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What about Homosexual People in the Church?

Although one disagrees strongly with homosexual theology, one has to understand that the homosexual and lesbian are not the enemy of the church, but people in need of the church’s support and spiritual guidance.  The last word on the issue of homosexuality should always be:  "love God and love your homosexual neighbour."  Indeed the old saying hate the sin but love the sinner holds true.  The fact that the church is required to reject homosex as a normal expression of sexuality does not diminish the believer’s call to love the individual homosexual.  The believer is required to reach out in love to the homosexual in the church community, while withholding approval of homosexual behaviour.

Homosex is sin.  The Bible describes it as acts of grave depravity and regards it as intrinsically sinful.  God reaches out to us in our sin.  God is also reaching out to the homosexual caught up in the sin of homosex because homosex is not the unpardonable sin.  Homosex, whether consensual or forced, is not an act of love.  The homosexual road leads to death:  physically, morally and spiritually.  This situation is vividly described by Karl Barth in his commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans when he says:

"…they became no longer capable of serious awe and amazement.  They become unable to reckon with anything except feelings and experience and events.  They think only in terms of more or less spiritual sophistry, without light from above or from behind.  Here is the final vacuity and disintegration.  Chaos has found itself, and anything may happen.  The atoms whirl, the struggle for existence rages.  Even reason itself becomes irrational.  Ideas of duty and of fellowship become wholly unstable.  The world is full of personal caprice and social unrighteousness".15

The challenge for the church lies in the pastoral dimension:  day-to-day compassionate and merciful response to people whose sexual behaviours are recognised to be sinful.  The challenge is to bring homosexual people to understand that their sexual behaviour is harmful to themselves, to the church and to society at large.  The common initial response to sin in the church is fear, followed by a reluctance to get involved, yet fear and non-involvement not only prolong the problem, but may even deepen it.

The church has to overcome fear and non-involvement and take notice of the homosexual members and actively reach out to them because no one should be left to live in a state of sin without realising the consequences of their sin.  Paul clearly and with authority, places the practising homosexual without qualification outside of the kingdom of God and thus excludes them from the church of Christ.  This is a devastating consequence of this sinful lifestyle.

The gospel is the power unto salvation for the sinner, also for the homosexual.  When the homosexual and the lesbian embrace the gospel, repent of their sin and renounce and refrain from practising it, the church can do nothing but accept them into the Christian fellowship.  Those whom God has forgiven and accepted are not to be rejected by His church.  The same requirements are to be met by the homosexual who becomes a Christian as are laid on every other converted sinner, for example the thief, adulterer, prostitute, drunkard, idolater or sexually immoral person.

In summary, the church must both express strong disapproval of homosexual conduct as a sin and be involved in the lives of homosexuals to bring God’s grace to bear on the lives of homosexuals.  The repentant homosexual, converted by God’s grace, must be welcomed and received by the church.  The unrepentant homosexual is excluded and evangelised to be received as brother or sister in the Lord upon their conversion.