Rethinking Homosexuality

For the first time, I shared my views on the ever-controversial issue of homosexuality in the 85th episode of my podcast.

What I said was my response to two people’s questions about the subject.

If you haven’t heard the episode yet, click Answers to Hot-Boiling Questions.

Don’t assume what I believe. Listen to it in its entirety if you haven’t already. 

In that podcast episode, I talk about three views on homosexuality among Christians and I end with “the third view,” mentioning a list of scholars who hold to it.

To make it easier for you to track those scholars down and what they said on the subject, I’ve complied a list of links.

Here they are:

N.T. Wright on homosexuality (video)

N.T. Wright on homosexuality (print)

N.T. Wright on same-sex marriage and ordaining homosexuals (print)

Ben Witherington on homosexuality (video)

Howard Snyder on homosexuality (print)

Greg Boyd on homosexuality (video) – Chuck Colson & Shane Claiborne weigh-in also

Tim Keller on homosexuality (video)

David Fitch on homosexuality (print series)

Scot McKnight on defining homosexuality (print series)

Scot McKnight on Jesus & homosexuality 1 (print series)

Scot McKnight on Jesus & homosexuality 2 (print series)

Scot McKnight on Jesus & homosexuality 3 (print series)

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Comments

  1. Linda Spagnola says

    Homosexuality is a sin. And what is sin? it is something that comes between us and God. We all sin. It has kept us separated from God, our creator, since the Garden event. Only God’s Grace (Jesus Christ) can save us from any and all sin. Sin is self indulgence , self gratification, self centeredness and self absorption that craves our undivided attention. When we sin, we not only wall ourselves off from those around us, but our Father in heaven as well. This is how I know for sure, along with what the Bible tells me in Romans, that Homosexuality is a sin. When I sin, I am separated from the Lord. My focus is on me and my agenda, instead of being on the Lord and His purpose.

    Homosexuality is a sin. And what is sin? It is bondage to something or someone that goes against the Lord and His purpose and therefore causes separation. When I partake in the same sin over and over again, it grows within, while the spiritual relationship I have with the Lord diminishes or disappears altogether. Whereas, if I seek the Lord to give me strength to overcome the temptation to sin, my relationship with the Lord grows, while my self indulgence wanes.

    Each of us battles sin daily. I may be wrong, but to me, sin is sin. It is all the same to God. It is how we handle it that Father is interested in. Do we partake or do we call out to Him for help? Do we continue in sin or do we re-focus on Christ? Some forms of sin are very well rooted and hard to overcome. But thank God for his grace and mercy that we may overcome if we are faithful and seek Him in all ways, always!

    But, we must ask in order to receive. If we wish to continue in sin, there is no further help for us: the Holy Spirit can not help those who chose their will over God’s. God will not force us to give up our sin. If we ask for help, we must be willing to accept help from other brethren in whatever form offered and we must be willing to be sent by God to help those in need. It is the unconditional love of God for his creation that draws us to Him; it is that love that sustains us; it is that love that allows us to unconditionally (as far as humanly possible) love others and help them, no matter who they are or what their needs are.

    Thank you, Frank, for putting into print yet another touchy subject to cause us all to rethink our beliefs, words and acts.

  2. T. says

    I’m so infinitely thankful that in the end God is God, and knows all things… that He judges perfectly and entirely without flaw. This woman (I… me…) is not without sin myself— although homosexuality is not one of them— and I have to depend wholly on Him minute by minute, day by day to walk in love, truth, and righteousness. Without Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit at work in me ceaselessly, I’m sunk!!!

    When I have friends and neighbors who are practicing homosexuals, my husband and I befriend them, love them (we remember 1 Cor. 13, for example), and live out Jesus before them, even though they know that, based on the Scriptures, we do not in any way condone homosexuality as sin. To help keep me immersed in what the Scriptures teach regarding the subject, I’ve memorized The Letter of Jude.

    Gagnon’s book, The Bible and Homosexuality has been in our personal library ever since Grad school, and I’m so thankful for his godly scholarship. As one contemporary of his puts it: “Gagnon offers the most thorough analysis to date of the biblical texts relating to homosexuality. His strong and clearly articulated argument establishes that the Bible contains a unanimous witness defining same-sex intercourse as sin. He does so while rigorously engaging biblical scholars and historians who have written both for and against this understanding of same-sex intercourse. In addition, he demonstrates systematically why attempts to classify as irrelevant for our contemporary context the Bible’s rejection of same-sex intercourse fail to do justice to the biblical texts. His conclusions are clear and compassionate, as he cautions readers on all sides of the debate against a truncated gospel, and challenges all to strive for a holistic view of the command to love God and neighbor. This is a brilliant, original, and highly important work, displaying meticulous biblical scholarship, and indispensable even for those who disagree with the author.”

    As we all continue to genuinely seek Him with our whole being daily, may our Lord give us His heart, His insight, and His love, coupled with righteousness and truth.

  3. Ross says

    N.T. Wright nails it for me, in the 3rd link, 9th paragrah. “We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other – a distinction regularly obscured … We all have all kinds of deep-rooted inclinations and desires. The question is, what shall we do with them?”

    Sin is pleasurable, that’s why we desire it. Gossip is titillating. Slander is so sweet. Sexual sin and gluttony is so gratifying to the flesh. Lying and stealing is so convenient.

    So what do we do with these desires? We put them to death in the Spirit, remembering the flesh is dead if we are in Christ; it has no power over us. Dead people are free from sin, Rom 6:7.

    I don’t see how a person’s struggle with homosexuality is any different than my battle against lust or thinking the worst about others. It’s the battle we’re called to!

  4. Karen says

    For those on all ends of the spectrum on this hot subject, I would highly, highly recommend the book “Torn” by Justin Lee. Justin is the founder of the Gay Christian Network and his heartbreaking memoir will rock your world (I know it did mine) Thanks for all your input, Frank! People are watching and listening!

  5. says

    Hey Frank,

    Great stuff! I look forward to seeing more of your interaction on this issue. Regarding Gagnon, a recent book by James Brownson (Bible, Gender, Sexuality 2013) offers some incisive critiques of Gagnon (though I tend to agree with Gagnon).

    Peace,

    Preston

  6. says

    Homosexuality is sin. We know this. Just like murder, it is a sin.

    Yet there are no civil rights groups pushing an agenda of murder. There are no Christian groups demanding we embrace murderers, or ordain them in the local American churches.

    Just a thought.

  7. Marcia says

    I have not even read the blog or listened to the message and I can tell you this. 1 Cor. 6:12 Paul says “ALL things are lawful for me, but ALL things are NOT helpful. ALL things are lawful for me, but I will not be bought under the power of any.” The grace of God does not eliminate sin, it forgives it. There are consequences for every sin we commit here on earth, some harder than others to take. We can choose to eat twinkies every day, but whether or not that is good for our body is another thing. People like to focus on homosexuality, because that’s one sin they’re not committing. Lets face it, if we were talking about gluttony, or pride, or greed you’d have a bunch of quite people out there. Anyway, that’s just my two cents for what its worth.

    • says

      Yes, Paul includes “sexual sins” along with slander, envy, and outbursts of anger in his works of the flesh lists. So the people who scream “off with their heads” on one sin but ignore the others are playing the hypocrite.

      However, the statement “all things are lawful” was a quote from the Corinthians that Paul was leveling to the ground. They were using it as a slogan to say they could sin all they want in the body, but they were under grace, so it’s not really lawful. Paul responded saying, “all things are not edifying.” Then he went on to condemn certain works of the flesh.

  8. Ransom Backus says

    A sexual sin is a sin against your own body…really not the worst out there. That alone doesn’t bother me. It’s all the political crap that goes with it. They holler about Christians imposing the religion on them. (and I really have no interest in making the dead behave. They can’t do it anyway.) Yet they are demanding we accept it, change our stance on the nature of it being a sin. I have a very lengthy essay I have written on my facebook notes explaining in detail the problems with it and why I say it is a sin. My problem is that I get called dirty names just for calling it a sin, standing by what God has shown me. Are there worse sins out there? Of course. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a problem.

    • says

      #commentwin

      Nicely said, Ransom. I especially liked this one:

      “They holler about Christians imposing the religion on them. (and I really have no interest in making the dead behave. They can’t do it anyway.)”

  9. Dan says

    Couldn’t it be said that the only solution to any destructive behavior is the person of the Holy Spirit? Whenever we take an official position on a specific behavior, we slam the door to Truth on anyone engaging in it. If we accept anyone with any sin (as Christ, so are we), that person can be in a position to receive the love of God and will eventually understand and be convicted that a temple of His Spirit does not engage in abusive behavior. If we accept anyone without conditions, doctrinal statements or fixes, won’t God do the work on sinful behavior from the inside out?

    • says

      Yes and No. If we are neutral on the truth when confronted or positioned by God to speak it, then we are no different than the watchman on the wall who fails to sound the alarm of approaching danger. Yes we aren’t to condemn unbelievers but sometimes God will have us speak His truth so the captives to sin can realize that it isn’t God’s will for them to live in that darkness.

  10. says

    Frank, you said you’re not an expert on this topic… I have become moreso as I blog extensively on it, I counsel moms of LGBTQ and I extend the love of Christ to LGBTQ and their families. We’re probably in agreement that the abysmal behavior of Christians needs to be called out sharply first and foremost. But I’m troubled by your three categories. You do not include that homosexuality – and homosexual activity – may not be a B&W issue, as so many things are not. Christians like B&W because it appears to limit our room for error but it does the opposite by encouraging us to sit in the judgment seat when we need to be trusting the personal and wholly unpredictable counsel of the Holy Spirit. As I prayed through this extensively, God kept leading me to Paul in 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul says that even eating meat sacrificed to idols (a HUGE thing in the day) is nothing to get bent out of shape about. If God convicts you, don’t do it; if He doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong with it. Jesus refers to eunuchs (effeminate men?) as something some will understand and some won’t. After much talk to many gay Christians and their families, I KNOW there is more to it than simply, “It’s a sin.” Being hotly disputed as it is, the gay issue belongs in the disputable category, which Paul said DON’T dispute about. Jesus turned so many issues on their heads that the religious leaders were POSITIVE they were right about, that I am extremely reluctant to be positive I’m completely right about anything except Jesus as my Savior. Honestly.

    Christians have SO MUCH on their plate to love as Christ loves, to stop preaching in ways that encourage disenfranchisement and, literally, homophobia. That really should keep us busy for quite a while. Please read my blog. I talk about this at length from a variety of angles. Also, check out Matthew Vine’s in-depth analysis of the verses in question.

    • says

      Actually, I did point out that it’s not a B&W issue – even though I didn’t use those exact terms. I made this emphatically clear in the beginning of my answer to the question on the podcast and even gave an example that I’ve never heard anyone address in the Christian community. I also pointed out, which N.T. Wright echoes in the video link, that the issue is complicated. I would suggest you go through all the links . . . if you have specific complaint about what any of them have said, feel free to post it with supporting evidence. That was the point of my episode.

      I don’t see anything that you’ve written here that contradicts what I’ve said in the episode so I’m not sure why you are “troubled.” The third view references the scholarship on the subject as to what the references to homosexuality meant in the NT. According to Gagnon, who has allegedly done the most and best research on this according to N.T. Wright and Ben Witherington, it’s not a Romans 14 eat-meat-or-veggies issue. If you have evidence that refutes Gagnon, Wright, Keller, Boyd, Snyder, BW3, etc. on this point, then feel free to post it.

      • Mitchell Reid says

        Hi Frank, Not sure if this will get through either, but I have posted twice with information that leads to other individuals who refute Gagnon and the rest on this issue but my reply’s do not get posted. They show up on my page here but not from another computer or my cell phone. Makes me think these reply’s are censored and only the ones against Homosexuality get posted. I apologize if I’m wrong but I have looked from friends computers and my cell phone and my reply’s are not showing up, only on the computer I replied from.

        • says

          Can you repost it? If it’s long it may have gone into spam. Keep it short and it should show up. But before you do, have you show Gagnon your critique and has he replied?

          • Mitchell Reid says

            Hi Frank, its me again, this is the second part of what I wanted to send you. Forgive me if I have overstepped my welcome. At this writing I am a 54 year old gay Christian who after 30 plus years of trying everything out there to “be healed” finally realized that I was never going to be because there was nothing to heal. I am also an ordained Southern Baptist minister who was in full time “ministry” for 11 years as Pastor of Small Groups, Adult Ministries, and Support Groups. I am now still in full time “ministry” but as a Pharmacist and volunteer working with at risk youth. Following is a synopsis of what I have discovered concerning Homosexuality.

            Homosexuality is not a lifestyle but the closet is a deathstyle. It is a slow painful draining out and drying up of all that makes life worthwhile. If the closet is where repressed gay people hide, the gutter is where they go for release. Consider too then that you may be consigning your friend, your congregant, or even your own child to the very depravity that you condemn. Give sexuality a place of honor in the community, and it will be sanctified. Relegate it to the gutter and that is where it will stay. The belief that homosexuality is a sin is a self fulfilling prophesy. Coming out for me was a religious act; the struggle, the surrender, the renewal, the removal from one world to another. Coming out was a personal epiphany, a rite that reveals the sacred in our lives – our worth, our love, our love-making, our beloved, our community, our context of meaning, and our God.
            The religious mandate for honesty falls upon all of us and that includes those who would prefer to deny the truth about sexual diversity. Even in the twenty-first century, this is still a frequent tactic: to simply deny the existence of gay and lesbian people and the existence of sexual orientation as a category, or pathologize it as a kind of deformity of character. No matter the existence of sexual and gender variance in every culture on the planet, and among hundreds of animal species. No matter the four decade-old scientific consensus, never seriously contested, that homosexuality is not a mental disorder but a normal variation of human sexuality.(The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Pediatric Association, The American Social Workers Association, and many more support this finding). Despite all of this, there are still those who insist that homosexuality is a “lifestyle”, a choice, or a pathology – and that all of us who feel it in our souls are deluded, perverted, or worse. Not only that but the millions of people who testify to the reality that homosexuality is real. To deny the testimonies of millions of people is an aberration, an unjustified departure from the norm of religious conversation. Nor can we adopt, as some have tried to do, an attitude of “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Such subtleties don’t hold when the same word – homosexuality – can mean both an activity and an identity. The sinner is the sin. Sexuality is not just sex; sexuality is at the essence of who we are as human beings. In the words of theologian James B. Nelson, “sexuality always involves much more than what we do with our genitals. More fundamentally, it is who we are as body-selves who experience the emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual need for intimate communion, both creaturely and divine.” To hate an essential part of a person is to hate the person!
            Pope John Paul II once said that “we need heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who know the depths of the human heart, who can share the joys, the hopes, the agonies, the distress of people today, but who are, at the same time, contemplatives who have fallen in love with God.” Can people who deny the reality of the genuine love two people of the same gender share, or who liken it to the lust for an animal, be said to “know the depths of the human heart” or “share the joys” of people who find themselves to be gay or lesbian? Quite the contrary I would say.
            My search for what the Bible says about homosexuality provide no basis for the claim that it is a sin. Same-gender sexual behavior simply is not an issue in the Bible. Furthermore there is no condemnation of same-gender sexual relations between two people who are in a mutually loving, nurturing, caring, and supportive relationship. While it emphatically condemns same-gender sexual violence, just as it condemns other-gender sexual violence, the Bible is silent about same-gender sexual love. It’s not surprising that same-gender love would not be understood and affirmed in an ancient, pre-scientific, patriarchal culture, but that’s no reason to reject and condemn it today. I have come to understand how the church’s teachings and practices have incited, encouraged, and supported the discrimination and violence gay people experience in our society and our churches. It is clear to me that there is no biblical or ethical justification for the condemnation that the church has perpetrated against gay men and lesbians, just as there is none to support racism. The parallel of antigay bigotry with racism is for me a perfect one. The Christian gospel compels us to identify and challenge prejudice, because prejudice provides the basis for the unjust treatment of people considered to be different from the majority of society. Any social structure that dehumanizes and oppresses people, that withholds freedom and denies justice, that assaults their spirit and integrity, is evil and must be broken down. Sexual orientation is not a moral issue; it is morally neutral. Sexual ethics are simple: sexual relationships should be mutual, non-exploitive, nurturing, and loving. What is immoral are unequal, exploitative, abusive and unloving sexual acts toward another person. This is true regardless of the orientation of the persons involved. I believe that sexual activity which is considered moral when practiced by two people of different genders, is no less moral when practiced by two people of the same gender. I believe the sin of heterosexism(its real look it up) is no less a sin than that of racism. While some of the dynamics may be different, they are fundamentally identical in nature as an expression of a dominant culture over another. Just as it was the church in the South that perpetuated racism so that slavery and white supremacy could have legitimacy, the Christian church has been responsible, more than any other institution, for perpetuating the sin of heterosexism as a form of control over what is feared within all of us: the mystery of human sexuality and intimacy with persons of the same gender. Because of the heterosexism taught and practiced by the institution of the Christian Church, countless young people have committed suicide, adults have lived lifetimes of lies, families have been destroyed, gay men and lesbians have been cruelly treated and murdered, the spirit and lives of millions of gay people have been crippled, and they have been told that the love of God is denied to them because of who they are, and will continue to be unless they become other than who they are.
            Just as we now as Christ followers renounce racism, so, too, should we renounce heterosexism. Both bear the fruits of prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and dehumanization. Both are value systems contrary to the Christian gospel because they deny integrity, dignity, and wholeness to persons who are children of God created in God’s image.(The ‘imago dei’) People of faith and conscience must address both for what they are: evil! Good people can no longer passively support and condone this evil through silence. If there is any hope for us being saved from our egregious error, it is for us to speak and act against the evil of heterosexism, just as we must against racism, within the church and well as within society. Thanks for listening Frank. Mitch

          • says

            One observation. You said, “My search for what the Bible says about homosexuality provide no basis for the claim that it is a sin.”

            I can only assume you never read the links I provided as they refute that statement. You may disagree with it, but there certainly is a “basis.” The fact is, Greg Boyd, N.T. Wright, Howard Snyder, Scot McKnight, David Fitch, Ben Witherington, Tim Keller and just about every other prominent NT scholar disagrees with your statement here. They all demonstrate that Paul was in fact talking about homosexuality in 1 Cor. 6, etc.

            Consequently, it’s misguided and wrong to compare the idea that homosexuality is a sin condemned in the NT to racism and bigotry. That’s just not so.

          • Mitchell Reid says

            I said in my search I felt there was no real basis for saying Homosexuality is a sin. Every scripture that even mentions Homosexuality does so in the context of sexual violence or idolatry, as a quote from my last entry ” Same-gender sexual behavior simply is not an issue in the Bible. Furthermore there is no condemnation of same-gender sexual relations between two people who are in a mutually loving, nurturing, caring, and supportive relationship. While it emphatically condemns same-gender sexual violence, just as it condemns other-gender sexual violence, the Bible is silent about same-gender sexual love.”

            I have listened and read the entries from the people you mentioned in your blog and was simply saying I disagree with their “basis”.

            I had written a blog before this entry naming people you could hear from with another perspective. However I guess its not okay to put others website info on this blog so it didnt get posted.

            So I will give you some names of some people who although may not be “New Testament Scholars” I believe have a great grasp on this issue. It is up to you whether you see fit to look them up and hear from them. They all have websites and are very reputable evangelical Christians. Dr. Ralph Blair – a Christian Psychotherapist in New York and founder of Evangelicals Concerned. Rev. Romell Weekly – An African American Pastor who has written two books, one of which is a Rebuttal to Gagnon and three other anti-gay proponents. His website is Affirming Theology where he also has many articles and sermons on this issue. Rev. Steve Chalke from the UK who has a ministry called Oasis. Author John Shore who has just written a new book dealing with this issue entitled ‘UnFair’, Accepting Evangelicals website, Courage website from the UK, Truth Wins Out, Beyond EX-GAY, Inclusive Orthodoxy, The Gay Christian Network, and many more I could list.

            Finally, how is it wrong and misguided to compare homosexuality to racism and bigotry? There are over 100 scriptures the Church used for over 150 years to support their view of racism until Wilberforce began to interpret scripture differently and pleaded his Christian case against slavery and racism and bigotry. Today no serious “Christian” would support slavery or racism but yet those over 100 scriptures still remain in the Bible. There are at the most 8 scriptures being use to Clobber Queer folk today and what I am contending is that its time to take another look at these scriptures just as we did for slavery, segregation, and racism and read them through the same lens. Just as we have down through the centuries beginning with Gentiles and Jews, whether the Bible taught that the earth was flat and how Copernicus and Galileo were called heretics until we realized they were right. The Crusades, witch burning, dark ages, women’s rights, divorce, remarriage, mixed marriages, to name a few things the church got it wrong on looking at scripture through a pure literal lens. Too many lives are at stake here, and its a sin to keep persecuting a whole group of people who of no choice of their own find themselves Queer.

            My prayer is that you will take the time to look at “all” sides of this issue. I know all of the New Testament Scholars you mentioned are great men and I enjoy their material, but it doesn’t mean they get it right all the time. You went against what a lot of scholars believe when you wrote ‘Pagan Christianity’ but you didn’t let that stop you from uncovering the truth. I hope you will do the same on this issue Frank. I respect you tremendously and you have been a great mentor in my own discipleship. Forgive me if I offended you in any way. God Bless you and I’m enjoying studying the Indwelling Life Of Christ. Mitch

          • says

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. I will point out, however, that my book “Pagan Christianity” has been endorsed by many first-rate scholars and historians. And most Christian scholars agree that much of what we do today for “church” isn’t found in the New Testament or the early church, which is the point of our book. Many of them just happen to believe that those practices are a development rather than a departure from God’s original idea. So comparing this issue with my book doesn’t really fit.

  11. says

    Our Lord is gracious, and forgives all manner of sin, small and great (and small is enough to send one to hell).

    But the point is that we (the Christian church) do not excuse or affirm sin…of any kind.

    Gay people are very welcome in our congregation. We have them now. But once it is asked by them to accept or affirm that sin (any sin)…the line is drawn. We should never do that. We cannot do that.

  12. says

    God does not endorse nor support the sin of Homosexuality. He never has, never will. Period! This does not mean He hates the person, neither should we if we are truly God’s followers, but we must not be so weak to believe that a homosexual can continue to practice such a lifestyle anymore than a liar can keep on lying throughout his life. We love people, but we must hate that which God hates and that is sin!

    • says

      Josh: can you make the same exact strong statement (Period!) about slander, gossip, sectarianism, lusting after a person in one’s heart, pre-marital sex, criticizing someone without going to them first directly to find out if their concerns are legitimate or not (per Matt. 18)?

      If so, then you are articulating the 3rd view.

      • Ransom Backus says

        What makes it different from the other sins is that it has become a political thing and they are even hijacking science to convince us that it is acceptable. No one is having parades and demanding the rights to slander or gossip and such stating that they are not sins. No one is imposing it on the church stating that the church has to accept it. Homosexuality is different in this regards so we take a different approach to it. People are saying that it isn’t a sin then attacking Christians for not accepting it.

  13. Angela says

    I have a daughter who knowingly married a man who believes he is a woman on the inside and has now changed his name to a women’s name, wears women’s clothes, and my daughter calls him ‘wife.’ My daughter is perfectly happy to flaunt what she considers is a lesbian marriage. (He was also raised in a conservative Christian home.) Two of my other adult children are fine with the situation and vocally in favor of ‘gay rights’ and ‘gay marriage’ — one even wrote a post attempting to explain away NT scripture on homosexuality. 2 other adult children know that their sister’s lifestyle is wrong and struggle with judgmentalism, which I have had to struggle with also.

    So the subject hits home.

    Thank you Frank, for the links to so many others I respect, who show Christ-like grace toward those in that lifestyle without compromising on the fact that it is not healthy or acceptable to God. It has been devastatingly difficult for me to walk through this, but the Lord is helping me to be loving. I wish I had someone to fellowship with who has been through this who could really understand.

    Having listened to what you said on your podcast, I would weigh in on babies born with ambiguous organs — that now we know that the DNA in every cell in your body tells whether you are male or female, and that would make it pretty clear to me which way to go. Another more difficult issue is the one that my daughter claims for her husband, that he did not get the ‘hormone wash’ in the womb that makes the male brain different, so that it is totally biological that he has always felt and thought as a female. I know that this could theoretically happen, but don’t know if there is any way to prove it did happen to a specific individual. Even if so, I would feel that this is a handicap like any other serious handicap, and that it would have to be lived with as best as one could, maybe could be treated somehow if anyone cared to try, but would not justify a ‘sex-change.’ I wonder if any believer anywhere has dared to pray for healing for this and seen a miracle.

    The gay movement seems to have gone in the direction that the soul is totally separate from the body (thanks Descartes!), so whatever you feel on the inside is what is your true gender. I was just listening to your course part 4, and agree with you that we are body, soul, and spirit, so intertwined that it is difficult to tell apart, and they all affect each other in ways we continue to discover. This is why the resurrection of the body is so core to Christianity. We can only be truly whole and complete when all of us is redeemed, perfected, and working in total harmony. So saying the body’s gender does not matter is not realistic, at least for this life.

  14. Stan says

    Frank,
    Good topic and as usual, you bring balance to it.
    However it brings me to a subject that I have been needing an answer to.
    What is Sin? (Please, not the Sunday School sound bite answer)
    Jesus came to take away the sin of the world, so, did He?
    I am perceiving that there are at least two distinct types of sin.
    It seems there is ‘inherited’ sin which is a condition and there are ‘acts of’ sin which are activities or works. These seem to have different characteristics and different punishments also. I am very curious and interested in this topic based on what the Bible says? Can you lead me to a discussion that may deal with some of these questions?
    Your work is a blessing and very appreciated.
    Stan

  15. Bridget says

    A thoughtful quote on the subject from Pope Francis.

    “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”

    • ann mack says

      Amen, amen, amen BRIDGET. During the last presidential voting process, there was a question on the ballot concerning equality which was linked to same sex marriage. There was a great deal of controversy over that, but I had to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me. What I heard was, we were all created by God and HE loves us all unconditionally. HE does not advocate hate, but love. He cautioned me on being mindful of my thoughts. It is possible for us to hate or dislike the sin nature of a person that goes against the WORD (teaching) of God’s expectation and still love the person. Why, because God is love and HE expects us to love our neighbor just as much as we love ourselves regardless of who they are (male, female, gentile, Jew, race, or sexual orientation. It is always possible to agree to disagree while keeping things moving. It is always possible to love a person with different beliefs. The objective is to know who you are in HIM in accordance to HIS WILL (expectation) for your life. In spite of we must keep our focus on HIM.

  16. Yuri says

    Frank,

    You may want to include Robert Gagnon, who is briefly mentioned by NT Wright, in on the discussion. He has written several scholarly works on the subject and would be more than competent to discuss the issues involved. Not to say that everyone would agree but he would definitely bring a well thought out discussion to the table.

    On a personal note, I would say that to engage in unrepentant, ongoing homosexual lifestyle puts you at risk for eternal separation from God. I want to emphasize the “at risk” part because it is possible that God’s grace can cover a person’s blindness and hardness of heart concerning the sin in question. However, to deny the risk involved is to minimize the issue and to treat holiness as merely optional. By holiness, I’m not speaking of moral perfection but seeing the vast gap between myself and God and the daily reliance on Christ to do in me what I cannot do for myself, namely free myself from sexual impurities.

    Yuri

    • says

      Ben Witherington says Gagnon http://www.robgagnon.net is the foremost expert on the subject from a biblical standpoint and, according to Witherington, no one has successfully refuted Gagnon’s scholarship on the topic.

      As I explain in the podcast, I’m not an expert on this topic (as Wright admits also) and it’s something I’ve only mentioned because I was asked. It’s not my “forte” so to speak.

    • Jeff Coe says

      I have to ask as a gay man who happens to be a Christian, and one that went through ex-gay ministry even a leader for over 20 years. Why is it that we are the ones targeted about our so called “lifestyle” which in all honesty there is none for there is such a variety of people beliefs ideas in the gay community that no one way of belief or thought predominates. And why do we continually get vilified by the church for nothing more than being ourselves. No other people group has been insulted, lied to or told they are going to hell like we have. The fact is that being gay is not a choice never has been never will be only a choice to those who continue to belief the old lies and misinformation of what a gay man or lesbian is.

      There is a lot of stuff out there that can really help people who are wrestling with this having kids or family members that are gay but if all people do is to continually regurgitate the same old ways of thoughts or belief then no real change happens. And Frank you should know that one being one who continually challenges others who try to define what is the church and look on you and your ideas and beliefs as foolish and ignorant. If you want a good book to read from an evangelical pastor who really wrestled with this for years and chose to stand on the side of truth in light of the consequences pick up ” A letter to my congregation: An evangelical pastors path to Embracing People” by Ken Wilson

      • says

        The third view doesn’t “target” any group of people nor does it argue that homosexuality is a “choice.” You are arguing against the first view. I suggest you listen to the podcast as it will illuminate my comment.

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