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Why This “Open Letter to the Church from a Lesbian” Is Being Ignored By Progressives

Why This “Open Letter to the Church from a Lesbian” Is Being Ignored By Progressives

by Mike Duran · 49 comments

After all the lectures and denunciation about the evangelical church’s lack of love toward homosexuals, you’d have thought those making such accusations would have jumped on this.

Last week, The Gospel Coalition (TGC) posted An Open Letter to the Church from a Lesbian. It basically takes the church to task for its handling of homosexuality — its condemnation, lack of love, ignorance, etc. The article received massive linkage. And for good reason.

But something interesting happened in the process. None of the high-profile Christian progressive spokespersons for gay rights mentioned this important letter.

If I’m wrong about this, I’d love to know. Please post links. But I spent a solid hour scouring notable progressive bloggers’ tweets, FB posts, and blogs, and could not find a single reference to this article. Brian McClaren, Peter Rollins, Andrew Sullivan, HuffPo, Rachel Held Evans, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker — nothing. I spent time perusing the Patheos Progressive Christian portal. Same thing.

Huh?

It couldn’t have been because they didn’t see the article. Many of those bloggers actively police high profile evangelical sites like TGC looking for any missteps or controversy. The article was linked all week on various sites around the web. Justin Taylor tweeted it to 20K followers, and it was retweeted by John Piper to 450K+. So this wasn’t under the radar. I saw it posted (for about the tenth time on FB) by a pastor and we engaged in some good dialog.

But my friends on the Religious Left were strangely silent.

Why?

This is what they’ve been saying, isn’t it? Evangelicals need to be more compassionate, more loving, less judgmental to gays. What a perfect chance to pounce! What a great article to spearhead dialog and conversation. And they’re all about dialog and conversation, right? Nevertheless, this letter was virtually ignored by progressives.

Why?

There’s a pretty simple reason. And this reason reveals the real motivations of Christian progressives.

It’s exposed in this part of the letter:

To those of you who would change the church to accept the gay community and its lifestyle: you give us no hope at all.  …You are willing to compromise the word of God to be politically correct. We are not deceived. If we accept your willingness to compromise, then we must also compromise. We must therefore accept your lying, your adultery, your lust, your idolatry, your addictions, YOUR sins.

…We do not ask for your acceptance of our sins any more than we accept yours. We simply ask for the same support, love, guidance, and most of all hope that is given to the rest of your congregation. We are your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not what we shall be, but thank God, we are not what we were. Let us work together to see that we all arrive safely home.

It must be shocking for Christian progressives to conceive that such a  person actually exists — a lesbian who wants to change, who believes homosexuality is a sin, and does not want the church to change to suit her.

That’s probably why at Hunter Baker’s site, where the article originated, one commenter conjectured:

I don’t believe a lesbian wrote this. Not only is she unidentified, I don’t think any lesbian would feel that way to write that last paragraph.

Easier to just believe the letter is a fraud than that a category of human exists who doesn’t fawn over your premise and, in fact, believes “you give us no hope at all.”

Commenter ‘Kyle’ at TGC summed up the real divide with this observation:

“I feel so sad for this woman. Brainwashed into thinking she is a sinner because of her nature. This cult needs to end.”

I’m unsure if my liberal friends would agree that this woman is “brainwashed.” But the notion that homosexuality is a sin and that lesbians are sinners (just like liars, adulterers, and idolaters are sinners) is the dividing line in this debate. To put it bluntly: Progressives ignored this letter because they do not believe homosexuality is a sin.

It’s that simple.

So let us be clear: The main reason that the evangelical church gets flak for its position on gays is NOT because we are simply unloving and judgmental. It’s because we view homosexuality as sin. Being more loving is NOT the real issue. The end-game for Progressive Christians is NOT to get evangelicals to be more kind and compassionate toward homosexuals (as they like to say). It is to make homosexuality normative and acceptable.

Which is why their response to this letter was an eerie silence.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

R. L. Copple March 24, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Exactly. As long as we call it a sin, we are bigots and hate mongers. If calling something a sin, a deviation from our first created state through the fall, is being bigoted and hateful, then that means I hate everyone on the planet including myself. Because we’ve all sinned. But we have a redeemer who loves us no matter our sin. That should bring comfort and encouragement. But they don’t want to be redeemed. They want their sin to be called not sin. Because the moment you label it as sin, then it is something to fight against, not lay back and enjoy.

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R. L. Copple March 24, 2013 at 6:56 PM

BTW, Mike, you might be interested, if you find time in your busy schedule, to read my post addressing one of the ways they use to discount the clear Biblical injunction that it is sin.

http://blog.rlcopple.com/?p=828

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Jay DiNitto March 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Marxoid “Christians” can be more fundamentalist than their conservative counterparts (I hate the binariness of the dichotomy, but that’s the rhetorical hand we’ve been dealt). If a text deviates from the template, it’s a bad seed. Best to ignore it instead of bothering to dissect it into component parts…like how intelligent critics would.

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Jill March 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Yes.

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Mark March 24, 2013 at 7:36 PM

And the letter points out something we ignore at the peril of our souls: if we are going to treat homosexuality as sin-and we DO need to- we’d better start paying attention to all the other sin we ARE accepting as “normative”. The church that has developed and that we recognize as “church” today has become a hotbed for nurturing sin. We turn our backs on the needy among us (“if they just had more “faith” they wouldn’t have the problems they’re having) and tolerate gossip, dissension, lording it over each other, bigotry, racism, adultery, fornication, and we can go on and on. I don’t see the church making a fuss over these things. There is no church discipline being practiced-most church leaders don’t even know or care to know how their flock is faring; so-called leaders are too afraid to offend anyone and thus lose the popularity/attendance/donations of their congregants, so they ignore sin that drags down the whole body of Christ. Progressives don’t just want to normalize homosexuality, they want to continue to normalize ALL sin, which is one of the main points made in the letter written by the lesbian. And frankly, what is a “progressive” church when just about all of what we call our “churches” are doing the same thing? What about that, church? What about addressing all the other blatant, unrepented, covered-up and tolerated sin that has brought the church to this pass today, where we hardly differ from the world, and in some cases, behave more badly than the world? Where is the true love of Christ that has the courage to stop tolerating sin FOR THE VERY SAKE OF THE SINNER AND THE SINNERS VICTIMS? Has Christianity become no more than a beauty pageant?

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Kim March 24, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I think the progressives ignore it as they ignore the rest of the bible. The article is about a woman seeking love and acceptance as she deals with her fleshly desires. The progressives hate the word of God, hate obedience to God, and thus hate this article. So very sad. They want what the world wants and that’s sad too. BUT when the gay person is kicked out of their home by their parents, mocked on the streets for being gay, bullied, and needs a shoulder to cry on, the progressives are no where to be seen. It’s the Christ-follower who gives a hug and prayer. Sad, huh?

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Aran Woodfin March 28, 2013 at 7:44 AM

There you go, I am a Christ follower. Oh, but I utterly refute your arguments for homosexuality being a sin, I must be progressive.
I deeply despair of the churches around your area if a disraught and bullied person has only you to turn to. You can hug them and let them cry but then what, turn around and say, ‘you were bullied because you are gay and that is a sin. I pray that you change now or remain a child beset by Satan?’ Ouch. Who then becomes the bully? Because to many, many gay people that is exactly what you are. Soft friendly prayerful gloves on but bully it is for someone who can not, however much they try, change who they are physically, mentally and deeply. I know someone very close to me who has been literally been ill because he lived his life trying to live this life you believe in. It hurts and is a huge burden. We are told in the Bible (see the links I made below) very specifically not to do that.
Yes, very sad indeed.

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Mark March 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

And homosexuals are the only ones “hurting” and being “bullied” by the so-called church, right? I have never seen a minority to protected, so spoken-up for, so babied, coddled and made such a fuss over as the “bullied” homosexuals. Give me a break-homosexuals enjoy preferred status nowadays, whether its in the “church” or the world. Every time the word homosexual comes up, the violins start tuning, and everyone has to start weeping and beating their breasts. The homosexual contingent, in OR out of the church, has drowned out the plight of all kinds of victims, including CHILDREN, for heaven’s sake! It seems NO ONE suffers as much as a homosexual, or at least that is certainly what they want everyone to think. This has just become so disgusting.

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Aran Woodfin April 2, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Our church works with the YMCA, it is based in our church buildings and has strong children’s programmes in place. And there are strong connections with homeless community and women’s groups. We are well aware of the kinds of sufferings and work to find ways of preventing their drowning.
It is just that LGBTT community does suffer particularly from the actions of those who preach the kinds of “Living Word of God” that ultimately causes those who believe it to treat them with hatred or with nice shoulders to cry on until they are then told that just by being homosexual they are without choices in finding good relationship with God. Which is disgusting treatment, especially if they are told they are only being told this “for their own good”.
Sins are capable of change through choices, NOT so sexuality. Just as others spoke up and protected “coloureds” so we speak and protect those whose sexuality is not the same as ours. I’d bet there were some who thought blacks in America were coddled and babied, but there you are; they sure as hell were bullied! …
You read about slavery and the behaviour of a good slave in the Bible yet are you out there telling the slave traded victims of today that they are sinners who should attend to their masters?
Until you cease to be so prejudiced in your political stances against those whose sexuality you do not “approve of”, until sexuality is seen as neither here nor anywhere on the scales THEN maybe we’ll stop standing up for them.

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anonymous: fear of gay retaliation March 24, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Maybe the progressives ignored it because they’re tired of the gays being the center of attention. Who cares if they’re gay? Let them keep it to themselves. They’re ramming all of their propaganda down our throats on a regular basis. I mean, even the cartoon Paranorman made me a little ill.

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Dennis March 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Progressive Christian – nice oxymoron

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Another Dennis March 25, 2013 at 7:29 AM

Bah. This is a letter from a conservative Christian to other conservative Christians. I can see why it would be of little interest to a progressive Christian; the author may indeed be lesbian, but she is very clearly writing from a conservative point of view. She doesn’t speak *for* progressive Christians, and what she says *to* progressive Christians amounts to nothing more than her opinion that they’re wrong. There isn’t anything new or remarkable here, with the possible exception of the idea that there is a lesbian who is also a conservative Christian.

As for the idea that progressive Christians have a different understanding of the meaning of sin and of the nature of biblical authority, that isn’t particularly remarkable either. I’m afraid that conservative Christianity created progressive Christianity in more or less the same way that Catholicism created Protestantism; to be surprised that they are different seems a bit callow. The idea that there are Christians who aren’t inerrantists or who don’t think committed, monogamous same-sex relationships are inherently sinful isn’t a secret, and it isn’t something progressive Christians have made any effort to hide or gloss over.

Just incidentally, to the Dennis who says that “progressive Christian” is an oxymoron, six hundred years ago, “Protestant Christian” would have been seen as an oxymoron, and “Christian Heliocentrist” would have been the height of heresy. Things change, including orthodox understandings of Scripture. I have my own criticisms of liberal and progressive Christianity, but I wouldn’t dare suggest that they aren’t Christian any more than I would question the authenticity of conservative Christians. They’re not *my* servants, so I don’t have the right to pass judgment on them, only to say where I think they might err, and only when I can also remain open to correction myself. If we make salvation dependent on our having gotten all the theology right, we’re in serious trouble.

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Mike Duran March 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Are you saying that progressives only care about gays as long as they are ideologically progressive? So if this lesbian is “clearly writing from a conservative point of view,” this makes her opinion irrelevant? This appears to be your point. If so, it seems to confirm what I’m saying: Progressives don’t really care so much about the Church being more loving and compassionate toward gays. They simply want the Church to stop viewing homosexuality as a sin.

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Another Dennis March 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Nope, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that her opinion doesn’t appear to be substantially different from the opinions of other conservative Christians on this topic, and isn’t more relevant than the opinions of other conservative Christians; it seemed to me that you were claiming that because she is a conservative Christian lesbian, her opinion deserves more attention from progressive Christian bloggers than, say, a progressive Christian lesbian, or a secular or Buddhist or atheist lesbian.

I think it’s fair to say that many, probably even most, progressive Christians do not believe that homosexuality is inherently sinful. The problem with your response is the word “simply,” as though it isn’t possible to care how the Church treats people and at the same time regard the opinion of one of those people as less than germane. You appear to be arguing that if progressive Christians *really* cared about the Church’s treatment of homosexuals, they would give this woman’s opinion more attention than it would otherwise deserve simply because she is both conservative and lesbian. You appear to be equating attention with compassion, and conflating opinion with relevance. You seem to think the progressive Christian blogosphere would have paid more attention to this if she hadn’t said the bit criticizing the progressive Christian point of view; I think that even if you take that bit out, her letter says the same thing progressives have been saying all along, and probably wouldn’t have been singled out for special attention.

I think its significant that she is both lesbian and conservative, but I think it’s more significant to conservatives than it is to progressives.

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D.M. Dutcher March 25, 2013 at 11:38 AM

It should be more significant to progressives solely because it’s one of the people they are supposedly championing. It comes across that they are dealing less with people and more with an ideology if they don’t listen to LGBT voices that don’t want the church’s teachings changed. Not everyone believes in the narrative they have.

If I can use a weaker analogy. I’m single, and I will never marry in my life. There are reasons for this. Progressives would be like a person coming to me and saying “Oh, you should sleep around with a few girls; the idea of celibacy is not what God wants, and it was just a human creation.” When I say, “no, there only is celibacy for me because I believe in God’s commands,” they ignore me, and say that I’m really not single in the first place. This isn’t a perfect analogy, but this is why progressives should listen more to LGBT who don’t fit the ideology. You’d actually be causing them to sin by their own beliefs.

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Jessica Thomas March 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

“You’d actually be causing them to sin by their own beliefs.”

Good point.

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Mike Duran March 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Dennis, you are assuming the writer is a conservative and keep using that term to describe her (you use it 5 times n this comment). This seems tactical on your part. The only indication she might be a conservative is that she believes homosexuality is a sin. The letter doesn’t reveal where she stands politically or ideologically on other issues. She claims to be a believer and believes she is living in sin. Does this automatically make her a conservative? And even if it does, she claims to be a practicing lesbian, which makes her opinion relevant to the conversation. However, you appear to be dismissing her because of this. You wrote:

“…her opinion doesn’t appear to be substantially different from the opinions of other conservative Christians on this topic, and isn’t more relevant than the opinions of other conservative Christians.”

This dismissal is telling and goes back to my previous comment that “progressives only care about gays as long as they are ideologically progressive.” You denied believing this, but your comments seem to say otherwise.

You said, “You appear to be arguing that if progressive Christians *really* cared about the Church’s treatment of homosexuals, they would give this woman’s opinion more attention than it would otherwise deserve simply because she is both conservative and lesbian.”

Yes. I am saying this. Progressives don’t care as much about how the Church treats homosexuals as as whether or not the Church defines homosexuality as sin. If not, the bloggers I mentioned would have, at least, referenced this writer taking the Church to task while disagreeing with her. The fact that there’s nary a peep shows how disingenuous they are.

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Another Dennis March 25, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I continue to take issue with your criticism. I think your conclusion is based on a flawed premise. You can conceive of no other reason for a lack of interest in the “Open Letter to the Church” on the part of progressives except insincerity on their part. You suggest that I have dismissed the author of the “Open Letter,” and that I did so because I think she’s conservative. I do think she’s conservative, but I don’t think I’ve dismissed her. I have said that I don’t think her letter contributes much to the conversation about how the church treats homosexuals, but this doesn’t have to do with her theological perspective. I suspect that authors of progressive Christian blogs saw this letter as part of a conversation that is mostly internal to conservative Christianity; I don’t pretend to speak for them, this is only speculation on my part. My point is that your dismissive comments about the motives of progressive bloggers is also speculation, and isn’t demonstrated by their lack of attention to the letter. It appears to me (though it is by no means established) that you had already decided that progressive Christians are disingenuous, and that this lack of attention fit easily with your preconception. If you genuinely see no other possibilities for this situation than the insincerity of progressives, I think that’s rather telling, too.

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Mike Duran March 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

“You can conceive of no other reason for a lack of interest in the ‘Open Letter to the Church’ on the part of progressives except insincerity on their part.”

Insecurity? No. A completely different narrative than the one they hold — that homosexuality is NOT a sin? Yes. This letter was/is ignored because it undermines the assumptions of progressive Christians.

“I have said that I don’t think her letter contributes much to the conversation about how the church treats homosexuals, but this doesn’t have to do with her theological perspective.”

Oh. But it has everything to do with how the Church treats homosexuals! Just go back and read the first couple of paragraphs.

“My point is that your dismissive comments about the motives of progressive bloggers is also speculation, and isn’t demonstrated by their lack of attention to the letter.”

That’s possible. But not probable. You must understand, Dennis, I’ve been following the Emergent / Progressive movement for years. They are ALWAYS ready to pounce on evangelicals for homosexual infractions. The fact that this letter was posted on one of the highest profile evangelical websites (TGC), one that is regularly reproved by pro-gay bloggers, only to be met with silence from the Left, is more than coincidental.

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Another Dennis March 25, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Insecurity? No. A completely different narrative than the one they hold — that homosexuality is NOT a sin? Yes. This letter was/is ignored because it undermines the assumptions of progressive Christians.

My experience has been different; I’m willing to stipulate that there are those in the progressive wing who might ignore it because the author takes a different view on that one issue, but please understand that the progressive wing of the church, like its conservative counterpart, is large and diverse in its thinking.

I note that one can’t extrapolate the motivations of bloggers from the musings of their commenters, and that the kind of disingenuous tactical selectiveness you suggest isn’t limited to progressives. Like you, they have staked out a particular point of view, and their idea of what is relevant or not likely seems as sincere to them as yours does to you. A person with conservative leanings anonymously espousing a conservative point of view might be of interest if the person also claims to be a lesbian, but I don’t think you have sufficient evidence, despite your experience, to make the claim you’re making.

I belong to several groups that are mixtures of progressives and conservatives in which there is dialog and mutual respect; it pains me to see sweeping generalizations about anyone. I, too, have been following the emergent movement and the progressive movement (not the same thing, by the way) for years, and have come away with a very different picture from the one you seem to have formed.

I wish you every blessing in your journey!

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Mike Duran March 26, 2013 at 5:07 AM

Same to you, Dennis. I appreciate you visiting and taking the time to comment.

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Jill March 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Homosexuality is the “it” sin of today’s church. How many times have I seen homosexuals confronted for their sins, while that hetero couple who is shacking up gets a pass? Or that couple who divorces over infidelity continues to go to church, and those on the board are happy enough to continue receiving their funds w/ no confrontations at all?

Although I agree with Jay’s comment above, the rhetoric template goes both ways. Both sides of this issue have their binary talking points. Honestly, I appreciated reading that letter from the lesbian simply because it didn’t stick to the usual template.

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Mike Duran March 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Jill, while your point that homosexuality is often viewed as more heinous than other sins is true, it misses the main issue — is it sin or not? Should Christians be addressing greed and lust and adultery and sloth and materialism as much as homosexuality? Yes. But that approach doesn’t respect the current state of culture. More than ever, gay rights are becoming an issue. Polls and books and legislation continue forth on the subject. The Supreme Course is debating whether to overthrow my vote on the subject. The Church isn’t making this stuff up. If gluttony or greed were being discussed with this fervor, perhaps we could change the subject. But they’re not.

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Bridget March 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Mike, I see what you’re saying. The homosexual agenda is what’s on the table, like it or not. But even if we could get consensus in the church regarding whether or not it’s a sin, that wouldn’t inform the Supreme Court debate. The legal system has moved so far away from the natural law, and our culture so far from moral absolutes, right and wrong are almost meaningless terms.

Maybe I’m missing something, but why do you think the main issue is whether or not homosexuality is a sin?

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Jill March 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

This may have less to do with whether Christians believe homosexuality is a sin and more to do with a government that gets involved in our lives to the nth degree. Why do we allow an overbearing government to determine what marriage is and what it isn’t? At some point, we decided the government can and should have these powers, and now we suffer for it. I don’t know what else to say. There is no perfect government. However if I pretend for just one moment to be idealistic, gay people should have all the same rights as non gay people. It shouldn’t even be a question. The problem is that the government got involved in marriage regulation to the point of giving special tax breaks to married people. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I have this dream of free association for consensual adults that wouldn’t require a redefinition of marriage, where Christian pastors could choose not to marry gay people if they didn’t want to, and where gay people could hold their own civil ceremonies if they wanted to because all marriages would be civil rather than legal ceremonies. I know, I’m far too cynical to believe my lofty dream stands a chance in the current political climate. And I already know it would lead to weird marriage situations of polygamy, etc. But there it is. Perhaps if Christians weren’t in hyper-reactionary mode due to all this government force, they wouldn’t feel the need to either claim homosexuality isn’t a sin at all or to jump on the bandwagon that claims it’s the only sin worthy of condemnation. Blech. I hate it when people turn to the government to fight their moral battles for them. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Bridget March 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Jill, I’m thinking along similar lines, with perhaps a different emphasis. The debate is over a legal status, which doesn’t really have any bearing on the Biblical definition of marriage (regardless of what you deem that to be). If the State sanctions gay marriage, it doesn’t make gays more or less married in the eyes of God.

And yes, in a way, by getting hot and bothered about the State’s definition of marriage, we’re conceding that it has the power to define it for us. Though much more is at stake now, since we’ve already granted that power to a large degree, as you pointed out.

Regarding your slippery slope, I’d take more freedom all around any day. Selective oppression doesn’t guarantee anything anyhow. Good thoughts.

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Mike Duran March 26, 2013 at 5:47 AM

Bridget (and Jill), the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin is, or should be, confined to the church. I don’t believe it’s tactically wise or persuasive to approach culture with biblical demands or injunctions. I agree with Bridget when she said, “The legal system has moved so far away from the natural law, and our culture so far from moral absolutes, right and wrong are almost meaningless terms.” This doesn’t mean Christians can’t support laws that buttress a biblical point of view though, does it? Regarding homosexuality, I believe there’s better ways to approach the secular marketplace than “Thus sayeth the Lord.” But publicly opposing gay marriage because “the Bible says it’s sin” is, I think, a losing proposition.

This debate, however, IS going on in the church. Don’t you think it SHOULD go on there? The church has historically viewed homosexuality as deviant. So the growing support of Christians for gay marriage is telling. From the standpoint of progressives, however, this support is usually not driven by “civil rights” as much as it is a liberal worldview, an interpretation of Scripture that reads homosexuality is NOT condemned and that same sex coupling is equivalent to opposite sex relationships. In other words, the debate in the church ultimately does affect culture and politics.

I’m glad to see Jill concede that once homosexuals are granted the right to marry, “it would lead to weird marriage situations of polygamy, etc.” It’s rather amazing to me at how many gay marriage supporters refuse to concede this. The reason I think the church does need to engage this issue on a cultural level is precisely because of the power the government now has in restricting religious freedoms. For the more culture embraces homosexuality as normative, the more restrictions will be imposed upon Christian, both in church and the public square. once gay marriage passes, it won’t be long before preaching that homosexuality is a sin from the pulpit of a church will be deemed hate speech.

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Jill March 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Although I generally agree with the content of your comment, I don’t concede that homosexual marriage would lead to polygamy or other weird marital forms. What I’m saying is that the government should stay out of marriage, unless a marriage is fraudulent or criminal (with a non consenting partner such as a child). This would open the door for bigamy and polygamy.

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Bridget March 26, 2013 at 5:41 PM

The debate in the courts is whether gay couples should be granted the same legal status as hetero couples. Some in the Church have decided the answer to this question turns on whether or not homosexuality is a sin. I don’t believe it does. In fact I think it muddles the issue for everyone.

The other reason I think the Church is revisiting, and in some cases revising, its stance on homosexuality is the change in our culture. People are changing, and the Church is people. It’s questionable whether church debate affects culture more than culture affects church debate.

I agree with your concern about government power and the slippery slope, and I’m not saying the Church should not engage on a cultural level. Unfortunately holding the government at bay one issue at a time is only a temporary fix. Without a true separation of Church and State, we’re still playing on the government’s turf. We can win a few battles but still lose the war.

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Mark March 30, 2013 at 7:13 PM

I understand what you’re saying about homosexuality in our cultural context, however the current cultural context would not exist if the church hadn’t gone soft on the other sins for so long. So now, even though I believe that not just the sin of homosexuality but its whole agenda is wreaking havoc in and out of the church, to try and jump on it while ignoring all the other sin sliding by and still untouched by the church is not only fraudulent but will be ineffective. The church in general (not the sincere believers who do still exist) lost its moral standing a long while back. Trying to draw the line at homosexuality when we refuse to draw the line at adultery, abuse, cheating, lying, etc. is just ludicrous. The church simply WILL NOT have any power to effect any Godly change unless it scrupulously cleans house, which I frankly don’t see any sign of. And why won’t it? Because many church members who aren’t homosexual have committed, or have loved ones who’ve committed, the other sins that they ignore. You see, humans have sympathy for the sins they, or people they care about (“our kind of people”) commit, so we become “understanding”, then “sympathetic”, then lenient, and then we just look the other way. Nothing changes someone’s mind faster about sin than falling into it themselves or having one of their “own” commit it. All of a sudden, its not so bad as when “those people” did it, and the church has just given itself a pass on just about everything-homosexuality is just the next rung of the ladder. We have forgotten that being held accountable for sin and using Biblical discipline for it was meant to bring us back to our higher selves in Christ. Now we just run from disciplining and being disciplined because of pride, ignorance and laziness. Hence, the rise of the powerful homosexual agenda, which is only the current manifestation on a continuum that began as the church in America decided decades ago to sell out to selfishness, greed, pride and the love of money. And given the business-model church structure we now employ, our leaders refuse to lose their comfortable positions by holding their flock, or themselves, accountable. They don’t want to lose “clients” who bring in the “revenue” that makes a church leader “successful”. We turned our backs on Biblical principals of Christianity to be accepted by the world. We have sown the wind, and are now reaping the whirlwind.

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Becky Doughty March 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Mike,
I was so moved by this article, by the uncensored truth in it. Homosexuality plays a prominent role in my family, and this article completely resonated in my heart. Truth in love. Truth in love.

Becky

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Bridget March 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Good points, Mike.

Leaving aside for a moment whether we would consider homosexuality a sin, her point is well taken — the church should not be selective in doling out love and acceptance, favoring those who fit particular patterns. Unfortunately, people in the church have been rejected and shunned for far less than behavior deemed “sinful .”

I recently got in touch with an old roommate of mine who is gay and born again. It prompted me to consider some of these issues. http://www.inkyjazz.com/born-again-and-gay/

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Kim March 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

It bugs the dickens out of me when I’m accused of ‘hate speech’ for the simple reason Jesus tells me not to approve of something, yet no one ever asks me if I love these people. I care deeply for gay people. I have a friend who is gay whom I love dearly. I know of a gay drag queen who came into the charity shop where I volunteer and I befriended him and laughed at all the ‘gurlll, please.” Just b/c I don’t approve of something doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I don’t approve of a man and a woman living together and they’re not married, but it doesn’t mean I”m going to stop them. I’m not in any position whatsoever to stop anyone from doing anything and yet I’m labeled a ‘hater’ just because I’m not following the others. It’s gotten to the point now that if the libs what your opinion, they’ll be sure to give it to you and by your life, you better agree with it . . . or else!! It’s fine line that we as christians follow. We love that person, but can’t approve of their lifestyle. Why is that so bad? There’s tons of lifestyles I don’t approve of, but I don’t demand that they change. I may not approve of the lifestyle, but I”m not going to stand in their way.

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Aran Woodfin March 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Do you believe a woman who menstruates is a sinner? A woman who enters a church less than 30 days after she gives birth to a son and less than 60 days after she gives birth to a daughter, you still consider that a sin. Would you call a man who has not been circumcised, and prefers not to be, a sinner?
It isn’t a question of approval or disapproval, would you settle with being tolerated when you could be accepted completely for who you are? Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or transvestite IS and it is not something you need to tolerate or approve of, it is something that just IS.
Yes, as a committed active Christian I do not believe being homosexual is a sin. What LGBTT people chose to do with life as it happens to them, that is open to the same opportunity to be a sinner – oh it isn’t, we heterosexuals can be married and have a loving sexual relationship as well as chosing between having no loving sexual relationship ever or being profligate and promiscous, having a “lifestyle”. I believe everyone has equal opportunity to sin and inequality is not from God but from us.
There is a very interesting site (http://davebarnhart.wordpress.com/) which talks about lifting the burdens of others and sharing the burdens, not giving others burdens that you yourself can never have. You, by considering homosexuality itself to be a sin, are giving those who do love another person of the same gender, a heavy burden to carry. The woman who wrote the letter has chosen to take up a burden, but where did she learn that it was one?
Ah, the Bible. Jesus by his very teaching and inheritance asks us to challenge, question Scripture (he was a Jew and a Rabbi and each rabbi had their own approach and opinions in their faith) and the Bible is one heck of a book sir. Kindly do not take your interpretation of it to be the Word of God, as if no other could be.
Jesus took each person AS THEY WERE into account when he met them. I know committed, loving, gay Christians. I was related to a particularly lovely one who sadly is no longer alive. Because of them I KNOW that their sins are the same as everyone elses, all those things you say the church is not addressing. Being in a loving sexual relationship is not one of their sins. LGBTT people do not need your approval to live. A bit of actual acceptance would be nice though.
Love the sinner but hate the sin? Certainly, but in this case the sinner, according to you IS the sin. Yes, it makes me angry (one of my sins) to think that you tolerate and disapprove. You carry that seed of disapproval as a burden when you are with those you “love”; it may not be hate but it isn’t, actually, (Kim), love.

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Kim March 26, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Aran, I think you might want to reevaluate your walk with God. You claim that I should approve of something that God has called a sin. But I won’t for the simple reason I bow my knee to Christ Jesus. I have a secret for you, Aran, there’s no such thing as a progressive Christian or a conservative Christian. There are only Christ followers, and those who don’t follow Christ, period. Only goats or sheep. Jesus said in John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice. Are His sheep, Aran, or do you just warm the pews on Sunday morning? You say you’re a practicing Christian, but what do you practice? Are you a servant of Christ, or do you just go to church and listen to what you want to hear? I can’t accept homosexuality because God says in His word Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Yet He also demands that I love these same ones and I do. I’ll love them into the Kingdom.

Now you can twist this any way you want, but when the rubber meets the road, whom do you serve, Aran? Christ or the world? If it’s Christ, then why do you demand that I agree with your stance and say I should accept something that God has told me not to? Whom do you serve, Aran? Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Are you doing the will of the Father or the will of the world?

Now you can spin this anyway you want, you can say there are ‘different interpretations’ of the bible, even pull out that handy dandy Get out of judgement free card, but when the rubber meets the road, are you a practicing Christian doing the will of the Father or your own will as you see fit? Being a Christian mean Like Christ in Greek. It means you take up His yoke: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29. Are you being Like Christ when you twist the word to fit your own agenda? Say you die tonight, what will Jesus say to you, who interprets the bible to fit your agenda? Well done, Good and faithful servant, or I’m sorry, but I don’t seem to know you. This. Day. Is. Coming. Are you ready? This God stuff, this Jesus stuff, this bible stuff, this stuff Jesus did and said is REAL, more real than you will ever know. And one day, you’re gonna find out who is right and who is wrong. Willing to play that game of Russian Roulette, because I won’t. I am telling you right now, Jesus is REAL, this ‘conservative’ Christianity is REAL. Satan is so much deceiving you and leading you down a bad path. These so called ‘progressive christians’ have blinders on them and you are allowing them to lead you down a bad path that leads to destruction. It is a tomb full of dead bones, destruction and lies created by the enemy to confuse and pull away the children of God. People who distort the Word of God that allows them to do what ever they wish despite the consequences. And the consequences are severe. Willing to take that chance, Aran? And other reading this post?

No, I will not accept what my God has called unacceptable before Him, just as my dear sister in the Lord also calls unacceptable in herself. I refuse to be bullied into being disobedient by silly nonsense ‘guilt’ statements that show a rebellion to Christ. Again, I ask, whom do you serve, Aran? Do you bow to the world who thinks the way you do, or do you bow your knee before Christ Jesus? Paul said in Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. You are conforming to the world and is that the perfect will of God? Willing to ‘pay the piper’? Cause the day is coming.

If you want to label me as a hater b/c I bow to Christ Jesus, then so be it. At the end of the day, HE is my Lord and Savior, not you. And Aran, before you go to bed tonight, ask yourself, as a practicing Christian, whom do I serve? Oh and that’s from God. ;)

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Aran Woodfin March 27, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The Oxford Study Bible Revised English Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:9 ‘Make no mistake; no fornicator or idolater, no adulterer or sexual pervert, or swindler will possess the kingdom of God.’
Homosexuality is not and never has been sexual perversion any more than being heterosexual is.
I am not claiming you should approve of something God has called a sin. I am claiming that by using the language of disapproval and approval, based on something you read in the Bible, is rejecting who homosexuals are, not what they do. I do not believe, as you do (and I do find that so sad, given those gay people I have known and know), that God called homosexuality a sin.
I demanded nothing. Seriously, what how is what I wrote bullying? Do you feel threatened by being challenged? I apologise, I did not mean to threaten I meant to challenge, speak truth and seek justice, as I understand is what all Christians are asked to do. I answered the question and I stated my reasons for giving the answer you can not “approve” of and stated them in the no uncertain (yes I am certain) terms that I believe them in. You then go on and question my very Christianity? Because a Christian is only a person who follows what you believe to be the right and wrong of it? What makes you so self righteous? I see you on the right & wrong part, rubber will certainly burn. (Maybe why I stick to walking with God, but have been known to ride pillion sometimes.)
I repeat, BEING homosexual is not a sin. I object to your language of “disapproval” because it is not WHAT LGBTT people DO but WHO THEY ARE, as God created humans, that you are rejecting and, in effect, hating. It hurts people! You are asking them to deny who they really are in a way that you can never even imagine (clearly since you, and your so called “conservative” Christians, are telling them to make that choice) It is proved to be totally physically unhealthy to do so and I have a family member who has discovered this to be the LITERAL truth. Do you really think you don’t carry a burden of judgement in your heart when you think of gay people this way? It may not show or be registered but it diminishes a gay person to do this. We are asked in Thessalonians to build ourselves up. Just as you have no choice about whom you are attracted to, neither do homosexuals. At that point what they chose to do is the same, except, according to you, they have a more limited choice than you because they must eschew all sexual relations and you have/had the choice of marriage. God’s yoke is light but you appear to lay burdens on others that you don’t even touch. (please read aforesaid website) Do you believe God distributes burdens and unequally at that?Where is the rest for those souls you “disapprove” of?
God did not say what is in 1 Corinthians Paul did.
To claim the Bible unquestioned as the Word of God, is to be an idolater in my opinion because it seems you would take words on a page (that have come down through the filter of many hundreds of people no matter how committed a Christ follower each is) over God’s created children’s true existence in the world. Christ took the time to know a person, ate and drank with them, loved them, then talked about Scripture (there was no ‘Bible’ initially remember)
I renew my mind by reading the Bible some more and rejoice in its stories, its perfections and imperfections and challenges and truths, its majesty of Life and its Living. The Bible is not THE Word of God, but a whole lot of God wrapped up in many words as they are what humans have, to express so much, down the ages. Remember it isn’t so long ago that hardly anyone could read the Bible and were given images/artworks and priests to learn about God, how did they discern the truth? Jesus grew up, as a Jew, in their tradition of debating and questioning the Scriptures continually; how come you don’t seem to enjoy that, but chose to find the Bible as a dictat to be followed without question? Talk about blinders?
Christianity evolves as God’s creation, just as the world does.
Only Christ is THE Word, it says so in the Bible.
God spoke the Word and creation began and it continues.
I find God in the company of people even more often than in the company of the Bible. Both together can be really awesome.
Jesus said nothing about sexual relationships, he talked about relationships, how you treat your fellow people, love them as they ARE without approval or disapproval because that is Despite their sins, but with acceptance which Includes their sins. That alone is enough for Christ happen; hard work and not easy sometimes but that is how I seek to serve the Lord. Make way.
When rubber hits the road, Christ IS the World and He wants His Kingdom here so let’s work at it.
I apologise, I have no idea of who you ARE given that what you write is, honestly, really patronising. I think I would be less rude if there were italics not shouty capitals, and I have always been a shade flippant in life.
don’t claim to say that this is from God, by the way, I only speak from my own experience.
I am certain that I walk with Christ. He is with me, as He is with all people. All I have to get better at, is listening, asking, seeking, serving in my church and where I find myself (on the internet wandering websites looking for Good Friday images for our service and coming across this page, for example). I am well aware that my service is always in need of improvement. I love my Lord and Saviour and he died for ALL, so I must accept His acceptance of them and ALL their sin. That is what I practise.
I never said I was your Saviour, I believe Christ is your Saviour just as He is mine.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the piper will be paid and it will be a painful inglorious process, it will however be in the presence of Christ who gave His blood to make that payment and make known the Grace of God in my Life.
May the Grace of God, the Love of Christ, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all your friends, now and forever more.

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Aran Woodfin March 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Kim March 27, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Aran, I’m not being self-righteous at all, but it does seem I’ve rubbed some nerves. Good. They need to be rubbed. And I think it’s more than just me rubbing at you, that Hound of Heaven aka, the Holy Spirit does a lot of rubbing on nerves too. I’m just asking whom do you serve? And that’s not from me. I asked God, what do you want me to say? and that’s what kept coming to me. Whom. Do. You. Serve? I’m so glad it sparked a nerve. I hope it keeps sparking those nerves. If Jesus is your savior, then it’s time you started to serve Him. You belong to Him, not the world. You are His possession, you were bought with a very great price. (That’s in the bible.)

As for the homosexuals, I don’t care what homosexuals do outside the church as the word of God is for those in the church. It’s the christian’s manual. Still don’t approve of it as God says He doesn’t. And as I said, I bow my knee to my Savior, not you. If you want to call me a hater, or whatever you want. But I serve Jesus Christ. But I’m not working to change them at all. Just voicing what God says in His word. What He does with them is His problem. My job is to lead them to Christ which is what I do.

As for the 1 Cor 6:9-10, check out strong’s concordance which has the original Greek writing: neither 3777 fornicators 4205, nor 3777 idolaters 1496, nor 3777 adulterers 3432, nor 3777 effeminate 3120, (effeminate
1) of a catamite (I had to look this one up on Wikipedia. A catamite (Latin catamitus) was a boy who was the intimate companion of a young man in ancient Rome, usually in a pederastic ( paederasty is a (usually erotic) homosexual relationship between an adult male and an adolescent male outside his immediate family.) friendship.[1] It was frequently used as a term of insult[2]. The word derives from the proper noun Catamitus, the Latinized form of Ganymede, the beautiful Trojan youth abducted by Zeus to be his companion and cupbearer.[3] The Etruscan form of the name was Catmite, from an alternate Greek form of the name, Gadymedes.[4]
2) of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
3) of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
4) of a male prostitute)

nor 3777 abusers of themselves with mankind 733, (one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual) http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3120&t=KJV There it is, written in Paul’s own hand. Also see Romans 1 also written by Paul who saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was made Jesus’ apostle.

You say Jesus is your Savior, then how do you know what your Savior wants of you if you don’t study the manual? The NT was written by Jesus’ apostles who spent time with Him and by Paul, who was also called an apostle of Christ. If the bible isn’t from God, then why did Paul write it? Why did John write his book? Why? If it’s not all from God? Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, There ya go. Paul claims his books, John’s books, Luke’s books, all God inspired. From Jesus written to the churches. And if you don’t read the bible, then you can’t possibly know that Jesus died for sins to make us sinless before God and to give us access to God as it says in Hebrews. And if you don’t study the bible, then do you know what He saved you from? Or why He did in the first place? And if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father. 1 John 2:1 Did you know about all of this?

Paul wrote his letters to the churches that he started. The letters were from God, as Paul states, written for the churches to know who they were in Christ, what Jesus had done for them on the cross and what God wanted them to do, an owner’s manual. Now all they had was the OT. Paul, John, Luke, Matthew and Peter wrote letters to the Church that were from the Lord as to what He wanted them to know about what He did and who they were. They were originally scrolls, then put into Latin, then into English Bible. If you want an original version,then check out the original Greek. If you don’t read the manual, then how will you know what Jesus did for you on the cross, who you are in Him, (and yes, as Christ-follower, you have a new identity in Him. You need to know what that is.) The bible is your manual on that new identity. If Jesus is the Lord and Savior of your life, then you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. 2 cor 5:17. don’t you want to know what God wants you to do, or do you just want to wing it and hope everything works out? This is why I keep asking, whom do you serve? Jesus said in John 14:15, If you love me, you’ll obey me. Well how will you know how to obey Him, if you don’t know what He wants you to do? You are missing out so much by dismissing the Word of God, aka, the bible. You are missing out on a very powerful God who will move for you and wants to use you for His glory. But now I”m done. All of this is from the Lord and again asking, whom do you serve? – and yes, that’s from God. (It’s in the bible too.) It sounds as if Jesus is your savior, but I think you got some bad teaching from someone who told you the bible is just not necessary when it is very necessary. I’m praying for you, Aran. Read Romans 8 and that will help you. Ask God to show you something in it. Just experiment with the Word, ask God to show things in the Word, things about you and about Him. He is very faithful and will lead you. God’s blessings.

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Aran Woodfin March 28, 2013 at 7:19 AM

What strikes a nerve Kim, is that you have clearly spent no time at all reading anything I have written nor, very clearly, any of the links I included because they give my case much better, with very, very, very, clear bible study behind them. I realise this because you have used all the same verses and translation arguments that have been refuted with extreme care and knowledge in the links. You have become a cracked record in the name of your Lord.
That strikes a nerve and rubs me up the wrong way because it is clear that you have taken your bible study over listening to people. I have made my case as clearly as I can and you have flung it back without any sign that you have really paid any attention. I took care to answer some of the points you made, yours sounds as if you have done it so many times and it really is ‘holier than thou’.
Your prayers lead you to ask me whom do I serve. I serve the same Christ and Saviour you do. He listens and he leads me to the sites I linked you to. He leads me to talk about and write about my faith in Him. He leads me to all sorts of interesting people. He leads me to doodlingintongues.org to make my day colourful. He leads me kicking and screaming but He leads me. He leads me to serve in my church as a leader and decision maker. He leads me to attempt to serve my children in love and acceptance and with food and concern for their troubles. He leads me to be friends with people, to be there and listen to them when they need me. He leads me to good company and to church to sing in the choir.
I do not always know for certain how I know what is wanted of me. I pray and things happen. Sometimes it is only afterwards that I see the way I have been guided. I am always aware that I am not His best servant but He is there anyway. I read the bible and talk to people who read it and listen to the preachers (as a Methodist we don’t have to listen to the same person every Sunday) I smell lilac and sit. I look for images to use in our Good Friday service, I see a photo of the Redemeer in Rio being hit by lightning and start reading and here we are.

I know I don’t pray with the same fervour you do but my heart cries out when it needs to, it leaps in joy when it finds joy and it hugs as many people as will alllow. I ask, I knock, I seek the Lord. I seek the opportunities I can discern to serve him with the skills and love he gives me.
I serve everyone who crosses my threshold, who comes into our church, who needs my help or company. That is whom I seek to serve, Kim. If I do this for these, then I understand I do it for Christ. I try hard not to do so with answers that repeat the same arguments that have already been refuted and don’t work. I try to be as polite as I can and not too flippantly.
I thought he lead me to speak with an open heart to people such as yourself, but actually I realise this is not what He wants. I spend my time writing as honestly as I can with all the research I, as a single (widowed) parent, can muster. I find that replies such as yours just end up frustrating me so much because all I see are those blinkers you believe I have on. I read a mighty plank vour eyes and realise that I have, stupidly and not completely without self awareness of it, blinded myself with the wooden wall of frustration you and your “conservative” Christians create in me. I realise now that to serve the Lord I need to avoid wasting my time attempting to explain why I truly and wholeheartedly know that your arguments and reasoning are not what Jesus would have taught and Christ demands. All the sites I linked you to give a thorough answer to all your biblical answers. I look to them because their answers speak out to me as the result of real care for truth as it is in the real world of God.
Paul wrote his letters for the same reasons you and I are writing now. Because he was who he was those letters and writings, along with other writings from others within the early witness, were kept and cherished. Paul wrote to encourage, to build up (Thessalonians 5: 1-11 is in our service tomorrow) he spoke from what he knew. He may have been inspired by God more so than we, but I don’t take his words to be free of his human failings.
Do you think I am a new Christian? I have always been one, since I was born. I have never found a place that fit who I am better, I did a little shopping around but not much. I was read the Bible as a child and was encouraged to read it in its many English language, and Scots, versions. I listen to it in church in the many voices of our members.
I read the Bible most days recently because my friend, of doodlingintongues, inspired me to have a go too; I am not as good an artist but it means I’ve been wandering around in all sorts of bible corners. I read for joy, inspiration, for consolation, for ideas, for interest, for all sorts. You may wish to hoard your Word of God and polish it with your “conservative” friends to a shiny hard cold message to keep for Christians. “I don’t care what homosexuals do outside the church as the word of God is for those in church” ????! That is appaling. Do you read the manual for your computer everyday, your dishwasher, your car? Nope, you use what it is the manual for. I shall continue to spread the Good News spoken of by so many in the pages of the Bible with whomsoever I can, in the hope it reaches those who really need it. The lost, the thirsty, the abandoned, … the disapproved of. I believe Christ is the Saviour of ALL, He did it because God loves EVERYONE. Everyone is under His care and we are his means of caring so I shall leave the computer and all this typing.
In the name of Jesus who cared for all and lifted burdens
Blessings to you too
Aran

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Kim March 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

I believe Christ is the Saviour of ALL, He did it because God loves EVERYONE.

Yes, He does love us very, very very much, BUT He also died to erase our sins and make us sinless before God, becoming a propitiation (the appeasement of divine wrath by a sacrificial offering) for our sins. 1 John 2 (I’ll let you look up all the verses.)

Jesus is your savior, but WHAT did He save you from? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? Snowflakes on noses and whiskers on kittens? What? I also noticed the phrase you and your “conservative” Christians create in me. I had a feeling others were talking the same things to you, maybe even the same words. MMM . . . Why do you think that is? Coincidence? Or maybe Someone bigger is trying to get your attention? Why all these pesky Conservative Christians harping over the same things over and over and over again to the point in which you think your head will explode? Why do you think that is? Maybe a Hound from Heaven sending all these pesky conservatives? And have they all been talking about you need to read the bible? Yes, maybe? They have, haven’t they? They’ve all been saying you need to read and believe in the words of the bible to find more about Jesus, haven’t they? Why do you think that is? Another coincidence? You said you were looking for Easter pictures and you arrived HERE? Here? Mike doesn’t have pictures of bunnies and chicks on his page and yet somehow, you managed to come here. Google Easter pictures and you’re on a webpage about a Christian talking about what makes her stumble. How did that happen? Why? And here’s this pesky conservative Christian harping on the same thing you’ve heard over and over again, turn to God’s Word. Isn’t that strange that you ended up here?

You said you’ve been saved since you were born. That’s impossible. You can’t. But you don’t read the bible, so you how can you know this? Hebrews 9 says

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, a he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining b eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, c so that we may serve the living God!
15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

and Romans 10 says if you confess with your heart Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” e 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

You can’t just be born saved, if that’s the case, Jesus died for nothing and He was a fool. He should have escaped and raced for Egypt and lived out His life. You have to believe that He died for your sins and that God rose Him from the dead. Have you done this? You told me everything that you’ve done in your church, but when the rubber meets the road, whom do you serve, truly serve? Do you belong to Christ? John 10 again says, His sheep hear His voice and His voice is in the Word. Do you hear His voice? You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? Lots of times. Right? This confession unto salvation? Jesus said in John 15 He is the vine, we are the branches and we must abide in Him. You abide in Him by studying in what He wants you to do. Aka, the Bible.

Aran, Paul said in Galatians that if someone, even an angel, were to preach another gospel other than what he preaches, let him be forever cursed. That’s a pretty big statement. I don’t know who or what told you you are on the right path, but you’re not. I don’t think you are being led by God. And since there is such an anger towards the Word of God, that’s not from God either. Remember the above verse, His sheep hear His voice? Paul said in Romans 10 Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God aka the bible, not other people, not other blogs, not the World but the Word of God, the bible. In fact, if you go to biblegateway.com and google Word of God, almost every book in the New Testament uses the phrase, Word of God aka, the Bible. You get so angry when someone tells you to study the word. God doesn’t bring that kind of anger as I’ve shown it’s His word. You almost seem to despise it. That’s not from God. Rev 19 says He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called the Word of God. And Paul says, faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Also John said in 1 John 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your[a] joy may be full. Here’s what the message bible says: From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.

3-4 We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

In other words, John is basically saying, this stuff is REAL!! I’m not badgering you to get you mad, but to realize that this Jesus stuff is real, very real and God’s word is very real. Why? B/c God laid upon my heart to sit here and talk to you about all of this as He has done with those other pesky christians. Hebrews 4 says For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. THis bible that you say isn’t real is alive. Paul calls it a sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, Eph 6 and that it, the bible, defeats the devil. Jesus used the same words to defeat Satan when he tried to tempt Jesus in the desert. He can’t stand against God’s word, aka, the bible. I”m sorry that this makes you so angry, that’s not my point. Just what God has laid upon my heart to you whom He lead here. God is real, Jesus is real and He did die for your sins to make a way for you to enter into the throne room of God. Without His sacrifice, you’re sunk. Period.. God’s blessings on you and your two kids, Aran. I’m sorry for your lose of your wife. I’m sure it’s hard for you. Allow Jesus to give you strength.

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Aran Woodfin March 28, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Once again you prove that you do not actually pay attention and read what I write.
I have said that a) I have been listening and reading the bible since I was a child. b) I have been reading the bible everyday recently. I never once said anything in anger of the Bible or that it wasn’t real, infact I spoke the exact opposite. You are not talking to a beginner Christian, you are talking to an active one of 52 years. I was searching for GOOD FRIDAY images and I described the image that caught my eye. I am not seeking fluffy. I started to read because at first it seemed pretty even handed, then got to the point where I had to chip in. In my arrogance I hoped, initially to be badgering you; I thought maybe some opposing views on this “conservative” (this is your term, I quote on the assumption it was your terminology) site might be at least properly listened to so I could hear new reasons other than the ones many, many Christians have refuted often and clearly. I find your tone insultingly patronising, you imply that I lie, that what I, as a clearly stated from the start, practising active Christian, can’t possibly be reading the Bible. Why? Because I do not come to the same conclusions as you? I am sorry I am not able to bring chapter and verse I remember the reading but not easily where it is usually. Is it so hard to realise that there are different understandings of the Bible than yours? Are you really so stubborn in your adamantine certainty that your reading of the Bible is the only one possible? Do you really not understand God’s creation to be diverse and so varied that your understanding can never be the only understanding? Patronising and holier than thou is really how you come across, I say that honestly hand on heart. All those little question marks and no attempt to answer or even refer acurately to what I had to say. You evidently have not taken the time to link and read the evidence I have been reading to keep me from exploding. I actually wasn’t exploding I was realising I was hitting the plank wall in my eye (biblical ref there do I really have to spend ages pinning down chapter and verse?) trying to budge, even a little, the shiny cold plank in yours. Now I am just trying one more time (3 times is the biblical limit) to speak, before turning my back and shaking the dust off my feet, again that is really truly in the bible, in Acts I think, admonish for a third time then leave.
I did not say I was saved from birth. I said I was Christian from birth. Christ saved us all when he died so you, me and all those people who you disapprove of, are saved. He took on himself ALL sin, \ALL sin, that is possibly why He felt God had abandoned Him on the cross, with the weight and darkness of it all even God Himself felt what humans in all our frailty feel all the time. This is done and dusted so please, by definition, Christians should actually stop trying to save people and try teaching people what that means. We now have Grace! Let us use it. I know it says in Romans they shall be saved and the way I understand that passage is, unless you realise that you are saved life is tough, lonely and feels like you need saving. No one is going to realise that they are saved if people treat them as if it was their fault or that they are not trying hard enough and, therefore, they are not saved. We need to be examples of what it is like. I know you try but to many homosexuals, for example, you are a hideous, incideous example of a Christian and would never bring them into a closer relationship to God, which is our task. In church today we were talking about how difficult it often is nowadays to say “I am Christian” because it is seen as somehow stupid or that people think you are going to be judgemental in your attitude to them (exude approval or disapproval) and maybe if we said more often, I am Christian, then Christian image would improve. I usually do say that I am, directly or by saying come try our cafe, talking about our new building work or asking people to come hear the choir, or that I am off to another meeting ..
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” life was manifested, not just read or written, MANIFESTED, you have to take it off the page and be Christian, create that fellowship for everyone, and not just quote the manual at people.
In bible study today, 1 Thessalonians 4 there was a line verse nine, “About love of the brotherhood you need no words of mine, for you are yourselves taught by God to love one another, …. ” “From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands.” They talked and acted on the Word of God when the Bible wasn’t more than a few letters of encouragement. The Bible is the record of the Word of God so of course it refers to it and I have no doubt brings us closer to understanding it. The Word of God is first and foremost Jesus Himself and he speaks with the Holy Spirit, that can arrive in many forms and to limit yourself entirely to only the Bible is missing a whole lot of Spirit, the Gospel is not the Bible it is the Good News itself, about which the the Bible was written. Please do not idolise the Bible.

I am a widowed woman actually.
The Sunday after my husband’s death someone said I was so brave to be at church that day. I was a bit shocked, where else could I have been? I read the Bible to find the right readings for my husband’s funeral, it was very comforting when I found the right one. Strength indeed.
This is my last response I shall do my utmost best to resist the temptation to rail in the wind in your direction. Please, take the Bible out into the world with no judgement of what is right and wrong and take approval or disapproval out of your equation for Jesus loved unconditionally and with total acceptance and forgiveness. Then and only then did he talk about God. First he asked for a drink of water, from a Samaritan woman; as a Jew, he asked her, a Samaritan. He drank from a cup she handled. I try to be like that.

Don’t worry about me Kim, I am not sinking for lack of Bible knowledge. I am sinking because I am spending too much time typing to you and not sleeping enough and …. and … I have good support through my church when I need it and it is amazing what turns up when I ask God for help. I do find that honing my thoughts on your razor is useful for talking to others about the Bible, helps me figure out where I stand.
I stand for equal rights for homosexuals. I stand for a loving inclusive Jesus who lifted the burden of sin and asks us to love our neighbour as ourselves. I seek to serve all whom He sends, and do so in His name. Amen

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Mike Duran March 29, 2013 at 4:37 AM

Aran, I want to briefly respond to your comments. We seem to disagree at the most fundamental levels about basic Christian doctrine, which, I’m afraid, seriously stilts any discussion. By way of example, you said:

“Christ saved us all when he died so you, me and all those people who you disapprove of, are saved.”

I won’t belabor a doctrinal rebuttal, except to say that the Church has historically believed that everyone WILL NOT be saved. In fact, if everyone is saved, why are potential converts told to “believe and be baptized” or warned about a Final Judgement wherein the sheep and goats are separated forever? If everyone is saved, conduct doesn’t matter so much. If you believe everyone is saved, then we really have no common ground to continue a debate. We are arguing from two different books. Furthermore, if everyone is saved, why worry about whether or not some believe homosexuality is a sin? In the end (according to you), none of it will matter anyway — gays, straights, atheists, racists, wife beaters, pedophiles, greedy CEOs, genocidal tyrants, liars and thieves will all go to heaven. So what are we debating? (For a further discussion see my article: 13 Problems With Universalism.

As to your point that homosexuality is NOT a sin, suffice to say, the Church (and human society) have historically viewed same-sex relationships as unnatural, aberrant, and sinful. The move toward societal acceptance of homosexuality is rather unprecedented, especially as it includes so many professing believers. But in the end, I believe you are proving my point that the real issue in this debate (w/in the Church), is not whether Christians should be more loving or accepting of gays, but whether or not homosexuality is, in fact, sin. Sadly, because we approach the Bible so differently, I’m afraid agreement will be impossible.

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Aran Woodfin April 2, 2013 at 7:01 PM

If Christ did Not save us ALL, ALL!!!! Why did He bother? Why did He Love some and not others? He Loves us ALL and died to pay the whole price of sin, he could only do it once and can’t do it again.
So, we should treat people as Jesus treated people, if we work as he did, “You are forgiven” let me show you’ (Woman at the well, healed lame man who had been lowered through the roof) then the Kingdom of Heaven will arrive on earth sooner. So of course it matters that everyone learns to live a healthier more holy life on earth, ditch promiscuity and damaging relationships and unhealthy behaviour, THAT is why it matters if we sin or not. The closer we turn to God the easier and more joyful living becomes!
He tasked us to spread the Good News and that is what I am doing. He saved us.
Yes, it is hard for people to learn what that means.
I think my gosh goats and sheep were really important to the shepherds and goat herds and the living of the peoples of Jesus’s time. I don’t think either was believed to be an evil creature (though they did creat scape goats). If sheep and goats needed to be separated it was for an accounting. I believe this is what happens to each one of us, we each find ourselves accounted. I believe we are put through the refiner’s fire and our individual gold is refined before God. I believe that we are each of us pruned and grafted. What is left is what God takes into His Kingdom. I do not expect it to be painless. I hope to bring to God at least a small portion of what I was gifted and I believe the only way possible is because I ask Christ to help me all the time. He made me I assume I’m tough.
I wouldn’t know what each person’s gold may be but I assume it is there, that God wishes it to shine and that, if I share what I know, the Good News, then others may believe they are worthy. They may realise that they are safe in Christ.
What the church historically believed has altered a lot (and that is partly what I linked in on the website that gives a more detailed background) and didn’t even notice sexual orientation as we do as it wasn’t even something people considered. If you want churches to debate they will end up, eventually, declaring being homosexual is not a sin, leaning that way. Given that some churches are still struggling with the ordination of women and such, you may find, historically it will be a while and will grind mighty small. History changes and historically churches believed many things they no longer do. While no one ever really though the world was flat we have learned that over 450 species of animal exhibit same gender sexual activity, loving as well as agressive. 450 species Mark, hardly unnatural, maybe that is why acceptance is “rather unprecedented”.

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Mark March 30, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Aran, I just had to say that I was reading the comments between you and Kim. I only hope to point out that your comments show you are more focused on what you and certain articles have to say, not the actual word of God. Kim is pointing you in the right direction. Christianity is more than a social construct and the Bible is more than just a manual on how to be nice to everybody. You told Kim to take the Bible out without judging right from wrong, you said not to “idolize” the Bible. How can you ignore how seriously God, and His Son Christ, took sin? How can you say you were “born” a Christian? Your comments show that you have no understanding of the Bible or the church other than as some useful cultural paradigm. Many people read the Bible as a “history” or “cultural” book with some handy advice on getting along, and that is all they will ever get out of it. Unless you realize it as the LIVING word of an Almighty God, you are left in darkness as to what is truly conveyed by our Creator. To have the life of God’s word truly opened to you, you need the key, and the key is a humble heart that is willing to put God first and forsake the so-called knowledge of man, which is short-sighted and full of ignorance. Sin is deadly serious because it hurts and kills people, and that is why God DOES determine what is sin (He’s the Creator!) and teaches us what it is so we can avoid harm and avoid harming others. And just because we think we know more than God and can decide for ourselves what sin is or isn’t will never change the truth, it will only change our relationship to our Creator and lead us down the wrong path, just because we thought we knew better than the One Who made us.

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Kim March 29, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Aran, I hope you are still here. I do apologize for appearing patronizing. I do apologize. I just know from being saved since 1988 that the word of God is from God. It’s Him talking to us. And I am so sorry for the lose of your husband. I’m sure things have been rough for you. I ask only one more thing, and then I’ll move on and let you be. Ask God who is right. That’s all. Nothing more. God’s blessings on you, dear and I do apologize if I’ve hurt you in any way. I just know that from the Word of God, we must ask Him to be our Lord and Savior. As I said, please, just ask Him. That’s all . He will answer you in amazing and miraculous way. God’s blessings on you and your kids.

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Mark April 5, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Aran, in response to your last comments it is apparent that you do not get your information from the Bible, but rather a smattering of the Bible taken out of context mixed with a lot of articles that say the things you want to hear, so there can be no genuine discussion of the Creator if you refuse to stick to His book. And yes, it is His book, and yes, it says repeatedly that lying, gossiping, adultery, homosexuality, etc., is sin and that those who practice such will NOT enter the kingdom of heaven. If homosexuality is ok with you, then is lying, gossiping, adultery? Why not? As simple as this statement is, those who want to sin and who want to support sin in others will never stop finding ways to rationalize it. 450 animals who practice “same sex” relations? Next you’ll be saying that people are “born” homosexual, another whopping myth supported by absolutely nothing but wishful thinking. Even if the animal conjecture was true, why would we use animal behavior as an example that humans should follow? Some creatures eat their young, some creatures kill and eat their mate after mating, some creatures torture their prey. WE ARE NOT ANIMALS! Why are you so afraid to read and study the Bible instead of useless articles? Are you afraid of the word of God? Are you one of those who say it isn’t inspired? Then why do you believe any of it? Or perhaps you have loved ones who are gay, and you’re afraid you may have to reject them, or that they may reject you and you’ve been priding yourself on your “tolerance”? (That’s a major stumbling block for heteros who support homosexuals.) You don’t have to hate homosexuals-that is THEIR term for those who think that lifestyle is wrong. Do homosexuals support liars, gossips, thieves? Why not? They’re listed with homosexuality as sins that keep people from the kingdom of heaven. Do they hate them? That whole phobia thing can work both ways. You can follow the world or you can follow God; you’re only fooling yourself if you think you can follow follow God. You have nothing to lose, read the Bible, since you profess to believe in Christ, who said “I came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law”. All of the Bible is there to show us how much God loves us and how He wants us to live-He ought to know what’s best, don’t you think? And we don’t have to understand everything to trust and obey Him, whether we agree with Him or not. If there’s any question about God’s instructions, you can bet it’s man who is makaing the mistake, not God. We are foolish to think we can second-guess God just because we don’t see the big picture. Read the Bible, honestly and in prayer-you have nothing to lose!

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Aran Woodfin April 7, 2013 at 9:40 AM

You have paid no attention to what I have said.
From my very first questions to Kim, which were utterly ignored, to all the questions and arguments I gave thereafter. This is entirely my fault as I really ought to pay attention to my prayers which lead me to avoid stating obvious things to people. (Matthew 7: 1-5)
I apologise for not wishing you peace in my first sentence.
however, as instructed in Matthew 1o: 14-15 (Biblical enough for you?)

I turn my back on this site and shake the dust from my feet.
In the name of Him whom I serve, The Lord Jesus Christ.

Aran

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Mark April 7, 2013 at 6:30 PM

You can shake the dust all you want, but you’re walking away from truth. You are upset because some here did not “pay attention to what I (you) said”. We are not talking about what you say or what I say, it is what God says that matters. Reading the Bible means nothing-studying it in humbleness and praying for understanding from the Holy Spirit is what we all need to open our eyes to what God’s Word contains. Kim was being very respectful and patient in trying to show you what the Bible says, but you ignore what is Biblical, and throwing out a scripture or two, taken out of context, does not show understanding. But I’d rather have you not like me because I’m imploring you to seek God’s ways, than to have you like me because I agreed with your opinions. Don’t be afraid of what is in the Bible-it is we who have to change rather than to try and change or ignore the Word of God, and you aren’t alone in having to do this. Anyone honestly seeking God will have to make serious changes to their beliefs, actions and lifestyle, because we all fall short!

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