Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Getting More Strategic

From the department of “maybe I’m the crazy one”, I keep seeing Christians making statements like this all over the internet:

“As your children get older and develop a robust faith and worldview, they will become more resistant to being influenced by LGBT ideology. It might be more strategic to wait until the children are older before agreeing to invite same-sex couples over to the home.”

Might? Might?

That’s the usually-reliable Alan Shlemon over at Stand To Reason, from a post entitled “When to Teach Your Children About LGBT Ideology”. It raises a question Christians of other generations were rarely forced to consider: “When is the right time to invite same-sex couples over to your home?”

My answer would be “Never.” Hear me out.

“Christian” and LGBT

For me, it’s not a remotely difficult question. A gay, lesbian or trans person who professes Christianity would never be welcome in my home, and that includes family members, let alone with their sexual partner. Full stop, period.

That’s basic stuff, found in 1 Corinthians 5, if anyone has forgotten. “I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality.” Before you squawk about the unfairness of singling out certain kinds of sexual sin for censure, that prohibition most certainly also includes professing Christians currently participating in acts of adultery or heterosexual fornication. Guilt in such areas is not a difficult thing to determine these days. You don’t need two or three witnesses when the participants are out and proud about their lifestyles. The point of exclusion is not to be holier-than-thou, but to shame the erring brother or sister into repentance. You want their spirit saved in the day of the Lord.

For those who once professed faith in Christ and now deny it with their behavior, exclusion from your home in the right spirit is an act of love. The world will not recognize it as love, but the Lord will. That’s what matters.

Eating With Sinners

It’s a different story with unbelievers, of course. As Paul says, “God judges those outside.” There is no biblical prohibition on eating with sinners, and good reasons to do so when the right occasion presents itself. The Lord Jesus did it, possibly because he knew you have the best conversations over food, and you can’t communicate truth if you don’t engage with people in need of it.

How close Christians should get with sexually immoral people has been an issue for almost 2,000 years, one that each believer has to work out before the Lord in good conscience, applying the principles articulated in the epistles.

But the question Alan is asking has a new twist to it: the same-sex couple. This is where the bigger problem lies.

The Lone Sinner

A dinner invitation to a lone, unsaved sinner is an act of testimony, hospitality, charity — and, we trust, love — extended with the goal of promoting ongoing dialogue about Christ and the hope we have in him. This is especially useful when such a person is currently unattached and lonely, especially when they have just experienced a nasty breakup and are trying to figure out what might have gone wrong. At times like that everyone can use a friend, and Christians know some things about why such relationships don’t work that those engaging in them do not.

But let’s be frank: by being hospitable, we are actively trying to subvert that person’s lifestyle choices, because we know they invariably end in hell. In introducing the Lord Jesus to such a person, we are deliberately courting conflict, knowing that any real spiritual impact we have on our guest will dramatically affect his priorities and future living arrangements, probably sooner rather than later.

Done right, we are not entertaining; we are engaging in spiritual warfare.

Bad Strategy

A single LGBT guest brings his problems into your home, certainly, but he does not practice his sinful lifestyle there because that particular sin requires a partner. That’s important. Where Alan talks about getting “more strategic” by waiting until your children are older to introduce same-sex couples into your home, I believe it is always bad strategy for Christians to try to present Christ to the unsaved at home in the context of the couple dynamic, regardless of whether children are present. There are far better, less risky ways to interact, and all of them are likelier to be more eternally profitable than normalizing the same-sex relationship by presenting it to your family at the dinner table.

By inviting a pair of LBGT partners into your home, you turn a witnessing opportunity into a much more obviously social situation. Your charity is far more likely to be perceived as affirmation not only of the individuals involved but also of their chosen sexual identity. A dinner invitation to a same-sex couple is an act of capitulation, just as surely as if you attended their “wedding”. It’s like commencing a battle with a ringing announcement of your unconditional surrender.

A same-sex couple is not merely double the number of needy, potentially inquiring acquaintances. These days, “out” couples are a well-oiled propaganda machine. Their sin is mutually reinforcing. Watch them on the subway during Pride Month. If you’ve ever seen an LGBT couple in action, you know this is true. Public displays of affection are non-stop, each one calculated to get a rise out of you, ideally to get you to reveal yourself as the nasty little bigot you really are. When you don’t fall for it, they just up their game. There is no “win” in such a situation, and no compelling reason to invite a traveling ad campaign for alternative lifestyles into your home.

In Short

Despite their bravado, my experience is that even the most vocal advocates of perversion are full of self-loathing and desperate need for Christ. Regrettably, you’ll never see the slightest glimpse of it when they have a partner present, and you certainly won’t be able to talk about it effectively. I’m not saying don’t engage, but do it in a setting that maximizes your ability to speak freely when the opportunity arises, which is most often one-on-one in a public place where there is no chance your own motives may be misinterpreted.

Whatever the prospective spiritual payoff of an evening at home with an LGBT couple, it is dwarfed by the potential risk that your hospitality may be misinterpreted as tacit approval or normalization of sin, not just by the couple themselves, but by any children who may be present.

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