God and Me, the Gay Christian


Although the church has had a rocky past with many splits and controversial policies, it continues to influence people across the world by playing an integral role in day-to-day life. Going mainly unnoticed, the church only makes headlines when it does something controversial. Recently, the Coalition on Biblical Sexuality, a subsidiary of the Southern Baptist Church, released “The Nashville Statement,” which reminded the evangelical church of its views on human sexuality and gender identities. When it was released on Tuesday, August 29, tempers flared on more progressive Christians’ Facebook walls and in the hearts of billions of people, myself included.

Last semester, I explored a book titled God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships by Matthew Vine for my First Year Writing class. This book was a blessing to me in my time of accepting who I am and reconciling that with my faith. I wanted to share with you all what I wrote on this book and my response to “The Nashville Statement” that was released last year.

Many were furious that this statement created a poor reflection of the church as a whole, but, instead most Christians today are accepting and welcoming no matter what. Rather than articulating what the entire church believes, “The Nashville Statement” expressed a hateful view of LGBT persons that did not encompass what more progressive Christians believe. Therefore, the statement showed the need for a better biblical understanding of what passages actually meant in the Bible regarding homosexuality, growth towards more acceptance and love, and better environments where questions and challenges are embraced leading to a church truly reflective of God.

Most evangelical churches today express themselves by sharing their beliefs and attempting to declare the only path to Heaven through statements, like “The Nashville Statement,” in hopes of bringing new people to faith in Christ. Starting off by calling the secular society a human life destroyer and a “dishonor” to God, “The Nashville Statement” holds nothing back. The evangelical church feels threatened by a society where LGBT people are accepted and allowed to marry and sees it as “un-natural” and “foolish” (Vines 109, “Nashville”). The conservative side of Christianity today feels under attack and that is because of the antiquated beliefs it pushes unto people. A church that says only cisgender, straight people are allowed into Heaven is not a church that God would approve of.  The poor reflection shows a lack of basic knowledge of biblical passages used not against same-sex orientation but rather against heinous same-sex aggressions.

“The Nashville Statement” shows a lack of biblical understanding within the context of history of the six main Bible verses often used against homosexuality and same-sex relationships, so a better knowledge would lead to a more God-like image. Six Bible passages are often used against homosexuality: Genesis 19:4-11; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Timothy 1:10. With fourteen articles based off of six passages, “The Nashville Statement” has elaborated on homosexuality to the point it seems repetitive. Articles one and two talk about the sanctity of marriage as being a “covenantal, sexual, procreational, life-long union” with one male and one female based on both scriptures in Leviticus (“Nashville”). However, the evangelical church often overlooks that Leviticus often assumes that the men are a part of a polygamous relationships or have numerous mistresses (Vines 84).

While the church likes to address same-sex marriage, it chooses to ignore the polygamy and adultery within the texts showing the evangelical church’s hypocrisy. Articles three through seven address the different sexes and genders of Christ-followers implying that there are only two genders, because there are only two sexes, with the exception of intersex people who have both X and Y chromosomes (“Nashville”). The evangelical church places emphasis on the idea that marriage is between one male and one female to illustrate gender complementarity, which is the idea that male and female genders complement each other in anatomical ways and in different gender roles (Vines 27). With this as the basis for their arguments, it is flimsy at best, because the gender hierarchy “fades away” through God and we are called to make that a “reality now” (Vines 143). Articles eight through ten deal with same-sex attractions rather than same-sex orientations. Denying that same-sex attractions are included in the “natural goodness of God’s original creation,” evangelical Christians assume that these cannot be a part of a covenantal marriage (“Nashville”). In Romans 1:26-27, Paul writes that the men became “inflamed” with “lust” for other men excessively so (CSB). It is within this excess of lust that Paul condemns same-sex attractions not in day-to-day life like the Coalition believes. The Coalition does not just stop there on same-sex attractions, and they continue to harshly attack the transgender community, too.

Article thirteen deals directly with transgenderism; the article tells those who are transgender to repent and accept the connection between our sex and our gender – the way God supposedly meant it to be (“Nashville”). However, it ignores the mental anguish a transgender person goes through while feeling differently than their anatomy defines. Having numerous transgender friends, I recognize this anguish and know that this process is not easy. Hard talks, lack of acceptance, and even self-denial all go into coming out as transgender. The condemnation from the evangelical church again stems from gender complementarity. A female with male sex organs cannot fulfill the man’s sex organ functions and likewise for a male with woman’s sex organs. The outdated thought process has no application in society today.

The final three articles, articles eleven, twelve, and fourteen deal with how the church talks about and deals with LGBT issues, which are ignorant and outdated. Article eleven allows the church to talk to people anyway they want in correspondence to their sex and ignore how one identifies his/her gender (“Nashville”). Commonly today, the term political correctness is thrown around to describe using proper pronouns for transgender people and for just being courteous online. Many conservatives say they are tired of political correctness and cite that they have always been this way and do not need a term to describe. However, society today needs the constant reminder to be nice and love one another like Christ did. Remaining politically correct is imperative to our purpose here on Earth. Article twelve states that God’s grace is sufficient enough to overcome and subdue any same-sex attractions and allows for the person to live in “a manner worth of the Lord” (“Nashville”). In 2013, Exodus International called it quits when it realized that “99.9%” of patients were not cured of their same-sex attractions (Vines 2). These futile attempts to ‘pray the gay away’ or suddenly be cured when someone points out a pretty girl lead to the kind of self-loathing Vines mentions on page 50. I often tried praying the gay away in middle school, even went to counseling to address and hopefully cure the problem, but it did not work. I had to overcome society telling me that who I find attractive is unnatural and learn to accept it. Luckily, I had mentors close enough to confide in. Article fourteen reminds people that only through Christ can one be forgiven of his/her sins and live a fulfilling life, while denying that God cannot reach everyone (“Nashville”). This is spot on. God can forgive anyone no ifs, ands, or buts. Because our “inherent value” is based off of bearing God’s image, we do not have to worry about not being saved, all we have to do is pray for forgiveness (Vines 149). Some progressive churches embrace this idea of everyone is welcome, but not enough of God’s image bearers bear real images of God because of their prejudices.

Both evangelical and progressive churches, in order to remain relevant in a post-Christian society, need to promote openness and acceptance and leave behind any prejudices, which is more reflective of God’s true calling for the church. The church today sees many of its younger congregation members leaving due to the lack of acceptance of new ideas or people. Many church members today have embraced “[non]-traditional” views on church, but they are not progressive enough (Vines 31). In order for the church to remain relevant today, it needs to change. Embrace the people that walk in the door – they were brave enough to show up. Love your neighbor as yourself – do not hate one another, because they are different. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you – avoid legislation and policies that discriminate or marginalize groups. Speak up for those who do not have a voice – if you sit in a position of power, speak for all not just the ones you like. The church should welcome all and be a place representative of Heaven and of God. It needs to allow for progressive, or even God-like, ideas flood and change the church. Jesus was a bold radical, so we should be too.

Evangelical churches often voice their beliefs boldly and declare them law of the land, but they are not representative of God. The lack of biblical understanding drastically hurts the church’s mission of bringing others into the light of God. When the church releases marginalizing statements, like “The Nashville Statement,” it takes a step back. I look down at the evangelical church for that. It warps others’ views of church and Christ, including mine. I wish I could tell everyone that “The Nashville Statement” is not God’s statement, but I do not have that power. “The Nashville Statement” encourages me to remain vocal on acceptance in the church and the knowledge that the Bible does not deny same-sex oriented persons the privilege of marriage. I often heard as a child to not let one bad apple ruin the bunch, so I am encouraging others to know that one bad statement trying to, and failing to, speak for the entire church is not representative of the entire body of Christ. Many of us want to see the pews filled with LGBT persons. We all deserve to know God, but some just have to fight for it. I do every day, and I encourage and invite my LGBT friends to join me.

%d bloggers like this: