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Joel Hunter on nightclub shooting: ‘I’ve got to go back and examine my own …

(RNS) In the aftermath of the shooting at an Orlando, Fla., gay club, diverse leaders in the city have reached out to the LGBT community. One surprising photo emerged: evangelical megachurch pastor Joel Hunter shaking hands with Equality Florida’s Carlos Smith. It was a simple gesture, captured by a local newspaper reporter, but one with deep symbolic meaning.

“There is no place for hatred and violence in any healthy religion or in any healthy society,” Hunter said at a news conference called by the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The senior pastor of the 20,000-member, nondenominational Northland Church shared more in a phone interview about the intersection of LGBT discrimination and religion in light of the shooting. The interview was edited for length and clarity.

Q: There’s a very noticeable difference in how religious leaders are saying the words “gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual” in their responses to the shooting. Do you believe this was an act of hate targeted at a specific group?

A: Absolutely, it was. All of our hearts are broken and awakened. Many of us, especially in the conservative evangelical branch of the faith, don’t normally think of the vulnerability of many of the communities around us. It is not a part of our everyday agenda, but this has certainly put it on the agenda. This is something we need to specifically address on an ongoing basis to make sure that no population among us is threatened or marginalized.

U.S. President Barack Obama greets Joel Hunter, left, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, after Hunter's prayer during an Easter prayer breakfast in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-HUNTER-QANDA, originally transmitted on June 14, 2016.

President Obama greets Joel Hunter, left, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., after Hunter’s prayer during an Easter prayer breakfast in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-HUNTER-QANDA, originally transmitted on June 14, 2016.

Q: What message do you have, as a national religious leader, for LGBT people — especially young LGBT people?

A: There are a lot of us who want to make sure they are treated with respect — that they’re given every opportunity to live their full lives, that they’re as precious in the eyes of God as anyone who has ever been made. That would be the bottom line I want all people to understand, but specifically those who are going through this kind of struggle or this kind of cultural transition right now.

Q: Do you think the LGBT community in Orlando feels comfortable at your church and other conservative evangelical churches?

A: I hope so. We have several gay couples and gay people who go to our church, but we specifically don’t address a lot of sexual issues in the worship service. We talk about vulnerable populations, we talk about service, we talk about following Christ. I would hope they would be comfortable in a congregation like ours — but I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. We certainly want them to be.

Q: Do you believe there will be any reassessment or rethinking of positions on doctrine or theology in light of this tragedy?

A: We won’t in all likelihood change the way we interpret Scripture. We want to interpret Scripture as accurately as we can, not in light of current events or circumstances. For us, that’s a matter of hermeneutical integrity. We want to get our “what’s really there?” instead of put in what we’d like it to say.

Having said that, there’s much of Scripture that can come up to a greater visibility when it comes to treating people who don’t interpret Scripture like you do or who may not believe in Scripture at all. The worldview certainly can change. How we do Scripture probably will not change because that’s the best way to approach it.

Q: What complicity do American evangelicals have for a culture that relegates LGBT folks to a category of “other”?

A: Unfortunately, a lot. And I’m sorry to say that. I have to own up to my own part in that. When you’re in a position of power, as institutional forms of white Christianity have been for the last 200 years, you tend not to wish people ill but to avoid the necessary change, to maintain the status quo, because you have a pretty good position.

Thankfully, the next generation is not at all in that camp. People in my generation are pretty categorical in the way we think. So I’ve got to go back and examine my own heart, starting tonight in services, I’ve got to confess to my congregation that if there’s anything I’ve said that could have ever led to anything — the dismissal or denigration of any other population — God, I am so sorry for that.

But, having said that, the expression of the Christian faith, the one embodied in Jesus Christ, will certainly change from the institutional form that has relied upon just tradition and sometimes force — to a much more responsive and much more understanding expression. That’s the great hope.

(Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons is an RNS columnist)

About the author

Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons writes at the intersection of faith and public policy. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

213 Comments

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  • “We won’t in all likelihood change the way we interpret Scripture. We want to interpret Scripture as accurately as we can, not in light of current events or circumstances. For us, that’s a matter of hermeneutical integrity.”

    Then you’re just being condescending and manipulative. Your “hermeneutical integrity” is, as you seem to dimly realize in the back of your brain, whitewashed white theology.

  • Just what I was going to say. Thanks for doing it first.

    Hermeneutics: the exquisitely fine art of getting your holy book to say exactly what you need it to.

  • The fundamentalist megachurches used targeted attacks on LGBTs to advance themselves. By taking seven or so obscure Biblical passages out of context to foment hatred, they marginalized people who were already marginalized in order to advance themselves. They designated them as “the other” in order to recruit loyal followers who hated the same people they did. It worked, for a time. It still works many places. As P.T. Barnum wrote no one ever went broke underestimating the good taste of the public. This is why when a supposed Islamacist murders LGBTs they have a dilemma – two groups they hate are at odds, what to do, what to do? Answer: plausible deniability. That wasn’t us – that was Ahmed! Yeah, an Ahmed who grew up in America where your church service was on TV on your own dang channel. The deniability is not plausible.

  • Pastor hunter:

    While you are examining your heart, you might want to think about what 2000 years of Christian righteousness. Otherwise known as homohatred, disguised as and justified as sincere religious belief, has done to gay people for the crime of existing.

    Here are some hints: prisons, murders, judicial executions, suicides, rapes, torture, being blamed for every possible social I’ll that we couldn’t have had a thing to do with,X destroyed families, destroyed careers, false accusations, being blamed for the fall of empires and the destruction of civilizations and gods wrath, scapegoating,……

    And. And. And. And. And. And. And. And. And.

    And In The case of Mateen and so many others, lashing out in homophobic, self hating rage at any gay person who has not been buying what religion has been selling. Or in the case of Uber-Christian Pat Robertson, suggesting that gay people and Muslims should just kill each other while Good Christians (TM) like him watch. Google it. That old fossil said it today.

    When you have finished examining your heart, do, Please, let us know what you have found there.

    But frankly, given what I have seen, all I expect to hear is, “well we really can’t have what happened in Orlando, but sin is sin, and we can’t accept that either. So we’ll just sit on our hands and pretend we’re still good people and actually care what we have done.”

    You might surprise me, but I doubt it.

  • The hallelujah hypocrites see the proverbial handwriting on the wall. There is less patience for their anti-gay rhetoric and less cash to be made via the collection plate for bashing LGBT from the pulpit during a sermon, so they play nice in public to deflect criticism from the cynicism in their dark hearts. The big losers from the Orlando massacre will be the religiously intolerant as time progresses forward. Trump tried to sing another tune after his insensitivity on Sunday got blasted on Twitter. These other overtures by socially conservative preachers is just more of the same happy-face, meaningless PR that the Mormon Church has engaged in for decades. Most people sympathetic to LGBT issues know just how deadly and toxic it is to grow up Mormon and gay in Utah. Orlando brings the same issues home to everyone now.

  • As I learned from cousins who went on their missions in the 1970s, when I did. One cousin was more or less rejected by his dad until grandparents intervened who said that family came first, above whatever the Church said. I still learn a lot from my gay cousins, including how painful some allegedly “well-intentioned” remarks by religionists after the massacre have been. There is no excuse for that kind of insensitivity, especially not “in the name of God.”

  • I meant to say “Growing up gay and non-Mormon in Salt Lake City during the Sixties wasn’t a treat either.”

  • Don’t surrender, Dr. Hunter. Reach out to people and offer love and fellowship where you can. But do NOT surrender. Stay strong.

  • No, nowhere in the “Book of Mormon Belt.” Although the gay cousin who had it worst grew up in Southern California and the cousin who got the most understanding grew up in Wyoming. The socially conservative relatives were in Cali and the liberals in Wyo. Go figure.

  • Wow, Ben..How to keep things positive. I think you need to read Dr Hunters article again. We all sin, just differently..I think maybe its you that needs to examine your heart..what a broad stroke you are painting…ALL christians…We could say that about every ethnic group and every religion….ALL muslims…ALL blacks..ALL whites, ALL etc., etc….Pat Robinson may claim to be christian but CLEARLY is CRAZY!! There are a few in every crowd…so lets not just single out the crazies… I am hoping that this horrific tragedy can bring ALL of us together. We all need to examine our own hearts…

  • Wow. Chris. I almost never say all Christians, but I will refer to Christianity in the general sense. Usually, I use the phrase “a certain class of so called Christians” to differentiate. And until about 50 years ago, that was the general response of Christianity. Indeed, Robertson is crazy, as are the most virulent of the antigays. But many of the people who call me and mine a threat to everything good and holy, to civilization itself, as unrepentant sinners who wish to harm others by existing, and who demand laws that seek to harm me, are far from crazy. Exhibit 1: “Justice” Scalia, who opined that if people want to put me in jail because they don’t like whatever they imagine my sex life to be, why that is perfectly OK.

    We are atheists, but we were married by a Christian minister who is a friend. So please don’t presume that I am anti Christian. I’m not. I am anti dominionist. And I am anti people who use their bibles as a weapon and an excuse for doing so.

    Pat Robertson is just one of many. If you will look at my comment history, or some of the recent articles here on RNS where I have commented, you will see the easy list I came up with before my first cup of coffee. If I had the time to search more in my files, I could come up with literally HUNDREDS of Christians– excuse me, so-called Christians, and definitely leaders– whose commentary is chilling, at best. Or read the commentary in these various postings.

    As for pastor hunter, I was quite clear. He already said he’ll have to look in his heart, but he also gave it a major hermeneuticsal qualification. Plenty of Christians have also looked in their hearts, and realized that they were wrong, not despite what their bibles say, but because of what their bibles say.

    I examined my heart a long time ago. I don’t wish harm to anyone. But I decided 45 years ago that I will not sit by why people give this ancient, vicious and durable prejudice a pass because people wish to hide behind their religious beliefs. I’m not interested in what they say. I’m interested in what they DO. A knife in the back with a smiling face and a Christian “I love you” is still a knife in the back.

    So what do you say?

  • I wanted to add this.

    There are two major classes of Christian, as far as I can tell. Not the only ones, not all Christians.

    There are people who call themselves Christian, READ their bibles, understand very little of what Jesus had to say because they think it doesn’t apply to them or think that they are doing it by saying they are, want to go to heaven, but are afraid they are going to hell, and therefore obsess about sin, especially sexual sin. They use their beliefs as weapons against others in order to shore up their own righteousness.

    Then there are people who call themselves Christian, UNDERSTAND their bibles, follow what Jesus has to say because they know it applies to them, don’t care about heaven or hell, and therefore don’t obsess about sex and sin, preferring to be the best people they are capable of being. They use their beliefs as support for treating others well, for being kind, for avoiding judgment and self righteousness.

    In other words, faith makes some people better people, and makes others worse.

  • please share with us the “seven or so obscure Biblical passages out of context to foment hatred”. Thank you

  • Pretty slick of the rev to keep the wall up while at the same time expressing disappointment that the excluded have not been nurtured as Christians like to think they can. Oops, we overlooked a wounded segment of the population whose suffering we have caused. Let’s really, really pray about it and I’ll see you saps on Sunday (20,000 strong, tithing, taking seminars, buying CDs)

  • Jesus: “truly there are those now standing who will not die before the Son of Man comes and all these things happen and yada yada yada .”

    Paul: “uh . . . so that Jesus guy is a little late coming back, but he’ll be here real soon and then the dead will rise to meet him and then my homeboys and I will blast off to meet him on the clouds.”

    Some guy pretending to be Peter (Peter was long since dead) “Yeah, that Paul dude said some weird stuff, but Jesus hasn’t shown yet because one second to sky dad is like 1,000 years to humans. Yeah! That’s the ticket!” (weird – Jesus said that the kingdom was coming during the lives of those then living. Are those dudes still alive?????)

    (2100 years pass)

    Today’s christians: Jebus is a ‘comin! Death to homos! Obama is Satan!

    What appalling people. Fortunately, their kind is dwindling away.

  • Yes it is a function of your indoctrination. Then again for almost all of us our thinking is biased to some extent based on our indoctrination in our youth.

  • You are right historically Christians have been as bad as the Muslims in many ways. Fortunately most Christians have evolved to a kinder gentler more inclusive love. I still meet some Christians who think being gay is a sin despite there being no biblical basis for that kind of thinking.

  • I like how you anti-christian bigots spin stuff. You have an islamist who murders people at a gay club and somehow you turn it into an anti-christian rant. You are a piece of work man.

  • Your lack of understanding of the Bible is appalling.

    Matthew 16:28 was fulfilled in the Transfiguration of Matthew 17:1-13. Why would they keep waiting around to see something that was fulfilled later for them at the transfiguration?

  • You mean you don’t know them? You don’t know what you are talking about? Quick – google them.

  • No doubt most people standing there were still alive when Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah on Palm Sunday, AD 32. This is the event to which His entire ministry had been leading up. This is the event which He sent His disciples to the towns of Israel to announce.

    People often read Jesus’ prophecies about the coming of the Kingdom and assume that they are about His second coming, oblivious to the fact that most of them were made when His FIRST coming had not actually happened yet.

    AFTER that event, He commissioned His disciples to all the nations and kings of the earth, and warned that they would be martyred for it. He foretold that the end would come after the good news had been preached to all the world — a job that obviously could not be completed during the apostles lifetimes and indeed has not even been completed yet.

  • I’ve read it. All of it. I was raised with it. I’ve read books and books about it. Your argument is of course the one that christians repeatedly run to, and it’s been debunked time and time again. I know all the other tricks and excuses that christians come up with.

    Let’s look at another verse in Matthew, the one that says that when Jesus was crucified, the dead GOT OUT OF THEIR GRAVES AND WALKED INTO TOWN. Did that really happen?? Seriously? Of course not. The reason for that story? Jewish eschatology teaches that when the end comes, the bones will knit and the dead will rise. They thought the end was nigh, or had arrived. They were wrong.

    And of course, you said nothing about Paul’s failed prediction to the Colossians of Jesus’ imminent return. christians’ tortured arguments about how Paul was speaking metaphorically are just codswallop. Paul clearly believed that he himself was going to blast off to the clouds and meet Jesus. Wrong.

    This is a great article by a former fundy who saw the light and bailed on the pagan worship of a man as a god. http://failingtheinsidertest.blogspot.com/2008/06/jesus-false-prophecies.html.

  • At least some christians are moving toward a real Salvation. One of maintaining their humanity, and of a return to some semblance of reason, despite their archaic views.

  • The Biblical basis is right there, in both the OT and NT, if and when you or others want to discuss it.

  • Yes I know Leviticus and a couple of Paul’s writings. However we pick and choose what we want to adhere from Paul’s writings and we follow none of Leviticus. So hanging the basis for your bias on those is rather specious perhaps even hypocritical.

  • Gosh a mighty. You say it was the transfiguration, Shawnie says it was the entry into Jerusalem, and any normal reading of the text says goshamighty knows what, though it sure sounds like the second coming.

    It’s always amazing how much explaining needs to be done.

    But that’s hermeneutics for ya.

  • How about Jesus? How about Matt. 19:4-5? How about Genesis which Jesus directly quoted from in Matt. 19:4-5? Hmm?

  • In other words, you prefer Christians who ignore their own Bibles, mess themselves up, and crash themselves into clearly non-Christian beliefs. (Sorta like Obama, yes?)

  • They ignore well more than half of it already. Beliefs are always subject to modifications. True christians will ignore the bible when it recommends hating or killing. Reality demands that we deal with the world as it is, not as it was millenium ago.

  • Luke says the Son of Man came drinking and eating, as a drunkard and glutton. Luke 7:34

  • It is relevant for all to see the various ways different sects of christianity get around the contradictions of the bibles. Each sect has a different story than the others on something. Christianity is a hodge podge of excuses.

  • We are still waiting for “the son of man to come in power, riding on the clouds”, as the bibles promise.

  • True, we are. But according to the Bible we haven’t we haven’t been waiting any longer for His second coming than the Jews waited for His first coming. Centuries are a flash in the pan from an eternal perspective.

  • Perhaps at this time it would help Christians to consider the story of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus told this story, Samaritans were despised by the Jewish community. Yet it was the Samaritan who stopped to help the man who was left for dead and not the priest and the levite. The animosity towards the hated other was so great that the lawyer in the audience did not even pronounce the name, “Samaritan”.

    And before you think that it was easy for the Samaritan to stop and help, think of the possibility that this man could have been left on the road by the robbers as bait to lure others to the side of the road and into danger.

    If this text cannot be applied to gays, bisexuals, lesbians, transexuals and the intersex, who can it apply to?

  • Clearly a passage supporting holy matrimony and disallowing divorce.
    Two things: 1. is there any Christian religion that doesn’t allow divorce? No there isn’t; therefor we ignore that passage to our convenience. 2. The passage says nothing about being gay is a sin. Furthermore marriage today is nothing more than a civil union whereas Holy matrimony is a spiritual matter. Conclusion: Your argument is at best very shallow in that once again the reality of today’s world doesn’t comport with scripture among Christians. Therefor to be against gay marriage is hypocritical.

  • Isn’t that a contradiction with the way we see Jesus? You say it was the way Jesus was slandered, others would say that is how they saw the relaxed dietary laws. Therein lies the real contradiction, as I said it shows the different ways in which the various sects of christianity interpret the bibles. But it was Paul who relaxed the dietary proscriptions!!!!

  • That passage had nothing to do with dietary laws, as there is no mention of Him breaking any. It was simply a demonstration of the Pharisees’ phoniness in finding fault with both Jesus (for eating and drinking) and John (for NOT eating and drinking) when what they really hated was the central message of both of them (Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand).

  • Btw, it was not Paul who relaxed dietary proscriptions. That was the Jerusalem Church, made up of the apostles and observant Jews fromJerusalem many of whom had known Jesus. And “relax” is the wrong word. Actually they declined to impose dietary rules on Gentiles who were never given those rules by God in the first place.

  • My devout Christian parents taught me to respect other people’s personal, spiritual, existential boundaries. What lies within is private; open-minded queries may be answered at the owner’s discretion, but unsolicited commentary is strictly forbidden. Faith, fundamentally, is subject to personal boundaries. Contradictory claims presume inequality, advocate trespass, and sanction cruelty: they profane (emphasis) other people’s beliefs.

    It seems to me that, before anybody trespasses onto other people’s private property to condemn other people’s equally rightful beliefs and values, the very least they should do is ask something akin to, “Would you like me to tell you why you should renounce your most deeply held beliefs and switch to the ones I’ve chosen for myself?”

  • The Jerusalem church was a group led by James and Peter, who believed in a spiritual Jesus who lived in heaven. He was expected to bring his kingdom down to Jerusalem, and return political control to Jews, by annihilating the Romans. It was christianity who invented a Jesus on earth in human form.

  • And your evidence for all of those claims is what? And their connection to this discussion is what?

  • It was a comparison of Jesus to the holy man John the Baptist, who refrained from bread and wine. It was a question of which practice to follow. It was a reference to christian relaxation of dietary laws. It was anachronistic, as the laws not yet been changed. It was one way we know that Luke is either late, or has been “adjusted” to fit a later time by a current believer. (Current to the later time)

  • Just do an online search. You seem to have been reading only the christian apologists, who are paid and sign a contract to never vary from the church position, regardless of what they find in their research. Read the page “Biblical Criticism” at Wikipedia. If it is of interest to you, follow up with more trusted sources in the field of biblical criticism.

  • John 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:9-11 and 1 Cor 10:13, deals with the world as it is.

    It’s time for “true Christians”, as you put it, to AGREE with their Bibles instead of disagreeing.

    In Christ, a person doesn’t have to be gay — if they don’t want to be gay.

  • Look at Luke 7:28. Was not Jesus “born to woman”? Is Jesus lesser than the father and spirit? Christians say they are co-equal. Or, if it does not refer to Jesus, is a decent shoemaker in heaven, who only believed without works, better than John?

  • It was the writings done in the name of Paul which allowed Gentiles to ignore dietary laws and circumcision. Review the “Incident at Antioch” between Peter and Paul at Wiki, and at Galatians 2:11-14.

  • Jesus, directly quoting from Genesis, said that God created male and female and He MARRIED them as male and female. Not male and male, not two females. It’s only a marriage if it involves two different genders — gender complements. NO same-sex stuff.

    That, is how God created and designed marriage, Jesus says. You, and others, are therefore **wrong** to advocate for gay marriage.

  • No pointing to nebulous “online searches” or Wikipedia, please. That is the emergency exit of people who do not understand their own arguments, and I have no intention of doing your homework for you. I asked you specifically what is your evidence that James and Peter neither knew nor taught of an earthly Jesus? Particularly when Josephus, in a passage which no one claims is inauthentic, refers specifically to James as the “brother (earthly we presume) of Jesus the so-called Christ.”

    Perhaps you are one of the perpetually embattled “Jesus-Mythers?” If so, you’ve got quite a job ahead of you.

  • No one wants you to be Gay. We want you to stop using your book in an attempt to control our lives, and you know it. Any leaning toward being Gay by you is strictly of your own unfree will.

  • Nothing had ever “allowed” Gentiles to ignore dietary law because they had never HAD dietary laws to begin with. The question was whether to accept these non-observant Gentiles into the church. Of course there was much discussion around this, and “incidents” such as the one at Antioch. That is why the Jerusalem Council happened in the first place.

  • As christians clamor on about freewill, they forget that they also have an unfree will. They may call it “temptation to sin” but it is only their innate nature with which they struggle. The trouble is, that if their nature is Gay, and they think that to be sin, they have set up an irreconcilable conflict in their mind.

  • FoundOne, I seriously think you have ADD.

    These passages had NOTHING to do with dietary regulations. There were no Torah prohibitions on bread and wine. Good grief!

  • You may be forgetting that early christianity was a form of Judaism. Of course dietary law would have been prescribed. Are you being pedantic and requiring me to specify “continue” to ignore? Before they attempted to join Judaism, they would not have been aware of dietary laws, so they could not be ignoring them. Is this what you want-to go down the rabbit hole of semantics?

  • I look at your evidence by reading the bible nearly every day. However, seeing contradictions therein, and finding church explanations to be inadequate, I go to other sources to learn why.

  • Did I say there were? Do you understand analogy and metaphor, or are you a biblical literalist? A major flaw in the bible, is that it seldom speaks of things in real terms of history, as we see it. In the bible stories, Egypt can represent Babylon, north can represent south, and a eunuch with a chariot of gold can represent Queen Helen of Adiabene and her 2 sons bringing famine relief to Jerusalem.

  • Early christianity was a form of Judaism mainly because it consisted entirely of Jews. The later question was whether gentiles had to become Jews at all in order to be christians, considering that the Holy Spirit (with its evidences) already been given to believing gentiles without it. What about this is difficult for you?

  • Gay activists say, “Once Gay Always Gay”. But the Bible says you can be freed like the Corinthians were. You don’t have to stay gay.

  • OK. Let’s begin with an easy one, and build from there. Look up the pastoral epistle 1 Timothy, or 2 Timothy, or Titus at Wiki. Also, when time permits, read about the Gospels at Wiki. I am not verifying the reliability of Wiki, but it is a good first source, and gives the references to the scholars it cites. If you find the Timmies interesting, search any letter of Paul at Wiki, and read of it’s historicity.

  • The “least in the Kingdom of Heaven” is an adopted son/daughter of God perfectly forgiven and permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant. John was the greatest of the Old Covenant, a works-based system which could not save or transform in and of itself.

  • There is no reason to take a biblical passage allegorically unless there is some specific indication that the writer intended it as such — a parable is being told, for example, or an obvious metaphor is being used such as “I am the Vine, I am the Door, etc.” There is no indication in this passage that Jesus is doing anything except commenting on typical human hypocrisy and fault-finding. Such fault-finding is still a fact of life — check out the reaction to Chik-Fil-A providing food to blood-donors in Orlando.

  • I already told you I have no intention of doing your homework for you or debating with links. If you understand the positions you are arguing for, then present them yourself, please.

  • You have chosen a form of denial in order to preserve your unfounded beliefs. I believe you mentioned NT Wright, perhaps I am mistaken.

  • I am not being obtuse. What you’re doing is throwing out a position, without any facts or evidence accompanying it, and trying to bolster it with an appeal to authority. That lazy argumentation. I would not expect anyone to accept a theory of C.S. Lewis, for example, merely because he was both an Oxford and a Cambridge man, and neither will I accept an appeal to authority from you.

  • And I did not appeal to authority. I only disputed your charge of “nebulous” authority by trying to clarify your position on various universities. It is the people of the schools who matter. Stop changing the subject. Do not be lazy. Read some other views.

  • I have done, and continue to do my homework. I merely point you to the briefest and most accessible sources. How far you carry it is up to you.

  • These are specifically named references and the place to find them. They are now your homework. Get busy.

  • The Samaritans were the Jews of Israel, while the priests were Jews of the southern kingdom of Judah. Gay people are the same people as those who oppress them as well.

  • The fact that it took another 300 years for the church to recognize the existence of a holy spirit, when previously it had been considered to be wisdom and prophecy. Christians anthropomorphized the Jewish concept of wisdom. They created their Holy Spirit, much as they created a fleshy Jesus, and a Father out of a Canaanite storm and war god Judges 1:19

  • Was Jesus adopted at his baptism or while on the cross? If adopted, why the birth narrative? Perhaps to give him more clout in the superstitious region of Roman Palestine?

  • Jesus too, is of the old testament. His stories were formulated out of Isaiah and other scripture.

  • But REALITY says that not Jesus, not Freud, and not the fraud of ex-gay therapy has ever turned a person form gay to straight.
    Exodus closed four years ago, after lying for decades the same way you do– Jesus changes people. They finally admitted that no one changes.

  • Sure it does.
    when people prayed so fervently that the supreme court would not allow gay marriage, god did what he was told and prevented it. That’s why we have no gay marriage today.
    when the Jews prayed fervently to god to rescue them from the camps, good took mercy on them, and only allowed 6 million to be murdered.
    when certain Christians have issued imprecatory prayers calling for Mr. Obama’s death, god sad “sure.” That’s why Joe Biden is president.

  • Perhaps. But they may have been only brothers in christ. By the way, we have extra-biblical evidence for the existence of James.

  • God so loved the world, (which was his property, chattel) that he gave up his son for a human sacrifice, because that was better than just forgiving people?

  • Ref 10:13- What is the way out, that has not been shown to be malarkey? Christian drivel will not suffice when you attempt to change the nature of a person.

  • The budding catholic christian church, after having suppressed most others, had to anthropomorphize the spirit to combat the competing Gnosticism, which had categorized Wisdom as Sophia, and called that wisdom the spirit of god. Sophia was considered the feminine side of god, which oddly seems to make Him/Her Intersexed. OK. That last bit is a joke. But it must be considered.

  • The fact that the early church knew of the Holy Spirit and assigned Him personhood took only a few years. Can you lie to a concept?
    Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?

    The Jews very much believed in Yahweh as God and Father (having created Adam and Eve, thus Father), and not as a concept or a Canaanite god. Your reference to back up your claim is puzzling.
    Judges 1:19 Now the Lord was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots.
    The only thing this reference “proves” is that the Israelites could not drive out anyone in their own strength, but only in following the will of God. The disobedience and unbelief of the first generation of the Exodus cost them first their victory over Canaan, then cost them their lives as the LORD kept Israel 40 years in the desert until that whole first generation died off. Their children were victorious over Canaan and gained the Promised Land. (Numbers ch.13-14)

    That Jesus actually lived and was crucified is even attested to by the Jews of the time, who refer to Him as “that impostor” in one of their less scathing terms. That He rose from the grave and after 40 days of being seen (and handled in the flesh “Took hold of His feet and worshiped Him”) was taken up into a cloud out of the sight of the disciples is attested to by their willingness to die rather than deny what they knew to be true. Would you die for something you knew to be a fiction?

    Jesus Himself said the Holy Spirit (who He called the Helper) could not come to the disciples unless He went away and prayed the Father to send Him. The church did not have to create anything.
    John 16:7-8 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;”

  • Yes, the lord was with Judah, and the all powerful lord failed to defeat iron chariots. Of course they had forgotten the old version of their god, as they progressed toward a single god. This was a span of a thousand years or more. Why do you think superstitious people had the discernment to know what was true? Yes, the Jews saw christianity as an imposter. Religious belief aside, this is an impossible story. The Helper? Now there is a 4th god? She/He is called the Advocate. Now take John 16:1-15. Why would you believe it if you heard this today? It is cheap and easy to promise to give things to people after they die.

  • Christians would do well to ask themselves, ” If a homeless man was telling me the bible stories today, for the first time, what reason would I have to believe him?” Then why would I believe them when they came from an earlier time?

  • Pastor Hunter is my Pastor and I know he has great love and compassion for all communities.He has walked the true walk of Christ like man in all things. He has worked tirelessly for tolerance.

  • 3 replies in my email to my one reply? The truth must be getting itchy under your skin. I could pick apart the logical errors in your rebuttals to my comment and many others, but it would be pointless and a waste of time. See you at the Judgment!

  • Um, don’t think I will, pal. You made the claims, you defend them yourself.

    You are doing PRECISELY what every other scoffer on this site has done when called upon to defend their arguments — they slink off saying that “somebody else” has already done it (how and who, they don’t seem to know). I don’t debate via links and references, and I don’t debate WITH them either.

  • Oh please. All four gospels speak at length of the Holy Spirit and all of them date from the 1st century.

  • Duh. I just cited it for you.

    But Josephus would have had no concept of “brothers in Christ.” He was not Christian.

  • He was the Word which existed with God and was God before the world began. Fallen man who believe on Him are adopted as sons of God, as per John: “As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God.”

  • Those have been the departing words of many a christian. “I could tell you, but you just have to believe.” 1 Peter 3:15

  • LOL! Well, we know those have been the departing words (when any apology was given at all) of many a ssm advocate around here.

  • Well, just do what you have to in order to protect your faith from reason and logic. Just disregard all truth, and insist that you have it right. The gods are so proud of you.

  • The gospel attributed to John was written by a Gnostic christian. Are you a Gnostic, or like the early church fathers, have you found a way to integrate their beliefs into your own?

  • Of course. Josephus was a Jewish general who defected to Vespasian. But he was reporting on what he had heard from christians. Read “Josephus on Jesus” at Wiki..

  • The OT was the primary source for constructing an earthly Jesus. It was a misinterpretation of the OT which caused Mary to be invented as a virgin. And now we have come full circle.

  • The 1st century dates are the currently accepted (allowed) dates, but keep in mind, those are only earliest possible dates, so it is secular scholars who allow 1st century dates to be used, until they can show otherwise.

  • “Hermeneutical integrity.” That’s christian-speak for “we have a book that hopelessly contradicts itself and contains scads of failed predictions from a Jewish guy that died 2000 years ago and then from the loons that started a pagan religion based on the worship of the dead Jewish guy as a god, and yet we pretend it all makes coherent sense.” Hilarious.

  • I’ve read the Bible. All of it. I decided that a better system would be one where the lead guy doesn’t make a bunch of failed predictions. Funny how, 2100 years after all these failed predictions (and Jesus wasn’t the only offender, of course – Paul, the true founder of the worship of a man-god, told lots of whoppers too), christians are still turning themselves into knots trying to explain why none of it happened when it was supposed to.
    http://failingtheinsidertest.blogspot.com/2008/06/jesus-false-prophecies.html

  • The classic christian prayer pattern:
    “Everybody – Uncle Billy is dying! We have to pray hard!”
    Uncle Billy gets better for a day.
    “Praise Jesus! God is good! He answered our prayers.”
    Uncle Billy dies the next day.
    “It was God’s will.”

  • Oh? Well then, that neatly disposes of your argument that the early Christians believed in a “spiritual” Jesus only, not an earthly Jesus.

    Very entertaining to watch you scoffers tie yourself in knots trying to make something, anything, of the NT other than simple, direct narrative that it is.

  • LOL! “Secular scholars” have been slapped down by one archaeological find after another in the holy land ever since the 19th century. They used to date the earliest gospel to nearly the middle of the second century…until fragments of the latest gospel were discovered in Egypt and dated to AD 125 — at the latest.

    “Secular scholars” operate almost entirely on guesswork. The earliest church fathers were in the best position of all to know the origins of their foundational documents, and what they say about those origins is unanimous and entirely plausible. Believe what you wish, of course, but for me it would take a lot more than speculation from a distance of 2000 years to rebut that.

  • I did give you reasons for the hope that lives in me (1 Peter 3:15) in my first reply. You obviously know the Scriptures well. No longer be doubting, but believe. If you really want to know Jesus, He will make Himself known to you. If you do not, He will not trouble at all,…until later.

    Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Luke 16:30-31 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    Matthew 28:16-17 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.

  • John was not a Gnostic gospel. It displays none of the dualism that is part and parcel of Gnostic thought. John’s Jesus is absolutely a Jesus of flesh and blood from the very first chapter.

  • But divorce is OK with you. I suggest you continue reading the bible with your myopic blinders on to make it fit your agenda, your beliefs. No sense in reading what is actually there. No sense in realizing marriage today has become merely a civil union.

  • How does that dispose of my argument? Josephus wrote that 60 years after the supposed death of the supposed christ. Why would you think the christians, who by then were the Gentiles who had kicked all Jews out of their loving faith, knew their own origins? They were already building the their own story of who the purported Jesus was.

  • Oh, I understand. You must protect your unfounded belief from all evidence to it’s contrary.

  • I once knew Jesus, and the father as well. I had my “close personal relationship.” But the wise woman soon finds that they are only of the imagination, and that the belief in them destroys the ability to reason logically. It is then that one must begin to save herself.

  • John 12:30 The prince of this world shall be driven out. John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil. John is the only gospel to use the name Satan.

  • “We won’t in all likelihood change the way we interpret Scripture”.

    Bottom line is Rev. Hunter still believes gay people are damned to hell, but he’ll say it in the most loving way possible. Another bottom line is that Evangelicals still to this very day call for gay people to be legal and social outcast, denied rights, denied health care, fired from their jobs, and told that their lives are without any meaning or value.

    Where was Rev. Hunter when his fellow Evangelicals helped write and pass the law in Mississippi a few months ago that (among other indignities) specifically legalized the withholding of medical care, even emergency care, from gay people? As long as the doctor doesn’t let the gay person die, anything short of that is legal in Mississippi. Neither Rev. Hunter nor any other Evangelical objected to that, and in fact the Evangelicals helped write the law and pass it. It’s an inhumane and vile law!

    Gay people aren’t stupid and aren’t fooled by fake “supporters” like Rev. Hunter. We know what Evangelicals think of us and what they would do to us if they gained the political power to do so. Evangelical leaders like Rev. Franklin Graham have long denigrated and dehumanized gay people. Why doesn’t Rev. Hunter take on his fellow anti-gay ministers?

    Evangelicals have destroyed gay people’s families. Evangelicals led gay people to commit suicide. Evangelicals supported torturing and imprisoning gay people. Evangelicals supported laws criminalizing gay people and their relationships. Evangelicals helped create the atmosphere for violence against gay people. Rev. Hunter and his fellow Evangelicals have a lot to answer for.

    Gay people don’t want anything from Evangelicals – not your prayers, not your money, not your help. You don’t get to be nice to us after decades of treating us like s—. You’re still as anti-gay as ever. Being nice about your religious beliefs doesn’t change a thing Rev. Hunter.

  • “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but merely the things of men.” Matt.16:23, Mark 8:33, and Luke 4:8.

    Found, I’m pretty tired and bored with answering one patently erroneous assertion after another. Two things are obvious: you certainly don’t read the Bible “every day,” and Wikipedia is helping you not at all. Good night.

  • I went the opposite direction as you. Raised Roman Catholic, my questions were not answered and I left in my late teens, not much of anything in my 20s except Unitarian Universalist and New Age, married into the Episcopal Church before I knew better, left that church before my 1st wife left me without grounds, was saved at 40, remarried at 51 a year after my 1st wife left. Moved from evolution and mostly self-focused to grateful trophy of God’s grace married to a believer. There is no conflict between enlightened reason and faith. Jesus has never let me down yet (He didn’t make me rich $ either), though the world and myself let me down over and over.

    If you once knew Jesus and the Father, they did not move away from you. Surely the door is still open on their side. “No one can come to Me unless the Father draw him” and “If any man will come to Me I in no wise will turn him away.” are both true. I urge you to turn back to Jesus and let Him help your unbelief. He even gives will to the unwilling if they ask Him for the will. Have you really found peace and words of life in the world? “Lord, to whom would we go? You have words of life.”

    John 7:37-39 37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

  • “And the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.” John 1:14

    “Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:26.

  • He did come figuratively in judgment on faithless Israel, using the Romans as His instrument. The Pharisees knew full well Jesus was applying the figurative language of Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:9-14 and claiming that He was the One like a Son of Man to whom the Ancient of Days gave glory, an everlasting dominion and a kingdom which would not be destroyed. So much so that they decided that was grounds enough to crucify Jesus for blasphemy. A strong case that all Jesus’ prophecies of the end times in the Gospels, including figuratively coming on clouds, is made in James Stuart Russell’s 1878 book The Parousia. (I at least tried to put the title in italics. 🙂 )

  • Meant to say that all of Jesus’ end-time prophecies were fulfilled by 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. The unfaithful sharecroppers did indeed have their city burned (literally) and the kingdom given to others (Christians both Jewish and Gentile) who were giving the fruits of the kingdom.

  • You probably have long ago read and dismissed it, but I recommend you read the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy that clears up the so-called contradictions. Many other works answer and harmonize the “contradictions” you use to cling to your own reason over revelation. Prayers for the veil to be lifted for you.

  • Because Paul was Jewish, and he saw his mission as being to the Jewish people as well as to the Romans. He often used his “learned” Jewishness as “street cred” to preach to Romans about Christ (and he was rather successful, I dare say, at least far more successful than he was with his fellow Jews, based on the stories he tells about how he was treated by them.)

    If you do want to know more about Paul, I suggest reading a biography. (A.N. Wilson’s, ‘Paul: The Mind of the Apostle’ is one for lay people that is terrifically entertaining, if not exactly orthodox.)

    Paul was a fascinating person, probably one of the most influential people to have ever lived (at least in the West). The church may have been built on Peter, but Paul was responsible for its exponential growth.

  • Wikipedia is great, mostly because it’s so easily accessible, but it can be a pretty shallow pool, even if it’s just used as a starting point.

    I would suggest that anyone wanting to learn more actually dive directly into a a book or three, rather than relying on what can be found with a three-second web search.

    And no, I don’t just mean Christian apologists – people who want to discuss these ideas in an informed way would do well to read the Bible itself, OT and NT and apocrypha and Talmudic commentary, books about early Church figures (and not just the famous ones — you might like “The Lost Apostle” by Rena Pederson), books about 1st Century Judaism (one that’s incredibly detailed and interesting is “Rome and Jerusalem” by Martin Goodman).

  • Hard to believe anyone uses Wiki as a source and believes it has reliable information. Just… wow.

  • Bible says divorce is a sin. Bible says adultery is a sin. Bible says homosexual behavior and gay marriage is a sin.

    Bible says forgiveness and healing and deliverance can be found for all those sins and many more. But first you have to get honest — upfront Bible honest — and admit that they really ARE sins.

  • You left out…

    Uncle billie is now with God in heaven.

    Except that the nephews saying it didn’t know that uncle billy was having an affair with Stella down the street, and died before he could repent of it, and is now roasting in hell for eternity.

  • So you are divorced “without grounds”, meaning that your wife didn’t commit adultery, or you didn’t? And now you are remarried?

    According to Jesus himself, if I am understanding you, you are currently living in a state of unrepentant adultery.

    Hmmmmmm.

  • Actually, leaving progressive Christian churches for a hateful was not finding grace but losing it. Your witness is a testimony of how to fall from grace, not one of finding it. You were raised to love all and chose hate over love because of a persuasive woman already filled with hate. You have cast yourself out of your own Garden of Eden and for all the old reasons. But in the old tradition, was it Eve or Lilith who led Adam astray? Adam, you see, had two women, too, according to Jewish lore.

  • Matthew 19:1-10 and Mark 10:2-9 get misused to claim marriage is exclusively heterosexual when both passages only condemn divorce. So, naturally a hallelujah hypocrite would credit divorce for ultimately “saving” him from the better values of progressive Christianity.

  • That is solid. When hallelujah hypocrites get on their litany of “gotcha” passages, they only show how truly ignorant of sacred things they are.

  • It gets worse. There’s another scoffer around here who regularly cites Patheos…just another opinion mill like this one.

    Makes you wonder where (or if) people went to school. My kids knew not to cite Wikipedia in elementary school.

  • But none of that excludes homosexuality. You have to read those hateful values into the sacred text. Even the Leviticus passages deal with bans on specific practices of pagan worship. No one who values LGBT and accepts the legitimate love of two men or two women would approve of otherwise straight men raping teenage boys to please a pagan god. And that’s all that the Leviticus passages really condemn, child rape as worship of a pagan god.

  • “Bible says homosexual behavior and gay marriage is a sin.” Nope. You folks have to read that nonsense into the sacred text by extrapolation. Progressive Bible scholars have shown us such nonsense is wrong.

  • Maybe the affair was good enough to be “heaven on earth” while it lasted. But that’s part of the hallelujah hypocrisy. Everything straight is totally forgivable, while nothing gay ever is. That’s so not a “gospel of love.” It’s the gospel of the hated boogeyman, instead. Blacks are out, Mormons almost outnumber the hallelujahs, so now gays are the boogeyman of choice, by default, of the hypocrites. Pass the plate.

  • It obviously excludes homosexuality if the only model given by God (and also the only model **permitted** by God!) for marriage and sexual intimacy, is unmistakably gender-complementarian.

  • Thankfully, the “progressive Bible scholars” have themselves been shown to be wrong.

    And repeatedly, one might add !!

  • Actually they forbade lying with a “man.” Not a boy, although by implication the boy would be included, as a male.

    Also, your assertion does not square with an ancient Jewish commentary that we know of.

    Do you also accept incest as long as no pagan worship is involved?

  • Says the guy who just shoehorned child rape into a passage that had nothing to do with children.

  • No Christian follows anything in Leviticus and we pick and choose what is convenient to follow from Paul’s writings. Therefor to say being gay is a sin if not completely wrong is at least hypocritical. Paul did say if you follow one law you must follow them all and the law can’t save you.

  • Nothing in Genesis about God having a marriage ceremony for Adam and Eve, so no He didn’t marry them. In this country women and children haven’t been considered chattel for about 100 years. Divorce is rampant. Therefor the Holy matrimony of scripture has devolved into a civil union controlled by the state not the church, but we still call it marriage.

  • If being gay is a sin then God shouldn’t have made gays. If you think it is a choice then you don’t know any gays very well. BTW I am straight. You preach what you can’t back up with specific Bible passages why don’t you just admit you are homophobic.

  • Same could be said for right wing Christian zealots. Mostly because they don’t remain consistent in their interpretation of the Bible and are therefor hypocrites.

  • Yes, that is my error stating that John is the only place the term Satan is used in the NT.

  • No, as you do with your Jesus/god, you merely alluded to the idea that such slapdowns might exist. This is a much more egregious error than my misquoting a source on Hasatan.

  • I would not then, and will not now, sacrifice my will, freedom, and mind to an unsubstantiated belief, particularly so, when that belief has much of substance to dispute it. The NT has been shown to be wrong in factual history, immoral in belief, contradictory in context, anonymously written gospels (all4), and forged epistles. (more than half of them)

  • Christianity is the biggest bully we have known. The loving Jesus wants you to come, he will not turn away, but do not come, and he will burn you forever in love. If I do not come to him, he will not trouble…..dum de dum dum, until later!

  • No, no, no, no. I mean in the real world, in reality. In a world parallel to yours, Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall, and an Old Woman lived in a shoe.

  • Figuratively is not reality. So Jesus punished Israel by having more than a million of them killed by Romans, and then the Jews killed the killer? No, the bible says the Jews killed Jesus, not because it happened that way, but because they were driving Jews out of their christianity. It is hate speech, and has been used as justification to slaughter Jews for 2 millenia. The gospels were written by people of 4 different belief systems. They have been shown to be fictional.

  • I would not say I am familiar with it, but I have read it.
    Wiki maintains a list of about 200 times that chriastians have claimed the end is here. Prayers are dressed up wishes, which always soil their clothing.

  • The bible words of Paul say he was a Jew. There are many falsehoods in the bible. Judge Paul by his fruits. He was a traitor to Judaism and to the Jerusalem church.

  • My point was that Jewish law was supposed to have been “fulfilled” by Jesus at that time. (Whatever fulfilled might mean) Jesus said he had not come to abolish the law, so I would assume it was still in effect. Christians however, claim that OT no longer applies to them. So again, why does Paul appeal to Jewish law? Does he pick and choose, just as christians today?

  • After having read the books, and done the research, it is justifiable to use Wiki as a refresher while on line. Who is going to search through the tomes to find a reference for a stubborn person online, with plugged ears, and hands covering the eyes? You are correct though, that is why I generally advise people to read Wiki, and then dig deeper, if their interest is piqued.

  • It is excellent for finding out what is happening concerning a topic. No single source is to be trusted, if accuracy is important. Your statement, and those like it, which demean Wiki, are simply christian denial, and an attempt to protect their own beliefs. That is why christian organizations are busy entering false data at Wiki; to destroy the source. However, Wiki has resources in place to beat back this more recent example of christianity poisoning everything..

  • Neither of us committed adultery. She left and filed for divorce on irreconcilable differences after years of my begging her to go to counseling with me to save our marriage. She did not have grounds for divorce. Scripture cannot be broken, and Paul adds abandonment as grounds for divorce.

    1 Corinthians 7:10-16 10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

    12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

  • Technically teenage boys are children, that’s exactly how hallelujah hypocrites try to smear the name of Harvey Milk. He started dating one boyfriend when the boyfriend was 18 and Milk was 26, then his second boyfriend was just short of twenty when Milk was about 30 or so. Event though both boyfriends were adults, they were still teens and so the Tali-Baptists pretend that made Milk a “pedophile.” But back to Leviticus, no one is sure what the age limits were on the boys raped and sometimes killed as fertility sacrifices to the pagan gods. All we know is that God condemned the practice. It does not mean, however, that God also condemned consensual adult love between people of the same gender. There are no explicit condemnations of that in the Bible, just implicit ones.

  • That’s how the English translation reads but based on what progressive Bible scholars write on the issue, “man” was probably “teenager” or “boy,” again getting into ritual pedophilia as pagan worship, not consensual sex between adult men.

  • Sorry, nothing coming from a Tali-Baptist “scholar” can be accepted as true or authentic. They color everything through hate-filled lenses.

  • Nope. Both in Matthew and Mark, Christ is answering a very specific question put to him by hypocrites. It’s too bad that you folks relate better with the Pharisees than the actual disciples of Christ.

  • The word for man is man, period. Za-ar = Hebrew for mankind, arsenos = koine greek for man.

    Besides, ancient Jewish commentary flat out contradicts your assertions. Who is twisting and extrapolating now?

  • Neither can anything from a progressive “scholar” be accepted as true or authentic because they color everything through sex-obsessed and pop-culture-friendly lenses. See how that works?

    Actually the best indicator of how Jesus, Paul, and all the early christians viewed this whole issue is Jewish commentary on the scriptures from the early Christian era.

  • To those “religious conservatives” who dismiss/diminish/omit/avoid the fact “that the gunman specifically targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, the Washington Post cited the following quote:

    ” ‘This was a place where people came together — LGBT people — and if you erase that part of them, you’re not actually praying for people, you’re praying for an abstraction,’ said the Rev. Paul Raushenbush, a gay American Baptist pastor and a vice president at Auburn Seminary in New York. ‘In order to truly honor these lives, we’re not going to erase them and we’re not going to erase them in church.’ ”

    — see WashingtonPost-dot-com’s perfectly timed article, “Religious conservatives attempt balance in Orlando response”.

  • So Paul, on his own authority, supersedes what Jesus had to say about divorce. Funny how he didn’t manage to get out everything he thought when asked about the subject. You’d think, being God and all, he would have delivered the final word on the subject. But no, he needed additional clarification.

    It sounds to me like you are just justifying your sins. Perfectly fine with me.

  • Perhaps yes, and perhaps no. Since most of Judeo-Christian tradition is homophobic, it would be unsurprising for those commentators to get it wrong as well. After all, if they had accepted Christ, they would not be Jewish commentators. I get that you holy rollers are becoming the Amish of this century. It’s just too bad you don’t get it.

  • I’m talking about JEWISH commentators, Einstein. Not Christian ones. Ever hear of Josephus? Philip? The Midrash? The Talmud?

    Maybe you would be concerned about others considering you Amish or whatnot, but I am not. I outgrew following the herd back in high school.

  • Your efforts to belittle just make you look foolish. I was reading Josephus when I was a teenager, 40+ years ago. My answer back to you is that they would see things differently today because we know more about humanity than they did then. Modern Christians and Jews have abandoned so much that was culturally accepted back then as our eyes have been opened to modern truths. Anti-LGBT haters simply choose to reject spiritual progress in that area, while taking for granted many other areas of spiritual progress. Your willful blindness is your problem and no one else’s.

  • If we accept Christ as the Son of God and co-Creator with Him, there was and is nothing for Him to “learn” and we are obligated to accept the worldview and moral framework from which He taught.

    Christians and Jews have indeed abandoned much, but of course He predicted that even many of elect would be deceived by false prophets and teachers so that’s no surprise whatsoever.

  • Paul does not supersede Jesus on divorce or anything else. Paul refers to at least one other letter he wrote that the Holy Spirit (the true author of all Scripture including OT, Gospels and NT) apparently saw fit not to include in Scripture. Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go several places in church planting, which he obeyed and waited for a clear sign of where to go, which he received and obeyed. (Acts 16:6-10) He was serving the Jesus who struck him blind by glory for three days and revealed to him how he would suffer for the name of Christ. Do you think the Holy Spirit would not have forbidden him from writing 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 if it contradicted God’s will on marriage?

    You of course subtly changed the question – whether I committed adultery. I did not, nor did I abandon my wife, she abandoned me after planning it for months and most likely years. How very like an unbeliever to deny and twist Scripture he doesn’t like and stand on Scripture that is convenient. I cannot justify myself before God for even my good actions, let alone sins. Only the blood of Jesus can justify (place in right standing forgiven) anyone before a perfect, holy, sinless God who will judge me, you and everyone. The blood is the only thing I can claim, and it is 100% effective.

    1 John 1:8-9 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • How like a bible believing Christian to ignore the scripture he doesn’t like, and stand on scripture that is convenient.

    YOU said you remarried at 51. YOU said neither of you committed adultery. I did not say you had committed adultery in your previous marriage, I said that you ARE committing adultery, right now, in your current one.

    Jesus said “…7“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses order a man to give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8Jesus answered, “It was because of your hardness of heart that Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but it was not this way from the beginning. 9Now I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery.”

    You should know that I really don’t care how you live your life. I think if you were unhappy in your marriage, if your were both unhappy, then divorce is the answer. But then, I’m not a christian. I believe that we are all flawed human beings doing the best we can with what we have. Hopefully, we strive to be as good as we can to other people. I certainly do.

    I don’t wish to live my life by rules which were allegedly handed down by God 2000 years ago, in a world an entire universe away from ours.

    Apparently, neither do you.

  • Wiki is not a reliable source period. Baseless accusations or none.

    It is perhaps all right as a basic type of information (a springboard per say) to get one started on finding true scholarly and factual research. But to use Wiki as the sole source of copy and pasting answers for any subject; Christian or otherwise should be viewed with suspect.

    In regard to your accusation of Christian organizations being busy entering false data at Wiki… Seriously?… Really? If there is proof of that happening… Show them instead of trying to create a false narrative or false explanation to cover laziness of research. I am sure Christian organizations have way more to do than to be concerned with a Wikipedia site. No one with any desire to find out facts or truths would rely on source information from a Wiki site.

    For myself… once a person starts using Wiki to back up an argument or statement I see no reason to further the conversation or debate. Rather it is time to take pity on the ignorance of the person using/relying on such a source.

    Always be skeptical to prevent from blindly accepting any truth claim.
    Never so skeptical to keep your mind closed to investigating any truth claim.

    A Christian or non-Christian doesn’t need to “poison everything” as you put it to validate or prove their points. It is a shame false claims have to be used to try to come across as valid.

    Ignorance can be educated. Claims and sources based on ignorance are easily seen through and not worth the time to waste to further a conversation.

    Wish you well and may the wind always be at your back.

  • 1. No I am not familiar with them. 2. I didn’t say all Christians. 3. Did they kill any gays yet? 4. Did radial Islamist terrorists kill any yet? 5. How did you find out about them?

  • Wiki is as reliable as any other source. Just confirm what you read there with other sources. I recommend it for a first look to spur interest in a topic, or for someone to realize that there are other views than their own. It is also good as a refresher for data gleaned from other sources over time, which now is receding into the discrepancies of memory. I suspect, but do not know, that no other single source is peer reviewed more often than Wiki. How many of those peers help to maintain the standards of Wiki, I do not know.

  • The council of Islamic Americans is a Muslim Brotherhood front group dedicated to the Muslim take over of the USA, it supports Hamas and other Muslim terrorist groups. It is always spouting propaganda after every fundamentalist Muslim mass murder and sobbing about non_existent islamaphobia. They are disgraceful apologists for murderers.

  • Everyone is infinitely precious. It doesn’t mean that they can’t sometimes annoy and otherwise be obnoxious and/or repulsive. But the religious person has signed on to the “infinitely precious” part, and they have no business abandoning that position.

  • But what does God say? Can we assume that God agrees with everything written in a book compiled by men. The bible is not God.

  • People make their gods for the most part. They do so because they need certainty. The Infinite is within; this is the Only certainty.

  • What a sell-out! No, you are not teaching people to follow Christ if you specifically don’t address sin, including sexual sin.

  • Have you ever taken a Hermeneutics class? I ask, because your definition is not what hermeneutics is.

  • A,aging just how much “interpretation” the creator of the entire universe needs to make his meanings clear.

  • Mr. Hunter’s honest answers and humility in the face of the Orlando tragedy is the kind of leadership that I pray we would see from our political leaders. This country needs leadership in the tough issues we face, both in word and example! I don’t hear that said often enough. Thank you Pastor Hunter.

  • Not true, Genesis 2:25 says Adam and his WIFE were both naked, and they felt no shame. The verse makes it clear that though they were the only couple on earth at the time they were still a married couple.

  • Just because Moses called them husband and wife is irrelevant. There was no marriage ceremony. Furthermore if you actually read Genesis they weren’t the only people on earth. It is an allegorical story.

  • A “man” according to Jewish law includes teenagers. Ever hear of Bar Mitzvahs?

    I don’t think you’d be advocating that 13-year-old boys engage in sexual behaviors, whether with males or females, would you?

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