Pink Dot was started in 2009 and has been held yearly at Hong Lim Park since. It describes itself on its website as “a non-profit movement started by a group of individuals who care deeply about the place that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Singaporeans call home. It is a group for everyone, straight and gay, who support the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love.” In its first year, 2,500 people were reported to have attended and this number has increased over 6 years by more than 10 times, to 28,000 people. With this growing threat to the God-designed institution of the family, how should we engage with the issue?
We are very grateful to Rev George Butron (Senior Pastor, Community of Praise Baptist Church), Pastor Daniel Foo (Senior Pastor, Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church), and Rev Tan Kay Kiong (Senior Pastor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church) for providing some thoughtful inputs on a challenging family issue.
While the three churches are each taking a different approach to Pink Dot and Wear White this year, they share the following perspectives:
1. Educate the Church on LGBT Issues
Pastor Daniel points out that the church needs to understand the times we are living in. LGBT activism, even in Singapore, is on the rise and we need to understand that a number of its goals lead to “lawlessness.”
In the same way, Pastor Kay Kiong believes there is a need to help the church to see the political agenda behind the LGBT movement, while distinguishing it clearly from the people who are struggling with sexual brokenness.
On this note, Pastor George explains why his church has decided to organise I HEART Pink, which will take place a week before Pink Dot: “The perception that Christians have sometimes been homophobic and awkward with these sensitive issues led us to consider how we can equip our people to engage, love and take constructive approaches to our relationships with people who do not share our approach to sexuality.” The conference aims to “educate and equip Christians to understand the issues and to demonstrate God’s love”.
The shared concern of the three Senior Pastors is underscored by Pastor George, who suggests that “believers take the time to become well informed on the issues by reading, researching and attending training events. Education seems like the best way to help believers understand and address the issues.” In fact, Pastor Daniel is proactively equipping his members to understand how God’s design for family, which matches the institution of the natural family, needs to be protected and promoted.
2. Minister to Those Struggling
Pastor George hopes that through I HEART Pink, Christians will “better understand and love people who have embraced a gay lifestyle or who may be struggling with issues of sexuality and gender identity.”
Pastor Kay Kiong highlights the need to provide counselling and support groups. In Pastor Daniel’s church, there are ministries that carry out the mandate of Luke 4:18, where people who are struggling are welcomed and those who wish to seek help can find support through pastoral counselling as well as specialised healing ministries.
All three Senior Pastors believe that the Church must be the place to love those who are struggling. In their respective ways, they each seek to train and equip Christians to be able to reach out and minister to the sexually broken.
3. Strengthen the Family and Marriage
Pastor Daniel stresses the concurrent need to strengthen the family by directing the hearts of people back to God’s design for marriage and family. His church makes an intentional commitment to keep defending and rebuilding the family wall by championing family in the church through:
- Building strong marriages: the church starts with premarital courses for engaged couples and continues with marriage mentoring for married couples.
- Building strong families: the church conducts parenting courses and men’s ministry to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. (Malachi 4:5–6).
This year, apart from participating in Wear White to symbolise purity and the return to God’s original design for marriage and family, his church will celebrate family through Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Parents’ Day.
Pastor George shares that even though his church’s approach is different, their motivation “is similar to Wear White in that we affirm traditional biblical values about marriage, family and sexuality.”
Pastor Kay Kiong shares the burden and passion to strengthen the family, even across different religions and races. His church is working with the wider community to start community marriage events in June.
4. Apply Biblical Teaching & Biblical Worldview Sensitively in All Matters
Although his church will not be participating in Wear White, Pastor George remarks, “I believe many Christians are looking for constructive ways to apply the teachings of Scripture to the issues of our times. Many of these issues are complex and require us to understand both what the Bible clearly teaches about sexuality, marriage and family, as well as how God wants us to respond to those who do not embrace God’s Word as their standard for living.”
Pastor Kay Kiong is particularly burdened by the current challenges to the institution of family and shares that we have a responsibility to dialogue with our Members of Parliament on matters that affect not just us, but our nation. Similarly, Pastor Daniel surfaces the need for Christians to engage even on social media to protect Singapore against the onslaught of LGBT activism.
What was obvious in our interview with all three Senior Pastors was that truth and love are not on different ends of the spectrum. Regardless of the approach taken by individual churches, we believe that all churches desire to respond to this complex and difficult issue with both truth and love, and in a holistic way.
God has entrusted the institution of marriage and family to the Church. Let us faithfully steward this responsibility, encouraging our congregation to live it out well in their own lives and to speak appropriately into our culture to demonstrate His redemptive and life-giving way.
© 2016 Whole Life. All rights reserved.
This is the first of a 2-part series in equipping the Church to respond to the homosexuality issue. Read Part 2: How Should I Respond to My Members' Questions About Pink Dot?
Download free resources to equip you and your congregation with practical suggestions and a biblical perspective about homosexuality here.