Robert Jeffress and First Baptist Dallas changing the way they talk about homosexuality

According to the Huffington Post:

The Rev. Robert Jeffress has changed the way he talks about homosexuality from the pulpit.

The pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Dallas hasn’t stopped preaching that homosexual sex is sinful, but he no longer singles it out for special condemnation. Now, Jeffress says he usually talks about homosexuality within “a bigger context of God’s plan for sex between one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship called marriage.”

“It would be the height of hypocrisy to condemn homosexuality and not adultery or unbiblical divorce,” he said, explaining that the Bible allows divorce only in cases of adultery or desertion. He also includes premarital sex on that list.

More interesting things from the article:

Demographics isn’t the only force driving changes in the evangelical response to gays and lesbians. As it becomes safer for gays and lesbians to come out of the closet, it becomes increasingly more likely that evangelicals know gays and lesbians personally, researchers say.

“Over the last five to 10 years, evangelicals have been faced with the issue even more poignantly as their sons and daughters come out of the closet,” Leonard said. ” … It has become more difficult to dismiss `those people.'”

Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, is one of those children.

Like most evangelicals, Lee grew up believing that the Bible was to be taken pretty much at face value, but in wrestling with the realization that he was gay, he has found a more nuanced way to read Scripture. Now he works to foster understanding of gays and lesbians within evangelical institutions.

“I do hear from church leaders and pastors, who say, `I already know where I stand, but how can I be more loving and gracious to the gay community without compromising my convictions?'” Lee said. “There are a lot of things I say, but chief among them is that the more you listen to people and ask about their lives and stories, the more you are able to show grace and love, even if you don’t agree.”

Jeffress, who has gay and lesbian members in his church, tries to be compassionate and understanding.

He said he is open to the possibility that sexual orientation has a genetic basis that cannot be cured or prayed away.

“I think we were too quick to dismiss the possibility of a genetic predisposition,” Jeffress said.

But that hasn’t altered his belief the Bible teaches that acting on homosexual desire is sinful, and he feels it is his responsibility to talk about it with his congregation.

“We cannot pick and choose what parts of God’s word we are called to share,” he said. “God gave it to us, not to hurt people, but to help people.”

But Jeffress said he was concerned that some other evangelical pastors were shirking this responsibility.

“My sense is that people are just avoiding the subject, by and large,” he said. “They are so bent on trying to add to the numbers of their churches that they don’t want to disenfranchise new members or be characterized as unfriendly.”


You can read the whole article here…

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  • davepatchin February 5, 2013 Reply

    This is an issue likely to get everyone on all sides riled up and yelling. But I agree with Jeffress. Evangelicals have done great damage in their uncritical repetition of inappropriate language and need to be more Biblical and kind in our discussion of all sin, but homosexual acts in particular.

  • Trumpeter 4 God February 7, 2013 Reply

    I think Jeffress spells it out in his comment: ““It would be the height of hypocrisy to condemn homosexuality and not adultery or unbiblical divorce,” he said, explaining that the Bible allows divorce only in cases of adultery or desertion. He also includes premarital sex on that list.”

    So with that foundation, do we treat those who participate in adultery with soft, fuzzy gloves? Do we “nuance” the Bible toward a man who sleeps with another man’s wife? Maybe he has a predisposition to needing more sexual gratification than his wife can provide – so do we enable him?

    I think that if the Bible is clear that sexual relations are reserved for a man and women in marriage, then we need to treat anything else as a sin – not a qualified exception, not a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” statement of “it’s ok – you must have a predisposition,” because we all have a predisposition – to sin…we all carry around a dead body…

    Since it’s not our place to try and fit the Bible into our worldview – or only some pieces of it – but to proclaim the Bible’s message, we need to let adulterers and fornicators and homosexuals take up their issue with God the father. We can still love the sinner and show them the example of Christ’s love, but we must still hate the sin, and not excuse it.

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