by George M. McGuire
The Bible affirms the importance of human relationship and provides wise guidance on how to we can be healthy and happy people here and in eternity. God as our creator made us as we are, knows what is best for us under all circumstances, and made the guidelines clear in his Word. He also knows what will wreck our lives and bring destruction of body, soul and society.
Was there ever a country taken over as quickly in our lifetime as Crimea was? So quickly did that annexation come that the world could not even get its diplomats in place when for all practical purposes it was over. I cannot recall anything happening as fast as that since studying the sinking of that great ship, the Titanic. Down she went to the bottom in a matter of hours.
We in the Christian Reformed Church have neatly tucked away a very fine denominational position statement on homosexuality, affirming that love, support, and encouragement should be given to those who experience same-sex attractions while maintaining that homosexual practices are “incompatible with obedience to the will of God” as is all other sinful practices. Our statement is clear, but what are we as a Church body and as individuals in that body doing to address the cataclysmic shift taking place in our culture on these matters and actually embracing for ourselves the responsibilities that our statement calls us to, namely addressing with the life changing gospel those overtaken in “explicit and overt homosexual practices.”
One might wonder just how fast is our culture changing? So quickly is this wave overcoming us that only two years ago no major national candidate could win an election who endorsed the gay agenda, [New York Times for 4/6/14] and now the reverse is true. The church as a body and we as individuals have a scriptural obligation to speak to the world on moral issues and not give our silent consent to evil.
I write this simply wanting to begin another denominational conversation, for I have read a great deal, thought and prayed long and hard on this and still do not see clearly either the biblical norms and how they actually apply, nor the way to really reach out in love and effectiveness to those caught within these sinful practices. Pastors have training in handling the other sexual sins, but the sexual sins becoming so dominant today bring in their wake very little counsel so far for helpers and many undiscussed problems to work out. Yet we are biblically commanded to “to speak out to warn the wicked to turn from their wicked deeds and lifestyle so that they may live” (NET, Ezek. 3:1). We also hopefully can follow in the steps of Jesus who was able to treat first the heart and then tell his listeners to go and sin no more.
May the following seven things begin to move us to thinking and action. The Lord seems to say in his word to all sinners, and that includes those in the LGBT community:
1. I love you because I created you and came to save you! (Ps. 86:15; Jo. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; I Jo. 4:8-10). The God of the Bible from ancient times is known as being a loving and compassionate God who is full mercy and love, especially for those who will come to him. Christ, the Son of God, was sent to win the hearts of sinners to God so that they could have a full and free relationship with the Lord for eternity. The reality is that God sent Christ into this world even though all had rebelled against God and no one really on their own sought God’s friendship. When all peoples were still rebels Christ died to save those who would receive Him as their Savior. Christ came to save the lost no matter what they have done or who they are. When that happens, God is both our creator and savior.
2. I understand rejection for I was rejected (Isa. 53:3; Ezek. 18:21-23; Mt. 26:55-56; Mt. 27; Mk. 3:20-21). Christ Jesus, who came to earth to save sinners, was rejected. He was rejected by his own nation and people. He was rejected by his personal followers, the disciples. He was rejected by the leaders of his country. He was even rejected most of his ministry life by his own family. It was not until he arose from the grave that any of his brothers and sisters believed in him. In fact, the most familiar Old Testament title for him which was carried over into the N.T. was “Man of Sorrows.” Rejection is a horrible and tragic thing to endure, but Jesus said, “Anyone who comes to Me, I will not send away/reject!” (John. 6:37).
3. I also understand temptation for I was tempted (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 12:2-3 7-11). The New Testament book of Hebrews makes a rather strong point that Christ Jesus was seriously tempted in every way just as everyone else is tempted, yet without sin. The Gospels tell the account of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness when he was at his weakest physical condition. To be tempted is not a sin, but the yielding to the temptation is. God’s promise is good for you also: “God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but will with the temptation also provide a way to escape that you may be able to bear up under it” (I Cor. 10:13).
SOURCE: The Aquila Report
George M. McGuire is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.