Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia

Showing God’s Love to Homosexuals

December 5th, 2012

This summer, a website popped up entitled Queer at Patrick Henry College which is purportedly by Patrick Henry College students and alumni who talk about their struggles as a homosexual in the christianhomeschooling, and PHC communities.  When I originally saw the website a month ago, I thought it was part of an SEO attack similar to the SEO attack on Rick Santorum because of the large number of posts celebrating LGBT history.  After the website created a facebook page the school administration responded by trying to force the website to shut down, and blocking the website on the school’s network.

My initial thought is that this is an ironic response from a school which prides itself in teaching a Classical Liberal Arts education, one where students read books by people with whom they disagree in order to better understand and engage them.  Responding to criticisms of being narrow-minded by censoring a website seems to contradict PHC’s typical approach to teaching students to think for themselves.

The administration’s response also raises an issue that my generation is going to have to figure out as a result of the increasing size of the homosexual community.  How do we as the church interact with the homosexual community?

One camp says homosexuality is a sin and must be condemned.  This approach can quickly condemn the sinner for their sin.  Supporters of this view point to verses like I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 for support pointing out the seriousness with which God takes this sin.

We should not condone or excuse homosexuality.  However, as Christians we should show God’s love and grace to everyone, including homosexuals.  The idea of loving the sinner but not the sin should apply to everyone.  While Paul does say that homosexuals (along with people who commit a number of other sins) won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven, two verses later he goes on to show the beauty of the gospel.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

This is the beauty of the gospel.  The gospel saves those of whom it could once be said “they will not inherit the kingdom.”  The cross is the great leveler, and all who have faith in Christ can come to faith.

Following the I Timothy 1 passage where Paul condemns homosexuality, comes one of the most beautiful descriptions of the power of the gospel to redeem the chief of sinners.

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful,appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 1:12-14)

If the gospel is powerful enough to save anyone, do our interactions with the homosexual community reflect that?  Wouldn’t that require us to show God’s love and grace to them as we interact with them?

Would a homosexual feel welcome in one of our churches? Probably not.  Can we blame them? Tragically not.  But how can we reach those who, as a result of our actions, expected to be condemned instead of loved when they came to our church?  I am not suggesting we should accept sin, but we should be willing to show God’s love to sinners.

Ironically, we understand the necessity of this much more readily when it comes to the other important social issue for evangelicals: abortion.  Murder is regularly condemned in the same breath as homosexuality, and sacrificing infants is vehemently condemned in the Bible.  Yet the pro-life movement has learned the importance of showing love to those who have abortions, and even those who perform abortions.  We understand that we must love those who have abortions, and seek to show them that God’s love can forgive them even for aborting their child.  We understand that we must love those who perform abortions, so they too will understand the love of God and be open to listening to us. We understand this…in the abortion context.  For some reason we don’t understand the importance of doing the same thing to those struggling with homosexuality.

Imagine if we believed in loving homosexuals like we do the mothers who have abortions.

In closing I would encourage you to read the stories of two prominent Christians who chose to love homosexuals without condoning their lifestyle.  The first tells how the head of the SBC in Oklahoma overwhelmed Soulforce with love when they decided to picket his church.  The second tells the story of a gay person giving Rich Mullins a lift.  I would encourage you to read these articles and ask yourself what would a gay person think if they interact with you?  Would they see God’s love through you, or would the be condemned by you?

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This article is not written as a condemnation of my Alma Mater, or those involved in the situation there.  I learned a lot through my time at Patrick Henry College, and I deeply appreciate Dr. Farris and the school leadership for the investment they continue to pour into students at the school, as well as their activism on many important issues.  The recent situation simply presented an opportunity to address an issue that Christian conservatives should continue thinking about.

 

  • Larry Tate

    I’ve often wondered what is the proper response for homosexuality. I’m not impressed with Andy Stanley’s response of allowing the homosexual couple serve as volunteers for the church.
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-andy-stanley-responds-to-questions-over-homosexuality-stance-74262/

    Mohler’s comments in the same article seem along my lines.

    I was in my church a number of years ago when it, in the main church service, openly committed the church to not have fellowship with a pastor that was having an affair. (not homosexual) This seemed to be the biblical response. (they went through confrontation, both singly, with the elders before the church at large)

    We are all sinners, but we hide it, in which case no one knows it. No response required.
    If we are discovered and confess it as sin, are ashamed of it, repent of it, then the response should be to forgive the sin.
    If we confess our sin, well all the better, forgive the sin.

    But to live openly in sin, to flaunt it, as it were, as an ambassador of Christ, requires us to confront, directly, both singly, with others, and corporately and if no repentance is found, then do not have fellowship with that person for God will judge.

    BTW, this all assumes that in your church you need each other, each other’s encouragement and support. That you are intertwined. If not, then the cutting off of someone means nothing.

    How can someone worship the living God and reject his word? What’s the point? It doesn’t buy you anything.

    Frankly, perhaps this whole question of “what to do about homosexuality”, is really exposing the dark truth that we are not living as a body of Christ and don’t really need each other or Christ. Because if we did need each other, then the cutting off of fellowship would have a real impact.

    As far as PHC goes, schools have honor codes. You get kicked out for lying, cheating, etc. Because you reflect on each other. Its a commitment to each other. Its not just buying a service at a store. If that’s the case, depending on what the honor code says, it would be entirely appropriate for PHC to respond to and aggressively reject the website and facebook account. I would not think its ironic at all.

  • http://rejoicinginfierytrials.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth

    Thank you, Willie. It certainly is an important issue for Christians to be considering, and those stories are powerful testimonies. Why is it that we as Christians have such a hard time giving grace to sinners in the same way Christ has richly given grace to us? Thank you again for the timely reminder.

  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    @Larry Tate – the same SBC pastor highlighted in Willie’s post above would fully agree with you about Andy Stanley’s choice.

    The irony Willie mentioned is that truth need not be afraid of falsehood – and especially in our society, current students must be equipped to address the very cultural and relational issues raised by SoulForce & Queer @ PHC. We need to be able to interact with same sex attracted persons in an attitude of grace, humility, and love – while at the same time refusing to approve what God disapproves and opposing the trend to call “marriage” what is not, never has been, and never can be marriage.

    Willie’s article should encourage and provoke us as believers. How are we doing at loving our brother, sister, neighbor – whether they are post-abortive or greedy, experiencing SSA or alcoholics, pilferers or deadbeat dads? Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and we believe in a God who redeems broken people (like us).

Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia