I don’t consider myself a person of faith. Maybe you can relate.
I grew up in the 1980s in a fairly typical home. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t read much of the Bible to me. And when they occasionally went to church, I slept in.
As I grew older, I thought my parents’ views on sex rather prudish: “Waiting to have sex until marriage. Ha! That was good for them, but not for me.”
As a teenager, I thought that a “committed relationship” was enough to rent a room on prom night. By high school, pornography had inflamed my lust.
As for homosexuality, I was too intoxicated with my own lusts to really care about that topic. In the mid-’90s, the mantra was “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I was happy to ignore the whole thing because I was living for me.
I didn’t care about politics—or preachers. I just wanted what I wanted, and cared little what people of faith had to say about sex.
Strangely enough, that all changed when Jesus Christ saved me from my empty hedonism. By the time I left high school, I both believed that Jesus Christ died for my sins and had authority to determine my sex life. I had been bought with a price. As a Christian, I was commanded to flee sexual immorality and glorify God in my body.
Fast-forward two decades. Closets are wide open in America, and Christians are divided about sex.
Some in the name of faith feel the only way to treat others with respect is to affirm their sexual preferences. But others remember the words of Jesus who condemned every form of “sexual immorality” (Matt 15:18), defined marriage as a union between a man and woman (Matt 19:3-9) and saved sexual sinners by forgiving them and calling them to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
I don’t expect non-Christians to fully understand Jesus’ logic on loving the sinner by calling them to abandon their sexual sin, but within the church it’s another story. While some find it fashionable to embrace same-sex marriage in the name of faith, Jesus didn’t give us that option. The Christian faith is not a moldable set of ethics based on personal feelings; faith was the historic set of doctrines declared by God through his apostles and prophets (Jude 3).
For those who don’t see it already, the division among Christians is not about sex. It’s about Scripture. Is the Bible authoritative and true in all that it affirms and denies about sex? Or is it not? The debate is not a matter of taste but truth, and it is as old as Eden itself.
For on the one side, there are those asking the serpentine question: “Did God really say?” And on the other, God’s design and moral instructions about sex are maintained because Jesus said: “I did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them” (Matt 5:17). Indeed, as Christians talk about faith, sex and the Spirit, we must be more honest about the Bible.
Those who claim the name of Christ and affirm homosexuality (or adultery or divorce or pornography) as a legitimate way to honor God can do so only by ignoring, truncating or reinterpreting the Bible. By contrast, faith grounded in truth requires Christians to submit every area of their lives to Jesus, including sex.
Today, I am still not a person “of faith,” if that means someone whose faith is a matter of personal feeling. No, I am a sinner saved “by faith” in the gospel of Jesus Christ whose love freed me from my sexual sin and whose Lordship impacts my values, my voting and my voice. If you are a Christian, shouldn’t the eternal word of the Lord do the same for you?
David Schrock is pastor of Seymour’s Calvary Baptist Church. He is also serves as adjunct faculty to schools in Indianapolis and Louisville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.