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The Good News for Gays

It is only in recent months I have felt compelled to be more open on this issue. For many years, I had no intention of being public about it—it is, of course, very much a personal matter.

I am conscious that raising it here may lead to any number of responses—some welcome, some perhaps less so. But over the last couple of years, I have felt increasingly concerned that, when it comes to our gay friends and family members, many of us Bible-believing Christians are losing confidence in the gospel.

We are not always convinced it really is good news for gay people.

We are not always sure we can really expect them to live by what the Bible says.

Well, as my mind raced that lunchtime, God gave me a verse to share with my friend. It demonstrates precisely why following Jesus is worth it, in this lifetime, and even when we have to give up things we could never imagine living without:

Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30)

Following Jesus involves leaving things behind and giving things up. For gay people, it involves leaving behind a practicing gay lifestyle.

The Bible is consistent in prohibiting homosexual practice. Jesus himself condemns “sexual immorality” (Mark 7:21, for example). Though Jesus does not directly mention homosexual activity, he does include it.

The Greek word we translate as “sexual immorality” (porneia, from which we get the word pornography) is a catch-all term for any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage.

Paul is more specific, directly referring to homosexual practice in three passages. In Romans 1:24-27 both homosexual and lesbian activity are given as examples of the “unnatural” behavior that results from turning away from God. In 1 Cor. 6:9-10 ,“homosexual offenders” are listed among those whose behavior will result in their exclusion from God’s kingdom. The word Paul uses literally translates as “men who lie with men” and comes again in 1 Tim. 1:10 (where the NIV unhelpfully translates it as “perverts”).

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Sam Allberry has been in Christian leadership for ten years and is a pastor at St Mary's Church in Maidenhead, UK. He is the author of Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity, and most recently, Is God Anti-Gay? You can follow him on Twitter @SamAllberry In his spare time he enjoys Thai cooking and American history and politics.