Controversy and consternation have again been stirred over the issue of the relationship of the LGBT community and the local church. A church in San Fransisco that claims membership in the Reformed Church of America has joined the company of two other large churches (one in Nashville and one in Seattle) in affirming homosexual behavior as acceptable. This came just before the Presbyterian Church (USA) affirmed their position of sanctioning same-sex marriage.
Can we even talk about this anymore? The last thing I want to do in this blog is throw more wood into an already overheated fire. But while my heart is not to stir a boiling pot, it is important that we keep finding our footing on solid rock in a moral landscape that seems to be made of quicksand.
I am incredulous that pastors and churches are making decisions to affirm, endorse, and even to bless LGBT relationships as Biblically-based and God-blessed. I think with even a rudimentary reading of Scripture, the Bible still condemns such behavior, even as it condemns other sexual sins.
Once I was asked, “So do you think that homosexual behavior is more sinful than adultery?” Well OF COURSE not. But then I do not have an organized block of adulterers coming to me and asking for their behavior to be legitimized, tolerated and affirmed. I have never knowingly allowed church membership to a couple who were participating in an adulterous affair, much less been asked to publicly affirm their behavior.
Let me say clearly that I have never encountered a homosexual person that I didn’t like or care about. I certainly don’t believe there is a homosexual who ever lived that Jesus didn’t love enough to die for.
But belonging to a local church has implications. One implication is that you are “called out” (ecclesia in Greek) from the world. You are no longer walking and living in the desires of your lifestyle before Christ transformed you and called you to belong to the local church. You are empowered to be different from the world.
The churches and even denominations that have diluted their understanding of church or of what is required for church membership to accommodate the LGBT lifestyle, and even to celebrate it as normative and acceptable, have distorted not only the Bible, but the very purpose and defining tenets of the local church. Their morality is now defined by the authority of subjective opinions, more than by Scripture.
Any LGBT person is welcomed and encouraged joyfully to worship with Fruit Cove. I will fight to the extent of my authority in this church to ensure that. We do not inquire about sexual orientation at the door. We believe every person has the right to come to Jesus just as they are. We are not a church of sin-free people. But once we come and desire to formally participate in and align ourselves with the Body as a reflection of Jesus Christ, the requirements and expectations intensify. I am confident that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we would have the right to live in homosexual relationships or any other sexually prohibited lifestyle for that matter. He died so we would be empowered to be different, and He expects His followers to be distinct.
We must take our stand like the man who built his house on a rock, not on shifting sand of changing cultural morals. We can rest assured that the storm will batter and the waves of cultural criticism will threaten. But our house is built on the Rock.
And if that is so, whatever comes…the house will stand.