Love The Sinner; Hate The Sin

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Love The Sinner; Hate The Sin

19 August 2009 Hits:47347

If I hear someone say one more time, “Well, we’ve just got to love the sinner and hate the sin” – I’m gonna scream! Christians quote this like it’s a Bible verse – right next to “God helps those who help themselves” and “cleanliness is next to godliness!”  But where is it in the Bible?  The Book of Hezekiah?  Paul’s letter to the Deuteronomy’s? Each section of this statement is true – God does love sinners and hates sin. But here’s the problem, as a collective statement it’s not true.

The real problem with “Love the sinner; hate the sin” is that it is rarely meant. It is really just a Christian-sounding platitude aimed at people whose behaviour we really struggle with; people whose sin we really hate and people that, if we were brutally honest, we don’t really love. This statement just salves our conscience and makes us feel like we’re being Christian when we are really displaying unchristian attitudes towards others.

Of course, the only way we can really know if we love the sinner is by spending time with them and helping them when they’re in need. How do we really feel about the drug addict with needle scars and missing teeth? What is our real attitude towards the homeless person who hasn’t bathed or changed their clothes for days or weeks? Do we really love the gay man or woman at work (or in our family) or do we merely tolerate them? Do we pretend to love people but then say derogatory things about them behind their back? We only know the true nature of our heart when we are confronted by someone we struggle with.  And let’s be honest about our struggles rather than hide behind “love the sinner; hate the sin.”

Another reason why this saying is so wrong is that often the sinner and the sin are inseparable. In other words, someone’s behaviour often defines him or her as a person so when we say we “hate the sin” what the person hears is “I hate you.” The Bible talks about loving the person – “For God so loved the world!” (John 3:16).

The statement “Love your neighbour as yourself” is found nine times in the Bible – divine emphasis for a reason.  In Galatians 5:14 the apostle Paul says that this truth sums up the entire law.  In James 2:8 this command is called “The Royal Law.”  Jesus illustrated how we are to love our neighbour as ourselves by telling the story of The Good Samaritan.  Samaritans were hated and despised by Jews in Jesus’ day. The Samaritans were half-cast Jews because they had intermarried with Gentiles.  They were viewed as worse than gentiles – the lowest of the low, the greatest sinners.  Jesus could not have found a more powerful illustration to prove His point. He didn’t teach “Love the sinner; hate the sin.”  He taught “Love the person like they were you.”  May this challenge us to the core of our faith!

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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26 replies on “Love The Sinner; Hate The Sin”

anonymoussays:

Great comment Rob.

I think people do this because they are broken themselves. Attitudes aside, they need care, encouragement and support themselves (weather they realize this or not).

My other question is, what do we do when these people are in our Church?
They may not have broken teeth and may bath regularly, but are just as broken inside….

Debbie Gonzalezsays:

I appreciate your commentary Pastor Rob,
As a person who has struggled with homelessness recently and ended up in a rooming house this experienced had me confronted with the issues you covered on a daily basis. I feel so privileged now been put in that situation because I had the opportunity to encounter very broken people but with such beautiful hearts. There experiences some are devastating but none the less they are survivors, I just hope they know that Jesus is there ready and waiting for them!!!!

Laci Nagysays:

Ps Rob, I agree with you, but one thing I struggle with is the corollary of:

“Another reason why this saying is so wrong is that often the sinner and the sin are inseparable. In other words, someone’s behaviour often defines him or her as a person so when we say we “hate the sin” what the person hears is “I hate you.”

Which is:

Because so often the sinner and the sin are inseparable or in other words, someone’s behaviour often defines him or her as a person, when we say “Love the sinner” what that person hears (but usually others think) is “I approve of your sin”

This is also made worse by the fact in church society (as in the world) there is a “hierarchy of sins” which makes it easier to “overlook” some sins while we “allow God time to deal with them in that person’s life” while other sins we feel God needs to deal with immediately if not sooner. This hierarchy also seems be different for different people and relates to their own personal history of experience. So for one person an “over-lookable, give God time to work it out” sin can be a “completely no-compromise, this must stop immediately” sin for someone else.

It seems the biggest issue is that we’re very conscious of how our own “righteousness/purity/ideals etc” will be judged and found to be lacking if people see that we DON’T take issue with someone who is obviously doing the wrong thing and call them account for it. As a result we may feel obligated to do so even when counter productive just to prove that WE know right from wrong. It often appears that we judge more harshly and negatively the actions of the person “not judging” the sinner than we judge the actions of the sinner themselves.

zizi paltossays:

Last night I witnessed a first in my life time; at my church, Bayside City Church. Our Wonderful, couragous and very Christian Pastor Rob Buckingham talked openly about how we “Christians” should accept Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgenders. I have never felt prouder being part of a community than I did last night. Pastor Rob, you truly are annointed and a Man of God, may our Lord give you all the strength to continue with your amazing work of touching people of all kind. I am the mother of a wonderful gay man, and last night I slept like a baby, with peace in my heart. Thank you Rob!

Megsays:

I am lesbian, and Christian, and my faith became shipwrecked a few years ago because of the disconnect I sensed between who I am, and what I thought I believed. I’ve been spiritually homeless ever since, and so long for a place where I can worship and be at one with the body of Christ. I have not found it.

I’ve been deeply discouraged the past few weeks when I decided to attend a local pentecostal church to see if “church has changed”

Sadly, it has not–at least, not that particular church.

I was supposed to go to that church again last night, but in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t go, Pastor, and sit there and listen while the person preaching made some snide remark about people like me in his or her message (This happened on both previous occasions that I attended) I couldn’t go and sit there and listen to people making rude comments about homosexuals. I couldn’t go and let someone prod my wounded, bruised heart yet one more time with the sharp needles of their uncharitable speech.

I have decided to go back to the Christian Spiritualist Church — the so called satanic cult where at least I am welcomed and accepted–how sad when the ‘unrighteous’ model Christ better than the ‘righteous’ do.

Today, I listened to your message online about how Christian’s should accept glbt people and I wanted to come here and thank you, personally. It was some small salve to my aching spirit and it was a glass of water to me in my desert.

I don’t think I am ready to try the evangelical/pentecostal churches up my way again, but–I have to say how I wish I lived in Melbourne!

Thank you.
Meg

Ann Mareesays:

Zizi, I read some of Rob’s message and certainly agree it’s a great step in the right direction for those of us in the GLBT community. It also seems to me that that message of love toward us is long overdue. And thanks Rob for your thoughts on “Love the sinner, hate the sin” , a cliche that’s always makes me cringe.
On the other hand, I don’t think Rob is fully accepting gay people as it was implied that homosexuality is a sin. He talks about coming back to God whereas I’ve never left Him, nor He me. My faith in God has matured – it had to since the church wasn’t willing to accept me for me. They either wanted me to be quiet about my sexuality (i.e. dishonest) or treated as a second class citizen. I knew those options weren’t allowing me to be true to who I was and I couldn’t be in a community that would erode the self esteem work I’d done. Zizi, it’s good that that message has touched you. Maybe the next step is some really good teaching on the true meanings of the words and sections in the bible often taken out of context about homosexuality.

All the best to you and your son,

Ann Maree

Tommy Blacksays:

If you have open homosexual sex man with man or women with women up until the day you die but at the same time professing to be a christian , you will be shocked to stand before a HOLY GOD to find that your name is NOT written in the book of life…GOD said im the same yesterday today and for ever, he was referring to his word which is Jesus Christ the living word. God said in his word that homosexuality is an obomination to him and those that practice such things WILL not inherit the Kingdom of God…please dont decieve and dont decieve yourself Gods word as absolute and TRUE

darynsays:

nothing new under the sun but about time someone talk about it from the front of the church again. Felt like it was harvest in the 80’s. Ann Maree i think Rob is as accepting gay people as he is of anyone and to prove my point The one thing i will ask can and do the GLBT people in your church minster are the worship leaders or preachers etc?

Ann Mareesays:

Hi again Everyone

OK now I’ve heard the entire message from Ps Rob rather than just reading part of it on his church website, although that was enlightening too. Firstly I need to correct something I wrote earlier about Rob saying that homosexuality was a sin. Now I realise he wasn’t saying that (Sorry Rob) and I have elaborated further on this thought below. So here are my thoughts:

There were quite a few positives including his correctional teaching and use of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as his highlighting that suicide rates were highest amongst a group of young GLBTI people of faith. Those stats can be applied here too and Christians need to know about that and feel moved to do something about it. I especially liked when Ps Rob said that human sexuality is not a simple issue and used the recent example of the South African athlete (hermaphrodite) to illustrate her suffering, commitment to God and the need for compassion.

Things to improve:

With better research, Ps Rob would learn that the even more inclusive term to use is ‘GLBTIQ’, which then takes into account intersex people as well as those who prefer the more expansive ‘queer’ label.

He mentioned that 3% of society are in the GLBT community but when last I checked it was estimated to be 10%. It may even be more. (Please correct me if I’m wrong on this). This is important to get right as that’s an even greater number of people suffering and in need of healing and unconditional love.

A sticking point for some in the GLBTIQ community might be the fact that the message, especially at the beginning, focused very much on sin. And yes, while Ps Rob didn’t say that homosexuality was/was not a sin, the fact that it was discussed alongside the topic of sin might cause sensitive GLBTIQ listeners (like myself) to make a negative emotional association with that. At the same time I did hear that Ps Rob was trying hard to emphasise the general nature of sin in a way to draw attention away from negative associations with homosexuality. I got the fact that he was trying to make it a non issue although it was still somewhat confusing. So overall my conclusion on this point is that I think Rob was trying to unify people and make them aware of the common human experiences which is good. I’m not surprised however about some of the negative responses to that. The very word “sin” is like a branding iron to many of us who have been abused with it, and while I realise it’s a biblical term and therefore appropriate to use in Christian circles, it’s also church-speak that many may not be comfortable with, especially in wider forums.

The evangelical message was definitely in there, albeit subtly, and for those of us no longer comfortable with the idea of converting others, that might keep some people away. I admit that my past experiences of extreme spiritual abuse and ex- communication from a cult do colour my views here. I can’t help but be suspicious of the motives behind his expression that “You can’t influence [GLBTI] people unless you associate with them”. Is the implicaion or hope that with God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit, we might become both pentecostal and heterosexual?

I welcome others’ feedback on this.

Ann Maree

Ann Mareesays:

Hi Meg

I have to say I’m really touched by your message above. I relate to the sense of desperately craving a safe spirital community to call home. I’ve missed the encouragement and support of a church, the opportunity to use my gifts and enjoy worshipping God with other believers. For many years I was utterly grief stricken about this loss. It’s almost impossible to express how painful the longing; a huge hole that couldn’t be filled. Your analogy of the desert is a good one. I talked to one pastor about my sexuality and desire to be in the worship ministry again and he suggested I attend the church anonymously and see how I go. In other words, it was indicated that if I kept quiet it didn’t need to be an issue, and with God’s love, things might change for me anyway! I told him I couldn’t pretend to be someone I wasn’t, and apart from being dishonest, keeping quiet would cause me more pain and alienation. It would also undo the good work I’d done on self esteem and sense of self and I knew that’s the last thing God wanted for me. I assured the pastor that I couldn’t change to be heterosexual. After this discussion, I was devastated, realising that he wasn’t able to move past his beliefs and nor could I change. We’d reached an impasse and I was turned away again. As bad as it was to have that wound reopened (I’d been terrified to reach out to him in case of rejection and here it was again), I realised that I was strong and would have to stand on my own feet even more and find fulfillment elsewhere. I told myself: ‘I don’t need the church to be a happy, spiritually mature person’ and used the experience as a way to mature my faith further. I joined a meditation/psychic/mediumship group but never quite fitted there. I also found other avenues like my philosophy class and possible spiritual study for the future.

Maybe we could talk more about this subject in another forum if you’re interested??

Ann Maree

Ann Mareesays:

Hi Daryn

Yes good point about this topic not being new but nice to hear it from the pulpit at last. I agree that Ps Rob probably is as accepting of GLBTIQ people as any others and am getting that sense the more I get to know him. This is good. You raise an excellent question and I too would love to know if those in the GLBTIQ are in worship, preaching and other forms of ministry at Bayside?

Ann Maree

Megsays:

Tommy Black,

The same God who said those things you quoted above, also said “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God,” [Micah 6:8] He also said. “I desire mercy more than sacrifice.” [Hosea 6:6] He also said “With the same measure you give, so will it be measured to you.”[Matt 7:1-2]

When you say that someone will NOT be written in the book of life, do you really seriously consider that the same could possibly happen to you?

Speaking truth in love is fine, and I can hear and accept it, but I am always cautious of what ‘measure’ I give to another lest that same measure be poured out for me.

Love and Light,
Meg

zizi paltossays:

Hi Anne Maree, to your comment about what does Pastor Rob mean when he says “you can’t influence GLBT people unless you associate with them” what he means is, unless Christians give you “A fair Go” how will you ever know that “Church has changed, check it out”. I have been part of the Bayside Church Family for 6 years now, and was brought up an Orthodox Christian, I am divorced, a migrant and have been judged for most of my life, for one thing or another, but never ever felt that at Bayside. So give us “A fair go”

Stephensays:

Firstly I need to say I’m not here to judge anything or anyone… to be upfront, all I am going to say is that I am not in aggreance with many on here.

The first thing, please, someone, anyone, point out a single scripture for me where it says that homosexulity is ok… That God accepts the act of homosexuality…

Is there anywhere in the bible where homosexuality and the other forms discussed above have a positive acceptance or tollerance of the act??? All I can find is negative annotations.

I am all for accepting a person for who they are, I will never judge them or make them feel like they have to stop “sinning” so to speak, for them to be an “acceptable” Christian in the eyes of God. Never would i wish to do such things. But, I have to question the idea and/or motive behind this topic.

The bible speaks about man and women, marriage, about multiplying, etc. Etc.. very often, but not once, anywhere in scripture is it mentioned for man and man or female and female to be together. In fact, Paul rebukes such as Acts of perversion (Romans 1:26&27). Also, one of the reasons for the distruction of sodom and Gomorrah was for homosexuality.

Tell me, is homosexuality of the bible? Is it of the spirit? No, it is of the flesh. Lust is a very powerful emotion, one that can sometimes be overpowering the things of God. Fleshly desires lead to death, Therefor it is not of God. To accept the person for who they are and love them as you love yourself, no problem. To say that it is ok, that it is not a sin, that God is happy with such acts, is false teaching as the bible is Very clear.

Jesus may as well have said: “your sins are forgiven, go and sin some more!”

Ann Mareesays:

Hi Zizi

Thanks for sharing about your positive experiences at Bayside. That’s great – I’m really glad for you. And please don’t let my previous comments make you think I’m not willing to give the church “a fair go”. People who know me generally recognise me as a fair and reasonable person, although I may be missing the mark in this area of late. From my communications with Ps Rob thus far, as well as feedback from yourself and other Christians who know him, I’m getting to know that he is indeed a compassionate, fair and genuine man.

People experience and learns things in different ways. I need to ask questions, listen and observe, and then process things some more before I take action. I realise I’m suspicious and hypervigilant around pentecostal churches, even looking for trickery that may not be there. My response is not intended to be accusatory toward Bayside (although I can see how it appears that way) but more a result of severe spiritual abuse in the past. Hopefully it might make you feel better to know that this process of dialogue is helping me heal although it needs to occur slowly. Establishing trust is not easy fo me but necessary in order to feel safe.

All the best to you,

Ann Maree

Ann Mareesays:

Hi Stephen

I appreciate that you’re at least trying to look for something positive and agree it’s difficult to find on this topic in the bible. And I’ll also admit I’m biased toward finding something positive given I’m in a same sex relationship, love God and don’t want to do anything against Him.

As far as the bible goes, there is plenty said about love and I know God approves of that. And I’m in a loving relationship so I’m confident, that’s OK. I also know many other gay people who are in loving relationships. Their unions are not about rape and violence as in Sodom and Gomorrah. Regarding Paul’s reference, I’m pretty sure he was referring to lustful acts, not loving ones. You’d have to check out the original meanings of the words to be sure. (Sorry I’ve just moved house and haven’t got my biblical resources to hand otherwise I’d check it myself).

Homosexuality is more than sexual behaviour. It’s more than something to do with the body/flesh. God made us this way so how can we not be of God?

All the best to you,

Ann Maree

Stephensays:

Hi Ann Maree

I appreciate the response and respect your opinion.

Going back on the Greek and Hebrew translations of the bible, the Use of Homosexual is none existent, However it refers to same sex or male and male relationships as an abomination before the eyes of God, that “Man and Man SHOULD NOT lay together the same way Man and Women do”. That (paraphrased) scripture is not talking about Lust, but in a Loving form (a co joint Loving relationship). With more recent translations, we have inserted the use of the word, “Homosexuality” which otherwise refers to the above same sex relationships (same meaning different language).

A lot of people use the “Excuse” (I use this word because of the reasoning behind this example I am giving), that the Old Testament is No longer needed to be adhered to because of the Cross, that God is ONLY love, and we only need the New covenant which has been made. While this may be the case in many areas (such as the Laws of the Jews, eye for an eye etc.), one can not just take the Old Testament and throw it out and ignore it, as it is vital to the word of God. We may as well take the everlasting covenant and promise God made that He would Never use a Flood to destroy the whole earth again and throw that out too…. (Unless of course we stop getting rainbows!) Likewise with all the various teachings the bible provides us, we can not ignore them and only choose to look at the scriptures which talk about Love.

The Bible talks about Love lots, Yes this is true. The bible also Talks about things that are not so loving. Some people think that we should ALWAYS be Loving and NEVER turn away from a person… While that sounds like love and how we tend to look at God, it is in the Bible (In the New Testament) that we are to warn divisive people, then warn them a second time. If they do not listen, we are to turn our backs on them and have nothing to do with them, washing our hands clean for they are condemned. It’s strange that God’s word tells us to turn our backs on people whom we should Love.

If we Believe God is the Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever… then why do people think that God is Only Love? God is who He is, not who we think or wish Him to be. Is he Love? Yes. Is He Just? Yes. Does He get Angry? Yes, the bible shows this. Does He Keep His promises? (For some reason, some people ignore this one).

Again I’m not judging anyone. This is a Very sensitive topic and can be seen in many number of ways.

You say God made you this way, what about A child who has been born with a brain tumour, should He/she remain like that because God made them that way? What about Siamese Twins? What about someone who is born deaf or blind? I know these are harsh comparisons as a Condition is very different from an emotion, But God still made them that way.

If a “Thief” becomes a Christian, do we teach them it’s ok to keep stealing?
If a “Wife Basher” becomes a Christian, do we say it is ok for them to keep assaulting?
What about those who desire sex with animals? God made them that way… but the bible says otherwise.

I have problems with Lust, God made me this way. I Have problems with Anger, God made me this way. I have problems with Money and Idols, but God made me this way. I struggle every single day with my Fleshly desires and Problems. i am NOT ashamed of them (in a sense of sharing this) but I know they are NOT of God. The Bible teaches me the right things and I press into God, EVERY SINGLE DAY I pray for God to help me. To put me on the right path. To keep me safeguarded from offending Him. Do I still sin? Absolutely, all the time!!! Do I Sin with wilful intent knowing the teachings of the bible? No. I do not ignore what the bible teaches. I don’t just say, well I prayed and I still have these desires, oh well I may as well act on them… No These will be with me for the rest of my Life. But I love God enough to follow his word and not my flesh.

****Continued****

Stephensays:

***Continued***

Anyway, Let’s Step Back a little bit and actually look at the bigger picture here. We are to Love one another as we Love ourselves. We are to be accepting of everyone. We should not Push people away from Christianity because then how are we to bring them into a relationship with the Lord… These things are all correct and full of Love, However, and which is VERY saddening and unfortunate, What is coming out of this topic is that The Act of Homosexuality is OK in the eyes of God. You can be sure the people of this World will blow this Topic out of proportion and say that Christians are saying it is OK, therefore they commit Lustful Desires as they have been told, By Christians, it is OK in Gods Eyes. It’s already out there and this message was only preached on Sunday last week: http://www.trevvy.com/sgboyx/index.php?showtopic=32451 & Many other messages, just look it up.

You can be sure, while This message is about acceptance and Love, it will come out as it’s OK to Have sexual relations with same sex, that it’s ok to have sexual relations outside of marriage… etc. The world LOVES these types of messages and will use them to suit their own desires.

I’m sorry that I’ve gone on and On about this topic. One thing which is still not answered though, is where in the bible that the act of homosexuality (or male to male / female to female relations) are OK. That God approves of such. (again all I have seen and can find is negative things. I really do want someone to show me). Anyway, I’ve gone on for long enough so I’ll leave you with this:

It’s a shame that we live in a Politically Correct world where Post Modernism dictates and Twists the word of God to suit it’s own agenda. Don’t be deceived into thinking that God is the only one who speaks from or through the bible.

Kind Regards and Blessings,

Stephen

Megsays:

Hi Stephen,

I wanted to add my thoughts about the Bible and homosexuality here, too. As you’re probably aware this is a huge subject and there’s so much that can be said, and debated about what the Bible says on homosexuality.

You said that you can’t find anything in the Bible which speaks of homosexuality in a positive way. Neither can I, really, but on the other hand, I can’t find anything in the Bible that addresses long term, committed and loving same-sex relationships either. The men and women of Biblical times had no frame of reference for such relationships.

What they saw around them was the idolatrous and immoral practice of having same-sex intercourse in the worship of foreign gods and that is what I believe they were addressing.

Ann Maree has already mentioned the passage where Paul spoke about men and women exchanging the natural for the unnatural, etc, but what is often overlooked when people read that letter is that Paul, in the same breath was talking about men and women who neither acknowledged God, nor did they give him the proper worship and reverence. They worshiped the created thing rather than the creator and bowed down to idols in the form of birds, reptiles and animals for THIS reason (the idolatry) Paul says, God gave them over to depraved lusts, etc.

That passage of Scripture does not describe people in relationship, who love each other, are committed to each other and seek God’s will for their lives, does it? Therefore I have to conclude it is not speaking about me and my partner of three years. I want to serve God. I want to worship him. I want to give of my time, talents and abilities to a local fellowship, but because I love the “wrong” person I am disqualified. It seems very unfair when my desire is FOR God not for a lump of wood made in the image of man, bird or animal.

If you’d be interested in seeing an Israeli person’s take on another story in the Bible (David and Jonathan) this video might be of interest to you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOVJuBI9oqQ She is a native speaker of Hebrew and was schooled in the Israeli system which focuses on Biblical (Torah) studies. She goes into the language used, the Hebrew wording, and the traditions and customs which lay behind the wording in the story.

Blessings,
Meg

Megsays:

Hi Stephen,

My comment was posted before I saw your response to Ann Maree, so I am sorry if it seemed that I was merely belaboring a point you’d already finished with.

I have a few of things I’d like to add.

[b]1. Do you believe that God made you heterosexual? If he did should you stay that way?[/b]

I know that is a facetious question, but it is in effect what you’re asking we homosexuals and I thought it might be of interest to you to try the shoe on the other foot. 🙂

[b]2. Homosexuality is not an emotion. It is an orientation.[/b]

Being homosexual is not just a desire. It’s a state of being. Should we ask you to stop having desires for the opposite sex? Should we demand that you be celibate? Well, we can only do that if you’re not married. You can have sexual relations with the opposite sex if you’re married.

Unfortunately, we are not even permitted to have sex in a committed, loving long-term relationship because, somehow, that’s sin… It’s not sin when you do it…why should it be sin when we do? You want us to be silent and celibate or commit an utter LIE by marrying someone of the opposite sex! I can tell you of five lives (My own, my ex-husband’s and our three children) which have been horribly affected by my trying to do the right thing and living just such a LIE for 23yrs!

[i]Isn’t it also said in the Bible that hypocritical liars forbid others to marry? 1 Tim 4:1-4[/i]

[b]3. The OT law was given to the Jews.[/b]

Now, I need to decide if I am Jewish or Gentile. For you, it might be easier as long as you don’t have any immediate Jewish family.

My dad could call himself 1/2 Jewish because he got it from his mother (his dad was a gentile). Did this mean only half the law pertained to him?

I can make a choice and be a gentile because you only inherit Jewishness on your mother’s side. My mum was a gentile. My dad was half gentile I could say I am 1/4 Jewish but hey, I’d rather claim to be a gentile because in Acts, James suggested and the apostles agreed, (Acts 15:13-20, Acts 15:29, Acts 21:25) that the only part of the law that should be applied to gentiles is to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. Sure works for me, because even the JEWS could not uphold the entire law.

Ah but there’s that rub again with the sexual immorality thing. I can only say this. If it is not immoral for YOU to be in a committed monogamous long-term relationship, why is it immoral for me? Because of some dubiously translated verses from the Bible? The Hebrew language did not have a word for homosexuality and the verse in Leviticus referred only to man to man sexual intercourse anyway. The OT never mentions lesbians. The New Testament verses again are open (whether conservative Christians like it or not) to interpretation and some of the words now translated as homosexual were previously translated differently — masturbation being one that springs to mind. I’m getting tired of being demonised on the basis of a BOOK which is supposed to contain the good news!

Anyway, in closing: I doubt that anyone can show you any place in the Bible where Homosexuality is okay because it doesn’t really exist, but I know of tons of places in the Bible where GRACE outweighs the LAW.

And guess what, when GRACE is preached properly, it looks like it’s saying that SIN is OKAY. We have to live with that, or with watered down grace, which do you prefer?

I choose [i]pure[/i] grace.

Love and Light,
Meg

Stephensays:

Hi Meg. Thanks for your input. 

I am not sure if you have posted this response in regards to my first post, or the second one above (which is actually 2).

I am very interested in the link you have provided and I will check it out when I get the chance later today. Thanks for that. 

In regards to this topic. You are completely right that this is a very huge subject. A very difficult one to address indeed. Is it right? Is it wronge? All I can say is I press into the word of God. I don’t rely on feelings to determine my opinion or beliefs. For example, if anyone can point out to me, just one scripture, anywhere in the bible, that God is not against such things, then I will believe that IS from God and will not argue (for lack of a better word) otherwise.  The bible refers to same sex relations as negative, both old and new T.  If it is OK in the eyes of God, then why isn’t there a single scripture to back it up/show that it is ok?

Again I want you to understand, I am not judging here. There is a big difference between judging and teaching. Everyone, no matter their preference, is welcome in my church. There will be no judging or condeming, But, I do not want to give an incorrect teaching. Especially if it leads one into comminting a Sin before God. It is my job as a disiple to teach the word of God. Not sugar coat it, not tell people it’s ok to remain in sin, not to ignore the teachings of the bible so I’m accepted or popular. There are people in this world who are decieved into thinking they are saved through the cross. And that’s it. They remain in sin, even after being shown Gods heart. Weather they will get into heaven or not is NOT up to me.

Many believe they will, then they make excuses to ignore direct teachings in the bible. All I can say is, what IF they are wronge? What if they believe they are saved but because they made the choice, they end up being condemned. What if?

I am very affriad of that saying. What if I am the one to give an incorrect teaching which leads people into condemnation?

I’m not targeting this at the gbltqi community but rather as a generalization. But think about this… What if the act of homosexuality is despised by God? In the bible it says it is. But many choose to use their feelings to make justifications of it. 

Now this… IF This is wronge and same sex relations are ok, then there is no problem in an eternaty sense, those who follow the teaching will make a huge sacrifice for God, and those who ignore the teaching go into same sex relations,  Everyone goes to Heaven, But if the word of God is as it is, then am I supposed to accept it so that I am being politically correct? We are talking about eternity here after all. 

I do not condone this act, nor do I condemn those who are in such acts. It is not my place to do so. All I am to do is teach the Word of God. It is a persons own choice to accept or reject this. However, I do not want to be the one responsible for bringing an incorrect teaching that brings people into a sin. Until the Word of God Proves otherwise, not this loose interpretation, I will press into God. Again please anyone reading this, even pastors, Christians, anyone, is there a teaching in the bible that the act of Homosexuality is ok in the eyes of God?I am open to learning, but it needs to be truth and in the word of God. 

Blessing and love in Christ,

Stephen

Stephensays:

Sorry I forgot to add. God is amazing. Each one of us has no idea what we are to expect. His Grace is amazing and it is His Grace that will save. In the end, Gods Grace will be all that matters.

Megsays:

Hi Stephen,

As you can see I have now replied to your second post, and the post I made before that, was in response to your first one…this is getting confusing. 😀

This one is in response to your third post.

I need someone to prove to me that the Bible has always condemned homosexuality. THAT word, not has it condemned sexual acts between men? I can see that it has. Has it condemned sexual acts between women…well maybe except Paul didn’t spell it out.

But the actual word HOMOSEXUALITY did not appear in the Bible until 1946 (Thanks Ps. Rob for your enlightening interview) In fact, I have a copy of a King James Version of the Bible which in I Cor 6:9-11 the word that later versions translate “Homosexuals” is given as “effeminate” okay, now I have really had it, because I am a woman and women are effeminate. We know, of course, that the original KJV is THE inpsired word of God, don’t we? ;D (please forgive my facetiousness, it comes with my being a sanguine personality type).

If the translators can’t even decide what WORD to use and I contend that on the basis of semantics alone homosexual shouldn’t even be considered because it is such a modern concept for such an ancient script. Then how are we supposed to?

I am from a background, where the Bible was taught to be important, but not the final authority. 😮 shocking thought, but there it is. I think that it is also important to take into account, tradition, culture–both the historical culture when the text was written as well as the culture we now live in–and what it is believed the Spirit is saying to the Church today. Although the Bible canon contains much of what God revealed to his people I don’t believe that God has ceased to speak.

Until someone can prove to me, that the Bible hasn’t been changed and changed and changed again, I am going to gamble on grace.

God said it? (maybe) I believe it? (I try–help thou my unbelief!) That settles it? (not even close!)

Ann Mareesays:

Hi Stephen

Wow!!! You are really invested in this topic aren’t you? I didn’t know you cared so much! I honestly didn’t expect this level of response from you after what I wrote. I appreciate that you are really, really trying to do the right thing and teach the truth to others. And I also like that you are trying to follow the bible rather than picking and choosing, which a lot of people do.

Can I just respond with a couple of things for you to consider:

Firstly, I’m not one of those who only takes note of the new testament without reference to the old. I love the whole thing and therefore look to the old testament as well. In saying that, I learnt at bible college that not all of the bible is to be interpreted literally and sometimes it is very difficult to know what the original meanings were within ancient times and cultures that are very different to ours. I’m not using that as an excuse -this was something that was told to me by a very wise and accomplished bible scholar and vicar. The other thing is that there are rules and customs of those times, say, in the books of deut and lev for instance, that are not relevant to us today and therefore no longer in use. For instance, menstruating women do not have to be separated from the rest of the population and no one cares much if I wear linen with cotton or some other fabric. I urge you to check out those books and see just how many rules are no longer in use today. Now does that mean those things didn’t have their place? Not at all – I’m sure they were useful and meaningful within their right context.

Now, to the scriptures that tell men not to lie with each other in Lev. We need to look at the social context to get at more of the meaning for that. We also need to look at the word ‘abomination’ for the original meaning. As far as I know, there was a need for the population to grow (security in numbers for wars etc) and so a decree/policy was made for men not to lie with each other or engage in sexual acts (other than for reproduction) that would waste their seed. Any sperm was considered precious for advancing population growth. The word ‘abomination’ in this context is not how we define it today. Rather than being abhorrent, it was more about “not being the done thing” and in the context of societal needs at that time, you can understand why. I guess it’s a bit like water wasting here. It would be considered sacrilege to go against recommendations for water saving and yet in another country without drought issues, not so. I know those are 2 different kinds of examples but I get the sense that the policy at that time, was a fluid one, like with water restrictions here, that changes depending on water levels. I don’t think it was as fixed as we may have thought. Again we can’t know these things without knowledge of the customs at that time.

Can I suggest you look at the dvd, ‘For the Bible Tells Me So’? There are some very educated bible scholars and historians in that who give fascinating insights into what you are asking about and would explain it better than I am.

Otherwise you make some excellent points about love being used as a blanket term or misunderstood. I agree, there are examples where God showed his anger, turning away from people who weren’t able to hear etc. And yes, it is a shame that people twist things to suit their own agenda. I definitely don’t want to do that.

Good luck with finding more answers.

And I hope you like the dvd.

All the best,

Ann Maree

Bensays:

Separation & Union

Eve was taken from Adam. There was a rending of flesh, and a separation when Eve was first created. In the coming together of a man and woman, there is a union and a forming of flesh: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Gen 2:24

God made mankind in his image. Not just Adam, but Adam and Eve as a couple. Together we bear His image. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Gen 1:27. It is in the sexual union of a man and a woman that God’s image is even more fully expressed, because here is demonstrated the pattern of Genesis — the creation of new life. Who God is — his very image — is demonstrated when a new life is created from this place of union, love and passionate desire.

This created order has been ordained with the infinite wisdom of God. The coming together of male and female is not just about sexual preference. It’s about the glory of God being expressed through creation.

Some who argue in favour of accepting homosexual lifestyles will say “I’ve always felt this way, this is how God has made me.” In fact, while Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, their offspring have actually been made in their parents’ image, including an inherited bent towards sin. “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” 1Cor 15:49. So it may be true that some people are were born with a tendency towards homosexuality. However, that is not God’s ideal, nor part of his original design that we see in Genesis. When Adam and Eve sinned, there was not just a punishment decreed. There was also a ripple that spread through all of their offspring — a sin orientation that could only be reversed by God himself changing the heart of mankind.

We need to realize that God’s heart has always been one of love towards us. Not the kind of love that looks lightly at sin — for if sin were a small matter, then Jesus need not have died. But God’s love is so passionate, that He came to save you from sin. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Jesus didn’t just die for you to forgive your sinful actions. It was also to mend your sin orientation. He gave up his life, so that you could be joined to God in a new union — an inexplicable and wonderful union of the Spirit of God within your very person, from the moment that you receive Jesus as Lord of your life, and are born again. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor 5:17

When Jesus encountered a boy born blind, the others nearby wanted to know the source of the sin which caused his blindness. Jesus instead focused on the opportunity to manifest the glory of God, and healed the boy. It seems that God is less concerned about whether you “have always been this way,” and more about bringing heaven to Earth; restoring the original design that he created, so that we can experience more fully the abundance of life that He desires we have. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Gen 1:31

Laurensays:

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth.
Steven, like Anne Marie I agree it’s great you’re trying to explore this issue further.
I’m a straight Christian, and up until recently held the conservative view that being gay was a sin, and that gay people should not have the right to marry. This position is often called Side B, where Side A is the position that affirms same sex manogomous relationships. I’ll refer to these positions as such in my comment.
I’ve recently been reading a number of articles and listening to various podcasts by gay Christians, looking at both sides of the argument. I think I still hold to the side B view, but I agree that we should allow same sex marriages within society. I’m not great at forming my own intellectual arguments, and I’m still trying to process everything I’ve been reading about on this issues of late, so I’d like to point you and anyone else interested to the following links.
http://www.gaychristian.net
May i encourage you to go to the GCN Radio page, and look for a podcast containing a sermon by Dr. Tony Campolo. Tony is Side B, his wife Peggy is Side A, but this has not divided their marriage. It’s a 45 minute keynote address but well worth the listen Steven, especially seeing as you hold the views that you do.
http://www.musingson.com
This website is written by Mysty Irons, a conservative evangelical Christian. She is also side B, but has many articles from Side A Christians and she also tells of her own journey of understanding glbt issues.

Hope you find these interesting/helpful.
Cheers,
Lauren

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