The Church and Same Sex Marriage
by Shawn Patrick Williams
The Church is faced with its biggest challenge in decades. In global ecclesia, there is pressure to take a stance one way or the other on same sex relationships. People are drawing lines, and denominations have been split over this relevant cultural issue. The scripture is the church’s ultimate guidebook to make decisions about cultural issues people are facing. Culture may change, but God’s Word does not. If you’re in a church where the Bible is not your main basis for guidance, get out! That being said, let’s look at some of the scripture church bases protocol for homosexual relationships.
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone… So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs… And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man…”
Genesis 2:18-25 ESV
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
Leviticus 18:22 ESV
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”
Romans 1:26-28 ESV
“The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.”
1 Timothy 1:10 ESV
“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.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
Jude 1:7 ESV
It is fair to say that both the Old and the New Testament scriptures agree that homosexual behavior is sinful. There are dozens of references in the Bible on this issue. Even the human reproductive system will testify that a man and a man cannot reproduce naturally, nor can a woman reproduce with a woman. The scripture goes on to show us that it is a sign before the judgment on a culture. Our culture has accepted this as normal and the Supreme Court has made this issue at the forefront of marriage. So how should the church respond?
While many people in America are celebrating the equal rights of all humans, which I’m for, it is important that the church does not celebrate the sin in which this act represents. I am thankful that I live in a nation that protects the rights of all individuals regardless of race, social status or sexual orientation. However, the church is responsible to lead upholding Biblical truth and instruct culture on spiritual matters, not the government. If the church celebrates homosexual expression in our society, than we set the example to the society that scriptural compromise is okay on any cultural topic.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8 ESV
For too long the church has been hypocritical in our approach to reaching the LGBT community. If someone dealing with this issue walks in most churches in America, the outcome has been unacceptable. We rebuke the gay couple while we hate, gossip, judge and lie right beside them. Unfortunately, we have called out the same sex couple in public, but not even addressed the other issues sitting right beside them that are Biblically defined as sin, which in God’s eyes are no different from homosexuality. People who operate out of hate will continue to bring shame to the Body of Christ and cause the world to see an improper representation of Jesus. Hate is the opposite nature of God. He is love. I apologize on behalf of the church to anyone who has ever been singled out or persecuted by the church because they were gay. When the church can love the world instead of retaliating against it we will see the greatest revival the USA has ever known.
“ 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.”
Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)
What is toleration? Toleration is “the practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves.” God hates sin, but loves the sinner. God sent Jesus to redeem me from my sin, and God tolerated my sin until I made a choice to follow Jesus. The two highest laws in the kingdom of Christ are love God and man. Who is your neighbor? Yes, the LGBT community is your neighbor. While God is love, He does not compromise. The church must learn love and interact in culture without compromising what they believe the scripture teaches.
I lived in midtown Atlanta, Georgia when I was selling drugs and going through some of the darkest times in my life. Midtown has one of the highest percentages of LBGT people among the communities in the South. Some of the nicest, most nurturing and accepting people are found in the homosexual communities. I have many people in my life that are homosexual, and I love them. I may not agree with them, but I do love them. I will talk about my beliefs as I have opportunity, but I always show the love that brought me to Jesus in the first place.
As a minister, I welcome the LGBT community to my services. I teach the Bible and won’t apologize; however I won’t hate or condemn anyone for anything. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict. We have many people who follow the cause of Jesus Christ that used to follow the cause of the LGBT community. If we spend more time fighting for the cause of Christ, we spend less time fighting for the lesser causes and much less time fighting with each other. Jesus Christ wants a cultural revolution to take place in the church of America. This is a love revolution that allows all people to receive the love and forgiveness of the cross regardless of their past sins. When we, as the church, can have a community of believers that create an atmosphere that is easy for people, regardless of their past sin, to come hear God’s Word and receive the power of the cross for their life, that’s when people change and the greatest awakening this nation has ever known will take place. Jesus loves you and has an awesome plan for your life, no matter what your past is.
Gathering the Harvest for the King,
Shawn Patrick Williams
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