The issues of ‘gay pride’ and the LGBT ‘agenda’ have featured a lot in the news recently, whether through ITV ‘exposés’ on ‘conversion therapy’, the silencing of an ex-gay X Factor contestant, or news of parents fighting against schools promoting LGBT. But all of these stories have created a mixed response from Christians; confusion still reigns around how Christians should respond to ‘gay rights’ and ‘gay pride’.
And when people such as Vicky Beeching proclaim that God ‘accepts you as you are’, the Church of England appears to affirm transgender ideologies, and the gospel to simply ‘love your neighbour as they are’ is being preached, it’s understandable that people assume the Bible must support the cause of LGBT. So why do so many Christians seem to oppose it?
Here, we present six reasons that clarify why ‘pride’ and an LGBT lifestyle are unbiblical. Amid all the confusion, the Church must stand clear on these issues.
No doubt some will have stopped reading already, calling the article hateful, homophobic, or anti-Christian. But it is not out of judgmentalism, bigotry, hatred or homophobia that we write this; rather, it is out of love – love for God and for his word, love for the Church, love for the nation, and most especially out of love for those who are struggling with homosexual attractions.
It is our hope and prayer that the Church would stand clear in the truth so that it is better equipped to love and help those struggling with homosexuality.
1. ‘Gay pride’ conflicts with God’s view of marriage and sexuality
Celebrating the practice of different sexualities and encouraging same-sex attractions and unions are in direct conflict with God’s intended purpose for marriage and sexuality as revealed in the Bible. When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus answered, “But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate’.” (Mark 10:6-9. See also Matthew 19:3-12)
As the Son of God, it stands to reason that Jesus would know God’s intended purpose for marriage and sexuality. Many Christian supporters of LGBT issues claim that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality and is therefore neutral on the topic. However, if we take the above passages, we can see that this is not true. Jesus could have allowed for a wider interpretation of marriage, allowing that of homosexual partnerships, but he didn’t.
Homosexual practice is not unique to our generation; it existed long before Jesus was on earth. But from the beginning (Genesis 2:24), marriage has been clearly set out as something between a man and a woman, and a sexual union is to be enjoyed within those bounds.
Further to laying out God’s intended plan and purpose for marriage and sexuality, the Bible also lays out what God did not intend for marriage and sexuality. In Leviticus 18:22, the Lord speaks to the Israelites (through Moses), saying, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
And, in the New Testament, Paul states in Romans, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie … For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:24-27)
Throughout the Bible, we see the same, consistent sexual ethic being upheld: sexual union should only take place between a husband and wife – not between two people of the same sex.
2. ‘Gay pride’ conflicts with 2000 years of the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality
It has only been in recent years that parts of the Church have turned upside down (roughly) 2000 years of teaching on marriage and sexuality. In fact, the Church of England’s ‘progressing understanding’ of gender and sexuality goes against the very preface that they still use in marriage ceremonies today:
“Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God. It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust, they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind as Christ is united with his bride, the Church.
“The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives. It is given as the foundation of family life in which children are [born and] nurtured and in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love.”
This preface upholds and recognises the teaching of the Bible. To start changing the Church’s teaching and understanding of marriage and sexuality in support of ‘gay pride’ and ‘LGBT values’ is to go against the very biblical foundation that the Church has stood on for 2000 years.
Changing the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality is something that should worry us – especially if what is being taught is false. Contributing to false teaching opens the door for people with same-sex attraction to fall into sin by exchanging the true and complementary nature of marriage and sexuality for an unnatural expression of sexual intimacy between people of the same sex. In so doing, we also open the way for God’s judgement on the Church.
The Lord spoke through Jeremiah to the people of Israel, saying:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you’.” (Jeremiah 23:16-17)
Paul spoke to Timothy, warning that:
“…the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
The push for the acceptance of alternative sexualities in the Church follows these patterns.
Church attendance in the UK is already at an all-time low; could this be because God has removed his blessing? If the Church doesn’t act now, are we at risk of dying out? The answer is not to bow to the unbiblical wishes of the State; it is to hold unequivocally to the truth of God’s word.
3. ‘Gay pride’ celebrates what we know isn’t good or helpful
When we partake in ‘pride’ events and celebrate ‘LGBT values’, we are doing a great injustice to our brothers and sisters in Christ who experience same-sex attraction, because we are leading them to believe that God gives his blessing to same-sex sexual intimacy and encouraging them to act on attractions that God has identified as sinful and forbidden. Even when churches support and encourage ‘gay pride’ saying they uphold values such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘equality’, they are really celebrating ‘values’ that go against God’s word.
The Bible unites people of all different backgrounds and situations around their shared faith in Christ –
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:11-13, emphasis added)
– but the principle aim of ‘gay pride’ is to promote and celebrate a sexual agenda which goes against biblical values. When churches support ‘pride’, they open their doors to sexual temptation, and (intentionally or not) unhelpfully encourage people to act in a way that is contrary to God’s word.
As Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 17:1-2, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”
4. ‘Gay pride’ conflicts with our true identity in Christ
‘Gay pride’ is all about celebrating one’s sexual identity, ‘accepting who you are’ and ‘being true to yourself’. If we truly accepted who we are, we would realise that we are all sinful beings, created in God’s image, who all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
However, just because we were born into sin does not mean that that is who we were created to be, nor that we should therefore embrace it and act upon it. Thankfully, when we give our lives to Christ, our primary identity is in him, not in ourselves. In fact, once we are united with Christ, we leave behind our old selves (2 Corinthians 5:17).
As Andrea Williams states in her article on the Church of England endorsing transgender ideology:
“the gospel brings a message of hope and transformation. Not only are we created in His image, in Him we are transformed and changed even more into His likeness. God doesn’t leave us where we are, He makes us more like Him. God wants to free people to be the person they were created to be, bringing their gender [and sexuality]in line with their biological sex”.
Similarly, writing about the ITV ‘exposés’, Rev. David Robertson argues that this ‘pride’ ideology urges people to find satisfaction in something other than Christ. In fact, this new gender and sexuality theology redefines truth. Referencing Jayne Ozanne’s new book, Just Love, he writes: “The truth will set us free. Jesus is the truth. But for Jayne the truth is the ‘truth’ about ourselves [ie. our sexual identity], not the truth of Christ.”
People need to understand that their identity and value is not found in their sexual orientation, but rather in their relationship with God, in and through Christ Jesus: the one in whose image we were created, the one who died for us, offering himself as an atonement for our sins.
5. ‘Pride’ is overly sexualised
In many of the ‘gay pride’ parades across the country, footage can be seen of people promoting sexual acts, showing nudity, flaunting outlandish dress and behaviour. While this is not true of all homosexual people, it does appear to be a common and frequent part of ‘pride’.
By contrast, the Bible speaks of modesty and encourages us not to cause others to stumble into sin (Matthew 18:6-9). In Corinthians, Paul says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Christians are called to draw attention to God with their bodies, not their sexuality. As we have already seen, the Bible speaks of sex within the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. Anything that promotes sex outside of this is wholly unbiblical, thus for Christians to support ‘pride’ in this way is wholly unbiblical. In 1 John 2:16, it states: “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
This becomes even more of an issue when we promote these ideas and images to young children. But this is already taking place in schools across the country. Books such as This Day In June for 10-11 year-olds are full of drawings of ‘gay pride’ parades, normalising children to an overtly sexual ‘celebration’ of unbiblical ‘values’.
The sooner we open the door to unhelpful sexual temptation, the quicker people are to walk through.
6. The Bible teaches ‘humility’ over ‘pride’
A year after the Stonewall riots, a committee was formed to commemorate them; it would be L. Craig Schoonmaker who would suggest ‘Gay Pride’ as a name for the group. Speaking in an interview in 2015, he argued that, “anyone can have pride in themselves”. Asked if the word ‘pride’ was still necessary, he said: “Oh, definitely. Absolutely. It works internally, and it makes people more self-assertive. That’s what really is going to make the change in people’s lives.”
The Bible teaches that real change and transformation is only possible through Jesus Christ. As we have already seen, our identity is found in him.
The focus on ‘self’ is not what the Bible teaches, either: the primary command (Matthew 22:37-40) is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” – it is not to love ourselves first and foremost. The second commandment is to “love your neighbour as yourself”.
Humility is central to the gospel; self-assertion is not, pride is not. Jesus expressed deep humility by exchanging ‘the joy of heaven for the anguish of a cross’ – and he calls us to the same humility by finding our identity in him – trusting in his righteousness, not our own.
What is the solution?
Our prayer is that LGBT ‘affirming’ churches in the UK would rethink and change their current position regarding ‘pride’ and LGBT issues, that Christians across the nation would be united in a biblical view of marriage and sexuality. We long to see all people welcomed into churches, and more people come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, being transformed more and more into his likeness.
This article was originally published on the Christian Concern website.