How the Church Should Respond to Homosexuality (and other Sins)

The church needs to lovingly welcome in attendance but not leadership anyone and everyone, because the same Bible that talks about sin is equally clear about love. The church I serve as pastor includes people who are practicing homosexuals, as well as others who are struggling with same-sex attraction to varying degrees. They sit in service next to single people cohabiting, people who watch porn, adulterers, and religious people who look down on all of them. The church was custom built by Jesus, and we are all works in progress. We do not expect people to get their sin in order before attending church any more than a hospital expects people to get healed before they show up.

Temptation and sin are quite different. The Bible is clear that Jesus was tempted and did not sin. Just because someone is tempted does not mean that person is in sin. Temptation is an opportunity for sin or for victory. We must not shame or condemn people who experience various kinds of temptation – including sexual temptations such as same-sex attraction or heterosexual fornication or even pornography – if they desire repentance. We must not endorse or encourage caving in to sinful desires either. Instead, we need to walk lovingly with people, telling them that part of the Spirit’s work in their lives is self-control, and that so long as they want to fight for holiness, we want to fight not agains them but for them. And as they gain victory, we ought to celebrate and encourage them all the more.

Christians who practice repentance should be the only ones allowed into church membership and leadership. This does not mean in any way that they are perfect, but that they agree with the Bible and that when they are in sin, they are willing to fight to overcome sin by God’s grace. We’re not asking for perfection but rather for a desire for progress in victory over sin.

The best defense is a good offense. The best thing the church can do for marriage is encourage and assist good marriages. This includes lots of teaching on sex and marriage, great premarital counseling, a supportive community for married couples, and efforts to nurture marriages that are enduring and endearing so that God’s people are getting divorced only on rare occasion because of extreme circumstances.

-Mark Driscoll, Call to Resurgence

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