EFCA Theology Conference – My Thoughts

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the EFCA Theology Conference in Denver and was really stretched and encouraged in my thinking on the issue of sexuality. The most powerful session for me was Wesley Hill on his struggle with homosexuality. Never before had I talked to someone who struggles with same sex attraction, yet is willing to submit it at the foot of the cross and call it sin. We live in a broken side world, as evidenced by looking around us. All of us are sinners and have our certain areas where we are more prone to temptation than others, I think it’s safe to admit that for most of us, sexuality is a very hard issue, especially being a single man as I am right now. But what should we, as the church, do to reach out to single people like Wesley and myself?

I’ve talked about this very important issue before (“Where Are All the Young People“) and was reminded of it again this week. The church is called to be a family (see Jesus in Matthew 12), yet so often we don’t treat each other as the family we are supposed to be. As someone who is single, I can so often get overlooked in the ministry of the church, and most churches I’ve been to have a fantastic youth group ministry, a thriving couples-with-small-children ministry and some even have a great college ministry, but what about the single 20-somethings who are trying to figure out how to figure out a schedule, budget, and where best to use their time? We need the encouragement and support of those in the church, and those in the church are primarily those who are older and married. So again, PLEASE just come talk to us, invite us over and invest in our lives! I promise you again that we won’t bite!

Tied in to this is the issue of homosexuality. As it becomes more prevalent, we in the church need to know how to reach out and welcome those who are, as Wesley described himself “gay celibate Christians.” Wesley has written why he uses the term “gay celibate Christian” in a recent blog post that you can read here. The church needs to be a place where even single people can feel loved and as a part of the family. The Gospel should bring us together in the same way that growing up together in a family does. We should be willing to lay down our lives for our friends, just as Christ laid down his life for us. This is an issue in my life as well-I so often focus on myself and my needs instead of the needs of the body. I’ll close with this final thought from 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has past away; behold, the new has come.” May we continue to cling close to the cross as we daily repent, die to ourselves and remember to live in Christ, who will give us the strength we need to not give in to temptation.

You can buy Wesley Hill’s book on Amazon, and read his blog here. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him and am incredibly grateful for his faithfulness to God’s word as he attempts to follow His will in his life. Thank you, Wes, for being open and transparant this week with your struggles, you are in my prayers.

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