Unless you have had your head in the sand for past few decades, you know that our culture is engaged in a great debate about sexual identity and ethics. This has caused tremendous issues for the church as it seeks to stand on biblical truth but at the same time engaging the culture for the sake of the gospel. Sadly, sometimes, Christians and churches can go to extremes in their stance on the sexual discussion in our culture, specifically as it relates to homosexuality. The first extreme is a hardline stance towards homosexuality. People holding this stance tend to be “bible bashers” who wield the Bible as a sword of destruction on the homosexual agenda. In the process many people are hurt by the church and hold a negative view towards Christians. The second extreme is a softer stance towards homosexuality. People holding this stance are “open and affirming” who oftentimes disregard the biblical stance on sexual ethics.
Many in the church simply hope that the issue can be resolved with legislation and having the right politicians in office. Some are “dooms-dayers” who think, like Chicken Little, that the sky is falling and the end is near. But the fact is this issue is not going away, nor is legislation and politics the answer. So, this leaves many Christians wondering “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” and “How can we hold a biblical stance on this issue while engaging the culture with the truth of the gospel?” This is exactly what Adam Barr and Ron Citlau discuss in their new book Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth published by Bethany House.
Both of these pastors have real credibility on this issue, especially Ron, who struggled with homosexuality before he came to Christ. His story is a wonderful testimony to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save anyone who is far from God. In the book they unapologetically stand on the biblical ethic of sexuality inside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman for life. They also do an excellent job of diagnosing the heart of the issue, which is sin, but also describe the remedy which is Jesus. “The hope for the sexual sinner is not a psychological breakthrough or great cognitive behavioral therapy, or even Christian practices. The great hope for the sexual sinner, what will begin to set things right, is to catch a glimpse of Jesus.” Jesus is the answer for all of our sinful struggles whether they be sexual or otherwise.
The truth is “all have sinned and fallen short of the God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Yet, Jesus met us at our lowest point and showed us his grace as a free gift. How often we forget that truth! It is so easy to judge people in their sin and forget the ugliness of our own sin that Jesus paid for. Jesus is the only remedy for the human condition! I truly believe that the way the culture will view the church in the future will be greatly influenced by the posture that the church has towards the homosexual issue. If the church has a “holier than thou” attitude that it has had in the past, the culture will continue to ignore the church and we will have no influence. However, if the church holds a posture of humility as sinners saved by grace, we can earn a hearing with our culture for the sake of the gospel.
I highly recommend Compassion Without Compromise for any pastor, small group leader, and disciple maker that is serious about making a dent in our culture for the sake of the gospel! In the days ahead every believer will be asked to pick a stance on this issue. Don’t bury your head in the sand! Get prepared, this book is a great resource that will point you in the right direction.
More resources for further study can be downloaded at http://www.compassionwithoutcompromise.com/index.html