In recent months the issue of homosexuality and the church seems to be in the spotlight more than in recent years. One reason is the “coming out of the closet” by former Christian artist, Ray Boltz. You really could not have been in the church in the 90’s and not seen some tear-jerking mission video with “Thank You” playing in the background. Baptist Press has a decent article you can read about this HERE. You also might want to read the Christianity Today blog post of this HERE. If you read the CT blog, scroll down and read the comments…they are telling.
The issue of homosexuality and the church will not go away. It has been present since the first churches and will be until Christ returns to rule and reign. The church must know how to respond to this issue in our culture and perhaps even in our own pews.
I believe the core issue here (as with any issue that becomes convoluted in the church) is the gospel. We just don’t understand the nature of the gospel. On a practical level, I feel this. Every time I find satisfaction in something the world has to offer I show that I do not understand the gospel in all of its eternal weight and satisfaction! I show by my slight repentance that I do not understand the depth of the atonement. I show the same lack of understanding when I feel that God punishes me for sin as opposed to disciplining me as a son. Our churches MUST UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL…THE WHOLE GOSPEL!
I find frustration on two fronts. First, when the conservative evangelical church show such contempt and hatred for those who are homosexuals, I find a deep lack of compassion for the Christian who has forgotten what it means to be lost and then redeemed. We of all people should be humble and should find it just as natural to SPEAK truth IN love. We should be undaunted in our commitment to BOTH.
Second, those who claim to be evangelical Christians who even hint that it’s a “good thing” when professing Christians who are gay “come out of the closet” frustrate me until I realize that it’s consistent with Paul’s warnings and convoluted doctrine in churches. There are many who claim to embrace the gospel, but it is nothing less than religious tolerance. I’m not proposing intolerance, just fidelity.
The church today is just flat out not distinct enough from the world. I cannot help but think it’s because the preaching in many churches is just flat. Preachers are so wooed by the world, while still having a heart for the lost, that they really believe that the lost will be reached by preaching lightly thinking that if many come in then the gospel will be heard in detail in some other venue. What other venue?! As the preaching goes, so goes the church and the people. If the pastor is not passionate about the gospel as it’s taught in scripture, neither will the people. Certainly our people should be equipped to proclaim the good news in their own living rooms, but if their greatest time of equipping (gathering with the saints under the proclamation of the Word) is so light that the gospel is not doctrinally pure and plain, then what do they share except a generic “Christian” love that is biblically uninformed and too often just conveys, “That’s the way God made you, so be the best version of yourself that you can be.” That sounds great here, but there’s not gospel there and I would go so far as to say I wonder whether or not there’s even a “Christian” there.
Remember, as Christians we must present God reconciling sinners (of all lifestyles) to Himself through Christ. As we share Christ with those who practice homosexuality, we must introduce them to the Creator who can re-create them and avoid the temptation to try and “clean up” the sin before they are cleansed by the Savior. Consider ALL of this…
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.