In recent years, few moral issues have brought greater challenge to the American church than sexual immorality and homosexuality in particular. While 2,000 years of Christian doctrine provide clear and undiluted teaching on the issue, modern denominations and churches have sought alternative interpretation of Scripture in face of a rapidly changing culture.
I’m not surprised. When Christian leaders begin to follow opinion polls rather than the truth of the infallible inerrant Word, the result is compromise of truth followed by denial of truth. The serpent’s words of Eden ring loud in our modern day, “Did God actually say…?” These words were followed by outright denial of the truth of God. The more things change, the less they change. The schemes of Satan have not changed since Eden. When dealing with the plethora of sexual issues of our day, the pattern of compromise and denial is clear.
The central issue for believers, churches, and denominations has not changed. Will we stand on the truth, or will we conform to the patterns of this present age? It behooves us to force ourselves to continually return to the truth of Scripture to determine our beliefs and actions. The fact that biblical truth flies in the face of cultural belief and action changes nothing. Here we stand—we can do nothing less.
But standing against sin is not the same as standing against the sinner. In the midst of doctrinal truth regarding sinful behavior is the Grace of God extended toward sinners. It is not enough to rail against fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. As followers of Christ, our focus must not exclude a determined approach to share the Gospel Grace of God with everyone. Sexual sinners are people for whom Jesus died to redeem, not our enemies. Thus, our goal is not to outshout those who deny scriptural truth, but rather to seek to reach them with the Gospel of Grace.
Last year marked unprecedented advance of the homosexual agenda in America. Wrong has not only been declared right, but legal. Those who stand for truth find increasing pressures to compromise principles and convictions. Biblical Christianity is not just seen as a dinosaur, but a scourge upon society. The church and biblical Christians are finding increasing conflict with the courts and government regulations.
How can Oklahoma Baptist churches walk the balance between truth and grace? A challenging question to say the least, and one that would do us well to consider together.
It is for this reason that the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has planned a conference March 9-10 at Oklahoma City, Quail Springs called “Sexuality, the Gospel & the Church.” The conference will address homosexuality, gay marriage, sexual identity, and many related topics. The conference will also address how to protect the church in the legal environment that surrounds these issues today. While all of you are welcome to attend, this conference is especially designed for pastors and staff who are facing unprecedented challenges, both theologically and practically, in dealing with sexual issues in the church.
This conference will be similar to the one held in 2014 by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville. Headlining the Oklahoma City conference will be Russell Moore, Al Mohler, Marion Jordan, and Augie Boto. Dennis Jernigan will lead worship and share about his own journey from sexual brokenness to wholeness.
The goal of the conference will be to affirm scriptural truth while seeking to lead the church to apply the Gospel in midst of sexual perversion and confusion. This conference will be dynamic and full of helps for pastors and staff. We, as Baptists, must learn how to serve with convictional kindness. Mark the dates, encourage your pastor and staff to attend, and join us yourself, if at all possible.