Larry King hosted a very riveting program in which Christian singer Jennifer Knapp discussed her faith and decision to announce publicly that she is a lesbian and living in a lesbian relationship (I have posted the entire interview below – and I encourage those to watch it who have not seen it). This is a very controversial and sensitive issue. I want to start off by saying that Jesus loves all people, gay and straight and died for people of all sexualities. There are many, many Christian people in America and all over the world who have feelings for someone of the same sex, who are struggling with this same question.
Ms. Knapp has taken the position that as a Christian it’s permissible to be gay and maintain gay intimate relationships. She also believes that the Bible either does not outright say that homosexuality is a sin or that it’s unclear because of translation issues from Greek to English. She does not feel like what she is doing is wrong in the eyes of God. So can one be gay and believe in Christ? The answer is YES, just not in the way Ms. Knapp is trying to.
Pastor Bob Botsford of Horizon Christian Fellowship Church, came on the show and gave an excellent Biblical response and explanation of why Ms. Knapp is actually in sin and out of step with the Bible. And that’s what it comes down to. What does the Word of God say on these questions? So let’s go through the issues.
The Bible’s stance on homosexuality
Ms. Knapp claims that the original Greek translation is somehow a “handicap” to our understanding what the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is. The example she gives is the word “malakos” which is translated in the Bible as “effeminate.” This word has been used to be synonymous with being gay. Is that correct? Perhaps. But even if it is not, there are other verses that have no such linguistic ambiguity. Jesus Christ makes it very clear:
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Jesus quotes the book of Genesis in this passage. He takes it all the way back to the first human couple on Earth, Adam and Eve. God created them, male and female to be one flesh together. Marriage between a man and woman was to be permanent. This is God’s Will for relationships.
Romans Chapter 1 makes it even more clear as to what the New Testament’s position on homosexuality is:
Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
It is a part of our sinful flesh and our desires that are contrary to God that sexual immorality has entered our society. The Bible states that the “natural” relationship for a woman is to be with a man and vice versa. This passage is clearly stating that anything else is “error.”
Finally, there is the issue of sex outside of marriage. Whether one is gay or straight the Bible clearly forbids fornication.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
So just going by Scripture Ms. Knapp is wrong in stating the Bible is unclear on these things.
The Challenge for Gay Christians
So what if someone is gay or has gay desires but wants to be a Christian? Or is already a professing Christian. Is this possible? The answer is yes. Just like people who have lied or have desires to lie can be Christian. Or men who are unmarried and lust after women can be Christian. As long as anyone is willing to actually read God’s Word and believe it, it’s certainly possible. But the first step is confessing that homosexuality is a sin. Just like lying, stealing, cheating on your wife, taking the Lord’s name in vain and many other sins straight people commit every day. Homosexuality is not a “special sin’ that is to be singled out from any other. All born-again Christians have sinned and continue to sin after they are saved. But in order to repent as a Christian you have to choose to turn away from your sin and start living your life for Jesus Christ and His Will. For the straight Christian who has been having pre-marital sex, it means stopping that behavior. It means being willing to sacrifice your lusts and desires to be obedient to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
This is where Pastor Botsford did an excellent job of explaining what the Bible states. No matter what our sinful past is, whether it’s being violent, a white-collar criminal or a computer hacker, we have to “die” to sin. We have to let Christ live in us and abide by His Will. Being a Christian is about having a changed heart. The book of Galatians continues this point in Chapter 5:
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would
A born again Christian receives a new spirit that seeks to please God. However we are still living in our Earthly, sinful flesh and the Bible goes on to state that “..the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,..” And thus we have to work daily to remove those sinful desires from our lives. This is done through prayer, studying God’s Word and changing one’s lifestyle and decisions.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
To “crucify” the flesh means to be willing to forego fleshly desires in your love and obedience to Jesus. This is where the rubber hits the road for Ms. Knapp. She wants to live her life based on her own desires and what she feels is good for her. The Bible states: 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). If you are gay and truly want to follow Christ, you must be willing to deny yourself and let your sinful desires “die.” This is taking up your cross. As Pastor Botsford said, Jesus should rule your life, not sin. So the question is, are you willing to confess your sins to God? Are you willing to acknowledge being gay as a sin and turn from it? This is what Jesus says we must do to follow him. It does not mean that a gay person will suddenly lose all desires. That desire may never leave. But it does mean that person will gain a new desire to please God. The reborn spirit will be in that person and that they will know from the conviction they feel that they have to turn from that sin. And sexual sin is a difficult one, which is why the Apostle Paul says “flee fornication.” Don’t walk, run from it. Everyone of every orientation struggles with sexual desire. We are not perfect and will not be until we receive our heavenly bodies. But it’s going to God with our confessions and working to actively remove those sins from our lives that defines a Christian. That is how you follow Jesus.
The foundation of the Christian Faith is Jesus Christ. And Christ instructs us that God’s Truth is The Bible (John 17:17). Jesus Christ loves all people and died for all of us. We are all sinners. But if we don’t admit to sin, then we’re saying we don’t need a Savior. And if we are saved but are not even acknowledging we are doing something wrong, but instead proclaiming it to the world, sin is ruling our heart and not Jesus Christ. Hopefully Ms. Knapp will realize this.