While I knew at some point I would likely write about this topic again, I didn’t think it would be so soon. But today I am writing in response to a recent article written by T. Streckert, for Christianity Today.** Our topic today isn’t really about homosexuality but rather how we as Christians should heed the call of Gregory Coles, author of the book, “Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity,” to “offer breathing room,” to Gay and Lesbian Christians.
Firstly, allow me to say that I was impressed with the writing of the article and the premise laid out by Coles. And it is to that credit that I am responding.
To get it out of the way right up front again, not simply because I am a minister, but because I believe the Bible; and what God says in the Bible. I cannot condone nor support homosexuality. When the Bible says it’s wrong, I believe it. I do not believe churches should be forced to accept homosexuality. Neither should the church be forced to officiate homosexual marriages or support the LGBT community in any way.
That said, nowhere in the Bible does it tell me to condemn homosexuals in any way or treat them with disrespect. It [Bible] does not tell me to stone them. It does not tell me to not preach to them. It does not tell me to vilify, demean, or harass them, or treat them with cruelty.
Let me go a step further and say, it is not my calling as a minister or as a Christian to turn a gay person into a straight person. My calling is to preach the gospel to all that would listen. Coles is absolutely right to not just ask but demand breathing room from churches and Christian communities.
As a minister and a follower of Christ my sole objective is to bring as many as possible to Him; not to me, (Mat 28:19). It is not I that can ever make a gay person straight; only God can do that, through Christ; through the working of His Holy Spirit.
I know Coles quoted the apostle Paul in his book regarding celibacy as opposed to marrying, (1 Cor 7:8), but I want to be sure that some will not disregard what Paul was referring to when he wrote that. He thought it was better for a person to be single and celibate in order that all their devotions can be solely given to the Lord.
While I do not pastor a church myself, I wholly believe that the church [or any Christian community] should never give in to the standing of marriage; a marriage between one man and one woman. This does not mean, however, that churches and congregations should ever demonize homosexuals. They should be treated the same as any other member of the church, and with dignity and respect.
To be quite blunt, a straight churchgoer is no better than a gay or lesbian one. We [yes, we] are all sinners in God’s view, (Rom 3:23). We all need to be made right through Christ before we can get into His kingdom.
Jesus told us [all Christians] to love one another like He loved us, (John 13:34). We are to forgive one another as we ask God to forgive us, (Eph 4:32). Jesus told us to take the log out of our own eye before we worry about the one in our neighbor’s, (Mat 7:1-5).
Christians, as members of a church or not, must realize that they were never given the role as a persecutor of gays and lesbians. Our role is to be a witness for Christ. Our role is to preach the gospel. Our role is to help people find Christ and walk with Christ; not with us.
Those in the LGBT community deserve our respect and our love, as children of God. They deserve the breathing room Coles suggests. It may be my role as a minister to admonish a brother or sister in Christ. It may be my role to help them see the error of their ways. It is not, however, my place to change them, nor to even try. Change, any change only happens through the work of Christ and His Holy Spirit.