Getting the Whole Story Out on Christians and Homosexuality

November 22, 2008 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

For many Americans, all they’ve heard is that Christians are “anti-gay.” The recent passage of amendments in California, Florida and Arizona defining marriage between a man and a woman and the large support those measures drew from churches haven’t changed that perception, and perhaps made it worse.

But few, if any, especially in the media, have given the public the
“whole story” about churches and their persistent efforts to protect
what they believe is God’s definition of marriage.

“I’ve not seen any attempt [by the mass media] to understand or
communicate the real concern of Christians concerning gay marriage,”
said Bob Stith, who heads the Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force in the
Southern Baptist Convention – the largest Protestant denomination in
the country.

And Christians haven’t been much help either.

“Too many Christians have cooperated with this by emphasizing
more of what we’re against than what we’re for,” Stith commented,
concerning the gay marriage debate.

But much of that “whole story” includes love.

Former homosexual Melissa Fryrear educates thousands of Christians every year on how to respond to the issue of homosexuality in a “Christ-like” manner.

Director of the gender issues department at Focus on the Family,
which hosts Love Won Out conferences, she says she has been accused of
being anti-gay because of her beliefs.

“I’m not anti-gay because I’m a Christian and I’m a heterosexual evangelical
Christian,” said Fryrear, who became a Christian and came out of
homosexuality over 15 years ago. “I’m pro-biblical sexual ethic. I’m
pro-God’s created intent for sexuality” – that being marriage between a
man and a woman.

“That’s what I’m for, so anything that falls outside of that falls out of God’s intent,” she highlighted.

“It’s not what I’m against, it’s what I’m for,” she added, noting the nuance.

Still, it’s a tough sell for many gay rights supporters,
especially the thousands that marched last weekend in protest of the
passage of gay marriage bans in three states. Hundreds stood in front
of churches with protest signs.

According to UPI.com, some opponents of California’s marriage
amendment, or Proposition 8, went as far as releasing blacklists
(antigayblacklist.com) of those who made monetary contributions to
support Proposition 8. The list includes the names of individuals,
businesses, Christian ministries and churches and how much each
donated.

Proposition 8 opponents are now preparing to defend same-sex
marriage in court after California’s Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to
hear multiple legal challenges against the amendment. The high court
had ruled in May to legalize marriage for same-sex couples and an
estimated 18,000 gay and lesbian marriages were sanctioned before the
Nov. 4 vote.

Meanwhile, proponents of Proposition 8 are also readying their
arguments as the state high court agreed to allow them to intervene as
defendants in the case. Arguments will be weighed beginning next month.

But while the legal battle rages on, Christians have been given
the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and boldly share their
faith, some say.

“If people misunderstand Christianity or misunderstand God’s
truth, here is an opportunity for us to try to articulate those
correctly and to demonstrate those rightly,” said Fryrear of Focus on
the Family.

That means, defending God’s design for sexuality and doing so in a spirit of grace, humility and compassion, she explained.

“People think that Christians are intolerant or bigots or
hate-filled. This is an opportunity to say that’s absolutely not true,”
she added. “The very essence of God is love. In ways unbelievers
misunderstand Christianity and the messages of Christ, this is an
opportunity to actually live it out by showing love. That doesn’t mean
condoning behaviors outside God’s created intent for sexuality.”

Fryrear celebrated this year the 10th anniversary of Love Won
Out conferences and testified that many gay advocates who attended the
event were surprised not to have heard messages of hate but only of
love and grace.

The ministry’s goal is to model after Christ, and balance “grace and truth,” she said.

Also hoping to clear up misperceptions and get the “whole story”
across, Stith of the SBC said it is imperative for Christians to at
least seek to communicate that “it isn’t just that we believe gay
marriage is bad for Christians, the culture at large, etc. But it is
ultimately bad for homosexuals if we really believe God has something
different in mind for them. This is true for anyone who desires the
fullness of joy and peace that God wants them to have.”

“Whether someone is living with another person outside the
marriage covenant, is a serial adulterer, or engaging in premarital
sex, they cannot experience all that God wants them to have,” he
continued. “Our motive should not be simply to deny gay marriage but to
hold out the hope, the promise and the fullness that God wants all
people to know.”

Homosexuality has emerged as a major issue confronting churches
in the recent decade. And Stith has been part of a growing effort seen
among churches to inform, educate and encourage Christians to reach out
and show compassion in response to homosexuality while affirming
biblical truth.

Responding to claims that the church views homosexual behavior
as a bigger sin than anything else, Stith simply stated, “When the
culture continually argues for the acceptance of homosexual acts, the
church is called to respond to that … [and] to speak the truth of
Scripture.”

“If it seems that we devote an inordinate amount of time
addressing that it is because an inordinate amount of time is given to
promotion of homosexuality.”

Source: Christian Post

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