This week I noticed that former Christian Music Artist Jennifer Knapp has announced in interviews that she is a homosexual, yet she also maintains that she is still a Christian. This raises the issue that the church today is going to increasingly be confronted with this. In her interview she says that she remains unconvinced at the often-cited Bible verses condemning homosexuality. It also indicates that she does not attend church.
It is good for those of us in evangelical churches to consider what we will do when faced with a professing brother or sister in our lives that would have her views and circumstances. How do we best love her and minister from a Gospel and Christ centered perspective. How do we maintain a commitment to the truthfulness of God's word and biblical authority, yet seek to demonstrate the love of Christ?
I appreciate Bob Stith's comments:
"What I would want to say to Jennifer and others who may be facing her dilemma in the Christian church is that God really does have a sexual standard," Stith said. "It is based on His creative intent which is made clear in both the Old and New Testament. He did not put forth this standard to enslave us but rather to free us. When God prohibits something He always has something better for us. Unfortunately that concept is often lost in both the church and the world today. All of us are inclined to trust our own instincts and desires more than the revealed will of God. Whatever our desires may be and however right and/or powerful they may seem, God's desires for us must always take precedence. That may not bring immediate gratification but both for us and the Kingdom eternal the ultimate pay-off will be far greater."
The Scriptures seem to be very clear that God does not condone homosexuality (1 Cor 6:9-11; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27). So, it would appear that Jennifer Knapp is a professing sister who has been caught in a tresspass. Galatians 6:1 says "Brothers (sisters), if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him (or her) in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."
This verse reminds us that as believers we belong to a family that should be watching out for, loving and caring for one another. We should have the kind of relationships where we are close enough to know what is going on in each other's lives. When we see our brother or sister sinning we should care enough to come alongside and give loving confrontation. It is interesting how sin is described like a trap or perhaps how the victim is likened to the prey of a ferocious animal. We should have pity and compassion for one caught by sin. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 describes someone who opposes the truth as having been caught by Satan to do his will and needing God to grant them repentance so that they will come to their senses. We are commanded to gently instruct such a one.
There are exhortations for every one of us in Gal 6:1. Besides being commanded to be brotherly in this way we recognize that we need to be spiritual. According to the context I believe that means we need to be walking in, led by, and living by the Spirit so that we too do not fulfill the desires of the flesh, but rather produce the fruit of the Spirit which fulfills the law of love. We have to humbly look at our own lives and deal with our own sin.
With these concepts of gentleness, love, humility, and prayer we can approach our brothers and sisters as family and perhaps they will be restored so that one day they can restore us. If not, then Christ has wisely designed a loving church restoration process in Matt 18:15-17. I pray that Jennifer Knapp has such people in her life.