I serve as Assistant Pastor of a church in Kentucky. I have served churches in three other states over the last 12 years. In one of those, I led in church discipline over unrepentant sexual sin, it was homosexual in nature. I have supported discipline in others churches I served where members were involved in unrepentant sexual sin of a heterosexual nature, some of which were lead or assistant pastors, choir members, or life long members. For these acts I don’t not apologize, or hold shame.
But we do have plenty to apologize for…
Scripture is clear that unrepentant sin separates man from God, it must be turned from, and Christ must be clung to.
The benefits of “church membership” are to be bestowed at the local level to individuals who acknowledge their sin (of whatever nature), turn from it, and submit their lives to Jesus as King. So long as sin is being put down and Biblical life principles are being put on, this is considered fruit of growing in Christ.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,
The Gnat and the Camel
I fear that with the attention on people like a pastor who calls for homosexuals to be put into an electric fence, to the very odd rantings of a lady who calls people to choose between “Jesus( a straight) and Judas (a homo)”, and who could forget the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney?–
that we, evangelical Christians, are straining out the ‘gnat and swallowing the camel’, to an extent.
We speak of homosexuality as destroying the “family” ( and I believe it does), but we ignore (in comparison) heterosexual pornography, divorce, adultery, and fornication.
For the double standard of our sexual sin- I apologize.
I live at our church, in a house between a rural railroad crossing and a graveyard, (Don’t be jealous).
It’s interesting to evaluate those two.
The trains (several times daily) approach that crossing and loudly proclaims the impending danger of not heeding the warnings that the train is coming-the whistle and the flashing signals. People time after time will approach that crossing check to see how far the train is and how fast it’s coming, and will often disregard the warning and run through the crossing, undoubtedly every time that happens, the conductor blows that whistle longer and hard than ever before-They simply didn’t heed the warning.
- Porn leaves people feeling empty and shameful.
- Fornication is a fleeting lie of commitment and deep true love.
- Adultery is the lie that satisfaction and comfort may be found outside the bounds of marriage.
–each leave people hurting, and longing for something more, so they often do it again, and again.
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Sexual sin of any nature is wrong and separates people from fellowship with God whether it be
- Lust fueled pornography (homosexual or heterosexual)
- Being married and having sexual relations with someone other than than your spouse (adultery)
- Not being married and having any type of sexual activity (fornication)
For evangelicals to glance over the above; while behaving as if homosexual activity (porn, fornication) is somehow ‘more’ sinful than a heterosexual male looking at porn, or a married man walking away from his marriage, wife and children. Or that same man, now ‘single’ committing fornication–is hypocrisy.
I spoke of that train, but I forgot to mention the graveyard. The graveyard is a constant reminder of the wages of sin-death. In our (evangelical) view, death is not natural, it’s a result of sin. And it’s appointed to man once to die, then the judgement. And when it comes to the spiritual death of our marriages and children, we act as if it’s just…normal.
Sexual sin is to be fled, It’s not “just part of growing up” for our sons to look at porn, (or Christian men either). It’s not ok, “because it’s interesting” for Christian women to fascinate themselves with relationships that are unbiblical, and invest in these things emotionally…”the Bachelor” anyone?
For the majority voice being hypocritical with regards to heterosexual sexual sin-I apologize.
The measure of our fathers
In the Christian church, for generations we have become a people who love traditional America, family, and the Constitution. And while I love all of those things dearly, we have forgotten that we are to live as travelers in this land, ambassadors for King Jesus.
We have become too comfortable with an entitlement idea about what culture should be like, and have not been honest about what it actually is.
We have forgotten that “Amazing grace saved a wretch like me”… most of us don’t even know what a “wretch” is.
No, rather we are often content to believe that we deserve God’s love, because we’re not like you (or someone worst than you, like Hitler or something ;))
We have allowed our sin to either condone yours, or worse-lead us to self righteousness over yours. We have filled up the measure of our fathers in the same way that Prohibition will stop drunkenness, the War on Drugs will cease addiction, that perhaps a Constitutional amendment will somehow remove homosexual desires and sin.
We have focused on outlawing the sin, not redeeming the sinner-For this I apologize.
I have now confessed and apologized of the double standard regarding our hypocrisy as it relates to the
- double standards of our heterosexual sexual sin
- the condoning of homosexual sin
- the self righteousness of many evangelicals
- the ignorance of not seeking to love and minister to the homosexual or person struggling with homosexuality
…and at times in my life, I was guilty of all of these.
But the truth remains
If I declare that I believe the Bible, then that means that I believe what it says about homosexual sin, as much as I do about what it says about drunkenness-it is a sin.
Sin separates people from God, and must be turned from, whether homosexuality, self righteousness, gluttony, drunkenness, lying, hate, anger, porn, lust, or laziness.
Please do not ask Christians to simply ‘look over’ the fact that the Bible speaks against homosexuality, anymore than asking to ‘look over’ any of the other sins aforementioned. Do you really want me to tell people it’s ok to be self righteous because it’s natural to them?
I, like you have struggled with sexual sin, our churches are filled with people who struggle with a variety of sexual sins (and other types). There is forgiveness and mercy at the cross, and there is to be fellowship at the church. We were sinners saved by grace, who now are saints seeking to glorify Christ.