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Consecration of gay bishop against church law, says United Methodist top court

Bishop Karen Oliveto, center, visits with her mother, Nelle Oliveto, left, and her wife, Robin Ridenour, outside the meeting of the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting on April 25, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Photo courtesy of UMNS/Mike DuBose

(RNS) The United Methodist Church’s top court has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay pastor as bishop is against church law.

But in a somewhat muddled ruling that could reflect the ongoing struggle to determine how great a role LGBTQ members can play in the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., the court also ruled that the Rev. Karen Oliveto, its first openly gay bishop, “remains in good standing.”

The Judicial Council decision was announced Friday evening (April 28) at the end of a four-day meeting in Newark, N.J.

RELATED: First openly LGBT United Methodist bishop: ‘This is the time’

The Rev. Bruce Ough, president of the denomination’s Council of Bishops, released a written statement imploring United Methodists to honor the council’s decision.

“We acknowledge that the decision does not help to ease the disagreements, impatience and anxiety that permeates The United Methodist Church over the matter of human sexuality, and particularly this case,” Ough said.  “Our compassion and prayers of intercession extend to all those who are hurt, relieved, confused or fearful.”

The decision follows Oliveto’s consecration last July as bishop of the United Methodist Church’s Mountain Sky Area, which includes churches in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, as well as one church in Idaho.

Oliveto was not named in the motion filed by Dixie Brewster, a lay delegate to last year’s regional South Central Jurisdictional Conference.

Instead, Brewster  asked for a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on whether the nomination, election, assignment or consecration of an openly gay or lesbian bishop is lawful under the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book.

But the bishop was the focus of the council’s open hearing on Tuesday in Newark, the United Methodist News Service reported.

A representative for Brewster had argued the regional Western Jurisdiction’s actions in making Oliveto a bishop “negate, ignore and violate” the Book of Discipline.

Meanwhile, the Western Jurisdiction representative maintained that Oliveto met all the requirements to become bishop and that the South Central Jurisdiction had no standing to challenge her election.

The Judicial Council agreed to rule only on the question of consecration, saying it didn’t have jurisdiction over the appointment, election or nomination of a bishop. It decided 6-3 that it was not lawful for any regional church body to consecrate a “self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”

That language comes from the Book of Discipline, which says “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” meaning “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers or appointed to serve.

Additionally, the decision said that while “self-avowal does not nullify the consecration and cause removal from episcopal office,” it is enough to subject the bishop’s office to review. It also raised the possibility an “openly homosexual and partnered bishop,” as well as any clergy who participated in his or her consecration, could be charged with disobedience.

Meanwhile, Oliveto will remain a bishop until an administrative or judicial process is finished.

John Lomperis, a 2016 General Conference delegate and United Methodist director of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, a group that describes itself as a voice for “Christian orthodoxy,” said in a written statement he was disappointed the council hadn’t removed the bishop from office.

But, Lomperis said, “I celebrate that these landmark rulings should now make it significantly easier to bring accountability for pastors who choose to violate biblical standards for sexual self-control. We are slowly but increasingly strengthening biblical accountability in our church.”

To the Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, senior pastor of New Milford United Methodist Church in New Milford, Conn., and a member of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, it seemed like the Judicial Council was legislating from the bench, furthering divisions in the denomination and undermining the work of a commission already tasked with discussing questions of human sexuality. Still, as rumors of a looming schism continue to swirl, he told RNS the caucus was committed to the United Methodist Church.

“We’re out of the closet but not out of the church,” he said.

RELATED: United Methodists to hold special session on LGBTQ inclusion in 2019

Earlier this week, the United Methodist Church announced it would hold a special session in 2019 to make decisions about the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage. Its top legislative body had put off such decisions at its quadrennial meeting last year.

Instead, the 2016 General Conference directed the denomination’s Council of Bishops to appoint a commission to discuss those questions. The special session in St. Louis will receive the bishops’ report on the commission’s work and act on it.

The commission’s moderators issued a statement before the Judicial Council reached its decision, saying that it would continue its work and that the outcome of Friday’s decision was not its focus.

“We urge the entire church to stay focused on the Commission’s work as our best opportunity to determine God’s leading for the church,” according to the statement.

The Judicial Council had considered three cases this week that impact LGBTQ clergy.

It also ruled the denomination’s regional New York and Northern Illinois annual conferences must consider all qualifications of a candidate for ministry, UMNS reported. Both previously had decided they would not consider sexuality when evaluating candidates.

Ough, the president of the Council of Bishops, reinforced Friday that only the General Conference can change the Book of Discipline and that the Judicial Council’s decisions are case-specific.

“Where do we go from here?” he said.

“We put our trust in God to strengthen us even as we hold differing views about human sexuality. We must continue to love one another just as Christ instructed us to do.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.


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  • The full title should be: “Consecration of gay bishop against church law, says United Methodist top court: sort of, kinda, maybe, perhaps, we’ll see…”

  • That is a correct summary. Up-front and honest, thanks.

    Also notice the disturbing reply given by the Council Of Bishops Commission. They openly suggested that they’re going to IGNORE today’s Judicial Council ruling. They’re even encouraging the entire Methodist church to ignore it.

    “We urge the entire church to stay focused on the Commission’s work as our best opportunity to determine God’s leading for the church.”

    So God does NOT do any leading through the Judicial Council anymore, (now that the JC has outlawed the lesbian bishop’s consecration.) Yeah baby, we get the message.

  • As regards the CofB’s I’d say you’re pretty correct. [Thanks Ted for that colorful metaphor]

  • The Methodists are caught between a rock and a hard place. Those faithful to the historic view of this question within Christianity will no doubt stand their ground, even as those who would put a tortured interpretation on Christ’s Gospel will continue to push the unbiblical stance. The Methodists are desperately trying to avoid the implosion that has roiled the Presbyterians, and threatens to roil the Anglicans as well. The question needs to be settled once and for all within Methodism so that the separate wings can go their separate ways. Jesus declared He would divide families, spouses, etc., Church organizations are not exempt. So enough with the hand wringing; cut the cord, however painful. The Presbyterians survived in their respective spheres, though the dust hasn’t quite settled. Surgery is painful, but less painful than cancer. Let me add that this does not speak to the issue of the value LGBT individuals in the sight of God, His whole creation is precious to Him. This speaks to the clearly declared Word of God with respect to the role of the clergy within the precincts of His Church, no amount of theological revisionism will change that.

  • The true ‘church’ no longer ‘worships’ God in colossal temples, in absurd robes and perfumes, keeping burdensome rules, ritual and routines. This is ancient delusion, and has nothing to do with god. For “God is a spirit”, as Christ said, simply the spirit of you being kind, whether hugging or chastising your kid. He’s the spirit of you living in honesty, simply being honest with one’s self first. He’s the trust between two people. He’s the guy getting the cat out of the tree, or helping the old lady with her groceries. He’s the warm feeling when the little girl climbs in grandpa’s lap. He’s the inventions that uplift humanity. He is simply exposing darkness. He is exposing the ‘christian’ leadership ravaging humanity. He is exposing the complicity. He is Truth. He’s the truths that lead to goodness. Imagine if scientists started lying to each other! like over climate change!

    Ritual and routine were for primitive man, to keep him in line, b/c he didn’t understand the world around him, magnetism was magic, before he knew what a milliamp volt or nuclear fission was, when god “winked on man’s ignorance – Acts17:30

    God is done with Religion …mindless cults, functioning in illusion, confusion and delusion.

    If you want to know who God is, just be honest, do something good. Practice it. It’s what it means to be a ‘vessel of god’. There’s no levitation required.

    Remember, “the kingdom of God is within you.”

  • How is emphasizing the primacy of Love over legalism putting a tortured interpretation on Christ’s Gospel?

  • Again with the Institute for Religion and Democracy. This well funded group (you would be wise to investigate who’s behind it) of conservative culture warriors have been messing around in the mainline churches for several decades. They seem to care little for the denominations in which they foment dissension and would just as soon see these churches destroyed if they don’t tow the party line. They have been very good at what they do: cause scism. Ask the Presbys and Episcopalians.

  • Edward, what I see here is that the good person in you is wrestling with the good person who believes in the letter of scripture. if everyone is a sinner and there is none righteous, if clergy are divorced for any reason except adultery, if all of the things we are told are “sins” are disqualifying for clergy, at least some of the time,it not others, then what exactly are you advocating?

    I don’t claim to speak for god; as you know, I am an atheist. But since we are also told that the spirit Moves in mysterious ways, could it not be that someone is trying to say to the various religions ”hey! You got it wrong.” Why can people read the same bible and come to different conclusions about what it says? BY all accounts, Oliveto is a good person, a good minister, and an example to be followed.

    We don’t burn witches any more, but “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” hasn’t changed. WE changed.

  • An interesting article on the IRD can be found in Wikipedia. What it appears to be is the conservative religious wing of the Republican Party. No surprise, but Robert George is prominent there. Wherever you find Georgie, you find dissension, and lots of big words to cover intellectual vacuity.

    Here’s the money shot. “Chuck Currie, a progressive minister in the United Church of Christ, blogged that “IRD’s conservative social-policy goals include increasing military spending and foreign interventions, opposing environmental protection efforts, and eliminating social welfare programs” and that the organization is non-religious in nature and a front for conservative political groups that hope to undermine Christian voices opposed to conservative public policies.[5] The IRD’s self-stated goals are, “working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad”

    The IRD fights against any religious liberalization, especially same sex marriage, and intends to put those policies into public law, but claims to be interested in “religious freedom.” Whenever Georgie speaks, his usual position is “religious freedom is for me and mine. The freedom to follow my religion is for you and yours.”

    Their meddlings with the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians are cases in point. Their support for “just war” should make anyone interested in peace think twice.

  • “could it not be that someone is trying to say to the various religions ”hey! You got it wrong.”

    “Someone” has been trying to say that ever since Genesis. And Kings 1 and 2 tell us the dreary story of what happened when too many of God’s people listened to “him.”

  • We wouldn’t want the gullible, the uneducated, and the easily led to think anything other than what their spiritual, intellectual, and emotional superiors have decided they must think, would we?

    The former might actually go so far as to think that god speaks to them, too.

  • It seems you had nothing to say over at Adelle Banks’ article about rampant biblical illiteracy. You might want to take this comnent over there.

  • if everyone is a sinner and there is none righteous

    Not that you care and this comment is not for you Ben, but for others who happen to read it……..

    The verse cited and the topic in which is presented was BEFORE the Cross. This ‘state of man’ was man under the Law of Moses. Not the Law of Christ. A man ‘born again’ is NOT a sinner and IS righteous. This is not fiction, but true righteousness.

    Christ’s Atonement gives power to live a life above sin. “Be Perfect, for My Father in Heaven is perfect.”

    John 9:31 — “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and DOES HIS WILL, He hears him.”

    Please Read Malcolm Lavender’s work “He Offered Himself; or Priestly Sacrificial Atonement.”

    He can be reached at http://www.lavendersnewtestament dot com

  • Where do you live? I’d like to let myself in to your house and eat anything out of your refrigerator.
    Don’t discriminate and let me in.

  • You’ll have to take that up with other Christians who disagree with you. but good to know that there are people who no longer sin. Must be nice.

  • It does seem roughly similar to giving a black person a KKK leadership position. Yes, it’s discriminatory not to. But the organization itself is discriminatory, so why join it?

    Just a weird situation all around every time this sort of thing comes up. Surely Rev. Oliveto would do more good working within an LGBT organization than an anti-LGBT organization. Must be some kind of Stockholm Syndrome with these people.

  • Churches destroyed, you say? Maybe some right-wingers are (accidentally) good for something after all! I like the sound of this Institute for Religion and Democracy. Contradictions are for heightening, not for smoothing over.

  • Oh yes, Sinner88 is preaching a nice, secularized DIY religion there. (Nothing wrong with getting the neighbor’s kitty-cat out of the tree, by the way. It’s just that said kitty-cat AIN’T the soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it ain’t the rest of God’s Word either.)

    But way too many Methodists have already messed up, ditched their Bibles, and essentially converted themselves into that same secularized DIY religion. Otherwise Karen Oliveto would never have become bishop of the Western Jurisdiction.

    But that specific tragedy is merely an outward symptom of the deep, paralyzing, anti-biblical tragedy that has now flooded the UMC. Which is why the United Methodist Chruch is already split up and wrecked, regardless of any 2019 Commission games.

  • Well. This should be of particular interest to you as a black man.

    One characteristic of a Protestant denomination is that they can change: sometimes one denomination will split into two denominations or sometimes two or more denominations join to form one larger denomination. One exceptionally tumultuous time in America saw three of the largest denominations split: Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians in the period from 1844-1861.

    If you remember history class, that was just prior to the Civil War starting in 1861. These three (partly) split over the same issue over which the country (partly) split: slavery. The Methodists split in 1844, the Baptists in 1845, and the Presbyterians in 1857. And how did they split? You guessed it: they split into the northern branch and the southern branch of each denomination.

    Methodists. [Originally, the Methodist movement in America was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC). “Episcopal” was dropped in 1939.] The MEC, founded in 1784, opposed slavery. Over time that view changed as slavery became more important in the South. Nevertheless, although members of the denomination could have slaves, the clergy could not. The split centered on Bishop James O. Andrew of Georgia. He was made a bishop in 1832 at a time when he did not own slaves. Eventually, though, Andrew married a woman who owned a slave, making him a slave owner.

    In 1844, Andrew traveled to New York for the annual General Conference of the MEC. While there some northern bishops raised the issue of Andrew being a slave owner. Eventually a vote was taken concerning this issue: 136 voted for separation, fifteen voted against it. The northerners retained the MEC name whereas the southerners became known as the MEC (South).

    Baptists. The first national gathering of Baptists in the country was at the Triennial Convention in 1814. Just as with the later Methodists, the northern Baptists were against slavery whereas the southern Baptists were for slavery. Once again the group held together until slavery became an issue. The Georgia Baptists recommended that James E. Reeve, a slaveholder, become a missionary. The northern Baptists balked at the idea of a slaveholding missionary and declined to appoint him. Southern Baptists gathered in Augusta, Georgia in 1845 and formed, you guessed it, the Southern Baptist Convention. Presbyterians. Unlike the Methodists and Baptists, the Presbyterian split did not center on an individual but the idea of slavery itself. As early as 1787, the Synod of New York and Philadelphia had suggested that slaves be freed. The Presbyterians split in 1837 into Old School and New School Presbyterians over the issue of how to incorporate new ideas into the synods and churches (New School wanting to use new ideas, and Old School rejecting them). Slavery was a minor issue and the division was mainly between northern Presbyterians—dominated by the New School group—and southern Presbyterians—dominated by the Old School group. Eventually the New School Presbyterians (in the north) split over the issue of slavery in 1857, with the Old School Presbyterians splitting in 1861 (in the South).

  • Or, she loves her denomination and is moved by whatever moves her to make it better. See my comment on the splits of methodists. Baptists, and presbyterians relating to slavery below.

  • Well, thanks for the history lesson. The Grimke sisters seriously tried to warn America that the US slavery horror-show, violated multiple Biblical regulations and could incur a national-level response from God, just like Egypt did.

    But as you suggested, a lot of American Christians didn’t listen. They refused to agree with their own Bibles concerning American slavery, just like many of today’s Christians concerning gay marriage and practicing gay clergy.

    James Andrew even wanted to be both Christian-missionary and a horror-show boss. (And he wouldn’t be the last clergy to try to combine two biblically *incompatible* gigs.)

    And even now, what do you see? Denominations splitting up again. Mixed messages & spiritual confusion. Refusal to accept the Bible’s teachings and God’s promises. Judgment falling on the house of God. Clear parallels and warnings.

    Not trying to attack you as a person Ben, it doesn’t work that way (and the biblical God is real love, not hate, for you), but America is in trouble. Things are coming soon, if we don’t repent.

  • When insurgents from a political organization invade a religious denomination to subvert it or destroy it they deserve to be called out and their real motives identified. I don’t think IRD is interest in religion or democracy, despite the clever branding. Reminds me of what the Soviets did to the Russian Orthodox Church. Then again, maybe we should remember what Russia did in our last election to benefit this same bunch of folks….

  • The problem in the 1860’s was economics not religion. There were thousands of sermons preached on each side, all citing the Bible, but at its root is was was about money. Today the issues (women and gays) are about whether the patriarchal system will be allowed to continue. Patriarchy shaped the Bible and the Church, but is it of God? Many thousands of sermons are being preach on one side or the other, all citing the Bible. Who speaks for the Living Word is yet to be determined by the God of history. I’m betting on the God who made us all in His own image, male and female, gay and straight or otherwise. By the way Floyd, I know my Bible too.

  • As for knowing your bible, I couldn’t tell by your post. But it sure sounds like you know your revisionist history. What’s that website again?

  • J. Vernon McGee said:

    “We get a warped view of Him when all we hear is, ‘God is love, God is love.’ It is true that God is love, but don’t lose sight of the fact that God is also holy. He is righteous and He will judge. You are not rushing into heaven on the little love boat today. If you reject His salvation, there will be nothing left but judgment.

    John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.

  • Tom, I would say that you don’t know your Bible. God does not make anyone “gay”. He is a loving God who wants good for us and not harm. He is not going to create someone who innately will be a homosexual – an act that He abhors – to condemn them their life long because they cannot change, and not offer them the healing and forgiveness He offers to everyone else, winding up sending them to Hell on their death. God is love. He doesn’t do that to people.

    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • Like that 7th Day Adventist bisexual woman pastor. (Whew! That was a mouthful. Say that 5 times real fast.)

  • J. Vernon McGee. I listen to him sometimes on the radio on the way to work. A dear saint of God.

  • In many ways, Jesus violated the codes of holiness, such as by touching Lepers as well as the woman who had blood. Both of these things were said to make a person unclean and therefore violated holiness codes. Jesus placed more importance on inward purity than ritual purity. Purity in many ways is synonymous with holiness.

  • Wrong again, Daniel. She touched the Lord.
    Inward purity is shown by obedience to Him Daniel.

    “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:15&16.

    John 14:15 ESV
    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

    Acts 5:29 ESV
    But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

    1 Peter 1:14 ESV
    As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

    1 John 5:3 ESV
    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

    Exodus 23:22 ESV
    “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.

    Psalm 119:30 ESV
    I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.

    2 Kings 18:6 ESV
    For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses.

    John 14:31 ESV
    But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

    Isaiah 1:19 ESV
    If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

    Luke 6:46 ESV
    “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

    1 John 3:24 ESV
    Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

    Remember how He turned the homosexuals over to a reprobate mind to do that which is not good for rejecting He and His teachings? Romans 1:28

  • And to LOVE, we keep His commandments. We are to LOVE Him first.

    John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.

  • This phone call was recently declassified by the CIA.
    l absolutely attest to it authenticity:
    Hello…hello…george…george soros.
    Hello this is george soros speaking.
    Hi george. This is tom downs. Hows tricks george?
    Fine tom. And how are you?
    Good george. Real good.
    Yes george.
    It’s mr. Soros to you.
    Oh I’m sorry…
    It’s ok. So how much this time?
    That’s hard to say george er ah mr. Soros. Those IRD guys are trying to influence churches to stay true to the bible and…and…
    Yes mr. Soros.
    Stop sniveling.
    But…but…but…mr. Sor-
    Yes mr. Soros.
    I’ll write you a check. Okay?
    Oh thank you mr. Sor-

  • As Shawnie will tell you, slavery was endemic in the ancient world.

    As a history book will tell you, slavery in the US, as everywhere else Christian, was justified by people reading their bibles. As was segregation and Jim Crow.

    If god didn’t see fit to judge America over slavery– and apparently, was oblivious to his own omniscience in the matter of the civil war– and didn’t see fit to judge over the slaughter of native Americans, or the murder of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians with our a bombs– or judge Germany for the murder of of 6 million Jews–

    I sincerely doubt he is as upset as you are over my marriage.

  • Sure. Why not?

    Though of course I find it impossible not to say that biblical illiteracy is in the eye of the believer. That much is obvious– as I always like to point out– by the veritable mountains of theopoo that one True Christian will fling at another Christian for not being the right sort of Christian.

  • While churches and denominations are debating whether gay people will be declared “persona non grata” or not, most people have moved on. Decent people couldn’t conceive of declaring the gay people in their lives as “second class” or barring them from participating in anything. And while these churches and denominations are debating whether they will allow gay people to darken the doors of their sanctuaries, most gay people have moved on from church (and Christianity) and realized they don’t need it to be a good person or live a good life. Most of them wouldn’t show up in your churches if you paid them.

    Arguing over whether to include gay people is so quaint in 2017. It’s like arguing over whether black people should be allowed in stores and restaurants. Grow up! You won’t catch “the gay” by sitting next to them in the pew. They’re human beings just like you are. Some are good and some are bad (just like you are). While Christians are still freaking out at the existence of gay people, most everyone else has gotten over it and moved on.

  • Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…

  • I think not. Biblical illiteracy consists simply in not having studied the scriptures in their entirety, and it is what allows false teaching to take root. As God said through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests.”

  • While churches and denominations are debating whether gay people will be declared “persona non grata” or not, most people have moved on.

    Well said.

  • In order to determine that, one would need to be biblically literate ones self.

    It would be quite easy for me to listen in on a meeting (assuming I were allowed to) between my husband and his colleagues about the most effective way to modify aircraft check valves in order to prevent failure under pressure and simply say, “well, this is all in the eye of the beholder.” I would not, however, expect to be taken seriously. The input of an atheist on an intra-faith doctrinal dispute is about equally relevant.

  • Nope. Strife is demanding the revision of both scripture and the established teaching of both the denomination and the Christian faith itself since inception.

    Moreover, this “strife” is nothing new. We can see from the epistles that people have been trying to introduce sexual immorality into the church since the beginning. The solution now is the same as it was then: separate.

  • It is pretty far fetched to claim the Church should never revise any understanding that was there from the beginning. I am beginning to study “heaven” for a Sunday School lesson and have discovered that the Creation story in Genesis states that God created a rock solid dome or firmament in the sky. The Hebrew word is raqia. Of course this is what both the Jews and Christians believed from the beginning. Of course we now know that the atmosphere is permeable and the Church DID revise its understanding of this. It is a stupendous claim that the Church must never use such things as “allegory.” Paul in Greek actually stated in Galatians he had an allegory for Sarah and Hagar. Now that we know that one’s sexual orientation is non pathological and permanent, why cannot the Church revise its understanding of sexuality? Of course you will say because you claim the bias against homosexual persons was based on the Creation story, it cannot be revised. But remember, the solid firmament idea was based on the Creation story as well. And, by the way, the belief in marriage as “One man, one woman” wasn’t a Jewish belief from the beginning.

  • But keep in mind, I was not referring to those you consider biblical ignoramuses such as myself. I was referring to True Christians. Theo poo is right there

    Until next time.

  • My favorite is Lev. 14. Did you know your house can get leprosy? Some mold in the damp corner of your basement? Call the priest; He’ll let you try to clean it then he’ll seal up the house and check back later. If the leprosy comes back, then you will have to burn it down and take the debris to a special landfill just for leprous stuff. I just love quotes from Leviticus, don’t you?

  • Harry, all history is revisionist; it can’t be otherwise. We add to it as more information becomes available. Think about it.

  • Ben, the Bible does change. It’s been changing since the first spoken bits were spoken. When they were written down, they changed as they were copied and recopied. We have manuscripts where copyists added notes (the first commentaries) to the margins which were later incorporated into the text itself by later copyists. Not all those glosses were insignificant either. Now we have more or less standard texts, but even these keep changing as new Bibles are created. The meaning of English words change, the translations must change. The Bible is not an idol carved in stone; it’s a living document.

  • Jim that’s certainly true of the Evangelical right and the GOP but I doubt the Mainline could pull off a takeover of the Dems. And the Catholics don’t think they need either party.

  • But here’s the point: there is money on both sides trying to influence outcomes. Prog libs using $ trying to infiltrate trad con churches to create havoc. Trad cons using $ trying to stop the prog lib.

  • I think it is more pro-homosexual to help them not to go to Hell. Why aren’t you doing such.

    James 5:20 – New International Version
    remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

  • Define it. Love is a nebulous word today. It barely has zero meaning given that more than 50% of marriages today end in divorce; but started with an expression of ‘love’. So much for love.
    TRUTH is the highest virtue. Without truth, you can have no love.
    Sandi is correct — John 14:21 — For he who keeps My commands loves me.

  • I would like to add to Sandi’s comments and say that “righteousness” is REAL. Not fictitious. It is a lie to suggest as believers we are still sinners. I pray not! God does not hear sinners. John 9:31
    The Atonement provided by our Father gives those who believe the power to live above sin. To live as before the fall. This is what the Law of Moses could not do.
    “Be perfect, for My Father in Heaven is perfect. Jesus.
    Thank you Sandi for your steadfastness in the face of ridicule and opposition.

  • Love is the principle command in Jesus, Paul AND James. Jesus stated in Matthew 22:37-40 that Loving God and Neighbor are the two highest commands that the whole Law and Prophets depend on. Mark 12:28-34 states the same thing. Luke 10:25-28 also says this. John 15:10-12 says if we Love Christ we will keep his commandments, but he said in verse 12 that his commandment is LOVE. Paul stated in Romans 13:8-10 that the Law is summed up as Loving one’s Neighbor as oneself. 1 Corinthians 13:13 states that faith, hope and Love remain, but the greatest of these is Love. It doesn’t even say that truth is the highest virtue, but rather that Love is. Paul stated in Galatians 5:6 that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts by faith working through LOVE. Galatians 5:14 states that the Law is summed up by Loving one’s Neighbor as oneself. James 2:8 states that the royal law in Scripture is to Love one’s Neighbor as oneself. 1 Peter 4:8 states, “Above all, let your love for one another be intense, for love covers (hides- καλυπτω, kalypto) a multitude or a great number (πληθος, plythos) of sins. 1 John 5:21 states, “this is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Love means commitment, faithfulness, steadfastness, being able to sacrifice on behalf of others. Gay relationships don’t necessarily reflect these values, but they can exemplify them as well. Love measures the value of relationships more than heterosexuality does, esp. since as you say, many Heterosexual marriages end up in divorce. LOVE does no wrong to a Neighbor, Paul never stated that Heterosexual marriage never does wrong to a neighbor.

  • This just shows that “toevah” or abomination doesn’t necessarily mean it is a sin. It could mean it is highly ritually impure. Pork was considered ritually impure.

  • Baloney. Homosexuality is a sin. Christ taught that it is worthy of death. Make your excuses elsewhere Daniel.

  • Gathering sticks on the Sabbath was also something that was worthy of death as well. That wasn’t a sin, but was a ceremonial offense. A man was executed for doing this in Numbers 15:32-36. I bet you have done some things on the Sabbath as well.

  • Also, having sex with a woman during her Menstrual cycle in Leviticus 20:18 could result in being cut off from the people, which was a severe punishment. This law IS a ritual purity law because it has to do with the defilement of bodily discharges.

  • “Raqa” simply means expanse. It has nothing to do with permeability nor impermeability.

    We know nothing about same sex behavior that the ancients did not know. It is extremely naive to claim that no one knew that some men would rather do men than women, and vice versa – they wrote about this all the time. As for “pathological” and “permanent,” that’s all a matter of opinion and circumstance, respectively. If Jesus saw no need for revision, neither do I.

  • Well, again, in order to know that, one would have to know the “scriptorum” in the first place.

    Though I’ll admit, it IS very liberating not to have to totally rely on others to tell one what scripture says and what to think about it. I wish you could know the same freedom, but it requires effort and dedication.

  • Here is something that shows that virtually EVERYONE in the Ancient world believed in a SOLID sky. This states, “The other cosmologies from the ancient world depict some solid structure in the sky. The most natural explanation of the raqia is that it also reflects this understanding. There is no indication that Genesis is a novel description of the sky; Virtually every description of raqia from antiquity to the Renaissance depicts it as solid. The non-solid interpretation of raqia is a novelty.” The Bible really doesn’t discuss sexual orientation that much at all, but rather particular acts. Orientation is a state of mind or being and is only secondarily Acts. I thought at first I was responding to Sandi, and then I said things that only pertained to her, but I did delete them.

  • Who wants to slander gay people? That would be completely pointless. People have gay urges for the same reason we all have urges to do wrong– because we are fallen. That is why Jesus had to do His great work — to remove the penalty of death and give us the power to resist or wrong urges rather than be enslaved to them.

  • I am sorry, I thought I was responding to Sandi, It didn’t realize it was you who responded about raqia.

  • But also, the direction of desire is not a choice at all, but what we do with our desire is a choice. It is like being left handed. This means that romantic relationships are more natural with the same gender. Being Gay is not like being an alcoholic where we are enslaved to our desires.

  • Still does not change that homosexuality is a sin. Now, run along and argue with someone else.

  • I agree that we can choose, but of course that isn’t what I hear from the “affirming” camp. All I hear from that corner is “You can’t change it, you can’t choose it, it’s who you are,” etc etc etc. Almost like someone named Igor chanting a mind control formula. Slavery is exactly what it brings to mind.

  • It IS who we are. It is only secondarily what we do. It isn’t primarily a “lifestyle” as many in the anti camp claim. We are Gay whether we act on it or not.

  • Excellent point, Ben. Well thought, admirably presented.
    You deserve the gold star that Trump gave himself today.

  • Nondiscrimination doesn’t mean kowtowing to bullies.
    Likewise, discrimination doesn’t mean confronting bullies.
    But discrimination certainly can include behaving like a bully.

  • Sure, I will make sure there is plenty of kosher food for you. Just how you like it.:)

  • Karen Oliveto has been treated with humanity and respect at all stages of this Judicial Council process. Nobody on any side has disrespected her or treated her unfairly.

    In accordance with the Methodist law book (the Book of Discipline), which Oliveto signed off on as a clergy person, and the Judicial Council’s official decision, it’s time for Oliveto to step down as bishop.

  • The whole issue is whether Karen Oliveto can be treated like a human being among her sect.

    Frankly I am a big supporter of leaving sects which are beholden to treating it’s members as less than people. If the UMC feels like treating gay members like crap, then there is no reason for gay people to stay there. So I agree with you there. No reason for her to stay. It is a waste of time to lead a congregation that doesn’t want to treat her like a human being.

  • Like you would let anyone “move on”?

    You are still stumping for excuses to treat gays like garbage. You even want legal permission to do it.

  • I am mainly speaking to the vast audience in cyberspace mainly to show them some of the context of the scriptures you quote and that there isn’t but one way to understand Biblical texts. I am not per se arguing with you because I know no matter how good my argument, I will not sway you. I am merely trying to sway the audience.

  • Wikipedia-now there is a source almost as reliable as Donald Trump.

  • Wikipedia is very useful. It is not usually ideological. If I want to thoroughly research something, I would go beyond Wikipedia. But for the purposes of this comment, I think it was just fine. I noticed that you didn’t refute anything I had to say. Perhaps you could point out where Wikipedia was incorrect in this case..

    No. I didn’t think so.

  • And yet it was pointed out to you that in one gospel, jairus’s daughter is dead, in another, very ill. Dead and not dead sounds like a contradiction to me, but not in sandiland.

  • No one chooses to be Homosexual. To ban homosexuals is to ban a creation of God. Let the Bishop serve. In Canada, we have homosexual clergy and the world has not come to an end. Inclusiveness is the message of Jesus. Let’s start living the vision of Jesus!

  • Could someone explain to me why self-avowed atheists are always lurking on religious websites, insistent on commenting about the rules of a “club” they don’t believe in? If your own life is full and complete without religious faith, then please go away to your gay hangouts and do as you please. Just don’t claim that you have the right to challenge the laws set by a God you don”t believe exists.

  • Callwaiting……..I’ve been asking the same question for awhile now. It makes no sense. I don’t spend time on Huffington Post….as an example. I have no interest. Not sure why atheists, homosexuals and Christ deniers have any interest in this site. It’s like they are mad and seek revenge. I guess ultimately “sin” brings guilt…..albeit often times veiled. My opinion is that they are mad at God. In their warped view, God did not give them what they want. They want their ‘cake and eat it to’. They want to live a life of selfishness but yet still have access to the Creator of the Universe.

  • “Could someone explain to me why self-avowed atheists are always lurking on religious websites, insistent on commenting about the rules of a “club” they don’t believe in?” According to so many religionists who post here, atheism is a religion, atheists have no morals, atheists support mass murderers, atheists want to destroy western civilization… and on and on and on and on and on. You claim there is a god, others claim there is a different god.

    “If your own life is full and complete without religious faith, then please go away to your gay hangouts and do as you please.” It’s a public forum, dealing with subjects of public interest. My life is quite full and complete without MY religious faith. Unfortunately, far too many religionists insist on inserting their particular and peculiar beliefs about god and his message into my life. If you would just keep your “faith” in your own life and your own church, you would find I couldn’t possibly not care about it any less than I already don’t. But you won’t. Meanwhile, you did the complete opposite by claiming that gay people are atheists, or vice versa, in an article about a gay Methodist. You’re very confused.

    “Just don’t claim that you have the right to challenge the laws set by a God you dont believe exists.” I’m afraid you’ll have to take that up with the other Christians who disagree with you about god and his message to the world. We call that flinging theo-poo at other Christians for not being the same sort of Christian you are. and how many Christian denominations are there? Lots.

    Try again, dear.

  • Beautiful answer and I agree with all of it. But… still does not thoroughly define Love. There is the harsh side to love.
    “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Cor 5:5.
    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” For I have come to set a man against his father……and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Jesus
    “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him, nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” 2 John:10.
    Who really follows this command in 2017???!!!
    But yet this is part of ‘loving’ our family, friends and neighbors.
    I could go on and on and on and on……………….
    I’m just affirming Sandy’s comment that in today’s church age, there is too much emphasis on the softer side of Love. That is all.
    Now I’m not even sure what we are debating? 🙂

  • Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • I find it strange and somewhat sad that church leaders do not cite scripture and God’s admonition for holiness. What are they afraid of? Do they really believe the authority of scripture before the Book of Discipline. If they did they would speak out against the sin of homosexuality.

  • There is only one way to interpret Biblical texts. It isn’t one way for one, and ok for another way for another. That’s trash Daniel. You are trying to hurt the “audience” by dragging them into your sin, which Christ taught will lead to death.

  • I am not trying to recruit people into homosexuality. I just think people should be themselves, whether straight or gay. If you study the Bible in the original languages, you will find each word means more than one thing. You should see how the same word is used in various contexts. Toevah or abomination doesn’t necessarily mean sinful, but could mean unclean, since unclean meats were toevah. Ritual purity is a very important aspect of Leviticus. One aspect is that bodily fluids are ritually defiling- there are bodily discharges involved in both Leviticus 20:13 and 20:18.

  • “I am not trying to recruit people into homosexuality. ” Yes you are. If you’re going to start with a lie….why continue the conversation?
    The “original” languages defence died when people could look things up for themselves and saw that the truth didn’t change.
    Christ emphasized that homosexuality was sinful by placing a death penalty on it.
    You can talk around it, but no where can you show anyone where Christ endorses homosexuality.
    Like I said, you started with a lie this afternoon. We’re done.

  • I like this particular harsh text. It is Luke 14:26.‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” I like it because it calls into question that heterosexuality is the most important aspect of being Christian.

  • Can you PLEASE stop attacking my character? I am making every effort not to attack your character. I have never tried to turn a heterosexual into a homosexual. If Christ placed the death penalty on gathering sticks on the Sabbath, then we should think of that as a Sin as well.

  • Your attempt to “normalize” homosexuality speaks for itself and sends people to Hell. I don’t need to attack you, Christ has already condemned what you do.

    Isaiah 26:10 – New International Version

    But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.

    Homosexuality is a sin that kills people

  • Another scripture discussing your actions:

    English Standard Version

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
    You teach lies and half truths.

  • I like it because it calls into question that heterosexuality is the most important aspect of being Christian.
    Elaborate. Not sure what you are trying to say. Thanks.

  • You did attack me by calling me a liar. Christ taught us not to judge or slander others. All the science indicates that homosexuality as an Orientation is immutable and non pathological.

  • You make scripture come true every time you write Daniel.

    1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
    Homosexuality is a sin. Christ said that He will forgive and cleanse us of our sin, if we repent.
    Science has never shown what you assert.
    Also, the man was not stoned for picking up sticks, he was stoned for defying the Lord. Will you not try anything to not discredit the Lord?

  • You forgot (Gal 5:6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

  • This is not a “religious website,” it is a website for news about religious topics. That includes atheism, whether atheism is a “religion” or not.

  • Just because humans twist it and make it ineffectual in their own lives doesn’t mean that it actually is ineffectual once operated in its true capacity.

  • Faith is a gift of God….

    Ephesians 2:8 – English Standard Version

    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

  • Baloney isn’t exactly an unclean meat but we digress. Daniel’s point still stands: Deut. 14:3 says not to eat any toevah, the same word used in Lev. 18 and 20.

  • And yet it still works (effectuates God’s purpose in our lives) through Love. Once we are given faith from love we continue in that love to work our faith.

  • The point isn’t to discredit the Lord, but rather say that just because something carried the Death Penalty, doesn’t mean it necessarily was a sin. It could mean it was deadly. Perhaps the allegorical meaning of this is that if a person never rests, they may die of stress related causes.

  • Yes. Which means to follow the command to love. And if you don’t love fellow human beings, you don’t love God. They go hand in hand. There is no separation. In fact Paul says to love ones neighbor as oneself is to FULFILL the LAW.

  • RNS isn’t unique. The evangelical boards at Patheos are full of atheist trolls as well. On the other hand, a guy here once spoke highly of an atheist board over there and I looked at it just to see, and sure enough, not a single Christian there, exactly as I expected. Just a lot of atheists exchanging vulgarity and lame one-liners mocking religion. Yet not only do they leave there and come here, but they spend hours upon hours here. And as the crowning absurdity, they whine for religious posters here that irritate them to be banned.

    Either extremely angry at God…or extremely afraid. Perhaps both.

  • Our relationship to the Lord is more important than whether we are heterosexually married or not. If our family becomes more important than the Lord, then it becomes an idol. One important cross text to this is Deuteronomy 13:6-9, which states, “6“If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, 7of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), 8you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. 9“But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10“So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11“Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.”

    I don’t this literally so as to kill my family, but it does show that heterosexual marriage is NOT the highest norm. Our marriage to the Lord is the highest norm.

  • I’ve been involve in church work for a long time on the national and local level, and I know of no group on the left infiltrating churches. Heck, we’d love to have them join. IRD is a special case.

  • If you are a homosexual Daniel, your only relationship with Christ is defiance.

  • Obedience is the love He seeks.

    John 14:15 ESV

    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

    1 John 5:3 ESV

    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

  • Your Bible snippets, sadly, are beginning to look like Jefferson’s Bible. You are cutting out between your verses the ones that specifically give the context of God’s obedience. Each one of those you quote are surrounded by what God’s command is–which is to love. So, in effect, I don’t really know what you are trying to say. To simply say that God wants us to obey lacks the clarity of explaining what that obedience entails. His commandments? Yes! But what ARE the commandments. If one goes around saying obey there must be a directive that puts action into the obedience, and the scriptures plainly state that action is love.

    In other words, Poor Sandi, I see litter of love scattered around feet on your cutting room floor.

  • Jim — Paul rebukes the Corinthians for not expelling the Adulterer. Was this an act of Love in your opinion? I hope you say yes.

  • My point Jim is no matter how one tries to define “love”……………….you cannot have love without Truth. Truth is the highest virtue.
    Sandi is getting a lot of criticism, but in her heart, she truly believes that to warn against homosexuality IS…………….is an expression of Love.
    So while it seems Sandi is harsh and unloving; in her understanding of Scripture, her motivation is purely ‘love’.
    And I would agree with her.

  • Not at all….you can pretend that you love Jesus and not obey Him. This is God’s love for people who don’t obey Him, Jim…

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11English Standard Version (ESV)

    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Galatians 5:19-21

    New International Version (NIV)

    19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Revelation 21:8 ESV

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 22: 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

    That’s what happens to those who don’t obey God.

  • You just love the truth Ben. Its provokes you!

    Its true, when you “find Christ”, you follow him, not worship him. You become the ‘church’, the temple, the preacher, the teacher, the tithe, the sacrifice …a vessel of God. Simply a vessel of intelligent goodness (B

  • Yes, culturally the means of discipline was to confront, instruct, adjure, and if no good reponse was ensuing to shun in hopes that the person would come to their senses.

    First, it wasn’t an adulterer but someone who had married his fathers wife. Not his mother. Historically likely a result of a Christian man divesting himself of bigamy and the son marrying one of them.

    Second, you’ll also see where Paul exhorts them to return him to the community so he wouldn’t sufffer too much condemnation. Love does act to eliminate danger, but while attempting to move all the parties forward, not simply to cast them out.

  • Daniel, you can’t be serious! Again, this scripture describes you:

    1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
    No wonder you choose to defy Christ if you think He is that evil.

  • Forgive me………..Paul rebuked the Corinthians for not expelling the sexually immoral. But thanks for correcting me when you didn’t have to. The point remains the same.
    Curious — is homosexual sex sin? Yes or No.

  • Daniel……I hope you don’t mind me asking this question. But I’m curious what people calling themselves Christian, but approve of homosexuality, say about when is homosexual sex NOT a sin?
    Do Christian Homosexuals demand partners get a civil marriage in order for the sex to be righteous?

  • The problem with the whole disussion is that the Bible is not definitive concerning the issue of loving homosexual relationships. The words Paul uses have the barest of contexts for discerning his meaning,which likely means that Paul was using a term that his culture understood, but is lost to us. Expositors on each side of the aisle acknowledge that, not all on each side, but many. Some say it doesn’t matter.

    There are tomes of honest research and explanation on each side of the issue but there is no definitive “truth” concerning it. Furthermore, in the vastness of the Body of Christ there is a great divide over the issue.

    This may be one of the areas that falls under Jesus’s declaration in John 20 to the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose ever sins you forgive are forgiven. Whose ever sins you retain are retain.” Indicating to some interpreters that Jesus empowers the church under the direction of the Holy Spirit to discern what they allow or disallow.

    For anyone to accuse the other of impure motives with such a great disagreement, and from the study of scripture, is an intractable, untenable attitude of judgmentalism. I’m not saying everyone has to agree, I’m saying we will get further into the “truth” when we disagree with respect.

    To use scripture as a club in order to beat others over the head until they join one’s club is a sad, sore, uncharitable use of scripture. I’m glad you can discern whose “motivation is purely ‘love,'” pehaps you will see into my heart as well. 🙂

  • Sandi has convictions. I wouldn’t call it “a club in order to beat others over the head.” I don’t think Sandi is trying to boost membership at her local church.

    Are you yourself a homosexual? What is the teaching of those who are either homosexual or support homosexuality and consider themselves Christian — what is the teaching in regards to unrighteous sex. Is gay sex ever unrighteous?

  • At some point, the few Methodist bishops who still believe the Bible will have to stop being fearful, stop being mealy-mouth cowards, stop bending over….
    and actually FIGHT for the Godly, scriptural truth that you are presenting here, even if it splits the entire denomination down the bleeding middle by next week. Goliath has had too much drunken party fun in the UMC; he needs to be served his eviction notice NOW.

    This wide-open Methodist rebellion against God’s Word and Christ’s salvation, healing & deliverance is a stanking mess before God (and no, I didn’t misspell anything). So now it’s time to gently, humbly, caringly, empathetically, lovingly, dialogue-y, CLEAN HOUSE & TEAR UP SOME BOO-BOO !!!!!

  • Hi Sandi……just wanted to comfort you and support you. Don’t ever think for a second that you are ‘unloving’.
    Sadly….the world today only views love as an emotion. I see your ‘love’ for the gay community even if they don’t. Peace to you.

  • How does the Deuteronomy 13:6-9 text indicate that heterosexual marriages never involve defiance to God?

  • I’ll bet we could Poll a million Christians and ask them if sex outside of marriage is a sin and ALL would agree.
    So when is homosexual sex an unrighteous act?
    Have homosexual Christians established any kind of standard or measure to identify whether a couple is immoral or not?
    You say you believe in monogamy. Ok……..still does not answer the question.
    Is God supposed to ‘read’ our minds as to whether we are faithful to our partner?
    What are the guidelines for us to embrace homosexual Christians? When would we know if they are sincere or not sincere?
    I ask because I just found out that my nephew has a gay lover. So I’m trying to wrap my head around this whole thing.

  • How is allegorizing the story saying that Christ was evil? Christ himself was condemned for healing on the Sabbath.

  • which Christ said is a sin worthy of death. Enough heresy from you tonight. You’ve overfilled your quota.

  • Absolutely floydlee… put it best: “Goliath has had too much drunken party fun in the UMC; he needs to be served his eviction notice NOW.”

  • The conduct may be a sin, but it is classified as the same type of prohibition as that on eating certain foods.

  • Old enough to have seen that nonsense in the ’60’s.
    A better translation:
    Luke 17:21 “…For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

    And the KoG isn’t “in” you; it is Jesus who was in their midst. That was the KoG He was speaking of. New age spirituality co-opted that phrase and changed it to mean something entirely different.

    Sorry I’m crabby…some kid just walked on my lawn. ;-}
    “Hey you, get off my lawn!”

  • How does that text indicate heterosexuality never involves sin or that it is THE main measure of faithfulness to God?

  • It uses the same word toevah. It is heretical for you to say being heterosexual is more important than faithfulness to God in salvation.

  • What do you want her to do: copy and paste entire chapters?

    John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    You want to know how Jesus loved us? Open your bible to the Gospels and start reading.
    Want to know what commandments to obey: go to Paul’s epistles – he is Jesus’ major interpreter.

    Good grief: does Sandi have to do everything for you?

    (Sorry I’m crabby; and sorry I butted into your conversation. Couldn’t help myself. The metamusil didn’t work.)

  • Nothing will change the fact that homosexuality is a sin, as hard as you try to divert from that truth, Daniel. Take your heresy elsewhere.

  • You can’t make a good argument, so the only way you can argue is to hurl insults. Arbustin showed you that I was right and you were wrong in much of your understanding of texts.

  • Good grief, FL – don’t you know there is a more important issue than this in the UMC? More important that gay bishops, even more important than biblical authority: Money, FL! More to the point: PENSIONS!

  • “It is heretical for you to say being heterosexual is more important than faithfulness to God in salvation.”
    And again, you start to tell lies about me when you cannot overcome the truth. How many times have I asked you not to lie about me? You’ve just, again, exposed, not only your heresy, but who you follow – to your detriment.

    “When an idol fails you, the real culprit turns out to be the person who has urged you worship it—not the person who has tried to take it away.” Sam Allberry

  • You are not going to intimidate me from commenting on this website. If you continue to do so, I will try to get you banned from this website.

  • Constantly insulting me when I am trying to be Civil IS a way of trying to intimidate me. Admit it, Sandi. You probably need psychotherapy or something, because you cannot tolerate any disagreement from your point of view. You constantly demonize me when I try to be a Christian and not return insult for insult. And then saying your point of view is always Christ’s point of view is the height of arrogance on your part. I will call the website tomorrow and complain about you.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • You have consistently stated that it doesn’t matter how much faith someone has or how much they express that faith in love, but despite having faith and love that if a person is not heterosexual they are nothing. Paul stated the opposite, he said in 1 Corinthians 13, that without LOVE, he is nothing. He never said, if he wasn’t heterosexual he was nothing. So I DID quote you completely accurately.

  • I have shown you how many ways you don’t follow scripture. For instance, by placing heterosexuality above faith.

  • I like this passage from 1st Corinthians 13 of something which you don’t exemplify. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” It goes on to say, “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully as I am fully known. So faith, hope , and love remain, but the greatest of these is Love.” WHERE does Paul place heterosexuality above faith and love as you do? This isn’t a lie because you do claim I am nothing because I am not heterosexual, even though I might have much faith and love. Paul stated without love we are nothing. Love is the most important thing.

  • There is something that we must remember, as we struggle to understand a person who feels his/her sexuality in a different fashion from the heterosexual person and want to be inclusive to all.
    We do not have any revelation from God, in any Major Religion, Christian or otherwise that sanctions marriage outside of the bond between a man and a woman.
    These changes that allows gay pastors to serve in those positions, are of human origin and do not relate to the theology of the Gospel or of any other major faith.
    Besides, the acceptance of gay church leaders, will not change or mitigate the hemorrhage that traditional Christian churches, are suffering today as their pews are getting depleted from the quitting faithful.
    The gay issue is just one more of the many challenges that the Council of the Churches needs to fix if our congregations are going to be kept vibrant and running.

  • It’s always a tough issue when a person finds out that a family member or friend is accepting a false identity (a “gay-self-identity”) and acting on that falsehood by taking on a gay lover.
    But especially family. So many questions. How did this come about? Why is this happening? What to do or not do?

    Well, don’t panic, is what I first tell people. Don’t yell, don’t freak out, don’t hang up the phone on your family member, don’t cut off communication lines. Always say thanks to God that things are as well as they are. You loved the kid before you got the news?
    Then love him now.
    But don’t let anybody or any situation cause you to ditch your Bible, or even water it down. Goliath will NEVER be your friend, and he will NEVER be your nephew’s friend. Goliath is an enemy of your entire family, and now you will be praying & fasting & gathering important information to help you strengthen yourself and also strengthen all your family. It ain’t over yet, Roy.

  • If Jesus Christ isn’t strong enough to motivate you to live Biblically, you don’t know Him at all. Paul Washer.

  • If you are still following a course of self pleasing, you are only fooling yourself if you think you have come to Christ. AW Pink

  • The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterians historically were theologically orthodox churches. They were faithful to the Lord. Pansexualists got control of the seminaries and the central governing bodies and the rest is history. Good for the IRD for getting involved. They stand for orthodoxy. The liberals are the interlopers.

  • Your second paragraph is simply untrue. Just because conservative Christians have a problem with gay people, does not mean everyone else does.

    Meanwhile, let’s talk about the conservative methodists and Christian polygamy in Africa.

  • I think the difference in this context is that the punitive strictures of the Mosaic Law do not apply under the New Covenant. It is not that the moral imperatives have changed, but rather that our response to the digressions have.

  • It may depend on how one defines love. The instructions from scripture in the New Testament are not properly defined as legalism. They are specific guides to what is required of a bishop or pastor; in that sense they are non-negotiable. And they are a far cry from the requirements of the Old Testament, which would have insisted on the stoning of the individuals cited in this case. The question of love is another matter; love may be defined as the inclination to protect others from their own harmful choices and actions which will accrue to their own detriment, now and for eternity. Such a strategy may appear hateful and judgmental in the short term, but in the long term it is an approach wholly consistent with the precepts of nature, and both volumes of Judeo Christian scripture.

  • I am the last person to favor money wasted on massive architectural structures, beautifully or horribly executed in architectural terms. The money would be better spent on food and other needs for the poor, as well as the dissemination of the Gospel. Colorful vestments are ridiculous as well in my opinion, but I’m not going to hammer those who prefer them. Doing good as exemplified in the Book of James is a Christian imperative. But specific moral precepts as defined by the Word of God are not negotiable, at least as regards what happens within the precincts of the Church. What happens outside the Church is less my responsibility as it was ever thus. What happens within the church is clearly my responsibility, and I adhere to the clear teaching of the biblical text.

  • Breaking the Sabbath carried the death penalty in the Old Testament. Jesus healed on the Sabbath in the name of Love over that of legalism. Perhaps Jewish law allowed saving lives on the Sabbath, but if a person could have been healed another day, it shouldn’t have been done on the Sabbath. As far as homosexuality is concerned, should heterosexual marriage be THE measuring stick as to whether relationships should be right or wrong? Or should LOVE, defined as faithfulness, commitment, being willing to sacrifice on behalf of others, be the measuring stick as to whether a relationship is valid or not? If it is Love, then homosexual relationships CAN be licit. Of course, neither homosexual nor heterosexual relationships always exemplify Love defined in this way, but both of them can. It seems to be clear throughout the New Testament that Love is the final yardstick of right and wrong, far more than heterosexual marriage per se would be.

  • Who’s projecting? I don’t spend the better part of my life arguing about things I don’t know or care about, of course. Only atheists ever seem to do that. It isn’t normal behavior.

  • If grace is a gift, then why would we have to earn it by being heterosexual? No matter how much you insist that orientation or direction of attractions is a choice, it is NOT a choice. The Evangelical Exodus International proved that it isn’t a choice in terms of feelings. God only would condemn something we deliberately choose, not something we don’t choose. Actions can be wrong, but the rightness of them is judged by the criterion of Love, such as commitment, fidelity, faithfulness, beneficence, etc.

  • We know from Josephus that Herod Antipas loved Herodias, his brother’s ex-wife, but John the Baptist lost his head for being honest with him that it was “not lawful for him to have her.” Many years ago when I was contemplating a scripturally unlawful marriage I flirted with this “all you need is love” approach to ethics, but intellectual honesty forced me to admit it was baloney. Love does not turn wrong into right. Love, on the other hand, rejoices in what is right.

  • “The words Paul uses have the barest of contexts for discerning his meaning,which likely means that Paul was using a term that his culture understood, but is lost to us.” What is hard about “arsenokoite?” We don’t have any trouble translating “metrokoite” or “deuterokoite” or “poluokoite,” and we don’t even have a clear source such as Lev. 20:13 for them.

  • Daniel, you’re making me tired banging on this old pork-and-shellfish argument that only the non-Bible readers think is a winner. The Torah tells us that the unclean animals are “detestable FOR YOU.” Meaning Israel. Diet laws were never given to Gentiles. No one, OT or NT, ever cared how much pork a Gentile ate. The chapter of Leviticus that lists the sexual prohibitions, on the other hand, tells us directly that God judged and rejected Gentile nations for these practices long before He ever gave Israel the Torah. This is why the Jerusalem Church retained them in Acts 15. They hearken back to a much more ancient standard of morality.

    I’m almost certain you have had this explained to you already, and there is no excuse to go on excusing sin.

  • Love also means do no harm. Incest is harmful, because it can result in defective children. Homosexuality CAN be harmful, but not necessarily. Anal sex, but not Oral sex between men is prohibited in Leviticus. Lesbianism is not mentioned in Leviticus. Anal sex DOES very easily transmit diseases. Oral sex transmits diseases a lot less easily than Vaginal sex. So love is not just a feeling, but love as an action means do no harm. So at least don’t do unprotected anal sex.

  • Why wouldn’t anal sex between men be more like approaching a woman during her menstrual cycle than incest? It IS mentioned in both Leviticus 18 and in 20.

  • By talking with an Orthodox Rabbi, it does seem like homosexuality is far less restricted for Gentiles than it would be for Jews in Jewish law. Lesbianism would be allowed for Gentiles. Only anal sex between men would be prohibited for gentile males. Oral sex between men does not carry the death penalty in Jewish law. Actually, I wouldn’t say prohibiting Anal sex is totally wrong, although taking a lot of precautions, it could be done safely.

  • One instance where it is an unrighteous act is when a Gay man marries a woman without telling her he is gay and then carries on with other men without her knowledge. Of course having sex with minors.

  • No, I’m a heterosexual. I am ambivalent about the whole matter. Because of friends affected on either side of the issue for 20 years I have prayerfully read everything I could find on the issue from the Biblical standpoint, because for me that’s the only one I can live with. In the beginning I was, like most white male American heterosexuals, believing that homosexuality is a sin, as well as repulsed by it. But with an honest heart before God I have come to the place that I delineated in my earlier post.

    Unrighteous sex in the ranks of homosexuals is the same as unrighteous sex in heterosexuals. It must be in a committed monogomous relationship. That’s part of the reason homosexuals have pushed for marriage.

    In regard to unrighteous sex I will include a little bit of response to Shawnie5’s comment above. Levitcus 20:13 has a context. It describes the tribal hierarchy and the use of sexual power. A man lying with another man could simply mean one family head raping another which made the entire family under the second be less than the other families. The whole of the law seems to be about sexual justice, or expressing the injustices perpetrated by sexual power. Notice, there is no prohibition against women having sex together in the passage.

  • The Jerusalem Church prohibited porneia or “fornication.” However, incest is called porneia in 1 Corinthians 5:1 but homosexuality is never called porneia in the New Testament. Paul seems to condemn homosexuality mainly when it is compounded by other sins such as idol worship in Romans 1 than in and of itself. We know that heterosexual marriage is also strongly condemned when it compounded by idolatry as well. (Deuteronomy 13:6-9, 1 Kings 16:31 and Luke 14:26) Incest in 1 Corinthians 5:1 seems to be more condemned in and of itself.

  • I deleted this comment because I thought I had lost the other one below. That one has my response.

  • Could you please tell what those three words mean? Their not in the Greek Bible, as far as I can tell. If they are could you give me chapter and verse so I may read it for myself? If they aren’t what was your point in bringing them up?

  • But, you said I “have it exactly” and that obedience to the command (of love, I presume you mean) was what I needed.

    😉 Just kidding. Of course, I trust in Christ, have so since a child. In fact that brings us to the crux of the matter. If it is trust in Christ, then failing in works (not following the command) does not exclude us, as you said it is by grace, not of works, which is a gift of God, not something we earn before or after, for the purpose of good works–which we are to live in. Now that’s scripture I can live with–and I mean really live.

  • “…atheist board over there and I looked at it just to see, and sure enough, not a single Christian there
    That sums it up right there. We are called to “share” and then “shake the dust from our feet”. The Devil is like a fly that just won’t go away. He is desperate and pathetic. The Falling Away seems complete to me! Can’t wait to see my Heavenly Father. Clean this miss up. 🙂

  • It is a choice and Christ taught so in Romans 1.

    James 1:13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But 14each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • The point is, Edward, that they have changed. Eating pork was an abomination unto god, homosex was an abomination unto god. Same word applied. To’evah. And yet, somehow, it all got worked out so that people could have their bacon sammiches.

    This is the big issue for so many people. I know that you will say that the food strictures were eliminated– my guess being that non Jews really didn’t like the dietary habits of the Jews, and considered “god’s law” to be unimportant in that regard. Jesus himself said that “not one joT or tittle” of the law would change. But it did.

    We have exactly the same problems it’s so much of Christianity, at least of the do,unionist flavor. JEsus said “don’t judge.” Jesus said “judge away.” Both can cite scripture to their purposes.

    All it proves is that people who wish to judge will read their bibles that way. People who don’t wish to judge will read it differently.

  • I had another thought, Edward, and it is especially relevant here. This is what I wrote a month ago regarding rod Dreher. I’m not going to edit it, particularly.

    Rather than lead by example, the religious conservatives, dominionists, and fundamentalists wish to lead by coercion. They are then totally surprised when people who do not ascribe to their particular and peculiar set of beliefs get a tad upset about it.

    I find it absolutely delicious that for Dreher and his ilk– and Lordy, there is so much of that ilk hangin’ around– see the obergefell decision as their Waterloo, Armageddon, or what have you. Imagine, the people that they have always despised, and treated as outcasts and pariahs, using their religious beliefs about something or other as justification– imagine: those people being treated as if their lives, loves, families, children, freedom assets, and–wait for it– FAITHS!!!!!!!!!!– actually matter! How dare we gay people think that we’re as good as Newt Gingrich? The noive!!!!!!

    There are such simple solutions to Dreher’s dilemmas. If only they would occur to him.

    IF you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married, but also, stop blaming gay people for the failures of heterosexual and Christian morality. My marriage doesn’t affect yours, and if you are going to claim it does, then the problem is OBVIOUSLY with your marriage, not with mine. That is indeed the dead giveaway as to what this is really about, and it isn’t morality or god’s plan.

    If you don’t like abortion, then don’t have one. support family planning, comprehensive sex Education, and take the billions of dollars and manhours you have spent trying to control the lives of others and do something useful, like offering alternatives to abortion. You know, adoption services, but not just for the people you approve of. Support those mothers so that they can take their child to term.

    I can’t imagine what he’s going to do about all of those people who don’t share his beliefs about the Christian god and his savior son. It is, After all, a sin not to believe that Jesus died for your sins. But nevertheless, there is a solution, and not The Final One. It’s called religious freedom. respect. Minding your own business and your own faith.

  • Perhaps we can choose when we feel sexual desire, but It isn’t a choice what gender one feels sexual desire for. Absolutely no one in “ex gay” groups succeeded in changing their desires from the same gender to the opposite and that Is why they folded.

  • The Old Testament would not have applied to the individuals in this case, as it does not mention lesbianism. The first Jewish approach to this topic was in the Talmud, which does prohibit it, but: (a) the discussion was limited to the rubbing of their genitals together; (b) the main concern was whether such a woman would be considered a virgin so as to be eligible to marry a priest, and (c) the penalty was lashes, not death.

  • Here is an article by a conservative Biblical scholar from Westminster Seminary who made a good case that the Hebrew Bible as well as virtually all ancient peoples believed the raqiya was solid. It is a reference but not a link.
    The firmament and the water above, part 1: the meaning of raqiaʻ in Gen 1:6-8
    Authors: Seely, Paul H
    Source: The Westminster Theological Journal, 53 no 2 Fall 1991, p 227-240

  • Another point is that the word “arsenokoitus” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not mean direction of desire for the same gender but rather means an ACT. Acts are choices, but direction of feeling is not a choice. Some people claim that 1 Corinthians 6:9 indicates a change in direction of sexual desire rather than merely a change in behavior which few people would deny is possible. However, let us AGREE that the word arsenokoitus is derived from Leviticus 20:13. However, Leviticus 20:13 only describes an ACT, it says nothing about direction of desire at all. Neither Leviticus 20:13 or arsenokoitus has anything to do with Lesbianism, either. So you can’t use 1 Corinthians 6:9 as an argument that the direction of sexual desire can be changed, but rather that behavior can be changed. Also, I was asking, but you couldn’t answer. I don’t think homosexual behavior per se is a sin. BUT, for the sake of argument, let us “agree” that it is. Does the Christian life really totally eliminate ANY or ALL inclination for sin?

  • 1 Corinthians 6:11 “…And such were some of you.” You are teaching heresy again Daniel.

  • Now you tell more lies. Thanks for giving me a rest from your lies
    ex-LGBT through Jesus Christ
    Restored Hope Network

  • I trust in Jesus, talk to him all during the day, ask him to lead me in all things, have his Spirit within me, am led by the Spirit in all that I do, have no other life but what Jesus gives me.

  • And anyway, Paul NEVER claims that Romans 1 is the words of Jesus. Paul is actually quoting people he is in dialogue with. He responds to what they say in Romans 2, for instance saying “therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you judge yourself, since you, the judge do the very same things.” IF it was Jesus who taught Romans 1, WHY would Paul tell Jesus that he shouldn’t judge? And you keep saying you have a right to judge homosexuals, but right after Paul talks about homosexual practice combined with idol worship, he tells the people saying this that they shouldn’t judge others. I am not saying he disagrees with everything they said in Romans 1, but judging by the word Arsenokoitus in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul doesn’t mean people choose their orientation at all. And Romans 1 obviously doesn’t mean people who had sexual desire for the same gender their whole life, but rather persons who were heterosexual who chose to engage in homosexual behavior. At no point did I “exchange” desire for women to men, because I never had desire for women in the first place.

  • I believe that is the question in debate. My stance is if someone tells me they trust in Jesus and we have discussed the range of discipleship and the implications of committing one’s life wholly to Christ, and even if I deem one’s actions sins and have discussed it to where it is clear, then it will be up to the Spirit to guide the believer into what one will know of one’s own sin. I don’t believe the Bible specifically says one way or the other about homosexuality as it applies in a committed relationship.

    BTW, thanks for pointing out my error of correcting where it wasn’t needed. Something I have been working on for a while, still crops up apparently.

  • Heretics again Daniel? ” Paul NEVER claims that Romans 1 is the words of Jesus.”
    Give up Daniel, you are just confusing yourself. Homosexuality is a sin, as I showed above.

  • I support homosexuals in their discipleship in Jesus Christ. If a homosexual in the process of following Jesus discovers they are in sin I will be ready to pray with them and work with in whatever way they may need from me. The only thing I support is trust in Jesus and actions that lend to loving and good works.

  • Virtually every person I have seen who has claimed “change” admits to temptations. Just because some gay men can function heterosexually doesn’t mean they have had a change in desire. I can write with my left hand, but I am not left handed.

  • You are not addressing what has changed, nor made any good case that αρσενοκοιτης means directing sexual desire for males, rather than just an act of anal sex.

  • If he did claim it was the words of Jesus, then WHY would he say in Romans 2:1 that You are without excuse EVERY ONE OF YOU because you Judge? Would he actually be telling Jesus that he was without excuse? Another good example of Paul addressing what someone else said is in 1 Corinthians 7:1 which states, “Now in regard to the matters about which you wrote, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” So is this the word of Jesus and then Paul has a dialogue with Jesus?

  • Anyway, 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not mean a change in orientation, but rather behavior. Many people have prayed for years to change their sexual orientation, but in no case does it change.

  • ok……how can one say they are following Christ when they defy Him on a regular basis, unrepentantly.
    As I believe I have said elsewhere on the blog to day….Never mind, I’ll let John MacArthur say it this time: When a person becomes a Christian, God gives him a completely new moral and spiritual capability that a mind apart from Christ could never achieve. The new birth results from God’s sovereignty coming down to a sinner and by His grace cleansing him, and planting His spirit within him, and giving him a completely new spiritual nature. He then has “put on the new man which is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness”. (Ephesians 4:24) John MacArthur Hence- the old has gone and the new has come. (That means homosexuality leaves)

    Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.

    Christ commanded “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22

    1 John 2: 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,”

    1 John 1:6 – If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

    1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

    1 John 3: 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

    Homosexuals are not Christian.

    “Surely no rebel can expect the king to pardon his treason while he remains in open revolt.” Spurgeon

  • thanks for pointing out my error of correcting where it wasn’t needed.

    Thanks for the apology. Not a huge deal. It is easy to make mistakes on this type of forum. It’s not a term paper where we proof read our work several times over and I don’t often have my Bible handy when making quick conversation.

    I don’t believe the Bible specifically says one way or the other about homosexuality as it applies in a committed relationship.

    “Committed Relationships”…………………..
    What are the guidelines to determine whether a relationship is a committed one? I suppose my question is Rhetorical. 10 people will have 10 different answers.
    I believe in a very specific requirement for heterosexual unions — If you are curious.
    In light of Paul’s teaching on homosexuality; I don’t know how you would ever come to a measurable standard for a “committed relationship”. That is why I asked the question — when is gay sex righteous? I did not think an answer existed. A piece of paper doesn’t make a heterosexual union righteous; therefore it can’t make a homo union righteous either. Is God to just ‘know’ whether one’s intent is pure or not?
    Do gays use the standard set forth in Deuteronomy 22:13? That of “virginity” being a requirement for a righteous union?

  • So you don’t believe Paul is speaking for Jesus, and He is an apostle. You must disregard the book of Luke then. Luke was not an apostle.
    You don’t understand quotation marks either, Daniel? We’ve been here before.

  • says who?
    and again, rather than believing the Lord, you believe man, over Him.

  • I don’t need to prove anything. I teach what Christ taught. You can continue with your games if you like, but you just hurt yourself worse and worse – aside from innocent people.

  • Her congregations apparently do support her, at least much of them it would appear. She was made a bishop by one jurisdiction, but the challenge came from outside her area. I guess the Methodist Court allows nationwide standing.

  • Back in the early 80’s, my Uncle came out of the closet. My parents sat us kids down and explained it all to us and then said we were to never talk to, or see my Uncle again — unless he repented. They called it “Tough Love”.
    Remember that……………’tough love’? Where did it go?!!!
    Just amazing to watch before our very eyes the “Falling Away”. You compare life in the 50’s to today…………….wow! Rapid decline. Hang on to your hat………..the next decade will be a humdinger. Peace to you and your family. Our Redemption draws near.

  • If the word means the same as Leviticus 20:13, where does this discuss direction of desire?

  • I’m not sure what the purpose of our discussion is here? Are you asking these questions because you want to know the homosexual perspective on righteous sexual union? Not being homosexual, I have no idea. I don’t speak for homosexuals, not being gay, I don’t believe I have that right. I just speak from what I see in the scripture.

    What confuses me is why you have these questions, since you continually hold to the notion that Paul definitely condemns all homosexual sex. That is the juncture that can’t be crossed with someone who believes differently. So it just becomes a merry-go-round of rhetoric. It leaves believing this discussion has reached a dead end.

  • It’s just not logical Scripturally. Since you claim to be a Christian and you don’t have a problem with homosexuality……I was curious ‘how’ you would answer. Perhaps it is a trial run as I venture to guess I will be having this conversation with my nephew. Helps to know how he may respond so I am better equipped to answer.
    Evangelicals would say that ‘sex outside of marriage’ is always sin. So they have a standard or measure. What do Christian homosexuals have?
    You say “committed relationship”. Well… do you measure that?
    My question — when is gay sex righteous — I believe is a good one
    and legitimate; if homosexuals want to be included as part of the Traditional Christian faith. They should stick to creating their own fellowships/churches and stop trying to change ours; and or complaining when we don’t agree.
    But you are probably right. This conversation has reached a dead end as the ‘logic’ is just not sound reasoning in my opinion.
    Gay Christians don’t believe that ANY gay sex is unrighteous. They have NO standard. I wonder what they would say of a hetero adulterer? Are they in sin? I hope they give everyone a pass. And now we are venturing into the debate of Universalism.
    Good day.

  • Gay Christians don’t believe that ANY gay sex is unrighteous. They have NO standard. I wonder what they would say of a hetero adulterer? Are they in sin? I hope they give everyone a pass. And now we are venturing into the debate of Universalism. Good day.

    It’s sad that you would characterize a whole group of people in a framework that does not fit all. You do not know all gay Christians nor their beliefs, nor do all gay people agree. I know several gay people who hold to moral standards you would recognize. As long as you have prejudices against them, though, you’ll never be all to win them.

  • Thanks floydlee. If he claims to still be Christian, then I will have issue.
    In my Uncle’s case, at first he tried to remain a Christian. But as the years past, his bitterness and anger surfaced and eventually he admitted he hated God altogether. Seems to be a natural progression.

  • Sometimes we have to generalize. Didn’t mean it to be offensive.
    Do you have a link to a Gay church which has ‘standards’ for righteous sex?

  • No, not really. I do have a good friend is a hetero pastor to an inclusive church, in New Orleans. The name of the church is Parker Memorial. You may also search for the Metropolitan Community Churches website. It doesn’t seem that they discuss sexual standards on the site though. For that matter I don’t know of any hetero churches that do so on their website either.

    I had an email conversation with Marsha Stevens a while back. She is the one who wrote the first contemporary Christian song, “For Those Tears I Died, was called then the Mother of Contemporary Christian Music, but later came to realize she was gay and was “kicked out” of the Christian Music industry. For many years she travelled, with her lesbian partner, preaching the gospel. I discovered all that info by researching her. It was not in our conversation.

    She bemoaned in her email to me that some gay people considered that a sexually promiscuitous life was fine, but part of her teaching was to be monogomous and chaste. One must remember however, sexuality is only one part of a person’s life. It is not what makes them who they are, there is a whole range of characteristics in one’s personality. So, in talking or inquiring others may get wearied of a fixation on sexual orientation. Many gay people are trying to get past that as a point of discussing one’s life.

    As far as generalizing, just a reminder, the word “some” goes a long way in communicating even a wide spread complaint, like in arguing with your wife or friend one says “sometimes” not “always.”

  • We already know you don’t understand the greek Daniel. Try a decent translation – ESV, NKJV…..there are lots that will help you.

  • The title of this article is where in lies the problem at heart, and I quot: “AGAINST CHURCH LAW”. Church laws for the most part as in any denomination are MAN MADE LAWS that where indoctrinated back at a time when peoples understandings where very limited and much different then we think today. Perhaps this council needs to follow “GOD’S LAW” and not a church law. Jesus while on earth never ever rejected any human being regardless of their ways. Our judicial council would better serve us if they followed “GOD’S LAW” rather than some man made archaic law that was only designed and meant to discriminate. The way I see it is, that if our current council members can not or will not follow “GOD’S LAW”, then it is imperative that they resign immediately and allow others that will follow “GOD’S LAW” to take their rightful place of governing.

  • No. I tell the truth. You are here to lead people away from salvation as the Lord has taught that homosexuals will not see the Kingdom of Heaven. Many, many Christians on this site are here to protect them from people like you. The immoral will not see the kingdom of Heaven.

    Revelation 21:8 ESV

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 22: 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

  • “Metrokoite” is perhaps the most famous, used by the ancient Greek poet Hippon to describe a sculptor named Bupalos whom he described as engaging in incest with his mother, hence “metrokoite” (today’s vulgar equivalent would be “m****rf**k*r).

    “Polukoite” is listed in the Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon as ‘one who lies with many women/men” (polu-many, koite-have sex), evidently having been used in the Vettius Valens Astrologus from the 2nd century AD.

    “Doulokoite” (I stated “deuterokoite” by mistake — but it is also in the lexicon as “two-bedder”) was used in the “Life of Aesop” where the wife of the philosopher Xanthus accuses him of being a “doulokoite” (slave-bedder).

    My point is, of course, why is it so easy to translate these compound words from Koine Greek and not “arsenokoite,” which follows the same pattern? Why do we suddenly have to read some big mystery into this particular word — unless we simply don’t like the ramifications that follow from a common-sense reading?

  • If it were, I imagine the prescription would have been a bath and a period of separation as in the husband/wife situation. Not a death penalty.

  • As a woman I can tell you that “as one lies with a woman” involves far more than mere penetration. I pity the wife of anyone who claims differently.

  • There is no logical reason to treat same-sex behavior differently from incest or any other kind of prohibited sexual practice. They are all listed together, and were all understood from the most ancient Jewish writings available to us to be wrong.

  • Incest as condemned by Paul in Corinthians would pose no danger of defective children. It involved a stepmother/stepson relationship.

  • That is a complete diversion from the topic of whether Leviticus 20:13 means desire when it really only discusses acts. And like I said, even if I grant that homosexuality is a sin, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 still does not mean change of desire, but rather behavior. Does being Christian mean someone has NO desire or inclination to sin anymore?

  • I do know Greek. Obviously you don’t at all. Falsely accusing someone of not knowing something they obviously do know is not an argument.

  • The passage says nothing about exchanging the desire, but exchanging the USE. You can exchange the natural use of the woman into something unseemly even if you’ve never touched a woman in your life, because this natural use is present in the design of your flesh from birth. There is nothing in a man’s body for you to fertilize or create with, ever.

  • I don’t know enough Hebrew to argue this, but the Greek word used for “lying” is κοιταω (koitao) which mean sexual intercourse, so the word αρσενοκοιτης in 1 Corinthians 6:9 or arsenokoitis which is the compound of arseno or male and koitao does mean anal sex because it would be sexual intercourse between males. This would grant that that word IS derived from Leviticus 20:13. I guess I probably told you this before, I think.

  • Having sex with a woman during her menstrual cycle is ALSO listed in Leviticus 18 and 20 as well. Leviticus 20 also tells us to distinguish clean from unclean animals. Incest is never listed with homosexuality in the New Testament.

  • Can you cite any other ancient Jewish writings that view Leviticus in that manner? Because what I’ve read of Josephus, the Midrash and the Babylonian Talmud does not suggest any such thing. The Midrash, in fact, actually speaks of same sex marriage, not rape.

  • So penetrating one bodily orifice is intercourse but not the other?

    Daniel, with all due compassion, do you realize how all this sounds?

    I’m hearing echoes of “Ah did not hayve sexual relations with thet woman…”

  • There are also Biblical exceptions to incest laws. Men were prohibited from having sex with their brother’s wife in Leviticus 20:21 (18:16). However, it was a duty for him to do this in the Levirate marriages described in Deuteronomy 25:5. Judah having sex as a Levirate act with his daughter in law violated Leviticus 20:12 and the penalty is death in that case. However, it was a Levirate act and so no one was put to death in Genesis 38.

  • I looked it up. It uses the word χρησις (chresis) which means sexual use of a woman. I would grant that we can choose behavior, but not direction of desire. So this doesn’t seem to mean that someone chose to have homosexual desire but rather chose to engage in homosexual behavior. There ARE gay men who have touched women and have been married and had kids. Their desire was always for men, however. I used to regret not having children, but now I realize how huge a responsibility they would be and so it isn’t so tragic after all. There isn’t a shortage of people at this time, like there was when “be fruitful and multiply” was stated.

  • The actual penalty listed in Leviticus 20:18 is to be permanently cut off from their people. It really is a much harsher penalty than just taking a bath and a period of separation. But the actual command IS for a period of separation.

  • BINGO!! IF Bill Clinton did say “I did not have sexual intercourse or coitus with that woman,” he would have been telling the truth. Anyway, there is a huge difference in how risky as far as transmission of diseases anal sex is compared to oral sex.

  • You never have shown that any Greek word meant something different from what I stated. I don’t know Hebrew as well, but Arbustin showed that your “corrections” of my understanding of Hebrew were wrong.

  • Shawnee corrects your errors all the times, as do others. I’ve corrected you on matters, Daniel.

  • Homosexuality is never called porneia in the New Testament, but incest is. And anyway, what is stated about homosexuality could be meant symbolically, just as prostitution is used symbolically for idol worship, whereas incest is spoken of in and of itself. Porneia is idol worship, but porneia literally means prostitution. Common prostitutes who didn’t worship other Gods were often at least not stigmatized, such as Rahab. Romans 1 states they “exchanged” worship from the Creator the creature. Saying they “exchanged” sexual practices could be meant symbolically for idol worship. It doesn’t mean all gay people are idolators, however.

  • Shawnee doesn’t know any Greek. She does, however, make more intelligent statements than you do. All your corrections I have shown to be wrong. For instance you “corrected” me about ανωθεν which you claimed did NOT mean from above. Actually, according to my Greek dictionary, the FIRST meaning of it is “from above, from a higher place.” If you are so expert in Greek, tell me what the English transliteration of ανωθεν is.

  • “Homosexuality is never called porneia in the New Testament,” So what? All of the sexual prohibitions taken together, all representing deviations from God’s plan and purpose for human sexuality, were “porneia.” If Jesus intended to carve out an exception He had the perfect opportunity to do so in Matt.15 and did not. And Paul tells us that the way to avoid “porneia” is for every man to have his own wife and every woman her own husband.

    “What is stated about homosexuality could be meant symbolically” There is nothing in ancient Jewish writing or thought which corroborates such a proposition. Josephus wrote about homosexual behavior in connection with the laws of marriage, not idol worship.

  • S-a-a-y! That’s a good question, Shawnie5. I like it. Your responses about the meanings of the words indicate a clear context. Context is the key.

    Also, reading the ‘common sense” of a word is tricky at best, since our “common sense” is just that, the sense we acquire through common usage and belief, which has been wrong on so many occasions. Often, as one gains different knowledge about different things, even the old ways of knowing and believing change so that reading something from “common sense” no longer makes sense, especially considering the context and scope of a mult–faceted tome such as the Bible. For example, what is the common sense of Jesus’s adjuration to cut off the hand, foot, and gouge out the eye? Or to give to anyone who asks? Or to turn the other cheek?

    Of course, since they seem to make no sense to modern hearing, one could say their is no common sense to them, so one must study them to gain understanding from them. So one learns that in reading other passages, that one might have believed one understood plainly, one begins to question one’s beliefs about those passages, for that is really what we have here in the whole mess, each of us questioning belief about the Bible not the Bible itself.

    So, in learning about the dynamic of shame/honor in ancient socities, reading the ancient Law renders new insights that have to be tested and make one wonder more deeply and broadly about what is really being said. Of course, you know that the Midrash, though likely the earliest commentary, was barely contemporary to Jesus, thus with distance of the rashers from the original social context and the rabinnical concern of constructing a “hedge around the Torah” one through the Midrash may not arrive at the original intent, because that wasn’t the rabbi’s concern, it was to discern what was safe to practice contemporarily, which makes halachah still an ongoing conversation in the various Jewish denominations.

    This also seems to be what is happening with much of Christianity, and has been since the Resurrection. In fact, the Gospels could be considered the opening of Christian Midrash, showing how Jesus modelled interpretation and asked us to continue under the Holy Spirit’s teaching.

    Perhaps, one day the Christian conversation will be more open to various ways of looking at scripture in order to get at the meat of God’s life for our lives. Thank you for your keen observation. I has made me think, rethink, and wonder again. Wonder in all of its implications.“O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his precepts and his ways past finding out!”

  • Prostitution was used as a symbol of idolatry. But at the time of Josephus, the Jews had not rejected multiple wives just yet. I would go by the Bible more than by tradition. The tradition often added laws to the Bible. For instance, this Orthodox Rabbi I see stated that the tanakh never mentions Lesbianism, whereas it is forbidden in Jewish tradition. And it really isn’t completely clear what Paul means by Porneia in 1 Corinthians 7:2. Right before in 1 Corinthians 6:16-18 Paul defines Porneia as being joined or Kollao to the a prostitute (cult prostitute?) He contrasts being joined or married to the Lord with being joined to a prostitute. So marriage to the LORD is a far higher consideration than heterosexual marriage is. So, that contrast does seem to indicate that porneia IS idol worship or the violation of one’s marriage to the Lord, which is the main meaning of the word. You especially find this meaning of the word in the book of Revelation in 14:8, 17:2, 18:3 and 19:2.

  • It doesn’t say “permanently.” The same language is used elsewhere speaking of people “cut off from among the people” because of uncleanness resulting from contact with the dead. None of this, however, is analogous to the penalty prescribed for homosexual behavior.

  • Oh brother.

    Daniel, if you can in any way shape or form consider Bill Clinton’s excuse-making to be “telling the truth,” there is no hope of getting through to you.

    Of course people have more excuses for their preferred behaviors than a dog has fleas. These conversations always remind me of Greg Brady arguing “You didn’t tell me not to drive. You told me not to drive OUR CAR.”

    However, such weaseling misses the point. The question isn’t “How far can we depart from the course without getting smacked?” It is, “What would be most pleasing to the Master?”

    Thanks for the discussion.

  • The word “cherem” means to exterminate, like the Canaanites, but it is often used also in Jewish circles for “excommunication.” And anyway, is touching the Mountain of the Lord, which carried the death penalty a serious offense? This is in Exodus 19:12. Should we consider gathering sticks on the Sabbath as a serious offense because a man was actually executed for doing so in Numbers 15:32-36? I looked it up in the Hebrew and parallel reference to “cut off” or nicarat would be like in Genesis 17:14 where it states that an uncircumcised male would be cut off from their people. Remember Moses was almost killed for not being circumcised in Exodus 4:24-25. If someone fails to keep the Passover in Numbers 9:13, they would also be “cut off.” So it would seem that approaching a woman during her menstrual cycle was considered serious, since the penalty would be akin to not being circumcised or not keeping the Passover, which are very central to Judaism. It would be like they weren’t Jewish anymore if they were “cut off,” and it DOES have connotations of being killed.

  • But perhaps he would be misleading, because most people might not get the distinction. It would have been honest to say, I did have oral sex with that woman, but not intercourse. But thank you for your intelligent and Civil comments.

  • But you could argue that this law is central to the Jews and doesn’t apply so much for the gentiles. But in Judaism it would be considered serious to do this, because it is a central aspect of Jewish identity, esp. for Orthodox Jews.

  • ” For example, what is the common sense of Jesus’s adjuration to cut off the hand, foot, and gouge out the eye?” Good question. The Sermon on the Mount, from which this verse is taken, is an exposition of the true intent and scope of the Law. How in order to please God on our own merits we must keep it in word, deed, and even thought. Therefore, if a limb or an eye might cause us to make even one slip, then we should indeed cut it off for we get no second chance.

    However, if we find that impossible, we are in luck — for there is a Plan B. Enter the Lamb of God.

  • I love your interpretation, but it’s immediate context doesn’t render it. Your understanding of it comes from the knowledge you gain from gathering the whole story of Christ’s revelation of God. You made an excellent midrash on it, IMHO actually one of the best I’ve read. It’s a great example of what we need to do with scripture–to point to Christ’s redeeming grace.

    Regardless of its factual accuracy concerning its original intent, it reveals the truth that draws us to God’s provision in Christ. This is what we should be doing with these discussions on homosexuality. It’s not so much the original intent but the trajectory toward justice, mercy, and grace that is the issue. What are you a Dr. of Th. or something?

  • There is such a thing as nuance, which many people miss when they assess scripture. There is in the Christian framing of God’s Law a distinction between the ceremonial, ritual, and symbolic versus the eternal, spiritual, and holy. Saul, later Paul, no mean Pharisee himself, stipulated that the non-transcendent practices of the Mosaic Law were intended to function as a “schoolmaster” wherein it would be revealed that ultimately humanity cannot conform to the Law on its own merits in any lasting efficacious way, and the history of ancient Israel proved it. Adherence to the transcendent Law of Love, Holiness, and sincere Obedience required surrender to the Savior who died for us. Even then, none of us practice this obedience perfectly, which is why a saving faith is a faith lived out daily in both obedience and confession with repentance. The apparent contradictions within scripture can be reconciled when one applies context. But as usual, I am arguing from within the membership of the Church and the Body of Christ, such arguments have no application for the world. Therefore as far as professing Christians are concerned, including the bishop we are discussing, each believer has standing to contribute to the debate. To your other points made above, I use my standing to declare that based on my best understanding of scripture, abortion, gay marriage, and other like cultural choices (note that I declare marriage as a choice, not being gay itself) are not appropriate within the Church. The World can do as it pleases. As always, I hope that I have expressed myself without personal rancor, or in a spirit of hatefulness, merely firmness in what I believe is spiritual truth.

  • No rancor or hatefulness detected. ? But there is this to consider.

    When Paul realized that the Jews weren’t buying the Jewish heresy he was promoting, he switched his efforts to the gentiles. From what little I have read on that subject, it appears that the gentiles were not interested in ancient Jewish dietary laws, or indeed, in a good deal of the OT. And thus, as Time progressed, someone came up with idea that the only OT strictures required were the ones labeled “moral”– not ceremonial, and not dietary.

    It was all very convenient, both for the new converts and for the growing church. That process of adaptation has not changed. That is why there are so many denominations, and so many different emphases in and on scripture within them.

    You know I am an atheist, so what I am about to propose to you is based upon my understanding of YOUR thinking. Let us suppose that god is still active in the world, but as always, his movements are quite subtle. Could it be that all of the pro-gay things happening within so many denominations is simply god telling people, one more time, that what they thought he means isn’t what he did mean? it happened with the abominations of eating pork. It happened with the ordination of women. It happened with the ending of slavery and of Jim Crow. And now is happening with gay people.

    Something to consider.

  • I refuse to post a side in this discussion, but I will ask you to please NOT judge a person’s heart – gay or straight.

  • If the scenario you posit proves true, then on the basis of an active, though subtle, God, His will and intent should be made plain soon enough.

  • I don’t need to. I just listen to the Lord. Homosexuals are not going to see the Kingdom of Heaven – that tells you right there.
    There is also:

    1 John 2: 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,”

    1 John 1:6 – If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

    1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

    Galatians 6:7-8
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

    1 John 3: 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

    and on and on Trish.

  • How about the money be spent on the exposal and disposal of the men intentionally creating the “poor” out of a satanic greed, especially the ‘christian’ thugs, instead of ignoring and pretending?

    As I said, ‘ritual, routine, confusion, delusion’… its all there. It’s what it means to be a ‘pharisee’. They become programmed, robotic, backbiting, rambling. It slowly overwhelms their ability to comprehend and reason. Few ever free themselves

  • Np, crabbies know no better.

    When you accept him you become a part of the KoG.

    He said, “God is a spirit”.

    Try following him, instead of worshiping him.

  • Matthew 7:3
    “And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye?

  • Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex“marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God mustbe opposed to it. Moreover, even the word “marry” is a religious term. See e.g., Institute of Marriage Research & Studies (, their Etymology page.

  • Sad to see this happening, the Bible scriptures declare that the churches is headed for apostasy in the later days, and by putting abominations in church office it is certainly an act of apostasy in God’s eyes. We will only abide in a church that abides in keeping to God instructions according to KJV bible scriptures written to keep people from falling into sexual sin and what God deems abominations to God. My heart goes out to these lost souls who choose to try to change church guidelines instead of repenting and allowing God to be the leader of a new life free of the bonds of sexual sin.

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