When Nathan Lino meets with homosexual and transgender church attendees he tells them, “We’re not on your side or on our side. We’re on Jesus’ side.”
Lino was speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) Monday, June 15, at the Southern Baptist Convention. He was a member of a panel focusing on gender, the roles of men and women in the church, transgenderism, and homosexuality. It also included denominational leaders Owen Strachan, Danny Akin, Jason Duesing, and Thomas White.
The pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church said his church is dealing with the issue of transgenderism, especially in its gender-based ministry classes.. He spoke about an attendee of several months, assumed to be a man, who came to him and shared about being born a woman, and undergoing the process of transitioning to a man.
“We are up front about what we believe as a church. We don’t want there to be any surprises,” said Lino.
The changes in our culture shouldn’t frighten us, he said. “We have no reason to be panicked or alarmed…The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to all matters. Our solution is we must return to teaching and fully explaining complementarianism.”
According to Lino, the Houston church also has homosexual attendees. “The homosexuals in our church have been taught the design, and have been given the time and space to reflect on that design, and have turned to that design.”
Transgenderism and homosexuality are not the only issues the church should deal with said Lino. “We must also deal with heterosexual sex before marriage. Like transgenderism, it’s a violation of God’s design. We have all violated God’s design. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus has redeemed us and we are living in the design.”
“The mission of the church isn’t to un-gay people,” shared Lino. “The mission of the church is to win people to Christ.”
He asked why churches try to “run off” homosexuals and transgendered people. “Do you realize that it’s a miracle they are there? It’s because of God and it’s glorious.”
The event began with a discussion on complementarianism, which underpinned the entire discussion.
Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, explained the concept as men and women being “equal in essence, but separate in function.”
Strachan president of the CBMW made it clear that the council “does not exist to elevate men over women. We’re in this because we recognize the gospel brings flourishing. We’re 100% for both men and women.”
He also addressed the continued blurring of gender lines in the culture. “We’re not Teletubbies,” he said to some laughter. “We’re not the redeemed androgynous. We are gospel men and women.”
Other panelists also addressed the changing cultural mores.
When asked about the current cultural celebration of transgenderism, most notably in the recent new stories surrounding Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, White, president of Cedarville University, said, “Psalm 139 tells us God knew us before we were born…What we’re seeing here is a secular worldview versus a biblical worldview. We need to get back to that biblical worldview.
“We’re seeing the fallen-ness of creation. We should go out in grace and compassion and not laugh or make fun of it.”
Akin pointed out that most Christians were not saved the first time they heard the gospel. He echoed Lino in saying, “We need to give people the time and space to hear the gospel.”