Why Is It So Hard to Talk about Homosexuality?

As heterosexual persons, we consider ourselves “straight,” fitting the creational norm; we think of those who struggle with same-sex attraction and opposite-sex longings as ”crooked.” But this use of language both protects us and betrays us.

In June 2016, the synod of the Christian Reformed Church will receive an important report from a study committee. That committee is tasked with providing pastoral guidance to churches, pastors, church leaders, and members on appropriate ministry and expectations in a culture where same-sex marriage is increasingly legal and common. We should add bisexual and transgender people as well, since their pastoral needs may be quite similar. To use “person first” language, we can simply speak of people with same-sex attraction and people with opposite-sex longings, meaning persons who wish to be the opposite of their given sex.

In the four sentences above, the anxiety of readers in the heterosexual community has probably already emerged into the light of awareness. What will this writer say? Will his words be biblical? Will he hold the line against the attitudes of North American society that are accepting of homosexual and transgendered presentations of gender identity? Will he truly appreciate the struggles of those in the gay community? So quickly the lines are drawn in the sand. This topic has the power to bring strife and division to families and friendships as well as congregations and denominations—instead of bringing the shalom that we are called to seek in our fellowship together.

But why is this conversation so difficult? In this article we’ll consider some possible reasons why people in the heterosexual community may struggle to address this issue wisely and biblically. To be clear, this article is not intended to address the ethical issues around sexual behavior. Instead, it is written to our heterosexual community, and it intends to examine some possible reasons for such high anxiety. Our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members are invited to listen in.

To begin, we are people of the Book. We live under God’s Word. For this reason we carefully hold our interpretations of Scripture as foundational for our understanding of our triune God and our understanding of ourselves. Scripture must guide our behavior—in this case, our sexual behavior. If there is even one verse in the Bible that speaks a certain word, we take that word seriously. We are protective of our understandings of biblical truth. Understandably, anxiety arises when it appears that Scripture may be interpreted in new and different ways.

But there is much more that confronts us. This has to do with “the beam in our own eye” (Matt. 7:3) when it comes to our anxiety about our own sexuality. In this very broken world, all of us struggle to some degree with our sexuality. Managing sexual feelings is often a challenge in our Christian living. Consider our unusually harsh responses to sexual sinners in general. We say that one sin is as bad as another. And yet, when it comes to sexual sins such as committing adultery or viewing pornography or feeding sexual compulsions, our response within the Christian community may be especially punitive.

As heterosexual persons, we consider ourselves “straight,” fitting the creational norm; we think of those who struggle with same-sex attraction and opposite-sex longings as obviously “crooked.” But this use of language both protects us and betrays us. Calling ourselves “straight” certainly makes a clear distinction between those who are heterosexual and those who are other. But it may also lend itself to heterosexual pride—the sin of self-righteousness. Better that we recognize that, along with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender neighbors, we are all pretty “crooked.” But once again, this reminder may cause anxiety.

Consider also how homophobia, which is so present in our gay-unfriendly culture, is, in part, the stepchild of patriarchy. As long as the so-called “masculine” is valued more than the so-called “feminine,” we will continue to push away, disown, and even condemn men who are identified with “feminine” traits. This reaction is what caused two young men to pistol-whip Matthew Shepard to death on a fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. I say “so-called” because our cultural definitions of “masculine” and “feminine” are so different from biblical understandings of gender and what it means to be a man or to be a  woman. Playing football or sewing are best thought of simply as human activities. Now, this only explains homophobia in part. Only when women are valued equally with men will homophobic fear of the “feminine”  within men, subside. Otherwise, homophobia is pretty much locked in place both in church and society.

In Matthew 7, Jesus draws quite a contrast between the beam in our eye and the speck in the eye of another. Our Lord calls us to the discipline of careful self-examination. This includes owning our part in the bias and painful discrimination against those who struggle sexually in ways that are different from our own sexual difficulties. Especially as we approach the table of the Lord, we are called to see “if there is any sin within us.” And, of course, there is. Naming that sin is the first step in receiving forgiveness and disciplining ourselves to move beyond bias and rejection to inclusive care of people who struggle with different sexual identities. But this is a very difficult spiritual challenge.

Such spiritual discernment would inevitably lead us toward becoming friendly with fellow parishioners who struggle, often in silence, with same-sex attraction or opposite-sex identification. Yes, we will become “gay person-friendly.” To be like Jesus is to be especially attentive to any who are outcast—the marginalized of Jesus’ day or those within the LGBT community today who are pushed away. “All are welcome in our worship and our fellowship” must mean what it says. Unless there is a relationship to build upon, sharing our own biblical understanding is experienced as exclusion and condemnation. But within a relationship,  such sharing may lead to inclusion and reconciliation. In this sense, we are all called to be gay person-friendly. Otherwise, the love of God never quite gets to them as God intended.

So as we approach further conversation in the Christian Reformed Church about pastoral ministry among the LGBT community, how can we best prepare ourselves? Several recommendations come to mind.
First, we must continue our commitment, once again together, to a careful, thoughtful hearing of the biblical text. Scripture must speak to us. We must not give in to the temptation, the exegetical error, of reading our wishes or beliefs into the text. The ongoing challenge is to hear the Scriptures tell us God’s truth. On both sides of the conversational fence we must seek to hear God's Word spoken to us. Short-circuiting this critical commitment will keep us in a quandary.

Second, we must affirm a biblical appreciation for human sexuality. As children, many of us were taught a negative view of sexuality that cannot be corrected in the moment of a marriage ceremony. Often because of the fear and anxiety that surrounds sexuality, we push it away. Becoming more comfortable with our own sexuality from a positive biblical perspective may redeem our responses.

Third, we need to allow the Scriptures to shape our understandings of gender instead of the culture’s twisted understandings of gender. Our society teaches that men are “strong” and women are “weak”; men are “hard” and women are “soft.” Yet in Galatians 5:22, where Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit, notice that clearly it’s a package deal. Through the Holy Spirit, all nine of these descriptors should be present within each of us, regardless of gender.

Fourth, we must learn more about homosexuality in general. People may choose behavior, but usually no one chooses to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender. It has become increasingly clear that genetic influence has much to do with homosexual gender presentation. For the rest, we are simply not sure. Much of it may have to do with prenatal biological development that further facilitates a genetic predisposition. We ought never blame parents for the experience of having children with same-sex longings or opposite-sex identification, as if somehow they had failed as parents. Not true.

Fifth, those of us who are heterosexual must imagine what it is like to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender. This has to do with our capacity for empathy. Walking in others’ shoes, imagining what it is like to be what some people hate, is the beginning of good pastoral care in the direction of the LGBT community. It is no accident that so many young gay men and lesbian women consider suicide to escape the suffering they experience.

Sixth, we must practice the spiritual gift of hospitality. We do well to seek friendship at some level with someone we know to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. “I would like to get to know you" is a good beginning. For many this is well beyond our usual comfort zone. But let’s consider what Jesus would do. Certainly we all fall short of our Lord’s reaching out for hurting people on the wayside of life. The challenge is to try.

 

Why Is It So Hard to Talk about Homosexuality?

  1. The author points out that any conversation about the topic of homosexuality among Christians is likely to provoke anxiety. Is this true for you? If so, what are some of the reasons?
  2. “Managing sexual feelings is usually a challenge in our Christian living,” says the author. Why is this the case? What steps could we take in our families, churches, and communities to foster a healthier attitude toward sexuality?
  3. How can we practice hospitality in our worship and our fellowship toward our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community?
  4. Why is it important for those who are heterosexual to imagine what it is like to be gay or lesbian or transgender, as the author suggests?
  5. The author suggests that our view of gender influences the way we feel about homosexuality. How does Scripture’s view of gender compare with our culture’s view?
  6. What might be required for members of the church who have differing interpretations of God’s Word concerning homosexuality to be able to participate in meaningful conversations on this issue?

About the Author

Rev. Ron Nydam is professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich.

See comments (50)

Comments

Thanks again for your wise and measured words, Dr. Nydam.

Is the CRCNA going to declare false hope?

It's too bad this article is so out of date.  Yes, we should appreciate human sexuality.  God created it good.  Yes, scriptures should shape our understanding.  But, no, being gay or lesbian is not involuntary... it is a choice, just like being lustful or hateful or kind or caring.  My understanding is that research has clearly not found an indisputable genetic cause.  It is clear that supposed homosexuals have become cleaned from their condition and married.  It is also clear that men have married and had children and later claimed they were homosexers.  Which claim I would call fraud.

 Nor can one blame the parents for this, no more than blaming parents for the divorces of their children.  Often the very behaviour of homosex is a form of social suicide, and a denial of the individual personhood or necessity of choice... in some cases not much different than participating in the drug culture, or condoning it.  Yes, it is important to be as open and loving as we can be with anyone who experiences the distress of difficult choices, and the struggle with all types of sins, including this one.  Jesus ate with everyone and talked with everyone;  but he transformed them, didn't he.  He made them new.  They were born again, were they not?  In their old condition they were lost.  Only in repentance could they experience the love of Christ, and be made new, and whole.  Jesus wept for those who lost life in this world, and we weep for those who lose life every day in this world, as they go about in their delusions and separateness from God.  May God bring them to himself.   

Mr Zylstra, comments such as yours rely on junk science and are the reason why there is such a chasm between the church and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. No reputable scientific organization agrees with your statements and Christian organizations such as Exodus, New Direction, and CourageUK which used to proclaim statements such as yours now agree that sexual orientation is not changeable.

Ian, I don't want to get caught up in a running debate... but do you really understand what junk science is?  The Feb 7, 2013 issue of Christianity today has an article by a former lesbian who describes her conversion.  Interestingly, a comment on that article describes a person who was formerly heterosexual, now acting or feeling homosexual.   I know a man who fathered and raised three daughters who later claimed he was homosexual.  That man's comment is junk science(contrary to physical reality), and yet demonstrates how changeable homosexuality can be.  There are many documented cases of change.  

The chasm is caused by unbelief and willfulness.  The chasm is caused by self-centeredness, a desire to be one's own god, to create the rules, rather than to serve the creator.  You may be able to find an organization or two that supports your position, but they cannot contradict the actual evidence of change.  You can call the writer in Christianity Today, and others who witness to their conversion, liars, but I wouldn't.   

Rev Nydam.  Thank you so much for this article.  You will get the usual negative feedback from the self appointed god squad, but don't be put off by that.   Legalism and moralism has so badly poluted the gospel message that all that is left to is engage in self-righteous finger pointing, and that is not much different from the days when unwed mothers had to stand in the front of the church and confess their so-called sin. The gospel is liberating and never be used by a very small vocal minority disimpower and disinfranchise others.  The door the church must be open to all, not those selected by an admissions or membership committee. In the words of Cardinal Reinhard Marx:

“The main point of the Gospel is not the ethical point,” he responded. The center of the message is “heaven is open. Free entrance. Come.”

He explained, “Jesus is not saying: When you are good, God is good to you.” It is a “misunderstanding” today that you have to be holy to go to church. The first message is “God is giving his love to you. Come. Be embraced by the Lord, and then you will live in a different way.” When someone says, “I love you,” but the other person does not reciprocate, “nothing happens,” he explained. “God has given us this word, ‘I love you.’ When we answer, ‘And I do,’ it changes the world.”

Dr. Nydam, thanks for your comments and thoughts.  While I do agree that some of the thoughts in the piece are outdated by what I"m seeing in society, it's important to remember in the church that we need to do what we can to drop our unbibical prejudices.  But what we really need in the CRC today is not more reminders that we have unbiblical prejudices - we need positive biblical theology about our sexuality.  And I'm not talking about position pieces or theological papers that go to Synod.  I'm talking about a book we can all read (not just the PhD's among us).  

My church is populated with some young christians who are just beginning to understand the gospel.  We also have many mature members who don't have extensive education in biblical matters or otherwise.  All these folks see is what the world throws at them everyday - Glee, Modern Family, etc. etc.  - and they have almost no biblical framework with which to understand the situation.  Even my wife and I, with our college degrees, wondered about how the CRC, or the bible in general viewed birth control many years ago when we first got married.  We could find no direction in CRC materials or theology.  We turned to Catholic ideas, which had an outlined biblical basis (agree with it or not).  

So now, here we sit.  We've got good theology on many issues, but little in the way of communicating it to the masses in a way they understand.  Members welcome the church's take on sexuality but we've not put our ideas together in a 'sunday school friendly' booklet or bible study.  That's what we really need.  In the absense of this from the CRC, I've been forced to look elsewhere to help my congregants understand God's plan for their sexuality.  I've turned to books like Loveology by John Mark Comer, or (dare I say it) SexGod by Rob Bell (hey, he might be a heritic but he wrote a book about biblical sexuality).  Can we do better?  I think so - and I can't think of a better time in our history to address this major issue in most of our lives.  Let's stop pontificating and start writing some good, positive theology about biblical sexuality in a simple to understand and interesting to read format.  My church desperately needs this, and yours does too! 

@David,

An authoritative book has already been written about sexuality. The Holy Bible is clear on the subject.

If the CRC produced a book that taught that any form of sex, or lust for a person outside the marriage between a man and a women was fornication, or adultery, would you be okay with that?

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a women with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

 

 

Thanks, Ron, for your good thoughts.

Can we really limit the hesitation over welcoming the LGBT to our heterosexual anxieties? That is, can the discussion be limited to spiritual or psychological flaws, as Nydam would have it? Such a limitation to  private anxieties cuts off public questions that certainly generate their own significant anxiety. I would submit much of the conflict turns on these larger issues, even when they are packaged as "homophobia" or appeals to plank and speck.

Take for instance, the present discussion of the public place for gays in our society. Can I embrace this person here in front of me while reserving a stance on marriage or ordination? In point of fact, many do. Nevertheless, the fear that hospitality buys the rest of the package is one of the significant barriers in our discussions. While this can be read as "politics," the underlying question touches significant parts of our life together and particularly that life together through time. And as we know, not all churches will give the same answer. Hospitality on one side, loss on another -- what is that but a state of serious anxiety?

A second source of anxiety comes the diversity in social construction of our sexualities. For instance, think of the many different ways to be gay, e.g. the normal guys next door, the party boy (aka "the homosexual lifestyle"), the queer activist: some constructions are at a far distance from Christian understandings, others quite close. The anxiety here, is not the person in front of me, but the concern that I buy into a larger set of understandings, some that seem quite secularizing if not in outright animosity; hospitality brings a fear of a Trojan horse. Here the terminology of social science ("patriarchy") and accusations of homophobia do little to alleve this concern, and in fact, seem to establish that fear.

The barriers to welcoming, the kind of welcoming we can extend -- all these are tied up as much with how we live together as with any private anxieties. Learning to see the other is hard enough in private, as a public act it requires even more attentiveness.

 

Thanks for the article, Ron. Yours (and many others in the seminary community) is a voice I would like to hear more often during these conversations.

Another factor that complicates how we talk about homosexuality is that in the CRCNA we're generally not too good at talking about any particular sin in a healthy way. As a denomination we're moving at increasing speed away from personal addresses of a need for repentance, salvation in Christ & service and towards joining God's meta-narrative. The big picture (kingdom stuff) and small picture (personal transformation) aren't mutually exclusive, but it's in our denominational DNA that service projects are more appealing/comfortable than building relationships and using Scripture to "teach, rebuke, correct and train up in righteousness." Case in point, World Renew is the pride of the denomination but, on the whole, we don't do personal evangelism very well. 

What's the solution? Know the grace and truth of Christ for ourselves and then build relationships that point to him. This will involve talking about our sin and his grace with equal fervor. To minimize one or the other is to lessen either our need or the power of His good news.

Kevin since you seem to know a lot, can you let me know the Bible's authoritative view on birth control?  Not sure why you'd think I'd be confused about adultery - I agree that the Bible is pretty clear about that, but I'm looking for something that goes deeper - into the underlying theology.  People no longer find it acceptable to say - the Bible tells me so - and so the rest of us dealing with millenials and the like need to have some deeper arguments to help non-believers understand why God made the pronouncements He did in His word.  And obviously I'm talking about more issues than just adultery.  So if you, or anyone else has ideas on this, they are always appreciated!

Hi David,

I have a few ideas that I hope you will find helpful.

First, the annual Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology put on by The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is tackling the topic this year in a conference titled Holiness and Honor: A Reformed view of Sex and Marriage.  There will no doubt be a lot of good material there and no shortage of books.  There are three locations for the conference, including one in Grand Rapids in March.  They also make the material from their conferences available after the conference, so those that could not attend would still have access to the material from the conference. Many of our churches would likely benefit from sending an elder or a group of elders.  I plan to go; look for me if you attend (nametags), I'd enjoy talking with you.

You could also look at the recent book "What is the Meaning of Sex" by Denny Burk.  Truth be told, I have not read the book yet, so I cannot recommend it per se.  But I have heard good things about it, and have read other material by Denny Burk and find his writing to be profitable and sound.

 

Hi David,

I think another word for birth-control, should be self-control. That's at the heart of the issue. Abstinence is a form of birth control that fits the biblical mandate for sexual purity. Why not teach that? I'm married and have had four children, and have had to put these principles into action myself. Please don't take offense on me sharing some Bible verses pertinent to the subject.

 "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled...as obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance...Be holy, because I am holy." (I Peter 1:13-15)

"So I say live by the Spirit, and you will not gradify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit was is contrary to the sinful nature... the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery... I warn you, as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love...faithfulness...self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:16-23)

"But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (Ephesians 5:3)

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adultereous. (Hebrews 13:4

Some resources I would recommend is: purelifeministries.org

At The Altar of Sexual Idolatry, by Steve Gallangher

Eveyman's Battle, by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

Clean, by Douglas Weiss

 

 

 

 

For a Biblical view regarding birth control read "The Bible and Birth Control" by Charles D. Provan:

“Martin Luther once proclaimed that "the purpose of marriage is not pleasure and ease but the procreation and education of children and the support of a family.... People who do not like children are swine, dunces, and blockheads, not worthy to be called men and women, because they despise the blessing of God, the Creator and Author of marriage" (Christian History, Issue 39, p. 24).

 

Luther also said that birth control was the equivalent of sodomy (probably because of the likeness between homosexual wickedness and impotent sex).

 

John Calvin declared that birth control was the murder of future persons and the Synod of Dort issued a Bible commentary which stated that contraception was the same as abortion.

 

If you are shocked by the strong statements from these Godly men, that really is not too surprising, because Protestant opposition to birth control has largely been forgotten in our decadent 21st century.

  

If you want to know about Biblical principles which oppose contraception, or wish to know what the Reformers and their heirs thought about this important subject, we certainly hope that you will get this book!”

 

 

Regarding those who do not want to accept what the Bible says, for example regarding homosexuality, even most non believers accept that it is not acceptable to have a sexual relationship with an animal, i.e. Leviticus 18:23.  How come they want to ignore verse 22 but accept verse 23?

 

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 

There is no "biblical" view on contraception and the Reformers were dead wrong as is the Catholic church on this point.

Really!!!

Did Almighty God Himself tell you that He has no view on contraception???

Given the present size of CRC families, I think we can safely remove birth control as one of those issues stopping us from talking about homosexuality. There are others.

Professor Nykamp's casual, causal references to gender roles and "patriarchy" betray his own cultural bias. In academic circles, traditional understandings of gender roles are far less important than in blue collar callings where men tend to dominate in large part due to advantages in upper body strength, for example. This isn't to say that these fields ought to be off limits to women, only that in circles outside academia, traditional masculinity, if understood in a biblical framework is a virtue to be honored (just a feminity ought to be), not a danger to broader society, certainly not sinful as the article implies. It would seem that there are two mainstream views in Christendom related to gender, one that seeks to eliminate gender distinctives, the other that attempts to redeem them biblically. Nykamp appears completely dismissive of the latter. Do traditional views of gender, even if one disagrees with them necessarily cause anti-gay bias? Nykamp never explains why he sees the relationship other than an unqualified statement about "fear of the feminine". Again, this implies that men (or women) who hold culturally conservative views are motivated by fear of women? Is this true for the woman who resents her husband not "manning up" to get a job to provide for his family? What about the Christian father who teaches his son that men are expected to protect women and children or other vulnerable members of society? Is this wrong in and of itself to Mr. Nykamp? What may seem plausible on the campus, isn't reality in, the oil field. (Similarly I have to wonder what "gay unfriendly culture" Mr. Nykamp is referencing? Does he ever watch primetime television?)

Again in his zeal to discredit "manly" men, he invokes the murder of Matthew Shepard pre-supposing that men holding to traditional views of masculinity had something to do with the motive, while ignoring media reports arguing homosexuality had little to nothing to do with Mr. Shepard's murder. This is a sloppy tactic for a tenured professor at what is supposed to be a respectable graduate level academic institution.

I do agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Nykamp's Matthew 7 reference.

My apologies as the man's name is clearly "Nydam".

Why is this pastor (author) 'singing' from the anti-christian culture's song book by using the word 'homophobia'.

"“Homophobia” is a contrived form of newspeak invented by cultural Marxists to sway the tone of the language used. A phobia is essentially an irrational fear, bordering on a mental problem. Hence, the term “homophobia” is used to imply that anyone who objects to any aspect of the homosexual lifestyle has some irrational fear, bordering on mental instability. But the fact is the vast majority of straight people don’t fear homosexuality. They merely find it as repugnant as Almighty God does."

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Jason, mentioned some good points regarding masculinity and femininity.  Today's culture rather than been so-called 'anti-gay' as the author claims, is actually anti-masculinity (especially towards pale males).

The reality is that men and women are different and were designed by Almighty God to be different, i.e. see 1 Peter 3:7:

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Yes, they are both heirs together of the grace of life.  However, the woman is the weaker vessel.  This is obvious to anyone who has eyes.  Men are normally taller than women; have a greater upper body strength etc.

If there was a fire, I would rather be rescued by a strong man than a 'token' woman 'fireman'. 

"What if nearly everything you thought you knew about Matthew Shepard’s murder was wrong? What if the most fiercely held convictions about the circumstances of that fatal night of October 6, 1998, have obscured other, more critical, aspects of the case? How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?"

http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2013/09/13/have-we-got-matthew-shepard-all-wrong?page=full

Joy, Yes, God did tell me :) ; but isn't that what you say for just about every entry you make when you make you sweeping condecending judgements and pronouncements?

 Nydam is calling us to be at peace, to "bring the shalom, that we are called to seek in our fellowship together." (between hetero and homosexuals) He is also wondering, will the heterosexual truely appreciate the struggles of those in the gay community. We are called in question #4 to, "imagine" what it is like to be gay or lesbian or transgender, as the author suggest?"

How can we keep the peace "shalom", and not be tainted ourselves when sin is tolerated in the camp, and not called into account? Does "appreciate the struggle" for the homosexual mean, "Please help me?, I don't want same sex attraction", or does it mean, "accept me, don't call me to repentance."

Doesn't sin make the church powerless? Does't it place us under the wrath of God, to allow fragrant immorality?  Shouldn't we rather mourn, shouldn't we grieve like the loss of a loved one, when someone has strayed from the truth? Why is the church being called to "imagine" sinful behavior?

There is something very twisted about about this article.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Ron for your insights and sharing your reflections not only from  the perspective of a professor, but also, from your perspective as a family counselor.   You're desire for us to try to understand issues verses being reflexive is appreciated. 

My question is where are the CRC parents of the LBGT children in this converstion?   Adult LBGT members of the CRC church thoughts or comments on this article?  Their insights in this converstion could be transformational and perspective widening.  

I'm fearful that we as a Christian community are too quick to shoot our wounded (LGBT community specifically) verses offering care, compassion, and empathy.  

As one wise preacher told me,  "there is no moral high ground at the foot of the cross!"

 

Thanks, Ron, for your interesting article.  You make many valid comments.  It’s also interesting to read the variety of comments or responses.  It’s obvious to see why for homosexuals it will be a long time before they will fit into our denomination and our churches.  Such attitudes depicted in many of the comments will only cause the LGBT community to run from the church and who could blame them?  It also sounds, from many of the comments, we (Christians) would be best to just let all the homosexuals rot in hell.

I think a common sentiment among many Christians is to love the sinner but hate the sin.  Christians somehow think such an attitude will warm the cockles of the gay community.  But such a sentiment really has little positive effect on the homosexual.  The fact is, homosexuals don’t think of themselves as sinners.  So should a gay person come into the church (especially a CRC church) and a member say, or even think, we want to love you despite your sin (of homosexualism), the Christian has gotten off on the wrong foot from the start and has already put up a huge wall.  The homosexual may see himself as different from heterosexuals but will not see himself/herself as a sinner before God for being gay.  And when the Christian has such a mentality the wall is immediately put in place, in the mind of the person who is gay.  This is a wall with a deep foundation, as seen by the gay person.  The Christian may say to the homosexual, “but we are all sinners including myself.”  But you see, the homosexual already realizes that you know his/her sin.  In the Christian’s mind, it’s being gay.  So it may be ok for this homosexual person to attend church and be loved and cared for, but it is not ok for him/her to be a professing member, or to be an elder or deacon and God forbid should he/she want to be a pastor.  Why, because being a practicing homosexual is a sin and until it is confessed and confronted such sin cannot be tolerated in the church. This just is not satisfactory to the person who is gay.

I acknowledge that homosexuality/homosexualism is not an easy thing to deal with by the church.  The obvious teaching of the Bible, or at least what may seem obvious, dictates that homosexual behavior (even such attitude) is sin. And this is what sets up the wall from the perspective of the gay community.  Until that wall is dismantled, the church will never have success in reaching the LGBT community, as a whole. 

Increasingly the LGBT community is gaining respect and acceptance in our society.  Whereas in the past, the Christian church has had a big influence on cultural moral norms, this is fast falling by the wayside.  The influence of the church on Western society gets less and less.  So whereas, in the past, homosexualism was seen as morally wrong, increasingly it is being seen as a personal choice that society has no right to criticize.  It’s no longer a matter of right or wrong and so the gay community is increasingly being heartily embraced without criticism.  Until the church adopts such an attitude (like it or not) the church will not make inroads into the LGBT community.  The church’s negativism will close them out.  No need to wonder why we can’t reach the gay community.  It should be obvious.

We are ALL born in sin so this comment in this article stating " prenatal biological development that facilitates a genetic predisposition" makes me wonder if Ron Nydam is trying to say this sin is OK..For those who want to read more on genetics by some Christian authors (who by the way are not CRC) here is some great reading by men who have done tons of research on what is to come and what is happening right now.in the field of genetics..It truly can be overwhelming....If when done reading them you have not gotten down on your knees to ask THE ONE TRUE GOD for protection and discernment/wisdom for the days to come and gone to find books on how to do SPIRITUAL WARFARE..well you will let me assure you...THIS IS truly a SPIRITUAL issue and this has become a sad day to see all you "intellectuals" trying to explain this away...and truly a result of the CRChurch denying the power of the Holy Spirit for guidance, personal and denominational...so sad! Thank goodness some are seeing the light now...Here are the authors...TOM HORN<<CRIS PUTNAM>>>STEVE QUAYLE>>and once you get hooked up with these Christian men you will find others who have written on many subjects...PLEASE pray first for wisdom and discernment and GOD will provide!   God bless...Marj Newhouse   

 

 

Well, Jane/Marj, I don’t think you are going to get a response from Ron Nydam explaining himself as to this “genetic predisposition,” seeing as he hasn’t responded to any comments to his article, as of yet.  But I’m guessing that he looks at this homosexual genetic predisposition and the resulting actual homosexual disposition as something that is less than sinful (or not sinful) in and of itself.  If a person is born with a homosexual disposition (a leaning toward same sex intimate relationships) then this kind of relationship is what comes natural to such a person, in the same way that an heterosexual person is drawn to the opposite sex.  A homosexual person would not consider himself/herself sinful anymore than a heterosexual person would.  As Christians, they both would quote Ephesians 5:3,  “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.”  Just as there is sexual immorality, impurity or abuse for the heterosexual so there can be the same for the homosexual.  But the sin is not a matter of ones natural inclination (whether toward the opposite sex or same sex) but rather an abuse of that disposition.  You see, homosexuals can have the same agape love toward their partners as anyone else.  They can claim and live by a I Corinthians type of love or love their partners as Christ loved the church, which is the way Paul calls the Christian husband to love his wife.  Perhaps what Paul condemns, in regard to homosexuals, elsewhere, is an abuse of such love as all Christians are called to guard against. I doubt that Paul is condemning our natural sexual inclinations (which he wouldn’t have understood anyway), but rather the abuse of such love. But most Christians tend to condemn the homosexual for this natural inclination, which, by the way, most scientifically informed people see as a genetic predisposition (maybe not all, but most).  Certainly, most gay people feel their disposition toward the same sex has come to them naturally.  It wasn’t a choice but rather a natural disposition from within.  This what God has given them. Therefor to act on the natural inclination should not be considered as sin, in the homosexual’s mind.  And maybe that should be the mind set of all Christians as well.  Then the homosexual Christian could be welcomed into the church on the same basis as any other Christian, as a new person in Christ, rather than as an unrepentant sinner who is not welcomed to full membership.

I can not believe what I have read in your response Roger. Genetics does not dictate what is sin or not...Also evil people are changing our genetics...In the last days it will be like in the days of Noah. Go read that about demons having sex with women....What will those genitics be like?? God's word tells us what is sin...What church do you go to or what bible do you read?  Your post sounds like the old "situation ethics"...well .."IN THIS SITUATION" I may sin...NO!  God says it is wrong and if it takes our whole entire long life to fight the sin we do so!! AND studies have proven that genetics DOES NOT determine a homosexual lifestyle...IT is a CHOICE by the person to believe the lies they hear and then tthey act on it...One then becomes what one believes..(like I mentioned in another post the head of the psychology department of John Hopkins Universary just came out a few months ago and said transgener is MENTAL!) This then becomes SPIRITUAL WARFARE for a Christian!  I can not even think how hard it must be to stop a STRONGHOLD in ones life with out the power of the Holy SPIRIT and JESUS!  Genetics come and go/change but GOD'S word does not.. PLEASE LOVE your homosexual friends by helping them change..START that HEALING PRAYER in your church or home...

 

I too say YES that when a person who THINKS they are a homosexual  has given his life to JESUS>>>admits he is a sinner as we all have to..admits the sin of homosexuality..THEY SHOULD be welcomed in our churches...SO START getting those in your church who can walk along side sinners...GET YOUR discipleship classes agoing..and have those trained in them that have walked this road and who have changed...OUR FRIEND DAVE did...His life was changed.away from homosexuality...(HE had over 300 partners as many homosexuals do) He forgave the man who molested him and won others to the Lord from his old lifestyle...started a ministry for homosexuals..many were delivered by the power of Jesus blood and Holy Spirit  This continued til he died of AIDS.  He came to our house daily. I sure wish he was here to tell you all that you are barking up the worng tree by blaming this on genetics...Sure is the easy way out...as to walk along side of someone getting out a habitual sin is ONE LONG ROAD many times UNLESS GOD DOES a miracle..and HE does...so get that PRAYER TEAM agoing  in your churches!!!NOW 

Marj..(gotta get that Jane name changed) it used to be correct..

Well, Marj, once again, I see we are at different ends of the spectrum.  I can see and understand where you get some of your information from, first hand experience.  So it’s understandable that you feel the way you do about being genetically disposed toward a homosexual tendency.  I don’t doubt your testimony about your so called homosexual friend who had 300 different same sex  partners.  He wasn’t just homosexual, but a perversion of humanity, and no doubt the kind of sinner that Paul had in mind when he condemned homosexuals.  A heterosexual (a straight person) with that kind of appetite for people of the opposite sex would fall into the same kind of perversion, and would also be condemned by Paul.  If there are others like him, as you suggest, it is no wonder that Christians would feel an aversion to such people.  But as you also suggest, it is possible for such people to turn around.  But you are sadly mistaken if you think this is normal behavior for a homosexual, even as having 300 partners for a heterosexual would not be normal behavior.  I also know a number of homosexuals, and have never witnessed the kind of perversion that you speak of.  I can’t imagine such people claiming a love for Christ and wanting participation in a Christian church while living in such depravity and perversion.

But there are many homosexuals, committed to a single life partner and wanting participation in a Christian church because of their love and commitment to the Lord.  From my knowledge and acquaintance with gay people, being a homosexual doesn’t necessitate commitment to multiple partners, in fact normally does not.

You must also realize that most homosexual help groups that have dealt with homosexuality as merely a spiritual problem (need for Christ and his Spirit) have mostly fallen off the map. They could not deliver on their promises.  The ministry that your friend started is by far the exception, and I would question its success.  Again, the majority of science has confirmed a genetic predisposition toward homosexualism. Your idea of “conscious choice” as being the cause of the homosexual tendencies falls short of scientific and psychological findings.  It may be people like your friend (with 300 partners) who made a conscious choice for a homosexual lifestyle in order to excuse his sexual perversion.  But most homosexuals simply have an unexplainable disposition toward being gay.  And there may be a limited number of psychologists who would claim this disposition is merely mental and choice orientated, but they are few and far between.  Science and psychology fall generally on the side of genetic disposition.

If you think condemning homosexuals in a committed loving relationship with one partner who witness to their love for the Lord are the target of spiritual warfare, then I don’t think you understand spiritual warfare or the Bible.  This issue of being gay is a topic that pulls critics in from a large variety of persuasions.  Let’s hope and pray that our synodical committee is able to give sound advice for including the LGBT community into the body of Christ.  And then perhaps we can put aside our arguing and fruitless debate.  Blessings.

I have similiar experiences as Roger.  I had an elderly family member who recently passed from liver cancer who was a gay man and who lived in a monogamous relationship until his death.  This relationship extended >15 years with the same partner.  This man came to know Christ in the last 8 years of his life and was a profound witness to the LGBT community.   There was no question that the Spirit was leading his life.  At his funeral, I was blessed to communicate and hear shared what effect his powerful witness had on All the people around him.  He counselled young gay men who were considering suicide, he visited the sick and shut in, he supported the widows with food and flowers, and he loved to go to his church and serve.   He remained gay and became a powerful force for kingdom building. I am proud to call him family and am confident I will see him again in our heavenly home. 

This family member, his partner, and most of their friends new from an early age (10-16 yrs of age) that they had same-sex attractions.  All of these men and women I know, don't feel their decision to be gay is a choice...some type of cognitive decision.    It stems from the raw genetics of their marrow.   Surely, there are individuals in the gay community who are bi-sexual, transgender, and more variations of this theme that I don't understand. 

But, most are like my gay family member: they want safety, stability, openeness, family acceptance, the ability to freely be loved and give love.  

Ask any person from the LBGT community that you know or come in contact with and ask them if they had the choice of being homosexual or heterosexual which would they desire.  12/12 gay individuals that I know say they would be hetersexual.  Why would anyone desire to be homosexual?  Face the vitriol, the judgementalism, the character destruction by others and moreover the Christian community.  

These individuals of the LGBT community are our fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and grandkids.   They sit in the pew next to us on Sunday, teachers in our schools, writers in our most favorite magazines (maybe even in the Banner), they heal us, counsel us, and many times serve and bless us quietly and delicately-even when they know clearly our view on their status. 

This discussion brings my mind back to when many Christians felt that black people were sub-human....much like the LBGT community is now.  

Thanks, Joy, for voicing your opinion and stating some statistical proofs.  You realize, I hope, that for every study you cite, two can be appealed to that gives the opposite opinion, stating that homosexual behavior typically has a genetic link.  So I suppose we can each appeal to the studies of our choosing.  Certainly, it is likely that some homosexuals may have had multiple partners, just as it is likely that there are many heterosexuals (straight people) who have had multiple partners, numbering even in the hundreds, possibly thousands, as well.  So citing such studies does little to help resolve the problem for the church.  The studies that our denomination has acknowledged (in its last study and report) as being persuasive is that there is a genetic link and therefor a homosexual should not be judged for his/her natural inclination.  This conclusion by our own study committee is after much study and reflection.  I think I’ll go with their findings, Joy.  I doubt that a homosexual having hundreds of sexual partners, any more than a straight person having hundreds of sexual partners, is likely to appeal to the church to be a professing member and allowed to be fully active in the life and ministry of the church.  If you think this is the case you are simply setting up a straw man to win an argument.  But we are all entitled to our opinions.  It’s just that some are more grounded in fact and truth.  Thanks for your input.

Thanks Terry for sharing your first hand experience.  Truly a touching and meaningful experience.  You pit your experience over against the one cited by Marj and what does one belief?  I guess we have to pick and choose.  But being part of the CRChurch, I have a feeling our study committee will have more sympathy for the perspective that you share, and will fall on the side of studies that support the experiences of your family that you have shared, as they already have to some extent in the past.  Thanks

Definition of GENETICS:   A science that deals with heredity or how the characteristics of living things are transmitted form one generation to the next..DNA/molecules are passed on when organisms REPRODUCE.  

Homosexual lifestyle ..2 Men....EQUALS....NO BABIES                                                                           Lesbian lifesyle..2 women...EQUALS NO BABIES 

  If what some are trying to say that this is due to genetics (which it IS NOT) then the parents are to blame as it is their gene's that the child receives! It is in this generation that it has become like an epidemic and has exploded that our kids and grandkids are homosexual...So explain to us where does it come from in the genetics when all the parents are heterosexual. I wonder if all those genes floated in from someplace? So if it genetics as some are so sure of...the homosexual lifestyle will soon be gone as they do no reproduce...

 

 

GOD can use homosexuals in their witness..He uses all of us in our sin..The BEST witness is when they have RENOUNCED their sinful lifestyle and by the POWER of HOLY SPIRIT and the CLEANSING BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST they are delivered or on their way..     IF not..their sinful lifestyle OPENS the door to SATAN.        Our friend Dave became not only a Christ follower HE also was healed and delivered by the POWER of JESUS because of friends love to him and an alter call at a conference at RES LIFE in Grandville!  WHAT A DIFFERENCE his life/testimony was as he too was instrumental in loving his homosexual friends and they too had lifestyle changes by the power of HOlY SPIRIT and BLOOD OF JESUS!                  REAL LOVE for the homosexual community is not making excuses for their lifestyle or acceptance BUT to loving confront.  One can accomplish this by a one on one with them, by sermons, or PROFESSORS teaching in colleges. Homosexuals NEED to see/admit that what they have CHOSEN is SIN and JESUS can deliver!  PLEASE learn spiritual warfare..

PASTORS PLEASE have sermons calling the young in your churches who may NOW be having thoughts about their SEXUALALITY to go to a prayer warrior in your church and ask for prayer. Our prayer teems need to learn their authority in Christ and teach others how to RENOUNCE these thoughts! They then need to have ACCOUNTIBILITY as SATAN will continue to harass them and try to get them to THINK they are abnormal.  THEY also NEED to know WHO THEY ARE IN CHRIST...PASTORS>>>PROFESSORS please TEACH us the TRUTH!!

What is happening in our churches today is the result of very little training on SPIRITUAL WARFARE, who we are IN CHRIST and the AUTHORITY we have in Christ to DEFEAT Satan. NOW pastors are reaping the results!  Many churches do not have discipleship/PRAYER programs that are effective in combating the forces of Satan!

Some churches have AA meetings or send them elsewhere to help them get off from drugs/alcohol (which some say too is genetic)...SOME see homosexuality as genetics but THE BOTTOM line is THAT ONE NEEDS TO REPENT and turn from SINFUL GENETICS!     Whether we are alcoholics, gays, liars, gossips, adulterers, etc...we ALL NEED to REPENT of our lifestyle/sin and ask Jesus to FORGIVE and do what is necessary to break the STRONGHOLD in our lives!  PASTORS/PROFESSORS please learn this and PLEASE teach others!! If not,I feel, the exodus from the established church will continue in great numbers! 

 

Marj Newhouse 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Marj, for your further comments.  No doubt we are coming from different traditions within Christianity.  Your comments on spiritual warfare, alter calls and your language in general betray a different tradition other than the CRC.  Seeing as this is mostly a CRC dialogue venue I was thinking that I was talking with a fellow CRCer.  When you mention ResLife in Grandville, then I realize that this church is much more Pentecostal or near Pentecostal than our typical CRC churches and may look at the Bible and Biblical situations and responsibilities differently.  Because of our different understandings of Scripture we may approach life circumstances differently than you do.  So what you are suggesting about the homosexual person may be the typical understanding of your church family at ResLife.  In our CRC churches (or denomination) we have study committees that do extensive research and then attempt to apply the Bible to a perceived problem area for a common wise approach.  With a study committee in place to give future guidance, we are hoping and praying for some sound and Biblical direction.  From previous study committees and from Ron Nydam’s article, it doesn’t sound as though your approach is going to get much traction.  But good luck in your own church with your recommendations.  There are so many different perspectives within the Christian faith, hence the thousands of different Christian denominations.  There is plenty of room for disagreements and often it is wiser for churches and denominations to play in their own back yard rather than someone else’s.  Blessings to you.

Sorry Roger...I am homegrown Dutch CRC...born and raised in the CRChurch...You jump to conclusions very fast...so all your ramblings on in this last post are all for NOTHING!. They are even embarrassing for the CRC! I thought we were PAST that! Your attitude toward other denominations and Christians is holier than thou and you have been exposed!  I would think before I write next time if I were you...With an atttitude like that I can not see you embracing and loving the homosexual.   It seems like to me you are grasping at every straw for your point of view and running down folks and making yourself look very small...  I SURE DO hope there are not folks like you running things in the CRC!!   God help us!!

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

"Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The Lord says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.'

But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?

See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart.

In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds."  (Jeremiah 23:16-22)   

I owe you an apology, Jane.  You may have been born and raised CRC but you certainly don’t sound like a typical CRCer.  Are you still in the CRC?  Because you do sound as though you have been influenced by outside thinking.  That’s not necessarily all bad, but it does sound as though you don’t trust the powers at work in our denomination such as our synodical committee, which is likely to push in a direction you don’t agree with.  You don’t seem to trust the judgement of a previous report that buys into a genetic influence, or the direction of our seminary professors (such as Ron Nydam).  And you also accuse the CRChurch of denying the Holy Spirit for guidance.  Maybe you are a CRCer but not typical and not trusting of its direction.  So how could I possibly come up with such a suggestion as I made. 

Anyway, Jane, there are differences of opinion within the Christian church and those differences are broad and cover almost every area of Christian doctrine.  That is what makes many outside of the church question the validity of the Christian faith, because one can believe almost anything one wants and still claim to be a Christian.  That’s why there is great comfort for many Christians when they fit into a particular denomination where there is an agreement of belief.  So it surprises me when someone claiming a common faith with a particular faith group, yet seems at odds with it.  Again, I’m sorry if I offended you.

Kevin, I have no idea what you are saying.  I suppose anyone on either side of this issue can quote the same verses.  Who are you applying these to?  What’s your point?

No Roger, it is not about opinions or the false claim that there might be studies suggesting homosexuality might be genetic.  It is about facts, i.e. the identical brother of a homosexual is much more likely to be straight.  How many identical (both) homosexual brothers do you know?  So-called studies trying to claim that it's genetic have typically being found to be falsified by homosexual activists themselves, i.e. unlikely to be objective.

Similar to the one trying to claim that children raised by two 'moms' or two 'dads' are 'fine.  See 'Same Sex Parenting Fails Children' http://www.ctfamily.org/editorial10.html

"We are in a situation strikingly similar to that of the no-fault divorce debates of the early 1970s.  At the time, there was very little long-term data on the effects of divorce on children.  Advocates of free and easy divorce jumped on any study — all of them inspired more by ideology than by sound social science — to prove their point.  They won the battle, and we are now suffering from the legacy of no-fault divorce.  

  

Thirty years later the "experts” of the 1970s have been PROVEN wrong.  We know for instance, that children of divorce, in general, suffer from more social pathologies than children from traditional families. This knowledge is of little help to the generation of children that were robbed of fathers and mothers due to the myth of divorce without consequences."

 

Actually this verse 3 in 2 Timothy 4 is what the issue is:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their  own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

 

 

You talk about "TRUST"...Roger...You exposed yourself again...You come out so blantly and admit that this "so called " study committee will "likey" PUSH in a directon I don't like".. I did not know that..I thought they valued others opinions.  AND how do YOU know that and should you be disclosing a study committees thoughts before 2016?...Why have a committee when the decision is already about made?

I thought I read somewhere that the official stand on this issue is that homosexuality is wrong and is against what the church believes to be TRUTH.. So you Roger, Ron Nydam? and powers that be want to bypass this decision and do things your own way...this article looks like to me it is doing the same...I was taught that is manipulation..

I feel that when someone like myself comes along with some answers YOU start to squirm cause I am talking SPIRITUAL WARFARE, HEALING PRAYER and DISCIPLESHIP which you seem to know nothing about or at the least disagree with..That is the loving answer to those who are caught up in a sinful STRONGHOLD. You would rather go the way of polictically correct and be led by todays culture and let these folks go the rest of their lives (the way most really dont want to be) when THERE IS AN ANSWER for them!  You really seem to squirm when I mentioned RES LIFE!  What has your church taught you of the work and POWER of HOLY SPIRIT??...IT is not until the last 20 years or so that folks DARED to challenge and say there is a third person in the Trinity and that is HOLY SPIRIT...Thank the LORD GOD that there are folks out in the CR church who stand up! There is a GROWING army out there that believe as I do and talk as I do (alot better of expressing themselves I must say) and testify of the work and POWER of Holy Spirit as the church HAS NOT embraced it before...It has NOTHING TO DO WITH TRUST ROGER...all to do with "reality" of what has been..

Roger, I do forgive you...thanks   Marj Newhouse

PS...Is this "study committee" seeking/praying HOLY SPIRIT's wisdom and discernment and TRUTH of the word?  IF so, then the folks making the official stance of the CR church have not...as the two seem to disagree..

ALSO,  Is the CR church growing?

The moderators would like to remind everyone to follow the comment policy by being polite and respectul to others, which would include not shouting in capital letters, and by contributing something new and positive to the discussion, not dominating the discussion. Thank you. 

Those who need to dominate the discussion and silence others should question themselves why they feel so strong about shouting others down.  Perhaps they are without an arguement and simply express irrational fears that they may be wrong, or that there is only one truth and they possess it.  And we wonder why people are leaving the church.  When discussion results in a battlefront, we have transformed brothers and sisters into enemies, and that is the death of fellowship and communion, the shrill voice of a dying church.

Sorry moderator..MY capital letters are not shouting...just simply drawing attention...Yes I do feel too that shouting others down is not the way to go...and I agree Henry that battlefronts are not God's way..

I have forgiven Roger for jumping to conclusions and the only FEAR that I have IS that this issue is/will lead many folks AWAY from Christ...Others have also expressed opinions as have I...so if you were referring to me............

Hi Joy, I appreciate your drive. I know you think you are right.  You believe the studies you refer to are beyond refute.  But there are others on the opposite side of the issue who appeal to different studies with the same confidence.  I would imagine with any study there are margins for error.  To say that all the studies that support a genetic link to a homosexual personality are absolute, may be pushing the envelope, just as are the studies that suggest that a homosexual tendency is completely choice and mental based.  There are a multitude of studies by respected organizations on both sides of this issue.  So here we are on this website appealing to the studies that support our own prejudice.  The CRC denomination has taken a stand in its last report to our churches and no doubt will take a similar stand when the new synodical study group reports its findings and suggestions.  I hope and pray that they come to a good conclusion that would enable the CRC to embrace the LGBT community with Christ’s love.

So who are you trying to convince?  I know you are not convincing me, just as I’m not convincing you of my persuasion.  Maybe you think these dialogues are going to the synodical study group and perhaps you can convince them.  But I doubt that they are actually reading our comments.  Maybe you are just making a statement, “I’m right and you are wrong.”  I hear you, but I’m not convinced.  Maybe you are trying to tell all others who don’t agree with you that they are simply false teachers with itching ears (your 2 Timothy quote).  This debate and many others on this website sound like the Republican/Democrat debates in our country.  You would hope they (or we) could find a meeting point in the middle, but it seems unlikely.  But there are and always will be different points of view on any topic that you might want to choose, and that includes just about any issue that springs from within the church.  Like I suggested to Marj, on a previous comment, you can believe just about anything you want and still claim to be a Christian, hence the hundreds, even thousands, of different Christian denominations.

I find it interesting to hear the thoughts of others and what I perceive as the attitude of differing Christians toward those who are homosexual.  The typical gay person, doesn’t feel much love coming from the church and therefore turn their backs on it.  They are finding much more acceptance from secular society which will accept and love them as they are.  That always has been a problem for the church, church members point their fingers from inside their doors and cry “sinners in the hands of an angry God.” (Jonathan Edwards - his most noteworthy statement) Christians live strikingly similar lives as their secular society, but yet are quick to point out how sinful their society is.  Is this the same as the pot calling the kettle black?

In regard to homosexual families, please realize such families are few and far between, for obvious reasons.  So it’s not as big a problem as many want to make it out to be.  But where children are raised by gay parents, the problem is that there is little acceptance and love from our society, and especially by the church for such families.  I’ve known Christian parents who have not allowed their own children to play with children of homosexual parents or go to the beach with such families. This no doubt leaves scars on the children of gay parents. As homosexuality gains acceptance and such families are fully embraced in our society there will be little difference as to the quality of life for the children of gay parents and any other parents.  Just as there has been a stigma for being gay, there is also a stigma for being part of a gay family.  Children of gay parents suffer abuse because of a Christian anti-gay mentality that has been sown in our society. The church has had a strong influence on society in the past.  But as this influence becomes less and less (which it already has) you will find children of homosexual parents leading well adjusted lives just as in any other family.  The problem isn’t being raised by two moms or two dads, but rather the disdain that is directed toward such families and the effect that this has on both children and parents.

As to the verse you quoted from 2 Timothy, who are these lustful teachers with itching ears referring to?  Are you speaking of yourself or someone else?  Nice try Joy.  Now you’re sounding like Kevin.  Thanks for your thoughts and input.  I’m sure there are some who are listening attentively.

I'm missing that interesting post from Joy citing the Bell and Weinberg study of the homosexuals in San Francisco c. 1970. The numbers were shocking, though one suspects generated as much by location as anything. However, that's not the substantive point, rather it is this: the notion of sex detached from commitment, sexuality as a human function to be enoyed, one that is morally neutral; it's the hook-up culture fueled by apps like Grindr and Tindr (not to mention OKCupid). If that is the only story one has about gays, or about young adults for that matter, then one should be concerned (and appeals "to become more comfortable with our sexuality" may be seen as simply adding fuel to the fire).

But that's only one part of the story. Bell and Weinberg also identified different patterns for being homosexual, from sexual promiscuity to monogamous couples to celibacy/closet. It's a range of possibilties which the church confronts in society and in our pews; if nothing else, by the shifts in legal status, we will need greater  clarity in our thinking. On one hand we need to be discerning and on the other, we also need to be on guard against those ideologies that divorce sex from relationship. Marj is certainly right to bring up the issue of spiritual warfare; there are real conflicts, real false gods in front of us.

 

 

Thank you, Moderator, for you mild rebuke. May we all take heed. 

Jane/Marj, I do believe the official stand of the denomination (from its previous synodical report) is that a homosexual disposition is not sin (because of the genetic link or natural inclination) but acting on that disposition is sin. So a person may be a homosexual as to his inclination, but simply cannot act (as to lifestyle) on that inclination and be welcomed into full membership or be allowed to participate in the ministry of the church at its deeper levels such as teaching, being an elder, deacon or a pastor.  And should a professing member come out of the closet and disclose his/her gay lifestyle, such a person could be subject to church discipline for such lifestyle.

Nor do I know the directions or findings of the 2016 study committee.  I was only assuming a possible direction based on previous decisions (the genetic link) and the above article by Ron Nydam, one of our seminary professors, and the possible openness by many members in our churches.  I did not mean to suggest insider’s knowledge. 

Henry, thanks for your comment.  I agree with your sentiments and apologize for any dominance I may have shown.  I do realize that I have made many (perhaps too many) comments in response to Ron Nydam’s original article and the many ensuing responses.  Thanks for the advice, and I will try to curb my tongue and comments.

Bill, here we are:

"A study conducted in San Francisco just before the outbreak of AIDS by two researchers, Bell and Weinberg, reported evidence of widespread sexual promiscuity among homosexual men. 83% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime, 43% estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners; 28% with an astonishing 1,000 or more partners! Only 1 percent of the sexually active men had had fewer than five lifetime partners. 

The same study revealed that homosexual men have to a great extent separated sexuality from relationships. The survey showed 79% of the respondents saying that over half of their sexual partners were strangers. 70% said that over half of their sexual partners were people with whom they had sex only once! 

The authors, Bell and Weinberg, concede: “Little credence can be given to the supposition that homosexual men’s ‘promiscuity’ has been overestimated”. “Almost half of the homosexual males said that they had had at least 500 different sexual partners during the course of their homosexual careers,”.

The interesting thing about this study (apart from its pioneering aspect) has been the reconsideration of those sexual partner numbers. The San Francisco setting and the method of obtaining the information (remember this was rather pioneering) suggest this may be something of an extreme number. And if you were old enough, you would probably agree -- while gays in SF are very promiscuous, the ones in your home town not so much. The interesting statistic was a look OK Cupid did of their users: In terms of sexual partners, hetero- and homosexuals basically match -- behavior does not change depending orientation. Similar findings are from the national health statistics report.

And lets relate this back to the original article. What stops some of our conversation is the notion that they are so unlike us. More specifically that the young adult who grew up in our church is suddenly so unlike us. Here, the cultural war aspects do us a disservice: they want us to see the difference and not the similarities.

 

Thanks Bill for your added insight into this San Francisco study of gays.  Supporting your premise is the realization that 36 states in the U.S. now permit gay marriage, with that number growing.  This is the legalization of gay marriage between just two people who are committed to a life long relationship of love and fidelity.  These are likely the kinds of gays that are seeking inroads into the church, rather than those gays having multiple partners.  Thanks for giving some clarification.

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