At Pulpit Rock, we are always trying to live out the new command of Christ to love as he loved us. And we walk that out with the question: What does love require?
One area that we have been far too silent on with that question is:
What does love require for our church to love LGBT people?
I believe two truths.
First, while all marriages fall short of God’s intention, and we’re all doing the best we can and inviting Jesus into that, I still believe in the traditional historic definition of marriage, and I believe that Jesus affirms that definition of marriage in the words he spoke.
But I also believe that Jesus Christ would want every family to love and accept their LGBT family members. And I believe that Jesus would want us as a church to welcome people who are LGBT.
What I see happening with churches today is that they are choosing to focus on one of these two truths.
Either they are going to abandon their theology so they can love people or they’re going to abandon people in order to love their theology. But a focus on Jesus shows that He never abandoned theology and he never abandoned people.
Jesus didn’t deal with issues to be solved, he dealt with people to be loved.
It grieves me that 86% of LGBTQ people spent their childhood in church. And over half of those have left. But did you know that three out of four say they would come back to church, not if the theology of the church changed but if they felt like they could be welcomed and respected?
And “a gospel of exclusion has NO power to reach already banished people.” (Bill Henson, Founder of Posture Shift)
And a recent sermon illustration I used of a young boy who was discovering he was gay, and could potentially spend the next few years facing rejection, depression, loneliness, or even suicide is all too real. And the suicide rate in El Paso county for LGBT teens is 400% higher than straight teens.
People are too important for us not to try.
So a focus on Jesus is calling our leadership on how we can better love the LGBT community in our church and outside it, while holding to a historic understanding of marriage. This means we are studying scripture. We are praying. Most importantly, we are listening to stories.
We want to figure this out. Just know we will make mistakes, so let’s give each other grace as we move forward.
If you want to step into this journey with us, start by visiting the Posture Shift website, a great resource that is helping us think through this messy and complicated issue and begin learning to love alongside us.
Written by Thomas Thompson
This is an excerpt from last week’s sermon. You can watch the whole sermon here.