Every so often, the Baptist Messenger publishes a special insert called Messenger Insight. The set of articles, which feature experts and leaders on select topics, are designed to create focus on a single issue that is important to the church today.

Previous topics include “Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ” and “Exploring the Christian Worldview.” In this edition, June 13, we focus on what has to be one of the most controversial topics in society today: homosexuality.

Southern Baptists have earned no brownie points in today’s society for our convictions on this issue, even as politicians, corporations and celebrities rush toward the acceptance and normalization of the homosexual lifestyle. So why are Baptists unmoved? And why do we keep bringing the topic up?

Let’s first set the record straight on one matter. Most Southern Baptists do not wish to keep bringing up the topic of homosexuality. In fact, Christians typically do not prefer to talk about sexual matters in public at all. After all, we believe proper people do not discuss such things. Yet gay-rights activists (many of whom I am sure are well meaning) and the media will not let the issue alone and thus we must reply.

It is not only pastors and apologists who must be well-versed on this topic. It is incumbent on every Christian to be able to defend and articulate his or her conviction on the issue of homosexuality. If you have not been challenged on the issue, it is only a matter of time before you are asked by a co-worker, family member or neighbor about your stance.

The average Christian realizes that homosexual acts are contrary to God’s design for man and are a sin. Yet when pressed as to why, whether from common sense or the Scriptures, many of us find ourselves flat-footed in our explanation.

In this Messenger Insight, “Homosexuality & the Bible: Answering the tough questions,” our authors present, from the Scriptures, answers to the most common challenges to the Christian view. There certainly are valid ways to show from common sense, science and plain reason as to why homosexual acts are self-destructive and lead to a societal dead-end.

The purpose of this Insight, however, is to prove beyond a doubt that the pro-homosexual lifestyle stance is irreconcilable with the Bible. That is to say, you cannot rightly hold to the infallibility and inspiration of the Scriptures and the pro-homosexual position at the same time.

Our greater purpose in this Insight, though, is not simply to win an argument. It is, instead, to win people. Our Lord calls us not to be the best at debate, but to be faithful. He tells us to share the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit reorder people’s lives.

At the same time, many who claim the name of Christ have bought into the lie that homosexual acts are morally neutral and may therefore be embraced. To those who are at such a place, or know someone who is, I implore you to read this Messenger Insight with fresh eyes.

As you do, I leave us with one final word. The fact that you do not commit homosexual acts does not make you a Christian any more than not poisoning people when you cook makes you a great chef. In other words, the Christian life does not consist solely in avoiding shameful sins. Instead it consists of you accepting the free gift of salvation from God and redemption from our shameful sins—each one of us—through Christ’s atoning blood and finished work on the cross and resurrection. That, in the end, is the central message of the Bible.