Pastoral Perspectives

Reflection on Homosexuality

In my last perspective, I shared some thoughts on divorce and remarriage after hearing comments and questions from the ground following our sermon series on family and sexuality. Comments and questions were also raised regarding homosexuality. So allow me to share my thoughts on three things I have heard or observed in this perspective. The first has to do with the term homosexual Christians which I used to label homosexuals who have accepted Christ. As I had said in my sermon, we should not go around labelling Christians and so the term was used purely for the sake of discussion and not to discriminate. However it seems that there are some who feel that the term is not right. They think that Christians should not remain as homosexuals or homosexuals who claim to be Christians are not genuine believers.

For the first, they may understand the term homosexual to refer to someone who engages in homosexual acts. And since homosexual acts are sexually immoral before God, a homosexual who believes in Christ should not remain as one. Such conviction is not wrong. It is the definition of a homosexual that is the issue. And that is why I started my sermon by defining terms used so that we are on the same wavelength. Therefore if we can agree that a homosexual refers to someone with sexual inclination for the same gender but not necessarily engaging in such sexual acts, then a homosexual Christian can refer to a Christian who struggles with the inclination, knows that such act is immoral and so does not engage in it. Whether the Christian is able to overcome the inclination and become straight is a separate matter altogether. And as I had also said, we have to subscribe to such definition that distinguishes between homosexual inclination (which is natural) and act (which is a choice) even if others do not because the homosexuality that the bible is strongly against is homosexual acts, i.e. the homosexual chooses to act upon it.

For the second, it seems that they do not expect homosexuals to get to heaven and so those who claim to be Christians are not genuine believers because if they truly are, they will be able to overcome it and become straight. What I know is that all have sinned, homosexuals or otherwise, and Jesus is the only way to the Father. To say that homosexuals who are not able to overcome their inclinations and become straight lack sincerity and are not genuine believers is like insisting that believers who are not healed of their terminal illness lack faith to believe. It might be true for some but it is not true for all. So I humbly believe that all sinners who put their faith in Jesus will get to heaven. Yet we will not find homosexuals or terminally ill people in heaven because they will be made new and perfect in the Resurrection. Meanwhile sanctification by the power of the Spirit is about lives being transformed so that a thief will not want to steal again or an adulterer will want to stay faithful. Likewise a homosexual who truly believes will not want to engage in the acts and seek to do so with the help of the Spirit. Some may stumble along the way just as Christians continue to fall into sins but there is forgiveness because of faith. Meanwhile, there will be some who are healed of their inclinations just as there are some who are miraculously healed of their terminal illness. It is the sovereign God who wills. Let us then praise Him for those who have been delivered and help the others deal with their struggles.

The second has to do with Jesus’ warning on judging others, i.e. who am I to tell a homosexual that homosexuality is a sin when I also sin in other areas. It is a classic example of “let those without sin throw the first stone” (John 8:7). But in that account of the woman caught in adultery, it was not about judging but entrapment. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where he warns against judging others, it is given in the context of hypocrisy, i.e. when you do not recognise your own sin and adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. So when we recognise our sinful behaviour and are working to overcome it, we are not judging another when we tell him of his sinful behaviour for the purpose of correcting him. That’s what 2 Timothy 3:16 is about. Others might still accuse us for judging but we know our conscience is clear before God.

The third and final thing has to do with engaging LGBTs in the public square. I suppose this is the most difficult thing to deal with and is not helped by technological advancement that allows for easy posting and exchanges of views and opinions behind pseudo-names. What are my thoughts? In a secular nation like ours where religious bodies are given the platform to engage the authorities in various issues, the church has the responsibility to provide a unified response to the government as well as the public and this is what NCCS is set up for. Therefore it will serve the gospel well if local churches are unified under NCCS than to provide diversified views and conflicting opinions. As for Christians in the public square, the best way to engage is through lifestyle evangelism, i.e. living out our lives according to biblical principles than to say one thing but do another. Friends and strangers will want to hear us when we mean what we say. And think thrice when we are tempted to post anything on cyberspace because we are wise enough to know that once it gets up there, there is no turning back.

Rev Ronnie Ang

July 26, 2015