Bible Answer

I think my Pastor may be homosexual

I suspect that one of the pastors in my church is homosexual. He has homosexual mannerisms by the way he talks and acts, which has caused me to suspect he is a homosexual.  I don't want to remain in a church that allows homosexual ministers.  I have considered confronting him, but I'm not sure what to do.

In answering your question, we must address two separate issues. First, we must address misconceptions concerning the nature of homosexuality itself. In our culture homosexuality has become associated with a collection of behaviors, lifestyle choices and mannerisms, yet we must separate innocent mannerisms from homosexuality's true offense. The Bible's objection to homosexuality is focused on inappropriate sexual behaviors (and associated lustful thoughts).

According to Scripture, the only sexual conduct acceptable to God is between a man and woman in the context of a marriage. Therefore, sexual behavior (or lustful thoughts) between two men or two women is immoral and sinful. If your worship leader is engaging in such behavior, he is sinning according to Scripture.

On the other hand, homosexual mannerisms are not sinful by themselves. Vocal patterns, hand gestures, and other non-sexual behaviors commonly associated with homosexuality (or even maintaining a single lifestyle, sharing a home with a male roommate in a plutonic relationship, etc.) are not sinful by themselves. Men who lack a desire for female companionship or who prefer male companionship do not sin unless they act upon those desires in a sinful way, whether by entertaining sexual lusts or engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct.

Furthermore, a godly heterosexual man may posses mannerisms and speech patterns associated with homosexuality without engaging in homosexual lust or sexual contact. Stereotypical mannerisms tell us nothing about a man's sexual life, and they say even less about the nature of his heart. The mere presence of homosexual "indicators" do not constitute proof of sinful sexual behavior. 

Consequently, you may suspect your pastor is engaged in sinful practices, but unless you have specific knowledge, you have no basis to judge him much less to act against him. This is precisely why Scripture calls for "two witnesses" against an accused (see Deut 17:6; Matt 18:16). The Biblical requirement for two persons who agree in making an accusation is intended to reduce the possibility of false accusations and personal slander, in accordance with 1Tim 5:13.

Secondly, the BIble gives us clear direction for how to respond should we come to know of sin within the church body.  If you discover that a pastor is sinning, you should not leave the church; you should follow Matthew 18:15-17:

Matt. 18:15 “If your brother sins , go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Matt. 18:16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
Matt. 18:17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

We can assure you that every member of your pastoral staff is engaged in some sin, because pastors are people and will sin just as we all do. This fact, however, isn't cause for separating from a church body. If the presence of sin in your pastor's life were justification for leaving a church, no one could ever participate in any church! Instead, Jesus taught we have an obligation to correct sin in the body, so even if a pastor is found engaged in homosexual sin, we have a Biblical obligation to help correct the behavior, not run from it.

According to Jesus in Matthew 18, the Biblical response when we discover sin in the life of a fellow believer (whether a pastor or anyone else) is to go to the person privately with your knowledge of their sin. If he listens to you, then you have won your brother, meaning you have brought him out of sin and helped him live a more pleasing life to the Lord. If he refuses to address your concerns, then you seek others in the church who share your viewpoint. If you are unable to find allies, then accept this as a sign from the Lord and cease pursuing the matter. On the other hand, if you find others in the Body who agree with your concerns, then go with them to confront the individual again and seek reconciliation.

If the person repents showing fruit of repentance, he should be welcomed into fellowship. On the other hand, if the person remains unrepentant and unwilling to address the issue, the church has an obligation to set that person outside fellowship, as Jesus commanded. To be clear, the person is not dismissed from fellowship because they engaged in sin. We don't send brothers or sisters away simply because they sin (otherwise we could have no fellowship at all!); rather, they are dismissed from fellowship because they were unrepentant and unwilling to accept the correction of the church body, as Jesus taught in Matthew 18:17.

In the case of an elder, pastor, teacher or other leader accused of serious immorailty, the church must also consider their fitness to serve in their leadership role. Even if the person repents of their sin after being confronted by the church, the church would be wise to remove them from any leadership or teaching role, since the Biblical character tests for leaders are stricter. Neverthless, they could maintain fellowship in the body if they accept the correction. 

Finally, if your church leadership is made aware of a church member or leader who is engaging in unrepentant sin and yet the leadership is unwilling to confront the individual and apply the discipline required in Matthew 18, then you might reconsider your association with that fellowship. There is no Biblical requirement that you depart the fellowship over such an incident, but undoubtedly you will find it difficult to accept the leadership of a sinning pastor, and therefore true fellowship is likely to be difficult.

As a final note, we broadened our answer to your question to address all types of sin and all church members regardless of role because the nature of a person's sin and their role in the congregation have no bearing on our response to sin, according to Matthew 18. We should respond in the same, consistent manner anytime we learn of sin in the body of Christ.