I am a part of the “launch” team for the upcoming release of a book by David Bennett entitled A War of Loves: the Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus. As the subtitle suggests, this is the author’s personal testimony, the struggle he lives with every day, to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ as an individual who identifies himself as a gay, celibate Christian.
At the heart of the book, and this huge cultural issue, is the question, “are people who identify themselves as ‘gay’ born that way or is it a choice?”
Bennett’s argument, is, in a way, both. Here’s what I mean. Bennett states that the bent towards homosexuality is a result of the Fall. He admits that homosexuality is not a part of God’s design for His image-bearers, but it became a reality after the Fall recorded in Genesis 3 when everything was rocked by chaos. Honestly, I had never thought of it this way before and there seems to be some validity to it.
One passage the author points to is Matthew 19:12. Remember, Mathew 19 is Jesus’ discourse on divorce. The always questioning of His authority Pharisees ask the question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (vs. 3).
They ask this to justify their own practice of doing that very thing. The Pharisees had taken the allowance of Moses to new heights (or depths actually) by saying divorce is always the man’s right, no matter what.
Jesus’ reply is to go back before Moses to creation, “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'” (vss, 4-6).
The author states that the marital union is one of God’s ways to show the complete image of God. He makes a distinction between “love” and “sex” which is consistent with biblical teaching.
After the encounter with the Pharisees, who probably went away in disgust, the disciples make an observation about celibacy (vs 10). Here is where verse 12 comes into play, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
A key component here is to come to an understanding of the term eunuch. Does the term refer to someone without genitalia (i. e. reproductive organs); someone born without an interest in sex, or something else?
The overwhelming evidence is “the Bible never uses the words homosexual and eunuch interchangeably. Furthermore, eunuchs are never referred to in Scripture as being in sin, while homosexuality is universally condemned in both the Old and New Testaments.”
It seems that using the concept of the eunuch to account for “being born that way” is a stretch biblically.
I do want to commend the author for his sacrifice of abstaining from a sexual desire that is a real temptation for him. Celibacy is a choice he makes in his life as a follower of Jesus. The book did challenge me to address the things I should be “celibate” about, my personal, habitual sins that always keep popping there ugly heads into my life.
So, I am not condemning the book or its author. Mr. Bennett serves as a reminder of whom we serve and whose we are. I need help every day to live the way Jesus wants me to live.
And, as far as the issue of homosexuality goes, this is not the unforgivable sin. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and, except for the grace of God, we all would be on the outside looking in.
Until next time,
TO THE GLORY OF GOD!