Brian McLaren’s View on Homosexuality

In a poignant post, Brian McLaren responds to an Asian pastor who writes him,

“I have regarded Brian as my mentor in coping with expressing my Christian faith in the postmodern world but now I have to break ranks with him – it leaves me devastated…”

The issue, for this pastor, is homosexuality. Brian has been honest about his stance on issues of human sexuality, but he hasn’t shouted it with a bullhorn either.

Brian McLaren

As background, however, you should know that Brian presided over a wedding ceremony of his son and his son’s husband — a news item that led Patheos blogger TMatt to suggest that we no longer refer to Brian as an evangelical. Christianity Today blogged about it. Brian graciously responded.

Brian did not make a public issue of his son’s sexuality. Others did. But it has brought Brian’s perspectives to the fore, and I’m assuming that’s how this Asian pastor decided to part with Brian. Brian, for his part, has written another gracious response, in which he clearly states his view on homosexuality and how he got there:

It’s much easier to hold the line on the conservative position when nearly all gay people around you are closeted and pretending to be other than they are. Eventually for some, the pain of pretending will become greater than the pain of going public. Whenever a new son or daughter comes out of the closet, their friends and family will face a tough choice: will they “break ranks” with their family member or friend, or will they stay loyal to their family member or friend – which will require them to have others break ranks with them?

In my case, I inherited a theology that told me exactly what you said: homosexuality is a sin, so although we should not condemn (i.e. stone them), we must tell people to “go and sin no more.” Believe me, for many years as a pastor I tried to faithfully uphold this position, and sadly, I now feel that I unintentionally damaged many people in doing so. Thankfully, I had a long succession of friends who were gay. And then I had a long succession of parishioners come out to me. They endured my pronouncements. They listened and responded patiently as I brought up the famous six or seven Bible passages again and again. They didn’t break ranks with me and in fact showed amazing grace and patience to me when I was showing something much less to them.

Over time, I could not square their stories and experiences with the theology I had inherited. So I re-opened the issue, read a lot of books, re-studied the Scriptures, and eventually came to believe that just as the Western church had been wrong on slavery, wrong on colonialism, wrong on environmental plunder, wrong on subordinating women, wrong on segregation and apartheid (all of which it justified biblically) … we had been wrong on this issue. In this process, I did not reject the Bible. In fact, my love and reverence for the Bible increased when I became more aware of the hermeneutical assumptions on which many now-discredited traditional interpretations were based and defended. I was able to distinguish “what the Bible says” from “what this school of interpretation says the Bible says,” and that helped me in many ways.

Please read the whole post: A “farewell, Brian McLaren” moment – Brian McLaren.

  • Moulder

    Everyone should read Into The Light by Dr John Lerma… It’s a fascinating account of how he cares for dying cancer patients… One patient was a minister with fairly fundanmentisti views on homosexuality… It’s a great read… To quote the book in regards to being born gay: “God doesn’t make mistakes…”

  • http://xjm716.wordpress.com John Mulholland

    It’s simple, really.

    Brian, just say, “I am no longer an orthodox Christian.”

    • JoeyS

      Since when has orthodoxy been defined by one’s views on sexuality rather than Christology? But good job making up rules that kick other people out of the faith. You must be way better at this Christian thing than the early church fathers, and even the apostles.

      • http://xjm716.wordpress.com/ John Mulholland

        I kicked no one “out of the faith.” Biblically, there is ZERO precedence for homosexuality being recognized as correct, theologically. I simply made a comment that Brian is no longer orthodox from a historical standpoint.

        Can you point to a statement by Jesus affirming it?

        • JoeyS

          You’re using the word “orthodox” wrong if you think that it means “according to my understanding of the Bible.” Orthodox is a word wrapped in a historical context, specifically around the issue of Christology. It is a word that defines broad ecumenical agreement rather than specific doctrinal or theological differences. A non-trinitarian is not orthodox, a person inclusive of sexuality can be orthodox.

          • http://xjm716.wordpress.com John Mulholland

            Why do you continue to imply that I am defining “orthodoxy” as “my understanding of the bible”?

            For much of the timeline of Christianity, the acceptance of homosexuality was not an orthodox belief. Prior to that, in OT time, homosexuality was not accepted either. Orthodoxy does define both general and specific beliefs; the ancient creeds were both.

            Perhaps a person “inclusive of sexuality” is neo-orthodox, but not orthodox. Again, biblically, there is ZERO precedence for homosexuality being recognized as correct, theologically. Your retort is simply dodging the truth of that statement.

            • http://ofdustandkings.com T. E. Hanna

              John, I would disagree with this.

              The standing disagreement over this is that the form of sexuality discredited Biblically bears little to no resemblence to the form of homosexuality displayed today. When scripture specifies that engaging in heterosexual prostitution is sinful, it does not extend that to sex in the context of heterosexual marriage. Similarly, when scripture identifies that pederasty and cultic fertility worship is sinful, it does not extend this to sex in the context of homosexual marriage.

              Furthermore, the fact that we have couples recognized as saints that were homosexual – Sergius and Bacchus, for instance – and that we have ancient liturgies for same sex marriages further supports homosexual marriage as more than acceptable within orthodox Christian theology.

              In order to demonstrate that the validation of homosexual marriage forces one outside the boundaries of orthodox Christian theology, you need to produce a recognized historical creed which identifies one’s stance on the gay marriage issue as a point worthy of removal from historic Christianity. The problem is, such a creed simply does not exist.

              • http://xjm716.wordpress.com xjm716

                Here is what I’m hearing you state: any and all forms of homosexuality referred to negatively in scripture were about prostitution and/or fertility cults.

                Am I understanding you correctly?

        • http://morganguyton.wordpress.com Morgan Guyton

          John Mulholland, answer me this. Paul says to Timothy that the reason the Bible is God-breathed is for the purposes of discipleship. It is not simply fact for the sake of fact as modernity views truth. So how has your discipleship grown in richness from your tireless debates over homosexuality? Which of the following spiritual fruits would you say you have in greater abundance than before from your faithful arguing: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control?

          • http://xjm716.wordpress.com John Mulholland

            When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more,” which fruit of the Spirit was He demonstrating?

            • newenglandsun

              >>>>>When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more,” which fruit of the Spirit was He demonstrating?

              Why are you using things that which have been added to the Bible to prove your agenda?

              • http://xjm716.wordpress.com xjm716

                You do recognize that by removing this text from scripture that you’ve also taken out “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”, right?

        • D Vine

          Jesus never says ANYTHING about sexuality, actually. But when David mourned over the death of his boyfriend, he said to Jonathan, “Your love was more wonderful to me than the love of a woman”.

          • Nate Sauve

            Jesus does speak about Sexuality, but it’s not limited to homosexuality and addresses primarily the concerns of his community at the time (ie: divorce) from your position of silence Jesus equally endorses bestiality, pedophilia and polygamy by saying “nothing.” A better reading of Jesus words upholds and extends the sexual ethics of the OT as it calls humanity back to God’s original plan of male and female, one flesh in the image of God.

          • http://xjm716.wordpress.com John Mulholland

            Wow. I’ve never heard this before. Is there a manual that you guys read when it comes to rejecting scripture?

          • Lightbygrace

            Maybe there is more to the David/Jonathan story, that I’m too lazy to look up right now, that confirms that the two were gay (and it makes no difference to me if they were) but I’m not sure that Jonathan’s lament alone indicates that they were a couple. He says ‘your love was more wonderful to me than the love of a woman’. That sounds to me like their relationship was ‘other’ than that having to do with sexuality. To me, that speaks to a deep friendship…Just like my friendships with my close girl-friends is different and in some ways deeper than that I share with my husband – just for the fact that as women we understand each other in ways the opposite gender cannot. This closeness does not translate into sexual attraction or expression.

            In the film Beaches, following a fallout with her friend, Bette Midler’s character, C.C., states ‘What would I do without a best friend?’. Her husband responds, very kindly, ‘you’ve got me’. Although C.C. is touched by his words she says, ‘it’s not the same’. Did that have some underlying message that C.C. and Hilary were lovers? No. The love she shared with her best friend just wasn’t the same as that which she shared with her loving husband.

            I have the same issue when people take Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well , whose past with numerous husbands he is privy to, as Jesus calling her out for her ‘sin’…But he does not do this in the passage. He makes no message of her having sinned. This knowledge of her past simply showed her that he knew things a stranger would not. He never calls her sinful and he doesn’t tell her he forgives her or to sin no more. It’s easy to read into a passage what we want to see when the text alone does not say it or imply it.

            Dat’s all.

        • http://www.dritta.wordpress.com Melissa P.

          “orthodoxy” has to do with foundational, universal, essential Christian doctrine (eg: the early creeds). It does NOT have to do with every minutia of theological interpretation, or developments in our understanding of humanity and the gracious Lordship of the Trinity. If we required previous historical precedent in order to change our beliefs, we would NEVER be able to recognize our errors. Slavery, ownership and abuse of women, the inquisitions… everything would have to stay.

          Fortunately the early Christians were sensible enough to define the boundaries of Christianity, via the creeds, without decreeing that we shall be bound by our historical sins for all time. “Orthodoxy” means adherence to the fundamental tenants of Christianity. It does NOT require us to recreate the sins of our Mothers and Fathers forever; nor does it mandate that we shall never change and grow.

      • blsDisqus

        Thank you. The word “orthodox” has certainly become awfully slippery lately….

    • Curtis

      Since orthodox Christians have historically practiced arranged marriages, with the bride sold off as a kind of property, would you have a better view of Brian if he presided over an arranged marriage rather than a marriage between two consenting adults?

      • http://xjm716.wordpress.com/ John Mulholland

        Can you cite that biblically from the New Testament?

        About “two consenting adults”….is that really the bar? If that’s the case, why not three (or more) consenting adults?

        • Monimonika

          John Mulholland,

          You’re right, biblical marriage isn’t just one man with one woman. It’s one man with womEn. Bring in the concubines!!

        • blsDisqus

          “If that’s the case, why not three (or more) consenting adults?”

          Sure – why not? Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, Gideon, Moses, David, Solomon – and dozens of other Biblical Patriarchs – would certainly agree with you.

          (It’s always fascinating to me that people can completely block out huge chunks of reality in arguments like this….)

      • nate shoemaker

        yes. yes that would lead to a better view.

    • Donalbain

      We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      eternally begotten of the Father,
      God from God, Light from Light,
      true God from true God,
      begotten, not made,
      of one Being with the Father.
      Through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
      he came down from heaven:
      by the power of the Holy Spirit
      he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
      and was made man.
      For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
      he suffered death and was buried.
      On the third day he rose again
      in accordance with the Scriptures;
      he ascended into heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
      He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
      and his kingdom will have no end.

      We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
      who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
      With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
      He has spoken through the Prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
      We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look for the resurrection of the dead,
      and the life of the world to come. Amen.

      P.S Also, down with teh ghey peeoples!

  • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

    Sigh.

    I’m a gay man. I’m also a Christian. Unconventional in my faith. Neither liberal nor conservative. Being gay is a part of me, but it is not the most important part of my life. Nor do I make it the focal point of my character.

    I grew up in a deeply conservative Christian tradition. Twenty years ago when I was just out of high school my congregation formally excommunicated me when the leadership discovered I was gay. Never mind that I hadn’t even engaged in any kind of intimacy at that point with another guy. I was labeled. And the leaders poured all the sexual connotations of that label upon me that their imaginations could conjure. And I was quickly thrown out like trash. By those who knew me since childhood.

    I know firsthand the pain that comes from being inaccurately labeled and unfairly judged by those who turned a blind eye to my humanity, but who I had grown up believing would be the first to affirm it.

    And over the past twenty years, as I wrestled with my own sense of faith, I’ve witnessed way more of my share of division over this issue in churches I’ve attended as a seeker, as a man of deep faith who nonetheless hid in the shadows and looked inward from the fringes. Because it was the only safe place.

    And now, once again, I see more division. Someone cutting off fellowship with Brian because of Brian’s acceptance of gay people. And all because of this idolistic devotion to the Bible that utterly baffles me.

    Am I the only one bored over this issue anymore?

    Am I the only one annoyed as fuck at Christians on both sides who seem more focused on the argument over 6% of men’s dicks rather than engaging the larger percentage of children’s empty plates? Or battered women’s empty hearts? Or abused children’s broken spirits? Or outcast people’s hurting souls?

    I’m a Christian for whom the Bible is not my foundation, not my law code, not my ladder, not my pedestal. I love it dearly, but I don’t need it to know God, and I don’t need it to understand how to love my neighbor fully.

    The more time and energy people spend wrestling over this book, the less time and energy they have to authentically and fully love others.

    • bryan

      Amen!

    • toddh

      Thank you RJay for sharing a bit of your story, it’s something we all need to hear.

    • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

      RJay, that you for your comment. it’s convicting in that I’m one of those people who can get sucked into a debate over men’s dicks while losing sight of working towards heaven on earth. it’s surprisingly easy for me to fight for the principle of gay rights, while neglecting actual people (gay or otherwise).

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        Hi notapastor.

        There’s an old saying: if the devil can’t seduce you he’ll distract you.

        And the argument over gay “issues” — whether it is in the arena of politics or religion — is a distraction. Because it diverts our focus from others’ humanity.

        God asks us, “Is your neighbor human? Then love them. Fully.”

        Instead, what do so many Christians today do? They take us gay people and, in the public square of “Biblical” discourse and debate, they judge us, mock us, beat us, spit on us, whip us, flog us, put crowns of thorns on our heads, make us walk the long mile with their burden on our backs, then nail us through the hands and feet, and then raise us up bloodied and broken and sneeringly say to everyone looking, “These sinners are the cause of all our problems.”

        I’m just wondering now when OUR sixth hour will arrive. Because at least then FINALLY we know the third day is right around the corner. And believe me, plenty of us are just way too tired of this shit anymore. We’re eager for our resurrection from this nightmare.

        • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

          And I should also mention that even those who are our friends abandon us. Often it is in the form of “wrestling with the Bible” and then being too afraid to stand with us for fear they too may be crucified. For them, while it’s just a loss of nerve and not a loss of faith, it is nonetheless still easier to love from a safe distance.

          • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

            Agree, it is always easier to make a stand from a distance. Wish I could say that your time on the cross is coming to an end, but unfortunately homosexuality is where religion is choosing to pick a fight. It’s unfortunate that real people are being dehumanized and used as pawns. I can see why McLaren chose not to push his son into that spotlight.

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            Our great challenge is to love those who put us to the nails and display us as if we were criminals. To love them until our hearts are about to burst, and then to pray for more endurance so that our hearts actually never give out.

            It is our burden to bear our crosses for Love’s sake. Even — if not especially — the crosses we did not ask for.

          • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

            R. Jay, I don’t know you, but I admire you. Thank you for engaging.

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            Thanks, notapastor. That’s nice of you to say. And my pleasure.

    • Beau Butler

      A person can never be separated from the words they speak. God is no different. You can not separate God from his words. While creation testifies that he exists, the word of God is a small glimpse into who He is. I too am tired of focusing on the minor while ignoring the greater more important issues. God is still in the details. The Holy Spirit must be the one to ultimately convict a person of the things within ALL of us that is considered the sin nature (the innate part of our bodies). What I glean from reading his word is this: COME TO JESUS CHRIST AND MAKE HIM LORD, WHATEVER NEEDS TO BE FIXED WILL GET FIXED AND I PROMISE TO LOVE YOU AS GOD LOVES YOU WHERE YOU ARE AT. This being said, you still need to read the word of God. Because if you do not know what he says you can not tell me you know him, even the wickedest of men know how to love something.

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        No Beau. You’re absolutely, utterly dead wrong.

        You offer a man-made formula. It is empty. It is without substance. It does not work.

        As a Christian, I wholly reject such a formula.

        Whatever god you think can only be known through a book of man’s words is a small and useless creation of man’s imagination. A caricature. A worthless image. A stillborn fiction extracted from the old womb of western evangelicalism.

        You want to know God, Beau? Abandon your old, shelved evangelical rhetoric. Shed your addiction to whatever tradition holds your mind captive in a state of deception masquerading as spiritual euphoria. Abandon your attachment to that book which, although a treasure, has been turned into an idol like the bronze snake in ancient Israel. Open your ears and eyes to the fullness of the Creation and Life of which you are an integral part, rather than narrowly focusing your hearing and vision upon the abundantly limited scope of fraudulent religion.

        When you accentuate limitations, then limitedness is all you will get.

    • JasonAZ

      RJ – I can truly relate to your story in that it was very similar to my own coming out and crisis of faith. I can remember the agonizing time spent in prayer over this. I remember the peace that came over me once I could accept who I was and that God’s love didn’t go away as a result. I’ve never forgotten that peace it’s never left me.

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        Hi Jason.

        Sounds like you and are are very fortunate. Peace is a consequence of being free.

        And the Love of God never goes away!

    • pagansister

      Thanks, RJ Pearson, for sharing your story. It has never ceased to amaze me that so many folks think their “holy book” is the end all for what they are supposed to believe. IMO, it is JUST A BOOK, with some good advise and some really rotten advise. It has been the cause of many horrible events on this planet—not the least of which is the fuss over who someone loves!

    • Bill

      You don’t sound bored. You sound vile. You sound confirmed in your sin. You sound angry and stubborn. You sound lost. You are loved by God. That God calls you to abandon your sin so He can save you.

    • Bill

      Ray if you are actively gay you are not a Christian. You’ve created a caricature of a religion that leaves you still lost in sign. It’s a facade. And you know you are still empty. No peace. You will deny it for sure. But you know it’s true. It shows in your profanity. Your vileness. Your anger. You are recruiting and misleading others with your poison and hatred. Stop. Humble yourself. Stop medicating your pain and come to the living Christ for salvation.

    • Mark

      R.J. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I have been a Christian for over 40 years, and I still don’t understand why many people elevate the Bible over God himself. I don’t understand why many Christians worship the bible and actually place it above God. My belief in God, Christ, the resurrection etc. is not based on a literal interpretation of scripture. I truly find it sad when Christians use and have used the Bible to justify terrible acts such as slavery, the poor treatment of women, genocide, segregation and homosexuality.

    • Marti

      Amen

  • bryan

    “It’s much easier to hold the line on the conservative position when nearly all gay people around you are closeted and pretending to be other than they are.”

    This is my story, “Eventually for some, the pain of pretending will become greater than the pain of going public.”

    I would add: the path of destruction that remains afterward, reveals a wound that may never fully heal.

    b

  • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

    Yup, this is an issue in many denominations with Asian/Asian American congregations. Over here in LA, we see the struggle with PCUSA’s pro-gay stance and the individual Korean PCUSA churches.

    One wise voice calmed a debate once, saying “we (white American mainline Christians) have had a 30 year head start to get to where we are (on the issue of gay rights), we need to have some grace with our immigrant communities for whom the debate is brand new.” I’m not sure if that statement is a good enough excuse, but it at least gave me some room for context.

    • JR

      *Sigh* In other words ‘we’ white people are so much more progressive and advanced on this issue, so lets just wait till these gooks come around to ‘our’ side.

      • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

        hmm… I don’t think I conveyed that very well. I think my friend meant the opposite of that (but I could be wrong). She was saying that the mainline church has had some time to work through their gut reactions and can have a different conversation about homosexuality now. But it took a long time. And that it is unfair to force other cultures to forgo a lengthy decades long conversation and just agree with what white people have decided.

        Also, I don’t know if you’re Asian or not, but maybe racial epithets aren’t necessary, even if you mean it sarcastically.

        • Curtis

          In recent decades, when some Asian groups emigrated to the U.S. as refugees, they had a practice of marrying their girls at an age as young as 13. It was a common cultural practice for some families in their homeland. Obviously, when they tried to practice these child marriages in the U.S., child protection workers had to step in and calmly educate them that, in the culture in which they are currently presiding, 13-year-old girls are legally required to attend school, and cannot be married until the age of 16 (with parental consent).

          Do you think child protection workers should have backed off, and given the Asian families 10 or 20 years to work through their gut reactions about letting girls go to school and postpone marriage? Or is child protection right to step in and enforce American cultural standards immediately, firmly, and respectfully?

          • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

            Hi Curtis,

            That’s a good question. No, I don’t believe girls should be forced into marriage, or forced out of school. I believe moral and legal laws of our current place and time need to be followed in action by everyone. And that force can and should be used to insist on high cooperation rates. But in terms of peoples’ hearts and minds, I still believe an empathetic and gracefully attitude works better.

          • Curtis

            Right. I think it is possible to empathetically and gracefully explain that one’s views about homosexuality have to change. Now. Without having to wait 30 years for their views to evolve.

          • Larry Barber

            Are you suggesting we give CPS authority over a church’s doctrine? While I sympathise with what you are saying, I think this would be a really, really bad idea. Using CPS to enforce behavior like child marriage is one thing, but the behavior of these churches generally isn’t a problem, they don’t generally organize gay bashing expeditions, for example.

          • Curtis

            No. I was using culturally-based views of child marriage as an analogy to the situation with culturally-based views of gay marriage. Of course, CPS is the right tool to use to address child marriage, and is not the right tool to use to address gay marriage. However, in this case, CPS gives an example of how cultural differences can be addressed with respect and consideration for all parties, even while not bending on basic principles of human rights. I believe the same can be done, indeed must be done, with regard to gay marriage.

            Of course, no church can or should be forced to bless gay marriage. But the practice of churches condemning other Christians for upholding the civil rights of gays must be forcefully, respectfully, stopped.

          • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

            Yes, I agree across the board with what you’re saying. It’s possible to be both graceful and insistent at the same time. We should be impatient about this process, that I might be dead before we fully recognize equal human rights for everyone. And I agree that sometimes (even often times) a kind and generous explanation of human rights is more than enough to change someone’s faulty views.

            I may have a soft spot on the issue. A sort of vague mental image of a kindly homophobic grandmother who just needs some time to accept that her granddaughter is a lesbian. Who knows, maybe I’m just being sentimental.

          • Curtis

            In my experience, it is usually the grandmother with a lesbian granddaughter who is the among first to accept gay marriage. It is those who don’t have personal contact with open gays who tend to be more resistant to the idea.

          • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

            Yes, relationships are paramount. Having relationships with people that are different from us humanizes us all.

            Thanks for engaging, Curtis. I really appreciate your point of view.

  • Keith Rowley

    R. Jay,
    I am so glad you seem to have found some healing and so sorry you had to suffer all you did.
    For many people the Bible IS the foundation and center of their faith. For them there is no faith if they don’t have the certantity of the bible to rely on. Because we are Christians who are serious about living in the way of Jesus we have to forgive them for the evil this causes them to do.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Hi Keith.

      I’m happy to say my healing, while a long road, was a happy and full one.

      In the absence of the Bible, there is still God. And to know God does not require the Bible. Devotion to it has become the most insidious of all barriers.

  • Rick B

    “TMatt to suggest that we no longer refer to Brian as an evangelical.”

    Thanks for the obvious statement. I doubt Brian would have a problem with that considering it means a very specific number of things Brian, you… and I don’t subscribe to.

  • Frank

    In other words ” I have let the world control me instead of God.” How sad!

    • Steve

      You think God wants to “control” people?

      • Frank

        No I think we should be controlled by Gods desires not our own. A scriptural truth that Brian and others have abandoned.

        • pagansister

          God’s desires” Really? How do YOU know what GOD desires? Expecting to hear that the Bible is the source of what God desires. It was written by human beings who had great imaginations.

  • toujoursdan

    I don’t understand why being pro-gay means that one can’t be evangelical. The term itself can mean many things, from a commitment to Biblical infallibility to a worship style. There are many gay evangelicals found in independent congregations, like Dallas’ White Rock Community Church or in evangelical congregations in mainline churches. And, even if the 6-7 so called “clobber” passages unambiguously condemned all forms of homosexuality, evangelicals ignore many other Biblical commands (divorce, charging interest on the loan, accumulation of material things, etc.)

    I used to be an evangelical, went to an evangelical university (Azusa-Pacific) but no longer identify myself as one (now a high church Episcopalian), but still affirm that the Bible is central of my faith life. It seems to be that the conflict regarding sexuality is more over interpretation of a set of passages rather than view of the inerrancy/infallibility of scripture and one certainly can’t argue that evangelicals don’t interpret scripture differently.

    • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

      I think of the membership rules as mostly stuff made up by people to organize groups. But maybe they don’t need to apply to individuals. I say, if you’re a pro-gay, Bible-centric, post-Evangelical Episcopalian, that’s great!

  • Jared

    Is it necessary to label this pastor as “Asian”? Would we have done the same if he/she were black or white? Seems like unnecessary racializing. I know plenty of LGBT and LGBT-allied Asians, and I know plenty of white and black people who are antigay. None of these views correlate on the basis of race.

    Regardless, McLaren’s statement is refreshing and insightful.

    • http://notapastor.wordpress.com notapastor

      Hi Jared, yeah, I had the same reaction at first. But I think it’s not a racial issue in this case, but just a way to describe where, geographically, this pastor is from. He isn’t an Asian American pastor (which would’ve been extraneous racializing), but is a pastor in Asia. Hypothetically, he might be a white guy.

  • German.

    Although it is easy to idolize the bible and what we have been taught since day one, you cannot excluse or simply push the bible aside. Perhaps it is a book “written” from the views and experiences of man. However, you cannot simply jump to the conclusion that is obsolete and one should divert from its meaning and purpose. Thw bible is not meant to be a defining document of how your faith is or what you believe in, rather a guide to determine where your faith stands. Hence what McLaren ultimately stated, “his love for the bible grew” because he realized what many fail to do, God gave him a personal revelation.
    Personally, the problem begins when a church, (denominations) or a person (rationalization) plays god and assumes what the bible says, and that is the typical approach.
    The thin line between church fanatics and those who live by what God said: (found in the bible) Love God, Love People.
    I have several friends who are openly gay, i have beeb labeled by those i call friends, yet it hasnt changed my approach, tolerance and understanding of homosexuality.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      German, you wrote . . .

      you cannot excluse or simply push the bible aside. . . . you cannot simply jump to the conclusion that is obsolete

      Why not? And says who?

  • Stan McGee

    Accepting one’s son’s homosexuality and presiding over a false “marriage’ are very different things. The Catholics have this issue right as shown in their Catechism of the catholic Church.

    • pagansister

      Why is it that 2 consenting adults of the same gender who get married have a “false marriage”? They are just as married as 2 heterosexual human beings. Noting false as I see it.

    • Frank

      The Catholic church’s response to same sex marriage has been to deny gay people any legal protection as a group. This response has resulted in opposition to all anti-bullying laws that specifically mention gay students. This has also resulted in Louisiana’s bishops backing a state senate bill (SB 217) that would specifically legalize discrimination against gay students in admission to publicly funded charter schools, which have replaced 75% of public schools in New Orleans.

      The Catholic church tried to enforce a policy worse than segregation against gay students. Catholics should be ashamed.

  • Robert

    So, this seems to be the argument offered by Brian and a lot of the commenters in this thread:

    1. I grew up believing that Gay people were bad.
    2. I met some Gay people that are nice.
    3. Therefore, homosexuality must be acceptable to God.

    The argument is all over the place. Of course homosexuals can be nice. So can Muslims. So can atheists. So can Buddhists. So can Wiccans.

    Being nice and appearing to have a relationship with Christ don’t get you into heaven. Thinking that you have a relationship with Christ doesn’t get you into heaven. Repentance and submitting to the Lordship of Christ gets you into heaven, saved, into the kingdom, whatever you want to call it. The New Testament is quite clear on that. And its also quite clear that submitting to the Lordship of Christ means, among other things, celibacy apart from a marriage between one man and one woman. You may not like that, but don’t pretend that Jesus, Paul, et. al. would be okay with that. Just admit that you think what the Bible says about homosexuality is outmoded and wrong, at least that would be intellectually honest.

    More than once, Jesus said that he came to divide fathers from sons, brothers from sisters, etc. It’s a hard thing to believe a loved one is not in God’s kingdom and much easier to change one’s theology to accommodate it. Just admit that such is what you are doing and quit pretending that you can follow Jesus at the same time. Follow the example of Dan Savage, who has publicly said that the Bible is ridiculous. After all, that is what you truly believe anyway.

    Anyone who loves any friend or relative of Jesus is not worthy of Him. By denying what He says about human sexuality in order to affirm homosexuality as a positive good, you are denying the Lordship of Christ. You are rejecting His authority. Just be honest about what you are doing.

    • des

      Thank you, Robert! I am right there with you. I know it’s not popular, but I believe it’s the truth: that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But, just like for every human being on this planet struggling with any other kind of deeply ingrained sin, it doesn’t argue for condemning homosexuals, it argues for their healing.

      • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

        des…

        We don’t need to be healed. As a gay man, I do not struggle with my “gayness.” I do not struggle with any “deeply ingrained sin.”

        What does need to be healed is people’s fear and ignorance.

        • des

          Trying this again because I think the site ate my post…apologies if there’s duplicates…

          R. Jay, not all same-sex-attracted Christians would agree with you. There exist such people who claim to have found healing in this area of their lives, or are still on their path to getting there. “Washed and Waiting” by Wesley Hill is a good account of how he is dealing with the latter. This fairly recent blog post: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/on-homosexuality-its-ok-to-fight/ is an example of the former.

          When the Bible mentions homosexuality, it is lumped together with every other sexual sin. Soon after, it talks about healing from the aforementioned sins. Treating it as this totally separate, freaky entity that Christians don’t seem to know how to deal with, I think, is how we fell into trouble. The Bible is clear that it’s not different from the other sins. And that must mean the dynamics of grace are the same for everyone.

          I don’t know how the “I didn’t ask to feel this way, so God must want me to be this way” argument became so widely accepted. Nowhere in the Bible is such an allowance made because we are all born sinful! We are born twisted a hundred different ways. In light of this and the fact that God knows us better than we do (and therefore what’s right for us better than we do), the implication made by pro-gay Christians that listening to your body is somehow a good compass for personal and moral conduct is complete anti-Biblical nonsense. We are to surrender ourselves — every part of ourselves — to God. And I’ve never read more powerful testimonies of the meaning of taking up your own cross than from these aforementioned people who decided to give up their sexuality to God.

          From your posts, R. Jay, I understand that you don’t seem to have much use for the Bible. But how can you be certain how God wants us to live apart from his revealed word in scripture? It is a tough book which says radical and even offensive things, but I believe it is worth wrestling with, not throwing out. If you’ve ever read something in the Bible which offends you, welcome to being a Christian. But you’re not one without it.

          • Mary

            “We are born twisted a hundred different ways.”… Thanks Des, that remark is well worth remembering, as is “If you’ve ever read something in the Bible which offends you, welcome to being a Christian. But you’re not one without it.”. Strong words of truth, thank you.

        • Nate Sauve

          R Jay,

          Isn’t the Gospel the fact that we all struggle with deeply ingrained sin, and need God’s grace to deal with it. I know that I have (and still do) struggled with self and other destructive sins, and been forgiven and become much more selfless and loving and forgiving.

          • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

            No. That actually isn’t the gospel.

        • des

          R. Jay, not all same-sex-attracted Christians would agree with you. There exist such people who claim to have found healing in this area of their lives, or are still on their path to getting there. “Washed and Waiting” by Wesley Hill is a good account of how he is dealing with the latter. There is a fairly recent article on Prodigal Magazine’s website called “On Homosexuality: It’s Ok to Fight” which is an example of the former (sorry, can’t figure out how to link it).

          When the Bible mentions homosexuality, it is lumped together with every other sexual sin. Soon after, it talks about healing from the aforementioned sins. Treating it as this totally separate, freaky entity that Christians don’t seem to know how to deal with, I think, is how we fell into trouble, and how many people such as yourself have been hurt by the church. The Bible is clear that it’s not different from the other sins. And that must mean the dynamics of grace are the same for everyone.

          I don’t know how the “I didn’t ask to feel this way, so God must want me to be this way” argument became so widely accepted. Nowhere in the Bible is such an allowance made because we are all born sinful! We are born twisted a hundred different ways. In light of this and the fact that God knows us better than we do (and therefore what’s right for us better than we do), the implication made by pro-gay Christians that listening to your body is somehow a good compass for personal and moral conduct is complete anti-Biblical nonsense. We are to surrender ourselves — every part of ourselves — to God. And I’ve never read more powerful testimonies of the meaning of taking up your own cross than from these aforementioned people who decided to give up their sexuality to God.

          From your posts, R. Jay, it seems like you don’t seem to have much use for the Bible. But how can you be certain how God wants us to live apart from his revealed word in scripture? It is a tough book which says radical and even offensive things, but I believe it is worth wrestling with (and with God), not throwing out. If you’ve ever read something in the Bible which offends you, welcome to being a Christian. But you’re not one without it.

      • Frank

        Well said Des! Sadly some have simply succumbed to their sinful desires.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Robert wrote …. Just admit that you think what the Bible says about homosexuality is outmoded and wrong, at least that would be intellectually honest. ….

      That’s an easy one: what is written in the Bible about homosexual intimacy is outmoded, and is wrong. I would say the same thing about the Bible’s treatment of women.

      I am a Christian. The Bible, while I treasure it, is not my authority. The Love of God is my authority. And the Bible is not necessary to experience or know that Love.

      • Robert

        Thank you for being honest about your views of the Bible, Jay. That is refreshing. So many people try to twist what it says about sexuality and make those verses they don’t like about homosexuality into something that they’re not.

        But I would argue that you need to be honest about one more thing—that you don’t really treasure the Bible. If the Love of God is your authority, then Christ must be your authority because He is the ultimate expression of God’s love. And Christ gives us His words in the Bible. He says that those who lust, have already broken God’s law, and by definition, homosexuality is lust. That’s what ancient Jews said about it. That’s what Jesus said about it, faithful as he was to the Old Testament. You are in impenitent sin, and the judgment of God is on your head. You can escape it by repenting and trusting in Christ. But that means you will have to give up indulging your homosexual desires.

        I know that will be hard for you. I can’t imagine the torture your soul must have gone through over this issue. But that doesn’t change what Jesus—the love of God incarnate—says about you. An unrepentant thief is, by definition, not a Christian. An unrepentant adulterer is, by definition, not a Christian. An unrepentant liar is, by definition, not a Christian. An unrepentant person who engages in homosexual acts is, by definition, not a Christian.

        I’ll probably never meet you, but you have a choice to make. You can either repent and turn from your sin, or you can stop calling yourself a Christian and just be honest about that as well. As it stands now, you don’t love God or His Son. You love an idol. My words sound harsh. They are but that’s because I don’t want you to be deceived. Unless you submit to the Lordship of Christ over all areas of your life, which Lordship is defined by His words because that’s where he shows us His love and grace, the wrath of God remains upon you.

        • noahsdad

          You’re saying homosexuality equates to lust. Not at all true. There is same-sex and opposite-sex lust, and same-sex and opposite-sex agape, philia, and eros. For those who have eyes to see, the lives of devoted, long-term gay couples bear powerful witness to God’s love.

    • pagansister

      How many horrible things have been backed up by the Bible? Let’s see: slavery, men dominating their wives, wives having no choice but to have children because birth control is ‘bad’, killing those that aren’t “believers”, aka wars with non-Christians, sex outside of marriage being “sinful”, beating your child because they don’t obey, etc. Skip the bible and have common sense—–”do as ye will, as long as it harms none”.

    • http://www.dritta.wordpress.com Melissa P.

      Nope. This is a classic “straw man” argument. The REAL argument is this:

      1) I used to believe that homosexuality was wrong.
      2) I met people who challenged that belief (and yes, they were probably nice people)
      3) I reexamined the Bible, and found that I had misinterpreted key sections.
      4) I changed my belief because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit that my previous interpretations had been wrong (and hurtful, and discriminatory)

      As a past and present, Bible loving, Bible honoring, Bible believing Christian, I can attest that this is the process we are talking about. I didn’t “throw out the Bible.” I didn’t just get all mushy inside, ignore logic and reason, and decide that I like butterflies better than truth.

      I, a fellow Christian, looked at the Bible that we all share, and, with the full involvement of both the Holy Spirit and my own God-given logic, decided that your interpretation of the Bible is wrong, and that homosexuality is alright.

      If we’re going to have any constructive discussion, I need you to remember three things:
      1) I am a Christian
      2) I am rational
      3) I value, honor, and believe the Bible.

      Now. Let’s start the conversation again, shall we?

    • Frank

      1) False.
      2) Incompatible with believing the Bible.
      3) You have no decency because you argue for abandoning children who haven’t sinned just because they’re gay. I find it hard to imagine honor without decency.

  • Eric

    It’s easy to know what the Bible says, but not so easy to know what it means. It obviously doesn’t mean exactly the same thing to everyone who reads it. What baffles me is how some people can be so absolutely sure that they know the mind of God. All those folks remind me of Pat Robertson, who I think is about as nutty as a fruitcake. I was raised in a very conservative, “Christian” church in a small southern town, where I spent many hours. I know what is written in the Bible and I also know that it was written by men who wanted to convey their thought and ideas on issues of the day. Additionally, a man, not God, decided which books would be included in the Bible we know today. How that qualifies the Bible as the absolute and final word of God is beyond me. Determining right from wrong is relatively easy with or without the Bible. Consider, “how do my words and actions affect others?”. The answer to that question is pretty much all you need to know.

    • Robert

      But why should we care how our words and actions affect others? Seems that you are awfully certain about that. If we can’t be certain about the mind of God, how do we know He wants us to treat others kindly. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Pingback: Christianity without the Bible Is Boring

  • http://www.villagersonline.com Eric

    I, like many pastors, have struggled with how to care for people in a world with ever-changing sexual identities. I appreciate Brian’s postion and journey, but I must say that my experience has been much different than his. I have been shocked at the number young men and women who have walked away from their gay identity at my church and other communitiies I am involved with. The stories of how mean and unkind the gay community has been to them is heartbreaking. Sexuality and gender is a complicated subject. The hyper-sexuality of our world and the high levels of sexual abuse blows my mind. I am concerned about how ready we all are claim our sexual identity. On a theological side note. I’m tired of the conversation over sexuality that claims there is only 6 or 7 passages in the bible that speak against homosexuality. I have always respected Brian and honored him in conversation because he doesn’t stoop to such silly statements when talking about the bible. Come on now . . .

    • Natalie

      I’m so sorry that the lgbt folks in your congregation have suffered over their religion in the queer community, Eric. As a queer-identified woman with many religious queer friends (Christian and otherwise), I know firsthand how intolerant many people in our community can be. Have you ever considered introducing them to each other? I’ve found that often people are more comfortable with those who share both their internal struggles and beliefs. Also, could you possibly point out more than 6 or 7 biblical passages about homosexuality? Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with the Bible (I was raised as a jew by my Jewish mother and Catholic father, and later came to terms with my religious skepticism as a Jewish Humanist), but I’ve seen many more passages that discuss heterosexual relationships than homosexual ones and I would really love to learn more about your biblical interpretation.

    • Frank

      If you psychologically torture someone enough, he’ll say the sky is green. If you reinforce this behavior, he’ll eventually believe it.

    • Frank

      I am gay; that was an accident of birth. I chose to be abstinent because my Christian faith demanded it. While gays have never criticized me for not having sex, Christians always assume that I am and persecute me for it.

      You, “Pastor” are helping no one.

  • Niki

    “By their fruits you shall know them”…I decided that anything/view/doctrine that makes me treat someone else in a less than human way isn’t worth following, because I want to become better as a person not harsher. When I came out my church made me homeless, my Christian counsellor broke confidentiality and organised secret church meetings about me, and my church family/friends were told to blank me in the street. It’s all the opposite of loving, and can’t be done in Jesus name, can it? The people who did these things acted cruelly, judgementally and coldly. We become what we practice most often. Everyone has to make choices about the type of people they want to be. I wasn’t prepared to be like that. I also wasn’t prepared to be a second class citizen whilst the church worked this one out as I have a life to live, a family to raise, and so I walked away. That was what I chose, I respect those who choose to stay too.

    I now believe that there are so many thing that are not right or wrong of themselves, but morally neutral- it’s what you do with it that counts. ‘When we are a child we think as a child’, as we grow up we start to see the shades of grey and can bear to engage with debate and uncertainty. Sex and sexuality are just one part of our humanity, it feels like the church is blowing this out of proportion. I’m not an animal with uncontrollable base instincts, I’m a whole being, perfectly and imperfectly made, and I’m a woman in love! That’s a beautiful, miraculous and sacred thing, and we don’t have the right to label as unholy something that God has declared as holy.

    • Frank

      God never declares homosexual behavior or any sexual immorality holy. Just the opposite.

      • noahsdad

        Do not call unclean what God has called holy. Peter & Cornelius.

        • Frank

          Where does God call homosexual behavior holy?

          Stop looking foolish!

          • Frank

            Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.
            Jesus Christ

            Christians persecute gays not only for sex but because they love one another. They deny them the right to take responsibility for one another. This is evil

      • Frank

        St. Paul in his letter to the Romans says that homosexual orientation is a sign that one is abandoned (damned) by God. Since, I first became aware of an exclusive same-sex attraction at 12 or 13, I don’t think I as a typical 13 year old Christian had abandoned God. Rather, the same St. Paul who murdered Christians, endorsed slavery, and made women as subservient to men as Christians are to God is DAMNED.

  • Ted Seeber

    The problem is, for those people with Woodstockhome Syndrome, Chastity is a greater sin than homosexuality.

    There is nothing wrong with a CHASTE homosexual. There is nothing wrong with a CHASTE teenager. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sex.

    But you won’t get that message from the Woodstockhome Syndrome generation- for whom sex is the only sacrament.

    • Robert

      That is exactly right, Ted. The culture tells us that life is not worth living unless you are having sex. The church has imbibed that.

    • Frank

      If there is nothing wrong with a chaste homosexual, why do Christians demand the right to discriminate against us in employment, housing, military service, etc? Why do they demand the right to bully us as children and adolescents? Why do they accuse us of having some depraved “lifestyle” merely because of our sexual orientation? Why do they render their own faith a lie?

    • Frank

      Christians persecute chaste gays. They deny them equal treatment under the law because of what they are. Christians render the promise of their own religion a lie,,

  • noahsdad

    Jesus did ask the disciples to remember the eunuchs–the sexual outcasts of their day–while adding that “some are that way from birth.” While there is disagreement about what exactly that may mean, it’s abundantly clear that God’s love extends to all. Note also the NT passage about the Ethiopian eunuch. Considered unclean, fit only to sit with the women in temple, that eunuch encountered God’s love in Philip, who saw no reason why he could not be baptized. And remarkably, prophetically, in a culture focused on procreation, Isaiah had proclaimed that eunuchs could love God and receive God’s blessings.

  • http://www.harvestpa.org mike greiner

    okay, brian thinks it wrong to tell gays to go and sin no more? what happens when people with sexaul attraction to children come and say they can’t change their orientation? Will he say they must go and sin no more? Brian is a sell out to the world and a coward. When one is attracted to someone of the same sex (or a child, etc) something has gone wrong with his sexual attractions. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a result of our fallen nature. Therefore, go and sin no more is the instruction to be given. Resistiing tempting sins is the whole point of fighting sinful behavior. Of course, that it took the Asian pastor this long to realize that Brian is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he is slow on the uptake.

    • Frank

      Mike, by your logic, all heterosexual males are potential rapists, because gays must be judged as fallen because of what they might do.

  • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

    I’ve noticed one unsurprisingly constant thing in a number of comments here by those who quote the Bible in objection to homosexuality: they reduce us gay human beings to mere animals who are slaves to sexual impulse, captive to lust. One commenter (Robert) even put us on the same order as willful thieves, where another (Frank, no surprise there) says we’ve given in to sexual immorality and sinful desires.

    We are labeled as perverts, when gay people like me and all the other gay people I know are, in fact, not perverts by any stretch of the imagination. And when Christians label us, they instantly diminish us. And by diminishing us they place us lower than themselves, and themselves higher than us.

    It’s a kind of modern stoning.

    This is judgment. And it is exactly the kind of judgment Jesus is said to have spoken vehemently against.

    Speaking for myself, I have no problem having an honest and open discussion about the topic of homosexuality. But when I — personally, as a human being — am sexually objectified, it is no longer a conversation. It is a cause for righteous indignation on the part of us gay people — human beings beloved of God — who will no longer allow certain other Christians to crucify us in the name of the very Jesus who is said to have already been crucified for us.

  • jerry lynch

    McLauran mentions “the six or seven verses” that refer to homsexuality; In my study Bible and Strong’s concordance, only five are listed under the subject. Just out of curiosity, why is he unsure and what are the other verses?

    I get this: “I was able to distinguish “what the Bible says” from “what this school of interpretation says the Bible says,” and that helped me in many ways. Is he saying that those verses, no matter what the number, do not condemn or maybe even refer to homosexuality?
    I suppose I should ask him, yet I wondered why this was absent from the blog.

  • nate shoemaker

    this is simply yet another post and subsequent comment thread of people who are so conservative that they throw out all people who have sinned (in this case specifically homosexuals) or who are so liberal that they’re ignoring or reinterpreting scriptures that are clear on matters of what is sin (in this case homosexuality, sexual purity, in what we form identity) to convince themselves that what they thought was sin, now isn’t.

    the sad thing is, remaining objective would most certainly point us to a place in the middle of these positions. but remaining objective is difficult because it makes it FEEL like we’re cutting out our own stories or situations of people close to us. (much like, i believe, closeness has clouded the issue for Brian.) and any attempts at viewing these things objectively, moving us to vulnerability with our own stories and those close to us, is typically met with both liberal and conservative idiots and jerks, harming the vulnerable and forcing everyone to retreat back to their respective, subjective sides.

    i read LOTS of these blogs (largely on the same subject) just hoping and waiting to jump into an honest, objective, vulnerable dialog where we might be able to end up showing love to one another, landing on a clear and strong Biblical definition of what is obviously sin, and leading one another to support in appropriate ways. but what see currently is none of this.

    what we see currently is a weakening of community, love, support, influence, and Biblical Truth all at once. what we see currently is everyone loses. ironically, i normally would say that compromise is the only sure way to assure everyone loses, but in this case apparently the complete absence of compromise has led us there.

  • http://johnwmorehead.blogspot.com John W. Morehead

    In light of the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in American culture, and the continued concerns of younger demographics inside and outside the church, this will continue to be a pressing issue for evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism. Regardless of one’s views on this topic three things seem worthy of consideration. First, whether the church engages those in the homosexual community with the love toward neighbor and the outcast that Christ did in his life and ministry. Second, rethinking the assumption that some have articulated in comments on this post suggesting that a particular view of homosexuality is part of the definition of “orthodox Christianity.” Third, a fresh hermeneutic that approaches scripture and is open to reassessment of the Old Testament and New Testament teachings that challenges our received tradition and assumptions in this area. After all, evangelicals claim sola scriptura, not that our traditions and doctrines are necessarily infallible.

  • Sherry

    God’s Blood Covenant Made between Man & Woman:
    First & oldest blood convenit was made between First Man & Woman was with Adam & creation of Eve..

    Next blood covenant made through the circumcise of the boy baby and then the next was made with the hymen of the woman on her honeymoon with her Husband..

  • Jason

    We know from Romans that condoning sin is sin. Everyone sins, but what differentials the Christian from the non-Christian is that the Christian never condones sin and after they are saved (born again) they no longer identify with sin, their identity is with Jesus. From that time on they hate sin they don’t excuse it and certainly don’t embrace it. Marriage is a metaphor for the Gospel. So Brian cannot have a proper understanding of the Gospel, and condones sin, thus is not a Christian. He has chosen to pervert the Godly institution of marriage. He should be calling his son to repent and trust in Jesus. Preach the Gospel. That is what is supposed to be the mission for all Christians, not to mention someone claiming to be a pastor. When parishioners that are swingers come out of the adulterous closet will you change your view on that sin as well? When friends that are living together outside of marriage tell you their pain will you change your view on fornication as well? Since when do feelings trump the Law? God’s law is supposed to convict us not coddle us. How sad that the greatest message you can communicate to your son will have to come from someone else who is obedient to the Great Commission.

    Answer this one question Brian: What do you say to the thousands upon thousands of ex-homosexuals that have repented and put their trust in Jesus and are now saved? There is a heartbreaking story for each one of them, and how they were delivered and are now obedient to the Gospel. They were born again, and no longer have an identity with sin. What do you say to all these Christian men and women ex-homosexuals? We know from the words of Jesus that few will find salvation, and He was not speaking just to non-homosexuals. The vast majority of people will end up in hell, according to Jesus. The homosexual community is not excluded from those numbers. So we should expect that the vast majority of homosexuals will not be saved, just like the rest of the population. Who are those few in this case? Those who have repented and put their trust in Jesus, and are new creations (ex-homosexuals).

    We should be treating homosexuals with love and respect. But that does NOT exempt them from displaying the same love and respect for those who love and honour the God defined and time honoured institution of marriage. If you want a legal union, then create one, and call it something else. You don’t have to pervert the name of marriage to get a legal union. If you want respect you need to show it as well. Respect and compassion are two way streets. If you want it then start demonstrating it. Show respect for marriage, and you will find that people will respect you in return for your non-marriage union.

    You cannot trample on what is important to God, to His people, whilst demonstrating hatred towards them and their heritage, and then pretend that they are the ones that have hatred in their hearts. It is clear who is doing the hating.

    You don’t need to injure others and call them names to get a new type of union. A husband is by definition someone that is completed by his wife. A bride is by definition someone who is completed by the bridegroom. There is no groom, no bride, no husband, and no wife, and no marriage in a homosexual union. If you want a homosexual union, then do it without perverting and destroying these words which have God honouring meanings. A homosexual union can never produce children. That union can never be called a marriage, as marriages must be consummated. That consummation is a form of worship. To pretend that sin can be performed as worship is the worst form of heresy.

    If you want a man to be able to have a legal union with another man, then pick a name for that union. Pick a name for man1 and man2 because neither can be a groom nor a husband. It is totally different so call it something totally different. If you want a woman to be able to have a legal union with another woman, then pick a name for woman1 and woman2. Neither can be a bride or a wife. Just make up a name. You don’t have to soil established names to get what you are after. Think about others. Define man3 and woman3 if you want … since you are ignoring God and creating your own rules anyway.

    Start respecting others, and find your own terms. There is intolerance and hate demonstrated towards those who love God and respect the institution of marriage.

    Placing the word “homosexual” in front of the word “marriage” is like putting the word “obese” in front of the word “anorexic”. It is a total oxymoron and will never have an intelligent meaning.

    Please show respect for everyone equally. Stop hating God, and hating His followers. If you want respect for your union, show respect for God and His union called marriage.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      BRAVO, Jason! BRAVO!

  • Steve

    Brian, would I be arrogant if I said that I had studied the Scriptures and found the truth and that everyone else had missed it? Is that not what you’re saying? “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

  • http://www.facebook.com/deana.armstrong1 Deana Armstrong

    I do have have a question to all haters posting here: Are any of you divorced? Are any of you guilty of paying an unfair wage? Of speaking ill of a parent or elder? Of not helping the hungry, the widow or the orphan, of opposing safe and reasonable protections for the immigrants living among us?
    Then maybe you ought to do a quick search of your Bible. There are six passages that apply to some forms of same-sex activity–usually by dominant (heterosexual) males who were out for shaming another and the power trip it got them–rather than loving committed relationships. There are close to 100 passages referring to the above, condemning them–explicitly in unambiguous language rather than in euphemisms that we can’t even adequately translate from the Greek or Hebrew.
    Hmm. Might I suggest John 8 might be a worthwhile read. Oh and by the way the one who said cast the first stone NEVER said ONE word about homosexuality. He did, however, mention divorce, unfair labor practices, mistreatment of the stranger, the widow and having proper care for your families.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Actually, Deana, those of us who know homosexuality to be unbiblical, are not the haters, as you so eloquently describe us. Those who spread the lie that Jesus is down with homosexuality are the real haters. Telling sinners they are fine the way they are leads them away from the Truth which is Jesus. That is NOT love. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but there is a difference between sin that is remorsely confessed, repented of and turned away from, and besetting sin that one chooses to habitually live in, sin that is neither confessed, repented of or turned away from.

      Jesus most certainly did clearly address the issue of homosexuality when he said, in Matthew 19:4-5 “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” He couldn’t have been more clear about what marriage is and what it isn’t.

      Remember, Deana, Jesus told the woman in John 8 who was caught in adultery to, “leave your life of sin.”

      Perhaps you would benefit from reading John 8 in its entirety, and applying it to your life?

      31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed….38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father…. 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/Freedtoserve David Mckellip

    It is interesting to me how many see their actions produce their salvation. or lack of actions produce condemnation ..As if we are in charge of our and others action…..I will always be a sinner…. saved by God’s Grace….I have never been in control of all my actions….. No matter how hard i try…….. My Bible says i am not to judge others…. but to seek to judge my own actions. The older I become, the less i am sure of …. other than this. My God’s grace is sufficient ….I trust that statement with all of my heart…..His grace is sufficient……..His grace IS sufficient…. Romans 8 Who can save me ? God through his Son……Amen…..
    Note His Grace is sufficient for you too……Greek ,Jew, Male, Female..Rest in this grace…..and trust Jesus…..

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Jesus tells us in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

      It is impossible for us not to judge. Every day we make many judgments. It would be dangerous, unsafe and unwise for us not to judge. How do you not grasp this?

      Jesus says, in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” However, He goes on to say – 2″For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye

      A bit later Jesus says, 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

      Once again, Jesus warns us of the necessity to judge wisely.

  • brucegarner

    Brian is a breath of fresh air! It takes a journey with the heart to understand that gay folks are not the demons so many, including some who have posted here, want us to be. I do not claim any exclusive interpretation of Scripture. But I do claim a habit of two things when I read it: Keeping Scripture in the context of the culture in which it was written. And keeping the “parts” of Scripture in the context of the larger narrative in which they fall. The culture of thousands of years ago is radically different from ours. We cannot presume that what mean something then means the same thing now. Sound bytes of Scripture do not convey the full meaning of Scripture. Few passages actually stand alone without connection to a larger story line or thread of which they are a part.

    What seems pretty clear to me from the teachings of Jesus, the one we follow, is that a “right” relationship was what Jesus held up as a model. A right relationship is not coercive, exploitive, or abusive. It is mutual, loving, committed and life affirming. If we are honest about the Gospel narratives, the relationships Jesus always condemned were those involving coertion, exploitation or abuse between the parties involved.

    Paul is not the source of my salvation. He didn’t die on a cross for my sake, nor was he resurrected. He was a man speaking to individual congregations about issues and problems that were unique to them…..mostly because they were small, minority faith communities in a large pagan culture. They were trying to survive and grow. They were also trying to get away from pagan practices that they had previously practiced. There was some need of separation if they were to be successful.

    If you read Paul closely, you will also note that he condemns the same types of relationships that Jesus did. With Paul you will find a list or string of items all of which invovle some aspect of abuse, coercion or exploitation. These types of relationships were not acceptable. What often slips through the cracks is that Paul actually did not condemn a loving, committed relationship between two people. Instead he condemned a relationship that was abusive or exploitive or coercive on the part of one or both parties.

    We often forget that the Scriptures of the New Testament were written in an atmosphere of the imminent return of Jesus. When you think you are about to be transported to the throne of Grace any minute now, it is very easy to give up all attachment to an earthly life. What you will forgo for a few months or years may not be something you would forgo for fifty more years of life. Jesus teaches us to live for now and to live until we die. We are part of the world and we have responsibilities to each other. The afterlilfe will have its own issues for us to face.

    What is the bottom line? It was summarized by Jesus in the first and great commandment to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and followed up with a commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. There were no exceptions to the latter provided. I see the model for most of this relationship coming from near the end of the 25th Chapter of Matthew where we get instructions about how our ministry to the marginalized relates directly to Jesus. What we do or fail to do for others, we do or fail to do for Him. I do not see this in competition with the Great Commission. You can baptize all the folks you want, but if you don’t make sure they will not starve to death or die of disease or exposure, what good is that? The Gospel is not likely to be heard over the sound of hungry bellies.

    None of our relationship with God is as easy as some want it to be. Thank you Brian for making it clear that our spiritual growth might just mean changing how we think about some things.

    Bruce
    Garner

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