Homosexual Adoption: Thoughts from a Morally Conservative Christian

In the world of foster care and adoption, the participation of homosexual couples is a hot topic. There’s a heart-warming article on the Huffington Post’s website about a 15-year old boy who went through 12 different foster homes before finally being adopted by two gay men. If you’re a Christian who reads that article and it makes you sick, please allow me to issue a challenge. Here’s 3 reasons why you, as a fellow morally conservative Christian, should celebrate homosexuals adopting children from foster care.

1. It’s better for children to be in a loving homosexual family than an abusive heterosexual one.

This is self-explanatory. If you have to choose between these two “evils”, which one do you choose? The answer is simple: the loving, homosexual family. If you would choose the abusive one, there’s something wrong with you.

2. It’s better for children to be in a permanent homosexual family than to be bounced around from home to home in foster care.

The lack of stability that characterizes a child’s life in foster care is the decisive factor which dictates their ability to become a functioning member of society. Imagine trying to keep up with your school work when you regularly switch schools in the middle of the academic year. Impossible for a 3rd grader. Yet it happens all the time. When these kids graduate from high school and are expected to make it on their own, they have a remedial education, no job skills, and no support system. Having a family, even a homosexual one, completely changes that, enabling the child to develop into a participating member of our society. This is cause to celebrate.

3. Like all of humanity, homosexuals bear the marred image of God and their care for children still reflects God’s glory in a limited way.

Hopefully that heading makes your head explode with all kinds of questions regarding my theology of sin. I don’t have the time to line that out in a very detailed way but let me give you the skinny. Even though all humans are stained with sin, there is a sense in which all are still image-bearers of God. It is not a perfect expression by any means, but it is an expression nonetheless. Whenever a human being shows charity and concern they are reflecting the likeness of God. God declares Himself to be the champion of widows, orphans, the poor, the afflicted, and the oppressed (Judg. 2:18, Ps. 9:9, Ps. 68:4-6, Ps. 103:6, Mt. 4:24, Jam. 1:27). When a person acts in like manner, by God’s common grace, they are witnessing to the reality and nature of God even if they are completely unaware of Him. As a result, we should all celebrate when we see God’s grace at work in both the regenerate and the unregenerate.

Clarifying Remarks

Before you come at me with a knife, please understand what I’m NOT saying. I am not advocating for the pro-homosexual political agenda. I have concerns about the promotion of homosexuality in our society that are predicated on my belief in God’s existence and His intentions for human sexuality. What I AM saying is that since our culture has become more secularized and embraced things like homosexuality, we are not precluded from celebrating the good things that secular people do. We do not have to agree with them about sexual mores, but we must agree that it is good for abused and neglected children to have loving, stable homes. About that, we can all celebrate.


12 thoughts on “Homosexual Adoption: Thoughts from a Morally Conservative Christian

  1. Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. One would have e to be living under a rock to be unaware that this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. Throughout church history most Christians who have used the Bible to condemn other Christians were acting in good faith. They believed they were defending against an attack of the clear teachings of Scripture. However, history has revealed that what many were defending was their presumption of what the Bible teaches, not the truth of Scripture.

    In light of your post above and since I speak and write on this very topic, I thought you’d find this blog of particular interest (link below). Feel free to surf the “Archives” page as well. If you like, tell me what you think.

    -Alex Haiken

  2. league89 says:

    I think that what we as Christians need to address is the fact that we, too, are sinners. The difference between our sins and those of a practicing homosexual lifestyle is that we recognize our actions as sin and seek forgiveness from the One True God. If we recognized the grace we’ve been given, we would be more prone to giving it out. If this were the case, it wouldn’t matter if we knew homosexual couples who have adopted; they should have loving, caring, married Christian couples loving on them and being a light to them.
    Not that it doesn’t matter what their children are being raised to believe, but that they and their parents would be shown the love of Christ; instead of the picture of Christ that they are presented with now…

  3. I won’t argue with you with you about some of the outlandish behavior and dress the media select to show us whenever there’s a gay pride parade. But if, for example, the straight pimps and prostitutes that line the streets of some of the seedier parts of our cities would have a parade, would we conclude that this is indicative of all heterosexual people or of the heterosexual “lifestyle?” I can personally attest to the fact that there are gay people who hold a high view of Scripture and who are prayerfully committed to ordering their lives in accordance with it. They pray, study their Bibles and generally grow in godliness in a way any minster would be proud to observe in his flock.

    It’s a misnomer to use the term “gay lifestyle” without putting an “s” at the end of it. We have to stop talking about the “gay lifestyle” as if to imply that all gay people live the same way and have the same values. The “lifestyles”, if you will, of gay people are every bit as diverse as those of straight people. The term “lifestyle” is at the heart of a serious category confusion. Mother Theresa and Madonna, for example, are both heterosexual women. But we certainly can’t say that their “lifestyles” or values are even remotely similar. We can’t use “lifestyle” and “sexual orientation” interchangeably.

    -Alex Haiken

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments Alex, I appreciate the dialogue!

      I understand that there are gay people who hold to a high view of Scripture and live pious lives and I would not debate that. The difference between your perspective and mine is that I would hold to the position which sees homosexuality as incompatible with Biblical Christianity. You are right that this is debated between evangelical scholars, and I would fall in line with those who see the Bible as resisting homosexuality. So, in that sense, you and I have a significant disagreement. Out of love for them and love for God, I would call pious Christians who identify as homosexuals to repent.

      As to your previous comment, you mentioned that “our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview.” While this can be true, careful exegetical work coupled with a robust doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture dramatically limits the margin for error. If more people would read Scripture with the question “What does the author mean?” in their heads instead of “What does this mean to me?” we would all be better off. However, it appears you’re using that statement to argue that when we read a passage like 1 Cor. 6:9, we shouldn’t assume that Paul means “homosexuality” in the same way we do. While you’re right, that is a healthy, critical way to read, it does not justify homosexuality as a legitimate practice for Christians. It means we need to examine what Paul’s saying, but still come to a conclusion. While the cultural norms regarding homosexuality in Paul’s day were different than ours, we still must resist it on the grounds that it violates the created order (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:4). And created order transcends culture.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, I hope my replies have offered some more considerations for you.

  4. Not only have a considered what you offered, I used to teach what you offered, that is until — albeit as slowly and reluctantly as you — I had to concede that I what I had been taught and was teaching others on this issue was wrong. I didn’t get there overnight and don’t expect anyone else to either. But when push came to shove, the few passages that generally get appealed to in this debate simply did not hold up to scrutiny when they examined more closely and in context.

    I’ve already addressed the Leviticus 18, Genesis 19 and Romans 1 passages on my blog. (You can find links to these on the “Archives” page should you be interested.) I’ll also be addressing the Genesis 1 (Creation story) and 1 Corinthians 6 passages in future posts but would be willing to share with you about these as well, again should you be interested.

    You’ve got the right principle (i.e., “What does the author mean?” instead of “What does this mean to me?”), you just need to apply it. We are sometimes so blinded by our reifications and canonical interpretations. A reification is when we use a concept or doctrine so often and for so long that it comes to be a distinct “thing” to us, something that’s really there, a piece of our mind’s furniture. We are often greatly unaware of how much of our mental furniture consists of reifications. A canonical interpretation, of course, is a way of looking at a biblical passage or doctrine that we’ve become so accustomed to that the interpretation has become indistinguishable in our minds from the text or the passages themselves.

    -Alex Haiken

    • I appreciate your explanation of reification. It’s always worth being reminded that the things we hold on to must be continually re-examined.

      The trouble with your appeal to reification is that it’s self-defeating. If someone like me is guilty of believing what I believe because I have believed it, then wouldn’t you be just as prone to do the same? And if that’s the case, no one can know anything because we are all so blinded by cultural and philosophical convictions.

      This begs the question then: are you convinced that your mind is free from reification? And if so, how have you been liberated from it? This begins to sound like a modern form of gnosticism where you have found special knowledge that the rest of us haven’t.

  5. No, I have not found any “special” knowledge — at least not any that a steadily increasing number of Bible scholars, theologians and others have found. As we already noted, whether it be on questions of doctrine, science or ethics, the Church’s positions have sometimes have had to be drastically revised. Haven’t we Christians found biblical “proof” that slavery is God-ordained, that women and blacks should not be allowed to vote, that interracial marriage is wrong, that women should neither teach, preach or wear lipstick? Lord knows the list goes on and on. Who among us is so confident of the infallibility of our hermeneutic skills that they can say with such assurance that homosexuality is not just the latest matter of doctrine the Church has had to wrestle with?

    This is precisely why it’s so critical that if one wants to responsibly interpret the Bible we have to adhere to the established principles of exegesis, i.e., we must seek to draw out from the text what it meant to the author and to the original intended audience. We don’t get to rip passages from their context and replace them in another age for the sake of convenience nor do we get to read our own ideas, pet doctrines and personal prejudices back into the Bible, i.e. things never intended by the author.

    If our interpretations don’t pass these rules or, phased differently, if our interpretations are not exegetically supportable, that’s often a pretty good sign that our reifications may be clouding the way. It’s respectful of God’s gift to us to go after the author’s intentions and meanings before arriving at our own.

    What happens when we ignore the historical context of Scripture? As the old time radio teacher, Dr. J. Vernon Magee, used to say, “A text without a context is a pretext.” The dictionary defines a pretext as, “An effort or strategy intended to conceal something.” In other words, unless we consider the context of Scripture — the entire context including the historical setting — we are, purposely or not, engaging in a strategy to conceal the teachings of the Bible. Careful study can begin to open these meanings up to us — if we’re humble enough to not presume we already know. Like it or not, we are always stuck with the internal interpretation of the text as the primary meaning.

    -Alex Haiken

    • Thanks for clarifying, I was asking that question in earnest.

      I would still have to challenge your exegetical elitism though. You’re saying that a “steadily increasing number of biblical scholars, theologians, and others have found” common ground with your interpretations. It would again seem as if you’re implying that if anybody would just apply sound exegesis we would all come to your conclusion. Is that what you’re implying?

  6. Your attempts to reduce this to such flat simplicity are entertaining. Yes, one would need to apply sound exegesis; but like most things of value in life, sound exegesis requires time and effort. Sad to say, most are way too lazy.

    But here’s the bigger elephant in the room: Truth can be costly. Personal agendas, ambitions and other pressures can sometimes cause us to be sparing with the truth when it comes to steering our Christian ministries, our reputations, our careers, sustaining our income, and in other areas of life.

    Many believe they must hold tight to what has traditionally been the “politically correct” position on homosexuality as evangelicals have sadly been notoriously prone to withdrawing financial support from organizations that demonstrate even the slightest open-mindedness on this issue.

    As a Jewish believer in Christ for almost 30 years, I’ve witnessed time and again a similar trend with rabbis and other Jewish leaders who have been unable to demonstrate open-mindedness on the issue of Christ as the Jewish Messiah. When a rabbi comes to terms with the belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, they won’t let him be a rabbi any longer. He needs to find a new way to make a living, support his family, pay his mortgage, put his children through college, etc. He is keenly aware that such acknowledgement would almost certainly mean his financial and social ruin, destroying not only his career but his perceived good standing in his faith community as well. That’s a pretty high price to pay. Christian leaders, and people like yourself in ministry, face similar losses in coming to terms with the notion that, as my Westminster professor put it, our reasons for opposing homosexuality has more to do with our own cultural backgrounds than with any biblical argumentation.

    Undoubtedly this issue stirs up huge controversy and many who have embarked upon this risky enterprise have paid dearly in loss of reputation and income. Many are therefore understandably afraid to alienate the seminaries and congregations who pay their salaries, especially if they have families to provide for. Consequently, for many the desire to protect themselves and those who depend on their ability to earn a livelihood prevents them from openly considering an alternate viewpoint. Since the cost is so high, they conclude they have no viable alternative but to hold to what has been the party line on this issue.

    Don’t be so naïve, my brother. Truth is not always comfortable. Sometimes it’s costly and will put us at odds with our communities and with the people we most care about. Yes, one needs to apply sound exegesis. But the above is the real elephant in the room. Jesus was not crucified for maintaining the religious status quo.

    -Alex Haiken

    • It’s unfortunate that you’ve mocked my simplicity as “entertaining.” I’ve been trying to get to the heart of what you’re saying because you write a ton and I don’t have the time to interact with all of it.

      I won’t entertain any more dialogue with you, but as I’ve noted, I’m glad for it. At the end of the day you are convinced that cultural blinders and sloppy exegesis are the cause for widespread resistance to homosexuality in evangelicalism. On that point, I absolutely disagree with you. And we’ll have to settle there for now.

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