LGBT Issue and the Church – Does God Know What is Going On Here? – Pastorpedia

In this issue of Pastorpedia, Pastors Knute Larson, Jim Brown, and Jeff Bogue, talk about how pastors should respond to homosexual issues.

Vol. 2, Issue 8

Produced by CE National

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LGBT Issue and the Church

LGBT: Does God know what is going on here?

People wonder at times—we all do. And it is not an act of infidelity to question God or be angry and frustrated about what is happening around here.
But at times we need to say to ourselves and also from the pulpit, that the Bible commands us to be at peace, to trust God, to honor His sovereign rule over the affairs of people and nations—these were all written when times were even worse.
The Apostle Paul was clear to the Romans that they should obey the authorities—the infidel Nero was one of their leaders—and be aware that creation groans loudly, and put their hope in the Lord and His ways.
Peter does the same in His First Letter.
As one of us will say here, God did not call us to save the culture, or even colonize ourselves as separatists, but to be salt and light and to love.
And to hope. And to model how life can make the best sense, and how relationships can be pure and trustworthy.
He does know what is happening here, and we know how we should live.
Wishing you the best, and knowing it is coming,
Knute, for Jeff and Jim
For CE National
What should I do or say?
Jeff Bogue

  1. First of all, never apologize for the Word of God. It is abundantly clear that sexual immorality, and for the sake of this conversation—specifically homosexual activity—is a sin to God. So, in no way should we…
    • …compromise the Word of God.
    • …rationalize that somehow any form of sexual immorality should be considered normal.
    • …minimize that it is a big deal to God.
  2. God is commanding people to forsake sexual immorality—God is saying sexual immorality has severe consequences. God is very clear about relationships. As this subject is raised in the Scripture, it should be taught with the clarity that God gave to us.
  3. We need to clarify what people mean when they say, “I struggle with homosexuality.” So, I would ask a series of questions:
    • Are you talking about a form of sexual temptation, or are you talking about fully engaging in immoral activity?
      If someone is talking about a form of sexual temptation, then as with every person experiencing temptation, we should walk them through the Scripture and help them to learn to resist temptation. They also need to understand that their sexual temptation is no different than the heterosexual temptation most deal with.
    • Are you acting on that temptation?
      If the answer is yes, then we need to address that activity as sexual immorality. Just like with someone struggling with pornography or adultery or sexual activity outside of marriage, we need to confront, define and if necessary, have consequences within the body of Christ.
  4. When dealing with the question of homosexuality from the pulpit, we need to be sure that we’re preaching to redeem the soul of a person, and not preaching to save the culture of a country.
    • As a pastor, I am a proclaimer of the ministry and the message of reconciliation. I am not a defender of tradition.
    • Legalizing homosexual marriage is not the first time that our nation has legalized immorality (e.g., abortion), so I am to call all sin what it is. But I also have to remember that the ultimate solution of the culture ills is salvation of the individual. When I rail against the culture, I am often alienating the lost soul searching for hope.
    • There may be someone in my congregation seeking to be reconciled with God. When you’re preaching, look at the people in the room. Don’t look at the pundits and the protesters in the culture.

Jim Brown

  1. In a world where truth is fleeting, I always share in a loving way what I believe God’s Word states on matters such as this.
  2. Anytime we are in a marriage or relationship series I state what we stand for.
  3. Always lace truth with grace, too. Help those that are far from God see why you believe what you do.
  4. Don’t run from this. Just boldly and lovingly address it.
  5. Never make your opinion a social media post. This forum never gives you a chance to cover with compassion and truth how you really feel about the situation at hand. Plus it can become a social media frenzy.
  6. Remember that less is always best when responding with your answers.

Knute Larson

  1. Only hit this when the text hits it. The Supreme Court or the headline should not determine our emphasis in a sermon.
  2. No more jokes. Many years ago I apologized from the pulpit for light or comical (to me) remarks about homosexuality. I made some gestures. I apologized and said I would never do it again.
  3. Have very candid discussions with your staff and main volunteers or leaders of the church. For some people, especially those very conservative in certain areas, this stands out as one of the worst sins. Call your leaders to love.
  4. The pastor or representative of the church who is sharing a view on this, when questioned, should refer to being bound by the policy or church laws. People understand that. This is so much better than saying we need to think about something. Then they take it personally.
  5. God is sovereign and not surprised. We are “more than conquerors” (Paul to Romans under Nero!) Some act like this is the end or the worst.

What is a good policy?
Jeff Bogue

  1. When it comes to your legal document, every expert that we have heard from has said that we need to have a specific part of our constitution that states we do not believe in homosexual marriage. The question came up, as we were changing our legal documents: why do we need to specifically deal with this question and not others?
    • We do not deal with people who gossip or are materialistic, because they are not trying to sue us.
    • It is very evident that there is an aggressive militant wing of the homosexual rights movement that is actively looking for opportunities for lawsuits. This is why, as a church, we must protect ourselves in a unique way.
    • In my tenure as a pastor of 22 years, this is the first time—that as a congregation—I have had to position our church directly against our federal government…. They are saying that something is legal that we believe is immoral, and it’s an activity that our church involves itself in on a consistent basis (i.e., weddings).
    • This is why our documents need to be clear, so we can clearly demonstrate that we view the Scriptures differently, and that we, on religious grounds, cannot coexist with this legislation.
  2. We also took a second step, and placed another statement in our documents:
    We love sinners, because our commitment to love is as strong as our commitment to stand against sin.

Jim Brown

  1. Make sure it is very clear and laced with Scripture.
  2. One that protects your legal rights.
  3. One that expresses your love for people and your stand for God’s Word.
  4. One that has been prayed over, prayed through, prayed from and developed after seeking wise counsel from godly people.
  5. Make sure you have the right people around the table when you develop this policy.

Knute Larson

  1. Have one for sure, and on paper, and as an official policy of the church. Some put this in the constitution and other churches have policies that are very legal and official working papers. It must be considered a “law” of the church.
  2. Surely the policy should differentiate between attending and joining as a member/serving in a ministry capacity. Surely the church wants people to attend no matter what their practices or habits or inclinations. Christ came to call sinners and we continue His practice.
  3. This policy or rule for the church should not be in bold-faced type. Meaning it is not our emphasis or even as high as our main issue. Because of the Supreme Court ruling and the influence of many and the media, some churches get to this no matter what the text is for the sermon.
  4. The policy needs to be adopted officially by the main policy-making body of the church, probably the board. That way it is not just one person’s opinion.

Pastoral concerns
Jeff Bogue

A last thought I have on this issue is simply that as pastors we need to remember that sinners sin. There is nothing illogical or ridiculous about a homosexual couple’s thought process that would say to them, If I love someone I should be able to marry them. That couple most likely was never raised in the church, has no biblical background, has no biblical worldview, and has never surrendered themselves to the authority of God’s Word. Therefore, sin always makes sense to sinners.
It’s important as a pastor, that I remember I am a “persuader,” that I have to walk people through a thought process from beginning to end, not just look at them and say, “Well, everybody knows that you should do this.” Patience, gentleness, and respect are just as important in this conversation as courage, truth, and strength. Love the sinner, and deal with the sin.

Jim Brown

  1. The enemy and his schemes are very sketchy, and I must always be ready for his clever maneuvers.
  2. I must realize I must take a strong stand that lines up with the Word of God; potentially I may be persecuted for it.
  3. There could be a polarizing effect with people who find themselves blinded by the enemy. I may lose a chance to share the good news of Jesus with them.
  4. This is where the church can become better known for what it is against than what it stands for.
  5. We must teach the beautiful magnificent marriage of one man and one woman the way God intended. It is disappearing.
  6. Where will it all end up if the mooring point of truth remains in the hands of man instead of the truths of God’s Word?
  7. People are being deceived by the enemy and ultimately some will never find Jesus as their Lord and Savior!
  8. A broken and lost world is getting duped by the enemy.

Knute Larson

  1. The cultural battle is lost. I think we should not spend our time trying to change laws now or influence the government. That seems done.
  2. Some churches who clearly speak against this—as the scriptures do—have no help for people in this area. Consider a support group, led by someone trained very well and even professionally to deal with the frustrations and emotional or mental or spiritual issues in this area.
  3. Spend some time with someone grappling with this issue personally. Or even someone practicing it. It’s one thing to be opposed on paper and another to feel the emotions and struggles of someone in the middle of the battle.

Pastorpedia is produced monthly by three experienced pastors: Jeff Bogue, of Grace Church, in several locations in the Bath-Norton-Medina areas of Ohio; Jim Brown, of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana, a church known for its strong growth, family and men’s ministries, and community response teams; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by CE National. Visit cenational.org/pastorpedia for more issues and to read the bios of our contributors.

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