National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Homosexuality: what the LCA says

November 2016

Do people choose to be homosexual?

When we think of ourselves as God’s created beings, we remember that God created us to share life. Included in our shared life is the desire for an intimate sharing with another person.

For most people this is a desire for intimacy with a person of the opposite sex. For a minority it is a desire for intimacy with a person of the same sex.

A homosexual preference can be strongly internalised, and there has been a long debate as to whether it is innate or learned unconsciously early in life. People do not generally choose to be homosexual. Others choose to experiment in their sexual life, and we may feel that current social standards encourage this.

Can a homosexual person be ‘cured’?

Some have viewed homosexuality either as a disease or a perversion and have attempted to change people’s sexuality by psychological or spiritual programs. Such attempts might be (sometimes) well meant, but they are abusive and can contribute to incidents of self-harm and suicide.

It is more helpful to respond pastorally, to help people understand that it is our relationship with God, rather than sexuality, that is the basis of human identity. Christians can support and guide each other to make healthy choices in how we express our sexuality. Jesus always made it his priority to show love for all people – meeting, speaking and sharing meals with them – without discrimination.

Is it a result of the Fall?

All people receive the blessings of God’s gift of sexuality but Genesis 3 shows how God’s good gifts have been marred by human sin. God’s people believe that the gift is enjoyed to the full when we follow his word and live faithfully. We are called to faithfulness in relationship, yet we are tempted towards unfaithfulness. There is tension between the right use of our sexuality, and the selfish use.

If we agree that God created male and female to share intimately with one another, then we might view the inability to share sexually with the opposite gender as one of the losses caused by human sinfulness. However, our response to that reality is one of understanding and care, rather than of negative judgement.

What does the LCA say about same-sex marriage?

Marriage is a divine order created by God for the good of humanity. The gift of marriage has three main parts: lifelong love and fidelity between husband and wife, the enjoyment of sexual intimacy within the context sanctioned by God, and the potential privilege and challenge of bearing and raising children.

When a society, perhaps with the best of intentions, legalises committed same-sex relationships as marriage, it diminishes the uniqueness of the life-giving male-female relationship which we believe a marriage properly is. The church acknowledges the right of the state to recognise civil unions between people of the same sex and to accord them full legal recognition and rights. 

Does a homosexual Christian have to be celibate for all their life?

All Christians need to seek God-pleasing choices about the way they live their lives. Homosexual Christians will seek God’s guidance for their life choices.

Some are convinced that God’s will is that homosexuals live a celibate life and seek their life fulfilment without a life partner. They may see the celibate life as an opportunity to offer another form of Christian service. Others believe that God’s will allows them to express their sexual feelings in some form of intimacy, and may form a friendship in which they can do so.

It is important to remember that there are many dimensions to intimacy and commitment, including care and support. There is spiritual and mental, emotional and social intimacy, as well as physical intimacy, and there are different expressions of physical intimacy. All of us should make responsible judgements about our sexuality, and be careful about making judgements regarding each other.

These answers were prepared by Pastor Jim Pietsch, who was commissioned by the Commission on Theological and Inter-Church Relations to prepare a set of studies to accompany the commission’s statements on Human Sexuality, released in 2015. His answers to this Q&A are informed by the LCA’s statement, but are not on behalf of the CTICR. These are intended to be an introduction to this conversation.

For further exploration of the commission’s study, read their paper, ‘Human Sexuality: Three Key Issues’ in Section C at www.lca.org.au/dstos The set of study guides, including one titled ‘Sexuality and Homosexuality’, is available at www.lca.org.au/studyguides