How would Jesus vote on Amendment One?: The church and gay marriage, part 4

This is the 4th post on this subject over the last 3 weeks, but I still feel like I’ve done an inadequate job of explaining the issues on homosexuality and Christianity.  I want to sum up a couple main ideas that I hope I have made and then address the biggest question, “What do I do now?”

1. The cultural/social issues of our day will never be won at that ballot box.  Whether it’s gay marriage, abortion, human trafficking, or any other justice issue, we need to realize that it’s the gospel that can only change people’s hearts.  To some degree, we will always be legislating some kind of morality, but the law will always fail at changing a person from the inside out.  It’s the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that will change people.  We need to live out our faith, declare the riches of Christ, and reach out to love those furthest from the gospel.

2. Homosexual rights and religious freedom will be one of the biggest constitutional battles over the next generation in our country.  We’ve seen this in the headlines over and over again.  Only one of these foundational worldviews will win.  We need to stand for truth, while humbly extending grace to those who disagree with us.  If the homosexual rights movement overtakes our religious freedom, every person must ask themselves what they are willing to suffer for their beliefs.  The purging of Christ’s church may be right around the corner.

So how do we reach out to those who practice homosexuality?  This is where most of us would love to have a 4 point sermon or a nice little program that could guarantee some kind of results.   When you deal with a sin like homosexuality, there is no perfect program.  From the people I have talked to and the stories that I have read, here are my humble suggestions.

1. Point them to Jesus.  Many within the homosexual community have been hurt by those who claim to be “Christians”.  We need to point them to the one who loves them and died for their sins.  Direct them to the gospels and let them read the accounts of Jesus for themselves.  The more we can point them to Jesus and his amazing sacrifice, then we can address that issue of identity that runs contrary to the gospel.

2. Be patient. One of the best books I read on this was “Portraits of Freedom”.  It was a compilation of 14 stories of those who turned to Christ and found freedom from homosexuality.  There’s rarely this line that people cross over and get over homosexual feelings.  For many, it’s a process that takes years, but it’s the cross of Jesus that brings total healing and power to overcome.

3. Reach out and stand firm.  It’s time that we reach out to those lost and far from Jesus.  We need to make efforts to show the love of Jesus, but not back down from our biblical convictions.  This is sometimes messy and I don’t have a perfect solution for this, but doing something is better than doing nothing…and nothing is what most of us are doing right now.

4. Pray.  God ordains prayer as the means of His mighty hand.  We need to start praying for God to do things that only He can do.  Prayer is one of the greatest barometers of our faith.

I hope that there will be an awakening within our churches to reach those far from Jesus.  This will require us to do many things differently.  It’s hard to write about the issue of homosexuality without it being personal.  There are people who I love dearly who practice or have practiced homosexuality.  Sometimes the personal and relational emotions we have about this issue trump biblical belief and practice.  I hope that we can be a church that cuts through the culture, emotions, and politics to get to a gospel-centered approach to reach those who practice homosexuality.

If you are interested in reading more, there are some great resources out there:

Books

Portraits of Freedom: 14 People Who Came Out of Homosexuality by Bob Davies and Lela Gilbert

A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been by Michael L. Brown

When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany by Erwin W. Lutzer 

Blogs

http://www.jdgreear.com/ – JD Greear is a pastor in Durham, NC.  He wrote a 4 part series on homosexuality and the Bible that was really good.

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