These are notes that may be of interest to those who have heard my message for May 28, 2023 in the hot topics series. It addressed some approaches of various churches to LGBTQ+ issues in church life.
For convenient access, we have hosted a page with the Friends Church Southwest counsel on contemporary issues from 2016 on our church website. The 2016 version of Faith and Practice is available as a pdf file online here from FSW. The 2016 counsel on contemporary issues begins on page 11. You should be aware that new statements on contemporary issues were included in the revision to Faith and Practice approved in February, 2023; however, the 2023 version does not seem to be published online yet. In the interim, we have a pre-publication draft of the 2023 Faith and Practice that can be downloaded here. The new counsel on contemporary issues begins on page 18. There may be small changes in what was approved at the annual conference that are not in the pre-publication version.
This is the website for City Church Long Beach, which I mentioned in the message for May 28, 2023. There is a 2018 YouTube video in which the City Church pastor, Bill White, explains how City Church came to their approach to being radically welcoming. He cites Romans 14 and 15 as being foundational to their approach. The video is about 14 minutes long and worth your time to view. Bill writes much more, and writes well, on this topic at this website.
Mark Yarhouse is a Christian counselor who has written a number of books that many Christians find helpful. He works with the Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender, which offers many resources oriented towards addressing sexuality from a traditional Christian perspective. This is their statement of faith. If you hold a traditional Christian view of sexuality and need resources, check him out. His knowledge is broad and his advice practical and loving.
Redeeming Sex is a challenging book by Debra Hirsh, who with her husband Alan led a church that welcomed those from unusually difficult or broken life backgrounds – people who were quite uncomfortable in most churches. I found quite compelling the Hirsh’s approach to the ministry to which God called them, described in the later chapters of the book. Essentially, they accepted broken people as they were (we are all broken) and focused on Jesus. This book is open and frank in its discussion of sex and sexuality.
Beyond Gay by David Morrison is a book in which the author describes his journey from working with a major gay advocacy organization to a very different life with Jesus. He began worshipping at a church accepting of LGBTQ lifestyles (for which he remains thankful) and then moved to a church with more traditional teaching on Christian sexuality.
Matthew Vines started the Reformation Project as an organization committed to “advancing LGBTQ inclusion in the Church,” where he serves as Executive Director. His goal is to offer “theological resources for an orthodox and affirming Christian faith.” Matthew Vines is one of the most prominent Christian advocates for same-sex marriage.
The website I mentioned that lists churches to clarify their approach to LGBTQ issues and women in leadership is ChurchClarity.org. There are other similar websites.