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Justin Lee on faith, culture, and nuance

Justin Lee on faith, culture, and nuance

Christianity and LGBTQ

The Bible and Homosexuality

Bible image by Aaron Burden via Unsplash

I believe every Christian should study for themselves what the Bible has to say about gay Christians. There are three primary views in modern Christian circles:

  • The Ex-Gay View. This view argues that being gay is a choice or can be changed through prayer or therapy, and that gay Christians must become straight (attracted to the opposite sex) in order to be right with God. It is sometimes referred to as “Side X.” Many Christians believed this in the past, but with the widespread failure of “ex-gay” ministries, this view is becoming less and less popular.
  • The Celibacy View. This view argues that being attracted to the same sex may be a lifelong temptation, but same-sex sexual behavior is a sin. It is sometimes referred to as the “Side B” view today, although traditionally that label also applied to the Ex-Gay View.
  • The Affirming View. This view argues that God blesses marriage for same-sex couples just as for opposite-sex couples. It is sometimes referred to as the “Side A” view.

So which is my view? Well, I used to hold the first view. Then I held the second view. Now I hold the third view. In my book Torn, I explain what happened to change my mind. On this page, I discuss more of my biblical arguments. Ultimately, though, I don’t think anyone should believe anything just because I say so; pray, study, and learn for yourself!

Q: What are the key arguments and how did you come to your current view?

The best explanation of my view is in my book Torn. It goes into detail about what changed my mind and why, including not just the biblical arguments, but the specific ways in which I saw the church get things wrong on this issue. Whether you agree or disagree with me, if you want to understand why many Christians are changing their minds on this question, Torn will help you understand. Learn more here.

For a shorter, 30-minute summary of the key arguments with a sense of humor, check out my video Homosexuality, the Bible, and Nuance. It assumes you have some basic knowledge about the issues affecting gay and bi Christians and focuses primarily on how we should interpret the Bible and why. You can watch it here.

A text-based Bible debate between my friend Ron Belgau and me has been online for more than 15 years. It’s called “The Great Debate,” and even though some of my views have evolved since then, you can still find it here.

Ron Belgau and I often debate publicly on the Bible and homosexuality, so here’s a video of one of those events. As a general rule, I don’t like debates, but I will do a friendly “debate” as long as it is handled with grace and care for the people involved. Ron is good at that. Here’s a video of us debating at Seattle Pacific University in 2014.

I’ve had similar dialogues with Wesley Hill and Preston Sprinkle.

And finally, here are a couple of other videos I’ve made recently about the Bible and sexuality:

Q: What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

If you’ve checked out one or more of the resources above but you’re still struggling to find the answer to a specific question, feel free to contact me publicly or privately and I’ll do my best to answer you.

Tired of the polarization?

Talking Across the Divide as an ebook, audiobook, and paperback

Learn about Justin’s latest book, Talking Across the Divide, and download the free study guide!