Editorial: The Believer’s Safe Space

It’s everywhere. The LGBTQ+ agenda has infiltrated nearly every aspect of society. We cannot ignore it and are pressured to embrace it. As Christians, we may feel intimidated by what appears to be the majority view. We’re stigmatized by the phobia labels. We’re informed we may be using hate speech. An “improper” response to the agenda could mean job termination; indeed, it already has for some. The believer needs a safe space, and, thankfully, there is one – Scripture. “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (Pro 29:25),[1] not necessarily from physical harm, but safe in the truest spiritual sense of the word. So, what is to be our response to the LGBTQ+ agenda?

Respect God’s Word

Let me address the LGB part of the acronym first. It is not only the Old Testament that condemns homosexual relationships (e.g., Lev 18:22; 20:13[2]), but the New Testament also (e.g., Rom 1:26-27; 1Ti 1:10). Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 should be enough to shake anyone to the core: practicing homosexuals[3] (listed along with idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, etc.) “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (v9). A soul’s eternal destiny is at stake. Thankfully, escape from these sins and the judgment they bring is possible, for Paul says, “And such were some of you” (v11a). He reminds them that a great change had taken place. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v11b).

There is a difference, however, between the practice of homosexuality and having feelings of same-sex attraction, something that even believers can face. Such an attraction only proves that we live in a fallen world, but the attraction itself isn’t sin. Acting on it is. For some Christians, the Lord has worked to remove these feelings, and they have been able to enter heterosexual marriage. But that has not been the experience for everyone. Scripture has a safe space for them also. The Lord Jesus gives a godly alternative to heterosexual marriage: singleness, celibacy (Mat 19:12). Believers who still struggle with same-sex attraction and therefore choose to follow a celibate life are to be commended for respecting God’s Word.

Recognize God’s Design

But what about gender, the TQ+ part of the acronym? Are there really 16 genders (or even 72, as some claim)? And is there a difference between sex and gender? Again, our safe space is Scripture. There are only two genders – male and female. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). Nowhere in God’s Word is a distinction made between sex and gender. It won’t do to say that when the Bible uses male/female, it means biological sex, but when it refers to man/woman, it means gender. If so, why do we never read of a male man, female woman, male woman or female man? Also, gender is not something chosen by individuals (as they begin to develop “gender-specific behaviors”) but is assigned by God. Scripture refers to a “male child” and a “female child” in the earliest stages of life, long before such behaviors could be expressed. And gender is not merely about having certain body parts.[4] It is written into the DNA of every cell in our bodies. No matter how a person may feel about their gender, true science will lead anyone to recognize God’s design. We are either male or female. Period.

But we live in a culture where feelings are elevated above facts. We have seen a substantial rise in gender confusion within the past decade in the West. It will likely only escalate as teaching in many public schools on the subject encourages more of it. Its surge, along with the rise of all who identify with the LGBTQ+ movement, may be a sign of something more serious. When emotions are more important than truth on these issues, we could be entering Romans 1 territory. As this world continues to turn away from the Creator and His design for us, we hear His warnings about being given over “to dishonorable passions” (Rom 1:26), so that we hear phrases such as “I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with pursuing a homosexual relationship” or, “I don’t feel ashamed or guilty about what I am doing.” This may be a frightful conclusion as we consider the nearly exponential increase we are seeing in the rejection of God’s design. But this doesn’t mean we should give up, nor does it lessen our responsibility to witness. Rather, it seems even more urgent to reach a perishing world.

Reflect God’s Love

Every human being is to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their erroneous beliefs. Every person we meet is made in God’s image, is loved by God and is one for whom Christ died. Our responsibility is to love lost sinners and attract them to the Savior, not repel them by unbecoming speech and behavior. We discredit the gospel we claim to have embraced if we speak in a demeaning or disparaging way about anyone. But it will not be loving to approve of behavior that the Bible denounces. Nor will it be loving to use pronouns which contradict God’s design. Perhaps it may be wise to avoid pronouns in such cases and use an individual’s name instead. It may turn into a gospel opportunity to invite someone for coffee to hear their story and share why you have the convictions you do from God’s Word.

Every lost soul needs exactly what we once needed – salvation from sin which can only come through our Lord Jesus Christ. They, too, need a safe space. And we, of all people, know where that is.

[1] Scripture quotations in this article are from the ESV.

[2] This passage shows that gay rape is not the subject of condemnation (although it obviously would be), but consensual homosexual activity.

[3] The Greek word Paul uses here is arsenokoites, a compound of arsen (male) and koites (intercourse), both of which are used in the Greek translation of these Leviticus passages. God’s mind did not change from the OT to the NT.

[4] There are extremely rare cases of those born with ambiguous genitalia. Genetic testing can be performed to determine gender.