In his thought provoking article on “Evangelical Churches and Same Sex Attraction“, Nigel Chapman raised a three practical scenarios for Christian leaders to consider:
Three Practical Scenarios
The pastoral and missional problems raised by same sex attraction and orientation, and
exemplified in the many negative outcomes for same sex oriented people in our churches can be encapsulated reasonably well in three basic scenarios. In each case, suppose you are a minister or leader in your church:
Dave: a teenager in your church tells you that they are same-sex attracted. You
cannot in any way fault this person’s godliness; but they beg you not to tell anyone, including their parents, believing they will lose their friends, family and church if anyone finds out. Suppose that a survey of your church reveals that most members think same-sex attracted people have chosen to be that way, just need to repent, pose a danger to children, and are too repugnant even to discuss. How do you proceed? Does your feeling or judgement on the matter change if he says he is bisexual?
Nick: a faithful leader in your church is same-sex attracted. He has been through
endless counselling and long bouts of depression and loneliness over a period of twenty years. It is likely that he has been through a more strenuous and thankless trial than anyone else in your congregation, has persevered in ministry, at which he excels, and has remained celibate. However, he has experienced no change whatsoever, and no longer sees any hope of changing. What he wants more than anything is a family and life partner, but is not in any way sexually attracted to women. What options are open to him? Are these options the same as for Dave, who has not been through the same experience?
Kim + Jen: two young women in your local community have a civil union and are raising two children. They are a schoolteacher and a journalist by profession. They grew up in Christian families, have been thinking a lot about God lately, and have begun attending your church on account of a relative in your congregation. Do you tell them to break up their family, have a celibate marriage, or … what? Does your answer create a precedent in which a same-sex attracted person simply has to leave church, get married, come back, and continue on? – and what then do you say to Nick or to Dave about that? Does your feeling or judgement on the matter change if they are a male couple, if they have no children, or if they have no Christian background? What do you tell them and their friends about your church’s view of the LGBT communities?