There are 28 Spiritual Gifts that are described in the Bible. Seven of these come from the Holy Spirit, and the others come from God as He wills it in the individual. They are not things that can be chosen, but gifts given by the grace of God. For example, the gift of Interpreting Tongues, Healing and Prophecy can not be forced. You either have it, or you do not. Some Christians are given more gifts than others, but none are based on merit or acts, but only given by the grace of God.
Among these Spiritual gifts is the gift of Celibacy. It is more than a choice to be single, it is an overwhelming call to not engage in any sexual intimate relationships for life to do God’s work. These people with this gift do not experience a life of regret that they missed out on a relationship and lack a strong desire to be in a romantic relationship. This is simply a gift from God, not a forced choice. So how do you know if you have the gift of celibacy? We can see that Jesus talked about celibacy in Matthew 19:10,11: The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But He (Jesus) said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.” This is a gift given by God, to marry or to be celibate. The big question comes into play when bringing up the topic of homosexuality and celibacy. Should all gay and lesbian Christians be celibate? There are those gay and lesbian Christians who choose celibacy with a joyful heart in order to better serve God. But then there are those gay and lesbian Christians who choose a life-long committed relationship in order to better serve God. Then there are those that have been coerced into being celibate for life, not by their own independent thought, but because they feel pressure from others that it is their only option to avoid judgement. Which one is most ideal? Can more than one be moral?
Without thoughtfully researching the Scriptures, most Christians would choose celibacy for the homosexual without much of a second thought. Due to this, many gay and lesbian Christians fall into the third category of forced celibacy based on external pressure of the Christian community in order to avoid excommunication and judgment. Although many Christians may be led to believe that this a cut and dry argument when it comes to homosexuality and the Bible, the truth is that it is not. Before I go on about the topic of celibacy, I encourage you to research the Bible in context and read it in the Hebrew and Greek language and you will find that homosexual relationships are not clearly listed as a sin in the original Biblical text. Let it be known that the word and concept of “homosexuality” was created in 1869 and was placed in the Bible in 1946. The translation was based off of a Greek word (arsenokoites) that modern translators felt fit homosexual behavior, yet the meaning is truthfully ambiguous at best. As a quick note, not all of the verses need to be translated back into their original language to see there is something off about modern interpretation. Take for example the story of Sodom where 2 angel visitors are nearly gang raped by all the residents of Sodom. When we honestly frame the story in this way, do you see anything against homosexual romantic relationships in this account? Or do you see the residents of Sodom going after strange flesh (angelic beings) and violently inflicting sexual power of gang rape over them? For more information, please visit my research on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible at http://www.gaychristians.2freedom.com
So lets go to the Bible to see what it says about us as natural human beings and the need or lack of celibacy. Starting from the first page in Genesis, we see the account of God’s wonderful creation. Over and over we see that He calls His new creations “good.” After creating the heavens and the earth, the plants, the waters, the animals, etc., he creates Adam. Everything is good, but one thing: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” -Genesis 2:18. So God claims Himself that it is not a good thing for a man to be celibate. So what happens next? Adam goes to every animal in the Garden and no suitable partner is found for him. God said “I will make a suitable partner for him.” – Genesis 2:18. For Adam, Eve was a suitable partner. For the heterosexual, the opposite gender is a suitable partner for them. But what about for the homosexual whose life long need for affection and love has always been found within the same gender? Then for them, the same gender is the suitable partner. The opposite gender would be highly unnatural to them just as it would be unnatural for a heterosexual to be with the same gender.
So when we state that celibacy is the only option for homosexuals to be Christians, we are ignoring what God has claimed as not good (“It is not good for the man to be alone.” -Genesis 2:18) If you are a heterosexual, imagine for a moment that the majority of humans on the planet are gay. You are the minority and are not legally or morally allowed to marry or be with any romantic partner for the rest of your existence. Imagine the loneliness you would feel as you saw your friends getting married and celebrating their relationships. Imagine the hopelessness you would feel as a single person, knowing that any time you had romantic feelings towards someone, you would be forced to stop any love that could develop. This is the modern world for many gay Christians. They are left heartbroken time and time again because they know that they can never have romantic love without being kicked out of their church and feeling unloved by God.
Forced celibacy is not in God’s plan for the human being. To the contrary, it states in 1 Corinthians 7:9, But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. If someone has the natural need for love, why stamp it out and tell them they are not allowed to have it? If someone feels called to be celibate without reservations, they may possess the Gift of Celibacy given by God. But if someone is persuaded or coerced into celibacy, when their heart longs for romantic love, they are clearly going against what the Bible teaches and are trying to force a gift that has not been given.
When we see the modern gay and lesbian Christian attempt celibacy without a true gift for it, we can see high rates of depression and suicide. Those without the Gift of Celibacy were naturally created to romantically bond with others. To force celibacy onto someone without the gift is promoting a life of discouragement, loss, and pain. Do you honestly feel that this is the ideal Will of God for His beloved creation?
Let us not forget that marriage and relationships are a gift given to us on earth only. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 22:30, At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Furthermore, we as believers in the church will be the Bride of Christ. This means that even human males will be in the role of a female in Heaven as they are put in the position of a bride as Jesus as their husband. It does not mean that men will become women, but simply that men as well as women will be married to Christ. This demonstrates how unimportant preserving each persons earthly gender roles are to God in eternity. Under the New Covenant between God and His people after Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we are no longer under the Law of Moses given to the Jews. The gender roles under the Old Covenant have been abolished. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. –Galatians 3:28.
With this said, we can see that celibacy is more than just a life choice, it is a Spiritual Gift given from God to some individuals to further His Kingdom. There is no single verse in the Bible that promotes forced celibacy. We were created to love and be loved by a suitable partner and a committed life-long union (marriage) is the best option for most. When we claim that all homosexuals are not allowed to enjoy this benefit, we are taking away their blessing to love and be loved to their full potential.
If you are interested in discovering what your Spiritual Gifts are, you can take the Spiritual Gifts Test at http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/ I decided to take the test and discovered some interesting results. Out off all the 28 spiritual gifts, I scored numbered points of different levels on nearly all the gifts, except for the Gift of Celibacy. I scored a zero, which reaffirmed that I have certainly not been given the gift, nor am I called to celibacy. Just in case you weren’t aware, I am a Christian and I am a lesbian. One was chosen (my Christian identity), the other was not (my affection for the same gender). I have been extensively blessed with an amazing Christian female partner. I can say with certainty that if you have a God-centered relationship, it is blessed by God. My walk with God has never been closer as it is now. I would have to say we have an “overactive prayer life,” and strive to rely on God in every move we make in life together. We study the Word and love our church. I feel blessed by God to have the love of my life by my side as we walk with Jesus every step of the way. I know many don’t understand or don’t agree with this, but I love Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and I know He has washed me white as snow at the cross. I am a child of God, not forsaken or discarded.
Although it is true that things on the social front have gotten easier for gays and lesbians over the years, we are still not accepted by the majority of individuals as having a “normal” capacity for romantic love. We were born as alien outsiders and each of us have an overwhelming longing for acceptance. When the Christian community says that celibacy is the only way to be accepted into the church, some of us want acceptance so badly that we give up all possibility of a romantic future just to have the acceptance of the church. But a hole is left in the heart when there is a lack of love. The definition of love in the church changes to be conditional, which subconsciously makes one feel that God’s love is conditional. “I will love you if you choose not to fall in love… If you choose not to form a family… If you choose to walk alone all the days of your life….” Nothing could be further from the truth. God loves us unconditionally. The only stipulation to His acceptance is to accept His Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for all of our sins. If you have done this, you are right with God. None of us are righteous on our own, but righteousness has been bestowed upon us the moment that the blood of Jesus covers our sins. Despite our earthly flaws, God’s love found a way so that we could be together with Him. God so loved the world, so why would He want us to stop love?
Read this Bible verse carefully. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10. With this said, test the modern traditional interpretation of homosexuality. Does gay and lesbian love inflict harm upon others? Does love between two consenting adults fit the profile of all other sins that harm by showing a lack of love? Likewise, has the church handled homosexual people in a way that promotes love? Or has the church caused harm to their gay and lesbian neighbors? If we look honestly, it would seem that the church has been at fault for not showing unconditional love here, which has sadly pushed away many gay and lesbian people from ever experiencing the fellowship of church, and even worse, has exiled them from developing a relationship with God. With this said, I ask that you pray for true Spiritual conviction on this matter. For the heterosexual, homosexuality is personally repulsive because it is unnatural for them to want to be with an unsuitable partner. The same is true for the homosexual. So lastly, I ask you to pray for discernment between personal repulsion and true Spiritual conviction. Remember, What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. -Acts 10:15
Please watch the video below of Matthew Vines (a gay Christian) discussing homosexuality, the Bible and the role of celibacy.