A Defining Issue for the 21st Century Church

Vantage Point
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In the past several weeks, issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons and the church have been at the forefront of my mind.

The topic is important to me because my sister, who is not a Christian, is openly gay. My wife and I have spent a lot of time with her and her partner, Kate, over the past year, and we’ve had several really good conversations about their lives, their relationship, and their experiences at the hands of Christians and the church.

LGBT persons, and the questions surrounding how the church interacts with them, are not going away.

So it pained me to learn that at Synod 2011 several weeks ago, the Christian Reformed Church decided not to “appoint a study committee to consider new biblical and theological resources that have been published since the denomination’s official stance was decided” (“No New Study of Homosexuality,” The Banner, July 2011).

The more I think, read about, and discuss the subject, the more I am convinced that homosexuality will be a, if not the defining theological issue for Christians my age (in their 20s) and younger.

Many young Christians are deeply passionate about their convictions regarding how the church should or should not respond to LGBT people. The recent New York State vote to allow same-sex marriages, for example, filled Facebook and Twitter with strong emotional statements of both support and concern by young adults.

That’s because our beliefs about the nature of homosexuality are drawn from how we see and interpret Scripture and what we believe about the nature of God, sin, justice, and creation itself—many of the core elements of our life of faith.

I believe, therefore, that synod missed an opportunity by not allowing a committee to examine LGBT issues in light of new research. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if synod is not willing to do so soon, it may jeopardize the very future of the CRC. Because LGBT persons, and the questions surrounding how the church interacts with them, are not going away.

The perception by many young adults is that Christians believe God does not love LGBT people. If our denomination cannot say that it continues to remain open to God and has a teachable spirit about how we interact with LGBT people, we’re going to risk alienating many of our young adults—gay and straight alike.

I am not suggesting that synod’s 1973 report on homosexuality is wrong, in part or in whole. I don’t believe I am well educated enough on the topic to make that kind of decision.

But I am suggesting that we as a church need to be open-minded. We need to come together as a community, and with humility and much prayer, examine the fresh scholarship, stories, and perspectives that God has made available to us. That way we can be certain our teaching, preaching, and care regarding LGBT persons is in line with God’s will as best as we understand it.

I know that an honest examination of homosexuality requires time, patience, and a willingness to risk altering beliefs and ideas we have grown up with.

I have found myself on a journey as I know and love my sister and her partner. I feel less sure of my convictions and find myself wrestling deeply with what I believe about God. It has been a beautiful and wonderful experience, and I believe my faith is much better off because of it.

I know I am not the only member of the CRC walking through this. Some are themselves LGBT, while many others care deeply for someone who is. We need wisdom and guidance from a church that we know is leading us with an open mind and an open heart.

It may very well be that after a fresh examination, the church decides nothing needs to change. But denying the CRC an opportunity to study, think, and pray about such a crucial issue as a community denies all of us the chance to continue reforming. And in the end, that will only hamper our witness as we speak to the world, and especially young adults, about homosexuality.

About the Author

A.J. Gretz is a student at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich. He and his wife, Anna, attend Oakdale Park CRC in Grand Rapids.

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Comments

We are not "denying the CRC the opportunity to study, think, and pray about such a crucial issue as a community..."

Synod said they weren't going to appoint a study committee. We're free to study, think, and pray about this or any other issue as much as we like, as this and the myriad other articles, studies, conversations, comments, blog posts, etc., etc. make clear.

In fact, relegating it to a study committee is a good way of taking the conversation *out* of the broader community of the CRC and vesting it in a rather small group.

I want to recognize and commend Mr. Gretz for having the courage to raise this matter. It needs to considered openly. Given that Mr. Gretz is a seminary student, he did this a no small risk to his professional reputation as a future minister. For too long, those who have also felt that another look should be taken at what has informed the CRC's position on homosexual relationships dared not say much out loud knowing full well this would risk harsh condemnation and allegations of heresy. I particularly appreciate Mr. Gretz' account of his willingness to listen and and commitment to continue to love.

It seems there are always those who want to keep courting the sin of homosexuality. Until it leads to consent. And then the consent will lead to conception. And the conception will lead to consummation. In other words LSD-Lust-Sin-Death. It's been said, "Sin fascinates, then assassinates. Thrills then kills."

"For from within, out of the heart of men, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man." Mark 7:21-23

"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." James 1:14-16

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:21

The church needs to not shrink back, but continually and faithfully proclaim the pure gospel of repentance from sin, and the faith that leads to grace in Christ alone for salvation. Whether popular or not, sin is still sin, in the 21st Century.

I wonder if the opposite is true -- this WON'T be the defining issue, at least for my generation (30s), because we've already moved past ostracizing and stigmatizing homosexuality, as well we should. Just as in politics, where gay marriage is only a mobilizing issue to older voters, because to younger ones it's a given. Only older generations are left to devote energy to these tired battles. And when they don't, as Synod 2011 didn't, we younger generations just scratch our head at what they're so afraid of.

I am encouraged to see this article. I would like to consider the CRC my church home, but until it understands and accepts my sexual orientation without any backhanded comments about how I must live my life, I cannot. Just as I took time to come to terms with my sexual orientation, I believe the church needs to come to terms with the fact that gay and lesbian Christians who have long-term committed relationships can do so while honouring God. I hope the CRC will in the future be able to dialogue with and consider the viewpoints of gay Christians such as myself. At the same time, I understand that for some CRC congregations this journey has hardly begun and will take some time.

Very well written and thought out article. A position paper from 1973 should be considered an article from antiquity.

Very difficult topic for the church no doubt but running from it is, I believe, dangerous. Many of us are looking for leading in this arena.

Dera

I am glad that this topic has been addressed in the CRC denomination, or even in the church for that matter. I have now come to believe that we treat certain sins that we haven't committed worse than the ones we are familiar with. But in reality... An idolator can lust after money or control or pride after something they desire, even the opposite sex. In this case, it is the same sex. What makes a serial killer less sinful than a homosexual? We are ALL FALLEN, and in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ.
Everyone needs to experience God's grace, not just some people. Didn't Jonah, THE PROPHET, shun the Ninivites and think they did not deserve God's mercy? How is it that the church has become extremely legalistic that even so called Christians in the church are having a hard time being real with each other and point to Christ's perfection and not their own?
It is true that homosexual may sin. But if they truly repent and come to Christ, who are you (Christians, Legalistic Pharisical Teachers of the Law) to condemn them? Don't you realize that your unloving and unaccepting behavior may lead some homosexuals to commit suicide because of their ungodly community? Have you ever stop tothink that you might be committing murder when you condemn and kick out a child of God from the church just because you think you are so much better than they are? Have you ever thought of them as a child of God? A person who may have had been sexually abused, or neglected and abandoned by their parents? If you look at these issues you will see that you are just as broken as they are. So who are you to judge your brother or sister? Love them with open arms and help lead them to Christ....
Because "love covers over a multitude of sins..."
There will be many married women who are Christians struggling with unwanted same sex attraction. How are you going to treat them? Are you going to put them in one if the LGBT category?
Shame on you! Remember that we are ALL CHILDREN OF GOD IN NEED OF A SAVIOR!

After an absence of the topic of Homosexuality in The Banner,and reactions to letters written on the topic,for a few years, I am astonished to see the topic rear its head once more.
As a gay man, with a CRC background, one really wonders why would any self respecting Lesbian or Gay Man bother with the CRC. It took me years of therapy to rid myself of the CRC philosophy that I was not good enough, would never measure up to their doctrine,covenant, grace, all these terms used by the CRC, are put downs on a person (s) who is created in the image of our creator, a creator who does not create garbage, as you seem to constantly point out to members, never being "worthy" says who? It is obvious that many CRC members feel they have the right to call judgment on their fellow human beings.
Today I have been in a relationship with my partner for 33 years, we accept and respect all human beings as to who they are, we are surrounded by friends, and yes some family members who are willing to accept a person for who they are, without setting guidelines.

Ah, so much to comment on! Starting with Ian. You would like to consider the CRC your church home, but on your terms. I don't think it is a matter of the CRC not accepting gays and lesbians; it simply asks them to be celibate. It's been some years since I was a member of the CRC but the CRC also, at one time, expected unmarried "straights" to be celibate. Is this difficult? Of course it is! But is it unreasonable? Not according to the way we have read and understood Paul's letters. I am not including the directives in the OT because that would get us into a dietary laws that forbids us to eat bacon and lobster, although it can be pointed out that Peter in his vision saw that there was no longer such a division between "clean" and "unclean." But there is no evidence that Paul's admonition about homosexuality was ever negated by later Scripture passages.

A reasonable estimate is that at most 5-10% of the population is homosexual and their degree of homosexuality ranges from "hard wired" to choice of lifestyle. Are you now suggesting that the CRC should change its views on homosexuality to accommodate the 5-10%, while alienating a large portion of its membership? Is this not being selfish?

Now on to Natalie Won. I don't think it's so much a matter if treating some sins worse than others. You compare a serial killer with a [practising] homosexual]. It's my understanding that the CRC does not condone homosexual behaviour but it does not condone serial killing, pride, or gluttony either. In fact, it used to common practise to read the Ten Commandments to remind ourselves of our sinful nature. If you want to argue in the context of practising homosexuality that we are fallen and are in need of a Saviour, Jesus Christ, are you not admitting the practising homosexuality is a sin, like gluttony, pride, envy, etc. should be discouraged? I have an acquaintance who, regrettably, is a kleptomaniac. This person is "wired that way" just as some people are "wired" to be pedophiles. Are you not then drifting into the direction of Romans 6:1? In the final analysis, there is only one option: for the CRC (and other denominations)to condone homosexual behaviour either "in a long-term committed relationship" or as a string of "one night stands," the CRC has to decide that this behaviour is not a sin. By doing so, the CRC will most likely see another exodus, just as the ELCIC (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada) is facing now that it has agreed at its recent convention to allow the local option of the "blessing of same sex unions."

Finally, to Nathan Bierma. If this topic won't be a defining cause for your generation, why do you want to bother with the old fogeys in the CRC? I don't think that the older generation is "afraid"; the older generation genuinely cares for all its members and feels that homosexual behaviour is wrong, based on Scripture and that they cannot face God while condoning this behaviour. You may well try to pit the "younger generation" against the "older generation" but you will have to ask yourself what your reaction would be , twenty years down the road, when a sincere Christian man wanted to marry his daughter because he loved her and that, by that time, society was condoning this because, ten years earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled that multiple marriages were unconstitutional and that your denomination had already accepted a sister member with three husbands as full members.

Thank you for this article. I agree completely with Grezt. Without open-minded dialogue, hard issues cannot be examined.

Thank you, Mr. Gretz, for another excellent article that keeps this issue on the forefront of our theological thoughts. The most telling statement is that "The perception by many young adults is that Christians believe God does not love LGBT people." If LGBT people aren't loved by us, who will love them? I've found that many gay people live with an expectation of rejection. Let's not let the church be one of the rejectors.

Why all this talk about open-mindness, fresh scholarships, alternative beliefs? Examining LGBT issues in light of new research? Isn't God's word sufficient-enough? Has God changed his mind? Must we put our confidence in man's opinion over the living God? Has God's word changed from yesterday? Is homosexuality now up for debate? Is obedience to God's Word up for review? Didn't Jesus say,"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."? (Matthew 24:35) Don't we, "Have the word of the prophets made more certain..., as a light shinning in a dark place."? (2 Peter 1:19)

Why is the church being asked to search for peoples ideas, rather than God's? Can we heed Proverbs 2:1- ? "My son, if you accept MY words and store up MY commands within you...then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God... then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. Isn't it true that if we believed God's word in Romans 1, we would have to repent (turn from sin), and stop accusing God as being wrong?

Love is better than hate. Hope is better than fear. I think we need to deal with learning to love those that are different and not feel threatened by their lifestyle that one may not agree with.
There needs to be a readiness to discuss these issues or it will only lead to destructive feelings. I too, am disappointed that the church is not ready to discuss these issues but will have to at some point since they do not go away and we are dealing with real humans creating in god's image who have a right to love and be loved.

Ian wrote:

"I would like to consider the CRC my church home, but until it understands and accepts my sexual orientation without any backhanded comments about how I must live my life, I cannot."

Well, at least you're not beating around the bush. You want church on YOUR terms. You don't want to be told what you can and can't do. I wish more would be so honest. There are many churches out there that will be happy to oblige you, but let's hope the CRC never becomes one of them.

How about we all, whether gay or straight, desire a faithful and uncompromising interpretation of Scripture? Not hearing many calls for that from the gay lifestyle advocates. Why? Because it's tough to do so while compromising the daylights out of Paul's letters.

I don't know that the question is one of being open-minded so much as it is engaging in some much needed theological work. Three developments suggest that we need to revisit the 73 Report.

First, to its credit, the Report was responding to the public emergence of gays, however it was also written in a pre-AIDS culture. In the wake of AIDS we found that homosexuals had faces, that we knew them, that they were not in some sexual ghetto but living along side of us, our friends, our brothers. Or our sister, as Gretz notes. It seems so commonplace that we miss its significance: those whom we would call gay are right alongside of us in the public sphere. How the Church negotiates this new environment is critical -- there are conflicts aplenty -- so we should pick it up.

Second, as we got used to gays around us, in the past 40 years we also saw that self-identification as gay, "coming out" has moved down in age. Gay youth are a regular part of many high schools, including Christian schools. But the issue is not when one "comes out" but another, that of development. These kids are part of our congregations now, in our Sunday Schools, in our Cadet programs, in our preschools. If we are to take seriously the 73 Report's acknowledgement that homosexuality has a deep constitutional aspect, then in light of the changes in our culture we need more consideration about how we understand those who are part of our baptized community. This cries out for more theological and pastoral reflection.

And Baptism is the third part. As the decision on Children at the Lord's Table makes clear, the CRC is moving to something of an expansive understanding of Baptism. In turn, this puts us on a collision course with our understanding of homosexuality, e.g. an expansive view of Baptism could be read to allow for participation of gay youth in the Supper. Should it? What kind of fencing do we put up? This is an area that needs deep theological guidance.

To sum, I would suggest that the question of homosexuality and young adults is profoundly one about the meaning of Baptism and the promises we make.

I greatly appreciated this letter when I first read it. However, I would like to take Gretz's point a step or two further. I think the CRC ought to also reexamine adultery, drunkenness, idolatry, fornication, blasphemy, sorcery, lying, theft, and greed. After all, it’s not as though God has anything to say about these things in his Word.

To begin with. One time we had around our dinner table more pracizing gays than any who like us do not agree with their life style. Having said that, notice Mr. Gretz mentions only one of the abominations committed in the world--Canaan and Egypt.(Lev. 18) If one of the abomination mentioned is somehow sanctified during the New Covenant why not the others? Some people love animals as much as human beings.

Lev.is in one word about HOLINESS. Peter, and John in Revelation, quote Lev. in that connction.

Gretz states that the CRC may jeopardize its very future if synod is not willing to deal with the issue. He ignores the facts that thousands left the American Baptist because that church did NOT ignore the issue, as reported in The Banner. Neither did he mention that for the same reason 100,000 + left the Evangelical Lutheran Church last year which for some reason The Banner did not publish as far as I know.
Synod did not want to see THAT happening to the CRC.
Jake Prins

I left the CRC years ago to join the Protestant Reformed churches of America. My family and I left due to the women in office decisions. I am glad they decided not to have another study committee on LGBT, but the CRC has fallen so far in their thinking, I feel it will be only a metter of time before they approve of this aberrant life style. There should be nothing to study or talk about, rather there should be discipline to members who want to change the authority of Scripture in our lives. No conservative wants to "hurt" the people in the LGBT community, we want them to repent, believe and be saved from the destruction that comes with disobeying Gods' Word. If we "hurt" their feelings, so be it. As a conservative I get my feelings "hurt" all the time by people saying I am not "tolerant." Let us pray the church world will not be destroyed by this issue, but rather that it too, may repent of their unbiblical decisions and return unto the God of the Bible not a god of mans' imaginations.

Rose said,

"...but the CRC has fallen so far in it's thinking, I feel it's only a matter of time before they approve of this aberrant life style."

Your admonition is well needed in our denomination.

This type of article is all to common and represents a worldly framework, and blueprint for making decisions in the CRC. One of compromise, by seeking so called "authority" outside the Scriptures. Whether it be evolution, mother earth, women in office, gender neutrality, homosexuality, social justice, sustainability, etc.

As the author says...,"We as the church need to be open-minded...," risk altering beliefs and ideas...," "examine the fresh scholarships and stories of perspectives that God has made available to us."-through what? People's beliefs? Further we are encouraged to, " ...examine LGBT issues in the light of new research." Could this be the falling away from the faith that the apostle Paul warns Timothy about, I Timothy 4:1?

"You are my portion, O Lord: i have promised to obey your words."
"Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens."
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
"Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
"Righteous are you, O Lord and your laws are right."

Portions from Psalm 119

The Bible is so clear on this issue..discussing it over and over does nothing to change what it says..Satan just wants everyone to go round and round and distract from loving and praying for those who are caught in this trap..(praying for days and nights)

AJ is right..it will be and is a big issue..and I am sure many more big issues will come up...Trying to change what the Bible says and trying to get others to keep talking to get ones way is not how Christians deal with big issues..What does the Bible say??? Satan is alive and well and wants to kill steal and distroy..we dont talk and discuss about it..we expose it cause we know what the Bible says..

Do your sister a big favor AJ and let her hear from you that what she is doing is wrong..that is real love!! Then talk with her and find organizations who help and love..keep loving her and her mate..

When our parents said "NO..that is wrong" we always wanted to come back with "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!! did I hear you say that too?
So sorry to hear that the CR church will break up on this issue..Just like in the past history of the church if people don"t agree they just "up and leave"..So you going to do that too? Why not, our churches are full of those who upped and left...

Maybe the Holy Spirit ought to be invited into our discussions and into the church and then see what we do once we listen to Him.....

Ps..I had a friend who God healed of homosexuality but not of AIDS..He was very repentant of allowing this lifestyle to continue as long as it did but it was too late.. God is so loving and so merciful and forgiving..But you know what..He also is a just God..we better get serious with Him..He is the ANSWER!!

William Harris wrote:

"I don't know that the question is one of being open-minded so much as it is engaging in some much needed theological work. Three developments suggest that we need to revisit the 73 Report."

The real threat to the church isn't the gay lifestyle per se. It's people who say things like the above.

The question isn't about being open-minded, and it's not about "theological work." The question is, and should always be, whether or not homosexual intercourse is a sin in God's eyes. The only "developments" worth discussing would be suggestions that we've been interpreting the Bible incorrectly on that for the last two millennia. Certainly not impossible, but the evidence presented so far is far from strong.

"Theological work" is another name for "finding ways to ignore what Scripture clearly says."

Mr. Getz says,

"I am not suggesting that synod’s 1973 report
on homosexuality is wrong, in part or in
whole. I don’t believe I am well educated
enough on the topic to make that kind of
decision",

but at the same time effectively accuses those at synod who voted not to appoint another study committee on the subject of not being "open minded."

With respect, I would recommend to Mr. Getz that he read, or perhaps re-reads, the 1973 report, which clearly calls the church to love LGBT persons and not blame them for their orientation, but yet admonish them not to sin, just as it admonishes all Christians not to sin (adultery, theft, hate, covet, etc. etc.)

It might be the case that those who voted against creating a new study committee knew well the 1973 report, even knew well the "new biblical and theological resources that have been published since the denomination’s official stance was decided," and in that context decided the 1973 report remains an excellent report that reached well-founded conclusions.

It doesn't take a synod appointed study committee to study something, but it does take one, as a pratical matter, were the church to change its position on something of this nature. What Mr. Getz wants, but denies in a "kind of, sort of" way I consider disingenuous, is that the CRC dramatically change its position on the subject by declaring homosexual sexual activity to be God-honoring, and those who believe otherwise hateful/sinful. Indeed, the CRC doing that would be "defining," just as Mr. Getz suggests.

"...I would go so far as to say that if synod is not willing to do so soon, it may jeopardize the very future of the CRC."

I would go so far as to call that assertion absurd.

The CRC peaked out in membership in 1992 at about 316,000. The decision to ordain women in all offices of the church led to about 40,000 leaving the denomination within the next 3-4 years and we've seen another 20,000 or so go since then. (Note - I'm not saying the decision to ordain women was a faulty one, just pointing out its impact on membership in the CRC.) Many of those who remained were and are concerned that the next big push would be to approve of homosexual sex, and it seems they were right to be concerned.

If the CRC were to take the position Gretz is advocating - and in spite of his claims to the contrary, he is advocating approval of homosexual sex - at least 100,000 members would leave. I can think of at least 4 classes that would simply remove themselves from the denomination entirely. There is absolutely no way the CRC goes where Mr. Gretz wants it to go and retains more than half its current membership.

To the extent that young people are leaving the denomination, I have a hard time believing our position on homosexual sex even enters their minds. Music styles, entertainment, location (lots of places where there are no CRC congregations), and so on are more common factors.

I have not heard the people who want the CRC to discuss our position say anything about searching Scripture to be sure we have the correct understanding. Scripture has not changed and the Church has consistently held to the same interpretation.
I have not heard any of those who practice homosexual behavior admit they have sinned. Nor ask for help. I have not heard them make any attempt to understand why we hold to Biblical teaching. I have not heard them suggest that we should not have to carry the burden of our sins.

George Meier wrote:

"I have not heard the people who want the CRC to discuss our position say anything about searching Scripture to be sure we have the correct understanding. Scripture has not changed and the Church has consistently held to the same interpretation.

"I have not heard any of those who practice homosexual behavior admit they have sinned. Nor ask for help. I have not heard them make any attempt to understand why we hold to Biblical teaching. I have not heard them suggest that we should not have to carry the burden of our sins."

Really, George? Really? Not one has suggested searching scripture? You've never known a homosexual that knew his/her lifestyle was sinful?

If that's the case, you've clearly not talked to enough people. So please don't consider yourself representative of those of us questioning the ideals of this article. At least, you don't represent me.

We may be concerned about the attitude presented here, but that doesn't justify painting the "opposition" with such an absurdly broad brush.

Thanks to everyone for responding to the article. It has been really helpful for me to hear feedback from people coming from a variety of places.

To be brief, I just want to affirm my commitment to upholding the teachings of Scripture. I am not interested in reading my own thoughts or feelings into what the Bible says about homosexuality. Nor do I want to simply give in to the culture around us. I hope and pray for God's mercy, that that does not happen. And I love the CRC for it's deep commitment to interpreting God's word well.

To me, the real issue is how we interpret the passages of Scripture that relate to homosexuality. There are books out there like "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality" by Jack Rogers (a Presbyterian pastor) that make credible arguments for supporting monogamous same-sex unions. When I said I am not educated enough about this issue, I mean that I personally have not studied these arguments (and the counter-arguments which would defend the traditional Christian interpretation of these passages) well enough to know which interpretation is correct. So I really am not ready to advocate for a specific policy, or change in doctrinal position.

But these materials are out there. And as more and more of us grow up around LGBT persons, we are going to have to answer questions, and perhaps find ourselves raising questions of our own, about how those passages of Scripture are supposed to be interpreted. I know that not everyone is willing to consider the possibility that a book like Rogers' is correct, and that's ok. But as a future pastor/church planter, I would really like to see the denomination specifically address the arguments in his book (and others like it) in a way that is easily accessible to anyone who is interested.

Frankly, I am much more comfortable doing that as a denomination, with Synod's oversight. Because otherwise, individual Christians like me are left to wrestle with a lot of this information on their own. And that hardly seems the best way to ensure that God's word is properly understood.

I know the language in the original article is a bit hyperbolic. But I think if we don't do this, we really are going to alienate younger people, who have relationships with LGBT people, because they will feel like the Church is afraid to even consider what people like Rogers has to say. This is something the entire Church has to deal with. It's my hope and prayer that our denomination will recognize that sooner, rather than later.

Nimrod is mistaken to believe that I have advocated any walking away from biblical teaching.

The reason for reconsideration lies in the nature of the report itself, which identifies the ethical issue (homosexual behavior) and its cultural/creational context. While the former rests on the biblical testimony, the latter needs periodic assessment because of how we and our culture change. My previous post pointed to those issues that may need further reflection: today's public nature of same-sex relations, and the related understanding of same-sex attraction in development.

Because today is not like 40 years ago, we do need to be alert to the continuing call to be always reforming. As any sailor will tell you, one must adjust the sail to maintain the tack.

On the third point, let me be more explicit. It is difficult for me to see how the church's embrace of a robust baptismal theology does not lead to a softening of the 73 report. If we are not of a mind to overturn the teaching of 73, then we must be about the theological work of effecting a reconciliation between the two.

I did not say that people did not know what scripture says, I said they do not want us to concentrate on scripture. Scripture is clear they want to bring in other information to create doubt in our mind. The community that supports lgbt is cunning and deliberate. This is spiritual warfare and we must not let down our guard.

@AJ Gretz -

Having read Jack Rogers' book, I'd disagree with you again. His arguments are not credible. His fifth chapter (the one concerning what the Bible says) is an exercise in grasping at straws to make the Bible say what he wants it to say. His argument is certainly not based on Reformed principles of exegesis and often not even internally coherent.

His basic problem is his own inability to conceive of a way to be loving and kind to people who are homosexuals without approving of homosexual intercourse. Since he knows the Bible tells us to be loving and kind, he has to engage in these exegetical contortions to make it also approve of gay sex. The popularity of Rogers' book seems to be based on the same failure of imagination in many others.

But when did loving someone ever mean we have to approve of everything they do? Sometimes the most loving thing is to DISAPPROVE. I have never not loved my children, and that love has led me to disapprove of many things they've done or do. I would also say that my children's love for me has led them to disapprove of some of the things I do, too - and they've been right to disapprove.

Taking what the Bible says seriously, on its own terms, I see no way to avoid the conclusion that homosexual sex is sinful. That means the only real question to consider is how best to lovingly deal with those who sin - whether in this fashion or in the myriad other ways human beings have contrived to sin.

AJ
What they teaching you there at Calvin Sem??

With respect, AJ (and I mean that seriously), you do the CRC significant disservice when you use, as you say, "language in the original article is a bit hyperbolic," about an issue such as this.

Indeed, you repeat your error in your post below when you say, "There are books out there like 'Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality' by Jack Rogers (a Presbyterian pastor) that make CREDIBLE arguments for supporting monogamous same-sex unions." [cap emphasis mine]. If in fact, you are

"not educated enough about this issue,
I mean that I personally have not studied
these arguments,"

then how is it that you conclude these arguments are "credible"?

I realize you are in seminary at this point in your life, but it would be good if discussed first with your professors before bringing a hyperbolic torch into a house of dry tinder.

Lest you think I am, I am NOT being hyperbolic. I've been involved in more tragic CRC Church splits than I care to recall, and at the root of all of them, without exception, were hyperbolic responses to what the "church was doing" or what "CRC leaders were thinking."

And sometimes, "what the church was doing" and what "CRC leaders were thinking" were misimpressions based on someone's titillating writing about a sensitive issue -- not different at all from your Banner article on this subject.

So if you love your church, and I think you do, please think a few times more about the words you use PUBLICALLY (in the Banner no less) on subjects like this. If you in fact don't intend to do what you have effectively done in this article, then don't do it.

Doug -

I totally empathize with your concern about causing needless division/strife in churches. But the whole point of my original article was that I was disappointed the CRC didn't take up the challenge of studying this issue again. And until the denomination does, I think it is going to be a source of division and strife. Especially (but not just) for younger people living in urban areas, who know/interact more frequently with openly LGBT persons than perhaps the members of an older congregation in a farming community. And I agree that I don't want to see fighting based on "hearsay" or half-formed opinions.

What I actually said was "I personally have not studied these arguments (and the counter-arguments which would defend the traditional Christian interpretation of these passages) WELL ENOUGH to know which interpretation is correct."

I have read Rogers book, and I think his points about the Biblical passages regarding homosexuality are worth considering. However, I recognize that this is not in line with the traditional Church.

I don't feel like I, alone, am knowledgeable enough to know where/how Rogers might be wrong, if he is. But as someone who is very close to people who are gay, I feel like I need the support of the greater church community to help me, and other young people in the same position, know what to do with a book like Rogers'.

And that's why I want to see our denomination specifically address the ideas in books like "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality." It might very well be that his ideas are totally off-base. But I would feel much more certain and confident as a future pastor (not to mention family member and friend to LGBT persons) if I knew our denomination came to a conclusion after study in community with older, wiser people than me. And in the end, I think that would give younger people less of a reason to leave our denomination.

There will always be people who will fight or leave because they only want to hear what they want to hear. I'm certainly not saying we should just allow the world's attitudes to become our own. But if we demonstrate genuine open-mindedness, and a thorough, communal study of the Scriptures regarding homosexuality, I believe in the end our witness to both gay and straight people will be strengthened, regardless of what conclusion we come to.

I also realize that I may not be fully expressing what I mean when I say "not educated enough." I feel like I am capable of telling when an argument is poorly written or argued, or blatantly inconsistent with itself.

But the fact is Rogers book, and even the 1973 report, make historical and/or literary judgements about the biblical passages that I (and the average person) are just not knowledgeable enough to evaluate. The value for me of a denominational study is that people who are older, smarter, and more experienced than me can help lead our thinking. Parts of Rogers' book are a bit dense. If he's right, I want to know how to defend that. And if he's wrong, I want to know how to explain that. And I don't feel like I can really do that on my own.

@ AJ,

Could it be your looking in all the wrong places to find your answer about homosexuality? How about believing the Bibles interpretation about homosexuality, rather then looking for mans opinions? Is 1 Corinthians 6:9 so hard to understand? "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitute nor homosexuals nor thieves nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

And if God's interpretation is correct, does that not make you examine your own life, and also cause you to be concerned for those who might find themselves in the above situation? Can you see the "HELL" in sin?

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murders, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolators and all liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." ( Jude vs 7)

And if you can see the wrath of God and HELL in sin, doesn't it make you compassionate with a sense of urgency to reach out in love toward those who are walking in the wrong direction, and help warn, encourage, and guide them to the path that leads to eternal life? Even if you are scorned, hated and rejected, in this case, by those who advocate for homosexuality?

In regards, to Jack Rogers. "Beloved, Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)

I just came from early morning prayer..6:00am each morning..and we read together Romans 1.

Now how does anyone walk away from that chapter in God's holy book and say they need to study other books and have more discussions..It is very clear to me what is wrong and right...

Again I ask you AJ..what they teaching you at that Calvin Sem??

Wow some of these response are so judgemental. I read this article and was taken by how A.J was just asking that we have continual dialogue. That we continue to search scripture. A.J. never says that the CRC stance is wrong.....Why do we have to condemn so quickly.

Also plese be careful using passages of scripture like 1 Corinthians or revelation. Ever single one of us is in that list. Does that mean we are all not saved. That ever one of us is going to hell. If I struggle with Slander, or greed does that mean I am going to hell. If I constantly lie or gossip does that mean I am going to the fiery pit of Hell. I think Paul and John are using this to show how we need grace...Remember we are saved by grace through faith and not by our works or what we have done.

Dialogue and discussion is always good. Let us continue to talk and not simply think that by not talking this whole subject is going to go away.

Thank-you A.J. for being honest and continue to talk and discuss and search....

@pastor1968

Yes, some of the responses are judgmental.

Yet nobody that I can see, is suggesting that we are not saved by grace. I certainly am not. I am insisting that homosexual sex is a sin - and that it is not possible to take the text of the Bible seriously and conclude otherwise.

How we respond to sinners, whether it be this or some other sin, is a different question and in answering it, grace should abound.

But then, the bottom line of the 1973 report is just that - homosexual sex is a sin, and we should respond to sinners with compassion, grace and mercy.

The "open mind" that Mr. Gretz is asking for, and that the overture asked for, is not on the question of how best to respond to sinners of whatever variety, but on whether homosexual sex is a sin. That question is, however, settled. There is no need to perpetually revisit settled questions.

Indeed, the biggest irritant is the refusal to accept that the question is settled. If you, or Mr. Gretz, thinks that a new report affirming the basic teaching of 1973 - that homosexual sex is sin, and that we should respond with compassion to the sinner - would be allowed to stand, you are mistaken. Instead, a couple years later another overture citing "new research" would crop up asking us to again have "an open mind".

@pastor1968 said,

"If I struggle with Slander, or greed does that mean I am going to hell. If I constantly lie or gossip does that mean I am going to the fiery pit of hell." -Please, re-read, Revelations 21:8.

A good tree brings forth good fruit. A bad tree brings forth bad fruit. If you are born again by the Spirit of God, you will at least desire to turn away from lying, slander, homosexuality, etc.

The problem is very few people are struggling with homosexuality. Instead, they love their homosexuality, and find their identity in it. Therefore they will not change, and will accuse the church of not loving them. Love to them seems to be, accept me, don't correct me.

God has made it plain to us in passages like (1 Corinthians 6:9,1Timothy 1:14, Romans 1::26, Jude vs 7, Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Genesis 1:25, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4, 1Corinthians 6:18, Ephesians 5:31, Mark 10:6, Matthew 5:20) and a host of other passages woven through the whole thread of Scripture, that any form of lust and sex, outside the boundaries of marriage, between one man and women, is sin. And does not receive God's blessing, but is cursed, and is in violation of God's law, (The 10 Commandments) and carries the death sentence. The Bible tells us, "Sin is transgression of the law, The soul that sins will die, and that The wages of sin is death."

If we as a church sanction and allow for homosexuality, without calling for repentance, and to receive grace through faith, like we would for any other sin. Wouldn't we be keeping those involved in homosexuality in the bondage of sin and death?

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so men are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

Are we as a church going to be guilty? Like those that, "Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them"? (Romans1: 32) God for bid!

I think that it is right that we continue to struggle with these issues. For sure there is new evidence and arguments, and as a Christian community we need to know these arguments and how to engage with them so we have knowledgeable responses and thought processes when we are questioned.

However, I think that the bigger issue is that we as a community need to have a discussion on what it means to actually love and embody God’s presence to those who struggle with their sexual identity and those who struggle with sexual issues.

A stance is good and necessary. And should be reevaluated time and again to make sure we’re on the right page. But living out a stance is very hard when we have friends and/or people in our midst that are doing the very things we are saying they shouldn’t.

So, my question for the CRC, for those in this feed, for those at Synod is this: what does it mean to love (like really, really love. Deep and abiding love that does not leave when things get hard. Love like you would love your family love) and embody God’s presence to those who struggle with these things?

How does our stance hit the road running? For example, if we’re saying that celibacy is the best lifestyle for a LGBT, how can we as a community best support those who are not married? The church has often been a place where those who are unmarried struggle to find community, so a celibate life will be incredibly hard. So how are we going to make the church a place where those who are not married can find relationship, be included in community, and be loved despite and in spite of the fact that they don’t have someone with them?

The implications of asking the question of “how do we actually and truly love and embody God’s presence to those who are struggling?” has far reaching implications that will necessarily change and impact the way we do church, engage with each other, and will rattle us out of our comfort zones. So we’re going to be prone to not ask this question. But this is actually the question we should be wrestling with as it is the mission of God to reveal His love to those He created, whether or not they have been tainted with sin (God sent us Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc). And now as the people of God we are called to participate in the mission of God and reveal His love and embody His presence to others. So what does this mean for us in regards to the LGBT questions?

There is no need to stuggle with an issue that is already answered in the Bible as to whether is is right or wrong..so that matter must be settled if we are true to God's word..

What we all stuggle with as individuals and as a Church body is loving those who sin and say God approves..This is where the trouble lies..
I keep asking God daily where I am decieved..where I sin and am not aware of it..we all are saints who sin..

As a church body we are there for those who truly stuggle with their sin..we have Set Free Ministries in Grand Rapids who have great volunteers who give days of each week to help those in strongholds..Miracles happen and people come to Christ..
It is when we want to keep "discussing and issue" to try to condone a sin..that is something else..There is nothing new on this earth that will change what the Bible calls sin..Let us get that clear in this debate..then we can all go forward together and help each other..and not say we don't love each other when we say NO..it is wrong..that is the best love...

@AJ-

Brother, if you are looking to more information about this topic other than Rogers - who in my opinion has poor hermeneutics - consider William Webb's Book "Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals." It is an excellent treatment of the hermeneutical issues surrounding those three topics in God's Word.

@ all-

It seems to me there are two problems here.

1) Scripture clearly condemns homosexual practice as sinful. Yet, historically and even presently, the church has unfairly condemned and shunned LGBT folks while continuing to accept and embrace people who have other sinful tendencies. If someone comes to the church and says, "I'm an alcoholic," or "I'm struggling with anger." We will be willing to come along side them and care for them. If someone says, "I'm struggling with same sex attraction." We tend to shun and distance ourselves from them. Our Homophobia is wrong. We need to repent of it. We need to reach out in love with those who are LGBT. Our churches are hospitals for sinners not museums for saints. We are all sinners at the mercy of the Holy God and must embrace and welcome everyone regardless of the sin(s) they (continue to) struggle with. In that sense maybe Synod could help give us some guidance as to how to do this more effectively. However ...

2) Many in the LGBT community say they just want the church to love and accept them. What they usually mean by that is they want the church to affirm that their choice to engage in non-Biblical sexual behavior is perfectly acceptable. This is an impossible position for the Biblical Christians to embrace. As has been brought up in many places before, we love LGBT brothers and sisters enough to call them to holiness and God's pattern for their lives. But to many in the LGBT community that kind of love is intolerant hatred.

Just because God made me and I have particular sinful tendencies does not make those particular sinful tendencies O.K. I must flee from them and strive to live by God's grace according to God's revealed will - even if it is hard - even if it is painful - even if I struggle with those tendencies for my entire life. We know that one day in the restored creation we will be free from all sin and sinful tendencies. Until then we must daily put to death our flesh, love one another, and boldly and unashamedly proclaim the truth of scripture which brings life.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b

@Todd

Amen.

Theology and theory are wonderful and important things and are rightly based in our [current] interpretation of scripture and historical writings. We, as a denomination, have essentially said that the practice of homosexuality is wrong (a sin), however to struggle with it is a fact of humanity.

But we need to realize that our rules and legalistic interpretation of rules cannot be applicable everywhere. (After all, if we followed all the laws to the letter, women would spend time monthly in seclusion, and our favourite cotton-polyester sweaters would condemn us! - Leviticus.) Once humanity gets into the picture, rules get tough to interpret. Our black and white rules are hard to use in our world of greys.

Jesus often took the rules that the teachers of the law had in place and turned them upside down - No work on the Sabbath (Luk 10); purification rituals (Mat 15); etc. One of the things Jesus teaches through his works and teachings is that the spirit of the law is what needs to be maintained; the letter of the law, less so.

So I propose that this might be where we are in terms of homosexuality. The letter of the law might not be as black and white as we would be comfortable with stating. You may say that homosexuality is wrong, but happens if YOU or YOUR CHILD struggles with homosexuality? Suddenly the theoretical becomes applied and our black-and-white rules become hard to enforce.

What happens when you pray for years to have those feelings leave, but they don't?

What happens when you hear phrases and statements that make your perception of your struggle so shameful that you feel unsafe to discuss it?

What happens when you finally get the courage to go to counseling, support groups, and therapy, but it doesn't work? Those 'forbidden' feelings only come back or continue to be there?

And what happens when, in spite of all this, God puts such a heavy calling on your life toward ministry that to do anything else would be blatant disobedience?

This is me. I spent 10 years hiding my struggles because I did not feel safe. I tried everything I could to follow the CRC standards on homosexuality. I spent years in counseling. I surrounded myself with community and family who encouraged me in my struggle against homosexuality. In spite of all this, my deepest relational desire is still to be in a life-long relationship with another man.

To top this all off, I have felt God moving incredibly in my life through all of this, and most powerfully when I accepted my call to pursue ordained ministry. Throughout my life, I have never once had someone tell me that I was not called to ministry, even after telling them (those that I trust) that I'm gay. CRC pastors, elders, colleagues, youth leaders, professors... all still affirm my call to ministry.

So I am doing as I believe God has called me to do: continue with life just as God made me. I am on track to being ordained, I am sharing my story with those I deem appropriate, and am looking for a life-long relationship (like most single seminarians).

P.S. - To ease the minds of the theologically conservative: I am not at Calvin and it is looking like I will be getting ordained in another denomination as the CRC will not permit a budding, proven, young spiritual leader with these human struggles to be ordained. I will reluctantly and sadly have to leave the denomination and community I love so I can follow God's call.

@ Future J

It sounds like you have a lot of people who are concerned and care for
you. You said, 'I surrounded myself with community and family who encouraged me in my struggle against homosexuality'.

Planned Parenthood, who advocates abortions in the city I live, is a dangerous place for a mother and her unborn child. The Omega House right next door is a place of refuge and safety for a mother and her child. In the same way, a church that advocates homosexuality cannot help a person overcome and be delivered from this sin. Instead, they leave the person on the path that leads to destruction.

You said, 'the letter of the law might not be as black and white as we would be comfortable with stating'. I think we would agree that the law (The Ten Commandments) are God's standard of right and wrong. Please let me explain.

It sounds like you try to do what's right and are a pretty good person. Do you think you've kept The Ten Commandments? Let me ask you this.
Have you ever told a lie? What do you call a person who tells a lie?
Have you ever stolen anything, even it's small? What do you call someone who steals?
Have you ever used God's name to curse? That's called blasphemy. 'The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.' (Exodus 20:7)
Have you ever looked at someone with lust? Jesus said, 'Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her, already has committed adultery with her in his heart.' (Matthew 5:28)
If you, like me can say yes, by your own admission, you're a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. And that's just 4 of the 10 Commandments. You might be thinking, ok, so I'm not perfect. Actually, it's worse than that... Sin isn't just doing things we shouldn't, it's also not doing the things we should. 'Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.' (James 4:17)

If you compared yourself to some people, you maybe a saint! But the standard is God's law, not other people.

You'll have to answer for every sin on Judgment Day, when 'each of us will give an account of himself to God.' (Romans 14:12)

The Bible says God is holy, righteous judge. He hates sin! Jesus warned that God, in His wrath, will cast all who sin against him into eternal fire 'where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'.
(Matthew 13:42)

Gulp! Perhaps you're thinking, how can anyone get to heaven? There's only one way....
If a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!

God loves you so much and He demonstrated His love toward us by sending His son, Jesus, to suffer and die for our sins. We can't earn eternal life. It is God's gift to all who humble themselves and come to Jesus. In Acts 20:21, we are told to turn to God in repentance, which means to turn away from sin and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The kind of faith that would mean surrender, just like you'd put your trust in a parachute to save you. God promises He will forgive our sins and give us a new heart! 'If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation'. (II Corinthians 5:17)

Future J, I plead with you not to go down the path you are pursuing. I beg you to reconsider where you are at. I have been praying for you.

@truth

I agree with you on many things -- really, the whole post. You're right, sin is sin regardless of how insignificant we may deem it and that we need to be forgiven of it. My only problem is that I don't see practicing homosexuality (in a monogamous, lifelong relationship) to be a sin.

I know that it will rub most people on this discussion board the wrong way, but my life's experiences, thorough lots of reading, theological reflection (remember, I am a seminarian and theologian, so I've done quite a bit of this), and experiences of God (in life and through prayer) have all led me to believe that the perspective on homosexuality that is held by the CRC (and various other religious organizations and denominations) might be wrong or incomplete.

I will not go into the biblical and theological reasoning for this - it is the proverbial dead horse that has been beaten time and time again on this comment board. Most simply, I believe homosexuality, as it is interpreted in our reading of the Bible, references homosexuality in the time of those who wrote it. It does not reference a loving relationship between two people.

God has put me in a theological understanding that gives me peace in who I am and in the relationship that I am choosing to pursue, and God has blessed me in that.

@ Future J,

I am concerned that you are taking a terrible risk. You basically said that you agreed with the whole discussion. That God's Law is absolute and has eternal consequences. But could it be that the thought of being morally responsible to him is abhorrent. So you deny its application and rely on what you say is your own " life experiences" to dictate what you believe, and that others "might be wrong or incomplete."

It sounds like you have relegated the Scriptures to history, by saying," I believe homosexuality, as it is interpreted in our reading of the Bible, references homosexuality in the time of those who wrote it." And therefore, a passage like 1 Corinthians 6:9 where it warns "Do not be deceived neither ...homosexuals...will inherit the kingdom of God" need not apply to your life.

If you told me your name and address was such and such, and if I said I don't believe it, I would be insinuating that you are a liar. God wrote the Bible and used men as pens in His hands and said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:35) "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart...everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account." (Hebrew 4:12,13)

@Pastor J-

"My only problem is that I don't see practicing homosexuality (in a monogamous, lifelong relationship) to be a sin."

My only problem is that I don't see any way to read the Bible in any rational way that does not contradict your belief.

And I'm a pastor and a theologian, too, so I've done quite a bit of reflecting and thinking and reading on it as well. Credentials aren't the issue. The text of Scripture is - and whether we accept it as written, or contort it to our wishes.

@PNR

You ask me to accept it as written, but we as an entire denomination and Christian people seem to interpret parts of it as we wish already.

Do we recognize contradictions within text (e.g. Creation of humans in Gen 1-2:3 vs. Gen 2:4ff)?
Do we follow the laws that are written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (e.g. Deut 22:11)?
We seem to ignore the recommendation of Paul and the leadership of the church (e.g. I Cor 11)...

Where do we draw the line between literal reading of the Bible and interpretation of it?

I believe that the best way to read the Bible is by using a historical interpretation of the Scriptures, understanding them as inspired words written by fallible humans who held a particular worldview at a particular time. In gaining a better understanding the setting of the writers, we can better understand the meaning behind the writings. In seeing what God was saying to/through the writer and to the intended audience (knowing that the writer did *not* write it with the intention of it being used for all people - internationally - throughout all ages), we can learn more about God and what God intends to say to us.

Additionally, I believe that life's experience does have some significance. Can we dare limit God's teachings in our lives simply to the Scriptures? I know I've learned a lot about God outside of the Bible...

Someone once asked in a class: "Does the traditional understanding of Scripture (for example, a strongly literal understanding) hold it to be as an idol? Is it above God?"

The answer is very simple for this discussion and that is that you let go of everything you THINK you know by all your worlds of studing and just pray and ask God to SHOW YOU WERE YOU ARE DECIEVED!! If you do this each day with a sincere heart to know God..He will tell you many things..
Anyone who deceives himself to think that two men can have sex together and that what ever it is they do together is honored by God has really gone down the road of being DECEIVED!! The same goes for two women..there is NOTHING that works for this in two womens bodies..to create a new person..GOD made male and female..IT is so right there in our BIBLE!! No where does it say it was ADAM and ADAM or EVE and EVE and they had sex..The Bible clearly says anything else is sin...WHERE do you peple come from that say otherwise?? SEX is for male and female and for MARRIED folks..and not hundreds of partners..
It is soooo grossss to even think what you are promoting to be a homosexual..and many get AIDS also from this yucky behavior..My friend did..it was TOOOOO LATE for him..but thank goodness he repented and I will see him in heaven..GOD does forgive this sinful behavior you know..ASK GOD where you are decieved,PLEASE!!

@Future Pastor J

I said "accept it as written", not "literal interpretation". A literal interpretation of Psalm 23, for instance, does not accept it as written since it is written to be a metaphor. I am not literally a sheep, nor do I reside in a green pasture - and I don't know where one might find the Valley of the Shadow of Death, though Death Valley is in Nevada.

That said, the prohibitions in Leviticus 18, for instance, are not merely time-sensitive or specific to that culture or tied exclusively to the ceremonial law. They derive from the nature of human beings and human sexuality as intended by God and if you are going to say that Lev. 18:22 does not apply today, then you must also say that verse 23 does not apply, or any of the preceding verses, for they are all of a piece. So would you suggest a lifelong monogamous relationship with a dog is also permissible? Must I perform "marriages" for a man and his horse?

Such a thought is absurd. There is no rational way to read Lev. 18 (or Romans 1) that allows for a view of homosexual sex that is not sinful. I've read several attempts, but all fail.

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