Re: live and let live?

Dick Fischer (
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 13:21:47 -0500

Bob wrote:

>Our church has opened its doors to homosexuals. It is one of about 180
>churches in the Methodist denomination called Reconciling Congregations. A
>relatively small group of homosexuals came into the church, some who were
>already long time members of the church came out into the open. They, along
>with all of us, are under the healing ministry of the Gospel, the influence
>of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of Christ's family of believers. We
>are all involved in the worship, the work, and the ministry of the church.
> How they appropriate these influences into their lives is between them and
>their Savior. Some left after their initial fervor waned, as do some
>straight members. This is how one church is trying to respond to the needs
>of homosexuals.

Maybe ASA is not the right forum, but since the issue is raised here,
and we are committed Christians, and Bible teaching is much clearer on
this issue then on the origins question, then perhaps some heartfelt
comment would be appropriate.

There is none of us so righteous we can cast stones at any sinner or group
of sinners, yet homosexual activity is clearly sinful behavior. (See for
example Lev. 18:22.)

Paul also alludes to a manner of behavior he seemed to view with disgust.
He sets up his argument in Rom. 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools ...." And what did those foolish men do to evoke Paul's
wrath? "... leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust
one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly ...."

Paul could have left it at that, but in I Corinthians 6:9, he delineates
the penalty for such "unseemly" behavior. "Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? And, wouldn't you know
it, "abusers of themselves with mankind" are on the list. Lest we have
any confusion concerning King James vernacular, The New American Standard
uses a word that's easier to understand: "homosexuals."

If such cannot "inherit the kingdom of God," why let them take up valuable
space in the pews - unless it would be to bring them to repentance. That
is, to renounce their sin and walk in the light of forgiveness. A contrite
heart, whether from homosexual or heterosexual, should be pleasing to God.
But as Christ said to the lady caught in adultery, yet unstoned for her
offense, "Go and sin no more." There is the rub and the hard truth that
the church of Jesus Christ must face squarely.

If the question was simply can sinners attend church, then the simple
answer is "yes" without qualification. We are all sinners. Yet the
church's rightful position must be that although all are welcome to come
through the door and hear the gospel message of forgiveness, a measure of
atonement is required for membership, and positions of church leadership.

Homosexuals are undoubtedly part of many congregations today. So are
thieves, adulterers, pedophiles, etc. Is one welcome to come to church
wearing stolen apparel or driving a stolen car? Is one engaged in
adultery permitted to attend service with his concubine in tow? Can a
pedophile walk in the door with his (or her) arm around a small, unrelated

Unless the church is willing to accept the flaunting of all sinful
behavior, then it should make no exceptions, or stop calling itself a
church and become a social club instead so as not to be a source of
embarrassment to the rest of the body of believers.

Dick Fischer