Homosexuality Debate continued

What I have noticed is that the church, up til now, has failed. It has failed to minister to the gay community. Generally they feel unwanted by us. And why is this? Could it be because we're so busy spewing Bible verses and running to our positions that we've neglected our real responsibility which is to be in right relationship with them. We've been wasting our time arguing while the gay community has stopped listening and are slowly walking away. We should stop and forget for a while all of our reasons for homosexuality to be a sin and simply listen. Not patronizingly listening but as person to person. As brothers and sisters. Not as Christian to gay person but simply as people. We need to listen for a while before we speak. I admit I do not understand homosexuality well enough. Do any of you? The Church has a broken relationship that needs mending. This is much more important that our side of the argument. May I suggest that God sees us as Pharisees? We think... no, we know we are right. And we are pointing the finger at the sinner while Jesus is saying "I do not condemn you."

"I assure you, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do."-Matthew 21:31


Anonymous said…
Yes Yes Yes!!! I agree whole heartedly!! The thing that is sad is that this is across the board. All subjects that we find "moraly" wrong. It's like as soon as we hear of a person's struggle we start drawing boxes around them and identifying only with the sin. I love your qoute from Matthew.....Made me suck in some air thinking about how many times in the past I've pushed someone away.
Dan McGowan said…
I guess I wonder why it needs to be such an "either/or" situation? I mean, the Bible really does say that homosexuality is not only a sin but that it is a form of unrighteousness and that such behavior will result in not entering the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians). There are other things listed there as well... but it's not a matter of condemning a person when Jesus says He does not condemn - it's a matter of either trusting and believing the Bible is accurate or not.

It seems rather odd to me that we make such an enormous leap - that if a person, such as myself, determines that the Bible is accurate on this issue, then to have the courage to state the truth automatically means I HATE GAYS. Which I don't. I have friends who are gay... or HAVE been, etc. The issue is NOT one of love and acceptance but, rather, truth.

We can all certainly have our opinions as to what is truth and what is not truth - but openly agreeing with clear statements from scripture on matters of truth does not make someone a pharisee - it makes someone a Bible-believer.

I don't push people away. Honestly. And openly agreeing with the Bible MIGHT (and does) automatically push some away - but there is no way I am going to simply ignore or set aside the truth of scripture JUST to keep a friendship - that is equally wrong. (You can find statements to this reality in all those OTHER verses that HAVE NOT been cited in this little debate...)

God loves ALL people. He loves people who smoke, who drink, who take drugs, who have affairs, who sleep with people of the same sex, and anything else you can think of. He loves - because He IS LOVE. But just because HE LOVES does not in any way assume that HE ALSO COMMENDS or CONDONES.

Don't you think God LOVED the people in Soddom? Don't you thin God LOVED Judas? Don't you think God LOVED Hitler? Of course He did/does. But NEVER would God commend what took place in Soddom, nor how Judas berayed His Son, Jesus, nor how Hitler killed all those Jewish people, right?

I guess it all comes down to our ability to differentiate between what the CULTURE tells us and what our BIBLE tells us. Murder is an easy one - cuz MOST of us don't murder, as a rule. But our culture is so "accepting" that we believers can fall into the trap of actually re-shaping what scriptures says to fit our personal beliefs.

Now, if in all this, I am still heard as a person who "hates Gays," then guess what? That ain't my problem. And I do say that in love. Because I know if I hate them or not and God knows if I hate them or not. Honestly, it really makes no difference if you think I do or not. All that really matters is - what do we do with God's Word in a situation like this? Do we truly stand on His Word as truth? Or do we twist it around to fit our agenda?
Dan McGowan said…
I guess I would simply ask the obvious question that I don't think has been answered - and it IS answerable...

"Is Homosexuality A Sin?"

And I don't really get your comment on the other post about "thinking about homosexuality differently" when trying to argue the point that the way the Bible uses that word is different from how we use it today - that seems like a shaky argument to stand on - I mean, if that's true, man, I'm gonna start using it for my own personal pet-peeve issues!

Seriously - maybe we could just answer that one question - does the Bible state that homosexuality (which is sex between same-sex individuals - which is NOT "brotherly love" or some other nonsense) is a sin?
Dan McGowan said…
Sorry - just one more... then I'll back off and see where the discussion goes (if anywhere...)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says this:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neitehr fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor theives, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, now swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.

For a moment, stop there - the list is clear as to who makes up this list of unrighteous ones who will not inherit the kingdom of God. We can try to re-define what the word 'homosexual' means - but clearly, even in our day, same-sex relationships that are even the slighest bit sexual in nature would fit that title. Now, let's go on...

Verse 11 - And such were some of you (past tense, they USED to be this way) But (and this is huge) you were WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Okay - the word "were" indicates a change - in other words, once they came to Christ, they no longer did the things listed here...

So - if homosexuality is NOT a sin, then, being fair with the logic, neither are the other thigns listed - they are open for debate and actually could become part of our lifestyle, if we want.

Again - we LOVE those people who struggle in these areas while totally recognizing and affirming that these issues really are SIN. We continue to pray for the time when those who struggle in these areas are, as those we read about here, FREE from the bondage of those struggles. And we continue to love them through the process. But all the time we are honest about the reality that these issues really are SIN - including homosexuality.
EncouragingWord said…

It is a lot easier to categorize homosexuals as sinners when you haven't made personal contact and developed a relationship with a gay or lesbian person. It is still easy when you do know a GLBT individual who leads a promiscuous lifestyle.

It becomes a LOT more difficult when you connect with gays and lesbians who have committed their life to the Lord. When you see the Holy Spirit manafest itself in a GLBT person and hear all they have been through in their life because of the sexual orientation they were born with, it's hard not to understand that God accepts them AS THEY ARE since they have accepted Him as their lord and savior.

Dan, there ARE other translations and interpretations of the key scriptures you refer to that do not condemn homosexuality as clearly as you state. Most of them point to promiscuity, which I'm sure we agree is a sin regardless of the gender of the participants. If you are open to other views, I would be delighted to direct you to resources that I found helpful when I carefully cinsidered this issue last year.
SteveW said…
I like what you are saying here Wes. Too often the right, with many Christians in the lead, portray gays as an enemy worthy only to be vanquished to hell.

If they are considered the enemy to some are Christians not told to love them?

And if they are our neighbors the same applies.

I see much too much hatred pointed at gays regardless of how much biblical support it is wraped in.

Jesus showed love by accepting and not pointing out the sins of others....accept for the pharisees.
wellis68 said…
That word, "arsenokoites", in 1 Corinthians is controvertial. Not everyone believes that homosexual is the best translation. It is taking advantage of one (of the same sex) sexually. Homosexuality isn't taking advantage of anything because both parties are doing so in love. I may or may not agree with you on this verse but I know a lot of people who would disagree with you.

I'll say it again: There's a lot more to the argument than you realize. The Bible was writted in a completely different culture, as I'm sure you already know. We need to read it with that in mind. THE BIBLE IS NOT CLEAR ON THIS SUBJECT.

I don't want to argue about the Bible, let's assume we agree. Even if you and I agree this transcends "courage." If you are so courageouse that you sever the relationship then your courage is evil. I wish not to sever the relationship between the Church and the gay community.

How about being courageouse enough to consider that the Bible may not say a thing about homosexuality.

Please consider what I wrote in this post. Stop running to a position.

And by the way... you are indeed condemning gays and that's easily interperated as hate.
wellis68 said…
I have to apologize. I don't mean to argue so much. I really do appretiate where you're coming from. But can't we find a better way to state the truth?
Dan McGowan said…
Okay, so I guess I'm still confused... is homosexuality as sin?
wellis68 said…
I don't know. wheather it is or not... I know that marginalizing people, as the Church has done to homosexuals, is sinful. I cannot answer your question comfortably. Neither side of the argument is easy for me to agree with completely. I don't think I need to rush to a decision at this point. I'd rather think it through thoroughly.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
No, I believe homosexuality in and of itself is NOT a sin. There are plenty of sinful acts someone can commit in the practice of their homosexuality, but monogomous, committed love (and only God can truly judge that) is not sinful.

If a homosexual nature was sinful, would the gifts of the Holy Spirit rise up in a gay or lesbian person? I've seen that in my church, just more evidence to me that it is man who condemns them, not God.
Dan McGowan said…
Okay, I lied... here I come again... LOL...

First, Jim - have you ever seen the gifts of the Holy Spirit rise up in someone who's had an affair? Or someone who has cheated on their taxes? Or someone who uses the Lord's name in vain? I have. So have you. We all have. Very weak argument there regarding "proof" that the Lord CONDONES a sinful practice by rewarding the sinner with gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Wes, I have repeatedly stated that I love people who choose to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex - or, homosexuals as we call them today. Yet you continue to make an attempt to label me as a "gay hater." How very sad...

If the standard we are looking at is a monogomous relationship, gee... we can do that with a goat. So long as the goat is the only creature I have a sexual relationship with, all's well...

Jim has stated it clearly and boldly from his perspective - homosexuality is NOT a sin. Jim is the only one thus far to actually stand on his belief with guts... and though I totally disagree with you, Jim, I admire your willingness to take a stand. That ain't easy to do these days no matter what side of the fence a person is on, and regardless of the "hot" issue being discussed.

I will join Jim in his BOLDNESS and state that I 100% and completely believe that the Bible is clear on the matter - homosexuality is a sin. Sin is redeemed through the blood of Christ. Those who repent of their sin and come to Christ are forever free from the bondage of their past. Those who don't are not. It's all pretty simple when you get down to it.

I think a part of the problem is that the "lover" inside of us sees a person trapped in a homosexual lifestyle and cries out for them. We desire to see them living the way GOD INTENDED (which, as Genesis makes clear is ONE-man and ONE-woman TOGETHER...) In fact, no where in the Bible is there even the slightest hint that SAME sex relationships are "okay." Even if the people are not abusing each other or some of the other "reasons" that have been offered here...

Fine - if I am viewed as a Gay Hater, so be it. As I said before, God knows my heart WAY better than anyone reading these blogs we all write... I answer to Him and nobody else. And, no, I will not "open my mind" or "widen my view" on the matter - it's clear in scripture what the truth is.
EncouragingWord said…

I appreciate the respect you are showing me even though you disagree with my views. I will make sure to show you the same level of respect here. I certainly don't view you as a "gay hater."

Have you ever studied or investigated the claims of "the other side" on this issue, the discrepancies in translations and interpretations that lead people like me to accept homosexuality? My views were a LOT closer to yours until I did so.

Do you believe a homosexual can be received into heaven? There are certainly going to be a lot of people up there who have cheated on their taxes and used the Lord's name in vain.
Agent X said…
I am watching this debate. I have been withholding public comment thus far for a couple of reasons, one I will not disclose at this point, but the other is that it has been largely a 'dialog of the deaf.' That is up until now.

Please keep up the charity toward those you disagree with. That is my encouragement at this time.

Many blessings....
Dan McGowan said…
Hi Jim,

Some of your questioning is sort of like asking, "Have you ever been caught cheating on your wife?"

When you ask "Will a homosexual be received into heaven" and the equate that with tax cheaters being received into heaven - here is my answer...

OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If, just as ANY sinner, they REPENT of their sins, accept Christ as their Savior and move on towards a redemptive lifestyle... that may not make sense... but I hope it does.

It all comes down to affirming what is and is not "sin." If I suddenly decide that stealing is NOT a sin, but just "how I'm wired" then I never need to repent of that sin. I can continue to live as a STEALER and, if I know Christ, I have to assume I will be received into heaven. But there will also be some sort of judgement on all of us - not ETERNAL judgement, for we who know Christ are forever set free via grace. But there is SOME sort of judgement we all will face - that is Biblical. I don't know exactly what that will be and neither do you. What I do know is that Bible states certain things that God DESIRES and certain things that are UNRIGHTEOUS. We can dance around definitions of words all we want... but in the end we have to determine what God DESIRES for us to live abundantly and what He does NOT?

Here is an example. Some heterosexual people had sex - a lot of it - before they came to know Christ and/or before they got married. Their past is in the past - and they are redeemed though Christ if they have made that resolution. But this does not change the fact that there may be certain circumstances they still deal with as the result of their sinful PAST... everything from STD's to an unwanted or aborted baby, etc. Yes, God redeems but certain activities forever taint us. This is simple truth. We all deal with this. Same is true of the unnatural combination of same-sex relationships. It is NOT the way God intends. It is harmful.

Can God redeem it? Of course! But redemption costs something. Otherwise it is not redemption.

Like you, I ACCEPT a gay person. Again, the issue is NOT one of "acceptance" or "rejection" and that is why this is getting under my skin.

If you KILL BABIES because you are an ABORTION doctor, I ACCEPT you and LOVE you. But in no way do I CONDONE your evil activity. Because God does NOT want us to ABORT babies. He VALUES life.

Same is true with this issue and perhaps someone will hear this clearly from me.
wellis68 said…
Please do not think that I am trying to label you. I am surely not. I just want you to see that love does not come out in an argument that relates homosexuality to having relationships with goats. You've also linked homosexuality with murder. I know God knows your heart better than we do. I know you love homosexuals but I don't think a homosexual would be able to ee that in your comments. I want the homosexual to see your heart, don't you?

You are strong in your opinion and that's good sometimes. I don't necessarily want you to change your mind but I do think you should consider how you say things.
wellis68 said…
Thanks for the encouragement. I hope we'll all consider it.
EncouragingWord said…

How do homosexuals living as committed couples hurt anyone?

I really wish you would answer the question of whether you have ever been open enough to consider that your interpretation of the bible, or the one taught to you that you have accepted, is not as cast in stone as you portray. Have you ever examined what the other side has said and what they use to back it up? If you have only considered one side, I don't understand how you can be so sure that your beliefs are right. Unfortunately, I believe that one-sided approach to forming values is an epidemic in our nation today and is not isolated to the right or the left.
Agent X said…

You have asked Dan, "How do homosexuals living as committed couples hurt anyone?"

Not to detract from Dan's response, for he has demonstrated that his opinions are enough different from mine that he should answer for himself. But I am thinking that if I answer the question by saying homosexuals living as committed couples do not hurt anyone, then it seems to suggest there is no sin in it.

So, my question to you is, Do you only see a behavior, an action, or whatever as sin if it "hurts" someone?

In my mind, that is the next logical step in your question. And thus the next point of argument/discussion.
EncouragingWord said…

I was merely responding to Dan's point that homosexuality was "harmful." Of course, there are plenty of ways for people to sin without harming anyone but themselves.

As I stated earlier, though, I do not believe the bible states unequivocally that homosexuality is a sin. Promiscuity, yes.
wellis68 said…
I would suggest that sin isn't individualistic. It hurts people other than the one doing the sin. Sin is not the act of breaking a set of disconnected rules. The rules are in place so that we may live life in community with one another. Breaking community is essentially breaking God's image for God's image is only seen fully within community. So the real problem with sin is that it taints the image of God. When someone hurts themself they are really hurting others. Martin Luther King Jr. once said "I cannot be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be." When I disgrace myself, abandon my identity, or do any of the variouse things which at first glance are only hurting me I am actually hurting everyone. I am disconnecting myself from who I am which is to take one more thread out of the seamless garment which is the community of God. No sin only hurts one person.
Agent X said…

Let me see if I get this straight, (pardon the pun). Your question of how homosexuals living in a commited relationship hurts anyone was a response to Dan's saying it was harmful, and not a progression in the argument over whether it is sinful?

I am trying to be clear without being inflamatory or perceived as such.

Because, when I read the question, I thought it was advancing the argument based on how it presumably does not hurt others. And that seems to be one of the major bases for the otherside of the argument from Dan's. And when put together with the point that homosexuals cannot help their nature (or orientation as we call it in the debate) it seems to at least call into question how it can be a sin, and at most deny that it is.

As I see it, and can regurgitate it, those two points are advanced as gist and most potent parts of the case you are making against the more traditional case Dan makes.

(I am trying to set aside all the stuff about equating homosexuality with murder etc, because it seemed that stuff was never anyone's core issue, but merely illustrative and yet perceived as inflammitory).

Are these the gist? Do they constitute the case which to your mind settles the matter? What point at issue tipped the balance for you when you previously held views similar to Dan's?

I hope it is obvious that I am offering a listening ear here.
Dan McGowan said…
Gee, it kinda sounds to me like none of you even need me to answer... everyone seems to have a pretty good feel for speaking on my behalf... cool...


I am so glad I don't need to defend my comments. I'm so glat that God, and God alone, is gonna handle all of this...

Yeah, we can go in and redefine words to fit our own personal beliefs. It happens all the time. And, yeah, I am strong-opinioned on things that the Bible clearly states as obvious.

I really enjoyed being labeled a Pharisee, as one who should only toss a stone if I am without sin... nice. Very touching. Very endearing. Quite Christian.

So - let me see if I understand this... we should make sure we NEVER say ANYTHING negative about a person who is gay, but let's make sure we partner Dan with the Pharisees... okay... let me jot this down cuz I might forget it - and I might be more prone to actually DO the things I PREACH.


Noone has yet to answer one of my first basic questions with boldness... which of the following ARE a "sin" according to the Bible?

Using the Lord's name in vain
sex with animals

And, more importantly, how do we KNOW if any of the above are "sin" according to the Bible (not our "take" on it.)

And then, finally, and I really am not gonna say any more on this topic after this... IF WE DO SIN, are we not given the opportunity to move OUT of that sinful lifestyle and into redemption?

Which, if you have 3 minutes, you can go back and read my earlier posts... for that is what I was talking about - NEVER about condemning someone as I have been blasted with...

Wow... is all I can say.
Agent X said…

When you say "none of you" needs your answer and "everyone"... speaks on your behalf, then you are catching me in your net. I assure you that none of my remarks were intended to put me in that position.

I actually tried not to speak for you. My distancing myself from you was actually intended to leave space between you and me so that it would be clear that I was not speaking for you. You seem to do a good job of speaking for yourself, and I think that your remarks carry serious weight by-n-large. They just don't happen to be mine, or my approach.

In the end, my conclusions are very similar to yours. I am sensitive to the other side of the argument, but then it seemed to me that yours were too, and that only the push-come-to-shove atmosphere of the argument caused your case to seem harsh. But that of course is my perception.

I think your case has taken a beating here, but I have not seen it shut down. I think Wes has a point about making closer examinations of the texts you site, but he has only offered one instance to refute one site, and I am not convinced that his argument carried the day there. I suspect more examination is in order there, and that is only one for instance among many in your case. You still hold all the cards in the prima facie realm.

I say all this in hopes that it demonstrates you are adding much positive thought to the discussion, in my mind at least, even if it is buried under a lot of heat from the other side. I am actually more inclined to agree with you than the other side, but I am offering a hearing as fair as I can. So, I have with held my own view for the most part.

It is hard to argue with a guy standing on what the Bible "clearly says." And I do not want to be against what the Bible says. That alone is enough for me, even if it seems very unjust. However, I am also interested in listening to the other case to see if it can demonstrate that things are in fact not so clear. (So far they have not, in my opinion.)

Your tone in this latest comment post seems somewhat passive/aggressive to me. I figure that kind of attitude is natural when the heat is on, and now that I am venturing deeper into the fray, I am susceptible to such myself. So I say all of this, not in an effort to speak for you, but to hopefully show that you are not alone, and in fact, I am trying to listen carefully to you as well as the other side. I hope you'll take heart in that.

At the same time, I do not wish to presume that my voice is too important either. It is just one among many. And there are a lot of eyes watching here that are not speaking up. I am sure many of them are upset by what is said here, many are excited about what is said here, and many are too timid to join in. However, you are making the case many of them want to see stated well.

I hope that helps.

It also seems that Wes is ready for a cool down on this subject. I think he probably feels pretty weather-worn by it too, understandably. So I hope we can all let it rest for a bit. I certainly suggest some prayer on it. I will be praying...

Many blessings...
wellis68 said…
I hope you don't think I am labeling you or accusing you of acctually condmning anyone. I truly respect your thoughts here and I meant no harm or offense by anything I have said. I truly apologize for the way I cam accross. I hope we can leave this debate beind us and focus on the things which we agree upon. Let us focus a little more on the fellowship we have in Christ.
bruced said…
If we can "move out of sin", we have no need for Christ.

Which is worse... to be a homosexual?... or the murderer of a homosexual? Most christians I meet are one or the other.
Dan McGowan said…
Homosexuality, like ANY OTHER MISUSE OF GOD'S ORDAINED KINGDOM (ie: gluttony, one of my personal favorites, or murder, drunkenness, idoatry, etc.) is Sin. It is not sin because I say it is sin - it is sin because the Bible says it is sin. The same way the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way to true Salvation. Now, we either believe the Bible or we don't - no big mystery there...

The other thing the Bible makes so clear is that our sin - past, present and future - is completely wiped away by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross - this is why (another can of worms) it's nuts to keep asking the Lord to forgive us of our sins - it's already taken care of! We can THANK HIM for what He DID... but there is no need to go BACK to him and say, "Please FORGIVE me (present tense) cuz it's already a done deal.

So - because of that grace-filled reality, sin is done away with - it is FORGIVEN...

HOWEVER... it does not CEASE being called "sin" if that makes sense. The Bible clearly says, "you USED to be THIS way, now, because of the cross, you are THIS way... a NEW way..." And in stating such truth the Bible never renames our sins as "non-sins."

This is all I was trying to get to... that ANY sin is still sin - yes, it is forgiven (for those who know Christ) but it remains sin. If I am in Christ (which I am) and continue to struggle with gluttony (which I am getting better at) I can pretend that my sin is not sin all I want - because eating just feels so damn good sometimes! (ha ha)... but it is STILL a sin I struggle with and, in the midst of that, I am still forgiven. BUT IT IS STILL A SIN.

The Christian struggling with a homosexual lifestyle is forgiven. But as they continue living that lifestyle they are continuing to struggle with that sin. God continues to love them and they continue struggling.

The difference here is that I know AND ACCEPT that gluttony is a sin. And the tone of this thread has been one of "homosexuality is NOT a sin" which I have yet to see substantiated by scripture.

I mean, for me, a very simple question would be to ask if it would be a sin for me to go sleep with other women instead of my wife? IF the answer is "yes" then we have to ask why it is "yes." And if any part of that answer has anything to do with sexual misconduct, my point is made.
EncouragingWord said…

I'm going to ask this one more time. You say you've "never seen substantiated by scripture" that homosexuality is a sin. Fair enough.

Have you looked? Have you considered some of the works that have studied the orignial scripture and the historical context whithin which they were written?

To my way of thinking, regardless of the issue, anyone taking an authoritative stance needs to understand both sides. If they haven't, their words don't carry much authority. If they have, at least there will be some understanding that there is another way to view the issue and, even if agreement is not reached, the views are not treated in a simplistic black-and-white manner.
joel G. said…
so is the debate over?

its a fascinating read!

dont stop! whether for or against, i think dialogue is essential.

"Bruno" the movie is coming out this weekend, and believe it or not, thats what led me to this blog. :)

perhaps the contributors should take some time to do some research and then post some of these findings in greater detail?
i thought the mention of the greek translations was a good start.

my two cents.