How the church has failed LGBTQ people

(Disclaimer: this post is targetted mainly at Christians.) So Pink Dot 2016 ended today. And Wear White 2016 occurs tomorrow. In the midst of both sets of voices declaring radically different perspectives, I offer my humble perspective.

I chose a deliberately provocative title to my post, but please hear me out.  We have failed LGBTQ people in two ways. The first: by failing to love them as Jesus did, by making it sound as if homosexuality is the only/worst of all sins, by neglecting to provide a spiritual family/support for struggling Christians etc. I must confess I myself was guilty of this. Several years back, when I discovered a dear lady in my CG dealing with this issue, I was too quick to try and ‘handle’ the situation. I did not show enough grace, love and patience in trying to understand her background and journey. Understandably, she left church.

Homosexuality can be a lonely journey. It may seem to the individual like no one understands. The guilt. The shame. The brokenness. But if the church is meant for sinners (there are only these kind of people around anyway), LGBTQ can’t be ostracised or shunned. If churches are going to call LGBTQ people through the gospel, out of that lifestyle, then it MUST be a home to them as well. It is the same call that the church has to singles who struggle with their singleness.

Also, LGBTQ is no worse than any other sexual sin and yet, it seems to be the only one being addressed. Look, to Jesus, adultery, fornication, lust all belong in the same category. They are an expression of the fallenness of man, to be repented of. And yet, how often are those sins addressed vis-a-vis homosexuality? Even more damning than this, the witness of the church that does not live up to God’s moral standards of purity means we come across as hypocrites in proclaiming the gospel. We certainly need to repent.

On the other hand, the church fails LGBTQ people when it seeks to love them at the expense of biblical truth: that homosexuality and Christianity can co-exist at their most fundamental level. Perhaps the most well-known proponent of this is Matthew Vines. When I heard him speak on this issue via youtube, I was struck at how compelling this message was. It certainly tugged at my heart-strings.

At the same time, I was deeply saddened because while charismatic and intelligent, his exegesis of the biblical texts was similar to what the serpent did in the Garden: almost the whole truth, but slightly modified… and therefore, plainly wrong. Now the purpose of this post is not to defend traditional marriage (it would take another whole post to do it justice), but I will say the following as a summary of how I would present it.

If you were to take the biblical text as a whole, there is only one consistent model of marriage presented and celebrated: that between one man and one woman. There is no other. Jesus when questioned about his view of marriage pointed back to Genesis, the creation order. Even if you ignore the other texts that deal with sexual sin, you cannot legitimately argue a positive affirmation of any other definition of marriage in Scripture because it does not exist. Arguing from silence is not wise.

Again, this is not an impersonal appeal, because I do have friends and former colleagues who have joined Free Community Church (which, I’m generalising, reconciles being LGBTQ and being Christian.) Yes, the emotional appeal is strong, but doing eisegesis is dangerous because at best, we may end up stunting our Christian walk and at worst, we could potentially even be excluded from the kingdom of God.

Jesus, full of grace and truth. He is our example of how to tread this fine line. He loved sinners. He embraced them. And those who followed Him, lived repentant lives. The Holy One lived, died and rose again so that as we too would die to self and live unto Him, holy lives. Pink Dot? Wear White? No, Love Ran Red.

I close with a video sharing of a brother in Christ who is journeying through his own struggles. It is well worth your time watching this. For those who struggle. For those who want to learn how to help those who are struggling. May God bless you.

You Are Not Your Sexuality from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

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