Have the Conversation on LGBTQIA – Part 2


I plan to continue sharing each summary. Feel free to jump in at any time. I hope to share my reactions to questions posed to me from time to time by people of the non-affirming conscience. Whenever I say “God is love”, the response is often, “But God is holy.” The non-affirming conscience rightly concerns about the holiness of God. Are we disobeying God? What is God up to? Is there any possibility that God could be doing a new thing among gender and sexual minorities?

How do Christians navigate any change or issue?

When faced with new realities and cultural shifts, Christians begin and end with the gospel. Christians live as citizens of the kingdom of God. Christians face the facts of new realities with hope and compassion for the marginalized, and a passion for justice.

Christians look not only to the Bible but at least 2 other sources. Christians consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the lessons from Tradition, the human testimony of experience, and also sound, logical reasoning.

For example, how does a church react when an elderly couple asks to be blessed with the sacrament of marriage? Do they quote verses about “be fruitful”? Do they demand celibacy for the couple? For most churches, the answer is no, the couple would be allowed to marry even though there is no chance of children being born.

A word about holiness and obedience

To be holy is a valid Christian concern. To be holy is to be “set apart”. I would ask us to consider what we are set apart for? I contend that the holiness Jesus taught is very different from the holiness the Pharisees taught. Holiness is no longer about obeying a holiness code.

To be holy means to be willingly contaminated with the physical world, trusting that our heart and soul are kept pure by the hand of God.

Who is the most holy person you can think of? Mother Theresa is a common answer. She died September 5, 1997 in Kolkata, India. She is the one who lived her life in the contamination of the world, surrounded by the outcast. We seem to be so afraid of being physically or socially or spiritually contaminated that we avoid the very places that would strengthen our holiness and help bring about redemption to those around us. Jesus ate and drank with prostitutes. Does our idea of holiness allow us to do the same?

What new reality are we seeing?

Some have claimed we are seeing waves of sin and immorality and disobedience. Others claim we are in the end-times apocalypse. My contention is that we are seeing the kingdom of God coming to earth in a new wine fashion. I contend that we are seeing three reformations:

-The disarming of religious authorities
-The unleashing of freedom (break every enslavement)
-The deconstruction of male-dominated patriarchy

The “male and female” thread in the Bible

I contend further that we are seeing the binary wineskin of “male and female” bursting in society around us. People tend to quote Genesis 5:2 and point out that God created “male and female” in the beginning. I agree. I would point out that the end of the “male and female” thread in the Bible is Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” NIV.

Questions for discussion

Why is everything outside of “male and female” considered broken or disordered?

What does the bible condemn in regard to our modern, non-male/female term “homosexuality”?

In light of the male/female binary fading away, might we revisit the meaning of marriage?

How can we sustain “hate the sin, love the sinner”?

Should the church be the safest place to work this out?

How can we say that practicing homosexuality is any different from the desire of homosexuality?

Why I am fully affirming

Please note that I am NOT affirming gay sex orgies or immorality. I am ONLY affirming same-sex marriage. My claim is that sex is no longer sin in the confines of marriage.

I see three corrections gender and sexual minorities are already bringing to the church. This is the subject of my Lambhearted Lion book:

A more robust understanding of the gospel
-Move beyond atonement toward reconciliation
-Revisit Scripture without “male and female”

A restoration to the purpose of the church
-Are we sin police? Who is King? Who is Lord?

An excitement about philosophy and theology of life
-A gay Christian inspired me to return to church!

I also see three gifts gender and sexual minorities are already bringing to the church. This is the subject of my New Wine book:

The gift of heart
-Move toward courage, hope, compassion

The gift of holiness
-Deeper understanding of unity, conscience and purity

The gift of celebration
-All-surpassing joy of hospitality, marriage, celibacy


  1. bekamartin

    This article really resonates with me, Brian! Thank you! I look forward to reading your books soon.

  2. There are two key sticking points that traditionalist Christians have with gay marriage. The first is that Scripture repeatedly portrays gay relations as sinful. In spots like Leviticus 18 and elsewhere, a natural reading seems to imply that such sexual relations are sinful irrespective of context. IE that it would be sinful to do it even within a gay marriage.

    The second sticking point is that Scripture consistently portrays Christian marriage as heterosexual. Passages such as Luke 14:26 and Ephesians 5 make no provision for Christian relationships that are not heterosexual. Even Jesus cited Genesis 2, portraying Christian marriage as being inherently heterosexual, in Matthew 19, and said that the alternative is the life of a eunuch. Some diss this by saying that Matthew 19 was about divorce. But in explaining why divorce is bad, Jesus also explained the meaning and structure of Christian marriage.

    While Galatians 3:28 holds true. There are various other New Testament scriptures, such as Ive already cited, that indicate that gender distinction is still important. So perhaps Galatians 3:28 is simply saying that male and female are equal in Christ, and is not saying that gender becomes immaterial in all senses?

    • When my son came out to us as gay, I had to rethink those sticking points. I realize now that these are only sticky because I never went beyond these superficial statements.

      So when you think through these things, you find they are not sticking points at all, but rather fabrications not rooted in the text of Scripture.

      For example: “In spots like Leviticus 18 and elsewhere, a natural reading seems to imply that such sexual relations are sinful irrespective of context.” What is implicit about Leviticus 18? That scripture is explicit: have gay sex, be killed. No exceptions. Therefore instead of making a generalization that this applies in all contexts, the Spirit led me to ask better questions to find out the context. The gospel, after all, is very contextualizable (yea made up a new word!).

      The natural reading is that Leviticus 18 condemns homosexual practice and is in the context of the Old Covenant. So we must go deeper and ask why would God, who is love, put such a law in the Old Covenant? I have found amazing gospel-deepening answers to this.

    • “So perhaps Galatians 3:28 is simply saying that male and female are equal in Christ, and is not saying that gender becomes immaterial in all senses? – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/07/14/have-the-conversation-on-lgbtqia-part-2/#comment-19174

      I would agree with this nuance, TomKent. In fact, medical science has long known that our humanity cannot be explained by pure “male and female” physiology/etc. My claim is not that gender goes away, but that gender is a spectrum beyond the binary male and female. So gender becomes even more important as the kingdom reformations continue. We need to develop new language as we understand more of our world and humanity, just as we did when Galileo and Copernicus explored the heavens. The way I describe this is that the male/female wineskin of thought is bursting.

  3. In regard to your second sticking point, TomKent, I find the same situation. We must as a church revisit these Scriptures beyond the superficial readings.

    “Scripture consistently portrays Christian marriage as heterosexual.”

    This has at least two underlying currents that must be examined more closely. The statement as it stands is only sticky because it is loaded. A more accurate statement would be to break this up into its components:

    1. Christian Tradition consistently portrays marriage as heterosexual.
    2. Scripture catalogs numerous inconsistent marriage arrangements.
    3. Scripture is consistently using a hetero-normative language.

    So many questions arise. Because the tradition of marriage has been modified numerous times, might we modify it yet again to be more kind and inclusive? Should we continue upholding the male-dominated male-and-female gender roles portrayed in the Bible? If so, then how do we explain the female roles that most Christians have no problem ignoring? What do we do about the repeated New Covenant commands to kiss each other when going to a Christian assembly?