March 16, 2015

Prominent San Francisco evangelical church drops celibacy requirement for LGBT members

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City Church San Francisco worship service at Sutter Campus. Photo courtesy of Steven Starfas

City Church San Francisco worship service at Sutter Campus. Photo courtesy of Steven Starfas

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(RNS) City Church’s action places it in the ranks of at least two other large, urban evangelical congregations that have reversed their policies requiring celibacy for gay members.

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  • James Carr

    Another strip mall “church” that creates its own theology and considers itself “Christian”.

    The celibate state, fundamentally, applies to all persons outside of marriage. Gay marriage is a mirage, so that does not even rate laws against celibacy.

    Faux churches diminish God’s authority when they water down sin or completely ignore what Scripture and Tradition hold as unchangeable truths. People should go to Church to sit with God, talk to Him, and try to imitate Him. Their sins are between God and themselves. It is heretical to allow a believer to believe a sin is not a sin. Let them talk it over with God.
    But, then, we are talking San Francisco……the “pastor” needs a congregation. GREED.

  • Larry

    Right on time are the self-appointed living embodiments of Jesus Christ himself to proudly proclaim which churches are “true Christians” and which ones are not.

  • This is more great news.

    More proof that Religion behaves best when it abandons holy books and authoritarian decrees.
    and sticks to humanism instead. If secularism and humanism does so much good for a church, imagine what it can do if we abandon the religion altogether. We might actually become a functioning society.

  • Doc Anthony

    At the risk of sounding like Max…

    …Why doesn’t City Church simply drop the Bible altogether? Or even drop theism itself for that matter, yes?

    After all, if a church is going to drive off a cliff, they might as well do it at 100 mph instead of 20 mph. Get some thrills on the way down!!!

  • Paula

    I have no idea what this comment means –are you glad for the change at City Church or do you disagree? I only hear the snark.

    This means I get the words “Christian. . . church. . . snark” mixed up together in my head, which is such a tiring and depressing trend in comments on Christian websites.

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  • Paula

    I have to think this means you don’t know any Christians who think differently than you do. Who pray and read the Bible and love it just as much as you do. But for this one issue (apparently) if they read the Bible differently than you, they might as well abandon God, no matter how much they’ve given their hearts and their lives.You dismiss your fellow Christians, who might also say, “to whom else would we go?” to Christ with such an unserious comment. I truly do not understand how we could be at this point.

  • I have no idea what this comment means –are you glad for the change at City Church or do you disagree? I only hear the snark.

    I can’t help it if you’re not listening.

    I’m cynical about pretty much every dimension of this, and about two decades beyond taking ordained clergy or active laity terribly seriously, most particularly when they’re trafficking in private revelation. I can respect affiliation. I can (after a fashion) respect disaffiliaiton. I can (after a fashion) respect doubt. I can even give inertia it’s due. What looks flagrantly silly is remanufacturing Christian moral teaching as something it has never been in the service of evanescent sentiments and cotton candy (how ever much you tart it up with chuffering about ‘gospel’, ‘theologians’, or ‘social science research’).

  • At least try for originality,

  • Paul W.

    RNS quoted one of their own staff as an “expert” to ensure the pro-LGBT message was stated clearly and forcefully. No one can ever accuse RNS of unbiased reporting!

  • I have to think this means you don’t know any Christians who think differently than you do.

    No, Paula, it means we have a sensible understanding of the boundary conditions which demarcate Christian thought from contemporary fluff, both in matters procedural (how one comes to an understanding of a metaphysical or moral truth) and in matters substantive (in this case, the place of human sexuality in life).

  • …Why doesn’t City Church simply drop the Bible altogether? Or even drop theism itself for that matter, yes?

    The question posed 20 years ago by Camille Paglia when an organ of the Presbyterian Church had issued some treacly report. These are not people who make a habit of making sense.

  • Larry

    Why bother? You and your buddies dont. I can’t help it if you are so predictable, tired and silly.

    Still waiting to hear why anyone should give a flying crap whether you and others deem a church not authentic in your eyes.

  • jay

    They will acquire teachers for themselves to tickle their ears….. 2 Timothy 4:3

    We are living in the last days and these false “christians” will reap the full recompense for their errors.

  • shawnie5

    And right on time here you are with no clue as to what the dialogue is all about and nothing to contribute.

  • Johnp

    Paula,

    You can appreciate that the traditional rehearsal of various biblical texts reflects how those texts have been understood for centuries. For conservatives to resist “caving in” to the culture is not necessarily evidence of bigotry or indifference. It may be courage.

    The logic of “love thy neighbor” is compelling, and core to the teachings of Jesus. However, when facing down a crowd of “sin haters” who “had the Law on their side”, once he dealt with the haters, Jesus had two comments. “Neither do I condemn you”, followed by “Go and sin no more” Holiness mattered to Jesus, and it matters to people of faith who try to follow him, and I gather it matters to you!

    In the heat of debate, what can get lost is that sincere and loving followers of Jesus come out at different places when trying to reconcile “love thy neighbor” and “do not sin” with biblical passages on homosexual behavior. In this regard, it is a weighty thing to “get it wrong” … no matter…

  • Theophilus

    I don’t think it’s necessary to posit greed here — just lack of courage and lack of commitment to the Scriptures.

  • Tunabear

    FACT: No one must change his behavior in order to become a Christian.

    FACT: Afterwards, to be a church member, one must conform to community standards of conduct that comport with biblical morality (including celibacy for singletons).

    Let’s not confuse these two facts.

  • Greg

    I believe a more accurate way to describe evangelical and independent churches’ positions is that “homosexual practice” – not “homosexuality” – does not jibe with the Bible. That’s an important distinction made by congregations that welcome LGBT people but ask them to remain celibate, as your own story makes clear. (And what’s your attribution for the “incompatible” quote?)

  • Larry

    The “dialogue” is merely a bunch of religious anti-gay bigots attacking a church for not sharing their hate.

    Pretty clear here. People who use their religious belief as an excuse to attack others are simply declaring themselves the sole arbiters of the Christian faith. All in order to denounce people who do not share such animosities.

    As usual some Christians claiming that “love thy neighbor” is conditional, qualified and meaningless if it doesn’t agree with their prejudices.

  • mike

    The Reformed Church in America stands opposed to this kind of thing, so I would look for this congregation to be sanctioned.

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  • @Tunabear,

    “Fact….one must conform to community standards of conduct that comport with biblical morality (including celibacy for singletons).”

    I have a few problems with your ‘fact’:

    “Conform”
    “Community standards”
    “conduct that comport”
    “Biblical morality”
    “celibacy for singletons”

    Religion is an attempt to nail jello to a wall.
    It all falls apart as soon as someone asks, ‘why?’

    Christian love: “Love thy neighbor” – Jesus
    Christian hate: “DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE…IF HE IS GUILTY..”
    (1 Corinthians 5:11)

    Good luck sorting it all out.
    I just try to have empathy for others and help when possible – and I leave it at that.

  • Shawnie5

    Again, this is an intra-church dialogue about whether or not same-sex practice is consistent with Christian faith and scripture. If you as an outsider would care to weigh in on that issue then, for the 857th time, state your position and back it up with scripture and history. If not, then yiu’re just making noise to no purpose.

  • Larry

    Inter church dialogue, my foot! Its just hurling insults at an organization which coincidentally share the same faith. Declaring their beliefs and practices “false” because they chose not to act as bigoted and malicious as yourself

    You don’t consider them “real christians”. Its your opinion. Such talk does not negate they are a Christian church.

    “state your position and back it up with scripture and history”

    You are still assuming such arguments have any effect on the situation. Evangelical egotism at its plainest.

    None of that will ever negate the fact that church is a Christian one. Nor does it change the fact that its adherents identify as a Christian church accepting Jesus as the basis of their religious belief. You don’t like how they go about it. Therefore you deny the existence of their faith.

    You think you can act as the sole arbiter as to who is a Christian based on whether they share YOUR EXACT SAME BELIEFS. 500+ sects of Christianity say otherwise.

  • Larry

    Because they don’t consider you the living embodiment of Jesus Christ and don’t believe your views are the only ones concerning the Bible.

    Why don’t you drop the pretension that your version of Christianity has any socially redeeming features. Just admit it is just an excuse to act badly to others and claim God tells you so.

  • Ben in oakland

    Like the Mormons and the BOM, like Baptists and divorce, like a good many of the antigay posters here regarding slandering and reviling, like a good portion of Christianity for 1900 years regarding the Jews, like the Methodists and Presbyterians regarding female ministers, like just about everyone regarding shrimp and bacon, like….

    well, you get the point.

  • Shawnie5

    “You are still assuming such arguments have any effect on the situation.”

    Try it and let’s find out. What have you got? Anything?

  • tERRY

    One day, just like all of us, they will be judged by Jesus Christ. Did they change their policy as well for heterosexual couples so that they no longer are to be celibate?

  • Salvatore Mazzotta

    Like a Sophist who refuses to interpret Bible verses in context.

  • Doc Anthony

    Oh, I haven’t dismissed anybody, Paula. And you’ll notice in the RNS article that two of the board members of City Church resigned. They haven’t dismissed anybody either. Nor does Dr. Albert Mohler’s brief tweet (same article) dismiss anybody. You can disagree with people without dismissing them.

    What they all HAVE done, however, is honestly recognize the fateful direction that City Church has taken. Namely, **straight off the cliff**. The fact is that City Church has just said OK to gay marriage, since any attempt at opposing it now, would quickly enrage any non-celibate LGBT members who they are supposedly welcoming.

    This is no small mistake Paula. City Church has just repudiated 1 Cor 6:9-11, and in the process repudiated what Christ is able to do for “gay” and “straight” alike. This is an entire church going off a cliff, just like that Nashville church now crunched at the bottom of the ravine. That’s why Mohler’s tweet ends with the word “Tragic.”

  • Lynx

    Gosh, Larry. Why do you hate Christians so much? I thought you were on love’s side, but all I hear from you are words of accusation, such as:

    “dialogue” – in scare quotes of derision
    religious – intended as a pejorative
    anti-gay – a nasty sounding charge that really has no clear definition
    bigots – a remarkably serious charge that leftists and atheists LOVE to toss around casually
    attacking – sooo violent!
    hate.- usually hate manifests in angry rants, sort of like yours…
    excuse – you know the motivations of everyone else better than they themselves do!
    sole arbiters – yes, appeals to orthodox Christian doctrine, Tradition, and the plain, consistent teaching in Scripture (Jesus’ very words in Matthew 19, even) clearly indicate that we arrogantly consider ourselves the sole arbiters of the Christian faith.
    denounce – as an opponent of Christianity, you are best qualified and perfectly justified to denounce those who denounce those who refuse to denounce sin, is that how…

  • Lynx

    …how it works?
    animosities.- sooo personal! There’s just nothing to our side of the argument but foaming venom!
    As usual – those darned Christians are at it again!
    “love thy neighbor” is conditional – again, the attribution of secret hatred without any evidence
    prejudices.- OK, I’ll give you that one. In fact, we’re prejudiced against porn, wife-beating, atheism, stealing, abortion, drunkenness, and so many other things too! We’re so prejudiced, we are prejudiced against our very own behaviors! It’s almost like we know we’re sinners in need of God’s grace- but that’s crazy talk. If we just weren’t so prejudiced we could cut loose and enjoy some really awesome sinning!

  • Lynx

    “You don’t like how they go about it. Therefore you deny the existence of their faith.”
    What if Jesus doesn’t like how they “go about it”? As I recall, Jesus spoke rather a lot about false teachers perverting the gospel. Seems one of the things God really cares about is sexual sin. Seems Jesus required people turn from their sin in order to follow Him. But hey, this is the 21st century, right? Why get bogged down in the details of who Jesus is when science has proved that all we really need is John Lennon?
    We stand on very solid biblical ground when we make the charge of heresy and faithlessness to Jesus (which is not the same as denying the existence of their faith, and is in fact quite a lot more serious). Your casual indifference to your ignorance on this point is a manifestation of your hatred and intolerance of Christianity.

  • Lynx

    “You think you can act as the sole arbiter as to who is a Christian based on whether they share YOUR EXACT SAME BELIEFS.” You know, you’re right. It isn’t right that a worldview have any boundaries at all. Come one, come all! Call yourself a Christian regardless of what you believe! God is a wombyn! Naturalism is true! Slapping people in the face at random is God’s will for your life! ALL CHRISTIAN! YAY! I looove being inclusive!

  • Lynx

    This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

    Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John…

  • Lynx

    As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

    …there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 )

  • Lynx

    [False teachers] promise [their followers] freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:19-22 )

  • Lynx

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42 )

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

  • Dave Page

    Evangelical no more. I’m curious to hear what Tim Keller has to say on their decision.

  • Lynx

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

    Need I go on, Larry? I haven’t even started on the passages pertaining to homosexuality in particular. The truth is, you know nothing of Christianity and you have no basis for claiming that we who oppose City Church’s explicit embrace of sin are in the wrong. I am genuinely saddened that you are incapable of understanding what following Jesus means.

  • @Lynx,

    “Why do you hate Christians so much? I thought you were on love’s side…”

    Love?

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    What does love have to do with it?

  • @Salvatore,

    What context fixes this commandment?

    “Homosexuals must surely be put to death” – GOD (Leviticus 20:13)

    Imagine a law: ‘All people named Salvatore must surely be put to death’
    Then, after all the Salvatores were killed, someone said, ‘Oh, that is too bad, the murderers misunderstood the context’
    – would this make you feel better?

  • Lynx

    All this gainsaying is well and fine, but I have yet to see any serious attempt to demonstrate this mythical alternative “interpretation” of the Bible. I posted numerous passages above that deal with false teachers and how to handle them. How do you differently interpret these passages? And how do you differently interpret the very clear teaching that homosexuality is one of many, many sins? Responding with “God is love” or some such dodge won’t fly. If you ever hope to persuade any serious follower of Jesus that you are correct, you have to deal directly with the passages that apparently contradict your view.

    Or, you have to argue that Christianity itself is inherently wrong (which is already the implicit message you send by refusing to engage in the voluminous passages that contradict you) and explain why we ought to disregard the Bible entirely (except for the warm, fuzzy parts, presumably).

  • Lynx

    well said!

  • Lynx

    Ahh, the disingenuity charge again. It’s so fun!
    Why don’t you drop the pretense and admit that you can’t stand Christians because they remind you of what you know deep down- that though you are an eternal soul who will stand to account for your life to your Creator you love your sin more than you love yourself?

  • Lynx

    Max, you’ve identified the tension of “hating the sin, loving the sinner.” It’s really there in Scripture, but it is not the defeater you seem to think it is. Christians have spent thousands of years wrestling with this tension- so what? Show me how they are mutually exclusive.

    But here is a defeater for your perspective:
    “I just try to have empathy for others and help when possible” – Why?

    I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t use ellipses to omit relevant context. That just destroys your credibility, thus ruining the discussion.
    “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty…” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    I would go on to say that in the verse before, Paul explicitly says that he doesn’t want Christians to not associate with non-Christians. And further up in the passage it is clear that the motive of this disassociation is in fact love- tough love (v.5).

  • Lynx

    “Let them at least learn what is the religion they attack, before attacking it. If this religion boasted of having a clear view of God, and of possessing it open and unveiled, it would be attacking it to say that we see nothing in the world which shows it with this clearness. But since, on the contrary, it says that men are in darkness and estranged from God, that He has hidden Himself from their knowledge, that this is in fact the name which He gives Himself in the Scriptures, Deus absconditus; [Is. 45. 15. “Thou art a God that hidest thyself.”] and finally, if it endeavours equally to establish these two things: that God has set up in the Church visible signs to make Himself known to those who should seek Him sincerely, and that He has nevertheless so disguised them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their heart; what advantage can they obtain, when, in the negligence with which they make profession of being in search of the truth, they cry out…

  • Lynx

    “…that nothing reveals it to them; and since that darkness in which they are, and with which they upbraid the Church, establishes only one of the things which she affirms, without touching the other, and, very far from destroying, proves her doctrine?

    In order to attack it, they should have protested that they had made every effort to seek Him everywhere, and even in that which the Church proposes for their instruction, but without satisfaction. If they talked in this manner, they would in truth be attacking one of her pretensions. But I hope here to show that no reasonable person can speak thus, and I venture even to say that no one has ever done so. We know well enough how those who are of this mind behave. They believe they have made great efforts for their instruction when they have spent a few hours in reading some book of Scripture and have questioned some priests on the truths of the faith. After that, they boast of having made vain search in books and among men.

  • Lynx

    “But, verily, I will tell them what I have often said, that this negligence is insufferable. We are not here concerned with the trifling interests of some stranger, that we should treat it in this fashion; the matter concerns ourselves and our all.

    The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent as to knowing what it is. All our actions and thoughts must take such different courses, according as there are or are not eternal joys to hope for, that it is impossible to take one step with sense and judgment unless we regulate our course by our view of this point which ought to be our ultimate end.

    Thus our first interest and our first duty is to enlighten ourselves on this subject, whereon depends all our conduct. Therefore among those who do not believe, I make a vast difference between those who strive with all their power to inform themselves and those…

  • Lynx

    “…who live without troubling or thinking about it.

    I can have only compassion for those who sincerely bewail their doubt, who regard it as the greatest of misfortunes, and who, sparing no effort to escape it, make of this inquiry their principal and most serious occupation.

    But as for those who pass their life without thinking of this ultimate end of life, and who, for this sole reason that they do not find within themselves the lights which convince them of it, neglect to seek them elsewhere, and to examine thoroughly whether this opinion is one of those which people receive with credulous simplicity, or one of those which, although obscure in themselves, have nevertheless a solid and immovable foundation, I look upon them in a manner quite different.

  • Lynx

    “This carelessness in a matter which concerns themselves, their eternity, their all, moves me more to anger than pity; it astonishes and shocks me; it is to me monstrous. I do not say this out of the pious zeal of a spiritual devotion. I expect, on the contrary, that we ought to have this feeling from principles of human interest and self-love; for this we need only see what the least enlightened persons see.”
    Pascal’s Pensees #194

  • Lynx

    Dave, I’m falling into the same boat, and I have friends who are skipping the boat and swimming as fast as they can for the steadfast indifference to the zeitgeist of Orthodoxy. (At least their heresies are old heresies :P)

    I was also wondering what Tim Keller has to say about this. It’s quite a thing to associate Keller with this church at the moment of their departure from Christendom.

    I’m also interested in how various people within City Church have responded. Have the two elders who held obedience to Christ as more precious than the approval of man written publicly on the issue? Which pastors and ‘church’ members will be leaving, and what is their perspective? I would love to hear some former members proclaim, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes!”

  • Lynx

    Seriously, may I now have a blessing for the sex I’m about to have with my rented prostitute? I mean, it isn’t fair that as a single guy who hasn’t found the right woman to marry I have to remain celibate. God loves me and wants me to experience the joy of that half hour of committed, loving companionship!

    Fun fact: Islam has a temporary “marriage” feature called “Nikah Mut’ah,” where an Imam will “marry” a man to a prostitute for a brief duration of time so that the sex they have is considered licit. Those clever Muslims found a loophole and Allah hasn’t caught on yet! (Koran and Hadith citations here: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/008-temporary-marriage.htm)

    Also, at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, celibate means sex-free, while chaste means licit sex only. So Christians suffering from same-sex attraction must be celibate to obey Christ, while married couples must only be chaste.

  • Lynx

    Max,
    I will refer you to the bit of Pascal I already posted. You are a sophist who cherry-picks verses sans context to suit his need. Until you show that you genuinely want to investigate Christianity’s claim to internal cohesion I see no reason to spend my time debating verses with you.

    In any case, how is it that you think my mockery of Larry for his hypocritical lack of love (according to his standards and definition of love, not mine) can be refuted by suggesting that God is not love? There is no logical connection between Larry’s hypocrisy and God’s character.

  • Lynx

    But for the benefit of those who might be more serious than Max, the parable that he intentionally misquotes from (yes, it is a parable- Max cited not Jesus’ direct words, but the words of a character He created) does illustrate God’s future judgment on those who have rebelled against Him (aka, all of us). Far from unloving, it is just for God to punish sinners. Who wants to live in a country (much less a universe) where law-breaking is not punished? It is cruel to a victim for the state to allow a rapist to go free, for example. God demonstrates both His righteousness and His care for those who suffer from the sins (moral law-breaking) of others by punishing sin.

    It is incidental to this justice that we ALL happen to be gross moral law-breakers. However, what is not incidental is that in His tremendous love for us, God made a way to satisfy His justice and yet offer us mercy through the propitiation (conciliatory sacrifice) of Jesus (John 3:16)!

  • Lynx

    Therefore God is just to punish sin, and He is also the Justifier of those who put their faith in the person and work of Jesus (Romans 3:26) God loves you and, like a good Father, wants you to be fundamentally transformed- reborn even- from a perpetually rebellious child into a mature person who lives righteously and knows and enjoys God the way He intended for us.

  • Lynx

    This circles us right back around to the main controversy brought up in this article- that a “church” that proclaims that it’s desire is to transform San Francisco for Jesus is in fact selling out the good news that God made a way for us to not only escape judgment but also be made righteous (aka no longer living according to one’s own view of what is best, but according to what our Creator has designed to be best for us) and be restored to a right relationship with Him for a false gospel that keeps people mired in their sin.

    What is loving about what City Church is doing? Set aside the particulars for a moment. If you knew that someone you loved was doing and wanted to continue doing something so self-destructive that it would result in their death, wouldn’t you do your very best to get them to stop? When you say that something destructive is not so, though you know full well that it is, you demonstrate hatred for the person being destroyed, not love.

  • Lynx

    The business of the Church, as a formal expression of the body of Christ (that is, all living followers of Jesus) is to warn people of the danger of their sin and God’s justice, point them to Jesus as the only way to be saved from both judgment for sin and enslavement to sin, help them know God. Part of knowing God is being conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). How can one do this if he continues sinning?! What good is a “church” that denies the sinfulness of sin (or a parent that denies the self-destructive behavior of a child)? It only leads to death!

    Now, with this in mind, we reinsert the particulars- homosexuality. If the Church was fulfilling it’s purpose as described above, would it be any different if instead of homosexuality it was a different sin that was condoned? Would not a “church” that sanctioned lying, murder, swindling, prostitution, drunkenness, etc. be illegitimate?

  • Lynx

    So what we have, then, is not a dichotomy between “anti-gay” haters and “pro-gay” lovers, but, as Christians have been insisting from the beginning, a profound disagreement on the nature of homosexuality itself and on, as Haddaway asked in dance clubs across Europe in the 90s, “what is love?”

    What is the loving response to people suffering from same-sex attraction? On the Christian worldview, the answer is clear- embrace the good news that Jesus died for your sins (all of them!) and He calls you to take up your cross (that is, bear in this life the burdens of obeying God’s will, whatever the cost) and follow Him. What is the loving response to drunkards? Embrace the good news that Jesus died for your sins (all of them!) and He calls you to take up your cross and follow Him. What is loving response to adulterers, liars, thieves, gluttons, murderers, the self-righteous, etc.? The same!

    What is the world’s “loving” response? Just keep on sinning! This only leads to…

  • Lynx

    …death!

    (grr, it said I had enough characters left, but I guess I didn’t!)

  • Lynx

    Greg, I agree with your distinction between homosexual practice and the remainder of what entails homosexuality. However, I think we can further clarify by using the term “same-sex attraction” instead of “homosexuality” as you mean it. It avoids the confusion of using the same major word and gives clear meaning to each phrase.

    I think “homosexuality” does not mean merely a propensity or temptation or attraction. It also includes the practice of same-sex sex acts and could be argued to also include the more philosophical problem of rejecting the fundamental value of the ‘otherness’ of the opposite sex. It’s just too ambiguous a term.

    I totally agree with you on the appropriateness of asking homosexuals to remain celibate if they believe they cannot express their sexuality in real marriage. This is God’s will for all manner of sinners, that they turn from their sin, trust in Jesus, and no longer act like they did when they walked in darkness! (Ephesians 4:17-5:21)

  • Shawnie5

    True, Greg. The linguistic difficulty could be also be avoided by simply using the literal word from the New Testament “man-bedders.” A word that addresses actions, not inclinations or temptations.

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  • Lynx,

    “Fun fact: in Islam…”

    Yeah.
    Fun fact: Christianity offers a free ticket to anyone for any amount of evil they want to do.

    Just say, “Ooops, sorry God – my bad.”
    And you are free to repeat your crimes again and again.

    There is no morality in these awful philosophies. Religion should be abandoned and gently discouraged.

  • Shawnie5

    “All this gainsaying is well and fine, but I have yet to see any serious attempt to demonstrate this mythical alternative “interpretation” of the Bible.”

    And you won’t either, because it doesn’t exist.

    It’s very rare that you’ll see affirming experts and theologians (let alone the uninformed gang throwing pebbles from the sidelines around here) debate about this, because they generally realize that their arguments don’t stack up scripturally or historically. It’s a movement that is built entirely upon feelings and propaganda against a backdrop of generalized bliblical ignorance.

  • Paul s

    Like “Christian” “Evangelical” has lost its original usage and meaning. But wouldn’t it be more honest if they just acknowledged they have moved into “mainstream” Protestant ranks? People realign and so should churches.

  • Ben in oakland

    sounds like heterosexual women to me.

  • Lynx

    Max,
    I provided citations for what I said about Islam. It is a doctrine established by their founder and clearly stated in numerous places in their texts. Moreover, it is a practice that has persisted throughout the history of Islam.

    I noticed a conspicuous absence of evidence for your counter-claim. You simply have no credibility when it comes to Christianity or Islam or anything at all, frankly. For someone who makes a show of his rejection of the ideas of others, I would expect (though Pascal warns me that I shouldn’t) more than a lazy afternoon’s worth of browsing Wikipedia as research into Christianity, Islam, comparative religion, philosophy of religion, logic, rhetoric, hermeneutics, or just about anything else we’ve touched on here. I’ve already demonstrated in spades your lack of contribution to the discussion, yet you don’t seem the least bit embarrassed by your cocky ignorance. Why is that?

  • Shawnie5

    It would.

  • Lynx,

    “your cocky ignorance.”

    Really?
    I was a Catholic for 44 years. I taught Sunday School for 3 summers to Junior High school kids as part of my church program. I prayed the Rosary every day – once upon a time.

    I have also read at least 100 books on Christianity – many famous ones and some lesser know works as well.

    Jesus is not real – by all accounts – we are talking about a history of myths and legends patched together and not a person who actually lived.

    The Jesus of the New Testament, and the words attributed to this horrid phantom, are conglomerations of ancient, bigoted myths of the ancient world:

    “Forgive… “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Jesus (Matthew 18:22)

    This is despicable. A ticket of free permission to commit an infinite amount of evil while granting yourself forgiveness.

    Jesus is a despicable, wicked nightmare.
    Shame on you for defending it.

    “Execute them” – Jesus (Luke…

  • Travis

    There is only one relationship ordained and designed by God to have sexual intercourse in all of humankind. God said no one can have sex with another unless they are a male and female married to each other. Genesis 2:24 pretty much states this truth. It is not complicated. The problem is our “want to’s” don’t want to do God’s want to.

  • Who married Adam & Eve?
    Answer: Nobody.

    And when Noah repopulated the earth, who married Noah to allow him to have sex with his son’s wives?
    And who married Noah’s grandchildren so they could have sex with each other even though they were all first cousins?

    Answer: Nobody. They just had incestuous, unmarried sex.
    And in only 6000 years the population climbed to 7 billion.
    So every woman who ever lived must have had 25 children. Each child had to have had sex with all of their siblings.

    Unless incest was blessed in ancient times, there could have been no marriages in the first several generations of Noah as there were no marriages in the first generations of Adam & Eve and Cain and Abel (who had sex with their mother!)

    God has populated the earth with humans twice without ever once mentioning marriage.

    At least learn your Bible if you are going to refer to it.

  • Lynx

    Max,

    This is my last response to you. I don’t believe anything you’ve said about your background, because if you had put in even a modicum of effort into understanding Christianity or the Bible you couldn’t possibly come to the conclusions that you have. You would know that Jesus, Paul, James, John, and Peter all make it VERY clear that those who abuse Grace have no part of Christ (hmm…like City “Church”).

    All you have to offer is deceitfully edited quotations (which I have already refuted) and a belly full of bile. You are incapable of honestly defending your claims about Christianity with a torrent of unambiguous block-text citations as I have. You have nothing but lies; anyone looking at Matthew 18 will know immediately that you are a liar. You are enslaved to your hatred of God and unless you humble yourself and accept His grace you will die in your sins.

  • Cathy Wynn

    Lynx, Atheist Max is legitimate. You clearly are very new around here. Religion News Service wrote a story about Atheist Max a few months ago and he has been commenting for a couple of years. Click the tag to see his blog.

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  • Larry

    I am not the one attacking a church here.

    Lynx why do Christians hate each other so much?

    The hate is so obvious and palapable that they even deny the stated religious identity of others based on sectarian differences. There is no dialogue here. You have a bunch of self-proclaimed “true christians” slinging mud at a church.

    “yes, appeals to orthodox Christian doctrine,”

    Because all Christian churches accept orthodox Christian doctrine?

    Which sect’s orthodoxy?

    You are just saying they do not believe as you do, so they can’t be “real christians” as you have proclaimed yourself to be.

    Egotism at its most pure and refined.

  • Larry

    No, I just can’t stand hateful egotistic Christians who think people have to take them seriously because they can misquote the bible to justify their malicious behavior.

    Your version of Christianity has nothing of socially redeeming value to it. Its hateful, indifferent to humanity, dishonest, amoral. Its telling you have to rely on fear of hellfire and damnation when dealing with disagreement.

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  • megyn582@gmail.com

    How can churches say homosexuality is a sin deserving different treatment or expectations from the church? Heterosexuals have sex which is fornication, a sin that the bible says leads to spiritual death. So does lying, cheating, anger, coveting, and many more sins… The idea of salvation is simple. Christ died for us meaning sin. Everyone continues to sin. All sins are equal save blasphemy or malicious injury to children so churches need to stop being hypocritical. Spiritual growth and relationship to God it what is most important.

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