Should I leave an LBGTQ affirming Church? How should I respond?

(Sieglinde) #1

Should a Church be LBGTQ affirming? Many churches are embracing this including mine. It dont agree but I have remained objective for two years. I don’t want to hurt anyone.
I am reading Sam Allberry’s book “Is God anti-gay.” I admire this man and I am learning a great deal from him.
I have gay friends whom I dearly love and wouldn’t think of treating them any different from my heterosexual friends.
My sister was a lesbian. When she became a Christian, God transformed her but this doesn’t happen to everyone. Some, like Sam Allberry have remained single.
Should I leave my Church? I have prepared a respectful letter to my Pastor and wife whom I dearly love but have not sent it yet. I am so sick about it. Again, I don’t want to hurt anyone.
Any advise?

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(SeanO) #2

@sig May the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you navigate this challenging situation :slight_smile: I cannot tell you what to do, but I will share a story from my own life. I attended a Church for about 6 months that I really liked - it met in the downtown area and was actively engaged in social justice issues. The worship was passionate and the people were very kind. I even invited some friends and they liked it as well.

Then I attended the membership class to join and found out that the lead Pastor had chosen to not speak clearly on issues regarding sexual ethics. It was very heartbreaking. I liked the Pastor, the place, the people… I tried to speak with the Pastor, but he was not open even to discussing this particular issue.

I chose to leave because I believe that this particular Pastor had surrendered to a cultural definition of identity rooted in sexual expression and had rejected the Biblical call to self-control. True religion requires both seeking justice for others and walking in holiness in our own lives. We cannot sacrifice either.

I expect there were and are true Christians in this Church, but for me personally it is a terrible injustice to teach people that it is okay to remain a slave to their sexual passions. Christ has called us to freedom. Shall we again submit to the yoke of slavery or surrender to cultural definitions of identity? God forbid that we should do so! Christ has set us free from slavery to sin. I could not remain somewhere that a leader was endorsing sin the lives of his followers - for that would be to participate in / endorse such false teaching that is encouraging people to remain captive to the world.

I believe when we compromise holy living we compromise the Gospel - because the Gospel is fundamentally about becoming a new creature - dying to the old self and living to Christ.

James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I Cor 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Romans 6:1-4 - What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

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(Sieglinde) #3

Thank you so much. To be honest, I have not been back for 3 weeks and I have withdrawn my tithe.
My sister (the one who identified as lesbian) was visiting 3 weeks ago when the pastor did an interview with a man identifying as gay. He was married to a women for I believe 30 yrs until she passed away. After that he decided to engage in a homosexual relationship because he didn’t want to be alone.
My sister was visibly shaken. She said his testimony was damaging. She said “ can you imagine, when I was at the cusp of trusting God to renew me what this type of message would do to me?”
I was so sick because we (the small congregation) were asked to come up and surround the gentleman while my pastor re-ordained him.
All I could think of was how it would hurt my gay friends if I didn’t go up. And how my sister might judge me if I did. I am still heartbroken about it. What disturbs me even more was my compromise. I chose to kneel on the podium instead. I prayed against it while “appearing” to somewhat support it. I am crying about it as I type this…
I just can’t go back. They are starting to change words in songs using She for God instead of He. And changing the chorus of The battle hymn of the Republic which was written for the purpose of protest against slavery.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. These people ar so loving and giving. I don’t want to misrepresent.
My life was not a polished one by any means. But I hold my conservative values dear and I dread the search for a new church home. I am in flux:(

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(Mr Gabriel Nervais) #4

Dear Sig.
I am proud of you for the approach that you have taken. Doing the right thing is not easy and can have consequences too: Such as leaving you very lonely.
You are the only one living in your skin and knows what possible “chain effects” you letter will create. But don’t be disheartened.
We all have made mistakes (myself included) but handing in this letter will not be a mistake.
I should warn you though!
And you may already know that love for God and His Word often requires very tough choices. Choices that will leave you void (perhaps for a season) of the family and friendship community that once gave meaning to your life. Just think of Abraham in Genesis 12: (have you ever wondered what his family and friends thought of his choice? But the Bible doesn’t tell us).
God said He was going to take care of the rest,
He will take care of the rest for you too.
But you should NEVER stop loving your your “old” friends.

Keep Strong

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(Sieglinde) #5

God bless you, thank you!

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(SeanO) #6

@sig I can hear your heart brother. It is always heartbreaking to see anyone choose to endorse or participate in acts that distance them from the Christ or lead them deeper into slavery to sin. And it can be difficult to find a Church home, but don’t despair! The Lord is faithful! God led my family to the right place and continues to do so in each season and I am confident that as you step out in faith and trust Him He will do the same.

A few thoughts I hope would be helpful:

  • loving the people at this Church does not mean pleasing them or not disappointing them. Sometimes the truth hurts, but the lies of the enemy lead to death, slavery to sin and decay. So the only loving thing to do is tell the truth! Proverbs 27:6 - Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful
  • we are strangers in this world, so we should not expect the journey to be easy - we do not belong - we are sojourners passing through and while that is not easy, our Lord is with us every step of the way!
  • there is a difference between ‘conservative’ values and Biblical values. I disagree with some aspects of both liberal and conservative political agendas. But the Scriptures are true throughout all generations!

I Peter 2:11-13 - Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. 12 Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.

The words “I love you” mean something when the person who utters them knows exactly what you’re like and still cares for you. Love does not exist in the absence of judgment; true love exists when someone has passed the correct moral judgment on who you are and is under no illusions as to what you’re like, but still loves you.

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(Armando Bordales) #7

Is thread thread on Tithing here in RZIMConnect? That’s a hot topic as well. :slight_smile:

(Sieglinde) #8

Hey Armando. Here is a link that touches a little on giving. I did read more about tithing on another topic but I don’t remember which one it was. Hope this helps:)

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(C Rhodes) #9

@sig. I thought as I read your question and the many wonderful responses you received, how fortunate for you that the Lord did not move you. I think sometimes I know the spirit that invaded Lot’s wife. I remember although Lot and his family knew the evil of their community. The angels had to take them by the hand and lead them away from the destruction to come. Someone once told me, “if you stay in a place long enough it becomes home.” So as wrong as the community had become, it was still home.

I think some of my experiences reflect that truth. I sat in the church of my childhood, my heart breaking from what I saw taking place. But I was not rebellious to my leader, nor disruptive in my church. On a Wednesday evening, the service abruptly came to an orchestrated stop. In that void, our leader announced a break from our main congregation. Then he announced a split of the present congregation into the pastor-ship of his associate ministers. I guess the minister taking over the building we sat in did not want me there. So I along with one other person was asked to leave. Immediately! The lead Pastor was someone I had known all my life. He was also my Mother’s brother. I was about 22 years of age.

I know your grief. But my grief did not hit until I was driving back home. I can remember that pain today. Tears flooding my face, pushing out in wailing. Soon, I could no longer see the road. I pulled over and howled, rocked, and wept; for how long I do not remember. When I could, I drove home with the words playing over and over in my head. "They shut you out of the church you were born into naturally and spiritually. That Sunday was the first time in my life I had not automatically assembled in the House of GOD.

Long story short, that became one the most pivotal, freeing, and places of maturity for me. I begin to learn, where GOD is will always be home. The greatest gift of grace surfaced years later. Whenever I would ‘run-into’ any of those members my heart would leap for joy and I would rush and embrace them. Often their reaction would be guarded. It was not until I would ponder why that I remembered these people had been complicit in my ejection. But the Lord never allowed me to collect bitterness. These people were family, and they remain family having joined my Facebook account as friends.

My Uncle would in the years to come, write me a letter asking for forgiveness. When dementia began to take his mind, I received a call and for nearly an hour he wept and repeatedly asked for forgiveness.

One lesson the Lord keeps emphasizing is my missteps in what transpired. It would be years later when a similar experience took place this time much closer to ‘home’, I went to the Lord because this time I wrestle with the temptation towards bitterness and unforgiveness. I kid you not! The Lord’s quiet response was, “this is your fault.” That’s a breath snatcher let me tell you. The Lord told me, that much of my disappointment was due to reliance upon another human. He told me that the confidence I had placed in others actually belonged with Him. Now, I wanted vengeance upon others because they were acting more human than righteous. You act human I was reminded and my grace still abides.

That became a catalyst for growth and forgiveness. Relationships are being restored because the Lord is teaching me; wherever I take Him is home. Whomever I love with His love is family. It is beyond freeing to know that I am only responsible for my heart. That I can leave the correction and love up to the Lord. That I need not sit in complicity because of fear of losing heart or home. This lesson is reminiscent of a song we were taught to sing before embarking upon travels. “Take the Lord Along With You Every Where You Go!” (This song is so old and universally known I could not locate its author only the performances. Sorry.)

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(ThomasHeld) #10

Hi @sig,

Yes, you’re in a heartbreaking season - but joy comes in the morning. Maybe not tomorrow morning, but it will surely come.

Please don’t torment yourself over this. Ask yourself if the torment you’re feeling is from God. No? God does not torment His children. Cast those thoughts down in Jesus’ name.

“I just can’t go back…” That is wisdom.

As @Onlyby1grace said in his excellent response:

Just remember, it’s not a, ‘me vs them,’ situation. Don’t look at it in that way.

If I we’re in your situation, I would talk with my sister and tell her exactly what you said here, and then say something like this, “Come on, Sis, let’s find a new church.” It’s not easy but there are many good churches out there. God bless.

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(ThomasHeld) #11

@cer7

I didn’t see your reply before I posted. Wow, God bless you. Thanks so much for your thoughtful, wise, and heartfelt response!

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(Kenny) #12

Hi @sig, thanks for sharing. To be honest, I struggled with this in the past as well, about how do we reconcile a loving God who says “all can come” vs the biblical notion that LGBTQ is wrong and we should be against it.

I don’t think I can share better than Ravi Zacharias in this video, who properly lays out every aspect of this matter, and also informs us about how we should deal with it:

I do hope it blesses you as it has opened my eyes on what kind of stand should I be taking.

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<< Churches Avoiding LGBTQ Topic >>

Although I have not been in a church that affirms LGBTQ, I think it is common for churches to either be “for” or “neutral” rather than being against.

Many churches are neutral it is because they do not understand how to come to terms with loving the sinner but still being against the sin.

This is actually likened to a loved one getting cancer - we hate the cancer, but we love the person still, it can actually exist together.

Those are are “for", will be claiming that love supersedes all, which isn’t wrong as well.

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<< My Journey >>

It is definitely heartbreaking because based on your sharings, the church has definitely been through with you through many hills and valleys in your life.

To share a little about my personal journey, I was in a church which had many flaws in it.

Some of the flaws include “shining stage lights on the congregation, just so that they can get a good video”; or “being so clear cut that teenagers going through puberty are not allowed to have relationships”; just to name a few.

A friend actually came to ask me, “You see so many flaws in the church, why do you still stay on?”

My reply was that, “With so many flaws, the church would’ve crumbled long ago. The only reason why it is standing is definitely because of Christ. If the pillar of cloud hasn’t moved, I won’t be moving.”

However, that is just for my own personal journey, and you will know the circumstances of your journey / church best.

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<< Your Circumstances >>

I would just like to encourage you that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer.

For the spiritual aspect, you are saved, regardless of whether you choose to stay on or not in that church.

I shared previously in another thread that, your value doesn’t change regardless of whatever happens to you.

A $1,000,000 will retain its value even if it is trampled on, worn out, or even spit on, what more when your value is the blood of Jesus Christ.

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As for the social aspect, on one hand it might be painful to make a decision (especially with the memories, and friendships forged).

On the other hand, you will also feel a mental pressure, because you will be operating in cognitive dissonance (where what you want to do in your mind, is difference from what your hands are doing).

It will gradually eat into you, because the mind seeks to lessen and hopefully remove this conflict that is going on.

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I would suggest that you pray about it, and if you are unsure, stay until you are sure.

Gideon asked for signs from God 3 times, and if God is the same yesterday, today and forever, you can definitely ask your Father in heaven for directions as well.

I believe God is big enough that He can remove your worries and fears, and also give you the desire to pick the right choice.

.
I know it isn’t much, but I wanted to let you know not to go through this alone. :slight_smile:

Surround yourself with wise counsel (people who have your well being at heart), and seek out advice and confirmation from the people around (after all, we have the same Holy Spirit).

What people share should resonate with what is in your heart (where the Holy Spirit dwells).

Stay strong!

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(Sieglinde) #13

You are so kind, thank you. Thank you for the video, I have watched this before. Gosh, like many I am sure, I have watched just about all of Ravi’s videos. Listened to all his podcast over and over and seen him in Atlanta. He is an amazing force (along with his team) for Christ. I wish I would have known about him when I was younger.
I have done things in my life even as a Christian that haunt me to this day. But even while I was in the season, I would have never wanted anyone to lie to me and tell me it was ok. I knew better. I know when I am in clear violation of Gods word. That is why I have been struggling with the way my church is going for some time.
There is a backstory as to why I started going to this church but that would be too personal. It was good for me for a time and this church has not always been this way. I have remained objective because I wanted to understand the struggle of a homosexual as much as possible. My heart goes out, it really does. And the homosexuals that attend this church are some of the most kind, giving and committed people I have ever met. I truly love them.
I am not “above” staying in a church I don’t agree with. But like you mentioned, it has been eating me up inside. The pastor is a kind, compassionate, gifted speaker and his wife my friend. But I have withdrawn for some time now and missing a lot of Sundays. I’m not involved. I’m not “plugged in.” I give to RZIM and Wellspring and I have my prayer/study time every morning. I cherish that time but I know it’s not healthy (and unbiblical) to not have a church home.
Gosh, I’m sorry for the dissertation lol. It’s difficult to say what is needed and keep it short. So I will say this and close…
On a societial level, I believe it is unhealthy to accept and promote same sex relations or heterosexuals relations outside of marriage for that matter. On a biblical level, I believe it is a sin. On a personal level, I don’t judge or at least try not to. I don’t offer my opinion anymore unless I am asked. I just want to love in action. I just want to do as much good to others as possible. Because this world can be exhausting…

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(Kenny) #14

Thanks for opening up to share about it. I’m not gonna deny that it is definitely not easy.

Just to share a few nuggets which has helped me through the years, that I thought of after reading your post:

<< We Should Look For Extra Food >>

There was a period of time when I was in church and I felt that my spirit wasn’t fed enough. It felt like every session was a chore and that I already know what was being preached - I just couldn’t receive any more. However, my spirit was still hungry.

When a friend heard about this, he “scolded” me and said, “With the kind of technology we have today, we have no excuse to claim that we are not feeding enough from our own churches. Everyone’s spiritual walk is different, some people need more feeding than others. It is our “fault” if we don’t make use of technology to feed on other available resources around the world (e.g. from different speakers like Louie Giglio / Steven Furtick).”

It sort of struck a chord in me because it was so true. When we are hungry physically, we look for food (or call for a delivery), why aren’t I doing the same when my spirit is hungry for the Word as well? :slight_smile:

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<< Different People, Different Calling >>

It takes a tremendous amount of love for anyone to love someone else. After all, that gap in our hearts can only be filled by the Perfect Man. When we see the flaws in our friends, or even our partners, what more the people who are struggling in their own sins. But it takes an additional portion of love to desire to minister to those who are struggling in sin.

The church is intended to be built around different people, not people who are the same. Therefore, I’d encourage you not to put too much pressure on yourself that you need to understand everyone and love everyone. If you feel that you are called in this area, and have the desire to help this group of people, go ahead. But it should never feel like an obligation to look after God’s children, because no Father would want their child to be obligated to look after his / her siblings-in-Christ. It may also be a calling for someone else.

I always joked about this with my friends and said, “I’m not Jesus, but I do want to gradually grow to be like Him.”

Give yourself time and room to grow too. :slight_smile:

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<< Receive More to Give More >>

Lastly, just to leave you with this:

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

If you are exhausted, and feeling worn out, or “dry”, it might be because you have been giving more than you are receiving. Not to say that your giving is wrong, but you need to take some time to rest and refresh by topping up your spiritual tank too. Spend some time in the Word; or listen to sermons; or worship (depending on how you spend your quiet time with the Lord).

That is how every server first starts, by receiving first. They keep receiving until one day, they just overflow and have this thought, “I have received so much, how can I give back?”

Only by maintaining this cycle of receiving, then giving what you have received, that you will be able to sustain yourself through difficult times.

Stay blessed @sig!

(Kathleen) #15

Hi, @Kyrie! You post brings up a couple of questions for me, which I would like to pose to you as well as to the group. :slight_smile:

Just a couple of quick clarifications on this sentence…

  1. Is there a contradiction between God and the Bible on this regard? Or is it more that we exist in a ‘tension’ between the church being an open place for ‘the nations’ to come yet a place where ethical considerations are taken?
  2. Are LGBTQ people or issues? Are people who have homosexual attraction (LG) or sexual attraction to both (B) or gender dysphoria (T) or just confused (Q) wrong in their very being? With that phrase, it sounds like you would reject the lived reality of a gay or transgender person. Because…

What if the person who has the cancer loves the cancer?? Do we dismiss that love and tell them that they can’t love it? Do we try to force them into a ‘correct’ framework? I can’t see that going over all that well…

@sig my heart goes out to you; it is such a difficult space to be in! Would love to hear yours and others’ thoughts…

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(Sieglinde) #16

Thank you!
Did I read your post correctly? Are asking for feedback on these questions from all of us or just Kyrie.
I am paranoid about pulling another “Ask Alex.” lol
So embarrassing, but you were so diplomatic about it.

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(Kathleen) #17

Yes @sig, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them if you wish to weigh in! I had just addressed Kyrie directly, as he’d written what made me ask the questions. :slight_smile: Our public discussion forums are fair game for input. :wink:

(Sieglinde) #18

Ok good. I have pondered them most of the day. And I welcome any correction needed.
I see no contradiction in reconciling Gods love and the boundaries set in the beginning of Genesis concerning the creation of male and female. The santicity of marriage is clear. It is between a man and a woman.
But that does not mean the LBGTQ (who are real people with real struggles) are not made in Gods image. They are. We are all beings. And our being is not defined by our sexuality. That is only a small part of who we are. It is not the whole of us.
Sam Allberry explains it best and in more detail in a podcast I listened to a short time ago.
Ask Away with Vince and Joe Vitale
LBGT, the Bible, and Sexual identity.

I wanted to add a personal testimony that may or may not help anyone who would be reading this thread. It’s not about LBGTQ but it may be relevant. You can delete it if you feel it is not.
I was born with a birthmark that covered the majority of my face. I struggled with this for many years. I did not feel I was the same. I did not feel like I belonged. I was made fun of, stared at and rejected. I begged God to please remove this from my face. I allowed it to bring me to despair and attempted suicide at age 17.

Was I made in Gods image? Of course. Did God make a mistake with me? No. I don’t know why I was made this way. But I know God’s grace is sufficient. And He carried me through. He gave me a second chance. But He did not “remove” my birthmark. And I am ok with that…

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(Kenny) #19

Hi @Kmac, definitely, haha. Thanks for the questions.

I think you brought up a good perspective on this area of people and condition.

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Personally I don’t think there is a tension, because we are called to love sinners, just as Christ has done the same. However, society has tried to package love for the person, together with endorsement for the action that they choose to make. These are 2 separate matters entirely. Parents can call the cops on their child if he / she has done something illegal, but that doesn’t mean they love the child any lesser. This is also why we can love the person who carries the cancer, but it doesn’t mean we have to love the cancer. All these are in relation to the perspective of us towards that individual.

In relation to that person who chooses to love cancer for e.g., it doesn’t mean that we have to subscribe to the same framework and love cancer as well. On the other hand, the reverse must be true too, since we are in an autonomous society, we must also accept it that they choose to hold on to certain views or framework that they view is “correct”. Just as they do not impose their worldview on us, we cannot do the same to them as well. However, the consequences of making a choice to love cancer is regardless of whichever worldview one chooses to uphold. This is more from a perspective of that individual towards other matters.

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Like what Ravi Zacharias shared in the video, our main approach should be to love, and to leave the judgement of what is right or wrong to God. We are still humans and can make erroneous judgement, but God sees the heart and only He can make the final judgement on right or wrong. Our role is just to love.

Just my personal thoughts on this matter. :slight_smile:

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(Mark Gilliam) #20

Attending and worshiping at a church that promotes sin would conflict with Christ’s statement in John 4:24 where He says “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” It is one thing to have differences in beliefs about the Bible. I have spiritual brothers and sisters who are Arminians. I have spiritual brothers and sisters who are Calvinists. Some believe in baptism by immersion. Some believe in sprinkling. There is liberty in many aspects in Christendom. Calling sin righteous is not exercising Christian freedom. Romans chapter 1: 18-32 speaks directly to this. Romans 1:32 says “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Many years ago I left a church whose leadership denied the inerrancy and infallibility of the bible. Now they have a homosexual leading the music ministry. What will be the next step in falling away? I do pray for their revival. Christ says in Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Consider Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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