In a word: Yes!
Today’s guest Rob Green at Faith Ministries in LaFayette, IN, answers this common question we at Biblical Counseling Center hear regularly from counselees and their families. Having just returned from ACBC’s conference on homosexuality, we at BCC are even more determined to offer compassionate care to those who struggle. Can a Christian Struggle with Homosexuality?” was originally posted on Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry’s “Counseling with Confidence & Compassion” blog, and is republished with permission. –Ed.
Maybe the best way to answer this question is to ask a few more:
- Can a Christian struggle with promiscuity?
- Can a Christian struggle with idolatry?
- Can a married Christian struggle with adultery?
- Can a Christian struggle with stealing?
- What about with drunkenness?
- What about with greed?
Are you seeing where this is going? Exactly. 1 Cor 6:9-11.
We are incredibly thankful that we were washed, we were justified, and our identity is found in Christ rather than our behavior. But no one would say that justification means that we will no longer struggle with our sins.
Does anyone really argue that a saved drunk will never struggle with alcohol? What about believer and the issue of acting out their lustful desires? What about the person who spends too much money on their own pleasures, or the person who used to steal?
Are we really going to say (as this question implies with the subject of homosexuality) that persons who continue to struggle with sin are not genuine Christians? I think not.
So Why Do We Think It Is Different for the Sin of Homosexuality?
That is a complicated question, but maybe it is best answered by the following:
- Homosexuality seems like a worse sin than other sins. Frankly, it is unnatural. Some, especially those who have personal stories of unwanted advances from homosexuals, find the whole issue disgusting. Those who have not struggled with homosexuality have a hard time even understanding it. No question … homosexuality is sin. It is always sin and we will not buy for one second the argument that homosexuality is right or acceptable in “genuine love relationships.” However, maybe some Christians have decided to put the sin of homosexuality in a category all by itself. In God’s economy, sin is sin. Sin, every kind of sin, is worthy of hell and it is every kind of sin that Jesus paid for on the cross.
- Some of us might be sick and tired of hearing about the homosexual agenda. One of the consequences is that we might be tempted to stereotype any Christian struggling with the homosexual thoughts or actions with the voices pushing their political and legal agendas. It may be that there are believers who know homosexuality is wrong. They confess every time they seek comfort in homosexual thoughts or actions. Yet they continue to struggle.
- Some of us might stereotype the Christian’s struggle with the worst examples of the homosexual movement. No one wants to be cast with the worst examples of their movement. We are a baptist church but that does not mean we want to be identified with those baptist churches that picket soldier’s funerals or seek to do overly offensive acts just to irritate the fire out of people. The Christian seeking victory from homosexuality, but struggling along the way, does not appreciate being labeled with the worst of that movement either.
My point is this … our tendency to believe that no Christian could continue to struggle with homosexuality is based on the fact that we think homosexuality is in a sin class all by itself.
We have allowed our minds to come to the conclusion that homosexuals are the worst of the worst.
A Better Way to Think About This Question
A better way to deal with this question is to acknowledge that just as a believer can struggle with greed, with lust, with stealing, with drunkenness, so can a believer struggle with homosexuality.
However, struggling with it and deciding that it is the lifestyle acceptable to God are two entirely different issues.
In other words, the homosexual needs to go to war against his homosexuality just as the believer must go to war against lust, against greed, against stealing – against any and all sin. Romans 6 explains, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
So, can a believer struggle with homosexuality? Yes. But he or she must see the homosexuality as sin, go to war against it, and seek to walk daily in the Spirit. After all, Scripture says, “If you walk by the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
So is it appropriate to bring church discipline and question the genuine salvation of a person who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior but chooses to follow a homosexual lifestyle? Absolutely. But then again, we should think the same thing about a person who was perpetually shoplifting, committing adultery, or engaging in a greed-driven lifestyle.
Note: You can read the original post on the Faith Ministries blog here.