Homosexuality and the Local Church
My son is 38 and gay … and we had a wonderful relationship. I have known for so long he was gay. My pain of course is that, but also why the church will not allow gays to join. Please explain to me; my son-in-law is my pastor and it really hurts.
I feel the church is talking with a forked tongue … saying one thing and doing another. So right now my son is a member nowhere; he doesn’t have to be a member, but I would love for him to be. Tell me your reasons behind why he can’t join the church since our God says one sin is no bigger.
Thank you in advance for addressing this issue.
Gloria, God loves all people. Jesus died to forgive the sins of the whole world (John 3:16). Whoever repents from their sins and receives the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ becomes a part of His Family – the body of Christ.
Local churches are expressions of the universal body of Christ (all believers who have trusted Christ personally and in whom His Spirit now dwells). Jesus commanded His disciples, then and now, to come out from the world and live pure and holy lives (see the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-8, and Romans 12:2). The early apostles all taught that our salvation is by God’s free gift of grace and that this grace leads to a holy life characterized by sexual purity (Titus 2:11-14). Adultery, fornication, and homosexuality were all common practices in Jesus’s day and in the early Church. The new spiritual birth of salvation brings with it new life and a new lifestyle. Read the following New Testament passages to see this pattern:
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do: for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth). (Eph. 5:3-9)
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
Gloria, as followers of Jesus we all fail and still sin on occasion, but it’s not the desire of our heart or the habitual pattern of our lives. But the Bible is very clear that to continue willfully in known sin is not an option for a genuine follower of Jesus. This is true for all sins, not just homosexuality. Someone having an affair, living with someone but not married, habitually lying or gossiping, all forfeit the privileges of active membership in a local body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, the early Church was commanded to not associate with those who claimed to be Christians but who willfully continued in sexual immorality of whatever kind.
Unfortunately, the Church has been selective at times in its application and obedience to this command. Churches have tended to point out certain sexual sins (like homosexuality) and overlooked other habitual sins (like gossip and gluttony). This passage, however, applies to all people, not simply people living in disobedience in their sexual lives, whether that be homosexuality, adultery, or fornication.
Your son is welcome to enjoy the fellowship and membership of a local church if he chooses to repent of his sexual sin. If, however, he chooses to continue in his present lifestyle, your son-in-law, who is your pastor, is seeking to obey God’s Word and protect the reputation and purity of the bride of Christ – the Church – by not allowing your son membership.