LGBTQ & The American Church
This is the predicament between the American Church and the gay community.
"Jesus loves you" is always an accurate statement. But it's not the appropriate response when someone's house is on fire and they're burning alive. It is the responsibility of every believer, especially teachers, to speak the truth (Ja. 3:1). Some add in love, but it's not necessary. If you love someone, you will tell them the truth. The Bible instructs us to show kindness but never commands us to "be nice." Believers are called to hate what God hates and love what He loves.
God hates sin. God loves people.
I've said it before and I don't mind repeating it: ALL (means all) forms of sex - thoughts, words, or deeds - outside the marriage covenant between one biological man and one biological woman is sin. Period. No excuses. No exceptions. More to the point of this blog, everyone practicing the LGBTQ lifestyle is in danger of hellfire. They need immediate divine intervention.
Unfortunately, ministers are mixing faith with the doctrines of culture. Andy Stanley is the latest megachurch pastor to abandon integrity in the presence of perversion and rebellion. Before I go further, let me address Matthew 7:1-2, which says,
"Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
In the case of Stanley, I assume all risks and consequences for judging the fruit of his character and the content of his preaching. The standard is not my righteousness but the word of God. Should I fall below this glorious standard, I hope those who profess to love me would be bold enough to challenge and correct my error. Furthermore, I appeal to the words of the apostle Paul:
"It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is [my] responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, 'You must remove the evil person from among you'" (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
WOLVES IN SHEPHERD'S CLOTHING
It is unloving to preach heaven and conceal hell. It's deceptive to present God as compassionate and conceal wrath. It's abhorrent to offer salvation and conceal the requirement of repentance. Reconciliation does not come before confession. The cross is not the place we go to feel better about ourselves - it's where we go to die. Die to self, die to everything that separates us from God.
Stanley has turned away from biblical truth. He reinterprets or excludes Scripture from his views and teachings. It's even reported that he now affirms the LGBTQ movement. The description of Stanley's upcoming event says,
"The Unconditional Conference is an event for Christian parents with LGBTQ+ children and ministry leaders. In a world that makes us choose sides, experience a conference from the quieter middle. Our goal is to provide hope and to help parents demonstrate the unconditional love of Jesus to their LGBTQ+ children."
Stanley's conference features Greg and Lynn McDonald (Co-founders of Embracing the Journey), John Ortberg (former megachurch pastor), Debbie Causey (North Point Ministries), and Justin Lee (LGBT advocate).
Embracing the Journey's About Us page says, "As followers of Jesus, Greg and Lyn have first-hand experience managing the complicated feelings associated with learning their son was gay. In the twenty-plus years since that revelation, they have immersed themselves in the LGBTQ+ community...to build bridges between LGBTQ+ individuals, their families, and the church..."
The Post revealed Ortberg "resigned from [his church] in Northern California in July 2020 after the church's board of elders learned he allowed his son to serve as a volunteer in children's ministry despite knowing [in 2018] he was attracted to minors."
The Post also said, "Causey wrote a book about her son coming out...and Lee's Nuance Ministries website features the tagline 'Bridging the LGBTQ/Christian divide...'"
SO, WHAT'S THE RIGHT RESPONSE?
"[K]eep yourselves in the love of God...[O]n some have compassion...Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives."
- Jude 1:21-23
If this is how Christians are to deal with fellow believers who wander from the truth, how much more should we heed this warning when we encounter those living apart from God? Love does not affirm or act indifferently toward sin. The only hope for the LGBTQ community is Jesus Christ. There is no alternative salvation plan. The same blood that covers me and you will cover them. An enemy of the cross today can be a brother or sister in Christ tomorrow.
If you don't know how to respond to members of the LGBTQ community consider the following:
- Pray. This is our primary responsibility EVERY SINGLE DAY
- Build relationships. Before we correct someone, there should be indications that we care about them as a person
- Don't make assumptions. Not everyone in the community is "wounded" the same way. Many have endured abuse or neglect and they harbor resentment (or attraction) for the same or opposite sex of their abuser. Some are truly lost in a false identity. And there are those who consciously choose to live in rebellion. This calls for discernment
- Hold your judgment. To pious eyes, some sins appear "bigger" than others; in the Father's eyes, all sin bears the penalty of death. Tread mercifully when confronting other's sins
- Don't just invite them to church. INVITE THEM INTO THE KINGDOM! Salvation is not found in buildings, it's found in Christ. If you don't know how to witness to the lost, then ask God to train you in soul winning
- Let them bring it up. Don't evict the elephant in the room; no Christian should feel comfortable in the presence of someone who's perishing. Wait for discussions on morality, identity, and salvation to occur naturally (in my experience, they always do)
- The Word of God is sufficient. Keep religion to yourself and point them to Jesus
- Embrace persecution. This is our inheritance as followers of Christ