The European Evangelical Alliance has produced a new paper to help Christians in living out their beliefs in the face of an increasingly liberal view of sexuality across Europe.
The paper offers theological reflections on sinfulness and sexuality, as well as how Christians can seek to influence the values and laws of their society.
It notes that across Europe, there has been a dramatic shift in public attitudes to sex and family life in the last 50 years, reflected in a raft of new laws affecting divorce, fertility, fostering and adoption, civil partnerships and marriage.
In the face of such wideranging changes, the EEA said that Christians must be 'confident' in living by and sharing their conviction in God's vision for marriage between one man and one woman, even if it provokes a negative response.
'Across Europe, public attitudes on sex and family life have been changing dramatically for at least the last 50 years,' the paper reads.
'In the West especially, nations have strayed far from a biblical understanding of sex and family and an often aggressive, secular culture makes it hard for any to oppose LGBT+ rights.
'People, especially children, are being hurt. Bible-believing Christians are called to proclaim God's good gift of family, based on monogamous heterosexual marriage as the basic and crucial relational unit in society.'
It adds: 'Those who speak up for the biblical pattern are often viewed as judgemental bigots.'
While the EEA said that the biblical view of sexuality may present challenges for evangelism, it urged the church to find better ways of communicating the beauty of God's vision for marriage and relationships, rather than trying to change the message.
'Many Evangelical Christians feel that their view of marriage has become a major obstacle in evangelism, making people turn their backs not only on the Christian view of sexuality and marriage – but sometimes also on Christ himself. This pressure, however, should not result in Christians changing their beliefs,' it said.
However, the EEA cautioned evangelicals to check their words, tone and actions to ensure that the message of God's love and grace is not overshadowed by feelings of being judged.
'The EEA believes that the Church's calling is to present the case concerning God's desire for family life to fellow sinners with grace, rather than in judgement,' it said.
'True, there is a place for warning – especially when society as a whole is leaving a creation-based ethic. But the main task for the Church should be to tell a better story than secular ideologists: to explore the beauty of the biblical vision of sex and marriage.'
It continued: 'We believe that a clear stance on the issues of sex and marriage should go hand in hand with a culture of grace, presenting the biblical vision with an open hand rather than in judgement.'