1. I am Southern Baptist. While I did not grow up in the SBC I have been a member of SBC churches since 2000. I was ordained as a deacon in 2002 and as a minister in 2004. My wife and I served full time on the mission field (stateside) for nine years, 2003 to 2012. I graduated from a Baptist college, attended BSU as a student, taught in a private Baptist school, and led BCM for seven years. The Master’s Table is listed in SBC Voices, a directory of Southern Baptist blogs. This very week my wife and I are teaching 5th and 6th graders during Colossal Coaster World and I’m driving the church bus to VBS. While I may not always agree with everything the organization does as a whole, I am certainly still a part of it. The reason I can say so much about the SBC’s response to the Boy Scouts issue is that’s the denomination I know the most about.
2. Homosexuality is a sin. I haven’t changed position on this issue to be more popular with the culture. Jesus quotes from Genesis when defining marriage as between a man and a woman and the Apostle Paul condemns gay and lesbian acts most plainly in Romans 1. Having said that… gay rights is a hot button issue right now and we hear a lot about it. A relatively small percentage of the population is actually gay; pastors addicted to online pornography is probably a much more common problem, but you will not hear many sermons about it. Homosexuality is a sexual sin, but so is a married man having an extramarital affair. On the one hand it is always easier to point out other people’s sin, but there is more going on here than that. The difference is this: A man caught having an affair will probably confess and ask forgiveness. He may try to make amends with his wife, or get a divorce and marry the other woman. He may ask his church, especially if we’re talking about a pastor, for some level of forgiveness. It is unlikely that he will attempt to establish having a wife and a mistress as an alternative lifestyle. Men and women, regardless of religious affiliation or church attendance, typically recognize cheating as wrong. Homosexuality has been redefined as an alternative to traditional heterosexual relationships. A man might explain that he is simply attracted to other men and it is therefore natural. I am natural attracted to women, but make a conscious decision to be loyal to me wife. It is natural for me to desire many other women, but my nature is sinful. The Christian believer seeks to crucify the desires of the flesh in order to serve God in the spirit.
I am still Southern Baptist, but my highest calling is to the Gospel. I want to share, demonstrate, explain, write, teach and tell others about the Good News. My obligation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is greater than my obligation to the SBC. I am convinced that homosexuality is a sin and will not be convinced otherwise. But if I distance myself from gay and lesbian couples they may be too far away to see Christ in me. You can’t be fishers of men while completely avoiding the water. The world we live in is fallen. It was affected first by sin and then the curse. It is also our mission field so avoiding it entirely does not build the Kingdom. We are the body of Christ. Look at the people Jesus spoke to, touched, spent time with, and the places he found them. Consider all the Greek cities Paul preached the Gospel in and planted Christian churches. He didn’t march in front of the public bath houses carrying signs; he preached Christ and him crucified.