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“What does it mean to be welcoming?”: Travis Collins offers a guide to navigating LGBT questions

Steve Yount, a senior fellow with the Denison Forum, is a former newspaper editor and public-relations executive working with Christian ministries.

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A man standing in front of open church doors waves to an oncoming visitor.
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If your church is navigating the choppy waters involving same-sex attraction, Travis Collins has written a valuable guide, What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? Navigating LGBT Questions in Your Church.

The book is an outgrowth of the experiences of First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama, where Collins serves as senior pastor.

He has what he describes as the traditional viewpoint of “Welcoming But Not Affirming and Mutually Transforming,” meaning:

  1. All people are welcome to be members of the church family;
  2. The church should not affirm same-sex sexual behavior; and
  3. Every Christian is (or should be) being transformed into the image of Jesus.

Collins writes, “I believe the appropriate choice for Christ-followers who are same-sex attracted is the same as that for unmarried straight people – abstinence.” But he adds, “If we are going to ask gay persons to remain abstinent, the church owes them a great deal of grace and support.”

He also believes it essential for churches to have a position statement on sexuality, not just same-sex intimacy, so churches can be proactive in meeting the challenges of one of the most important cultural issues of our time.

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