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Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian

In June 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states, setting off a flurry of reaction by Christians and virtually everyone else on social media and beyond.

Ed Stetzer wrote a helpful background post to the shift in opinion that led to the decision and included links to a number of other leading articles in his post.

The social media reaction ranged from surprising to predictable to disappointing to occasionally refreshing.

I write from the perspective of a pastor of an evangelical church in a country where same sex-marriage has been the law of the land for a decade.

That does not mean I hold any uniquely deep wisdom, but it does mean we’ve had a decade to process and pray over the issue.

I hope what I offer can help. It’s my perspective. My fingers tremble at the keyboard because my goal is to help in the midst of a dialogue that seems far more divisive than it is uniting or constructive.

There will be many who disagree with me, I’m sure, but I hope it pulls debate away from the “sky is falling/this is the best thing ever” dichotomy that seems to characterize much of the dialogue so far.

The purpose of this post is not to take a position or define matters theologically (for there is so much debate around that). Rather, the purpose of this post is to think through how to respond as a church when the law of the land changes as fundamentally as it’s changing on same-sex marriage and many other issues.

Here are 5 perspectives I hope are helpful as church leaders of various positions on the subject think and pray through a way forward.

gay marriage church christianity

1. The church has always been counter-cultural

Most of us reading this post have been born into a unique season in history in which our culture is moving from a Christian culture to a post-Christian culture before our eyes.

Whatever you think about history, theology or exactly when this shift happened, it’s clear for all of us that the world into which we were born no longer exists.

Viewpoints that were widely embraced by culture just decades ago are no longer embraced. For some this seems like progress. For others, it seems like we’re losing something. Regardless, things have changed fundamentally.

But is that really such a big deal? For most of the last 2000 years, the authentic church has been counter-cultural. The church was certainly counter-cultural in the first century.

Even at the height of ‘Christendom’ (whenever that was), the most conservative historians would agree that Christianity as embraced by the state was different than the authentic Christianity we read about in scripture or that was practiced by many devout followers of Jesus.

Being counter-cultural usually helps the church more than hurts it.

If you think about it, regardless of your theological position, all your views as a Christian are counter-cultural and always will be. If your views are cultural, you’re probably not reading the scriptures closely enough.

We’re at our best when we offer an alternative, not just a reflection of a diluted or hijacked spirituality.

2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values

As the Barna Group has pointed out, a growing number of people in America are best described as post-Christian. The majority of Canadians would certainly qualify as having a post-Christian worldview.

The question Christians in a post-Christian culture have to ask themselves is this:

Why would we expect non-Christians to behave like Christians?

If you believe sex is a gift given by God to be experienced between a man and a woman within marriage, why would you expect people who don’t follow Christ to embrace that?

 Why would we expect people who don’t profess to be Christians to:

Wait until marriage to have sex?

Clean up their language?

Stop smoking weed?

Be faithful to one person for life?

Pass laws like the entire nation was Christian?

Seriously? Why?

Most people today are not pretending to be Christians. So why would they adopt Christian values or morals?

Please don’t get me wrong.

I’m a pastor. I completely believe that the Jesus is not only the Way, but that God’s way is the best way.

When you follow biblical teachings about how to live life, your life simply goes better. It just does. I 100 percent agree.

I do everything I personally can to align my life with the teachings of scripture, and I’m passionate about helping every follower of Christ do the same.

But what’s the logic behind judging people who don’t follow Jesus for behaving like people who don’t follow Jesus?

Why would you hold the world to the same standard you hold the church?

First, non-Christians usually act more consistently with their value system than you do.

It’s difficult for a non-Christian to be a hypocrite because they tend to live out what they believe.

Chances are they are better at living out their values than you or I are. Jesus never blamed pagans for acting like pagans.

But he did speak out against religious people for acting hypocritically. Think about that.

3. You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time

If you believe gay sex is sinful, it’s really no morally different than straight sex outside of marriage.

Be honest, pretty much every unmarried person in your church is having sex (yes, even the Christians).

I know you want to believe that’s not true (trust me, I want to believe that’s not true), but why don’t you ask around? You’ll discover that only a few really surrender their sexuality.

Not to mention the married folks that struggle with porn, lust and a long list of other dysfunctions.

If you believe gay marriage is not God’s design, you’re really dealing with the same issue you’ve been dealing with all along—sex outside of its God-given context.

You don’t need to treat it any differently.

By the way, if you don’t deal with straight sex outside of marriage, don’t start being inconsistent and speak out against gay sex.

And you may want to start dealing with gluttony and gossip and greed while you’re at it. (I wrote more here about how to get the hypocrisy out of our sex talk in church.)

At least be consistent…humbly address all forms of sex outside of marriage.

The dialogue is possible. (Andy Stanley offers a great rationale for sex staying inside marriage here.)

We have that dialogue all the time at our church.

And people are grateful for it.

We also talk about our greed, our gluttony, our jealousy and our hypocrisy as Christians. It’s amazing. Jesus brings healing to all these areas of life, including our sex lives.

4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance

Having a government that doesn’t embrace the church’s values line for line actually puts Christians in some great company—the company of the earliest followers of Jesus.

Jesus spent about zero time asking the government to change during his ministry. In fact, people asked him to become the government, and he replied that his Kingdom is not of this world.

The Apostle Paul appeared before government officials regularly. Not once did he ask them to change the laws of the land.

He did, however, invite government officials to have Jesus personally change them. 

Paul constantly suffered at the hands of the authorities, ultimately dying under their power, but like Jesus, didn’t look to them for change.

Rather than asking the government to release him from prison, he wrote letters from prison talking about the love of Jesus Christ.

Instead of looking to the government for help, Paul and Jesus looked to God.

None of us in the West are suffering nearly as radically as Jesus and Paul suffered at the hands of a government. In fact, in Canada and the US, our government protects our freedom to assemble and even disagree with others. Plus, it gives us tax breaks for donations.

We honestly don’t have it that hard.

Maybe the future North American church will be more like the early church, rising early, before dawn, to pray, to encourage, to break bread.

Maybe we will pool our possessions and see the image of God in women. And love our wives radically and deeply with a protective love that will shock the culture. Maybe we will treat others with self-giving love, and even offer our lives in place of theirs.

Maybe we’ll be willing to lose our jobs, our homes, our families and even our lives because we follow Jesus.

That might just touch off a revolution like it did two millennia ago.

Perhaps the government might even take notice, amazed by the love that radical Jesus followers display.

5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship

Even the first 72 hour of social media reaction has driven a deeper wedge between Christian leaders and the LGBT community Jesus loves (yes, Jesus died for the world because he loves it).

Judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy.

People don’t line up to be judged.

If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them.

Judging outsiders is un-Christian. Paul told us to stop judging people outside the church.

Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others.

Paul also reminds us to drop the uppity-attitude; that none of us were saved by the good we did but by grace.

Take a deep breath. You were saved by grace. Your sins are simply different than many others. And honestly, in many respects, they are the same.

People don’t line up to be judged. But they might line up to be loved.

So love people. Especially the people with whom you disagree.

Those are a few of the things I’ve learned and I’m struggling with.

The dialogue is not easy when culture is changing and people who sincerely love Jesus sincerely disagree.

I think there’s more hope than there is despair for the future. The radical ethic of grace and truth found in Jesus is more desperately needed in our world today than ever before.

Is the path crystal clear? No.

But rather than being a set back, perhaps this can move the church yet another step closer to realizing its true mission.

I was tempted to close comments off on this post, but I will leave them open just to see if we can continue the discussion constructively and humbly.

Rants and abusive viewpoints (on either side) will be deleted.

Show grace.

Respect those with whom you disagree.

If you want to leave a comment that helps, please do so.

But please spend at least as much time praying for the situation and for people you know who have been hurt by this dialogue as you do commenting on this post, on others like it or on your social media channels.

Maybe spend more time praying, actually.

That’s what we all really need. And that’s what will move the mission of the church forward.

————

Caleb’s Story

To help you navigate the issue a little further, I’m adding the interview I did on my Leadership Podcast with Caleb Kaltenbach into this post.

Caleb was born to parents who divorced to both pursue gay relationships. Caleb grew up to become a Christian and a pastor, and has spent his adult life fighting for the relationship with his parents. It’s a fascinating, moving story of grace in the midst of disagreement.

Your can listen here in the browser window below, or click here to listen to Episode 33 on your phone or other device.

You can subscribe to my podcast for free here on iTunes, Stitcher or Tune In Radio.

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  • Honey Moy French

    I preach twice a month in chapel services in a men’s prison.

  • Clay Mason

    Jesus said this: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” While I appreciated your article and gained useful insights from it, I wish you had gone with your first inclination about allowing comments. Reading through them I am reminded that we are not just divided, we are fractured. Solomon said in Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” As a minister to a local flock I struggle daily to feed these brothers and sisters with truth love grace and mercy. A balanced diet of Godly food. Yet when I read through these comments I see many who have chosen to pick and choose from the menu and through their choices have either starved themselves or poisoned themselves into spiritual death. Some like truth and nothing else. Some like grace and nothing else. And there is no balance. But there is judgement among brethren. And division. And strife. The very things Jesus taught against. And the world watches. And what do they see from us? And why wouldn’t they choose anything other than The Way? Shame on us! “I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by me” – Jesus. I think we all need to repent.

  • D Blyth

    Love the sinners, hate the sin!

  • D Blyth

    What is lawful is not necessarily moral and vice versa!
    The religious authorities deal with morals as divinely revealed while the secular authorities deal with human laws.
    The author however neglects Natural Law which would support the moral approach. It is not at odds with Judeo-Christian norms as the nature of creation has the same author as Scripture.
    Christianity has a history of independence from the secular authorities. There were many “believers” (Christian and other) who deviated.
    One of the drivers of the protestant rebellion was driven by secular authorities who did not enjoy being held morally accountable by someone independent of them (eg Henry VIII).

  • Paul Cummings

    Carey – I’m so glad you’ve posted this again. This has been such a major struggle for me – MAJOR. Having worked in the HIV/AIDS world for over 10 years, I was always – and I mean always, concerned about the salvation of the ones I sat with while they passed away, never feeling loved or accepted by the church, and ultimately, God. Many came from a Christian background but once they “came out”, they were shunned – not just by the church, but often by family and friends. As a counsellor – talking “Christian” to my clients was discouraged. So there I sat, thinking about them, their lives, and that I wanted so much to tell them – God loves you! Ask for forgiveness and it will be yours. But I was silenced. I’ve dealt with this issue since 1990 when I first started working in the field. I think, I have a good grasp of what I would do if the future ever gives me that chance again, but for now, I appreciate this blog and sharing the struggle you also have. thank you!

  • Dr. Cory Annis

    Thank you for this perspective. You and I will probably never find ourselves together at the same dinner party or fundraiser. We bat for different teams. In fact, we play different sports entirely. One person to another, however, I find your articulate reflection refreshing. Knowing we could break bread without agreeing adds warmth to a world sorely in need of it.

    • Thank you so much Cory. This means so much to me. I hope we do find ourselves at dinner one day. It would be a joy to break bread with you.

      • Dr. Cory Annis

        I hope we’re treated to that delight one day.
        Wishing you gracious civility and thoughtful conversation in the mean time.

  • Chris Hanley

    We don’t have SSM in Australia. We are fighting it. Are pastors required to marry gay people? How do you get around the discrimination catch cry now SSM is legal in your country? Are Christian schools required to participate in the lie?? In other words, how are Christian churches, businesses and schools treated in regards to their freedom of belief?

  • The Law of God stands as does its judgments. Most of evangelical is going to cave in since most evangelicals have a shallow “what’s in it for me” faith. This nation is currently under the wrath of God and those “Christians” that decide they rather please sinners than please the Lord will find that wrath will consume them also.
    The Lord Jesus warned, ” And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mat 24:12-13)
    The Lord is on His threshing floor separating the wheat and the chaff.

  • HoosierConservative

    As soon as “don’t judge me” became “never disagree with me,” the game was over. That’s what happens when the unchurched get to write the dictionary of church vocabulary.

    I presently know a woman painfully moving away from her alcoholic son because every time she questions his drinking he screams at her to stop judging him.

    My family recently watched from afar as a gay Christian cousin of ours left his wife suddenly, dumped a house mortgage all on her, called her an ugly cow all over town when she complained, launched verbal profanity bombs at any friend or family who criticized him, moved in with a gay lover who introduced him to hard liquor, posted inappropriate behavior all over social media, framed every negative comment behind the persecution of gays, and then methodically demanded each of his family members to be for him or against him. He currently serves on the worship team of a church where his father is conveniently the head pastor. No one ever got an apology, the profanity and disgusting photos online continue, but he is apparently qualified to lead worship.

    All because other church members once got divorced or something, so they’re not allowed to judge him.

    You know who’s tired of getting judged? Faithful, righteous church members who follow the rules, respect their pastor, lead Bible study groups, and try to raise their kids right…. only to be cursed out and told to shut up.

    This is not a prodigal son story. This is the father trudging out to the night club while the prodigal is still burning through money, apologizing for not having more money to burn, and ordering the responsible son to hold the prodigal’s drink for him.

    Why is church attendance declining? To a very large degree, because the “older son” watched barbarians crash the gate.

  • jessie carter

    Hello friends keeping this to myself is a clear sign of
    ingratitude and selfishness to myself and to Dr Sekagy a man that gave my life
    a new meaning, I promise him I will share this testimony after my husband
    return home My life is back!!! After 4 years of

    broken
    marriage, my husband left me with two

    kids,
    I felt like ending it all, I almost committed

    suicide
    because he left us with nothing; I was

    emotionally
    down all this while. Thanks to papa Dr Sekagy, I saw a blog on the internet, I
    came across several testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people

    testified
    that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, cure
    cancer, and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop
    divorce and also spell to get a good paid job and so on. He is amazing, i also
    come across one particular testimony, it was about a woman called Jessica, she
    testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at
    the end of her testimony she dropped his email. After reading all these, I

    decided
    to give it a try. I contacted him via email

    and
    explained my problem to him and he requested few details about my husband and
    me I forwarded it immediately and he said he will get back to me after he
    commune with the spirit after 30minus he get back to me funny enough he
    requested little money and I felt this was not working because the money was
    nothing compare to what other spell doctors charged when I contacted them, he
    told me real doctors don’t charge much only fake ones so I forwarded him the
    money, December 23 my husband called me exactly the time he allotted he
    apologize immediately a man that never call nor return my calls for two years,
    he drove 3hour journey to meet me and the kids 24 December and we celebrated Christmas
    together as one family and we cross over to 2016 in love just as Dr Sekagy
    promise me I don’t know what he did but whatever he has done is unimaginable
    because I don’t believe in white magic but yet it save my marriage. His contact
    mail is drsekagyspellhome@yahoo.com
    Friends this is no scam, no tricks but is real, here is my viber number
    +17329634223 I can’t take calls message only have a blissful day.

  • Antoinette Lee

    I would also like to add that most of you saying you have the right to judge, lack the Holy Spirit that gives you the discrenment to rightfully access any situation biblically or even understand true biblical revelational context on any level.

    It is not us who judges, but the gift of the spirit in us that knows all, that reveals that with which we can be trusted to know. Without being baptised in and through Holy Spirit, none of the ability to properly judge, divide, and understand scripture is in you. So I don’t take offense to you misjudging a situation you lack the true abilty and gifting to properly judge, in the first place.

    What I am simply doing is sharing the truth as it has been revealed to me. Knowing that it comes from the Father, and it will do what it was sent out to do. Truth once given, is sure to revisit you. He that have an ear, let him hear.

    • D Blyth

      There is a difference between judging a person and judging behaviour. THe latter may be condemned.

  • pablocruize

    Good article and thoughtful.
    I think the main thing God keeps slapping people up side the head on is we human types constantly forget, (little things like what is the purpose of sex?)
    We forget (or are willfully ignorant) of who we are, why we’re here and where we’re going.
    Its the Christian privilege to remind people of this, although like drunks on the sinking Titanic in the midst of looting spree they often (and violently) don’t want to know.
    But there is a life boat for each of us marked with the initials JC and pointing that out takes courage and HS wisdom.

    • Joe Malburg III

      Attitudes like yours are why religion is dying. Your views are so myopic and ignorant of religions history. Christianity (like all existing religions) has been in a constant state of evolution to fit the modern times since it’s origination. Saying that today’s cultural is in moral decay is absurd considering we are far more moral than any previous century in human history by the modern standard which you seek to apply.

      • pablocruize

        To whom can I speak and give warning?
        Who will listen to me?
        Their ears are closed
        so they cannot hear.
        The word of the Lord is offensive to them;
        they find no pleasure in it.
        But I am full of the wrath of the Lord,
        and I cannot hold it in.

        Good luck with trying to pull off lame excuses at the Great White Throne.

      • D Blyth

        Were it not for Western Christianity you would not have your modern science and law which was developed by scholastics of the Church!
        Universities evolved from cathedral schools.
        There have been many who have attempted to eradicate the Judeo-Christian ethos – they have disappeared and the ethos grown! 😉

  • Anne Kenniston

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Hawkeye

    The church is counter-cultural. Thank-you brother Carey for that reminder. Many have forgotten that we are sojourners, just passing through and some of us have stopped to enjoy the scenery for too long. Like Wilberforce who fought for years to change British public policy and abolish institutionalized slavery, we can be salt and light to this culture. However there may be a limit to how much fruit can be enjoyed when trying to change culture. We are here primarily to introduce people to Jesus. The Great Commission calls us to go and make disciples, not to go and make heterosexuals.

    For those who ascribe to a biblical view of marriage (one man and one woman), can we pray for grace that allows us to be welcoming to those with whom we disagree yet without compromise to the truth we believe? If we stop and pray, He will show us the way

    I have long believed that shouting at each across an ideological chasm of polarized opinion is not the way to win hearts to embrace saving faith.

  • Siu

    Dear Carey
    Thank you for this interview!
    What a breath of fresh air!
    Wow….. Practical ways to embody truth and love…..
    I have often be a truth Christian and lost many vital relationships in my quest to protect Truth.
    But how we can carry both…..allowing messy conversations.
    I am a Chinese Aussie who is still learning to speak English in Oz traaa.lia. But loved the testimony and realise that Jesus wants His church to be family that will eclipse anything that LGBT identity and belonging can offer.
    Wow…. If only we could get a revelation of this.

  • djbigelow

    When the righteous rule there is shouting, but when the wicked rule, the people mourn. If the wicked cannot be ruled by the righteous, then why does the book of wisdom even offer it as plausible?

    • Siu Churches

      Must pray for government and provide Daniels who are able to speak to those in policy positions

  • David Anthony

    I find it interesting that we can condemn homosexuality but we can stand next to someone obese from gluttony in church and sing hymms and hug them… It’s a strange religion, nothing like the bible I’ve read!!!

    • Sara

      I pray David that you might see the inherent judgement in your statement that seems so upsetting to you in others’ statements about homosexuality. This post is about trying to remove the hurt people feel because of judgement by one person to another. You are right we are all hypocritical as we live our lives full of sin and failure. It is the nature of a fallen world and human family. I simply work everyday to become aware of my tendency to cast stones at hurting people and try to put down the stones before they leave my hands in the form of my words written spoken and thought.

  • I deeply appreciate the solid foundation of this post, Carey. Each point is spot on. Even though it seems like many things are changing, as you point out, the culture in which we live has been the same for centuries. Great post — thank you.

  • Marc Ulrich

    Great insights! Thank you for your wisdom and insights Carey!

  • Francois Lambrecht

    Francois Lambrecht
    Great discussion. But the conversation can carry on forever.

    My view is that in the end it all boils down to:

    1. Everyone must decide for himself whether the Bible is true or not.

    2. Having decided that it is true in every respect (As I have done) it behoves one to live the life of love in Christ with
    obedience –

    (Deu 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God
    require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, )

    and humility, but with the terrible injunction –

    (Eze 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow
    not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away
    in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. )

    and non-judgemental responsibility of pointing non-believers
    to the truth : that God is Eternal, that He is in control, that He loves
    sinners but hates sin, (The Bible teaches in no uncertain terms what sin is and its consequence – death) to point out that He has a perfect plan of redemption and eternal life for all who accept Him through Jesus Christ.

  • Maria Todd

    Thank you for this article. I struggle a great deal with the church’s position on gay marriage even though I know what the Bible says. I have an immediate family member who is gay and has been with his partner for nine years and I absolutely love them both and glad they are both in my life. I don’t think the only options for gay people is to be abstinent for the rest of their lives and no opportunity to experience love. That just does not seem fair to me. Years ago God told me to just continue loving my brother and that is what I continue to do to this day. Not my job to judge sin only God knows the heart not me.

    • Think about it

      Your comments show your true view of homosexual acts. You either don’t truly see them as sin, or don’t realize the awful nature of sin. Sin is to be abstained from. Anybody that desires deeply to sin doesn’t get a pass just because they deeply desire it – the God-honoring thing to do is to abstain from sin…for life. Search your heart – I don’t think you honestly believe homosexuality is a sin.

      • Maria Todd

        If I am going to be honest, I don’t really think it is a sin. To think that automatically my very close immediate family member will go to hell because he is gay is too much to swallow. I sin everyday and repent and try to turn from it. I don’t think I have to search my heart. I know it is sin but I just chose to love to automatically say to my brother well I hate you and we can have no relationship because you are gay.

        • Nead H Doon

          I know of 43 animal species where homosexuality is common. (PENGUINS ANYONE?) So as a point of interest….does God create mistakes? I simply don’t think so. Therefore I do not believe homosexuality is a sin. You are who God makes you.

          • Maria Todd

            Thanks for your gracious reply. May God Bless You.

          • Don Wallace

            I think it is clear that the Bible says homosexuality is sin, and we are not to substitute our judgement of what is or isn’t. The Bible is very clear on that as well. I think your original comment, while well intended, is incorrect, because you seem to be EQUATING those people having homosexual relations with love. There are friends that have shared apartment, homes, etc. and had great love for each other, but not sexual. That should apply to opposite & same sex friends if you will. I also believe the Bible would make it clear that we are to love them as individuals, desirous of them having fellowship with Christ and leaving that sinful behavior, just as we all should with the sin in our lives. That’s my problem, the world’s problem: we want to justify our own sin, instead of walking in holiness. I pray for revival in my own heart and in the hearts of people across the world, that we would turn from our sin and let God heal our land, our communities, our families, and our relationships. May God Bless and lead and guide you as well, may he guide all of us.

          • Maria Todd

            Dear Don,

            I can appreciate your perspective but just because someone is gay does not mean that they cannot be a Christ follower for all have sinned and continue to sin on a daily basis. What I am saying is that God clearly told me to continue to love my family member who is gay and that God does not want me to be the one to confront his sin. Take the post out of your own eye before pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye. He may have someone else in mind to confront him with the truth but it is not what God told me is my job. It is not a sin to be gay, it is sin to have sexual relations with the same sex. Please try to keep those two straight.

          • Jentri

            You have to remember the entire universe fell into sin after
            Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Before sin animals didn’t even eat each other because there was no death. The first animal to die was killed to cloth Adam and Eve. We should never compare ourselves to animals because we are the crown of creation created in God’s image.

          • Nead H Doon

            You are absolutely deluded!

      • Kingdom Now

        Think about it, I hope you are consistent with your beliefs. My biggest issue with this is that the Bible states the same thing for those who have been divorced (for whatever reason), yet believers somehow think because they are “straight” it doesn’t apply to them.. When’s the last time you’ve heard a sermon on that? I can tell you I’m a musician who plays at multiple denominations (and have consistantly done this for 35 years) and I NEVER hear a sermon on divorce and remarriage, yet I monthly hear something about homosexuality and I really get sick of it. In the Bible Belt (south), it’s almost hatred in the churches (as if hate is going to “win them over”. Sorry I don’t buy that! I’ve NEVER heard a sermon in my life forbidding remarriage (while the spouse is still alive). Why? Because 501c3’s are in it for the money and entertainment….let’s be honest. In the US, nowadays if you aren’t a megachurch with good “entertainment”….I mean music “praise and worship” you won’t survive. Believers are freakin shallow over here now and are CLUELESS about the Bible. If you challenge them on ANYTHING, they will regurgitate what they’ve heard behind the pulpit but fall flat on their faces if you ask for Scripture to back it up or get into doctrine. Most of them haven’t cracked open a Bible in a decade or more (unless they are under the influence of a preacher’s sermon on Sunday which are usually twisted to whatever the pastor believes) and they don’t know what a true Berean is and that we are CALLED to “search the Scriptures daily”. If it comes out of the preachers mouth it must be right….right? WRONG! I’ve actually challenged preachers one on one to have an open dialogue about stuff like this and they just tell me “if you don’t like it leave”. Most can’t even handle church members questioning anything that comes out of their mouths. I’ve recently left the praise and worship area and focused more on Bible teaching because of this. If you are going to take this stance, then you have to take it for the straight believers too (of which I am and have been happily married for 26 years which makes me a dinasour in the church nowadays). The Bible is clear throughout the new testament that one must remain single if they separate from their spouse.

      • Siu Churches

        Rather than not honouring the Word….maybe they want us to embody it.

      • Nead H Doon

        So over 43 species of animals in the natural world are committing sin?

        • Steve McCormick

          Yes, unless they sacrifice a human.

        • RWilliams

          Animals are incapable of sin…. I’m not at all following your logic. Human beings are created in the image of God with logic, reason, conscience, a soul….. If we want to take the nature route let’s follow the logic for a minute.

          If a male lion finds a female lion that he wants to take as his mate, he will proceed to kill that lion’s current mate and any and all children that they have produced. He then takes the female and begins a new pride.

          If you want to compare nature to humanity, things will get real crazy real quick

    • Siu Churches

      God calls us only to love and pray!
      It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict!
      God is the best and only righteous all knowing God.

      • Maria Todd

        Thanks for your gracious response.

  • RPE

    THANK YOU!!!! These are so akin to the thoughts that have been running through my mind, just today! Your inspired thoughts are refreshing and encouraging…

  • Donna Dunn

    My son is gay and does not feel comfortable in church any longer. He loved going and then when he felt the judgement against him, he stopped and now is bitter because he misses coming. He loved praise and worship and now he avoids it. He is a Christian not “Non-Christian” and should be only shown love and not peoples judgement. I am sad and struggling myself as the church is driving the LGBT christian community to become non-Christians.

    • Grannie Q

      I am so sorry Donna, in our church we love all who enter, no judgement; But we do hate the sin… In other words, we that lust are loved, the sin is hated; we that covet are loved, the sin is hated. We recognize that all are sinners but we Know Jesus died for us, each one of us; we know that we can not cleanse ourselves, we will live and die in sin but our Lord will redeem us… Personally I see the big problem not with Christians or LGBT’s but with the government passing laws that make are making us, the Christian Community the “bad” guys… We as Christians must put our Lord and His Word first and the laws of man second; this is where I see the biggest problem. May God Bless you and your son and grant you peace.

      • Donna Dunn

        Why do you say Christian community and LGBT community as if they are two separate groups. Are you saying a gay man or woman can not be part of a Christian community?

        • Grannie Q

          Not at all Donna, sorry you understood my post that way… In our Church we say “We are all sinners who come to the foot of the cross, Jesus came to redeem the sinners not the saints” We recognize that we are all sinners thus all are welcome… We do NOT condone the sin, I ask forgiveness for my many sins daily and “try”(& usually fail) to stop sinning. We celebrate the saving grace our Lord and Savior extends to all by His death and resurrection…

        • kinna

          the lgbt community and the christian community cannot work together as one. you cannot be both a self-professed homosexual and a christian. that would be the same thing as taking pride in my sin rather than coming into repentance. god is JUST, not FAIR. as christians, we cannot rely of the cultural movement of the world to judge what is fair or not, but read the living word of god. i may love my homosexual friends, but love is not kindness, tolerance, or compassion. we must intervene in their lives to show them truth because that is what jesus did. he said “be holy for i am holy”. jesus has called us into a life of cleanliness. and i believe that once we really die to ourselves and understand the father heart of god, we will be able lay ourselves down. i know this is no easy process to deny yourself, but it is through that that jesus may receive all the glory. everyone is welcome into the church, but as a growing christian, you are called to leave your life of sin behind.

          • Donna Dunn

            Well that was a whole lot of ugly all wrapped up into a imperfect person that should let God do the judging, and worry about yourself only. I do not wish to hear your unkind selfish responses. My son in a gay Christian and there are a TON more where he came from… THANK GOD!!!

          • Sara

            Donna I too have a daughter that is gay. She is married to her partner and she believes in God as well. But she does not regularly attend church and is wrestling with God about her love partner and God’s word. I love my daughter and I show love to her and her partner. We have Sunday dinners and lake outings. My daughter and I talk about God, her relationship with Jesus and her choices. I say little and pray a lot. And I don’t actually want her to find a church that accepts her lifestyle choice. Just as I don’t want to attend a church that would support me in a choice to gossip regularly about other people, or steal, or be greedy, or be in a sexually active heterosexual relationship outside of marriage. I want a church that guides me to behave in a way that honours Jesus and helps me to be a better Christ follower. I want a church that holds me to account for my walk with God not in a judgemental or unkind way but preaches God’s truth and keeps shining light on the dark corners of my soul, supporting me to walk with Jesus in a deeper, more caring and loving way with integrity.
            This is how I grow my relationship with Jesus. My daughter’s discomfort within the church is the same as mine when I listen to the sermon or attend my small group bible study and am convicted by the Holy Spirit of something I am doing that outside of what Jesus shows me in the bible. The difference is I am willing to feel the discomfort and recognize the Holy Spirit is telling me it is important I go back to scripture seek wise counsel and make different choices. My daughter is uncomfortable in church because she’s making choices that she knows fall outside of God’s loving and caring plan for her. She fights against the conviction of the Holy Spirit to justify her choices. It is an uncomfortable place for a believer to be no matter what the Holy Spirit is speaking on. I would not want God ‘s work in my daughter to be diminished by a church that made her comfortable to be in a relationship with God that is less than it should or could be.
            I actively pray for the light to shine in my daughter’s heart to help her find her way back into a deeper connection with Jesus however He chooses to do it, and I pray that she is uncomfortable as she needs to be for the Holy Spirit to work within her. And I pray that the Holy Spirit never stops making her, or me, uncomfortable when either of us is not living up to the guidance of God’s word and His plan for our lives. I trust God’s word, Jesus’ example and the Holy Spirit to help me and my daughter to find our way. None of that means I have to judge or condemn my daughter and her partner or the church. I work out my salvation with fear and trembling and look to the plank in my eye and remove it first. I trust God to help my daughter and others see their own planks whatever they may be. It is, for me, the hardest part of parenting: knowing my child hurts, wanting it to be made right and having to let go and trust God to do what I cannot. May the Holy Spirit comfort you as you ache and weep for the hurt your child feels.

          • rosario

            Sarah, you are my hero. Well said. You are the kind of a chistian believer that is making a difference in this world. God will answer your prayers. You helped me to understand how to treat and talk to our friends of any person that is struggling about it. Blessings to you and your daughter.

          • Jentri

            Sara, that post is beautiful and I believe embodies exactly what the church as a whole is or at least should be striving to do. I pray God continues to give you a heart that yearns for more for your daughter and others. I also pray you find the courage to share your story with as many people as you can as I feel you have been given wisdom and discerning in the midst of a situation that will allow you a stage for speaking. You in no way come across as “hateful” but you also do not compromise Bible truths. God bless you.

          • Mattie

            I believe as you do. it truly hurts my heart because my church is one that does not teach anything. They accept without teaching. I see the lives of people not being enhanced in their walk with Christ. I am struggling myself. I feel like I want to leave after 40 years because I don’t know if they are even teaching Christ or the Bible anymore. I don’t know what the church stands for or believe. How can one get to know the Lord or increase in their faith if the preacher is not a practitioner?

          • Jean H Steele

            There is a church around the corner from me that has a marquee out in front that says they accept everyone because that’s what Jesus did.

          • Jean H Steele

            Intervene? I thought we are all supposed to be children of God. So are you saying that God has made a mistake when somebody is born homosexual? You are only kidding yourself if you think homosexuality is a choice. I have an elderly cousin who is gay, and I asked him not too long ago if it was a choice that he had made. He replied that why would he choose a life of abuse, name-calling and self-righteous “Christian” judgment? And just so you know, there ARE churches that accept everybody because that’s what Jesus did. Oh yes, and my cousin is an atheist. No wonder!

          • Sharon H.

            I disagree with your statement that “you cannot be both a self-professed homosexual and a christian”. It is not a sin to be a homosexual any more than it is a sin to be heterosexual. I am a self-professed heterosexual and a Christian. I am single and not sexually active, but Christ does not judge me as to whom I am attracted. Those with same-sex attraction most certainly can be Christ-followers!

  • Jrieds

    There is a thing called righteous judgment. This occurs when the end goal is not to tear a person down but to ultimately help him.

    • Dustin

      I’ve heard this from many people but it’s simply not our place. Where you see righteous judgment others just see judgment. If you truly feel you are called to judge by God then so be it, but it will do no earthly or heavenly good. It is ONLY to satisfy your ego, which appears to be on the line for many people when it comes to this subject. As if there is shame in admitting you were wrong to judge and turning back to God through love and acceptance. There is no shame, just strength and wisdom. The she comes from self serving judgment and doubling down on a hateful, bitter world view.

      • vanislescotty

        Dustin, while I agree with some of what you say, it’s interesting that you are judging someone for judging someone. Just a bit ironic.

  • Steven Weir

    I’m also not replying any more on a forum that allows censorship. The author is dishonest and is controlling what I say instead of responding to it. Cancelling this account, if you want to find me I’ll be in uncensored forums. Good-bye.

    • CB

      Please don’t reply to anyone anymore, Steven. Your vitriol is exactly what the author did not want, and trying to disguise it as a ‘free speech’ campaign is poor form indeed. In this context, the author’s ‘censorship’ of you is just an act of supervising manners (since people forget them when they start attacking those with an opposing view), NOT morals. Leave your diatribes elsewhere. Thank you.

  • Steven Weir

    My comment being removed shows the inherent weakness of the authors position. Poor form. Did Jesus teach you to ignore and deceive? Christian hypocrites.

  • Steven Weir

    You are all so worked up about homosexuality, what do you think of left-handed people?

  • Sarah

    I found this most helpful! Thank you so much, it’s answered some of my questions and challenged my attitude and approach to difficult situations. God bless you.

  • polguy7

    I agree. Here is the big rub. I totally agree there is one standard for the world and a different one for the church. It is one thing for a vast majority of Christians to struggle with sexual immorality. It is quite another for the church to embrace sexual immorality. What does that mean? Living in open sin cannot tolerated. By open I mean saying it is ok. We can embrace people struggling with sexual immorality whether straight or gay. What we cannot and should not do is make anyone who have a prominent place who has nothing wrong with open sexual immorality whether straight or gay or wed individuals who are living in open sin whether straight or gay. It is one thing to struggle with sin. It is quite another to celebrate sin.

    • James

      Genuine Christians do not oppose marriage equality, because genuine Christians believe in treating all people fairly. Sin is to violate the Golden Rule. Opposition to equal justice, including marriage equality, violates the Golden Rule, and is therefore sinful from the perspective of the Gospel of Christ.

  • Damien Reeves

    I am American and have been a missionary in France/Austria for 22 years. Two years ago when France legalized homosexual marriage, I was perplexed and disappointed. But having lived in this godless nation (estimates are that just over 2% of the entire population of France (66 million) are born again believers), I was not so surprised… I think that somewhere in my heart, I was convinced that a “Christian” nation such as the US would be a ‘light’ in a dark world… When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the states recently, I was perplexed, disappointed, and frankly very angry.
    I was talking with my collègues and spouting off about how angry it makes me and how omnipresent the whole topic is in our society. They had rational arguments about the ambiant culture wanting same-sex marriage, but I was just too mad to listen.
    And then, I started praying. What was I mad about? That non-Christians living in a post-Christian culture don’t want to submit to the guidelines laid out by a loving God who wants to protect his creatures from pain and hurt? Whether the persons be French or American they are still living apart from God and frankly could care less about what He wants for us! And that hurts me. But in the end, it’s not about me. It’s all about GOD. So that begs the question: Is He still in control? If I read my Bible correctly, YES! He is still in control. Do I believe that God can use an awful situation for His glory? YES! He did it throughtout the entire Bible and if He is immutable as the Bible claims, then He can still do that today. So I need to get over myself and my disappoint about godless men making godless décisions, and focus on Him who is in control of all things…
    We just had a retreat for 100 young people (Christian, non-Christian, grown up in Christian homes without a personal faith etc) at the Christian retreat center I direct. In our series of the “High (and low!) Points of the Old Testament” when one of the speakers talked about the promise of the rainbow and about the difference between the symbol that God intended the symbol for the gay movement, I didn’t get angry. The speaker explained beforeand that 8 – 10 % of the world’s population deal with same-sex attraction, so odds are that 8 – 10 Young people in that room, needed to hear a message of love and understanding without judgement. That is want he offered. That they come and talk to the counselors without being judged…
    I can be angry and not be of service to the Lord in a hurting world in regard to same-sex marriage or I can get over myself and look to Him to use me to draw lost souls to Himself…
    Thanks Carey, for your words of wisdom.

    • Linda Touwen

      I really like what you had to say and I agree with it. Just one point of clarification though – the percentage of gays at most is at most 2% and bisexual another 2%. In some countries it is even less. The gay lobby is very good at making this out to be a much bigger issue than what it is.

      • Dale Milford

        Linda, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts…. Only Fundamentalist reactionary groups (like “The Family Research Council” LOBBY group in D.C.) tout such 2% balderdash. To quote the Gallup (disinterested) comments: In his 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred Kinsey shocked the world by announcing that 10% of the male population is gay. A 1993 Janus Report estimated that nine percent of men and five percent of women had more than “occasional” homosexual relationships. On the other hand, you could spend more time on “a much bigger issue,” that is adultery which is 8-10 times more frequent. Besides, Jesus NEVER commented on homosexuality but 4 times decried divorce and remarriage… I’m just sayin’

        • Knowlton

          The Apostle Paul was Christ’s proxy. Just sayin’. Plus, Christ most certainly DID define marriage.

          • James

            Paul *claimed* to be Christ’s proxy. Actually, he never met Jesus in person (and I already know about the Damascus road story). Jesus never said any word against gay and lesbian people. It has been those who claim to follow Jesus who have for centuries treated God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children unjustly.

      • James

        Equal justice is a big issue regardless of the proportion of the human race being treated unjustly. Even if only 0.005% of the human race were gay, injustice would still be unchristian.

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      Beautifully said and absolutely the point we should all be coming to.

      • Steven Weir

        Praying is conceding that you do not trust God’s plan or you would not beseech him to change his plan.

        Only atheists see the irony.

        • Dave

          Prayer is not done in an effort to beseech God to change His plan, but it is done in an effort for Him to change our mind to His. “Not my will but Thy will be done…”

          • Steven Weir

            And who in the heck knows the will of a being no-one has ever met and never shows his face or speaks? The con-man, that’s who.

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          No Steven praying is talking to your creator, asking for wisdom, guidance, and understanding. It’s understanding that we are not in charge God is. It’s thanking him for the things he’s given us, for the love he continues to give us and then letting go of the things that do bring us worry and finding peace in him.

          • Steven Weir

            Moderator has removed my comments prior, I will not discuss things on a forum with moderators who do not like when they are wrong. You should complain to the moderator for stifling me. Then I will come back and speak, but otherwise I will not.

          • Terri Barnes

            You keep saying you are leaving, because of censorship, but I see more comments from you than anyone else. To quote a great work of literature, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Still, remaining to discuss the topic, even when you disagree, is a positive step.

        • Thomas Bryant

          trusting God in every out come He is in charge we are the babys being taught again its his plan an out come.

        • A Name

          Steven, God gave humans free will; therefore, we CAN ask Him to change His plans if It is in His will. As exampled by Jesus while He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane right before He was arrested. Look it up: Book of St Mark in The Holy Bible, Chapter 14, Verses 35 & 36. Use a modern day version of the Bible so it will have modern English instead of that old King James Bible language.

          • Steven Weir

            Nice story, too bad it never happened. But you explain to me how authors of the story of Jesus knew his thoughts. It’s obvious fiction to anyone who looks critically at it. Historians from his alleged say nothing about Jesus, not a single one.

    • Steven Weir

      You believe a lot of things without basis and ignore the evidence. That is the hallmarks of faith, as a skeptic I have no respect for this belief. Facts are facts whether you like them or not. You say you’ve been a missionary for 22 years so all you do is determine what you think is right or wrong based on a book written by people who got a great deal of things wrong and yet you feel you are some kind of moral authority. There is simply nothing wrong with homosexuality, and it is just something to point out how irrelevant the church is to modern morality.

      • Guest

        Steven, there IS something wrong with homosexuality. It is an abhorrence to God (according to the Bible). For me, that settles the matter.

        • Tracy Hilliard

          Same with eating or even touching shellfish, shaving your face and touching a woman on her period. Would you please go get mad about those things – because goodness knows far MORE Christians struggle with THOSE “abominations”?

          • Dee

            Where did you look that up, some website that lists anti-Bible talking points? Please crack a Bible open and realize all the points you mentioned are from the Old Testament, and therefore no longer apply.

          • Tracy Hilliard

            If they no longer apply what’s the beef Christians have with marriage applying to two adults regardless of gender again? C’mon now. It’s the HEIGHT of cherry picking to say the Old Testament doesn’t apply EXCEPT for the gay part. (gay men only, of course, God doesn’t have any issue with LESBIANS, Biblically speaking!) And no, the New Testament passages don’t really bring anything to the table either, considering the places where the idea of homosexuality is brought up (not by JESUS, mind you!) it all seems to get lumped in with ANY form of extra martial sex including all forms of straight sex, with special mention ONLY going to pedophilia being utterly damnable in Romans.

            So please, tell me where in the Bible (remembering that you feel that the OT doesn’t count!) that homosexual marriage is ACTUALLY a sin.

            And let’s be clear, I don’t need to use websites. I’m a Biblical Scholar.

          • Dee

            Ummm… no, it is not cherry picking. The New Testament directly states homosexuality is an abomination. The entire Old Testament is not required for this topic.

          • Nead H Doon

            In the New Testament, there are at only three passages that MAY refer to homosexual activity: Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and 1 Timothy 1:9–10. A fourth passage, Jude 1:7, is often interpreted as referring to homosexuality. None of the four gospels mentions the subject directly, and there is nothing about homosexuality in the Book of Acts, in Hebrews, in Revelation, or in the letters attributed to James, Peter, and John. Jesus says NOTHING about it. He does talk about divorce. LOADS more negative about divorce throughout the New Testament, and yet even ministers can get divorce? Do you not see the point here?

          • Dee

            I completely agree with your statement regarding divorce, under no circumstances would I support divorce except in the case of abuse/adultery (though Christ only mentions adultery, I consider adultery abuse).

            Romans 1:26-27 is quite descriptive about men giving up natural relationships with women, and “were consumed with passion for one another”.

            I realize Jesus does not touch upon the topic directly. That said, Paul does. So if one believes that the Bible is the inerrant book of God, then one must grant credence to Paul. If one stands that the Bible is not inerrant, that is one’s choice …

          • James

            Some of the writers of the Bible were anti-gay. God, however, is not anti-gay. BTW, the word that you are using, abomination, is a translation of an ancient Hebrew word that appears in the Old Testament. Where do you find that in the New Testament?

          • Dee

            True enough, I stand corrected. Unrighteous and sexually immorality are the terms used in the NT.

        • Steven Weir

          So is eating shrimp and being left-handed. Why do you believe this stupid book.

        • Nead H Doon

          So is wearing cotton and wool together. So is eating shellfish. So is divorce. So is sleeping around. So is alcoholism. So is ignoring the hungry and homeless. So is planting two different crops together. Oh ….and let’s not forget that you should stone to death a disobedient son. If you are living in Leviticus then you miss the whole point of Christ. And then I have to ask myself …why are so many animals in the natural world also homosexual. At least 43 species identified. God made a mistake???

        • James

          Some of the writers of the Bible were anti-gay. God, however, is not anti-gay. God does not hate any of God’s children, including those whom God created with a homosexual orientation.

  • Gillian Thomson

    Thanks so much, this gave me a lot to think about. So refreshing to read!

  • Travis Stephens

    The best article on this topic I’ve found. Great job Carey.

    I’m teaching on Daniel in the Lion’s Den in a few weeks, and what’s jumped out to me about that story is that when the law was put in place to only allow people to pray to King Darius and no one else for 30 days, Daniel knelt and prayed to God just like he’d always done.

    He didn’t jump on Facebook and declare the world was ending. He didn’t run King Darius’s name through the mud. He didn’t lash out at those who betrayed him. He just continued what he had always done.

    I think we can learn a lot from that account.

    • Tracy Hilliard

      You know, I really like this.

  • Rae Ann Stuckey

    I SO totally agree with each of your perspectives!

  • Mark Henri

    Thanks. I was trying to explain this stuff to people and didn’t have the words.

  • Marilyn Carnes

    I Thank You For these Words Of Wisdom. So full of wisdom. As a Christian I have struggled with Lgbt, the world and the way it is going. And yes have even followed into the hate, Fully Realizing I didn’t LIKE the way I was feeling!! As I saw the world of my values come crashing down around me I was thinking ok The End Is Here. Instead of Realizing OK I Need to Share Jesus As Much As Possible, I fell Into, “OK well THESE PEOPLE are going to he’ll nothing I Can Do About It Now”!!!!! WOW, WRONG!!!!! HOW ABOUT GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS OF THE BIBLES TEACHINGS!!!!! The Love, THE LOVE Of Jesus, Not Wanting ANYONE To Go To Hell!!!! The LOVE of Jesus Is What Saved Me. Realizing that I AM ALSO A SINNER, Saved By Grace AND The LOVE of Jesus!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU with All My Heart, for giving Me That Perverbial Slap In face to WAKE ME UP out of My Sin Of Judgement. GOD BLESS YOU and Keep You in His Loving Arms!!!!

    • Steven Weir

      Stop struggling, leave the church and figure out how life works for yourself. Sin is an imaginary disease, morality predates Christianity and your guilt should only exist if what you do harms others. You need no other criteria.

  • Xrucianus

    Thank you for your seasoned, Spirit-sensitive refections, Carey. I too have wondered whether the “new normal” will breed opportunity for the fruitfulness of the gospel through a heightened dissimilarity between the Kingdom light and a culture darkness. While, generically speaking, the gospel should challenge personal issues of “waiting until marriage to have sex; cleaning up language; smoking weed; monogamy etc.” the perspicuous 2000 year history of the Church shows that we perpetually end up compromising with darkness, rather than “living out” a true Biblical contrast to darkness. There is much to lament in our nations (and the thousand and one little communities that compose them) when the “new norm” becomes such a fundamentally “destructive norm”. The ministry objective that I believe Jesus calls us to is a high, long and deep vision of changed culture; where Psalm 132 becomes tangible earthly reality; where our relationship to the Lord isn’t relegated to closed huddles in safe-houses in the middle of a cultural storm of evil; but changed culture through the penetration of His Lordship in all aspects of our community through faith-filled judges, bakers, teachers, business men & women, council-members etc. THIS is the Kingdom end-point. Though it is indeed here, but not yet fully (thank you Eldon Ladd) it is my understanding that Jesus calls us to pray, work, redeem & bless unto the fullest expression of His Kingdom within our communities as He will give. Whether great manifestation, or diminutive, our call is to belong faithfully to the Lord and His purposes on earth.
    Blessings, fidelity and favor to you and your good ministry, brother.
    JSB

  • Raquel Llanes

    Good Article and Great Podcast with Caleb Kaltenbach!

  • Jean H Steele

    Marriage has always been, and remains, a civil institution. Yes, it is mentioned in the Bible, but it was a contract usually between two families and primarily for financial benefit. More recently, one must get a license from the government to marry. That the churches are allowed to follow through on the license is something that has also been allowed by most governments. Most aspects of marriage are ultimately controlled by the legal system. In our country of freedom of speech, thought and religion, I am always surprised at the judgmental attitudes of those who profess to be Christians. Everyone is entitled to his or her belief but not entitled to pass judgment on how others wish to live as long as they are not harming anyone. If you feel threatened or harmed by homosexual love, that is your problem and one that should be dealt with privately. What if the shoe were on the other foot and a heterosexual couple wanted to marry but was told that their love was a sin? It doesn’t matter what the Bible says on any subject. If you choose to believe what scripture says, that is your purview, however, scripture also gives the right of judgment to God alone. If you are going to call yourself a Christian, then BE A REAL ONE and leave judgment and atonement to God.

    • Cathy

      First, as a Christian I want to say that I love all my neighbors, including LGBT people. Second, Jean, you seem to have a poor understanding of what the Bible actually teaches. So, be a real non-Christian and admit that your beliefs come from non-biblical sources. May I ask you on what basis you declare no one is allowed to pass judgment on others? If by “Pass judgement” you mean declare that such-and-such is wrong, then you have done that by declaring that no one is entitled to pass judgement on others. We humans are all stuck in this kind of inconsistency unless we accept our Creator’s judgment on what is good and harmful, pleasing or displeasing to him. When we know what God says, we must first apply it to ourselves, then we are allowed to – yes commanded to – share that with others, for everyone’s benefit
      .

      • Jean H Steele

        What you did not say after declaring your love for your LGBT neighbors is that you believe they are sinners. I have heard that before. We ALL pass judgment, however, judgment has many faces, and I am saying that it is wrong to tell somebody that their life path is wrong based on what you believe because what you believe is subjective just as all religion is subjective. There are 1000s of religions. Are they all wrong except for yours? Believe me, they think you are wrong! So whose benefit are you speaking of? Yours! You don’t have the right to determine someone else’s life path based on what YOU believe because what you believe could be wrong!
        And what do I know about the Bible? Well, it is a remarkable piece of literature. Is it the Word of God? Maybe. Is it the Word of Jesus? Maybe. But nobody has the true answer because the New Testament was not written until long after Jesus hung on the cross. It was written by men who are fallible, and scrolls were copied out by priests/scribes who could put their own spin on the words especially based on how much control leaders wanted to have over their subjects. Oh sure, I know you will dispute that, but my experience is that most Christians have no idea of the actual history of the writing of the Bible, and I do not claim to be an expert. I just don’t blindly accept it as factual. The Bible did not just magically appear one day in its completed form. There are also numerous versions of the Bible. Books have been added and deleted over time, and verses interpreted and reinterpreted… and misinterpreted. So what is the truth? It is what you believe.

        • Erin E.

          Actually, the Gospels (the first 4 books of the New Testament) were written within 30 years of Jesus’ death by those who knew him. Also, when the original dead sea scrolls were found- Isaiah was found complete, and matches the Isaiah of today’s Bible (except for a few spelling differences). A good book for you to read is “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. He started out research for his book as an atheist, trying to find out how true it really was. He is no longer an atheist.
          Could what I believe be wrong? Absolutely. There are many reasons that I believe what I believe, but one of them is because it gives me a concrete way to know how to ultimately be in the presence of God after this life. Most other religions tell you that you need to be good or do good to reach whatever the next phase is. But how good is good enough? In Christianity- you know how good is good enough. You have to be perfect. Since we can’t be, we needed help. That is where Christ comes in. He came to pay the penalty for our imperfections (also known as sin), and to guarantee our place in Heaven. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” You have to put your trust in Christ alone instead of anything that you can do. In other words- there is nothing I can do to earn the love of God. He did it all on the cross.

          • Jean H Steele

            Maybe re the books. Biblical scholars (Protestant, Catholic and Jewish) are reconsidering the actual authorship and dating of much of the Bible. A popular term among the scholars is “pseudepigrapha” which is authorship by a person claiming to be someone else especially of an earlier time. Part of the proof is that events are written of that could not possibly have occurred during the periods in question.
            Nonetheless, the Bible is a remarkable piece of work and is a “guide” for living as well as a history of Judaism and early Christianity. Personally, I believe that while there is historical fact, much of the writings, especially of fantastical events, are allegorical. Bear in mind that this is my perspective, and I do not dispute anyone else’s right to his/her own beliefs. I am neither right nor wrong, but I am right for myself!

          • Knowlton

            This is simply not true. There are only a few books where authorship is unknown, and in those cases, it really matters little. Either the Bible is the infallible word of GOD, or it is mythological pleasure reading.

            In the case of the New Testament, we have thousands of complete manuscripts and multiple thousands more fragments available. There are more than 5,000 copies of the entire New Testament or extensive portions of it. In addition, we have several thousand more fragments or smaller portions of the New Testament. If these numbers don’t seem like a lot, compared to other works of ancient history, the manuscript evidence and copies for the New Testament far outweigh manuscript evidence for other works. For instance, there are less than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad and only a handful of copies of any one work of Aristotle.

            So when it comes to manuscript evidence, the New Testament definitely has numbers on its side. As was previously stated, we could also add the fact that much of the New Testament was written within just a few decades of the death and resurrection of Christ. First Corinthians, for instance, dates from the 50s – only twenty years or so after the death and resurrection of Christ. This is important because 1 Corinthians 15 contains key elements of the gospel message, emphasizing the importance of Christ’s resurrection, and claiming that more than 500 people had seen the risen Christ. People who would still have been alive at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians would have been around to corroborate or criticize the claims made in the letter.

          • Jean H Steele

            If the Bible were on trial, it would be inadmissible as hearsay which I am sure you would like to dispute. I am not a biblical scholar by any means and cannot quote books and verses, however, I do investigate the findings of modern scholars who are investigating all of those manuscripts, and their findings are extremely interesting leading to (but not necessarily proving) my previous statements. I remind everyone that my opinions are my own to which I am entitled. I consider that I have Christian ethics which, in my life, have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with one’s behavior towards oneself and others. I am vaguely offended by the notion of people be unchurched or non-Christian as that is a judgment.
            So if it makes you feel better to go on and on about the “truth” of scripture, that is fine with me as long as you understand that it is what is right for YOU and not always everyone else.

          • Knowlton

            Your statements are modernist, humanist and simply non-Christian. I don’t have to judge “you” to tell you that your words are heretical. If you are not a Christian, then it is fair game. If you call yourself a Christian, however, then you words are outside of orthodoxy.

          • Knowlton

            You also clearly do not understand the difference between judging the person and judging their statements and actions.

          • Jean H Steele

            Does it make you feel good, important, big, manly, to tell me that I am wrong? From where I’m sitting, you are a self-serving, self-righteous, sanctimonious, arrogant, judgmental know-it-all. Oh yeah, and smug. I AM my statements and actions, so when you judge those, you judge me. Judgment is judgment even though it may have different levels. The last time I checked, I live in a free country, and that gives me the right to believe whatever feels right to me, and while it also gives you the right to believe something else, and speak your mind, it doesn’t make it right for you to tell me I am wrong just because you don’t like what I say. So yes, I have judged you the person. I don’t care what you believe, which I keep saying over and over, but it seems to bother you a lot that I don’t believe the same thing. So, I also judge your statements and actions, because they are mean spirited and definitely not what Jesus had in mind. You don’t know anything about me and yet you think you can tell me where I am going wrong. Just give it a rest and stop being so annoying.

          • James

            All-or-nothing thinking is unwise. The Bible is not infallible. It is, however, useful as a source of inspiration and guidance, provided one does not fall into the trap of proof-texting to try to justify one’s own preconceptions.

        • Cathy

          Jean, thank you for noticing that I did not say that LGBT people are sinners. In fact, as a Bible teacher, I teach Christians not to say that about anyone. Everybody is sick of that statement. It does no good and lots of harm. What I do say and teach is look at the life and claims of Jesus. He is worth taking seriously. I won’t go on about that now, but rather take time on a different point: Sadly, Jean, you are caught in your own trap of relativity. If truth is what a person believes, then your words “you don’t have the right to determine someone else’s life path based on what you believe” don’t have any meaning. They have no validity to me because they are not what I believe. The one who declares belief in relativity has no basis for making declarations that have any authority whatsoever on anyone else. You can’t avoid that reality, Jean. That is why we need to recognize the loving authority of our Creator. My beliefs do not create reality. Truth is what conforms to reality. I accept the Bible because I have investigated its claims and I have investigated Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and African traditional religions. After all that I could not find any god, prophet, philosopher, or religious leader who could compare to Jesus. Jesus’ claims – and all the Bible – square with reality, give meaning and purpose to life, give power for living, and give me the experience of God’s love and forgiveness. I share the joy and peace I experience with others, and try to do it graciously and not forcefully or obnoxiously, and teach my students the same.

          • Jean H Steele

            We are all entitled to our own opinions/beliefs, and I stand by my statement about the life paths of others which does have meaning to me and there is no “trap”. These “truths” are relative to each person who believes them. My reality is obviously different from yours. What you need to accept is that neither of us is wrong. What we are is right for ourselves. Relativity and reality with regard to religious belief are always subjective. I don’t dispute your right to your beliefs. What I do dispute is your right to tell me I am wrong based on your beliefs because I do not give you that right. I would hardly call your castigation of my thoughts (which are important to me) “gracious”, and your approach is “ineffective” (see below). No matter how hard you try, and no matter what you say, I will not change my outlook. I have spent many years considering what I believe, and what I have concluded satisfies me just as what you found satisfies you. Perhaps you should re-read Article #5 above and apply the statements to everyone instead of just the discussed issue of the LGBT community:
            “If you want to keep being ineffective at reaching unchurched people, keep judging them.”
            “Judging outsiders is un-Christian. Paul told us to stop judging people outside the church.”
            “Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others.”
            And BTW, when somebody tells me he/she is a Christian, I always want to ask what that means because a lot of people who call themselves Christians, aren’t very good at it…in my valid opinion.

          • Katie

            YES! Again, this is what Christians forget when they put themselves out as being somehow “better” because of their belief when they don’t remember all other religions think that as well. Who’s right? Who cares! Just be kind and good. Your judgment will come as you believe it will… or not! 🙂

          • Knowlton

            Moral relativism is simply not Christian. As long as you are cool with that, there is no argument here.

          • Jean H Steele

            “Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures.” Def: Wikipedia
            Hmmm, this sounds like Christianity just might fall into that pot because it is about people and culture, and while religion and philosophy are two different things, they have concepts in common.
            What you are missing here is that I would never tell you that your beliefs are wrong regardless of what I think because they belong to YOU. What I find so mind-boggling (and un-Christian), is how many people who call themselves Christians are so ready to jump all over others who don’t fall in with their beliefs which is what all of my comments have been about.
            Many people who say they are Christians have this incredible tendency to an ugly smugness that is unbecoming. This is something that Carey Nieuwhof was trying to stress in his blog above although phrased a bit differently. My philosophy is that nobody is right except for themselves. Oh yes, and you HAVE judged me.

          • Knowlton

            This is a whole load of baloney. What you are saying is that an individual’s professed religious belief is actually a proxy for their personal opinions rather than an acceptance of Christian doctrine.

            The Word of GOD is not a cafeteria line, from which we get to make up our own personal tray of inedible mush. The Word became flesh. The Holy Word of GOD is sufficient to live by–regardless of disagreement on some aspects of doctrine (hence, pluralism).

            Each of us, religious or non-religious, live out our beliefs in our actions. Christians act on a belief that the claims of Jesus Christ are true. Non-Christians act on other beliefs. Cafeteria-style means picking and choosing, as if “sliding our food tray along a cafeteria’s counter”, referring to some Christians’ making a personal selection of Christian teaching, “picking and choosing the stuff you want and discarding the rest”. The selectivity implied may relate to the acceptance of Christian doctrines (such as the resurrection or the virgin birth of Jesus), or attitudes to moral and ethical issues (for example abortion, homosexuality, or idolatry) and is sometimes associated with discussions concerning the applicability of Old Testament laws to Christians and interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. “The idea is the moderates pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to follow.”
            As the Christian version of “cherry-picking theology”, it is seen as a result of postmodernreading of texts, where the reader goes beyond analysis of what requires interpretation, adopting an approach where “anything goes”.

          • James

            Anybody who has honestly and thoroughly studied the Bible knows that God did not write it, nor did God dictate it to the various writers. The doctrine of inerrancy sets up a human creation, a book, as an idol to worship. That is a mistake. God alone should be worshipped. The Bible can be useful as a tool for seeking God, but to declare it inerrant is simply wrong (both mistaken and unchristian).

          • Knowlton

            Judging others is not our place. Judging sin is why we have the Word. If everything is relative–even in the Bible–there is no truth. Ascribing your own personal moral relativism as a pick and choose buffet line is not Christian, plain and simple.

          • Knowlton

            Nice work, Cathy!

    • Single Mommas Struggle

      I think Christians and non-Christians are just as equally capable of judging others. I think it’s a symptom of fear and everyone is capable of harbouring fear. I know people like to point fingers at Christians in this matter, but like your seasoned and reasonable comment, it is reasonable to say that everyone judges, Christians just get more press. for it. Everyone loves a hypocrite.

      • Jean H Steele

        Yes! I am just as guilty of judging others as the next person which I freely admit. However, I tend to judge on basic human behavior without claiming any perfection in my own as have been known to use poor judgment from time to time! However, unless somebody is causing actual harm to another, I don’t consider that I have any right to tell another how to live his/her life except to be all that he/she can be, and I would expect the same consideration from others.

    • Katie

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU JEAN!!! This is exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to people! It’s NOT about religion. It never was! If you don’t want to marry people in your church, don’t! But don’t think you know what is right for someone because they are not of your religion.

  • LeeAnna Hawk

    I don’t believe God made any of us gay for a reason, or even just for the fun of it, or maybe just to be creative (?). Being attracted to the same sex is something that is developmental. You might liken it to thumb sucking or maybe your preference for dogs over cats, etc. It is something that develops and who knows why. No one has ever proven there is a homosexual gene that one is born with. Acting on those same sex attractions is wrong b/c I believe God has said it is wrong. I’m not going to force you to believe what I believe. If God had said it was wrong to prefer dogs over cats, then I would just be stating what I believe to be truth, by telling you that it is wrong to prefer a dog instead of a cat. But you could certainly do whatever you want. I’m not judging you. I’m being loving and accepting.

  • spectrewriter

    I’m wondering what some of the purists here have to say about the FACT that, in Old Testament times, marriage was defined as being between a man and his WIVES, plural.
    Get the log out of your own congregation and stop trying to keep other couples from enjoying that which you hold so desirable.

    • Jerry Krause

      Of course, we know that the Bible contains not only God’s Word but also a recording of history. So, what is your point?

    • Single Mommas Struggle

      It was a guy thing, spectrewriter, not a God thing, for as you may recall, God did not create Adam and Eves.

      • James

        Nor did God create Adam and Eve. The story of Adam and Eve is a myth; it never actually happened.

  • Atoloye

    Don’t I just love this point view? Now I can relate with the acultural changes in my environment And Because We Have Become Very Lazy As Christians, We Do Not Want A Time When We Will Have To Suffer To Follow Christ. I will stop condemning LGBT from hence.

    • Jerry Krause

      Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it.

      • Katie

        Every single animal on this Earth has homosexuality in it. It’s not a GOD thing. It’s nature.

        • Jerry Krause

          You compare humans to sea life and animal behavior to reason that homosexuality is normal—because it is “natural in nature.” Indeed, mother bears, felines, canines, primates, and many species of rodents—from rats to prairie dogs—have all been seen killing and eating their young. Insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds also have been implicated in killing, and sometimes devouring, the young of their own kind. (cf. Why Do Animals Sometimes Kill Their Babies? – National Geographic, March 28, 2014). Is that really the sort of reasoning that you want to rely on; because animals do something it is nature and for that reason natural for humans to do the same?

      • James

        No genuine follower of Jesus opposes equal justice, and that includes marriage equality. Let go of your prejudice and love your neighbor as yourself. God created most people with a heterosexual orientation. God created some people with a homosexual orientation. God also created some people transgender and some people intersex.

        • Jerry Krause

          Your wording is all wrong; therefore, everything after that is all wrong.

  • Steve

    Jesus pointed out that we are all sinners in need of a savior. We love everyone, (not
    Hate), we point out that it is a sin, but God loves them the same and that all those that resort to hate need the same grace as those who are homosexual. I don’t think anyone that feels they are hated by God are going to want to follow him. We must point out sin in a loving, kind way. Jesus was harder on the Pharisees than on the sinner! If I have to pick a side it is on the sinners, it took love to bring me to the saving grace of the cross. Great article.

  • Bill Cribbs

    The issue to me is not sex. It is not homosexuality. The issue at hand to me is the sacred institution of marriage. No one has ever sought to legalize adultery or fornication or theft or rape. When we legalize something that God calls abominable and redefine the institution that He created, it is taking sin to a higher level. Homosexuality is sin. Legalizing same sex marriage is GREATER sin because you not only call evil “good” and good “evil” but by legalizing it you make it part of your nation’s identity. It is an act of brazen defiance, even though they are not believers, because we all inherently know it is evil. How? Because when the first couple ate of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, it became inherent. To defy is to sear the conscience and cross into reprobation. Our respective nations are now under the “woe” declared by God for calling evil “good”. Not being judgmental. Humbly warning.

    • spectrewriter

      What any other people do has ZERO bearing on YOUR marriage, your relationship with your wife/spouse. And any sin is likewise between that person and his/her Creator. So mind your own and simply obey Jesus’ commandments.
      Actually, Adultery is already legal. There is nothing criminal about it. The government knows enough to stay out of people’s bedrooms. You should try that some time.
      There is nothing humble or warning in your post. You’re spewing the same fatigued rhetoric that has been spouted for years. Reread the article, then keep your fingers and mouth silent for a while and let love of your fellow humans, including the gay ones, not moralizing and judging, be what guides you… if you really do want to follow the example of the Christ.

      • Bill Cribbs

        I guess we will all find out when we stand naked before a just and holy God who has given us everything that we need to know what is right and what is wrong, including His word, and our conscience which has been exposed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There will be no excuse. “Righteousness exalts a nation”. What, therefore, does unrighteousness do? Same as my above comment.

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      Bill I hate to have to point out to you but adultery and fornication are already legal and theft and rape are crimes against someone else this is why they are illegal. As far as same sex marriage; you do realize that it did not redefine the bibles definition it changed the constitution NOT the bible and the two are very different. When our country was formed the constitution put into affect the 2nd amendment which protected both our right to practice whatever religion we chose but also the right of others not to practice it. I cannot speak for you of course but the identity of my America is one of freedom it has very little baring on who’s married to who and what they do in their bedroom.

      • Bill Cribbs

        I guess we will all find out when we stand naked before a just and holy God who has given us everything that we need to know what is right and what is wrong, including His word, and our conscience which has been exposed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There will be no excuse. “Righteousness exalts a nation”. What, therefore, does unrighteousness do?

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          yes each one of us will find out but when we stand before God he won’t be making us accountable for what others did or didn’t do or for a constitution that was created by men; we will be accountable for our own sins and also how we used our gifts and talents. If we do spend our time in judgment of others the same measure we used to judge will be used to judge us:) If we wasted our gifts and talents to busy worried about how others lived their lives instead of showing his love to others, being an example of his Love this too will work against us.

    • Kyle Horrocks

      A few thoughts:

      (1) There is no movement to illegalize adultery and fornication because…..oh wait, they’re already legal. You can’t legalize a legal thing. This is an incredibly uncomplicated fact.

      (2) “Greater” sin? I’m sorry, but where in the Bible is this sin pyramid that groups sins together to define some as “greater sins” than others? I must have missed that passage. Quite simply, all sin separates us from God. And all sin is conquered by the blood of Christ. if you know of any passages to disprove these statements I have just made, I would genuinely like to know of them for myself (no sarcasm here, honest statement).

      (3) The Bible actually doesn’t call homosexuality an abomination. It just factually doesn’t. The original Hebrew word (ya know, one of two languages the Bible was actually WRITTEN in) that has been translated into “abomination” in many texts is “toevah”, which doesn’t actually mean abomination at all. It’s a complete and utter mistranslation. And the same word (toevah) is also used to describe heterosexual adultery, pride, idolatry, and lying. If the Bible uses the EXACT same word to describe the practice of homosexuality, lying, adultery, pride, and idolatry….doesn’t that necessarily mean that you should take just as active of a stance for the illegalization of those things (all of which ARE legal….we’ve already covered this) as you do against homosexuality? Hint: the only rational answer here is, “Yes, that makes sense, you’re right.”

      • Bill Cribbs

        I guess we will all find out when we stand naked before a just and holy God who has given us everything that we need to know what is right and what is wrong, including His word, and our conscience which has been exposed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There will be no excuse. “Righteousness exalts a nation”. What, therefore, does unrighteousness do? Equal to my above comment.

        • Kyle Horrocks

          No one is debating right and wrong. The practice of homosexuality is clearly sinful, as per the Bible. Again, no one is debating that. I pose to you the questions that naturally arises from both the article above and my original reply post to you – (1) why, of all the sins listed in the Bible, do Christians focus so passionately on illegalizing homosexual marriage, but not at all on illegalizing adultery, which is described in the same terms? And (2) speaking of those laws of a broken Earth, why do Christians care at all? Jesus never lobbied. Similarly, neither Jesus nor any of the apostles ever seemed to care much about the laws of man. Because they’re irrelevant from a spiritual perspective. Why would we try to force laws that reflect Christian values on non-Christians, when the gospel NEVER talks at all about doing that??

    • Jerry Krause

      Calling something marriage does not make it marriage. Marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a woman which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and wellbeing of the spouses.

    • Barb Just Barb

      Adam was taller than Eve. So if a woman marries a man shorter than she, they are acting in “brazen defiance”? Open your mind!

      • Single Mommas Struggle

        Uhm, how do we know that exactly?

    • James

      Please let go of your hate and do as Jesus taught – treat others as you would want to be treated.

      • Bill Cribbs

        I hate no one. The greater love is that which warns of danger even when it is not popular or when it is likely to be scorned or rejected. God is offering His love to you from the cross of Christ. You must repent in order to receive it.

  • Jason

    Thank you for providing some clear-minded thoughts on this issue and pointing us to Jesus.

  • MrPeabody

    I am a devout atheist, if you will, and I wish all Christians were as introspective and understanding as you. If anything, there would be a lot less arguing and name calling in comment sections such as this.

    • Geena D.

      Hi Mr Peabody, Great article, Right? 🙂 Best one I’ve read on this topic. I’m a Christian, I love Jesus…but I can also be a big jerk sometimes. All Christians can be (just like everyone else). And I really hate that we as Christians (me included) don’t always act like we should with name calling, arguing (like on these comments), and judging. I’m really sorry about that. But I comment just to encourage you to view Christianity not by how we (the imperfect and often hypocritical Christians) act, but by the Author and Perfecter of our faith Jesus Christ. That’s all. 🙂 Have a good night. <3

      • AllOnline

        Well said, Geena!

  • Susan

    I have been believing/saying a “version” of this for years. All sexual sin is dealt with in God’s Top Ten…His Holy Commandments. (Exodus 20…#7 is : ‘You shall not commit adultery’) My neighbor’s husband decided he was gay 10+ years and 3 children into their marriage. The fallout has been hard on everyone, as you can imagine. His mom was having a real problem with it. I suggested she forget about the gay part, and focus on the adultery. Would it change her love for her son? Would she ban a “girlfriend” from the house? Could she still support the mother of her grandchildren, her former daughter-in-law? I always think of casting that first stone…my life hasn’t been sin-free, either! And, I totally agree that judging someone is not the best path to salvation! I’ll leave judgements to God Our Father. That being said, I can’t condone or otherwise support gay marriage even though our SCOTUS leveled the playing field as far as the US Government is concerned. No more than I can condone any other type of adultery.

  • Brittany Klein

    Well, this is a nice, feel good opinion.. And I for the most part agree, just not with everything… And that is okay.
    My issue is that not one Bible verse was quoted… So he can not act as if this is truth, or fact. It’s merely opinion. And again, that is fine. Just don’t like to see the “such great truth here!” Comments.

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  • Veronica

    Just watched the movie, A Man For All Seasons, the other day. Talk about the church being counter-cultural. Sir Thomas More stood on his faith, against the wishes of King and Country, in the 16th century with love and grace, not judgment. Though respected, he lost everything due to his stance, but never asked his king or anyone else for that matter to change what he was doing or thinking for God’s sake. More knew that King Henry would one day face the only one who had the authority to judge him.
    Great article!!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your heart in these interesting and trying times!

  • Steve Haskill

    “I hope what I offer can help. It’s my perspective. My fingers tremble at the keyboard because my goal is to help in the midst of a dialogue that seems far more divisive than it is uniting or constructive.” The good you have done in writing this is extraordinary. God has used your voice in a way that every evangelical needs to hear. Amen!

  • Dennis Munn

    Good article, but I’m afraid it fails to take into account the incredible difference in temperament between the Canadian and American societies. The Canadian Church has simply never faced the angry frontal assault that the American Church is facing, so I think we must excuse our American cousins if they sound a bit more “strident” on this issue.

    As well, most thoughtful American ministers I know fully realize that the recent Supreme Court decision poses no existential theat to the Church. However, the challenges that are already lining up may prove to be truly threatening. And in those challenges, the “be nice and respectful” advice will be valueless in the face of enemies bent on the American Church’s destruction.

    • Jay

      In addition, I don’t think the American Church has faced the full on assault that the early church faced. We face ideologies, they faced death.

    • spectrewriter

      Maybe that’s because the Canadian churches have never gone on witchhunts and gone so far out of their way to pursue and persecute people who believe differently, which is a strong point from this article; Don’t expect or require people who believe differently than you do to act as you do. If you don’t like asparagus, don’t expect others to eschew the dish just because you don’t. Likewise, don’t expect gay people to live alone, without the values and attributes of having a commitment to another person, just because YOUR sexual reality allows you to be “Married” but theirs doesn’t.
      American churches’ actions include many campaigns attacking gay people, trying to deny them basic civil liberties. The backlash they receive isn’t because gay people are attacking them, but because gay people are fighting back after having been attacked for decades.
      This changed nothing, really. It just stopped people who are attracted to, and love, other consenting adults of the same gender, from being denied that which you already hold and enjoy.

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  • peterhamm

    You forgot

    6. Not all Christians are convinced that the Bible is preaching against Same-Sex Marriage anymore.

    • Steve Haskill

      I think number 6 is a given. But this is an excellent article for the Christians that do. “The purpose of this post is not to take a position or define matters theologically (for there is so much debate around that).” For his target audience, this is the best thing I have read. 🙂

    • Single Mommas Struggle

      No, I don’t think he forgot. He’s really not talking about what other’s believe, right? He’s talking about what he believes and what his church believes and probably what most followers of this blog believe. He is saying if you don’t believe as we do, then you’re free to do as you please without us pointing our fingers at you saying, “You’re not behaving in line with our value system” because naturally, you’re behaving according to your own. It’s just common sense. But, I don’t think he forgot.

  • GMB

    I wish the readers knew how much super-solid, classic doctrine is woven into the arguments in this article. Total depravity, folks. Do some research on Calvin’s five points, and you’ll see that Pastor Nieuwhof’s arguments follow with logical precision from those doctrinal stances.

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  • raziel71

    Sorry pastor but you want to be in the middle and appease everyone, there are some of your opinions that dont line up with the Bible or Jesus. Being in a position of authority you should really rethink your approach and who you serve.

    • Jason

      I have been reading some of the posts this blog has inspired. If this pastor is trying to appease people, he isn’t doing a very good job. This particular discussion has created a lot of debate on the subject. The multiple discussions I have been a part of have challenged my own beliefs and sharpened my faith. I am also proud of fellow believers who have come to this site with grace and kindness. Many of us have had the chance to share the gospel without swinging our gospel clubs once.

    • Perry bohanon

      That’s one of those constructive posts he was hoping for…lol. I certainly did not get that his position was one of appeasement, but obviously I read it with a different mindset. Even if appeasement was his focus, doesn’t that at least draw people closer together? That’s where the intimate work will be done, not standing miles apart, divided.

      • raziel71

        Jesus did not called for closer together, He called for division in His name, He said it would be conflict because of His commandments, that people will hate us because of following Him. if you see too much ” appeasement ” and “acceptance” by the world and want to join everyone in sin to be a “big happy family” then you have to question what Scripture you are reading and how you are interpreting it. Jesus is the same. He wont accept homosexuality today any more than He would have accepted 2000 years ago.

        • spectrewriter

          Jesus didn’t reject prostitutes, so what makes you think he would reject, shun or judge gay couples who want to make a life-long commitment to each other? Put down the hate.

          • raziel71

            You put down the ignorance and read the whole Bible and not just the verse they have shunned in your head. Do you even know what He told the prostitutes after he forgave them?? “Go and sin NO more”. Can you read that?? I do not judge anyone, the Bible specificly judges and condems homosexuality. God loves the sinner, not the sin. If they recognize this and have a change of heart ,yes, they are forgiven. But love for the people and tolerance of sin are 2 very different things. When you have a real knowledge of the Bible then maybe you will have a valuable opinion. You can not change the Bible, not even with the queen james bible that the homoagenda just got out. You can not buy God with politics, or pressure HIm into changing to your like. God is God, not a human. We as created have to comply with Him , not the other way around.

          • Single Mommas Struggle

            Go and sin no more, remember. You might not want to use that particular analogy.

  • Hauna Dolecek

    Thank u for this. As a woman who has identified with the LBGT community my entire life I have never felt more hatred from Christians then during the supreme court ruling. I was mere moments from ending my life until a Christian friend of mine called me and talked to me about the love of Jesus and told me I had a PLACE in the church, and to fall in love with Jesus and he would cleanse my impurities. If it wasn’t for the love and non-judgement of my friend I would not be alive today. God is beautiful and so kind. I will never be the same❤️

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  • Marchpig

    I’m an Agnostic-Atheist and an ex Catholic, a Libertarian brought up by a Protestant mother, by that I mean “I do not believe that deities exist, but I will convert for evidence” but have total respect for your right to believe as you will until that belief affects the same rights of others in this world.

    I just wanted to say that this article was very thought provoking, it was intelligent and insightful, and to say thankyou for a rational voice in the deafening tumult of celebration against those gnashing their teeth.

    • Jerry Krause

      Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it. I suppose Cary Nieuwhof and you might not agree with that; nevertheless, I have to say I found your comment above interesting even though I do not agree with your “thanks” to Pastor Nieuwhof.

    • brenn

      quipping use of the words “gnashing their teeth.”

  • Jerry Krause

    Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it.

    Our Creator established rules governing marriage long before governments
    began regulating the institution. The opening book of the Bible tells us: “A
    man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they
    must become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) The Hebrew word “wife,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “connotes one who is a female
    human being.” Jesus confirmed that those yoked together in marriage should be
    “male and female.”—Matthew 19:4.

    Thus, God intended marriage to be a permanent, intimate bond between a man and a woman. Men and women are designed to complement each other so they may be capable of satisfying each other’s emotional and sexual needs and of providing children.

    • Chris Thomas

      In other words you like many other so called “Chritians” are a cherry picker. Got it. Don’t say otherwise because that would make you a liar with is also a sin.

      • Jerry Krause

        Although some people may purposely respond to a question or as in this case a comment inaccurately, inarticulateness and ignorance also may cause an inaccurate response. But in this case as with other people eager to respond without first taking time to understand what is being said, instead at best they are left to a long list of mental shortcomings which almost always will result in an inaccurate response. Your response is so misguided and inaccurate, that I can think of no other appropriate reply thereto than this one. In the future you may want to first gather the real facts and even study them before attempting a response worthy of intelligent debate.

    • Shakes_McQueen

      Completely true. If you happen to assert the existence of one particular God, (of hundreds that have existed over the centuries), as outlined in two old books.

      If your chosen set of beliefs requires you to fight the tide of secular social progress, then so be it. But the inevitable conclusion is that you become a cultural relic while a world that increasingly doesn’t share your feelings moves forward.

      If nothing else, I respect that at least you don’t pretend that your faith’s sacred texts say something other than what they do, like many other cafeteria Christians would – or open them up to a convenient “re=interpretation”.

      • Jerry Krause

        Thank you.

        • Jason

          Why do you thank him? He just insulted your faith in what he calls an obsolete and irrelevant deity. He just placed your God on a shelf with the ‘hundreds that have existed over the centuries’ as well. He has raised you, but cast down Jesus. . I, for one am offended by his back handed compliment.

          • Jerry Krause

            Jason, I cannot thank you enough. My original response to him did mistakenly state “thank you” which I have since corrected.

    • Jason

      The author doesn’t argue that homosexuality isn’t a sin. I agree, scripture is clear of our stance as believers. Scripture exhorts us to have righteous judgement. Scripture also tells us how we are to share it with believers (1Cor 5:1-11) and unbelievers (1Cor 5:12,13). This pastor reminds us as believers that we are to be separate from the world. Why are so many of us puzzled that the world doesn’t want our leadership? It is not our place to drag them through our process of sanctification as a body.

      How can we as a group criticize the non-believer desiring a certificate to validate there commitment to one another? At no point have they demanded a covenant with God. Let them deal with the justice of the peace and gain the rights they desire.

      Regarding the state of our christian body: We have a serious log in our collective eye.We on the other hand, who maintain that very covenant of marriage with God, treat it with contempt as a whole. Divorce, infidelity, lust and pornography are mirrored within our church walls. Our focus is misplaced.

      • Jerry Krause

        On the subject of gays wanting to change the meaning of “marriage” and imposing it on everyone else, which is the real focus here, it was stated that marriage predates religion. True the
        words “faith” and “religion” are used interchangeably, but there is a distinction whereas faith more appropriately refers to believing in God. Many associate religions with a church which can be said did not exist prior to the New Testament time. The word “marriage” is repeatedly used in the Bible, especially the King James Version which was written in 1611. According to the etymology dictionary the word “marriage” originated around 1300 meaning “action of marrying, entry into wedlock” and “state or condition of being husband and wife, matrimony, wedlock.” Even before this, though, God established the true marriage relationship (Psalm 47:2; cf. Daniel 4:34-35). It also being said by Jesus Christ that marriage was instituted by God (see: Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6). Also, we should not overlook Genesis 2:21-24 sometimes referred to as the first romance of the Bible; the last verse reading “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This is the origin of the word “marriage” that gays
        want to change. They can have their “civil union” or what have you, but marriage has always been and shall remain a
        covenant between a man and a woman.

        • Jason

          ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s’. How the government chooses to define marriage has nothing to do with you or I and our faith. Regardless of the origins of the agreement. Satan and the world will twist what is holy. Its what they do. How can we be shocked when a snake bites-it is there nature. For that matter, It was my nature… before Christ.
          If the LGBT community decides that churches must go along with this union the line is crossed between church and state. Until then, lets love them and lead them to Christ. And lets start preaching to the choir.

          • Jerry Krause

            I will have to disagree in part. Your reply reminds me of those dirt bikers who prided themselves in getting drunk and raising hell, who wanted to call themselves MADD (Mean and Dirty Deeds). Of course, the original MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) was not pleased about it. Similarly, when gays set out to redefine the word “marriage” and forced it on everyone else, it is difficult if not impossible for Christians to dissociate themselves from what violates the natural moral order established by God. Gays can call it civil union or whatever, but it is when they want to change the meaning of the word “marriage” that it affects others.

          • Jason

            Pick your battles. It is when they want to change the meaning of scripture that is important. When they tell us to accept what is evil as good that I will fight. I will not compromise and erase scripture to appease anyone. My Bible was written with ink and blood, not lead. Until then, I will choose to drop my stone and tell them about Jesus.

          • Jerry Krause

            I do not see anywhere in that reply that we are in disagreement.

          • Jason

            I never thought we were in disagreement. I just don’t see that our definition of marriage is something to divide over with the LGBT community. I think they should be able to have the legal benefits of marriage from a Justice.. Just leave me and my faith out of it. Fellow followers of Christ are up in arms because of what there ‘next step’ might be. Our toes haven’t been stepped on. Yet.

          • Jerry Krause

            Smiling

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            also Jerry the definitions in the constitution do NOt change the wording in our bibles 🙂 But as Jason pointed out it did give them a lot of civil rights that they really ought to have had prior to this ruling; perhaps if the few states that adamantly refused to legalize civil unions had said ok then we wouldn’t even be looking at this ruling in the first place.

          • Jerry Krause

            Now this is how a wrong is corrected: Among the strategies to protect the First Amendment rights, is a proposed voter
            initiative in Colorado that will preserve the traditional and true meaning of marriage by recognizing it as a religious expression. It reads in pertinent part, “A marriage is
            recognized as a form of religious expression of the people of Colorado that shall not be abridged through the state prescribing or recognizing any law that implicitly or explicitly
            defines a marriage in opposition or agreement with any particular religious belief.”

          • mike

            While I understand and appreciate your view allow me to inerject. Our Christian values and institutions are not validated by the world or the “unchurched”. I believe there is a distinct and real difference between the godly covenant of marriage and the governmental institution of marriage. The latter does not take away from the afore. Do you believe God is somehow confused by the advent of gay marriage? Like a mother who knows their child – God recognizes and distinguishes between the two. I doubt that most gay couple invoke a blessing of God during their marital ceremony. Marriage between a gay couple is a product of goverment legality whereas Christian marriage is a covenant between man, woman, and God – that also, but less importantly provides government recognition of that [Christian] couple.

            For the sake of the Constitution and our separation of Church and State I believe that the SCOTUS ruling regarding gay (governmental) marriage is fair and just. I can say that as a man who’s Christian values values cannot reconcile with homosexuality. I have a gay brother and he is married. Whatever I feel about gay relationships is irrelevant to the love I have for him and the respect I have for his husband as a person. It is the same as the love I have for my friends and family who fornicate or struggle with pornagraphy for example.

            Now if Churches were required to marry gay couples that would be a forfeiture of the separation of Church and State by forcing Christians to bless gay marriage.

            I think that this article did a great job of highlighting the fact that the Church is set apart and as such we should expect the world to mirror our values.

          • Jerry Krause

            Again, staying on point this is about gays wanting to redefine and change the meaning of married. It is not unheard of that with time the meaning of a word can change; nonetheless, every word in its present has two distinct meanings: The “denotative” meaning which is what the word refers to; and the “connotative” meaning which has to do with what the word means to a person, based on that person’s experiences and emotional reactions that associates with the word. The word “marriage” has a long tradition and in fact has been around forever to mean a union between a man and a woman; its roots are deep both socially and in faith. Even so, the gay community wants to redefine and change its meaning to mean something else. It does not matter that under a different word they can have all the same civil protections that a marriage has. However, especially for people of faith “marriage” carries with it both a denotative and connotative meaning (man and
            woman) that cannot be changed over night or ever (God created marriage and therefore His Word never changes). The gay community objects to today’s youth using the word gay in saying “that is so gay” to mean rubbish; even while they themselves want to redefine and change the word marriage.

      • Marg N Julz Senior

        Jason very good comment, the last 2 sentences of your last paragraph and the last paragraph is what the Church should be focusing on not on bashing the unbeliever who doesn’t live by Gods standards. It is our job to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all that want to hear it, and help them into faith and understanding, although it is Gods task alone to convict them, not ours, and we are asked to be salt and light by living the gospel out, (if we did this more effectively instead of standing on our righteous soapbox poking the stick at those that hate God or choose to ignore Him, we would see the populance more interested in what we have that makes us different and content in our future. We are not asked to stand in Judgement, that is Gods task and his alone as our creator, we are asked to live holy lives free of the things that bind the world to Satan. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t comment on or try to influence people in Gods direction, (that is being salt and light, and we can do this by actually living out our daily lives following Gods Word), but we need to be very very careful that we do not cause the dialogue to stop between mankind and Gods mouthpieces (us), and the dialogue will stop when righteous pride enters our attitude and translates into Judgement of the very people we are wanting to see change in. It is our job to show Gods love and explain His standards, hopes and aspirations for us. At the same time it is Gods task to convict. No conviction and Man will live as he wants to and God will let him, that’s why he gave Man freewill!

  • Glenn Ziegler

    While I tend more toward agreement with your points, I also see a danger here. Is Christianity counter-cultural? Yes … and even moreso than you allude to here. The danger, though, is in the temptation to take a reactionary approach, effectively allowing culture to dictate our agenda by blindly rejecting everything culturally acceptable in our pursuit of counter-cultural Christ-following. Embrace righteousness with grace, and do not automatically reject anything without first getting God’s perspective.

    Just a thought. ..

    • Chris Thomas

      Cherry picker.

    • Jerry Krause

      I see that Chris Thomas also referred to you as a “cherry picker” without nothing, absolutely nothing to base that on. People like that; it truly is sad.

  • Milli

    Thank you for your comments. I wholeheartedly agree. You have put into words something I think we knew but needed to be reminded of. I have shared your article with a people who have in turn shared it with many others. Your article is reaching a lot of people with a note that we need to hear. By the way, I have taken the liberty of making a rough translation into Spanish to share with a few Hispanic leaders I know. I know it will be a blessing for them. Blessings!

  • Pooua

    The author apparently thinks that all that is happening is that the US government now recognizes same-sex marriage as legitimate. However, that is only part of what we are facing. Same-sex marriage is about 1) legitimizing homosexuality and 2) destroying Christianity. As such, we are seeing the state punishing Christians who choose not to assist homosexuals in getting married, or who condemn homosexuality.

    The author talks about reaching the lost, but seems to forget what it means to be lost. You cannot lead a person to Salvation from sin unless the person understands that sin is an affront to God, and homosexuality is a sin. In other words, accepting homosexuals does absolutely no good towards Salvation if it does not include condemning homosexuality–the very thing that government is punishing. Too many Evangelicals confuse Christianity with a popularity contest; they think that merely getting people in church accomplishes God’s work. It doesn’t. God does not need numbers of people. God has always called for quality, not quantity.

    The Christian who sugar-coats the Gospel to increase popularity is poisoning Christianity.

    • Muller Oosthuizen

      “Western civilisation is based on Christianity …” The facts are against us: one only has to look (from the outside) at the decline of Europe and the US … to realise that the Christian church has missed its goal of incarnating Christ.

    • Daniel

      You act as if homosexuality is a “different” kind of sin. I can assure you that adultery, drunkenness, greed, lust, pride, etc. are all equal sins in God’s eyes. Just because someone wears their sin outwardly does not excuse Christians from their OBLIGATION to love those people. Just because your sins are hidden does not make you a “better” Christian than anyone else. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.

      • Pooua

        When’s the last time someone sued a preacher for preaching against adultery, or gluttony, or pride? When’s the last time someone marched in the streets demanding the government legitimize drunkenness? When’s the last time someone said that business owners must provide service to facilitate adultery, drunkenness, greed, lust, or any other sin besides homosexuality? Do you even believe that homosexuality is a sin? Do you bother telling people that it is?

        This isn’t just about homosexuality. It’s about the government claiming that people must engage in behavior that violates the sincerely-held religious beliefs of those people. It’s about the government deciding what people’s religious practice will be, whether as business owners or as pastors. It’s about Fascism taking over this planet. And then you spineless, sorry excuses for Christians tell us that we shouldn’t be judgmental, because homosexuality is just like any other sin!

        Christians are supposed to reject sin, not preach complacency toward it.

        • J D S

          Well said!!!

        • Miles Mayan

          “When’s the last time someone sued a preacher for preaching against adultery, or gluttony, or pride?” The last time a preacher advocated for making adultery, gluttony, or pride illegal. That’s what makes todays Christians so hypocritical. They’re fine with divorce, binge drinking, and overeating being legal, but gay marriage being legal is a bridge too far.

          • Pooua

            You can’t name a specific instance, can you? However, I *can* cite specific instances in which the government has fined Christians for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding. Apparently, you are just fine with this Fascism.

          • Miles Mayan

            It’s a bit of a stretch to call the Civil Rights Act fascist, to say the least. Freedom of religion both does not apply to businesses, and is not a get out of jail free card for discrimination. If Christian business owners don’t want to cater to same sex weddings, all they need to do is not cater to ANY weddings. At all. Period.

            As soon as you start catering to some weddings, but not others, that’s what’s called discrimination, and that is illegal.

          • Pooua

            The Civil Rights Act has nothing to do with same-sex marriage. Freedom of religion absolutely has to do with anything a US citizen does, whether it is run a business or teach a class or serve in the US military. You have no right to force someone to do what he believes is wrong.

          • Miles Mayan

            “You have no right to force someone to do what he believes is wrong.”

            Sure you do. For instance, if someone from ISIS came to the US, and his religion teaches to strike at the necks of unbelievers wherever he finds them, he would probably find laws against decapitation to be an unfair limitation on the free expression of his sincerely held religious beliefs. He would probably even say such a law is preventing him from carrying out his moral obligations as laid out by his scripture. Forbidding him from swinging a knife at the necks of infidels would be, to him, forcing him to do what he believes is wrong.

            But that doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable, unconstitutional, or immoral to tell him he can’t saw off peoples necks on the street. The reason being to allow him that right would be to deny others the right to walk down the street in safety. Individual freedom, including religious freedom, ends where the next person’s rights begin.

            Which leads us to the Civil Rights Act. Back in the days of yore, segregated businesses were common, and were generally owned by white Christians. The way they saw it, it was their business, and they had the right to serve or not serve whomever they wanted. The Civil Rights act stripped them of the right to discriminate by reinforcing that everybody has the right to enter a “public accommodation” (which includes private businesses) and expect the same service as everyone else.

            So even if someone sees segregation as a moral duty, and sees being forced to serve blacks as being “forced to do what he believes is wrong” they still don’t have the right to treat black customers any different than white customers. In the case of interracial marriage, which was what Christians were freaking out about 40 years ago, any place that sells cakes to same-race weddings also has to sell cakes to interracial weddings. The same applies to sexual orientation: if you want to sell wedding cakes to straight couples, you also have to sell them to gay couples, and if you don’t want to have to sell wedding cakes to gay couples, the solution is to just not sell wedding cakes at all. After all, nobody is forcing these individuals to run a bakery.

        • brenn

          Very well said. There is the point that so many of us are trying to make but getting reduced to “rant” status by other believers. The Homosexual and the Gay Rights movement need to be separated in the analysis of how the church of Christ, that still clings to scriptural authority, approaches the issue of homosexuality. The church should be standing up against the Gay Rights movement because the entitlements this movement seeks are merely a device (a means to an end) to eliminate the Gospel message about sin and to establish state control over the Gospel message (even changing it).

          The homosexual as a person should be welcomed into the church to hear that God loves them like anyone else but, like anyone else, God’s salvation is conditional upon repentance from sin. Homosexuality is among the sins we are called to repent from.

          The homosexual should be treated like a whole person and the identity of homosexual should be removed and replaced with the identity of human- that God sees people as humans and certainly much more than some identity defined by one’s sexual activity.

          Once we can frame a person as a human, we can hope these humans, caught up in all sorts of pain caused by sinful activities that were engaged in to find fulfillment but, in the end, bring bondage, will repent and receive the forgiveness from sin unto eternal life. If there is no acceptance of the Gospel message, then we would expect that these humans will go on their way in unbelief.

          The gay rights movement seeks to silence the message of the gospel and limit freedom in general. We are the most free when we have the message of salvation among us. We are most condemned when this message of salvation is eliminated. I will add that once the message of Salvation through repentance and the finished work of Christ is eliminated, anything unpopular will be silenced and total state control will reign. Totalitarianism begins with control over what can be said!

          • brenn

            Well, I should add that forms of Totalitarianism are preceded by gun control as well.

        • Jason

          I am one of those ‘spineless, sorry excuse for a Christian’. I chose to stop swinging my ‘gospel club’ at wretched sinners some time ago. Now I get to deal with judgmental believers instead. Let me tell you, its like poking a rottweiler with a stick. I have been assaulted more times at my ‘family table’ then when I dealt with those dirty sinners.

          • Pooua

            Don’t worry; the Democratic Party is working hard to ensure they pick up the pace of persecution against anyone who dares cast aspersions against homosexuality! Only, instead of “assaulting” you with criticism, the Democratic Party intends to ostracize and bankrupt anyone who condemns homosexuality.

            If you don’t want to live in a free society; if you don’t mind having the government dictate your religious practice to you; if you admire government bankrupting Christians for denouncing what God has denounced; then, keeping quiet about these court decisions and laws is exactly what you want to do. But, understand, you aren’t a Christian; you are a traitor!

          • Jason

            Two things: 1. The American church could use some persecution. I don’t welcome it, but 80,000 years from now it wont matter. The church thrives under persecution. It weeds out the chaff,and instills true humility. Something most Christians in our country need desperately. It is also one on the best ‘church growth’ strategies ever invented.
            2. I hate to tip over any sacred cows, but frankly, I don’t believe God is a Republican.

          • Jason

            Oh, and thanks for the verbal assault, fellow believer. When you give me the choice of being a Christian or a traitor, are you implying that as a supposed traitor to the US (I am a veteran by the way) I would no longer be a Christian? My allegiance is to Him first. And, I hate to keep knocking your idols over, but not only do I believe God is not a Republican, I’m pretty sure He isn’t American either.

          • Pooua

            The US government is criminalizing Christianity, and all you can do is complain that you are being assaulted at your dinner table. I didn’t say your sorry attitude against Christianity makes you a traitor against the US; it makes you a traitor against Christianity.

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          Oh my Lord, are you serious with your rant? God does not care what political party you belong to or your propensity toward one what he cares about is your attitude. You are so blinded by the hate in your heart you cannot even see people. You’ve forgotten about the sins you hold yourself, you’ve forgotten about the Grace and forgiveness that was once and repeatedly given to you. I hate to break it to you but the law suits and things you claim as persecutions against us are nothing more than people breaking the law, claiming the bible made them do it and then having to pay the price for that. Nobody asked anyone to agree with their sins they asked that we as Christians conduct ourselves as decent human beings. We do not have to agree that homosexuality is right or wrong but we do have to treat people with kindness and respect because the Lord Jesus Christ asked us to do that.
          It’s comical your gluttony pride bit have you not seen the golden arches? commercials, ect that promote obesity and gluttony? Are you so blinded when you pull thru the drive through to get your doubt quarter pounder that you do not realize the hypocrisy in your words? The march in the streets for drunkenness happened during prohibition and guess what the right to be drunks was and continues to be firmly acceptable within the USA.
          It is interesting that you asked about businesses confirming the other sins because this same business that refused a gay couple a cake i’m sure served hundreds to those with gluttony. WHEN is the hate going to stop? when will those who claim to love the Lord remember his words? When will they turn from the anger and bitterness and return to the Love he asked for us to have for our neighbors? I sometimes feel like i’m speaking to toddlers who are fighting over their toys!!!!!

        • Jason

          As I have continued to touch base with this blog, I have been challenged and sharpened by my fellow beleivers-Most of whom I disagreed with. At the end of each dialogue, we departed as family that just disagreed with each other.

          However Pooua, you are different. Your animosity towards Christians is more pronounced since our previous conversation. I see you copying and pasting some of the same bile you attacked me with. Why are you part of this discussion? You seem to be someone just looking for a quarrel. 2 Tim 2:23-24 : “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” I suspect your true fight and animosity isn’t with beleivers or the homosexual community.

      • raziel71

        You are wrong… Paul clearly identified that there was different kinds of sin and there is even one sin that God wont forgive to anyone.

        16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

        17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

        There are also sin of ignorance and sins you knowingly do and God judge it in different ways.

    • Miya

      Just reminding you to not forget that Christianity is also the cause of thousands of innocent deaths. This included defenceless women, old people, children, babies and more. Through history, Christianity cause almost more bloodshed than pagan added together.
      Also, there are many countries who have never heard of Christianity and yet they stopped things like, slavery and brutal killing even before Jesus came in existence.
      This proves that Christianity actually the ‘one’ or ‘only right’ religion that shed light on people’s morality.

      • Miya

        I mean, “This proof that Christianity isn’t actually the ‘one’ or ‘only right’ religion that shed light on people’s morality”.

      • Jason

        I don’t mean to split hairs, but…Our faith isn’t in Christianity as
        the one and only true religion. Its easy to shoot down what ignorant or
        unfaithful believers have done in the past and today.Rather, our
        faith is in Jesus Christ. That He is the only way to getting ‘right’
        with our Creator. No one else has offered a solution to mans’ imperfection.

    • Colee74

      “…our nation and our culture is doomed.” Our first priority is not to preserve our nation and culture.
      There’s a panic to control things on the big scale instead of living it out where God asks us to, in our minds, homes, neigborhood, church. THIS is why society has come to be what it is.
      The author never said to get soft with sin, but to stand firm personally(not politically)against ALL sin, if it’s a better way to live, it will become evident.

    • Colin Lee Flemington

      “our nation and our culture is doomed.” God is not concerned with preserving a nation or culture. The Church is His priority.
      The author is not condoning the acceptance of sin, but pointing out that it’s our first priority as Christians to deal with it in ourselves. This will have the desired effect on the world immediately around us. This is God’s way of affecting the world, not through law.

  • Byhim4him

    Awesome!! Awesome!! I’m glad I wasn’t in a public place while reading this. My shouts of “AMEN brother” as I read would have been disturbing. Thank you for this post!

  • Pingback: The Church’s Response to Same Sex Marraige « Outside My Door()

  • stemstan

    Thank you for a most thoughtful presentation. Going beyond your excellent point, if the church can move towards its counter-cultural posture in the US then maybe same-sex marriage law can be a healthy thing for American Christians. Your words are helpful. Thanks.

    • J D S

      Quote: “maybe same-sex marriage law can be a healthy thing for American Christians”

      What does that even mean? Do you really understand what you just said?

      Too many of you are falling for the empty rhetoric that it’s “all the Christians’ fault anyway. If they would just be nicer…blah, blah, blah…”

      Please think about the ramifications of your statement. Don’t let the evil one win.

      • stemstan

        Remember that Jesus let the evil one win… He went to the cross. Speaking as a Christian, I want to ask, who put Christians in charge of America? The Church is not in charge and should not try to be and should not demand Christian obedience of our culture. It undercuts a faithful witness to the reality of Christ. The Church in America has been following other agendas than the way of Jesus. Don’t make the world the Church. Be the Church.

  • Erling Lea

    Historically any nations that goes against the family ideal have declined rapidly and fast after 3 generations, God follow his own principle and move to another country where the family ideal can be upheld, dont you guys study history Rome, Noahs time, Sodom and Gomorrah and America goes into that history as well a nation that went against the family ideal.

    • Muller Oosthuizen

      Real bad theology (and deliberate false use of Scripture) behind these arguments. All of the examples used had to do with completely different motives than family – Sodom&Gomorrah got punished for their lack of hospitality and not for the sexual lust of some people. Carefully read Gen 18:1-8 & 19:1-3. Greed and capitalistic greed is the US’s downfall. Etc.

      • Tom

        Does anyone claim that Sodom & Gomorrah were punished for sexual lust? Many claim they were punished for attempted homosexual rape. I think the truth is more complex than the “gay verses inhospitality” debate. Ezekiel 16:49 indicates their sins were varied and numerous. I think homosexual sin was one of many sins for which they were judged.

        • brenn

          All I personally read in that story is that sexual sin is prominent. I’m not a bible scholar. Nevertheless, sexual sin comes in many forms.

        • Jason

          ‘they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.’ -Isaiah 3:9 seems to imply there destruction was not brought on by the sin itself, but their pride regarding it.

          Additionally, Ezekial 16:49 adds they were judged because there excess of food, prosperous ease,and failure to aid the poor and needy were abominations before God.
          Jesus says in Luke 10:10-13 that the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida would be judged more severely because of their lack of faith after the miracles that were done in their midst.
          -Scares me as a fat, prosperous American Christian. Good thing Christ’s blood has removed me from Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgement.

      • brenn

        I was reading something about judges and the author argued that Sodom has created a law that stated any man who entered the town had to submit to sodomy. In fact, when you read Abraham’s negotiation with God about saving the whole city if there were 10 righteous men, you see that God agreed. In fact, the story reads that the Lord visited Sodom and the men demanded to sodomize the visitors. Then, the Lord blinded the men who demanded to sodomize the visitors and got Lot and his family out of that city prior to its destruction. It’s clear that the sodomy was the problem. Don’t you remember that Lot offered his virgin daughters to the men demanding to sodomize the visitors? What about sodomy don’t you get from that story?

  • Erling Lea

    same sex attraction is caused by lack of love from the same sex parent, all the facts is not true, no one is born that way, the % of population that is gay is also not correct see the documentary on youtube : one in ten. The kinsey percentage. And people can change if they want to. In Norway after my understanding they stopped gay marriage in churches and the state does it only, this way christians dont have to go against their faith. The created separation between church and state also.

    • IngornaceWow

      Hi. Where’s your source for the drivel you spout about “not enough love from the same sex parent”? If it’s not a peer-reviewed, scientific study, then stop spreading that lie. My father is a great man, who spent most of his non-working, waking hours with my sisters, my brother, and me. He always led the household and raised us with solid, Christian fundamentals. My brother’s gay. I’m straight. How does that reflect poorly on HIM?

  • Em

    Yes, yes and yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this beautiful article admonishing us to be faithful to our beliefs without bashing them over others’ heads. Hope this goes viral.

  • Tracy

    This I the best article I’ve read from a pastor on gay marriage, Great article, great advice. Very wise. Very refreshing to see the love of Jesus, practically everything I read on the subject just seems hateful and hurtful, judgemental and full of condemnation. The hate that comes out of some Christians makes me so sad and ashamed. Being loving to someone doesn’t mean you condone the behaviour. One sin is not worse than another. We all sin. We are human. Great article. Thank you for writing it. Praise the Lord.

  • brenn

    Are the Gay Activists in Canada killing Christians and setting up Canadian business people to put them out of business if they won’t go against their conscience and marry gay folks, all in the name of tolerance of course?

    • Pooua

      I don’t follow Canada too closely, but I know that one homosexual activist sued a preacher (Stephen Boissoin) who had denounced homosexuality. The case wound its way through multiple courts for a decade before it finally was thrown out in 2009.

      A quick Web search shows many more cases in which Canadian preachers are being sued by homosexual activists. Oddly, this doesn’t seem to trouble Carey Nieuwhof enough to mention it in his article.

      • Tom

        I wonder if he’s come to accept it as a part of life?

  • GGG

    Pastor Neuwhof. Thank you so much for a commentary that said let’s reach across the divide instead trying to make it wider. Jesus consistently practiced that during his ministry. He reached out to Romans, he reached out to those who would persecute and judge others, and he reached out to those who persecuted and mocked him. A great, thoughtful commentary to foster respectful discussion and disagreement. Thank you. May God bless.

  • Skip Schwarz

    In your comments against judging, I hear you and what you’re trying to do: to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance with those of the gay community. That’s as it should be, but I think this last point is better put positively, rather than negatively. Instead of “don’t judge”, how about ” do love” them, which is what you’re aiming at anyway. The problem with the prohibition against judging lies in the different way it’s construed today than in the Bible, where it was a prohibition against condemning. Remember the woman caught in adultery? Beautiful illustration. “Neither do I condemn you, ” said Jesus to her. So far so good, but those whose lifestyle is contrary to Biblical morality would regard his next words as nothing less than judging: “go, and sin no more, lest something worse befall you.” Today, in our amoral society, judging is equated with any set of values that would declare something wrong that others consider right. You will have people staying out of any evangelical church that preaches a Biblical morality not because people are condemning them, although sadly some will, but because the truth that is being preached makes them FEEL judged. In psychological terms, It’s called “cognitive dissonance” which means you’re not going to knowingly put yourself into any setting where you’re going to end up feeling guilty or your behavior condemned. It’s the same reason couples living together will stay away from churches that preach a Biblical morality. On an individual level, you’re going to have people feeling judged by you simply because they know you disapprove of their behavior whether you say anything or not. That’s why I think a more fruitful approach would be to reach out to them in love, hearing their hurts, listening to their concerns, helping them with things such as medical care and the necessities of life. There’s a lot you can do as a Christian to express God’s love to them short of officiating at a gay marriage. Just don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms because they’re always going to feel more comfortable with those who share their values than with those who disapprove. I see the larger issue as not being about sex at all, but about salvation, and the devil using sexual “freedom” to keep people away from the source of real freedom.

    • melinda

      Thank you Skip for your thoughtful post. Here is some food for thought. You are quite right in that some people will feel judged. You then go on to say “It’s called “cognitive dissonance” which means you’re not going to knowingly put yourself into any setting where you’re going to end up feeling guilty or your behavior condemned.” Perhaps there are people who have lived the Christian experience and who have with a great deal of thought and struggle come to a place of non-belief. The question is then why would you put yourself in a situation where you know already that you do not believe the same things. I have read through the thousands of posts here and have very close relationships with family (parents included!) who condem and judge my way of life. I put myself in this situation because I love my family deeply and I know that they love me as well. But why should I sit with strangers and have their belief system and judgment (I don’t have as many issues with this word as most do in these discussions!) constantly reiterated to me. It is not a discussion, there is no space for my view of belief to be valid. It just doesn’t make any sense. And no – I have not felt even one twinge of “conviction” in the thousands of posts that tell me that I am a sinner and will burn in a pit of fire for all eternity. The only thing that keeps me in the agnostic rather than atheist category is the concept of a love that surpasses anything that is humanly possible and the idea of being separated from this. That gives me pause and keeps me perodically revisiting my nonbelief. I am sure you will not agree but I did not feel free when I was a fervent fundamentalist Christian. I was always looking over my shoulder afraid I would be left behind when the rapture came. Freedom is what I have now. Freedom to use the intellect I have been given to make my free choice.

      • Skip Schwarz

        Hi, Melinda–time to turn in, but just wanted to thank-you for your own comments and offer a couple of observations. First of all, the love your family has for you overrides any differences in values, so the cognitive dissonance avoided by people in social situations doesn’t really apply here. Secondly, when you talk about “fervent fundamentalism” I’m wondering if you’re not describing a legalistic approach to the gospels that is basically driven by a combination of fear and pride and overloaded with rules. Whatever it was, if it left you “looking over your shoulder with fear” I don’t think it bears any resemblance to the kind of freedom Jesus was talking about which comes from the reign of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have exchanged their own values and priorities for his. Have a good night and I hope you continue revisiting your unbelief. I really believe God desires to love and bless you in a way you’ve not yet experienced. Have a good night!

        • melinda

          Hi Skip,

          Thank you for your kind words. I can assure you that the love of my family insulated me some compared with others who were tossed out. If you can imagine what it took to come out to my parents knowing their beliefs! But to believe because they believe or because I am scared to end up in hell were the best options I could come up with and neither one sits well with me. So, my non-belief is well considered and very likely to stay. But each day is a new day and I hope to keep learning and gaining new insights for the rest of my life.

          Thank you very much for the exchange of thoughts and your good wishes. All the best to you.

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        thank you for sharing your story:) I wonder if the ‘place of non-belief’ has more to do with the way you’ve been treated or looked on by the very people who were suppose to be showing loving kindness, forgiveness and love? I was touched by the part in your story that explained that instead of being atheist you’d stayed agnostic because you did not want to separate from the overwhelming love….This would tell me that altho you aren’t say placing yourself in the midst of a crowd who has already made their judgment you at the same time are not turning your back on Jesus :). This is btw the love spoken of throughout all the Gospels and so the very fact that you feel it and don’t want to loose it means he is with you.
        Im not surprised that no ‘conviction’ is gained in forums like these or in fact even within the world because lets face it as you said people generally do not leave room for discussion they’ve already made up their minds but I wanted to tell you that not everyone has that same opinion and not everyone would ignore the discussion.
        I have been a Christian for nearly all my life and can identify with what you said about the conviction part because any time I’ve ever had conviction on anything it wasn’t from anyone’s words or well meaning judgment it was because the Holy spirit laid it on my heart and kept prompting me to do something about it …
        I know i’ll get backlash from this but it needs to be said. In a world where scholar after scholar argue about what the meaning of this passage or that one.. it is possible that we as mere humans have it wrong. It is also possible that things get lost in translation. At the very heart of the issue are people and I cannot believe that God would create a large population of people who are ‘different’ only to condemn them from childhood and so given that context I believe as Skip said that he does desire to love and bless you and according at least Corinthians and Galatians all he requires from you is your faith 🙂 Please don’t let the haters turn you from the love God has for you.. when he died on that cross it was for every single one of us regardless of what sins we carried and all he required from us is our faith in him.

      • brenn

        I’m a bible believing Christian and the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture makes me worried about being left behind because I’m not good enough. I think the Bible was written in the form of letters and these letters were written to uneducated people, mostly. These letters were read to people who could not read. Therefore, when we read the revelation of John, we have to take it without modern theology that teaches of a pre-tribulation rapture. The raw vision dictated by a scribe and spoken by John, on the island of Patmos (after he was blinded and boiled in oil, if I remember correctly) paints a picture of a time when Christ will return but there are many things on earth that indicate this is a time of global control by a one world government and a time of geological catastrophe.

        If you do a you tube search on “near death experience” and the word “Jesus,” you will find people who have died and come back to life (some after hours). They all see Jesus and some a rescued from the Love you are talking about. Jesus rescued some people from Hell. It’s simply about that Love- you are absolutely right to focus on that Love. It’s about His love. God loves you personally, intimately, deeply and to great lengths. His love was unconditional as God gave a part of himself to become as a human and become a blood sacrifice for sin. Once the unconditional part was accomplished, there remains one condition- repentance- John the Baptist came preaching repentance and Jesus didn’t contradict that but went on to say repent and believe in me. Every author of the New Testament died to bring you this message. Believe people who die to bring you a message.

  • Laurie Kogen

    Pastor Nieuwhof, I just want to thank you so much for writing this. Not that I was judging outwardly, but I was saddened by the Supreme Court decision and worried about our future. But you are absolutely correct when you say “Judgment is a terrible evangelism strategy,” “People don’t line up to be judged,” Judging is un-Christian,” and to remember that I was saved by grace, my sins are just different. It is about modeling Jesus’ love. And, yes, the best strategy is to love the people with whom I disagree. Thank you, Pastor Nieuwhof. I know all this, but it’s so good to be reminded. You’ve really helped me.

  • Elisabeth Boelman

    The only point I disagree with is that Jesus died because of his love for us. Scripture points time and again to the fact he died out of love and obedience to the Father.

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      Elisabeth- Just a few of those verses 🙂 It is my understanding altho I cannot find it right now.. that God was angry with his people much like in the days of Noah. Jesus was sent to live among us to abide by all those laws because people were not capable of doing it. By living a sinless life among us he then became our sacrifice. (instead of having to continue to sacrifice goats or lambs when we sinned). Once he died on the cross our sins were forgiven thru faith in him. He was the mediator the ransom because he loved us and did not want us to face Gods wrath …
      John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

      John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another

      Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God

      1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus

      Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

      John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

      John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends

  • Steve Jones

    Thank you. I have some agreement and not a little disagreement here.

    1) THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS BEEN COUNTER-CULTURAL. Agreed.

    2) IT’S ACTUALLY STRANGE TO ASK NON-CHRISTIANS TO HOLD CHRISTIAN VALUES.

    Why is that? Granted,unbelievers are not “bound to righteousness” by virtue of accepting Christ’s redemption as Christians are. But unbelievers are certainly
    still accountable to God because we are ALL creatures of the Creator and have his law written on their hearts. The issue at hand has to do with the laws of the land. We Christians certainly expect the unbelievers to obey the laws on murder and theft, don’t we? Likewise, we expect them to respect the laws on free expression of religion and free speech.

    C.N.: “Why would we expect people who don’t profess to be Christians to
    pass laws like the entire nation was Christian?”
    In a country where ANYONE and EVERYONE has the right to influence the political process so that the laws reflect their worldview why WOULDN’T we Christians advocate for righteous and just laws? Especially since those laws have a proven beneficial track record socially, economically and medically. SOMEONE’S morality (or immorality) will be reflected in the law. Why not ours?

    C.N.: “Non-Christians usually act more consistently with their value
    system than you do.”
    Maybe that’s because we all have a predisposition to sin so it’s easy to sin and difficult to live righteously? Unbelievers get no brownie points for “consistency” when they consistently do what comes naturally, which is sin. Hitler was very consistent with his value system too, but his consistency wasn’t a virtue.

    C.N.: “Jesus never blamed pagans for acting like pagans.” Have you read the book of Revelation? Jesus not only blames pagans for acting like pagans, he also holds them accountable for acting like pagans and refusing to believe and repent of their sins. He judges them quite harshly in the end (Revelation 19:11ff).

    3) YOU’VE BEEN DEALING WITH SEX OUTSIDE OF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
    FOR A LONG TIME.
    C.N.: “You don’t need to treat it (gay marriage) any differently.”
    Right but wrong. Homosexuality is a sexual sin like the rest of them, so it gets treated the same. But it does not follow that “gay marriage” isn’t any different. The reason gay marriage is different is because it is a LAW that has been passed (by the Supreme Court) and that law is now being used to compromise freedom of religion and to force conscientious Christians out of the American marketplace since you can now be fined, fired and discriminated against for your religious beliefs. That is simply not the case with fornication or adultery – so there is a difference when it
    comes to gay marriage.

    4) THE EARLY CHURCH NEVER LOOKED TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR GUIDANCE.
    C.N.: “Jesus spent about zero time asking the government to
    change during his ministry.”
    Not true. Jesus’ politicians were the Pharisees and Sadducees who comprised the Sanhedrin. While he could not vote, Jesus did seek to influence his politicians by calling them out, rebuking them, and challenging them to be more just and fair. You can’t teach a course on the Life of Christ without talking about Jesus’ interaction with his politicians.

    C.N.: “The Apostle Paul appeared before government officials regularly. Not once did he ask them to change the laws of the land.”
    In Paul’s day Rome was not a representative Republic it was a dictatorship under Caesar. There was no ability or opportunity to “ask them to change the laws of the land.” Are you seriously suggesting that, on the basis of that “apples to oranges” comparison, we Christians here in America should not engage the political process and seek to change the laws of the land? And by the way, Paul certainly leveraged his rights as a Roman Citizen to save his person, his life and to advance his Christian cause.

    C.N.: “Maybe we’ll be willing to lose our jobs, our homes, our families and even our lives because we follow Jesus. That might just touch off a revolution like it did two millennia ago.” I’m sure many Christians would be willing to sacrifice everything
    for the Lord. Would it result in a revolution, a revival, a beneficial purging of the church? Who is to say? Maybe it would or maybe it would snuff out the church in North America like it did in North Africa after the Muslim invasions, or like it did the church in Asia Minor after the 14th century, or like it did the church in Japan after Christianity was outlawed in the 17th century. Maybe we will enter a thousand-year dark age. The “benefits” of church persecution are often naive and overstated.

    5) OUR JUDGMENT OF LGBT PEOPLE IS DESTROYING ANY POTENTIAL
    RELATIONSHIP.
    No argument with the need to love the LGBT’s. Actually, most Christians I know have and do love the LGBT’s. But I do get tired of the whole “judgmental” label. After building that relationship with the LGBT, loving them, spending time with them
    and modeling the grace of Jesus to them, at some point you’re going to have to share the truth with them. Some of them will be receptive to the truth and some of them (a lot actually) will not. Many of those who are not receptive are going to label you judgmental even if you have been as sweet as Mother Theresa. Remember, even Jesus couldn’t tell the truth so lovingly and tactfully that nobody ever got mad at him.

    • Mark

      you write “The reason gay marriage is different is because it is a LAW that has been passed (by the Supreme Court) and that law is now being used to compromise freedom of religion and to force conscientious Christians out of the American marketplace since you can now be fined, fired and discriminated against for your religious beliefs. That is simply not the case with fornication or adultery – so there is a difference when itcomes to gay marriage.”

      WRONG. The law isn’t being used to compromise freedom of anything. In the case of the Oregon bakers, the law was already crystal clear–you go into business to serve the public with a product (in this case selling wedding cakes) then you serve the public. Everyone. Period. If you don’t like it then a) don’t open a business or b) open a private membership that discriminates or c) move to another country. Courts have decided over and over that public services (like cake baking) aren’t a religious exercise. Further, what’s to stop businesses to going right back to where we were in the 50’s and using “religion” to discriminate on any number of things. People did, in fact, hide behind “their serious religious beliefs” to discriminate against blacks.

      What’s so hard about this to understand? Stop spreading the lies and learn how our civil and civic laws work.

      And, no one is making ministers marry gay couples so let’s nip that in the bud.

    • Ryan Byler

      The people that got mad at Jesus were the religious folks – like you and myself are. I WILL PRAY AND LET THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE when interacting with unbelievers. Even if it takes years and years of loving someone. That purest form of gracious and attractive love is what I am called to portray. To worship Christ and serve others is what we are meant for.

    • Moonlight Shadeaux

      This how non-believing works. YOU may think I am bound the rules of the creator, but since I don’t believe, spiritually I’m not bound to anyone’s standards, but my own. Therefore, I should have the right to the same legal protections that marriage gives couples under the law. I should also have the right to marry the person who I feel makes me happy.

      The great thing about this country is that I am not forced to live my life by the principles of other religions and I shouldn’t have to. As long as my actions cause no other person harm I should be able to live my life according to my value system.

      It makes me more resentful the more I hear “holier than thou arguments.” Christians that feel that it is their right to impose their moral standards on my life is reason enough to for me to never participate in Christianity again.

      And even though I can appreciate the sentiment of this article in general, it still has the ring of “hate the sin and love the sinner.” It’s still pretty much judgmental, it’s like I’m being told that I choose to be gay and I don’t. I just choose to live my life honestly to myself because I’m not accountable to anyone’s God(s) or religious code of ethics.

      • GOTT

        Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. (Deuteronomy 10:14)

        A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)

        Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

        The article is titled “Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian,” it is directed to Christian, not non-Christians, so I would assume Steve Jones comments were directed to Christians as well. Based on the verses I quoted above, if everything belongs to God, then as a Christian, I would expect that which belongs to God to be used for God’s purposes. This may not be how the non-Christian want Christians to believe but from a Christian’s perspective and based on the above verses, wouldn’t this be how God would want Christian’s to see things?

    • Mark Underkofler

      Thanks. Great critique of a great article. Though, I would say most people underestimate the possibilities in a time of persecution. The American church doesn’t have the problem like other times in Church history where people were trying to get get killed for their faith. Most Christians see persecution instead as an attack on their easy lives. I think many times, even as a pastor, I am similar to most Christians in that way unfortunately.

  • Janice Colfer

    I really don’t have an issue with non-believers and the whole same sex issue. I totally agree with your thinking. What I struggle with is the believers who are in same sex relationships. As a person, church and community what should we approach this issue? I know there are established churches for people who claim to be Christ followers, but still are in a same sex relationship. How do we address this in our churches today?

    • Joe Janvier

      Can I ask . . . do you also ‘struggle with’ the unmarried Christian ‘straight’ believers who are in sexual relationships??? . . . for it is no different in God’s eyes . . . as Pastor Nieuwhof has addressed . . . a viewpoint that has always confounded me when it comes to the Church’s vocalism towards Gay partners & relationships . . . in my opinion, the Church should be much more ‘up-in-arms’ over the many multitudes of sexually active ‘straight’ people!!! . . . don’t you think?? . . . for I am sure that there are many more of them sitting in Sunday Services than those of us who are monogamous Gay Christians . . .

  • Cindy Peters

    I am a Catholic by birth baptism I have not been active due to work schedules and confusion, however I truly enjoyed your message, my daughter referred you to me and I would like to thank you for your ideas. Your new friend Cindy. Peters

  • Kathy

    What about repentance on the part of each individual believer regarding how each of us has to some degree accepted and participated in the cultural mores of our society? I know I have and have seen its destructive effects in my family. What can God do through a church that sees the truth and allows it to convict, cleanse, and empower it? Is not this the work of the Holy Spirit? The truth will set us free from the design and working of Satan to destroy individuals and societies as well as the Body of Christ. This is spiritual warfare not just a crisis in human governance. When we repent and determine to walk in obedience to His Word, then we are enabled to participate, fully equipped., in this battle.

  • davebaldwin

    So Carey,
    Your fifth point resonated with me. I have traveled to Ukraine some 30 times. I have worked with the Registered Baptist Union each time. During the communist years pastors of both registered & unregistered churches would be pulled in for questioning by the KGB.
    The KGB was trying to get them to compromise themselves by giving away information about their parishioners. The unregistered pastors would lecture them and tell them where they could go… The registered pastors would make it a joke. When asked who was in church the past week, a pastor would say that the head KGB guy needed better agents. He would point to agents in the room that had attended his church and said these guys were there, have they forgotten who they saw. Do I need to help them with their memories? The registered pastors handled things in a friendly manner and did their best to build bridges with the KGB without compromising themselves or their principles.
    Then the Iron Curtain falls and many KGB agents realize how their lives have been a waste. Where do they go for help and the truth? To the registered pastors who had treated them with humor and respect. Many have come to Jesus because of how these pastors treated them during the communist years.
    Great post. Thank you for all the help you give us here in the States.
    Blessings,
    Dave

  • Bill Hildebrand

    Interesting perspective,however they made adecision in this life and according to the bible it was the wrong decision.When they pass on they will find them selves burning in hell.Am I wrong? So we should as Christians let them do there thing-don’t bother them and thank God that we did not fall into a sin such as theirs.Oh and one more thing I hope all those folks who for some reason divorce and change partner are in the same predicament.According to Gods word SIN is SIN As to who falls into this category I do not know,however if you were or are a born again chritian and you decide to get a divorce .It will be pretty hot at the end of your life-Do I make sense? I ask the question do you or do you not believe that the bible is the word of God? Check it out yourself.

    • RJ

      If we could convince everyone to remain chaste according to their station in life (either celibate or faithful within the covenant of marriage) would they receive the Kingdom of Heaven? It is only by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross that any of us will receive the Kingdom of Heaven. As you say, sin is sin. It separates us from God, whether it is sexual sin, or coveting, or having any allegiance that is before our allegiance to God. I believe the scripture of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation. I John 2:1-2 says, “I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” John goes on to say that those who have been born of God do not sin. The verb tense there is an on going life marked by sin. The thing is, by saying that the civil government not condemning same sex marriage, or divorce and remarriage is evil, you are expecting people who are not born of God to live as though they were. Nothing in the article condones Christians continuing in a life of sin. The article is deals with a Christian response to the secular world. If the best we can do is get people to lead sexually moral lives, we are still leaving them without Christ. Focus on introducing them to Christ first. He is the one who can bring order to the unruly affections and desires of humanity.

  • Rich Grassel

    A response to Carey Nieuwhof

    First let me say there is much, in principle that I can affirm in this article. Although, it is important to say, that a lot and the manner, of what is said is fairly standard “Emergent Church” ideology; (privileging “Grace” over “Truth;” or “Christlikeness” means ONLY doing good works and social justice), which has significant theological, problems…

    Let me also be quick to add that he does not write for and Canadian Christians either, if you look carefully, you can find other dissenting voices from Canada, but they have to be very careful, lest they be arrested and/or fined by the government for voicing their dissent… All a part of Canada’s “Slippery Slope.”

    Here are some responses to each

    1. The church has always been counter-cultural

    True, and this is a good thing! And this is precisely the point! Do a survey from Higher Education, Pop Culture, Government Legislation and News Media to see which group has been repeatedly affirmed, supported and presented in the best possible light? Here’s a clue: It’s not the Christians… My point? The values of the LGBTQ community are represented far more favorably than those of Christians… In Higher Education there is ZERO TOLERANCE, for anyone with an opposing view than that if the LGBTQ community. Thus, the Conservative Christian historical and biblical position on the LGBTQ life-style IS COUNTER-CULTURAL… The SCOTUS decision this past week simply made something official, that has in fact existed for quite some time.

    2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values

    I have made this argument since first entering the ministry in the early 1980’s, and have consistently held that view since then… HOWEVER, we do have a kind of pick and choose arrangement with these kinds of values. For example the emergence of Child-Labor Laws in the early 1800’s, was EXPRESSLY a Christian endeavor. We like those laws, even though they adversely affected Family run businesses and farms… In fact, virtually the entire USA Constitution (Even though many, not all, were deists) etc., would not have been possible were it not for our fore-fathers, and the profound influence of the Judeo-Christian worldview upon their lives and thinking. My point? We like some of the Historical influence, on our laws, for all people, regardless of whether they are believers or not. We just want to pick and choose, when we feel it to be necessary. Finally, in sort of counter-intuitively, as soon as we take a position, that non-believers “need Christ,” they we are also saying that they need “Christian” (Christ’s values – read: Righteousness, Holiness and Truth). Biblically, this larger, more macro view is unavoidable.

    3. You’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time

    This is true too (Writ large). However, while it is true that all sin alienates, marginalized and kills; not all sin share the same kind of precedents and continuum. Stealing a candy bar from a drug store, simply doesn’t share the same moral equivalency as murdering the father and husband of a family. In the same manner, the legalization of Gay Marriage, will have a far more reaching impact on the family and religious structures within our culture than premarital sex. Should we be careful to lovingly address other sexual sins? Yes! Do we always! No! But that shouldn’t mitigate in any way the importance of addressing, in authentic Christ-like fashion, behavior and values, associated with the LGBTQ community, Adultery and Fornication compromise Bibically based marriage and sexuality, but they have no yet set the stage for redefining human sexuality and marriage… The recent SCOTUS decision does… Not only that, but it also sets the stage for the final assault on Christian Schools, Organizations, even Churches (Despite Justice Kennedy’s comments to the contrary) etc., who hold to the 3,500 Judeo-Christian view on this issue… And that has begun already…

    4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance

    This is just not historically accurate… Taking Jesus at his word to be Salt and Light, as well as to grow the Kingdom in “Mustard Seed” fashion… It was again, almost exclusively, the Christian’s working through government to stop the horrors of the Roman Coliseum. NOTE: in the OT Yahweh used His theocratic governments (Israel) all the time, to affect and mandate his Righteousness and Justice within the world. In more recent times (late 1700’s – 1830’s) the Clapham Sect, led by William Wilberforce, an avowed Christian and prominent member of Great Britain’s House of Commons, used his influential GOVERNMENT position to, outlaw slavery in England, and then eventually throughout the entire Empire – the Empire that was so vast, it was described as: “the Empire upon which the sun never sets.” In addition, the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s was again led by prominent members of the clergy and the local church, to affect dramatic and wonderful new laws related to African Americans…

    Ironically enough, I didn’t see this author, nor any others of his ilk, bemoaning the fact that they used GOVERNMENT to establish a right and more Just society…

    Maybe what he’s really saying is that Christians should only involve governments when it suits their specific (Social Justice?) worldview and agenda?

    5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship

    Being judgmental is NEVER good, and too date, I’ve seen very little actual “Judgmentalism,” from those fellow believers who have dissented and commented on the SCOTUS decision… UNLESS of course you want to CONFLATE a difference of biblical and theological opinion, with hate, intolerance and being judgmental. Which of course can be absurd… All of us and everywhere have profound, life-changing differences with our children, parents, spouses, extended families, neighbors and colleagues. Does that necessarily mean then that we are being hateful, intolerant and judgmental – that we don’t LOVE them? Of course not… And this is where so much of the discussion that goes off the rails…

    Remember the same book that admonishes all of us to LOVE one another unconditionally, sacrificially and nobly (all manner sinners), is the same exact book that calls us to biblical holiness, righteousness and obedience; and homosexuality as a value runs counter to those callings… We don’t get to pick and choose which biblical passages we like and don’t like…

    It is a great Truth
    To say the we must Love everyone;
    it is equally a great Love
    To convey Christ’s Truth, to all as well…

    Whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, the “hate” and “tolerance” default is a text-book response of the Social Progressivist Movement – and most people who buy into it are being used as unwitting pawns by the Sworn enemy of the Christian Faith… The LGBTQ controversy is being used as a wedge-issue by elite SP’s and the Over-Culture to delegitimize and disenfranchise the Conservative Christian Demographic, from the rest of the Culture. Today it is the Conservatives, tomorrow it will be the rest of those who call themselves Christian…

    They are not really after Justice, what they want instead

    • Dingo

      William Wilberforce entered Parliament in 1780, moved his first motion against the slave trade in 1789. After nearly twenty years of tireless struggle he managed to abolish slave-trading within the British Empire in 1807, but sadly Wilberforce died before the abolition of slavery within the Empire in 1833 (by a few months).
      Slavery within England and Wales was abolished *de jure* after the Somerset Case [Somerset v Stewart] of 1772.

  • alabar

    Thank-you for this post! it puts into words exactly how i feel! just last week i was trying to express what it meant to me, and i wish i had these words because how i put it was just confusing and not correct at all. i can never understand all the hate speech towards the LGBT community. then all the claims of “God/I wants to help you” crap (yeah it is crap when the very words before that are cruel and hurtful). i can only imagine how condescending and painful that must feel towards a confused LGBT person. people spouting hate speech just paint a horrible picture of the church and make it ugly.

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  • VB501

    I am wondering if the Canadian public schools are teaching that gay marriage is a “normal” family – (for lack of a better word–not typical, but an acceptable choice for them to consider. This is a concern for Christian parents here in the U.S. because gay activism very much wants to push this agenda in public schools as has been seen in Massachusetts. Do children’s worksheets and textbooks and invited speakers address this subject? If a child speaks up and says that their parents teach differently, are the parents punished?

    • Mark

      lol!

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      As a Christian parent I can tell you I am NOT concerned about this issue and i’ll tell you why… I teach my children at home, just like sex education that is taught in school I don’t rely on a stranger to teach it to my child I teach it myself. reading writing and arithmetic yes they can teach those the rest is first of all not even their responsibility lol what happened to parents teaching whatever moral standard you want your children to follow at home instead of expecting teachers to do it? What the schools are very good at teaching with respect to issues like this is tolerance, friendship and kindness with new anti-bullying laws 🙂 i’m thinking possibly some of the parents could use a refresher course or be invited to join when their kids learn it (just my thoughts as one of those parents)

  • yoda55

    I find discussion laudable, from the scriptural viewpoint. I see selective memory lapses, both regarding scriptural counterpoints and secular perspectives…
    The displayed prevelant presumption thus far sees LBGT as “unbelievers”, which is not the truth. There are members of the faith who are proponents of these lifestyles, as well. I don’t share their view. These same folks have been partly responsible for the continued fragmentation of faithful denominations – taking on a shape similar to political poles. I look at Sodom and Gamorrah (and other cities in that area) which were secular, hedonist dens of evil. I see what God has to say about such behavior (and the effect it has on those of faith living among them), as well as what He did about it.
    The Roman Empire dissolved with the proliferation of hedonistic “rights” pursued. Relativistic moral values played a major role in the empire’s demise. We’re seeing a similar shift in values in the United States of America. Those who are faithless (or extreme) are using the tools of government to transform the character of this country to ignore the rights of the rest. One can argue that relativistic morals are their “right” under the Constitution. But, those same manipulating folks state that they’re using logical arguments to support their view. According to fundamental logic principles, the principle of non-contradiction cannot be violated and still have a rationale conclusion. They ignore the fact that they make absolute statements, when they argue relativism – irrational.
    Part of the problem is education. What once was considered essential study (“He who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it.”) is now no longer in the curriculum. The spearpoint of the problem is lack of fair and balanced presentation by staff. Educators do not have license to hawk their own pet stance.
    Part of the problem is the reversal of the government protections. The Constitution was authored as the rule of the majority, with provision to protect rights of the minority. This has flipped, with the minority dictating to the majority.
    God started with no governments – but the Hebrew people wanted a tangible “King”.
    So, governments were instituted. The Hebrews were disciplined when they strayed from the Truth. America, once blessed as a stronghold of moral faithfulness, enjoyed blessings. Now, the devolution into ignorance and secular hedonism is having its affect.
    I know someone will say “we are in the world, not of the world”. I will reply, “just as I resist sin in my own life, I resist allowing it to inundate my home.” A passive approach served a purpose for Jesus’ role as the final sacrifice. But, He was zealous for keeping the Temple uncorrupted… If we’re serious about America’s role of leadership in the world community, then we need to clean up our act.

    • yochanan heimeyer

      We would address our comments on the “unbeliever”, who by the way, needs to believe the Gospel(Good News).

      Lifesyle, i.e.,walk/fruit or what characterises our behavior, is very important to the Lord, who died for our sins and requires repentance(change of mind) of our sins. Christians ‘have been’ (from past sins) sanctified, ‘are being’ (present purpose of our new nature) sanctified, and ‘will be’ (future removal from the presence of sin) sanctified because we have BELIEVED in a Savior, Christ Jesus, our LORD.

      Paul said, let a man examine himself and see whether he be in the FAITH, there is only one Faith, one Truth; not my faith/Truth, not your faith/Truth. The Faith is speaking of the “whole body of Truth” the Scriptures. This is what we believe and practice by faith.

      Christians are NOT sinless, but sanctified, not perfect, but purpose in our heart thru the Spirit to be obedient. Jesus, the Christ Who knew no sin, was made sin(offering) for US, who sinned, inorder that we Might Become the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him. We have no inherent righteousness, but our faith, just like Abraham’s faith, was counted as righteous for us.

      But lifestyle, Paul addresses, but you, once being dead in your sins and trespasses in which ye once walked according to the lifestyle of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of this atmosphere, the spirit who(person) now works in the offspring of ‘disobediencew’, among whom WE ALSO ALL once(past tense) had our lifestyle in the lusts of our flesh, doing(practicing) what the flesh and the thoughts, willed to do(practice), and were children(offspring), by nature(fallen) of wrath, even as the rest.
      BUT GOD, being rich in His Mercy, because of His Great Love, where with He Loved US, HATH MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST and hath raised us up together, and hath made US sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that He might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in KIndness towards US in Christ Jesus.

      What heavenly Language, all for US!

      Lifestyle is important because it “characterizes” who we are. Do we hear His voice, the voice of the Shepherd?! Do we hear the voice of the ,made flesh?! Read His Words in Romans 1:18-32 part.vv18,24,26-28, and v.30 “without natural affection”, v32-” who knowing the righteous judgment ‘of God’, that they who practice them, but have fellow delight in those who practice them.”

      And you say brother, that there are proponents of this lifestyle that belong to the Faith. We thought that you had made a very good case ‘against anyone, of this lifestye as fragmenting our society.

      And you mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah, and those of Faith among them and the results of their activity(judgment). There was only Lot and his family, absent his wife, as she looked back as one of them, apparently her heart was back in Sodom. Their actions betray them. That was their lifestyle, not occasional/struggling, but approving, practicing.

      Hope we were of some help, brother.

  • melinda

    I spent most of the day today reading the original blog and then thousands of comments. Here is what I have learned.

    There is a group of people on both “sides” of the marriage debate who can hold respectful conversations that involve learning. They are unfortunately the minority.

    When people do not agree about this issue it seems to take about a nanosecond for the name-calling to start.

    Lots of people feel judged but few people feel that they are judging.

    There may be an irresolvable difference between those who believe that same sex marriage should be legal and those who believe it is a sin. It is the very belief structure of evangelical christians that they should minister to the sinner which means that they have to first know what sin is and identify who is a sinner. “Non christians” do not have this same belief system so an argument about this is futile. There is simply no space to agree to disagree. Without that space I do not see any room to move the conversation to a more productive place.

    The majority rarely acts with charity toward the minority view. It is not enough to “win.” This is as true today with proponents of same sex marriage as it was during the heyday of the “moral majority.”

    I was struck by how few posts were about winning people to God and Christianity because it is a beautiful, wonderful experience to be in close communion with God. The vast majority of what I read was about sin and damnation. I am not saying whether this is right or wrong – just an interesting observation for me.

    Lastly, my plea would be for a world where we seek to understand even if we don’t agree. Why if something is so incredibly obvious to me do billions of people see it in a different way? I can chalk it up to sin or bigotry and save myself the effort of trying to understand. Whether a value system is based on God or humanism – I hope that it has a basic tenet of respect and maybe even love.

    • Mark

      Is there something I’m missing? Evangelicals say they are required to point out sin and try to convert non-believers. In polite society, when someone asks another to stop talking, they stop. But evangelicals go on, and on and on–having harangued the LGBT community about what horrible people we are and THEN get mad when we a) don’t want to be part of such an hysterical, ranting group and b) push back and get angry.

      We’re happy for Christians to believe and even say, whatever they want. Where we draw the line is the intersection of those chosen beliefs to our civil rights laws that are not based on religion. On a related note, there are a notable number of LGBT who identify as Chrisiian. Great, right? Not so fast–apparently they can’t possibly be Christian–something about not following the labryth-like set of rules and scripture. The irony is astounding.

      Gays and lesbians have just started to have a voice in the world working to achieve equality (not “special” rights); a voice that is only about 40 years old. Conservative Christians have had a ruling hand for 100’s of years and in numbers that far outweigh the LGBT community. I believe this pushback on the status quo is what’s most upsetting. I understand that change is hard, but the world moves fast!

      We live in a country with secular laws. All religions have the ability to write, say, praise, believe and worship any way they want. That hasn’t changed. And that’s great.

      Chrsitians can throw the sin flag all they want. I couldn’t care less because I had my stint at Christianity and it wasn’t for me. But make no mistake: my marriage to my husband is legal and it is none of anyone’s business. If we can be supportive of Christian’s right to worship and believe whatever they want, why can’t I be afforded the same respect?

      • logicalphule

        “In polite society, when someone asks another to stop talking, they stop.”

        Really?

        Okay, I’ll give it a try. Will you please stop talking about how you’ve been “wronged” by the Christians, and everyone else who doesn’t agree with gay marriage?

        There I have politely asked, according to you, you are going to stop talking about gay marriage, and bashing Christians.

        • Mark

          I plainly didn’t bash all Christians. I was pointed in referencing the evangelicals who want to legislate marriage.

          I’d say we don’t really need to “talk about gay marriage” much anymore since its legal. Until two weeks ago, it was definitely necessary as people were actively working to legally prohibit my rights. I’m sure you can appreciate the need to “talk about” civil rights versus, oh, a chosen belief system that tries to convert unwilling participants.

          Cheers!

          • logicalphule

            Isn’t it a civil right though to proselytize ie practice a religion? So whose civil rights do you want to talk about?

            Or are you one of those people that believe that only the liberal left’s civil rights count?

          • Mark

            you can talk about it until you’re blue in the face. I’m just telling you it’s annoying, particularly when I’ve said “no” multiple times. AND, I’m not trying to legislate you from practicing your religion. Again, as I very clearly stated, I welcome you having the time, energy, space to pray, believe, worship, speak, etc about your religion. Please improve your reading comprehension. Not only have you repeatedly failed to understand my simple messages, you’ve (ironically) proven the author’s point.

          • logicalphule

            Your original post said that, “We’re happy for Christians to believe and even say, whatever they want.”

            What happened then to the Benham brothers? All they did was publicly state that they supported the traditional view on marriage. They lost their show on TLC because of the LGBT communities lack of acceptance of Christian beliefs and what they say.

            How is my reading comprehension now?

            You, personally, may not be trying to legislate Christians from practicing their religion, however there are people in the LGBT community who are. You, personally, may be accepting of the Christian view point, and what is said, but there are a lot of people in the LGBT community that are not so accepting.

            Why should Christians support something that they believe fervently against?

          • Mark

            The Benham Brothers broke a clause in the contract with their employer (TLC). TLC decided (like lots of companies) to sever ties with people who made statements they felt shed a poor light on their brand/company. Don’t confuse freedom of speech with that speech not having consequences. You people blame LGBT? Of course we spoke up and out against their homophobic hateful and uninformed speech. We didn’t fire them. Their employer did. Why would that surprise anyone?? Do you have any concept about how employment contracts work? Every company I’ve worked for has had similar clauses.

            Why would LGBT people be accepting of ultra conservative Christians when basically all they’ve heard is how horrible they are? It was all well and good with conservative Christians when LGBT was kept in the shadow and treated as second-class citizens. You HATE that your worldview is being challenged. And it makes you even more unhappy that the world’s view is evolving to see that gay rights are fair and decent and good.

            So, to be crystal clear. Scream, shout, rant, rave. Write to your legislators. Work to elect crazy, fearful, hatemongering lawmakers to try to silence. Keep prostelytizing. Just stop being mad and surprised that a) we’re fighting back to achieve equality (not special rights) and b) that your flock is dwindling in numbers.

            Cheers and good luck!

          • Dingo

            TLC is not *obliged* to give a platform to the political views of it’s employees, especially if those ideas are against the company’s own commercial interests.
            Similarly, the company you work for might not be able to prevent it’s employees holding foolish ideas, however, *they don’t have to publish* those foolish ideas on their websites/newsletters/advertising (and the like), nor give their employees bullhorns to harangue other employees or passers-by.
            While you’re on the dime of someone else, you represent the person(s) paying your wage – on your own private time, as an individual, knock yourself out!
            I’m sure the strangers you harass will happily tell you just what kind of person they think you really are!

          • JUST THINKING

            I agree that TLC is not obligated to provide any such platform, especially if that platform goes against the company’s beliefs. Similarly, cake companies should not be obligated to bake cakes for LGBT couples’ weddings when doing so goes against their beliefs. Interestingly, one group is being punished, and the other is not. The only reason the cake company is being penalized is because the engaged couple wants to force everyone to condone their behavior and “marriage.” They are not happy to simply have the right to get legally married, they want it shoved in everyone else’s face until we all admit defeat, hang out heads, and agree that their marriage is morally supportable. If they just wanted a cake, they would have gone somewhere else to get one. BTW, these are the same people who scream at the top of their lungs about having the freedom to make their own choices…but have no qualms about taking away that freedom from the rest of us.

          • Dingo

            JustThinking – no, no I don’t think you are.
            There’s a fundamental difference between the two situations:
            a) If you’re employed by a company then you are called AN EMPLOYEE. Employees are representatives of that company so the company has limited rights to control their speech (for reason outlined earlier).
            b) The people who come into your place of business to purchase goods and/or services from you are called CUSTOMERS. Unless your business is some kind of subscription-only operation, the customers are the *general public*, this means your business is a ‘public accommodation’ and that you are not permitted to discriminate when providing your goods and/or services to the public, you have to serve *all* of them whether you approve of them or not. You don’t get to control your customers speech, but such speech is not representing your business.
            These famous bakers discriminated against these particular customers (who simply wanted a cake) solely based on their choice of marriage partner and for no other reason (they hadn’t refused, or even asked, other customers about ‘sinful’ behaviours previously). But as they’ve produced identical cakes for other customers they’re obliged to do the same even these customers of whom they disapprove. It’s the law.
            If they want to protest they are completely free to do so, as individuals on their own time. Despite ‘Hobby Lobby’, businesses are *not legally persons for the purposes of free speech generally* (only in respect to giving donations to political parties).
            As far as ‘going somewhere else’, isn’t that what is being complained about, that customers refused to give them business and they were forced to close? So which is it, do you want customers to use the bakery (despite the owners’ attitude toward their customers), or go some where else instead. Which is it?

          • Just thinking

            I submit to you that all private companies should be able to serve or not serve whoever they want for whatever reason they choose. I also believe that people should vote with their feet, and boycott companies with practices they disagree with, or for any other reason. Freedom all around. I am not complaining that customers have gone away from the bakery in question, I am complaining that they are required to serve people that they do not want to serve. It is not a question of morality or religion, it is a matter of freedom. I fundamentally disagree with any law that forces me to serve anyone. I believe that anti-discrimination laws fly in the face of freedom. In a truly free country, people decide who they serve, and people decide where they spend their money, it is that simple.

          • Dingo

            OK if you want your (let’s say) hypothetical business to discriminate against (again, let’s say) people over 6 feet high, then make your business a private club where one has to pay a fee to get in. In that case it would be perfectly legal to say “sorry you’re over 6′ high you can’t enter”.
            However that’s not the case here, it was a business open to the general public and so is legally obliged to serve said public. It’s nothing more than a discrimination case that, despite the ‘best’ efforts of certain people on social media trying hard to create a case of anti-Christian persecution, really is nothing more than that.

          • Dingo

            Also one who have to ask, would you be happy if businesses could discriminate against black people? Or Jewish people? Or tall people? Or women? Or people with tattoos? Or even Christians?
            Don’t they all have a reasonable expectation that a business that provides goods and/or services will provide those goods and/or services to them just as they would any other customer?

          • ExcellentJim

            So many people are missing an important factor in the Bakery case. The Bakery would have Happily baked them a Birthday Cake, or Cookies. It’s even been reported that the couple were already a Customer and purchased other goods.

            The issue was a GAY Wedding Cake. That is not just Selling a cake – that is Participating in a Gay Wedding. It’s NOT discrimination – they only had a problem with the CAKE, not the Couple!

          • Dingo

            ExcellentJim! (I like the nym, BTW) –
            As explained earlier – if they supply a good and/or service to other members of the general public they are obliged to do the same despite disapproving of them. They were not interested in the ‘sinful’ (but perfectly legal) behaviours of other customers and happily took their money in exchange for baked goods, why was that? Could it be *discrimination*?
            What if a shopkeeper decided Christians should not be served because they worshipped gods they didn’t approve of, would that be acceptable?

          • ExcellentJim

            But that’s not what happened. They did NOT turn down the couple because they were Gay, they refused to Make a Gay Wedding Cake. The couple still got a cake and had their wedding. So, how were they harmed?

            How would the shop owner even know of their customer’s sins. What was asked of them was to Participate in a ceremony that they found to be against the teachings of GOD. The point here is all in one word “Participate”!

            Yes, in my opinion, that would be acceptable. Christians would just find another business to give their money to.

            Let me tell you a little story – The FBI comes to a Bookkeeper and claims he is breaking the law and must come with them for questioning. The sit him down and explain that he has been keeping the books for a Crime Lord and he is guilty of Racketeering. He protests, He knows all of his clients and none of them fit that description. Then the tell him who it is and he admits he has been keeping the books for that person, but he had no idea he was a criminal.

            In that story, the bookkeeper went to Prison. If we follow the rules used to punish a baker, then we can’t use different rules to punish the bookkeeper. If you MUST serve the public, then you MUST serve the Entire Public. However, if a Gang leader wanted a cake and the baker made him one, he is Guilty of Money Laundering, receiving stolen goods, and possibly Racketeering.

            No, businesses need the right to Refuse business to whomever they want. How does that harm anyone? Of course, there would be exceptions to that, like Emergency Rooms.

          • Dingo

            The First Amendment has time and place restrictions.

          • logicalphule

            Not in regards to proselytizing on public property, or within one’s own home.

    • melinda

      Thanks all for reinforcing the points I made above. Someone wrote things that were deleted from the post by the moderator. The responses to that person are similarly not civil. Can you all take it up elsewhere???

  • Ester

    Muito obrigada por compartilhar! (thank you very much for sharing, in Brazilian Portuguese). Here in the church where I congregate, these kind of subject is a taboo.
    I personally always thought that our God`s love is above all of us, and He looks to reach everyone, despite our sins, through Jesus sacrifice, and that is what I think many of us Christians tend to forget…
    Here in Brazil we are starting having problems – some churches that trough rocks, and send a message of hate and damnation and the LGBT provoking more dilemmas showing a transsexual Jesus on a cross in the Gay Parade… Things are not getting well… Love is let aside, only judgment from both sides…

  • Char

    Your country was not founded upon the same principles that ours was. Apples and oranges. If liberals want to live such different lives, they have gone about things the wrong way – they want to change so much about our country when they could have just moved to Canada.

    • Taylor Fultz

      If everyone kept that mentality, interracial marriages would still be illegal and segregation would still be the norm. People fought for what was just. They didn’t run away from the unconscionable judgement that God intended races to remain separate. Until you can prove unquestionably that God both exists and what his will is, those “principles” have no place in law. The concept of Justice does not require a deity’s existence.

      • Char

        Well by that logic we should do away with how our laws largely come from the original laws… You know, the 10 Commandments. By your logic, we should allow people to murder and steal

        • Taylor Fultz

          Except one can prove why things like murder and theft are unjust and why society is better off if such things are prohibited. If we believe a man has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then murder deprives him of the right to life, hence, it’s illegal. The 10 Commandments are not necessary to see why such things shouldn’t be acceptable in a civilized society.

          • Char

            Our civil laws come from deity, whether you like it or not

          • Taylor Fultz

            I’m of complete conviction that you’re wrong. If we both walk into a court of civil law, where you decree that a murderer must be punished because it’s God’s will, while I decree that a murderer must be punished because logic dictates that a murderer in a just society must be punished for depriving the right to life of another human being; My argument has legal weight. Yours has none.

          • Smalls

            Diety 99?

        • Joe M

          I don’t need a deity to tell me that infringing on others is wrong. Murder and stealing is wrong because it infringes on the rights of others, not because it’s written in stone.

          • Char

            Like it our not, civil law comes from deity.

          • Joe M

            No, it doesn’t. Or we’d be free to have slaves and beat them. As long as they don’t die in the day or two after the beating, it’s legal, right?

            Civil law doesn’t have to come from any deity. We don’t need a god to decide if something harms someone else and therefore, is wrong.

          • ExcellentJim

            That’s a good point. It’s never been true, but a good point no less.

          • Char

            Look at the Vikings. They didn’t have God (well, THE God) and thought nothing of offing each other, including children.

          • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

            Just look at the Christians in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s.

          • Char

            It is interesting that your replies come with personal attacks. Usually that is the case with mentally unstable beings.

          • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

            It’s interesting that you just did the very thing you accuse me of.

          • Char

            I haven’t attacked at all. It is interesting how much time you spend on the internet bullying people. Kinda sad and pathetic 🙁

    • Courtney Warneke

      I assume when you say “our country” you mean the US? If so, maybe you should open a history book. This country was founded to have freedom of religion, which means that government should be separate from the ideals of the church. Also, most of the founding fathers were deists, not Christians.

      • Char

        Maybe it is you that should open a book because most of them were actually Christian

        • Smalls

          Really? 99%? Not 97 or 72%? What about 46%?

      • That’s true, Courtney. Many of our Founding Fathers were deists and practicing Freemasons who saw Christianity and the Judeo-Christian ethic as wonderful and superior moral principles to build our new nation upon. Thomas Jefferson’s outright denial of Jesus’ miracles while supporting His moral teachings are well-documented and need no elaboration. One can hold fast to Christian morals without ever really being a follower of Jesus Christ. I would suggest, as blasphemous as it may sound, that many of our founders weren’t really saved as we would understand the term today. Many of them were Unitarians, a heretical offshoot that among other things denied the Trinity, a core doctrine of historic, biblical Christianity.

        All that said, the Lord still used these great men, some Christian and others not (Thomas Paine of “Common Sense” fame was an atheist), to establish the United States of America. God has always used even nonbelievers to carry out His will and to even advance the Gospel through circumstances that we don’t understand until later in hindsight.

        • One other person is typing…

          How can you say they were “great men” when they owned slaves ??

          • logicalphule

            Does owning a slave negate the great things one does in their life? Great men and women still do horrible things.

            There are many great men who were pure evil. There are many great men who were very godly.

            Greatness does not depend on doing good or bad, you’re either great or you’re not.

          • ExcellentJim

            We can say they were “great men” for what they did.

            Owning Slaves was NORMAL at that time. How can so many people not understand that? There was no moral outrage against slavery at that time. Slavery was a Normal part of the World; practiced in EVERY country (though it was not always called slavery). My point is, we cannot judge the past with Today’s rules. One must judge people in the past based on rules in effect in the same time. Otherwise, everyone was evil and we should just remove all history books from view forever.

      • logicalphule

        I’ve yet to find a single founding father who was an atheist. There were both Christians and deists among our founding fathers.

        The colonies were started because of religious persecution, not this nation. This nation was founded due to primarily taxation without representation.

    • Sharlee

      You are mistaken to say our country was founded on different principles. America was founded on secular principles. Most that came here came because of religious percussion and they were not going to allow it to continue in the new country. Some simple studying of how America was really founded might be helpful here. Christians should not be fighting for the right to discriminate. They should be fighting for the right of all men and women to have equality and freedom because THAT is what our constitution guarantees. Christians, for far too long, have come down on the side of oppression and discrimination. Slavery, women’s voting rights, civil rights. The evangelical church represented the wrong sided of these issues each and every time. Yet, every time, the constitution was found to defend against oppression and provide freedom. Those are the principles this country was founded on.

      • Tyler

        Sharlee, I believe that if you studied some of the atrocities of the past that you mentioned, you would find many Christians that opposed slavery, fought for women’s rights, and civil rights. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to my mind as a Christian that was the face of the civil rights movement.

        • Sharlee

          Not saying they didn’t, but the fact that the majority of those that support inequality are doing so for Christian reasons and it’s atrocious. Not saying there are not some good Christians out there that actually enhance the world. Just saying, the negative impact on the world done by Christians just being the best Christian they know how to be is quite real.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            I completely agree and it’s very sad considering we are suppose to lift people up give them hope not the opposite 🙁

      • Char

        The people who came here were 99% conservative practicing Christians

        • Taylor Fultz

          And also criminals who were exiled from England. (After the Revolution, they had to start using Australia instead.)

          Also, did you know 99% of statistics are made up on the spot?

        • Smalls

          Really? 99%?

        • RJ

          Actually, many of those who assisted in writing the Constitution were not Christians. Jefferson, for example, denied the divinity of Jesus. There were practicing Christians, but reading the evidence, it is impossible to talk about the faith of the Founding Fathers. One can only talk about the various faiths of the Founding Fathers.

          • Char

            Jefferson was very much a Christian

          • Sharlee

            Jefferson was not at all a Christian. He rejected Jesus as the son of God and as the promised messiah. He was a deist.

          • Char

            He even called himself a Christian. There are many many writings from Jefferson on his self proclaimed Christianity

          • Sharlee

            It is immaterial if he called himself a Christian. One is not a Christian when they deny that Jesus was messiah. That is the essence of Christianity. That is why he is defined as a deist. He believed in God.

          • Char

            I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrine of Jesus.
            -Thomas Jefferson

            He was very much a true Christian. Can’t rewrite history.

          • RJ

            You can pull one quote, but you really need context. How do you explain the Jefferson Bible, in which only the teachings of Jesus remain? When he said he was a disciple of the doctrine of Jesus, he was saying that he followed the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus over and against a follower of doctrine about Jesus, i.e. he was the Son of God. There are many places you can do a very cursory reading and find out that Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. If you don’t believe that, you are pretty much something other than Christian. I’ve read enough Jefferson to know that Jefferson was not a Christian. Here is a quote from a letter Jefferson wrote to John Adams, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter” It’s hard to imagine that came from a Christian.

          • ExcellentJim

            Your quote is a Warning from Jefferson, not a statement of his belief. You should read more.

        • Jerry Noneofyourbizz

          You mean they decorate pine trees and dye hard boiled eggs?

      • Basset_Hound

        Many of the abolitionists were Christians.

  • momofexperience

    There is a difference between judging and condemning – God asks and expects us to judge- first ourselves in righteousness, then everything and everyone else around us. If you are a pastor, you should know the difference? What many Christians are doing is condemning people, including people in my own Christian religion which does turn people away as it is NOT GOD’S way and is not of love, but judging, please re-read the Bible on that and see that we should judge for the safety and potential happiness we can have when we choose to live God’s way…

    • Taylor Fultz

      1 Corinthians 5:11-13
      But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat

      What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you”

      Matthew 7:1
      Do not judge, or you too will be judged

      1 John 4:20
      If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen

      Romans 2:1-4
      You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

      • ExcellentJim

        John 5:30
        “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment
        is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

        John 7:24
        Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

        • Taylor Fultz

          Romans 2:1-4
          You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

          • ExcellentJim

            Very Good.

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  • Jacob Jones

    Nationalism; Community; Sports; Culture . . . you have some powerful things to say. You have a great deal of wisdom and insight. It causes me to reflect.

  • Hi

    Homosexuality is not the moral equivalent to premarital sex. Premarital sex (without contraceptive) is open to life, and the couple could one day form a valid union through the sacrament of marriage whereas a gay couple cannot.

    • Mark

      you thumpers need to get you story straight. I hear some of you saying all son is the same. Others like you have concocted some rating system. Regardless, feel free to have your religious beliefs. They matter not to me in my legal marriage to mr husband.

      • Sharlee

        Mark, you are accurate in saying that some have definitely set a different standard when it comes to homosexuality. Paul states that all sin is on equal ground. I personally think this is because there is doctrine in Christianity that teaches that there are signs in society that will indicate the return of Christ. The more moral decay, the sooner his return or the judgement of God. The unfortunate twist to is, I have noted, along with what Christians call moral decay of society, an equal amount of moral decay in the church. This decay brings about far worst societal ramification than say, homosexual marriage, where two ppl just want to build a life together because they love one another. They are not actively harming anyone or anything. But the judgment that comes from the church on this is causing a great chasm of hatred and withdrawal that has become so destructive it is mind blowing. A fear based relationship, instead of a love based relationship has been established. What is most sad is that studies show that America, compared to other more secular countries, has far more unwanted teen pregnancy, sexual violence, lower education and higher poverty, and a myriad of other maladies that don’t exist when a society’s laws are secular versus religious based laws. The same can be found in more churched areas of the country. The problem is, Christianity itself can’t agree on what is sin. Those that can’t abide a mutual set of laws for all to enjoy religious freedom (or freedom “from” religion) on a personal level tend to find situations like marriage equality to spelling doom to humanity. All in all, it keeps one from looking at and examining one’s self and allows one to blame instead. Life is easier when you can blame, but with becoming a victim, one loses control of one’s destiny and in that comes hostility and that is what we are seeing so much of as of late. Enjoy your marriage. We are going to have to let the Christians fight this one out amongst themselves because the generation that is coming up has no tolerance for this kind of discrimination.

    • Taylor Fultz

      Boy, it’s a good thing there are laws about sacraments, am I right? Oh, wait…

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      seriously? lol You cannot justify premarital sex if you believe it’s wrong by saying that because it might produce a kid it’s morally superior!
      Either it’s ok or it’s not ok but if this is the kind of justification rating system you use for morality you might want to consult that bible you claim to use as your rating system because I think you must have been reading something else the day you came up with that one.

    • Charles Rent

      Are you kidding ?

      Fornication is condemned routinely in the Bible.

  • Darlene

    Thank you Carey for this very informative blog. It helped me sort my feelings about all that’s going on in our country. I agree with you about sin. No one protests about fornication or adultery. Sin is sin. Your comments about Jesus not changing the government was very helpful. I have always believed in hating the sin but loving the sinner which applies refers to all of us. We sometimes forget that we are all saved by the Grace of God. There was only one sinless person and He died for the sins of all. People need to also recognize that God loves the Son of SAMs, the Jeffery Dohmers and the Adolf Hitlers of this world as much as He loves the Mother Theresas, and the Billy Graham’s. He is not willing that anyone should perish but have everlasting life. God is good…..all the time.

    • Sheri Fazenbaker

      Amen!! Well said. Love the sinner and hate the sin is something I try to live by. God commands us to love one another, not love those who think like us or believe like us. How beautiful the world would be if we all practiced this. We are living in the times the Bible said we would – where right will seem wrong and wrong would seem right. Hold tightly to God!!

  • Sharlee

    I am a wholehearted supporter of marriage equality, but I also understand the quandary some of my evangelical Christian friends feel they are in with the new Supreme Court decision regarding marriage rights. I think this article is so refreshing and right on regarding myth, fear mongering, despondency, hopelessness and then reality. AND what the bible might have to say about that. I find it so refreshing because the American church is in such a crisis right now, with the fear of losing control of the masses and the lack of willingness to do, first, some self-reflection on one’s own sin, and second, addressing how far they have come away from the gospel and how the way they interpret their scriptures is actually destructive to a healthy society. So much time is spent preaching about all the caveats to loving those that don’t believe like you that a Christian is now considered one of the nastiest, hypocritical ppl to exist. It is so sad and yet, by my observation, a deserving reputation right now! Christ says that all you have to do is feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, etc. So when someone comes into your shop for a cake for their homosexual wedding, make it for them! Feed them! Not by cramming your beliefs down their throat, but by actually making them a cake. Treat them like you would want to be treated, with love and respect. Like the author says, you will be judged and measured by the same yard stick you judge and measure others.

  • Carey: Mahalo (“thank you” in Hawaiian) for your article and the balance you bring to the whole gay marriage controversy. I didn’t know it was already legal in Canada for the past decade, and I haven’t heard any horror stories about evangelical leaders being thrown into prison or run out of your country for disagreeing with it on religious grounds. I am so thankful that there are people such as yourself that are calling us American evangelicals to account for our own hypocrisy in tolerating “normal” sexual immorality within our own ranks (adultery, pornography, premarital sex, shacking up) and making homosexuality as seven times worse as our own sins.

    The pastor of my current church here in Honolulu has gone berserk with a gloom-and-doom, fear-filled response that the persecution has begun, adding such nonsense as the so-called Blood Moon prophecies and impending financial collapse this fall based on an interpretation of the old Jewish years of jubilee. I remember Christian buying into similar prophecies for the Y2K computer bug that never happened. As a Christian who used to struggle with crossdressing and same-sex attraction but found lasting freedom through the Celebrate Recovery program, I felt personally attacked by my pastor’s railing against the gay community as a whole since he exhibited the same anger and judgment that kept me from seeking help in the church for several years. I am now looking for a new church, since that divisive attitude from the glory days of the Moral Majority is alive and well at my soon-to-be former church.

    • Samantha Siegel- Campbell

      Rich,
      Thank you for sharing a portion of your story. It shatters my heart that anyone’s words/behavior would cause you to feel attacked. Know that some in South Carolina is praying that you find a church where you feel nourished and safe!

      • You’re welcome, Samantha. I think I may have already found a new church this past week. Please keep me in prayer!

    • Jason

      Thank you for the courage to admit your own struggle. I know Heaven applauds your commitment and sacrifice. Keep up the fight! Good luck finding a new church as well!

  • Micah

    Thank you Carey, I am from Australia (not a pastor) but am dealing with this issue with a very close friend. My Pastor has sent me a link to your article here.
    It has been very helpful and very thought provoking. Thank you for your shared wisdom to assist us all to still be compassionate even to those who disagree with our beliefs.
    This information along with guidance from my own pastors will help me still accept my friend as a friend, and I just hope & pray that my life can reflect the Spirit of God and therefore allowing God’s Will be done in ALL situations
    Thank you

  • Patsy

    By the way I am discussing the interview with Caleb

  • Patsy

    I found the interview very hopeful. I have been feeling depressed about the pressure being put on the church over same sex marriage. I am in England and we have had same sex marriage since last year. I totally identify with Caleb that it is the sin that we reject, not the person. But the problem he recognised is that the LGBT community identify themselves by what we cannot accept and we have to make space to have a way of encouraging dialogue to enable Christ to be known. I just hope that the Anglican Church does not go down the same road as the Episcopalians. As he makes clear – acceptance is not affirmation of lifestyle. God has just reminded me about a quote from a Celtic Christian community – we allow everyone to join in the dance, step out to rest if necessary and rejoin the dance when they are ready. It is in the dance that we become community. Jesus is the Lord of the Dance.

  • THANK YOU for taking the time to write this blog. In the past decade, Jesus has brought many friends in the LBGT community into our lives. As a result, my husband and I have been praying and processing (living with and loving in) these waters. I shouted so many YES and AMEN as I read your post. Eyes on Jesus and not the culture. Arms offering love not a pointing finger. Led people to Jesus. His presence, His Holy Spirit, has transformed, and continues to transform, me. Why in the world should I expect anything less than that for my LBGT friends? And that transformation will come in Jesus’ way and time, in the areas of their lives HE deems in HIS perfect time.

  • Independent Voter

    Man’s opinions and rulings don’t count. Only those of God count.

    • Mark

      Except that we live in a civilized society not governed by religion but by laws that test everyone equally.

      • Bill Ensinger

        Man can enforce man’s law, and if it isn’t against the law, the society you speak of can’t enforce it. But God WILL enforce his laws.

      • Independent Voter

        Only God’s opinions will ultimately count.

        • Taylor Fultz

          Romans 2:1-4
          You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

  • max

    According to the author, “Judging outsiders is un-Christian.” This notion is very judgmental at best and purely hypocritical at worst. He is passing judgment on us who do not subscribe to his idea. In reality, we all pass judgment on everything. The only question is: Is it righteous (true) or unrighteous (false) based on the ultimate arbiter of truth–the Word of God. Jesus himself admonished His disciples to exercise judgment. John 8:24 reads: “Do not judge according to appearance, but JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.” If we confirm and declare that homosexuality is sin (like fornication, adultery, abortion, etc.) and deserve divine condemnation, then we already passed judgment on people practicing them. In fact, we passed judgment on ourselves for we are all sinners. It doesn’t mean, however, that we are hateful. We simply confirm the truth! Doing otherwise is actually deceiving and unloving. The bottom line: God is glorified when we preach the Gospel unadulterated by personal agenda that counters the cause of Christ.

    • max

      God FORCED Jonah to preached JUDGMENT on a SINFUL city. As a result, the people (the king included) REPENTED and turned to God for FORGIVENESS. Consequently, the whole city was spared and SAVED from the coming WRATH of God. Jonah was disappointed with their REDEMPTION because Jonah HATED these people and wants them to be CONDEMNED. Therefore, compromising the TRUTH given by God in the name of “relationship” is actually very deceiving and unloving. We demonstrate our LOVE for people by telling them the TRUTH which will set us all FREE. And who are we to tell God how to reach the fallen world with His Word! We were called NOT to be MEN-PLEASERS but to GLORIFY God by OBEYING His WORD!

    • Jason

      Max, Anyone who fails to bow their knee to Jesus, and call Him Lord is guilty of divine condemnation. Yet, if they accept His FREE gift of salvation, they have escaped God’s wrath. Lets focus on the inside of the cup first.
      The Scriptures are clear that we are to have RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT, the New Testament is also very clear how we are to SHARE IT with BELIEVERS.

      • max

        100% agree bro.

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  • Samantha Siegel- Campbell

    Thank you, Carey for this well worded, well thought out response! The points you made are points I have made several times and often felt like I was a lone voice. The Supreme Court decision did not surprise me. However, the amount of venom that was spewed by “Christians” shattered me. The behavior of those who are supposed to demonstrate love to all was anything but loving.

    • max

      Sam, we are not the judge of what is loving or unloving–God is. For God, telling us that we are sinners because we committed sinful acts (homosexuality, fornication, abortion, deception, etc.) and deserving of divine condemnation but can be forgiven and saved if we repent of our sin and turn to God is the most loving thing that all of us can do to each other. You may consider that a “venom” but God considers that a way to redemption.

      • Samantha Siegel- Campbell

        I have pondered how to respond to your comment. My first thought was “Do not call me Sam without my permission.” That is presuming that I do not mind nicknames. Then I moved to my second thought. I have great empathy for you. I used to be where you seem to be now. From your response to my comment and your personal response it appears that you lean to the side of “legalism” (I use the term in quotes b/c I currently cannot put my mind on the word I sincerely want.) My question to you is where does love and grace fit into your view of God? I do not mean this question flippantly. Your word choices, your use of all caps, and your phrasing, in my opinion, demonstrates anger and hatred, not at the sin, but at those committing the sin.

        • max

          My apology for calling you “Sam.” Thank you for being candid but respectful. Using the term “legalism” instead of “self-righteous bigot” to characterize my stance just proved that. I prefer “zealous” (some might think overly-committed) because that’s what God wants us to be for He is displeased with “lukewarm-ness.” What I shared to you was a biblical view of God and not the kind of God we want Him to be. God is both just and loving which means He holds His creation accountable for violating His will and grants forgiveness and restoration for humility and repentance. I do not and cannot hate gays (I have a gay-friend) because God wants Christians to love all men indiscriminately. But Christians have this “righteous” indignation towards sin because God put that in their hearts through the Holy Spirit. God hates sin so much that He prepared Hell for unrepentant sinners. Isn’t it loving for Christians to warn us about such judgment and show us the way to salvation in Jesus Christ?

          • Taylor Fultz

            1 Corinthians 5:12
            What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

  • Happy

    Really Queer article by a real queer about real queers. (DISGUSTING)

  • Tim Morgan

    most of this article is okay. but think of this difference: the early church was persecuted by rome, which was pagan from its inception. the usa was judeo-christian from its inception. now we are seeing an unprecedented persecution of christians – our long-standing rights stripped away. rome had no bill of rights. we do. it’s foolish to instruct christians to simply accept things as our government turns against us. and by the way, i’m so sick of being instructed not to “judge”. the reason we’re in this mess is that christians have not judged what’s going on, and spoken out.

    • Dingo

      Firstly, The USA was not ‘judeo-christian from its inception’, it’s foundation was largely based on Greco-Roman inspired Enlightenment principles.
      Secondly, what ‘unprecedented persecution of christians’? What ‘long-standing rights’ [of Christians] have been/are being stripped away, exactly?
      Thirdly, you are aware that there are whole TV channels, websites, radio stations, publishing houses and the like, dedicated to broadcasting the views of various Christian sects, aren’t you?

      • Tim Morgan

        1. read american history. you cannot ignore the judeo-christian influence. 2. read the news (note that the leftist mainstream media will not report this adequately, but there’s lots of stuff happening). 3 yes, i am aware. not sure how that damages my logic. didn’t say it’s illegal to have christian media. thank you and blessings.

        • Left bloody and wanting more

          Could you give specifics so that I may investigate myself? I generally go to alternative news sources most of what I have seen is violence by those who claim to be Christian towards others. Mostly it’s been towards gays, but there have also been beheadings by supposed Christians whose victims were teenage musicians in the metal scene.

        • Dingo

          If you want to know what those who wrote the DoI and the Constitution were thinking, you can read The Federalist Papers, in which they discuss their thinking and motivations. The Bible is *certainly* not even close to their primary source for ideas.
          So you can’t actually show any examples of persecutions of Christians or any ‘long-standing rights’ that have been ‘stripped away’ from them (apart from, as mentioned below, the right to oppress others). In fact, the FBI considers right-wing terrorism, including ‘Christianists’ [I wouldn’t call them Christians because, like their ‘Islamist’ counter-parts, I don’t believe they represent even a minority of the religion to which they claim to adhere] as a far greater threat than any externally generated terrorism.
          I mentioned the large Christian media sector because it belies your attempt to claim that your co-religionist have been ‘silent’ or ‘passive’ over the past 50 to 70 years. If this were so why is it that such organisations have had such a great sway over American politics during this period? And why is it that Christians are *so overrepresented* in American politics generally, with the announcement of the ‘endorsement of God’ being almost *required* for political candidates from the lowliest of dog-catchers to the Presidential front-runners?
          I fear your ‘closeness’ to the issue may have clouded your view of the privileged position Christians hold within American culture (and particularly it’s political culture).

        • Jason

          So this was a “Christian” Nation when we were building it on the backs of slave labor – refusing to outlaw slavery at the inception? What about when we gave blankets filled with small pox to Native Americans and murdered thousands upon thousands of them with violence? What about the deep thread of racism that still runs through our nation, sadly running just as deeply through the church? This has never been a Christian Nation, acting the same way Jesus would, laying down his life for his enemies. There are some great resources outlining this idea, but I would start with Greg Boyd’s “Myth of a Christian Nation”

    • mattdl

      Persecution of Christians? How exactly? Not having the power to impose your personal moral code onto others is not persecution.

      • Tim Morgan

        read the news. thank you.

        • mattdl

          I didn’t think you could show any examples.

      • max

        I agree. This is not China ,Russia, or North Korea. This is America–land of the free. But let’s face it; we are all imposing our morality on each other. The difference is that Christians are advancing the Creator-God’s morality as it is their divine mandate. Where do you get yours and why would we subscribe to it?

        • mattdl

          I think the issue is religious dogma entering into secular civil justice. The abortion issue centers, I think, on the question of when does life begin. In many respects that’s a question of faith/belief and differs substantially from what science tells us. Same kind of thing with gay marriage. Because of religious doctrine, some think its immoral. Others do not. Should out whole population be forced to live under a moral code that they don’t prescribe to? Especially when their actions have no direct adverse effect on others?

          • max

            Thank you for your civil and honest response. I’m glad we’re engaged in a rational discourse. Now we both agree it is really about worldviews–the biblical one against the secular. On the question of when does life begin, the bible is clear that it’s from conception. Unsurprisingly, science concurs with the affirmation of the law of biogenesis–life begets life. If what is conceived is not alive, why does the fertilized egg develops biologically speaking? You see, biblical faith is supported by true science–knowledge based on observation, repetition, and experimentation. On the question of marriage, God invented and institutionalized the sanctity of the husband-wife relationship. Marriage is not a human idea. God created us male and female exactly for this purpose. Should I elaborate on the notion that male and female are biologically and physiologically compatible? Science and common sense again confirm the biblical view. The bottom line is this: God created and set rules for His creation thereby holding us all accountable to Him; while man in unrighteousness wants autonomy and separation from God. In other words, God is the Ruler, Sustainer, and Judge of creation which has fallen into sin and is in rebellion against its Creator.
            Blessings…

          • mattdl

            When does life begin? When the sperm fertilizes the egg? When the zygote develops to a blastocyst? When the egg attaches to the uterine wall? When a blastocyst becomes an embryo? When the embryo becomes a fetus? When the fetus can survive outside of the womb independent of its mother? In the past the Catholic church officially condoned abortion until the “time of quickening”, when the mother could feel the fetus move. The bible often refers to life beginning with the soul giving breath of life. In Exodus 21:22 it states that if a man causes a woman to have a miscarriage, he shall be fined – however, if the woman dies then he will be put to death.

            Different people based on their personal belief systems – even Christians – can legitimately hold differing beliefs on the subject and science can’t really tell us definitively when that clump of cells becomes a sentient human being.

            Have you read Numbers 5:11-31? It describes an abortion ritual performed by a priest when a women is suspected of having sex with someone other than her husband. In cases of infidelity, abortion seems to be religiously condoned if not outright encouraged. And remember, if a woman is raped she is punished just as if she cheated. She is now “unclean” “spoiled”.

            Marriage wasn’t created by “god” and if you could back that up in some way, it would mean that god changes his mind ALOT! Arranged marriages. Marriage within families. Isaac and Jacob married first cousins and Abraham married his half sister. Polygamy was common in biblical times. Monogamy didn’t become the norm until sometime between the sixth and the ninth centuries. The practice of marriage has gone through countless changes throughout the years and different cultures.

            Why is it so common for someone to cite the bible when it suits their purpose but ignore the bible when it doesn’t?

        • Taylor Fultz

          Until you can prove that God exists, AND what his will is, then what you claim he says has no place in a court of law. Justice is the aim of law, and justice exists without divinity.

  • That verse from 1 Corinthians 5:12 is one I’d never heard before, and at first it seemed rather useful. However, what immediately follows it—1 Corinthians 5:13 Expel the wicked person from among you.—is rather dreadful and seems likely to be the basis for the shunning that some churches do.

    But sure, if Christians want to use the former verse to avoid judging me, I’ll take that.

    And focusing on the things Jesus focused on—feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, etc.—sure does seem a much more worthwhile use of a Christian’s time than worrying about 2-3% of the population gay marrying each other.

    • max

      David, we Christians are commanded to love all people (gays included) by showing them the Way (Jesus). We can’t just ignore the 2-3%

      • I know that churches do try to help the hungry and the homeless—I should know because when I was churched I ran a food pantry—but judging by the amount of focus in the press that Christians give the horrors of marriage equality versus the little attention paid caring for the least among us I’d question just who you’re ignoring. Focusing on teh gayz makes it awfully easy to ignore larger, more real problems.

        • max

          you would be glad to learn that Christian missionaries and organizations lead and are still the champion of relief and goods distribution worldwide

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          I completely agree! I think what people forget is that there is one who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Situations like the present one are a perfect avenue for him to destroy the good a church can do by yes putting the focus on something else.
          Great point too about walking like Jesus or like Paul.
          The sadder likelihood in all of this is that their objection has more to do with the ‘visible’ thing that they do not understand and their fear and possibly disgust of it? It’s easy for people to throw around verses but the verses aren’t thrown at the rest of the lets say groups and so altho the argument is that they are using righteous judgment all they’re actually doing is filling the world with hate instead of focusing on Gods love. The very saddest part of that of course is that while they’re busy with their righteous indignation they are missing the opportunity to be a witness for Christ and in fact pushing away so many that God does love.
          I really do not care what another does in their bedroom just as it’s non of anyone’s business what I may or may not do in mine:) But I have spoken to so many who have been truly hurt by the “church” because of the people within it and as a result have abandoned that love the rest of us hold tight to, rather than continue to be attacked and told that God never wanted them when in fact he of course wanted them.. HE created them.
          I personally feel that the overwhelming message throughout the gospels was that we are no longer held captive by the law and that we are justified through our faith in Jesus. I think some may also be surprised that the judgment it talks about us having once we die is about the talents and gifts we were given and whether or not we used them to help the kingdom. The whole thing just makes me very sad. Sad that people cannot take the time to know another, cannot share their love and that they feel the need to attack anyone:(

    • Taylor Fultz

      My interpretation would be that the wicked have no place amongst the righteous. And by wicked, I’d say “anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler.”

      • Yep, that fits with 1 Corinthians 5:13. And so Christians must decide whether to be followers of Paul, who advocated casting out the unrighteous, or of Jesus, who walked among all people (that is, according to the myths in Christian scripture).

  • Sonto Hansen

    I am a christian on the outskirts of christianaty. I do agree that it may go against Gods will, but he also gave us a free will. I believe that honestly, he would be happy as long as his children are happy. So don’t let these changes in law bother you as much. And remember that christianity isnt as dominent as it once was.

  • Theresa Sauseda Carmouche

    I started off being raised pentecostal. My father was absusive so my mother went to her pastor. She went to him several times and every time tried to talk her out of a divorce. when she finally divorced him the church shunned her so we left. When she met her second husband race was an issue. Everybody I knew growing up would say it’s a sin for a black man and a white woman to together. And you should be with your own kind. My mother always told me you can’t help who you fall in love with. Now the same people that condemned her for marrying outside her race are saying that sins okay but now gay people aren’t allowed to fall in love. I was with my now husband for 10 years when we got married I had two kids and a third in the way. A sin yes. Am I ashamed no. I don’t follow any certain religion. I believe there is a god and one day I will be judged by him for the sins I have committed and have yet to commit. I don’t care what other people think or say. Because to me. At the end of the day every religion has some rules that are made based on what they pull from the bible. Not what is actually in it. The bible is like any other book. Everyone interprets it in their own way. Do I read it everyday? No. Do I follow every little rule in it? No. But I do know that the main point of the bible the book Everyone keeps trying to slap everyone else in the face with. The main message is love and to not judge others. That’s how I live my life. I love my friends and family straight or gay. I love them For who they are not who they are having sex with. Because that’s not my business. All marriage is any more is a piece of paper changing your last name. A real marriage with love trust and devotion doesn’t really need that. I don’t ever remember my mother reading to me about a marriage in the bible where everyone had to stand around signing paperwork or wedding vowels.

    • One other person is typing…

      Do you believe Christians should be persecuted for refusing to participate in homosexual weddings?

      • Taylor Fultz

        Non-discrimination laws apply to religion, too. A business is prohibited from refusing service to someone for being Christian the same as they are for being gay. Either it applies to all, or none.

    • maddog23

      AAAhha ROF laughing…wedding Vowels!!

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      I too was told to stay in abuse repeatedly and in the end the pastor became buddy to the same person abusing me lol some of it makes no sense but it doesn’t change Gods love for me or even for the abuser. He loves us all.
      I’m sorry the church shunned your mom they did the same to my mother when she divorced my alcoholic father who slept with every woman in the town including the babysitter. I think it was a product of the times and peoples moral judgment much like what’s going on now. People do so much damage to people and in the midst of it they forget Gods love.

  • fullerhunt

    This is the first cogent article I have ever read from a believer. I am an unbeliever through and through. My father was excommunicated from the church because he divorced his alcoholic first wife and he vowed to keep his new family out of the clutches of such a sinister force. I thank him everyday.

  • Larry

    God established the foundations of Marriage. It is between a man and a women. It is simple to understand. Why are we, his creation, trying to change what is his? Did God make a mistake and forget to include gay marriage? If you believe in God, do what he says. If you don’t, stay out of his business. He does not need us to redefine his will. Again, it’s not hard to understand his will. The law of the land does not change God’s will. He says it’s an abomination in his sight. It was then, still is. God is forever, he does not change. People are always looking for a justification of their sins. Start praying, and at least make a effert to stop sinning.

    • max

      amen… only by grace my brother.

    • Taylor Fultz

      If one doesn’t believe in God, then he has no business. He doesn’t exist. Until you can prove he does exist, and what his will is, then any and all “business” is that of humanity. Justice exists without divinity.

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      Larry just because the supreme court makes a ruling does not mean that Gods creation, intent or words end. This ruling does not change what the bible says or whatever faith people have altho they may feel like related issues they are not. our US government is not our bible they’re separate it’s simply the laws we have to follow within the world we live it doesn’t change Gods Will… just as it hasn’t been changed in all the years since it was placed on scrolls it has and always will remain the same.

  • Erik Benson

    If people are truly in love than who are we to say they can or can’t be legally married. When you put “legality” behind things you strip the entire basis from which it was intended. Court ruled legal marriage is merely a contract between individuals which really has no religious ties these days. As soon as you combine religion(i.e your beliefs) with a legal matter you completely destroy the entire basis for which it was intended. Love, true love, should not have to have legal binding agreement between it. I

    • maddog23

      I like your mental style! Love means never having to say you’re sorry/btw. Nice photo!

  • jucifer

    The comments from the so called waxing and waning Christians and pastor here are smarmy and condescending and no we non believers aren’t living any worse lives than you and our lives are no worse. No one, none of these Christians can even be on the same message, one set is live next is “god is gonna getcha!” It’s laughable. Thank goodness I’m an atheist and don’t have to follow a despot and try to make it look like I’m doing something good…

    • maddog23

      “one set is live next is god is gonna getcha…” you really should proof read your own drivel.
      We are fed up with giving you enough rope to hang yourselves. You fools(The fool said in his heart, there is no God.)were just left alone for say 240 years and the upshot is no, that was not enough! Now who is imposing their un-belief upon others??

      • jucifer

        Smh another crazy lol

        • maddog23

          Crazy is as crazy does. Trying to fit your peg into the wrong hole is crazy.

    • max

      still hoping and praying that u may come to repentance and turn to God for forgiveness for He is loving enough to show u grace and mercy.

      • jucifer

        Thanks for your caring and concern but in my life there is no God and I got enough love in my childhood so I’m not desperate for love from supernatural sources

        • max

          now u will learn how painfully annoying Christians are for being so persistent. they will tell u over and over again about the Gospel–we all have sinned, the punishment for sin is eternal damnation in hell, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. this is not just about being taken cared of so well. this is all about being saved from the wrath of God. 🙂

  • ikaruga

    1. It’s cool that you’re trying to portray Christians as counter culture I.e., hipsters. However, hipsters have never been persecuted. Unfortunately, we can now start talking about Christians in the US under mild persecution.

    2. Absolutely right

    3. In Africa, where polygamy is prevalent, Christians have to grapple with the question of what to do with the family of a polygamist when he converts. In the US, Christians will have to do the same as the result of the new law. It’s a very tough question that’s more serious than two kids screwing around.

    4. Yup

    5. Yup

    While your general advice is spot on, you unfortunately sugar coat the consequence of what’s happening in the culture

    • maddog23

      Yes the article sweeps under the rug whether our children will be taught In Kindergarten up, Anal sex complications such as fluids to expect.
      This is already occurring in Canada. Will this be counter cultural enough for the author?

  • Ruth

    Very very good article! I will keep this and re-read it from time to time just to keep perspective! Thank you, Carey Nieuwhof!

  • annie

    All I want to say, is how are the lost going to find Jesus, if we who love Him don’t show Him. He said to love. God is love. That doesn’t mean we agree with what someone else is doing, but we love them in spite of what they are doing. We serve a big God, I know if you ask Him He will show you how to handle each situation. . .with His love. Jesus was harder on His followers then on those who didn’t know Him.
    When I found Him, I, like all of you, wasn’t the prettiest. I was in the sty with the rest. But He loved me anyway. People, it’s up to Him to get us to the place that we can even look up long enough to see. Don’t try to be a savior with a tainted heart, and limited eyesight. Just remember, love isn’t a feeling, it’s a commitment. Choose to commit to love!

    • maddog23

      I heart love! I am sweet, therefore I am one with the universe….blah blah

  • One other person is typing…

    Anyone who thinks Christians are not being persecuted in the “Land of the Free” should follow the story of the Christian bakers in Oregon, whose First Amendment rights to both Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech are under attack:

    State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K, July 02, 2015

    Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

    In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

    “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page.

    “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

    • Ruth

      That is kind of surprising since the Supreme Court included language that protects people with religious convictions from offering services against their beliefs. We have the same issue with a florist in Richland WA who was sued by the State over refusing to do flowers for a same sex wedding! I was hoping the ruling would at least help her. This is so wrong. There will be more in the courts in the future regarding religious rights on this issue. Hmmmm….

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        there was one in the news apparently missed by you all where a pizza place was allowed to run a special to anyone bringing in a church bulletin. the law suit failed their rights were upheld.. why? because anyone can gain access to the bulletins they did not violate the rights of others. there is language in this new law that allows any pastor to refuse to officiate because it goes against their beliefs. 🙂 in case you weren’t aware

    • Dingo

      Simply repeating the ‘Big Lie’ isn’t going to make it any more true, nor is it going to make it ‘truthier’. [see discussion on this supposed ‘news item’ below].
      (And besides isn’t there some rule about ‘not bearing false witness’ that god-fearing Christians are supposed to follow?)

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      If their establishment was a church they would not have had to bake the cake but when you decide to bake cakes you cannot then deny the cake to anyone it’s just common sense. They may have thought they were standing up for their rights but what they were doing is denying service and you cannot do that. I’m a nurse I cannot deny service based on religious view. If your a lawyer you can’t deny because of religious view ect. It’s your job to bake cakes you bake the cake . on the other hand if they’d invited the to the wedding they would have the right not to go because it went against their beliefs. If they truly had a religious objection they’d have to deny service to everyone because we all sin. Did they deny overweight people since gluttony is a sin? have they denied greedy people since greed is a sin? how bout cakes for those who are on their 2nd marriage nope they didn’t deny them so what they did becomes bigotry

      • One other person is typing…

        Tami, there are several errors in your logic:

        1) As a nurse how would providing your services cause you to violate the tenets of your Christian faith? I think that’s a false comparison
        2) You agree Christians have the right not to be forced to attend a homosexual wedding but can be forced to participate by providing services. This seems to be a contradiction.
        3) Their refusal to deny service is based on the fact that a homosexual marriage promotes a specific sin, not that we are all sinners.
        4) Can you provide chapter and verse about the sin of gluttony? I suspect it is a far more nebulous concept than homosexuality, and not dependent on a marriage ceremony.
        5) Regarding support for easy divorce I think you make a good point
        6) Please check the definition of bigotry, you will find it applies to almost anyone who has a strong opinion about anything

        • Lisa

          1 Corinthians 10:27 – 33. In fact, all of Chapter 10.

          • One other person is typing…

            What does it say?

          • Lisa Pessecow Cummings

            If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.

            If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭27-28, 30-33‬ NIV)

            This tells me that as soon as they tell me I’m assisting in a gay marriage ceremony or party, I’m not to take part.

          • One other person is typing…

            Thanks. That makes perfect sense to Christians.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            look it up

        • Dingo

          Also, I have to ask, what kind of wedding has cake as part of the proceedings? The party AFTER the wedding, sure, but the wedding itself?
          Must be for super secret extra-Christian weddings only.

          • One other person is typing…

            The reception is not part of the legal wedding ceremony but a celebration of the nuptials.

            Christians cannot participate in the celebration of sin. There is nothing super secret about that.

          • Lisa Pessecow Cummings

            I agree, which was precisely my point in bringing up 1 Corinthians 10.

          • Dingo

            Did these bakers ask other purchases of wedding cakes if they were virgins, divorced, going to have prawn cocktails at the reception, wear tuxedos made of polycotton or the like?
            The issue wasn’t one of religious belief, it was one of prejudice leading to discrimination.

          • One other person is typing…

            You are deeply confused about the Old Testament, the Torah and the New Covenant.

            And using words like “prejudice” and “discrimination” does not excuse any attacks on Religious Freedom.

          • Dingo

            So the answer is ‘no’. There is no evidence that their religious convictions had anything to do with it.
            If they sincerely wanted to sell only to cakes to people they considered ‘worthy’ of buying them, then there is a simple solution available to them: open a subscription-only baking club. Under those conditions they can vet who can access their wares and who can not based on any criterion they like. But as the business was open to the public, they have to serve that public, regardless of how much they might disapprove of them

          • One other person is typing…

            As I said you are deeply confused

          • One other person is typing…

            I can see you are an expert in being nice to people!

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            it’s actually not as complicated as some would make it. a good majority of it is simply history telling what happened to who and when , the gospels the account of christs time on earth, a lot of practical advice, warnings ect and in the end prophesy. some tend to get stuck on this verse or that and use it as weapons others simply remember the message was love and they try to share it. It really is a great message when you erase the hate coming from some sad however that sometimes that’s all you see 🙁

          • Carl David Ford Sr.

            another a-hole point by a leftists…..the cake is used in CELEBRATION of the event which to me is still asking them to provide something being used to promote a proceeding that is against their beliefs…….

          • Dingo

            Would you object to being paid to be a waiter/waitress for a corporate event that aims to raise loans? (Despite usury and greed being considered sins). Note you are not being asked to raise loans nor are you trying to extract money out of anybody, personally.
            At what point is someone ‘participating’ in a sin?

          • One other person is typing…

            Where does the Bible state that raising loans is a sin?

          • Dingo

            Consult your Old Testament, it’s mentioned 15 times alone.
            For example see Ezekiel 22:12-14, for God’s attitude to usury.

        • J Baker

          Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

          Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other habits, such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, anger) and unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to let our appetites control us, but we are to have control over our appetites. (See Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 23:2, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2 Corinthians 10:5.) The ability to say “no” to anything in excess—self-control—is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers (Galatians 5:22).

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          1) using the logic of the baker I could use the same reasoning. man comes in smelling of alcohol “oh i’m sorry I strongly object to alcoholism because the bible tells me its’ wrong he’ll have to find another nurse. (keep in mind it’s against the law for me to do this) but I could do this with just about any sin using their logic.

          2)going to the wedding shows your approval in celebrating their day. baking a cake does not show you condone anything or that you support their wedding it means you did your job if your job is to bake cakes. If you provide a service and your asked to do your job it’s a job not a support. (unless of course you put up a sign saying hey i’m in support of you please buy your cake here)

          3)refer to #2

          4) yes I can looks like J did below but I will at the end of here as well.

          5) thank you i’m not sure I said anything about easy divorces I myself have been divorced twice, bring on the judgment it’s nothing I havn’t heard already but I refuse to be first abused and then abused by a man who then was sleeping with other men you don’t like it too bad its between me and god and he will be my judge.

          6)in this context we are speaking of intolerance based on the constitutions definition which includes race, religion, sex there may be more.

          gluttony as per the bible:

          Proverbs 23:20-21 – 20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor and drowsiness clothes them in rags

          Proverbs 28:7 “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father
          Proverbs 23:2 “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”
          Deuteronomy 21:20 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
          Proverbs 25:16 – Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
          1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (Read More…)
          Psalms 78:18 – And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
          Philippians 3:18-19 – 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
          1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
          Deuteronomy 21:20 – And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son [is] stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkard.
          Romans 13:14 – But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].
          Galatians 5:16-26 – [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Read More…)
          1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (Read More…)
          Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
          1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
          realize you’d also have to add to this list any verses about self control because gluttony is a self control issue. Also idolatry because anything we put above the word becomes our idol. 🙂

      • J Baker

        Tami, there is legal precedence that says as a nurse you are not required to be involved in an abortion procedure if you feel it violates your religious beliefs. While this does not protect you if you refuse care to people in other situations based on your religious beliefs it does say that there are situations where the court would support a person who denies service to others based on religious belief. By pointing this out, I am not condoning the cake baking business’ actions, but it does go to the point presented in this article that a person, Christian or not, must examine their beliefs and how consistently they follow them to avoid hypocrisy and the backlash that may bring.

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          J there actually isn’t a law that protects this right altho as a nurse I know that if I do not want to be involved in this particular procedure I just do not work in the area of the hospital that deals with it. I personally worked first with children on respirators and then with the elderly so there never would have been a situation where it would come up. There are however a lot of hospitals themselves that give you the right to refuse I think it actually had less to do with the objection as much as it had to do with the nurses ability to perform her job if under emotional distress. (a lot like the reason we cannot work on family members). 🙂 and yes I agree too my hypocrisy and not enough peace.

      • Tim Morgan

        tami. you’re giving your take on what their faith should be. that’s irrelevant. they have a faith you disagree with, right? but it’s their faith, and it’s protected by the 1st Amendment. just like your faith is protected. thank you!

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          I am personally not giving my take on what anyone’s faith should be it’s up to each individually and God gave us that right when he gave us free will. and our founding fathers made sure that within our constitution we would also be afforded that right.

          I share the same faith as the bakers but I do not think that doing your job puts your stamp of approval on a lifestyle it simply means you did your job.

          I think the world has gotten somewhat ridiculous with all the law suits and hate and intolerance on both sides. But I do know we live within this world and because we do we have to follow the laws within this world. We are told in Romans 13:1-2 Let Everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
          And yes what you said is exactly what I believe we all have the right to believe or not to believe and at the end of the day refusing to bake the cake did not change whatever faith the couple had and being sued did not change the faith of the bakers so neither really won anything except what the law established lol. Sad that it cost them that much money to learn this however and sadder that some now view it as a win for ‘the other side’ 🙁

      • maddog23

        “It’s just about business!” Bigotry is not btw against the law. You should stick to nursing Tams.

        • Mark

          Well, except that it IS against the law which why they were fined. What a dumbass.

        • Taylor Fultz

          People can be bigots- businesses are literally, legally not allowed to.

          • maddog23

            That is an isolated case law from Oregon.

          • Taylor Fultz

            “Isolated incident”

          • maddog23

            Whatever

          • Taylor Fultz

            Translation: “I can’t think of a reason you’re wrong, so I’m going to act like the fact that you’re arguing with me is somehow absurd.”

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            Good example Taylor thank you

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          bigotry based on religion, sexual preference, race, age, sex are in fact against the law but you can disagree with me without being condescending.
          there are cases however that were won by Christians because bigotry was not involved and they had the religious freedom. The pizza place is an example of that.
          It might also surprise you that within the supreme court ruling was also language that gave the right of individual pastors to refuse to marry them.
          At any rate I will not be responding to you further as you aren’t capable of being kind in your argument and instead feel the need to be hateful when someone disagrees with you, i’m not your enemy; I’m a Christian just like you.

      • maddog23

        While were at it, lets talk about all you don’t know about sin. There are sexual perversions and then there is over eating…You are soo not informed if you think these are equated throughout the Bible. ever hear of a place called Sodom?

        • Taylor Fultz

          You realize that the biblical definition of sodomy includes MARRIED couples engaging in, say, oral sex? Do you really think the only sin, or even the WORST sin of that city was homosexuality?

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          Sir when Jesus speaks of sin he calls it what it is… sin! God is not human and therefore does not live, feel, look at situations as we do. You decide that a sin that is mentioned I believe it’s a total of 4 times in the bible is so much worse than one that is mentioned more than 40? I would be speaking of greed; Or yes gluttony which is mentioned well over 20 times. . The point is that he makes no distinction between one sin and another just that they are all sin and they go against God.
          I have heard of the place called Sodom.. do you know the exact reference for sodomy? I can tell you it is only mentioned 1 time in the entire bible and it’s in reference to a crowd of men wanting to gang rape and angel. So if you then use logic to discern exactly what that means it means the forcible act upon another. You would also learn if you read the entire passage yourself that Sodom’s sins were many and did not just include this situation with the angels. Instead of accepting what you may have been told take the time to read the passages and maybe it will become more clear.

          Regardless our call as Christians is to reach the unsaved with the message of Christ love, his death and resurrection; not to tell others how to live because just as you and I they have free will and the choice not to believe and not to follow but how will they ever have that choice to make if you push them away before you tell them the good news?
          Perhaps it is you who is uninformed?

      • Smalls

        Tami. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I believe the kingdom of God is within me and you. Knowing this helps me respond with grace to these strange days.

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          me as well. It’s sometimes hard when whatever we’re facing seems so incredibly against what we believe but in the end we all fail and ours is a God of love. 🙂

    • Lisa

      My take is this.
      1. I have no business judging anybody.
      2. I’m supposed to love everybody.
      3. With that in mind, scripture is clear that, if I am invited for a meal to somebody’s house and they give me meat without further comment, I am to eat it without comment. HOWEVER, if they tell me the meat was sacrificed to idols, I am to NOT eat it and thereby assist them and n getting further into sin. Same goes for a Christian bakery. If they ask me to participate in an event that is clearly unscriptural, it would seem I am not to participate (note that I am also not to judge), as participating assists them in unscriptural activity. I also had better be willing to pay the price for that stand.

    • Taylor Fultz

      Anti-discrimination laws mean that a business cannot deny service to anyone for being a Christian any more than they can for being gay, or Irish, or pregnant. Either all are protected, or none are.

  • One other person is typing…

    What part of

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    implies homosexuals can force Christians to participate in weddings that violate their faith?

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      making your product is not participating. going to the event is participating. not so many years ago Christians stood on the belief that the bible said it was ok to have slaves.. as you know it was bigotry, discrimination and the like and there are no longer slaves. common sense would get you far if you don’t want to make cakes for certain people don’t open an establishment claiming to serve the public because these people are part of that public

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      your speaking of our first amendment this existed long before the marriage ruling. What it did was make sure that religion did not make our laws that we would have the right to believe what we want but not the right to force it on another. It’s existed from before you were born

  • David Alexander Moore

    Instead of discussing what people want to discuss, let’s please discuss what really matters. Rather than opinions, lets be factual here. The first fact: Jesus is real. I know this because every history book I have ever read, also says this. Not just the Bible. Every factual piece of given history acknowledges that Jesus is real, he did live, he still lives, he will not cease to live, and he makes his existence known everywhere. Even the demons of this world know he is real and they tremble and his voice. He has a Father that created this universe. Someone can tell me the year is 2015, but what exactly happened 2015 years ago? Why is it not year 750,000,000 as the Scientists say it is? Something happened 2015 years ago friends, and that was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. If God/Jesus isn’t real, then why are Christians persecuted so? Tell me this. Why is it always only the Christians who everyone is hating on? Never once have I seen someone downsize an atheist, gays, or Buddhists or even those who worship false paganistic Gods. Before someone asks me a question about how or why Buddhists, or gays, or even atheists are persecuted by us, notice that the only ones who speak out against them is us Christians. Its not that we hate gay people or do not like them, but the reason we speak out against them is because God hates all sin including homosexuality which is one of the worst ones and thats is dangerous to your soul. There is no such thing as a gay Christian. That is an oxymoron that contradicts its own logic, because Christians hold God’s whole law and being gay diminishes that.(he who holds the entire law of Christ, yet fails to at just one point will be held accountable for breaking all of it; James 2:10) Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible doesn’t speak a lot on the subject, but when it does, it condemns it as a sin, and a really bad one at that. Many people I meet fail to realize the significance of marriage and what it really is according to the Bible. I cannot visualize a gay couple getting married. The minster that joins the two would have to say,”do you take this man to be your husband under God,” or woman do you take this woman to be your wife under God.” Simply put, a man and a man is not of God, nor is a woman and a woman of God, because both situations break part of the law and yet are accountable for all of the law that God has given them. The reason God created woman is to give man a partner that he may be with the rest of his life. If God would say its okay to be gay, then low and behold, God would have said that. Its okay to worship Jesus. He tells us to. Its fine to work for your food, because I told you to. One of God’s ten commandments though is, thou shalt NOT commit adultery! Think about it. A gay couple cannot have children of their own. Neither man can get pregnant. Neither woman can give birth to the child of her wife because she doesn’t have the requirements to do that. Adoption isn’t having a child. Its raising someones else’s child who will eventually be gay too. Artificial means, guarantee neither woman can have their wife’s children because she doesn’t produce the cells needed to make her spouse pregnant. If everyone on planet Earth, Christians included, were to be gay, then we would become extinct in a matter of about seven years. No one would be reproducing and making more souls to further God’s kingdom. Atheists in essence, need not be married, because in doing so, they are promising love for the other person under God(no other way), in which though, God is doesn’t exist. God is the reason for marriage and for the world to tamper with that, God is displeased. God is our judge, and he will judge righteously those who follow and those who don’t follow. All equally the same. I pray that each and everyone reading this would at least look at themselves, and ask themselves where they are in their life. Ask yourself, if I died right now, would God accept me to live with him forever? Would he reject me because I rejected him? Am I covered and cleansed by Jesus’s blood? Or do I not even care? If you don’t care, its fine. God doesn’t require you to care. All he requires is that you realize what you are getting yourself into whether it be with him in the end or not. Christians make an effort to show the World who the one true and living God is, but nonetheless many will not listen to us, and God even warns us about that in his Word(go figure). If you are a real Christian, you will not be affected by our nations choices. Zero negativity toward anybody and lots more prayer and steadfastness. Society and their decisions will not affect those who are truly of God’s Church. We will stay faithful until the point of death and we shall receive the crown of life. As it is written in the scriptures, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. Thus, the ONLY way to Heaven.

    • Emmanuille

      You refuse to accept the fact that this is your belief, it is not factual science. It is ludicrous for you to demand or expect that everyone in the world believes it along with you.

    • Erik Benson

      You sir are as ludicrous as the rant that you have posted. In your belief GOD has created Man equally yet you somehow want to condemn his creation. Sit down and think about what it is you are saying. As for your ideas for the year 2015, that would be A.D.(After Death) as most of us have been taught. There is scientific and factual evidence which dates our land much further than the 2015 years that you want to believe this beautiful creation has existed. And in reading your rant I am to assume that you have live a perfect “christian” life, really, there has never been one thing or thought that you have strayed from. My only belief after reading your pathetic narrow-minded rant is that you are hiding something, be it from your god or something else, but society as a whole would be much better off without your mindset.

      • chpicker

        AD doesn’t mean “After Death”. It stands for “Anno Domini” which is Latin that translates to “Year of the Lord”.

        • maddog23

          Not asking that you or other unbelievers start magically acting like Christians, Emma. No, we have very much left that up to the Holy Spirit, again in keeping with scripture. All we want to do is not be forced to participate in perversions.
          Simple eh?

  • David Alexander Moore

    Instead of discussing what people want to discuss, let’s please discuss what really matters. Rather than opinions, lets be factual here. The first fact: Jesus is real. I know this because every history book I have ever read, also says this. Not just the Bible. Every factual piece of given history acknowledges that Jesus is real, he did live, he still lives, he will not cease to live, and he makes his existence known everywhere. Even the demons of this world know he is real and they tremble and his voice. He has a Father that created this universe. Someone can tell me the year is 2015, but what exactly happened 2015 years ago? Why is it not year 750,000,000 as the Scientists say it is? Something happened 2015 years ago friends, and that was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. If God/Jesus isn’t real, then why are Christians persecuted so? Tell me this. Why is it always only the Christians who everyone is hating on? Never once have I seen someone downsize an atheist, gays, or Buddhists or even those who worship false paganistic Gods. Before someone asks me a question about how or why Buddhists, or gays, or even atheists are persecuted by us, notice that the only ones who speak out against them is us Christians. Its not that we hate gay people or do not like them, but the reason we speak out against them is because God hates all sin including homosexuality which is one of the worst ones and thats is dangerous to your soul. There is no such thing as a gay Christian. That is an oxymoron that contradicts its own logic, because Christians hold God’s whole law and being gay diminishes that.(he who holds the entire law of Christ, yet fails to at just one point will be held accountable for breaking all of it; James 2:10) Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible doesn’t speak a lot on the subject, but when it does, it condemns it as a sin, and a really bad one at that. Many people I meet fail to realize the significance of marriage and what it really is according to the Bible. I cannot visualize a gay couple getting married. The minster that joins the two would have to say,”do you take this man to be your husband under God,” or woman do you take this woman to be your wife under God.” Simply put, a man and a man is not of God, nor is a woman and a woman of God, because both situations break part of the law and yet are accountable for all of the law that God has given them. The reason God created woman is to give man a partner that he may be with the rest of his life. If God would say its okay to be gay, then low and behold, God would have said that. Its okay to worship Jesus. He tells us to. Its fine to work for your food, because I told you to. One of God’s ten commandments though is, thou shalt NOT commit adultery! Think about it. A gay couple cannot have children of their own. Neither man can get pregnant. Neither woman can give birth to the child of her wife because she doesn’t have the requirements to do that. Adoption isn’t having a child. Its raising someones else’s child who will eventually be gay too. Artificial means, guarantee neither woman can have their wife’s children because she doesn’t produce the cells needed to make her spouse pregnant. If everyone on planet Earth, Christians included, were to be gay, then we would become extinct in a matter of about seven years. No one would be reproducing and making more souls to further God’s kingdom. Atheists in essence, need not be married, because in doing so, they are promising love for the other person under God(no other way), in which though, God is doesn’t exist. God is the reason for marriage and for the world to tamper with that, God is displeased. God is our judge, and he will judge righteously those who follow and those who don’t follow. All equally the same. I pray that each and everyone reading this would at least look at themselves, and ask themselves where they are in their life. Ask yourself, if I died right now, would God accept me to live with him forever? Would he reject me because I rejected him? Am I covered and cleansed by Jesus’s blood? Or do I not even care? If you don’t care, its fine. God doesn’t require you to care. All he requires is that you realize what you are getting yourself into whether it be with him in the end or not. Christians make an effort to show the World who the one true and living God is, but nonetheless many will not listen to us, and God even warns us about that in his Word(go figure). If you are a real Christian, you will not be affected by our nations choices. Zero negativity toward anybody, but more love to tell the truth, lots more prayer and steadfastness. Society and their decisions will not affect those who are truly of God’s Church. We will stay faithful until the point of death and we shall receive the crown of life. As it is written in the scriptures, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. Thus, the ONLY way to Heaven.

    • Bryan

      Every factual piece of given history? Yes, because the American bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima just screams, “Jesus is alive!” You might want to tone down the hyperbole… for realsies!

    • Frank

      Thank You David for your reply to this topic,, I so agree ,,there is a Saviour because of sin,,the Ten Commandments teach us that we are lost ,,we have to be a hand and a foot for each other,to help each other to find this Saviour. If we love our fellow man ,we are to show him his wrong,so that he,or she, can also flee to the Lord and receive life eternal . We are to hate sin ,,and love the sinner,,as Jesus did. Thanks again

    • Natalie Rellick

      I agree what is wong with the world it is so Wong and you cant be gay and flollow God

    • Natalie Rellick

      And so true we flollow God and those who don’t won’t have God will never have life a real life and “If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers— would you now return to me?” declares the Lord.
      And so God made a women to be with man

  • max

    God FORCED Jonah to preached JUDGMENT on a SINFUL city. As a result, the people (the king included) REPENTED and turned to God for FORGIVENESS. Consequently, the whole city was spared and SAVED from the coming WRATH of God. Jonah was disappointed with their REDEMPTION because Jonah HATED these people and wants them to be CONDEMNED. Therefore, compromising the TRUTH given by God in the name of “relationship” is actually very deceiving and unloving. We demonstrate our LOVE for people by telling them the TRUTH which will set us all FREE. And who are we to tell God how to reach the fallen world with His Word! We were called NOT to be MEN-PLEASERS but to GLORIFY God by OBEYING His WORD!

    • Stephen Brown

      It IS really ANNOYING when PEOPLE try to EMPHASIZE ever OTHER WORD with CAPSLOCKS!!! fyi

      • max

        sorry for that. but as u mentioned, it is to EMPHASIZE some key terms

        • Stephen Brown

          Use your words for emphasis, not your caps locks. Do you shout your important words when you are talking? Or do you use context & word choice to bring emphasis?

          • max

            just call it double EMPHASIS. anyway thanks for the input

    • Frank

      Thank You. So True!!! Thanks Max

    • Colin Lee Flemington

      Back to the article. We can still be a witness to those around despite laws, as it was at the beginning of the Church, and today in many countries. In fact God’s most effective way to reach the world through the Church is on a one to one basis through example, words, personal relationship. Not by fearful, forcefull legal control.

      • max

        amen. nothing can stop the believers from being the “salt and light” in the world.

  • max

    Jesus did not condemn sinners but He did judge the adulterous woman by declaring and confirming that her lifestyle is sinful and that she should repent. Let’s not confuse condemnation with judgment. Jesus himself admonished His disciples to exercise judgment based on truth and righteousness. Therefore, it’s NOT unloving to judge righteously according to Jesus. John 8:24 reads: “Do not judge according to appearance, but JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.”

    • kc1950

      See also Mt.7:15-16,20…does this not apply also to what you are saying? Kc

  • max

    Paul Wisnieski, that’s quite too harsh. Pastor Carey is certainly compromising the Word of God, but he might just want to please people to attract them to his congregation. Remember, even the apostle Peter must be rebuked by the apostle Paul for compromising.

    • kc1950

      I think you are on to something here. It was a feeling that I got that the Pastor /Author was actually compromising “The Great Commission” . That preaching the Word of God to people that disagree with you is in itself to “make judgement” upon them. I think preaching the Word is a loving gesture…whether people accept it or not. And to not preach the word to people in need of it is, in effect, to “condemn” them and “judge” them unworthy to hear the Word of God to achieve salvation in Him.

      • max

        ouch! u just judged me… but it’s fine because we really do pass judgment on everything. the question is: is it righteous (true) or unrighteous (false) based on the ultimate arbiter of truth–the Word of God.

      • max

        amen

  • Paul Wisniewski

    This is a church of false prophets whose leader deletes direct Biblical scripture. No true Christian should waste there time here.

  • asonofSocrates

    The call to not judge homosexual sin as sin seems a little strange. If sin is not a problem for folks outside the church why would Jesus have had to die upon the cross. It seems you violate a central premise of Christianity in the name of “relationships” that is the need for forgiveness.

    Does God’s love grant license to do what one wants or does God’s love grant forgiveness? Is sin sin or is sin just human prejudice? Why does Jesus need to die for the sin of the world if there is no sin?

    • tom sathre

      asonofSocrates, Wow! your question “Does God’s love grant license to do what one wants or does God’s love grant forgiveness?”, is answered by the logician, Paul, the Apostle, in Romans 2:12 – 3:31. (I recommend studying his answer after reading it several times in a good, modern translation or two.)

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      He died on the cross because men were not capable of following the laws He became a living sacrifice so that we would be justified THROUGH FAITH:)

  • Jerilee Ahimsa OmShanti Auclai

    Thank you so very much for this refreshing discussion. I am not Christian or gay. Your writing moved me deeply and is helping me to see some things through fresh eyes. Many blessings to you.

    • tom sathre

      Jerilee Ahimsa OmShanti Auclai You’re welcome.

      Tom.

  • ma

    In 1973 the Supreme Court in the US legalized abortion. My pastor is adamant about the march for life every year. I hear about the issue countless times every year. Christians are always standing up and trying to get the law changed. Why? Why are Christians so passionate about the abortion issue if it is the law of the land? With your reasoning, we should not try and do that; no we should not try and change the government because Paul and Jesus didn’t try to. If we should lay down and let immorality flourish because that’s just the way they are going to act, then stop with the abortion marches and protests outside abortion clinics, you are judging the pagans that enter there with your signs. And your marches show anything but love to those believing in the practice. By the way, I HAVE marched and will march again.
    John the Baptist DID stand up and tell the government leader that he was wrong for
    “having” his brother’s wife and lost his head. Jesus also said to His own brothers that the world hated Him because He testified that it’s works were evil. (John 7:7) Paul was sent by God Himself into the main political city of Rome, which would be like Washington DC today, to preach the Gospel. And there is no Gospel without God’s Holy Spirit convicting and drawing. I will and must agree that the preaching of the Gospel is priority. But what does the Gospel do? It offends. It tells people that they can be saved by Jesus Messiah. Saved from what? Sin of course. People don’t like to be told that they are sinners, it offends them.

    In the book of Daniel we see that it is God who raises up kings and nation, also bringing the down. Therefore I say that God raised up this United States of America through men who believed in Christ, even stopping to realize that they weren’t acknowledging Him in their council of it’s birthing. If God indeed set it up, then He surely had a divine hand in it’s constitution giving the rights of men to preach the Gospel in a freedom never seen before. So if it is of God to give us these freedoms, then why should we not fight to keep them from ungodly leaders, judges, reprobate activists of willful sin, etc.’ even if I know that it is God’s will to allow it to happen for our own idleness and transgressions against Him. Until He comes I am encouraged to persevere and keep standing:

    Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    Eph 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

  • Smfrmrinfrisco

    My compliments for taking a fresh and thoughtful approach to the matter….

  • Paul Wisniewski

    So who commenting on this thread is a member of Connexus Church? I’d really like to hear some testimony from members of the congregation under this pastor. If you’re a member in this church please share your testimony. Thanks

  • Leslie F

    After re-reading this refreshing piece, I scrolled through a number of comments here and I’m very dismayed by what I’ve seen. The pastor never said to not call sin for what it is…only to check the judgmental ATTITUDE at the door. Why?, because we’re sinners too saved only by grace. It seems like 60-70% of the commentators here completely missed that point.

    • max

      Leslie, Jesus did not condemn sinners (that’s ALL of us) but He did judge the adulterous woman by declaring and confirming that her lifestyle is sinful and that she should repent. Let’s not confuse condemnation with judgment. Jesus himself admonished His disciples to exercise judgment based on truth and righteousness. Therefore, it’s NOT unloving to judge righteously according to Jesus. John 8:24 reads: “Do not judge according to appearance, but JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.”

  • Lisa Bingham

    Why can’t we just treat others the way WE want to be treated? We all have free will and, in the end, GOD will judge us ALL…

    • Paul Wisniewski

      Yes Lisa, Do unto others is absolutely the truth of Gods word; the problem is those who deny God call sin ‘love’ and the the loving correction of the rebuke of sin by God – they call ‘hate’ and try to manipulate our form of government to force the will of a minority onto the will of the majority by legally removing the meaning of God from our very language ‘redefining’ words that have significant Godly meanings in institutions that God, not man, created. It’s a clear difference between the heart of a sinner using manipulations of our governmental system to force their opinion on everyone else vs. the heart of a Christian that loves God and his open invitation to be saved by his Grace, not by force. This is another subject, but it is also the same evil that the quran teaches in the Muslim religion.

      • Smfrmrinfrisco

        Paul, the matter is basically should the civil law require government benefits and privileges to be equally available to all committed couples in relationship? The law does not address sacramental marriage….

        • Paul Wisniewski

          I believe everyone should have equal rights under the law and that could have been accomplished via a civil-union.

          The law absolutely addresses sacramental marriage when it REDEFINES the Word Marriage taking God out of the meaning of the word. If you’re not a Christian, I don’t expect you to understand the difference.

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        this isn’t only a Christian belief as there are some who cannot live in tolerance of others and their beliefs it does not encompass ALL and I have yet to meet another human being who is without sin.. so when you sin for instance does that mean your calling your sin love? no it means you sinned.

        I keep hearing that our country is a Christian nation that these people are manipulating government. I am a Christian and I can tell you our government is not Christian it was designed with religious freedom in mind because the very people who put it together were fleeing a country where the church controlled their lives. Altho a handful of them did keep God in mind while formulating our beginning not all were Christians in fact at least one was an atheist.

        Now they did not manipulate the Government with this ruling we Christians keep saying that but the truth is that all but a few states had legalized civil unions so not all believed they shouldn’t have the right to have a union. The only reason we are even seeing now a redefinition as some call it, is because the few who refused to allow for equality forced them to use the word marriage in the courts. It would never have happened if they’d been allowed to exercise their free will (a free will we all are afforded by GOD)

        You say: “It’s a clear difference between the heart of a sinner using manipulations of our governmental system to force their minority opinion on everyone else vs. the heart of a Christian that loves God and his open invitation to be saved by his Grace, not by force.”
        You are right there is an open invitation for any and all to be saved through grace; I would ask you .. how do you expect to speak to the heart of any sinner when you open the dialogue with judgment? And when you sit with your own sins ignoring them what message does it send to those same sinners that you would want to save?
        The message that is sent when you lump everyone into a group deciding you know their heart before ever talking with them is that you do not care what their heart is. Only God knows the heart of a sinner; just because they sin does not mean God does not think they are worthy of the same Love, kindness and patience he shows the rest of us .. because we are ALL sinners fallen short of the Glory of God.
        We as Christians are called to spread the good news. we are also called to correct one another (other believers) not because we have the right to judge one another but because by sinning ourselves we show ourselves hypocrites to those who have not yet heard the message and been saved. A better use of our time and our love for God would be in showing love to those around us despite their sins because God shows us love despite ours. Take the time to know people individually like it tells us in Thessalonians and share with the ones who do not know .. the incredible Love God had for us that he sent his son to die.
        As Christians we know that we all sin and continue to sin. we also know the holy spirit convicts us on that sin and that God changes us continually.
        If I sing in the tongues of angels but have not love I have nothing.:)

        • Paul Wisniewski

          More apples to oranges false logic, false claims, and muddled thinking. So much of what you say is absolutely false and incorrect I don’t have time for it. If you want to make 1 statement and stick to it using logic and truth I will come back and debate it with you, otherwise I don’t have time to read the book you just wrote. Thanks

    • max

      Lisa, Jesus admonished His disciples to exercise judgment based on truth and righteousness. John 8:24 reads: “Do not judge according to appearance, but JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.”

  • Kayla Lane

    I really liked a lot of what you had to say. I am a former evangelical Christian who has been an agnostic for the last ten years or so. Also, my sister/best friend is gay and just got married last Friday, but I am still close to the rest of my fundamentalist family. I have three questions/comments for you: 1) I dislike the dichotomy that you suggest- Christian vs. non-Christian, the true counterculture of the church vs. post-Christian culture vs. morality and scriptural truths vs. the ethics of non-Christians. Is this not counterproductive to a goal of unity?Does this not perpetuate the very ‘us vs. them’ mentality that intrinsically creates the endless cycle of judgment, hypocrisy, and hate which has divided my country more and more? Should we not be reaching toward more recognition of our commonalities to bridge this destructive binary- that despite differences in what we believe about divinity vir lack thereof, most of us do want to live a life of love, empathy, and compassion? 2) Have you read about or done much exegesis on the term “homosexuality” as recently used in the New Testament, and the koine terms “malakos” and “arsenokoiteis” in their cultural context? 3) Going back to my first point, what is your definition of love? Can love really coexist within a mindset of ‘looking-down/ praying for all non-Christians who don’t know what they are missing?’ Is love not cast aside for hypocrisy and deeply-ingrained, harmful notions of superiority when one claims a monopoly on truth, within any religion that makes such a claim? I’ve always wondered why such a tenet was necessary: surely some acknowledgement that we don’t know the bigger picture is the humbler way? That perhaps God’s love, truth, and salvation have fewer limits than Christians want to impose? I apologize for my verbosity! As you can see, I am passionate about my country’s (and world’s) need to see beyond our individual blinders and perspectives. Thank you, Kayla Lane

    • max

      Kayla, apparently, you are so smart and articulate. You just exhibited that in your post. You advanced a number of issues. However, they can all be summarized in one sentence: MAN WANTS AUTONOMY FROM HIS CREATOR. The answer to your inquiry is surprisingly quite simple: GOD CREATED AND SET RULES FOR HIS CREATION IN ACCORDANCE TO HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE.

  • Charlotte Ashlock

    I was very impressed by how heartfelt and sincere this article was, and especially by the plea for civility in the comments. I’m shocked by how incredibly incivil many of the comments have been regardless of the plea. Lots of judging happening here under a post on non-judgmentalism.

    • donjonesmd

      Isn’t saying that people are judging a judgment in itself? 😉

      • Paul Wisniewski

        I’m so sick if people that claim to be Christians misusing language, I don’t know if its just ignorance or a hardened heart denying the word of God. EVERYONE consciously or subconsciously MAKES JUDGEMENTS (opinions and conclusions every day every time we see someone or something – it is basic psychology 101). People misusing the word Judgement as one who has authority over another, as God has Authority over mankind, need to get an education or stop practicing deceit and have faith in the word of God instead of trying to undermine its meaning taking verses out of context and applying the wrong definition of a word twisting the meaning.

      • CrazyIdealist

        Haha, good point! This non-judging is hard!

    • max

      please… you’re judging me

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  • Stacy Valdes

    I have been trying to say so much the same but could not put it all the same way you did. Great job! I have unfortunately stopped attending church because of the judgmental and hypocrites. Most put themselves on a sun free pedestal or at least they feel their sins are far less sinful than the others they judge. They go to church, homeschool their kids but yet weigh 300+ pounds. They hide their judging, hate and hypocrisy behind being on the “team”. I love all and judge no one, if they are not harming anyone else it is not our place to hold them back. I never understood how those that read the bible filled with love and forgiveness and walk away with hate of others in their heart.

    • Paul Wisniewski

      I did the same for a while Stacy – not because of judgement, but because of hypocrisy I witnessed; that being said, it was a poor decision on my part because God commands us to put our faith in him, not in man. Once he reminded me of that clearly in his word, it gave me a whole new perspective. I am a child of God and will always be a child of God saved by the blood of the lamb. I’d highly encourage you to get back into a Bible believing church with a Bible preaching pastor because the Lord wants us to fellowship and worship together to honor him and strengthen each other through him.

    • SoundlessScream

      It would seem that a reason could be that people are instructed by the bible

      very explicitly on exactly HOW they’re supposed to love, and forgive or ask for forgiveness.

      Anyone that does not follow the instructions are doing it wrong, and are therefore either ignorant or simply refuse to do things this way.
      Due to the specific nature of the instructions, if one is knowledgable about them confusion shouldn’t happen.

      But, in my opinion, mankind’s well being is held back by it’s own corruption. We all have it, even the ones we put in charge.
      Men have bent the specific instructions to enable themselves to follow them without getting in trouble for breaking the rules.

      Since the old copies of the rules are still there, many people that believe this set and that set argue about which one is correct.

      It is no-one’s fault, as the people responsible for this major change in the past are long dead, old kings and the like.

      The easiest rules to follow are usually few and simple, such as the ten commandments. I don’t know them but they’re likely a good example.
      Things like, “killing your brothers is not allowed” are useful rules right?
      But when they get very specific and numerous, they begin to get harder for everyone to not break them, such as a government that has too many laws.

      • Erik Benson

        Well said

  • Bev Murrill

    I couldn’t agree more, Carey. This is a powerful insight into the real issues that the Church face, which is not that our precious morals be compromised, but that the Church is called to serve the world that exists, not the one that we wish existed.

    We are on mission, not trying to find ways to keep our lives comfortable. It will only be as we adopt the stance of missionaries working to be the incarnation of Christ into the world we inhabit that we will be able to let go of our fears of what might be if the world gets out of our control… (ummmm… bad news… it always was).

  • Al

    I’ve been reading quite a lot of the posts here and agree with Carey’s summary helps to keep our focus on what is important – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To give all you posters a breath of fresh air I pass on a thought about the reality that we ALL have to face sooner or later, for ‘Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.’ Psalm 144:4.
    For a minute can you imagine you’re flying over a large ocean. Can you also imagine being able to open the window of the jet and pour out your cup of tea into the immense body of water below. Can we think about the time we spend on earth compared to eternity, is no more than that cup of tea. The incredible size of the ocean compared to one small cup of tea is what our life is like compared to eternity.
    Why then do we invest so much in temporal pursuits when we know our investment here can have so much impact on our eternity? It is the great paradox of human behaviour, especially for Christians. Does our life have an overall ministry objective to it, and I don’t mean we must be constantly involved in ‘Christian activity.’ It only means we should be about what God has called us to do with the motive of being obedient to this mission. Do not let the worries and cares of this life keep you from having an eternal impact on the lives of those you meet each day. Satan, or the devil, has a way of keeping our focus on the problems of today, rather than the spiritual opportunities before us, He, Satan, is the master of the urgent, not the important.
    ‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour is not in vain,’ 1 Corinthians 15:58

    • max

      Actually, the Gospel was compromised by trying to be inoffensive and politically correct. seems we are more concern of pleasing people than God. that will never help people get saved

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  • Steven Weir

    I have to believe that this article is somewhat dishonest in many regards. As an atheist and someone who should not know more about his religion than a pastor, it makes me think that Evangelicals will lie about just about anything to protect this idea that has been warped and reprocessed for new cultures. Churches try desperately to mimic culture to usurp the good secular principles and pop culture as their own and this author seems no exception. All the while ignoring what he knows his own Bible says. Biblical marriage has absurd cases, the worst of which being things like a woman having children with her own son who just killed her other son, or a king with 700 wives and 300 live-in whores. Religion isn’t dying because of what you say or do, it is dying because it is absurd and immoral. So without using the words God, Jesus, or Bible, explain exactly what is wrong with homosexuality. I’m not homosexual, but as an atheist I can see nothing wrong between two consenting adults. No one has any business telling others what is right and what is wrong. If you knew anything about history you would know better than to look at the Bible and think that its stories are literal. You are betraying the truth. If there is a God, I am certain that he would frown upon those who bear false witness, whether they are pastors or not. Marriage predates Christianity, and it will go on long past Christianity.

    • Paul Wisniewski

      Your words show that you very obviously don’t know the Truth of the Word of God. I have serious concerns about some of the points this pastor has stated as well and until he clarifies some things I will continue to have those concerns. However, is is equally clear to me from what you said that even though you may have ‘read’ the Bible, you clearly do not understand what your talking about because you have relied on your own understanding, which the Bible warns against, and being a self proclaimed atheist you obviously have not studied the bible with a heart open to Gods will being done in your life. Christianity is a faith based religion, if you deny God, you will not know him, as he is his word. But, thanks for at least being up front that you’re an atheist – at least there is honesty in that, unlike agitators that come in trying to argue in ambiguity to create confusion and argue for the sake of arguing talking in circles wasting everyones time.

      • Dingo

        I’m curious – are there non-faith based religions?

        • Paul Wisniewski

          Obviously.

          • Dingo

            Such as?

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Do your own homework, it’s as simple as a google search. If you as a grown person can’t discern the difference, me spending my time explaining it to you won’t do any good.

          • Miles Mayan

            Translation: “Every religion is a faith based religion, but I like to think my faith based religion is special somehow”

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Translation – it’s an obvious bait into an argument based in ignorance of which I won’t waste my time. But thanks for showing your laziness and ignorance as well. 2 peas in a pod.

          • Dingo

            So basically – there aren’t any.
            Thanks for that information.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No – basically your lazy and ignorant; and that’s a judgement (meaning opinion as the definition of the word states – fortunately your unrepentant sinful kind hasn’t been able to legally redefine that word yet) as you would like to twist the meaning of.

          • Dingo

            Nope – you made the claim and so it’s up to you to provide the evidence that supports that claim.
            I’m not going to make your argument for you, that’s your job. (And you call *me* lazy!).

          • Smfrmrinfrisco

            Buddhism would be one…

          • Miles Mayan

            Depends on what kind of Buddhism you’re talking about. The kinds that teach Buddha had magic powers, and that reincarnation is a real thing, certainly qualify as faith-based.

          • Dingo

            Still requires faith because of the non-falsifiable postulation of supernatural being(s)

          • melinda

            Buddhism is non-theist so does not require a believe in a supernatural being.

    • Rob

      I find it more than slightly ironic that, as you say, “No one has any business telling others what is right and what is wrong,” you are saying that it is wrong to do just that. So it’s wrong to tell others what is right or wrong?! Who gave you the privilege of doing what you are condemning, Steven?

      • Erik Benson

        Rob, how about this. Live your own life as you see fit, judging others for how they live is your own personal right and prerogative yet it does not effect them in any way. You can condemn/judge people for not believing what you believe but in the end it truly only effects you. Stop worrying about others and look at yourself. I personally think Steven has a great point, but that is my opinion.

      • Steven Weir

        When it doesn’t hurt anyone.

    • Bob Gunn

      Interesting Stephen Weir…you state how wrong the author is and how wrong religion and the Bible is, and then tell us “No one has any business telling others what is right and what is wrong.” Hmmm?

    • jucifer

      Good!

  • Jack

    I’m gay. I was born and raised a devout Christian. I ‘believed’/subscribed to everything Christianity has to offer. I considered myself a born again Christian and unquestionably believed everything that comes along with that. I viewed non-Christians the same way most Christians do, believed the same things about sinners and the unrighteous. I thoroughly understand Christianity. When I came out as a teenager I was shocked at how quickly the Christian community turned on me. Our Christian community included every degree of Christian from the cool “we don’t judge because only God can judge” to the strict “we follow every letter of the Bible verbatim” and every type in between. I started to really evaluate my life, my belief system, and my reality. My conclusion was walking away from Christianity. It had nothing to do with me being gay. Being gay in a Christian community/family forced me to look at both sides of the issue instead of just the Christian side. After many months of soul searching and evaluation of everything I had learned, I realized that it wasn’t for me anymore. I didn’t believe the things I had been taught, alot of it didn’t add up (I know, I know… ‘faith’) and I couldn’t base my entire life anymore on something that may or may not be any more than a cult. That being said, I have been in many arguments with well-meaning Christians intending to bring me back from the devil’s grip. I’ve also found there are really few, if any, Christians who claim that they’re not judgmental and actually aren’t. Most of what I’ve seen are Christians who just hide it better, their ultimate goal being my salvation through soft sale. The thing I’ve seen more than anything are the Christians who just refuse to or are incapable of grasping the concept that their Christian beliefs and values ONLY apply to other Christians. If you are a Christian, your beliefs and values do not apply to my life because I am not a Christian. And before you say “if you were saved before you can never lose that”, don’t. I don’t believe or to subscribe to anything from Christianity. I also happen to be a vegetarian. I liken the Christian values argument to the vegetarian argument. I don’t eat meat, that’s my choice. It’s something I believe in. I have no right to tell a carnivore that he/she can not eat meat because they are not vegetarians and therefore my beliefs do not apply to them. It would be downright ridiculous for me to tell a meat eater that they can not eat a burger because it’s against my vegetarian principles. It is equally ridiculous for a Christian (of any caliber) to tell me that I should not be gay because God/Bible says its wrong – I’m not a Christian therefore Biblical principles do not apply to my life. It really is this black and white. In conclusion I will say that I did enjoy reading Carey’s article. I think it’s right on point with alot of issues regarding the gay debate. I will also say that alot of Christians keep pointing out how terrible the LGBT community is for, among other things, wanting to get married like everyone else. Personally I don’t hold nearly as much contempt for Christians as it seems they hold for us. I disagreed with the Christian agenda and moved on. I don’t try to change it, I don’t protest it, it’s just a different value system that doesn’t apply to me so I don’t waste any time worrying about it. I feel it would behoove the Christian community to do the same and move on.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (1Jn 2:17-19)

      For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Heb. 6:4-6)

      There are so many other things the Bible says about your comments, which btw I might add actually validate Scripture, (such as “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 2Thes 2:15) but your statement “I couldn’t base my entire life anymore on something that may or may not be any more than a cult.”; says it all. You’ve walked away (and there are several passages in Scripture that show people who followed Christ for a period of time and then walked away) and make the choice to be your own god and make your own rules. But the Biblical principles and laws do apply to you and one day you will find that out.

      • Jack

        This is precisely what I was referring to. You say I’m my own God and live by my own rules, I say you’re brainwashed and completely incapable of looking at the situation through any other lens besides the one you have on. The difference between us is that I can say, “hey, I don’t care if you eat meat. not eating meat has done wonders for my health, my mind, and my lifestyle. I’m perfectly ok with you eating meat and I have no desire to lead you to a more holy life of vegetarianism.” Christians such as yourself who hide behind scripture and feel that you have become such a fluent scholar of what is right for the world are the ones who are pushing all the potential recruits away, it’s self-defeating to your cause. A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind”

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          “I say you’re….” Thank you for proving my point.

          Oh, and btw, too bad in all your studying and “picking apart” Scripture you couldn’t realize the most simplest elementary fact that the Holy Spirit is greater than anything anyone else and therefore no man is gonna push away any potential recruits. Newsflash: The Church – the True Church – is growing and growing stronger ever day.

          Here’s some help for you if you wanna take it. The next time you get a desire to study Scripture, try instead of looking at it thru human eyes to pick it apart, trying dying to yourself first, picking up your cross, taking on the new life of Jesus Christ as your Master and looking thru the eyes He gives you. Dead man’s eyes don’t see much.

          • Jack

            I understand everything you’re saying because I came from that. However, personally I don’t believe any of it anymore, therefore it’s all nonsense to me. You keep talking about what I need to do to lead myself back to Christ – it means nothing because I don’t subscribe to any of it. I don’t think that you are just refusing to accept another stance, I really do think that your religion/beliefs have poisoned your mind to the point that you are incapable of even thinking for yourself. I do admire your dedication however, even though we don’t agree. We both feel the other is equally absurd/lost/blind/whatever you want to call it, and neither one of is is going to convince the other. Such is the state of religion in this day and age. Also, religion is actually at an all-time low. Your perception of the strength and growth is localized opinion and non fact-based.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            No Jack, sorry to say but you do not understand what I’m saying. But I do understand it’s all nonsense to you.

            “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.fn

            The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Cor. 2:12-14)

            As for the rest, you just keep telling yourself if that makes you feel better. And frankly, I do NOT wanna be in the Majority who are on the Wide and Easy Path to destruction. I’m very happy knowing that I’m on the Narrow Path. Thank you very much.

    • Billy

      It is unfortunate that there is not a Christian around you who can explain to you that you still can grow and have salvation in Christ even if you are born gay. It is unfortunate that your Christian community have shown you much contempt to the point that you think it is all but a cult of hate.

      But please know that even if you decide to turn your back and walk away from Him, He is actually the one who will come looking back for you. Not through religion, not through all those judgemental Bible-thumpers everywhere. But through your heart.

      • Jack

        I never said it was a cult of hate. Of all the Christians I’ve known in my entire life: 70% were downright anti-gay/anti-non Christian. 29% were the we-love-everyone type on the surface but really had a hidden agenda to “bring me back to Christ” through a gentler and more subtle approach (this is the soft sell I was referring to). 1% truly believed that their beliefs were for them and didn’t try and recruit for or lead people to Christ and didn’t look at everyone who didn’t believe as a lost or estranged sinner. I also find it unfortunate that you don’t have any vegetarians around you who can explain to you that you can still be a vegetarian even though you may have been born carnivore.

        • Billy

          “you can still be a vegetarian even though you may have been born carnivore”.

          Well, you said it yourself man. What you were born as doesn’t dictate what your actions and your life decisions should be.

        • Smfrmrinfrisco

          I’d say stick with the Sermon on the Mount and you’ll be fine…

    • missingno

      You’re fine. You’ve done nothing wrong, and you don’t need to be saved. Just go out into the world, do good things in life, and live it to the fullest. Those other comments on your post played right into what you were getting at and missed the point. I wonder if they even read the article properly.

    • Paul Wisniewski

      This sounds like a farce / made up story intended to undermine Christianity. No one who claims that they were a Christian would be ‘Shocked’ by Christians being against homosexuality.

      • Evermyrtle

        You got that right!! I must assume that these people do not know that this evil past time is an abomination to GOD. Before discussing this subject we need to read up on it from the WORD OF GOD, that is where we ca find the truth.

    • Elise77

      Hey, Jack.
      You are exactly right that Biblical Christian standards are for Christians. They’re not for nonbelievers because if you’re estranged from God, it makes no difference (in terms of your salvation) what moral code you do or don’t follow. So to me you are no different than the majority of my family and friends.

      And I love my non-Christian family and friends, and they know I love them. I love them even when our values are not the same. I love them even when they make choices that I wouldn’t. And yeah, I try to love them right into God’s arms, because just like you- they’re lost.

      You might call it a “soft sale” approach, but I love the people around me who ARE saved, too, and I’ve nothing to “sell” them.
      Yes, with regard to my non-Christian (my pastor would say “PRE-Christian” 🙂 family and friends, I have an agenda. But my loving them, my acceptance of them as they are, is not merely part of that agenda. I really do love them. And if I knew they would never turn to Christ I’d love on them that much harder, because if that were the case, THIS life is ALL the time we have together.

      Some of your Christian family and friends may seem to mourn your homosexuality more than your departure from the faith. That’s because they aren’t perfect yet, and they have a screwed-up sense of priorities. (I’m guilty of that, sometimes, too. Among other things.) Others are praying for you to return to Christ, not so you won’t be gay anymore, but so you’ll be saved. Not because they want to “sell” you anything, but because they love you enough to want to spend forever with you. They’re not inclined to just “not worry about it” and “move on” because to them the stakes (eternity with you vs eternity without you) are too high.

      I’ll leave you with one last thought: When I lose those I love, and those who love me, I grieve. I miss their presence. I still miss my grandma. I still miss my dad.
      I don’t presume to know your experience as a Christian, but if, having turned away, you don’t miss Jesus… maybe… you didn’t really know Him yet?

      Just some food for thought, from one imperfect person to another. I have no sense of judgment toward you, and no contempt whatsoever. You seem like a good and thoughtful person. If we knew each other I would probably be your friend. We would do stuff like going to a steak house and sharing a dinner (steak for me, salad and baked potato for you). 😉

      Have a great 4th of July. 🙂

      • Kerry Seiwert

        Who was it that said (paraphrased): I have nothing against your Christ; it is the Christians that cause me trouble? I try to live my faith with that quote in mind. Jack, how you live your life is yours, not anyone else on this earth. Live in the love of God, and be ready to answer to anything God asks of your life. Don’t worry about the other crap. I was raised fundamentalist and now am happy in the Roman Catholic church, but no faith family has gotten in the way of what I trust to be true. And, by the way, that changes over time with age and experience. So please don’t allow ‘Christians’ to color your life. Live in the love of God, and don’t worry about the BS.

        • Miles Mayan

          That was Ghandi who said ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christian sare so unlike your Christ.’

          • Kerry Seiwert

            Thank you, Miles. I think that quote has done more for me in my walk of faith than anything else I have ever heard.

    • Blanche Kimbeng Jam

      Thanks for writing Jack. The rules about Christianity are black and white and weather one considers themselves Christian or not if they’re doing something that is against the Christian doctrine it’s a sin. There is no debate about that part. Murder, like fornication and adultery or greed and jealousy or same set marriage or lies telling are all against the Christian doctrine. Christians don’t have to accept that one of them is right because some were born gay or thieves or lairs. The truth is that we were all born those. We wee all born sinners. Christianity is an ongoing process of suppressing sin, fighting temptation and striving to become like Christ. That Christians are judgemental is just another sin because they are not gods but they don’t have to accept no no Christian views to be loved or to make people feel good about Christianity or remain in the church. Christianity continues even amidst the law. I am not a perfect person, I was born a sinner, I am a Christian, when I have sinned in the past I haven’t forced the church to accept the sin as the right thing to do. I have repented and stayed away. If in the future I see that I cannot live the way the bible recommends because my sinful nature is too precious then that’s my decision. Christianity will still stand. The Bible is clear on what is and what’s not sin. Christians shouldn’t be ashamed to proclaim the truth. If they are then I doubt their Christianity. And at the same time judge not because Christianity is a personal decision.
      We also have to understand that Christians struggle with sin… immorality, jealousy, lies telling just to name a few. I can understand if someone says they are struggling with being gay but understand from a biblical point of view that it is counter-christian. What I don’t get is the whole idea of wanting Christians to accept that when you’re born gay it’s natural and you can be a Christian and remain gay. Them we should just abolish Christianity because that way we all will remain the gays and thieves and liars and killers we were born as and then there will be no use for Christianity.
      The only rope a Christian should play in this is understood that like every other SINNER, most so called, Christians inclusive, the church should love like Christ did.
      Thank you!

      • Smfrmrinfrisco

        Interesting post, Blanche….have you done any reading on the Eastern Orthodox theology of theosis?

    • Tali

      I really appreciate you sharing your experience. I think that we all have room to grow – I can learn from you and hopefully you can learn from me. I’m a Christian and it makes me sad to hear how other Christians have treated you in the past. I would like to say that I wouldn’t judge you for being gay and I would definitely try to not, but the truth is that I, like every other person, am imperfect. And I have my beliefs and biases and they do get in the way. And what I really want to say is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the judgment in my heart. I’m sorry about the way Christians have hurt you. So often Christians (myself completely included) misrepresent Jesus. He’s not about hate and judgmentalism, but he is about love, glorifying God, and showing people how to live lives within the kingdom of God. I think that all Christians have a pretty hard time figuring out how to model him in those things and we often hurt others by trying to do it the way we think is right. And for that I am sorry.

      I would like to ask you something…

      Say that I have experienced something amazing – maybe some really cool breath-taking place that is so beautiful and captivating that I just want to share it with people I love. But I know that going to the place will change the people I love just like it has changed me.

      How would I go about telling my friends about this place?

      I guess I kind of think my faith is this way. I don’t want to be pushy or forceful. I don’t just want to save souls. But I have experienced a love and new way of life in Jesus that I truly do want everyone else to experience. Because I love them and want them to have this new life too. But if having a motive of sharing this experience means that I am no longer loving..then how can I ever share this amazing love with them?

      • Jack

        Thank you for being the only one here who has figured this Christianity thing out. If all Christians were like you, we would have no reason to disagree with each other. Trust me, I understand where you’re coming from with the faith thing. I was right there with you. I was ‘filled with the holy spirit’ and wanted to tell everyone about it. But that changed when I really started picking it apart. I saw too many conflicting principles that really amounted to alot of circular logic and no real concretes. I started disassembling every part of my belief system, because if it was really as bulletproof as Christians claim it to be, there would be no reason to fear its’ dissolution, right? In the end, it did fall apart. I realized that this belief system was not for me. I don’t subscribe to it, I don’t believe it, and I honestly feel like I was brainwashed. Not saying I didn’t take anything good away from it (life principles, good advice to live by) but it no longer controls my life. And since that day things have gotten profoundly more clear for me. I’m not debunking Christianity, I’m not saying it’s not right for you or anyone else, I’m just trying to get across that I don’t subscribe to it and therefore can not be held accountable under Christian rules and accountability. This includes the religious right telling me that I can’t be gay because it’s against the Bible or God. In conclusion I will reiterate that you are one of if not the only one in this discussion who I feel actually gets it. Thanks for listening.

      • Danielle Brouwer

        Tali, i very much appreciate the first part of your answer to Jack: that you realise (some) christians cannot help judging him -that there is still judgment in your own heart- and that you understand this causes him pain. I commend you for your honesty.

        As for your question: “How can you ever share this amazing love with them?” You can’t. Not with everyone. Be content to share it where you can, where it is welcome. Anything else is disrespectful – of you, of them and of that love.

        If you look at it from the other person’s perspective, your question is actually just another way of saying “Allow me to pester you about …. (fill in your particular blank), because I can’t help myself.”
        No matter how well intended, it is out of integrity with your love. (I’m not saying that to hurt you. I went down that path. these are my
        conclusions. you asked. <3 )

        So, how far can we go? Talk about what you see – for as long as that conversation is open, welcome and recipocrate. There has to be a 'landing platform' for what you describe. The moment it is being 'shoved down the other's throat', is the moment to stop talking. So YOU have to be willing to listen, and to be acceptant of where the other one is.

        But… how can we stop talking about what we know is 'true', when our own hearts are so full of it?
        By trusting that everything is well exactly the way it is now. By trusting God's love is already there, even if it's not acknowledged. By trusting that we have sown the required seed. It is now up to the other to tend to the seed. And it may take years, you may never actually see the result of your efforts in your own lifetime. They may even choose not to. And, hard as it may seem, that would be their God-given right.

        It is no one's duty to 'entirely convert' another. Be satisfied with (hopefully) having planted a seed. And know that you will always accomplish more by by knowing when enough is enough.

      • cw

        You have experienced this “something amazing” because you have been accepted by others. It took years for woman to have that acceptance in religion of any kind. What most don’t understand is that the one that is judged ( here it is same sex couples) does not see an amazing place but one of circumstance, control and alienation by others. This is the problem, most human beings preach they don’t show love. Some preach and spew anger, hate, ego……very little love, acceptance of a person. Homosexuality isn’t a mindset, it is as inborn as you are male and female. Should web go back to the ages where we discriminated against those due to gender (females), skin (blacks), religion (catholics and protestants can’t marry or face excommunication)………we are going backwards in our show of faith and love not forward. Anytime someone uses the bible to belittle another it’s wrong. Listen guys, we are getting all in an uproar over two people LOVING one another. There are murderers out there and thieves and Christians seem to berate and “save” people who show love and commitment? Seriously?

      • melinda

        Great question! How about sharing your experience and what it means to you. Could you just leave it at that? Because what usually comes next is the part about if you don’t accept this you are sinful and will burn in hell for eternity! Maybe you can see how that would come across as judgy? I am still perplexed why the message of love and connection with God is not the selling point. Very few people posting here (and I have now read thousands of comments) have talked about the beauty and love of their relationship with God and how they so much want others to experience this. The vast majority of what is expressed is fear mongering. If a person will not accept God out of love but only out of fear – what does that mean?

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          Thank you for your story. I too would want you to know that there are those of us out there that would not judge and simply would want you to have the love that we’ve experienced. 🙂
          I too am perplexed why the message of love is ignored as it was the theme throughout the bible and was what we were called to share with others. And I agree that it does no good to throw judgment and shame on people as the selling point and is nothing but counter productive.
          I would say.. I do not know you but God does and altho you walked away from him he hasn’t left you and he does not care if you are gay .. he made you that way why would he make you this way then condemn you from childhood? That has no logic to it. I also know that if people actually read their bibles and didn’t just accept everything they are told they might learn a few things #1 regardless of whatever sins we have we are justified through faith not the law(biblical laws) (because we aren’t Jewish we are gentiles.) #2 when we are judged by God one day it isn’t going to be on the individual sins we may have committed because soon as we were justified Jesus blood covered all past, present and future sins.. what we will be judged on is what we did with the talents and opportunities God gave us. Did we use them to further his cause to spread his love?
          Also as a Christian I can tell you I am thrilled with the ruling because I personally cannot imagine while married to my kids dad that if i’d been in a wreck and we weren’t married he’d not been able to come into my room, that if i’d died he wouldn’t automatically be able to raise our children, that when our son had autism and I had to stop working that I wouldn’t have been allowed on his insurance. This ruling makes all those things possible now for committed couples who love each other and in my eyes just because you are the same sex does not mean your love is less valid or your commitment to one another.
          One last thing is that I understand your walking away from ‘the church’ as I wouldn’t want to sit in a place with people who are condemning me daily but consider that the relationship you have /don’t have is between you and God not between you and any of those church members and it’s none of their business anyway. I wish you luck with your life and much happiness 🙂

    • Tami Miller Skinner

      Thank you for your story. I too would want you to know that there are those of us out there that would not judge and simply would want you to have the love that we’ve experienced. 🙂

      I too am perplexed why the message of love is ignored as it was the theme throughout the bible and was what we were called to share with others. And I agree that it does no good to throw judgment and shame on people as the selling point and is nothing but counter productive.

      I would say.. I do not know you but God does and altho you walked away from him he hasn’t left you and he does not care if you are gay .. he made you that way why would he make you this way then condemn you from childhood? That has no logic to it. I also know that if people actually read their bibles and didn’t just accept everything they are told they might learn a few things #1 regardless of whatever sins we have we are justified through faith not the law(biblical laws) (because we aren’t Jewish we are gentiles.) #2 when we are judged by God one day it isn’t going to be on the individual sins we may have committed because soon as we were justified Jesus blood covered all past, present and future sins.. what we will be judged on is what we did with the talents and opportunities God gave us. Did we use them to further his cause to spread his love?

      Also as a Christian I can tell you I am thrilled with the ruling because I personally cannot imagine while married to my kids dad that if i’d been in a wreck and we weren’t married he’d not been able to come into my room, that if i’d died he wouldn’t automatically be able to raise our children, that when our son had autism and I had to stop working that I wouldn’t have been allowed on his insurance. This ruling makes all those things possible now for committed couples who love each other and in my eyes just because you are the same sex does not mean your love is less valid or your commitment to one another.

      One last thing is that I understand your walking away from ‘the church’ as I wouldn’t want to sit in a place with people who are condemning me daily but consider that the relationship you have /don’t have is between you and God not between you and any of those church members and it’s none of their business anyway. I wish you luck with your life and much happiness 🙂

  • Lucas Smith

    So, as a fellow Christian, the main problem I see is that the Bible in and of itself is a holy text. However, mankind’s interpretation of that text is not holy nor should the notion even be made that it is. THAT, my brothers and sisters, is where we have strayed. We have let our own perceptions cloud our hearts for far too long. Although a lot of people are upset about the ruling, I am not. I have chosen to live a life free of a clouded heart and instead trust that God is guiding me to my salvation. If I end up being wrong, I’ll be glad to burn in hell for all eternity for my sins as that would be my consequence. But to say that God is anti-gay is not only judgmental and subjective to our own interpretation (which isn’t perfect as we are tainted by sin), but arrogant and foolish. I don’t care what your interpretation of the holy Bible says as it’s just that: an interpretation which, once again, is tainted by sin. We all know that sin exists and that we are all tainted by it, but we as Christians seem to think our interpretations of the sacred text we cherish to be unaffected. I can’t prove that I’m right in believing what I do, just as much as you who cannot prove that what you believe is right. There will not be a consensus until the end of days is nigh and that is something we cannot change and thus, we need to respect that fact and trust in the Almighty God that this is his plan. Whether or not it is something outside his plan, we won’t know until we die in the physical world and either enter God’s holy land known as heaven or the villainy place we call Hell. Thus, it isn’t our place to judge others whether they are Christian or not. That’s God’s responsibility and I intend to leave that up to him.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      “If I end up being wrong, I’ll be glad to burn in hell for all eternity” only goes to show you have NO concept of who God is. How foolish! If you don’t repent one day those words will ring in your ears. For all Eternity. You also have NO idea what the Bible says because Christians are commanded to judge.

      • Lucas Smith

        See… calling me foolish for disagreeing with your interpretation of God’s holy text, is hypocritical at best, downright arrogant at worst. Last I looked (which was only 2 hours ago) Christians are COMMANDED only to love thy neighbor as thyself. Judging someone is in direct contradiction of that. Also, I would appreciate if you could do two things for me: 1) please post books with their chapter and verse numbers so I may know where we are “commanded to judge” and 2) please do not rip my sentences apart for the sake of trying to prove that I am “foolish.” I said this: If I end up being wrong, I’ll be glad to burn in hell for all eternity for my sins as that would be my consequence. You quoted everything except the last 6 words which gravely rips my viewpoint out of it’s original context. In fact, let’s go one step further. If I am wrong in what I believe, then I’ll be glad to burn in hell for all eternity as that is the JUST and FAIR result that stems from my sin. Also, quick question: do you know who God is and what his plan is for us and his ultimate views on everything? If you do, please share as I’ve been wondering what his plan is at this very moment for me and my existence and the fate of humanity.

        EDIT: I should’ve said the only thing related to this topic that we are commanded to do. My apologies.

      • Lucas Smith

        Okay so you edited in a reply to my request for Biblical proof that we are commanded to judge.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          I was editing as you were obviously typing. I’ve just provided a responses to your request. Don’t stop reading at Matt. 7:2. Keep reading Lucas. You’ll come to Verse 5 before too long.

          • Lucas Smith

            So Matthew 7:5 reads this: You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

            That says that thou cannot judge another because thou cannot see clearly. So if I understand your position correctly, you claim to be able to see clearly and be able to pass judgement on others? That’s not only arrogance that you have displayed in these few arguments you’ve given me. You’ve Also displayed pride. Pride that your interpretation of the holy Bible is correct and justified. The main problem is: you have yet to properly counter any of my points which are Also based in Scripture. For example, as a counter-argument, John 8:7 reads:

            When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

            By judging someone, you are claiming that you are without sin. That is just garbage. I don’t claim to be without fault because I know I have faults, some of which actually relate to this very verse. I have been guilty of the exact same sin as you are currently showing. However, instead of choosing to accept my sin of judging others as out of my hands, I choose to confront it and try to improve.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            No Lucas, it says what it says. Not what you want it to. It says to JUDGE yourself FIRST. Then you can judge another.

            Jesus never contradicted Himself and John 7:24 couldn’t be more clear. Nice try though.

            And no, if you judge according to Matt. 7:1-5 you are claiming that you do not have the same sin or are walking in sin so that you cannot clear see and cannot clearly hear the Spirit.

            ” I have been guilty of the exact same sin as you are currently showing.” LOL ROTLMBO!! Nice job of judging there! Not only did you just show your ignorance of Scripture, but they you show your hypocrisy and violate your own argument, but then you violate John 7:24 too.

            You’re on a roll. LOL

      • JB

        1 Cor. 5:11-13 say, “… you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you'”.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          JB, I’m not sure what you’re saying there. That is one passage that shows us to judge. In fact, just previous to those verses Paul say, “For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.”

          And it worthy to take notice that the “judging” here not only carries a clear characterization of something as sin but also carries with it a sentence of putting the person out.

          • JB

            What it tells us, is to judge within side the church and that God will be the one judging outside of the church.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Actually JB, that’s not what it tells us. But that is an often misunderstanding that you see repeated a lot. A thorough study of the Chapter coupled with a comparison of Paul’s other writings shows that not to be true. Let me point a couple things out.

            First, in Verse 1 Paul says, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles”. Do you see the judgment there?

            In Verse 9-10 Paul says, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.” Do you see the judgment there?

            So when you look at the context Paul is drawing a clear distinction between the Body and the World and what each should look like. In a nutshell, Paul is basically saying it’s impossible to separate oneself as a Believer from the Sinners.

            And Paul makes this abundantly clear in Verse 11 as he expounds on what he meant in his previous letter (which we don’t have) that the Church misunderstood. “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” So the Corinthians didn’t get the fact that Paul had originally been talking about the immoral man in their midst and so he expounds on it in this letter.

            There are many, many other examples but I’ll give you just one more that is crystal clear. Eph. 5. Particularly Verses 7 & 11. Verse 7 requires one to judge and verse 11 requires one to expose or reprove the sins of Unbelievers.

            Hope that helps. In the future, you might also consult some good Bible commentaries as well. And hopefully you’re in a good, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church where you are being properly discipled.

      • Lucas Smith

        And as my final reply, did you somehow forget that altering the Bible was/ is considered a sin yet we translated it to English from Hebrew thus altering it? If you refute that, your beliefs become invalid in the eyes of God just as much as God may already view mine as invalid. But I choose to believe God and his son, Jesus, are guiding me down the correct path instead of blindly following what someone else believes to be the truth. I also choose to lead a life that God has shaped for me, without regrets or doubts.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          Lucas, you really should stop trying to grasp at straws. “Translating” the Bible into different languages can hardly be called “altering” it. That’s just laughable.

          And yes, it’s quite obvious that you have chosen to create a god and a “Jesus” in your image and that you are truly following yourself. Too bad you don’t read the Bible and obey it because then you would find that you are to submit yourself to leaders and teachers who could properly disciple you. Perhaps then you would choose to follow Christ. May God help you before it’s too late.

          • Florence

            Arguing with Christians is like competing in the Special Olympics: even if you win, you’re still retarded.

      • cw

        Commanded to judge???? You scare me. It makes you sound like the terrorist that use religion to judge the nonbelievers.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          Uh, no. It makes you sound Biblically illiterate. It’s right there in the Bible. All you need to do is read it. It’s so plain you don’t even need spiritual eyes to see it. Understand it, yes. See it, no.

  • Rose

    I read this Article and felt a spirit of repentance. God has called us to love unconditionally. We must love the unlovable. How can we witness to persons in the LGBT community if all we show them is hate and resentment.

    It is said that a cat meows, a dog barks, etc. etc. How can we expect non-Christians to behave or act like a Christian. While we do not condone their lifestyle, we must be salt and light to everyone. What would Jesus have done? Lord help us to be Christlike.

    • One other person is typing…

      We can decline to participate in a homosexual wedding based on love.
      Such a declination does not indicate “hate and resentment” but rather a principled difference of opinion.

      The GBLT community tends to throw around accusations of “hate” as an excuse to avoid debate and an attempt to engender guilt.

      • Michael Petch

        Christians who spew hate and propagate intolerance should feel guilt. If they don’t then I question whether their religious beliefs are as benevolent as they profess them to be.

        • One other person is typing…

          Who is suing who??

          Are any Christians suing homosexuals for not attending church??

          We can decline to participate in a homosexual wedding based on love.

          Such a declination does not indicate “hate and resentment” but rather a principled difference of opinion.

          Thank you for proving my point.

          • Miles Mayan

            “We can decline to participate in a homosexual wedding based on love.”

            Sure, as long as you’re willing to pay the fine for breaking the law.

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        Amen. Only I would change it to say “but rather walking in obedience to God” vice a principled difference in opinion. Opinions don’t count for much when it comes to Scripture.

      • Paul Wisniewski

        People who love sin hate the truth, they call the truth of Gods command to rebuke sin, Hate, and they call sin ‘love’. Through ignorance or intentional deceit they take scripture out of context and twist meanings, just like they have done now with how the world will read the definition of Marriage. They’ve hardened their hearts and God has given them over to a depraved mind Romans 1:28 God’s wrath against sin
        …27and
        in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the
        woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men
        committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due
        penalty of their error. 28And
        just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave
        them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,…

  • Lorena Moreno

    You bring up some good points. My question to the author is about the not “judging” the world part. One could argue that it’s not logical even, to judge the unbeliever, since there is nothing anyone could say to condemn them any more than they already are, given that they are an unbeliever and thereby, destined for eternal damnation. I’m curious though, what your definition of “not judging, but only loving” the lost, looks like, boots on the ground. Does it mean you are sharing the gospel with them? And if so, WHAT gospel are you sharing? Are you telling them the whole truth about what the Bible says about sin, and about homosexuality specifically, or do you conveniently leave that part out because it feels “unloving”? I mean not sarcasm, but this really is the crux of the matter for many in the Body who are being given mixed messages by many in “church leadership.” Some say hate the people who are in sin, and others go to the extreme of never wanting to talk about the realities of hell, and the wages of sin being death, because they fear rejection, or worse, persecution. Jesus never shied away from telling it like it is. And neither should we. Why, because we should love the lost enough to tell them the TRUTH. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.

    • Jennica Hinz

      The bible tells us to love the sinner, but hate the sin. We should also pray for that person, that God will draw them to a relationship with him and accept salvation through Jesus dying for our sins. We should still not judge. We should allow God to work in that person’s life and to convict them in their own hearts as to what He wants them to work on. We should also be open and honest with our own sins and struggles and how God has worked in our lives. Not all our spiritual journeys are the same too, so accept that you may be convicted by God to work on different things.

      • Lorena Moreno

        I hear you, but God also says how will they know if the “preachers” don’t go….. go where? to the lost. So yes, Holy Spirit, ultimately is the one who does the convicting, but each of us believers is called to preach the whole Gospel, whether it’s convenient for us, or inconvenient (according to the Word). The fear of man brings a snare. The fear of the Lord is where Godly wisdom begins.

      • Lorena Moreno

        In other words, telling the person the whole Gospel, and about the wages of sin (being death) isn’t judging (condemning) them. It’s loving them enough to tell them the truth. That word “judge” in Matthew, is linked with condemnation from a place of “superiority,” or “hypocrisy.” So it’s Christlike to “judge”, but only when it’s done in the “right” spirit.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Very well said, Lorena.

    • JB

      As he already mentioned in his article. Does he go to people who are having sex outside of marriage and reading the gospel to them? Does he go to McDonalds and start reading the gospel to the obese lady sitting down eating?

      • Lorena Moreno

        If he loves them, yes.

  • Bruce Bowling

    Mr. Nieuwhof, I would really like to email you and somehow forward you my response to this article. It’s not that long, but it answers with point blank truth – things we have forgotton.

  • Pingback: An Open Letter To My American Brothers - Salt-Seasoned Faith()

  • Ingrid Longhurst

    Yes im the context you are referring to regarding business. If someone in the lgbt comunity refused to bake a cake for a striaght couple they would be sued for discrimination.

    • One other person is typing…

      Has that ever happened?

      Is homosexuality a religion or are you making a false comparison?

      • Michael Petch

        I am not aware of it happening but any business that is a *public accommodation* (cake baking company is) whether run by homosexuals or heterosexuals (Whether they are atheist,agnostic, Muslim, Christian etc) could be sued for discrimination if the same scenario occurred.

    • Paul Wisniewski

      The LGBT community has no belief system that would dictate for them not to bake a heterosexual wedding cake. And, it’s not just ‘bake a cake’ as you put it. It’s baking a WEDDING CAKE something that has religious conotations and consequences for Christians based on their religious beliefs. Christians are commanded not to tolerate or partake in sin, and a homosexual wedding by definition removes God from the relationship because God does not partake in Sin. I don’t expect you to understand Christianity if you’re not a born again Christian, but I’m doing my best to try and explain to you what the difference is. Any real Christian in the cake business would be happy to have the business of homosexuals and bake them as many ‘cakes’ as they could afford, but not a WEDDING CAKE for a WEDDING (religious implications) that violates their beliefs, and undermines their faith, and is displeasing to God. We as Christians are to obey Gods laws and Gods will for our lives, first.

      • Paul Wisniewski

        If this post stands and this is what the author of this article supports, then we have truly identified that he and Connexus Church is filled with the spirit of the anti-Christ.

        • Mark

          Aw Paul! You didn’t wish me a nice day!

          • Paul Wisniewski

            I don’t mind if you mock me Mark I’m a sinner just like you, sticks and stones… but I feel sorry for you for mocking God.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No Mark I’ve done nothing to hurt anyone, as a matter of fact I’ve learned that dealing with people like you, you always like to falsely accuse others of doing what you actually do, which is to hurt people. Are you even a U.S. Citizen?

          • Mark

            Yes I’m a U.S. citizen.

            Good night.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Here’s some love for you Mark John 3:20 – For God So Loved the World …19″This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20″For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21″But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

            Goodnight to you Mark

        • Paul Wisniewski

          I agree, based in their churches website ‘who we are’ type info, I would be inclined to believe that they are aligned with the Truth of the Word of God in the same fashion that I am, but some of the points to this article he put together leads me to believe otherwise. You will know them by the fruits of their spirit!

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        Well said.

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        First of all you can’t “drive a wedge” between separation. The Unbelievers are already separated from God and nothing can drive a wedge between that.

        Second, you show yourself a perfect example of the hypocrisy in Unbelievers. Spewing hate and bigotry while condemning it. Just as Jesus said, you condemn yourself.

        Third, you come to a Christian site, respond on a Christian Pastor’s post, and drop the F-Bomb. Not only is that totally disrespectful and utterly lacking in any decorum but it reveals your heart as Jesus said whatever comes outta the mouth proceeds from the heart.

        So I would quote your very words back to you, “You know and we know you know it is ending as evidenced by the hysterical ranting and raving and insane “logic” you spew.”

        And here’s a little newsflash for you: The Enemy and all those who follow him (Eph. 2) have been trying to put the last nail in the coffin of Christianity for 2000yrs and it’s never happened. If using Christians as human torches didn’t do it (which hasn’t happened yet but given your remarks it’s not hard to see how it’s not far off and I wonder if you’d volunteer to light the first match) then calling us a few nasty names won’t either.

        • Mark

          The pastor’s whole article is about driving a wedge.

          You thoght that was hateful and bigoted? Interesting.

          I was very clear–I don’t wish to see Christianity go away; just the type practiced by people like you: “And, I’m grateful for the demise of mean, hateful, twisted bigots like you. People who literally have less and less influence on our world and more importantly our laws.”

          I advocate violence on no one, so your fantastical torch theory and rhetoric is weird, to say the least. And, ironic given the grim history of war and violence and abuse of kids–all because of, and in the name of Christianity.

          Cheers!

      • JB

        How many times has this particular baker baked cakes for an atheist? All of that is ok, but its not ok to bake a wedding cake for someone who happens to be gay?

        • Paul Wisniewski

          Another apples to oranges, false logic argument.

          I guess I’ll repeat myself and further explain. It has nothing to do with ‘baking cakes’, it has nothing to do with discriminating against anyone. It has to do with a Christians mandate to not be a part to sin but to rebuke it, just as God is not a part to sin and rebukes it.

          If I was a Christian baker I’d bake all the cakes ANYONE wanted. Just as the Christian Bakers who are now fined $135,000 said they would do as well.

          What I won’t do is be a part to a sinful ceremony by baking a WEDDING cake or supplying flowers for, or any other part thereto, for a homosexual ‘marriage’. I WOULD even bake a wedding cake for a homosexual civil-union, as a civil union has no Biblical significance.

          The word ‘Marriage’ has a significant Biblical meaning and up until the 5 supremely arrogant SCOTUS justices forced the will of a minority onto the will of the majority by undermining the way our system of government is suppose to work because they knew they had a majority on SCOTUS and the support of the Executive office (See Justice Scalia’s dissent for explanation if you don’t know what I’m referring to) that meaning was supported in our common language with the definition of marriage being that of 1 man and 1 woman.

          Now, the common language meaning / definition of marriage by law has been CHANGED to be contrary to the definition of marriage held in the Bible, undermining Gods word, removing God from the commonly understood definition of marriage – which is the end game of these Unrepentant, Prideful in their sin, Blasphemous sinners – to remove Christianity and God from our country as completely as possible. Otherwise, they could have had all the same legal rights under a ‘civil union’ without having to bastardize our very language by legally changing the definition of the word ‘marriage’.

          It has to do with supporting sin or not supporting sin. Homosexuality is a sin that God denounces it calling it an abomination – he is not part to sin and therefore is not a part to a homosexual ‘marriage’. Whereas, in a Christian marriage of 1 man and 1 woman, he is at the center, intertwined like a 3 braided rope.

          The secular laws of man are inconsistent and change. Gods is consistent, never changing.

          • JB

            And that right there is what the issue is. Your definition of marriage. Your definition of marriage is a holy matrimony. Matrimony is a holy sacrament, officiated by a priest, of uniting a man and woman. This is a wonderful thing for you and anyone who wants to have one. Don’t get that confused with the word Marriage. The words “Marriage” in the bible refers to holy matrimony, not the actual words marriage. Homosexuals, atheists, non Christians are not seeking holy matrimony. They are seeking a marriage which is a Federal right as it is a civil right. Religion does not come in to play with this. I can go down to the court house and get married to a man or a woman today, just as you and neither of us would be having a holy matrimony.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No JB it’s not my definition of marriage, it’s GODS definition of marriage; your argument is not with me, it is with God, and its one that you cannot win. I am very clear on what the word of God says.

          • JB

            LOL! You are too funny. God did not right the Declaration of Independence. God did not even right the Bible. I am very clear on what the bible says as I too am a Christian.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            If that were the case then you’d know that our freedoms come from God, not from the Constitution. More importantly your confusion about the bible is alarmingly evident. God is the Word and the Word is God; if you truly understood the word of God instead of relying on your own understanding which the Bible warns about repeatedly, you would also know that. That’s also why Christianity is a faith based religion, because it is a journey to Truth once you’ve accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savoir! If you are sincerely a Christian then you’ll take the time so read look up John 1:1

          • JB

            The earth is 6000 years old. Slavery is endorsed. This is what he bible says, so we must agree upon what the bible says, right? I mean, seriously, King Solomon! I mean come on!

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No, that is not what the Bible says, again, you lean on your own understanding reading through the Bible as any other book, just like any atheist would do. God has given believers ways to discern between fellow Christians and those who claim to be but are not. That is also something you would also know if you sought Gods will for your life with an open heart accepting Jesus Christ as the son of God that he died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. If you sincerely want to understand God and Gods word which are one in the same, acceptance of his Grace in his sacrifice of his son Jesus is a first and required step. God only wants a personal relationship and it starts with the heart – It is all about the heart and faith to begin with. (trust me I’ve been a Christian my entire life and have had my moments of doubt and questions – Gods word is perfect, human interpretations from anything other than a heart submitted to Gods will are not).

          • JB

            I bow to you good Sir as you know exactly what God wants and needs. I have however read the bible. The bible specifically says that human race is only 6k years old. Please do not interrupt the bible to help you understand this. It is the way it is. The world is only 6k years old even though scientists have proved other wise.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Your words are the result of what you get when you practice deceit JB. Your false accusation of Gods word stating the Bible ‘endorses’ slavery is primarily what I’m referring to; your understanding of the timeline of the Bible is also incorrect. You’re vague comment about Kim Salomon is ambiguous and this is the type of debate strategy used by deceivers to deceive. Ambiguous and false statements in order to create confusion. Compiled with your twisting of words with your false accusations saying that I ever claimed that I know what God ‘needs’ is more false and incorrect language from you showing further showing your inability to read and even understand a fellow persons words, let alone Gods word. Re Science, it supports Intelligent Design, more and more every day. You fail to understand, because of your hardened heart, you fail to believe and for the 3rd or fourth time now – you lean on your own understanding. If you truly want to understand the word of God, go to a Bible Believing Church that has a Bible Believing pastor and he will likely be able to answer your questions, but again, you would need to change your heart first, because that is the beginning of understanding.

      • Sarah

        Just a comment on your “God does not partake in sin” statement… The entire lineage of Christ was sinful in some respect – let us not forget that Rahab was a prostitute and not only found grace but also found favor by God so much so that he added her to be part of his family. God may not approve of sin but never mistake that God sees far more of the heart than we ever could.

        • Paul Wisniewski

          Apples to Oranges, a lack of understanding or just False logic and muddled thinking yet again.

          None of the “Lineage of Christ” were God, only Christ himself was God in man

          You miss the entire point. The Christian Marriage between a man and a woman INCLUDES GOD at the CENTER. Any other secular definition that is anything but between 1 man and 1 woman, does not. – That is the point.

  • Ingrid Longhurst

    What about all of the chistian that have forced for years the lgbt comunity to paticipate in chritian weddings.

    • One other person is typing…

      Do homosexuals have a moral opposition to Christian weddings?
      Even their own parents?
      Were they forced to attend in fear of being sued for “discrimination”??

  • One other person is typing…

    Let’s clarify another greatly misused word:

    According to the Oxford Dictionary
    bigoted = having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others

    Is there anyone to whom this does NOT apply?

    • Char

      I’m happy to call you a hypocritical, fatuous, self-indulgent neo-Pharisee who Jesus would have chased out of the temple with a swift kick to the ass, if you prefer.

      • One other person is typing…

        I understand you are full of animus towards Christians and your views epitomise bigotry.

        Doesn’t mean I don’t like you or sympathise with your predicament.

        • Char

          You don’t like me or sympathize with my predicament. If you did, you wouldn’t be passionately defending discrimination and ill treatment.

          • One other person is typing…

            How are you suffering ill treatment?

            Are you being sued by Christian bakers for not going to church?

            Is there anything stopping you from going to the baker next door?

            “The lady doth protest too much,methinks.”

          • Paul Wisniewski

            How is this “The lady doth protect too much,methinks” helping your case? It just looks like aggravation to me.

            Everyone needs to remember that we are dealing with a complex topic that crosses over between secular law and Christianity. I know I start to fail myself sometimes because it’s easy to get angry at blasphemy and illogical muddled thinking, etc. etc. can drive logical people who love God to become angry and frustrated but as a Bible Believing Christian, we are called to speak Gods word from a Loving Heart, not with hints of agitation. And before anyone says it, yes, I need to take my own medicine too sometimes. Thanks

          • One other person is typing…

            I found your response rather aggravating
            😉

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Like or dislike is a moot point. You don’t have to like someone to show them love by sharing the truth of the word of God. To those who deny God and hate the truth, correction is hate, when in fact, correction from sin is Love. God wants a personal relationship with every person he has created, but there can be no relationship if you deny him and his word.

    • melinda

      Yes actually. It applies to a lot of people. A lot of us can disagree and then agree amicably to disagree. I can believe I have found the right answer for me without believing that it is the right answer for everyone. I might learn something which would change my mind in the future. But if I believe that I am right, that others are wrong, and that this situation is immutable – then this comes across as superiority of one’s own opinions.

  • Roy Pa

    When I read Christ’s teachings, they sound a lot more in the spirit of Mr. Nieuwhof, than Mr. Van Blaricome. The church is dying because of people like you- because of cherry picking the bible, changing rules when it suits (evolution, slavery, 6000 year old earth, women’s rights, prohibition), because of your hypocrisy, your judgement, your fear and your hatred.

    This was a brilliant article, full of love and letting CHRIST do the real actual work in people. Your comment sounds more like ISIS. You really seem like you get joy out of your Hell comments. Fortunately, you are powerless.

    “The Bible has been used by fallen humans as a tool for both oppression and liberation. God, however, promises to be on the side of the oppressed and the liberators.”

    You, sound an awful lot like an oppressor. Wow! This is a comment you made:

    “It brings me no pleasure to have to tell you this but it is the loving thing to do and that is to say that you are NOT a Christian”

    Holy crap, are you kidding me? It gives you no pleasure to tell them? if that isn’t the exact definition of Judgment…you might want to mix in a little Luke 6:37 into your life.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Actually Roy, the true Church is getting stronger because the tares and the wolves in sheep’s clothing are being identified.

      And for the record, I have done no cherry picking nor do my views on evolution, slavery, 6000yr old earth, women’s rights, prohibition differ in any way from the Bible’s. If, or when, they have changed, it has been to conform to God’s Word.

      As for the name-calling (your hypocrisy, your judgement, your fear and your hatred), I understand. Jesus said it would come so thank you. And I understand when you can’t attack the message, you attack the messenger. Sticks and stones… but that you for putting me in the good company of the Messenger.

      Oh, and btw, you might wanna go to Matt. 7:1-5 to get the whole context of Luke 6:37. I have never said “judging” is wrong. In fact, I have said that Christians are commanded to judge. Matt. 7:1-5 is an exhortation as to how to do so and John 7:24 is a crystal clear command.

      I do wonder though, when you as so many others do, judge those of us who are judging and telll us “judge not”, how is it that you cannot see that is judging?

      • Roy Pa

        You just told someone they they are NOT a Christian? How would you know that! Fool.

        And as for me, I can judge all I want- I do not live by the rules of the bible. I grew up in the church, studied the bible and then discovered science. That is my God. So, I am not a hypocrite. But I sure know one when I see one.

        I feel about your religion EXACTLY the way you feel about Islam. Or Scientology. We are the same in that regard, although I speculate I know more about their beliefs. But as the great Richard Dawkins said – I just take it one religion further. Otherwise, we are the same in our beliefs.

        I was only commenting that you sound so hateful- and Jesus did not. Love can be harsh- but it never sounds like hate. But the “Christians will be oppressed” is always a great argument when someone calls you out for your hypocrisy. Very convenient.

        And while your little seed of hate may be growing like ISIS, the Church is not. It will die away with new knowledge, space exploration and gene studies, just as all your previous beliefs about demon possession, slavery, flat-earths, women being inferior, creation, etc.

        However, probably after your time. For now, Hate On!

        • One other person is typing…

          Non-believers have been predicting the demise of Christianity since the day Christ was crucified. Today there are more Christians alive than at any time in history!

          When Christians are being sued and forced out of business for upholding their faith, that is clearly oppression.

          Try to understand that opposing views are not necessarily motivated by “hate” as your hypocritical comments indicate.

  • One other person is typing…

    What part of

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    implies homosexuals can force Christians to participate in weddings that violate their faith?

    • One other person is typing…

      I repeat my answer below:

      Again you are trying to impose your views on to another group of people – in this case Christians.

      It is up to Christians to decide whether they should participate in homosexual weddings – it’s not up to you or other non-believers to say that the tenets of their faith are “fatuous” and then force them to act against their will.

      Why can’t you show some tolerance?

      Try to overcome your bigotry. Shake hands and go find another baker.

      • Char

        Repetition does not make your point any more cogent. You are not participating in a wedding by taking money in exchange for a cake. There’s no decision for these hypothetical Christians to make: they own a business that provides a service to paying customers in good standing, and in so doing they have agreed to provide that service to all paying customers in good standing, regardless of their minority status.

        There is no violation of the tenets of faith. There is no participation implied by serving all customers without discriminating. The suggestion that there is is fatuous and inane.

        And there is no imposition. Discriminatory laws were imposed on me. Their removal does not impose anything – it merely restores equality and lack of prejudice to the law.

        • One other person is typing…

          You are entitled to that opinion. But you are not entitled to force your views on to others.

          Repetition does not make your point any more cogent.

          Why can’t you show some tolerance?

          Try to overcome your bigotry.

          Shake hands and go find another baker.

          • Char

            Why can’t you show some tolerance? Try to overcome your bigotry. Shake hands and bake me a cake.

          • One other person is typing…

            For the same reason I could not condone prostitution or stealing. They are all sins according to my Christian faith ( and every other major world religion).

            You are not harmed in any way because you can easily find someone else to bake your cake..

          • Char

            For the same reason that I could not condone rejecting an African-American or a Muslim. They are all fellow citizens according to my understanding of civil rights.

            Blacks were not harmed in any way because they could easily find another lunch counter and sit in the back of the bus.

          • One other person is typing…

            Where does the Bible condone non-involvement with Blacks or Muslims?

            Being Black or Muslim is not a sinful behaviour.

          • Char

            Where does the Bible condone non-involvement with sinners? I distinctly remember Christ washing their feet.

          • One other person is typing…

            Washing feet is not a sinful behaviour

            Homosexual weddings are.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            I don’t think she’s saying washing feet is a sinful behavior…

          • One other person is typing…

            Perhaps she will clarify her comment.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            John 13:1-17New International Version (NIV)
            Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet – to show them that they needed to be washed clean by him in a metaphor representing his future sacrifice on the cross. Just as we all need to be washed in the blood of the lamb (accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and that he was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins so through Gods Grace of the sacrifice of his son we may enter the kingdom of heaven) now that he has been crucified and risen again. – This is the purpose of the washing of their feet. No one shall come to the father except through the son.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV

            Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            It depends on what you mean by “non-involvement and “sinners”? The involvement we should have with Unbelievers is to bring them the Word and shine the light into their darkness. Being acquainted with Unbelievers and being involved or becoming friends with them is a totally different story. Paul has already quoted 2Cor 6 and I would point you to James 4:4 as well.

            That said, what you are failing to realize is that participating in a SSM wedding is supporting and even endorsing that which God has commanded we stay completely away from. It is prohibited and would be disobedient to do so. There are many passages in both the OT & NT but 1st Cor. 6, 8 and especially 10 are three that come to mind off the top of my head.

            Apart from those passages and the ones that tells us not to be a stumblingblock to others and to not call Evil good nor Good evil, there is the fact that Marriage is supposed to be a reflection of the Marriage between Christ and His Bride. Christ does not wed and join with the sexually immoral. And, of course, there is the basic Christianity fundamental 101 of following Christ and doing what He would do or not doing what He would not do.

            I must say I am always a little humored by how often the spiritually dead like to quote the parts of the Bible that they conveniently remember which serves their purpose. I would remind you that Satan tried quoting Scripture to Jesus. Didn’t work then. Doesn’t work now.

          • Char

            Funny, because when my dad was a boy, blacks were considered the spawn of Cain. You’re completely ignorant of this stuff, aren’t you?

          • One other person is typing…

            I cannot comment on your father’s opinions.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            I’ve heard that theory before too Char, and I’ve got it on my list of things to investigate further for myself, something in my heart tells me there is ‘something’ to this, but I don’t know what yet. But I do know if you have faith and seek Gods will for your life and accept his son Jesus Christ dieing on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, his will, will be done in your life – this is his promise – this is the good news of Gods word!!

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Actually – no, being black is not, but yes, being Muslim absolutely is. THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME! – The Very 1st of Gods commandments!

          • Paul Wisniewski

            A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem, relates to a person who follows the religion of Islam, a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad

          • One other person is typing…

            I believe Muslims worship the same God but obviously they revere the prophet Mohammed very highly.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Then you need to read the quran – I personally and many other Christians believe the Muslim God Allah to be Satan himself. It’s the religion of he that is in this world. The quran teaches to practice deceit and to kill anyone who doesn’t convert to Islam.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Your belief is wrong.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Woah! Don’t compare being back to Muslim not being a sinful behavior. Being Black most certainly is not but worshipping any god other than God and following anyone other than Christ is.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Apples and oranges, this is not a matter of ethnicity. More false logic.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            Because Christians, just as Jesus Christ himself, and just as God states over and over and over in the Holy Bible; do not tolerate or support sin and God clearly calls homosexuality not only sin, but an abominable sin, and gay ‘marriage’ by definition cannot include God, God does not make sin and he does not participate in sin. That’s why. But I’m sure with the God hating hardened heart that you have you’ll simply continue to make up whatever ridiculous excuse you can come up with continue arguing about it instead opening your heart and actually studying the word of God not leaning on your own understanding (which the bible warns us not to do) but with a heart seeking the will of God to be done in your life. No person will change your mind, only God and his living gift of Grace through accepting the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ dieing for the forgiveness of your sins will save you. I pray that you will seek him out.

          • LoveISLove

            I find it funny that Jesus NEVER once mentions homosexuality EVER. Nor is it mentioned in the 10 Commandments. I would think if it were THAT important Jesus would have spoken about it and it would have been written in the 10 Commandments. Such closed minds. Also Sodom & Gomorrah has nothing to do with gay sex & everything to do with “Hospitality”.
            Love IS Love!

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No, Sin is Not Love, and outside of that, there are MANY different forms of love. For a non-believer that likes to talk about the Bible, it is very evident that you do not understand the things you chose to discuss. I’ve been a born again Christian since being a young child. If you’re interested in having a civil and non-blasphemous discussion I would be happy to share with you what I know the Holy Bible teaches.

            First and foremost though, Jesus is the Son of God; he is also God in the form of man, so in order to understand the teachings of the word of God, you need to realize that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are all separate and all one at the same time. This is why he was crucified.

            The Unbelief of the Jews
            …29″My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30″I and the Father are one.” 31The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.…

            ” I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE “

          • One other person is typing…

            If Love is Love
            why are incestuous, polygamous and child marriage illegal even though they are all based on love?

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Proverbs 14:12 explains it pretty well.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            That’s a LIE. Matt. 19 is clear. Furthermore, Jesus is the Word and the Word became Flesh, and the Word says numerous times that Homosexuality is a sin. You really shouldn’t speak for someone that you don’t have a relationship with and actually know nothing about.

    • Jbzm

      Why so Angry?

      • One other person is typing…

        Poor Char is consumed with misplaced victimhood and bitter animus.

        But it’s good that we can discuss these issues and share opinions.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      What part of “respect” and “decorum” do you not understand? Outta the mouth speaks the heart and that’s pretty rotten. I’m sorry you see the Truth as a club.

    • Miles Mayan

      Well, for instance, if someone from ISIS comes to the US, and his religion teaches to strike at the necks of the unbelievers, he doesn’t have the legal right to start decapitating non-Muslims, even though the law against decapitating people prohibits the free exercise of his religion.

      Basically, your rights end where the next persons rights begin.

      With wedding cakes specifically, gays have the legal right to go to any “public accommodation” (which includes businesses) and expect the same service as everyone else gets. If it’s a hardware store, they have the right to buy a hammer. If it’s a restaurant, they have the right to order a meal. If it’s a wedding cake store, they have the right to buy a wedding cake.

      If Christians don’t want to cater to gay weddings, they should open a hardware store or some other business that doesn’t cater to weddings at all, as if you’re going to sell wedding supplies, you have to sell to all couples.

  • Shaking my Head

    Mr Nieuwhof, I am afraid that your leaving this post open to comments didn’t go over so well based on reading the comments below!

    • melinda

      Go back and read from the beginning. There are some real gems there. The conversation has certainly degraded since then. I am not sure why people (on either “side”) think that they will change minds through repetition of their beliefs and no indication that they are listening and learning.

  • UK Transplant

    My question is-why is this just a Christian issue? Many other world religions believe in the same traditions of marriage that traditional Christians do. And yet I don’t see them maligned in the foray. Perhaps we should quit defining Christianity and following Christ and even Christ himself in ways to fit our own changing lifestyle preferences. I think Christ was and still is the same yesterday, today, and forever-meaning he is loving and caring, but never condoning and excusing.

    • UK Transplant

      And by the way, I see plenty of judgment, name calling, closed-mindedness, and intolerance on BOTH sides of this argument.

      • Char

        People like you, full of false piety, have been judging me, calling me names, excluding me, and failing to tolerate me since I can remember – over three decades. Your self-righteous, narcissistic, and rather pathetic complaint to the contrary, the two sides here are not equivalent. When marriages between Christians are outlawed, when you get beaten so badly you spend five days in the ICU (as I was by a self-declared Christian), when people call Christians pedophiles….then I’ll be open to sympathy with your whingeing.

        • One other person is typing…

          Char there is a lot of bigotry and animus in your comments.

          How prepared are you to tolerate Christians who choose not to participate in homosexual weddings?

          • Char

            With complete equanimity, actually. No Christian should be forced to participate in a wedding.

            However, I do think that Christians operating public accomodations should be subject to antidiscrimination statutes if they refuse to serve on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, nation of origin, or disability.

            Your definition of “participation” is unbelievably fatuous. Performing a professional service is not participation under any reasonable definition of the word, and it never will be no matter how much a minority of bigots who dare to call themselves Christians try to make it so.

          • One other person is typing…

            Again you are trying to impose your views on to another group of people – in this case Christians.

            It is up to Christians to decide whether they should participate in homosexual weddings – it’s not up to you or other non-believers to say that the tenets of their faith are “fatuous” and then force them to act against their will.

            Why can’t you show some tolerance?

            Try to overcome your bigotry. Shake hands and go find another baker.

          • Char

            I do not tolerate intolerance. And you are not participating in a gay marriage.

          • One other person is typing…

            In other words your brand of intolerance is ok with you!!

            Thanks for finally admitting your bigotry.

          • Mark

            the law puts the onus on the baker. Not me. If the baker doesn’t want to play by the rules then he should find another business. If you don’t like it, move.

          • One other person is typing…

            The law is unConstitutional

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            What next – will reading the Bible or praying be deemed illegal?

          • Mark

            Apparently the law isn’t unconstitutional.

          • One other person is typing…

            Then explain how such laws comply with the First Amendment

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            And consider the prophetic words of the Apostle Paul:

            Ephesians 6:12
            For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities , against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

          • Char

            Yes, the laws enabling discrimination

            Your ability to practice Christianity freely is not prohibited. Christ did not direct his followers to refuse to serve on the basis of sexual orientation. In fact, he encouraged them to do so, which is why I don’t think you’re practicing Christianity.

          • One other person is typing…

            Where did Christ direct His followers to participate in homosexual weddings?
            Or promote any other form of sin?

            Chapter and verse please

          • Char

            Where did Christ refuse to wash the feet of prostitutes? Where did Christ refuse to lift the poor from the dust?

          • One other person is typing…

            Are either of these sinful behaviours?

          • Char

            Well, you’ve been equating homosexuality to prostitution all afternoon, so you tell me. Was Jesus participating in prostitition when he provided comfort and fellowship to prostitutes?

          • Char

            Prostitution is sinful, is it not? Was Jesus participating in prostitution?

          • One other person is typing…

            How was Jesus facilitating prostitution?

        • Jbzm

          We are not judging you. Your actions judges yourself. As followers of Christ we believe in discernment and when we see something evil we are commanded by Christ Himself to flee. You sir do evil deeds when you commit homosexual acts.
          If you do not believe homosexual acts are sinful and wicked then our moral beliefs are on different planes.
          This is how we love the sinner yet hate the sin. I hope you see you are more than your sexual acts.

        • Jeff

          Um… That and hundreds of times worse has happen to Christians for thousands of years including right now all over the world. :-(. So sad for what happened to you. I hope that person was caught charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make you one. Sorry you were abused by someone daring to use a term for themselves that means Christ-like.

    • melinda

      Not just a christian issue. We just have freedom of belief and debate that are not available in other places. I can guarantee that they are not having this conversation in Saudi Arabia!

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    Wow! What extents some will go to in order to try and diminish or eradicate the message and the truths of God’s Word. I can sum up all that lengthy blather with this: Proverbs 14:12.

    The error in the gist of your message can be seen in your first paragraph with ” evil anti-gay message.” First of all, God said woe to those who call Evil good and Good evil. If by “anti-gay” you mean calling Homosexuality a sin, then Jesus was anti-gay so there would be nothing “evil” about it. Secondly, “gay” is a lie. There is nothing “gay” about it. And those who practice their “gayness” are of their father the Devil because they are living a lie and he is the father of all lies and they are sons of disobedience (Eph. 2) And you end you drivel, if not diatribe, with more lies and even a subtle attack on the Word of God. There is nothing in Scripture that shows an irrational fear of Man or even Mankind who have SSA.

    Lastly, you just crossed a VERY dangerous line and claimed to be speaking as a literal Prophet of God. Since you gave a false message, that makes you a false prophet. You would do well to read what God has to say about that and do some repenting yourself in the hopes that God does not carryout the punishment He gives for such.

    I will consider your writings a warning from your god – the god of this World – and give it all the due credence it deserves.

    • Ron Gilbert

      Amen.

    • UK Transplant

      Wow to both of you. No wonder no one is listening.

      • Paul Wisniewski

        JRichards = absolute blasphemy and either blinded by hatred or ignorance or both. He needs to ask himself why he hates God so much instead of trying to argue against people who share the truth of the word of God. With some people with such hatred in their hearts for God, all you can do is pray for them that the Holy Spirit will somehow enter their lives and for Gods will to be done. Remember the Bible also says, not all will be saved, and we as Christians can’t save anyone only God can do that. All we can do is try to be examples of Gods love by honoring the truth in his word. As a God loving Christian I can get very angry when I hear such blasphemy against our Lord, but that’s where I have to step back and call on the Holy Spirit to calm my mind and heart.

        • JRichards

          Personally I think that trying to pretend that God is a nasty, sex-obsessed monster who hates people just because they love one another would be blasphemy and would show hatred of God. I have a much higher opinion of God.

          • One other person is typing…

            Who has said that God hates anybody??

            The Bible teaches the opposite

            John 3:16 For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            No one’s playing make-believe with God but you. Your opinion of God makes no difference, it’s Gods opinion of you that matters and he will say he never knew you if you don’t repent of your sin and accept his Grace and his very clear word.

          • JRichards

            If you think that your god is evil, that is your decision. I see nothing can change your mind on that issue. I have a much higher opinion of God.

          • Paul Wisniewski

            It’s your god, not my God, that is evil. I pray you turn your life to Christ, repent and be saved.

    • JRichards

      Wow! You really hate being treated the way you treat others! Doesn’t that make you stop and think?

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        I have no idea what you are talking about. And I’m pretty sure you have NO idea what I am thinking or feeling. God does though. And, just so you know, what I stop and think about is the Word of God.

  • Krissi

    I love this post. I’d just like to suggest, please don’t make any assumptions about the sexuality of the members and attenders of your congregation. Yes, many of your unmarried congregants may be having sex. And yet, some may have had sex and are trying not to now, which can be a struggle. And some may actually have never had sex. Some may be straight. A few may be gay or trans or something you’ve never even heard of. I know someone in everyone of those categories. Talk about sex. Talk about premarital and extramarital sex and what the Bible says about it, but please know different attenders on any given Sunday are having very different experiences and not one of them wants to be lumped in with an assumption.

  • Yuri

    Hi, everyone. Thank you Carey for great resource you have created here. I am a Ukrainian, living in Atlanta, GA. Our people are facing war because they dared to stand for the right to be free. Now I have a question under our topic. Why have great church leader remain silent about this decision in US? If some of them have congregations over 30 k people, can they protest the decision?

    • Mark

      Sure they can protest. And many have.

      You realize, Yuri, laws in the U.S. arent based on religious doctrine.

      We have laws dealing with equality. The government issues marriage licenses and in the spirit of our constitution, marriage must be made available to any two consenting adults. It’s really rather simple. But church leaders and all sorts of other people have contested marriage equality. They presented many, many different ideas about why same sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed. But court after court, especially in the last 5 years, found those arguments without merit. There was no legal and compelling reason to restrict marriage equality.

      So, back to your question–people can protest and scream and cry and get angry all they want. But the simple fact is that marriage equality is here in this country. And it won’t go away. Good luck to you. Welcome to our country and I hope you enjoy it!

      • One other person is typing…

        marriage equality is here in this country….”

        How can you say that when polygamous, incestuous and child marriages are illegal?

        Even though their respective participants all believe they were “born that way” and they all love their desired companions.

        • Mark

          well, children are just that–not cnnsentig adults. There are a whole slew of laws and precedence that illustrate why children can’t get a variety of licenses. They aren’t emotionally and physically mature.

          Incestuous (meanjng like brother and sister?). Not sure.

          As for polygamous marriages – I don’t know. I imagine it would have more to do with tax implications. I suppose if three people wanted to get married they could.

          • One other person is typing…

            Until these questions are resolved it is a lie to say we have marriage equality

          • Mark

            Lol. Ok. I’ll give you a 1/2 point on a technicality. Same sex marriage.

            I’m SURE you’ll be advocating for polygamous marriage, correct? (That was a joke btw)

          • One other person is typing…

            Jesus said that marriage is between one man and one woman.

            I hope you will stop using the expression “marriage equality” now you know it is fallacious.

            Use “homosexual marriage” if you want to be correct.

          • Mark

            You really are humorless.

          • One other person is typing…

            I just want to help you to be correct.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            Marriage equality is just the legality of the ruling it has no baring on the bible and does not change our faith in any way 🙂
            What they are talking about however I believe has to do with the rights that go along with marriage ; like my husband being allowed in the ICU if i’m in a wreck, or him automatically having the right to raise our children, my property automatically being his if I die, his right to shut off my machine, my right to claim him on my taxes. I think you would agree that If you are in a committed, loving relationship these ‘rights’ ought to accompany that commitment and yet they were denied these rights until this recent ruling.
            I don’t really think many of them care about the term “marriage” but they certainly did care about the things that go along with it and altho most states did offer civil unions some stood firm against it, which really then forced their hand simply to acquire these rights. also in the civil unions altho most of the rights the rest of us have were put in them not all were.. If you want to be mad about the language in the ruling be angry with the states that refused the civil unions in the first place that really is the reason it ever went to the supreme court in the first place 🙂

        • Tami Miller Skinner

          In the case of incest and children; both of these are forcible acts on unwilling participants it would not fall into the same category in any stretch of the imagination.

  • Brian Elsberry

    i’ve always been gay and i’ve always been a christian. i grew up in church and i was really involved in all kinds of church things. then i stopped. i didn’t stop being a christian but i stopped being around so many. mainly because i knew in my heart that if they knew my true heart they’d disown me. after reading this and some of the other more positive feedback from the new america where ALL of us can be married to the one we love, i realized that i need to get more involved in church. i need to find one but for now i’ll pay close attention to these posts. thank you!!!!

    • Yuri

      Sorry to disappoint you, Brain. Your Christianity is illusive. You are either uninformed and shallow, or ignorant of what the Bible clearly speaks about gay relationships. You, guys, can exploit church doctrines, but not the true church. People, around the world, despise Western church for compromising, and Western society for distorting normal human relationships. You know it.

      • Mark

        Except…more and more people are accepting iof LGBT and more and more and more Christian denominations slow same sex marriage. So…

  • Dwight Gingrich

    Thank you…! The best compliment I can give is that I think you must know Christ well. Your words sound like what he wants to say to his church in North American now.

  • Christy Notley

    I have many friends in the LGBT lifestyle and while I may never totally agree with their lifestyle and their choices, they are my friends and they will always be that first and foremost. I would never push my Christian faith upon them, but most of them are already. I just think literally when it comes to marriage it should be biblical but that is me. Change is hard and I think our country is very spilt and I am on one side but having friends on the other makes me see it from their view as well. Only someone who does not fully understand God and the Bible doesn’t know whether or not churches have lost their way. True some are a little more contemporary but they still preach God’s Word.

    • Mark

      Thank you and may I kindly suggest eliminating the word “lifestyle?” Except for the sex, my life is no more a “lifestyle” tha yours–work, education, family, friends, laundry! Thanks.

    • Brian Elsberry

      thanks, christy. everyone does interpret God differently, i guess but one thing i can promise you is that being gay is NOT a choice for me.

  • Jeri

    I’m sorry you neglected to leave out how much abuse the LGBT community has suffered at the hands of “Christians.” In #4 you talked of Paul’s suffering at the hands of the government, but again, you neglected to talk of the suffering the LGBT community has had at the hands of the government–the arrests, abuse, laws of discrimination that continue through “Christian” morality of supposedly “Christian” government officials. But you’re right. It does need to come from within your own religious community: tolerance, non-judgmental dialog, and acceptance. Because gay people are here to stay. They’ve always been here. Always will be.

    • Mark

      And it was fine when we were quiet and “in our place.” As we spoke up and spoke out and sought equality, some (certainly not all) people including lots of Chrisitians got indignant. “How dare they challenge us? How dare they demand equal treatment?” The horribly imbalanced, unjust status quo was challenged. Happily, the firinge thinking is diminishing though there are some astounding examples on this site.

  • Mario

    It’s not about Christians it’s about learning to love! If you open a business it is to make money from the “Public”! The church has lost it way and the rhetoric is far from the ways of Jesus!

    • One other person is typing…

      In places where prostitution is legal do you think Christians should open brothels to make money from the public?

      • Char

        You’re a fan of the argument from extremes, aren’t you?

        • One other person is typing…

          Why is it any more extreme than forcing Christian business owners to participate in homosexual weddings??

          Can you answer my question?

          • Char

            Christian business owners aren’t being forced to participate in same-sex weddings. Pretty simple.

          • Mark

            Except for a Vegas wedding chapel, I’m wracking my brain to know what business would participate in a wedding! Our photographer didn’t participate. He was there providing a service. He didn’t say vows. He didn’t read a prayer. He provided a service that he advertises–wedding photography. A decidedly non-religious professional service.

          • Char

            Exactly. It’s like the kid at the seafood counter insisting that he’s being forced to participate in my dinner. It’s a fatuous exercise in the torture of logic by people trying to dress up a naked act of hostile, exclusionary discrimination.

          • Mark

            The pretzel-like contortions mixed with a lack of understanding of long-standing civics and civil rights laws is astounding. And sad.

          • wildchill

            Except to the tune of a 135,000 fine in Oregon .

          • Char

            That was for discrimination. Which, on the basis of sexual orientation, is illegal in Oregon – much as religion, nation of origin, and gender are.

          • UK Transplant

            Actually here in the UK there was a lawsuit recently that was won by the LGBT community when a cake shop refused to make a cake for the wedding. They were sued and found that the cake shop discriminated when refusing. I didn’t hear what the penalty was. But to me that is forcing some one’s beliefs on someone else through the law of the government. So yes, it does happen.

          • Char

            And I still fail to see where there was forced participation. Baking a cake is not participation.

          • James

            No genuine Christian opposes marriage equality.

          • Uk Transplant

            Um yes we do. I can oppose a practice that I don’t believe in without opposing a human being. Doesn’t mean I’m not Christian. Christ never condoned the sin, but invited the sinner to follow him in changing his ways.

      • Mark

        Iif they want o, sure. Some Christians in sure would happily make money from a brother. Some wouldn’t. Calling oneself a Christian isn’t any indication of their values.

        • One other person is typing…

          If calling oneself a Christian isn’t any indication of their values, then what is it?

          I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Christian faith.

          • Mark

            Christians break the law and are arrested all the time. Your point is…?

          • One other person is typing…

            Everybody sins, including Christians.

            The difference is Christians accept they are doing wrong and seek redemption for their sins.

            As opposed to codifying sinful acts into law and promoting them.

          • Char

            What’s being codified into law by the repeal of laws?

          • One other person is typing…

            The acceptance of homosexual behaviour and homosexual marriage.

          • wildchill

            There is a difference between sinning and living in sin. Isn’t there? Everyone sins. Ask for forgiveness and” try”to do better and you are forgiven. If you continue to do the same sin , then are you forgiven? I do not expect non-Christian’s to live a Christian life. Therefore non-Christian should not expect Christian businesses to cater to anything that goes against their beliefs . Fair enough?

          • Mark

            And since there are many many many different values how could one possibly summarize someone’s set of values. As I stated, one might presume that Christians believe in obeying the law. Clearly there are those who don’t. I know many Christians who are pro choice. Some are not. Etc.

          • Char

            A lifestyle choice.

          • JRichards

            All sorts of people have called themselves Christian and made a huge deal about it. Adolph Hitler did so when deciding to make Jews the victims of the day. The KKK made a huge point about being Christian when lynching innocent Blacks. The various inquisitions and the witch trials and the Crusades were all from people who called themselves Christians. And there are plenty of GOOD people who call themselves Christian as well. There are good Christians and bad Christians. The values are what the individual has. And different versions of Christianity all have different ideas of why the other versions are not really moral.

      • Krissi

        Opening a business that is perfectly ethical by Christian standards and then refusing certain customers and accepting others is very different from opening a business that is, in itself, unethical by Christian standards.

  • One other person is typing…

    Anyone who thinks Christians are not being persecuted in the US should follow the story of the Christian bakers in Oregon, whose First Amendment rights to both Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech are under attack:

    State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K
    July 02, 2015

    Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

    In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

    “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page.

    “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

    • Dingo

      Since the bakers were operating a business that is a ‘public accommodation’ they can not choose to serve their advertised goods/services to some customers, but not others, on the basis of the customer’s sexual preference. If they provide cakes for ‘straight weddings’ they have to provide ones for ‘gay weddings’ too. If they wanted to discriminate, they should have opened a subscription only bakery club where entry is regulated by paying a fee. Simple.
      They can no more discriminate based on sexual orientation, than a diner owner can discriminate based on the colour of a persons skin.

      • One other person is typing…

        “Discrimination” is often used disingenuously as a mask for bigotry.

        Should a homosexual couple show tolerance for another person’s faith and find a different bakery?

        If prostitution was legal should a Christian hotel owner be forced to allow prostitution in their hotel?

        Should a Muslim restaurant owner be forced to offer pork dishes?

        Should a vegetarian restaurant owner be forced to provide meat dishes?

        Should this Christian couple in Oregon be banned from even discussing their case???

        It’s becoming very clear what Paul meant when he wrote in Ephesians 6:12

        “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities , against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

        Those high places include the Oregon Labor Commission and the US Supreme Court.

        • Mark

          The vegetarian example is not relevant. The vegetarian restaurant doesn’t serve meat to anyone. What they are required to do is to serve their vegetarian dishes to everyone. What part of this don’t you understand. It’s clear that you fervently wish this wasn’t the law. But it is. Accept it. It won’t change.

          • One other person is typing…

            According to your logic, by not serving meat vegetarian restaurant owners are discriminating against meat-eaters.

            Including meat-eaters who are “born that way” and those who are motivated to eat meat out of “love”.

            They should be fined, forced out of business and forbidden from discussing their case??

        • Dingo

          Firstly, the customer is the customer. The business owners operate the ‘public accommodation’. The onus is on the business owner, not the customer, to provide their goods/services to the public, not on the public to grill business owners on their religious and personal beliefs.
          Secondly, if prostitution is not illegal, and there are no other legal issues (health & safety, say), it’s not the business owner job to regulate the customer’s *legal* use of that service.
          Thirdly, the business only has to provide such goods and services they have represented that they provide. Muslim restaurants don’t serve pork, vegan restaurant don’t serve meat, they can’t be forced to serve meals they don’t normally provide (they *may* do so if they wish).
          Bakers could be reasonably expected to bake cakes.
          As explained earlier, no one is infringing their right to proclaim their faith, their favourite recipe for zucchini buns or their lottery numbers, merely that they respect the privacy of the parties in the legal dispute. They would expect the same I’m sure.

          • One other person is typing…

            “the business only has to provide such goods and services they have represented that they provide. ”

            Fine. So a Christian baker can represent that they provide services to traditional marriages between one man and one woman.

            According to your logic, by not serving meat vegetarian restaurant owners are discriminating against meat-eaters.

            Including meat-eaters who are “born that way” and those who are motivated to eat meat out of “love”.

            They should be fined, forced out of business and forbidden from discussing their case?

          • Char

            No, because a bakery is reasonably construed as a public accomodation. Public accomodations cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, disability, and in many places sexual orientation.

            A vegetarian restaurant doesn’t serve meat to anybody. A comparable case would be a baker that does not offer wedding cakes.

          • Mark

            Good lord you’re dense. Wrong! Continue to be ignorant.

          • Dingo

            The Bakers claimed they produced cakes. They produced near-identical cakes for other weddings. When this couple asked to bake a cake for them they refused solely based on their moral disapproval. If they provided cakes for others, they have to provide cakes for them too.
            When you buy a car from a used-car dealership the sales person doesn’t grill you on what use you might put the vehicle to, do they? It’s not any of the dealership’s business if the customer might blow it up, use it to transport corpses to funerals or paint it in swirly colours and have clowns come out of it.
            But it would be reasonable (and legal) for a used-car dealership *not* to provide three-tier, iced, strawberry-shortcake if it’s not a service or product that’s part of their advertised business (they *might* do so to ‘sweeten’ the deal, however, if they wished). Whether the customer innately eats such fancy confectionaries or not isn’t relevant, if that’s what they said they’d provide…

          • James

            If the baker is truly Christian, he/she will not refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

          • One other person is typing…

            Why not??

            Why should you dictate how somebody else can live according to their faith?

            Are the homosexual couple harmed in any way? Are there no other bakers available?

            Or are the homosexuals motivated by a personal animus against Christians?

          • James

            Opposition to marriage equality is incompatible with the Gospel of Christ.

        • Marion

          Excellent point. As Christians, we love, and speak the truth of Scripture in love. We do not condemn nor condone. When He saved the adulterous woman from death by stoning, Jesus said, “go now, and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 NIV.

          • wildchill

            Key word …leave…not continue .

          • Marion

            Precisely. Thank you for your comment. Repent be baptized and be saved.

        • Mark

          Should black people have to choose a different restaurant because someone says they don’t serve blacks?

          • One other person is typing…

            Would that represent a basic tenet of a legitimate religion?

            I think not. Certainly it goes against the teachings of the Holy Bible.

            You are posing a strawman argument.

          • Mark

            People claiming to be Christian have used “the Bible” and “God” as their reason for discrimination. Surely you know that. Look no further than the KKK- a group that claims to be Christian.

    • Dingo

      Also – confidentiality clauses are commonly used in legal cases. It is not a First Amendment issue. They are perfectly free to proclaim their faith (from the rooftops if they so wish) or anything else, they just can’t disclose details of the case to the press for reasons of privacy. (I’m sure they wouldn’t want their personal details splashed across the waiting press either)

      • One other person is typing…

        Defendants may have a right to privacy in some situations but that cannot preclude their right to Free Speech if they choose to exercise it

        • Dingo

          Not if part of the settlement is not to discuss the details of the case.
          Anyway, clearly it doesn’t preclude them speaking about their faith or anything else (except what they have agreed not to discuss, for reasons of privacy).
          [The First Amendment has time and place restrictions]

    • Mark

      They broke the law. They weren’t persecuted. Jeez- please learn about our civic and civil rights laws and stop spouting incorrect information. These laws are quite clear and have been in place for years. In this day and age, it’s inexcusable that adults in the U.S. don’t know this.

      • One other person is typing…

        What part of

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

        implies homosexuals can force Christians to participate in weddings that violate their faith?

        • Mark

          No one in their right mind thinks baking a wedding cake is participating in a wedding. The business sells wedding cakes. They have to sell to everyone.

          • One other person is typing…

            So now you are accusing all those Christian business owners of not being “in their right mind”??

            Is this your idea of tolerance?

            Why do you think you should dictate how others exercise their faith?

          • Char

            Because that is not an excercise of faith. It’s petty, small-minded, self-righteous bullying.

            Tolerance is often misconstrued by people who don’t stand to benefit from it.

          • One other person is typing…

            Again, you are trying to decide on behalf of other people because you think you know better. And you refuse to tolerate their difference of opinion.

            That is the definition of bigotry.

            If a Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu or Muslim baker considers homosexual marriage to be an anathema, why not respect their views, just as you expect them to respect yours?

          • Char

            I tolerate opinions and differences between them just fine. You are free to believe whatever you wish about homosexuals. I do not tolerate the act of discrimination, and your opinion does not entitle you to discriminate.

          • One other person is typing…

            Define “discrimination”.

            Does it simply means someone disagreeing with you??

          • Char

            No, it means relegating me to second-class citizenship, piously insisting on the right to exclude me from public life and failing to treat me as you’d treat any other customer, beating the crap out of me, passing laws to harass me….that sort of thing.

          • One other person is typing…

            How are you relegated anywhere or excluded from anything??

            Why can’t you respect the faith of others, show some tolerance and go to another bakery??

            Is anyone suing you for not going to church??

          • Mark

            Wth? Char and I have this every way to Sunday. Pray, believe, preach whatever you want. We respect that. We want you to do that. Just don’t expect to operate a *public* business and think you get to discriminate.

          • wildchill

            Oh ok, discrimination bad….reverse discrimination good. Ok I got it.

          • Mark

            No you obviously don’t get it. Many of you think in making this up. It’s the law. If you don’t like it, you’re going to need to start with repeal of a whole slew of federal, state and local laws and ordinaces.

          • Long Time Business Person

            Since when was it a “public” business? Wasn’t run by “public” money or “publicly” employed people. Maybe you had better check the laws again.

          • Mark

            I guess I am. And so does the law.

          • One other person is typing…

            And clearly that is not Constitutional

          • Mark

            Exactly. Now make the next logical step (described in a whole slew of local, state and federal laws and ordinaces) that business owners can’t discriminate against LGBT.

          • One other person is typing…

            Clearly all those laws lurking behind the deceptive guise of “discrimination” contravene the First Amendment

            What part of

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            implies homosexuals can force Christians to participate in weddings that violate their faith?

          • DimChaps

            They were in effect denied the right to protest? Is that not so?

          • Mark

            No, that is not so. I’m not going to answer it again.

          • James Snapp, Jr.

            “No one in their right mind thinks baking a wedding cake is participating in a wedding.”

            Oh. So I guess baking a cake with a Confederate flag on it isn’t participating in racism, either. So bakers who refuse to make Confederate-flag cakes should be sued for every penny they’ve got. Don’t you agree? Your argument does.

            “They have to sell to everyone.”

            But not everything. Cakes with words on them are a form of communication — i.e., legally, speech. And no one should be legally compelled to say something they do not want to say.

          • Mark

            jesus – how hard is this? Do they sell confederate cake flags at all; to anyone?

        • James

          Opposition to marriage equality is incompatible with the Gospel of Christ.

          • wildchill

            Is opposition to sin incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

          • One other person is typing…

            Wrong.

            In fact the opposite is true

    • James

      Those bakers were not acting like Christians in refusing to bake that cake. They were being very unchristian.

      • wildchill

        You know this how? You can read their thoughts? You have the same faith as them? There are many different denominations of Christians . Who believe differently. Who are you to judge?

    • Krissi

      Freedom of religion is the freedom of the separation of church and state and the freedom to worship as you please so long as it DOES NOT HARM OTHERS. And freedom of speech is freedom of speech, not freedom of action. And that’s where they were wrong. As a gospel-loving Christian and an Oregonian, I have very little sympathy for them. If they want to bake cakes and pick and choose their customers, they can open a non-profit. It won’t make them rich, but it will make them free, as they wish to define it.

      People are murdered for their faith in Jesus. Limbs are cut off. Their houses are burned to the ground. They watch their family members get raped. Anybody who thinks Christians are not being persecuted in the US is right.

      • UK Transplant

        Why can’t a business owner refuse business to whom he chooses. Many business openly advertise right of refusal for reasons of their choice. With as many bakers as there are out there I fail to see how the gay couple were harmed. Grow up. People are rejected every day for many and various reasons. Let’s start lawsuits because someone looked at me cross eyed and it hurt my feelings.

        • Char

          Because people in a civilized, pluralisitic society should have a realistic expectation that they will be able to participate fully in the public sphere – to be treated as equals, and with equal respect and dignity, to all other citizens as they transact business and go about their lives. There is no place for second-class citizens in a pluralistic democracy.

          If you fail to see how exclusion from public life and equal treatment is harmful, it’s you who needs to grow up.

          • One other person is typing…

            ” There is no place for second-class citizens in a pluralistic democracy….”

            So why are polygamists and close relatives denied marriage?

            Why are Christians not able to practice their faith by not participating in homosexual weddings?

            Why must the GBLT community be so bigoted, hateful and intolerant?

            Are there no other bakeries in Oregon?

          • Michael Petch

            Polygamy and Poylandry should be allowed. As for close relatives being denied marriage – greater good. The science behind inbreeding and its effects are well known and is a threat to the gene pool that can be minimized by legislation.

          • Miles Mayan

            On polygamous marriage, there is huge potential for abuse of the tax system, so it should probably be kept illegal. Otherwise, 8 different couples could enter into a 16 way “marriage” and get some pretty obscene tax benefits.

          • Michael Petch

            We shouldn’t be giving out tax breaks to those who get married (period). If you can’t afford to have a kid with potentially two incomes then I say you should choose not to have them.

    • JRichards

      So it is your contention that if a private business decides to exclude people from their business or services because of their discriminatory practices should be allowed to force others to buy from them who do not share their beliefs? You see, they went out of business because the general public felt they did not want to patronize a business of that type. And, believe it or not. laws against slander and harassment actually are on the books. They are welcome to create their own private club which clearly and explicitly is for members of that club. Or they can be open to the marketplace and be bound by the laws governing their business. You can put up a “Whites only because we are Christian” sign in front of your restaurant, but you will lose in court.

  • Mario

    The narratives in the Bible are there to give us examples of life. And to show us how we should be as a people. However Jesus left us with one Law. “Love your neighbor as yourself” ! If everyone would be real here lies the problem!

  • Mario

    I feel most Christians have fogotten that Jesus said render to Ceasar what is due! Paul said you have to obey the laws of the land. Remember The children of Israel stayed in the wilderness for many years because of disobedience. The bottom line he is we have to The children of Israel stayed in the wilderness for many years because of disobedience. The bottom line is we have to learn to love. Love is what draws people!

    • One other person is typing…

      Pedophiles love children – does that mean pedophilia should be accepted and tolerated?

      • Mark

        Keep up the positive PR!

      • Mario

        God is the only”Judge” ! Anger and Sin Not!

      • Dingo

        Please don’t tell me you have to have the concept of CONSENT explained to you.

        • One other person is typing…

          In other words you DON’T believe ” the bottom line is we have to learn to love”.

          You agree that some conditions have to be applied beyond “love”?

          Or that certain actions that go beyond “love” should be opposed?

          • Dingo

            If you are having difficulty differentiating between love that is found in a marriage between two consenting adults and paedophilia, then I’m afraid that you’re not really ‘up to speed’ on the issues. When you catch up, we’ll talk.

          • One other person is typing…

            Thank you for agreeing with me that your disingenuous use of the word “love” to cover for everything was deceptive.

          • Char

            You’re not behaving in this thread as if you have any concept of what grace and love really are, beyond the most narcissistic and superficial ways those words can be construed.

          • One other person is typing…

            Char, are you now agreeing with me that there are multiple nuances behind the simple word “love”?

          • Char

            No, not in the way you’re attempting to torture the word.

          • Mark

            Except that pedophilia is against the law and homosexuality isn’t. One is about non consensual sex with a minor. One isn’t. Other than that…

            I’m not kidding when I say this: after reading some of your posts, I thought you were being ironic or satirical. Sadly, I’ve reached the conclusion that you aren’t.

          • One other person is typing…

            Mark, you are agreeing with me that loving another person does not excuse any kind of interaction with that person.

            We both believe pedophilia is immoral – even if it is motivated by “love”.

            I believe homosexual sex falls into the same category.

          • Mark

            Pedophilia is not miivated by love. It is an illness.

            Homosexuality is not an illness.

            That you make even a tangential connection is ungracious, at best. I’m trying like hell to find evidence that you’re just not being a complete asshole but you’re not making it very easy.

      • Michael Petch

        Pedophilia has been accepted, supported, and tolerated for generations by Catholics. Canada’s residential school crisis is probably the best example of systematic abuse. This abuse was by the hands of Christians (Majority Roman Catholics, and Protestants). It hasn’t been until recently that our government has apologized however part of the reconciliation process was the hope that the Pope would apologize. That hasn’t happened (and likely won’t). The Vatican probably doesn’t want to admit to the lives of children it destroyed.

        Then of course there are all the cases of pedophilia among priests and other Catholic clergy in North America. Abuse that was not only tolerated but was supported by giving the priests more fresh blood by Bishops moving them around to different clergy knowing full well what was going on. The Vatican’s initial response to the lawsuits? Blame the victims.

        • Michael Petch

          And of course back in the latter part of the 20th century the Vatican’s Secretary of State blamed the culture of child abuse among clergy on homosexuality.

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        As a Christian I am tired of seeing comments like this arise. Homosexuals are not hurting you in any way and they aren’t hurting each other. It takes an inherent ignorance to even compare the two. Pedophilia is a crime of force against someone homosexuality is 2 consenting people. seriously I’m a tad concerned at just how obsessed you seem to be at what others do in their bedrooms. I certainly don’t care what you do in yours and I can’t imagine why anyone would care what’s happening in mine either, so why do we care what happens in theirs? . geeez

    • James Snapp, Jr.

      Mario,
      Paul said that Christians should obey the laws of the land, within the parameters of the rule of Christ — an important distinction. In Acts 5, the apostles clearly disobeyed the Sanhedrin (a local governmental agency) because they wanted to obey God instead.

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        Actually not exactly correct James…

        “Let Everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels
        against the authority is rebelling against what Gog has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
        Romans 13:1-2

  • Mark

    Well…I think that is precisely the problem/challenge. The word of God means many different things to many different people. Perhaps some stories and examples about how and why people came to the conclusion they have. If you wanted to be really provocative, have each side argue the others side!

  • Nancy Johnson

    Thank you for sharing this excellent and Christlike approach to this subject.

  • Marion

    I would sincerely like to hear the interpretation by Christian homosexuals of what some people refer to as the “clobber passages” of the Bible. These are: Genesis
    2:24, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1Corinthians 6:9
    1Timothy 1:10, Romans 1:31, 2 Timothy 3:3, and Jude 6-7.

    Am I missing something? I really want to hear your point of view on these Scriptures. Not to judge, but to better understand.

    • Mario

      Read Matthew Vines book “God and the Gay Christian” it will help you with this question!

      • Marion

        Ok, but how do you respond to God’s book on the subject, explained in the Scriptures referenced above. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think His wisdom trumps man’s wisdom in all things. Do you agree?

        • Mario

          I believe it is wrong to Judge others! God has no respective person! Most of us have forgotten that we are not God…

    • JRichards

      I would be glad to help.

      Genesis 2:24 hardly rates as a clobber passage. It is talking about two specific people. It is quite a strain to get an anti-gay meaning out of it.

      Genesis 2:21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

      22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

      23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

      24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

      25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

      Actually, if you wanted to examine those passages in detail with a modern understanding of science, you would find something very interesting. God takes part of Adam (his rib) and grows a new person from it. We have a word for that today. It is called “cloning”. An interesting thing about a clone is that the clone is ALWAYS the same sex as the original. As it was in the beginning so it now and always shall be. If a clone was the opposite sex of the original THEN, it would be the same now. But it isn’t. So we know that clones were the same sex at that time as well.

      The passage you quoted is extremely interesting when looked at with our new understanding of biology. Here we see the word “woman” (isha in Hebrew, with man being ish) being defined the very first time it is being used. It is defined as meaning “out of man” — in other words, a clone. Another man. Words do change meaning over time, and clearly this one has changed in meaning. When we follow the story we find out how this happened.

      Clearly Eve must have been changed by God from a man into what we now know as a woman some time after originally being created. The important question is when and why this happened.

      IT COULD have happened right at the beginning, before Adam even woke up. But actually we know this is not the case, because the Bible shows the exact time Eve is given female characteristics,

      Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

      This was done at the time of their expulsion for the Garden of Eden. Eve was given female characteristics at that time, which means that previously they were both MEN at the time of the passage you mentioned where it speaks of the two cleaving to one another.
      However, just because the Bible says this about two men does not mean that heterosexual couples or two women for that matter cannot love one another and marry. I have no plan to force the government to invalidate all heterosexual marriages because of these passages in the Bible. That would be wrong.

      • Marion

        JR, in love I will tell you that your clever misinterpretation of Scripture supports your position but is groundless. Eve was woman from her conception as the progeny of Adam’s rib. God in this instance, as in all other divine acts of creation is not constrained by our limited human understanding of “biology”. The conception by the Holy Spirit and birth of Jesus to a virgin is another example. Good try, but unsubstantiated by other evidence of God’s biology, unconstrained by human thought or understanding. The “timing” argument is also totally conjecture. What about the other verses. especially Leviticus? Also, give me your take on 1 Corinthians 6:9 in the New Testament. Also Romans 1:26-27 in the context of man’s history of defiant sin; sexual and otherwise. I need your wisdom as to how sin becomes non-sin in the Word of a holy God.

        • JRichards

          I am well aware that god is not constrained but can change things as he wishes. Clearly at the beginning Eve was male. That is what happens when you create a clone, and the Bible went to great detail to describe the act of cloning. Surely God would not have made such a major point of doing it this way for no reason. He COULD have created Eve out of nothing, or out of 100 pounds of clay (as in the inaccurate song.) But God CHOSE to create a clone. The only question is, when did the change occur? The fact is, the Bible SHOWS when the change occurred — at the time they were expelled from Eden.

          • Marion

            Let me get your point…
            Eve was created male? JR you’re too smart to believe that. I understand it’s a difficult argument to defend, with no support in Genesis or anywhere else.

          • JRichards

            Tell you what. Check with a biologist. Ask him this question: “If I take a part of a living organism and grow a new organism from that same DNA, will the new organism be the same sex as the original, or the opposite sex from the original?” The Bible made a very clear description of cloning. As I said, if this was not being used in some bizarre twisted manner to condemn innocent people and try to deny them basic human rights, it would not be worth discussing. However, if anyone wants to use that passage in that way, then they have to face facts.

        • JRichards

          Fortunately the Conservative Jews have already looked at the issue of Leviticus and found that they do not support the anti-gay message. That is why Conservative Jews now are accepting of gays.

          It helps to look at the original Hebrew:

          V’eish – And THE man (an individual of an age old enough to know what he is doing — basically age of consent)

          asher – that

          yeeshcav – lies

          es-zachor – with any males (of any age, specifically excluding the idea of consent or age of consent) or any persons of either sex (mankind)

          meeshcavei – as he would lie

          eishah – with A woman (or with his wife) — precisely one individual

          toe-ei-vah – a ritual impurity (used to describe such things as eating shellfish)

          aw-soo – has been committed

          she-nei-hem – by them BOTH (precisely two people, in this case the man and the woman, the man and his wife because those are the only two individuals mentioned)

          Since this ritual impurity, whatever it happens to be, was committed by a man and his wife, it cannot refer to homosexuality.

          Notice that it is the man and his wife who have committed the sin. This is not a discussion of homosexuality.

          The Hebrew word for ‘female’ is ‘nekeiva’. Woman or wife is ‘isha’. Isha is the word used in both Lev 18 & 20.

          If the original intent was to ban all homosexual activity, and if one side of the equation was with all males (instead of with mankind, which includes women), then surely on the other side of the equation they would have used the word for “female” to match the term “male” on the other. Yet they don’t. Very interesting. There must have been a reason for choosing “isha” instead of “nekeiva”. They are not mere variants of the same thing, They have completely different but related meanings, and if the idea was to match the term “all males” then the word chosen would surely be the one meaning “female” — nekeiva.

          If the word means “wife” and the first word means “mankind”, then it would be saying that you should not be promiscuous with lots of people by cheating on your wife.

          It would then be a prohibition against something which actually harms people, and would make a lot more sense.

          zachar has three meanings:

          1. Males
          2, Mankind (as in all males)
          3. mankind (as in all people)

          The most COMMON is the first – but there is no way around the absolute fact that IF you advocate the common meaning, you advocate executing children who are raped – and even those who consent before that age OF consent. IF Zachar = male, then God MUST be advocating executing the victims of child molestation and rape because the only reason to use that translation is to be inclusive of EVERY male regardless of age or mental capacity, and the punishement for BOTH parties is supposed to be death. Consent is NOT an issue – because a child CANNOT consent. CLEARLY, under this rendition of the word – God intended that we kill everyone who is so tainted.

          Understanding interpretations of a verse where two of the most important words have MULTIPLE meanings requires thought and study to make sure that you have it right.

          In addition, the bible tells us that if one is COMPELLED to do something “sinful” because of forces outside their control (ie: They were created that way) then not only are they “forgiven”, they are to be treated as if they had not sinned, because in truth – they did not. The biblical justification here is VERY convoluted – but is based on the strong belief that when a person declares on Yom Kippur that he NEEDS to eat food, we listen to him. Even if a hundred expert physicians say that he does not need it, we listen to him – as the scripture says “The heart knows its own bitterness.” (Proverbs 14:10).

          The rabbinic ruling in the Talmud Baba Bathra and Nedarim declares “anus rachmana patray” translated as “The Holy One exempts those who act under duress.”, and while I know that you can’t actually raise these sources (unless you happen to be arguing with an Orthodox Jew) the fact is that this opinion is based on a deeper knowledge of Torah than anyone you are arguing with will ever have.

          • Marion

            But again, the whole of Scripture is not. That is why Jesus Christ and the apostles left us with the rest of the story.

          • JRichards

            Your comment seems incomplete. Perhaps you meant to make a point, but if so I cannot find one. I see no reference to scriptures. That is not surprising since there are none that condemn homosexuality, and a number that are positive.

        • JRichards

          The original text of Corinthians and Timothy contain the words “oute malakos, oute arsenokoites”. These passages were UNIVERSALLY interpreted to mean “masturbation” until relatively recent times. Then there was an attempt to make them about homosexuality. Malakos was interpreted as “male prostitute”, Arsenokoites as “client of male prostitute”. In the Greco-Roman culture to which Paul wrote it was common practice for men with wives to commit adultery with male prostitutes.

          Let me quote from the footnote in the Catholic edition of the Bible (NAB):

          1Cor. 6:9 and 1Tim. 1:10

          1Cor. 6:9 Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

          1Tim. 1:10 The unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching.

          Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from the Roman Catholic Bible. “The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes designated catemites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated practicing homosexuals refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Rom 1, 26-27; 1 Tm 1,10.”

          Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from The New American Bible also contains a footnote which reads: “The Greek word translated as ‘boy prostitutes’ [in 1 Cor. 6:9] designated catamites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world….The term translated ‘practicing homosexuals’ refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys.”

          Harper’s Bible Commentary (1998) comments that the passage refers to “both the effeminate male prostitute and his partner who hires him to satisfy sexual needs. The two terms used here for homosexuality… specify a special form of pederasty that was generally disapproved of in Greco-Roman and Jewish Literature.”

          In other words, Corinthians mentions prostitution, and the same applies to the Timothy passage, as the footnote says. Just as elsewhere the Bible refers to heterosexual prostitution. However, this is no more a blanket condemnation of homosexuality than the other verses are a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality. The fact that they specify only a small part of homosexuality implies that homosexuality in general is *NOT* sinful. Otherwise they would have specified “men having intercourse with men” and “women having intercourse with women”. There was no attempt to do so.

          The footnotes in Corinthians and Timothy stand as rebukes from God to all of those who choose to change his words in order to promote an agenda of hate. And they are also proof of attempts to *change* the Bible to try and support the anti-gay message. I personally consider that attempt to be an evil and immoral act.

          It is easy to find an example of the further corruption of the Bible in reference to this text. In the NIV, the footnote says:

          “Paul here identifies three kinds of sexually immoral persons: adulterers, male prostitutes and males who practice homosexuality. In Rom 1:26 he adds the category of females who practice homosexuality. People who engage in such practices, as well as the other offenders listed in vv 9-10 are explicitly excluded from God’s kingdom”

          Note how carefully this has moved. The earlier versions of the Bible never mentioned homosexuality at all. Then they distort the words in newer versions to include the term “homosexual”. Because everyone is familiar with the previous wording, they are forced to put a footnote explaining the meaning of the original words, which contradicts the new, twisted interpretation. Now, in the NIV, we see the attempt to distort the footnote. Notice that this footnote does not mention the original meaning of the words. Since the original meaning of the words would undermine the anti-gay message they are trying to push, that meaning gets dropped from the footnote.

          Now *that* is a clear example of Evil at work.

          The situation is actually even much less clear than that, because the word being described as “client of male prostitute” (arsenokoites) was a word apparently made up by Paul. It is a stretch to even get “client of male prostitute” out of it.

          The people who wrote those footnotes have taken the “arsen” part of the word (which means male — the other half of the word means bed) and claimed that means that it is discussing homosexuality. One of the oddities of that Greek word is that it has a variant form — “arren”. When the man is the recipient of some action (as you would get with a homosexual man, for example) compound Greek words use the variant of “arren”. When the man is doing the action, the compound word uses the form “arsen”. Therefore arsenokoites refers to the man taking the action. Combined with the Greek word for bed, the action would be either a man who sleeps a lot (sloth), or a man who sleeps around a lot, or, since only one man is mentioned, if you want a sexual angle, it could mean masturbation — an interpretation that was universally accepted as the “true” interpretation for some time. Since the sex of the recipient of the man’s action is not specified, the default understanding is heterosexuality, so this word would describe a man who slept around a lot with women. This is also quite accurate in the context of the various cultures in question, who considered the active partner to still be heterosexual. If Paul had meant to condemn HOMOSEXUALITY, he would instead have made up the word “arrenokoites” rather than “arsenkoites”.

          Now you can see why scholars have tried to link the word with “malakos” — which SOMETIMES but not always means boy prostitutes (the actual word just means “soft” and may refer to any number of other things). Without that link, the word clearly refers to either slothfulness, heterosexual activity, a man who sleeps around a lot with women, or a man who masturbates a lot. WITH the connection it MIGHT refer to clients of boy prostitutes, which is still NOT the same as homosexuality. So it is possible to interpret that passage as a blanket condemnation of HETEROSEXUALITY (which certainly would fit Paul’s other comments about heterosexual activity), but it cannot be twisted into a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

          Originally the passage was thought to refer to masturbation. During the time of Martin Luther, that was the ONLY meaning which was used. By the mid 20th century, masturbation had become accepted as normal and healthy, so some new translations switched the attack to homosexuals. I believe the last written interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 as masturbation is the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967. However, I know from personal experience that the “masturbation” interpretation was used and preached from pulpits for some time after that.

        • JRichards

          The story of Romans has several parts. There is the sin for which they are being punished — idolatry. The Bible tells us that was the sin for which they are being punished. There is the punishment itself — God forced those people to engage in homosexual acts. There is the long list of sins in which they engage, and which they approve for others (homosexuality being obvious by it’s absence from that list). Then there is the explanation of why that particular punishment was chosen — because those people were so judgmental of homosexuals themselves. Their own self-loathing provided the punishment. The Bible points out that they were judgmental of homosexuals and homosexual acts, but ALSO made the point that they were NOT judgmental of sins or sinful acts, therefore emphasizing the point that homosexuality is NOT a sin.

          To fully understand Romans, it helps to look at the final conclusion, where God explains His actions, and work back to see what supported those actions.

          Romans 2:1 “Therefore(1) you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.(2) for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.(3).”

          (1)”Therefore” shows that this is a continuation of Romans 1, and explains what has just occurred in Romans 1.

          (2)”you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment” Note that this ties in neatly with Romans 1:20) “Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse.” This refers to what God has made, and how these people have misunderstood and misperceived what He has made. It becomes clear as the passage continues that “what God has made” refers to homosexuals and homosexual acts, and how they “understood and perceived in what He has made” refers to their undiscerning judgment of homosexuals and homosexual acts. Those who pass judgment on what God has made (homosexuals) have no excuse for their actions. Doing so is a sin. Their undiscerning minds passed judgment on homosexuals, God DISAPPROVED of them passing judgment on homosexuals, the example of what he had made that was mentioned in Romans 1:20, and used their own hatred of gays and their own lust to provide the punishment.

          (3) “for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” So what are those things that they do that they condemn in others? The Bible lists all the sins they have done in Romans 1:28-32 (homosexual acts are rather noticeable by their absence from that list) . God also points out that they not only engage in all of those sins, but give approval for those who practice them (Romans 1:32). They do NOT “pass judgment” on those sins. The Bible tells us that. The ONLY thing we know they have done of which they do NOT give approval are homosexual acts. So THIS is what God is condemning here — passing judgment on homosexuals and homosexual acts. God disapproves of bigotry directed against gays in God’s name.

          But God does more than merely condemn those who judge gays. Notice that the homosexual acts did not precede God’s punishment. The Bible made it absolutely clear that they CHANGED their behavior after God’s punishment. This was something God FORCED them to do as their punishment. God does not force people to sin, so this is proof that homosexuality is NOT a sin.

          There is even more in those passages that show that the people being Punished by God in Romans were wrong in their judgment of homosexuals. Romans 1:28: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper.” So God is having them do what to their undiscerning mind is improper. He picked the idea directly from their own minds for their punishment. Because it refers to their UNDISCERNING minds, it is obvious that they are incorrect in believing that it is improper. This again ties in to Romans 1:20 where it speaks of what God has made, and how they should be able to understand and perceive what He has made (homosexuals and homosexuality). Their undiscerning minds thought that what God made — homosexuals and the acts in which they engaged — were wrong, and passed judgment on gays. They despised gays. The strong language shown in those two verse fragments in Romans to describe what happened shows how strongly they felt about the matter. It is no accident that those who try to push the anti-gay message stick closely to those few passages where the Bible describes how those men felt about their punishment, and try to ignore everything else. Adding the context makes a big difference. The reason that homophobes always give such a limited reference is that if you read what comes before and what comes after, you get a completely different concept of what occurred.

          One nice thing about this punishment is that salvation was always in their grasp. All they needed to do was to give up their sinful condemnation of gays, give up their sinful, judgmental natures, and it would no longer be a punishment. They could have found a loving life-partner and lived in love rather than lust. Their own self-loathing provided the punishment. It was a severe punishment, but perfectly appropriate.

          As you can see, it requires a complete look at the words of Paul taken in FULL CONTEXT to get the real meaning. That is why Peter warned against using the words of Paul for evil purposes.

    • JRichards

      Genesis 19 is the story of Sodom. It does not in any way support the anti-gay message. The anti-gay message is based on the misinterpretation of a single word — yadha, which means to know or understand. There are so many ways to refute the anti-gay message of that story that it is difficult to pick and choose.

      We have what the inhabitants of Sodom think are two young men traveling together without women or spouses. In fact, they are the ONLY TWO MEN WHO ARE TOGETHER AS A COUPLE in that story. To make the point that the inhabitants of Sodom are evil in general, God only needed to send ONE angel, but he sent two together who were of the SAME SEX. He must have had a reason for doing so. God does not do things randomly. There must have been a reason for sending PRECISELY two men traveling together rather than a single man, or a group of three or more men. The most likely one is that he wanted them to be perceived as a gay couple to see how the inhabitants of the city reacted. God was making a point about the evils of homophobia. Otherwise there was no reason to make it exactly TWO young men. A massive mob of homophobic bigots surrounds the house. Lot tries to buy them off by offering his daughters, but since homophobia is more important to them than anything else they refuse and attack .

      Now THAT makes perfect sense! Sodom was exceedingly wicked. Violent homophobia is also exceedingly wicked. Therefore the sin of Sodom is homophobia. The main difference between my argument and the argument of those trying to claim the story of Sodom is a condemnation of homosexuality is that mine not only makes sense and matches perfectly to the story, but was physically possible. A huge mob can do violence to two people. In fact, overwhelming force and violence is their method of choice.

      There are so many ways of refuting the “Sodom=homosexuality” bit it isn’t funny.

      One of my favorites is to make the assumption they are right about it, then apply math to see how reasonable it is.

      Just for the sake of argument, let’s say it has something to do with sex rather than violence, as some seem to think it does.

      Sodom was about 500,000 people according to various Christian sites. A max of about 16 people could really rape the strangers during the one night and each get a turn with a reasonable amount of time.

      Crunching the numbers we find that about 0.0003% of the population is actually engaged in sex with the strangers. We have no way of knowing whether it was heterosexual or homosexual sex because both sexes were represented in the crowd (including two of Lot’s daughters who were already married, as well as the fiancees of the two daughters still living at home).

      But 99.9997% of the population is sitting around WATCHING while this happens.

      That would make the sin of Sodom voyeurism.

      By all means make a wild guess at the size of the city of Sodom. Then we can apply the math. I have already done the math based upon the idea that the Christians sites making the claim that it was 500,000 are accurate. That results in waiting about 15 years for your turn at the rape, assuming machine-like precision on the part of the rapists for all 15 years. If you think that is way too large for one of the most powerful cities of the time, make your own guess and we will crunch the numbers to see how reasonable the “rape” interpretation is if we assume that it is true.

      Or we can just look at the numbers we already have and extrapolate. Rapists want their turn in minutes, though they might be willing to wait a few hours. At the 500,000 population they would be talking years, not minutes. So let’s try looking at smaller “great cities”.

      Assume it is only 50,000. That hardly counts as a great city, but maybe the Bible exaggerates. At 50,000 it would only take a year and a half rather than 15 years, but we are still talking years, not hours or minutes, so that “great city” must be smaller.

      Maybe instead of a great city it is only a great village of about 5,000. That cuts the wait down to a bit under two months, let’s call it eight weeks. That is still weeks rather than hours, so that is still way too big.

      So maybe it is a SMALL village of about 500 instead of a great city. That knocks it down to about 5 or 6 days. That is still days rather than hours. Maybe the “great city” of Sodom was only 20 people. NOW you are getting it down to a believable time frame, but at this point we are talking about a tiny whistle stop that you would miss if you blinked, not a great city, or even a great village.

      So, do you think that the “great city” of Sodom was in actuality a tiny whistlestop? If not, the “rape” scenario is not possible.

      Instead what we see is overwhelming force and violence directed at two young men traveling together. It was God’s own idea that this was PRECISELY two young men. Not a single man (with a default orientation of heterosexual). Not a small GROUP of men (presumably a gang or other non-sexually bonded group) which stilll could have been overwhelmed by the massive numbers brought against them. No, it was precisely TWO men — a couple.

      Clearly Lot had no intention of introducing him to his daughters to marry them off — the only other possible reason for God choosing specifically two men. The daughters still living with him already were affianced to wed. The daughters already living in the city were already married. So God went to some trouble to ensure that no one could think there was a heterosexual issue with these two men traveling together.

      • Marion

        Stick to the story JR; not mathematical distractions. The two men God sent were angels. The tent was surrounded by the men of Sodom. Lot offered his two daughters that he said had never slept with a man. The mob outside were clearly homosexuals and after verifying that Lot’s family were accounted for destroyed the city because of God’s assessment of their sin. Just as quoted in Scripture. Again, you prefer these “logical” extrapolations of what is recorded to cloud the simple truth of what is said. Our exchanges are generating quite a bit of notice. My prayer is that the audience will pick up s Bible and read it for themselves. Their eyes will be opened to the truth of Scripture and God’s message for the generations.

        • JRichards

          The people of Sodom did not know the men were angels. They thought they were two young men traveling together with no female companions, and THAT is what caused the entire city to rise up in anger to try and destroy them. The men surrounding the house were clearly NOT homosexuals. They included people that we know for a fact were not homosexuals. They included the two fiancées of the daughters Lot had at home, and the husbands of the married daughters of Lot who were living in the city, and for that matter the daughters of Lot who were living with those husbands. The very fact that Lot offered his daughters is absolute proof that the men outside were heterosexual. These were people that Lot knew. So he knew they were attracted to women. Otherwise he would have not offered his daughters.

          • Marion

            Biblically inaccurate. But let the reader of the Bible see it for themselves. By the way, there is no hate or intention to harm in my words; just love for the lost, and the desire to see all people come to repentance. I never asked, but are you a homosexual Christ follower?

          • JRichards

            Gay, Christian, an ordained minister, the son of a minister. I agree the reader of the Bible can see it for themselves. 🙂 All they have to do is notice the key point that God thought the proper way to test the people of Sodom was to send two young men traveling together with no female companions. That really does anger certain types of people.

            It is also interesting that every single inhabitant of Sodom who was recognized by sexual orientation was specifically recognized as heterosexual. Lot and his wife. His two daughters still at home and their fiancées. The daughters living in the city and their husbands.

          • Marion

            The Bible doesn’t make any reference to a test. The two angels came to Sodom to bring judgment because of the sin of Sodom. If you think there was a test, they failed it not because of anger, but because they wanted to have homosexual sex with the two angels. The Angels verified the safety of Lot’s family and destroyed the city in judgment. Straight Biblical truth.

          • JRichards

            No. They were not there to bring judgment. They were there to see if there were 10 righteous people in order to SAVE Sodom. You really should actually read the story some time so that you can understand it.

          • Marion

            JR:
            I’m concerned about you. I fear that satan has blinded your eyes so that you cannot see or understand the plain truth of Scripture. As a minister and shepherd of God’s people you are held to a higher standard and will be judged for leading your flock astray.

            Your comment caused me to re-read Genesis 18 and 19, and it is clear that by the time the two angels appeared in Sodom, God’s judgment was decided. Genesis 19 verses 12-13 reads, “The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here–sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

            The opportunity to save Sodom came in Chapter 18 when Lot himself pleaded with the Lord to spare Sodom for even as few as 10 righteous people. By the time the angels appeared in Chapter 19, Sodom’s fate was sealed as Genesis 19:12-13 shows.

            That’s what sin does to people, JR; it causes separation from God and the inability to see or hear His message to His creation. I’m not your judge. I only speak words of love to you, and pray that God’s holy Word will pierce your heart, and open the eyes of your heart to see truth as it really is. Your natural gifts of reason, language, and persuasion are strong, and could be used greatly for Kingdom purposes. If you continue on this road of deception and defiance to the plain truth of the Word of God you will defile and mislead many of those under your pastoral care. On the other hand, conviction and repentance will bring forgiveness, healing, and restoration to you and empower your ministry through Christ’s blood and resurrection.

            The choice is yours.

          • JRichards

            I admit that I feel the same about you. The Bible is clearly NOT anti-gay. God is not a god of hatred. God is a god of love. I consider it really strange that such a comment can come from you purely because I pointed out what the Bible says. The story of Sodom starts not in Genesis 19, but in Genesis 18. This is where God agrees to spare the city if but 10 righteous people can be found.

          • Marion

            JR: I’ve enjoyed the exchange and apologize if any of my comments were hurtful. They are not intended to be. I did mention Genesis 18 in my lead in into the judgment of Sodom. The story does begin there. I also agree with you that our God is not a God of hatred; He is love. Pure love. Shekhinah love; Agape love. But, He is also the God of judgment. He must and does judge sin and sent His Son, the Word, and the Holy Spirit to steer us clear of it. We both believe that.
            I’m signing off for now. I’d be happy to engage again. Be Blessed in the love of Christ our Savior. Marion

        • JRichards

          I also hope people pick up the Bible and read for themselves. They will see that what I posted was accurate. 🙂

    • JRichards

      Conservative Jews have come to the conclusion that the Bible does not condemn gays, and so are now accepting of gays. Below is a part of the analysis that went into making that decision.

      It helps to look at the original Hebrew:

      V’eish – And THE man (an individual of an age old enough to know what he is doing — basically age of consent)

      asher – that

      yeeshcav – lies

      es-zachor – with any males (of any age, specifically excluding the idea of consent or age of consent) or any persons of either sex (mankind)

      meeshcavei – as he would lie

      eishah – with A woman (or with his wife) — precisely one individual

      toe-ei-vah – a ritual impurity (used to describe such things as eating shellfish)

      aw-soo – has been committed

      she-nei-hem – by them BOTH (precisely two people, in this case the man and the woman, the man and his wife because those are the only two individuals mentioned)

      Since this ritual impurity, whatever it happens to be, was committed by a man and his wife, it cannot refer to homosexuality.

      Notice that it is the man and his wife who have committed the sin. This is not a discussion of homosexuality.

      The Hebrew word for ‘female’ is ‘nekeiva’. Woman or wife is ‘isha’. Isha is the word used in both Lev 18 & 20.

      If the original intent was to ban all homosexual activity, and if one side of the equation was with all males (instead of with mankind, which includes women), then surely on the other side of the equation they would have used the word for “female” to match the term “male” on the other. Yet they don’t. Very interesting. There must have been a reason for choosing “isha” instead of “nekeiva”. They are not mere variants of the same thing, They have completely different but related meanings, and if the idea was to match the term “all males” then the word chosen would surely be the one meaning “female” — nekeiva.

      If the word means “wife” and the first word means “mankind”, then it would be saying that you should not be promiscuous with lots of people by cheating on your wife.

      It would then be a prohibition against something which actually harms people, and would make a lot more sense.

      zachar has three meanings:

      1. Males
      2, Mankind (as in all males)
      3. mankind (as in all people)

      The most COMMON is the first – but there is no way around the absolute fact that IF you advocate the common meaning, you advocate executing children who are raped – and even those who consent before that age OF consent. IF Zachar = male, then God MUST be advocating executing the victims of child molestation and rape because the only reason to use that translation is to be inclusive of EVERY male regardless of age or mental capasity, and the punishement for BOTH parties is supposed to be death. Consent is NOT an issue – because a child CANNOT consent. CLEARLY, under this rendition of the word – God intended that we kill everyone who is so tainted.

      Understanding interpretations of a verse where two of the most important words have MULTIPLE meanings requires thought and study to make sure that you have it right.

      In addition, the bible tells us that if one is COMPELLED to do something “sinful” because of forces outside their control (ie: They were created that way) then not only are they “forgiven”, they are to be treated as if they had not sinned, because in truth – they did not. The biblical justification here is VERY convoluted – but is based on the strong belief that when a person declares on Yom Kippur that he NEEDS to eat food, we listen to him. Even if a hundred expert physicians say that he does not need it, we listen to him – as the scripture says “The heart knows its own bitterness.” (Proverbs 14:10).

      The rabbinic ruling in the Talmud Baba Bathra and Nedarim declares “anus rachmana patray” translated as “The Holy One exempts those who act under duress.”, and while I know that you can’t actually raise these sources (unless you happen to be arguing with an Orthodox Jew) the fact is that this opinion is based on a deeper knowledge of Torah than anyone you are arguing with will ever have.

      • Marion

        Again, deep esoterica that belies the plain and simple truth of the written Word. Really, it’s not that hard to understand. Audience, just read it for yourself. God will speak clearly to you what He meant.

    • JRichards

      The original text of Corinthians and Timothy contain the words “oute malakos, oute arsenokoites”. These passages were UNIVERSALLY interpreted to mean “masturbation” until relatively recent times. Then there was an attempt to make them about homosexuality. Malakos was interpreted as “male prostitute”, Arsenokoites as “client of male prostitute”. In the Greco-Roman culture to which Paul wrote it was common practice for men with wives to commit adultery with male prostitutes.

      Let me quote from the footnote in the Catholic edition of the Bible (NAB):

      1Cor. 6:9 and 1Tim. 1:10

      1Cor. 6:9 Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

      1Tim. 1:10 The unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching.

      Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from the Roman Catholic Bible. “The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes designated catemites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated practicing homosexuals refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Rom 1, 26-27; 1 Tm 1,10.”

      Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from The New American Bible also contains a footnote which reads: “The Greek word translated as ‘boy prostitutes’ [in 1 Cor. 6:9] designated catamites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world….The term translated ‘practicing homosexuals’ refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys.”

      Harper’s Bible Commentary (1998) comments that the passage refers to “both the effeminate male prostitute and his partner who hires him to satisfy sexual needs. The two terms used here for homosexuality… specify a special form of pederasty that was generally disapproved of in Greco-Roman and Jewish Literature.”

      In other words, Corinthians mentions prostitution, and the same applies to the Timothy passage, as the footnote says. Just as elsewhere the Bible refers to heterosexual prostitution. However, this is no more a blanket condemnation of homosexuality than the other verses are a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality. The fact that they specify only a small part of homosexuality implies that homosexuality in general is *NOT* sinful. Otherwise they would have specified “men having intercourse with men” and “women having intercourse with women”. There was no attempt to do so.

      The footnotes in Corinthians and Timothy stand as rebukes from God to all of those who choose to change his words in order to promote an agenda of hate. And they are also proof of attempts to *change* the Bible to try and support the anti-gay message. I personally consider that attempt to be an evil and immoral act.

      It is easy to find an example of the further corruption of the Bible in reference to this text. In the NIV, the footnote says:

      “Paul here identifies three kinds of sexually immoral persons: adulterers, male prostitutes and males who practice homosexuality. In Rom 1:26 he adds the category of females who practice homosexuality. People who engage in such practices, as well as the other offenders listed in vv 9-10 are explicitly excluded from God’s kingdom”

      Note how carefully this has moved. The earlier versions of the Bible never mentioned homosexuality at all. Then they distort the words in newer versions to include the term “homosexual”. Because everyone is familiar with the previous wording, they are forced to put a footnote explaining the meaning of the original words, which contradicts the new, twisted interpretation. Now, in the NIV, we see the attempt to distort the footnote. Notice that this footnote does not mention the original meaning of the words. Since the original meaning of the words would undermine the anti-gay message they are trying to push, that meaning gets dropped from the footnote.

      Now *that* is a clear example of Evil at work.

      The situation is actually even much less clear than that, because the word being described as “client of male prostitute” (arsenokoites) was a word apparently made up by Paul. It is a stretch to even get “client of male prostitute” out of it.

      The people who wrote those footnotes have taken the “arsen” part of the word (which means male — the other half of the word means bed) and claimed that means that it is discussing homosexuality. One of the oddities of that Greek word is that it has a variant form — “arren”. When the man is the recipient of some action (as you would get with a homosexual man, for example) compound Greek words use the variant of “arren”. When the man is doing the action, the compound word uses the form “arsen”. Therefore arsenokoites refers to the man taking the action. Combined with the Greek word for bed, the action would be either a man who sleeps a lot (sloth), or a man who sleeps around a lot, or, since only one man is mentioned, if you want a sexual angle, it could mean masturbation — an interpretation that was universally accepted as the “true” interpretation for some time. Since the sex of the recipient of the man’s action is not specified, the default understanding is heterosexuality, so this word would describe a man who slept around a lot with women. This is also quite accurate in the context of the various cultures in question, who considered the active partner to still be heterosexual. If Paul had meant to condemn HOMOSEXUALITY, he would instead have made up the word “arrenokoites” rather than “arsenkoites”.

      Now you can see why scholars have tried to link the word with “malakos” — which SOMETIMES but not always means boy prostitutes (the actual word just means “soft” and may refer to any number of other things). Without that link, the word clearly refers to either slothfulness, heterosexual activity, a man who sleeps around a lot with women, or a man who masturbates a lot. WITH the connection it MIGHT refer to clients of boy prostitutes, which is still NOT the same as homosexuality. So it is possible to interpret that passage as a blanket condemnation of HETEROSEXUALITY (which certainly would fit Paul’s other comments about heterosexual activity), but it cannot be twisted into a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

      Originally the passage was thought to refer to masturbation. During the time of Martin Luther, that was the ONLY meaning which was used. By the mid 20th century, masturbation had become accepted as normal and healthy, so some new translations switched the attack to homosexuals. I believe the last written interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 as masturbation is the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967. However, I know from personal experience that the “masturbation” interpretation was used and preached from pulpits for some time after that.

      Apparently the words are vague enough that they can be used for virtually anything.

      • Marion

        You’re making my point without trying to do so. All sexual sin is sin and needs to be forgiven by grace after repentance. Let the audience read it for themselves and be forgiven; in love, not condemnation.

        • JRichards

          All sexual sin is sin, but not all sex is sexual sin. I think that is the root of your misunderstanding. While homosexuals can sin just as heterosexuals can sin, it is not the orientation that makes the sin.

    • JRichards

      There is no Jude 6:7 in the Bible. There is also no Timothy 3.3. Perhaps you mean Jude 1:6-7.

      Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

      7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
      Keep in mind that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrha was NOT homosexuality, as previously discussed. Any reference to Sodom is NOT about homosexuality. The Jude passage says nothing about homosexuality. “going after strange flesh” would be things like eating oysters, pork, shrimp and lobster.

      • Marion

        I’m corrected about Jude 1:6-7. Thanks. Sodom we’ve already discussed.

    • JRichards

      You might also want to look at where Paul refers to differing sexual orientations as “gifts of God.”

      1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

      This is the start, He is answering a question about getting married. Paul doesn’t think much of heterosexuality, and he mentions that right up front.

      The next part addresses the individual issue about the one person and expands it slightly to show that there are more issues here than just what to do about the one person:

      2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, (interesting point — the term fornication does not apply to homosexual acts, so THIS part does not apply to gays) let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

      So if you are heterosexual, go ahead and get married if you can’t control yourself.

      3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
      4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
      5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

      Above he points out the methods of avoiding some sin for heterosexuals, even though he disapproves of heterosexual activity in general. That completes the part about providing an additional example to show that this is a bigger issue than just one person. Then we have the following:

      6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

      He is just saying that WHAT HE SAID BEFORE is NOT a commandment. Marrying a woman is just a RECOMMENDATION, not a commandment. He is giving PERMISSION, not insisting upon this as the only choice. That is what Paul said.

      Now we get to the point where the individual case gets expanded to a generic rule that can be applied to NUMEROUS cases:

      7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

      There it is. HE would like everyone’s sexual orientation to be just like his, but everyone is different. EVERY MAN has his OWN gift of God, one after this manner, another after that. Paul has just said there are MULTIPLE valid approaches to sexuality. And those approaches are VALID ones, each a gift of God.

      This is a very key part of the passage. In fact, it is the heart of the passage. It points out that every man is different. For example, you might wish that all men were heterosexual, but every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. Some are heterosexual. Some are bisexual. Some are homosexual. Each has his own gift of sexual orientation from God. So while you could wish that everyone follows yours, God has not made everyone the same and you need to respect those differences. *That* is the heart of this message. Marriage, while a part of this message, is merely used as an example to highlight the fact that all are different and, certainly when it comes to sex and marriage, each person needs to act within his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

      8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

      And the unmarried includes gays. Paul made it very clear that he was talking about diversity, and people’s sexual requirements varying from one to another. That obviously includes homosexuality. Gays are included in the unmarried. Paul PREFERS that everyone be JUST LIKE HIM, but that is NOT a commandment. Paul said so. You should allow gays to marry.

      9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

      Here he says to LET THEM MARRY! WHATEVER their personal “gift of God”. Homosexuality is one of those gifts of God. You are to LET THEM MARRY. That is an issue of PERMISSION, not COMMANDMENT. They should be ALLOWED to marry each other, not forced into a loveless marriage that is against their individual gift of God. This is the generic rule that Paul has put forth. You should not limit it to less than it is. Paul has gone to great lengths to say that he would like everyone to be like him when it came to sexuality, but that each person is different, and it is not up to him or anyone else to oppose the proper gift of God by attempting to force his orientation on others.

      There is another very interesting point here. He says: “IF THEY CANNOT CONTAIN”. So, per Paul, there are people who CANNOT contain. I keep coming across people who salivate at the idea of sending gays to hell because those people do not ALLOW them to marry. If they are right, then it is THEIR fault that those people wind up in hell. That may be why Paul reserves his strongest language to those people who forbid others to marry. They are effectively purposely sending people to Hell.

      Then he comes back to the original example to show how the generic rule applies to the specific instance:

      10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
      11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

      Then he shows that he is finished with this discussion of what GOD approves, and is moving on to things that are his personal opinions, and not from God — and therefore the rest is irrelevant to this analysis:

      12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord:

      So this follows the standard teaching practice exactly — and Paul approves of gay marriage as much as he approves of heterosexual marriage. Perhaps more.

      • Marion

        There is clearly heterosexual sin as well as the homosexual variety. We just need to rely on Scripture to call it what it is. As a heterosexual, my sexual sins are the same as my homosexual brothers and sisters. The difference is, I acknowledge them as sin and repent to be forgiven and stop doing them. These colorful interpretations you try to defend are flawed by the inadequacy of human wisdom. Are you going to deal with Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 6:9? That pretty much nails it JR.

        • JRichards

          No. The difference is that you incorrectly claim that homosexuality is sin. The sin is those actions that harm others. Rape is a sin. Infidelity is a sin. They are sins because they harm others, and the sexual orientation is immaterial.

          • Marion

            Such a limited interpretation of “sin”provides false cover and leads to death. The greatest sin is to reject God, and that would appear to harm no one. Sin harms the soul by creating separation from the God of creation. Jesus died for them all and left the Word to set us free from human failure. May the audience be blessed in the hearing of His truth.

          • JRichards

            But the fault is not in the victims. God approves of gay unions. Every single same-sex couple mentioned in the Bible is one approved of by God.
            You see, the problem is that many Christians appear to think that their god is evil — that He is all about hating people. That He hates people just because they love one another. I consider that a slander against God, and THAT is a sin against God.
            In fact I would say that is the very best definition of what would be “a sin against God” — giving the appearance that God is evil.
            Deciding that one wants to hate some group of people for no valid reason and blaming God for it would be a sin against God.

        • JRichards

          There has been an attempt to rewrite the Bible to support the prejudices of certain people. Fortunately religious scholars have taken the time to review those changes, and have added footnotes which expose the error of that interpretation. The passage refers to prostitutes and their clients, and so is a condemnation of *prostitution*, not of homosexual acts. This passage refers to homosexual prostitution, and condemns it in exactly the same way that other passages condemn heterosexual prostitution. That is because the Bible by implication supports homosexuality, and provides guidance for homosexuals just as it does for heterosexuals.

          The original text of Corinthians and Timothy contain the words “oute malakos, oute arsenokoites”. These passages were UNIVERSALLY interpreted to mean “masturbation” until relatively recent times. Then there was an attempt to make them about homosexuality. Malakos was interpreted as “male prostitute”, Arsenokoites as “client of male prostitute”. In the Greco-Roman culture to which Paul wrote it was common practice for men with wives to commit adultery with male prostitutes.

          Let me quote from the footnote in the Catholic edition of the Bible (NAB):

          1Cor. 6:9 and 1Tim. 1:10

          1Cor. 6:9 Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

          1Tim. 1:10 The unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching.

          Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from the Roman Catholic Bible. “The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes designated catemites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated practicing homosexuals refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Rom 1, 26-27; 1 Tm 1,10.”

          Footnote for 1 Corinthians 6:9, from The New American Bible also contains a footnote which reads: “The Greek word translated as ‘boy prostitutes’ [in 1 Cor. 6:9] designated catamites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world….The term translated ‘practicing homosexuals’ refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys.”

          Harper’s Bible Commentary (1998) comments that the passage refers to “both the effeminate male prostitute and his partner who hires him to satisfy sexual needs. The two terms used here for homosexuality… specify a special form of pederasty that was generally disapproved of in Greco-Roman and Jewish Literature.”

          In other words, Corinthians mentions prostitution, and the same applies to the Timothy passage, as the footnote says. Just as elsewhere the Bible refers to heterosexual prostitution. However, this is no more a blanket condemnation of homosexuality than the other verses are a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality. The fact that they specify only a small part of homosexuality implies that homosexuality in general is *NOT* sinful. Otherwise they would have specified “men having intercourse with men” and “women having intercourse with women”. There was no attempt to do so.

          The footnotes in Corinthians and Timothy stand as rebukes from God to all of those who choose to change his words in order to promote an agenda of hate. And they are also proof of attempts to *change* the Bible to try and support the anti-gay message. I personally consider that attempt to be an evil and immoral act.

          It is easy to find an example of the further corruption of the Bible in reference to this text. In the NIV, the footnote says:

          “Paul here identifies three kinds of sexually immoral persons: adulterers, male prostitutes and males who practice homosexuality. In Rom 1:26 he adds the category of females who practice homosexuality. People who engage in such practices, as well as the other offenders listed in vv 9-10 are explicitly excluded from God’s kingdom”

          Note how carefully this has moved. The earlier versions of the Bible never mentioned homosexuality at all. Then they distort the words in newer versions to include the term “homosexual”. Because everyone is familiar with the previous wording, they are forced to put a footnote explaining the meaning of the original words, which contradicts the new, twisted interpretation. Now, in the NIV, we see the attempt to distort the footnote. Notice that this footnote does not mention the original meaning of the words. Since the original meaning of the words would undermine the anti-gay message they are trying to push, that meaning gets dropped from the footnote.

          Now *that* is a clear example of Evil at work.

          The situation is actually even much less clear than that, because the word being described as “client of male prostitute” (arsenokoites) was a word apparently made up by Paul. It is a stretch to even get “client of male prostitute” out of it.

          The people who wrote those footnotes have taken the “arsen” part of the word (which means male — the other half of the word means bed) and claimed that means that it is discussing homosexuality. One of the oddities of that Greek word is that it has a variant form — “arren”. When the man is the recipient of some action (as you would get with a homosexual man, for example) compound Greek words use the variant of “arren”. When the man is doing the action, the compound word uses the form “arsen”. Therefore arsenokoites refers to the man taking the action. Combined with the Greek word for bed, the action would be either a man who sleeps a lot (sloth), or a man who sleeps around a lot, or, since only one man is mentioned, if you want a sexual angle, it could mean masturbation — an interpretation that was universally accepted as the “true” interpretation for some time. Since the sex of the recipient of the man’s action is not specified, the default understanding is heterosexuality, so this word would describe a man who slept around a lot with women. This is also quite accurate in the context of the various cultures in question, who considered the active partner to still be heterosexual. If Paul had meant to condemn HOMOSEXUALITY, he would instead have made up the word “arrenokoites” rather than “arsenkoites”.

          Now you can see why scholars have tried to link the word with “malakos” — which SOMETIMES but not always means boy prostitutes (the actual word just means “soft” and may refer to any number of other things). Without that link, the word clearly refers to either slothfulness, heterosexual activity, a man who sleeps around a lot with women, or a man who masturbates a lot. WITH the connection it MIGHT refer to clients of boy prostitutes, which is still NOT the same as homosexuality. So it is possible to interpret that passage as a blanket condemnation of HETEROSEXUALITY (which certainly would fit Paul’s other comments about heterosexual activity), but it cannot be twisted into a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

          Originally the passage was thought to refer to masturbation. During the time of Martin Luther, that was the ONLY meaning which was used. By the mid 20th century, masturbation had become accepted as normal and healthy, so some new translations switched the attack to homosexuals. I believe the last written interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 as masturbation is the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967. However, I know from personal experience that the “masturbation” interpretation was used and preached from pulpits for some time after that.

          Apparently the words are vague enough that they can be used for virtually anything.

          • Marion

            That truth in 1Cor 6:9 is pretty hard to rationalize away. It is what it is. I really think the more you meditate on this JR, you will find the redeeming love of Christ to be overwhelming, convicting, and healing. Be Blessed.

          • JRichards

            I see, so you did not actually read what I wrote. That is a shame. You are risking your immortal soul by holding on to a false message which harms many and helps none.

    • tom sathre

      Marion, Thank you for list of scriptures. I would only add Matthew 5:17-5:22, in which Jesus assumes the “mantel” of defining how the boundaries of the Word of God is set. He did this by repeated use of the formula, “But I say…”

      A cogent way of understanding these verses is that Jesus wants to root out sexual sin, whereas, without His efforts, we only want to take away an individual’s sin. There is relief for sinners in Jesus!

      • Marion

        There sure is. That is the point precisely. Conviction, repentance, salvation, and forgiveness through Christ the Lord.

        • tom sathre

          Marion, did you get any other answers to your post?

          • Marion

            Yes. I had a very productive discourse with a homosexual Christian pastor whose father is also a pastor named JRichards. You may find it interesting. I did.

          • tom sathre

            Marion, the conversation you cite never made it to this site, unless I didn’t know what I was looking at! How did you get their WWW addresses?

  • Billy

    The Bible talks a few times about homosexual actions, yet, it never once mentions a single actual homosexual person. There are cases of a blind who can see, a crippled who can walk, murderer became a saint, prostitute who is forgiven. Yet there is no single case of a gay man “converted” into a straight person. This is why Christians are so weak against homosexuality, because they keep saying that it is wrong, yet the Bible does not give any example or explanation on how it can be “righted”.

    Perhaps gays actually cannot be “converted”? They can only be perpetually in denial. Just like how the Bible also tells all of us to be in denial of our worldly desires, and even of ourselves? Maybe all gays are actually meant to be eunuchs, people who should abstain from lust, simply because their lust has no biological purpose?

    That might explain why in many cultures in the world where there is “people of the third gender”, they are usually the most spiritual of their tribe. Because while the other people are busy trying to impress the opposite sex, they are busy thinking and introspecting themselves and exercise the most rigorous of self control. Maybe the reason the Bible is not fond of homosexual activity is because gay people are not meant to be controlled by their lust?

    If this is true, then maybe being gay is actually not a “mistake” or “abomination”, but actually an opportunity and a challenge to be more spiritual by controlling their lust, because unlike straight people, a gay’s lust is not necessary for the survival of human race. It is only temporary worldly pleasure, which every religion warns us to not be enslaved to.

    Am I on to something here? I’m confused. Because I am a gay Christian and my heart tells me that there should be a purpose and reason why God intentionally creates gay people.

    • Dingo

      That ‘third gender’ idea is interesting. It would seem, from other people’s responses on this thread, that quite a high proportion of the clergy are gay themselves (I’m not for a second presuming that they are ‘active’, I wouldn’t know, nor is it my business). Perhaps it’s a similar drive psychologically…
      As to what you should do – perhaps seek counsel from a trustworthy Christian Pastor (or the like) as to the spiritual aspect, I can’t speak to that.
      Be true to yourself AND your god, would be my advice (for the little it’s worth).

      • Mark

        I know for a fact that there are lots of actively gay and straight priests.

      • Billy

        From my reading of the Bible, I find that I can relate to the concept of “eunuch”, people who are not interested in natural marriage. I am simply not interested in the opposite sex whatsoever, and perhaps because of that, my lust wanders “somewhere else”. I can attempt not to get into gay sex, but if I had to turn fully straight and have an intercourse with woman, then I really feels that I can not do it willingly and is not true to how God has created me.

    • JRichards

      Actually the Bible is FULL of same-sex couples, and God approves of every single one of them.

      1. The two young men Lot took into his home in the story of Sodom. They were the only same-sex couple in the entire story, and it was clear they were representatives of God.

      2. Ruth and Naomi. The vow they made is still used in marriage ceremonies today. Their child (yes, in the Bible he was presented as the child of the two of them) was one of the ancestors of king David.

      3. David and Jonathan. David refered to their love as being better than the love of a woman. When Jonathan declared his love for David, he entered a coventant because of that love and then stripped naked in front of David.

      4. Daniel and Ashpenaz — the chief of the court officials of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 1:9 “Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz)” (KJV)

      “Chesed v’rachamim” are the Hebrew words used for the relationship of Daniel and Ashpenaz (favor and tender love). Chesed most commonly means “mercy”. V’rachamim means either “mercy” or “physical love”. Since “mercy” had already been used, the meaning of “physical love” is the most likely meaning of the term in this context. This means that Ashpenaz not only showed mercy for Daniel, but also engaged in physical love with him. This would explain their very close relationship.

      One misconception about eunuchs is that they cannot have sex. This is not true. When castrated after puperty they still maintain their sex drive. They just cannot father children.

      5. Heli and Jacob — the two fathers of Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus. Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 24Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,

      6. The Centurian and his Paias are mentioned in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. A Roman Centurion — “Commander of 100,” a high office in Rome’s armies — had a personal servant/shieldbearer who was very ill. He was willing to do anything to save this man — even seek help from a nomadic “Healer”, in this case Jesus Christ. The Greek word given for the servant in Matthew is “pais”. The word “pais” at the time was frequently used as a euphemism for “boy lover”, though it could also mean “servant” or “boy”. Yet Jesus had no problem healing the pais, and had no words of condemnation for the Centurian.

      If the Bible ever wanted to condemn homosexuality, there were six missed opportunities.

      • Billy

        So the Bible does approve of genuine romance between homosexual couples, yet it is still condemning the lustful acts of gay sex in all the “clobber verses”. Maybe because those people are so consumed by lust, that they are condemned?

        So a genuine love (and perhaps moderated sex) between homosexuals are fine, but if it is lust that controls them, then that becomes the problem, gay or straight.

        Just like how all of us are sinful and that is fine, but it is when sin controls us, that is what God does not want.

        • JRichards

          That is basically it.

      • Filipe

        The Bible is not full of same-sex couples. You are the one that doesn’t know the difference between Phileo Love (Friendship) and Erotic Love. C.S.Lewis predicted that this would happen in his book Four Loves, that people would confuse all loves with Eros.

        What’s worse is your completed distorted exegesis to make that Bible fit in your Modern Mentality. Even an Atheist knows that it is completely anachronic to fit the term “homosexual” is. You should read Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality to see that this concept is completely modern.

        • Dingo

          All right then. So all those bible verses about how god thinks homosexuality is a sin and an abomination aren’t talking about homosexuality at all?
          Then what are Christian Literalists complaining of, exactly?

        • JRichards

          You say the Bible is not full of same sex couples, but I posted six actual examples. Perhaps you could identify which were male and which were female in each case so that I can be corrected.
          Actually I know that it is anachronistic to include the word “homosexual” anywhere in the Bible, but I notice a number of people who insist on doing exactly that. Would you mind correcting them for me?
          I provided you with six same-sex couples. One pair are joint fathers of Joseph, the husband of Mary. That was six opportunities for God to come out and say He disapproves. Saul disapproved of the relationship of David and Jonathan, and used words to describe their relationship which are only used in the Bible to describe sexual relationships when talking angrily about it. But God had no problem with them.

      • Tami Miller Skinner

        JRichards- Oh I have so much to say lol

        I’m not going to respond to every one of your posts because frankly a lot of them ramble and loose focus and i’m not patient enough to go through each one. But let me try to impart what I was able to discern.

        First I wanted to say that altho some of your references and idea’s or translations were in fact on point others took entire bible accounts and changed them to fit your view and as you know that’s just wrong. Having said that I do not believe that being gay is an abomination , I do not believe any of you were mistakes and I am saddened by the community of believers on both sides of the issue that forget the greater message of Gods Love.

        Ok as for the list of homosexual couples…

        1. There is no evidence to suggest that the 2 angels were gay sorry there just isn’t; there is evidence to suggest that the mob of men (and it doesn’t say how many) had intent to gang rape them.. given the references to sodomy and also homosexuality here I think the message is not anything to do with gay but rather a forcable act with creatures that were not even from their world.

        2. Ruth and Naomi- How you would ever decide this couple was gay is actually somewhat laughable.. Ruth was married to Naomi’s son who died. She cared and loved her mother in law so much she was unwilling to make this woman go along alone instead stayed with her out of a sense of duty and also of love. I can tell you when I divorced my husband I continued to love his mother and took care of her and would continue to have done so if he was out of the picture or unwilling to. But as the argument has always been that you are born Gay these two wemon were both happily married until their husbands deaths so to assume they would suddenly want to become switch hitters is ludicrous at best as both were free to marry again and as you know the story goes on and one does marry Boaz.

        3. David and Jonathan. Yes these 2 were definitely lovers as
        evidenced by several verses. 1Samuel 18:1-4 After David finished
        talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he
        loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off his robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (i’m thinking here covenant would be equivalent to a marriage. And it echoes the words from genesis where a woman leaves her father and mother….also since men did not wear underwear it’s clear he was naked) 1 Samuel 20:41 and as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times and they kissed one another and wept one with another until David exceeded. (interesting is that in the original translations the word used was not exceeded but became hard.) 2 Samuel 1:26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of woman. (in the context of acient Israel woman and men didn’t have platonic relationships, did not speak to each other in public so since Davids only relationship with woman would have been sex he has to be referring to sex here.)

        4. Daniel and Ashpenaz -I agree with this interpretation they were in fact lovers (interesting here is that one was a prophet) there really
        is no other translation

        5.Heli and Jacob – these 2 were brothers heli the younger jacob
        the older how you decided that brothers are gay with each other is beyond me.

        6. The Centurian and his Paias – very possible since not many run
        out of their way to help their servants but in fact would for a lover
        and pias did have multiple meanings and indeed boy lover was one of them.

        Now I can see your need to try and find scripture to back up your view but again you do not need to and changing the account of Paul is another example of how you attempt to do this. There is no evidence that Paul is gay but in fact it points more to the fact that he was celibate. (he indeed could have been gay but it does not in any way tell us that or hint at it) His plea was not to condone or condemn anyone for their orientation First of all because in the context and times it was not uncommon for men to sleep with one another. Many Romans had boy slaves they slept with. married men went to the places to find male prostitutes. ect. What he was saying and yes I agree it includes those who are gay .. that if we cannot control ourselves it’s better to get married. (Back then I imagine a covenant like the couple above would be equivalent to marriage) Plain and simple no seal of approval on orientation or otherwise just simply if your single you should stay that way but if you cannot control yourself get married.

        what you did with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah also so not necessary the sin of Sodom wasn’t homosexuality their sin had more to do with being inhospitable to outsiders and greed, anger and Lust. Their fate was already sealed before the Angels came but the situation that arose only made it worse. interesting is that you tried to completely change the story. There were no wemon in the crowd it clearly says a mob of men. and translation of ‘so we can know them’ clearly means they wanted to have sex with them and the fact that Lot then offers his virgin daughter instead of the angels only further backs that up. If they didn’t want to have sex with them why would it matter that she was a virgin and why offer her to them in the first place? But just to be clear i’m not suggesting the crowd were gay i’m suggesting the crowd were angry men intent on harming these ‘outsiders’.

        You do not need to change scripture to find support for your argument just as some Christians do not have to condemn or judge God made us all and he loves us all; he makes no distinction between any of us

        As for the Christian community in general; I am somewhat ashamed to count myself among you. I love the Lord with all my heart and I love my neighbor as myself but what you are all doing is counter productive to the call we have to be a witness and in fact destructive to the kingdom. I will leave you all with the following from the new testament i’m sure you will not accept it as reason to leave these people to live in peace, accept, love and cherish them but that will simply be your own wrong doing.

        Matthew 15 (Jesus own words) “hear and understand: its not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth…. Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man..”

        Ephesians 4 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

        Galatians 6 says “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load.

        Romans 14 says “Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. ( did you catch that NOTHING IS UNCLEAN except to the person who thinks it’s unclean to them it is and they should stay away from it).
        Everyone will tend to interpret scripture according to their feelings at the time they read them however you have to be very careful pastor that you do not formulate your own vision for what the passage says before you ever even read it or you will miss what it’s meaning was in the first place, you also have to be very careful not to change it as it doesn’t need to be changed and in fact we were told not to do that 🙂

        • JRichards

          1. There was no need for the angels to actually be gay. All that is necessary is that they be two young men traveling together with no female companions, because that all by itself is enough to raise the specter of homophobia. It is the perception of the inhabitants of the city that is important — what is actually in their hearts. Seriously, Biblical scholars know that the story of Sodom is in reality not anti-gay. The Bible actually LISTS the sins of Sodom, and homosexuality is prominent by its absence from that list.
          And no, there is no evidence of any kind that the men wanted to rape them. Quite the contrary in fact. We KNOW that crowd was full of heterosexuals because every single person we met who was an inhabitant of Sodom was specifically identified as heterosexual. We also know the mob included women, including the daughters of Lot who lived with their husbands in the city. Does that make the sin of Sodom heterosexuality?
          The misinterpretation of rape did not even show up until the 1500;s. And that was from the misinterpretation of a single word — Yadha. If the word means “to have sex with” then God is a very promiscuous homosexual.
          2. Marriage in the days of Ruth and Naomi were not based on love. It was a matter of inheritance. A woman in those days could not survive alone. The culture was just entirely against them. You saw their only choice was living off the charity of others. But in spite of this culture, the demonstrated their love, and entered into a covenant before God because of that love. This is actually much closer to the institution of marriage that we have today than anything that was standard in those days. The same was true of David and Jonathan.
          6. You are correct that Paias does have multiple meanings. They were, however, a same sex couple, whether or not there was any sex involved. There have been plenty of opportunities to show that God disapproves of same sex couples in the Bible, but there was never any case of God’s disapproval.
          7. You stopped numbering them after six, but you are correct that Paul was not gay. He was asexual and disapproved of all types of sex. However, he DID recognize that each person had his own “gift of God” (sexual orientation) and that while he would want all to be like him (asexual and celibate) each had to follow his own gift of God.
          8. You are right that there are so many ways to disprove the idea that Sodom had anything to do with homosexuality that it isn’t even funny. No serious Bi9blical scholar believes the story of Sodom is anti-gay. It has just become a convenient verse to use because people have been led to believe that it is.
          9. You quoted Matthew 15 rather than Mark 7. The reason I use Mark 7 is that this is generally recognized by Biblical scholars as being the oldest written Gospel, and therefore the one most likely to be an accurate representation of the original words. In fact, I found the Matthew 15 verse first, and then went to Mark looking for the equivalent verse, expecting it to say something like: “There is nothing a man eats…”. Because Matthew 15 would be saying that oral sex is not a sin. Instead of finding this, I found that instead it was even more inclusive. It is clear from the way that it was written that this was DEFINTIELY meant to cover a LOT more than just the kosher laws.
          10. Once again Sodom — when taking SLAVES, a female virgin is more valuable than one who is not a virgin. And that is what was happening here. If you read the book if Wisdom, you will find a reference to Sodom and their sin being “enslaving beneficient guests”.
          But the only reason the virginity is important is because of that issue — taking a woman’s virginity was considered important and made a slave more valuable as a result. But rape was not the issue. There was just too many people for it to be a possible choice.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            I’m not sure why rapists would be homosexual? Rape is not a crime of lust but rather of anger and control it goes more to the intent of the men not their orientation so it would have absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality unless over the translations the word actually meant something vastly different than has been taught (this was the point I was making) the actual word homosexual did not even exist within the bible until the late 1800’s. I would hazard a guess that if you did a study thru history on rapists there would be very few who were gay and in fact most are heterosexual and feel the need to hurt and control someone. I still stick by the men of the city wanting to harm the angels in a sexual way as the virgin daughter being offered instead would make absolutely no sense in another other context . ( do what you want with her but leave these men alone do not be wicked) You said that you were gay.. If your making love with your partner you are not doing it with the intent to hurt them so they are very different things. You continue to say that the whole city was at their door when in fact it simply says a mob of men. As you must realize a mob can consist of any number but would point to more than a few. If you read back through my reply from before I agree that the crimes of Sodom were not homosexuality so we are in agreement there.
            Ruth and Naomi were not gay get over that idea. Perhaps read the story again because as one of my favorite stories i can tell you they were not gay they were two woman recently widowed and when the one does later marry Boaz guess what it said they were in love… They traveled together to Naomi’s relative. There was no other choice because all their husbands had died. The one daughter in law went her way the other refused to leave her side until she was in a better position. Your adding to the story and honestly your hurting a very beautiful story with this added idea.
            when the numbers stopped it was because that was the end of your list at that point I was replying to the other rambling posts in the case of the Paul one you insinuated that Paul was gay and wanted others to be like him. the explanation in your reply this time is accurate.
            your suggestion that the verse in Matthew would hint to oral sex is sad it clearly is making reference to the laws back in Leviticus as you know they could not eat a lot of things because they were considered unclean. geez the very fact that every thought you seem to have revolves around some sexual moment is almost frightening. the verse was reiterating the theme throughout the new testament that we are no longer under the old laws that Christ shedding his blood on the cross became the sacrifice that would have been needed in that day and now we were justified through faith in Jesus Christ. What the verse was pointing out is that what comes from our mouths has the potential to be unclean when it hurts another person. the intent behind the words you use come from your heart and that is what is unclean.
            As you must also realize in the case of gang rape not everyone always takes a turn a good majority hold down the victims. At any rate i’m not buying into a version that requires that the entire story be rewritten sorry .
            again read back I agree god made us all exactly as he wanted us to be gay or straight. I think sexual sins apply regardless of your orientation. but again all of the new testaments point toward our need to love one another in fact so important that Jesus said it was the greatest of all the commandments. and again you don’t need to change the stories of the bible to show this fact.

          • JRichards

            Seriously. There is not a Biblical scholar in the world who believes the story of Sodom is about homosexuality at all. But gangs rape. Entire major cities do not. There are just too many people for 99.99% of them to have ANY role other than intimidation.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            mobs do participate in this type of activity. visit Detroit. It doesn’t say the entire city was at the door it says a mob. and I already agreed it wasn’t about homosexuality so you need to move on from that it’s you that’s stuck on it not me

          • JRichards

            Actually the Bible is quite clear. Every single person in Sodom was surrounding Lot’s house. The entire city. No one was missing. That was actually an important point, because it had to be illustrated that there were not 10 righteous people anywhere in Sodom. If there were people missing, they would not have had their opportunity to stand up and be counted.

          • Tami Miller Skinner

            your right I reread it and it does say all the men. It doesn’t change the message however it’s a stretch to decide the crowd is homophobic, if that was the message it would have said it and it didn’t. You cannot decide what 2 men traveling together means men traveled together throughout the bible.

            Ezekiel 16:49-50 declares, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me…” Jude 7 declares, “…Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.”
            again it would make no sense to offer his virgin daughter to them in place of the angels so I really do think your attempting to change the word which is never a good thing. Maybe they wanted to beat them up but again a virgin daughter would make no sense in this context. I think instead of trying to change the bible accounts to justify this or that . It̵