by Samuel Garcia
I appreciate this recent article posted on this website for taking a stand against homosexuality. I agree wholeheartedly that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is very clear in its position in this regard. From the Old Testament Levitical law (Leviticus 20:3) to New Testament Pauline epistles (I Corinthians 6:9), there is no argument against that homosexuality is a sin against nature and against God.
Our world today has experienced a paradigm shift of even more evil. The recent decision to “fix” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana was telling. The law itself had no reference to homosexuality. The bill only was made to reiterate support an already existing law. And yet it lost. President Obama has called an end to any attempt or therapy to reverse a sexual orientation. In other words, he has made it illegal to counsel someone that what they are doing is sin. It seems the tide has turned against us. Homosexuality seems to be accepted by the society-at-large.
One thing we Baptists seem to get twisted about is how to treat a homosexual. Jesus told us to love sinners and our enemies. How do we do that? We always repeat the slogan “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner.” but what does it actually mean? I will be using the word “homosexual” to cover all non-heterosexual sexual sins, covering all of the so-called LGBTQ.
- Lead Them To The Lord And Disciple Them
Homosexuality is simply one of many sins Jesus can forgive. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has the power to save homosexuals from homosexuality! It just might be that a homosexual’s lusts for the same gender will be one of the sins that would disappear when a homosexual becomes a born-again believer. If so, rejoice!
Whether the sin disappears completely or not, encourage them to attend a discipleship class, such as the Reformer’s Unanimous addictions program. Reformer’s Unanimous is attended by those who have any addictions, from gluttony to alcohol to drugs to lust. It is a Biblically-based program to get closer to Christ, rather than believing on oneself and a deceitful heart. If your local church does not have one, no matter, the point is, disciple them, somehow.
If you are a pastor or leader or one who has been in the faith long enough, it is an option to disciple them yourself. Get them to be baptized by their own conviction. Get them to read the Bible for themselves and pray. Make sure they attend every discipleship session, and every time the church doors are open. If they refuse to work on their homosexuality, focus on the “smaller” sins: lying, stealing, coveting, pride, and so on. While one sin may overshadow others externally, as sinners, we have many sins. But even more, focus on getting closer to Christ through His Word. Before you know it, his old lusts of the flesh will be replaced with new convictions.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We cannot eradicate this sin ourselves. We must rely on Him Who created our bodies, sexuality, and marriage. It may take fasting and prayer on our part and the homosexual’s part.
- Determine How To Handle Each Person Individually
As much as one wants to broadbrush every homosexual into one large homogenized group, we cannot if we want to claim them for Christ. He that winneth souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30), and we would be wise to study the demographics of the homosexual population.
There are some that are outspoken defenders of their sin. The gay lobby, the gay activist, the gay paraders, the media – these are the voices that ring out against us. To use a “heterosexual” analogy, they are the equivalent of the porn industry or prostitution defenders. It is their identity. There are those that have homosexual lusts and thoughts from time to time. They do not act on it, but they may have fear and confusion.
To classify every homosexual as a defender is inaccurate at best. Just as not all fornicators and adulterers are outspoken and rabid, homosexuals can also be quiet, stealthy, or ashamed. This is not to lessen the sin, but to refine our method of reaching them.
We can crudely split homosexuals into three groups:
- Identifying as a homosexual:These are those that have identified themselves as homosexual, and are unashamed of it. They parade themselves and flaunt their sin. It is their lifestyle, and they see no evil in it. This is usually what we think of when we hear of the word “homosexuals”.
- Struggling with homosexuality:These are those that have acted on or planning to act on their homosexual desires. They may not identify themselves as homosexual, however, they have an addiction to the sin. They may have shame, or are just quiet about it. Make no mistake, they are engaged in immorality, as much as a heterosexual adulterer is engaged in sin.
- Attracted to homosexual desires:These are those that have homosexual desires and attractions, however, but have not acted on them. They probably do not identify as a homosexual or are confused by the desires. It is a much, much larger group than both of Group A and B combined.
The point is, not everyone who has this sin is in Group A. Those in Group A, and to a lesser extent, Group B, must experience church discipline as both Groups A and B are actively committing the sin. Open immorality cannot continue in our churches. Those in Group B and Group C usually are ashamed to speak of their sin to get help, for fear of backlash. Those in Group B and Group C are rightly ashamed of their homosexual proclivities. If they want to change in Christ, you must have a willing and open ear. Listen.
We must identify in which group a homosexual resides in. Ask them questions. Do not load those questions with accusations. Use the answers they give you to win their soul effectively to Christ.
- Do Not Have A Double Standard
Before one looks down on homosexuals, remember that lusting after the opposite sex is the same sin as lusting after someone with the same sex. Both that do commit adultery in their hearts. We cannot have a double standard.
Is it possible to be a “gay Christian”? Is that an oxymoron? I ask, is it possible for a
heterosexual adulterer, fornicator, porn addict, or someone who lusts after the opposite sex to be a Christian?
The Bible says in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, those that are fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, and abusers of themselves with mankind. It also lists thievery, coveting, drunkards, revilers, and so on.
Such were some of you. Such were some of you! We have a tendency to pass over heterosexual sexual sins more than we do homosexual sins! This must not be so, brethren.
There are clearly Christians in Group C, as there are arguably many Christians who have heterosexual lusts. If you believe there are Christians that can sometimes or secretly fornicate and commit adultery, then it follows that there are Christians in Group B. If you believe there are completely hellion and backslidden immoral heterosexual Christians who prostitute themselves openly, then it follows that there are backslidden Christians in Group A. It is unlikely, however.
Paul does make mention of those that were delivered to Satan in the church because of blasphemy (cf. I Corinthians 5:5):
I Timothy 1:19 – 20
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Those that claim to be saved in Group B and Group C sometimes do make fruit in other areas, despite the temptations. Some of those who have struggled with desires have remained celibate, or have married opposite sex spouses to stave off their desires. If we pride ourselves with standards that prevent sin, then actions like these should be commendable.
Church discipline brings up another issue. If we treat homosexuals engaged in sin one way, and yet treat better a heterosexual couple engaged in sexual immorality, it will sow seeds of our downfall. If we deliver the homosexual outside our church, we must deliver up the sinning heterosexual couple in adultery or fornication, as well. (I Corinthians 5:5)
If the homosexual repents, we must treat him as we would treat an heterosexual adulterer or fornicator that repents. Likewise, if we hold up those who have heterosexual lusts but have committed to celibacy or marriage by conviction, we should hold up the same standard on those who have homosexual lusts that committed themselves to celibacy and heterosexual, traditional marriage. Consistency is key. Christ is all about restoration and redemption, done in a Biblical manner.
II Corinthians gives us a blueprint for restoring a church member involved in sexual sin:
II Corinthians 2:7
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
In context, the first letter to the Corinthians by Paul was partly in response to glaring, open immorality of a church member who had a sin not commonly named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. (I Corinthians 5:1)
The man involved in sin repented, however, the church did not restore him. The second letter of Corinthians then admonished the church of Corinth to restore the man who repented. (2 Corinthians 2:6-7) Therefore, a study of both books of Corinthians will be useful when dealing with homosexuality and other sexual sins in the local church.
If you have heterosexual sins and lusts yourself, repent. If you have committed adultery against your spouse, repent. If you have fornicated outside of marriage bounds, repent. If you have touched the opposite sex to inflame them, repent. If you have looked on a woman to lust and committed adultery in your heart, repent. Are you not the same as a homosexual for lusting and committing these sins?
In this issue, we cannot be hypocrites. We must be blameless ourselves. Our double standard will be our downfall.
- Some Practical Actions to Show Love
So how do we exactly show love?
Romans 12:20 – 21
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Not all homosexuals are our enemies in the direct sense, however, the verse tells us what love looks like applied to all people:
If a homosexual was hungry, feed them.
If a homosexual was thirsty, offer them a drink.
If a homosexual was drowning, save them.
If a homosexual was lost, offer to help them find their way.
If a homosexual asks for prayer, pray for them.
If a homosexual needs help, help them.
The principle on how to love sinners practically should be evident and intuitive by the verse and those examples. We need to overcome evil with good.
- Withhold Actions That May Seem To Promote Or Participate In Their Sin
One would say, if we can do the above things, it follows that we should attend and celebrate gay weddings because we love them, right? Right?
Attending a wedding means you approve of the wedding between two people. We do not approve sin, nor its celebration. In addition, it might be tricky when it is asked who would object to the marriage. It would be the same if a Christian was invited to attend a murder. We will love the person, but we will not participate in the sin.
This is why businesses that refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings should be allowed not to bake cakes. It is against their consciences to bake a cake, as if they were participating in the sin.
There are times when we need to judge with holiness, and there are times when we need to have grace. The Bible gives us a rule of thumb to use which. They who sin willingly despite knowing the truth must be judged harshly. Those are ignorant must first be taught. Rely on the Bible and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 1:24, 32 (verses 25-31 deserves a reading as well, not included for space reasons)
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Like a parent of a wayward child, to homosexuals, we can say, “You’re wrong” and “I love you”, simultaneously without contradiction. We must be firm in both statements.
by Samuel Garcia
Article submitted to IndependentBaptist.com