This post is to fulfill my promise to commenter Sheba who wrote:
“To gcmwatch: What do you suggest we do, as Christians, who are exposed to homosexuals in the pulpit/choirs/music departments? You stated we should act, not just use ‘escapist’ tactics, i.e. praying?
I attend a large church in Detroit and have not witnessed any outright homosexual acts, just people’s murmurings and talk. Although, one time my son, who was about 12-13 yrs. old at the time, told me that a minister had approached him, asking who his mother was, asked him his name, gave my son some money, and then walked away. This minister is a well-known gospel singer/pastor who used to attend this church and who now pastors a church of his own. I’m just not sure what we are supposed to do. I didn’t do anyting after my son told me, because it wasn’t until after this man left and became very well-known that my son disclosed this information to me. My son insists that no one else approached him or made advances toward him, but after my son became of age, he refused to go to this church anymore.”
Sheba, I believe, is representative of many true saints in the church who just dont know what to do about what they are seeing and hearing. Some of them have been personally damaged by those in the church who are breaking all of God’s protective rules to accomodate homosexuals in the church. Some are sincerely intimidated by the gay church crowd. But, there are some things you can do. The Lord’s house is supposed to be a “house of prayer” but it has been made into a den of thieves. What do thieves do? And what should we do about the gaggle of sexual thieves in the church who are stealing the integrity of the church with each new tactic they infect the church with?
Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 21:13 (referencing Jeremiah 7:11) that when we become aware of such a travesty in the house of God, every believer is qualified to take action against it. The language indicates that God’s house had become a haven for corrupt men which is the antithesis of its divine purpose. The connotation is that the thieves and evildoers are able to relax while plying their wickedness in the house of God. Saints, this should never be tolerated! We are all (not just the pastor or leaders) responsible for maintaining the sanctity (peace and safety) of God’s house for those seeking redemption and healing from sin. Even if leadership is complicit in the offensive behavior, we are still required to take some type of resistant measure. It may mean we will suffer persecution or rejection, but our loyalty must first be to God, not man.
With that being said, I was struck by a post I read at Truth War Central about a pastor in Lakeland, FL who initiated specific actions against individuals from the heretical “emergent church movement” who had invaded his church. I will use some of his actions and add a few to it to answer Sheba’s question and perhaps others who want to know what they can do.
1. Do what the Bible said to do the way the Bible said do it. Go to the offending person and let them know their offense, then give them opportunity to correct it. If they refuse, follow the rest of the instructions with humility, considering yourself, lest you be likewise tempted (Matthew 18:15-17; Gal 6:1)
2. Write specific Constitutional clauses and bylaws procedures dealing with homosexuality in your local church. This of course should be based on biblical guidelines. Your “statement of faith” can be adapted and posted on your website and in weekly church bulletins. Feel free to use ours.
3. Refuse to support financially and physically (your attendance) any person, church or religious group which does not make it clear that it stands with the biblical definition and parameters of human sexuality. This should be especially applied to the gospel music industry.
4. Ask your pastor or bishop to consider having a seasoned speaker who is able to address homosexuality in the biblical context come to the church and do so. Consider our Strong Church, Healthy Church Initiative. You will need to make sure your persistence is in place and you have information ready to give to your leader.
5. Knowledge empowers you. Educate yourself so that when the issue comes up in your church, you can speak to it with confidence and boldness. A good place to start educating yourself is here at gcmwatch or at witnessfortheworld.org (Hosea 4:6)
6. Speak out when you hear people in the church calling homosexuals nasty names. Point out that it is not redemptive and only creates hostility not an opportunity for salvation. Note: calling homosexuality an “abomination” or “sinful” is not being nasty.
7. If you are in a church with a tolerance for homosexuality in its leadership and music ministries (the main two areas of offense), get out. There is simply no reason to continue lending support to an ichabod institution. Take your cue from Genesis 19. Flee the city.
8. Donate some money to a ministry doing the work of helping sexually broken to recover. Help promote that ministry by sharing with ssa strugglers in your church that help and hope is available. Again, I would reccomend a proven and mature ministry such as Witness Ministries.
9. Start a blog and write about what you are seeing and offer solutions and/or inform and warn others. We need to return to exposing the works of darkness (Eph 5:11).
10. If your local church is part of a larger denomination, write a passionate letter to the chain of leadership. Tell them what you are experiencing, how it conflicts with the scripture and several suggestions on how it can be resolved. Put them on a reasonable time frame to respond. If they do not, begin making phone calls and asking for an appointement to speak to someone in authority. Document your actions and their responses or non-responses. If they refuse to respond, send the information to us an we will join with you in calling on them to respond.
11. If you become aware of any criminal sexual activity with a child by an adult male, do not hesistate to report it first to the police. Make sure you have sufficient evidence. Do not allow church leaders to talk you out of taking action so they can protect the perpetrator and their public image. A child’s soul is worth saving even if the offender is a church leader. You can be sure that predators in the church are emboldened by silence and inaction. If they did something towards your child, he or she is not the first, and most likely not the last.
12. Talk with your child and educate him. Equip him to deal with this and not be afraid. We need more young people to speak out and not go with the flow of sexual permissiveness in the church.
Finally, let me clarify my remarks regarding prayer. Prayer itself is not an escapist tactic, but to use prayer in lieu of a clear need for action is escapist (ref Joshua 7:1-16). James reminded us that faith without works is dead, being alone. Praying and then refusing to stand up and act against the spiritual thievery going on in God’s house is a dead work. I say this all the time, prayer doesnt change things, prayer changes people and God uses people to change things.
If anyone has any additional practical points for Sheba and others in her predicament, please feel free to add them. Also please consider the context of her remarks before you answer.