When deciding whether or not to address the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage on this blog, I first set out to discover what other well known pastors thought about the subject. I sought their wisdom and I asked myself “does it make sense to address this in such a public way?” I decided in order to eliminate the possibility of confusion later, I should.
The main reason is because regardless of what a person’s issues are, I love them. Jesus commands us to love one another and not define each other based upon our particular sins or issues. In other words, I have always believed that someone is not “a homosexual”, they are first and foremost a PERSON, and they ought to be treated as such. We are all people and we are all sinners. Because of that position, we have had several gay couples and singles attend Refuge Community Church, some for an extended period of time. They continued to attend because they knew they were loved. They felt accepted because they were accepted. But acceptance of a person doesn’t always mean acceptance of a lifestyle. And here comes the rub and what makes this all so painful and difficult to navigate.
There inevitably came a time when someone would ask to serve in a leadership role or for me to perform a same-sex marriage and I had to explain what the Scripture says about both. Without fail the person seeking was “put off” by my answers and eventually left our fellowship. Because I love them as people first and foremost, these were all extremely painful moments, not just for them but for myself as well because often they chose to write us off as unloving, which is so sad.
To be clear, I hold to a traditional view that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman. So while I affirm all PEOPLE, I cannot affirm every choice people make. People who live a homosexual lifestyle would argue that perhaps their orientation is not a choice. I’m not here to argue that. I firmly believe every action of an individual is a choice regardless of what they feel compelled to do. In other words, I may feel is ok to do such and such and I may really want to do it. I may even feel I MUST do it, but my feelings don’t control my actions, the Word of God does…or at least it should. This applies to all life choices, not just in matters of sexuality.
As a result, we at Refuge welcome all people as long as they are not willingly disruptive, known predators, or have adversarial agendas. But to be clear, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle. We do not knowingly have actively gay people serving in positions of leadership. I know how upsetting this must be to many who read it, but more than anything I find it vital to live by conviction and by the Word of God even when the choices are so tough.
So if you’re gay does this mean you are welcome at Refuge? Yes, you absolutely are. In fact, we hope you’ll come and be a part of the family. Whether or not we are able to endorse a gay lifestyle does not mean that in our eyes you are any less of a person. Please don’t make the mistake of believing that because we follow a certain biblical standard, it means we’re judging you as less of a person. Contrary to popular rhetoric, one does not mean the other. I don’t let my 14 year old drive a car, not because she is less of a person, but because she does not have a license. But I love her just the same regardless of whatever regulations she has to live by.
For me, it boils down to love.
Love is the most important aspect of living on this Earth together. We can disagree on social issues, but love must trump all of that regardless of the standards we follow. I am committed to loving as Jesus loved and accepting those society rejects just like Jesus did. But even Jesus said “go and sin no more”. He spoke these words in love, never condemnation. “For Christ came not into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.” Nor do I write this entry with condemnation. It’s not my job to condemn, only point you to the word of God and love you the best I can. So with that…