Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content


Home > Sermons

"Gay" Myths

Since homosexuality is outside of God's will, we must deal with those desires just like any other sinful temptation.

Homosexuality is probably the most emotionally divisive issue facing our nation. It's a hot topic, as a range of Newsweek covers on the issue suggests: January 18th, "AIDS in the Arts"; February 1st, "Gays in Military"; March 22nd, "Taming the AIDS Virus"; June 21st, "Lesbians Coming Out Strong"; and October 25th, "Sexual Correctness. Has It Gone Too far?"

Homosexuality is a heavy issue facing our culture and the church, and I want to address it as honestly as I know how. But I want to begin by making a few statements.

First, if you don't hear anything else I say, I want you to hear this: if you're a homosexual, you matter to God. He loves you, cares about you, and has a plan for your life.

Second, you matter to me. Pastors and other Christians haven't always made that clear. In fact, if we've done anything, we've said you're the enemy, which you're not. You've been ridiculed and rejected by Christians and the church all your life, and I want you to hear me say I'm sorry. Many Christians need to repent and ask for forgiveness for the hate they've expressed toward the homosexual community.

When I was a student pastor during seminary years, I got a phone call from a funeral home in town, requesting me to perform a funeral. They informed me that the person was not connected with my church or any church.

I said, "Fine. If the family needs me, that's great."

He said, "There's something I have to tell you. You're the last pastor I've called. Every other pastor in town turned this funeral down. You need to know this man was a homosexual and died of AIDS. None of them will come to be with the family. None of them will do the funeral. None of them want anything to do with it."

I became extremely angry at that, and that incident marked me for life. Another experience that marked me was having a gay friend. Early on in our friendship, we had a long discussion. As I was leaving, he said, "You're the first Christian who's talked with me and never made me feel like a faggot. Thanks for being a friend."

I share these incidents with you because you need to know what I'm going to say right now is not tinged by homophobia and insensitivity. I say it with compassion, not out hateful judgmentalism. I hope you'll let me talk honestly about this as a pastor who's trying to teach what God has to say.

Homosexuality departs from God's blueprint for sexual intimacy

I want to begin by looking at God's original design for us as human beings, found in Genesis 2.

"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I'll make a helper suitable for him.'" The Lord God made a woman, brought her to the man. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."

There are four foundational truths I want you to get from that passage. First, God created sexual identity. Second, when he created sexual identity, the identity was male and female. Scripture says the suitable helper for Adam was a woman. Third, God created sexual intimacy. And fourth, that sexual intimacy was to take place as the two became one in the context of a marriage.

That's the blueprint, according to Scripture, that God designed for our sexuality. Homosexuals depart from this blueprint in two foundational ways.

First, rather than embracing solely the design for sexuality, homosexuality embraces a preference as the blueprint for sexual intimacy, or at least for their sexual intimacy and expression. Second, they depart from God's intent for sexual intimacy to take place within the confines of a marriage.

When God's blueprint is on one side and homosexual departure is on the other, it should come as no surprise that when the Bible speaks about homosexuality it suggests that the homosexual departure is not God's design. Some Scriptural language is very clear about this.

For example, Leviticus says, "Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin." Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man has sexual relations with another man they have done a disgusting thing."

Romans 1 says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They exchange the truth of God for a lie. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Although they knew God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but approve of those who practice it."

It is extremely compelling to me that every single reference in Scripture about homosexuality condemns it without question. So let's review.

God created human beings as male and female. He intended for sexual intimacy to be there and there alone in the context of marriage. As a result, the Bible sees any departure from that design, homosexuality as one example, as outside of God's will for our lives.

Homosexuality is no different than any other behavior that is outside of God's will

Let's play devil's advocate with the Bible. Let's look at the big arguments that say, "Yeah, but" and see if the Bible stands up.

What's the great argument against everything I've just said? "This is how I'm made! You can talk about Scripture all day long, but this is who and what I am. This is in my DNA structure. It is unfair, even cruel to condemn me for how God made me. I didn't create this desire; God did. Why should I be condemned for following my natural desires?"

Let's acknowledge that many people who pursue a lifestyle of homosexual behavior have a strong tendency toward that behavior. Some people seem to have a homosexual orientation that can be brought to the surface through a variety of psychological factors and personal experiences.

But a homosexual orientation is no different than any other kind of orientation somebody can have toward a particular behavior or a particular lifestyle that may or may not be outside of God's will. For some, this orientation might be pride, alcohol abuse, gambling, a quick temper, slander, or gossip. All of us have certain aspects of our that shape who we are and make us prone to certain temptations and activities. There may be an area I struggle with all my life that's not a big deal for you.

But an orientation towards something is a lot different than a legitimation of it.

Let's say you believe, "I do what I do because I am what I am." Let's test the validity of this statement.

Psychologically it can't be true. Psychologists will tell you that who we are is a combination of nature plus nurture. In other words, disposition joins with personal choice, and that's how we're formed. Saying, "I do what I do because of my biological " is psychologically not true. You may have a particular orientation, but you make the choices that reinforce it.

Let's determine the philosophical validity of the assumption "I do what I do because I am what I am." If your philosophy is that desire should shape morals, then you believe whatever you desire to do you should have the legitimation to go out and pursue it.

But that can't be right, because what if my desire is for murder or for molesting young children? You can't pick and choose where you want to apply your philosophy. Either it's true or it's not. Either desire legitimates behavior, or it doesn't.

Does the belief that "I do what I do because I am what I am" hold up morally? From a moral and spiritual perspective what matters is not where you're tempted but what you do with the temptation.

Homosexual temptations must be resisted like every other wrong desire

I may have moments, and I frequently do, when I desire to knock somebody's block off because one of my weaknesses is temper. But that's different than giving in to the feeling. The Bible does not condemn homosexual desire. But like any other desire outside of God's will, it says resist the temptation.

The Bible makes it clear in James that "We're all tempted when by our own evil desire we're dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it's full grown gives birth to death."

Temptation comes through desire. Just because desire is there doesn't mean that what you want to do is okay. I'm a heterosexual man and have sexual desires, some of which are to fulfill that sexuality outside of my marriage with another woman. These sexual temptations are no different in God's eyes than the homosexual temptation that another man might have. When faced with the opportunity, it is up to us to turn away from the desire.

Now, the gay person is going to say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. At least you can get your sexual appetite fulfilled in marriage. I can't." But when you follow this logic, you're saying that desire determines everything. Essentially you are saying the number one rule of life is to have your sexual appetite satisfied and that if any morality says it cannot be fulfilled then that morality is immorality.

That's a superficial understanding of life.

Look at 1 Corinthians: "Remember this. The wrong desires that come into your life aren't anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you, and no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation's power so that you can bear up patiently against it."

There are other arguments worth mentioning briefly when playing devil's advocate. Some believe if they don't pursue their homosexual lifestyle, they can't be happy. In their opinion, it's the only way to be happy, and being happy is the primary goal in life.

I need to challenge that assumption with some sobering statistics about just how gay gays are. Homosexual men are six times more likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual men. Between 25 and 33 percent of homosexual men are alcoholics. The national average is seven percent.

Homosexuality cannot be condoned simply because the large number of homosexuals

My second argument is that many homosexuals claim you can't condemn what is prevalent in our society, questioning how anyone can say something's wrong when many people are involved in it.

That's frightening, because what they're saying is if 51 percent of all the people do it, then the majority is right.

However, recent studies have disproven this claim. It used to be standard operating thinking that the homosexual community made up at least 10 percent of the American population. The recent study, not by the Moral Majority but by the Patel Human Research Center in Seattle, found that it's really 1 percent of the American population that is homosexual.

Homosexuality does not become acceptable if it is practiced monogamously

Third, some homosexuals claim the real issue is commitment and love. They'll buy almost everything I've said, but they say the difference is they're monogamous. If monogamy is maintained, they believe all is well.

This assumption is problematic in a couple of ways. First, few homosexuals are even remotely interested in a monogamous relationship. Bloomstein and Schwartz in their extensive study of American couples found that gay men essentially have adopted a lifestyle of adultery. The Bell and Weinburg study on homosexuality suggested a third of all homosexuals have had over a thousand partners in their lifetime. In fact, that study found less then 10 percent of all homosexuals are in any kind of relationship.

McWarder and Madison, themselves a gay couple, found in their study of over a hundred gay couples that zero percent of gay couples were sexually monogamous after five years.

Secondly, the argument is weak because it still contradicts God's original design in creation, which is the marriage of a man and a woman. Even if you have the most loving monogamous relationship in the world with someone of the same sex, it's still a violation of God's design because the relationship was intended to be between a man and a woman.

Homosexuals can find freedom from the homosexual lifestyle

So what's a homosexual to do? Is there hope? Is there a Plan? Can they change? Are they supposed to change?

A lot of people say, "No, you can't change." They've tried and failed. They say, "Even if it's wrong, I can't stop the lifestyle."

I don't agree. I think there's hope. Like any other lifestyle outside of God's design, there can be freedom from you want it. You may have an orientation toward homosexuality, but it's not all nature. We make choices, and we pursue lifestyles. Like any other practice, if your nature is affirmed by practices, then obviously you're going to embrace that behavior. But you can stop nurturing the behavior.

Just as an alcoholic can't stop drinking by holding the bottle in his lap, so a homosexual can't turn from his lifestyle if he's hitting the bathhouses every week.

The success rate of secular attempts at counseling, such as the five year program by Masters and Johnson, rated as high as 66 percent, which is quite high for human behavior modification. If you throw God into the counseling mix, recovery rate is even higher. There are some Christian ministries that have a 90 percent recovery rate for homosexuals.

That doesn't mean they always find the opposite sex attractive. It doesn't mean they wind up getting married and having kids; but it means they turn away from their desires.

The Bible talks specifically about this shot at change. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks specifically about former homosexuals in the church. In 1 Corinthians 6, he says, "Don't fool yourselves. Those who live immoral lives, who were idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals, will have no share in his kingdom. Neither will thieves or greedy people, drunkards, slanderers or robbers. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins are washed away. You're set apart for God, and he's accepted you because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you."

What Paul says is good news. He recognizes that homosexual behavior isn't of God and that some people in the church used to be practicing homosexuals but were able to receive God's forgiveness. Paul acknowledges that they were able to find freedom from the practice and that Christ gave them a fresh start.

Those of you who are homosexual, it took a lot of courage for you to come today, and I hold you in high regard. You knew I was going to be talking about this.

I want you to hear me say something in conclusion. You're no different than any of the rest of us struggling with temptation and desire. I'm not different than you; you're no different than me. We are just struggling in different areas. Christ is working in all of us.

Mecklenburg Community Church is nothing but a colossal collection of moral foul ups. You're in bad company here. You're surrounded by sins of pride, greed, pornography, , lying, stealing, and adultery. But through the power of Christ there's hope for all of us.

I will also tell you what is different about this place. Rather than shoving sin beneath the surface and not dealing with it, we want to expose it in our lives. Instead of denying and rationalizing our sinful behavior, we want to discover it, bring it to God, ask for forgiveness, and become changed people.

God calls all of us to become something we aren't naturally, which is like him. So let me go back to where I began. You matter to God. You matter to me. You matter to this church. It's a safe place. The message of the Christian faith, though, is true. It can't be compromised, and your life can be different if you want it to be.

James Emery White is senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is author of Opening the Front Door and What Is Truth?

(c) James Emery White

Preaching Today Tape #191


A resource of Christianity Today International

James Emery White is founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a consulting editor to Leadership Journal. He is author of Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, and blogs at churchandculture.org.

Related sermons

Patrol Your Pleasures

When Jesus frowns on fun
Bryan Wilkerson

Beyond Will and Grace

When considering the issue of homosexuality, we must push past the will and grace of primetime to embrace the will and grace of God.
Sermon Outline:


Many Christians need to repent of the hatred shown the homosexuals.

I. Homosexuality departs from God's blueprint for sexual intimacy.

II. Homosexuality is no different than any other behavior that is outside of God's will.

III. Homosexual temptations must be resisted like every other wrong desire.

IV. Homosexuality cannot be condoned simply because the large number of homosexuals.

V. Homosexuality does not become acceptable if it is practiced monogamously.

VI. Homosexuals can find freedom from the homosexual lifestyle.


We are all struggling with sin, only the type is different.