OZARK – After noticing the struggles in his congregation with contemporary gender and sexuality perspectives, as well as from talking with other pastors struggling with the issues, a Missouri Baptist pastor has assembled resources to help ministry professionals and laypeople deal with LGBTQ+ issues from a biblical viewpoint.
M. Lane Harrison, lead pastor of LifePoint Church in Ozark, says, “While historically Southwest Missouri has been a bastion of conservatism…, in the last decade many national groups have put the cross-hairs on this part of the state with the intent of turning over that conservatism to a leftist agenda.”
He says he’s learned that “many national LGBTQ+ organizations were funneling money into conservative parts of the state, trying to leverage and overthrow the conservative strongholds.”
With non-biblical viewpoints being thrown in his face, Harrison “finally decided this was something I needed to address from the Scriptures.”
Harrison created a two-part video teaching series from his sermons and a bibliography of support materials for Christians to address gender dysphoria and transgenderism topics from biblical perspectives.
“This is becoming a big issue, among other places in our society, in the local schools, and I wanted to equip our people to understand it and know how to address it,” he says.
“Pastors have to speak to this. There are people who are living in the real world Monday through Friday, and in every field they’re already dealing with it,” Harrison says.
He says pastors also need to equip Christians with biblical training in showing Christ’s love, grace and truth to individuals struggling with or in LGBTQ+ lifestyles because “it’s a spiritual battle that we’re in. (The LGBTQ+ activists) are not just coming after adults. They’re coming after the children.”
Harrison says parental authority gets tied up in LGBTQ+ issues in schools, citing a recent development at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia this summer.
In July, the school district accepted a $10,000 grant from the “It Gets Better Project” to purchase clothing and convert school space for students who want to cross dress to their gender identity after arriving at the high school. The “It Gets Better Project” promotes and provides LGBTQ+ resources to young people.
“It’s not just a sexual identity issue, but…a major thrust of this is overthrowing of parental rights and parental authority in the local schools of minors.”
He says the Columbia high school students “do not have to make their parents aware of this. The school will not inform the parents if (their students) come and do it.”
Schools often have the opinion that they have primary responsibility of students when students are on their campuses, he says. “That’s just not true.”
“I am conversing with the Alliance Defending Freedom on best practices for how to address the issue, specifically legal issues that may arise in the schools, and am happy to put others in touch with them.”
Across the state, Harrison says Baptist leaders find pastors are quiet on LGBTQ+ issues, and he hopes his biblical resources will “help and encourage any Christian who may be wanting more information or understanding about all that is going on.”
Harrison’s materials are archived on his website, www.mlaneharrison.com. Resources include his two-part sermon teaching series on biblical sexuality and gender. The sermon/teaching videos include full sermon manuscripts with source information.
• The introductory video, Biblical Sexuality & Gender, Part 1: A Biblical Foundation, can be found at http://mlaneharrison.com/2022/09/biblical-sexuality-and-gender-part-1-a-biblical-foundation-1-peter-315/.
• The second part provides a missional approach for Christians. Biblical Sexuality & Gender, Part 2: A Faithful Gospel Witness can be accessed at http://mlaneharrison.com/2022/09/biblical-sexuality-and-gender-part-two-1-peter-316-17/.
• Harrison has also assembled an extensive list of books, articles, videos and websites that address Biblical perspectives of LGBTQ+ subjects online at http://mlaneharrison.com/2022/09/biblical-sexuality-and-gender-bibliography/.