Yesterday my husband was disheartened to hear that one of our song leaders at our church of Christ is a confessed gay man who came out on social media and declared he has tried all kinds of treatment but just can't feel differently. We both wish the best for all people in seeking their own salvation but don't feel like it is setting a good example to have this male as a song leader when he says he can't change. Are we not being Christ like to feel this way?
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
People from the church should be talking to this man. I don't know if he is claiming that he finds men attractive, lusts to have sex with men, or is admitting that he has been having sex with men. The looseness of the wording can mean any of the above. But what he is telling the world is that he has inappropriate desires and despite what God says about changing, he doesn't want to change.
If he is having sex with guys or openly declaring his lust for homosexuality, then the church has no choice but to withdraw from him. "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). Does not mean a person gets to decide what is right for himself. Paul is stating that each person has to put personal effort into doing what God has commanded. Homosexuality is a sin and those who participate in it or advocate it cannot be a part of the kingdom or church. "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -- not even to eat with such a one" (I Corinthians 5:9-11). Therefore, this goes far beyond just not having him as a song leader. He is not allowed to be a member while he continues to sin.
If he is stating that he feels attraction to men, but that he isn't involved in homosexuality because he knows it is a sin, then people need to sit down with him and explain that temptation and feelings don't define who a person is or what he might do. It is only a popular myth being promoted by people who what to make homosexuality to appear normal. As Christians we should not be buying into the world's myths. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). Until the issue is resolved, I agree that he should not be used in leadership roles where he is representing the church.
Thank you, Jeffrey, for your reply to my question.
We feel the same way and wanted to ask someone outside of our congregation. As I read your website questions and answers, I find you to be anchored in God's word. I think one of our elders was approached about this man's situation, and I think the reply was something like not wanting to run him off or discourage him. It seems like more and more of this give and take attitude is invading most churches, and it is sad to see. Now we serve donuts, coffee and pigs in a blanket through the kitchen window on Sunday mornings. Then our children can't seem to make it through church without a bag full of things to play with, most of which are gaming devices. They don't seem to have a clue that this time is about our heavenly Father, not about their selfish little desires to be entertained. We have always felt that our congregation was one we could count on to stay on the straight and narrow, but now we wonder.
Again thank you.
The elder is making the same error that the Corinthians did. "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. ... Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?" (I Corinthians 5:1-2, 6). The elder has missed the point. It is his job to discourage a sinner from his sins.
It has never been a church's responsibility to provide food to its members.
I suspect that the church you are attending has strayed from the straight and narrow quite a while ago, but it isn't until recently that the straying has gotten so glaring that you can't excuse it. If you are interested in locating a sound church in your area, let me know what city you live nearby.