Summary: Does the Bible teach that the only way it can help all people face tomorrow in the power of God’s love is by becoming a diverse and inclusive congregation – multiracial, multigenerational and multicultural – offering a warm, non-threatening environment to all?
The enemy has been very successful seducing churches to choose a different path to fulfill the Great Commission by becoming “Open and Affirming” rather than becoming places of supernatural transformation. Many churches see themselves as a place that, no matter where one is on their journey of faith, they are welcome.
Some within the church believe the only way it can help all people face tomorrow in the power of God’s love is by becoming a diverse and inclusive congregation – multiracial, multigenerational and multicultural – offering a warm, non-threatening environment to all
It is believed that by being “Open and Affirming,” they show a willingness to offer membership to everyone who could profit from belonging because they are willing to tackle the severe issues of the day with moral passion and genuine tolerance.
Churches that are not “Open and Affirming” have, in their view, adopted a sectarian mentality that insulates themselves from the culture and causes the burning of bridges that connect the church with the un-churched.
On the surface that seems reasonable. The Kingdom of God does include all of God’s children. Jesus came to seek out the down trodden, and He associated with many who were considered outcasts of society, such as a prostitute, a tax collector, and a leper. He accepted the individual for who they are, yet not condoning what they do.
No one should ever discriminate against anyone because of their age, beliefs, gender, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. However, the real meaning behind being “Open and Affirming” is becoming a church that accepts not only the individual but specifically their lifestyle and sexual behavior.
The Authority of Scripture
Based upon the authority of the Old and New Testaments it is evident that normal sexual behavior is that which functions according to its design. The Biblical record shows that sexual union was established exclusively within the context of male-female relationship and formalized in the ordinance of marriage. The natural order of Creation dictates procreation for the survival of every species
Genesis states that God created mankind as male and female, to be joined together as a reflection of God’s love and relationship with His bride, the Church universal. Because God’s character and nature is love, He would never create someone opposed to the design of His natural order and then say it is wrong to be like that.
Same-sex “marriage” is about overthrowing cultural norms that have for centuries set traditional marriage apart from other household forms on the basis of tradition, legal precedent, and social-science evidence.
Marriage has always been properly and appropriately discriminatory, as when it denies a man the right to marry his mother, daughter, sister, a child, someone already married or someone of the same gender.
It is erroneous to assert that homosexuals are being denied the right to enter the marriage union when the immovable foundations of natural law dictate that marriage is by definition a heterosexual institution - a union between one man and one woman - because men and women are the only categories of human beings that can bring forth the next generation.
Limiting marriage to one man and one woman cannot be construed to be discriminatory. It is a necessary condition for marriage. The church’s obligation to protect the sanctity of marriage is based upon creation, nature, human physiology, the authority of Scripture, the protection of family and children, and safeguarding the ability to build strong, sustainable societies based on good moral values.
In the New Testament, the oneness of male and female in marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Every Believer is to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness – period!
When historical Christian tradition is examined from the first century, and on through the ages, it is seen that the moral teaching tradition of the Christian church has declared any other behavior to be contrary to the will of God.
“Be Ye Transformed”
God gives anyone who humbly surrenders their life totally to Jesus Christ - the Creator and Lord of the Universe - the ability to be changed if they desire to be changed. The ultimate challenge for every Believer is to live a holy life by allowing the Holy Spirit to give them a new nature and transform them “into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:18 NIV).
If Christians openly welcome people to become a Disciple of the risen Lord and do not teach them that, through Jesus, they have the power and ability to be changed from the inside out, and that they do not have to remain just as they have always been, living according to the old fallen nature, they negate the work of the Cross and fall far short of being “Open and Affirming” and fulfilling God’s good, acceptable and perfect will (See Rom 12:2).