Several weeks ago Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. preached part of a sermon series entitled “Christian.” To put it mildly, it generated quite a bit of controversy within the evangelical community. My colleague at The Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov, described the chain of events in a recent article on the CP website (Pastor Andy Stanley Responds to Questions Over Homosexuality Stance).
The sermon in question was delivered on April 15, titled “When Gracie Met Truthy.” While preaching on the tension between grace and truth (“the truth is ‘you’re a sinner,’ and the grace is ‘I don’t condemn you'”), Stanley told the story of a divorced couple who formerly attended North Point together. They separated after the woman’s husband began a same-sex relationship with another man, who was still married to a woman.
The man and his partner wanted to serve as volunteers at the church, but Stanley explained that the two men were committing adultery since one of them did not finalize his divorce yet and thus could not serve as volunteers.
The “messy” story, as Stanley described it, ends with the gay couple, the first man’s ex-wife and their child, as well as her new boyfriend and his child from another relationship, all coming together to worship together at a big service at North Point Church. The pastor refers to them as an example of a modern day family. Christians, he said, are called not only to hold on to the truth, but also to grace which includes forgiveness and love.
Pastors and bloggers with a variety of views and opinions found it necessary to weigh-in, which prompted the editors at The Christian Post to suggest a series about how the church should treat a gay couple. I wrote article in a three-part series titled, How Should the Church Love a Gay Couple.
In reality, it is about the larger issue of sexual sin. To me that includes (but is not limited to) adultery, homosexuality and basically any sex outside of marriage. There are two points that I find interesting as we engage in this discussion. First, that some people, including many who say they are Christians, don’t think sex with someone of the same sex is not a sin. I read the first chapter of Romans several times and to me the issue of sexual sin is more than clear. Next, most of us are guilty of elevating some sins above or below others.
The example I use often is when a couple of guys are standing around the water cooler at work, it’s disingenuous for one to make fun of the homosexual guy walking down the hall and then turn to his single friend and congratulate him for “making it” with the new married secretary down the hall (homosexuality, adultery & fornication).
I hope this series challenges people to examine the issue of all sexual sin more closely, specifically what scripture says about the issue. I have several homosexual friends and I like and respect them all as individuals, but I disagree with their lifestyle. But that will never impact the way I treat or react to them – ever.
I encourage you to read the articles above and if you have questions, discuss them with your pastor or someone you know is a Bible-believing Christian. Remember, in John:8 Jesus forgave the woman who was caught in adultery and throw at this feet by the Pharisees when they tried to “trick” him into saying something wrong. But after forgiving her, do you recall what Jesus said to her?
“Go, and sin no more.”