Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gays & Lesbians in the Church

A continuously rising subject within the Church is gays & lesbians, which I will be the first to admit that the response of the Church as a whole has not been the correct biblical answer. The majority of church-goers carry around the attitude of one of my former pastors who once said publicly as he was preaching, "I don't want to be around them, I am disgusted like the rest of you." This is a sad and unfortunate response to gays & lesbians, but the opposite response of the church is just as bad, which is to embrace the lifestyle and accept it.

On the front page of the Life, etc. section of The Raleigh News & Observer was about Pullen Memorial Baptists Church in Raleigh, where I live, voting on a new "pastor" who is openly a lesbian. Scripturally, there are two issues here: First, the Bible is very clear that while men and women are created equal, they are also created with different roles, elder/pastor being exclusively reserved for men (but that conversation is for a future post). Second, Scripture is clear about practicing homosexuality being sin, which would disqualify one from the position of elder/pastor as would any continual unrepentant sexual sin.

The article goes on to mention that Petty's desire is to carry on "the tradition" of this particular church, which tells me that in this church as it is in many that tradition is elevated above Scripture. The article also refers to the rareness of women leading Baptist churches, which there is a reason for that if those few churches would just look to the Scriptures. The article ends with saying, "She's the person the church needs at this point in our history." The way the article ends points directly to the culture we live in where a lot of the church is attempting to read the Bible with the views of the culture, but the reverse should be happening where churches are reading their culture from the views of the Bible.

Now, for starters this is not a church I would ever attend for the two reasons I stated earlier in this post, but the response to gays & lesbians as a whole is not what is should be. Practicing homosexuality is a sin, just as looking at pornography, just as adultery, etc. Churches should be full of gays & lesbians, porn viewers, fornicators, adulterers,etc. because all are in need of Jesus and without Him they are stuck in what is called sin.

Instead of churches ousting gays & lesbians, there should be a biblical response of welcoming those in who identify themselves with the gay & lesbian lifestyle offering resources and providing biblical support to assist those who desire to overcome this lifestyle. My fear is that this news article is a reflection of our culture and many churches that are opening the door for an array of other sins becoming acceptable based solely on the fact that culture as a whole embraces them.

For more information regarding male eldership and homosexuality:
-http://www.esvstudybible.org/search (Gen. Eph. 1&2 Tim. Titus)
-http://theresurgence.com/alexander_strauch_1997_biblical_eldership
-http://theresurgence.com/reid_monaghan_2007_twisted_gender
-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSGIPqXhofE

6 comments:

  1. The Bible is not clear about a woman "not being a pastor/teacher". The whole weight of Scripture points to otherwise. Paul's disclaimer that I think you're refering to can be argued as a cultural guideline, otherwise the women in your church and mine shouldn't be wearing make up or jewelery and they should be covering their heads in church.
    I agree with your conclusion on homosexuality. Great blog.

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  2. Andy, thanks for taking time to read. I understand that will be the stance of many who read this blog, but I would encourage you to check out: http://www.cbmw.org/ and http://theresurgence.com/alexander_strauch_1997_biblical_eldership

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  3. So I spent some time reading on the site you pointed to, spending most of the time in Grudem's book. I could never succesfully argue with Wayne Grudem on an exigetical level. But I wonder about the practical conclusions of what this thinking assumes. From a logic standpoint women are not less intelligent or spiritually attuned than men. Is it wise to say God does not allow for women to bring teaching, exhortation, or encouragement within the context of a congregational gathering? I for one would rather hear from a wise woman than a foolish man. Also the cultural picture which your point of view presupposes is a western evangelical church model of a reformed persuasion where the pastor and his message is the focal point of the meeting. In many other places within the Body if Christ the meeting is less scheduled with liturgy and more prone to a spontaneous expression through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes a woman will have the word of the Lord for the meeting. Paul said "all may prophesy". All includes women.

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  4. Sorry. The above is me, not Amy. She would never waste time like this ;)
    Andy

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  5. Thanks for taking the time to look over the resources I directed you to. For clarification purposes, I agree 100 % that God uses women to bring teaching, exhortation, encouragement, and prophecy. The Bible was full of women prophetess and I see nothing Scripturally wrong with the women having a position in the church such as a deaconess, etc., but from what I have studied in Scripture, the office of elder/pastor is reserved for men.

    The church does look different in other parts of the world as I have spent time in both Argentina and India. I would say that expositional preaching is one of the most important marks of a church, but that there should be a good balance allowing for expression through the Holy Spirit. As I posted a few weeks ago on facebook, "The Word and the Spirit are not in conflict, but rather work together to cause us to know God.'' -Adrian Warnock

    Andy, I know we don't know each other well, but I would really enjoy getting together with you next time I am in town for coffee, I think we would have a great time together.

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