Christian-Homosexual

This is one of the most commonly asked questions that I get lately: How do I evangelize homosexuals? It is such a sensitive issue as there are so many passions involved and a growing variety of opinions. The volatility could not be greater and I could not be dumber for writing on this! Nevertheless, I am going to do my best to answer here.

I have a family member who lives in an apartment that backs up to a homosexual bar. I can imagine that in the church, there are people who think this is wrong. It’s not that these would assume she might be a homosexual, but that why would she, being a Christian, even dare live in such proximity to such evil. I am sorry to say this, but its very sad—no, tragic—to say that the church is filled with such a mentality. Oh, they have their verses to justify it, but these are always based in unbiblical emotional passions that cannot ever be justified.

Hold on, it gets worse so hang with me.

I, personally, was pretty excited that she moved in there. Why? What a great place to live! It is filled with opportunity and excitement. It is filled with the possibility of having the power of the Holy Spirit work in a place that few in the church would dare to go.

Let me back up and ask the key question: How do we, as Christians, evangelize (give the Gospel to) homosexuals? Here we go . . .

If this family member were to ask me this question, this is what I would tell her:

First, what a great place you are living! What a great opportunity! But I think it would be best if we asked another question: what Jesus would have done in such a situation. Here are the steps I believe he would take:

First, he would go to the bar

I can hear the gasps! Jesus? . . . in a bar? Never! Why not? What is sinful about being in a bar? Is there something in the walls, wood, or foundation that makes the place unholy? I think you forget to realize that Jesus served as a bartender in John 2. Wait . . . that is not technically true. He served as a brewer in John 2. Don’t believe me? Go read it. He turned water into wine. No, it was not grape juice. It was an alcoholic intoxicating beverage.  So, the first thing we need to do is go to the bar.

Second, he would sit down with the homosexual

I know that this should sound like an elementary no-brainer, but it is not for a lot of people. Some people distance themselves as far as possible from whatever they deem to be the worst sin.

I had an experience at a church one time where I was hanging out, “fellowshiping”) with some other believers. A guy walks in with a confused and somewhat scared look on his face. “Hey,” he said. “I have never been to church. I don’t really know what it is about. Can you help me?” We all were very excited and we sat down with him and began to talk. However, something terrible happened. Something so crazy, I am not sure you are ready to hear this. He cursed. Not only that, he was letting out f-bombs left and right. Right then one lady got up and said, “I can’t take this” and left. She even said it out loud! My question at the time was, How else to you expect an unbeliever to talk?

How much more would some of us leave if a homosexual couple came and sat in the pew next to you (man, I just realized the word “pew” dates me). But Jesus would sit down next to the homosexual at this bar. Remember, he came to seek and save the lost!

Third (and this is going to be crazy), but he would not automatically assume he was not saved

This all comes down to the question, Can a practicing homosexual be saved? Although I give the long answer here, let me give a shorter answer with a question: Can a practicing sinner be saved? If not, let me let you in on a little secret: you are not saved. Why? Because you are a practicing sinner! We all are. We are at the same time justified and sinners. This is the divisive teaching of Martin Luther.

Fourth, he would put his arm around the homosexual

Christ was the most scandalizing man that ever lived. He perplexed everyone. He perplexed sinners as he loved them and befriended them. And he perplexed the religious establishment that he would have such associates. Remember this verse:

Matthew 11:19: The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

Notice what he was accused of: He was a “friend of sinners.” What does that mean? It means that he was a friend of prostitutes, swindlers, and people who’s lives were controlled by alcohol! He had his arm around them. He would be caught laughing at their jokes. He probably handed them a beer or two, turning water into beer when they ran out. He was their friend before anything else.

We need to encourage people more to do the same thing.

Fifth, he would order a beer (or three)

Here come the gasps. I might be able to conceive of Christ drinking a little alcohol, but you said “three.” Well, let me get even more clear (and this is not the subject of the post so I will not spend much time closing this can of worms), he would drink until his heart was “merry” or “glad” (see Eccl 10:19, Ps 104:15, Judg 9:13, Matt 26:29). No, I did not say he was controlled by alcohol. Did I say he was inebriated? I will just stick with the biblical words and let you wrestle with it.

You don’t have to drink if you don’t want to. I am just saying that it might loosen things up a bit if you do.

Sixth, he would have them over to his house

Christ’s fellowship with sinners came through more than a “hit-and-run” Gospel presentation. You see, so many of us might concede things up to this point. But by the end of the conversation at the bar, we had better be convincing them of the wrongness of their lifestyle and pulling out a Four Spiritual Laws track. If they respond, great. If they don’t get out of there and never talk to them again. But I think that Christ would go so much further. He would be there for them, loving them, listening to their stories, getting to know their family and (dare I say) boyfriend or girlfriend.

This is just the way he was. Scandalous!

Seventh, he would wait for them to ask Him for the hope that is in Him

First Peter 3:15 says that we are to live our lives in such a way that unbelievers are perplexed and say “Why do you have hope! I don’t get it. Explain it to me.” There may be an immediate opportunity at the bar. It may take a week. It may take six years. But eventually, people will ask. But unless we are preaching a sermon to a general audience, we are to wait for them to ask this. And if you are living your life for the Lord, it will probably come pretty quickly. If you are not, it will take more time.

Ask yourself this question: how often has someone asked you for the reason for your hope? Or do you just push the Gospel on them immediately.

Eighth, he would give the Gospel

Wait, I want you to understand what I did not say. I did not say “Eighth, he would finally try to convert them out of their homosexuality.” I said he would present the Gospel. The sin of homosexuality may or may not come up. The issue here is to help people understand that they are sinners, not get rid of every sin. That comes later. That is called sanctification. The Gospel is that we are at enmity with God and that we need restoration. The Gospel is that God offers forgiveness free of charge and trust in him is all that is necessary.

John 3:16 does not say, “For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him (and stops sinning) will have eternal life.” It says that only belief or trust is necessary.

Then when will the issue of homosexuality be dealt with???? That is what you are asking, right? Isn’t this about evangelizing homosexuals. Yes, but the way you evangelize homosexuals is the same way you evangelize all sinners. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to deal with their individual sins, and He has his own timetable. If the issue of homosexuality comes up, you stand up for the truth and let them know the Bible teaches it is a sin. Will they respond? Will the Holy Spirit fix them right then? Maybe, but maybe not.

We need to quit identifying them as homosexuals, as if their restoration with God comes though a different path than others. We evangelize all people the same.

Is this scandalous to you? Well, let me put it this way, if you are not scandalizing to a certain community in the church, you are probably not acting much like Christ. Yes, people will “get” you. Yes, they will look down their nose at you. You might even get brought into an elders meeting. But you are not to be controlled by these fears. You are to be controlled by Christ and your desire to spread his mercy.

I pray that the church would grab ahold of how crazy the Gospel is and how much mercy God gave and still gives to us. Then and only then are we ready to enter that bar.

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C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger.

Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I’m a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    67 replies to "How Jesus Would Act in a Homosexual Bar? or “How to Evangelize Homosexuals”"

    • John N

      Exactamundo Michael, but where it starts getting a little tricky (and awkward) is when the gay person who found out you’re a Christian asks “so do YOU think that homosexuality or same sex marriage is wrong or a sin?” Many gay people have a preconceived bias about how Christians view homosexuality so they’ll broach the subject even though you might want to avoid it or defer for later. In fact many enjoy this kind of confrontation.

      So while you may want the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin in due time, once they ask the question it forces the issue to be dealt with because you have to give an answer and you can’t dance around it. From here on it can get even worse as they might decide to pit you against the views of Matthew Vines or Rachel H Evans etc who are “of us”.

    • jmick

      Michael, good essay and certainly something many evangelicals need to hear but don’t forget what else He would do and what scripture tells us He did When He found a sinner. Remember the woman at the well, the rich man, the woman caught in adultery, the proud scribe and finally, me (a murderer, adulterer, liar and thief), He gave the law! Sinners will never understand grace until they tremble before a just and holy law. The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. I had not known sin but by the law. Sin is transgression of the law. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law was not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been intrusted.

    • Stan

      “Can a practicing sinner be saved? If not, let me let you in on a little secret: you are not saved.” I’m curious how you correlate that to 1 John 3:9? (Just a question, not a challenge.)

      • Ben Thorp

        We have to correlate it with 1 John 1:5-10 (“if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”). The ongoing tension between justification and sanctification is well known, and oft discussed, both in Scripture and throughout church history.

        (BTW – great article Michael)

        • Clint

          Ben- 1Jn 3:9 is a pretty strong passage–along with the rest of 1st Jn. Does it concern you that you have a seemingly very easy answer to these explicit passages? Maybe you’re right. But, you seem to essentially be saying this…

          “Well, I’ll just nullify these strong passages based on my understanding of this one. A lot of people have debated this so I get a pass on considering the gravity of it.”

          It reminds me of this story I heard about Leonard Ravenhill (like him or not, it fits) preaching on holiness. A woman gets up and shouts something like, “This guy thinks we must be holy to go to heaven.” He commented, “Poor woman, has she never read Heb. 12:14?”

          I certainly am not questioning your faith. I just think this is worthy of more consideration.

      • Tom Howard

        Question for your question, “What then distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever when both sin?”
        John had something to say about that in 1 John 3:7,8,10 ” Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he (Jesus) is righteous. He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning.” Then, 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of ‘God’ are manifest, and the children of the ‘devil’: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God,…”
        In other words, this is what distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever. One sins, the other does not. Old Abe said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time , but not all the people all the time”. You can’t fool God, any time. Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
        As far as 1 John 1, one must go on to 1 john 2:1 were John say’s, “…these things write I unto you, that you ‘sin not’. And ‘if’ any man sin, we have an advocate….” why would he say such a thing after just saying “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves”. Well, he is obviously speaking of the “if” scenario, and certainly not the “when” scenario. Practicing sin is no were found in all of 1 John.
        1 Peter 2:21,22 sheds more light as far as what John was expressing, Jesus is our example we are to emulate, “Who committed no sin,”
        Notice these; Romans 6:2, Gal. 2:20, 1 Corin. 15:34, John 8:11. It’s all about 2 Corin. 5:17.

    • Bruce Lull

      Amen.

    • Christopher de Vidal

      “There may be an immediate opportunity at the bar. It may take a week. It may take six years. But eventually, people will ask.”

      I have hope. Lots of abiding hope that gives me the ability to press on. Have had it since I was a Christian, and even before when I was a false Christian. I swim in this hope and dream of what Jesus will do one day. Hope is my daily prayer, and is what lifts my head, and gives me an engine to press on.

      But I’ve never had /anyone/ ask me about it. Ever.

      I urge you not to wait for what may never happen. There must be a sense of urgency, for that homosexual may walk out of that bar and get hit by a bus.

      Check out Living Waters’ teachings. (e.g. the “Good Person” test.) They offer excellent principles for effective witnessing which are based in part on Jesus’ quick conversation with the woman at the well in John 4.

      “Can a practicing sinner be saved? If not, let me let you in on a little secret: you are not saved. Why? Because you are a practicing sinner! We all are. We are at the same time justified and sinners.”

      prac·tice verb ˈprak-təs 1: to do something again and again in order to become better at it (Merriam-Webster)

      No sir, I do not practice sin. I fall into sin, all the time. But I don’t practice it. I don’t walk in it.

      The ex-homosexuals I know (such as the one I married, she is public about this) still fall into that temptation from time-to-time. When the temptation comes to mind, and it frequently does, they sometimes dwell on it. But they repent. They don’t go intentionally remembering it. One of them last week asked me to break internet access on his phone because he was stumbling onto porn websites again. I praised him, because he asked me to help him stop. That’s what born-again Christians do.

      Non-Christians don’t ask you to break their phones and make life more difficult. They practice sin. They get a BIGGER phone so they can see videos more clearly. These people are the ones hanging out at bars to get hooked up. I would not assume such a person is walking with Jesus. They’re clearly walking in sin.

      See basically the entire book of 1 John. See also Jeremiah 32:40 and Ezekiel 36:26-27. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3 ESV)

      * Practice, or walk in sin: False convert.
      * Avoid, but occasionally stumble into sin: Born-again Christian.

      BUT there is a point at which this conversation becomes moot. If you share the gospel, you can never lose. A false convert might hear it and be truly born-again. A non-Christian might hear it and be truly born-again. And a true Christian will hear the gospel and be blessed.

      So, just share the gospel, and trust the results to God.

    • ZaneH

      Yes!! 🙂

      • Terry T.

        Thank you for this, Michael. Hi my name is Terry and I am saved and still a sinner. I have asked Jesus to be my savior. I sin less because of my growing relationship with The Father, my Savior and God’s Holy Spirit. I will not condemn anyone but will show them the peace, contentment and hope I have because of God’s mercy towards me. Every sinner can have this as well by asking Christ to be their savior and by keeping His word and projecting his love. His will is good, pleasing and perfect.

    • AcC

      Excellent timing!
      Great article!
      Might I even say Thank You!

    • Horace

      I’m not sure if it would play out exactly like this but the Lord Christ did go to where sinners were. I believe he did drink alcholic beverages they could not have accused him of being a glutton or a wine bibber if he did not eat and drink. With any sinner they get the gospel.
      Cheers Lee

    • Stuart

      I get that it’s risky to say who’s in and who is out, and I get that regeneration sometimes takes time, but if any practicing sinner can be a Christian, how about a serial rapist who feels he’s wired to do what he does? Executioner in a Nazi death camp? Serial killer?

      Could Paul have claimed to be a Christian if he continued to kill Christians?

      Is there any need for transformation for the Christian, or is it anything goes? Forget about homosexuality specifically, if we can wave away anything by saying we’re all practicing sinners, are there any limits at all that indicate an unregenerated heart?

    • CMP,

      Thank you for putting this out there and being bold and blatantly honest. This is spot on because evangelizing homosexuals in itself is not the real issue. Our “sin issues” individually or collectively are the real issue.

      I do motorcycle/street ministry and I have found it irritating and downright disgusting about how some Christians are so self-righteous that they stay in their holier-than-thou huddles and criticize those of us who make no qualms about having “sin issues” and doing ministry at the same time.

      There is a form of Christian political correctness that is bullshit.

      Yes I threw that one out there, because it is fitting and in the vernacular of people who I minister to. Biker ministry is a rough crowd and with it you can’t come off as disingenuine, otherwise you will get shut down before you even get to the witnessing. What you spoke about, jumping into the mix and getting real is exactly what I have to do. Again, I can’t stress this enough, if you are perceived as not the real deal as a Christian believer, your witness will never get a chance.

      All too often Christians come off as the “do as I say and not as I do” kind of witness which fronts of an image of a all too squeaky clean lifestyle, and those who you attempt to witness to bring that right to the forefront. Your witness is instantly judged as a disingenuous bible thumper, effectively spoiling the chance to convey The Gospel message. Been there, done that and it’s a bunch of crap.

      I am so sick and tired of so called “Christians” who have nothing but criticism for having sin issues, in particular fellow Christians who struggle with them, yet get out there and witness The Gospel and Message of Jesus Christ in spite of the very sin issues that they have going on. What I find surprising is that they seem to forget that none of us are all that, and all of us have sin issues either in the closet, or worn on the sleeve.

      The real difference between a Christian disciple and those fronting an image is the willingness to jump in, get messy, roll with the crowd, and do what the Great Commission calls for regardless of the fallout, and for the love of Christ.

      Jesus did that all the way to The Cross and was called the friend of sinners. So what part of the “friend of sinners” don’t we get? Especially inside of our collective Christian circles. Have we as Christians become the post-modern version of the holier than thou, do as I say, not as I do Pharisees? Remember Jesus went to bat with these religious types of His day while He was here on earth, and ultimately they killed him. Are we as His followers killing Him all over time and again today?

      Religion flat sucks. Food for thought.

    • Jeremy Erickson

      I think your overall point is spot on. However, there are a couple points I would make about language.

      1.) When you talk about “a homosexual” and “the sin of homosexuality,” your terminology is actually quite ambiguous. To some, these words refer merely to the experience of attraction, whether or not this attraction even blooms into willful lust or sexual activity. With your wording, some will come come away from this article thinking you’ve condemned the experience of attraction itself, and some will think you haven’t. Especially given the passions that arise from the topic, it’s better to try to word things with less ambiguity. This generally means preferring descriptive phrases over the potentially-ambiguous terminology. (I can’t even really talk about whether or not I disagree with you, because I’m not sure what you’re actually saying.)

      2.) The word “homosexual” is off-putting to the majority of the people you’re talking about trying to reach. For most people, the preferred term is “gay,” “lesbian,” or “bisexual” (depending on the particular person’s attractions), or “LGBT” when speaking more generally. Others might prefer “queer.” A subset of Christians and Mormons who believe that gay sex is immoral prefer phrasing such as “experiences same-sex attraction.” Wording can easily become an unnecessary barrier to outreach, so I strongly recommend figuring out what terminology other people prefer and adapting to that. In particular, no one calls it a “homosexual bar.” It’s a “gay bar.”

    • JJ

      Wow. That is pretty clear, Michael!

      I am saddened when the grace of God gets changed into “this is how we are to act” and if we don’t act in these ways, well, we just aren’t in Jesus. We lose track of what CHRIST HAS DONE (it is finished) FOR US “while we were yet sinners.” We lose track of the sins that would disqualify us are more than homosexuality, drug use, and murder.

      The list (at least one list) looks like this:
      things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death….

      OK.. this was just after the detail on homosexuality… and with it we get… the first one already condemns me, “Things which are not proper.” I tend to be a rash person… guess what…things that are not proper” is often the result. Uggh. I hate that. I pray for deliverance… I know my love for Him is certainly not where it should be… or I would not be rash. But, if anyone is feeling pretty good about themselves for not being rash… we need to ask ourselves, “do we struggle with anything else?” (Maybe even repeatedly???)
      Unloving? Anyone unloving? On more than one occasion. And remember how Christ defined loving.
      Maybe you are just not very understanding… you lack understanding. oops. THat one is in there too. Insolent? Perhaps you care to talk about others?
      Point is, there is we all practice sin (bad sins) and the outcome is…. it is… death. Our need of Christ is complete. Every one of us.

      And that is why GRACE IS SO IMPORTANT. It is what the reformers found the most remarkable message that the church had lost.
      Thanks Michael!

    • Barbara Ogg

      I have rarely read such a sacrilegious piece presented by someone who claims he knows Jesus. I am sicked by your portrayal of the creator of the universe and sacrificial Lamb who was without sin as. Your understanding of who Jesus was reminds me of His accusers who claimed he was a “gluttonous man and a drunkard.”

      “Oh, they have their verses to justify it, but these are always based in unbiblical emotional passions that cannot ever be justified.”

      How do you have Bible verses that are unbibilcal? It is either a Bible verse or it isn’t.

      “He would be caught laughing at their jokes. He probably handed them a beer or two, turning water into beer when they ran out. He was their friend before anything else.”

      I can not recall any scripture where Jesus was laughing and listening to sinner’s jokes or handing them a beer. He turned water into wine at a wedding. He didn’t go bar hopping. His scripture’s say Do not be drunk with wine. I am pretty sure that includes being tipsy or high. He tells us to be sober. He came to save the lost. Was He laughing and cutting up with Mary Magdalene at the well? Sinners are deeply hurting people. He didn’t crack jokes with them; He listened to them and He gave them hope. He showed them the right path. He loved them where they were at. He wasn’t afraid to touch them and His eyes pierced through them. He told them the truth with love. Their lives were transformed. He was not a drunkard and He didn’t go to party with them because He was so cool and down with the people and all that other hip jargon you are tossing out there to show us how cool you are. Their eternity depended on Him telling them the truth. His heart was broken for His people. He came to offer His life as a sacrifice for their sins..not to party and tell jokes. That was what the people He was dying for did while they were crucifying Him. The men who crucified Jesus had lots of jokes and fun and games at His expense. Jesus was sober minded. I have no doubt Jesus laughed and that He laughed a lot. But have you ever been to a gay bar? Do you know what kind of jokes they tell there? certainly not the type of jokes that Jesus would find funny.

      “Fifth, he would order a beer (or three)

      “he would drink until his heart was “merry” or “glad” (see Eccl 10:19, Ps 104:15, Judg 9:13, Matt 26:29). No, I did not say he was controlled by alcohol. Did I say he was inebriated? I will just stick with the biblical words and let you wrestle with it.”

      I don’t have to wrestle with it. Jesus did not get drunk and you are implying He did. I am sickened by your description of my Lord and Savior.

      I looked up the scripture you quoted as proof Jesus would order 3 beers in a gay bar. You really take a lot of leeway with God’s word. Do you not realize you are accountable for this? I quoted them below.

      Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. Eccl 10:19

      He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: 15wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. Ps 104:15

      But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees? Judg 9:13

      I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matt 26:29

      “Seventh, he would wait for them to ask Him for the hope that is in Him

      First Peter 3:15 says that we are to live our lives in such a way that unbelievers are perplexed and say “Why do you have hope! I don’t get it. Explain it to me.”

      Certainly this is true.

      There may be an immediate opportunity at the bar. It may take a week. It may take six years. But eventually, people will ask.

      Eventually? People will either see your light or they won’t or they won’t care about your light. Not everyone wants Jesus. They crucified Him remember? If they didn’t want Him He told the disciples to leave and go on the the next town. Don’t present your pearls before swine.

      People would ask Jesus for the hope that was in Him.. but Jesus walked the walk. Do people ask drunkards for the hope that is within them? Do people ask someone listening to their dirty jokes for the hope that is within them?

      Eighth
      “Wait, I want you to understand what I did not say. I did not say “Eighth, he would finally try to convert them out of their homosexuality.” I said he would present the Gospel. The sin of homosexuality may or may not come up. The issue here is to help people understand that they are sinners, not get rid of every sin. That comes later. That is called sanctification. The Gospel is that we are at enmity with God and that we need restoration. The Gospel is that God offers forgiveness free of charge and trust in him is all that is necessary.”

      “but the way you evangelize homosexuals is the same way you evangelize all sinners. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to deal with their individual sins,”

      I actually like number eight.

    • Gary Brown

      Some of your steps were really patronizing. Are you writing to stereotypes or real Christians? C’mon man.

    • Brad

      First off, I gotta state I agree and love the article, especially the overall point, spread the gospel. There is no need in my piece to tear through what the words: “practice”, “drunk”, “homosexual”, etc means; many people already have.

      But I feel as if I have a distorted view of how it might play out, it goes as follows:

      You go down to the Nichols Hills Area (some gay bars are around there in okc) and you find a gay bar and you walk in. Your face starts to twitch and you start making these really awkward sounds, cultural shock would probably be evident.
      The bar tender ask’s what you want to drink, “a whiskey straight up.” Oh crap, is that allowed, why did I say that? Face palm.
      Then a male comes over to you and starts talking, just a normal, casual, conversation. On tv the bars they show have regulars, so lets assume this is a regular who is talking to you. At this point he says, “I’ve never seen you in here before.” And to that I would have no clue what to say. Ya I’m just chilling on a Friday night, or well I am trying to outreach to people who I think need the gospel more than me (being sarcastic).”

      But seriously what would you say to someone who asked you what you were doing there?

    • Wayne Greulich

      Thank you for speaking up for some of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Christ does not call us merely to belief, but also to discipleship. Not only is the Gospel to be preached but disciples are to be made, as per one of Christ’s last commands to His disciples.
      Our western culture doesn’t usually understand what a disciple is. One of the closest things in our society is that of apprenticeship in the trades. The apprentice lives and works with the master tradesman every work day. Over days, months, and years (in our jurisdiction it takes a minimum of 5 years for an apprentice to become a licensed plumber), the apprentice finally becomes like his teacher, the master tradesman.
      The Church desperately needs those who are true disciples – doing as Christ did, living as He did, and responding as He did. For those who respond to the Gospel, it is woefully inadequate for the church to put them into a classroom and teach them after the manner of worldly schools. We must live with them in such a way that they “catch” what we teach by the lives we live. Preaching and teaching also play a place, but the REAL learning is accomplished when they see Christ modeled in the believer and model their lives likewise.
      I’d like to relate an incident which occurred in the mid 1970’s. I attended my high school commencement (my graduation) after a few months in Bible College. After about 8 of my friends asked me to join them at a local bar. The church I grew up in was somewhat legalistic and would have frowned on me doing so. However, I decided to go with them and drank soft drinks while they consumed their alcohol. What was interesting is that I spent more time and had more “open” opportunity to witness to them than I had had in all of high school. As a matter of fact, most of the hours we spent together were spent discussion Christianity and Christ’s claims. Incidentally, out this group of 8, at least 5 eventually came to follow Christ.
      While I agree with your basic premise and many of the points you make, I think there is a certain amount of conjecture on your part – conjectures to which Scripture either directly speaks or gives evidence against these conjectures.
      For example, your conjecture that Christ drank alcohol has no basis in Scripture. There is no record in Scripture of Him drinking alcohol. Christ came to fulfill the Law. Leviticus 10:9-11 forbade priests from being under the influence of strong drink while ministering as priests. Since Christ is our great High Priest and was constantly ministering during the period of the Gospels as our Priest, the biblical evidence is that He drank nothing intoxicating. He even rejected the vinegar (a by-product of making alcoholic wine) offered Him on the cross.
      Additionally, both the Hebrew Scriptures and culture used a number of different words to describe different wines. One of those words, “tirosh,” often interpreted merely, “wine,” actually refers to fresh grape juice and sometimes is interpreted, “new wine.” It was also customary to boil down new wine to make a syrup which was suitable to mixed with water (water, which was not always that palatable). There is indication that the “best wine” (referred to the wine which Christ created in John 2) was considered to be the freshly squeezed grape juice because of it’s rarity (except during harvest time). Since there is no equivalent Greek distinctions between different types of wine, it cannot be stated conclusively that the marriage wine was “new wine,” but culture would indicate that this likely was the case.
      I also take issue with your claim that Christ would invite them to His house. Scripture makes it quite clear that He owned, nor rented, a house. He clearly stated He had no place to lay His head. Instead, His call was for sinners to follow Him and/or to become His disciples. This should maybe be the action of Christ’s disciples today, but it certainly is not what Christ did.
      1 Peter 3:15 is not the only NT directive on how the Gospel is to be presented. We are commanded to PREACH the Gospel. Christ confronted people with their need for His salvation, as did the Apostles as particularly seen in the book of Acts. Also, aside from the general command to preach the Gospel and witness what Christ has done for us personally, there is the calling of an evangelist, whose focus is full-time preaching of the Gospel.
      However, I believe your presentation on this intimates that our lives needs to be preaching the Gospel (or the results of it) as well as our words. We do need to be careful not to be “ramming it down people’s throats.” Sadly, in contemporary, western Christianity lives are seldom lived in a way in which the unsaved will “see our good works and glorify our Father, Who is in heaven.”
      In closing, may we seek to have a heart after the Father’s heart – to love as He loves, to weep over the lost as He does, and to give our all and our best to be Jesus unto them, as the Father gave His son.
      God bless.

      • Barbara Ogg

        Wayne Greulich, I love how you worded that.

      • Pam

        I agree with your comments regarding this article. Very well stated.

    • John N

      Hands up anyone reading the comments who might think some folks just missed the essence of the post.

      Hat off to CMP who knows with posts like this someone will always rip into him and yet he goes ahead and d0es it. #respect

    • Tony Ford

      Stimulating post, Michael! I haven’t been reading your material for some time, but find you are still provoking thought and drawing responses over a wide spectrum of Christian hearts. May your theology never ossify or petrify your heart!

    • a.

      thinking better posture to NOT assume one is saved?

      ‘practicing sinner’ ?
      at some point have to address Heb 10:26-27

      ‘3 beers’?
      3beers/170 man =.0561 which accordng to the CDC is ‘impaired driver’ due to reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, impaired judgement, trouble doing two task at the same time

      ‘ he would wait for them to ask Him for the hope that is in Him’
      wasn’t Jesus’s MO more often ‘do you want to get well”

      • Larry

        Maybe Jesus talked with the sinner for 3 hours and only had one beer per hour, therefore avoiding impairment. Since he avoided impairment yet was seen drinking with a sinner he may be labeled by some legalist as a drunkard and a sinner by having associated with said sinner. We can be glad however, that Jesus avoided impairment, therefore making him able to dive his chariot home safely,

    • FDR

      Patton, instead of a 5 pt Calvinist you are starting to sound like a seeker driven church planter. you wearing skinny jeans. 🙂

      • Larry

        Well, the belief that one can practice (1prac·tice verb ˈprak-təs : to do something again and again in order to become better at it: to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life) sin as a Christian certainly sounds Calvinistic to me.

      • Dave Z

        CMP in skinny jeans! I love it! Michael, I’ll be looking for that in your next DVD series! 🙂
        (I love the post)

    • FDR

      also remember those who practice such things.. ( Paul gives the list…1 Cor 6, Gal. 5 ) will not enter the Kingdom… Practice, we talkin bout practice… not the game but practice.

    • Mike Southerland

      In reading this I began to wonder what you would say if this were not a homosexual establishment, but rather a strip club. Would Christ visit the strip club, laugh at the jokes, buy a round of drinks, “contribute” dollar bills to the dancer, etc.? I think not. There is a difference in reaching out and befriending sinners and joining them in their revelries.
      2 Cor 6:14-18
      Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

      Psalm 1:1-2
      Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is on the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.

    • John B

      Dear Michael:

      What’s next? You have witnessed to the professing homosexual and now he/she has truely accepted Christ and is saved. However, it will probably take this individual months maybe years to start moving away from his/her current life style even longer if he/she has a spouse/partner. The asumption is that this person will go to a church to worship, to love, to be loved and to learn, and rightly so.

      But what if in a matter of time this homosexual, maybe still slipping back into the life style or not (as most sinners do), wants to be on some church committees or become an elder? Also, this person may feel led by the Spirit to teach childeren 0r adult bible classes. What then? Let’s maybe turn things around a little bit to get a better perspective. Substitute the phrase professing fornicator or professing adultorer for the word homosexual. Would you allow this person to lead, teach are childeren, our new brother and sisters in Christ?

      The reason I ask is this is going on in my church, today. The professing homosexual couples are encouraged by the senior pastor to take up teaching and leadership roles.

      So, I believe there needs to be a step Nine in your article addressing what do we tell them next after they, the homosexual, accepts Christ? Maybe, Acts 2;38-39. You tell me.

    • Mike Messerli

      Great post Michael! Love it all and totally on point! Thanks.

    • Mike Messerli

      Let me elaborate on my post above- I have a former sister-in-law who left my brother and became a lesbian. Before this they were my youth pastors. We continued to love her and reach out, but it took 20 years for her to come back to her faith and to the community of believers. God works. Trust him, love people and pray that he will use you. It’s the love and grace of God lived out through us that will change lives as His Spirit works on their hearts. It truly is a mystical work and we can’t always make sense of it all.

    • Wayne Greulich

      John B, you bring out some very valid points and hit at something which is usually a problem with the Gospel which is usually preached.

      True believers, I’m sure, are aware that there are many false gospels preached today (e.g. prosperity gospel, hyper-faith gospel, etc.). However, even what true Believers believe to be “the gospel” is often not the Gospel according to Scripture.
      What usually is preached is something like, “You are a sinner; God loves you and sent Jesus to pay for your sins; ask God for forgiveness and invite Jesus into your life. Pray the sinners’ prayer after me.” Usually, after the prayer is prayed, the Christian tells the person that he is now a member of the family of God and then explains that they need to go to church, pray, read his Bible, etc. THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL OF THE BIBLE!

      The Gospel according to Jesus and the apostles is that there must be a working of the Holy Spirit within a person’s life to bring conviction of one’s true estate before God and our impending judgment under a holy, righteous, and just God (John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; et al.). True working of the Holy Spirit in such a way leads one to godly sorrow and repentance (Acts 2:38ff) and eventually (as the Spirit is allowed to do His work) one comes to a faith in which one is spiritually born again by the Spirit and Word (2 Corinthians 7:9-11; John 3:3ff). This includes one coming to a fear of the Lord and humbling oneself as a little child to be born again (Matthew 18:1-6; et al.).
      This usually is not an instantaneous event, but rather, a process by which the Spirit and the Word of God work within a person.
      It also includes a proper understanding by the Christian and by the sinner as to what Biblical, saving faith is. Far too often, in our society, the faith preached in the false/insufficient gospel is merely a mental assent to a set of Biblical facts. However, the words translated “faith, belief,” and “believe” in the New Testament do NOT mean “intellectual assent;” what it means in the Greek is, “to completely rely upon, to utterly trust, to entrust one’s total being to Christ.” Of necessity, this also means that one must depart from any other person (including oneself), thing, doctrine, or philosophy; it includes true repentance and a turning away from one’s sins, sinful practices, and sinful living.

      The Bible also makes it clear that when one has gone through this process and has truly been born again, then there will be observable evidence that such has taken place. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
      In other words, Jesus saves, delivers, sets free, and creates HIS life within a person in a true salvation. A changed life is the evidence. Look at the Scriptures which give us enough details to see this (e.g. the demoniac in Mark 5:1-15).

      Far too often, the church leads one to a pseudo salvation in which there is no changed life. We fill our churches with unregenerated individuals and think they are “believers” and then wonder why they continue to live a sinful lifestyle. 1 John 3:4-10 (NASB) states this truth quite bluntly: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

      If Christ’s church will abandon its pseudo-gospel and start preaching the Biblical Gospel of Christ, then we would not have homosexuals which continue to be homosexuals, thieves, liars, wife-beaters, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) within the Church masquerading as “Christians.”

      Even more importantly, is for true born-again believers to be disciples of Christ, modelling the life, character, and behaviour of Jesus Christ. Far too often, such ones continue to live lives contrary to the change made in them by the Spirit of God. The Biblical description of these are “carnal; living in the flesh,” etc. We are exhorted over and over again that the flesh wars against the Spirit and we are to put off the flesh, or the old man, and put on the new man in Christ Jesus.

      Two ingredients necessary for the new birth (a humble and contrite heart and the fear of the Lord) need to continue within the lives of those truly born-again. This will lead to consistently bringing any sin to repentance, forgiveness, and restoration of unhindered relationship with Christ and each other (1 John 1:5-10; James 4:6-10, et al.). The one who truly fears God will fear the offense against the Person and will of God – “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil . . .” (Proverbs 8:13).

      Concerning the sin of your pastor in allowing unregenerate people to “serve” in the church, your pastor needs some serious help. I don’t know if he is one of the unregenerate or whether he has simply abandoned the charges and responsibility with which Scripture mandates for him to follow. Certainly, there either is a lack of will, a fear of man (rather than a fear of God), and/or the lack of spiritual backbone. I would encourage you to confront him with his duties as a pastor (study well Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy). Especially pertinent is the following from the Amplified Bible:
      2 Timothy 3:12-17 (AMP)
      12 Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand].
      13 But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.
      14 But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them],
      15 And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness].
      16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
      17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
      2 Timothy 4:1-5 (AMP)
      1 I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:
      2 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
      3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
      4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
      5 As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry.

      Should your pastor not pay attention to the rebuke of Scripture here (and elsewhere), then he does not fear God and you should find a pastor who does. “Come out from among them” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
      God bless as He leads you into the truth of what has been written.

      • Gary Brown

        Wayne – thank you so much for your post. I’m saving it because it is clear truth in a foggy world. Thanks again.

    • John Ford

      The Article was pretty good. There are some holes but this was an article to the family of faith to try to bring Christ to Christianity. Grace and Truth came through one man Jesus Christ. That’s what the bible says. It doesn’t breakdown any category of person for whom he came.
      The responses were a typical mix of law and demand with some actually getting what Grace really means. This is a tough subject because you only know what you know and unless you are willing to listen to another with a different opinion you will never know or understand them. Just because you learn doesn’t mean you agree with what you have heard dear Christian.
      The perspective I have is from a life of living in the gay lifestyle and as a Christian. Before you try to tell me I’m not or wasn’t saved as some responses state, I am and was throughout my life. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
      If you want a deeper understanding of how to witness to same sex attracted people you should learn the language, learn the heart and be willing to leave your opinion at the door.
      I would like to take the opportunity to share my ministry with this group and offer my help if you are struggling with how to witness to gay people.

      http://www.freeindeedco.com

    • Brian M

      A few months ago I decided I needed to wrestle with essentially the same issue brought up here, so the results of my Bible study became entitled: “Commit these sins to keep yourself out of heaven”. I wound up with a list about two pages long. It included lots of different, specific types of sins, of which practicing homosexual acts was only one. The conclusion anyone, gay or straight, looking through this list SHOULD come to is that NOBODY gets to heaven based on what they do or don’t do, and THAT particular sin is no better or worse and any other sin. We ALL fall short. We ALL need God’s grace. It was a big equalizer for me, though it does not seem that the church often views it that way.

    • C Michael Patton

      I have read some great replies and great questions. I wish that I could answer them all (or remember what they are)…I just don’t have time. But I will try as they continue to come in. I have been reading most though—which is better than I usually do!

    • C Michael Patton

      Remember, we all have our lists. Just about everyone in America suffers from mass materialism (including me), neglecting the poor and making excuses. Christians in third-world countries look at us and judge us. Maybe this is worse than homosexuality. Maybe we never recover and die. Where will I go? To be with Christ. My salvation is not dependent on the state of my sanctification.

      Lists are nice. But they are normally very subjective and selective to the sins that we don’t struggle with much.

      • Brian M

        I don’t know whether or not Michael’s comments (which I agree with, btw) about lists were in direct response to my earlier comment about me creating a list of sins to “commit to keep oneself out of heaven”, but I probably should have given some examples so that all readers would know the list was totally Scripture and not just subjective / selective. It included some “biggies” (10 commandments; Proverbs 6:16-19; NOT loving the Lord with all my heart / soul / strength / mind from Luke 10:25-28; etc.) as well as those listed, specific behaviors such given in 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:6-8 and elsewhere in Scripture.

        My reason in doing the study and creating my list was to be able to be ready to show a gay person who asks me for the source of my hope, or who asks me “why is God picking on us?”, that NO ONE can escape this (God’s) list, and that not any, single, particular sin on the list is any worse than any other sin (James 2:10). Apart from Christ we are all toast! But thanks be to God who has provided a way out (up)! Christians who elevate (or lower) any particular sin versus all other sins are probably only doing so to justify themselves. May my only justification come from Christ!

    • C Michael Patton

      Concerning John 2 and the “continue in sin” issue. That is very hard. We just did a Theology Unplugged podcast on it under our “difficult passages” series. You can find it on iTunes, just look up Theology Unplugged.

      However, to be short, I think John is talking about the sin of unbelief. Then, it would be the same as the difficult Hebrews passages.

    • C Michael Patton

      Concerning Jesus going to a strip club, I don’t know. Is he going to lust? If so, no. Is he not going to lust, then its okay. Nudity is not the issue. Lust is.

      • JohnM

        Nudity is not the issue. Lust is. Except we are talking about a strip club, where lust is the point. Why do you need to witness to anyone in a strip club, or for that matter, in a bar, as if the people there only have an existence in those places and are never anywhere else? I’ve always found claims to be in those places for the gospel’s sake a little contrived and pretentious. Especially if you’re not actually actively preaching to people when you’re there. Those who go out of their way to preach for real – and I don’t mean just waiting for a “teachable moment” for a soft soap presentation – and risk the consequences are the only ones I’ll take seriously on the claim. Otherwise, by making it a point to be there you’re just a religious exhibitionist. Assuming you’re not actually just enjoying it.

    • C Michael Patton

      Concerning Jesus getting drunk, it all depends on how you define the issue.

      I would be safe saying he drank until his heart was merry or glad. Why couldn’t he if the Scriptures are not against it and actually say it is a gift of God.

      All I can say about him drinking non-alcoholic drinks is to point you to here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2012/11/did-jesus-turn-water-into-fermented-wine/

      I know of no credible scholars who believe that it was non-alcoholic.

      Someone said that he did not drink at all. I don’t know how many places to point you to to say you will have to wrestle with, but this is a good one.

      Luke 7:34-36New International Version (NIV)

      Luke 7:34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

    • C Michael Patton

      Let’s put it this way, in no way was Christ’s life controlled by alcohol (which is what “drunkard”).

      In Ephesians, the idea is no to be controlled by alcohol, but “be being” controlled by the Holy Spirit. The word for “drunk” is a present progressive just like the word for “be filled” (…by the Holy Spirit).

      Again, its different for everyone. I don’t know how much it takes to define a life controlled by alcohol for you. But I do know what it was like for my dad, who was a depressed drunkard, totally controlled by alcohol, neglecting all other responsibilities at the end of his life. So he was a definite!

    • Bud T

      I think you nailed it here, Michael. Thank you. The only thing I would change would be to take the word “evangelize” out of the title and substitute the word “love” which removes the sense of “those people” since your position on the subject makes it clear you have no desire to create a false division between “us” and “them.” Thank you for having the strength (or love) to put this out there.

      • C Michael Patton

        Thanks Bud. I know what you are saying and I need Christians to hear this even (unfortunately) if some of the language puts them off.

        This is how Christians ask it. “How do I evangel….” And therefore, I hope they will read it to the end.

        There was a comment earlier from a guy that does this continually. He talked about the off-putting language. There probably ought to be another post just about this.

        • Jeremy Erickson

          Not sure if you mean me with talking about the “off-putting language,” but I did mention that the word “homosexual” is off-putting to a lot of gay people. My post may have come across as more critical than intended, since most of what I wrote was addressing my concerns with your wording. I agree with the substance of what you wrote, and I have a decently high tolerance for reading something worded differently than I might like. I’ve just had enough conversations about this stuff to know that wording is often a big (and unnecessary) barrier to communication, and I was trying to offer some constructive advice for how to engage these conversations more effectively.

          Overall, I like what you’ve written, and thanks for writing it!

        • Bud T

          On another note, when I struggled through a time of “post-ministry depression” a few years back one of the most helpful resources I was referred to was “Bright Days, Dark Nights” by Spurgeon.

    • Stephen

      You’re either a Saint or a sinner. A Saint does not willfully sin because he/she has a heart for Jesus. A sinner, on the other hand, sins because he/she has an “everybody sins” mentality and/or simply does not care. That’s the difference. Question: if you were put on the hot seat, would you willfully sin to protect yourself or others? Jesus stood tall in His moment of testing, and He came to give us the same power. It takes much prayer, fasting and living in the Word for Jesus to be able to flow this power to you. Remember Simon Peter? He thought he was ready to stand for Jesus; but when the hour of testing came, he ran and denied Jesus. It took the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost for that to happen. Seek and ye shall find. God bless!

      • Wane Greulich

        Thanks for pointing this out, Stephen.
        Even the carnal Christians in Corinth were called “Saints” by the Apostle Paul. While they were immature and carnal Saints, they were saints nonetheless. However, as God’s spokesman, he made it clear that there were to stop being carnal and make moves to holiness and maturity – as does so much else of the New Testament. The call comes out from God, “Be holy as I am holy.”
        This is part of what I was attempting to say in my last reply: 1 John 3 gives us a clearer understanding of determining whether or not one is born of God – or just attempting to imitate being a Christian but who is really a child of the devil. The one born of God does not habitually practice sin (the meaning of the Greek word used here, often interpreted as “commit”). The one who constantly lives habitually in sin, such as an alcoholic, a consummate gossip, a habitual liar, etc. is NOT born again according to Scripture. The one is truly born again by the Spirit and Word of God will still fall and sin at times, but readily brings it to Christ in repentance (turning away from the sin action), and finds His forgiveness and cleansing as we read in the first chapter of 1 John and the first part of chapter 2.
        The one born of God fears God and “the fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 8:13); The one not born of God attempts to excuse his sin – often with the excuse, “everyone sins.”
        I also appreciate you pointing out the truth of Scripture that Christ never intended for us to be, grow, and live as one of His disciples in our own power. He sent Another – just like Himself (John 14:16) – to empower us to victory over sin. He also gave the Holy Spirit for power to live as a disciple of Christ, witnessing and preaching in the power and demonstration of the Spirit; to be a Comforter – God with the believer; to be a Teacher, leading the disciple into all Truth, etc.
        As you also point out, this only comes through being Baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit as the Apostles and the disciples in the New Testament were. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:39 (NASB). This is observable, as it was in the book of Acts, by a visible, outward sign – usually speaking in tongues or one of the other gifts the Holy Spirit bestows upon those, who allow Him to do so.
        Many modern preachers, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and average Christians who witness to others are negligent by preaching only a partial gospel. The full gospel includes that “the promise” of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for ALL, whom God calls to Himself in Christ. Often, I believe, this is because they, themselves, have only been taught and experienced only a partial gospel. Some do this deliberately with an errant belief that “this promise” was only for those in the NT, but they ignore this and numerous other Scriptures, to their own detriment; others, simply because they’ve never been taught or told. May Christ lead His Church into ALL He intended and desires for ALL His Church.
        God bless.

    • MissyM

      Your straw men seem to re-produce at a rapid rate. Now, let’s move into the real world where you don’t know what Jesus would do because even is Apostles were confounded by him and secondly, where most Christians don’t judge where people live…but then you would have no argument.

    • Teddy C

      Bravo, Michael! I am sure you were painting a picture rather than aiming to be specific about all that Jesus would definitely do.

      What I find most powerful about it is that it exposes the way we still categorize sin and find justification to co-exist peacefully with some while treating others marginally. I know that the gay lifestyle goes against the standards laid out in scripture. There are also many other lifestyles that fall into the same category (womanizing, practicing deception (including self-deception), prideful living, gluttony to name a few. However I don’t think we feel as constrained to distance ourselves from such ‘practicing’ sinners as we feel when it comes to those in same-sex relationships. There seems to be a sort of ‘activism’ around certain issues.

      However if Christian activism was employed around all sins, none of us could keep our daytime job. After all we all have spouses or children or parents or best friends or work associates, even managers who regularly do something we know is wrong. Where is our activism then? A good example is that most Christians vote for politicians who ‘habitually’ tell lies and deceive people, twist their opponents’ words or openly exhibit questionable character, but we have no problem with that. Instead we invoke our responsibility to vote because as we like to say, “People gave their lives for us to have that right/freedom…” Didn’t Christ give his life for us to have freedom as well? So whose sacrifice matters most to us? Am I saying kick out your lying spouse or disown your cell-phone worshiping children? Am I saying don’t vote? Well, only if you believe you can’t go where homosexuals go without going there just to be in their face and tell them they’re going to hell if they don’t stop. What I am really saying is don’t be a hypocrite.

      I do not doubt the sincerity of all contributing here and most of the input is very interesting. I feel obliged however to raise a few questions.

      1. How many sins, committed with what frequency does it take to qualify as ‘practicing’ sin?

      2. If as Wayne G puts it, true salvation/ being born again is “not an instantaneous event, but rather, a process by which the Spirit and the Word of God work within a person…” why did Paul tell the Ephesians “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13) Also, what happened on the Day of Pentecost BEFORE and AFTER Peter’s sermon? (Acts 2: ) What about what happened at Cornelius’ house? (Acts 10:34-48) How long does this process take? Does bearing apples MAKE a tree an apple tree ? Or does being an apple tree MAKE a tree bear apples?

      3. Where do a “humble and contrite heart” and “fear of God” originate? In the unregenerate human heart?

      4. If Jesus was not consuming wine why did He contrast Himself with a non-wine drinking John the Baptist? And if what He was drinking was fresh grape juice instead of alcohol what was the basis of their accusations? (Luke 7:33-35)Didn’t Jews consume grape juice?

    • SamCurtis

      Love the context of your article. Don’t agree with others that point to point dispute many of your “steps”, too much looking at the individual trees and thus missing the forest. My take on your article is simply that we need to truly see in others the value that Christ sees in them. Many times it is necessary to befriend someone in order to gain their trust, and that trust enables them to receive the Holy Spirit’s message though you.

      Driving through the city this last weekend, I ended up behind a car that had a bumper sticker which read, “Gay Pride”. Another bumper sticker was on the opposite end of the bumper which read, “I Believe in Separation of the Church and Hate”.

      How sad that this phrase is significant enough to be made into a bumper sticker. We are called for people to see Christ in us, we evidently are not doing a very good job with the gay community!

    • Greg

      Why would anyone single out “Homosexuals” to evangelise? Do we evangelise to ” Adulterers”? or ” Gossips”? …The context of homosexuality in the bible is defined in Romans which is using it to describe a context of sin..and it goes on to describe that the same spirit of rebellion at work in the homosexual or people who are inflamed with lusts for the same sex being the same spirit at work in the adulterer and the gossip. Homosexual is not a target group in my opinion. And Jesus was a certain type of friend with sinners and on his terms not theirs. There is a limit to Christian friendship with the unbelieving person. Defining that limit is what matters. As the scripture says..Jesus did not entrust himself to men because he knew what was in all men. Therefore Jesus had already made a judgement about the people he encountered. And as believers we do too. We are not called to be the forever best friend bosom buddies with unbelievers as the scriptures says..what has darkness got in common with light….nothing.

      Jesus would not go into the gay bar unless he was told to do so by the father and it would be to talk to someone specifically. And Jesus went to the homes of unbelievers either when he was invited by them or he invited himself but it was always to tell them of the Kingdom and I doubt very much if he had a long term relationship with them planned in order to save them…long term unless they actually got saved. We are a friend to sinners not their buddies.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Prayer is a good step to add. George Verwer was won over to Christ partly through the prayers of an old lady who watched him through her window as he went to school, and prayed for him daily, … then later gave him a Gospel of John (I think I have the Scripture portion correct), then later George heard Billy Graham speak and came to Christ. So far as I know, she never got into any conversations with George herself, nor did she share any drinks with him.

      One of the reasons I don’t like going to certain straight bars, (myself being straight) is that so many people are trying to hook up, and it can be very tempting to me when I see pretty women there. Even when it is not a temptation to me, it can be very uncomfortable if they are lusting after me, plus I feel I am putting temptation in their way. It’s definitely a struggle. Paul says to flee temptation, and to avoid those things that war after the flesh.

      Another reason is that certain people are more likely to get into fights, and I don’t want to get beat up for looking at someone the wrong way, or cheering on the wrong team.

      At a gay bar, I suppose some of the temptation would be alleviated for me, but it still could be difficult for others, uncomfortable if I’m being stared at, and danger of alcohol weakening the civil restraints against violence.

      Another reason not to, is that it is hard to speak with people about Christ if they have had too much to drink. Even if they catch a glimmer of the Gospel, it is hard for them to remember the next morning. Conversation can get difficult.

      Some of the bars near where I live are full of local regulars. The only way to win the right to be heard would be to frequent there a long time and really become one of them, letting them get to know you and you getting to know them personally. “Outsiders” stick out like a sore thumb and aren’t too welcome. The nearest bar I know of didn’t welcome outsiders, unless they were looking to buy meth in the back. I had no idea what the cold reception was about, until the drug bust took place, and then it became clear that they didn’t want anybody who would be police or report them to the police. If you weren’t there to buy drugs, you were treated suspiciously as the enemy.

      So it is very hard to generalize about evangelizing in bars. A big city with urban professionals out for a business luncheon at a bar is totally different from a saloon in the backwater with a bunch of short-tempered gunslingers and gangbangers. These differences can exist among gay bars just as much as among straight bars.

    • Glenn Shrom

      You may argue that Jesus wasn’t afraid of being beaten up, but he did avoid dangerous crowds on more than one occasion saying that his time to suffer had not yet come. He was no glutton for punishment.

    • Glenn Shrom

      I wonder if The Cross and the Switchblade could serve as a good example to many of us. It’s probably about time that movie underwent a remake in the modern era of cinematography.

    • Brian

      Sorry Michael but I’m a bit disappointed with your thinking here that I find it to be “pop theology”. We are all sinners, but we are not practicing sinners. I don’t think you can compare those Believers who give in to temptation from time to time to people who don’t even believe they are sinning. Those seeking redemption and those seeking acceptance. Those wanting to learn the Word and those wanting to ignore it.

      Jesus didn’t come to validate or ignore our sins. He didn’t come to justify or sympathize with our sins. He pointed out our sins, told us to repent, follow Him, and put nothing before God. Especially deviant sexual behaviors. If a gay person can’t recognize that they are not ready to accept Jesus Christ let alone represent Him.

      Love your gay friends and relatives, respect them, don’t throw your beliefs in their face, help them as you would anyone
      else, set a good example and don’t embarrass Jesus, and always be ready when the time comes when they seek Him out. Then help them understand the uncompromised truth of the Word and let the Spirit do His work.

      God Bless.

    • kenneth

      while I certainly agree that NO sin is worse than another as far as separating us from God, I must hesitate at one thing–having a beer ( or 2 or 3) in this day and age would never be a positive thing, esp when befriending the sinner. the homosexual community is already so prone to alcoholism and drug use, that this would be actually participating in their problem. it has been estimated that 2 out of 3 gay men have or have had a problem with alcohol or drugs. can I sit down with them while THEY have a beer and I drink a coke? YES–but to actually buy for them something that has been a slave master in their life??? absolutely not. we can debate the issue of Jesus using alcoholic beverages all day. but in THIS day, the world is a different place, and the issues involving alcohol are not the same as in biblical times. alcohol in Jesus day may have indeed “made the heart merry”, but to get the modern day problem of alcoholism confused with biblical issues is a mistake. our alcohol is so much stronger, and yes addictive. it took a lot of work to get sloppy drink in Jesus’ day–but now that’s not the case. the alcohol is stronger and more readily available. I know im not the “cool” Christian. but I also know that my lack of using alcohol has opened more doors to share the gospel than anything else. everybody drinks these days. but when they see me NOT drinking, they ask why—and BAM theres an opportunity. will I tell them its a sin? no–I will simply tell them about my journey, I will tell them that my grandmother died drinking a bottle of aftershave because she ran out of booze–I will tell them how my mother was raised in an orphanage because of abuse and neglect suffered because of her mothers alcoholism. and I will tell them how my mother came to faith in Jesus because she knew there must be a better (and even perfect) way. 2 Corinthians 8 says “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” while the gay person in the bar may not be my brother (altho they may be), I would never contribute to their stumbling, nor would I offer them more chains on top of the ones they already have.

    • Truth Preacher

      This is carnal nonsense. This is the modern “Christianity”–worldly, unrenewed in mind and heart, this is another jesus, a weak jesus, not the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. This is typical of academics and academia–powerless and full of biblical ignorance and unbelief. This is a man who doesn’t witness regularly to Sodomites, or he would never post such drivel. Nothing about prayer, fasting, the power of the Holy Spirit, the anointing, spiritual warfare, casting demons out of these people–NOTHING of what we find in the New Testament. Christ was not a bartender! To portray the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL IS BLASPHEMY. Read this:

      Heb 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

      Jesus Christ, being God, DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORRAH by burning every single inhabitant in those cities with the “vengeance of eternal fire”-Jude.

      1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
      1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
      1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
      1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

      A “practicing sinner” is not saved. He is a sinner. To say people can “practice” sin and be Christians ID DENIED BY THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT! Such is the antinomian fruit of Deformed Theology, Zane Hodges REBELLIOUS false doctrine against Lordship teaching, and the Once Saved Always saved doctrine of devils. It produces this weak and effeminate version of “Christianity”.

      Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
      Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
      DEAD TO SIN!

      Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
      Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

      FREE FROM SIN!

      Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
      Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
      Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

      if YOU PRACTICE SIN, YOU ARE NOT A SERVANT OF GOD, BUT OF SIN. Paul said so. If we obey God, we are servants of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Notice, we WERE the servants of sin, but because we obeyed the Gospel call FROM THE HEART, we were made free from sin and came under the Lordship of another–Jesus Christ the righteous, and so we are servants of righteousness.

      Fasting and prayer quickens this truth.

    • Gary Alan Brown

      Mike – bet you saw this one coming from a mile away!

    • Clint

      Regarding point 3, should we consider adding 1st John as another epistle of straw?

      If we are all practicing sinners in the sense that John intended (and as Paul illustrated in 1Co 6:9-10), then we’ve all believed an impotent gospel, we are not born of God, and we should have no confidence of salvation.

      “Let God be true though every one were a liar..” (Rom 3:4).

    • Barbara

      I am so tired of these sinners who are mistakenly called homosexuals, gays, fags..getting special treatment from those who want to “understand” their grievous sin.
      These sinners whose main focus is sex attack the very foundation of civilization .
      Their abominable sin assaults the home God established on the earth to love and I raise godly children Who will obey the commandments of the Lord .
      The world calls them homosexuals . But
      Gods WORD calls them sinners bound for hell.
      They need to be seen as what they are; sinners .
      They have no special problem. There only problem is sin. Separation from God and outside the Ark of safety
      They are sinners lost without God and are desperately in need of the Savior .
      They need to repent of their sins .
      God commands all men everywhere to repent .
      Let God be true and every man a liar .
      For this purpose the son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8)

    • Dan

      I appreciate your zeal, however, what your doing is almost a form of theological date rape. First of all, you don’t witness to people in bars. People are there for two reasons (generally). 1. to drink until they are drunk, and 2. to pick up a date (straight or in your example, gay). These people are acting out. My logic doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from the perspective of a recovering alcoholic, and the working for many years as a counselor. You are violating nearly all the rules there is for a counselor. As a Christian Evangelist which you claim to be, your standards should be higher than that of a counselor. 1. Don’t do an intervention with a person who is acting out (i.e. drunk). We do not counsel people who are drunk, or have drugs on board and if we do, we are violation ethical principles of intervention. 2. don’t [ever] take your clients home. I cant believe you would suggest such a thing. Your suggestion leads me to believe that you are acting out, and that you are acting out looking for a date. 3. Always have boundaries. You are not perfect. You can become an alcoholic just like I was. In fact, I hated alcohol, and started drinking IN THE CONTEXT OF WITNESSING. Remember Jimmy Swaggart, arrested for picking up a prostitute. He may have started this with good intentions, i.e. witnessing to them, but look what happened. He fell, just like you and I will if we take your advice. It’s not about inclusion, or forgiveness, or any of that, my friend, it’s about common sense. We are all human, none of us are perfect, and frankly, and very few of us are 100% straight (at least according to the Kinsey scale). Any of us could become tempted to do the wrong thing – hence we need Christ like boundaries, and to lead with example. Your representation of Jesus Christ offends me and it is entirely wrong. Yes Jesus hung out with sinners, but not in bars where same sex persons are drunk and kissing each other. I have several friends that are gay, however, only one person did I feel comfortable witnessing to. And this was probably one of the most difficult and sensitive conversations I ever had. This sort of thing doesn’t happen in a gay bar slamming down 1 or more beers. It happens when we are led only by the Holy Sprit, as you correctly indicated in the last step. I came to this forum with a difficult theological question, about how to witness to gay people. And your answer (other than step 8) unfortunately, didn’t address the major issues, rather there was some bad advice given. Let me ask you, or anyone else on the thread, How do you witness to a gay person, knowing that the first step in salvation is to become aware of sin, and repent from sin?
      Does this mean that a gay person has to become straight in order to be a Christian? I get this question, people have asked this, and I need to know the answer. Be honest. Otherwise, what is the point in even witnessing to them? You MUST deal with this question honestly. I know gay people, I have acquaintances and friends that I care about who are practically born this way. No therapy has ever worked to ‘transform’ a gay person to a straight person, it doesn’t work that way, at least not for those well into adulthood. So tell me, in all seriousness, how do you witness to them? Please don’t tell me to go to a bar, have a few drinks and take them home. I am concerned about the souls of my friends potentially suffering in hell for eternity. This is not a joke, not something to take lightly. Either Jesus Christ has the power to transform a gay person, or he doesn’t. Like amputee’s getting healed (getting their legs back) I have not seen or heard of 1 gay person becoming straight. The next best option, is to live alone in celibacy and burn in lust with ones own desires. What kind of answer is that, seriously? Unfortunately, unlike amputee’s, their disposition could land them in hell if they don’t repent and turn from their sin. What are you going to tell them dear sir? Or are you going to misrepresent the person of Jesus Christ, drink beer in a gay bar, tell them that they are OK and hand them a watered down version of the gospel without repentance and then offer to take them to your home for the night? I love you, I love you all, I love them, and I am deeply concerned for the souls of my dearest friends.

    • Stephen

      Dan,

      Jesus gives the power over sin. We will be tempted in this life, but Jesus gives the power over the works of the flesh. For people attracted to their own sex, Jesus gives the power to resist that temptation too.

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