Stephen Mitchell on Why Evangelicals Can No Longer Avoid Addressing LGBT Issues

A participant puts up a sign about his sexuality before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. | Reuters/Edgar Su

It was about halfway through my college years when a friend and I were talking one day about the intersection between the LGBT movement and Christianity when he made a startling pronouncement that I’ve never forgotten: This will be the defining issue of our time, and he declared it would be the greatest challenge to what we believe.

When he said that, I remember thinking that may have been a bit of an overblown statement. After all, George W. Bush had just won re-election and opposition to social issues like gay marriage were part of what cemented his victory. Very few states at the time had legalized same-sex marriage, the majority of Americans believed that marriage was a union between one man and one woman, and very few Protestant churches at that point had embraced homosexuality as morally compatible with Christian teachings.

My, how things have changed in two decades.

Today, believing that marriage is between a man and a woman, or believing homosexuality is a sin or that you are who your biology says you are will have you culturally looking like The Last Samurai, and if the recent Supreme Court ruling was any indication, it’s only going to get tougher from here.

In true 2020 fashion, this month was surprising in that it saw Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (whose views are fairly liberal on sexuality) under intense scrutiny for daring to express concerns on Twitter about the implications of gender identity ideology for women. And Conservative Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch helped cement a legal victory that saw the Supreme Court redefine the word “sex” as it redefined the word “marriage” five years ago, applying the 1964 Civil Rights Act to apply to sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

While most of us, including most evangelical Christians, are not opposed to the overall idea that employees should not be discriminated against for their personal lifestyle; without specific religious freedom protections, the complexity and legal ramifications from the court’s decision to essentially redefine sexuality present significant concerns. Legal challenges will follow in the months and years ahead for employers and organizations that adhere to biblical teachings on sex and gender.

And yet, that pales in comparison to the greatest challenge of all facing Christians in America on these issues, which is: properly presenting, addressing and discussing what a biblical understanding of sexuality even is.

As the tide has been shifting in our culture and as its messaging on sexuality has become louder and harder to ignore from just about every facet of society, most evangelical pastors and churches have opted for the cone of silence. Society has been loud and clear, while the church has been quiet and vague.

Perhaps out of fear of offending or perhaps in light of how complex, sensitive and difficult discussing sexual orientation and gender identity really is in today’s culture, the reality is that for Christians who believe the Bible is clear that sexual relations were intended to only be expressed within the context of monogamous heterosexual marriage, that message has always gone against the grain of culture.

As the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles admonishing his audience to be faithful to their husband or wife sexually, it was common practice to engage in sexual orgies with temple prostitutes for worship in the culture he was writing to. God’s standards of sexual morality never jell well with the society in which we live.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Stephen Mitchell