J. A. Littler
Every church wants to be a welcoming church. Of course, the definition of welcoming changes from church to church. And any conversation on this topic almost always leads to the task of untangling the world’s demands and the associated hot-button topics: gay rights, feminism, the stain of sin in America’s history, and so forth.
Pastors, Sunday School teachers, and others who teach the Word in their churches will no doubt be forced to answer some questions related to these topics, and a Biblical answer will determine whether the world perceives their churches as welcoming. Further, the mother of three small children who sits in the 13th row, as well as the older man who sits in the second row, will more than likely be labeled by someone somewhere as that kind of person who goes to that church. Many Bible-believing Christians have become aware of the painfully obvious fact that to try to be welcoming according to the world’s expectations is to play a dangerous game and risk becoming a friend of the world (James 4:4).
I would like to refresh the Christian who is wearied by this struggle and offer some Biblical counsel that might serve as a foundation for weathering the ever-increasing torrent of disapproval from the world that is aimed at Christ’s church. First, we will briefly address the modern definition of welcoming and seek to replace the world’s expectations with Christ’s desires for His church. Then we will form a strategy to address one of the most prominent (and dangerous) challenges to the church’s success in proclaiming the gospel, that is, the term gay Christian.
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J. A. Littler (MA, MDiv) is an adjunct professor of Bible and theology at Clarks Summit University. He has also written a variety of articles and teaching resources for Sunday School and other ministries of the local church.