While Jason Collins an NBA center was applauded for coming out as the first openly homosexual player in the country, his critics have been called “hateful” for challenging his claims that you can live a gay lifestyle while professing to be a Christian. The new normal is for homosexuals to announce their sexual identity and have this labeled as being brave or honest while those who disagree are viewed as bigots or worse.
ESPN analyst Chris Broussard made this statement during a special edition of Outside the Lines: “Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
Golfer Bubba Watson spoke in support of Broussard’s comments and was blasted for his comments by the media. He tweeted, “Thanks for sharing your faith & bible!!” In a tweet directing his fans to the link on Broussard’s commentary, John Piper, former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota, wrote: “Chris Broussard. This is solid steel in a world of cattails.”
How should Christian athletes and coaches respond to Collins’ claim? Should we accept the recent trend toward tolerance?
The Bible’s view on homosexuality certainly hasn’t changed. The understanding that homosexual behavior is a sin has been the historic view of the church for hundreds of years. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ view hasn’t changed either. Their official statement is:
“FCA is a ministry built upon biblical principles and truths. The Bible clearly states in several passages that participating in homosexual activities and other sexual sins is outside of God’s will for a Christian. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20 is just one passage that addresses these issues. Because of the Bible’s clear stance on this subject, FCA does not condone any sexually immoral act outlined in the Bible, including homosexuality.
The Bible is very clear that all people are of great worth and value to God. The Bible also states in Romans 3:23 that all people have sinned and are in need of Christ’s forgiveness and restoration. In following Christ’s example, FCA strongly believes that every person should be treated with love, dignity and respect. FCA believes the good news of Jesus Christ is for all people, as Luke 2:10 states, and anyone is welcome to attend FCA ministry Huddles and activities.”
Today, those who oppose homosexuality are portrayed as narrow-minded bigots who are “homophobic.” This issue has been legitimized by public acceptance during the past 25 years through advocates even within some churches. While some of them have joined the movement, others have become increasingly silent or unwilling to declare a clear conviction on homosexuality. The incredible speed with which this issue has been driven into the cultural mainstream and the church has caused moral confusion throughout our country.
Why is this debate so important? Dr. John MacArthur addressed this issue with the Master’s Seminary students. “The declassification of homosexuality as sin is devastating because you cut them off from the hope of salvation. The diagnosis has to be right for the cure to be given. The supreme tragedy for our culture today is when homosexuality is no longer seen as a sin, it’s no longer seen as an offense to God. Therefore, the sinner no longer has any sense of guilt or the need to be saved from their sin.”
Collins announcement that he is gay puts Christian athletes, coaches and fans in a predicament. How do we love the sinner, but hate the sin?
Erik Raymond who is the senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha reminds his readers at ordinarypastor.com to carefully weigh their motives and methods when taking a stance against homosexuality, “Homosexuality is a sin–we are clear on this. However, it is grouped together with a whole host of other sins that falls under the rubric of unbelief. The answer to homosexuality is not to have an army of evangelicals protesting gays for their sexual sin but an army of missionaries giving the gospel to a people who are unbelievers.”
Pastor Jesse Johnson at the thecripplegate.com suggests six ways to love the sinner, but hate the sin.
1. Remember the gospel, which is another way of saying the over-riding issue is that homosexuality is a sin, and that all sin is against God.
2. Don’t approve of homosexuality.
3. Have compassion on homosexuals because Satan is a hater and a destroyer.
4. Demonstrate love to homosexuals—the same love that God showed us when we were separated from Him.
5. Don’t tolerate any divisive or hate speech.
6. Be honest with a homosexual co-worker by letting him know that you have the desire to love and care for him, without in any way giving him the impression that you approve of his sinful actions.
Should Chris Broussard, the FCA and the church speak to the issue of homosexuality? I believe our answer must be YES.
The Bible is the Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). If you believe the Bible than you must speak the truth to people in love. Homosexual acts are forbidden by God through His Word. Scripture teaches that God intended sexual intercourse to be limited to the marriage relationship of one man and one woman.
Scripture is clear. Homosexuality is a sin against God. All sin has an eternal consequence, and the only hope for any sinner is the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, who on the cross paid the price for our sin, serving as the substitute for the redeemed.
While we must respond to homosexuals with genuine compassion, we can’t compromise the truth the Bible teaches about the sin that leads to judgement and eternal death. We can’t choose to avoid the controversy for the sake of protecting our jobs, ministries or churches. We really only have two choices. We can choose to be politically correct or biblically correct. Let’s support Chris Broussard’s right to speak truthfully about homosexuality. And more importantly, let’s choose to obey our God by telling others the truth about sin and redemption.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gordon Thiessen has served on staff with the Nebraska FCA since 1986. Currently, he is the Director of Training and Resources for the Nebraska FCA. He has also founded Cross Training Publishing (www.crosstrainingpublishing.com). He co-authored Team Studies on Character, Called to Coach and edited The Athletes Topical Bible. He is married to Terri and has four grown children. You can find out more information about the Nebraska FCA at www.nebraskafca.org.Print this Page