We are continuing in our series titled FEVER PITCH. In the past two of weeks, we have talked about “hot button” topics in our culture that have reached a fever pitch and we are learning how we respond to these topics in a biblical manner. The video round tables have been excellent as our discussion panel talk openly and honestly about the issues at hand. So far, we have covered “Socialism vs Capitalism” and “Racial Equality”. This week’s is one, in my experiences and observations, is a very touchy subject that can easily lead one down the path of degradation and hatred towards other people.
Sex and gender identity has become a major talking point for the past few years in society. In fact, this month is recognized as “Pride Month”. I am almost certain that when I even mentioned “Pride Month” you immediately had some sort of response in your mind or demeanor. Some of you may have responded with disgust, angst, or unbeknownst to you self-righteously. For some of us it may be an uncomfortable or touchy subject because we may very-well know someone personally who would identify as LGBTQ+. It makes us uncomfortable because, quite honestly, we do not know how to talk to our friends, loved ones, or co-workers who may identify themselves as LGBTQ+. Many of us avoid the conversation altogether because first it has the potential to be an awkward conversation and second, we know what the Bible says about these identity issues… or do we?
Today’s video discussion panel talks more specifically about the biblical response to those who may identify as LGBTQ+. Some of the questions asked by the students and answered by the panel in this video are why is there such animosity from the church towards the LGBTQ+ community? Does God care about gender? And how do we as the church respond and minister to this community without being judgmental? Today’s discussion panel consists of BCS Bible teacher Jonathon Jankovich (who will be guest preaching at Southside July 18 & 25) and West Bradenton Baptist Family Minister Jenny (Funderburke) Smith, let’s listen as they discuss today’s topic “Sex and Gender.”
After watching the video, I think the most prevalent question is how should the church respond to those who may identify as LGBTQ+ with truth and love? If we truly understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should feel compelled to respond with grace and truth. There is a lie out that tell us there are two responses and I challenge you today Don’t believe this lie that there are only two responses to the LGBTQ+ community.
It is important for us to understand that People in the LGBTQ+ community are not categorically different sinners. They are sinners as we all are. Personally, I believe that we are not supposed to focus on a particular sin. In the eyes of God, sin is sin and ANY and EVERY sin separates us from God. The key, however, is that when it’s a major cultural issue, we must address it head on. Yes, we call sin, sin period regardless of the cultural issue. It will certainly not be received well, but we also need to be mindful of how we address it. We need to remember that we should NOT separate the issue from people. We’re talking about people God loves, people made in God’s image. We are to love all types of people (sinners), and not dismiss one group in disgust as if “your sin is too much for us and God to handle.”
We also need to remember the Gospel implies that when Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for heterosexual sinners. He died for every sinner.
And the gospel also tells us, and what we must remember, is that whatever defined us BEFORE Christ no longer defines us IN Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:9 – 11 – You once lived according to sin and the flesh, but since you have been saved you no longer practice the sins you once practiced. Paul lists a bunch of sins in this passage.
2 Corinthians 5:14 – 17: You are a new creation in Christ.
1 John 3:1: Your new identity… You are a child of God. You are now identified as a son or daughter of God.
So, the question remains, how do we support our friends, co-workers, and loved ones who are LGBTQ+?
In the same way we support anyone! Don’t lose your friends (or a family members) over this issue. Jesus was a friend of everyone. We should be too. You still can love someone who is LGBTQ+ and still hold firmly to your convictions. Loving someone does not necessarily entail affirming their lifestyle. We love with the love of Christ, regardless of the person, this is what Jesus has commanded us to do.
Nobody, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, should be bullied, harassed, or harmed. We as the church should stand for injustice no matter who it is against. We believe the gospel is for and should go to ALL people.
It is important for us to remember EVERYONE is made in God’s image thus ALL have fundamental worth to Him. If God values his creation so much that he sent his son to die on the cross so all who believe in him will have eternal life, then it is just as important to know that if God values ALL people, then we must as well.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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