Jeff Miner, Pastor of LifeJourney Church in Indianapolis claims that “there are a whole lot of Christians who are afraid of those who are different” in his October 16, 2011 sermon. Then Miner deduces that “there are a lot of Christians in the world today who are genuinely anxious that gay people are going to take something away from them… family, culture…”
I’m not convinced that Christians are afraid that homosexuals will take something away from them. However, it does seem that there is some merit to Miner’s prior comment about a more general fear.
The scriptures are clear that homosexual behavior is sinful; I’m not going to make that point here. Rather, I will operate under the presupposition that homosexual behavior is sinful as the totality of Scripture testifies. There is no recorded encounter between Jesus and a homosexual, no matter how hard Miner attempts to read that into the Bible. However, if there were, it stands to reason that his encounter would have been similar to that of other sinners. Consider the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus pointed out the sin of the Samaritan woman, but he still gave her salvation. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus died for sinners and when he encountered them he pointed out their sins and preached repentance. From Jesus’ actions around sinners, it is very likely that if he had encountered a homosexual, he would have pointed out that sin to them and preached repentance.
Christians are commanded to love their neighbor as themselves, this includes sinners of all sorts, including homosexuals. We are commanded to love homosexuals. Furthermore, when we are given the great commission, to make disciples of all nations, the command includes homosexuals. We are to make disciples out of all people, including homosexuals.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Co 6:9–11)
The Apostle Paul tells us about several types of people that will go to hell. Homosexuals are in this list of people going to hell. However, the good news is wrapped up here as well. He says “such were some of you.” Some of the people he is writing were homosexual, but now they are not. Now the apostle addresses letters to them as “those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.” They were homosexuals and by the power of the Gospel, they were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is clear what the Apostle Paul did when he encountered homosexuals. He preached Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins. He preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He preached repentance. It is also clear that some homosexuals were transformed by the Gospel and they were no longer homosexual. They left homosexuality for Christianity.
Look around the pews on Sunday morning. How many people in our pews on Sunday morning were once homosexual and now Christian? Can we say to our congregations “such were some of you.” Miner wants Evangelical Christians to prove they are not homophobic by pretending homosexual behavior is not a sin. However, the real measure is how many among you have been transformed from being homosexual to being Christian? Are you guilty of homophobia? Perhaps you are afraid of people because they are different from you. Maybe this sin makes you more uncomfortable than other sins. What Christians are called to do is minister to the homosexual communities. We are called to make disciples of the nations, including homosexuals. We must turn to them in love and share the good news of Christ crucified for the forgiveness of homosexuality.
Miner picked up on a nugget of truth and ran with it. There is a problem of homophobia among Christians. The answer to the problem is where Miner gets way off track. It is not loving to watch someone drive down the road to hell. Instead, we must love homosexuals and share the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. We must lead them to faith in Christ alone.
Al Mohler explains this problem well in response to a question at the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention. I encourage you to watch him explain: