Hypothetical: You're a volunteer that welcomes new people to your church, which is missionally-minded, evangelical, and holds to the traditional beliefs of historical biblical Christianity. An explorer of Christianity, who is gay, inquires about their exploration of Christ and wants to keep coming back to learn more but wonders if the church will accept them given their lifestyle. Do you?
1) Let them know in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is wrong and sinful. They are welcome to seek out Christianity but better be prepared to change.
2) Indicate that the church welcomes and accepts seekers from all walks of life. After all, Jesus said come as you are. But you make it clear where the church stands on Christianity.
3) Encourage them to keep coming and inquiring, letting them know that they will be loved regardless. While the church does not approve of a homosexual lifestyle, you keep that under wraps and just pray that they will be found in Christ and that Christ will change their hearts.
4) Send them to the pastor or elders.
5) Tell them to leave, to not return, and to explore Christianity elsewhere.
Would your answer change if the person indicates they are a homosexual Christian looking for a new place to worship?
Please stay on topic and provide scriptural references to support your reasoning. Thank you.
My answer would most resemble #2 with some clarification. The "make it clear where the church stands" is not going to be a confrontational meeting. If asked where we stand I will explain. From the pulpit they will hear that it is God's desire for everyone to come to repentance, including all that He has provided for so that we may be saved, and at the same time that God does not condone sin of any kind (that is why Jesus died on the cross), which includes homosexual behavior, premarital sex, adultery, etc. Homosexual activity is one of many sins listed in the Bible.
Because homosexual activity is a sin (and I will not debate that), and if one is living the lifestyle it means they are living in continual sin. Again, this is similar to engaging in sex out of wedlock or someone having an affair. If they were a member of the church we would apply church discipline, if they are not a member there is no direct discipline, for church discipline is for the disciples and not the seekers (one is the church and one is not). That takes it to the next understanding. If one is living in ongoing willful sin they will not be extended membership and thus could not be an elder, board member, teacher, etc .... This also means that they will not have a voting voice which is important regarding the operation of the church.
Thus, some could accuse me a treating active adulterers, those involved in premarital sex, and those actively engaging in homosexual activity as second class citizens. My response is ... not at all. These people are in one of two categories and are handle based on the category. They are either seekers looking for God and have baggage or are part of the family of God and living in open rebellion as one of His children. The Bible gives guidelines for both categories. IMO there are churches that get this backwards. They ostracize the seeker and ignore the member who engages in ongoing willful sin.
Without getting into details because of confidentiality I will say this much. I have had individuals who were previously active in the homosexual lifestyle come under the ministry where God had me at the time. None of these people ever lost their desire for the same sex, but chose to go celibate as they acknowledge that to engage in homosexual activity is sin. They accepted that truth and chose to please God, even though it was not easy for some of them, if not all. Some became involved in ministry aspects and God blessed their ministries. One God used to lead many people to Christ.
My two cents.
Thank you for selecting the option that comes closest to representing your point of view. I appreciate that you shared the thinking behind your choice. I welcome others that choose to respond to feel free (as you did) to modify or clarify (as needed) their choice of any of the five choices/options presented to best represent their stance.
The body of Christ is where they will hear Real Truths. They should always be welcomed. I wouldn't make a big to-do about their lifestyle because they are in sin as any other sinner that has not repent. Now, if they asked your beliefs specifically on their lifestyle, of course you share. My answer wouldn't change for sure if they were a Christian no longer living the homosexual lifestyle. Just like any other sin, that is what we once were.
It sounds like you come closest to option #3 or, if they ask about your church's beliefs on the homosexual lifestyle, #2.
Do you think that in the majority of evangelical Bible-believing Christian churches (or at least those you're familiar with), the answer would be, “Yes! You would absolutely be welcome here just as you are. This is a safe place for you to explore faith and encounter Jesus?"
Or do you think it be more like: "Honestly, you would be welcomed by many here, but not by everyone. Some in the congregation will not welcome you here."
Yes, they would be safe. NOW, if they were still living in the lifestyle as far as married to a partner, I'm not sure they would want to stay long but we would never shut the doors in their face.
Just a quick question; what's involved in leading a homosexual lifestyle? It seems so vague. I mean, Robert Downey Jr and I are both white heterosexual males and we live very different lifestyles.
In my mind, it means practicing the act of homosexuality.
That sentence makes no sense to me
Which word don't you understand? I'm not sure how to say it plainer. There are those who have desires for the same sex but refrain from acting on those desires because they choose to serve the Lord. Then there are those who act on those desires. To me, that is living the lifestyle. Hope this helps explain it better.
Ah, you mean gay sex. That makes much more sense to me