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Long before the rainbow was hijacked as a symbol of sexual deviancy, it had been assigned by God as a reminder of His faithful promise. It is time to reclaim the rainbow! We ought to proudly display it as a reminder of both the judgment of God and His offer of grace. These harmonize in the heart of God--His righteousness and redemption.

You will see many rainbow flags as LGBTQ+ Pride Month has commenced. Recently, it was announced that Haywood County's first "Pride Parade and Festival" will take place in Waynesville and Canton. How is the church to respond? Here are some of my thoughts.

You dare not embrace it. It is perversion on parade and you cannot reconcile Biblical Christianity with acceptance of this debauchery.

You must not ignore it. We must not look the other way. Lot tried that. Scripture says that internally he was "tormented," by what he saw and heard (2 Pet. 2:8), but he never spoke up. The sad result was catastrophic for the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah he did not warn, and it was destructive to his family. It could well be that if you try to evangelize those attending the festival none will listen. Would they have given heed to Lot? We will never know. What we are certain of is that the corrupt culture is speaking to church folks and indoctrinating our children. They want to intimidate and silence Biblical Christians. Too often it works. The LGBTQ+ community and their allies are coming for the young. They have boldly stated that. Will we not sound the alarm and teach our kids?

Please don't be hateful. Some try the bullhorn approach, shouting, "Turn or burn!" That is the caricature of many church folks as the world sees us. They want all Baptists identified with the Westboro Baptist cult.

Talk to God about it. This is spiritual warfare. Paul tells us that our conflict is not with people, but those demonic forces that have souls in bondage. The victory is secured in our prayers, (cf. Eph. 6:10-20). If you lack wisdom about how best to address this, ask God who has promised to supply it, (cf. James 1:5).

Confess your sins. We cannot help get a splinter out of the eye of another, while a log is protruding from ours! Jesus said that (cf. Matt. 7:1-6). The world is always ready to highlight the hypocrisy of preachers and church members. What would happen if we had a solemn assembly of prayer and fasting--a day of humiliation and confession? If revival came to the church, it would impact the culture. It always has--when the light burns bright, darkness diminishes and when the salt is applied the rot is reduced.

Speak the truth in love, (Eph. 4:15). The truth must be told--whether people like it or not. We will answer to God--not just for what we say, but for what we fail to say. Let us be clear that God ordained sex for the covenant relationship of a biological man and woman in marriage. Anything beyond that is sin. The implications, of course, extend to more behaviors besides homosexuality. We must be pointed to address these which are more "accepted" in our congregations and not just that which is viewed as more "abhorrent."

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 4:3-8).

We cannot help someone come to Christ, until it is established that they are lost.

In our stand for the truth, let us seek to build relationships of love. So many are--as the old country song says, "Looking for love in all the wrong places." So was the woman at the well, and the woman caught in adultery. Jesus loved them too much to ignore their sin. Yet, they were drawn to Him because He offered them new life. In Him, they found forgiveness and hope.

Many of those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle are desperately searching for love. They are broken people in need of hope. Do we show it? Here is to be our response: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear..." (1 Peter 3:15).

Finally, partner with those who have a special focus and experience in ministering to the LGBTQ+ community. Here is one link:

Yours for the Gospel,

Dennis Thurman, AMS

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