"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Yes, of course.
Over the last few decades, this question has prompted debate in Christian communities. Many would still respond to this question with “no,” believing that someone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, couldn’t possibly identify as Christian too. That assumption is based on two primary beliefs. First, sexual activity beyond the confines of marriage between a man and a woman is immoral. Second, that identifying as a sexual minority automatically indicates sexual behavior. Even for those who believe the first point to be true, the second belief is based on misconceptions.
When I identify as an LGBTQ+ Christian, I’m not automatically implying anything about my sexual behavior. Sexual orientation, identity, and theological belief are distinct from behavior. For example, a gay person could believe that God blesses same-sex covenanted relationships, but choose celibacy to focus on ministry efforts. In other words, saying that I’m an LGBTQ+ Christian simply means that I am a sexual minority and I am a Christian.
To say that I cannot be an LGBTQ+ Christian assumes that there is something so egregious about me – about my sexuality – that this identification in some way negates my desire or qualifications to claim Christ as Savior and to want to follow him.
Let’s take a look at what is required of us to be a Christian…
Believing Jesus is who he said he was, the Son of God.
Baptism (for many of us).
Discipleship. Wanting to live a life that looks like Jesus.
The Christian life is characterized by spiritual practices, fellowship with other Christians, continued study of scripture, and living out the gospel in our time and place. Many LGBTQ+ people wholeheartedly embrace these characteristics.
Some may object to the adjective “gay” or “transgender” in front of Christian (e.g. “gay Christian”), assuming the placement indicates what is most important to us. For that reason, some argue LGBTQ+ people should only identify as “Christian.” Why, some may say, do you have to acknowledge your sexuality?
The reason is that our sexuality has long been misunderstood and demonized, excluding LGBTQ+ people and our families from the churches we grew up in. Identifying as LGBTQ+ acknowledges the pain experienced by so many of us who have wrestled with how to reconcile our faith and sexuality. When something as important as our sexuality has been held in secrecy and shame for a lifetime, God redemptively invites us to bring our whole selves into the light and fully accept ourselves with dignity.
Wearing the identity of LGBTQ+ does not in any way diminish the fact that first and foremost, I am a Christian, a follower of Christ. The most important part of the phrase “LGBTQ+ Christian” is the noun, not the adjective. The noun, “Christian” tells you who the person is. “LGBTQ+” is an adjectival descriptor, providing additional information about an important aspect of that person.
As a Christ-follower—an LGBTQ+ Christ-follower—I need fellow Christians to continue growing into the likeness of Christ. I cannot do this on my own. Nor can any of my LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ. Neither my LGBTQ+ siblings who feel called to celibacy, nor those in covenantal same-sex relationships. We all need to feel that we belong within the Body of Christ.
That is what CenterPeace is all about. We provide resources for LGBTQ+ Christians to grow, to serve, to fellowship, to be connected to the roots of faith that we grew up with and want so desperately to hold onto.
Come join us on this journey of life together, where nothing—nothing—can ever separate us from the love of God!
Discipleship is meant to be practiced in community, but when LGBTQ+ Christians are not accepted by their churches, where can they turn?
CenterPeace hosts weekend spiritual formation retreats designed to help LGBTQ+ Christians connect with God. Click here to find out more.
This private Facebook group is an active community of LGBTQ+ Christians who want to connect with others, grow in faith, and find encouragement.
There is no shortage of reading material for LGBTQ+ Christians. Check out our resources page for a selection of books about faith and sexuality.
Just Dinner is a safe place for LGBTQ+ believers, non-believers, allies, individuals that have been hurt, marginalized and generally excluded from church. It is a meeting place with no agenda. No bait and switch, come as you are and be accepted. Find a location near you.