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October 20, 2008, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Would Jesus Discriminate?

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72 Comments so far
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Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Would Jesus discriminate? well, he was intolerant when it came to sin. oh, he loves the sinner (gay, lesbian, etc.) but he hates their sin. when i die straight, i know i will enter the kingdom of God. When someone dies who isn’t straight, that of course will be up to God and where that person lives eternally.

God calls homosexuality an abomination.

People who believe it is ok, well until God’s Holy Spirit convicts that person of their sin, they will not change b/c they are natural man, and need to move on to being carnal to spiritual.

I pray for people of different beliefs, but they have to be receptive.

May God bless your readers somehow, someway, in some day!

   jim c. 10.05.08 @ 4:32 pm

taken from: http://www.freejesus.net/views/sin.php

HERE IS HOPING YOU DON’T DISCRIMINATE VS. ME BY NOT POSTING MY COMMENTS - MAY GOD BRING YOU TO YOUR KNEES, AND BRING YOU BACK TO HIM

Homosexuality is a SIN & God Hates Sin
If you are looking, for the right to continue
in that which is clearly called a perversion,
then you have found the wrong site!
Homosexuality is a SIN period!
Not only that but it is unnatural
The same as sex with an animal is unnatural!

The Bible doesn’t speak much of the sin of Homosexuality?
It also doesn’t speak of incest or bestiality much more neither?
Guess you want to make them legal and not a sin also!

What is worse then the sin of Homosexuality?
Teaching people it’s ok to commit the sin of homosexuality.

As it is written,
But whoso shall cause one of these little ones
that believe on me to stumble,
it is profitable for him
that a great millstone
should be hanged about his neck,
and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.

The word homosexuality in the dictionairy states
nothing about the person’s age, just same sex!
Anybody who is attracted to the same sex is a Homosexual
or they are a Heterosexual if attracted to opposite sex,
regardless of any age differences.
So a 20 year old man
who molest a 14 year old boy is a Homosexual!

What does Jesus teach in the New Testemant about sin?

From John 8:3-11 paraphrased

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a man caught in homosexuality
and when they had set him in the midst,
They say unto him, “Master, this man was taken in homosexuality,
in the very act, Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned to death: but what sayest thou?”
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground,
as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them,
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at him”.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience,
went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last:
and Jesus was left alone, and the man standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the man,
he said unto him, “Man, where are those thine accusers?
hath no man condemned thee”?
He said, “No man, Lord.”
And Jesus said unto him, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more!”

Where does Jesus say to continue in
the sin of Adultry or Homosexuality?????

Where does he say it’s not a sin?

2 Timothy 3:16 all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Three gay men named Sam, Rick, & Joe went to church. The preacher stood up and preached about the sins of fornication, adultery and homosexuality. Sam stood up and started clapping his hands in protest of the sermon. Rick stood up and followed suit with the protest and started clapping his hands also. Joe lowered his head and as a tear dropped to the ground and said “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

Tell me which of the three men went home justified that day?

Tell me which of the three men is doing the work of their father the devil?

Tell me which of the three men is the one who has the blood of Rick on his hands?

If any person who comes to Jesus Christ,
and don’t love Jesus Christ over,
their father,
or their mother,
or their spouse,
or their children,
or their brothers,
or their sisters,
or even their own life,
they are not able to be a followers of Jesus Christ!

The thoughts and intents
of your heart is the same as the sin!
Matthew 5
27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit homosexuality:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a man to lust after him
hath committed an abomination with him already in his heart.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit homosexuality:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after
her hath committed an abomination with her already in her heart.

Does God say it’s ok to Lust?
Matthew 4
1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
The devil always attacks you when you are the weakest!
Think about it, who does it say the temptor is? It’s the devil!
The Devil is the one putting the actual thoughts into the person’s head in the first place to make them think they are a homosexual!

James 1
14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The temptor here is the devil also, it is the the devil who puts the thought into the man’s head!
The man is then drawn away by the thought which is put into his head which causes him to be enticed to own lust and desires!
The thought that was put into the person’s head is evil, you can stop it there and it is not a sin or lusting!
So since Jesus Stopped it cold by using the Scripture of the Bible he never was enticed to commit sin!

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed which leads to sin. It’s his own Lust that lets him be tempted in the first place but God tells us to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul and that we should no longer live the rest of our lifes in the flesh to the lusts of it, but to the will of God. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The Truth is if you “lust” then you are disobeying God
because he tells you not to lust!
So you are then “missing the mark” or “sinning”!
Therefore to him
that knoweth to do good,
and doeth it not,
to him it is sin.

PROOF!
QUOTE:: During the years in which I tried to use religion to change my gayness, I always became uncomfortable with any readings or discussions of Jn. 13. In that passage, Jesus stripped down, “girded” Himself with a towel, and washed the feet of His disciples. Then He used that towel to dry their feet, while still wearing that towel as a loincloth (13:5). Think of where that put their feet. After Jesus explained the symbolism of this act, Simon Peter told Jesus to wash his entire body; to my relief, Jesus said only the feet needed it (13:9-10). Soon after Jesus dressed, Simon Peter laid down against His chest while conversing with Him (13:25).

Sometimes we get small thoughts into our heads, when we’re reading the bible or just thinking to ourselves. Thoughts that aren’t right, like lust, or that we COULD take a certain passage of scripture to mean something other than it says, so that it makes those thoughts we’re having ok. This is the work of Satan. What this person has done is listened to those thoughts, and expanded on them. This is very wrong. If it’s not of Christ, it is of Satan, and if it is of Satan than you need to get rid of that thought immediately.

If this person had the Holy Spirit then he would recognize the voice!

Professing Christians?
Joe accepted a temptation from the devil,
then Joe proclaimed “I am a Homosexual”.
Joe then says and beleives
“I have a homosexual orientation”.
For with the heart man believeth unto un-righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made as a homosexual.

or

Bill accepted a temptation from the devil,
then Bill proclaimed “I am an atheist”.
Bill then says and beleives
“There is no God”.
For with the heart man believeth unto un-righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made as an atheist.

Both have to reject the temptation they accepted
before they are saved!

Jesus Christ said you cannot serve 2 masters.
In both of these cases the Devil is the person’s master
and it is the Devil whom he or she serves.
Anybody can say “I am a Christian”
but Jesus Christ says otherwise!

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You need to publicily denouce your homosexuality!

Same as Rev 13:16-18
The Mark of the Beast!

You Disagree?
As it is written,
For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears;

THE COST!

Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things
are worthy of death,
not only do the same,
but have pleasure in them that do them!
How can ye escape the damnation of hell?

&
JESUS IS THE ANSWER! ! ! ! !

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“Desires In Conflict” Answering the Struggle for Sexual Identity

   jim c. 10.05.08 @ 4:45 pm

If you were reading the body bag count from 1978 to 1990 by the CDC; when their CDC AIDS gay men death totals read that gay men with partners in “unions” were having at least 6 or more side affairs per year or sometimes into the 20 or 30 sexual affairs per year,
THEN God or Jesus would say, absolutely Yes, He (God or Jesus) would discriminate and not love them.
Gay Multi-Fornication is an absolute self destructive behavior and is part of the gay mans’ behavior. Ask anyone one who worked in the CDC in the 1980 to 1990 eras and they will tell you that gay men had multi-partners even if their partner relationship seemed normal. . Ask any psych doctor. The more fornications by one person (the media lie of gay men being rock solid to one person) the more unstable the psych of that persons’ mind. The Bible isn’t the place to look for answers, it is the psych doctors handbook that reads this, not Jesus or what God would say….

   robert russell 10.15.08 @ 1:47 pm

When you are the Creator and have given laws for your creation to follow then it is not discriminating to expect your creation to follow them. The Bible was given as our guide and when we CHOOSE to walk against the plan God has laid out for us we should not feel discriminated against. God did give us a free will to walk the way we choose but that does not mean we will not have consequences to face.

So….. I guess the answer to the question is… NO, Jesus would not and does not descriminate, but His WORD will never change nor will He change
the consequences to our sin.

I pray on Nov. 4 Florida will vote YES and define marriage as the Word of God does!!!

   Teena Whitten 10.31.08 @ 9:22 pm

1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people 1 are without excuse. 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts 2 were darkened. 1:22 Although they claimed 3 to be wise, they became fools 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings 4 or birds or four-footed animals 5 or reptiles.

1:24 Therefore God gave them over 6 in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor 7 their bodies among themselves. 8 1:25 They 9 exchanged the truth of God for a lie 10 and worshiped and served the creation 11 rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

1:26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 12 1:27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women 13 and were inflamed in their passions 14 for one another. Men 15 committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, 16 God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. 17 1:29 They are filled 18 with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with 19 envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 1:31 senseless, covenant-breakers, 20 heartless, ruthless. 1:32 Although they fully know 21 God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, 22 they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them. 23

Homosexuality is both a sin and a lie.
Love the sinner Hate the sin.

God is discriminate towards sin.
Sin is punishable by Hell, and the only way to gain eternal life in Heaven with God is to repent and turn away from all sin. Read the bible some time, it might actually do you some good.

Quit living in this world, and live in God’s.

   Victoria 02.15.09 @ 2:28 am

Jim C, you draw a conclusion that I don’t understand. You confuse homosexuality with molestation. More than 95% of people who commit molestation are straight white males.

I am a 41 year old gay Christian. I am made by the same perfect God who made you! I am not a mistake, God does not make them. I am who I am I am what I am by the grace, love and power of God!

My life, love and happiness is absolutely no different than a non-gay persons with the exception that my partner is of the same sex.

In closing Jim, you spend a lot of time making judgments, un-truths, mis-information and lies. I would like to remind you of a few things. A) Is it really your position to judge me? Judge not and ye shall not be judged. B) Although I don’t know you, I know you are not perfect. You have sinned yourself, you are human. Let the one without Sin cast the first stone. And C) You are to love thy neighbor as you would have someone love you. Perhaps you live in a rural area?

I too pray for the healing, peace and love for all who share their life in the name of Christ, OUR savior and LOVING GOD!

   Royal D. Bush 02.27.09 @ 10:58 pm

Homosexuality is a sin, no matter how you look at it. The bible is clear that it is wrong. (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9 Romans 1:26-27) It says how God handed us over to it because of out own sinful desires, and that he did not create us that way. Thank God for grace. Through grace we are saved, not the way we live our life. Obedience comes out of faith. A true Christian will embrace what the Bible says, even if it condemns their lifestyle. A true Christian will (if experiencing homosexual thoughts) will pray that God would deliver them from the thoughts, and they would look away from them, and not give in. Homosexual marriage is taking God’s perfect plan and twisting it to adultery. God hates sin, but loves all his people. Do not think you can change what God has made known, and if you want to follow God you will accept and embrace his word, making yourself huumble. The church should accept homosexuals, and work with them to find change, just as the church should work with people caught up in any sin. No sin is greater than another. God is love.

   Rudy 03.05.09 @ 10:47 pm

I love gay people

   lei ting 04.16.09 @ 2:09 pm

If qe go by the real meaning of discriminate, which is to treat one differently, then yes Jesus would discriminate wouldn’t he? He discriminated against the Pharisees by rebuking them.

I think that in the same way, Jesus would treat those who don’t follow His teachings differently. Of course there is no question that He would love ALL of us but He wouldn’t treat us all the same would He?

We on the other hand shouldn’t discriminate because our basis for discrimination is different and often we use that in aggression. I’m not saying we should tolerate breaches of teaching, but in the same Bible that was given to us it is taught to love.

   Kevin Parcon 04.18.09 @ 10:41 pm

Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Is that so? Quote:-
The Greek word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner. Unquote. Now ladies and gentlemen for the real truth. ‘PAIS’ is an ancient Greek word which means ‘Male love’ But the centurion did NOT use this Greek word at all. The Greek word used in this scripture is:- “PARALUTIKOS” It is used 11 times in the Bible, and it is the ONLY Greek word used to describe ‘Sick with the palsy’ This word ‘PAIS’ does not even mean ’sick’ Whoever it is that said this is nothing more than a liar, a deceiver and a fraud, who has deliberately substituted the PAIS word for the correct PARALUTIKOS word. No doubt to justify the words “Jesus affirmed a gay couple” This is a violation, so now be warned: God will not be mocked. There are several other Greek words to describe different levels of being sick. PAIS is NOT one of them. Someone needs to repent of this sly behaviour.

   John Whittle. 05.21.09 @ 2:30 pm

I came across a banner that had the headline “Jesus said some are born gay,” with this site’s name at the bottom. I am a struggling Christian pansexual trying to figure out exactly what the Bible has to say of homosexuality. So I looked up the passage it listed. Matthew 19:10-12.

I was disappointed to find that the scripture listed says nothing of people being born as homosexuals. When it is speaking of being born with it, it is referring to being born without the desire to marry or being born without the parts or ability to be in a “normal” relationship leading to marriage. I looked up multiple translations, and all support this.

However, I find it to be a great scripture to support the acceptance and choice to marry of the same sex. It states that some choose not to marry because of things done unto them by others and some choose not to for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. But Jesus responds by saying that those that can accept the responsibility and are mature enough to go forth into a marriage and accept the teachings that divorce is adulterous unless brought forth by a cheating partner, should do so.

This would certainly include homosexuals. If you are happy and in love with a member of the same sex, you should most certainly marry.

   Raven 05.26.09 @ 5:49 pm

Royal D. Bush: AMEN! Thank you for making your voice known.

Jim C: Your “paraphrase” from Jn 8:3-11 certainly is more than a simple paraphrase, for it is concerning a woman caught in the act of adultery, NOT a man caught in the act of homosexuality. And you accuse others of twisting the Word of God? I understand if you are quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9 or 1 Timothy 1:9… at least then I would understand how you can use that Scripture to say what you wish that it said. (Believe it or not, we gay Christians have studied the clobber passages in great depth… who would care more for our salvation than us? Therefore, you need to know and understand that we are not throwing ourselves to Satan as you believe. We are seeking a relationship with God, and trying to understand why we were created to love the same gender. And I, for one, am becoming closer to God than ever.

I realize you are trying to “save the gays” by instilling a fear that you believe we should have. However, until you can translate the original Hebrew and Greek texts, and truly perform a thorough exegesis of Scripture, then please don’t spread hate to the rest of God’s family. Jesus called us to love. It’s ok if you don’t believe everything I believe. We gay and lesbian Christians just ask that you love us.

God bless you, Jim.

   mandy 06.23.09 @ 8:32 pm

How come none of you who are homosexuals will face up to God’s truth?

Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9 Romans 1:26-27

Answer for these!

   Benjamin Bronson 06.26.09 @ 12:46 pm

Any real scholarship easily points out how absolutely twisted and lame these attempts are to affirm homosexuality as okay by God.

Let’s start with the classic David and Jonathan.

David was anointed as king over Israel while Saul still sat on the throne. Jonathan was Saul’s son and would have been the rightful heir to the throne had Saul not messed that up. Jonathan, unlike his father Saul was an honorable man. When he striped himself of his princely garb and gave it to David it was a symbol of honor; loyalty to the true heir of the throne. It certainly wasn’t some homoerotic scene that some wish it was. These were men of God; holy warriors with the highest level of esteem and honor. Just because they loved each other deeply does not mean they were homosexual.

Jesus said to love one another to His disciples and that it was by their great love for one another that people would know that they were His. His 12 disciples were all men. Did they break out into an orgy with each other upon hearing Jesus’ commands? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is brotherly love, holy love, pure, unconditional love… the opposite of sin.

The false teachings of this website are an abomination before God! REPENT!

   Benjamin Bronson 06.26.09 @ 1:01 pm

Ya know, the gay community looks at us Christians as if we hate you, and all we are trying to do is teach you what Jesus expects from all of us, (Christians included). The fact is we dont hate you, if we hated you like you say we do we wouldnt even bother trying to spread the message of the Gospel to you, we wouldnt even think about coming around you. But the fact is, no matter what you think about us, we do love you, just as Christ loves everyone, but when we say to you “repent” or.. “what your doing is a sin”, we dont do it to condemn you, we do it because, as Christ came and made it known to the world what He expects from us, we go out into the world and spread His message. Now for all of you who still think that your living a “Holy Life” heres some Scripture from the KJV Bible from Bible.com Now some of it is one homosexuality and some of it is just letting you know that we dont hate you.We only want to see Jesus Christ reign in you as He does us, trust me, before we were Christians we were lost sheep without a flock, just as every man woman and child is, no matter who they are or what race they are.
John 7:24
24Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment

1 John 4:20 (Whole Chapter)
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Matthew 6:24 (also Luke 16:13) (Whole Chapter)
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man also lie with mankind,as he lieth with a woman,BOTH of them have committed an ABOMINATION; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Also read Romans 1:24-32

more? here ya go
http://www.bible.com/bibleanswers_result.php?id=246

One more thing… Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever more. (just incase you believe Jesus changes His mind once in awhile)

Revelation 22:18-19: (for those of you that think you can change the Word of God around a little to make it benefit and justify your sin situation)

18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Like I said you all can hate us because you think we condemn you, and ya know sometimes you get these “Holy rollers” who think theyre all perfect, but do you wanna know how you find a REAL Christian, someone who really Loves the Lord? Well they would do something Like im doing, and NO im not giving myself any praise at all, im not giving my self a pat on the back, but out of love Im stepping out into faith, that someone will read this and know that this is the way of the Master, someone who will love you no matter how much hell you give them. I love you all, dont know any one of you, but I know that we all have, or at one point had, a need that only Jesus Christ could fill, and this is your chance, please dont let it pass you by. Like it says, No one can serve two masters, and I pray that someone would choose to serve the real Master, who is Jesus Christ.

With Blessings of love that only Christ Himself could show.

   Mike 06.29.09 @ 6:11 pm

We dont hate the SINNER, but we HATE the SIN, Just as HE does

   Mike 06.29.09 @ 6:20 pm

No sin is acceptable to God. So, no, Jesus does not discriminate. If you are a liar, you will go to Hell. If you are a thief, you will go to Hell. If you are a murderer (see 1 John 3:15), you will go to Hell. If you are an adulterer (see Matthew 5:27-28), you will go to Hell.

Interesting that someone tries to use Matthew 19:10-12 to try to justify homosexual marriage, but Jesus said, at the beginning of the passage, that marriage is defined as one man with one woman, and that man should not break that union, else he fall under the condemnation of God (adultery was a death-worthy sin in Jesus’ day).

“Clobber passages”? Um, if I quoted, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” would that be clobbering liars, or just telling them the truth? You decide.

“Do you think that [these people] were any worse than [the other sinners around]? I tell you, they were not. But, if you don’t repent, you will perish just as they did.” (Paraphrase Luke 13:3, 5)

   Joshua 06.29.09 @ 8:58 pm

many of the scriptures that state that homosexuality is wrong is in the old testiments, and the epistles… written by a man… Paul.

jesus dismissed the old testiment and many of the teachings, and its hard for me to understand and take as truth something God created and HUMAN interpreted.

i have been to my parish priest a few times and have talked about my own homosexuality with him. he would always question what the context of the scripture was. but he never once said that homosexuality was NOT a sin. he agreed very much that it was.

What we need to do is to stop worring about if its a sin or not. and focus on the loving and caring nature of Jesus. and stop pushing people awayfrom the church by constantly coming down with a heavy fall with the judgmental attack.

may i say that they did not have the word “homosexual” in jesus’ day. homosexual is a term coined in 1886, Richard von Krafft-Ebing used the terms homosexual and heterosexual in his book Psychopathia Sexualis. almost 2000 years after jesus.

so missinterpretation is open to have happened.

   Brady 07.04.09 @ 6:41 pm

The bible clearly states that homosexuality is sin. On this basis, the question of discrimination is irrelevant…

   mg 07.07.09 @ 4:29 am

Jesus said one man and one women we follow Jesus law need know god heaven and eath ok Jesus came into save us gave life us we fellow his law please jesus said follow pick up your cross ask lord into your heart one man and one women

   kim 07.17.09 @ 9:41 pm

As I read many posts of those who interpret the bible themselves, then based on their own interpretation judge others, I wonder if they realize they are judging others. As the good book says, let those without sin cast the first stone…

Check this out: Disbelief does not change the facts. Some people come from a “church” or a “denomination” that proclaims to be Christians AND teaches, believes and preaches their interpretation of the word of God, filtered by their own prejudices.

Galatians 3:28 sums it up quite well… “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The greatest law in the Bible is the law of Love. When your life-time, play-time and work-time is full of love and centered on God then you are at one with him!

Peace, Love and Joy be with you all…
Royal

   Royal D Bush, Omaha 07.20.09 @ 8:51 am

Go to youtube and watch Mary K Baxter, Bill Weise, and Don Piper’s testimony. God has shown them Heaven and Hell. Read Acts chapter 2 verses 17-21. God said he would show people visions, dreams, prophecies, heaven and hell in the last days. My wife has seen angels on 3 different occasions. I have met a man who has seen Jesus when he called on him during a heart attack. In Mary Baxter’s vision of hell she saw all of the tortures of hell. In hell if you were a murderer you will be thrown with murderers, thieves with thieves and so on. And yes she saw a section for homosexuals. WAKE UP CHRISTIANS!! He is coming soon and is “pouring his spirit out on all flesh” in these “last days” just like he said he would. Please if it is the last thing you do watch all of their testimonies. It is very important. I love all of you gay or not and I don’t wish that any of you end up there. Watch the testimonies, they are very sobering. Hell is a literal burning place in the center of the Earth just as the Bible says.

Yours truly,
Jake
p.s. and the angels my wife saw were about 9 feet tall, 3 feet wide and made out of pure white shimmering light. Praise God Almighty!!

   Jake 08.12.09 @ 8:26 pm

I would invite homosexuals to explore Jesus Christ for themselves - transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit and whatever transformation you may or may not need will be shown to you. Many heterosexuals are in the grip of sexual sin themselves, adultery, fornication, lust, pornography, and continue to practice those things while condemning others’ sins as worse than their own. No one really knows what causes homosexuality, whether it is inborn, developmental, or the results of hormone imbalance in the womb. Jesus is a discerner of hearts…He knows the circumstances of your birth, your life, and your death. Who knows how he will judge that little boy who watched his beloved mother beaten by a drunken father? Jesus seems much more concerned about compassion and love for our God and neighbors than he does about our sexuality. In this sense, many homosexuals far outshine the so-called Christians who care only for those who are like them. Maybe it is of them that he writes the last will be first. Maybe it is of the most judgmental among us that he writes not everyone that says Lord Lord is of my kingdom, but him that does my will. The two greatest commandments are love your neighbor and love your neighbor. Whatever, your sexuality, commit yourself to Christ, his yoke is easy and his burden light. Make Him your confidante and tell him all your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your disappointments. He will give you rest. Come just as you are and he will direct your paths. God Bless you and may His love encompass you.

   brenda 09.01.09 @ 11:57 am

Jesus clearly discriminates between the sheep and the goats. Some will be cast out into outer darkness and others will inherit the kingdom.

The only thing that matters is that WE ARE ALL SINNERS! We are saved by Grace when we BELIEVE the Gospel message.

God does not ask us to earn salvation by keeping the Law… It is received by FAITH. “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’(ROMANS 4:3.”

It’s clear that we are saved by Grace NOT works “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:8-10).”

Once we receive the gift of salvation we are secure in Christ. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord(ROMANS Ro 8:38-39).”

Notice that He has good works for us. He intends to change our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. He intends to be Lord. This comes about as a gradual metamorphosis. The more we seek God and to be like Him the more we are changes into his image.

The biggest problem with today’s Christianity is that we want to accomplish the work of the Holy Spirit in peoples lives. It is NOT our job to change people but it IS our job to teach and encourage love, truth, and holiness.

Is homosexuality a sin?
Is adultery a sin?
Is lying a sin?
Is murder a sin?

Yet God receives each man just as he is (sinful and hopelessly lost) by Grace when he puts his trust in Him. HOWEVER, though God received us just as we are, He will not leave us just as we are!

He will change us…

We should acknowledge our addiction to sin (whatever it may be) and our powerlessness to be rid of it. We should receive His unmerited GRACE… the gift of salvation.

We should allow the Holy Spirit to show us our sin and change our lives. THAT JOB IS TOO BIG FOR ANYONE ELSE TO DO.

IHS
LOUIS

   Louis 09.03.09 @ 2:48 pm

Would Jesus discriminate? Yes! He would. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:11 NIV not to associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but lives in sexual sin. With such a man do not even eat. Again, you are deceiving yourselves. Ask yourself: If I dropped dead right now would I go to heaven? If you do not have complete assurance of that, you better examine what you really balieve, and if Christ is really in your life or if you only know about Him but don’t really KNOW Him. Remember those who in the last day will say; But Lord we did all these things for you, but He will say; Depart from me for I never knew you. No more chances after that.

   Steve Nichols 09.09.09 @ 9:37 am

I beg to differ with the \Naomi loved Ruth\ billboard. In reality you know very well that BOAZ loved Ruth as Adam love Eve. Noami only loved Ruth as a beloved Daughter-in-law. You are not fooling anyone, you are only deceiving yourselves. There are plenty of Scriptures in both the Old & New Testaments that list homosexuality with all other sexual sin. Again, if you disregard them you are only deceiving yourselves.

   Steve Nichols 09.09.09 @ 9:45 am

All Have Sinned and fall short of the glory of God. As Christians we are taught to love unconditionally. But I’ve never been taught to change God’s word (the scripture) and try to cover up my sins. I was not taught to praise someone for their sins. What if half of the world became child molestors?? Would we mk a billboard for that? Would we try and convince everyone that they were born to rape children. Would we try and brainwash the world into thinking that it is ok. Would we lead a hurting world to hell. As christians we shouldnt discriminate. Everyone is welcomed to my church. . But if you are know adulterer, fornicator, child molestor or GAY you are not welcome to be over a ministry, to lead our youth, to teach. You are invited hear the word of God, change, Deny self, Be sincerely Saved and then you can be involved…God Loves You and So Do I.

   Mega 09.09.09 @ 12:56 pm

It is so sad that satan is still able to use God’s own words and twist them to convince people to sin against Him. He who has given His life for us and has paid a dear price for our salvation. God have mercy on us. I pray that every homosexual person reading this truly seek God and research for yourselves what the Bible says instead of looking for the easy way out and listening to what others tell you.

   Bridgette Lozano 09.09.09 @ 3:04 pm

– I wonder how some people can read so much but yet understand so little,,,, You people are really messed up – take this scripture – ‘do what you must do …. Go hang thy self…. And do it quickly ‘ that is the same thing you people are doing twisting it – and the bad part is your billboards will ‘win’ many as they will not read the truth for themselves – I pray you wake up: for each one of them you steal you will answer for – God forgives (and I am so glad of it) that is our only hope , Jesus our hope in glory , how HE loves all, yet hates sin and took on sin for us - Thank you Jesus

   Jim 09.10.09 @ 3:19 pm

To Whom Ever Receives This,

I find it very difficult to follow your reasoning on this matter. You seem to be claiming that the 21st Century makes it okay. Are you saying that God has changed His mind simply because the times have changed? What about Romans 1:18-32. If what you are saying is correct, why did God create a woman instead of another man to be man’s companion. If you would, please explain to me how you know God blesses these same gender relationships. I am open to any Biblical proof that you can provide. I stand with the Word of God and if you can show me through the Word that indeed God blesses these relationships, I will be able to better do my job which is to proclaim the truth of the Word.

Living to Serve Others,

Dennis
Minister of the Gospel

   Dennis 09.10.09 @ 3:25 pm

The Bible, Old Testament and New, has much to say about homosexual acts such as sodomy. The Bible is clear that God has declared such acts to be sin. For instance, God calls the homosexual acts committed by the men of Sodom “very grievous” (Gen. 18:20). He also calls those perverse sexual acts “filthy,” “wicked,” “ungodly,” and “unlawful” (II Peter 2:6-8). In the book of Jude, verse 7, God explains that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for “fornication” with “strange flesh.” In this, God contrasts homosexual sex acts with sexual relations between one man and one woman in His created, holy institution of marriage where the two become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). God has forbidden and cursed all fornication, the joining of human beings as “one flesh” in a sexual union outside of marriage (I Cor. 6:9-11). In I Corinthians 6:15-20, He condemns the sexual acts men commit with women prostitutes because the two become “one flesh” outside of marriage. Homosexual acts are especially evil in that they are “fornication . . . [with] strange flesh.”

You are perverting the word of God with your billboards. Please see the above as proof that the Bible is very clear on homosexual behavior (not lifestyle - behavior). I am trying to bring myself to pray for your ignorance. It is very difficult because ignorance is a lack of knowledge and obviously you have only read certain passages in the bible to back your OPINION that God and Jesus are okay with homosexual behavior. I will work on myself to pray for you but I despise your behavior and I will make ever effort to stand against you forcing your agenda on this country and now forcing this on christianity you will have much to answer when asked in the afterlife.

   Loyd 09.10.09 @ 11:16 pm

We all must pray asking the Lord to show us HIS Truth then open the Bible and read for ourselves the scriptures knowing that HE has promised that if we “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It breaks my heart to think back to when I attended a service and a class at a Metropolitan Community Church. After the service while talking to a member there, we were discussing a scripture and I asked him to show me the reference he was using in the Bible. Neither he nor anyone around had a Bible with them and we could not find one in the church (including the church book store).

My prayer continues to be that each person will NOT just listen to what is said regarding what the Bible says but search the scriptures for themselves. Jesus said in John 8:31-32 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

   Sandra 09.10.09 @ 11:33 pm

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law of Jesus,
Romans chapter 1, God is an abomination to homosexuality.
Jesus did not Regeitados anyone, but wants everyone to repent of their sins and be saved.
The homosexuality occurs because of a demon, Jezebel, Brazil has the name Maria Padilha,
reverses the precepts of God, to humble to God for his creation, that is us.
Because we are the image and likeness of God.
Satan is already condemned and does everything to distort the Bible and the commandments of God.
For people to go to hell.

   Jose Paulo 09.11.09 @ 2:36 pm

In reading the passage about the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, I found it to be more about the city being destroyed because of the thought and intents of their hearts….total wickedness. The nature and intentions of all who lived there were only evil. The angels were sent to find those, if it would be enough, that weren’t corrupt. Since there weren’t enough to save the city, they let those who weren’t corrupt out of the city and the city was destroyed. I don’t feel it had anything to do with only being men or women as was expressed in your article, and that the participants would have been herterosexual as well as homosexual. That shows a definate fact that sexual preferrence had no play in the destruction, but the evil nature they had. The story of wanting the “strangers” was just to show how evil the thoughts and thier intents were.

Just some thoughts from one individual. I hope to hear your thoughts concerning my view.

   Don 09.12.09 @ 1:01 pm

There is a fundamental question that people have stopped asking, “Is homosexuality biological?” Since scripture indicates clearly that homosexuality is a sexual sin no worse than other types of fornication, but not God’s way, it is easy to conclude that He would not “create” someone “gay.” I actually hate the labels (gay, homosexual, etc.) because they indicate identity, when homosexuality is actually a tendency or temptation that individuals can choose to fuel or cool…Of course there are so many childhood factors that make someone more likely to struggle with same-sex attraction. The pattern I have seen has to do with family roles, beginning with parental relationships and siblings. For example, if a boy is rejected by his brother, he may look to his sisters for acceptance and develop more feminine interests and characteristics in order to be accepted and included. I truly believe homosexuality is about acceptance and trying to find it somehow. If a person has been rejected in a fundamental relationship, they turn to homosexuality as a way to explain this rejection, with a hope of finding acceptance another way. Sexual abuse can foster homosexuality. Pre-marital sex that has been unfullfilling, abusive or created “used” feelings can lead to homosexuality. Lust and feeding lust is a huge open door for men. Positive same-sex encounters in youth where one felt included where “heterosexual” encounters produced rejection also can lead to the conclusion one is “gay.” Instead of looking to address the pain and rejection and individual has experienced, as well as addressing confusing positive circumstances of same-sex attraction or relationships, or abuse, the “homosexual” label seems to be the world’s way of slapping on an “I’m ok, you’re ok,” answer. I hate the way the devil attacks people’s sense of self through homosexuality. It is a crime against their identity! And they are just supposed to accept it, go with their same-sex attraction, and never dig any deeper into what caused it. What a messed up world we live in when even people who call themselves Christians prefer the easy “homosexual” label to walking side by side with someone who is genuinely going through hell. Sin hurts people. That is why God hates it. I would never tell someone “it’s ok to be gay.” It is no different than telling a cutter, “It’s ok to cut yourself,” or a suicidal person, “It’s ok to kill yourself.”

So, if you are a person who is identifying with what I am writing and are interested in the “way out” that the Bible promises to anyone who is tempted to sin, including homosexual sin, the way out is not the easy way, but ultimately, you will find healing, grace, and a totally new life with God. You must be willing to give up every false belief that led you to believe you are or might be gay, but the good news is, the truth is so beautiful and bright. Find a church or a group of people who help people who have struggled with this issue to find acceptance and love. Only with God’s healing acceptance, grace, and truth, will you truly be able to attack the rest of it. “Homosexuality” is not the problem. It’s the other junk that led you to this place. Once you are free from that, your identity will begin to find a healed place with God. The devil might attack, but you will have the real Word to fight with and family to back you up. If you are serious about turning from homosexuality, check out: http://exodus.to (Exodus International if the link doesn’t work and you need to google.) They have “freedom conferences,” and it is pretty awesome. God bless and keep you - and good for you for seeking the real truth rather than what is easy to hear. No matter what you choose to do, He loves you and will always seek to draw you close to Him and away from the things that would hurt you.

   Mary Joy 09.20.09 @ 11:23 pm

I hope all Christians can respond in love to this. It is understandable that those who practice the gay and lesbian lifestyle want to believe it is okay because it is a driving force inside them. Because of this it must come from God. As I read through some of the information in the site there were serveral good comments on how scripture has been used out of context to support things like slavery. Sexual sin such as lust and adultery as well as homoseuality is clearly pointed out in scripture. As a man that struggles with lust I could give in and say this is inside of me so it must be from God. My Struggle with lust is no different than a person’s stuggle with homosexuality. I want to take you back to the fall of man. When Adam and Eve chose their own way instead of God’s way. Read Romans so you can understand that this act did not only allow sin to enter the world but it affected every aspect of creation. It started a decay in creation that won’t be corrected until Christ comes back. Part of this decay is what is described in Romans 1. Men and womenstraying from their natural affections and being given over to a rebrobate mind which basically means accepting it as natural. The same applys to lust, stealing, lying or coveting. We can fight it or give into it. To have the urge to fall into the homosexual lyfestyle does not mean that you are broken anymore than me having the urge to follow my lusts. It is simply the result of sin and that is why we require a Christ’s death on the cross. Our enemy is slick he convinces us that it is okay or natural.If you feel it it must be God given. He is constantly whispering lies to us. We must seek truth at any cost. I will pray that God will give those who sponsor this website truth even though we live in a world of lies. And by the way we welcome all sinners to our church, First Baptist church of Hurst Texas

   Glenn 09.29.09 @ 10:40 am

The real question is, why doesn’t a gay man like vagina? Why doesn’t a lesbian like a penis? If you can’t put 2 and 2 together, then man, you’ve been slighted in the intellectual department. Sounds to me that if an urge can’t find justification in Scripture and can’t find peace in the real world, give up. I want to have sex with most women I meet. Do I? Should I? Red blooded men across the globe would confess, strongly, that we would. I bet the rest of the world would disagree. Consensual? Okay. What if the red blooded women we met consented to have sex with us anywhere? IN the street, in cars, etc. God does not say where we must have sex. So consensual to you then, the public? Okay, well suppose we meet and just go home to do our deeds, is it okay then? Well no. Guess who is still watching? My urges for illicit sex are not justified no matter how the urge incites me, nor where the urge may meet me. Maybe gays, lesbians, tg’s, etc, need to admit that your flesh need not be the boss of you. Oh, and I could give you SOOOOOO much Scripture. Sooooo much that we’d have to dance around before we’d grow weary of reading and listening and eventually want to just eat and go to sleep. So what do we do? I sin, I repent. I do so almost daily. If I don’t, who are you to judge? There’s my defensive side. What’s yours? This post is concerned with your heart, not your reproductive member. (2 Cor 13:5)

   Bill 10.01.09 @ 9:52 pm

Yes, Jesus does discriminate. Thats why there is a heaven and a hell.

Please read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to live in you and then ask Him what is right and wrong.

   J 10.27.09 @ 9:15 am

If I can love my children no matter what they do, then surely God can do the same. However there are many times that I do not like what they do, even though it does not change my love for them. I believe God cries when we do the things he does not like just as I do. My 2 oldest children (now 26 and 25) have identified as homosexual. There is nothing that they can do to change the fact that I love them, but I don’t have to like what they do. I have cried many tears over my childrens’ choice, I believe God cries too. I will never believe that they were born that way or that God made them that way. I pray every day that God will show them that while He continues to love them, He does not like what they do. I pray every day that God will keep them safe from harm, even though they are harming themselves. The pain I feel over my wonderful children is something that you cannot even imagine and yet you continue to give life to the lie that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. If that is true, then why does it hurt so much?

   Becky 11.09.09 @ 6:07 pm

Does Jesus discriminate? Wrong question. Is homosexuality truly a legitimate form of God’s design? Better question. That being said, the church has along way to go in truly understanding how to minister to gay folks. They were not born that way, BUT it’s really not as much of a choice as many Christians would like to think. Is it a choice for a 5 year old boy to be utilized as a sex object by a male? Is the ensuing gender confusion that childs choice? When the boy begins to identify with girls more than boys, who is there to guide him back to his masculine identity? Most people look the other way and whisper to each other “I wonder if that kid is going to be…” They ghrow up mocked and teased by other kids and by the time they are adults they move to a place where they can find support for thier identity. Many gays at some point have desperately prayed for God to take away their gay desires. If they seek help in the church there is probably 1 out of every 10,000 preachers who really know how to love them through to Jesus deliverance. It’s time for churches to become more like doctors. They don’t faint at the sight of blood. We need to stop fainting at the sight of sin and start operating in the radicle love and acceptance of Jesus.

   Mark 01.02.10 @ 12:46 pm

i am a lesbian and for me its really hard when i live with a family and have many friend that are christian they all say that it is against gods wishes like many of you are saying but i believe that if it god didnt want me to be this way then why would he make me this way i love god with all my heart but of course people around tell me that im going to end up in hell and it scares me for i cant just go straight im born this way its just like a straight women or man cant go gay how can we gays correct our so called “sin” when we cant change who we are who we like and or sexuality how can we do so when we cant just wake up one day and say hey im going to go straight we cant do that because that is not possible because even if we wanted to which would probably make things alot easier we cant because we would end up lying to ourselves telling ourselves we like the oppisite sex when we dont and lying is a sin to i dont think that homosexuality is a sin because if it was then why would god have us born this way is it not said that god created us in his image and he knows every detail of our lives even before it happens and if that is so then why would he make us if he knew we would be gay or bi or a lesbian if it is a so called “sin” i know god loves us and i dont think all of us gays are going to end up in hell. yours truly meg i hope you all have a great day

   Meg 05.23.10 @ 8:54 pm

I don’t believe that people who are GLBT will be sent to Hell, just for being GLBT. I believe that no sin is better or worse than another (As the Bible says) I believe if GLBT people DIE in their sins, as with any one else, then they will go to Hell.
I dont believe that it’s right to hate, or be mean to people just because of their sexual orientation. I love people how they are; although none of us are perfect by any means (whether GLBT, Straight, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Etc.) which just makes it even easier to love others.

The Bible says that every person is born into sin. I believe, from that verse alone, that any of us is capable of being a liar, a thief, a murderer, a homosexual, Etc.

   Shelby Abel. 06.11.10 @ 10:17 pm

I had to laugh when I read the interpretations and twisting of clear and blatant scriptures. Whenever somebody else has to come along and interpret anything for you, you are looking at a cult.

   Hero2010 07.05.10 @ 12:15 pm

I think Jesus said not to be gay because he knew that a gay person would be persecuted by the same type of ignorant, hateful, sinful, judgemental, discriminate, and misinformed people who persecuted him and put him to death on the cross.

Jesus knew that God exists in every single one of us and so to discriminate a person is to discriminate God. Hate and Judgement separates, love brings together.

   Hannah 09.04.10 @ 5:05 pm

I would like to thank you for your openness to conversation and pursuit of truth. I also feel like an apology is in line for the lack of Christian love some of these posters have shown in responding to your interpretations of scripture.

As a youth pastor I deal with plenty of teenagers who are attracted to the same sex. My humble experience has showed me a few commonalities that makes me question the legitimacy of homosexuality as a spiritual lifestyle. I find it interesting that with each teenager that I have counseled, the same-sex parent has been distant or absent, while the opposite-sex parent has been grossly over protective. Such commonalities make me think that same-sex attraction is a psychological mechanism some use at an early age to counter a painful adolescence. If this is so, then rather than accepting homosexuality as a legitimate expression of Christian spirituality, I believe ministers should seek to lead people attracted to the same sex to healing.

At the same time, I have to recognize that the reason this is such a huge issue is that historically the church has done a terrible job addressing the needs of those sitting in their congregation who are attracted to the same sex (as evidenced in some postings above).

So what if the roman centurion of Matthew 8 5-13 was homosexual (I don’t think he is, your interpretation fails to explore one particular option: that the slave was indeed a dear friend of his). The fact that he healed him wouldn’t celebrate homosexuality. The fact that he applauds his faith doesn’t mean he’s applauding his whole lifestyle, just his faith. Jesus reached out to prostitutes without promoting prostitution. Jesus reached out to tax collectors who stole from the poor, but he doesn’t promote stealing.

As I address same-sex attraction in my ministry, I use a few rules:
1) My sins are arrogance, quick temper and others. Theirs is homosexuality. Are they any worse sinners than I? Absolutely not.
2) Some terrible experience in their life has allowed them to settle for less than God’s best. There is a life of abundant joy that God has in store for each one of us as we shed our sin and choose to be led by the Holy Spirit instead of our own desires.
3) There are plenty of examples of people who have been attracted to the same sex but chose, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, to live a heterosexual life and thereby experience the abundant life God promised.

   Aaron 10.01.10 @ 3:39 pm

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the caring timbre of your comment. Youth ministry is a challenging call and one that, at the moment, is especially needed. Too many of our LGBT children are suffering at the hands of young people who are less-kind and believe it’s ok to harm us.

I wanted to offer a comment on your rules - as I expect they are rules in regards to how you respond to young people.

1) The challenge we who are gay struggle with in regards to calling homosexual-ity a sin is that to BE homosexual is far more than homosexual sexual acts. None of the other sins you mentioned are a state of being, so much as a way you might treat someone or act. BEING homosexual is not just about acts, but about an identity - an identity we have to come to understand is created by God, for we are created by God.

2) your second rule presumes that a homosexual relationship is less than God’s best, but, for many of us, coming to terms with who we are frees us to nurture and engage in healthy, whole, and honest relationships. It’s hard to imagine that health, wholeness and honesty are less than God’s best.

3) I am excited that you’ve found “plenty of examples” of those who come to an understanding of themselves that does not include homosexuality. However, I lift up to you again that attraction is but a part of what it means to be a homosexual person.

The unfortunate result of tying homosexual, to same-gender sex, to the Biblical references to sex acts as part of a heteronormative society is that we, as people, are reduced to either the collection of sex acts we are presumed to do, or to a sinful being. Nobody likes to be reduced to a sinful being - no matter that, in Christian understanding, we are all victims and instigators of sin, nor do any of us like to be reduced to the collection of sexual acts we engage in, regardless of sexual orientation.

Be careful, please, Aaron…you hold our children in your hands. There is not one answer for the whole of humanity on any other aspect of life. Take care before you presume that one perspective on sexuality is the only Godly thing that could be applied to human beings everywhere. You do not have to understand to respect, and you do not have to approve in order to remain welcoming.

Last thing - your observation about parentage of the questioning youth in your ministry is interesting. However, I - a lesbian woman - had a very caring same-gender mother, and a distant other-gendered father. Both were very concerned with my safety and knew at a very early age that I was different. Their concern about my safety was not about who I was, but about what other children would do to me because of who I was.

When you make room for God to act in situations you’ve never experienced before, you make room for a God that is, truly, much bigger than either of us could possibly imagine. That sounds more like “God” to me.

Blessings,
-Mel

Rev. Elect Melanie “Mel” Martinez
Director, MCC Online Ministries

   admin 10.01.10 @ 4:03 pm

First I would like to say that I do not believe that homosexuals who are saved will go to hell. We will all die with unrepented sin, whether it be in word or deed. The blood of Christ is either strong enough or it’s not. I choose to believe it is. This does not in any way mean that I think that homosexuality is not a sin, because I truly do. I , at one time had the spirit of homosexuality on my life. When the Lord showed me the root cause, which was trauma from my childhood, and how my sexual identity had been molded by circumstances which I had no control over, I denounced that sin. Just as I did my alcoholism, and drug addiction, and many other besetting sins. I recieved the deliverance from The Lord. Again I say I don’t believe that you will go to hell, but I do believe that you live below your true Kingdom potential, and do not recieve the fullness of joy that comes with deliverance. As far as the body of Christ acceting this behavior, as in a local body of believers, I think that the Apostle Paul was very clear on that. If one continues in their sin and won’t repent and denounce that sin they should be put out. When I was drunk for 25 years had I come into The meeting every week drunk, I probably would have been ask not to come back until I was sober. At least that is what I hope would have happened. God is not a respecter of persons and what He has done in my life He is well able to do in anyones life. God Bless you.

   Lea Nunnaley 10.08.10 @ 3:06 pm

I think the unfortunate aspect of this whole thing is not about discrimination but more so about sin. Homosexuality is a sin. We here on earth have the worldly influence of blaming others or environments, or past experiences for our sinful nature. Sin is sin, there are no conditions for it. The Word of God does not provide leniency for homosexuality if you’re born a certain way or not. Perhaps homosexuality is completely genetic, well things like alcoholism are too, but does that excuse the sin? Of course not. Those engaging in homosexual lives are in the same need of a redeeming Savior as any heterosexual. We’re all sinners! But what sets us apart is repending of that sin, seeking forgiveness, and a willingness to change and be more like Him! May God speak to all our hearts and set us in His ways, may we not make excuses for our sins and not treat others with contempt while we all carry planks in our own eyes.

In His love,
Cam

   cameron 10.12.10 @ 10:21 am

ITS ADAM AND EVE NOT GEORGE AND STEVE. YOUR ALL GOING TO BURN

   q 12.14.10 @ 5:09 am

Can someone help me understand if homosexuality is a sin, and being in a oving relationship with a person of the same sex is against god, then how is this fair. Popular to contrary belief, I was born gay, I was born attracted to men. No matter how hard I try to be attracted to women, I just can’t be. So are gays/lesbians suppose to not fall in love. Well how is this fair? why would god allow one group of people to share love and say the other group is sinful? People who say homosexuality is a sin love to compare it to stealing and lying and other things like that. But man isn’t born a liar or a thief, these are things that are learned. Every other sin in the bible(stealing,lying,worshiping many gods,etc) you can turn on and off, you can choose not to do those things. The bottom line is that to say homosexuality is a sin means you can automatically stop being this way and turn straight. This is simply not true.

   Josh 12.27.10 @ 3:42 pm

The Bible was written to be interpreted by man not to be taken literally. Did you Choose to be straight? Did you choose to be the color you are? The bible says many things about sin. Let me say this, in the bible it is an abomination for someone to commit adultery. It says that any offender of this sin should be stoned to death. Do we really take that literally? No we don’t..

If no sin is greater then another then why aren’t there more protesters for ‘lust’,'adultery’,'murder’,or ’sin’ in general?

We all live a life of sin, it’s not that we want to but it is what it is. I was born ‘different’ as some may say. You all were born ‘normal’? What is ‘normal’? Who is to say I am not ‘normal’ and straight people aren’t?

Many Christians or believers stand around with their well put together signs, saying gays are an abomination and should be put to death. The bible is a book that has my highest respect. Yes it says that “If a man Lies with another man as he does with a woman, he should be stoned to death”. Now it goes on to say that “If someone commits adultery they should be stoned and put to death as well. Abomination in those Hebrew days meant unclean. News Flash people, they have preachers that come on television and say that they have committed adultery…Should we put them to death? Of course not. The original bible was written in the Hebrew Language, the bible has been revised thousands of times. How do we know that everything that was analyzed and revised was written the way God wanted it to be. At the end of the original bible, the last page in fact, it simply states do not take away or add to this book.

“people are not born gay or lesbian, its a choice” sound familiar? I’m sure it does. Now with that said. Why would people choose to be different, looked down on, committing suicide because of the hard life they lead. If people say that there is no way God would allow someone to be born gay or lesbian, I asked them in return, “why would God allow some people to be born with both sexes? Why would God allow some kids to be born without arms, or without legs? Why would God allow some children to be born with Cancer and waiting their turn to be treated at Saint Judes? Why would God allow me to have always known that I was different since the age of 5? There are no legitimate answers, but I have a pretty good theory that came to me during prayer, and my talks with my maker, God.

Lets take this into consideration A HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION: If you are a straight woman, lets just say that the normal relationship was the complete opposite. Lets say that heterosexuality(straight) actually meant same sex couples, But from a very early age, you noticed yourself noticing boys. The norm now hypotheticly is that you should grow up and marry a woman since you are a woman. Lets call your neighbor John. You find John extremely cute, sweet, and you have an instant connection with him. He makes you laugh and you just have fun with John. You two grow up, you still look at john the way you did when you were five. If your parents new about this they would disown you. You keep it hidden, and go on to marry a woman, because that is what you are supposed to do, not what your heart wants you to do. Would you have had control over your feelings for John? would you allow other people to determine your happiness?, or would you go with what makes you happy regardless of what others say to you?

Maybe its time you looked deeper inside yourself, what if? what if you have been wrong this whole time? What if you caused someone who was gay or lesbian to take their own life, because of things you may have said. I advise you to watch the movie PRAYERS FOR BOBBY. This young man threw himself off of a bridge into oncomming traffic and he died. Why did he do this? because his mother said that she would not have a gay son. She tried setting him up on dates with girls, but its not fair to those girls, to be caught up in a marriage with a man who can not give himself to her completely. He actually thought something was wrong with him when he was growing up. He was raised in a christian home. What if one day your child comes home and says mom, dad Im gay. That just might be another test from your savior, watch the words you say. God Bless you, God Bless those who have taken their own life because of the words, and ignorance of others. Why would you be so mad about gay people, and not so mad about people within your own family committing adultery, lying, cheating, maybe even killing. Karma is a very real thing.

May GOD be with you all. I know he’s with me

   Alisha 12.30.10 @ 3:29 am

Jesus Christ loves the adulteress.

Jesus Christ hated her adultery.

Jesus Christ loves the sinner.

Jesus Christ hates the sin.

   Chris 12.31.10 @ 5:14 pm

Hello,

I’m a gay Christian. I am currently taking courses in Biblical Studies at a university level.

While the intention of this website is really good, the truth is, it’s actually quite deceitful. The bible is entirely silent on our contemporary understanding of what it means to be homosexual, and you will find no examples in it of what we would consider a homosexual couple in today’s societies.

The bible is a product of a patriarchal, heterocentric, misogynistic society. Even if these relationships did exist, they would not be spoken of in the bible in a positive light.

I understand the pain, and to so desperately desire to be apart of the biblical narrative. To desire to be included in the Christian tradition, and have the bible definitively confirm our inclusion. But the sad, and so very tragic truth is, THEY DIDN’T INCLUDE US. In fact, they excluded our sexual practices.

So what does this mean for us gay Christians? Well it means we have long, tough road ahead of us. We have to remind our fellow Christians that Jesus came, and was anointed to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18), and we are called to be imitators of Him (Ephesians 5:1). But the worst way of doing this is by lying about what the bible actual says.

Peace of the Lord,
Emery

   Emery Jones 03.24.11 @ 3:01 am

I saw a bumper sticker today and had to check out the web site. It is interesting to me how many people believe that Jesus will discriminate against people; if this is true than He most definitely will discriominate against some of them for their hatred, holier than thou attitude and taking parts of the bible that was transcribed by mere mortals into their words to show that Jesus is against homosexuals. Wow! If I learned one important thing in all my years attending Catholic school it was that Jesus loves all & forgives all! I also truly believe that as Mohannad said “there are many paths up the mountian but they all lead to the same place.” Let us be accepting and tolerent of all be that age, creed, gender, religion, sexual preference, nationality, etc!! God is Love not discrimination metted out by mere humans! When you are sin-free then you can cast that stone! Peace & Love to all!!

   Starr 05.26.11 @ 11:08 am

First of all, I’ve seen a great many disagreements with major grammar issues. It honestly makes the author less credible to the reader.

Secondly - I’d like you to think about different religions. Do they believe as you do? Are they going to hell for it? How do you know that you’re correct and that they’re not? The fact is, you don’t. So why are all of you trying to control other people on this earth according to your beliefs? Why can’t you leave others to believe as they wish in peace? If you’re right and gays are going to hell, so be it. But at least let them live their life on this planet the way that makes them happy. They aren’t doing any immediate harm to anyone.

   Anneliese 06.28.11 @ 6:47 pm

Paul wrote to Timothy that in the last days people would have a form of godliness but deny the power of it. This is the same as professing Christ but not having your sins taken away through the indwelling Spirit. When people claim to be Christians but stand up for sin, they are scoffers (2 Peter 3). Jesus died on the cross to put all sins to death, sexual or non-sexual, but if you don’t submit to God and receive cleansing, you will only have a form of godliness but deny the power. God loved the world enough to send His Son, but if you don’t surrender to Him, it won’t help to just name Him and pretend.

   Slomo2 06.30.11 @ 6:06 pm

I have read lots here and I have a question?

Does MCC specifically state the God Himself has created some Men and Women as gay people?

Let me be clear: Are you saying Homosexuality in all its forms is a sovereign creation of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who created all things perfect in the beginning?

See if this is the case then no problem! (Funny that God who wrote the bible did not tell us this in the bible, but in fact wrote the opposite though, don’t you think?)

Now follow me here: IF, (just hypothetically) homosexuality is a creation of satan, and is intended to curse people, to stop them from having and raising children with a husband or wife, living as a family, mother and father working together in love bringing up their offspring, then what are you as MCC in fact saying about the love of God toward gay people?

In my hypothesis (of homosexuality being a curse from satan) are you not, as representatives of Christ, excluding gay people from the Grace of Jesus? *re you not saying that satans curse on other is removed but not on gay people? Would not the power of the Holy Spirit be able to free ALL people from ALL of satan’s curses? Would not then True love for gay people be the bringing of the power of the Holy Spirit to RESORE them to God origional plan for them?

So I ask you, MCC people: Would Jesus discriminate?

Would Jesus not heal ALL?

Would Jesus make only a small number of his children gay in the first place?

What is real love for gay people? By definition you at MCC are excluding the possibility that it is being freed from being gay by the Holy Spirit…

   Peter Freeman 07.04.11 @ 7:28 am

First off, anyone who is biased, single minded, and closed minded needs to look at all the evidence BEFORE engaging in the argument. I am sure that people here have, but I know that quite a few have not. Like most people in America, they just blindly go on with whatever anyone in power over them (be their parents, pastor, public official, etc) says as the honest truth without finding it out for themselves.

That is where I will come in. I am sure that someone might have already posted this before, but I believe that it needs to be demanded (as the conservative opposition has been forced on all of the public of America as “truth”) and made clear.

Before anyone can validly get into any argument and intellectually participate in it, one must know facts (not lies) from both points of view and pick a stance that best suits them. Since the conservative ideals are always forced onto people, here is the other side.

This is the full “Letter to Louise”. Anyone can download it (and for those who are blindly biased, at least read ALL of it and ponder and pray over it BEFORE you unjustly attack it):

A Letter to Louise
A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality
Downloaded from: http://www.GodMadeMeGay.com

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

The author holds the Copyright to A Letter to Louise. Louise has given her permission for this Letter to be disseminated. She and the author hope the Letter will be read and be helpful to many, and permission is granted for noncommercial use to any individual or group if the following conditions are met:

If quoted in print or electronic form, the quote should cite this web site for the reader’s reference.

If reproduced in any form it should be reproduced in it’s entirety and without any undocumented additions or deletions to the text. Clearly identified editorial commentary attributed to the author of the commentary are excepted and are allowed. Reproductions should also cite this web site for the reader’s reference.

Non-commercial use in this context allows individuals, groups, non-profit and for-profit organizations to produce copies of A Letter to Louise, on paper or any other storage media, and to charge a fee for the copies in order to recover the cost of materials used for reproduction and for the cost of shipping.

© Bruce W. Lowe, 2001

INTRODUCTION

I have been asked if Louise is real. Yes, and this was a real letter to her. Shortly after I had gone to my first pastorate out of the seminary, Louise invited my wife, Anna Marie, and me to have Sunday dinner with her family. That was over 50 years ago, and she has been one of our dearest friends ever since.

The last time we visited her she told me what I have related in the first sentence of this Letter. At that time I really knew nothing about homosexuality. I did have some suppositions– quite negative–and had never thought I needed to study it. But her words made me want to know as much as I could learn about it.

When I began reading I soon realized things about myself I now deplore: I was ignorant of the many facts about homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. Without facts I had pre-judged it; I was prejudiced. With little thought I had read into the Bible what I presumed it ought to say instead of reading out of it what it does say. My idea of not needing to study the subject was pure anti-intellectualism. I am now grateful to God that He led me to study.

I read some two score books, most by eminent sociologists, psychologists and theologians. Then I wrote this letter to Louise, reflecting what I now have come to believe is the truth about homosexuality, what the Bible says and what God wants us to think and do about it.

Now I want others to study seriously this matter of such importance to many lives and many churches and denominations. I asked for and received Louise’s permission to share the Letter with others. I pray it may be helpful.

Bruce W. Lowe

January 2002

A LETTER TO LOUISE

To: Louise, dear friend, beloved of God

From: Bruce, by the immeasurable grace of God, a brother in Christ

Your heavy-hearted words to Anna Marie and me the last time we saw you will always burn in our hearts: “My brother hates God because God made him gay, and he knows he is going to hell, and I do, too, for that is what the Bible says.” I struggled for a response, realizing suddenly that what I knew about gays and what the Bible says about them was very superficial. Anna Marie’s immediate response to you was, “No one will go to hell who puts his faith in Jesus Christ.” How gloriously true! Whatever else the Bible says or doesn`t say, homosexuals are not necessarily going to hell.

I decided to give serious study to homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. Thank God! There was so much to learn about gays and lesbians–and the Bible–that I am so glad to have come to know. It distresses me, though, to realize that most others of our church people do not know these facts about homosexuality and what the Bible really says, and that their thinking, like my previous concept, is based on suppositions, not facts, and on feelings, which, of course, have no place in a thoughtful consideration of facts.

I am now convinced that the presumption that you and your brother have about his condemnation is unjustified. I have written out what I believe is clearly a correct interpretation of pertinent Biblical passages; it is Appendix B to this letter. A correct interpretation is dependent on following dependable principles of interpretation, so I discuss these principles in Appendix A. In the body of the letter I have put the convictions I have come to into ten statements that I believe you and I and your brother and our church families must come to understand about homosexuality and about gays and lesbians. But I know some will never accept them, so I have something I want to say to those people; I have made it Appendix C.

Forgive the length of this treatise, but I didn’t think I could address this matter adequately with fewer words. Also forgive the somewhat academic structure; I felt the nature of my study rather required it. I pray that this will give you some of the welcome insights my study has given me.

One. Homosexuality is an unchangeable nature; it is not a lifestyle choice.
Louise, this is an essential basis for understanding homosexuality. There may still be a few knowledgeable people who do not believe this, but practically all behavioral scientists now accept this statement as a fact. Down through history same-gender sex was universally considered to be acts by (heterosexual) people who had chosen to engage in perverted sex. Advances in the sciences, particularly psychology, in the last 100 years have shown that not all people are heterosexual; some are homosexual, and their homosexuality is an unchangeable nature, not a choice.

The concept of a homosexual nature first appeared in print in Europe in 1869 and in the United States in 1889. Acceptance of it spread slowly over the next 100 years. Freud accepted it and discussed homosexuality rather extensively in the first half of the twentieth century. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) officially recognized it in 1973 when it declassified homosexuality as being a mental illness. The American Psychological Association followed with similar action two years later.

Helmut Thielicke, a theologian conservatives respect highly and quote often, recognized in his work, The Ethics of Sex, written some forty years ago, that at least some gays and lesbians have “constitutional homosexuality,” and therefore we must “accept” the fact that it is “incurable,” that “our attitude toward [it] changes” [his italics]. and that it is “a divine dispensation” and “a talent that is to be invested (Luke 19:13f.).”1-1

Evidence that homosexuality is unchangeable includes: (a) ten thousand suicides each year of young homosexuals unwilling to face life with that orientation; (b) the high percentage of homosexuals who go to psychotherapists desperately wanting to change their orientation, and then (c) the very small percentage of them reportedly being changed after hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars being spent in psychotherapy; (d) the millions of homosexuals who remain “in the closet,” not acting like homosexuals and not wanting anyone to learn of their orientation; (e) the thousands who are reported as coming to pastors and counselors devastated to have to recognize their unchangeable orientation and wanting assistance in dealing with it.

A few, after psychotherapy, report successful change. It is believed that most of these are not true homosexuals, but because of some trauma in childhood they adopted homosexual traits; with these, psychotherapy can often do away with the results of the trauma and lead the person back to his or her natural heterosexuality. The results of extensive psychotherapy with homosexuals who desperately wanted to change their orientation have been studied, and several books document the disheartening lack of success of their time, money and efforts. In 1998 the APA adopted a position opposing any therapy designed to change a person’s sexual orientation. The APA President stated, “There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive.”1-2

Scientists and sociologists do not know what causes homosexuality, just as they don’t know what causes heterosexuality, but virtually all are convinced that whatever the cause, it is unchangeable. Homosexuals are homosexual by nature; it is never something they choose.

Two. All people are created in the image of God. The homosexuality of gays and lesbians, created by God, is good and not evil.
This is the second essential basis for coming to a right understanding of homosexuals. If I can say God made me as I am, a heterosexual, then homosexuals can say God made them as they are. If God made them that way, that way is good. If I am created in the image of God, homosexuals are created in the image of God. And if God has a purpose for every life, the lives of homosexuals have a God-given purpose. Then refusing to accept and affirm them in the same way we affirm others would be trying to thwart the purposes of God. Can we draw any other conclusion?

Some church people who are not accepting of gays and lesbians may say that homosexuality is an aberration of nature and that God doesn’t want it, just as he doesn`t want a child with Downs Syndrome because of the limitations it places on that child throughout life. But homosexuals have no physical or mental limitations, and there is nothing about the homosexual that can be defined as an aberration.

Some accept it as unchangeable but say it is like the predisposition to alcoholism–that a person with this predisposition is not to blame for having it, but since acting on it can lead to much destruction in many lives, the person is responsible for not acting on it and, if he becomes an alcoholic, needs to recover from it. New Testament professor Jeffrey Siker considers this analogy “not only useless but dangerous.” First, he says, the damaging effects of active alcoholism are readily apparent, but the APA ceased characterizing homosexuality as a disease “because there was no clinical evidence that homosexual activity resulted in any more destructive behaviors than was the case for persons engaging in heterosexual activity.” Further, we recognize that alcoholics need to “recover,” but homosexuals find nothing in their nature that they can change or need to recover from. Finally, alcoholism is a disease triggered by the act of drinking; the focus is on the act of either drinking or abstaining from drinking. Homosexuality is not an act, it is a nature. It is unfortunate that heterosexuals often focus on same-gender sex when they think about homosexuality, but–and this is why the analogy is dangerous–”to do so is to miss the point of the larger context of the relationship. It is to dehumanize and depersonalize gays and lesbians, caricaturing them only in terms of their sexual activities rather than seeing them as whole persons with lives that include more than sex.”2-1

Dr. Siker says a better analogy is in the first Jewish Christians and their acceptance of the Gentiles. Jews considered Gentiles as unclean, polluted, idolatrous, and sinful–the same revulsion many church people feel for homosexuals. Before Gentiles could be accepted as Christians, many thought, they must first repent of being Gentiles, become Jews and obey Jewish laws such as Sabbath-keeping and kosher food; then they could become Christians. Like the Gentiles, homosexuals do not need to repent of being such; they just need to be accepted.2-2

Another analogy would be the left-handed person, created that way, different from others, but whose difference is in no way an aberration or predisposition and whose personhood is the same as that of others. There is no reason for not admitting that the homosexual is simply made in the image of God as is every other person. The only reasonable statement is that homosexuality is God-given and, therefore, with a God-given purpose. We should embrace gays and lesbians and mutually help one another achieve the purposes God has for us all.

Three. The homosexual is just as normal a person as a heterosexual and should not be thought of in sexual terms.
Evelyn Hooker, who taught psychology at UCLA, conducted the “…very first investigation into whether or not homosexuality was an illness that examined a population of `normal’ gay men–men who were not residents of mental hospitals, prisoners, or distressed patients in therapy [common subjects of study at that time], but ordinary people living ordinary, if closeted, lives….In 1956 Hooker presented her findings–that no psychological differences existed between homosexual and heterosexual men–before the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association.”3-1
But do not most heterosexuals have the very narrow view that homosexuality means engaging in sex with a partner of the same gender? That is a gross distortion. The homosexual has all the interests and concerns in life that a heterosexual has. Whatever importance sex has for the heterosexual, it has the same importance for the homosexual–no more, no less. The best definition I have read of a homosexual is that he or she is a person who falls in love with someone of the same gender. What made me, a heterosexual, fall in love with a person of the opposite gender? I can’t say–it is just some innate characteristic of my makeup. In the homosexual, that characteristic works differently for some yet unknown reason, and the falling-in-love process is directed at the same gender. But it is a true falling in love. It isn’t a sexual thing for them any more that it is for heterosexuals.

While some homosexuals are sexually lustful and promiscuous, the percentage may actually be lower than that of heterosexuals. The pornographic industry, estimated at up to one hundred billion dollars a year, the gentlemen’s clubs, the brothels, internet pornography, etc. are all supported by heterosexual lust. That industry annually lures two thousand teenage girls into prostitution in the city of Dallas alone.3-2 Homosexuals have little interest in any of that widespread industry. Every fifteen minutes in America a heterosexual rapes a woman; homosexuals don’t rape women or kidnap young girls or give birth to babies infected with AIDS. If we look at a heterosexual man or woman and do not immediately think of sex, then when we look at a gay or a lesbian, we should not immediately think of sex. They are people like us with the same needs and concerns, problems and failures and successes and sorrows and joys that we have, plus lots of problems that we do not have. What is a homosexual act? Examples: a gay man walking his dog or a lesbian fixing her supper.

Four. Several passages in the Bible speak of same-gender sex. In every instance, the Bible is talking about heterosexuals who, filled with lust, have become sex perverts. The Bible says nothing about innate homosexuality as we know it today or about people who are homosexuals.
Until the late nineteenth century, as already mentioned, the concept of homosexuality was totally unknown. No Bible writer knew of homosexuality, so no Bible writer could have said anything about it. When the Bible speaks of same-gender sex, it is always talking about heterosexuals who are given over to such lust that they commit lustful acts. There cannot be anything in the Bible that says anything about (unknown) homosexuality or homosexual people or acts by homosexuals.

No one questions the Bible’s condemnation of sexual lust, and today that would be whether it was homosexual or heterosexual. Some want to say that same-gender sex acts are condemned by the Bible, and it doesn`t matter by whom they are committed. No, lustful same-gender sex acts are. Heterosexual sex acts are also condemned by the Bible whenever they are lustful, but that doesn’t mean all heterosexual sex acts are condemned. It is the lust that is condemned, not an act. If we recognize that opposite-gender sex can be either lustful and evil as in rape or be moral and beautiful as between loving spouses, we must recognize the possibility that same-gender sex can be moral and beautiful, as well as lustful and evil. (This is discussed further in Eight below.) The Bible says nothing about homosexual people being sent to hell.

Five. The burden imposed on homosexuals by society is a great evil. We should stand in revulsion against, and do all we can to oppose, the prejudice, the hatreds, and the condemnation of a society that make the homosexual’s life so difficult.
Can Professor Stein be correct about America?: “The evidence is overwhelming that the United States is a society where there is a strong fear and a deep hatred of lesbians and gay men. This hatred and fear are manifested in discrimination and oppressive laws and social practices.”5-1

The lynching of Blacks has almost passed, but not the lynching of gays and lesbians. Some one hundred hate-crime murders of gays and lesbians are recorded in the U.S. each year. Most receive little press. An exception was Matt Shepard–beaten and tied to a fence to die in Wyoming because he was gay. Shortly afterwards, gays and lesbians all over America received faxes, emails and phone calls saying, “Matt Shepard is dead; you may be next.” Two such murders have had books written about them. A man walking in a wilderness area in Pennsylvania observed from a distance two women camped there, and they were holding hands. He walked back to his truck for his rifle. One of the women survived his shooting and wrote the book, Eight Bullets.5-2 (For the other book, see Six below.) Gays in a major city complained to the police that it was not safe for them to walk in their neighborhood. The police didn’t believe them but finally had plain-clothes officers walk there as decoys. The officers, mistaken for gays, were attacked by men with baseball bats. Twelve men were finally arrested for homophobic attacks in that one neighborhood. An article in our paper a few days ago told of a man asking where the nearest gay bar was; he said he wanted to shoot some queers. A few minutes later he did. Such things are happening everywhere in America, and gays and lesbians live in constant anxiety about these kinds of hate crimes.

Homosexuals do not have the natural protection of the law that others have. There are nationwide laws against discrimination on the basis of race and national origin, but only one-fifth of our states have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation–there is no federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld laws in two states making same-gender sex illegal. A Dallas judge gave a light sentence to a murderer explaining that the victim was only a homosexual. What encouragement is thus given to gay-bashers! The hatred gays and lesbians encounter, added to the psychological problems most face in accepting their homosexuality, make many of them live in an ever-present milieu that borders on trauma.

Psychotherapist John J. McNeill writes,
Many problems… make a positive adjustment to a [homosexual] life extremely difficult. Among these difficulties can be enumerated the agonies of remorse and self-torture over what typical homosexuals feel to be their immoral desires, whether these arise from conscious identity with the condemnations of Church and society or from neurotic conflicts within themselves; their openness to blackmail and other forms of intimidation; their status of being outside the normal protection of the law; their necessity continually to conceal what they frequently believe to be their true identity from public view, with the added threat that accidental revelation could result in loss of their job, expulsion from school, dishonorable discharge from military service, loss of future security and job opportunities, loss of friends and the respect of family and dependents. Still other problems involve their propensity to sexual promiscuity [because they are] divorced from a complete and healthy interpersonal relationship; and the resulting tendency for sexual desires indulged in, but never fully satisfied, to occupy a disproportionate place in their life. Above all else, there is the very real threat of ultimate loneliness to one to whom all the normal structures of society - marriage, children, dependents, etc. - are closed. It should be noted, however, that all these negative aspects of homosexuality are not due to homosexuality as such, but are the results of both society’s and the Church’s attitude to the homosexual. All these rather common aspects of homosexual life can effectively paralyze all initiative, result in a feeling of inferiority, and lead to an emotional breakdown which could make social adjustment impossible.5-3

All of this hate is a sickness in our society that comes from ignorance about homosexuality. Our society must become informed, enlightened about it. Those who are involved in discussions in denominations and churches about it must study it and not speak from ignorance of it and the result of ignorance: prejudice.

Six. Homosexuals are being sinned against by our churches. Like our society, our churches need to change.
“Kill a Queer for Christ”

I added the italics, foolishly; what italics are needed for such a statement. In your small town you probably have not seen that cleverly alliterative bumper sticker. For you and me it is unbelievable, unreal. Sadly, it is very real.

The thinking shown in the bumper sticker and the position of many churches and their pastors abets the crimes against gays and lesbians. Peter Gomes, Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard, says, “The combination of ignorance and prejudice under the guise of morality makes the religious community, and its abuse of scripture in this regard, itself morally culpable.”6-1 He relates this:
In preparing for her novel The Drowning of Stephen Jones, based upon the true story of a young gay man tossed from a bridge to his death by a group of young gay-bashers, author Bette Greene interviewed more than four hundred young men in jail for various forms of gay-bashing. Few of the men, she noted, showed any remorse for their crimes. Few saw anything morally wrong with their crimes, and more than a few of them told her that they were justified in their opinions and in their actions by the religious traditions from which they came. Homosexuality was wrong and against the Bible. One of those interviewed told her that the pastor of his church had said that homosexuals represented Satan and the Devil. The implication of his logic was clear: Who could possibly do wrong in destroying Satan and all of his works? The legitimization of violence against homosexuals and Jews and women and blacks, as we have seen, comes from the view that the Bible stigmatizes these people, thereby making them fair game. If the Bible expresses such a prejudice, then it certainly cannot be wrong to act on that prejudice. This is the argument every anti-Semite and racist has used with demonstrably devastating consequences, as our social history all too vividly shows.6-2

When the funeral of Matt Shepard (above) was held, a Baptist preacher from Kansas with sympathizers from several states were there marching in front of the funeral site with placards reading, “God Hates Fags” and “Fag Matt in Hell.” It is some consolation to know that the people of the town formed themselves into a wall between the marchers and the family, and when the marchers began to cry out their messages, the people sang “Amazing Grace.” (”Fag,” short for “faggot,” originated several centuries ago in Europe when people who had engaged in same-gender sex were burned at the stake.)

In the summer of 1998 fundamentalist Christian organizations, fearful of the consideration by some states of recognizing same-gender marriage, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in major newspapers telling the nation that gays and lesbians are “sick” and “sinful,” that they can and should be “cured,” and that their rights and protections should be denied.6-3

Louise, one of the first things I realized when I started to think about this subject was that the millions of gays and lesbians in this nation will never, with few exceptions, darken the doors of our churches, because they know our attitude toward them is one of hatred and condemnation. Is “hatred” too strong a word? A few years ago a Baptist church in Austin ordained a homosexual, and the leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas asked the church to disassociate itself from the Convention. The next day The Dallas Morning News ran this two-column headline: “Baptist General Convention Reasserts Its Hatred of Gays, Lesbians.”6-4 We may piously say that we don’t hate the sinner, only the sin, but the newspaper believed it just the way it was printed, and gays and lesbians do, too.

A writer says, “Those of us who have published opinion pieces in favor of gay equality can testify that most of the hate mail we get cites religious justifications for the hate.”6-5

A gay and a straight man worked together and became close friends. Then the straight man became a Christian. When his friend learned about it, he was concerned and asked, “Now that you are a Christian, will you still love me?” Isn’t that a tragic question? What did this man think about Christians that made him ask that? The Christian has a love that transcends anything known by the world, doesn’t he/she? Yet how many Christians would desert such a friendship? Christians! Jesus’ love included; our lack of love excludes. I have read that Carl Sandburg was once asked what he thought was the ugliest word in the English language. He thought for a minute and replied, “Exclusion.”

Our churches need to change, for the churches ought to be havens for gays and lesbians from the insufferable burdens they bear constantly. But when the world believes that churches despise and condemn homosexuals, those who hate them find encouragement. Fundamentalists such as Southern Baptists and Catholics promote the problems seemingly with a vengeance, declaring homosexuality itself a sin.6-6 Even the mainstream denominations do to a great extent as we read frequently in the papers. Most denominations are discussing it openly; without exception they are divided in their thinking, and the news reports of the discussions publicize the negative rhetoric along with the positive. This subject so needs to be examined and discussed at length in our churches, without passion and with open minds. I believe what I am stating in this letter will be the truth the churches will discover. Then they must act on and proclaim that truth.

When the story of the Holocaust became more fully known, there was recognition that the sin of the Nazis was not the only sin involved–there was the silence on the part of the churches and of other nations as they learned about it during the war. When we know of the hate and the hate-crimes against lesbians and gays, we should not be silent; we have a responsibility to fight it. Our silence encourages it and makes us guilty.

Pastor Paul Duke is preaching about the sufferings of gays and lesbians:
Whose fault is this? It’s the fault of us all. It’s the fault of any of us who make jokes about gay people, who insult them with the use of demeaning names. It’s the fault of us who are silent when others do these things or when they publish lies about what homosexuality is. And it’s the fault of us who don’t provide a safe place and a caring response to those of homosexual orientation. Who knows how many hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost - to violence, to suicide, to drugs, to promiscuity, to AIDS, to shattered self-esteem, to life forever outside the doors of the church - because we have participated in or by silence colluded with the demeaning and the ostracizing of homosexual people. In this respect there is blood on the hands of the church. And that’s what has driven me more than anything else to talk with you as I am doing. I have had a vision of Christ at the judgment asking, “Why were you silent?” Why has the church abandoned these children of God to despair and to death? When people are lost and dying by the millions you don’t pontificate about sexual morality, you reach out to them, you give them a safe place, you listen, you talk, you love with the love of Christ.6-7

You and I realize that the people in our churches are ignorant about the truths I have already stated about homosexuals and homosexuality. They must be made to realize that honesty and integrity demand they make judgments on the basis of knowledge and not on groundless feelings and prejudice. It’s like the race hatreds and segregated churches of a few decades ago; most church people know better now and our churches are at least open to all. The same must happen with this issue. I think of the homespun philosopher Josh Billings’ saying, “The longer I live the more I find it necessary to reexamine those things about which I was once most certain.” The church can’t begin its reexamination too soon.

I’ve given a lot of space to the church here, but that’s where we both have our hearts. And our churches are so terribly wrong here, just as they were in the sixties with the race issue and 150 years ago with slavery. All the wonderful things our churches are doing and the immeasurable importance they are to our society can’t cover up our woeful failures in this matter.

Seven. Gays and lesbians in general have the potential for outstanding character and accomplishment; some may have greater potential than most heterosexuals to be exceptional persons.
It is well known that while certain characteristics are dominant in men and others dominant in women, all people have some of both characteristics. Psychologists have found that the gay man has an exceptional supply of feminine characteristics (enough that he falls in love with a man -?), and the lesbian has an exceptional supply of male characteristics (enough that she falls in love with a woman -?). Psychologists are recognizing that this special combination of characteristics in homosexuals often results in their having exceptional potential.

Psychologist Mark Friedman, from a series of tests administered to both gays and lesbians, found that the homosexuals he tested were superior to their heterosexual counterparts in such psychological qualities as autonomy, spontaneity, orientation toward the present, and increased sensitivity to the value of the person.7-1 Thielicke remarked that the homosexual “is frequently gifted with a remarkable heightened sense of empathy.”7-2

The eminent psychologist Jung gives five very positive aspects of the homosexual male:
· This [homosexuality] gives him a great capacity for friendship, which often creates ties of astonishing tenderness between men, and may even rescue friendship between the sexes from its limbo of the impossible.
· He may have good taste and an aesthetic sense which are fostered by the presence of a feminine streak.
· Then, he may be supremely gifted as a teacher because of his almost feminine insight and tact.
· He is likely to have a feeling for history, and to be conservative in the best sense and cherish the values of the past.
· Often he is endowed with a wealth of religious feelings, which help him to bring the ecclesia spiritualis [the spiritual church] into reality, and a spiritual receptivity which makes him responsive to revelation.7-3

A special hope for homosexual influence on society is expressed by McNeill:
There is no doubt that the homosexual man is freer to develop aesthetic values than is his male counterpart in the heterosexual world, and thus he has an important role to play in guiding humanity to a deeper appreciation of aesthetic values…. There is the hopeful possibility that the homosexual community could serve the human community as a whole by making the male free to do works of service in the human community without feeling guilty about betraying the standards of his male identity.7-4

Many writers speak of the contributions gays and lesbians have made to our world and name dozens of examples, some of the world’s most famous statesmen, artists, writers, musicians, etc., present and past. While gays and lesbians make up probably 4%-6% of the population, a study of the biographies of 1004 eminent people found 11% of them to be homosexual or bisexual, with certain categories higher: 24% of poets, 21% of fiction writers, and 15% of artists and musicians.7-5

Louise, it seems as though one ought to look on a gay or a lesbian as potentially a very special person made that way by God, one we should seek out, especially for our churches.

Eight. It is not only unrealistic to expect homosexuals to live without sex, but also it is psychologically harmful to them for them to do so.
Now we are face to face with the question of what is moral in sex expression. In so many people’s minds, the whole meaning of homosexuality is immoral sex. And that is evil, they say, because sex must be between male and female, and it is evil because sex must be in marriage; it is as simple and black and white as that. But nothing as complex as sex, which plumbs both the heights of beauty and the depths of ugliness, can be simple, and no black and white rule can touch it. Professor Kathy Rudy says, “Christian ethicists, moral theologians, and religious leaders throughout the ages have spent an enormous amount of time and energy thinking about when sex can be considered moral and when it cannot.”8-1

Theologian James B. Nelson writes,
Even on such a major issue as sexual intercourse between unmarried consenting adults there is no explicit prohibition in either Hebrew Scripture or the New Testament (which John Calvin discovered to his consternation). Indeed, the Song of Solomon celebrates one such relationship. I believe that our best biblical scholarship reaches Walter Wink’s conclusion: `There is no biblical sex ethic. The Bible knows only a love ethic, which is constantly being brought to bear on whatever sexual mores are dominant in any given country, or culture, or period.’8-2

One reason theologians and Christian ethicists have difficulty finding a sex ethic in the Bible is that the Bible’s condemnation of sexual acts is always associated with selfish lust, with nothing said about a loving sex life. Further, the Bible does not say that moral sex is confined to what we understand marriage to be. For example, David and Solomon, beloved and used by God, were polygamists. Solomon had hundreds of mistresses. A pastor is found to have one mistress, and he is quickly gone. (This is not to comment on whether he should or should not be, only to point out the contrast between our concepts and a Biblical example.) Some New Testament Christians, church members, obviously were not “the husband of one wife” or I Timothy 3:2 would not have been written.

Must sex be between male and female? One act of sex must be. Is that all of sex, or for heterosexuals does sex–let’s think only of beautiful sex–involve many other acts, some of which sometimes become more important than that one act? Does marriage make sex beautiful and moral? Even those who insist that sex must be only in marriage admit that there is often immoral sex within marriage–selfishness, exploitation, even rape. So the marriage certificate is not what determines whether sex is moral or immoral. Then we must say that if legality is not the criterion for the morality of sex, lack of legality cannot be the criterion for its immorality.

McNeill speaks to this:
The average person has associated and confused the question of the morality of sexual conduct with the question of its objective legal status. The reason for this confusion is, in part, that one finds a very easily applied objective norm: sex before marriage is wrong; sex after marriage is right…. There is something more to the moral quality of sexual behavior than the purely objective legal question of marriage… Something else ought to be present; that something else is love…. The human conforms to the divine image revealed in Christ not by acting in an impersonal, rational way, but by acting from a motive of love.8-3

Nelson, Wink, and McNeill say love is the criterion. At least we can know that the definition is not in either a certificate or a specific sex act but is somewhere in the heart and mind of the participants. This does not define moral sex, but it tells us that the definition is not in an objective rule, but in the subjective psyche of the participants. Since the minds and hearts of gays and lesbians are in no way limited, are no different from the minds and hearts of heterosexuals, they can have the same criteria as heterosexuals for a moral sex act.

These things clearly indicate that requiring celibacy of gays and lesbians cannot be supported by the Bible, is unjustifiable from an ethical standpoint, and can be damaging psychologically. Many psychiatrists believe (a) it is wrong to consign a person to such isolation and loneliness, one who is thus cut off from close relationships with either sex, not temporarily but until death; (b) it is unrealistic to expect this for it is virtually impossible for it to be done; (c) many of those who attempt to do this do so for pathological reasons; (d) the “almost inevitable results [of attempting celibacy] will be tragic in terms of suffering, guilt, and mental disorder;” and (e) growth and maturity require deep and committed relationships in one’s life.8-4

I wondered about pathology in attempts at celibacy until I read McNeill’s statement:
In my experience as a psychotherapist, I have found that the vast majority of people living out a life of abstinence do so for pathological reasons. Many have interiorized the homophobia of the surrounding culture and the Church and as a consequence hate and fear their sexual feelings….Others live out a life of abstinence because of serious trauma to their capacity for intimacy with another human….Those who have repressed or denied their homosexual feelings for pathological reasons are the ones in greatest danger of acting out those needs compulsively, imprudently, and unconsciously, seeking punishment for what they see as their crime….I would heartily advise all gay people to develop the most intimate and committed relationship possible for them.8-5

It would seem that a sound scriptural argument against requiring celibacy would be Paul’s writing clearly in I Cor. 7:9 that he does not expect all the church people to be able to be celibate even for the brief time before the (expected) return of Christ. Some commentators suggest that I Tim. 4:1-4, in speaking of marriage being good and not to be denied because “everything created by God is good,” would include homosexual marriage because God created homosexuality.

Highly respected theologians are coming to the conclusion that gays and lesbians need to develop intimate and committed relationships. Thielicke: “It is true that the homosexual relationship is… very certainly a search for the totality of the other human being. [Italics his] He who says otherwise has not yet observed the possible human depth of a homoerotic-colored friendship.”8-6 McNeill: “A general consideration of scriptural data concerning sexual behavior leads to only one certain conclusion: those sexual relations can be justified morally which are a true expression of human love. The call of the Gospel is not one of conforming passively to biological givens; rather, that call is to transform and humanize the natural order through the power to love.”8-7

William Barclay, whose commentaries on the books of the New Testament have sold over a million copies, has this comment on celibacy: “Sex is a part of life and the deliberate annihilation of it is not a virtue; it is a criticism of life as God made it and meant it to be.”8-8 McNeill believes, “Only a sadistic God would create millions of humans as gay with no choice in the matter and no hope of changing and then deny them the right to express their gayness in a loving relationship for the rest of their lives under threat of eternal damnation.”8-9

Historical theology professor Rosemary Reuther writes:
Once sex is no longer confined to procreative genital acts and masculinity and femininity are exposed as social ideologies, then it is no longer possible to argue that sex/love between two persons of the same sex cannot be a valid embrace of bodily selves expressing love. If sex/love is centered primarily on communion between two persons rather than on biological concepts of procreative complementarity, then the love of two persons of the same sex need be no less than that of two persons of the opposite sex. Nor need their experience of ecstatic bodily communion be less valuable.8-10

One of the earliest affirmations of this that I found is a statement made by Quakers back in 1963: “… the Quaker committee, after a long study of homosexuality, drew the conclusion: `Surely it is the nature and quality of a relation that matters; one must not judge it by its outer appearance but its inner worth. Homosexual affection can be as selfless as heterosexual affection, and, therefore, we cannot see that it is in some way morally worse.’”8-11

In 1975 a symposium on homosexuality at the annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies [note Christian Association] reported that behavioral science research and the realities of their clinical practice had forced them to propose that while promiscuity, fornication, and adultery should be regarded as sinful for both homosexual and heterosexual persons, a loving, committed, permanent relationship between two persons of the same sex was in an entirely different category and was not condemned in Scripture, and that Christians burdened with an involuntary homosexual orientation could choose a committed homosexual relationship as within God’s will rather than an unwanted celibacy.8-12

If I can believe as I do, that gays and lesbians can have in their hearts and minds the criteria set forth here in their relationships, then I can believe, as I have come to, that they can engage in loving sex that is moral and that provides for their psychological needs–God-created needs–as celibacy cannot. And I can believe that their sexual love is not condemned by scripture, but is within the principles God expects us to live by.

You understand this is not a blanket approval of all homosexual sex. It is speaking of loving, committed relationships. I do not know what percentage of homosexuals are included here, but probably it is, unfortunately, a small percentage (10% in one large-scale study of gays.8-13) Many believe that number would increase if society accepted homosexuality for what it is and encouraged committed relationships, as it does heterosexual relationships.

Nine. Full acceptance by society, including the blessings and legality of marriage should be extended to gays and lesbians in the same way it is extended to others.
Louise, if it is moral as well as psychologically needful–a God-created need–for homosexuals to live as couples in committed relationships, as many theologians and psychologists have said it is, then homosexuals who are in loving, long-term, committed relationships should have the societal rights and privileges that marriage can give them. Following are some statements in this regard.

A graduate school history professor writes,
“Family” need not mean the traditional heterosexual family to the exclusion of all others….Gays and lesbians want the right to marry for the same reasons other Americans do: to gain the moral, legal, social and spiritual benefits conferred on the marrying couple and especially on their family unit. The material benefits of marriage are considerable, but it is the moral benefit that is especially attractive to many couples, including gay and lesbian ones. Marriage is, or can be, a moral commitment that two people make to one another. The marriage vow enshrines love, honor, respect, and mutual support and gives people access to resources and community acknowledgment that serve to strengthen their bond.9-1

And Nava and Dawidoff say:
Marriage is not conditioned on the intention or the capacity to have children. Nothing in marriage, except custom, mandates partners of different genders. For example, [Yale historian] John Boswell notes that in ancient Rome `marriages between males and between females were legal and familiar among the upper classes.’ The institution of marriage in our society appears to be one that encourages monogamy as the basis for stable personal lives and as one aspect of the family. If we think about what marriage is for, it becomes clear that it is for people to find ways to live ordered, shared lives; it is intended to be the stablest possible unit of family life and a stable structure of intimacy.9-2

Noting Paul’s advice that it was better to marry than to burn, Theology professor Daniel C. Maguire points out as long as homosexual couples are denied marriage, “there is no alternative to burning.”9-3

Was it not God who said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Gen. 2:18)? James Nelson, Professor of Christian Ethics, believes that “same-sex relationships are fully capable of expressing God’s humanizing intentions,” and views the “homosexual problem” as “more truly a heterosexual problem” (of homophobia), just as the “woman problem” is a problem of “male sexism.”9-4

As I have discussed above, the Bible cannot be used to argue against this for the Bible has nothing to say about homosexual people. Here is a religious editor’s word in this connection:
Nor can the Bible be confidently cited in this debate. Certainly, the concept of same-sex marriage is not found in the Bible. But the concept of government by democracy is also not found in the Bible, only that of monarchy. On strictly biblical grounds, the doctrine of the divine right of kings has a firmer base than government by the people. Human experience, however, has led us to believe that democracy is not an illegitimate, unbiblical form of government. Since the biblical models of marriage range from polygamy at one end to celibacy on the other, we shall have to find our own way and not claim that the Bible permits only one model of marriage.9-5

Lesbians and gays have some interesting thoughts about same-gender relationships:
The fact that we are in a same-sex relationship means that the predetermination of roles by gender, sometimes so destructive a force in heterosexual relationships, is not relevant to our lives. Each member of a same-sex couple is free to act from individual interests, predilections, and skills, rather than having to choose between conforming to or rebelling against the cultural norm. We are able to see the mainstream culture from a greater distance and a healthier perspective. This means that we know that many of the oppressive messages of the culture are inapplicable to us, and that others are simply false or distorted. Thus, we are able to circumvent much of what is jokingly referred to as `The Battle of the Sexes’ - really, no joking matter at all. Ironically, it is the same-sex couple that can most clearly see itself as being composed of two human beings, whereas the heterosexual couple is constantly having to deal with the coercive personae of Man and Woman.9-6

Another lesbian says:
In many ways, we [lesbians] have an easier time of creating a truly egalitarian, mutual and mature relationship. In fact, some researchers are now beginning to look at the same-sex couple as a model for helping heterosexuals to create more human relationships. In contrast with heterosexuals, who often feel alienated from their mates, we need only look inside ourselves to know much about our lovers. We are able to relax with each other in a much more trusting way than can most straight couples. The inequities in our relationships are individually made ones, for the most part, and not a function of historically sanctioned power imbalances that have created the fear and hatred in which many women and men coexist today. In a lesbian couple, both women can freely develop strength and competence. In addition, having been socialized as women, we have been trained to be interpersonally sensitive, nurturant, gentle and compassionate. In a heterosexual relationship, these qualities are used primarily to serve the man and to oppress the woman, who often must bear full responsibility for the emotional quality of the relationship…. These same attributes, however, can create a miraculously high-quality relationship when shared by two women who are matched in their capacities to share and to love.9-7

A gay philosophy professor at MIT observes:
Once we understand what marriage is, we can see what marriage would mean for us, and why it is worth fighting for. Same-sex marriage would not force anyone to honor or approve of gay or lesbian relationships against their will. But it would enable those of us who are involved in gay or lesbian relationships to get the rest of society to understand that we take these relationships just as seriously as heterosexual married couples take theirs. And without marriage, we remain second-class citizens - excluded, for no good reason, from participating in one of the basic institutions of society.9-8

There is an interesting note from church history.
[Noted church historian] John Boswell… has discovered that, whereas the church did not declare heterosexual marriage to be a sacrament until 1215 C.E., one of the Vatican Library’s earliest Greek liturgical documents is a marriage ceremony for two persons of the same sex. The document dates to the fourth century, if not earlier. In other words, nine centuries before heterosexual marriage was declared a sacrament, the church liturgically celebrated same-sex covenants.9-9

Louise, this goes against everything I had ever thought about homosexuality–which I confess now was very little. But I pray for an open mind that puts truth first in my thinking. I see truth in all of the above. Regardless of what I have thought in the past, this is what I have to believe now. Josh Billings, thank you for your encouragement.

Ten. As in society, gays and lesbians should be accepted and affirmed in our churches and given any opportunity for service, including ordination, that others have.
You know that for the past decade or so most Protestant denominations have been debating whether to affirm, and especially whether to ordain, homosexuals. Many committees/commissions have been appointed to study the matter and make recommendations to their general denominational bodies or their churches. I have read of much of this activity and the reports. In every case that I can recall now the commissions have recommended just about what I have said in this discussion. Then when the commissions have brought their recommendations to the general assemblies/conventions or to their churches, their reports have been voted down.

I am impressed that those who have made a serious study of this matter–the members of the commissions–are in favor of affirming gays and lesbians, and that those who vote it down are the ones who have not studied it. If they vote it down because they have not studied it, then they are voting on the basis of pre-judging, that is, prejudice. Prejudging, prejudice, is evil. We need to put aside our prejudices and presuppositions, then seriously and open-mindedly study this matter.

Since there is no explicit instruction in the Bible about homosexual ordination, we must derive our belief from our understanding of the principles of the Bible. Dr. Tex S. Sample has this concept:
The question of their union - and celibacy and marriage as well, for that matter - is whether it serves the kingdom of God…. [There are three questions about ordination:] the first is whether one’s union basically frustrates one’s commitment to the kingdom of God…. The second issue for ordination is whether one’s union, like marriage or celibacy, frees one for obedience to God and propels one to fulfill God’s aims…. Finally, and perhaps most important, does the union itself bear witness to the covenantal reality of the kingdom of God?… When homosexual unions are faithful to God’s rule, manifest its power, serve its aims and bespeak its hopes and joys, the basic question of readiness for ordained ministry has been met.10-1

In 1973 the United Church of Christ’s Executive Council urged the full acceptance of homosexual persons symbolized by ordination: “In the instance of considering a stated homosexual’s candidacy for ordination the issue should not be his/her homosexuality as such, but rather the candidate’s total view of human sexuality and his/her understanding of the morality of its use.”10-2 The UCC’s national body has recently adopted this, the only mainline denomination to have such a policy at this time. In June 2001 the Presbyterian General Assembly voted to permit ordination of openly non-celibate gay clergy. This must be ratified by the 173 presbyteries.

Conservative theologian Stanley Grenz observes that homosexuality in itself should not be considered in selecting a candidate for ordination, because, “The texts that set down guidelines for the selection of officers focus on three basic prerequisites - giftedness for leadership, spirituality and character, and public reputation (e.g., I Tim. 3:1-13)…. These criteria give central emphasis to the importance of one’s present life of faith.”10-3

And Richard Hays, although believing homosexuality to be sinful, notes that other sins are in the same list with homosexuality, and concludes, “It is arbitrary to single out homosexuality as a special sin that precludes ordination. (Certainly the New Testament does not do this.) The church has no analogous special rules to exclude from ordination the greedy or the self-righteous. Such matters are left to the discernment of the bodies charged with examining candidates for ordination; these bodies must determine whether the individual candidate has the gifts and graces requisite for ministry.”10-4

Louise, surely any gay or lesbian who comes to our churches professing that Jesus Christ is Lord should be accepted and affirmed in every way just as you and I have been.

I have to believe deeply that these ten statements are true. The convictions have come from seriously studying this subject, and, thankfully, I now can feel enlightened about it. How I wish all our church members, especially all our pastors, would make such a study.

Now I know that gays and lesbians do not choose their orientation, for they are created by God, in his image with an unchangeable orientation which is good and with a God-given purpose. I know the love between gays and between lesbians is no less than that of others. I am convinced the Bible supports their loving, committed relationships, that there is no moral evil in such and that society and our churches should affirm them fully.

And homosexuals have those characteristics that give them some extraordinary potential in very desirable areas! If we would only accept them, respect them, affirm them and bring them out of their closets, they could give beauty and strength to society and our churches. It is not only sad, isn’t it somewhat irresponsible that for a matter so important to so many people, to churches and to denominations, our churches and their members have never seriously studied what the Bible says and doesn’t say about this matter? I am writing out below what I am thoroughly convinced is the correct understanding of scripture that may have relevance to this subject.

APPENDIX A
ON THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE

We Baptists believe that each person must interpret the Bible for himself or herself; we are not to let anyone else control our thinking about scripture. Surely there are some helpful guides for interpreting scripture, some principles that we should follow. I have selected a few of these to discuss briefly that I think are very important to our rightly understanding our Bible and perhaps especially the subject of homosexuality.

(1) Understanding the Bible is understanding what the writer wanted his readers to understand. This seems so obvious, but millions of Bible readers and thousands of preachers violate this principle constantly because when they look at a passage, they do not give a thought either to the author or to those to whom he wrote but immediately begin to decide what the words, by themselves, mean. Practically everyone is guilty of this. This leads to almost as many different ideas as there are readers. But the only truth in a passage is the truth the writer was trying to convey to readers who were his contemporaries. The New Testament scholar H. E. Dana, in his Searching the Scriptures, says, “The ultimate object which we seek in interpretation is the thought in the mind of the New Testament writer which sought expression in the written text…. We should seek to discover the one meaning which the writer had in mind, and then apply that meaning to our moral and religious experience.”A-1 This is a basic fact about the whole Bible, and it involves several things:

(a) The writer’s meaning comes out of his background. While the Bible is an inspired revelation of God, giving us “truth without any mixture of error” about God as the Baptist Faith and Message Statement says, God did not dictate; he let the authors of the books write out of their own consciousness and experience, using their own words (for example, the Greek of some NT writers was atrocious. Isn’t it wonderful how unimportant that was for God’s using them!). The Biblical author can write only out of his own culture, understandings and presuppositions. (Two presuppositions every writer in the Bible had were that everyone was heterosexual and that women were inferior.) People who have gone to church and Sunday school regularly usually know something about the writer’s circumstances. The problem often is not ignorance of the writer’s background but careless inattention to it.

(b) The writer’s meaning is determined by the background and situation of those to whom he wrote. Paul’s letter to Philemon is an obvious illustration of this. The scriptures were written to people who lived thousands of years ago. Everything the author wrote to them had in mind their culture, circumstances and needs. Do we read and with great earnestness ask, “What is Paul saying to me?” The answer: Nothing. He wasn’t writing to me. God is trying to say something to me through something he inspired Paul to write almost 2000 years ago to his (Paul’s) contemporaries to meet their first century needs. Paul was applying eternal, Christian principles to their needs. It is my task to see and understand these principles so that I can apply them to my 21st century life.

(c) Our understanding of the writer’s meaning is colored by our own culture, experiences, understandings, presuppositions, etc. It is easier for us to impose our culture on the first century writer and readers than it is to understand theirs, so I am sure our interpretations would often be unrecognizable by the writer. If you and I read the same thing, not just the Bible, our interpretations will often be different just because of our different backgrounds and experiences. Which of us will be right? So many times I have stood in the vestibule after a service to speak to people as they left the church and had someone comment on something I had said in the sermon, only to think to myself, Where in the world did they get that? I didn’t say anything like that! Many church members have such a cultural revulsion to the thought of same-gender sex that anything in the Bible about it is interpreted as its being the worst of revolting evils. So their thought is, “No homosexual could ever be welcomed to our church, he or she is just too vile.” Actually, same-gender sex is in lists along with greed, envy, lying and gossip and is apparently neither better nor worse than those sins. Our culture’s influence is what makes them different, not the Bible. (Now, does the list mean that lust is not very bad or that greed, envy, lying and gossip are just as vile in God’s sight as lust? That is a serious question: How does God judge sin? The way we do? Appendix C below attempts to say a little about this.) We must try to keep our own background and culture out of our interpretations.

(d) Isn’t it obvious and unquestionable that the Bible writers had a purpose for writing what they did? Our understanding of that purpose may be the most important thing about our understanding the meaning. As we read and watch the author fulfill his purpose, our understanding opens up. Whatever the author’s purpose, it was for his contemporaries; he didn’t have us in mind. Understanding why the writer was writing and what he wanted to accomplish will lead to our finding the principles and eternal truths in the writing.

(e) The meaning of the author is not in his words (!); words are merely imperfect vehicles for use in transferring thought. I can still hear the great W. T. Connor raise his voice in my theology class: “The Bible does not mean what it says, it means what it means.” And I also hear thoughtless, defensive cries, “My Bible means what it says!” No, nothing ever written or spoken means what it says, it always means what it means. Words are the best things we have for trying to transfer the thinking of one mind to the understanding of another mind. If we are face to face, gestures and tone of voice help, and we can ask, “What do you mean?” But if it is something written, we probably never get exactly what was in the writer’s mind. Nevertheless, we must try, and remembering principles of interpretation helps.

Every principle of interpretation outlined here is violated when we lift words out of the Bible, out of their context, out of their culture, away from the writer’s purpose, hold them up and declare, “This is what the Bible says!” An example of this evil is in pointing to Leviticus 18 or Romans 1 and declaring, “The Bible says homosexuals are going to hell.” The words of the Bible, wonderful as they are, are still limited in transferring thought, but they are all the writer had for getting his thoughts to his readers. If we can possibly go behind the words to the mind of the writer, we can have a glorious revelation of God. If we stop with the words, we shall find and worship and proclaim only false gods. The right question never is, “What does this passage say?” It always is, “What does this passage mean?”

If all these things are not considered seriously, we shall have either no understanding of what we have read or a wrong understanding.

(2) As the points above indicate, what we must do is find the central truth or God’s eternal principle in any passage we are studying. The words used to form the context are the media for giving us that truth. Unsupportable doctrines and practices are often formed from the setting in which the truth is couched or in peripherals of the truth, or first century practices are turned into rules for practice today. Women keeping silent in some churches and being obedient to their husbands, as Paul instructed, were not central truths of scripture, but practices that would keep the church and Christianity from being unnecessarily “discredited” in the first century’s culture (Titus 2:5). So the central, eternal truth is: Do not (in any century) unnecessarily engage in practices that would alienate unbelievers. Compare slavery. It is evil, but in the first century Paul wanted slaves to obey their masters “so that in every way they [slaves] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10).

(3) Nothing should ever be taken out of

   Jaques 07.11.11 @ 3:55 pm

(3) Nothing should ever be taken out of its whole context. Dr. Dana says, “No single sentence or verse should ever be interpreted independent of its logical connections. Interpretation should deal with whole sections, each section being considered from two angles: its connection with… and its contribution to the general progress of thought.”A-2 If we ignore the context, for example, then couples would not marry unless one of them “burned with lust,” then it would be OK to marry so the lust could be satisfied in a legal way (I Cor. 7:9)! And that is as ridiculous and repulsive as many of the ways “proof-texts” have had cults built around them. Paul thought Christ would return very shortly, so he was saying that since marriage would last for such a brief period, it was just better, if you were single, to stay as you were. When the time came that it was no longer so certain that couples would have only a brief time for marriage, Paul’s (scriptural) admonition was no longer considered applicable. It was not an eternal rule; it was for the conditions described in the context.

(4) A single passage should be interpreted in the light of the Bible as a whole. Peter said that if we believe and are baptized for the remission of our sins, we shall be saved (Acts 2:38). This says rather clearly that faith and baptism are the way to salvation. Baptists don’t believe he meant literally what the words say, for we know from the whole New Testament that baptism in itself has nothing to do with salvation. So now we know what he really meant and didn’t mean.

(5) The Bible is not a rule book. Grievous errors are made by those who believe it is. The Bible is a record that gives us a revelation of God by the writers’ having recorded their experiences with God, things that happened in the first and preceding centuries. I regret it now, but I’m sure I have said it a thousand times–you’ve heard me–”Jesus commanded us to do” so and so. Louise, I lied–well, it was at least misleading and careless of me. Jesus didn’t command my hearers or me to do anything; We weren’t there. But I contributed to the mistaken idea that any statement found in the Bible is a rule for us to follow today. What we need to do is find the eternal, central truth behind the “rules” and apply that truth to our 21st century circumstances. Many rules are eternal, but that is because of the eternal truth in them, and it is that truth we follow, not the rule that contained it. For example, Jesus didn’t command me to go into all the world; I wasn’t in the group that heard him that day. But when I read the record of that event, I understand God’s plan and that if I want to do God’s will in my age, I must do all I can to go into all the world, not because that is a rule to follow as a child follows a parent’s rule, but because it is my mature understanding of God’s plan and my place in it. We follow the fundamental truth, not a first century rule. If the Bible is a rule book, we should stone to death anyone who eats a cheeseburger (see below)!

Jesus and Paul made it clear that the rule of law was in the past and now we live by grace and the spirit, not the letter of the law. The Christian Jews stopped observing the Sabbath and worshipped on Sunday; one of the Ten Commandments was no longer a commandment for them! God himself told Peter that the laws regarding what food is clean and the law about not associating with Gentiles were no longer in effect (Acts 10:13-15). One reason the Jewish leaders hated Christ so much was his constant violation of the Sabbath laws. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for following the letter of the law in tithing every little thing but having “neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith” (Matt. 23:23). Paul has lengthy discussions about the laws of circumcision being useless to the Christian. This is his strong word about trying to obey law: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal: 5:1) Instead, he says, we live by “faith working through love” (v. 6). Rom. 6:4 tells us we are “not under the law but under grace,” and Rom. 1:14 that “Christ is the end of the law,” and II Cor. 3:6 that “The letter kills, the spirit gives life,” and Gal. 5:14 that “The whole law is fulfilled in one word, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Legalism has no place in Christian living today, but much of it is already in our churches and it should be rooted out. Actually, the “law” of the spirit is the broader law. Consider how Jesus so greatly broadened the law against adultery. Now we see it is not only a lustful act but also a matter of a man’s thinking of a woman as a sex object rather than as a person (Matt. 5:28). Our wonderful Bible is a revelation of God through records of God’s experience with people of some centuries ago. It is not a book of rules for our lives today to be imposed on us from the outside; it is a book of spiritual principles from which we build our lives from the inside out. It is not a rule book.

(6) How do we move from the first century Bible to today? We have talked about principles, but applying the principles is not always easy. The Bible has nothing to say about much that we encounter in the twenty-first century, for example, innate homosexuality.

To begin with, we remember that we have the Holy Spirit promised to us for this task; we must always ponder the text and/or the subject in the posture of prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Because the Bible does not speak of many things we encounter today and yet we believe God wants to lead us in our decisions today, we realize that revelation did not end when the Bible was completed but is “living,” “dynamic,” meaning that each age or circumstance has new revelation for the new challenges. All our spiritual growth through learning more about God means the Holy Spirit has given us a new revelation.

Bible commentators still follow John Wesley’s pattern for finding God’s new revelation for the current time: consider (a) scripture, (b) tradition–how Christian churches have interpreted and applied scripture through history, (c) reason–Wesley thought religion and reason went together, that any irrational religion was false religion, and (d) experience–what produces Christlikeness in individual lives.

Then there is the final test. Christ is the perfect revelation of God, and he is the final and supreme criterion by which our concepts are to be judged and shaped. The principles he taught and exemplified as unchanging and eternal have to be met by our conclusions about the Bible’s message for our lives. Commentators agree, “We must constantly hold the interpretations…up against the person of Christ, who is the final criterion for valid understanding.”A-3 Our (1963) Baptist Faith and Message Statement says, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

An excellent example for seeing this “living” revelation is in our concept of slavery. The Bible supports slavery, mentioning it frequently with acceptance. Philemon was not told to free Onesimus. Slaves are repeatedly told to obey their masters (Eph. 6:5, Col. 3:22, I Tim. 6:1, Titus 2:9). Our revelation today is that in order to be Christian we must ignore the Bible’s approval of slavery. We also know that we have to ignore tradition, for our churches supported slavery, at least in the South, until it was finally destroyed by a great civil war. By our reason/wisdom and our personal experience of seeing right and wrong and being a part of it, we came to recognize that the spirit and principles of Christ are found in the abolition of slavery. Most of us now recognize the same about segregation, but it took a civil war and congressional laws in this century to bring about the reason and experience to make us see the Christian truth about slavery and segregation. How sad! Why didn’t our churches destroy slavery before it ever started in America? And why didn’t our churches do away with segregation long ago? And where are our churches’ blind spots today? (I am convinced that they include homosexuality and sexism.)

Another example of “living” revelation is in divorce, for our current beliefs go against Jesus’ clear statement (Matt. 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11,12) that divorce and remarriage after divorce are adulterous. With this condemnation by Jesus, why do we sanction divorce and remarriage today? Conservative ethics professor Stanley Grenz summarizes the thinking of most scholars:
Situations arise in which God’s ideal for marriage is being effaced and human failure and sin are causing great suffering…. At this stage, the principle of God’s compassionate concern for the persons involved, God’s intent to establish shalom (peace) or human wholeness, must take precedence over the concern to maintain the inviolability of marriage…. The church, as the redemptive community [has the] opportunity to model the compassion of the God of new beginnings.A-4

We believe God blesses and uses many of those remarriages as he could never use the original marriage. I think many Bible principles go into our current belief about divorce and remarriage: love, forgiveness, the ideal of freedom for every individual, the value of God-given talents and the responsibility to develop and use them, etc. Psychological principles also are involved, which, if true, are God-given.

(Some would accept divorced people in the church but never ordain them. Dr. Grenz has an applicable word about this.
The past of every believer is marred by sin and failure. There are no righteous ones in the church. The disqualification of a believer from an office solely because a divorce is found in that person’s past elevates this one expression of sin and failure to a status of sinfulness beyond all others….The texts that set down guidelines for the selection of officers focus on three basic prerequisites - giftedness for leadership, spirituality and character, and public reputation (e.g., I Tim. 3:1-13)….These criteria give central emphasis to the importance of one’s present life of faith.A-5)

By our thinking about slavery and divorce are we ignoring the Bible? No, we are searching for its eternal principles and the best understanding we can have of Jesus Christ. This incredible, priceless Bible is not God’s final revelation. Christ with his life and principles is the authentic revelation to be applied to every new age. Just as the Old Testament and its laws were reinterpreted by the New Testament, so the New Testament’s applications to the first century are reinterpreted by Christ and his principles in the centuries after the New Testament.

The relative importance of the Bible to the life of Christ is indicated when we realize that those Christians who were said to have turned the world upside down for Christ in the first century (Acts 17:6) did not have a New Testament; it had not been written. They had only (!) a life-transforming experience with Jesus Christ and were living like him to the best of their understanding of him. (Do you suppose if we didn’t have a New Testament to wrangle over and had only such an experience with Jesus Christ that we would do better at turning our world upside down for him?) Surely we can see that the important thing is to weigh every understanding of revelation–scripture, tradition, reason or experience–in the scales of Jesus Christ.

Interpreting scripture is surely one of the most glorious and rewarding privileges we have. It is worth making every effort we can to learn what eternal principles God was trying to give for all ages when he inspired writers long ago to write to their contemporaries.

Louise, let me preach a moment about a related evil. Failure to observe these principles of interpretation is so sad and damaging to the Kingdom not only regarding homosexuality but also regarding the ordination of women. The kingdom of God is denied the ministry of great women who have gifts for preaching the Word in a world that needs the Word preached every way possible. I am sure Satan laughs; he doesn’t have to do a thing; he just lets God’s church keep half of its members from preaching and ministering as pastors.

Those who so restrict women make the great and far-reaching mistake of ignoring the first century’s culture [(1)(b) above]. The eastern half of the Roman empire had been infused with Greek culture following the conquests of Alexander the Great. Here women could not be in public without their husbands and should never speak with another man; the only woman who did talk with a man in public would be the man`s paramour. Paul told the Christian women in this culture to submit to their husbands and not to talk in church, or they, presumed by unbelievers to be immoral, would make a Christian church appear to be a brothel. Every such injunction for obedience and silence was to a church in this culture. In the western half of the empire (and in Roman colonies in the eastern half), Roman culture prevailed; women had legal rights, could operate their own businesses and could converse freely with anyone in public without being considered a prostitute. Paul rejoiced that the women in the churches in this culture contributed so much to spreading the gospel. In Romans 16 he speaks of several, calling Phoebe a deacon (using the same word he uses elsewhere for men) and saying that Junia is “prominent among the apostles.”. He tells of Pricilla’s “expounding” the truths of Christianity to a man (Acts 18:26) and of two women in Philippi (a Roman colony) who labored alongside men in helping him in his work (Phil. 4:2-3). It is significant (and disheartening) that even in the Greek culture, since the church did understand that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28), women could pray and prophesy (often meaning “preaching”) for that was not conversing with men, and so they were not considered immoral characters when they did this (e.g., I Cor. 11:4; Acts 21:9)!

The failure to ordain women in our culture is unbiblical, and it is hindering the kingdom of God. The humble following of basic principles of interpretation would eliminate this evil.A-6

In our treatment of homosexuals and women are two great mistakes from misinterpretation of the Bible. How many minor ones are there in our churches and in our individual lives?

APPENDIX B
THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY

As stated above, until 1869 there was no written idea of homosexuality being an innate part of one’s nature. Until that time it was believed that all people were heterosexual, but some were so perverted that they engaged in same-gender sex. When the Bible writers talked on this subject, within their culture and understanding, that is what they were talking about–that kind of heterosexuality.

Nevertheless, there are Bible passages used by some people today to condemn homosexuals. I want to discuss each passage in some detail to show that not only is there no statement about homosexuality, but also that there is no statement applicable to homosexual sex if that sex is not lustful. Many authors write on this subject, and I am indebted to many of them.

THE OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis 1-2, The Creation Story

Critics of homosexuality enjoy saying, “The creation story is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Those who say that marriage can be only between a man and a woman argue that God’s creation of Adam and Eve as heterosexuals shows that this is what he intended all persons to be; anything else is outside His will and therefore sinful. Dr. Gomes responds,
[As] Jeffrey S. Siker has pointed out in the July 1994 issue of Theology Today, to argue that the creation story privileges a heterosexual view of the relations between humankind is to make one of the weakest arguments possible, the argument from silence….It does not mention friendship, for example, and yet we do not assume that friendship is condemned or abnormal. It does not mention the single state, and yet we know that singleness is not condemned, and that in certain religious circumstances it is held in very high esteem. The creation story is not, after all, a paradigm about marriage, but rather about the establishment of human society.B-1

One can read anything one wants to into the creation story but cannot read anything about homosexuality out of it.

Genesis 18:20 to 19:29–The Sodom Story

Some consider the sin of Sodom to be same-gender sex, although we are not told in Genesis what Sodom’s sins were, only that they were so great that God determined to destroy the city. On the evening before its destruction he sent two angels, in disguise as men, to the city to lead Lot and his family out early the next day. Hospitable Lot invited them to spend the night at his house. During the evening the men of the city surrounded the house and demanded of Lot that he bring the two men out so that they could [19:5]
King James Version: “know them.”
Revised Standard Version: “know them.”
New International Version: “have sex with them.”
When Lot refused to bring his guests out, the men of the city were about to break his door down when the angels struck them all blind and the mob dispersed. The next day Lot and his family were led out of Sodom, and the city was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven.

The Hebrew verb used here, “yadha,” “to know,” is used 943 times in the OT and only ten times clearly to mean “have sex,” then it always means heterosexual sex. The word normally used for homosexual sex is “shakhabh.” Many scholars believe that in Gen. 19:5 yadha means “know” in the sense of “get acquainted with” (the city’s men may have wondered if these were enemy spies or they might have sensed the city’s impending doom and been concerned with what these strangers were doing there) and have several arguments for this, including Sodom’s being used as an example of great sin numerous times in the Old and New Testaments with nothing ever said about same-sex sex, and the context of Jesus’ references to Sodom (Luke 10:10-13) which seems to imply lack of hospitality as the sin.

Other scholars think it was the common practice of showing dominance over and humiliating outsiders by forcing them to take the part of a (an inferior) woman in a same-gender rape.

Others think it means “have sex,” and point to Lot’s offering his two virgin daughters to the crowd if sex is what they want, if they will just leave his guests alone. If this is the right interpretation, it is clearly about violent, criminal, gang rape, something always condemnable.

Another thought is expressed by Religion Professor David L. Bartlett: “This story is certainly an unlikely starting point for a `biblical’ understanding of sexual ethics. While the attempted homosexual rape by the men of Sodom is explicitly condemned, the offer by Lot to hand his two virgin daughters over to the violent and lecherous inhabitants of Sodom is related without a word of judgment.”B-2

Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, “The notorious story of Sodom and Gomorrah–often cited in connection with homosexuality–is actually irrelevant to the topic.”B-3

There is nothing in this story applicable to our consideration of homosexuality.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Revised Standard Version:
22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination.
13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death…

The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are the only direct references to same-gender sex in the Old Testament. They are both part of the Old Testament Holiness Code, a religious, not a moral code; it later became the Jewish Purity Laws. ["Abomination" is used throughout the Old Testament to designate sins that involve ethnic contamination or idolatry. The word relates to the failure to worship God or to worshiping a false god; it does not relate to morality.] Professor Soards tell us, “Old Testament experts view the regulations of Leviticus as standards of holiness, directives for the formation of community life, aimed at establishing and maintaining a people’s identity in relation to God.”B-4 This is because God was so determined that his people would not adopt the practices of the Baal worshipers in Canaan, and same-gender sex was part of Baal worship. (The laws say nothing about women engaging in same-gender sex; probably this had to do with man’s dominance, and such acts by the subservient had nothing to do with religious impurity.)
God required purity for his worship. Anything pure was unadulterated, unmixed with anything else These Purity Laws prohibited mixing different threads in one garment, sowing a field with two kinds of seed, crossbreeding animals. A few years ago in Israel when an orthodox government came into power, McDonalds had to stop selling cheeseburgers. Hamburgers, OK. Cheese sandwiches, OK. But mixing milk and meat in one sandwich violated the Purity Laws–it had nothing to do with morality. These were laws about worshipping God, not ethics, and so have no bearing on our discussion of morality. Helmut Thielicke remarks on these passages: “It would never occur to anyone to wrench these laws of cultic purification from their concrete situation and give them the kind of normative authority that the Decalogue, for example, has.”B-5

Another reason they are not pertinent to our discussion is that these laws were for the particular time and circumstances existing when they were given. If you planted a fruit tree, you could not eat its fruit until its fifth year, and all fruit the fourth year must be offered to the Lord. A worker must be paid his wage on the day of his labor. You must not harvest a field to its edge. We readily dismiss most of them as not applicable to our day and culture, and if we dismiss some of them for any reason, we have to dismiss all of them, including the sexual regulations, for that same reason.

When we add the fact that these laws were talking about heterosexuals, it makes three reasons, any one of which would be sufficient, why they have no bearing on questions about homosexuals or homosexuality or on the morality of same-gender sex by homosexuals today.

THE NEW TESTAMENT

In the New Testament there are three passages to consider.

Romans 1:21, 26, 27
Revised Standard Version
21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men…

The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.

Romans 1:26 and 27 clearly speak of same-gender sex by both men and women, the only passage in the New Testament that does so. Rom. 1:18-32 speaks of Gentiles (heterosexuals) who could and should have known and served and given thanks to God but would not, so God gave them up and let them do whatever they wanted to do, and that resulted in degrading and shameful acts, including same-gender sex. It is almost a moot point, but Paul is not listing sins for which God will condemn anyone, he is listing sins that occur because people have forsaken Him. These are acts committed by those who have turned away from God and so become “consumed with passion.” All of us recognize that those who forsake God and give themselves over to lustful living–homosexual or heterosexual–stand condemned by the Bible. This passage is talking about people who chose to forsake God.
Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, “No direct appeal to Romans 1 as a source of rules about sexual conduct is possible.”B-6

I Corinthians 6:9
King James Version:
9…Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai], 10 Nor thieves…, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

New International Version
9…Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes [malakoi] nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoitai] 10 nor thieves…will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revised Standard Version–1952 edition:
9…Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves…, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revised Standard Version–1971 edition:
9…Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves…, will inherit the kingdom of God.

A comparison of how the two Greek words are translated in the different versions shows that translations often, unfortunately, become the interpretations of the translators. In I Cor. 6:9 Paul lists the types of persons who will be excluded from the kingdom of God and for some he uses the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai. KJ translates the first “effeminate,” a word that has no necessary connection with homosexuals. The NIV translates the first “male prostitutes” and the second, “homosexual offenders”. The RSV in its first edition of 1952 translated both words by the single term, “homosexuals”. In the revised RSV of 1971, the translation “homosexuals” is discarded and the two Greek words are translated as “sexual perverts”; obviously the translators had concluded the earlier translation was not supportable.

Malakoi literally means “soft” and is translated that way by both KJ and RSV in Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25. When it is used in moral contexts in Greek writings it has the meaning of morally weak; a related word, malakia, when used in moral contexts, means dissolute and occasionally refers to sexual activity but never to homosexual acts. There are at least five Greek words that specifically mean people who practice same-gender sex. Unquestionably, if Paul had meant such people, he would not have used a word that is never used to mean that in Greek writings when he had other words that were clear in that meaning. He must have meant what the word commonly means in moral contexts, “morally weak.” There is no justification, most scholars agree, for translating it “homosexuals.”

Arsenokoitai, is not found in any extant Greek writings until the second century when it apparently means “pederast”, a corrupter of boys, and the sixth century when it is used for husbands practicing anal intercourse with their wives. Again, if Paul meant people practicing same-gender sex, why didn’t he use one of the common words? Some scholars think probably the second century use might come closest to Paul’s intention. If so, there is no justification for translating the word as “homosexuals.” Other scholars see a connection with Greek words used to refer to same-gender sex in Leviticus. If so, it is speaking of heterosexuals given to such lust they turn to such acts.

Richard Hays tells us, “I Corinthians 6:9-11 states no rule to govern the conduct of Christians.”B-7

One commentator has another reason for rejecting the NIV and original RSV translations, “homosexuals.” Today it could mean that a person who is homosexual in orientation even though “of irreproachable morals, is automatically branded as unrighteous and excluded from the kingdom of God, just as if he were the most depraved of sexual perverts.”B-8

So I Cor. 6:9 says nothing about homosexuality with the possible exception of condemnable pederasty.

I Tim. 1:10
King James Version:
9…the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,…10…for them that defile themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)…

Revised Standard Version - both 1952 and 1971 editions:
9…the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for 10 immoral persons, sodomites (arsenokoitai),…

New International Version:
9…the law is not made for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful…10 for adulterers and perverts (arsenokoitai)

Here only the RSV specifically refers to same-gender sex, using the term “sodomites,” which is the translation given in both the Old Testament and New Testament to Hebrew and Greek words for male temple prostitutes. The KJV probably has the same thought. The NIV does not necessarily refer to same-gender sex. Again Paul has used the Greek word arsenokoitai, the word in I Cor. 6:9.

As discussed above, this word would have no reference to homosexuality or homosexual sex in our discussion.

So like the other two New Testament passages, I Tim. 1:10 says nothing about homosexuality or homosexuals and nothing about same-gender sex unless that of temple prostitutes or possibly the molestation of young boys by heterosexuals.

In view of the facts set forth above, we realize there is no moral teaching in the Bible about homosexuality as we know it, including homosexual sex (except possibly pederasty). The Bible cannot be used to condemn as immoral all same-gender sex. It clearly condemns lust, whether homosexual or heterosexual. There is certainly nothing in the Bible about anyone going to hell because he or she is homosexual. All who go to hell will go for the same, one reason: failure to commit their lives in faith to Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

From a slightly different approach to interpretation, Dr. Robin Scroggs states, “The basic model in today’s Christian homosexual community is so different from the model attacked by the New Testament that the criterion of reasonable similarity of context is not met. The conclusion I have to draw seems inevitable: Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate.”B-9 [Italics his]

Dr. Gomes concludes his discussion of homosexuality and the Bible with these words:
The Biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in which loving, monogamous, and faithful persons sought to live out the implications of the gospel with as much fidelity to it as any heterosexual believer. All they knew of homosexuality was prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness, and exploitation. These vices, as we know, are not unknown among heterosexuals, and to define contemporary homosexuals only in these terms is a cultural slander of the highest order, reflecting not so much prejudice, which it surely does, but what the Roman Catholic Church calls “invincible ignorance,” which all of the Christian piety and charity in the world can do little to conceal. The “problem,” of course, is not the Bible, it is the Christians who read it.B-10

APPENDIX C
The Three Sins

When we say to homosexuals, “We love the sinner but hate the sin; go clean up your act and then we will welcome you,” what they hear us say is, “you” are sinners and “we” are not. Since we know that everyone is a sinner, what do we mean? “You are great sinners and we are little sinners”? Or possibly, “Well, everyone knows what your great sins are, but ours are hidden from other people”? This is all ridiculous, but isn’t it easy to see why gays and lesbians hate this statement? I believe many of our church members (heterosexuals) honestly think that same-gender sex is a worse sin than any they commit, so much worse that homosexuals cannot be welcomed into our churches, or if welcomed to visit, never affirmed in their homosexuality. Can we be sure that such a judgment of same-gender sex, even that of loving, committed couples, is right?

It seems to me that Ezekiel 16:49 sums up clearly the Bible’s categories of sin. It says, “The sins of Sodom were…” Sodom, destroyed for its sinfulness with fire and brimstone from heaven (Gen. 19:24), is mentioned throughout the Bible as an example of sin at its worst. So Ezekiel’s statement should be most instructive to us. Ezekiel names three types of sin attributable to the people of Sodom.

First named is pride and its companion, haughtiness. We didn’t expect that; this isn’t one of the terrible, unspeakable things that criminals and perverts do. That’s right, Ezekiel first names the sin of the spirit. Now we recall that the sins of the spirit were the sins for which Jesus so condemned the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the “back to the Bible” people of Jesus’ day, organized originally for just that purpose. They went regularly to worship services, they knew their Bible thoroughly and they tithed faithfully; how can fault be found with them? But Jesus knew their pride and hypocrisy and said such was a great sin, so great they could not get into his kingdom because of it. It was their sins of the spirit that condemned these people who otherwise were so exemplary.

The problem about sins of the spirit is that for most of us we are not conscious of them. We go to church and study the Bible and give to the church; we must be pretty good people, But if, like the Pharisees, we are not conscious of our sins of the spirit, then maybe we are like the Pharisees. Religious editor Marv Knox recently wrote that “insidious enemies–such as greed, apathy, self-interest and hate–…threaten us all.”C-1–all sins of the spirit. And the list could go on. We all know that we are not free of the sins of the spirit. They must be great sins for Jesus to condemn them so - our great sins.

Ezekiel then says that the people of Sodom had been blessed with abundance, but they did not help the poor and needy. This is a sin of omission. Are we guilty? Maybe we are not sure because, as with our sins of the spirit, we are not really conscious of our sins of omission. But shouldn’t we think about how much we have failed to be what God made our potential to be and how much we have left undone and how indifferent we have been to the needs of others when the Lord expected us to help?

I ponder this one sin of omission that Ezekiel speaks of here and have a feeling of great guilt, for both the Old and New Testaments have so very much to say about helping the poor, but my hands have never been dirtied by working with or for the poor, Should most of our church members feel the same way? But partly it’s not their fault; we preachers have not preached and taught about this responsibility God expects us to take. So the sin of us preachers is multiplied in this, our sin of omission. And this is only one sin of omission. When we add all the others…I often think that surely our sins of omission must be our greatest sins. Or do I think that because I am so unconscious of my sins of the spirit? I don’t know, but I am certain that our sins of omission are very great.

Finally Ezekiel says of the people of Sodom that they committed other abominations. These are the sins of commission. These we are more conscious of, but we probably still think that we are such good people, we don’t commit many of them. I read of a woman who said she had not sinned for 43 days. Incredible, almost, that someone could have that concept of what sin is. But then, is that pretty close to the concept of many church members? Why did our Lord give us a model prayer that could be prayed every day and that included “Forgive our sins.”?
If homosexual sex is sin, it is the sin of commission. This was the third sin Ezekiel mentioned. The three sins may not have been given in order of their evil, but wouldn’t you expect him to name the worst first? If they were in such order, then the sin of commission is not as great as the others, and the sexual sin would not be as great as our sins of the spirit and of omission. But whether our sins of commission are small or great, are we not all such great sinners in God’s sight that we cannot possibly point a finger at anyone else and say “Sinner”? Is this why Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1)? When we have done–no, even if we could possibly do–all that Jesus commanded, can we say anything except, “We are unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10)?

Welcoming gays and lesbians and affirming them in our church fellowship is not going soft on sin. Just the opposite. It is recognizing that we are all such great sinners in God’s sight that we can never judge another’s sins as worse than our sins. If we, sinners as we are, can be part of the fellowship of the church, then homosexuals, if they are considered sinners, can also be part of the fellowship. The criteria for their being welcomed is in their love for the Lord, their desire to worship and serve him and to have fellowship with us.

Philip Yancy in his splendid little book, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, tells of the prostitute who was so sick of her life that she went to a counselor for help. In the course of their session the counselor asked her if she had thought about going to church. She was appalled at the thought. “Of course not,” she said. “I feel bad enough about myself now; how would I feel among those people?” Then Yancy notes that when Jesus was on earth, prostitutes and such sinners were attracted to him. The Pharisees criticized him harshly for that very thing. And Yancy wonders why church people today, Christians who are supposed to be little Christs, repel instead of attract these people. Perhaps our churches are wont to say that we must project an image of what is right and moral in this world. Oh, so we must mean that if Jesus attracted these people, he did not project such an image. We are without defense. Until we become more Christlike, the prostitutes and homosexuals will never want to come to us. Yet, do we not realize that we cannot be less sinful than they? We are in no position to judge them.

Even Richard Hays, a conservative theologian who believes homosexuality itself is sinful, insists that gays and lesbians must be taken in and affirmed by our churches, saying, “Unless we think the church is a community of sinless perfection, we will have to acknowledge that [gays and lesbians] are welcome along with other sinners in the company of those who trust in the God who justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). If they are not welcome, I will have to walk out the door along with them, leaving in the sanctuary only those entitled to cast the first stone.”C-2

Louise, how can we sinners, we great sinners, say anything to gays or lesbians or anybody who wants to worship and work with us except, “You say you love the Lord and want to serve him. We do, too. Come be a part of our fellowship of worship and study and work. We are all such sinners in God’s sight we need one another and we can help and support one another. We are not here to judge one another’s sins; we are here to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ as we make our Christian pilgrimage.”

REFERENCES

1-1 Helmut Thielicke, The Ethics of Sex, 283-4
1-2 APA News Release No. 98-56, December 14, 1998
1-3 Quoted by Ellen Herman, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Homosexuality, 33

2-1 Jeffrey S. Siker, “Homosexual Christians, the Bible and Gentile Inclusion: Confessions of a Repenting Heterosexist” in Jeffrey S. Siker, Ed., Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate, 181ff
2-2 Ibid., 187f

3-1 Herman, 57
3-2 The Dallas Morning News, October 7, 2001

5-1 Stein, Edward, The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Homosexuality. 283
5-2 Brenner, Claudia with Hannah Ashley, Eight Bullets: One Woman’s Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence
5-3 John J. McNeill, The Church and the Homosexual (Boson: Beacon Press, 1993), 163

6-1 Peter J. Gomes, The Good Book, 147
6-2 Ibid., 146
6-3 Mel White, “A Soulforce Response” in Open Hands, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 1998
6-4 March 15, 1998.
6-5 Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff, Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to, 100
6-6 The Vatican’s official position condemns homosexuality as an “objective moral disorder”, and a 1992 Vatican statement called discrimination against gays “not unjust.” The Baptist Faith and Message statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000, in Article XV, equates “homosexuality” with “sexual immorality.” A 1992 SBC Executive Committee resolution stated: “God regards homosexuality as a gross perversion and unquestioned sin.” In 1995 SBC amended its constitution for the first time in its 150-year history to bar from membership any church that would “affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”
6-7 Paul Duke, “Homosexuality and the Church” in Robert M. Baird and Katherine Baird, Homosexuality: Debating the Issues, 231f

7-1 Psychology Today, Vol. 8, No. 10 (March 1973), 27-33
7-2 Thielicke, 227f
7-3 C. G. Jung, The Collected Works, vol. 9, pt. 1, 58-59
7-4 McNeill, 143
7-5 Myers, David, “Sexual Orientation and Science” in LeDayne McLeese Polanski and Millard Eiland, Eds., Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, The Alliance of Baptists and Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, 172

8-1 Kathy Rudy, Sex and the Church (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997), 108
8-2 James B. Nelson, “Sources for Body Theology: Homosexuality as a Test Case” in Jeffrey S. Siker, Ed., Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate, 81
8-3 McNeill, 204
8-4 Ibid., 103
8-5 Ibid., 165, 204
8-6 Thielicke, 271
8-7 McNeil, 102
8-8 William Barclay, A Spiritual Autobiography, 115
8-9 John J. McNeill, Taking a Chance on, 38
8-10 Quoted in Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? 130
8-11 Alastair Huron, ed., Toward a Quaker View of Sex
8-12 Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff, Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America, 120, 147
8-13 Stanton Jones and Don E. Workman, “Homosexuality: The Behavioral Sciences and the Church” in Siker, 97

9-1 Quoted in Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 120, 121
9-2 Nava and Dawidoff, 145
9-3 Quoted in Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 129
9-4 Quoted in Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 132 from Nelson, “Homosexuality and the Church,” Christianity and Crisis 37 (April 4, 1977), 63-69
9-5 Editorial, H. Darrell Lance, The Inspiriter, Winter/Spring 2000
9-6 Nancy Toder, “Lesbian Couples in Particular” in Betty Berzon, Positively Gay, 62
9-7 Berzon, 62f
9-8 Ralph Wedgwood, “Society Should Allow Same-Sex Marriage” in Mary E. Williams, Ed., Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints, 168
9-9 Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, “Overcoming Heterosexism - To Benefit Everyone” in Jeffrey S. Siker, 148

10-1 Tex R. Sample, “Should Gays and Lesbians Be Ordained?” in Caught in the Crossfire, by Sally B Geis and Donald E. Messer, Eds., 127-129
10-2 Quoted in Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 132 from Nelson, “Homosexuality and the Church,” Christianity and Crisis 37 (April 4, 1977), 63-69
10-3 Stanley J. Grenz, Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective, 144
10-4 Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 104

A-1 H. E. Dana, Searching the Scriptures: A Handbook of New Testament Hermeneutics, 178, 224
A-2 Ibid., 235
A-3 Hays, Richard, 381
A-4 Marion L. Soards, Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today, 13
A-5 Stanley J. Grenz, 128, 143f
A-6 See discussion by James R. Payton, Jr., “A Tale of Two Cultures” in Priscilla Papers, Winter 2002, 13ff

B-1 Peter J. Gomes, 149
B-2 David L. Bartlett, “A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality” in Polaski and Eiland, 27
B-3 Hays, Richard, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, p.381
B-4 Soards, Marion L, Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today, 57
B-5 Helmut Thielicke, 227
B-6 The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol 14:1(1986) 206,7
B-7 Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: Harper, 1996) 394
B-8 Quoted in D. S. Bailey, Homosexuality and the Western Christian, 39
B-9 Robin Scroggs, New Testament and Homosexuality, 127, quoted by Shields, 127
B-10 Gomes, 162

C-1 Baptist Standard, November 13, 2000
C-2 Richard B. Hays, 400

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abelove, Henry, Michele Aina Barale, David M. Halperin, eds., The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1993)
Baird, Robert M. and M. Katherine Baird, Homosexuality, Debating the Issues (New York: Prometheus Books, 1995)
Barclay, William. A Spiritual Autobiography (Grand Rapids: William B. Erdmans, 1975)
Berzon, Betty, Ed., Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life (Berkley: CelestialArts, 1992)
Bieber, Irving, Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study (New York: Basic Books, 1962)
Carleton, Francis, “Contested Identity: The Law’s Construction of Gay and Lesbian Subjects” in Lynn Pardie, Tracy Luchetta, Eds., The Construction of Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men (New York: Hayworth, 1999)
Cory, Donald W. and John LeRoy, The Homosexual and His Society (New York: Citadel, 1963)
Cromey, Robert Warren, In God’s Image: Christian Witness to the Need for Gay/Lesbian Equality in the Eyes of the Church (San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1991)
Dana, H. E., Searching the Scriptures: A Handbook of New Testament Hermeneutics (New Orleans: Bible Institute Memorial Press, 1936)
Duberman, Martin, A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1997)
Efird, James M., How to Interpret the Bible (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984)
Geis. Sally B. and Donald E. Messer, Eds. Caught in the Crossfire, . (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994)
Gomes, Peter J., The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (New York: William Morrow, 1996)
Grenz, Stanley J., Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1990)
Hays, Richard B., The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: Harper, 1996)
Herman, Ellen, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Homosexuality (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1995)
Kimball-Jones, H., Toward a Christian Understanding of Homosexuality (New York: Association Press, 1966)
Marmor, Judd, ed., Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal (New York: Basic Books, 1980)
McNeill, John J., The Church and the Homosexual (Boston: Beacon Press, Fourth Edition, 1993)
McNeill, John J., Taking a Chance on God (Boston: Beacon Press, 1988)
Nava, Michael and Robert Dawidoff, Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994)
Pardie, Lynn and Tracy Luchetta, Eds. The Construction of Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men (New York: Haworth)
Payton, James R., Jr., “A Tale of Two Cultures” in Priscilla Papers, Winter 2002
Polanski, LeDayne McLeese and Millard Eiland, Eds., Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, (The Alliance of Baptists and Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America)
Rudy, Kathy, Sex and the Church (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997)
Scanzoni, Letha and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978)
Siker, Jeffrey S., Ed., Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994)
Soards, Marion L, Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989)
Stein, Edward, The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation (New York: The Oxford University Press, 1999)
Thielicke, Helmut, The Ethics of Sex (New York: Harper, 1967)
Williams, Mary E., Ed., Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints (San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999)
Wink, Walter, Homosexuality and the Christian Faith (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bruce Lowe is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (1936) and of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (1946). He married Anna Marie in 1944; they have two sons and two grandsons. His ministry included the chaplaincy during World War II, pastorates in Louisiana, and teaching Bible at Louisiana College, Pineville. He left the ministry in 1966 and worked until retirement in the Office for Civil Rights of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Anna Marie Lowe is a graduate of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia (1946) and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been the church organist or pianist in churches and missions since she was eleven.

   Jaques 07.11.11 @ 4:00 pm

If you preach that the only focus of our Lord is Love, and that our lives and message should only be love, then you have half a gospel and there is much one must over look to cling to that idea. If LOVE and acceptance were all there was to it, there would not have been the parable on the sheep and goats, and the Lord would not have said he hated or rejected Esau (Malachi and Romans)
If we love him, we will obey, which means discipline of ourselves to not indulge. Personally, I hate that part, because I am indulgent, right there with doing those things I would not do, and not do those things I would…..
Pax!

   scot 07.12.11 @ 7:15 pm

Dear Readers

Having taken the time to read all of the 52 preceding comments (and that was a labour of love, believe me - at this late hour) it has astonished me that there are so many hate-fueled people in the good old “United” States of America.

I hasten to say that I come from the “Land of Aus” - “downunder” - where most people are less prone to such extreme views about “other” people.

It is only when we focus our attention on what good we can do as we serve others (rather than just take, take, and take) that we can more easily “strike a fine balance” and can “live to love” as we are commanded by the “Good Book”. According to Jesus, this is the “whole law” (See Matthew 7.12, 22.37-40, Mark 12.28-28-33, and Luke 9.27-38, 10.25-28).

This is to say nothing about what is said in the Old Testament, also (see Leviticus 19.11-18, and 19.34-35), and we must remember the lesson about just “who is our neighbour ?” taught by Jesus himself (see Matthew 10.29-37).

Even Jews these days say nothing about “burnt offerings”, do not “sacrifice” pigeons, and do not “stone” people as they once apparently were commanded to do. What rational being would or could do that these days ?

Even if we can select other texts to say otherwise, we must remember that Jesus is recorded to have said, in his own testimony before the Pharisees, “even though I testify on my own behalf, what I say is true, because I know where I come from, and where I am going. You do not know where I come from, or where I am going. You make judgments in a purely human way; I pass judgment on no one. But if I were to do so, my judgment would be true, because I am not alone in this: God who sent me is with me…. (see Jesus, the Light of the World, at John 8.12-19).

And Apostle Paul, even though he does not like women to speak in church etc, and does not speak out against what we now know slavery to be an abomination, warns us in 1 Corinthians 13.1-13, and 14.1-4, that “If I have no love, I am nothing. Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous conceited, or proud”…. He says “It is love then, that you should strive for”…. He also enjoins us to “help, encourage, and comfort”, and plainly tells us that “of faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is - Love”.

What would Solomon the wise King think about that ? We know Solomon recommends us to “be kind, even to your animals” (See Proverbs 12.10).

Even though Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines according to 1 Kings 11.3, none of us, even the most gluttonous dictator, would dare to do that today.

We know today that slavery and marriage against anyone’s will is a sin. Full stop. And that Dictator’s everywhere are now being thrown out right, left, and centre. Where does all this lead us ?

I would suggest that it leads us, as modern and educated people of all religions, to the “freedom to be”. Good, hopefully !

And the rest of us will be judged for the good that we do - over the bad - by God, for according to the Scriptures, even Jesus (always the “Good Shepherd”) didn’t (see also Matthew 7.1-5).

   Donald Chalmers 09.05.11 @ 1:34 pm

Dear Readers

Having taken the time to read all of the 52 previous comments (and that was a labour of love, believe me) it has astonished me that God is referred to time and again as “HE”, whereas we all now know for a fact through science, that “God” is more than just ‘he’, but ‘she’ also, at the very least.

The “Bible” (Old and New Testaments), “God’s Good Book” was written 2-4000 years ago, in times which knew science not. The concept of God as the Loving Creator of all things demands that we face up to this fact.

During times of pestilence, we are wise to retreat to prudent, tried and tested ways. That does not include retreating to the treatments of the dim, dark ages, however.

Jehovah’s Witnesses views on what the Bible says about blood transfusions, are not mainstream today. Most of us gratefully accept whatever help the medical profession can give us, when we need it, and acknowledge that science has helped us in practical ways not envisaged by Biblical writers.

It would seem to me that we modern people would be wise to take modern research into account, when we pontificate on matters of love and life. We should not view 2-4000 year old texts as the be all and end all of all discussion. And we should listen to women, who after all, count for almost 50% of the population.

And we should listen to black, white, brown and brindle, the able and the disabled, and the 10% of men and women who happen to be “gay” (transgendered, or not), etc.

Perhaps I should add that I come from the “Land of Aus” - “downunder” - where most people are less prone to extreme views about “other” people (not that we claim to be perfect !). We are “up” or “down” depending on the view of the observer. If we change our position, our view also is changed.

That is a fact, and the wise try it from time to time. We are wise indeed if we can “try on the shoes of another”, and actually walk in their footsteps !

But there is only one fundamental, universal perspective which all of us must heed: Love of God, and Love of Neighbour. The order of these two is interchangeable, because “we can’t do one without the other”. When we love our neighbour as ourselves, we love God. No doubt about it !

It is only when we focus our attention on what good we can do as we serve others (rather than just take, take, and take) that we can more easily “strike a fine balance” and can “live to love” as we are commanded by the “Good Book”. According to Jesus, this is the “whole law” (See Matthew 7.12, 22.37-40, Mark 12.28-28-33, and Luke 9.27-38, 10.25-28).

This is to say nothing about what is said in the Old Testament, also (see Leviticus 19.11-18, and 19.34-35), and we must remember the lesson about just “who is our neighbour ?” taught by Jesus himself (see Matthew 10.29-37).

Even Jews these days say nothing about “burnt offerings”, do not “sacrifice” pigeons, and do not “stone” people etcetera etc ad infinitum as they once apparently were commanded to do. What rational being would or could do that these days ?

Let there be no mistake: Love is the immutable foundation upon which all that is good is gradually built, for our God is Love, and God is Truth. Without Kindly action and interaction, we are nothing. Nothing at all.

“God’s Love” is not partisan. It cannot be anything other than equal.

Even if we can select other texts to say otherwise, we must remember that Jesus is recorded to have said, in his own testimony before the Pharisees, “even though I testify on my own behalf, what I say is true, because I know where I come from, and where I am going. You do not know where I come from, or where I am going. You make judgments in a purely human way; I pass judgment on no one. But if I were to do so, my judgment would be true, because I am not alone in this: God who sent me is with me…. (see Jesus, the Light of the World, at John 8.12-19).

And Apostle Paul, even though he does not like women to speak in church etc, and does not speak out against what we now know slavery to be – an abomination, warns us in 1 Corinthians 13.1-13, and 14.1-4, that “If I have no love, I am nothing. Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous, conceited, or proud”…. He says “It is love then, that you should strive for”…. He also enjoins us to “help, encourage, and comfort”, and plainly tells us that “of faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is - Love”.

What would Solomon the wise King think about that ? We know Solomon recommends us to “be kind, even to your animals” (See Proverbs 12.10).

Even though Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines according to 1 Kings 11.3, none of us, even the most gluttonous dictator, would dare to do that today.

We know today that slavery and marriage against anyone’s will is a sin. Full stop. And that Dictator’s everywhere are now being thrown out right, left, and centre. Where does all this lead us ?

I would suggest that it leads us, as modern and educated people of all religions, to the “freedom to be”. Good, hopefully.

And the rest of us will be judged for the good that we do - over the bad - by God, for according to the Scriptures, even Jesus (always the “Good Shepherd”) didn’t (see also Matthew 7.1-5).

   Donald Chalmers 09.18.11 @ 11:13 pm

Oops, sorry about the double entry. It didn’t show when I first looked, so I took another look at my home held copy, and I revised it, and posted it. Lo and behold, both versions appeared from the ether !

Can you spot the additions and the alterations ? That is what happens when one writes and revisits the work. New thoughts appear.

I humbly suggest that is why Biblical and secular commentary never ends, even though its intent and purpose is so simple:

We should love each and every another, and mind our own business. We should make sure that our own nose is clean, and that our own house is in order, in every aspect, before we take to judging others.

None of us should have the time to do that, because living involves loving. Loving does not count the cost, but just IS GOD, forever….

   Donald Chalmers 09.18.11 @ 11:36 pm

you know nothing
eunouch means gay???????
that is what you want to see for your own purpuses
haw can that be and jesus was saying that some man are born like this and some others made themself like this for the kingdom of god?????
can you made yourself gay for the kingdom of god?????????????
you are falcifaying the meanings
if you want to be a gay person it is your choice but don’t say that jesus approve this thing
peoples like you made other religion think that jesus was gay
stop this lie

   colette 10.13.11 @ 7:04 pm

I’m a 17 year-old preacher’s son and even I know this is wrong. I’m writing this in reference to the billboard I saw that spoke about Matthew 8:5-13. That was the man’s servant, not his “partner”. So maybe you should actually read the entire scripture before putting it on a billboard, using Jesus, which is blasphemy, as propaganda technique, to get people to join your so called cause. If you call yourself a christian and believe in this, then eternal damnation awaits you. God despises homosexuality, which is spoken about in Leviticus 20:13. Maybe you should read the whole Bible and see where your so called “cause” is leading you. (HELL!!!!)

   d. b.g. 11.21.11 @ 12:34 pm

I saw one of your billboards on the roadside that read “Jesus affirmed a gay couple” with the scriptural reference of Matthew 8:5-13. THis is the story of Jesus healing the Centurian’s servant. My main issue is this; this passage in Matthew makes absolutely no reference whatsoever to homosexuality in ANY way, shape or form. For all we know, this ’servant’ could nave been female, or very old & loyal, & loved like family. There is nothing in either Greek culture or Hebrew which indicates that Roman officers were all homosexual, or even that many were; in fact, most were married & had families the usual way, and homosexuality was generally not tolerated in the Roman army. So your billboard is entirely false, and offensive to anyone who truly knows that scripture. I suggest you take it down.

   Helena 12.02.11 @ 2:03 pm

Concerning Matthew 19:12, I’ve researched online the roman definition of a Eunuch and it supports yours and others understanding of the text. The question I have is what does this mean regarding gay marriage and sex? Are gay or lesbian people allowed to get married or not, because I find the text for me is too vague. It seems to say to me they should not but I would like to be sure.
Regarding intercourse are gays and lesbians supposed to comply with what the lord expects of heterosexual couples and get married before having a sexual relationship or are the rules different for them because they can not procreate together, but can via artificial insemination and other methods?

   Phoenix 01.06.12 @ 3:37 pm

OK I just saw a billboard advertising this site saying “Jesus affirmed a gay couple” citing Matthew 8:5-13. I just want to say if you really want Christian support for this cause you need to do it honestly. There is nothing about that passage that talks about homosexuality AT ALL. That is misleading to the public and frankly just disappointing. If you have to twist the truth and make up gay references just to pretend to have some sort of biblical justification, I think that is very sad and frankly, pretty offensive. If you want to stand up for gay rights in a Christian way, DO IT HONESTLY and take down that ridiculous billboard.

   Megan 04.30.12 @ 12:01 am

I wonder who God would forgive first. Someone who commits 10 sins aday or some or someone who chases thousands of possible believers if not millions from him. If u think god favors you over me cause your sin is different than mine. I can’t even emagine the agony jesus went through so all sin could be washed away and still ask god to forgive the people doin it cause they didn’t know. I’ve never heard an example where he force someone to do something. He told them he told them about his kingdom and how to get there. He showed even his own murders love and sympathy during the act. Why can’t you just witness and let him do the saving. non of us have the power to save a soul. So please pay more attention to the parts in the bible when he was on earth and not the parts before he ever made it possible for this sinner to make it to heaven. Ask yourself this, are u the Roman soilders showin the worst of human nature or are u the poor and mistreated he was givin hope of something better to.

   matt 05.09.12 @ 10:21 pm

The bible was written by a group of men who was givin their interpretation on the translation of a group of scrolls writtin hundreds of years before rome ever went to christian and put the bible together. Now I’m not sayin what’s in it ain’t true but matthew,mark,luke,and john wasn’t the only books the council that put it together wanted in it for a reason. Some scrolls were voted in while some from the same time period were left out.

   matt 05.09.12 @ 11:20 pm

I believe the Bible to be inspired by the Lord, without error. These speak for themselves.

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

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

   Alex 06.30.12 @ 7:15 pm

I saw this billboard ad thing you have up on a Wikipedia site about which religions speak against homosexuality. The billboard says Jesus affirmed a gay couple, Just states it, like its a fact and then gives the Bible verse of Matthew 8 5-13. So I went to a bible verse site and pulled up the verse and recognized it immediately (i’m good at remembering the messages but not the verse numbers) and it has NOTHING to do with homosexuality AT ALL!!! NOTHING. I really went to check it out to see what was being misconstrued as a homosexual relationship and this is a verse about a guy asking Jesus to heal his SERVANT. If you are trying to say the man had a relationship with what he is calling his servant then you must be inferring that like many many homosexual men today this guy is in multi-partnered sexual relationships with two of his soldiers AND his servant, so at least 3 people. He refers to them in the EXACT same way, that they would do as he asks just because he asks it of them. I don’t really think this is helping your cause. You are blatantly lying. and if people believe you, you are teaching them that Jesus wouldn’t have had a problem with a person just sleeping with 3 different people at a time! You are ridiculous and dangerous.

   Kimberly 08.04.12 @ 1:46 pm



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