God's Special Promises
To Gays and Lesbians
By: Florine Deveer Isaiah 56: 3-5
By: Candace Chellew Acts 8: 26-40
"Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say the Lord will
surely separate me from his people; and do not let the eunuch say I am just
a dry tree. For thus says the Lord to the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me and hold fast to my covenant, I will
give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than
sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not
be cut off." Isaiah 56: 3-5 (NRSV).
I read this verse many times without paying too much attention to it,
until one day I suddenly realized what it said. It was the word "eunuch"
that alerted me. At that time a eunuch was not necessarily a castrated male,
as we think of it now. The term included homosexual men. Jesus says something
like this in the book of Matthew: "For there are eunuchs who have been
so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others,
and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the
kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:12)
Reading Isaiah 56:3-5 again and substituting "gay man" for
eunuch, it seemed to me that it was one of the most beautiful promises in
And although (in true Bible fashion) it doesn't mention women specifically,
I believe that it applies to both men and women -- and to all who have felt
like foreigners, outcasts, or eunuchs of all kinds. It says that if we obey
God it doesn't matter what our sexual orientation is ... we have a place
in the kingdom of God.
Phillip and the Eunuch
Acts 8: 26-40 contains another beautiful promise to gay and lesbian Christians.
Here Phillip finds himself on the road to Gaza at the urging of an angel.
He had not planned to be here, but God had His own reasons for putting Phillip
in the desert. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch traveling the same road.
The eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah, struggling to understand the
passage that talked about the coming of Christ. Phillip joined the eunuch
on his journey and told him "the good news of Jesus."
This was a daring move for Phillip! The eunuchs were not allowed in the
temples, they were not allowed to hear the scriptures taught from the altar.
The word of God was not for them! But that day God led Phillip to bring
the gospel to those who had been excluded before.
In Acts 8:36 they come upon a pool of water and the eunuch asks "See,
here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?" Phillip
could not think of any reason, and baptized the eunuch.
In this radical move, Phillip opened the door for gay and lesbian Christians
to be accepted into the kingdom of God.
Others in Phillip's time may have disagreed with his acceptance of the
eunuch .. as many mainstream church leaders refuse to accept gays and lesbians
even today. But, Phillip knew exactly what Jesus meant when he said "...whosoever."