As the Lead Pastor of MCA Church, my calling includes helping the people of our congregation to apply the Bible to the many and varied situations they face in every day life. Additionally, I am to voice the official theological perspectives of our network of congregations. Without a doubt, only the Holy Spirit is up to these tasks and I must totally rely upon Him.
Currently the buzz in the media is about sexual sin, especially homosexuality, and the Church. The most prominent situation at this time is the actively homosexual couple involved (somehow) in the Hillsong NYC congregation. My knowledge of the complexities of the Hillsong NYC experience is completely zero, so it makes sense that I have nothing to say and no advice to give on that matter.
I think it may be helpful to the members of MCA Church to understand how we differ significantly from Hillsong Church on a couple of things. I’ll attempt to show our differences by using the following Brian Houston quote from his August 4, 2015 blog posting.
So if you are gay, are you welcome at Hillsong Church? Of course! You are welcome to attend, worship with us, and participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community. But (this is where it gets vexing), can you take an active leadership role? No.
So if you are gay…
MCA Church holds to different terminology regarding issues of sexual sin. We differ from Brian’s first statement in that we believe that sexual sin is not something you are but something you do. MCA Church understands three experiences of sexuality: 1. Attraction. 2. Orientation. 3. Identity.
Issues of attraction and orientation are much different than the forming of one’s identity.
Are you welcome at Hillsong Church?
The challenge is to determine the various usages of the word “Church.” Is a person in active and intentional sin welcomed to attend a weekend service? Welcomed into the Church, the body of Christ?
You are welcome to attend…
The easy statement “everyone is welcomed to attend,” for MCA Church, isn’t actually the correct statement. For example, if you are a convicted offender and one of your victims attends MCA Church services, we ask that you participate in a different local congregation. Another illustration is a person whose current identity is a drug dealer and the person is staging drug deals at MCA ministries and events. This person would not be welcomed to attend.
MCA Church views people who do not claim a saving relationship with Jesus differently from those who do. It is very important to understand that attraction is not sin. Both non-christians and professing Christians are welcomed to attend regardless of the sins that are attractive to them. Again, attraction is not sin.
Is a person who claims to be a Jesus follower and is actively, intentionally and regularly involved in sexual sin and who refuses to repent welcome to attend? No. “Expel the immoral brother.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
You are welcome to worship with us…
MCA Church does not want to give a false assurance that one can be actively and intentionally involved in unrepentant sin and be a worshipper of God. If you claim to know Jesus, know that the Bible declares your heart or behavior to be sinful and refuse to repent, then you can not worship God because those that worship Him must, “Worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
And participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community…
MCA Church does not include nor accept into our congregation membership people with known, active, intentional and unrepentant sin.
In 1 Corinthians 5:5 we learn that what we embrace and what we exclude are to be done for the eternal benefit of the person being embraced or excluded. Paul said, “Hand this man (a man with unrepentant sexual sin) over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” The motivation for the exclusion is “so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”
It is extremely foreign to the western mind that love sometimes is required to exclude.
Hillsong NYC and MCA Church are two local congregations. Same Bible. Two different perspectives.