Exactly how do people become gay? If homosexuality is wrong, why does it exist as part of God's creation? What's your perspective on a child who expresses clear homosexual tendencies before he or she is even old enough to know what sex is all about? And while I'm on the subject, why does your ministry dwell only on homosexuality when the Bible contains lots of other strange prohibitions that you choose to ignore - for example, laws against eating shellfish or mixing fabrics, or laws that appear to legitimize the institution of slavery? From where I sit, it all seems suspiciously inconsistent.
Thanks for the honesty of your questions. Our response is multi-layered, but in the final analysis it's founded almost entirely upon our theology. Let's begin at the most basic level.
Here at Focus on the Family, we believe in a loving, personal God who created the world and designed everything in it to function according to a particular plan. That plan included a very specific pattern for sex, as reflected in the words of Jesus Himself: "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'" (Matthew 19:4-5; quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24). This is the Bible's most complete and definitive statement of God's intentions for human sexuality. Those intentions can be summed up in two words – heterosexual marriage. As you can see, there is no room here for homosexual preferences.
If God didn't create homosexuality, where did it come from? That's where our second theological assumption comes into play. We also believe in the reality of something called "sin" – in other words we affirm that God's original design has been marred and thrown out of whack as a result of human rebellion (see the narrative of mankind's disobedience in Genesis 3). We understand that, because of "the fall," every man, woman, and child on earth is "broken" in some respect or another, each in his or her own way. Homosexuals are not alone in this regard. Each and every one of us needs God's healing grace. Each and every one of us needs a Savior.
The actual mechanics of the development of sexual orientation in the individual is, of course, another matter. As we see it, homosexual feelings and behavior are rooted in a wide array of overlapping and intertwining psychological, physiological, and developmental factors. It would probably be fair to say that no two people come to the point of identifying themselves as "gay" in precisely the same manner. A variety of environmental phenomena are involved, and there is a great deal of variance in the way these forces impact and shape the individual psyche. For this reason, it's overly simplistic to assert that homosexuality is merely a "choice" or that people are simply "born that way." The truth lies somewhere in between. And the important point is that, in one way or another, it can all be traced back to the "brokenness" or "fallenness" of mankind and the rest of creation.
On another front, you want to know why our ministry "dwells only on homosexuality," when in fact the Scripture also contains "lots of other strange prohibitions that [we] choose to ignore." In the first place, it simply isn't true that Focus on the Family emphasizes the biblical prohibitions against homosexuality to the exclusion of every other scriptural teaching. Far from it. If you were to take the time to get to know us better, you would soon discover that our message is far bigger, broader, and more positive in nature than you seem to suppose.
In the second place, the answer to your question can be found in certain established principles of biblical interpretation, salvation history, and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. The book of Hebrews (NT) makes it clear that the purely cultural and ceremonial aspects of the Old Testament law – e.g., rules about burnt offerings (Leviticus 1:9), dietary restrictions (Leviticus 11:10), agricultural practices (Leviticus 19:19), or the manufacture of clothing (ibid.) – were merely "shadows" of the reality that was to come in Christ (see Hebrews 8:5, 10:1). As such, they are no longer to be regarded as binding upon New Testament believers. Something similar can be said with respect to those aspects of the law which obviously pertain to ancient Israel's unique status as a theocratic state – e.g., enslavement of non-Israelites and capital punishment for offenses like adultery and disobedience to parents. For further insight into this subject, see the Jerusalem Council's letter to Gentile Christians in Acts 15:22-29, where the apostles released Gentile believers from adherence to the rituals of Judaism but held them accountable to "abstain from sexual immorality."
Now that we've explained all this, we should hasten to add that there's an important sense in which it's beside the point. In the final analysis, our perspective on homosexuality is not based exclusively upon Old Testament proscriptions such as Leviticus 18:22 (as you appear to assume). On the contrary, it is founded squarely upon the biblical view of human sexuality referenced above (Genesis 1:27, 2:24; and Matthew 19:4-5).
If you have further questions about this, our pastoral counselors would love to speak with you over the phone.
If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.
The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding of Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction
Christian Research Institute