Bible Answer

Homosexuality in the church?

Our church has an openly homosexual member on the staff. This concerns and bothers me, but am I being judgmental?

In answer to your question, we need not side-step the clear teaching of Scripture: homosexual behavior is a form of sexual sin and is not compatible with a position of leadership in any congregation. Numerous Scriptures teach this fundamental truth, but as an example, Paul lists homosexual behavior among many serious perversions and sins when he writes to Timothy:

1Tim. 1:8  But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,
1Tim. 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers
1Tim. 1:10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,
1Tim. 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

Paul list homosexual sin as contrary to sound teaching, and Paul includes homosexual behavior among other serious sins to reflect how seriously God views this form of rebellion against His natural order. Any church congregation that condones homosexuality - much less elevates its practitioners into positions of leadership - is itself in rebellion to God's word and to the Lord Himself.

On the other hand, we must differentiate between those who experience homosexual temptations from those who choose to give into their temptations and engage in homosexual behaviors. A Christian man or woman may experience homosexual temptations (i.e., feel a lustful attraction for someone of the same sex), but if they reject those temptations, then they have not sinned. This is the expectation the Bible places on all of us. If their homosexual desires persist, then they should choose to live a single life rather than giving into their desires and thereby live a godly life.

Christians who live with heterosexual lust face a similar challenge. They must resist their desires to engage in inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex (i.e., fornication, adultery). The Bible teaches that the only form of sexual intimacy approved by God is in the context of a marriage between a man and woman. Christians fighting homosexual or inappropriate heterosexual desires deserve encouragement to continue in resisting sin.

On the other hand, when we encounter someone claiming the faith and trying to redefine their homosexual lusts as "normal" so that they can indulge in their sin without conviction, they should be corrected and disciplined within the Body of Christ for their own good. We are commanded by Christ to confront sin within the Body of Christ (in a loving way), and challenge each other to resist sin in our lives. This is not a form of "judging" but a Biblically appropriate response to sin.

Please read a longer treatment of this issue in our article Can a Believer be Homosexual?