Psalm 61:3

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Open Letter

To those called to be shepherds of Christ’s flock,

Illinois has passed a law making it possible for men and women to enter into “civil unions” with any other person they choose, be they male or female. This means, of course, that a man may enter a civil union with another man. A woman may have a civil union with another woman.

There are many implications for such a law. Those implications could be ethical and moral, political, social, and spiritual. While it is tempting for pastors to address the social and political aspects of such a law, I wish to issue a call for pastors everywhere to address this as the spiritual issue that it is.

Women and men are going to come to you asking for civil unions. In the face of this request you have a responsibility as those called by God to spread His Word. To neglect that responsibility is to ignore the call of God. As homosexuals enter your office asking for civil unions in a religious setting you have a God-given opportunity to give them something they will not get anywhere else: God’s Word.

Men and women who commit homosexual acts are sinners. This is the indisputable fact presented for us in Holy Scripture (see Romans 1). It is also the fact of life for every other person on this planet. The final instruction that Jesus Christ gives to His disciples in Luke 24 and John 20 is that they should preach forgiveness and repentance, forgiving the sins of those who repent.

Whenever a sinner comes and addresses the pastor their sins need to be laid out in the open. If a homosexual couple comes asking for a civil union the pastor must address that sin with them. He should declare God’s original design for His creation, that a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife (Genesis 2:24/Matthew 19:5-6). The people must be called to repent.

Pastors, we do no one a favor by ignoring their sin, just as a doctor does no favor by ignoring a disease. Homosexuals must be called to repentance with the same ferocity as you would call thieves, murderers, fornicators, gossips, and the lazy. How else can they repent? How else will they be called to lay down their sins and depend on Jesus Christ for forgiveness?

And that is really the kicker. Homosexuals are not hated by God. They are loved, just as all sinners are. But their sins are not ignored by God either, just as mine are not. Daily, moment by moment, I repent of my sins and receive the promised forgiveness of the cross of Jesus. Homosexuals need this repentance and forgiveness and they can receive it only from Christ through His Church.

Pastors, if you ignore the sins of homosexuality you ignore the forgiveness of sins won by the bloody death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Fulfill your calling: “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” (I Timothy 4:2) the people to repent. And give them the one thing they truly need, Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.


  1. Good words, Josh. Is this for Hoyleton area pastors, not just circuit brothers? If so, what kind of distribution are you doing? And what kind of reaction have you gotten?

    Would you consider exapanding the scope of your letter to include other aberrations against God gift of marriage? Or would you say pastors have no business performing civil unions at all?

  2. This letter went in the Nashville News, a local paper. The reaction has been mostly positive from the congregation, but silence from other clergy. It is my gut reaction that the Church should have no use for civil unions. I don't see the point. And yes I think this applies to other false views of marriage. Any sin must be met with Law and Gospel applied appropriately.