Series Code: IC
Program Code: IC180118A
00:01 The following program
00:02 discusses sensitive issues related to sexuality.
00:05 Parents are cautioned this presentation
00:07 may be too candid for younger audiences.
00:30 Welcome to Intimate Clarity. I'm Jason Bradley.
00:33 And I'm here with Jennifer Jill Schwirzer
00:34 and she is a licensed professional counselor.
00:37 And today, we are going to be talking about
00:40 a sensitive topic,
00:42 but it's a conversation we need to have.
00:44 You know, some people are promoting
00:47 acceptance of homosexual relationships
00:49 within the church provided that they're monogamous and loving.
00:54 Do you think that's biblical, Jen?
00:56 That's a really, really, really good question
00:58 and suppressing question right now
01:00 because we're wrestling with this very thing.
01:02 And let me, before I get into this,
01:03 just explain that there are kind of
01:05 two categories of people,
01:07 there are what we call affirming individuals
01:10 who believe that it is okay
01:12 for homosexuals to have homosexual relationships.
01:16 Christian, you know, in a church context,
01:19 provided that the relationship is monogamous, loving,
01:22 and consensual.
01:23 And then there are other people that think that that is immoral
01:26 and those people are called non-affirming.
01:28 I don't like the term because it makes it sound like
01:31 I'm not affirming of gay people or of anything about them.
01:35 This is a little bit derogatory on me, but by that definition,
01:38 I would fall into the non-affirming category
01:40 for reasons that I've unpacked in another episode
01:43 of this program.
01:44 But I want to preface this discussion
01:47 by saying that we've all fallen below God's ideal.
01:51 We need not come into this discussion
01:54 in the spirit of self-righteousness,
01:55 it won't serve us well because all have sinned
01:58 and fallen short of the glory of God.
01:59 Now we go so far as to say,
02:01 we've all sinned in the sexual area
02:03 and fallen short of God's ideal.
02:04 So we need not come in with self-righteousness.
02:07 And some other things we should not do
02:08 in this discussion or not do in general
02:11 is single out homosexuality as a worse sin
02:15 than heterosexual sins.
02:17 We've done that.
02:18 Oftentimes, just put on a pedestal.
02:20 It's like the sin of the sexual sin
02:22 of sexual sins.
02:24 And I don't think I'd cease it that way.
02:26 Another thing we need to be careful not to do
02:29 is marginalizing gay people,
02:31 they're already often struggling
02:32 with the sense of isolation,
02:34 they're dealing with things
02:35 that we don't deal with on a day-to-day basis,
02:38 facing the choice as to whether to live
02:39 a celibate life or live in a partnership
02:42 that many people would consider
02:44 and potentially the Bible considers immoral.
02:46 So you know, they're wrestling with this big time.
02:49 And we need to be sensitive to that
02:51 and not marginalize them.
02:53 And then we also need not be afraid of gay people,
02:56 we call that homophobia,
02:58 as if every single one of them is just,
02:59 you know, like radioactive with sin or something.
03:04 Well, it seems like some people think that every gay person
03:07 is going to want you just because they're gay.
03:09 That's right.
03:10 Not every heterosexual want you
03:12 just because they're heterosexual.
03:13 Very good.
03:14 Not every gay person want you just because they're gay.
03:16 And that's one of the things that we need to do
03:18 is we need to enable the brothers in the church
03:21 to befriend
03:22 their same-sex-attracted brothers in an appropriate way
03:26 because that same-sex-attracted brother
03:28 often has a deficit of male friendships, you see?
03:32 And the same thing is true of women.
03:34 So we need to cultivate that in the church and really,
03:36 really love people.
03:37 I have male friends.
03:38 I don't think it's always going
03:40 to go the wrong direction at all
03:41 because I got boundaries in place,
03:43 you know, and pretty much always have.
03:46 So another thing we need not do is over identifying gay people
03:48 with their gayness if I could say it that way.
03:51 You know, they're not just... What do you...?
03:54 Yeah, they're not just gay, they might be a chef,
03:56 they might be, you know, into some water skiing,
03:59 or they might be great with animal,
04:01 they might do animal rescue,
04:02 there may be aspects of their personality
04:04 that we can really rejoice and then share with them.
04:06 And if we're just always seeing gay
04:08 when we look at them,
04:09 that's going to be really marginalizing in and of itself.
04:12 So let me read a quotation from the book Desire of Ages,
04:14 wonderful book on the life of Jesus
04:17 that I recommend to everyone.
04:19 And it says, "Those who call themselves His
04:22 may despise and shun the outcast ones.
04:26 But no circumstance of birth or nationality,
04:29 no condition of life can turn away His love
04:33 from the children of men."
04:35 So it says no condition of life can turn away
04:38 His love from you.
04:39 You know, if you're gay, if you're struggling,
04:43 you're not sure what you're going to do,
04:45 you're trying to follow Jesus,
04:47 just know that nothing can turn away
04:49 His love from you.
04:50 I think we need to set that right in place
04:52 before we discuss whether we can accept
04:55 homosexual relationships in church.
04:58 So I think that...
05:00 Well, some people say
05:03 that we should just simply baptize homosexuals,
05:06 actively homosexual individuals,
05:09 and in time, you know, maybe they'll grow
05:11 toward God's ideal for sexuality.
05:14 How do you feel about that?
05:16 I don't think so.
05:17 You wouldn't baptize somebody who's selling drugs,
05:21 practicing, you know, any type of...
05:23 Things that are clearly against God.
05:25 Any things that are against the Word of God
05:27 and someone that is actively practicing that,
05:29 you're not going to baptize them into the church.
05:34 And so it shouldn't be any different
05:35 for homosexuals,
05:37 like if they are actively practicing homosexuals,
05:40 then they shouldn't be baptized into the church.
05:42 So let me play devil's advocate for a moment here
05:44 and let me just say that often,
05:45 we come into the church with bad habits,
05:48 or maybe a temper,
05:49 or some kind of unconquered sin in our lives.
05:52 Can you give me an idea of what the difference
05:54 is between some of the baggage we carry?
05:57 Well, we always carry baggage so, you know, unconquered sin,
06:00 none of us come into the church
06:01 already free from sin.
06:04 We all have baggage and all of that stuff,
06:05 and Christ can give us the victory over that.
06:09 However, if we are being intentional about sinning
06:13 and living in a life of sin
06:15 or being intentional about living a life
06:17 that is against God's Word,
06:21 then you're not ready at that point to be baptized.
06:25 And so I've often wondered
06:26 if we should have really two forms of membership,
06:30 so to speak,
06:32 because the reality is that people change
06:35 in the context of a relationship.
06:37 So say, an individual in a gay relationship
06:41 wants to follow Jesus comes to church,
06:43 he is going to and he could, at least,
06:45 potentially encounter God
06:47 and see a revelation of God's love
06:49 that he's never seen before in the church context.
06:53 He'll also potentially come into fellowship
06:55 with other Christians
06:56 who will reflect God's love to him.
06:58 And both of those things are going to help catalyze
07:00 his change process and convince him
07:03 of wanting to study God,
07:04 I mean, to follow God more faithfully.
07:07 So we don't want to say,
07:09 "You got to stay out until you're good
07:11 and then you can come in."
07:12 So my thinking is if we had two forms of membership,
07:15 one was just more of a social membership
07:17 where we embrace people how they are,
07:18 we invite them to events,
07:20 we consider them a brother
07:22 and sister in the humanity sense,
07:25 then we don't have to like leave them out completely
07:27 and then you have church membership
07:29 which is more of an official membership.
07:31 So one is a social membership
07:33 and the other is an official membership.
07:34 What do you think about that?
07:36 Well, so a social membership or an official membership,
07:40 official membership being a voting membership...
07:43 Yeah, where you have privileges.
07:44 Social membership, just really, they're just...
07:47 They're attending. That's right.
07:48 But we need to really cultivate an atmosphere in church
07:53 and an environment in church
07:54 where we really cultivate a sense of family.
07:57 And we can welcome people into that
07:58 even before they're ready
08:00 for official baptized membership.
08:03 I feel like we could do it without the membership piece
08:06 in the sense that,
08:08 you know, when you have a visitor at your church
08:11 and they come back and they're visiting,
08:12 whether heterosexual or homosexual,
08:15 and they're visiting,
08:17 and you go and you talk to them,
08:18 and you embrace them,
08:20 you invite them to stay for potluck,
08:21 you know, and you get to know the person
08:24 and you cultivate a relationship with them.
08:28 I feel like it could be done on that level
08:29 as opposed to doing the dual membership type thing
08:33 or not dual membership...
08:34 Well, I'm not proposing like anything official
08:36 but I'm basically saying the same thing
08:38 that you just welcome people
08:39 and you love them on that social level.
08:42 Reading a statement from Romans 6:3-7
08:46 of the English Standard Version,
08:47 it says, "Do you not know
08:49 that all of us who have been baptized
08:51 into Christ were baptized into his death?"
08:54 Baptism is not some light thing,
08:57 it's a very serious commitment.
08:59 "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death,
09:02 in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
09:05 by the glory of the Father,
09:06 we too might walk in newness of life.
09:10 For if we have been united with Him in a death like His."
09:14 I mean, what is it for God,
09:16 you know, to tell us that when we're baptized,
09:20 we've been united with Him in a death like His, I mean,
09:23 is there anything like His death?
09:26 But He still gives us that credit,
09:27 it's just almost mind blowing.
09:29 And then it says,
09:30 "We shall certainly be united with Him
09:32 in a resurrection like His."
09:34 That's beautiful.
09:36 "We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order
09:39 that the body of sin might be brought to nothing
09:42 so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
09:46 For one who has died has been set free from sin."
09:49 So what you're doing in committing to baptism
09:52 is you're saying, "I'm dead to sin."
09:54 And if the Bible clearly condemns
09:56 a certain practice,
09:57 you're really saying, "I'm dead to that."
09:58 Yeah. So I agree with you.
10:00 I come down into the same place,
10:02 but I would just like to say,
10:03 I would like to emphasize that we really need to...
10:06 I think that often,
10:09 with our gay brothers and sisters,
10:10 and I speak in the sense of our brothers
10:12 or sisters in humanity.
10:15 They feel isolated already, they feel marginalized already,
10:18 they feel hated, they feel, even to some degree,
10:20 ashamed of what's going on.
10:23 And often, they're very conflicted.
10:24 We need to slather on extra love, I think,
10:28 because when the bread is dry,
10:29 you put on extra butter you got to get it go down, you know?
10:31 That's right. Yeah.
10:33 So we need to slather on a lot of love
10:34 and a lot of acceptance in every way
10:36 that we can to try to overcome some of the hard feelings.
10:40 But at the same time,
10:42 we need to stand firm
10:44 because we're not actually helping that person
10:47 if we allow ourselves to be swayed.
10:51 And cross over to the enabler side of things.
10:53 That's right. That's right.
10:54 And I feel like a lot of what's happening
10:56 in the church today is we're enabling
10:58 on a mass scale.
11:00 And if we don't regard this issue as an issue
11:03 that involves God's design,
11:06 you know, and straying from it as unholy,
11:10 then we're going to do the same thing
11:11 ultimately with sexual abuse.
11:15 The only foundation really for us understanding
11:18 any kind of sexual sin in its true light
11:20 is understanding the holiness of sexuality,
11:23 and that God in sexuality created
11:26 a most holy place in a sense in human experience.
11:30 And if we don't have that grasp of the holiness
11:32 of God's plan for sexuality,
11:35 then we'll start to see sexual sin as no big deal.
11:38 And that will include same-sex relationships
11:41 and all of these other newer things
11:43 but also things that are old as the hills like sexual abuse.
11:48 It will be light, it will be soft on sin.
11:50 That's true.
11:51 It's like a gradual progression it's like saying,
11:53 you know, you go swimming, all right?
11:54 You go to a pool.
11:56 You stick your toe in, the water is cold,
11:58 then you actually get in slowly
12:01 but surely you're going down the steps,
12:02 you get into the water
12:04 and you stay in there for a little while,
12:06 the warmer it gets.
12:08 And it doesn't actually warm up.
12:09 No. It doesn't.
12:10 You just become accustomed to it.
12:12 Right, you're becoming used to that life of sin.
12:14 That's right.
12:15 And you could be like a frog in hot water
12:18 and the water gradually boils and the frog never jumps out
12:21 because it doesn't realize it's in boiling water.
12:23 And it says in the Bible, "Some save with fear,
12:27 pulling them out of the fire
12:29 and some show compassion making a difference."
12:31 And exactly, how we apply those principles,
12:34 two different approaches to people
12:37 that we're trying to help,
12:38 and how we actually apply that in the personal
12:41 is a work of the Holy Spirit.
12:43 The Holy Spirit has to illuminate God's word
12:45 and make clear to us
12:46 what we do in that particular situation.
12:50 But I want more of the love of Jesus
12:52 because I just feel like...
12:53 I feel like I need to reach out to the gay population
12:55 and tell them God loves you
12:58 because there have been a lot of church entities
13:00 that have given the opposite message, you know?
13:03 And you've seen it in the news too
13:04 where people are vociferous against gay people,
13:07 single them out,
13:08 it's so unlike Christ to do that.
13:10 And you know, God loves everyone,
13:12 you know, including homosexuals.
13:15 It's not that God doesn't love the individual,
13:19 He just doesn't love
13:21 what the individual may be doing the sin,
13:23 He doesn't like the sin.
13:25 It's like if you have a kid that is a murderer
13:28 or a drug dealer or whatever the case may be,
13:31 you still love the kids but you really don't...
13:34 You don't like what they're doing, you know?
13:37 And so it's the same thing.
13:39 That's right.
13:40 And you don't like what they're doing,
13:42 not just to other people but you don't like
13:43 what they're doing to themselves.
13:45 And a lot of time, if you will say to them,
13:47 "Look, I'm concerned for you and what this is doing to you
13:50 and that's where I'm coming from,"
13:52 that may get through and they may be able to accept
13:54 what you're saying.
13:56 Yes. And this is a deep topic.
13:58 I know.
13:59 There's so much to discuss and we're out of time again.
14:02 How about that?
14:03 So where do they go to get resources?
14:06 They go to...
14:07 No, I'm sorry. IntimateClarity.tv.
14:09 I was thinking of my own program.
14:12 Go to IntimateClarity.tv,
14:13 and make sure you join us next time
14:15 on Intimate Clarity.