A Christian and a LGBT person walk into a bar: An Overview of the Discussion Had

I am always interested in following an argument (or heated discussion), and teasing out the differences and similarities. It is always helpful to first seek understanding, then application (my rule of thumb for evangelism and life in general: listen, learn, lead). In terms of the LGBT world we as Christians have often done the third without taking time to do the first two. And even when we attempt the first two, it is often as an apologetic in it which we misstate the contending positions (not often for conscious reasons). That it why I was thrilled to see this wonderful (though simplified) presentation of the diversity of views concerning the connection of the LGBT to the Church (as presented by the good people at Home Brewed Christianity).

(ed. note- just as the author has stated, the following is simply an exercise in presenting 4 views on their own terms, made without representation or assertion of rights or wrongs. No endorsement is made for any of the 4)

To start off on the right foot (or left if you go that way), Wikipedia, that scourge of professors everywhere has two interesting overviews of the issue: here is a listing of various denominations and their stated policies toward the LGBT community, and  here is their overview of the issue.

4 Views on the Church’s Response to the LGBT community:

1) LGBT Seen as the Rejection of God’s Design

2) LGBT Welcomed but not Affirmed

3) LGBT Welcomed and Accommodated

4) LGBT Welcomed and Celebrated

For more information:

For a look at Ben Witherington’s defense of the traditional (conservative) position, here, and to see how it works in practice, see Exodus International‘s website.

For a look at how #2 works in practice, see Andrew Marin’s Love Is an Orientation website.

For a look at how #3 works in practice, see Tony Campolo’s Gay Christian website.

For a look at how #4 works in practice, see Nadia Boltz-Weber’s House for All Sinners and Saints or the work of Justin Lee (here is an interview and here is his blog).

For the record I added two here because most of us in the conservative subculture of Evangelicalism do not know anyone who could be called a gay Christian, and it has been helpful for me to hear Justin’s story and see how a heterosexual couple like the Webers could do church for all people. Once again I am not justifing anything they say or do, simply pointing that direction and saying listen. That said, I included examples of people who affirm the creeds, believe in the authority of scripture in our lives, and long to see God’s kingdom come into being here and now. We can disagree with one another without throwing around words like ‘heretic.’ I love these brothers and sisters in Christ (though I disagree at points with all of them).  Along these lines you might look at the example of two people who many contemporary Evangelicals have loved and honored; yet have over time made announcements of their orientations. Here is an interview CT did with CCM star Jennifer Knapp, and here is an interview with Gospel music star Ray Boltz.

To see the pericope of scripture on this topic, HBC recommended these sites (and I enjoyed having the scriptures at my fingertips):

GLBT Persons Index

Walter Wink’s Overview

Last you might peruse Andrew Sullivan’s essay on Obama and his resent change of heart, posted here.

So take and see that the Lord is good. Read for yourself. Decide for yourself. Lead the discussion.


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