A friend of mine on Facebook linked to this article:
“Homosexuality: We Need A Posture Shift”
You should read the whole thing to ensure you aren’t basing your opinion on my post, but it starts off with:
Jesus’ radical love toward the marginalized and outcast is shocking. Not just that he loved, but how he loved them. Jesus rarely started a relationship with the law, and he never offered his “stance” on political issues. He usually began the relationship with love and always showed acceptance, especially with those rejected by the religious elite. And this has massive Jesus-shaped implications for how Christians have (mis-)treated the unchurched LGBT community.
From there it uses a centurion and a tax collector (Matthew) as examples of how we should treat LGBT people. He wraps up with:
Religious people always got upset whenever Jesus befriended people who they thought were terrible sinners. If you’re a Christian who is trying hard to love LGBT people, and if this ticks off a lot of religious people, perhaps even those really close to you, then take comfort. You’re in good company. Jesus knows exactly how you feel.
After reading his article, what are your thoughts? These were mine (which I added as a comment):
I appreciate your article Preston, but I suspect you unintentionally set up a straw man for the majority of Christians who are clashing with the modern-day LGBT movement. Short of disruptive people, we _want_ anyone and everyone to attend our churches. I realize that there are exceptions within Christendom: people, like the Pharisees, who thought Jesus should not interact with publicans and sinners. They are horrendously wrong.
The current question isn’t whether we should love LGBT people (or everyone else for that matter); it is whether their actions fulfilling their desires are sinful and, if so, what should their status be with the church? (That is, can they be members in full standing?) Your example of Matthew is a good one. Simple words we should emulate (replacing “me” with “Jesus”): “Follow me.” However, although not recorded (and perhaps only implicitly said) the likely tack-on was, “Go and sin no more.” Otherwise, taking the example of an even worse tax collector (since he was a leader), why would Zacchaeus have felt a need to say:
“Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8, ESV, in part).
I don’t think anyone would question that if a tax collector in the early church continued to steal from others he would might/should face church discipline (or, if not a member, be prevented from joining for lack of evidence of true repentance). If LGBT sexual activities are sinful (and I believe that Scripture teaches that they are), they can (and should) be loved, but it would be _unloving_ to accept their immoral behavior (regardless of what it is).
What we are wrestling with is not whether they should be loved and are allowed to sit in our pews; it is whether society or God is going to define sin and how it should be dealt with within the church.
Thanks for your article…may the Lord give us all wisdom as we all learn to live with others, in and out of the church, as Jesus did…
Now, what are your thoughts about what I said? 🙂
P.S. If you find yourself assuming I am prejudiced against LGBT people, please read “What I Think About Homosexuals and Homosexuality.”
UPDATE: It appears my comment has been removed from the article. Perhaps it never showed (e.g. needed to be approved by a moderator first), but I thought I saw it. Hmmm…