Now Serving Gay People – Not Serving Gay Doctrine

“Pastor, is your church gay friendly?”

That’s a question more and more ministers are getting these days, one which can seem impossible to answer without incriminating yourself.

“No, we’re not gay friendly?” That won’t play well, especially in light of Christ’s very inclusive invitation for all to come unto Him. (Matthew 11:28)

“Of course, we’re gay friendly!” Say that, and whatever your intentions might have been, you’ll hear plenty of parishioners label you Woke as they flee the church.

Yet something needs to be said, despite the temptation to avoid a direct answer. I’m going to suggest a positive way to go about it, answering clearly, plainly, and in love. I think you’ll find it helpful, and maybe even fun. First, though, lets take a closer look at why it’s an issue.

Pastors are shepherds, responsible for feeding and protecting the flock. So their doctrine must be sound, and explained clearly to the people they’re teaching it to. On a subject as vital as human sexuality, they can hardly be vague. The sheep have a need and a right to know where the shepherd stands.

We’re a Christian church. We serve the Word of God.

But pastors are also ambassadors, first for Christ, then for their congregations. Their senders — Christ and His people — want the unsaved to become the saved (I Timothy 2:3), and for the saved to be edified into growth. (Ephesians 4:12) They also want their church to be a place where both groups can experience both results. Welcome mats are required.

All of which makes the gay friendly question problematic. How can we claim to be friendly to people while condemning a sin they consider to be a given, an inborn vital part of their being? Then again, how can we say we welcome them while reassuring our congregations we’re not becoming indecisive or intimidated, or pulling some kind of bait-and-switch routine whereby we welcome gays and then, once they’re comfortable with us, say, “Oh, by the way, did we ever mention …?”

Adding to the tension are two other facts, both unpleasant but, like the question itself, hard to avoid.

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