I received an email requesting that I post something on being gay in the Churches of Christ. I’ve split the email into 8 parts, to fit my answers more closely to the reader’s questions and because his poignant email raises several important issues that merit careful thought and a comprehensive response.
I thought at first of responding privately, but the letter asks for a post, and I’ve come to think that’s the right response. After all, as the writer says, most of our churches have gay members. Most churches have homosexual members who’ve chosen to be single and chaste, surrendering their sexuality to Jesus.
But few would be willing to admit their struggles to the congregation. And this says much about how much further we have to go to truly be like Jesus. Continue reading
Jesus, when challenged for healing on the Sabbath, responded,
(John 7:24 NAS) “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Really? “Appearances? It appeared very much that he healed on the Sabbath! But that’s a superficial judgment. It ignores the real dynamic. Continue reading
Five years ago, I wrote a series of posts in response to a letter I received from a gay member of the Churches of Christ.
The topic is now all over the news, and several readers are discussing it here.
I thought it might be helpful if I were to rerun that series over the next few days. (Besides, I could use the break.)
The one thing I’ve not done is post a detailed discussion of many of the scriptural arguments made to suggest that a committed relationship, even though homosexual in nature, is approved by God.
If any reader is interested in my thoughts on a particular passage, email me or post the question as a comment to this series, and I’ll try to pull a response together, most likely at the end of the series.
Love for Samaritans and women
Jesus passed through Samaria in chapter 4 with the evident purpose of bringing the gospel to the Samaritans.
This is crazy. After all –
* Samaritans were known to kill Jews who passed through their territory, and yet Jesus chose to sit alone by a well, sending his disciples into town.
* Jesus chose to spread the gospel via the testimony of a woman, in a culture that considered women worthless as witnesses. Continue reading
So who is this Jesus? Well, let’s pick out a few characteristics we find in John.
(It would be fun to work through the Synoptics as well, as there is so much more and different material in them, but this is about John’s Gospel.)
Calling the disciples
First, Jesus is pretty self-confident. It’s not that he never hesitates, but he normally proceeds with incredible certainty.
(John 1:43 NET) 43 On the next day Jesus wanted to set out for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
Really? That simple? Just a “Follow me” and Philip jumps up, leaves his family, and follows Jesus all over Judea, Samaria, and Galilee? Yes. Continue reading
So what does that tell us? It’s subtle, but it’s an important starting point. Jesus was a Jew. The gospel went to the Jews first. Therefore, Jesus was sent to the Jews.
Jesus was circumcised, looked like Jew, and wore Jewish clothing. He was not pretty. He was not even ruggedly handsome. He was, at best, ordinary looking — ordinary enough to disappear into a crowd and to be so difficult to pick out from among the thousands of pilgrims in Judea that Judas had to be paid to identify him.
He washed himself before going to the Temple. He offered the required sacrifices (not to obtain forgiveness, of course, but to obey or out of gratitude — there were lots of reasons to offer a sacrifice). He attended the Jewish feasts, including those feasts, such as Hanukkah, invented by man without biblical authority of any kind. Continue reading
Well, we started this — months ago — with this question: Who is this “Son of Man”? The question is borrowed from –
(John 12:34 NIV) The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
We discussed many posts ago the meaning of the phrase “Son of Man” to Jesus and his audience. It was an ambiguous phrase that could refer either to a human (in the Hebrew, it is literally “son of adam”) or to the Messiah (Dan 7:13). However, the phrase did not normally mean “Messiah” to a First Century Jew, allowing Jesus to be intentionally ambiguous when it suited him. Continue reading