In 2011 American pastor, theologian and best-selling author, Tim Keller sat down for a question and answer session with historian David Eisenbach of The Veritas Forum at Colombia University. Keller was asked the question, “What do so many of the churches have against homosexuals? … Is [homosexulality] a sin? Are they all going to hell?”
Keller begins, “You read the bible and the bible has reservations. The Bible says homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality. There you have it … The Bible also says to ‘love your neighbor’ … what Jesus is trying to say is that everyone is your neighbor. Gay people are your neighbors. People of other faiths are your neighbors. People of other races are your neighbors. And it’s the job of a Christian to do what Jesus did on the cross, which was to give himself for people that were opposing Him … and people who didn’t believe in Him even … So, a Christian is supposed to say, ‘I serve the needs and interests of all of my neighbors in the city—whether gay or straight, Hindu or Muslim.”
Eisenbach then asks Keller if being a homosexual is a sin and if all homosexuals will go to hell. Keller responds that yes, homosexuality is a sin but “no, first of all, heterosexuality does not get you to heaven—I happen to know this,” he states to audience laughter and applause. “Listen, Jesus talks about greed ten times more than He talks about adultery … the Bible is much harder on greed and materialism.” He then explains how sexuality, in general, can fall under sinful greed when not submitted to the need for a savior.
“What will send you to hell?” Keller poses. “Self-righteousness—thinking you can be your own savior and Lord.”
“What sends you to heaven is getting a connection with Christ because you realize you’re a sinner and you need intervention from outside.”