On April 29, 2016, NBA star Jason Collins announced that he is gay, and in so doing so, he became the first openly gay professional athlete in American team sports, at least in male team sports. Collins also claims to be a Christian. In response to the announcement, ESPN analyst Chris Broussard responded by saying this: “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.” ESPN of course backed away from Broussard’s statement, apologized, calling it a “distraction” to Collin’s announcement. And soon thereafter, Broussard got called things like: unkind, hateful, abusive, intolerant, and a bigot for what he said on air. But the foundational question to begin with, Pastor John, is this one: “Is Broussard right in what he said?”
I listened to the excerpt. I didn’t hear the whole program. And my answer is yes. He is right. I think he would agree with a few clarifying comments. So, let me expand the simple yes answer so that people can hear my heart, and I think his heart behind that statement. I think you will get a richer, fuller, and biblical understanding.
Brokenness from Sin
All brokenness is owing to sin, but it is not sin to be broken. When I say all brokenness is owing to sin, I mean all brokenness is owing to putting other treasures where God’s supreme worth belongs. It doesn’t mean that you brought about your brokenness. Somebody else might have done it and then affected you.
“When sin came into the world, everything broke. Our desires are now all broken, including sexual ones.”
For example, it is not a sin to be an amputee, but you may have lost your leg because someone sinned against you or it might have been your own sin. You might have been planting a terrorist bomb and the thing went off early and blew your legs off. It doesn’t mean that the absence of your legs for the rest of your life is sinful. It does not mean it is a sin to have no leg even though sin may have been at the root of why the leg is gone.
When sin came into the world through Adam and Eve everything broke. I am broken and everybody else is broken and our desires are all broken — the sexual ones, the covetous ones, the proud ones, and the anger ones. We are all a bunch of broken people, especially when it comes to our emotions.
Now, that means that same-sex desires are among those broken desires — among the brokennesses. They are disorder. They are out of order from the way God designed us in the beginning for man and woman. A parallel in me or most of us would be the desire for human praise. I think virtually all humans struggle with this. I read Jesus and his anger and his condemnation of hypocrisy of the Pharisees and how they love to stand in the street corner and get human praise, and I think all of us are disordered in the way we crave human approval over against God’s approval.
Because of my sin, my desire for human praise is a disordered desire. If I give way to this desire, just like if the person was saying sexual desires gives way to his desires, we both will be living in sin.
Now that is what Chris Broussard called living in open rebellion. If you look at your disordered desire and say, “I don’t care. I am going to embrace that, and I am going to walk into it. I am going to make that my identity and my life. I am going to live it out,” that is open rebellion.
If I did that with human praise, I would be living in idolatry and living in sin. If a person with same-sex desires does that with his sexual desires, he is living in idolatry. He is living in sin, and both of us are told in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that idolaters and adulterers and men who practice homosexuality and thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is the key text in the New Testament (or one of the key texts).
“If you look at your disordered desire and say, ‘I don’t care. I am going to embrace it,’ that is open rebellion.”
You can see the kind of line up there in the text. Homosexuality as a practice is not in a class by itself in the New Testament. It is lined up along with things like thievery, greed, and idolatry, which means more things lead to destruction than just homosexual practice.
What I think he was getting at — and what I think he was right about — is that the Bible teaches that if we embrace our disordered desires we are guilty of sinning. Whether we embrace that we are kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, or anything that is broken in us, we are guilty. If we just love to start fires or love to start and set every house on fire in the neighborhood, we are going to be guilty. If we embrace our heterosexual cravings for a woman beside our wives, we are going to be living in sin.
It is the same, I think, with homosexual desires. So, yeah, I think he was right on. If we are going to be faithful to the Bible, we are going to say that the embrace of our brokenness and the living out of a life of homosexual activity is going to be living in rebellion against God.