The Gay Question

#Trust30 asked me:

What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

I believe loving, committed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and receive full rights before church and state.

The Institution of Marriage, in its truest essence, does not need to be defended nor can it be, really, so why try?

It is possible to be Christian and gay at the same time. This fact has been well-documented. So if you’re allowed to be a member of the church while being gay, shouldn’t the church affirm mature gay Christians who want to have a church wedding?

Some choose to biblically prove homosexuality is a sin. Fine if you see it that way. Jesus said it’s the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. Truth is, we’ll all sinners, anyway. As a pastor, my business model does not allow for me to exclude people just because they live in a particular sin.

My parents, my brother, the clergy in my cell phone contacts, influential people in my congregation, local civic leaders–these are the people who essentially all disagree with me on this point.

The debate around “gay question” is religious, political, and personal–wait, aren’t those the 3 things you’re never supposed to talk about?

So far, all I’ve done about this conviction of mine is write a handful of blog posts, you can search them on the blog. But lately, I’ve been feeling led to really take a stand–that would start with joining the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. Whole lotta people close to me won’t like that….

 

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15 responses to “The Gay Question

  1. you know Seth, you know – you are called to love. if you can take a stand and create some elbow room for people to have some freedom, you must do that. good on you. remember those who came before and fought for justice as well…

    the church where I work is a More Light Presbyterian church, and has a couple of other progressive associations. we march in the gay Pride parade every year. it’s pretty awesome.

    I understand it’s different in the black communities, in the black churches – all the more reason to stand up and include. love, anna

  2. Really enjoyed your post. Accepting Gay Marriage is a divisive topic among Lutheran churches right now. It makes me a bit embarrassed. Much of the controversy seems to be based on generational differences. The oldest members of the congregation seem to oppose it. To the younger members its not an issue.

  3. I agree that it is possible to be both Christian and gay at the same time just as it is possible to be heterosexual and Christian at the same time. Both gay and straight people are subjected to the exact same laws of God. Both groups are not allowed to fornicate. Individuals in each group are allowed to get married but to the opposite sex. The homosexual is not attracted to the opposite sex so does that mean that they should be able to be with the same sex? No. The laws of God do not allow that. All have fallen short and have sinned. Paul provides a long list of sins in 1 Cor 6:9-10 that he clearly says are not righteous. NIV says “the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men” will inherit the Kingdom of God. Through Chirst Jesus, however, we all are sanctified. If the act of homosexuality isn’t wrong, then why does the sin of homosexuality need to be cleansed by the blood of Christ? Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV says that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Homosexual “Christians” who marry the same sex are deliberately sinning. They have a choice just as heterosexuals have a choice to wait until they are married to have sex. If we want to sin and don’t want Jesus to fix our sins, then we cannot call ourselves Christians.

  4. DK,

    In the same book that you quoted, I Corinthians, Paul goes on to say in chapter 7:9 that it’s better to marry than to burn with passion. So if you are attracted to the same sex (they say they were born that way), no one’s advocating loose behavior. If you really want to be a Christian and you really believe that God made you gay, the best thing you can do is find another gay Christian, stop sleeping around and running the streets, and live in monogamous commitment.

    We have to be careful about taking the Bible literally. If we took the OT literally, we’d be sacrificing sheep and taking an eye for an eye. And the NT explicitly teaches that we’re not under the law anymore, but only required to follow the first and greatest commandment, which is to love God, and the second, to love our neighbors.

    At the end of the day, I look to Paul for guidance, I guess we just interpret it differently. I see him as saying drinking is not a sin, drunkenness is. Sex is not a sin, fornication is. We absolutely can be judgmental when people are wrong. But if a loving, monogamous, Christian couple wants to be baptized, we’ll baptize them. if they adopt a baby and want it blessed, we’ll bless it. If they examine themselves and want the Lord’s Supper, they can have it. Some pastors might disagree, but that’s how I feel. And if they say they want to live committed to each other before God and humanity, I affirm that.

    I’m not a proponent of gross public displays of affection, cross-dressing that can confuse children and enrage the homophobic, or any other mess. But there is such a thing as same sex agape love and same sex philia love and I don’t have any say so over it. What makes me think that there is no possibility of a same-sex eros love that honors God?

    And the discussion continues……

  5. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:6,10

    You Paul and I are all in agreement that drunkenness and fornication are sins. What puzzles me is that you don’t apply the same logic to homosexuals and homosexuality. It’s clear in 1 Cor 6:9-10 that men having sex with other men is a sin. If it were just a matter of fornication, there would be no need for Paul to address homosexuality specifically; just saying that fornication is a sin would be enough. Paul actually covered it all when he said that sexual immorality is a sin. He could have definitely stopped there but instead he chose to be unequivocally clear when it came to homosexuality.

    “If you really want to be a Christian and you really believe that God made you gay, the best thing you can do is find another gay Christian, stop sleeping around and running the streets, and live in monogamous commitment. ” – Seth Pickens

    Can this logic be applied to any kind of sinner? Here’s an extreme paradox of your statement: ‘If you really want to be Christian and you believe that God made you a killer, the best thing you can do is find a Christian who wants to be killed by another Christian.’ … not exactly a one-to-one parallel, but I hope you see the absurdity.

    The absurdity can be found in the labelling of these people who [will] to commit sin as Christians. The killer in my parrellel example doesn’t believe that killing is a sin. He believes he was born a killer and therefore should be allowed to kill. The bible doesn’t say (verbatim) that it is wrong to kill Christians that want to be killed by another Christian, so by your logic, my paradox should be okay. But we all know that because murder is wrong (6th commandment) that all parties involved in the paradox are sinners. And if the involved parties believe that they are not sinning even after reading it in scripture, then they cannot call themselves Christians. Christians are convicted of their sins and want them washed away – they want to be healed. You quoted Jesus saying “it’s the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy.” Were you implying that homosexuals are sick? If so, tell them what the remedy is.

    “At the end of the day, I look to Paul for guidance” – Seth Pickens

    Here’s what Paul has to say about homosexuality:

    ### Romans 1:18-27
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    ###

    “There’s only one way the clear sense of this passage can be missed: if someone is in total revolt against God” – G. Koukl

    Seth, you can try to come up with some non-biblical reasons why this passage doesn’t apply, but the truth shall come to the light. It doesn’t matter how you feel; it only matters what God commands.

    God is not the author of confusion 1 Cor 14:33.

  6. DK,

    I’m not saying the scripture (Romans 1:18ff) “doesn’t apply.” It basically takes the idea that the wages of sin is death and explains it out in this particular instance, and that’s fine. I agree with that 100%.

    But I do challenge you on your selective use of scripture. You quote I Corinthians 6, and I use I Corinthians 7 to shed more light on it. You quote Romans 1, and we can use Romans 2:1-4 to shed more light on it. Romans 2:1-4 starts with “therefore,” so you cannot fully explain Romans 1 without it. It basically says that you should not be passing judgment on others since you are also equally guilty.

    Reminds me of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18. Instead of picking on someone else, your time is better spent 1) begging your master for mercy for your own transgressions and 2) figuring out a way to pay the debt you owe.

    I could go on about the absurd parallels and extreme paradoxes (your words) that you’re using, not to mention that you have the audacity to say a certain type of sinner can’t call themselves a Christian. Who can? But I get the feeling I’m not going to convince you nor you me. We interpret the Word of God differently.

  7. This is a very serious topic, and should be discussed prayerfully and with much fear and trembling. What worries me it that it looks as if there are attempts to twist scripture from its plain meaning in an attempt to justify sin. That should always be a red flag. Here are some things to consider:

    I believe loving, committed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and receive full rights before church and state.
    You’re welcome to believe that, as long as you acknowledge that such a position is in direct opposition to clear Scriptural teachings; and as long as you don’t pretend that there is any Biblical warrant for such a position.

    The Institution of Marriage, in its truest essence, does not need to be defended nor can it be, really, so why try?
    The Institution of Marriage, in it’s truest essence was ordained by God in the garden, and later reiterated by Jesus. Jesus certainly saw fit to defend the definition, any follower of Christ should by default look to follow Jesus’ example.

    It is possible to be Christian and gay at the same time.
    Do you mean it is possible to be Christian and struggle with the sin of homosexuality? If that is what you mean, then yes. You may also mean that it is possible to be Christian and completely unrepentant, rejoicing, and affirming sin. You’d have to show me Scriptural basis for that.

    This fact has been well-documented.
    This is not a fact, nor is it well documented. Someone can “profess” to be a Christian but we all know a profession of faith does not equal a possession of faith (Matt 7:20). Many people who sincerely believe they are Christians are not, this is something that will be revealed by God on judgement day. There are tares among the wheat. We are also given Biblical ways to make reasonable discernment about the state of others.

    So if you’re allowed to be a member of the church while being gay, shouldn’t the church affirm mature gay Christians who want to have a church wedding
    No. A non-apostate church does not affirm sin. Is Zion Hill an apostate church? If the sin is by someone who believes themselves to be a Christian, and believes themselves to be mature does not make it any less sinful.

    Some choose to biblically prove homosexuality is a sin. Fine if you see it that way.
    I see no alternative, if the word of God is not the final authority then what is? Surely not sinful man’s opinion? Why would you want another authority except God’s Word?

    Jesus said it’s the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy.
    Exactly. The only way a doctor can fix you is by acknowledging the problem. Not by saying, “You’re not sick at all.”

    Truth is, we’ll all sinners, anyway.
    I’m not sure what the point of this statement was. Was the point, “We’re all sinners so keep on sinning?” Or was is, “We’re all sinners so we can’t tell others to repent?” Either is sub-Biblical. There is a difference between a repentant sinner and an unrepentant sinner. The difference has eternal consequences.

    As a pastor, my business model does not allow for me to exclude people just because they live in a particular sin.
    As a pastor, your business model is to accurately communicate God’s word. You don’t exclude homosexuals, you talk to them about repentance and the Gospel of Christ. You don’t affirm what God abhors.

    My parents, my brother, the clergy in my cell phone contacts, influential people in my congregation, local civic leaders–these are the people who essentially all disagree with me on this point.
    They love you and don’t want you to fall into apostasy.

    The debate around “gay question” is religious, political, and personal–wait, aren’t those the 3 things you’re never supposed to talk about?
    Not according to the Bible, Christians are commanded to present the Gospel, which include repentance from sin. Jesus is more than savior, he is Lord. Many want to claim Jesus as Savior and forget the Lord part.

    So far, all I’ve done about this conviction of mine is write a handful of blog posts, you can search them on the blog. But lately, I’ve been feeling led to really take a stand–that would start with joining the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. Whole lotta people close to me won’t like that….
    The Lord Jesus Christ certainly won’t like that. He’s the only one that matters.

    So if you are attracted to the same sex (they say they were born that way), no one’s advocating loose behavior.
    There are all kinds of sin people were “born into”. Some people say they were born into alcoholism. *whoosh* Does drunkenness all of a sudden not become a sin? Are you implying because we are born into sin it should be ok? Being born into a sin, doesn’t make it any less sin. Every single person born into sin is called to repent of it. Your friend Paul had a lot to say about giving into a sinful nature in Galatians 6:8

    If you really want to be a Christian and you really believe that God made you gay, the best thing you can do is find another gay Christian, stop sleeping around and running the streets, and live in monogamous commitment.
    Terrible advice. The best thing you can do is seek the council of the Word of God and plead with Him in prayer, for strength and repentance. God will grant repentance to those who sincerely want it. Telling someone to continue in sin is *never* the best option.

    We have to be careful about taking the Bible literally.
    We have to be careful about taking the Bible figuratively. We always want to try as best as possible to capture the author’s original intent.

    If we took the OT literally, we’d be sacrificing sheep and taking an eye for an eye.
    According to what hermeneutic? Can you cite a few well-respected Christian theologians who would say the punishments under the OT Theocracy apply today?

    And the NT explicitly teaches that we’re not under the law anymore,
    “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God Forbid!” – Romans 6:15 I cite Paul a lot because you like him.

    but only required to follow the first and greatest commandment, which is to love God, and the second, to love our neighbors.
    We love God by obeying His commandments, not by telling sinners not to repent. Your friend Paul says, Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted — Galatians 6:1 Loving your neighbor includes restoring him.

    At the end of the day, I look to Paul for guidance,
    Careful. Being that every Biblical author is inspired by the same Holy Spirit, the entire council of God’s word has equal weight. You’re welcome to overemphasize Paul to a point nearing idolatry, but the fact is, Paul’s writings carry the exact same weight as any other of the 66 books. What I find strange though is that you look to Paul, who is nothing without Jesus. Jesus is the one who makes Paul who he is! It reminds me of what Jesus mocked the Pharisees for doing in Matthew 23:16-22. Woe to you! Who at the end of the day look to Paul for guidance over Jesus! Which is greater? Jesus or Paul who Jesus made? Paul is nothing without Jesus.

    I guess we just interpret it differently. I see him as saying drinking is not a sin, drunkenness is. Sex is not a sin, fornication is.
    Anytime sex is outside the confines of marriage (which God has clearly defined) it is a sin. Period. Since God defines marriage as one man and one woman. Sex outside the confines of that is sinful, it doesn’t matter how committed, loving, mature, and monogamous you are.

    We absolutely can be judgmental when people are wrong.
    As Christians should be (as long as the judgement is not in hypocrisy), Christians are instructed to rebuke one another and to encourage each other not to fall into sin.

    But I do challenge you on your selective use of scripture. You quote I Corinthians 6, and I use I Corinthians 7 to shed more light on it. You quote Romans 1, and we can use Romans 2:1-4 to shed more light on it. Romans 2:1-4 starts with “therefore,” so you cannot fully explain Romans 1 without it. It basically says that you should not be passing judgment on others since you are also equally guilty.
    This isn’t quite true. Romans 2:1-4 is talking about judging hypocritically. Unless DK is involved in a homosexual relationship the warning in Romans 2 does not apply. 1 Cor. 7 talks about marriage between a man and a woman.

    Reminds me of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18. Instead of picking on someone else, your time is better spent 1) begging your master for mercy for your own transgressions and 2) figuring out a way to pay the debt you owe.
    It shouldn’t remind you at all of the unmerciful servant parable. That is a parable about forgiveness, its context does not even remotely apply here. I can certainly say that the most merciful servant is the one who warns the other servants when they see behavior that will bring about the Master’s wrath. In regards to statements 1 and 2, neither apply to any Christian. Forgiveness is finished and the debt has already been paid on the cross. Period. End of story. Last I read Zion Hill is not a Roman Catholic Church.

  8. Who can call themselves a Christian? A sinner that has accepted that he is a sinner and believes that Christ is the only one who can wash those sins away. I have accepted the fact that I am a sinner and I want to be saved through the blood of Christ. I know that if I am a follower of Christ that I cannot pick and choose which Christ covenant commandments of God I wish to follow. I must obey them all. But because I [am] a sinner, it is impossible for me to perfectly obey them all. Jesus is there to bare the burden of my sins so that I do not have to worry about them. I ask for forgiveness because, by the grace of God, I know and agree that I need it.

    The difference between a Christian and a nominal Christian is that nominal Christians have read/heard/know what is commanded by God and still will not accept that they are condemned by the law wholly. They find ways to excuse themselves from the law. Christians accept that they are sinners according to the law and want them all to be forgiven.

    “You quote Romans 1, and we can use Romans 2:1-4 to shed more light on it. Romans 2:1-4 starts with “therefore,” so you cannot fully explain Romans 1 without it. It basically says that you should not be passing judgement on others since you are also equally guilty.” – Seth P.

    To judge something is to say whether it is right or wrong. Romans 2:1-4 is not telling us to never judge. If that were the case, how could we ever tell anyone that they need Jesus. To do so, we would have to judge that they were sinners in the first place. Of course the Bible tells us that we are all sinners, but how do you convey that message to anyone without first passing judgement? Inversely, how do we even judge if someone is doing right? We have to judge if one is doing the wrong thing in order to know when they are doing right (or vice-versa). What Paul says in Romans 2:1-4 is clearly different than saying “Do Not Judge, ever”. He is saying to not judge hypocritically. Paul is probably reiterating what Jesus taught about taking the log out of your eye in Mat 7:2-5.

    In Mat 7:5 Jesus explains that if we first judge ourselves we will see clearly to judge others. In Mat 7:6, Jesus tells us not to give what is sacred to dogs or pearls to pigs. If we are not allowed to judge, then how do we discern who the dogs and pigs are?
    Paul tells Timothy in 2 Tim 4:2 to correct,rebuke and encourage. How could Timothy rebuke or encourage without judging? Jesus says in John 7:24 “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” He is giving room for judgement here. We are told over and over in the bible to beware of false teachers/prophets. In order to recognize a false teacher, we must find out what is right teaching and [judge] whether or not the teacher is wrong.

    Saying that the bible teaches that we should never judge each other is a complete fallacy and I guarantee that you judge just as much as the next person.

    “You quote I Corinthians 6, and I use I Corinthians 7 to shed more light on it.” – Seth P.

    I agree that 1 Cor 7 sheds more light. Verse 2 NIV says “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” No where does it give the okay for men to marry men or for women to marry women. Paul does not authorise this because he has already condemned it in the previous chapter by saying that men who have sex with men are doing wrong. The main focus should be on the sexual immorality of fornication. If a gay man is burning in passion, he has Biblical authorization to marry a woman and have sex with her. But you’ll say that that is not what he wants. Sinners always want something other than what God commands of us. We naturally rebel against God because we are sinners.

    The unmerciful servant story in Matthew 18 is about forgiveness not judgement as you have used it. It starts with Peter asking how often he should forgive someone if they have sinned against him. Jesus’ parable represents God’s forgiveness of our trespasses and explains that we should always forgive others just as He forgives us. Jesus affirms that the passage is about forgiveness in verse 35 and let’s us know that we will be punished just as the servant was if we do not forgive with our hearts.

  9. Eldnar,

    Do you realize that many of the most dedicated Christians were considered heretics and apostates while they were living, from Jesus, Deacon Stephen, Galileo, Darwin, Martin Luther, John Wesley, abolitionist pastors, Bonhoeffer when he fought Hitler–all considered apostates by well-meaning religious leaders who wanted to uphold old beliefs? Throwing terms like “apostasy” around doesn’t bother me, because I have no intention of abandoning the body of Christ or its Gospel, and neither does Zion Hill on my watch. While I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, I also stand firm in the knowledge that I will be persecuted in and out of the church for what God has given me to say.

    Here’s a serious question: What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? A strong argument could be made that Scripture frowns on it. Ezra 9 and 10 come to mind, and the Bible teaches more than once that God’s people need to stick to their own race or else there will be problems. In fact, interracial marriage was illegal in many states for years because many well-meaning Christians wanted to stick to what the Bible clearly says on the topic. 100 years ago, if you said “a black man and a white woman who really love each other should be allowed to get married before God,” you would be persecuted by some Christians because you would be going against what the Bible teaches. We “re-interpret” it today to mean people with the same spiritual beliefs, but the Bible, the Word, is talking about race. But as the grace and light of God has been revealed to us, now we know that in Christ there is no Greek or Jew or male or female, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. The Bible says don’t do it, the Bible says Ham is especially cursed, yet I am one who in the name of Christ defends interracial marriage.

    This is not the exact same issue as the gay question, but we always have to ask ourselves if we are truly defending Christ or if we are just defending the status quo, because the 2 are not always the same thing….

    I’m going to end it there for now. You gave a long, thoughtful response to my words and I appreciate it–I disagree with some of what you said and feel that you misinterpreted some of what I said, and I think we’re on the same page in some places. But I can’t beg anyone to see it my way. I can just keep putting it out there the way God gives it to me. You and some others might say, “God isn’t giving you that,” and that’s your opinion. But I’d rather have people like you try to correct me for following God than have God correct me for following people like you. You probably feel the same way about me, so what more can I say except I love you with the love of Christ….

  10. Seth,

    Since you asked me a serious question, I will answer it. I’ll also provide a few short responses to some questions you raised.

    Do you realize that many of the most dedicated Christians were considered heretics and apostates while they were living?
    I don’t agree with most of those examples, but even if I did for sake of discussion, I’m not sure what that has to do with affirming sinful behavior. Which of those you listed denied that people needed to repent from sin? Which said that homosexuality was not a sin?

    Throwing terms like “apostasy” around doesn’t bother me, because I have no intention of abandoning the body of Christ or its Gospel, and neither does Zion Hill on my watch.
    This is great to hear! Since you have stated that you will not be abandoning the Gospel, I interpret that to mean you will continue to call *all* sinners to repentance; even those engaged in the sin of homosexuality? Or have I misinterpreted you?

    Here’s a quick survey of the entire Bible on the issue of homosexuality.

    100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

    100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

    0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

    I also stand firm in the knowledge that I will be persecuted in and out of the church for what God has given me to say.
    That is a bold claim when you add, “what God has given me”. Are you saying that God has given you a special revelation, that is in opposition to what He has clearly revealed in the Scriptures for all? Or are you saying that God has personally given to you a complete reversal of what is in His Word, and that He has provided you with an affirmation of what he has *always* denounced as abhorrent sin? Please clarify.

    Here’s a serious question: What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? A strong argument could be made that Scripture frowns on it.
    This is a great question, although I disagree that someone could make a strong “skin color” argument from this text. I believe that the argument would be very weak if someone wants to try to make the case that the OT defines race simply as “skin color”. Since you already know the answer to this, and to fully discuss it requires a much lengthier treatment, the short the answer is simple. God had a problem with the corrupt culture of the other people (aka “races”), not their skin color. In the OT when the Bible is talking about races it is not talking about skin color. Why did God want Israel to remain separate? Was it skin color or something else? Let’s look to Ezra which you have cited. ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. — Ezra 9:11b – 12a Why not intermarry with these people? Nowhere does it mention skin color, it says clearly not to do it because the people are corrupted by detestable practices. This is true in the NT as well, Christians are also instructed not to marry non-Christians. God still wants purity among His people and the purity is a spiritual purity. As you also know, God provided specific examples of how foreigners “aka other races” can marry into the people of Israel. The Jews have always understood this. The people who interpreted this passage to be an example of skin color, was a very small but vocal minority, and provided us with at best a clear, historical example of “poor exegesis” or at worst flat out “scripture-twisting”.

    This is not the exact same issue as the gay question, but we always have to ask ourselves if we are truly defending Christ or if we are just defending the status quo, because the 2 are not always the same thing…,
    Agreed. We should never defend things simply because they are “traditional”. Defending tradition is very different from defending a clear, unambiguous Biblical teaching. God has spoken explicitly and unambiguously on the matter of homosexuality, therefore it is not even remotely a case of simply defending the “status quo”, it is defending an explicit teaching.

    I can just keep putting it out there the way God gives it to me. You and some others might say, “God isn’t giving you that,” and that’s your opinion.
    I await you clarification on what you are claiming God has revealed to you outside of Scripture. I think it moves beyond the realm of opinion when God’s Word has explicitly defined something as sin and then a man says, “God is giving it to me that it is no longer sin.”

    But I’d rather have people like you try to correct me for following God than have God correct me for following people like you.
    If you can provide clear scriptural evidence for God supporting the sin of homosexuality, then that’s all you need to correct people like me. I certainly am not looking for you to follow me, or any human, for that matter, the only thing I ask for you to follow is…the Scriptures. It’s your responsibility as a pastor.

  11. Eldnar,

    Jesus quotes Isaiah in John 6:45: “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.'”

    Not sure what anyone else does, but I rely on God speaking to me so I can speak to people. The Bible plays a major role in this because the deeper I get in to the Bible, the clearer God’s revelation to me becomes. It says that “in Christ, there is no male or female.” To me, that means women can preach. Some would rather see women be quiet in service because the Bible says that too. Plenty of people justified slavery and Jim Crow with scripture. Then, some other people with a different interpretation used the same Bible to fight for equality.

    There are scriptures that justify my position. “In Christ there is no male of female.” “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” “Love conquers all.” Philip ministering to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts. Jesus telling the scriptural literalists of his day that he who is without sin should cast the first stone.

    There are more, but my time is limited. I used to be anti gay rights based on certain scriptures, much the same way Peter used to observe dietary restrictions based on scriptures and teachings. Until a vision from God revealed to him he could not call something unclean that God made clean.

  12. Seth, I really respect you for taking a stand on this issue.

    I won’t be going toe-to-toe quoting scripture with anyone, but I can say that the #1 reason I don’t attend church anymore (after being raised in a born-again church) is because I am gay. Yes, there are gay-friendly churches out there but none of them are local to me and they tend to be of the Unitarian variety.

    My wife and I have been in a committed relationship for 8 years and have three children, two of which that are foster children that we have adopted or are in the process of adopting. I would really like for my children to be raised with the foundation of a church, just like I had, but it’s a real struggle to find the right place. Maybe I will come check out your church!

    I respect the fact that the other people making comments are committed to their beliefs and don’t feel that can be compromised, but it is truly just a matter of time. If the church wants to survive, it will have to adapt to the times, just like it has on any number of issues. I know that is anathema to so many, but it’s the truth.

  13. Seth,

    I’m late to the game and just now discovering this thread. Blogging is an undertaking I’ve avoided because of the permanence of the posts. We are living dynamic realities but text is a static snapshot of momentary opinion.

    Nevertheless, love prevents me from reading quietly the fidelity with which you proclaim your beliefs. I read your Zimmerman post about the arc of justice having nothing to do with his acquittal and understand what you are saying all the more in the wake of reading this thread on homosexuality.

    You rightly stated that I disagree with you on the topic. However, seeing you stand up in the world and, come what may, put your heart in the fray makes me thankful for you. You are my brother and I love you.

    i think of the many examples of people just like me who feel and believe strongly that homosexuality is sin, until their loved-one(s) come out of the closet. Almost to a person, attitudes change about LGBTQ issues when someone they truly love is caught up in the discussion. That is the way I feel this morning, Seth.

    I love you very much and respect the passion with which you proclaim. I don’t agree with you, today, but am brought to consider your points more seriously than ever. What you are doing requires courage…a courage you have shown over the years this thread was waiting to be discovered by me.

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