Unless your head has been stuck under a rock for the last few years, you’ve noticed a massive paradigm shift in Evangelical Christianity calling on Christians to embrace a new ideology — “gay celibacy.” Largely promoted from liberal outlets like The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the movement teaches that that people who experience attraction to others of the same sex need not be concerned, so long as they remain celibate.
This idea is completely foreign to historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. The movement and its proponents — such as Sam Allberry, an openly gay Anglican priest — teach that same-sex attraction, in and of itself, is not sinful and that it’s only sinful once acted upon. In fact, Allberry, a prominent TGC contributor, recently presented at a Ravi Zacharias conference where he expressed that same-sex attraction can be sinful if it is acted upon, even mentally. However, what he fails to acknowledge is that once you’ve experienced the same-sex attraction, you’ve already had the thought, therefore, you’ve already acted upon it mentally.
Consider what Allberry said regarding his own experience of homosexuality, he states,
I am same-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that, I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep-emotional attractions to people of the same sex.
Of course, the Bible teaches that this is not only sinful, but completely against God’s created natural order, and this clearly falls into the category of “evil desire,” which, according to Colossians 3:5 is idolatry,
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Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Further, Jesus clearly taught that looking with lust, in and of itself, is sinful — just like actually “acting upon” it — and Paul refers to these unnatural affections in Romans 1:26as “dishonorable passions (ESV)” and “vile affections (KJV).” Other translations use similar, but harsh terminology, but one can be left with no doubt that same-sex attraction is sinful.
Yet, this movement teaches that repentance from homosexual affections is not necessary — more than that, it is something that is likely, in many cases, to never change. It teaches that one can continue to live a God-honoring life while continuing to desire sexual contact with another person of the same sex. So their solution for their sin isn’t repentance and faith in Christ alone, it’s to redefine the sin (gay only means gay if you’re actively pursuing sexual contact with a member of the same sex, otherwise, you’re just “same sex-attracted”), minimalize it (there is no need to repent of same-sex attraction, it’s merely a disorder, not a sin), and to seek alternative lifestyles to fulfill your intimate needs in ways that don’t involve the act of sex.
Sam Allberry is one of the founders of the same-sex ministry, Living Out, which has an article on its website entitled Celibate Same-Sex Couples that the author essentially says that homosexuals of the same sex can live together — even be physically intimate with each other — so long as it doesn’t involve penetrative sex. And Sam Allberry recently published a video on The Gospel Coalition calling on churches to back singles who want to adopt children.
These are all ways that homosexuals are seeking to fulfill a need for intimacy that they believe cannot be fulfilled any other way. However, Paul teaches that people who have this need for intimacy are not called to live a celibate life. Celibacy is reserved for a very small fraction of people, chosen by God, for the purpose of devoting their lives to a certain ministry. Paul, himself, is a prime example of this calling. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9,
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
It is better to marry than to burn with passion. And, obviously, people who experience, in Allberry’s very own words, “sexual, romantic and deep-emotional attractions to people of the same sex,” then it is better to marry — and to marry someone of the opposite sex is the only viable, biblical option.
Repentance from homosexuality doesn’t just involve abstinence from a sin that you truly desire in your heart. That is actually a form of works righteousness — seeking to appease God by abstaining from the lusts of your heart. But the fruit of a regenerate heart and repentance is a desire to love the things that God loves and hate what He hates. This is a recurring theme all throughout Scripture.
Does this mean that if you never marry, you’re in sin? Well, no, not necessarily. But if you’ve written that option off the table while you’re still wallowing in your rebellion and idolatry, that is most certainly sinful. Seek God and He will provide for you.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33