For Christians, there is perhaps no topic more divisive than homosexuality. Recent years have seen a large shift in how society views same-sex relationships, and the Church has been no exception. Some, like Matthew Vines, have argued that Christians are misinterpreting Biblical commands about homosexuality that were designed for a certain time. Others, such as Al Mohler and Crosswalk’s own Alex Crain, state that scriptural integrity must be upheld at all costs, regardless of personal feelings. Inevitably, all of these arguments find themselves at Leviticus 18:22,
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination”
Alex Kocman of CharismaNews likes to call this “The Leviticus Game”. The idea, he writes, is to wait as proponents of homosexuality find as many crazy-sounding laws in the book of Leviticus as they can.
“The Leviticus game may be easy and fun, but it has problems. It doesn't treat Leviticus like a real book of law—meant to be read in-context, interpreted in light of the rest of the Bible—containing a variety of commandments, some meant for Israel's Levitical priesthood only, others not.”
Kocman insists that if Christians are forced to affirm homosexuality, they must also allow incest (Leviticus 18:6), adultery (Leviticus 18:20), child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21), and bestiality (Leviticus 18:23). The Law, he concludes, was meant to free humanity, not constrain it.
“There is a law of liberty, where we are freed from fearful rule-following and liberated to love and please a holy God. But we don't get to live that way by editing God's standards; we get that way by repenting of our sins and letting God empower us to live for Him. True freedom—obeying God's laws willfully instead of spitefully—only come once we've changed our minds about our sin and trusted Christ's sacrifice to pay our punishment.”
Kocman’s article makes some compelling points, but many questions still remain. Ironically, the most common problem Christians have with homosexuality is how to approach those who are, in fact, gay or lesbian. Typically, Christians are told to “speak the truth with love”, but this approach usually ends in the Leviticus Game. So, how do we effectivity share Christ’s love with LGBT people? Christian blogger Justin Lee, who himself identifies as gay, believes that the key is for Christians to stop speaking and start acting.
“So if you’re really serious when you say you love me, you’re going to have to prove it. Show me.” He writes in a recent post, “Not sure how? Here are some ideas.”
- Support my rights. Okay, maybe we don’t agree on the definition of marriage, but can we at least agree that people shouldn’t be able to fire me or kick me out of my home just because they found out I’m gay? If you agree, help me make those legal protections a reality. If you don’t agree, it’s hard to believe you really care that much about my well-being.
- Ask about my experiences as an LGBT person. Don’t comment. Just listen.
- Learn the language I use for myself, and use it. For instance, I don’t call myself “homosexual”; I call myself gay. If you call me “homosexual” in spite of my disdain for that term, it doesn’t feel very loving to me.
Homosexuality is a tough issue to understand, but as Christians, we need to remember that Jesus saw people, not issues. Christ died for all of us, male and female, gay and straight, and in all things it’s his Grace we cling to. We’re going to have questions, we’re going to make mistakes, but in one thing we can be certain.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
What about you? What are your thoughts on homosexuality?
*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com