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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Sharing the Gospel With Gay People*

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To be honest, sharing the gospel with gay people* can be intimidating. There is an increasing social stigma that comes with believing that homosexuality is a sin. Frankly, you risk being treated like a racist bigot when you tell a homosexual that they have offended God and should repent.

But here are three questions that I have found useful in these types of conversations. They can help clear some of the brush out of the way so that you can talk about Jesus (which is, after all, the point!). One caveat: people are not evangelistic projects. You need to communicate genuine, personal care for them as a person or else you might do more harm than good when you share Christ with them.

1. Can you still be friends with me even if I think homosexuality is a sin? This question helps to take the temperature down a little and put the “intolerance” shoe on the other foot. It makes it clear that you’re willing to be their friend, but you’re not sure if they are able to accept you as you are. If Christians are going to be a persecuted minority, we might as well take advantage of it!

2. Hypothetically, if you knew that God disapproved of homosexual behavior, would you stop and obey him? This gets at a key issue. It’s not usually fruitful to argue about the meaning of Hebrew words and the context of Romans 1. The bigger issue is whether we are willing to conform our lives to God’s will no matter what we want personally. Follow up questions can include:

  • How do you think we can know what God approves of and disapproves of?
  • Knowing what you do about yourself, do you think you are qualified to be the final judge of what is right and what is wrong?
  • Are all of the desires that spring up unbidden in you good and right? How do you know which ones you should act on and which ones you shouldn’t?

3. Are you happy? This isn’t a foolproof question, but can be quite useful. People in rebellion against God are often miserable. But there’s a certain insanity that keeps us from realizing that following our desires has not paid off at all in terms of personal peace, joy, and happiness. So it can be helpful simply to point out that their philosophy of happiness (do what feels right to me) hasn’t paid off (just as God said it wouldn’t). This opens a door to talk about Jesus who came to give us abundant life.

Ultimately, that is the key. It doesn’t do a person ensnared in sin a lot of good for you to win an argument about homosexuality in the Bible or wider society. They need to be convinced that when God calls them to obey him, he is not taking away the cookies - he’s taking away the poison. When Jesus calls us to lose everything, he’s giving us a far greater treasure in himself.

 

* I don’t particularly care for the term “gay people” or “homosexual” because it transfers the conversation from behavior and inclination to identity. I use it here for the sake of brevity.