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Go ‘extra mile’ when witnessing to gay friends
Michael Foust, Baptist Press
July 13, 2011
4 MIN READ TIME

Go ‘extra mile’ when witnessing to gay friends

Go ‘extra mile’ when witnessing to gay friends
Michael Foust, Baptist Press
July 13, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Due to a

negative view by the homosexual community of many Christians, believers must go

the “extra mile” when witnessing to their homosexual friends and neighbors,

Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Bryant Wright says.

Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., made the

comments in light of his June 15 meeting with a coalition of homosexual leaders

and their allies at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix.

Because of the media attention the meeting received, Baptist Press asked Wright

for his follow-up thoughts.

The face-to-face meeting, Wright said, was fruitful.

“I think it’s always useful when we can sit down with anyone and share our

faith in Christ,” Wright said. “When people are opposed to the Word of God on

certain issues, we still have to trust God’s Word is true and deal with that

tension.”

The hateful rhetoric of some professing believers has tarnished the reputation

of other Christians, Wright said.

“There’s already that perception there, so we have to go the extra mile in

showing the love of Christ while standing firm for the truthfulness of God’s

Word,” Wright said. “It’s not only upholding God’s Word, but there’s always

that spirit of Jesus that we want to seek to communicate. When we feel

passionately that something is wrong, we are still called to love that person

who is ignoring what God’s Word says. It’s not always easy to do.”

Current-day issues such as same-sex “marriage” can make such discussions

difficult, Wright said. Yet if Christians maintain a loving tone, don’t argue,

and stand firm on God’s Word, they’ll be in the “position God wants,” Wright

said.

“We hopefully can help the person realize that ‘what you’re disagreeing with is

what God’s Word says, so really your argument is with God,’“ Wright said. “We

don’t want to just give our opinion, because then it’s just their opinion

versus our opinion about what is right and wrong. But when we keep the focus on

Scripture, then it’s just up to them — just like it is for us — to decide

whether to trust Scripture and obey Scripture.”

It’s important for Christians to be ready to answer some of the more common

current-day objections to historical Christianity, Wright noted.

“People say that Jesus doesn’t speak to homosexuality or gay marriage. But it

couldn’t be clearer than Matthew 19:4-5,” Wright said. “He speaks very

specifically there about both. Marriage is not for one man and four women, as

you see in the Old Testament. Even though that was culturally accepted, it was

never God’s will. It’s also not for two men or two women. It’s for one man and

one woman, for life.”

The June 15 meeting was Wright’s idea; he did not have to meet with the

coalition, which included representatives of the Association of Welcoming and

Affirming Baptists, Faith in America and Truth Wins Out. But he said he felt it

was imperative to do so. The meeting was cordial the entire time.

“I was hoping they would see the love of Christ and recognize that, yes, we’re

going to have a different viewpoint but it is really related to the authority

of God’s Word,” he said. “They have decided to have a different authority.”

Toward that end, Wright said, “It’s important for Christians to be in dialogue

with homosexual friends.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.)