I'm involved in several on-going conversations regarding homosexualilty, the Bible, and our culture, so put down some preliminary thoughts. Please feel free to comment to sharpen my thinking. This is too long for a single post, so it will take two or three.
1. Jesus’ followers, like their Master, should treat all people with love, respect, and kindness, regardless of their lifestyle or beliefs. Jesus showed us the balance of grace and truth. We too often emphasize one without the other.
2. Christians should be agents of justice and mercy in the world—seeking to relieve suffering without being judgmental and standing up for justice for everyone. This will sometimes mean responding to the symptoms of (e.g. hunger, etc.) apart from the deeper causes, sometimes means responding to causes (e.g. lack of education, systemic discrimination, etc.), and sometimes (most preferable) to both.
3. Christians should always affirm, practice, and communicate Biblical truth, even if it is unpopular or misunderstood, because they believe that obeying God’s commands is always for everyone’s ultimate benefit, even though it may involve in temporary pain or suffering.
4. God’s plan for sexuality, consistently communicated throughout the Scriptures (including by Jesus) is for one man and woman to enjoy sexual intimacy within a loving, lifetime marital relationship. The New Testament indicates that the relationship of a man and a woman (not just of two people – but specifically of a man and woman) in marriage is to beautifully portray the relationship of Christ and the church. The Old Testament suggests a similar portrayal by the faithful marriage of a man and woman with regard to the relationship between God and His people (e.g. the story of Hosea).
5. Outside of a committed heterosexual marriage, the Bible consistently calls all humans to lives of purity, chastity, and self-control. The Bible teaches that self denial and suffering are purposeful and beneficial for God’s children. We must all deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23) though for each of us that will play out in different ways. Fulfillment of physical desires (of all kinds) is not a right to be pursued at all cost (cf Matthew 4:4 on Jesus and the need for food). My physical desires must always be subjugated into conformity with God’s revealed will – even if that requires self-denial and suffering. As a real human, Jesus most certainly had a powerful sex drive. But, because of His mission was never able to give it expression or find fulfillment in a sexual relationship. He is our example and should give encouragement and comfort to any who must deny the fulfillment of their sexual desires whether heterosexual or homosexual.
6. Every reference to homosexuality in the Bible is prohibitive—there are no exceptions. Recent efforts by some to reinterpret Biblical passages in support of some kinds of homosexual practice do not stand up against the standards of unbiased Biblical scholarship, consistent hermeneutical practice, or the united voice of Jesus’ global church through time. We should always be open to reexamining our interpretations of Scripture but must attempt do so without bias (that’s hard!) and without giving in to external pressures (cultural, governmental, emotional, or personal).