If Only Evangelicals Were LGBT Friendly

clash between LGBT and evangelicals

Some Evangelicals think that if they can just get the Evangelical church to become more inclusive all will be well. They want the Evangelical church to throw open its doors to the LGBT community and admit them as full members of the church. (after they are saved and baptized, of course) Some Evangelicals, like Al Mohler, think the Evangelical church is at a crossroads. Giving in to the “gay agenda” means forsaking all that makes one an Evangelical. Mohler writes:

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.

The world is pressing this question upon us, but so are a number of voices from within the larger evangelical circle — voices that are calling for a radical revision of the church’s understanding of the Bible, sexual morality, and the meaning of marriage. We are living in the midst of a massive revolution in morality, and sexual morality is at the center of this revolution. But the question of same-sex relationships and sexuality is at the very center of the debate over sexual morality, and our answer to this question will both determine or reveal what we understand about everything the Bible reveals and everything the church teaches — even the gospel itself.

Lost in the discussion is the fact that many of those who are clamoring for the Evangelical church to be LGBT friendly still believe in the sexual prohibitions found in the Bible. They are still opposed to sex before marriage, promiscuity, and the like. What they want is for LGBT Christians to be brought under the Evangelical umbrella so they can be subjected to same Puritanical moral code as heterosexuals. While same-sex marriage will be OK, premarital sex will not.

Also lost in the discussion is the fact that there are MANY Evangelical beliefs that people like me find quite offensive. Things like:

  • The exclusivity of Christianity, declaring all other belief systems as heretical and false
  • Male domination of the church
  • Subjugation of women, treating them as inferior, weaker vessels
  • Complementarianism
  • Proselytizing non-Evangelicals
  • Aggressively evangelizing children
  • Puritanical sexual rules and their obsession with human sexuality
  • Rejection of evolution
  • Christian nationalism and the prominence of right-wing politics
  • Most of money spent by Evangelical churches going towards staff, benefits, buildings, and programs geared towards helping fat sheep get fatter
  • Indifference to the plight of the poor and the sick
  • Hell

If an Evangelical church changes all the things I mentioned above, are they still Evangelical? Of course not. They are liberal/progressive Christians, not Evangelicals. I think that the move towards making the Evangelical church LGBT friendly will ultimately result in a schism like the one in the Southern Baptist Convention between fundamentalists and liberals.  Those clamoring for a LGBT friendly church are tomorrow’s liberals and progressives.

So why do these people hang on to their Evangelical identity? Why not give the Evangelical church a double middle finger and join up with liberal/progressive churches that are inclusive? Liberal/progressive churches desperately need an infusion of new blood. Why not leave Evangelicalism and let it die the slow, horrible death it deserves? Perhaps it is time for a new Christianity, an inclusive Christianity built from the ground up. (one that cuts the Bible in half, getting rid of the patently offensive OT)

Only those who continue to try to force the Evangelical church to be LGBT friendly can answer these questions. Changing all of these things would certainly make the world a better and safer place to live, but it would not draw people like me back into the fold. Why? The reason is quite simple. The B-I-B-L-E.

I am not a Christian because I reject the foundational beliefs of Christianity. If the Evangelical church became LGBT friendly over night, it wouldn’t mean a thing to me. This would not change the fact that I do not believe the Christian narrative, that Jesus is God, that all humans are sinners in need of salvation, that Jesus came to earth, worked miracles, died on the cross  for our sin, resurrected from the dead three days later, and then ascended back to heaven. I consider this narrative to be a myth, one that I am not willing to believe. (please see my post, Why I Stopped Believing)

So, I remain an interested spectator. I smirk and laugh when Al Mohler speaks of the Evangelical church being at a crossroads. The Evangelical church has been at so many crossroads that they are lost. If Evangelicals beat back the LBQT threat, does anyone think all will be well? Of course not. There will always be ANOTHER crossroads, another crisis over morality and faith. How would people like Al Mohler make a living if there wasn’t? Evangelicalism needs turmoil and crisis to survive. It needs an imminent returning Jesus, complete with judgment and wrath, to keep the people in the pew motivated.

I wish my crusading, inclusive Evangelical friends well. I wonder if they stop to consider that even if they make Evangelicalism a temple of inclusivism, they are still stuck with the one teaching in the Bible that can’t be erased; that those who are not Christians will go to hell when they die. And if they say there is not a hell, then aren’t they really universalists rather than Evangelicals? And if they are universalists, why bother? Why bother with wrangling, fussing, and fighting over doctrine? It seems like an awful lot of angst and effort if there is no divine payoff in the end.

Comments (14)

  1. lynn

    yes, they need crisis after crisis, you’re so right. but re gays-just as the catholic church is against birth control, and most catholics ignore that part, maybe most christians will except gays more and ignore official teaching of their churches

    Reply
  2. sgl

    yep, fear and hatred sells. but they’ve already lost the divorce issue from a couple decades ago. and they’re losing the pre-marital sex issue altho they pretend they aren’t, they just secretly have an abortion, or get the kids married off in a shotgun wedding. unfortunately, those issues hit everyone in their flock, so they can’t push too hard or they’ll lose the flock. however, along comes this wonderful group of outsiders to hate, lgbt folks, where 90% of their flock won’t have any chance of falling into this “sin”, so it’s quite safe to pick on them as much as you want, and it keeps the flock motivated and tithing. from a business development standpoint, what’s not to like!

    fortunately, the youth of the country is mostly seeing thru the bs, and it’s creating a really negative view of christianity in general. so they may win the battle in their church, but lose the war in the wider culture.

    Reply
  3. Erin

    Frankly, I don’t care what any faction of Christianity believes, as long as they don’t try to pass laws for the rest of us based on their archaic ideas that we don’t ALL subscribe to. Wishful thinking, I know.

    Reply
  4. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    Fundamentalist Evangelicals will resist any progress towards equality of rights of gay and lesbian persons and will reject outright any membership by these people in churches and will fight to the end to prevent same-sex marriage from occurring in the broader society. Homophobia and myths about same-sex people abound in such churches.

    It is futile for the minority of Evangelicals who support the rights of such people to continue their struggle for social justice within Evangelical churches, whether such churches are theologically Fundamentalist or whether they are theologically and socially Fundamentalist.

    They are more likely to be heard in more liberally oriented ‘small e’ evangelical churches or if they were to attend liberal and progressive churches.

    When you were an Evangelical pastor, would you have approved of an ‘evangelical’ who openly argued for same sex-marriage or equal rights for gay and lesbian people before the law?

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

    Reply
  5. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    I take it that you were a Progressive Christian when you locked horns with Ken Silva on the question of homosexuality over at a site run by an Erica. I couldn’t find this website but Ken Silva quoted you at http://apprising.org/2008/12/18/rob-bell-and-homosexuality.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      http://apprising.org/2008/12/18/rob-bell-and-homosexuals/

      Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Actually, I had just concluded I wasn’t a Christian any longer but what Silva references would have been my view as a Progressive.

      Silva and I butted heads many times during my progressive/liberal/emergent phase. I despise everything Silva stands for. As you can tell from my words he quoted, I have no tolerance or respect for him. He is a man who pastors ten people at a Southern Baptist church. He has developed a larger than life online persona, all the while sheltering himself from any accountability.

      The Joe and Erica he mentions are the Martino’s in Grand Rapids, Mi. They were members of Rod Bell’s church. I considered them friends, though I am sure they are not happy with where I have ended up. :) I believe Joe is a Christian counselor now. Good people.

      Silva and his ilk are one class of Christians that make me want to puke. They savage and destroy others while insulating themselves from any accountability. Silva and Denise are friends and that should tell you all you need to know.

      Know you got me riled up, John. :)

      Bruce

      Reply
      1. brbr2424

        A church with 10 people sounds a little Westboro Baptistish. The linked material seems to be gone, 404 error. The guy uses Times Roman all caps orange text on a red background. That could be another reason he has no followers.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          My link should work. John’s link has a period in it.

          Silva is quite secretive, hiding himself from public scrutiny. For the longest time he wouldn’t even say where he pastored. He website (s) are widely read and he has a cadre of people who follow him online. They believe they have what is called a “discernment” ministry. Of course this kind of ministry started long before Silva. I remember getting discernment newsletters in the 1980′s that detailed the fault, failing, error, and heresy of others.

          Reply
    1. brbr2424

      I used to find Sarah Palin infinitely entertaining in a way that only idiots and their followers can entertain. Her pithy comment, cheerleading for torture, got two articles on the Politics page of Huffpo. She will say anything to get in the news.

      Reply
  6. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    I’ve deleted this comment. You answered it above. Many thanks.

    John Arthur

    Reply
  7. mikespeir

    “The Evangelical church has been at so many crossroads that they are lost.”

    *grin*

    Reply
  8. Ian

    This is a question I have about LGBT entry into the evangelical church, as well as LGBT people wanting to work in Christian bookstores, Christian daycare, Christian whatever. The question is why?

    If a person has a degree in childcare, be they straight or not, why would you want to work in a hate filled, exclusive group? I have never understood that. So a LGBT person is able to win a job in a Christian daycare after a court case, then what. They will still be subject to open hostility and secret judgement. The same case could be made for joining an Evangelical church. Why align yourself with a group that hates you? Maybe it is just because that is the way you were raised and the church fills a mental/spiritual need.

    Just a thought. For the record, I believe all people should have the freedom to whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. I also think a church has a right to be as insular and stupid as it wants, if doesn’t have tax exempt status.

    Reply
    1. brbr2424

      I have wondered why any LGBT would want to live in the Southern United States. Why would the gay police chief in that SC town want to live there. It’s her home, I guess. In some areas fundamentalist Christians are the only game in town. Theoretically the Civil Rights laws shouldn’t be necessary, because why would a business owner want to limit his market by excluding people based on the color of their skin? The free market didn’t work that out satisfactorily. That Arizona law would allow a Marriott front desk clerk to refuse to rent a room to someone based on the person’s sexual orientation.

      Rights are valuable whether someone needs or wants to exercise them or not. I’ve never had to exercise my right to remain silent, but I’m glad I have it.

      Reply

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