Sexual Orientation vs. Practice

What is meant by the expression? It is the growing view in American evangelical churches that as long the sexual practices of homosexuals stop, the persons can remain in the “orientation” as partners and still live together, because that is the best orientation for them personally, all the while participating in all the activities of the church in worship and service.

Is it right for true Christians and for gospel-believing churches to adopt a view that homo-sexual individuals and couples can leave their homosexual practices regarding sex, and yet retain the relationship as partners and “friends”, justifying it by saying that sexual orientation is alright, as long as they don’t have sex with their partner? This trend of sexual orientation vs. practice is a growing view in American churches, and it must be addressed.

There is a growing trend to view that “orientation” is all right, namely, two people having a partner relationship because that is their preference or orientation is acceptable, as long as they do not engage in sex. They can still be partners in life, live together, and do all that other couples would do normally. The one exception is that they abstain from sexual activity with one another.

Is this view or “orientation only” acceptable from a biblical perspective? Would this be an acceptable view for a church to adopt?

There are cases and examples where homosexual couples began to attend an evangelical church, hear the gospel, profess faith in Christ, seem to be changed by the gospel, and even confess that their sexual activity is wrong and profess that they have put it behind them and are no longer practicing that sexual life style. They then get involved in the life of the church, and begin serving in various capacities. But they remain living together, saying that they are no longer having sex, but are remaining “friends” and partners, because that is the best choice for their personal orientation.

Suddenly, the church, wanting to be loving and accepting, faces a moral, biblical and ethical dilemma. Can the church support them in their choice and allow them to continue serving in the church, even while holding to their view of orientation? Can the church adopt a sexual orientation only view as being acceptable? The question is, can a church do this without compromising the biblical standard? What is at stake when such a position is supported and allowed?

Why would a professing evangelical church even consider adopting such a position of supporting sexual orientation, even if sexual practice is stopped? Probably for two reasons.

First, because they don’t want to appear “judgmental and unloving” toward these individuals that are now in the church. After all, the church reached out to these people, witnessed to them, and brought them to be a part of the church. Can they now demand them to change everything to that extent? Sincerity to be caring, “non-judgmental”, and supportive, causes the church leaders to decide to adopt the view that orientation is all right, as long as the persons are not having sex together.

Second, because the church leaders fear losing people in the church and giving the appearance to the homosexual community that they are a “judgmental and hateful” church.

When asked how to view the issue, it is clear that if a church is to remain faithful to the teaching of the Bible, a firm position of rejecting both sexual practice and orientation much be held. It is not the unloving position to take, but rather the only loving position, if we believe the Bible.

Here are three reasons why orientation is not an acceptable view and should never be adopted by any Christian or church.

1. It lessens and compromises the Biblical Standard

If sexual orientation is accepted for two men or two women to embrace, then it changes what the Bible clearly shows is the one acceptable relational orientation in adult relationships– a man and a woman, a husband and a wife — biblical theology nowhere teaches that there is a proper relationship partner orientation between two men or two women. Friendships, yes, but partners in any way? No, absolutely not. The testimony of Scripture, if it is our authority, reveals that men only have that with women and women are to only have that with men.

2. It Destroys the Example Believers are to Maintain

If a couple does not forsake their homosexual relationship and continue just to live together, even claiming that they are not sexually active, their example to others and to an unbelieving world is destroyed. The Bible calls all believers to “avoid even the appearance of evil” and to walk blamelessly in this world. No one who embraces the practice of orientation is blameless, because they are giving the appearance of still practicing homosexuality. No among of words or rationalization will convince society that they are still not practicing homosexuals. To remain living together is giving ever appearance of evil and is allowing the testimony the persons think they have to be destroyed. No true Christian thinks that it is exemplary to remain together in any way. No ex-homosexuals who are now professing Christians can give any appearance of still being in that relationship. Anyone who sees them automatically presumes they are still practicing homosexuality if they are still, in any way, with their partner. Any example or testimony is thereby destroyed.

3. It is Placing Yourself in a Position of Temptation to Sexual Sin

When homosexual couples profess to have repented of their sexual practices, but continue to live together or be partners, such persons are keeping themselves in a situation where they will be continually or consistently tempted sexually. The Bible not only tells us to “avoid even the appearance of evil”, but also to “flee youthful lusts” and to avoid any situation where we are put in a position that sexual temptation can be fulfilled. Jesus said, “If your eye . . . . your ear . . . . your hand offends you, cut it off.” He clearly was stating that you must eliminate anything that is putting you in a position where sin can happen. It is not only unwise to do so, it is unbiblical to remain as partners in any way at all. It must be abandoned.

In short, there is no way any Christian or Christian church can justify adopting a sexual orientation position. It is compromise, pure and simple. It violates the principles and the spirit of all Scripture, and it gives offense to all true Christians, as well as destroys the gospel testimony of the persons and churches involved. It also will produce havoc and disharmony in the church where such a view is held. The fall-out of losing many conscientious believers within the church who would leave if the orientation view is embraced would be far greater than the few, if any, persons who would leave if orientation is rejected. God will honor the churches that genuinely honor His Word. Anything less would be biblical compromise.

Do you know any professing Christians who are holding to the sexual orientation vs. practice view? You should tell them the truth while there is yet time.

– Mack Tomlinson

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