A few years ago some of my RTB colleagues and I did a couple of Straight Thinking podcast programs entitled “Adult Children of Same-Sex Relationship Parents” (Part 1, Part 2). Afterward, a listener contacted me online and raised some critical questions about the content of those programs.
Although time has passed since our respectful exchange, the questions the listener asked remain relevant and I’ve rephrased them here. My brief answers are not exhaustive, but I hope they will serve as an example of the kind of dialogue all of us can have with those who disagree on serious matters.
Q1: Don’t you believe that same-sex families can have a thriving, loving, and healthy family dynamic?
A: I’m willing to grant that there are undoubtedly many same-sex couples who make good parents and who love and nurture their children. In retrospect, I should have represented that perspective in our podcast discussion. However, in my study of the topic, defenders of same-sex parenthood often stack the deck by pitting two loving homosexual parents against two unloving heterosexual parents. If the welfare of the children is to be weighed fairly, then the comparison should be between loving homosexual parents and loving heterosexual parents. In that fair comparison, I think children fare better by having a mother and a father as caregivers and role models.1
Q2: Isn’t it true that in the New Testament Jesus himself makes no mention of LGBTQ transgression? Isn’t it only in the apostle Paul’s words where homosexuality is mentioned?
A: It is unsound both exegetically and theologically to pit Jesus against the apostle Paul. The words in red (from Jesus) don’t outweigh the words in black (from Paul). All Scripture is equally inspired and, for evangelical Protestants, carries a unique and final authority in doctrine and in life (2 Timothy 3:16).
Jesus quotes the Book of Genesis (1:27; 5:2) in affirming the creation mandate of traditional marriage being between a man and a woman (Mark 10:6–9). Jesus also affirmed the truth and value of the Old Testament law (Matthew 5:17), and the Old Testament identifies homosexual conduct as sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). Thus, Jesus by implication views homosexual conduct as sinful.
The apostle Paul clearly identifies homosexual conduct as morally wrong (Romans 1:26–27). Other New Testament passages do as well (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; Jude 7). Neither Jesus nor Paul refers specifically to LGBTQ relationships because they are summed up in one Greek word, porneia, which appears in a handful of New Testament passages and is usually translated as “fornication.”
Q3: Aren’t you aware that many LGBTQ people suffer from depression and even suicide because of the treatment that they receive from a nonaccepting culture?
A: I recognize that people who are attracted to the same sex often suffer many indignities and sorrows from others.2 My heart grieves for those who suffer in such a manner. Because all people are made in the image of God, all people should receive dignified and respectful treatment. Therefore, even though you and I strongly differ over issues relating to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, I want you to know that I respect you as a person and I appreciate that you brought your questions to me.
Aim for Civil Discourse
I hope that this interaction allows my readers to understand how important this issue is in our culture today and how important it is to address it in a respectful and civil manner. We can differ with people on critical moral, ethical, and cultural matters but also do it in a gracious manner.
Reflections: Your Turn
What is the best argument in favor of traditional marriage? Can we strongly differ with a person over a moral issue and yet still treat that person with dignity?
For a Christian perspective on sexual sin, see John White, Eros Defiled: The Christian and Sexual Sin.
- Studies show that the children of traditional marriage are generally healthier, happier, and more well adjusted. See United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, “The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home,” July 23, 2020.
- While I am not a mental health professional, I do want to strongly encourage anyone who has suicidal thoughts to seek professional psychological help. In fact, someone at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is available to chat right now (24/7).