I've been pondering this for several weeks and I believe that the reformed church really, the church in general is woefully unprepared to answer the following question:.
How would the church deal with a gay couple that were not Christians when married, that then become Christians?
Specifically when we have passages like 1 Corinthians 7: This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. I'm looking for relevant biblical quotations, relevant quotes from reformed scholars past and present, and any statements by reformed churches or denominations that have come out in recent years. I'm also interested in how circumstances and views change when 1 partner becomes a Christian, when there are children involved, and when both partners become Christians.
As gay marriage becomes more prominent, legal and prolific in our society, questions like this are going to be more and more relevant and the Church must be prepared to deal with an answer these queries.
I'm specifically interested in reformed sources here as they are most relevant to me, but I would be open to other sources that take a similar view of homosexuality.
Having listened to his sermons on Romans 1 and other statements by him, the following principles are his consistent teaching on the question:. I extracted these from the text of his June 16, sermonbut left off the last two points that shifted to the Church's attitude toward political action.
Piper obliquely addressed the question of what to do if members of this sort of union were to join his congregation:. Churches will be faced with new and unheard of cases of discipline. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Like any other sin, homosexual practice should be resisted. If a new believer continues in their habitual sin, it's the responsibility of the Church warn against the dangers of sin.
On the hand, homosexual desire is like any other temptation. We should not be afraid of it.
Christians resist temptation with the power of the Holy Spirit. Same-sex marriage is not binding in the eyes of God and nor should it binding in the eyes of the church. So we can safely ignore the teachings on divorce in this case; divorce as understood in the Bible just doesn't apply. Instead, I think the actual parallel is to the state of voluntary servitude. That analogy might seem distasteful, but in the Roman world being a bondservant was actually a respectable position.
Many bondservants performed duties that we would recognize as white-collar professions. More to the point, it was a civic obligation that Paul explained was no longer binding to believers. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it.
But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. Therefore, it seems to me that a Christian who submitted to a same-sex civic contract before they converted should abstain from sexual intercourse, but honor the other obligations of the union.
That would include financial and parental duties if applicable. Separation should be seriously considered in order to reduce temptation. If there is an honorable way to nullify the union, that should be pursued. If not, nobody should be concerned about it. It's very likely we will see some missteps and controversy in the next generation.
Our society is increasingly approving of same-sex practice, but the church should not be. I'll let Piper have the word:. One of the most powerful things we can do is fold into our churches men and women who have same-sex attraction and surround them with a bigger vision of life and love and relationships that make it possible for them to flourish in families and friendships.
These stories may be one of the most authenticating messages for the Christian gospel. You're not going to like this answer, but that's because I think the premise is flawed.
Why is homosexuality given a standing all its own?
What's wrong with the other hundreds of works and confessions by Reformed thinkers regarding sin? The question is not one of legality, but one of morality. Speaking from a Reformed Baptist perspective I know, not truly "Reformed"such individuals would be welcomed as any sinner would. They may attend services and worship freely and should be unharried in their attendance.
They are to be treated lovingly, as any other individual would be treated. They must be presented the true gospel, God's grace apart from works of the flesh, just as any sinner would. However, the union is not recognized as a sanctified union before God I don't feel the need to defend this Christian reformed vs baptist beliefs on homosexual relationship. It's worth a question all its own and as such, the couple is to be viewed as two individuals.
They should not be considered for any counsel, nor should they be encouraged to partake in the ordinances so long as they willfully consider themselves to be in a union. Such a couple should not be made an example, and at the same time teachers must not shy away from teaching the hard truths in the scriptures that a homosexual union was not given as an object lesson of Christ's work but rather a singular heterosexual marriage is divorcees who have remarried raise another question, too.
Regarding the legality of the practice and the fact that the union is between two consenting adults, the question is functionally the same as that of prostitution imagining the church is in a location where such practice is legal or heterosexual cohabitation apart from marriage. If the convert stops uniting himself with a person who is not his wife, then he is demonstrating the beginning evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in his life and should be treated as a brother with struggles and gently examined over time for trustworthiness of the faith.
However, if he demonstrates no attempt to stop this practice, he should be treated as one who is not a convert but rather one who needs to hear the gospel. It has been asked "What of homosexual couples who bring children to church? Should they be told to end their legally-separate union? First off and this is the Baptist in me coming outit is not the church's or church members' prerogative to be telling people what they should and should not do in their personal lives, apart from expositing the scriptures.
If a homosexual couple is dependent upon each other financially and also has children, this is something of a unique situation. It is unhelpful to tell them "split up and never see each other again, and give your children up for adoption Yet we Christian reformed vs baptist beliefs on homosexual relationship not shy away from the truth. Speak the truth from the scriptures as you arrive at them. Do not make an example of these people. In God's perfect timing, their eyes will be opened and their minds will no longer think in futility.
Incidentally, this is always the answer. All of the other things will work out so long as this precept is first. If they want to partake in communion or Baptism, it must be explained that their presence in the church is appreciated, but they cannot take the sign of identification with Christ while they have no interest in repentance of their most obvious and public sins. Additionally, one cannot be in communion with the church through the supper while in the same position.
If they insist on taking communion, they are guilty of profaning the body of Christ and should be repeatedly, gently asked not to take communion and be given an explanation as to why.
If this is enough to push them out of the body, I'm ok with that. Every effort has been made to be inclusive as far as the scriptures permit.
It's a bad situation, and either it will turn biblical or it will not. There's not really a lot of middle ground. We must seek God's approval above man's, even if it means losing those who attend a church.
The edit in the question is applying a context that the passage does not warrant. Being circumcised is not a sin, nor is being uncircumcised. Being married is not a sin, nor is being single. However, a homosexual union is sin and is thus not applicable to the passage.
One verse in the section sums it up nicely: For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Many conservatives would like to have their cake and eat it too in regards to marriage. They wish to defend the "sanctity" of marriage stating that God ordained it as something sacred between 1 man and 1 woman; as if God somehow supernaturally preserves and defines the definition of marriage but let us consider for a moment that there are many heterosexual couples who are not Christian but are married.
Even within the confines of a biblical interpretation, marriage has not always been between 1 man and 1 woman, but in the past was between 1 man and many women, so clearly the definition of marriage was in flux in scripture in the past and could therefore presumably undergo a change again. Would we deny secular couples their marriages because they were apart from God? Are they not married because they were not married before God, but instead married before a Justice of the peace?
Do they need to remarry if both members of the couple become Christian? Clearly these secular marriages are not denied by most religious persons and if the secular marriages are valid and real apart from God, then the definition of marriage also exists apart from God. Otherwise, non-christians should simply divorce their partner when one member of the couple becomes a Christian.
Because of this, So long as secular marriages are recognized as valid by Christians, they should continue to allow gay men and women to marry too. This is because it is not God or the which defines what a marriage is. As such, I would suggest that Christian reformed vs baptist beliefs on homosexual relationship applied to a gay couple, their marriages continue to be recognized. We should then apply 1 Corinthians 7: The Bible teaches that we should not marry the unbeliever 2 Corinthians 6: As Paul seems to recognize these secular marriages, we should to.
Paul recognizes these marriages because our obligation to our vow to our significant other supersedes all other considerations. The obligation to our vow does not change simply because the gender the partner does. As an aside, by denying secular couples the right to marriage aren't we forcing them to further live in sin by forcing them to commit adultery in addition to their "sin" of sodomy and should we cause others to stumble in this way?
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Most Baptist church organizations have a conservative view and doctrine on homosexuality. You will usually find an affirmation of marriage as. The church should acknowledge its sins against the homosexual.