Pastoral Reflections on Homophobia

In my next response to James Crossley’s allegations of “homophobia,” I thought I would narrate two stories, two experiences with gay men and women, which have shaped my perceptions and pastoral approach to homosexuality.

Story One: Violent Homophobia.

In a previous life time, I was a soldier in the Australian Army. One evening my section was on a boys night out on the town in Sydney, doing bit of a pub crawl. I was not a heavy drinker, so I was the only sober one in the group by 9. 00 p.m. In one of our excursions across a park, several of us walked passed a couple of gay men innocuously holding hands as they strolled through the park. As they walked by, however, one of my group (the highest ranked member in fact) began yelling all sorts of hateful things interspersed with vicious expletives at them. He pushed his way over towards them as the couple quickly hurried their pace. Sensing the potential for fruitless violence at two innocent citizens, I grabbed my superior (and let it be known that this guy was built like Sylvester Stallone in his 80s physique) and dragged him back towards the group, fortunately a few other guys stepped in to help me. Eventually the drunken aggressive man desisted from his attempted attack and rejoined us on our walk. It was a vivid experience, one I’ve never forgotten. I felt sorry for that couple who could not even walk down a public park after dark without fear of physical attack due to no more than holding hands. From that experience I can say that I believe homophobia exists, it is real, it is based on nothing more than prejudice without reason, and it is morally wrong … and I say this as a Christian, one who tries to follow Jesus by loving my neighbor, even my gay neighbors walking down the street.

Story Two: The Ultimate Homophobia.

Back in 2002, just after it was announced that Rowan Williams was going to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, I led an ecumenical Bible study among a group of Christians from the Army. I remember vividly the small group in question: A fiery Lutheran warrant officer, a meek Pentecostal girl from transport corps, a liberal Catholic logistics Captain, and a softly spoken nominal Anglican lady working for the DoD. When we got to the subject of Rowan Williams and his views of sexuality, well, the conversation heated up, like a furnace. The Lutheran warrant officer earnestly made the point that the Bible condemns homosexuality, the liberal Catholic rebutted that sexuality is genetically innate and cannot be helped so one should not oppose it, the nominal Anglican lady said that gay people make great friends and are great at helping you decorate your house, while the Pentecostal girl just sat there quietly not saying anything. Well, the conversation, now argument, got hotter and hotter. Despite my best efforts to moderate the tone and change the subject, it just got worse. It turned into a yelling match with the Bible-bashing Lutheran trying to shout down the liberal Catholic on the one side and the nominal Anglican lady adding her two-cents every so often. The poor Pentecostal girl sat their very quiet, staring catatonically at the floor, wisely avoiding the melee. Right before I was gonna yell “time out children, time to go home,” all of a sudden the Pentecostal girl loudly interjected with these words, “I used to be a Lesbian but Jesus saved me.” Right after that there was a silence you could cut with a knife. The Lutheran, the Catholic, the Anglican, and the poor Bible study leader, had nothing to say. What do you say to that? How do you follow that up? The young girl was engaged and a few months later was married and last I heard she was living a joyous heterosexual marriage with her new husband. In her story, homosexuality was something that she needed to be saved from, Jesus saved her from it, and she remained grateful for the transformation that had taken place in her life. But I want to say that her story is the greatest homophobic epic that can ever be told. In her story, it is possible, indeed actual, for some (note the qualifier) gay men and women to be changed and transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, homosexual men and women can be liberated, rescued, and saved from homosexualilty … that is their testimony, not mine. Now I know that the reasons why people have same-sex desires are complex and range from biology to upbringing to sociology to psychology. I do not believe that the Pentecostal girl’s story would necessarily be true of all homosexual men and women. I don’t think homosexuality is a disease much less something that can be cured. Some Christians with same-sex desires struggle with it for all their lives (just as heterosexuals can struggle with certain desires and behaviors). I know that there are many ex-gays, but I also know that there are many ex-ex-gays too. My point is that I have heard the testimony of men and women who consider themselves saved from homosexuality. Moreover, their words constitute the greatest act of betrayal of the gay-cause, the greatest act of treachery in gay-rights, and the greatest attack on efforts to deny that same-sex desires can change in people. In our secular and pansexual culture, ex-gay Christians are the worst and most vile homophobes in the universe because they announce that Jesus saved them from homosexuality and the Holy Spirit transformed them and empowered them to live a holy life without it. Though society may call them homophobes, I am not ashamed to call them my brother or sister.

  • http://twitter.com/aquatiki Robert Murphy

    Wonderful anecdotes. I appreciate your tone throughout. Thanks

  • Andrew Wilson

    This is brilliant, and very moving, Mike. (But I think there’s a typo: “not the qualifier”). I had a similar experience at Spring Harvest (a UK conference) where a lesbian woman came up to me after preaching on sexuality and said something almost identical. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • Ali Griffiths

    Thank you for such a helpful and pastorally sensitive approach to what is a very difficult subject.

  • BW16

    This is all very well and good, but it doesn’t consider the fact that Jesus was gay (as is clear from scripture).

    • Duncan B

      Any passage whatsoever in support would be useful if you’re going to make such an offensive comment.

      • BW16

        Firstly, why is the comment offensive? Secondly, how about we flip the burden of proof: is there any evidence that Jesus was heterosexual? The answer is most assuredly no. Thirdly, Jesus preferred the company of his male disciples, and was even kissed by a dude (Mk 14:45). This would lead any reasonable person to deduce that Jesus was in fact gay.

        • Monroemomma2

          You are a moron.

          • BW16

            Thanks for your engaging response.

          • Luis

            Point 1- Homosexuality was sinful under the law.

            “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Lev. 18:22

            “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Lev. 20:13

            Point 2- Jesus was placed under the law from birth

            “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” Gal. 4:4

            Point 3- Jesus kept all the OT law and was without sin.

            “For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respecs like ourselves, but without sin”. Heb. 4:15

            “He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth”. 1 Pet. 2:22

            Fact- Homosexuality was a sin under the law.
            Fact- Jesus was born under the law.
            Fact- Jesus kept the law & was without sin.
            Deduction- Jesus in no way could have been homosexual.

          • Bw16

            Again, you seem to be speaking past the distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior. As bw3 states, the law only condemns homosexual behavior and not homosexual orientation, and so Jesus could have been gay and he would not be in conflict with the law – according to serious scholars of scripture, that is.

          • BW16

            Do you seriously believe it is ethically correct to put practicing homosexual men to death, as is commanded by your Bible?

        • Duncan B

          Dear BW16,

          I’m tempted to answer by saying all you would need to do is ask a Muslim how they would feel about someone they regard as a prophet (which they do Jesus) being described as a homosexual to find out if it is offensive. However, I see from some of your other comments that this is a topic your trying to work through so I want to explain in a gracious manner. Please forgive me if my answer below (especially the first comment) is harsh, it’s not meant to be.

          First, why is the comment offensive, I believe that homosexuality is a sin and any sin being ascribed to my Lord is offensive. That said, I am willing to admit that I am product of my culture and so describing Jesus as a homosexual is probably more offensive to me than some other sins. However, in Jesus’ lifetime he was described as a glutton and a drunkard, a deceiver of the people and Beelzebub so a sin being ascribed to him is nothing new.

          As to the question of whether Jesus could be described as heterosexual or homosexual from the Scriptures, I think that is the wrong question. Jesus does not appear to be sexually attracted to either men or women. Using the betrayer’s kiss as evidence of homosexuality is absurd. This is simply a culturally acceptable greeting (see Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; I Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). The best place to see the expectation of this cultural greeting is in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus rebukes Simon the Pharisee for not giving him the appropriate greeting a guest should receive (v. 45) and then describes how the sinful woman had repeatedly kissed his feet (v.45). Do we take from this that Jesus was actually heterosexual because he was kissed by a woman? No, just that he was adored by people seeking to find hope, acceptance and forgiveness.

          Next, yes, many of the stories of Jesus revolve around his dealings with his male disciples but reference is made to women who followed him (Matthew 27:55-56) and, judging from how distraught she was at his death, it is apparent that Mary Magdalene loved him (John 20:11-18). However this proves neither that Jesus was romantically linked to the men whom most of the stories revolve around or the women who followed him, or Mary Magdalene. The Gospel writers were writing long before the era of Shakespeare and the desperate need we have today to find romantic interests for people. Are we so obsessed with sex today that we don’t believe a person can be whole without it? How tragic our thinking has become.

          Finally, while we have no evidence for Jesus being sexually connected with anyone, male or female (or even romantically – there is no evidence he reciprocated Mary’s love), it is apparent that he affirmed the creation mandate that sexual communion and becoming one is to be between a male and a female (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7).

          May you, like I and so many countless others, find in Jesus acceptance and release but also the challenge and the Holy Spirit enabling strength to go and sin no more.

          Sincerely,

          Duncan

          • BW16

            Thanks, Duncan, for your careful response.
            In response to your first point, I fail to see how labeling my comment as offensive is constructive. I could equally point out my disgust at your view that homosexuality is sinful etc. Its also a nice deference tactic to bring in muslims as your defense when I’m pretty sure the Christian claim that Jesus in divine is equally offensive to them. Got irony much?
            Secondly, there seems to be some circular reasoning going on here. You have assumed from the outset that homosexuality is sinful, and Jesus was without sin, ergo Jesus was not gay. Perhaps you need to rethink your starting assumption. If you are closed to even the possibility of Jesus practicing a deviant sexual identity, then you are not being faithful to the biblical text itself.
            Thirdly, I take your point that Jesus was probably asexual (the question of heterosexuality vs homosexuality is anachronistic and misleading). But this, of course, raises the question as to whether Jesus was fully human (as is held by the tradition): If he did not experience sexual attraction and/or desire, for example, then is it true to say that he was fully human like the rest of us? Or does his divinity (or holiness) cancel out all this sexual stuff? There is a docetic tendency that needs to be thought through here.
            To conclude, it seems to me there is some sort of repression going on which is evidenced by your textbook case of rationalization re: the circular reasoning about homosexuality being a sin, ergo Jesus cant be gay.
            I hope you continue to work through these inner antagonisms and come to a more mature level of psycho-consciousness in the future.
            Affectionately,
            BW16

          • Todd B.

            Jesus affirmed the law (every “jot and tittle”) and the law unequivocally condemns gay sex. To suggest that Jesus upheld the law and obeyed it fully and at the same time was homosexual is inconsistent and rejects how He is portrayed in the New Testament.

          • BW16

            Depends on how you define gay sex. Also, one can be gay without having gay sex (I think this was made abundantly clear by BW3 & others’ distinction between ontological and practicing homosexuals!).
            Affectionately,
            BW16

          • Todd B.

            Men can (and should) have close, intimate relationships with other men without those relationships being homosexual. It is error to read homosexuality into every case in which men are in close relationship with each other.

            Also, I personally reject the idea that same-sex attraction equals one’s sexual identity. While I do not choose my feelings (or temptations) I do not have to be ruled nor defined by them. One may choose to self-identify as homosexual apart from sex, but self-identification is a choice.

          • BW16

            Great! I think we are on the same page, Todd B.
            In Him,
            BW16

          • Ali Griffiths

            I can understand why you would like to claim Jesus as gay, the evidence that is in Scripture does not point to this at all. The one reference you cite is Mk 14:45 claiming this would lead to ‘any reasonable person to deduce that Jesus was in fact gay’ is far from the truth. No reasonable person would conclude this even based on a limited understanding of biblical hermeneutics and cultural norms.
            There is no evidence to support your claim that Jesus is gay nor is there any evidence Jesus was asexual unless you are of the view that sexuality is sinful in itself(I assume you would not think this). Whatever his sexuality however, Jesus chose to remain celibate – that much is clear. Which helpfully reminds all of us that being in a sexual relationship is not required in order to live a life that reflects God – something that the church worldwide all too often seems to forget.
            The way you are engaging in discussion of this topic indicates a deep seated antagonism of anyone who disagrees with your agenda. This is not a helpful way in which to enter this debate. Not everyone who disagrees with you is homophobic nor are they repressed. Many people will disagree because they do not see your case being made in the Bible and have reached the opposite conclusion to you. You should have the grace to respect that.

          • BW16

            Thanks, Ali Griffiths, for your enlightening response. It is intriguing that you come to the conclusion that Jesus was celibate. I find little evidence of this in the Bible, given the rampant sexual innuendo we find on almost every page. The assumption that Jesus was celibate is an argument from silence. The truth is we have next to no explicit knowledge of Jesus’ sexuality and/or sexual activity. To suggest he was celibate is to project romanticized ideals onto the text (just as I may be accused of doing likewise; but isn’t it interesting that it’s deemed okay if it supports the dominant ideology?). But irrespective of this, a celibate Jesus doesn’t counter the possibility of a gay Jesus (see my comment below). In fact, given the deplorable fate awaiting those who ‘came out’ in such a sociosexual setting, it is all the more likely that he was of a deviant sexuality.

            (Just as an aside, I never claimed that Jesus was asexual, this view I inferred from the careful response of Duncan B.)

            The last part of your comment seems largely irrelevant to the mass debate at hand. I realize that not ‘everyone’ who disagrees with me is homophobic. In fact, I havn’t even used that label on anyone! Nice bit of eisogesis there…

          • Ali Griffiths

            ‘To conclude, it seems to me there is some sort of repression going on which is evidenced by your textbook case of rationalization re: the circular reasoning about homosexuality being a sin, ergo Jesus cant be gay.
            I hope you continue to work through these inner antagonisms and come to a more mature level of psycho-consciousness in the future.’
            My final comment is based on your own comment quoted above. Deductions that I have made from it are based on what you have written alone and the way we deal with each as Christians is far from irrelevant to the ‘mass debate at hand’. We can agree to disagree and still be respectful and kind towards one another.
            As far as the first part of your comment is concerned, I am amused that you would think is projecting ‘romanticized ideals onto the text” to conclude Jesus was celibate as celibacy, for anyone who does practise it, is not a romanticised lifestyle for anyone! It was certainly not the lifestyle of choice for a devout Jewish male of the first century – gay or not, Jesus can certainly identify with the predicament of any gay or heterosexual single person who feels their family are disappointed in the lack of grandchildren!
            I agree that there is a danger that we project our own ideals on to the text – that always is a danger but ‘rampant sexual inuendo’? Sorry – but I just don’t see that at all.
            If your sexuality is something that you are super sensitive about, maybe you are reading too much into the text and are not in the best place to judge. Likewise, I recognise that perhaps someone like me who is comfortable with my own sexuality which is affirmed as acceptable by society and the church may not be sensitive enough.
            Let’s be careful and respectful with each other as well as the text.
            It’s kind of you to describe my response to you as ‘enlightening’ though when as far as I am aware I am only restating orthodoxy when I say that Jesus appears to be celibate.

          • BW16

            Aha! The crucial move in your last sentence reveals it all… Jesus is no longer celibate but merely “appears to be” celibate. :-)

          • Dr. Who

            Your understanding of the biblical texts is not based on the jewish history and what was a socially acceptable behavior but on your understanding of what your current sociocultural context is imposing on you.

          • Bw16

            You are mistaken.

          • Nate Sauve

            I’m sure your perspective is vastly superior to the interpretations of the thousands if not millions of serious students over the past 2000 years. You alone can see what the rest of humanity has missed.

          • Bw16

            My view is based on critical scholarship that you seem to have missed. As if everyone over the past 2000 years has had the same interpretation of scripture…

          • Nate Sauve

            Rampant specutlation is not critical scholarship. And on this the interpretation has been univocal until very recently.

          • Bw16
          • Ali Griffiths

            Reveals what precisely? It is not crucial because it proves nothing. It is merely a logical conclusion from reading the text. You are increasingly revealing yourself to simply be someone who wants to score points but who is too silly to understand that they are not points at all.
            Regrettably you are not coming across here as someone who is worth talking with because you do not want to listen. I hope that isn’t true but it certainly the impression you are giving.

          • Bw16

            Then why are you talking to me? I’m still not convinced by your eisogetical reading of scripture. Try harder.

          • Stephen Clark
          • Stephen Clark

            That was weird. Please disregard my last

          • MelissaGurba

            I in no way intellectually belong in this conversation. I am a babe in Christ, three short years ago God saved me from himself through faith in Jesus Christ who paid for my sins on the cross and saved me from my sins not just the punishment for sin, giving me a new heart with new desires.

            When God created mankind he created them male and female and tells them to multiply(Gen. 1:27,28). The writer goes into more detail about the creation of mankind in Genesis 2, and God institutes marriage between a male and female in Genesis 2:24.

            The Old Testament writings are clear on God’s view of sin, one of them being the act of homosexuality (Lev. 18:22, 20:13). The New Testament is also clear on God’s view of sin and one of these being homosexuality (Rom:1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 1 Tim. 1:8-10). Paul in Ephesians and Galatians gives us a list, though not exhausted, of sin that we are to no longer walk in as these things are the very reason that the wrath of God comes and such will not inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:6, Gal. 4:19-21).

            Jesus in truth was pure in thought and deed. Jesus not only said that the act of sin is sinful but that the very root of that sinful act begins in the heart and which is corrupted by nature, Jesus teaches on this in the Sermon on the Mount and deals with sinful lust there in ( Matthew 5:27-28).

            I realize this is maybe too simple for some but God is pleased to save those who are not at all wise according to this generation.

            The LORD’s, Isaiah 44:5 (ESV),

            Melissa

          • BW16

            Great job of prooftexting. Did you see the one about stoning men who lay with other men as they do with women to death? (Lev 20:13). You should check it out!

          • MelissaGurba

            Good point BW16. Thank you for responding :) Yes actually I have read Leviticus 20:13. Again being a babe in Christ this is my 4th time through the whole Bible, small but very enjoyable to me.

            I do believe that that the OT is clear on sin and the heinousness of it against a Holy God who hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5; Psalm 5:4-6). The NT is clear on the punishment of the wicked.

            The stoning you speak of in Leviticus of men who lay with men or women with women or, for that matter, bestiality or a number perversions is quite telling of what God will do with the wicked for all eternity. It is violent language because it is violent to sin against an eternal God and that punishment is going to be eternally violent. A billion years in hell just to realize it has just begun. That is what it is displaying, the wrath of God on sin.

            While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.
            (Numbers 15:32-36 ESV)

            Sin is sin and it shall be punishment. Kill sin or it will kill you. We all deserve a fiery hell. It amazes me why God saves anyone.

            Melissa

          • BW16

            Okay good, thank you for your consistency, unlike Bird’s “soft” homophobia, you admit your God-given desire to perpetrate physical violence against the damned, as is commanded by your Bible.
            BW16

          • Duncan B

            Dear BW16,

            Yes, my comments about Muslims was sloppy writing. I should have explained myself better. It is simply that Muslims are my colleagues, neighbours and friends and I wanted to let you know that it’s not just many Christians whom would be offended by the assertion the Jesus was gay. I would however say that while, in theory, shirk (the giving of anything or anyone a status that only belongs to Allah) is the worst sin anyone can ever do (and indeed is what Christians are accused of doing with how we regard Jesus), the reality is that most Muslims would find attributing homosexuality to someone as far more offensive. I hope that clears up why I used Muslims as an illustration.

            As for circular reasoning, it seems like the argument could just as easily be turned back upon you. Certainly some of the other respondents here see you as having circular reasoning. Perhaps it is easier however if I simply respond that all people start with assumptions that are essentially circular (a great analysis of this can be found in chapter 2 of Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics by Graeme Goldsworthy). Do my primary assumptions make for a good understanding of the text, I think so but I can’t force others to agree with me.

            Allow me also to say that you have set the agenda for this conversation. You made a comment that Jesus was gay and sought to affirm it with reference to the “Judas Kiss”. I have simply been addressing briefly what we can learn from Jesus sexuality in the scripture. Of course you can claim that I have not defended the view that homosexuality is a sin, that’s not what you were addressing. A full treatment of sexuality in the Bible is a completely different topic and probably beyond my skill. My only comment in regards to that is not to point to the Levitical law (I personally don’t want to be stoned for wearing a garment made of two different types of material, and I can’t see a reason why I should see one law as outdated [clothing] and the other as still effective [sexuality]), but instead point back to the creation mandated relations of where two becoming one is to occur, between a husband and a wife.

            As for the fullness of Jesus’ humanity, you make a good point. We know from Hebrews that Jesus was just like the rest of humanity but was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and so it is quite probable that he was tempted sexually and this could well include being tempted by homosexuality.

            Finally, I want to say thankyou to Ali Griffith for also noticing and raising the difficulties posed when someone raises the allegation of repression. I could try to answer such an allegation by talking about my ability to look upon men and say what I find handsome in a man while still not being sexually attracted to one. But really, such attempts generally don’t work. What is so frustrating about such an allegation is that either I deny it (in which case I’m likely to be accused of simply affirming the truth of it) or agree with it (which would make me a hypocrite). This is one of the worst twists in a conversation that someone can do. It simply shuts down the debate and denies the potential for further dialogue.

            Do I repress my sexuality, in one sense of course I do! But it’s not in the area of homosexuality. I have been blessed to be married for 15 years but when I see an attractive woman I might be tempted to lust. So yes, I repress those sexual urges because I believe that the right expression of sexuality is between a wife and her husband. I never want to dishonour my wife, my children and my Lord. I only pray that the Lord would help me to repress my sexuality (more accurately sexual urges) so that that would always be the case. I know some wonderful celibate people who are attracted to people of the same sex who pray the same thing.

            Blessings,

            Duncan

          • BW16

            Thanks, Duncan, for another most careful reply.
            It appears, then, that at least on the important points we mostly agree. Our reasoning is circular, which is primarily the cause of our (either conscious or unconscious) particular hermeneutical approach. Because you come to the text with the belief (based, of course, on a strong tradition of church teaching) that homosexuality is sinful, it seems “clear” to you that Jesus cannot possibly, in any way, embody anything resembling such a sexuality. My hermeneutical approach, however, is more open to the possibility that our cultural presuppositions regarding homosexuality might be wrong, that the text might show hints of a deviant sexuality if only we open our minds and hearts to a faithful, objective reading of scripture.
            Affectionately,
            BW16

  • N_mackison

    Mike, that was a moving and biblically faithful post. Thanks for sharing it!

  • James Crossley

    Yes, you could tell stories or you could answer the questions put to you.

  • Macho man

    You obviously had latent homoerotic attraction towards your buff superior to break rank like that. :-)

  • Christina Petterson

    good work on those gender stereotypes as well. I doubt they could get anymore rigid.

  • http://www.andrewshanks.com/ Andrew

    These are really helpful thoughts about homophobia. Consider also this article: “Against Homophobia” (http://andrewshanks.com/?p=300).

  • Beau W.

    How’s about we don’t throw pearls?

  • Alexander Stewart

    Stories are quite capable of answering questions. You seem to dismiss his response because it is couched in narratives without thinking through how the narratives might be an appropriate answer to some of the questions.

    • BW16
    • James

      No I dismiss them because they don’t answer the issues I bloody well raised about homophobic sentiments in biblical scholarship. Mike said all sorts of stupid things eg Mao, Dawkins etc and didn’t remotely represent my position fairly. I could give stories which are not very edifying but where would that get us. He, or you, might want to answer whether the statement by Gagnon is homophobic or you could skirt around the issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Loyal1Kempo James Mckaskle

    Homosexuality is sin, it is expressly stated as being so in scripture, but so are other things. It isn’t a worse sin than say stealing or lying or adultery, but it is still sinful. Frankly, all the diatribe and hostility don’t get us very far and the claim that Christ, the Son of God was somehow involved in any sinful behavior is disgusting and certainly won’t win you any favor with those of us who call Him Lord. The name calling and labels need to stop. Phobia is not an accurate label by any means, and that can be as offensive as calling homosexuals names. The author made a great point and that is love your neighbor, stop trying to shove beliefs down each others throats and in some cases, it is ok to agree to disagree. I don’t think Christians are going to buy into the idea that homosexuality is not sinful and I don’t believe the other side apart from the working of the Spirit are going to relent anytime soon either.

    Flame away as I don’t follow this site, it’s just my 2 cents

  • http://www.nicholaswilson.me.uk Nicholas Wilson

    After such a lovely article, it’s gut-wrenching to take a peek at the comments, which it hadn’t occurred to me would be so unpleasant. Stick with it!

  • Emy

    Jesus saves everyone and then the old testement is void. it says that in the bible just in more fancy wording

    • Jebus

      Where does it say this in the Bible?

    • Beau W.

      Jesus does not save everyone. And the Bible does not say this in any kind of wording; fancy or otherwise. Everyone being saved and being made right(eous) in God’s eyes is called Universalism. Universalism is heresy.

      Jesus himself in the book of John states:

      John 10:1-30
      English Standard Version (ESV)

      10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 (A)A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

      Jesus came to save his sheep. But not the goats. Not ALL will follow him. In fact, most will not.

      Jesus himself states in Matthew:

      Matthew 7:13-14
      English Standard Version (ESV)

      13 (A)“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and (B)the way is hard that leads to life, and (C)those who find it are few.

      As for the Old Testament being void; the entire OT is about Jesus as well, just at the NT is. The OT paints a fuzzy picture of what would one day be carried-out by the coming Messiah. All of the laws and rituals, etc. of the OT point forward to Christ stepping-in for man’s utter inability to be able to carry-out any of God’s requirements on our own. So to say that the OT is now voided would not be accurate. Our utter inability to even now follow any of God’s requirements on our own continues. The difference now, however, is that we have Hope of not being condemned because of our inability. If we repent and follow Jesus, we have been led through the narrow gate. Jesus came to fulfill the law because we WERE and ARE unable to do so on our own. The OT shows this again and again while pointing us forward to the Hope to come in Christ. The NT displays that our Hope has arrived in Jesus. The requirements have not changed from OT to NT. But those requirements have been fulfilled by the ONLY one who could fulfill them for us; God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

      Jesus himself states in Matthew:

      Matthew 5:17-20
      English Standard Version (ESV)

      17 (A)“Do not think that I have come to abolish (B)the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but (C)to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, (D)until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 (E)Therefore whoever relaxes (F)one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least (G)in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great (H)in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds (I)that of the scribes and Pharisees, you (J)will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

      That righteousness is not something that we possess of our own. The righteousness that Jesus is speaking about; is HIS righteousness. If we have righteousness it is because we possess an alien righteousness that is NOT our own. It could not be our own, for if it were we would not have needed Jesus to fulfill the law for us because man could have done it on his own. But the Old and New Testament clearly shows that that was/is not possible. The only righteousness that could exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees is the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to us upon repentance and our believing in Christ. In essence, Christ’s followers have exchanged their very horrible, terrible resume; for the perfect resume of Christ.

      So, if God saves everyone (which he doesn’t) he would have to impute Christ’s righteousness (exchange resumes) with every living soul who ever existed (Universalism) to not only His sheep; but to the goats as well.

      If that were the case, then how could be call God Just and Merciful? There is no Justice without Mercy. And if God offers Mercy to ALL; regardless of being a sheep or a goat, then he is not Just. Then he is not God.

      I am thankful that HE chose to save SOME, Because in this he has shown that He demands Justice for evil doing while displaying that he is also merciful.

      If there is any universalism, it is that we ALL deserve justice, and NO mercy. Thank you Lord for showing me the mercy through Jesus Christ that I did not deserve.

      • Beau W.

        I mis-spoke about there being no justice without mercy. Clearly, justice does not require mercy. Mercy is a gift; a grace from God, in spite of what we truly deserve. My bad! Sorry!

  • Basil

    The whole “ex-gay” thing is a ruse based on the published study of Richard Spitzer in 2001, which stated that in some circumstances highly motivated (usually religious) individuals can sometimes change their sexual orientation after years of counseling/therapy. In the decade after, “ex-gay” went from being a quack, fringe phenomenon, to big, lucrative industry, sprung up, fueled by “Christian counseling” groups, and parents who dragged their gay kids to “therapy” to be “cured”. Spitzer has now repudiated his study — he said there was no proper screening of his subjects, nor follow – up to see if they really did “change” from gay to straight. Lots of them did not — the therapy apparently did them real harm. That is why the American Psychiatric Association and the medical community generally are coming to view “conversion” therapy as really harmful – leaving its patients more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and suicide. Of course if you hate gay people, having them kill themselves is probably not a bad thing (at least judging from the vitriol heaped on gay people by loving Christians — see the comments posted here).

    There is a cultural component to sexual orientation — if you are in an unaccepting culture, you are unlikely to live as openly gay. Just ask any gay Ugandan (or a gay Utahan). And some people have a more fluid sexual orientation — maybe they are more bisexual than gay or lesbian. Every interview I have seen with “ex-gay” persons, they talk about how they are still gay, but they keep it bottled up inside. To each his/her own.

    But to compare the questioning of ex-gays with the systemic violence, and legal and social discrimination that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons face every day is both a false equivalence, and is really callous. No one was ever “ex-gay-bashed”, or fired from their job, or turned out from their church, or driven to suicide for being “ex-gay”.

  • Daniel Lee Fee

    I must disagree that ex-gay folks attract or suffer the ultimate homophobia, just because they tell a story of becoming straight after previously feeling they were not straight. If you discover you have in some way become heterosexual, inside and out, everybody I know is happy that you say, you are now happy. A person who claims their own path to congruence, honesty, and ethical living is generally admired in the different LGBT groups I have known.

    In fact, especially among women who say their sense of sexuality or orientation variance has changed or shifted over a life time … the general LGBT community response is or can be, pretty ho-hum. Coming out is a nearly universal inner and outer story about how one changes in any number of life and personal directions.

    One frequent shift so far from personal stories would seem to be the later life lesbian self-discovery among women who formerly had husbands and who often successfully raised children. This path is so well known as to almost be a later life lesbian stereotype, enlarged from its real life facts. On the New England gay hotline in the 1970s, a whole cluster of frantic calls would arrive on occasion at three A.M. from married women who had finally realized that they could fall in love after all, because they had fallen in love with another woman who had been their best coffee klatch and shopping friends for several months or years.

    The ex-gay story line, of course, is not about discovering how you are actually same sex oriented after assuming you were opposite sex oriented.

    All the loud noise arises when this admittedly very small percentage of ex-gay folks ‘saved’ by Jesus from being whatever they were that led them to view themselves as same sex attracted … are put on pedestals or are put on pedestals by others (especially in faith groups) … for the primary purpose of implying or demonstrating that:

    (A) all sexual orientation is fundamentally fluid, and oh by the way, being same sex attracted is basically so vile that it really is Jesus’ blessed intent to save us from such filth;

    (Does Common Sense observations of other people and of ourselves not tell us, clearly, that some forms of being sexual are ethical or unethical; and ditto, for the different forms and pathways of not being sexually active? Is a categorical ethical scheme, based on false or inaccurate flat earthisms in anthropology, not always going to self-destruct at some real life, applied point?)

    plus (B) committed same sex couples (with or without children they are parenting) are categorically impure, less ethical, and less able to manifest God’s love in daily life, than any and all opposite sex committed couples. Yes, I admit, the bald tires on (B) are starting to show a little bit. People know their gay neighbors and the children in that home, nowadays; plus important studies have been published in peer reviewed journals to hypothesis test key aspects of (B).

    God bless the folks who found the change and thriving in following Jesus that seemed best suited to each one; …

    regardless of whether that may have meant discovering one’s majority-suited brand of heterosexuality … or may have meant discovering one’s minority-status path in the overlapping LGBT communities. Discovering and enacting your own call does upset the generic apple carts which designate being straight as closer to God’s holy plan, than not. Most believers who assert that same sex intimacy = sin are, in truth, either predominantly or exclusively heterosexual. So those believers note the categorical bit that sends the queer folks to hell forever, and then go sweetly on their way. It is the gay teen hanging in the garage who really gets the categorical point in all its flat earth heaviness?

    Uh-oh. More controversy. Alas. Lord have mercy. drdanfee