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« National Day of Prayer Unconstitutional | Main | Theistic Evolution? Designed by Chance »

April 19, 2010

Comments

I remember a relative (who is Gay) told me that Jesus may Himself have possibly been a Gay man.

When I asked him to show me how he came to that conclusion, he simply replied that Jesus never exhibited any sexual tendencies towards women, but seems to have had close intimate relationships with men.

According to him, to have close intimate friendships with men is tantamount to a sexual relationship with them.

This is just plain eisegesis, and an unwillingness to let the text speak for itself.

It just shows to go you that everybody wants Jesus on their side.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/16/jennifer.knapp.gay/index.html?hpt=C2

To sum up the video:

God loves humans; despises homosexuality. This gives no one the right to 'gay bash' but also gives no one the right to fully accept 'homosexuality'. Leaving every Christian following this line of reasoning in a 'grey area' of uncertainty of how to 'treat' someone 'gay'.

And this is evidenced very clearly every time this subject comes up on this site, on other sites, and within churches. The variety of responses from the more conservative Christian side (the people thinking they are defending God's honor somehow) dances from outright hatred/bigotry to 'love the sinner; hate the sin'. No one is sure which perspective is 'truly correct'.

Greg seem to even stumble in this video trying to watch what he calls homosexuality and it's problem in society...he has to catch his language in this 'political climate'. However, the real problem is not political correctness but the virtue of a Christian despising another human being and finding nice wording for that action.

His interpretation skills also seem to be on the lacking side (to some degree). He mentioned Sodom and Gommorah in this video. It is so abundantly clear to any scholar of the Tanakh texts this was not the sin of this city. But far be it from anyone with an 'agenda' to defend to actually care to look that up (see Ezekial for more on this).

Nonetheless, it's just another attempt at biblical justification at bigotry/hatred/exclusion/and to some degree, violence.

I personally find it a sad day when Christianity takes the side of oppressor and not freedom fighter.

Keep knocking over those straw men.

This is not a difficult subject for those who desire to understand.

You treat homosexuality the same way you do any other sin. You despise the sin and love the sinner. The same way that you see sin in your own life.

Soc,

The line of reasoning in your post reminds me of what I call "Pelosi logic." I'm not sure what kind of glasses you wear to see the world, but I am certain of this: you believe yourself.

>>"This gives no one the right to 'gay bash' but also gives no one the right to fully accept 'homosexuality'. Leaving every Christian following this line of reasoning in a 'grey area' of uncertainty of how to 'treat' someone 'gay'."

You create a line of reasoning, then accuse every Christian who follows it of being in a gray area. Can you not see the fantastic, implausible nature of your assertion here?

>>"Nonetheless, it's just another attempt at biblical justification at bigotry/hatred/exclusion/and to some degree, violence."

Remarkable.

I would implore you to look at Christ as the example and the teachings within His Word. Please do not use the Westboro Church as your keyhole glimpse into the conservative viewpoint.

Lumbergh is correct: it is not a difficult subject. Perhaps a more open mind and willingness to understand would serve to enhance your viewpoint. I would venture to say you may have walled yourself up inside your own perspective to the point of impenetrability. I would encourage you not to lean solely on your own understanding of the world around you as the exlusive system of philosophical weights and measures by which you make judgment calls.

To Lumbergh,

>>"...The same way that you see sin in your own life."

I am concerned this is may not even be a consideration. We are in (and have been for some time) the midst of a cultural phenomenon where "sin" is considered an outdated, obsolete way of describing human behavior of any kind. In other words, if you're confused about the "feelings" you are having or your behavioral practices because some are telling you it's wrong, well, let a secular shrink explain your sins to you...discuss them, acknowledge them, and ultimately accept them and embrace them as who you are. The notion that we might actually need to be forgiven for them is virtually extinct in many pockets of liberal America.

Societyvs. I recommend you read the book of Jude. The writer is clear that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were sexual immorality.

Richard Romano: Ask your friend if he believes that every member of the Dallas Cowboys is gay, seeing as how they hang out with a bunch of men.

>>"...The same way that you see sin in your own life."

Sorry David, I should have been more clear in my statement.

I meant by that - the way a Christian sees sin in his own life.

>>I personally find it a sad day when Christianity takes the side of oppressor and not freedom fighter.

Sin is the oppressor.

From Romans 6: "Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."

David:

I recall you have a blog -- what is the address?

Thank you :)

“You create a line of reasoning, then accuse every Christian who follows it of being in a gray area. Can you not see the fantastic, implausible nature of your assertion here?” (Hawkins)

The line of reason is created by reality – an observable phenomenon we can see on blogs, at churches, in rallies, etc. The line of reasoning is not really an assumption, but a fact. I am asserting clearly Christians are in a ‘gray area’ as to conduct towards gay people. That’s not really that implausible is it?

Christians (in general) are indeed struggling with how to treat a gay person in their community. How accepted should they be? How rejected should they be? This in turn creates the ‘gray area’ of conduct towards these individuals – depending on what side of the measuring stick you fall on – more accepting or more rejecting.

For example, can a gay person struggle with this ‘sin’ their whole life and still be an accepted and even authoritative member of their Christian community? Now I mean, can they come in at the age of 21, being gay, and still struggle with this sin their whole life (ie: 70 years old) and be accepted as just another member of the Christian family?

“I am concerned this is may not even be a consideration. We are in (and have been for some time) the midst of a cultural phenomenon where "sin" is considered an outdated, obsolete way of describing human behavior of any kind” (Hawkins)

I am all for sin being described as sin, this semantics of this gay idea is not the problem.
I have a question though about defining ‘sin’. Can someone commit a ‘sin’ if they do not have to ability to choose?

“Societyvs. I recommend you read the book of Jude. The writer is clear that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were sexual immorality” (Steve)

Does it? Regardless Jude is based on 1 Enoch (not even used in the bible nor was it considered inspired). Whereas Ezekiel, well we all know that is in the bible. Let’s compare these shall we.

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

Ezekiel is pretty clear what the ‘sin of Sodom’ actually was – pride, abundance with careless ease, and rejected the help of the poor and needy. In essence, Sodom was one of the ‘have’s’ in the region and despised helping the ‘have not’s’. Sodom was a city was greedy and did not want to lose its lifestyle to help others.

“just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7)

In Jude we see an example of Sodom and Gomorrah (and the cities around them – whoever they are?). It says the citizens went after ‘strange flesh’ in their ‘gross’ immorality. What was this strange flesh…angels?

“Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.” (Jude 1:8)

In the next passage of scripture in Jude it seems to be explained…’angelic majesties’. The citizens, according to the writer of Jude, with their ‘dreaming’ defiled the flesh and authority of ‘angelic majesties’. Someone is into a little angel fetish it seems.
I also mentioned Jude is based on the book of 1 Enoch, which it is. In fact Jude used pieces of work that have no basis biblically.

“But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 1:9)

Huh? Where is this in the Genesis account? The account of Moses in the Torah ends with him dying, after that there is nothing concerning this. Also other things in Jude are strange – like the passage on Enoch himself ‘It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied…’ (Jude 1:14). It seems clear Jude is using a source (Enoch 1) that no one else would quote as authoritative in terms of ‘scriptural’.

In essence, if one has to pick where and what Sodom is about – the Prophets might be the way to go on this one.

"Sin is the oppressor" (Amy)

Sin cannot oppress, fact. We either use sin to oppress ourselves or others...sin is a term and not a 'thing' or 'being'.

In this case, we see Christians using the 'sin of homosexuality' to oppress the masses of gay people from enjoying the same religious freedoms we have.

>>Sin cannot oppress, fact. We either use sin to oppress ourselves or others...sin is a term and not a 'thing' or 'being'.

Our sin is our biggest oppressor. People are in slavery to their own sin, whether or not anybody outside of them is also oppressing them. This is why when we address people's sin in conjunction with the Gospel, we bring true freedom--the most fundamental freedom that transcends any other oppression. It does nobody any good to deny the reality of the slavery of sin, or to deny that certain things are sin, or to ignore the fact that certain things are sin. By addressing it, we are addressing the deepest oppressor of the human heart. By ignoring it, we're giving free reign to that oppressor.

John 8:33-34: They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin."

Romans 8:20-21: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Romans 6:16: Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

James 1:14-15: But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Romans 6:17: But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed

2 Peter 2:18-19: For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

Considering the oppression of sin, if homosexuality is wrong, we don't do Christians any favors by not objecting to it. You would leave people in their slavery? Is it not better to plead with them to enter into the freedom of the Gospel and give up their sin?

fail. no biblical exegesis at all. Sodomy meant being unwelcoming and only out for yourself.

Lev also says eating shrimp is an abomination.

Romans chapter 1 is overturned in chapter 2 saying "you do this too" setting up a beautiful rhetorical move. no one ever reads the whole thing in context.. just bits and pieces. kinda like John Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, liking the wrathful guy at the beginning and missing the graceful dude at the end.

like the idea of "we don't bash ppl for other sins" that's a good start... gotta get biology into the mix to get God's view on things.

Romans 1 doesn't "overturn" Romans 2 any more than two wrongs equal a right. Paul is saying we're all guilty. Because of this, we need to be aware and admonish one another in love, but this doesn't atone for, overturn, or cancel out the fact that we're all guilty. There is no reducing our sin to the lowest common denominator and everyone being ok.

One has to wonder where the notion of a pecking order or the ranking of sin comes from. For instance, when a man steels a loaf of bread from the local grocery store, how does that stack up against homosexuality? Or what about the spouse that commits adultery? The single person who commits fornication? Which of these is the worse sin? I think we should tread very lightly when we attempt to use our own moral judgement in determining/defending which sin is greater. All sin is an affront to God and whether I, or anyone else, finds a particular sin more offensive than another is irrelevant. What matters is what God says.

If there is an answer to which sins are worse than others, it is instructive to look at John 19:11, which follows Pilate's question from verse 10, "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answers: "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

This suggests that sins committed out of ignorance for the things of God are of a lesser nature than those committted by someone who knows how to do good, but willfully chooses to do bad anyway.

So again, which is the worse sin? Homesexuality? Thievery? Adultery? Murder? Gluttony? Covetousness?

Or how about this true story? A 70-year old man on his death bed confesses that he was never able to stop his lust for viewing pornography. Is his sin worse? Had he lost his salvation because of his lifelong struggle and failure against a sin he clearly knew was wrong?

I think it's true that in man's eyes, some sins are more despicable than others. Would anyone argue that murder is a more heinous sin than gluttony? That child rape is more despicable than stealing a loaf of bread? But God's standard is different. James 4:17 tells us: Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

That, compared with John 19:11 tells me how to sort sins out. No where in the Bible have I ever read that gay bashing is acceptable or that I should treat homosexuals worse than I treat an adulterer, a murder, a thief, a drunkard, or a glutton. The very notion that homosexual sin somehow trumps another sin and needs to be called out as if it were a special case in need of special treatment is an affront to Christianity and the love that Jesus commands us to have for our fellow human beings. We are all equal at the foot of the cross.

We all need God's grace, and whether we were born again yesterday, or 30 years ago, we continue to need it. God can, and does, forgive murderers, child rapists, theives, adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, gluttons, and in that list somewhere, is the homosexual. And considering that Jesus raised the bar of sin to the point that if we even lust in our minds it is no different than if we had actually committed the sin, how does that square with this notion that homesexual sin is one of the worst sexual sins around? I certainly wouldn't want my innermost imaginings made public, and, I suspect, neither would most Christians.

So how do we treat homosexuals? Just as Jesus commanded us to in Matthew 22:39, we are to love him/her as we love ourself. Remember that before Christ came into our hearts, we were lost too. And after He comes into our hearts we continue to sin, but through the grace of God, are forgiven. The Christian is not defined by the type of sin he/she commits, but by how we practice the love God has placed in our hearts.

With that in mind, the answer to the question of how the Bible views homosexuality is: the same as it views any other sin. We can tap dance around the issue, point fingers, and try to rationalize it anyway we see fit, but long before the subject became the political football it currently is, God made clear what sin is and He laid out His plan of salvation for breaking the wages of sin. It is unfortunate that we lose sight of that and focus in on a particular sin as if it is in need of further explanation. Shame on us.

We can view sin the same way a scatologist views animal droppings.

If we see an abundance homosexuality taking place, we can know that God has given a people over to judgment based on Romans 1.

Wicked rulers are another "dropping" we can discern current events by.

"No where in the Bible have I ever read that gay bashing is acceptable or that I should treat homosexuals worse than I treat an adulterer, a murder, a thief, a drunkard, or a glutton."

First, I haven't heard anyone on here in favor of gay bashing (not sure exactly what that means, but it is emotionally forceful for the sake of your argument). As for the rest of the list, I hear all those things talked about as sin in the same manner in my church, so I don't think homosexuality is wrongfully singled out. The difference is that the average person in our society agrees that thievery and murder are wrong. Drunkeness and homosexuality are talked about more probably becasue of the moral confusion of our culture, so they tend to be addressed more (I actaully probably here more about pornography and lusting than homosexuality).

*hear - spelling correction to last sentence.

understanding that Paul had different conceptions of gender and sexual relations within his socio-historic context would be helpful. he also had different operating mechanisms for what was a sin and what wasn't and odds are, we'll all guilt as "all have fallen short of the glory of God" correct? yet isn't this conversation just a distraction from the real matter at hand, namely heterosexuals behaving badly? we don't really want to look at that now do we? best blame the gays.

but our modern context and conceptions are much different from Paul's. with new understandings come new ethics, and while we can use Paul's as a basis, we can't stay there.

For Societyvs & Luke particularly, and anyone else, are you familiar with the work of Dr. Robert Gagnon? I recommend it.

Go here:

http://www.robgagnon.net/

" yet isn't this conversation just a distraction from the real matter at hand, namely heterosexuals behaving badly? we don't really want to look at that now do we?"

You may not have read my post, but I hear more about pornography and lust, than I do about homosexuality in my church. Honestly, I try to listen to some of the more well known pastors and speakers from around the country, and I would say that my experience comports with most other churches.

>>I hear more about pornography and lust, than I do about homosexuality in my church.

This is very true for every church I've ever attended.

"with new understandings come new ethics, and while we can use Paul's as a basis, we can't stay there." Luke

I get what you're saying, but I cannot agree with it. Over the years I've seen others, drug junkies, alcoholics, and gamblers in particular, who hang on to whatever it is that they do not want to let go of, and are very adept at defending their behavior. You can defend homosexuality any way you choose, but the fact remains that it is a sin in God's eyes. We don't need new ethics, we need renewed hearts. Sin is a horrible thing and it affects everything we think and do. It is so bad that even accepting God's Gospel isn't enough to finally put it to rest, we will have to wait until the end when God will write His laws into our hearts. I would encourage anyone who wrestles with this issue to go to God in humility and prayer to seek answers. We can argue all day and night on this subject, but until we recognize that God is the final arbiter of morality, we fail to see the mote that is in our eye. Even the compelling arguments put forth by Dr. Gagnon (I encourage you to check him out if you haven't already) won't be enough to convince you if you cannot accept that you may be incorrect in your view of homosexuality and the Bible.


You can attack homosexuality in any way you choose, it doesn't deny the fact that it's a sin in God's eyes. I would encourage you to go to God in prayer and seek Jesus' example who stood with the "sinners" and social outcasts, who welcomed them into the Kingdom of God without reservation. under that example and a renewed heart, we see that you may be incorrect in your view of homosexuality and the Bible.

"It does nobody any good to deny the reality of the slavery of sin, or to deny that certain things are sin, or to ignore the fact that certain things are sin. By addressing it, we are addressing the deepest oppressor of the human heart" (Amy)

So to you homosexuality is obviously sin, enslaving someone. But what if many Christians that are gay have tried to become 'freed' and could not be? Then what? Doomed?

"There is no reducing our sin to the lowest common denominator and everyone being ok." (bc)

But isn't this what Christianity is exactly doing (in some regards)? Don't people that attend church and follow Jesus think they are 'ok'? Or ar they scared of God all of the time?

"As for the rest of the list, I hear all those things talked about as sin in the same manner in my church, so I don't think homosexuality is wrongfully singled out. The difference is that the average person in our society agrees that thievery and murder are wrong" (Dave)

I think homosexuality is wrongfully singled out, horrendously.

Sure drunkeness and murder are wrong - but we are putting ideas that are easily avoidable beside a biological condition. Measure wise there is a problem to begin with.

Secondly, drunks and murders (or ex-convicts convicted of this crime) are treated better and more accepted than any gay person you will ever meet in your local congregation. Kind of a travesty of justice in some ways, not like someone can be convicted of being gay in this country...and yet - even criminals get more grace/mercy than them.

Homosexuality is also the current 'in' thing for Christians to fight against. Christians have given up on picketing murder or drinking...and they now support both (in various ways; ie: war and wine). The point is, this is an issue where they decide to 'keep the sore' open as long as they can...it will also wane.

In the end, your examples of choice 'sins' and being gay (biological) are not the same at all. I think some people would love to think they are, but these are the same people that close their eyes to anything that does no fit into their personal view of life.

"We can argue all day and night on this subject, but until we recognize that God is the final arbiter of morality, we fail to see the mote that is in our eye" (Scott)

We all recognize God as the final arbitor of morality - no one said they don't. There is no 'failing' going on here - everyone in this convo recognized God as the final judge of humanity. period.

That still does not change the treatment of gay people by Conservative Christian communities. They are still outcast, ignored, betrayed, belittled, and denied any semblance of religious equality.

Do Christians feel good about approaching a God they have full access to without any conditions while a gay person has to struggle his way to that throne time in and time out?

Christianity's treatment of gay people is, at best, lending a hand to inequality in mainstream America (and worldwide). At worst, leading to feelings that can explode in real hatred towards people of another sexual orientation.

Society, I am reading from your comments that we should treat homosexulas better (as the church). No arguments here.

Is any part of treating homosexuals better trying to help them bring their sexual conduct (whether it be unmarried and/or same sex) with others in line with God's created purpose for sex?

I posted earlier that in my church I hear more preaching about lust, unmarried sex, pornography, etc than I do about homosexuality. Should I feel offended if I struggle with those things? Should I tell the pastor to stop talking about it and treat me better?

So to you homosexuality is obviously sin, enslaving someone. But what if many Christians that are gay have tried to become 'freed' and could not be? Then what? Doomed? (Luke)

Allow me start with the following as I try to answer your question.
Jesus is not an idea, He is a person. Salvation comes by putting trust in Him.

Therefore, the Christian faith is not a philosophy of ideas to be accepted; i.e. if you check enough idea boxes, you are somehow good to go. To be a Christian means to know Christ, to be in Him, found in Him, have a relationship with Him.

This doesn’t mean that belief in Him is unimportant or irrelevant; far from it, because the point is that Christians aren’t saved by a philosophy, we are saved by a knowledge of Christ. Schaeffer said that Christianity isn’t about believing in doctrines, even the right ones. It’s more than that, not less, but more. There is a personal, real reality in the person of Christ that we need to come to know.

So then, are homosexuals a logical problem waiting to be solved? Answer: no. Why? Because we are all broken, hurting, sinful people who need Christ, even after we come to a saving knowledge of faith in Him.

With that said, here is an often said platitude: God loves the sinner, but he hates the sin. Doesn’t help much, does it, when tackling the sin of homosexuality? Why is that? Answer: because when most Christians say this, they are making a distinction between who someone is and what they do.

However, when a person goes around saying he/she is a homosexual, that person is saying that their identity is defined by what they do.

Christians do the much same thing. They define themselves by their work, their accomplishments, their family, and so forth. It isn’t much different than what the homosexual community is saying, but here’s the distinction between the two: When you ask if one is doomed because one is enslaved to the sin of homosexuality, what you seem to be asking isn’t so much are you allowed to practice homosexuality, but are you allowed to be who you are. If I then say no, homosexuality is a sin that dooms you to hell, then what I am telling you is that Christianity says you have no right to exist.

But if we are both Christians with a saving knowledge of the person of Christ, then we both know that is not true.

Are you with me so far?

"Is any part of treating homosexuals better trying to help them bring their sexual conduct (whether it be unmarried and/or same sex) with others in line with God's created purpose for sex?" (thomas)

Absolutely. If a gay person 'cheats' - that's still cheating (for example). If a gay person has a sexual addiction - that still needs to be dealt with and the person helped to committ to a better, more healthy sexual life.

"Should I feel offended if I struggle with those things? Should I tell the pastor to stop talking about it and treat me better?" (thomas)

Obviously not. However, all those same things you mentioned a gay person could also struggle with and I would still see them as troublesome (for either sexual orientation).

The problem is you want to slap another problem on top of the list you mention...he's not straight like us so...

"Are you with me so far?" (Scott)

I believe I am. Let me recap the points.

(1) To be a Christian means to know Christ, to be in Him, found in Him, have a relationship with Him

(2) we are all broken, hurting, sinful people who need Christ, even after we come to a saving knowledge of faith in Him.

(3) If I then say no, homosexuality is a sin that dooms you to hell, then what I am telling you is that Christianity says you have no right to exist (which is obviously not true)

I would add one thing in there, you seem to think the practice of being gay and homosexual behavior can somehow be seperated? I find that strange.

It's like saying when a man gets lonely he cannot go and find companionship in a woman (to be his lifelong companion)? I am pretty sure all of us would agree 'that's a good thing' (and sex in that relationship might not even cross our minds).

However, now that it's a 'gay person' his personal lonliness and his identity have to be seperated for him to be 'normal'. We're almost saying this person, if lonely, can have no companionship.

"Obviously not. However, all those same things you mentioned a gay person could also struggle with and I would still see them as troublesome (for either sexual orientation)."

So..if I am tracking you Society:
*porn addiction - troublesome
*lust - troublesome
*premarital sex - troublesome
*monogamous (married) same sex relationships - not troublesome

Just wondering how you came to those conclusions.

Richard Romano,

>>"David:
I recall you have a blog -- what is the address?
Thank you :)"

I am very sorry I cannot fulfill your request. I do not run a blog.
Perhaps there is another David around here? (I saw a "Dave.")
I struggle with the opportunities to spend time even on this site. I fear if that was an endeavor of mine right now, I would have to clear the cobwebs from it weekly. :D

Soc,

>>"The problem is you want to slap another problem on top of the list you mention...he's not straight like us so..."

>>"Can someone commit a ‘sin’ if they do not have to ability to choose?"

We don't choose our temptations and proclivities necessarily (that's not the sinning)...but we do choose - every time - whether to engage them, embrace them, act on them, and fulfill them.

>>"In the end, your examples of choice 'sins' and being gay (biological)..."

Am I accurate in presuming, based on some of your reasoning here, that you are presenting your case from the persepctive that homosexual proclivity is the result of genetic encoding? ...That it's a "born-that-way" characteristic? I would agree that we are born with a sinful nature - an inclination to do things we ought not. However, an inclination is not a sin. Homosexuality is an act. It is the "seeing-it-through" of a temptation or proclivity or curiosity that results in the manifestation of a sin.

Let me say up front that, historically, we Christians have done a pretty poor job overall of representing Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I would assert (paraphrased from the book "Jesus Before Christianity") that more has been said and done in Jesus' name that contradicts His character and example throughout the ages, than that which has authentically been done in His name and aligned with His character and example.

God is not going to instill a trait in one's genetic code that will damn him or her by forcing them to perform a particular sex act. The temptation, the proclivity, the curiosity, the confusion...all may be present as a result of the "post-Eden" sinful nature Galatians speaks to...but the actual committing is an elective. (He didn't create us to be automatons that adore Him, and He didn't instill in us an auto-pilot mode that mandates sin. That's all on us..especially since He's given us a way out through Christ. Otherwise, if we loved Him "automatically" without having the freedom not to love Him, our "love" would have no value.) However, at some point, we know God simply may turn some over to that sinful nature, at which point they are perhaps beyond the point of no return. The proclivity takes over entirely. (But that is another discussion. ...I am reminded of the Native American - I think - life lesson where a young brave asked his chief about becoming a man. The chief told him inside every man are two wolves tearing at each other in a life and death struggle: one good, the other bad. When the young brave asked him, "Which one wins?" the chief answered, "The one you feed.")

That said,(and I would maintain that this is the crux of the debate) we must understand that homosexuality is an act, not merely an attraction or proclivity. We all struggle with attractions, proclivities, tendencies of thought, et al, that, if acted upon, would constitute a sin. That, we are born into. (Sex between an unmarried man and woman is a sin driven by proclivity and lack of control. In fact, ANY sex that takes place outside of a husband/wife marriage is sin.) The temptation itself is NOT the sin, but the fulfillment of that temptation...the manifestation of a said proclivity (see Galatians ch. 5)
We know Christ was tempted by Lucifer himself, and likely in person no less, but it never manifested into sin.)

I may have a proclivity to approach a woman socially other than my wife, to get out of my car and pummel some joker who cut me off in traffic, to intentionally refrain from reporting a portion of my income to my CPA, to share a bit of gossip about a co-worker in the lounge, to lie about a sick day and go play 9 holes, or attend a friend's bachelor party that promises to cator to my heterosexual proclivities with its hired entertainment. All of these are things I might think about and desire. The issue is whether or not I can get a handle on the temptation...the proclivity. A person may have an attraction to another of the same gender. But getting all of these proclivities under control and NOT seeing them through to fruition is the task at hand. That's why I need the power of God. And that's why I've made Christ Lord. I couldn't go at it alone. My behavior would be writing checks my soul couldn't cash.

The genuine issue for this country with regard to the majority's rejection of homosexual behavior (granted there are extremes that do not entail Christ's example) is not that Christian's are looking for "Biblical" excuses to, as you put it, justify "bigotry/hatred/exclusion/and to some degree, violence."

The real issue, the real opposition, is that we are not going to sit idly by and condone a national embracing of the homosexual lifestyle; which, consequently, is what I think same-sex marriage is truly about. (I base this, as well, on homosexual testimony and comments following same-sex marriages in states where they've given it a pass.) It's not a hate or bigotry situation at all...although the activists have done an outstanding job of painting us with that brush...it's the activists' push to get a thumbs-up from the nation that the act of homosexuality is morally benign...like skin color, ethnicity, gender, or handicap.

The homosexual agenda is to get blanket shore-to-shore approval of an act that is deviant (my word) and sinful. When I think about the likely forthcoming repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", I am wondering, are their really hundreds, nay, thousands of practicing homosexuals who are beating down the recruiters' doors? It seems to me the popularity of this issue is driven by the fact that it presents the homosexual agenda with a platform...another venue...to insert words like "fair" and "equality" into the public forum. Since they have failed at persuading public opinion (see states' votes on marriage definition), the next recourse is to use the courts, the legislature, and changes to the law. In other words, "if we can't get the nation's blessing, then we'll just legislate acceptance." (Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent.)

I think the basis for the diverging views here, Societyvs, is that you seem to base all your points on the belief that homosexuality is a natural-born attraction in some. I would argue it is a matter of a number of family (upbringing) and social factors. Either way though, we don't use the word "homosexual" to describe a mere proclivity, temptation or inclination (all the proclivities and inclinations and temptations discussed here find their root in mankind's human nature, i.e. sinful nature), ...we use this word to describe an act. And acts are elective.

Here's a handy-dandy way to check if a particular practice is sinful and should be avoided and overcome: If it is something the world, popular culture, and most celebrities applaud, it's usually a safe bet to avoid it and wise to oppose. ;)


William Wilcox,

for every one scholar you name that supports homosexuality as a sin, i can name 6 that i've studied with that support it and not to mention the legions of scientists as well. but i don't wanna play the name game. if you would have checked my links, you would have seen the names anyway.

David Hawkins,

as a seminarian and future pastor, i've done a lot of work on this. i've been a christian all my life and have experienced him on a daily basis. i agree that there are evils in the world and that it's a scary, sinful place out there and we're captives of it.

however, based on your rubric: being hetero is also a sin. afterall, it is something that we DO. and Paul and Jesus both were not married or partnered in anyway. they stood against excess and exploitation, they sought liberation. they spoke for authentic relationships.

i do not believe for one second that the mere fact of being LGBT is a sin, as do you... where we disagree is the action. there are heterosexuals who sin through sex just as there are LGBT members. however, if in a relationship that is free from excess and exploitation that is authentic, committed, and monogamous, i fail to see the sin in any action they may do in or out of the bedroom.

while y'all speak a great game, ya fail miserably. i could name some resources to help, but y'all don't want liberation. ya want stasis where you're old biases are "normalized." i'm not having it. it's an injustice and i won't stand for it.

“I would add one thing in there, you seem to think the practice of being gay and homosexual behavior can somehow be seperated? I find that strange.” (Societyvs)

I am not saying that the practice of being gay and homosexual behavior can be separated. I am saying there is a distinction between heterosexuals and homosexuals when it comes to the subject of fulfillment.

If I were to introduce myself as, “I’m Scott, I’m a heterosexual,” most people would find that strange. On the other hand, if I were to introduce myself as, “I’m Scott, I’m gay,” this is suddenly not strange.

Herein lies a large part of the misunderstanding between the ‘gay’ community and the Christian community. Heterosexuals, for the most part (though I’m sure there is bound to be someone out there who would disagree), do not define themselves by their sexual proclivities, in other words, heterosexuals don’t equate fulfillment with a sexual activity. That isn’t to say heterosexuals don’t have their own problems. For example, there is a tendency among Christians, particularly among church-going Christians, to place a lot of pressure on single people, that somehow, if you’re not married or desiring to get married, there is an unspoken feeling that something must be wrong with you.

But to get back to the issue at hand, when it comes to the subject of fulfillment, we need to ask ourselves ‘Are we more than our sexual proclivity?” The answer is yes, there is a distinction between being and doing; we are indeed, much more than just sexual beings. And this point needs to be nailed down for me to proceed with my argument.

As for Mr. Hawkins, I would recommend you read Matthew 5:28. I believe you’ll find that Jesus teaches us that we are guilty of sinning as soon as we desire to do it. We don’t have to go on to follow through, we’ve already committed to it in our hearts. I found your diatribe to come across as self-righteous. The homosexual issue is not a logic problem waiting to be solved; all homosexuals are God’s creation and Jesus is quite big enough to forgive them, something I will go on to show as soon as Soc gets on the same page as me. And while it is true that only good people will go to heaven, the problem with thinking such as yours, is that none of us are good, no not one, only God is good. How then are we to get to heaven? You may want to ponder the answer to that question.

Soc, are we on the same page then?

"If I were to introduce myself as, “I’m Scott, I’m a heterosexual,” "

because you're priviledged. you also don't have to explain your cultural stance either because odds are, you're white. if you're black, first nations, hispanic, etc. odds are you have to explain a lot of why you do things.. at least, that is what my nonwhite friends tell me.

Scott, you and i are cool though from there on out.

Was Jude quoting from the book of Enoch or was he quoting what was common knowledge about Enoch? Even if Jude was quoting from a non-inspired book, the parts he quoted could be true and correct without the entire book needed to be inspired.

In the same way Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18 also quote other books, but it is not an issue for inerrancy, much less Paul quoting Greek poets in Acts.

Ezekiel 16 is an Allegory of Unfaithful Jerusalem and nowhere does Ezekiel say it was for those particular sins that the real Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

If you go back a little you see that just before describing those particular sins of Sodom, Ezekiel makes it clear which city he is really talking about, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations’” (Ezekiel 16:1-2) and a little further on Jerusalem was further condemned as worse than her elder sister, Samaria, and her younger sister, Sodom.

So the Sins Ezekiel mention were the sins of Jerusalem, sins that were also part of the very many sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But that is not to say Jerusalem was also a hotbed of sexual perversions and every other kind of immorality like Sodom and Gomorrah and which finally led to their destruction.

For obvious reasons the homosexual lobby want to downplay the sexual nature of Sodom and Gomorrah's sins so they try and make it appear that Ezekiel 16:49 was the only things Sodom and Gomorrah did wrong.

The Bible as a whole however shows that homosexuality was the principle sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ezekiel simply enumerates additional sins they were guilty of and shared in common with the rest of Israel, particularly Jerusalem.

Luke and Societyvs:

Since Luke is with me so far, I’ll assume Soc is too, therefore, a quick recap of the points made earlier:

(1) To be a Christian means to know Christ, to be in Him, found in Him, have a relationship with Him

(2) We are all broken, hurting, sinful people who need Christ, even after we come to a saving knowledge of faith in Him.

(3) When heterosexuals say, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” they assume a distinction between who they are and what they do. With the homosexual, who identifies a practice with who they are, what they hear the Christian then saying is that they (the homosexual) has no right to exist. This is a truly threatening position for the Christian to take and does not square with what Christ teaches us about love and forgiveness.

(4) Regarding the notion of fulfillment, can we find it if the Bible tells us we are not allowed to practice certain activities, particularly sexual activities? This question finds an answer way back in the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden, where clearly there is a distinction between being and doing. Therefore, all human beings are much, much more than the sum of their sexual proclivities.

The next thing to come to grips with is the genetics question; i.e. the nature/nurture debate. Whether science ever isolates the so-called ‘gay’ gene, or if it is ultimately proven that ‘gayness’ is something formed during the early years of one’s childhood, whichever way this plays out is irrelevant. Why? Because we are all God’s creation.

So whether we are genetically inclined to certain types of behaviors or not, as humans, and this is where the fulfillment argument comes into play, we don’t have to actualize those behaviors. In other words, we can learn to control ourselves or we can let ourselves go. Eating and obesity come to mind as good examples of this. Not only do we have to eat to survive, but also many of us tend to overeat, while some of us allow ourselves to get way out of control and, well, we see the results among some of our larger fellow human beings. Do we hate them? Find them repulsive? We shouldn’t, but some people do because they fail to see the hurting, sinful, broken person inside. I think Christ put it best when he said that we are good at pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye, but we fail to see the mote in our own eye.

There is another part to the nature/nurture debate and that is that the Bible tells us we are all sinners. This is why I say the answer is irrelevant. We are all sinners, plain and simple. It is in our nature. To make matters worse, the Gospel tells us that we are unable to change ourselves. Yet we have hope, because what is impossible for us is possible for God. Indeed, He tells us in Jeremiah 31:33 that He will put his law in our minds and write it on our hearts. In that same verse, God also tells us that He will take us into a relationship with Himself, He will be our God, and we will be His people. God is telling us here that He bears the responsibility for changing us. This is backed up in Hebrews 11:16, and yet again in Revelation 21:3.

So what do we do in the meantime? Between now and the time when God wipes away our tears, when there is no more death, mourning, crying, or pain? (Revelation 21:4) God answers that question for us too in Matthew 37:38-39. First, we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Second, we love our neighbor as if he/she was our self. I think that second commandment is where Christians fail miserably when it comes to the entire homosexual debate.

For instance, I can only wonder at the comments that would be made if an openly gay couple walked into a Bible believing church because they were curious about the Gospel and the promises of Christ. I think Mr. Hawkins in his earlier posts gave us a fair representation of the mental attitude prevalent among many of our fellow Christians. Yet, no matter which side of the nature/nurture debate you come down on, studies have been done on the brains of sexually addicted people, including those of gay men. It was found that a certain lobe was swollen, which again leads to the question of genetics or upbringing, but since sexually addicted heterosexual men also had a swelling, the conclusion was that the brain is like a living muscle. We can train it to expect certain stimuli, and once it is trained, if you deny it that stimulus, it will crave it. Imagine the force of those cravings when someone would try to deny him or herself a behavior that had formed over a period of several years. I think we can all relate to the statement, “I couldn’t help myself.” Luke, in one of his earlier posts pointed this very thing out when he asked about the homosexual man who tried to stop his behavior but found that he could not. Therefore, whether homosexuality is genetically induced or a result of upbringing, to the homosexual the answer doesn’t matter, as far as he/she is concerned, it is a part of who he/she is. Furthermore, for the sake of argument, let’s say homosexuality is nothing but a choice and those who engage in it are merely choosing to engage in what amounts to a sexual addiction. The problem is that it takes 9 years for the brain to go back to ‘normal.’ That means 1 of 2 things: one, there would have to be an immediate ‘healing’ of the brain, something akin to healing a shriveled hand, or two, they are going to have to be on a path of discipleship for 9 years.

Again, no matter which side of the nature/nurture debate you come down on, the Church is an important and necessary part of getting help to all sinners. We need to reach out to the homosexual community, not shun it. We need to understand them, not castigate them. I was a lost sinner at one time, someone reached out to me and God, in His amazing grace and wisdom, drew me to Him. That same miracle can occur in the homosexual community because the Jesus I know is big enough, and gracious enough, to save them as well.

And so I come to my final point: forgiveness. None of us is good. We all have wicked, evil hearts within in us. If only good people get to heaven and none of us is good, how then do we get there? 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 contains the Gospel: Christ died for our sins and was raised the third day. That’s the Gospel, the good news that gives us joy, hope, and peace. The answer to how we get to heaven is that we get there not because we are perfect, but because we are forgiven.

The only remaining question: how many times are we to forgive our brothers and sisters who fail daily, just as all of us do, including Mr. Hawkins. This was answered by Christ Himself in Matthew 18:21-22. Should we then, as forgiven sinners, and under the full grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, tell the homosexual who tries to stop and finds himself, or herself, unable to do so, that he is doomed, that God has given him over to a life of lust and sin and there is no hope unless he suddenly stops sinning? I don’t think so because I fail to see the love of Christ in such a statement. It is self righteous, self-deceiving, bigoted and just plain wrong to take such a position. But don’t take my word for it, read the verses following Matthew 18:21-22, or what is commonly referred to as the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

I rest my case and my hope is that all who read it realize that I didn’t invent this answer, God did. He provided a way for us to get to Him, and he provided it to all who would believe. May everyone find rest in Him. God bless all who are searching, for He is true and hears your cry. We live in a broken, fallen, cursed world, and as Christians we hold the answers, the truth that others who were lost like we once were are looking for. We need to share it, not hide it behind a cloak of bitterness and judgment.

Ramsden tells an instructive story: a Christian friend of his was in a train in India talking with a Hindu priest. The priest told his friend that Christians weren’t going to heaven because they ate beef. The friend asks the priest, “What else would you say is sinful?” The priest went on for 20 minutes and then said,”Now I come to think of it, we have all sinned.” It is a shame that some Christians fail to see this.

I’ll end with 1 John 2:9 “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

(My apologies for the length, I am not getting here as frequently as preferred.)

Luke,

>>”yet isn't this conversation just a distraction from the real matter at hand, namely heterosexuals behaving badly?...

The real matter at hand is sin. It really doesn’t matter what “h” prefix you stick in front of the word “sexual.”

>>”… we don't really want to look at that now do we? best blame the gays.”

Blame gays for what?

>>”as a seminarian and future pastor, i've done a lot of work on this. i've been a christian all my life and have experienced him on a daily basis.”

I think that is great. We'll be spending eternity together. Really.

(A gentle tip: feeling a need here to post your credentials at the outset of a very opinionated post is very telling. Is this supposed to lend more weight to what you have to say or mean its more accurate? Does it, in your view, substantiate your perspective over another when perspectives diverge? We discuss here based on the merits of one’s argument and line of reasoning, generally speaking. Do your personal credentials you included mean that your perspective trumps all the others here…or just the ones you disagree with?

>>”however, based on your rubric: being hetero is also a sin. afterall, it is something that we DO.”

No, not being hetero or homo, Luke. Being human. We are born INTO a sinful nature. Now, please do not misconstrue my meaning here: being human is not a sin. Christ, too, was the Son of Man. Being a human “post-Eden”, however, means we are born under Adam and Eve’s curse. We didn’t pay enough attention to the Noahic or Mosaic Covenants, so God elected to give us all an opportunity to be His friends again by coming down here Himself, as one of us, by demonstrating Divine character..the perfect example, if you will, of just what He would like to see from us, His most loved Creation…afterall, mankind was created in His image. He also demonstrated just how much He loved us. He knew judgment was forthcoming on all humanity…His Judgment. In His perfection, he cannot turn a blind eye to our blemish: sin. By taking our punishment for us, He satisfied His own wrath for our sin. Christ is simultaneously the Judge and the receiver of His own judgment…otherwise, without accepting Christ’s punishment and death in place of what is actually supposed to be our punishment and death, it WILL be on us. Christ paid the debt we each owe. His hope is that we each acknowledge that He did that for us, and embrace Him as Lord and Savior. The Father’s Kingdom is, then, accessible to us. Do you disagree with any of this? (I suspect you may disagree with just what qualifies as a “blemish” on our character.)

>>”i do not believe for one second that the mere fact of being LGBT is a sin, as do you... where we disagree is the action.”(Luke)

What?

>>”there are heterosexuals who sin through sex just as there are LGBT members.”

Of course there are. Did you even read my post?

>>”however, if in a relationship that is free from excess and exploitation that is authentic, committed, and monogamous, i fail to see the sin in any action they may do in or out of the bedroom.”

I’m afraid (really) that you’re re-writing your Bible, here, Luke. If you, using the Bible as the standard, genuinely fail to see sin in “any action” people (of any persuasion whatsoever) may do in or out of the bedroom…then I assert your line of reasoning here is relativism on parade. In other words, “if you don’t like something about a particular religion that upholds standards of human behavior, just change it enough so that you’re comfortable with it.” It is a dangerous view, in my view. (Luke, let’s be clear about something – I hope. We as a nation are incredibly tolerant. Uber-conservatives are not breaking into people’s homes and bedrooms to see who they can catch committing a particular sin. You seem you attempt to paint that type of picture based on the verbiage of your posts. What the activist homosexual community is seeking is for everyone, and I do mean everyone, to either march with them, or otherwise shut up, as they seek to engage components of the nation’s legal system in order to legislate the embracing of a particular lifestyle that most in this country believe to be immoral.

Luke, there are aspects and teachings and principles and tenets that comprise the whole of the Christian faith as presented in the Scriptures that I would prefer not be in there. I don’t like certain aspects of it. But I either believe what is in the Scriptures, or I can reject it all. If I believe it to be true, I have a distinct responsibility to make efforts to adjust every componenet of my life to adhere (and as a genuine Christian, I would want to make those changes.) What we cannot do is gloss over or tear out parts of it we are uncomfortable with, and still maintain the integrity that is Christ.

Truth is no respecter of our personal comfort zones.

We do not access Heaven on our own terms.

We do not get a vote.

We do, however, have opportunity, by the grace and mercy and sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

>>”while y'all speak a great game, ya fail miserably. i could name some resources to help, but y'all don't want liberation. ya want stasis where you're old biases are "normalized." i'm not having it. it's an injustice and i won't stand for it.”

…Liberation from what exactly? From Biblical standards, Christian character, and Truth?

With all due respect to a future “man of the cloth”, Christ has already done the liberating. Amy addressed that in her posts about being a slave to sin.


Scott Graeff,

>>”As for Mr. Hawkins, I would recommend you read Matthew 5:28. I believe you’ll find that Jesus teaches us that we are guilty of sinning as soon as we desire to do it. We don’t have to go on to follow through, we’ve already committed to it in our hearts.”

(This is what I like least about blogging - it's hard to know when someone is being genuine, so I say to you up front I am being genuine when I tell you I mean no disrespect, Scott, but your interpretation of an objective absolute is clouded by your subjective assertion.)

Matthew 5:28 - But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

I re-read my post that your comment refers to. By using words like proclivity and inclination, you see those as synonyms for Lust?” Seeing another person and thinking he/she’s attractive is not lusting. That’s instinct. The heart isn’t involved in that. And human beings can control that insofar as we can decide not to further occupy our mind/heart with it and venture into the territory Matthew 5:28 speaks to. However, if one keeps his or her mind occupied with that initial inclination, and actually begins to covet, obsess, and LUST after what he just initially saw as attractive, that’s the adultery Jesus is talking about. Failure to stifle the initial instinct of “She’s-good-looking” and allowing it to venture into the more dangerous realm of perhaps actually thinking of her without a particular article of clothing, etc…i.e. dwelling upon it, results in lusting and "setting the heart upon." Once the mind has permitted the sexual instinct to “set up shop” (and dominate one's thinking – see below) on a particular “object of desire,” then we have the sin Jesus is referring to in Matthew.

This may be helpful. I found it on Bibletools.org. It is the “forerunner commentary” on Matthew 5:28…

“The word translated "lust" in Matthew 5:28 means "to set one's heart upon." But when the object desired is legitimately beyond the reach of the admirer, when admiration becomes a desire to get, one breaks the commandment. Desire of and by itself is not wrong, but desiring what belongs to another to such a degree that it dominates our thinking and motivates us to take other unlawful actions to possess the object is sin. Such covetousness often suppresses the far more important things of God—and may even cause one to forget them altogether.”


>>” I found your diatribe to come across as self-righteous.”

Which part(s) do you think are un-Christian? (I know you used the term “self-righteous”, but self-righteousness is perhaps a chief antithesis of Christianity, hence my use of the term “un-Christian.”)

>>”And while it is true that only good people will go to heaven, the problem with thinking such as yours, is that none of us are good, no not one, only God is good. How then are we to get to heaven? You may want to ponder the answer to that question.”

Respectfully, are you being serious here? I genuinely cannot tell. (My apologies for asking, if you are.)

Scott, none of us is good insofar as being able to get to Heaven on one's own meritous behavior, i.e. being a "good person." That’s the crux of the Gospel message. If we could get there by “being good”, that negates the need for Christ. Realizing we cannot get to heaven by "being good" is the fundemental basis for the whole of the Christian faith. It's the entire reason God became a man. And the reason the Bible exists.

What receiving Christ does as well, is literally change one’s heart so that he or she actually desires to do good, despite what the rest of the world endorses. One’s heart/mind is renewed supernaturally; one has a new and higher standard and a clearer (and accurate) worldview. Christianity, as some word it, is a relationship with Christ. But there’s more to follow. Christianity is not (and should not be "marketed" as) a feel-good, do-good system of beliefs. It is the fruit of that relationship that translates into every other aspect of one’s life: their attitude, disposition, demeanor, character, how they behave, how they work, how they interact with others, their friends, and family..how they view their entire past, present and future. And that fruit must be nurtured and cultivated. One must go further than the milk of the Gospel and discover the meat therein. The Gospel is the starting line, not the checkered flag...insofar as we are here on earth. Christianity isn’t just an idea about the afterlife and how to go to heaven instead of hell. It’s a worldview that that informs us, literally, about all that is.

If you really think it is true some people will go to heaven because they are good, suggesting that some are good enough to do that, while others are not…and God is not the only “good” being, but some people are good, too, in that regard (which is what I glean from your statement)…simply put, what you purport is not Christianity.

You asked, “How then do we get to heaven?” What did/do you think the Bible teaches us is the answer to that question?

>>"I’ll end with 1 John 2:9 “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

Do you think that anyone posting here is hating?

Calling sin by name is not hate, but love.

Let's keep reading from 1 John...

2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

(Please, do not pull a Bible verse out of context...to illustrate a subjective preference. It's often detrimental for those who want to grasp the bigger picture.)

Mr. Hawkins,

I don’t like blogging for the same reason you do not: it is hard to tell if someone is genuine or not. For instance, I’ve been accused of many things, but you are the first to tell me I don’t purport true Christianity: “simply put, what you purport is not Christianity.” I’ll take it at face value that you are being genuine; you can be assured that I am as well.

Another point we agree on: engaging in same sex is pointed out as sin in the Bible.

Point 3 we agree on: Matthew 5:28, I have nothing to quibble over in the way you presented it.

So where’s the problem and why did I say what I said. Let me say up front that I’m not so sure we’re all that far apart on this issue, except in the way we are communicating it. So I’ll quote you if I may:

“That said,(and I would maintain that this is the crux of the debate) we must understand that homosexuality is an act, not merely an attraction or proclivity. We all struggle with attractions, proclivities, tendencies of thought, et al, that, if acted upon, would constitute a sin. That, we are born into. (Sex between an unmarried man and woman is a sin driven by proclivity and lack of control. In fact, ANY sex that takes place outside of a husband/wife marriage is sin.) The temptation itself is NOT the sin, but the fulfillment of that temptation...the manifestation of a said proclivity (see Galatians ch. 5)…..I may have a proclivity to approach a woman socially other than my wife, to get out of my car and pummel some joker who cut me off in traffic, to intentionally refrain from reporting a portion of my income to my CPA, to share a bit of gossip about a co-worker in the lounge, to lie about a sick day and go play 9 holes, or attend a friend's bachelor party that promises to cator to my heterosexual proclivities with its hired entertainment. All of these are things I might think about and desire. The issue is whether or not I can get a handle on the temptation...the proclivity. A person may have an attraction to another of the same gender. But getting all of these proclivities under control and NOT seeing them through to fruition is the task at hand. That's why I need the power of God. And that's why I've made Christ Lord. I couldn't go at it alone. My behavior would be writing checks my soul couldn't cash.

The genuine issue for this country with regard to the majority's rejection of homosexual behavior (granted there are extremes that do not entail Christ's example) is not that Christian's are looking for "Biblical" excuses to, as you put it, justify "bigotry/hatred/exclusion/and to some degree, violence.

The real issue, the real opposition, is that we are not going to sit idly by and condone a national embracing of the homosexual lifestyle; which, consequently, is what I think same-sex marriage is truly about….”

This is the part of (what I labeled) your diatribe that smacks of self-righteousness to me. You start by saying when we are tempted we have a choice: 1) we can actualize said temptation and cross over from temptation to sin, or 2) we can contain ourselves and therefore not sin. If that is a fair assessment, we are in complete agreement so far.

But then you get into the notion of the majority’s rejection, and not sitting idly by, condoning the homosexual lifestyle, which to me comes across as setting up an us versus them attitude. Then only a few paragraphs later you say, “I think the basis for the diverging views here, Societyvs, is that you seem to base all your points on the belief that homosexuality is a natural-born attraction in some. I would argue it is a matter of a number of family (upbringing) and social factors. Either way though, we don't use the word "homosexual" to describe a mere proclivity, temptation or inclination (all the proclivities and inclinations and temptations discussed here find their root in mankind's human nature, i.e. sinful nature), ...we use this word to describe an act. And acts are elective.”

It sounds as if you’re lumping an act, an agenda, and all homosexuals into the same category. So let’s go back to a major part of the foundation you set up earlier in your discourse. “However, at some point, we know God simply may turn some over to that sinful nature, at which point they are perhaps beyond the point of no return. The proclivity takes over entirely. (But that is another discussion. ...I am reminded of the Native American - I think - life lesson where a young brave asked his chief about becoming a man. The chief told him inside every man are two wolves tearing at each other in a life and death struggle: one good, the other bad. When the young brave asked him, "Which one wins?" the chief answered, "The one you feed.")”

What I get out of all of this is that you think homosexuals are a logical problem waiting to be solved, that they are engaged in willful, deviant, sinful behavior, they have an agenda to get us to try to accept it if for no other reason than that they are born the way they are, and furthermore, all they have to do for you to accept them is to stop their sinful behavior.

My reaction to that is, “are you yourself perfect then?” Or do we all need daily forgiveness and cleansing? Was not Jesus telling us we also need to forgive our brothers ‘seventy times seven’ if need be, just as we are forgiven, in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant that begins in Matthew 18:21?

If I’ve read something into what you say that isn’t there, I apologize, but this is why I said what I did.

Now then, you ask if I think anyone posting here is hating. I do; not because they are calling sin what it is, but because of the strong feelings on this subject and the way in which we Christians tend to approach it. This is not an us versus them issue, that we are somehow better than them because God has given them over to their lust, or that we should embrace their lifestyle at the expense of Christ. Somewhere in all of this rhetoric, we tend to loose sight of the good news side of the Gospel; i.e. that there is forgiveness of sin. We live in a fallen world filled with broken, hurting, sinful people. When we say to the person who identifies him or herself as homosexual, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” (and please do not think I’m hanging my hat on the word hate in that phrase) we need to be aware of what we mean by that, or anything we say for that matter, in the mind of the homosexual.

When heterosexuals say that, they assume a distinction between what they do and who they are. What a homosexual, who identifies himself with an act/lifestyle, hears is that we Christians don’t think they have a right to exist. I’d say that is very threatening and a bit on the hateful side. (For a more thorough discussion of this particular point, read my earlier posts.)

Regarding my comment that only good people go to heaven, the problem is that none of us our good. I’m not sure how you glean that I think some people are good enough when the word none is used in what I said. I’m going to give you a pass on this one, not because I’m some sort of magnanimous fellow, but because I think the point was made the first time around, others saw it, and it really isn’t worth arguing about now.

Point taken on your criticism regarding my use of 1 John 2:9.

David Hawkins,

me? re-writing the bible? i thought that was the conservatives that we doing that? that's cute. sorry, no, we disagree entirely. weird thing is, we started with the same bias and hetero-priviledged starting point, yet the bible seems to condone your bigotry and yet somehow changed mine. wonder why that is?

peace to you.

-Scott:
"When heterosexuals say that, they assume a distinction between what they do and who they are. What a homosexual, who identifies himself with an act/lifestyle, hears is that we Christians don’t think they have a right to exist"

that's cute, but it's a logical fallacy and a gross hypocritical look. we are defined by our relationships... go ahead, try to describe yourself without using a relationship... can't do it, can you? we are Christians because of our relationship with Christ. we are hetero because of our opposite sex relations. no two ways of getting around it.

Luke,

I have to wonder if you ever read my earlier post on that point. I would say you did not, especially since you told me you were cool with what I had written, including that very point. Also, I would point out that you, me, and any other sinner out there, none of us are logical problems waiting to be solved by someone who comes along and says, "you're cute, but here's what is wrong with how you think. Problem solved." If only it were that easy.

Please go read the entire point I made and then if you think I'm all wet, by all means, fire away at me. Until then, I am not going to reargue the point. Furthermore, If you ever want to reach out to the homosexual community, then you are going to have to understand them. Smarter minds than I, including those who have come out of the same-sex community, too often say that the homosexual community identifies themselves and who they are with an act, i.e. engaging in same sex intercourse. Whether that is logical or not is completely irelevant. I think it a bit preposterous to say that because it is a logical fallacy, problem solved. If you think for a moment that saying 'hate the sin, love the sinner,' isn't telling the gay person that you don't think he/she has a right to be, then you are grossly misinformed and do not understand the communication gap between Christians and gays. Don't believe me, contact a ministry that reaches out to the homosexual community.

I guess i didn't read the other posts, i just responded to that particular one. my bad; i confess my sin.

there is no "gap" between Christian and Gay as you can be both. my church is UCC ONA and without our LGBTQ community, we wouldn't have a church. we are that out reach. we sponsor a battered women's home and an AIDS alliance and have heard many, many stories.

second: you are defined by your relationships. you, me, gays, straights, blacks, whites, all of our language is based on relationships within space and time, marking who we are by what we do. while WE are not a logical problem waiting to be solved, our thought processes are. my argument is that EVERY "community identifies themselves and who they are with an act" whether it is who they engage in sex, where they work, what they believe or how they vote.

but scott, i guess that's okay, cause y'all didn't check my links either. not one click response from this website. so i guess we're all sinners as you claim, because that is what we do. and since i'm a male and you're a male, you're sinning with a same-sex person. would this be a "gay sin"?

societyvs has Buddhist mind and is blind at the subject not knowing Gods plan.....He cant believe it because he is not willing to take responsibility for society....

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