Popular singer Lauren Daigle was recently asked in an interview if she believed that homosexuality was a sin. Daigle, known for her strong Christian faith, said this in response:
“I can’t honestly answer on that. In a sense, I have too many people that I love, that are homosexual…I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God…I just say, read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know because I’m learning too.”
Her reply disappointed, and angered, many of her Christian fans, who were swift to blast her for botching what should have been a slam-dunk opportunity to stand up for biblical sexuality.
I share that disappointment. When God raises up one of his children to be front and center in the cultural spotlight, they are given a great opportunity to be salt and light. And as Jesus said, “Of those who are given much, much is expected.”
However we need to do more than just fume and criticize. I remember when Bob Dylan confessed Christ back in the 80s, and released a few albums celebrating his new faith. (His first “faith” album, Slow Train Coming, endures as one of the best Christian-themed albums ever.) In his concerts, Dylan began to blend his old and new songs together into his set-lists. But a good number of Christians were ruthless in their condemnation, accusing him of “compromise” or worse.
That snarkiness began to wear on him, and unquestionably was one factor in his faith becoming just a cul-de-sac in his career, and not a permanent highway.
Scripture calls us to “correct our opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:25). How much more one of our own? This means at least two things: carefully measuring the words we use in leveling our critique, then making sure that our critique is bookended with sincere prayer for the one in our cross-hairs.
Then I would add a third element.
Don’t just correct. Don’t just pray. Go on and model the response that you believe would be more appropriate.
And goodness! It’s not as though questions about human sexuality are coming out of nowhere. Some attacked the radio host for baiting Daigle with a trick question. Sorry, but that’s absurd. I don’t know what the great cultural issue will be ten years from now, but right now the #1 topic on everybody’s minds is sexuality.
As our culture marches ever more militantly into adopting pagan forms of sexuality not seen to this degree since the days of ancient Rome, followers of Christ have been given a powerful opportunity to make the case for biblical sexual ethics.
Lauren should have been more than ready to take that question, and answer it in a compelling fashion. As should each one of us.
Now if Lauren meant what she said, then that points to another huge problem in her heart and theology that her mentors and supporters will have to help her with. Let’s give Lauren the benefit of the doubt for the moment, and assume that she still believes deep down that homosexuality is falling way short of what God intends for a person that he loves.
What might she have said instead?
In one sense, the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” while not a trap, is layered with so much red-meat that if it’s answered indelicately, then the pit bulls of culture will immediately tear into the careless respondent, and not hear another word that is said.
As our culture marches ever more militantly into adopting pagan forms of sexuality, followers of Christ have been given a powerful opportunity to make the case for biblical sexual ethics.
Jesus faced these sort of questions from his enemies all the time. “Moses commanded us to stone [adulterous] women. So what do you say?” “Shall we pay taxes to Caesar or not?” “Tell us by what authority you do these things?” “Is it lawful to divorce your wife for any reason?”
A careful study of how he answered, should be insightful for us facing similar questions today. Jesus was never afraid of saying the difficult, even offensive, thing. But it’s interesting that with these “trick” questions, his approach was to carefully turn those questions into profound teaching moments for his listeners (which often left egg on the face of his accusers.)
One of his best strategies was to answer the question with another question.
In response to the question about his authority, Jesus quickly turned it around by asking a question about his enemies’ presuppositions. “Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” (Luke 20:3-4). When the chief priests, et al, fudged, because they didn’t want to publicly admit their unbelief (which would have revealed what they truly thought of all the “deplorables” that flocked to John), Jesus said, “Then I won’t answer your question.”
So the person asking if homosexuality is a sin in all likelihood doesn’t believe that there is any such thing as “sin”. So rather than saying point-blank, “Yes, homosexuality is a sin”, a better response would be to say something like:
“Well I’m curious what sorts of sexual behaviors you would consider to be sinful. Do you think there should be boundaries around sexual behavior, or does anything go?”
This does a couple of important things. It turns the question – which was intended to be like a ball used in one of those dunk tanks where the poor victim is dumped mercilessly into water – into an actual conversation about morality and the nature of sin.
By making it a conversation, we can explore some of the issues of “harm” that result when we engage in a behavior that God says is wrong. Sin is not arbitrary. There are reasons why God says, “This, but not that.”
Too many Christians have failed to think deeply about the harm that God is trying to protect us from when he warns us against aberrant sexual ideas and practices. Could it be that the person who tries to jam a spoke in LGBT ideology on its Sherman march through culture is acting in one of the most loving ways imaginable?
We’ll pick up other strategies in our next article.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.