The Issue is How God Feels, Not How We Feel
I have often said the contrast between the contemporary American gospel and the biblical gospel is this: The contemporary American version says, “This is who I am. This is how I feel. And God is here to please me.” The biblical version says, “This is who God is. This is how He feels. And I am here to please God.”
Consequently, in our modern version of the gospel, “sin” is defined as anything that hurts me or makes me uncomfortable. In the biblical version, “sin” is defined as anything that grieves the Lord or is contrary to His nature.
The difference between the two concepts is vast. Without exaggeration, it is the difference between life and death.
It is true, of course, that sin hurts us as well, since, in the end, sin is never worth it. But something is not sinful simply because it harms us. Instead, it is sinful because God says it is, whatever His reason might be.
That means it doesn’t matter if, for a season, we enjoy our sin or if, for the moment, our sin is profitable or pleasurable. What matters is that God says it is sin. End of subject.
A Confusing Statement
This ministry, which promotes the possibility of change through the gospel, explained that, “God loves all people, LGBTQ+ and straight. The message of CHANGED has never been ‘All Must Change.’ We share these stories specifically for Christians who are unfulfilled in identifying as LGBTQ+. For those of you who feel fulfilled and happy as you are, we love you!”
The statement continued, “God doesn’t force people to change, and people — including Christians — shouldn’t force others to change, either. We stand against any and all forms of shame, manipulation, force, humiliation, or physical harm in so-called ‘ministry’ or therapy.”
I understand, of course, that this statement is responding to controversy about so-called “conversion therapy” and the notion that Christians are trying to force gays to change. In that context, some of this statement makes sense.
And I stand with these precious men and women who have found new life in Jesus, even while being scorned and mocked by the larger LGBT community.
I also agree that God loves all people, regardless of how they live or identify.
Scripture is Clear: Be Holy
But it is imperative we also explain that:
1) God is not pleased with all lifestyles and behaviors and identities.
2) We will all give account to Him one day.
3) Jesus died to forgive us all our sins and to grant us transformation and new life.
4) While God does not simply call us to change — whoever we are and however we live — He does call us to repent. And you can be assured that repentance means a changed life.
That’s why these sentences are both dangerous and misleading: “We share these stories specifically for Christians who are unfulfilled in identifying as LGBTQ+. For those of you who feel fulfilled and happy as you are, we love you!”
Does this mean that if you’re happy being a “gay Christian” God is happy with that? If you’re “fulfilled” in your same-sex relationship, the Lord is OK with it? That you can be active “LGBTQ+ Christian”? Absolutely, categorically not.
Jesus calls us to holiness, not fulfillment, to obedience, not happiness. He calls us to deny ourselves, not indulge ourselves. And that means taking up our cross. Daily. (See Luke 9:23.)
That doesn’t mean we tell a gay person, “You must become straight!” Rather, we tell them, “You must be holy, by the grace and power of God!”
It’s the same message for everyone. Gay. Straight. Promiscuous. Celibate. Single. Married. “Be holy, because your God is holy!”
Sin is Sin. Period.
As expressed by Peter, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” (1 Peter 1:13–17, NIV)
This is not coercion. This is not manipulation. This is not peer pressure or shaming. God forbid.
In that regard, I affirm what the statement was trying to say. I too “stand against any and all forms of shame, manipulation, force, humiliation, or physical harm in so-called ‘ministry’ or therapy.” So does every Christian therapist and counselor and psychologist I know. Absolutely.
And I certainly believe that God’s ways are ways of life. That following Him brings ultimate fulfillment. That walking with Jesus brings perfect peace and inexpressible, glorious joy.
But let’s be perfectly clear. Sin is sin regardless of how we feel about it. Sin is sin regardless of whether it brings us temporary happiness or fulfillment. And all same-sex relationships — by which I mean sexual and/or romantic — are always sinful in God’s sight.
In solidarity with Him, then, we offer everyone forgiveness of sins, acceptance in the Father’s family, eternal life, and a radically transformed life.
That is the power of the gospel. Let us proclaim it without fear, apology, or shame.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Jezebel’s War With America: The Plot to Destroy Our Country and What We Can Do to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.