Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Homosexuals and the Church

Many of you may have heard of High Point Church in Texas. They have made some headlines, because they refused to allow a homosexual's memorial service in their church. The American Family Association has linked to an article called, Texas church refuses to host memorial service that would have glorified homosexuality. Here is a link to the High Point Church statement regarding this issue, High Point Church Could Not Allow an Openly Homosexual Service in the Church.

A member of this group had an ill brother. When he passed away the Church offered the use of their building for a memorial service. They were in the process of putting together a video of the mans life when someone noticed some openly homosexual pictures. After alerting the pastor, they decided that they need to withdraw their initial offer. They could not allow them to use their facilities for a homosexual memorial service.

The statement reads, "The issue was not whether we would hold a memorial service for someone in a lifestyle of sin. We have assisted many families in this regard. The issue was whether we would allow an openly homosexual service that celebrated and emphasized homosexuality in our church. . . . We will not allow homosexuality to be glorified in this house of worship whether it is in a memorial or in a wedding."

But they did not leave the family high and dry, the statement continues, "To assist the family in securing another location, an alternative venue was paid for - which the family declined. We produced for the family the memorial video they requested without the inappropriate photos. We also prepared and delivered food for the family and one hundred relatives and friends."

After reading these articles I sense that the major issue was the building, not the man who had died. They could not allow a man who lived in open sin, and a service that promoted that sin, to exist inside of their "house of worship." They felt that this act would show that they condone homosexuality. Yet, they had no problem offering to pay for the use of another building for this man's memorial service.

Now, I believe that homosexuality is a sin but is it possible for an open homosexual to be a Christian?

Do you think they made wise decision by withdrawing their offer?
Do you think they made a wise decision by offering to pay for another building?

What do you think Jesus would have done in this situation?

Personally, I do not think Jesus would have owned a building, but he probably would have gone to the memorial service to teach, disciple, discipline, and heal.

Have we put the institution, the building, above the people?

14 comments:

Drew said...

I believe that it is possible for an openly homosexual person to be a believer. I won't go into a lengthy explanation of this belief, but let me say that there are plenty of believers that we encounter who are convinced that their pet sins really aren't sinful. Just because they are wrong doesn't mean they don't possess genuine faith.

As for the churches decision, I can't really make a judgment without more information. What exactly did they mean when they said it "glorified homosexuality"? Also if the issue was that the church didn't want to look like they supported that lifestyle, I'm not sure there's really that much difference between having the service in their building and paying for it to be somewhere else. It still looks like this congregation is supporting the man.

Either way, I totally agree w/ Lew's statement about what Jesus might have done. He definitely would have been there.

Steve Sensenig said...

This one's been bothering me as I've been reading about it on other blogs, but I haven't commented on it anywhere else.

Honestly, I haven't been able to figure out exactly what I think about it. But there's this nagging feeling that High Point made the wrong decision.

You make a good point in drawing attention to the fact that they paid for another building. So, rather than use their building to host a service that allegedly would promote homosexuality, they used money that people had given to the ministry to pay for a building for the same purpose.

What's the difference??

Lew A said...

Drew & Steve

Thanks for commenting. I think we are all a little up in the air with this one. Not only is it heart breaking but it is confusing. Two years ago I would have completely supported High Points decision, but now I cannot, even though I understand why they did what they did - kind of.

This is definitely a tough one. I think it might be just as tough as Alan's previous post, Would you trade your life for someone else's life?

I will definitely be considering these issues for a while.

Thanks again for the thoughts.
Lew

Jeff said...

Wow...this is a tough one. But, I think it's one that is becoming more prevalent in todays society. That being said, because of it's prevalence certainly doesn't mean we adjust to condone the lifestyle in any small way.

"Is it possible for an open homosexual to be a Christian?"

I would say yes...IF...they admit it is a sin and they repent and want to change but are struggling just as anyone else struggles with their sins.(Even the so-called small sins)

"What would Jesus have done?"

I'm thinking answering this question should be a valid answer for the other questions as well.(what should the "church" have done?)

Please correct me because theres a good chance I'm wrong, but, didn't Jesus only visit the dead if He planned to "raise them?" Other than if He was doing that, I think He would tell His Body to let the dead bury their own dead and you just worry about following Me. I'm not implying this person wasn't a Christian when he died, but he was no longer here. It makes me think of David mourning his child before it died, and then once it was gone he stopped mourning, worshiped God, and went on his way. The Body should be praying and mourning for the healing of these brothers and sisters while they are still among us.

I don't know, this is simply my opinion.

Great post!

Jeff

Lew A said...

Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this post. You're absolutely right, prevalence does not equate to acceptance. That is why I put in the line, "I believe that homosexuality is a sin." I wanted everyone reading this post to understand my position on that.

I think I might add a caveat to your IF statement. Before admitting and desiring a change (which might be a long struggle), they would have to understand it was a sin. This understanding could come through direct Holy Spirit revelation, through reading the bible, or through discipleship (or something else?). Then, once they understand the truth they should admit it is sin and seek God for the change.

I think you're right about Jesus... I am not sure he visited any dead people whom he did not intend to raise (at least from Scripture). And I love the David story. Although I doubt David was the "average" human, at least in this logic.

On a side note, I have already told my wife to dispose of my body by whatever is the cheapest method, and that I did not care about a "wake" or "funeral" but she is free to do whatever she pleases.

Back on track, I think it is very natural to mourn for the dead - using the David case as an example - his servants, I believe, were very shocked to see how he reacted. So obviously this was not the "norm" back then and I would say is not the "norm" today. Now, I am not saying we should be acting by the "norm" - we should probably act more like David - but tradition, lostness, etc. make us do funny things :).

Your opinion is always welcome. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Thanks everyone for the great comments so far!

God's Glory,
Lew

Jeff said...

Lew,

I know it's depressing to think about, but, you said...

"On a side note, I have already told my wife to dispose of my body by whatever is the cheapest method, and that I did not care about a "wake" or "funeral" but she is free to do whatever she pleases.

...on the flip-side how would you handle her "funeral"?

I agree it is extremely sad and we are going to mourn those lost. I just lost both my grandmothers in the past year. My hope is that they are in Heaven though.

When Lazarus died and Mary and the Jews were mourning, do you think "Jesus wept" because of Lazarus or because He sensed the love, sorrow, and loss the people felt for him? I think it is comforting to know that when we are hurting and mourning, Jesus "feels our pain", if you will.

Jeff

Alan Knox said...

Lew,

Regardless of how someone feels about homosexuals or homosexuality, this issue was not about sin. This issue was about their "worship center". They have decided that the "worship center" is more holy than other locations. They have relinquished God's presence to a certain place - or at least diminished God's presence in other places. If this person was engaging in homosexual activities (which I also believe is sin - as are lies and gluttony and pride), God was present during the commission of that sin. The "worship center" is no more sacred than the location where sins take place. When we stop making these kinds of distinctions, we may begin to realize what it means for God to be with us always and in all places.

-Alan

Lew A said...

Jeff

Great question! Although, I am afraid to answer it for fear of what my wife might think :).

Seriously though, if I were to lose her suddenly, I would definitely mourn her, but I doubt attending a wake or funeral would help me deal with that loss. I would however respect her family's wishes and allow them to perform whatever services they desired. I would also be happy for her gain.

I am sorry for your losses. I was not mentally prepared for my grandmother's death. I still miss her a lot. My grandfather is not doing well right now. I think I am more prepared for his death, but it will still be rough.

I think it is great to realize that Jesus knows us that well. I am not sure if we know exactly why Jesus cried, but I think it is safe to say that he does feel our pain.

Thanks Jeff.

Alan

May it be! Thanks for the comment, direct and to the point. I think you have hit the nail on the head with what this group did and believes. It is quite unfortunate that they have hold their building in such high esteem.

In an alternate site the "statement" they gave said that, "this decision was not based on hate, or discrimination, but upon principle and policy." 1 Seems like the "policy" was more important than the "people."

Thanks for commenting.

Lew

MICKY said...

What causes homosexuality?
Many have said that they are homosexuals is because they are made of. It is due to inborn genetic traits that one cannot be held responsible for. There was even a scientific paper published in 1993 by Simon LyVay and Dean H. Hamer who claimed the discovery of a “gay gene”. This paper has however been discredited, please view the report "is there a gay gene?" (http://www.narth,com/docs/istheregene.html)
It is now known today that homosexual is a socially learned response. When a man claims to be a homosexual, he is a man with heterosexuality but with homosexual problems. He is responsible for giving expression to his sinful nature instead of choosing to subdue it.

Homosexuality is a Sin
It violates God’s design in marriage (Gen 1:27.28)
It undermines the basic unit of society: the family (Exodus 20:12)
It is unnatural and an abomination to God (Romans 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)
It brought God’s judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:4-5; Jude 7)
It is condemned by the law of God (1Tim 1:8-10)
It excludes those who indulge in it from God’s kingdom (1Cor 6:9-10)
PEACE BE WITH YOU
MICKY

Alan Knox said...

Micky,

Thanks for the comment. Ya know, 1 Cor 6:9-10 excludes many from the kingdom of heaven... including those who are greedy. I wonder why that sin - and others - don't draw the same reaction from the believers.

I would suggest that sin itself - including my sin and your sin - is an abomination before God and excludes us from heaven. This includes the sin that I committed today and the sin that I will commit tomorrow. It's a good thing that I'm not relying on my own sinlessness to "get into heaven".

-Alan

Lew A said...

Hey Micky,

I pretty much agree with everything you've said. But Alan is right, homosexuality is not the only sin before God.

We seem to spend much time focusing on these "large" sins like Homosexuality, alcoholism, etc. usually being more negative towards those who take part in these sins, which pushes them further away from Christ... yet we openly ignore the more common sins, like greed, gluttony, etc.

Perhaps we need to position on these issues to be more consistent with God's position on them.

Thoughts?

Lew

ded said...

Micky,

You said, "...he is a man with heterosexuality but with homosexual problems."

I don't think this is as accurate as you seem confident that it is. Are you speaking from personal experience?

I grew up knowing I was different, and at 13 I put a label on how I felt. I was homosexual. I became a Christian at 15, largely out of a hope that God would change me...just take the orientation away. He didn't. I gave up on Him and entered the gay lifestyle at 19. I lived there four years. I re-dedicated my life to Him and discovered the wonder of a new creation. Pursuing the "new" man allowed me to learn heterosexuality. I am married now for nearly 27 years, and we have parented five wonderful children in God's grace.

My old man was not heterosexual and still is not. God does not remove our flesh. I agree with your second statement with a caveat, "He is responsible for giving expression to his sinful nature instead of choosing to subdue it." The homosexual must make a choice on which identity he will live, but if he has no knowledge of the in-dwelling Christ, a wealth of scriptures will not be sufficient to sustain him in the decision to be his new creation.

Steve Sensenig said...

ded, excellent comment! And you have illustrated why we should not be so hyper-focused on homosexuality apart from any other sin. My old creation was a lying, deceiving, unfaithful, arrogant pain-in-the-butt. The fact that my old creation happened to be heterosexual made no difference!!

Now I choose to live in the new creation that is mine in Christ. In your case, that new creation enabled a change in sexual orientation. In me, it enables changes in other areas.

Same condition of sinner. Same condition of new creation. Different specifics.

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