Church

3 Ways the Church Turns Away the LGBT Community

The Church needs to be a place where everyone is welcome.

Last week Jeff wrote, “It is better to be fat than gay in the church.” This week I want to really examine that statement. For some reason the church, which is supposed to be the most welcoming place in the world, historically has struggled when it comes to welcoming and loving everyone. There is no group of people that have felt the cold shoulder of the church more than the LGBT community. I have noticed there’ve been 3 major things that the church does that turns this community of people away and are not shown love.

1.The misuse of Old Testament Scripture

I cringe every time I hear Leviticus 20:13. This verse from which the conservative Christian camp pulls their flawed theological view that they believe gives them the right to cast judgement. From this view Christians will first say homosexuality is an abomination and is the greatest of all sins. Due to this teaching many do not show people of the LGBT community any bit of the love from Christ.

What’s entertaining is those who use that verse to tear down anyone in the LGBT community don’t realize what it says in Leviticus 11. That you can’t even touch the carcass of a pig cause you’ll be unclean. Well guess what, if you’ve ever played with an old style football then you’re unclean in the same sense of Leviticus 20. We all need to remember that this book of law is before Jesus. We still aren’t performing sacrifices and draining animals dry of their blood for atonement of sins. All I’m trying to say with this point is to stop holding people to the law that God sent Jesus to replace the law with grace on the cross. Now Jesus has paid for all our sins with his graceful sacrifice on the cross. All you must do is believe with your heart and confess with your mouth.

2. Judgement is in our eyes and words.

Seriously ask yourself how you think the church responds to people of the LGBT lifestyle. The fact that I’m even writing this post should tell you something. When the church openly slams the LGBT lifestyle in such a direct way, we have to take notice that the love and grace we’re supposed to have for the lost is completely absent. Now before someone takes a stand on their Christian principles and says, “but it’s sin and you’re saying it is ok.” Not once have I said it is ok. What I am saying is for us Christians to stop holding those who don’t know the truth of the gospel to our standards of biblical living. If someone doesn’t know the Gospel we need to show them the Gospel by opening our arms and getting rid of our ridiculously judgmental words. We need to truly invest in relationships with people and get to know them.

I can almost guarantee that some that are reading this are judging me right now. I will say that I do find sexual relations with the same sex as sinful. I would also dictate that this sin is the same as my pride or your gossip and deceit. We need to stop this concept of sins being of different values of evil. It is because of that concept that the church has turned away so many people of the LGBT community. Then from that community being turned away they have no desire to engage in what a church community might offer them.

3. Our bad tact

The last way the church struggles in being welcoming to the LGBT community is when we try to say what we believe, but it comes out as prejudice. It is ok for you to have the belief that same sex relations is wrong. It is NOT ok for you to be cold, judgmental, or to treat an individual that identifies as LGBT any differently than you do a brother or sister. We are commanded to love one another as Christ loves us. In fact, Jesus thought that was so important that he made it the second greatest commandment. Therefore church, let us stop being so intolerant and remember that we aren’t perfect. For there are a plethora of issues we each need to examine in our own lives and work on.

Lastly, if you know someone that identifies as LGBT please take the time and show them some love on behalf of the church. The time has now come for us to truly be like Jesus and sit down with people of all backgrounds and orientations and share a meal with them while welcoming them to a church.

Now many of you reading this might say I danced around addressing the LGBT community. If you identify in the LGBT community here is what I want to say to you. Even though you might have been told that due to your lifestyle you can’t be saved, I want you to remember what I wrote earlier: if you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth you’ll be saved. So yes, I am saying that if someone identifies in the LGBT community then they can have salvation just as I do. For a more detail explanation check out this video: Can a homosexual live a sincere Christian life?

 

Disclaimer: I value constructive criticism on my writing; however please refrain from making personal attacks on any lifestyle.

27 comments on “3 Ways the Church Turns Away the LGBT Community

  1. Well thought out presentation of a subject we are all struggling to find balance with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen brother!! We say that we know sin is sin, and we are all sinners. So why is that sin the unforgiveable sin? I think it’s in Leviticus 24 (which I think I’ll write on tomorrow) that a man is stoned to death for using the lords name in vain during a fight. So, he got angry after getting popped in the nose, cursed out loud, and got the death penalty!! Sin is sin. We don’t seem to hold people to quote the same standard regarding cursing as this example. I will say, once Christ is in our hearts, some of the fruits of that would be turning away from our sins, relying in His power as we do so. I’m not sure how to approach that part. Maybe I’ll read the post you reference and see if I get any guidance there. I do know that the sins of the LGBT community are sins – just like mine. And my sins are many. I don’t think we have to rubber stamp and approve of it, but we don’t get to stand in judgement either. Just like I woukdnt ask you to rubber stamp all the sins I have committed both before and after coming to Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find that the West has a real problem with the OT, they like to cherry pick what they do and do not hold sacred. Jesus completed the OT, the Apostles gave directions to what Greeks do and do not have to follow. Yet, they (West) insist on circumcision and still eat pork. Demand adherence to the 10 Commandments, but ignore the Two. Burn the witch (LGB today) yet allow divorce for any reason. Very odd.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s our human nature. We claim our own salvation as the free gift from Christ, change some parts of our nature, cling desperately to others. I relate it to Job. God himself told us Job was upright and blameless, yet we write books and twist the story to find reasons why those things happened to Job but could never happen to us. We claim our own salvation, get our bible knowledge, climb to the top of Sinai – now we are the “saved” – everybody else is going to Hell. Us vs them. We are going to cut down all the sinners! The heart of the worlds system Jesus intentionally turned upside down…the part we still have wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly, it seems also the reason to reign down vengeance on those found lacking. The Spanish Inquisition was a child’s tantrum compared to the witch trials (here and abroad), all the hatred brought down on slaves and Native Americans, and the assault on Roman Catholics here and in England.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would agree, but like Jesus said to the woman about to be stone, “go and do not sin again”. We do them no favor if we welcome them in, then let them believe that they can continue with their lifestyle. As with any sin, the sinner must make the effort to repent, no matter if it is LGBT, adultery, or greed. We especially do the church no favor by allowing unrepentant sinners, regardless of the sin, to assume leadership or pastoral roles in the community.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you thank you thank you. I living in Charlotte, NC so this article really caught my eye. I agree with all of this. The book of James makes it clear all sins are equal, they all lead to death. It reminds me of how the church treated divorce in the 80’s. Lots of hurt and broken people were thrown to the curb through the judgmental views of that time. I believe this will be another. I always find it ironic the same people who have ire for the LGBT community don’t express the same disgust at people who are clearly sleeping together outside of marriage, or those who remarry. I guess it just depends on how close to home it hits when you want to play God and judge rather than Christian and show Jesus’ Grace, Love and Healing.

    Great article. I’ve had an opportunity to minister to those in the body that struggle with this, and talk with those who live this life style who are not Christians. If ever a group of people need to see and experience the healing love of Jesus, these are the folks. We should remember the warning of the sheep and the goats.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It boggles my mind that there are so many sins listed in the Old Testament that people break every day – the one that makes me truly laugh is the Christmas Ham (dinner). People pick and choose translations and versions and the truth is Jesus never spoke against it directly. Even in verses that you can quote, he was not asked directly and he did not directly comment on it. What are we taught? God is Love – Love is God. A friends son was turned away from being a Priest (who are still forced to be celibate to serve) because he is Gay. Go figure.
    Blessings,
    Laurie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s pretty safe ground to say homosexuality is a sin. In terms of any questions that Jesus DID answer about sexuality….He certainly seemed to say that MOST of what we call normal these days was sinful. He was certainly very detailed and defined about adultery. Much MORE conservative than the standards we Christians CLAIM to uphold these days. Using the “Jesus never spoke about it or was asked about it” method is simply avoiding the issue. I could just as easily say that it was simply assumed sinful and there was no need for it to be addressed. Jesus did not say about the woman caught in adultery that she was not in sin. But – He did not condemn her for her sin. He DID tell her to go and sin no more.
      Or take the woman by the well. He called her out for her sins. Her sins were her sins. No condemnation, but no endorsement or condoning of her lifestyle either. Just an invitation.
      The Christmas ham analogy is no analogy – foods were declared clean by God to Peter in Acts Chapter 10. That is not gray area.
      The celibacy requirement for Priests – not in the bible. I’m convinced it’s just a made up human invention. Aaron and his sons and all the priests for generations were certainly not celibate, nor called to celibacy. I guess you could make the comparison to Jesus, but Jesus was sinless snd none of us – priest, pope or anybody else – is sinless. Paul said it would be better to remain single (and I assume celibate) if you are but, but in no way a requirement.
      Not trying to be argumentative…but I do disagree that just because Jesus did not speak directly to this issue makes it not a sin. Not condemning is not the same as endorsement or condoning an activity. As far as the priesthood as a gay man, I just don’t know. I’m not catholic. Where do they stand on adulterers or those who are divorced being priests? Or thieves? Or gossips? Or anyone who’s had straight sex outside of marriage? Those are fair comparisons….

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Al Martin

    If Christ were to return to Earth and create what He considers the perfect church, I am afraid today’s Christians would neither recognize it or approve of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Chase – Let me start off by saying I’m in total agreement with your sentiment. I suppose the questions your post poses for me are related to tangible definitions:

    1. if some Christians are “misusing” the OT regarding LGBT community, how can Christians “use” the OT regarding the LGBT Community? If a homosexual claims Christ, then the OT is the word of God for them, too. Its their Bible. Are parts of it “unusable” to them?

    2. What is the definition of “Judgement,” in the context you are writing?

    3. You mention poor treatment as “cold, judgemental, or different(ly)” than you would treat a brother or sister. That creates a need for some clarity – particularly along the lines of the use of the term “judgemental”, but also what does “warmth” look like in the Church? Also, and this may reveal some differences in our reading of Scripture, but who, exactly were the “one-another” statements directed towards? All human beings everywhere? Or, in Jesus case, His Jewish neighbors, and, in Paul’s admonitions, the believing community?

    Is there a difference in the affiliation one has with a fellow believer, and with someone outside the believing community? Are we in a different relationship with, say, a Christian member of the LGBT community, and one who is not a believer?

    I find your call to love and welcome encouraging – and many many many believers are on-side with that. The challenge is articulating not only terms, but tangible actions. Its in the details of what “welcoming” or “loving” or “accepting” look like that create wildly disparate actions in various churches. Just as we need working definitions of what is “judgemental” exactly.

    I’m a dad – and its awesome :). But my 4 year old daughter’s definition of “love” is giving her what she wants when she wants it. In my family, we’re working on definitions. Maybe the church should, too? Its too late to stop believers from using the same terms to describe different things, but perhaps we can insert our definitions of such heavily used terms when we publicly use them for instruction or encouragement.

    Just some thoughts, thanks for who you are and what you do!

    Aaron

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like it when someone asks clarifying questions and I agree with the direction you took them. I had many of the same.

      I think the problem with the word “judgemental” is that, a lot of the time, especially with this issue, it has a more to do with how what is said is taken by the recipient, not what is actually said. Yes, there are hateful “christians” out there, but I’m not sure that’s what she is addressing. The very fact she says she sees homosexuality as a sin WILL be seen as judgemental and hateful and unloving.

      Not being “loving” by many in the lgbt community would be defined as just telling them that God says they are sinners, regardless of what flavor they choose. I think “loving” to them would be, not only accepting them in, but validating their chosen lifestyle. And, if the church is faithful to Scripture, that will never happen, just as we should not be accepting of any other sin (I know, the hypocrisy in that statement is huge in the church…).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your questions. I tried to keep this post as brief as possible for the sake of not going on and on. Hopefully what I’m about to say will give you clarity.

      1. The Bible is the inerrant word of God! What one must remember though is one is the “Old Covenant with God, and then there is the New Covenant” For the sake of time and comment space covenant in simple terms is promise. Christ is the new promise given by God in which we find salvation. Jesus replace the old promise, for we are no longer bound by the law. Before anyone reading this thinks that I’m condoning the breaking of the 10 commandments, please note that Jesus gave us 2 commandments which all of the original 10 fit into.

      2. My use of the word judgement refers to the believers attitude. It’s ok to recognize sin, its also ok to say we need to not do that. My point is we need to have a relationship with people to have that conversation. I find relational discipleship is key. In my years of ministry I’ve never had a person come to me saying hey I found Jesus, because someone yelled at me, telling me how sinful I am. This moves into question 3, warmth is genuinely caring for an individual, welcoming them into your house, building a relationship, from there having a conversation on why they believe what they believe.

      4. Of course relationships with different people will look different. I would recommend that accountability can only take place after a relationship has been made though.

      Lastly, thank you for the story about your daughter. True love is sacrificial, I have to recognize that I have acted on sins that need to be sacrificed for my love for Christ. I just want to make the point that we need to show people love so they can get close enough to Jesus to have that relationship.

      Thank you for your questions.

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  8. You wrote, “All you must do is believe with your heart and confess with your mouth.”

    I am writing a paper on repentance in the NT and it became crystal clear that there is no forgiveness of sins without repentance. I think there are many who have “believed and confessed” with no intention on abandoning their sin. That verse is yanked out of the context of the rest of what the NT has to say about sin and repentance, especially the very strong statements of Jesus Himself. For the homosexual (just like any other sinner) to have their sins forgiven, they must repent. Repentance is contrition, shame and a willingness to abandon (turn away from) sin (of whatever flavor) and seek (turn to) the Savior for forgiveness. To say that one only has to believe and confess leaves out the foundational act of repentance. And there must be the fruit of repentance, not just words or incantations like the “sinners prayer”. If one “becomes a Christian” and does not seek to abandon their previous sinful lifestyle and particular sins, then they have not repented and are not saved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your thoughts! I’m not going to disagree with you. When I chose to write this I decided not to go to deep theologically for the reason of I could’ve wrote for days. I should have clarified when using the word confess I am not referencing the sinners prayer and repentance is implied. There are two greek words used for repentance, and your correct one is defined by literally turning away from sin. The other word (metamelomai) is defined by the changing of mind. What I was getting at is someone can identify as LGBT, and may have a repentant heart and be saved. I worry that sometimes we adopt an extremely strict view of repentance, which references “If your eye causes you to sin pluck it out”. I know that I personally with struggle with my sins daily, it could be my pride, or lust. I might even fall into those temptations. What I do know is the Grace I have through Christ covers me. My point on welcoming the LGBT community is from the point that we as christians expect people to change before involving them in community.

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      • You wrote: “What I was getting at is someone can identify as LGBT, and may have a repentant heart and be saved.”

        Words have meaning and so I’m not sure what you have meant by “identity”. If one has been brought from death to life, blind to seeing, and hell to heaven as their destination, then why would they want to still identify with their particular brand of sin, the very thing that was their stumbling block? It would like being saved out of being a porn star, and still identifying as such. “Hi! I’m Joe and I used to be a porn star.” Not sure that’s what God had in mind when He commanded breaking completely with the world and gaining our only identification from Him, “in Christ”. If we still “identify” (which to me signifies public identification, not private feelings), then there has not been a break from the world, part of the def. of repentance. If we are friends with the world (identify), then we are enemies of God. If they struggle internally with lust or same sex attraction after being truly saved, then they will abhor their previous sin (just like any of us) and cling to Jesus as our identity, and have become Christ-ians. And it is folly to hang out with the very people that one is drawn to sin with. “Flee youthful lusts” applies here.

        There is a lot that is behind the LGBT choices and a lot of it has to do with dysfunctional family and being suckered into it at a young age. So there needs to be a TON of healing to completely abandon the previous sin (just like there is with obesity and gluttony and any sin that entangles and ensnares). But it seemed in your statement that one can identify as LGBT and be saved. Not sure the Scriptures would support that statement nor would the writers agree with it if they were alive today. “Such WERE some of you”, not “ARE some of you.”

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      • 7Sawdust, I am clearly saying “Someone can be attracted to the same sex even stumble in that temptation, and have a repentant heart and find grace.” I am a repentant believer in Jesus Christ, yet I sin all the time. Never will I find perfection on this earth. What I do know is my relationship with the father is intact even though I sin. You are right we’re not to be of the world, however no one is without sin not you, and not me. It will be Christ that stands in for me and covers me.

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  9. What a breath of fresh air to have a respectful discussion around this! Thank you all for being gracious.

    Fully appreciate all the different comments, and Chase, your gracious responses.

    Different traditions, even different exegetical considerations (depending on where you went to seminary…) have a profound impact on the definitions of commonly used terms. I think we can agree on that. ( i think!)

    My only other two bits to add would be that I think its respectful of the LGBT community to be clearer on what your particular church holds up as the standard of Christian living – the “goal” to to speak. Its a “bait and switch” to “welcome” and “love” and “engage in dialogue” and “build relationship” if at the end of the day, your “ulterior motive” is to conform them to the image of Christ in a way that they refuse to conform.

    Lets be clear – churches do this all the time, unashamedly, to heterosexuals. The idea being that if we can be loving, welcoming, and relational enough, at some mysterious point, our particular Christian ethic will somehow manifest itself miraculously and hopefully without us having to articulate it 😉 Holiness by osmosis?

    Personally, I would find that rude. What if we found a way to be loving, welcoming, “in-dialogue” and relational, but with clarity regarding our intentions? Jesus has no problem hanging out with despicable old me, and despicable old you, and also telling me and you straight up, “be perfect as your Father is perfect.” He has no problem being welcoming and loving and relational while at the same time unabashedly (and repeatedly) clarifying his goals and desires for us, be they ethical, spiritual, relational, or sexual.

    What is more loving than being honest? Or, what is more loving that being honestly loving?

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    • Thanks for having an amazing discussion on this matter. You’re right our presuppositions and training do account for a lot of our interpretations. I love your pursuit for truth, and I think when it comes to the Theology we agree, the difference we have is totally in the methodology, and thats ok! I honestly do stand by the need for a relationship to have some of the hard talks, and even though it might sound like a bait and switch its not. It’s just I want to build up that rapport with someone, so when the hard conversations are had they know I care, and will still be there.

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  10. Stephen Siver

    Idk if you have addressed this in the comments or not, but the only true critique I would have for your otherwise well written article is that Christ didn’t come to replace the old covenant but to fulfill it. He very clearly stated that. And, while you can take that to mean some some laws are “outdated” like eating pig, and this is true, but you have to be able to know the laws and what Christ represents to be able to interpret them all correctly. Which most people don’t care to take the time to learn it appropriately. In this case, I do NOT feel it is the worst sin, but I do feel God is VERY clear (in both new and old Testament) on how he feels about homosexuality. This also doesn’t mean that you don’t love them with Christ’s love. That is the only critique that I have. Other than that I am very proud of how you represent our school, our religion, and our God. Much love brother!

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    • Stephen, Thanks for dropping a comment. You are correct I should’ve been more clear Christ did fulfill the covenant. What my intent was, that the Law of the Old was replaced by the Grace in the New as the promise for salvation. Thank you for the kind words as well. Much love to you and your family as well!

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  11. I feel the most common mistake people make in regards to the Bible is they treat the Bible as one book revealed to us all at the same time. The Bible is a testament to the idea of Progressive Revelation, where God regularly and continuously gives us guidance, according to our needs and capacities. It is ok if God changes something for us, it means we are maturing. Will this guidance ever end? Never. God will always provide us with new Revelation, even if the church leaders decide to stop recognizing His Words.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Old footballs were never made of pig skins, Intestines maybe… see link for more information. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/01/footballs-never-made-pigskin/ Who knew? LOL!

    Well so much for footballs, I do believe your intent to be good and even righteous In this article. To not call sin, sin however, is a travesty and belittles the cross of Jesus Christ. As I understand the Bible the only thing that has ever killed mankind is sin. Before sin there was no death. After sin, death began to happen In the realm of mankind And nature. Sin is what put Jesus Christ on the cross and held him there. Somehow Jesus became sin for us and took the eternal death that we deserve and paid the price for our Redeemed life. This ransom was paid on our behalf is precious beyond all human thinking, praise, and ability to pay back to God. Sin is what kills, I am a sinner therefore I will die. My choice of what sin is not what is going to kill me. It is however a fact that sin will kill me. There is no sin greater or lesser, they all cause death.

    The travesty of Christianity in the United States is that we have chosen some sins and made them worse than other sins. This is a falsehood that is taught us in about every Christian belief that I can think of. As far as man’s laws go there are sins that are greater and lesser not God’s! Sin separates us from God. Sin is only limited by the creativity of Satan and him trying to fool us into thinking he is right and away from God.

    The reason sin was paid for on the cross was to remind us that we have no right to heaven or a relationship with God. Therefore, we should be in remembrance that we are sinners and have been called to love one another as Christ has loved us. Love was given for us to give to each other.

    Again I say, please be careful about not calling sin, sin. It is a slippery slope that has caused many to stumble. I am as susceptible as any person in my overlooking sin. This is why I need loving believers around me to help me live my Christian life. All this in love, albeit imperfect here, will help perfect me for the hereafter. If death is still around then sin is still around. This is why we have the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Christianity is the only belief system out there, that I have studied that the founder, of the belief system who set the rules for the entry into eternal reward. Actually came and paid the price of people falling short, that all of Jesus’s followers would be given the completed righteousness of the founder, so that entry into an eternal reward is based on the founder’s payment for entry into eternal reward not the created. Jesus meant sin was paid for in full, when he said “It is finished” on the cross! Have faith in this true saying. There is no degree of sin, all sin kills.

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  13. “My use of the word judgement refers to the believers attitude. It’s ok to recognize sin, its also ok to say we need to not do that. My point is we need to have a relationship with people to have that conversation.”

    I strongly disagree with this idea, and it’s easy to see it’s flaw when you exchange homosexuality for some other sin which is not so trendy and OK to bash, like racism. Do we need a “relationship” with racists before we can tell them that racism is sinful???

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