The Church’s Response to Pride Month

In case you missed it (no one could), the month of June has been labeled “Pride Month” by the authorities who make such decisions. For thirty days the rainbow flag flies more visibly than even the stars and stripes on government buildings across the nation. The land that claims freedom of religion sure seems bent on indoctrinating us all in the prevailing orthodoxy of LGBTQ+. Cities have hosted parades celebrating sexual perversity. Mayors and parents stand by and cheer as adult men dressed like dogs expose their genitalia before rainbow-flag waving elementary-aged children. I’m not making any of this up. The images from major U.S. cities are all over the internet. The indoctrination seems to be working. In 2015, 11% of American high schoolers polled identified as LGBTQ. In 2021, just six years later, that number rose to 26%. I’m sure it’s even higher today.

I could spend the rest of this article denouncing these trends, and trust me, they need to be denounced. “Sexual liberation” has never liberated anyone. The enraged mob yelling at anyone who doesn’t celebrate their lifestyle is not free but enslaved. Exposing our children to such perversions and encouraging them to mutilate their bodies because we’ve indoctrinated them into questioning their gender should lead to arrest warrants not celebratory parades. A society this upside down cannot sustain itself. But I’m going to refrain. I have another purpose here. I want to talk to the church.

When society becomes so publicly at odds with truth, righteousness, and beauty, several dangers manifest for God’s people. First, it becomes tempting to despair. I usually roll my eyes when I hear Christians saying it’s worse than it’s ever been. This nation enslaved an entire race of people less than two hundred years ago and wouldn’t let them drink out of the same water fountain within the lifespans of people still living today. There have clearly been improvements in certain areas. However, the current celebration of sexual perversion seems unprecedented, not least because its omnipresent and enforced at every level of society all the way to the highest level of government.

Those who trust in Christ, however, cannot despair. That’s not an option. The resurrection doesn’t allow it. What’s happening in our culture may shock us, but God is not surprised. He is not caught off guard. We serve a King whose kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Societal degradation cannot stop the march of the gospel’s progress. Jesus is still reigning, and he’s still bent on making all things new. Instead of despair and fear, the church must double down on our mission of proclaiming Christ compassionately and boldly. We must talk clearly about sin, but we must talk just as clearly about grace and mercy for sinners. Sin may reign in the world, but it must never be allowed to reign among God’s people.

Second, it becomes tempting in such times to overfocus on the world’s rebellion. Please hear me out on this. Right now, my social media feeds are full of outraged Christians denouncing these things. News websites that cater to conservatives fuel the outrage with nonstop outlandish headlines. If something crazy happens out there, they make a lot of money making sure we don’t miss it. It’s tempting in such a world to define ourselves against what we oppose instead of defining ourselves according to who we are in Christ. However, Christians don’t advance in Christlikeness by obsessing over how bad it is out there. We advance in Christlikeness by following Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit in communion with the church. We must not focus our lives on what we’re against when Christ has given us a beautiful, positive vision of what we’re supposed to be living for.

I’m not saying that we should be silent. The church must bear witness to the truth, and that includes a call to speak the truth about sexuality and gender according to God’s good design. However, that’s low hanging fruit. If all we ever do when we gather is talk about how bad it is out there, our language is going to start sounding like the self-righteous Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11).

It’s easy to draw a Christian crowd by constantly denouncing the sins out there. Those who lead these kinds of ministries defend it by appealing to their boldness in truth-telling. However, how bold do you have to be to shout down all the evils in the world outside while ignoring the sins in the room? I know how to get everyone in the church to say, Amen. I think I’d rather use my time on this earth to help them grow closer to Christ.

When Paul warned Timothy that in the last days the church would “accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” (2 Timothy 4:3), he wasn’t worried about a failure to denounce the world’s sins. He was concerned over preachers unwilling to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” (2 Timothy 4:2) the people in the room. Church, it’s crazy out there. So let’s not lose our focus.

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