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Homosexuality in light of the Chick Fil-A controversy and all the other debate about it

August 3, 2012

In light of all the uproar over Chick Fil-A and Gay Rights, I figured I would toss out this thought I had awhile ago, on how really to explain why the Bible seemed to be so hard on homosexuality, in light of Comprehensive Grace. (The doctrine that the condemnation of the Law, which is what is often leveled at homosexuality by religion, completely ended at the destruction of the Old Covenant Temple in AD70).

People today who veer into same sex practices from being jaded from a life of heterosexual overindulgence are generally what religious folk think of when they think of gays. Such people will better fit the description of what the Old Testament and Romans 1 are talking about. Likewise, prison rapists would be more in the vein of Sodom and Gomorrah (Which has been the basic argument that says the Bible doesn’t really condemn all homosexuality).
But none of these people are truly “gay”.

(When you listen to people’s stories, and having to “come out” among family and even in Christian communities, with all the ostracization they face ⦅in even the secular world of kids I grew up in, it was the absolute worst thing a man could be, and even today, gays are still being attacked in the black community⦆; often even being thrown out of the house by parents, they are not simply indulging in some [pleasure-oriented] “choice” they made.
Neither is it something they were simply swayed or indoctrinated into; nor for most, just some reaction from being molested, etc. Most really struggle with the identity from growing up, often as far back as elementary school! I doubt seriously they are all making all of it up —you know, just to “engage in whatever pleasure they want”, or as part of some conspiracy to bring down God’s judgment, or whatever, to “destroy America” (which is what these sort of things always seem to come down to. It’s all about their “exceptional” nation, which was not even around in Bible times!) In this vein, we’ve always heard about “the homosexual agenda” in the typical fashion of rhetoric, and while the way some have carried out “Gay pride” may go along with that assumption; it really looks like the “agenda” of the majority of them is simply to be accepted, as they work out and live with their own preferences).

Now, our problem is that in scripture, no such distinction is allowed between different people engaging in same sex practices. This is what those who insist with some justification that those scriptures are not really addressing them have been missing.

Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? has a whole chapter “No Oddballs Allowed” which seeks to answer the question “What did God have against Lobster?” regarding the Levitical laws. While there are various explanations (health, pagan practices, etc), he cites a Jewish writer who points out “kosher” means “fit“, it seemed to boil down to whatever was “odd” was ruled out. Lobster is considered “fish”, but fish normally have fins and scales, but the lobster doesn’t. So it’s “odd”.

This would be the same reason why such conditions such as menstruation and even leprosy were considered “unclean”; something that has cast more disrepute on the Bible itself by the modern world, than anything else, as it’s universally known that these things are natural and not “bad”, let alone that the people suffering from them can’t help it!
I’ve hardly even heard the Church really address, let alone come up with a good answer for these two issues. (They have embarrassedly tried to ignore them, hoping they go away or everyone forgets them, but they don’t!) So the world’s judgment of the Bible stands, in the world’s minds!

But these things were simply regarded as “unfit”, under the Law (Torah); which was based on the “knowledge of good and evil” that marked man’s “fall” into “sin” in the first place. Man’s perception of life and especially things sexual was totally distorted by this (hence, the “shame” of being “naked”), and the Law that was given to address it reflected this by casting things as “unclean” (or “abominable“, even) and restricting man from them.

So as for sexual “orientation”, the “base” purpose of sex (including romantic attraction) is reproduction, and reproduction (of the organisms that have developed a differentiated sex division) relies on heterosexual union of some sort (a male sperm and a female egg; even if reduced down to test-tube fertilization or intra-uterine insemination). So homosexuality is “odd” or not “fit” in that sense. (Sorry for any offense, but can gay rights advocates admit at least this much? It is kind of acknowledged in the embracing of the term “queer” by the community, which originally meant “strange” or “odd”. It had become a pejorative epithet for gays by the time I was growing up, but at some point became integrated into LGBT’s own nomenclature).

The issue before us, regarding religion and the CG perspective, is whether God is still condemning what is “odd”; especially if there are people who genuinely couldn’t help it (neurological/hormonal disposition, which is how I see it).
That, I believe, was a part of the Law, just as every nonsectarian evangelical will readily acknowledge for the dietary laws (which, as I’ve seen noted, happen to issue from the same book, so it is remotely possible that they stand and fall together!) The same with a forbiddance of “shatnez”, the mixing of wool and linen in a garment, also from Leviticus (19:19), and frequently cited by gay rights advocates.

The entire point of the Gospel is that this Law renders EVERY single person “unfit”! No matter what we do, or how hard we try to be “fit”. Christ was the only one who could “pass” under it, and he, with His clean slate, was able to take the condemnation for everyone else’s “unfitness”.

So the answer to the issue, just like everything else regarding the Law, is Grace. Though that may still irk gay rights people, since it implies a sort of “guilt” they won’t want to accept. I believe we must keep it in the context of this “fit” principle in light of the heterosexual nature of reproduction.
The hermeneutical definition of “sin” is “missing the mark” (the Greek word “hamartos”), and what is missing the mark? The direct scriptural definition: “sin is transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4). So when judging by the Law, (which defines marriage as heterosexual), homosexuality “misses the mark”.

So the question then becomes whether we’re under the Law. Most of the virulent anti-gay Christians are Sunday-worship observers who will then claim “we’re not under the Law but under grace (Rom. 6:14)” when confronted with the actual Sabbath (seventh day of the week) specified in the fourth commandment (or Levitical dietary laws, the pagan origins of Christian holidays, etc. The sabbatarians will themselves say this when explaining why they don’t go further and keep sacrifices or circumcision. And they will of course all agree the shatnez law is not in effect).

There’s also the mistaken belief that salvation or “sanctification” is about behavior modification, which is another way of placing salvation on keeping the Law, even though most won’t see it in those terms. (Those who profess “grace alone” usually will point to God’s Spirit “changing us” ⦅which still ends up connected to the self-effort of “daily choices”⦆, and that will be their prime argument against homosexuals). But sanctification is being “declared holy” despite our unholiness (2 Cor. 5:19), and the behavior change regiments they advocate (whether for homosexuality or any other problem people struggle with— addictions, anger, depression, etc.) are just regular human efforts (hence, them emphasizing “choices”) that are not exclusive to born again Christians. So many testify to it not really working.

They’ll also appeal to teaching on “death of the self” (or “old nature”, which would supposedly include “urges” that are contrary to the Law). But the “Death of the old self” as used in scripture actually points (especially as used by Paul) to our own attempts to keep that Law (for that was in fact Paul’s “old life” as he described it). This is what’s actually deemed “the flesh” because it’s the same source of those urges (e.g. the “fruits”), thus, why it becomes a “struggle” in the first place. Your very effort at combating certain thoughts, feelings and actions springs from the same “nature” producing them! Even with the Spirit “helping” you. (Which is generally interpreted in terms of “conscience”, which is basically reiterating the Law, which would then hopefully produce more of a motivation to change. But this ends up in practice becoming “works”). It negates grace, which is really what’s needed.
[Edit: Regarding the supposed “reparation” of a gay Christian, and another one criticized for still identifying as such, see also: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/why-im-critical-of-christian-self-help-teaching-part-2/#comment-2328 ]

The next objection will be that this position “allows anyone to do anything they want, and will destroy society” (and so there’s that motive of “saving society” again). But while you could argue that was the purpose of the Law in the first place; much of the Law was “added because of transgressions until the Seed [Christ] should come” (Gal. 3:19).
There is of course some sort of rules needed, for basic human society and relationships to be able to function, in addition to man’s relationship with God, and the best place to start with that is what rabbinic Judaism has termed the 7 “Noahide laws”, which, preceding Moses and the nation of Israel, are deemed universal for man; while the rest of the Law was only for Jews. The rabbis’ list of scriptures the “Noahide Laws” were drawn from: (Idolatry: Gen. 31:19-36; Blasphemy: Gen. 3:1-4, Murder: Gen. 4.8-10-16, 6:11, 9:6, Theft: Gen. 3:6, Gen. 31:19, Forbidden sexual relationships: Gen. 19:5-7, 20.3, Establishing courts of justice: Gen. 19:1-9. [The Gates of a city were where Judges sat to convene Courts of Justice], Eating the Limb of a Living Animal: Gen. 9.4-5).
Most of these things, most people, including the LGBT community, will agree with. They are also what were pretty much reiterated in Acts 15, when the apostles were summarizing which aspects of the Law new gentile Christians should be held to, against the more judastic element in the Church, arguing for the whole Law.

One of the scripture references for “Forbidden Sexual Relationships” is the Sodom and Gomorrah story however, which the rabbis will interpret as male homosexuality (and addition to them fanning out the 7 laws into 66 ‘principles’ that rule out a lot of things, just as they fanned out the rest of the Law into a tedious 613 points, for themselves). But as has been pointed out, this is not portraying consensual relationships, but rather rape, as part of a general culture of lust and violence, and as I said earlier, would be more comparable today to the prison environment, where normally “straight” men, cut off from women for years, now go after the other men, in a rage of lust and most importantly, power. (And the other reference, in the following chapter, is about regular adultery. I’ve noted it seems the gay community is more into monogamy than the straight community now!)

Of course, stuff like pedophilia, incest and bestiality would be included. These are more universally repulsive to the human conscience. People will think (as I even did), “oh, that will be next, once this is accepted”, but children and animals are not consenting people you can have any meaningful “relationship” with, so it’s not really the same thing.
Sex is about intimacy and exploration, so close relatives should also be naturally repulsive, and if you “fall in love” with them, something’s wrong there. Unlike a whole other gender, this would specify certain individuals as objects of one’s affections, but since there are so many other individuals out there to choose from, there are so many other options besides relatives. (And according to the most conservative Bible readers, who take everything in Genesis absolutely ‘literally’, God even once allowed incest, when there were only a few people on earth; i.e. “Cain’s wife”. But it is not necessary now).

All four practices similarly fall into the “odd” category, but gender preference between consenting human adults is different from the other three.
The Law was summed up in the great quote from Hillel that Jesus adopted, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). You cannot accuse consenting adults of violating this, unless they personally force it on you.

So in that light, you can’t even call it a “disorder” (like I once assumed it was). “Disorder” means “a confused or messy state: a lack of order or organization”. “a state or situation in which there is a lot of noise, crime, violent behavior, etc.” From there, the medical definition: “a physical or mental condition that is not normal or healthy”.
The people are able to live and function in society, while “disorder” is something that would hamper that ability (like “autism spectrum disorders“, “borderline personality disorders“, “dissociative disorders“, etc.

From here, people may think of AIDS, but while that is believed to have started from a particular homosexual practice, its spread (like all other STD’s) is from sexual profligacy (which not all homosexuals engage in; many are monogamous; and AIDS spreads just as much among heterosexuals), and homosexuality is not just about that one male-on-male act.
(People often try to prove God’s Law by arguments on “health”. Like sabbathkeepers argue the Sabbath and especially the Levitical dietary laws promote “health”, which most other Christians don’t agree with; but the shatnez law shows clearly that the whole focus of the Law was “oddness”, as that one command has no bearing on “health”).

Gays will often point out that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, but Christians will counter that He did allude to ruling it out in Matt. 19:4,5 when He cited Genesis saying “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”.
This was a response to those rejecting Him, and trying to trap Him with the Law (v3). So He gave the model of original Creation, which the Law had adopted (in mandating male-female only), —but had already allowed certain other deviations (namely, in this case, divorce, and along with other things like polygamy), “because of the hardness of your hearts” (v.8).

Some at this point, will take this as proof that it is not about “The Law” (i.e. “Moses”), but rather some original universal law from Creation (and of course this will tie into their reading of Romans 1). But that is still “law”, and contrary to Grace, if it is just another set of rules people are condemned by. We are just as unable to save ourselves by “natural law”, as by the Law of Moses. And that “natural law” (along with the written Law) is actually what Paul calls “the natural man” (“the flesh”) when we employ our own efforts to be “holy” through it.
(Really, if people are condemned for not following the “original male-female pattern”, then you can argue that celibacy also runs counter to that, and likewise does not promote procreation. In fact, to Jews, it was practically seen like this, where something was wrong with you if you were unmarried. Noted, is that Jesus then mentions “eunuchs” (v.12), who obviously could not follow that “natural” pattern).
Going the other way in time, they will appeal to Eph.5:31-2, which reiterates the Creation statement, and then ties it into the upcoming “marriage” of Christ and the Church. But the passage is simply instructing heterosexual marriage partners on the ‘order’ of marriage (under the Law, that is), using the headship of Christ over the Church as the model. And, though most won’t receive this, the fulfillment of this “marriage” occurred shortly at the end of the age, but of course, the Church today is still waiting for it today. In any case, if this mandated a pattern everyone had to follow in their own personal lives, then, again, you couldn’t have celibacy!

So in my view now, what other people struggle with or who they’re attracted to is really their own business, or “between them and God”, as they will often say (just like if we shouldn’t be watching others having sex in a porn film, we shouldn’t be so ‘in these other people’s beds’ regarding who their partners are either!)

Since most conservative Christians will see all gays as “outside the Church” (including those who still identify as Christians), then Paul goes as far as to say “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Cor. 5:12).
In Matthew 10:14, Jesus tells us that if anyone will not welcome us or listen to our words, we are to leave the place and “shake the dust off your feet.” (and leave them to whatever judgment is set befall them). But Christians stay and badger, which is opposite what Jesus tells us to do. (And this not just with homosexuality, but with all the “sin” they decry in the nation. If they really followed this instruction for “evangelism”, they would have left the nation by now, as much as they complain it has turned completely from God!)

So why really are they doing this?
They’ll say they’re actually “loving” the people by trying to save their souls from Hell (or to be more accurate, get them to turn from a path to damnation), but (aside even, from the often unloving hostility spewed forth in the process) it is clear in most people’s objection that there is a more selfish motivation; that they think these people’s lifestyles are not only damning their own souls, but also taking something from them (the conservative Christian) as well; and this is tied into the whole “saving the nation” goal. That the nation was “chosen”, leading to its “exceptional” morality and politics, but the sins of gays and others is bringing it down, and causing “judgment” in the form of various calamities, (and probably also the economic downturns).

But scripture makes it clear that there is no such “exceptional” physical nation (this is based on a misguided Puritan conception of “covenant theology”, even though not all hold the whole theology), and all have sinned. This betrays pride and not love for the people’s souls, and so that cannot be used as an excuse for discrimination.

And we should not be trying to hit them with the Law (when we don’t even meet its requirements), but instead love them or at least get along with them regardless. We are to “Follow [live in] peace with all men” (Heb.12:14), not be “contrary to all men” (1 Thess 2:15. And “be holy” in the first scripture is for the reader to practice himself, not to try to force on others, and thus become the excuse to being “contrary” to them).
All of this may seem like such a “liberal” cliché, but it is in harmony with the principle of grace (i.e. that God is the one who administers and enforces ⦅—and can withdraw, if He chooses⦆ the Law, not us, even if He did once use people to preach or enforce the Law).

Edit: see also https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/hatred-a-much-misunderstood-term/

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8 Comments
  1. This is unbelievable, but the answer is very good:

    John MacArthur on Having Gay Children: Alienate Them & Turn Them Over to Satan
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/john-macarthur-on-having-gay-children/

  2. So the LGBT community struck a major victory with the Supreme Court decision to legalize marriage in all 50 states. Rainbows are everywhere (FB memes, FB avatars, brilliiant LED accenting on the White House, 1 WTC and Empire State, etc).
    Turned on my computer [hit with rainbow]

    And of course, the religious and political debate fires up like never before. And this, (occuring right during pride week!) the third of a trio of major victories for liberalism: the final passage of Obamacare, and the removal of the Confederate flag from many places, after the deadly rampage of a white supremacist on a black church.

    In places, I feel it ges too far, like on the heels of this, NY and other places considering banning gender binary restrooms! http://nypost.com/2015/06/26/are-nyc-bathrooms-about-to-become-gender-neutral/ Just because some people’s gender might be ambiguous, everyone (including cisgendered binary individuals) would then have to share restrooms.
    I myself felt that same sex couples should not emulate heteorsexuality in getting “married” or raising children, but they apparently feel very strongly about this, and they’re not forcing me to live that way, so what else should I do regarding them?

    Here’s a comment on a blog posting regarding of the meme “Five things Jesus would say to the gay community”:

    if a person wants to change their way of living; they have to change their way of thinking. how do you change your way of thinking? everytime a homosexual thought pops into your head you have a free will choice to either entertain that thought, and dwell on that thought, making it grow so eventually you will act on it. or you can block those thoughts out and dwell on the truths found in Gods word until you act on them instead. all feellings , including homosexual feelings, are thought driven. and what you allow your mind to dwell on is a matter of choice. it will be revealed by the way you live. what if a these people don’t what to turn from this kind of life? then we have just revealed what their true problem is. its not because they cant be delivered from homosexual feelings. its because they don’t want to be delivered from homosexual feelings. its because they have made a free will choice to continue in this lifestyle. and they, if they don’t repent, will have to answer for it. our job is not to judge them, but to tell them that their is a greater love out there for them. one that they cant even imagine.

    This is all the typical “spiritual growth process” jargon, and it assumes the problem is just some “urge” to have some sort of freaky sex or something (like people compare it to adultery, drugs, drunkenness, etc. that we may get “urges” for). From what I’ve been seeing with most people, it’s more than just about sex. And if the cause might be hormonal, then it’s definitely more than just about some urge for a particular act.

    Of the “five things Jesus would say”, four of them are nice sounding statements that emphasize Jesus’ love and compassion. (“I love you”, “I understand rejection”, “I was also tempted”, “I’m here for you”), But one of them is “I want more for you”, which is to enjoy sex, as God created it, between a man and a woman.
    So the “struggle” of forcing themselves to be with the opposite sex is the “more” He wants for people. Either that, or just being celibate, most will allow. There’s even a debate as to whether Christians who have homosexual attraction but stay celibate should still be called gay, since they’re not actually “practicing” the “lifestyle”.
    (And again, this is likened to the “struggle” each of us has to go through with whatever we are doing that is sinful, like again, substance addictions).

    Of course, they don’t tell you right away it will be a struggle. The premise, as we see articulated here, is if you just make the all-important “free-will choice” and change your thinking, then you’ll change the way you live (and hypotheticaly, it should become “easier”, but this person isn’t even saying this, here!)

    The only way to make that “something more” is to say that going through the “struggle” and then going to Heaven afterward is better than “continuing in sin” and going to Hell. But then, salvation is clearly by works. Jesus’ “love” is then all tied up in better behavior; conforming it to the Law, which is what He came to save us from in the first place!

    So we should just leave the people alone. Christians’ reaction is still like that of parents whose children are rebelling, like typical statements I see such as “a culture that is moving farther and farther away from the clear teaching of Scripture about God’s purpose and design for human sexuality”. But they’re not our children. They do not answer to us!

    Another person somewhere said “Fifty years ago this kind of activity was kept in the shadows, because we were ashamed of it. Now not only are we proud of it, it has become the law of the land. Its one thing to sin, it is quite another to rub God’s nose in it.”
    They forget that God sees all those things done in the shadows (they’re the ones who couldn’t see what was in the “shadows”, and now feel it is being rubbed in their face since it’s been exposed to them), and a “nation” or any other unit of people are no less “rubbing sin in God’s face” just because their sins are hidden, and that includes even mental stuff like hatred, even if it’s not acted out in behavior. That was the entire problem with many Christians’ assessment of the past and societal changes. Those trying to “lead” others in righteousness seem not to completely understand it themselves!

    So they know how we feel, and Jesus even said if the people we preach to don’t listen, to just “shake the dust off our feet” and move on. But again, we have more at stake than just their souls; it’s about ours as well, like saving “the nation”, or “they’re going to come after our freedoms now”.

    This article http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2015/06/26/upon-the-legalization-of-gay-marriage which dispels some of these fears, does point out:

    Negative public opinion toward churches who oppose this move will become solidified, placing you on the losing side of the culture war on this matter.
    Now we’re getting at the heart of the matter for evangelicals. Today’s defeat in Obergefell v. Hodges signals that public opinion has shifted away from the traditional evangelical view, and it serves as an emblem of a sea change that you’ve been anticipating and lamenting for decades. This is a further indication that evangelicalism has lost some of its grip over the surrounding culture so that now those who oppose this change will be looked down upon by those who are supposed to be beneath them, not above them.

    We’re going to be considered morally deficient. Let’s admit it. We’re much more accustomed to being accused of being morally superior. They’ve said we’ve been “stand-offish” meaning better than them, now a large part of this culture thinks we are morally deficient. And we’re going to find that’s a very different way to do ministry.

    What a blow that must be!
    But these are more concerns about our own creature comforts than the other people’s souls.

    A lot of it is from the institutional nature of religion. Religious organizations employ the laws of the land to organize themselves into special tax free corporations that build their buildings and pay their “staff”. So there is the danger that this could be used as leverage to force them to accept gays or even to stop preaching against them (even if there is no definite move to do it right now.
    I would say that some do tend to cross the line, and push too much. Why would you want to be married or even have your cake baked by [or any other service performed by] someone who thinks your marriage is an evil perversion, especially when there are others who don’t think that and will perform it?)

    But that I believe is the price of the Church becoming dependent on “organization” (the Church was originally people fellowshipping in the home), and also, the Church believing it is called to reform everyone’s behavior (beyond sharing the message with them, and moving on if they decide against it).

    The “world” would be less likely to try to control the Church, if the Church didn’t pose such a threat of trying to control the world, which is not what Christ commissioned it to do! (When the Church did have such control, in the past, it led to religious dictatorship, even over other Christians, who then broke away).

    Speaking of laws, the entire battle here makes us dependent on a secular government to determine “marriage”, as has been pointed out! Christian conservatives have been a major voice criticizing too much dependence on government. (And particularly one they have seen as sliding away from God long before this decision). Yet they are essentially arguing that “marriage” is what the government allows (or even has the power to define), so if they allow it for gays, they have effectively “redefined” it, contrary to God (which actually attributes to them way too much power. It’s understandable that “secular” gays pushing for “equality” and not for scripture would put so much stock in that).
    In other words, it’s not just the government itself “playing God”, but also the Christian conservatives, who in essence say “yes, you are in the position/level of God”, but then get mad when their decisions don’t match His. Allowing others to marry then takes something away from them (like rendering their own marriages meaningless somehow), due to this universal “redefining”.

    But the US government or any of its states’ governments did not exist in Biblical times. There were no human governments at all for Adam and Eve, or the immediate generations after them, yet that was when “marriage” was first “defined”.
    The act of of coming together physically [i.e. “one flesh”] was “marriage”, not going and getting a “license”, and then standing before a govt. official and/or “minister” and repeating vows. We see coming together without the vows as “fornication”, and coming together with someone else after the vows as “adultery”, but really, the former is a technical marriage (often done to avoid the legal difficulties of the “official” union, and make it easier to break it up, and then go get someone else. That would then become “adultery”. “Fornication” in scripture was other acts; like what we call “prostitution” and “incest”).

    They’ve also been reiterating the fear that “polygamy, child molestation, etc. will be next”.
    But I have never seen any lobby for those things. They are not waiting in the wings to gain rights, so where would such a movement to “legalize” them even come from?

    I would agree with what an article like this http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/challenges/homosexuality/why-did-god-invent-sex says, but still if the people are inclined toward something other than “God’s best”, or “God’s design”, that (as those people wil themselves say) is between them and God, not something we are to try to badger them into. It’s like “I love you enough to give you ‘my best’, but you must give me what I’m due by receiving it, else, I will give you the worst”. That is not true grace, it’s coersion.

  3. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2013/10/are-not-the-bibles-laws-on-homosexuality-unbiblical/

    Goes after the whole “moral” vs “ceremonlal” tactic used to divide the Law into what they will admit has been “done away”, and what they think should still be enforced today.

    So “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” then refers to “moral law” only.

    “The first thing to note is that nowhere in the Bible are moral laws distinguished from ceremonial laws. Those are man-made designations. Christians have always allowed for Biblical “laws” to migrate from one category to another.
    It used to considered in accord with Biblical moral law for Christians to keep slaves.
    ‘Thou shalt not work on the Sabbath day’ is one of the Ten Commandments. Yet today we do not assume that no real Christians mow their lawn on Sundays, or play professional football.”

    (Let alone the fact that Sunday itself is already a total change from the actual commandment, and this is the biggest one where they will claim “we are not under the Law”. Sundaykeepers will try to use the “ceremonial law” argument, and sabbatarians will simply move the “ceremonial” line further down, to practices they admit should not be kept (like annual holy days, for Adventists, but then more radical groups believe those aren’t “ceremonial” either).

    “So when it comes to Christian moral law, what rule does remain constant? What is the standard by which Christians must ultimately judge each and every Biblical law?
    For a ready and clear answer to that question, we have only to turn to Jesus’ Great Commandment, here at Mark 12:28:
    ‘The most important commandment, answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”’
    So there is Jesus directing us to understand that if breaking a Biblical ‘law’ does not violate the Great Commandment, then that law should no longer be considered a moral law.”

  4. http://dcgazette.com/2016/chic-fil-gay-club-shooting-isnt-viral/

    Of course, this apparently conservative source has to politicize the kind act by framing it in terms of liberals hiding it because it disproves their claims that a Christian owned company like this “hates” gays. (Though it’s true that the gesture does not necessarily prove their beliefs aren’t incorrect and therefore what people are calling hateful, even if that itself is a bit exaggerated. Still, it was a nice step in the direction of reflecting God’s Grace).

    (As the afternoon progressed, more mainstream outlets began covering the story: http://abc7ny.com/news/chick-fil-a-employees-go-to-work-on-a-sunday-after-orlando-shooting/1385246 Funny, as the “mainstream media” ends up as the “neutral” source here, where conservatives always considered them slanted to a biased agenda).

  5. As two more milestones hit the news and net today; of the Stonewall Inn being declared a national monument for LGBT rights, and the first LGBT Miss America contestant, Ms. Missouri, and how it seems like one after another, to the utter chagin of religious conservatives.

    But what came to mind, again, is that these are first, people, who want to live out their identity without shame or discrimination, just like the rest of us. You say “it’s a shameful practice, and so they should feel shamed, and hopefully that will lead them to repentance unto salvation”. But this is judging by “the Law“, which you claim is “done away” in other areas, and seem to agree with the New Testament that “By the works of the Law shall no flesh be saved” (Rom.3:20, Gal. 2:16). Also, Jesus clearly gave a distinction between “what was said by them of old time” [under the Law] and what He was teaching now. (And though what He was saying seemed like it was even stricter than what was taught in the Law, the whole point was that no one could keep it, and thus salvation could not be by keeping it, and the system of Law would be eventually removed).
    Furthermore, you’re using it to try to ‘create/maintain order in society’, which was the function it served in Old Testament Israel only. Again, that had a specific purpose, for those people, which has since been fulfilled. America is not ancient Israel*, which was a theocracy, with the religious leaders as the appointed moral guardians, and people need to stop thinking like that.
    Then, there’s “they’re going to take over and persecute us now”, but it won’t seem like that as much if you are not badgering them at every turn. (Like they wouldn’t try to enforce acceptance if people weren’t so strongly trying to descriminate, even with services that are not private, or of course, actively persecuting. The same as happened with race).

    So we should just accept this as another step in undoing the dehumanization of groups of people, and whatever happens between them and God afterward, is, as people always say, between them and God. Let it not become something else we are worried or miserable about.

    Edit: this site https://www.tms.edu/preachersandpreaching/jesus-never-address-homosexuality/ aims to address the issue of whether Jesus ever “mentioned” homosexuality. They ultimately point to Matt.19 when answering the Pharisees attempt to trap Him with the notion of divorce: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They also suggest that He could have skipped that part about “man and wife” and went straight to “two become one flesh”, if He wanted to be totally neutral on the issue. Divorce had only been allowed under the Law “because of the hardness of their hearts”.

    They above pointed out that “They were living in an age under the Mosaic Covenant, which explicitly condemned homosexuality (Lev 18:22; 20:13)”. Thus “the only reasonable conclusion — especially in light of the fact that Jesus viewed the Old Testament as the very Word of God (e.g., Matt 22:43) which was infallible (John 10:35) — is that His view of homosexuality was the Old Testament’s view (i.e., God’s view) of homosexuality.”

    But that right there further identifies the condemnation as part of the Law. And of course, Jesus upheld the Law, except when pointing out its limitation for the sake of man’s sinfulness, as we see in the allowance for divorce. This says nothing about what would be the case later on, when the Law was abolished. (Again, the Law also allowed for polygamy as well, even though the original model from Creation was monogamy). What abolition of the Law meant that God would no longer “count” the transgressions of it against man.

    Now, the page is also answering a particular version of the argument that aims to get around Paul’s condemnations of it as him having “corrupted the way of life and the ideology that Jesus came to propagate”. I’m not sure how many believe like that. People who reject Paul but claim to follow Jesus usually are those who fervently advocate the Law, and realize that attempts to hold onto both it and his teachings really aren’t consistent. But perhaps, it’s to so-called “red letter Christian” types, who claim to go only by what Jesus directly said (i.e. the “red letters” in many Bibles), rather than the rest of the New Testament.
    But that is not necessary. The overlap of covenants would explain this, hence the Law was still held to some extent even after the Cross (like Paul also had someone circumcised, to appease the system, and warned his readers about their “liberty” and how it could be misconstrued as lasciviousness; and would also “deliver” people to the Law system for certain sins). The final end was the “end of the age” they were waiting for, when the Law system (Temple) would be gone for good, and full redemption finally spread. (In Romans 1, Paul is referring to the same people who pretended to keep the Law in the following chapter, but had become perverted, and in various ways, despite judging others. It’s also pointed out that Paul in the other two cited passages of 1 Cor. and 1 Tim. may have been referring more to sexual prostitution of boys than any private consensual relationship).

    Overall, when talking about how “natural” is is or isn’t, we should remember that there are two aspects of sex; reproduction and intimacy between two people. In a heteronormative pattern, the hormones lead to attraction toward intimacy with the opposite sex (and revulsion toward the same sex), which then often leads to reproduction. For gays, for some reason the hormones lead them to intimacy with the same sex, and often revulsion toward the opposite sex. While their bodies can’t reproduce together, there’s still the intimacy part, which is the basis of their relationships. Since it is about intimacy between two people, everyone else really should not get involved with it. Again, people claim they are saving their “souls”, but what always comes out of their larger doctrinal agenda is a desire to save the “nation“, (and thus really their own egos, as the nation is what they identify with), and once people have made their decision, we should leave them alone.

    *In other, unrelated news, today’s other headline of the Britain pullout of the EU must surely be great news for the remnant of Armstrongism and other “Anglo-Israelists”, who can proclaim this as paving the way for the final fulfillment of prophecy, as Britain obviously can’t be in the EU if Britain is apart of God’s “Israel”, and the EU is Satan’s “Beast” power! Considered “heretical” by evangelical “orthodoxy”, it and the sabbatarianism of Armstrongism is really a consistent logical extension of this OT focus seen in the push against gays.

  6. Ran across what I see as this amazingly brave LGBT advocate: Crystal Cheatham.

    She came from an ardent Seventh Day Adventist background (which she calls “fundamentalist”, though technically, it isn’t, as they obviously reject the chief “fundamental” doctrine you associate with fundamentalism, which is conscious eternal Hell; and also, of course, rejecting the nearly universal Sunday as the day of worship in favor of the original seventh day Sabbath. So what she means is deeply morally conservative and true to its essential doctrines).

    When her father passed away when she was 15 (Dec. 2000), this inspired her to become even more fervent in the faith. She transferred to an SDA boarding high school, and then the church’s Anderson College. At two key points, when a bunch of girls suspected she might be lesbian, when not showing interest in boys at 13, and then a roommate in college, she (reflecting on the legalism and obsessions with “sin” that even she had participated in, and then seeing how another gay person had to hide it) became disillusioned with the whole morality, and what she calls the “Purity Culture”.
    So she (an aspiring folk singer) came out, and pastor Manny Cruz at first responded with an apparent (and surprising) enthusiasm, and invited her to not only sing, but speak on it. But at the last moment, banned her from speaking, and the next day (only telling her because she asked) explained that the SDA couldn’t have a gay person speaking. (Which you would think he would have said right off the bat as it is an obvious rule the SDA shares with every other conservative denomination or sect, so this is baffling as to why he would raise her hopes like that and then dash them. Must have spoken to other leaders).

    So she broke away from the church, and turned from the rules in favor of “choosing/knowing myself”, and explored the gay community and became an activist.
    Now, she’s producing a Bible app that will provide devotionals that are inclusive of LGBT people, as well as gender neutral translations.

    What I’m taking note of is the extreme hatred in comments on various sites, and even her YouTube videos.

    http://bible-christian.org/lgbt-bible-app-include-verses-homosexuality/
    http://christiannews.net/2017/06/26/lesbian-woman-creates-lgbt-bible-app-to-promote-inclusivity-within-the-church/

    Ken Ham, president of the apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis, says the Our Bible App is “biblically wrong” and misses the point of the gospel.

    “[The creators of this app] are ignoring the very heart of the message of Christianity, that we become born again (John 3:3)—become new creatures—and gain a brand-new identity when we turn to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)!” Ham wrote in a blog post on Monday.

    “These professing believers are trying to find their identity in their sexuality and gender rather than submitting totally to Jesus Christ,” Ham continued. “But we are no longer defined by our sin when we are Christians. We are defined by Christ who lives in us.”

    [BTW, Ham, cited like some major authority here, according to some is allegedly not having that much success with his Ark museum, and blaming either atheism, or area hotel capacity: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/06/creationist-ken-ham-blames-atheists-ark-park-failure
    http://religionnews.com/2017/06/19/ken-ham-disputes-reports-the-ark-encounter-is-sinking
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-ham-ark-encounter-attendance-limited-lack-hotels-190927

    He’s being accused of selling it (as a for-profit venture) to a non-profit organization avoid taxes:
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/creationists-sell-christian-theme-park-to-themselves-to-avoid-paying-700000-in-taxes/

    He also began bathing the ark in rainbow colors, aiming to “take the rainbow back from the gays”, but was instead mocked for it: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/look-at-this-gay-boat-creationists-use-of-gods-rainbow-colors-for-ark-park-lighting-gets-hilariously-mocked/]

    Comments:
    “You don’t change the Bible, it changes you.”
    [Total misunderstanding of what the aim of the Gospel is. Obviously all about behavior here].

    “She doesn’t have Faith, she has a belief, and a belief which is wrong. Faith can only be acted upon for Salvation (or any other promise offered by God) when a person believes the Word of God, Jesus Christ. She is ignoring the Word of God, so her Faith has died. I pray she turns from her confusion and sin before she meets the LORD in Judgement.
    Come LORD Jesus, come!”
    [Faith as “action” error].

    “This is how you know Cheatham should call herself Legion instead, as she is filled with many demons.”

    “Some people want to do everything to assure they go to hell with all the amenities. It would be better for this woman to become an atheist or as Jesus declared, she’d be better off having a millstone hung around her neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea than to live to commit such wickedness.”
    [Here is a virtual admission that keeping the Law is what saves and not unmerited pardon (i.e. “grace”), so it would be better if you just reject Jesus and are not gay. It’s all just a ploy to “get by” with as much sin under one’s belt as possible anyway; which may be more a projection of repressed sin within themselves].

    “She isn’t trying to resist sin though, she is trying to change The Bible to make it acceptable”

    The key is ‘resisting sin’.
    From the Scriptures:
    – Let him who steals steal no longer.
    – Go and sin no more.
    – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
    – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
    – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
    – The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent
    – No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure [not engage in] it.

    Have read the scriptures. Have not found anything even remotely sounding like – Jesus loves you and He knows you can’t stop sinning, so, stop trying and stop worrying; embrace your sinfulness and don’t worry – God is OK with it.

    [These passages are drawn from a wide range of places and lumped together, but are not being viewed in light of grace vs works. (Which is why they have to come up with qualifications like “as long as you don’t want to do the sin anymore”, which their main charge here is that this motivation is being eliminated). All have in their context either being under the Law, as in the case of the pre-Cross examples, or in the post-Cross examples such as Acts and Col.3 where grace was being introduced, but they were waiting for the full fruition of it when the system of Law would be eliminated. (What’s the “good news” if in all the severity of the Law, God was actually “winking” at sin the whole time, but actually making salvation harder afterward, to the present? The higher “requirement” ⦅Luke 12:48⦆ would only be for the firstfruits of that generation who would live to see the accusing Law system, ⦅which was the very “world” or age referred to in these scriptures⦆, come down, ⦅Matt.16:28, and this was the “wrath” referred to in v.6 in Col.3⦆; not people thousands of years later, and long after special revelation and other regular intervention has ceased).

    This of course is not an accepted or commonly known doctrine, by either conservatives or liberal detractors such as the LGBT Christians. Pantelist writer Tim King points out that standard liberal theologies operate “apart from the covenantal framework of biblical eschatology” and thus “the concept of salvation is severed from its Hebraic roots, the victory of God is reinterpreted through the lens of human worth and Christ is removed as the central figure in the victory of God”, and thus “the true story of hope gives way to any number of stories and the foundation for the continued development of human society is compromised”. (“Comprehensive Grace”, Jul 30, 2002). This then is what drives or fuels the standard conservative responses.
    So it looks like the LGBT advocates are just openly “rejecting” these “clear scriptures”, but the unresolved dispute of faith vs works among the different groups, or even within evangelical understanding itself shows that something is being missed in the conservative understanding of them

    And it’s not “stop trying, and embrace your sin”; though it is stop worrying (several scriptures speaking of “anxiety” are referring to anxiety over salvation, but instead are applied to daily situations). Love is to be the motivation in living, not fear (1 John 4:18)].

    Becoming “Born Again” is how one becomes saved per the instruction manual. It is a contract between the Creator God, YHWH and His created. One must first repent of all law breaking and WANT to sin no more. Yeshua only dies once for us. If you think you can deliberately sin and be forgiven, read the book of Hebrews. Baptism must be by full submersion in water and at an age of consent to understand the contract. If you want to be a law breaker, you were given free will to do so but dont expect YHWH to honor His side of the contract if you refuse to even try to honor yours.
    [This is obviously some sort of sacred-name/Messianic Judaism believer, which is regarded as cultic by mainstream evangelicals, but the argument here is pretty much the same, except for the suggestion that the Cross only covers sin in the past. He died only once, so from now on, salvation is all on you. So it’s all focused on LAW; though only this type of person will openly admit it as such, and then go after his fellow moralists just the same over stuff like the sabbaths or divine names].

    The Romans passage is referring to Israelites (not “the godless”) who preach the Law to others, but commit the very same violations they judge!

    http://www.trunews.com/article/lgbt-bible-app-will-it-include-the-word-of-god
    Lets see… she’s a lesbian, a 7th Day Adventist, a feminist, ethnically Zambian, descendent of slaves, a black woman. Wait! What about “fat”. She’s fat. How could she miss that line of victimization, unless of course she identifies as a “thin woman”. There is nothing new under the Sun. Twisting the Bible to conform to one’s own lifestyle rather than conforming one’s lifestyle to the Bible has gone on for years and will continue until the day the trumpet sounds.

    [What does race, and “fat” have to do with anything? It looks like those are just as much “sins” to this person, in this typical anti-“victim” conservative mindset! That is, except when they claim to be persecuted for opposing gays and other groups!]

    Check out how “christian” many of the conservative commenters are in this post:
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/11/lesbian-christian-creates-special-bible-app-for-gay-community/

    The more civil comment:
    There is no such thing as A homosexual Christian. There are Christians who were homosexuals before they became Christians. When a person become as a Christian, they repent of their sin and stop doing that sin.

    A Christian who was a homosexual before they became a Christian has ceased to be a homosexual.

    Jesus Christ can and does set people completely and absolutely free from the sin of homosexuality, even the desire.

    Any group that to June differently from that is no longer a Church but just a group of people that meet on Sunday morning. God is nowhere near them.
    [“Freedom” is from the penalty of the Law; for that, and its resulting fear and anxiety, are what we were held in “bondage” to! Unless the only way to be free from the penalty is to be free from the behaviors, and salvation then is from the lack of the behaviors, and thus the “work” of resisting them and keeping the Law!]

    Then, on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew3hlUHqecg

    “girl! this is wrong!! you must go back and read the Bible properly!! remember, HOMOSEXUALITY IS SINFUL! I hope God will open your eyes to the Gospel!!!!”

    What about a Bible app that represents what God wants instead of what we want? Does Christianity revolve around feelings and what our heart’s desire is, or around the Truth as it is in God’s word? Feelings and desires change, yet God’s word stands fast forever and ever. You may have heard about Coming Out Ministries. These men and women of God were people who struggled with the issues you are speaking about, and prove that God’s hand of mercy is extended to all who will grab onto it by the hand of faith, even those of the LGBT community. I would encourage all to look into these people. Understand God’s mercy and love to the wandering sinner. If you are struggling with sin, come to Jesus as you are and let Him take it from you. He longs to save all from the deceitfulness of sin, and give life more abundantly than you could ever have while in it. But don’t hold onto it, it will only lead you further from God.

    “When one changes the word of God one is no longer following what God says through His written word. I do not know who you worship but it is not the God of the Bible. Please repent and follow His word, God is merciful and loving. To embrace the sin Christ died for is to make His death in vain and that goes for any since. We are to forsake the lusts of the flesh and give ourselves entirely to God. I pray you listen.”
    [Notice, the only purpose of the Cross is eliminating the existence of sin, not paying its penalty. As this person then claims a ‘different God’ is involved, then their god is one whose “cross” has a totally different purpose than the one in the Biblical Gospel].

    “Making a ‘Bible app’ that’s ‘inclusive’ to those who refuse to repent and are proud to live in sinful behaviors? An app that helps make sure people do not repent and reject God’s offer of eternal life? How far humanity continues to fall…”

    Crystal, what Bible are you reading? What part of ‘abomination’ and ‘unnatural’ do you not understand? Satan has blinded your eyes, you need to wake up. It is no trivial thing to mess with the Word of God! It is written, if you take or ADD anything to His word YOU WILL BE CURSED! Repent, wake up to the truth of the Gospel of Christ, there is a fate worse than death for those who reject God. You can pridefully spout your twisting of Scripture but you will have to stand before the Most High God and explain why you in wilful ignore rejected His truth and instead bought into a lie of Satan AND you led others to follow after you into eternal damnation. God will not be mocked. Sin is sin AND nothing you or anyone who thinks like you can change that. It’s so sad how many read the Word of God and read ‘when men have sex with men like they would with a woman IS AN ABOMINATION, and that when the women do like the men and have sex with other women which is UNNATURAL’ AND that along with the other types of sin to include homosexuals, all will burn in a lake of fire that never goes out, that they have no rest day or night FOREVER’ AND still believe that homosexuality is alright with God proves what the Word of God says. Men and women reject God and love their wickedness more.

    Do you realize that one day you will face God??listen my dear the pleasures of this world are not worth losing your soul for you can change the Bible but the true gospel of God is eternal and can’t be corrupted .The Bible is for us human beings to know how to live with and for Jesus, anyone who fails to understand that his choices will only affect him or her and not God, will face a very miserable eternity. Better repent nowwwww!!because what you’re doing is useless. Why don’t you realize that things God considers as sins are harmful for humanity or do you think God restrictions are meant to frustrate us???.I repeat repent now!!!!LGBT are not the one to make you a place in paradise.
    [Bible i.e. Law as “instruction manual” again, for our “health” and strictly for man’s own good. Yet if you don’t comply, then this well-meaning God “punishes” you with more misery. This is the sort of teaching 1 Tim.1:7 is describing!]

    Now get this one:

    “It’s not about you, bitch! It’s about JESUS! Who the fuck do you think you are? You’d be better off worshipping Satan on the open than changing the word of God to fit your agenda.
    Altering the word of God to cater to an agenda is deadly sin. I pray for her so she may repent for such vile action, otherwise she’ll burn in hell for all eternity and deservingly so.”

    [This reminds me of the Israelites who did all sort of crazy things as reported by Josephus, in the madness that followed the ministry of Christ, which you can see beginning right when they claimed they had no king but Caesar and demanded Him to be crucified. These are actually the sort of people Paul was referring to in Romans 1, our main “clobber text” in this issue, and with all the legalism, they themselves began simultaneously manifesting the very sins the Law they followed condemned as listed in that chapter, even as they condemned others with it. (And just as prophesied here, they continued to degrade in the war following the NT period, leading to their destruction shortly after).
    Not even the LGBT advocates who attempt to deal with this passage have realized this contextual basis of it; that the whole book of Romans is addressing apostate Israel (not “godless pagans”; these people once “knew” God!) with the ultimate proof of who he is really referring to being the upcoming opening of the following chapter(2), with those doing these sinful things described there, being the very ones judging others for the same acts! Christ’s parable of the “unjust servant” (Luke 16) also drives home this same point.

    So that’s exactly what we see here, with this crudely foul language that has traditionally been (along with homosexuality and other sex acts) part of the “sin” conservative Christians condemned “the world” for (The “clobber texts” for them would be Col. 3:8 and Eph.4:29!)
    But with the Christian culture dying, just as that Israelite culture of the first century was dying (rather than either of them taking over the world as they expected), they are losing their minds, and with it, their morals, as they continue to condemn others, and don’t even realize it. Just like them being the biggest supporters of Trump and his shady minions, as illustrated perfectly by this meme:

    president grab em by the p now has a communication director who says he doesn't suck his own c. Seriously This is where the party of family values is at now
    With homosexuality being seen as the "worst" sin, everything else pales in comparison to it (like even unbelief being "better"), and thus, these other things such as language end up becoming OK, especially in the heat of the risen emotions. Again, this is not even realized, because they are too focused on the gays, political opponents, and everybody else's behavior].


    Overall, it’s all reiterating the same “clobber texts” (starting with Rom.1, and others often assumed and not even cited, and assumed to refer to modern homosexuals) that are now starting to be answered more. (Here’s a video covering the six primary clobber texts: https://youtu.be/leIcLYj3I3U)
    And of course, the ammunition is the “impartation” of “life change” concept (you can receive some “power” to get over these “urges” if you just ask and be willing to give up the “sin”), which is just conjecture, and neither here nor there, when it comes to being put in practice; i.e. “it worked for me, so there’s no excuse for you”. (Many who have claimed this “power” to get over or stop wanting sin, have failed. Non-Christians are capable of changing their behavior with the same “steps and principles”, when they are so motivated).

    And they’re all statements of personal offense, not “OMG, we must rescue her soul” (even if some may throw something like that in). Yet they’ll all claim it’s not hatred; their feelings toward homosexuality are “concern for their souls”; it’s what negative thing is being “done” to their beliefs, “culture”, “nation”, etc. not what bad thing will happen to her, other than something to feel avenged by. “Lord Jesus, come”, in order to hasten the judgment they are warning her of! (And of course, rescue them from all these other people’s sins).


    Greg Boyd points out how all of this sort of stuff is the work of the Accuser.

    The mistake all of this operates on, is that Satan’s role is that of a pleasure/play-time pal who leads us away from God’s Law (with God as the Accuser), just to take as many people to Hell with him as he can (as God essentially cedes the majority of man to him by allowing these “urges” and other problems to come up as “tests” and then making the path to salvation and “deliverance” so “hard”, but still holding man “accountable” to “give” God the faith and “obedience” He’s due. Satan is the one who promises to make everything “easy”, and so he is actually winning with that).
    But Satan is the one whose very name means “Accuser”, and we can see in places like Job and Rev.12:10 that this is what he does, before God. (But these harsh Christians would apply this to themselves and say Satan is “attacking” them, by having all these gays and other “sinners” come and ruin their “godly nation”, and to so much as push back against their meanness or attempts to regain control. But Satan is therefore “accusing” them only as much as they “give him occasion” (Eph.4:27, Rom.2:24).

    Back to the first link, above:
    “The very heart of the message of Christianity”. “The point of the gospel”. This right here is the very heart of the problem. It directly shows that the whole point of the “gospel” to them is moral reformation, with the “new birth” as some sort of force that aids us along in this. That “Christ” whom who one “identifies” with is defined in terms of behavior. This, mind you, as the official hallmark of Protestant evangelicalism is supposed to be “grace alone”.

    If grace alone is true, then these above sentiments are the real “false gospel”, and the real “changing of the Bible to suit one’s own desires” (the only difference from the homosexuals is one of majority and seniority; the “historic church” has always read the scriptures on homosexuality that way, and these “traditions” become their own “desires”), and if God was still judging by the same Law that condemned homosexuality, they would find themselves just as much condemned!

    My tweet to her on the “trunews” comments leads to this exchange:

    “Their rhetoric is all about “conformity” and behavior, and the official theology is “grace, not works“ (as they even level at the sabbath)
    They don’t realize, when they even throw stuff like “new birth” in there, that it becomes salvation by Law, which they claim to reject.”

    (I then respond “A lot of people don’t [analyze]. But I’ve always felt a need for stronger refutation of stuff like that. It sounds so convincing by the fervency alone”)

    I had thought she might be an NFP, with her nice intelligent presentation on podcasts and interviews, but this now strongly points me to ISFP. Clearly, introverted Feeling and a more Sensory rather than “big picture” (N) focus. It matters less about Bible doctrine; I just feel this is not right, and so (as all the critics are naturally charging), let’s just change things (inferior extraverted Thinking working in tandem).
    The extraverted Sensing would of course go with the musical artistry, and the associated SP “Artisan/Improviser” temperament leads to the concrete “pragmatism” of standing up for the cause and making the changes to things. (Just as pragmatic, but rather more abstract focused, my first approach is to charge into the issues with “analyzing”, based on a doctrinal “big picture”. I challenge all rebuttals logically, not letting anything pass, based on it simply “feeling” right; hence listing and refuting all these comments above).
    Her stand and all the resultant condemnation just makes my inferior extraverted Feeling scream with terror. When I read of these people’ stories of being found out by their parents, I cringe, and figure I could never have gone through all of that! So dominant Ti steps up with analysis, definitions, and challenging others on their interpretation of the Bible.

    I so identify with her coming to the same point of her being a “hypervigilant Christian” and “found ways to fill in all the gaps” regarding fundamentalist interpretations of how all this applies in real life situations; finding “creative” ways of “glossing it over” regarding God’s activity in the world (“figuring out ways that I hadn’t been faithful enough, and that’s why that thing didn’t happen, or I wasn’t applying the scripture right, or that’s just how things happen; God has a plan…”. This I struggled with tremendously, not regarding sexual orientation, but rather with coping with various difficulties in life, and usually getting cold “pat answers” like these from Christians who really don’t want to be bothered with anyone’s “struggles”. The latter also is actually the line of reasoning used to say homosexuals must force themselves to go against their preference; having no excuse to give up with the “power” offered to them).* So, it led to finally just abandoning the whole premise (or “grand charade”, though not in the strong terms she uses https://www.exvangelicalpodcast.com/blog/2017/3/6/ep-31-crystal-cheatham-the-our-bible-app).
    [This made her sound like an iNtuitive, and even possibly an NT, though again, SP is pragmatic, and being also “motive focused” (or having a higher “wanted Control”) will go along with it longer, but will also step up and rebel when a realization like this is made]. And in favor of choosing “finding/knowing me/myself”, with “God” then reimagined in terms of self (which these other pages, and this one: https://christiantruther.com/end-times/culture/gay-progressive-christians-are-destroying-christianity/ go after with “The Christian identity, a relationship with Jesus Christ, requires that one forsake himself, and take up his cross, and follow Him.
    At that impasse, according to scripture, Christians are to deny themselves and follow Jesus Christ. However, some progressive Christians are not recognizing the authority that is the eternal Word of God, and therein lies the problem.”)

    But I realized the problem was not necessarily God vs “self” [the natural straw man premise], but rather men having long ago hijacked the Word of God, and hiding behind centuries of control and a collectivized “self” lying in their agendas (again, the seniority and majority), and are just as “man-focused” as an individual’s personal feelings or wants, but easier to disguise as “objective” (and from God) in some of their interpretations of scripture.

    Of course, many of these people argue over what a “Christian” is or is not. I would skirt the chase by not even using or emphasizing the term (which I was never completely in favor of), by pointing out it was not even the official Biblical or divinely given term for the redeemed, but rather in its only three uses in the entire Bible, what others called them, often derisively.

    I kind of disagree with trying to make inroads into the organized Church to make them more accepting and inclusive, which is of course what the whole defensive-offensive stance of critics is based on. (“they’re trying to destroy us”; “We have to fight them before they take over and persecute us”, “However, instead of listening to both the Word of God and her Church elders she defied the authority of Scripture and proceeded to pull other believers down the very same path” as the latter page says).
    The organized Church was never scriptural to begin with, but was rather the authority structure men set up centuries later, at first, under the premise of dealing with persecution by the Romans, but then later becoming wed to the Empire itself, and from there, a worldly power base, including when it later fractured into Protestant “denominations”, and even “cults” (or intermediate sects like SDA) who vie against the authority of the established churches, but all still having the power base with its paid leaders, tax-exempt status, command over members, etc. regardless of how small the organization may be.

    So let them be homophobic; as she says, “Churches are shrinking these days and I can’t say I wonder why.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/crystal-cheatham/room-for-a-christian-lesb_b_2630756.html

    *She interprets Romans 1:26 to say the “unnatural desire” is to go against “what God made you”, including if you’re gay. So for her, that would actually be hetero sex. (1st “LHM” podcast, which is for some reason unplayable on her site, and very hard to find elsewhere).
    But the conservative Christians say God doesn’t “make” anyone that way. If they will even allow for the hormonal factor of orientation, then this, like other circumstances out of our control (“fate”), will be seen as “God’s will”, but thus a “test” for the one afflicted with the same sex desire, where they have to struggle against “the flesh” in order to be obedient to God’s Law. (Where the religious gays see the “fate” as evidence this is who God made them). This we see in one magazine’s attack against another lesbian Christian singer, Dejuaii Pace (even though who, unlike Crystal, has never even indulged in the lifestyle).

    Many of these LGBT’s, in their coming out stories, are suffering more like what Christ warned his followers would face in Matt.19:29. (As Christian conservatives, on one hand, call them and the rest of the liberals “snowflake SJW’s” [social justice warriors], but then turn around and claim to be “persecuted” themselves, but no one is kicking them out of houses or churches or gripping them with fear and shame, and condemning them to Hell).
    This is what proved to me that it is not just some “pleasure” they are “excusing”, as all of these critics are assuming. Why would they subject themselves to all of this condemnation, ostracization, ridicule (even among secular kids), fear and sometimes even being kicked out and disowned by the family, just for some “fun”, when they could have heterosexual “fun”? Some, under utter duress from the struggle and fear of what would happen if they came out in their religious backgrounds like this, actually ended up going as far as to break another major rule, against hetero “fornication”, to “make sure” (especially when some of these families would have rather had them fornicate and even “come out” as pregnant, than to be homosexual!), and all it did was further confirm their preference. (And then they still had to face all that scorn when they finally did come out).
    All of this is really not being thought out; only reacted to viscerally, with memorized responses and scripture proof-texting.

    People look at ch. 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” to justify incivility, but they never stopped and thought WHO exactly would be wielding this “sword” Christ brought. Many apparently ASSUME it’s Christ’s followers wielding the sword against the “sinners” as they aim to keep their houses, churches and nation “clean” of sin. (And after all, Christ is the one who says He “brought” the sword in the first place, isn’t He?)
    But in the actual context, it was His followers who would be faced with going back to their homes and synagogues and the nation in general, and having the authority or establishment in those institutions (who largely were the avowed enemies of Christ) oppose them and thus wield that sword, and in the name of the Law, against them. (Christ “brought” the “sword” and in effect “set” the leaders against His followers by bringing His Gospel, which was offensive to them. The Gospel was offensive to those holding onto the Law, and the Law is naturally offensive to any man who realizes he cannot keep the Law, as we seen in Romans 7. That’s the purpose of grace.
    Religion has conflated law and grace [the Gospel], so that the “gospel” is assumed to be automatically offensive to everyone but those already keeping the Law, because it’s basically defined by the Law, meaning behavior, and all the “hard” work or effort involved in changing behavior. That’s why they keep leveling these “they’re only trying to allow people to sin and get away with it” statements).

    One of the uses of the term “Christian” was 1 Pet.4:16 (and its only adoption by a scripture author) where it was a negative label one could be punished for, with others including “being a busybody” or “meddler” (v15). This is basically what anti-gay Christians are “suffering” for; not the “Christian” part, unless you define Christian as one commissioned to clean up other people’s own personal business! (Which again falls into that very category Peter says we should not be suffering for! And again, it’s not even real suffering like the above mentioned stuff, or what Christians in scripture and history actually suffered).

    So it should be pointed out that the revulsion people have toward gay relationships involves reducing relationships down to just sex to begin with (which Christians often wisely warn against in their teaching on relationships), and then [subconsciously, at least] visualizing two men or two women having sex. But are we really supposed to be visualizing anyone else having sex? So as I’ve been saying, it’s really the business of those [other] consenting adults (which is why it’s not comparable to pedophilia or bestiality, as often hurled at that).

    Along this line, another proof that these appeals to the Law today are wrong is Christ’s all too familiar statement “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets“. (Matthew 7:12)
    These people are not violating this in their preferences for relationships. And this again is why it’s not the same as killing, stealing and child molestation being made “OK” (who ever wants those things done to them?)

    But this is totally lost today on a conservative “rugged individualist” mindset fiercely defending against its loss of control over society by sneering at “victims” (meaning anyone offended by mean-spirited statements and policies), as “snowflakes”, and where doing unto others as they would not have done unto them becomes God’s mandate (in the name of “godly reproof”). This is what turns the Bible message on its ear.
    (They insist on a division of “The Church vs the world”, but this “alpha male”, “rugged individualism” is not the way of Christ or scripture, not the Kingdom, not the Gospel; it itself is of the world. The same “world” they claim has turned from God. It is conforming to the image of John Wayne rather than Jesus Christ!).

    While scripture is important, people use it to justify all of this anti-Christian, (and yes Satanic, as he again is the “accuser”) behavior. Jesus said “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life” (John 5:39). The gays here are being condemned, primarily, fro rejecting “scripture“. Yet the culture that ultimately rejected Jesus was heavily versed in scripture, and would often debate on its meanings (as we see when Jesus Himself jumped into this in the Temple at 12 years old).
    What is their real significance? “…and these are they which testify of Me“. It’s all about Him; He’s the Son of God who died for sin. The Bible is the record of His divine Plan to redeem man, and so reflects many different paradigms; some of which these critics will admit are not for them today. While the Bible is the “written Word”; He’s the “living Word”. The Bible contains the means to eternal life, and that is Jesus; not the book by itself, as all the dissenting denominations and sects that claim to be reading and following it faithfully should show us. (It can also not be repeated too much that Satan even quoted scripture, at Jesus: Matt.4:6!)

    But to some of these people, it’s better to reject Him than to be gay. Just like those people He was actually speaking to, who did reject Him and demanded Him to be crucified, would believe! Priorities are really being mixed!
    This as I point out, is becoming “contrary to all men” (1 Thess. 2:15), when we should “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). God is not [i.e. no longer] using His followers to build these physical nations into a kingdom of behavioral perfection through the divine Law. That was a lesson written to man, who had taken the fruit of the “knowledge of Good and evil”, and was thus held up to the standard of good and evil. This is what the Gospel came to amend, not continue in some spiritualized form. So again, just leave the people alone!

    Shoutout to other brave souls with a similar “coming out as a Christian” story as Crystal:

    (Very similar awakenings in college):
    Aleia Mims (leadership coach, ltheoryexperience site; likewise questioned a lot of the “proof-texting”)
    Alicia Crosby (Center for Inclusivity, Chasing the Promise; went as far as to call someone an “abomination”)
    (Also solid religious backgrounds):
    Christina from “ButterflyAgape” (YT, Tumblr, etc.)
    Jimalion (Flurt Magazine and “Rebelliouskauses” Tumblr; also knew her type, ENFP and it fits).
    Ashell (“LivingFree” YT, a sincere young nurse who often continues to be frustrated by the attitudes of relatives).

  7. https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

    The evangelical Church comes together to issue a statement of faith, that basically focuses on homosexuality. “Such a statement is needed, they say, in order to resist the spirit of the age and for the church to maintain its counter-cultural witness in a world that seems ‘bent on ruin.'”

    A whopping 254 signers, comprising just about every major ministry leader, (MacArthur, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, John Piper, J.I. Packer, R.C Sproul, James White, James Robison, Jackie Hill Perry the ex-gay rapper I’ve mentioned, etc.) and putting aside whatever lesser doctrinal differences they may have, came together to make this stand against the gays’ “lifestyle”. I have not seen this level of “unity” anywhere else in the Church!

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/broad-coalition-of-evangelicals-releases-nashville-statement-on-human-sexuality-identity-197214/

    “The answer to the question ‘What and who is a human being?’ is the mega-ethical issue of our time. It impacts everything,” Richard Land explained to The Christian Post. Land is the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of the Nashville Statement’s initial signatories.

    He noted that if the meaning of the human person cannot be defined in Scripture, the very Gospel is at stake.

    The Gospel is the Good News that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their sins [transgressions of the Law] against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). Where does this other stuff come from?

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-197865/

    “‘Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the 21st century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life,’ the preamble reads.

    The problem is not with the Nashville Statement. It is with the Bible, since the statement only reaffirms what the Bible clearly teaches, namely that:
    1) God made humans male and female;
    2) marriage, as intended by God, is the lifelong union of a man and a woman;
    3) homosexual practice is always sinful in God’s sight;
    4) God offers forgiveness for all human beings through the cross of Jesus; and
    5) those who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion can be welcomed into the Body of Christ like any other struggling individual, as long as they do not celebrate or affirm that which is wrong.”

    (Right off the bat, this last one appears to be nice, but makes it conditional on renouncing the lifestyle, and of course, anyone not welcomed into the Body of Christ is not “saved”).

    Some of the articles:

    Article 5 WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
    WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

    Article 6 WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
    WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.

    Here, they actually make a point I have cited somewhere above, acknowledging “disorders”; meaning that a person’s sex does not always come out defined in the binary way they are insisting upon as God’s “creation”, even down to the citing of Christ’s reference of eunuchs as supporting this, as I had cited from the other side, in the OP. (One condition I haven’t even mentioned is the phenomenon, of guevedoches (“balls at twelve”; 5α-Reductase deficiency), who are born externally female with male internal gonads, but the external genitalia actually changes into male around 12 years old! Reading about this, for me cracked the whole belief that genderqueerness was always a voluntary “choice”). So, notice what they are forced to allow: “inasmuch as it may be known“. How is this reconciled with all the strong statements about “God’s creation” as we see here:

    Article 7 WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
    WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.

    #6 right there should show that this “old creation” as it’s often called elsewhere, is not the standard people can be judged by. (Which is what they would affirm if one used “creation” to justify violence, as there is a lot of violence in the world, and the universe; and also when counseling people suffering at the behest of the violent world or people).

    Also, notice how “redemption” is tied to it as well. How is a sexual identity or preference tied to “Redemption”? —unless redemption is tied to obedience to the Law condemning those things! And if it is, then why are they eating the “swine’s flesh” and doing other things condemned by that same Law?
    (They’re likely referring to the “Christ and His Bride” concept, but inasmuch as “the Bride”, which is the Church includes many males, this is obviously spiritual, and though used as a model for literal marriages of Christians, to use this as they are in condemnation of those who deviate from it is reading too much into the analogy. For this would also condemn anyone who is celibate, as well. Meanwhile, the power wielded by many Churches, which is connected with their complaint about losing that power over the larger society, is what would actually violate the “spiritual bride of Christ” concept. It’s actually “fornicating” with some other power beside Christ!)

    Article 10 WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
    WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

    Here they make sure go after and isolate (basically ex-communicate) anyone who even disagrees with their stand; basically like the old Catholic “anathemas” against dissenters. (If the Catholics could do all that, and ultimately be wrong to where the Protestants would see the need to break away, —and be themselves anathemized in the same way, then why do they think this really means anything, as far as establishing truth?)

    Article 12 WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
    WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

    And of course, as always, the “power”. That force that motivates you to change your behavior; not making it “easier”, but nevertheless leaving “no excuse”, and thus somehow different from any other person who tries to grow and change behavior.
    (Another signer was D.A. Carson, who I’ve cited as addressing excellently the “emotional health gospel” regarding our often cold counseling methods, but if he agrees with this point of the statement —whose sentiment is basically the very foundation of the emotional health gospel, then will he have to adopt that ‘gospel’ when it comes to gays?)

    We see this concept again next:

    Former Lesbian Explains Why She Signed the Nashville Statement
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/former-lesbian-explains-why-she-signed-nashville-statement-197683

    “I signed the Nashville Statement because my conscience compels me so, because the promises of liberty on the world’s terms are false and deceptive, and because many who currently claim to have Christ’s forgiveness and salvation must be called to account for leading good people astray with false promises and filthy lies,” she continued.

    (People are basically good, but corrupted by certain behavior or teachings. Completely undercuts the whole premise of the need for Grace, so no wonder the “gospel” becomes something else; some behavior-related mandate placed on man. Salvation then must be by one’s own effort at maintaining purity. It used to be the evangelicals criticizing the “world” on “believing man is good, but only corrupted by other things”, yet it slips into their teachings, unwittingly).

    “The issue is not primarily gay marriage,” Butterfield explains. “It’s whether ‘the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart,'” she said, referring to Hebrews 4:12.

    Butterfield recalled that she lived as a lesbian 20 years ago.

    “I delighted in my lover, our home on one of the Finger Lakes, our Golden Retrievers, and our careers. When Christ claimed me for His own, I did not stop feeling like a lesbian. I did not fall out of love with women. I was not converted out of homosexuality. I was converted out of unbelief,” she wrote.

    “Conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction for women,” she further explained. “What conversion did change immediately was my heart and mind. My mind was on fire for the Bible and I could not read enough of it or enough about it. The Gospel gave me a light that was ruinous. It ruined me for the life I had loved. The Lord’s light illumined my sin through the law and illumined my hope through Jesus and the Gospel.”

    She said she learned that sin does not lose its character as sin because we loved it. “I learned that my homosexuality was a logical consequence of the fall of man, the thumbprint of original sin on some of us. It is true that some of us are born this way. It is also true that we are all born in sin, in one way or another. We can hate our sin without hating ourselves because we who have committed our lives to Christ stand in His righteousness and not our own. Our real identity is not in the sin we battle but in the savior we embrace.”

    Basically, Christ, the “word of God”, and thus “belief”, ends up defined by sexual behavior, and this is the incentive to embark on this mental change that again, sounds so easy, but obviously isn’t, as she can testify. (And it’s only based on “what we ‘love'”, which is an inaccurate generalization or assumption). But if you just ‘get into’ the Bible (and read it in practice filtered through the assumptions of other Christians; so you must come to all the same conclusions as they do), and so appreciate Christ for offering salvation to you by motivating you to change your behavior to attain that salvation, this makes it all worth whatever “struggle” this entails.
    This seems to be what they are implying here. (And of course, the subjectivism of “it worked this way for me, so this proves it and there’s no excuse for you”).

    A textbook example of this is seen in this article: http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-or-what-is-controlling-your-choices-more-than-you-think-197212 which lays out spiritual growth as a mechanical process of “discipline” and “changing your thoughts”, that really any person can do; there is really nothing supernatural about that (beyond what’s called “God’s help”, but is not really defined. It’s all framed around “sowing and reaping”, which along with the scriptural “promises” quoted, are taken from their original contexts [such as actual persecution] and turned into these broad “principles”).
    Secular “self-help” philosophies teach the same “laws”. It’s all human effortwhich is actually “the flesh” opposed to “the spirit” in scripture, (but now turned into “the wrong thoughts and desires”).

    It’s all based on the premise of a tug of war between God and Satan, with Satan trying to lead us into pleasure, and God commanding us the difficult path of resisting it. The only difference between Christians and non-Christians ends up being that the Non-Christian likely won’t use the Bible and its terms as his guide, and focus on changing certain behaviors Christians focus on, like the sexual ones; but the process is still the same. And there are “cults” who likewise profess Christ and His “power”, but are rejected as being saved due to other doctrinal differences; yet who practice and teach the same “process”; Armstrongism being one example. It was trying to practice it myself (in “struggles” over other issues) that made me realize it was not what it was being made out to be. There’s a strong “intellectual dishonesty” to it (and then this will be when they start cautioning against the intellect or “reason”).

    But this is basically the ultimate weapon against the homosexuals; what they are presumed to be “hung” by; what they are ultimately condemned for not doing, even if they say they tried. With the “power” offered, it’s so “simple”, the only possible reason someone wouldn’t do it is because they ‘love their sin’ too much; (citing John 3:19-21; not even realizing that the “condemnation” or “verdict” is the bad news, not the Good News; it was only until the end of the age He said some of his listeners would actually be able to live to see). Salvation then becomes the desire to change, and then it’s not really that simple at all, when the desire isn’t readily taken away, except by your own “daily” effort!

    It is clearly “works, and initially, they’ll say salvation does not depend on it, and when leveling it against other “sins” like “anger and bitterness”, they may or may not question salvation (but will warn of stuff like “backsliding”, or perhaps never really being saved or “sanctified” to begin with; you can see all of this addressed here: “Abundant life gospel”).
    But in the case of homosexuality, they are clearly and uncategorically denying salvation; with this “process” as ultimately what they need to do or at least agree to embark on, to be saved! (And thus, what is hidden behind “Jesus loves you as you are, and you can come and be welcomed, but He has something better for you [which is the ‘condition’ of that acceptance]”.
    They might as well just openly confess salvation by works!

    What’s so ironic, as we see here, is that when it comes to all the other things deemed wrong in the world; if it’s something man can be blamed for, such as evil against others, or the results of the “fallen nature”, THEN it proves man is overall defaulting to being not “good”. (Which then proves his need to move to reform his behavior in order to be acceptable to God).
    If it’s something man can’t be blamed for, such as natural “acts of God” (not deemed to be national “judgments” against the “sinners”) and birth defects, menstruation, (which they forget was also declared “unclean” by the same Law, and leprosy as well, etc.; or even the perspective of Christians suffering the evil of others, or if one will go as far as admit, like this writer, that people can be “born that way”) then, the universe is no longer this holy creation of God that’s perfect and exactly the way He wants it, (and we better conform to the way He created it, or else), but now rather is seen as this “fallen” temporary first cousin to hell we are waiting for Him to “return” and destroy and give us a new, [truly] perfect world. (But only if we reform our ways from the “fallen” state we received from this one —[and then, this all important matter of sexuality becomes totally moot, according to a statement of Christ; we’ll be “like angels”, so there won’t even be any sex]).
    This kind of inconsistency is what proves something is wrong in their views. (Both in the LGBT issue, and in their teachings on pain in general).

    They’ll say we are to follow nature as originally created [“very good”], before it became “corrupted” by “sin”, but the general understanding among Christians is that this universe is forever tainted, and God is obviously not restoring or fixing it now, so it becomes all about this totally new “world” we can’t even fathom. So this is really a poor argument, especially when you are making it so crucial, as to bar salvation if one errs on it (where you can still receive forgiveness while “living in” many other sins; and remember, sin isn’t just outward commission). This is instead held to be such a capital sin worse than anything else.

    (Should also be pointed out that this whole “follow God’s Creation” argument is at the center of the sabbatarian argument as to why we should still keep the original “Creation Sabbath” on the 7th day, and not move the day of worship to the first day. But again, the evangelicals will claim that point of the law is “abrogated”; some adding the so-called “eighth day” marks a new creation superseding this old one.
    It should also be mentioned that the Law allowed for polygamy, which was never rescinded, though by the time of the NT, mainstream civilization was turning away from it enough for monogamy to be used by Paul as the ideal for pastors. Hank Hanegraaf in a podcast on Islam, though, claims the Bible “renounces” it, just by showing the bad “fruits” of the polygamy of the “kings” in the OT, most notably, Solomon, of course. [And Paul’s instruction. But it wasn’t just the kings; but nearly everyone: Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs, etc.]).

    The problem I see here is essentially defining the entire faith, and scripture (and even humanity and God as Creator) by a point of personal sexual behavior. (Or basically by a point of the Law, which is by definition, what determines what’s “sinful before God” (1 John 3:4, Romans 4:15). Yes, that Law is “clearly taught” by scripture, but much of it the same Christians believe is no longer for us, outside of to learn from the record set in scripture of God’s dealing with earlier people through it.

    And we clearly see the dehumanization of people based on their personal behavior; they they have basically forsaken “what it means to be human“. Such dehumanization is usually the first step in treating them like non-humans, as we saw with the “heathens” or “savages” in the past, who were similarly condemned based on “The Bible”. These moderate, “professional” evangelical leaders may not do that, but there are plenty others on the radical right, waiting in the wings, coming out of the woodwork, on the warpath, and on the same premise of “taking back” a nation they’ve “lost”, to people like gays).

    So there’s also, the “Western culture” focus, which it ALWAYS comes back to! This article: http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-are-more-evangelicals-supporting-gay-marriage-190123 takes this further, replaying the age-old polemic about:

    We’ve got a public school system and a public university system that for decades now, 50 years at least, has been trending away from belief in morality and belief in God.”

    And in the public square for approximately 25 to 30 years “militant secularists have controlled the narrative,” he continued, adding that Darwinism and moral relativism are now firmly established as givens in the minds of many people.

    The concept of “separation of church and state” has also been misappropriated by many atheists, who consider the voice of the Church as irrelevant in the realm of government or in the academy, the apologist argued.

    They are still used to this “rulership” over American culture; that it was THEIRS and has been “taken” from them, (and it’s all Darwin’s fault and the “secularists” following him), and that’s why everything’s messed up (including these [current headlines at press time] hurricanes, as preachers are continuing to blame on “sin”.
    I just wonder when they’ll ever learn that tying God, scripture and the Gospel to a human culture invalidates anything you say, as being based on a divine revelation to the world. You’re basically for all practical purposes admitting it’s a purely human agenda).

    Just as preachers are finally beginning to speak out hard against racism [which that same “50 years ago” was ignored, if not seen as good, when “miscegenation” was the God, Creation and humanity-denying “rejection of scripture” being condemned], now the volume is simply turned up on this other group. But as Horton said, we blew our credibility when we were “proven bigots” when the issue was not a sexual morality topic (that at least did have clear discussion in scripture).

    Speaking of Horton, whose name is also on the list of signers of this document; ironically, yet another signatory was John M. Frame, author of Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense, who I cited on my CCM page, regarding contemporary worship music critics, who “redefine Christianity by making it at every point the opposite of what they are opposing”, which matches what we see in this document he has signed. (Also, “that the opposition to CWM is not wholly based on theology, but has a strong emotional component to it, evidenced by the shoddy argumentation and sheer stubbornness. P.142″). While Frame would in this instance be in agreement with Horton, whom he disputes in the book over worship; as well as the IFB “old line fundamentalist” critics of contemporary music who are of course also naturally rabidly antigay, still, as a “new-evangelical”, seen as arguing against “scriptural truth” in the music and worship issue, as well as erring on translations, separationism, probably also “psychoheresy”, etc. (hence why none of them would sign this statement, as they don’t believe in cooperating with parachurch movements seen as “ecumenical” and full of “compromisers” on those issues), it shows the utter confusion and discord over scriptural interpretation among Christians, yet they expect everyone else to take their word that their opposition to homosexuality is totally scriptural. (Horton should also be aware that he is contradicting the excellent statements he made in Beyond Culture Wars, regarding Christians showing themselves to be the “enemies” of those they are trying to get to listen to them ⦅p.37⦆, which this statement effectively does, —and regardless of how much the signatories claim to be doing this in “love”; and that “the only important question” is “What does one believe about Christ?” rather than one’s political position ⦅p.33⦆; especially regarding Article 10, where the condemnation extends even beyond those practicing the lifestyle).

    If the “power” of the Spirit will do all of these things in our own personal lives (cure homosexuality, as well as other “addictions”, bitterness, grief; dictate our every step as to what’s right or not, etc.), then it will also teach us the same things (John 14:26; i.e. doctrinally as well as morally), so that there would be one united Body without all the doctrinal dissension (with homosexuality and other “sins” of the “world” about the only they unanimously agree on now, as we see here).

    But that’s not how it has worked in practice, so we end up with this totally “subjective” personal faith, where God teaches each of us personally, and this is the ultimate proof of His ongoing presence, activity and “work” in human lives (and thus, lack of “excuse” for others), but when we come together corporately, we find we have different beliefs we can’t resolve, where we have to “agree to disagree”; (the concept being rejected for the issue of homosexuality).
    This is precisely one of the things Horton and others have been criticizing the larger body of evangelicals for! The subjective “faith” and [“tapped in”] “power” focus where “it worked for me”, and so those for whom it didn’t work are accused of not really trying, or not having enough “faith”, is also at the heart of the increasingly popular “prosperity gospel”, also strongly rejected by Horton and some of these other leaders (and rightly so). But it’s the same exact claims; only applied to different areas of one’s life; and this, I believe, is why it was able to creep into mainstream evangelicalism and gain such a foothold so easily to begin with. You hear the same “biblical principles”, and so at first glance it sounds the same, but is simply extended further.

    So something is really not being understood correctly, regarding the power of the Spirit.
    (This should be addressed, and squared away, before using it against homosexuals or anyone else. This is part of why “the world” keeps throwing the failings of Christians back at the Church. We say it is Satan “accusing” us, but then we are very busy accusing them, but often not living up to the standards ourselves, which “gives him occasion”).

    The Church, historically, drew up statements about its beliefs about [directly] Christ and salvation, which are the center of the Gospel. Now, we draw up statements about what are really OTHER people’s behaviors; —people we already consider OUTSIDE the faith; and in conjunction with OUR “culture”, and then define Christ and scripture by these things.
    People should really step back and take a good look at this.

    The shift is clearly toward a pure “man”-focus, as much as the Church condemns the world for “turning away from God”. (Not that the Church of past centuries really had it right. For instance, the councils and statements they drew up usually led to persecution of those anathematized. The current Church is really drawing upon the foundation laid by the “historic” Western Church, after its focus became power and influence over society, which are again, human-centered motivations. This always moves it further from a God-focus than it was before).

    There’s actually a lot of bad theology here, but it won’t be recognized as such by the most conservative “apologists”, because it is the “traditional view on sexuality”, and the “traditional” understandings of what scripture says on that. But “tradition” is the problem (like it is for more “Catholic” faiths, which openly put tradition alongside scripture).

    I find this so sad, as I had grown disillusioned on how much disunity there was in the Church, and how people could take the Bible and make it say anything they want; and I’m not talking about the “cults” or the gays, but many of the factions within “orthodoxy” represented by these signers, and how they would proceed to cast each other into utter darkness (Calvinism vs Arminianism and the related “eternal security vs perseverance” being prime examples). But this issue (LGBT) is what brings them all together in such a strong show of unity. A message of condemnation of other people’s personal behavior (that shouldn’t even affect us, and being sexual, is really none of our business), mediated with only a conditional “good news” of a “grace” that’s available only if they give to God (a “hard walk” of “obedience”) first [or are willing to]. With all the other problems in the world, this is what they’re most concerned about. (And it also just happens to be timed with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses, sparking off the Protestant Reformation!)
    (A pressing issue to me with rising costs of living is the virtual predatory nature our financial state, but many of these people are likely to think the rich deserve everything, and the poor and struggling middle class were simply “lazy”. As it is, a majority probably voted for Trump, seeing him as the nation’s savior, despite his moral character. But they continue to point at society’s “moral relativism”).

    This article: https://www.christiancentury.org/blog-post/born-again-again/opposing-nashville-statement aptly points out:

    There’s a lot going on right now. Nazis are parading in the streets. Texas is underwater. North Korea just sent a projectile weapon over Japan.

    And to respond to the moral crises of our time, prominent evangelicals have released the Nashville Statement. Which is not a condemnation of White Supremacy, or a call for us to help those who are drowning, or a renewal of our peacemaking commitments. It is a 14-article document to tell people… Men are men. Women are women. And we need to adhere to our biological gender identity and be straight.

    I’m not sure why this is the moral crisis of our time. At first glance, I wasn’t sure why so many prominent Evangelicals needed reaffirm the same things that they have been saying for decades when we have a nuclear threat looming over us, families losing their homes, children going to bed hungry, and the KKK carrying torches.

    It also points out something I hadn’t used in the topic, Galatians 3:28. “There is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. For you are all one in Jesus Christ.” (“Here and at Pentecost, Jesus and the Spirit broke down the divisions that separated and ordered us. In these verses, there’s a radical shifting of social hierarchies and gender identities”). While [now] acknowledging Jew nor Greek, and slave nor free, they will always supplement the “male/female” part “but other scriptures do say there are ‘differences’ that are to be upheld [especially about wives being submissive or not speaking in Church among those who emphasize those things], so it doesn’t really mean ‘no difference'”. But then previous generations said the same things about the other two categories!

    As I always point out, the only reconciliation between the presence of the old order and the new one in the NT is an overlap of covenants. That’s why there’s still “sin” and “judgment” mentioned there; but the principle being established was grace, which would be realized at the end of that “age”, which was “soon” and not to be stretched out over millennia.
    (Another response is called the “Denver Statement”, of the House for All Sinners & Saints, which answers each point with an affirmation and denial of their own, and adds a 15th point).

    Of course, the signers will likely at this point claim their stance is defensive against the encroachment of others; the pressure to accept gays into their churches and change the doctrine accordingly. That of course ties into the “Church” as an institution, where you’re “in” or “out”, and the “guardians” must keep the “bad” out (unless they change their practice and stop being bad), and the gays are arguing they’re not bad, and thus should be let in, and the people change their views and stop seeing them as bad. I think both sides should stop thinking of the Church this way.

    The Church was for fellowship of people, not a building; not a club for the “righteous”; not a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation; not a power base to be protected (and then try to expand and conquer everyone else, as a statement by John Piper on one of the pages even alludes to); not even a “hospital” to “fix” people (which betrays the “therapeutic” or behavior as works-focus of these views. [Christ is the “physician”, not the Church, and His “healing” is from the condemnation of the Law, not bad habits that we are only delivered from that condemnation for if we are “willing” to give them up first].
    This is reflected in a statement in the first link:

    “Like the doctor who has to give his patient a troubling cancer diagnosis, ‘we are but messengers to say here’s the bad news. The bad news is that until you’re reconciled to Christ you’re going to be out of sync with your own self,’ McCoy continued.
    ‘We’re not going to even have reconciliation within our own souls. And so if we distort that truth, we’re distorting also that whole-person salvation that Christ came to give us.'”

    This is the Church’s attempt to butter up and woo the “sinners” in with some “good” Christ will do for you, but for gays, it’s still conditioned on them undergoing the “struggle” of going against their predisposition).

    Here we clearly see the Church defined by one’s position in this matter. It’s now so easy to see Christians defined as “A group of people who are against Homosexuals based on the Bible (and also of course strict in all other sexual issues, as they have emphasized louder than anything else, for centuries)”.
    They will say it’s about “fellowship” and “love” (to each other, as well as to the “sinners” they are trying to “reach”). But it almost seems to be “fellowship” that’s nice and based on “brotherly love” within its own ranks, but whose premise is an “us vs them” (Church vs “world”) model of life.
    (And we even see some people who otherwise agree with the statement showing concern about this. This we can see here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/some-evangelicals-express-qualms-about-nashville-statement-say-its-too-narrow-197363, as well as people likewise attributing the same “secular spirit” to:

    every time an evangelical pastor remarries someone who was divorced without cause. It comes to the surface every time an evangelical couple pursues in vitro fertilization, and so undoes the ‘God-ordained link’ between the reproductive organs and the union of the couple’s love. Every time an evangelical couple ‘feels the Lord calling’ them to surrogacy, there the ‘spirit of our age’ appears. And yes, it happens every time an evangelical utters the damnable phrase, ‘Well, I’m an evangelical, which means I’m okay with contraception’—as though that were somehow a mark of evangelical identity.

    (There’s also a concern about the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood hosting this statement hosting another one that appears to fall into the old Trinitarian heresy of the “eternal subordination of the Son”! See also: http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/housewife-theologian/a-few-questions-about-the-new-cbmw-statement
    Apparently, the connection here is that the organization or certain leaders in it want to use an “eternal functional subordination” or “eternal relationship of authority and submission” within the Godhead as the model of a husband and wife; which “gender roles” of course are also blurred by same sex marriage. [This is kind of ridiculous considering God the Father and Son are both presumed masculine; and the “marriage” of Christ and the Church is the most understandable model to use in these debates!]
    This, BTW, wouldn’t even be an issue if the “orthodox” Church was aware of the pre-Nicene view of the Godhead, where the “generation” of the Son is taken to be at His birth, and thus, the “subordinate role” or “function” implied by that term and “son” is only in His humanity, not His eternal position as “the Word”.
    It’s amazing now how this whole “traditional view of the family” will lead the Church, again, standing in such unity over homosexuality, to now begin to fracture over the Trinity of all doctrines, which is supposed to be the number one affirmation defining true believers, and [unlike homosexuality] does directly affect who God is! Again, priorities have surely been mixed!
    )

    If either side realized the church should not be an “institution”, then we wouldn’t have this battle of people trying to invade someone’s kingdom (which perfectly parallels the ongoing major secular political controversy of immigration).

    Two other responses:

    http://www.christiansunitedstatement.org/
    https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/08/30/nashville-statement-plain-language-translation/

    What concerns me is the responses are basically driven by emotion far more than scripture, which is just more fuel for the critics; why they can so unabashedly say “the issue is not the statement; it’s rejection of scripture”.

    To sum up the issue:

    Condemnation of gays stems from:
    •A confusion of Law and Grace (the purpose and duration of the Law, and how it is “fulfilled”)
    -Evangelicals always recite the correct protocol on this, but in practice get sidetracked by apparent contradictions to a full unconditional grace in scripture (such as commands to “repent”), and try unsuccessfully, to harmonize them, leading to an inconsistent admixture of Law and Grace. Also tack on faulty arguments, on “nature” or denigration of institutions such as marriage, or “humanity” itself; and the ultimate infusion of political agenda into the matter (focus on “the nation” or “civilization”), to prove it’s still wrong, (in addition to its inclusion in the Law).

    •This in turn stems from misunderstanding of scriptural terms like “world”, “age” and “flesh”, and what their “end” (as the hope of the Gospel) and the associated “judgment” were (along with the contexts of scriptures like Romans and who is being described).

    •Misunderstanding or assumptions of what the “power of the Spirit” is and does (this is ultimately what gays are being condemned [and their experiences dismissed] over, so it is most important, and yet is not being questioned).

    Here is a statement of my own summing up all of this:


    1) Romans 1 (and 2) are referring to Israelites (who had received divine revelation; i.e. God “showed them”), and preached it to others, yet did the same things themselves (thus “knowing full well the condemnation”); not just any person at any time, who happens to do things contrary to the Law (other NT passages have also been answered, hermeneutically).

    2) Much of the NT’s use of “clear terms” [used against gays] such as “sin” (as something we can supposedly ‘not’ do), “holiness”, “righteousness”, “sanctification”, “washing”, etc. (that one cannot be “saved” without) are positional, not behavioral.
    Failure to understand this is what has caused much confusion over “faith vs works”, even within ‘orthodoxy’.
    “Walking in the flesh or spirit” likewise is not “indulging in sinful pleasures” versus restraining them with what’s being called “divine help”, as is commonly assumed; but rather about whether a person is trusting in their own efforts, or in Christ’s righteousness imputed to them.

    3) The lynchpin of the whole issue is the whole “impartation” of “power” concept, which pervades Christian teaching across virtually all denominations and sects, and is seen in terms of transforming our behavior supernaturally (upon a regiment of prayer, meditation and Bible study, which would then gradually change our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and finally desires), leaving gays, (or potentially anyone “struggling” with anything), “without excuse”, and presumed to be “loving their sin too much to give it up”. (And the “faith” and “prayer” part of it is also the basis of the “prosperity” or “word-faith” gospels, which are rejected by serious apologists. It’s the same claims extended to health and wealth).
    But righteousness is imputed, and the “power” of the Spirit was the “right” to be called children of God, which bore witness with their spirit. It is not about better behavior, which in practice only results from a “growth process” brought on by self-effort (that is not even exclusive to born-again Christians, and is basically faulty and subjective when used as “proof” for what others should do). “Growing” in character is of course good, but to confuse it with “sanctification”, “conversion”, “salvation”, mandatory for “passing from death to life”, etc. turns “grace” back into bona-fide works-salvation!

    4) Humanity and God as Creator are being wrongly defined in terms of humans’ sexual behavior

    5) The argument from “nature” is totally inconsistent. On one hand, gays are accused of violating God’s “holy creation” by not living according to its sexual assignments. Yet on the other hand, when dealing with the issue of pain and suffering, sin, evil, violent natural instincts in animals and manifesting in men, and even things totally beyond man’s control, including the existence of homosexuality or genderfluidity by birth (starting to be actually granted as genuine but still “sin” by many condemners), then “creation” is said to be “corrupted”, and God promising to destroy it (and replace it with a new kind of existence totally devoid of sex), and man being condemned for being “natural” rather than “spiritual”.
    (“Nature” and even “creation” were apocalyptic symbols referring to the Old Covenant system.To be “spiritual” was to be covered by Christ and our efforts or “inheritance” were what were “natural”. Much of Christianity has reversed this. The “marriage” of Christ to the Church is also, of course, not a literal physical union).

    6) The Law was directly said by Christ to be SUMMED UP in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is why killing, stealing, etc. are still “sins”, and even recognized as such and punished by secular societies. All of the other points of the Biblical Law (that did not involve public morality) were “added” because man fell into “sin” (Gal.3:19), from taking upon himself the “knowledge of good and evil” (which then became the standard God held man up to), and then violating even the basic moral laws; but this, only until “the Seed” should come.

    7) Marriage “covenants” between two people are not affected by what other people do between themselves.

    8)Since the discussion of homosexuality is about intimate and consensual acts, this is why they are not the same as the obvious “sins” of killing, stealing, pedophilia, etc.
    Also, Christians usually recognize that relationships should not be reduced down to just sex, but this is what they are doing when focusing on gays.

    9) In comparing the LGBT conflict to scriptural conflict over the coming of Christ and the “sword” of disunity He brings, gays are the ones who end up “losing mothers, fathers, houses, etc.” and opposers of their lifestyle are the offended authority figures applying the pressure. (And NOT the other way around; as in Christians claiming to be the ones being “persecuted” over this and other issues!)
    So they cannot appeal to the “sword of truth”, as Christ was actually referring to a “sword” of opposition toward Himself and anyone who stands in the way of “traditional” religious establishments. Those holding His truth, while defending it, do not need to resort to such oppressive measures, for “My Kingdom is not of this world”. And most of these people are not enduring all of that just to engage in some “sinful pleasure” or to spite God.

    10) Christians claim to be acting in “love” toward gays, but the premise is a goal of trying to change them, based on what is ultimately the coercion of a fear premise (condemnation) unless a “give and take” condition (become willing to “change”, or else) is met. Unbiblical secular political agendas such as “saving” or “taking back” the “nation”, “culture” or “Western Civilization” (through outward “righteousness”) are also usually involved at the bottom of it.
    This really compromises the notion of “grace, not works”. It is the same exact error of the apostate Israelites who opposed Christ and the apostolic Church, in the name of the Law, and national “righteousness”. “True love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

    11) [This one is based on an uncommon view of eschatology and so will be the hardest to argue]. Deviations from sexual norms assumed by the Law may have still been seen as a “perversion” in the NT, but there was an overlap of covenants where the Law was still partly in effect. The “blessed hope” was the “SOON” end of this “age” when God’s “wrath” would be “complete”, and redemption fully realized. That is what they were “running the race” to, and it was something within their lifetimes. This “waiting period” of mixed Law, Grace and remaining condemnation (the “travailing of creation” or “old wine in new wineskins”) has been extended indefinitely in conventional teaching and used for unbiblical control (by fear) along the way. (e.g. it’s not scriptural to force a homosexual into a lifelong “struggle” against his preference, and then justify staking salvation on it by calling that “running the race” [or any other difficulty anyone else suffers, for that matter], for the end of that race was redemption itself ⦅1 Cor.9:24-27; “castaway”=reprobate⦆, and this would be clear works’ salvation, and shows the overlap of covenants).

    12) Even if you think these understandings of scripture are wrong, you cannot honestly claim “the issue is rejection of scripture” or even “revising of scripture”, “explaining away the truth so people can freely sin”, etc. (in order to bolster the argument). You have to show from the scriptures (in their original contexts, and not through “church tradition”, majority consensus, seniority, or manmade, spur of the moment doctrinal statements, which are sources that have been wrong before) where they are wrong.


    “Just leave the people alone!”

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