Ask Donnell: How Should The Church Address Homosexuality?

Crown of Thorns

We received the following question;

"Good morning Pastor Donnell. The question I have is for you and Pastor Angel. It’s a sensitive topic which has been present in my mind for a great deal of time. In what way is the Church of Christ to deal and treat with homosexuality in the church? To be more specific, if there may be an individual or individuals struggling and battling with homosexuality in the church, and he/she knows it is wrong but can’t shake off that spirit, how should a pastor or any one in particular support and help heal that person? Also, what do you recommend if he or she is afraid to ask for help?"

Yes, this is a sensitive topic. You hit the nail on the head with that one. Thanks for being bold enough to submit the question. Pastor Angel prayed for God to help me answer your question. This is one of those topics I know I have to address at some point but I rather delay it as long as I can to avoid the inevitable controversy. However, you have effectively forced my hand. Homosexuality has slowly developed into an acceptable lifestyle choice in popular culture and the only safe public position in the eyes of the world is to support it. If you take the risk of publicly opposing it you position yourself for intense backlash and are likely to be called insensitive, unloving and/ or a bigot.

Regardless, as The Church of Jesus Christ, we only have one position on every issue and that's the truth. Hence, Jesus prayed in John 17:17(KJV); "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." So before we get into how to deal with the issue let's establish what the truth is through The Word of God, the source of truth. In 1 Timothy 3:15, the Apostle Paul calls The Church of The Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. It's better to keep any discussion on homosexuality within the confines of scripture than to start throwing personal opinions around triggering useless and tiring debates about nothing. We'll see what The Bible says and leave it there. If someone disagrees with The Bible they can seek The Lord for better understanding.

Let's start from the beginning. The first point we must establish is The Bible's position on homosexuality. This has come up for vigorous debate in both secular and religious circles. Does The Bible support it? Does it condemn it? Is it silent? Does it send mixed messages? If we can't establish a solid scriptural foundation any arguments we present will be shaky and need not be considered. If The Bible has no position, The Church, as a whole, has no position and the issue will be left up to personal interpretation. If The Bible has no issues with homosexuality neither should we. So unless there's a problem with it, we don't need to try to help anyone who's living that lifestyle because they should be just fine. So here we go...

Genesis 18:20-23(NLT) - So the Lord told Abraham, "I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know." The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham.

Genesis 19:4-11(NLT) - But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, "Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!" So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. "Please, my brothers," he begged, "don't do such a wicked thing. Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection." "Stand back!" they shouted. "This fellow came to town as an outsider, and now he's acting like our judge! We'll treat you far worse than those other men!" And they lunged toward Lot to break down the door. But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.

2 Peter 2:6-9(NLT) - Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.

Jude 7(NLT) - And don't forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God's judgment.

I'm sure you heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed those cities with fire and brimstone but rescued Lot's family because of his faithfulness. One of the many issues highlighted by the scriptures concerning Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality. Pay close attention to the sequence of the scripture excerpts listed above. This can be considered as one of the foundational accounts of homosexuality in The Bible. I deliberately chose this account because it precludes Mosaic law and the endless arguments which surround the applicability of any of the resulting Levitical precepts in the modern age of grace.

Starting with Genesis 18:20, God specifically said that He would go down to Sodom and see if the wickedness matched their reputation. Fast forward to Genesis 19:4-11 which recounts what happened when the two angels who accompanied God to visit Abraham left to visit Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. What did they see? What type of wickedness was highlighted in their visit? I will reserve my opinion. You can answer that question for yourself by reading the scripture. Then, when you read 2 Peter 2:6-9 and Jude 7, you will have a solid grasp of The Bible's position. You can also read 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 for some supporting scriptures. That's the foundation. Now let's move on to what's going on right now in our society.

Romans 1:21-27(NLT) - Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Welcome to the 21st century. When people reject God for who He is, they create their own idea of God. For some strange reason the scripture presents a direct correlation between a rejection of God's truth and the rise of homosexual tendencies. I don't mean to beat a dead horse but before we find a solution, we need to diagnose the problem. The first issue that must be dealt with is whether or not The Bible supports the homosexual lifestyle. If it does not, then we can reach out and help those who are caught up in it. If it does, then they don't need our help. Obviously, it does not. Hence, the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin is a non-issue. With that out of the way, let's move on to answering your question. How do we address homosexuality in The Church?

Galatians 6:1-3(NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

In your question you outlined that the person you are referring to is struggling with homosexuality and is fully aware that it is wrong. As a result, the discussion of whether or not homosexuality is wrong is irrelevant to that person so you can leave that out of the situation completely. Someone like that, who is fully aware of their sin does not need to be reminded that it is sin. They know that already. According to Galatians 6:1-3, they need support. They need love. They need someone to share their burden. They also need people around them who are not currently struggling with the same sin and can possibly fall into the same temptation. That's the primary responsibility of brothers and sisters in Christ.

When a Christian is struggling with a sin like homosexuality it's tough to deal with it. There is a lot of shame attached to it. That's another reason why the scripture reference above says those who are Godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. Pay attention to the specific criteria listed. First, this role is reserved for those who are Godly, otherwise referred to as spiritual in other translations. People who are spiritual manifest the Fruit of The Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23(NLT) - But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Carnal folks who are overcome by their own sins tend to magnify the sins of others to draw attention away from themselves. Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5 that they see the specks in other people's eyes and ignore the logs in their own. Homosexuality is wrong. The person gets it. It's a struggle that the person's losing so help out. Christian people caught up in that lifestyle are in the fight of their lives against a relentless enemy. They need the rest of us to jump in and fight alongside them. When someone is drowning you don't describe the water, you reach out and pull the person in. Now let's get to the heavy stuff.

Mark 3:27(NLT) - Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.

2 Corinthians 10:3-69(NLT) - We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Homosexuality is a strong man. It's a spiritual and mental stronghold that's not easily broken except by the power of The Spirit of God. It is not to be taken lightly nor treated frivolously. A person under the influence of homosexuality is under a powerful influence and it's no joke. There are few among us who operate in the kind of spiritual authority it takes to attack it head on. I once visited a church that had opened its doors to minister specifically to the homosexual community of Atlanta. It was housed in a beautiful building that continues to stand today.

I believe it was a labor of love at the beginning but in the end, the church were completely overrun with homosexuality to the point that even the pastor and elders were visibly struggling with homosexuality. Those precious brothers and sisters came to The Church in response to a show of love which fortunately, they did receive. However, what they they did not receive was deliverance. Therefore, I learned a valuable lesson that I will teach you today.

There are at least three parts to this process. One is an outpouring of love, the second is the establishment of truth and the third is a demonstration of the power of God for deliverance. If we are to properly respond to homosexuality in The Church we must love people like Jesus loves us, speak the truth in love and let love drive us to operate in the power of God.

John 8:32(NLT) - And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

2 Corinthians 3:17(NLT) - For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Now let's get some balance. What sets people free? Truth! And what is truth? The Word of God. It may come in the form of a prophetic Word. It may come in the form of a sermon. It may come in the form of a song of The Lord. In whatever form it comes, the truth will set you free. This is important to understand because love does not preclude the need to speak the truth. You need both. Hence, in Ephesians 4:15 we are instructed to speak the truth in love. There's no point in loving people but leaving them in bondage. They need the truth so that they can get their freedom. The truth for someone in denial is to show them their sin but for someone who accepts their sin, show them the solution.

In addition, once the presence of The Holy Spirit is strong in your church, that's a great place for deliverance from any kind of sin. God has His ways of dealing with certain issues in the fullness of time. As a result, anyone struggling with any sin including homosexuality just needs to keep showing up in an atmosphere of love and truth that's teeming with God's presence. Sooner or later, the combination of love, truth and the presence of The Holy Spirit will jumpstart the process of freedom that may have stalled for years. If any of these three fundamental elements of deliverance is missing there won't be much success.

John 8:36(KJV) - If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11(NLT) - Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

James 5:13-16(NKJV) - Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Last, but definitely not least. For anyone struggling with any sin, these three preceding scriptures outline the process of cleansing right there. Call on the name of Jesus and allow the Spirit of God to move freely through your life. Call on the elders and let them anoint and pray over you. Find someone full of The Holy Ghost that you can talk to about what you're struggling with. Let that person pray for you too. God does not condemn you and neither do we. We love you. We give you the truth. We pray for you. That's our job. That's how we deal with homosexuality. That's how we deal with sin. That's how we deal with life.

If you want to learn more, read this blog; "Ask Donnell: Why Can't I Stop Going Back To This Sin?"

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