- Jesus Christ is the friend of sinners, par excellence.
- You need to know that when Jesus forgives, He frees.
- We need cleansing each and every day.
- You are not alone.
- We need each other.
Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for Spiritual Care for DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel, offered the above five key messages for Lutherans to share with those who struggling with same-sex attraction but desiring to remain celibate at today’s DOXOLOGY conference in Mundelein, Ill. “These are not just nice ideas,” Senkbeil said, speaking as though he was directly addressing a homosexual person struggling to remain celibate. “God is a person, and in the church, He offers Himself to you. Jesus has promised that where two or more are gathered He is here Himself. Though we can’t detect this with our eye, it is nevertheless real. Jesus was born to Virgin Mary [and] . . . This very Jesus gives Himself to you in His holy Word and Sacrament. He will not abandon you, and we won’t either.”
“We need to be clear on the Law and the Gospel. We need to not shrink on what God’s Word says about these things,” Senkbeil noted. “Marriage is a picture of the union between Jesus and His bride, the church. That is why same-sex unions are not possible. The same standards hold true for us all. Our sexual identity is our most basic vocation in our calling in service to neighbor as a child of God. That’s the law. It’s not hatred or bigotry but a matter of faithfulness to God, and we need to teach it to our children.”
He explained, “The broken sinner does not need more Law.. Jesus spoke to adulterous woman,’ Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’ We are made free from the guilt and its enslaving power.”
“Pastors,” he said, “Make sure each sermon you preach has both God’s condemnation of all sin, but also preach Jesus, not about Him. . . . Jesus has taken sin onto and into Himself and burst the bonds of it and broken the back of death Himself. He wraps each of us up in His holiness, and now there is hope for all of us.”
Speaking to teachers, he noted, “Make sure every child understands very clearly that God made them and their bodies are not an accident. They are created especially by God through their parents, and by their Baptisms, they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. [Teach them] in an age-appropriate way that, through Holy Matrimony, they can procreate and that they should respect each other in their bodies.”
Parents and grandparents received words of advice and comfort from Senkbeil as well. “It’s never been easy to raise children in a morally perverse and corrupt world but these days it is especially challenging. We need to impress on children that Christians live differently from world around them, not as means of making themselves holy but to remain holy.”
Ultimately, he told attendees, “Our job is to speak truth in love regarding homosexual behavior, that this is not harmony with God’s design while showing them how to deal compassionately with this sin . . . with a forgiving heart.”
Learn more about this conference and its presenters here.