Ethics: Homosexual Couple Comes to Bible Study

What would you do Wednesday!

It’s Friday evening. You just got home from work, pulled into the driveway, and turned off your car. Running a little late for the dinner date with your spouse, you hurry toward the house so you can turn around and get to the restaurant on time.

While heading for the front door your new neighbor, whom you’ve not officially met, says hello. He notices that your are carrying a Bible (it had been left in the car). Being new to the neighborhood, he mentions the Bible and says that he wants to talk to you about finding a new church and some Christian fellowship. You quickly mention that you are running a bit late, but that you will get in touch with him after tomorrow morning’s Bible study.

“Bible study?” your neighbor asks, “I’d love to join you if there’s room.”

Knowing that your Saturday morning Bible studies are open to all, and are sometimes used as a witnessing tool, you give him the time and place.

Saturday morning arrives. Your neighbor walks into the restaurant with another man and finds the Bible study. First, he introduces the man as his boyfriend. Then, he explains that they are Christians who are new to the area and looking for a new church and Christian fellowship.

The neighbor and his boyfriend sit down with their Bibles to begin the study.

What would you do?

  •  Receive them as fellow Christians and do the study normally.
  • Do the study as normal and plan to talk to them later.
  • Address the unrepentant homosexuality biblically.
  • Or…

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sehaase November 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Because “Knowing that your Saturday morning Bible studies are open to all” and, you did invite the man so you must immediately clarify the groups position on what the Bible defines as sin and then with all cards on the table what is open to all may proceed whether all decides to stay or not. You must not restrict the parameters of ‘sin’ to any particular behavior since there is certain to be other “unrepentant” sin in the room & hypocrisy shows up on radar long before it is visible.

2 rhology November 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Do the study as normal and plan to talk to them later. Then pray, pray, pray and then talk to them.
And they probably wouldn’t like what I’d have to say.

3 Jenny Elaine November 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Lets say the lady across the street decides to come too when she finds out you have a bible study going on. You know she is the biggest gossip in town and has even gossiped about you and has really hurt people. What would you do? What I am getting at is that there is only one sin that is greater and that is blasphemy….so, if you are going to point out the sins of one sinner, because you believe that is your job, then just doing it to the ones that you are uncomfortable with and not pointing out the sins of others that in all likelihood have hurt people much more than these folks…then that is hypocritical.

Also, if you read St. Pauls writings, he was pretty clear in his thoughts and actions, which showed how he would put up with anything so that people would come to Christ. (1 Cor. 9-11) He understood that when we approach sinners it should be with the Good News…because without Christ no one has the power over sin. We cannot put the cart before the horse.

Therefore, I would do none of the above…because I would hope they would keep coming so as to experience the love of Christ from people who say they have Christ….so as to be drawn to Christ, then God will do the changing.

The bible is clear that trouble makers, people that disrupt…should be approached. So, anyone who is being inconsiderate or hurting anyone should be spoken to 1st alone….but, besides this, they of course should be allowed to freely come, as the church is not a club where we only allow people in who we are comfortable with, as this would not be abiding by the gospel…..Jesus said, it is the sick that need a Physician.

4 Larry November 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I agree. Do the study as normal and talk with them later about what the church (and the Bible) teaches on that topic and why. You never know, this may be what God uses to call them to repentance. It’s no different than if an unmarried (heterosexual) couple begins coming to the church. You welcome them and as you get to know them you address their specific situation. In both cases it will either lead to repentance or rejection of the truth. In neither case, however, should it lead to compromise on the part of the church. We must be willing to lovingly confront sin even if it means those to whom we’re speaking will leave.

5 Chris Roberts November 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm

If in the real situation I might respond differently, but I think I’d be inclined to immediately take a moment to say something about our view on homosexual relationships. Homosexuality has become such an open sin in our society (unlike gossip which even non-Christians will admit is wrong) that it is important to be clear for the sake of all involved.

6 Zack Stepp November 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

“for the sake of all involved.”

Chris: Are you referring to the other attendees at the Bible study?

7 Chris Roberts November 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm


Other attendees, including the gay couple.

8 Mark November 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Jenny, you made a subtle shift in the situation. The situation is not about comparing sins in order to make some worse than others in order to pass judgment.

However, to bring your argument by analogy back to the original topic, if the gossip across the street were an unrepentant gossip then we can ask the same questions that are asked in the blog post about unrepentant homosexuality.

In 1 Cor. 9-11, Paul is not advocating for professing Christians to overlook their sins. The homosexuals in question profess to be Christians and Christians are to call one another to repentance (Ephesians 6:1).

9 mburatov November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I would say do the study as normal and plan to talk to them later, but make sure that you do talk to them. The same would go for someone cheating on their wife, stealing from the company store or anyone else habitually engaged in any other unrepentant sin. The Bible says to go to people one-on-one first. The group is not the place to do this first, in my view.

10 joeblackmon November 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Do the study as normal and plan to address the need to repent of their sin later.

11 Zack Stepp November 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm


I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is important to be clear and unequivocal. If you don’t mind, though, I’d be interested to hear your reasons as to why it’s important to address the sin at that particular time, as opposed to going forward as planned and addressing it with them later.

(I hope you don’t feel like I’m singling you out. Rather, since you’re the only person so far who has decisively wanted to address the sin at that particular time, I’m genuinely curious to hear your thoughts as to why.)

12 Chris Roberts November 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm


As I say, if I were actually in that situation I might act differently. But approaching it as a hypothetical, I would see it as important to say a word right then because of the nature of homosexuality in our society and to provide an example of how one might respond.

On the side of the gay couple, a word at that time is appropriate to make three things clear: (1) so that they know what they are getting themselves into. This is not a group which will affirm their sin, and is in fact a group that will try to help them see that they are living in sin. (2) to make it clear that this is not a group which has any intention of shifting on this issue. I would be suspicious of their motives in trying to be part of this group. There is more at play than just a nice couple trying to find a nice church and a nice Bible study group; they are seeking to be an influence. This is how homosexuality becomes normalized in society. They need to hear clearly that their behavior will not be affirmed by this group, nor will their Christian testimony be accepted without question (see my additional note below). (3) The third reason is not so much a reason to speak to them openly at this point, but is a reason for speaking to them both now and in the future: trying to help them see that their lifestyle has already been condemned by God and if they want to live a life pleasing to God they will need to repent and change.

On the side of the rest of the group, the reasons are not entirely different. This provides an opportunity to demonstrate to other believers how to send a careful, loving, respectful message back to those who are trying to send a message through their public lifestyle of sin. Once again, with the normalization of homosexuality in our society, Christians need to see how we should respond, particularly when presented with people who claim to be brothers in Christ and expect us to accept their sinful behavior.

One additional item, and this is a tough one. I would not welcome that couple to be regular participants in the Bible study. Paul is clear that Christians need boundaries when associating with people who call themselves Christian yet live in open sin, especially sexual sin. Since this gay couple clearly think their behavior is acceptable, and since they clearly refer to themselves as Christian, Paul’s command of 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 comes into effect. We need to remember that this passage was not Paul’s suggestion or some human’s idea of what might be good for the church, this is the instruction of God’s word to God’s people on how to behave when gathering as God’s church, which in this case is not referring strictly to four walls and a steeple, but to believers gathering as believers.

13 Zack Stepp November 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm


Thank you for taking the time to respond so thoroughly. As a Bible study leader, I appreciate reading thoughtful responses to questions.

14 Nick Kennicott November 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Tell them that Mark is a better Bible study leader than I am and encourage them to go to his instead.

15 Marvin Merriweather November 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I would corner the dude and scream at him until he repents.

16 BOB November 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I would do as the word of god commands and gather the town elders and throw rocks at them until they expire. GLORY BE TO THE KING!

17 Dave Elliott November 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I would do as Jesus taught and accept them as I would want to be accepted. We either follow Jesus or we don’t. Through our examples we can either bring people to the faith or drive them away.

18 Dave Ellitot November 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

After re-reading what Chris posted I would have to ask why we allow divorced folks, or people in their 2nd marriages without first determining they split for the appropriate reason. We don’t have the mandate to start picking and choosing who we will or will not study the bible with based on our own ick factor.
If you forget all else remember these…..


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