In a recent conversation with a friend I heard of a man who was asked to leave a local church because he was a cross-dresser and was unwilling to change his clothes when he came to church.
Obviously each situation in a local church is different and should be handled according to what the Holy Spirit is leading the leaders and the congregation to do (from a Biblical standpoint).
However, this got me thinking…
Who attends our churches?
Do the people who attend your local church look like eveyone else who attends the church? Does everyone fit the bill – that is nice, well-managed families and elderly folk who dress the standard North American clothing styles?
Do the people in you church basically emphasize the need to repent from similar sins (anger mismanagement; lust; gossip; etc.) that most people in the church struggle with; yet reject people that have other sins (cross-dressing; homosexual activity; pedophilia; etc.) that are foreign to the “norm” in the church?
It seems to me that people for the most part reject what is different and accept what is similar or comfortable to them. When it comes to sin, many Christians might seem able to help a sinning brother who confesses lust or anger problems, but perhaps most Christians seem unwilling or unable to help a brother who struggles with sins that even secular society refuses to deal with.
So should a local church allow a practicing homosexual or a cross-dressing male attend the church?
If they get rejected in the local church where or how will they hear the gospel?
Are we to rely on the church’s evangelistic efforts toward the homosexual community?
If this is our hope, we might want to consider how the local churches (in our neck of the woods) are already ministering to the homosexual community and support them. If you cannot think of how they are ministering perhaps that will answer the question above.
Perhaps the church should be the place where homosexuals, cross-dressers, and other people with “alternative” lifestyles should always feel welcome.
Is there harm in these people sitting in one of the seats on Sunday morning listening to the Gospel message by which the Holy Spirit can minister to their soul?
Did not Christ Jesus minister to the outcasts of society (i.e. lepers, tax-collectors, etc.)? Is his example in the Gospels appropriate in this contemporary situation?
I know that there are not neat and orderly answers to these questions. Nevertheless, the issue is not going away anytime soon and we should give much prayer, thought, and conversation to the evangelism of people who have “alternative” lifestyles.
What do you think?
What does your local church do?
What does the Bible suggest about this issue?