Recently, our 28-year-old son told us he is gay. We were completely blindsided by this revelation.
Now we have had to walk the journey of trying to maintain a relationship with him and to express our love even though he has pulled away from us – presumably due to our faith in Jesus Christ and what Scripture says about marriage.
My faith has been rocked, as it is so hard to understand how people of faith can have such polar opposite views about marriage and homosexuality. What is the truth?
I believe Jesus wants us to still love our son, but how do we speak the truth in love when we are confused by the mixed messages?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Bob, I recently had a good friend express exactly what you shared concerning your son. The word “blindsided” is an apt description. First and foremost, know you are not alone, and getting strong personal support around you is critical right now. Our initial responses when blindsided are often not the wisest or the most productive. Get wise, Biblical counsel to help you navigate with both truth and love.
Since I already discussed how to frame the issue and develop a plan that honors differences but is committed to a real relationship (see Nancy’s question), let me address the second part of your question, “How can people of faith have such polar opposite views on marriage and homosexuality?” I’m going to refer you to two web articles and a book that I believe address this issue fairly and with intellectual and academic substance and integrity. The first article, by Dr. Ken Boa (MIT grad, PHDs from Dallas Seminary and Oxford), a good friend and brilliant thinker, addresses this issue graciously in “Homosexuality and the Meaning of Love.” The second is by Dr. Daniel Wallace, who answers Mel White (a former associate of Billy Graham, who has come out as gay in recent years and makes what he believe to be a Biblical case for monogamous homosexual relationships). For those from more conservative Biblically oriented churches, this is a growing position among some young evangelicals and has been the position of mainline denominations that approve of gay marriage and clergy. These articles are relatively short, explain the issues without too much technical language, and are written compassionately to communicate the truth, not attack people.
The third resource is a book entitled Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views by Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon. This is a longer and more in-depth analysis that covers every major text in the Bible on homosexuality. The men take opposing positions on the topic, but do so in a spirit of grace and understanding.
The first author, Dr. Via, is honest in clearly communicating that he does not view Scripture as it was historically written as authoritative or without error. His position essentially modifies what Scripture states based on what he considers information and cultural developments unavailable to the apostle Paul. His conclusion is that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle for Christians in monogamous homosexual relationships.
The second author, Dr. Gagnon, does careful exegesis of every Biblical passage pertaining to the topic. He explains the historical, cultural, grammatical issues related to each text and concluded that homosexual acts are forbidden by God as sexually immoral practices in the same manner that adultery and fornication are forbidden heterosexual practices.
It is absolutely essential in our day to become educated on how homosexuality is being redefined among Christians and realize that for those who hold Scripture as God’s Word and the authoritative guide for faith and practice, the core issue will not be homosexuality but hermeneutics. What’s at stake is Scripture itself. There is an emerging approach to interpreting God’s Word (even among evangelicals) in a way that removes moral absolutes.