Evangelical Pastor Turns Pro-Gay

Ken Wilson, pastor of Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has just published a book entitled, A Letter to My Congregation, in which he explains his change of mind and heart on the issue of homosexuality. He may be the first active pastor of a large evangelical congregation to make such a switch. David Crumm at Read the Spirit has an interview with him:

DAVID: Since David P. Gushee is also putting his name on the line with this book, the two of you were invited to speak at the California LGBT film festival, called Level Ground, last week. The festival was covered in the Los Angeles Times and other news media. Do you feel the eyes of the world are upon you?

Pastor Ken Wilson

KEN: No, I don’t feel that way and I don’t want to focus on the psychological pressure. My first responsibility is to lead my church through this transition successfully. Yes, I know there is a lot at stake here. There are many evangelical pastors out there whose hearts are inclined to go in this direction, but they can’t even begin to talk about this. I think once we can demonstrate that, yes, it can be done—then I think there are going to be many evangelical congregations that will follow. Before long, there is going to be a strong and growing expression of evangelicalism in America that is making space for gay people.

DAVID: How do they start? I can imagine a lot of readers of this interview—and readers of your book—wanting to know: How did Ken do it? How can I start this process?

KEN: The first thing is to convince pastors that they should give themselves permission to start asking the questions. There are so many pastors and other church leaders who want to do that, but they are inhibited from even starting the process. They see this as a “loser” issue for them. They don’t see any way to build a coalition around this—no way to build a consensus in their congregation. So, they don’t even start lifting up the questions that their hearts want to ask.

DAVID: You found the courage. Now, you have opened up the conversation in your church to a point at which you realize how deeply many families care about this issue. But we’re talking here about the very first, private steps—the first moral questioning. Give us a little sense of how that began for you.

KEN: Well, for me, I asked myself: Why am I willing to make so much space in the church for people who are remarried after divorce—despite the Bible’s very strict teaching against that—and I’m not willing to make space for gay and lesbian people? And I kept asking myself: Why does this particular moral stance of the church about LGBT people cause so much harm?

Read the rest of the interview here.

  • Mike Stavlund

    Wow, this is big news. In the longer interview, I especially appreciated his description of the church as ‘an anxious system’. Seems very true to me. Also, Phyllis Tickle, FTW!

    • Guest

      I recently left this church, which I once loved over this issue after 19 years and am heartbroken over what I see as a situation where the culture is shaping the gospel rather than the other way around. And the reasoning that just because evangelicals have been lax in applying biblical principles to marriage and divorce then it follows that we can be lax in other biblical applications makes no sense to me.

      • https://www.facebook.com/etseq97 etseq

        You’ve posted this twice – keep on trolling “Guest”

  • JoeyS

    Ken is a good man. He has been leading this shift for quite a few years, patiently. One of my best friends is on staff with him and it has been fun to watch them ask questions and take risks.

    Ken has also passionately learned about issues like global warming and evolution in order to better understand how fighting over these issues negatively affect missional living.

    • Mark Petersen

      He’s not speaking the truth about any of this. How can he claim to love? Tough love is still love. Go out into all the world and preach the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are to love and help sinners, not give them a pass on their sin. We attended the church for a time and what was coming out of the pulpit was not the truth.

  • http://bobcornwall.com/ Robert Cornwall

    I have the book and look forward to reading it and reporting on it!

  • http://www.geekedoutsoul.com/ John Stonecypher

    So exciting! There were many layers to my journey toward affirming gay people, but the biblical layer tipped in exactly the same way as Ken describes. Divorce and remarriage is 100% normal in our churches, and nobody even bothers with trying to see if it fit the “biblical criteria” of a justifiable divorce. Accepting gay-ness is a MUCH smaller Bible leap.

    • Joao

      Untrue, and just because so many churches are ignoring biblical precepts on divorce does not make ignoring other precepts right. With this logic, I can also say that just because a church blesses homosexual activity as biblical, why not adultery? Monogamy is simply not a natural inclination to more folks than homosexuality. What needs to be done is understand everyone has issues with sin, show Jesus’ love and acceptance to all folks but continue to lovingly but consistently point to the truth, whether the issue is homosexuality, alcoholism, greed, etc.

      • http://www.geekedoutsoul.com/ John Stonecypher

        How about consistently pointing to the true biblical precept of slaves respecting the property rights of their owners?

        • Joao

          Another educated theologian.

        • RSK

          Actually, employee/employer relationship is more typical of any “slavery” that might be espoused in the Bible (as a whole), other than that mentioned in a strict historical sense.

      • me

        That is very true. Thank you for pointing out the huge leaps in logic.

        • Joao

          No problem.

  • Joao

    I recently left this church, which I once loved over this issue after 19 years of membership and am heartbroken over what I see as a situation where the culture is shaping the gospel rather than the other way around. And the reasoning mentioned in the article that just because evangelicals have been lax in applying biblical principles to marriage and divorce then it follows that we can be lax in other biblical applications makes no sense to me.
    I like Ken and have learned much from him, but this decision of his has been extremely hurtful, not only to me but to many friends of mine who have also left.

    • Andrew Dowling

      “where the culture is shaping the gospel rather than the other way around”

      Because the Gospel is all about ostracizing people who are born a certain way . . .

      • Joao

        Ostracizing? Don’t know where you got that idea.

        • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

          If you want to actually know where we get that idea, let’s look at a history of your church:

          We can start by stepping back to 2012. Not too long ago, is it? Remember how Pastor Sean Harris told his congregation that if their children acted too gay, he would give them ‘special dispensation’ to ‘crack their wrists’ and punch them in order to man them up? Ah, child abuse, the Christian response to the gay agenda. Remember how Pastor Charles Worley gave a sermon in which he advocated rounding up homosexuals, putting them in concentration camps and dropping food in occasionally? Remember how the evangelical Christian government of Uganda passed a bill in which ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (two or more offenses) was punishable by death? American Pastor Scott Lively was partially responsible for that bill, as he worked closely with Ugandan lawmakers concerning how to handle the homosexual menace in Uganda. The US Congress passed a resolution to denounce the bill, which was blocked by lobbying by the Christian group the Family Research Counsel, headed by Tony Perkins. They objected on the grounds that it portrayed homosexuality as a human right and that denouncing the murder of innocent gay people would make people think that ‘gay is okay.’ Yes, 2012 was a good year for Christian love towards the LGBT community.

          I’ll brush over the immense work the Christian Church has done to deny gays the right to a civil marriage to the consenting adult of their choice. I will address
          how the Christian church has lobbied in the political arena to deny gays the right to serve their nation with dignity and honour. To work for employers without fear of being fired for their sexual orientation (which is still legal in about 30 states.) Even their private sexual lives were politically demonised by conservative Christians until
          Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, despite the overwhelming Christian effort to legislate their own brand of morality in the political forums.

          Now lets step back to the 80′s, during the AIDS crises. It was a terrible time to be gay in America. HIV was a new, unknown disease that ravaged individuals and destroyed thousands of lives. And what was the Christian response? Christian hospitals refused to treat those with
          AIDS. The funerals of AIDS victims were picketed by Christian organisations (ever wonder where the Wesboro Baptist Church got their tactics from?). Hospitals and hospices that did treat AIDS victims were picketed as well. Federal aid to AIDS research and support was blocked by Christian organisations and politicians. Pastor Jerry Falwell told his flock that AIDS was God’s punishment on a nation that tolerated homosexuality. Hundreds of pastors followed suit. Because, in the end, what’s a few more dead gays?

          Do you understand what I am saying? Or do I need to continue? Should Itake you through a tour of the internet, where the LGBT community is frequently called the vilest of names? How many times have you heard a Christian call gay men and women f-gs? How many times have you heard them referred to as abominations? How many times has someone mention in your hearing that the Bible issued the death penalty for gays and it’s ashame we don’t follow it so closely anymore?

          You, the Christians of America, have labeled gays as less than human.F-gs. Abominations. Deviants. Your organisations, like the FRC and the AFA frequently refer to gays as potential pedophiles. You mock and slander them. You harass and despise them. You throw them out of your homes. Why do you think 40% of homeless youth are LGBT? You fight to deny them the opportunity to live life as they choose, demanding that they live life as you choose. You have beaten them on the streets in the name of your God. You have tortured them in camps designed to cure them, often with documented cases of electroshock therapy and ammonia aversion.

          And you have killed them. The names are branded into any conversation about the Christian church’s relationship with the LGBT community. Charlie Howard. Rebecca Wight. Matthew Shepard. Marc Carson. And so manymore. Men and women, killed by church-going, Christ-confessing Christians.

          And after all of this, after decades of mockery and harassment and persecution and torture and murder, you dare, you DARE to tell gay people that ‘only we can cure you. Only we can save you. It is only through us that you can come to live a truly happy and content life. The
          religion that we have used to build a foundation of your misery is the only thing that can lead you away from your unhappiness. We are the reason you are so lost and alone and despairing, and now we can give you the love and acceptance you so crave. And if you don’t like the cure, we will make your life hell.’

          That is why your ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ creed is treated with such disdain. That is why thereis so much vehemence and anger and bitterness from LGBT people towards the Christian Church. It’s because Christians have earned it, and earned it again tenfold. Go pray in your church and leave the LGBT community alone. Your kind has done enough.

          • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

            Thank you.
            Love,
            A Regularly Failing Christian

          • Tuck

            Irish Atheist,
            You know, you are so very right about the way christians have treated gays. I often wonder how I am still a christian. We have done so much damage. I think God feels very different about homosexuals than many christians (as you have described) do. We are to love and not judge (as Jesus taught us). How do we screw that up so epically?

            • RSK

              You need to learn a little about judging and caring discrimination (Jesus example) vs judgmental condemnation (Jesus discouraged).

          • RSK

            Its still a terrible time to ACT gay, believing the lies that you tell yourself, let alone the ones others are condescending upon you. Credit the Christian church (the real one, not the fakes that condemn), for telling the truth, using tough love when necessary (like good parents do) in order to help the rebellious, immature among us grow up into all that they are created to be, not what the lazy fool them into.

            • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

              Christians are not the parent. Christ is the parent. Other people are your siblings. Again: Christ is parent. Our job: Love. Christ’s job: All the other stuff. We don’t get to judge the rebellious — we get to be their brothers and sisters.

          • RSK

            Your post is one of the most judgmental, bigoted post against religious expression that I have seen in quite a while. Your supposed exercise in volume of skewed history is quite amazing in that you center on the .0000001% of (so called) Christians, and ignore the BILLIONS of Christians who have effected positive outcomes across THOUSANDS of years and MILLIONS affected POSITIVELY on a daily/weekly basis even as we write. Even the MULTIPLIED millions of non-believers that benefit from Christian influence, including you and your “American” friends, relatives, and acquaintances. The fact that a miniscule number of rebellious individuals attempt to stand for emotion and a lack of common sense doesn’t give them the right to force their aborted thinking on society degrading all involved. Lets promote the ideal instead of tearing it down just to allow all to “participate”, sort of like our schools just “pass on” those who still need some level of education, again, just to mitigate emotional content, lying to them all the while.

      • Guest

        andrew, it is not about ostracizing, it is about whether we should bless and affirm behavior which the bible clearly portrays as sinful. people of every sort, and sinners of every sort, should be welcome and loved in the church. that does not mean we should sanction sinful behavior.

      • Johnny Crooks Jr.

        The Word of God strictly forbids homosexuality in any way shape or form. Yes we are to love them and pray for them, but we do not approve of the sin! If they know the TRUTH of God’s Word, and chose to do it anyway, then they will go to hell over it. NOBODY is born that way! It is a choice whether you believe it or not. I had have someone OFFEND ME and tell me the truth, than lie to me telling me it is okay.

      • Joao

        So I have to accept and endorse homosexual activity or I am automatically lumped in with bigots, haters, ostracisers, etc. Ok, I also happen to agree with the Bible that alcohol is not to be abused and alcoholics need help to stop drinking. Yup, I am certainly a bigot because I also am ostracizing alcoholics because in this culture, disagreement is ostracism.

        • Andrew Dowling

          I’m not sure how you “disagree” with what’s innate. That’s like disagreeing with the lame for not walking . . .

          • Joao

            Seemingly, or disagreeing with alcoholism, which is also innate and this actually has scientific evidence and logic backing it up.

            • Andrew Dowling

              Sorry, alcoholism is not innate like sexual orientation is, nice try. As for logic, it doesn’t make sense to you that people are born with homosexual attraction? It makes sense to me, since I don’t have hidden desires to have sex with another man. But hey, call me simple.

              • Joao

                If you did your research on both topics you would know better.

              • RSK

                There is MORE research available on alcoholism than on sexuality, you aren’t even close.

          • RSK

            Homosexuality is the LAME excuse for not BEHAVING as designed (typical rebellion), and ADHERING/BELIEVING lies of our promiscuous culture of sex over common sense.

        • Lamont Cranston

          Nice you can admit you are a bigot. Fortunately, you no longer get to use the government to enforce your weirdo religious beliefs on normal people.

      • floydlee

        “Ostracizing”? How is it “ostracizing”, merely to agree with the Bible (specifically, 1 Cor. 6:9-11) that homosexual behavior (including gay marriage) is a sin, and that Jesus can change things?

        I’ve never ostracized anybody, but I agree with the Bible, even if it doesn’t agree with this or that lifestyle. So please explain your claim, and please **rationally support** your explanation.

        “Born a certain way”? Where is the proof from Scripture and Science that any homosexual is “born that way”? Please show that proof.

        • jcmchan

          proof… is there proof that everyone is born heterosexual?

          but beside that, if we actually cared about the ‘science’, then we would know that at the genetic level, people don’t only come in XY(male) and XX(female). at the genetic level, we have people with XXY or XYY as well…aberrations of the genetic material which we might attribute to the fall and sin entering the world, but whatever… the fact is, it exists…

          then at the epigenetic level (which, if we cared about actually learning the science we would know about and probably shut up about people not being born a certain way) the correlations between certain epigenetic markers and people who identify as LGBTQ are ‘disturbingly’ significant, disturbing at least to any conservative Christian who might be open minded enough to study and research the science that ‘proves’ people are ‘born that way’.

          but then let’s just talk about the fact that there is a significant portion of the population at large that fit into what can be called the ‘intersex disorders’ (of course calling it a disorder is also judgmental as if there is something innately wrong with them or that it must be on their bodies that the mark of the fall of humanity must manifest itself…cos God is just that cruel right?).

          even when people are born with XX or XY chromosomes, their bodies develop in different ways in the womb… the most extreme would be the people who are born XY but they develop in every way down to the external genitalia as a woman, and the people born XX that have external genitalia that looks like male genitalia, just smaller…

          the fact is that these people exist…they were born that way…

          that argument has just got to stop, because if it doesn’t, then you will forever be denying the very existence of an individual, an individual who was created in the image of God just like you, and your message of God’s love will never reach them, because you have already denied their very worth and existence.

          ‘God loves you, but you don’t really exist because the you that you have been living as for your whole life wasn’t really born that way. God loves the you that you were not born as. So really, I guess God doesn’t love you, just the other you that you don’t realize you are.’ Absurdity….

          btw, how is ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ ostracizing? because you claim in that very moment that you know that what they are dealing with is a choice. talk to any gay person and ask them whether or not it was a ‘choice’ to be gay (as in be attracted to people of the same sex), they will say no. in fact, most of them (because of the utter condemnation of people…not God), they may have prayed and prayed that they not be gay…they do not want to be gay… flip the question around and ask, when did you choose to ‘be’ straight…when did you choose that you will only be sexually aroused and attracted to people of the opposite sex?

          ‘being’ gay is not a lifestyle and not a sin… perhaps in your interpretation of the Bible (probably not taking into account historical context or literary genre, interdisciplinary studies like archaeology, anthropology, etc.) having sex with a person of the same sex is sin and is a choice…i’ll grant you that, but ‘being’ gay, as in you are always and have always only been attracted (sexually, emotionally, physically) to people of the same sex (or the opposite sex for that matter) is not a choice.

          so, if you say love the sinner, hate the sin, you are inherently ostracizing the gay person, because the gay person didn’t choose to be gay, which you think is a sin… i’ll put this in logic terms, as i feel like i’m unclear:

          Premise:
          Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

          A = love the person
          B = hate that which ‘is’ gay
          C = the person is gay
          D = you hate the person because s/he is gay.

  • Unashamed Overcomer

    So when do we start “making space” for pedophiles? ooops sorry intergenerational relationship orientations.

    • Lamont Cranston

      You must not have been paying attention. The space for most pedophiles has been in leadership positions in conservative churches.

      • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

        *snort* I know this isn’t funny, but it is occasionally accurate.

  • Karen

    You can make space for anyone in your church but sin is still sin. Yes, invite the gays in because they need to hear about Jesus and repentance. They must know that they are living in sin and that there is a hell. If they want to change and stay, that is up to them. This acceptance of their lifestyle is what the Bible calls apostasy in the last days. God has not changed since the beginning of time and what He considered sin years ago is still considered sin now. How sad for this Pastor to lead his congregation astray. Jesus is about to come and many lukewarm Christians will be left behind and wonder why they were not taken. Perhaps at that point, they will realize they were not living the way they should have. Thank God for His mercy in that people will have the opportunity to get saved during the Tribulation. The Bible says that many will come to know Jesus during this time. God is good.

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      When you say “Jesus is about to come,” do I have time to run out and buy some groceries so I’m not raptured on an empty stomach, or do you think I have another 2,000 years?

    • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

      So, what to do with remarried people? (Also known as adulterers.)

      • RSK

        Are all remarried people adulterers?

        • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

          Not that I’m aware of; it’s a talking point. Trying to get a logical answer for things is a terrible weakness of mine. I know better than to ask stuff in the comments section of people bent on misunderstanding. Present company excluded; generally, asking these things here is a stupid idea.

    • LogicAndTruth

      Excellent comment… I would add, he makes is sound like accepting people’s sin is the only way to love them and that the only reason all the pastors are not welcoming in the unrepentant is because they are afraid of their congregations… I hope his congregation gives him a letter back.

      • Lamont Cranston

        Logic and Truth? Everytime I see somebody with a nym like that I can only conclude “Wow, what a self-righteous jackass.” Thanks for reminding me to stay away from Jesus Nazis.

  • pastoredsmith

    Oh. My. God! So, this pastor has decided which passages in the Bible to enforce and which ones to tear out? I don’t care what he thinks. The Bible says otherwise! Homosexuality, like ALL other sexual activity outside the bedroom of a man married to a woman for life is forbidden sexual activity. Answer this: What does he do with the passages in the Bible that clearly condemn homosexuality? How does he think he is dealing with those?

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      I would suggest you read his book to answer your questions, and not expect Mr. Jones to employ his psychic powers to patronise your shrilling.

      • pastoredsmith

        I’d rather read the Bible. It is accurate. His book is flawed from the beginning. Defense of the truth is not “shrilling.” You atheists are the people “shrilling” because you ignore the truth.

        • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

          I’ll keep that in mind next time I open the Bible to find out how and why I can sell my daughter into sex slavery. #Truth.

          • Joao

            You are just parroting atheist talking points.

            • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

              That’s right, because any criticism of your holy book’s moral code is an atheist talking point that you don’t want to acknowledge.

              • Joao

                Read up on what parroting means. You lack understanding about what you are criticizing.

                • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

                  Incorrect. I was raised Catholic, went to a Protestant Evangelical high school, and have continued to study Christian theology all my life.

                  I fully understand the justifications for the nastier parts of your religion. They simply don’t convince me.

                  • Joao

                    Ok, I guess your mind is made up. Have a good day.

                    • pastoredsmith

                      The fool has said in his heart that there is no God. Go ahead and misrepresent, twist and misinterpret Scripture. You have no idea what you are doing. One day you will. Judgement is real and is coming for fools. Accept Christ while you can and give up your foolishness. You have been properly warned.

                    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

                      You’ve converted me. Well done.

                  • me

                    I can tell by your posts that this is not true.

                    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

                      What’s not true? That I was raised Catholic? That I went to Evangelical high school? That I’ve continuously studied the theology behind the major world religions? That I’m familiar with Christian apologetics?

                      If even the barest details about my own life are enough to summon accusations of lying from you, then there really isn’t any point to dialoging.

              • me

                Why don’t you try to actually read it and understand it. You would never pull things out of context from famous literature and then pretend you know what it’s about It would make you look really dumb. Just read it Read the commentaries. Ask for explanations about the things that don’t make sense to you or that you don’t understand. Be intellectually honest with yourself.

                • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

                  Why do you think I’m an atheist? I’ve read the Bible four times, read the commentaries, studied the different interpretations, all those things you’re insisting I obviously haven’t done.

                  “Intellectual honesty” does not equate ‘coming to the same conclusion as you.’

                  • RSK

                    Guess you miss everything that other true intellectuals have found when they actually tried to prove the Bible wrong and became believers…..

          • RSK

            Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….. your “incite” is amazingly failing.

    • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

      Pastor, what shall we do with the remarried people who the Bible says are adulterers? ALL their sexual activity is forbidden. How do you deal with that in your church?

      • pastoredsmith

        Your premise is flawed. Remarried people are not adulterers! Show me chapter and verse that says their sexual activity is forbidden. You can’t. It isn’t there.

        • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

          Well, Matthew 19.9 specifically says, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” So, I guess I was thinking of this verse when I asked.

          But Luke 16.18 says, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” So, maybe I was thinking of that one.

          • pastoredsmith

            In both cases, the word “commits” is NOT in the aorist tense. It is in the PRESENT tense. That means that the act of adultery happens only once, and is forgivable, as any sexual sin is. It does NOT mean that these two people live in adultery the remainder of their lives. That would be a complete misapplication of Scripture. Would you then, from your perspective, say that remarried couples should divorce and remain single? That is twisted and wrong.

            • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

              Thank you for clarifying the tense, as that is quite critical to understanding.

              To sum up: my premise is flawed, and my idea is “twisted and wrong.” What I did here was ask a question. I’m not being antagonistic or hateful. Is there a reason you are being so forceful and dismissive?

              • pastoredsmith

                No, there is not a reason. I didn’t intend to sound hateful or
                antagonistic. I apologize for sounding that way. Please understand
                that there are a lot of people who troll these sites looking for
                “converts” to their way of thinking. In my defense, I did see your comment below, “*snort* I know this isn’t funny, but it is occasionally accurate.” That made me think you were one of those people.

                • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

                  Respectfully, I think most humans are looking to convert people to their own understanding. You are doing that, yourself. I would hardly call it trolling.
                  ~~~~~~~~
                  It really isn’t funny. Nothing about pedophelia is funny. And Mr. Cranston’s observation isn’t accurate, which is why I added “occasionally.” My reaction is poor form even though we have, tragically, heard stories of this (repeated, hidden, denied) crime from both conservative churches and Catholic churches, as well.

                  • pastoredsmith

                    Our understanding is limited by our humanity. That is the reason that God’s Word is so important. Man, through the millenia have tried to change it, distort it and even cause its extinction. But, they have been unsuccessful. Our “understanding” is not the important thing in any discussion of the Bible, because, as I indicated, that is limited. However, the fact that the Bible is accurate and dependable in all things is vital. This is the area that most who oppose Christianity in lieu of any other type of sinful lifestyle try their hardest to disprove the Bible, and when unsuccessful at that, they attack those who purport it as absolute truth.

                    You are correct that pedophilia is correct. And, as much as I would like to say it isn’t true, it is very accurate that this sin / crime is happening inside some churches. Not just Priests in the Catholic church, but pastors in the Baptist, Methodist and all other churches in the Christian arena have those who violate God’s Word in this manner.

                    The Bible clearly teaches healing and restoration for those who renounce their sinful lifestyle and come to Christ. This is the single point that drives most Atheists, homosexuals and others in sinful lifestyles crazy. This is what they fight the hardest to force change. Some people will follow along; but God has always had a Church. There will be those who are faithful to Him until the very end.

                    Thank you for a civil discussion. It is very refreshing in a venue such as this.

                    • RSK

                      Those in rebellion are driven crazy by those speaking common sense.

            • Andrew Dowling

              Oh the irony . . .

    • J S

      And you just took the Lord’s name in vain you vile hypocrite. Maybe it’s time to have that giant plank in your eye looked at before it causes permanent blindness..

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    Another religious individual says maybe we should treat gay people like human beings. Another slew of religious commentators making sure everyone knows that gay people will burn for all eternity in hell because they’re icky.

    Another day in the world religions have built.

    • Mark Petersen

      Like atheist have anything better. Oh that’s right, you have nothing because nothing is your god

    • RSK

      Icky doesn’t get in and get dirty with tough love in order to help those who are misguided by those claiming “to know better”. Just like alcohol, drugs, obesity, etc, the church is in front and will be vindicated as always in things “that matter”.

      • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

        Wow.

  • Mark Petersen

    If we’re not speaking the truth to the sinner, we’re not loving them.

  • Thespis

    It is clear to me that the largest problem in discussions like this is lack of understanding, on both sides. Love is such an ambiguous word that many people have very different ideas about what it is and what it means. Love does not mean you must approve of a person’s lifestyle or choices. Love does not mean you do not allow a person to experience the consequences of wrong choices. However, a person’s eternal fate is not about their behavior. It is about their heart. If your heart is in the right place, you will grow into your identity in Christ, and over time your behavior will better reflect that identity. The Bible is very clear about expectations. Jesus did indeed preach love, but He also called out people who were deceived. He did it BECAUSE of His love, not because He was rejecting them. The Apostle Paul also advocated confronting people who were living in a way not in line with their identity in Christ, but he said it was to be done in a loving and patient manner. People do not change overnight, yet if they reject need for change, there were lines drawn dealing with how to handle that. I emphatically believe that homosexuals can be embraced and loved and included without approving of their lifestyle, just like my parents loved me wholeheartedly even when I was choosing to live a wild party life that was not in line with who Christ called me to be. I never doubted their love for me even when they confronted me about poor choices. Every reference the Bible makes to marriage is ALWAYS in terms of a husband and wife (man/woman context). Even if Ken’s attempt to play with root wording of “homosexuality” and make the English renditions supposedly mean immoral, temple prostitute, non-monogamous type relationships, it still does not deal with the fact that the Bible never ever gives any indication of any kind that a same sex monogamous relationship is acceptable. Ken implies the Bible forbids remarriage after divorce, but he neglects to provide context. Yes the Bible forbids remarriage after divorce, but it is talking to believers who have divorced for unbiblical selfish reasons, and is referring to the offender or initiator, not the victim. People who were unbelievers at the time of offense, or people who divorced for marital unfaithfulness of spouse, or who were not the initiator or cause of the divorce were permitted to remarry. There are plenty of different kinds of temptation that ALL Christians struggle with, but if you are embracing the truth of the Gospel as presented in the Bible, you have to agree with and accept that there are standards of behavior we are meant to pursue. It does not mean we will never stumble, or that if we stumble our salvation is in jeopardy, but it does mean we must agree with God and be pursuing the standards the Bible gives us to reflect our identity in Christ. Some people believe alcoholism is a disease or that people are born homosexual. The truth is that sin is a disease, and we are all born with a sinful nature. In some people that sinful nature is manifested with addiction to alcohol or drugs, and in other people it is manifested in immoral sexual behavior whether homosexuality or heterosexual sex outside of marriage relationship. Still other people sinful nature manifests in the form of lying, theft, rape, murder, greed, or gluttony. The truth of the Gospel is that we acknowledge we are incapable of overcoming the sinful nature in our own strength, and the only path to freedom is faith in Jesus and His work through the cross. He sets us free from the bondage to sin and makes a way for us to walk in line with our identity in Christ as we were originally intended. Salvation is a one time event, but the process of living it and walking it out is a daily choice, and we must continually choose to live by the Spirit, not pursuing or excusing the desires of the flesh. Christians are not perfect and are capable of committing acts of sin, but there is a difference between screwing up from time to time and willfully habitually pursuing a sinful lifestyle. That is what we need Jesus for. I am all about loving people, and I understand that homosexuals simply desire to express love. However, God has a plan and knows better than us what is best for us, and He has a prescription for healthy living that is ultimately better than what we might choose for ourselves when left to our own devices. It doesn’t mean the things we want aren’t fun, enjoyable, or pleasurable, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily good for us. Jesus did preach love, but He also preached that we were to lay down our lives and take up the cross and follow Him. That means we let go of what we think is best for us and choose to pursue what He says is best for us.

    • RSK

      Laying down our (sexual, but other parts) life is what most folks do not understand. They keep “feeding it”, so it never leaves/dies. Gays and those promoting do not understand that we ALL have parts of us that need “starved” (or ??). So we understand them (to an extent), but they (evidently) do not understand us.

    • https://www.facebook.com/etseq97 etseq

      I predict you’ll be out of the closet in a few years once you can no longer sublimate your sexuality by posting rambling comments about gay sex…

      • Thespis

        Ahh, I see. I guess your “tolerance” only goes as far as people who see things the same way you do, or their differences are inconsequential and meaningless. What closet would I come out of? You have no clue what love and grace is. I have relatives and friends both who are homosexual and who know what my views are and are not offended by them. You have no desire to understand because you assume you already have all the answers about where me or anyone like me is coming from. You are the one making stereotypical generalizations about Christians. My guess is you do not know any genuine ones. If you do, you do not know them well. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christian, but their lives do not reflect it. I am glad that the homosexuals I do know do not share your presumptuous demeanor.

  • george_porg

    Ken WIlson must be removed from his pastoral role and publicly disciplined. If the church refuses to remove him, then the church should be expelled from the association of Vineyard churches

    • https://www.facebook.com/etseq97 etseq

      Ah yes, christians are so full of love and grace until it comes to the gays, then suddenly like a parody of the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition,,,

      • george_porg

        Nope. That goes for any obvious unrepentant sin. I have seen pastors defrocked for adultery.

        We are NOT called to treat a person in a position of leadership, as Ken Wilson is, who violates the clear direction of scripture with kindness we are commanded to expel them so they don’t bring evil to the flock and corrupt the whole church. For a regular member we might counsel them and try to reason with them, but for a leader they must be removed from leadership and if the church refuses to do that, the church will be expelled from the Vineyard association.

        The problem with the gay agenda is that gays engage in their sexual sin unrepentantly and refuse to acknowledge it as sin. If you are gay and you wish to follow God’s will and turn from your life style Christians will help you, but a homosexual lifestyle is contrary to scripture and not acceptable within the Christian church (or any religion for that matter)

        And Jesus DID address homosexuality in scripture, by the way.

      • george_porg

        As a Vineyard member for almost 20 years, I want to read his book before passing judgment.
        We love adulterers as well but we don’t permit them to be in positions of leadership until we are sure they have fully repented and are restored.

      • george_porg

        I actually did obtain a copy of the pastor’s book and his position is unacceptable form a Biblical point of view.

        Since he has made a public issue of this, then he should be publicly disciplined and removed from leadership

      • Andrew Dowling

        NO-ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!!

  • Jeff

    It’s interesting and rather sad to read others point of view. And that is what most of it is a point of view not based on fact or even truth but something they hold dear to their heart and for many something they have been taught for years. But as a gay man who tried to change unsuccessfully for 22 years and no one here has gone through more prayer, intercession, accountability, confession, repentance, deliverance than me. I have realized rather lately that God is not objected to me being gay. And so much of what has been taught on the issue is taught not with authority or with much study or conviction but taught because that is the way it has always been. Ken Wilson’s book if you care to read it is a good example of someone who has really wrestled with the issue. I as well was delighted that this was coming from a Vineyard pastor since I was in the Vineyard for 17 years.

    Ken is not a man given over to the status quo as well as on that has thougtfully and prayerfully changes his position on people like me. And I have had to wrestle with this for years and for a while rejected much of the church due to their rejection of me as a person a child of God. I am happy and blessed now to be with the man after my own heart my help mate and best friend.

    If this topic is of interest or concern to you due to family or friends please pick up the book and you can rather cheaply through Amazon Kindle. What a world of difference it would make if more and more pastors and leaders honestly and thoughtfully really looked at, prayed about and addressed this issue. And your marriages, families, the church, the bible would not be harmed or go into ruin if more and more gay people and couples were to be a part of your congregation.

  • Anne

    Of all the gay people I have met and dealt with in business over the years I can say that I liked them but in the back of my mind I would think ‘it’s a shame they are going to end up in hell. I think if you are gay and love someone then go on with that way of life but just don’t be a Christian because it is hypocritical. Why do the Christians get picked on for being anti gay when Muslims and others hate it also. As long as you know what the bible teaches you cannot say no one did not explain it to you. Read the old testament to see how GOD thinks and works. Suicide is also a sin and we don’t want anyone to feel that they are so driven to that either. We are all Gods children and we are all sinners too. Most of us have some sort of cross to bear in life and yet this life in earthly bodies is only temporary and short.

  • george_porg

    I have been in touch with vineyard Leadership about this issue.
    Ken Wilson published this book without permission from Vineyard national leadership and they were taken a bit by surprised.
    Vineyard leadership has asked Ken Wilson to resign and he has refused: I hope the next step will be to defrock him VERY publically.
    Ken Wilson’s book is bring great reproach on the Vineyard: Up until the last few six weeks or so, about 35% of the songs song on our church have been from Vineyard and I have not seen a since Vineyard OR Hillsong song in the last 6 weeks: Both Hillsong and Vineyard have had pastors come out publically with pro gay positions and neither church has publicly disciplined those pastors.l

  • Tom Banks

    This article takes a very odd approach with many underlying presuppositions that are not complimentary to those who uphold the traditional interpretation of scripture. Makes it sound like we (as in the unsophisticated old time out of step believers) have a lot of work to do. Seems that throughout all time Jesus and the prophets had it wrong and only now in the last 10-20 years are we getting this LGBT thing straightened out. Wow- such arrogance.


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