• Focus on being like Jesus and not on attractions (1 John
2: 6; 1 Pet. 2: 21).
• Singleness and celibacy are great gifts (1 Cor.
• Following Jesus means taking up your cross and suffer-
ing like Him (Mark 8: 34–38).
• Homosexuality is sin (Gen. 19; Lev. 18; 20; Rom.
1: 18–32; 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; 1 Tim. 1: 8–10). This obviously needs particularly careful handling, but at some
point it cannot be avoided. Often those who take the
homosexual label see their sexual orientation as their
identity. Because they are not able to separate the
sin from the sinner, comments like “God loves the
sinner but hates the sin” are not helpful and are often
misunderstood. My experience has been that when
the Spirit of God is genuinely drawing a soul to Himself, the person craves God’s Word, approaches his
life honestly, and becomes sensitive to sin. You may
not need to inform homosexual and SSA people that
homosexuality is sin. The Holy Spirit may bring them
to that conclusion. If they’ve tasted the Lord and
seen that He is good, be patient to see if God might
awaken their conscience.
• Lust is bent on worshiping and satisfying self. It is sin
(Matt. 5: 27, 28).
• Homosexual sin is escapable (1 Cor. 6: 9–11).
People’s attractions may not change, but their greater desire
to please God will prevail over their fleshly desires.
Godly support is vital. Sinners and sufferers must be able
to look to the church for love and spiritual help. Can confessing homosexuals (by “confessing” I mean they not only admit
to homosexuality but also acknowledge homosexuality as sin)
find care, encouragement, and discipleship opportunities in
your church (Gal. 6: 2)? Would they be able to look to you
As a pastor and counselor, I’ve found I cannot provide all the support transitioning homosexuals need.
They need community, a community that will replace
their current community and keep them grounded in the
truth. The pastor cannot be the only one in a flock who is
If people confide in you that they struggle with SSA, it does
not make them a threat or dangerous. I’ve seen Christians
overreact out of fear and ignorance and conclude a person
with SSA should be kept away from children. Sure, you’ll need
to be wise about positioning them in ministries, but shunning
them and battening down the hatches to keep them away is
Don’t be surprised when, not if, a Ryan shows up in your
church. There may be people in your church right now who are
attracted to the same sex, but they are afraid to talk. Jesus was
approachable to sinners. Are you?
Jeffrey Bartz is associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Batavia, N. Y.
Suggestions for Further Study
Denny Burk and Heath Lambert. Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change. P&R Publishing, 2015.
Rosaria Butterfield. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into
Christian Faith. Crown & Covenant Publications, 2014.
Ed Shaw. Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life. IVP
Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan. Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s
Search for Hope. WaterBrook Press, 2011.
Godly support is vital. Sinners and sufferers must be able to look to the
church for love and spiritual help. Can confessing homosexuals find care,
encouragement, and discipleship opportunities in your church? Would
they be able to look to you personally?