The Church and Homosexuality

By Dennis Jernigan Published on March 9, 2015

Jesus has been setting people free from homosexuality for 2000 years.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB)

I used to believe I was “born gay,” but through my faith in Jesus Christ have discovered this was not the case. I was born a sinner in need of a Savior. My particular sin took me down that road, but that road is no different than that of the addict, the abuser, the liar, the thief, the prideful, or any other sinner.

My journey began on November 7, 1981 when the Lord met me in the middle of my homosexual orientation and loved me right there in the midst of it — and loved me through it. During that period, a friend challenged me with these words: “I don’t know how to help you but I know the Answer.” He promised to walk with me toward Jesus, shoulder to shoulder. He committed to help me up every time I fell if I would let him. He became a shoulder to cry on and a sounding board for my frustration.

In a sense, I had to go outside of the Church to find someone who would love me right where I was, to love me like Jesus. The Church, the body of Christ should be the first place a hurting soul should be able to turn without fear of rejection or condemnation. We are commanded to love. We do not have to agree with someone, but we do have to love them.

The Church is Afraid to Take a Stand on Homosexuality

It appears the church is being transformed by the culture rather than transforming the culture. We tend to fear what we do not understand. How do we gain understanding in this matter? First we educate ourselves. Be ready with the Answer:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB)

We are therefore charged in the love of God to help people find the kindness of God that leads them to a new life of repentance (Romans 2:4), because we, as the Church, sincerely love the person trapped in brokenness and sin.

What does God’s Word say on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex attraction? Concerning behavior, it is very clear. Nowhere in scripture does it condone homosexuality, in any form. Scripture speaks of behavior, but not the temptation. I’m not held to a standard that is unrealistic or cruel. We are not condemned or judged for our temptations, but how we act on them. God does put limits on our behavior for our good. His plan is for our best and not to rob us of joy and prosperity. Quite the opposite. As Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB).

Mankind’s Wisdom is not the Highest Wisdom

We must be prepared for hate and vitriol to be poured out on us. Why? Because truth is hate to those who hate truth. We should expect the world to respond in this manner — because they do not  know real Love.

I get attacked almost every day. I just choose to respond like Jesus Who said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NASB).

Ever since I broke on the Christian music scene in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the pressure from the music business was to get me to move on and quit telling my story.  “Do you have to talk about your story everywhere you go?” “We do not know how to market you.” And, my favorite, “Can you lose the story? It’s old news now.” Why did I keep sharing? Because I remember being a boy and hoping someone would tell me freedom was possible — but no one ever did. I want to let it be known that freedom is possible. Bottom line, the Church absolutely must say so!

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.
(Psalm 107:1-2 NASB)

I had no choice in determining what would tempt me, but I did have the ability to choose how I would respond to that temptation. Even Jesus experienced temptation. He was tempted in every manner just as we are, yet without sin.

When we are slaves to sin, we have a very hard time resisting temptation. That’s why we’re slaves! Thankfully, even apart from salvation, God in his common grace keeps us from being as bad as we might be. Otherwise, every man would be a rapist and a thief. Everyone would walk in constant anger, consumed with themselves. When Christ lives in us, however, He give us the power not to do what we are tempted to do. He gives us the power to overcome our temptations and to choose wisely.

When Same-Sex Couples Visit our Churches

So then, how should we respond when same-sex couples walk through the doors of our churches? Build relationships with same-sex couples — not instead of guiding them out of sin but as part of a walk out of sin and toward holy living. It is much easier to hear words of truth from someone you know loves you. Let them bathe in God’s presence and be greeted with open arms of love, just as Jesus did for us — loving us right where we are but loving us enough to not leave us there.

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