“It is as unloving to hold out hope to those who embrace a homosexual lifestyle as it is to assure idolaters, murderers, adulterers, and thieves that they are safe and secure from all alarm.”
That is a quote from a recent article written by Michael Horton. In the article Horton attempts to make the case that homosexual behavior is a symptom of “human depravity” in the same way other sin such as murder, adultery, and theft.
I can see how Horton is putting together his argument based on some verses in the Bible but I don’t think that’s a very effective way to form an argument. Based on his same treatment of scripture, I could make just as strong an argument that women should not be able to speak at all during church services. I could also make the argument that if a Christian man is not an elder, he is free to marry more than one woman. Both of those arguments are silly and could lead to all kinds of unfavorable outcomes but are equally as strong as the argument that Horton makes in this article.
The primary issue with Horton’s position is that it is not observable in a conclusive way that homosexual relationships are any more damaging or hurtful to human beings when compared to the other sins he mentions. When an alcoholic stops drinking, the general trend is that their life is improved. When a drug addict gets clean, they typically go on to lead more productive, happier lives. Marriages typically have a better chance of being healthy when adultery is avoided. If someone can fight off the temptation to steal items that don’t belong to them, they will have a much better chance of avoiding jail time which I think we can all agree is a good thing, right?
But what about homosexual behavior? Let’s compare the general experiences of homosexuals who have found acceptance and support from the ones that either repress their orientation or who are marginalized because of it. In my experience, I find those who have been accepted and supported by their friends and loved ones to experience much better outcomes. For those who experience rejection, who are encouraged to repress their orientation, to essentially be cut off from the prospect of deep, meaningful love with another human being…..we typically observe much worse outcomes. Horton writes about his own personal encounter:
At the end of his rope, a young man called me at the suggestion of a mutual friend. After a summer of discussing these questions and building new categories, with the support of a good church, he returned home. He told his parents that he was neither “gay” nor “straight.” Secure in Christ’s sufficient work, he was a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction yet who rejects the gay lifestyle. It was not a category for these folks. After his pastor informed him that he was one of those Gentiles whom Paul refers to as “given up” by God to their depraved desires, this friend and brother committed suicide. Superficial views of sin can be deadly, especially when the lethal weapon was a misuse of Scripture.
What’s particularly interesting about this article is that Horton doesn’t seem to think that he is any way complicit in the tragic ending of this young man’s life. Of course not, right? It was that other pastor who’s superficial view lead to it all. I’d beg to differ and suggest that anyone along the way who didn’t accept this young man’s orientation has blood on their hands. It’s a shame.