It’s finally time to finish this series of posts. I have sought to answer the question of whether Christianity is harmful to LGBT people. My thesis has been that instead of being harmful, that Christianity brings joy to LGBT people. If this is the first blog you’ve read, I encourage you to head back to parts 1-4 and consider what I’ve said there. This post will make much more sense if you do that.
One thing I perhaps should have clarified more frequently is that I am writing not to people who agree with me but for any who may disagree. That was stated in the first blog, but I haven’t mentioned it since then.
Today I wrap this up. I ended the last post with a main question regarding what joy looks like for an LGBT person who must continually say no to real desires for, perhaps, their entire adult life.
I do see that as a possibility. Sam Allberry, a pastor I quoted in part 4, claims to still experience what he calls “same sex attraction.” As far as I know he has been a Christian for quite some time. Kevin DeYoung, in his book, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?, cited an example of someone moving from experiencing homosexual desires before becoming a Christian to experiencing heterosexual desires afterward. But that instance is not guaranteed.
Here’s Allberry again, but on that topic this time:
“However ingrained it may be in someone’s behavior, homosexual conduct is not inescapable. It is possible for someone living a practicing gay lifestyle to be made new by God. Temptations and feelings may well linger. . .”Sam Allberry, Is God Anti-Gay?
Indeed, they may linger. They often linger in heterosexual, cisgender people.
Is there any hope that the “harm” an LGBT person experiences in being a Christian will go away? In this life, it is possible but not guaranteed. But in the next life it is guaranteed. It is the hope God the Father guarantees for all who trust in His resurrected Son. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the basis for people having a relationship with God now, but it is also the basis for the future resurrection of every Christian.
This classic Christian teaching is the ultimate promise of joy for LGBT people. Upon a Christian’s physical death, their body goes in the ground, but their soul goes to be with God in heaven. But when Jesus returns to earth, the souls of Christians will be reunited with a resurrected body that has been perfected by God. Then, they will live with Jesus forever on a new earth He will make. That will be an eternal life with God full of endless joy where there will never be any semblance of a thought or feeling that God does not endorse. There will be no LGBT desires in heaven. Therefore, there will be no more struggle against those desires and no more “harm” to experience. This is the ultimate hope not just of LGBT people but of every Christian.
Let me attempt to summarize my entire argument. Traditional Christian teaching shows that LGBT people are rebels against God, alongside every other person who has ever lived. This rebellion has distorted what people think and feel will bring them joy. But God is the ultimate experience of joy. When people acknowledge that, believe in what He has done to allow them to have a relationship with Him through Jesus, and turn over themselves to God, they will experience joy in knowing Him on this earth. That experience of joy is a kind of downpayment on what is to come. They may face a life where they must deny desires that feel natural but contradict how God says He wants people to live. That is the case with every other Christian but in different ways. But if they are faithful to God through that time of “harm,” then ultimate, eternal joy awaits them in an embodied existence with God and a community of people.
The Question Again
Does a traditional Christian ethic cause harm to LGBT people? Unfortunately, some have harmed LGBT people in the name of Christianity. There is no denying that. And granted, denying desires that seem to be part of a person’s identity may feel like harm. But when someone denies themselves for the sake of Christ, they are embracing a “harm” that results in more joy than can be imagined.
I truly appreciate your taking the time to read my claims–especially if you are an LGBT person. If you have any feedback or things I should consider, I’d be happy to correspond with you over email. You can contact me using the “contact” link above and it will be sent right to my email.
You may not agree with my position, and that’s okay. As I’ve stated a few times, this is a huge topic that can’t be addressed in just a few blogs. But I hope you will be willing to see that while the claims of Christianity regarding LGBT people are not popular anymore, they can be held with a desire for the good of LGBT people.
Again, thank you, and I wish all of you well.