In most western countries this question will increasingly become more of a divisive issue. Currently denominations and churches throughout the United States and Europe are splitting because of this issue. Not only the question of homosexuality but the authority of Scripture, which this question stems from.
A number of years ago I served in youth ministry at a church in the South Western part of the United States. The denomination that our church was a part of was debating whether to allow homosexual pastors and whether or not pastors could conduct wedding ceremonies for homosexuals.
It looked like the denomination was going to allow both, so the church encouraged me to do an open panel with the students. The open panel was enlightening as to the possible future for evangelical thought. These were students who claimed to be evangelicals, went to church each week, loved to sing praise songs, and wanted to go on mission trips (Jamaica, of course!).
Ignorance about homosexuality
The two themes that came out from our conversation was, first, that in the past our parents lived in ignorance about homosexuality so it was therefore condemned as wrong. However, we now live in the day where science has proven that it is a genetic issue (not a choice but nature) and therefore cannot be called a sin. Second, sinning is only doing things that hurt other people. Things like stealing were typically considered bad (not always if there was a greater good), murder was wrong, and having sex with anybody you wanted too was bad (but it is ok if you love the person).
We love ourselves mores than we love God
This second theme was enlightening to me. It made me think about how I taught the Bible and how much I taught on morality (which we must). I realized that in my teaching on morality I had blurred the definition of sin. Those are all indeed sins which are manifested because of our sin problem. Our sin problem is that we love ourselves more than we love God. We want to honor ourselves more than we want to honor God. This is the cause of our sins.
I think once we truly understand the second issue we can think more clearly about the question of homosexuality. So is homosexuality apart of genetic makeup or choice. I think that the likely answer is both. In Romans Paul writes “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:24-27 ESV)
Our depravity runs deep
The truth is that our depravity runs deep. I believe that, largely, the church today has a faulty conception of how deep our sin runs. Our sin has tainted everything. We notice in this passage that it says “God gave them up to.” I believe that it is likely that our sin runs so deep that many people are born with a bent toward homosexuality.
Many people will say that if this is truly the case then how can God call it sin. Surely He must be gracious to them and they should be able to enjoy their lives because He made them that way. Well, not quite. God did not make them that way. They are homosexual because of sin. Later in Romans Paul writes.
“We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:4-6 ESV)
Thanks to what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross there is hope for all sinners. I must daily choose to look to the cross where my Lord and Savior condemned sin in His flesh. Because of His death and resurrection we would no longer be enslaved to sin but walk in newness of life.