Homosexuality and the Gospel

Homosexuality and the GospelUntil recently, Christian ministry Exodus International spent decades both performing and heralding the benefits of reparative therapy, a controversial process that helps a homosexual person to change their sexual orientation to a heterosexual one via therapy. Earlier this year, Exodus International’s director Alan Chambers announced that the ministry was closing its doors and issued an apology to the gay community. An apology means a person feels they have done something wrong. If he felt this ministry was wrong, one could ask: “Is there a right way to minister to the homosexual community or a need to minister at all?” All people need the gospel. This being true, what is a good way to minister to this community or any other for that matter?

Know what you believe and why
The Apostle Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1Corinthians 15: 3-4). Why did Christ do this? He did it to pay off our sin debt so we could be forgiven. This act was not just to give us Heaven, but also to restore and repair humanity and the world from the curse of sin.

To accept the gospel and all its benefits means a person has to believe two key truths. Number one is that Christ is the promised Messiah. The other is that he is a sinner in need of redemption. To be able to say that one is a sinner means that “sin” is a definable term. In our post-modern world, it is not politically correct to define anything as sin. This would mean there are some absolutes when it comes to right or wrong. When a person does this, they are immediately branded as intolerant or a bigot. However, the Bible clearly defines sin (1John 3:4).
You can reject the Bible as God’s Word or not agree with any of its absolute truths, but an honest reader has to admit it defines right and wrong. There is no point of a Savior or a gospel if there is no such thing as sin.

Be a person of grace
What does it mean to be a person of grace? Humility is one major characteristic; they know they are simply a sinner saved by grace. They realize all of humanity is in the same boat. We have all missed the mark and fallen short of God’s standard of perfect holiness. We do not all sin in the same way or in the same amounts. The real problem is not the specific sins of a person but the sin nature. The sin nature means we live our lives independent of God. This is selfishness, the essence of sin.

People don’t miss Heaven and go to Hell because of specific sins they commit. Rather this happens because they refuse to accept God’s remedy for our sin nature – Christ. This means we cannot categorize or rank sins. Some sins are not better or worse than others. Sin is sin with God. It takes as much of God’s grace to forgive one kind of sinner as it does another. So, in ministering the gospel to people, a person doesn’t need to focus on their specific sins, rather focus on their sinful nature and need of a redeemer.

Accept people where they are, this is what Jesus did. He loved people in spite if their sin (Romans 5:8). He was able to love people while hating the sin that destroys them. Jesus met people where they were, accepted them, then ministered truth to them. Jesus forgave the woman who was brought to him for committing adultery and then told her to go and sin no more.

Respect free will — God does
A person may feel homosexuality is not a sin or that many other things aren’t sin — adultery, drunkenness, abortion or a number of things that could be added to this list. Some of these issues are very controversial in today’s culture. One of the controversial things is reparative therapy, which was defined previously. Some feel this is wrong. However, there is another basic counseling ethic called the autonomy of the client — a client has the right of self-determination. In ministering to others don’t try to force your beliefs on them; even God doesn’t do this. He gives us the right to accept or reject him.

Show genuine love and concern
You’ve heard the expression, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Much of the problem between Christian and homosexual communities is that the average homosexual thinks Christians hate them. A true follower of Christ cannot hate any group of people regardless of how much they disagree with their lifestyle. Treat all people with respect and dignity, because each was created in the image of God. Share your message, then trust the results to God.

Dr. John Hawkins, along with his son John Jr., runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach. He can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.

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One Response to “Homosexuality and the Gospel”

  1. alex15suarez

    Mr. Hawkins, thank you for wanting to help model a gospel-centered approach of witnessing. However, I would have one contention with you in arguments. You state that we should respect other people’s free wills…because God does. Or in your own words:

    “Respect free will — God does

    In ministering to others don’t try to force your beliefs on them; even God doesn’t do this. He gives us the right to accept or reject him.”

    My questions for you are:

    1) What do you mean by “respect” when you say to “respect” free will or that God “respects” people’s free will?

    According to the context, it would seem that you mean “to not be forceful” or “to give one the ‘room’ to make up their own minds/decisions”.

    If that is what you intend by “respect”, then question #2 is:

    2a) Does God really “respect” our free will? In other words, does God really not involve Himself in MAKING you – a believer – willing to want Him?

    Or put another way we can ask:

    2b) What is the nature of our free will? Is it absolutely free from any outside influence?

    Unfortunately, in your own words right now you state that God gives us the “right” to accept or reject Him. In other words, God gives an entitlement to people to either choose Him or not – as though man is neutral and needs to vote on a ballot.

    I grant that maybe, this was a poor word choice in that maybe it didn’t communicate what you intended to. I leave that for you to clarify.

    One last note:

    In the end you state:

    “Share your message, then trust the results to God.”

    If you are encouraging me to trust God with the results, it is because God does “determine” the results in one way or another, right? But if man is absolutely free in that God has no say or influence on His will, then man is free to do as ultimately pleases – God CANNOT “force” him or “make” him do anything. This sort of God, we cannot trust with our prayers in this life, or even for our unsaved friends. For how can we trust God for the results, if it is man who determines them ULTIMATELY. The fact, that you stated “trust the results to God” really does lead me to believe that you believe in God’s sovereignty, even though it (seemingly) contradicted with what you stated earlier.

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