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How Should Christians Talk About Same-Sex Issues?

If you Google the word "gay," a multi-colored banner appears on your screen in support of Gay Pride Month. By contrast, Westboro Baptist Church thanked God for the DOMA ruling, claiming that it will hasten divine judgment. (One of their tweets ends, "Yay + Destruction!")

Let's construct a third lane on the highway, one that neither endorses sin nor condemns sinners. Our target audience is a person for whom biblical authority is not persuasive. This person is not a Christian, or does not believe that the Bible forbids same-sex behavior, or believes the Bible to be wrong on this issue. How can we speak the truth in love?

First, we should explain objectively why God's word forbids homosexual activity. We must show that we are not condemning homosexuals — to the contrary, we want their best. To this end, I've written a report, "How does same-sex marriage affect you?" which explores in detail the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle.

Here are some facts on the subject: According to the Centers for Disease Control, men who have sex with men constitute two percent of the U.S. population, but account for more than half of all new HIV infections. A study in the United Kingdom reported that homosexuals are 50 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 200 percent more likely to be at risk for suicide. This in a culture which has been accepting of homosexuality for many years.

Studies indicate that life expectancy for practicing homosexuals is as much as 20 years less than for heterosexuals. While some blame this fact on America's "homophobic" culture, consider Denmark, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 1989. There the average age of death for homosexually married men and women is around 60; for the conventionally married, it is around 80 years. Facts like these help us explain that we oppose homosexual behavior because it is harmful to those who practice it.

Second, we must live with such integrity that our lives do not contradict our message. If I oppose homosexual activity but slander homosexuals, I violate Scripture just as much as those whose actions I oppose (1 Corinthians 6:10). The Lord seeks people "after his own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14) and found such a man in David, since "he will do everything I want him to do" (Acts 13:22). We must have God's heart before we can share his heart with the world.

A pastor with same-sex attraction says, "heterosexuality should not be the goal. Holiness is our standard and we are all called to be holy whether we have heterosexual or homosexual feelings. Holiness with reference to our sexuality means one of two things. If you are married, complete faithfulness to your spouse of the opposite sex. Or if you are single, complete faithfulness through abstinence."

That's the message of the hour. God bless you as you speak it with grace.

Jim Denison, Ph.D., is a subject matter expert on cultural and contemporary issues. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a nonsectarian "think tank" designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth in 2009 and is the author of seven books, including Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit www.denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit www.twitter.com/jimdenison or www.facebook.com/denisonforum.

Publication date: June 28, 2013

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