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The Church and Homosexuality

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The Church and Homosexuality

Jesus has been setting people free from homosexuality for over 2,000 years:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 6:9-11 NASB

 

With the most recent decision of the Supreme Court on October 6, 2014, deciding not to rule on several cases concerning same-sex marriage forced up to 30 states to recognize same-sex marriage whether the people of those states want it or not, I feel it is quite past time for the Church to prepare for ministry to those who walk in a homosexual identity. What follows are some basic recommendations and some food for thought.

 

Personally, I used to believe I was born gay, but through my faith in Jesus Christ have discovered that this was not the case. I was born a sinner in need of a Savior. My particular sin took me down that road, but that road is no different than that of the addict, the abuser, the liar, the thief, the prideful, the ‘you fill in the blank with your particular sin.’ My personal journey began on November 7, 1981 when the Lord met me in the middle of my homosexual orientation and loved me right there in the midst of it…but loved me enough to not leave me there.

 

During that period in my life, a friend challenged me with these words. “I don’t know how to help you but I know the Answer.” He promised to walk relationally with me toward Jesus, shoulder to shoulder. He purposed to help me up every time I fell if I would let him. He became a shoulder to cry on and a sounding board for my frustration to be poured out upon. In a sense, I had to go outside of the Church to find someone who would love me right where I was…to love me like Jesus.

 

The Church, the body of Christ should be the first place a hurting soul should be able to turn without fear of rejection or condemnation. We are commanded to love. Period. We do not have to agree with someone but we do have to love them. If Jesus can do it, so can we as His people! Relationship gets messy, but God is wonderfully awesome at helping us clean up messes we make of our lives. Here’s the best news of all: you are no one’s Savior and you are no one’s Redeemer! You are not responsible for the outcome of another person’s life! Love lays down its life for those it desires relationship with.

 

The church is afraid to take a stand on the issue of homosexuality. It appears the church is being affected by the culture rather than the culture being affected by the church. We tend to fear what we do not understand. How do we gain understanding in this matter? We educate ourselves. Be ready with THE Answer:

 

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB

 

In light of this verse, we are therefore charged in the love of God to help people find the kindness of God that leads them to a new life of repentance (Romans 2:4), because we, as the Church, sincerely love the person trapped in brokenness and sin.

 

What does God’s Word say on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex attraction? On this behavior, it is very clear. Nowhere in scripture does it condone homosexuality, in any form. Scripture speaks of behavior, but not the temptation. I’m not held to a standard that is unrealistic or cruel. We are not condemned or judged for our temptations, but God does put limits on our actions and behavior. However, this is for our good. His plan is for our best and not to steal us of joy and prosperity, quite the opposite. Just as Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10 NASB).”

 

The Church must be prepared to give an answer to the world that cries out ‘mankind and his wisdom is the highest’. We must be prepared for hate and vitriol to be poured out on us. Why? Because Truth is hate to those who hate truth. We should expect the world to respond in this manner - because they do not understand or know real Love. Personally, I get attacked almost every day. I just choose to respond like Jesus Who said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34 NASB)” What can man truly do to me that will change one iota of who I am or the level/state of my contentment? Nothing! I am convinced that God's Truth is the highest truth…and I am convinced He loves me.

 

Ever since I broke on the Christian music scene in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s the pressure from the music business was to get me to move on from my story. What did I hear? “Do you have to talk about your story everywhere you go?” and “We do not know how to market you” and my favorite “Can you lose the story? It’s old news now.” Why did I keep sharing? Because I remember being a boy and hoping someone would tell me freedom was possible - and no one ever did. I want to let it be known that freedom IS possible. Bottom line, the Church must SAY SO!

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

 

Honestly, I had no choice in determining what would tempt me, but that in no way negates my ability to choose how I would respond to that temptation! In fact, even Jesus did not get to choose what He was tempted by - and He was tempted in EVERY manner just as we are, yet without sin!We are either always creatures of choice or never creatures of choice. Our humanity has a conscience which gives us the power to choose. If we could not choose, every man would be a rapist. Every person would be obese. Every person would walk in constant anger. Every person would be hopelessly self-focused and full of pride. We always have a choice as to how we respond to a given situation. It just so happens that having a relationship with Christ gives us the power to overcome those temptations and to choose wisely much more easily than in our human strength!

 

How should the Church respond to same-sex couples who walk through the doors of our sanctuaries? Love them right where they are. Let them bathe in God’s presence and be greeted with open arms of love right where they are - just as Jesus did for us! Be like Jesus, Church. Love people right where they are but love them enough to not leave them there. We have no right to speak into the life of someone we have not made an investment of relationship in. When we build relationships with same-sex couples, we - at some point - build up enough equity in that relationship to make a withdrawal on. It is much easier to hear words of truth from someone we know loves us. Church, are you laying down your life for the gay community?

 

What about gay marriage? Marriage must be seen though the filter of the One Who instituted it. It was intended for the purpose of perpetuating the human race. Those who support gay marriage say things like “People should be free to love whoever they want.” I find it curious that the pedophile community (yes, there is one) now uses that same argument. Did you see that coming? There is a reason God set boundaries for marriage that entails specifically a man and a woman. Think about it in this manner: Do the limits that a computer programmer sets in a program oppress it or free it to operate as intended? Limitations free us to be who we were intended to be. God’s divine intent for marriage between one man and one woman in human sexual relations is out of His desire of love and protection for us. Think the Ten Commandments. Think protection. Think about the onslaught on traditional marriage. Every church that believes and practices God’s Word should have a written policy stating marriage is a Biblical institution - a covenant - between one man, one woman, and Christ-centered.

 

Should a gay person be allowed a place of leadership in a Christ-centered church? Let me put it this way. Should a practicing adulterer be allowed to lead the church? Should a known liar be allowed to govern the church? Should a person walking in willful disobedience lead the body? No! Read 1 Timothy 3 for more insight.

 

Should I attend my friend’s gay wedding? Personally, I cannot because that would cause me to violate my conscience. Do not do anything to compromise who and Whose you are. I can love the married gay couple but I cannot bless their union as it is not sanctioned by God.

 

What if they say, “If you love me, you will attend my wedding.” I would return the statement with, “If you love me, you will not ask me to violate my conscience or to compromise who and Whose I am.” Remember, boundaries help us operate in true and real freedom and in our true nature as new creations.

 

Do not burn bridges if at all possible, Church…but remember, you are called to be salt and light. Salt brings cleansing and is a preservative…and adds flavor to life. Light exposes the lies of the enemy and expels darkness. Love is not just a feeling. Love is an action. When one of our children is headed for traffic, do we sit back and say, “Oh, they feel like playing in traffic. They LOVE the traffic. They’ll be fine.” No way! We do whatever it takes to stand between those we love and that which will bring destruction to them.

 

Parents, to the degree you have invested in your children, you have EVERY RIGHT to make withdrawals on that relationship. Your children are people of choice. They can choose to be angry with you when you speak the truth…but they cannot deny the fact that you love them if you have laid down your life for them, proving your love for them. Love is not afraid of a little friction!

 

People say change is not possible. Many who began the journey out of same-sex attraction as an identity have fallen back in…and say change is not possible. My life says something different. Ask my wife (a WOMAN!) of 31 years. Ask one of my 9 children. I decided a long time ago that freedom was worth whatever it cost me…and I’m so glad I kept getting back up any time I would fall. One of my personal rules is that I cannot call myself anything my Father does not call me. Just something to think about.

 

What is love? The world equate love with sexual expression. But what does God say about that? Define love according to God’s Word.  Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13 NASB).” True love's highest expression is the laying down of life. Real love denies self for the greater good of the other. This is the love of God.

 

When a person comes to Jesus, that person must come in his/her entirety. Have you laid down your intellect at the feet of Him who gave it? How about your emotions? How about your body? How about your sexuality? Holiness is simply using the attributes of our humanity in the manner in which God intended them. Any other use is a perversion of those very gifts.

 

That being said, we can only help people who want help. But we must open the door to build relationships with those dying in their sin - regardless of what that sin might be. Remember, except for the grace of God, there go I.

Dennis Jernigan

www.dennisjernigan.com

 

Do your homework. God’s Word is quite clear on the subject. In order to help educate the body of Christ I have posted an article on Pro-Gay Theology by my friend, Joe Dallas. You can read it and educate yourself at http://dennisjernigan.com/needhelp/963-pro-gay-theology-overview

 

Here is another article with important data from a scientific point of view on same-sex attraction: http://dennisjernigan.com/needhelp/963-pro-gay-theology-overview


 

No One is Born Gay

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No One is Born Gay

I used to struggle daily with unwanted same sex attraction – unwanted homosexuality. From my earliest recollections I felt drawn to other males. Many circumstances came my way that only seemed to reinforce those feelings. When I was five years old an adult male confronted me in a sexual manner. As a child I was very emotionally sensitive, artistic, and musical…and the other boys at school in my formative years seemed to relish in reminding me how much of a fag I was. In my college days, a friend and mentor – married with children, Christian, and community leader – made a sexual advance…and I was convinced this was my lot in life. The only problem with that is that I became more miserable than ever. When I got to the end of my rope, God met me there with a new identity and the power to change my way of thinking. To my great dismay (but not to my surprise), the world has begun to think in an upside-down manner, calling what is righteous ridiculous and what is perverse normal and acceptable.

Once I began to understand God’s true plan for my identity, I began to think in a way I had never thought before. No longer was I one trapped in bondage (homosexuality). Now I was a NEW CREATION with the power to put off my old way of thinking and the power to receive and PUT ON a new way of thinking. This statement will probably produce a lot of controversy, but this is how I think of myself: I do not consider myself a recovering/former/ex gay. I consider myself a new creation. The slate of my mind is being erased and the old thoughts are being replaced with new thinking. What I have discovered in the process is that when I change my thoughts, my attitudes change. When I change my attitudes, my behaviors change. When I change my behaviors, my perspectives change. When my perspectives change, I see life from a vantage point that homosexuality NEVER afforded me. The bottom line for my recovery? God loved me right where I was…but loved me enough to not leave me there! Oh, and by the way, I have been married over 27 years and have been blessed with nine children…and have never once delved back into my old life…(my story in its entirety follows at the end of this chapter).

Until 1973, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). In the early 1970s – after many years of protests by the pro-gay movement - homosexual activists campaigned against the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, protesting at APA offices and at annual meetings from 1970 to 1973. In 1973 the Board of Trustees of the APA voted to remove homosexuality as a disorder category from the DSM…and thus began our slide down the slippery slope toward a Romans 1 mentality. With that one decision by such a powerful group of therapists, man became the central focus in the matter of homosexuality and effectively began to remove hope for change from the realm of possibility for many men and women.

Let’s cut right to the chase. My belief (and experience) and my observance (having personally talked with HUNDREDS of men and women desiring to walk away from unwanted same sex attraction) is that the facts of truth do not bear witness to the current and popular conventional wisdom of this age concerning homosexuality. Let’s look at truth for a bit.

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Pro-Gay Theology Overview

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Pro-Gay Theology Overview

by Joe Dallas

Major denominations ordaining homosexuals, priests and clergy presiding over same-sex weddings, sanctuaries invaded by boisterous gay activists, debates over homosexuality ripping congregations apart, who would have guessed we’d ever reach such a point in church history?

The pro-gay theology is much like the broader gay rights philosophy, in that it seeks legitimization -- not just tolerance -- of homosexuality. Gay spokesmen have made no secret of this as being their goal in secular culture; activist Jeff Levi put it plainly to the National Press Club during the 1987 Gay Rights March on Washington: “We are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a protection from wrong. We also have a right -- as heterosexual Americans already have -- to see government and society affirm our lives. Until our relationships are recognized in the law -- in tax laws and government programs to affirm our relationships -- then we will not have achieved equality in American society.” 1

But pro-gay theology takes it a step further by redefining homosexuality as being God-ordained and morally permissible: “I have learned to accept and even celebrate my sexual orientation as another of God's good gifts,” says gay author Mel White.2

When God is reputed to sanction what He has already clearly forbidden, then a religious travesty is being played out in bold fashion. Confronting it is necessary because the pro-gay theology asks us to confirm professing Christians in their sin, when we are Biblically commanded to do just the opposite.

The pro-gay theology is a strong delusion -- a seductive accommodation tailor-made to suit the Christian who struggles against homosexual temptations and is considering a compromise. Some who call themselves gay Christians may be truly deceived into accepting it; others might be in simple rebellion. What compels them to believe a lie, we cannot say. What we do know, however, is this theology is false. But even as we say so, the caution of a proper spirit is in order. When we answer the pro-gay theology, we do so as sinners approaching other sinners, nothing more. Rev. Andrew Aquino of the Columbus Baptist Association expressed it perfectly: “My message to the homosexual is: We love you. Come and struggle with us against sin. Don't give in to it.” 3

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Amputation Versus Restoration

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He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him {to see} if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He *said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And He *said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mark 3:1-5 NASB

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How To Minister In Your Home

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This article is by no means comprehensive on the subject of home ministry. In fact, I believe it only touches the tip of the iceberg of what God intends our believing homes to be. It is meant as a reminder to believers that we are not here for our own glory and pleasure…and that our homes are Ground Zero in life and ministry. May you find encouragement and be challenged to deeper levels of life in Christ through these words.

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DJ's Philosophy of Worship

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Having been raised in a non-charismatic church, I had no idea there was any difference between worship and praise. Having now had the opportunity to worship with my charismatic brothers and sisters, I realize they do not either!

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Doing Great Things For God With Limited Resources

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You already know the story of how I came to be a worship leader on staff at a church (In the article Worship Leading Made Easy as published at www.praisecharts.com). I did not know how to lead people. I did not know how to organize a music ministry with real ministry at its heart. I wanted to avoid the very appearance of performance but still wanted to make a place for all the gifted people God was bringing our way.

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The Spiritual Banking Crisis

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Today's world financial institutions find themselves in a major crisis...but that is not what this article is about! Lately, I have been asked on several occasions how to minister to someone who is bound up in some besetting sin or another (in my world, that usually means someone who struggles with same sex attraction, but the principles I am sharing apply to any ministry situation).

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Worship Leading Made Simple

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Yes, you read the title correctly! As complex and massive in nature as our God is, to think we could boil the leading of worship down to a simple methodology sounds ludicrous. But I honestly believe we make it much more difficult than it is – and usually the problems come when we confuse leading worship with being something akin to a performance. My theory is this: as a worship leader, my job is simply to remind people that ‘God is here…so deal with it’!

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How to Be Born Again

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Because of my story of freedom from same-sex attraction due to my relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, I have many people tell me they long to know God intimately…long to be forgiven…long to be healed of past wounds…long to be free from whatever…long to be made brand new. For too long I believe the church has made knowing God more about jumping through religious hoops than about connecting people to a real and present God Who desires an intimate relationship with them. Knowing God intimately in a real-life relationship is as simple as a step of faith.

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How To Hear the Voice of God

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When talking about relationship, we must remember we are in relationship with a God who is alive and not distant. We have already discovered that He desires to have an intimate communion with us. He wants us to know Him even as He knows us. But how do you get to know someone intimately? How do you get to know God?

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The Wreckage of Resentment

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While meditating on what forgiveness means and what the benefits of forgiveness are to the human soul, I asked the Lord to give me an analogy that would help me understand the power of forgiveness in a very personal way. As I got into my car and headed for town to run some errands, this picture came.

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The Joy of Temptation

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The joy of temptation?!?! What do I mean by that? When we think of temptation, we think of it in terms of being a bad thing…and that is good! But through the years, I have learned to see temptation in a while new light. What I am about to share with you will bring much freedom and creativity into your life and will serve to keep you safe from harm and deliver you from the consequences of sin.

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How to Minister to Someone Who Struggles With Same Sex Attraction

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I grew up in the church…literally didn’t know that there were people who didn’t go to church. Being gifted musically with the ability to play the piano, I found a place to serve at a very early age. I also struggled with same-sex attraction – homosexuality.

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Resources for Those Who Struggle With Same Sex Attraction

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I literally receive hundreds of requests for personal help and counseling each year. This is truly a daunting task since my desire is to help each and every person who asks…but reality is that I am but one person who also has a life and a family. For that reason I can only provide truly personal help to a few, as I am able. But DO NOT LOSE HOPE if you are in need of help. What I can do is provide several resources where you can find some wonderful biblically based help.

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How to Minister to Your Neighbor

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One of the most frequently asked questions in my life is, ‘How do I minister to someone who struggles with homosexuality?’ Most people have never struggled with same sex attraction so that sounds like a valid question, doesn’t it? Reality is that we feel most comfortable talking with others about our own particular failures because that is what we know…but God’s reality is something quite different. He did not command us to minister to only those we felt comfortable with due to shared experiences. He simply commanded us to ‘go and make disciples’. So what does that mean?

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Fighting For Freedom - Why Many Give Up

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This article was written because I see far too many people begin their walk of freedom and then give up when the going gets tough. This problem is rampant across the various genres of bondage. People who struggle with sexual addiction, homosexuality, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, low self-esteem, etc. sometimes become overwhelmed with the onslaught of the enemy's lies and simply give up their quest for freedom and give in to their old ways of thinking rather than fight through to God's best for their lives.

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