Speaker addresses controversial topic at Urbana 12

By January 1, 2013

USA (MNN) – Bring up the topic of homosexuality, and people tend to immediately start drawing heated battle lines in the sand.

But where does the Church come in? How does Christ call us to respond?

Throughout the series of seminars at Urbana 12, some of the sessions dealt with the topic of homosexuality and the Church’s response. One seminar was led by Pastor Ken Fong of Evergreen Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California.

Pastor Fong believes this is a major issue that’s important for Christians to talk about, as opposed to simply ignoring it.

According to Pastor Fong, “I think homosexuality is a big issue for a couple of reasons: One, because the church has really failed to treat the people as human beings. They just treat the issue. And as a result, I think the church has really failed to be the church to this segment of our population–not just people who are outside the church, but people who are actually in the church who are leaving.”

Pastor Fong goes on to say, “I think society is changing, and the church has to deal with that. We have to somehow respond and not just build walls. We need to find ways to witness to the Gospel in the midst of things that are changing, especially on this issue [of homosexuality].”

How can students have a part in this dialogue? “I want them to hit the reset buttons in their brains. Not just be focused on the question: is homosexuality a sin, but [ask]: what does it mean to be a human being? I love having people think a second time,” Pastor Fong says.

At the core of it all, Pastor Fong wants students to pursue Christ and encourage Biblical accountability in one another as they respond to the homosexual community. “Ultimately, I want them to come away thinking, ‘How much am I really trusting Jesus on this? How much am I applying Jesus; own process for all sinners to this area?”

Students appreciated the ability to openly talk about how to respond to the homosexual community or even their own personal struggles.

“I’ve always been a little bit confused about that gray area of accepting and confronting the sin, especially in this specific seminar on homosexuals and the Church,” says Victor Zampino, a student from Quebec, Canada. “While it’s awkward as Christians to see your brother sin, we also do it. [It’s] coming to a point where showing that amount of grace toward a sin that we think is very alien and bringing it closer to home to sins that are very much personal.”

Some students, like Kelsey Teshiba from Corona, California, and Kerrianne Maloni from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were even motivated to take action.

According to Maloni, “We’ve thought about possibly creating a launch lab to see what we can do to minister specifically to the transgender community and to be their voice because the topic is blind, and so many people are oblivious to it. We’re thinking about starting an organization to be their voice like Ken said, because they really don’t have one.”

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