[This first appeared at LifeChurchNC.com]
June 12, 2015
Last Friday evening, my wife received a text from friend who struck-up a conversation with someone at a downtown restaurant. The question came up, Would your church be accepting of me, my partner, who happens to be of the same sex, and our child?
The answer was a resounding, yes.
Regardless of how assuring or uncomfortable this answer may cause some of us to feel, let me explain why.
First, this is NOT an attempt to pick any unnecessary fights with anyone, discourage anyone from being part of Life Church in any way, nor to separate our church from any other. Second, this is NOT an issue that is meant to distract our church fromour mission, but instead, to strengthen our mission…
…to lead people to life in Jesus Christ.
Subjects such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and gender identity are undoubtedly among some of the most controversial issues facing our nation and the world today. These issues have led to numerous debates over the past several decades both inside and outside the Church ‘walls,’ which in-turn have led to further divisions within the church, a defensive posture from the church, and unfortunately a misunderstood view of the church and the Jesus it represents from those outside it’s fellowship. This has contributed to pushing those with differing views further away from God.
This is NOT to argue the rights and wrongs of either side.
Here’s the point. Too often, the church is known more for what it’s against than what it’s for. And as the church made-up of followers of Jesus, we must commit ourselves to doing everything possible to be ambassadors of a God who is for us, not against us.
Over the last several weeks, our staff and elders have noticed an increase in similar questions to the one mentioned above, coming from individuals in our community who simply want to know what our church’s stance or views are on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. We anticipate more questions like this in the coming days as the City of Salisbury hosts Salisbury Pride week and as our church continues to gain attention in the community in the weeks, months and years ahead.
In response to these questions and future questions on this issue, and in an effort to best equip our church-body, we have provided a Statement on Homosexuality(below), which includes additional resources and readings.
Please let us know if we can provide any answers to your questions or assist you in any way by emailing us or calling our church office – (704) 633-0880.
All are welcome here.
Grace & Peace –
|Statement on Homosexuality
- We believe that Jesus loves and is accepting of ALL people– right where we are – and His immeasurable grace and relentless pursuit of us through the Cross is the grounds on which we base this conviction and firmly stand.
- We believe the church, which is the visible, active, living, breathing representation of Jesus in the world today, is to extend this same, unconditional love and grace to all.
- We believe the church is a place/a gathering of people where everyoneTherefore, we are loving, open, hospitable and accepting of people from all walks of life, regardless of religious backgrounds, personal struggles (both private and public), sexual orientation or identification, addictive behaviors, etc. All are welcome to attend worship gatherings and to participate in all church events and activities, as long as there are no issues (criminal background, legal or pending) that would jeopardize the safety of any individual.
- We believe that the Gospel is for all,that all are sinful and in need of forgiveness which is found through faith in Jesus Christ, who came to redeem and to reconcile us to God.
- We specifically do not and will not condemn those who are openly or privately homosexual, including those who identify as a different gender(transgender). We refuse to preach against anyone who is loved by God and created in His image and likeness, and we refuse to condemn the world around us and the people He came to save. (John 3:16-17) We acknowledge that the church, other Christians, and those claiming to be Christians, have done great harm and caused great confusion in this area out of their own sinfulness, insecurities, and misinterpretation of the Scriptures, and have therefore misrepresented God on this issue among those both outside and inside the church.
- We want to be clear: We dobelieve that homosexuality is a sin, and like all other sins, including sins of sexual immorality, is the choice of the individual which goes against God’s creational design for our lives and His intent for our good. All sin is offensive to God, creates damage in us and the world around us, and creates separation from Him. We also believe all sin is forgivable under the grace of God found in Jesus. Furthermore, we do not believe that homosexuality is more sinful or less sinful than other sins, but like all sin, is equally offensive to God. (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:16-2:4, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20)
- We believe that the fall of man has led to the brokenness of all creation, which includes our personalities, genetics, and minds. Because of our sinful nature, sin can often be confused with things that feel natural, innate and instinctual. However, we believe just because we feel something is natural, innate and instinctual does not excuse nor justify our sin before a Holy God. In view of God’s mercy, we acknowledge our brokenness, confess our sinfulness, and rely on the power of God’s Spirit as we choose to avoid acts of (including temptations that lead to) sexual immorality, which includes homosexual behavior. (Genesis 3-4, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:16-26)
- We believe that sexuality is a gift from God, given for our enjoyment, and is intended to be shared between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage.Therefore, based on our Biblical beliefs, values and convictions, we do not acknowledge, support nor perform marriages between couples of the same sex.(Genesis 1:27-28, 2:21-25; Matthew 19:4-6)
- We believe that in love, it is our responsibility to truthfully point out, correct and admonish sin among fellow-followers of Jesus, with the goal of gently restoring one another in the process.At the same time, we do not believe it is our responsibility to judge or to specifically point out a sin (such as homosexuality) in the lives of those outside the church and the fellowship of Christ. (1 Corinthians 5:12)
- While we welcome the participation of all people in the life of the church, we do limit opportunities to serve in certain areas of the church based on our Biblical beliefs and values.This includes all areas of teaching, leading worship, serving as a Life-Groups leader, and leading a ministry team.