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Religious Tolerance logo

Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the Bible

Eight people with a homosexual/bisexual orientation
react to Matthew Vines' interview on The Christian Post

Part 5

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay. It showed comments
by evangelical Christian theologians of Matthew Vines' presentation.

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The third and final article in the series on homosexuality and the Bible in The Christian Post during 2012 contains viewpoints and testimonies of eight individuals with a homosexual orientation. They hold different beliefs about the nature of same-gender sexual behavior and what God expects of them. They react in very different ways to Matthew Vines' presentation on homosexuality and the Bible, 1,2 and to his subsequent interview by The Christian Post. 3

  • Christopher Yuan is the author of the book: "Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope." 4 He realized that he had a homosexual orientation at the age of 9, but did not came out of the "closet" until his early 20's. His mother was devastated by the news. However, as one consequence of the incident is that she became a conservative Christian. Christopher became involved in drug dealing, contracted HIV, and ended up in prison. As a result of Bible study he abandoned his quest for a same-sex relationship and concluded that God was calling him to a life of celibacy. He is currently an adjunct instructor at Moody Bible Institute and is pursuing a doctorate at Bethel Seminary.

    Yuan interprets the Bible as condemning and prohibiting "... all homosexual sex and romantic relationships." He interprets the Romans 1 "clobber" passage as condemning all same-gender sexual activity as intrinsically and absolutely unnatural for persons of all sexual orientations. He ties the 1 Corinthians clobber passage back to the Leviticus 18 and 20 passages as referring to all "homosexual sex and relationships" whether by gays, lesbians or bisexuals. He rejects Vines' assertion that celibacy need generate ""incalculable pain and suffering." He finds that contentment flows solely from one's relationship with Jesus.

  • Tom Brock has struggled with his same-sex attraction for most of his life. He was a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- one of the more liberal Christian denominations -- for 22 years. He left when the denomination started to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians. He also objected to their teachings allowing abortion access and denying that those sent to Hell will spend eternity being continuously tortured there. He sincerely believes that same-gender sexual activity, even within a loving, committed relationship, "hurts people in this life and ... excludes them from the Kingdom in the next." He said:

    "... Is it not arrogant to think that we are somehow more enlightened than all the Christians who came before us? ... I believe it is safest to interpret Scripture the way Christians have understood it for 2,000 years and the solid testimony of church history is against homosexual behavior. The Biblical interpretation that has led some denominations astray -– notably the ELCA, Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church in America, and the United Church of Christ -– maintains that the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior per se, but only promiscuous homosexual behavior. As much as part of me -– my flesh –- would like to believe I can legitimately engage in homosexual behavior, the Bible remains a permanent obstacle. An objective reading of Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Deuteronomy 22:5, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9-11, I Timothy 1:8-10, Jude 6,7 makes clear that the Bible's condemnation of homosexual behavior is a blanket one. There is never the added caveat: But it is okay if you love each other."

    Of the seven "clobber" passages that Tom Brock mentions:

    • Jude 6-7 condemns the attempted rape of angels by men of the city of Sodom. Religious conservatives generally interpret the passage as condemning all same-gender sexual behavior. Religious liberals generally interpret it as condemning bestiality -- in this case human/angel sex -- and/or "legitimate" rape, to use a Republican term.

    • Deuteronomy 22:5 condemns women wearing men's clothing and vice versa. It has no obvious relationship to same-gender sexual behavior. Brock may actually be referring to Deuteronomy 23:17 which mentions shrine prostitutes. These were men and women in Pagan temples who had sex with temple worshipers for money. This passage was mistranslated in the King James Version of the Bible as "sodomites." This is an ambiguous term that sometimes refers to citizens of Sodom and sometimes to men engaging in same-gender sexual behavior, and sometimes to heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals engaging in non-procreative sex.

Pastor Brock advocates that people who struggle with their sexual orientation should try to keep it under control by praying, reading the Bible, attending a church that teaches the traditional Christian beliefs about homosexuality and -- above all -- to be accountable by joining a Christian mutual support group of persons struggling with same-sex attraction.

  • Justin Lee is the executive director of the Gay Christian Network (GCN). He became gradually aware of his homosexual orientation at puberty. He was "... a committed Christian with a strong relationship with Jesus, wonderful relationships with both parents, and no history of abuse or trauma."

    Like many gay and lesbian Christians he attempted to convert to heterosexual orientation through prayer, and attending "ex-gay" ministries. His experience with these ministries was like all, or essentially all, other gays: his attraction to other men, and lack of attraction to women, remained. He said:

    "When ex-gay leader Alan Chambers recently said that "99.9%" of people in his ministry didn't become straight, many Christians were shocked. Those of us who have been through these groups weren't. Yes, I've met a few people in my life who tell me that trauma in their past, like sexual abuse, confused their sexual identity, and that therapy brought about a change in their attractions. But that's not how it works for the vast majority of us. Even if we never act on our feelings, we are still "gay" (that is, same-sex attracted), whether we want to be or not."

GCN is divided among those who feel that God is drawing them to celibacy while others believe that God blesses same-sex monogamous couples. After years of Bible study, he decided that:

"gender shouldn't be the deciding factor of a relationship's sinfulness, but that things like monogamy and lifelong faithfulness should."

  • Haydn Sennitt is a pastoral worker at Liberty Christian Ministries in Sydney, Australia. He appears to have a bisexual orientation, and is attracted to both men and women. He searched for a male partner with whom to form a loving committed relationship. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful. He found many others with the same goal, all of whom were:

    "... very lonely, lost, and as aching for love as I was but had never found it. I had forsaken living water to make for myself a cup that could hold no water (Jer. 2:13, Judges 17).

    He has surrendered himself to God and allowed Jesus to form his identity. He feels that to act on his same-sex attraction would be destructive. He is now married and has two children, and is attending the Sydney Missionary and Bible College.

  • Janet Boynes, 54, heads Janet Boynes Ministries. She appears to also be a bisexual since she once experienced a brief fling with a woman while being engaged to a man. She was physically and sexually abused as a child. As an adult, she had a string of relationships with women over a 14 year interval. She joined a women's Bible study which helped her understand that God was calling her to seek a loving relationship with a man. She said:

    "Under the banner of the "gay Christian" movement, many people are going to great lengths to twist Scripture and use unbiblical false teachings to suit their own desires and justify their sinful behavior. Although 'gay Christians' might feel better about themselves when they surrender to sin and use the Bible to excuse their actions, they need to consider the question posed by author Paul Morris: 'Am I interpreting Scripture in the light of my proclivity, or should I be interpreting my proclivity in the light of Scripture'? ... Today, the proponents of homosexual behavior are leading many off the cliff into the pits of 'tolerance' and 'inclusiveness.' Their false teachings are leading many to fall for the lie that you can live a lifestyle of homosexuality, refuse to repent of it, and still have eternal life in heaven someday. They are sacrificing God's truth on the altar of deceit and buying into the mistaken notion that they can live lives pleasing to God without abandoning their sin."

  • Dr. Ralph Blair, 73, founded the national group Evangelicals Concerned in 1975. He believes that the Bible supports loving committed same-sex relationships and marriages. He concludes that:

    "... as with the Bible and slavery or racial segregation or voting rights for women and blacks or interracial marriage or fairness to women –- and, now, fairness to those whose involuntary sexual intimacy need is same-sex oriented -– consequences of misreading scripture are tragic. They're anything but the consequence of love that Jesus called disciples to live in identifying with the oppressed, the lonely and discarded ...

    Evangelical historian Mark Noll explains that pro-slavery preachers used explicit Bible verses (as antigay preachers do these days) while abolitionists had to rely on general biblical calls to love – 'chapter-and-verse [over against abolitionists] larger gestalt of scriptural sentiment. [Those who] defended the legitimacy of slavery in the Bible had the easiest [sic] task.' And blacks were said to be loved while enslaved, while forbidden to marry and while barred from white churches because of what 'the Bible said' then.

    These historical examples should serve today's antigay rhetoricians as soul-searching warnings. Jesus said it would be by our love that we'd be known as his disciples. Barna research finds that [evangelicals are] ... mostly known for our antigay hectoring. Something's gone terribly wrong!"

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  • Kevin Hoksbergen was raised in a Christian -- presumably evangelical -- home. He had developed a same-sex relationship when his life fell apart. He lost his boyfriend, other friends, job, etc., and hit bottom. He turned to God and to Living Waters -- "an in-depth, Christ-centered program for people seeking healing in areas of sexual and relational brokenness." He said:

    "I did not go into the group to become heterosexual; I was searching for something to fill the void, and answers to the many questions in my heart. ... I was closer than ever to God. The void in my heart was being filled with his grace and mercy, pulling me out of the hole I had dug for myself. ... Getting to this place was not easy. It brought up resentment toward those who hurt me, shame of the detestable acts I had done, and feelings of unworthiness for the grace that Jesus was offering me from the Cross. In the midst of the pain, He was able to reach a part of my heart I never knew existed. Though temptations still surface from time to time, I have found great healing and freedom from same-sex attraction.

    He is now an intern at Desert Stream Ministries.

  • Ron Belgau teaches a course in Medical Ethics and Philosophy of the Human Person at St Louis University. He has written extensively about homosexuality. He grew up as a gay teenager. The only messages that he received from the Church at that time were negative. He rejects Matthew Vines' belief that living a celibate life without a partner is a great hardship. Belgau writes about a book that he read as an undergraduate that had a major effect on him. It is Aelred of Rievaulx's treatise "On Spiritual Friendship:"

    "This [book] helped me to see that obedience to Christ offered more than just the denial of sex and romance. Although Christian discipleship can be costly, it need not be lonely. And this insight has been confirmed in the lasting Christian friendships I have formed over the years."

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Webmaster's comments:

Tom Brock suggests that Christians should continue to condemn same-gender sexual behavior as it has in the past. He notes that two millennia of "solid testimony of church history ... is against homosexual behavior." It may be worth noting that the Bible taught that human slavery was an acceptable practice in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (Old and New Testaments). The Christian religion continued teaching the same message about human slavery for about 17 centuries after the last Bible book was written. With very few exceptions, Christians to day are unalterably opposed to slavery in all its forms.

Dr. Blair lists many of the major moral and ethical conflicts over the past fifteen decades in the U.S. They are worth studying in greater detail:

  • At least seven have been resolved: the abolition of slavery, allowing African Americans to marry, allowing deaf persons to marry; allowing women to vote, allowing African Americans to vote, ending racial segregation, and allowing interracial marriage.

  • Four are moving rapidly towards resolution: equal opportunity for women; equal rights for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, the right for same-sex couples to marry; equal rights for transgender individuals and transsexuals.

  • In each of the ten cases, a large percentage of religious conservatives resisted change at the time.

  • In each of the cases, women or a minority finally achieved or is achieving equality.

  • In the six cases that have been resolved, very few Americans today would wish that the culture reverted to the previous situation.

If past trends continue into the future, all of the four conflicts that are active today will be resolved in favor of equal rights for all. The culture will adapt, and decades into our future, few Americans will want to reverse the changes.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Matthew Vines, "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality," You Tube, 2012-MAR-10, at:
  2. Matthew Vines, transcript of his presentation, at:
  3. Stoyan Zaimov, "Matthew Vines: Bible does not condemn homosexuality," The Christian Post, 2012-SEP-25, at:

  4. book cover image Christopher Yuan, "Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope," Waterbrook Press, (2001). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

  5. book cover image Aelred of Rievaulx, et al., "On Spiritual Friendship" Ave Maria Press, (2008). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  6. Nicola Menzie, "Christians With Same-Sex Attractions Weigh in on Homosexuality-Bible Debate," The Christian Post, 2012-OCT-01, at:

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Originally written: 2012-OCT-03
Latest update: 2012-OCT-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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