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Historic United Methodist church sees ‘hopeful’ time for LGBTQ Christians

The Rev. Myron McCoy preaches Jan. 20, 2019, at First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

CHICAGO (RNS) — The Rev. Myron McCoy is looking for a miracle.

Or maybe a few of them.

McCoy, senior pastor of the historic First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple, dreams of the day when the church, which predates the founding of Chicago, will be filled with disciples ready to transform the world.

He also dreams of an end to what he called “exclusionary” language toward LGBTQ United Methodists in the denomination’s Book of Discipline.


RELATED: A flourishing United Methodist church considers a way out


Both require divine intervention, he said in a sermon about the wedding at Cana — in which Jesus turns water into wine — during a service on a recent wintry morning in Chicago.

“Believe in the miracle, and God can perform it today,” he said in the Jan. 20 sermon.

First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple, left, is located opposite Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

McCoy soon may know if one of his prayers will be answered.

Next week, United Methodists from around the world will gather in St. Louis for a special session of the church’s General Conference.

United Methodists are looking to the meeting of the denomination’s decision-making body, which begins on Feb. 23, to end a decades-long stalemate over the status of LGBTQ church members.

Its Book of Discipline currently states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church. But United Methodists have been divided on their beliefs about sexuality since the 1972 General Conference added that language to the denomination’s rulebook.

At a contentious General Conference in 2016 in Portland, Ore., delegates voted to defer any decisions regarding sexuality to a commission, later appointed by bishops, called the Commission on a Way Forward.

The Commission on A Way Forward eventually proposed three different plans:

  • The One Church Plan, which would allow individual churches and regional annual conferences to decide whether to ordain and marry their LGBTQ members.
  • The Traditional Plan, which would strengthen enforcement of current language in the denomination’s rulebook regarding LGBTQ people.
  • The Connectional Conference Plan, which would reorganize United Methodist churches by conferences based on theology rather than geography.

Delegates to the St. Louis meeting will consider these plans and at least two others — including one called the Simple Plan, which would strike the language about sexuality from the Book of Discipline.

Headed into the meeting, LGBTQ-affirming United Methodists are divided over which plan to support — and what they’ll do if the Traditional Plan passes.

“We have talked about the plans. We have tried to give the information,” said Peg Isaacson, chair of the Reconciling Ministries Task Force at First United Methodist Church.

“But until we know what’s really going to happen, we didn’t want to be doom and gloom — because we’re hopeful.”

Faith United Methodist Church held the Winter Warming event hosted by the Reconciling Ministries Network on Jan. 19, 2019, in Dolton, Ill. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Rev. Sally Dyck, bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, said the denomination has been working to explain those plans to its members — but nobody knows what will happen at the meeting, what plan will win approval or how it might be amended.

“Most likely, it will not be full inclusion for everybody everywhere, and that makes us sad and still creates pain,” she said. “But in many places such as Northern Illinois, there can be open inclusion, and the One Church Plan would allow for that.”

That’s the plan Dyck is supporting, because she believes it would move the church forward. It’s also the plan the denomination’s Council of Bishops has recommended.

It’s possible the special session could be bogged down in the same petitions and points of order that have paralyzed past General Conference meetings.

But, the bishop said, “I just think a lot of people in the church really are praying that we can truly find a way forward where we could live together and be one body of Christ.”

Dyck braved a mid-January snowstorm to attend Winter Warming, an annual gathering of the Northern Illinois Conference chapter of Reconciling Ministries Network. This year’s meeting was held Jan. 19 at Faith United Methodist Church in suburban Dolton, Illinois.

Reconciling Ministries is a network of United Methodists that has advocated for LGBTQ inclusion in the church since the 1980s, which counts 961 churches and other groups and more than 35,000 individuals among its supporters, according to its website.

Not surprisingly, talk about the special session dominated the gathering.

Bishop Yvette Flunder, center, speaks during a panel discussion at a Winter Warming event on Jan. 19, 2019, at Faith United Methodist Church in Dolton, Ill. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston, a keynote speaker at Winter Warming, said the bishops’ recommended plan would “continue to relegate queer folks to, at best, the kiddie table within the United Methodist Church.”

Williams advocated instead for the Simple Plan, which he said embodies the “love ethic” of Jesus and affirms the humanity of LGBTQ people.

After showing a reenactment of Sojourner Truth’s famous speech asking, “Ain’t I a woman?” the pastor referenced his own baptism and confirmation and shared his story of coming out to his congregation.

“Ain’t I a Christian?” he asked.

Jan Lawrence, executive director of Reconciling Ministries, shared plans to pack the special session with observers wearing rainbow stoles as a sign of support for LGBTQ inclusion. The group also plans to greet delegates each day with a kind word and smile and to invite all to worship together after the meeting has ended, whatever the outcome.

“Protest also is an act of love,” pointed out Rev. Pamela Lightsey, vice president of academic and student affairs at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

Rev. Gregory Gross, a General Conference delegate and organizer with the Queer Clergy Caucus, said his goal for the special session is “liberation and justice for queer people.” At the very least, he hopes to stop the Traditional Plan, which he said is “evil and hurtful, and it kicks me out of the church for who I am.”

“At what point do we turn the tables and walk out?” he said.


RELATED: Kenyan United Methodists oppose allowing LGBT clergy, pray for church unity worldwide


Reconciling Ministries hasn’t decided what to do if the Traditional Plan passes, according to Lawrence. But its board has committed to remaining advocates for LGBTQ people in the church, no matter what happens, she said.

And she sees it as “a hopeful time at Reconciling Ministries Network.”

“It’s a time of renewal. It’s a time of planning for the future,” she said. “So, on top of the tension that everybody feels, there’s a lot of hope.”

After the Jan. 20 church service, First United Methodist’s Social Justice Committee gathered in the church basement over pizza to talk about the upcoming special session and to discuss what they’d learned at the Winter Warming event.

First United Methodist’s Social Justice Committee discusses issues on Jan. 20, 2019, in downtown Chicago. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

First United Methodist is the oldest church in Chicago, according to its website. It joined the Reconciling Ministries Network in 1996 and decided to allow weddings for same-sex couples after the state of Illinois made it legal in 2014.

Today, it’s one of the largest congregations in the Northern Illinois Conference, with 532 members, active music and justice ministries and a rapidly growing Stephen Ministry that trains laypeople to provide support to those going through difficult times, according to the Rev. Wendy Witt, the church’s associate pastor.


RELATED: Methodist General Conference to discuss LGBT issues — again


Isaacson, the church’s Reconciling Ministries chair, said her takeaway from the Winter Warming event was the importance of standing up and being counted in support of the Simple Plan.

But Piers Fetters, manager of family ministries at the church, joked that the plan could become the “Jill Stein” of the special session, drawing support away from the One Church Plan.

Witt encouraged the committee to pray and talk and think about what the church should do following the special session if the outcome isn’t what they hope.

If the Simple Plan or One Church Plan passes, “virtually nothing changes” for the Reconciling congregation, Witt said. But if the Traditional Plan passes, she said, the congregation has “some major decisions to make.”

They could form an exploratory committee. They could leave. They could stay.

They haven’t decided yet, Isaacson said, “because we don’t want to see the church split up.

“We just want to see things being done the way Christ expects us to do, and we are not drawing lines in the sand and saying if we don’t get our way, we’re walking.”

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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  • Speaking as a sixty year-old gay man, I wish I could be as hopeful as the Methodists in Chicago are about the future of LGTB Christians. When I came out in 1976 the nation was celebrating the bicentennial, Jimmy Carter was president, gay people were forming communities in large urban areas, the mood of the nation was happy, the Vietnam War was over, and everything seemed to be on the up-and-up. In my youthful naiveté I foolishly assumed that people would evolve, would begin to understand that the lies they’d been told about people like me were just that – lies to demonize us as the very worst of humanity, worse even than murderers. I can well remember hearing it said over and over again, “I’d rather my son be a murderer than a homosexual.” Seriously.

    Now, four decades later, I realize that my youthful naiveté prevented me from understanding exactly to what extent people would cling to their prejudices, more even than they cling to their guns and their willful ignorance. And now, to cap it all off, we have Donald Trump, whose so-called “presidency” is providing a sense of legitimacy to every form of bigotry known to man. While Trump / Pence’s homophobic agenda, quietly being implemented behind the scenes, isn’t being trumpeted by the media who are too busy chasing Trump’s latest outrage du jour, it’s arguably worse now than it was when I came out. At least back then there was a Supreme Court that was more amenable to the advancement of civil rights for minority groups than the current court illegitimately filled by four conservatives who are appointments of the illegitimate presidencies of George Bush (placed their by a corrupt court) Donald Trump (placed there by Vladimir Putin) and Mitch McConnell, who outrageously deprived President Obama of his legitimate choice.

    But there is one ray of hope – young people aren’t buying the same bullsh*t their parents and grandparents did, which is why they’re leaving religion in droves. Given a few million more funerals, I do have some faith that young people won’t make the same mistakes as their elders. But I’ll still keep my hopefulness in check – when young people have children they tend to revert back to their old ways. Having witnessed several cycles of advancement and retrenchment regarding gay rights, at this point I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • “But, the bishop said, “I just think a lot of people in the church really are praying that we can truly find a way forward where we could live together and be one body of Christ.” You cannot be one body in Christ endorsing homosexuality. You walk away from everything Christ taught when you do such.

    “Williams advocated instead for the Simple Plan, which he said embodies the “love ethic” of Jesus and affirms the humanity of LGBTQ people.” There is nothing denying the “humanity” of homosexuals, except homosexuals themselves. Christ called what they do “shameful acts”, “against nature”, “an error”, so trying to allude that Christ made them that way, is granting themselves wisdom that even Christ didn’t have, hence, greater than humanity,

    “First United Methodist is the oldest church in Chicago, according to its website. It joined the Reconciling Ministries Network in 1996 and decided to allow weddings for same-sex couples after the state of Illinois made it legal in 2014.”
    That is so against scripture, that they should not be calling themselves “followers of Christ”.

    “Witt encouraged the committee to pray and talk and think about what the church should do following the special session if the outcome isn’t what they hope.” The question being, should they stay Christian, or remain heathen?

    ““We just want to see things being done the way Christ expects us to do, and we are not drawing lines in the sand and saying if we don’t get our way, we’re walking.” Then follow Christ. Homosexuality is a sin that places people in Hell

  • no one hates homosexuals – Christians just don’t want to see them dead in Hell. If that dehumanizes homosexuals, well then, what is your priority?

  • If they cannot help the way that they are… as much time and effort seems to reveal is the case… then they hardly dehumanize themselves. And if it were the case that they were being dehumanized by such an incredible power, God could hardly condemn them for it.

  • They can help the way they are. They chose homosexuality over heterosexuality. They can choose back and with God’s help, they will be victorious
    Christ has condemned them from the beginning for their choices. He is also fair and just to forgive their sin should they turn to Him, renounce their sin, and follow Him, as every Christian has done for eons.

  • Absolutely, the other people (homosexual “advocates”) leading them to Hell in the name of “equality”

  • Every time is “a hopeful time for LGBTQ Christians”, for every single day they can turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of all their sins (including homosexuality), and enter the path of salvation.

    “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

  • Getting close to Crunch Time, Methodists. The Big Conference media cycle has already begin. Won’t get to kick THIS can down the road anymore. It’s time to either Live — or Die. Wrong Vote equals Die.l

    What will it be?

  • WHAT?! What, again, is “‘The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching’ and … ‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church”, all called? “Language”?!

    According to Oxford Universities Dictionary, “language [means] the style of a piece of writing or speech … usually as bad/foul/strong language [hence] coarse or offensive”. That means the United Methodists’ “Book of Discipline” in its entirety stinks from this “bad/foul/strong language [hence] coarse or offensive”?! WOW.

  • If you ever see that Rev. McCoy preaching at your church, quickly run to the place that can be seen over his right hand .

  • Rev. McCoy’s “dream” is most likely a misguided delusion.
    The only thing sadder than watching churches die is watching them remain ignorant as to why they perish. I was baptized and confirmed into what is now a part of (liberal) mainstream Protestantism—the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]. There I learned the richness of faith and the Scriptures, the significance of Jesus, and the Creeds, the divine beauty of The Lord’s Prayer and Sacraments.
    Since the 1960s, its “Christianity” consisted of lockstep kowtowing to the left-wing platform of the Democrat Party (those guys who now even boo the name of God), chock-full-of saccharine pieties under euphemisms like “social justice, equality, reproductive justice, economic justice, and fair share.” Those were merely clever masquerades for a toxic blend of “blame America first” screeds, socialist activism, abortion-on-demand, discriminatory racial quotas, LGBTQ-mania and hostility to free enterprise now supplemented with fascist street displays to enforce these ideas. The socialist economic model (which has historically always failed) was covered by a holy veneer: Jesus had morphed into a barefoot Marxist hawking mainly “economic justice”. The response of congregations within liberal Protestant churches? An unprecedented stampede —- right out the front door.
    Sanctimony is useless when it yields no results or manufactures new lies to preserve its credo-impoverished existence.
    Or maybe they merely suffer from bad karma.

  • Neither can a kleptomaniac or pedophile “help the way they are”. Therefore, do we sanctify their behaviors because of that?

  • If they act on sinful impulses, and in fact give themselves over to them and glorify them, they dehumanize themselves.

    It is our ability to control our impulses with reason that differentiates us from the brute animals.

    You don’t preach to your cat (I hope).

    You’ll notice no one is suggesting that kleptomaniacs be given free rein and smooth sailing.

  • The main vehicle for enacting individual rights in America is the Supreme Court. This is why people who do not believe in individual rights stole it. The young people will have to get it back after they suffer a flood of poor decisions and wake up to what they lost. Could take a long, long time, unless John Roberts decides that being an American is more important than being a conservative.

  • The main vehicle for enacting individual rights in America is the Constitution.

    You and some of your friends think the Supreme Court is both the author of the Constitution and the ultimate legislator.

    Wrong on both counts.

  • “Rev. Gregory Gross, a General Conference delegate and organizer with the Queer Clergy Caucus, said his goal for the special session is ‘liberation and justice for queer people’. At the very least, he hopes to stop the Traditional Plan, which he said is ‘evil and hurtful, and it kicks me out of the church for who I am’.”

    From 1st Corinthians chapter 6:

    “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    TheTraditional Plan that Reverend Gross calls “evil and hurtful” is simply the reaffirmation of the clear meaning of scripture—and not just scripture but NEW TESTAMENT scripture, what is expected of Christians under the New Covenant. He can walk away from that if he wishes, but that means walking away from what it is to be a Christian.

  • The Church teaches against killing and holds to the Theory of just war. Yet, if someone feels their calling is to be a soldier, and risk being sent to kill in an unjust war, we allow them to follow their conscience.

    Many men have been great leaders and preacher’s despite such service.

    Why would we allow an exception for conscience in something as grave as the taking of life and destruction of nations… but not for homosexuality, which kills no one?

  • The pedophile harms others, and can be controlled. Whats more, their actions are incompatible with sanctification.

    The Church has been witnessing numerous cases of active gay and lesbian persons who display the marks of sanctification. But this should be impossible with a grave, unrepented sin.

  • The Church teaches against murder. It does not teach against killing.

    The competent authority to determine whether a war is just is the state through its legislative and executive processes. It would only be in the very clearest and egregious circumstances that a person in military service could place her or his personal judgment before the state’s.

    The Catholic Catechism describes it thusly:

    “2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. “

    So, we are not allowing an exception for conscience for being in military service, and there is no general prohibition against war per se.

    In the case of homosexual activity (not orientation) the activity itself is objectively immoral both by Positive Law – direct prohibition in Scripture – and by Natural Law.

    That leaves no “conscience” exception.

  • “…active gay and lesbian members who display the marks of sanctification.”

    Bah!

    “And no wonder, for even Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

    Those who reject the Word and the clear teaching of the Church have no part in Christ.

  • The Church teaches that killings is always evil, even if it is the lesser evil in a given situation.

    The state has the authority to engage in war, not the ability to declare a war just. The very terms of the catechism speak of repelling aggressors and defense… it is hinting at the requirements for just war.

    We allow quite a broad interpretation of this as well. To my knowledge, no one has ever been denied the sacrament for being an unrepentant war criminal, murderous dictator, or an enforcer for either.

    The positive law is in question due to our picking and choosing of which Levitical laws to follow. Whether natural law has any qualm with homosexuality is also in question.

  • “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” JN 13:35

    Apparently, sanctification isn’t something that can truly faked. The devil is unmasked, but several of our lgbt brethren continue to display the marks of sanctification.

  • The Church teaches that murder – wrongful killing – is a moral evil.

    It does not teach that all killing is a moral evil. Like death itself killing may be thought of as an “evil” in the sense that it would unnecessary in an unfallen creation, but killing is not per se a moral evil.

    Since whether a war is just is a prudential judgment, the prudential judgment must be rendered by the authority competent to do so. If every Tom, Dick, and Sally were competent, the state would be unable to defend itself.

    No, the positive law in question does not involve picking and choosing which Levitical law bind. The Council of Jerusalem settled that. The ritual and cultic laws do not bind Christians, but the moral law bind entirely. If picking and choosing were involved, it would be a prudential judgment rather than a positive law.

    There is no question that homosexual behavior (not homosexuality itself, which is an orientation) is immoral under the Old Covenant, the New Covenant, and the Natural Law.

    I understand that your denomination has tried to argue otherwise, but even in its own communion it is an outlier.

  • While lawful killing may be justifiable, the Church still doesn’t recognize it as good. It means that such a great evil was threatened that killing became necessary. It is a morally neutral act at best, but the result of a fallen creation none the less.

    If the state is its own judge and jury on the justness of a war, then all is futile. The Church has surrendered moral authority and is nothing. But tradition teaches that the state is not an unquestionable authority unto itself. Prudential judgement does not rig morality in favor of the state’s prerogative.

    The Council of Jerusalem gave no such account, since it kept some aspects of ritual law intact (no eating blood or strangled animals). There is argument over whether the holiness codes are purely moral or a mix of moral prohibitions and ritual ones, so even that division becomes meaningless.

    If it is in the created nature of same-sex attracted people, as so many cases appear to demonstrate, then it is not against Natural Law. It fulfills the ends of marriage.

  • Your misusing the term “evil”.

    In English it is an equivocal word with numerous meanings.

    Doing something immoral involves moral evil.

    Killing is not, per se, a moral evil.

    If the State is the competent judge of the justness of a war, and it is, then your role in judging the justness of a war is limited to two options: making your personal beliefs known to your representative(s); declining to participate in an act or acts which clearly are per se immoral, e.g., machine gunning prisoners of war as an expedient to housing them.

    Otherwise there will be no state and every man becomes his own legislator, judge, and executor.

    The Council of Jerusalem laid the groundwork for the distinctions the Church made, which recognized the moral precepts of the Old Law as amended by Christ, but dispensed with the cultic obligations.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2100.htm

    The error in your statement

    “If it is in the created nature of same-sex attracted people, as so many cases appear to demonstrate, then it is not against Natural Law.”

    can be seen with these two edited versions:

    “If it is in the created nature of kleptomaniacs to steal, as so many cases appear to demonstrate, then it is not against Natural Law.”

    “If it is in the created nature of pedophiles to seek sex with children, as so many cases appear to demonstrate, then it is not against Natural Law.”

    The inclinations noted are not as man was intended, but the result of the Original Fall, which damaged human nature and which also leads to aging, disease, death, and other imperfections.

  • Killing does not incur moral judgement if it is necessary for the the preservation of order under the state, or is an unintended act in the course of self-defense. Even those exceptions never name killing as a moral good, but as necessity or accident.

    Augustine had a view similar to yours, but earlier Church tradition forbid Christian involvement in any violence, and later tradition (Aquinas and his following) do not grant the government the sole ability to define its own justness in war. The catechism falls closer to those traditions in enshrining a protection for those whose conscience forbids them from bearing arms.

    The Church itself declares bounds on the state’s action in the Catechism.

    We can demonstrate that pedophilia and stealing are contrary to Natural Law because they cause some form of harm to others.

    That is not evident in homosexuality. When a homosexual couple remains in a committed relationship for decades, growing in virtue and love of neighbor, it would appear to be ordained by God under Natural Law and the ends it proposes for marriage. We could not expect such a flawless parody of virtue and faithfulness. It would make goodness incomprehensible, and Natural Law could not stand.

  • Of course it involves moral judgements. Someone has to decide whether or not it is necessary. That judgment could be erroneous. Human judgment is subject to errors.

    We dispensed with the alleged earlier Church tradition which – according to you – forbade Christian involvement in any violence. It did not.

    That is an erroneous, and minority, view.

    The Church provides guidelines and rules and the moral framework, but only in the most extreme situations where every fact is known and the State is clearly outside the moral boundaries does it intervene and make a declaration.

    Sometimes following the Natural Law results in harm to others. That is only applicable if rather than following Natural Law we are doing Situation Ethics.

    Even if a homosexual couple remains in a committed relationship for decades, because their activity is morally prohibited they cannot be “growing in virtue”.

  • I mean moral judgement as in moral culpability, not just discernment.

    That is the Catechism’s view, and therefore the majority view.

    No, the Church lays out very stringent requirements for Just War. It doesn’t have a process for actually protesting and censuring where injustice wars are fought, which is a shame.

    Natural Law itself does not result in harm to others, but sin’s intervention in the course of life. Without sin, we would all seek our natural ends without killing or violence.

    Exactly. Living with unrepented sin prohibits growing in virtue. So the growing witness of same-sex couples who apparently do just that throws into question whether their marriages are contrary to Natural Law.

  • So the growing witness of same-sex couples is that the moral law insofar as the Episcopal Church is concerned is a dead letter.

  • “The marks of sanctification” allegedly displayed by some lgbt “Christians” are utterly bogus. Signs of sanctification can be faked, as can even wonders (miracles) – as our Lord witnessed:

    “Many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many, for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:11,24)

    Your alleged “signs of sanctification” are the signs of the lgbt false prophets, intended to deceive the faithful, and draw them to destruction.

    Those who reject the Word and the clear teaching of the Church have no part in Christ.

  • So which is it: can we be known by our love, or is it impossible to actually see sanctification at work in someone’s life? Do we take Jesus’ words seriously, or add to his words about false prophets performing miracles to include sanctification, making his other statements about visible goodness in his followers into lies?

  • We accept and take seriously the entirety of Christ our God’s teaching on the subject.

    This requires discernment on our part – being “as wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16) – in order to unmask false prophets. They may manifest any number of signs and wonders -even simulate “love” – but if they reject the Word and the clear teaching of the Church, the love of God is not in them, and they have no part in Christ.

  • If I may step in here – to be sanctified, on must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour – if one is not following Jesus – they are not following the Lord – hence not “sanctified”
    Hence homosexuals are not sanctified

  • We are to love Christ first and to show Him that love, we are to follow His commands. He commanded homosexuality to be a sin worthy of death

  • Christ is not recorded saying anything against homosexuality. He did accuse Moses of making the law wrong when it came to divorce though. Kind of makes one question the entire framework of the law when it comes to sexual ethics.

  • People addicted to a particular sin are often in denial about its sinfulness.

    For example:

    “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats, and wipes her mouth, and says ‘I have done nothing wrong'”. (Proverbs 30:20)

    And your initial statement – “Homosexuality is only a sin if you are a heterosexual” – is false. Homosexuals who have repented of that sin will also tell you that it is a sin.

  • The same was said of the gentiles who were not circumcised. And yet Peter and Paul recognized the Holy Spirit sanctifying many gentiles without circumcision. These people were not following the law… yet God was with them.

  • Then let us discern. Over time, it will become clear to the Church if tens of thousands of lgbt Christians are just somehow faking virtue and sanctification. But if that is not the case, as many in the Church are beginning to believe from their own observation, we may need to entertain the idea that Moses was wrong about divorce and homosexuality.

  • kronzy – Christ is God. He said everything about the sin of homosexuality – from destroying S&G to the book of revelation where he condemns the sin to being kept out of the Kingdom.
    Jesus’ disciples taught against the sin.
    Also, there is no question on the law – Christ quoted it, Paul upheld it.

  • and what the Bible says about Divorce needs to be followed. It is sin to divorce and to remarry is adultery so lets get those folks right too. Please tell me how you addessing the fact that you have adulterers in your church so we can all learn to follow all those tezchings. Will that be on the agenda too? Becaue if we are cleaning up sin and following the Bible then this needs immediate attention. Now I would guess you have no reply for this concern and that tells everyone what you are really all about

  • and divorce is againdt the bible teachings. please tell us how to fix this. all those who remarry and stay remarried are adulterers. please help.

  • and dont you also want to save all those divorced people in the church. Bible says if they remarry they are adulterers and as as long as they stay remarried they remain in sin. please tell us how to save them and that they should come to church when they are no longer living in sin.

  • thats why we need to stop full involvement in church of divorced and remarried people. The Bible teaches that they are adulterers. Please tell us what to do here too.

  • hey can provide that same justjustifica stuff for why the Bible teaches no to divorce and remarrying neans people are adulterers. I really need to understand why people alliw adulterers in our churches and that some are even pastors. please help get the word out on this. Divorce has spread to every church even though the Bible says its a no go.

  • The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah revolved around rape, and is later said to be about mistreatment of the widow and Orphan in Isaiah. Not homosexuality.

    The word that some New Testaments have translated as “homosexuality” since the seventies is in question. Before the sexual revolution, it was almost universally translated as pedophilia or more general sexual immorality.

    Christ called the law into question, and not just on ritual. He also called our Moses’ teaching on divorce as being wrong, teaching that divorce was not God’s intent.

    How much of the law is like that, fitting with Moses’ ideas rather than God’s? If we see God at work in the lgbt Christians, we will be forced to rethink our understanding of the law, just as was done at Jerusalem for the gentiles.

  • The discernment process entails ascertaining whether or not they are in agreement with the Word and the clear teaching of the Church for the past 2000 years.

    Right out of the gate, they fail.

    Having rejected both the Word and the teaching of the Church, it is clear that they are deceived, and have no part in Christ.

  • To some people, sinning is natural, being gay isn’t. I wonder if they would feel that way even if their religion didn’t forbid it?

  • No. The sin of S&G was about homosexual sex – as outlined in Peter and in Jude – by Christ’s disciples.

    Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire

    2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the SENSUAL CONDUCT of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);
    Rape is hardly “sensual conduct”. The men tried to have sex with the angels, they were turned down, and their lusts were so strong, that blinded by the angles, they still tried to have sex with them. You cannot rape someone when you are blind, and, the rape would have been forced homosexual sex.

    The late 1300 Wycliffe Bible called homosexuality “lechery with men” – homosexuality.

    Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts but it was not that way in the beginning.
    Where did Christ call the law into question – please provide me with scripture and verse.
    God will not work in homosexuals as He will not share us with satan.

  • repent of your sins for forgiveness.
    Just because someone else sins, does not make homosexuality an un-sin

  • Paul corrected Peter on that assertion. Circumcision is not necessary.
    One becomes a follower of Jesus on accepting what He did for them, and agreeing to follow Him. Homosexuals do not follow Christ who said that homosexuality is a sin worthy of death.

  • Christ did not say anything against homosexuality.

    If we want to say that Christ ordained the law, then he ordained all of it. Not just part.

  • Christ taught everything there is about homosexuality – and He condemned it.
    I trust that you know Christ is God, the Word of the Bible, who breathed scripture.
    The civil and ceremonial laws were fulfilled by Christ. He brought the moral laws into the NT

  • So they were turned down, but still tried to have sex with them, but it wasn’t rape… that is a very unique definition of rape.

    Lechery is a catch-all term in the Wycliffe bible for every kind of sexually immoral act. It is hard to say that it specifically means homosexuality rather than pedophilia or rape, based on just how much the word is used for.

    In Matthew 8:9 Jesus says that the Law on divorce does not reflect God’s will, and is Moses’ invention.

  • Who decides what is civil/ceremonial vs what is moral? The Jews say there is a strong moral reason for some of the dietary restrictions, such as not mixing cheese and meat.

    Also, where did he ever make this separation? Circumcision was abrogated for baptism, but the dietary restrictions were not taken away entirely.

  • Rape in that instance was forced homosexual sex that they couldn’t get them to agree to.
    As I indicated, their lusts were so intense, blinded they still tried to find the men.
    Lechery is lechery and is synonymous with homosexuality.
    1 Corinthians 6:9 Whether ye know not, that wicked men shall not wield the kingdom of God? Do not ye err; neither lechers, neither men that serve maumets [neither men serving to idols], neither adulterers, neither lechers against kind, neither they that do lechery with men…”
    Very clearly referring to what we now call homosexuality.

    “The Committee for Bible Translation released the 2011 New International Version of the Bible, one of the changes made to the text was to make verses that address homosexuality clearer.

    “These included 1 Corinthians 6:9, having the term “homosexual offenders” changed to “men who have sex with men” and Leviticus 18:22 having the phrase “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman,” changed to “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.”

    “”The 1984 NIV rendering … did not make clear whether homosexual activity per se was being condemned or whether only certain kinds of ‘offensive’ homosexual activity was being condemned,” explained Douglas J. Moo, chair of the committee, in a 2012 interview with CP. “The updated NIV makes clear that the Greek words here indicate any kind of homosexual activity.”

    Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/west-virginia-church-ejected-by-baptist-denomination-over-pastors-lgbt-activism-223599

    matthew 19:8 – English Standard Version

    He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” It was a concession, not a law.
    Christ also allowed divorce for adultery and when married to an unbeliever:

  • When reading a book, we have a book.
    The story can be broken down to preface, body, climax and ending.
    Same with the Laws bring categorized.
    Peter was told to eat – clean or unclean

  • “remarrying means people are adulterers”

    Only if the divorce was for reasons other than unfaithfulness, as Jesus taught. (Matthew 5:32)

    The Biblical teaching is not as strict as you pretend.

  • Go read Acts 15. This was decided by the Jerusalem Church, made up of the disciples and other observant Jewish believers many of whom had known Jesus personally, over 2000 years ago.

  • He did NOT accuse Moses of making the law wrong. The law of divorce was there because of sin fouling God’s creation design for marriage. Christ’s redemptive and restorative work, however, reinstates the creation design and makes it achievable once again through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.

  • The word is “arsenokoite,” and it is a compound word (made up of the two operative words from the Septuagint Leviticus 2013) and it literally means “man-bedders.” And it was always understood as just exactly that. It was never interpreted as pedophilia– that is late 20th-century propaganda.

    I addressed your assertions about the Law being “wrong” above. And nobody re-thought the law at Jerusalem. What they did was continue treating the Gentile believers as they had always treated “righteous” Gentiles: they expected them to observe the older and more generalized Noahide laws.

  • Great point Connie. We who deny the Bible’s teachings on divorce are no less guilty of willful sin than those who deny its teaching on same-gendered carnality.

  • Again Connie, your point that divorce is also sinful is valid, but I’m not sure what it has to do with this article. Why are you attacking other Christians?

  • Examination of same-sex Christians brings the commonly accepted “truth” into question. We have to do more work than just point to Leviticus and a word that Paul made up.

  • He said that Moses’ allowance was not according to God’s original intentions. What Christ never said was that it was not possible to live up to that view of marriage as binding before or that it was now possible through the Spirit.

  • Yes, and they kept some dietary restrictions in place, so it isn’t a clear guide to discerning which commandments bind us.

  • Medieval Latin understandings held that “arsenokoite” was related to prostitution. Martin Luther translated it as pedophilia, as did the first Italian translation. And none of these translators supported homosexuality, yet they could not bring themselves to translate that word in such a fashion.

    The only real exceptions to this is a Spanish vulgate from the 1500’s and the painfully contorted phrasing of later Christian translations.

  • “Every time is “a hopeful time for LGBTQ Christians”, for every single day they can turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of all their sins (including homosexuality), and enter the path of salvation.”

    No, instead of submitting the BS of control freaks . . .

    Every time is “a hopeful time for LGBTQ Christians”, for every single day they can turn to the Lord Jesus Christ rational thinking, repent of all reject their sins sinister religion (including homosexuality), and enter the path of non-delusional salvation.

  • The Holy Spirit did not reside in human beings or in human relationships before Christ. That is what Pentecost was all about.

    Christ indicated that some things were tolerated temporarily because of the hardness of the unregenerated heart. If what was barely tolerated then is unacceptable now, what was worthy of death then is not going to suddenly be OK just because we really really wanna.

  • It isn’t difficult to understand if you’re familiar with Noahide Law, the more ancient standard for non-Jews.

  • We could have an altogether different discussion about Luther and his problems with the Catholic clergy, and the various ways he found to target the immoral practices he felt they had introduced into Germany.

    However, the Zurich Bible which preceded Luther’s gave the correct translation: “mit Männern schlafen”

    The so-called “mystery” about arsenokoite disappears when you look at Lev. 20:13 in the Septuagint:

    kai os an koimeetee meta arsenos koiten gynaikos bdelugma epoieesan amphoteroi thanatousthoosan enokhoi eisin

    We have many Koine Greek compound words that follow the same pattern as arsenokoite. They are not mysterious in the slightest. Neither is this one. We no longer live in a delicate and euphemistic age. There is no reason not to simply use the literal translation: “man-bedders.”

  • Whether or not the Holy Spirit resides in humans before Pentecost is never stated one way or the other. It was present and active in creation, and as one person of the Trinity is also involved in holding creation in existence. Pentecost was definitely a new relationship between the Church and the Spirit.

    Christ spoke about divorce in such a way. But we extend the logic of it as you say. If not, then slavery is acceptable, as is polygamy.

    Why apply that logic to those moral issues, but not question others under the same logic?

  • Maybe Jerome and an entire age of scholars lied about the meaning of the word or used inexact euphemisms because of their tender sensibilities.

    Or they didn’t lie for the sake of their own comfort on this one word while being fine with raging against homosexuality in other matters.

  • The church repudiates both polygamy and slavery for the same reason — it does not comport with God’s original creation design which Jesus came to restore.

  • Does the Noahide Law entail following parts of the dietary codes? The idea of the Noahide Law is a man made concept that finds no direct reference in the actual story of Noah.

  • How did the Church come to that conclusion though? The law doesn’t speak against it, and neither does Jesus or the disciples. The closest thing is the line in Timothy about a Bishop only having one wife.

    If we can take other parts of the law and test them, why is the law against same-sex relations somehow untouchable, even while we can change slavery and polygamy without any direct allusions in scripture?

  • Jerome used “masculorum concubitores” which simply means men who sleep with men. “Concubitores” comes from the combination of “con” (with) and “cubare” (to lie down).

    You haven’t been visiting “gaychristian,” have you?

  • God requires GREATER holiness of us than what the Law requires, not less, Kronzy.

    He wants us to live in the kind of communion and obedience to Him that he originally created us to experience.

    There were no slaves or “arsenokoites” in the garden.

  • You will find the prohibition on the consumption of blood in Genesis.

    The prohibition on the consumption of meat known to have been used in pagan sacrifice was about avoiding the appearance of condoning idol worship, an omnipresent difficulty in that time and place.

  • We aren’t in the garden. If you doubt that, then I would ask if your ethics on killing in self-defense and warfare also reflect that same standard, or if you suddenly fall back to the bare minimum of what the law requires.

    If Moses could twist the law to loosen its teaching on divorce, he could have also reflected his own thoughts on same-sex relationships. That teaching of the law should be tested to see if it isn’t also a peculiarity rather than God’s design.

  • The logic about food sacrificed to idols is what Paul promoted, but it isn’t clear that it was the Council’s.

    Also, they also kept the regulation against strangled animals, which means they either didn’t understand Noahide Law or were not implying its use.

  • Concubitores was already a noun referring to mistresses or male slaves used for the masters sexual pleasures by the first century. If Jerome wanted a different meaning when translating arsenokoites, he had a mastery of the language that would allow him to do so. But he would know better than to use a pre-existing word with a totally separate meaning to translate the word into.

  • Sure, Connie. As a divorced and remarried person, I’ve had plenty of time to listen to the Bible and senior pastoral counselors about those events, and to apply it personally. So the gay-activists’ debating & shaming tactics simply don’t work on me. I don’t have to back down from affirming the Bible’s opposition to gay marriage, gay dating, gay self-identity, and practicing gay clergy.

    So, you ask “how to fix this.” Step One is simply to study the Bible information on divorce and remarriage, yes? Here’s a quick-reading, easy-understood, Q&A Bible page. You may find it helpful.

    https://carm.org/what-does-bible-teach-about-divorce

  • Do you have a better explanation of the sacrificial meat prohibition than Paul’s, who knew and had talked with all of the members of the Council’s?

    Strangled animals can not be properly bled.

  • “He has placed before you fire and water;
    stretch out you hand for whichever you wish.
    Before a man are life and death;
    and whichever he chooses will be given to him.” (Sirach 15:16-7)

    You have chosen the way of death.

  • The earth is not the garden, certainly, but believers are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, in which they are expected to live in the “creation design” kind of communion with God and each other.

    Moses twisted nothing. Divorce was a temporary concession to the corrupted human condition. The Spirit calls us to greater purity.

  • Any sexual activity outside of a holy marriage relationship is concubinage, and prostitution as well, regardless of the status or power of either party. This is something that Jerome, a Christian familiar with the entirety of scripture, understood, but many non-believers influenced by pop culture notions about sexuality have difficulty with the concept.

  • That is an interesting take on sexual immorality and prostitution, but I am not convinced it is at all historical. Latin has several words to describe sexual immorality: if they all amounted to prostitution, then there would only be one.

  • I agree that Christians are called to live on earth as that foretaste of heaven come down to earth. I don’t know about ascribing too much to a “creation design.” The Church used such an understanding for a long time to allow slavery and the treatment of women as second class citizens.

    If Moses made no change, why does Jesus blame Moses for the looseness of that law?

  • Homosexuals should not pretend they are heterosexual. They should also not pretend they are not homosexual sinners.
    They should rather turn to the Lord, admit their attraction to homosexual sins, and repent of them. Some may be too deeply hurt by this sin to enter into any heterosexual relationship, but they can be helped in their struggle through prayer, fasting, Communion when permitted, and confession. As Jesus said: “whoever wants to be my disciple must die to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

    The road to salvation lies through the Cross.

    There is no other way.

  • It reads more like a compromise than a hard set of rules. Paul later says it isn’t necessary to follow any dietary restrictions in his own writing, suggesting that the few dietary restrictions of the council had nothing to do with Noahide laws.

    If the Pharisee of Pharisee’s did not mention Noahide laws or constrain Christians to them, it seems unlikely that those lacking such training would gravitate to the concept.

    The Noahide laws also bring up the question of that civil/moral distinction. The Noahide laws include those civil/ritual rules of the diet. So how does that help us distinguish which of the larger law code applies to us?

  • Why would Paul need to elaborate on what was already the standard church understanding about eating blood?

    Sacrificial meat presented a difficulty in that one might be eating it in someone else’s house without knowing it was sacrificial. Paul’s teaching explored the rationale behind the rule in order to come up with a way of dealing with that difficulty.

    The Noahide law is not difficult, Kronzy. It can mostly be boiled down to the law of love, plus abstention from blood and sexual immorality. Those last predate the Torah, as you can plainly see from reading first Genesis 9, then the entirety of Leviticus 20 which states that God judged and rejected the pre-Israelite Gentile peoples of Canaan for the stated sexual practices long before there ever was a Torah.

  • I must have missed something –where does the scripture mention slaves in Eden? Or the oppression of women?

    Eve was so “oppressed” by Adam that he did exactly as she told him to. The horror! 😀

    Jesus didn’t blame Moses for the looseness of divorce law. He blamed the hardness of men’s unregenerated hearts.

  • Yes, why would Paul need to elaborate and claim that no dietary restrictions are binding? His explanation completely does away with the Noahide requirement outside of respecting the conscience of those who hold to those dietary requirements.

    The Noahide Law might be simple, and that is the problem. It doesn’t say enough when it comes to respecting our neighbors, standing against slavery, and keeping only one wife. It does not explain how the Church came to its current ethical stances.

  • For much of its history, the Church has taken the Eden story to say that women are less than men (coming from Adam’s rib rather than being a unique creation, and being the one that tricked Adam into falling). In the Roman era, the Church taught that slavery was valid because of the fall itself.

    These are the problems of making Eden a prototype. The Church itself has trouble deciding how to appropriate it for the Church’s ethics, and we could even say that it has failed in the attempt many times.

  • Latin was the language of the ancient Romans, whose sexual ethic was anything but scriptural.

    And Hebrew, in fact, actually DOES generally refer to all non-marital sexual activities by a general term for fornication, which in Hebrew is zanah and in Greek porneia. Jesus did the same in Matt. 15. The Jews did not go about inventing names for this that and the other variety, with the exception of niuph/moicheia (adultery) which is included in zanah/porneia but is more specific. As you can see in Lev.20, they simply said don’t defile yourself by sleeping with this person, or with that person, and so on and so forth.

  • You’re describing the fallen state. Everyone agrees that it is corrupt. E It was the PRE-fallen state that Jesus sought to restore.

    In that state, there was no slavery, no polygamy, no divorce, and no “arsenokoitai.”

  • That is my point. If Jerome wanted to get across a meaning of homosexuality, Latin was armed to do so. Instead, he uses a term that isn’t euphemistic for homosexuality, but rather has a very specific meaning.

    Hebrew has its own euphemisms built around sex that revolve around phrases rather than compound words. Just ask a Hebrew professor about Ruth grabbing Boaz’ “feet.”

  • How many slaves did God put in Eden, Kronzy? How many wives did He give Adam?

    That is how the Church came to those stances. Because Jesus told us that was the gold standard.

  • The description of women as secondary due to their place in the order of creation is not about the fallen state.

    Some interpreters have tried to read slavery into Eden, via the command to take dominion of the earth (Gen. 1:28). It just isn’t a self interpreting vision.

    I would rather look to the eschaton, which we are given more explicit detail on from the Prophets and New Testament.

  • Well, the same Jewish oral traditions that came up with a Noahide Law also came up with stories of Adam having another wife to explain the origins of giants and other humans for his children to wed. If we want to go off of that tradition…

    Jesus said that in relation to divorce, and even that is told differently in different gospels.

  • Jerome’s point wasn’t to “get across’ any meaning other than to translate Paul’s Koine Greek words of “bedding” (koite) a “man” (arsenos) into Latin words. Which, as I already demonstrated, is exactly what he did.

    To be frank, I don’t believe there is any way the biblical writers could have discussed this issue that someone would not have tried to explain away. I found the exact same thing years ago when I wanted to marry a man who was unscripturally divorced and I searched the scriptures for some way around Jesus’ plain and direct words that would allow me to do what I really REALLY wanna. I found any number of half-baked arguments — one claimed that the “fornication” Jesus allowed for as an exception included just about every kind of marital misbehavior, and another claimed that what Jesus was really prohibiting was sending your wife away without a required bill of divorcement…and so on and so forth ad infinitum. Simple honesty forced me to admit that it was all baloney. Jesus doesn’t want us to divorce our spouses to take up with someone else, period. It isn’t the Creator’s game plan. Just knowing that ought to be enough for us if we love Him.

    And look where this deliberate flouting of God’s ways has now led…to demands that we literally re-write the holy scriptures to allow us to celebrate even more of what God forbids. No thanks, Kronzy.

    You might want to check out the Midrash Rabbah Genesis’ thoughts on what the “last straw,” so to speak, was for Noah’s generation that God wiped out with a flood. It gives a whole new shade of meaning to Jesus’ curious warnings about all the “marrying and giving in marriage” that will be going on when the day of judgment unexpectedly arrives.

  • The origins of giants was explained in Genesis.

    He referred back to the creation design in response to a question about divorce. We can just as easily refer back to it to solve other questions, and we have.

    As for Jewish traditions, there’s one down below for you.

  • good question…why are Christians attacking other Christians…that is the point and why I asked questions as I have.

  • But that isn’t what Jerome did. He could have used different phrasing to be clear that this wasn’t the Roman concept of male concubines. He takes liberties elsewhere for such clarity, such as describing Tobit’s prayers by inserting things about abstinence. Instead, he uses a noun for a pre-existing concept other than just homosexuality.

  • The idea of women being secondary at all is the result of failure to understand the nature of God.

    In creating woman, God separated femininity out of masculinity, with a view to the two halves coming back together again in the marriage bond. Masculinity and femininity represent different aspects of God’s nature. They are not the same, their functions and roles are not the same, but neither is “secondary.” What part of God’s nature is “secondary?”

    “Some interpreters have tried to read slavery into Eden” So what else is new? “Some interpreters” are trying to read same-sex marriage into scripture, too.

    Sometimes I’d rather look to something else, too, but Jesus pointed to the creation model. He created it, after all.

  • Paraphrasing is not the job of the translator. If you stray from the text to use a phrasing that you think your audience might understand better, then you sacrifice fidelity to the text. Paraphrasing belongs in side notes.

    The KJV translators made that mistake when they substituted “abusers of themselves with mankind” when the text makes no mention whatsoever of “abuse.” The text says “man-bedders,” and that is what “masculorum concubitores” literally means.

    I agree that there were a number of words that Paul might have used, but he chose arsenokoite for a reason — it was more general than anything else that was available to him, coming as it did from Leviticus 20:13, which meaning we certainly understand.

  • Jerome doesn’t just paraphrase in places, he nearly adds whole extra sentences to the text to explain his meaning. Past interpreters were not as concerned with fidelity of the wooden meaning as much as the ideas.

    The words come from Leviticus 20:13, but they had never been put together into a single compound word before. Maybe we can assume Paul got them from Leviticus, but as to why he changed them into a compound word is a bit of a mystery. Was he trying to save space on the page? Did he mean something different himself?

  • I agree, seeing women as secondary is the result of failing to understand the nature of God.

    I also understand that a lot of assumption is needed to bring meaning out of the creation narrative and apply it to gender. Just look at 1 Timothy 2:11-15. If Paul wrote that, even he got it wrong!

  • It was not uncommon to form words this way in koine Greek. There are other examples in Greek writings. “Metrokoite” for mother-bedder, “doulukoite” for slave-bedder, “deuterokoite” for two-bedder, “polukoite” for many-bedder, and even one instance of anti-Christian graffiti “onokoite” for donkey-bedder. None of them are mysterious in any way.

  • Except that their meanings were not always so painfully obvious, as with the Greco-Roman “man-bedder” being an existing noun for male concubines.

    For example, scholars actually debate the meaning of “onokoite” as donkey-bedder, or donkey-begotten, or one from the bed of a donkey (a manger). The citation you mention is actually from Tertullian, who noted that he and a friend immediately laughed at it because the word was incorrectly compounded.

  • “Over time, it will become clear to the Church if tens of thousands of
    lgbt Christians are just somehow faking virtue and sanctification.”

    That’s been the Episcopal Church company line for over 40 years.

    It’s based on Gamaliel’s counsel.

    There are a couple of problems.

    The first, of course, is that it disregards revelation. The usual Episcopal line for that is “The Spirit is doing new things”.

    If the Spirit is doing new things that contradict both the Father and the Son, Trinitarians have a serious problem.

    The second is that the Episcopal Church is half the size it was when it started down this road, and of the remaining members half came from other churches where they got hacked off about same sex relations, divorce, birth control, or some other issue. In other words, maybe 25% are born Episcopalians.

    That seems to indicate that someone should take a look at what they’re doing. Fat chance.

    40+ years in the Living Church there was a cartoon with a procession heading into an Episcopal parish carrying a statue of the Buddha on a litter. One deacon is saying to the other “One more thing and I’ll leave!”

    At the time it was funny.

    It isn’t funny anymore.

  • Jesus as the divine Son, of course, was in a position to correct Moses.

    The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is not.

    Jesus did not say the Law on divorce did not reflect God’s will. To the contrary, he said that because of their hardness of heart God permitted divorce.

    And then, by his divine power, he amended that.

  • He doesn’t actually add whole extra sentences.

    Due to the conventions of the time, and lack of punctuation, what we would now call “footnotes” and “sidebars” were written in the text.

  • Really?

    By what process did you arrive at that conclusion?

    Why doesn’t Latin have one word for the English word “love”?

  • Unless you’re an expert in mindreading at both long distance and long ago, what you appear to be engaging in is speculation disguised as exegesis.

  • Or maybe the Church, to whom Christ said “Who hears you, hears me”, is the proper judge of the meaning of the words.

  • “The word that some New Testaments have translated as ‘homosexuality’ since the seventies is in question.”

    By whom specifically?

  • Christianity does not see women as “secondary”.

    Exactly who are the “some interpreters” in “Some interpreters have tried to read slavery into Eden …”?

  • “For much of its history, the Church has taken the Eden story to say that women are less than men ….”.
    In a word, “no”.

  • “The Church used such an understanding for a long time to allow slavery …”.

    Also in a word “no”.

    Christianity forbade chattel slavery, the treatment of human beings as non-humans, just as it forbade abortion.

  • Christ is not recorded saying anything against incest, genocide, bestiality, Ponzi schemes, and a host of other sinful activities.

    There is a reason for that.

    Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

  • And how does that “examination” do more than confirm that those that engage in same sex physical congress are committing sin?

  • So, you’re suggesting that if you personally were God’s first created Man, God would permit you to take a second or more wives.

    Is there some point to that?

  • Christ did not say anything about incest or bestiality.

    Would you like a list of sins he did not say anything about?

    Is this going somewhere?

  • The same sex couples harm each other by cooperating in an activity which God forbids and which moves them further from their true goal, God.

    The same couples harm society by giving bad example to the young.

    What, prithy, do you believe their “marks of sanctification” to be?

    Evil masquerades as good, that’s nothing new.

  • “Homosexuality kills no one?” According to the CDC website,

    Gay,bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2%
    of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In
    2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.”

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been increasing
    among gay and bisexual men, with recent increases in syphilis being documented
    across the country. In 2012, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 75%
    of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. MSM often are
    diagnosed with other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

    HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD in the
    United States, is also a concern for MSM. Some types of HPV can cause genital
    and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancer.
    Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than
    heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who
    are uninfected to develop anal cancer.

    https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html

  • Ok, since you reject scripture, do you also reject studies by the Center for Disease Control?

    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2%
    of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In
    2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.”

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been increasing
    among gay and bisexual men, with recent increases in syphilis being documented
    across the country. In 2012, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 75%
    of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. MSM often are
    diagnosed with other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

    HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD in the
    United States, is also a concern for MSM. Some types of HPV can cause genital
    and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancer.
    Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than
    heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who
    are uninfected to develop anal cancer.

    https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.htm

  • The California Constitution says that marriage is between one man and one woman. The UMC Book of Discipline says that marriage is between one man and one woman. Please do not make the United Methodist Church a laughing stock like the Democrats have made California the laughing stock of the nation.

  • Clifford Ishii, always a better Christian than you’ll ever be, not to mention saved by the Messianic Blood of the Lamb, doesn’t “try to steal others flock.” Especially you. You’re just not worth “steal[ing]”!

  • Anything less then instruction from God (Bible) and tradition is demonic and will erode the church. LGBT have a place, so long as they repent their sins, change their sinful life, and stop being advocates for sin.

  • Is it an “attack” to point out sin? It’s one thing to acknowledge sin and its consequences, but it’s quite another, I would submit, to make personal insults.

  • Yes, as a result of oppressive policies like prison time for having sex, gay men have been more likely to catch STDs. No, that doesn’t correlate to sinfulness.

  • If they truly harm each other, that would be evident. It would not be possible for so many to live out such a finely tuned parody of faithfulness and fidelity.

    If they model those virtues and others, they only give a good example to the young.

    I have met gay couples who demonstrate grace in their piety, love, and humility. Much of the Church has witnessed the same.

    So we have gone from from homosexuality as a sin that oppresses victims to the “oppressed” being evil masqueraders? It does not matter: unless goodness is indistinguishable from evil, such a rouse cannot last. But so far, it has been enough to convince many.

  • “If they truly harm each other, that would be evident.”

    Not unless you can see into souls, see into the future, and know where they wind up for eternity.

    No, we’ve gone from calling a sin a sin to you alleging doing so makes the sinners “evil masqueraders” because – it suits your polemic purposes.

  • Speaking as a 73 year-old guy who has dealt with same-sex attraction, I never considered myself gay (a false identity) – my your true identity is God’s beloved son. I beg you, do NOT let the world define you, that is Satan’s action. Listen and believe the God who created you and me, who whispers quietly “I made you. I love you. Will you choose to love me back?”. Yes, God’s word tells us that the practice of homosexuality is a sin – a violation of relationship with God and others.. Just like many addictions (drugs, alcohol, pride, etc.), it may give us pleasure in the moment, but ultimately it is self-destructive. God wants to give us real and eternal life. I want that for you. Do you? From what you wrote, I gather you felt condemned in your early years. So did my younger brother who committed suicide at 20. Just before that, he had looked at me and said “I’ve been reading the Bible and I’m condemned to hell.” I did not have the knowledge then to persuade him otherwise. But, because I struggled with it myself (though I never felt condemned) I do know now. I trusted God (…and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.) and he did set me free. After one brief college experience, I made a decision I was not going to live a gay lifestyle. I wanted marriage & children. When a dating relationship grew serious, I told her my secret because I was not going to enter a marriage with that secret. She didn’t reject me then and we have 2 grown children and 2 grandsons. It took years for me to learn (through God’s word) that we have to first confess our sinful desires and then we have to intentionally kill them off. His story (the Bible) is the continuing call of God, despite our weaknesses and bad choices, to choose to re-unite His spirit that he placed in our bodies, with his Holy Spirit. He made that possible by Jesus suffering and paying our sin debt on the cross. It’s a free gift of God. We just have to trust God’s action on our behalf. We can’t earn his love, it’s there. We just have to receive it. God stands ready to help you. And so do I. Your “one ray of hope” is a deception. I’m hoping the Methodist Church doesn’t go the way of the world and Satan’s deception.

  • You do realize that the spread of AIDS in the homosexual population in the US diminished not one iota after Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) struck down imprisonment for homosexual physical congress, right?

  • It is a manufactured public health problem. The government purposefully ignored the Aids crisis and criminalized gay sex so that STD’s were heavily stigmatized.

  • Let me get this straight, you thing that the government is to blame for homosexuals getting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Are you completely insane or just pretending to be?

  • Methodists’ beliefs, like the beliefs of many other Christian denominations, are not sola scriptura. If they were, I could turn them in favor of Reconciling Ministries Network with proof, by traditional methods of interpretation, that God’s revealed will is celebration of homosexual marriages on the same terms and conditions as celebration of heterosexual marriages. Is your mind even slightly open to this? Then ask for a copy of my essay, which has been read critically by many learned and mature conservative Christians, including seminary professors, but has not been refuted in any of its important arguments: [email protected]

  • Please do not turn the United Methodist Church into a laughing stock like the Democrats have done to the State of California.

  • This is all you need to know about it.

    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2%
    of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In
    2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.”

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been increasing
    among gay and bisexual men, with recent increases in syphilis being documented
    across the country. In 2012, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 75%
    of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. MSM often are
    diagnosed with other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

    HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD in the
    United States, is also a concern for MSM. Some types of HPV can cause genital
    and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancer.
    Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than
    heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who
    are uninfected to develop anal cancer.

  • It is like reminding that many thousands of people die in auto accidents every year and therefore arguing people shouldn’t drive cars. I am Gay and have NO sexually transmitted diseases. I also have never been injured in an auto accident. There is such a thing as doing something SAFELY. The main thing for Gay men is to use protection everytime they do anal sex, if they do that sex. Oral sex transmits diseases far less readily than does anal sex and it is also less risky than Vaginal Sex. There is also such a thing as getting to know one’s partners and cutting down on the number of partners and getting partners to be tested. Likewise, a person just has to know how to avoid car accidents- such things as looking carefully both ways before one turns onto the road and using mirrors and turning one’s head before changing lanes.. I now ride a bicycle everyday and have figured out many ways how to avoid accidents, such as being watchful about cars turning onto the road and being careful about going past an intersection where a car could turn right in front of me.

  • I have known MANY gay men who got married and even sired children. You are lying to yourself if you think that getting married means you are no longer Gay. I even met one man who didn’t realize he was Gay until he got married. Of course, you still have same sex attractions, even if you don’t act on them.

  • Wrong. With God’s help I killed them off. No longer a problem. Methinks you’re the one whose been brainwashed by worldly propaganda.

  • Please don’t make the UMC a public spectacle the way the Democrats have made a mess of California. Do not remove this comment. Straight people need to be heard too. We WILL be heard.

  • Please do not make the United Methodist Church the laughing stock of religions. Libs have made a mess of California.

  • No where in the Bible does it say that God eliminates all temptations and desires or any kind of strong emotion such as anger. Even Paul said he had trouble controlling his desire in 1 Corinthians 7. Exodus International, which purportedly “changed” Gay people, recently folded because even though many of them got married, they found that their homosexual desire had not been eliminated. Yes, people can control their behavior, but they can’t eliminate all desire, esp if they had strong gay or straight for that matter, desires from an early age as I did. I had Gay desire years before I acted upon them.

  • I believe you are taking 1 Corinthians 6:9 way out of context. The word αρσενοκοιτης or arsenokoitis does NOT mean Orientation (same sex attraction) can it mean female to female sex. It is preceded by the word μαλακος or malakos which is defined by many dictionaries as “catamite” which means a young boy used for sexual purposes. The first two words in this lists are πορνοι or pornoi, which means male prostitutes, the second word is idol worshiper. There the first two words could together refer to male cult prostitutes, which Deuteronomy 23:17-18 refers to. This text also refers to female cult prostitutes. Cult prostitutes of course were idol worshipers. So, in other words, a person is not condemned for having same sex attraction, nor for female to female sex in this vice list. They are condemned in this text if they have exploitive sex with young boys or they are male cult prostitutes. 1 Corinthians 6:16 refers to πορνη, or porne which means a female prostitute. This could mean a female cult prostitute. Revelation 22:15 clearly refers to male cult prostitutes when it lists κυνες or dogs. Deuteronomy 23:18 refers to male prostitutes or dogs or kelev.

  • It is like saying someone’s skin color or eye color is sin to say that their same sex attraction is sin. Arsenokoitis as I point out above does not mean same sex attraction.

  • Long hair on a man is called “unnatural” and “disgraceful” in 1 Corinthians 11:14. Same exact Greek words used as in Romans 1:26-27.

  • Of course, these verses have nothing to do with orientation, nor should it—Jews, Romans and Greeks don’t seem to have recognized the concept, and there’s nothing sinful about same-sex attraction. But the verses already distinguish between male prostitutes and homosexual activity in general even if it doesn’t get the full context, and your “young boys” is problematic since the Greeks considered sex with children to be wrong just like pretty much everyone else, they simply didn’t consider teenaged boys to be children (like pretty much everyone else, “teenagers” is a modern phenomenon). So you’re going to need to explain WHY you think that Paul was referring only to the idolatry and not the sex.

  • It couldn’t refer to homosexual activity in general since it does NOT mean female to female sex. Arseno specifically means male. Koitis refers to activity, not attractions. Throughout Scripture, sex is virulently condemned if it is connected with idol worship. Numbers 25 refers to how the Israelites had sex with Moabite women and then they sacrificed to other Gods and then 24,000 were killed. Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 10:8. Even Heterosexual marriage was condemned if it led persons into idol worship. Deuteronomy 13:6-11 commands the Israelites to slay even their spouse if they try to lead them into idol worship. On the other hand, common prostitutes were often at least not stigmatized if they were idol worshipers. Rahab is called a prostitute and is commended for her faith in Hebrews 11:31 and called justified in James 2:25 as a harlot. So, if heterosexual marriage was condemned if idolatrous and prostitutes at least not stigmatized if not idolatrous, to me that is good evidence that Paul very well could have accepted committed Gay Male relationships as long as they didn’t involve idol worship. I can’t absolutely prove it, but Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 DO have idol worship as important contexts. 1 Timothy 1:10 could refer to sexually abusing slaves since arsenokoitis is followed by andrapodistais, which means a male stealer. Catamite means boy. Many Greeks condemned this, but it doesn’t prove that that is not what Paul had in mind, since many Greek dictionaries define malakos as catamite.

  • Skin is genetic. Sin is not. Jesus can get rid of sin. All of it. No selling Jesus Christ short. No selling Bible promises short.

    Thankfully, we got some upfront black ex-gays like singer/pastor Donnie McClurkin and college speaker Janet Boynes, to make things clear.

    (Got good white ones like singer Dennis Jernigan and professor Rosaria Butterfied as well! )

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9 does not refer to same sex attraction. I don’t doubt there are gay persons who are not sexually active, or who can function heterosexually, but their same sex attractions remain. I have known MANY African American Gay Men. I have befriended MANY LGBT Africans on Facebook.

  • “If it is in the created nature of kleptomaniacs to steal, as so many cases appear to demonstrate, then it is not against Natural Law.” Ah, the Trent Lott analogy, no less smug than when the badly toupeed Magnolia Stater uttered it a quarter century ago. One imagines The Trenster whining to his handlers, “I gotta say whut?”

  • I agree with you except that the Romans and Greeks DID have a concept of orientation. There are a number of ancient writings, some even from the 1st century, that recognize that some are born “desirous,” as they put it, of their own sex, although they mistakenly attributed it to astrological causes.

  • Regarding attraction alone, I’d agree with you to a point. But when it comes to acting upon our impulses, those are decisions we control. We choose either to obey, or not. The mere presence of an impulse or attraction does not justify acting on said impulse .

  • It is time for the freedom to marry and the freedom to preach in the United Methodist Church. It is time for equality! It has been said that the church is like a mountain and it is written that faith can move a mountain, so Christians, let us act together for equality for all of God’s Children. Let us pray together as queers and straights that barriers to equality will be lifted. Let us pray and act to end discrimination in the Church. See the Lord is doing a new thing! Let us sing to the Lord our prayer for equality in the church. For if doors close, we will go through the roof to meet Jesus Christ. I can be a queer Christian through Christ who strengthens me and we are going to the Promised Land together!!!!! Let us pray for equality in the United Methodist Church and all churches for together, we are united. God’s body, the Body of Christ includes everyone and that includes Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, and Straight Children of God. Equality is our destiny and we are going to the Promised Land together!!!!!!!!!!

  • It is like being left handed. We don’t choose whether we are left handed or not, but we can choose what we do with our left hand. But that choice doesn’t make using our left hand in every case wrong. A person can do good or evil with their left hand. Gay attractions ARE like race. Responsible relationships should not be condemned.

  • God has graciously created us all in God’s own image regardless of color, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. As such, all God’s communities in the world, especially, loving Christians should welcome all God’s people in the Church and all its ministries, without favoritism, and discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation and marriage partners or lack of them. To discriminate against people based on these natural conditions is to commit sin not only against God their creator but also to sin against God’s people. To make it worse, it is a further sin of blasphemy to commit these sins of discrimination and bigotry in the very holy name of God, who has created them in God’s own inclusive mosaic image as reflected in in the very diversity of humanity as God’s complex image that ever both transcends and perplexes all human understanding! May God’s holy Name forever more be glorified and praised by all God’s people, irrespective of who they are and where they are in God’s vast world! Amen!

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