Gayness, God’s Image, and the Modern World

This past week, Trey Pearson, the lead singer of the Christian Rock band Everyday Sunday announced that he was gay. He stated that he “was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me.” He also stated that “There is absolutely no conflict with accepting who I am and following Jesus…God wants me to be healthy, authentic, whole, integrated and my truest self.”

Pearson was married and has shared that his family (including his parents) are having a difficult time accepting his announcement. Pearson also has two children. This singer is well versed in Scripture and has concluded that the Bible does not prohibit the kind of committed same sex relationships that people have in the world today.

In the interviews that Trey has done since making his announcement, he has noted that we are all created in God’s image, he was created gay and did not decide to become gay, and that he still reads his Bible, prays, and loves the Lord.

This announcement raises several questions.

  1. Does the Bible differentiate between committed same sex relationships and non-committed sexual acts between individuals of the same gender?
  2. Can someone be born gay? If so, how does that speak to the way in which humans bear God’s image?
  3. Can someone who is attracted to other people of the same gender love God?
  4. Does God want people to be authentic to who they are or obedient to his commands?

Below I will attempt to clearly and succinctly answer these questions.

Does the Bible differentiate between committed same sex relationships and non-committed sexual acts between individuals of the same gender?

In short, no. The Bible states that homosexuality is sinful, but it does not make any distinction between committed and non-committed relationships or acts. It does condemn acts that are clearly of the non-committed nature (Genesis 19:1-38). It also condemns acts in general without indication of whether or not the relationships are of a committed nature (Romans 1:26-28; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; and Leviticus 18:22).

The Bible never speaks positively of homosexuality in any manner. It never speaks positively of polygamy. It does not speak positively of adultery, or of engaging in any sex outside of marriage. But the Bible does condone marriage between 1 man and 1 woman, who are to remain together and remain faithful to one another (Mark 10:6-9).

Can someone be born gay?

It would seem so. There have been a number of studies that prove that at least some individuals are attracted to members of the same gender from very early on.

How does being born gay speak to the way in which humans bear God’s image?

All human beings are created in God’s image regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, education level, etc. Humans bear God’s image in all the ways that they are like God. However, no humans perfectly bear God’s image. Anything in humans that is not like God highlights the fact that God’s image in us is broken. We bear God’s image but we do not bear it perfectly. Same sex inclination does not represent the image of God in humanity, but it does not in any way show that a person is not made in God’s image.

Can someone who is attracted to other people of the same gender love God?

Yes. It is clear that people inclined towards same sex attraction can still love God. All people are imperfect. All people struggle with things that God declares to be sinful in his Word. Yet, anyone can love God. All people who do love God are sinful. People inclined towards gossip can love God. People who struggle with pride can love God. People who struggle with lust can love God. But God always calls people to a higher standard of living once they enter into a relationship with him. That calling is for the people’s own good. God wants us to live a certain way because he knows what is best for us.

Here is an article written by a gay Christian who believes that God expects Christians inclined towards same sex attraction to live a celibate life.

Does God want people to be authentic to who they are or to be obedient to his commands?

God does want Christians to be authentic. However, he also wants them to obey his commands. His desire for humans to be authentic does not include a desire for humans to embrace the sinful things they are drawn to. When the woman caught in adultery is brought to Christ, Jesus’ words cause the crowd to walk away realizing that they are all sinful, but he then tells the woman to go and stop sinning. When Jesus eats with Zacchaeus the tax collector, before Jesus even tells him to return the money he stole from the people, he declares that he will pay it back with interest. An authentic relationship with Christ calls people to do the right thing.

In the New Testament in the Church in Corinth, there is a man who is living with his dead fathers wife (the man’s step-mom not his real mom). They are not married, and yet he wants to continue coming to worship as if he is not in the wrong. Paul commands the church to kick this man out until he repents. Once he repents they are to accept him back into the fellowship of the church. The idea behind this situation is that the individual has embraced sin and the discipline is to help him see the serious nature of his actions. Our sins affect our relationship with God. Thus, his repentance (confessing to God that we are in agreement with God that our actions are outside of his will) was needed so that he could continue moving forward in his relationship with God and with the rest of the church.

There is nothing wrong with Trey Pearson admitting that he is gay. There is nothing wrong with Trey wanting people to know that all humans are created in God’s image, but there is a problem with his claiming that God wants him to live in a committed gay relationship. The reason that this is wrong is simple, the Bible speaks against it. He can love God, and I believe that he does, but he must still choose to follow God’s precepts even when he desires to live in a manner that is different from what Scripture teaches.

God wants us to obey his commands because he loves us. He also loved us before we loved him. He chose to save us when we were in sin, separated from the ability to have an authentic relationship with God.

He saves us so that we can be free from sin. He saves us so that we can begin to live in the way that is authentic to who he created us to be in an un-fallen state. He saves us so that we can bear his image in a manner that does not reflect our brokenness.

What are your thoughts on this topic and on this issue?

For more on Trey Pearson’s story, read the following:

The New York Times

Religion News Service

  1. James Taylor
  2. Dr. Scott Shiffer