Varying Views of Homosexuality in the Church
LifeWay Research just released results from survey conducted on in April on a sample size of 1,201 American adults. The study showed that 61 percent of Protestants believe homosexuality is sinful compared to 31 percent who don’t. Among born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Americans, 79 percent say it is sinful while 17 percent do not believe it is. Only 39 percent of Catholics called it a sin.
LifeWay Research director Ed Stetzer made the following comments to The Christian Post, “Seventeen percent in that latter category may seem low compared to the others, but considering these people consider themselves born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist.
Perhaps the courts and continuing political arguments contribute to the differing views and confusion. The latest decision from California’s high court certainly doesn’t help churches in their approach to homosexuals. Kelly Boggs, columnist for the Baptist Press, writes, “Making something legal does not change its moral status.” You can read Kelly’s article on the California matter here.
Ed Stetzer sums it up best in response to his survey findings, “it reminds us of the need for clear biblical teaching on the issue in our community. We need to strive to show the love of Christ, while upholding the standard of Scripture, to those who struggle with same-sex attraction.”
Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page recently spoke of his own feelings on how the church should handle this issue in a recent article in The Tennessean.
While Page teaches that homosexual behavior is sinful, he also focuses on other sexual sins. If a couple comes to the church and is living together, the church insists the couple gets married before they can become members. And the church has gay people who attend, but are not members as well. Page says the church is not going to turn anyone away.
“We have people that are living together, we have homosexuals who come here, and who are not joining, because they are loved and cared for and they hear the Gospel,” he said. “We say you are welcome here. Do we have some requirements for membership? Yes. We are not going to back off those. But if you don’t meet those or don’t want to meet those, we are still going to love you.”
Of course, many will find offense with that response as well, because they want acceptance of their behavior as Boggs states. But we are not responsible for others’ responses to us. We are only responsible for our response to them, and that response must reflect Christ. A Christ who conversed with a sinful woman at a well, dined in the home of a thieving tax collector, and so on…