SBC Conference Addresses Ministry to ‘Gays’
So, how should we be thinking about witnessing to homosexuals? One pastor told of a young “gay” man brought to him during an outreach. “I can’t help it, I was born this way,” he said. The pastor replied: “Yes, I was, too. We are all born as sinners. I lived out my sin in drugs and alcohol before God saved me from my sin. God can do the same for your sin.” Using that line of reasoning, he led the young man to trust Jesus.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Commission on Ethics and Religious Liberty recently hosted a conference on The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage to bring together leaders and authors who have contributed to the dialog over homosexuality. Featured were special speakers, panel discussions, and opportunities of one-on-one dialog, even with same-sex advocates. Prominent were several who had exited the homosexual life style with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Central to the discussion was God’s view of the subject as presented in the Bible. Perspectives that emerged included the fact that the subject in the Bible is bigger than just homosexuality; it has to include God’s purpose for sex in general. Ex-homosexual speakers repeatedly described how their journey involved a careful reading of the Bible and a realization that nowhere did God appear to bless same-sex unions, even supposedly “monogamous” ones. It was obvious that His plan intended sex only in the context of a husband-and-wife relationship.
Another perspective of the ex-gays was that they discovered that they did not need to see their sexuality as their identity. They came to see themselves as a child of God first, and their sexuality only as part of God’s overall creation of them as a person. Then the question became: how to please God with His gift of sexuality? The obvious answer from scripture did not include same-sex relationships.
The pastor’s story of identifying with the sinner provides a humble approach to witnessing to a homosexual. Their sin is no different than anyone else who disregards or rebels against God’s best plan. In the final analysis we all have the same choice: Will we do it God’s way or our way?
When you get right down to God’s way, the Bible presumes that there is some sort of a choice involving our sexual feelings as well as our actions. We are to “set” our “affections” on things above (Colossians 3:2).
We agree that it is best not to “set our affections” on someone else’s spouse when we already have one of our own. God does not make any difference when it comes to same-sex affection/attraction. The instructions in Proverbs 4:23 to “keep (guard) your heart...” also appears to apply here. If we let our hearts wander into porn on the internet, we are not exercising the “diligence” commanded here.
When King David neglected his duty to lead the army, and stayed behind to ogle Bathsheba from his roof top, he did not guard his heart and he, and many others, paid dearly for it. When a teacher suggests to a student that same sex attraction can be okay and should be cultivated, this is a huge violation of the biblical directive on handling our affections.
Witnessing to the homosexual has been a problem for many Bible believers. But the cross provides forgiveness for ALL sin. The main conclusion from the SBC conference was that we should strive to help all sinners, “gays” included, to strive for holiness first, a life committed to pleasing God, then all sins are dealt with by the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of sanctification.