Beyond Will and Grace

Beyond Will and Grace. That was the title of a sermon that Bryan Wilkerson gave, posted on Gordon Conwell’s (the Boston seminary) site.

Bryan is the pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA, one of the first mega churches in New England. He is Haddon Robinson trained (Dr. Haddon Robinson is the preaching professor who- may I be so bold to say- wrote THE book on preaching) and he delivers relevant and compelling Biblical sermons (expository for those who prefer that term- I sometimes don’t use that term because it carries negative connotations. For some expository means “boring” and “not relevant.” I would argue simply that if that’s the case, you haven’t heart good Biblical teaching) every week. Phenomenal preacher.

I enjoyed reading his sermon on Homosexuality because he had the guts to do two things:

  1. Talk about the fact that homosexuality, like all sins, is not’s God’s plan.
  2. Talk about the fact that God’s grace accepts people as they are, but transforms us from the inside out. I quote:

 Grace means that people who struggle with same sex desires are welcome to come to God, just as
they are. God doesn’t ask you to or expect you to straighten out your confusion or overcome your
tendencies first. Just come to Him, in the name of His Son, Jesus

Grace means that sexual offenders can be forgiven, whatever that offense has been. Jesus Christ
received in himself the penalty of that sin, so that you don’t have to be punished for it.

Grace means that you can be healed of your sexual wounded-ness, whether it was inflicted on you
by others, or you brought it on yourself. It doesn’t have to haunt your heart and relationships for the rest
of your life.

Grace means that you can overcome whatever distorted, destructive desires and habits that have
been robbing you of real joy and fulfillment. It will take time, and teaching, and practice, and support,
and probably even failure. But you can overcome it, you can be free from it’s mastery over you, with
God’s help.

Grace means that God can change you, transform you, from the inside out. He can enable you to
embrace the sexual identity God has given you, and help you discover healthy, happy, and honorable
relationships with people of the same and opposite sex. It also means that He can so transform you that
you can discover romantic relationships with people of the opposite sex, and even marriage. Not every
homosexual person experiences that complete transformation, but many do, and many are on the way.

Shout out to Bryan.

I touched on this issue a few years back in an article on the web site and took a little heat from it. It’s ironic. I divided the issues, talking about 1. The fact that it’s wrong  2. The fact that we as a church have been responding poorly for years and need to respond like Christ would have responded.

I took heat for both.

I stand by both.

Dare 2 Share’s Greg Stier just spoke at the YS NYWC and made a statement about homosexuality being wrong (the same story he shared in our podcast #3), and he took heat for that. But he still stands by it.

Good for Greg.

Frankly, I think we should always take heat for two things- in this order: 1. Being extra loving and gracious. 2. Choosing to do right, when the world offers us other alternatives.

It’ sad. For years as a church we’ve failed miserably in the area of grace. We’ve been inconsistant, hypocritical and dare I say “hateful” to homosexuals when they are just fellow strugglers. In other words, some of the Christians who are out picketing homosexuals are gossips, cheats, or secretly addicted to porn.

So now the church feels guilty, and instead of changing our attitude of Grace… we’re changing our theology about Homosexuality and saying it’s okay now… after all, that’s more politically correct.

Unfortunately it’s not right.

God’s standard will never cease. And thank goodness, neither will his Grace!

 Don’t forget to love the sinner… you are one!

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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11 Responses to Beyond Will and Grace

  1. Rev. Dr. Larry Doughan says:

    Your read on this is right. Homosexuality is sin, enough sin, apart from Christ, to send us straight to hell. But so is every sin. Yet, with Christ, we have hope. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us of that. All of this said does not pardon homosexuality. It is wrong. A sexual sin of another nature was the woman dragged to the edge of town to be stoned. When confronted with the situation by leaders of that day, Jesus’ response was telling: He said the person with no sin in their life should feel free to throw the first rock. After they all disappeared, Christ forgave her AND told her to go on her way not sinning anymore.

  2. alison w says:

    I have somewhat of a different point of view and I’m glad that we can be open to sharing these with each other. The sexual identity and sexual orientation of a person has are both gifts from God. We are all children of God created with unique gifts and with unique plans. Each of us has been called and named by God. I agree that we all sinners however I disagree that a person’s sexual identity and orientation can be considered sin. The bible has been translated and paraphrased time and time again. I think instead of quoting scriptures it may be better to live our lives like Christ did and love all.

  3. Charlie says:

    It is a scary thought that people who consider themselves Christians think sexual sin is okay.

  4. Rev. Dr. Larry Doughan says:

    God does love people regardless of their actions or sexual orientation, but He didn’t wire anybody to genuinely desire a person of the same gender.

    He did create us as unique, but unique in personality, unique in our gifts, but not in sexual orientation.

    One last thing, Jesus did open His arms to sinners galore, but He despised sin. His time on the cross wasn’t because He was determined to make everyone’s choice equally acceptable. He died there to pay for what we could never pay ourselves – our sin.

    Saying that we have sin He paid for means God has a standard of what’s right and what’s not.

  5. Chico says:

    I agree, Charlie, that it is indeed scary that people who consider themselves Christians think sexual sin (or ANY sin, for that matter is) OK. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the ol’ “people are born gay” argument. And I can’t help but think of it this way. The Bible clearly states, regardless of which “translation” or “paraphrase” you use, that homosexuality IS, indeed, sin. The Bible also says that God takes no pleasure in judging the wicked (or “sinners”), so it is unfathomable for me that God would create someone who had no choice but to sin. The very idea that homosexuality is not a choice pretty much eliminates our free will. It basically says that there are certain people that God just does not want to spend eternity with Him. I guess I better stop here, before this turns in to a soapbox, but I had to share that idea here and look forward to replies.

  6. Shelby says:

    I agree. Everything I can tell from the Bible leads me to believe that homosexuality is not pleasing to God. I also agree that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. However, I can’t fully agree with the argument that God would never create someone with no choice but to sin. If we truly believe in original sin, that means that we are born sinners, and we had no choice in that matter (not as individuals anyway). So, all of us are sinners, but did all of us choose that course? It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while. All in all though, I agree that while we are born sinners, we should not be pursuing sin, and we need to work to avoid it.

  7. chim2787 says:

    I stumbled across this site, but found this all very interesting.

    As a lesbian in her twenties, I will only let you that I cannot live life believing that God views my homosexuality as a sin. I believe he made me as he intended. I count my partner of 2 years as one of the biggest blessings in my life. We go to church on a regular basis and we are good people. So for “Christians” to try to change our sexuality, or tell us we’re bad for loving someone of the same sex really bothers me. I cannot imagine God punishing me for simply loving someone and building an honest life and family with that person.

    As far as the argument of whether homosexuals are born as such: some of us are aware at childhood that we are “different”. For others we find our preferences later, typically during puberty. Many of us never come out of the closet for fear that our families and society will reject us. Coming out is the hardest thing many homosexuals will ever face and it is my hope that one day people will be more understanding. It is a tragedy that so many gays commit suicide because of a lack of acceptance. Homosexuality is not a sin, infidelity is; something many heterosexuals look past as a “one time mistake.”

    I agree with an above comment that we need to love each other as we are.

  8. Tyree says:

    I am a 31 year old male. I am married to my best friend (she is a woman) and we have a beautiful baby boy.

    My view point on the issue of homosexuality is the view point that God has created us to be fruitful and multiple in cases of the male or female not able to produce children I have seen the miracle of childbirth. I go to church with a lady who before and semi after Christ was a lesbian. She will tell you that it took the power of Christ to overcome it and there are places, people, etc… that she must stay away from. Just like a heterosexual to porn.

    I have a good friend who is a male. I would die for. I love him but you won’t find me kissing him, having sex with him or thinking lustful thoughts about him. The fruit of the spirit “self control” is the issue.

    People can be born with the spirit of anger, greed. Many come from generational curses others just due to demonic activity. With God all things are possible. To pass it off as I was born this way is a cop out. We all in every area of our lives must press toward to the mark of the high calling of Christ.

  9. G says:

    Tyree, in reply to your friend that ‘used’ to be a lesbian ” a lady who before and semi after Christ was a lesbian. She will tell you that it took the power of Christ to overcome it and there are places, people, etc… that she must stay away from. Just like a heterosexual to porn.” Can I just say that it sounds like she is still very much a big fat dyke as the temptation is still there!!!! Your church couldn’t and will never erase it!!! She is a lesbian that doesn’t sleep with women ….That’s all she is, not healed, saved, just deluded if she thinks it will just go away!! Love, just admit it and get on with it, why be miserable all your life???

  10. Angela says:

    It is unbelievable that you can still brainwash young people. You can’t convert a gay person. As a matter of fact, if you could have, I probably wouldn’t be a lesbian. So, yeah… There goes that logic. This is exactly what drove me away from the church is the first place. When I realized just how distorted your idea of love and “acceptance” was, I bailed. People like you are the reason so many gay people feel that they can’t come out. How sad. I can’t believe I just wasted 40 minutes of my life trying to find some ray of hope that you were a decent person in your writings. How disappointing.