You’ve probably seen those neighborhood yard signs that boast a rainbow list of assertions, beginning with “Love is Love.” The idea is that whomever you choose to love, all love is the same…and any sort of love is acceptable, right and good. Whether you’re a woman who loves women, a man who loves men, siblings attracted to each other, a committed unmarried couple, two strangers hooking up or a person who loves another person’s spouse, “Love is Love” says go ahead if it makes you happy. In all likelihood, no one will condemn your choice if “that’s just the way you are.” But is that right?
Surveys have shown that half of U.S. Christians say that casual sex between consenting adults is “sometimes” or “always” acceptable (1), and that one in six Gen Z-ers identify as LGBT.(2) The Bible says God “isn’t okay” with that. This generation has experienced an enormous shift in the way it approaches sex and sexuality–and not just in what it views as acceptable or permissible. Sexual behavior and personal identity are linked together like never before, so that to disapprove of a sexual behavior is viewed as a condemnation of that person’s identity. But the Christian sexual ethic has never been that homosexuals are “bad” people, but that even wonderful people can sometimes fall into serious sin.
When we get to know people who are gay and they become our friends, “Love is Love” is a much easier attitude to profess than “Homosexuality is a sin.” But God clearly says the latter, and if we follow him, we should want to understand why. As Rebecca McLaughlin says in Confronting Christianity, “God created sex and marriage to give us a glimpse of what it means to be united to Christ.”(3) Over and over again in scripture, we see marriage used as metaphor for oneness, to describe the relationship between God and his people, God and the Church. In all instances, a love between differences is reflected. We are not the same as God. He is not the same as us, or as his church. The one-flesh aspect of marriage is meant to reflect the oneness desired between God and his people, and for them with one another. It is an intimacy that unites differences and goes far, far beyond the mingling of flesh.
Seminary president and New Testament professor Michael J. Kruger points out that the logic behind the “Love is Love” theme could be used to justify virtually any sexual behavior–even those that common decency would consider wrong, including pedophilia, incest or polygamy. “In the end,” he says, “the ‘everyone should get to be with the one they love’ argument just doesn’t work. It proves either too much or too little,” and “behaviors are not right simply because we are inclined to engage in them.”
1. “Half of U.S. Christians Say Casual Sex Between Consenting Adults is Sometimes or Always Acceptable,” Pew Research Center, August 31, 2020.
2. “One in Six Gen Z-ers “Identify” as LGBT” by John Stonestreet and Maria Baer, Breakpoint 3/5/21.
3. Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity, p. 155.
John 15:9-13 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Romans 1:24-27 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
“There’s one girl on the soccer team who’s so sweet. Eva. We’ve actually just gotten closer this year because this is her first year on varsity but she’s a senior. After practice last week we just got to talking about my faith and stuff. I think her family is Christian. They seem like it. I don’t know, but at the game she was like: ‘So have you just chosen not to date anyone all of high school?’ ‘I mean, I haven’t really found a good guy… yet.’ ‘My family doesn’t know that I’m queer. So any girl I date has to be a secret. We’re in different situations. You, when you date a boy, you’re going to bring him home to your family and stuff. That’s why you’re looking for a “perfect” guy. But for me, I don’t get to show her to my family or anything.’ Hm. I never thought about that before. If it were up to me and I were God, I would say it’s ok to be gay, to love who you love, and do what makes you feel happy.” ~ ‘Eva’ in the Love Episode
“The same Scriptures that say no to same-sex sexual intimacy say a massive yes to intimacy of other kinds. Indeed, deep, Jesus-centered intimacy around shared mission should leave any cheap, hook-up versions of sexual intimacy in the dust.”
“Blue-blood heterosexuality is not the goal of the Christian life. Jesus is.”
~ Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity