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How to deal with a married lesbian couple in our church
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Post How to deal with a married lesbian couple in our church JStephenConn
This past week a new family has visited our church twice. At first I thought they were maybe sisters. Now I have learned that they were married about two weeks ago, moved to our community, and are looking for a home church.

They are young, in their early twenties at most, and have two children, which are not their own. This morning they attended Sunday School and seemed eager to get their children involved.

One of the women has a man's haircut and wears a coat and tie. I had to ask twice, thinking I had not heard correctly, when he/she told me her name was Vanessa.

Okay - sinners are welcome at our church - a rural Southern Baptist congregation in the mountains of east Tennessee. But this morning they caused quite a stir which caused two of my good members to get up and walk/storm out during the service. They offended several other members who expressed their concerns to me after church. The problem is not so much that they are lesbian, but that they hold hands, hug frequently, and cuddle during the service. They also raise their hands in praise and worship. And the cross-dressing is a problem. We have large group of young children in our church, and they are asking questions. I haven't yet seen the he/she go into a restroom, but some are wondering which he/she will choose.

I have no problem with the couple coming out to worship and to hear the word of God. However, the public displays of affection are very distracting, and we don't want to implicitly condone that behavior by doing nothing about it.

My first concern is for the children in our church, and then for the souls of the couple. Also, we don't want to be sued for indiscrimination if we ask the lesbians not to come back. Any serious advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Post Cojak
Strictly from the pew, and I was a pastor for a short time before this would have ever been a problem. I know you are a wise man, and already have some ideas and plans.

Somehow I wold think a talk in private will be in order concerning a welcome to worship God, and a request of less public display of affection.

Lastly I hope they are not there to seek a 'public' trial of discrimination.

Most of all my prayers for you and your church for a Godly answer to the situation, and it is a BIG concern I am sure.

One questions: Do your deacons handle this sort of thing or is it in your hands?
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Post Carolyn Smith
I think a private meeting might be in order, as well.

How would you handle a straight couple re: public displays of affection? Would you feel a need to address it?

Seems there are two issues at stake here: a) this family's salvation. Do you risk that opportunity by appeasing the church members? Or are they going to get the unwelcome vibe anyhow and move on? The other issue is the church members' reaction, and I totally get that you can't afford to alienate them. How do you balance presenting the gospel to this family vs. not offending your church or alienating them?

I would think the parents need to discuss this with their own children. Perfect opportunity for them to pass on that church isn't a perfect place but a place for people to get to know Jesus. Is the outrage really the children are confused or the people are offended? Children see this in the world.

Perhaps you could address your church's beliefs concerning the gay lifestyle within a sermon, speaking the truth in love. But also meet with this couple to assure them you care for them but if they want to attend, they will need to at the least address the PDA. If you address it from the pulpit, you probably will not need to ask them to leave.
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8/28/16 7:23 pm


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Post Preach the Word Ernie Long
I would say your church isn't the first church they have attended, even if they say it is. They want attention and meeting with them in private may cause you more harm than good. If you have a few spiritually mature women in your church, I would meet with them and tell them to take every opportunity they have to speak into these women. There is always one in the relationship who is more open to changing their lifestyle than the other and the more they are surrounded by strong spiritually mature women, the greater success you will have with one or even both of them.

If the church is that offended by a couple of lesbians that they walk/storm out, you got more problems than you think. Preach what the Bile says about homosexuality and how God dealt with it. He hasn't change His stance on the subject and neither is the church. They won't stay very long with the Word being spoken in truth and love.

I have a close family member who has been convinced she is a lesbian and is in the process of becoming a man. She and her partner attend a church for gays and the church preaches a twisted message of God's love. She even has a bible written for gays. These women that are attending your church needs to hear the truth from the pulpit and see it in action from the pew.

As far as your members walking out mad/upset over what the devil does, then they need to grow up and mature in the Word. If they don't then Brother, you are going to spend a lot of your time coddling immature christians.
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8/29/16 5:43 am


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Post bradfreeman
Try love.

Here's what it looks like:

1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you have people that can't sit through a service with someone they feel is a "sinner", you really do have a problem...and it's not your new couple.

Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

I'm praying for wisdom for you.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

And don't forget this one:

Rom. 4:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.

If you really want to change their minds, try kindness...that's what God does. In case you're wondering what kindness looks like:

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

So love, do good, bless, give "expecting nothing". That's the kindness of God that changes people.
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Last edited by bradfreeman on 8/29/16 12:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post They have an agenda ... Mat
They have an agenda for your church. Use great wisdom, but the "your face" PDAs and cross-dressing are a expression of the spirit that drives them. If a drug addict came to your church and injected heroin on the pew while church worship or during the preaching, what would you do? If a drunk set in the pew with a bottle of Jack Daniels and between drinks raised his hands and "praised the Lord" what would you do? If a teen age boy and a teen age girl set in the pew and engaged in PDAs, what would you do?

First of all, they are not married in the sight of God.

Secondly, they seek affirmation from your church because they know the relationship is not natural and it is sinful.

Finally, if you make allowance for this behavior in the name of Christian love, they will bring their friends from the LBGTQ community and you will loss Bible believing Christians from your congregation. It is a hard process to reverse.

(IMHO)

Mat

PS Make sure they know where your church stands on the issue. Give them something offical in writing.
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Post Methocostal
I highly advise that you seek legal counsel! They can be baiting you for a high profile legal action. I'm not saying you shouldn't say or do anything! But, should it be addressed directly in private, subtle from the pulpit. Personally, I'd probably address the PDA generically. Not just for that couple but for anyone. However, how do you handle that with a normal husband wife whose pda is restricted to holding hands or the arm behind the pew.

What a tough situation. You want to love them. You want to show them the way. You don't want to condone the situation. You don't want a needless lawsuit!

Pray the Holy spirit would come down in such a way they either change or run out the building! Seriously.

I think I would actually ask the Church to start meeting daily for prayer meeting with no identification of why. Ask for the wisdom of Solomon in this situation. God can solve the problem. Either than get convicted and change or they realize your Church isn't the place for them. I don't sense this at all from you, but legalistic holier than thou attitude will not convict and will encourage "legal action" on their part.

Goodness what a difficult situation. I fear this may become common place simply to generate law suits, whether it is by this couple in particular, or as a form of persecution of Christians as the new offensive weapon the gay agenda may promote. I hope they are sincere and are truly searching.
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8/29/16 11:31 am


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Post Resident Skeptic
bradfreeman wrote:
Try love.

Here's what it looks like:

1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you have people that can't sit through a service with someone they feel is a "sinner", you really do have a problem...and it's not your new couple.

Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

I'm praying for wisdom for you.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

And don't forget this one:

Rom. 4:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.

If you really want to change their minds, try kindness...that's what God does. In case you're wondering what kindness looks like:

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

So love, do good, bless, give "expecting nothing". That's the kindness of God that changes people.



How would the modern church deal with the guy in the Corinthian church having a sexual affair with his father's wife? I didn't see much "love" talk from Paul on the matter (though all discipline is loved based in God's eyes).
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Post Eddie Robbins
Tell them they're going to hell and get the hell out of your church. That's what I hear from some. AND, that's what these folks feel from most "Christians."

Here's what I would do. I would take them to dinner and have conversation with them about how a lot of people are not comfortable with outward displays of affection and it's best not to do that around them. Be sure to let them know that you feel that way no matter the sexual orientation. Jesus loved sinners and sinners loved Him. Pharisees didn't love Jesus and He struggled with them.
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8/29/16 4:15 pm


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Post Cojak
Eddie Robbins wrote:
Tell them they're going to hell and get the hell out of your church. That's what I hear from some. AND, that's what these folks feel from most "Christians."

Here's what I would do. I would take them to dinner and have conversation with them about how a lot of people are not comfortable with outward displays of affection and it's best not to do that around them. Be sure to let them know that you feel that way no matter the sexual orientation. Jesus loved sinners and sinners loved Him. Pharisees didn't love Jesus and He struggled with them.
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Post bonnie knox
Quote:
I would take them to dinner and have conversation with them about how a lot of people are not comfortable with outward displays of affection and it's best not to do that around them. Be sure to let them know that you feel that way no matter the sexual orientation.


What if it's not? It doesn't bother me to see a married heterosexual couple with a hand on the partner's shoulder in church or kissing on the lips to say goodbye in the parking lot or briefly embracing in the hallway. It doesn't bother me to see an unmarried heterosexual couple holding hands in the sanctuary.
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Post bradfreeman
Resident Skeptic wrote:
bradfreeman wrote:
Try love.

Here's what it looks like:

1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you have people that can't sit through a service with someone they feel is a "sinner", you really do have a problem...and it's not your new couple.

Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

I'm praying for wisdom for you.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

And don't forget this one:

Rom. 4:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.

If you really want to change their minds, try kindness...that's what God does. In case you're wondering what kindness looks like:

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

So love, do good, bless, give "expecting nothing". That's the kindness of God that changes people.



How would the modern church deal with the guy in the Corinthian church having a sexual affair with his father's wife? I didn't see much "love" talk from Paul on the matter (though all discipline is loved based in God's eyes).


2 Cor 2:5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
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Post Eddie Robbins
bonnie knox wrote:
Quote:
I would take them to dinner and have conversation with them about how a lot of people are not comfortable with outward displays of affection and it's best not to do that around them. Be sure to let them know that you feel that way no matter the sexual orientation.


What if it's not? It doesn't bother me to see a married heterosexual couple with a hand on the partner's shoulder in church or kissing on the lips to say goodbye in the parking lot or briefly embracing in the hallway. It doesn't bother me to see an unmarried heterosexual couple holding hands in the sanctuary.


That's why you say "a lot of people are not comfortable..."
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Post Resident Skeptic
bradfreeman wrote:
Resident Skeptic wrote:
bradfreeman wrote:
Try love.

Here's what it looks like:

1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you have people that can't sit through a service with someone they feel is a "sinner", you really do have a problem...and it's not your new couple.

Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

I'm praying for wisdom for you.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

And don't forget this one:

Rom. 4:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.

If you really want to change their minds, try kindness...that's what God does. In case you're wondering what kindness looks like:

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

So love, do good, bless, give "expecting nothing". That's the kindness of God that changes people.



How would the modern church deal with the guy in the Corinthian church having a sexual affair with his father's wife? I didn't see much "love" talk from Paul on the matter (though all discipline is loved based in God's eyes).


2 Cor 2:5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.


Ah but that is not what I asked you. What Paul wrote above was after the guy repented. Initially he commanded that the man be put out of the church. Do you agree with Paul?
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Post philunderwood
Use Romans 15 and appeal to their spiritual 'sensitivity' to people who see things differently...and to all of us the message remains - do not use your liberty as a license to do what you want when you want. We must put others before ourselves.

Just a take...
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What comes to mind for me is I Corinthians. Paul heard that there were divisions among them. In his letter, he wrote that he heard their were divisions among them. There was a man who had his father's wife. Paul mentioned it in the epistle. He directly addressed the problem in a way all of them would hear and understand when the letter was read aloud to the congregation.

You might want to talk to them about the PDA and the cross-dressing privately. But you could preach against same sex marriage and address the problem with cross dressing. It's Old Testament, but if all women who wear what pertains to a man are an abomination to the LORD, is there any reason to think that what the Lord finds repulsive has changed?

If you preach on that topic and they are there holding hands, then they could repent, they could leave, or they could keep coming around. If they want to hold hands after you preach against it, then you could talk to them. If they are looking for someone to sue, so what? Don't worry or fear a law suit. Trust God to protect and provide.

Btw do you have anything in your church minutes, bi-laws, etc. on this issue?

If some nudists decided to come to your church, what would you do, btw? Would you leave it alone?
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Resident Skeptic wrote:

Ah but that is not what I asked you. What Paul wrote above was after the guy repented. Initially he commanded that the man be put out of the church. Do you agree with Paul?


That might have been someone else. We aren't 100% sure.
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Something to keep in mind is that church meetings are supposed to be for the edification of believers. The apostles usually evangelized outside of church.

In I Corinthians 14, while believers are prophesying, something they do to build each other up, and an unbeliever comes in, the secrets of his heart may be made manifest, and he may fall on his face saying that God is truly among you. Paul didn't say to have an evangelistic service, but thing believers are to do when they gathered had that effect on them. Paul went to where the unbelievers were to evangelize.

Some of the LGBT folks are 'churched' folks who have heard the Gospel, but have an agenda to get churches to accept sin. In the book of Revelation, we see that there were some teachings trying to get Christians to engage in sexual immorality and eating meat offered to idols. Jesus corrected one church for tolerating those who held to these teachings.
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Post bradfreeman
Resident Skeptic wrote:
Ah but that is not what I asked you. What Paul wrote above was after the guy repented. Initially he commanded that the man be put out of the church. Do you agree with Paul?


Where does it say he repented? Or do you define repentance as sorrow?
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Post Eddie Robbins
Link wrote:
What comes to mind for me is I Corinthians. Paul heard that there were divisions among them. In his letter, he wrote that he heard their were divisions among them. There was a man who had his father's wife. Paul mentioned it in the epistle. He directly addressed the problem in a way all of them would hear and understand when the letter was read aloud to the congregation.

You might want to talk to them about the PDA and the cross-dressing privately. But you could preach against same sex marriage and address the problem with cross dressing. It's Old Testament, but if all women who wear what pertains to a man are an abomination to the LORD, is there any reason to think that what the Lord finds repulsive has changed?

If you preach on that topic and they are there holding hands, then they could repent, they could leave, or they could keep coming around. If they want to hold hands after you preach against it, then you could talk to them. If they are looking for someone to sue, so what? Don't worry or fear a law suit. Trust God to protect and provide.

Btw do you have anything in your church minutes, bi-laws, etc. on this issue?

If some nudists decided to come to your church, what would you do, btw? Would you leave it alone?


Being nude in public is against the law. Oranges and apples.
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