Homosexuality, Pastors, and Lunch

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In May of 2009, I wrote on this blog about three cultural shifts that every Christian in America needs to watch:

1. The Growth of Islam,

2. The Main-streaming of Homosexuality, and

3. The Sanctity of ALL Human Life.

It seems obvious that in the last four years that each of these three have proven to be major forces in our culture.

This past weekend I was privileged to share in a luncheon with three prominent and powerhouse pastors from very different church contexts from around the country.  It was fascinating to sit and watch as these great men of God “talked shop.”

At one point the conversation shifted to major coming trends that will impact the church.  All were were quick to admit that the church had better get its act together when it comes to dealing with the issue of homosexuality.  All were firm.  The Bible is crystal clear.  Homosexual behavior is a sin.  But how we talk about and treat people who chose to live a gay lifestyle had better change.  And we had better be very serious about all sin, sexual and other wise, and to quit singling out our “pet offenses.”  The love of Jesus Christ for all people, regardless of their particular sin was stressed.  The conversation also included the recent “controversy” surrounding Tim Tebow and the invitation, and then his withdrawal, to speak at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas.  We collectively mourned the ugliness of the whole situation that put a wonderful church and its pastor in a tough spot of national condemnation and in turn brought intense criticism on Tim Tebow no matter what he chose to do with the invitation.  Both Tim and FBC Dallas are on the same team yet in this instance attempts to play them against each other have been intense.

This incident, once again, serves to illustrate how toxic the environment is when church and the issue of homosexuality are mixed.   In fact, I suspect that the pot is so unstable that there will be those who might even parse the words of this particular blog post in order to find a charge against the writer.

Coming out of this fascinating meeting and discussion on Saturday over lunch I am left with these thoughts (which may be poorly expressed here, but nevertheless, I press on)

  1. Homosexual behavior is a sin.  The Bible tells me so…
  2. Same sex attraction is not a sin.
  3. The above two must never be confused or mixed.  There are many reasons people choose to participate in homosexual behavior.
  4. There are many kinds of sexual sin.  And certain Christians in the church are involved in all of them.
  5. All sexual sin is an offense against God.
  6. All sin is an offense against God.
  7. God will forgive the confessed and repentant sinner.
  8. Temptation to continued sin after forgiveness is real.
  9. Forgiveness of sin is not a license to continue to sin.
  10. Everybody, regardless of their sin, needs a church to encourage them to walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity, according to the will of God and the teaching of Scripture.

The old adage is, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin.”  Hate is not a good word to use in the current cultural climate as it relates to homosexuality and the church.  The word hate is tossed around way too freely to demonize those who are not in agreement with a particular side of the issue.

A better adage would be, “Love the sinner. Jesus forgives confessed sin.”

To the woman caught in adultery, “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, Lord,” she answered.  “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus.  “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

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