Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church - Ephesians 4:15The church these days seems to be divided over the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Albert Mohler reminds us how we are to respond to homosexuals with regard to Paul's message to the Ephesians about spiritual maturity, love and truth.
Evangelical Christians must ask ourselves some very hard questions, but the hardest may be this: Why is it that we have been so ineffective in reaching persons trapped in this particular pattern of sin? The Gospel is for sinners--and for homosexual sinners just as much as for heterosexual sinners. As Paul explained to the Corinthian church, "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" [1 Corinthians 6:11].Mohler challenges the church to reach out with the Good News that Christ has died for all sinners who trust in the sacrifice of God. But in order to know what they are being saved from, we must be compassionate and courageous enough to tell the truth of God's purpose for us in our relationships with each other and our creator.
I believe that we are failing the test of compassion. If the first requirement of compassion is that we tell the truth, the second requirement must surely be that we reach out to homosexuals with the Gospel. This means that we must develop caring ministries to make that concern concrete, and learn how to help homosexuals escape the powerful bonds of that sin--even as we help others to escape their own bonds by grace.
Homosexual rights activists try to isolate the evangelical church, forcing change by political action and cultural pressure against a cultural tide of moral relativism that promotes personal feelings as the highest value. With evidence of young Christians ascribing less and less to a biblical worldview, Mohler implores our churches to
...teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality--and taught to esteem marriage as God's intention for human sexual relatedness.Not losing sight of the call from Ephesians,
The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender--what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God's gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.
And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well--compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.But Mohler says that compassion does not mean that we need to change the message of sin. Telling a homosexual that he is a sinner is neither callous nor intolerant. We never think that a doctor is intolerant because they tell a patient that they have cancer.
Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love--and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion.HT: The Pugancious Irishman
...We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis. The genuine Body of Christ will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage. We will see this realized only when men and women freed by God's grace from bondage to homosexuality feel free to stand up in our churches and declare their testimony--and when we are ready to welcome them as fellow disciples. Millions of hurting people are waiting to see if we mean what we preach.