When the Church was birthed, in Acts, their call was to go into all the world, and preach and teach the Goods News of Christ. This invitation extended to everyone: Jews, Gentiles, Romans, Samaritans, etc. Christ put no limit on who should receive His message, His grace, His forgiveness, His salvation … His invitation into the Church.
Sadly, over the years, the Church has put such requirements on people (people groups), and as such, the Church has become a very divided organism – divided against the world, and divided against each other. Case in point, look at the African-American community. Years ago, the “white church” deemed that “blacks” could not attend their churches. The worship of God had to be separate for each “color group,” so the “white church” demanded. Today, we still have what is known as the most segregated hour during the week: Sunday morning. Because of self-righteousness, ignorance, and fear, the Body of Christ has been divided by race.
Another case in point, the GLBT community. It has been said that had the Church reached out to the gay community with compassion, instead of rejection, the MCC wouldn’t exist today (Metropolitan Community Church), the largest gay church in the world). Yet, again, self-righteousness, ignorance, and fear has grown the MCC into what it is today, thus further splitting the Body of Christ apart.
We have taken what Christ commissioned us to do and put our own stipulations in place. The Body He called forth to be one, has taken it upon themselves to split apart and allow opposition to further divide us. I believe that God is calling us to come back, as One Body. I believe that in order for the Church to be an effective organism again, as in Acts, we must realize our foundation is Christ and come back together to do His Work – not our own – and walk, together, in the Power of the Spirit, who empowers us and joins us. I further believe that just as we must end “the segregated hour” and unite races together in one church building, so we must also put aside our fears and open our doors to the GLBT community.
Now, before you think that I have switched over to a pro-gay theology, keep reading.
What do I mean “open our doors to the GLBT community”? I mean just that, open our doors – wide. Does this mean we except everyone into God’s House? Yes. Does this mean we change biblical truth for the sake of appeasing everyone’s beliefs and experiences? No. God’s Truth remains – no one can change that. But, God’s Grace is apart of His Truth, and so Grace remains as well – and no one can change that, either. The same Grace that was offered to you, as you entered into God’s House, into a relationship with Him, we should extend to all who walk through the doors of our church.
The Church should not compromise Truth, but it should not withhold Grace either. As Debra Hirsch says in the latest issue of Outreach Magazine:
… just because truth is narrow, grace doesn’t have to be. In fact, quite the opposite. Because of truth’s narrowness, grace needs to be exceedingly wide. And it is indeed possible to believe that homosexual behavior is outside of God’s will for us, while at the same time also radically loving and embracing those who still choose to live that way.
I agree with her totally.
There are three outcomes that can come about from opening our doors to the GLBT community:
- A person who doesn’t know Christ, comes to accept Him, His Salvation, His Grace
- A person who has been distant from Christ, grows deeper in love with Him
- A person leaves because they choose to reject the Truth for their own desires
In reality, these are the same outcomes that are put forth to anyone who walks through our doors of the church – even to those who have been there for years. At all cost we preach the Truth and extend the Grace of Christ, as we are led by His Spirit.
Our Gay Neighbor
Who is our gay neighbor? The one who is living in a gay relationship with someone (or who is pursuing one), and the one who is living with same-sex attractions and isn’t acting upon their attractions. Our gay neighbor is anyone who defines themselves as being gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual. Our gay neighbor is anyone who defines themselves as Christian, or non-Christian.
Just as Jesus died for all of mankind, so the Church should be a place where all of mankind experiences the life-changing Love of Christ. If we don’t throw out the one who is looking at porn, who is having an affair on their spouse, who has been divorced, who gossips, who has a gambling problem, who is a drug addict or an alcoholic, who lies, who steals, who is prideful, greedy, or a glutton, who openly lusts, is envious, who curses, who has murdered or raped someone (and the list could go on and on), then why should we stop someone with same-sex attractions from experiencing Christ and His transformation? Do we have that right? Do we have that much control over who Christ transforms, or accepts?
Then why does the Church act like it does?