On May 8th, US president Barack Obama made quite a stir when he endorsed the rights of gay marriages in the United States, an issue he’s gone full circle on since his presidency began.

Within hours of president Obama’s declaration, hundreds of thousands of ‘voices’ were heard all across the US, Canada and Europe re: what they thought of his new position as leader of the most influential country in the world.  There were no shortage of view points coming in from the Christian circles…some thoughtful, tactful and precise…others lacking intelligence, dignity and any resemblance of love.

Several influential Christian leaders have also changed and/or altered their views on homosexuality and same-sex attraction over the past 5 years.  So what does the bible REALLY have to say about this subject?  I’d like to offer 2 (of course there are many others out there…but you’ll have to find them yourself!) resources I came across the past couple weeks that help bring some sound biblical perspective on the matter.

The first is from Got Questions?, which is a well-respected and theologically sound website for answers to life’s questions…from a Christian viewpoint.  I believe in the ministry of Got Questions? because I believe the only source for truth, purpose and meaning is found in the holy scriptures.  When many others are trying to figure out what the world experts think about life’s questions and issues, the bible stands true and endures the test of time in its credibility, reliability and authority.

The second resource is from a Sermon Central feature article by Tim Wilkins, in which he suggests some practical and effective ways the topic of homosexuality/same-sex attraction can be communicated from the church pulpit.  The reason I give much validation to what Wilkins has to say is because he’s not just coming from the angle of a pastor with a church agenda, but one who has lived through, and struggled with, the subject he addresses.

Here’s a quick glance at some of his thoughts on how the church can possibly better handle homosexuality from the pulpit…you can read the entire article here if you wish.

**I included a few of my thoughts at the end of each heading

Providing Heat vs. Light

We are tempted to be grandiose, forceful, and effusive when addressing homosexuality. Scottish preacher James Stuart Stewart wrote, “There is a type of preaching which apparently regards it as more important to generate heat than supply light.”  It is easier to denounce homosexuality from the pulpit with great fervor and vast sweeping gestures than to portray a loving God who separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west.”

There’s too many times when we as Christians want to start an argument and prove a point, rather than a desire to make sure the light of Christ shines bright in our lives.  That doesn’t mean we condone and accept every attitude and action, but it does mean we should likely spend less time pointing our fingers, and more time pointing out Christ’s love for broken and sinful people…like all of us!

More of an Audience than You Might Know

You may ask, “Where must I go to gain an audience with the homosexual?”  The truth is you are presently preaching to homosexuals; they are among your visitors and, yes, your members.  Some constitute your choir, elders, and deacons. They are men and women, married and single, teenagers, and senior adults.  Overwhelmingly, they are inconspicuous.  But you should know they are there.  Though some are “satisfied” with their homosexuality; the vast majority are not.  This majority do not live a gay lifestyle.  They do not march in gay parades or fight for social “rights.”  They hurt!  They hurt deeply! They want freedom from same-sex attractions, and they want to hear a word from you that goes beyond condemnation.”

In other words, whether you’re a pastor, leader, or ‘garden-variety’ congregational pew sitter, you likely have more of an engaged audience sitting among you than you might know!

Before Addressing Homosexuality, Exegete Your Congregation

If you are unaware of anyone in your church dealing with homosexuality, you might ask yourself, “Why is that?” As you exegete your text, so must you exegete your congregation. “What besetting sins are they experiencing?”   I cannot begin to tell of the number of parents who hear our heated remarks on homosexuality and suffer silently with a son or daughter who is caught in homosexuality’s trap. One such mother told me that hearing her pastor’s imprudent remarks felt like being jabbed in the stomach with a butcher knife.  It would be very rare for a parent to disclose their pain to such a pastor.”

It’s not just the role of the pastor to help bring light and understanding to the church community, but we all can play a vital role by not only asking “What Would Jesus Do?”, but also knowing what Jesus did!

When Addressing Homosexuality, Examine Your Motivations And Goals

What motivates you to address these persons? (They are persons before they are homosexuals!)  What do you want to happen in the lives of these individuals? Remember, no one has ever been argued out of homosexuality or into the Kingdom of God.  Are you going to tell them they need to “convert” to heterosexuality? Are you going to recommend they date individuals of the opposite sex?  Many Christians peddle heterosexuality like it’s ‘another gospel.’ (See Galatians 1:6) Conversion is to Jesus Christ who, in turn, transforms us into His image. Jesus did not say “Go and make heterosexuals” but rather “Go and make disciples.” 

Joe Dallas writes, “Often people ask, ‘How do you witness to a gay?’”  The question itself shows a certain misunderstanding. Why should witnessing to gays be any different than witnessing to anyone else? Their homosexuality is not our main concern. The state of their souls is.”

There’s always the temptation to say what we want others to hear, rather than saying what Jesus and the bible actually said.  Our goal as Christians shouldn’t be motivated by an agenda to point out what we perceive as faults, but rather to love as Jesus loves and allow the Holy Spirit to be the One who brings revelation light and conviction to our hearts, minds and souls.

When Addressing Homosexuality, Expound The Whole Counsel Of God

If you do not know it yet, know it now that although this writer is ashamed of his past homosexuality, he is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I personally did not experience freedom from homosexuality by reading and re-reading the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus 18 and 20, Romans 1, or 1 Corinthians 6—classic passages which condemn homosexuality. Yes, they impressed upon me that this form of sexual activity is sin, but I was already certain of that.  Pounding those passages over and over in your preaching may provide a diagnosis, but they do not necessarily provide a prognosis nor a plan of action”

Expounding the whole counsel of God does not necessarily mean you must devote an entire message to homosexuality.  When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he listed homosexuality among other sins—idolatry, adultery, burglary, greediness, drunkenness, slanderers, and cheaters.  When addressing homosexuality, preach on the healthy same-sex relationships revealed in Scripture—David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, and Jesus and John the Beloved Apostle, to name a few.”

How often have you heard a pastor or Christian talk about homosexuality being the ultimate sin above and beyond anything else?  Yeah…me too…and I’ve unfortunately been on the ‘giving it’ end too.  Yes the bible does talk about the pursuit of any sinful being a bad deal (yes homosexuality is included in that list of sins, and sexual sin often carries more visible and deeper consequences), but the bible doesn’t focus on any particular sin…but calls attention to the fact we all have a sin problem to deal with.

Our Approach Demands Love, Respect, Care, Empathy, Humility, And Kindness

The first rule to evangelizing homosexuals is that you love them.  One of W.E. Sangster’s seven rules for personal evangelism is “Do not set out to make people good—love them.” Mohler states, “We must love homosexuals more than they love their homosexuality.”

The old adage rings true…no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care!  Nuff said on that!

After Addressing Homosexuality, Expect Resistance

Expect resistance from outside as well as inside the church, from both sides of the theological spectrum—those who believe homosexuality is immoral and those who believe homosexuality is biblical.  I realize pastors may fear the repercussions of addressing homosexuality, but remind yourself that you are a herald of the gospel; you have been called to “preach the Word,” and as someone has said, “You have been bought with a price and what you want to do with your life is irrelevant.”  Phillips Brooks wrote, “If you are easily swayed by men’s opinions, do anything but preach.”

The gospel truth exposes deception, lies and darkness…in fact John 8 says that the truth is what brings us true freedom, but often times the truth will make us flinch, before it sets us free.

I know I’ve done a few posts over the past year re: homosexuality, and unless there’s some related issue that can’t be ignored, I’ll probably give this topic a break for a bit.  It needs to be addressed within the church, as does all sin.  But there are also many Christians and those apart from Christ that are engaged in pornography, adultery, gossip, unethical practices, idolatry, and other equally crippling and destructive sins.  As well, there is much in the Christianity to celebrate re: God’s grace, mercy and characteristics that deserve equal attention.

We need to preach the whole gospel…that God created us to be in relationship with Him, but we blew it by sinning, so God sent His very own person and Son to represent Himself on earth, live among His people once again and call them to something greater, so He could then die on the cross and pay the price for our sins and restore us to right relationship with the Father.  And one day, He’s coming back to earth to restore things to the original design and will judge the living and dead and establish His throne and paradise here forever.

That’s some pretty good material to focus on too!

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