Welcoming, Affirming, and in Big Trouble

What is frustrating about the implosion of the mainline and my denomination in particular, is the leadership’s inability to address the decline in membership and faithfulness to the Christian faith among mainline Christians. The talk of inclusion and being ‘welcoming and affirming’ is actually an irony. The more lax the tradition, the less people there are who show up for the game. Here’s a great sign for the front lawn: “We welcome and affirm your brokenness. We have nothing to offer you that you cannot get staying at home watching trendy cable shows like ‘Queer Eye’. But we’re very nice!”

42 thoughts on “Welcoming, Affirming, and in Big Trouble

  1. I think our Father created a wonderful path for us to follow to him, involving obedince and discipline under the umbrella of love, but the path through the forest is beginning to look like a maze or large pretel, to get lost on, because of the confusion and attempt to make the long road look simple and easy.

  2. I would suggest that the simple road you refer to is not simple and not easy. Therein lies the real need for discipline and attention.
    It is much easier to show up on Sunday and let someone with authority do the work for you.

  3. For some of us, the point is not being “Welcoming and Affirming” – although we are – but being faithful to God and God’s Word. In trying to be thus, we have been led to being welcoming to gays.

    Whether or not it leads to more “converts” or fewer is beside the point. The point is being faithful.

    I understand you disagree with our interpretation but wouldn’t you agree that we must be as faithful to God’s Word as we know how to be?

  4. That’s right, Dan, but it is not loving to someone who is an unrepentant sinner, including all who insist on sexual relationships outside of marriage, to allow them to continue in their sin without a challenge. As Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery after saving her life, “Go and sin no more.” Same sex attraction and/or opposite sex attraction is not the issue, it is submission to God and His word. Just because I am attracted to sex with one not my wife doesn’t mean that I should indulge myself, and it doesn’t mean that my church should aid and abet?

  5. Which is why we gladly conduct marriages of all sorts (that is, gay and straight) at our church, so that they are not sinning. We believe in marriage, just not that the Bible endorses only one sort of people who can wed.

    I’m not talking about being welcoming to sinners in a way that encourages them to continue in sin (our peace statement clearly calls those who are involved in the military to renounce the sin of militarism and our simple living messages clearly calls those seduced by materialism to give up that bondage).

    It’s just that we would disagree with you in that we don’t think the Bible is condemning of homosexuality in and of itself. And so, again, the point is not about ignoring sin but about being faithful.

  6. Dan,

    With all do respect, you cannot make up the rules as you please. There is not a single instance in the Word of God, not one, where homosexuality of any sort is approved. There is not a single instance where men married men or women married women.

    If faithfulness to the Word of God is the issue then be faithful to the Word of God. All of God’s Word is of equal importance – not just the words in red letters. The whole counsel of God must be consulted and regarded as authoritative. It is a common falacy among those with your view to try and pit the words of Jesus against the rest of Scripture. But all of the Bible is the Word of Jesus because our Lord Jesus is God!

    You can find no support for same sex marriages in the Bible. To say that your church permits the marriage of same sex couples so that they will not be in sin is making your own rules. It is doing what Israel did – doing what is right in your own eyes.

    The issue here is submission to authority. Who is your authority? It can’t be the Word of God because the Word of God clearly calls evil that which you call good. The only one you are being faithful to is you – not God.

    Repent of your error and submit to the authority of God’s Word. Then you will be found faithful.

    I speak the truth in love.

    SE

  7. se, Father,
    Are there any words/refferences in the Bible explicitly forbidding hommosexuality/same sex marriage?

  8. I will gladly and anxiously repent of any error if error there be.

    But you said, “There is not a single instance in the Word of God, not one, where homosexuality of any sort is approved” and you are correct. It is, however, JUST as true that there is not a single instance in the Bible where a committed loving relationship between two gay folk is condemned.

    Gay marriage is a blank area, insofar as the Bible is concerned. And yes, I’m well aware of the verses where it seems homosexuality is condemned point-blank. But those interpretations (in the literal hand-full of places where it seems to occur), while being what I was brought up to believe, are lacking depth of understanding.

    My authority is not the Bible but God and God as revealed in the Bible. But despite what you may think, not everyone in Christendom interprets the Bible the way you do.

    You say:
    “To say that your church permits the marriage of same sex couples so that they will not be in sin is making your own rules. It is doing what Israel did – doing what is right in your own eyes.”

    And I disagree. We are doing what we must in an area that is not covered by the Bible. Gay marraige, like cigarette smoking, abortion, nuclear weaponry or nuclear power, are areas that aren’t specifically covered in the Bible. We must make interpretations based upon God’s revelation to us on each of these topics. And we have, after much soul-searching, decided that the mainstream of Christendom is the group that has added to God’s Word what is clearly not there.

  9. Anonymous,
    I Corinthans 6 and Romans 1 are pretty difficult to get around. The fact is, homoerotic acts were very much part of the ancient world–and not only of the ‘temple prostitution’ variety. The writers of the New Testament could very well have made an ‘exception’ for ‘committed’ homoerotic unions, and they did not. Even Jesus’ discussion of marriage and divorce show us a ‘tightening up’ of sexual morality rather than the ‘affirming’ of various sexual practices.

    PS Dan, how do you feel about nuclear war and nuclear weapons?

  10. If that is a serious question: I’m opposed to nuclear war and weaponry for all manner of reasons, not the least of which is my faith.

    But then, surely everyone is opposed to nuclear war, so I suppose your question is, Do I find nuclear weaponry a useful tool in the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) or threatening sense (“You mess with us and we’ll wipe you off the map”)?

    If that is the question, my answer is I find the use or threatened use of WMD an offense to God and reason.

    As to the 1 corinthians passage, translators are unsure of the meaning of the word which, if I’m remembering correctly, is literally translated “soft” not “homosexual.” It is some translations that have inserted that best guess for the word, not knowing what else it might mean.

    And the Romans passage seems to condemn men lusting after other men, but it also condemns “trading natural affections for unnatural ones…” and, knowing that for gays, natural affections are towards the same gender, then it would seem to many that this could be an endorsement of supporting gay marriage so that natural relations are pursued, within the context of marriage, of course.

    The thing is that all five or so passages that seem to deal with homosexuality only do so with a cursory reading of God’s word. A more indepth reading raises questions or, at least in our case, emphasizes that it is ungodly lust and abusive relations (hetero- and homosexual) that are condemned, not homosexuality itself.

    As I said, I understand you interpet the Bible differently (in the same way I used to), my point was that we ARE trying to be faithful to God’s Word, THAT is what is leading us to our position. Not some wimpy caving in to popular culture.

  11. Dan,
    You are opposed to war (nuclear and otherwise) because you believe that Scripture teaches an ‘ethic of peace.’ You believe that the general drift of Jesus is that non-aggression is the name of the game based (especially) the Sermon on the Mount. Am I correct?
    I believe that Scripture (and Christ) teaches a clear sexual ethic. We’re not talking tit for tat proof texting, but a ‘general drift’ in the way we are both doing exegesis–you in terms of war and me in terms of sexuality.
    The greek term in 1 Cor and the description in Rom 1 are quite clearly homoerotic acts. Paul knew about them and he taught against them. You can feel free to ditch Paul, like many do, but I don’t think your position is tenable taking Paul seriously.

  12. Yes, you are correct that I think clearly Jesus teaches an ethic of peace. Further, we are given direct and unambiguous commands to “love our enemies,” “overcome evil with good,” etc.

    For what it’s worth.

    I, too, believe that Jesus teaches a clear sexual ethic, one that is not abusive nor oppressive nor exploitative.

    However Jesus, nor Paul, nor anywhere else in the Bible condemn loving gay relationships. I know that’s what you read therein. I disagree.

    My original point in response to your original post is that many of us who are welcoming and affirming do so for one reason alone: Faithfulness to God and God’s word.

    That’s all I’m saying.

  13. Dan,

    Your position saddens me. Are we even reading the same Bible?

    I am grateful for your desire to love and support gay people. I think many can learn from this. However, true help is to lead people out of sin and into the fulness of a relationship with Jesus. I think that you believe this is what you are genuinely trying to do. Again, I appreciate that. But I would disagree that we are helping the homosexual community by telling them that they are OK even when the Bible says they are not.

    This discussion does not just stop at those struggling with homosexuality. There are men and women in my congregation who have committed adultery. We deal with it on the basis of Scripture and call them to repentance. We have others who have struggled with drug abuse. Again we call them to repentance. If people repent and genuinely see their sin for what it is we work with them and help them to not just confess but also to forsake their sin. Proverbs 28:13 – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

    We genuinely desire people to find the mercy of God. But to do so we it does not exist), but confess AND forsake. It does not matter who you are and what your sin is – this is the command of God.

    SE

  14. I messed up my last paragraph of my last post. It should say:

    We genuinely desire people to find the mercy of God. But to do so we must help them to not conceal their sin (pretend it does not exist), but confess AND forsake. It does not matter who you are and what your sin is – this is the command of God.

  15. “But to do so we must help them to not conceal their sin (pretend it does not exist), but confess AND forsake.”

    We do this, too – we’re the same in that regard (or at least similar). It’s just that we disagree with you that the Bible teaches that homosexuality itself is a sin.

  16. Scott said and asked:

    “Your position saddens me. Are we even reading the same Bible?”

    Yeah, I imagine we are. Are you familiar with the number of passages that even seem to deal with homosexuality?

    For the record, there are less than ten, depending upon your translation.

    To be clear, I’m not talking about Sodom and Gomorrah (which was clearly about attempted rape, not about homosexuality – plus God in Ezekiel tells us that “Sodom’s sin” was inhospitality and lack of compassion for the poor – wouldn’t homosexuality have been pointed out if that were the problem?). Nor am I talking about passages that condemn male prostitutes, as we can all agree that prostitution is not a healthy lifestyle.

    Once you’ve removed those passages from discussion, that leaves us with two Holiness Code verses in Leviticus (a man shall not lie with a man. They must be killed if they do so) and that’s all in the Old Testament.

    Jesus says nothing condemning of homosexuality and especially not of loving gay marriages. Again, judging by the time and effort the popular church has put in to opposing homosexuality, you’d think that Jesus must have really railed against it, but no. Nothing.

    This leaves us with the Romans passage and a few other Pauline epistles that include “homosexual offender,” “homosexual,” “the effeminate,” or “the soft” – depending upon your translation – in with a list of other sinners. The word (as I understand it, not being a Greek scholar) for all these translations is literally translated “soft” and is simply not clear – which is not to say that it isn’t talking about homosexuality, just that we don’t know for sure what it is talking about.

    So there you have it, the Bible I’m looking at – the one that is silent on homosexuality except for a handful of verses that are less than clear. Is that the same as yours?

  17. It seems to me that in order to be true to the word of God one must KNOW what the word of God is.

    The I read this:
    “For the record, there are less than ten, depending upon your translation.”

    Step back and think about that. “depending upon your translation.”

  18. Our Father loved Adam and Eve, yet they returned their love with disobedience. God’s ways are not always our way. The Holy Spirit is our wisdon(God’s Wisdom) Loving another isn’t about hetero or homo oR hermit, Seem like God spirit of truth has a lot of explaining to do if there is this much confusion on what our Father expects from us. WE CAN”T ANSWER WITH THE TRUTH,THEN WHERE ARE WE ALL REALLY IN OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.
    THE OTHER

  19. “Step back and think about that. “depending upon your translation.”

    I don’t get your point. My point was that the word “homosexual” is mentioned 1-4 times in the New Testament depending upon your translation.

    For instance, in 1 Corinthians 6, the passage reads:

    “Don’t you know that the unholy will not inherit the realm of God? Don’t kid yourselves. None of these will inherit the realm of God: the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, malakoi, arsenokoitai, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers nor extortionists will inherit the realm of God.”

    With “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai” being the words in question.

    Those words are translated variously in various versions. For instance:
    King James: effeminate nor abusers of themselves with mankind;
    New King James: homosexuals nor sodomites
    Jerusalem: sodomites or catamites

    And so on. SO, depending upon your translation, there are less than ten times that the NT seems to talk about homosexuality. Does that clarify what I’m saying?

  20. I made a mistake, I think. I had said at first that there were 1-4 instances of the word “homosexual” being used in the Bible.

    Based on a brief search of various translations of the Bible, I could find “homosexual” nor “homosexuals” listed any more than TWO times in the NT and still not at all in the OT.

    I stand corrected.

  21. Dan,

    I genuinely appreciate the spirit in which you have conducted this conversation. Thank you. This is the way this type of dialogue needs to be conducted.

    In order to try and understand your views more I’d like to know where you are coming from. If you don’t mind I like to ask you a few questions.

    What church do you attend? And in what denomination?

    Are you single, married, divorced?

    Gay or straight?

    When and how did you become a follower of Jesus Christ?

    None of these questions are meant to be too personal and I do not have any tricks up my sleeve. Just curious. I am genuinely trying to understand your position and learn from you. This might give me some additional perspective.

    Thanks.

  22. I don’t know that it matters, but I’ll gladly answer your questions.

    I was raised a poor, black child. Life was never easy for me….

    Wait, that’s not right.

    I was raised in a traditional conservative (in a good way) Southern Baptist church which I appreciate deeply. They taught me to take the Bible seriously.

    I was saved and baptized at the age of ten and had a more adult decision of faith (“sanctification” they call it in the Nazarene church) at the age of 16, where I committed to truly have Jesus – the Jesus of the Bible and of God’s revelation to me – as Lord of my life, by God’s grace.

    I met my wife in college and we married when she graduated when we were both 22. We’ve been married for 21 years now and have two kids (for what it’s worth). If you’d like for me to get really personal, we have both only “known” each other and no one else, if you get my drift.

    I’d suppose it goes without saying, but I’m straight. You couldn’t pay me to be gay – not that there’s anything wrong with being gay but because I’m straight. That’s the way it works.

    I’m a deacon and sunday school teacher at Jeff Street Baptist Church in Louisville, KY (www.jeffstreet.blogspot.com). Jeff Street was once Southern Baptist but were gladly kicked out of that denomination a long time ago (for hiring a woman preacher).

    Our church is a conglomeration of many things but if I were to give it a label, I’d call us in the anabaptist tradition (I certainly am anabaptist in my theology). Others at our church might frame it otherwise.

    We are a peace church (as in the anabaptist tradition), with a deep belief in following the teachings of Jesus and taking his words and teachings quite literally. We are one of the welcoming and affirming churches which are the topic of this post and doing quite nicely, thank you.

    We don’t have – have never had – a huge congregation. In our 100+ years as a church, we’ve always had in the 50-100 members. But we don’t measure “success” in numbers but in faithfulness to God’s word and in the evidence of the spirit present in our community.

    Stop by our blog sometime, we’ve some fun posts and pictures.

    And now that’s more about Dan than anyone EVER wanted to know. Thanks for asking. [my Word Verification word is “vsblnut”…Visible Nut? Is that what I’ve just made of myself?]

  23. And, to add one thing more, we have gay deacons at our church, gay ministers, gay babysitters, gay prophets and, of course, deeply treasured gay friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.

  24. Dan said:
    “Step back and think about that. “depending upon your translation.”

    I don’t get your point. My point was that the word …………..

    What I said was to follow one must know the word of God. How can you ‘know’ the word if what you take from the Bible depends on “your translation”?? That becomes what you “think” the word is! IMO

  25. Anonymous,
    Just what the hell are you talking about son? You sound a lot like that neoluce we got rid of a couple of months ago.

  26. Anonymous said:

    “What I said was to follow one must know the word of God. How can you ‘know’ the word if what you take from the Bible depends on “your translation”??”

    I’m sorry, but I’m still not following your point. We nearly all (greek and hebrew scholars notwithstanding) depend upon translations of the Bible to be able to read the Bible. I don’t know what “malakoi” means. I wouldn’t have known what “koinonia” means without the benefit of someone translating it for me.

    The difference is that there is a pretty clear understanding and agreement amongst translators what the word “koinonia” means and how to translate it and there is not the same agreement with a word like “malakoi.” And so, those of us who are concerned about what the Bible says may feel quite justified in looking at various translations and reading up a bit more on a given word or phrase or passage.

    One of my points is that, while a cursory overview of the Bible may lead one to think that God is opposed to homosexuality, who wants to rely upon a cursory overview?

  27. Very interesting discussion! But I have a question for Dan, that I don’t think has been asked. I understand your position on leading sinners to repent, but I don’t understand same-sex marriages. The union of a man and a woman (according to Genesis), and the two becoming one flesh, depends on the two being of the opposite sex. How can there be a homosexual “marriage” when a homosexual relationship cannot produce a unity of sexually differentiated beings?

    As for the Greek word malakos, it is true that this means “soft.” But as with most words, there is another meaning which is: “in a bad sense; effeminate; of a catamite; of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man; of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness; of a male prostitute” (from the New Testament Greek Lexicon)

    Reading the text in 1 Corinthians 6 and keeping it in context, it would be obvious that it is teaching against homosexual behavior and not against being “soft.”

  28. I’d suggest, using your very apt interpretation, that keeping it in context, it would be obvious that it is teaching against the abusive practice of child prostitution. Right?

    As to your first question:
    “The union of a man and a woman (according to Genesis), and the two becoming one flesh, depends on the two being of the opposite sex.”

    Says who? Where in the Bible does it preclude marriage that doesn’t result in children? Or “a unity of sexually differentiated beings?” I don’t find it (because it’s not there, frankly).

    Thanks for asking politely and all.

    Understand that I understand that the absence of a Named Sin does not equate to the Un-named Action NOT being a sin.

    It’s just that I don’t find a reasonable case in the Bible or in biblical context for banning gay marriage.

    And thanks

  29. I’m sorry I missed you in Louisville, Dan. This might have been fun in person. I think Fr. Neo’s point of the general drift of peace and the general drift of teaching on sexual behavior are much clearer than translating the Greek. Even if the evasive “gay” gene is found, sexual “behavior” is learned. The impulse to sexual activity is powerful, but can be inappropriately aimed and doesn’t need to be indulged just because it is there, especially in the case of adultery and same sex activity. It must be an annoying thorn in the flesh, for sure, and could have been the one Paul was referring to, for all we know. But a thorn it is, and not to be dignified as “natural”. Men and women “fit” together for a definite purpose. Men and men or women and women may “force fit”, but to no purpose. Love each other, of course. Have sex with each other, or with the pencil sharpener, no. So, the general, common sense drift of biblical talk about human sexuality doesn’t cover any of a huge variety of inappropriate “fittings”, except to condemn them.

    The best that anyone can say about this issue, exegetically, from close study is that you are “not sure” and that is a stretch. My guess is that “not sure” is not a good platform from which to make decisions. So, say farewell to Jeff Street Baptist church and find a community that isn’t so PC. This is a well-meaning and loving word to the wise, Dan, not claiming any wisdom to myself, but just counseling you to be careful. Stay liberal and Christian, as the Spirit leads you, but run from the “grey area” Christianity. It might bite you.

  30. K,

    Sorry we missed each other too. We could have walked around holding hands and maybe I could have convinced you to be gay?

    “Even if the evasive “gay” gene is found, sexual “behavior” is learned.”

    And who is it that taught you to be straight, K? You know what, even at the age of five, no one could have “convinced” or taught me to be gay. I’m straight. It’s not a taught behavior, common sense and science both will tell us.

    “So, say farewell to Jeff Street Baptist church and find a community that isn’t so PC.”

    THIS is my point. I’ll be glad to talk about what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality, but my point in addressing Fr. Neo originally is that NO ONE (or at least not most – and no one I know) is talking about being welcoming and affirming out of PC. We’re doing it for one reason and one reason alone: Faithfulness to God and God’s Word.

    To continue to try to reframe it in a devious way is just wrong. As the Ten Commandments tell us “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Please quit doing so, y’all. It’s annoying as hell and, while I’m sure you only mean it in the best way possible, diabolical.

    Goodbye to Jeff Street? No thanks. I reckon I’d come closer to giving up on the Institutional Church before I’d give up on Jeff Street.

  31. Dan,

    I tried to write so that you would know that I respect your liberal Christianity, and my other Louisville brother’s as well. I haven’t been to your church, but I went to his and liked it. But, we’re not talking politics here, Brother. Ann Coulter recently derided “my” denomination by calling it “hardly a religion at all.” Sad, but true. I’m not writing from a FourSquare Gospel seat, but from an orthodox liturgical tradition, hitherto known as Anglican. I wonder what we will call the next iteration.

    According to what I have read on the subject, we are born with varying inclinations, so our successful achievement of a sexual identity is huge and very helpful to our future. It’s supposed to be easier to learn to be a woman than to learn to be a man, according to the best research. It’s scary getting off the lap of cudly, milky Mom and crossing the room to that big, ugly guy sitting over there and identifying with him. Some of the behavior that clusters around the “decision” to act on homosexual attraction is actually gender confusion. I’m no expert, I’ve just heard both sides of this story from my gay friends and read some. The difficulty of the issue is that those who “choose” to act on their attraction to same sex are harmed by those who facilitate it, because the “gay” lifestyle is anything but. This site is not for discussion of issues of sexuality, though. I think we got here from the “welcoming” comment in the title of the post. That and the fact that ECUSA is splitting because of the issue of broadening or diluting the meaning of scripture in order to be inclusive. We’re all struggling with the issue of how closely to walk the cultural line and whether to cross the biblical authority line. Smudging the lines in order to make the issue easier to equivocate on is common, unfortunately. Some of the exegesis in this conversation was from there. However, I think we all said what we needed to. Fr. Neo’s White Rabbit is a welcoming, inclusive place, too. You have taught us a lot. Don’t run away because we have a little beef over a “pink” issue. That would spoil a nice friendship and a wonderful ongoing conversation. If this disagreement is upsetting you, I’m willing to drop it and I bet you are, too. As they say in AA, thanks for sharing all around.

  32. K, while I may have sounded strong in my rebuke, I didn’t take anything you said personally. It’s just that I’m tired of hearing people’s positions misrepresented. I hear it on all “sides,” (if there were such a thing) but I seem to hear it a good bit especially from the “Right”-ish places I visit.

    They’ll say, “But he’s just smudging God’s Word to be a nice guy,” or “she’s just saying that because she hates Bush (or Clinton or whoever).”

    Misrepresenting people’s position is a big deal. We all do it with regularity because of misunderstandings or because it’s just easier to fight somebody’s caricatured position than it is to deal with their actual position.

    But I, for one, truly think this is one of the things that the commandment is getting at when it forbids bearing false testimony. And so it’s important that we not do so.

    I’m glad to talk about the issues at hand (acknowledging that I’m as dumb as a rock and probably have little to add worthwhile), but I tire of repeatedly correcting false representations of my position.

    And so, to be clear I’ll repeat it again:

    Those of us, at least at my wonderful little church, who support gay marriage do so not because we want to be kind or out of political correctness, but because we believe that is what God and God’s Word teaches us. Period.

  33. Dan,

    Gay deacons? Gay babysitters? Gay ministers? If this is faithful to God and his Word you are into some serious delusion.

    Welcoming? Sure – we ought to welcome everyone. But affirming? No way. We can no more affirm gays in their “gayness” than we can liars, adulterers, murderers, thieves, drunkards, etc.

    We should welcome everyone to the cross of Jesus Christ. And when people genuinely repent and believe we can then watch God work and transform lives out of sin and into righteousness. Anything less is just not loving.

  34. That’s the problem though, Scott. How do you bring someone to the cross of Christ when they truly believe they are already saved?

  35. And so, Phyllis, am I not saved? Based upon what do you make that assumption?

    And Scott, am I delusional because I disagree with you? If you disagree with me, does that make you delusional? Who’s deciding what’s delusional and what’s not?

    I, along with my church and many other churches (but by no means anything like a majority of churches), disagree with your interpretation of the Bible. We’re not trying to excuse anything, we’ve read the same four or five verses you’ve read, along with the rest of the Bible, and come to a different conclusion.

    Is it not possible to have a difference of opinion about biblical interpretation without being delusional?

    “We can no more affirm gays in their “gayness” than we can liars…”

    Or straights in their “straightness”?

  36. Being straight is not a sin. But being gay is a sin. Yes, we do affirm the appropriate sexual expression of one man and one woman in holy matrimony. This is how God designed it.

    You are not delusional because you disagree with me. You are delusional because you shamelessly discard the straightforward teaching of Scripture (no pun intended).

    Dan, I do not want to be harsh. To be honest, looking at your website you seem like the kind of guy I’d enjoy hanging out with. I’d love to hear your music! Christians can differ on many things, but this is one thing that is just much too clear and far too obvious to disagree upon. To tamper with God’s design for human sexuality is sin and perversion plain and simple. God created Adam and Eve to complement one another as partners. As has already been mentioned there is a very definite design on how they fit together. Nowhere is any other plan or purpose upheld. On the contrary it is spoken of as perversion and could have gotten you stoned in the Old Testament.

    When Jesus redeemed the woman caught in adultery he did not condemn her AND at the same time told her to go and sin no more. This is the message we must proclaim to all sinners. Forgiveness and redemption in Christ that leads to newness of life – not acceptance of sin regardless of what that sin might be. If that woman had started making excuses for her sin and how she was really born an adulteress and couldn’t keep from doing it because it would be a denial of who she truly is – Jesus would have had every right to pick up a big stone and clobber her with it. And make no mistake about it – when he comes again it will not be to redeem, but to judge. The “stones” WILL be flying then.

    We could argue about this all day long and we are not going to get anywhere. You obviously have your mind made up and most of us here have our minds made up. Maybe it is time to call a truce and bring this conversation to an end.

  37. “Being straight is not a sin. But being gay is a sin.”

    Says you. That idea is absent from the Bible. There are a literal handful of verses in the Bible that, if your culture says that being gay is a sin, it’s possible to “find” condemnation of homosexuality in those handful of verses, but it’s not there if you take an honest look.

    “You are delusional because you shamelessly discard the straightforward teaching of Scripture”

    I don’t find the teaching in those handful of verses straightforward. At all.

    “Christians can differ on many things, but this is one thing that is just much too clear and far too obvious to disagree upon.”

    So, am I not a christian, according to you, because we disagree on this matter?

    Feel free to continue or stop the discussion as you wish.

  38. Scott pointed out:

    “On the contrary it is spoken of as perversion and could have gotten you stoned in the Old Testament.”

    Because you’ve brought this up, allow me to touch on the biblical side of this: suppose you are correctly interpreting the two verses in the OT that seem to deal with this. Why do we not stone gays today?

    IF you have interpreted correctly the Leviticus passages, there is nowhere in the Bible where it gives us permission to stop the stoning of “men who lay with men.”

    I’m curious: What biblical justification do you have for ignoring what you think the Bible teaches?

    If anyone is wanting to get in to what the Bible actually does and doesn’t say on the topic.

  39. (formerly nicknamed as jholder)
    Scott wrote: “Being straight is not a sin. But being gay is a sin.”

    Scott, while I am in agreement about part of what you say, this I have problems with. “Being” a human means we all suffer from original sin and temptation. But only in commiting a sinful act (mentally or physically) do we actually partake of sin. If ‘gayness’ is ever proved to be a genetic thing (and it matters not one whit if it is), like Rhett’s syndrome, for instance, the fact that the person is born imperfect is not a result of individual sin. We all suffer the effects of original sin: namely, we all get sick, we all die, we all suffer great temptation. Some of us have greater and some fewer genetic issues to deal with as ‘thorns in our flesh’. (Not to mention the non-genetic ones)

    But, even granting that there may be a genetic component to ‘gayness’ I see only the imperfection in the world resulting from original sin that John has, Scott has, and Dan has already. ‘Being’ a person who has these issues and temptation is not a sin, only giving in to the temptations would be a sin.

    Dan already knows that I disagree with him on this issue, but our conversation was always a great deal more nuanced than this one has been.

    The text that is most important to marriage, in my opinion, is Christs in Matthew 8:
    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

    Christ himself only included ‘man’ and ‘wife’ as marriage candidates, not other permutations. I also agree that divorce is a serious sin and a problem among Christians today.

  40. My reflextion on this is two fold. JohnH I believe that you have stated is the Truth. What amazes me is the converstation. I can see the Pharisees and the Sadducees have similar dicussions about Christ. Is He isn’t He.These were supposably the spiritual and intellectual elite of the times.They should have know the truth. How could they have gone so astray for God truth?
    Divorce is a path that has become easily accepted, along with abortion. All sins to the Truth

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