Ravi Zacharias on being a gay christian

Reknowned Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias responds to the question  about whether one can truly live as a gay christian. The question came from a young black man who was very concerned about what he was witnessing among some churches in his neighborhood. It seems as if Zacharias didnt answer the question but instead gave what seemed to me ballpark commentary about homosexuality. I had mixed feelings about his response. Not to say that his response was bad or wrong, just that he may not have answered the “core” of the man’s question.

Here’s the question the man asked:

I’m a resident of Decatur, GA and I’ve noticed that there has become a very prominent lifestyle of homosexuality… all the way up to the point that its being accepted in a lot of churches in my neighborhood. In light of the young man that was int he film earlier my question is… is it possible for a man or a woman to live a sincere Christian life as a homosexual?” (our bold)

He does acknowledge that no matter what you say [on this issue] someone will take exception to it. I  And I pretty much agree with that. What do you think? Does Zacharias answer the question sufficiently or not?

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25 thoughts on “Ravi Zacharias on being a gay christian

  1. I fell bad for that young black man (my back would have been killing, and my eyes getting heavy) by the time Ravi finished responding.

    No, Zacharias does NOT answer the question sufficiently. But man, can that guy talk up a storm.

    I’ll be like Zacharias … to preface my answer DL to your question …

    I spoke and sung at a conference in D.C. for CWA several years back. Zacharias was the big sha-bang for the Saturday night “black tie” affair.

    Me, which possesseth no couth, wore a LONG BLACK TIE and a black suit. All others were dressed appropriately. Live and learn.

    When Zacharias got up to speak, Irene and the others listened — just gazing at him and how deep he spoke about all things.

    Me? I’m a bit more of what you call “common folk” with a limited high school vocabulary. Someone asks me a question, I give them an answer. That’s all — that’s it.

    Zacharias?? DON’T ask the an a question — that is, unless you have a couple of hours to hear layers of stories upon questions upon thoughts — and THEN upon somewhat of an answer.

    I excused myself at least six or seven times to go outside the ballroom lounge to get a cup of coffee — JUST to keep awake.

    I don’t remember one word he said that night. Not even a quote. It’s all gone.

    Irene and the others were enthralled with this man and his way with words.

    I had the best night’s sleep that night.

    NOW — back to your question (I learned one thing from Ravi!) —

    No, he didn’t answer the question sufficiently. He weaved his way in an out, covering many bases, as “not to offend” anyone.

    If one deciphers what he said between all of the philosophical mumbo-jumbo (the man really is a genius — his IQ is just way out of my league) — Ravi seems to say:

    1. Man and women sexual relations are the only “sacred” ones. (Did he say within the confines of biblical marriage? I don’t feel like watching the video again — while I’m sure that’s what he means;

    2. He refers to “homosexuality” as a temptation or “proclivity” (big word for me) that one should NOT act upon, like adultery;

    But here’s where he con volutes the waters a bit (ahh! a big word I KNOW!)…

    He seems to say a person can ACCEPT a homosexual identity — but realize they should never act upon it (the author/teacher from Yale was it?)

    There’s where a major discussion of disagreement can open.

    Using Ravi’s line of thinking, it’s like saying, “I’m an adulterer or polygamist — I JUST DON’T ACT UPON IT — oh, and I’m a Christian.”

    See what I’m saying?

    A simple answer — within 30 seconds (OK, with Ravi, 45) would have been sufficient — just using the Bible.

    Sorry DL for the long-windedness. Time to excuse myself and get a cup of coffee…

    Have a blessed day brother! ~ Steve

  2. Well Steve, thank God for common folk answers. The young man didnt seem like an “intellectual” type so why did Zacharias have to give the Peter Jennings reporter story in such detail? And it prefaced… what? That we shouldnt be “homophobic”? Or the “aha” moment for the reporter?

    After I waded through your long answer, went and cut my yard and throught about it, I see exactly what you are saying. 🙂 It was way too much flour in the cake.

    As you said that’s not to take away Zacharias’ intelligence but sometimes when a Christian leader is uncomfortable with biblically addressing homosexualtiy they may lean on that intelligence to explain as opposed to scripture.

    Others may have a different view on answer so I stop here.

    Thanks Steve!

  3. I don’t see addressing SSA (sin in our lives) requiring any fundemental or radical new message regarding sin and repentance. Zacharias seemed to indicate those who do were delt a harder “dispostion” regarding temptation. I would disagree. With so much accepted perversion we have made homosexuality and other unholy acts into a a false blessing and false expression of love. In essence we are transforming Christ into our likeness – not His. Hence his response may have been softend in lew of not offending the mutlitudes who do just that.

    He should have whipped out his Bible and laid it out for this young man – we should stop doubting the power of God’s word and work.

  4. i love ravi’s ministry,it has helped me greatly! but,with that said i wish he had answered the question more clearly and to the point!

  5. I think “Can a Christian be a homosexual?” is the wrong question.

    The right question is, “Can a Christian commit [adultery, homosexual sex acts, fornication, bestiality, incest, etc.] and continue in such a sin without suffering the chastisement of God?”

    The answer to this question is “No, if you are not disciplined by God for your sin you are illegitimate and not a son.” (Hebrews 12:8) Such people are to be disciplined and upon refusal to repent they are to be excommunicated and considered an unbeliever. (1 Cor. 5:11)

    Or another way to put it, “Is a Christian who commits [adultery, homosexual sex acts, fornication, bestiality, incest, etc.] living in obedience to Jesus Christ?”

    Again, the answer is “No, for disciples of Jesus Christ seek to live according to His word and such sins are against the body.” (1 Cor. 6:9-20]

    OBJECTIVELY a Christian is a person who has been lawfully baptized and not excommunicated. Though there may be many who are tares and not wheat, goats and not sheep, wolves and not shepherds such separation does not come until judgment day. (Matthew 25:32)

    It is on the basis of their baptism and their claim to be a Christian that I call all adulterers, homosexuals, fornicators etc. in the church to repent, warning them as did Paul that such will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

    SUBJECTIVELY whether they truly have faith and have been regenerated is not for me to determine. Although I know not all Israel are truly of Israel (Romans 9:6) I cannot look into their heart nor into the secret eternal decree of God to know whether they are of the elect. (Deut. 29:29)

  6. Well stated Rick.

    Zacharias, like all believers, need each other to encourage and help sharpen our focus on God’s word (our sword and only weapon) when we are confronted with a question aimed at the Truths of salvation.

    Too often we forget such were some of you …
    There is our answer, eh?

    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals,

    10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

  7. Rik thats the way I look at the question “can a homosexual change”. Wrong question. The question is “can God change the homosexual”.

    Question 1: emphasis on the ability of man
    Question 2: emphasis on the ability of God

  8. why be a Christian and worry about every little thing you do? if you truly want to live this life style and do the things you want to, seems to me you just should not be a Christian…

    really not that complicated.

  9. Ravi Zacharias did not proclaim homosexuality as a sin! It might have been assumed!
    It might have been better to say it in less words as in quoting The Scriptures that have everything that we need to teach us.
    He called Henry Nouwen a ‘saint’. Yes, we are saints if we belong to God. I am finding it difficult to reconcile what Ravi Zacharias said about him and Henry Nouwen’s views on prayer and some New Age practices that he advocates.
    “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.”
    You can have correct views about many issues, but when a teacher cannot even pray in the Name of Jesus Christ i.e. National Day of Prayer, how could anyone accept this?
    He said that Henry Nouwen ‘stared’ at a work of art, and that afterwards was somewhat changed. I do not believe that this is the Gospel at all. How could a picture change anyone? Does Ravi Zacharias promote icons? Does he believe that a Truth can be found in things around you?
    The ONLY Rule of Faith for the Christian is the Word of God where we find all that we need to teach and be taught. Ravi Zacharias should have used it!

  10. It is a challenge for a homosexual to live the life, just as it is for adulterers, swindlers, … Each of us has some sin in our life and we each must seek God to deal with it. When we finally make the decision to truly accept Christ in our heart, we are truly changed. After that the power of the Holy Spirit can guide us.

    The problem arises when a homosexual (or any other sinner) pretends that the sin in their life is not a sin, and go about calling themselves a Christian. When we blind ourselves in this fashion, we are just creating our own idea of Christianity instead of studying to see what it really is.

  11. Pastor Foster said:

    “Is that Concerned Women of America?”

    This organization on its surface seems to be correct on matters of sexuality until you dig a little deeper.

    Also, Tim Lahaye who is the multi-millionaire of the Left behind series founded this organization. Although Tim is not gay he is a staunch supporter of the “false” Prosperity gospel and also uses his CWA to support a broader political agenda.

    Stay away from this group.

    Kyle

  12. Amen to the “common folk/common sense” type answers!

    On a different note, why is it acceptable or even necessary for some believers to be known as ‘hyphenated Christians’, with their personal sin preference as the primary identifier?

    That is to say, should we really be calling ourselves “Homosexual-Christians”, “Adulterous-Christians, Gossiping-Christians, Swindling-Christians, etc. after we are born again?

  13. Kyle,
    You have made several claims about CWA – I find it very odd you state Tim Lahaye who is the multi-millionaire of the Left behind series founded this organization… Although Tim is not gay he is a staunch supporter of the “false” Prosperity gospel

    Did I miss something? Did being wealthy become a bad thing? Did being “gay” pre-dispose one to the false teachings of a prosperity gospel? I think all folks can be decieved by a number of things.

    I am not sure I see a problem with a man using his organization to support his “political” views. Why do you oppose that? Did God loose control recently? or are you saying he is not supporting and proclaiming God’s Truths? You may want to note his books are Ficition, that is a fact – one in which he as never denied to my knowledge.

    If you have any support regarding his prosperity gospel leanings – I would like to hear them. Thanks!

  14. I would like to know Ravi’s answer to this question:

    Does the Homosexual need to repent of his “homosexuality” in order to be regarded as a Christian (from his perspective)?

    Or perhaps,

    Will a born-again Christian continue to practice Homosexuality with no progressive spiritual restrain/aversion to homosexual acts?

  15. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; -1 Thess. 1:9

    I’ve been researching the link between homosexuality and idolatry as the Greek word porneia is a synonym for idolatry and it connects the worship of false gods with sexual immorality. Homosexuality is being dominated by the creature and instead of having man created to be in alliance with Him (God), man is aligned to (‘tohehvah’) an object of loathing and it is a suppression of the truth. Idolatry is a synonym for rebellion and adultery in the Bible so I find it ironic that people say they can believe in God and be in rebellion with Him at the same time “..changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”-Romans 1:25

    Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (NIV)

    Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an *IDOLATOR*, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

    Romans 12:1 says to present our bodies a living sacrifice and it is the opposite of using our bodies as a sacrifice for the devil through Homosexuality (1 Cor. 10:-18-20)

    Psa 106:35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

    Psa 106:36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

    Psa 106:37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

    I think that God reversed the process by making idolatry (not retaining God in their knowledge-Rom. 1) manifest in them:

    Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.

    Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    Ps 135:15-18 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”

    Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh (energeo) in the children of disobedience:

    We get the English word “Energy” from the Greek word “energeo” which means “worketh” and the word is also translated in Acts 7:41 as “work” and the form of that Greek word is “ergon”.

    Acts 7:41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works (ergon) of their own hands.

    But basically, Ravi is basing a definition of “Christian” on Ephesians 2:8-9 which is “not of works” or “sin” and Henry Nouwen may have turned from homosexuality to the living God but can you turn to God if you don’t turn from sin (1 Thess. 1:9) or repent simultaneous or as a result of salvation (Acts 2:38)?

  16. I think that Ravi’s answer is a compromise with politeness. My conclusion is:

    1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

    It isn’t that we don’t sin but 1 John 1:6 is in the continual sense that if we walk in darkness as a lifestyle then we don’t have the truth.

    Will God give grace to the proud or the humble?

    Jam 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    Moichos (adulterers) is a methaphor for someone who is unfaithful towards God and it seems to be tied to the “unrighteous” in 1 Cor. 6:9 who will not inherit the kingdom of God. When we are a friend with the world’s standards, we’re really unfaithful to God and God is not our friend.

    Jude 1:3 ¶ Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

    Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The condemnation is that it isn’t okay to have “grace” when sinning because it is lasciviousness. I think that real faith is doing the things in our body that God wants us to do by obeying Him because pistis (faith) means fidelity of character. When we are confident with pride to have the world’s standards and when we say, “I am not under the law but under grace”, it may sound good but God gives grace to the humble and not to the proud so if you think you have a right standing before God, take heed lest you fall:

    1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

    Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

    James 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

    When you look at the question “Is it possible to be a Gay Christian”, there is a widening of the gap whereas people in America just liken it to another sin and don’t realize that one of the sins of Sodom and Homosexuality is pride (Ezekiel 16: 49, 56; Romans 1:30) and there are other words that may be synonyms to pride which is “wise” and “conceit” and they are also found throughout the Bible. Will God give these pride people salvation by grace and faith when it also says that God opposes the proud (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6)?

    1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

    The early Jews thought they were safe and they use to say, “The temple of the Lord” and God sent them into exile twice so I’m not blind and I think I’ve started to build a rational case to this. If anyone thinks I’m not rational on this then please let them say so.

    Mat 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    There is much more that I could say like the word “believe” in John 3:16 is the same word “commit” in John 2:24.

  17. Kyle,
    Thanks – great web site I am very familiar with and support. As far as backing up your claims – the file is still empty. nuff said indeed.

  18. Mark,

    Lahaye is a prosperity pimp like TD Jakes and Eddie Long. Once you allow any leaven in the whole lump gets corrupted. As we have seen these two individuals have comprimised greatly on Homosexuality to fill thier own coffers. Talk about hypocrisy.

    Kyle

    GCMW: Kyle I won’t allow anymore posted info on LaHaye’s son. One, because it is off topic on this post. Lets not go down that road. You can send specific information to my email for evaluation. Thanks.

  19. Pastor Foster,
    You may delete this comment as it is off topic- I’ll understand. That said – Kyle and other like minded should remember – you want to throw the Pimp label on a man you better have evidence. Melvin Jones usually does if not always – as we are all human – Kyle has not provided anything. I was unaware Lahaye occupied a pulpit (?) and his Fictional accounts (his books – none of which I have even read) of the last days do indeed spark a renewed interest in the Truth – God’s word. That is a good thing – even CS Lewis did as much and did not occupy a pulpit. ( the laity are indeed important!) Is he also a “pimp”?

    Ravi’s answer is a nice example – even a man with his knowledge and faith has its weak points – thankfully there are forums like this to edify fellow believers and rebuke unbiblical notions – including our very own “hypocrisy” – that is grace at work Kyle and that is something to be thankful for – always.

    GCMW: Point well taken, we’ll pass that along to all posters here. I ususally delete comments making unfounded accusations. In the future, I’ll be more vigilant on that.

  20. I thought Ravi answered the question well right up until the end and then his answer became muddled regarding who a believer is. A believer is a disciple of Jesus. A disciple wants above all else to bring glory to God, to be with Jesus and to be like Jesus.

    A disciple is not perfect but is an apprentice who desires to be like his teacher. If the disciple continues to live in sin after discovering that a behaviour is sinful (e.g. homosexuality) then we have to question whether that person really does desire to bring glory to God by persevering at living a life which is pleasing to the Lord.

    As to how to live that life is another issue. We cannot do it by merely trying but trying is a part of it.

    The key to overcoming is to do things we can do which will begin to enable us to do things we cannot yet do. What do I mean? If pray, read the Bible, memorize Bible verses, observe a time of rest every week and thank God for the good things He has given us we will start to overcome some of the sins that formerly enslaved us. Dallas Willard says the spiritual disciplines are things we can do which enable us to do things we can’t yet do. If you are a homosexual but you say you want to bring glory to God take those disciplines seriously and you will find yourself beginning to succeed where formely you failed. It will take time and effort but slowly but surely, with God’s help, you will start to think differently, act differently and feel differently.

    I like the site.

    Yours,
    Brad

  21. I’ve listened to this message and found tht Ravi, being an apologetic and a highly intellectual man, responds in the way he knows and thinks. He did answer the question, but just not in the way that some folks wanted to hear him respond.

    His answer was defined in many ways, not by just a yes or no answer. He explained his answer by using Biblical truths and interweaving them into testimonies he has experienced…i.e. the woman who asked him why he reacts against homosexuality and not racism..

    He defined a person’s race as sacred. “One’s ‘ethnicity’ is sacred. You cannot violate race. We react against the issue of homosexuality because ‘sexuality’ is sacred too. You cannot violate it. How do you treat sacred one and desacrilize the other? Sex is a sacred gift of God.”

    What he’s saying is homosexuality is not an “ethinicity”. It is (what I believe) a “willfull behavior” which is most certainly not justified by God (if you read His Word). God created Man and Woman to fulfill the others needs that we could not fulfill for ouselves.. These mysteries are beautiful and complicated and should not be trampled upon or stolen from. Homosexuality is not what God has intended for His human race. It is a sinful temptation/”abomination” which many people have fallen into. Mainly due to having been abused as a child by a parent or close relative. It’s a very deceptive lifestyle as well and should not be taken lightly by any true Christian or Christian church.

    If you TRULY KNOW God, Love Him and keep His commands then the Truth is in you. If you are living in sin willfully (i.e. having homosexual relations) you do not Love God, or truly know Him and you are most certainly NOT keeping His commands.

    Certainly, God loves the homosexual (man and woman), but it GREIVES Him greatly to see His creation, desacrilizing what He created for aman and woman (wife) to have as sacred. Life giving. Homosexuality is not life giving….

    I could say more, but I will end here.

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