- Pastor John Smith
The Preacher at Pride Fest
In the past two weeks, I have ministered at two different LGBTQ+ events in Washington and people have been curious as to why I choose to evangelize at such events. It is true, the environment is increasingly hostile to anything remotely Christian. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. The overt display of “pride” is often times obscene and pornographic.
To be perfectly honest, there are a whole host of things I’d rather spend my Saturday afternoons doing than attend an event knowing that I am going to be yelled at, spit on, or even worse.
But the reason why I (and other Christians) go is profoundly simple and it is this: People need the Lord.
If we Christians, believe what the Bible says about the eternal consequences of sin (Hell) and the remedy for it (the cross), shouldn’t that motivate us all the more to try to reach as many people as we can with the good news that Jesus saves?
Unfortunately, when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, some have argued that they are “just too far gone” and any evangelistic effort would be “casting your pearls before swine”.
The phraseology “casting your pearls before swine” comes from Matthew 7:6 and it is right after the verses where Jesus exposes and condemns religious hypocrisy.
Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Often this verse is taken as justification to not evangelize certain groups because they are deemed as “unresponsive” or “hostile” to the gospel. For instance, rather than waste time with those who care nothing about Jesus or aggressively oppose Christianity, a discerning evangelist should move on to more of a receptive and welcoming audience.
There are situations where it is wise to move on rather than waste time in engaging in a fruitless argument. However, to use Matthew 7:6 as a reason to not engage certain people because they show hostility toward the gospel denies a fundamental Biblical truth: All unbelievers are hostile toward the gospel (Romans 8:7).
Regardless of the degree of hostility, people in their natural state of rebellion and sin hate the gospel and it is never well received until a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit happens within their life. To put it another way, “pigs” will never appreciate the preciousness of a “pearl” unless they are fundamentally changed.
In addition, as my former college professor reminded me just recently, we ought to be extremely cautious in developing a philosophy of ministry that denies evangelism to one specific group of people because of one verse in the Bible when there are numerous passages that say the gospel is to be proclaimed to all.
My experience at these LGBTQ+ events has been some of the most fruitful endeavors in all my years of ministry. Not only was I stretched beyond my comfort zone but I was reminded that the people of the LGBTQ+ community are in fact, people. Beyond the parades and the flamboyant displays of “pride”, these are real people with real questions, hurts and have experienced an incredible amount of brokenness.
If there is any demographic that needs to hear of the glorious good news of a Christ who can redeem, restore and heal, it’s those of the LGBTQ+ community.
Many within this lifestyle, have little to no idea what a Christian is, let alone the power of the gospel we proclaim. This may surprise you, but those who are entrenched in and have embraced LGBTQ+ ideology are as close to an “unreached people group” as you can get within our own community.
I remember one conversation I had at an event where I was engaging a young woman who identified as a lesbian. After explaining Bible passages concerning homosexuality, answering her questions and ultimately commending Jesus to her, she wiped tears from her eyes and said: “I can see you really believe this and that you really care.”
“Of course, I do. I am a Christian.”
After we shook hands and parted ways, I had no idea if the gospel had taken root. I still don’t know and I doubt I will until I meet Christ.
But what I do know is that she needed the Lord, as does everyone.
As Christians, we have such a compelling message for the world, especially to those of the LGBTQ+ community.
Let’s not waste such an opportunity to share Jesus.