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Homosexuality in the Church

How Should The Church Respond?

By Bruce W. Robida



The recent news stories about the Georgia Baptist Conventions' decision to sever ties with Oakhurst Baptist Church and also Virginia-Highland Baptist Church in Atlanta has prompted me to write this article.  I read a story in the Faith and Values section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Saturday, November 13th, 1999 that portrayed Oakhurst Baptist Church as some kind of victim.  In fact, according to the article, the reverend Chris Copeland, who is described as "an openly homosexual associate pastor", is quoted as saying, "The church [Oakhurst] has a long history of taking stands on issues of race and women and the disabled.  My ordination is part of that.  This is about the congregation.  It's not about me."  It seems that the reverend Copeland expects people to recognize that bias based on a persons' sexual orientation should be on the same level as bias against race, women, and the disabled.  What he fails to understand, is that while none of us can choose our race, gender, or handicap he has made a choice to live a lifestyle that is detestable to God  (LEV 18:22).  If he is truly a man of God, then he must believe God's Word is true.  He cannot deny that homosexuality is a sin which can be repented of.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1CO 6:9-11

Notice where it is written, "...And that is what some of you were...", implying that you are no longer. Those who were washed, who were sanctified, who were justified in the name of Jesus, are those who were willing to admit their sin, confess it, and turn away from it. 

The Bible says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." 1JN 1:8-10

The problem is that they refuse to acknowledge homosexuality as being sinful as if God's Word was false. They claim to have not sinned.  Isn't this exactly what Oakhurst Baptist Church has done?  Don't they have an obligation to those that they shepherd to speak the truth in love rather than allow them to believe a lie?  They mocked the very Word of God when they ordained an openly homosexual pastor. 

This is not an issue of bias.  The Georgia Baptist Convention is doing what is correct according the same scriptures that Oakhurst Baptist Church uses. 

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. MT 18:15-17

I realize that homosexuals have not sinned against me personally, however, I do believe they are misleading other brothers by condoning their sin. 

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 1CO 5:9-11

The Georgia Baptist Convention was correct in severing ties with churches such as Oakhurst Baptist.  We as Christians have a moral, Biblical, obligation to accept all sinners.  We are all sinners.  But the Word of God is clear.  It is right to point out the sin of a brother (MT 18:15).  Ultimately, if he refuses correction, we are to disassociate ourselves from that brother.  If we have no positive affect on such a person, God will judge him according to His Word. 

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders... 1CO 6:9

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