Sexual orientation describes an enduring pattern of sexual and/or romantic attraction. The concept offers a convenient way for people to describe how their experiences of sexual and/or romantic attraction follow a clear and persistent pattern—toward the same sex, toward the opposite sex, or toward individuals of both sexes.
We recognize that some in our culture have gone beyond that simple definition and treated sexual orientation as something that must be celebrated as part of who one is. We reject this view of orientation but do not believe that it invalidates the usefulness of the concept. We can still call a pattern of attractions “sexual orientation” while recognizing that pattern as contrary to God’s design.
Some suggest that Christians should use a concept like “sin nature” instead. While being aware of how we have been affected by original sin is important, some also find it helpful to be able to point to some of the specific (and somewhat unusual) aspects of their battle with sin, both in their own self-reflection and in their efforts to share their struggles with their fellow Christians.
It can be useful to recognize that a particular pattern of attraction has been enduring and is likely to continue to be so. For those who struggle with homosexual temptation, the concept can be helpful as a way of acknowledging a specific vulnerability, helping them and those who love them be aware of potential temptations so that they don’t get blindsided and overwhelmed.