This is a response to a dear Christian friend asking about her church’s policy concerning same-sex attraction:
The article was absorbing, and the writer is truly gifted. Even though he writes through the lens of his own homosexuality, the picture he presents of [your church] is largely commendable. Make no mistake about it: your church stands significantly on the authority of the Bible and is deeply Christian. It is far superior to many churches today that are collapsing before the bulldozer of politically correct worldliness.
You asked specifically about [your church’s] view of homosexuality as depicted in the article. Remember that this article was written by a homosexual, so we cannot be 100% certain that he has accurately conveyed [your pastor’s] viewpoint.
Nonetheless, like you, I did find some aspects troubling. Many evangelical churches today ministering to Christians who confess homosexual desires demand celibacy. This certainly is the right start. Homosexual intercourse is abominable. This is what the Bible says, and there is no other way to describe it. But then there’s the more complex and vexing issue of “sexual orientation.” This is a comparatively modern notion. The Bible knows nothing about sexual orientation. God’s creation order is male and female, with no remainder. Sexual intercourse is a beautiful gift from God reserved for marriage between a man and woman. Everything else is sinful. It breaks God’s beautiful creation order.
To teach and act as though “gayness” that is not consummated in intercourse is permissible, an ongoing lifelong condition, cannot be sustained from the Bible. I presume that [your pastor] would never say that a man whose heart is filled with hatred for other people but never actually unleashes that hatred in the act of murder should fit just fine in [your church] without addressing the heart (desire) problem. We read in James 1:15, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” The root of all sin is desire that is not governed by the Word and Spirit of God. The metaphor James uses is childbirth. Sin is conceived in wrong desires, and those desires, if unchecked, birth sin that grows up and leads to death.
Part of the job of the church is lovingly and patiently to confront those desires — not just homosexual desires, to be sure, but all desires that lead to sin. It just so happens that homosexual desires are the big cultural topic of the moment in evangelical churches. A church that does not address those desires does not understand the radical, transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and does not stand for the radical, grace-drenched holiness of God, which he demands.
“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
None of this should detract from my favorable assessment of many other aspects of your church. I repeat that it is far superior to many other evangelical churches today.
I’ve tried to be as biblical and as honest as I know how to be in such a short space. Please write back if this answer doesn’t suffice.
I am profoundly impressed by your desire to please God and follow Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. Never forget: God blesses obedience.