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.
Here's a great book on this topic:
I believe the church should respond by welcoming all people into fellowship and into the church, and help them to overcome the sin just as they do with everyone else. We all have sin, but not all of our sin is the same.
If we ostracize homosexuals, then we would have to ostracize everyone else... For ALL have sinned and fall short of God's Glory.
My stance is somewhere between numbers 2 and 3.
Good point, and thank you very much for directly addressing the question posed and stating which choice(s) presented come closest to your point of view.
If we replace "homosexual seekers," substituting it with "those who struggle with and are tempted in some way to sin," this question about who should be welcome in the church can be applied to all of us.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
How do we see the church: 1) as a sanctuary for the "frozen chosen" or a museum of saints undefiled by the presence of sinners; 2) a social club or service club; or 3) as a hospital for sinners?
Faith, hope and love,
Based on the words of our Lord...
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I hope we see it as a hospital for sinners...
I can't think of a better, more authoritative, source on which to base one's position. Morever, the message leaves no for misinterpretation. :-)
And, that we would also remember we are sinners made righteous and therefore we might remain humble as God opposes the proud but gives favour to the humble.
Keeping this in mind:
"....... Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d] 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other."
We need each other... and all people who have not yet come to Christ are intended to be part of the body of Christ fulfilling their own part in God's Kingdom. I pray that the light of Christ will shine through us as more and more people repent and believe.
Nicely stated. It also resonates with me that you refer to the unsaved as "all people who have not yet come to Christ." The two descriptors refer to the same people, but your wording acknowledges the very real possibility that this condition isn't necessarily permanent. Some of the unsaved (just as many of us were once unsaved) will come to faith in Jesus Christ, joining us as God's children.
Colby.. Indeed.. and I would even go so far to say that at one point we were ALL unsaved. ;-)
I hope you know me well enough to know I am all in on the concept of the church as a hospital, in fact I think that was included in the message I gave when you stopped in G'ville some time back. I have only one caution for those at-large reading this. In our upside down world where everything must be PC we must remember that in the hospital there are patients and there are doctors. The patients cannot become doctors until they are healed and follow a good mentoring process (called discipleship) before they start operating as doctors. This does not mean that the new child of God cannot serve until they get a PhD, but should only be given as much authority as their maturity level calls for. Part of the mess in some churches is that the doctors have been sidelined (or silenced) and patients are working on patients ... and both remain sick.
Amen LT... It is an important point to make, and very true.
The new child of God can begin by telling all that the Lord has done for them... Share their testimony.. It's a great starting point. Also... if people ask questions (or should I say 'when' they ask questions), it's perfectly acceptable to say 'I don't know, but I'll get back to you.'
LT, by the way you have a great memory.. How many years ago was that? Like 3? impressive.