Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear recently described three ways that American churches “go wrong” when talking about the issue of homosexuality.
In a Wednesday entry on his website, Greear put forth three ways that he believed Christians “go wrong when discussing homosexuality.”
First, Christians go wrong when they think that “God doesn’t care about our sexuality.”
“He does care. The biblical depiction of sexuality hangs on much more than these passages, but the relevant passages directly addressing homosexuality are Genesis 19:1–11, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26–27, 1 Timothy 1:10, and 1 Corinthians 6:9b–10,” explained Greear.
“Possessing a desire innately just shows us that we have corrupt hearts and we need to be born again. The gospel message is not ‘Let the gay become straight’ but ‘Let the dead—and that’s all of us—become alive.’”
The next point the SBC president made was that Christians go wrong when they think that “same-sex behavior is a fundamentally different type of sin.”
“In Romans 1, Paul lists same-sex behavior as one corruption among many. We may not think of deceit, boasting, greed, or a rebellious attitude toward parents as equally depraved as same-sex behavior. But if you look at Paul’s list, they are,” continued Greear.
“We only grasp the gospel when we understand, as Paul did, that we are the worst sinner we know (1 Timothy 1:15), and that if Jesus came to die for us, there is no one that he would not die for.”
Finally, Greear wrote that Christians go wrong when they think that it is “hard for LGBT people to get to heaven,” adding that “Homosexuality does not send you to hell.”
“I know that because being heterosexual doesn’t send you to heaven. What sends you to hell is refusing to allow Jesus to be the Lord and center of your life, regardless of how that manifests,” he stated.
“As the church, this truth should define the way we interact with gay and lesbian people as we communicate to them: God loves you. We don’t believe your sexuality defines you. We love you, and we want to talk with you with a spirit of grace.”
Greear’s comments come as many churches in the United States grapple with how to reach out to LGBT individuals, especially if the congregation in question maintains traditional views on sexual ethics and gender identity.
In May, Bruce Miller, author and senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in McKinney, Texas, discussed his experiences of witnessing to LGBT individuals during a webcast event.
Miller acknowledged that it can be “a struggle,” adding that churches have historically had a hard time with this, referencing the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s as an example.
“The church really wasn’t there to go care for people. Many churches have not been welcoming, far from affirming. Gay people have come to churches and not been treated so well. We’ve got to own that,” he explained.
“In some ways, gay people themselves are like a lost people group in the way that the church has treated them.”
While stating belief in traditional marriage and sexual ethics, Miller believed that churches should “go overboard” in communicating welcome to homosexuals.
“What’s really hard to convince someone of is that we really love you, that we really want you to come and hear about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he continued.
“We’ve got to bend over backward to show the unconditional love of Christ and the amazing love and grace of the Father to hurting people.”