Wednesday, April 8, 2015
P3 Notes from a Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Conference: The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church - Answering tough questions
Note to readers: The above image is from the weekly publication, "The Baptist Messenger", produced by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). The link is www.baptistmessenger.com. All comments below and links were granted permission by the BGCO to be used in today's post. May what is written below inform and equip the reader to the glory of God.
A few weeks ago this blogger had the opportunity to attend a conference sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (henceforth from here we will use it's abbreviation "BGCO") entitled: "The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church". My intention for attending this conference was two-fold:
1). To be equipped on how to better communicate to people what the Bible has to say about the Gospel and it's bearing on gender, sexuality, the church and culture.
2). To know how to express the love of Jesus in a better way to all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
The conference to say the least was very well done, organized, positively communicated and Biblical. As each sermon and panel discussion was presented, I felt it necessary to not only take notes but to make them available to readers of this blog with the hope of sharing this informative, engaging and Gospel-centered conference. Thus for the next few posts I will be sharing by way of summary the messages and panel discussions. The BGCO has posted some of the plenary sessionson their website, as well as links to their weekly publication: "The Baptist Messenger", which features after-conference reflections and articles by key leadership in the BGCO. Here are the links: http://www.bgco.org/bgco-conference and http://www.baptistmessenger.com/the-gospel-sexuality-the-church-2/. Today's post features another panel discussion that dealt with topics such as divorce/remarriage, requests for church membership from people who want to remain in the same-sex lifestyle and how to handle situations where children express to their parents that they are gay.
Excerpts from Panel Discussion #2 of the conference: "The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church"
1. If a couple comes forward, wants membership in a church, but wants to remain gay, what does the pastor or church do? We would deal with them like any other sexual sin. Talk to them about repentance. Don't baptize them until they have repented. Perhaps they may be on the way to changing. Keep giving the Gospel.
2. What about ministering to transgender people? Scripture says our sin has alienated us from God's design, including gender. Gender is not a meaningless idea, since Jesus asserts the uniqueness of genders in Matthew 19:4-5. Galatians 6 tells us to come up alongside people, tell them of glimmers of their masculinity or feminity. Sometimes small practical steps such as finances, affirming of gender roles. We have got to get back to discipleship.
3. What happens if a Deacon's children expresses their preference to be gay? We need to encourage the Deacon and his family to maintain contact with the child, affirming an open door of love, while at the same time affirming a biblical standard. We can still love our children while not affirming their choices.
4. How can we deal with homosexuality in comparison to divorce/remarriage? The differences between both are the following:
a. Divorce can be appropriate on Biblical grounds and then remarriage. Sometimes in remarriage, sin was committed going into the marriage. People need to repent of the sin but be faithful to their current marriage. These marriages after all are legitimate marriages.
b. There are no biblical grounds for same-sex marriage. If we respond to same-sex unions by not talking about it in our churches, we will come to accept it. How people reacted to divorce a generation ago and then came to see it as normal is how our young people look at same-sex unions (i.e. not shocked by it).
5. Dr. Anthony Jordon, Executive Director of the BGCO, states how he despises seeing theology and doctrine only remaining in the seminaries. We need doctrine taught and preached in the church. Churches need to be good incubators of theology.
6. What are ways we can improve upon preparing people for marriage? The only people we have the authority to marry are those who are accountable to one another. Weddings are not about love for one another, but in people making vows before God and going into something they have never experienced. Think about it, what happens if a spouse gets sick, laid-off from work or if there is infidelity?
7. What about infertility or invitro fertilization? Dr. Moore, chairman of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, notes he is for the technology that fixes a medical problem of infertility. These efforts should not be used in situations separating sex from one-flesh unions.
8. What happens if all 50 states adopt same-sex marriage/unions. Dr. Moore notes that the government cannot force churches to perform such ceremonies.