“A person must not be identified by their sexual orientation”

A New York archbishop shut down a “gay mass” that was held regularly in a SoHo church.  His explanation why there must not be a distinct worship service for homosexuals–the one mass is for everyone–makes a further interesting point about human identity:

First among the principles of pastoral care is the innate dignity of every person and the respect in which they must be held. Also, of great importance, is the teaching of the Church that a person must not be identified by their sexual orientation. The moral teaching of the Church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life.

Comments David Mills:

That “must not be identified by their sexual orientation,” for example, also means “must not identify themselves by their sexual orientation,” which is to say, must not assume they can or must act upon their desires.

You are not first a homosexual, the archdiocese is saying to the people who attended that Mass. You are first and primarily a human being, and therefore someone called to chastity, and the proper expressions of your sexuality are defined and limited and do not include homosexual practice. Being homosexual is only the personal context in which you are called to be chaste, as being heterosexual is the context for most people. But it is not an identity that brings with it a way of life.

via First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

How does this help to frame the issue of homosexuality and pastoral care to gay people (that is, to human beings with same sex attraction)?  On the other hand, what is distinctly Catholic about this formulation?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not catching on that there is anything innately “Roman” about this, but that it Catholic. I suppose the fact that the hierarchy actually stepped in, made a decision, and then provided a pastoral rationale, instead of a fumbling and ineffectual retreat from principle might be Catholic, but it is, in essence, the proper exercise of the pastoral office and the keys. There is a subtle position argument here for the celibacy of the priesthood, but the example does not, in itself, provide a justification for the practice of celibacy, nor against the marriage of the pastorate, but rather that sexuality and chastity are separable from core human person identity, and that sexual chastity is properly confined to marriage, therefore the bishop’s own argument could be used to argue the Lutheran position on this matter.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not catching on that there is anything innately “Roman” about this, but that it Catholic. I suppose the fact that the hierarchy actually stepped in, made a decision, and then provided a pastoral rationale, instead of a fumbling and ineffectual retreat from principle might be Catholic, but it is, in essence, the proper exercise of the pastoral office and the keys. There is a subtle position argument here for the celibacy of the priesthood, but the example does not, in itself, provide a justification for the practice of celibacy, nor against the marriage of the pastorate, but rather that sexuality and chastity are separable from core human person identity, and that sexual chastity is properly confined to marriage, therefore the bishop’s own argument could be used to argue the Lutheran position on this matter.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    So if there’s a “gay mass,” how about we have an “adulterer’s mass”? Or how about a “liar’s mass”?

    Sounds like somebody was trying to validate sin.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    So if there’s a “gay mass,” how about we have an “adulterer’s mass”? Or how about a “liar’s mass”?

    Sounds like somebody was trying to validate sin.

  • Paul Reed

    Shutting down the mass: Right.
    Reasoning: Wrong.

    The Bible identifies homosexuals, in the same way it identifies liars and thieves: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,” 1 Corinthians 6:9

  • Paul Reed

    Shutting down the mass: Right.
    Reasoning: Wrong.

    The Bible identifies homosexuals, in the same way it identifies liars and thieves: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,” 1 Corinthians 6:9

  • Tom Hering

    What is distinctly Roman Catholic about it all is found in the official statement of the Diocese of Westminster:

    The Mass is always to retain its essential character as the highest prayer of the whole Church. This ‘universal’ character of the Mass is to be nurtured and clearly expressed in the manner of every celebration. The purpose of all pastoral care, on the other hand, is to encourage and enable people, especially those who are in difficult circumstances, to come to participate fully and worthily in the celebration of the Mass in the midst of the whole Church, the people summoned by the Lord to give him, together, worthy service and praise.

    Unlike the Lutheran Divine Service, where unworthy sinners receive free gifts from God, the Mass is where the worthy give things – service and praise – to God, and God only accepts these things from the worthy. So, for Roman Catholics, the problem with a Mass for practicing homosexuals lies in the unworthiness of the celebrants, who are unworthy because they violate the moral teaching of the Church – not because they are sinful by nature (which they aren’t, entirely, and so are capable of becoming worthy).

    There’s really not much for Evangelicals in all this, unless they too believe the highest purpose of their church is found in worthy Christians giving service and praise to God (worthiness being defined as Spirit-filled, or clean living, or something).

  • Tom Hering

    What is distinctly Roman Catholic about it all is found in the official statement of the Diocese of Westminster:

    The Mass is always to retain its essential character as the highest prayer of the whole Church. This ‘universal’ character of the Mass is to be nurtured and clearly expressed in the manner of every celebration. The purpose of all pastoral care, on the other hand, is to encourage and enable people, especially those who are in difficult circumstances, to come to participate fully and worthily in the celebration of the Mass in the midst of the whole Church, the people summoned by the Lord to give him, together, worthy service and praise.

    Unlike the Lutheran Divine Service, where unworthy sinners receive free gifts from God, the Mass is where the worthy give things – service and praise – to God, and God only accepts these things from the worthy. So, for Roman Catholics, the problem with a Mass for practicing homosexuals lies in the unworthiness of the celebrants, who are unworthy because they violate the moral teaching of the Church – not because they are sinful by nature (which they aren’t, entirely, and so are capable of becoming worthy).

    There’s really not much for Evangelicals in all this, unless they too believe the highest purpose of their church is found in worthy Christians giving service and praise to God (worthiness being defined as Spirit-filled, or clean living, or something).

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 4 – Yes, there is the whole directionality thing that differs in the orientation of the Divine Service, but we Lutherans do also make a distinction – we are all unworthy, yet some will not admit it and repent. This repentance is a prerequisite for proper admission to the Eucharist; to the extent that the services were not there to call homosexuals to repentance and the forgiveness of sins, in particular their sins of homosexuality, then the Mass could be viewed as an affirmation of sinful behavior. More properly, then as you allude, the Divine Service is for all sinners who stand condemned by all of their sins who shelter in the grace and mercy of Christ partaken of in the Eucharist. A subtle difference, but very real, as you have very well pointed out.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 4 – Yes, there is the whole directionality thing that differs in the orientation of the Divine Service, but we Lutherans do also make a distinction – we are all unworthy, yet some will not admit it and repent. This repentance is a prerequisite for proper admission to the Eucharist; to the extent that the services were not there to call homosexuals to repentance and the forgiveness of sins, in particular their sins of homosexuality, then the Mass could be viewed as an affirmation of sinful behavior. More properly, then as you allude, the Divine Service is for all sinners who stand condemned by all of their sins who shelter in the grace and mercy of Christ partaken of in the Eucharist. A subtle difference, but very real, as you have very well pointed out.

  • Hanni

    Good post, a keeper; thought provoking, and he comments are the same.

  • Hanni

    Good post, a keeper; thought provoking, and he comments are the same.

  • Peter S.

    I don’t know that some above commentators aren’t taking an unnecessarily harsh view of this. The primary motivation for shutting this thing down is that (1) the mass ought not to be segregated at all, because it is supposed to represent the universal church; and (2) the mass especially ought not to be segregated by particular illicit tendencies of individuals. It would be one thing to hold a special mass for, say, registered sex offenders who are bound by law not to be in the company of children and who would thus be unable to attend a regular mass. This is not like that.

    As for “worthy” service, a Protestant could say the same thing. Scripture is clear that it is ill-advised to approach the sacraments in a state of unrepentant sin. This is the kind of thing that is tacitly encouraged by the “gay” mass, as J. Dean observes. The “worthiness” required of the Christian before Holy Communion is that he confess and repent of his sins and trust in Christ’s righteousness, and I think this is all that is meant by the Diocese of Westminster. It is unworthy to come to the mass in a state of unrepentant sin. Now as a Protestant I would say that if you are in mortal sin, you should come to mass, confess your sin, repent, and receive God’s absolution and forgiveness, after which you might worthily partake. I don’t think a Catholic would say anything different. What is not an option is coming with no repentance.

    Now Paul Reed (#3) is just off-base. It is only those outside the kingdom of God who are defined by their sins. The baptized are in Christ and cannot be called “fornicators, idolators” etc., which is the Apostle Paul’s point.

  • Peter S.

    I don’t know that some above commentators aren’t taking an unnecessarily harsh view of this. The primary motivation for shutting this thing down is that (1) the mass ought not to be segregated at all, because it is supposed to represent the universal church; and (2) the mass especially ought not to be segregated by particular illicit tendencies of individuals. It would be one thing to hold a special mass for, say, registered sex offenders who are bound by law not to be in the company of children and who would thus be unable to attend a regular mass. This is not like that.

    As for “worthy” service, a Protestant could say the same thing. Scripture is clear that it is ill-advised to approach the sacraments in a state of unrepentant sin. This is the kind of thing that is tacitly encouraged by the “gay” mass, as J. Dean observes. The “worthiness” required of the Christian before Holy Communion is that he confess and repent of his sins and trust in Christ’s righteousness, and I think this is all that is meant by the Diocese of Westminster. It is unworthy to come to the mass in a state of unrepentant sin. Now as a Protestant I would say that if you are in mortal sin, you should come to mass, confess your sin, repent, and receive God’s absolution and forgiveness, after which you might worthily partake. I don’t think a Catholic would say anything different. What is not an option is coming with no repentance.

    Now Paul Reed (#3) is just off-base. It is only those outside the kingdom of God who are defined by their sins. The baptized are in Christ and cannot be called “fornicators, idolators” etc., which is the Apostle Paul’s point.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 5, yes, you’re correct about repentance and the Eucharist. But when we Lutherans call for repentance, we call for trust in what God has said concerning the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, because we recognize that faith precedes repentance, just as faith is preceded by the words of grace that create it. And yes, I’m sure there was concern among Roman Catholics that the gay Mass was showing approval of homosexual practice. But again, it was primarily a concern that these homosexuals had stopped striving to be worthy, which was a bad example for all Roman Catholics.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 5, yes, you’re correct about repentance and the Eucharist. But when we Lutherans call for repentance, we call for trust in what God has said concerning the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, because we recognize that faith precedes repentance, just as faith is preceded by the words of grace that create it. And yes, I’m sure there was concern among Roman Catholics that the gay Mass was showing approval of homosexual practice. But again, it was primarily a concern that these homosexuals had stopped striving to be worthy, which was a bad example for all Roman Catholics.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter S. @ 7, I think you may be interpreting Roman Catholic actions in Reformation terms, i.e., crediting them with theological views they don’t hold to when you say …

    The “worthiness” required of the Christian before Holy Communion is that he confess and repent of his sins and trust in Christ’s righteousness, and I think this is all that is meant by the Diocese of Westminster.

  • Tom Hering

    Peter S. @ 7, I think you may be interpreting Roman Catholic actions in Reformation terms, i.e., crediting them with theological views they don’t hold to when you say …

    The “worthiness” required of the Christian before Holy Communion is that he confess and repent of his sins and trust in Christ’s righteousness, and I think this is all that is meant by the Diocese of Westminster.

  • kerner
  • kerner
  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Paul Reed
    I think it’s important to note that we use these words differently now. What the ESV translates as “homosexuals” is actually two words in Greek (malakoi and arsenokoitai), and refer to the active and passive partners in homosexual coupling. Today, however, the term “homosexual” is used to refer to an orientation, rather than the practice, and the article does not tell us that the mass was among practicing homosexuals. While the diocese may have missed a chance to condemn sin, I think the reasoning was excellent – we are certainly not to be defined by our sexual orientation, sexual desires, or any other preference. In Holy Communion we are all one body of Christ, washed and robed in Christ. Communion itself is an identity statement, and factional partaking of any kind is a repudiation of Christian theology.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Paul Reed
    I think it’s important to note that we use these words differently now. What the ESV translates as “homosexuals” is actually two words in Greek (malakoi and arsenokoitai), and refer to the active and passive partners in homosexual coupling. Today, however, the term “homosexual” is used to refer to an orientation, rather than the practice, and the article does not tell us that the mass was among practicing homosexuals. While the diocese may have missed a chance to condemn sin, I think the reasoning was excellent – we are certainly not to be defined by our sexual orientation, sexual desires, or any other preference. In Holy Communion we are all one body of Christ, washed and robed in Christ. Communion itself is an identity statement, and factional partaking of any kind is a repudiation of Christian theology.

  • Steve Bauer

    Comment #3 is rather selective in its quotation of 1 Corinthinas 6:9. Included with thieves and homosexuals are the “greedy/covetous”. In similar lists in other places in the New Testament (i.e. Gal 5:19) are included such sins as gossip, lewdness, hatred, contentiousness, selfish ambition, envy, etc. Idolater? I am guilty. Hater? I am guilty. Adulterer? I am guilty, Murderer? I am guilty. (Matt. 5). Gossip? I am guilty. I am just as guilty of being a sinner in my heterosexuality as is a homosexual.

    One of the great insights of Lutheran theology is that all of these “works of the flesh” are mere symptoms of the real problem: “hardness of heart” Matt. 19). I do not merely “do” sins; I am a sinner–blind, dead, and an enemy of God. To repent is not really to recognize and regret a bunch of sins and resolve not to do them again. To repent is to recognize that all my many sins point to the fact that I am “a lost and condemned sinner” who is as unworthy of God’s favor as the homosexual, the adulterer, the gossip, the liar, the mass murderer. And yet we all have received mercy. To repent is to desire not to be a sinner even while knowing that I am going to sin again. To repent is to recognize that even my repentence does not make me worthy (in the sense of deserving or earning forgiveness).

    This is why the Divine Service is for everybody. It is not for thieves, for liars, for murderers, or for homosexuals, as a separate group of the Body of Christ. It is for sinners.

  • Steve Bauer

    Comment #3 is rather selective in its quotation of 1 Corinthinas 6:9. Included with thieves and homosexuals are the “greedy/covetous”. In similar lists in other places in the New Testament (i.e. Gal 5:19) are included such sins as gossip, lewdness, hatred, contentiousness, selfish ambition, envy, etc. Idolater? I am guilty. Hater? I am guilty. Adulterer? I am guilty, Murderer? I am guilty. (Matt. 5). Gossip? I am guilty. I am just as guilty of being a sinner in my heterosexuality as is a homosexual.

    One of the great insights of Lutheran theology is that all of these “works of the flesh” are mere symptoms of the real problem: “hardness of heart” Matt. 19). I do not merely “do” sins; I am a sinner–blind, dead, and an enemy of God. To repent is not really to recognize and regret a bunch of sins and resolve not to do them again. To repent is to recognize that all my many sins point to the fact that I am “a lost and condemned sinner” who is as unworthy of God’s favor as the homosexual, the adulterer, the gossip, the liar, the mass murderer. And yet we all have received mercy. To repent is to desire not to be a sinner even while knowing that I am going to sin again. To repent is to recognize that even my repentence does not make me worthy (in the sense of deserving or earning forgiveness).

    This is why the Divine Service is for everybody. It is not for thieves, for liars, for murderers, or for homosexuals, as a separate group of the Body of Christ. It is for sinners.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Get Religion has an interesting look at the same news item from a different perspective.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/01/the-magic-circle-and-the-soho-masses/

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Get Religion has an interesting look at the same news item from a different perspective.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/01/the-magic-circle-and-the-soho-masses/

  • Grace

    “A person must not be identified by their sexual orientation”

    Homosexuals for the most part are proud of their sexuality, so why be concerned as to “identify” them as such? Their GAY PRIDE parades, witnessed in many large cities is pasted on the covers of news etc., with those participating in the middle of the streets and sidewalks for days at a time. They aren’t concerned about their “idenification” –

    They are, and always will be. Homosexuality isn’t some trifle that can be overlooked, the disease which is carried primarily by those who are homosexual is staggering, so is the financial burdens it carries.

    Homosexuality is taught in many public schools, pedestaling its cause, including gender identification, etc.

    This stated at the end of the blog: – - – - “How does this help to frame the issue of homosexuality and pastoral care to gay people (that is, to human beings with same sex attraction)?”

    Homosexuals can attend any church they choose. However, the majority will not allow them to preach, teach or lead in any capacity. They also will not give them membership within their church.

    The majority of homosexuals believe they were born that way – because that is their MO, they feel the right to pair up. The Bible clearly states homosexuality to be sin – see Romans 1, and other passages, which have been brought forward dozens of times, only to be sneered at by those who are homosexuals, and liberals falling lock-step right behind them.

  • Grace

    “A person must not be identified by their sexual orientation”

    Homosexuals for the most part are proud of their sexuality, so why be concerned as to “identify” them as such? Their GAY PRIDE parades, witnessed in many large cities is pasted on the covers of news etc., with those participating in the middle of the streets and sidewalks for days at a time. They aren’t concerned about their “idenification” –

    They are, and always will be. Homosexuality isn’t some trifle that can be overlooked, the disease which is carried primarily by those who are homosexual is staggering, so is the financial burdens it carries.

    Homosexuality is taught in many public schools, pedestaling its cause, including gender identification, etc.

    This stated at the end of the blog: – - – - “How does this help to frame the issue of homosexuality and pastoral care to gay people (that is, to human beings with same sex attraction)?”

    Homosexuals can attend any church they choose. However, the majority will not allow them to preach, teach or lead in any capacity. They also will not give them membership within their church.

    The majority of homosexuals believe they were born that way – because that is their MO, they feel the right to pair up. The Bible clearly states homosexuality to be sin – see Romans 1, and other passages, which have been brought forward dozens of times, only to be sneered at by those who are homosexuals, and liberals falling lock-step right behind them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I think the gay pride types are actually a small but very visible subset of gays. My gay friends wouldn’t be caught dead at a gay event like that. Most gays are like the rest of us; struggling with or indulging in a particular sin that for them is well, irresistible. Now, such acts are specifically called out in scripture, but upon reading the small catechism and looking at the explanations of the commandments, one will see that sin is inescapable. Only Christ saves us from this body of death. Gays aren’t bigger sinners than the rest of us. Still, there shouldn’t be a special mass for those of us boldly breaking, say, the 8th commandment.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I think the gay pride types are actually a small but very visible subset of gays. My gay friends wouldn’t be caught dead at a gay event like that. Most gays are like the rest of us; struggling with or indulging in a particular sin that for them is well, irresistible. Now, such acts are specifically called out in scripture, but upon reading the small catechism and looking at the explanations of the commandments, one will see that sin is inescapable. Only Christ saves us from this body of death. Gays aren’t bigger sinners than the rest of us. Still, there shouldn’t be a special mass for those of us boldly breaking, say, the 8th commandment.

  • dust

    made me think of Gal 3:28

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    cheers!

  • dust

    made me think of Gal 3:28

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    cheers!

  • Grace

    sg @15“Most gays are like the rest of us; struggling with or indulging in a particular sin that for them is well, irresistible. Now, such acts are specifically called out in scripture, but upon reading the small catechism and looking at the explanations of the commandments, one will see that sin is inescapable.” – -

    God doesn’t say that we cannot turn from sin, or that we can give into temptation. The Bible trumps the words of anyone who’s claims are contrary to what is stated in the Bible.

    I believe we do have free will, if we didn’t we couldn’t “fall away” or go back into sin.

    “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
    1 Corinthians 10:14

    Escaping temptation or declining would be a ‘free will’ act. If you are tempted to do evil, and you choose not to, is that not ‘free will’? – if instead you go ahead, knowing it is wrong, is that not your ‘free will’ to sin, when God has given you a way to “escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” ? If you don’t believe the passage above is a choice to escape, then you are denying God’s promise.

    If one is unable to resist homosexual sexual sin, then you might as well say that those who abort their unborn children cannot help getting rid of their children before they breath their first breath, for any number of reasons.

    One can also claim that even if they are married, they are doomed to having affairs, be it husband or wife.

    12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
    James 1

    This passage above is proof that man can be tempted, drawn away of his own lust, it is a ‘choice to do good or evil.

  • Grace

    sg @15“Most gays are like the rest of us; struggling with or indulging in a particular sin that for them is well, irresistible. Now, such acts are specifically called out in scripture, but upon reading the small catechism and looking at the explanations of the commandments, one will see that sin is inescapable.” – -

    God doesn’t say that we cannot turn from sin, or that we can give into temptation. The Bible trumps the words of anyone who’s claims are contrary to what is stated in the Bible.

    I believe we do have free will, if we didn’t we couldn’t “fall away” or go back into sin.

    “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
    1 Corinthians 10:14

    Escaping temptation or declining would be a ‘free will’ act. If you are tempted to do evil, and you choose not to, is that not ‘free will’? – if instead you go ahead, knowing it is wrong, is that not your ‘free will’ to sin, when God has given you a way to “escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” ? If you don’t believe the passage above is a choice to escape, then you are denying God’s promise.

    If one is unable to resist homosexual sexual sin, then you might as well say that those who abort their unborn children cannot help getting rid of their children before they breath their first breath, for any number of reasons.

    One can also claim that even if they are married, they are doomed to having affairs, be it husband or wife.

    12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
    James 1

    This passage above is proof that man can be tempted, drawn away of his own lust, it is a ‘choice to do good or evil.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I believe we do have free will, if we didn’t we couldn’t “fall away” or go back into sin.

    I don’t follow this. We fall into sin every day. We have to repent every day. We have faith that when we repent, we are forgiven, but we sin every day. Faith in Christ saves us not keeping the law.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I believe we do have free will, if we didn’t we couldn’t “fall away” or go back into sin.

    I don’t follow this. We fall into sin every day. We have to repent every day. We have faith that when we repent, we are forgiven, but we sin every day. Faith in Christ saves us not keeping the law.

  • Grace

    There are many churches who are embracing homosexual sin, letting Satan come through the cracks. I have known many homosexuals, most of whom, are not shy about their choice, in fact they believe they were born that way, and love to discuss, or rather argue the point. I used to indulge them, but rarely do I do it anymore.

    There are denominations that have split off, headed by homosexuals, and those who are weak kneed to their un-Biblical beliefs and arguments.

    9 I wrote to you in my letter to stop associating with people who are sexually immoral.

    10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, greedy, robbers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

    11 But now I am writing to you to stop associating with any so-called brother if he is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a robber. You must even stop eating with someone like that.

    12 After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are in the community, aren’t you?

    13 God will judge out­siders “Expell that wicked man.”
    1 Corinthians 5

    We are instructed as to how we are to handle those who are in the church, (not those in the world, “outsiders” – un-Believers ) who do not follow Christ. However there is a new surge of those who make excuses for sin, believing they can keep company with so called Christian Believers who defy God and HIS Word.

  • Grace

    There are many churches who are embracing homosexual sin, letting Satan come through the cracks. I have known many homosexuals, most of whom, are not shy about their choice, in fact they believe they were born that way, and love to discuss, or rather argue the point. I used to indulge them, but rarely do I do it anymore.

    There are denominations that have split off, headed by homosexuals, and those who are weak kneed to their un-Biblical beliefs and arguments.

    9 I wrote to you in my letter to stop associating with people who are sexually immoral.

    10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, greedy, robbers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

    11 But now I am writing to you to stop associating with any so-called brother if he is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a robber. You must even stop eating with someone like that.

    12 After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are in the community, aren’t you?

    13 God will judge out­siders “Expell that wicked man.”
    1 Corinthians 5

    We are instructed as to how we are to handle those who are in the church, (not those in the world, “outsiders” – un-Believers ) who do not follow Christ. However there is a new surge of those who make excuses for sin, believing they can keep company with so called Christian Believers who defy God and HIS Word.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @19, yeah I agree with all that.

    However, Jesus himself spoke very harshly of divorce and other than the Roman Catholics, who is holding the line on those people who daily defy God because they are divorced and remarried and entirely unrepentant? Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @19, yeah I agree with all that.

    However, Jesus himself spoke very harshly of divorce and other than the Roman Catholics, who is holding the line on those people who daily defy God because they are divorced and remarried and entirely unrepentant? Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom Hering@9:

    I think you’re still operating from a highly uncharitable conception of Roman Catholic soteriology. Note that confession is one of the seven Catholic sacraments; “striving” is not. Take a look at the “requirements” for participation in the Catholic eucharist: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/who-can-receive-communion

    With the exception of rubrics very specific to Catholicism–e.g., Protestants usually don’t observe the doctrine of transubstantiation, and they would probably use different terminology for “ecclesiastical censure”–there is nothing in the spirit of these prerequisites that ought offend even the most non-denominational of fundamentalist evangelicals. Or Lutherans, for that matter.

    Basically, the general, as you probably notice, is that one ought not be in a state of open transgression (e.g., openly and unrepentantly homosexual or, say, adulterous or envious or gluttonous) when one approaches the table. This doesn’t mean that one needs to be “striving” to be good/perfect/righteous. For Catholics, it simply means that one must have confessed and repented of his/her sins–all of them–before taking communion. Again, it doesn’t mean that one must have stopped sinning or being a sinner before taking communion. Isn’t this the same thing Lutherans believe? I know it’s the same thing Anglicans like me believe, which is why communion is always preceded in the liturgy by a formal prayer of confession.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom Hering@9:

    I think you’re still operating from a highly uncharitable conception of Roman Catholic soteriology. Note that confession is one of the seven Catholic sacraments; “striving” is not. Take a look at the “requirements” for participation in the Catholic eucharist: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/who-can-receive-communion

    With the exception of rubrics very specific to Catholicism–e.g., Protestants usually don’t observe the doctrine of transubstantiation, and they would probably use different terminology for “ecclesiastical censure”–there is nothing in the spirit of these prerequisites that ought offend even the most non-denominational of fundamentalist evangelicals. Or Lutherans, for that matter.

    Basically, the general, as you probably notice, is that one ought not be in a state of open transgression (e.g., openly and unrepentantly homosexual or, say, adulterous or envious or gluttonous) when one approaches the table. This doesn’t mean that one needs to be “striving” to be good/perfect/righteous. For Catholics, it simply means that one must have confessed and repented of his/her sins–all of them–before taking communion. Again, it doesn’t mean that one must have stopped sinning or being a sinner before taking communion. Isn’t this the same thing Lutherans believe? I know it’s the same thing Anglicans like me believe, which is why communion is always preceded in the liturgy by a formal prayer of confession.

  • fws

    Skpetersen @3

    “he is truly worth and well prepared [to receive the sacrament of the altar] who has faith in these words ‘given and shed for YOU, for the forgiveness of sins’ (small catechism).

    may I suggest that we are not talking about a lack of repentance as the word is described in our Lutheran confessions (cf formula of concord art V law and gospel). We are talking about a doctrinal disagreement. An example is how some say that for any divorced to remarry is sin
    as did the old Lcms and today this has changed.

    sg @ 15 you nailed what is at stake here and not just foe gays..

  • fws

    Skpetersen @3

    “he is truly worth and well prepared [to receive the sacrament of the altar] who has faith in these words ‘given and shed for YOU, for the forgiveness of sins’ (small catechism).

    may I suggest that we are not talking about a lack of repentance as the word is described in our Lutheran confessions (cf formula of concord art V law and gospel). We are talking about a doctrinal disagreement. An example is how some say that for any divorced to remarry is sin
    as did the old Lcms and today this has changed.

    sg @ 15 you nailed what is at stake here and not just foe gays..

  • fws

    Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon
    Lutherans , in contrast say that ALL sin is a matter of what is happening in one’s heart. What we DO in thought, word and deed are the symptoms and consequences of sinful hearts.

  • fws

    Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon
    Lutherans , in contrast say that ALL sin is a matter of what is happening in one’s heart. What we DO in thought, word and deed are the symptoms and consequences of sinful hearts.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@23:

    Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon.

    This, especially the bolded portion, is simply and factually false. Not true. Honestly, where do some of you Lutherans get your information on Roman Catholicism? Maybe you should read some actual Catholics! Not a single orthodox Catholic I know would deny that lust is a sin.

    I think what you have in mind is that, for Catholics, there is a different between lust and appreciation, and a further distinction between lust and lust-with-intention-to-sin (I hyphenated that myself; basically, lustful thoughts/inclinations that include an intention of acting upon one’s lust, whether one follows through in external deed or not). But rest assured that lust is indeed considered a sin by Catholics.

    Again, honestly. Where do you people come up with this stuff?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@23:

    Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon.

    This, especially the bolded portion, is simply and factually false. Not true. Honestly, where do some of you Lutherans get your information on Roman Catholicism? Maybe you should read some actual Catholics! Not a single orthodox Catholic I know would deny that lust is a sin.

    I think what you have in mind is that, for Catholics, there is a different between lust and appreciation, and a further distinction between lust and lust-with-intention-to-sin (I hyphenated that myself; basically, lustful thoughts/inclinations that include an intention of acting upon one’s lust, whether one follows through in external deed or not). But rest assured that lust is indeed considered a sin by Catholics.

    Again, honestly. Where do you people come up with this stuff?

  • Grace

    sg @20

    YOU WROTE: “Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.

    sg, you might accept them, but I don’t, and many churches do not as well.

    As a pastors daughter, I can tell you – strong Christian Churches DO NOT accept adultery, and remarriage by the one who has sinned.

    Many a husband and wife has forgiven the sin their spouse committed, IF they have truly repented, and ended their behavior.

    Homosexual behavior is argued to gut wrenching levels – at the same time, those who live with a same sex person, continue to sin, there is no repentance. If there was, they would hit the door running, repenting for their sin.

  • Grace

    sg @20

    YOU WROTE: “Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.

    sg, you might accept them, but I don’t, and many churches do not as well.

    As a pastors daughter, I can tell you – strong Christian Churches DO NOT accept adultery, and remarriage by the one who has sinned.

    Many a husband and wife has forgiven the sin their spouse committed, IF they have truly repented, and ended their behavior.

    Homosexual behavior is argued to gut wrenching levels – at the same time, those who live with a same sex person, continue to sin, there is no repentance. If there was, they would hit the door running, repenting for their sin.

  • fws

    Gay mass..

    blue Christmas service for those who have lost loved one
    ethnic services
    services for the deaf
    family oriented services.
    youth services

    yup
    all,of the above are misguided…. For the Same reasons.

  • fws

    Gay mass..

    blue Christmas service for those who have lost loved one
    ethnic services
    services for the deaf
    family oriented services.
    youth services

    yup
    all,of the above are misguided…. For the Same reasons.

  • Grace

    fws @23

    YOU WROTE: “Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon
    Lutherans , in contrast say that ALL sin is a matter of what is happening in one’s heart. What we DO in thought, word and deed are the symptoms and consequences of sinful hearts.”

    HIV/AIDS cannot be contracted without sex. That is NOT a “thought” but a “deed” which is evident all over the homosexual community.

    A man or woman who lusts has sinned, but it is not reason for divorce – - ONLY the DEED is reason for divorce.

  • Grace

    fws @23

    YOU WROTE: “Rome does not believe that homosexuality or even lust is a sin unless it is acted upon
    Lutherans , in contrast say that ALL sin is a matter of what is happening in one’s heart. What we DO in thought, word and deed are the symptoms and consequences of sinful hearts.”

    HIV/AIDS cannot be contracted without sex. That is NOT a “thought” but a “deed” which is evident all over the homosexual community.

    A man or woman who lusts has sinned, but it is not reason for divorce – - ONLY the DEED is reason for divorce.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Grace @ 23,
    Actually that’s not entirely true. HIV can be contracted by means other than sex, although sexual contact is the most common manner of contraction.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Grace @ 23,
    Actually that’s not entirely true. HIV can be contracted by means other than sex, although sexual contact is the most common manner of contraction.

  • Paul Reed

    @sg (19)

    “However, Jesus himself spoke very harshly of divorce and other than the Roman Catholics, who is holding the line on those people who daily defy God because they are divorced and remarried and entirely unrepentant? Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.”

    Nowhere in the Bible does it call for the death penalty for those who divorce. But you’re generally right here. We give our opponents plenty of rope to hang ourselves with. We all but ignore the sin of divorce and remarriage, but then want to draw a line in the sand on gay “marriage”.

  • Paul Reed

    @sg (19)

    “However, Jesus himself spoke very harshly of divorce and other than the Roman Catholics, who is holding the line on those people who daily defy God because they are divorced and remarried and entirely unrepentant? Those folks deserve the exact same exclusion as gays. Yet here they come to church unrepentant, and we accept them.”

    Nowhere in the Bible does it call for the death penalty for those who divorce. But you’re generally right here. We give our opponents plenty of rope to hang ourselves with. We all but ignore the sin of divorce and remarriage, but then want to draw a line in the sand on gay “marriage”.

  • fws

    cinn @ 24

    take a chill pill cinn. I stand corrected.

    Corrected statement : Roman Catholics do not believe that lust (their technical term: concupiscence) is original sin. It is only actual sin. This follows St Augustine actually.

    This view does not follow St Paul, and that is the problem with it.

  • fws

    cinn @ 24

    take a chill pill cinn. I stand corrected.

    Corrected statement : Roman Catholics do not believe that lust (their technical term: concupiscence) is original sin. It is only actual sin. This follows St Augustine actually.

    This view does not follow St Paul, and that is the problem with it.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank – actual sin is derivative of original sin. I don’t think Augustine ever contradicted Paul on that notion, despite getting a few things wrong in his reading of Romans 5. Then again that distinction between original and actual flows from the Lutheran concept of concupiscence as opposed to the Roman. This is actually a turn on the question “Are you a sinner because you sin, or do you sin because you are a sinner?” Original sin is what makes us all sinners, what then flows out of us are the particular, actual sins that are what we “naturally” produce.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank – actual sin is derivative of original sin. I don’t think Augustine ever contradicted Paul on that notion, despite getting a few things wrong in his reading of Romans 5. Then again that distinction between original and actual flows from the Lutheran concept of concupiscence as opposed to the Roman. This is actually a turn on the question “Are you a sinner because you sin, or do you sin because you are a sinner?” Original sin is what makes us all sinners, what then flows out of us are the particular, actual sins that are what we “naturally” produce.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frank,

    What? All Protestants–including Lutherans–also make a distinction between actual sin and original sin, whether or not they use identical terminology. In fact, I think all orthodox Christians in general–including you–acknowledge a similar distinction. “Actual sin” refers only to a specific sinful act/thought/deed/omission/etc. that one commits. And, of course, one commits actual sins because they are corrupted by original sin.

    I fail to see how this notion conflicts a) with St. Paul, b) with Lutheranism, and c) with any orthodox understanding of sin in general.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frank,

    What? All Protestants–including Lutherans–also make a distinction between actual sin and original sin, whether or not they use identical terminology. In fact, I think all orthodox Christians in general–including you–acknowledge a similar distinction. “Actual sin” refers only to a specific sinful act/thought/deed/omission/etc. that one commits. And, of course, one commits actual sins because they are corrupted by original sin.

    I fail to see how this notion conflicts a) with St. Paul, b) with Lutheranism, and c) with any orthodox understanding of sin in general.

  • fws

    Cinn @ 32

    And, of course, one commits actual sins because they are corrupted by original sin.

    Official Roman Doctrine is that Holy Baptism completely removes original sin. In addition, Rome teaches that the Image of God was not completely lost in the fall. Whoever denies that the Image of God was completely lost in the fall, denies Original Sin.

    So based on these two doctines of Rome, it is most certain that Rome would not agree with what you simply assume with your “of course”.

    It is precisely this difference on original sin, ot justification by faith alone, that is truly the fundamental difference between The Evangelical Churches of the Augsburg Confession and Rome and also the Reformed.

    I am glad you brought all this up Cinn. It is the fundamental difference and is rarely discussed.

  • fws

    Cinn @ 32

    And, of course, one commits actual sins because they are corrupted by original sin.

    Official Roman Doctrine is that Holy Baptism completely removes original sin. In addition, Rome teaches that the Image of God was not completely lost in the fall. Whoever denies that the Image of God was completely lost in the fall, denies Original Sin.

    So based on these two doctines of Rome, it is most certain that Rome would not agree with what you simply assume with your “of course”.

    It is precisely this difference on original sin, ot justification by faith alone, that is truly the fundamental difference between The Evangelical Churches of the Augsburg Confession and Rome and also the Reformed.

    I am glad you brought all this up Cinn. It is the fundamental difference and is rarely discussed.

  • fws

    Skp @ 31

    Frank – actual sin is derivative of original sin. I don’t think Augustine ever contradicted Paul on that notion, …

    well now. I would encorange you to sit down and take the time to parse and fully digest Apology art II “on original sin”. If that article is correct, then that article would suggest (if, of course, I have parsed it correctly guided by Fc art I), you are misinformed on a foundational point of Lutheran Doctrine, along with the position of Rome.

    my parse: Rome (and Calvin), and my beloved St Aquinas, following him, followed the categories of Aristotle: 1) Ruled Reason must be used to practice virtue until virtue becomes a ‘habit’. This process looks like using Ruled Reason to exercise the self-virtues (self-discipline,etc, aka mortification) to control “natural appetites” (aka concupicence). “natural appetites” , which are what the heart, naturally, (as created by God!), aka “concupiscence” and is the the “flesh/body” in Romans 8. Therefore, concupiscence, or carnal desire, is the opposite of virtue or Romans 8 “spirit”. Neither Augustine nor Aquinas, seeing the bible through this Aristotelian categorical matrix could bring themselves to see “concupiscence” aka Aristotelian “heart desire” as sin. How could concupiscence be sin?! It is NATURAL desire! It is part of what God created us to be as humans! This remains a point that Romans simply can’t get past in Lutheran theology. I have simplified the discussion. It is a complex one.

    LUTHERANS (apology art II):

    we rearranged the Aristotelian categories away from Augustine to align them to St Paul as follows….

    1) we took up the Augustinian definition of concupiscence and redefined it. How? We separated out what Augustine combined by separating “natural appetites” from “desires of the heart”. Augustine had combined and confounded those two Aristotelian categories.

    2) we then ask what original righteousness is. We say that original righteousness= the very Image of God.

    3) we say that original righteousness is, alone (!) that super-natural thing that was totally lost in the fall, and is, alone, restored, alone, by a supernatural act of God, alone, in Holy Baptism.

    4) We ascribe to “natural man” and his free will and reason, the FULL power to do ALL moral righteousness in thought, word and deed per Romans 2:15. Except for the power to do, alone, ONE, thing, alone: that One thing, alone, that we cannot do “by our own reason or strength”. That one thing, alone, is to have a heart-trust in the works of Another. NO Holy spirit or Christ is needed to have correct doctrine, know the moral Law of God, or be a moral person. Christ and his Spirit are alone, necessary to trust in the “for You!”

    5) therefore, when the confessions use the term “natural law”, we use it polemically to describe what natural man in Romans can do, which is ALL except his and only ONE thing, alone. This is a radical redwfintion of the term from Aquinas.

    6) original righteousness is, then, alone, faith in Christ, alone
    Original Righteousness that is the very Image of God is restore by the waters of the new birth. “that which is not of faith is sin”. The opposite of sin is not virtue. The opposite of sin is, alone, faith,alone, in Christ, alone.

    7) original sin then, was the total loss of original righteousness and the image of God which was the true fear, love and trust in God, which is, alone that heart-trust in the “for YOU!”

    8) original sin is also the concupiscence, defined per st Paul, that is a heart “viciously” aiming to put its fear love and trust in ANTTHING but the correct Object that are the Person of Christ and his works.

    9) and natural appetites? In article xxiii “on priestly celebacy” those are put into a “new” amoral category called “ordinances of God”. Into that container you can imagine placing the sex drive , biological “laws”, physical “laws”, etc. Art xxiii apology “concupiscence fans the natural desires into flames and sin results” (paraphrase from memory).

    bless you skp!
    6)

  • fws

    Skp @ 31

    Frank – actual sin is derivative of original sin. I don’t think Augustine ever contradicted Paul on that notion, …

    well now. I would encorange you to sit down and take the time to parse and fully digest Apology art II “on original sin”. If that article is correct, then that article would suggest (if, of course, I have parsed it correctly guided by Fc art I), you are misinformed on a foundational point of Lutheran Doctrine, along with the position of Rome.

    my parse: Rome (and Calvin), and my beloved St Aquinas, following him, followed the categories of Aristotle: 1) Ruled Reason must be used to practice virtue until virtue becomes a ‘habit’. This process looks like using Ruled Reason to exercise the self-virtues (self-discipline,etc, aka mortification) to control “natural appetites” (aka concupicence). “natural appetites” , which are what the heart, naturally, (as created by God!), aka “concupiscence” and is the the “flesh/body” in Romans 8. Therefore, concupiscence, or carnal desire, is the opposite of virtue or Romans 8 “spirit”. Neither Augustine nor Aquinas, seeing the bible through this Aristotelian categorical matrix could bring themselves to see “concupiscence” aka Aristotelian “heart desire” as sin. How could concupiscence be sin?! It is NATURAL desire! It is part of what God created us to be as humans! This remains a point that Romans simply can’t get past in Lutheran theology. I have simplified the discussion. It is a complex one.

    LUTHERANS (apology art II):

    we rearranged the Aristotelian categories away from Augustine to align them to St Paul as follows….

    1) we took up the Augustinian definition of concupiscence and redefined it. How? We separated out what Augustine combined by separating “natural appetites” from “desires of the heart”. Augustine had combined and confounded those two Aristotelian categories.

    2) we then ask what original righteousness is. We say that original righteousness= the very Image of God.

    3) we say that original righteousness is, alone (!) that super-natural thing that was totally lost in the fall, and is, alone, restored, alone, by a supernatural act of God, alone, in Holy Baptism.

    4) We ascribe to “natural man” and his free will and reason, the FULL power to do ALL moral righteousness in thought, word and deed per Romans 2:15. Except for the power to do, alone, ONE, thing, alone: that One thing, alone, that we cannot do “by our own reason or strength”. That one thing, alone, is to have a heart-trust in the works of Another. NO Holy spirit or Christ is needed to have correct doctrine, know the moral Law of God, or be a moral person. Christ and his Spirit are alone, necessary to trust in the “for You!”

    5) therefore, when the confessions use the term “natural law”, we use it polemically to describe what natural man in Romans can do, which is ALL except his and only ONE thing, alone. This is a radical redwfintion of the term from Aquinas.

    6) original righteousness is, then, alone, faith in Christ, alone
    Original Righteousness that is the very Image of God is restore by the waters of the new birth. “that which is not of faith is sin”. The opposite of sin is not virtue. The opposite of sin is, alone, faith,alone, in Christ, alone.

    7) original sin then, was the total loss of original righteousness and the image of God which was the true fear, love and trust in God, which is, alone that heart-trust in the “for YOU!”

    8) original sin is also the concupiscence, defined per st Paul, that is a heart “viciously” aiming to put its fear love and trust in ANTTHING but the correct Object that are the Person of Christ and his works.

    9) and natural appetites? In article xxiii “on priestly celebacy” those are put into a “new” amoral category called “ordinances of God”. Into that container you can imagine placing the sex drive , biological “laws”, physical “laws”, etc. Art xxiii apology “concupiscence fans the natural desires into flames and sin results” (paraphrase from memory).

    bless you skp!
    6)

  • kerner

    Aren’t services for the deaf more akin to services in a language that a certain group of people can understand? Hence, differentiated from the rest? But generally, you’re right, fws.

  • kerner

    Aren’t services for the deaf more akin to services in a language that a certain group of people can understand? Hence, differentiated from the rest? But generally, you’re right, fws.


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