Eugene Peterson and the Exodus from Biblical Christianity

Eugene Peterson and the Exodus from Biblical Christianity July 13, 2017

In an interview with Jonathan Merritt, Eugene Peterson openly expressed that if he were still pastoring, he would have no qualms performing a same-sex wedding ceremony for a “…gay couple in [his] church who were Christians of good faith.” The veritable “who’s who” of gay-affirming “Christians” have exploded with affirmation and enthusiasm over the apparent switch of biblical ethics on the issue of marriage by Eugene Peterson. Rachel Held Evans, in her classic style, quickly moved to question whether or not the patriarchy would condemn Patterson as quickly as they did Jen Hatmaker. Patheos’ own Progressive Channel writer, Benjamin Corey, also expressed similar thoughts, sans the RHE reference to the patriarchy.

Other conservative authors, such as Russell Moore have also weighed in, asking if we Should Still Read Eugene Peterson. Or, like Preston Sprinkle, some are essentially yawning and shrugging away the statement from Eugene Peterson on Same-Sex Marriage. While much of what Moore writes is excellent, his closing thoughts that Eugene Peterson is a wise, gentle Christian is highly problematic. The same can be said of Sprinkle’s treatment – in that much of what he writes is solid content and biblically faithful, yet the implication seems to be that Peterson can perform a same-sex wedding ceremony and not be clear upon his stance of the issue itself. It would seem no other voices affirming gay-marriage have any confusion over Peterson’s seal of approval.

Yet the more problematic point in both of these pieces is that in some scope, there is still the pass Peterson gets, as if he can maintain these problematic views and still be a functioning, God-honoring Christ follower. This notion is absolutely foreign to the Scriptures and a dangerous assumption to make for one maintaining a biblical ethic, let alone a biblical, sexual ethic. Why? We are dealing with matter of primacy, in that no man is free to cavalierly dismiss the flagrant nature of sin or the very real danger of apostasy. Apostasy is a thing which no man may come back from.

When we are dealing with issues such as these, we must be willing to ask the appropriate questions and then land firmly in the appropriate conclusions, making clear that embracing certain theological arguments can necessarily disqualify one from the faith. Secondly, an attitude of hand-waving towards others who hold such positions does not engender a proper reflection on the reality of the situation. There is a proper lament Christians should have when sin is winked at.

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” John Bunyan

At this point we aren’t truly discussing if the unrepentant one heralding same sex unions and claiming Christ is holding to a legitimate form of Christianity anymore. There is no such beast as the “Progressive Christian” known in the Scriptures. You can call it nearly everything you like – save Christianity. It is, by all standards of biblical and rational thought – a different religion altogether. There is no middle ground; there is no murky water; there is no forgiveness for flagrant, defiant, rebellion.

Affirmation of homosexuality, no matter how many qualifiers, subtleties, and anecdotal evidences are brought to the discussion, denies the possibility of legitimate faith for the unrepentant. Likewise, the Scriptures are equally clear upon the one who remains unrepentant in affirming sin. They do not worship the God revealed in the Scriptures. They do not know the Christ whom was sent by the Father for the forgiveness of sins. They have not experienced the indwelling and illumination of the Spirit who testifies of this Christ. They may have appeared to take root in the soil, yet the soil proved rocky; the cares and concerns of this age caused the seedling to die.

The hard truth of the matter is that those in positions of influence advocating for God’s acceptance of homosexuality, are man-pleasers. What a pitiably poor prize to reap with the loss of one’s soul. The equally hard truth is that those who heap up such teachers and praise them in their infidelity to the truth, are seeking to have their ears tickled. Though professing to have a love of the Father, there is no love of Him found within them, for they do not love His commands.

Part of the issue is found in this very concept: obedience to God’s commands genuinely displays a love of God. It is not that the Christian obeys in order to be saved. Rather, it is that a genuine Christian will obey because they are saved; Christians not only have a vested moral interest in obedience to the commands of Scripture – they have a desire to do so. It pleases them to please the Father, just as it shames them to bring the Father shame by making a mockery of the spilt blood of the risen Savior.

Within this one finds the particular function of and restrictions upon sexual intimacy – a topic the Scriptures deal with in great profundity. Rather than spend time focusing on several instances, the key text we will look at is 1 Cor. 6:15-20.

The overarching point of vv. 15-17 is not marriage itself, but living in a holy union with the Lord. In this though, the context is immediately applicable within the sexual nature of a marriage, which is evidenced as the only context where such relations are not only permissible, but also encouraged in the following chapter. In this then, we see these verses not as a condemnation of the sexual act itself, but the joining of the covenant community, which is consecrated, with those who are not part of that covenant community, by way of sexual deviancy. The context specifically indicates that one’s individual body does not belong to them, but the Lord – and given the plain indication that practitioners of such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God, there is little question why Paul ties in the event of the resurrection here.

The usage of Genesis 2:24 embedded in Paul’s argument falls within the framework of the creation narrative, meaning that the argument at hand bears a timeless quality and draws a specific distinction between the sexual union in marriage and that of sexual union with the prostitute. The idea being fairly clear: the person is taking that which has been consecrated and grafted into the body of Christ and ripping it from that context, and joining it with that which is set for destruction. To put it more bluntly, the sexually immoral one is joining their own body, which is conjoined to the body of Christ (and to Christ Himself), in defilement of these unions by having sex outside of the confines of biblical marriage. To be sure, homosexuality is not the only means by which one can defile their union with Christ and His body – but the stark picture here serves to illustrate that sex truly is an act of worship, consecrated by God.

Sex is  inherently worth much more than the pleasure derived from it and intrinsically linked between one man and one woman and their union with Christ. It conveys a depth of meaning tied to the inseparable bond of biblical marriage and the mystery of this union in relation to the salvation afforded to the redeemed. Thus, any expression outside of that sacred bond is not only against the creation ordinance, but betrays the unity one has with God in one spirit. In other words, this offense is not a private sin at all; it adds a corporate dimension to the nature of sexual sin because the offender naturally affects those whom he is joined together with in that body.

In this, Paul suggests quite clearly that due to the singular body (the individual) belonging to the Lord and that these constituent parts are summarily of the whole body (the church) – this is not left to the realm of a metaphysical dualism of person-hood, in a separation of the physical and spiritual dimensions. It also annihilates the idea of the individual person being removed from the corporate gathering of God’s people (the church). The collective body, that is, those who are believers, are joined with one another and with the Lord; therefore, their practice in sexual immorality brings us back to the overarching reason for abstention: the collective body of believers is the temple of the Lord and entering into this form of dualism ushers forth a perspective of singular autonomy – making a mockery of the crucifixion, the forthcoming resurrection of believers, and the unity of the church in the bond of the Spirit.

The lie this generation wishes to package up with a neatly tied bow is that the individual who does not express themselves sexually is somehow less of a person. If this were not the case, sexuality itself would not be defined as an identity. Yet one finds a wide and ever-growing swath of expressions in their sexual identity, all of which lend credibility to the idea of one’s personhood being confirmed in these sexual expressions.  In a manner that defies all cultural expectations, self-proclaimed rights, and definitions of identity, Christ claims dominion.

The fullest and only true expression of identity is found within the person of Christ and the collective body of believers He has brought together in His gospel. Anything less than this not only deviates from the rich heritage of the historic church, but fundamentally denies Christ’s Lordship over every single aspect of our lives. The reality of the matter at hand is that being blood-bought children of God requires such children to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Now, the deeds of the flesh are obvious, as Paul already mentions in 1 Cor. 6:9-11, yet the idea is that any who are sexually immoral can find forgiveness and justification through Christ. They can be cleansed and set apart for His purposes so that they may glorify God in their bodies, and bring honor to those whom they are joined in fellowship with.

In the end, the expressions of Eugene Peterson, if they prove unrepentant, and whomever else will inevitably follow won’t make an iota of difference on that Last Day. They will not shake the foundations of the church; they will not revoke the applicability and authority of the Scriptures; they will not leave the Lord in shambles as they apostatize and demonstrate whom their father truly is. They went out from us because they were never of us. At some point we must be willing to look upon someone and rightly deduce if they have become apostate.

Update: Apparently, Eugene Peterson has retracted his earlier “yes” to being willing to perform a same-sex marriage, though this doesn’t seem to give any more clarity to an actual repudiation of homosexuality:

In his retraction, the 84-year-old said that in nearly three decades as a pastor and the years since, “I’ve never performed a same-sex wedding. I’ve never been asked and, frankly, I hope I never am asked.”

“This reporter, however, asked a hypothetical question: if I were pastoring today and if a gay couple were Christians of good faith and if they asked me to perform their wedding ceremony—if, if, if. Pastors don’t have the luxury of indulging in hypotheticals,” said Peterson. “And to be honest, no is not a word I typically use.”

Peterson went on to say that because of the biblical view of marriage, he would not marry a same-sex couple:

When put on the spot by this particular interviewer, I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage. That said, I would still love such a couple as their pastor. They’d be welcome at my table, along with everybody else.

What does “welcome at my table” mean? The Lord’s Supper? The dinner table? If the latter, of course; if the former, that’s no retraction at all. His other quote referencing the grace of God still does not indicate in a decisive manner whether God requires actual obedience to abstain from being a practicing homosexual. Truthfully, the statement is so open that it doesn’t indicate if any professing Christian should abide in obedience.

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  • Iain Lovejoy

    You assume what you argue: that homosexual sex is in all circumstances sinful. Nobody actually disagrees that Christians shouldn’t engage in sexual sin.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Of course I assume it. The Scriptures make it painfully obvious that this is sin, just as it does any other form of sexual immorality.

      • Iain Lovejoy

        You think it “painfully obvious”, others think it’s not there at all. Just asserting something is “painfully obvious” isn’t an argument that it is true.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Paul seems to have no issues saying that the deeds of the flesh are apparent. The Scriptures really don’t present this issue with any cloudiness – no one advocating for monogamous homosexual acts has a legitimate exegetical, biblical, or historical case to make.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            So you say. The difficulty is that affirming arguments derive from the character of God as revealed in Jesus being used to interpret the about three passages in the Bible that may bear directly on the issue, but this simply doesn’t register in your theology: if you think God deliberately engineers the sin he allegedly hates in order to be able to display his “justice” by eternally tormenting those he created for the purpose of doing so, you can’t be expected to even understand arguments for affirmation for those by nature otherwise incapable of marriage based on God’s loving nature, justice or care for his creatures. If God’s commands are arbitrary, arguments as to how to interpret them based on the reasons for them or effects are irrelevant.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I just don’t have the energy to continually try and get you to stop portraying Calvinistic doctrine falsely. If you can’t be bothered to accurately represent this doctrine’s views, we can’t actually have a legitimate conversation. We’ve been over this so many times before.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            The trouble is you do not set out your own doctrine clearly, or make essentially contentless distinctions.
            “John Calvin held a view on predestination sometimes referred to as “double predestination.” This is the view that God has actively chosen some people for damnation as well as for salvation.”
            Is this extract (from Wikipedia) correct or not?
            “All events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God.” Therefore, “nothing happens but what [God] has knowingly and willingly decreed.”
            Quote from Calvin himself. (This therefore includes decreeing by “secret counsel” that people should sin, and you yourself in replies time have confirmed you believe this.)
            John Piper on how this scheme of intending people sin then punishing them for it “glorifies” God.
            If I have mistakenly attributed the above Calvinist beliefs to you, and you are not in fact a strict Calvinist in the above sense, say so. But stop saying I am “misrepresenting” your views because you don’t like the way setting them out clearly and accurately without theological flannel makes them look bad.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I am saying you misrepresent my views because you reach wildly asinine connclusions about what the doctrine teaches, even though nearly every single Calvinist in history would reject them. Though to be sure, this doesn’t stop you from projecting these wildly asinine conclusions upon the adherents as if they believe such things.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            Well I did just quote Calvin himself, and John Piper, both of whom would probably qualify as Calvinists, but if you think they are “asinine” I am not going to disagree with you…

          • Gilsongraybert

            And that is literally the perfect example you can give to twist my words. Thank you

          • Iain Lovejoy

            Instead of throwing about words like “asinine”, just tell me whether I have got this right or not.
            Double predestination (which Calvin and many Calvinists believe) is as I understand it the belief that God creates people to be “reprobate” determined in advance to be sentenced to hell.
            It is also as I understand it Calvinist doctrine that God directs everything by his “secret counsel” so that it is part of his deliberate purpose that people sin (this is my Calvin quote). Finally, it is apparently to display his justice and glory, and goodness to those he doesn’t send to hell that he does so (at least that was John Piper’s take on it in my link).

          • Gilsongraybert

            Look, at the end of the day – Calvinism is not a primary doctrine and there are other views on this that won’t disqualify one from eternal life. Affirmation of sin will. That, to me, is the bigger fish to fry than Calvinism in your case.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            You do it again. You accuse people of “affirmation of sin” when they disagree with you as to what is and is not a sin. I am certainly pretty relaxed, however, about your views on whether I “qualify” for eternal life.

    • SamVBar

      I will shun the very appearance of evil as per the Bible and I believe homosexuality to be evil and sinful. I will not judge them because the judgment is left to GOD and his son, Jesus. I would not want the job of judging in the Day of Judgment.

      • Iain Lovejoy

        I wouldn’t want the job of judging on judgement day either. If I am wrong I think I am better off being wrong because I overestimated the breadth of God’s love and mercy than underestimated it.

  • Clifford Ishii

    Fortunately Biblical Christians have the power of discernment and do not have to follow our leaders blindly (I.e. affirmation of homosexuality).

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    Even more confusing: *Christianity Today* has just reported the Eugene Peterson has retracted his controversial remarks (see here:

  • Rich Zebro

    I reflect on the time of the Babylonian exile and how many hundreds or thousands of Israelites were gathered around the idol of King Nebuchadnezzar yet only three refused to compromise their faith, trust and loyalty to God’s Word.

    • SamVBar

      And they were tossed into the Fiery Furnace where no man or beast could survive but the three walked out without even a singed hair on their heads or the clothes they wore. They were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

  • Ellen Gilmartin

    Let’s admit that the Bible calls some heterosexual behavior sin, and calls some homosexual behavior sin. In the past, some of our brothers and sisters actually went so far as to teach that all sexual behavior was sinful. (Those groups died out in one generation). The Bible says it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone. It states that people are either male or female, but many are intersex. This is complicated. Many people do not wink at sin, and yet disagree strongly that homosexuality is a sin, or that any homosexual behavior is always necessarily sinful. Do you not admit that we had many people just as apoplectic over the suggestion that slavery was sinful, or that the Bible may not condemn interracial marriage? This is a disputable matter. The author of this article is not a better, more Biblical Christian than those who fit the “progressive” label, and may be less of one.

    • SamVBar

      Wrong Ellen, the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek does not say it is not good for a man to lay with a man or a woman with a man. The Bible says in Leviticus 18:22 (ASV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Be careful of the Bible that you use and read. The truest version of the Bible is of course Hebrew and Greek but since we don’t all speak those two languages we should get the Greek or Hebrew Bible that allows us to follow the KJV scriptures and ensure that they do not deviate from the original scriptures. The new version of the Bible changes words and makes it sound like GOD doesn’t mind that man and man have sexual relations or that woman and woman have sexual relations or that either sex have sexual relations with animals. The Prince of Darkness deceives with words that he wants you to use over and over so that they sound right. But he is deceiving you.

      • Iain Lovejoy

        The Hebrew is not as unequivocal as you might like: the phrase translated in the KJV as “mankind” actually says “a man” (singular) and “as with womankind” actually says “the beds of a woman” in Hebrew (with no “as”). The verse reads something like “You shall not lie with a man where a woman lies / should be lying.” This could be read as meaning (a) two men should not lie together in a woman’s bed (b) you should not cheat on your wife with a man or (c) you should not take a man to bed when you should be taking a woman. Only (c) would be condemning homosexuality per se at all, and it would still be open to assume an exception for someone for whom due to his sexual orientation, there was never going to be a woman there.

        • Jesse H

          You seem to miss the metaphor. The context of Lev.18 make clear that sexual action is implied.

          While it’s true that “sleeping together” doesn’t necessarily mean sex, everyone knows what “sleeping together” means.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            I agree (a) is unlikely for that reason. I would consider (b) most likely as it is the woman who appears the focus not the man. Much of this section of the law seems concerned with purity and pollution: the concern may be that if a man has sex with a man, and then has sex with his wife, he is polluting his wife with the other man.

    • SamVBar

      Ellen, you jumped around a lot but you did cover a lot of things that make a person have second thoughts about what is condoned and what is not. I cannot find anything in the Bible that makes a statement about sex between a man and a woman being a sin or the manner in which they perform the sex a sin but I have my own beliefs of what may not please GOD if the Christian does in fact involve him or herself in that type of sexual acts. You don’t hear of the Bible condemning Interracial Marriage. If you note King David married Bathsheba, and it is insinuate that she was black. She was known throughout the kingdom as one of the most beautiful of all women. The Bible is to be read with an understanding and to do so with the help of the Lord through prayer. The Bible is at some places hard to understand but that only means that the passage or the verse must be read several times to receive its clarity.

  • Carlos Santiago

    Sin for the Gentile is not the checklist of 600 plus laws to follow. Sin by definition are those activities who practice leads away from the Father. Not all activities have the same results for all people. If a homosexual couple serves the Father by being married who are we to judge? We need to remind ourselves to take the log out of our own eye and encourage others to serve Christ first.

    • SamVBar

      Carlos, the Bible speaks to the topic of homosexuality and GOD is most emphatic in his reaction to the mating of the same sex. He through the speakers said that man and man is an abomination unto to GOD. That did not mean that homosexuals and their male partners could go to church as a couple or as a married couple without breaking the word of GOD. The same goes for woman and woman and the verse includes the sex that might be had with animals by both the male and the female.Leviticus 18:22 (ASV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

      • jamesparson

        Leviticus 20:13 further says

        “If a man also lie with
        mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an
        abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be
        upon them.”

        Should we have the death penalty for gay people?

        Leviticus 11:12 says

        “Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”

        What should be done with people who unrepentantly eat shrimp?

        • Monty

          The law of the Old Testament only applied to Israel. Jesus brought in grace and truth. He did not condone sin, but He did not condemn the sinner. The adulteress He set free. He also said, “sin no more”. God also removed food prohibitions for Christians. I eat bacon regularly! A lot of the food prohibitions were health related. For example, oysters tend to absorb heavy metals that are really bad for us. That can be tested nowadays so what we eat is generally fine. If you are not an Israelite or a Christian, do as you please. Just be aware that there are consequences for every action. No, we do not promote the death penalty for immorality. That is left to Islam.

          • jamesparson

            Thanks for the clarification. Is there a web page that lists which of the 614 or so OT commandments apply and which don’t?

          • Monty

            It was a great controversy in the early church because the gentiles had no idea about the law. Jewish Christians took a while to come to terms with the new covenant. In Acts 15:9 we read:
            “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those
            who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.”

            The formation of the church was different from the way that Israel came about. The church was founded on principles of love, mercy and grace, not law. But sin is not condoned. I confess a personal interest in the debate about homosexuality. I had a Christian friend who was an active homosexual before he got saved. He turned away from that lifestyle, got married and had a couple of kids. He backslid and went back to his old ways. He contracted AIDS and it killed him. He repented before he passed away but he left behind a shattered family and a wasted life.

          • Mark

            Perhaps he relapsed because he was living a sham life as a heterosexual.

          • Monty

            Homosexuality is simply rebellion against one of the fundamentals of God’s creation. He created us male, and female, not male, female and “whatever”. He told Adam and Eve to have children and fill the earth with humanity. That command was before they rebelled against God. Same sex couples cannot fulfill God’s command. They cannot have children. If all people were homosexuals, there would be no human race. I do not believe homosexuals should be killed. That was under the old covenant which has been replaced. I’ll leave that to Muslims. However, sin is sin. Adultery, sleeping around, murder, thieving – a lot of stuff is sinful. Sin can be forgiven. What is no acceptable to God is a sinful lifestyle. If there is no repentance there is no forgiveness. How can you be forgiven for something you refuse to acknowledge as wrong?

          • Monty

            Then why did he repent on his deathbed? He knew that his behaviour was wrong and sought forgiveness.

  • Brad

    This blog provides no ‘chorus’ in the present chaos. Although I don’t agree with EP, the author here seems way too convinced of himself to justify my time reading this blog. Over and out.

    • George

      Yet you took time to respond.

  • tmarsh0307


    While I agree with much of what you have written, this paragraph bothers me:

    “Affirmation of homosexuality, no matter how many qualifiers, subtleties, and anecdotal evidences are brought to the discussion, denies the possibility of legitimate faith for the unrepentant. Likewise, the Scriptures are equally clear upon the one who remains unrepentant in affirming sin. They do not worship the God revealed in the Scriptures. They do not know the Christ whom was sent by the Father for the forgiveness of sins. They have not experienced the indwelling and illumination of the Spirit who testifies of this Christ. They may have appeared to take root in the soil, yet the soil proved rocky; the cares and concerns of this age caused the seedling to die.”

    You state that the affirmation of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, same-sex marriage, etc. as the cliff which the Christian falls into apostasy.

    What other “sins” would you consider apostate for Christianity?

    For instance, rejecting parts of the Sermon on the Mount (I’m thinking enemy love and non-retaliation specifically, but any portion of it will do) – does that put someone in danger of apostasy?

    What about divorce, re-marriage and extra-marital affairs? What about legalism? Or, as you have labeled yourself “reformed,” what about the rejection of the notion of predestination (or, let’s call it what it is, double-predestination?) What about nationalism?

    I think that I would be careful not to charge those who affirm the Lordship of Christ and also affirm same-sex marriage as apostate. After all, I am certain that not a single one of us who follow Christ are not in need of grace.

    • Monty

      God saves sinners. The sinner needs to acknowledge that he is a sinner before God will save him. No sin is better or worse in any respect except for the consequences for the sinner. A murderer will end up in prison while someone who is lazy might lose their job. However, being “saved” is just the intro for something vastly more important – the Kingdom of God.

      “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of
      God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
      adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

      Homosexuality is sin and disqualifies the person from the Kingdom of God. So does a whole lot of other sins. Those who think that they can commit adultery and get away with it are deceived, as are homosexuals and those who sleep around. If you want to know why the church is falling apart and Islam is rising like a toxic tide, you have part of the answer. “Because of the increase in lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold”. That is referring to Christians. The world knows nothing of real love and the world has always been lawless. The idea that we can “Love God and do as we please” is garbage. The good news is that the born again again Christian has the indwelling Christ to be his victory and overcoming in the time of trial. We may fail and sin, but we are forgiven. That is NOT an excuse to live a morally slack life! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

    • Monty

      Many will say “Lord, Lord” but only those who do the will of God get the “well done good and faithful servant” greeting. I know a guy who taught his budgie to say “Jesus is Lord”. I know people who say the same thing, with about as much sincerity as the budgie. “By their fruits you shall know them”. And yes, i am a sinner and as prone to fall as anyone else. I am as dependent on grace now as I was the day I was born again, 45 years ago. What I do not do is try to excuse behaviour that is sinful as if it was acceptable, just a lifestyle choice or some other reason to reject the will of God. Yes, unforgiveness is wicked yet many Christians are bound by it. There are many attitudes that are sinful. That does not make homosexuality right.

  • tmarsh0307

    Oh, and I just thought of these:

    What about the wars fought by the Reformers against the Catholics and then against each other (the Thirty Years war between Protestants and Catholics was the bloodiest war per-capita in the history of Europe!)? What about the mass persecution of Baptists and Anabaptists in Europe by those following Zwingli and Calvin? What about the slaughter of native Americans in the name of Christ and manifest destiny…aren’t those sins worthy of apostasy?

    • Monty

      There is a great deal of sham Christianity, which I call “Christianism”. No Christian I know or have ever heard of thinks that the bloodshed you speak of was acceptable to God. “You shall not kill” is right there in the 10 commandments. Jesus updated it. Even if you hate your brother you are as much a murderer as if you had carried out the deed. I don’t know what went through the minds of those who perpetrated these crimes. It is hard to imagine that they were Christians in reality.

      • tmarsh0307

        Good thoughts, but I really don’t buy the “they weren’t really Christians” argument. I mean, who can determine that? Obviously, they don’t reflect what I consider Christianity, but maybe they thought they were doing right.

        My questions are merely rhetorical. What do we consider to be apostate sins and what sins do not lead to apostasy?

        • Monty

          Sin is not apostasy. Apostasy is renouncing what you once declared to be true regarding the Lord Jesus. It seems to me that apostates sin rather than the sin leading to apostasy. If anyone loves to sin, I seriously doubt that they are born again, whatever doctrine they hold to. “Whatever is born of God does not sin”. Paul gives a list of sinful behaviours that disqualify a person from inheriting the Kingdom of God. My belief is that you must be born again to see the Kingdom of God but that being born again does not guarantee that you will enter. This is a massive subject, so its difficult to enlarge on it here.

  • John W. Morehead

    Why must we conservative evangelical Christianity so us vs. them and all or nothing in terms of all kinds of doctrinal proportions? And where in the history of the creeds was sexual orientation listed as a part orthodoxy? This position is uncharitable and more pharisaical than gracious and Christlike.

  • John W. Morehead
  • About 3-5 % of any population is likely to have a same-sex orientation. The bible seems to say that heterosexuals who engage in homosexual behaviour are “living in sin”. But it doesn’t say anything about those who are born with a same-sex orientation. Is this because no-one is ever born with a same-sex orientation or is it because the biblical writers were ignorant of this?

    The OT applies capital punishment for same-sex behaviour. The NT says that heterosexuals who engage in homosexual behaviour will not inherit the kingdom of God. But what of people who are born with a same-sex orientation? You don’t recognise even the possibility that this might be so.

    • Jesse H

      You are correct that the Bible doesn’t affirm the possibility of same-sex orientation. And the reason it doesn’t is that what the Bible does affirm is that sinful behavior comes from a sinful nature. We do actually have a natural propensity to sin, there is no “orientation” or nature which excuses it. I have a natural orientation to want to lie, steal, be selfish, covetous and promiscuous, does this excuse these sins? Naturally it doesn’t.