How can we as Christians minister and carry the gospel to the LGBT community? Let us consider this difficult issue, which centers around gender, homosexuality, gay marriage, and past hurts through the lenses of Wesley’s Quadrilateral. The quadrilateral is a time tested tool for discerning difficult issues from a multi-pronged approach.
First of all, let’s consider the pressures within the churches right now regarding theology, and the desire to change theology to embrace gay marriage. This is a present issue for many faith traditions in the west at this point in history. There are several faith traditions that have flipped their positions on gay marriage, such as the PCUSA (Presbyterians), the ELCA (Lutherans), and the MCGB (Methodists). Many other faith movements are beginning to appear weak in the knees as well, such as UMC, Salvation Army, the SBC, and others. What should I, as one single pastor in training do in regard to this issue? Should I speak out? Should I remain quiet? What is the proper position on this issue?
So I turn to the Wesleyan quadrilateral. The first question I ask is what do the scriptures say on the issue? Well, the scriptures say that all people are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27 NIV). The word says that Christians should treat people with kindness, dignity, respect, and love (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV). And it also says that the message of salvation is open to all who would repent and believe in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15 NIV). Additionally, the scriptures are clear that the practice of homosexuality is contrary to New Testament teachings (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10 NIV). There have been attempts by individuals like Matthew Vines and Andrew Marin to somehow re-interpret and shift the meaning of the New testament scriptures regarding homosexuality, however, those attempts to re-interpret the scriptures falter in a fair reading of the biblical texts (Brown, 2015). A plain reading of the New Testament makes this abundantly clear.
Next, I consider tradition. For the past two thousand years virtually every faith tradition has considered homosexuality a sinful practice. Sadly, many of these faith traditions mistreated those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality, especially in the last one hundred years in the United States and Europe. This means that I need to be especially careful to treat these individuals with compassion, dignity, and love. The church’s historic tradition has been to affirm marriage between man and woman, and homosexuality is a sinful practice, but those who struggle with that sin should be treated with love, kindness, and dignity. Those who struggle with this sin, like any other, must repent, by abstaining from the practice. But “conversion” to attraction to the opposite sex is not necessarily possible.
From the area of reason there is a great deal of debate and speculation, much of it propaganda, from both the spirit of the age and from the church. But research does show increased health risks for men practicing homosexuality (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). Reason also shows me that there is a great deal of controversy and apostasy around this issue in the world and the church. So I must tread exceedingly carefully. Additionally, I see that many in the LGBTQ movements have placed their very identity in their sexuality, and so I see that I should help these people to see human identity is not found in sexuality, but in Jesus Christ.
Finally, experience shows me that many people of the homosexual persuasion feel marginalized and hurt by the church. So I must reach out to them in a kind, loving way, and avoid condemnation, while also encouraging repentance from sin, over time. Experience shows me that having relationships and friendships with people of this persuasion is useful. Experience has also taught me that there is a lot of misunderstanding from the LGBTQ community toward the church. For that, experience tells me I must make use of apologetics to help these people understand the love we have for them, and the truth we expound from the scriptures.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Justin Steckbauer