Is A Person "Born That Way"?

sexuality

(Warner Joseph Miller) #1

Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with a group of friends and fellow believers about the issue of someone being “born that way” – specifically regarding homosexuality. It’s a conversation that I have with relative frequency both with Jesus-followers and non. Thankfully, it’s rarely (if ever) contentious but I do acknowledge differing views particularly from fellow believers. I definitely have a view but am quite interested what the Connect community has to say about it. Is a person “born that way” or is it a choice? What are the repercussions of either viewpoint? Thanks, in advance, community for your insight and thoughtful discussion. Cheers!


(Kim O.) #2

A brief comment:I’m not an expert on homosexuality, but have been in the conversation for awhile, off and on since I was 14, I’m now 51. I was a dancer and throughout my journey have encountered a variety of conversations on this topic. I will say from my experience in those I have been friends with the majority have not been honored. Many have sexual abuse, broken relationships, unformed relationships with dad and the like. I think what bothers me is that the gay community doesn’t acknowledge this anymore, it as though it’s not part of the equation. I personally do not think one is born gay. There are churches out there that are saying this is a gray area, let God be God. Do I think a man and another man can honestly care about one another deeply yes of course. But often when I see gay couples there is a male and female version in my mind this is a mere shadow of what God has wanted truly. I think one has to ask why is that? Why is it that even in a gay relationship there is STILL a male and female.

I do know there are those who “feel” they are born gay, those that have “gay feelings” and they are seen differently.

More later on this, but that’s what I have for now:)
Kim


(SeanO) #3

Nancy R. Pearcey has a book called “Love Thy Body” that had a helpful excerpt. I was searching for the quote from Tim Keller and it happened to be included in the book, which I did not know existed. Anyone interested can go to the link and read more - it actually has a section with the exact same title as this question.

I think they both make an excellent point. However the desires got there, they exist. But how we respond to our desires is a choice often dictated by the wider narratives of our culture and our identity, whatever we choose it to be, will generally require encouraging some desires and discouraging others.

Link To Excerpt on Google


If everything is predestined, then how can God judge?
(Anthony Costello ) #4

@WarnerMiller

I think on the “born that way” or any claim that there is something like a “gay gene” you might want to look at this seminal article in The New Atlantic:

Sexuality and Gender

Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences

Lawrence S. Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D. Paul R. McHugh, M.D.

This is a good study and we should really be aware of it AND of the incredible push-back it has received from LGBTQ advocacy groups. Also take note on the series of personal attacks that have been made on McHugh since the studies release.

God bless,
Tony


(Bill) #5

Have a clickable link for us?

Thanks

Bill


(Ben Thompson) #6

I’m reminded of Sam Allbery’s address before the General Synod he made last year - he makes some really valid and heartfelt points, certainly worth the watch for 2 minutes. Hearing his views, I get the sense that he feels he was born that way. Is Sam still part of RZIM? Would be great if he could chime in here!


(Anthony Costello ) #7

@Mofokeng

Try here: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/executive-summary-sexuality-and-gender

Tony


(Jim) #8

This is a great question and truly relevant in western culture in 2018. I will take a shot at it, apologies in advance if I offend, this is not my intent. These are truly complex questions. We are all born with physical characteristics which we do not choose, for example the colour of our eyes, hair, skin tone. Some of us choose to change these characteristics through the application of exterior tools (e.g. lenses, dye, sun tanning). I think that in recent times, under the umbrella of freedom of expression, there has been a blending into one, of the sexuality and gender identity questions. I believe it is more useful to separate these two since it is not logical that they are treated as one and the same.

To consider sexual orientation first; all sexual activity starts as a desire and it is an individual’s choice to act on these desires. No-one is forced to engaged in sexual activity unless it be in some form of abusive relationship in which case this is an external application, not an internal decision. This applies to heterosexuals as well as any other orientation. So the question then becomes, is the nature of a person’s desires hardwired into them or something which they have some level of control over? So, the God of the bible promises to give those who delight in Him the desires of their hearts (Psalm 37:4), while also explicitly warning against various sexual activities as being harmful (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Revelation 2:20-23, Revelation 21:8 among others). The question then becomes, within the context of the love and mercy of God, would the same God who went to the cross for us place into our hearts before birth a desire that He has no intention of ever fulfilling, and which He declares to be harmful? I believe the answer to be a resounding NO. So we are left then with the question:where do the desires come from? Romans chapters 6 through 8 deal with this far more eloquently than I could, suffice to say that these desires are the product of man’s fallen fleshly nature, the fruit of our unsacred actions and thought life. The Holy Spirit gives the Christian the power to control these desires by giving the Christian a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 11:19, Galatians 2:19-21, Galatians 5:16-26).

In considering gender identity, I believe it is crucially important to recognize that God created gender according to Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:18 and Genesis 2:21-25. Interestingly in Genesis 2:25, before the fall, man and woman were comfortable with their identities and were not ashamed. The very fact that a person is deeply disturbed at being male or female is an indication of great discomfort of the soul. The appliance of external tools will never truly address this. A person born male will not resolve this discomfort by embarking on the long, painful and expensive road of changing gender and becoming female. A person born female will not find true comfort of the soul by becoming a man. The answer is to find our real identity by becoming truly “born again” of the Spirit as per John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. In the new birth, we are free to experience our true identity and lay aside the broken life based on lies (John 8:42-47). Our eternal identity is far more powerful. Colossians 2:10 states that the Christian is “complete in Him” and 2 Corinthians 5:17 that the Christian is a new creation, old things having passed away…


(Warner Joseph Miller) #9

Thank you, so much, @anthony.costello @SeanO @Koberheu and @ben for your insight and the links you provided. All great stuff! If I may, I’d like to posit this angle. Ever since completing my training in the UK and meeting and/or hearing these men (and RZIM speakers) speak such as Sam Allberry (whose book you referenced, @ben) and David Bennett as well as Vaughan Roberts who’s a pastor/rector at St. Ebbes Church Oxford, I’ve reached a perspective that I believe is thoughtful, healing and most importantly, biblical. In my desire to speak biblical truth, love and biblical reconciliation ultimately pointing to the cross of Christ into that community (SSA - same sex attracted) which is so prevalent not just in my industry and city but also, mainly, in the world, I wanted to avail myself of good, thoughtful, accurate apologetic insight regarding the topic. I heard Vaughn Roberts - who is a “same sex attracted”, celibate man describe his attraction as a “brokenness”. In a another interview with The Gospel Coalition some years back, he said:

"All of us are sinners, and sexual sinners. But, if we have turned to Christ, we are new creations, redeemed from slavery to sin through our union with Christ in his death and raised with him by the Spirit to a new life of holiness, while we wait for a glorious future in his presence when he returns.

These awesome realities define me and direct me to the kind of life I should live. In acknowledging that I know something of all eight battles covered in my book, therefore, I’m not making a revelation about my fundamental identity, other than that, like all Christians, I am a sinner saved by grace, called to live in the brokenness of a fallen world until Christ returns and brings all our battles to an end." https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/vaughn-roberts-on-same-sex-attraction/

If inherent sin or “brokenness” is something that we all – not just the gay or SSA (same-sex attracted) have, then isn’t it correct to say that some ARE, in fact, “born this way”, ie born with certain proclivities and bents towards sin? That’s not to say that God “created” them this way. However, the consequences of sin entering into the world infecting, infesting, and affecting everything (and everyone) was that we’d be born with sinful bents and proclivities…one of them being same-sex attraction. Therefore the cause may not have been a rotten childhood experience, sexual abuse, or lack of male (or female) guidance… although some may find their root, there. Now, this certainly doesn’t give anyone grounds to yield to those sinful bents; endorse them or try to justify them in any way. However, it also doesn’t mean that we deny that that particular proclivity doesn’t find its basis an outworking of this fallen world that we all share and brokenness that we ALL inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. David, himself, says of himself:

“I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness; In sin my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful].” ~ PSALM 51:5 AMP

One man’s brokenness is bent towards addiction; another’s lust and yet another’s, gluttony and drunkenness and still another’s, same sex attraction.

Additionally, while we serve the same God that existed in the Bible days (and beyond); Who is more than capable to deliver us, removing certain sin proclivities from us – the Bible ALSO gives precedent for God in His sovereignty of allowing our brokenness; our weakness to remain…for His glory.

“Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me–to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough–always available–regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].” ~ 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7‭-‬10 AMP

Paul’s weakness; his brokenness – along with mine and yours AND those who have a same-sex attraction – is for God’s glory! So, that through the denial of my flesh and dying to self for the sake of Christ, I might find strength in my weakness…not a denial that that weakness or brokenness even exists! Again, this doesn’t justify any sin - whether sexual or otherwise; from nascent or learned. It also certainly doesn’t legitimize a giving over to a particular lifestyle because it’s inborn. However, what it DOES hopefully elicit is an awareness of this broken world’s affect on ALL of humanity. While we don’t all share the same manifestation of brokenness…we ALL have it. And in the same way some (many) straight believers choose to coddle and condone certain brokenness (sin) in their – particularly the ones that are difficult to let go, hard to stop or have been with us for much of our lives – there are same sex attracted men and women who do the same regarding their sin. I hope that that realization solicits an empathy and/or understanding of those who are living with this particular brokenness. Does this make sense? What say you?

Also, if you have a moment, check out http://www.livingout.org/. It’s website that features interviews and stories of people like Sam Allberry, David Bennett, Vaughn Roberts and many other same sex attracted Jesus followers who’ve chosen to live a life of celibacy in honor to God. Grace & peace✌🏿


(Anthony Costello ) #10

@WarnerMiller

Warner, sure, in one sense you are absolutely right. We are all sinners, all broken in some way, all looking to be healed from sin. So, yes, we are all born in sin, and therefor all born “that way.”

I think, however, where we might want to make one distinction, is when we are talking as Christians versus when we are talking about homosexuality (same-sex attraction) or transgenderism from a purely scientific or psychological viewpoint. For example, the article in The New Atlantis that I posted here https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/executive-summary-sexuality-and-gender is not assuming a Christian worldview, replete with doctrines like original sin. Now, maybe for our purposes, since we do hold to original sin, it simply doesn’t matter whether same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria is innate as a matter of nature, or whether it is acquired, as a matter of nurture. I don’t know that it does. Further, to say that someone is not “born gay” does not mean that it is somehow easy or simple to rid oneself of a psychological disposition that may have been acquired in early childhood. In fact, we should all be aware of the fact that it is not really easy at all and, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, perhaps even impossible for many people to overcome deeply habituated psychological and emotional predispositions, even if they are not “by birth” but only developments from childhood.

I whole-heartedly endorse everything you have said, therefore, and pray for you and your ministry to those who are struggling with this particular expression of sin. I think the hardest part for the Christian who has same-sex attraction must obviously be the life-long commitment not just to sexual celibacy, but to non-marriage. Justin Lee’s book “Torn” helped me to understand that for the same-sex attracted male, at least, it is not just about physical sex, but it is about intimate relationship with “the other” where the other is a member of the same-sex. Lee, unfortunately, does not take the same route as those others you have mentioned here.

All that said, however, I do feel that we shouldn’t make same-sex attraction out to be some kind of “special sin.” It may be special in that it requires certain kinds of spiritual discipline or counseling in order to find healing, but all sin is pretty bad, and, I would say all sin does have this admixture of nature and nurture. To be candid for a moment, I for one have struggled with a violent temper most of my life. My father had one too, and certainly I saw some of his temper growing up. My tendency to outbursts of anger is probably both innately predisposed and also acquired through later modeling in the home. But, I don’t know that anybody is going out of there way to say we have to reach out to “angry people” in the same we we reach out to “same-sex attracted” people. Aren’t both equally sinful?

Tony


(Jim) #11

Hi Warner - I respect the fact that anyone chooses a celibate life to honour God, but I feel like we are totally selling someone short if the message we share is “you’re same-sex attracted so basically be celibate if you want to live a life that pleases God” - that’s a really tough road for anyone to walk unless the Lord grants them the specific grace and faith necessary for the celibate life. Fundamentally, I believe that the Holy Spirit can change our desires, and the message of the gospel is one of freedom from past addictions and brokenness. Sin is sin, but sexual sin is highlighted in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 as sin against our own body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit for the Christian. So for us it becomes a question of whether we will acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over our bodies. A very challenging path for all of us, but the path is littered with steps of victory and deliverance. If the perspective is that we are sinners who are sometimes saints, then our focus will be on the past and our carnal desires; if we change our perspective to that of saints who sometimes sin then our focus will be on Christ, the One who calls us into victory over all sin.
Blessings in Him!!


(Warner Joseph Miller) #12

Hey there, @anthony.costello!!! Thanks, as always, for the response. Thanks, also, for your prayers and support. ALL of us as communicators of the Gospel and ambassadors of Christ have the same responsibilities to reach those with the Truth of His Gospel by the love of His Gospel. My prayers extend to you (and all of us), as well. Truly, bro!

Regarding what you said about making the distinction, I personally don’t see any distinction nor would I make any. I read the article the first time you sent it and their diagnosis of homosexuality, gender dysphoria, etc is essentially no different than any other dysfunction (read: sin). Obviously, the words we use may change depending on the audience. However, our understanding of the foundational truth of it (sin) remains the same…irrespective of the particular sin.

With respect to what you’ve stated, @jimdrury, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I, in no way intended to imply that celibacy was the only recourse for someone with this position. As I mentioned in my post, I ABSOLUTELY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe that God — the same God that miraculously rescues, parts seas and healed limbs – can totally deliver someone from their addictions, ailments and weaknessess/brokennesses. The reason that I only referenced those particular gentlemen and that website was because they are all theologians that are familiar to many who have involvement with RZIM, OCCA and the Oxford community. However, there are others such as Jackie Hill-Perry (a young woman who was delivered from lesbianism and now speaks worldwide about that and other Gospel-centered topics). She’s now married and speaks frequently with the The Gospel Coalition, 700 Club, Desiring God, etc as well as has just released a book called, “Gay Girl, Good God” and album!!! www.jackiehillperry.com/. Sy Rogers is another! He formerly identified as gay & transgendered. He even began having hormone treatments! But through a story you have to hear from his mouth to believe, God rescued him and now – married and a grandfather – speaks frequently around the world about God’s deliverance and redemption…among other Gospel-centered topics.

Again, my post was not to imply that God can’t or won’t deliver someone flat out from that lifestyle or attraction. He can! However, sometimes – as we all can attest – God’s sovereign ways are unlike our ways and His reasons for not moving (or moving differently from what we’d expect) are not what we’d do. Yet even in our weakness and brokenness – God is still on the throne! And we can glory that one day – whether in this life or the next – we’ll be healed and delivered from every sin and brokenness. GBTG!!


(Valerie Schuetze) #13

These are thoughtful answers. As I was reading, certain scriptures came to mind.

“For sin shall no longer have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace”. Romans 6:14

“For such WERE some of you (effeminate being one in the list) but you are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”. 1 Cor. 6:11.

I agree that the propensity towards some sins is likely inborn/inherited. This is just my own take on what I would call a “besetting sin”. I believe that God can instantly deliver us from sin at our conversion and He does in most ways. He changes our nature and outlook and gives us the ability to overcome sin. I also believe that He allows most of us to have some kind of “besetting sin” that He will use as a vehicle for us to truly dig in and get to know Him.

My own “besetting sin” was depression. It deeply affected me prior to my conversion and returned a year or so after I was converted. I kept pleading with God to help me, to make me better, but He didn’t do that. Instead He began to teach me things that made me fall into depression and I believe the answer is the same for any similar problem. He showed me things about the mind, I studied a great deal on the renewing of the mind, began to ask God to forgive me for every wrong thought. I also learned to recognize the enemy’s work in my mind and life and again, the scripture says “He teaches my hands to war”. I learned about the tactics of the enemy and how to fight him. I learned so much. I learned to walk with Jesus in victory, precisely through my propensity towards a certain sin. I was delivered but it was a learning process. I am pretty much the polar opposite of the person I was at that time. Once in a while, yes, it will try to come back on me, but never in the way it used to. Learning to know Him through my struggle was so vital, so wonderful. It didn’t lessen His delivering power, while at the same time, it taught me a great deal about the gospel and about who God is. I think people expect a magical deliverance with everything and when it doesn’t come they resign themselves to a lifetime of constant struggle or simply believe God can’t or won’t help them and they give in. I don’t believe it needs to be that way. We still need to preach an “overcoming” gospel, because that is what Jesus taught us.

Perhaps in the old terms, it would have been called being “sanctified”…made holy. It is a process.


(Anthony Costello ) #14

@cantabria

Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you 100%. It does seem that God delivers us from some sins almost immediately, but it’s true that other sins, or “habituations”, He seems to let us work through, even agonize over, over a period of time. My anger has definitely subsided over the years, but I can still flare up like Saul when the right conditions arise. It’s a struggle to be sure.

That said, because some sins come over us so quickly and so unexpectedly, I also want to make a lot of room for the same-sex attracted man or woman who might never really get rid of the desire for another man or woman. Attractions come over us like lightening, and it’s hard to say that God necessarily wants those attractions to just be gone. I think He wants us to sit with some sin habits for longer periods of our lives. How to remain faithful within temptation seems to be a more accurate description of sanctification. Not just being without temptation completely.

Tony


(Jimmy Sellers) #15

Nothing like being late to a discussion but I would like to chime in as I have given much thought to the subject in general, not just same sex attraction. I cannot find solid Biblical ground to stand on that would convince me that we are “born that way” and by that way I don’t mean just homosexual or same sex attraction, which I will assume in this discussion is a proclivity for the same sex that is not acted. But you could apply the “I am ****** but I don’t act on it” to almost any other choice of behavior you can image. Drugs, alcohol, sex (same sex or otherwise), gambling, habitual lying, stealing and the list could go on. Before you cry foul, I will admit that some of these behaviors are considered a type of disease, but it was not that long ago that homosexuality was considered a curable disease and I remember Time magazine ran a cover story on that very topic, but that is for another day and another thread.

I think the “born that way” defense gives SSA (just made that up) a special category of sin. To be fair I know many people personally that are alcoholics, drug attics, sex attics that will testify to the saving power of God in their lives they will tell you how they struggled and still do, even how they felt that their flawed behavior runs in their family, but I don’t know anyone who would say that they were “born that way”.

I am not totally convinced that genetics is binary, by that I mean full on or full off. I think there is an analog in genetics the analog is what turns the genes (if this the right term(s)) on very much like a dimmer controls a light bulb. You control the bulbs brightness by increasing or decreasing the voltage to the bulb (slide the dimmer from full off to full on). I am familiar with type II diabetes and I know that you can have the genes past downed to you from your parent(s) but having the genes doesn’t mean that you will get the disease unless you choose dietary and life styles that (in my analog) will slowly brighten the bulb. So, in this example food choices and exercise choices will keep the gene turned off, if not off certainly manageable. Too choice I think environment can also be part of the equation when dealing with the above-mentioned proclivities.

As an encouragement I would not want anyone to think that there is no room at the cross for an image bearer of God who realize that they are in need of having their reflector cleaned and realigned such that they reflect the love of God outward and the praise of God upward. God has a great renewal plan for his creation it start with Jesus and who so ever……


(John LaCasella) #16

By no means is this a fully-fleshed out thought, and nowhere near as complete as some that have already been forwarded. But it strikes me as interesting that, while homosexuality has been existent throughout history, it has never been as widespread or culturally mandated as it is today. That statement also is not well researched; as I said, this thought is not fully fleshed out. But if true, it could lend credence to the point made previously that we exercise a certain degree of control over which impulses we indulge and which we resist.

But regardless of whether we like it or not, the Bible clearly does not endorse homosexuality. There are negative prohibitions against the practice and no positive examples of valid homosexual relationships in Scripture (sorry, David and Jonathan were not gay). So regardless of whether someone has a homosexual impulse, there is no biblical license to engage in such activity.

In my opinion, the lack of strong families (particular strong father figures), the presence of widespread abuse and the explosion of the “feels good, is good” culture have in large measure been the main contributors to the explosion of sexual deviance in our society.

That is probably not the way to win over converts - it’s just a way to try to understand the issues. A person who struggles with homosexual feelings is, in a way, like a drug addict. Even if they wanted to escape the lifestyle, the inward pull is always there. We do need to emphasize that God loves the homosexual even if he condemns the practice. We also need to explain that God did not “make them gay”. And it is fair to point out that a lot more is said about the heterosexual sins of adultery and fornication than the sin of homosexuality. So we are ALL under the condemnation of the law - but in Christ, God has provided a way out for all mankind - the straights and the gays.

Hope that is helpful in some way.
John LaCasella


(Kathleen) #17

Thanks for the thoughtful way you asked this question, @WarnerMiller! It’s been great to read everyone’s thoughts, and I especially resonated with @cantabria’s thoughts on what ‘besetting sin’ entails, which is usually where I begin if this concept is posed.

Because, yes, clearly, we are all ‘born this way’. We don’t have any say where we are born, when we are born, to whom we are born, and what actions our individual personalities incline us towards. As children, we have very little (if any) control over our nurture or our nature, and part of becoming a mature adult involves taking responsibility (as appropriate) for both of those things. I bristle whenever ‘born this way’ or ‘this is just who I am’ is used as a broad excuse for behaviour, and as much as I am all for field research on these issues, I am constantly reminded of what complicated and complex creatures we are! (I say this not to excuse or condone, but to offer up the plea for understanding of individual circumstances.) Life is always full complicating factors.

So I suppose this leads to a deeper question: do our individual complicating factors have the final say? Can we change? And if we can, should we change? And why?


(Warner Joseph Miller) #18

Hey there, @Jimmy_Sellers and @John_LaCasella! Thanks, so much, for adding to the discussion pot. Better late than never, @Jimmy_Sellers. :wink: In all seriousness, though, one potential pothole in the art of exposition and explanation of anything – particularly within the medium text and typing as to express thoughts – is misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Specifically within the area of theology or social commentary or politics, you name it – things can get lost, albeit innocently, in translation. So, with that said, I’ll humbly submit what I’m NOT saying…

I’m NOT saying…

  • homosexuality and/or homosexual relationships are endorsed or accepted in Scripture. No where in the Bible is sin acceptable.

I’m NOT saying…

  • culture and “feel-goodedness” decide what is true. God and is Word (Jesus Christ) are truth. John 1:14,17; 14:6

I’m NOT saying…

  • God makes people gay. In the same way that God does not make someone a drunkard or quick-tempered or a drug or sex addict, etc…God also doesn’t make someone gay.

Indulge me for a moment.

Sin comes from within man. It can be a reaction from what is outside a person or just what a person is thinking but it ultimately finds its origin within the heart. James 1:14-15 says

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Jeremiah 17:9 AMPC says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse, desperately wicked and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with how bad his own heart and mind really is]?” [Matt. 13:15-17; Mark 7:21-23; Eph. 4:20-24.]

1 John 2:16 affirms that humanity has an enemy on three fronts: the world (which is fallen and under sin and the devils control) the flesh (which carries the sin nature) the devil (a personal angel that is sinful and influences mankind to love sin). Again, sin has its roots in the heart – that influences the intellect – and will, and ultimately finds its expression through the body when we follow though with the desire (Proverbs.4:3; Mt.15:19-20; Luke 6:45; Heb.3:12 ; James 1:14-15). The sin nature is the basis for sinful habits. It isn’t a single act but a process that begins in our heart. David says in the Psalms:

"I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness; In sin my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful]."PSALM 51:5 AMP

A few chapters later in chapter 58, it says:

“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” ~ Psalms 58:3 ESV

All of this is to say that because of our fallen humanity, sin is apart of our nature. We can see the sin nature at work even in a child who is not trained in behavior as a child disobeys and is selfish naturally, they do not need to learn this. Those with children know that you don’t have to teach child a child how to be selfish! :grinning: They were “born that way”. The Bible says we act on our nature. Again, the Psalmist says (58:3), “the wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies.

We don’t just make up our mind to sin or make a mistake and go from being perfect to being sinful. Ephesians 2:3 that prior to Christ’s redemption of us “…and were BY NATURE the children of wrath.”

Look…I get it, @KMac – when many people say ‘born this way’ or ‘this is just who I am’ it is usually being used as a broad excuse for behaviour". Particularly with regard to sexuality, it’s used to somehow justify their desires because “God made me this way”. However, being born with a propensity for a particular sin does not justify the sin. Again, in the same way that a propensity for drunkenness or addiction doesn’t justify the acting on the sin…the propensity for same-sex attraction does not justify someone acting on that sin.


(Sandy) #19

Hello everyone! Allow me please the privilege in your brilliant group to ask the question this way. The typical implication of the argument for ‘born that way’ is; hence it’s just as natural as being heterosexual and therefore should be accepted as normal. If we accept ‘born that way’, are we agreeing with that?


(Warner Joseph Miller) #20

Hi @salee!!! Thanks so much for joining the convo. I loved how you worded that. And I’d answer your question with an emphatic, “NO”. “Natural” does not mean “acceptable” or “justifiable”. As I illustrated using the “natural” and unlearned misbehavior of babies or toddlers, just because something is inherent or inborn doesn’t make it acceptable. Although God didn’t make people gay or make people selfish or liars or what have you, we’ve all been infected and affected by the tragic results of a fallen and broken world brought about by our first parents, Adam and Eve. The result being, ultimately, a sin nature. It’s like a child born with HIV or crack in there system because of the choices of their parent(s). Just because the child is born with these infections or addictions doesn’t mean that the infections or addictions are justified. Does that make sense? Some children have to go through years of treatment to dispense with the “infection” or chemical dependency and still others never see a cure. Instead they have to live with the infection. However the “infection” is still an INFECTION. It isn’t justified simply because they were “born that way”…although they absolutely were. I hope my illustrastion hasn’t gone too far north.:roll_eyes: