In 2011, several lesbian and gay friends asked me to help them clarify the LGBTQ policies of Summit Church, Sparks, Nevada. They were not hearing anything directly from the pulpit about faith and sexual orientation and it seemed they were welcome, but they just wanted to know for sure what the policies were. Leadership can often be quite cagey when it comes to this conversation. You will hear “Everyone is welcome. We are all sinners on a journey. We love our gay and lesbian neighbors.” But, what does that really mean?
In response, I booked an appointment with Pastor Steve Bond and we chatted for over an hour. I was able to get clarity. Yes, gays were welcome, yet severely restricted as to how they could serve in community. I relayed the information to my friends, and they all left Summit Church.
Fourteen months later, Summit Church invited ex-gay speaker Kent Paris to tackle the topic for them. My goodness, what a dishonest charlatan he was! I wrote about that extensively in 2013. When I stood to comment on his suggestions and tactics, I was aggressively escorted from the sanctuary by five men.
Six years have passed. I was alerted recently that the leadership of Summit would once again be addressing the issue with a sermon entitled “Is Jesus Pro-LGBTQ?. I listened. There is nothing surprising in the sermon. It is the coming-to-be-typical love-the-sinner-not-the-sin all-are-welcome-here sermon.
I listen to this ilk of sermon frequently. They are generally spoken in kind and gentle tones. The pastor usually admits that he is the greatest of all sinners whose only desire is to seek both truth and love. And then, slipped in amongst the love talk is a statement assuring the congregation that the Bible is indeed clear about what God/Jesus think about homosexuality. It is sin. No worse than any other sin we are told again, but it is sin. The go-to passage is typically I Corinthians 6: 9-10.
If you follow my work at all, you will know that I know a lot about the historical context of this verse and how it has changed over time. You will also know the verse is not addressing those who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
I have substantial posts, videos, and a book supporting this assertion. I encourage people to be curious and go beyond what the Pastor Bryans in churches may tell you they are sure that God/Jesus are clear about.
Lives really do depend on biblical accuracy. The Pastor Bryans are driving LGBTQ people and their families from churches with their sloppy theology on this topic.
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, Summit Church is not a safe place for you. It is not a place where you can grow in Christ while living authentically into who you are. You will be expected to remain single. You can be gay, but not “act on it.”
If you are a family member of someone who is LGBTQ, please educate yourselves before you impose lazy, sloppy theology on the life of another. Theology that may drive them into isolation and depression, and away from God.
These videos are a good starting point. I present the passages used to condemn same-sex relationships into historical contexts.
Summit Church does some wonderful community outreach, I just wish they would engage the intersection of faith and orientation and gender identity with a higher level academic, relational, biblical, and historical integrity.
Here is the letter I sent to the executive team at Summit Church:
Curious about LIVING STONES POSITION ON LGBTQ PEOPLE? Read HERE
If you are LGBTQ or family of LGBTQ, or supportive, join me at my church home in Northern Nevada, The Rock Church in Sparks. We do great community outreach too!