Canadian Advice on Same-Sex Marriage

gay christianAnother interesting post from Carey Nieuwhof, a Canadian blogger. His blog is excellent in its own right, but in this case, being Canadian gives him a perspective that we in the USA often don’t have.

Read his entire post, but here are his five points:

1. The church has always been counter-cultural

2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values

3. You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time

4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance

5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship

What do you think?

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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72 Responses to Canadian Advice on Same-Sex Marriage

  1. Gary says:

    The church has not always been countercultural and that is especially true of Churches of Christ in the South. With few exceptions Southern Churches of Christ were indistinguishable from the rest of Southern society regarding racial segregation and discrimination until the Federal government effectively forced society to become more just on race. There will certainly be a lag time but I have no doubt but that Churches of Christ will once again follow the lead of the Federal government in adopting a more just approach to gays. The day of reckoning may come sooner rather than later for Churches of Christ due to our Christian universities and colleges. They cannot exist without Federal aid for students and Federal recognition as nonprofit institutions which may receive tax deductible charitable contributions. Once the Christian colleges change the churches will follow, some sooner and some later.

  2. John F says:

    And when “our” “Christian colleges” sell out to the federal cultural restrictions, or to pressure to become more “evangelical” they have ceased to be “Christian” except in name.

  3. Gary says:

    John, your perspective would only exchange one form of Church of Christ exclusivism for another. A growing number of sincere and biblically knowledgeable Christians from conservative denominations believe that committed same-sex marriages and relationships are acceptable to God. How do they cease to be Christians because they disagree with you on this one issue?

  4. John says:

    I could not agree more, Gary. The only thing I would add is that most of the congregations that take the lead in a just approach to Gay individuals will be urban churches, simply because they already work with a diverse population.

    What I find do disheartening is that the progressive movement of the Church of Christ, which for a time had a good foot hold even in some small town and rural churches, has made a crooked u-turn into an ultra conservative evangelicalism because of how frightened it became of the changes within society, especially the LGBT movement. In doing so it has lost much of its compassion. The few times compassion and mercy is stressed is when some of their own “mighty ones” fall off the moral pedestal.

    And regarding point number 3, “You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time”, churches, in dealing with single couples, especially those who have been married, whether widowed or divorced, have for some time now chosen not to get too personal and inquisitive as to whether the relationship is sexual or not. The church has always had a history of fighting something until it is exhausted from punching itself out, then letting God and peace sort us out….all of us.

  5. Gary says:

    That’s true John. Even the most conservative congregations among Churches of Christ do not inquire whether heterosexual couples are sexually active. It’s a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Why should same-sex couples be treated any differently? I’ve consistently advocated here the policy that Foy Wallace, Jr. (of all people!) counseled regarding divorce and remarriage. Teach what you understand Scripture to teach on the subject but leave the application in specific situations between the individuals and God. Wallace was indirectly but clearly saying that marriage and divorce were matters of opinion and not a legitimate reason for division. I believe his reasoning applies also to same-sex marriages and relationships.

  6. Larry Cheek says:

    So God is not in control of his covenant, the church is! If God is the only lawgiver or the only ruler than it matters not what any church thinks, individuals will be judged by a righteous judge. Even if Disciples fail to show men what God’s Word explains about same sex encounters, judgement will be rendered according to God’s decrees.

  7. Did I miss the link to Nieuwhof’s blog?

  8. Dwight says:

    Yes, Larry, it appears that God’s law doesn’t matter as much as public opinion does. If the government or society decides to move in the direction of saying bestiality or murder is find, then I guess the church will have to move that way as well.
    Gary, the most conservative churches don’t have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, they have a go by the Bible policy, so they teach against homosexuality, adultery, lying, murder. And the problems with your argument about marriage and divorce is that God ruled these territories and was against divorce as well as other sexual sins. But I guess God is not compassionate and inclusive enough.

  9. Monty says:

    Gary said,

    “A growing number of sincere and biblically knowledgeable Christians from conservative denominations believe that committed same-sex marriages and relationships are acceptable to God.”

    Gary, not that it matters as to being right or not, but what proof do you cite? Are you sure these are conservative denominations, and if so, what criteria for conservatism do they meet?

  10. Ellen says:

    Tim Archer, I didn’t see the link either.

  11. Ellen says:

    When I read the statement that the church has always been counter cultural, I took it to mean that Jesus Christ and the new Testament teachings are counter cultural.

  12. Ellen says:

    In other words, the church was always meant to be counter cultural, though it certainly has fallen short of that numerous times.

  13. John F says:

    To intimate the Foy Wallace would support the abandonment of unambiguous apostolic teaching is a step WAY too fare and without any support (not that I agree with Wallace on everything). Just another attempt to frame the discussion away from the core issue — very common when the case to be upheld is weak. A thousand words of argumentation is not worth one verse of scripture, no matter how twisted out of language or context.

    The coreof discussion is that “love” or “lust” is above scripture. Love of God, which is to be primary, leads to obedience (1 John).

    I’ve read many of Gary’s posts in detail (will not comment here as this post is outside that realm).

    As Jay and others have pointed out, the trend of scripture is toward increasing restriction in expression of sexual relationships. The language is clear, the intent is clear. Mercy and compassion, YES; acceptance of Biblically restricted activity, NO. The assumption that SOME congregations “ignore” sin in one area (whatever that may be) is no justification for concluding that sin in any other area is acceptable. Typical diversion tactic, but easy to spot.

  14. Dwight says:

    The church is outside of human culture, but not neccesarily with it or counter to it depending on the culture in question, but it was never mean to to mirror it, but expected culture to mirror God.
    Jesus, paid tax money, but he didn’t bow down to the traditions or actions of men as something from God. Culture was never relied on to provide guidance…God was relied on.
    John F, very true. Father-“Son why did you fail math?” Son- “Well, everyone in my class failed math too.” Our failure to study math, is not dependent upon anothers lack of studying math or english or science. The word of God is for us to do or not do, not for others to enforce or not enforce. But it is for us to understand it and press the understanding when it is clear and direct.

  15. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tim,

    Oops.

    Thanks.

    Fixed.

  16. Tom says:

    Jay,

    Does the following logic make sense?

    Given these two propositions:

    Proposition A. Marriage is by nature conjugal.

    Proposition B. Proposition A is unjust.

    C. If proposition B is true, it is highly unlikely that Proposition A is also true.

    D. Point 5 (from the summary of Nieuwhof) concedes that proposition B is true.

    Conclusion E: Given C and D, point 5 concedes that the truth of Proposition A is highly unlikely.

    Am I misconstruing Nieuwhof’s post?

  17. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tom,

    I think so. Here are the 5 propositions again with some observations added —

    1. The church has always been counter-cultural

    Not true. But sometimes true. The church is pro-God not counter-culture. Sometimes we agree with the culture. Sometimes we don’t. But we should be comfortable being against the culture by now, since there are countless examples of the church correctly being against the prevailing culture. It’s not new.

    2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values

    Quite true. Here’s the key text:

    (1Co 5:12-13 ESV) 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Pretty plain. We are not allowed to judge those outside the church. Our job is to invite them into the Kingdom, not to impose Kingdom behaviors on non-Christians by the power of the prevailing nation-state.

    3. You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time

    True. The church has always opposed pre-marital and extra-marital sex, both when the culture agreed and now that the culture disagrees. Not new.

    4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance

    True. In fact, the early church never tried to impose its values on non-Christians via the Roman government. Rather, those who were converted voluntarily took on those values.

    5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship

    Well, some LGBT people are believers, and they should be held to biblical standards. 1 Cor 5 is quite clear (as is 1 Cor 6). The same is true of heterosexual believers.

    But for non-believers, our job is not to tell them how to live but to invite them to follow Jesus. If they don’t follow Jesus, they are lost whether they are promiscuous or celibate.

    This is not the end of the analysis, but it’s my reaction to the article.

    There are many hard questions that follow. You might check out my two very-old series on the church and state. http://oneinjesus.info/category/index/church-politics-index/

    I’m not intending to foreclose further discussion. It’s just that all that material won’t fit in this tiny box I’m typing in.

  18. Ellen says:

    I agree with you, Jay, but…How demanding do we need to be about something that has so much disagreement and confusion surrounding it, even in the church? I’m convinced that many gay affirming Christians are looking at passages that declare that the whole law is summarized in this one; Love your neighbor as yourself. They haven’t been able to reconcile taking a more conservative view of homosexuality with loving their neighbor as themselves, so they choose the approach that seems more loving. We know that doing the right things without love is worthless. Can it be that doing something with loving intent, though misguided is still better than feeling compelled by church disciplinary action to do something that doesn’t feel loving? I believe that the one who is seeking God with all his/her heart will be enlightened to His will. Eventually. It rarely happens all at once. If ever.

  19. Dwight says:

    Our reaction in following Christ is important and our reaction to those who don’t follow Christ are important. Sometimes what we call love is in the shape of a sledghammer, but then again sometimes those we try to lead to Christ will not be turned because of the love of this world over Christ. People need to know why they should change to Christ and not just be told to change from one sin, even while they are living in sin anyway. If they are drowning in salt water, moving them to fresh water won’t help them, because they are still drowning.

  20. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ellen,

    With the greatest of respect, I have to disagree on some points.

    1. God teaches us how best to love. There is no such thing as love that contradicts God’s teachings in the scriptures. This is especially true when we see OT teachings re-affirmed and even made more stringent in the NT. Jesus affirms the OT’s teaching on homosexual conduct when he condemns “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (Mat 15:19). The word was well understood to include homosexual acts. And Paul is, if anything, stricter than Lev 18, because he condemns both male/male and female/female homosexual activity, whereas Lev 18 only speaks to male/male.

    So when Jesus himself and Paul, the apostle of grace and freedom, condemn this kind of conduct, we can’t simply overrule their wisdom by declaring them unloving. If Jesus and Paul are right (and how could they not be?), then condoning homosexual conduct would be one of the most unloving things you could do for a brother or sister in Christ. You’d be encouraging them to live as the pagans described in Rom 1 did, and you’d be among the ones condemned by Paul for condoning such conduct.

    2. In 1 Cor 5, Paul orders the church to discipline the member guilty of incest. He never asks whether the incestuous couple love each other, find comfort and solace with each other, or could be happy if separated. He declares the relationship per se immoral for violating Lev 18. He does this out of love because he believes the couple is at risk of damnation if they don’t repent. And he thinks tolerating this behavior will lead to further sin by other church members. He therefore insists on discipline — out of love.

    3. Should church discipline feel loving? Absolutely. The elders should only go there as a last resort, after much prayer and many tears. But few people being disciplined feel loved at the time, no matter how well the church handles the situation. But it’s the definition of “discipline” that it’s unpleasant for those being disciplined. If it weren’t unpleasant, it wouldn’t be discipline.

    And this sort of discipline is only possible when continued membership in the congregation is important to the couple being disciplined. If being disfellowshipped doesn’t hurt, then it just won’t work. If the couple doesn’t crave the fellowship of their congregation, they have nothing to lose. So, yes, it really needs to hurt or it won’t work — and it must be done in a loving, regretful way.

    4. I recently posted as series called Jesus, Paul and the Hermeneutics of Sexuality attempting to demonstrate why Jesus and Paul reach the conclusions they do from a loving perspective. I continue to study the subject and will likely post again on it. But so far, the more I read books that support Christian gay marriage, the more I’m convinced that position is dead wrong. I mean, the arguments being made just don’t hold water. (Richard Hays has a chapter on the question in his recently published The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic.)

    Hays (a Methodist) and NT Wright (an Anglican) are two of the greatest NT scholars living, and they disagree on some things. But they agree that the case for the church accepting gay marriage hasn’t been made.

    Hays writes regarding divorce (but a principle much more broadly applicable):

    Insofar as there has been any theological rationale at all for this historic shift, it lies in the conviction that we must avoid being judgmental: the operative canon within the canon for Methodism — as for much of mainstream Protestantism — has been, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged” (Matt. 7: 1). (In its original context, this saying of Jesus warns that those who judge others are liable to the judgment of God. As popularly understood, however, the saying is heard as enjoining a tacit social agreement that we should all look the other way: “If you don’t judge me, I won’t judge you.”) If someone opts out of a marriage commitment, that is his or her own business, and no one else should presume to pass judgment. Furthermore, if the gospel is a word of grace, so the thinking goes, then we must at all costs avoid legalism. To require people to stay in difficult marriages against their inclination would be to impose a harsh law contrary to the spirit of love. I am persuaded that this line of thought has had disastrous consequences for the church.

    Hays, Richard (2013-07-30). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic (p. 348). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    Regarding homosexuality, Hays writes,

    But never within the canonical perspective does sexuality become the basis for defining a person’s identity or for finding meaning and fulfillment in life. The things that matter are justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23: 23). The love of God is far more important than any human love. Sexual fulfillment finds its place, at best, as a subsidiary good within this larger picture.

    Hays, Richard (2013-07-30). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic (p. 391). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    The New Testament never considers sexual conduct a matter of purely private concern between consenting adults. According to Paul, everything that we do as Christians, including our sexual practices, affects the whole body of Christ. We must hasten to add that Paul’s corporate concern is for the church, not the wider civil society; that is one of the major differences between Leviticus and 1 Corinthians. The right to privacy may well be a useful principle for a secular political order. Such a political right, however, does not extend carte blanche to sexual conduct within the church, where the question of each member’s responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the community as a whole imposes a particular and far more stringent set of normative criteria for evaluating our actions. At the same time, the church also provides koinnia, within which living out the obedience of faith is supported and sustained.

    Hays, Richard (2013-07-30). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic (p. 392). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    As the foregoing exegetical discussion has shown, the New Testament offers no loopholes or exception clauses that might allow for the acceptance of homosexual practices under some circumstances. Despite the efforts of some recent interpreters to explain away the evidence, the New Testament remains unambiguous and univocal in its condemnation of homosexual conduct.

    Hays, Richard (2013-07-30). The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic (p. 394). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    It’s a lengthy chapter that deals with the arguments made in the literature at some length, and I highly recommend the entire book.

    I’ve argued for a more gracious understanding of marriage and divorce, baptism, and the role of women. But that’s because I find support for greater grace in the text, both the big picture of the scriptures and the getting down to the nitty gritty of the grammar and context. But I find the scriptural narrative — both the big picture and the nitty gritty of grammar and context — to reject homosexual conduct unequivocally. The books and arguments I’ve seen to the contrary are unimpressive. It’s not hard to see their flaws. And yet I’m probably as open to being persuaded as one can be — and yet remain dead set on being in submission to the scriptures.

  21. Dustin says:

    Ellen,

    Here is a blog entry by Richard Beck (with some excellent comments from readers and Richard) that concerns your thoughts mentioned here:
    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-god-would-say.html?m=1

    As he mentions in the comments, if Christ is Logos and then the Logos became flesh, then our discernment should also take in consideration how the Holy Spirit is working now in the flesh. This is food for thought. As we know Jesus said that you will know them by their fruits. I see many committed, married LGBT Christians doing great things for God’s kingdom. I don’t know what else to call it.

  22. Tom says:

    Hi Jay,

    Thank you for your response to my earlier posting. I appreciate the dialog. Still, I am unclear on some points. Let me give a specific case for thought.

    Lets say I live in a state that has a referendum on the ballot that states something like “Under the laws of this state, marriage shall be construed as being conjugal in nature.”

    If I vote in the affirmative for such a referendum:

    1. Have I violated 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13?

    2. Have I been mean-sprited, placed myself in a morally superior position or in some way ungraciously judged/condemned those who disagree and would like the state to affirm that their own non-conjugal relationship is a marriage?

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts and response on these matters.

  23. Dwight says:

    According to the OT and even as reflected in the NT a man and woman would become man and wife (in this state they were subject to the laws on adultery and even divorce) and then they would marry. This can be see in the case of Mary and Joseph, who were man and wife and not yet married. But the marriage was reserved for the man and wife, even though joining a harlot was also called “becoming one flesh”. If you go back to the statement of Jesus, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” This was God’s law for man and woman from the beginning, not for the church, but recognizing sin and expelling it was for the church or the people of God. Now we can help form national laws, after all Israel was a nation that had national laws, by God, but they applied to the people (it even applied to those not of Israel). But God didn’t tell them to punish people in other nations for the sin of adultery, but did tell them to punish thier own people for that sin. We must do the same. And really it is less punishment, than removing the sin. They put away the unclean.

  24. Monty says:

    We’ve lost our ability to blush as a culture. Nothing makes us uneasy any more. It’s not just related to homosexuality but everything that has to do with sex. Don’t think so? Then you’re fooling yourself. Ever watch a Viagra commercial sitting in the room with your mother-in-law? You don’t pay it any attention by yourself, or the same with a feminine protection commercial? “So, how’s the weather?” Some would call that uneasiness-“silly” or “Pollyannaish.” Why? Because we’re beyond that point for most. There was a time “divorce” was spoken of in hushed tones. It’s no big deal today, it’s more of a big deal today if you’ve never been divorced.

    The advancement of the Gay agenda is just taking advantage in the let down of our guard. We’ve progressed to a time period where literally anything goes. What’s happening now really is no surprise considering the sexual revolution started in the 60’s and the progression of that revolution to it’s logical conclusions, to things like HBO and Showtime, Playboy and Penthouse that became acceptable in many households, to the ever progressive free TV- like daytime dramas, the music/club scene, experimental drug scene, communal living, shacking up, friends with benefits, the internet and the home computer where porn could be brought in and nobody has to know. It’s the Jerry Springer lowest common denominator-how low can we sink. Pretty low obviously.

    We’re a nation where there is no outrage over Planned Parenthood and their selling of murdered baby parts-except among the conservative few. “Don’t you dare take away my Planned Parenthood and my easy access to abortion.” We are a nation that doesn’t blush. We want what we want, and we get what we want. Now we want Gay love in our churches. And somehow many believe they can see God’s approval in this, although, this too, should come as no surprise because the church has been riding this downward headed escalator along with culture for some time now. The homosexual community cries “foul” at the church for making a big stink about them while we turned our eyes away from divorce, fornication and the shacking up of our members or member’s kids, and rightfully so.

    The place where we are at didn’t come to us in “1950’s America”(not saying sin didn’t exist back then -but it was by-in-large recognized as sin). No, America wasn’t ready for Gay being “good”, back then. But the Gay issue is only here now because we’ve been conditioned over time to the point where now most can accept it. And that speaks volumes(to me ) about whether it’s right or wrong. It could only happen in a weakened moral culture(although no doubt some will call it a more enlightened culture). What was that warning about Satan appearing as a messenger of light? Our moral values are at an all time low in our nation. There is no moral outcry over much of anything sexual in nature except maybe human sex trafficking or being opposed to gay marriage(lot of outrage there). We are a more depraved society than we used to be. Yes, sin has always been there, lurking in the dark hidden places, biding it’s time,waiting for it’s opportunity to inflict it’s damage. Now, however, it has moved into the daylight and into the mainstream and is threatening to destroy the church under the banner of-of all things-“love.” Satan is the great counterfeiter, the one who twists and turns the word of God until it’s upside down.

  25. Ellen says:

    Jay, I agree that homosexuality is against scriptural teaching and that God knows love better than we do. What I was getting at was this; If the church disciplines me, marking me as a false teacher because I believe there is no condemnation for having a piano in the worship service, and I submit to the punitive action of the church, I have a very weak character; one that’s more concerned with pleasing church leaders than with doing what I believe to be right- refusing to condemn people who worship with instruments. An attempt to manipulate me to change by “punishing” me is ineffective and counterproductive to my spiritual growth.
    I’m with you that the pro-homosexual arguments seem very weak and don’t hold water, but others don’t see it that way. In Corinth, everyone agreed that the situation was a sinful one. They knew better, but they allowed it to go on. Maybe they thought that grace was licence.
    In another situation, new converts were given apostolic command very clearly to not eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul said he would rather give up meat that to cast a stumbling block before them; even though he knew there would be nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols. My point is, some had good reason to believe something was wrong. Paul, understanding the reasons behind the command, knew it didn’t apply to him.
    Don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying that homosexuality is okay for some people and not for others. I don’t believe it was ever intended for anyone! But, the point is, those who believed that eating meat sacrificed to idols (Apostolic command!) were told to get along with those who believed it was alright just as much as it was expected of those who believed it was alright were to bear with the weaknesses of those who believed it was wrong.

  26. Ellen says:

    The thing is, I see my gay affirming friends behaving according to the description of love given in 1 Cor. 13 better than those who are overly concerned with their own freedoms being threatened and often saying some very angry and rude things to and about homosexuals. They often put the word “love” in quotation marks and you can just feel the spite oozing from them and their words. If people are going to know we are Christians by our love, they had better be able to recognize it as love.

  27. Ellen says:

    My issue is more about how should I accept and behave toward my gay affirming friends and gay people? The people I like to be around often fall into these categories and It’s because they are nice people!

  28. Ellen says:

    Dustin, I just read the blog entry. Thank you for sharing that. It does mirror what I’m talking about. I believe in growing in knowledge and understanding, but I feel we can only reach hearts when we show compassion and mercy. We have to make ourselves and our own hearts vulnerable. To start with acknowledging that people are complicated and they have real feelings of love, desire, pain, etc. and acknowledging that we all have some things wrong would be really helpful. We will recieve mercy as we have extended mercy.
    I also think it would be good to stop pretending that ex-gays don’t exist. My brother-in-law is ex-gay and they don’t get treated any better than gays by a lot of people and the get censored.

  29. Dwight says:

    Ellen, I guess a question I would ask is how would you frame those that commit incest, bestiality, murder, lying, adultery, etc. within the same context of homosexuality. In terms of how they act in general, you might not be able to tell them apart and they might excude qualities of more love than many other people and yet they are comitting a sin that was punishable by death in the OT and is condemned in the NT. Gay/homosexual is a misnomer to some extent. People commit homosexuality. There are cultures in the Middle East where men have homosexual association with young children as part of thier culture, but the men and the children wouldn’t consider themselves homosexual (much like Rome). They basically fulfilled thier sexual desires. Moving to my next point. My brother-in-law married my sister, had a homosexual affair that lasted a week, came back, lived with her until he died of aids. The affiar was kept quiet & when I found out I was at first shocked, but then I realized his strength/focus/love for God. Impressive. We need to help people move forward out of thier sin and guilt, but they must move forward themselves as well.

  30. Richard constant says:

    What’s the difference between a horse thief & a drunk Horse thief?

  31. Richard constant says:

    P.s I should have put it in there as far as Christ
    Is concerned. and this is really a serious question you guys are just changing the names.
    and the mode of disobedience to the LAW.

  32. Dwight says:

    Richard, can you be more clear as to who you are referring to in “you guys”?
    I was condemning homosexuality, because it is a choice in doing an act that God condemned.
    Ellen, Jesus ate with sinners. He didn’t aprove of their sin and he spoke about sin and changing from it and he did is with love.
    But the people that he had real issues with were those that thought of themselves better and above all of the other people.

  33. Ellen Williams says:

    The difference between the homosexual sin and most other sins ( except heterosexual fornication) is that most sins have an obvious victim. If we conclude that God is love and everything he asks us is about loving and becoming more like Him, we conclude that he doesn’t ask anything arbitrarily. So, the natural question is, why is this wrong? Who is it hurting? Where’s the victim? Now, I believe there may be more to it than just being or having a victim. God wants us to live abundantly. When we live according to the plan the creator intended we can live abundantly. But, the obvious difference between this one and other sins is that it’s much harder to see that anyone is being hurt by it and typically, we leave people alone if they aren’t hurting anyone. They’re just different. That’s what makes this difficult. It isn’t hard to see that. Trying to see things from another’s point of view can go a long way toward establishing communication. Establishing communication is vital to reaching people.

  34. Ellen Williams says:

    I agree, Dwight. I wish we had more information on how Jesus spoke to those sinners when he was with them. It’s rare to see someone interacting in a way that leads to the same response Jesus got. Until I see people responding like that, I will remain skeptical of their methods.

  35. Dwight says:

    When we argue who is the victim, we are thinking from a purely physical and social standpoint. Let’s place this in perspective.
    Who is the victim when we turn to other God’s beside Y-HW-H?
    Who is the victim when we create an idol and worship it? I mean no one physical gets hurt, right?
    Technically when Adam and Eve ate of the tree in the garden that God said not to, no one got hurt either.
    I think we are leaving God out of the equation.
    God is offended, because it goes against His natural order for man! He is the one we should worry about.
    Integrity is what we do when no one else is looking…and yet God is always looking. It doesn’t matter whether we judge or not because God is the only judge that matters and we should be worried about others in bringing them to God, which might require a lifestyle change. God wants us all to change in his presence from wordly to Godly. God gives us a choice.

  36. Dwight says:

    Ellen, think about this. Jesus was talking to Jews and the Jews had the Law, which many of them held to, especially the lower class. Things like adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, murder, eating pork were sinful and punishible by death under the Jewish system, so not many of them (and these were common folk) were involved in these sins for good reason. They were abominable to them. So they were called sinners, but they were largely not doing the things the Romans were doing out in the open or what many today do out in the open. They weren’t sinner because they were doing horrible things, but because everyone was a sinner, the common people and the self-righteous. They were all technically sinners, but some sinned worse than others, the Pharisees were worse in judging others and not themselves. Now imagine if Jesus would have gone out into the Roman world and dealt with them who were blatantly breaking God’s will. I doubt Jesus would just have let them slide. Paul had harsh words when he came upon those who were in the Roman world who were comitting adultery and homosexuality, etc. And Paul was trained by Jesus.

  37. Richard constant says:

    Dwight I meant that as an expression not to mean anyone personally

  38. Ellen says:

    I would agree that most people in our culture would be thinking from a social and physical standpoint. We in modern times have been taught to think that way. Get too woo woo and even your church friends will look askance at you. I’m kind of a woo woo person myself and I wouldn’t feel safe talking about everything I believe with most people. But, the truth is, God doesn’t make demands of us because He needs anything from us. What He asks of us is for our good and , I’m not making this up-
    James 2:8-13, “8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

    12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
    Your question is, Who is the victim when people turn to idols? and Who was the victim when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Everyone! Everyone was the victim! They were victims! God didn’t tell them not to eat from the tree without the warning of what the natural consequences would be. Our spiritual reality is reality! We are spiritual, physical, emotional intelligent beings and any part of that, when it’s disregarded results in pain and suffering.
    We know at least some of the kinds of sins that Jesus’s friends had been guilty of. Prostitution, embezzlement, terrorism,alcoholism to name a few. I think those things are pretty bad.
    When I read the writings of Paul, I don’t see him being harsh. I don’t know where you’re getting that.

  39. Richard constant says:

    L et’s just put this in the perspective that we all can see.
    we kind of sort of know what went on in the Greek temples.
    NoW then if you can picture homosexuality going on in the temple of God at that point in time Jesus might have something to say to it.
    Just as he said to the Pharisees when he was expressing to them how their traditions really made them Hypocrites.
    Jesus was born subject to the Torah law.
    why he did not address homosexualism.
    Because it was so blatantly simple that it wasn’t an issue.
    liberal Christianity is just another form of a Hellenistic point of view that has interwoven itself into the tapestry of Christian ontology just another demeaning heresy..

  40. Ellen says:

    Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

    3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

    9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”
    “We, too…” Implies that the people we are to treat with utmost courtesy and kindness are those who are as we were. ” foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” That’s not talking about people who just never have done anything “all that bad.” This is what I see in Paul. He wasn’t afraid to teach, but he did it in a loving way and taught others to do the same.

  41. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ellen asked,

    how should I accept and behave toward my gay affirming friends and gay people? The people I like to be around often fall into these categories and It’s because they are nice people!

    If by “accept as friends as they are,” yes, you certainly should do just that. If by “accept” you mean “accept as in right relationship with God,” I don’t think so.

    Unconverted gay people should feel loved by every Christian they meet. And there’s no point or reason to ask them to accept the Christian lifestyle unless they first choose to accept Jesus as Lord. Hence, long, long, long before we talk about their sexual behavior, we should be talking about following Jesus.

    The same is true of unconverted heterosexuals. Many will be involved in very casual sexual relations. Few will imagine that there’s anything wrong with sex outside of marriage. And many will take offense if they are taught this. And they should be our beloved friends — and we should talk to them about Jesus.

    Now, if they are interested in following Jesus, then it becomes time to talk about what that involves. And most of us can’t get past baptism in explaining it. Maybe church attendance and the Five Acts.

    But if we were instead to see following Jesus as about service, sacrifice, and even suffering for others because we are the vanguard of a new way of living, a return to God’s original plan for us, then when we should talking about how best to serve others we can also talk about God’s original plan for us — Genesis 2 and God’s plan to return us to his image, which is the image of Jesus, a single, celibate man, but also Adam and Eve before sin. Two perspectives on God’s image.

    Now, this is not very persuasive unless you can point to a church that centers its life on Jesus and service for others. The community that is being remade in Jesus’ image is the best witness to the truth of Christianity’s claims.

    Hope I’m not rambling too much. Rich has me upset because he’s laughing at my taste in music. 😉

  42. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ellen writes,

    But, the point is, those who believed that eating meat sacrificed to idols (Apostolic command!) were told to get along with those who believed it was alright just as much as it was expected of those who believed it was alright were to bear with the weaknesses of those who believed it was wrong.

    This is exactly the issue the Anglican communion faced when Gene Robinson, a sexually active gay man, was ordained as a bishop. Most of the bishops considered him a sinner. A few considered him a courageous man standing for truth. The Anglicans decided (a) to reject the approval of homosexual conduct and (b) remain in communion with those who disagree.

    I would add some refinements to those conclusions. First,

    (1Jo 4:6 ESV) 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

    Those who reach their conclusions by refusing to listen to the apostles are not saved. That is, if the path to approval of homosexual conduct is rejection of the scriptures and their authority, then your salvation is in jeopardy. We have no business uniting with those who put their opinions above scripture.

    Now, disagreeing with me is not the same thing. You and I can disagree and we can both be very submissive to the scriptures. But when the argument ends, “Regardless of what the text says, I know …” then we’re at the point where we may well have to break fellowship.

    The problem with many nominal Christians rejecting the authority of scripture does not begin or end with the homosexual question. There are countless issues where some refuse to honor the authority of the text.

    Nor is this the same thing as the sin we are all guilty of. None of us honors the text fully. But for some, that’s a problem that requires repentance and forgiveness etc. For others, it’s an excuse to sin.

    Lines are not easy to draw, but some are so far over the line that we need have no doubt. I am constantly astonished at the denominations that tolerate academics and pastors and bishops who deny the resurrection and the inspiration of scripture. I mean, grace does not extend that far — and I have no desire to begin down that road.

    So I’m meandering a bit to make a point. It’s the strong who put up with the weak, and the weak who put up with the strong, but they must all be Christians. They must honor the authority of the scriptures. They must be genuinely attempting to do right according to the text as they best understand it.

    The weak aren’t allowed to damn the strong. The strong aren’t allowed to damn the weak. And doctrinal error – on disputable matters — has to be tolerated.

    But elders are charged with teaching sound doctrine and refuting error. They aren’t charged to be silent in the face of dispute. They are to TEACH and even to REFUTE. The goal isn’t for the weak to remain weak but for the weak to be taught and to become strong. So Christians have to be willing to be taught.

    Now, the practical problem is that we often do just a terrible job of selecting and ordaining elders — a topic I’ve covered several times. But that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    So if there are Christians in my congregation who think gay marriage for Christians is just fine (which is likely the case in any urban congregation), they remain my brothers and sisters in Christ so long as they submit to the authority of the scriptures. And I’ll teach what I think is right. And we’ll talk about it and engage in Sunday school/small group hermeneutics. We’ll try to reach consensus as a congregation that loves each other.

    So I have to tolerate disagreement, but so must they. That hardly means that the church should start conducting gay weddings based on Rom 14. Rather, it means the church searches together for a common understanding if at all possible. The church studies together.

    There is, I think, a category difference between disputes over food and disputes over gay sex. Disputes over food and holy days are about morally indifferent matters — that is, positive commands. Gay sex is more in the category of incest in 1 Cor 5 — being about morality. And that makes it quite different.

    I may be wrong, but even if I’m wrong, I’m disagreeing (with others) about a moral matter, under anyone’s definition. Food and holy days and circumcision are all clearly of a different kind.

    Hence, the best I can figure, there’s a line between disagreeing with me over the doctrine of gay sexuality (which is easily tolerated and dealt with by Bible study) and the practice of gay sexuality (which in the minds of most Christians is not just sinful but contrary to fundamental morality).

    So it’s not just doctrine (not the best word but you know what I mean) and it’s not just disagreement over positive commands — rite and ritual — but it is instead about actually engaging in practices that violate core moral principles underlying the gospel. And that’s a category difference taking the discussion out of Rom 14 and into 1 Cor 6 and potentially 1 Cor 5.

    Sorry for rambling, but I have to figure this stuff out as I go. While listening to Pink Floyd. This is really quite enough to push me into Jefferson Airplane territory.

  43. Ellen says:

    Lol! I wouldn’t want to be responsible for pushing you into Jefferson Airplane territory!
    I’ m not sure I understand everything you said, but you gave me something to think about. Thanks, Jay!

  44. Ellen says:

    Have you been hanging out with Bobby Valentine?

  45. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tom,

    It’s a hard question and it’s late. Let me try to be — contrary to my nature — brief.

    1. How we vote in a democracy or behave as CHristian legislators is not the same as what is right and wrong in the Bible.

    If it were, then we’d make failure to attend church on Sunday a felony. And premarital sex. And appointing an elder who is unqualified. And do we really want our children jailed for every sin. I mean, LUST is a sin. Should it be a crime, too?

    2. The distinction between what is wrong and what should be criminal is a public policy issue not dealt with in scripture — not that I can find.

    And the US — Christians included — are seeing things very differently than 50 years ago. 50 years ago, premarital sex really was a crime. Teenagers could go to jail for premarital sex in Alabama in 1977 — but the government was smart enough to never, ever enforce a bad law.

    Why was it a bad law? Well, because no one wanted to enforce it, for one reason. It didn’t enjoy enough political support for the government to enforce the law. Also, criminal sanctions were disproportionate to the perceived harm.

    3. So the government should, for example, criminalize murder but not failure to attend church. After all, murder affects other people in a very tangible way. Failure to attend church is about you and God,and God is not impressed with your attendance if it’s compelled by the criminal justice system.

    Hence, if the reason for the law is purely based on God’s will for how Christians should behave, the law is pointless because God is not impressed with such behavior. But if it’s about the impact of that behavior on society, then society’s government might properly criminalize it.

    That’s WAY over-simplified and political theorists disagree about what should and shouldn’t be criminal. But perhaps that’s enough to demonstrate that the fact God says X is wrong doesn’t mean it needs to be criminalized by the government. Sometimes it should be. Sometimes it shouldn’t be. And sometimes we’re really not wise enough to know the answer and might need to test the theory before we impose it nationally. Sometimes we’ll probably never know — and just muddle through the best we can.

    So it’s far from automatic that, once we conclude that gay marriage is sinful, we should criminalize or otherwise ban gay marriage. Maybe. Maybe not. The criminal justice system is not the same thing as the Bible. The Bible doesn’t give us answers to how to run a democracy — but it can teach us to be wise.

    Wisdom is knowing the difference between criminalizing murder and criminalizing envy and lust or even failure to turn the other cheek — even though all these are plainly sins. And knowing where to draw the line would make you far wiser than me, because I don’t. I just know that there’s a line.

  46. Dwight says:

    Paul was probably mostly congenial to those around him, but he did have some harsh or rather stark words for those that sinned, but because he wasn’t often writing to those that sinned, he remarked about them. He didn’t slander anyone or call them names, but pointed out the issues of sin. But he at least tried to confron the sin and told them to recognized it as well.
    Rom.12 “Professing to be wise, they became fools,” and “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.” and “men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
    Vile means what it sounds like…disgusting, evil, bad, etc.Shameful was well shameful. But I doubt he went around calling people vile and disgusting to thier face. His goal wasn’t to convict people of certain types of sin, but convict them of living in sin in general and then bring them out of it to Christ. This is what Peter did in Acts 2 although he did point towards the crucifixion of Christ.

  47. Monty says:

    Regretfully parents with kids sometimes get divorced. Sometimes the kids if they are old enough get to decide who they wish to live with. Teens given the choice between two equally loving parents (boys especially) will choose to live with the less strict parent(generally the mom but not always.) That parent is often looked upon by the teen as being more “loving” more fun to be around, more accepting, kinder, gentler and so forth. But is that truly the case? No! The bottom line is teens know which parent will allow them to get away with more hijinks. Dads going to make me do chores and study hard and he won’t be as easy to manipulate.( This is an overgeneralization for argument sake-OK)

    I see this principal happening when it comes to Gay Marriage and being loving and accepting of people with openly gay lifestyles in the church. The churches that accept and affirm the Gay lifestyle or thought of as the truly “loving ones” and those churches who are not affirming as too strict, too judgmental, and unkind. In other words if you aren’t willing to affirm our hijinks then you aren’t loving, when nothing could be farther from the truth. James 5: “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” A couple of observations 1. How can you convert someone from the error of their way, if you don’t even believe what they’re doing is sin? 2. It isn’t “judging” to know what sin is and to try to save the person from the error of their way. Not if reconciliation is truly the desired goal and love is the motivation.

    The problem we have today is that so many heterosexual “Christians” don’t believe homosexuality among committed gay “Christian” couples is a sin. If you believed it was you couldn’t honestly desire that they make a marriage commitment deepening that relationship into something more permanent. Also, so many Christians today have bought into the political correctness of the day that the worst thing in the world to be is an “unacceptor” of anyone and anything and to challenge political correctness. It takes great courage to stand on Oprah’s TV show and to say unequivocally that Jesus is the one true way and there are no other ways to God accept though him when Oprah has just said, “there are many, many, paths to God.” No doubt the lady who spoke her beliefs that day was looked at as being narrow minded and mean spirited. She wasn’t mean spirited at all, she just couldn’t let Oprah speak falsely and not say something about what she knew wasn’t right. More Christians need to speak out with love against the sin of practicing same-sex lifestyle, and not keep silent, thereby giving silent consent.

  48. Ellen says:

    That sounds good, Monty. Can you give some examples of people speaking the truth in love?
    There seems to be a shortage.
    We who were raised in Churches of Christ were trained to be very stoic and cerebral in our approach to spirituality, which seems ironic to me, since spirituality involves the spirit. That’s all I’m taking issue with, really. You have the intellectual answers, but the same Bible that says that homosexual behavior is sin also says to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Paul could relate to much of what I’ve read from homosexuals and what they’ve gone through. His conclusions are different, but he knows what it’s like to ask repeatedly of God for something to be removed from him and not get that. He knows what it’s like to feel like the lowest human being alive. Paul isn’t wanting other people to feel like that. He’s wanting to show them the way out, and he was very effective. I’ll say it again, If anyone’s approach doesn’t get the same results as that of Paul or Jesus, they aren’t doing it right. I’m concerned about us as Christians because people come to us looking for answers and for love and find a dry and arid land. Then they go somewhere else and find something that at least feels like love. Like the teen that finds no love at home and joins a gang because it’s the first time he’s ever felt like he belonged and was accepted. You can take a Mr. Spock from planet Vulcan approach and kill ’em with logic or you can take the Mafia daddy approach, weeping over his son because he fraternized with the enemy and, according to the code he lives by, he has to put a bullet through his beloved son’s brain. God is God and he is Father, but he’s not the Godfather. God didn’t leave us in the dark about what love looks like. 1 Cor. 13 is pretty comprehensive as well as many other passages. I agree that we have to deal with this issue, but we need to keep in mind that “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” are central. According to 1 Cor. 13, anything done without love is unprofitable. According to Jesus, anything done just to look good to others is useless. Yet, these things that the Lord told us were the most important things of all; love, mercy, grace, when those things are lacking or absent in our churches, we don’t take action, we don’t take it too seriously. Instead, certain groups of people become the focus of the shame while others slip by unnoticed because they fit our picture of what a religious leader looks like.

  49. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ellen,

    Me and motorcycles do not get along. And deserts. I like trees. (http://oneinjesus.info/2010/09/acu-summit-language-guide/). Nonetheless, I’m a big Bobby V fan. Great student of the word and of history. Excellent writer. Highly recommended.

  50. Monty says:

    Ellen,

    I’m sorry, I don’t have answers for all of your angst. God’s word is always easier in theory, in the classroom. See Jesus teaching on marriage and divorce and the rich having difficulty being saved and the disciples response to both teachings. I have never preached a lesson on the sin of Homosexuality, then again I’ve never preached a lesson on being a drunkard or a fornicator either, but that’s beside the point. I have heard other preachers preach lessons on the internet on “Marriage Being Between a Man and a Woman.” Was that wrong of them? When the preacher preaches that adultery is wrong and there are folks in the audience who have been guilty of that In the past or someone that may be guilty of it in the present was the preacher being insensitive? Perhaps, if the one preaching did so as if he would be glad if anyone guilty of that sin would receive damnation. I don’t know of any preacher like that personally.

    Ellen, Sometimes Jesus is the only one who really gets us and our struggles. I have reached that conclusion in my own struggles that I have prayed over and over to be delivered from. But they are still here. Let’s just say they are deeply rooted.

    It must be a terrible place to be to want same sex relationships and not be able to act upon that for the person who wants to honor God. I don’t clam to know how that feels but I can sympathize by looking at my own struggles even if they aren’t exactly the same. If what you or anyone else who struggles(maybe it’s not a struggle) with same sex attraction wants is acceptance – what does that mean exactly? I know of no one personally in the church who has been or would ever be ugly or mean to a homosexual. Especially a homosexual who wanted to practice purity and honor God. I’m sure it happens(Christians being ugly). But some folks make it sound like it happens frequently on every street corner and in every church. That makes me wonder about what intolerance means to some? It leads me to think that the acceptance that some are crying out for the church to say is
    ” It’s OK, it’s not a sin, it’s a little bit out of the norm for me personally but hey, who am I to say anything to the contrary, go, and do as you please, let’s just all love one another.” That, at least to me, crosses a line in the sand.

  51. Dustin says:

    Jay, just some push back on Hays here. He is certainly a great reader and interpreter of the text and pushes the church towards moral formation. However, the framework he uses in The Moral Vision of the New Testament is lacking. As several of his colleagues have noted, Hays applies the norms of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience inconsistently to his test cases in The Moral Vision. For example, in his test case for Anti-Judaism, he finds that the scripture does not tell us to find tolerance for Jews or any other religion or philosophy but only tolerance for the diversity of Christian communities. He then notes that Christian tradition has been mixed in attitudes toward the Jews. His final take is that then experience, especially after the Holocaust, should cause the church to “reassess its theology and its use of Scripture” (p. 438 of the Kindle version).

    In another test case on violence, Hays appeals to the “univocal” authority of scripture to place pacifism as the only resolution for the church in face of different views of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience by Christians. As you have noted, he finds that the scriptures we have on homosexuality essentially deem it immoral in practice. Yet, reason and experience are rejected from the testimony of gay Christians.

    If we are to take Hays seriously, pacifism should be practiced by all (which I am beginning to agree with more and more as Christ commands non-violence). Hays sees our sexual sins as “trivial” compared to the church’s position of “nationalism, violence, and idolatry” (p. 343).

    My question is if scripture is clear on non-violence and homosexuality, why is homosexuality discussed and condemned more frequently by Christians, when as Hays notes our sexual sins are trivial in comparison to our sin of violence?

    Another rambling question, if the meaning of the scripture is so clear to Hays, even up to the point where he can say that scripture is “univocal” in its command of non-violence and peacemaking, why do so many Christians in this country not practice or even acknowledge it exists?

  52. Gary says:

    Ellen, I appreciate your openness to really grappling with this subject rather than simply accepting the traditional position as gospel. I would encourage you to read an online essay by Dale Martin entitled “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Interpretations and Consequences.” Martin grew up in Churches of Christ and earned his undergraduate degree at Abilene Christian. He is now a professor at Yale Divinity School.

    Many conservatives have criticized Martin’s essay online but I haven’t found one who is able to answer him point by point. I too used to think that progressive arguments on homosexuality and Scripture were weak. But the more I have studied this subject the more convinced I am that the traditional position is wrong. It is difficult to over estimate the staying power of traditional interpretations of Scripture in our minds. It took over a generation for many in Churches of Christ to accept the progressive understanding of divorce and remarriage. It took me over a decade to see that Paul’s seeming condemnation of gays in Romans 1 applies by his own words only to those who exchange or give up their heterosexuality for homosexuality. Progressives don’t have to explain away Romans 1. We simply take Paul’s words literally.

    Anyway thank you for your inquiring spirit and I wish you well in your desire to be both faithful to Scripture and loving to gays.

  53. Ellen says:

    Monty, I got your response in my inbox, but I don’t see it when I look at the comments section at the Wineskins site. It’s probably my computer. At least I can comment now, which is an improvement.
    Thank you for your reply. You sound very caring. I don’t have same sex attraction. That’s never been a problem for me. I have always had a problem with assertiveness, though. I want to be sure I know what I’m talking about before I speak (unless I’m asking questions and I have a lot of them) and I’m often afraid to speak even when I should.
    My strength though, is mercy. I want to be sure that whatever I do have the courage to say builds up and inspires and doesn’t cause any harm.
    I remember growing up hearing teachers and preachers downplay the heart, or even tell us outright that the heart, in scripture, is the same thing as the mind. This is just not true. It’s like a song without music. Music speaks to the heart, but the lyrics speak to the mind.
    I’m glad you know mostly nice people who wouldn’t be rude to homosexuals. Perhaps I’m too much into social media. I’m pretty sure people spew more emotional vomit when they get online than they ever would in person. There are people I know who say derogatory things when they get on Facebook.
    It seems like , even though I’ve said this before, either no one believes me or they just are blocking it out; I’m not what most people mean when they use the term, “gay-affirming”. I want to affirm everyone, in a sense, but I believe homosexuals need healing. I believe, as children of God, we are to make them feel loved. The teaching that Jay is doing is important, and it’s good teaching. He’s helped me when someone else’s teachings caused me to doubt. Jay presented the answers I needed. There are still so many things I don’t understand. Why does homosexuality exist, for example. I don’t believe it’s a choice to have same sex attraction any more than it’s a choice to have cerebral palsy. My son was born with cerebral palsy, but some people have it because of an illness or injury. I believe we have all been injured and wounded and sometimes it happens even before we’re born. I believe that when we deal with the wounded, we need to be gentle, that’s all.
    I can’t deny that teaching must be done. My issue is fear. Fear that my children will shut me out of their lives if I’m forthcoming with my belief about this. Fear of hearing someone say hurtful things to me, fear of losing friendships. Then, there’s genuine sympathy. How would I feel if someone told me that God requires that I leave the person I love more than anyone in the world? I think if I’m going to say that to someone, I had better have a really good and convincing reason to give them.

  54. Ellen says:

    Gary, I remain highly skeptical. Paul, like Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who had a Jewish perspective on sexuality. I may read this if I can find it, but it seems to me it only complicates the issue. My brother-in-law is ex-gay. Is he (according to this view) living in sin because he married a woman? He’s been married for thirty five years and has two grown children. Does anyone really enforce such a view? I would be surprised. Most people would just say that the person was only trying to live like a hetero when they finally decided to be true who they really are. I can see them objecting to a homosexual turning hetero. Ex-gays exist, though they are suppressed and censored.

  55. Gary says:

    Ellen, the older I get the less judgemental I am so if your brother’s-in-law marriage is working for them more power to them. There are a few men who are genuinely bisexual and perhaps your brother-in-law is one of them. There are also many gay men in heterosexual marriages trying to get by the best they can. I was one of them for many, many years. Based on my experience I believe it only gets harder for a gay man in a heterosexual marriage as the years pass. It doesn’t get easier. The ability to function heterosexually declines for these men with age and often ceases altogether. Most men become depressed without a sexual life. But one size doesn’t fit all and I sincerely hope your brother’s-in-law marriage is and remains a healthy and happy one.

    As far as heterosexual men engaging in homosexuality it is going on in practically every community in the country. It is not limited to prisons. For a variety of reasons many otherwise heterosexual men fall into the practice of using other men’s bodies for sexual release even though they are not sexually attracted to men. It is akin to masturbation. To my great regret I was sexually promiscuous for almost two years after acting on my homosexual orientation for the first time when I was 52. Before then I was not aware of this underworld. Many men with heterosexual orientations seek out other such men or gay men for sex. Most people would be shocked to know that the Craigslist and other such services in their communities are vehicles for this type of sex.

    So to take Paul’s harsh words in Romans 1 against homosexual acts as being applicable only to those whom Paul describes as exchanging and giving up their heterosexuality for homosexuality is quite reasonable. To apply them to those who have had homosexual orientations since puberty is impossible since they have never had any heterosexuality to exchange or give up.

  56. Larry Cheek says:

    Ellen,
    Considering your statement,” I don’t believe it’s a choice to have same sex attraction any more than it’s a choice to have cerebral palsy.” Are there medical tests available to identify which sex an individual will desire prior to their ability to chose? I believe that there are tests for many diseases prior to a child,s ability to display their own actions proving the existence of the disease. Can you locate any place in scripture where homosexual is identified as an illness? I have not. That would be the only justification for men today allowing it to be placed in the same category as cerebral palsy. I do not find that God ever accepts the responsibility for creating homosexual desires. In fact if he did create them and then destroy nations, cities and individuals because of their activities in that style of life, he would not be a righteous judge. If God created an individual with an inability to exercise a choice, than that individual could never be held accountable for doing things God has judged and destroyed others for doing.

  57. Monty says:

    Ellen,

    Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your tenderness and compassion towards all. I think a lot of folks, perhaps more men than women, have deep seeded sexual hang-ups(for lack of a better word) that are fostered in the developmental stages of childhood, so early on, that it would seem like you are born with it because the desire or fascination goes back as far as you can remember.

    You are right in one sense that hetero-people don’t remember making a choice early on to be straight, it came naturally, but many in the church feel that homosexuality is a conscious level choice. Well if my heterosexuality was natural and never in question then why blame homosexuals for so called “choosing to be gay”, if ours(being straight) wasn’t a choice? What’s the answer for being gay? I don’t know. I’ll take a stab at it, if you aren’t born gay( I don’t believe you are) then on some subconscious level in early childhood development, provided with the right stimuli, a conducive environment, and perhaps other criteria, being gay becomes what “feels normal” to some. It feels as normal and as natural(something you don’t even have to think about) as being heterosexual “feels” to us. It’s definitely not a choice on a conscious level. Didn’t Freud or someone say we are all driven by things on a subconscious level?

    Why does a male grow up liking redheads with long legs or brunettes with… (fill in the feature)? I think you get the point. Somewhere early on a seed was planted in the subconscious and it developed there and was nurtured over time. Why are we attracted to what we are attracted to as straight people? Certainly no one sat down with pen and paper and listed all the different features of the opposite sex or even of the same sex(for those inclined), and logically came up with a certain “look.” “O.K.” I think I’ve decided based on all the possible configurations to choose from that I’ll be attracted mostly to tall, lanky, redheads with fair skin.” That’s just not how our sexuality works. Myriads of factors come into play that I’m not qualified to speak on.

    I’m not trying to make a direct comparison with homosexuality to the following but for many alcoholics they only feel “normal” when they are inebriated. They feel like they are in their right skin when intoxicated and feel strange when sober. That is a feeling they have to fight against(feeling normal) in order to remain sober. That has to be tough, to only feel normal when you have much alcohol flowing though your system, which is of course is a sin.

    Some with sociopathic disorders say they have “always” had violent thoughts(maybe they weren’t acted on as much when they were younger or cues were missed or excused perhaps) but became more violent and “acted out” as they reached puberty and beyond. They didn’t wake up one day as adults and go,”I think I’ll become a sociopath.’ It was deep rooted on some subconscious level early on fostered by different stimuli. It has always been there desire to hurt things. It made them feel good.

    When does kleptomania start? Do people wake up one day as adults and say, “I think I’ll start a stealing compulsion. Everybody will like me if I do that!? Lol! Are people born with kleptomania? Of course not. But for whatever reasons early on, on a subconscious level the desire was birthed and nurtured over time.

    Is God’s responsible for the actions of the Kleptomaniacs, the alcoholics, the sociopathic,(we could go on and on with deep seated, early childhood rooted problems, and is he responsible even for our own sexual desires and preferences? I don’t think so. I think we are responsible for these things, somehow, someway. We live in a day and age where everyone is a victim and everyone gets a pass and very few own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions.

  58. Ellen says:

    Larry, There are many things that happen in this world that I can’t explain and don’t understand. I don’t understand how a young child can kill his own mother just because he wanted to try out a gun and feel no regret, but I know of a case where that happened. Not a case of child abuse, either.(Unless you count the fact he was able to access a gun) That child was born without a moral compass or an ability to bond or feel compassion. Not that homosexuality is like that. Just that the things people can be born with are varied.
    I can give you scripture where sinners are identified as being sick and needing a Physician. Mark 2:17. 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    “In fact if he did create them and then destroy nations, cities and individuals because of their activities in that style of life, he would not be a righteous judge.” God didn’t destroy nations because there were homosexuals there. The city of Sodom was barbaric. Ezekiel 16:49 “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.” A nation had to get extremely corrupt before God would destroy them. When God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh, Jonah tried to run away because he didn’t want God to change his mind and spare them. God is merciful and it takes a lot more than some homosexuals to provoke him to destroy a city or nation.
    With your argument in my head, I just read where Jesus said it would be more tolerable in the judgement day for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the cities he performed miracles in because if the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had seen those miracles, they would have repented. What does that mean? Was God unjust by not doing miracles in those cities and giving them a chance to repent? Was he unjust by not destroying the cities Jesus is speaking of?
    Eph. 2:4-5 ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We weren’t only sick, according to Paul, we were dead! Dead people are completely helpless!
    “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 Jesus had to pay a ransom so we could be free to live for him.
    There are addicts that have done some really extreme things to get free from their addictions. Sex addicts have been known to literally gouge out their own eyes or dismember themselves because they feel they can’t stop acting out. God saw the pain we were in and sent the solution- healing grace.
    I have been praying for many years about a number of things I wanted to change about myself. I have often felt that my prayers only got as far as the ceiling. I’ve felt, at times that God wasn’t answering. My answers didn’t come as instant, miraculous manifestations. But, they did come. They came in the form of tools, people, new understandings and they came over time. I’m not the same person I was 35 years ago. I’m not the same person I was 15 years ago. I’m not even the same person I was 5 years ago! We have different understandings and different levels of knowledge. It’s by grace we are saved. I’ve been saved by grace and I want to extend grace to others. One can only begin from where they are.

  59. Ellen says:

    Monty, I’ve been through counseling and I agree that even our choice of mate is connected to our upbringing. It’s said that we choose a mate that we have the same issues with as the parent we had the most issues with. We have a need to resolve our issues so we choose someone we can work them out with. That can be a healthy thing or it can be the reason a woman keeps ending up with men that abuse her. I’ve used talk therapy, affirmations, Rapid Eye Technology, self hypnosis and meditation to name a few things that were really helpful to me. In each therapy that has worked, I’ve recognized a principle that can also be found in scripture, but sometimes, it’s helpful to have it framed in a different way. It can give more insight into the reality and truthfulness of the scripture. RET actually was something that bypassed having to relive or reason through things and went straight to clearing some negative and false beliefs I had about myself from an early age. I didn’t know how much it was helping me until I heard my husband say I was different person since starting the therapy! Then, too there have been Christian people who just loved me and were examples to me.There were times of immersing myself in scripture and prayer. One of the most profound experiences was going through a major trial and having my “crutches” knocked out from under me! I found out how beautiful and wonderful life is. Ironically, after many years of struggling with depression and asking God to teach me to be happy, He did it through hardship. At first I was furious and terrified! But it has, indeed, produced peaceable fruit!

  60. Dwight says:

    Monty, I believe what you are referring to is called “second nature”, but it is not first nature, but rather an aquired ability and way of thinking. We sin, it is within our fleshly nature, and we sin in many ways and those particular sins might be a second nature to us and we might accept these sins as who we are, even when we were not designed to be this way.
    Ellen, we can be trained and we can train our brain. This is a fact. We can easily do math, if we are a math thinker. But left handed people can be trained to write with their right hand. We can train ourselves to do certain task and even think differently.
    Most men who are the female portion of the homosexual duo train to walk like a woman (if they do), but women due to natural hip joints walk with a hip sway from side to side. But given time a man can mimic this and it seem natural, to some extent, as it is often over exagerated.
    A man will never be able, even a transitioned man, to stand with their backs to a wall and bend over without falling over as this can only be done because of a womans natural hip placement.

  61. Tom says:

    Hi Jay,

    If 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 prohibits Christians from judging the merits of a civil law which is how I think you are interpreting Paul at this point, then how is one authorized to then judge the merits of a civil law based on principles such as effects on children, effects on society, not compelling piety, proportionality, etc? Either there is a contradiction here, or I am misunderstanding your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. Would you clarify for me?

    I continue to be thankful for your willingness to comment and respond on these matters.

  62. Larry Cheek says:

    Ellen,
    You have quoted Ezekiel 16:49 in reference to the destruction of Sodom, and it does tell about some of he things that they did that prompted God to destroy them.
    “Ezekiel 16:49 “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. ”
    I do not know what translation you used which left out the action which God rendered upon those at Sodom. There are several here that complete the story.

    Ezekiel 16:50

    (ABP+) AndG2532 they bragged,G3166 andG2532 committedG4160 violations of the lawG457.2 beforeG1799 me.G1473 AndG2532 I removed themG1808 G1473 asG2531 you saw.G1492

    (ASV) And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

    (BBE) They were full of pride and did what was disgusting to me: and so I took them away as you have seen.

    (Brenton) And they boasted, and wrought iniquities before me: so I cut them off as I saw fit.

    (CEV) They thought they were better than everyone else, and they did things I hate. And so I destroyed them.

    (DRB) And they were lifted up, and committed abominations before me: and I took them away as thou hast seen.

    (ERV) Sodom and her daughters became too proud and began to do terrible things in front of me. So I punished them!

    (ESV) They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

    (GNB) They were proud and stubborn and did the things that I hate, so I destroyed them, as you well know.

    (GW) They were arrogant and did disgusting things in front of me. So I did away with them when I saw this.

    (ISV) In their arrogance, they committed detestable practices in my presence, so when I saw it, I removed them.

    (JPS) And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

    (KJV) And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

    (KJV+) And they were haughty,H1361 and committedH6213 abominationH8441 beforeH6440 me: therefore I took them awayH5493 (H853) asH834 I sawH7200 good.

    (LITV) Also, they were haughty and did abomination before My face, so I turned them away as I saw fit.

    (MKJV) And they were haughty and did abominable things before Me, so I turned away as I saw fit.

    (RV) And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

    (YLT) And they are haughty and do abomination before Me, And I turn them aside when I have seen.

    God was aware of all these sins and did not take action. But, as we read about the City of Sodom in Gen. 19 when The Angels visited the city, the action of the men in the city brought an immediate destruction to the city.
    So we can assume that God only decided to destroy the city because of the actions they attempted to perform with the Angels. The context definitely conveys the picture of these men desiring the men rather than Lot’s daughters.
    It is very obvious that Lot understood what the men of the city were planning, and it was not just hospitality. Only this last sin was so detestable to invoke God’s destruction.

  63. Ellen says:

    The men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels and it had nothing to do with being sexually attracted to men. It certainly wasn’t a desire to be in a marriage-type of relationship. The ancients were sometimes barbaric and that included displaying actions that would be considered the most humiliating and dishonoring, emasculating thing they could do. If they did this to a woman,( and there was a case in the history of the tribe of Benjamin when they did do this to a woman) it still wouldn’t be about love or sex. The woman in that case died as result of the abuse. It had absolutely nothing to do with love or sex. It was violence, pure and simple.
    It can sometimes be helpful to look at other translations, but the ones you’ve pointed out don’t say anything different from the one I used.

  64. Ellen says:

    Following your reasoning, Larry, it sounds like you’re saying that it would be okay, or at least “not as bad” if the did that to a woman. I take offence at that.

  65. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Monty,

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I don’t buy the argument that homosexual conduct is a sinful only if we have a choice to be or not be homosexual. I have no choice but to be a heterosexual, and yet I’m responsible for whether I lust or engage in sexually immoral conduct. And that was true even when I was too young to legally marry and yet had the urges that all straight teenagers have. The fact that marriage was denied to me and that I could not help but feel attracted to women I could not have did not change the moral question.

    The mistake so many make is to confuse being homosexual with engaging in homosexual conduct. I’ve never known a homosexual man to say that he had a choice regarding whether to be hetero- or homosexual. But everyone has a choice as to their behavior. It’s a red herring argument.

  66. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tom asked,

    If 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 prohibits Christians from judging the merits of a civil law which is how I think you are interpreting Paul at this point, then how is one authorized to then judge the merits of a civil law based on principles such as effects on children, effects on society, not compelling piety, proportionality, etc?

    You’ll be delighted to know that I have a brief series of posts coming on exactly this question.

    You’ll be disappointed to know that I don’t get all the way to a conclusion. It’s not a question that lends itself to a simple decision tree, but there are some principles we can dig out and pray over.

  67. Larry Cheek says:

    Ellen,
    You suggested that I had a reasoning, which seems to you as being out of order, you even took offence at that. Your statement,”Following your reasoning, Larry, it sounds like you’re saying that it would be okay, or at least “not as bad” if the did that to a woman. I take offence at that.” That reasoning is not mine, in the presence of God’s Angels, Lot was the one who expressed that concept, The Angels did not refute Lot’s statement.
    Notice. Lot’s offer, he was offering them females, his own daughters to accommodate their actions. I believe that he knew that they would refuse his daughters because he knew their sexual orientation was not towards females. They confirmed that to be true. Unless you would believe that heterosexual men would press so hard to commit homosexual acts with men, you must also accept that these men, notice how many there, were all living a life of homosexual activity. There is not a record that even a single one of them gave any thought to Lot’s offer. Given the multitude of men here what would you say would be the chances that none of them had made a commitment to only be with one other man. Would there be no bonding between men who participated in such a personal relationship? In an attempt to deny that there was no bonding or committal one would have to prove that each of these men just sought a new partner for each session and never preferred one more than another. Is that the nature of human actions today? When a man or woman today experiences a close encounter of this nature, they become very possessive of the individual who has allowed them to participate in such a personal act. There have been many fights even some murders committed to protect an individuals desired girlfriend. But, there is no furry that is greater than a woman who suspects another woman of attempting to take her place with her man. Why would anyone suspect the Homosexual environment to be different.

    Gen 19:5-8 ESV And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” (6) Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, (7) and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. (8) Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

    Did you get it? Lot said take my two daughters and do the exact same thing to them that you desire of these men. You called that action Rape, so wouldn’t it have been the same if they had accepted Lot’s daughters?

    Now we read of many marriages in the Word of God, can anyone disclose one between to males?

  68. Dwight says:

    Two thoughts: Rape was sinful…period, but so was homosexuality. But rape of two of God’s angels was unthinkable to Lot, so Lot made a decision, but he probably knew they would refuse. But the men of Sodom did not know they were angels and it is possible that Lot didn’t even know at that time…as angel was another word for messenger and he could have just seen them as prophets of God. And hospitality was a big thing, then. If you came under their roof as a guest, you were special and under thier protection. But they sought to rape two men over two women and while both would have been bad, one would have been much, much worse. And then “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” They were throwing this in Lot’s face for making the right decisions and for not allowing them to rape two men. And Lot was only doing the right thing, but they said, “you came here and now you can’t judge us.” But actually sin is sin and he could based on that.

  69. Ellen says:

    Seriously?!!! Rape is rape! This is disturbing on so many levels! To think that you guys see rape as being about sex AT ALL is so disturbing! To think that anyone could say that Lot did the right thing, as if to say, “Yeah, I’d give my daughters to a violent mob of rapists trying to break my front door down to protect a couple of strangers!” I hope the people around you know how truly dangerous you are! You sound like a criminal to me. The angels didn’t allow Lot to carry out his suggestion, which I think tells us something about what God thought of it. I think Lot probably did the only thing he could think of to do under the circumstances, but it was NOT the right thing!
    The reason the mob wanted to rape the strangers who entered their town rather than the daughters of Lot had more to do with the fact they were strangers than them having a sexual preference for men.
    The situation in the tribe of Benjamin was very similar. In that case, the raped and murdered a woman. She was an outsider who had come to town with her Master and was left to sleep outside, unprotected. When the rest of Israel discovered what happened to her, they were outraged! They nearly completely wiped out the entire tribe!

  70. Ellen says:

    Larry, I’m not trying to make a case for same sex marriage. What I hear you saying is that the sin that was so bad that God destroyed Sodom was that the men of the city raped(or attempted to) two men. That if they had raped (or attempted to) a woman, God might have spared the city because that just wouldn’t be evil enough. That’s what I find more than disturbing, more than wrong, outright criminal and PERVERTED!!!!!! The reason God sent the angels to check out the city is because the cry of the people had gone up against them. They were oppressive!

  71. Monty says:

    What the Sodomites were to blame for was their depravity which included violence. Nothing much more violent than rape, no matter the sex of the victim. Whether they were trying to rape visitors or had accepted Lot’s unthinkable offer to have his daughter(s), or “did worse to Lot”, it would have been the actions of a depraved mind. It’s not a lessor sin to rape a woman than a man. Men don’t have greater worth than women, and I don’t think some of the guys on here were meaning that, although it may have read that way. But it sort of falls into that category where Paul writes in Romans speaking to the degree of depravity the Gentiles had sunk(marked by a turning away or shifting from the normal usage of opposite sex sex and going in same sex mode. In other words he’s speaking about a shift in thinking and practice where men and women no longer even desired what was “normal” opposite sex sex to one of burning in lust towards the same sex. Lust is lust whether it’s same sex or opposite sex but Paul obviously used the sin of homosexuality(practicing it ) to show just how depraved their thinking had become. It’s why we take every thought captive and why we are to be sober minded, and think about things above, and so on. Culture demands conformity, or be ridiculed and ostracized. Culture today says that same sex unions are a good thing, one day soon, it could be the preferred thing. Only a turning back to the true God can stop the downward spiral.

  72. Larry Cheek says:

    Ellen,
    You again have credited me with the creation of thoughts concerning value between genders. I had attempted to direct you to the scriptures which prove the fact that it was “LOT” who authored the proposal with his valued a prized daughters, (it seems that it was important in this proposal that they were virgins, representing that they were pure, not whores). You mentioned that The Angels blocked that action which is not accurate with the text, the men of Sodom refused the proposal, and were going to go after the Angels by force, The Angels blocked them with blindness from being able to continue their assault. These men’s rejection of the purest of women in preference to the two men is ample proof that they were not heterosexuals; this test was placed before them to expound the evidence of their homosexual desires.
    I will not venture into an unknown in the area as to whether God would have spared the city if they had accepted the women as their victims in place of the men. But, my guess would be that God would not have allowed that sin to be less detestable than the sin of raping the men, as you said rape is rape. But, guess what, God did not bring destruction upon this city because they committed this act of raping and this whole episode did not add to the sins that this city had already committed. God knew enough about the actions in this city to administer destruction prior to sending The Angels. So was this all done just to convince “LOT” (a righteous man) to leave the city so he would not be killed in the destruction? The text does not lead us to believe that “LOT” was not willing to leave the city, it does however explain that he was not as speedily as the Angels desired. The increased speed that The Angels used in the destruction of this city was brought on because of the actions that the men of the city had displayed in their desire to do unto them what they had already been doing to other strangers of the city. Yes, they had been practicing these actions previously, LOT knew that and that is why he was so insistent that they not stay in the streets of this city. This could have been a test for LOT to be sure that he would protect them from the men of the city; very much like Abraham in the test about offering his son. But, the main thrust of the actions here was the desire of all the men of the city (in unison) with a powerful desire to commit homosexual acts with these strangers. Should we believe that God would have destroyed the city if they had not displayed their desired sinful actions? In other words this action was the last acts these men were allowed to perform, kinda like being a thief usually the latest act is the one in which he is caught.

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