The other day a gay friend of ours asked my husband, “So are you an open church?”
That questions makes me go…
There is no easy way to answer it. There are so many preconceived ideas on both sides that the question makes my head burst.
I am not sure if, in my lifetime, I have ever seen such a polarizing topic among Christians. From the rift in my local Christian community to the community at-large I hear divisive cliches like:
- We don’t accept gays here.
- Jesus never condemned homosexuality.
- God didn’t make Adam & Steve.
- God loves everyone.
- Homosexuality is destroying the fabric of America.
- No more hate.
- Christians are the first to judge.
So what’s true? Where is the sincere, Christ-following disciple supposed stand?
Are we supposed to be an open church?
Let’s establish some critical truths based on those words in red.
Love Rules Every Time
“Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:28-31
Not fear. Not prejudice. Not condemnation. Love. Every. Time.
Christians Don’t Need to Worry About Non-Christians
Inspired, apostolic doctrine says:
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world… since then you would need to go out of the world…For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside” 1 Cor. 5: 9-13
Basically, Christians, know your place. You aren’t supposed to tear through the streets trying to straighten every gay man or woman you see. You let God be God and worry about yourselves.
Christians Should Teach Christ
Jesus is love. He is salvation. He is holiness. He brought every kind of person into his fold. He epitomized “open church.”
So did he condemn homosexuality? Well, no.
But when it came to relationships of the romantic persuasion he did have some rather pointed things to say.
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female. And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mt. 19:4-6
Did you catch that? He rebuked his generation for their lackadaisical attitude about marriage. Yikes! Look around the room. That is us!
He said you guys need to go back to the beginning. You need to read Genesis all over again because God told you how to do it and you are messing it up- real bad!
Jesus didn’t distinguish his audience here. He didn’t divide them up into the straight side and the gay side. Nope. He is talking to all of us- gay and straight. He says go back to the way God intended in Eden. That’s where you will find your paradise lost.
Christians Should Tell the Truth
My husband and I have shared the saving message of Jesus to couples in all kinds of messes. We have loved them in their adultery, their fornication and in their homosexuality.
We tell them that when we come to Jesus and say, “I do.” It comes at a cost. The old ways die and righteousness or right-living, is born (Romans 6).
After his death Jesus appeared to a man and commissioned him to be his “chosen instrument.” That man became known as the Apostle Paul. When it came to right-living he said:
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 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11 NLT
If you want Jesus, if you want his church, his right-hand man, his chosen instrument says this, “live right.”
Are you an open church?
We better be!
I am ready to receive you, love you and not judge you. I need uninhibited grace so I give it.
But remember, if you choose to follow him, you better be ready to really follow.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” -Jesus
So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. They are people who lack all sense of right and wrong, and who have turned themselves over to doing whatever feels good and to practicing every sort of corruption along with greed.
But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.
If you choose to send me hate mail, which is fine, please include scriptural references. I’m not interested in anyone’s opinions except God’s. Thanks!