GLBT Evangelism

Last week, President Obama revealed a somewhat surprising statement: “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News.

This raised a controversial question for me: How should the gospel of Jesus be shared with the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender (GLBT) community? Should we care? Is it even possible? The GLBT community is a political hot button and a divisive issue for Christians, to say the least. However, based on my reading and discussions this past week, I would like to share some of the ideas that I have discovered.

Here are two ways Christians shared with me about how to preach the gospel to homosexuals:

First way: GLBT people are condemned to hell. I asked one of my Christian friends how he would share the gospel if he was invited to a GLBT convention some day. His response was that he would tell them they are all going to hell because they are homosexual.

Seond way: GLBT can be saved if they become heterosexual. Other Christians told me that the gospel can be preached to the GLBT community, but they could only find salvation if they repented of their sin of being GLB or T.

I reject both methods above, personally. I also personally reject a lot of the thinking behind those methods. As I formulate my answer, I would like to hear from our ubfriends community your thoughts on this question. I found this topic to be a highly challenging and thought-provoking way to clarify my understanding of the gospel we all claim to love and preach.

I am uncomfortable with both extremes. Churches seem to be either celebrating homosexuals or condemning them to hell.

  1. Is there a better way to share the gospel?
  2. How would you preach the gospel at a GLBT convention?

If you can get past your phobias and thoughtfully consider these questions, I think you will find your Christian beliefs challenged and clarified.


  1. A few years ago, this is how Ravi Zacharias answered a question about homosexuality:

    • Thanks for sharing Ben. I don’t understand his logical argument in the first part. Would you or someone explain what he means?

      He said racism is an idea. A person’s race is sacred and cannot be violated, therefore Christians do not discriminate based on race.

      Then he says that a person’s sexuality is sacred and cannot be violated, therefore Christians do discriminate. 

      I don’t understand this logically. But I do agree with one of his concluding remarks that it is possible for a homosexual to be a Christian. This is how I would make the logical argument:

      Racism is an idea. A person’s race is sacred and cannot be violated, therefore Christians do not discriminate based on race.  

      Homophobia is an idea. A person’s sexuality is sacred and cannot be violated, therefore Christians do not discriminate based on sexuality.    

    • Race is sacred? That’s a first for me.

      We’re all human beings. If anything that is our (everyone’s) race. Categorizing people based on physical appearances does a lot more bad than good in my opinion.

    • James, I agree with you. We are all human beings. I think race should be respected and not violated, but to say it is sacred (as Dr. Ravi says) is going too far in my opinion. And I hear Dr. Ravi saying that it is not ok to discriminate based on race, but it is ok to discriminate based on sexual orientation. 

      Although I agree with one of his points (that someone can be a Christian and be homosexual), Dr. Ravi’s whole argument falls apart for me logically and doesn’t respect Scripture very well.  

      NOTE: In my post above I was attempting to understand what Dr. Ravi said before I critique it.

    • Brian, I think your confusion is caused by Ravi’s fuzzy use of the word “sexuality”. Obviously when he says “sexuality” he means “the normal sexual orientation of a persons’ gender”, while you interpret is as “the actual sexual orientation of the person” and with this understanding his argumentation really makes no sense.

      The real question here is in how far sexual orientation is really innate in a person, something a person can’t do anything about. Many people believed that it’s just a mental disorder that can be “fixed”. I’m not an expert, but as far as I understand it becomes more and more clear that this is generally not the case. Let’s assume sexual orientation is really something you can’t change, something you have been born with it. Then in a way this is what God has “equipped” you with in your life. But even then, this does not necessarily mean that it must be something “sacred” that should be practiced and not called “bad”. We have also been equipped with other features and dispositions like envy, and that does not mean we need to practice them. On the other hand, you can ask, why did God give some people that sexual orientation? Why did he make their life so much harder if they are not allowed to practice it and must always suppress their feelings? I do not think Ravi gives a good answer to the question. But I don’t have a better one either.

      Also, I agree with James in that using the word “race” and calling it “sacred” is just as fuzzy and meaningless. Biologically, no real human races exist – the variations between individuals of one “race” are larger than those between the allged “races”. He should have better used our personality, our individual genome as the thing that God has given us. The real question here is which parts of that individuality are “sacred” and which are “corrupted” (because of original sin)? Which parts should we accept and develop and which parts should we suppress?

    • Chris, thanks for your clarification. I don’t find Dr. Ravi’s answer all that helpful, and perhaps it is because I just don’t understand it.

      Your logic, however, continues to edify me. I’ve been asking those very questions. As one of my gay friends who is married told me, “You just cant’ get the gay out.”

      Admitting this will not logically lead to a destruction of the Christian faith, as some presume. For example, not many people are born with an unchangeable desire to murder (though serial killers are). But most if not all homosexuals I meet were indeed born with an orientation they can’t change. When they try to be heterosexual (like my friend), they just end up living a lie.  

      I don’t believe the written code fully addresses this issue, so we need the rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the primary command to love, which I believe is behind what President Obama said.

    • I haven’t spent much time thinking about these problems, but reading someone’s story about his “ex-gay” life made me start to understand how difficult life is for such people, and how inappropriately people deal with them.

    • Chris, I also had not thought about these issues much. But President Obama’s remarks made me question some deeply rooted hatred in my heart. I had to ask myself: If I believe the gospel is true, why could it not be preached to the GLBT community without condemnation or hatred?

      Asking gays (who truly are gay) to join the heterosexual club is nonsense. Perhaps you and I can relate because we understand what it means to be an ex-member of a club… 

  2. If I remember, RZ said that both racism and sexuality are sacred. Therefore both should not be discriminated against/violated. I liked his illustration of Henri Nouwen at the end, that though Nouwen’s proclivity is homosexual, yet because of Christ, he never practiced it.
    Here’s another blog post:

    • And who is RZ to deem something as “sacred”? 

      A “race” – as it is commonly understood – is a category of the human species characterized mostly by physical traits. We’re talking about trivial issues; like skin pigmentation, and/or slightly bigger or smaller eyes and noses, etc.

      We’re all human, God created us equal. This “Race” thing is made up. Probably so that an individual can strengthen his/her identify by being apart of a group. Maybe to establish an “us” vs “them” dynamic. 

  3. Darren Gruett

    I think I would share the gospel the same as I would for any unbeliever. People do not go to hell because they are homosexual; they go to hell because they are unrepentant sinners. And a person is not saved because they become heterosexual any more than they get saved because they are morally good. A person is saved by faith in Jesus Christ, alone.

  4. 1. Is there a better way to share the gospel?
    In my opinion, compared to the two methods in the article, there is a better way. As Darren said already, sharing the gospel should not be discriminatory. I think its offensive and of bad taste to treat anyone differently based on something so personal. Aren’t intimate relationships supposed to be a personal issue? People should mind their own business when it comes to sexual preferences. Why people are making it into a huge, controversial social issue is beyond me.
    Imagine having a country debate on whether you can or cannot do something based on a personal characteristic of yours. I would imagine it being very embarrassing and unjust.

    2. How would you preach at a GLBT convention?

    I would probably apologize on behalf of the “Christians” who protest them with offensive “God Hates Fags” signs. Other than that, I would probably preach the same way I would talking to anybody else.  

  5. Thanks James, Chris, Darren & Ben. This is the helpful and healthy discussion I was seeking. I think we need more of it.

  6. Here are some of my thoughts to these questions…

    1. According to the written code, homosexual behavior for men and women is a sin and is called detestable. The punishment is death. For the Jews, there is no other answer. There is no way to “preach the gospel” to a homosexual. The answer is simply “become heterosexual or die.” For us Jews and Gentiles who are new creations (Christians), we can see that this written code falls short of expressing the full measure of God’s love.

    2. The answer for we who are Christian, is found on the cross of Jesus. We all know that Jesus was nailed to the cross. But why do we forget that the written code was also nailed to the cross (Ephesians 2:15)? Jesus did abolish the written code, but He did not abolish the Law and the Prophets. The written code (613 commands) has been canceled (Colossians 2:14).

    3. On the cross we see the full measure of God’s love. We see the fulfillment of God’s Law and God’s Prophets. Now we have God’s law written in our minds and on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). So we can express God’s love to the GLBT community.

    4. In this, we need to remember God’s mind, which was partially expressed through the 613 commands. For a heterosexual to engage in homosexual acts would be walking on thin ice. A person should find out whether they indeed have a homosexual orientation (not a sin), or whether they are just fooling around with lust (sin). 

    5. Jesus says to all sinners, I forgive you! You are mine! I nailed the written code to the cross and you are no longer under the supervision of the law but under the guidance of My Spirit! Live a life of faith in Me with My Spirit in you, and do no let yourselves be yoked again to the heavy chains of slavery (Galatians 3:25; Galatians 5:1)

    6. In the end, God is not so afraid or surprised or concerned or condemning about the full spectrum of human sexuality. He is far more concerned with loving your enemies and being friends with those who are different from you. 

  7. Regarding those who are gay, I heard a useful variation of a cliche: “Love the sinner, hate your own sin.”

    • Awesome Ben! I literally hate the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”.  Your phrasing is much better! “love the sinner, hate your own sin.”

  8. So for the “GL” people, there are two viable options I see: celibacy or marriage. I believe these are the same two options for “H” people (heterosexual). 

    The “B” people are in a dangerous place from Scripture’s viewpoint. Perhaps they should be extended grace until they figure out who they are. The “T” people need extra love and discernment. 

    In conclusion, I suggest we get past the HGLBT issue (as Scripture does) by putting proper avenues for control and separation of church/state in place, and move on to the far greater issues of life.

    Has Freud deceived the entire Western world into thinking HGLBT is our primary identity? Could not two men embrace each other as friends without ridicule? Could not a man and a woman be dear friends without suspicion?

  9. Every once in a while, someone who was blind apologizes.

  10. Perhaps the best way to share the gospel with someone who is gay is to walk a mile (or a year) in their shoes. Tim’s journey provides amazing insight. His book “The Cross in the Closet” is highly recommended:

  11. I still need to read this book, Torn, but this review/discussion is quite helpful, and articulates some of my thoughts on this issue far better than I can:

    Back to the bible

    “Undeniably, there were many types of homosexual behavior that were driven by selfishness, not by agape love. Behaviors like rape, idolatry, prostitution, and child exploitation were all clear examples of selfish, fleshly motivation, not love for God or others. They were sinful, and their bad fruit bore that out. But suppose to people loved each other with all their hearts, and they wanted to commit themselves to each other in the sight of God—to love, honor, and cherish; to selflessly serve and encourage one another; to serve God together; to be faithful for the rest of their lives. If they were of opposite sexes, we would call that holy and beautiful and something to celebrate. But if we changed only one thing—the gender of one of those individuals—while still keeping the same love and selflessness and commitment, suddenly many Christians would call it abominable and condemned to hell.” (p. 205)

  12. The events in Uganda highlight why I wrote this article, and why our concept of the gospel is so very important:

    Suicides, shame and prison laws in Uganda

    “The new law also includes punishment — up to seven years in prison — for people and institutions who perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, language that was not in the 2009 version of the bill.
    Lawmakers in the conservative nation said the influence of Western lifestyles risked destroying family units.

    The bill also proposed prison terms for anyone who counsels or reaches out to gays and lesbians, a provision that could ensnare rights groups and others providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    The White House issued a statement Monday: “Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality.”

  13. To celebrate the US Supreme Court ruling on samesex marriage, BOTH of my ally books are FREE today!

    The New Wine: Welcoming LGBTQIA People to the Wedding of the Lamb

    So far, I’ve given away just under 200 Kindle editions.

    • In total, I’ve sold or given away about 500 copies. (oy, am I a ubf-trained person or what?! Can’t shake my obsession with numbers!)

  14. I think that this article “pulls debate away from the “sky is falling/this is the best thing ever” dichotomy that seems to characterize much of the dialogue so far” on social media. (This article is from a Canadian pastor, where same sex marriage has been the law for a decade —

    It’s the first time I saw the Twitter Button from this article, which I thought is rather cool:

    Brian, what do you think about adding the Twitter Button to this website? If you do I hope that I’ll know how to use it!

    • It is important to point out, Ben, that Canada and other countries have legalized samesex marriage for many years, and over a decade in Canada’s case. Where is the destruction of society?

      That article you linked to is rather civil and presents a fair enough perspective. I would differ only in that I contend it is possible to be a Christian and fully embrace our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters.

    • For the Twitter plugin, I’ll take a look. We do already have a Tweet button for our articles. The one you point out looks better though.