Rosaria Butterfield: How to Evangelize Your LGBT Neighbors

Some believe that we live in the midst of a moral revolution, with “liquid modernism” flooding into the bulwarks and mainstays of post-Christian cultures. Others call this sort of talk “alarmist” and believe that we live in the days of happy progress, where we can finally realize a true melting pot of human potential. No one feels this tension more than Christian parents whose children are, for a season—perhaps for a very long season—lost to the LGBT community and its values. It can feel shameful to admit to others in your church that you are torn between your faith and your child and that you fear losing one for the other.

For others, perhaps you feel the weight of those in your church who struggle with same-sex attraction and are faithful members of your church, forsaking sin and living in chastity, but still feeling torn between the culture of the church and the culture of the world. Or perhaps you are someone who also struggles with same-sex attraction. You are silent, though, and the hateful things people in your church say make you more silent every day. If you are someone struggling with same-sex attraction in God’s way—forsaking sin, drinking deeply of the means of grace—then you are a hero of the faith. Nothing less.

For all of these burdens—parental, communal, or personal—the Bible has the answer for it: the practice of daily, ordinary, radical hospitality. I believe that if Christians lived communally, then people who struggle with same-sex attraction would not be driven away from the church for intimacy but instead would find real intimacy within the family of God.

Where should you start? As a church community, designate a house where members live and where people can gather daily. And then start gathering daily. And not by invitation only. Make it a place where the day closes with a meal for all, and with Bible reading and prayer, and where unbelievers are invited to hear the words of grace and salvation, where children of all ages are welcome, and where unbelievers and believers break bread and share ideas shoulder to shoulder. This is the best way that I know of to evangelize your LGBT neighbors—and everyone else.

I first saw the gospel lived and loved in a house like this.

As I’ve noted before, coming to faith in Jesus Christ in 1999 caused a cavernous identity crisis for me. When I came to Christ, I broke up with my partner because I knew that obedience to Christ was commanded. But my heart was not in it. Not at all. And conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction to women. What conversion did change was my heart and mind. My mind was on fire for the Bible, and I could not read enough of it or enough about it.

And my heart was comforted and encouraged by my time—almost daily—in the home of Ken and Floy Smith. The Smiths took me in. But—I was not converted out of homosexuality. I was converted out of unbelief. Daily Bible reading and daily Christian community made me understand something: Union with Christ was emerging as a central component to my identity, one that competed with my sexual identity. Ken and Floy Smith discipled me in what it means to bear the image of God. From the minute they met me—as a gay-rights activist—they treated me like an image bearer of a holy God, with a soul that will last forever.

The way to evangelize your LGBT neighbors is the same way the Smiths evangelized me: by reminding them that only the love of Christ is seamless. Not so for our spouses or partners. Only Christ loves us best. He took on all our sin, died in our place bearing God’s wrath, and rose victorious from the dead. And yes, Christ calls us to be citizens of a new world, under his lordship, under his protection, under his law.

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Source: Christianity Today