It is important to distinguish between attraction and sexual behavior. Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Presumably, this included the experience of sexual attraction. Sexual attraction, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, is clearly not sin, unless it turns into lust or improper sexual behavior (Matthew 5:27-28). Certainly, not crossing over the line into temptation is something we all struggle with. Specifically relating to same-sex attraction, the late apologist John Stott put it this way: “We . . . distinguish between a homosexual inclination . . . and homosexual physical practices” (Same-Sex Partnerships?).
Some devout believers are same-sex-attracted but seek to remain celibate (see Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting and Michael Ford’s Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J. M. Nouwen). They merit our praise. We can fail them by (1) acting as if we have it all together and are not broken in our own sexuality; (2) encouraging them to act unbiblically on their desires; or (3) condemning same-sex attraction as sin.
On its Facebook page, InterVarsity added the following response to the Time article.
You may have seen this evening’s article in TIME about InterVarsity.
We’re disappointed that Elizabeth Dias’ headline and article wrongly stated that InterVarsity is firing employees for supporting gay marriage. That is not the case. In fact, InterVarsity doesn’t have a policy regarding employee views on civil marriage.
We know that LGBTQI people have experienced great pain, including much caused by Christians. We also know that we ourselves each need Jesus’ grace daily. So we attempt to walk humbly in this conversation.
We do continue to hold to an orthodox view of human sexuality and Christian marriage, as you can read in our Theology of Human Sexuality Document at the bottom of the article.
That said, we believe Christlikeness, for our part, includes both embracing Scripture’s teachings on human sexuality—uncomfortable and difficult as they may be—as well as upholding the dignity of all people, because we are all made in God’s image.
Some will argue this cannot be done. We believe that we must if we want to be faithful followers of Jesus.
Within InterVarsity and elsewhere in the Church, there are LGBTQI people who agree with this theology, at great personal cost. We are learning together to follow Jesus.