A pastor’s open apology to homosexuals

I serve as Assistant Pastor of a church in Kentucky.  I have served churches in three other states over the last 12 years.  In one of those, I led in church discipline over unrepentant sexual sin, it was homosexual in nature.  I have supported discipline in others churches I served where members were involved in unrepentant sexual sin of a heterosexual nature, some of which were lead or assistant pastors, choir members, or life long members.  For these acts I don’t not apologize, or hold shame.

But we do have plenty to apologize for…

Scripture is clear that unrepentant sin separates man from God, it must be turned from, and Christ must be clung to.

The benefits of “church membership” are to be bestowed at the local level to individuals who acknowledge their sin (of whatever nature), turn from it, and submit their lives to Jesus as King.  So long as sin is being put down and Biblical life principles are being put on, this is considered fruit of growing in Christ.

Jesus stated

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,
(Mat 23:23-34)

The Gnat and the Camel

I fear that with the attention on people like a pastor who calls for homosexuals to be put into an electric fence, to the very odd rantings of a lady who calls people to choose between “Jesus( a straight) and Judas (a homo)”, and who could forget the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney?–

that we, evangelical Christians, are straining out the ‘gnat and swallowing the camel’, to an extent.

We speak of homosexuality as destroying the “family” ( and I believe it does), but we ignore (in comparison) heterosexual pornography, divorce, adultery, and fornication.

For the double standard of our sexual sin- I apologize.

Whitewashed tombs

I live at our church, in a house between a  rural railroad crossing and a graveyard, (Don’t be jealous).

It’s interesting to evaluate those two.

The trains (several times daily) approach that crossing and loudly proclaims the impending danger of not heeding the warnings that the train is coming-the whistle and the flashing signals.  People time after time will approach that crossing check to see how far the train is and how fast it’s coming, and will often disregard the warning and run through the crossing,  undoubtedly every time that happens, the conductor blows that whistle longer and hard than ever before-They simply didn’t heed the warning.

Sexual sin is that way.

  • Porn leaves people feeling empty and shameful.
  • Fornication is a fleeting lie of commitment and deep true love.
  • Adultery is the lie that satisfaction and comfort may be found outside the bounds of marriage.

–each leave people hurting, and longing for something more, so they often do it again, and again.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(1Pe 4:17)

Sexual sin of any nature is wrong and separates people from fellowship with God whether it be

  •  Lust fueled pornography (homosexual or heterosexual)
  • Being married and having sexual relations with someone other than than your spouse (adultery)
  • Not being married and having any type of sexual activity (fornication)

For evangelicals to glance over the above; while behaving as if homosexual activity (porn, fornication) is somehow ‘more’ sinful than a heterosexual male looking at porn, or a married man walking away from his marriage, wife and children. Or that same man, now ‘single’ committing fornication–is hypocrisy.

I spoke of that train, but I forgot to mention the graveyard.  The graveyard is  a constant reminder of the wages of sin-death.  In our (evangelical) view, death is not natural, it’s a result of sin.  And it’s appointed to man once to die, then the judgement.  And when it comes to the spiritual death of our marriages and children, we act as if it’s just…normal.

Sexual sin is to be fled, It’s not “just part of growing up” for our sons to look at porn, (or Christian men either).  It’s not ok, “because it’s interesting” for Christian women to fascinate themselves with relationships that are unbiblical, and invest in these things emotionally…”the Bachelor” anyone?

For the majority voice being hypocritical with regards to heterosexual sexual sin-I apologize.

The measure of our fathers

In the Christian church, for generations we have become a people who love traditional America, family, and the Constitution.  And while I love all of those things dearly, we have forgotten that we are to live as travelers in this land, ambassadors for King Jesus.

We have become too comfortable with an entitlement idea about what culture should be like, and have not been honest about what it actually is.

We have forgotten that “Amazing grace saved a wretch like me”…  most of us don’t even know what a “wretch” is.

No, rather we are often content to believe that we deserve God’s love, because we’re not like you (or someone worst than you, like Hitler or something ;))

We have allowed our sin to either condone yours, or worse-lead us to self righteousness over yours.  We have filled up the measure of our fathers in the same way that Prohibition will stop drunkenness, the War on Drugs will cease addiction, that perhaps a  Constitutional amendment will somehow remove homosexual desires and sin.

We have focused on outlawing the sin, not redeeming the sinner-For this I apologize.

I have now confessed and apologized of the double standard regarding our hypocrisy as it relates to the

  • double standards of our heterosexual sexual sin
  • the condoning of homosexual sin
  • the self righteousness of many evangelicals
  • the ignorance of not seeking to love and minister to the homosexual or person struggling with homosexuality

…and at times in my life, I was guilty of all of these.

But the truth remains

If I declare that I believe the Bible, then that means that I believe what it says about homosexual sin, as much as I do about what it says about drunkenness-it is a sin.

Sin separates people from God, and must be turned from, whether homosexuality, self righteousness, gluttony, drunkenness, lying, hate, anger, porn, lust, or laziness.

Please do not ask Christians to simply ‘look over’ the fact that the Bible speaks against homosexuality, anymore than asking  to ‘look over’ any of the other sins aforementioned. Do you really want me to tell people it’s ok to be self righteous because it’s natural to them?

I, like you have struggled with sexual sin, our churches are filled with people who struggle with a variety of sexual sins (and other types).   There is forgiveness and mercy at the cross, and there is to be fellowship at the church.  We were sinners saved by grace, who now are saints seeking to glorify Christ.

Join us.

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About matthewstevens

Matt needs more Jesus...just like you. He writes to encourage thinking and the expansion of the Kingdom
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70 Responses to A pastor’s open apology to homosexuals

  1. David says:

    AMEN and AMEN! It is so refreshing to hear another say such things. It seems to be less popular to believe in grace than it does to condemn. We need to realize that church membership is the last defense for the theological integrity of the church while simultaneously realizing that the only thing that separates us from the world is the Grace of Jesus Christ!

    Bravo, Bravo!

  2. Elliott says:

    While all manner of sin separates us from God, it is when a society endorses and elevates sinful behavior to an equivalent status as right behavior that society is turned over to destruction.

    • William M. Trent says:

      I agree with you 100%. That is what is wrong with Homosexuals. Most do not want to change their way of life, but make it an accepted way of life.

      • steffi74 says:

        Homosexuality is not a choice or a lifestyle. It should be an accepted way of life, for those who are born with that orientation. Could someone force you to be gay? Neither could you force someone who has innate same-sex attraction to be straight. It is really that simple. Gay people are just as sure of their sexual orientation as you are of yours.

        We must separate sexual orientation from sexual acts. I understand there is an “ick factor” that many people can’t seem to get over. Please consider this: Is your marriage ONLY about the sexual acts performed in the bedroom? I would guess it is not. Mine is certainly more than just what goes on in the bedroom (I’m straight, btw). Gay people are just like you…the fall in love like you, they build relationships just like straight people…the only difference is who they fall in love with. Shouldn’t they be allowed to live and love, just like you?

        This is not to say that I believe any church should be forced to accept homosexuality, or perform same-sex weddings. Of course not. Religious freedom is protected in your Constitution…but religion of any kind should NOT control how the government legislates.

      • I completely agree with steffi74. Homosexuals will never change how valuable your straight marriage is, nor will they force you to become like them…there is nothing wrong with their way of life, and as steffi said, love goes beyond what happens in the bedroom.

  3. Hodor says:

    By continuing to consider a person’s sexual orientation as sinful I believe your apology is incomplete. If you saw true love between two people of the same gender and knew how they felt about each other I think you might understand why calling that a sin is wrong. Put aside what you read in the bible and just think about it.

    • Harry says:

      A true follower of Jesus Christ cannot put aside what we read in the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God, our Creator. It is a sin to put aside God’s word and think we know better than God. He has given us His word so that we may know Him. We know love, because God first loved us. Who are we to question what God calls sin? We are to love each other as Christ loves us. This is not a sexual love. We all have sinful desires, and it is perfectly normal to want to rationalize our sins. As a follower of Jesus Christ and a believer in His word, we must put our desires down and take up His. We are slaves to Christ. We give Him our life. He wants all of us. We cannot serve God if we don’t know Him. We know Him by His word. You cannot take little pieces of the Bible to believe. It is either all true, or none of it it trustworthy. If you pick and choose what you like about the Bible to believe, you are creating your own god. He is not the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I too am a sinner. I must confess and repent daily. I strive to live the life that God has called me to, but I know perfection will not be found on this side of heaven. I pray that God will open your eyes and heart and mind to His perfect will for you and allow you to know Him fully.

      • steffi74 says:

        …but not everyone believes as you do. Not everyone shares YOUR Faith. Your Faith is only Truth to you. Your Faith is not Truth to me, as my beliefs differ from yours. My Church is a Christian protestant one. My Church accepts and sanctions legal marriage (in Canada, that means same-sex as well), my Church supports birth control and sex education, my Church does not condemn legal abortion. These issues are left to individual congregations to decide, but as an Institution, the United Church of Canada is a progressive one. My Church believes the Bible was inspired by God, that it was written under circumstances that were reflective of a very different time, place and society, and that the stories of the Bible are not meant to be taken literally. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Canada#Marriage

      • Steffi. while beliefs may be subjective…truth is not. In example, I would argue that it is always, and without exception, morally wrong to rape and dismember infants-I hope you would agree with this as a “true statement”. While you and I may agree on this, We simply must not validate other cultures who practice such evil as “right/valid” because it is their belief. Some things are always true/false/right/wrong regardless of country/creed/culture. Jesus stated that He is the way, the truth and the life, no one could come to the Father except through Him—either that statement is true or it is not, if it is not, dismiss it. But, if it is true that leave a weighty decision for people to make about the way they are to believe and live.

      • steffi74 says:

        Moral codes are not only the domain of the religious. Humans and our ancestors lived for tens of thousands of years with basic moral codes before anyone ever wrote them down in a holy book. I believe in scientific fact and truth, and I have reconciled that with my spiritual beliefs. I must apologize if you are offended by my next statement: There can be no Truth without empirical data to back it up. A book written in ancient times, by men (perhaps inspired by God, or the idea of a God), in a completely different time and place is not empirical data. What is “right or wrong” IS subjective to a degree. For you, homosexuality is “wrong”, because YOUR interpretation (or literal reading) of the Bible tells you so. My interpretation is different. What Jesus may or may not have “stated” is according to fallible human men living in a very different era and culture than ours. We have no empirical data that supports this claim…and that is where Faith steps in. You believe it is Truth, because of your Faith.

        Killing may not be “wrong” in every case…but it isn’t good for society as a whole, so humankind generally condemns it (except in the case of war, or Crusades, or adulterous women being stoned to death…). The world is not black-or-white, right-or-wrong. Everything is subjective to a degree…right and wrong are cloaked in various shades of grey. Is it wrong to respect a dying elder’s wish to die with dignity at a time of their own choosing? Some would say no, that it would be merciful to help them end their own suffering. Is it wrong to abort an embryo if it spares the mother’s life? What if that mother has other children that need her? Is it wrong to kill a convicted murderer by lethal injection?injectingpoison

      • steffi74 says:

        I apologize for the messiness at the end of the previous post…something went “wonky”, and I couldn’t fix it…I haven’t found an “edit” option for these comments.

      • Harry says:

        Steffi74, You are no Christian. To be a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. If everything is subject to you and your interpretations or feelings, then you are your god. You have to decide if you follow Christ or yourself. You say that men are not perfect and could not perfectly write down God’s word. God says that His word is perfect and that His Holy Spirit helped these men to write down His words. He is almighty and all knowing. He is perfectly able to make sure that His words are written just as He intended. You have no faith. You have created your own little religion to live with. You have not given your life to Jesus Christ, but have asked that He give His life to you. He will not. The Bible teaches that in the last days, each man will do what is right in his own eyes. They will not follow truth. This is you. I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of the Living God. I know that I am a sinner and am no better than any other. Jesus Christ died to forgive me of my sins, and I in turn give Him my life. I must therefore do as He says is right. If I don’t agree, I still must obey. His is Lord. Not me. I am His servant, not the other way around. If you choose to say the Bible is outdated, God says He does not change. We may change, but God stays the same. You can choose to say that adultery or homosexuality, fornication, etc. are not sins, but God says they are and that He hates sin. He payed the price for our forgiveness. Jesus teaches that our salvation costs us everything, it is not free. He paid the price and in exchange He expects all of us.

      • steffi74 says:

        Harry: So what you are saying is MY particular denomination of Christianity is not Christian “enough” for you. How interesting. Half a million full members, and 2.8 million adherents to the teachings of the United Church of Canada would probably disagree with you. It is the largest protestant church in Canada, and the 2nd largest Christian denomination in Canada, second only to the Roman Catholic Church. I am secure in the knowledge that the congregation I belong to accepts me and my “personal” views on Christianity and spirituality.

        The final musings of my previous post didn’t necessarily reflect all of my own, personal views. I was simply putting forward some “grey” areas for consideration.

        THIS is why no church should have any influence over the government of a free and democratic society.

        How dare you tell me I am not a Christian, simply because MY denomination chooses to interpret the Bible a bit differently. To be a Christian is to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, as interpreted in the stories and parables of the New Testament.

      • Harry says:

        Jesus also had a zeal for God’s word and God’ house. A majority of people does not make a truth. Did not Jesus tell His disciples that the Holy Spirit was coming to guide and teach them. He said that he still had many things to teach them, but they could not bear it now. The Holy Spirit would come and teach them. Are you discrediting the words of the disciples? The apostle Paul condemns homosexuality by Christ’s authority. Jesus also stated in Matthew 19:4 that God created them male and female. A man shall leave his father and mother and joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. Jesus also said that He did not come to abolish the law of Moses which condemns homosexuality. Again, there are many other sins in there. Homosexuality is a sin. Even if you were born that way, God calls you to put aside your desires and wants and follow Him. I am not saying that your denomination is not Christian enough for me. It is not Christian because it is not following the God of the Bible. It is its own religion. Call what you want, but it is not Christian. Christ is the only way to heaven. Again, he calls for us to take up our cross and follow Him. If that cross is putting aside homosexual desires, so be it. Your church is its own god. It sounds as if they are picking and choosing what to believe. God does not and will not change. I have no anger or malice towards you. I hope and pray that God will open your eyes, that you will search the Scriptures for yourself, that you will seek Him with all of your heart, mind soul and strength.
        The Bible teaches us that it is the inspired word of God. I believe it. I cannot make you believe it. I cannot make you follow Christ. It is your choice. If you only give Him part of you, He is not your Lord.

      • steffi74 says:

        Harry: I would love to print this “debate” and hand it out to my congregation and Minister, but what would be the point of that? We know there are Fundamentalist Evangelical denominations who only believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. You are free to do so, but remember it is not for you to judge humanity. It’s not up to you to decide who is “right” and who is “wrong”. That is up to God. We choose to focus on Jesus’ message of love, respect and acceptance of all of humanity. I will never convince you that I am, indeed, a Christian, and belong to a Christian church, so I will end our conversation here. I have never declared that I am perfect, or without sin, but I am secure in my love of Jesus Christ, and His love for me. Have a good evening, and God Bless.

      • Harry says:

        Steffi, I didn’t see where Jesus accepts all humanity. He does accept all who come to Him. He does require change. Anyway, I hope you have a good evening also. Jesus says if we seek Him with all of our hearts, will find Him.

      • Hodor says:

        Hi Harry, since you mentioned not picking and choosing from the bible I want to present a few to see if you believe they’re worth upholding:

        “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Timothy 2:11

        “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

        “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” (Leviticus 20:9)

        Now if you were to pick those and adhere to them, you would not be a sane member of our society. These passages tell you to kill children, kill anyone who has sex outside of marriage and give the boot to every female teacher. We have grown as a society since the writing of the bible and I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. I’m interested in hearing your response.

      • Harry says:

        Hodor,
        I do not believe that women should be teaching men in the churches. The Bible states it, and I believe it. However, we do have too few men stepping up to their responsibilities. As too the stoning, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” The stoning is not negated because we have grown as a society, but because Jesus negated it in the new testament. The old testament verses you quoted show how serious these sins are to God. God does not take sin lightly and neither should we. He can forgive us our sins, but this does not mean that we should go on sinning because there is forgiveness. His Son died to pay the penalty for our sin. God hates sin! He loves us! All I am trying to say is we cannot pick and choose what we want to believe in the Bible. If we do, then we are creating our own gods. God gave us His word so that we can know Him. He tells us in His word that He does not change. As a society we really do not change either. There has always been murder, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, stealing, etc. There will always be until Christ sets up His kingdom. The same God that destroyed Sodom and Gomarah also killed Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 for lying to the Holy Spirit. God is Holy and Righteous an Just. We are His creation; not the other way around. If He says something is sin and we want to follow Him then we must adhere to His word. He is God. We can choose not to believe somethings in the Bible. That doesn’t change God or His word. It just makes us wrong. I personally believe the Bible. It is the inspired Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Some things have changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament. God did not change, society did not change, but God gave us a clearly image of who He is and His plan for us. Is God more forgiving in the New Testament? No. He just completed a way to Him through Jesus Christ. The way had been promised. David was forgiven in the Old testament for his adultery and murder. God even called David a man after His own heart. David was repentant for his sin and changed his ways.
        One more thing about the cursing of your father and mother. The Bible teaches that we are to honor our father and mother. I don’t think we should kill someone who doesn’t because I believe this falls under the same scene as the woman caught in adultery. Jesus never said the woman didn’t deserve death. He that the one without sin should be the first to cast the stone. We are all sinners. To curse your father and mother is a sin. The wages of sin is death. We earn death for our sins. Romans 6:23. Romans 6 is a great chapter to read about how we are to live. Verses 16-17 ” Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to obey Him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to rightousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” Righteousness comes through obedience to Jesus Christ. Obedience to His words. This not just the words that we agree with. I agree with the pastor who wrote this. The church needs to be condemning adultery and fornication and every other sin also. Sin is sin. Paul also teaches that because God gave us the law, we know what sin is. The law is holy, righteous and good. However, the law brought death. Jesus Christ brought life!

      • steffi74 says:

        …so I guess as a woman, I should just be keeping my mouth shut as far as Harry is concerned. Got it. Luckily, MY husband respects me as an EQUAL partner in our relationship. He respects my intellect, he respects my opinions, he respects ME as a human being with rights EQUAL to his. In all things.

        So does my Christian church, where I could be ordained as a full and equal Minister, just like the men (coincidentally, so could any GBLT member of the United Church of Canada…and mine is not the only denomination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations)

      • Harry says:

        Steffi,
        I love my wife. Men are the spiritual leaders according to God’s word. You however do not believe God’s word, but the word of your church or whatever you deem to be correct. I learn alot from my wife! She is a terrific woman. If you don’t believe the Bible, there is no conversation, because I do. I do not pick and choose what is truth based on what I want it to be. Why is sex outside of marriage a sin? Because God said it is. He is in charge! Not me. I didn’t write anything in the Bible. The word of God was inspired by the Spirit of God. You don’t believe it. You believe it is outdated. You believe that society today is different than it used to be so most of the Bible, or the parts you disagree with, don’t apply today. That is your choice. I believe that the word of God is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). You obviously believe it is book written by imperfect men so it must be full of mistakes. I don’t! The word is how we know God. I can’t say why God calls some things sin. He does. I am His; so if He calls it sin, then I call it sin. If you believe that society has changed so parts of the Bible do not apply, then you believe that God has changed. God does not change. Society has not changed. About all that has changed would be technology. You tell yourself these lies to make yourself feel better about yourself, because you do not want to submit to the authority of the Almighty God. You have things that you want to be truth. Believe me, I do to. I cannot make them truth. I cannot say it is ok to commit sin. If I do, then I am making myself out to be God. I am saying that God is not wise enough or all knowing and able to see into the future . Because of that, He wrote down things that would change and never sent us the memo that they did change. I know that God is Almighty and all knowing. He knew people would be trying to justify sin today just as they did thousands of years ago. In Romans 1: 18-32, God gives people over to their own sinful depravity. The passage clearly speaks about homosexuality and many other sins. This is God’s word, not mine! Again, it is your choice to believe it or not. However, to know God and have a relationship with Him, you must. It is who He is. We are like teenagers who think they know better than their parents. They think that things have changed so much since their parents were kids, but nothing has changed. As they get older and have their own children, they realize this. We can fight against God, but we cannot win. Truth is truth. Everything else is a lie.
        One more point: You should never believe something because your church believes it. Everything should be tested with the word the God. If your church is teaching something contrary to the word of God, you should show them they are wrong. If they refuse to change, then get out of that church.

      • Hodor says:

        Hey Harry, in your response you made a lot of personal interpretations of the scriptures I was referencing. In that sense are you picking the meanings you want out of those passages rather than adhering to the explicit words of God? You mentioned picking and choosing scripture makes you into your own god, would you consider your personal interpretations to be similar?

        I think that Steffi while a little incensed over the topic has made some great points and I think it’s pretty offensive that you would say she’s not christian. It sounds like you need to spend some time considering all the other religious perspectives out there that believe as much as you do that they’re right. You’ll find that we’re all just people with good intentions looking for answers. Good luck Harry, I hope that one day you are able to see the world without the constraint of your religion’s indoctrination. It’s a pretty wonderful place.

      • Harry says:

        Hodor,
        Could you be a little more specific. What personal interpretations was I putting in there? My point of Steffi not being a Christian was that she is not following Jesus. Christian is a follower of Christ. She was stating the the Bible was outdated and full of stories that you cannot understand and society had changed so the words could not be valid now. Christ came to fulfill scripture. When Steffi wrote, “A book written in ancient times, by men (perhaps inspired by God, or the idea of a God), in a completely different time and place is not empirical data. What is “right or wrong” IS subjective to a degree. For you, homosexuality is “wrong”, because YOUR interpretation (or literal reading) of the Bible tells you so. My interpretation is different. What Jesus may or may not have “stated” is according to fallible human men living in a very different era and culture than ours. We have no empirical data that supports this claim…and that is where Faith steps in. You believe it is Truth, because of your Faith.” It shows that she is not submitted to the teachings of Jesus Christ and is therefore not a follower of Christ. That is my reason for saying she is not a Christian. She is stating that the Bible cannot be trusted. It sounds to me like her and her church just pick what suits them. This cannot be. It happens all to often and will only happen more, because we are selfish people. We don’t want anyone to tell us that we cannot do things we want to do. To submit to Christ and His authority, we must give up ourselves as He gave Himself for us.

      • Hodor says:

        Hi Harry, the interpretations I’m talking about are of these passages:

        “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

        “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” (Leviticus 20:9)

        You said that there was a contradictory statement that Jesus had made about not casting the first stone unless you are free of sin, but which is the correct path to take? Should you adhere to the literal text and throw stones at children and women until they are dead like God wants you to, or listen to Jesus’ contradictory statement instead? It seems a little strange that they wouldn’t agree since they are the same person. I’m glad to hear you chose the path that didn’t involve murder.

      • Harry says:

        Hodor,
        I believe that would be Jesus’ interpretation, not mine. The people are still worthy of death. The penalty of sin is death. The law brings death because it shows us our sin. We are all worthy of death. Salvation comes through Christ. With the woman caught in adultery, the man should have be brought out to be stoned also. Jesus when He spoke to her, told her to go and sin no more, He didn’t justify her sin and say it’s ok to keep on sinning. He was punished for our sins. He took death for us.

    • steffi74 says:

      How did you learn what God’s word was, Harry? Did you just “know”, or did someone, an imperfect human being, at some time, TEACH you what God’s word was?

      The only other option is God came directly to you, without using a book of parables and allegory, and TOLD you personally that the book of stories is the Absolute Truth, and not a teaching tool and guide to living a good and moral life.

      As for the Romans passage…you are reading it literally, in English. There are different interpretations than yours:

      Romans 1:26-27:

      The text reads (in the King James Version):

      Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet.”

      This passage is unique in that it is the only place in the Bible that refers to same-gender sexual behavior by women. Bennett Sims, the former Episcopal bishop of Atlanta, believes that these verses have done more to form Christians’ negative opinion of homosexuality than any other single passage in the Bible. He writes: “For most of us who seriously honor Scripture these verses still stand as the capital New Testament text that unequivocally prohibits homosexual behavior. More prohibitively, this text has been taken to mean that even a same-sex inclination is reprehensible, so that a type of humanity known as ‘homosexual’ has steadily become the object of contempt and discrimination.” 1

      Other Christians interpret the passage differently. They note that the persons involved in the orgy were former Christians, and were heterosexual. They are condemned because they went against their nature — their heterosexual orientation — and engaged in same-gender sexual behavior. By the same reasoning, lesbians and gays who went against their fundamentali nature — their homosexual orientation — and engaged in opposite-gender sexual behavior would also be sinning. (from Religious Tolerance.org)

      • Harry says:

        Steffi,
        How many places does the Bible have to say something is sin for you to believe it. That passage may be the only one that specifically mentions two women. How about all the other passages that mention men or mankind, Old and New Testaments.
        Steffi, I take God’s word as God’s word. I ask God to help me understand His Word when it is unclear. Most pIaces scripture is very clear. There is no hidden meaning. Jesus spoke in parables, but He also explained most of them. He wants us to understand, but He also wants us to submit to His authority. I spend a lot of time studying and praying. If you don’t like the Bible, because as you claim it is full stories, parables and allegories, then write your own. It sounds as if you have anyway. God condemns homosexuality in the Old and New Testaments. He also says if we have broken the law in one point, we are guilty of breaking it all. James 2:10. There are a lot of controversial things in the Bible. Who are we to say that God changed His mind or didn’t really mean that for today. The Bible is very clear about many things and homosexuality is one of those things. The same goes for fornication, adultery, lies, slander, witchcraft, thinking you are better than others, idolatry, not honoring your father and mother, murder, etc. The list could go on and on. The option of God coming personally to me to tell me the Bible is truth, I’ll take that one. For God says that He will fill us with His Holy Spirit which will guideus, teach us, instruct us, convict us, and lives in us. “The natural man des not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The Spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. I think that is pretty clear. There are many other places that the Bible talks of God’s Holy Spirit living in us and through us so that we may know God. If you are having trouble understanding the scriptures and applying them, ask God to give you His Spirit and to help you understand His truth. I do it all the time, because I want to know God. Are you willing to call homosexuality a sin if God tells you it is?

      • steffi74 says:

        I’m done. I hope I’ve reached someone out there who may be questioning their Fundamentalist upbringing. You can be a good Christian without taking every word in the Bible literally, and millions of Christians the world over have learned the same lessons in their churches that I have in mine.

      • steffi74 says:

        One last thought: I also believe a person can live a good and moral life here on Earth without adhering to ANY religious doctrine at all. One does not NEED religion to be a good person. I count among my close friends agnostics and atheists…their lives have as much meaning, as much value as my own. I respect their views, and would never presume to tell them they are “wrong”. After all, who am I to judge their spiritual lives?

        NOW I am done.

      • Harry says:

        Steffi,

        In the same way, I hope that God’s word has reached someone that may have been struggling in this way. Test everything by the Word of God. Don’t take me or your church leaders at their words. Take it from God’s word and ask Him to help you understand if you don’t. God will never contradict His Word. His Word is eternal. 1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8, Psalms 119:89)

      • Harry says:

        On your last thought, the Bible teaches that no man is good. There are many very nice people who do impact others with their lives. Their lives have great value, because God created them and died for them. However, there is one way to heaven. Jesus is the way and no one will enter heaven without Him. I do not judge them. God and Jesus are the Judge. It is Their words not mine. I am no better than any other person. I know that I do have the Holy Spirit living inside of me and am assured my salvation by His presence. I pray that God will give you the same assurance someday and teach you to surrender yourself wholly to Him. His love for you cannot be equaled. His will and ways are perfect.

      • christina says:

        To Steffi,

        I would like to ask a question that I, as a woman, would like to know. What is the purpose of your faith?
        I look at scripture (The Bible) and it shows me the character and nature of God. I, after reading your posts, wonder if you, also, study the character and nature of God.

        I think that often, our culture looks at the Bible and tries to read “what is applicable to me.” For example, we read about anger when we have anger. We read about parenting if we have problems about parenting.(WHICH IS GREAT!) Often, however, we forget that the primary objective should be to learn about GOd , who He is and what is His character. That is primary. People can say they serve God, but that does mean anything if the dont know who He is or what He desires.
        People often teach children “tell people about Jesus,” but what are they going to tell if they dont know the nature of the One True God themselves? First we must learn the nature of God if we are to claim to serve Him. The Old Testament is as true as it ever was, the nature of GOd never changes. Unless we decide to follow God, knowing his true nature we are just “trying to be good”, which is worthless. The faith of the Bible is knowing that God has a standard and that man can not live up to it (evident in our own lives and in scripture) and that without grace and mercy from God and without Christ dying, paying the penaly for our sin which God, as creature can set; without that grace, we are condemned to pay the consequence that God sets. We can argue with His standard but when the rubber meets the road, it is either His standard or not.

        Just as I set standards as a parent, my kids can argue but it is either a standard or not (not a perfect illustration but an attemp). If I truly dchriesire to serve God, I am responsible for learning His standard and you are responsible for the same. God is the one who sets the standard, I am merely striving to uphold it.

  4. Alistair Gretchen says:

    Hey, I’ll admit I’m not a Christian but I do have an unlimited amount of respect for people who believe in the Christian tenets of forgiveness and brotherhood. I don’t agree with your belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality but I come from a very different background and wasn’t raised with that.

    I would just like to say I truly respect you for having the courage and fortitude of your convictions and in presenting them in a thoughtful and polite manner. I would never ask someone to compromise their honestly held beliefs but it feels like so many people only embrace the tenets of religion that allow them to mask their hate for people who are different under the guise of piety.

    I would like to thank you for contributing to a calm, open discussion rather than the one being conducted by zealots of every stripe. As someone who tries to keep an open mind about people it can be difficult to hear the stories like the one about Pastor Worley and not feel hatred. Its nice to be reminded there are people who believe what they believe out of genuine conviction, and not personal malice.

  5. Alex Monroe says:

    You know, all the bigotry is actually doing us a favor. If we weren’t so widely hated by Christians, more gay people would get tricked into believing in it.

  6. steffi74 says:

    If GBLT human beings were allowed to marry, then they wouldn’t be forced into sinful fornication. Homosexuality is not a CHOICE or a lifestyle. That is not a “belief”, it is fact that is backed by more and more scientific research as time goes on (stop reading if you don’t “believe” in true science. You’re lost to this debate, and I can’t help you understand).

    Of course, it is my understanding that you would consider a different-sex couple who married in a civil ceremony to be “fornicators” and their children “illegitimate”?

    Marriage is a government sanctioned, legal contract. If you were to say “marriage” should only be between one man and one woman in a church, what happens to the millions of Americans married by Justices of the Peace outside of churches? Oh wait…they are still married in the eyes of the US Government, and it is called “marriage”. THAT is the “equality” that GBLT people and those of us who support them are fighting for. To repeal DOMA in the eyes of the GOVERNMENT. You will never be forced to perform same-sex marriages in your church if DOMA falls. Ever (Freedom OF and freedom FROM religion). But GBLT couples in love will be able to be married, and have that marriage recognized by their government, just as heterosexual couples do. If the name of the civil contract is to be changed, it should be changed for EVERY couple who marries outside of the church, regardless of gender.

    I’m Canadian, so same-sex marriage is legal in my country, and overwhelmingly accepted. Churches or clergy in Canada, however, cannot be “forced” to perform marriage ceremonies if they go against their doctrines. Judges can (employed by the government, personal views are left outside the office doors). Luckily, there are more and more denominations and congregations across the world that have opened their hearts, arms and pews to the GBLT community.

    Same-sex couples only want equal marriage rights in the eyes of the government (which should not be tied or linked to religion in any way).

    Thank you for your honesty and heartfelt views, Pastor. Please read this post with reason, logic and an open heart, to endeavour to understand a different point of view. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your reply, regarding the ‘natural’ aspect of homosexuality-please understand that biblically, we evangelicals don’t have a dog in that fight. Whether or not there is a predisposition does not negate that the Bible calls certain things sin.

      In recent years, there has been ‘scientific’ genetic findings linked to obesity, drunkenness, abuse, and sexual addiction.

      Also,I have counseled many people tempted with pedophilia, each has noted that they can’t help how they feel about children.

      While I am NOT saying homosexuals are obese drunken, abusive pedophiles–I am saying that an appeal to natural desires is not a blanket approval that anyone should put on behavior, haven’t you ever thought, “I just want to KILL ’em!!” about someone?

      In my view, people are fundamentally flawed in nature and thought, and need the goodness of God to transform them into what He desire for them to be. This goes for the heterosexual conservative serviceman who naturally feels it is good and proper to visit a strip club, as well as 2 teens who tell themselves, “if it was ‘wrong’ it wouldn’t feel so ‘right'”, To two homosexuals who are deeply committed to each other.

      Regarding “Marriage”, In the U.S. there is no freedom FROM religion, only freedom of religion-The state may never tell the church what to do, but the church may tell the state how to operate (This concept is clearly outlined in Jefferson’s letters to the Danbury Baptists-where the phrase “separation of church and state come from).

      I have already noted in detail the hypocrisy of not upholding our own standards as Christians regarding marriage in culture-that being said, ON A LEGAL LEVEL, I have no qualm with consenting adults engaging in economical contracts or even being romantically involved, but please understand that I have every obligation-according to my beliefs-to clarify that such arrangements, while not criminal, are not ideal for society, and much moreover are not “marriage” or a “family”.

      • steffi74 says:

        I respect your views, and hope you respect mine on the complete other side of the spectrum.

        I will not get into a philosophical debate about whether or not the US was founded on a secular basis or a religious one…I have no respect for the “historian” David Barton or his “research”. I do believe that to have freedom OF religion necessarily implies freedom FROM any particular religion that is not your own.

        You do have an obligation IN YOUR OWN CHURCH, to your own congregation, to clarify that YOUR particular denomination of Christianity does not condone or accept same-sex marriage. I am uncomfortable, however, that young, impressionable children are raised without a choice, without ever seeing or hearing a different point of view on many issues. But that is a different debate.

        Am I any less Christian because MY particular denomination DOES accept and welcome GBLT people into the fold? Which particular brand of Christianity should tell the government how to operate? Only yours, or those that have the same evangelical bent? Why? Because you are “right”, and all the rest of us are not?

        You see how having any religion dictate to a government can become a sticky issue?

  7. Troy_is_on says:

    As long as flawed humans (all of us) chose to believe that our flaws are natural and not the result of original sin, this issue and all the others will be argued. A Bible believing Christian should love everyone but hate all sin. The type of sin doesn’t matter. If the Bible defines it as sin, it is sin. Even if we believe it’s in our nature. That is the root of the issue. Homosexuals persist in explaining that it is the way they were born, not that it’s a choice. Pedophiles could and do use the same argument. Everyone is born with a sinful nature, but it’s not God’s intended nature. It is rather the nature we have inherited because of the original sin. If a person’s sinful disposition due to original sin is a desire for homosexual sin, then that is what they must turn from. Just like a person born with the disposition to be a pedophile. Or an adulterer. Or any and all sins that different people finds themselves born into, and thus drawn to as choices.

    We are all fooled though, because we were all born sinners. Only acceptance of that, and faith in the Salvation of Christ can offer us a path to our true nature.

    We must turn from the sinful nature we were born with that leads us to sinful choices, and turn towards the nature of God, which Jesus demonstrated.

    “God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all.”

  8. NM says:

    If you were really so reasonable, you would examine the reality and realize that there is no God, and so, no justification for condemning people in the name of an imaginary being.

  9. ESH says:

    This is an apology? It seems to me that this is nothing but bigotry wrapped in a nicely written blog. Being Gay is a sickness? How so? You would like millions of innocent human beings to live a tortured, miserable life just because you believe that some fat white man in space created by desert dwelling nomads 2,000 years ago tells you that a P only goes in a V??? Do you know how absurd & ultimately EVIL that sounds? Enjoy your family. Enjoy your Church. Enjoy your life & don’t spew hate (cause that’s what it is) about how someone else is sick & they don’t deserve to be happy because of some ancient phobia.

  10. ESH says:

    You compared it to alcoholism, drug addiction & sex/porn addiction. Those are physical illnesses.

    • respectfully, after having counseled people in these areas for years, I disagree. There is no virus that causes porn addiction, no bacteria that makes grown adults lust for children–these are issues that effect the very nature of a lot of people

      • steffi74 says:

        Respectfully, pastor, are you a medical doctor? “Counseling” people (in a naturally biased setting…as the pastor of an Evangelical church) is not a qualification for diagnosing mental illnesses. Is there a virus that causes Depression? Schizophrenia? Bi-Polar Disorders? Homosexuality is not put in the same category. It is a biological difference like left-handedness, skin colour or blue eyes. (Left-handedness was, for centuries, thought to be a “sign of the devil”, wasn’t it?).

  11. ESH says:

    So in order for sex NOT to be a sin it has to be between a man and woman that have been married in a Church of your specific denomination and only for the sake of procreation? Do I have that right?

    • One man one woman, till death due us part, committed as one; is the definition of marriage. Yes, sex in any other form, according to the Bible, is sin. Not denominationally specific, not sex just for procreation. Not even married in the “church” building, or the authority of the “church”.

      • ESH says:

        So sex within a Jewish marriage is not a sin? What about an Islamic marriage? I was under the impression that if you don’t follow Christ your entire life is a sin.

      • Yes, if you don’t follow Christ you are “in sin”…but that is a sin of disobedience, not sexual sin.

      • steffi74 says:

        So…once a woman is past her child-bearing years and infertile, or if she has had a hysterectomy for medical reasons, she and her husband must refrain from sex, or else they are “sinning”? Or did I misunderstand?

      • You definitely misunderstood, married people should have sex often till they die.

      • steffi74 says:

        LOL oh good 😉 My husband and I are relieved. How about my brother and his husband? They are married, recognized by their Christian church and (more importantly) by law.

      • I disagree that the ‘law’ validates gay marriage, nor does a ‘church’ (as a group of people)…I believe that when a group claiming to be a church contradicts the Bible, The Bible trumps that group and the law. So in the instance of your brother and his partner, they should turn from what the Bible calls sin (in all realms, not just their sexuality) and obey Jesus as King. We must obey God rather than men- Acts 5:9

      • steffi74 says:

        You say “contradicts”; the United Church of Canada (and many, many other Christian denominations worldwide) would say “interprets scripture with a modern view of the world, humanity and science”. You and I will never agree. I would appreciate not being condescended to or insulted by your insinuations that my Church is not “really” Christian. My Minister has studied the Bible too, he is a theologian too. He has a Masters degree in Divinity studies. He is my trusted source of “truth” in Christianity. I understand that you believe the Bible to be the literal, unchangeable Word of God. My CHRISTIAN church teaches a different point of view. I’ve had this debate with Harry already, I don’t think I need to explain myself further.

      • I think you use the word “literal” in a way that is not consistent common grammar, correct me if I’m wrong. I (nor Harry from what I’ve read) consider the Bible to be taken literally-as in woodenly; without poetry, alliteration, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and illustration. A literal belief would say that Jesus saying we are “salt and light” means the we are literally tasty and bright to behold. But that is a metaphor.

        What I do believe is that Jesus was smart enough to know what He was saying (since He’s God) when He stated, “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
        (Mat 19:4-5)

        This wasn’t a rhetorical device, it was a very plain declarative statement, pointing back to another declarative statement in Genesis.

        What we are disagreeing on here is context. I believe the Bible has it, from what you’ve said, it appears it does not, and thus “meaning” ‘cannot’ be known. I also believe that the Bible is true and without error.

        Since the Bible has context, it must be considered when evaluating Biblical teaching, the same way when the weatherman says it’s going to rain “cats and dogs”. From the usage of that phrase, we know that it is a rhetorical device. If he says, “It’s going to rain” that’s simply declarative.

        Or will you denounce the weatherman for a narrow minded literalist when he says the “sunrise” was at 6:23am, Is he a fool for declaring that the sun revolves around the earth? We all know the sun doesn’t rise!! The earth spins!!

        No, he is using rhetorical devices common to the culture and language. That’s context-and it can be known.

        So no, I cannot accept a view that, ““interprets scripture with a modern view of the world, humanity and science” any more than I would accept my weather report that says, “In my opinion it will rain, but that’s just my truth….your truth may be sun or snow, it’s really up to how you interpret the clouds.”

        The issue here is not, ‘not understanding hard things in Scripture’; it’s not obeying the things plainly understood.

        I’m glad your minister is educated, but very concerned he is your source of authority on Christianity. The Bible itself says to test teachers to make sure they are true, 1 John 4:1. And yes I encourage my church regularly to test my teaching against Scripture. Scripture alone should be our authority.

      • steffi74 says:

        I majored in English in University. I understand poetry, metaphor, allegory…

        I was also taught to think critically. A “non-fiction” book, for example, would always be coloured by the bias of the author(s). I was taught to read many supporting texts, research other ideas and viewpoints before coming to a conclusion. I treat the Bible as a whole as allegorical literature…containing some historical fact, some metaphor, some “morality plays”, etc. Some of the most beautiful prose in the English language is found in the Bible–because it was TRANSLATED that way. If it were a straight translation from the original languages, the beauty of the prose would be lost–stilted and disjointed, most likely…like using Babelfish to translate something online…it uses literal word-to-word translation, and loses colloquial meanings and idioms that would only be used in the original language. A metaphor in old Greek would not have the same meaning translated into English, for example. The same goes for particular words. This is why I use the Bible as a guide, open to interpretation. Many other Christian denominations do the same.

        Please, enough trying to convince me. You will not. I will not convince you. Full stop.

  12. ESH says:

    matthewstevens wrote:

    Yes, if you don’t follow Christ you are “in sin”

    ——————————————————–

    There are 5-6 billion people on Earth that you truly believe will be LIT ON FIRE for eternity if they don’t conform to YOUR interpretation of a book written 2,000 years ago.

    Do you have any remote idea of how insulting and offensive that is?

    Have you ever had a critical thought in your entire life? I do not mean that to be an insult, I would actually like to know the answer…

    • steffi74 says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t believe they do understand how insulting and offensive it is. They are indignant that we would think so, after all, it’s GOD, not them (handy scapegoat there). They are secure in their knowledge (and arrogance) that they alone are the only ones who truly understand God, and what God requires of us (if anything, for ME personally…it’s more like what God inspires us to require of ourselves…I guess that makes me even LESS Christian in their eyes, huh?). It’s okay…from what I understand, not even Catholics make the grade in Fundamentalist circles. Nor would many progressive, protestant Christian denominations across the world. So, according to Fundamentalists, most Christians are just pretenders and heretics (infidels?).

      They also don’t seem to understand the irony in statements such as: “You should never believe something because your church believes it.” (from one of Harry’s responses to me, above). It isn’t worth my time to keep up the argument. They cannot be swayed, nor can I.

      I’m sorry I’ve become a bit negative in this post. I’ve been trying very hard to keep this discussion civil. It’s exhausting and disheartening to be told, over and over, that your Faith is “wrong”. I don’t believe I’ve said anywhere here that Harry’s or MatthewStevens’ Faith is “wrong”. Only that it is a different view than mine. My worldview is not black/white, right/wrong. It’s nuance and complexity, with many “right” paths to walk.

    • Yes I understand that it is very insulting and offensive, but there is also a promise with the offense as well, Jesus offers forgiveness of all sins past present and future, to all who will turn from them, and obey Him as King. He also offers eternal life in the place of hell, and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide your life….It’s the bad news that makes the good news…good news

      • steffi74 says:

        That you understand it is insulting and offensive, but you continue in your condemnation anyway, is even more offensive. I’m trying to understand your reasoning above, I really am. You offend and insult to try to convince us that “it’s all okay. Jesus loves you anyway, but ONLY if you come to him the way WE tell you is right” (I understand YOU believe that it IS God’s will, not your own interpretation of God’s will. I just don’t agree with you. I think by now that is clear).

      • I understand that you feel that I’m saying this is “my” way and “my ” truth, but the fact is I believe there is a God, that man has sinned, that Jesus died and was raised, He is God, and the Bible is true.

        I’m pointing to very plain texts with plain meanings(i.e. Jesus Said I am the Way the truth the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me”) and saying they’re true or false, Jesus is God or He’s not. If they’re false than disregard everything in the Bible, If Jesus was just a man is doesn’t matter what he said b/c he’d be fallible too.

        But if He is God, and the Bible is true and God’s Word—then all people must submit to Jesus as King…and that’s not my subjective opinion it’s the fullness of logic that gos with “God’s Word” and “Jesus is God”

        Jesus loves us just the way we are, yes-so much that he died for us just the way we are, but He died so that we could be changed.

        Please understand the Jesus has changed my life, I have more sins and more embarrassments than I ever care to put online. But I can assure you they are great, severe, and grotesque. And seeing how grotesque I was in my sin, Jesus died to free me of it, as well as He did for the world.

      • ESH says:

        “Yes I understand that it is very insulting and offensive,”

        ———————————————————————

        But, but, but………….is that what your Lord & Savior Jesus Christ preached?

        Is it? Eternal damnation those who didn’t listen? IS IT?

        Please show me where Jesus SPECIFICALLY said everyone IS condemned to an eternity of excruciating torture if they didn’t follow his teachings???

        Please show me.

      • Harry says:

        Steffi and ESH,
        Do you not see that your views could be insulting us? You tell us that we are not capable of understanding a book. We can read but not understand it as well as you because we believe the word it says. Islam teaches they are the only true relligion, along with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, etc. We are not the only ones that believe there is one way to a god. We believe the Bible to be truth, The Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword, piercing to the very soul of man. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace. If you believe the Bible, then believe it all, not just the parts you want.

      • Harry says:

        Also, The Bible teaches us to not be deceived, look out for the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Remember that a lie needs to look as much like the truth as possible. This is how many different religions get started. They claim to believe the Bible, but claim that you need their book or help to understand it. The Bible teaches us that God’s Holy Spirit will help us understand. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use outside resources, but those resources always need to be tested with the Word of God. Many people have come along and tried to change what the Bible says, because they don’t like something in it. There have even been those who say you can do whatever you want, because we are forgiven. I in no way upset with any of the people who disagree with me. You each have the right to your own beliefs. I would never try to force you to agree with me. Just as you believe you are right, so do I. I use the Bible for my beliefs.

    • Harry says:

      Please check out a book called the “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”. It was written by Josh Mcdowell. He set out to disprove Christianity and the Bible, because he was tired of people trying to convince him that he needed Jesus. It is very interesting.

  13. Terry Reed says:

    Matthew: What a great post! My church ministers to people normally shunned by other conservative congregations. We currently have a dear lady who is in a lesbian relationship attending. If we took the approach that so many take and ranted and railed against her, what good purpose would it serve? We need to reach out to all, just like Jesus did and I think your article says it well.
    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

  14. NM says:

    Why should anyone believe what is written in the Bible ? It’s all BS, You need to free yourselves from this ridiculous delusion before you do any more harm.

  15. pray4peace2day says:

    I was taught the same things as you about the bible being the word of God, and also about it being a sin to add to or take away, or change the bible. As many Christians do, you believe there were no mistakes made by the men who wrote down God’s words. I understand that. What I don’t understand is how men have added to, taken away, and changed the bible, countless times throughout history. So people have perverted it. So what may have been inspired by God on a scroll then, is not exactly the same as what you now read. Were all these people who decided what goes, what stays, what is lost forever; were they also perfectly inspired by God? (at the same time as they were sinning by changing the bible??) I find it interesting and shameful that these changes almost always were made to degrade and control females. And were decisions made by males. Two words : Mary Magdalene. To this day the bible is printed in so many versions, and I’m not just speaking about the language or King James vs. NIV, etc. The position of a comma in a sentence in a Jehovah’s witness’ bible changes the entire meaning of the sentence. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Heaven.” vs. “I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in Heaven.” What is the point? I don’t understand. So many churches have their own version. Even if you have the King James version you still don’t have the original bible. No one does.
    I don’t understand why a woman can’t be a spiritual leader, when everyone’s first spiritual leader was a woman. Jesus’ first spiritual leader was a woman. No male spiritual leader would exist without first a woman leading him. Changing the bible to hide a woman in a role as a spiritual leader, and also equal to or better than a male disciple in order to demean woman and keep control is a sinful bastardization in my humble opinion. So how do you reconcile the bible as perfection, if you know that what may have been perfection once, in the beginning, was then changed by men to be imperfect? How do you reconcile saying you have to believe in the bible as a whole, & you can’t pick and choose, when you indeed pick and choose, and what you choose from is not whole to begin with? I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

    Pray4peace2day

    • Thanks for your comment, you raised several very large issues, I’ll try to be fair to each one-

      The reliability of the Scriptures-actually there are thousands of manuscript from the first 3 centuries AD that are in agreement with each other, here’s a great article explaining it historically- http://bible.org/article/how-accurate-bible

      Oppression of women- Ironically, The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in worth, but different in role/function- You addressed that well in noting that everyone’s spiritual formation involves a woman. The Bible also teaches from the beginning, an issue men face is apathy/passivity while women face is a desire for dominance and rule. Jesus actually greatly advanced the place of women in His culture, I don’t endorse everything on wikipedia, but here is a fairly detailed article on the issue.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus%27_interactions_with_women

      Mary Magdalene- I assume you refer to her in the assumption that she is a prostitute, or the Bible teaches that she is. The Bible never says that she is a prostitute, nor implies that-only that she was possessed of demons. I’ve always had a little pity on Mary, there were plenty of people that had demons in the Bible, but I’d hate for history to call me a prostitute, when I wasn’t one.

      JW’s and selective interpretation- JW’s do change the Bible, and when I say that I mean that they look at those manuscripts I mentioned above and either add words to the Hebrew/Greek or take words out. i don’t mean that they just use “different” words that are acceptable translations. another link-

      http://carm.org/religious-movements/jehovahs-witnesses/bad-translations-jehovahs-witness-bible-new-world-translation

      Selective interpretation is the reason that the work in manuscripts is so important. Having the vast number of ancient manuscripts is what prevents me or anyone else, from “cut and pasting” my own Bible. Believe me there’s plenty in the Bible that I don’t like (see my obesity post), but the fact is from a historical perspective, the Bible is accurate, and more confirmed as accurate than Plato/Homer/Alexander, and far closer to it’s origin dates than these as well.

      I hope this helps.

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