I have a question. Why can't we welcome gay Christians in church? I belong to a 12 step program for recovering alcoholics. All of us have suffered horribly in our disease and inflicted suffering on our fellows. We of all people should loathe drunkenness, yet when as often happens, someone shows up at our meetings drunk we encourage them to stay. Our attitude is what better place for a drunk than a place where he can hear that there is a solution.
And why should we be scandalized if we end up sitting next to openly gay people at church. I can assure you if you sit next to me at church you are in the presence of a sinner. Is there some sort of hierarchy where sin is ranked by degree of acceptability, where my sin is acceptable in church but theirs isn’t? Is church a country club for saints or a hospital for the broken?
Oh, gays are welcome here, some pastors say, just don’t expect me to water the Bible down for their sake, and it’s not love if I don’t call them out for the abominations their lifestyle leads them to become.
Ok, let’s look at that.
Paul tells us “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. ~ Galatians 5:19-21
Are you calling out with equal ferocity and frequency these sinners? ‘Cause if you aren’t you just might be a homophobe, not a truth teller.
I would not urge gays to attend a church that spews a targeted disdain for sin, simply because you’re supposed to be in church. If how you are treated by your faith community does not lead to an abundant life, and that after all, is what Jesus promises, move on. Nor would I suggest attending an anything goes church because, well, not everything goes.
Instead, find a body of believers that acknowledges brokenness, that believes we are all better off if we wrestle with that brokenness together. That way we can come together over Christ, not our separate styles of sin. That is a body worth belonging to.