If you have been following my blog lately, you know that I am sharing a message series on Sundays entitled “God, I Have A Question.” I put the series together based upon questions submitted to me through our website: godihaveaquestion.com. Now that the series is created, and I’m sharing it on Sundays, we are inviting questions during each service via text message. If you attend SonRise, you know that at the end of each message I am spending about ten minutes responding to these texts. Obviously ten minutes is not enough time, so I am addressing additional questions/comments on this blog. This past Sunday the topic was same-sex marriage, and I received a number of questions. I addressed some of them earlier this week. Below you will find additional questions and answers. Please fee free to comment/reply below as you may have some good insight on this topic as well.
How can you convince the nonbeliever that homosexuality is wrong?
The nonbeliever’s concept of right and wrong is many times determined by the standards of society or what feels right or wrong for them personally. The non-Christians I have spoken with about this subject have basically taken the position that it doesn’t personally affect them so they do not see any problem with it. I think it is good to engage non-Christians on societal issues or consequences and not just biblical rebuttals. I addressed this somewhat at the beginning of my message, though there are many additional thoughts that can be pursued. I usually use the issues of rights, financial consequences and the effects on children and casually include biblical thoughts, whenever it seems appropriate. I do think non-Christians are interested in the fact the Bible says it is wrong. I’m amazed at the number of people (Christian and non-Christian) who do not really know the Bible says homosexuality is wrong.
What.do you do if you have a cousin who believes that God made him gay?
I would engage him in conversation about why he thinks this and point out there is no scientific evidence that says there is a “gay gene.” He obviously believes in God, so you could point out that the God who made him is the same God of the Bible. God will not contradict Himself. How could God be responsible for his homosexuality when God says homosexuality is a sin? Does God make sin? Even if he has a proclivity toward same-sex relationships, that does not mean he should pursue it. We all have a proclivity toward sin of some kind, but through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, we have the fruit of self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
The issue is ALREADY politicized. How do Christians engage in the political arena?
This has indeed become a hotbed of political discussion, and I’m not very confident that conservative Christians will win this debate. The number way for Christians to get engaged is to correspond with their congressmen and/or congresswomen on a regular basis. I think it’s good for our representatives to hear from us on a regular basis letting him or her know that we support them and are praying for them. We should let them know of our convictions and concerns. We can also get educated about the consequences of same-sex marriage and prepare ourselves to discuss it from a non-biblical perspective. We could write editorials about it, generate discussion on social media, and discuss it with our friends. It will obviously be an issue congress and the Supreme Court decides, even though God has already clearly conveyed His truth about the matter. Speaking of the Supreme Court, we should also realize that the future of our country may very well be determined by “the Supremes,” so we should carefully consider our presidential votes. I do believe “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Proverbs 14:34). For me, this means I vote for men and women based upon rather they will lead us into righteousness. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be a Christian, but I prefer men and women of character who uphold biblical values.
What are Good guidelines for Talking about this with People? Be patient? Listen a lot? Talk a little?
This is a great question, because too many Christians have become militant on this issue. If we’re not careful, our spiritual arrogance will push someone over the brink into Hell. It is interesting that Jesus never held signs or yelled at struggling sinners. He did raise his voice at hypocrites, but he comforted sinners. People accused Him of being “a friend of sinners.” I really believe love is the most crucial element when dealing with any topic. I said one Sunday that it is possible to win the debate but lose the soul. We must work hard to demonstrate the love and grace of God in everything we do. This means that we love the sinner, just like God does. We cannot turn this into a debate or an attack on individuals. I’m not without sin, so I definitely cannot cast the first stone! I think the key on helping people who struggle with homosexuality is relationship. We must love them unconditionally and gently help them see that God has a better plan for their life. I know I mentioned Dennis Jernigan earlier, but I love the fact that a friend stepped into his life and walked with him toward Christ. This friend refused to give up on him and loved him, even though he was probably disgusted with his lifestyle. Good communication skills are a must (listen a lot/talk little). Make the other person know he or she is respected and valued. Know the person is the most important issue here not the principle. You may not win someone over through debate, but you could win them over with love.
How does the church deal with it INSIDE THE CHURCH?
It is important to know there are two perspectives in this issue. When we are dealing with the issue of homosexuality in our society or community, that is one thing. If a church is dealing with it inside the church family, that is another thing. To start with, if a gay couple came to our church and wanted to join, I could not allow them to become members. The same is true with someone who is practicing adultery, living together without marriage, etc. I would welcome them to attend and love them as Christ loves them. I would talk with them about their sin and encourage them to obey Christ. If someone in our congregation is struggling with homosexual tendencies, I would love them and encourage them to follow Christ and be obedient. If they are openly sinning and refusing to walk in righteousness, then the church would have no alternative but to practice church discipline and withdraw fellowship from the individual (Matthew 18). Obviously withdrawing fellowship is the last thing we would do. Much work would first go into helping the individual(s) repent. Withdrawing fellowship should only come in response to someone obstinately refusing to follow the scripture and showing an open spirit of rebellion and disregard for the church, the Word of God, and God Himself. If they would allow us, we would offer to help them move forward and deal with whatever issues may be leading them into this lifestyle.
Why would you support the gay marriage if you are a Christian?
This is a good question, and honestly, I don’t know how to answer it. One would have to choose to not believe the Bible and choose to not interpret it literally. The only way someone to claim to be a Christian and not believe homosexuality is wrong is to not believe God inspired the Bible, but rather individuals wrote about theological ideas that may or may not be true. I think it’s also to be a Christian and not feel strongly against gay marriage if the Christian believes gay marriage doesn’t personally affect them or our society. They would obviously not be aware of the scripture that clearly states God cannot bless an immoral nation.
What age is appropriate to talk with your young children about homosexuality to ensure they learn about it at home and not at school?
Excellent question and I’m not real sure there is a specific age. I do think the topic will be discussed in different ways depending upon age. I choose to protect our children’s minds from evil and help them maintain their innocence for as long as possible. At the same time, our children do live in a fallen world, and they must be equipped to deal with real issues. Romans 16:19 has been a guiding principle for me in protecting the delicate minds of my children when they were young: “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Of course Paul was writing to adult believers in Rome, but I do think Satan uses evil seeds planted in the minds of the young to grow vineyards of evil over the course of their lives. Because this sin will become very public in the future (I believe), we do need to think about ways to communicate this to our children as wrong. I think the best way is to first instill God’s way into the minds of our children by making sure they understand that God’s plan is for men to marry women. We should model healthy marriages before our children, and our marriages alone will become compelling to our children. We can protect our children by making sure their innocence is intact and by maintaining communication with them about the things going on in their lives. If the model of biblical marriage is presented to them and they encounter same-sex marriage, hopefully through regular communication we can deal with that issue. At the same time, I would gently present to my first grade child the possibility of relationships in our world that do not honor the Lord, so if they encounter anything contrary to a biblical marriage, they will have a mental category in which to place this deviation. It would be a category of something not pleasing to God. As with the other questions, I would sure welcome additional discussion on this, so feel free to reply below.