Is Homosexuality a Non-Essential Issue for Christians?
Yesterday, the Pew Research Center dropped a bombshell of a study on how Christians have changed over the past 7 years. The study is full of interesting insights, but one in particular stuck out to me, and I thought it would be an appropriate topic to discuss.
Check out the following statement from Pew:
“Fully half of Millennials who identify as evangelical Protestants… now say homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
That’s a fascinating discovery, especially considering the fact that evangelical protestants, by and large, have extremely negative views of homosexuality. Times are changing, I suppose.
Pew went on to say that the “changing attitudes about homosexuality are linked to the same generational forces helping to reshape religious identity and practice in the United States, with Millennials expressing far more acceptance of homosexuality than older adults do.”
None of this is surprising to me though. After all, I am Millennial, and I have my fair share of doubts when it comes to how the church has approached the subject of homosexuality.
Today, I wanted to put forth a question that has been going over in my mind for some time now. But, before I ask my question, we need to talk about a well known quote that is often attributed to Augustine:
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."
Christians love this quote. It's a great statement that embraces diversity in Christian theology. It explains how Christians are supposed to be unified on essential issues, but we are free to discuss and hold differing opinions on many different theological points that are considered non-essential.
It’s with this in mind that I ask the following question:
Is homosexuality a non-essential issue?
Based on everything that I have learned, I would have to say the answer is yes. In fact, it’s my prediction that monogamous same-sex relationships are going to one day be just another healthy discussion Christians engage in similar to gender roles, divorce, and church structure.
There’s going to be disagreement on it, but it’s not going to be so heated. I believe that the research Pew published points in this direction.
What about other non-essential issues?
In talking about this issue, I think it’s helpful to bring up a few other “non-essential” issues that the church has been divided on for some time. Consider gender roles.
Many Christians believe that women cannot preach or hold leadership positions within the church. But, there are plenty of Christians that completely disagree with this. It’s a non-essential issue that Christians, hopefully, disagree about with charity.
The same could be said for the structure of a marriage relationship. Many Christians hold to a more traditional view like Complementarianism which states that men and women have specific and differing roles. Other Christians, like myself, lean more towards an Egalitarian position which states that all humans, regardless of gender, are equal and deserve to be treated equally.
It’s an issue that many Christians disagree over, sometimes passionately, but at the end of the day is a non-essential issue.
"Yeah, but homosexuality is a sin and ruins our union with Christ! So it’s totally essential.”
Is it, now? If this is the case, then how can there be any Christians that disagree on topics of this nature? If the marriage structure mandated by God is Complementarianism, then, by default, I must be sinning because I don’t hold to this view.
Of course, I don’t believe this to be the case at all.
Anyways, I’ve come to this conclusion about homosexuality because I can’t seem to find a way to say that homosexuality is an essential issue.
What do you think? What am I leaving out? As you join the discussion, please do not turn this into a debate about whether homosexuality is right or wrong. That’s not what today’s post is about, and I’m in no way endorsing or condemning homosexuality today.
Do you think that homosexuality is a non-essential issue that Christians are at liberty to disagree on? Why or why not? Where is the church heading?
Is the issue of homosexuality being accepted by the church different than issues like gender roles? If so, how?