This post is included in my book UNFAIR: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn’t Work.
Learn more about UNFAIR
Fantastic post John.
Each and every one of us is a sinner and I believe it is safe to say the vast majority of us, to a greater or lesser extent, do not expunge all the skeletons from our closets or allow God to work His cleansing power through each aspect of our lives.
Homosexuality is a sin not very unlike every other sin.
God does spend some time telling us specifically that it carries specific consequences, but never does He state it is an especially sinful sin.
God is Holy and we are not. Sin is sin, there is no level of sin. For those of us who consider ourselves "holier" the admonition "let he that is without sin cast the first stone" should give us serious pause, and probably should stop us in our tracks.
One of the great failures of the church today is an unwillingness to address homosexuality as a sin. Instead we treat it as leprosy, something to be avoided at all costs. We rub shoulders with sinners all day, at church too. The lepers we'll not touch but willingly damn to hell.
Matthew: Are you yourself inclined to be tempted by the sin of homosexuality?
Thanks, Stephanie, very much.
Great post, John. I think the church would shudder if it knew how many gays and lesbians have been, and still are, serving it.
I am inclined to agree with this post.
However, I must warn you that the nature of "deception" is that it is very easy to believe.
It seems to me that you think that it is easy to spot a false Christian; but I think that by definition many will appear to be very genuine.
In the final analysis, God is not impressed by brilliant men but by those who surrender to Him in obedience. A life of celibate self-denial is far more "impressive" to me than a list of academic achievements or talents.
When many claim at the last to have "prophesied in your name" do you suppose they'll be lying?
Again, the nature of deception is that it is very easy to believe. If any of these men are sincerely trying to follow Christ (they may or may not), their brilliance wouldn't be the evidence to look for.
Yes, Trinidad is correct. Bring back the inquisition!
Trinidad: Um … yeah, that's why I made such a huge point of what passionately devout Christians those guys are. You're punching at a target that's not there.
Just curious – what do your gay Christian friends think about this whole gay marriage issue? Do they see their homosexuality as a sin? How do they reconcile everything they've read in the Bible with their lifestyle?
To answer your last question. In my case, I studied the issue by reading things other than exclusively the Bible, such as other works on the issue by theologians and clergy and psychologists and just plain decent spiritual people, while at the same time agonizingly struggling with my heart and intellect to finally come to the conclusion that the "traditional" interpretations of the relevant Biblical passages about homosexuality are not necessarily true just because someone who supposedly should know says so. One can only agonize about one's homosexuality for so long before one realizes it isn't necessary to do so. I came to the truth that made me free and what an amazing relief that was.
That, in turn, resolves your second question. My answer is unreservedly, "NO". And I don't give a rat's patootie what the Pope or Jehovah's Witnesses say about it. Why should I give them that power over my mind? When the Pope can prattle on with mind blowing incredulity about how condom usage cause AIDS, there is little left he can say about anything that I will believe.The same for Robertson and catastrophic weather or my evangelical sister who speaks in the language of "the Lord this and the Lord that" but hasn't a clue about what I've has to do to survive the onslaught that would smother us from her world. I trust what I know because I went thru it, faced it, didn't bury it in ritual and denial……or drag distractions, was flat on my face with it more than once….and came out of it all quite peacefully gay.
I wish I could package that and give it away to every gay man who is currently where I was many years ago, some on the edge of suicide where I, fortunately, never got, tho there were moments I feared I might literally have a heart attack.
Love knows no gender and I refuse to allow others to tell me that LOVE simply can't include sex ….for only my kind. What insulting arrogance to think they have a handle on truth when even Jesus wouldn't answer when confronted with the question, "What is truth".
And by the way, off the subject but here's an intriguing question that came to me a few days ago. How do we know Pilate asked that question? How do we know Jesus remained silent? How do we know anything about what was said during Jesus' moments before Pilate? Who else was there that might have remembered or recorded it? Certainly none of Jesus' followers were present and it's safe to assume Jesus got no chance after that to pass the info on to someone and it's unlikely that Pilate would have bothered either.
See, the Bible itself brings up too many inconsistencies and questions for anyone to have such certainties about "traditional" interpretations.
Excellent response. I am apparently where you were a few years back but am following down the same path you took. I'm finding that the more resources I draw upon, the more at peace I become with myself and my spirituality.
Thank you for your most eloquent and insighful post!
If you need someone to talk with, don't hesitate to write to me. Been there, done that and my heart goes out to those being there and doing it.
First of all, to draw any conclusion on material other than the Bible is wrong. What authority does this other author, or anyone really, to reinterpret the Bible? It says in black and white that homosexuality is wrong. No interpretation necessary. To say you used sources that weren’t exclusively the Bible tells me you are unwilling to accept the truth.
Homosexually is a sin. Whether you believe it or not. Just as murder is a sin. It’s not my place to judge. It’s God’s. And he has already, in his word the Bible. While it is a Christians responsibility to love and accept everyone, including gays, we should never accept sin. Just as you would try to get a liar to stop lying, or a thief to stop stealing. Why should we make an exception and say that being a homosexual is okay. It is a sin and it is not okay to continue that lifestyle and expect no consequences for your actions.
It’s always the ones who say “It’s not my place to judge” who are quickest to do exactly that.
Well first of all we don't call it a "lifestyle".
Dear John, Thank you for your post. It is refreshing and gracious! I believe that debates to either side will hardly ever succeed in changing anyone's perspective on this issue, it is only when the "them" and the "they" becomes the face of a friend, family member (or even the face looking back at you in the mirror) that we can truly begin to 'deal' with this. Thank you for caring enough to look with different eyes
This is certainly a thought provoking post.
I personally do not know any gay Christians but I will admit to having a hard time reconciling (in my head) someone who is a great spiritual leader yet is also openly gay. The Bible speaks very specifically against this sin (along with many other sins) and I wonder how the gay Christians you know deal with those passages.
Read WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALTY by former priest Daniel Helmeniak. You will not again be able to speak your last sentence with such certainty….unless you simply blindly deny what you read.
Read that book. That’s how I dealt with “those passages”.
John – I came this way via Anita’s blog.
From my little corner I sense the ethos of the conversation on these realities shifting ….. more and more are less comfortable with alienating certainty and more focused on humility and grace through relationship. The very thing your mentor hit upon ….
Would love for you to take a peek at some of our adventures in seeking to build bridges over at http://www.btgproject.blogspot.com
Excellent post, as always on this issue. Your heart and intuition has given you an insight into the dilemma of being gay and a Christian that most Christians are unable or unwilling to confront.
I have a quibble with your positioning of the dilemma that gays pose to Christianity.
The dilemma has nothing to do with sexuality. Christian purity is pretty difficult for anyone in that regard! The real dilemma, and the part that made me stop living in a place called ‘denial’, was that my heart always, irrevocably, and uncontrollably fell in love with men. This was somewhat of a dilemma.
While I could, more or less, control sexual urges, the beats and rhythms of the heart are beyond my capacity for self delusion. How could I ever contemplate marrying a woman, and I had, when I knew that there is no way I could ever come to love her as she deserves or even return the love that she would give to me. Such a relationship would swiftly become bitter and dysfunctional. Something I know empirically!
Finally, if being a Christian means being in a state of denial or disownment from my own heart or the capacity to love, then how should I interpret the passage:
“Love others as I have loved you.”
As a gay Christian, fundamentalist teaching is equivalent to saying that god is a sick sadist.
No. The real dilemma about homosexuality and the bible is how fundamentalist Christians can justify their interpretation of God.
Ignorance and cold hearts I suppose.
If you're re-iterating how "passionately devout" these brethren are then you have missed my point. Again, the nature of a deception is that it is easy to believe. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to not fully grasp this point. That is just something to think about very carefully.
(Judges 7-8, with "Gideon and the 300" seems pretty instructive here.)
I am not quite sure what you're getting at.
Trinidad: I've missed your point again. I have no idea what you're talking about.
It seems to me that Trinidad is trying to get at the idea we get from the apostle Paul that the heart and mind are great deceivers and we cannot trust them, which is to say we cannot trust ourselves and our own reasoning or emotions and therefore our own interpretations of what we read.
But that is a very fallible position to take because everything we read and hear comes to us via interpretations, either by our own senses including intellect or that of others. If we cannot believe ourselves, why should we believe someone else who we must understand, if we are intellectually honest, must be doing his or her own interpreting as well, someone like a member of the clergy, a Pope, or a televangelist(?) an ultra religious child psychologist like James Dobson. Do we assume God speaks inerrantly to and thru them but not us simply because…..well, WHY? Why do we give them that power over our own minds? Are we truly sheep? Sheople? Perhaps because we have been taught to think that way by the very religion we don't dare to question? Because Paul says so and therefore it must be true because God speaks thru him……..but not me? Circular reasoning at its finest.
I prefer to think as Galileo did during his trials before the inquisition: “ I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use.”
I say God is speaking to us now about the issue of homosexuality just as he did about Race a generation ago and about Women and Slavery before that. And so long as I'm not getting messages to do things that would be harmful to myself or others, I choose to trust my own reasoning and emotions. They could as well be God speaking to me as anyone else.
American Texan's question was how the gays I know deal with the passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality. I didn't answer that question because it never comes up. I have never, in the course of any conversation I've ever had with a gay Christian, asked them how the reconcile being gay with being Christian. That's just too rude a question to ask–or it is for me to ask, anyway. I just … wouldn't do that. It'd be like saying to someone, "How do you reconcile trying to pretend you're a blond with the fact that your dark roots are showing?" Not really my …. conversational style.
I do know–I mean, I have certainly studied—the general scholarship most often used as a basis for determining that the Bible doesn't, in fact, proscribe homosexuality at all. But that scholarship is readily available to anyone who … well, knows how to use Google.
@Mike: frankly, I see no parallel between gays embracing Christ and Bill Cosby joining the KKK. The main drive behind the KKK is bigotry. The main drive behind true Christianity is love and acceptance. Yes, there are admittedly some points we wrestle with. Yes, there are bad apples who tarnish the message. (Even the Klan doesn't look kindly upon members who realize the errors of their ways and start befriending non-whites). But that doesn't (or shouldn't) overshadow the main point of Christ's message. Sounds as if you're confusing that message with institutional religion.
Mike can't separate the two; or, at least on my blog–on which he's been long commenting–he virtually never has. He absolutely insists that the institution of Christianity IS Christianity; he can't, or won't, in any way acknowledge the reality of the difference between the two. I have no idea why he's like that. But I'm just warning you: It ain't gonna happen.
Cuz if it did—if he DID acknowledge the difference between the religion he's forever attacking and the essence of that religion—he wouldn't have anything to fight about. And–at least here, in the blogosphere–or certainly on MY blog, anyway–fighting is pretty much all Mike's about. He sets up false enemies—and then starts swinging at them. That's … his thing.
Anyway, beware of wasting your breath, is all I'm saying.
I think it comes down to the fact there's two types of Christians: the fire and brimstone crowd and the love and acceptance crowd. Those on the fire and brimstone crowd will constantly try to find ways to exemplify the fact that humans can never be worthy of gods love, and therefore will attempt to exclude as many people as possible(especially because by doing so, it makes it easier to rationalize including themselves). The love and acceptance crowd see god's love as all enveloping, and all inclusive, and therefore, withhold judgment of others and accept them as they would accept themselves.
I don't think that people such as Ted Haggard, are an accident.
But i only spent 10 years as a catholic and am currently an atheist so I can't really speak from too much experience. Just my take. I just read your blog because I've always enjoyed your writing, and I have always enjoyed the philosophical aspects of religion. It's the other part i can't do. Nothing personal of course. I'm just a humanist.
I should clarify no disrespect to anyone with my previous comment. I'm not say all Christians fall into one camp or the other(damnation or salvation). Like everything, Life is a series of gray areas we are all stumbling our way through.
Okay, I think in the Wise Saying department, we have, with "Life is a series of gray areas we are all stumbling our way through," a winner. Nice!
Fantastic food for thought.
Skerrib: Thanks very much.
I have always found it terribly fascinating how a gay individual can embrace an organization that, as a core precept, persecutes them. It seems something akin to Bill Cosby joining the Klu Klux Klan. The power of the meme and the plasticity of the brain never cease to amaze.
Mike: Perhaps the gay individuals you speak of aren't shallow, intellectual Pygmies with virtually no understanding of their own thoughts and needs. Maybe–just maybe—they're smart, insightful, and open enough to feel and believe in the absolute, overriding power of God's love—period.
It'd be nice if you'd try being less "amazed" at how stupid people are—at how gullible, how irrational, how impressionable they are—and instead try–just try!–giving them credit for being no less rational than you. Do you think that your constant assertions that Christians are irrational makes you seem any less arrogant, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, and judgmental than the very people you're forever accusing of being exactly those things?
John, can you answer “American Texan”? I am wondering that as well. Thank you.
I Liz, I answered it from MY perspective but John might wish to also.
Karin, please enlighten. If not a lifestyle, then what would you call it?
John, do you agree with the arguments which can easily be googled, that the Bible doesn't proscribe homosexuality?
Read WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY by former priest Daniel Helmeniak. If that doesn't answer your questions, nothing will.
Ah, I had no idea I was dealing with that sort of “regular”. Obviously I don’t read the comments on this thing often enough 😉 Thanks for the heads-up.
I can't speak for Karin, but in my mind, the term "lifestyle" indicates choice. I can choose to live an extravagant lifestyle or I can choose to live a frugal one. I can choose to live a lifestyle full of one-night stands or I can choose to marry and have a monogamous relationship. They are more about actions we choose to, well, act upon, and not about things over which we have no control. I do not believe that one's sexual orientation is a choice any more than your skin color is (Michael Jackson notwithstanding), so it doesn't make much sense to describe it in terms of choices.
That’s right: You DON’T read the comments on my blog often enough.
I try to, but OMG!!! I've spent an entire afternoon doing just that and adding my own and gotten nothing accomplished around my home or my own life. Don't feel bad, Helly. We don't all have that kind of time. I'm glad I do, because this it the best blog I've come across.
Ha! Well you obviously don’t need more freaks and losers on this thing, so perhaps I ought to stop reading it altogether 😉
Interesting post John; thanks for demonstrating a level-headed and loving perspective. I was reading some of the comments on some of your other posts relating to homosexuality and was highly disheartened by the attitudes and perspectives that are [still] out there (this, to be replied to with "it's not our attitude/perspective, it's the Bible!" Read first, then criticize… take 1 minute to study before attacking a brother).
Trinidad – with your perspective on deception, the criteria is assuming everyone is out to get you, and going with indicators that you are beyond human understanding. Yes, the gays are out to get you. Watch out! Your criteria for seeing who the true Christians are is illogical as well; you will know a Christian by their fruit, and this is exactly what John was referring to. You sound more like the accuser than the One who came to save us all because He loved us so much.
People have agendas, and see thru the fog of them. There's no convincing fearful and superstitious people that the gay are loved as much as they are. They despise our freedom after all the years of inner turmoil and rejection we faced to get to it.
(PS – Christians, please stop saying love the sinner hate the sin…. when you say hate the sin, you're not helping. Imagine being on gay island and having them persecute you for your heterosexuality … because you chose it, you sinner, and you are so wrong for not living a life of celibacy because you are attracted to humans of the opposite sex, you undevout and godless person. Please stop hurting other people, Church).
First off, great post John, you brought some thought to this one and it sounds like you have had a lot of personal experience to help write it.
Secondly, I am a Bible thumping, hell fire and brimstone, conservative baptist… or as I like to call myself, simply a Christian. I have no problem with a homosexual person being a member of a church, and applaud them for being honest about their sin. I would have no problem with a church leader saying that had homosexual tendencies. But the heart of the matter is if they are continuing to commit their sin of homosexuality they should not be in a leadership role, especially if they refuse to call it a sin and condone the act.
All Christians sin and it is part of the ministry of the Church to help us get through the sins God is working on cleansing. Wither that sin is lying, stealing, adultery, pornography or homosexuality, it is a responsibility for Christians to help other Christians avoid sins.
So to conclude, do not push away a honest sinner but do not follow them into sin. Love them enough to help them avoid the sin they are openly guilty of.
I emphatically reject the company you include me in.
Any Christian worthy of being called "salt" would do this…and do it in a most non judgmental,compassionate, loving way that they know how to!
We are all sinners, none may cast the first stone…there are area's of my life that I'm aware of being wrong about that I'm in repentance for…there are many more that I'm not aware of. (I'm sure)
I was born with a genetic predisposition to be what I am, a sinner, no different than a gay person or someone who sins in a different way, but to not claim our power over sin that Christ died to provide us with is, well…rebellion. Jesus died so that you don't have to continue to live in sin, what we do with that is between us and Jesus. I love my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters! thanks to you John for providing this forum to talk about this!
Wow…this article really hits me in the solar plexus…because I'm one of those thousands. I love my Lord, and I'm attracted to men. There are truly a large number of us…there were two others in my campus ministry when I was in college that I knew about, and the ministry was only about 100 students total. Both of those other guys were Bible study leaders. Oh, did I mention it was a Baptist ministry…so we firmly believed that the the Bible was the inerrant word of God, to be taken as literal truth?
I remember when I came out to my discipler, and he asked me, incredulously, "Why are you still here?" As if my sexual preference should have automatically excluded me from the Body of Christ. Needless to say, I didn't continue with him. But then there was my roommate, who brought me to this ministry, who I told and proceeded to tell me that it didn't change the way he saw me and he was my best friend for the next four years. To my amazement, every other person I told followed my roommate, lovingly accepting me. My friends saw it as nothing more than my sin, and they told me about their sin all the time…so at that level we were all in the same boat, sinners in need of the Savior. I praise God I didn't experience what others have gone through, thrown out of their faith communities.
Why did I stay? Because I'd met Jesus in high school and I couldn't walk away from Him. He saved my soul and loved me even when I spat in His face. To me it seems pretty clear that the Bible condemns homosexuality. I've read the arguments and don't find them convincing, so the idea of pursuing a same-sex relationship is not possible. Instead, Mark 8:34 holds even greater significance for me than most.
"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Sometimes I ask God why he gave me this cross. Why has the Lord decreed that I cannot have a partner I'm sexually attracted to? Must I go through life without a partner to cherish? But then, the Lord does things like this all the time. He makes a creation to declare his praises, and then lets blind men be born. He tells us to be fruitful and multiply, then leaves some to be barren. God takes single people, especially women, and calls them to the mission field, nearly ensuring a life of celibacy. He seems to have a tendency to do this to people who longed for partners and families. People are born with disabilities of every sort…my brother has autism, who am I to assert I got a particularly raw deal?
So God gave me my burden. Maybe it isn't actually one…maybe my interpretation of the Bible is wrong. But until God should show me this, I'll take His literal command, delivered from Sinai and by Paul, and trust Him that Romans 8:28 is true for me as well. And John 9: 2-3 gives me enough of a reason to bear with what I bear:
'His followers asked him, "Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind–his own sin or his parents' sin?"
Jesus answered, "It is not this man's sin or his parents' sin that made him be blind. This man was born blind so that God's power could be shown in him.'
For those who believe they can be Christians and live in same sex relationships, I disagree with their position. As I believe it is a sin, and the Bible is quite clear about the state of those who live in unrepentant sin, I also question their salvation, from an abstract theological perspective. On the other hand, I'm not God. I don't know the state of their hearts. I could quite easily be utterly, totally wrong about all of this. 20 years from now I could find myself in the really quite embarrassing position of southern Christians circa 1870…you mean we misinterpreted Scripture and God isn't actually happy with our slave-owning? So I approach with humility. You say you know the Savior? Well, then you're my brother or sister. I might not be terribly comfortable worshiping next to you, but then again I'm not terribly comfortable attending an infant baptism either, being Baptist and all. And family is family. Dad will take care of everything in the end.
J.R. Can I ask how old you are?
Hi JR. I’d like to address a couple of your comments if I may.
******I’ve read the arguments and don’t find them convincing,….**********
******So God gave me my burden. Maybe it isn’t actually one…maybe my interpretation of the Bible is wrong.*********
Can I assume that you still consider the possibility that your interpretations are wrong? Have you considered the probable fact that those are not YOUR interpretations but those of someone else, someone to whom you give permission to do the interpreting for you?
I have several comments above that I hope will be helpful to you. Read them and the book I suggest…..and trust that God speaks to your intellect and heart as much as anyone. May he free you to Love……yourself and a special someone that you will find.
When you say, “live in same-sex relationships” you’re talking about “having sex” (probably, more specifically, “doing the deed anally”), aren’t you?
Because MONKS and NUNS “live in same-sex relationships” (as do any two people of the same sex who are living together).
Stop with the euphemisms, please.
If you’re going to be judging and condemning yourself and quanitifying and qualifying your “sin,” please, just WALLOW in it. Indulge the full measure. Name your shame, and claim the blame. If you’re going to beat yourself up, none of these little sissy face-slaps. Go at yourself with a meat-axe – metaphorically.
Get over yourself. Jesus did, LONG AGO.
What in the hell are you talking about.
You make an interesting point or two.
It’s one of the biggest falacies of gay sex that every gay enjoys Anal. I like to put it down to ‘the Biological Imperative” When a straight couple have sex the end result is to put Tab “A” into slot “B”.
But gay’s don’t have to do this. We can use hands, rubs, fondles, oral, and yes – sometimes anal to enjoy and satify our partners.
Now – do lesbian indulge in Anal Sex? – if not then your arguements sort of falls down for the Nun’s does’nt it.
Just my observations
JR, I just want to say how much I admire your courage and honesty, I feel as though you're spot on with everything you said with this one exception…
Sometimes I ask God why he gave me this cross. Why has the Lord decreed that I cannot have a partner I’m sexually attracted to? Must I go through life without a partner to cherish?
We've got Adam to question for our "cross to bear", not God. And ourselves,each of us has made the choice to foster our own sin as well, it's the hardest thing to come to terms with because there are no "terms" but praise God, there is a Savior!
Why do you let that "cross to bear" language dictate how you think and feel. Where does that language come from? Jesus, or your particular religious tradition? Why do homosexuals have this "cross to bear" when heterosexuals do not? And who imposes that particular cross? God or THE CHURCH that started out as the Holy Roman Church. And yes, you SHOULD separate God and THE CHURCH. They are NOT the same thing.
That "cross to bear" language runs around in people's heads like a unending tape.
JR: I am proud to call you my brother in Christ and I will pray that God will show you why you have that cross to bear. You are an inspiration to all of us that are battling with one sin or another that is accepted by the world but we know it is not accepted in heaven.
Fight the good fight and I pray I see you at the finish line. God bless.
I have to disagree with you. Adam may be partly to blame. I give in to my sin, after all, God never lets us be tempted beyond what we can bear. But God made us, (knitted together in my mother's womb, right?) and He allowed me to be born with this. Either I was born with it, or something in my environment triggered it, and who orders our steps again?. I can assure you I didn't choose it. If I could choose my sin, I would have chosen something terribly amusing, perhaps a gluttonous predilection for cookies in the shape of foreign countries. So God gave me this specific cross.
Listen to the language you use, JR. Cross to bear, cross to bear, God gave me this cross……
Where did you get that? Who told you it was a cross you had to bear. You won't find it in the Bible…anywhere. It's an interpretation imposed upon you by others. Are you really choosing to believe what you think you do or are you, out of fear, allowing others to make your choices?
Thinking for yourself is a fearful concept coming from where you are, but you will not be free until you do. I struggled with it too over some years until it hurt so bad I thot I would have a heart attack. I prayed, in agonizing tears and more than once flat on my face, but I finally gave up tearing myself apart. One day I said to Jesus that I couldn't do it anymore. It was killing me. I'm going to go my way and trust the if you think it's wrong, you will steer me another way. Suddenly, the burden was gone…..and he never did open another way.
There are those who will pronounce that I have been deceived by Satan, but I choose to trust that I got my answer. "Faith" the depends on fear is not true faith. Be still and know that God is in you already, as you are. All He requires is Love. Do you really think he cares what kind?
These are really a lot of good and thought-provoking comments. I feel like this is really a hard subject for people because in general the church is basically condemning gay people to a lonely and miserable life. Just like the subject of divorce and remarriage. To say that God does not approve of divorce or remarriage would condemn a divorced couple to live alone the rest of their lives. We don’t feel that God could want us unhappy and so we must be reading the Bible wrong. I personally feel that the Bible is plain about the fact that it is a sin to lust after someone of the same sex. I’ve not read anything to convince me otherwise. And truly, that is what it comes down to. Did God say it is a sin? Because if it is, then we have two ways to respond. We are not to judge the lost, that is for God to do. We are to show them love in every way and be a light to them. Not condemn them, judge them or belittle them. We are not to throw their sins (whatever they may be) in their face. Why would we expect the world to act godly when God’s not of the world? That being said, we are told that we should correct (lovingly) a brother or sister in Christ when they are in the wrong.
Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of ANY sort, you who are spiritual should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiourity and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.
I am particularly in agreement with the notion that all people of Christian faith could stand to be a little more conflicted about how they wish to respond to those who profess Christ and homosexuality simultaneously. Even a well intentioned rebuff can be spoken in error and/or received in error. Sensitivity, humility, and “waiting for it” are no substitute for the Holy Spirit providing that golden opportunity to be a friend.
The Bible seems unequivocal enough to me in regards to ANY sex outside of marriage…and by marriage, I would personally interpret that to be the reason Matt.19:5 lays out (not a popular one to be sure). However, in all good conscience, I cannot anxiously fire that volley across anyone else’s bow. Each of us should probably grapple with belief just as personally as we do our very relationship with God in Christ., with respectful and trembling hands.
Hi, J.R.—God loves you and so do I. It may seem that God gave you this cross to bear, but I believe Alton is right when he cites Adam. We are ALL Adamic insofar that none of us would have fared any better given the same set of circumstances. I believe that God ALLOWS the temptation and the subsequent sin that each of us bear.
I've struggled with chronic depression since I was 17. Now in my mid-fifties, I've finally come to realize that my weakness (which God allowed) has strengthened me through my ultimate dependence on Him, and obedience (no matter how difficult) to the truths of His word. Of course I fail. At least three times a week. And my failures have their own painful consequences. The worst so far is losing my beautiful wife of 15 years. But that doesn't stop me from shooting higher and striving for a "2-fail" week. Maybe even a single fail week. Its not winning that counts. Its how dedicated we are to just crossing the finish line.
I've also struggled with my sexuality. My life-long depression has made me a virtual eunuch. Either my depression destroyed my sex drive, or my severe lack of libido made me depressed. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? No, it wasn't the rooster. : )
And on my previous post I meant to say, "Sensitivity, humility, and “waiting for it” are admirable virtues when talking to acquaintances about "sin", but those virtues are no substitute for the Holy Spirit providing that golden opportunity to be a true friend.
Tim: One of the best essays I've ever read about depression was in yesterday's New York Times Magazine. That article is linked to below. Thanks for this very honest, very sad, very inspiring comment. God bless you, friend. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/magazine/10Depr…
I've been poking around on your site since I got the link you sent me about the "always late" truck (which was hilarious, by the way). But this post was enough to make me stop to comment. As a Christian and friend to several gay people, I have struggled with how to address members of my family who would sooner stone a gay person than look at them. I wish I was exaggerating. This post is beautiful and thoughtful and I will be sharing it with others. Thanks, John.
Christy: Sounds like you've got some hardcore family members! Thank you for this kind response to my post.
"He makes a creation to declare his praises, and then lets blind men be born. He tells us to be fruitful and multiply, then leaves some to be barren. God takes single people, especially women, and calls them to the mission field, nearly ensuring a life of celibacy. He seems to have a tendency to do this to people who longed for partners and families. People are born with disabilities of every sort…my brother has autism, who am I to assert I got a particularly raw deal?"
Beautiful. And so spot-on for anyone who is 1) single and 2) celibate, regardless of their attractions or ages. No side of the fence is without its trials, so Paul's words ring true: we are all learning to be content whatever the situation, day by day.
JR. Beautiful conviction, I wish you all of God's grace for the time ahead. Do not ever loose your sense of conviction.
I don't believe you can maintain it. Who knows, maybe you were given the gift of 'chastity', the expression of which is not the surpression of physical desire but the capacity to live without ever knowing intimate love.
It gets harder and harder as time goes on. You'll find your friends will end up sharing their life with someone while you never know that experience. When young there are so many people 'around' that it is easy to think I just mean friendship, which is nice but only a shallow reflection of a deep connection.
Read the following story. Note the Archbishop lived according to his narrow convictions until the loniness ate him away. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/us/15weakland.h…
Good luck and may God shine a light in the dark path you have in front of you.
The most beautiful, fulfilling, relationship that one can have is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can never hope to have an earthly relationship in which we are so completely loved and understood. To give up something here on earth or to pass on certain desires in order that we might have that relationship more completely is no sacrifice, no “dark path” for us to walk! We are promised victory over sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and the atoning blood of Christ Jesus, What sort of a God would He be if while even though loving us just as we are, He wouldn’t make a way for us to be one with Him? To rise above the sin in our lives and walk with Him in the fellowship He desires with us! No sin has any power over us other than we permit it to have! Far greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world!
PS John, didn’t mean to hijack your thread…
So what are you suggesting? Are you still of a mind that homosexuality is a sin, or not. You seem to imply that that it is without saying so.
And as I think about what you say, I cannot refute it but answer thus; no matter how much one talks oneself into "loving the Lord" and "feeling Christ's Love" (which is the language of my evangelical siblings), Jesus simply does not hold your hand in your grief or hug you with joy or wrap his arms around you in bed or be at home waiting for you with a glass of wine by the fire.
Do you suggest I should forfeit such benefits of human love? I cannot see where even Jesus himself makes such a suggestion. It seems to be entirely of the church and that seems very suspect to me because I view the church as very much OF MEN.
I just found this article. Once again I most heartedly agree with your views. I know several fine Christian people who just also happen to be gay. I cannot consider them non-Christian because of the way that they are. They are just as much a follower of Christ as I am. They are all talented, vibrant individuals, some in partnerships some not. Some attend church and are quiet about their personal lives for obvious reasons. It is sad.
I was asked recently about the church I attend by a friend who happens to be gay. They are looking for a congregation closer to home. I get the feeling that they would meet some resistance if they were open about their orientation, as much as I would love to have them sitting next to me on Sunday, I knew that my congregation isn't ready. That is common in this area where I live.
I am of the mind that God loves everyone, We matter to Him, and because of that all people should matter to us as well. God doesn't tell us.."Well, first you gotta stop doing this, and that, and oh that thing? yeah that to, then I'll find you acceptable and I'll love you and work in your life." Instead He simply adores us and works with us wherever and however he finds us.
People on the other hand tend to go at that whole love and acceptance things backwards.
You say non christian like its a bad thing. Perhaps if you were a non christian you would feel differently.
@ sylvie galloway
Did all Y’all know that NOwhere did Jesus speak of homosexuality or any other sexual practice except adultry? All of that other stuff was Paul and the other, later church fathers. Me, I’m inclined to think Paul may have been a closeted, self-hating gay man. I am a Unitarian Uiversalist and commited to living by our Seven Principles. I don’t condemn those who hate, but I do condemn their actions and I respect their fervor.
Your exuberant exhortations would be wonderful if they were linked, however distantly, to a sense that you'd actually achieved what you describe. Sure, I've no doubt you've given up the minor vices of smoking or gluttony (maybe not the later if your American). Your comments vaguely relevant if it was linked with any actual experiences. Chanting slogans (or the thoughts of others) is not meaningful.
(John touches on this point in his, sorry 'His', blog on the teachings of Jesus and money)
My experience is that God DID provide a way for me to have a relationship with Him will also living a meaningful life. However, that was not until I dropped the fundamentalist Church's understanding of homosexuality that He did. It is not God's teaching or the relationship with Him that has changed. All that has changed is my understanding of what God views as a 'Sin.' God gave me the strength to maintain that relationship in the face of my Pastor parents explicit bigotry and social ostracism.
God did make a way – and that was to get through the false beliefs and bigotry of fundamentalist Christians who spout a belief they don't live by (that is a reference to you altonwoods).
Love the blog John. I read a very wonderful quote the other day and I’d like to share it here. “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.” ~ Lynn Lavner23 hours ago
I’m afraid I shared this quote with some friends and it may in fact go viral…
Id like to say something. I didnt say it in Huff Po because well its Huff Po. I was raised christian and deconverted because of my family. My mother and aunt couldnt get along because they both believed their interpretation of Jesus was correct/ My husband had five NDEs and in one of his NDEs, he saw a lake of fire and a cross at the center of it. To me, that means that christians dont catch a lucky break, they go to hell, and a lot of christians are trying to change their ways of thinking, and try to find new ways to compete with a society that is ready to leave organized religion in the dust. I admit, that the older I get, the more I agree with atheists, mind you I am a Polythiestic Pagan, I believe in magic, and I use my abilities from time to time. I sense darkness and light off of people, and most times, chrsitians give off a sick energy. I will say that when I was christian I COULD NOT FEEL MY SPIRIT. As a pagan and not a christian pagan, I can feel things others cannot, and I dont agree with any religion that tells you to “die to yourself and live like someone you are not” that to me is what christianity is all about, and why I am repulsed by all of christianity.
Gosh, that seems like the perfect HuffPo statement. (I appreciate you coming over here, though. Seriously.)
“die to yourself and live like someone you are not”
Perhaps you mean “die to the *world* and live like *you* were made to be! — a unique part in the Body of Christ, not as though you yourself were Jesus Himself!”
Perhaps we’re misled by the nifty slogan thrown around—“WWJD”—“What would Jesus do?”
Jesus would speak primarily in Aramaic. Jesus wouldn’t eat a cheeseburger. Jesus would take a shortcut across the Sea of Galilee, walking on the water. It’s not for us to do as Jesus did. We have our own crosses to carry, and I don’t think a reasonable person would interpret this to be literal. We’re speaking of spiritual, not physical matters. So perhaps what Christians should ask, rather, is “Where does the Spirit lead?”—“WDSL”
Jesus himself taught that the one to emulate is our Father who is unseen. But we can see, for instance, His love, and so we too should love. Jesus also was conforming his own will to that of his Father in heaven (and in himself), but in Jesus’ case, he did so perfectly, in spite of the temptation to do otherwise. (And the power to do that *is* the power of that Holy Spirit, which he therefore possessed in all its fullness, being therefore divine Himself [as if any god(dess) could exist who was *not* ever to be found among corporeal matter—and among us, no less, if we’re to actually know anything about him/her, whose word then can also relate to us concerning matters that are incorporeal—concerning a host of powers and angels—that he/she has true knowledge of, having been the one to give form and substance to them, in addition to the material state of affairs].)
Your views on certain Bible topics are so far off that I have to read them twice just to make sure I read you correctly. Your views on the trinity are 100% wrong as are your views on homosexuality. Above, you mention the “problem of the devout gay Christian. “Devout gay Christian”? Don’t fool yourself; there is no such thing as a “devout gay Christian.” If you insist that there is such a thing, then you must also believe that “devout Christians” can be such things as adulterers, slanderers and idol worshppers and drunkards. I say that because all of those things are lumped together as offenses that can keep a person out of the Kingdom of God. As 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 (TEV) says: “Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or HOMOSEXUAL PERVERTS or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieve; none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.”
The NT has plenty to say on homosexuality. Consider:
Rom. 1:24-27: “God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them . . . God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.”
1 Tim. 1:9-11: “Law is promulgated, not for a righteous man, but for persons lawless and unruly, ungodly and sinners, . . . fornicators, men who lie with males, . . . and whatever other thing is in opposition to the healthful teaching according to the glorious good news of the happy God.” (Compare Leviticus 20:13.)
Jude 7: “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they . . . [had] gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” (The name Sodom has become the basis for the word “sodomy,” which usually designates a homosexual practice
So, is it possible for a devout Christian to be gay? Absolutely not!
Carl, do you read Greek or Aramaic? Or do you have a time machine? Or is it that the Bible is still infallible no matter what errors were made in translation, or what cultural changes have occurred, or which corrupt church official deleted what he didn’t like and put in what he wanted it to say, because it’s a product of the Holy Spirit?
If the Bible is true because it is inspired by God….then maybe you should LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT. And the name of the Spirit is Love. You seem to have forgotten the part of the book that says that all you have to do is believe in Christ. And the rest is up to Him. Judge not lest ye be judged, dude.
Tell me, Cat, what errors in translation do YOU see in 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Ro. 1:24-27; 1 Tim. 1:9-11; and Jude 7? I noticed that you neglected to mention what they are. You also say that some corrupt church official deleted something from the Bible that he didn’t like? Tell me, what did he delete from any of the verses that I quoted? I noticed that you neglected to say just what those deletions were. Could you, perhaps, be all talk and no substance?
And tell me this. Do you honestly think that parroting the phrase “the Spirit is Love” will negate what the Bible says about homosexuality being a perversion? (1 Cor. 6:9, 10 TEV) Do you actually know what the love of God is? Apparently not, because if you did, you would know that 1 John 5:3 says: “For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” Can a person be a homosexual and still obey God’s commandments? Not a chance.
Since there was no general conception of homosexuality prior to the last couple of centuries, we can be absolutely positive there was no such expression as “perverted homosexual” in any of the ancient languages. The translation you are quoting can only be a corruption of the original. Who was the pious Christian translator? You think God commands people to deny the sexual gifts he gave them and that would not be burdensome? I can find nothing in the Gospels that would tell me whether Jesus is straight or gay. I can find indications in the Bible that he is coming again to judge all things.
Sorry, but there is significant evidence that even between the first council of Nicaea and the King James version of the NT there were over 10,000 changes (according to Bart Ehrman, one of the more famous Biblical scholars alive), errors and deletions in the New Testament, not including the general mistranslation from one language to another (in Shakespeare’s time the English language had about 10,000 words — a lot of the roundabout speech of the NT is an attempt to convey ideas for which the right words had not necessarily been invented).
Most of these are very minor or by accident, but some are not. There is great cause to believe that much was changed to reinforce certain ideas and especially to marginalize or reinforce the beliefs of certain sects of Christianity. The level of exegesis on this is extremely deep and well-documented. If you want to read more about the textual “evolution” of the Bible and the methods of exegesis that determine how or when these changes came about, there’s a great book called “Misquoting Jesus” that you can pick up.
Aside from this, there are many great arguments against anti-homosexuality in the church of Christ. The biggest ones, of course, being do unto others, love thy neighbor, etc. etc. and the general Christian outlook that the biggest sin you can really commit is to judge other people, since judgment is left to God alone. Keep that in mind when you quote somewhat obscure parts of the Bible from Apostles who were not necessarily alive in Jesus’ lifetime in order to marginalize others.
Golden Rule aside, a great philosopher once said that it is impossible to say what God is, but only to say what God is not, for to prescribe any concrete idea is to limit God to the human realm. To say that God hates fags is almost certainly to say that he cannot possibly hate fags, for that would be a severe human limitation. God doesn’t hate. God is WAY beyond that.
While I personally believe that we’re already actually in heaven and if we could get over ourselves we’d realize that God already gave us everything we were promised, you can continue to believe in some imaginary place other than this heaven God already gave you and continue to complain that homosexuals aren’t going to get there. Really doesn’t make a difference. You’re freaking alive. So are the gays. Clearly, God put them here for a reason, too. One day you’ll die. Your days are numbered. Spend them on love, not on hate. Turn the other cheek and you’ll earn a thousand points in the eyes of your fellow enlightened humans and in the heart of your Creator.
Wow, Shaw! That was very well thought out, logical and loving. Thank you for your comments!
Wonderful, Shaw, just splendid.
Carl, Ezekiel seems clear on what the sin of Sodom was. Ezekiel 16:49,50 says, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (NIV).
There was an issue regarding the people of Sodom having broken the Jewish tradition of showing visitors proper hospitality and hesed which was lacking in their response to Lot’s visitors.
And which commandments to which you refer specifically forbid homosexuality? Because it’s not in Moses’ top 10. And it’s not in Jesus answer to the lawyer who tried to trick him by asking which was the greatest commandment (Love God with your heart your soul and your mind and your neighbor as yourself), and it’s not in the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples before he left (A new command I give you, that you love one another).
Shaw, Ric, Mary, Richard W. Fitch and others have all provided scholarly insight.
To take an English translation of a translation of the Bible literally without diligent effort exerted toward considering cultural and historical context, the politics of biblical translation, as well as literary style would be like 2,000 years from now believing that when Paris Hilton said a guy was hot she meant his skin was warm to the touch.
Even if we were to hypothesize that there are no errors in translation, we are still subject – each of us – to errors in interpretation. To assert that we hold an inerrant interpretation of scripture goes against so much that is clear about what Jesus blesses: meekness, temperance, humility, compassion.
Jesus said if we loved him we would keep his commandments – true. He also pointed out which one was the greatest.
Some have said that the second miracle of Easter is the transforming power of unconditional love that changes us – for good. To be Christ-like in this way, we are truly transformed and are able to see, love, and forgive others as the Divine sees, loves, and forgives us.
May you come to know this great love in your life.
Ah, yes! That wonderful verse in I Cor. regarding ‘malakoi’ and ‘arsenokoitai’, words which even conservatives find difficult to translate; but let’s not allow scholarship get in the way. Paul was indisputably talking about homosexuals, a word which did not exist until 1868.
I wish some people could step outside their sad little exclusionary box for a bit and actually do some research on the linguistic and cultural contexts of scripture. What people think is homosexuality in the Bible is, depending on the verse, one of 4 things. I’ll give you my 10-minute speech…
1) Gang rape in a war situation, which is what was gonna happen in Sodom. It wasn’t a sexual thing as much as a power thing. Thank God Lot offered up his virgin daughters to rape so they wouldn’t rape the men. But even THAT wasn’t the sin of Sodom. The prophet Ezekiel tells us clearly (in old school KJV for your fundamentalist benefit), “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Homosexual sex? Nuh uh, my friend. Pride, gluttony, greed were it. Not what people do with their hoo ha’s.
2) Male and female temple prostitution as practiced by many pagan cultures at the time. The entire context of quite a few of Paul’s letters have to do with pagan idolatry. He was church planting among pagans. Idolatry was the big issue. These prostitutes were worshiping sex, not God.
3) Pederasty (man-boy slave relationship) and other sexually abusive slave abuse. But even Jesus admired the love that the Roman centurion had for his beloved slave or servant boy. Did David, from whose house Jesus came and for whom Nathan worked, take advantage in the same way of Nathan? Look at the parts you conveniently left out of Timothy. Timothy is using a typical Biblical construct of expressing synonyms in pairs or triplets. This is called looking at the literary context of scripture, which is a study I highly recommend. The Bible has some beautiful literary constructs. I liken this understanding to being able to identify a Mozart tune as a rondo by its pattern. I get all tingly when I recognize those patterns in music or Scripture.) And if you examine the triplet in which it is supposed that homosexuality is mentioned, the other two items in that grouping have to do with SLAVERY (something else that people have used to the Bible to justify).
4) Defiling your wife’s bed and/or your marriage bed by having sex with someone else in that bed, NOT men who lie with men. This is very much today, like bringing a lover home and sleeping in your marriage bed. Only now, you wouldn’t be put to death for it as the Bible commands. Interesting that according to the Bible, it would be A-OK for a married man to have sex with another woman, as long as he didn’t do it in his wife’s bed or their marriage bed. That was not adultery, but it would be for a woman.
I encourage you to read and listen to the Greek, Aramaic, and the Hebrew. Study the etymology of the original words. Listen to the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew and find out how musical and poetic it really is. And remember, that when you stand to pray, if you are holding something against anyone (including their sexual preference – emphasis added), forgive them so that your Father in Heaven will forgive you your sins. It’s in Mark. Look it up. And until you get over your feelings about homosexuals, God isn’t going to be forgiving your sins. Listen to how Jesus emphasized that in the Lord’s Prayer. I recommend listening to it in Hebrew, the rhythm of the words that have to forgive us as we forgive others will show you the Spirit in which Jesus intended it. He was entreating you…and me…..to love.
I hear a lot about Sodom and Gomorrah and I have a question.
When Lot finally settled in his cave and lamented that he did not have son’s to continue his name – his daughters were told by God to sleep with Lot and thus product male heirs.
So if a man today lost his wife and had no sons – would not his daughters be obligated to sleep with him and sire sons for him.
I think this argument is more clear than the possible translations that says “God Hates Gays”
Likewise shall we sit in our polyester cottons (of two different threads) and enjoy a Shrimp cocktale (Fish that are not skin and scale)
Sadly Carl the Bible is such a Mish-Mash of parables and mistranslation it can be shaped to whatever somebody wants.
Back in biblical times:
Men = a person w/anatomically male parts + the sexual desire for women
Born Eunuch = a person w/anatomically male parts + NO sexual desire for women + sexual desire for men
Man-made Eunuch = a person who used to have anatomically male parts (castrated) + the sexual desire for women
So, by these definitions, for a MAN to lie with a MAN is not cool… they have no desire for each other yet for some reason they do get together.
For a MAN to get lusty after another MAN is totally unnatural.
Eunuchs on the other hand, could do as they pleased.
This is your opportunity to realize that men like Carl are terrified and realize that they are totally losing power and control over what they know. Men like Carl know in their hearts that the God they proclaim is not a God who would condemn a 12-year old boy to hell who absolutely cannot stop feeling affection for another boy – vice versa for the girls. And the way that Carl serves up God’s Word to them? It makes them kill themselves. The suicide rate of gay kids is 4x the amount it is with others and it’s in large part, due to the message Carl sends that if you’re gay, you also don’t get to be a Christian. And kids are killing themselves as a result, or men like Carl are kicking their gay sons and daughters out of his home at an alarming rate. I know you don’t want to believe that – neither did I until I had to deal with it as a volunteer at a Christian homeless shelter for kids with no place to live (and run aways). Gay kids from Christian homes are kicked out by their fathers like Carl every single night across this country. He will call it “tough love” but what it does is turn them out to people who destroy them. Or they end up destroying themselves.
Understand that men like Carl are terrified of intimacy and they’ve retreated to making God someone who is obsessed with sex and has made that 12-year old boy’s attraction towards another man *so* heinous that he would actually equate it with alcoholism. That 12-year old boy’s attraction to another boy more often than not, leads to really stable same-sex relationships that last for years, relationships that provide a tremendous amount of respect, affection and love. Know that men like Carl are terrified, secretly, that with gay men and women in relationships? The math doesn’t work. These stable relationships where some really great kids are being raised don’t equate to the “OMG PERVERTS” men like Carl want you to believe.
But here’s the thing. You’ve let Carl and others like him dictate what you – what we – believe for a really long time. They’ve taken our church hostage. You know in your heart that this is way more complicated than Carl is making it out to be. You know it. It’s time for you – for all of us – to wake up, to start asking some questions and to perhaps stop letting Carl speak for us. It’s time for us to take our Church back from Carl because Jesus Christ came for all of us. He came for all of us, straight or gay. He wants to bring all of us back to the Father and our sexuality has nothing to do with that.
Please listen before it’s too late and we lose our ability to be heard at all because of men like Carl. Thank you.
I can assure you that I am not terrified. If you don’t choose to go by Bible principles, then don’t. But at the same time, don’t profess to be a Christian because no true Christian can be gay. It is a contradiction in terms. At 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 TEV, “homosexual perverts” were listed along with the likes of slanderers and idol worshippers as being unfit for the kingdom of God. (You chose to ignore that.) After listing the offenses that could keep one out of the kingdom of God, Paul said to his spiritual brothers: “And yet that is what some of you WERE.” Did you get that? The people that Paul was then addressing were no longer adulterers, slanderers, “homosexual perverts,” and drunkards. As Paul said of their changed status: “You have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”
Oh, and I don’t speak for you. I speak on behalf of what the Bible says. You can’t explain away any of the verses I quoted and applied, so you try to attack me on a personal level. But that does not bother me. Attack away.
The 1950s changed everything. Here are a few examples: the first Playboy was published 1953, Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl was published in 1955 complete with references to male homosexuality, and the subsequent obscenity trial over Howl in 1957. And of course television, radios, and transistors brought all of this, and a great deal more, directly to the eyes and ears of previously well sheltered communities.
Coincidentally, the Bible’s wording began to change. Here is a brief summary of our edits to 1st Corinthians 6:9-10.
* 1611 – The KJV translation focused on the effeminate sin. Although there is a vague reference to abusers of themselves with mankind.
* 1898 – Young’s Literal Translation reinterprets this vagueness as a gender-neutral sodomy. Although, I think it is widely held that only male homosexual relations is considered here.
* 1958 – The Amplified Bible dropped both effeminate and sodomite in favor of an intentionally gender-neutral, all-inclusive participant in homosexuality. This is probably the first translation to imply Paul meant to include female homosexuality and, as such, represents a clear addition beyond any manuscript available. (I guess it is okay to include women in male-only sins but certainly not male-only leadership roles.)
* 1971 – NASV then pick effeminate back up (after 13 years of relief, the effeminites were back on the hot-seat), dropped the behavioral part (participant), and retained the male/female inclusiveness. This version at least restores Paul’s writing skills by achieving language parallelism. However, as in the Amplified, the NASV are reading in something that is not anywhere to be read.
* 1973 – NIV dropped effeminate (the effeminites are off the hot-seat again!) and re-introduced the male exclusivity of the KJV and the YLT. However, they re-introduced the behavioral aspect of the Amplified as well, sacrificing Paul’s mad writing skills to the alter of the openly gay lifestyle.
* 1993 – The Message drops everything but a loose reference to a gender-neutral sexual immorality. This translation / interpretation achieves parallel thought, restoring Paul’s writing skills and keeps Paul’s point cohesive and strong.
* 1994 – The 21st Century KJV retained the original KJV wording. (Translation: They punted.)
* 2002 – The ESV decides to keep effeminites off the hot-seat and focused exclusively on male-only (sorry ladies) homosexuality but strictly from an outward, behavioral perspective. So gay guys take notice: it is okay to be gay in your heart just don’t do anything that is gay. Like home interior.
* 2005 – The NCV somehow added male prostitutes, which sounds ridiculously redundant with their reworded men who have sexual relations with other men, further insulting Paul’s writing skills. (same caveat to gay men as the ESV)
I’ll have to add the perverted translation of the TEV to my list. Thanks.
Our cultural fears have heavily influenced our scholarship. I am not suggesting that we read something that is not there, because, frankly, that train left the station long ago.
* 1966 – The Good News Bible (aka, Good News Translation and Today’s English Translation) went straight (sorry) for the jugular: homosexual perverts. Nice. This thought-for-thought translation has fear written all over it.
I was 30 in 1966 and remember when the good news Bible came out. It was an attempt to get people to read the Bible by using a very small and young vocabulary. Specifically, it was aimed at the average fifth grader. Newspapers were also so written. The expression Carl believes is divinely inspired has be3en put into the language of the average fifth grader. That, and not its accuracy is what was deemed important.
Carl, of course you’re terrified. You’re terrified that the statement “I’m speaking on behalf of the Bible” is quickly becoming “I’m speaking on behalf of *my interpretation* of what the Bible says”.
You do not = “What the Bible says” anymore, and that’s scary. You have for a very, very long time, you’ve enjoyed that privilege in this country and you just don’t any longer, your church is getting out of control, you can’t control it any longer. And you can blame that on whatever you need to, on people falling away or accepting some kind of watered-down version of Jesus. You’ll either start listening or keep clinging to that kind of thing, that you = “the Bible” and everyone else is wrong until it becomes clear to almost everyone but you that you’ve gotten this one wrong. It’s the same thing that happened to the Christians who used the Bible to justify segregation in this country, they clung to “this is what God’s Word says about the Blacks!” for years. It was only when some very brave Christians (like John) started challenging them, started challenging the actual *fruits* of that interpretation and then things started to change but not without a lot of hostility, attack and manipulation on behalf of those who wanted things to stay exactly the same.
Like it or not Carl, that’s the position you’re in now. There is absolutely no difference. You’re on the losing side of this position and you can blame that on the emergent church or whatever you want, that it’s a spiritual attack and Jesus is going to come down and “save” those of you who are “being hated” for the real Gospel. But what if you’re wrong? What if Jesus is actually trying to free the Church from *you*? The last time the Church went through a cultural revolution with segregation, that’s exactly what happened. Jesus freed the Church from the trappings of those in power and control who kept people thinking that one group of people was “bad” for something they couldn’t control. You’re that guy now, Carl. Just with gay men and women. The worst part of it is that you are actually causing kids to kill themselves as a result of what you’re putting out there. Man, I would not want to be in your shoes on the Last Day, that’s for sure.
Carl – you’re a classic. Quotes and text-proofs from Paul, Timothy, and NO JESUS IN YOUR VIEWS. Yes, I’m deliberately shouting at you.
And my oh my, you do go on at length.
Why don’t you spend the rest of Lent taking a break from sitting in judgment on “the queers” and go find a Bible that is a TRANSLATION and not a PARAPHRASE?
Why have you chose the most condemning “translation” to cite?
Or devote your time and energy to doing something else something else more productive?
Feed Jesus’s sheep. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Minister to the sick. And do so WITHOUT judging “the least of these” Christ’s “brothers and sisters.”
In any case, “get thee behind me.”
Carl: The scorn and sarcasm in your post tells me that, like the Pharisees of old, you are so obsessed with the letter of the law that you have ignored the spirit of the law. You have the whitewashed external veneer of anti-gay sentiment but inside are full of hatred and rot. It was the self-righteous Pharisees for whom Jesus had his harshest words. The Pharisees harsh words for Jesus sound a lot like your harsh words for the other people posting on this site.
Also, it looks to me like you went shopping for an English translation of the Bible that makes the point you want to make and are then holding up that one translation as the infallible word of God. In your case, it is The English Version of the Bible which uses the phrase “homosexual perverts” that you are so fond of. Have you considered that a different translation might say a very different thing that is more in tune with the real meaning of the original text? Or would that deprive you of the joy of using the word “pervert”?
Carl: I almost forgot – you went even further than translation-shopping in trying to make your viewpoint the inerrant word of God. You latched onto the reference to “Sodom” in Jude 7, then said that it led to the word sodomy, and then made the questionable assertion that sodomy is “usually” a homosexual practice. Using a contemporary meaning of a word to define something that was written thousands of years ago is really scraping the bottom of the barrel as a way of shoehorning your point of view into the biblical text.
It seems like your whole idea of righteousness is to be anti-gay, just like the Pharisees’ whole idea of righteousness was to follow the rituals of the law to ridiculous extremes and then look down on all who did not. The point of Jesus’ teachings to the Pharisees (and to us today) is that the hierarchy is not me (Jesus), then you, then Samaritans, and it is not me, then you, then tax collectors, and it is not me, then you, then gays. It is me and you. Nobody is lower than you. The Pharisees and the anti-gay people are as much in need of grace and humility as the Samaritans, the tax collectors, and the homosexuals.
Oh my goodness, how straight people love to agonize and express opinions about who I am. It’s especially exhausting when people hide behind certain obscure parts of the Bible to support their fear and dislike of others. The Bible that I read, as others here have said, is about God Is Love, and Judge Not (aka “first remove the log from your own eye…”). Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is, what, the second of TWO Commandments that Jesus gives. Should I then assume that Christians who decide who I am is a sin want me to say the same about them? I will not. I don’t see following Jesus and condemning my fellow humans as consistent. My heart breaks when I read how JR is living his life. Carl’s statement that there can be no such thing as a devout homosexual Christian is an amazing act of judging and dismissing others in a most cavalier and hateful manner. Not something I ever saw Jesus do.
Allen, it’s a real shame that you ignored all the Bible evidence I gave that shows homosexuality to be a perversion that is serious enough to keep a person out of the kingdom of God. As I already mentioned, in 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 (TEV), “homosexual perverts” are listed along with idol worshippers, drunkards, and adulterers as being left out of God’s kingdom. Just ask yourself, can a devout Christian be an adulterer? No. Can a devout Christian be an idolater? No. Can a devout Christian be a slanderer? No. So, what makes you think that “homosexual perverts,” which are listed along with adulterers, idol worshippers, and slanderers, is an accepted Christian lifestyle? It’s very lame of you to accuse me of hatred and judging when it is the Bible that says homosexuality is wrong. And, before you run to Jesus for approval of what you are doing, just remember that he said that “a MAN (a male) will leave his FATHER (a male) and his MOTHER (a female) and will stick to his WIFE (a female), and the two (a male and and a female) will be one flesh’? (Matt. 19:5) No such “one flesh” exists between gays and lesbians.
BTW, I am NOT giving you an opinion. I am telling you what the Bible says. Oh, and there are no “obscure” parts of the Bible. As 2 Tim. 3:16 says: “ALL Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.”
Carl: We are still waiting for you to dig up the “red letter” words of Jesus that Michael Rowe asked you for.
I have already replied.
No you didn’t, you didn’t provide ant of what Jesus said about homosexuality. We are asking for some specific quotes from Jesus himself.
And which among those with homosexuality are the homosexual perverts? Perhaps those ones whose acts are with the men/boys under their authority (slavery) or performed in idolatry (as described in Romans), or basically whatever isn’t done in accordance with one’s natural use, so to speak (which homosexuality often is)?
I’m sure if Paul were around today, he’d be astounded about the big obsession with sexuality that today’s Christians often bring to his writings. I mean, no one’s complaining about *your* slandering against gays who truly are devout! He’d would remind us that he advised not against homosexual marriages, but rather not to bother with marriage at all: NO sexuality inherits the Kingdom (where they will neither marry nor be given in marriage)! For those who feel compelled to have sexual relations, what ultimately matters is the spirit in which such acts are performed: one who has sex in the spirit of Love—this is the one whom Paul intends to exclude from the list of the excluded from the Kingdom. (For although not just the worldly possessions we carry, but our very flesh, will, like those of a camel, fail to pass through the eye of the needle but rather, like the eye, hand, etc., that causes one to sin [which is what it is] will be given over to destruction, the soul, like the mustard speed, though it parish, may yield new and greater life by the power of a certain spirit—power to crack open the rocks of the earth and move the mountain on which it grows into the Abyss. And so it is that this Tree of the Life found in this Holy Spirit, and He who is in eternity lifted up thereupon, are then together with the Most High! [Speaking of the Trinity, what about John’s understanding of it is wrong exactly, Carl?])
Paul was much more amenable to a celibate life devoted to service to God. He realized that some just can’t handle a life without sex and for those he beckoned them to get married, if they must, instead of committing fornication.
1 Corinthians 7
1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband….
…32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided.
In other words, sex is a diversion and probably not all that worth bothering with; but, if you are weak and you must partake of sex with a woman than, for God’s sake, do it in a marriage so that at least you don’t commit immorality. The superior man, however, is the one that eschews sex, that second rate activity, and lives the ascetic life.
No, St Paul would probably not only wonder what all the hoopla is about homosexuality, but what all the hoopla is about sex.
I don’t think it’s correct to understand the ascetic life to be superior to that of the common man. Jesus Christ himself would seem to indicate as much (“You are the salt of the earth,” and so forth), as would St. Paul’s saying twice (regarding abstinence and unmarriage), “it is good” and not (as he says it is to marry rather than burn with passion) “it is better”.
And, you know, if all men’s lives were made to be lived as ascetics, there would soon be no more lives to be lived! What sort of superiority is that (that unto itself, it would self-annihilate)?
“But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
“[F]or all have sinned….”
And the Life of the Kingdom does not seem to be described as a very ascetic life at all!
And remember, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard….'”
I think the superiority comes not from a natural category, but one dependent on time. Paul was writing with the belief that the end times were near, that Jesus was literally coming soon in a return to liberate humans from the power of the Wicked One.
If Paul were right then everyday things such as being given in marriage, having children, pursuing careers would be a waste of time. Therefore, the life devoted single-mindedly to serving God and his imminent purpose rather than diverted by extraneous, earthly endeavors would be a superior use of one’s time. And, this is what I think he meant by the implied superiority to the ascetic life.
What do you mean, “If Paul were right…”?
I believe He *was* right!
However, I believe the “present crisis” he referred to (1 Cor. 7:26) (although we can’t be certain, since we don’t know what the Corinthians wrote him in the first place that all this was in reply to [see 7:1]) was probably the early persecution, under Nero, which eventually cost St. Paul his own life, according to tradition, and which would make starting a family somewhat ill-advised owing to the reasonably high risk of loss of income, freedom, and/or earthly life before all the children are grown. So you’d be right that remaining unmarried is only preferable given the situation.
In other words, Matthew, I agree with you concerning Paul’s attitude about sex. He was definitely in the mind set that the end of the world was nigh, that Jesus was coming soon, and that anything that created an unnecessary divergence from preparing for the end was to be avoided if possible. Marriage was a last resort for those who had no will power against the sexual urge.
Carl, that’s very interesting, if not particularly original. Please thrill us with your spiritual acumen and show us what Christ Himself said about it during His years on earth. Please–just his own red-letter words on how no one could be a “devout gay Christian.” I’ll wait here while you dig it up. Thank you!
Michael, do I detect a a bit of sarcasm in your comment? I have come to expect that from those who prefer to do things their way instead going by Bible principles. I have already explained in detail how Jesus and others felt about homosexuality. Apparently, you have chosen not to accept it. What more do you want me to say? If you take exception to how I applied Scripture, please tell me why you disagree with it.
So in other words, Jesus actually said nothing about homosexuality.
I have not slandered gays. I am not the one who calls them “homosexual perverts.” Wnenever you see quotation marks in my comments, that usually means that I am quoting someone else’s words. It is not me, but the Bible (TEV) that uses the term “homosexual perverts.” Why, then, are you getting upset with me? I have backed up everything I have said with Scriptural references. Didn’t Jesus do that when refuting Satan’s temptations? Everytime Satan tried to get Jesus to do something wrong, Jesus responded by saying: “It is written.” He would then quote an appropriate Bible passage. (Luke 4:1-12) I have done the same thing. According to Paul’s words at 1 Cor. 6:9, 10, homosexuality is listed among other offenses that will keep one out of the kingdom of God. He even added at Ro. 1:32 that homosexuals “deserve death.” A truly devout Christian cannot be a homosexual anymore than a devout Christian can be an idol worshipper or an adulterer.
And concerning the concept of the trinity, the apostle John said nothing about it.
Your opinion about what the Bible says regarding gay men and women not being able to receive salvation if they remain gay is contributing to gay children killing themselves. It is the reason why Christian parents kick their gay children out of their “loving Christian homes”, sometimes at the age of 13, to be exploited on the street or worse, they kill themselves there. Their blood is on your hands. But you won’t deal with that, you won’t look at it. You’ll refuse to acknowledge it, at best you’ll say “I don’t know anyone who’s done that”. At worst you will simply reject that it is happening outright. And that’s because it’s safe to say that gay men and women terrify you so you’ve boxed yourself into a belief system where you don’t have to deal with them either now, or eternally.
You’re probably a lost cause at this point. I hope not, maybe you’re actually reading! But I doubt it, so I’m going to leave you to the mercy of God who understands how you got to this place and will deal with you accordingly. But I will find a way of stopping the damage you are doing to our Church and these kids. I think it starts with confronting you on this blog. Others are starting to do that too. I’ve extended that to my life, confronting people in the corner of my world and making them aware of what they are doing to these kids.
So I’m glad you’re here, it provides an opportunity for those who are reading this to get motivated and remember that you really only have as much power as we give you. That for some reason we’ve given you way too much power for way, way too long. But that’s over now, you’ll no longer be enjoying having the last word on what the Bible “really” says regarding the beautiful men and women who were created in God’s Image who are gay. Recent data says that the majority of Americans now favor gay marriage, and the majority of those people are Christians (you will say they aren’t, but that’s fine there is actual data that counters you that you will dismiss). But the next time we get to vote for it, it will pass. Then we as a church will have an opportunity to repent for what we’ve done to these people, just like we did with the African-Americans we tried to hold back via segregation.
My opinion? Certainly not. I am not the originator of the term “homosexual perverts.” It’s there in black and white in the Bible at 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 (TEV). So, to accuse me of homosexual youths killing themselves is laughable. Everyone, including gays, is responsible for their own actions. And whether or not gay young people are expelled from their homes or not, the Bible calls their actions detestable. Your problem is in separating homosexuality from the other listed violations that will keep someone out of the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) For instance, is it okay to be an adulterer? No. Is it okay to be a drunkard? No. Is it okay to be a slanderer? No. Why is it, then, that, being a “homosexual pervert” is okay since it is also listed with the above unchristian activities that will prevent one from entering the kingdom of God?
If you will remember, abortion has been renderred legal in some countries. But does that make it pleasing in God’s view? Not at all. With him, it’s still murder. And what about such spiritual garbage as pornography. It is also legal in various lands. But, does that make it right with God? I should say not. And what about prostitution? In some cities in the States, it’s legal. But does that change God’s view of prostitution? Not a chance. And, what about the tobacco industry? It is legal in many countries in the world. But, does that make it acceptable in God’s eyes that the legal but filthy habit of smoking is contributing to the deaths of thousands of people every year, including innocent children? Uh,…no. So, if gay marriage is legalized in the States, should that be surprising? Of course not.
It should be noted that my views are based on Scripture; yours are not. So, like others have done before you, your only recourse is to attack me personally, like saying I am responsible for the deaths of suicidal gay youths. You also say I’m “a lost cause.” Believe me, I’m okay with that. I will continue to uphold the Bible’s high moral standards. If you choose to look the other way, you will have to answer for your actions.
Carl, I’m not attacking you personally. I’m holding you accountable to the fruits of your actions. It’s fascinating in all of what you’ve written you didn’t acknowledge anything I’ve offered to you. You’re just a victim.
The truth is very hard for people like you to face. You’re hurting children. You really are, I’ve absolutely no agenda in telling you anything but the truth here. I don’t really care if you like me or not, your opinion of me doesn’t make too much of a difference. Your opinion of what the Bible says doesn’t matter much to me either, it doesn’t impact my life. But who you do impact are these children and I’m saying so. You are in part, responsible for them hearing the message that they are unloveable and non-saveable. It’s such a deep, twisted perversion of salvation that you offer to them and it’s unimaginable that we’ve allowed you to get away with it for so long. We’ve actually stood by silently while you’ve condemned gay children who grow up to be gay men and women to a life where they have no spiritual recourse – no ability to be saved. God have mercy on us for allowing your terror of being wrong – perhaps your fear of being gay yourself if you are, a lot of closeted gay men and women go down this “gay people are abomination to God” route out of self-loathing. I don’t know.
But what I do know is that these children are Beloved. They are created by the Father and saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. They can enjoy loving relationships with the same sex and still worship Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. God the Father has the absolute last word on their salvation. You don’t. God help you that you feel such a deep-seated need to categorize them in the ways you do, the damage you do is so severe I would truly not want to be in your shoes on the Last Day and I mean that, it makes me sick and sad for you and everyone you come into contact with. I pray to God that you don’t have children who are gay, that would be a nightmare for them I’ve seen it a hundred times.
My views are absolutely based on Scripture. John 3:16. That’s all I need and it’s all they need. As for you Carl, here’s what I really think about you personally. I think you are that filthy little lost sheep that Jesus was talking about who is in even more trouble because you don’t see yourself that way because you believe you’ve found everything you need. I think you are alone and miserable and you are hiding behind the walls of the Church so people won’t see it. Let Him love you. Let go of your need to control. What you’ll find in His Grace is pretty amazing. I want that for you. Your needs are secondary to the kids you are hurting, I’ll be honest about that. I don’t care if you like me and while I regret if I’ve hurt you? I don’t regret offending you. Anger is an activating agent and part of me knows as being one a long time ago who was in your shoes? You’ll not forget this conversation. I pray it finds fruit in your life when you’re ready, I mean that.
I admire your dedication to pursuing God’s truth with us here. Lord knows this isn’t the friendliest of places for you to keep coming back to. I pray God will bless us through your presence here and bless you for being here, Carl.
Now, I didn’t say that you were slandering them with the term “pervert”; what I referred to was your saying, “there is no such thing as a ‘devout gay Christian.'” I think that questioning of their identity to me a somewhat more serious matter than a hollow but baggage-laden word that, your own opinion notwithstanding, doesn’t stick. But, now that you mention it, that word (“perverts”) is not actually to be found in the original text. That was a matter of interpretive choice for the translators (making 2 words out of the original 1), followed by the interpretive application by you, to gays in a general sense.
Of the Trinity, John the Evangelist wrote every time he recorded Jesus saying “I am”, and he clearly wrote of it in the beginning as well. Yes, to be sure, the word “trinity” wasn’t yet coined, but it should rather more clear (if those who have eyes would see it), that John the Evangelist had the right concept of the Trinity in mind than that Paul ever gave blanket condemnation to homosexual coupling (unless doing so also to heterosexual pair-bonding).
Speaking of which, I don’t at all see Paul saying in Romans 1:32 that your typical gay man or lesbian deserves death! I do see him saying that such as you, Carl, and I as well, do!
It seems you misunderstand Paul’s abundantly clear point, taken in context, that idolatry can lead one into unnatural sexual practices, not that all homosexuality is unnatural (and saying would seem, in light of observations of nature, of other creatures on the earth, etc., to have introduced a blatant falsehood into the Scripture).
The concepts that later became what is know today as the Trinity was highly ambiguous in the Scriptures. What we know now as the concept of the Trinity came later with much debate, war, killing, and manipulation before an “orthodox” concept of it became lapidary. To claim that the Trinity or the concept of the Trinity as we know it today is in the Bible is extra-biblical at it’s best.
Ok, so perhaps not the concept as *you* know it. The correct understanding, however, is that implied by the Scripture, and by Reason. What we know now as this “concept” has always been evident in the nature of things to those who would care to contemplate it. We just lacked the vocabulary to set it in stone. (And various peoples have come up with various vocabularies by which to do so, but this fundamental reality is not unseen, nor does it ever change.)
What I mean be concept is how the Trinity underwent numerous revisions and definitions, particularly between Eastern and Western Christianity before it became the Trinity as we know it today. This took hundreds of years after Jesus to come to fruition. If the Bible had made it so clear than this interminable conflict of understanding would never have happened. Even today, not everyone agrees on the nature of Christ.
There are those that believe Jesus was all divine and that His earthly manifestation was divine only and not part human. Other’s believe that He was all human and only divine in spirit and then there are those who believe that He is both divine and human. These debates still go on today.
I’m sorry, keep on writing than instead of then. Opps.
But the concept of the Trinity is not Christological in nature. And the East and West have really the same understanding but in different wording, while at the root of the division is actually politics rather than the theology that it often gets dressed up as.
True, the Trinity is not exactly Christological, but the two are so interdependent on one another for our understanding of the Trinity, that it’s difficult to talk about the one without talking about the other.
It’s Jesus’ paradoxical existence on the Earth as one who is both human and divine that got us humans trying to rap our heads around what that exactly means; it was destined to set off hundreds of years of dispute because of its paradoxical and extra-natural dimensions.
I’m not sure we’ll ever fully understand what it means and thus the Trinity is simply a devise to help us contemplate this otherwise “mysterious” relationship between God and Jesus.
The Trinity is far more than a devise. It is a reality—the reality. Although one of Its manifestations is in Jesus’ relation to the Father in and by the Spirit, it is not because of the incarnation that I believe in a Triune Godhead.
“the concept of the Trinity is not Christological in nature.” If I could figure out what this collection of words meant, I’m sure I would want to respond to it. Nor do I mean to plead dopiness. Still, I am dopey enough to respond anyway. Many early Christians were baptized and affirmed the early creedal formulation: Jesus Christ is Lord (Kyrios). But we continued to be a sect of Rabbinical Judaism which professes faith in the God of Israel. Praying to Jesus the son of God became more popular than praying to Hercules the son of Zeus or other deities of the time who had previously been venerated by these people. A hero story of Jesus (the apostolic creed) became popular. Like Hercules, Jesus descends from heaven above, does his mighty works and returns whence he came. He takes his followers with him. We became able to worship and pray to Jesus and the God of Israel simultaneously without violating the first commandment. The older sect of Rabbinical Judaism would not agree with us, but, It did the trick for us. The idea of Rabbi Jesus Josephson of Nazareth (as the Evangel of John calls him) develops into the divine figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second Persona of the Holy Trinity. This divine revelation is accompanied by politics with all its usual ugliness. Is it Christological? I don’t care.
In addition to identifying him as a rabbi, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth, the Evangel of John also depicts Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (the only-begotten), from heaven coming into the world, as the true light, the Word of God, incarnate, Who was with God in the beginning and was God, by Whom all things were made.
I’m wondering if you would be willing to weigh in on your thoughts about whether or not a “truly devout Christian” could be a female member of the clergy? or divorced and remarried? or someone who does not believe in the virgin birth? or someone who does not believe that the Bible is the inerrant, Divinely inspired word of God?
God himself is the ONLY one that knows who will or will not be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. Not the Prophets, not the Apostles, not you. Please don’t presume to know God’s will. Don’t be misled by mans translations of man’s understanding of what God tried to reveal to man’s puny mind. Words can become idols, be careful not to worship them. You would be stunned to discover how culture and politics have influenced those words. You see, there ARE no words that can express divinity; it’s beyond human understanding. How can you worship a god that is limited enough for you to comprehend? I don’t. My God isn’t that small.
Arguing with “Carl” is like punching at shadows. You can’t hit them; they don’t care. Let’s let ol’ Carl fade away now.
Yeah, that’s kind of what I think too.
A couple gentle notes…
First, I’d recommend Tex Sample’s “US Lifestyles and Mainstream Churches.” You’ll find there that a major component of church membership, especially in evangelical churches, is *respectability.* As gays and lesbians were considered completely UNrespectable, it’s not surprising that they became “them,” so that “we” (the church at large) had an enemy they could attack (and more importantly, fund-raise against). The last chapters of Mel White’s “Stranger At the Gate” are instructive, here.
Allen’s March 31st comment says a lot of it for me. If the straight Christian world put half of the energy into ANYTHING else that they do into agonizing about whether or not Levitical law applies to me, this world would be a lot better.
In the 60’s and 70’s, there were cigarette ads (yes, there were). Tareyton cigarettes had this slogan…”I’d rather FIGHT than SWITCH.” I understand people like Carl to be Tareyton Men. I, on the other hand, have become the Anti-Tareyton Man – I’d much rather ditch people like this than convince them. Homophobia, by definition, is a phobia – an irrational fear or belief. I have never, ever, ever *reasoned* someone out of irrational behavior. Never. Arguing with folks like Carl is like mud wrestling with a pig: it only gets you dirty and entertains the pig. Let it go.
I’d like to offer this to John’s elderly friend: http://ragarambler.blogspot.com/2007/06/what-i-wish-straight-christians-knew.html. And the offer of a phone number and a chat, if he’s interested. And an open invitation that if you’re near Branson or Springfield MO, let me know. I’d love to have coffee or a meal with you. We’re even less scary in person.
And John, I’d like you to consider this little challenge, while we’re talking about homosexuality and the church…my first topical blog post, more than seven years ago. I’ve never had anyone argue about it… mostly because they can’t. Let’s talk about what’s REALLY incompatible with Christian teaching….
How well do you know the Bible in its original language? In 1958, a person translating a mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time. Take the time to study the scriptures; not just accept what you’ve been taught about the scriptures. If I did that, I’d believe that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. I’d believe that it’s by our “works” that we earn God’s kindness. I’d believe that the Holy Spirit is just God’s “power”; not a person of God. I’d believe that Jesus was just a man. Because I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness’ these are the “truths” I was taught. THANK GOD; he gave me a mind of my own, and a desire to truly know him personally. Because of some well place people in my life, and my desire to study the Bible (using 9 different translations, and my Strong Concordance), I discovered the real truth. I know it is by His Grace alone, that I am saved; I know there is a place in heaven for ALL who believe; I met and have been led by the Holy Spirit, and I know Jesus is my Lord! Oh, and my heavenly Father doesn’t expect me to call Him by him Jehovah whenever I talk to and about Him. We are all sinners; we all fall short of God’s glory. We are all given the opportunity to come to Him, accept Him, and have a personal relationship with Him. NO ONE IS EXCLUDED from this. My God is LOVE. Amen.