By Kay L. Meyer, President, Family Shield Ministries
Originally written for the NADCE publication
With the increasing acceptance of same-sex attraction and marriage in our culture and the changes that have occurred in our society, many Christians are caught in the crossfire of sounding too harsh or too accommodating. How can we effectively communicate with homosexuals and others that disagree with our conservative Biblical teachings regarding this topic without compromising what God’s word says?
Family Shield, the radio program I host, has addressed this topic for many years. I recently again interviewed Joe Dallas, an internationally known expert and author on this topic, and a Christian counselor that works with many people who struggle with homosexuality.
Many years ago when I first interviewed Joe, he helped me learn how to respond and witness to homosexuals. Soon after this interview God opened a door for me to share my faith with Chris, a practicing homosexual that wrote me after a series of articles I’d written on “Marriage—God’s Way or the Gay Way?” in my monthly newspaper column. He was upset with my perspective on this topic.
I suggested we meet. When we met at a nearby coffee house, I discovered he thought he was saved by his good works. I also learned he wanted to know more about God and the Bible. I used what I learned from Dallas to share my faith with him over the next two years.
Did you know very few people ever witness to homosexuals? What about you? Are you sharing your faith with those who practice a different lifestyle? Maybe it is a close friend, relative, someone you work with or a neighbor. It is not an easy task and must be undergirded with prayer, patience and Christian concern.
On the radio program I did with Joe Dallas I asked him how he came to know Christ. He told me about a woman named Amy who had witnessed to him. He said, “I tried to turn her off by telling her I was a homosexual. That didn’t matter to Amy. She didn’t make my being a homosexual the main issue, but instead treated me like any other unsaved person that needed to know Christ.”
So, when I met Chris, I prayed and asked others to keep me in prayer as we met. Chris was very open and up front about his chosen homosexual lifestyle. He was a middle-aged business professional. His partner of over 20 years was a lawyer. I listened a lot the first time we met. I learned that Chris had been raised Roman Catholic but had not attended church in years. He had had a very poor relationship with his father. Using what I learned from Joe, I didn’t make the topic of homosexuality the main issue as we began getting acquainted.
Chris told me about Christians that had attended the “Gay Pride Festival” at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, Missouri. He shared, “They held up large signs that said, ‘You must be born again.’ He was upset that they had attended the festival and had tried to witness to him and his friends. He thought it was offensive. Rather than focusing on his anger toward the people or even the topic of homosexuality, I asked, “Chris, what do you think it means to be born again?” He responded, “Well, I think it means we have to be good people. We have to be nice to others, to children, and take care of the environment. If we do, then God will look favorable upon us.”
He, of course, thought he would be saved by being good and doing good works. Wow, I thought, what an open door for the Gospel! I said a quick prayer asking the Lord to guide me and keep the communication lines open.
After Chris shared his answer about what he thought it meant to be born again, I asked if I could share a few Bible verses. He said ‘yes.’ I shared John 3:16. Then I read Eph. 2:8, 9 “Eternal life is a free gift and is not dependent upon our works.” I explained that we don’t get into heaven because of our good works, but rather because of Christ suffering and death on the cross for our sins. I explained that Jesus had died for ALL our sins! Of course, we do good works when we are Christians (Eph. 2:10), but our works do not save us.
Chris was interested in learning more about God and the Bible. Following this discussion he asked me numerous other questions about God. I learned as I listened that Chris had a very negative view of God and the Bible. He had many misconceptions and false beliefs. But he was interested in learning more.
Our first visit lasted for almost two hours. The time flew by. Because of his interest in spiritual issues, I suggested we meet again. He didn’t believe Jesus was God, he didn’t believe the Bible was inspired by God; he didn’t believe homosexuality was a sin, but he still continued to ask me questions and show interest in God’s Word.
For two years I met often with Chris for coffee or lunch. He became a person that I cared about, although his lifestyle and worldview was very different from mine. I learned about his business, his partner, and his life. He also learned about me and my family.
I used Joe Dallas’ advice and talked to Chris as I would any unsaved person. I didn’t focus our early conversations on the fact that he was a homosexual, but on the fact that we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. We talked about sin a lot. As I always do when I witness, I talked about my sinfulness and that Christ had suffered and died for me. I wanted Chris to understand why he needed a Savior.
I gave him a Bible and encouraged him to read it. After each visit I would write him a letter about some aspect of what we had discussed. Once we discussed Jesus deity. He did not believe that Jesus was true God and true man, but the Bible teaches He is. Another time we talked about why the Bible is inspired. We discussed what that means. Another time we talked about the prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament.
About six months later I asked him what he thought of Jesus. He said, “I believe Jesus is my Savior. He died for my sins.” After hearing this I thought Chris had come to know Jesus as his Savior. I had shared the law and Gospel numerous times. Now, the discipleship process needed to begin. Why? Because the Great Commission says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We began to talk more about homosexuality, what the Bible says about it, and the fact that the Bible calls it a sin. Chris did not agree that it was sinful. But God’s word does. A few Bible verses on this topic include: Lev. 18:22; Lev. 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; and Rom. 1:26-27.
As our Bible studies and discussions continued he began to try to change my mind about homosexuality being a sin. He got upset and angry with me because I didn’t change my mind and eventually he told me he didn’t want to meet anymore. Although Chris and I no longer meet, I continue to pray for him and ask that you would join me in praying for him.
These visits with Chris were some years before the Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage. Our world has changed. It is so much harder today to minister to homosexuals and their families. More and more liberal Christian churches tell homosexuals it is OK to be homosexual or lesbian and that it is not a sin. Join me in praying for the Body of Christ and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to do a better job of addressing this difficult issue.
MINISTERING TO HOMOSEXUALS AND THEIR FAMILIES
How can you witness effectively to homosexuals? Begin with prayer. Build a positive and trusting relationship. Share your personal testimony about how the Lord has walked with you through trials in life and relate your faith to life. Be loving and encouraging. Don’t make the homosexual issue the main thing to discuss at the beginning of your journey. Listen, show concern, and respond to their needs. Don’t go ahead of the Holy Spirit. Allow the Lord to open and close doors. Ask and answer questions.
Make sure the person you befriend hears the law and Gospel. We are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness through Christ. Explain that Christ was perfect and without sin and that He suffered and died for all our sins. Remember that although the Bible condemns homosexuality, it also condemns ALL sin. It is not the worst sin and it is not an unforgivable sin.
Support Groups for Loved Ones and Christian Family Members
After many years of talking about this topic with conservative Christians and hearing from hundreds of LCMS and Christians who have loved ones involved in this lifestyle, I believe congregations should consider offering support groups for members who deal with this issue. It is a difficult issue and having others dealing with similar situations could be beneficial. I recommend the book When Homosexuality Hits Home by Joe Dallas for these groups as a discussion guide.
Books & Resources
Kay L. Meyer is the founder, president of Family Shield Ministries and host of the Family Shield heard on over 50 radio stations throughout the United States and on its podcast. Family Shield Ministries is a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS. Meyer, an evangelist & educator, is a popular speaker and the author of devotions, articles, Bible studies, booklets, and books. Sample publications include: Witnessing—A Lifestyle (Family Shield), Mission Field on Our Doorstep: Jehovah’s Witnesses (Family Shield), Family Ministry Basics (CPH, 2006), Balance-Christ Filled Living (LWML) and Teaching Your Children Christian Values (CPH).
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Children Education & Elementary Education and a Master of Arts Degree from Webster University in Media Communications. Meyer has been married to Tjaden (Chad) for over 45 years. They have three children (two sons are now with the Lord), three grandchildren, and are members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Missouri.