Why Christians should accept gay marriage

Gay marriageJ. R. Daniel Kirk (no relation) put the cat among the pigeons last week when he blogged about Gay Marriage in New York and wrote:

As long as the state is in the marriage business, Christians should support gay marriage as an embodiment of our calling to love our neighbor as ourselves.

He then offered an explanation of his position, which he has summarised in a new post Gentiles and Homosexuals (Pt. 1) as follows:

I made the suggestion that Christians need to develop the habit of asking two separate questions, without predetermining what the relationship between them might be. The first is, “What does God require of us as God’s people?” and the second is, “What does this mean for our life in civil society populated by people who do not, and will not, agree with us?”

This is an important distinction, but one which is often lost. As Christians we should have high standards for our own personal morality, and for how we behave towards one another. But that does not give us the right to impose our own standards on others, whether believers or unbelievers. This is what Calvin completely lost sight of when he became a tyrant in Geneva.

Yes, there are certain rules, such as forbidding murder and theft, which a government needs to impose for a society to be properly ordered. And there is room for debate on how far such rules should go. But when they are extended too far, because of pressure from Christians, they become tyranny over other people’s consciences. They also become a stumbling block for the gospel because, whatever may be taught in the pulpit, the message that many hear is that they become acceptable to God, as well as to the church, not by grace but by keeping laws.

The real message which the church and individual Christians need to be putting across is that God accepts each one of us

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that [Jesus’] blood was shed for me.

Each one who comes to Jesus is a sinner in God’s eyes, whether an outwardly respectable church member or a gay rights activist. They will not be saved by following the moral rules we try to make them follow, and they will not be attracted towards the gospel by our attempts to impose them. Better that we allow elected governments to decide on matters like gay marriage, as a civil ceremony, and preach to homosexuals as to everyone else the message of God’s love and grace towards them.

Then, when they come to Jesus, we can expect the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins and show them how they need to change their lives. But that is his work (John 16:7-11), not ours.

Furthermore, as I wrote in 2007 concerning Bishop Gene Robinson who “wanted to be a June bride”,

if he will not give up his gay union, it is best that he formally acknowledges it and pledges himself to being faithful to his partner

– and similarly for any gay or lesbian couple. But I do prefer that the word “marriage”, with its religious connotations, is avoided for such couples and the wording used is something like “civil partnership”, as here in the UK.

I don’t think I would go as far as Daniel in saying that “Christians should support gay marriage”, as that might be taken as implying campaigning actively in favour of it. But I would conclude that we Christians should accept gay and lesbian marriage, or civil partnership, and not campaign against it. I don’t mean that we should take it as an option for ourselves. But we should not be troubled if our governments allow it as an option for others. And we should not let ourselves be seen as more negative than we need to be, but present the positive message of God’s love and grace for all.

33 thoughts on “Why Christians should accept gay marriage

  1. I generally agree with you (as long as churches are free to decline gay marriages without facing anti-discrimination charges), and I don’t understand how or why gay marriage is going to change anything in society. It doesn’t threaten heterosexual marriage (we are not all being forced to marry gay people), and it wont “turn more people gay” – gay people are living together anyway – so I have never understood the argument that “it threatens marriage”. If everyone else in my street were gay married couples – it is not going to threaten my marriage in any way. I will still be who I am, believe what I believe, and live the way I live. I have come to the conclusion that many, many Christians have confused “this is what I believe” with “this is what I am against”, and therefore they always have to have an enemy that they are against. I think we should live our life, live our faith, share our faith (as and when appropriate), and let other people live their lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you”.

  2. Thank you, Martin.

    Yes, I agree that churches need to retain the freedom not to marry gay couples, as a matter of the separation of church and state. That’s why I was sympathetic with Tony Campolo’s suggestion keeping separate the roles of church and state in marriage, which are hopelessly confused in UK and USA, I don’t know about Canada.

    Yes, many Christians, especially American ones I think, do feel that there must be a two-way, “Manichean” distinction between what we believe and what we campaign against. We leave too little room for things that we don’t completely agree with but can and should accept, as other people’s free choices which we have no right to deny them.

  3. Since many Christians are gay, Peter, I find your statement “I don’t mean that we should take [gay marriage] as an option for ourselves” somewhat disconcerting, as it seems to imply that Christians are not gay, period. Since many of those gay Christians are my friends, I for one will gladly actively campaign in favour of it; and the evidence of these people’s lives suggests that the Holy Spirit isn’t in the business of convicting them that their gay relationships are sinful.

    Have you come across Symon Hill? He’s been on a remarkable journey from homophobe to equality activist. Well worth reading, especially given your comment about convicting gays of their sin being “[God’s] work, not ours” … seems to echo where Symon was back in 1997…

  4. Phil, thank you for commenting. I have seen updates from Ekklesia about Symon Hill’s progress. But you are putting words in my mouth by suggesting that I am singling out gays when I mention that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. We all have things in our lives which fall short of God’s ideal and which the Holy Spirit needs to convict us of. My current position is that homosexual activity is one of those things which fall short. But I am aware that many good Christians have a different view here, and I don’t want to condemn them. See my recent post Do Evangelicals have to condemn gay sex? So, I suppose I could encourage a celibate homosexual couple, like Jeffrey John and his partner (if he has a current one), to be in a civil partnership. But I would not want to encourage Christians to be involved in a long term partnership involving homosexual practice.

  5. Thanks for coming back to me, Peter: sorry if I was reading more between the lines than you intended, although that does seem to be the implicit message.

    I find the C of E’s stance bizarre: you can enter the relationship, but you can’t express it physically. So we end up with a situation where gays are all too often condemned for having sex outside marriage, but the very organisation that condemns sex outside of marriage prohibits marriage for this group, then goes on to say, well OK, you can have a legally recognised relationship but you still can’t have sex. Utter madness.

  6. Phil, the church’s position is very consistent: sexual activity is only for within marriage, as defined by God according to the Bible which means between a man and a woman. This is also what is natural in the sense that it is what the sexual organs are intended for, which is reproduction – and here Christians and evolutionists should agree. (Yes, I know this begs some questions about contraception.) A same-sex partnership is not necessarily a bad thing, but sexual activity within it is not natural in this sense and so goes against the church’s consistent teaching. I have no problem if you disagree with this position, but don’t call it “bizarre” or “madness”.

  7. Daniel Kirk has continued his series on this issue with Gentiles and Homosexuals (pt. 2), in which he presents as a model for how Christians should react to outsiders today the way in which Jesus responded to Gentiles like the centurion whose servant was healed, and asks:

    do outsiders see anything in the church that they would want part of for themselves?

    When they do see something that looks like a good–a blessing bestowed by the power and authority of God–do we willingly give to them out of the abundance of what God has given us? Or do we demand that they become like us first, enter into the community of faith in order to know the blessings of God?

    Will we give outsiders our money for their food? Our medicine for their healing? Our marriage for their comfort and security? Or are these things only for those who first drop all that they have and then enter into the kingdom of abundance?

  8. The C of E’s position may be consistent, though I’d need to do some more research to say for sure, but it’s practice certainly isn’t: for donkey’s years, the Church has been ordaining gay clergy and appointing gay bishops but has turned a blind eye to it as long as they’ve kept their heads below the parapet. The reason there’s a problem now is because clergy, like many others, are becoming more open about their sexuality. It’s been the proverbial elephant in the room but now the elephant is on the move…

  9. Phil, I agree with you on that. The church really needs to enforce its own rules. The trouble is, from its very foundation under Elizabeth I it has been a compromise trying to keep everyone happy, and that is the only thing it knows how to do in a situation like this.

  10. Greetings,

    I believe the majority of The New Testament, is provided to lead the Christian in his or her walk. Clearly part of that walk is to teach others that they may so walk.

    I do not agree that Christians should accept gay marriage outside of the fact that we should accept that sin is what rules the world.

    Where would we today stand before God had not the Apostles stood for the truth?

    Perhaps we should consider those before us who died in defense of the truth that leads to eternal life and reject the easy path of “acceptance”.

    A simple question is asked;
    “…For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?..”

    Let us each consider the question and form the proper answer.

    JimmyK

  11. Jimmy, thank you for your comment. I would like to clarify what should be clear to anyone who reads my post, and not just the title, that I am by no means suggesting that Christians should enter into gay marriages. I am only saying that Christians should not seek to impose by the law of the land their faith or its moral standards. That means that if a government wishes to legalize gay marriage Christians should not seek to stop this.

  12. Greetings Peter,

    Let me begin by assuring you I read your post completely and not simply the title.
    I do not believe I in any way implied I understood you to suggest that Christians should “enter into gay marriages.”

    Your post is summed up with the following; “…But I would conclude that we Christians should accept gay and lesbian marriage, or civil partnership, and not campaign against it.”

    This is where I would respectfully disagree. I am unsure as to what you mean by “campaign against it”. If in a political sense then I am there as I do not have any political motivations.
    Paul at Corinth however campaigned against their errors as he did when confronted with all error including Peters weakness before the Jews.

    A Christian is told to take on the whole armor of God, and acceptance of sin is not part of the armor. We understand sin exists, and that the world is lost in it. We are to deliver the message of truth without shame of it.
    Throughout history as long as this world remains we will always have as an example in John who stood before the king and told him his marriage was not lawful. Christians will have the same responsibility not to accept error but reprove it and like John it will take courage to stand for the truth.
    Warm Regards
    JimmyK

  13. JImmy, I don’t think we are far apart here.

    I wrote this post primarily in response to people urging me to sign petitions etc for the British government not to legalize same sex marriage. We seem to agree that this kind of political campaigning is not something Christians should be doing. We can also agree that the church should not accept same sex marriage or relationships among its own members.

    So, are you suggesting that the church, or individual Christians, should, publicly or privately, condemn and attempt to shame individual unbelievers in same sex relationships? This is not something I would agree with. For one thing, it is highly counter-productive and even dangerous to do this. Christians should not copy the condemnation and hate campaign tactics of the Westboro “Baptists”, but should show love and compassion for people caught up in sin. As the apostle John wrote, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it, and we should follow his example in this.

    Yes, John the Baptist did condemn Herod – to his face, not publicly. But that was different. Herod claimed to be a member and indeed the leader of God’s covenant people. So John was following the Old Testament prophets in condemning sin among God’s people. The parallel there for today is not with condemning random unbelievers, or unbelieving national leaders, for their sin, but with calling out Christian leaders who are not living according to proper moral standards. But even there we need to be careful, as there is a proper procedure for this laid down in the New Testament, which does not include publishing condemnatory rants against brothers and sisters in Christ.

  14. Greetings Peter;

    In part you responded with; “…So, are you suggesting that the church, or individual Christians, should, publicly or privately, condemn and attempt to shame individual unbelievers in same sex relationships?”

    I have re-read my comments and see no such suggestion. Sin is sin and I do not separate one from the other. A Homosexual is not lost because he or she is a homosexual, they are lost because they are outside of Christ.

    Further you said in part; “….As the apostle John wrote, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it, and we should follow his example in this.” The comment itself suggests perhaps I am not following His example which if you could show me how so I would appreciate your council. However, I believe that would first require that you demonstrate where Christ accepted sin. He did confront it and identified it for what it is. Forgiveness is always tied to repentance which is not the same as acceptance.

    The Spirit of God, through Paul, tells Christians to; “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

    I respectfully submit that one cannot replace the term “expose” with the term “accept” in the above verse which is what accepting gay marriage would effectively do.

    I also would like to say that bringing Westboro into the conversation is rather offensive as if to suggest I agree with them.

    A sinner can be forgiven only in the precious blood of Jesus to which not simply homosexuals but ALL must be pointed to.
    Christians are being pushed into “accepting” that which God condemns which is to be expected of the world.
    Simple question I would appreciate you to answer.

    Is homosexuality part of the unfruitful works of darkness?

    Warm Regards

    JimmyK

  15. Jimmy, sorry if I misunderstood you. Yes, homosexual activity, and any sexual activity outside of a proper Christian marriage, is a part of the unfruitful works of darkness. But what do you mean in practice by “expose” these works, if you don’t mean to follow John the Baptist’s example (one you brought up) by pointing out individuals’ sins? I note that Jesus never confronted and condemned homosexuals or any kind of sexual sinner, and to the woman caught in adultery he said “Go and sin no more”.

  16. Greetings Peter,

    The fifth chapter of Ephesians opens with reminding us we are to walk as Christ did, which was in love. Immediately after this opening The Spirit, through Paul gives stern caution to the Christian on how he or she is to walk and what cannot be named among them. In part, The Spirit cautions; “…Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

    It is important to note that “these things” are the immoral conduct that verses 3 through 5 speak of.
    Again the caution in to Christians I clearly understand that. In verse seven we are told we (The Christian) are not to become “partners with them” (the sons of disobedience.) Verses 8 through 10 remind them that some of them we also once lost and numbered with these. Verse eleven is the subject of your question;

    ” Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

    I would respectfully submit that those who were now Christians that once were slaves to the same immorality were saved by The Gospel. Whoever preached to them would have placed them in the same standing with God as did Peter in Acts 2 when speaking to the crowd.

    I recognize you have made clear that you do believe the practicing homosexual is living in sin. This makes it all the more a mystery why one who would claim Christ would take a stand that Christians should accept gay marriage? The very verses cited above are sufficient to establish why a Christian CAN’T accept gay marriage. To do so is to partner with their decision to force you to say they are married when God does not so say.

    To “Accept” is to “Bless” which is in no way consistent with any possible definition of “expose”.

    Currently we have Christians that are taking a stand and being sued and run out of business because they refused service to a Lesbian couple wanting then to bake them a wedding cake.

    In the strongest way possible I do not agree with Westburro and feel if anything they are bringing reproach upon the Church to those who would confuse them with being a church built by Christ.

    At the same time I do not agree that Christians should accept gay marriage nor anything else that God does not accept.

    Regards

    JimmyK

  17. I think there is a big difference between Christians holding themselves to the standard of scripture, and Christians trying to hold everybody else to the standard of scripture – whether they share our faith or not. Why do we want to pass laws to force people who don’t share our beliefs to live as if they do? Of course, we need laws to protect people, but I have always felt that “consensual crimes” are simply the signs of s dictatorship. If two consenting adults want to do something that affects no other people but themselves, lets leave them alone. Its funny, if laws were passed that stop christians going to church, there would be outrage, yet christians try to pass laws to stop others doing what they want to do. Didn’t Jesus say “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Since I dont want people interfering with my life, I think the Christlike thing to do is to treat others the way I would want to be treated, and so I need to keep my nose out of their business. Its no threat to my marriage if the 2 men next door are married to each other.

    And all that “Christians are being sued” stuff – I think its total crap. They are being sued for discrimination. The cake bakers or B&B owners – do they ask every person who orders a wedding cake or books a room in their B&B how they got together? If they fornicated before marriage? Do they only bake cakes for “holy” people – or is it just gay people they are against and all other “sinners” are welcome. That is nothing but discrimination, and it is actually none of their business – if I wanted a wedding cake because I was going to perform a wedding where my dog was going to marry my cat – thats my crazy business. Any person in business who thinks they have a right to tell their customers what they think about their private life should not be in business. And thats my take.

  18. Martin, thank you for your sensible contribution.

    Jimmy, all I want to add is that you still have not explained what you mean by “expose”, but I have explained what I mean by “accept”: not campaign against. That is by no means incompatible with some possible interpretations of elenchete in Ephesians 5:11, a word often translated, in other places e.g. John 16:8, “convince” or “convict”. If unbelievers are doing wrong things, it is far more productive to try to convince them that they are wrong rather than to outlaw what they want to do.

  19. Greetings,

    As have you all, I have simply voiced my opinion.

    As a Christian I believe that which God opposes is not something for His children to accept.
    My best to you all.

    JimmyK

  20. Jimmy, thank you for making your opinion clear. I have made clear what I meant by “accept”, a word chosen deliberately to be somewhat controversial. I don’t see what I have written as incompatible with God opposing same sex marriage.

    I also don’t think you have shown that God actually does oppose same sex marriage, rather than homosexual activity. It is generally true that if an undesirable practice cannot be forbidden (think alcohol and tobacco, and contrast marijuana) it is a good thing to regulate it. On this basis there is a good argument for same sex marriage simply as a way to regulate homosexual practice and restrict its undesirable consequences, such as sexually transmitted diseases – just as traditional marriage helps to reduce the spread of these diseases. So you have missed out an important logical step in your claim that God opposes same sex marriage.

  21. Thank you to my friend Phil Groom for linking to this post on the Changing Attitude Facebook page, and for copying there Martin’s comment (Thursday 23 January, 2014 at 6:52 pm). Welcome to anyone who has come here following that link.

    In case anyone thinks I am hopelessly homophobic, they should read my 2012 post Hypocrisy and Gay Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage. Please recognize that I am trying to build bridges between the evangelical churches which are my background and those Christians who promote fully equal status for same sex relationships.

  22. Greetings Peter,

    Re: yours which stated in part;

    “Jimmy, all I want to add is that you still have not explained what you mean by “expose”, but I have explained what I mean by “accept”: not campaign against. That is by no means incompatible with some possible interpretations of elenchete in Ephesians 5:11,…”

    Not sure how far your Greek studies took you but clearly not far enough. Accept is in fact quite opposed to ἐλέγχω.

    “to convict, refute, confute..”
    generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted by conviction to bring to the light, to expose to find fault with, correct by word to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation by deed to chasten, to punish
    KJV Translation Count — Total: 17x

    The KJV translates Strongs G1651 in the following manner: reprove (6x), rebuke (5x), convince (4x), tell (one’s) fault (1x), convict (1x).

    In each of the above cases, reprove,convince, tell ones fault, convict, not one of them can be anything short of an antonym to your term “accept”.

    You ask me to explain what “I” mean by expose to which I will answer, reprove,rebuke,convince, tell ones fault, convict and you are free to take you pick. However when you add “accept” here is how your verse would read.

    “” Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead accept them.”

    That is pure heresy and it is my prayer you repent from the teaching role you are taking in this matter.

    Quoting you directly above you said;

    “Yes, homosexual activity, and any sexual activity outside of a proper Christian marriage, is a part of the unfruitful works of darkness.”

    Yet you support and thing true Christians should accept gay marriage.

    Have you not heard:

    ” The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

    If you support Gay Marriage you support the very activity you clearly stated were the unfruitful works of darkness and you should really stop playing games. If you support their marriage you support their active participation in what you said was wrong.

    Clearly you do not like being refuted but quite honestly even the practicing homosexuals can see your logic does not fit the definition of the same.

    Your comment; “….I also don’t think you have shown that God actually does oppose same sex marriage,..”

    That statement implies you think He does, so please use HIS Word and show us where. Otherwise it is a straw man argent simply taking up space with no value.

    Straight question to you. Does God accept gay marriage? And if so , book chapter and verse please.

    The Bible tells us what Christians should do, not me and not you so please back up what you say from a scriptural perspective.

    You closed with; “….here is a good argument for same sex marriage simply as a way to regulate homosexual practice and restrict its undesirable consequences, such as sexually transmitted diseases – just as traditional marriage helps to reduce the spread of these diseases. So you have missed out an important logical step in your claim that God opposes same sex marriage.”

    Are you saying God instituted marriage to cut down on the spread of disease? That is your important logic yet completely unsupported by Scripture?

    By the way, Homosexuals seeking my acceptance that they may marry is not needed. Their right to do so is not dependent on my approval or rejection. Your suggestion that Christians accept gay marriage is in fact the error and your false teaching in the matter will not go ignored but will be “exposed”. Perhaps now you understand.

    “….Jimmy, all I want to add is that you still have not explained what you mean by “expose”..”

    You are watching it in this blog. I do not see how a better explanation can be made but I have noted that your capacity to understand is lacking.

    What did PAUL mean by expose? I am simply following his instruction and it is clear as can be as to what HE meant and it is clearly NOT “accept.” That places you in a position to contradict Paul and you are teaching OTHER Than that which he taught which in turn places you along side of those in-the opening chapter of Galatians.

    JimmyK

  23. Jimmy,

    What if an atheist group wanted to “expose” you and your faith as a “danger to society” – and what if they used quotes in ancient Anglo-Saxon from the Doomsday Book to back up their scholarship, and they used the force of law to stop you living your own life & faith?

    How would you feel about that? Oppressed? Discriminated against? Outraged?

    Well, maybe we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us.

    Gay people who want to get married have no interest in your Greek word studies. That may be highly valuable to you – so by all means continue them and develop you faith as a result and live the way you believe the scriptures teach you to live.

    But don’t expect other people to just go along with what you say – they will feel like your are oppressing and discriminating against them – and they too will feel outraged.

    No one is asking you to go against your understanding of scripture and become gay – so why does it bother you what other people do?

  24. Jimmy, I take it now that what you mean by “expose” is to rant endlessly about it being wrong, at anyone who dares to express a contrary opinion. But that is not a biblical meaning of ἐλέγχω. By the way, I studied Greek to master’s level, and don’t use lexicons like Strong’s which merely list how the KJV translators rendered a word.

    You write “If you support Gay Marriage …”. But I have made very clear that I do not. I simply choose not to oppose it actively, and that is what I mean by “accept”.

    We can agree that “Homosexuals seeking my acceptance that they may marry is not needed.” And we can’t stop them – and, as Martin says, any attempt to do so comes across as oppressive and discriminatory. So let’s agree to let them get on with their lives, and put our own energies into other, more constructive matters, such as spreading the good news and showing God’s love.

    That means that I consider the conversation with you, Jimmy, now closed.

  25. Greetings Martin, it is my hope you are doing well.

    I will attempt and honest answer which I believe you deserve. First let me say I appreciate your respectful post even though we appear to disagree. You are to be commended for that.

    1) What if an atheist group wanted to “expose” you and your faith as a “danger to society” – and what if they used quotes in ancient Anglo-Saxon from the Doomsday Book to back up their scholarship, and they used the force of law to stop you living your own life & faith?

    Response: I full well expect that to be the case. ““A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[e] above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign[f] those of his household.” History clearly demonstrates that this has happened. The Colosseum in Rome reminds us of this fact. However we are assured those that stand strong to the end will be saved.

    2) How would you feel about that? Oppressed? Discriminated against? Outraged?

    I know it sounds strange but I am asked to “count it all joy”. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

    3) “Well, maybe we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us.”

    Response: I assure you my friend that if I was on a path that led to destruction I would want someone to tell me. That is what I attempt to do and clearly what I would want them to do for me. It is in fact true love. One that allows another to walk into the fire does not love them and if someone were to allow me to walk into the fire I can honestly say that is not what I would want them to do to me.

    4) “Gay people who want to get married have no interest in your Greek word studies. That may be highly valuable to you – so by all means continue them and develop you faith as a result and live the way you believe the scriptures teach you to live.”

    Response. I understand that more than you know and in fact respect that. Please understand the subject is in the title and it says “Christians should accept gay marriage.” For me to live the way I believe, I simply can’t be told by one who claims to be a follower of Christ that I should accept that which contradicts The Word of God. In my conscience I cannot accept gay marriage.

    5) But don’t expect other people to just go along with what you say – they will feel like your are oppressing and discriminating against them – and they too will feel outraged.

    Actually I have no expectations of people. I may have some hopes for them but not expectations. I am by no means oppressing nor discrimination against gay folks. The only service I would provide to them is to teach the Scriptures which means “to plant”. If there were interest, others may water but without question it is God that would give the increase. Liars, thieves, adulterers, drug addicts, lustful, drunkards and the like are all in the same boat. A homosexual is not a “worst” sinner, he is simply part of a people that are outside of Christ. The fact is, I was everything on the list except a homosexual when I came to Christ so in my book I was much worse than a Homosexual. But I thank God for the man who took the time to teach me and I owe a debt to at least offer hope to the lost through that which is written.

    6) “No one is asking you to go against your understanding of scripture and become gay – so why does it bother you what other people do?”

    I recognize no one is trying to tun me out. It does not bother me others are gay. It bothers me others are outside of Christ.

    Again, your post was very kind and I thank you for that. Sometimes it is hard to believe, but I have no problem saying I love you and pray the seed may grow.

    Warm Regards

    JimmyK

  26. Thanks Jimmy,

    I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one, (not disagree about what the Bible says, just about how we live that out in contemporary culture).

    peace

  27. Replying to your comment above, Peter (Friday 24 January, 2014 at 10:23 am) — to me personally it’s abundantly clear that you’re not homophobic. We may disagree on the legitimacy of gay relationships for Christians, but I detect no hatred towards gays in your writing: your approach seems entirely consistent with your interpretation of scripture and of Christ’s call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Thank you for keeping this conversation open. Pax.

  28. Pingback: Heaven is Weeping: An Open Letter to the House of Bishops @C_of_E @JustinWelby @JohnSentamu | Phil's Boring Blog

  29. I just discovered this great discussion. How the church views these topics today concerns me. I guess it’s because I just don’t understand.

    I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I know the Word of God. Yet, today, the church always seems to be moving away from the Word of God and more towards a “New Age” mentality of relativism. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t understand the “new revelation” the church seems to have discovered that compels us to go down a path we clearly didn’t walk in past generations. Is it that we think we have a new discovery and acceptance of how to draw people to the gospel? When did we ever conform to the world in order to make Christianity more acceptable?

    Please understand these are honest questions to which I seek answers. I’ve fasted, prayed, studied, then fasted and prayed some more, but still do not understand the Church today. In all honesty it makes me very sad and grieves me tremendously.

    I look forward to reading your reply. Thank you for your time.

  30. Wanda, thank you for your comment. I understand where you are coming from. But you seem to be making some hidden assumptions, that what the church believed and taught in the past was correct and divinely inspired. Some of it was, of course, but not all, and so in each generation it is our responsibility to test what was passed down by our ancestors, to reject what is bad and hold to what is good.

    You ask, “When did we ever conform to the world in order to make Christianity more acceptable?” Well, to answer your rhetorical question and taking “we” as Christians in general, “we” have been doing this from the beginning, such that Paul had to warn against just this in Romans 12:2 (but he also wrote 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). “We” have conformed in the past to the world’s ideas about imperialism, patriarchy, racial supremacy, slavery etc etc, and found justification in Scripture, but to a large extent “we” have also come to understand that these things are wrong.

    Was it conforming to the world for “us” to reject slavery? Yes, and indeed, here in US South, it was forced on “us” by force of Union arms. Does that mean it was wrong for “us” to do so? I hope you don’t think that.

    Similarly as Christians we are being forced, mostly by our elected representatives, to accept same sex marriage as a reality in our society – although not in our own lives. Does that mean that it is wrong? Not necessarily. We need to go back to the Word of God, not to the traditions of church leaders, to discern that. And if we do that, we might be surprised at what we find, for example that Jesus did not say one word against same sex relationships, and that what the Apostle Paul said is rather ambiguous and directed more against the self-righteous.

    I hope that helps you.

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