REVIEW: The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction

REVIEW: The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction May 19, 2015

My post yesterday generated quite a bit of interest. The comments section over there is quite interesting, and so far it has been very civil, which is all too rare when this subject is discussed. It seems to me, however, that some people felt I had not gone far enough, some people felt I had gone too far, and some people were confused about just how far I had gone!

To summarize what I am trying to say on the subject, I really believe that the Church has a serious problem with how it has tended to address homosexuality.  We cannot get away from the fact that Christians have all too often treated gay people badly. We also cannot simply ignore the fact that the secular World around us seem convinced that evangelical Christians hate gay people.

What Conservative Evangelical Christians believe the Bible says no longer seems plausible to outsiders.  This is not just because of what Christians say, but also because of how it is said, and what church communities display to the world.

Something needs to change.

I believe that we are now at a crossroads. Each church, each pastor, each Christian faces a choice they will be forced to make.  Simply carrying on with the approach to this subject I discussed in yesterday’s post will no longer work.

There are it seems to me only two options.  And I believe that over time we will see every Evangelical will make one of these two choices.

The first option is to simply choose to wholesale reject the church’s historical teaching on same-sex attraction, and therefore reject what has typically been understood to be the Bible’s very clear teaching. If that is the choice someone wants to make they will surely find many voices encouraging them in that pathway today.

The second option is for Christians to face the fact that what they are saying about homosexuality, and how they are saying it simply isn’t working.  It is not coming through in the translation. Most Christians who want to approach the Bible as literally as possible, and in a typically evangelical way, will feel constrained not to simply abandon its teaching. What they will want to do, however, is to construct a better approach to both communicating and embodying the Bible’s message. plausibilityproblembook

I recently read a very helpful book on this subject, that explains the problem the church faces today much better than I can. It also outlines what the author believes is a solution to what he calls The Plausibility Problem.

The book is written by Ed Shaw who is a minister who himself experiences exclusively same-sex attraction.  He is one of the founders of Living Out, together with my good friend Sam Alberry who long-time readers of the blog will be only too familiar with (see this post for example).

Ed’s and Sam’s books work well together. Sam outlines what he believes the Bible teaches on this subject. Ed explains what it is about the church and how it has addressed this issue that has made it so incomprehensible to most people today. Ed outlines what he calls ‘Nine Missteps’  that he feels the Church has made. These missteps he believes contribute to the problem the world has with the Church on this issue. Ed also explains what he believes are the solutions to each of these missteps.

I strongly commend Ed’s book to you. His is an important voice with an important contribution to Christians today as they struggle with this issue and how to approach it.

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  • Dorfl

    We also cannot simply ignore the fact that the secular World around us seems convinced that evangelical Christians hate gay people.

    As a member of that secular world, I think I should clarify something that I believe is important. It seems that we and you tend to mean slightly different things by the word ‘hate’.

    As far as I can tell, evangelicals tend to use the word ‘hate’ to refer to a purely internal state. This tends to lead to an affronted “How can you claim to know the contents of my heart?!” when accusations of hate arise.

    Non-evangelicals, including me, often use a much more operational definition of ‘hate’. If someone consistently acts towards a person in a way that will predictably cause harm to that person, then they might as well hate that person. While it is possible that they feel only goodwill towards that person, it doesn’t actually matter in practise. At most, it slightly changes what moral obligations they have to change things: Instead of trying to change how they feel about that person, they should try to work out whatever it is that twists their good intentions into bad outcomes.

    • jamesh

      Yes, this is exactly it! I believe that evangelicals don’t set out to hurt gay people but because the Bible says horrible things about gay people which they believe in 100%, then they cannot help but hurt us. It’s quite a sad state of affairs really, and maybe we should feel sorry for evangelicals for putting themselves in this position. However, I would suggest that our sympathies should lie more with the LGBT people that they are actively hurting/hating.

      • My sympathies are with humankind. I’m committed to staying in communion with my conservative siblings in Christ. They are a part of the Church too. Unfortnately, my attempts at fellowship often feel like I’m trying to date someone who’s broken up with me.

        I stay involved in the public conversation about faith and sexuality because I want to make the church a safe place for the fourteen year old gay kid in the front pew and the traditionalist belief is inherently harmful. The injury won’t end until we learn to believe in a way that doesn’t cause harm. And our beliefs won’t change without understanding how the Spirit is working in the Church – which only happens through communion.

        • jamesh

          That’s a very generous attitude. I think you can only stay in communion with people if you can cope with the harm that they bring. Some conservative evangelicals took over my previous ‘Inclusive’ church and I had to go elsewhere. I couldn’t stay for my own health reasons.

          I was speaking to a friend in his early 20’s last week and these problems are still happening. He was involved in New Wine and has also had a breakdown. It saddens me that traditionalists are still harming vulnerable people in this day and age.

        • Timothy Kelley

          I just want to say that you are an inspiration to me. I follow your commenting because I think you drive conversation to better thoughts (by way of kinder routes), and your way of interacting informs my conversation, and inspires me to continue in that conversation. #fordfan

          Please keep commenting, both for that 14 yr old, and for this 28(almost 29) yr old who gets discouraged but also wants to help that 14 yr old.

          Blessings!

          • Gosh, Timothy. That’s very humbling. Thank you so much for your very kind words.
            David.

    • Frank

      There is nothing loving in supporting sinful behavior. That’s what real hate looks like.

      • jamesh

        How can people in love who legally get married be considered sinful? You need to take a reality check!

      • Timothy Kelley

        Aww Frank…I only just start to miss your trolling, and it pops up again. Keep up the good work. You make everyone else look good.

        • Frank

          See above and repeat. Nothing you do or say will change it.

  • John

    What Do Theologically Conservative Christians Really Think About People with Same-Sex Attraction?
    http://www.monergism.com/blog/what-do-theologically-conservative-christians-really-think-about-people-same-sex-attraction

    • Dorfl

      I read the article. While it is nominally written as a response to an online comment, very little of it is actually responding to what is said in that comment. Most of it seems to focus on theological issues that aren’t really of interest to anyone not also part of your branch of conservative Christianity. To elaborate, the article starts with

      Online Comment: Christian conversion of gay people should be banned, especially to your type of Christianity. People cannot become un-gay. You do not realize the amount of teasing and bullying gay people receive.

      The first two paragraphs discuss the subject of bullying, noting that it is bad and pointing out that in the author has “[…] never, in public or private, heard any Christian in my circles bully, tease or harm people for this”.

      The big problem with this statement in that the author is speaking from his own experience, and as an outsider to evangelical Christianity I can say that evangelicals tend to be startlingly blind to harmful behaviours from their fellows.

      The author also states that

      […] I get the distinct feeling that you have a fairly limited understanding of what Christianity is really all about and what the vast majority of theologically conservative Christians actually think about those with same-sex attraction.

      Which then leads to four paragraphs discussing theology. The problem is that there is nothing in the original comment to suggest that this is of any interest whatsoever to the commenter. The amount of bullying gay people suffer and the effectiveness of attempts to change sexual orientation are what they are. There is no theological insight that will magically change those things.

      As an aside, I have spent enough time speaking to Christians to know that there are as many views of what Christianity is really all about as there are Christians.

      In the next paragraph, the author states that “With you we stand against bullying, harming and teasing others because it is deeply sinful”, which is nice.

      He then spends a paragraph clarifying what he thinks true Christianity is. This is again not really relevant.

      He then attempts to deal with the claim that “no-one can become un-gay”. This is good, because it’s on point, but in the end he doesn’t address the observed fact that attempts to change sexual orientation have a success rate somewhere between measurement error and zero.

      He then points out the problems with the original commenter’s claim that “Christian conversion of gay people should be banned, especially to your type of Christianity”. Here I agree with him. A ban on religious conversions is an obviously bad idea. (Unless the commenter was talking about Christian conversion therapy and just used a really poor wording).

      He spends a paragraph discussing the relationship between conservative Christians and the rest of society. I have nothing to say about that.

      I believe that the last paragraph is worth quoting at more length:

      Lastly, from what I have said, it should be obvious that the words “homophobia” and “bigot” have been very carelessly pinned on the chests of theologically conservative Christians by journalists. It reveals a profound lack of understanding of what basic Christianity actually teaches. Such ignorance really does not belong in a civil and educated society like ours and is the cause of much needless division. Homophobia is a real problem especially with those who would like to physically or mentally harm people those who belong to this group. But when it is simultaneously used to describe Christians who believe same-sex unions are sinful, it fails to take into account the whole picture that we Christians are also among those who have been sinful and hell-deserving. […]

      I would simply say “bigot is as bigot does”. If you find that you need to explain the teachings of your religion, then it’s time to step back for a second and look at yourself. Why isn’t your lack of bigotry apparent from how you act towards gay people? Why can’t people just know you by the fruit of your actions?

      The author seems to work with the assumption that the Westboro Baptist Church is what bigotry normally looks like – hateful and wishing to cause harm. Much, possibly most, real-world bigotry believes itself to have good intentions towards its objects. Its attempts to actually do good end up failing because of an ignorance about what would actually help, combined with an arrogance which prevents it from realising that its attempts at help are actually causing harm.

      • jamesh

        Yes, your final paragraph really hits the nail on the head.

        The people who encouraged me to get healed of my sexuality and become straight were well-meaning I think and didn’t know any better. After a breakdown and many years of depression which I still suffer from people are still recommending reparative therapy and claiming people can be cured. If I knew anyone who’d been healed then I would say – but I don’t: it has failed in every case. Yes I personally know people who have got married but they’ll still gay!

        “Bigot is as bigot does” is a very good way of explaining it. The problem is these people just cannot help themselves as their reading of their holy book teaches bad things about us.

      • John

        Dorfl, the online comment reveals that the writer of the question presumes a great deal about me and what most theologically conservative Christians believe about same-sex attraction and about the human condition in general, as if Christians thought of homosexuals any differently than we think about themselves. The reason Christians, by the grace of God, can have empathy is because we are no different. People like me need grace just as much as anyone else. That is why our churches have many people with same-sex attraction just as they have people who struggle with other sins.

        What you call “evangelicalism” perhaps is not “theologically conservative Christianity” but simply churches which practice moralistic deism. But certainly we can also make mistakes and be blind in helping others they way we should… but this is hardly limited to same-sex attraction. My own propensity to be blind to all kinds of problems exists but I do believe the more we understand God’s grace toward us, the less we will be inclined to treat others ungraciously. God was kind to ungrateful and evil men like me, so I/we should likewise be merciful, and extend our love to all people, even those who hate us, even as our Father was merciful to us when we hated Him. (see Luke 6:27-36)

        • jamesh

          “That is why our churches have many people with same-sex attraction just as they have people who struggle with other sins.”

          Please don’t equate same-sex attraction with sin. It’s not!

          • John

            Jamesh, please note more carefully what I wrote… these are redeemed people in our churches who still have same-sex attraction. Regenerate people who we love just like we love people who have other struggles. I did not equate their continual struggle with the possibility to sin any more than my own struggles. Don’t be so sensitive about this. In our churches historically we have talked more about other sins, so why so touchy about this one?

          • jamesh

            It’s just that religionists are always referring to homosexuality as sinful. It’s not! In the UK gay people can marry and adopt children. Sinful things are lying, murder, stealing, cheating etc. Please don’t group us in with people who do things like that, it’s quite offensive!

          • John

            Jamesh, Do you think you are alone at being offended by the gospel? Everyone’s response to the Law and the gospel is offense. I was offended and even hostile to it.. But we either remain offended or, by grace, God turns our heart of stone to one of flesh (Ezek 36:26) that we might willingly turn to Christ who frees us from both the penalty and the power of sin.

            The persons with same-sex attraction in my own church, and I can count them on two hands, would tell a completely different story than the one you are. They have experienced the favor of God and are telling others about it the same way I am telling you. Having experienced liberty for their captivity they are like everyone else.

            Also making something legal in the UK does not make it right in God’s eyes. What I say, I say in love because I do not want to see you and others like you perish. I wish you the opposite of harm. And if I must give small offense to communicate that it is well worth it since your person is of great value.

            Now, you have freedom of conscience – no one is coercing you to believe anything. You can certainly invent your own god and call it Christianity but if you make up what is and what is not sin, apart from revelation, in essence that is just worshiping yourself, a god of your own making.

          • jamesh

            We should probably stop conversing here and now because there is just so much that is offensive in your post that I don’t know where to start!

            I think you religionists just can’t help yourselves – even though I’m (almost) sure you don’t set out to hurt and offend you do so in buckets. Maybe you should just go back to your red-neck southern state and me to my liberal quarter of the UK…

            “You can certainly invent your own god and call it Christianity”
            Dear me. Are you related to Steve Frank above? Separated at birth by any chance? There are lots and lots of Christianities around the world and we all think ours is the correct one. It just won’t do however to suggest the others are invented – that is rude!

            “They have experienced the favor of God and are telling others about it the same way I am telling you”
            Oh yes, you know some gays personally. Now where have I heard that old chestnut before? The problem is these same gays will be leaving your church in a few years into the arms of the gay-scene and it’ll be all your fault because you told them that God doesn’t accept and love them just as they are. Reflect on that!

            “What I say, I say in love because I do not want to see you and others like you perish”
            Ditto. I love you but I *HATE* your sin!

            “I wish you the opposite of harm.”
            As I think we’ve discovered on Adrian’s blog post, this is the nub of the problem: you don’t think you’re doing harm but you are causing gay people a huge amount of harm. I dread to think of the agony you’re causing the gays at your church. You need to repent big time! Why don’t you buy the Ed Shaw book that Adrian is talking about? You might learn something – you certainly need to.

          • John

            Jamesh, you said, “The problem is these same gays will be leaving your church in a few years into the arms of the gay-scene and it’ll be all your fault because you told them that God doesn’t accept and love them just as they are. Reflect on that!”

            If what you said were simply a matter of our natural will then you would be right and I would agree with you. Fact is, none of us can change with some therapy or as an act of the will.

            But what you said is a very revealing statement. You somehow think it is EASIER for me to depart from sin?. It shows that you don’t believe that we are ALL born captive to sin and CANNOT change ourselve but for the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Do you even affirm that humanity is born captive and in bondage to sin? Do you even recognize humanities real plight? and that we (none of us) can change ourselves apart from the grace of God? You say homosexuals were born this way? Well, so was I. I was born captive to sin and would never have changed unless God intervened. No more easy for me than for you. But God loves His people so much that He not only forgives them but gives them a new heart …And the new heart does not leave people in rebellion. It changes what we love. And God loves us too much to leave them there.

            1 John 3:9 declares: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s SEED abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been BORN OF GOD”

          • jamesh

            “Do you even affirm that humanity is born captive and in bondage to sin?”

            Probably not! One of the churches that I was part of for a few years believed that their job was to keep children in the church. Their parents were part of the church community that the children were born into and we had to keep them from leaving Christ. I suppose this has echoes of baptism in the New Testament: when the head of the household converted all his family and slaves were also baptised.

            I think most people are good and want to do good generally.

            Do you think your heterosexuality is inherently sinful then?

          • John

            Jamesh, As for our children, without the blessing of the Lord, our best endeavors will do no good. but God has the hearts of all men in His hands, and except He touch the hearts of our children by His Spirit, our efforts will be in vain. We must water, therefore, the seed we sow on their minds with unceasing prayer. No one can be coerced by us into the kingdom – not our children nor anyone else. People should have freedom of conscience because anything forced or even done with our own will-power would be spurious faith.

            As for heterosexuality it has been distorted by the fall of man just like everything else. The natural person, the person without the Holy Spirit, whatever he does, He does not do it with a heart that loves God so even his best works are polluted. Indeed natural men do many excellent things like art and justice but they cannot stand up next to the holiness of God.

            Grace is the great equalizer. It helps us understand, among other things, that we are no better than anyone else .. that unless Christ delivered us we would be no different.than any sinner, and even now, anything good I produce is because of His great merciful working inside me. So I have nothing to boast in. Christianity is not moralism – we cannot make a savior out of our morality….and I am no more deserving of heaven than my gay neighbor. In fact I know many gay persons that are in many ways more moral than I. so the gospel is not about what we have done for God but what He has done for us. But indifference to God’s commands is a sure sign of an unrenewed heart.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            You are not a hypocrite because of sticking to your doctrine. You are a hypocrite because you do not see that if we are to call ss marriage sinful, then ds marriage is just ss marriage dressed up by the pressence of a different sex. Why do you call marriage good at all?

          • Frank

            Homosexual romantic and sexual behavior is sinful. No getting around that.

        • Dorfl

          All the comment says is this:

          Christian conversion of gay people should be banned, especially to your type of Christianity. People cannot become un-gay. You do not realize the amount of teasing and bullying gay people receive.

          I can only see that it reveals the following beliefs on part of the commenter:

          1. Attempts to convert gay people to Christianity are so damaging that they should be banned outright.

          2. This is particularly the case for conservative Christianity.

          3. There is a prevalent belief among conservative Christians that sexual orientation can be changed.

          4. This belief is false.

          5. Conservative Christians are generally unaware of how much damage homophobia causes.

          All of these are fairly straightforward statements about the tangible world. 3-4 are also demonstrably true, and from experience I’d say 5 is true as well. In any case, they need to be addressed with reference to observable reality. Lengthy expositions on what conservative Christians believe about the human condition are not really relevant.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Your empathy is misdirected. You do not rail against straight Christians being married but will do so against ss couples who have been together longer than I have been alive (in other words, oceans longer than my parents)because of arbitrary allowance and disallowance by a book that people claim has an extremely dangerous being behind it. So, no matter what harm results from just bulling on ahead with the anti-equality doctrines a christian supporter will just handwave it with, “surely my harm is more helpful to them because I am trying to keep them from the far greater harm Jesus would inflict on them.”

  • jamesh

    I wouldn’t particularly recommend Living Out. If you want to stay within the traditional conservative wing of UK evangelicalism then True Freedom Trust can support you.

    But if you think it’s okay to be in a gay relationship then my church in Waterloo can support you. We have some online resources here: http://www.oasiswaterloo.org/church/theology

    • Have edited out an accusation made in your comment (see comment policy for more information). Feel free to email me with specifics if you have an issue regarding what I cut out.

      • jamesh

        Sorry, I don’t want to fall foul of your policy. Can I say that if you watch their videos and then google the persons you can get a pretty good idea of the type of people they are by how they behave online.

        • Is it possible you have found someone else by the same name? Please email me at adrian@adrianwarnock.com with a link to what you are talking about.

          • jamesh

            No, I’m surprised you don’t know what I’m talking about! One of the Living Out people I didn’t agree with your first edit as I didn’t name anyone but I think people need to be aware of the type of organisation they are. Maybe it’s not true with the ones you know?

            I’m not too keen on emailing conservative evangelicals as I’ve found in the past they can say awful things to you in private that they won’t get away with in public. No offence intended 🙂

          • Have again cut out the accusation (per my policy). I can assure you I am not that kind of person.

          • jamesh

            Ah, but you are! You are one of the extreme conservative evangelical bloggers in the UK and you’ve always come across as a hater. As I’ve said I can’t believe I’m actually having a conversation with you because you’re normally very “angry” about the type of person I am. I’m very glad that you seem to be changing though – maybe it comes with age 😉

          • Jamesh,
            If there is anything on my blog that makes me come across as a hater, please link to it here so I can re-examine it and see if I have changed my perspective, or if I expressed myself badly before. I do wonder if you had just assumed I would have a certain attitude becoz of my attitude to the Bible. I think it is a very GOOD thing that we are at least dialoguing a bit here.

          • jamesh

            Well, last year you wrote about my pastor Steve:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2014/03/steve-chalke-says-the-bible-got-it-wrong-in-lots-of-places/

            Amongst other things you said that “This video provoked feelings of anger in me, but more than that sadness. It is a truly tragic thing to watch.”

            This is about a man who has set up a charity from scratch that employs 5000+ people in this country and even more round the world, who campaigns against human trafficking, who runs a foodbank, debt-advice, homeless shelter, farm, hospital services for young people from his church, and has duplicated the services in similar churches around the country. The list is endless about what this guy has achieved for Christ yet you can’t help but criticise him. He gets very hurt with all the criticism he receives but would never moan about it.

            It might be what you feel, but it isn’t very nice and most certainly marks you out as a ‘hater.’

          • Well to be absolutely clear, that post is nothing to do with homosexuality. What upset me about what Steve Chalke was saying in that past is that he believes the Bible is wrong about things it says God did. It is one thing to argue about interpretations of the Bible, another thing again to claim the Bible is inaccurate.

          • jamesh

            I’ve got to try and be generous here and don my cloak of self-control as Adrian specifically re-opened this for comments so I could respond 🙂

            Adrian is one of a plethora of hard-line conservative UK evangelicals who don’t have one iota of nuance or self doubt. They are right, you are wrong. Period.

            I’ve read his blog occasionally over many years normally at night after a beer and grimaced at the awful things he writes about people. I didn’t once expect I would ever comment as I wouldn’t want to be shot down in flames and crucified.

            So his last two posts have been something of a surprise – a shock even. Where is the hard-liner gone? His supporters think he’s gone soft in the head and his denigrators are left scratching theirs.

            Haters always home-in on just one aspect of your life and in our case it’s our sexuality. We get that they HATE our sin but why don’t they congratulate us on the positive things we do in our lives? When I first went to the MCC gay church in London I went with a judgemental heart thinking that they couldn’t be real Christians. God blew me away in the church notices and had me in tears: Monday night was the homeless shelter, Tuesday night was prison visiting, Wednesday their home groups, Thursday night they visited strangers in their local hospital who didn’t have regular visitors… Why don’t the haters mention this?

            I was kinda hoping that Adrian would apologise for the things he and others have said about Steve. So instead I challenge Adrian to do some research into Oasis & Steve Chalke and write a blog post about all the fantastic stuff that this man has done in the service of Christ in this country and around the world.

            Steve could really do with it. In public he tries not to respond when people write nasty things about him and is much more gracious than anyone I know. In private he is hurt that so many people seem to hate him.

          • jamesh

            But to respond to Adrian’s point: “It is one thing to argue about interpretations of the Bible, another thing again to claim the Bible is inaccurate.”

            Are you really being serious that you’re claiming the Bible is without error? Really? As I said to someone above the Holy Spirit must have been on an off-day when He inspired the Bible: there are loads and loads of mistakes and innacuracies. To claim that the Bible is not inaccurate as Adrian seems to be doing is like claiming the earth is flat. And getting angry and upset with anyone who claims to the contrary. Google can be used to bring up hundreds of inaccuracies.

          • I have always tried to be someone who holds firmly to the truth of the Bible, and who lives by the Bible’s maxim of speaking the truth in love. I have no doubt that at times I have failed in that goal, perhaps by being clear about what I believe to be the truth, but not communicating it as lovingly as possible. Sometimes though, I am sure some people will argue I have failed on the other side by trying to be loving and understanding towards someone but not being as clear about what I believe! It is hard to get this balance right when you passionately believe certain things.

            Note that unlike the perception mentioned in the previous comment, I am not equally sure about everything I think, and there are areas where I am open to persuasion. But the fundamental point is that there is such a thing as an evangelical approach to the Bible. It is much easier to discuss things with people who take that approach, even when you do disagree with them. Sadly, many today do not take that approach, and it becomes much harder to discuss theological controversies with them. If you want to know more about what I mean by an Evangelical approach take a look at this post, but I will now shut the comments on this post down as I am broadly happy with the way the conversation has gone so far and don’t want to run the risk of it being hijacked later on by either homophobes or evangelophobes!
            Check out my post What is an Evangelical here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2012/10/what-is-an-evangelical/

          • To be clear for many years I admired and respected Steve Chalke for all his work for the community in the name of Christ. I still admire him for what he has accomplished. I am just saddened like many at the way he has, at least to my understanding of the term, walked away from Evangelicalism.

          • jamesh

            It’s fine for you to edit stuff – it’s your blog. But can you assure your readers that I haven’t made personal accusations like you seem to be asserting?

            It’s like on Facebook – people will delete your post and then refer to it negatively and it will make you look really bad to people reading it, and if you try and defend yourself they will delete your comments. The guy from Living Out uses these tactics all the time. I think it’s far better to leave comments as they are – people can always apologise later if they need to.

          • Jamesh
            You did not mention any individual name, but did make an accusation about an unnamed individual associated with a group. Sorry that I am so hot on this, but I don’t want the comments section to be used for people talking about things other people have done or haven’t done elsewhere. I am sure you understand that I want to stick to the issues rather than personalities.

            All the best

  • J. Inglis

    It seems that part and parcel of dealing with homosexuality, etc. is dealing with existing sexual sins among Christians in a consistent and loving way. Divorce is a great sin, but most churches either ignore the sin or condemn the participants and hurt them greatly. Christian heterosexuals need an approach that applies to all sexual sins and need to apply that approach consistently if they are to have plausibility.

  • jamesh

    Not sure what country you’re living in, but here in the UK gay marriage is recognised in law. Saying gay relationships are sinful isn’t very nice. How would you like it if someone said that your marriage is sinful? I suggest you start treating others as you yourself would like to be treated!

    • Frank

      I do. If I were sinning I would expect the people who love me to tell me.

      Sin isn’t very nice.

      • jamesh

        I think your comments are illustrative of the problem that fundamentalist Christians have. I presume you don’t mean to be offensive but because of your fundamentalist beliefs you just can’t help it!

        • Frank

          Yes many people are offended by the gospel and the truth of God. No surprise there.

          • jamesh

            I guess it depends what your gospel entails? There’s no surprises in guessing that your particular take on the truth of God is going to be pretty offensive!

          • Frank

            Yes it would be offensive to those rejecting Gods will in certain areas of their lives. Like homosexual behavior.

          • jamesh

            There’s nothing wrong with homosexual behaviour. Maybe you should try it if you’re so obsessed with it!

          • Frank

            It is sinful. No getting around that. Ever.

          • jamesh

            In your opinion. And you’re entitled to your opinions even if they’re offensive.

          • Frank

            Not opinion. It’s the truth that has actual scriptural support. Nothing you can do to change this truth.

          • jamesh

            A goat-herder wrote it in a bronze-age book and you say it’s “truth.” Your statements are hilarious!

          • Frank

            And there we have it. I knew you’d expose yourself eventually. It’s your choice to accept or reject the truth. One day you might wise up.

          • jamesh

            Expose myself? Hardly! And hopefully one day you might wise up!

  • Hilary

    That was a lovely post about being with your wife for 20 years, but I think you should leave her. Not for any personal reason, just that God doesn’t like what your are doing with your genitals with her. I still love you, God still loves you, dispite your sin of being with a woman for 20 years, you can still be forgiven of that. I know this is a hard message, but please believe that I am telling you this only out of love. Perhaps you could help me? How can I make this message more palatable, more understandable to you and society in general so you will believe me. I’m sorry if anybody has ever hurt you because of your marriage to your wife, that was cruel and unloving.

    I think it is horribly wrong that you should ever be afraid to let an employer know that you are heterosexual. It’s a disgrace that there are still states where simply being straight can get you fired, with no other reason! And I know there is no comparison to the sexual love you have for your wife and another man raping a little girl, just because the same genital action is involved. Too many people can’t tell the difference and I apologize for the pain that comparison carries even though it’s so common one get’s numb to it. Ditto for the comparisons of the self-sacrificial love and care you have to alcoholism and drug abuse. I do have to admit that God places the honesty and faithfullness you and your wife have had for 20 years on the same level as the lying, betraying, and dishonesty of an affair and adultury. Because genitals, you know.

    If you do all this Adrian, we will welcome you. You will have a loved and welcomed part of our Christian community. At the cost of your love life. At the cost of an adult sexual relationship with a beloved. Never mind sex, at the cost of being able to fall asleep next to your beloved, cuddle in each other other’s arm’s, and know that no matter how horrible a day you are facing it will begin and end in bed with someone who charishes you in all your human vulnerabilites and physical realities.

    So, are you going to go for it? Leave your wife, or leave your Evangelical Christian community. This is what you would ask of me to join your specific type of Christianity. Even if I was Christian, even if I was interested in being Christian, I am not willing to praise a God who hates me for falling in love. Can you? Can you give up all hopes and dreams of love, of having that one person to come home to, just because of the types of anatomy involved?

    Do you really think there is anything that can make this message palatable to someone who isn’t already indoctrinated? Tell me Adrian, what words from another human being would make you leave your wife, and any hope or desire of any woman, ever, to share your life with as a spouse? How ‘lovingly’ can I tell you that God hates that within you which desires a relationship of love, sex, and intimacy with another woman? Give it up and we’ll accept you – fall in love and dare to have that relationship and we will cast you out. Really, what is your message to a gay or lesbian person other than this?

    And you and your kind wonder why we refuse that message. Would you accept it? Your wife, and any hope or desire of a wife, or the church community. Pick one.

    • Thank you for this comment. I think it expresses very clearly the issue that Gay people will always have with any church that teaches the conservative interpretation of the Bible on this subject. It is also a good expression of what Ed called The Plausibility Problem. Any Christian who cannot recognize how challenging all this is is either heartless or a fool. The only thing I would say in response is that when I speak to people like Sam Alberry who says things like “I believe that Jesus is calling me to a life of celibacy and self sacrifice, but he is worth it, and in the end it is no sacrifice” (I paraphrase things he has said in his book and to me personally) then there is something inspiring, beautiful, and challenging about such a choice, when it is freely made and made because of love for Christ. There is a rich Christian tradition of sacrificing all kinds of things for the sake of knowing Jesus, and some would argue that it is only those who have had to suffer much, or give up much, who truly understand the value and the beauty of Christ. But again, thank you. I am so thrilled that in these comments sections we are hearing from people from different sides of the current debate, but that we are speaking with respect. I wonder has there ever been a discussion online about this issue involving Christians and Gay people where the tone has been so mutually understanding, and respectful? So often these kinds of discussions degenerate into what can only be described as homophobia and evangelophobia.

      • jamesh

        Thanks for this Adrian. I never thought I’d be even commenting on your blog as I’ve always seen you as a hater! Maybe your friendship with the Living Out guys is a good thing 🙂

      • Hi Adrian,

        The gospel is not coercive. When celibacy is considered the only faithful choice for gay Christians, that’s not giving God one’s sexuality as a beautiful gift. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that this is a calling. It’s a demand based on the norms of the community.

        There is a shame rhetoric that has been used in recent years by people like Mark Yarhouse and Ed Shaw and others. They say that gay Christians who affirm the sanctity of gay relationships are failing to make our identity in Christ but, rather, we are making our identity in our sexuality. This sets up a “good gay” versus “bad gay” dynamic – the faithful versus the faithless – which contributes to the shame and stigma used in the emotional coercion and conditional love that conservative faith communities show towards gay people.

        I also think we need to recognize that marriage is a calling to a life of self sacrifice in the service of community as well. Marriage and chaste singleness, in the Christian life, are both virtuous pursuits. Gay Christians who enter into covenantal partnerships are not “taking the easy way out”. Culturally, I don’t think people view marriage with the gravity it deserves.

        With that said, I share much common ground with Ed Shaw about how the church can better support single people and become more of a committed community.

        Edited: I didn’t have my morning coffee and wrote Sam’s name when I meant to refer to Ed.

        • Steve Frank

          You act as if an expectation of celibacy would be an unreasonable demand on the part of God, as if gays with no attraction at all to the opposite gender are the only people Christians believe are called to be celibate involuntarily. What about that Christian woman in the Middle East whose husband is in jail (perhaps for life) because of his faith. Christianity expects her to remain celibate because she is still married. What about the single Christian that can not find a mate (or is unlikely to find one because of some handicap or illness). Christianity expects them to be celibate. What about a Christian who wrongfully divorced a spouse? The Apostle Paul says they must remain single and celibate in hope of reconciliation (which in many cases never happens). There are numerous examples of straight Christians who are in the same boat as those with exclusive same sex attraction, called to remain celibate if they are unable to enter a valid male/female marriage.

          • Hi Steve,
            Tell me a little more about yourself. What is your personal situation? Have you married, or are you open to the possibility of marriage? Or have you been called to lifelong celibacy?

          • Steve Frank

            I’m married now. But I didn’t get married until I was 33. Up to then I was celibate. Why does that matter?

          • Why were you open to marriage? Why didn’t you pursue lifelong celibacy?

          • Steve Frank

            Because I wanted to have a family and the right person came along. But if that hadn’t happened, I would have remained celibate. What is your point?

          • memyselfandi

            But why not choose celibacy? After all, y’all are trying to make it out to be this wonderful special calling.

          • jamesh

            I think you’re confusing your version of Christianity with other people’s versions. As Dorfl says below “there are as many views of what Christianity is really all about as there are Christians.”

          • Steve Frank

            I think you’ve put your finger on it. I am trying to follow the Christianity laid out by the apostles who actually walked and talked with Jesus and wrote most of the New Testament. You are following a version of Christianity that believes people who came along 2,000 years later with new ideas have a better and morally superior understanding of genuine Christianity than the men who actually walked and talked with Christ.

          • jamesh

            You see this is the attitude you have which is really judgemental. It’s a perfect example of what I was referring to on Adrian’s previous blog post.

            All Christians are “trying to follow the Christianity laid out by the apostles who actually
            walked and talked with Jesus and wrote most of the New Testament.” It’s just that we do it differently to you, and have a different approach and understanding of it than you do.

          • Steve Frank

            James,

            You can’t even keep your story straight. Yesterday you told me that Paul and Jesus didn’t understand intersex, didn’t understand gender, didn’t know about XY chromosomes blah blah blah and so we need to look to modern wisdom to know what’s moral in the realm of sexuality, now you tell me that you really are following what was laid out by Christ and the apostles. Can you make up your mind whether the teachings of the apostles are authoritative? Who knows more about God’s expectations for moral behavior, the apostles who lived with Christ, or the sexual revolutionaries of the 21st century West?

          • jamesh

            “You can’t even keep your story straight.” Lol, that’s a good one 😉

            Absolutely “Paul and Jesus didn’t understand intersex, didn’t understand gender, didn’t know about XY chromosomes.” You’re getting me!

            “Can you make up your mind whether the teachings of the apostles are authoritative?”

            Like most Christians I pick & mix. Except I admit it and a lot of Christians don’t. But I genuinely want to follow the way of Christ and his teaching so I find it upsetting when you say I don’t 🙁

            I probably don’t have the same view of the Bible as you do though or necessarily believe all the ‘right’ doctrines. What I think is important as a Christian is how you treat your fellow man, how you love your neighbour. Do you walk by the homeless man on the street or do you stop and chat? Do you visit the sick in hospital etc. Am I displaying the fruits of the Spirit when I’m interacting with others? For me, this is what is important in the Christian walk.

            The question to ask is: does a requirement to believe in a particular doctrine make me a better person?

          • Steve Frank

            I won’t argue with your point that many Christians pick and choose but don’t admit it. So ok, I give you credit for being honest enough to admit you reject some of what the apostles taught. But that means you are conceding my earlier point that you do believe some liberal Christians 2,000 years removed from the source (the life of Christ) have a better understanding of the essence of his teaching that those who walked and talked with him. That just goes against historical common sense which says those closest to the source are likely to have the most accurate picture of an historical event. If you believe you can pick and choose apostolic teachings, then you believe those furthest away from the source know the most. And ok, I’ll admit that’s what many Christians do but won’t admit it. But it’s not genuine Christianity. If we know better than Christ and the apostles about moral matters, why even bother with the Church or the Bible? Why would you claim to follow a person or group who you think knows less about something than you do?

          • jamesh

            Yes, of course. If some people were teaching on the creation of the world 2000 years ago for example then along comes Darwin 2000 years later then we believe the latter. I just don’t understand why you think this is remotely controversial – it makes perfect sense to me!

            There is no chance that Jesus knew about chromosomes so he could never have envisioned there being more than a binary gender. It’s not his fault – he just didn’t know modern science.

            Genuine Christianity is a lot bigger than we think. I’ve been an evangelical all my life but I once attended an eastern orthodox service. It wasn’t my thing at all – but they would think that they have the ‘true’ Christianity!

            “If we know better than Christ and the apostles about moral matters, why even bother with the Church or the Bible?”

            I think you’re making a classic mistake here: you’re saying that if you throw one iota of the Bible out then you might as well throw the whole lot away. I don’t think like that: I think that the Bible contains a lot of good things that are useful for teaching and training in righteousness. I referenced the fruits of the Spirit above for example.

            “Why would you claim to follow a person or group who you think knows less about something than you do?”

            They won’t know everything there is to know – I think God still speaks today. It seems very arbitrary that people think that God stopped speaking 2000 years ago. Knowledge also accumulates over time. I don’t think Jesus knew how to use an iphone!

          • Timothy Kelley

            I think this touches on a very interesting philosophical point (which I find to be the foundation of most of my approach to Scripture) – is the truth of Christ limited by His experience and understanding of the world. I tend to think that the things Scripture speaks against are aimed at creating an overarching understanding of how to relate to the rest of humanity.

            Love God. Love people.

            I find that all of Scripture supports that. I do not find that our interpretation of all of Scripture also necessarily supports that.

            So..does the fact the Jesus would not know how to use an iPhone affect our understanding of how to engage with technology? Does the fact that Jesus probably didn’t know about the potential mutations of the XY chromosome affect how we should understand gender and sexuality? Are there universal truths that should apply?

            I think so. =)

            Thoughts?

          • Timothy Kelley

            This is a fascinating perspective to me, because it so easily discounts the influence of 2,000 years of believers who have influenced our interpretations with “new ideas” about those who walked and talked with Jesus. At the same time that you ridicule “new ideas” you fail to acknowledge that every idea related to Scripture (and even our collecting of letters that we refer to as Scripture) was “new” at one time.

          • radiofreerome

            Evangelicals set no example of abstinence. In the extreme hypothetical of the Middle Eastern Christian woman, even she didn’t know by 12 or 13 that she would be forceD to live her entire life alone and die alone.

            Moreover, even abstinent gays are be fired, thrown out of their homes, etc for an accident of birth. In the U.S. most Evangelicals have opposed allowing gays to have any of the protections from such discrimination that religious people enjoy. The Evangelical and Catholic attitude is clearly that they must punish the innocent so that they can punish the guilty. The issue is not abstinence, because abstinence is no protection from persecution by Evangelicals and other Christians.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      I’d like to know what words from a god would cause someone to leave their spouse. All I can get out of conservative Christian arguments is that Jesus will harm ss couples worse than Adolf Hitler ever could have. Therefore, they think staying faithful to one’s spouse would be the worst thing ever because no one can hurt anyone as badly as Jesus can. What kind of argument can they really hope to make arguing from the Bible when no god even argues for the support and a correct interpretation of any texts?

  • This post was a follow up post to one entitled ‘Why Christians should support International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia’ The comments section on that post is also extensive and well worth a look. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2015/05/why-christians-should-support-international-day-against-homophobia-lesbphobia-and-transphobia/

  • The church has not treated gay people badly, in general that is. If you think preaching against homosexuality is treating a gay person badly, then the church has treated lots of people badly. But you are wrong. Preaching against sin is not treating people badly. The gay lobby will not stop until it has taken away the tax-exempt status of churches and seminaries, and ended accreditation of biblically faithful seminaries. Adrian, you are making yourself out to be an enemy of God and the church on this issue.

    • Timothy Kelley

      The more of your posts I read, the more I want to be your gay friend that sits on your shoulder anytime you interact with a Christian so that I can tug on your ear when I have to translate what the church is saying to what it <> it is saying. That is where the church fails the LGBT community – an almost complete unwillingness to understand where they are coming from and what hurts about what the church says.

      It is possible to preach against homosexuality without treating the LGBT community poorly – but that is the exception, not the rule.

      • I don’t think its a big secret or particularly difficult to understand where the LGBT community is coming from. The minute you tell them one cannot be gay and Christian, which is absolutely the Christian position, you are called a bigot and a hater. The gay community does NOT want to be understood. They was to be joined in celebrating their homosexuality. Anything less than complete endorsement and celebration simply won’t due for them. IF you think otherwise, you are being incredibly naive or dishonest or a little of both.

        • Timothy Kelley

          Oh dear…right there…

          “The minute you tell them…”

          No, no, no…you are telling me that I cannot be Christian. Not “them,” but me.

          And I disagree strongly.

          • I am telling you what John said: The one who loves God but does not practice His commandments is a liar and does not know God. Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments. Paul said homosexuals will NOT inherit the kingdom of God. Jude equally clear in his description. Christians do not love sin. They love God. They delight in God’s law.

          • Timothy Kelley

            Oh dear…again…

            Our translation of Paul says that homosexual offenders will not inherit the kingdom of God…not homosexuals.

          • Yeah, about that…I use the Nestle Aland 28 Greek New Testament and the UBS Greek New Testament and that word “offenders” is an insertion that Paul NEVER wrote and there is no textual reason why it should appear in any english version of the Bible. But I bet you already knew that.

            ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoites) means the dominant partner in a same sex relationship. μαλακοὶ (malakoi) means the feminate partner in the same sex relationship.

            Romans 1 is a pretty clear description of the sort of behavior Paul had in mind. It is not up for debate. The text is clear.

          • Timothy Kelley

            And again…oh dear…

            The text is clear on many things, but not this. In fact, it is one of the significant disagreements in the debate that you claim is over. But I know you mean well.

          • The fact that there are significant disagreements over the text does not mean the text is not clear. Those disagreements arise from men who wish to impose modern philosophy on the ancient text. We know what the words mean. We know what a first century Jew thought about gay sex. False teachers dispute every point of Christianity at some point. That does not mean that Christianity is everywhere vague in what it is.

          • Timothy Kelley

            I’m sorry for my rather cavalier tone in every comment, but I have heard this all before. You see it “clearly” and I do not. But I acknowledge that I see through glasses that may well need cleaning, and you do not. I am gay and you are not.

            And yet you are confident, and I am not.

            I find SIGNIFICANT reason to distrust your judgment on this. As, I think, do many others – both gay and straight.

          • jamesh

            I completely agree that we know “what a first century Jew thought about gay sex.” And I don’t feel you need to go to the Greek to understand what the Bible says – that is why we have experts to do that for us.

            My problem is why you think it’s the Word of God in the first place! And it seems very arbitrary to believe that God only speaks to people in the middle-east and stopped speaking 2000 years ago. Why do you believe this is God’s final word to us?

          • The Bible holds itself out as THE STANDARD, the FINAL AUTHORITY, SELF-ATTESTING, SELF-AUTHENTICATING. The elect nation of Israel were given the authoritative Word of God in the Law and the Prophets and the Writings. Any prophet that prophesied, even accurately, if that prophet contradicted the Scriptures, he was to be put to death as a false prophet. Into the New Testament we come and with it a New Covenant arrangement. The teachings of Christ handed down to his closest followers along with their learnings from the Holy Spirit promised by Christ would serve as the authorized teachings of the Church. Anything that contradicted the final standard delivered by God through apostolic tradition, the faith, Scripture, is ipso facto false teaching. The New Testament Church was warned repeatedly that contradictors would come, false teachers, wolves, messengers of Satan who would give the appearance of light, but were inwardly dark.

            When God spoke in Scripture, it was not some internal voice that could have been confused with a person’s own psyche. It was an external voice actually talking to them. It was supernatural and it was obvious.

            If Scripture is not our final standard, then man is. And if man is our final standard we must ask which man? Once you realize the hopelessness of that path, you either end in a radical subjectivism where skepticism results or you stay on the safe path which is Scripture, standing over all of us, informing all of us about what is right, what is true, and how we should carry on.

          • jamesh

            The problem with being “SELF-ATTESTING, SELF-AUTHENTICATING” is that people call that circular reasoning. If a Harry Potter book said it was the word of God would you believe that?! I have a good muslim friend and he tells me that the Koran is the final word of God too. Do you believe that?

            I believe you have to wrestle with the Bible and engage your brain. If the Bible was really dictated why are there so many errors in it? Unless the Holy Spirit had some off days or something 😉

          • All reasoning is circular. It either begins with God and works back to God or it begins with man and works back to man. That is unavoidable.

            Your analogy fails because it lacks the supernatural witness of the Spirit that supports its claim. Do you NOT understand that Christianity is a religion of the supernatural? The Christian religion is not the product of unaided human reason nor is it subject to the standards of justification adopted by such ungodly, unregenerate reasoning. I would not expect you to understand. Unregenerate men simply cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God and this is definitely one of those things.

          • jamesh

            I think it’s you who’s the unregenerate one. The fruit of the Spirit just isn’t obvious from your posts.

            All reasoning is not circular. Scientists start with a theory and then find evidence to support it. You are claiming that your Holy Book is God’s word to man without offering any proof for it.

          • Scientists cannot start with a theory without having a paradigm that produces the theory. Have you ever looked at the philosophy of science, ever!

            You don’t get to redefine what is the fruit of the Spirit. Accepting gay sex is not a sign that someone loves Jesus. rest of comment removed due to its tone and content as breaching comment policy.

          • jamesh

            I think it’s you who is redefining the fruit of the Spirit! I think you need to go away and read that bit of the Bible and re-read your posts in light of that and see if you can do better in future! You may be able to read Hebrew and Greek but if you don’t have love then you are just a clanging symbol.

          • I do have love…for the truth…for Christ…for Christ’s Church…for my brothers and sisters in Christ…and for unregenerate humans who need Christ. But you are a different sort. You and your gay minions who wish to corrupt the Church are different. You want to destroy that which I love. You want the Church to embrace that which is unholy, which God hates, which God rejects. And for that reason, you are marked as the worse sort of human. It is not because of your sexual preference, but because of what you want to do to the Church. You are rejected concerning the faith, useless, a child of hell, destined for judgment if you remain obstinate. Nothing you can say, no argument, no rhetoric, propaganda, or clever nonsense will change that.

          • jamesh

            What you love is not God and is not godly. You love being able to pour hatred onto others. Your ‘love’ is from the pit, it comes from the Other Guy. You need to repent and turn your back on your life of hate – but I dare say you have hardened your heart 🙁

            Do try reading 1 Corinthians 13 about what love is and I pray it melts your heart. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

          • True love is keeping God’s commandments, loving God’s law, and telling people the truth. It is loyalty to Christ, to His Church and it is being honest enough to confront people that need confronting. If God hates gay sex, as Scripture says He does, my actions regarding your claim that He embraces it are perfectly consistent with Christian love rightly understood.

          • radiofreerome

            You’re reading the intralinear translation and the foot notes. You’re illiterate in Classical Greek, so you accept the pablum fed to you by imvompetent and biased scholars as absolute truth because it suits your hatreds.

            I’ve been reading Classical Greek since the age of 14.

            The translation of the words you write about is by no means clear. Moreover you haven’t the integrity or the competence to post literal translations and to argue for your translations which are unsupported by any other extant sources in classical literature.

          • Scripture was written in Koine Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic and I do read those languages. Classical Greek and Koine Greek are not the same thing. In fact, there are remarkable differences between the two.

            It is obvious that you are babbling about nothing, striking at the air.

            Christianity will not modify itself like American culture has done. You are fighting a losing battle. The Church of Jesus Christ will NEVER compromise the truth for you or anyone else. 2,000 years of Church history demonstrates that the true Church would be put to death before she compromises the teachings of her Lord. And Jesus reassured us that the gates of hell (your world) will NOT prevail against the Church. Get your marriage licenses in this idiotic country if that is what you want. Do as you please. You will never be a practicing homosexual AND Christian. Never! Argue all you want you bag of wind. Nothing will change the facts of God’s kingdom and those who are in it. Christians, true, born-again Christians will NEVER accept your claim to faith, and they WILL NEVER celebrate your perverse sexual behavior regardless of what you do. This is not a battle you can win. We know what you REALLY want is to eradicate any and all opposition so that everyone with air in their lungs are celebrating your wicked lifestyle. You will NEVER get what you really want. NEVER!

          • radiofreerome

            Koine is much easier to read than Classical Greek. The Gospel of John is trivial in comparison to The Odyssey, as is the Gospel of Luke.

            “Peace on Earth to people of good will.”
            The Gospel of Luke

            I guess that leaves you out, given that your a person of ill will.

          • Ὁ λόγος γὰρ ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοις μωρία ἐστίν, τοῖς δὲ σῳζομένοις ἡμῖν δύναμις θεοῦ ἐστιν.

            ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔγνω ὁ κόσμος διὰ τῆς σοφίας τὸν θεόν, εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεὸς διὰ τῆς μωρίας τοῦ κηρύγματος σῶσαι τοὺς πιστεύοντας

            I guess it does.

        • jamesh

          “The minute you tell them one cannot be gay and Christian, which is
          absolutely the Christian position, you are called a bigot and a hater.”

          Am afraid that’s true. You are!

          • I have some very bad news for you. You don’t get to define what a hater is. You could not make your case if your life depended on it. Here is your claim:

            To be opposed to gay sex is to hate gay people. Let’s see if that can be extended to other things. To be against sex with dogs is to hate dogs. False. To be against sex between a father and a daughter is to hate the father and the daughter. False. To be against fornication is to hate people who have sex without being married. False. To oppose polygamy is to hate polygamists. False.

            If your claim is true, then everyone is a hater because everyone has some behavior that they are opposed to or disagree with. To oppose the republican platform is to hate republicans. To oppose atheists is to hate atheists. You are just as much a bigot and hater as the Christians you claim are haters because you are opposed to their religious belief which means you HATE everyone who disagrees with gay sex.

            Your argument is painfully stupid and the only reason it has worked is because so many Americans are just stupid people whose critical thinking has been dumped and replaced with reality shows, video games, and social media.

          • jamesh

            Lol, your arguments are specious. If you don’t support gay people being able to get married like straight people are then you’re a hater. We’re not talking about marrying dogs!

          • It is so much easier to say that an argument is specious that it is to demonstrate it.

            So what your saying is that you can prohibit others from marriage arrangements that violate your principles. For example, could a brother and sister marry? A mom and her son? A threesome? Two couples? What principle would you invoke that would also not nullify gay marriage?

          • jamesh

            Lol, polygamy is even in the Bible. Maybe you’d have to be able to read Hebrew rather than Greek though!

  • radiofreerome

    Dr. Warnock, as a physician you live by the principle “Primum non nocere.” First do no harm. I appreciate your efforts to apply this to your religious practice.

    • Tell Jesus that and John the Baptist, and the rest of the apostles and prophets.

      • radiofreerome

        I see you’re still preaching from the Gospel of St, Bastard, as Ediie Izzard would say.

  • It does not matter that outsiders do not believe the Christian community is misinterpreting her own Scriptures. How is that relevant to what the Bible actually says and the way it says it? It isn’t. The Scriptures belong to the Church and can only be understood by the Church through the activity of the Holy Spirit which begins at regeneration. Your understanding of Christianity is outrageously flawed. You should refrain from writing about such matters. Teachers or teachers-wanna-be will come under greater scrutiny.

    Anyone who does not understand the gay demands as it relates to Christianity is not a very honest person. Gay people want complete endorsement and celebration. And they will destroy religious freedom in this country if they do not get their way. We are watching it transpire before our eyes.

    When you say “it doesn’t work” I do not know what you mean. There are thousands of gay men and women who convert to Christ and repent of the gay lifestyle. Seems to be working just as God intended. The most dangerous enemies of the Christian faith in American culture come from the gay community.

    • Timothy Kelley

      And again, you set up a beautiful straw man argument for the gay lifestyle while simultaneously revealing a stark ignorance of the “gay lifestyle.”

      “Anyone who does not understand the gay demands as it relates to Christianity is not a very honest person.”

      This is surprisingly accurate, and something you should take to heart.