Let The Sinner In

This Article addresses the complex issue of youth ministry and the growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality. The central question is should a homosexual student be allowed to attend Youth Group?




As crazy as this question may sound I have been asked this question.  The answer to this question seems overwhelmingly simple and clear but that is not what I have come into contact with.  Instead I have come across disagreement and confusion.  At the heart of the problem seems to be a lack of theological savvy and potentially a serious heart problem that I like to call Hypocrisy!


I begin with the reality that this is the wrong question because this puts us in the place of deciding who can receive the blessings of an Christian Community based a Christian Subculture view of morality.  In other words only certain sinners are acceptable in our circle.  If the student is not a “good kid” then he does not make the cut.  Or if the Student has parents that are not “good people” then he does not make the cut.  The question is, should Churches, their ministries, and Youth Groups admit any sinners at all?  If we do we are adhering to the Spirit of all the teaching of Scripture which is that God exists, original sin affects all humanity, and people desperately need a relationship with God by Faith, through Christ.  It means that Churches are being a beacon of light in a dark filled world where people desperately need to see or continue to stumble and fall.  It means that we are showing the kind of hospitality that God wants of us.  If we do not want to admit sinners then Churches, their ministries, and Youth Groups will embrace the blindness of the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus day.  I am convinced it is a direct correlation.




If the problem is that CHURCHES AND YOUTH GROUPS do not want a student to enter their groups because of bad ideas of his parents, then we only need to understand that we have the truth.  Our job is to address the bad doctrine of people.  Bad ideas are harmful and worst of all some bad ideas send people to Hell.  Paul tells Timothy to watch his doctrine and life because of its saving effects on listeners.  People need to hear the Truth.  They especially need to hear the saving Truth of The Gospel.  Let’s maintain the opportunity to actually speak with them.


Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. ESV (1 Timothy 4:16)




Churches should seek to serve their congregations well with the preaching of the true gospel, helping them see their need for Christian Community, and mobilize their people for the work of ministry.  But loving our congregation or youth group does not mean that their experience will be devoid of interacting with other sinners!  Churches and their ministries make no promise that even a student will not have interaction with the student of Homosexuals or the lost of any kind.


If a parent wants to threaten a Church by withdrawing their student from youth group because a child of sinners has entered the ranks then so be it.  Let them go.  If they will not submit to Scripture, and earthly authorities then let them go. 


If instead we give into the wishes and reject a fellow sinner, by doing so we feed their appetite for all types of hypocrisy and we demonstrate cowardice.  It would be worse for us and greater judgment on us to refuse someone whose parents are simply one of many types of sinners.  Just maybe there is blessing from God to be had for this type of faithfulness.  If we are not careful we then become the judge deciding which sinner is worst among us.  The reality is behind the nice courteous church attendees, neatly combed hair, and tucked shirts, there are many sins occurring.  Sin is occurring not only among them but among other Church parents.  There is fornication of all kinds, pornography, anger, gossip, sensuality, adultery, arrogance, idolatry of every kind, modern Phariseeism, lying, cheating, evil intentions, ill intentioned scheming, and much more.


Additionally we may be neglecting an opportunity that God has brought before us.  Instead, if we are not careful, we block others from hearing the gospel.  It reminds me of what Jesus said to the Pharisees of his day.


13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.  (Matthew 23:13)






Anyone who does not have Christ will not and can not walk with God.  They actually have no reason to because of a major heart problem.  They are by nature not inclined to walk with God but instead by nature inclined to walk with the World.


And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ESV (Ephesians 2:1-3)


By sending a Student of a Homosexual couple away it is as if we are saying to them that they need to get their act together before they even attempt to know God through Christ.  It is like we’re saying, sorry only good people get to hear about Jesus and all you dirt bags can go to hell where you belong.  The reality is that we can not expect people to wash up before they get to hear about Jesus.  It’s an issue of the heart.


25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.  ESV (Matthew 23:25-26).





Let us not forget the amazing grace and mercy that was shown us.  Let us reflect back on our own life and acknowledge the depravity that has taken place in word, in deed, and in heart.  Our sin is before us and it is awful.  Our sin would terrify some.  It would probably cause some to cover their mouths and wonder how we were ever saved.  Our sin deserves eternal judgment.  But God has shown mercy!  Let us show mercy to all around us because of Him who has shown mercy.


There was a naked possessed man living among the tombs and terrifying a community.  He screamed into the night and cut his flesh with stones.  He was absolutely terrifying.  But Jesus showed up and showed him mercy and when the man wanted to go with Jesus he sent the man away to tell others about that mercy


And he did not permit him but said to him, Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.  and he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. ESV (Mark 5:19-20)