This week many of you read the disturbing news that the mainline Presbyterian denomination, the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) not only approved its pastors performing same-sex marriages, but even changed the definition of marriage within its governing documents. The Stated Clerk of our denomination (PCA) was quick to present a thoughtful statement that made clear the position of the PCA (to stay with the biblical standard). Here’s a link to that statement, PCA Affirms Biblical Marriage. You should also read the remarks of Dr. Clair Davis as it relates to the stance of City Church of San Francisco. City Church is in another denomination, the Reformed Church of America, but he helps us deal with this challenging issue, learning how to speak the truth in love. We need both–to speak the truth, but also to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Thank you, once again, Dr. Davis.
Now City Church in San Francisco welcomes practicing homosexuals as members. What does that mean? ‘Member’ can be ambiguous, can it more clearly mean ‘we welcome you to the Lord’s Table?’ There we can study I Cor 11 together. Otherwise ‘member’ could mean just, you are welcome to our ongoing conversation or to join us in our journey to Jesus.
’Sin’ needs to be on the table. Without it, ’Savior’ doesn’t mean anything. He has saved us and he saves us now from our sin. Is being homosexual being who I am? Or is it sinful too?
Let me talk about another sin, one I believe is more deadly to our calling in Jesus Christ, the sin of gossip. This one I practice, regularly. When I lose an argument in public, isn’t it sweet to tell my friends in private how weird my opponent was? But Matthew 18 and elsewhere is very clear about that. There is some Satanic encouragement in being reminded that as evangelicals we lose all public arguments and therefore are skilled at gossip. But sin it is.
Should gossips be welcome to the Lord’s Table? If they see it as sin and ask the Lord’s forgiveness, and if they ask the Lord and their friends to strengthen them against that sin in future. If they say, ‘I’ll never do it again,’ I doubt that’s credible. But if they say to their friends, ‘keep reminding me when I verge on it,’ that is.
City Church, if you welcome sinners to Jesus then that’s the gospel. But if they pretend that what they do and intend to keep on doing is not against the Lord himself, that kind of deliberate denial of the reality of what they do just does not fit the reality of the gospel itself.
So far it’s not clear to me and to others where you are. If you are saying to practicing homosexuals that what they do is not sin, then you are radically misleading them. But I hope you are saying to them, ‘we know what you do and believe you when you say you call on Jesus to help you stop, so welcome to the Table. We are ready to work with you again and again as the Lord works with us the same way’.
Sin is the clear word, the word of reality. If you have that in your ministry, we are with you. But ‘a gospel love’ without sin is just a denial of Christ, and we call on you all to repent. As we ask continually defeated evangelicals to repent of gossip.