After publishing a guest post by Jessica Kantrowitz, which proposed one way that Christians might handle the prospect of baking a cake for a gay wedding, readers challenged Think Christian to clarify our position on homosexuality. We mean to answer that here.
TC is ultimately a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual erotic behavior, naming the latter as "incompatible with obedience to the will of God as revealed in Scripture." Furthermore, the denominational position statement, which can be read here, goes on to state that "the church should do everything in its power to help persons with homosexual orientation and give them support toward healing and wholeness."
A theological position is a foundation for ministry, but it is not ministry on its own.
Over the years, much of our writing and reposting on the topic of homosexuality has been exploring what this theological statement looks like in practice, something that has become even more pressing given the dramatic shifts in the culture at large. For decades, the theology was easy to maintain because North American culture shared a similar view, and so our gay church members largely remained in the closet or quietly slipped away. But with the wider shifts in culture - both in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity - our gay nieces are bringing their girlfriends to church for Christmas, and our transgender sons are coming home for Thanksgiving dinner in a dress. Will we allow their presence in our congregations the same as we would a cohabiting couple or a family collapsing in divorce? Can we welcome and encourage at the same time we disciple and challenge? This is a real and earnest struggle for our - and all - denominations.
A theological position is a foundation for ministry, but it is not ministry on its own. And ministry is messy. We’ve endeavored to add to the conversation rather than just reiterate arguments. Can we hold on to our convictions even as we engage with those who disagree? Can we build relationships and earn the right to speak into the lives of those we wish would make other choices, or do we condemn them quickly and lose all influence? As a political minority, do we organize to resist, or walk the extra mile to engage, or both? Can we hold a conversation as genuine fellow Christ followers on how to love broken people, gay and otherwise, into a relationship with Jesus as Lord? It seems to me these questions will dominate what it means to be the church in the coming decades, and it’s our prayer that Think Christian will continue to be a part of that conversation.