One thing I love about my new gig – I’m the guy who receives all emails sent through the website to Grace Family Church. Because I have them forwarded to my cell phone, my response time is nearly immediate – just an attempt to provide an excellent High Touch First Impression.

But a few days ago I received the following email that caused me to hit my brakes on efficiency:

I am looking for a bible based church who does not necessarily affirm homosexuality, but also does not view it as a sin.
This church is close to my home and was wondering whether my partner and myself would be welcome in this congregation. Please respond via email. Thank you. What are this churches views on homosexuality?”

Oh sure, make no mistake about it – homosexuality is a sin. And my knee jerk reaction was to pepper this inquisitor with rapid fire Biblical bullets.

But I didn’t….I couldn’t.

How would Jesus respond?

How would you feel to worship next to a same sex couple? How would you feel to worship next to anyone struggling with sin? If that were the criteria, the worship service would be sparse….populated only by liars.

I know better than to respond to something so sensitive and highly flammable as this question, so I passed it on to a Pastor – ha.

But if I did respond, it would go something like this:

“Sin sucks. We all have our struggles. Our church believes that homosexuality is a sin, as do I. But do you know what? You are welcomed anytime. In fact, will you allow me to save you two seats for this weekends service? Your sin would place you in good company. Many of us in the crowd battle sin each day, and the only way I know to defeat it is to fall more and more in love with my Creator. Will you join me…”



7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on January 16, 2008 at 7:56 AM

    Great response Roy. His sin is no greater than mine nor any one elses. There is only one who has walked this earth without sin and we all know who He is. Love you. Mom

  2. Posted by Rob on January 16, 2008 at 12:46 PM

    Roy, you asked………….”How would you feel to worship next to a same sex couple?”

    I would feel rather uncomfortable, and here’s why…..and know………..

    ……………thinking out loud before I’ve had a chance to think it through……………………..

    I agree that sin is sin and everyone who attends church is a sinner. And all sinners are welcome. But what about when someone openly and blatantly is sinning, with NO intent on trying to stop that sin, and hoping that the church approves of a particular sin..!!??

    If an alcoholic wanted to come to church, would you encourage him to bring his bottle, or would you ask him to refrain from drinking, at least while he was attending the church service..??

    If a drug addict wanted to come to church, would you encourage them to smoke their weed, or would you ask them to refrain from lighting up, at least while they were attending the church service..??

    Would your response be the same if I asked you to save me two seats for this Sunday’s service…..one for me and one for my “girlfriend”..!!??

    I believe their is a huge difference between worshiping side by side with sinners who are diligently seeking the face of God and repenting of their sins VERSUS those who sin (knowingly or not) and hoping the church doesn’t view their actions as sin……….

  3. hey Roy –

    couldn’t pass this one up. I agree with you, we all sin and all sin is equally bad in God’s eyes. And if we are honest, we all have blatantly sinned at some point in our lives and looked for justification of that sin, whether from others or within. And you didn’t mention this aspect of it, but I don’t think its any of our jobs to try to determine who in our gatherings is sinning, who is blatantly sinning, who is looking for justification, etc. My job is to look within and allow Jesus to change me, and also to love others and accept them where they’re at. I guess I would say to the gay couple that when it comes right down to it, I’m not the judge of them and they’re not the judge of me. We’re all just sinners struggling and I truly believe with every ounce of my being that Jesus has the power to change us the more we spend time in his presence. What about the glutton who wears his or her sin on them everywhere they go? I don’t want to judge that person even though it is pretty obvious that they’ve been overeating, which is a sin just like overdrinking or having sex outside of marriage. So, for me, I guess I believe it is my responsibility to love the people God puts around me, and follow Jesus wherever that happens to take me. Hey, thanks for the thought-provoking post. -Tina

  4. Posted by David G on January 17, 2008 at 11:36 AM

    Thanks Roy for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I have been involved for sometime with men who struggle with moral integrity issues. The subject of homosexuality or being gay has been a topic of discussion on many occasions.
    The person who wrote in made the point that they do not expect our church to “affirm homosexuality” but also points out that they don’t want us to view it as a sin either. I have no doubt that this person does not view it as a sin. Whenever we sin often times we try to justify that it is not a sin or compromise our beliefs in such a way that we modify our Christian values as to see it not as a sin but as something else.
    The letter continues and asks the question “ would we be welcome in the congregation?” I too would not only welcome them to my church but to my home as well. People are so quick to stereotype a group of people like:

    Would my children be safe?
    What if they tried to get my children involved in the same sin?
    Can I trust them alone with my family?
    What if they showed up at church displaying their sinful behavior?
    I don’t want my kids or family exposed to this sin.
    I simply don’t want to be around those people.

    I of course was speaking about an alcoholic.
    Point made I hope.

    Their last comment in the letter was “what are the churches views on homosexuality?” Tough question in the sense of the way it was worded but let me suggest they already know the answer based on the fact they stated that they did not expect the church to affirm homosexuality. I love the fact they are seeking a bible-based church. Awesome! So my prayer would be that we welcome them and not judge them but show them the truth of the word of God. Here is the bottom line for me. We need to introduce to everyone the God we serve. Let them get to know our big God through us and by having a close relationship and understanding of God then anyone can change. However, if we decide that “those people” cannot change enough or as fast a we would like them to or even worse we tell them to go somewhere else and get better then come back, then I ask you to remember how far God has brought you and how much farther we all still need to go.

    God has shown me incredible grace and love, he has filled the deepest of voids in my life, and most important to me he has in my case done his best work through people he has placed in my life. Pastor Dan Dunn recently said: “God sends us the things we need sometimes in the packages we don’t want”.
    Just perhaps we can learn something from them as well.
    God Bless EVERYONE

  5. thank you friends for you thoughts and insight. each one of you brought a perspective worthy of thought, and that is why i love to blog.

    Mom – you taught me this principle early one. His love is unconditional. I love you…

    Tina – you are so right. Who are we to judge anyone’s sin – blatant or hid in shadows. Thank you for that reminder.

    David – you my friend continue to teach me what grace really means. Your point that anyone can change when they come face to face with God’s big love is a truth worth shouting from the mountain tops!

    Rob – I love your heart and passion. Since you asked, if the alcoholic would not come to church unless we let him bring his bottle, then I’d say BRING IT! If the stoner was high on drugs, I’d have him sit with me. I’d even provide a snack to calm his munchies. And if you asked me to save a seat for you and your “girlfriend”, I’d rather save them in church for you than at…say, the movies.

    Please do not misread this. I am not approving of any of the above behavior, nor should the church. It’s not up to the church to approve or disaprove of ones sin. That is between you and your Creator. The Bible is clear, who are we to judge? Once that line is drawn in the sand, no one was left to condemn the sinner – no one.

    This is just my take Rob. I love and respect yours. I have just seen personally how each approach affects the journey of a believer, and I choose grace.

  6. Posted by Rob on January 18, 2008 at 3:57 PM

    Thanks Roy for such Godly insight. I sometimes lose focus when I am “too” focused on other “right” things. ………….. Besides, I knew you wouldn’t let me down with this powerful response. Thanks again..!!

  7. I am a bit late with my comment..but I feel compelled to say something..I agree with most of the comments..condoning a sin is wrong..but rejecting the sinner is just as wrong..as we have all sinned..we need to be accepting of anyone who feels a need to be churched..if they enter in with the idea that they are accepted..they are more likely to stay..however, if they come and feel as though they are being scrutinized and judged..chances are they will never return..I like your view, Roy, and I think you are right..allow them acceptance..let God do the rest! We are far from being perfect…no casting stones!

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