The Church and Politics: Responding to Gay Marriage Proposals

I’ve been working on a new series on faith and works (no surprise to those who got the “Oops” post, I know). And so I’ve not really had much time to ponder the profundities of President Obama’s decision to support gay marriage.

However, others have, and I thought it might be worthwhile to point out some thoughtful — though disagreeing — posts on the subject.

The Top 8 Ways To Be ‘Traditionally Married’ According To The Bible, by Adam Mordecai.

I don’t think “traditional marriage” means what you think it means.

New form of Christian civic engagement, by Jonathan Merritt in USA Today.

 A distinctive way of being Christian in the public square — a softer, less partisan way — is emerging. And this cultural change could be the very thing our faith needs to survive.

A Plea to Christians About Our Response to Obama and Homosexual Marriage, by Dan Bouchelle.

I’m not saying the historic rejection of homosexuality by Israel and the church should be overturned in this age of “enlightenment.”  I’m saying the church’s obsession with this issue has hurt the gospel more than helped it.

Same-Sex Marriage and Shades of Grey, by Mark Woodward.

And the Creator God who defines the essence of reality (Truth) by His Word has set homosexuality outside of that which is pronounced “Good!”  The question is not about choice, nor about love, nor about equal rights, but rather about submission.

Next, here are a couple of older posts of mine that bear on the subject –

The Romans One Argument

The 1 Corinthians 5 Argument

Now, I struggle with this one. A lot.

Do we figure gay marriage, sanctioned by the state, is an example of God’s turning the lost over to their own morality, revealing how non-Christian morality violates God’s created order (as in Romans 1)? If so, then the last thing we should do is interfere with God’s choice to let the lost live separated from God, without the benefit of his wisdom and direction.

After all, we are forbidden from judging the lost in 1 Corinthians 5.

Or do we stand in the shoes of the Old Testament prophets defending those who are harmed by gay marriage? Is this a “widows and orphans” sort of thing where the church stands for the voiceless victims? If so, then who are the victims?

And that is not a rhetorical question but, to me, the core question. What about children who might be adopted by a gay couple? How would they fare in such a home? What about children born to a gay couple? Is it a healthy environment? What are the facts? (And in such a politicized area, can we trust the research?)

Then, as some of the articles point out, there’s a real strategic question here. If the church is perceived as anti-civil rights, does pushing an anti-gay-agenda hurt our ability to convert people? Does it hurt our Christian witness? I’m sure it does among the young, but …

… Is gay marriage — like homosexual sex — an area where God has spoken and we have no choice but to stand for what is right, regardless of the consequences? Is this one of those “obey God rather than man” moments?

What do you think?

Avatar of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
This entry was posted in Church & Politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

160 Responses to The Church and Politics: Responding to Gay Marriage Proposals

  1. While I don’t fully agree with Dan Bouchelle’s take, he does make one important point. If the church is going to wink at greed and dishonesty and selfishness and exclusion among its own members, it is hypocrisy for it to make a stir about homosexuality. Or sexual immorality of any sort, for that matter. Dan is correct to suggest that one reason that young people are leaving the church is not just intolerance, but a selective and hateful intolerance.

    IMO, our reaction to this particular sin is especially vicious because we feel exempt from it. We don’t blast our tax-cheating brother, because we have done the same thing. We tolerate prejudice in others because we are subject to this ourselves. But when we don’t experience this same-sex attraction, now THERE is a sin which we can attack with all guns blazing, because we don’t fear being accused ourselves.

    I enjoy the fellowship of a cell group wherein most of the folks are older than I. One of the most avoided subjects is “how do we deal with sin among people we love?” I learned quickly not to bring up the topic in discussion. People have children and grandchildren who are in sexual immorality, but don’t know how to speak to it. They don’t want to distance these loved ones, but can’t bear to watch their corrosive lifestyles. So, faced with the dilemma, they simply suffer and try not to think about it.

    This leaves them with the worst of both worlds: Junior knows his parents disapprove, so that hurts their closeness and chills their relationship. But as they don’t actually say anything, there is no challenge to Junior to reconsider his choices, and thus little hope of change.

  2. LoriBelle says:

    I feel this is something that definitely requires more prayer and discernment…at least for me. I’m leaning more and more toward the render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. The whole earth is the Lord’s. However, morals in this country have been continually spiraling to the point of non-existence. I’m seeing more and more that we are in the world but not of it. Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are ambassadors in a land not ours. We can speak for our country, the Heavenly one, but maybe, we can’t try to make this country like the one we belong to. The world and it’s ways are passing away. I saw a post on this matter on someone’s fb wall. I think it’s something to consider and meditate upon and seek wisdom for. I hope it’s ok to share here. “The issue with homosexual marriage being legal or not is an issue of Christian’s misunderstanding of reality. The sanctity of marriage does not come from a law. Nor does it come from the ability of someone who professes its sanctification to keep it. Its sanctity comes from God. He is the author and definer. The mistake Christians have made, and are making, is to tie the reality of marriage to things such as laws, documents, rights and privileges.

    A law or lack of law does not change the reality or sanctity of your marriage as a Christian or what marriage is. If others whom you believe should “not be married” are so by law it also does not change the command to you as a servant and follower of Christ to love them as God has loved you (i.e. even while still a sinner.) It, in actuality, does not change anything real except, possibly, your ability to live believing that America is a “Christian nation” and will last forever.

    The world does not understand the language, definitions, or reality of Christianity. Why would you expect them to make choices as if they do?

    Luke 6:32-36″ –Noel Green

  3. Jerry says:

    Jay,

    The bibliography of responses to the president’s decision is good – and each of them has worthwhile points to consider. I especially liked “A Plea to Christians About Our Response to Obama and Homosexual Marriage,” by Dan Bouchelle, chiefly because he stressed the need for speaking Truth in Love.

    Part of our problem is that it is easy for us to condemn something like homosexuality, especially when it “goes public” as it does in a homosexual marriage. It is harder for us to speak plainly about heterosexual sins – and still harder for us to talk about non-sexual sins. Look at the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.

    The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NIV)

    Note especially how this translation, along with a few others (though not a majority) use semi-colons to separate this list into four segments. The first, I have categorized as sexual sins, the second as religious sins, the third as sins of the disposition, and the fourth as sins of excess.

    The NIV names 15 specific sins; 8 (which is more than half) of these are sins of the disposition: “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy.” If we had as much to say about these eight sins as we do the sexual sins in the first category (“sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery”), what we have to say about homosexuality could be more easily accepted as something other than “hate speech” – except as the speech of one who hates all sinful behavior.

    Yet, even a balance in the sins we condemn is not enough. We must always – always – stress the love of God for the sinner (and show that love in our manner). Otherwise, just ranting and raving about homosexual marriage will get us nowhere – except that we will lose whatever credibility we may have in addressing the deep needs of our broken culture today.

  4. Price says:

    I guess the sins of others doesn’t bother me as much as my own sin…. Jesus knew what was right and what was wrong and yet he went into the sinner’s home, ate the sinners food, drank the sinner’s wine, and showed the sinner that he cared…all the while he showed utter contempt for the religious leaders of the day… Much different way of implementing social change that what I usually see on the religions blogs. How many in your congregation go hang out, eat dinner and generally socialize with gay people in order to get to know them ? WDJD (What DID Jesus Do?)

    I also find it odd that our daily Christian examples don’t compel others to know what we know or rather Who we know. So, if they don’t believe as we do, then we ask the government to force them to believe as we do at the point of a gun. Odd way to evangelize.

    Lastly, the Church grew in the face of one of the most vile and corrupt governments of the day. They faced tremendous persecution and yet they grew. How is that? We have the world’s greatest freedoms and yet the church is on the decline in many or most of the faith heritages. My guess is the reason that there are so many people who show little disregard for the Truth is that WE have not done a good job as stewards of the Faith. Perhaps, we should stop trying to bash this people and that group and those denominatons and go back to the Source of Power and repent. Instead of anger perhaps we should feel embarrassed that we have so poorly carried the torch of Truth. Perhaps we should stop relying on the 5 Steps, CENI, and our traditions and begin relying on the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe then people would quit seeing US and would see Jesus…Maybe that would make a difference. It did 2,000 years ago with a bunch of smelly fisherman and they changed a world.

    Perhaps we should get the beam out of our own eye…

  5. Bob Brandon says:

    Well, in our secular, transitory society, there are plenty of behaviors that many Christians find immoral but which are protected as liberties under law. We are entirely too selective as to which ones outrage us and those we concede to the world.

    The hoopla over homosexual men and women being able to avail themselves of the same civil, secular, and non-religious state and federal laws concerning personal rights, the rights of association, the right to contract, and the right to buy and transfer property and property rights – including via probate – is misplaced. All citizens and residents should be able to avail themselves of all legal privileges regardless of who they are. The state did not create marriage, and the state cannot abolish it. The state did not create religion, and the state, despite considerable efforts, has never fully be able to abolish it. When we, as citizens, encourage that some rights be denied to others solely because of our religious objections, we run the risk that, in some future time, we ourselves might lose certain rights over others’ religious objections. I prefer to keep the liberty to practice my religion freely if the price is that other viewpoints that I may not agree with are also advocated. I prefer to keep the First Amendment intact and not nuanced. I have enough confidence in the power of the Gospel not to have to also believe that other points of view be suppressed.

    Let freedom ring, as the nationalistic song goes; as Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin in Acts 5, if God intends our ideas to prosper, they will; if He intends otherwise, He will make His will know. Christian preoccupation with creating a modern theocracy will ultimately fail as they have always failed. And the true gospel is damaged in that failure, since too many will confuse the false theocratic gospel for the one that gives freedom in Christ. Claiming that full civil rights for homosexuals damages Christianity is a false gospel and only leads to smugness, self-satisfaction, and complacency.

    Stick to taking the Gospel to broken fellow souls, and the rest will take care of itself. With so much hatred and violence in this world, domestic and international, the preoccupation with marginalizing the marginalized is a buried-one-talent waste of time.

  6. Alan says:

    The church must oppose homosexuality as a matter of principle. The scriptures are completely unambiguous on that question. But should that opposition be expressed through the democratic process, or outside that process? That’s a completely different question. Generally speaking, as the church has tried to get closer to government, it has led to bad things. It seems that when it comes to the lordship of Jesus, government has always been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    If it really is the mission of the church to participate in restoring the world to Eden, the restoration of biblical marriage and biblical family has to be part of that mission. IMO that is best accomplished by converting one person at a time to the lordship of Jesus. Passing laws about gay marriage does not convert anyone.

  7. Price says:

    Does anybody have the latest marriage statistics? Last time I heard those of us who claim to be Christians were statistically even in regard to marriage/divorce with those that said they were not people of faith. I think that is a poor platform from which to lob sin bombs on gay people. Should be oppose sin? Absolutely. Perhaps we should begin with opposing it in ourselves and in our midst.

    Can anyone think of a single instance in which Jesus asked His followers to try and change anything within the Roman government? Or, for that matter, Paul, Peter, John? Is there any discussion or example at all or is the Bible SILENT on Christian political activism ?

  8. laymond says:

    “And so I’ve not really had much time to ponder the profundities of President Obama’s decision to support gay marriage”

    Jay, that is the fly in the ointment right there. The president did not come out in support of “gay marriage” President Obama came out against a minority’s civil rights being denied. Although God does not give us authority to judge others morality/ sin. He does give us authority (through our government ) to distribute civil rites. and our constitution does not allow for discrimination of minorities.

  9. Wendy says:

    Alan, the Bible NEVER states that BEING homosexual is sinful. Why oppose something that people ARE, something they have no choice in? do you think DSG (divergent sexualities and gender) peoples CHOOSE to be something which will result in them being marginalised, hated, ostracised, bullied? Many are driven to suicide by the consequences of being honest about their sexuality. Do you really believe they CHOOSE this? How many DSG people do you know?

  10. aBasnar says:

    The Bible never says that being “kleptomanic” is sinful either, does it? the Bible only speaks about stealing – so a re kleptomanics excused from their sin, because they are “born this way”? If so, then we are all excused, since all of us are born with a sinful nature and cannot but sin.

    Alexander

  11. aBasnar says:

    Does anybody have the latest marriage statistics? Last time I heard those of us who claim to be Christians were statistically even in regard to marriage/divorce with those that said they were not people of faith. I think that is a poor platform from which to lob sin bombs on gay people.

    That’s very true, Price. One problem is that first sin creeps in, then when it has a foothold in churches, will be more and more “tolerated”, then we change our hermeneutics to make it fit the new situation (“Grace” always comes in handy) and we end up being like the world. Where was the fork in the road the churches missed?

    Alexander

  12. Price says:

    Alexander…Grace isn’t just handy..it’s necessary but that misses the point. You asked where did the church miss the fork in the road…My experiences suggest that the CoC and others first failed to recognize that marriages could have problems. Known issues were swept under the rug. Women were just told to submit and forget. In other words, we avoided dealing with the issues honestly and with scriptural integrity.. Then, when someone could stand the abuse no longer and divorced, we didn’t react to them. They were “outcasts” with a scarlet D on their foreheads.. and Lord help them if they remarried. Our bungling of pre-marital/marriage/divorce counseling is in my opinion a primary contributing factor to our abysmal marriage/divorce statistics. Perhaps your experience is different. All I know is that the world looks at us and say your faith is of little consequence to how you act…why should we be like you?

    I have a dear friend who has since remarried. She was beaten by her husband. The CoC Elders told her she needed to go back. She was knocked out in front of her kids. The wives of the Elders sat in on the meeting and attempted to get her to accept part of the blame… We’ve come a long ways but not far enough my friends… She left her abusive husband and the CoC…Wonder if that showed up in the statistics ?

  13. Bob Brandon says:

    “The Bible never says that being “kleptomanic” is sinful either, does it?”

    Being homosexual is not a crime, at least in Germany and Austria, since 1945.It’s a rather considerable understatement to mention that suggesting a metaphor involving homosexuality and crime is culturally problematic.

  14. Alan says:

    Wendy,
    Being tempted is not sin. Even Jesus was tempted. Giving in to temptation is sinful.

    Some people are tempted to have sex outside the biblically sanctioned boundaries. Sometimes it’s with other people’s wives. Sometimes it’s with children. Sometimes it’s with people of the same gender. In each case, our obligation before God is that we not yield to the temptation.

    We cannot excuse our sinful choices on grounds that we were made that way. God made us. And God has told us clearly what the boundaries are for us. Those boundaries are the same for each of us, even though we are not all made the same.

  15. Wendy says:

    Alan, you said homosexuality was sinful. That would include celibate homosexuals. Perhaps you meant that you believe that homosexual ACTIVITY is sinful?

    How many homosexual or other DSG people do you know? How many of them CHOSE their orientation? None of those I know (friends and family) CHOSE their sexual orientation.

  16. Alan says:

    Wendy,
    I’m an elder in a mid-sized church. So I know more people coming out of that lifestyle than you might think.

    In my vocabulary, homosexuality is a practice. It’s something people do — something they choose to do.

  17. Wendy says:

    Your vocabulary might not be accurate, Alan. I’m glad you have met and known people who can choose their sexual orientation and gender. I do believe those who are bisexual have that ability. Others dabble in homosexuality while exploring their sexual identity. But the vast majority have no more choice than heterosexuals do. And it is insulting to their struggle and authenticity to state that they do have a choice.

  18. Alan says:

    Wendy,
    If homosexual activity is sin, then participating in it must be a choice. It must be possible to repent of it. God hasn’t commanded us to do things we cannot do.

    Adultery is a choice. Pedophilia is a choice. Lust is a choice. And so is “homosexual activity.” In each case, the person is tempted to do something God prohibits. They can yield, or they can resist.

    Resisting temptation can be very, very hard. Alcoholism is a very difficult addiction to break. People often need intervention. They need programs and support groups and accountability. That doesn’t excuse alcoholism. It’s still a sin to get drunk, even for an alcoholic.

    Sometimes people become addicted to sinful behaviors that are very hard to break.

  19. Bob Brandon says:

    Judgmentalism is a choice as well.

  20. Alexander makes a point that even if we identify ourselves as something by nature, that still does not give us license to practice that which God has forbidden. It occurs to me that here we find an issue in the church. Sadly, we condemn one group of unbelievers for their behaviors, as though it is that specific sin which makes them dangerous. But we are called specifically NOT to judge “those who are without”, but only issues among those who are within.

    The difficulty lies with those who are in Christ, and who would seek excuse for sinful behavior due to identity. Our identity is in Christ’ we are a new creation. We make a major error when we try to merge our old identities into our new one. We are not free to do things which are inconsistent with who we are in Christ, no matter how long we have been doing them. I would deny that a person who is in Christ “is a homosexual”, but I would not deny that this person has that sort of desires or habits. But just as Paul said “let him who stole steal no more”, so also we may rightly challenge one another to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. This would cover a lot more ground that just sexual immorality.

  21. Alan says:

    Amen Charles.

    We don’t do a person any favors by labeling them. Labels are used as excuses for forbidden behavior. Instead, we need to help people be transformed into the image of Christ. People can change.

    1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
    1Co 6:10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
    1Co 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    “Homosexual activity” is not a special category of sin. It’s just like the other sins listed by Paul. No better, no worse. The consequences are no different. And the remedy is also the same.

  22. aBasnar says:

    Well said, Charles and Alan! :-)
    Alexander

  23. aBasnar says:

    @ Price:

    You made some very good points! Thank you.

    Alexander

  24. Rick Griffis says:

    Bob,
    Thanks for injecting some common sense and logic into this topic.

  25. Monty says:

    While I would agree that all sin is damnable, and while God opposes all sin, and all sin is equally forgiveable at the cross, there does seem to be some sins that scripture paints in a harsher light as being detestable, a perversion, or an abomination to God. I think we can all think of certain sinful behaviors that we would not want our children participating in whether or not it was equally damnable as say lying, and I’ll just leave it as that. Moreso for the damage it can do to the psyche.

  26. Jeff B. says:

    Monty,

    Damage to the psyche? Are you really on a COC board talking about how something is “more detestable” because it is damaging to the psyche? The greatest damage to my psyche did not come from the breakup of my parents’ marriage, my brother’s homosexuality, or his subsequent suicide. The greatest damage to my psyche has come from the hateful, judgmental, xenophobic, legalistic arrogance of my fellow Christians (COC brand, of course).

    You implicitly justify the sinful behavior of Christians towards the gay community in two ways:

    1. By claiming that the Bible uses harsher language against homosexuality. This is both untrue and a horrible hermeneutics. If you’re going to rank sins by how harshly the Bible speaks of them, I think you have to go pretty far down that list before you get to homosexuality. And you have to skip over a lot of the things on that list that the person sitting next to you in the pew on Sunday mornings (and maybe even the person looking back at you when you look in the mirror) is guilty of. However, such a list would be foolish because, outside of Christ, all sin equally condemns while in Christ, all sin is equally forgiven.

    2. By claiming that “we” would much rather “our” children be guilty of lying than of homosexuality. In one breath you say “I agree that all sin is damnable” and “God opposes all sin.” In the next you claim that some of these equally-damnable sins are worse than others. You unwittingly admitted that the reason they’re worse is because “we” have made them so! I agree whole heartedly with this admission and hope that the Spirit will help us to repent.

    Re: the original post — I say AMEN to LoriBelle’s comment. Marriage is a religious matter and should be left to religious institutions. Contracts and civil agreements are legal matters and should be left to the human governments. Having the government involved in marriage at all gives the impression that the government’s views on marriage actually matter.

  27. Doug says:

    For many years, I knew that the person sitting next to me in the church choir (obviously not a CofC) was a active homosexual. When the time in the worship service came to pass the peace of the Lord, I always hugged him and wished him “the peace of the Lord”. And, I meant it. But it seems that wasn’t enough. The Gay and Lesbian part of that Church kept coming back for more and more concessions, and ultimately they got them. They didn’t want just acceptance, they wanted what the bible clearly states to be restated. They wanted… no demanded, that sin be declared non-sin. And, that’s when I left this church. Gay marriage is just another struggle to have what God has declared as the target for men redefined. Sin redefined, marriage redefined, God’s will redefined. Man can do all the redefining he wants but we won’t see God falling in line with man. Man needs to fall in line with God.

  28. It may be wise to consider that, in Doug’s experience, it is not personal love and acceptance which was the problem. The problem was the demand for a license for immorality by some who were being loved and accepted. For the group to go back and decide NOT to practice personal love and acceptance would not solve that problem, it would only send it down the road. And the side-effect would be dreadful; it would effectively bar the door to all but the most pious, rejecting the sinner as a sure sign to all that we reject sin. We must be able to love one another AND live in the values God has given us. These need not be mutually exclusive in us, no matter how this may be challenged by others.

    In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye allows his deeply-held traditions to be stripped away by two of his beloved daughters. He is a man of strong views, but “on the other hand” his love for his daughters outweighs those views. But when a third daughter asks Tevye to accept what he believes to be a clear and cardinal sin against God, he cries out in anguish, “There is no ‘other hand’!!”

    Here’s to more love… and more anguish.

  29. JMF says:

    Here is a thought that has always challenged me: My litmus test for sin is, “Does this break the law of Christ (to love others)?” I find this covers everything. Things I say, the way I treat others, etc. I believe I can articulate how/why most things are sinful by checking them against this litmus test.

    Except for homosexuality. I can’t see how it harms anyone. I can’t see how it breaks the law of Christ.

  30. laymond says:

    In order for me to truly enjoy my God given rights, In all good conscience I must defend yours.

  31. Bruce Morton says:

    JMF, Wendy:
    It sounds like you are suggesting that Romans 1:18-32 was “personal opinion” versus the teaching of the risen Lord.

    I have a friend who is homosexual and he categorically ignores Romans 1:18-32 — as he announces that he is a follower of Jesus. He knows what Paul wrote, but rejects it. Period. I hope we realize that people walk away from Jesus in our day just they did when he walked the earth.

    But, are we to show love to all? Absolutely. That is why I show love to my friend who is a homosexual. I treat him no differently than anyone else. And he has verbalized to me that he appreciates the respect and kindness. It is important as he wrestles with the risen Lord’s teaching. His decision has destroyed his marriage (!) and it is destroying him.

    And lest we think that legally okaying homosexual marriage is the “civil” thing to do, please remember the children who will be adopted (and they will) and who will then be swept into a relationship as spiritually decadent as adultery, pedophilia, or beastiality. We have a growing wave of cybersex to thank for much of what the nation currently thinks about sexual ethics.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  32. aBasnar says:

    @ JMF

    This is the weak point of your understanding of the Law of Christ. It leaves out the Fear of God and the love of God. He, the Creator, had a purpose when he created man and woman: Be fruitful! There is another litmus test that should be added: Is it fruitful? Man cannot beget children with another man – therefore such a relationship misses the target, is sin. But the love Christ envisioned is not only: “Do no harm”, but it is defined by obedience to the Father:

    1Jn 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
    1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
    1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

    Do you love Christ? The obey God! So there is a lot more to the lovbe of Christ than just: “Love each other” or “Do no harm.” Christ did not come to annull God’s commands. So the thrird litmus test must be: Is it in line with God’s commandments?

    As we can easily see, such a reduced understanding of the “Law of Christ” opens a door for many sins, simply by reasoning: “I don’t see how this should harm anybody.”

    Alexander

  33. Alan says:

    JMF wrote:

    Except for homosexuality. I can’t see how it harms anyone. I can’t see how it breaks the law of Christ.

    What you call the “law of Christ” is not actually anything Christ has said. It sounds more like human wisdom — what seems good to us. Calling it the “law of Christ” doesn’t make it so.

  34. Bob Brandon says:

    Mr. Basnar states:

    “Do you love Christ? The obey God! So there is a lot more to the lovbe of Christ than just: “Love each other” or “Do no harm.” Christ did not come to annull God’s commands. So the thrird litmus test must be: Is it in line with God’s commandments?”

    I wish Mr. Basnar would be more knowledgeable:
    Gal. 3:13-15: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

    So, Mr. Basnar, there really isn’t “a lot more than” love one another. What the modern Pharisees in our midst don’t understand is that the requirements of God to be His children are both a lot simpler and a lot more difficult that anything they can invent in their devotion to power. Putting the best interests of others ahead of your own is relatively easy when it comes to, say, one’s own children or parents; much, much harder when the person is a stranger or undesirable or unattractive (for whatever reason). Damning for instrumental music, for re-baptism (or the lack thereof), for political views or whatever is extremely easy and convenient. We can master self-invented church doctrine in mere moments with the wrong kind of heart; yet we will spend the rest of our lives in Christ getting a handle on agape love with the right kind of heart. It will be hard, and that is how it’s supposed to be. Being a child of God has its obligations to each other and to everyone else, and while that burden is light, that burden is nonetheless substantial.

    So I wish you wouldn’t disparage the plain meaning of the text, even inadvertently, when it comes to love of one another. Paul took the matter seriously, and we are all knowledgeable as to John’s view of the matter.

  35. laymond says:

    “He, the Creator, had a purpose when he created man and woman: Be fruitful! There is another litmus test that should be added: Is it fruitful? Man cannot beget children with another man – therefore such a relationship misses the target, is sin.”
    Alex, should a couple be submitted to a fertility test before they are allowed to marry? Should people past the age of reproduction, be allowed to marry.
    Maybe when we reach a certain age we should just become divorced the marriage has outlived it’s purpose. Is reproducing the reason Paul gave to marry?
    This nonsense is exactly why some young couples think they are being punished by God, when they can’t bear children, and some quit the church altogether “why not God hates them”.

  36. Skip says:

    How in the world do you call gays minorities? Does this mean chess club members are a minority and have rights? What about model electric airplane flyers or stamp collectors? To me a minority can’t be defined by personal choices one makes. A minority should be a group by race because it isn’t a choice made but is genetic.

  37. gt says:

    Skip, the argument of course is that homosexuality isnt a choice as witnessed by comments made by Wendy. The goal is to equate race and orientation in order to achieve civil rights.

    IMO, the ultimate goal is not marriage rights but total acceptance of the gay lifestyle in every arena-schools and eventually churches. Laugh if you like, but the day will come where the mere denouncing of homosexuality from the pulpit or classroom will result in some sort of hate crime. This is the goal. If marriage and the rights that come with it under the laws of this country were the goal I dont think they would be particulary interested. I await the diatribe.

  38. Alan says:

    gt,

    There are certainly forces at work that would like to take away our right to free exercise of religion on topics like this. American national sovereignty is currently being negotiated away on a list of topics, some of which directly infringe on Christian religious beliefs. Let’s pray that the Senate doesn’t ratify those treaties.

  39. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan:

    You asserted: “Calling it the “law of Christ” doesn’t make it so.”

    Just to be clear, JMF isn’t making a proclamation of the law of Christ – which we must be clear is (1) agape God and (2) agape everybody else – he is stating his personal application of it as he understands it in this situation.

    In short: don’t overreach.

  40. gt says:

    Laymond, Alexander can defend himself but I certainly dont think he was equating the childless hetero couples with those of the same gender who want to be married. You know that too. Nowhere in scripture does it indicate that not having children either by choice or inability is sinful. But procreation is certainly one of the purposes of marriage if its possible or chosen. That choice or possibility does not exist with same sex couples. Like I said, you know that but you like to argue….

  41. laymond says:

    Skip, just try to take away their “right” to play chess, or fly model airplanes, and find our if they have rights to live as they wish.
    gt, as for the diatribe, why wait ? you have already done it.

  42. Wendy says:

    Ask the family of a young man who has committed suicide because he was ostracised, bullied and condemned if he had a choice wrt his sexual orientation… would he have CHOSEN to be gay? Ask my daughter’s friend.. she knows her mother will reject her when she finds out that E is a lesbian. Do you think E has CHOSEN to be gay? Ask Lucille who has left her church and lost her faith in God. Do you think she has CHOSEN to be gay?

  43. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan asserted: “American national sovereignty is currently being negotiated away on a list of topics, some of which directly infringe on Christian religious beliefs.”

    Please be specific. No treaty will set aside the First Amendment.

  44. Alan says:

    Bob Brandon wrote:

    Alan:

    You asserted: “Calling it the “law of Christ” doesn’t make it so.”

    Just to be clear, JMF isn’t making a proclamation of the law of Christ – which we must be clear is (1) agape God and (2) agape everybody else – he is stating his personal application of it as he understands it in this situation.

    In short: don’t overreach.

    I don’t think I overreached. I quoted him and commented on what he said. JMF wrote:

    Except for homosexuality. I can’t see how it harms anyone. I can’t see how it breaks the law of Christ.

    So, he’s saying if it doesn’t harm anyone it doesn’t break the law of Christ. That’s what I challenged. Nowhere in the scriptures is the “law of Christ” limited to doing no harm.

  45. gt says:

    For the record, I do not feel sexual orientation is a choice Wendy. Nor do I feel that gays should be bullied, ostracized or harmed. I too do not feel anyone whould choose to be subjected to that. The question as always is how does the church respond? I appreciate some comments made earlier that we elevate this particular sin to a higher level than others and wrongly so. But it doesnt change the fact that scripture condemns the PRACTICE of homeosexuality. The church should make every effort to reach out and minister to those who struggle with this. I cannot discern from your comments whether or not you feel the practice is contrary to scripture though

  46. Alan says:

    So, for example:

    Rom 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
    Rom 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

    Indulging the desires of the flesh (orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality and debauchery…) may not harm others, but those things still violate the commands of God.

  47. laymond says:

    gt, unless something I have not heard happened last night, you are right, same sex couples cannot have children, but that does not render them useless in raising children that were thoughtlessly “procreated” by others. ADOPTION !
    I believe Paul speaks of adoption. NIV – Gal 4:5 – to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
    Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

    I believe this is a good thing whether God does it or a gay couple does it.

  48. gt says:

    Laymond, we’ll agree to disagree on whether or not adoption by gay couples is a desirable thing for children and society in general. I’m sure there are studies pro and con as to the wisdom in such arrangements. I dont have the time or inclination to get involved in a detailed discussion on the matter with you. At the end of the day I doubt it will be a productive exchange.

    I suspect your support of said arrangements are rooted in politics based on views of yours I’ve seen in the past. And I dont want to go there.

  49. laymond says:

    Alan said, “but those things still violate the commands of God.” Why just pick some, why not all how about smoking, drinking,cursing, thinking evil thoughts, I believe you are among those who admit they are not perfect, or am I thinking of someone else.?
    1Cr 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
    1Cr 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.

  50. Jeff B. says:

    Part of the problem here is that we have set up a false dichotomy — either something is genetic or it is a choice. This is simply not true.

    While (to my knowledge) the “gay gene” has never been discovered, it does not then follow that people choose to be attracted to those of the same gender. In an age where that attraction brings with it much pain, ridicule, and abuse, it would certainly be a foolish choice to make.

    However, like any temptation/struggle, choices play a large role in determining whether that attraction is acted upon.

    Let me use my brother as an example. He was always different from the rest of the family. He was not effemminate at all. His appearance, interests, and talents were simply different from the rest of our family. Additionally, he didn’t have a strong Christian peer-group in our church whereas my sister and I did. In his teenage years, he started to test his boundaries and rebel in various typical ways (drinking, breaking curfew, etc). This also made him “different” in our family because neither my sister nor I had manifested rebellion in those ways. So his whole life, he was seen as being “different.” And often his “different-ness” was thought of as “bad” within the VERY strict legalism of the COC. This “otherness” attracted the attention of our church leaders, who targeted my teenage brother in ways comparable only to those of cult-leaders. So “different” still equals “bad” and “bad” equals “not welcome.”

    So my brother goes off to college, tries to visit a church that is not particularly welcoming, and, because of his previous abuse by the church, isn’t interested in asserting himself to get “plugged in.” So he stops going to church and continues to test his boundaries by rebelling against the things he had been taught growing up. He gets more into partying, drinking, and drugs, knowing all the while that he is solidifying his rejection by his church and his family (or so he thought).

    Meanwhile, he finds a group of people that is completely accepting of him, is willing to overlook his faults, and understands abuse at the hands of church-people. Their kindness and willingness to accept him “as he is” resonates with him deeply. He thinks about how he had ALWAYS been different, even when he was a child. He hears others in this social group saying the same things. Eventually, his points of commonality with them become points of identity until he considers himself homosexual, and is completely convinced that he has been that way his whole life.

    Obviously, this is my construct of his story and, if he were alive today, he would probably take exception to some of my description. But I don’t think its very far off.

    So tell me, at what point in that story did my brother make the conscious choice to be gay?

    And when God judges my brother (or any other gay person), will he only look at the end result, or will he consider all of the factors that led to that end result? Will he judge my brother more harshly than he judges those of us in his family and church who made absolutely certain that he understood that his “differentness” wasn’t welcome?

    Friends, it is possible to acknowledge that homosexuality is not God’s ideal for us and to encourage people to strive for God’s ideal without ostracizing and demonizing those who struggle.

  51. gt says:

    It is complicated Jeff. And I dont pretend to know the answer. I’m truly sorry for the pain your brother went through and the loss your family expereienced. Your last sentence is very true.

  52. Jeff B. says:

    It certainly is complicated. But Christians pretend like it isn’t. “It’s a choice, so simply choose differently and all will be well! Easy peasy!

    “Oh. And you’re also choosing to ruin ‘normal’ families, destroy the American way of life, and spend eternity in Hell. So choose differently and all will be well!”

  53. Todd Collier says:

    To be fair though I think for the posters on this blog the dangers that we might “demonize” a sinner is somewhat less than the danger that we ourselves will be demonized for calling a sin a sin.

    As I have said previsouly this is an issue that we struggle with in our family. I love and accept their “choice” – as they themselves put it – while they love me and accept my “feelings” in the matter as an issue of my faith.

    The difficult bit is when we move from the interpersonal level of how we love and treat one another to the political arena and here we see something totally different at work. Though the NC vote was 62%-38% the “bigotry” was still sold as a “minority” viewpoint and strongly identified with churches. Pollsters still tell us that this is a minority position even though the vote in every state – including California – where the issue has been raised has resulted in a strong “traditional” outcome. We are entering an era when any dissent from the “party line” will be ruthlessly punished – whether the issue is abortion or same-sex marriage. We are forced to choose between two equal goods – whether to be fair in the application of our laws or to fully apply God’s law.
    This is of course a false choice, but it is the situation the political argument has forced upon us. In the end politics will either force us to adopt the approach of Judge Urbanski in choosing which commands we keep and which we reject or we will have to go the way of the Ultra-Orthodox and accept an increasingly strict faith praxis which takes us more and more out of the American mainstream.

    On the other hand, maybe that is what Jesus meant when he asked.. “When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?” Maybe this is how we get to the way things were in the days of Noah when the thoughts of men were evil all of the time.

    And if so, then it is more than ever contingent on the followers of Jesus that descipleship be our hallmark. That we be truly those who follow after Jesus, perhaps even to the point of avoiding the political questions of the day in favor of simply living out and teaching the Gospel.

  54. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote: “I don’t think I overreached. I quoted him and commented on what he said.”

    I think you did. JMF was commenting on his particular application of what he understands in the “law of Christ”, which is based on agape love. Your’s is/may be certainly different, but JMF has the liberty to find his/her own application in faith.

    Now, this following statement is not so much overreach as perhaps one statement too many, needing some revision: “Nowhere in the scriptures is the “law of Christ” limited to doing no harm.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but no-one should inadvertently argue that the “law of Christ” should extend to “doing harm.”

  55. Bob Brandon says:

    Todd wrote: “The difficult bit is when we move from the interpersonal level of how we love and treat one another to the political arena and here we see something totally different at work.”

    And why move to the political arena at all?

  56. Bob Brandon says:

    Todd wrote: “We are forced to choose between two equal goods – whether to be fair in the application of our laws or to fully apply God’s law.”

    False dichotomy: as Christians, we can both choose for the fair and equal protection of our secular laws and to fully apply God’s laws to ourselves. Nothing requires us to choose to apply one or the other: only theocrats insist on the dichotomy.

  57. Price says:

    Bob, I think you hit on something important. Romans 8 refers to the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus. I sometimes think that we focus on the damnation rather than the “LIFE”… Jesus focused on those that needed help and called the religious pious of the day everything but a child of God. Perhaps we loose our influence over those that need our help when we “triage” them and decide they are beyond help…so they go to where help is offered… shame on us.

  58. Alan says:

    We need to understand three things, not just one.

    1) God is righteous, and he calls us to be righteous. See matt 5:48 God defines what is righteous — not us.

    2) We fall far short of God’s standard. Every one of us. And God provides grace to cover our failure.

    3) Not everyone will receive that grace. If we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins.

    Some people here are confusing #1 and #2. Some don’t want to think about #3. But all three are fundamental tenets of Christian doctrine, supported by many scriptures.

    The scriptures clearly define homosexual activity as sin. So, point #1 means we must not participate in it. Point #2 means we can be forgiven of it. And point #3 means we must repent of it in order to receive grace.

  59. Jeff B. says:

    Todd, your last sentence nailed it. However, it is true not just as a practical matter, but because the poltical discussions are not our conversations anyway. The kingdom of God and the kindgoms of the world are not the same thing in any way whatsoever. In fact, they are opposed to each other. Therefore, the kingdom of God and America are not the same thing in any way whatsoever and are, in fact, opposed to each other. The discussions of how the American empire will conduct its business are not our concern. Their business is to exercise power over others; ours is to serve, or to exercize “power under” others. The rules by which they operate are designed to result in one group having power over another — manipulation, demonization, polarization. The rules by which we operate are designed to result in creating opportunities for us to serve others — reconciliation, forgiveness, peacemaking, love.

    Unfortunately, we are a house divided against itself. Our identity in Christ is diluted by our competing nationalistic idolatry, creating an ungodly syncretism. Since we see ourselves as fully a part of America, we feel the need to jump into America’s political debates. But since we are Christians, we feel the need to establish a “Christian” position in those debates.

    The problem is that, as a kingdom of the world, America conducts these debates according to THEIR rules. Participating in their political debates inevitably involves participating in polarization, division, and demonization of those to whom Jesus wants us to bring love, reconciliation, grace, and forgiveness. It requires us to participate in an effort to exercise power over others rather than seeking ways to serve others.

    So lets stop playing by their rules. Lets stop letting them divide us from one another as if we don’t all struggle with equally-offensive temptations. Lets say to the kingdoms of this world, including America, “Do what you will and call it what you will. We will preach Christ. We will celebrate love as being of God, for God is love. We will celebrate marriage according to our faith. We will celebrate sex according to our faith. We will help our neighbors to understand what healthy relationships, marriages, and sexual unions look like — sometimes with words, always with our lives. Your laws may or may not make this easy, but that ultimately doesn’t matter and its not our business. God is love. Love will win. We will love.”

  60. Todd Collier says:

    Bob, read the whole before you comment – it might save time. My very next line was “this is of course a false choice…”

    The point of my post is that we are allowing ourselves to be dragged into the political arena and then being forced to dance to the tune others are piping. Staying out of the political arena and focusing on our purpose in Christ is best by far.

    The political game requires “useful idiots” and “clear enemies.” For the past 30 years the American Church has allowed herself to be so used and it has caused great harm to our mission. This must stop.

  61. Doug says:

    Wendy and Jeff, I have in the course of coaching little league sports met many children that because of the mannerisms and general ways caused me to wonder about their sexuality. At least some of these, when they became adults, began living a gay lifestyle. This affected my thinking about people who are gay and I don’t believe that homosexuality is neccesarily a choice. Neither do I believe that it is gene related because identical twins with the same genes can vary on their sexual identity. So what is the root reason of homosexuality? I don’t know and so far, nobody else has a clue either.

    But, in my post above, I related how I responded to the homosexual who sat next to me in Church (actually there were 2 homosexuals males in this choir). My love and acceptance of them as persons wasn’t enough. They wanted their gay lifestyle legitimized formally by the church. They eventually won that legitimacy and the church threw out the bible in order to grant them that legitimacy. That’s a very dangerous road to start down. It doesn’t matter what conditions prompt “throwing out the bible”, that is a road I won’t walk. I don’t think that is being unloving in the least. Our first allegiance must be to God.

  62. JMF says:

    Alexander said:

    He, the Creator, had a purpose when he created man and woman: Be fruitful! There is another litmus test that should be added: Is it fruitful? Man cannot beget children with another man – therefore such a relationship misses the target, is sin.

    By your rational, Alexander, I am rejecting God’s purpose by not yet having procreated children and therefore sinning, just like the homosexual.

    As to your suggestion about the law of Christ encompassing fear and obeying God. I’m okay with that….but you’d need to admit that the prohibition against homosexuality is arbitrary and in no way acts against love. Because if you can’t show that it goes against love, then it is an arbitrary sin.

  63. JMF says:

    Alan –

    Bob Brandon ably defended my point (which I appreciate), so I’m going to leave that as is.

    Alan said:

    So, for example:

    Rom 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
    Rom 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

    Indulging the desires of the flesh (orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality and debauchery…) may not harm others, but those things still violate the commands of God.

    To my original thought of acting in ways that don’t show love, or show the opposite of love: I believe I can show how these other sins do harm to others and therefore aren’t loving. Drunkenness hurts yourself, your family, and potentially innocent people. Sexual immorality harms our soul at it’s core, and you are participating in that damage with another person — not a very loving way to treat them.

    I don’t see this being the case in a committed homosexual relationship — let’s just say married. I’m not defending ramant homosexual fornication. I’m defending a committed relationship. Can you show how acts against love?

    I don’t think the procreation argument works because that makes the intentionally celibate sinners for not procreating.

    I’m not dogmatic about any of this. Just trying to understand why homosexuality is sinful, assuming we understand Scripture correctly. Because in my mind it either should be harmful, or else it is arbitrary.

  64. Jeff B. says:

    Doug,

    Your personal anecdote is a good example of the complexity of the issue and how Christians on all sides of this issue have allowed themselves to become polarized. Gay Christians are a part of this polarization just as much as straight Christians. In churches like yours, one side has triumphed over the other. In most “conservative/evangelical” churches, the other side has.

    My point is that BOTH sides need to realize that the way of Christ eschews such polarization. It isn’t about triumphing over one another. Christ welcomes us all as we are and challenges to become as He is. A community that embraces this will tolerate various viewpoints on this issue (and others) in recognition of the larger familial spirit that has been created within us. Christians who believe that God condemns homosexual activity will feel free to say so without being demonized as bigots. Christians who believe that God approves of homosexual activity will feel free to say so without being demonized as perverts. Both sides will do life together, worship together, serve others together, and serve one another. As they do so, they will reflectively discuss many various aspects of their lives, including this one, and they will be be sharpened by each other’s viewpoints. When anyone starts to demand that one of the views be silenced, the familial spirit has been diminished in favor of a political one — seeking to have power over rather than power under.

    I must confess that I don’t know how church leaders should/could live this out in every hypothetical situation. Like most things, these situations are certainly best resolved in ways that are local and contextual. Furthermore, I am presenting an ideal that I have never seen actualized, though I have seen some noble efforts in that direction.

    I do know that I have seen Christians discuss differing views on a number of issues without having to break fellowship because of it. Divorce & remarriage is an example. Some consider remarriage after divorce to be a sinful sexual relationship. Others consider remarriage after divorce to be allowable in most (if not all) situations. Yet most churches are able to have as members people holding — and living — either view (as well as a number of other views). We are able to be members in harmony with one another because we recognize that faith and a heart directed towards God (penitence) are both present — even in those with whom we disagree. Why can’t we do the same with gay Christians? Recognize that their faith and their heart for God make them our brothers and sisters, even if they espouse a view that we may believe is not taught in the Bible.

    I also must question your characterization that they “threw out the Bible in order to grant them that legitimacy.” I know of some churches who have made similar decisions to the one you described, and have had similar accusations leveled against them. However, this rhetoric was usually untrue. They had not “thrown out” the Bible. They had adopted a different view of how the Bible is authoritative, and of how to interpret the Bible, but they had not rejected the Bible outright. I fear that your statement is pejorative rhetoric which, like all political rhetoric, is designed to marginalize and discredit them. As such it does nothing to progress the conversation (though it may progress the political objectives).

  65. aBasnar says:

    Dear Mr Brandon (let me be as formal as you – this is fun)

    You say:

    I wish Mr. Basnar would be more knowledgeable:
    Gal. 3:13-15: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

    So, Mr. Basnar, there really isn’t “a lot more than” love one another.

    Do you grasp the relationship between a summary and the unabridged version? Between the headline and the text? Both the summary and the headline require a knowledge og the whole. But neither a summary nor a headline replace the whole work. Oh ye lazy students who only memorize a short summary instead of reading and working through the whole book! Yeah, throw out the OT, because all we need to know is “love”.

    That’s Gnosticism, Mr Brandon. But it is lightyears from New Testament Christianity!
    (I don’t intend to bite you, but I do bark.)

    Alexander

  66. aBasnar says:

    @ JMF

    Alexander said:

    He, the Creator, had a purpose when he created man and woman: Be fruitful! There is another litmus test that should be added: Is it fruitful? Man cannot beget children with another man – therefore such a relationship misses the target, is sin.

    By your rational, Alexander, I am rejecting God’s purpose by not yet having procreated children and therefore sinning, just like the homosexual.

    Well. Here’s what I said to a man who wanted to marry: “Are you ready to become a father?” He was puzzled. He just did not want to stay single – maybe he was (as many) burning with his bodily desires as well. He did not understand. We came to this, because he asked me how I read Mat 19:12 about those who are eunochs by birth, by someone els’s fault or by choice for the Kingdom. My reply: “They remain single, because they cannot become fathers anymore.” Then I went through the scriptures with him: See, Adam and Eve were made one and children came; and so it is all the way through all genealogies. People – esp. women – were greatly troubled when they could not have children. What did God say in Malachi?

    Mal 2:15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

    I don’t think anyone sins who cannot get children. But I find it very questionable if you marry (except a marriage at an older age for mutual support) with the intention to remain childless. I see no allowance for such an attitude in the scriptures.

    In fact, that idea is a very novel one. Sex and children were separated from one another in the sexual reviolution of the 60ies. The pill and abortion made it possible. And since then the idea of gay and lebian relationships became more and more accepted. After all, you can have an orgasm in such realtionships as well, can’t you? And since an orgasm is the highest goal a human being can strive for, let him get it where he or she can! This is a bit rude, I know. But this separation from sex and children is really something VERY new and completely inconsistent with the Will of God.

    That’s why I said to this brother: “If you want to marry, you need to be ready to become a father.” This does not mean: You have to beget children at once. But you need to be aware of the fact, that children often come unplanned even in spite of using a condom. Then you have to be able and willing to deal with it.

    In other words: If you want to marry it’s about more than finding a remedy for your loneliness or your bodily desires (that alone would be selfish motives), you need to be willing to take responsibilty. Therefore those who are still unmarried and hope for a spouse should strive foir a certain amount of maturity (which will also help them in their discernment when looking for a spouse).

    Alexander

  67. Bob Brandon says:

    Mr. Basnar wrote: “Do you grasp the relationship between a summary and the unabridged version?”

    Dude, you’re failing to grasp that you’re already reading the unabridged version, and you’re as incorrigible as others about inflicting your conclusions on the text. Paul said, I believe it. For that matter, so did Jesus in Mt. 22: 36-40: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

    And, Mr. Basnar, I wouldn’t go and accuse Matthew (or the Son of God, for that matter) of giving us the “abridged” version. Jesus’s ministry was essentially a rejection of the “unabridged” Pharisaic “version.” It’s a lead you should begin to follow.

    (Plus I find those who smear others with accusations are themselves only projecting their own “gnostic” legalism: see http://graceconversation.com/ for those legalists who know error when they see it but can’t give you the definitive list.)

  68. Alan says:

    Bob Brandon wrote:

    Alan asserted: “American national sovereignty is currently being negotiated away on a list of topics, some of which directly infringe on Christian religious beliefs.”

    Please be specific. No treaty will set aside the First Amendment.

    Here are a couple of topics that are being negotiated at the UN.

    LGBT
    corporal punishment
    More here
    And here

    It is my understanding that if these treaties are approved in the Senate they have the force of constitutional law, and would be fully enforceable in US courts. A constitutional amendment would be required to stop that. I’m not sure how the 1st amendment would interact with that. It could be construed that the treaty modifies the amendment because it came later.

  69. Bob Brandon says:

    JMF wrote: “I don’t see this being the case in a committed homosexual relationship — let’s just say married. I’m not defending ramant homosexual fornication. I’m defending a committed relationship. Can you show how [that?] acts against love?”

    And Alan wrote: “The scriptures clearly define homosexual activity as sin. So, point #1 means we must not participate in it. Point #2 means we can be forgiven of it. And point #3 means we must repent of it in order to receive grace.”

    This pretty much summarizes the problem with applying the O.T. and Romans 1 literally to the 21st century. What we have now in regards to “committed homosexual relationships,” especially those under a promise of faithfulness given to each partner, was not contemplated in the 1st century. Such things did not happen in an ancient legal regime in which marriage – both civil and religious – was first and foremost about property rights and siring heirs. The whole notion of a committed homosexual relationship under promise is a modern creation. A literalistic application of Romans 1 does little to resolve anything in this regard. Invoking the O.T. also lacks competent jurisdiction, unless one is also resolved to worship God and conduct one’s personal life in accordance with law-keeping that has previously been dispensed with by the Cross. One might want to have a word with the Hebrews writer in that regard.

    I am very conflicted about this. Being raised a white Southern male Christian, the whole notion of homosexual marriage gives me a great deal of “pause” (as useful an euphemism as any). Being trained as a lawyer makes me try to read our civil law fairly and competently. There’s a lot of conflict: there’s nothing in the “unabridged” reading of state marriage law that gives any room to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, because state law is first and foremost not about religion: it’s about, as two millenia ago, property, contract, agency, and probate. I can respect that; there is nothing about any committed homosexual relationship under promise that affects my own happy heterosexual marriage one whit one way or the other. As a country that enshrines freedom of association and of religion in its First Amendment, there really isn’t a competent legal objection to it, either.

    As a matter of faith, those who profess themselves to be in a faithful committed homosexual relationship deny that Romans 1 describes their situation and, in not describing their situation, they are therefore not in sin on that basis. I’ve heard the arguments; many others here have as well. The gist is that, since their relationships are not characterized by debauchery and a denial of God, they and the relationships are not characterized by Romans 1 – or the O.T. for that matter – and that they should be welcomed in churches. As many are already in many churches, if not ours. Their arguments make sense, and I still remain uncomfortable accepting them. That’s my problem.

    For my part, I think I should not judge them anymore than they should judge me or those of us who might not be comfortable – or yet comfortable – welcoming them. I just pray that the Lord’s will be done, and that I show the love and kindness of God to everyone I meet, no matter who they are. Getting this bent out of shape in these early days of our eternal lives is probably not a productive way to spend our spiritual infancies. But if some wish to exclude, only remember that we seem to generally have little trouble welcoming heterosexual couples in our churches on their subsequent marriages, making as many excuses as expedient. There is certainly nothing like what religious and traditional society has already done to mangle and diminish heterosexual marriage that widespread acceptance of homosexual marriage could supposedly do. That horse has long left the barn.

  70. Alan says:

    JMF wrote:

    I’m not dogmatic about any of this. Just trying to understand why homosexuality is sinful, assuming we understand Scripture correctly. Because in my mind it either should be harmful, or else it is arbitrary.

    The scriptures leave no doubt that homosexuality *is* sinful. If we can agree on that, then the question of *why* becomes easier to discuss.

    I think it’s possible to get drunk and not harm anyone else. Doing so would still be sin, because the scriptures don’t make an exception for the no-harm-done scenario. Similarly, someone might argue that homosexual activity between consenting adults doesn’t harm anyone (I would disagree, but leaving that aside…) Even if that is the case, it would still be sin because, again, the scriptures don’t make that exception.

    So, why did God tell us those things are sin? Why won’t people who do such things go to heaven? (1 Cor 6:9-10) I can give you my opinion. I think it is because doing those things is contrary to God’s purpose.

  71. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote:
    “It is my understanding that if these treaties are approved in the Senate they have the force of constitutional law, and would be fully enforceable in US courts. A constitutional amendment would be required to stop that. I’m not sure how the 1st amendment would interact with that. It could be construed that the treaty modifies the amendment because it came later.”

    This is completely incorrect. Again, no international treaty can set aside the provisions of the Constitution. See Reid v. Colvert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_v._Covert . The United States has entered into any number of treaties that bind the U.S. to act in ways that do not set aside the provisions of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. No treaty can abrogate national sovereignty. Any number of international NGOs can do what they wish with regards to the U.S. in matters of corporal punishment, civil rights, or religion, but they would lack jurisdiction to amend our Constitution or set aside the rights we have recognized for ourselves. They can be – and are – as unhappy as they want.

  72. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote: “…the scriptures don’t make an exception for the no-harm-done scenario.”

    Please point out for me where scripture even talks about such a thing. What you are trying to say that that Scripture does not provide a defense against the charge. This is legalistic thinking. You need to remember that the N.T. is neither a book of statutes nor a code of criminal law.

  73. Alan says:

    This is completely incorrect. Again, no international treaty can set aside the provisions of the Constitution.

    I hope you’re right. I’m not an expert on constitutional law. I hear what you are saying, but I also see others strongly disagree, as illustrated at the links I provided.

    Regardless, we need to be diligent in defending our right to practice our religious beliefs without hindrance from the government. There are multiple forces at work who want to hinder.

  74. Alan says:

    Bob Brandon wrote:

    Alan wrote: “…the scriptures don’t make an exception for the no-harm-done scenario.”

    Please point out for me where scripture even talks about such a thing. What you are trying to say that that Scripture does not provide a defense against the charge. This is legalistic thinking. You need to remember that the N.T. is neither a book of statutes nor a code of criminal law.

    The question makes no sense to me. In response I can only point to the entire Bible, Genesis-Revelatiion. There is no exception for the no-harm-done scenario, anywhere in it. This is not a question of legalism. It’s a question of lordship. Will we obey what God said, or not?

  75. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote:

    “There is no exception for the no-harm-done scenario, anywhere in it. This is not a question of legalism. It’s a question of lordship. Will we obey what God said, or not?”

    Yes, it is; it remains a question of legalism. But it does also remain a question of authority: will we figure out the point of scripture or will we impose our interpretations with the force of a religious statute.

  76. Alan says:

    Bob Brandon wrote:

    But it does also remain a question of authority: will we figure out the point of scripture or will we impose our interpretations with the force of a religious statute.

    God will ultimately impose *His* interpretation. So I’ll give God the last word. This will be my last comment on this topic. Readers can decide for themselves what is the point of these scriptures:

    1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
    1Co 6:10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Rom 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
    Rom 1:27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    1Ti 1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
    1Ti 1:10 for adulterers and perverts [Gk ἀρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs Thayer Definition:
    1) one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual Part of Speech: noun masculine ], for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
    1Ti 1:11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    Lev 18:22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

  77. gt says:

    Seems pretty plain. But that’s just my interpretation.

  78. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote: “God will ultimately impose *His* interpretation. So I’ll give God the last word. This will be my last comment on this topic.”

    God doesn’t impose any interpretation; we all invariably do. So you’re not giving God the last word; you’re giving us yours. Plus, it appears that you’ve never seriously engaged anyone making any other argument but your own. Many have launched salvos of prooftexts as immutable statutory statements in response. That’s quite understandable as well. I know that I also find it comforting to take refuge in what I think are the “plain meaning” (in English) of scriptures to avoid dealing with engagement with others on issues I am uncomfortable with.

    Like I noted far above, folks in long-term, committed homosexual relationships do not believe that this passages describe them or their lifestyle, a lifestyle arguably not contemplated in the first century. So they would accordingly dismiss your prooftexts as you would dismiss their response. However, an increasing number of Christians (mostly younger, probably invariably nearly all outside our fellowship) do accept this interpretation.

    What many of us older Christians need to realize is that many of our children and grandchildren are not going to accept the old prooftexts as the theological means of dealing with this issue. And it will effect how many folks who are not homosexual are going to perceive of the gospel and love of God we claim we present. The collateral damage could be enormous.

    I think we all need to rethink this.

  79. nick gill says:

    All That Heaven Allows: Homosexuality and the Meaning of Love

    One of the best treatments of this subject, by Kenneth Boa – one of the most gracious and spiritual writers I’ve had the privilege to read. May you be blessed as you read, ponder, and evaluate.

  80. Skip says:

    Wow, several bloggers here are totally ignoring the many scriptures condemning being homosexual. Both the old and new testaments address this. Adopting children is moot. This is a Christian blog. The Bible is our standard. Case closed. If you want to argue that gays can be Christians at the same time they are gay then let’s just throw out scripture and anything goes. How about pedophiles? Let them adopt kids. How about sadomasochists? Let them adopt kids. How about those who practice bestiality? Let them adopt kids. Why argue this subject while ignoring God’s clear will on this? Our opinions do not matter.

  81. aBasnar says:

    @ Mr Brandon (I feel no kindred of spiritual reationship anyway, so we can forget about addressing each other brotherly by our first names – straightforward enough?)

    Dude, you’re failing to grasp that you’re already reading the unabridged version, and you’re as incorrigible as others about inflicting your conclusions on the text. Paul said, I believe it. For that matter, so did Jesus in Mt. 22: 36-40: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

    First, I let Native Süpeajkers decide, whether “dude” is offensive or not, I”m not asking for moderation if it is something the Lord calls a blessing.

    Second: On these two commands depend the whole Law and the prophets. They don’t anull, but give a perspective, a summary, a direction.

    thoird: Obey, for Christ’s sake, and teach obedience! And stop that wishy washiness!

    Alexander

  82. Bob Brandon says:

    Bro. Basnar:

    I apologize for the use of the word “dude.” It was entirely too informal on my part, and I do hope you will accept the apology.

    The – first – problem with your “abridged/unabridged” dichotomy is that you leave yourself – by your own statement – liable for the entire law, some about which the Apostle Paul has much to say. If you insist keeping O.T. law in the present day, that is simply a problem you’ve chosen to impose on yourself; certainly not anything that the Apostle Paul would himself compel you to accept anymore than he would the Galatian brethren. Read it for yourself.

    (Regardless of its paucity, as compared to the O.T., there is nothing “abridged” about the N.T. You simply must learn to accept this; it is out of your hands.)

    Second problem for you, brother, is that there is nothing “wishy-washy” about the first and second commandments; certainly not to the Apostles Paul and John. Those commands make Christianity far simpler and far harder than any list of commands you give yourself leave to impose on yourself, let alone attempt to impose on others.

  83. Bob Brandon says:

    If anything, Bro. Basnar, avoiding the two greatest commandments has invariably led others in the past to create checklist commandments that require little action, but much mental assent, leading to no constructive behavior.

  84. Todd Collier says:

    Alex, around these parts “dude” (kind of but indirectly related to both cowboys and sufers) is a meaningless tag we give others from time to time, usually in a firendly way so I am sure no offense was intended.

    Bob, in reading I am wondering how you view the text. Sometimes you seem to read it strictly, in this case not so much. What am I missing?

    In an earlier post someone raised the idea – in a 2 minute scan I couldn’t find it again – that some of God’s laws are explained, others just “are” and that the prohibition in the Law against homosexuality is one of the latter. Now I don’t view the Bible as a rulebook, but it does contain within it God’s rules. I know we are no longer judged by the Law of Moses, but we are still given guidance into righteousness by it and in the instant case the NT icludes the same prohibitions against the act and in the infamous Romans 1 passage even equates this particular behavior with an absolute rejection of God and the created order. A hallmark of a society that has abandoned God.

    As most frequenters of this blog know I am not the most traditional bulb in the pack, but even I have to stop when it comes to saying God meant something other than He clearly said, which seem to be what some are suggesting.

    Figuring out how to treat a person who is in a sinful lifestyle in a loving manner is a far cry from and does not require saying God approves something He has said He does not approve. Especially when the behavior in question is not something that is just mentioned negatively on a single text but in multiple areas of Scripture.

  85. aBasnar says:

    Dear Bob (back to normal :-)

    I apologize for the use of the word “dude.” It was entirely too informal on my part, and I do hope you will accept the apology.

    Wholeheartedly!

    The – first – problem with your “abridged/unabridged” dichotomy is that you leave yourself – by your own statement – liable for the entire law, some about which the Apostle Paul has much to say. If you insist keeping O.T. law in the present day, that is simply a problem you’ve chosen to impose on yourself; certainly not anything that the Apostle Paul would himself compel you to accept anymore than he would the Galatian brethren. Read it for yourself.

    From Paul:

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
    Rom 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
    Rom 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    The purpose of our salvation and the indwelling of the Spirit is that we live according to what the Law intended. Although the Law is a shadow pointing to Christ, it is a revelation of God’s will, even enhanced in Christ. It is still a guideline, written through NT-eyes (as Christ exemplified in the Sermon on the Mount). To say we are not “under the Law” misses the point. we are not under the letter of the Law, which is the shadow. But we are under the embodyment of the Law. We are by no means lawless, and to “sum it up” as “just love” is misleading. Even Paul him,self goives a number of specific commands in the name of the Lord – and his words on homesexuality are clear and unambigious as well as totally in line with the will of God expressed in the Law.

    Without love, we do not keep the Law. If we love God, we will on the other hjand do as he said. There is no contradiction between both (love and specific commands).

    Alexander

  86. gt says:

    Bob, I take it that you are saying that in ancient times since homosexual marriages were unheard of that it does not necessarily apply to current, more enlightened times. And since young people and others are viewing these prohibitions as such, we risk alienating them and losing them. And the answer then is to reinterpret or reinvent these prohibitions in light of the 1st and 2nd commandments in order to please and placate our children and grandchildren. Am I missing something?

  87. Bob Brandon says:

    Bro. Basnar wrote: “The purpose of our salvation and the indwelling of the Spirit is that we live according to what the Law intended.”

    Read Rom. 8 carefully; the “law” is the “law of the Spirit of life,” not the “law of sin and death.” The death of Christ simply cannot be spun to reimpose the “law and prophets” back on Christians. The law is fulfilled in Christ, not brought forward to a new generation of God-fearers in legal bondage. Otherwise, Paul make utterly no sense whatsoever. If you want to see what life is like under the “law of the Spirit of life”, start reading beginning in Rom. 12; you won’t find anything that isn’t consistent with the two great commandments.

  88. Dooug says:

    Jeff, having gone through a battle over the acceptance of homosexuality activity by the church, I am well aware of what I meant by say “throwing out the bible” and I did mean exactly that. In order to put an acceptable face on this activity, those favoring the acceptance of homosexual activity usually put forward a two main thoughts: 1) The bible doesn’t address comittted homosexual relationships 2) Jesus never condemned homosexual relationships. I think one must “throw out the bible” in every sense of the word in order to buy either of these two arguments as rationale for approving homosexual activity.

    Also, the side promoting the acceptance of homosexual activity has conclusively shown that they have no concern for the churches they are in by pursuing their dogged agenda. They have split churches and their activity has resulted in numerous law suits over property rights with certain churches and religious organizations who have oped to not go along with their agenda. In one case, a Church that pre-dates the American Constitution was kicked out of their property by the American court system. The homsexual lobby could care less about this. They only care about their “rights”. Any church that has a denominational structure should fear the homosexual lobby as they have already shown that they consider this a war and losses are acceptable as far as they are concerned.

  89. Bob Brandon says:

    gt:

    My point is that thinking is changing on homosexuality, especially long-term, caring homosexual relationships of mutuality. I don’t necessarily agree with it; my thinking is very conflicted. But many state that what Paul is condemning in the New Testament is not the same as these relationships. None of us have to buy into it, but many do, and of the many that do, many of them are relatively young people. Plus, we’ve rethought through any number of former doctrinal positions in the wake of changes of society’s thinking. If we were as bent out of shape over marriage and divorce as we seem to be over homosexuality, we might be a different witness to society. As it stands, we’re generally just a part of the American culture wars.

    I would dare say that we’re not alienating anyone; there are few such relationships, if any, in our churches. But thinking in churches, not necessarily our own, about homosexual relationships is changing in the same way that women’s roles in society and African-Americans’ place in society changed. They are changing at the same time that society’s perception of homosexual civil rights is also changing, as they changed in the course of the advocacy of women’s and African-Americans’ rights.

    And polling indicates that when the unchurched are asked about their perception of American conservative Christianity, the first perception is that of anti-homosexual. If the first impression is one rooted in the culture wars, that’s not a good thing. My point is that there is a need to think through this. If you don’t think so, then don’t. But it will affect our outreach. I expect some will change; some will not, and some will divide over it.

    That’s what I see from where I sit.

  90. Apeiron says:

    What we see in all these movements, in particular those involving religious prohibitions, is what Rene Girard calls “Mimetic Rivalry”. Religious prohibitions are designed to prevent mimesis escalating into violence and spreading throughout the culture. In the issue under discussion the “gay person” is relegated to the class of low-ranking individuals because of what the dominant males/females consider their deformed desire. The “gay” movement seeks to imitate the larger culture to eliminate all obstacles thereby making possible the acquisition of all benefits available to the dominant culture. Marriage, I think, is a prized imitation, rather than a prized acquisition of a dominant cultural benefit. Marriage, it is hoped, will help to mitigate their primary drawback, namely, that their desire is at best deformed and at worst cursed by God. We should not confuse the current tolerance with deeply held attitudes and values. Opponents see “gay” acquisition of marriage as desecration of the marriage ritual and indeed the defilement of marriage itself; and bringing disorder to the structure of parenthood. In other words the dominant culture sees “gay” marriage in terms of acquisition; an acquisition that defiles and devalues their hitherto sole possession of the marital benefit. The minimum issue is the accuracy of the charge that “gay” desire is deformed in the same natural sense as, say, conjoined twins. We could say that “gay” desire meets all the same criteria for deformity as the conjoined twins; both have a topology that lies well outside the normal human topology. However, such does not disqualify either from the right to marry. If deformation is to cause defilement then it must be prohibited by God. Such has been the case throughout Church history. One can only guess at the possible reasons. A possible reason is the idea of male and female becoming one flesh. It holds a mystical place in Judaism. Humanity is viewed as one flesh, but, particularized as male and female – Paul uses the term “joint heirs of the grace of life”. Thus the flow of humanity is the flow of the offspring of the one flesh. The oneness is not only physical but has a spiritual component – as Paul also says the children of Non-Christian parents are unclean, but, if only one of the parents is a Christian the children are clean. So marriage is integral to the physical and spiritual configuration of humanity. A configuration decreed by God; which also defines mother and father and so allows for the legitimate coming of the Son of God. I cannot see a theological paradigm whereby “gays” can meaningfully participate in the full possibility of marriage. So the ancient prohibition remains. Even if the physical possibility could be implemented by technology we cannot without further revelation penetrate the spiritual aspect.

  91. Skip says:

    Homosexuality is a choice and is not hardwired. In my single days I had two roommates in the church. One was formerly gay and chose to become a Christian and live a straight life. He then met a great woman in the church and got married. A second past roommate of mine was gay and chose to go straight after contracting aids from his former promiscuous lifestyle. He lived straight until his death and of course was saved. Both men were fully loved before their conversions and fully supported after their conversions. They could attest to the fact that their former life was a choice.

  92. Jeff B. says:

    Alan wrote:

    Regardless, we need to be diligent in defending our right to practice our religious beliefs without hindrance from the government.

    Why?

    Skip wrote:

    If you want to argue that gays can be Christians at the same time they are gay then let’s just throw out scripture and anything goes.

    Surely you can see the flaws in this logic. Christians sin all the time. Christians are just forgiven.

    Later, Skip also wrote:

    Homosexuality is a choice and is not hardwired.

    See my earlier posts. This is a false dichotomy. It is neither a choice nor hardwired.

    And the fact is that for every person you point out who was capable of choosing, I can point out to you many who are incapable of making the choice despite their best efforts.

    How one ACTS is certainly a choice. And it is absolutely possible for some gay people to ACT straight, and enter into loving and happy marriages with people of the opposite sex. However, I suspect that many who make those choices regarding their ACTIONS continue to have same-sex attraction. So BEING gay must be distinguished from homosexual BEHAVIOR. In fact, there was a wonderful correspondence posted between Jay and a Gay Christian on this blog about 4 years ago. See http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/theology-church-of-christ-issues/letter-to-a-gay-man-in-the-churches-of-christ/

    Doug wrote:

    In order to put an acceptable face on this activity, those favoring the acceptance of homosexual activity usually put forward a two main thoughts: 1) The bible doesn’t address comittted homosexual relationships 2) Jesus never condemned homosexual relationships. I think one must “throw out the bible” in every sense of the word in order to buy either of these two arguments as rationale for approving homosexual activity.

    I disagree with both of these assertions. And for ME to come to those conclusions, I would certainly have to reject the Bible outright. However, I am coming at the issue as someone who has never struggled with same-sex attraction, who has been raised and educated at a fairly high level in conservative theology and hermeneutics. My life’s story and context have contributed to my understanding of the scriptures.

    However, consider a gay person who has not been raised in church and whose exposure to the Bible has been primarily through the lens of people who believe and teach that the Bible approves of (or at least doesn’t condemn) homosexuality, or people who say that some parts of the Bible (like Paul) carry less (or a different kind of) authority. Just as you and I carry our experience and context into our reading of Scripture, so does this hypothetical person. However, his context and experience may cause him to draw a different conclusion from his Bible study than you or I would — without ever being insincere in his study. In cases like his, I would be very careful about accusing him of “throwing out the Bible.” He may have misunderstood the Bible, but he certainly didn’t throw it out.

    Also, the side promoting the acceptance of homosexual activity has conclusively shown that they have no concern for the churches they are in by pursuing their dogged agenda.

    I don’t agree with the militant approach that is being taken by EITHER side on this issue. I don’t think it portrays the Spirit of Christ. One can point out anecdotal evidence on both sides of the issue. I don’t doubt the truth of your account of gay rights advocates militantly taking over/splitting/suing a church. Neither do I doubt the horror stories I hear/read/see about militant evangelicals attacking, ostracizing, excommunicating and demonizing gay people. There’s plenty of fault to go around. “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

    …they have already shown that they consider this a war and losses are acceptable as far as they are concerned.

    Who is “they?” All homosexuals? Do “they” all think alike? Are there no peaceful gays who, though they may want various rights extended to them, choose to go about it in a much more tolerable way than the militant activists that you describe? We don’t like all Christians being associated with the actions of Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family … perhaps we should follow the Golden Rule and refrain from characterizing a whole group of people by the actions of some. Overgeneralizationis a wonderful rhetorical tool when one wants to demonize a group of people, but it is not helpful in fulfilling the mission of Jesus.

    But lets assume that your statement IS true, and all gay people do consider this a war. What does that mean for us? That we get ready to fight fire with fire and brimstone? Make preemptive strikes against them by creating a culture that communicates how unwelcome they are in OUR churches? Or does it mean that we prepare to turn the other cheek, and to stand up for them when they are under attack (Samaritan Woman)? If we are their declared enemies, should followers of Christ not be even more extreme in our acts of love towards them?

  93. aBasnar says:

    Yes, Bob, but the Law of sin and Death is not the Law of Moses, but our sinful nature which is inable to meet God’s standards. we are freed from SIN, not freed from God’s Commandments. we are made free from our distorted, fallen and dead nature in order to become alive to Righteousness and Obedience. And the Law of Moses has been freed from the limitations of the letter and brought to its fullness in Christ (Sermon on the Mount).

    This is it what Protestantism as a whole gravely misunderstood, leaving many Christians in a (supposed) bondage to sin. Think about it: Our flesh and the Will of God simply don’t go together. They never will. So which of the two should be done away with? Shall we say, our flesh must die in order to be able to live according to God’s will? Or shall we say, the Law of God must be done away with, so our flesh may sin but stand forgiven? Either way the conflict would be soved, wouldn’t it?

    After describing vividly our hopeless state in the flesh (Rom 7) Paul proceeds to explain how God condemned the sin in the flesh in order to solve the problem. We are freed from our sinful nature. Therefore we can and shall fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law – and this is what the New Covenant is all about:

    Eze 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

    Applied to the topic of this thread: Even if someone claims he was born homosexual, the new birth will set him free from his sinful nature. No one who is born again claim for himself the right to remain homosexual. This would be the very denial of God’s resoring/renewing wirk through the Spirit.

    But as soon as we say: “No, the law has been taken away and our sinful nature remains (only under Grace)”, we have no other choice than to accept their homosexuality as something only covered by Grace but nothing to be healed from. This is all but good news! This is keeping Christians in bondage to self! In fact: This is Satan’s masterpiece! The fastest of all possible Gospels!

    Alexander

  94. aBasnar says:

    oops, the last sentence reads correctly: The falsest of all possible Gospels!

  95. laymond says:

    Jeff, as is said in Jobe, just because one is old doesn’t mean he is wise. You are pretty wise for one not so old. (meant for a compliment)

  96. Jeff B. says:

    Thanks, Laymond. Unfortunately, the time signature on my last post disproves any notion that I possess wisdom. And I’m feeling it this morning.

  97. laymond says:

    Jeff, maybe that is one reason for your wisdom, you don’t sleep your life away :)

  98. Doug says:

    Jeff, With all due respect, your statement that you don’t agree with the militant approach that is being taken by EITHER side on this issue really doesn’t mean squat. The GLBT side of the issue does believe in militant means and whatever other means necessary in order to have their Church declare sin a no-sin. In other words, you can sit there saying you disagree with the GLBT approach all day long and it will make no difference to the GLBT lobby or agenda. They are going to do whatever is required to gain a “victory”. And when I said “They have already shown that they consider this a war and losses are acceptable as far as they are concerned”, I’m speaking of both the GLBT persons and the straight people who support their cause. It is clear from what has happened in the Episcopal Church already that the U.S. court system is siding with the GLBT side. If a church is non-autonomous, it will have no choice but to grant the GLBT side what they demand because going to court is a lost cause. Many individual church groups that never signed the so called “Dennis Clause” which stated that their property is held in trust by the local diocese and national church have been sued and lost their churches. Other cases have involved whole dioceses (many, many churches) being sued In most cases, there is no viable church left and the property is simply sold off. It has all the hallmarks of a war, i.e. destroy and burn! And as one who has been previously sued because of my position with a religious group, I can tell you that once you are sued, you have two choices: 1) let the suing side win 2) respond to the suit. I don’t disagree that both choices are losing propositions but are Christians susposed to always just roll over? Most of the conservative Episcopal parishes have chosen #2 choice but they have lost in court. Goggle “The Falls Church” and see what happened to a nearly 300 years old church in Virginia who had their last service in their beautiful building on May 13, 2012 if you want to see the future.

  99. Doug says:

    I forgot to mention, not only was the Church property lost but the Churches also had to turn over all liquid assests to the suing GLBT and supporters party. So they had to turn over the money contents of any bank accounts, trust accounts, and endowment accounts. The sued church is starting all over again (after being in existence for nearly 300 years) while meeting in either church building owned by other churches or in public facilites (school auditoriums). I see support of gay marriage as ultimately ening in this kind of scenario for many American churches.

  100. Wendy offers a flawed proposition. She suggests that if a person says “I didn’t choose to be gay!”, that this is some sort of proof of a fact. It is, rather, simply a self-interested viewpoint from a biased source. Pedophiles make the same argument. If I bring Wendy’s argument to their defense, I would say, “How many child molesters do you know? If you don’t have close relationships with several child molesters, how can you know anything about it?”

    Homosexuals will argue, “But what we are doing is among consenting adults! We are harming no one.” But what does this have to do with such an “orientation” being innate? Nothing, it’s just an an obfuscation.

    This is essentially a social phenomenon, whereby one group engages in a practice opposed by the majority. Their objective is to then destigmatize the practice, so as to make their interaction with society more comfortable without conforming to its mores. This is done often by painting their opponents as objectionable (intolerant, ignorant, fearful, superstitious, oppressive), by claiming the practice to be harmless, and by claiming that the practice is not really even under the ultimate control of the practitioner. In other words,their three-pronged argument is, “There’s nothing wrong with it; I can’t help it; and you’re a hateful backwoods idiot.”

    I get it, I just don’t buy it.

  101. Alabama John says:

    Churches shouldn’t own anything. Rent the building etc.

    If you lose in court, you can’t be forced to give up what you do not own.

    The queers can go to court and obtain the lease, but still have to make the payments.

    You all can do the same by starting a new congregation with a different name but have a new lease of the same building.

    The moneys put in a collection plate can be collected for many uses that cannot be grabbed by the court. Just have to watch what church name you make the check out to.

    You have to fight fire with fire.

  102. Jeff B. says:

    Charles writes:

    Wendy offers a flawed proposition. She suggests that if a person says “I didn’t choose to be gay!”, that this is some sort of proof of a fact. It is, rather, simply a self-interested viewpoint from a biased source. Pedophiles make the same argument.

    Actually, I think that pedophiles are probably being truthful in most cases. Their perverse attractions were likely never a conscious choice, but a psychology formed by their experiences in life. ACTIONS are subject to our will; DESIRES are not. Desires can sometimes be changed gradually by repeatedly conscious actions (much like an “acquired taste,” but I doubt there are many homosexuals or pedophiles (or heterosexuals or those who practice bestiality) who woke up one day and said to themselves, “Self, I think that from now on I’ll have sexual desire for __________.” See my account of my brother’s story above and tell me at what point in that story he made a conscious choice to be gay.

    Homosexuals will argue, “But what we are doing is among consenting adults! We are harming no one.” But what does this have to do with such an “orientation” being innate? Nothing, it’s just an an obfuscation.

    You are correct that this is a defense that homosexuals and their advocates use. However, I have never heard this argument made to prove that homosexuality is innate. Rather, it is rightly used to differentiate homosexuality from pedophelia, bestiality, rape, and any other violent forms of sexual deviancy that homosexuality is often lumped in with.

  103. Jeff B. says:

    Alabama John,

    Are you unaware of how hurtful your use of the word “queer” is to gay people, or do you simply not care? Why would you flippantly and knowingly use language that is hurtful? How does that help further the cause of Christ?

    “You have to fight fire with fire.”

    Christ didn’t.

  104. laymond says:

    See Jeff, I told you age does not necessarly represent wisdom :)

  105. laymond says:

    And, baptism does not necessarily soften a heard heart. All hearts of stone are not transformed. But they should be.

  106. Alabama John says:

    Jeff,

    They were queers practically all my life and its too hard to keep up with the latest in vogue name.
    Not nearly as hard to contain yourself when called the far more numerous hurtful names the queers call us.

    And, I really don’t care anymore than they care what they call us country bumpkins that understand very well what a male and females part is on the farm. If a young bull is only attracted to other bulls and demonstrates that in the pasture, he is quickly castrated or put on the dinner table.

    Not hard to understand places nature wants us to serve to us country boys.

    If more kicked them in the pants instead of coddling them and putting your approval on their violent actions for all to see ( and that is sure dangerous to let your young ones see)

    Needless to say, no queers in my very extended family, how about yours?

  107. Alabama John says:

    Sometimes the wisdom of age is rejected by those younger just because they have not reached maturity of experience.

    Going along with the popular thing or movement to be in the main stream of acceptance is never a good thing. That’s what is popular today.

    Sometimes you have to have the cohunas to stand and fight for whats right. Homosexuality is NOT! It is a specifically named sin in Gods word. No excuses given.

    Jesus sure did as did all that followed him. He never danced around a subject of sin

    Neither did His apostles and look what a death or marters that got them.

    Not a yes man in the bunch!

    WE need more like that!!!

  108. Jeff B. says:

    *sigh*

    AJ,
    This will be my last comment in response to you for two reasons:

    1. I try not to cast my pearls before swine, and you’ve done nothing to indicate any kind of open-mindedness.

    2. I don’t want to copntribute any further to your intentionally hurtful language. In addition to any number of people who may be following this discussion without commenting, countless numbers of people in the future will search for things related to homosexuality and Christianity and be pointed to this blog and these comments. To those who fit that description, I want to apologize that I, as a follower of Jesus have tolerated people like Alabama John for so long that he feels no compunction about being knowingly hurtful while claiming the name of Jesus.

    Now to your last comments. First, do you allow your super-straight children to say call their siblings names and excuse themselves by saying ,”Well he/she called me a name first!” If so, at least you’re consistent. Question: what does “turn the other cheek” mean to you?

    Second, I’m gonna call BS on your act. “I can’t keep up with what the latest en vogue name is” is , I suspect a bold-faced lie. Perhaps my grandmother could say that when she lived in the country, didn’t even know what the internet was, had no cable tv, and took the paper only for the crossword puzzles. But if you aresufficiently connected to the world to find this blog and comment on it, then you are certainly aware of the fact that “Queer” is offensive and hurtful.

    Furthermore, I told you that it was offensive in my last post, so you cannot claim ignorance on your last comment. In that one you, knowing ful well that it was a hurtfukl term, chose to use it at every opportunity.

    I find your solution to the problem of homosexuality well-thought out and enlightened by the Spirit of Christ. Castrate them, butcher them, and kick them in the pants more often. (I apologize if I got the order wrong; it really was a bit too academic for me to follow properly).

    As to your last sentence, I’m not sure what your point is. If you read my previous comments, you know the answer. Or did you have motives other than curiosity or genuine interest?

  109. Wendy says:

    Alabama John, there are reasons why the church has lost influence. Your posts here illustrate why. Jesus weeps.

  110. Jeff B. says:

    What Wendy said.

    And, my “youth” hasn’t been referenced this much since I was preaching for a little church of 30 senior citizens. I still consider myself young, but I wonder how old this board thinks I am.

  111. Jeff B. says:

    A 7 year old avatar picture may have contributed to the perception of how youthful I actually am. I updated it, and you can see that my wisdom has caused a good deal of swelling over the past few years!

  112. Wendy says:

    You look younger than I do, Jeff!!!! I’m decidely middle aged despite my sometimes radical views…

  113. Apeiron says:

    In a subculture clash with the larger culture one of the 1st things you try to do is to control the definition of terms, thereby improving your chances of prevailing. Terms that have negative connotations are replaced with those having a positive ring to them. For example, asylum becomes “treatment center” and “Q….s” become “gay”, although there has not been any change to either except time. Somewhere Paul speaks of “taking every thought captive” for Christ. That’s the general ideal in etheical battles. The structure of thought constructed for acceptance of “gay” marriage is at best a house of cards.

  114. laymond says:

    Apeiron says: “The structure of thought constructed for acceptance of “gay” marriage is at best a house of cards”

    Someone , I don’t readily recall just who, but recently on this blog said (the blood of Christ, continually cleanses the Christian of all sin, intentional, and unintentional) If that is so, then why would “The Blood” cleanse one sin committed out of weakness of the flesh and not another?

    Actually I do believe I remember who said this, and I believe that same person was inconsistant while commenting on this thread.

  115. Alabama John says:

    Jeff,

    if it gets too hot in the kitchen do as the others that pander these Homos and Dikes do and run. Did I use the proper names this time? Seems you are right, Queers is old fashioned. I asked my policeman son for the correct, proper street names.

    Even seen or heard a bunch of these misunderstood folks hold down and rape a young man? Ever heard them relate sexual experiences to one another. I have.

    I think I’ve heard all the excuses. It still is a sin and should be called one. Dancing around it is encouragement, not admonition. You are fooling yourself.

    Make excuses for them and carry signs at their parades and gatherings. No
    I don’t think any of us would participate in a child molester gathering would we? The excuses presented by both are identical.

    Is this the only important sin we should point out to the sinner? Of course not, but, this is the one many of us choose to help excuse. I really don’t understand why except they put you and all others on a tall pedestal for doing so.

    Would of liked to of heard Paul after he wrote Romans answer them.

    I pray for them and you too.

  116. Doug says:

    Jeff, while I will refrain from refering to homosexuals by the Q-word, I do think that your indignation is possibly borne out of political correctness and not christian morality. It’s always a little weird how if you are in a group you can refer to yourself with a name but those outside the group can not do the same. I think I’ve heard chants yelled in Gay parades that use the Q-word repeatedly (That’s right, I’m here, I’m here and I’m Q-word) but if AJ says it, he’s being hurtful… that’s pure political correctness.

  117. Alabama John says:

    Jeff and Wendy,

    Are you Gay?

  118. Jeff B. says:

    Jay,

    I respectfully request that those who cannot refrain from being intentionally hurtful be moderated. This is beneath the integrity of your blog.

  119. Price says:

    AJ…you and I have agreed on many things over the years. We’ve also had our disagreements.. Your recent comments seem out of line with your normal reserved and thoughtful attitude. the only time Jesus ever got “nasty” with people was at times with the religiously pious. I don’t ever recall Him using derogatory language to describe those whom He came to save. Without the Grace that only He can offer, my sins are no less damning that those of any other. Perhaps it would be best to reconsider your remarks and realize that Jesus came to save those that are lost. Not to pat those of us on the back who don’t think we need any help.

  120. Jeff B. says:

    Doug,

    I agree that there’s a lot of political correctness involved in our cultural semantics, and that the rules can be unclear and unreasonable at times. It frustrates me, too. However, when it is a well-known fact that certain language is considered highly offensive and hurtful, Christians should generally refrain from using that language. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to us, or if we understand WHY it is hurtful, or if it wasn’t always considered hurtful. If it is hurtful now, Christians should refrain. I really don’t understand what is so hard about this.

    I hope everyone remembers that gay people are people that God loves dearly, that Jesus would have defended against attack (woman caught in adultery), and that he died for. They are people that we are called to share Good News with. They are people to whom we represent Jesus. What they see from us, they often associate with Jesus.

    When we say and do things that lovingly draw them towards Christ, some pain may be involved, but it is a pain that is redemptive. When we say and do things that only hurt them, and do nothing to draw them towards Christ (like calling names), we sin.

    I don’t regularly follow the comments on this blog, so I don’t know the proclivities and tendencies of each commenter. However, my heart is broken over this thread. I thought that the readers of a blog known for its focus on grace would have more of it. Perhaps the COC hasn’t progressed quite as much as I thought.

    God, forgive our unwillingness to forgive,
    Spirit, soften our hard hearts,
    Christ, live through us in spite of us.

  121. Jeff B. says:

    My last paragraph painted with too broad of a brush. I apologize. Many of you have certainly demonstrated grace in this discussion. While I expected that my approach to this issue would not be shared by all, I guess I didn’t expect the types of comments that AJ has made. A naive expectation, I suppose.

  122. Alabama John says:

    Price,

    I really didn’t intend to get nasty.
    My intentions was to confront the issue straight on and call a spade a spade. In our society that is becoming rare and what is acceptable and in conflict with the scriptures is being accepted as normal more and more.

    Our young folks read this blog too and I don’t want them to get the idea preached by Jeff is the norm. It is not! I may have hurt Jeff and Wendys feelings, but his postings on here and the thoughts expressed are far more hurtful long range to far more of our youth and my little scolding.

    It is a sin and shouldn’t be done. Can we all at least agree on that?

    Jeff,
    Dodge, dodge, ask for censorship, that is the expected tactic.

    This is a COC board. My feelings and beliefs are way in the majority. I may come on a little too strong but would expect Paul and Jesus to approve.

    Time someone stood up.

  123. Alabama John says:

    Jeff,

    To be forgiven, a person first must attempt to stop the sinning. To explain it away and simply keep on doing it is not right in anyones book, COC or not.

    I will give you one thing though, you are a much better dancer than me.

    I pray that is not held against you on judgment day.

  124. Alabama John says:

    If you think my statements are hard, you should go to an AA meeting and see how they are taught.
    First step is standing up and admitting they are a drunkard and then the healing can start.
    Those that deny they are in error never will heal.

  125. Skip says:

    Jeff B.,
    Having known several gays, having shared my faith with several gays over the years, and having numerous conversations with gays over the years I believe I understand the gay perspective. All sin is a choice. Period. Some are tempted to steal, some are tempted to gamble, some are tempted to act on homosexual impulses. The Bible is abundantly clear that practicing homosexuality is a sin. Everyone, by the power of the Holy Spirit can give up a life of sin and live for Jesus Christ. Your prior comments seem to suggest that gays can’t help them selves and should be allowed to be immoral because of their weakness. I don’t subscribe to the belief that “once gay, always gay”. I am not saying that all temptations go away but if we believe the Bible then we believe Jesus Christ can transform our lives.

  126. Doug says:

    Jeff, I do agree that Jesus dies for homosexuals just as he died for you and I. But, you also should understand that when AJ and I were possibly your age, homosexuals were identified as being Q and that was the accepted name. it was a name that indentifed their lifestyle as out of the norm and unusual. I think it is still an accepted name within the the homsexual community. It is just when someone from outside the community uses the term that it becomes “hurtful”. Personally, I see the more recent objections to it’s use as another way of legitimizing and possibibly promoting homosexality. Gay certainly denotes something different than out of the norm and the use of the term “Gay” seems intended to make the Gay lifestyle accepted as within the norm. I worry a bit less about God’s wrath over the use of the Q word than the general societal acceptance of that lifestyle. Should we really wonder why our society is becoming so unhinged when we accept the Gay lifestyle and Gay marrriage as a societal norm? We are reaping what we have sown.

  127. Price says:

    Can’t help but wonder how this conversation might differ if the “sin” under discussion were “gluttony.” hmmmm.

  128. Apeiron says:

    Laymond does not seem to dispute my conclusion that “The structure of thought constructed for acceptance of “gay” marriage is at best a house of cards”. But rather appeals to some notion that the fact that grace saves intentional sin all is therefore well. Paul taught that where sin abounded, grace abounded more. Later some took this to imply that it was actually positive to continue in sin, with the benefit being the dispensing of more grace. And Paul had to defend himself against this false interpretation. When addressing this issue he said concerning the notion of continuing in sin: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
    The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001 (Ro 6:1-6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Although I lean toward universalism, there is a difference between intermittent intentional sins repented/confessed for forgiveness and one who intentionally commits the same old sin, over and over, again and again without change. The latter are still enslaved to sin by definition; and are among the rejected and not the elected.

    In simple terms none of us can meet the goal of perfection; and God has a remedy for the serious repenter. But if one never make a transformation that “frees” them from a life of sin the are amoung the rejected.

    As I said I lean toward universalism, and would hope the rejected and elected are both saved. But that is a hope of mine that is contary to scripture. So I bow to the Magisty on high who would have all find salvation.

  129. Jeff B. says:

    Skip,

    I agree with everything you said, and I’m not sure where I gave the impression that I believe otherwise. Maybe I needed to preface each comment with “Remember: I believe that the Bible characterizes homoesexuality as a manifestation of the fall,” though that wouldn’t have changed any of my points.

    I don’t think this is really a disagreement with you, but I would add some nuance to one of your points. Actions are choices. Desires/temptations often are not. When people hear us say, “Homosexuality/being gay is a choice” they hear it as a reference to their desires and, more broadly, their own identity. So they hear “You have chosen who you are,” a statement which is true of nobody. Saying “Homosexual activity is a choice” is simply more precise and less open to misunderstanding. I know I’m harping a lot on words and language, but on issues as emotion-filled and sensitive as this one, we must be very careful that the words we use don’t shurt down opportunities for dialogue.

    I don’t think that many gays can help their desires. I do know that everyone can choose their actions. I don’t think gays should be “allowed to be immoral” any more than those who are liars, greedy, hypocrites, adulterers, fornicators, idolaters, etc. are “allowed” to be immoral. What concerns me is that they are “allowed to be immoral” far LESS than most other forms of immorality. They are attacked for their failings while Brother Smith the glutton serves as an elder. We have no compunction about hurling epithets their direction, comparing them as a whole to rapists and pedophiles and, in AJ’s case, beef cattle while we let greedy Brother Jones serve communion to everyone but them.

    I’m simply saying that we have a huge log in our own eye, but we want to focus on one small group of people and their fallenness as if it were sinful than our own sins.

    While my communication has clearly been inadequate, in my heart I am following the example Jesus set with the woman caught in adultery.

  130. Jeff B. says:

    Doug,

    Language is fluid; I don’t deny this. I believe you that in earlier generations the word Queer did not carry the same connotations as it does now. And I also know that it carries differen connotations coming from you and I than it does when spoken within the gay community. In this respect, it is much like the word “nigger.”

    My problem is less with the use of the word than it is with the hurtful intentions behind the use of the word. My grandmother had no more prejudice in her than anyone else (we all have some), and before she died she would talk incessantly abou thow much she loved “that nigger nurse” that would help her. That nurse would probably have found it offensive and, if my grandmother had known that it was considered offensive, I have no doubts that she would have stopped. There was no intention to shock or harm or offend. Its just the language that had always been used.

    AJs comments are different. If you read them, they are very clearly inserted for the sole purpose of denegrating, hurting, and insulting others. They add nothing positive or productive to the discussion. They do nothing to encourage Christ-likeness and, in fact, discourage it. And THAT is what is so anti-Christ.

    I don’t understand how objecting to language that is known to be hurtful is “another way of legitimizing and possibibly promoting homosexality.” I also don’t understand how “gay” is “intended to make the Gay lifestyle accepted as within the norm.” Is it that we are now concerned about the feelings of gay people whereas in times past that wasn’t so true? (That’s an honest question). I can see how such a change can SEEM like we aren’t standing up for our beliefs anymore. However, I simply don’t see how it ACTUALLY does what you claim. Either way, I wouldn’t want you to use a term that you think minimizes the truth on the subject or one that hurts others. So why not just use “homosexuals.”

    I worry a bit less about God’s wrath over the use of the Q word than the general societal acceptance of that lifestyle.

    Perhaps that is a valid viewpoint. However, the words I use are completely within my control, whereas societal trends are not. So why not address the issues that can be changed immediately while working incrementally to affect broader changes?

    Should we really wonder why our society is becoming so unhinged when we accept the Gay lifestyle and Gay marrriage as a societal norm? We are reaping what we have sown.

    I would argue that society is no more and no less unhinged today than it always has been. The symptoms have changed over time. But slavery, genocide, war, racism, greed, etc have been a part of America since the beginning. I don’t consider that to be fully hinged.

  131. Apeiron says:

    As the Brits are seriously considering a “fat” tax and some groups have advocated the same for the U.S. we may well have the opportunity to participate in a “gluttony Tax” thread in the near future 

    Concerning the “woman caught in the act” she is a key example of the entanglement issues that arose as the Lord began changing to a better covenant. Adultery is no longer a capital offense in the Theocracy. However, adultery remains a sin as the Lord tells her to go and sin no more. Jesus had no problem in calling a sin a sin; preferably against the background of compassion. On the other hand for those who had resorted to attributing his works to Beelzebub he used harsh terms (e.g. vipers, den of thieves).

  132. nick gill says:

    I may come on a little too strong but would expect Paul and Jesus to approve.

    Those that deny they are in error never will heal.

    Indeed.

  133. nick gill says:

    We live in a nation where the majority of Christians believed it was sensible and right to drop atomic bombs on two cities. Yes, we’ve always been unhinged.

    AJ, you’d be right if Jesus in John 8 called the woman a whore, a slut, or whatever other derogatory language existed at the time for sexually immoral women. He does not, so you should not – it is that simple. Do you go out of the way to call yourself dirty, hateful labels when you sin? I doubt it. As Paul says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” and “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

    Please tell me how your behavior fits within the parameters established by the Apostle in those two passages. You claim that you expect him to agree with you about your use of language – I’d like to see how you defend that assertion.

    Apeiron is right about how Jesus uses vicious language to condemn the religious elite who prevented sinners from approaching the True and Living God. If our language hinders such sinners from approaching Him, may we fall under the same condemnation.

  134. Alabama John says:

    Nick,

    First, I am not Jesus, but, am the chiefest among sinners.
    Jesus gives us many examples of proper behavior. You picked one that you would use and I would choose the whip in hand driving the sellers out of the temple.
    We each make that choice depending on the circumstances on a regular basis through out life.
    God have mercy on us!

    Gods loves all sinners and hates the sin. To belittle the sin is sinning ourselves.

    What is so deceiving about Gays is the trying so hard here in America to sell folks that it is normal.
    It is not.

    Think on this: If you were a Little League park supervisor, would you hire a homosexual for a coach of one of the boys teams?
    How about a Gay woman for the girls swim team?
    How would you explain that to the parents.
    Its like hiring a drunkard for the bus driver and probably far more dangerous to the children.

    Price,
    Gluttony is a sin too but it doesn’t carry the danger to others anywhere near as much as Gays do.

    Jeff,
    I went no farther one way than you do the other. Your posts smoothing homosexuality over were an anathema to me as much as mine were to you.
    At least BOTH sides are now spoken.

  135. Chris Church says:

    I have long believed that with this issue, as well as a few others, people fuse their cultural mores with their religious ones. Alabama John, in particular, has done this, it seems to me. I read this blog fairly regularly, but rarely comment. It is really hard for me to believe that Alabama John would get so upset at most other sins. Divorce? Alcoholism? Drug abuse? Thievery? Usually, Christians are very sensitive to the feelings of others who struggle with these things. It has a lot to do with the fact that people we go to church with struggle with these things, and sometimes we ourselves do. In fact, we all struggle with sin of some sort. But homosexuality, perhaps because it’s something we ourselves don’t struggle with, becomes a sin that is worse than others and is tied together with truly deviant behavior like pedophilia (as has been done in this comment board several times). Jeff (and Bob Brandon) is correct, however, in saying that this could be devastating for organized religion in the U.S. I don’t think we have to change and say that homosexual activity is not a sin. That’s not so much the issue. It’s the mean-spirited and hateful rhetoric that is the problem. It’s the elavation of this issue to above all others. Why don’t we generally get so upset when adultery is in the mix? Easy, it’s because that’s something that people we know have struggled with. It’s something that each of us is more capable of falling into than homosexuality. So we are not as callous in regards to discussing it.

    And to the point of this particular post, our religious bodies, including the COC, have been losing members. This is not debatable. One of the reasons, maybe the biggest reason, is that to many young people, Christianity has been linked to one political identity- namely the Republican Party. And we have to remember, in a country that values a separation of church and state, and values a freedom to worship, or not worship, in any way that we see fit, that trying to subject others to our theological views is crossing a line. You can’t legislate religious laws. One doesn’t have to agree with the practice of homosexuality to be for granting the same status that heterosexuals get. Or at least not having a problem with it. If you want to say that Christian morals should dictate the law in all instances, fine but be prepared to defend it with everything- divorce, smoking, drinking, adultery, porn, going into the military (e.g. David Lipscomb), gambling, etc. etc. Most of us might think either some or all of these are wrong but it doesn’t mean we would think it prudent to outlaw them.

  136. Doug says:

    Nick, the decision of the U.S. to drop atomic bombs on 2 cities was not unhinged, in fact it was possibly the only rationale choice the U.S. had available to end the war in the Pacific and to end it quickly. I know it’s perverse but lives were saved by dropping the 2 bombs. An alternate choice would have cost many more lives. And if Japan had acted promptly, one bomb would have sufficed. And… what that has to do with homsexual marriage, is totally lost on me. But, you are talking to a guy who had atomic bomb drills while in elementary school. Hiding under a desk for protection from an atomic bomb… now that’s beyond unhinged, that’s sheer lunacy.

    jeff, I have to disagree with you on changing the state of our society. My experience says that the U.S. is a much more evil society than it was 60-70 years ago. When I was a kid, I was allowed total freedom during my summer recesses. I was up and out of the house, riding my bike with my friends all over the neighborhood all day long. I never had any concerns about being abducted or raped or killed and I lived in a very large city. A parent that allowed their children as much freedom as I had then would be considered a bad parent today. As for changing society, did you know that prior to the Great Awakening only 15% of Americans professed to be a Christian? Even today, in the mess we call American society, 85% of the population calls themselves a Christian. Jesus changed our society once, why not again?

  137. Doug says:

    Incidently, the people on this blogsite seem to be a microcosm of the overall United States. The younger people, have been fed a constant barrage of Gay normality through news media, television and Hollywood, and are more accepting of homsexuality than their older counterparts because they see homsexuality as a non-choice. And, I would agree that it seems that some people naturally have a proclivity that way. I don’t have any statistics on it but it does seem to me that many more people as a percentage of the overall population are claiming to be homsexual than were say 60-70 years ago. That might not be the case. But, it leads me to believe that the percent of the population that is born with a proclivity toward homsexuality is probably about the same as it was 60-70 years ago. I think the large percentagee of people who claim to be homosexual or bi-sexual today is a result of choice, not a proclivity that way. There may be data that shows that not to be the case but the people I grew up with in High School were straight. I imagine that most High Schoolers today know quite a few in their classes who claim to be homsexual. You have to ask why this is the case?

  138. laymond says:

    Doug said; “I imagine that most High Schoolers today know quite a few in their classes who claim to be homsexual. You have to ask why this is the case?”
    Because they are taught not to lie about it and deny what is plainly evident to others, (what is worse, to lie about it or to be gay, the bible speaks much more about lying than homosexuality) I went to a small High School in Texas, and knew three boys at least that were gay. but to avoid ridicule it was never mentioned. I would bet there were gay kids in your school. but to clump all gays in the bunch that AJ did is wrong no matter how you put it, that is called prejudice.

  139. Jeff B. says:

    Every generation seeks to improve the failures of the previous generation, and later bemoans the changes that subsequent generations bring about. Every generation improves some things from previous generations, and every generation makes mistakes of their own. So the question of whether society is better, worse, or unchanged is really a discussion that can have no resolution because it can’t be quantified. Each side can bring up anecdotal evidence in support of their opinion, but no one can actually prove anything.

    So perhaps a better way to frame the discussion is to ask whether our society has ever really been something that we should seek to emulate in a wholesale way. I would contend that the answer is no.

    Therefore, the fact that something has changed from the way it used to be isn’t inherently good or bad. That’s why we have to look at the specific changes, lift up the good aspects of those changes, and expose the bad aspects.

    As it relates to our current discussion, I would say that it is absolutely an improvement that current generations are better about recognizing and honoring our common humanity with those who are different. This should be lifted up and encouraged, especially among followers of Christ. The negative side of this coin is what several in this thread have referred to — there is a greater tendency to remove all distinctions, including the distinction between sinfulness and righteousness.

    Christians tend to do a great job of exposing the negative extremes that accompany positive changes have gone to. However, we haven’t done a very good job of recognizing and lifting up the positive aspects of that change. I’m trying to balance the equation.

  140. Jeff B. says:

    Doug,

    I also want to push back a bit on your statement that younger generations “are more accepting of homsexuality than their older counterparts.” While this is generally true, if you are alluding to me and the position that I am espousing here, I disagree. Here’s my reasoning:

    I am just as convinced as I ever have been that the Bible condemns homosexual activity. I do not accept homosexual activity, condone it, or promote it. In this way, I am no more accepting of it than you are. However, I DO acknowledge the humanity of the homosexual. I do see their brokenness before God, which causes me to reflect on my own brokenness. I then address their brokenness as I would want others to address mine — with love and grace. I do not accept their sin, but neither do I consider their sin more unacceptable than other sins, including my own.

    So I would say I’m not more accepting of homosexual activity, but I am more gracious and less hateful.

  141. Jeff B. says:

    I do notice more comments about my “youth.”

    That’s it! I’m growing the beard back. If my wife complains, I’m blaming you people!!

  142. Larry Cheek says:

    As I was reading the other night. Moving from one blog to another I found some words that I was unsure of their meaning, therefore I googled them and found myself reading a site that was stating that the Bible and God have never condemned homosexual activity, it was stating that men have miss read that into the scriptures. Of course the author was looking for CENI even though I don’t think he would have a clue what that means. Just to completely reassure myself of my concept that God truly did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their abhorred sexual activity, rather than the proposed concept that was being promoted, which was entertaining visitors, you see they were not allowed to do that. I truly believe that anyone reading the account of that event could easily understand the intentions of the men that refused Lot’s daughters in their powerful quest for an encounter with the men (angels) in the house. I also chased links into the New Testament writings that explained the purpose for the destruction, of course the author had commented that even those writers had misunderstood and therefore portrayed the wrong message. I began to think back upon the last 50+ years and try to remember just how well that we had taught our kids and the church this complete story, hoping that they would never fall into being a victim of that sin. Is it too late to promote a very concentrated study there now? I have noticed that many in the blog seem to want to classify that sin in the same importance as any of the other mentioned sins in the Bible, but did you ever see God in the scriptures single out any other single sin, and show how powerfully he considered it as an abomination? Nearly all of the other examples in scripture where God displayed his power in administering judgment over sin, there were multiple sins involved, ie the flood, 27000 at Kdish Barnia ( spelling is not one of my best abilities), but in most cases he used his chosen nation to render judgment upon mankind that refused him.

  143. James Donovan says:

    Hi All,

    I just found Jay’s blog site, and this is my first post, so please be gentle.

    There has been much discussion about whether homosexuality is a choice or not, but I wanted to offer a different perspective than any I’ve read in the replies to this post. First, I absolutely reject the idea that there is a “gay” gene. But I also reject that homosexuality is just a choice.

    As some have already said, there are definitely cases where being gay is a lifestyle choice which can be repented of. There are also cases where someone becomes gay because of the circumstances in their life, such as when someone who is rejected by family, friends, church, etc. finds acceptance in the gay community and so comes to identify with that lifestyle (I believe this was the case with Jeff’s brother). I still consider this a choice because when presented with the love and gospel of Christ they can repent and live a “normal” life.

    But what about those who seem to want to change, who even hate being gay, but just can’t seem to change? What would make someone do what they don’t want to do? In Jay’s book on marriage and divorce, he tells the story of a happily married Christian man who one day got an uncontrollable urge to sleep with other women. He did this repeatedly even though he expressed remorse, sought help from counselors and the elders, etc. He gave every indication of wanting desperately to repent and change his behavior, but he couldn’t. Eventually his wife couldn’t bear it anymore and divorced him. Later he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication and was eventually back in his right mind and no longer had those urges.

    Now I can totally relate with this man because I also suffer from bipolar disorder. About three months after I became a Christian I had a complete mental and emotional breakdown. I was initially diagnosed with clinical depression, but then later bipolar. I am now pretty stable on medication, but for many years I was seriously out of control. I too struggled with wanting to sleep with other women (I am married by the way). It was something that just tormented me and gnawed at me all the time. I thank God that I never did have sex with another woman, but instead I turned to porn. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and hated it, but I did it anyway. At one point I was rapid cycling, meaning that I was literally flipping back and forth between mental states within a matter of minutes. One minute I wanted to be a disciple and was begging God not to let me go and to keep me from self-destructing, and the next minute I just wanted to go out and find someone to have sex with and was cursing God for blocking me. It got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore; I thought I was going to go crazy, and I remember praying to God that he either help me to be in my right mind and do right or left me go and live in sin. I couldn’t handle switching back and forth like that. I just thank God for his grace that he loved me and protected me from myself even when I wanted to destroy myself. Even now that I’m fairly stable, I still have my struggles, and I fall down, and I’m sometimes ashamed of my behavior. I thank God that his grace covers me, and I thank God for loving brothers who have hunted me down and pulled me out from under the rock I was under and helped me to fix my eyes on Jesus and have hope and repent!

    So what does this have to do with homosexuality? I believe that homosexuality is a sin, and ultimately homosexual behavior is a choice, but I believe that for many people the homosexual tendency, feelings, orientation, or whatever you want to call it, is the result of a physiological problem. It may be that there is a genetic component due to the mutations that are accumulating in the human DNA, or it may be caused by our lousy diets and our toxic environment. I remember reading a study (unfortunately I don’t have the reference handy) that exposure to mercury caused homosexual behavior in animals. There is a doctor (Dr. Amen – yes that’s his name) who has done a lot of research on the brain and has found that exposure to chemicals can radically affect someone’s personality. One patient he treated was a very kind a loving husband when he first married his wife, but many years later he had a complete personality change and became habitually violent and angry. It turns out that he was working in a furniture stripping factory where he was exposed to toxic chemicals. When he got the toxic chemicals out of his system, his personality completely changed back to the way it was before his exposure.

    Now I am not condoning homosexuality any more than I am condoning my sin of lust and looking at pornography. Each of us is responsible for our actions before God. However, as Christians we need to consider that sometimes it is not a simple matter of someone deliberately choosing to sin, and we need to have wisdom in how we deal with people who are in sin both inside and outside the church. First, we need to love everyone, even (and maybe especially) the militant homosexuals. If Jesus hanging on the cross could say, “Father forgive them” then we need to strive for that same heart. The reason Jesus was able to hang out with the sinners and still challenge them on their sin and call them to repentance was because they could see his love for them. Only when we show someone love are we in a position to effectively help or discipline them, and this applies to both those inside and outside the church. Even Paul’s command to expel the immoral brother in 1 Corinthians 5 was an act of love, and would only be effective if the brother felt loved by the church before being expelled. We will not win over the hearts of the lost (of any stripe) by demonizing people and preaching fire and brimstone.

    Second, we need to recognize where people are at. In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul says, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” Those lost people who have chosen to be homosexual need to be shown the truth in the Gospel and called to faith and repentance. Those people who have a physiological component to their homosexuality still need to be called to faith and repentance (there is no exception), but they need to be encouraged and helped, not just told to repent or perish. They need extra support, compassion, and love. And yes, they will probably need a lot of extra support, compassion, and love as Christians. It is likely that they may struggle with homosexual urges for years and even give into temptation and act on those urges. And we need to follow Paul’s command in Galatians 6 to restore them gently and to help carry their burdens.

    In my own life I have found that God has chosen not to remove my thorn from me. He has helped me to endure, to persevere, to grow stronger, and to overcome my mental illness to a large degree. But it has been a long journey, and it’s far from over. I would not be here if it wasn’t for God’s grace and for the love and support of brothers who were able to see past the sinful behavior to see that I was hurting and broken and needed help. I pray that we will look at everyone (saved or lost) with the eyes of Jesus; that we will see that people (including ourselves) are wounded and broken and need the love of Christ and of his people.

    Sorry for writing a novel here. I guess I had more to say than I thought.

  144. aBasnar says:

    God never destroyed cities because of sins like gluttony. I think it was Price who asked whether we’d discuss gluttony as much as homosexuality. I think this would be way out of balance, since God did not “discuss” gluttony the same way as homosexuality. To make it clear: Each sin deserves judgment, and we will be held accountable for each unnecessary word we uttered (or typed at OneinJesus). But God never destroyed cities because of (only) gluttony. The reasons given for such judgments as the one concernig Sodom therefore provide a glimpse at how God views specific sins. Not all sins are called an abomination.

    Brothers and sisters, there is a “woe” pronounced in scripture on those who call evil good:

    Isa 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    Isa 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

    Alexander

  145. Wendy says:

    James, thank you for your comment and sharing your struggle. I don’t agree with everything you have said about homosexuality but I agree with your Christlike approach to the issue. May God continue to use you to bless others!

  146. Doug says:

    Jeff and Laymond, you may be correct and the percentage of people who claim to be homosexual might be the same. As it was 60 years ago but I have trouble believing it . What do you think about autism and ADD? Do you think the percentage of children with these two conditions has increased since 1950? I think it has and the causes are possibly related to changes in society and environmental. Maybe homosexual tendencies are somewhat the same?

  147. Doug says:

    Janes,

    I unfortunately know much more about Bipolar Disorder than I do about homosexuality. Those who study the brain do too. I wish you well, my friend. Stay on your medications at all times. You may think that you are okay and be tempted to go off.your medications… Don’t! I wish you well, you bring some interesting ideas to the discussion.

  148. laymond says:

    aBasnar says: “God never destroyed cities because of sins like gluttony.”

    Alex. can you please show me where God destroid cities, solely because of homosexual behavior?

  149. Price says:

    Alexander. Prov 15:8-9 indicates that the righteous acts and even the path or way of the wicked is an abomination. So, it seems that those who pretend to be Christians and yet are not are an equal abomination to the “woes”. I wonder how one might consider purposeful over eating to the point of obesity? Why is that purposeful disobedience any different might it be because they fill our congregations ? The ” excuses ” seem to be very similar 1/3 of our population in the US is obese and costing billions to the normal taxpayer. Far more prevalent and costly than the gay community to the average citizen. I think perhaps it’s easier to wail against the sins of others than address our own. Perhaps Jesus was addressing this very point by askIng us to get the beam out of our own eye or to be without sin before condemning others.

  150. Alabama John says:

    Price,
    Gluttony is a sin also there is no doubt and the Bible lists others just as well. Glad you and I are thin.

    The main difference is no one that is a sinning glutton tries to get others to eat just as they do and are constantly trying to recruit others to the same sin. I’ve never heard of a glutton forcing food (rape) on another either.

    They also do not march for special rights from our government to be given them because of their sin. Marriage with same rights as woman and man? Ridiculous.

    These things especially separate Homosexuality from other sins listed.

    Pray for them for sure, help them anyway you can, you bet, but keep watch closely is my motto.

  151. Price says:

    AJ. 1/3 of population is obese. Another 1/3 is almost obese. Seems like gluttony is a much more prevacive sin. But we don’t mind pot luck dinners at church with horribly fattening foods that promote obesity. Just don’t invite a fat gay person, right ??

  152. Alabama John says:

    RIGHT!

  153. Apeiron says:

    There seems to be little disagreement that practicing homosexuality is intrinsically sinful behavior. The root cause of such behavior does not matter. In a previous post I indicated a model that homosexuality as a form of human deformity at best (as it is well outside the human topology) and a free-will choice at worse. So it is academic that gay “marriage” is also sinful. I speculated that with regard to marriage that it deviates from both the mystical concept of one flesh and the spirit of that one flesh being connected to the Devine Nature. We can see these modes of thought in the following:

    But he who is joined to the Lord mbecomes one spirit with him. 18 nFlee from sexual immorality. Every other sin5 a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person osins against his own body. 19 Or pdo you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? qYou are not your own, 20 rfor you were bought with a price. sSo glorify God in your body.

    I don’t think anyone would or can disagree.

    This leads to the primary area of disagreement – how do we “treat” the “gay” person and the gay ‘married’ persons. As is often the case the Christian is torn between the desire for charity and revulsion of the behavior. Unfortunately, scripture illustrates different trajectories for different cases. An example of viewing the “sinners” as apostate, and thus, Christians should take a hard line is given below.

    For there are many who are insubordinate, yempty talkers and deceivers, especially those of zthe circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since athey are upsetting whole families by teaching bfor shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 cOne of the Cretans,6 a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”7 13 This testimony is true. Therefore drebuke them esharply, that they fmay be sound in the faith, 14 gnot devoting themselves to Jewish myths and hthe commands of people iwho turn away from the truth. 15 jTo the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and kunbelieving, nothing is pure; but both ltheir minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 mThey profess to know God, but they ndeny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, ounfit for any good work.

    In the above we see words like deceivers, detestable, disobedient, etc. In the following passage when Christ is put to the test, rebuke is escalated by Christ (not man) to capital punishment.

    lWe must not indulge in sexual immorality mas some of them did, and ntwenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ2 to the test, oas some of them did and pwere destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, qas some of them did and rwere destroyed by sthe Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but tthey were written down for our instruction, uon whom the end of the ages has come.

    In both of the above cases these behaviors we not considered sinful in the larger cultural setting. Is this the approach called for today?

    At this point we address the argument that the lack of Church growth is because of having harsh positions toward those who participate in the promotion of sin. Here I think the words of the 20th century philosopher Bertrand Russell are on point. Russell in his book “Why I am not a Christian” addresses the natural question: If Christianly is false then how/why did it spread throughout the Roman Empire given the resistance by the Empire and its religious establishments? Russell gives a number of reasons, but, his main reason was that almost all Christians, of those times, were known to rigorously follow a strict moral code. This was the primary attractor according to Russell who died a staunch atheist. The Empire was rotting within. The contrast between right and wrong had no shades of gray. I fully agree with Russell. The application is clear. The lack of Church growth in these times is that there is little if any adherence to the original moral code and our moral code is in constant revision to keep pace with the world. There is little difference between the behavior of the church and the world. The church no longer opposes much of anything with any seriousness. People have little respect for hypocrites!

    We should not fret too much over what is occurring in the CoC and other churches concerning the following of worldliness into damnation. Historically, it has always been the case that when the “tension” between the later generations of a religious movement become too stressing for the members to confront the world with their views, that the movement’s views are revised to better align with the world. This is normally followed by a reduction in membership over time. Most members who leave such churches gravitate toward movements more in line with their beliefs. A am pessimistic that the CoC will ever again profess a strict Biblical moral code and even more so in adhering to such both publicly and privately (to be lead by the Spirit).

    Just the very question asked by this thread shows the lack of a moral compass or is an attempt to provide a forum for those who wish to again revise the moral code to their liking.

  154. JMF says:

    Alabama John –

    Something to consider. I’m sure you’ve heard the Shakespearean line from Hamlet: “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.” The thought being, sometimes the loudest voice has a lot of passion about something for a reason.

    I’m not suggesting you are a homosexual. But you sure seems impassioned to discuss it. I’m just helping to make you aware how that comes off sometimes. As a general rule, we tend to hate in others what we hate the most about ourselves.

    The way you’ve demonized homosexuals makes me think it would be time well spent if you befriended a homosexual to help humanize them in your mind. Because having that kind of disgust built up towards an entire group of people is a terrible cross to bear. That kind of anger will eat you up inside.

  155. LoriBelle says:

    Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of what is to happen to those who go “after strange flesh”. Jude 1:6-8
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

    8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.

  156. Alabama John says:

    JMF,

    I hope I would just as passionate about any sin I saw that was being presented as NORMAL and even worse, being recently accepted by the president of the United States. Marriage between same sex!

    My family would be just as passionate if it was adultery, drunkenness or any other sin being voted on nationally to be accepted as just a lifestyle.

    Heck, for lack of protest they have come far, even to adopting children to be brought into that sin and be brought up in it.

    Wish more would not just go with the flow but speak up. maybe more don’t for the reason you give, they don’t want to protest too much for looking homosexual. Great tactic. One thing for sure, homosexuals are sure not dumb.

    I don’t know of any other sin being accepted and outwardly promoted as no sin as much as this one?

    “I do promise though that if this subject ever comes up again, and it will, I will refrain from commenting.”

    Maybe I should pick my sins to protest and look like.
    Better protest drunkenness as I don’t mind a cold Coors Light every now and then.

  157. Nick Gill says:

    I don’t know of any other sin being accepted and outwardly promoted as no sin as much as this one?

    I can think of at least three: Gossip, Gluttony, and Greed.

    Greed, the insatiable attitude of demanding more, is the American Dream. What did the White House encourage Americans to do with their tax break money a few years back?

    Save it? No.
    Pay down debt? No.
    They encouraged the American public to go to the mall, to the car lot, to the jewelry store and *blow it* on stuff, “to boost the economy.”

    This country’s economic system would collapse if Christians took seriously the biblical warnings about wealth and its instructions about simple living and sacrificial giving. But we’d rather fuss about “those people” than take a good hard look at our own household.

  158. Jeff B. says:

    James Donovan,
    Thank you for sharing. Wonderful post!

    Doug:

    Jeff and Laymond, you may be correct and the percentage of people who claim to be homosexual might be the same. As it was 60 years ago but I have trouble believing it . What do you think about autism and ADD? Do you think the percentage of children with these two conditions has increased since 1950? I think it has and the causes are possibly related to changes in society and environmental. Maybe homosexual tendencies are somewhat the same?

    I don’t believe that the percentage of people who claim to be homosexual is the same as it used to be. I believe that it is likely much higher today because, among other reasons, it is more socially acceptable today, meaning more are willing to come “out of the closet” now than previously.

    Re: autism/ADD/homosexuality link. If I understand you, you are saying that increased rates of autism & ADD are likely due (at least in part) to changes in society/environment, and that it is possible that homosexuality increasing trend is explainable (at least in part) in the same ways. I don’t know enough to answer this confidently, but I suspect you are right. In other words, I believe that much of homosexuality is derived more from nurture than nature. However, we make a mistake if we conclude from this that, since it is not primarily “nature,” that it (the sexual orientation/desire) is a conscious choice.

  159. Jeff B. says:

    Larry Cheek wrote:

    I have noticed that many in the blog seem to want to classify that sin in the same importance as any of the other mentioned sins in the Bible, but did you ever see God in the scriptures single out any other single sin, and show how powerfully he considered it as an abomination? Nearly all of the other examples in scripture where God displayed his power in administering judgment over sin, there were multiple sins involved, ie the flood, 27000 at Kdish Barnia ( spelling is not one of my best abilities), but in most cases he used his chosen nation to render judgment upon mankind that refused him.

    aBasnar wrote:

    God never destroyed cities because of sins like gluttony.

    laymond wrote:

    Alex. can you please show me where God destroid cities, solely because of homosexual behavior?

    Jeff B. backs laymond up:

    Ezekiel 16:49-50

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

    So in addition to homosexuality, Sodom was destroyed for arrogance, self-indulgence, apathetic, laziness, lack of concern for the poor, did detestable things

    Self-indulgence is pretty close to gluttony, isn’t it. What?! Sodom was destroyed for gluttony?! Alert the elders, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, and all evangelicals! We must increase our level of hatred for gluttons because they are sodomites! While we’re at it, we don’t have any sufficiently hurtful epithets to hurl at them, so we need a volunteer to come up with a few. Who’s with me?!! Anyone? Hello?

  160. Apeiron says:

    Although I recommend the church stand firm on the sinfulness of this issue, plus, continued willfull sinning leads to perdition; I can still understand the pain of those, who for moral reasons, must live life w/o their heart’s desire (both homo & hetro). My door is always open to help anyone overtaken in a fault to save their soul.

Leave a Reply