An Open Letter to the LGBTQ+ Community

It's time for plain talk about homosexuality and the church.

By John Burton Published on February 19, 2020

I don’t pretend to speak on behalf of all Christians, but I do believe it’s important to do my best to bring clarity to the matter, at least from my perspective. I find myself deeply grieved by how the issue of homosexuality is, and is not, addressed in the church. It seems rare to find loving, bold and decisive communication that makes sense to all involved, even if disagreements remain. This open letter is my attempt to address the muddy, fractured portrayal of the church’s stance on homosexuality.

A church in Texas made the decision in recent weeks to become fully affirming as many others have. I believe this reaction by the church is tragically wrong.

Other churches refuse to even address the issue out of fear of offending people. That decision is wrong as well.

And, of course, there are churches and Christians that are mean-spirited and elitist when it comes to homosexuality. Ridiculously wrong. Those churches should be shut down and those Christians should shut up.

We need churches, and yes, there are many, that are honest about this cultural reality, churches that both stand firmly on the truth of Scripture while also excitedly interceding for those in the LGBTQ+ community with a heart of love.

Hell

I decided to lead with the issue that is most tormenting to me and the very reason why I am so passionate about introducing people to the dramatic, supernatural, fearful and wonderful life that exists when they legitimately meet Jesus.

I am keenly aware of the often debilitating strength of sin and the extreme power and deceptive nature of a very real devil. I and most other Christians believe that being duped by Satan into embracing a life of disobedience to Jesus is a sure fire way (pun intended) to plummet into unimaginable, never-ending, maddening torment the moment our extremely short life on Earth is over.

Please understand, I have no desire to control you, to force you to adhere to my set of standards or to live according to a paradigm that makes me feel more comfortable. That is not my motivation. What rips at my heart is the deeply held belief that if you embrace that which God forbids, including homosexuality, and if you reject Jesus as the supreme leader of your life, you are in terrible danger. That’s it. I’m broken over the fact that, according to classic Christian belief that’s based on the Bible (a book that I and most other Christians believe to be God’s very words), you will go to Hell. I can’t stand that. It’s a reality that, without exaggeration, terrorizes me. To every homosexual out there, I love you and I’m doing what I can to go to battle for your soul.

I had an encounter with the forces of Hell many years ago. Suffice it to say, I would not wish even three seconds of the torment of Hell for the vilest person on Earth. I intercede in prayer for all to know Jesus and to fall deeply in love with him. I want those in the LGBTQ+ community to honestly discern my heart. It’s pounding with love and my motives are driven with eternity in mind.

Sin

Sin kills. It’s common to believe that Christians are simply perturbed at homosexuals for living what they believe to be immoral lives, yet my heart’s response to this cultural situation is much different. As I shared above, I believe sin kills eternally and I believe love demands we sound the alarm and do our best to rescue the perishing, even if they don’t see it the same way we do.

In fact, most of my preaching is directed at the church, not those who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. I am forever calling them to wake up, to repent, to surrender all and to eliminate every stench and type of sin from their lives — casual immoral choices that they have deemed benign. I believe Christians should be trembling in the fear of the Lord as they repent for the despicable and absolutely putrid sins that so many of them enjoy. Many of these supposed Christians are living in compromise while pointing the finger at others. They wear the label of hypocrite very well.

As Christians we aren’t even allowed the slightest measure of sexual lust in our lives. The Bible teaches that lusting after another person is the same as committing adultery. This is very serious, yet so many Christians not only lust, but according to statistics, the high majority of them are involved in pornography. In fact, a significant percentage of pastors regularly struggle with pornography. They can’t presume to be saved, much less a legislator of morality.

The point? No matter who the audience is, the truth remains that a life not submitted to the amazing leadership of Jesus is a life that is given over to natural desires. Christians should not have any sense of safety if they are living in sin, whether it’s sexual sin, greed, hatred, pride or anything else. Just because we as believers in Jesus identify with him it doesn’t mean we are exempt from living righteous lives, and it doesn’t mean Hell isn’t a possibility. Sin is deadly to all, and to those who are advancing the homosexual agenda, my heart is troubled as I authentically believe it’s sentencing all who subscribe to that way of life to eternal death. My job as a Christian is to live a holy life while alerting those who have rejected Christ to this very sobering reality.

Born This Way

Many homosexuals argue that they have been gay for as long as they can remember. They are convinced that they were born that way. They may be right.

The truth is that every one of us was born into sin. What feels natural, however, very well may be contrary to what God knows is best. Most men and many women, for example, can’t imagine a life without sexual lust, as I revealed above. This doesn’t mean sexual lust is appropriate or affirmed by God. It is not. Others have had life-long inclinations to murder or rape. Others are drawn to narcotics. Many are greedy. Lying comes very naturally to most.

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This is why Jesus died a horrific death. The blood that he shed on the cross made it possible for the power of sin to be broken off of all who trust in him! This is absolutely glorious, phenomenal news! It’s so incredibly supernatural that it’s hard to put into words what happens when a life is radically transformed by the Holy Spirit. Impure desires begin to dissipate as people are overwhelmed by the power, presence, purity and love of Jesus!

So, yes, you may have been born that way, but the good news is that you don’t have to stay that way. You can truly be born again.

Homophobia

To be honest, I don’t believe it’s fair, nor is it reasonable to accuse Christians of being homophobic simply because they have adopted what the Bible teaches. Because of God’s Word, we don’t affirm homosexuality just as we don’t affirm foul language, idolatry, adultery or revenge. As I’ve already shared, I believe sin kills, and, in my opinion that’s based on the Bible, this includes homosexuality. My burning desire is that nobody goes to Hell. Heaven wouldn’t be the same without them!

So, no, I’m not afraid of homosexuals, but I am deeply concerned with the normalization of homosexuality because of the eternal implications. Just as I don’t want many things normalized, such as prostitution, drug use, murder, hatred, theft, arrogance, drunkenness or other vices, I don’t want to see homosexuality embraced as okay. Again, the reason is because of my belief that it, along with every other sin known to man, is poisonous.

Love

God is love, and love must be defined by God. Today it has become normal to lead with the argument that if it feels loving, then it must be sanctioned. The problem? Love isn’t a feeling. Yes, it’s possible to feel attraction, desire, appreciation, temptation and yearning for human connection and affirmation, but it’s how we handle those feelings that matters.

We must go to the source, the Word of God, to understand how to act on feelings. If a married person “falls in love” with someone else, it’s not true, godly love they are experiencing. Their human feelings would demand they follow through on their impure desires while God would see it quite opposite. Love demands we surrender to God and honor the marriage.

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I see homosexuality in the same light. While there may be an extremely strong desire to be with someone, love demands that we say no as we trust that God’s wisdom is much higher than ours.

This is one reason why homosexuals may see Christians as unloving. We don’t define love the same way those who don’t know Jesus do. It really is as simple as that. To affirm a lifestyle that, according to what we have read in the Bible, would result in them going to Hell, we have to agree that would actually be a deeply disturbing and unloving act.

Surrender

To discover the power over sin that Jesus provides, it requires a full-blown surrender of our dreams, our desires, our passions, our ideals, our philosophies, our identities and our very lives.

Attempting to follow Jesus at any level less than that will result in failure, weakness, frustration and powerlessness over sin. It really is all or nothing.

This is why I believe simple prayers for God to intervene often go unanswered. If we truly repent, and fully determine to renounce what the Bible renounces, and if we make the bold, unapologetic decision to follow Jesus on his terms and not ours, the power to overcome sinful desires comes. If we are simply curious about God or only test the waters, the freedom we so long for will most probably elude us.

It’s Worth It

Leaving the old life behind to follow Jesus is a bold, radical move that will absolutely set you free! Yes, it’s worth it! Oh man! The joy, peace, love and abundant life that will come are indescribable. The supernatural impact that God will have on you is incredible.

I must also return to where I started in this article. People are flooding into Hell nonstop. Multiplied thousands die every day and, according to Scripture, most end up in Hell by their own choice. It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to go there. Jesus was brutally tortured, mutilated and ripped to pieces as he died a gruesome death — for you. He wasn’t seeking to have his identity affirmed, but rather surrendered and died for those who despised him. That’s what it took just to even begin the conversation about your salvation. I’d say yes to Jesus and watch your old life fade away as the new unfolds!

 

John is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. He has planted two churches and has initiated two city prayer movements and a school of ministry.

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