It breaks my heart to see and hear my gay and lesbian friends talk about the hatred and unwelcoming spirit they feel from Christians and the Church. This is the exact opposite of the Gospel. We are not saved by being straight or keeping rules. Christians have been and will be saved only because Jesus died in their place and took the punishment they deserved for their sin. Christians have not been saved by being shamed or guilted into moral behavior.
Is the Bible clear that God is not pleased with homosexuality? Yes. The Bible is equally clear that God is not pleased with a host of things, things like ignoring poor people and doing good deeds so people will recognize us and not forgiving those who hate us.
Tim Keller, a pastor in New York City, said these helpful things about homosexuality:
Acknowledge that often when this topic comes up the rhetoric gets heated – and those who represent the Christian position are not always respectful of those who disagree, nor do they have sound reasons for their position. Christians have no more or less of a right to tell other people how to live their lives than anyone else. But we all have ways we think the world should be; and we all have the right to try to contend for these views respectfully. The gospel – that we are saved only by sheer grace – should help Christians to do this without self-righteousness.
Homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality – sex is designed for marriage between a man and a woman. But that belief should have no impact on a church’s or a Christian’s desire to love and serve the needs and interests of all their neighbors, including gay people, people of other faiths, and so on.
Note that there is not widespread division over what the Bible says about homosexuality. All three branches of Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) agree – on at least four things: one, that every mention of homosexual practice in the Bible says that it is wrong; two, that it is specifically prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments; three, that it did not just reflect the prejudices of the day – it cut against the views of ancient cultures; and four, that the whole arc of the Bible begins with a heterosexual marriage (Adam and Eve) and ends with the vision of one – the wedding feast in the book of Revelation.
Also, a video featuring Tim Keller on how to treat homosexuals.