’t an unfaithful person. He was an unfaithful husband. He was an unfaithful man. Thus God dealt with him and his wife sending the curses, not to two human beings as persons, but to one man and one woman. Thus too, it was through the man—not the woman—that the corruption of Original Sin flowed to all mankind.
You see, from the Beginning God never dealt with us simply as persons, but as man and woman. And still today, living out our sexual marking is the foundational step of each individual’s confession of his Christian faith. When God says “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,” He isn’t denying that each of us have been placed in certain stations of life that we are to embrace. There are still races and nationalities that we embrace as Christians, and it’s not sin. All of us are either servants or masters, employees or owners, workers or bosses, enlisted men or officers, slaves or freemen, and it’s right for us to give ourselves to these stations, too, as an act of Christian faith. In the same way, we are made male or female, and it is our privilege to learn these callings too, and to embrace them.
But don’t despair as if God has asked something impossible of you. Our desires are formed by single acts of faithful obedience and God is pleased to strengthen the weak and encourage the sad and love those who despair and lift up the humble. It is sinners for whom Christ died—not those who naturally find themselves heterosexual and believe this makes them clean. No man or woman is ever clean, sexually, and your dirtiness is only one more form of the dirtiness every last one of us is led into, sexually. Thing is, though, none of us is clean when he simply looks and doesn’t touch. The godly heterosexual man will discipline himself not to look. He won’t lie to himself telling himself that to look is to be man, and that he finds in himself no principle or desire of non-looking. He will see the calling of God to continually extend his obedience ever further in the direction of Christ’s absolute fidelity to His Bride, the Church, and he will turn against touching, then looking, then thinking; and then he will turn himself toward loving his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for Her.
Sadly, Christians today don’t think of their sexuality as a gift to be embraced. Instead, we think proper to squelch and repress this foundational identity given us by God. We bind our daughters’ breasts and geld our sons. We congratulate ourselves on giving dolls to our sons to play with and preparing our daughters for graduate degrees and professions that will keep them from motherhood and being devoted to helping their husbands, being keepers at home, and raising a godly seed to their Heavenly Father. We change our language and speak of “gender,” relegating every man’s sexuality to being subordinate to his perverse and sinful heart which may or may not like the sex God gave him. This is wrong. Sex is not gender and it’s no choice or social role. Other than election to redemption in Jesus Christ, sex is the most basic decree God has made about each of us from the very beginning of our lives, and for us to refuse to work towards joy in that decree is sin.
It is simple faith to look at our genitals and say “I’m a man” or “I’m a woman,” and then to live man or woman as God made us, turning away from man/man/woman or woman/woman/man or man/woman or woman/man or man/woman/man or dyke or fairy or queen or transsexual living in the body of a dyke/queen/man and so on. It is simple Christian faith to have joy in whom God made us—our sexual station in life—and to maximize that diversity.
Yes, our sinful nature will seek to defy God. We will try to tell ourselves and others that God didn’t get his story straight—that He made us a man biologically and a woman psychologically. But no, it cannot be. Who we are in our bodies is who God made us. It is our station in life and we obey Him by giving ourselves to that station joyfully, seeking to embrace it and celebrate it and live it out loud because doing so is to be obedient to God.
There is much, much more to be said on this subject, but the sum of it is this: every man is born with a sexual identity that is God’s decree and is to be loved and lived out loud to His glory. For a man with male genitals to live queer or like Little Lord Fauntleroy is to rebel against his station and to seek to eviscerate God’s gift. So all those who say that being gay is fine as long as a man doesn’t copulate with another man are conniving at sexual rebellion. Being gay is not fine. Man and woman are to live straight down the line God placed them on, disciplining their rebellious inclinations whether those inclinations are towards the sexual perversions of adultery, pederasty, fornication, bestiality, feminism, or sodomy.
God is not a god of confusion, but order.
One final note: some people will immediately give at shout-out to hermaphrodites, pointing out that God makes them so, and thus their confused physiology is normative for every man’s sexual identity. Since God makes some abnormal, abnormality is the new normal and to be embraced. The reasoning could go like this.
”Look, God made her part woman and part man, physiologically, and me part man and part woman, psychologically. She can’t change what God did to her physically so why should I change what God did to me, psychologically? Bifurcation is simplistic, sexually. Most people are a combination of man and woman, psychologically, and this is good. God made us this way and we should embrace all aspects of our identity—not simply our physical or genital station in life.”
The problem with this is that God our Creator made Adam and Eve, and thus decreed for all history that there are only two sexes—not three or four or a thousand. Furthermore, He told us that those who seek to defy the station in life they have been given by lying with their own sex are committing an abomination in His sight. And as copulation with a member of one’s own sex is an abomination, so is spiritual and psychological and personal rebellion against one’s own sex. Scripture’s commands are synecdoches, which is to say we are to obey the spirit of the law, and not simply the letter. God’s Word says it’s to defy God for a woman to wear a man’s clothing; for woman to teach or exercise authority over man; for man that it’s shameful for man to be a womanly warrior; for man to refuse to provide for his family; that it’s right for man to be manly in his understanding of God’s truth; and so on. In other words, for man to embrace manliness is simple obedience of God’s decree, and similarly with woman.
Thus, if a young boy has a perverse heart that is inclined to desire his dog, sexually, he is to be disciplined towards wanting sexual intimacy with woman, instead. If a young girl is inclined to desire to play the man, sexually, she is to be disciplined towards playing the woman, instead. Fathers and mothers, both in the home and church, are to be vigilant to discipline the sexual desires and identities of those children under their care. And if a man has grown to college age without anyone loving him enough to discipline him towards his proper male sexual identity, it’s never too late for the church fathers to step in where others have failed (which is what we do here at ClearNote Church in Bloomington next to a large public research university with a tone of young students, undergrad and grad, among us).
It’s the modern morbid habit to sacrifice the normal on the altar of the abnormal, and hermaphrodites and the push toward androgyny and sodomite marriage must be viewed in that context. Normal is Adam and Eve. Hermaphrodites are abnormal and are to be no standard for anyone. It would be extremely perverse if the fact of God making some men blind were to be used to justify a psychological perversion that caused some men to desire to live blind despite having eyes that see, wouldn’t it?
It’s the same with sex. We are to be compassionate and gracious by covering the defect of hermaphroditism with love. We are not to use this defect as justification for defying God’s decree of sexual identity, lifting up psychological hermaphroditism as the new norm. Get it?
While recognizing the existence of those who are defective, God made us Adam or Eve and we are joyfully to bring out hearts, minds, and souls into the station in life God gave us. This is godliness.
What’s wrong with Evangelicalism?
We’ve created, lifted up, and worship an idol utterly devoid of manhood we call “Jesus.” He’s got long womanly hair, a pretty face, smiling and gentle eyes, only caressing touches, only happy nostrums. He has no muscles, no anger, nor aggression, no wrath, no zeal for justice or the honor of His Father, and absolutely no authority. The Church doesn't submit to Him--He submits to the Church.
It’s my conviction that if we ever expel the Jesus-idol from our churches, returning the Son of God Who goes forth to war to His rightful place in our adoration and worship, the glut of men/women and women/men filling our churches and homes will cease. And God be praised when it happens!
One final thing: why would others have avoided answering this question? Any mature Christian should know and be able to answer a struggling sinner that it is as wrong to be gay in identity as it is wrong to be gay in physical intimacy. This is not rocket science. So again, why have others avoided giving you a straight answer to this question?
There are several reasons that combine to be more than the sum of the parts.
Sodomites have made it a point of strategy to browbeat everyone into affirming that psychological and emotional sexual identity is incapable of change. So calling someone to be straight, emotionally and psychologically, is almost universally seen as a hate crime of uncharitable intolerance that is responsible for AIDS deaths and teen suicides. Rob a man of his sexual identity and that’s tantamount to telling him to kill himself. His sexual identity is the very heart of who he is, much as the Jew’s Jewishness is the very heart of who he is. So it’s a crime to call a womanly man to be manly just as it’s a crime to call a Jew to Christ. One is gendercide and the other genocide.
Most Christians don’t want to get dirty helping sinners with besetting sins, whether those sins are the love of pornography, bondage to our belly, the love of wine, or the temptation to same-sex intimacy. Francis Schaeffer pointed out that the beginning of true Christian love is opening our homes to a drunk puking his guts out on the carpet of our guest bedroom. (He was speaking to Presbyterian Christians who usually can afford guest bedrooms.) Christians don’t want to get dirty, and sinners are dirty. So when we get down in the trenches to help them, we get dirty, too. We get their dirt on us. We begin to smell and stink and have bad dreams and temptations we never knew before. Standing against sin with brothers and sisters in Christ, we ourselves are tempted and fall. So we avoid any sin we can possibly avoid. We act as if we’re clueless to any struggle of any brother and sister in Christ we can possibly manufacture plausible deniability concerning. We are monkey see no evil, hear no evil, do no good. We give ourselves to having nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness while refusing to have anything at all to do with exposing them (Ephesians 5:11).
Add finally, this:
We work on extending that plausible deniability to other places. We start with Augustine’s loving the sinner but hating the sin and slide over to loving the homosexual but hating homosexual copulation; then finally, we embrace homosexual orientation while trying to keep the condemnation of homosexual intimacy from slipping out of our graps. You see, the sinner is homosexual; his personhood cannot be seperated from his gayness; and yet we know that God has condemned homosexual practice of some sort. So we must condemn what He condemns—you really can’t claim to honor God’s Word if you don’t condemn something that homosexuals do, can you? But we must love the sinner, you see, and this sinner can be loved in his gayness as long as he doesn’t give in to that gayness in bed. He can wear it in the living room and at the restaurant and at work and when taking walks on the park and on internet forums as long as he doesn’t wear it in bed. There his body parts must fit together or God will be angry.
Combine those three reasons—that the gender identity of the gay man or woman is fixed for life and cannot change, and that those calling the gay man or woman to change are arrogant, self-righteous murderers; that we want to avoid the yuck factor of twisted lives; and that we think hating the sin but loving the sinner is the same as hating gay sex while affirming gay orientation and desire—and it’s clear why no one wants to answer this question.
But if God is the Father from Whom all fatherhood gets its name; and if it was His love that sent His Only Begotten Son to pour out His life as a sin-offering for sinful man; and if His Son calls to us all, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls;” and if we have faith that the blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, cleanses us from all sin; surely that includes the most entrenched and perverse sins such as gossip and sodomy and greed and adultery.
We must not sell the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ short. It is more than powerful enough to save the most wicked to the uttermost, and it is the work of God we were made for to call the gossip and sodomite and greedy to take up their crosses next to us, and follow Him.
With love in Christ,