Discrimination vs. Exclusion

The debate over LGBTQ and their position in the United Methodist Church is heating up as we are only two days away from GC2019. And what we are hearing is goes along these lines… “We need to eliminate the discriminatory language from church policy.” But is it really discriminatory to say that LGBTQ lifestyles are not compatible with Christianity? Of course not.

First, what does discriminatory even mean? What is the actual definition? Here is the definition according to Dictionary.com

Making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Dictionary.com

I want to highlight one word, unfair. It is not just making a distinction. It is an unfair distinction. It has the connotation of being unjust. This is different than exclusion.

The Bible does not discriminate. It excludes. Immediately when I say this, people will start to complain and say that God loves everyone. That is true in one sense, and in another, it is not true at all. God loves everyone in a general sense. But he does not love everyone as his own child. How do we know this? Paul makes this clear in Romans 9:13.

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:13 ESV

God loves his elect. Those who will believe on the name of Christ. He does not love everyone equally. His Word makes clear that we are to turn from our sin once we are saved. Does that mean we will no longer sin? No. But does it mean it is ok to keep living in sin because we are forgiven and under grace? Paul addresses this as well.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:1-2 ESV

We are to put sin away and follow Christ. So what does this mean for LGBTQ? Paul addresses this as well. He addresses that LGBTQ is not who anyone is, it is sin.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:26-28 ESV

To do what ought not to be done. It is wrong. It is dishonorable and unnatural. It is debased.

Now, I want to take a moment to be fair here to the LGBTQ community. Romans does not stop there and so often we focus only on LGBTQ. But Paul lists a whole lot of sins in that passage in the following verses.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:29-32 ESV

There is a whole host of sins that need to be dealt with. And any of these sins that are in a person’s life without repentance disqualifies them from ministry. And allowing those, in this case, LGBTQ, to serve in positions of ordained ministry is not grace, it is equally sin.

So the Bible is exclusionary, not discriminatory. It is God’s justice. Who are we to question the justice of God?