Culture Ethics

Southern Baptists, LGBT activists happily coexist, but for how long?

Attendees listen to a speaker during the 2014 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference.
Albert Mohler speaks to attendees during the 2014 ERLC National Conference on the gospel, homosexuality, and the future of marriage.

Photo courtesy of Rocket Republic, via ERLC National Conference

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., speaks to attendees during the 2014 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference on the gospel, homosexuality, and the future of marriage.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) When Southern Baptists convened a national conference here this week to discuss issues of human sexuality, bringing conservative evangelicals and LGBT Christian activists into the same ballroom was a recipe ripe for potential fireworks.

Perhaps the most shocking thing was how few fireworks there were.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was clear: Sex is reserved between a man and a woman within the bonds in marriage. And openly gay evangelicals in attendance were equally clear: Homosexuality is not incompatible with Christianity.

No concessions were made, but leaders on both sides expressed surprise at how the two agreed to coexist. Put another way: The old emphasis on “Love the sinner, hate the sin” has become more a version of simply “Love all sinners. Ask questions later.”

“I do want to apologize to the gay and lesbian community on behalf of my community and me for not standing up against abuse and discrimination directed towards you. That was wrong and we need your forgiveness,” said North Carolina megachurch pastor J.D. Greear, drawing applause.

“We have to love our gay neighbor more than our position on sexual morality.”

For now, at least, some gay groups seem willing to give the other side the benefit of the doubt.

The conference brought together a “who’s who” within contemporary conversations on homosexuality and evangelicalism, including ERLC President Russell Moore and Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley, who attended the conference of 1,300 with a group of other pastors from his nondenominational North Point Community Church.

The interactions were largely friendly, with none of the hostility seen from both sides in recent years. Inside the ballroom and out in the hallway, LGBT activists mingled with Southern Baptist leaders. From the crowd, gay advocates tweeted responses to the speakers on stage, at times seeming to overtake the conference’s Twitter hashtag.

While the substance remained much the same, the evangelicals’ shift in tone was noticeable. Moore regularly referred to people who are gay — not merely people who are sexual sinners in need of redemption — and denounced so-called “ex-gay” therapy as “severely counterproductive.”

Even the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the veteran culture warrior and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., seemed to have a change in tune, if not an outright change of heart.

“Early in this controversy, I felt it quite necessary, in order to make clear the gospel, to deny anything like a sexual orientation,” Mohler told the crowd. “I repent of that.”

Yet the thawed relations could not hide tensions between the ideas of “loving your neighbor” and “defending your rights,” particularly as legal recognition of same-sex marriage continues its lightning-fast expansion across the country. With the clashes between religious liberty and gay rights that inevitably follow, many still question whether the friendly conversations can continue.

The closest conference speakers came to politics came during presentations from the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom on what it sees as a threat posed to religious freedom by legalized gay marriage.

Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington state florist who declined to sell flowers for a same-sex ceremony, drew a standing ovation. Erik Stanley of ADF, the organization defending business owners like Stutzman, called the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998 “a hate crime myth.”

Attendees listen to a speaker during the 2014 ERLC National Conference.

Photo courtesy of Rocket Republic, via ERLC National Conference

Attendees listen to a speaker during the 2014 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference.

Mohler also decried “revisionists,” or LGBT advocates like Matthew Vines, who are encouraging evangelicals to embrace the idea that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. A copy of Mohler’s rebuttal to Vines’ book was included in the conference grab bag.

Even as Moore denounced ex-gay therapy, he nonetheless cited examples of some people who have changed their sexual orientation.The conference also featured four speakers, including Rosaria Butterfield whose personal story went viral last year, who spoke of leaving homosexuality or embracing celibacy.

Even so, specific political positions or political endorsements were largely absent. “Baptizing lost people and teaching them to vote Republican is not a revival,” Moore said to cheers and claps.

Numerous conference speakers encouraged Christians to love their neighbors who identify as LGBT. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, who has cultivated a friendship with a lobbyist for the gay rights advocacy Gill Foundation, said he prays for LGBT activist Tim Gill.

Several speakers said the church should lead, not follow, in combating anti-gay bullying. “You have to ask, what greater lie we could tell about our savior than to distance ourselves from the hurting and the broken in the moment they needed us most,” Greear asked.

Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network, said the real opportunity for change could be for LGBT children who grow up in Southern Baptist homes and how they’re treated when they come out.

“That’s an area where a shift can literally mean the difference between whether a kid is treated with understanding and compassion or winds up homeless, suicidal, or even dead,” Lee posted on Facebook. “For that reason, these are significant conversations.”


About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.


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  • The same way SBC co-existed with people of color in the first 150 years of itss existence. With hostility, a desire to discriminate under the color of law, and belated apologies for such efforts long after the fact.

  • This is just a way of getting there membership ready for more homosexuality yet to come in their church’s.
    I would bet with in 5 years they will be defending a homosexual stance..

  • I would say it is too little too late but it is not… It may be too little but it is never too late. Many young gay people especially wIll happier lives growing up in SBC homes because of this.

    Of course you are right Larry. In a few years they will say they always accepted gay people.

  • “Many young gay people especially wIll happier lives growing up in SBC homes because of this.”

    Nope. This is just PR. Young gay people will continue to be better off the less religious their parents are.

  • True. But you don’t get to chose your parents. Its still better than parents intentionally trying to increase the homeless teen population. Cold comfort.

  • Havent they always accepted gay people? Havent they always said they love the sinner and that it’s only the sin that’s the problem and not the person?

  • LMAO!! Bwahahahaahah. That’s a good one.

    Somehow their “love the sinner” usually involves parents abandoning children to die on the streets, assaulting them, murdering them, demanding they be imprisoned or executed, or trying to discriminate against them under the color of law.

    That kind of “love”, everyone can do without.

  • It’s okay to check your OWN heart for hatred too, Larry. You seem to hate the SBC far more than some of the gay activists who actually attended the ERLC.

    Or maybe you just hate God but are shopping for a closer-to-home target??

  • Yes, you’re right, but in the Gay Religion, it’s a sin to say that homosexual behavior and gay marriage is a sin.

    And it’s a REALLY big sin to point out that some folks have actually de-converted from the Gay Religion and switched to Jesus Christ. The gay evangelists do not like THAT sin at all, oh no no no.

  • Gay religion? Is suddenly everything a religion? How about white religion? Rich religion? Male religion? You can’t just tack the word “religion” onto the end of things. That’s not what the word means. Likewise, “evangelist” actually means “a person seeking to convert others to the Christian faith.” Even if you take out the Christian part, you’re a fool if you think gay people “recruit” others.

    Also, I think you’ll find there are quite a number of people who are both gay *and* Christian. The two are not mutually exclusive any more than being straight and being Christian are mutually exclusive.

  • Not at all. I am just honest about their history. The SBC is a church founded on racism and the support of slavery, and later segregation and general animosity towards people of color.

    They did not apologize for their shameful legacy until the late 1990’s. They have never bothered to deny their history of racism and past bigotry. No reason you should either.

  • Homosexuality will become a thing of the past, just as sickness, disease, old age and death will be, in the cleansed new earth ahead of us (Revelation 21:3-4).

  • LGBT’s take no prisoners and demand utter worship of their behaviors. And yet, there is just about no behavior or worldview that is as antithetical to Christian life and Christian truth then LGBT culture.

    If homosexuals were honest people about their religious demands, they would start gay denominations. No different than Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses or other cultists, LGBT’s should and could start their own religious orgs and peddle their licentiousness there.

    The activists that make up the rabid LGBT pride network are after fresh young bodies and little else. No where can you find disease free bodies but in the youth areas.

    Once again, there is just about nothing as antithetical to Christian truth than the LGBT worldview. THAT is why they are SO intensely oppositional to any dissent of gay pride. The rainbow flag is an idol that calls its submitting glaring eyed take-no-prisoners worshipers to another gospel and an altogether different theology.

    It should always be highlighted that it is the LGBT worldview that is hateful towards Christians 100% of the time.

  • Of course. A PERFECT example of the fact that where godlessness thrives, so does the LGBT community.

    Same culture. As Christians are driven into the closets emptied by gay pride activists, opposition to the Gospel grows widespread.

    Read the writing on the wall: LGBT pride, weighed and found wanting.

    Wanting power and authority over Christians. And as Pan shows perfectly, THAT IT IS about the bodies of our children.

  • If anything IS a religion . . . it is what LGBT culture truly is. The obedience demanded of and by the LGBT rulers, is nothing short of idolatrous.

  • Recruit others? How can anyone maintain they are an honest person and try to deceive anyone that LGBT’s do not recruit? You know perfectly well it is all about the “GAYDAR” when you are approached by a homosexual for seduction into the behavior. The mind control and propaganda involved in the incredible spread of homosexual behavior is nothing short of supernatural. But not the good side of it.

    We are watching the gathering of the mobs of Sodom. And those that refuse them will get the same threats:

    We will treat you worse than the people we were going to rape!

    I guess putting business people OUT OF BUSINESS is quite the act.

  • Dave, there are churches that are strictly for gay people because they don’t feel comfortable anywhere else. There is one in my area, for them to “peddle their licentiousness.” Only, from what I can tell, they peddle to no one and worship the Lord every Sunday morning like a lot of the other churches I’ve seen. Most gay Christians I have ever known or met are not the radical, flag waving, antithetical to God’s truth people you citing.

  • I have pretty strong opinions about free commerce and capitalism, and I absolutely do not like any private business owner being sued for refusing service to anyone. However, was it really necessary to talk about Matthew Shepherd’s case? That’s just sounds, without having heard it, like propaganda talk.

  • They will coexist as long as people a cost the fact that homosexual behavior is sinful and can never be affirmed.

  • If you are living unrepentantly practicing homosexual behavior you are living antithetical to Gods truth.

  • You really ought ot read your bible. slander and revile much? guess what?!?!? We’ll be sharing a BBQ pit in hell, you and me. Corinthians 6:9-10

    “LGBT’s take no prisoners and demand utter worship of their behaviors.” And your evidence for this is….? We’re not interested in your worship. Satan has enough of that coming from you.

    “And yet, there is just about no behavior or worldview that is as antithetical to Christian life and Christian truth then LGBT culture. ” Really? Lots of Christians would disagree with you. But of course, you don’t consider them Christians, do you/ Most would say the same thing about you.

    and recruitment? Really? more slander. no thanks, dave. Heterosexuals have always produced gay people. It’s what you do.

  • That must be it, rob, because they couldn’t be doing what Moore is saying they ought to be doing. that would be just too Christian of them.

  • We all need to read the transcript and hear the interview in which Russell Moore spoke.

    Questions & Ethics Live with Russell Moore

    Russell Moore: “Well, I mean, reparative therapy is one of those terms, that is such an umbrella term. It can mean anything in some people’s minds from the person who sits down and helps somebody walk through what does it mean to follow Christ and to be a disciple of Christ, if that’s what you mean as counseling, yeah, we ought to have that and a lot more of that. But what some people mean when they say ‘reparative therapy,’ is this sort of psychotherapeutic model where the end goal is to see to it that the person is free from, or at least substantially free from, same-sex attractions and is now straight (enough to use that language now).

    The problem with that is I think that that can easily become a substitute for the gospel which never promises anybody freedom from temptation. What the gospel promises us is the Holy Spirit to give us the power to walk through temptation faithfully. And so I think that’s, that’s the message that we ought to be sending, not just in this issue but to everybody. Now, does that mean that we are gonna need people who are going to be able to come to, and counsel people, and to say ‘here’s how you live faithfully, here’s how you deal with these unwanted attractions that you…’ Yeah, we do, we sure do, who are trained, who are able to understand those things and to do that.

    But, I think there are a lot of Christians, and its just not with this issue it’s with every other issue. There are a lot of Christians who assume that the Christian life means tranquility and freedom from temptation. If you’re not fighting and struggling and wrestling with some temptation or other, right now, then it just means you’ve given in to temptation. I mean, every Christian is walking through a time of temptation with all different points of vulnerability and different places. So, I think what we need to do is to spend time saying to people, ‘here’s what faithfulness to Christ looks like, and it may look different, uh, for different people. When it comes to this issue Rosario Butterfield, who was out here earlier, she’s married now, she’s a mom–that’s great, and that’s commendable–that’s not the only model. Uh, we have other people, uh, who are at this conference who would say that they’re same-sex attracted, they’re faithful to Christ, they haven’t lost their same-sex attractions, but they’re faithful and they’re not involved in sexual immorality, and they’re following after Christ. Okay, we need to commend that and to say, ‘that’s exactly what we need to be upholding and supporting’.

    I think that’s just what we need to recognize where we’re all walking through a time of temptation and there are different ways that different people do that. “

  • This is subtle compromise that doesn’t help the walk of believers or the salvation of the lost souls that embrace the sin of homosexuality. Let’s be clear; homosexuals are not there to have a dialogue to hear the gospel (to repent of their sins and trust the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), but to have a dialogue to change what they think is homophobic thinking in the church. This is illogical and absurd. God clearly calls any sexual immorality outside of the marriage of a man and woman sin. What is there to dialogue about? The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God is merciful and gracious to offer salvation through Jesus Christ, but they must believe He died and rose again to be saved (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10). Sin is breaking of God’s law and coming short of His glory (1 John 3:4, Romans 3:23) and only the pardon of Christ will save them from God’s righteous wrath shown in Revelation 20:11-15. This subtle compromise and “dialogue” doesn’t help a gay person (or any unsaved person) dying in their sins; they need the truth of the gospel. A little leaven leavens the whole bunch and a little compromise, sooner or later, will lead to apostasy and heresy. SBC, stick to the scriptures, speak the truth in love, but give the life-saving gospel to the homosexual community; it is the only dialogue we need to offer them.

  • Having a church based on any omission of even 1″sin” (homosexuality, fornicating, robbery) because your feelings are hurt, or not going to a church you feel singled out in because that church shuns all sins outright is insanity! When we are saved, we are “BORN AGAIN” a new person-the old is dead. Our new model is Jesus Christ. God Bless you all!

  • First Off Father forgive us for trying to change your word. Our much thinking has made us mad. Your Holy word does not change no matter how much society does. We are now to accept anything that satan throws at us. As a Christian I can not stand by and watch without saying something.We are wrong to accept or even give the impression of calling evil good. Are we now supposed to say that GOD ALLOWS being a drunk or a adulterer or a lier. No we say that they must give up their evil way,repent and lead a new life in Jesus Christ.Why is it now that we must accept lbgt? I pray that God comes soon because we are way off base. I pray for and love my neighbor like Im supposed to but Im still not going to give them a key to my home and tell them that they can have anything that they want in my house. But that is exactly what we are doing by allowing evil to come into our church and denomination.Shame on us for giving in to political pressure from such an unworthy adversary.

  • You are pretty much spot on Doc – I have been befriending ‘homosexuals’ for over 30 years, and basically there are 3 types. The passive I want to be left alone. The really bi-sexual. And the militant who wants everyone els to celebrate their sinfulness or else. I believe the word of God so I believe the words of scripture that God both loves us, but will never leave us in our sins. John 3:16 & Luke 13:3 & Revelations 20;11-15 & 21:8

  • I guess if a business put out a sign, “White customers only” you would be OK with it? If a Hindu business owners refused service to someone because they are Christian, that would be just OK for you? You are full of crap. Of course it would be offensive.

  • Clearly, the SBC, including even Mohler, is on the defensive, and the reason is fear of the culture and lack of trust and faith in God. They’re being bullied and intimidated and instead of pushing back, they’re acting like they’ve all been overtaken by Stockholm Syndrome. Mohler’s confession sounds particularly creepy, like someone who just emerged from an old Marxist re-education camp in China or North Korea.

    It’s not that gays haven’t been persecuted and discriminated against. Of course they have. It’s that Moore and Mohler are responding to this at precisely the wrong time and for precisely the wrong reason. They’re doing it now because they are filled with fear, not because of the dawn of a new understanding.

    The way to respond to persecution against gays is not to meet with politicized gay activist groups, whose demands are essentially limitless and totalitarian. The way to respond is to quietly show more compassion on the ground, in real life, on issues like how Christian parents ought to treat teenaged kids who say they are gay. It’s to make a distinction between individuals who are gay and activists — professed Christians and non-Christians alike — who seek the realization of a political and social agenda that is antithetical to the Bible and the Gospel.

  • One almost gets the sense that the increasingly weak-kneed SBC is being advised by the same shallow and short-sided political consultants and strategists that have ruined many a politician across America.

  • For the SBC to be meeting with organized groups who say you can live a gay lifestyle and be Christian is mind-numbing folly. That’s that last thing in the world it’s leaders should be doing if they’re committed to the opposite proposition. What they should be doing is separating the issue of compassion for gay individuals from the issue of abandoning the Biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful.

    It seems that the relationship between the church leaders and those in the pews is similar to that of political leaders and the grassroots……The people in the pews and at the grassroots seem to have it far more together. The leaders lack common sense and backbone.

  • Most want to be left alone. It’s baffling that the SBC wants to have anything to do with the political activist types who refuse to leave anybody else alone….particularly those who operate within the church.

    The SBC leaders seem to have zero strategic smarts. It’s common sense that you don’t even give the appearance of negotiating with people who are essentially demanding total capitulation on a core belief.

  • Well then, if the SBC moves that way, it will become a living fossil like what’s left of the old mainline liberal Protestant denominations — but without the graceful old architecture.

  • Larry is being Larry again — unable to resist sweeping generations and over-the-top exaggerations that border on bald-faced lying and often cross that porous border.

    In LarryWorld, modern America is somehow medieval Europe, with gays broken on wheels on every street corner in flyover country. The images bear no resemblance to reality.

    Larry needs to get out of his mother’s basement and see the great, wide world beyond his little street corner.

  • Preacher Mike, the answer is for people to vote with their feet. People should start leaving the SBC now, telling their pastors in no uncertain terms why…..while explaining how the SBC can deal with issues surrounding homosexuality in a more courageous and Biblical way.

    If the SBC leaders want to act like politicians, maybe it’s time to act in a way that gets politicians motivated — voting for somebody else.

    Start voting, Southern Baptists — and watch these leaders scurry back toward Biblical thinking and principles.

  • These SBC leaders are basically comfortable, domesticated upper-middle-class men who fear having their nice lives turned upside down by a relentless media and Alinsky-like battle tactics from the politicized road warriors of the radical left.

    They think that if they act really, really nice and show the media and the militant activists that they’re not religious fanatics but contemporary versions of Mister Rogers, they and their families will be left alone.

    They refuse to believe that they are in a war where the other side takes no prisoners, and that denying it isn’t going to make it go away.

  • Still peddling that bogus equation of black people and homosexuals, Larry? Comparing the two is embarrassingly problematic on multiple levels — beginning with the demonstrably false notion that people are born gay. Identical twin studies have long refuted that speculation, not that you give a hoot about science when it contradicts your magical beliefs.

  • Jack, you can’t hate something which does not exist. 🙂

    You can have a dislike for what does exist. Such as obnoxious religious believers and their loose relative morals.

  • Nothing bogus about discriminatory behavior. What is truly bogus and brain dead is your response. That just because you change the subject of your bigotry, the actions are somehow different or excusable.

    It makes no difference whether a business hangs a sign saying “No blacks allowed” or “No gays allowed” or “Christians will not be served here”. Bad behavior is bad behavior. There is no such thing as justified prejudice. Every bigot likes to claim they have a legitimate reason for their hatred.

    The fact that you treat gays the same level of contempt and desire to discriminate that racists treat blacks is more than apparent. You would not find excuses for discrimination in business if you were on the receiving end. Nobody else should either.

  • Poor Jack. He’s unable to come up with an intelligent response to my posts so he slings childish personal insults. Does the chimpanzee want a banana or does he need to fling more poo?

  • Larry, your posts are little better than question-begging regurgitations of long-refuted drivel. The only time I’ve ever read anything sensible from you was on another board when you stood up for Israel and the Jewish people — in a stark departure from your normal logic-shredding ways. That suggests you are capable of moral clarity and rational dialogue, but that emotions often get in the way.

  • Larry, we’ve been through this issue at great length. I’ve posted in enough detail about it on previous boards, but you keep restating the same flawed argument each time, in mechanical fashion, word for word, like some child regurgitating a memorized nursery rhyme.

  • Yes Jack, we have had this discussion at length. You still don’t get it, nor will. Not as long as you want to feel better about pretending your religious faith provides an excuse for treating others maliciously.

  • No. Question begging is opposing gay marriage because it is “redefining marriage”.

    Long refuted drivel is the notion that discrimination and bigotry can be justified through religious dogma. That a bigot has a reasonable justification for their views.

    Moral clarity is calling people out for acting maliciously towards others. Condemning an act for being immoral and not using “God says its OK” as an excuse.

    Rational dialogue is not something you are looking for, nor expect to provide. You want agreement and validation.

  • Dave, anyone who thinks they can be recruited to, “bat for the other team” is telling us more about their own orientation than anything else.

    Do you have something to share with the rest of the group?

  • You have no homosexual friends if you can place us into those three categories. What you have is gay people that you have met whom you have proselytizes to.

  • You can, Larry, if you’re mad at God for life’s not going your way and you think the best way to get back at Him is to deny His existence. Or one can be a soft atheist — where one doesn’t believe that there is a God but doesn’t completely rule it out — in which case there might be anger at the thought that there could be a God who allows life not to go one’s way.

    Lots of possibilities here…..because human psychology can be complex at times, especially when considering ultimate things.

  • It might be comforting for you to believe that, Larry, but as I said in prior posts, you are starting out with the flawed premise that all discriminations in all situations in life must be wrong. The opposite is the case. People make discriminations all of the time, and most of the time, there is no problem with it. We make aesthetic discriminations, moral and ethical discriminations, intellectual discriminations, etc. Whenever you choose one thing over another, you are discriminating. The car or cars you buy, the house you own, the people you befriend or don’t befriend, the beliefs you adopt or spurn, the schools you attended, the foods you like or dislike — all are examples of discrimination.

    So discrimination is itself not wrong anymore than making choices in life is wrong, because one implies the other. It’s certain kinds of discriminations that are wrong……and the question is what forms are wrong.

    And since we live in a free society that honors choice, the burden is always on the person who claims that choice A or choice B should be legally restricted or banned.

    The civil rights acts of the 1960s are examples of appropriate legal restrictions because discrimination against people due to innate traits such as race or gender — to things that have nothing to do with character or ability — is self-evidently wrong. It has consequences for the lives of those being discriminated against, and more to the point, since the traits are innate, there isn’t a darned thing the victims can do to change them.

    Every civil rights leader, from Dr. King on down, focused intently on this key point. That’s because every one of them understood that the civil rights laws represented the massive use of government that a free society normally would be reluctant to endorse. These leaders successfully argued that when it came to discriminations against holders of traits that (1) had no conceivable connection to conduct or character and (2) were immutable and thus impossible to change, the law had to move against such discrimination at every point….

    IN other words, the civil rights revolution was the great exception to the general rule that in a free society, people have the right to make every-day discriminations on just about anything.

    And since choice is the k

  • Larry, if you honestly doubt that gay marriage redefines marriage, you are obviously ignorant of the fact that no country or culture in history prior to less than a generation ago — ie the 1990s — thought to including same-sex couplings under the definition of marriage.

    Based on your logic, every country and culture in history, from pagan to Jewish to Christian to secular, was run by knuckle-dragging bigots, until suddenly, right out of the blue, in our lifetime, less than 20 years ago, it just so happened that a tiny handful of radical leftists got it right, while everyone else in other times and places somehow got it wrong — billions and billions of them, without a single known exception.

    Besides being astonishingly parochial and provincial, such a view is intolerant and arrogant, and, ironically, illiberal. It is, however, typical of the radical left on a host of issues. And it would have been laughed out of court if people hadn’t gotten rid of their BS detectors a long while ago when it came to relationship issues.

    Your whole argument depends on people buying into a lie — that opposition to gay marriage is a new and unique restriction, begun by people of faith as opposed to being the universal norm throughout recorded history, transcending time, place and belief, and thus having nothing to do with any one belief or belief system.

    And it leads to the laughably absurd conclusion that every person who ever lived is a bigot except for a small band of post-1960s, far-left extremists who ironically can’t stand marriage of any kind and have been calling it a worthless piece of paper for their entire adult lives.

  • The change I see here is somewhat encouraging: we can disagree on how we think God looks at this controversy whilst treating the Queer Community with love, dignity and respect, as Jesus would.

    I very much appreciate and agree with this stance: “Love all sinners. Ask questions later.” The truth is, we *all* have our “stuff” to deal with in life, and *none* of us have a full understanding of God on nearly anything. It has saddened me that Christians (in general) have elevated this controversy beyond nearly everything, overshadowing Jesus Himself, and His love and acceptance of all people, even his enemies, and certainly all of us who don’t “measure up” whether in the eyes of God, others, or even ourselves (which covers everyone, really).

    At the same time that I am encouraged, I am also deeply troubled: even as inflamed rhetoric against LGB people seems to be in decline, the SBC has set its sights on a “new” group, an *especially* vulnerable group: transgender people. It is my hope and prayer that, agree or not, my fellow SBC believers act compassionately. (And no, trans people do not see the recent SBC resolution on transgender people as a loving act: they see it as an unnecessary (even hateful) attack against their very personhood.) While many in this group admire Jesus, they want nothing of the Church, whom they see as denying their humanity – in the name of God…

    …How do I know this? Because God has called me to live Christ before this community, and God loves these people through me. But more simply, it is because I am a married Christian woman, a woman of transsexual experience: I am a paradox to my fellow believers who assume that transgender people cannot have a vibrant, saving relationship with Christ – yet they see Jesus in me. Likewise, I am a paradox to the transgender community I serve, because they cannot understand how one of their own can love and serve a God whom they are told despises and regrets their very existence – yet they see Jesus in me also…

    …For whatever of God’s reasons, I exist – I did not alter the hormones in my mother’s womb to make me develop as I am: both male and female in body and female in soul. Maybe this isn’t in God’s “perfect” plan, but then again, maybe it is: consider the man born blind in John 9. “Who sinned, this man or his parents…” was what the religious of the day asked Jesus. Can you imagine what this man’s life was like as a child and now an adult – living sightless, and being morally-suspect (and likely rejected) as a result? How often did this man *pray* for healing, release, maybe even death?? And then one day Jesus comes by and heals him: in an “untimely” way; in a dirty way; in a *scandalous* way. Why all this? Jesus said it was so that the power of God may be demonstrated and displayed in this man’s life {and also for those who would witness it then and we who read of it later}. And even after this, the religious folks had a problem with this man, the way of his healing and Jesus Himself. Quite unexpectedly, God’s Spirit put this lesson on my heart, adding that my situation is quite similar: I did not make myself transsexual/intersex; God has chosen to heal me through the “scandal” of my transition. Why? to demonstrate His power, His mercy, His grace, both in me, and in my family…for us, for our healing, but also for others who know and learn of us…

    …Our God is “Lord of Contingencies” too: He had a Plan A and our Parents messed this up. We are all born into Plan B. But wait, life is messy, whether we do it, or the mess is made for us, and so, for each of us, God makes a Plan C, D, E…whatever it takes to draw us to Himself, and then whatever it takes to re-create us in the character of Jesus. I happen to be down around Plan T, and frankly, I never expected God to heal me in this way (and I was rejected by the leadership of a beloved congregation because they didn’t *want& God to heal me this way), BUT healing has occurred and is occurring nonetheless. And I praise God for this! Again, *each of us* has our “stuff” – our challenges, our sin, our infirmities, all things that God is using to develop us – God’s Spirit knows what each of us needs, and when we need it, the circumstances in which we are placed, and works in us regardless of what others around us expect or demand (of Him, or of us)…

    …That I am transexual/intersex is without doubt and beyond my control. I can only choose what to do with it. My choice has involved decades of living with the painful gender and body incongruity, then working through it with God (who convinced me He was okay with who I was), then a decade or prayerfully-repressing all this so as to not trouble my family and friends (hoping I could die as soon as possible), then six years beginning with God challenging me to work through it again with Him (His knowing that repression was destroying me). This time, He said He would do a “New Thing.” And much to my surprise, my healing has come through transition, and though challenging, my marriage has held strong: my spouse and I, we are in a “Changed Marriage, sustained by God,” because it was God who drew us together, and joined us from the beginning. None of this is a surprise to God, and in my transition, all those who love me, all those in my sphere of influence, have been called to their own transitions: will they recognize the power of God to work in such an unlikely way; will they see the grace of God to work in one of life’s most challenging situations? Will they see how God can call them and enable them to a love-of-different-others that surpasses human ability?

    So who is right, and who is wrong? I suspect that none of us are completely right or wrong. But I have wondered, “how can people of good-faith, in Christ, in His Spirit, spiritually mature: how can such people disagree so fervently, even violently over controversial things (such as LGBT+ things)?? Who is right and who is wrong?? We want to know…why doesn’t God “set them straight!?!?” we all ask…God could do this…we want to be on God’s side of things, we want to do right…and yet there are church-splitting disagreements (LGBT+ controversies are only the latest example!!) After prayerfully pondering this with a “straight,” cis (non-trans) believing friend of mine, this came to us: maybe being “right” is less important to God than being “in right relationship?” That is, maybe God does not make everything “crystal clear” *because* God wants us to work-this-out prayerfully, together, together with His Spirit? Maybe it is the growing-in-love that is most important to God, and our sin, our trials, our “stuff” are the “props” God uses to re-make us for our eternity together, together with God?

    If God’s priority was *judgment*, then NONE of us would be here (we’ve never be created, or we’d have been destroyed). Instead, we know that God’s priority is *love*, we know because Abba sent His only son Jesus to die for us. Jesus took all the crap, all OUR crap, accepting the consequences we could not bear and survive the experience…

    What does God want most in return? God wants us, as loving human children, children who love each other (which for us here and now, is our best way of demonstrating our love for God).

    …God’s work is simple and profound: trust that God in Christ will get us through all this mess. It’s really the *only* thing we can do: all else flows from His Spirit whom He sends into us to teach, convict, convince, assure. AND with His Spirit, all we can do is cooperate the best we can, and this means different things and timings for different people and their circumstances, and it’s why we are called to leave judgement to God, who sees all of us in our entirety, the entirety of our life-context…

    …Humbling ourselves before our Lord and before others, is a beautiful, noble thing, and I am seeing this happen more and more as God’s Spirit moves among us, and it is this humility that enables us to “let God be God” over those things and people we simply cannot understand, trusting that God can handle all that goes-on, trusting that God’s purposes are redemption and not ruin for each of these human beings, so carefully created and sustained.

    Abba, please continue to move this conversation forward in a way that glorifies You. Please help each of us into the lovely but (tight-fitting) garment of humility, to where we can listen to You and each other in good-faith. We understand that this may mean that we will have to learn and adjust, and that things we thought immutable and sacrosanct are not as we believed with such commitment; we may ask things that will bring disapproval on ourselves by people with less-firm faith. You do not change, and yet, our view of You does change, as individuals, as Your Church, as the human family – as we grow in maturity at each of these levels. In some ways we are less like the children we were in millenia past – more is given to us, and more is expected, and like children growing to adulthood, more freedom is given, commensurate with our understanding and maturity. We want to love and serve You in good faith; we know we screw-up, and we are grateful for grace, for the grace and mercy Jesus has enabled: *please* help us to continue to grow into Christlikeness, and to be a people known for our love of others rather than our opposition to things. Help us to keep close accounts with You: “minding our own knitting,” gently persuading others to reach for You and Your highest. Please make us a people of compassion, who would err (if we must) on the side of love rather than judgement. Please help others see Jesus in us and want You, to want to fall-into-love with You, for we are not cosmic playthings, or celestial object lessons – rather in Your *extravagance* we are Your *Children*, sentient beings who are made to love and be loved, even in the face of our brokenness! I lift-up my fellow believers in the Queer Community, that You would sustain us and use us in a mighty and winsome way to reach those in Your family, and those who are yet to be adopted. For my fellow transgender and intersex folk, please help them to survive the nearly unspeakable, often unbearable challenges they face to simply live with their bodies, and then to live with others who so readily, pervasively, and often violently reject them – please sustain then and help help realize that suicide is not the answer to their pain: Jesus is, and through Jesus there will be healing, whatever form that is required for their circumstances. Please help my fellow believers who are “straight” and “cis” to step-back from “the way it has ‘always’ been” to consider some things they may never have allowed themselves to consider. Please help them to trust Your Spirit, that it is *safe* to prayerfully consider all sides of these controversies. Once again, for myself, I trust You will convict me where I may be wrong in my beliefs and actions here (as in other things). Please guard us from all extremes from all sides, as You work Your Good Fruit into our lives, for the nourishment of others. We are Your children, and we want to be pleasing to You and we want what You want and want for us. We praise You Lord, our Love: Father, Jesus and Spirit!!

    (His) Blessings & Joy!!

    Brettany Renée Blatchley

  • Homosexuality is the result of the fallen sin nature, and while yes, homosexuals come from the loins of heterosexuals, so do for that matter murders, liars, thieves, the covetous, pedophiles, fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, revilers, drunkards, drug abusers, etc. Homosexuals miss the point from Scripture that their behavior is sinful and abhorrent to God Almighty. If someone shares the gospel with them that is an act of love, since only Jesus Christ can and will forgive them of their sin, give them eternal life and a new nature that hates sin, if they will repent of their sin and put their faith in Him. All who are homosexual apologists are actually conspiring with Satan to keep the homosexual sinner blind,deceived and lost in their sin, bound for God’s eternal judgment in hell.
    It all boils down to this, we either believe what the Bible says about our sin, and then repent and put our faith in Jesus Christ who took the punishment for our sin when He died upon the cross and gives us eternal life by His resurrection from the dead, so that we can be forgiven and become the children of God, or deny what the Bible says about our sin and thereby deny what it says about the Savior in our particular case. It is sad and tragic that so many are following the path that leads to damnation.

  • The plain and simple fact is in Genesis 2:22-25 “wife” was mentioned in the Bible for the first time and as a partner to “man”. This passage outlines how God put Man into a deep sleep, took a rib and created what was to be called “woman” or man’s “companion”. It further says that man will leave his father and mother, unite with a woman and they would become “one”. How any LGBT can take this, especially one who proclaims to be a believer in God, and claim that a union of same sex is compatible with Christianity is beyond me. In all other matters they are compatible….just not when it comes to “marriage” in the eyes of the Lord.

  • This is utter blasphemy and beyond outrageous!! No so-called conservative religious leader has the authority to virtually denounce or call into question biblical teachings established by God, reinforced by Christ and preached by the Apostles on the topic of homosexuality. Homosexuality is not to be tolerated, accepted, debated or practiced by persons professing to be “christian” at ANY level or under any circumstance!!!

    It is quite clear how satan is steering his deceitful tactics into the hearts and minds of those who are perceived to be the nations prominent religious figures because they have a strong voice and influence on the masses. God’s commandments, ALL sins considered to be abominations, His word, and his guaranteed judgment on those that accept and live in their sins with PRIDE HAVE NOT changed nor will His position on such matters ever change!!!

    The societal liberalization that continues to degrade what is morally sound has become the new religion. All leaders and individuals that fall into this demonic and passive trap that plays and preys on the hearts and minds will not see God’s kingdom.

    There can be no open forum or dialogue on homosexuality within the church that caters to their feeble, perverted whims because the mission and voice of the LGBT community is not to find Christ but, instead, infiltrate and diabolically oppose God. Satan’s game plan is twist, contort and mislead God’s truth just like he did Eve in the garden of Eden and is absolutely unthinkable that folks who have been entrusted to spread the gospel have lost their spiritual spines..that is if they ever really had one at all!

    The true christian’s place is to take those that are dangerous within the church and either help lead them away from a life of perpetual sin or cast them out so that other members are not afflicted or affected by their demonic spirits. Scripture explicitly instructs church leaders to deal with immoral people swiftly and directly.

    1 Cor 5:12-13
    12 “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

    1 Cor 5:1-3
    1 “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. 3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.”

    Deuteronomy 17:12
    “Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.”

    2 Corinthians 6:15
    “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”

    Judges 20:13
    Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites.

    On a final note, the approach that is being taken by you so-called religious leaders in dealing with the LGBT community is one of a passive nature. Instead of purging the wicked out, you invite them not to repair their souls with the hand of God but to pacify their sinful, disdainful nature. Therefore, you too, are judged accordingly. You will not inherit the kingdom of God. You have chosen the master you serve.

  • I hope you read my new book titled “At Last! Free to be Me ” that should be out in the Spring 2015. We all too often think we are being righteous when in the Lords eyes we are being self-rightuous Pharasees. I invite you to judge meononce you have read it all

  • Doc Anthony, I agree. Scripture teaches clearly that the abomination of homosexuality can be conquered, when they are saved. I’ve witnessed to a number of these folks, and God does change them radically, when He saves them. Just like some of the Corinthians, they turn from worshipping idols, to worshipping The Lord Jesus. And the gay pride folks do get angry when they leave. It’s just a fact.