Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Are Church Teachings on Homosexuality Driving Millennials Away from Faith?

The recent controversy within the evangelical world over World Vision has taken many different paths and I have intentional chosen not to jump on the bandwagon of let me see how many blog hits I can get because I am blogging on the hot topic issue. The conservative evangelical voice has been represented by people like Al Mohler and Russell Moore, whereas the more liberal voice has been represented by the likes of Rachel Held Evans.

My purpose in this post is not to address the controversy within itself because that battle has been fought and there are many wounds on both sides as a result. My purpose is to look at another component though, a component that involves Millennials, which includes me. The question has been posed recently, "Are church teachings on homosexuality driving Millennials away from faith?"

Evans has concluded in her recent CNN article that the teachings of the church are in fact driving away a generation, the Millennials. But I really think that the wrong question is being asked here because we all know that we can go out and find a group of people, including a church, that fits all of our preferences and opinions. The better question, the purer question would be, "are the teachings of Jesus found in Scripture on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?"

You see the two questions seem similar but are very different in nature and notice that I do not attack any of the points brought up by Evans because once again she is asking the wrong question. If it is the teaching on homosexuality driving them away from faith and their church then I believe most millennials will just go find a different church, one led by a guy like Rob Bell, who matches their personal preference over biblical precedent.

But if it is the teachings from the Bible, God's Word that is driving millennials away then there is a very different issue. And please hear it loud and clear from this millennial, GO! If it the teachings of the one that represents love then please leave the church with my blessing as you leave.

So my question for the evangelical millennials is this: Is it worth it?

Is your personal preference on gay marriage worth ignoring the biblical precedent?

Is it worth leaving the church because the God of love who sent his son to die in your place also teaches that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is wrong and sinful?

Is it worth the "victory" of our fellow brothers and sisters within the LGBT to lie to them about what the Bible says in a loving and gracious way?

Is it worth the "victory" of being for gay marriage only to realize that you are ignoring the sense inside of you saying, "this is wrong!"

I, for one, love the people inside the LGBT community, I sincerely do. And I believe that people like Evans sincerely do as well and I am glad to hear that she is done arguing (I doubt it) and wants to move on to loving and serving people. But I do want all of those in the LGBT community and all my fellow evangelical millennials to know what the historical document of the Bible actually teaches.

It seems that evangelicalism has pushed Evans back to following Jesus, which I am all for, so if the result of this whole thing has been to push evangelicals back to following Jesus then I for one, think that it may have been worth it.

4 comments:

  1. If people leave the church because they don't like what the Bible teaches, then that's a good thing because they aren't Christians. It's far better to divide from non-Christians over objective truth than to feign unity on the sandy ground of the subjective capitulation of truth.

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  2. i don't think it's our duty to fight for our values and take them into the face of the "enemy" by engaging the media or opponents of our view. ours is simply to be agents of love and fight the spiritual battle that would pervert a beautiful act such as intimacy and make it into a hurtful battle that leaves death on both sides. my personal relationships with homosexuals who would try to engage me on this front find me deflecting their intentions and instead reflecting love back at them.

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  3. Hi, I hope you find this response loving and thought provoking. My intention is neither to argue nor to start a fight. Instead, I would like to express what I think God has put on my heart as an LGBT Christian, and give you perspective that you may not otherwise attain as a straight Christian.
    Though I agree that you are asking a different question from the question Rachel Held Evans is asking, I disagree with your conclusions and don’t feel like the more important question is being addressed. The root of where we differ lies in the fact that you see your interpretation of the scriptures that mention homosexuality as THE interpretation, the only correct interpretation, the true interpretation. As someone who used to share those beliefs until being forced by personal life circumstances to wrestle with the concept of another interpretation, I must admit that it comes across as a bit arrogant to claim that the interpretation you agree with is THE ONLY CORRECT interpretation, especially without acknowledging the complexity of the issue. I think the conclusions you’re drawing here are based on a modified version of the question you poased. They are based on the question, “Is the conservative church’s interpretations of the scriptures on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?”
    However, I think there is a more important question to be asked, “Is the conservative/majority church’s teaching on homosexuality creating the idea within LGBT people who don’t know the Lord, that they are not welcome in God’s kingdom? That they are not allowed to have a relationship with God? That they are not welcome in church?” Homosexuality is not a gospel issue. It is not a deal breaker for people to know God, and yet, the church (regardless of intention) is making LGBT people feel this way. Instead of sending the message that God loves you and welcomes you into his kingdom exactly as you are, the church makes LGBT people feel as if they have to change before they can even know God or be in relationship with Him. I agree that keeping accountability with sin in each other’s lives is the loving thing to do, but wasn’t that designed only for within the context of CHRISTIAN brothers and sisters living in community with each other? Why does the church think they are loving LGBT people who don’t know God by making sure they know the church believes their homosexuality is sinful? Whether you believe homosexuality is sinful or not isn’t even relevant at this point in interaction with someone who doesn’t know God, because our job is not to call out sin in unbelievers, but to be ambassadors for the love of Christ and let His spirit work within people to convict them of sin. Yes, in order to recognize our need for God people have to grasp the idea that we are all sinners in need of grace, but pointing to this one aspect of LGBT people’s lives and calling it sin is NOT being an ambassador of Christ’s love. Doing this however IS creating the idea within LGBT people that don’t know the Lord that they are not welcome in God’s kingdom, not allowed to have a relationship with God, and are not welcome in church. Calling out their specific “sins” before they know God implies that they have to change these specific things in order to know Him. Most LGBT people feel that their sexuality and gender identity is not something they chose, nor something they can change. Thus, they don’t even consider the idea that they could know God, or much less, the idea that He WANTS to know them and already loves them just as they are.

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  4. Continued...
    Now, finding a place for LGBT Christians like me, who believe that same sex relationships can be good and bring glory to God if they follow the same standards as heterosexual relationships, is a separate issue and one that will certainly be more divisive. However, all Christians should be able to unify around the desire for all people to know God, which necessitates people knowing that they are loved by God and welcomed in his Kingdom, just as they are.
    Note: I’m not neglecting the idea of discipleship and sanctification by the spirit, I’m just saying that using those things to make people feel like they aren’t eligible to know God is not OK.

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