There is no small amount of Christians who have taken to referring to themselves and others as “gay Christians.” They use this to refer to people who believe there is no moral conflict at all between same-sex attraction and Christianity. Basically God’s greenlight to being “gay.” It can also include those who hold the orthodox, biblical view that Christianity does not embrace or permit same-sex sexuality, but still choose to retain their same-sex sexual attraction as an identity. Obedience to what God teaches, but “this is who I am.”
But is this a proper way to identify one’s self? There are a number of important reasons to conclude that it is not. We offer two of the most important here.
First, never hyphenate Christian.
To hyphenate something as an identity places the two things on par with one another. The hyphen is an equalizer.
It is why some couples hyphenate their last names. They do not want one last name to be overtaken by another. But our Christianity should never be equalized with any other part of our identity. It is an identity that stands alone, above all others. Christianity is that which we will sacrifice any and everything else for, even our very life and our freedom.
Scripture is actually quite clear about this.
Galatians 3:27-28 tells us that for all baptized Christians, Christ is our primary identity, singularly above all others, even that which we believe to be most basic about us.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Christianity stands alone as our must important identity. It has no rival, no partner. There is nothing else on par with it, even our sex as male or female, much less our sexuality.
So no, Christianity should never be hyphenated.
Second, we certainly do not link Christ to anything He clearly opposes.
Every person is desperately fallen and in great need of grace, kindness and redemption. Every. One. It is the collective human condition and a fundamental truth of Christianity. So under Christianity, no one is better or worse than anyone else. No. One.
But Jesus, the founder of Christianity, does care about our sexuality. Deeply. After all, it is the first thing His Father commanded humanity to be busy about. It’s right there on the very first page of scripture, Genesis 1:27-28,
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…
And caring about our sexuality, Jesus has a plan and order for our sexuality. All Christians must honor Christ’s ideal of humanity sexuality. Just what it that ideal?
Some say Jesus never spoke about sexuality, homosexuality, heterosexuality, etc. But that is actually incorrect. Jesus was quite clear on the matter and two of the gospels capture it: Mark 10:6-9 and Matthew 19:4-6. In both, we read,
[Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
This captures Jesus’ sexual ethic and that ethic is precisely in the context of His Father’s original design in Genesis. Human sexuality is the domain of husband and wife. There are no other options for the Christian. No Christian has any right or room to celebrate or identify with anything else. There is no other way to understand Christian teaching.
What is more, we certainly do not link the name of Christ in “Christian” with things that are clearly outside of God’s good design. It may make us feel good about ourselves, but it is not honoring to Him.
And that is the central fact of Christianity, to honor Christ in all and above all.
So no, the term “gay Christian” is not an option for describing or referring to individual believers.