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Responding to gay Christian friends

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Responding to gay Christian friends

Postby steve » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:50 am

I was asked today, by a correspondent, how she might respond to an old friend whom she has not seen for a long time, but who is now in a same-sex relationship. The gay parties are not only Christians, but also in Christian ministry. I am often asked how a Christian should respond when invited to the same-sex wedding of a gay relative. This is a very difficult situation in which modern Christians are increasingly finding themselves. I drafted the following letter as a suggested response. Perhaps others can contribute editorial suggestions to refine it:

Dear ------

It would be very nice to see you and catch-up on our respective lives since the last time we saw each other. We should be clear and honest with you, however, that we are still followers of Christ and of the Bible. This should not be surprising, nor upsetting, to anyone who has known us, and who respects our religious faith. We have, in fact, maintained exactly the same faith as we possessed since you last saw us. This faith has always taught that sexuality was created by God to be expressed within the confines of biblical marriage, and that any expression of sexuality that is not within this institution has always been regarded as ‘fornication.’ When we say "biblical marriage" we mean that which was defined by the Creator in Genesis 2:24, and which was reaffirmed by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:4-5.

We did not make these rules. Nor do we, or anyone else, have the authority to alter them. They are part of the created order, commanded by the God that we have long served, and whom we have sworn to serve for the remainder of our days.

Sadly, as Jesus warned would be the case, an uncompromising loyalty to Jesus Christ has, throughout history, divided believers from those whom they love, but who do not respect their liberty to choose to follow Christ. This is not something we would wish. Pagan societies, like our own, have historically embraced sexual practices that are forbidden by God. In fact, this domain has historically been a primary difference between the practices of pagan religions and those who worship of the Creator. This is not a new development. It has a history going back 6,000 years, though it is a "new" development within the context of the post-Christian West.

According to scripture, we could embrace you in your present circumstances, if you were not yourself professing to be Christians (1 Cor.5:9-13). This may seem ironic, but the reason behind the rule is that unbelievers are not to be pressed into Christian moral norms. It is not the place of the Church to "civilize" the unbelievers.

However, it is the place of the Church to be the community of Christ-followers. Those who name the name of Christ, but do not follow His teachings present the greatest deterrent to the world's acknowledgement of Him as Lord. Television evangelists, pedophile priests, and Christians who go to church on Sundays but live lives inconsistent with their professed faith, have brought the greatest reproach on the name of Jesus.

I would not be surprised if your view of us might be that we are not expressing the love that is consistent with our profession to be followers of Christ. However, ‘love’ has a robust meaning, not a sentimental one, in the Christian faith. Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). It is not being loving to our friends for us to simply accept, without a word of disagreement, their habits that tend toward their harm, and which place them at odds with the Creator.

We are not at our own charges, to do whatever we may wish. If we were at liberty to create our own moralities and change the rules laid out by God's Word, we would certainly wish to fellowship with you and embrace you as brothers. However, history has repeatedly demonstrated that societies that reject the ways of God do so at their peril, and eventually end up like ours has become, or worse. Those who modify God's standards do not improve their lives, nor the lives of others. We are no more free to modify those standards than are you. If we are, therefore, wrongfully judged as "haters of humanity" we will simply be wearing the same epithet that the Romans hung on the Christians of the first century, and bearing the opprobrium that Christians have had to endure throughout the ages for loving and obeying Christ.

Our hearts break at the division caused by these new deviations from biblical norms in the churches. It is not those who remain faithful to what Christianity always has been, and always will be, who are responsible for modern rifts in fellowship over sexual morality—though we are well aware that it will be laid at our door. This is the true and tragic irony of our age.
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Re: Responding to gay Christian friends

Postby robbyyoung » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:39 pm

Hi Steve,

I enjoyed reading your draft letter. However, it would be more helpful if we knew the details of the “gay person’s” initial correspondence. In other words, what prompted the contact? For example, was the recipient invited to a gay wedding? Or, asked to comment about gay relationships?

The letter in its current form might be construed as a linear prose of rebuke before a conversation ever took place. In these matters, it may be more beneficial to ask the gay “Christian” to help one understand how their lifestyle is supported through scripture. Then, open dialogue via open bibles could bridge the divide between sound doctrine and error. As you know, it is the Word of God that judges and changes everything about us for the better—especially when we yield to God’s authority.
In general, the letter is highly respectful but void of fostering and soliciting sound doctrine from the initiator. Here's an example:

Dear ------

It would be very nice to see you and catch-up on our respective lives since the last time we saw each other. We should be clear and honest with you, however, that we are not familiar with any biblical doctrine that supports same-sex relationships. Nonetheless, I am willing to learn if my perspective on this matter is wrong. Can you help me understand? For instance, "biblical marriage" was defined by the Creator in Genesis 2:24, and was reaffirmed by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:4-5.


The use of this type of strategic inquiry, throughout the letter, would be advantageous to discovery and (possible) ongoing biblical discussions. Sometimes, repentance is a long process requiring patience on all fronts.

Blessings!
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Re: Responding to gay Christian friends

Postby steve » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:57 pm

Robby,

Good point! It would be better for this kind of response to be given after some initial conversation had proved unfruitful.

My correspondent indicated that her friend wanted to get together for a meal. I suppose that initial conversation should take place to get a feel for the friend's attitude.
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Re: Responding to gay Christian friends

Postby robbyyoung » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:23 am

Hi Steve,

Yes, breaking bread together and having conversations regarding life issues is a normal social behavior. Thus, any written correspondence that follows will be targeted with specificity and wholly appropriate; moreover, in face-to-face encounters, mannerisms and body language completes the overall narrative. Also, in a first encounter, a "million" things can be missed or misconstrued via written form only. Well, I pray the conversation bear much fruit and a repentant heart be given to those who transgress against God's Word. Thanks again Steve for the post and your work in the ministry.

Blessings.
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Re: Responding to gay Christian friends

Postby TK » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:25 am

Regardless of whether your response is used or not it is exceedingly helpful in clarifying how to think about such issues.
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