John MacArthur: Gay Children; Two Rivers: Gone; FBC Norfolk: Gender Issues; James MacDonald; Mars Hill; Fight Church: Sex Abuse

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.-Og Mandino link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=64241&picture=heartbreak

Heartbreak

Update 6/26/14

TWW received the following email from Linda Robertson, the mom who shared the agonizing death of her son in the first story of this post.

Dee,

I was just made aware of your blog, in which you share an excerpt from our story….our very sad story about learning, the hard way, what DOESN’T work when it comes to parenting gay children.

Just so that people can understand the story in context, would you mind adding a link to the story in full
http://justbecausehebreathes.com/
so that those who desire to read more can? I’d appreciate it, as sometimes reading just part of our story can cause great misunderstanding.

Thank you for the work you do; thank you, especially, for pointing out the great harm that would result from any parent following John McArthur’s exhortation to shun gay children.

Appreciatively,
Linda Robertson

Rob and Linda Robertson

Too many stories, too little time. Here is an overview on 5 current, concerning narratives. 

1. John MacArthur: Bad advice on how to treat your adult child who tells you he/she is gay.

Basically, if he is a Christian, get the church to throw him out. If he is a non-Christian, show compassion but hit him over the head with the gospel.™


 

Where would we be without the ever present Matthew 18 which is adapted for each and every situation?

“If that adult child professes Christ, claims to be a Christian, then that becomes an issue for confrontation of the sternest and strongest kind because that falls under Matthew 18. 

He says the church must confront them using Matthew 18. If they  do not repent, the church must throw them out. Later, he goes on to say the following, again about a child who professes to be a Christian.

If they profess to be a Christian, you have to alienate them, you have to separate them. You can’t condone that; it’s inconsistent with the profession of Christ. So, you isolate them; you don’t have a meal with them; you separate yourself from them. You turn them over to Satan, as it were as scripture says.”

So, what happens when you shun them and something awful happens. Here is one woman's agonizing story. Please read the whole account if you have time.

(Mom to son) We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you've had for other guys don't make you gay. So please don't tell anyone that you are gay. You don't know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay; it is that you are a child of God.

We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we — and God — were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to an abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards. Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. 

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time and try searching for what he desperately wanted — peace — another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

Eventually they reconciled.

And a new journey was begun, one of healing, restoration, open communication and grace.Lots of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son and leave the rest up to Him.

But, due to the years of drug abuse, Ryan slipped and died.

And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, whom I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by faith instead of by fear.

What do we do with our love, John? Trash it and be good, little Matthew 18 robots, always applying it without fail or deviation in each and every situation?

2.  Two Rivers Baptist Church sold to the Catholic Church. My, how far they fell…

Back in 2009, the Deebs were writing and few were reading. We covered a fascinating story about Two Rivers Baptist Church of Nashville here, here, and here. (Warning: we switched blog hosting and the formatting is off in the archives.) Let this serve as a warning to hyper-authoritarian pastors who do not think it is important to be accountable to the congregation. 

Here is the story:

-With a purported membership of over 6,000 in 2007, Two Rivers Baptist Church was classified as a megachurch.

-Jerry Sutton, the long-time pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, become a national figure in the Southern Baptist Convention during his tenure at the church.

-Despite his prestige in the SBC, Jerry Sutton came under scrutiny in July 2007. Why?  According to a Baptist Press article entitled, “Two Rivers Baptist Church members voice dissent, pastor seeks reconciliation” (August 15, 2007), a dissident group held a meeting in which they addressed eight allegations against Pastor Sutton. 

Those allegations are as follows: 

  • (1)   Steady decline in membership
  • (2)   Lack of accountability in finances
  • (3)   Poor stewardship of God’s people
  • (4)   Authoritarian style church government
  • (5)   Rapid turnover rate of church staff in the past 10 years
  • (6)   Lavish lifestyle and receptions
  • (7)   Questionable allegations
  • (8)   Serious communication issues

You can read the stories of lavish spending, hidden financials, leadership who shunned people, etc. The same old, same old… Eventually, 74 members sued to get access to the church finances. The court refused the petition since it was a "church."  The church then voted to oust 71 members from the church and Sutton took early retirement. End of story.? Sadly, no. The church continued to dwindle in size. Then, In June, 2014 the Associated Baptist Press here reported:

-A once-prominent Southern Baptist church in Nashville, Tenn., downsized and rebranded after controversy over finances, lawsuits and excommunications, has voted to sell its 220,000-square-foot building and 37.5-acre grounds to the Catholic Diocese of Nashville for $12.5 million.

-In 2007, Two Rivers Baptist Church reported 6,900 total members and average worship attendance of 1,621. Today about 575 worshippers gather weekly in one of two sites.

-At the same time, Catholic officials say the diocese has outgrown the 38,000-square-foot Catholic Center built in 1956 by Presbyterians and sold to the Diocese of Nashville in Sept. 1974 for $750,000.

-“We have been considering options and preparing a sound financial plan to address the growing needs of the people of Middle Tennessee,” said Bishop David Choby. “This exciting opportunity will meet our immediate needs and allow us to better integrate and enhance the Church’s work in Middle Tennessee. It also enables us to prudently allocate our resources to accommodate the tremendous growth that we anticipate will continue in the years to come.”

I wonder if the former leadership thinks it was all worth it? In the meantime, they have changed the name of the church. Too much history and baggage…

3. Mars Hill leaders think they are really, really funny. They are not.

This is an example of their juvenile leadership. Where are the adults at this church? Do you remember this statement by Mark Driscoll?

Here's Mark Driscoll, addressing a group of Acts 29 church planting leaders, talking about what he does when somebody in the church is not in step with his "vision" for the church:

"Here's what I've learned. You cast vision for your mission, and if people don't sign up, you move on. You move on. There are people that are gonna die in the wilderness, and there are people that are gonna take the hill. That's just how it is. Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff necked, stubborn, obstinate people. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckle), and by God's grace, it'll be a mountain by the time we're done…. ‎You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options. But the bus ain't gonna stop." 

Since that time, the mountain of people run over by the Driscoll bus have told story after story of abusive behavior. Rob Smith even started a blog called Musing From Under the Bus. Now, one would think the Mars Hill leadership would be sensitive to the people who have been hurt. Even more, they might think it would be wise to keep a low profile, given all the controversy. Wrong!  In a breathtaking display of ignorance and hubris, the boys of Mars Hill posted Smiles on a Bus.

It doesn't matter the subject of the post. They sent the message. It is my opinion that Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill are sticking their proverbial tongues out to those they have hurt. And people give money to these men???

4. James MacDonald's wife says her husband is criticized because he is a man of character.

As many of you know, James MacDonald is on Mars Hill's Board of Advisors and Accountability and has presided over the Mars Hill implosion. It appears that the MacDonalds, mimicking their BFFs at Mars Hill, do not like critics. I guess a $58 million debt is chump change and not worthy of critique. You can read about that here. No wonder Mars Hill and Harvest Bible Chapel are in a mess. But, do not despair. The MacDonalds are now sanctified by the criticism. Kathy MacDonald said the following:

MacDonald said her family has walked through "quite a season" of criticism as their church has expanded. She explained "It's just the reality at our scope of ministry, people don't even know us anymore and they think that they do and they say things."

She also said that her husband's character made them a target for disparaging words. "He is a passionate man and he is a firecracker and he is out there and I love everything about that. But that also means that sometimes there are things that come back at you," she described.

"I thank the Lord for what he has brought us through because it has sanctified and refined us.

5. Fight Church pastor accused of sex abuse.

We believe that Mark Driscoll's penchant for cage fighting and punching people in the nose has birthed an industry. TWW reported on Fight Church in April of this year here.

The church's senior pastor, Paul Burress, recently told an ABC News reporter: 

“We’ve been able to reach an awful lot of people that never would have walked into a normal church service before, but they’ll come over and do some fitness training or do some jiu-jitsu…”

It appears that Paul Burress is being accused of sex abuse. Hermet Mehta at the Friendly Atheist posted some information from the original story which was titled Ugly sex abuse & cover up allegations dog Fight Church pastor

Some former members of the church also have suggested… that some of those involved have been afraid to speak out because of shame tactics used by Burress and [executive pastor Dr. Al] Ogden. These sources suggested that Victory has not hesitated to bring up “sins” that were revealed in counseling sessions in attempts to achieve silence from alleged victims.

Bloody Elbow also reached out to Ogden, asking several questions about his decision on how to handle the allegations. Why were alleged victims not cared for in favor of discussing lawsuit strategies? Why did he consider a sexual assault victim coming forward after other allegations were made some sort of sign of illegitimacy on the alleged victim’s behalf? Was the most reasonable explanation a multinational conspiracy to smear Burress and Victory Church?

As of press time, no one from Victory Church has responded.

We will keep abreast of these developments. 

6. Did gender discrimination play a role in the resignation of Donna Thomas from FBC Norfolk?

TWW has kept abreast on the further erosion of roles that women are allowed to play within the SBC. Hiding behind the latest narrative of  "the beautiful story that is complementarianism,"™ is some ugliness. The following "beautiful story" should put a face on our concern.

The SBC continues to lose members and would have us believe that it is due to the increasing secularization of the culture. We believe that they are deliberately overlooking a number of factors, one of which is the marginalization of women in the SBC.

The First Baptist Church of Norfolk recently received the resignation of their greatly admired Worship Arts Ministry Associate, Donna Thomas. From an open letter to the congregation:

Gender Discrimination

  • Even though, by all accounts Donna performed excellent work, and performed the job of the head of the department  for two years, she received less than half the pay of the former male department head.  
  • She has received no pay raise for five years running while the pastor and other male staff received numerous raises.
  • No increase in vacation time for five years, and then an increase was provided only after she requested it. 
  • Donna was the defacto department head, even if not so in title and still received less than half the pay of the former male department head.

Institutionalized Misogyny
    Eric hired David Proffitt who then informed Donna that "you and I both know you would have this job if you weren't a woman".
    It is apparent by his actions that Eric will no longer tolerate a woman in a highly visible place of leadership.  Since             Donna has held the highest position of leadership in the Music Program, it is also apparent that this does not conflict  with church or biblical dictates.

TWW sends its sympathies to the Thomas family and hope they will keep us abreast of any developments in the story. Dee left a message for comment by the church and will post it if they respond.

Nuff said!

Lydia's Corner: Daniel 7:1-28 1 John 1:1-10 Psalm 119:153-176 Proverbs 28:23-24

Comments

John MacArthur: Gay Children; Two Rivers: Gone; FBC Norfolk: Gender Issues; James MacDonald; Mars Hill; Fight Church: Sex Abuse — 570 Comments


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    First!


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    First?


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    Speaking of gender discrimination of Donna Thomas as well as within the SBC… has anyone read the plight of Kate Kelly of the Mormon Church? She confronted the all-male leadership and founded “Ordain Women” to advocate for women in leadership positions within the Mormon Church along with thousands of other women. She was excommunicated yesterday. From the link:

    The bishop said in the email that Ms. Kelly may not take the sacrament, hold a voluntary position or give a talk in the church; vote for church offices; contribute tithes; or wear the sacred Mormon undergarments.

    To be considered for readmission to the church, “you will need to demonstrate over a period of time that you have stopped teachings and actions that undermine the church, its leaders and the doctrine of the priesthood,” the email to Ms. Kelly said. “You must stop trying to gain a following for yourself or your cause and taking actions that could lead others away from the church.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/us/Kate-Kelly-Mormon-Church-Excommunicates-Ordain-Women-Founder.html?_r=0


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    I must say the the very name “Acts 29” has always struck me as strange – as they they think they can add on to the Bible. I suppose that “Latter Day Saints” was already taken…


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    @ me:
    🙂


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    And that’s today’s news roundup from Neo-Fundyland where “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”.

    As a Christian, all I can say is Pogo was right, “we have met the enemy and he is us”. If the neo-fundies wonder who is responsible for destroying Christianity, they need to look in a mirror.Jeebuz.


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    Every day, it’s something new. Or maybe old but just coming to light.


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    Good ol’ Johnny Mac might as well say, “Grace to you, unless you disagree with me on some secondary issue, in which case it’s hellfire and brimstone for you!”

    You have to know that it’s not just adult children who’ll be kicked out due to parents hearing MacArthur’s tripe. That’s why that sort of speech is sometimes called “hate speech,” much to the chagrin of the Religious Right. Unless and until they stop saying things that promote fear, hatred, and harmful actions, I will feel no sympathy for them when their words are correctly classified by the world.


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    A former Mars Hill member wrote a post explaining that when another MH church member found out she and her husband could only afford to tithe $40 a month to the church, the member suggested that she and her husband go on food stamps so that they could give even more money to Mark Driscoll / Mars Hill.

    That might be kind of funny if it was in a sit com poking fun at churchianity, but it’s real life, so I find it less amusing.


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    As far as Matthew 18 goes, shouldn’t it be the pastor, if anyone, who excommunicates or disfellowships the young homosexual from the church, rather than the parents? Or, to look at it another way, for what other offenses are your parents required to throw you out? Is there no room for parents to maintain a relationship with their son or daughter who may be dealing with any number of issues?

    Matthew 18 presupposes a personal offense between church members. The situation describes here is closer to the incestuous church members in I Corinthians 5, although it depends on whether this person is in an open and notorious relationship, flouting the clear commands of Scripture, or just a confused kid trying to quietly sort him- or herself out at home.

    I suppose MacArthur is thinking of Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which provides for the stoning of a stubborn and rebellious son. Perhaps this is his way of analogizing that Old testament practice into New Testament Christianity.

    While I suppose there is a place for the “tough love” approach, it probably should be used as a last resort.

    P.S. If you want an interesting look at John MacArthur, check out this site:

    http://www.thewatchmanwakes.com/

    I don’t necessarily endorse everything written there.


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    Prayers for Bobbie is a movie based on a real life story. Would someone really wish their child was dead because he or she is gay? This can be the outcome of such rejection as does the example the Deebs presented. Problem is unfortunately some would. Christian writer Barbara Johnson was asked years ago how to relate to a gay child and her response was to love that child. I would attach her response if I had it immediately available. I believe it is on You Tube.


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    The Matthew 18 passage says ‘if someone trespasses against you.’ We can use Matthew 18 to speak up for those with no or less voice though also. I guess I could see Mac Arthur’s point if someone was being sexually harassed by someone. But what’s it to the congregation if the gay person isn’t hurting anyone. The other passage he uses from 1 Cor. 5 also could indicate someone hurting someone. I know it doesn’t say so, but the only person up for disfellowship was the man… kind os makes me wonder if his father’s wife was not a willing participant in the fornication.
    I also think that the passage about not eating with a brother who is known for certain sins is more talking about people who are preaching that it is God’s will for their sins against people. I can think of several preachers who sin against people every day in their tweets and blogs alone that I suppose I shouldn’t have lunch with.


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    Ok, by contrast to the John MacArthur crap, when my parents were abusive, drunk, doing drugs, lying, manipulative, and still claimed to be Christians, I was told that I was a “tool of the devil” for breaking off contact with them. I guess homosexuality is really the only sin that merits Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 treatment in fundyland. If I’m afraid my parents will go nuts and SHOOT me, I should submit and forgive. (gag)


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    [MOD: We don’t discuss moderation reasons in public. Sorry.]


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    I am sorry. I always thought there was an order for church discipline to be followed. It it based on individual contact with offender, then the elders within church are involved, then the church body. I took issue years ago with a preacher punishing a young woman in front of the church who was not married when she had a child. I don’t feel the young lady hurt anybody but herself and I believe every child is a gift from God and no child is illegitimate. So did she create great offense by her actions? I am uncertain. Church discipline is a difficult topic. I have considered it before in my short life. It should be a last resort.


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    @ Just Watching:

    Their membership packet is 59 pages long. 😯

    I skimmed it over. They say they only permit divorce in two cases, an affair, or if the unbelieving spouse wants out. I guess that means in cases of domestic violence, they would say no. They basically say nope to remarriage (you have to stay single forever if you divorced).

    They support gender complementarianism and quote CBMW material in their membership packet.

    There is a section (on page 55) entitled “Commitment to Biblical Counseling.” They don’t like secular counseling.

    On p 27 is something they call “intentional relationships.” Is it even possible to have something called an “unintentional relationship?”

    I don’t think that is a church I would want to visit, much less become a member of.


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    How has a gay child sinned against their parents or their church simply by stating that’s their orientation?


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    Daisy wrote:

    Their membership packet is 59 pages long

    I glanced at some of it, but wondered how those contemplating membership might view that packet. It should be a big red flag in my opinion. Absolutely horrid.


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    Wow, just wow. It never seems to end. I came to TWW because I wanted to get a feel for what’s going on in American Christianity, and then I got hooked because the writing, the blog hostesses awesomeness and a really awesome community. It just never ends though, all this horrible stuff. And it makes me feel so bad for you who are Christian and that I’ve seen you’re good, awesome people. Y’all don’t deserve this. I’m so sorry it keeps happening, you deserve better.

    I’ve learned more then I ever thought about the state of what’s going on in American Christianity and it terrifies me. I still have friends and family that are a part of it and I worry for them now. Do the Mars Hills and John Macarthur’s realize that non Christians are seeing their behaviors? It just further reinforces my decision and realization of walking away from the faith.

    You all deserve better, and I’m so sorry you all have to experience this.


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    Just Watching wrote:

    Has anyone read this?
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/churchplantmedia-cms/sovereign_grace_church_louisville_ky/membership-packet.pdf
    Simply amazing. Astonishing. Unbelieveable coming from the church in Louisville.

    Fifty-nine pages? RUN AWAY. That’s a legal disaster in the making.


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    In regards to MacArthur, I didn’t agree with the way he addressed the issue. Church discipline is necessary for any open, unrepentant sin in the body, not just homosexuality, but it is a painful process that should be handled gently and patiently to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the life of the one who has strayed. The goal is restoration, not excommunication, and you cannot club someone over the head. It’s not our responisibility to convict someone of sin, that the Holy Spirit’s. For that family in the place where they have a child pursuing that lifestyle I would think the parable of the Prodigal Son would be more appropriate scripture. The father let his son leave to pursue a life that the father surely would not approve of, but never quit looking for his return. You can’t stop an adult from doing something they are dead set on doing. The son had to come “to himself” and that realization that there was a better way. And when he returned he was welcomed back. In the church is one thing, but I honestly cannot see someone living an openly homosexual lifestyle attending a church that holds that it is sin. In the family, I just can’t see walking away from the child. Church fellowship is different than family fellowship


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    JP wrote:

    Church fellowship is different than family fellowship

    Good point.


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:
    You are pretty awesome yourself!


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    Taylor Joy wrote:

    I was told that I was a “tool of the devil” for breaking off contact with them. I

    I am so sorry that you had such difficult parents. Yet, you seem pretty awesome. How did you get from there to here?


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    JP wrote:

    For that family in the place where they have a child pursuing that lifestyle I would think the parable of the Prodigal Son would be more appropriate scripture.

    Absolutely! My heavenly Father doesn’t abandon me when I sin. Loving a child doesn’t equate to condoning his sin.


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    Mark wrote:

    I am sorry. I always thought there was an order for church discipline to be followed. It it based on individual contact with offender, then the elders within church are involved, then the church body. I took issue years ago with a preacher punishing a young woman in front of the church who was not married when she had a child. I don’t feel the young lady hurt anybody but herself and I believe every child is a gift from God and no child is illegitimate. So did she create great offense by her actions? I am uncertain. Church discipline is a difficult topic. I have considered it before in my short life. It should be a last resort.

    And showing other young women what will happen to them (public shaming) if they were to become pregnant will really encourage other women to seek help from the church instead of considering a possible abortion . . . (shaking head)


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    Josh wrote:

    You have to know that it’s not just adult children who’ll be kicked out due to parents hearing MacArthur’s tripe.

    Here’s a link to a story about people I know personally. The Mom and family showed such Christ-like love to a desperate, scared, gay teen. Love that his parents didn’t show; love that John MacArthur doesn’t seem to recognize. (Note: I’m sure we don’t all agree on homosexuality and its implications; know that the site may contain things you don’t agree with.)

    http://evolequals.com/2014/03/23/the-real-true-story-about-how-parents-adopted-out-their-child-when-he-told-them-he-was-gay/


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    dee wrote:

    Taylor Joy wrote:
    I was told that I was a “tool of the devil” for breaking off contact with them. I
    I am so sorry that you had such difficult parents. Yet, you seem pretty awesome. How did you get from there to here?

    Dee, thanks so much! <3 You're pretty awesome too! I'll try and give you the thumbnail version here–I'm sorry if it's so long. <3

    Like any abuser, my parents weren't all bad. I got saved in my early teens, and became a fiery female evangelist, who loved to actually read her Bible. I think, since we lived in such a small-town, evangelical culture, my parents could play the Christian game well for people outside the family. I found a "new family" in my church, and was determined to not make the same mistakes my abusive mother made. (You can read about her specific abusive behaviors here: http://taylorjoyrecovers.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/dear-sheldon-a-story-of-maternal-abuse/)

    So I found Christian Patriarchy in college. 🙁

    After all, it guaranteed a way to make sure your husband knew he was loved and adored, and he would love and adore you in return, since you were SOOOO DIFFERENT than all the OTHER women out there. 🙁

    After our kids started coming, we realized that our church promoted some of the Pearls' materials (not officially, but only person-to-person). I spent 3+ years of my life living CTBHHM. 🙁 You can read that story here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R14MHSGLXFX58Z/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1892112604

    As you can see, by God's grace, I found my way out of that theological pretzel where we're all free in Christ to be totally enslaved to another human's desires–whether it's our husbands', our pastors', or whoever's desires.

    Then, I realized that many parts of Christian Patriarchy/Fundamentalism use the *same language* as my abusive parents used–and I'm now certain that my parents had personality disorders. The unquestioning obedience, the borg-like way of assimilating any errant taste or preference for anything that they didn't like, the "you and me against the world out there" mindset, the idea of being yourself=abandoning them, etc. It made me realize that maaaaaybe Fundamentalism is a nice hiding place for mental illness, which is being normalized in the name of Christ. And it got me *started* blogging. Cindy Kunsman addresses lot of the same issues in her site.

    So, thanks so much for asking. <3 I'm just starting out on this "survivor blogging" life, but there's so much material to mine, that there may never be *enough* writers to document it all. 🙁


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    @ Bridget:

    I walked out of that church because of this, and I didn’t feel good about it because it was my church home. I church hopped afterwards. I tried liberal churches then I tried a very conservative church. I liked this very conservative church but it was in the John Macarthur orbit and years later after I left this church because I moved to another community, I understand this church went through a church split due to the twisted teachings of Bill Gothard.

    Something people don’t realize is that people grieve even when they leave churches where there is spiritual abuse. It probably took a toll on these former Mars Hill members. Losing those ties that bind hurts and it is like losing a family member or going through a divorce. I bet it will take years for Mars Hill victims to recover.


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    @ Victorious:

    Amen Victorious. Loving a person no matter what is NOT the same thing as condoning what that person’s sexual orientation is or is not.


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    <Dee wrote:

    As many of you know, James MacDonald is on Mars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability and has presided over the Mars Hill implosion. It appears that the MacDonalds, mimicking their BFFs at Mars Hill, do not like critics.

    LOL!
    What a blowhard. A laughing stock! Full of himself.
    And the icing on the cake? I know you have seen this, but there may be some newbies on this blog who probably have not:

    MacDonald: “When the elders speak collectively in agreement they speak for God to our church. That’s about as serious as serious gets.”

    VIDEO: https://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel
    .


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    I stand tall as a Christian woman who is also Southern Baptist and say that I will never, ever, turn my back on my children or siblings. I have one in my extended family who is homosexual and I have never, nor will I ever shun this person, whose identity and relation remains a secret due to my deep love for this person, and I will not hurt him’/her and I will never nor have I ever shunned them. This person did have close members of the family shun them and this person just about mentally lost it. I stood with my love for this person. It is not in my power to change anyone, but to love them. It would break my heart to shun anyone who goes a different path, and I can’t nor will I do it.

    John MacArthur and those who preach this are wrong and I bet have never dealt with a close family member in this situation. But, it is not bringing people into the Kingdom, it is losing them forever as they try and stay sane while being deeply wounded. Would Christ shun them? No.


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    @ Victorious, Amen to that! He will never leave us or forsake us. Just not sure how you tell a parent to abandon your child. Pray for them, love them, don’t condone, but be there for them. I have several parents dealing with this and it is very painful for them, but I’d never tell them walk away. You can’t enable, but you can be there for them no matter what they are dealing with. If the parent can’t be there for a child, then who can?


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    -A once-prominent Southern Baptist church in Nashville, Tenn., downsized and rebranded after controversy over finances, lawsuits and excommunications, has voted to sell its 220,000-square-foot building and 37.5-acre grounds to the Catholic Diocese of Nashville for $12.5 million.

    That’s how my Diocese acquired their new cathedral (the former Crystal Cathedral). You’re probably going to see more Evangelical Ex-Mega Fire Sales in the future.


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    Daisy wrote:

    A former Mars Hill member wrote a post explaining that when another MH church member found out she and her husband could only afford to tithe $40 a month to the church, the member suggested that she and her husband go on food stamps so that they could give even more money to Mark Driscoll / Mars Hill.

    The reason most cults are founded is so the Cult Leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.


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    TedS. wrote:

    <
    MacDonald: “When the elders speak collectively in agreement they speak for God to our church."

    And, of course, the ONLY reason the elders spoke collectively in agreement was…. They’d just thrown the 2 elders who didn’t agree behind the proverbial bus– same MO as MH!


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The reason most cults are founded is so the Cult Leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.

    As L Ron Hubbard said, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”


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    @ Daisy:

    “A former Mars Hill member wrote a post…”
    +++++++++++

    Alright, someone somewhere has to have a copy of MD’s procedures on summoning demons to put them on trial.


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    @ Deanna:
    Oh I LOVE this… not his birth family’s response but the sheer joy of his adoptive family in this young man’s awesomeness. I wish every rejected gay teenager could have the same.


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    elastigirl wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    “A former Mars Hill member wrote a post…”
    +++++++++++
    Alright, someone somewhere has to have a copy of MD’s procedures on summoning demons to put them on trial.

    I am hoping to see this, too.


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    Victorious wrote:

    or wear the sacred Mormon undergarments.

    yuuuuuck, I am so glad she isn’t there anymore…..creeeepy
    I hope she runs far from that place!

    wonder if MH has sacred undergarments ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


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    so if a child tells their parents, as in the macArthur, example they think they are gay, what happens is you just kick them out of church if they aren’t repentant. and I see people here have made a disctinction between church fellowship and family fellowship but I contend that way too many churches are telling the parents they cant even eat with their children and to break off all fellowship until they repent. So the reason that so many lbgt people are up in arms is that macArthur is not concerned one bit about any reasons for the child identifying as gay. here is a story about a person that was born intersex but no one told her. its a story of churches playing God on so many issues. its not very long, 1 page. http://littlesanctuaryministries.org/talesfromthebellyofthewhale/talesfromthebellypg4.html


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The reason most cults are founded is so the Cult Leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.

    You can say that again. Actually, it can’t be said often enough.


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    Cayuga wrote:

    As far as Matthew 18 goes, shouldn’t it be the pastor, if anyone, who excommunicates or disfellowships the young homosexual from the church…

    Respectfully: no, it shouldn’t, ever. It is the whole church that excommunicates someone. Neither Matthew 18 nor any other passage in the biblescriptures gives unilateral authority to anyone, whether professional clergy or not, to remove someone from the church.

    I realise I’m at a slight tangent to the point you were making, Cayuga, which – if I read you correctly – was that there’s a fundamental difference between a parent’s relationship with their children on the one hand, and that same parent’s relationship with the church. Their son or daughter is not simply another church member, regardless of their spiritual state.

    I think you’re absolutely right.


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    Saddened beyond words by J-Mac’s counsel to the families of gay children. This is somewhat of a live issue in our extended family–our sense is that in God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge he placed a very special young man in our family to love and cherish–and we do–it has not been an effort to do so. I am puzzled as to how shaming and shunning is the optimal path to introduce someone to the Kingdom rather than loving engagement. We hold fast to hope for him, as well as ourselves, that we will be fully awakened to the vision and identity that God has created us live out for his glory.


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    Gus wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    The reason most cults are founded is so the Cult Leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.
    You can say that again. Actually, it can’t be said often enough.

    If I may, I think the set is incomplete:
     Get rich
     Get laid
     Get famous

    John wrote his third epistle partly to address a problem with a chap called Diotrephes who, in John’s words, “loves to be first among them”. I’ve seen that behaviour develop in a congregational CEO at first hand. It’s often said that the most powerful temptation for men is sexual, but I’m not at all convinced; I think the need for significance is stronger still.


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    Victorious wrote:

    Absolutely! My heavenly Father doesn’t abandon me when I sin. Loving a child doesn’t equate to condoning his sin.

    Yes and yes to that.


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    Katie wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    @ Daisy:
    “A former Mars Hill member wrote a post…”
    +++++++++++
    Alright, someone somewhere has to have a copy of MD’s procedures on summoning demons to put them on trial.
    I am hoping to see this, too.

    I read the former MH member’s post. In her case, her friend was subjected to one of these crackpot demon-summoning procedures and evidently her name came up in some random association.

    This is strongly reminiscent, to me, of the “Dirty War” fought by the Argentine junta against its own people in the 1970’s. People would be arrested, tortured and murdered for no other reason than that their name was in the address book of someone who had previously been arrested, or they shared the same surname, or their name was one of those blurted out by a delirious torture victim close to death.

    Nothing shows the sinfully divisive nature of businesses like MH more clearly than their ability to turn followers of Jesus against one another, according to whether or not they are dedicated to servicing a leader’s ambition.


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    Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    I wanted to get a feel for what’s going on in American Christianity

    While you are doing that I don’t want you to miss this, that christianity is a made up word. Jesus never said that he was going to establish christianity. The word christian was first used as a derogatory term early on, in some aspects it has not lost that nuance, and in some instances rightly so.

    But what I really want you to be sure to really get is the parable that Jesus told about the wheat and the tares. This is a huge reality, and this is what we deal with a lot. Our problem is that often it is difficult to differentiate between wheat and tares, and the really big issue is that Jesus said to not pull up the tares, it will all shake out at the time of judgment. Soooo… in the meantime, it is easy to wish that he had said something else, but we are committed to thinking that he knew what he was talking about, and there we go.

    Love your comments, bye the way.


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    Taylor

    Why don’t we do a post over here highlighting your story and blog? Send me an email if interested.


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    TedS

    That video is perfect. Sums it up!


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    Victorious wrote:

    Loving a child doesn’t equate to condoning his sin.

    Well said!


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    @ Deanna:
    Thank you for that beautiful story.


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    Mark wrote:

    I bet it will take years for Mars Hill victims to recover.

    I agree. I also think that it takes years for people clued into abusive Christianity to feel comfortable in a church setting. I find myself just a bit reserved when I visit or attend a church. It is amazing what one learns as layers of the onion are peeled back.


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    Josh wrote:

    As L Ron Hubbard said, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”

    🙂


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    is the whole church that excommunicates someone. Neither Matthew 18 nor any other passage in the biblescriptures gives unilateral authority to anyone,

    Cynical Dee here. I have found that in most churches, if a pastor wants a particular person on the elder board or to be rid of another person, it happens.The rubber stamp is known as “church unity.”

    One of the reasons often given for joining a church is that you will have a say in how the church is run-voting, elders, etc. It really doesn’t matter. Whatever they want, they get. As a former pastor once told me: “My elders have only disagreed with me twice in 28 years. “


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    Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    he placed a very special young man in our family to love and cherish–and we do–

    That is one blessed young man. What an awesome family!


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:
    I went to bed last night thinking about your comment. Let me tell you how I process these things.
    A number of years ago, I did a lot of thinking about my beliefs and did lots of reading both in and out of the faith. One of the more helpful things for me during that time was to contemplate the Biblical narrative as a whole as opposed to separate books or passages.

    That narrative convinced me that the world around is best explained by the Bible. Please understand that I am not saying all my questions are answered; merely that the big picture falls into place.

    As I focus on the reason that Jesus came, it was for His dearly loved, messed up people. We needed the forgiveness that He achieved on the Cross because we regularly got ourselves into hot water. The Old Testament is a record of that, and if you read the New Testament, you see it again. It is interesting that the News Testament church, after the coming of the Holy Spirit still had all sorts of problems.

    Some people want to return to the early church. As my pastors often says “Which one? They all had serious issues.” That is why I focus on grace in my life. I need it. This does not mean that we don’t strive to do the right thing. We are supposed to do so and I want to do so. Its just that sometimes I don’t.

    I often recommend that people read The Story. It helps me to focus on the big picture when we are tempted to play warring Bible verses.


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    sam h wrote:

    wonder if MH has sacred undergarments ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    Yes, yes they do! Here’s their website: https://www.victoriassecret.com/


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    @ Cousin of Eutychus:

    Good words. In my extended family (a medium size group) we have had everything from sex to psychosis to preachers and back again. We have had divorce and a child disabled from birth and somebody pregnant before marriage. We have had kids raised in church who declared themselves agnostics or atheists when adults and maintained that position to death. Nobody ever threw anybody out over any of it. As far as I know nobody ever even thought of such a thing. McA is not one of us. I don’t say he is not a believer, but he is not the same kind of believer that some of us are, and I am sick and tired of his kind making us all look bad.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Gus wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    The reason most cults are founded is so the Cult Leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.

    You can say that again. Actually, it can’t be said often enough.
    If I may, I think the set is incomplete:
     Get rich
     Get laid
     Get famous

    I think there’s a larger category missed here, and it applies to most cases of spiritual abuse.

    25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant … (Matthew 20:25-26)

    I would put forth that in many cases, the authority and power that comes from authoritarian government is what’s intoxicating to these “leaders”. If you want to get rich and get laid, you end up with a Hugh Hefner, not a Jim Jones. The element of power creates a different dynamic than simply sex and money, though the latter go with the element of power frequently.

    I think Christians of many stripes are tired of the authoritarian rule, and that is partly why many Catholics are happy with the new pope – he’s been more of a servant than a man of authority.


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    dee wrote:

    Cynical Dee here. I have found that in most churches, if a pastor wants a particular person on the elder board or to be rid of another person, it happens.The rubber stamp is known as “church unity.”

    I know what you mean, except it doesn’t quite. Lesley and I found the same up to a point: nobody at our previous “church” in Glasgow would have anything to do with us once the CEO told them we were divisive. One person even tried to tell us that we were cast out of the whole body of Christ and that it was the duty of any other church leader to send us straight back to the CEO. But actually, we found no other church leader was willing to play his game. Having built a sect to resource his private ambition, he has obviously managed to become the ruler of all he surveys within those walls. But he has no realistic relationships with any other church leaders locally and, accordingly, no other congregation acknowledges his authority. The Church in central Scotland, as I understand and acknowledge it, has not rubber-stamped his decision. Likewise, I don’t doubt that a person spat under the bus at MH would have no difficulty finding believers in Seattle who would receive them.

    That is not to say that we didn’t lose a great deal when we were fired from the business in Glasgow. We were enormously better off financially, for many and varied reasons – our expenses plummeted because we were no longer pouring money into tithes and offerings, and our income rocketed in part because I was free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit against the “counsel” of the leaders and that got me into properly-paid work for the first time in my life. In fact, God’s goodness to us won’t fit into one comment. There’s the home we now live in, our adorable little baby * son… the list goes on.

    But we lost, of course, many close friends. We weren’t the last to leave that organisation, and we’ve got back in touch with some of them since. And to give credit where it’s due, there were others who never stood for any nonsense and never broke off contact with us in the first place. But we did lose touch with many good people whom we’d prayed, built, and fought (metaphorically, I hasten to add) alongside for years. You can’t easily replace those friendships, especially when so many church congregations are so lacking in vision or aspiration that there’s little opportunity to do anything together in this part of the world.

    * that was then… he’s taller than me now!


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    dee wrote:

    The rubber stamp is known as “church unity.”

    For the Collective, Comrade.


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    Just Watching wrote:

    Has anyone read this?
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/churchplantmedia-cms/sovereign_grace_church_louisville_ky/membership-packet.pdf

    I read many pages, then perused the rest, of the 59 PAGES of their interpretation of ekklesia that members must sign or are bibiclally defiant if they elect “non-membership.” I did not see any accountbility structure in place for leadership or mention of protection of children against predators.

    But hey, in their defense, it might have been the abbreviated version. All the important stuff, like financially supporting the “church,” and obeying leadership was clearly spelled out.


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    Josh wrote:

    As L Ron Hubbard said, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”

    According to LASFS oral history, the quote went “Writing for a penny a word is stupid. If you want to make a million dollars, START YOUR OWN RELIGION!”

    There’s also an urban legend in old-guard SF litfandom that Dianetics/Scientology came out of a bar bet in a Forties-era WorldCon. (Back in the days between Pulp and Postwar, when most of the authors were legendary drinking men.) According to who’s telling the story, either John Campbell or Isaac Asimov bet Elron that he couldn’t come up with some sort of philosophy or psychological theory and get people to believe it.


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    Dave A A wrote:

    TedS. wrote:

    <
    MacDonald: “When the elders speak collectively in agreement they speak for God to our church."

    God or the Inevitable Dialectic of Marxist-Leninist History?
    (I mean, even the use of the word “Collective”…)


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    Katie wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    @ Daisy:
    “A former Mars Hill member wrote a post…”
    +++++++++++
    Alright, someone somewhere has to have a copy of MD’s procedures on summoning demons to put them on trial.
    I am hoping to see this, too.

    See Warren Throckmorton’s post of 6/24/14:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/06/24/mars-hill-churchs-demon-trials-mental-illness-considered-sign-of-demonic-involvement-along-with-pedophilia-and-habitual-lying/


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    No, no, he means the Borg. Borg!!!


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    The link to the demon trial is incorrect in the header (but read the story anyway). It’s this story by Darlene Lopez:

    http://welovemarshill.com/post/89675576093/darlene-lopez

    Here’s the key paragraph:

    A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us. I asked her why she couldn’t be my friend and she said my name was brought up in a demon trial. I asked her what that meant, and she didn’t answer any more questions other than talk to your elder about it, but that she would no longer ask me for prayer, talk to me about spiritual things, etc. without giving any other reasons. She said we were still welcome to attend community group, though.

    I’d like to see this procedure for a demon trial myself. It sounds like a type of exorcism. I bet this document is more guarded than Scientology’s upper levels, and probably more for the “what the…..” factor than anything else.


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    Just Watching wrote:

    Has anyone read this?

    Thanks for the link. I have scanned it, enough to get the larger picture I think. Some thoughts.

    Not that many decades ago a large segment of protestantism (non-liturgical and baptistic like in practice) eschewed creeds, ancient and concise statements of faith as an encroachment on individual conscience as well as everything else that went back before the reformation and/or the enlightenment. We all know this. The mantra was always individual freedom of conscience and autonomy (and its attendant lack of accountability) for the local church. Now there is the opposite extreme as far as individuals goes. Now there is the matter of complicated and binding contracts requiring signatures and enforceable in secular courts, as we have recently heard from some of the attorneys among us. Note, individual freedom is gone, but autonomy of the local church persists. Relative power shift, big time.

    What does this tell us about who or what may be driving this juggernaut? Power, greed, money, fame, control. Would it be totally unreasonable to say that perhaps the very acts of not taking into account the centuries old experiences and traditions and statements of faith of the older churches contributed to the vacuum in which this sort of thing could happen? Don’t know what to believe? We will now tell you. Don’t know what is expected of you? Be sure you get a copy of our rules. Floundering around and can’t get it all together? Never fear, we will solve all that for you, just sign here.

    The drum that I beat is not all there is to a good percussion section, but it is one beat that needs to be thought about. IMO, they threw out the bath water and now they are trying to throw out the baby.


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    dee wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    is the whole church that excommunicates someone. Neither Matthew 18 nor any other passage in the biblescriptures gives unilateral authority to anyone,
    Cynical Dee here. I have found that in most churches, if a pastor wants a particular person on the elder board or to be rid of another person, it happens.The rubber stamp is known as “church unity.”
    One of the reasons often given for joining a church is that you will have a say in how the church is run-voting, elders, etc. It really doesn’t matter. Whatever they want, they get. As a former pastor once told me: “My elders have only disagreed with me twice in 28 years. “

    Absolutely. It keeps me from joining churches. I know I shouldn’t, but when I try and visit a church, I see so much wrong, just wrong. Bad doctrine, literal idiots in the pulpit, idiots in the deacon body, money wasted on gyms, money wasted on parking lots( we need yellow instead of white parking stripes.)I know I would get involved and low and behold, I’ll be in a disagreement…..so do I join and fight for a ” Lost Cause” or do I keep my sanity and stay away?


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    @ Janet Varin:

    Oy. Just… oy. I also love that little conflation of sins committed against you or by you. Nice. Being molested and molesting are clearly equal on a spiritual level.


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    Deanna wrote:

    The Mom and family showed such Christ-like love to a desperate, scared, gay teen. Love that his parents didn’t show; love that John MacArthur doesn’t seem to recognize.

    McA was dealing with an adult son, not a scared teenager. (And why assume such homosexuality isn’t the cause of the problems in such teenagers?) Correct me if I’m wrong, but he differentiates between a son who claims to be a believer and one who does not. The problem is with the former, as Paul instructs us ‘not to associate’ with believers who deny the faith by a list of specifc behaviours, or which immorality is one (1 Cor 5). This can hardly exclude homosexuality.

    How this works out in a family is difficult, but at least McA had a go at it. I have never really been in a church that took church discipline of this kind seriously, mostly it is simply ignored – to our peril. Whether we like it or not, we are ‘not to eat with such a one’, there cannot be fellowship as usual here. Paul does not make any exceptions for family members, and the whole thing needs wisdom in its application.

    Someone linked to this story from a atheist website earlier on – hardly an unbiased source of information on how a church should behave!

    The idea of such discipline is restoration of the offender to the faith, only then can we be sure (as much as possible in this life) that they will not be excluded from the kingdom. That surely is the most ‘loving’ thing to do.

    Another in the list we should avoid are the greedy – think of the mega-church pastor here. Also the internet gossips and backbiters. It’s perhaps easier here because these are obvious sins, whereas immorality has long ceased to be regarded as sinful in western culture, and it is considered unloving to make any meaningful stand against it. There is no horror at unrighteous behaviour, all too often in the church as well (cf child abuse).

    This apostolic instruction needs to be implemented consistently for all cases, and quite clearly large sections of the evangelical church are failing at this. I feel no obligation to agree with McA on this, but at least respect him for not ignoring it or telling people want they want to hear rather than a more unpalatable truth.


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    And now, sport.

    TENNIS No fewer than two British players are in the second round at Wimbledon so far; Andy Murray, and Naomi Broady. And a third could conceivably join them, with wee Heather Watson on court and on a decent run of form. Both the Fed and Rafa open their campaigns today, but in the interests of no spoilers, I won’t comment on their progress. Though TBH I’ll eat my coffee if either of them loses.

    CRICKET England face a battle to save the second Test against Sri Lanka thanks to being rubbish yesterday both in the field and whilst batting.

    FITBA’ Unfancied before the tournament, Costa Rica were among the first batch of teams to qualify for the knock-out stages and need only a point in their final group game to qualify as group winners. As they’re playing an England team who habitually gift the opposition a 2-goal headstart, you have to fancy their chances too.

    GOLF Apparently, nobody’s interested in golf.


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    K.D. wrote:

    do I join and fight for a ” Lost Cause” or do I keep my sanity and stay away?

    And now from the peanut gallery, why join any fight that you will lose? You sound imminently sane to me. The reason that I am able to be a member of the church where I am is that they tolerate the fact that I marginalize myself (after asking to be dropped from a certain committee). I participate in a service group (good works are one thing we need to do as christians) and I give some money and I try to be nice and I do not otherwise get involved. And they tolerate that, more or less, and there we go. My denomination is good for that, for now at least. But I will never let them compromise my sanity, as you put it. When and if they split over gay marriage I may be out of the whole shebazzle again, but today is today and time will tell and all that.


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    Nancy wrote:

    Now there is the opposite extreme as far as individuals goes. Now there is the matter of complicated and binding contracts requiring signatures and enforceable in secular courts, as we have recently heard from some of the attorneys among us. Note, individual freedom is gone, but autonomy of the local church persists. Relative power shift, big time.

    I think it’s noteworthy that this is at its most aggressive and egregious in the very circles that boast the loudest at being “reformed”.

    Clearly, they disapprove of the Papacy only insofar as the job isn’t vacant.


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    Incidentally, if I read one more story linking to MH that refers to “Pastor Mark”, I move that we formally change his moniker to “Sauce Driscoll”.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    And now, sport.
    TENNIS No fewer than two British players are in the second round at Wimbledon so far; Andy Murray, and Naomi Broady. And a third could conceivably join them, with wee Heather Watson on court and on a decent run of form. Both the Fed and Rafa open their campaigns today, but in the interests of no spoilers, I won’t comment on their progress. Though TBH I’ll eat my coffee if either of them loses.
    CRICKET England face a battle to save the second Test against Sri Lanka thanks to being rubbish yesterday both in the field and whilst batting.
    FITBA’ Unfancied before the tournament, Costa Rica were among the first batch of teams to qualify for the knock-out stages and need only a point in their final group game to qualify as group winners. As they’re playing an England team who habitually gift the opposition a 2-goal headstart, you have to fancy their chances too.
    GOLF Apparently, nobody’s interested in golf.

    After having a heart attack on Sunday, I wonder how much of a chance the USA has against Deutschland on Thursday….I could see the Germans beating us 4-0…
    Cricket is shown from time to time on US satellite and I for some reason I watch….not a clue what is going on….
    In typical American, could care less about tennis


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    Nancy wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    do I join and fight for a ” Lost Cause” or do I keep my sanity and stay away?
    And now from the peanut gallery, why join any fight that you will lose? You sound imminently sane to me. The reason that I am able to be a member of the church where I am is that they tolerate the fact that I marginalize myself (after asking to be dropped from a certain committee). I participate in a service group (good works are one thing we need to do as christians) and I give some money and I try to be nice and I do not otherwise get involved. And they tolerate that, more or less, and there we go. My denomination is good for that, for now at least. But I will never let them compromise my sanity, as you put it. When and if they split over gay marriage I may be out of the whole shebazzle again, but today is today and time will tell and all that.

    Dr Nancy, my sanity might actually need to be called into question.
    I have been all or nothing all my life. I was all in teaching school, academic contests, it was winning district or we failed, in state tests 100 % pass or nothing…the 120 lb weight loss, once again all or nothing…..the church I have been visiting is going to have a pastor retire in a couple of years and I could see me getting involved in that….all or nothing…..


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    K.D. wrote:

    Cricket is shown from time to time on US satellite and I for some reason I watch….not a clue what is going on….

    There are two batsman who are in; they are not out. They have to score runs; the bowler and fielders have to try to get the batsmen who are in out. The batsmen who are out are the ones who were in but were then out. The other batsmen aren’t out; they’re not in yet. When ten of the batsmen are out, the team is out but one remaining batsmen is not out.

    I hope this is helpful.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    P.S. I should have added that the one remaining batsmen who is not out, is obviously no longer in. That should all be clear now.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Hmm… on reflection, perhaps the best way to understand it is that a batsman who is out is not in, but a batsmen who is not in is not necessarily out. Expressed mathematically, the set of batsmen who are out is a subset of the set of batsmen who are not in.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    P.S. I should have added that the one remaining batsmen who is not out, is obviously no longer in. That should all be clear now.

    Actually is it….better than the idiots trying to describe it on TV…..


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    P.S. I should have added that the one remaining batsmen who is not out, is obviously no longer in. That should all be clear now.

    I thank you for raising my cricket befuddlement to a new and higher level.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    There are two batsman who are in; they are not out. They have to score runs; the bowler and fielders have to try to get the batsmen who are in out. The batsmen who are out are the ones who were in but were then out. The other batsmen aren’t out; they’re not in yet. When ten of the batsmen are out, the team is out but one remaining batsmen is not out.

    Sounds to me a lot like the Calvinist explanation for how God exercises control over absolutely everything that happens but isn’t responsible for any evil. 🙂


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Cricket is shown from time to time on US satellite and I for some reason I watch….not a clue what is going on….
    There are two batsman who are in; they are not out. They have to score runs; the bowler and fielders have to try to get the batsmen who are in out. The batsmen who are out are the ones who were in but were then out. The other batsmen aren’t out; they’re not in yet. When ten of the batsmen are out, the team is out but one remaining batsmen is not out.
    I hope this is helpful.

    Almost as lucid as Abbott and Costello!! 🙂


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Hmm… on reflection, perhaps the best way to understand it is that a batsman who is out is not in, but a batsmen who is not in is not necessarily out. Expressed mathematically, the set of batsmen who are out is a subset of the set of batsmen who are not in.

    Yeah, I’m lost again….now I’ll spend the next 2 hours online reading cricket rules… 🙂


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    And now, sport.

    GOLF Apparently, nobody’s interested in golf.

    The fact that Michelle Wei won the US Open (women’s) tournament is significant, and well noted in the golf world. She’s living up to her golf potential and it’s great to see – she buckled, but did not fold, coming down the stretch on Sunday.


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    Couple of points of fact: Anabaptists are not Calvinists in any way, shape or form. Often they are held up as paragons of following Christ.

    And their shunning is pretty much exactly what John MacArthur was proposing in the case of gay adult children. So it isn’t a Calvinist thing. Actually, the case could be made from the Bible that they, not we more “compassionate” folks, are the ones not obeying the Bible. It depends on whether or not one sees it more important to keep the adult child happy in this life, or alive in this life, or to see them saved for eternity.

    As to the evils of complementarianism in the SBC? It is what it is, folks. They simply understand the Bible differently than egalitarians understand it.

    I can certainly understand disagreeing with them. But why waste time trashing them? Why not also taking on the RCC because they don’t ordain women? Or the LCMS?

    Why are we not obeying the scripture and focusing on whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, etc? Is it because historically the SBC has been the most effective at evangelization?

    My local SBC has its problems, that is for double sure. But let me tell you–they provide free medical care for those in the gap between Medicaid and private insurance. They sure take care of unwed moms and the babies. They provide so many activities for the town’s kids it is unbelievable. Scholarships, aid to the elderly, and more. All on a shoestring budget. If anyone goes unpaid it is the pastor.

    Before speaking any more AGAINST the group, why not review their good deeds?

    I’m truly confused as we seem to continue to slide from aiding victims here to just trash talking conservatives in general. Confused, and very disappointed.


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    Many years ago I picked up a newspaper from a big city near to me and saw a beautiful picture of a man being ordained. Pastors were gathered round laying their hands upon him. Why was this front page news? He was gay, and furthermore, from my church. I remembered him as a small, sweet, happy in Sunday school young man. I was so glad that he had found his calling. I am also glad that my children are not gay, since it is a very difficult life, I am sure. If they were tho, I would trust that God made them that way.


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    oldJohnJ wrote:

    … cricket befuddlement…

    That is actually a Thing.


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    dee wrote:

    As a former pastor once told me: “My elders have only disagreed with me twice in 28 years. “

    Remember the Schaapf shaft-polishing video? (Before he got busted for polishing his shaft in a 17-year-old?) Remember those Schaapf clones sitting like ducks in a row behind the Schaapf-polisher, all dressed in identical uniforms? (“Here here, Reverend Leroy, Here Here!”) THOSE are the Elders.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It’s often said that the most powerful temptation for men is sexual, but I’m not at all convinced; I think the need for significance is stronger still.

    But S*E*X is what sells, both inside and outside the church.


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    linda wrote:

    And their shunning is pretty much exactly what John MacArthur was proposing in the case of gay adult children. So it isn’t a Calvinist thing. Actually, the case could be made from the Bible that they, not we more “compassionate” folks, are the ones not obeying the Bible. It depends on whether or not one sees it more important to keep the adult child happy in this life, or alive in this life, or to see them saved for eternity.

    Many conservative evangelical churches have been kicking out and keeping out LGBT people since before there was a modern LGBT movement. Assuming that you know anything at all about how many LGBT people view Christianity in light of this treatment, in the words of Dr. Phil, I’d like to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    oldJohnJ wrote:
    … cricket befuddlement…
    That is actually a Thing.

    No…

    “The King is a Thing.”
    “A thing, my lord?”
    “Of nothing. Bring me to him. HIDE FOX AND ALL AFTER!”
    — Hamlet


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    mirele wrote:

    A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us.

    Summoning and binding Demons.
    Isn’t that usually called Sorcery? Karcism? Black Magick?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NY6wJVg1x0


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    Ken wrote:

    I have never really been in a church that took church discipline of this kind seriously, mostly it is simply ignored – to our peril.

    Most likely because most of the sins listed in 1 Cor. 5 would be considered “secret” sins (immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler). Not many believers are actual witnesses to another’s immoral activities.

    How then did those at the church at Corinth know about the man who was committing sexual sins with his father’s wife? If he confessed, was there a need to excommunicate him?

    Makes me wonder about enforcing such church discipline in churches that practice accountability groups. Those accountability partners obviously are privy to “secret” sins of the other partner. Should those people be excommunicated by participating in a group where sins become known to others?

    My guess is that the man spoken of in Cor. 5 was openly, flagrantly, boasting about his sin. That’s a horse of a different color.


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    Josh wrote:

    Many conservative evangelical churches have been kicking out and keeping out LGBT people since before there was a modern LGBT movement. Assuming that you know anything at all about how many LGBT people view Christianity in light of this treatment, in the words of Dr. Phil, I’d like to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”

    Exactly. If your attempt to speak the Gospel to someone begins with “Actually, this isn’t for you”… well they’ll probably take your word for it. God came for the sick, not the healthy. If you tarry til you’re better, you will never come at all. All that jazz. Even if you are firm in your conviction that *being* homosexual is a sin, driving them away because they self-identify is no more acceptable than telling ANYone who admits to sinful behavior that they aren’t actually welcome in the House of God.


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    @ Victorious:

    That was always my take as well, for what it’s worth. A person flagrantly flashing sin around is someone who is not loving the Lord. Either he or she is spitting in God’s face or taking God’s forgiveness for granted. Either way, the flaunting is indicative of a sinful heart that goes above and beyond the behavior itself.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I think it’s noteworthy that this is at its most aggressive and egregious in the very circles that boast the loudest at being “reformed”.
    Clearly, they disapprove of the Papacy only insofar as the job isn’t vacant.

    Remember Calvin when he wielded political power as Supreme Ayatollah of Geneva?


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    linda wrote:

    Actually, the case could be made from the Bible that they, not we more “compassionate” folks, are the ones not obeying the Bible. It depends on whether or not one sees it more important to keep the adult child happy in this life, or alive in this life, or to see them saved for eternity.

    Russell Moore has a good post on what if your child is gay, and he does not agree with McA. Worth reading. It is interesting that he and Al Mohler seem to differ somewhat on the entire subject, and both are powerful and high profile in SBC. McA is not SBC.

    linda wrote:

    My local SBC has its problems, that is for double sure. But

    linda wrote:

    Before speaking any more AGAINST the group, why not review their good deeds?

    Our local SBC mega is pouring gazillions of dollars into church planting programs, some of which are in conjunction with the SBC mission board. The local mega is trying to help the SBC evangelize Calgary, Alberta, Canada as the latest big project. (If you call that good.) Meanwhile, the local food bank is scrambling around trying to provide a summer feeding program for 180,000 (their figures) school age children who will not be getting such help at school while school is out and who are in danger of malnutrition. (If you call that bad.) So, there I did it, talked about the good before I talked about the bad.


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    Josh wrote:

    Many conservative evangelical churches have been kicking out and keeping out LGBT people since before there was a modern LGBT movement. Assuming that you know anything at all about how many LGBT people view Christianity in light of this treatment, in the words of Dr. Phil, I’d like to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”

    So, I am confused by the statement somewhat. You are saying that conservative evangelical churches have been doing such and such, and then you say that people view christianity such and such. Why would their opinions not be limited to conservative evangelicals only? I mean, people don’t seem to have trouble blaming catholic stuff on the catholic church only, why the apparent difference when it comes to evangelicalism?


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    @ linda:

    If you can show that shunning is a cure for homosexuality, and can demonstrate that in practice with peer reviewed research, you might get the Nobel prize one day.


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    Nancy wrote:

    Josh wrote:
    Many conservative evangelical churches have been kicking out and keeping out LGBT people since before there was a modern LGBT movement. Assuming that you know anything at all about how many LGBT people view Christianity in light of this treatment, in the words of Dr. Phil, I’d like to ask, “And how’s that working for you?”
    So, I am confused by the statement somewhat. You are saying that conservative evangelical churches have been doing such and such, and then you say that people view christianity such and such. Why would their opinions not be limited to conservative evangelicals only? I mean, people don’t seem to have trouble blaming catholic stuff on the catholic church only, why the apparent difference when it comes to evangelicalism?

    Because for people who have been raised in conservative evangelical churches, that IS Christianity for them, just as the Roman Catholic church is Christianity for those who are Roman Catholics.


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    Marsha wrote:

    Because for people who have been raised in conservative evangelical churches, that IS Christianity for them, just as the Roman Catholic church is Christianity for those who are Roman Catholics.

    Exactly. I’m not seeing my gay friends flocking to, say, the Episcopal church after being emotionally drubbed in a SBC church. Not the ones whose parents have cut them off or who were so mistreated. They are understandably wary of all Christianity. At the same time, I know some faithful attendants who are gay (I don’t know them or anyone well enough to say one way or another about their state of grace.) They are comfortable at my parents’ southern church because they don’t get shamed from the pulpit, and they are neither hiding nor flaunting it.


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    Marsha wrote:

    Because for people who have been raised in conservative evangelical churches, that IS Christianity for them, just as the Roman Catholic church is Christianity for those who are Roman Catholics.

    AND conservative evangelical churches have hijacked the word “Christian” without any modifiers or qualifiers to mean THEIR brand of Christian and THEIR brand alone.

    How many times have you heard this Testimony?
    “I used to be Catholic (or Lutheran, or Methodist), but Now I’m CHRISTIAN(TM)…”

    And when you hear the word “CHRISTIAN(TM)” without any other qualifiers, in or out of Christian(TM) media, what brand of Christian does it refer to?

    “Effective propaganda consists of Simplification and Repetition.”
    “A lie, repeated often enough, becomes the Truth.”
    — Reichsminister Josef Goebbels


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    __

    Back Of Da Rack: “Let There Be Light, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

      Christ Jesus does not want His devoted followers to walk in ‘darkness’ no matter how loud the world, the flesh, the devil, or the church, clammers artfully for their august attention…

    *

     …a voice of one calling out in the blog void?
    ‘Prepare ye the way for the Lord’s promised return,
        Set your heart firmly upon His holy word, and your feet by the stream of living water, make your active faith abundantly fruitful, and be ye refreshed!’

    Faithful is He who has called you faithful is He who will bring it to pass…

    (smiley face goes here)

    “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me…”~ The King

    “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward…” ~ Jesus

    “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you…” ~ Solomon

    “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…” ~ Apostle Paul

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Intermission: “A Mighty Fortess is Our God”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiRpUtVByxU


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    @ Victorious:

    I have often wondered about that. If others could see the thoughts of our hearts, I have an idea we would all be excommunicated. To think it in your heart is the same, in one sense, as doing it. Matt. 5:28 (and that goes for all sins, not just sexual sins).

    I agree — the man at Corinth must have been open and notorious.


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    @ Marsha:

    So why not go to a gay-affirming church? Why blame all of christianity and not do something about it? Josh seems to be saying that they spend the rest of their lives churchless. Why?

    And BTW, there are a lot of former catholics that I have run into sitting on baptist pews. My question was, why the difference?


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    linda wrote:

    As to the evils of complementarianism in the SBC? It is what it is, folks. They simply understand the Bible differently than egalitarians understand it.

    I can certainly understand disagreeing with them. But why waste time trashing them? Why not also taking on the RCC because they don’t ordain women? Or the LCMS?

    Why are we not obeying the scripture and focusing on whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, etc? Is it because historically the SBC has been the most effective at evangelization?

    It’s not that they just understand things differently than egalitarians. It’s that they have made their (mis)interpretation a primary gospel issue. If you don’t tow the line, then you are unfeminine or unmasculine and rebellious against God’s order and design. Also we need to remember that a slaveholder of polygamist could appeal to mere differences in understanding Scripture. Would that be OK today? I hope not.

    The focus is on the SBC for a couple of reasons: it is the largest protestant denomination, and the primary locus of dissemination of this particular poison is the SBC’s largest seminary where thousands of young men are taught that women are inferior. However that teaching is verbally disclaimed, that *is* what they are teaching. While Grudem and Piper are not SBC, the former is the de facto systematic theologian of the SBC and like-minded parachurch organizations, and the latter is idolized by these same young men as the priary upholder of God’s glory, for which I’m certain God is appropriately grateful.

    You make an excellent point about distinguishing between the Anabaptists and the Calvinists on the issue of shunning. I think that it is also important to realize that the Anabaptists saw/see the church as a separate Kingdom not of this world whereas the Calvinists, saw the church and the kingdoms of this world in a more synergistic way. Of course, there is an ongoing discussion between the two Westminsters about the relationship between the kingdoms, and I want to be clear about that issuessince there are diverse views among the Reformed.

    You also make a good point that we should focus on what is lovely and pure. Many of the people posting here have been defiled by the “church” while the “church” and churchmen have defiled the name of Christ by defending the indefensible. And that brazenly. When that has become personal, it is easy to understand why some or even most here find it difficult to see beyond their pain. Also, that particular appeal has been used to silence objections to evil occurring in the institutional church, so many of us here are somewhat immune to that approach. Balance is important, but just as you see an imbalance toward pointing out what is unholy, many others here have experienced an imbalance toward ignoring what is unholy. Even the pagans know that child molestation should not be tolerated or covered up while revered “leaders” evidently do not.

    We should carefully distinguish between the institutional “church” and the invisible body of those who are in Christ.

    Gram3


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    Cayuga wrote:

    I agree — the man at Corinth must have been open and notorious.

    Paul said, after noting the situation, that the people were “proud of it!” And then tells they should have been mourning instead. And the goes on to talk about turning him over to Satan etc.


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    @ Nancy:

    The hardest thing for us to accept sometimes is that some damage is permanent. We don’t know what God is doing in their lives, but being told from the time you were a teenager that a thing you never chose to be is a fundamental sin and makes you an abomination is not going to make you trust churches, no matter the type.

    After all, even the worst pray-the-gay-away types couch the message in love. They have a reason to be wary.

    While I have to think that we are no more capable of causing another person to reject God’s grace than we are capable of causing another person to accept it, we are perfectly capable of turning our fellow humans off the church for the rest of their lives. And we should remember that.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Remember Calvin when he wielded political power as Supreme Ayatollah of Geneva?

    Not directly, as I am still a month shy of my 46th birthday. But indeed there’s nothing so toxic and oppressive as the toxic oppression that believes it is acting for God.


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    @ linda:

    “As to the evils of complementarianism in the SBC? It is what it is, folks. They simply understand the Bible differently than egalitarians understand it.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    What it “is” is an understanding of the bible that is destructive to people and relationships while calling it beautiful and godly. Those cunning enough can find the loopholes to get exactly what they want, and still qualify for the “beautiful” and “godly” badges.
    ——

    “My local SBC has its problems, that is for double sure. But let me tell you–they provide free medical care for those in the gap between Medicaid and private insurance. They sure take care of unwed moms and the babies. They provide so many activities for the town’s kids it is unbelievable. Scholarships, aid to the elderly, and more. All on a shoestring budget. If anyone goes unpaid it is the pastor.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    That is totally awesome.


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    Should have said Grudem is the de facto systematic theologian at SBTS, not the SBC as a whole, though he is at many churches as well.

    And priary=primary

    Gram3


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    @ Caitlin:

    Read Josh’s comment again and see if you do not think he is making a broader statement than just people who have been personally traumatized. I could be mistaken, but that is what I hear in his comment.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In her case, her friend was subjected to one of these crackpot demon-summoning procedures and evidently her name came up in some random association.

    I don’t even think that was the first or only case.

    I think one of the first articles I read about it was hosted on Slate or some other online magazine, but this page talks about it too:

    EXORCISM AT MARS HILL: One Woman’s Story of Sex, Demons, and Mark Driscoll
    http://matthewpaulturner.com/2012/06/20/jesus-needs-new-prexorcism-at-mars-hill-one-womans-story/

    “Mark started the meeting by telling us he was convinced that I had demons,” says Amy [one time Mars Hill member], “and then he went on to add that my demons were ‘sexual demons’.”

    … Mark told Amy he believed that every one of her sins were “sex based.” …Mark then announced that he would be performing an exorcism. Amy says that was the word he used.

    I think this blog (Wartburg) also discussed it in an earlier post called “Fired Mars Hill Elder Breaks His Silence”

    [MOD:Edit link format changed]


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    @ Nancy:

    I’m not going to put words in his mouth, but he did say “many” not all.

    Even more of my LGBT friends never set foot in a church at all and have displayed no desire to do so.


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    Gram3 wrote:

    Also we need to remember that a slaveholder of polygamist could appeal to mere differences in understanding Scripture.

    Oh, yeah. Not just could but do. For polygamy think fundamentalist LDS sects and their sympathizers. For slavery think certain other countries, including one in west africa when I was there. And for all of it think saying one thing out loud for the public to hear while thinking something else and doing it sometimes. And all the while quoting scripture if they have to. Neither of these is like smallpox in being totally eradicated, sad to say.


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    @ Caitlin:

    I guess I get that. The episcopal church where my children and grandchildren attend has numerous highly visible homosexual couples, so “many” will have to be the answer as to Josh’s comment. Thanks for checking it out.


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    Gram3 wrote:

    Balance is important, but just as you see an imbalance toward pointing out what is unholy, many others here have experienced an imbalance toward ignoring what is unholy. Even the pagans know that child molestation should not be tolerated or covered up while revered “leaders” evidently do not.

    Amen, Gram3. Well said.


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    This is from Warren Throckmorton’s blog (it discusses the link I posted above from the We Love Mars Hill site):

    Mars Hill Church’s Demon Trials: Mental Illness Considered Sign of Demonic Involvement Along with Pedophilia and Habitual Lying
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/06/24/mars-hill-churchs-demon-trials-mental-illness-considered-sign-of-demonic-involvement-along-with-pedophilia-and-habitual-lying/

    [MOD:Edit link format changed]


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    For the person above concerned that the majority of persons here pick on conservative Christianity (yes, I see that sometimes too, which I have mixed feelings about), I have on some occasions posted links to things where Christians have done something nice or good, like linking to the news story of the Christian guy who gives big tips to restaurant wait staff.

    Here is another example. There is a Christian eye doctor in India who performs free eye surgery on poor people in India (there is a lot of blindness there). I saw him interviewed on television about this.

    There is an American (or Canadian?) Christian group who has partnered with these eye people to provide even more free eye surgeries and other medical stuff (such as raising funds to buy a bus so that medical teams can visit out- lying areas in India to perform free eye exams).

    If you would like to donate to that cause or read more about it, here is a page with more information:

    Eyes For India charity
    http://www.itiswritten.com/eyesforindia

    I think what these Christians are doing to help poor blind people in India is very commendable. Good on them for helping people get a practical need met.

    [MOD:Edit link format changed]


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    Hester wrote:

    How has a gay child sinned against their parents or their church simply by stating that’s their orientation?

    Well , you know if those straight parents would just stop having gay children . . .


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    Arrgh, my “Eyes for India” link did not work. I am sorry. I will try again.

    Eyes For India charity
    http://www.itiswritten.com/eyesforindia

    [MOD:Edit link format changed]


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    That SGM membership manual makes me SICK. Even with everything that’s been brought to light to date — Brent Detwiler’s documents, multiple personal accounts of alleged abuse under SGM’s watch, etc. — SGM leaders still don’t get it. They haven’t learned a thing and this manual demonstrates it. And because of this, many more will surely suffer.


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    Please pray for a friend’s daughter who was just born via C-section w/ *severe* birth defects, and is not expected to live. 🙁 Here’s her blog, and she’s updated it along the way w/ info on the horrible time she and her husband have had w/ this pregnancy. I just nearly lost it when she e-mailed me and said, “We know if she doesn’t live, it was God’s will.”

    http://prayersforrina.wordpress.com/author/prayersforrina/


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    dee wrote:

    That SGM document shows just how micromanaged you will be. Caveat Emptor.

    With regard to the document, I think SGM should be commended because they provide, what appears to be, a complete disclosure. Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.


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    Joe2 wrote:

    Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.

    That might be true for a mature, older believer, but can you imagine a new convert comprehending it in it’s entirety? Hopefully, even a new believer could see it as evidence of a highly authoritative environment.


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    Joe2 wrote:

    Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.

    Ironically, this is a very similar phrase to the one SGM uses against people when they finally realize they are being abused by their church. Call those people foolish, I guess, but it does happen that people may read the fine print and not realize what that amounts to in practice.


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    1. John MacArthur: Bad advice on how to treat your adult child who tells you he/she is gay.

    Basically, if he is a Christian, get the church to throw him out. If he is a non-Christian, show compassion but hit him over the head with the gospel.™

    this film is to be aired on Showtime on July 10th. the parallels are eerie.

    http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/


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    @ JeffT:

    I thought Sovereign Grace was the happyiest place on earth!!


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    @ Nancy: I think it has a very great deal to do w/the kind and degree of abuse the person has suffered.

    The god being presented in this way is a false one, yet it can be extremely hard for people to get beyond what was inflicted in the name of that false god to seek the one who is True.

    Everyone who advocates these tactics seems to have forgotten Jesus’ commands to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. As to the question re. who is a neighbor, I seem to recall that he covered that, too…


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    @ Caitlin:
    This. A thousand times over.


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    “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” 😀

    I should have avoided using the word “many” in a context that left it open to… um… many interpretations. With that said, I did not intend to convey a specific percentage; I was only trying to indicate that the statement in question was applicable to a not insignificant number of people.

    Since a number of you explained my statement better than I did, I’m not sure that any further response would increase understanding. I will only reiterate the point that if you tell people something, beware, because they might just believe it. A similar situation happens to evolutionary creationists, who are attacked by most Christian fundamentalists and a few atheists for the same reason: in the minds of fundies and those particular atheists, the Bible can’t be interpreted in a way that’s compatible with the theory of biological evolution. Put those ex-Christian LGBT folks in place of the atheists in this story, and I think similar factors are involved.

    (As an evolutionary creationist and a follower of Jesus who happens to be gay, I get flak from darn near everybody! 😉 )


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    @ Hester:
    Ok, now I’m curious. <3


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    Josh wrote:

    I will only reiterate the point that if you tell people something, beware, because they might just believe it

    This applies to so. many. things. LGBT, divorce, natural disasters, health crises, victimization. So many ways we can develop a fatal case of Foot-in-Mouth disease, and the damage can be severe and long-lasting.

    I have only recently gotten my friend to recognize the wisdom of silent companionability when faced with a friend in crisis. When you think “I don’t know what to say about this” the correct answer is to say nothing at all.

    Nothing eats away at the soul quite like quasi-Truth spoken out of ignorance and a lack of compassion.


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    One comment removed by request of commenter.


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    Victorious wrote:

    Joe2 wrote:
    Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.
    That might be true for a mature, older believer, but can you imagine a new convert comprehending it in it’s entirety? Hopefully, even a new believer could see it as evidence of a highly authoritative environment.

    This!!! One thing I’ve seen throughout my walk with Christ is that many people who teach the Bible have NO IDEA what kind of fruit their specific slant may have several years from now. They don’t teach with all possible scenarios in mind. So now, thanks to “predestination of EVERYTHING”, an old friend thinks that her baby is suffering and dying right now because **God Willed It To Happen.** People DON’T know what they’re getting into when they join these types of groups. Which is why survivor and discernment blogs must exist. 🙁


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    Joe2 wrote:

    With regard to the document, I think SGM should be commended because they provide, what appears to be, a complete disclosure. Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.

    In a secular environment, few people would venture to commend a profit-making business for “disclosing” their abusive, controlling and micro-managing practices in a 59-page document.

    For a church, it’s a sorry excuse indeed. The practice of “ruling over” or κατεξουσιά, explicitly banned from his church by Jesus, does cease to be grossly sinful just because it’s documented.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    does cease to be grossly sinful just because it’s documented.

    Er – could someone with moderator superpowers insert the word “NOT” before the word “cease” there?

    🙁


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    @ Caitlin:

    Of course, I’m operating out of the assumption that these churches are well-meaning in their concern for the gay children they are casting out of their homes and truly and earnestly believe that it is for their own good.


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    @ Janet Varin:

    Oh come on…Der Humble One in Lousville has an accountability as head of the pyramid. Its called Mark Dever, and CHBC. You know ^%& dang well when the ^&%$ hits the fan in Louisville we’ll find CJ hiding behind Mark Dever of Jonathan Leeman! 😛

    Because a real man runs and hides and doesn’t practice what he preaches in a 59 page document!


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    @ Janet Varin:

    That 59 pages is about as fun to read as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”


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    @ numo:

    I think that my basic “attitude” to some things is getting confused. I have a comment in moderation in response to Linda from quite a while ago and which does not remotely give the impression that I agree with anything she has said. I probably should have quit talking at that time, because I get the impression that some people may think that I am somewhere on the same page of the hymn book that she is. Not so. That said, there is nothing I can do at this point but explain that and move on.


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    @ Taylor Joy:

    I’m sure the above removal request was cryptic, but what I would like to say, should not be said here and may not be particularly Christian either. Glad to know I can intrigue, however. 😉


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It’s often said that the most powerful temptation for men is sexual, but I’m not at all convinced; I think the need for significance is stronger still.

    Oh, absolutely.


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    @ Josh:

    I will only reiterate the point that if you tell people something, beware, because they might just believe it.

    Heck, sometimes all you have to do is imply or hint at something and people will believe it – or believe something worse, because they filled in the blanks themselves in a way you never intended. And sometimes the person might not even be aware that they believe these things, until they find themselves acting on them and ask, “Where the **** did I get that?!” In other words, we don’t always know how many scripts and prejudices we have, until we catch ourselves in the act.

    This really has nothing to do with the thread, but it was my thought nonetheless. I enjoy your posts.


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    Nancy wrote:

    Meanwhile, the local food bank is scrambling around trying to provide a summer feeding program for 180,000 (their figures) school age children who will not be getting such help at school

    This reminds me.

    The Baptist church my father has been attending for several years now (I went for a few months), which I am fairly certain is Southern Baptist, does actually do some good stuff.

    This Baptist church donates funds to, and send volunteers to teach and help, battered and homeless women and their kids at a homeless/domestic violence shelter. They also donate toys for the kids there.

    This same Baptist church also funds a local food pantry that serves the whole city. They give away free food and clothing at that center (anyone from the city is welcome, they don’t have to be Christian). The pantry/clothing thing is in a strip mall type area.

    This Baptist church donated many rice and bean buckets to Haiti storm victims a few years ago – they not only bought the food, but they packed it all and paid for its shipping to the main shipping area, IIRC.

    They also give away free turkey dinners to poor families at the holidays.

    This Baptist church also did some other charity thing for a local college. I can’t remember the details of that. I think they were helping to pay for tuition, or for food or books or something for a local woman’s college.


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    @ JeffT:

    That’s illogical. How can God be sovereing over everything but not soveriegn over evil? Some of the “Christian Taliban” who follow John Piper said that Matthew Warren’s suicide was God’s will. How far down do you break it? Is God sovereing over the God Matthew Warren used? Did God pre-determine the trajectory of the bullet? Did God pre-determine how his head exploded? I’d love to submit those questions to John Piper in his next Podcast.


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    @ Nancy: Nancy, I didn’t get that idea about your response to Linda. No need to apologize; you get straight to the point and communicate very well!


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    Victorious wrote:

    That might be true for a mature, older believer, but can you imagine a new convert comprehending it in it’s entirety? Hopefully, even a new believer could see it as evidence of a highly authoritative environment.

    Sara wrote:

    Ironically, this is a very similar phrase to the one SGM uses against people when they finally realize they are being abused by their church. Call those people foolish, I guess, but it does happen that people may read the fine print and not realize what that amounts to in practice.

    No argument from me, I agree with both comments.


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    @ Nancy: btw, I responded to your comment about witchcraft on the previous post…


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    linda wrote:

    It depends on whether or not one sees it more important to keep the adult child happy in this life, or alive in this life, or to see them saved for eternity.

    I see- by shunning them you are more concerned for their eternal soul than those who love them and walk through life with them? And you know this how?

    linda wrote:

    I can certainly understand disagreeing with them. But why waste time trashing them? Why not also taking on the RCC because they don’t ordain women?

    This blog deals with evangelical Protestantism. Perhaps I could refer you to a blog which disagrees with some RC stances. Now, as for the MIssouri Synod, they are a small and not terribly influential group so they do not pop up as frequently. Perhaps you might like to suggest a story for our consideration?

    linda wrote:

    Why are we not obeying the scripture and focusing on whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, etc?

    And how are we not obeying Scripture? And if this blog is not “lovely” then why are you spending your time here?

    linda wrote:

    ’m truly confused as we seem to continue to slide from aiding victims here to just trash talking conservatives in general

    Are you part of that “we?” And when did we switch from faith issues to “conservative” issues. I avoid politics like the plague.


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    Eagle wrote:

    @ Janet Varin:
    That 59 pages is about as fun to read as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

    I read War & Peace in college. For 59 pages to seem that long, it’s gotta be worse than lawyerspeak or Microsoft documentation.


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    dee wrote:

    I see- by shunning them you are more concerned for their eternal soul than those who love them and walk through life with them? And you know this how?

    “And if I rack him ’til he die, what of it? For I will have Saved His Soul.”
    — “The Inquisitor”, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court


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    Caitlin wrote:

    I’m operating out of the assumption that these churches are well-meaning in their concern for the gay children they are casting out of their homes and truly and earnestly believe that it is for their own good.

    I am not questioning their motives. But, good motives do not necessarily imply right actions. They used to drain blood from sick people, thinking it would cure them. Their motives were fine but they were dead wrong as to the expected outcome.


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    @ Nancy:
    I have approved all comments. I do not have any currently in moderation. If you have one that you think is in moderation, please let me know.


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    dee wrote:

    I am not questioning their motives. But, good motives do not necessarily imply right actions. They used to drain blood from sick people, thinking it would cure them. Their motives were fine but they were dead wrong as to the expected outcome.

    Exactly.

    I also know enough of human nature to be sure that at least some individuals are not in fact operating out of good motives. But many many more are just misguided.


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    Josh wrote:

    I will only reiterate the point that if you tell people something, beware, because they might just believe it.

    “WE COULD HAVE TOLD HIM WE WERE EXPATRIATED ZULUS AND HE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED US!”
    — Zonker Harris, Doonesbury, after BSing a Newsweek reporter doing an article on him and his buds at Walden Puddle. (Including claiming a lilac bush was really a pot-growing operation.)


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    Eagle wrote:

    @ JeffT:
    I thought Sovereign Grace was the happyiest place on earth!!

    It Is! Just like North Korea is the happiest place on earth!


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    Gram3 wrote:

    . It’s that they have made their (mis)interpretation a primary gospel issue.

    Great comment!Gram3 wrote:

    The focus is on the SBC for a couple of reasons: it is the largest protestant denomination, and the primary locus of dissemination of this particular poison is the SBC’s largest seminary where thousands of young men are taught that women are inferior. However that teaching is verbally disclaimed, that *is* what they are teaching.

    Again well said.


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    Josh wrote:

    an evolutionary creationist and a follower of Jesus who happens to be gay,

    Now that is most interesting. I would be interested in hearing more of your story!


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    Nancy wrote:

    The local mega is trying to help the SBC evangelize Calgary, Alberta, Canada as the latest big project. (If you call that good.)

    I’m sure the large Mormon population there is going to up and convert. NOT.


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    Deebs, re your banner headline – breaking news, the U.S. DoS has made a statement that Ms. Ibrahim has been released following this latest detention at the KHT airport.

    Sadly, this is not surprising. I’ve experienced all manner of harassment by the venal authorities at that airport. Its just the worst. They get a real thrill out of detaining people and doing so in a most aggressive and unpleasant manner, period.

    Ms. Ibrahim and her family (and those who’ve followed her story) can finally breathe a sigh of relief when they are wheels up.


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    Daisy wrote:

    Mars Hill Church’s Demon Trials: Mental Illness Considered Sign of Demonic Involvement Along with Pedophilia and Habitual Lying
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/06/24/mars-hill-churchs-demon-trials-mental-illness-considered-sign-of-demonic-involvement-along-with-pedophilia-and-habitual-lying/

    I can just about guarantee that if someone suggested I undergo an exorcism for a mental illness which is under control as long as I take my medication, I would probably tap into that fishwife language which is lurking in my head to let that person know exactly what I think of that idea.


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    @ dee:

    I was talking about the one timed 12:07. At the time I wrote numo at2:56 I was not aware it had been cleared. I am not complaining, just trying to explain what was going on in the line of thinking in that particular conversation. We are good.


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    Victorious wrote:

    Joe2 wrote:
    Anyone joining the church would or should know what they are getting into and later can’t complain that they weren’t told.
    That might be true for a mature, older believer, but can you imagine a new convert comprehending it in it’s entirety? Hopefully, even a new believer could see it as evidence of a highly authoritative environment.

    The difficulty is that the new believer is often looking for a highly authoritarian church; that is to say, an organisation that will give them lots of things to do, with a lot of structure, and a lot of instruction on exactly what they should think and believe. It gives them an outlet for their new-found religious zeal.

    The ones who retain that zeal to do as they’re told will rise through the ranks and be rewarded. Those who begin to grow, and to ask questions, are another matter.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It Is! Just like North Korea is the happiest place on earth!

    North Korea is Best Korea!


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    @ Daisy:

    That is really great. I keep thinking that what Jesus said about when I was hungry you did/did not feed me, or naked and you did/did not clothe me, and so on; and the way he rejected the objections of the people who wanted to say but look at all these religious things we did. I am thinking that if he did not mean it he would not have said it.


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    Daisy wrote:

    EXORCISM AT MARS HILL: One Woman’s Story of Sex, Demons, and Mark Driscoll
    http://matthewpaulturner.com/2012/06/20/jesus-needs-new-prexorcism-at-mars-hill-one-womans-story/
    “Mark started the meeting by telling us he was convinced that I had demons,” says Amy [one time Mars Hill member], “and then he went on to add that my demons were ‘sexual demons’.”

    Does it surprise anyone that Pastor “I SEE Things” saw specifically-SEXUAL demons?


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    Cayuga wrote:

    I agree — the man at Corinth must have been open and notorious.

    Not only was he doing things “that have no name — even among the goyim!” But he was being an in-your-face A-hole about it.


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    @ dee:

    And when did we switch from faith issues to “conservative” issues. I avoid politics like the plague.

    I don’t see it as the comments section on some kind of unspoken hive-mind mission to trash conservatives, but mainly an outgrowth of the fact that the churches blogged about at TWW, are, as you stated, evangelical Protestant, which pretty much = conservative to most people. Certainly the Neo-Calvinists, SBC and most non-denominational Bible churches are conservative. Pretty much only the true extremists like Jonathan Lindvall would see them as liberal.

    The comments section itself seems (to me) to be split relatively evenly between (religious) conservatives and liberals (in the popular, non-rigorous sense). Perhaps the more liberal/centrist end of conservative, in the main, but conservative nonetheless. Maybe I’m misreading that, I don’t know. I know I sometimes come off as way more liberal here than I actually am, because this is a place where I come to discuss/wrangle with/blow off steam about my frustrations with conservative Protestantism. As to the commenters’ political affiliations, I don’t know (unless they’ve said so), and I don’t really care either, unless they repeatedly rub it in my face (which I don’t think has ever happened to me here to the level where it became a problem) or make adherence to their politics a requirement of being Christian (which I also don’t think has ever happened).

    Under the rigorous, original definition of liberal, of course, being egalitarian and/or OEC/TE, do not a liberal make. So in that sense, I suspect this comments section is made up mostly of conservatives, because I don’t recall many people here (except of course the atheist denizens, which makes them not liberals either, just non-Christians) denying the resurrection and miracles of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, etc.


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    @ dee & Josh:

    I would be interested in hearing more of your story!

    Me too! 🙂


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    dee wrote:

    Josh wrote:
    an evolutionary creationist and a follower of Jesus who happens to be gay,
    Now that is most interesting. I would be interested in hearing more of your story!

    me too! And I am so sorry that you’re getting flack from so many different folks.


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    From a daily reader but only occasional poster: If any of you are so led, say a prayer for my friend, Martha, an Anglican priest, who is battling a severe form of myeloid leukemia. Pray that this last-ditch (#5) round of chemo will work well enough to allow her to have a stem-cell transplant.


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    @ Hester:

    I do so agree with you.

    I believe in do justice and love mercy. Is that conservative or liberal?

    I believe in the inspiration of scripture, but I do not believe in what the neo-puritans say inerrancy means. What does that make me?

    I worked for 50 years on the job, and loved it for the most part, but I think that being a stay home mom would have been great also. So sue me.

    I speak baptist with a native accent, but I am no longer a baptist. I reference catholic teaching every chance I get, but I am not a catholic. Am I damned?

    I believe in and practice a conservative sexual ethic, but I find no justification for the segregation and much less mistreatment of people who are homosexual or divorced. So am I an alien?

    I brush my teeth and use deodorant so that when they haul me off I can go in style. And that does make me a practical optimist. At last, at last, a category.


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    @ Victorious:

    Well put Victorious. It’s a prudent path between the extremes of say Bart Ehrman and Chuck Missler. Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bible defies black-and-white linearization.


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    @ Nancy:
    Nancy, you rock!


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    @ mirele:

    So Mark Driscoll is mentally ill! Its beacuase of his habitaul lying and love of pornograghy (Real Marriage). I find it interesting that plagarism is not a sign of mental illness…..I wonder why?


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    I’m pretty conversative in a lot of ways, and moderate in others. My beef is that politics and culture cross the boundaries in evangelicalism.


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    dee wrote:

    Perhaps I could refer you to a blog which disagrees with some RC stances

    Oh hey, if I remember right, after I posted a link in one thread months ago about a Roman Catholic group that doesn’t think women should attend college, I think a day or two later, you and Deb did a post about it.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/09/20/do-certain-catholics-really-know-how-to-fix-the-family/

    That Roman Catholic group’s views about family, marriage, and gender roles for women is pretty similar to ones held by some Protestant groups who also have very strict views about women.


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    Nancy wrote:

    @ Hester:
    I do so agree with you.
    I believe in do justice and love mercy. Is that conservative or liberal?
    I believe in the inspiration of scripture, but I do not believe in what the neo-puritans say inerrancy means. What does that make me?
    I worked for 50 years on the job, and loved it for the most part, but I think that being a stay home mom would have been great also. So sue me.
    I speak baptist with a native accent, but I am no longer a baptist. I reference catholic teaching every chance I get, but I am not a catholic. Am I damned?
    I believe in and practice a conservative sexual ethic, but I find no justification for the segregation and much less mistreatment of people who are homosexual or divorced. So am I an alien?
    I brush my teeth and use deodorant so that when they haul me off I can go in style. And that does make me a practical optimist. At last, at last, a category.

    Dr. Nancy,
    I think I am closer to you in my belief system than either of us realize…..excellent post….


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    Daisy

    Please check your email.


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    Nancy wrote:

    I believe in do justice and love mercy. Is that conservative or liberal?

    Check. (Whether it’s conservative or liberal probably depends on for whom you believe in doing justice.)

    I believe in the inspiration of scripture, but I do not believe in what the neo-puritans say inerrancy means. What does that make me?

    For a start, it makes you similar to me… especially if you also believe in neither Santa Claus nor the perspicuity of scripture.

    I worked for 50 years on the job, and loved it for the most part, but I think that being a stay home mom would have been great also. So sue me.

    Can’t match the 50 years, but I have been – perforce – a stay-at-home-dad battling tooth and nail against unemployment. (Wouldn’t miss any of the time I’ve had with the weans, mind you.) I expect this experience to grow into something that benefits the job seeking community here in Blighty, but in the meantime, by all means sue me too.

    I speak baptist with a native accent, but I am no longer a baptist. I reference catholic teaching every chance I get, but I am not a catholic. Am I damned?

    I’m a communicant Anglican, have been a member of two baptist churches (which means something very different here), a Restoration house-church and a commercial off-shoot of the Restoration movement, and am now a None. But I’ll tell you something: if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead – then I’m stuffed.

    I believe in and practice a conservative sexual ethic, but I find no justification for the segregation and much less mistreatment of people who are homosexual or divorced. So am I an alien?

    Check, check, and check. We’re probably from the same planet. I hope this isn’t bad news.

    I brush my teeth and use deodorant so that when they haul me off I can go in style. And that does make me a practical optimist. At last, at last, a category.

    Ah: at last, a major difference. Lesley will tell you that I am a practical and a theoretical pessimist.

    We’re doomed.


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    Taylor Joy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Taylor Joy wrote:
    I was told that I was a “tool of the devil” for breaking off contact with them. I
    I am so sorry that you had such difficult parents. Yet, you seem pretty awesome. How did you get from there to here?

    Dee, thanks so much! <3 You're pretty awesome too! I'll try and give you the thumbnail version here–I'm sorry if it's so long. <3

    Like any abuser, my parents weren't all bad. I got saved in my early teens, and became a fiery female evangelist, who loved to actually read her Bible. I think, since we lived in such a small-town, evangelical culture, my parents could play the Christian game well for people outside the family. I found a "new family" in my church, and was determined to not make the same mistakes my abusive mother made. (You can read about her specific abusive behaviors here: http://taylorjoyrecovers.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/dear-sheldon-a-story-of-maternal-abuse/)

    So I found Christian Patriarchy in college.

    After all, it guaranteed a way to make sure your husband knew he was loved and adored, and he would love and adore you in return, since you were SOOOO DIFFERENT than all the OTHER women out there.

    After our kids started coming, we realized that our church promoted some of the Pearls' materials (not officially, but only person-to-person). I spent 3+ years of my life living CTBHHM. You can read that story here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R14MHSGLXFX58Z/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1892112604

    As you can see, by God's grace, I found my way out of that theological pretzel where we're all free in Christ to be totally enslaved to another human's desires–whether it's our husbands', our pastors', or whoever's desires.

    Then, I realized that many parts of Christian Patriarchy/Fundamentalism use the *same language* as my abusive parents used–and I'm now certain that my parents had personality disorders. The unquestioning obedience, the borg-like way of assimilating any errant taste or preference for anything that they didn't like, the "you and me against the world out there" mindset, the idea of being yourself=abandoning them, etc. It made me realize that maaaaaybe Fundamentalism is a nice hiding place for mental illness, which is being normalized in the name of Christ. And it got me *started* blogging. Cindy Kunsman addresses lot of the same issues in her site.

    So, thanks so much for asking. <3 I'm just starting out on this "survivor blogging" life, but there's so much material to mine, that there may never be *enough* writers to document it all.

    Your letter to tullian is so amazing and spot on! it says everything that really needs to be said! http://taylorjoyrecovers.wordpress.com


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    @ Just Watching:

    re: SG Louisville Membership Covenant, not even my Catholic Church asks that of me. . .


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    @ Nick Bulbeck: fwiw, there are many different types of beliefs and churches in the US that use the word baptist in their names. Some are so “liberal” that theyd make Al Kohler’s head spin.

    Please don’t assume that baptist = SBC. Nothing could be further from the truth.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    FITBA’ Unfancied before the tournament, Costa Rica were among the first batch of teams to qualify for the knock-out stages and need only a point in their final group game to qualify as group winners. As they’re playing an England team who habitually gift the opposition a 2-goal headstart, you have to fancy their chances too.

    England is out and the US ‘might’ advance? Is something amiss?


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    @ Moderation Crew

    Please take down my comment at 7:11 p.m. I have used some local non-offensive terminology which I think is not correct in other parts of the country and may be offensive elsewhere.

    Thanks


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    Eagle wrote:

    So Mark Driscoll is mentally ill! Its beacuase of his habitaul lying and love of pornograghy (Real Marriage). I find it interesting that plagarism is not a sign of mental illness…..I wonder why?

    I was wondering why plagiarism was left off the looooong list of things that had to be reviewed as part of sniffing out the demons.


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    In the SGM Louisville membership covenant there is one line mentioning required reporting to the authorities for certain crimes. However…

    “To prevent our leaders from being placed in situations that might compromise their
    pastoral commitments, we, the members and attenders of this church, agree that we will not try to compel them to testify in any legal proceeding or otherwise divulge any confidential information they receive through pastoral counseling or ministry (Prov. 11:13, 25:9).”

    First of all, my understanding is that even counselors are required to notify authorities if made aware of sexual abuse. Second, notice that even *attenders* are held to this particular requirement. I thought this was a MEMBERSHIP covenant.

    “When a conflict involves matters of doctrine or church discipline, we will submit to the procedures set forth in our Commitment to Church Discipline. If we have a legal dispute with or within our church and cannot resolve it internally through the steps given above, we will obey God’s command not to go into the civil court (1 Cor. 6:1-8). Instead, we will submit the duly appointed church courts as outlined in the SGM Book of Church Order.”

    Maybe they would argue that this does not apply to abuse situations, but if so they need to clarify this given SGM’s past track record.


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    @ Nancy: I bet *none* of those TEC folks had ever heard the like! Totally agree about many black American preachers, regardless of denomination. It’s a tonic!

    Btw, are you concerned over “young ‘uns”? Seems awfully inoffensive to me.


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    @ NJ:

    UGH. Those clauses in the membership agreement are sickening. As Charles Barkley would say, “Terrible, terrible, terrible.”


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    numo wrote:

    Btw, are you concerned over “young ‘uns”? Seems awfully inoffensive to me.

    No, I used the term black. We have this commotion around here about who to call whom what. I will tell here how it goes, so anybody who has been offended will understand. Let me use the school house as an example. At the school there are pink teachers and pink students who call themselves white and everybody calls them white, and that is the only ethnic group where it is all that simple.

    There are two groups of tan students and one group of tan teachers. First the easiest part. One group of tan students does not want to be called hispanic and not latino, because that does not differentiate between various sub groups of spanish speaking people. They want to be called mexican or OTM (other than mexican). The various paper work that has to be filled out does not always make that distinction, and the DMV calls them hispanic. There was a local foo faw (as told by the principle actor) in which the spanish teacher would not check hispanic for ethnicity and the DMV was not going to renew his drivers license until he did. But he was from Espana (my computer does not do tilde) and his very manhood had been insulted. Trouble is, the pink people and the other tan people cannot look at spanish speakers or listen to their accents and tell who is who.

    The question in place about the preacher has to do with the other tan group. The teachers have been instructed to use the term african-american. So the pink teachers strive diligently to do that. The tan teachers use the word black to refer to themselves and the children. The children call themselves black and sometimes actually correct the pink teachers and say that they are, in fact, black. Obviously, that is their preferred terminology, though everybody tries hard, occasionally to use the term african-american. I think people ought to be allowed to be called whatever they want, and apparently so do most of us, and thus we use one or other of the terms depending on the situation. In the case of black baptist preachers, there is a long and proud tradition there, and I used the traditional terminology. And then thought better of it and asked that the comment be taken down.

    As to pink and tan, it is something my daughter said she sometimes says to the kids when they correct her and say that they are black. She says, basically, come on kid. You are not black, you are tan, and look at me, I am pink. So what are we doing here? The kids laugh and everybody has talked about a delicate subject in a friendly way and a little bit of the distance is lessened, though the distance actually is not what it looks like since we have all been dealing with each other for so long that a certain comfortableness has developed.

    If it weren’t so serious it would be funny.


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    “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more
    free from sin and life Christ in our actual lives.”
    Wayne Grudem

    Wonder what he would have said to the apostle Paul after the latter wrote Romans 7? After the sanctification wars that have been raging in the PCA of late, I’m leery of any theology of the same that sounds like it’s a half step down from “entire sanctification” or any other perfectionistic doctrine that claims Christians can eventually reach a state of sinlessness (or nearly so) in this life.

    “…Christians are to seek to be continually filled with the Spirit.”

    • “Recognize your need to be filled with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.”

    Does the Holy Spirit leak out of us while we’re sleeping at night?

    “While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences.”

    This is sounding like the pseudo-reformed version of the second blessing which distinguishes *truly* Spirit-filled Christians from second-rate Christians. Or am I completely off base?


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    This reminds me of Bob Larson – would be interesting to know if there were any connections there? Bob Larson has made a career out of casting demons out of believers…..back in the day, when I naively watched his show on TBN, he almost convinced me (through the TV, no less) that I was possessed…sigh.

    this stuff really does rile me up a bit. When my aunt was 12 (and my cruel, narcissistic mother was 13) and my grandfather was religious, arbitrary and emotionally unengaged, the church elders showed up at their house to ‘cast the spirit of rebellion’ out of my 12 (ED.MOD) year old aunt. This was in the mid ’50s. (I, obviously, was not there, but have been told of the event by a second aunt who was there.) There was no consideration of why my 12 year old aunt my be ‘acting up’ and ‘rebelling.’ No asking of questions or getting to be familiar with the situation. No…they just stood her on a chair in the middle of the living room and proceeded to perform and ‘exorcism.’ Within 18 months of that event, she had run away….and it did not get better from there.


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    NJ wrote:

    This is sounding like the pseudo-reformed version of the second blessing which distinguishes *truly* Spirit-filled Christians from second-rate Christians. Or am I completely off base?

    That does sound very ‘Pentecostal’ and not so much Reformed…..


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    NJ wrote:

    This is sounding like the pseudo-reformed version of the second blessing which distinguishes *truly* Spirit-filled Christians from second-rate Christians. Or am I completely off base?

    You are not off base. The thinking in this area is a quagmire and a confused chaos. There are some of us who would be willing to share our thoughts, but right now it is late and I get a little weird when I get tired so I am off to nighty night. Later.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Nancy wrote:

    I believe in do justice and love mercy. Is that conservative or liberal?

    Check. (Whether it’s conservative or liberal probably depends on for whom you believe in doing justice.)

    I believe in the inspiration of scripture, but I do not believe in what the neo-puritans say inerrancy means. What does that make me?

    For a start, it makes you similar to me… especially if you also believe in neither Santa Claus nor the perspicuity of scripture.

    I worked for 50 years on the job, and loved it for the most part, but I think that being a stay home mom would have been great also. So sue me.

    Can’t match the 50 years, but I have been – perforce – a stay-at-home-dad battling tooth and nail against unemployment. (Wouldn’t miss any of the time I’ve had with the weans, mind you.) I expect this experience to grow into something that benefits the job seeking community here in Blighty, but in the meantime, by all means sue me too.

    I speak baptist with a native accent, but I am no longer a baptist. I reference catholic teaching every chance I get, but I am not a catholic. Am I damned?

    I’m a communicant Anglican, have been a member of two baptist churches (which means something very different here), a Restoration house-church and a commercial off-shoot of the Restoration movement, and am now a None. But I’ll tell you something: if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead – then I’m stuffed.

    I believe in and practice a conservative sexual ethic, but I find no justification for the segregation and much less mistreatment of people who are homosexual or divorced. So am I an alien?

    Check, check, and check. We’re probably from the same planet. I hope this isn’t bad news.

    I brush my teeth and use deodorant so that when they haul me off I can go in style. And that does make me a practical optimist. At last, at last, a category.

    Ah: at last, a major difference. Lesley will tell you that I am a practical and a theoretical pessimist.

    We’re doomed.


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    Sorry, I accidentally copied that post as I was reading it on my cellphone and then the page refreshed and posted it.


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    I’m curious and I could totally be wrong but when the bible says not even have a meal with one caught up in sin, could that be Refering to communion and not just seeing them in the street and running the other way? How else will one be reconciled to the church unless you seek them out? Now, as far as being in church leadership or communing etc., I would have a hard time seeing how one could blatantly do something like sleep with their step mom and tell the church to stick it because it wasn’t wrong and that not qualify for church discipline.

    2nd-This homosexual issue drives me nuts because everyone acts like there is one response from all homosexuals. Do they not know that not everyone is embracing this as something God ordained? Not every homosexual is angry and wants to shut religious people up? This is a nuanced issue that people like J Mac refuse to see. Does he say this same strong language about sex offenders in church? As of yet I have not heard that he has. It looks like we have lowered the bar of the law of God so low that currently we have one commandment. Don’t be gay. It looks like a high percentage of the world just got into heaven with their own works because they have perfectly fulfilled the no gay law. Sheesh….


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    @ Beakerj: They really are a remarkable family.


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    @ Robin:

    Do they not know that not everyone is embracing this as something God ordained? Not every homosexual is angry and wants to shut religious people up?

    And that not all celibate gay people think the same way about everything, and not all of them use the same terms to describe themselves, etc., etc., etc. As you said, waaaaay more nuanced than most popular discourse (Christian and non) lets on.

    I’m curious if JMac would advise the same shunning treatment for a child who was actively fornicating/sleeping around, or living with their significant other before marriage. And if not, why not?


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    Homeschoolers Anonymous has a most interesting post today on a child abse coverup.


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    Warning: tl;dr INCOMING!

    Sara wrote:

    me too! And I am so sorry that you’re getting flack from so many different folks.

    Well, I don’t publicize my views on creation or my orientation, so my lighthearted references to flak refer to general comments that I overhear in church and anything that comes from the keyboards of Al Mohler and everyone else in The Gospel™ Coalition[1]. These things don’t strike at a personal level, but it does sadden me to know that the only way I can continue to be accepted in evangelical churches is to lie by omission about what I feel. Compared to the stories that have been shared here, my life has been easy. While my complaints feel like #firstworldproblems, I’ll share these two vignettes to show what lead to my change of mind.

    On Evolutionary Creation

    My parents were great, although they were conservative SBC folks, so the religious restrictions under which I grew up felt like Fundamentalism Lite: certain music, most movies, and some books and games were forbidden. Because my parents home schooled me, I had less socialization with my peers than other children would experience, so while the legalism wasn’t intense, it was a 24/7/365 presence in my life.

    We watched all the Kent Hovind videos, and while we thought that “Dr.” Dino was a jerk, we were convinced that evil-ution was one of many reasons (besides the homersecksuals) American society was going to Hades in a Longaberger. During a period where we lived far from a Southern Baptist Church, we attended an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church. Hearing my parents discuss each Sunday afternoon their disagreements with topics like King James Onlyism, over-emphasis on “soul winning,” and insistence on the pre-tribulational rapture – topics that often featured in the sermon – was probably the catalyst that nurtured my desire to question other things on which they weren’t so comfortable being questioned.

    When I got to college, I went to a PCUSA church (which is now in the EPC), mostly because it had good sermons, way better music than I was accustomed to, and a large group of my friends who also attended there so I could get a ride. So, here I found a faith community who believed all the same basic things that I did as a Baptist, but took it for granted that the universe was 13 point something billion years old and that evolution happened along the way – and not just “micro” evolution, either. Having been implicitly taught that Jesus didn’t mind me questioning the preacher (though, like many good fundamentalists, questioning the Bible was still off limits), and ending up in a church that had already landed firmly but gently on the other side of this contentious issue are two things that may have smoothed my transition.

    On That Peculiar Other Issue

    My coming of age story is one where the protagonist lives for a quarter of a century oblivious to what’s going on in his mind. Only in the past two-ish years have I come to terms with my feelings. For most of my post-pubescent life, in my relative isolation, I never realized that boys were supposed to think girls were hot, and was thus unaware of my otherness. I only ever noticed guys, or, well, at least the good looking ones. Somehow, for years, I maintained the self-delusion that this was because I was envious of their handsomeness due to my pedestrian appearance, never mind that not once did I give a second thought about – or take a second glance at – a beautiful gal.

    In the spirit of skipping the irrelevant details so as not to surpass Vogon poetry in boringness, I’ll summarize by saying that I’ve found myself at this stage of my life to be content with singleness (Al Mohler has two reasons to dislike me, yay!). However, I’ll never tell another LGBT person that they’re not allowed to seek partnership if they feel that having a partner is in God’s will for them. I don’t talk about my orientation in real life, except with two trustworthy people to whom I’ve come out. On the internet, I’m more open, posting only under a first name that may or may not be my real one, because you just can’t keep things bottled up inside forever. The journey isn’t so bad, as long as I don’t think about where I’m going. While, as I implied above, I’m not “loud and proud,” I have determined that I cannot lie if asked directly, so it’s probably only a matter of time before my church finds out. Then I’ll discover – and you all will likely hear soon thereafter – how accepting they’ll actually be of a celibate LGBT person. We’ll see…

    [1] Tim Keller may be the exception; he seems gentler when addressing how to treat LGBT people. In fact, I’ve heard a church acquaintance blast him for not being hellfire and brimstone enough, even though what he said was fully in line with conservative evangelical teaching.

    [2] (no, I didn’t reference this endnote anywhere above, so if you’re mildly OCD like me, you can stop looking back now.) I think I may have shared parts of this story elsewhere on the blog. So, if you remember reading this before, but it was a bit different the last time, you’re not going crazy. My story has probably reinterpreted itself as memories get lost in the sands of time (and I’m only twent[mumbles]). So, if you compare this with what I’ve written before, while contradictions are unintentional, they’re to be quite expected.


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    Honestly, I don’t know where to begin with John MacArthur. As a former evangelical I had a great deal of respect for him, and even after I lost my faith I continued to respect him. However, after seeing a clip like that I’ve come to realize that the man is at best a very flawed pastor. His advice to parents of gay children sounds like it comes from someone whose heart never broke for someone. Note how he immediately jumps to the conclusion that the parents must confront, discipline, and even excommunicate their children if they profess Christ. No mention of prayer, telling them you love them, sitting down and trying to understand them. Just confront and be willing to hand them over to Satan. And this is if the child is a professing believer!

    I also notice how MacArthur shows a lack of nuance as if “coming out” always means the same thing. He gives no consideration to real world situations where someone could come out as gay, yet celibate, or just confused and in need of support. Indeed, he also gives no advice at all about what to do with your child once you’ve “disciplined” him. Does this mean he or she is effectively dead to you? Should all communication be cut off? If he or she is an unbeliever rather than a professing Christian, does that mean you can keep the lines of communication open?

    I remember reading over 20+ years ago that MacArthur’s church was sued by parents of a child who committed suicide after being counseled there. They presumably blamed the church for the child’s suicide. Ultimately, they lost the suit. At the time I thought that was a good thing. I still do, because even the best counselors cannot guarantee that their patients will respond well. However, I now find myself wondering just how much the counseling at MacArthur’s church may have led that young person to despair. If this clip is any clue, I have a feeling that the counseling sessions had a lot of law and little love.


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    @ Jeannette Altes:

    There was a great vogue for casting demons out of Christians back in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the UK. I think it would be a mistake to try to draw some secret boundary around the phenomenon and say that “everything in here is part of the X Movement“, whether it’s Bob Larson, Park Fiscal or one of several otherwise sane and decent Anglican clergymen who were into this kind of thing. I never read of any aggressive and violent “exorcisms” forced on victims by bullying pastors, for instance. In Fiscal’s case, it looks like just another way of imposing control on people; the easiest way of dealing with his own sin is to project it onto other people.

    What happened in the UK, I think, is that a trend just grew out of the fact that people like to seek out religious experiences. Some people, it seems, are highly suggestible, and “manifest” the experience du jour at the drop of a hat. So when the In Thing was casting out of spirits, they naturally (but psychosomatically) showed powerful-looking symptoms of having a demon cast out. This drew others in, and a fashion was born.

    I’m sceptical of whether this had much of a spiritual origin – either as a move of an unholy spirit, or as a move of the Holy Spirit. I think in most cases it was an unhelpful distraction, and as invariably happens, some people got very distracted by it indeed. I certainly heard tell of people who got stuck in lengthy processes of “healing” and “deliverance” in which they were “delivered” from literally dozens of “spirits”. But they still weren’t free… which to my mind sits a little uneasily alongside Jesus’ statement that whoever the Son sets free is truly free.

    That would be explained if they had just got a little addicted to the religious experience. A bit like the fact that you can never quite get enough of a really nice back-rub; you’re always left wanting a little bit more.


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    NJ wrote:

    “While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences.” [Which I assume is quoted from Wayne Grudem]
    This is sounding like the pseudo-reformed version of the second blessing which distinguishes *truly* Spirit-filled Christians from second-rate Christians. Or am I completely off base?

    LONG COMMENT WARNING

    I don’t know a great deal about Wayne Grudem and there may be many areas in which I can’t agree with him. The well-known FaceTube clip in which a group of students perform a Grease-themed tribute to him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmzaAtvhvw) is almost certainly not his fault, however. And on the matter you quoted, I think he’s actually correct.

    Point 1 of 3

    In Ephesians 5, where Paul says … be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, the verb “be filled” is a continuous imperative: i.e. it literally means “go on being filled”. Back in Acts 4, when Luke records Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”, the Greek literally means “having just been filled”, when of course we know Peter had already been filled. The same at the end of the chapter: the building was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. But all of them had been filled before.

    So I have to say that the new testament does indicate the importance of being filled regularly and often.

    Point 2 of 3

    Given that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that he leaks out..! Besides which, I don’t see any evidence that the whole aim of the encounter is to gratify us; it’s so that he can flow out of us and we in turn can carry on the work of Jesus.

    So I don’t like the phrase “second blessing” – it might be a blessing but that isn’t the point. And there’s more than two of ’em anyway. It is an ongoing supply.

    Point 3 of 3

    I can understand your antipathy to the idea, however, if it’s been sold to you as an ecstatic experience where you involuntarily speak in tongues, shake, fall over and bark like a fish. Relatively few people have this experience and, as I preachedsaid in my previous comment in a different context, those people tend to be a bit suggestible and to have every kind of experience going – good, bad and indifferent.

    I have never had anything of the kind. But I have known occasions where I’ve abruptly known exactly what to pray, or exactly what to say to someone, and have said it with an unusual (if understated) authority and a complete lack of the fear or nervousness I would normally have had. And just like Peter in Acts 4, it all happened in everyday language.

    Point 4 of 3

    The silly idea exists that anyone speaking by the Holy Spirit is somehow claiming infallibility or that they are pronouncing scribsher. This is silly. For a start, it implies that the only thing the Holy Spirit is allowed to do is to write scribsher, and I strongly suspect it comes from that idea; i.e. that the Holy Spirit was expelled from the earth once the canon of scripture was closed because that’s all He was given for. This, I repeat, is a silly idea that is just plain silly.


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    @ Victorious:
    We’d agree I’m sure that any Christian call fall into one of the 1 Cor 5 sins listed. It’s when this becomes a way of life that discipline is required. A life characterised by lying or greed or immorality. You asked how the church could know this is happening, and I think one answer is that everyone needs to be on the alert, these things cannot be hidden for ever. (This is not spying, that would be wrong.) The other answer is the gifts of the Spirit, words of knowledge or discernment. Sadly, I have had experience of this more than once. I believe with all my heart that God does not want us to be deceived, both in general and specifically with Christians living a lie. If the church leaders are men of prayer and are filled with the Spirit, God will bring to light (reveal!!) immorality, for instance, in the congregation. I part with John McA in this regard!

    It is interesting in the comments here that the idea of ‘shunning’ gays is being criticised. Shunning is the wrong word, Paul instructs us ‘not to associate’ with someone claiming to be a Christian who is immoral or verbally abusive etc. iirc the Greek idea behind this is to ‘lean away from’. The point of this is to protect the purity of the church, to stop immorality contaminating it. The feelings of the believers from who fellowship is withdrawn are not under consideration. Worrying about this is a more modern phenomenon. I don’t think anyone would worry too much about the feelings of paedophiles or those who have covered for them in this need to confront wrong-doing, the real issue is moral wickedness infiltrating the church. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” It isn’t loving to fail to do so, all the more as other church members may become victims of predators.

    If the church doesn’t welcome sinners, it won’t be able to welcome anyone. But it cannot and must not attempt to allow sinners to bring their sin with them into the kingdom, after all it is sin that we all need saving from. This applies no more nor no less to LGBT people.


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    One comment removed at request of author.


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    @ Nancy:
    Done.


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    @ Patricia Hanlon:
    I am posting this on our banner.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Does it surprise anyone that Pastor “I SEE Things” saw specifically-SEXUAL demons?

    This is scary, HUG. I thought of a dozen quips to tie the demon trials to this video!


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    @ Eagle:
    We need to put Mark Driscoll’s “demons” on trial….wait…that is what we have been doing.


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    @ Josh:
    Thank you so much for telling us your story. I am so glad that you chose to share it with us.

    Are you familiar with Justin Lee and the Gay Christian Network? It seems to me that you would fit in well with the folks there. They have two views on the issue-Side B and Side A.

    Also, do you have any thoughts on Sam Allberry?
    http://www.credomag.com/2013/09/04/is-god-anti-gay-sam-allberry-answers/

    As for evolutionary creationism…I tip that way myself.


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    @ Dave S:
    What a great comment. I, too, have wondered about the counseling tactics at MacArthur’s church. I wonder if he has advised this “shun your gay kid” approach for a long time. Also, i wonder what sins he does overlook in his march towards doctrinal purity.


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    Ken wrote:

    If the church leaders are men of prayer and are filled with the Spirit, God will bring to light (reveal!!) immorality, for instance, in the congregation. I part with John McA in this regard!

    hmm…I’m a woman of prayer who is filled with the Holy Spirit but find no scriptural reference for sins of others being revealed via this gift. If you know of such a scripture verse, please let me know and I’ll stand corrected.

    John MacArthur speaks of such gifts operating today as “Strange Fire” I believe.

    It’s when this becomes a way of life that discipline is required. A life characterised by lying or greed or immorality. You asked how the church could know this is happening, and I think one answer is that everyone needs to be on the alert, these things cannot be hidden for ever. (This is not spying, that would be wrong.)

    You might not call this type of practice “spying” but it most certainly is “sin-sniffing.” It also seems to encourage tattletaling among believers which could lead to false accusations, ruined reputations, and a general environment of suspicion.

    The point of this is to protect the purity of the church, to stop immorality contaminating it.

    If the church doesn’t welcome sinners, it won’t be able to welcome anyone. But it cannot and must not attempt to allow sinners to bring their sin with them into the kingdom, after all it is sin that we all need saving from.

    I don’t think I’m sharing news you don’t know, Ken, but the church (kingdom) is nothing more than sinners saved by grace. We’re all sinners. Any attempt to clean the church by ridding itself of sinners will (and should) fail!

    Sin should not be encouraged nor condoned…that goes without saying. But the good news is He paid the price for our sins.

    Heb_2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

    It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin and there is no specific timeframe given for that to take place in each individual believer’s life. As a “sin-sniffer,” I may see 10 sins in a member’s life and approach him about the #1 sin I’ve witnesses. But the Holy Spirit is in the process of dealing with his #4 sin as the one hindering his walk with the Lord. We simply cannot usurp the function of the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life.

    P.S. The church will never be “pure” as long as we live in this earthly “tent.” Paul knew that.

    Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
    Rom 7:19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
    Rom 7:20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The silly idea exists that anyone speaking by the Holy Spirit is somehow claiming infallibility or that they are pronouncing scribsher.

    Lots of abusive pastors have used this approach.


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    Ken wrote:

    But it cannot and must not attempt to allow sinners to bring their sin with them into the kingdom, after all it is sin that we all need saving from

    So, how do you decide which sins to shun or not to shun? I know way too much about other people and quite a bit about myself. It never ceases to amaze me how much I, as well as others, can overlook our own sins. Do we do a full court press on everybody-routing out the sin and dealing with it? Or do we shun only those who sins we do not experience?

    As for bringing sins into the kingdom, if you define the kingdom as the church, then we have problems. Sin exists and is rampant in the church.

    Jesus has already forgiven us. If He hadn’t, none of us would be there. If you believe in Jesus, then no one is bringing any sins into the kingdom because they have been covered and forgiven.

    As for shunning, I am not convinced it should be practiced unless the sin is so heinous that it is necessary to protect others. Case in point. Pete Briscoe at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship quietly removed from membership a man who left his family and shacked up with his honey. (No big “announcement” from the pulpit)The church helped the wife and kids during this time as well.

    Instead of shunning him, Pete and the elders would continue to visit this man, encouraging him to think differently. After one year, the man realized the error of his ways, repented, and slowly reconciled with his wife. They got up and told their story in church after a couple of years had passed.

    So, Pete must be a bad pastor for ignoring the shunning part, right? It says we MUST shun for the sake of the church.


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    dee wrote:

    Lots of abusive pastors have used this approach.

    Abusive pastors, cranks, crackpots and many weirdos besides.

    The point I was making was not that nobody ever claims to have been Chosen By God and the whole god-told-me thing is therefore harmless. Of course, it’s not, and Paul’s instruction that prophecy must be weighed cannot be set aside for anyone.

    Rather, I was addressing the (to me) spurious objection that the Holy Spirit cannot speak to, or through, believers today because that would be adding to scribsher (in the sense of, creating more scribsher). It wouldn’t, and it isn’t.


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    Victorious wrote:

    [I ]… find no scriptural reference for sins of others being revealed via this gift. If you know of such a scripture verse, please let me know and I’ll stand corrected.

    This is a slight tangent, but :

    Explicit

    In 2 Samuel 12, God sends Nathan to rebuke David over the Uriah/Bathsheba Affair.

    Implicit

    Near the end of his gospel account, John states that Jesus did many other wonderful things in the presence of his disciples that are not recorded in this book… and if they were, the whole world wouldn’t contain the books that would be written. In other words, most of what Jesus did is “unbiblical” in the sense that it is not found in scripture. God is absolutely at liberty to do an infinitude of things that are consistent with his character, with no obligation to have a blow-by-blow precedent for them in the bible.

    If I were about to do something wantonly stupid or destructive, and God sent a believing friend to warn me off doing so, I can see nothing in that action that would be inconsistent with God’s character. Indeed, it would be tantamount to a Matthew 18 approach, since God (having presumably told me in private) would be telling me again in the presence of someone else.


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    Josh wrote:

    I will only reiterate the point that if you tell people something, beware, because they might just believe it.

    Boy ain’t that the truth!


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    @ Victorious:

    I hear you. A point or two of mention here.

    In the incident that Paul was talking about the whole thing was public and Paul mentioned his disapproval that the church was actually “proud” of it. This is as far from sin sniffing as it gets. This was already public scandal of which, he said, even the unbelievers would not approve. We need to keep this in mind in understanding what Paul said.

    When I was in RCIA, Father T gave us a lesson on the development of private and confidential confession to a priest within the catholic tradition. I have no idea if he was correct, but I am inclined to think so. It was complicated which I will not get into here. One thing, though that he said was that early on there existed a situation where even private sins were hauled out for all to see, and where the repentant sinner had to individually go around and reconcile with every member of the believing group whether or not they were involved in the first place. This was causing a huge problem of disruption within the church, with everybody knowing way too much about everybody else, and this was one of the reasons that private confession was instituted. Such an idea of “contain the damage” might be needed at this time in protestant groups who are sin sniffing.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Explicit
    In 2 Samuel 12, God sends Nathan to rebuke David over the Uriah/Bathsheba Affair.

    The prophets of the OT were the spokespersons for the Lord in that they were specially empowered with the Holy Spirit for His purposes. Today, all believers are empowered with the Holy Spirit by His gifts. But if we are equating the prophetic ministry of the OT with the gift of prophecy in the NT, then we cannot fault MD for “seeing things.”

    Other than the man in 1 Cor. 5 whose sin was apparently well known, I find no account of Jesus, Paul, or any other believer in the early church “seeing” another’s sin by way of the Holy Spirit. The gifts were used to edify, discern evil spirits (Acts 16:18), specific missions (Acts 8:26; 10:1), and generally empower for service.

    I don’t think even Jesus ever exposed anyone’s sin when he encountered it other than the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

    If I were about to do something wantonly stupid or destructive, and God sent a believing friend to warn me off doing so, I can see nothing in that action that would be inconsistent with God’s character. Indeed, it would be tantamount to a Matthew 18 approach, since God (having presumably told me in private) would be telling me again in the presence of someone else.

    Question is: how would that friend know of your plan to do something wantonly stupid or destructive? And are we equating “stupid or destructive” with an intentional, deliberate, or immoral sin? Too many unknowns in this comparison to be used as an example of a gift of the Holy Spirit in action or for use of the Matthew 18 process.


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    Ken wrote:

    @ Victorious:
    We’d agree I’m sure that any Christian call fall into one of the 1 Cor 5 sins listed. It’s when this becomes a way of life that discipline is required. A life characterised by lying or greed or immorality. You asked how the church could know this is happening, and I think one answer is that everyone needs to be on the alert, these things cannot be hidden for ever. (This is not spying, that would be wrong.) The other answer is the gifts of the Spirit, words of knowledge or discernment. Sadly, I have had experience of this more than once. I believe with all my heart that God does not want us to be deceived, both in general and specifically with Christians living a lie. If the church leaders are men of prayer and are filled with the Spirit, God will bring to light (reveal!!) immorality, for instance, in the congregation. I part with John McA in this regard!

    It is interesting in the comments here that the idea of ‘shunning’ gays is being criticised. Shunning is the wrong word, Paul instructs us ‘not to associate’ with someone claiming to be a Christian who is immoral or verbally abusive etc. iirc the Greek idea behind this is to ‘lean away from’. The point of this is to protect the purity of the church, to stop immorality contaminating it. The feelings of the believers from who fellowship is withdrawn are not under consideration. Worrying about this is a more modern phenomenon. I don’t think anyone would worry too much about the feelings of paedophiles or those who have covered for them in this need to confront wrong-doing, the real issue is moral wickedness infiltrating the church. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” It isn’t loving to fail to do so, all the more as other church members may become victims of predators.

    If the church doesn’t welcome sinners, it won’t be able to welcome anyone. But it cannot and must not attempt to allow sinners to bring their sin with them into the kingdom, after all it is sin that we all need saving from. This applies no more nor no less to LGBT people.

    In what way am I as a Christian being harmed by having LGBT people attend my church? How is the church harmed?


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Good morning, Nick. May I say to your post, yes but.

    First the “but” part. Over here we have an epidemic of people going around thinking they have a message from God for this person, for this situation, or apparently just in case. I have no idea how that could be kept under control except by strict prohibition, or else by a requirement to first check it out by an accountability partner or something before “going public” or presenting the idea to some presumed target audience. Some of this can be really damaging, like when somebody may say God told be to tell you that your baby is sick because that skirt you wore to church last Sunday was too short. You think that is too extreme and too unlikely? I don’t think so, and I have heard tell of worse than that.

    And now the “yes” part. Over the decades, but only occasionally, I have realized at some point that I knew something that I had no way of knowing, and then have seen it prove not only to be true but also to be important information on an important current situation or decision or such. There could be several explanations for this sort of thing, some spiritual, some physiological and always perhaps coincidence. None the less it has happened enough for me to recognize it (usually) when it happens. So, yes, that may happen, but I am and would suggest that one must be extremely careful in such circumstances.


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    Nancy wrote:

    In the incident that Paul was talking about the whole thing was public and Paul mentioned his disapproval that the church was actually “proud” of it. This is as far from sin sniffing as it gets. This was already public scandal of which, he said, even the unbelievers would not approve. We need to keep this in mind in understanding what Paul said

    Agreed.

    As to your example of the RC method of private confessions, it’s my understanding that the priest is bound by a vow of confidentiality even to the extent he will refuse to expose another’s sin when required by legal authorities. The whole purpose for confessing to a priest is the belief that He acts on behalf of Jesus in forgiving sin.

    How private confession came about within the catholic church is a matter of speculation I think, but thank goodness it evolved from the one you mentioned. 🙁


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    @ dee:
    Have a quick read of 1 Cor 5! With that in mind I don’t have a list of sins, Paul does. And I do not believe in ‘shunning’ people, Paul uses the language of avoiding, disassociation. Aren’t these sins often the particular ones you write about here? Immorality, dishonest dealings with money, verbal abuse, idolatry (worship of ministry, influence and numbers). Isn’t a major complaint that big name pastors carry on fellowshipping with such believers rather than distancing themselves from them?

    In your example, ‘not associating with’ surely equals ‘quietly removing from membership’. Once that has been done, the rest of the membership should not undo it by carrying on as though everything is just fine – ‘well if you really love each other that’s all that matters, fancy a BBQ on Saturday?’. This doesn’t mean being nasty, but with wisdom clearly standing for righteousness. Not an easy balance.

    And less Victorius think I am ignoring her, Jesus had a word of knowledge when he confronted the Samaritan woman, and Paul occasionally had similar discernment. I part with John McA here, if you regard the gifts of the Spirit as tools of the trade for building the church (as I do), we still need all the ones God will give us. We need them as well as the manual giving the design. This is an example of what Nick has been referring to as speaking in the Spirit, but not adding to scripture. The scripture will not reveal if someone is committing immorality in the church, but the Holy Spirit can, and I simply suggest that asking for such gifts to build the body up just might reduce cases where someone has an affair for 20 odd years before it comes to light and everyone is then shocked. Relegating this to the first century has left the church vulnerable to infiltration by wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

    Victorius wrote “Any attempt to clean the church by ridding itself of sinners will (and should) fail!” She then said “Sin should not be encouraged nor condoned…that goes without saying”. I have the latter in mind here. Not expecting a perfect church using imperfect people, but dealing with the gangrene of unrighteousness when it seeks to infect the body of believers.


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    Victorious wrote:

    Other than the man in 1 Cor. 5 whose sin was apparently well known, I find no account of Jesus, Paul, or any other believer in the early church “seeing” another’s sin by way of the Holy Spirit.

    I suggest you read Acts 5; Peter had the ability of “seeing” another’s sin.


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    Victorious wrote:

    As to your example of the RC method of private confessions, it’s my understanding that the priest is bound by a vow of confidentiality even to the extent he will refuse to expose another’s sin when required by legal authorities. The whole purpose for confessing to a priest is the belief that He acts on behalf of Jesus in forgiving sin.

    Father T said the priest also acts on behalf of the church in this issue. He said the idea (then? now?) was/is that reconciliation occurs between the penitent and the church as well as between the penitent and God. I know not what the truth may be; I tell that tale as ’twas told to me.


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    Joe2 wrote:

    I suggest you read Acts 5; Peter had the ability of “seeing” another’s sin.

    And you think that if Peter did then others do also? You lost me there.


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    dee wrote:

    @ Patricia Hanlon:
    I am posting this on our banner.

    Thanks, Dee! This is a woman pastor, one of the most luminous preachers I’ve ever known. We need her tribe to increase, not decrease.


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    I suggest you read Acts 5; Peter had the ability of “seeing” another’s sin.

    Well, of course he did. He was the first pope. Duhhh! 😉

    But seriously…it never fails to amaze me how people who balk at papal infallibility (which pertains to the office, not the man, and is operative only in very rare and strictly delimited circumstances) then turn around and arrogate a sort of super-papal 24/7 infallibility to themselves. Whole lot of Super-Popes walkin’ around, it seems. 😉

    That Demon Trial stuff is beyond creepy IMHO. Any decent spiritual director will tell you that you should NEVER talk to demons, much less summon them. If you’re feeling troubled by Satan, just say “Begone in the Name of Jesus Christ!” and that’s that. Leave formal exorcisms to trained exorcists who have their bishops’ approval. (Speaking from the Catholic POV here, obviously.) Even trained exorcists with many years’ experience will tell you that this is serious stuff; it ain’t for amateurs, nor is it for every drop-of-the-hat situation. (Trained exorcists always carefully rule out non-supernatural explanations before they presume to declare that a given case involves possession or oppression. Actual possession is extremely rare.)

    “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” It’s that whole “by-what-authority” thang.

    Anyway….

    Personally, I am weirded out by people who see demons behind every bush and under every bed. IMHO it’s spiritually unhealthy to be that obsessed with the demonic. We’re supposed to focus on Jesus, not Satan.

    BTW, my Pentecostal next-door neighbor once told me I “had a demon.” That was around the time I stopped attending her ladies’ Bible study, because it was getting too weird.


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    Joe2 wrote:

    I suggest you read Acts 5; Peter had the ability of “seeing” another’s sin.

    Point taken, Joe2. I mentioned above that the gifts enabled discernment of evil spirits which might be the case in Acts 5. Peter exposes the spirit behind the deception as satan so it still seems to fall under the category of discerning of spirits. We are not told that Peter announced this sin to an assembly but apparently is confronting the two guilty parties.

    Further down in that chapter, another mention is made of unclean spirits causing some afflictions and sickness. Also in Acts 28 we see a viper attaching itself to Paul but doing no harm as fulfillment, evidently, of Jesus’ words that “they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.”

    Keep in mind that the early church had no access to NT scriptures as we do. Many signs and wonders followed those who believed and many conversions were the result. But today we have scripture available that tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” and that they have been forgiven if one is a believer in the sacrifice of the cross.

    Paul does expose false teachers and their teachers and constantly warns (as Jesus did) of deception in the church. That’s the real danger.


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    Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    Personally, I am weirded out by people who see demons behind every bush and under every bed. IMHO it’s spiritually unhealthy to be that obsessed with the demonic.

    Unhealthy and, I am thinking, potentially dangerous. At minimum, even if there are no such thing as demons, there is danger of going off into some religious side track with its attendant difficulties.


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    Update: thank you all for praying for my friend and her baby. Baby Rina passed away at 10:25 last night, and her mom and dad truly seem to be trusting God through the trial. Please pray for their comfort. <3


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    Victorious wrote:

    Paul does expose false teachers and their teachers and constantly warns (as Jesus did) of deception in the church. That’s the real danger.

    That is the real danger. But right now their seem to be an awful lot of folks who would not recognize false teachers if they saw one. So the remedy to the danger, recognize and avoid, does not seem to working as well as it should.

    Any suggestions along that line?


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    @linda

    I saw your comment about the SBC wanting to evangelize Calgary and I almost spit out the water I was drinking. Calgary is full of churches. There are so many Christian organizations downtown doing homeless ministry that the homeless in Calgary have told me “it’s impossible to go hungry in Calgary”. I don’t live there, but have in the past and I have a lot of family there. I just don’t get why they would want to go there. It’s not like there is a big need. The best way to describe Calgary to Americans that don’t know the city is that it’s like the Dallas of Canada: big, conservative, vibrant, lots of churches and TONS is oil money…oh wait, I get it now.


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    Paul’s extreme measures in 1 Corinthians 5 appear to be a unique situation in a few different ways: the sin is being flaunted and bragged, and even the surrounding non-Christian culture is disgusted by it. We need to consider just how prominently it must have been publicly displayed and celebrated if Paul calls out the individual here. The “super church discipline” types are too eager to apply it to every situation.

    There’s a good chance “don’t eat with them” is referring to communion and not necessarily having lunch, by the way. I like the way the Book of Common Prayer phrases the grounds for exclusion from communion: “a notoriously evil life.”


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    dee wrote:

    Are you familiar with Justin Lee and the Gay Christian Network? It seems to me that you would fit in well with the folks there. They have two views on the issue-Side B and Side A.

    I’m well acquainted with GCN’s resources, and have found the community there to be a place where healing and restoring conversations can take place (it’s like here, except gay-er). 😀

    Also, do you have any thoughts on Sam Allberry?
    http://www.credomag.com/2013/09/04/is-god-anti-gay-sam-allberry-answers/

    I’d heard of him, but until now I had not read anything he’s written. Based only on that article, a few positive things are that he doesn’t insist that homosexuality is caused by bad parenting or childhood trauma, he doesn’t appear to be pushing the widely discredited reparative or ex-gay therapy, and he recognizes that churches need to make space for this conversation to happen on a personal level. If he teaches the distant father / overbearing mother narrative or recommends reparative therapy elsewhere, then I rescind my positive vibes.

    On the other hand, I don’t agree with his judgement of Christians who describe themselves with LGBT terminology. He – and people like him – are sending a deceptive message because when they’re asked “Are you gay?” they tend to answer “I’m not gay [any more],” which their audience can perceive as meaning “I’ve become straight,” even though they may qualify their answer by saying that they “struggle with same-sex attraction” if they’re asked to clarify.

    On a deeper level, setting people up for a narrative of “struggling” with being gay all their life is not a recipe for success. Whether you come down on Side A (gay marriage is good) or Side B (celibacy is the only way), to have a mentally healthy life, you have to be able to accept that your attractions are what they are. By that I mean that the Christian LGBT person will be better off channeling their energy into cultivating deep friendships in a fulfilling community than flagellating themselves every time someone of their own gender catches their eye.


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    Nancy wrote:

    That is the real danger. But right now their seem to be an awful lot of folks who would not recognize false teachers if they saw one. So the remedy to the danger, recognize and avoid, does not seem to working as well as it should.
    Any suggestions along that line?

    No easy answers to that one I’m afraid, Nancy.

    The obvious, of course, is for every believe to stay in the Word and check out what’s being taught against what’s recorded there.

    The not-so-obvious (it seems) is that we know there will always be those who purposely seek out those who teach what they want to hear for whatever the reason.

    2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
    2Ti 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

    And we are told there will be a great falling away (apostasy) or forsaking of truth at the end of the age.

    We should, in my opinion, expose false teachers/teachings, debate them, and confront them and rest in the fact that we’ve done the best we could and continue in prayer for them.


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    I can proofread three times, and still mess it up. The middle of the sentence

    …which their audience can perceive as meaning “I’ve become straight,” even though they may qualify their answer..

    will make more sense if it reads as

    …unless they may qualify their answer…


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    @ Nancy:
    In the non denominational charismatic churches I grew up in, I was always struck by the people who week after week would have a “prophetic word” that the rest of the congregation would just listen to unchecked. It was always the same word, just a different variation: “God is unhappy with you all, love him more or he’ll beat you up or cause bad stuff to happen” It was never anything uplifting or encouraging. Growing up in that has caused me to back off and avoid anyone whoever starts talking about the message they’ve gotten from God. I just assume they’re crazy and/or manipulative.


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    Nancy wrote:

    But what I really want you to be sure to really get is the parable that Jesus told about the wheat and the tares. This is a huge reality, and this is what we deal with a lot. Our problem is that often it is difficult to differentiate between wheat and tares, and the really big issue is that Jesus said to not pull up the tares, it will all shake out at the time of judgment. Soooo… in the meantime, it is easy to wish that he had said something else, but we are committed to thinking that he knew what he was talking about, and there we go.
    Love your comments, bye the way.

    Thank you for the kind words. And the parable of the wheat and the tares does show a universal lesson that we see everywhere, every group has jerks and tyrants. And I should remember on the flipside of that, every group has good people in it as well. We really aren’t that different, no matter what god, gods or philosophy we follow. Just people, trying to live.
    @ dee:
    Dee is “The Story” a particular Bible translation/version? I’ve read the Bible through many times in a couple of different translations but haven’t ran across that one (if it is a version that is). I find it very interesting how you see it as a narrative that ties together. I can somewhat relate with my own personal world view, I see humanity as a giant story that we all tell and all write.


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    Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    Growing up in that has caused me to back off and avoid anyone whoever starts talking about the message they’ve gotten from God. I just assume they’re crazy and/or manipulative.

    You know, in the atmosphere in this country now, that is a best bet statistically. You sound like you got vaccinated early on against pentecostal excesses. I got vaccinated early on against some things, just not that specifically because we were not pentecostal.


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    @ Taylor Joy:

    So sorry to hear this, TJ.

    It’s easy to say this from across the Atlantic, of course… but I’m sure you’ll do a great job of being the friend they need just now.


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    @ Nancy:
    Heh, I could tell you some amazing stories.


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    @ Taylor Joy:
    My condolences to your friend. Years ago my sister lost a child in similar circumstances, and I know how devastating that is. Good on you for your love and support, it reflects well on you and your friend will need it.


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:
    @ Nancy:

    It would be very easy to respond to misuse by enforcing disuse. Paul didn’t do that in Corinth, though, when faced with chaotic speaking in tongues and people getting drunk while breaking bread (and more besides). Actually, what he wrote to them was surprisingly short and simple, and of course it was in exactly that context that he wrote his famous chapter on love. The bible can be crudely misused too, of course; we’ve all been in the position of sharing a problem with a fellow-believer who promptly quacked out the first fragment of text that popped into their head without any thought to whether it was relevant.

    Just running away, or banning person-to-person advice or help, is not the answer. Church leaders, and those who presume to call themselves teachers (to paraphrase James), have a responsibility to teach and train congregations on how to do this properly. That’s a big responsibility and I’d love to say more about it, but my Dad’s in hospital and visiting hours end soon… have to go.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I can see what you’re saying here Nick, though I of course have a very different take. If prophetic words were real, you wouldn’t want to throw it out just because some people abuse the process. Hope your Dads hospital stay is brief and healing.


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    @ Catholic Homeschooler & Albuquerque Blue:

    But seriously…it never fails to amaze me how people who balk at papal infallibility (which pertains to the office, not the man, and is operative only in very rare and strictly delimited circumstances) then turn around and arrogate a sort of super-papal 24/7 infallibility to themselves.

    With you there 100% (and I’m not even Catholic)!

    In the non denominational charismatic churches I grew up in, I was always struck by the people who week after week would have a “prophetic word” that the rest of the congregation would just listen to unchecked.

    Some homeschool friends of mine went to a charismatic church where there was an individual that congregants actually referred to as “The Prophet.” This person was not the pastor but his ideas were, obviously, heavily credited by the pastor. He supposedly had three gifts at once (prophecy, tongues and interpretation) and regularly interpreted his own tongues (which I’m not sure I see the Bible allowing). Well, when our friends planned to move to SC, he told them that God had spoken to him and told him their life was going to be ruined if they left CT. They ignored him and left anyway. Big surprise – 2+ moves later, they live in WA and their lives are just fine. So according to the Bible’s own rules, this guy is a false prophet. Did the church care? No.


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    @ Hester:
    Sounds like they ignored Deuteronomy 18:20, so did they really believe? Thank goodness of course. ^_^


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    Victorious wrote:

    Keep in mind that the early church had no access to NT scriptures as we do. Many signs and wonders followed those who believed and many conversions were the result. But today we have scripture available

    The rest of the sentence that I cut off from that quote did not pertain to the topic I am about to raise, so I took the liberty to omit it here.

    My religious background was one that claimed that certain NT gifts of the Spirit were sign gifts and ceased at the end of the apostolic age when scriptures became available. That would include, of course the Joel prophesy (prophesy, dreams and visions) in relation to the coming of the Spirit. I am thinking that may be what you are saying.

    Now, if we look at church history, I see no evidence that the church for centuries thought that–think for instance catholic hagiography replete with supernatural manifestations of various kinds, including but not limited to visions. But somewhere along the line that concept was replaced in protestantism with the now we have the scriptures (only) idea. That thinking seems to me to go along with a general anti-supernaturalism is saying that there are no sacraments actually and that even baptism and communion are not sacraments. I have not been able to follow the reasoning of the people who think that the gifts of the spirit ceased at the end of the apostolic era, nor that the Spirit became limited to simply scripture inspiration, conviction of sin, and assurance of salvation, and helping the pastor prepare the sermon.

    I hope I am not being too plain spoken in the way I have said this, because I am not trying to pick a fight. What I do think is that you have shown a good foundation in scripture and a willingness to discuss things, and I thought you might know more about this than I do. I would like to hear your take on it.


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    Josh wrote:

    to have a mentally healthy life, you have to be able to accept that your attractions are what they are. By that I mean that the Christian LGBT person will be better off channeling their energy into cultivating deep friendships in a fulfilling community than flagellating themselves every time someone of their own gender catches their eye.

    Yes. This. You’ve described this so well. From my perspective, many vocal evangelical Christian leaders seem to insist that if a gay person isn’t living in a perpetual state of loathing over his or her attractions, they aren’t truly Christians. Who can actually live like that and THRIVE? No one.


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    To add to my comment above, I recently read Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. I so appreciated his candor and grace in discussing his sexual orientation and why he believes he ought to be celibate. At the same time, I was so incredibly saddened to read him describe his relationship with God. The God he believes in seems far more ferocious and exacting than gentle and grace-giving. Wesley seems to believe that God is the kind of God who is far more interested in holiness, purification, sanctification than anything else, especially if it brings about God’s glory. That was my impression anyway. I think Washed and Waiting has found a receptive audience in the Reformed crowd for this reason. But there are many others who do not believe in this kind of God, a God who is relentless and aggressive and holy and exacting… even to the detriment of his children.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I am sorry to hear about your Dad. Hope you get good news and he gets quick recovery.

    About the topic, Paul told people to get it under control. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets-I think that is it-did not look it up right this minute. I take that to mean, however, that just because somebody does or thinks he does hear from God there are still decisions to be made as how to handle that and what to do.

    What I do not see is, what happens if people do not get it under control? Become a public nuisance. Do try to manipulate people. Do try to make themselves look special in this area. That sort of thing. Now, if there is a pastor with a certain amount of authority he could do it, but there has been some discussion of not letting the pastor exactly wield authority. You mention education. That works if the people involved will listen and learn, but there is no guarantee of that. Especially not those who are the ones causing problems. Trouble is, Nick, we have some bodies strewn along the road over here, and that is not acceptable.

    Here is where I differ from some of what you have advocated. I do think that pastors do have and should have a certain amount of authority but and also there needs to be a system in place to be sure that authority is not abused. Back in the day, it looks to me like Timothy had Paul keeping an eye on him in some way, and Paul was under scrutiny from the boys in Jerusalem and potential problem solving could be helped along by that. It does not seem to be that the early boys, were exactly without authority, including second generation people like the aforementioned Timothy (Do not let people despise your youth. How would he do that if not by exercising some level of at least teaching authority?)


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    Sara wrote:

    Wesley seems to believe that God is the kind of God who is far more interested in holiness, purification, sanctification than anything else, especially if it brings about God’s glory. ….The God he believes in seems far more ferocious and exacting than gentle and grace-giving….. But there are many others who do not believe in this kind of God, a God who is relentless and aggressive and holy and exacting… even to the detriment of his children.

    Is not God both and at the same time holy, pure, sanctifying and also gentle and grace-giving? And is so, how is that to the detriment of his children?


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    @ Sara:

    It’s been a few years since I read Washed and Waiting, which I finished shortly after I read Torn, so I don’t remember it well enough to discuss it with any confidence. While Wesley Hill’s core belief about mandatory celibacy hasn’t changed, he did state more recently that he might emphasize different things were he to write the same book today. Of course, I remember neither the book nor the talk in which he made the aforementioned statement well enough to say what that altered emphasis might look like.

    I do recall that he mentioned in his book that while his orientation hadn’t changed, he was open to the possibility that it might, even if he didn’t consider change a likely possibility. Needless to say, he still identifies as a celibate gay Christian, so that hasn’t happened (yet… #snerk). Having that statement in the book, though, gives me pause in recommending it to conservative evangelicals who remain staunch supporters of ex-gay therapy (… the ex-gay agenda?). I’m cautious about anything that will give them more ammunition to say “Well, if so-and-so would just try a bit harder, God would give them victory.”


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    Sara wrote:

    Yes. This. You’ve described this so well. From my perspective, many vocal evangelical Christian leaders seem to insist that if a gay person isn’t living in a perpetual state of loathing over his or her attractions, they aren’t truly Christians. Who can actually live like that and THRIVE? No one.

    There’s at least an assumption of a libido there, though.

    If you are a hetero celibate such as myself, many preachers erroneously assume that God “gifted you” with celibacy and thereby waved a magic wand and totally erased your libido.

    Preachers think being a hetero virgin past the age of 30 (that is, you are celibate not asexual, they confuse the two routinely) means you lack a sex drive, so it’s a bed of roses to go through life with no sex.


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    MacArthur’s thing about parents and children is not at all Scriptural, and it’s horrible parenting. (Not that I have an opinion on it or anything.)


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    Deebs!!!!

    Thought just occurred to me…as you bump heads with John Piper, Mark Dever, Jonathan Leeman, CJ Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, etc… especially over grace; could either you or Deb be the modern day Anne Hutchinson?

    😀


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    Nancy wrote:

    Sara wrote:
    Wesley seems to believe that God is the kind of God who is far more interested in holiness, purification, sanctification than anything else, especially if it brings about God’s glory. ….The God he believes in seems far more ferocious and exacting than gentle and grace-giving….. But there are many others who do not believe in this kind of God, a God who is relentless and aggressive and holy and exacting… even to the detriment of his children.
    Is not God both and at the same time holy, pure, sanctifying and also gentle and grace-giving? And is so, how is that to the detriment of his children?

    He is all of those things at the same time, which is often more than I can comprehend. But a real danger lies in emphasizing one or several attributes OVER and ABOVE others, especially if the attributes being emphasized are scaring people away not pulling them closer. It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance.


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    @ Josh:

    to have a mentally healthy life, you have to be able to accept that your attractions are what they are

    My friend with gender dysphoria says the same thing. Once she accepted that it was there and gave it a name, rather than denying its existence, things got a lot better for her.


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    Nancy wrote:

    My religious background was one that claimed that certain NT gifts of the Spirit were sign gifts and ceased at the end of the apostolic age when scriptures became available. That would include, of course the Joel prophesy (prophesy, dreams and visions) in relation to the coming of the Spirit. I am thinking that may be what you are saying.

    Nancy, that was not what I was saying at all. Sorry if what I wrote came across that way. Just for clarification, when I mentioned the NT believers not having scripture as we do, I was speaking to Joe2 (I think) about Peter, Ananias, and Sapphira and Peter’s apparent confronting them with their sin. I am in disagreement with confronting or exposing another’s sin and using a gift to do so. I don’t think most sins are visible and don’t find scriptural support for shunning as the context of 1 Cor.5 seems to indicate the man involved in immorality was flaunting his sin and that caused Paul’s admonition about that behavior being allowed in the assembly.

    I surely do believe in the operation of the gifts of the spirit today and have experienced a number of them myself including dreams and visions, word of knowledge, prayer language, and discernment of spirits. Having said that, I think we’re all aware of the abuses within certain movements and I don’t think we need to go there. 🙂

    If I can clarify further, I’ll be happy to try.


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    @ Just Watching:

    There was a page 60 added to the SGCL membership packet last night. It said this…

    In the event that you face “church discipline” for anything mentioned in this document there is one other option that is available to you. We will allow you to flee Sovereign Grace Louisville and run to Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. You can run and take refuge behind the skirt of Mark Dever. You will be modeling CJ Mahaney’s capability at church leadership and the importance of submitting. Plus Capitol Hill Baptist Church has room and board, and you can stay as long as you want. If the Elders of Sovereign Grace Louisville are looking for you, we will note in your membership covenant that you invoked the “CJ Mahaney Option” and reach out to Mark Dever to contact you.

    Participation in this is all voluntary but to invoke the CJ Mahaney option call Jonathan Leeman at 202-543-6111


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    Josh wrote:

    @ Sara:
    It’s been a few years since I read Washed and Waiting, which I finished shortly after I read Torn, so I don’t remember it well enough to discuss it with any confidence. While Wesley Hill’s core belief about mandatory celibacy hasn’t changed, he did state more recently that he might emphasize different things were he to write the same book today. Of course, I remember neither the book nor the talk in which he made the aforementioned statement well enough to say what that altered emphasis might look like.
    I do recall that he mentioned in his book that while his orientation hadn’t changed, he was open to the possibility that it might, even if he didn’t consider change a likely possibility. Needless to say, he still identifies as a celibate gay Christian, so that hasn’t happened (yet… #snerk). Having that statement in the book, though, gives me pause in recommending it to conservative evangelicals who remain staunch supporters of ex-gay therapy (… the ex-gay agenda?). I’m cautious about anything that will give them more ammunition to say “Well, if so-and-so would just try a bit harder, God would give them victory.”

    I really appreciate your perspective. I, too, have worried about W&W being used as a clobber book: “See, this guy is doing it so you can too…”


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    Daisy wrote:

    Sara wrote:
    Yes. This. You’ve described this so well. From my perspective, many vocal evangelical Christian leaders seem to insist that if a gay person isn’t living in a perpetual state of loathing over his or her attractions, they aren’t truly Christians. Who can actually live like that and THRIVE? No one.
    There’s at least an assumption of a libido there, though.
    If you are a hetero celibate such as myself, many preachers erroneously assume that God “gifted you” with celibacy and thereby waved a magic wand and totally erased your libido.
    Preachers think being a hetero virgin past the age of 30 (that is, you are celibate not asexual, they confuse the two routinely) means you lack a sex drive, so it’s a bed of roses to go through life with no sex.

    It royally sucks that so many messages from the pulpit about gender and sex have wounded so many. I’m sorry that you have been wounded. I don’t always claim to know the better way to talk about these things, but I’d like to think I know the wrong ways when I see them.


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    @ Victorious:

    Thanks for the reply. I really need to find somebody from a similar background as the one I described and get them to explain why they think what they think, and what is the historical background for it.

    I am trying for my own self to tie up some loose ends from my early years. I would like to think they might have some good reasons, because the only other alternative is for me to think some really worse thoughts of my early belief system than I already think. I appreciate what you said, however. Thanks.


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    @ Sara:

    I don’t mean to confuse you, but after having re-read my reply to you.

    On the one hand, many preachers do assume if you are a hetero and celibate/virginal past your mid-20s, it must mean God did not give you a libido, so you therefore must find it really, really easy to live without sex.

    On the other hand, at the same time in evangelical (and Reformed, Baptist, fundamentalist) discourse on marriage, sex, dating, and other such topics, preachers tend to assume that unmarried adult ladies such as myself are over sexed harlots who bed down a billion men per week, and our favorite prey is married men, supposedly (so married men are urged to never, ever associate with unmarried ladies).

    So I see two opposite assumptions in evangelical, Baptist, Fundamentalist, and Reformed Christian thought about single women – they either assume

    1. we’re sleeping around lots and lots, or,
    2. they may assume God took away all our desire for sex (“gifted us with celibacy or singleness”), so being celibate is a total cake walk (in their view).

    All I can say is neither 1 or 2 is true of me. (Well as for point 2, yes I am celibate, but no, it’s not always a cake walk.)


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    Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    But seriously…it never fails to amaze me how people who balk at papal infallibility (which pertains to the office, not the man, and is operative only in very rare and strictly delimited circumstances) then turn around and arrogate a sort of super-papal 24/7 infallibility to themselves. Whole lot of Super-Popes walkin’ around, it seems.

    This bears repeating, because there is a lot of misperception among Protties (as we’re known in the green half of Glasgow) about the Pope being infallible.

    And the 24/7 super-papal infallibility whereof you spake occurs in several different settings.

    In hardline reformafundagelical circles, the Pastormark* has unconditional authority to interpret the bible. He can stand on a stage and preach any old shyte – the congregation must declare it “biblical”.

    In charislunatic circles, the Prophet – provided he gets big enough audiences – can prophesy any old shyte and the great unwashed must acknowledge it as “in the Spirit”.

    More generally… you don’t need a culture that believes in the phaneroses of the spirit (as per 1 Corinthians 12), nor one that hangs limply on every word of the Pastormark, to encounter delusions of competence. A few months ago one of our regulars – apologies, but I forget whom, and it’s not a topic on which I want to guess – mentioned being told they’d given themselves cancer by eating sugar. That’s neither “prophecy” nor “doctrine” – it’s just shyte.

    * “Pastormark”… I’ve heard this term used in relation to Mars Hill. It obviously means something.


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    Well..to be fair to SGCL, much of that membership package is the outline for their membership class which takes place over several sessions.


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    Eagle wrote:

    @ Just Watching:

    There was a page 60 added to the SGCL membership packet last night. It said this…

    In the event that you face “church discipline” for anything mentioned in this document there is one other option that is available to you. We will allow you to flee Sovereign Grace Louisville and run to Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. You can run and take refuge behind the skirt of Mark Dever. You will be modeling CJ Mahaney’s capability at church leadership and the importance of submitting. Plus Capitol Hill Baptist Church has room and board, and you can stay as long as you want. If the Elders of Sovereign Grace Louisville are looking for you, we will note in your membership covenant that you invoked the “CJ Mahaney Option” and reach out to Mark Dever to contact you.

    Participation in this is all voluntary but to invoke the CJ Mahaney option call Jonathan Leeman at 202-543-6111

    This is hilarious.


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    (off topic-ish)
    I’m not sure if John Piper would disapprove of this video. I did not see any Pug nudity in it. All pugs appear to be clothed, so maybe it’s okay by Piperesque standards.

    The Pugs of Westeros (Game of Thrones parody with pugs)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EoQCtPR2-I&feature=kp


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    Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    Even trained exorcists with many years’ experience will tell you that this is serious stuff; it ain’t for amateurs, nor is it for every drop-of-the-hat situation. (Trained exorcists always carefully rule out non-supernatural explanations before they presume to declare that a given case involves possession or oppression. Actual possession is extremely rare.)

    I think you hit on the biggest problem with churches when you said carefully rule out non-supernatural explanations, and I would add when people judge the ‘sin’ of homosexuality in a blind judgemental way, it is more of a sin than their perceived sin in the other person. for the most part the voices that are loudest about homosexual people are untrained, and often claim they are following Jesus because of their own righteousness. people like the pastor telling women to suffer for a night if they are being beaten by their husband. people calling gay people in the church gangrene, those kinds of comments show no love, Jesus said people would know His disciples by their love. Their love, not just for those that love them, but even for their enemies. (perceived enemies or real enemies)


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    my favorite story
    “Some years ago I heard a story of a man that was preacher of a church that had recently installed new carpet. The church wasn’t wealthy, the carpet was hard fought to obtain. The sanctuary was beautiful, the congregation happy.

    As the preacher was at the pulpit one Sunday a man walked in and sat in the front row of that church. He lit a cigarette and listened to the preacher. The elders were in a panic and whispered to the pastor, we will throw him out immedietly.

    The pastor heard Jesus in his heart say, “just keep preaching, leave him alone..” So pastor told the elders to stay where they were and he kept preaching the gospel of salvation.

    The man sat listening and then dropped the cigarette and crushed it out into the brand new carpet. “Just keep preaching”, the Lord told the pastor. He did and when he finished his sermon he gave the alter call.

    That man in the front row got up with tears in his eyes, he laid a revolver on the alter and said, please pray for me, this was my last stop before going to my house and killing my wife and kids, please ask Jesus to have mercy on me.
    http://littlesanctuaryministries.org/preachers.html

    I noticed a difference about people, when a gay person or just someone that looks gay walks into a church and the judgmental stares and whispers begin, or a pregnant unwed mother dares to set foot in a church, or someone who has had an abortion, and people that sit and listen to public judgment of their sins daily from Christians, (and Christians refuse to sell them cupcakes), why do we never hear headlines saying “sinner went out and killed religious intolerant preacher”, instead of headlines that read, Christian kills abortion dr. Christian kills gay person on a fence in montanna, or group of Christians drags gay person behind truck. I wonder who has self control and love?


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    sam h wrote:

    That man in the front row got up with tears in his eyes, he laid a revolver on the alter and said, please pray for me, this was my last stop before going to my house and killing my wife and kids, please ask Jesus to have mercy on me.

    Wade Burleson had a similar experience with a young man by the name of Eric who “.. had a pistol underneath the front seat, an open container of beer in the cup holder, and was on his way to an open field where he would drink himself to drunkenness in order to have the courage to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.”

    You will be blessed if you read it.

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/search?q=+beer+shirts


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    A few months ago one of our regulars – apologies, but I forget whom, and it’s not a topic on which I want to guess – mentioned being told they’d given themselves cancer by eating sugar.

    The commenter was Lin, on Feb 4th, 6:40 AM:
    “Call me disgusted I can’t share my cancer at church for knowing I will be inundated with unsolicited advice, followed by anger if I don’t juice, go half way across the country for treatment at someone ‘s “miracle ” clinic. Followed by comments no wonder I am sick as I allow sugar in my diet……..sigh.”
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2014/02/03/mark-driscoll-and-the-naturopath-just-somebody-that-he-used-to-know/
    In searching for this I came across Nobel Prize-winning Dr Otto War(t)burg, who apparently originated the “sugar causes cancer” theory back in 1924.


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    Here is a different perspective than John MacArthur’s viewpoint:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W4I0cbs7HTQ

    What would John MacArthur really do if close family of his came out as gay? Barbara Johnson lost contact with her son for eleven years. Eleven years for a parent can be like an eternity. Don’t take Preacher MacArthur’s advice.


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    Sara wrote:

    I, too, have worried about W&W being used as a clobber book: “See, this guy is doing it so you can too…”

    When stories are used as artillery against people with whom we disagree, we’ve completely missed the point. While Wesley Hill’s story can be used as a weapon, I see Rosaria Butterfield’s book wielded against LGBT Christians much more often, because, after all, there is a story of someone who did “change.” While I doubt Wesley Hill would approve of his story being used in that way, Rosaria seems content to be complicit in letting her story be used to browbeat people who don’t experience the sort of change she ostensibly experienced by not refuting the common conservative misconception that everyone can have what she claims to have.


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    Victorious wrote:

    Wade Burleson had a similar experience with a young man by the name of Eric who “.. had a pistol underneath the front seat, an open container of beer in the cup holder, and was on his way to an open field where he would drink himself to drunkenness in order to have the courage to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.”

    You will be blessed if you read it.

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/search?q=+beer+shirts

    thank you, I was blessed. I wonder if wade has room in his church for me.


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    I feel there are so many gay and lesbian people who are not being given the gospel because it is viewed by many as so incompatible with Christianity that they will not bother. This is sad.

    What about the gay family who have been “married” of years, either officially or in spirit, and even have children together. They have a whole family infrastructure with children. They cannot just walk away in such a situation and turn from their life. So do we just forget about them? Here’s an idea. . .let’s forget about categories, give people the gospel in love, and let God work. More of us need to accept we do not have perfect answers to every complex issue, and, yes, sometimes things are definitely grey. . . not black, not white.

    The thief on the cross came to a saving faith shortly before his last breath. This event didn’t involve him changing his world view and belief system on a range of complex issues. Yet, this is what Christians are making of salvation these days.

    I cannot imagine shunning my flesh and blood. I fail to see how that accomplishes anything for Christ. Seems to me that following this advice will lead to lots of sadness, but I guess you’re supposed to take comfort in being “right”. Sounds like a horrible way to live.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    mirele wrote:

    A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us.

    Summoning and binding Demons.
    Isn’t that usually called Sorcery? Karcism? Black Magick?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NY6wJVg1x0

    I call it crazy. And stupid. And extremely dangerous; I mean, suppose the demons decide to stay around…….
    Ummmmm….Yeah, that would explain a lot, now that I think about it.


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    @ Josh: back in the 90s-early 00s, I supported an ex-gay ministry (one of the oldest; the founders have died). That was because I got suckered in by the whole “We changed!” mantra, because the people who said it *seemed* plausible – for a while.

    Now I am 100% certain that *all* of the so-called “success stories” = the people in question are bi and learned to focus on heterosexual relationships. As for the rest…it breaks my heart to think of the deep wounds suffered by strategy but spouses married to gay/lesbian partners, and vice versa. This was encouraged a LOT, and I cannot see it as an thing other than cruel at best (for all concerned – meaning children, too).

    All this to say that I firmly believe that those who say they’ve changed are in denial about their sexual orientation (bi/gay). And I SO wish someone would see to it that books written by advocates of supposed orientation change would just disappear from the religious and secular circles where they’re given credence. So many people are torn and desperate, feeling that being gay and being xtian are diametrically opposed, or that at very best, they only deserve to exist on the outermost margins of the church (and many other kinds of religious institutions, for that matter).

    For some reason, Peter’s vision of the non-kosher animals just flashed into my mind. My hunch is that it’s about more than gentiles, though that’s not exactly welcome news in most evangelical churches.

    I sincerely hope that the “recovering” gay men and lesbians that I knew back when have found peace re. their sexuality as well as with their religious beliefs, although I’m sure that many had to leave the church altogether in order for their minds/emotions/ideas to settle.


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    Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    I suggest you read Acts 5; Peter had the ability of “seeing” another’s sin.

    That Demon Trial stuff is beyond creepy IMHO. Any decent spiritual director will tell you that you should NEVER talk to demons, much less summon them. If you’re feeling troubled by Satan, just say “Begone in the Name of Jesus Christ!” and that’s that. Leave formal exorcisms to trained exorcists who have their bishops’ approval. (Speaking from the Catholic POV here, obviously.) Even trained exorcists with many years’ experience will tell you that this is serious stuff; it ain’t for amateurs, nor is it for every drop-of-the-hat situation. (Trained exorcists always carefully rule out non-supernatural explanations before they presume to declare that a given case involves possession or oppression. Actual possession is extremely rare.)

    “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” It’s that whole “by-what-authority” thang.

    Anyway….

    Personally, I am weirded out by people who see demons behind every bush and under every bed. IMHO it’s spiritually unhealthy to be that obsessed with the demonic. We’re supposed to focus on Jesus, not Satan.

    BTW, my Pentecostal next-door neighbor once told me I “had a demon.” That was around the time I stopped attending her ladies’ Bible study, because it was getting too weird.

    Yeah, really. Creepy doesn’t half say it.


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    Bunsen Honeydew wrote:

    The thief on the cross came to a saving faith shortly before his last breath. This event didn’t involve him changing his world view and belief system on a range of complex issues. Yet, this is what Christians are making of salvation these days.
    I cannot imagine shunning my flesh and blood. I fail to see how that accomplishes anything for Christ. Seems to me that following this advice will lead to lots of sadness, but I guess you’re supposed to take comfort in being “right”. Sounds like a horrible way to live.

    Thank you for saying that. I thought it bears repeating. Probably repeating several times. We cannot act like a pack of hyenas in these matters.

    And I want to say:

    Just look at how this nation including christianity in this nation is experiencing such turmoil about sex and every thing to do with sex, sexuality, gender. Top of the list here is sex abuse. In addition there are cases in the courts over the laws requiring birth control and abortion coverage in health insurance. EWTN and Hobby something being of note. There are ongoing pro-life and pro-choice movements which include both personal and religious as well as political overtones. There is the foo faw over sex ed in the public schools. There is the homeschool movement which is partially influenced by societal attitudes toward sexuality. Internet pornography is a huge huge problem. Now the issue of sex slavery. Teens (and others) are sexting. The neo-puritans are so preoccupied with compism that they are drilling holes in a lot of boats over it. And now there is gay marriage with a recent ruling by an appeals court designed to reach the supreme court and detonate like Roe v Wade. The only issue is which case will reach the supremes first. We have denominations going this way or that way or both ways at once. And we stand on either side of the homosexual issue and hurl hurtful language at each other in the process. And now there is again turned attention to the divorce disgrace and what should the churches do. And never mind the fact that “everybody” is either sexually active, or pretending to be, or declaring a right to be, or being labeled from the pulpit even as defective in some way if they are celibate.

    I really never thought that it would be sex that did this to us. War maybe. Economy maybe. Racial and ethnic attitudes maybe. Political ideology maybe. But sex? Good grief.

    So I am going to make a statement and then say no more. I/we, myself and my family, have had horror and heartbreak over several of these issues, and have more or less survived reasonably intact, though damaged. While we look at the identified good guys and the identified bad guys (however we see that politically in its larger sense) let us not fail to recognize the larger area of collateral damage to persons and society also. I have overwhelming and roaring opinions born of this which I will keep to myself or it/they will sink all possible civility and discourse. It would be a huge miscalculation, however, to think that all of us who try to speak reasonably and even objectively in public about these issues are in fact either reasonable or objective in our inner feelings. Some of us just don’t want our worlds torn apart any more than they already have been.

    Have a nice day one and all.


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    Josh wrote:

    When stories are used as artillery against people with whom we disagree, we’ve completely missed the point. While Wesley Hill’s story can be used as a weapon, I see Rosaria Butterfield’s book wielded against LGBT Christians much more often, because, after all, there is a story of someone who did “change.” While I doubt Wesley Hill would approve of his story being used in that way, Rosaria seems content to be complicit in letting her story be used to browbeat people who don’t experience the sort of change she ostensibly experienced by not refuting the common conservative misconception that everyone can have what she claims to have.

    well said. Totally agree.


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    This article about the social background of 1 Cor. 5 – by a conservative Christian apologist, I might add – may also be relevant to this entire thread.

    http://www.tektonics.org/af/devildeliver.php

    Notice esp. the part at the end:

    “Like many Biblical passages, this one takes on greater and clearer meaning when set in the context of the world it was written in. The technique described would not work well in our individualistic society and thoughtful consideration would need to be given before applying it elsewhere.”


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    Addendum: the author does not mean “individualistic” in the pejorative sense (i.e., self-absorbed), but in the sociological sense (i.e., contrasted with a collectivist and/or honor-shame society).


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    sam h wrote:

    people calling gay people in the church gangrene, those kinds of comments show no love, Jesus said people would know His disciples by their love

    You are referring to a comment I made. I don’t mind you disagreeing with me, but you should make more effort to ensure you disagree with what I actually said.

    What I actually said was “but dealing with the gangrene of unrighteousness when it seeks to infect the body of believers” in the context of the Apostle Pauls instructions on dealing with Christians who lapse into serious sin. He speaks of this being like leaven.

    The ‘unrighteousness’ he refers to includes sexual immorality, which includes but is not limited to practicing homosexuality. This should not be specially targetted, nor should it be exempted. This kind of thing, when it spreads in the church, damages people and can endanger their salvation/indicate they are in reality unbelievers. It is not loving to fail to warn against it or deal with it when it occurs. It was the sin I was aiming at, not the sinner, which I must admit I thought I had made pretty clear (though perhaps I hadn’t).

    I’m trying to follow what the new testament writers say on this issue. That’s the starting point rather than my or your opinion of what is right and what is not. My understanding of homosexuality is that it is moral wickness as far as God is concerned. I am profoundly sceptical of trying to negotiate about this or make it an exception as though we now know better, giving it a fancy Latin name. I’m wary of homosexual propaganda that says this is always a built in, unalterable state, that it is never chosen, of cultivating a victim mentality. This smacks of ‘it’s not my fault’ and doesn’t everyone – all of us – like to justify themselves with this when they have done wrong.

    That’s where I stand at the moment. I wouldn’t for one moment say the evanglical church, including myself, don’t have anything to learn on how you relate to homosexuals who enter the church or are interested in the gospel. In all my years as a Christian, it is a subject I have hardly heard mentioned, it’s not been the church putting it on the agenda, at least in the UK.

    It is true that Jesus died to save sinners, which is all of us, but it is not up to us to decide to change what ‘sin’ means. You probably think I am harsh and judgemental, though I actually hate upsetting people (believe it or not), but it is not loving to give anyone a false security or bogus hope that God just ‘loves’ us as we are and doesn’t make any moral demands on us. You know, CON-version type of thing.


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    Ken

    Do you actually think that gays do not know what the church, or someone like you, believes? See my interview with Justin Lee. They know, they really, really know. In fact, they would fall over dead if an outspoken Christian did not start off their “witness” with a treatise on why they believe homsexual behavior is wrong.  Frankly, I used to do the same thing and I am ashamed of myself. I hold to Side B of the argument so you cannot accuse me of not holding to a gospel™ approved point of view.

    As a parent, I would never reject any child of mine who said he/she was gay. I would stand by them, love them, and care for them. Having grown up in my house they would already know exactly what I believe so I would not have to continue to jam it down their throat. There is a big difference between a family unit and the church and far too many people have made the mistake of equating the two.

    In fact, I think that there will be some major surprises in heaven, both who is there and who is not there. I am thankful that God does not need my advice on how to judge people. He takes care of that and I bet that He is going to make some decisions with which I disagree. He will still love me, by the way, since He is in the business of making our lives not very comfortable.

     I, on the other hand, can focus on being a loving and faithful mother, friend and Christian who hopes to love people into the kingdom.


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    @ Ken: I think you are sharing the pew w/people who cannot be honest about their sexual orientation w/other church folk – if they do speak up, the backlash will be inevitable.


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    Ken wrote:

    I’m wary of homosexual propaganda that says this is always a built in, unalterable state, that it is never chosen, of cultivating a victim mentality. This smacks of ‘it’s not my fault’ and doesn’t everyone – all of us – like to justify themselves with this when they have done wrong.

    It’s never a person’s fault when he or she is BORN WITH certain dispositions. Ever. We have no choice over what we are born with or without. Zero. Nada. Zip. Sure, one can argue that it matters what we DO with our dispositions. And I am always willing to hear those arguments.


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    @ Ken:

    I’m wary of homosexual propaganda that says this is always a built in, unalterable state, that it is never chosen, of cultivating a victim mentality. This smacks of ‘it’s not my fault’ and doesn’t everyone – all of us – like to justify themselves with this when they have done wrong.

    …and I’m wary of evangelical propaganda hawking reparative therapy that claims it can permanently remove SSA, but has been demonstrated by years of research and testimonies to almost never do this. No, it’s probably not as simple as a “gay gene,” but DNA is hardly the only means by which something can become fixed. You might try reading some stuff by celibate gay Christians who acknowledge this is their orientation and it’s probably not going away. These sites, for instance.

    http://spiritualfriendship.org

    http://gaysubtlety.wordpress.com

    It may genuinely not be their fault that they have this issue. We can’t assume that every time someone says something isn’t their fault, that it automatically is their fault – just like there are perfectly legitimate uses of the word “victim” that have nothing to do with a “victim mentality” (which is a real problem sometimes). Also, someone who comes out may not have “done wrong” (i.e., had gay sex) at all. They might just be stating that this is their inclination, and never actually acted on it.

    If you truly do believe that you don’t have to act on your natural dispositions, why does it bother you so much that homosexuality might be a natural disposition? It doesn’t hurt your position if it does. In fact there are plenty of gay Christians who agree with you.


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    @ Hester: I cannot imagine that anyone would deliberately *choose* to be gay, given the kind of prejudices, harassment (and worse) that gay people face.

    Orientation is just *there*; same for straight people.


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    Given that there are some people who claim they were born sexually attracted to children or animals, I’d be careful about sanctioning aspects of this.

    If the Bible is true and humanity and all creation have been tainted by sin (that’s what it seems to teach), that could be one reason people feel they were born with “X.”

    I just posted a link on here about a month ago about a new study where researchers put pedophiles (either self professing, or they had been arrested for pedophilia, I can’t recall) and non-pedos into a brain scan machine and showed them photos of small children to see what, if any, activity would change in their brains.

    The brains of the non-pedos remained flat (non responsive) when shown photos of children, but the “Hey there, I’m really turned on and find this oh- so- sexy” part of the brain lit up in the pedophiles.

    Could pedos extrapolate from this they were born to be attracted to children, and should therefore be allowed to have sexual relations with children? (I’ve already seen a few claim they were “born that way” in other articles in years past, as a matter of fact).

    There is a group in Germany called Zoophiles (I think that’s their name) who keep petitioning their government to legalize human-animal sexual relations because getting it on with a dog or a donkey floats their boat. They seem to feel they were born to be attracted to animals in that way.

    Gov Rick Whats-it was dragged across the coals and mocked on theologically moderate- to- liberal blogs this past couple of weeks for drawing a comparison between alcoholism and homosexuality, but I felt his comparison was very apropos:

    His analogy was meant to get to the point that even if someone was born with a predisposition towards a certain behavior, or orientation, such as alcoholism or whatever, that does not necessarily make that orientation or behavior correct, moral, or mean that they should act upon it (whatever it is).

    I went back and re-read Ken’s post above. I don’t know if I agree with all of it and/or with how he stated the views, but I felt much of it was correct.

    Ken sounds like he was trying to be very delicate in stating his views, but he still got stomped on a bit.

    Hester said,

    …and I’m wary of evangelical propaganda hawking reparative therapy that claims it can permanently remove SSA,

    (etc.) I have seen people who say they were once homosexual or lesbian but now are attracted to and date only the opposite gender. That does happen.

    There was an article by a Helen Ball, for example, called, “As a lesbian, I was neutral about gay marriage. Then I fell in love with a man.”

    Someone above was trying to argue such cases away by discounting these people’s personal testimonies by saying, “I think they are just confused or are really bi-sexual.”

    Well, you don’t know that. Maybe you’re right – but maybe you’re wrong.

    If you’re someone who is unhappy with socially conservative people making definitive statements about the causes of homosexuality (or if it can be changed)-

    I don’t see how you can turn around and make equally definitive statements about the causes of homosexuality, or dispute some homosexual lady’s (or guy’s) testimony that they are now attracted to an opposite gender person.

    I don’t think either side (socially liberal or conservative) is entirely correct on these points.

    I don’t really care so much about homosexuality per se, what gets my goat is that there is in fact a very loud, militant homosexual lobby in the USA (with heteros who support them) who seek to intimidate, demonize, and silence anyone and everyone who disagrees with them on that topic, or in regards to the legalization of homosexual marriage.

    Some homosexual groups do put out their fair share of propaganda, too, and they say nasty things about folks who aren’t on board with homosexuality. To depict this as being all one-sided is not honest or even accurate.

    Ken can correct me if I’m wrong here, but where he was talking about,

    “I’m wary of homosexual propaganda that says this is always a built in, unalterable state, that it is never chosen, of cultivating a victim mentality…”

    Maybe he was referencing the radical, secular, Non Christian, Non-celibate homosexuals who think they should not be judged for engaging in any homosexual sexual activity at all.

    And these sort of guys do in fact trot out the “we were born this way” argument as one justification as to why they should be able to be promiscuous as they want to and not be criticized or questioned for it.

    Secular, heterosexual feminists utilize much the same rationale with their “slut shaming” argumentation. Hetero feminists think hetero women should be able to sex around as much as they want, and nobody should dare say boo about it.

    Adults in our society (United States) are at a point where they don’t feel anyone should ever judge, criticize, shame, or condemn any sexual activity at all, for any reason, in regards to any group.

    Our culture has become a sexual free- for- all, and I see this attitude crop up among self-professing Christians in the last few years.

    About the only line in the sand I am seeing in culture still being held in regards to sexual morality, is that most people remain against adult-child relations (and maybe human-animal), as it should be, but I would not be surprised if years from now that erodes, too.

    I do think people should be kind to homosexual people (and to heteros who have sexual sin in their lives).

    However, Ken is also correct in parts of his post that the Bible does have passages that do outline certain behavior as sin.

    Ken is also correct that Christians are called to maintain and uphold biblical standards, even if that means correcting Christians who are in sin (I am not here to argue and bicker on when, who, and how to do it, merely to say that the concept is in fact in the Bible).

    I’ve raised that point on previous posts at this blog myself, on posts about immoral preachers who are regularly bilking their congregation out of money, etc, when their defenders come on and say, “how dare you judge Pastor Z, he is so great.”

    And I replied to the fans of those famous preachers, “But the Bible says in places, such as 1 Corinthians 5, that Christians are told not to even have lunch with a guy who says he’s a Christian but who is living in open, regular unrepentant sin. Christians are supposed to hold other Christians accountable.”

    I don’t recall anyone from this blog disputing with me when using 1 Cor. 5 in regards to shady, unethical, and/or greedy mega church preachers, but Ken is getting a little beat up for applying the same exact biblical principle in regards to sexual sin.

    I don’t know if I agree with all of Ken’s post, or I maybe did not correctly understand him on everything he wrote, but I do think he made a few good and true points in places.


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    numo wrote:

    @ Hester: I cannot imagine that anyone would deliberately *choose* to be gay, given the kind of prejudices, harassment (and worse) that gay people face.
    Orientation is just *there*; same for straight people.

    Hetero, celibate adults get ridiculed in today’s society.

    Anyone (this includes heteros) who stays a virgin past the age of 30, who is waiting until marriage to have sex, not only gets “shamed” by most of secular culture, but within Christian culture now as well.

    Homosexuality is pretty much accepted in our culture these days – it’s almost become trendy. There’s even a show about it on MTV for teens now – about two hetero girls who pretend to be lesbian because it makes them popular with their peers. The name of that show is “Faking It.”

    If homosexuality were as maligned as you are making it sound (and which the homosexual rights groups make it sound), it would not be presented as being normal and okay in shows such as “Faking It,” or with homosexual couples who have children on shows such as “Modern Family.”

    Homosexual characters have been introduced in comic books in years past. J K Rowling said Dumbledore is homosexual. DC Comics announced several years ago that Bat Girl is a lesbian.

    Homosexuals (in the United States) are not quite the marginalized group they are often depicted as being, (which is not to say they never, ever face discrimination at anytime or anywhere), but it is over-stated, I believe.

    Getting back to the alcoholism analogy I mentioned in a post above – some folks may be born predisposed to being alcoholic – I don’t think anyone would “choose” to be born an alcoholic, since it can ruin their liver, cause them to get into auto accidents if they drive inebriated, etc.

    There are some pedophiles who feel they were born to be pedo, but they don’t enjoy being thought of as deviants by society.

    So I’m not sure the “people would never chose to be X, since other people in society don’t approve of X” argument works, or not all the time.


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    @ numo:

    When people talk about choosing to be gay, I ask them for the moment they chose to be straight. I don’t remember mine….


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    @ Nancy:

    I generally agree with you. I tend to be conservative in the 1950s and prior sense, which is to be mainstream to slightly liberal in the R camp. I believe the Bible, but not the inerrantist version of belief in the Bible. With both a Ph.D. and a J.D., and lots of experience in business and politics in between, I find myself a supporting of civil rights, voting rights, religious freedom, etc., but not the idea that all of the civil rights in the Bill of Rights and later amendments apply to corporations. I am not in favor of everyone carrying a weapon anywhere they choose, but do not want weapons banned from individual homes and places of business. I believe in a helping hand for those who cannot make it on their own, equality of opportunity, and efforts to create jobs. As an attorney, I work with a lot of people trying to survive on disability (ca $700 a month) and, even with other program benefits, that is a hard life; 50% of my time or more is spent pro bono on family law for people on disability or who should be.

    This week, I lost one of my best friends. A minority who was sent to prison for defending himself when attacked (black attacked by white, and 40 years ago, black automatically guilty if he fought back, at least here), learned to operate heavy equipment, was in an accident that limited his ability to work, was homeless for years until I helped him get benefits, and then was found to have cancer. Lovely man. I could tell you 50 other similar stories in this mid-size town. No, I am not advocating equality of outcomes, just fair and just treatment without regard to race, gender, gender preference, religion, etc. And more money for legal aid for the poor, to help them get the benefits they need to survive.


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    Daisy

    You said something about being kind to homosexual people. I think it is important for you to carefully define to what you are referring. Which homosexuals? Are talking about their feelings? their activities? Secondly, how do you “uphold biblical standards” with someone that you believe to be in sin. Do you tell them once? Twice? Every time you see them? What if they are in your family? A once a day review of sins, perhaps?

    As for the US becoming a cultural free for all, in general, it has always been that way. What do you think was going on in Jesus’ day in Rome? How about the upperclass in England during the 1800s? How about all those kings who had babies out of wedlock throughout the centuries. Clergy did the same thing. Mormons in the 1800s? Thomas Jefferson had sex with his slave and his descendent through her exist today.

    Is it really a free for all or is it just confessing what has always been around. Why do you think the 1960s saw such an explosion. Many young people were protesting what they saw behind the while picket fences: alchol abuse, substance abuse (Valium got big), affairs, and everyone smiling and looking good in church. Oh yeah, everyone went to church but many played games-just like they do today.And discrimination was rampant: against people fo color, against immigrants from Ireland, Russia, China, etc.

    I would far rather deal with reality than a show.


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    @ Nancy:

    And I have had sexual relations with only one woman in the last 35 years, and that began after we had been married for three days, for reasons I shall not go into here.

    I do speak to young teenage boys about sex, as an attorney who does family law. I tell them that I will not talk about morality, disease prevention, ethics or religious matters, since they will hear that from others. I tell them about a fantastic investment opportunity that will pay at such a high percentage rate of return that no Wall Street investor would turn it down if they could put money in it. And that is, they can avoid making a new car payment every month, as if they bought a new one every four years or so (and never see the car!), for 18 or more years, at risk of going to jail if they don’t pay, all for the cost of a box of condoms. Of course, abstinence is free, but condoms if you are not going to abstain.


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    Daisy wrote:

    Secular, heterosexual feminists utilize much the same rationale with their “slut shaming” argumentation. Hetero feminists think hetero women should be able to sex around as much as they want, and nobody should dare say boo about it.

    That is the most biased, irresponsible, and untrue statement I have seen on this blog in some time. I know many secular, heterosexual feminists who are “one-man women”. You keep putting for these lies as if they are proven facts, but they are not.


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    @ Daisy: The comparison to pedophilia and bestiality is *so* off base.

    Please understand that no child or animal can do what an adult can – give informed consent. Neither are children or animals emotionally/mentally mature in comparison with an adult human, and they certainly are NOT physically able to have sex with a human (dimensions, etc.).

    Pedophilia and bestiality are inherently abusive (and very sickening to me personally); adult couples who love each other and are not in an abusive relationship are in an entirely different category re. sexual ethics – regardless of whether they’re gay or straight.


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    @ An Attorney: preach it!


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    @ Daisy: I take it you have no gay friends? Because if you did, and if you were honestly willing to listen to them re. bullying and harassment as kids and as adults, you would think twice before posting things like this.


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    @ numo: Also: employment discrimination, losing jobs, being kicked out of their families (I know a middle-aged woman whose son-in-law ordered her to take her stuff out to the side of the road when she told him that she is gay), and on and on and ON.


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    @ Victorious:

    The ex- communication of Kate Kelly is an excellent and wise decision. Better to be given the chance to repent here on earth than be ex-communicated from heaven because of her feminist agenda and leading the flock astray.
    Too bad the Christian Church will not do the same biblical correction.


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    @ Daisy:

    I don’t see how you can turn around and make equally definitive statements about the causes of homosexuality, or dispute some homosexual lady’s (or guy’s) testimony that they are now attracted to an opposite gender person.

    I didn’t make any definitive statements about the causes of SSA. We don’t know precisely where it comes from. What does seem to be emerging from study data, however, is that once it’s in place (however it got there), it seems to be very difficult to change. Here’s just a sampling of citations from a conservative Christian psych prof who is well-known to readers here. If complete orientation change happens (i.e., complete cessation of SSA and replacement by OSA), current studies (and mountains of testimony) indicate that it’s pretty rare and shouldn’t be the expected outcome in most cases.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/10/25/narthscience/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/07/15/new-study-sexual-behavior-changes-but-not-sexual-orientation/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/05/12/major-new-study-finds-sexual-orientation-change-efforts-to-be-ineffective/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2012/01/09/alan-chambers-99-9-have-not-experienced-a-change-in-their-orientation/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/12/07/the-evangelical-blackout-of-research-on-sexual-orientation/

    And at least some of those stories about complete orientation change turned out not to be true. And that’s not according to me, it’s according to the people who initially claimed they had reoriented.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/11/11/first-study-to-refer-to-ex-gays-discredited/

    Also, just because someone starts dating/marries a person of the opposite sex, does not mean they have completely gotten rid of their SSA. They may have chosen to be in a mixed-orientation relationship. Note that one of the studies referenced in the posts above deals with this exact situation and found little or no orientation change.

    Maybe he was referencing the radical, secular, Non Christian, Non-celibate homosexuals who think they should not be judged for engaging in any homosexual sexual activity at all.

    Maybe so, but if he was then he should have said that. What he actually wrote was not exclusive to that group, thus my reaction.

    Ken is getting a little beat up for applying the same exact biblical principle in regards to sexual sin

    I can tell you that at least part of the reason is that JMac and Ken have not been clear about whether shunning applies only to openly practicing gay people, or people who have just stated that that is their orientation. It’s not sexual sin simply to state that you have SSA. It’s just not. No sex act has been performed. Thus, it would be pretty much beyond dispute in that case that a shunning would be unwarranted, undeserved, cruel and almost certainly sinful.

    Another reason is that personally, I’m not sure I buy that these shunnings for sexual sin would be consistently doled out. I asked upthread whether JMac would advise shunning a young adult who was fornicating. No one ever answered me, or, I believe, the person upthread who pointed out that Russell “I Heart Patriarchy” Moore (not exactly a liberal) does not agree with JMac’s advice about gay kids. So it appears we have multiple positions on shunning here. Is there any justification for automatically defaulting to the harshest possible option?

    And before anybody makes any assumptions, I’d just like to issue a reminder that I AM SIDE B.


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    Failing evangelical ministries are nothing new. This is a cautionary tale to corrupt or over authoritarian mega church preachers. I understand that Sutton was accused of corruption by a church member before his ouster, and the accusations have followed him everywhere he has gone since. This is a good thing for the Sutton’s, the Caner’s, the Mahaney’s, the Mark Driscoll’s and others. You aren’t above it all just because you are a pastor, and if you do wrong, the accusations will follow you everywhere you go.


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    Buck Thornton wrote:

    Better to be given the chance to repent here on earth than be ex-communicated from heaven because of her feminist agenda a

    So, being a feminist is worthy of eternity in hell? And exactly how do you define feminism? Maybe you agree with FBC Norfolk who allegedly believe that a woman should be paid less than a man?

    Seriously, do you actually think Christian women who believe that women can be elders are going to burn in hell? If not, could you please clarify your comment.


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    @ Buck Thornton:
    Could you please clarify this comment?


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    @ Hester:
    Hester
    That is a great comment with the links to Warren Throckmorton. Warren used to be an outspoken advocate for gay reparative therapy until he looked closely at the studies and found that, in the vast majority of cases, reparative therapy does not work. And this is for people who really, really, wanted it to work as well.

    Warren is now Side B as well and has fought against the Ugandan bill that would either put to death or permanently jail homosexuals. I have told him that I would like to get his perspective on that whole mess and he has invited to talk with him so that I can do a post on the matter.

    I recently spoke with a representative of NARTH (the pro reparative therapy group) and asked if they have ANY long term studies that show success with reparative therapy. He said no but they are trying to raise funds to do so. These are the people who promote reparative therapy! This is also the group that Warren Throckmorton walked away from when he realized that the studies were flawed.

    I believe that we must approach this subject with honesty, not wishful thinking. Warren is an example of someone who did just that.


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    Mark wrote:

    You aren’t above it all just because you are a pastor, and if you do wrong, the accusations will follow you everywhere you go.

    Good comment.


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    dee wrote:

    Ken

    Do you actually think that gays do not know what the church, or someone like you, believes?

    From experience, the following is a sampling:

    ‘The bible tells you to kill gays’. ‘Christians are nasty, judgmental homophobic bigots’. From the atheist inclined, they also will add ‘you are those who debase yourselves worshipping a dead Jew on a stick’.

    Now I can understand this if the sole source of information they have consulted is Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist or similar outfits, or websites hostile to Christianity.

    My experience of how homosexuality has been dealt with in churhces is it is virtually never mentioned, I have never heard anyone incite hatred of gays, I know of no hymn that even mentions the topic.

    Re: the 1 Cor 5 issue, can we please get rid of the word ‘shun’? I’ve never used it, it implies going out of your way to reject someone rather than avoiding/disassociating yourself with them. You could still be pleasant to someone who is under church discipline, whilst making it clear they have business to do with God and that you cannot maintain fellowship until they have done that.

    I don’t believe in therapy. Therapy as I have encountered it in churches, is usually an attempt to reform the old man/flesh/sinful nature in those who have never been born again or in any sense are a new creation, so that they can appear to live a more Christian lifestyle. The gospel requires the old man to be positionally put to death, and as a consequence start a process of putting to death the works of the flesh.

    Daisy – I think overall you got the gist of what I was trying to say.

    Finally, this issue as discussed by MacA is not just academic, it is one I have had to face personally.


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    @ dee:

    Yeah, Throckmorton pretty much hits the nail on the head. The “Evangelical Blackout” link above is esp. good. I spent some time a few months ago going through his older stuff and comparing it to his newer posts, and the change is obvious and dramatic. I’d really love to see a guest post by him here. He’s done good work on Mars Hill, too, but frankly this topic’s much more interesting to me.

    I believe that we must approach this subject with honesty, not wishful thinking.

    Yup. I just don’t believe God requires us to be uninformed, dishonest or unreasonable, or to run away from and deny scientific findings. And reparative therapists are starting to sound a little too much like Ken Ham for my taste.


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    Ken wrote:

    don’t believe in therapy. Therapy as I have encountered it in churches, is usually an attempt to reform the old man/flesh/sinful nature in those who have never been born again or in any sense are a new creation, so that they can appear to live a more Christian lifestyle. The gospel requires the old man to be positionally put to death, and as a consequence start a process of putting to death the works of the flesh.

    Are you saying that those with SSA cannot be saved if he SSA doesn’t go away? I, too, approach this from a personal experience perspective.


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    @ dee:

    Seriously, do you actually think Christian women who believe that women can be elders are going to burn in hell?

    That’s the only way I see to read that statement. Which means feminism must of necessity deny the Trinity, deity of Christ, or some other doctrine that rose to the level of heresy back in the day. Citation needed.


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    @ Ken: oh, I actually *was* shunned when kicked out of That Church.

    Maybe when churches stop doing it, we can stop using the term. But til then – nope, not gonna retire it from my vocabulary!


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    @ Ken:

    My experience of how homosexuality has been dealt with in churhces is it is virtually never mentioned, I have never heard anyone incite hatred of gays, I know of no hymn that even mentions the topic.

    My experience is that it is harped upon endlessly, obsessed over (to the point where one mom tried to artificially shoehorn the topic into a middle school book discussion after encountering the word “gay” in a book from the 19th century), and portrayed as something that can never happen in house; and that people who have never even met any gays, run them down and ridicule them at every possible opportunity. And all that is in addition to the false or out-of-date info presented about STDs, reparative therapy, etc.

    Re: the 1 Cor 5 issue, can we please get rid of the word ‘shun’? I’ve never used it, it implies going out of your way to reject someone rather than avoiding/disassociating yourself with them.

    The end result is identical. In any case, I’m not sure everyone accepts your distinction, because someone upthread who seemed to agree with JMac, spoke favorably about Anabaptist shunning and made it equivalent to 1 Cor. 5.

    I don’t believe in therapy.

    Do you mean you don’t accept any part of psychology at all? If this is your position, why do you hold it and how can you justify it?


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    dee wrote:

    Seriously, do you actually think Christian women who believe that women can be elders are going to burn in hell?

    The problem, as I see it, is that in order to maintain the male-only aspect of eldership, is to make it an office with authority to which a female is not entitled. But elder primarily means older, more mature, or advanced in age.

    presbuteros
    Thayer Definition:
    1) elder, of age
    1a) the elder of two people
    1b) advanced in life, an elder, a senior

    So women definitely are elders who are not permitted to be called elders!! Crazy!


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    @ Hester:

    I think part of the problem with homosexuality is that evangelicals don’t know how to deal with it. This is an example of why I don’t believe scripture is inerrant. By claiming scripture is inerrant you paint yourself into the corner. This is why I say inspired but not inerrant, I actually think inerrant creates a lot of needless problems and shows disrespect for the Bible while showing evangelical insecurities in the process. Its one thing to deal with gay thoughts, it’s another thing to act on them. I think the whole heterosexual modesty movement is flawed..and I think homosexuality shows it to be. Should guys cover up and wear burkas in case a guy deals with this issue? Yikes!

    I also think that unless evangelicals can learn how to love they should butt out of political issues affecting gays. I find this to especially true for the SBC given its history as a denomination founded to defend the Biblical basis of slavery. But I think another issue why evangelicals struggle with homosexuals is that they feel frightened. Evangelicals have made the family unit an idol…it is James Dobson’s Gold Calf. And many churches walk around carrying their Golden Calf. This leaves many people who deal with homosexuality in the dark and left out. Everything from Bible studies to holidays…I think it’s a disgrace. What evangelicals should do is adopt and bring in people who deal with homosexuality into their family. Invite them over for holidays, love them, and share their family life with them. That could be beautiful but I don’t think that will happen because of the idolatry which rages in modern evangelicalism. This is why I came to the conclusion…if they can’t deal with the issue right…don’t deal with it at all. I know people who have been harmed.


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    Sorry to bow out, but my family and I are in the last stages of prepping for a house guest over the weekend and I don’t have the mental/emotional energy to continue with this thread, so if anybody replies to me I probably won’t see it.


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    I saw the video and don’t see the horror I am reading about here. If you have a gay child you want them to confess and conform to God’s will, which is to not be homosexual. You don’t want them exposed to that shameful lifestyle. You want the best for them.

    AsJM alluded, IF they consider themself saved, it is incongruous to want to live a lifestyle that is abominable. Any parent would want them to enjoy the heterosexual lifestyle that we were born to live out. This is a serious thing.

    Since the Bible is clear that homosexuals don’t inherit the kingdom of God, you do what the Bible commands you to do, out of love, so the child can repent.

    JM did mention an unwillingness to repent if I remember, so the child leaves the church no choice.

    The last thing the child needs is their sin tolerated. The world thinks that way, the church should not.

    Bob

    b>@ Josh:


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Since the Bible is clear that homosexuals don’t inherit the kingdom of God,

    I would appreciate it if you would clarify what you mean by homosexual. Do you mean anyone who is homosexual or certain homosexuals? What about those who are celibate?Single4Now wrote:

    Any parent would want them to enjoy the heterosexual lifestyle that we were born to live out.

    So, unless they become heterosexual, they are damaged?
    Single4Now wrote:

    If you have a gay child you want them to confess and conform to God’s will, which is to not be homosexual.

    How does one become “not a homosexual?”
    Single4Now wrote:

    JM did mention an unwillingness to repent if I remember, so the child leaves the church no choice.

    Is there any difference between a church and a family? It appears that Matthew 18 is directed at a church. My child is always my child. You can’t undo that.
    Single4Now wrote:

    The last thing the child needs is their sin tolerated.

    God tolerates your sin on a daily basis.


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    dee wrote:

    God tolerates your sin on a daily basis.

    Amen. May we never forget that. He never abandons us.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    The last thing the child needs is their sin tolerated.

    This is quite true. We know that God so hated sin that he was forced to sacrifice his only Son, that whoever failed to embrace the correct doctrine about him should perish, and have everlasting strife and torment. (John 3:16)


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    @ Single4Now:

    Being a homosexual is not condemned in the Bible.

    There are passages that can be interpreted as indicating that one should not engage in sex with a person of the same gender.

    Does JMac preach that we should shun our children who have committed fornication, or have married and divorced and remarried. I think not.

    This is selecting out one alleged sin and ignoring others, which is definitely NOT biblical. I dare say JMac has members in good standing who have violated and not confessed or repented of sexual sin. But if they are tithing, I suspect he will not confront them. And that is a serious sin, on the part of JMac. So perhaps you should shun JMac????


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    Dee,

    Have to be brief here on break on my phone.

    A saved child is a church child and unnatural inclinations, thoughts and acts can negatively influence others in the church and the purity of the church is the pastor’s calling, at least part of it.

    The thoughts need to be confessed and forsaken so they are not acted upon.

    This isn’t a matter of preference, it is a sinful and misguided choice that needs the direction and clarity of God’s word. We want what is best for our children and that is obedience to God. Anything else brings hurt and loss and lack of intimacy with God.

    We shouldn’t want God to tolerate us, rather to want His best blessing, which He gives in response to obedience.

    I can try to look here tonight but that’s all I have time for now and I appreciate that you didn’t light me up for my view.

    Bob

    @ dee:


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    Eagle wrote:

    Evangelicals have made the family unit an idol… it is James Dobson’s Gold Calf. And many churches walk around carrying their Golden Calf.

    This leaves many people who deal with homosexuality in the dark and left out.

    Everything from Bible studies to holidays… I think it’s a disgrace.

    What evangelicals should do is adopt and bring in people who deal with homosexuality into their family. Invite them over for holidays, love them, and share their family life with them.

    That is true, some Christian groups have made “the family” into an idol, and it’s something I’ve brought up before, but evangelicals and Baptists also ignore hetero adult singles, as well.

    Some prominent Southern Baptists go so far as to insult adult singelness, as well as to mock or insult adult virginity and celibacy, in their blogs and interviews.

    This anti-singleness and anti-celibacy views from these guys makes no sense to me, since some of these same guys turn around two seconds later and complain about sexual sin.

    If the various churches and denominations would support and encourages singleness, singles themselves, and celibacy, it might cut down on that sexual sin they say they are concerned about.

    But, as I’ve said before, this is a two way street. There are militant homosexuals who push the topic of homosexuality, both in the Christian sector and the secular.

    You cannot agree to disagree on the issue, or be tolerant, you are expected to fully celebrate homosexuality from some quarters now.

    In American culture today, if you don’t agree with homosexuality, or the legalization of homosexual marriage, and fully support both, homosexual advocates will demonize you and harass you over it, you will be called a “hater” and a “bigot,” etc.

    People have been fired over it, just for holding a different opinion, people don’t feel free to speak up with their real views. That really concerns me.


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    dee wrote:

    God tolerates your sin on a daily basis.

    I know God forgives sin, and maybe to a point he will tolerate it, but the Bible also says things such as,

    Hebrews 12:6
    “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

    It looks to me as though the Bible says God might tolerate sin for awhile but not indefinitely.

    There is also the teaching in 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul tells the other members to expel the unrepentant sinning guy (who was having an affair with his step mother, I think), and not to let him return unless or until he repents.

    I’m not a supporter of very legalistic Christians or churches who are very unloving towards people in regards to sin or what have you, but I also see another extreme from other denominations or Christians, and that includes over-emphasizing God’s grace and forgiveness to the point rotten behavior is routinely excused.

    Some of the churches discussed on this blog are so heavy into the “we’re all sinners, God forgives everyone, all sins are equal, so who am I to judge another person for sin” position that they refuse to call the police to report pedo’s in their congregation who have preyed on kids in the church.

    I don’t know that it’s consistent to expect Christians to deal swiftly and firmly with one type of sin but then be willing to overlook or be very patient with other types.

    As far as homosexual behavior (and marriage) specifically, it is my view that a lot of evangelical and Baptist churches harp on the topic way too much.

    There seems to be one segment of evangelicals (and Southern Baptists) who have given up even addressing hetero sins of the sexual variety, they almost just accept hetero fornication now as being a given, because it’s more common now.

    I don’t see how these types of Christians are being even- handed by constantly prattling on about homosexuality but then refusing to address sexual sins by the hetero people.

    But again, it depends on which church or denomination we are talking about, because I’ve seen the reverse, or other variations, like churches who excuse homosexual behavior but who lambast hetero, adult, single sexual sin (ie, they scream at hetero singles to abstain but, in pity, tell the homosexuals it’s okay for homosexuals to have sex).


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    @ Single4Now: unnatural seems disingenuous to me.


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    They will be handled appropriately and JM does not teach the legalistic standard of tithing.

    Bob

    @ An Attorney:


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    I meant whatever Paul meant when he said that. For certain, anyone engaging in unrepentant sexual sin which would include homosexuality is giving evidence that they are not saved. Paul did want us to know that there were some who had been in that lifestyle but after conversion to Christianity gave it up. They would have renounced all the thoughts and acts that characterized that sinful lifestyle. They would have repented, admitted with God that it was contrary to God’s will, basically having a change of heart and mind.

    This question confuses me since any sexual sin is to be abandoned, fled from, to want nothing to do with it, and instead see what God wants us to do instead.

    dee wrote:

    I would appreciate it if you would clarify what you mean by homosexual. Do you mean anyone who is homosexual or certain homosexuals? What about those who are celibate?


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    I don’t know about damaged but they wouldn’t have the peace of God, the pleasure of God, would suffer the consequences and be subject to the chastening of God (if they are saved)that anyone else would incur when outside of God’s will. They would regretfully never experience the physical, emotional and spiritual oneness God created for them to have with the opposite sex.

    dee wrote:

    So, unless they become heterosexual, they are damaged?


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    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices. Those Paul cites in 1 Corinthians 6:9 can credit their change to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in verse 11. God desires repentance from that lifestyle and is able to rescue from it.

    There are ministries you may be aware of that exist solely to help people to repent and leave that lifestyle, and are run by former homosexuals. I wouldn’t know if any and all desires completely vanish for good but it is the behavior they endeavor to change and the truth of scripture and reliance on God are essential as it is with anything. I know a guy who went to another state for this very purpose.

    dee wrote:

    How does one become “not a homosexual?”


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    @Single4Now, have you seen Dame Judi Dench’s 2013 film “Philomena”? I think it’s a good starting point (now to read all the rest of the comments).


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    Don’t you think your child belongs to God first? That’s where they came from.

    If they are in the church family they are subject to discipline under circumstances the spiritual leaders thinks warrants it. The church may conclude their actions are a threat to others in the church family and want to talk to them about changing so they don’t have to resort to discipline.

    Other believers or members of that church body may believe they are bound by God to warn someone who is engaging in homosexual acts or admits to having such thoughts.

    There is the verse in the Bible that says something like “If any man comes to me and hates not his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he can not be my disciple.” That is Luke 14:26.

    Devotion and allegiance to Christ must be a higher priority than any other relationship on earth, to the extent it is like hate compared to the love and obedience to Christ that comes from that love.

    I don’t know if you have a child who is homosexual or not and I am sure you love them. Wouldn’t you want what was the very best for that child? A homosexual lifestyle is one that can lead to ruin. We were created for the opposite sex. Marriage is called the grace of life because it is the best situation there is for those not gifted with celibacy, which is most of us.

    Homosexuals should not be getting “married” and really can’t anyway since they would violate God’s terms of marriage. Parents are to train their children to be ready for marriage (opposite sex) and to uphold and honor it as the grace of life. This produces the best life can offer.

    Since all our children belong to God, He has every right to instruct us how to raise them. Parents are to pray for the salvation and sanctification of their children. If homosexuals do not inherit the kingdom of God, we should want nothing to do with that at all. God wants children trained to be obedient to the Bible.

    Of course 1 Corinthians 6 includes other sinful behaviors in verse 10 so Paul wasn’t making homosexuality out to be in a more eternally perilous position than the other listed. I believe this section emphasizes the need for obedience and God’s willingness and capability to enact change where it is needed. The consequences are dire.

    Sorry for getting away from the original comment but it seemed like it all fit together.

    This whole idea of church discipline even on our own children we love, if necessary, is to be undertaken in a spirit of love with the goal the repentance of the one who is being disciplined. It is not in anger or frustration or someone being “holier than thou”. The pastors are mandated to protect the purity of the church. They answer to God. They do not want someone they discipline to undergo the destruction of the flesh (whatever that means)however going through that is better than living in unrepentant sin.

    dee wrote:

    Is there any difference between a church and a family? It appears that Matthew 18 is directed at a church. My child is always my child. You can’t undo that.


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    dee wrote:

    God tolerates your sin on a daily basis.

    Yes He does but He wants me to eliminate that sin. Tolerating sin without discipline or consequences leads to more sin which can literally lead to death. Our relationship with the Lord goes nowhere when engaged in unrepentant sin.

    God won’t tolerate sin in heaven because there won’t be any there. The Father dealt with my sin by taking it out on Jesus. Because of this, I and every believer is able to enter heaven as a perfect person.

    God tolerates if by that you mean He doesn’t strike me down dead on the spot for my sin (as was the case sometimes in the Bible), but the consequences of sin and God’s discipline out of love to get me detached from that sin are guaranteed and I can’t say that ever feels good.


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    An Attorney wrote:

    Being a homosexual is not condemned in the Bible.

    Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible. There is no way around it.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Incidentally, if I read one more story linking to MH that refers to “Pastor Mark”, I move that we formally change his moniker to “Sauce Driscoll”.

    YES!!! Love the noodly allusion too (but I hope the rhyming slang of your “Park Fiscal” won’t be too readily replaced).


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    Haitch wrote:

    @Single4Now, have you seen Dame Judi Dench’s 2013 film “Philomena”? I think it’s a good starting point

    Haitch, I read a review just now on Christianity Today since I had not heard of it before. I have to admit, after looking at several places I wasn’t able to follow what exactly what the film was about. It is late (for me) but I couldn’t tell what it was about, what it was trying to say.

    Do you mind telling me your opinion of the film?


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    numo wrote:

    @ Single4Now: unnatural seems disingenuous to me.

    I must have said that but what does it mean? LOL


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    @ Single4Now:

    NO HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT CONDEMNED IN THE BIBLE. Sex between men and sex between women is spoken against in the NT, and sex between men is condemned in the OT. But having same sex attraction, aside from lust, is not condemned. And in every church, you will find people who have had sex outside of marriage, divorced and remarried, and/or committed any number of other sins specifically called out in the OT and the NT, and those people are not being disciplined and shunned. To pick out one sin, and to even discipline and shun those who had not practiced it, is a greater sin than SSA! And, BTW, Jesus himself taught that none of his followers are to take charge over other followers and rule over them. So the pastor is not to be doing the discipline, the church is. SSA is not sin any more than OSA is, so long as it does not fall into lust.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices. Those Paul cites in 1 Corinthians 6:9 can credit their change to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in verse 11. God desires repentance from that lifestyle and is able to rescue from it.

    There are ministries you may be aware of that exist solely to help people to repent and leave that lifestyle, and are run by former homosexuals. I wouldn’t know if any and all desires completely vanish for good but it is the behavior they endeavor to change and the truth of scripture and reliance on God are essential as it is with anything. I know a guy who went to another state for this very purpose.

    That is a very convenient belief for you to hold. You don’t have to have any empathy at all since you chose to believe that homosexuals are people who just inexplicably and sinfully choose to be attracted to the same sex.


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    Daisy wrote:

    But again, it depends on which church or denomination we are talking about, because I’ve seen the reverse, or other variations, like churches who excuse homosexual behavior but who lambast hetero, adult, single sexual sin (ie, they scream at hetero singles to abstain but, in pity, tell the homosexuals it’s okay for homosexuals to have sex).

    These are the same churches who want homosexuals to be able to marry. Their position is consistent across the board, that sex should be reserved for marriage.


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    Daisy wrote:

    People have been fired over it, just for holding a different opinion, people don’t feel free to speak up with their real views. That really concerns me.

    And you’re still orders of magnitude behind the number of people who have been fired just for being – or seeming gay. This persecution complex is getting old.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices. Those Paul cites in 1 Corinthians 6:9 can credit their change to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in verse 11. God desires repentance from that lifestyle and is able to rescue from it.
    There are ministries you may be aware of that exist solely to help people to repent and leave that lifestyle, and are run by former homosexuals. I wouldn’t know if any and all desires completely vanish for good but it is the behavior they endeavor to change and the truth of scripture and reliance on God are essential as it is with anything. I know a guy who went to another state for this very purpose.

    Are you unaware that many of those “ex-gay” programs have shut down due to an appallingly low success rate at eliminating or substantially reducing the occurrence of same-sex attraction in people who have gone through their therapies? Ex-gay therapy has been widely discredited.

    You can pretend that every gay person chooses to be gay (i.e. to feel same-sex attraction – I’m not talking about actions here), but the facts are the facts, whether you believe in them or not. Needless to say, I never chose it, and I have yet to talk to another gay person who chose their orientation, either (and I’ve talked to quite a few!).

    I can be convinced from scripture, but you’re not doing that. You’re parroting nonsensical ex-gay tropes and attaching them to random scripture references that don’t actually support what you’re saying. Deal with reality, and then we can talk.


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    Josh wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    People have been fired over it, just for holding a different opinion, people don’t feel free to speak up with their real views. That really concerns me.

    And you’re still orders of magnitude behind the number of people who have been fired just for being – or seeming gay. This persecution complex is getting old.

    It certainly is! If people are using their work time to share their views on homosexuality, or any other controversial issue, so that it disrupts the work flow or people’s ability to work collaboratively, then they should be warned and if the behavior persists, they should be fired. You don’t have free speech at work.

    Years ago my first husband worked with a colleague who took a leave of absence and returned after completing transgender surgery. My husband was fine with it; there must have been others who were not but no one expressed an opinion in the workplace. She was excellent at her work before and after the surgery and that is what counted with the company and people who wanted high achievers in their project groups.


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    Point 1 of 2

    Heterosexuality is condemned in the Bible (Matt 5:28); But I saith unto ye that any mann that looketh unto an womane withe the luste thereof upon his hearte hath comittethed adultery therewithe even before. There’s no way around that either.

    It’s hard to imagine that every marriage in the NT church was between two people who had experienced no mutual attraction, unless every marriage was an arranged marriage between total strangers. But 1 Cor 1:36 implies otherwise. (Can’t really be bothered to come up with another KJV parody… it’s bad enough trying to force ordinary King James “english” past the autocorrect!)

    Point 2 of 2

    I suspect the confusion and mythology behind “same-sex attraction is a choice” derives at least in part from Romans 1. Paul refers to men and women who have exchanged or abandoned heterosexual desires (which, remember, Jesus hath condemned) for homosexual ones.

    The infamous men of Sodom were almost certainly straight. (It’s hard to believe that the bulk of the male population of an entire town was gay.) As a footnote, it’s quite likely they were also drunk; but that’s by the by. It is a matter of tragic, but documented, fact that rape can be, and often is, driven more by power than lust. Both men and women have reported being raped in prison in states where human rights are routinely flouted, and in these cases – mixed prisons where the “disappeared” are taken – they are raped by the same guards. These guards are not homosexual and not necessarily motivated by lust, but by an ever-increasing desire to dominate and inflict suffering and humiliation.

    That is the subject of Romans 1. The teenage boy or girl who gradually realises that, as (s)he becomes sexually aware, (s)he is sexually aware of the same gender rather than the other one, has not abandoned anything for anything else. We, the Church, really need to develop a wiser and more mature theology on which to base our love for these people.

    Paul’s “List of Shame” in Romans 1 ends with they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. That should not be true of us.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    That is the subject of Romans 1.

    Sorry – bad proof-reading. Also the subject of Romans 1: the drunken attendee of a Roman orgy who really doesn’t care who or what he is having sex with. But again, that is not a description of the person coming to terms with same-sex attraction.


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    An Attorney wrote:

    But having same sex attraction, aside from lust, is not condemned.

    Why would someone even want to have same sex attraction? We are created to have opposite sex attraction, that’s normal and the way God designed us. I am not sure someone with same sex attraction wouldn’t be lusting. I can have an attraction to 12 year old girls but to say that’s all there is, there is no desire seems unlikely. I can have an “attraction” to my neighbor’s wife but couldn’t honestly say that it is only attraction without lust. I am assuming by same sex attraction that is not the same thing as simply saying someone looks nice. I can say there are some men that have good looks that I admire for that, but I would not have any desire to be intimate with them, as if that were even possible.

    Same sex attraction isn’t specifically condemned in my opinion because the Bible is clear where our attraction is naturally to be so that our own conscience would condemn us.

    Bob


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    Marsha wrote:

    That is a very convenient belief for you to hold. You don’t have to have any empathy at all since you chose to believe that homosexuals are people who just inexplicably and sinfully choose to be attracted to the same sex.

    We enter this world a sinner straight from the womb, with foolishness bound up in us according to the Bible. We are still accountable for our actions though and God wants to help us with our sin weaknesses.

    I do have empathy. I am weak with my own sinful inclinations and need God’s direction. Someone who is homosexual will not be able to enjoy a normal marriage which is the grace of life according to Peter. Another reason I have empathy is I have seen the comments of men who used to be in that lifestyle and they were miserable deep down inside.


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    @ Josh:

    We are all born as sinners with different sin weaknesses and inclinations. One of yours is homosexuality. You didn’t choose it yet you are responsible to deal with it as was done in 1 Corinthians 6. It is like any other sin tendency we have. The Bible is our guide. Confession and repentance isn’t always easy but as in that passage, those people had turned away from homosexuality.

    I can’t relate to the feelings that you have and again, believe you are dealing with a sin weakness that is the result of the fall. I have my own issues I didn’t choose but have to break those habits nonetheless.

    I also appreciate your honesty.

    Bob


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Do you mind telling me your opinion of the film?

    I can, but I’d prefer to discuss it with you perhaps after you’ve seen it. I wouldn’t have thought Christianity Today the ‘go to’ place for a review, it’s best left to your own judgement after watching. If it helps, my mum has seen it, so you’ll be ok (she said the book provided so much more nuance than the film, though that’s usually the case). I hope you don’t think I’m being obtuse.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Why would someone even want to have same sex attraction? We are created to have opposite sex attraction, that’s normal and the way God designed us

    It is not a matter of choice. It is not a matter of “want.” It just is. That is the problem. And many with SSA have attempted reparative therapy to not feel SSA. Reparative therapy, unfortunately, has been a bust for well over 90% of people who have tried it. It doesn’t work. So, what do you want these people to do. Pretend they are not same sex attracted?

    “Supposed to be”is an interesting thought. There are many things that are “supposed to be” but due to the way things are after the Fall, are not.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices.

    Really? Where is your evidence for that? Should our while understanding of this issue be based on a “belief” or on research and facts?

    I would encourage you to actually read the studies on reparative therapy. Perhaps you know the story of Dr Warren Throckmorton at Grove City College who was an advocate of NARTH and spoke on the issue. He came to a realization, after looking at the evidence that long term reparative therapy is a bust. He quit the group and has written about his concerns about the lack of evidence.

    I’m glad you know some guy who got the therapy and changed. I guess that settles it, right? Are you willing to base an entire understanding on your experience with one guy who went somewhere and became a heterosexual?

    And you know that he has changed for the rest of his life, right? Do you know how many people try, claim they have been “cured” and then, a few years later say it was wishful thinking.

    Much of what you say is based on “belief”,an anecdotal experience of one and no quoting of careful research.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Confession and repentance isn’t always easy but as in that passage, those people had turned away from homosexuality.

    Huh? Where did you read that? And what does turning away from homosexuality look like?


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Someone who is homosexual will not be able to enjoy a normal marriage which is the grace of life according to Peter.

    So Paul’s expression that he believed singleness is a gift to the church is to be ignored?


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    Marsha wrote:

    That is a very convenient belief for you to hold. You don’t have to have any empathy at all since you chose to believe that homosexuals are people who just inexplicably and sinfully choose to be attracted to the same sex.

    Well said.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    We enter this world a sinner straight from the womb, with foolishness bound up in us according to the Bible. We are still accountable for our actions though and God wants to help us with our sin weaknesses.

    Foolishness is bound up in a child not an infant and I’m not convinced foolishness is the equivalent of sin.


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    @ Single4Now:
    Hey, Bob,

    When did you decide to be straight?

    Thanks!


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I do have empathy. I am weak with my own sinful inclinations and need God’s direction. Someone who is homosexual will not be able to enjoy a normal marriage which is the grace of life according to Peter. Another reason I have empathy is I have seen the comments of men who used to be in that lifestyle and they were miserable deep down inside.

    Where did Peter say that marriage was the grace of life?

    Paul obviously didn’t agree. He suggested folks stay single if they are single and to marry if they burn with desire. He said marriage was an encumbrance to serving the Lord.

    Seems we have choices as ti our maritsl staus and one choice isn’t superior to another. As far as we know, Paul never married.


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    @ Bridget:

    Excuse the phone fingers and an early accidental post comment.

    . . . should read “as to our marital status”


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    @ Bridget:
    At least he isn’t suggesting that they get married any way.

    We had a “graduate” of one of those “pray the gay away” places come talk to our Christian group in college. Too bad we were Ivy League students with heavy science backgrounds. We were pretty tough on him, what with the psychological and biological studies backing us up, not to mention logic and reasoning. But one of our members had just come out as gay a few weeks prior and we were protective. No thank you, do not be telling him that he should marry some woman and that would make it all go away.

    Interesting also that his wife didn’t come speak to us. She’s the one I would have wanted to meet.


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    @ Single4Now:

    Nearly every teenager that I have encountered who experiences SSA rues that condition. They do not want to be homosexual but they are. They do not choose to be, they are. And they wish they weren’t. It is why so many commit suicide. They are rejected by family and friends, and experience much sadness. But they cannot change, though they try. The saddest cases are those who try to change by dating and marrying a person of the opposite sex and find the whole relationship unfulfilling and disheartening. They leave behind a heartbroken spouse, sometimes even children.

    It is not a choice anyone willingly makes, but a condition that some experience from toddler age on, and others early in puberty.


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    @ Single4Now:

    Also… where are we supposed to be looking for “the best life can offer”? In what world are we expected to make choices to maximize our enjoyment of life on earth? Where does that fit in with “Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself”?


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    Lust is the issue there not heterosexuality as you say.

    Loving someone involves helping them to be obedient to the Bible. Jesus died for His bride to make her pure so she could be with Him forever in a perfect place. Love rejoices in the truth but some try to suppress it.

    @ Nick Bulbeck:


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    @ dee:

    Singleness is a gift for a limited amount of people. What I refer to is the gift of singlness. Most singles don’t posses that spiritual gift and are instead commanded to avoid fornication by marrying. Singleness for them is often a hindrance to kingdom due to the preoccupation with unmet physical needs not to mention lonliness.

    For those endowed with the actual gift, lliving single is not problematic and a blessing to the
    Church.


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    I didn’t decide anything. Homosexual inclinations are not one of my sin weaknesses.

    God’s word on homosexuality is crystal clear to those who desire truth and are Spirit led. Until one desires to submit to the will of God given to us in the Bible, the will remain in the dark on this issue.

    Homosexual acts are an abomination to God and the thoughts that they are derived from are sinful as well.

    God’s standard is clear, we just need to get our thoughts and behaviours lined up with it whatever the issue is.

    Caitlin wrote:

    @ Single4Now:
    Hey, Bob,

    When did you decide to be straight?

    Thanks!


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    1Peter3:7 if my memory is good.

    What Paul meant by what he said has been misunderstood all too often and hurt singles in my opinion.

    I am glad you mentioned this and will try to explain what I believe Paul was telling us.

    @ Bridget:


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    @ Single4Now:
    But if you’re arguing that HAVING same-sex attraction is a choice, it stands to reason that you chose to have opposite-sex attraction. When did that happen for you?


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices

    Here, here you are saying it is a choice. So if that is a choice, when did you make the other choice?


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    Dear Bob (Single4Now),

    I appreciate that you’re trying to reply to comments from many people at once. I don’t envy you, but I still felt I had to respond to something you (and others) have touched on.

    You wrote:

    This whole idea of church discipline even on our own children we love, if necessary, is to be undertaken in a spirit of love with the goal the repentance of the one who is being disciplined.

    I recall several people raising the question of how this is supposed to play out within a Christian family, but I’ve yet to see a straight answer from anyone. Someone offered some vague platitude that it needs to be “done with wisdom”; further upthread, Ken said it’s possible to disassociate with a friend but still “be pleasant”. But in real, concrete terms, how is anyone supposed to “disassociate” from a family member, but still show love to him or her?

    Did you read the Huffington Post article that Dee linked to in the original post? To me, that’s a major case in point. The parents thought they were showing as much love as they could, while “disciplining” their son (or encouraging him to discipline himself, I guess). Their goal, as you say, was his “repentance”, and they didn’t even shun or otherwise disassociate from him. Yet he ended up loathing himself, and being convinced that God loathed him. If this “love + discipline” approach is so perfect and ‘biblical’, why did their son end up in despair?

    From what I can see, this family learned the hard way what love should look like. And I want to do my best not to repeat their mistake. In my mind, shunning (or “disassociation” or “disconnection” or whateveryouwannacallit-tion) does absolutely no good at all within families, and especially when it comes to children who come out as gay. It’s simply doesn’t fit with the love that families should have for each other.

    How do you think it’s supposed to work, Bob?


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Loving someone involves helping them to be obedient to the Bible. Jesus died for His bride to make her pure so she could be with Him forever in a perfect place. Love rejoices in the truth but some try to suppress it.

    We don’t love so people will be obedient to the Bible. The Bible is merely a compendium that explains some important principles regarding developing a relationship with God. Everything in it points to the two great commands: love God above all and neighbor as self. It points outward.

    In an earlier comment you wrote that a pastor’s job is to keep the church pure. Here you talk about a pure bride. But purity is a by-product like happiness, only partially obtainable until heaven. Jesus died so that we could be in a relationship with Him. Our job is to mature in his love, which means we become sturdier and less likely to go awry as we practice the love he offers.

    Yes, love rejoices in the truth but truth is not the same thing as purity. Truth is that which is accurate to reality. Facing truth means seeing “what is”. You have not faced the reality of homosexuality and that means you have not, til now, been concerned about that part of truth. Possibly that’s because you’ve gone down the blind alley of purity.

    Of course some people want to suppress the truth. We all do it sometimes, to lesser or greater extent. Out of love we chase it away when we find ourselves doing so. I hope you will, here.


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      __

    Same-sex orientation (SSA) is:

    A.   A genetic pre-disposition
    B. A condition
    C. A syndrome
    D. A choice
    E. A disease
    F.  Other

    Explain your answer.


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    @ Bridget:
    @ Single4Now:

    1 Peter 3:7 actually states:

    Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

    Marriage is not the grace of life here; life is. The above is the NIV; the NASB uses the phrase “grace of life”, but in neither case is marriage the object. One cannot inherit a marriage.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I had never heard the phrase that “marriage was the grace of life.” That’s why I asked. The ESV doesn’t state it that way either.

    “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

    I’m thinking that “grace of life” could be stated “gift of life.”

    @ Single4Now:


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    Single4Now wrote:

    1Peter3:7 if my memory is good.
    What Paul meant by what he said has been misunderstood all too often and hurt singles in my opinion.
    I am glad you mentioned this and will try to explain what I believe Paul was telling us.
    @ Bridget:

    Looking forward to hearing your interpretation of what Paul was saying.


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    Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    I recall several people raising the question of how this is supposed to play out within a Christian family, but I’ve yet to see a straight answer from anyone.

    I will take a stab at it. But first, I would never reject a friend/family member for being gay, and here’s why. When someone stops a relationship with a gay son, he takes to himself God’s job of final judgment. And that’s a job that even God doesn’t do because He remains with us throughout our lives, waiting patiently for us. Who am I, a frail broken human, to be more stringent than the God who made us?

    God knows we are creatures of process. It takes time for us to learn what we need to know. Maturity is life-long process and most of us are still in the middle of that process when death takes us. We must be patient with ourselves and with each other because we are rather silly and slow.

    Also, when people take on the role of Absolute Judge, they prioritize standards over the human. Standards were established for the sake of humans; they were not put in place and then some humans sprinkled around them to make the standards look good. Standards are there to help us see how to become whole, healthy, as we were made to be. Jesus had a fair amount to say about that.

    Of course, the above assumes that being gay is a sin. I don’t think it is, so I would never work a “love the sinner” process towards a child who is gay. (And yes, single4now, I love God with all my heart and work my hardest to see the truth with the help of the Spirit within me. In short, I am as much a Christian as you.)

    But I have a friend who is alcoholic. I have so far confronted her three times. We have talked it over for several hours, all told, and I’ve offered her sympathy for the possible reasons behind it. I’ve given her info on methods and places for help (physical info in hand). I’ve talked with her husband and children. I made rules about drinking in my house, and when she exceeds them, I ask her to go home. I also express love towards her, as much as she can take. It is hard!! But if I deserted my friend because of her alcoholism, I would be taking the lazy cruel way out, and I would further hurt my friend in the very places that she is already hurt. And no one around me (nones, church-goers, non-believers) thinks this is exceptional behavior; we all know that this is what love looks like.

    And there’s my long-way-around answer. w00t


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    @ Bridget:

    The most bestest literal translation might be “co-heirs of grace of life” or “co-heirs of gift of life” – there’s no “the”. But on the sliding scale of wisdom-understanding-knowledge-information-data, that’s kind of near the right-hand end…


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Incidentally: lies, damned lies, statistics, and sales patter are on a different scale.

    I hope this is helpful.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Heterosexuality is condemned in the Bible (Matt 5:28); But I saith unto ye that any mann that looketh unto an womane withe the luste thereof upon his hearte hath comittethed adultery therewithe even before. There’s no way around that either.

    I am not getting involved in the current sex wars. However, there is an argument that is being used that I would like to call into question. To avoid any implication regarding the current sexual topics, let me say that Ray Comfort uses this argument in his street witnessing videos (on you tube) and I think that his understanding of the matter is incorrect. That same thinking, however, is used lots by many people within other contexts, including some contexts which I have sworn off discussing.

    Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    I think this saying is frequently misunderstood to be a condemnation of all sexual attraction and desire.
    Here is a link for anyone who wants to pursue this idea. The concepts are way too long and complicated for me to attempt to summarize here. And I do not read Greek.

    http://www.jasonstaples.com/bible-studies/most-misinterpreted-bible-passages-1-matthew-527-28/

    Here is something on what adultery meant at that time, since Jesus specifically used the word adultery.
    http://www.truthortradition.com/articles/what-does-the-bible-say-about-adultery

    Thusly, when I hear the argument that goes more or less like: Have you ever felt sexual desire? Well, then you are headed straight for hell, at worst, and at best this sin (sexual desire) makes you just as bad a sinner as (whatever the argument was about) I hop off that boat right there. That argument does not conform to scripture.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    @ Josh:
    We are all born as sinners with different sin weaknesses and inclinations. One of yours is homosexuality. You didn’t choose it yet you are responsible to deal with it as was done in 1 Corinthians 6. It is like any other sin tendency we have. The Bible is our guide. Confession and repentance isn’t always easy but as in that passage, those people had turned away from homosexuality.

    Meanwhile, less than half an hour earlier:
    Single4Now wrote:

    Why would someone even want to have same sex attraction? We are created to have opposite sex attraction, that’s normal and the way God designed us.

    I’m sooo tempted to make a joke about keeping your story straight, because I love terrible puns, but I won’t inflict that on the rest of you…

    When a straight man or woman is walking down the street, their eyes will be naturally drawn to attractive women or men, respectively. That in and of itself is not lust. Lust goes beyond that: it’s a matter of fantasizing, craving someone you don’t have, and believing that your life will be meaningless without them. Basically, you could say, you turn the object of your lust into an idol. If you believe that lust resides in the subconsciously driven act of simply noticing someone, you’ve made a Pharisaical hedge around the scriptures, and you’re into the realm of impossible legalistic standards.

    But back to my point: even if they never have intimate relations with someone or even lust over someone, a person who is gay will notice attractive people of their own gender all their life, just like a person who is straight will notice attractive opposite-gendered people. Even people who have gone through the completely ineffective and discredited ex-gay therapy will admit, if they’re honest, that the attraction to the same gender never goes away.

    Thus, I refuse to beat myself up for the fact that my brain is wired to want to check out hot dudes (I still try to avoid lusting after them). God’s given me peace about it, and if you want to convince me that I’m going to hell despite all of that, well, good luck. Showing that you’re willing to be reasonable and deal with reality would be a good start.


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    @ Josh: I don’t want to muddy the waters, but I think people also notice others of the same/other gender(s) who are attractive and think, “Oh, they’re attractive,” without necessarily having any further thoughts or reactions beyond that.

    I bet everyone who reads this blog has noticed – simply noticed – people who are striking, distinctive (in looks, dress or both) and not given it a second thought. (That would be because it’s entirely normal to *notice* other people – we are social creatures, after all.)

    The word “lust” is so often misused by evangelicals/fundies to equal *any* awareness of people to whom we might potentially be attracted. It’s so damaging when kids get that message; they’re being told that what’s perfectly normal is innately wrong. (Straight kids and gay kids, too.)

    I find it telling that Single4Now said above that he knows what Paul meant. Hmm.


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    @ dee:

    So Paul’s expression that he believed singleness is a gift to the church is to be ignored?

    Not to mention there are gay people who willingly choose to enter heterosexual marriages, in which the opposite sex spouse has full knowledge of their orientation and both parties agree to it anyway. Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but it does happen.


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    @ Single4Now:

    Well, obviously, lust and not heterosexuality is the issue. For someone such as Josh, who is same-sex-attracted, and indeed myself, who am opposite-sex-attracted in general but the husband of one wife in particular, lust and not sexuality are the problem.

    There seems to be some confusion in your axioms, though, if I may be frank. You accepted Josh’s statement that he did not choose to be gay. But elsewhere you explicitly described SSA as a choice. Are your own sin inclinations, with which you (in your own words) are weak, also choices? If not, are you really certain you have authority to make one law for yourself and another law for others? If they are, have you confessed them in an appropriate church setting and repented? If you have truly repented, are those “sin weaknesses” now gone, or are they still weaknesses? You imply, I think it’s fair to say, that confession and repentance will deliver someone from SSA. If you still have sin weaknesses despite seemingly confessing and repenting of them, was that repentance false? If the latter, should the church shun you to give you the additional help you need in order to repent?

    The above paragraph is not intended as humorous parody, nor am I seeking to be contentious. Rather, I am concerned that you face a grave danger. There are many who have learned to tick the box of “justification by faith” when it comes to credal statements, but who in everyday life fully embrace justification by works and law and, of course, believe themselves so justified. They are hallmarked by rigorous application of scriptural law to others, but not to themselves. That is perhaps the most powerful deception of all: to warn others boldly of the very hell towards which one is vigorously marching.

    None of us here wants that for you.


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    numo wrote:

    I don’t want to muddy the waters, but I think people also notice others of the same/other gender(s) who are attractive and think, “Oh, they’re attractive,” without necessarily having any further thoughts or reactions beyond that.
    I bet everyone who reads this blog has noticed – simply noticed – people who are striking, distinctive (in looks, dress or both) and not given it a second thought. (That would be because it’s entirely normal to *notice* other people – we are social creatures, after all.)

    Good point. I’m not sure how to describe the phenomenon of noticing / being drawn [visually] toward / thinking wawaweewa about people of one gender that you don’t experience for people of the other gender (I’m too busy today, so let’s just pretend there’s a gender binary for the sake of time 😮 ). Of course, there are some people who experience that feeling for people of all genders, and they often describe themselves as bi- or pansexual. But that’s another rabbit hole entirely! Anyway, I was trying to imply a difference between noticing someone and noticing someone, but that didn’t come across. I’m sorry for the confusion.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    There are many who have learned to tick the box of “justification by faith” when it comes to credal statements, but who in everyday life fully embrace justification by works and law and, of course, believe themselves so justified

    This is an interesting area for discussion some time, and I just want to point out that it is. When people say “justification by faith” the next question to ask is “what do you mean by that?” There are pretty different nuances (for want of a better word) when you listen to what people think that means. It gets all tangled up with what is the relation ship between justification and sanctification and what does knowing someone by their works mean? And if you read Tim’s article it can be used to mean justified from all sins even the ones I have not yet done. And then there is the once saved always saved controversy. I hear people coming from a lot of different positions concerning justification by faith. Complex topic.


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    Josh wrote:

    Even people who have gone through the completely ineffective and discredited ex-gay therapy will admit, if they’re honest, that the attraction to the same gender never goes away.
    Thus, I refuse to beat myself up for the fact that my brain is wired to want to check out hot dudes…

    I have never experienced same-sex attraction but, by a roundabout route, I will presume to claim that I can empathise with you, Josh.

    I’ve mentioned that I have been part of the UK charismatic scene for many years. A staple part of charismatic diet here is the spiritual experience. A powerful and overwhelming baptism in the Holy Spirit; falling over and barking like a fish when prayed for; shaking; that sort of thing. Some people can have these at the drop of a hat, it seems. But I have never had one.

    I have been in settings where a significant experience and/or response was the stated expectation. I have stood in prayer lines, and at the centre of prayer circles, until I was blue in the face. I have called on God standing, sitting, kneeling, walking, running and face down on the carpet, at all hours of the day and night. I have been in meetings where nearly every other person was rolling in the aisles apart from me (a kind of charismatic Billy No-Manifestations). But I have never had an experience.

    Have I been criticised for this? 🙂 🙂 🙂 You bet. I have been told I’m resisting the spirit, fighting “it”, fighting “him”, fighting “God”, and the favourite line is Your trouble is that you’re trying to work it out in your intellect. Ironically, I don’t know what that is supposed to mean. I have been told the problem is I’m obviously frightened of what God might do. Or that I’m not reaching or seeking hard enough, or that I’m obviously seeking too hard – “striving” is the technical term in charismatic circles. Not a single one of those charges is true. If I know anything, I know that: I can’t be fighting God to stop him giving me something I desperately wanted, all without knowing it.

    (I also know that not all such experiences are fake. On occasion, Lesley has had them, and I know that she is neither stupid, suggestible, or a liar.)

    So there it is: when you are told that you must be deliberately same-sex-attracted, and you say you aren’t, I can believe you.


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    @ Nancy:

    And it gets better, of course, because good old “saved” itself appears in past, present and future tenses in the NT.

    Here’s my favourite, though.

    There are four occasions in the NT where words clearly to the effect of “what should I do to be saved?” are answered. And they all get different answers – one of them (our Rich Young Ruler friend) gets a very different answer indeed.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Yep! The “if you’d try harder at [x], you’d overcome it” school of thought is applied to diverse areas within Christendom. I’m with you, in that I don’t experience that intense sort of spiritual experience that is commonly desired in Charismatic circles. It’s different for me, though, because I grew up around Baptists and a few Presbyterians, so the fact that I wasn’t rolling on the floor, babbling, and making animal sounds was considered a plus. 😉


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    You have mentioned this before. So why do you keep hanging out with those people? Obviously not because of the biblical descriptions of the dramatic behaviors of Jesus, Paul or any of the twelve and you want to do that also. If I am not mistaken, Paul even admonished against disruptive behavior. So, maybe what you are describing is not your cup of tea exactly.


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    In other news:

    STAT ATTACK: All of Rafa’s matches in the first four rounds this year at Wimbledon were four-setters. Today’s was the first, however, that did not feature three sets with the same score.

    TRIVIA: Wimbledon’s tradition of not playing on the middle Sunday has occasionally come in for criticism in the past, and it did again this year because significant play was lost either side of it. But the tournament referee has countered that the rest-day is not simply because of tradition; the grass itself needs the time to recover. Wimbledon is, of course, the only major tennis tournament played on a living surface.


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    @ numo:
    Excellent comment, numo!

    To make it personal, I notice interesting-looking people, doesn’t matter which gender. They might be considered beautiful or they might not. They attract me.

    That includes a subset who are sexually interesting to me. I enjoy noticing people’s sexuality in the same way that I enjoy other aspects of our physical selves. I don’t think it is sinful until I indulge thoughts of sexual activity with them. When that happens, I am imagining an intimacy that I have no right to, without even knowing who they are. I demean them for my own entertainment. IMO, that is what lust means.


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    Nancy wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    You have mentioned this before. So why do you keep hanging out with those people? Obviously not because of the biblical descriptions of the dramatic behaviors of Jesus, Paul or any of the twelve and you want to do that also. If I am not mistaken, Paul even admonished against disruptive behavior. So, maybe what you are describing is not your cup of tea exactly.

    Can’t speak for Nick but can speak for me. I spent twenty-five years in an Assembly of God church even though I am not charismatic. Loved the people, loved the pastor and his wife and was fine with the theology. I taught Sunday School with my husband. Our daughter had great Sunday School teachers. It was a happy time.


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    Patrice wrote:

    @ numo:
    Excellent comment, numo!

    To make it personal, I notice interesting-looking people, doesn’t matter which gender. They might be considered beautiful or they might not. They attract me.

    That includes a subset who are sexually interesting to me. I enjoy noticing people’s sexuality in the same way that I enjoy other aspects of our physical selves. I don’t think it is sinful until I indulge thoughts of sexual activity with them. When that happens, I am imagining an intimacy that I have no right to, without even knowing who they are. I demean them for my own entertainment. IMO, that is what lust means.

    I agree. Lust is far more than finding someone attractive. I am lucky in that no one is more attractive to me than my husband and I don’t ever want to be with anyone else, but when I am watching Sean Connery in a movie I can’t help thinking, Oh my. Don’t feel the least bit guilty either because if he arrived at my door, I would send him away.


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    @ Nancy:

    Good question. The simplest answer is: in the first instance, because God drew me into it. When I first became a Christian, the folk around me said I should ask God to lead me to a church. I didn’t realise he did that kind of thing, but I asked anyway. I went to the local house church one morning and disliked almost every minute of it (and there were a LOT of minutes). But I knew I had to go back.

    What keeps me attracted to the (small c) charismatic scene is the ongoing hunger they have for “more of God”. This chimes with my own conviction that there is always more of God. I have learned some controversial and unpopular – but vital – things among charismatics that I would never have learned elsewhere, but much of it comes down to that.

    And actually, though I had to acquire the taste, I do love charismatic worship when it’s done properly. I get bored – at best – when it’s not. As a rough approximation: there are meetings where the Holy Spirit is truly welcome, and I love being in them. Then there are meetings where it’s all about “enjoying” the worship or the falling over. I’ve taken to walking out of them; it’s not that I begrudge people their fun, but there’s no more hollow feeling that watching others enjoying something you can’t share in.

    Your question comes as a timely reminder for me to stop majoring on the “excesses” of the charismatic scene, because they are not what defines it. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to the fact that some here are very frightened of those excesses, perhaps because they have been hurt in a charismatic setting in which authority has been misused and have come to associate the misuse of authority with that particular culture. But no charismatic church or group that I have ever met, worshipped alongside, worked with, or otherwise rubbed shoulders with has ever questioned or rejected any of the historic doctrines of, for instance, the Nicene Creed.

    And actually, I’m much less afraid of “inaccurate doctrine” than some evangelicals are themselves and are convinced I should be too. Most charismatic teachings are actually more fully orthodox than those of their “orthodox” critics because the very hunger I described above leads people to pursue the outrageous truths of the Gospel towards their logical conclusions. I can’t affirm on the one hand that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead “lives in me”, and on the other, that this simply means he helps me derive accurate theories from the Bible. I mean, what the **** is the matter with Him? He did a shedload more than that in the first century.

    A long answer, but believe me, it could have been much longer!


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    Marsha wrote:

    Don’t feel the least bit guilty either because if [Sean Connery] arrived at my door, I would send him away.

    I believe you mean you’d shend him away.


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    Dee,

    This is a difficult issue. Would you say that it is complex? You sound believable

    Yes sin has corrupted us and we are far from what God would have us to be.

    I do believe that if someone believes those feelings bother their conscience and think it is wrong, that like it says in 1 Corinthians 6 God is able to make it a thing of the past.

    They may have to deal with temptation from time to time but with the power to not yield.

    To try to clarify, I think we are born with the capability of all manner of sin and sure enough a lot of it is manifested. We have to be taught God’s word so we have direction and don’t go the wrong direction.

    I can’t relate to SSA but maybe under certain unfortunate conditions that could happen. I an not gloating about that ans I have my own issues that need to be alligned with God’s will and the sooner the better.

    For me the bottom line is those feelings would be contrary to what God has revealed and could never result in the satisfying relationship that we typically want like marriage.

    The root cause is the sin nature we inherit at birth. What encourages it after that who knows but regardless 1 Corinthians 6 shows that like other sins listed there, we can be loosed from them.

    I am no expert but would imagine there are certain dynamics involved with all our sin.

    I wish we could talk at length about this someday and I appreciate your comments.

    b>@ dee:


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    Marsha wrote:

    I am lucky in that no one is more attractive to me than my husband and I don’t ever want to be with anyone else,

    I can imagine how delightful it would be, when the recipient of love becomes the most sexually attractive. Lovely! This never happened with my husband because I picked very poorly and so he is an ex.

    But I love two of my siblings and my daughter that much. They are gorgeous to me—physically too. Even their flaws are endearing. It’s more than that, even. I fall so far down the rabbit-hole that I love them because of their particular flaws. Very funny and sweet!


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I do believe that if someone believes those feelings bother their conscience and think it is wrong, that like it says in 1 Corinthians 6 God is able to make it a thing of the past.

    Are you just not reading or are you being purposefully obtuse? 99% of the time, this does not happen. Wanting something to be true does not will it into existence. Did you miss the links to the studies that Hester posted last weekend? As long as you keep insisting on promoting nonsensical things like this, you’re going to get nowhere with people who actually know anything about LGBT issues.


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    @ Josh:
    You were very clear. I was attempting to say that we can notice people without necessarily feeling attracted to the sexually. Istm that a lot of people equate noticing with lust, hence my reply.


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    @ Patrice: thanks – you articulated this far better than I diid!

    For the sake of clarity, I have visual arts training and tend to notice lots of things – colors, textures, buildings, clothing, animals etc (and people) perhaps a bit more than some (but less than others for certain). So that figures into my personal equation.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I do believe that if someone believes those feelings bother their conscience and think it is wrong, that like it says in 1 Corinthians 6 God is able to make it a thing of the past.
    They may have to deal with temptation from time to time but with the power to not yield.

    Hmmm, interesting. So, I guess you believe that God will heal all those with depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, etc if we just ask Him to do so.That is not my experience. So, what you are then saying that is that every person with SSA who asked Him would be healed and therefor those who say differently are lying?

    You know, we are not supposed to be sick. Many people are born with all sorts of diseases that were not part of God’s plan. So, is He going to heal them as well? So, how do you decide what God will heal and what He might not heal?


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    @ dee:

    I took a short Sunday school class once that at first looked like it was meant to give us the exact
    ‘formula’ for healing. It was profound. The leader had us all break up into groups. Each of our groups were given the assignment of coming up with God’s healing formula based on one passage of scripture that told us about a miracle healing. We were not allowed to draw any other scripture into our passage. For instance if in one story Jesus said ….your faith has made you well, so that would be one ingredient. The surprising thing was at the end of our session and every group had presented their ‘formula’ it was revealed that they all cancelled each other out. Wow, no formula! I suppose I should have been disappointed but I was rather relieved.


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick,
    I was thinking you might benefit from this since you enjoy the more charismatic side of Christianity. I don’t really like the website here but they are kind enough to put a free easy to navigate copy of this book War on the Saints on their website.
    Here is the appendix at the end of it.
    http://www.the-tribulation-network.com/Deception/war_on_the_saints/wots_twog_cos.htm


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    Patrice wrote:

    Marsha wrote:

    I am lucky in that no one is more attractive to me than my husband and I don’t ever want to be with anyone else,

    I can imagine how delightful it would be, when the recipient of love becomes the most sexually attractive. Lovely! This never happened with my husband because I picked very poorly and so he is an ex.

    But I love two of my siblings and my daughter that much. They are gorgeous to me—physically too. Even their flaws are endearing. It’s more than that, even. I fall so far down the rabbit-hole that I love them because of their particular flaws. Very funny and sweet!

    It is absolutely wonderful and that is why i feel bad for the spouses of gay Christians who are trying to do the ‘right thing’ in marrying someone of the opposite sex. One of my Sunday School students came to me when her boyfriend, also a devout Christian, proposed to her. He told her he was gay but wanted a ‘normal’ life and was sure he could perform the duties of a husband and stay faithful. She wanted to know what she should do. I told her to think long and hard about whether she wanted to marry a man who would never really desire her the way a husband should and whether she loved him enough to marry him or whether she really just wanted to rescue a friend. She turned him down and later married a wonderful man who clearly though she’d hung the moon. I felt bad for the other man but neither one of them were going to be happy in that marriage.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Marsha wrote:

    Don’t feel the least bit guilty either because if [Sean Connery] arrived at my door, I would send him away.

    I believe you mean you’d shend him away.

    LOL! Nick, you are a TWW treasure!


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    Dee, I don’t know how things turned out with this man. I am not surprised certain therapies have not been effective. I do know that in 1 Corinthians 6 some in the homosexual lifestyle had been able to forsake it so whatever methods were employed were successful, but according to verse 11 God washed, sanctified and justified them, just as He would help overcome any sin. I have to believe that with willingness and a commitment to God to forsake sinful thoughts or ways, that God give victory. I can’t speak to how those groups tried to give help but we can all believe that God can deliver from anything can’t we?

    You made an observation about my saying that no one is born homosexual, it is a choice, and I am glad you did. This is where it is difficult for me to express what I am trying to get across. As I noted somewhere else in this thread, we are all born sinful right away and sins become evident as we get older. The original sin has contaminated the human race with sin. It keeps getting passed on.

    That is why parents need to exercise discipline to their children when they disobey them (I am not saying every single instance) in order to teach them not to disobey them as they are in effect disobeying God. Parents need to teach them right from wrong using the Bible as their guide. The child is born with a need to be taught knowledge and wisdom so they can make the right choices or decisions that please God.

    If left to their own devices, you have criminals eventually. They are not inherently pure and sinless. We didn’t choose to be born with different sin weaknesses that not everyone struggles with but we are responsible before God for our decisions and behaviors. God disciplines those He loves for more conformity to His will which results in more blessing. No one in hell will be able to blame God that they were born sinful and it isn’t fair they are in hell. They did not make the right choices. They rejected sound teaching and instruction as is written in Proverbs, which they will later regret. I don’t want to stir the pot with the doctrine of hell just saying that although born sinful we are accountable to God nonetheless.

    I was born a sinner. I have my particular sin weakness from my sin nature I have to eliminate or subdue with God’s help. I may desire to overeat all the time but I make the choice to gorge so I get the consequences and the chastening. Some are interested in the same sex as part of the fall and they must make the choice to crucify the flesh, to buffet their body to keep it in subjection etc. We can choose to obey in the Spirit or we can choose to give expression to our sinful desires. I don’t believe God wants anyone choosing homosexuality since he speaks so disparagingly of it.

    Someone may have a more difficult time avoiding homosexual thoughts than someone else but some choose to resist and maybe put them to death and follow opposite sex attraction instead as originally intended, the divine design.

    So I don’t believe someone comes out of the womb homosexual, rather that sin starts with some kind of thought like anything else from some kind of stimulus and if unchecked will develop into homosexuality.

    That may not appease you and I don’t blame you since this is difficult to get at but we don’t need studies to contradict what the Bible wants us to know. Studies are subject to the biases of men, the Bible simply tells us what is in God’s will or out.

    I think it is easy to get side tracked with the talk of “choice” here. What ultimately matters is what the Bible says and that is all the “negativity” some people see regarding homosexuality. The choice God wants us to make and we are able to make even with a predisposition towards the same sex is to recognize it as sinful, contrary to God’s design and outside of His will.

    Growing up in an environment of tolerance doesn’t help that person examine the matter or allow their conscience to work. Being told that’s just the way you are doesn’t help either. We are sinners and God tells us what is sinful and what is good. He wants to bless us and He will bless obedience but sin only is harmful.

    1 Corinthians 6 shows us God’s will for homosexuals is to confess and repent with the power of God and forsake that lifestyle. It is not going to tell us some were washed and sanctified and justified only to also tell us that those that didn’t are just fine too.

    It is not my intention to single out this particular sinful behavior as worse than anything else because to God sin is sin. It leads to death. Christ had to endure the wrath of God in order to save a people for himself. There are no small sins when God’s standard as absolute and total moral perfection at all times. One sin, hell is deserved. Of course, we sin so very often. I don’t think we usually comprehend just how much we sin because we are not always aware of the holiness of God and what He requires that can only be accomplished by Christ.

    Honestly, it is not my intent to inflame anyone. God’s word is sharper than a two edged sword and it should hurt us when we learn something needs to change. I am trying to learn that word regardless of how it makes me feel. I wish it didn’t tell me to avoid sex before marriage. That’s brutal, yet, that’s just the way it is. As the years go by I have to continue to submit to this apparent contradiction of God’s word for my life. As with homosexuality, the world will tell you it is fine, while some of us believe God’s word tells us it is not fine at all. We are not to argue with God’s word but to find out what it means and agree with it, no matter the changes we need to make.

    @ dee:


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    @ Single4Now:

    Attraction is NOT sin. Having sexual relations outside of marriage is. There are many young people who are attracted to people of the same sex as they are. But if they do not engage in sex with them, where is the sin. Sex, not attraction, is where the sin is. And for many, they have prayed, begged, sought therapy, had hormone treatments, etc., etc., etc., without success in dimming the attraction. But they are not in lust, and not having sexual relations. If being attracted is sin, EVERY PASTOR who considers his salary offer and makes a choice about a call for the church who pays more is guilty of sinful greed and will be until he resigns or returns the paycheck to the church!!!! And that includes almost all of them.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Dee, I don’t know how things turned out with this man. I am not surprised certain therapies have not been effective. I do know that in 1 Corinthians 6 some in the homosexual lifestyle had been able to forsake it so whatever methods were employed were successful, but according to verse 11 God washed, sanctified and justified them, just as He would help overcome any sin. I have to believe that with willingness and a commitment to God to forsake sinful thoughts or ways, that God give victory. I can’t speak to how those groups tried to give help but we can all believe that God can deliver from anything can’t we?

    You made an observation about my saying that no one is born homosexual, it is a choice, and I am glad you did. This is where it is difficult for me to express what I am trying to get across. As I noted somewhere else in this thread, we are all born sinful right away and sins become evident as we get older. The original sin has contaminated the human race with sin. It keeps getting passed on.

    That is why parents need to exercise discipline to their children when they disobey them (I am not saying every single instance) in order to teach them not to disobey them as they are in effect disobeying God. Parents need to teach them right from wrong using the Bible as their guide. The child is born with a need to be taught knowledge and wisdom so they can make the right choices or decisions that please God.

    If left to their own devices, you have criminals eventually. They are not inherently pure and sinless. We didn’t choose to be born with different sin weaknesses that not everyone struggles with but we are responsible before God for our decisions and behaviors. God disciplines those He loves for more conformity to His will which results in more blessing. No one in hell will be able to blame God that they were born sinful and it isn’t fair they are in hell. They did not make the right choices. They rejected sound teaching and instruction as is written in Proverbs, which they will later regret. I don’t want to stir the pot with the doctrine of hell just saying that although born sinful we are accountable to God nonetheless.

    I was born a sinner. I have my particular sin weakness from my sin nature I have to eliminate or subdue with God’s help. I may desire to overeat all the time but I make the choice to gorge so I get the consequences and the chastening. Some are interested in the same sex as part of the fall and they must make the choice to crucify the flesh, to buffet their body to keep it in subjection etc. We can choose to obey in the Spirit or we can choose to give expression to our sinful desires. I don’t believe God wants anyone choosing homosexuality since he speaks so disparagingly of it.

    Someone may have a more difficult time avoiding homosexual thoughts than someone else but some choose to resist and maybe put them to death and follow opposite sex attraction instead as originally intended, the divine design.

    So I don’t believe someone comes out of the womb homosexual, rather that sin starts with some kind of thought like anything else from some kind of stimulus and if unchecked will develop into homosexuality.

    That may not appease you and I don’t blame you since this is difficult to get at but we don’t need studies to contradict what the Bible wants us to know. Studies are subject to the biases of men, the Bible simply tells us what is in God’s will or out.

    I think it is easy to get side tracked with the talk of “choice” here. What ultimately matters is what the Bible says and that is all the “negativity” some people see regarding homosexuality. The choice God wants us to make and we are able to make even with a predisposition towards the same sex is to recognize it as sinful, contrary to God’s design and outside of His will.

    Growing up in an environment of tolerance doesn’t help that person examine the matter or allow their conscience to work. Being told that’s just the way you are doesn’t help either. We are sinners and God tells us what is sinful and what is good. He wants to bless us and He will bless obedience but sin only is harmful.

    1 Corinthians 6 shows us God’s will for homosexuals is to confess and repent with the power of God and forsake that lifestyle. It is not going to tell us some were washed and sanctified and justified only to also tell us that those that didn’t are just fine too.

    It is not my intention to single out this particular sinful behavior as worse than anything else because to God sin is sin. It leads to death. Christ had to endure the wrath of God in order to save a people for himself. There are no small sins when God’s standard as absolute and total moral perfection at all times. One sin, hell is deserved. Of course, we sin so very often. I don’t think we usually comprehend just how much we sin because we are not always aware of the holiness of God and what He requires that can only be accomplished by Christ.

    Honestly, it is not my intent to inflame anyone. God’s word is sharper than a two edged sword and it should hurt us when we learn something needs to change. I am trying to learn that word regardless of how it makes me feel. I wish it didn’t tell me to avoid sex before marriage. That’s brutal, yet, that’s just the way it is. As the years go by I have to continue to submit to this apparent contradiction of God’s word for my life. As with homosexuality, the world will tell you it is fine, while some of us believe God’s word tells us it is not fine at all. We are not to argue with God’s word but to find out what it means and agree with it, no matter the changes we need to make.

    @ dee:

    I do not think the passages that are commonly quoted as condemning homosexuality have been correctly translated.


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    @ Marsha:

    I think there are a lot of cultural contexts to suggest that what was being condemned was men forcing themselves on men.


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    Consensual sex with consenting adults of the same sex is not wrong, nor is same-sex attraction a choice for most (b-sexual would be the exception, I believe).

    As a heterosexual myself. I never chose to be attracted to the opposite sex-it’s just something that I became acutely aware of in my pre-teen/ teen years. The same goes for most who have same sex attraction…


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    hmm…just realized I used consensual twice in the same phrase…I really should re-read my posts before hitting the post button!


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    Our consciences are given by God for a reason, to warn us that something we might do is something we should not do. Something is wrong, dangerous, etc.

    I have a difficult time believing someone could veer so far from God’s design as to be interested in the same sex and not have it violate their conscience. To some extent God’s law is written on/in our hearts. When someone’s conscience gets violated, if they are a Christian, they will seek to turn away from that act or thought, no matter how strong it may be. Without a willingness to change God won’t help someone as they don’t see the need for help. If one’s conscience isn’t pricked, it may have become seared and unresponsive.

    Studies don’t prove squat. Why not let the Bible tell us what to think? You may be familiar with the verse that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When our conscience tells us we have done something wrong, we want to verify that with the word of God.

    When that affirms we have offended God, we ask for forgiveness and deliverance and know without a doubt God has heard our prayer and will deliver us. It may not happen immediately or it might depending on what the situation is but all I am trying to say is that when we are serious about our sin, God will help us 100 % of the time. If we are not serious about changing our ways, there will be a high failure rate. We may have to examine what it is that is shorting out this process.

    Trying to will anything to happen will result in failure. We get serious about our sin and God will get serious about helping us if we want that. It may be a process or it may be immediate.

    I hope that fills in the gaps. The epistles of John are written very dogmatically also and seem almost simplistic and unreasonable but John isn’t concerning himself with side issues or feelings or circumstances or public opinion. He is black and white. I think my statement may have come across that way but it is still true. I think we have a tendency to not get serious about our sin and that is one reason we spin our wheels for so long.

    Josh wrote:

    Single4Now wrote:

    I do believe that if someone believes those feelings bother their conscience and think it is wrong, that like it says in 1 Corinthians 6 God is able to make it a thing of the past.

    Are you just not reading or are you being purposefully obtuse? 99% of the time, this does not happen. Wanting something to be true does not will it into existence. Did you miss the links to the studies that Hester posted last weekend? As long as you keep insisting on promoting nonsensical things like this, you’re going to get nowhere with people who actually know anything about LGBT issues.


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    And for that matter I do not believe that parents who fail to discipline their children will inevitably produce criminals. I have known people from horrible backgrounds who have modeled themselves on teachers or neighbors or the families of friends and become very different people from their parents. There is no one I admire more than people who have essentially raised themselves and decided to live a good life. It is not easy but I have seen it done.


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    I like your question. The gift of singleness needs to be understood not ignored.

    The way I understand the gift of singleness, I think it is plain that it is the ability to live your whole life without sex and it doesn’t frustrate you. Now that takes a gift! If that sounds impossible to someone, they don’t have that gift. I want to add that the purpose of God giving someone this particular gift is for extraordinary service for the kingdom of God. They would not have the right to have a different goal for their life. Their goal is a life of service to such a degree or in such a way that being married is just an obstacle. This is what they can do. They can still marry however, without sinning, but if they are going to remain single, it is for service, not career or personal endeavors.

    This should be evident in 1 Corinthians 7 and Jesus says something similar in Matthew 19 around verse 11 or 12.

    I am very concerned about this because as a long time single guy, I weary and get irritated hearing how the mere condition or state of not being married is what Paul meant when he wrote about the gift of singleness. This can make a single person come off as a malcontent because they struggle with issues related to being single. Elisabeth Elliot propagated this but so have many others and still do to this day. I like her but she is wrong about this gift of singleness.

    Paul was saying that for the individual that actually possesses the spiritual gift of singleness (or celibacy) it is a great benefit to the church body and the kingdom because of the relatively unencumbered lifestyle they could potentially lead. It certainly isn’t for everyone and it isn’t even for most but it is likely still distributed today by the Holy Spirit when one is saved as with other gifts. I have only known of one, locally, in my life.

    Paul affirms and encourages it to those who have it, yet doesn’t disallow marriage since that would be the doctrine of devils. Marriage will always be the norm. Paul is very pro marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7 he encourages never marrieds to marry if they are in danger of fornication, he encourages divorcees and those whose marriage ended in death to remarry if after assessing themselves they find they still burn with passion. He encourages fathers to allow their once pledged to singleness daughters to marry if they have the normal desire for a man.

    In another epistle he commands the younger widows to get married.

    The gift of singleness has been all too often misunderstood as the condition of being unmarried but that is not at all what Paul is talking about. He himself had the gift of celibacy or singleness. He “wished” that all had it but was realistic and didn’t try to force it on anyone else. Someone with that gift can do special things for the kingdom.

    Now, not having that gift and trying to live like you do is a recipe for destruction. That person needs to be married to avoid fornication and they need the help of a life partner. They are more limited in a sense, yet invest their lives in the all important rearing of children primarily, if they have them. There are more demands on their time but to live a life of unfulfilled sexual desire and loneliness is the last thing the kingdom needs (my opinion).

    Paul wanted what really was best for the kingdom. Singles with the gift to stay single and those without the gift to get married. I like the frankness of Jesus when He said that all men can not receive (tolerate, make room for) this saying (better to not marry with a restricted allowance of divorce). He didn’t disagree that staying single by avoiding a marriage you can’t get out of was necessarily a bad idea, just that it wasn’t realistic for all (most) men. I believe this to be the way this issue is to be understood. If it isn’t used for the kingdom, that’s bad so it is encouraged in those who have it.

    @ Hester:


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    @ Single4Now:

    Well, you sure as heck haven’t convinced me of a single thing, but you have succeeded in demonstrating why Christians like myself who also happen to be LGBT feel unwelcome in the evangelical churches that align most closely with the rest of our beliefs (yes, I am a Christian, even though you think I’m going to hell for merely experiencing continued same sex attraction, which, as many people have tried to tell you, is not a sin in and of itself). We merely feel unwelcome, that is, unless the churches go all the way and kick us out for not showing “evidence of regeneration,” i.e. the diminishment and ultimate elimination of feelings of same sex attraction. When churches treat LGBT people with a complete lack of understanding and empathy – you’ve played the part so well here – it’s no wonder that the mainline / liberal churches look appealing!


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    @ Single4Now:

    Some of us do not have a so-called GOS (gift of singleness) yet practice celibacy anyhow (me – over the age of 40, never married, still a virgin, and yes, I have a libido, had an ex fiance, could have had sex with him, but passed that up).

    You said,
    “That person needs to be married to avoid fornication and they need the help of a life partner.”

    I’m over 40 and have avoided fornication thus far, despite wanting to get married and have sex.

    It’s self discipline and has nothing to do with gifting or special grace from God.

    Marrieds are also called by the Bible to restrain their passions, not just single people.

    Further, the Bible does not say God specially gifts married to be married and gifts marrieds to avoid having affairs, etc. Marrieds are expected to be obedient to God’s teachings on sexuality, which means they are to use self discipline.

    The Bible does say the Holy Spirit assists Christians with self control, but beyond that, it’s up to you to control your libido. God does not erase libido for marrieds or for the unmarried who want to be married and to have sex, such as me.

    There is a lot of ignorance on these topics in evangelical, Baptist, and Reformed expressions Christianity.

    I can’t say as though I agree with all points in your post. I don’t think the Bible paints marriage as being the norm, for example. Some of the cultures in which it was written, maybe.

    Instone Brewer in this video below, discusses how some ancient Christians wanted to stay single, but they could be legally persecuted in ancient Roman society if they did not remarry.

    That is why they asked Paul is they could stay single, or was that a sin, see this video:
    Remarriage in the 1st Century
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1wlWGYk2aU


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    Single4Now, you insist that if homosexuals truly repent then God will help them change 100% of the time. If they are not serious there will be a high failure rate.

    This reminds me of the reasoning in snake handling cults. If you are a true Christian, you can handle poisonous snakes and not be harmed. Of course, deaths from snake bites are common in those groups. Doesn’t that disprove the premise? No, nothing could because their theology is right so that means that those who died weren’t real Christians.


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    IF depression, anxiety and the like have a spiritual element to it then yes, I think God wants that solved. If my depression and anxiety exists because of my sinful attitude, God wants my attitude to change. God is righteous in all He does so for me to be depressed shows I am not totally sold out to what He is doing in the difficulties and trials of my life. There may be a physical element to it and I don’t know enough about it to say anything.

    Absolutely, if someone’s conscience is bothered about SSA, and they implore God for help, God will help them. God’s wants his children to conform to His image and do His will so of course, He is going to act to help them.

    There would have to be something interfering if help never comes because that would make a mockery of God because He does not turn His back on those who want His help to change.

    I didn’t immediately gain control over overeating certain foods because I was not totally sold out and was weak. I never gave up though. It could have come together sooner had I been totally willing to die to self at that time, but that is something I can say because I would know about myself.

    “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. That much we know for sure. I am sure the Bible contains many similar statements. Don’t shoot the messenger. This verse is intended to give us hope.

    I believe people are going to get sick because that is part of the curse. My sister lost most of her life to OCD and then the cervical cancer ate her alive last year. A waste of 52 years? Outside of God’s will? God did heal her the first time she got it even though it was stage 4 when they found it. Made it seven years before it came back and didn’t take no for an answer.

    We know God works all things according to the counsel of His own will, and that he works all things together for good, I believe primarily for our spiritual maturity or Christ-likeness. He answered prayer for healing the first time but not the second.

    I don’t want to debate whether God planned it this way an eternity ago or took the circumstances of her life and worked out His sovereign will. God says He is righteous in all He does, that would include our sicknesses and diseases. God allowed Satan to afflict righteous Job just short of his life with incredible sickness. It is not recorded that God ever told Job afterwards what exactly was going on. Job just had to trust. Job’s faith was tested severely and although he didn’t handle it perfectly, he still did well and God blessed him more that He had previously. Maybe God was just trying to prove a point to Satan?

    Regardless, I think it makes sense to believe that sickness is a part of God’s plan for our life and by extension, those who love us. It is not Satan getting the better of God. Maybe it helps to say that sickness wasn’t part of God’s original plan before sin messed everything up but God will nonetheless work it out along with every other detail in our lives for his good purposes.

    God determines whether of not He wants someone healed of sickness. If you are implying that SSA is a sickness that needs to be healed (I don’t know if you are or aren’t)then I would say that it isn’t a sickness per se, but is a flaw of our nature due to the curse of the original sin that manifests itself in some people but not others, due to circumstances of who knows what. I don’t think it is something God wants to stay that way as I don’t think He approves of it since it is not how He made us to view the same sex (If SSA has a sexual element to it).

    dee wrote:

    Hmmm, interesting. So, I guess you believe that God will heal all those with depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, etc if we just ask Him to do so.That is not my experience. So, what you are then saying that is that every person with SSA who asked Him would be healed and therefor those who say differently are lying?
    You know, we are not supposed to be sick. Many people are born with all sorts of diseases that were not part of God’s plan. So, is He going to heal them as well? So, how do you decide what God will heal and what He might not heal?


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    Marsha wrote:

    It is absolutely wonderful and that is why i feel bad for the spouses of gay Christians who are trying to do the ‘right thing’ in marrying someone of the opposite sex. One of my Sunday School students came to me when her boyfriend, also a devout Christian, proposed to her. He told her he was gay but wanted a ‘normal’ life and was sure he could perform the duties of a husband and stay faithful. She wanted to know what she should do. I told her to think long and hard about whether she wanted to marry a man who would never really desire her the way a husband should and whether she loved him enough to marry him or whether she really just wanted to rescue a friend. She turned him down and later married a wonderful man who clearly though she’d hung the moon. I felt bad for the other man but neither one of them were going to be happy in that marriage.

    That were wise words Marsha!


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    An Attorney wrote:

    Sex, not attraction, is where the sin is.

    Wouldn’t the attraction precede the action? That’s one reason the attraction is so dangerous. Eventually, there is likely to be a build up of a desire to actually realize a thought or fantasy.


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    Caitlin wrote:

    @ Single4Now:
    Hey, Bob,

    When did you decide to be straight?

    Thanks!

    When did I decide to wake up this morning? I know I woke up but don’t remember actually thinking it was a good time to.


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    Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    Their goal, as you say, was his “repentance”, and they didn’t even shun or otherwise disassociate from him. Yet he ended up loathing himself, and being convinced that God loathed him. If this “love + discipline” approach is so perfect and ‘biblical’, why did their son end up in despair?

    Serving Kids in Japan, your reservations are understandable and you make a lot of sense. The child that ended up loathing himself may not have received biblical discipline. There are ways to blow it and a way to do it correctly, as in everything. I am not an elder or a parent so I have no experience with this, and don’t know personally of anyone who has been disciplined. It doesn’t happen as often as it should in my opinion. For example if it is done out of anger or frustration it is being done wrong. If the words are not designed to show a desire for obedience to Christ to avoid the sad consequences of sin that hasn’t been dealt with, a lot could go wrong it would seem.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    God is righteous in all He does so for me to be depressed shows I am not totally sold out to what He is doing in the difficulties and trials of my life.

    Yah, a good friend also told me that when I was in the worst throes of PTSD, and she was a medical doctor. I left her friendship along with two other friends who voiced similar sentiments. Years later I discovered that God was completely different than my friends insisted.

    There’s no way on God’s green earth that I will ever attend a church again. I would not be able to bear it.


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    @ Patrice:

    What I am trying to say is that love wants the best for someone. It rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth (1Corinthians 13). To avoid confronting and trying to persuade with biblical truth on this issue is incompatible with true love. Church discipline would be the last resort if needed and that too done with a spirit of love.

    Love does not “let sin go” so to speak. Strong parenting involves discipline like spanking and strong church leadership involves discipline as well. These are in decline I am afraid. Anymore, it is the parents who are in subjection to their children.


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    Marsha wrote:

    And for that matter I do not believe that parents who fail to discipline their children will inevitably produce criminals. I have known people from horrible backgrounds who have modeled themselves on teachers or neighbors or the families of friends and become very different people from their parents. There is no one I admire more than people who have essentially raised themselves and decided to live a good life. It is not easy but I have seen it done.

    There are always exceptions.


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    @ Single4Now:
    but it’s not a sin to wake up in the morning.


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    I feel kind of bad because I really don’t know for sure what to think about all the LBGT stuff. If I try to forget all the IFB teachings about it and pretend that I never read a religious Bible opinion and just go by feelings alone it is this the following:
    I had a friend growing up at my Baptist school who was just plain old different from all the other guys there. I loved him in the brotherly and sisterly love sense. He was awesome. He was a friend of all of us girls. He wasn’t interested in any of the usual guy stuff. I don’t remember him being teased by the guys but they did seem to just let him be and did not push him to be ‘one of the guys.’ I remember how upset I was going into my freshman year and being denied the shop class when I tried to sign up. I wanted to be a carpenter and thought that it would be a great start. They said it was because I was a girl and that their wouldn’t be enough room. My friend would have gladly traded places with me in the home ec class that I was forced to take.
    Now to my point. After many years and losing touch with this friend we found him on FB. He is gay and always was,even though he had tried several times in school to have girlfriends, girls liked him. There is never any icky ew sense in me when I think about him with his partner. It just seems natural with some people but not natural with other people. I don’t know why that is. I think maybe some people who live a gay life are not really gay and others are really gay and I can sense that? I don’t know, it just seems like it would be so unfair for my friend to have been denied a lifelong love relationship just because he was attracted to the opposite sex and was obvious born different from the heterosexual boys.


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    @ Single4Now:

    if you are really gonna say that it is a choice to be same sex attracted then it must be a choice to not be same sex attracted. It seems to me that you haven’t really thought about it and perhaps should stick to saying that homosexual behavior is a sin and leave out SSA entirely.


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    @ Single4Now:

    I used to have clinical depression and anxiety, and God did not heal me of any of that, nor did spiritual actions, such as Bible reading, or helping those less fortunate than myself.

    I was healed from the depression and lion’s share of anxiety from reading books by psychologists and psychiatrists, which helped me to change how I think about myself, others, life, and conflict.

    Ironically, most Christian teaching I heard over my life time made both issues worse, not only stuff from my own Christian parents, but stuff I heard in sermons from preachers, and books by Christians about depression or general topics.

    One thing keeping me trapped in the depression and anxiety are the false Christian beliefs and misunderstandings of the Bible’s teachings on conflict.

    Too many Christians teach that being a good Christian means being conflict avoidant, never getting one’s own needs met (that is taught as being “selfish”), etc.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Wouldn’t the attraction precede the action? That’s one reason the attraction is so dangerous. Eventually, there is likely to be a build up of a desire to actually realize a thought or fantasy.

    But hetero sexual people are attracted to opposite gender people.

    Sometimes (hetero) men look at women and lust after those women. Sometimes (hetero) women look at men and lust after those men.

    Maybe it’s not the attraction that is wrong in and of itself (?), but carrying it to the point where the attraction becomes lust (see Matthew 5:28) or acting upon it (ie, sexual actions / behavior).


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    Josh wrote:

    @ Single4Now:

    Well, you sure as heck haven’t convinced me of a single thing, but you have succeeded in demonstrating why Christians like myself who also happen to be LGBT feel unwelcome in the evangelical churches that align most closely with the rest of our beliefs (yes, I am a Christian, even though you think I’m going to hell for merely experiencing continued same sex attraction, which, as many people have tried to tell you, is not a sin in and of itself). We merely feel unwelcome, that is, unless the churches go all the way and kick us out for not showing “evidence of regeneration,” i.e. the diminishment and ultimate elimination of feelings of same sex attraction. When churches treat LGBT people with a complete lack of understanding and empathy – you’ve played the part so well here – it’s no wonder that the mainline / liberal churches look appealing!

    I will take some heat for this. The church is a place of worship for those who have surrendered their will to God’s and worship Christ as Savior and Lord out of gratitude for paying for their sins. They want to know God more and glorify Him with their lives. It isn’t for everybody. Someone can go to a church seeking God while they still are in unbelief, but God is starting to draw them. Believer’s young children will be there with their parents who devote their lives to the salvation and sanctification of those children. It is the family of God and seekers are welcome.

    The church does not exist to make us feel good about ourselves, appear like a good citizen, get us to heaven. It is warming up in here. I think there is a certain exclusivity so that it is comprised of Christ worshippers and seekers or children who are being brought up to yield their life to God. It is a place of sinners. However, there is the expectation from God that we are growing in our faith and obedience to the Lord. These sinners want to obey God better than they already are.

    A church does not have to accept everyone’s beliefs and lifestyles. They have the biblical standard and are mandated to deal with unrepentant sin. If they teach that homosexuality is a sin, they can’t allow someone who disagrees with them to not be disciplined if they refuse to repent. They do this out of love although that won’t be understood by the person being disciplined.

    If you want to go to a traditional (not liberal)church, why would you not adhere to their teaching? If they want what is best for you, simply to agree with God about homosexuality and seek to avoid the SSA, why would you feel like you would have to go to a more accepting church, where that particular sin weakness is shared by many? If my church thinks I am defiant or uninterested in obeying the clear teachings of the Bible (not saying perfectly) why would I expect them to want me to stay there?

    If you saw this from the church’s perspective you would not go to a liberal church. If my church tells me my pre marital sex needs to go and I am obstinate, for the sake of the purity of the church and the hope of my repentance, they will discipline me. God expects them too. He wrote that they should. A church that exercises church discipline is a good thing.

    I think the church is a place for the family of God to worship Him and for others who are seeking or the children of the believers are being trained in the faith. It doesn’t exist to make us feel good about ourselves.

    Those liberal churches aren’t as loving as the traditional ones Josh. If they tolerate homosexuality instead of seeking repentance, they aren’t really a church.

    I can’t claim to be able to convince anyone of something like this. That is the work of the Spirit in response to someone genuinely interested in obedience to the word of God.


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    @ Single4Now:
    I think you are profoundly misinformed about celibacy. There isn’t a soul out here -asexual folks aside – in possession of a “gift” that negates sexual desire. Not. a. single. one.

    Rather, people who take vows of celibacy (nuns, priests, monks) are very, *very* human and therefore sexual. Desire doesn’t magically disappear. It has to be managed – this is also true of married people, and of single people who have different views of sexual ethics than you do.

    Behavior is a choice – orientation is not.


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    @ Single4Now:
    Btw, I’m in my late 50s, never married. If desire or lack thereof is the way one knows if one has this “gift of celibacy,” then I guess I’ve never had it. (Regardless of my behavioral choices.)


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    @ Marsha: I’m glad she waited. It is SO difficult for the straight spouse when their partner is gay.


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    numo wrote:

    Behavior is a choice – orientation is not.

    Amen!

    By my behavior, I’m living completely in line with what the evangelical church expects. The only reason I’d be cast aside is if they have the same misconceptions that Single4Now has, believing that the orientation / attraction itself is a sin, when it is clearly not (perhaps he should read James and find out that temptation isn’t a sin).


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    Patrice wrote:

    Single4Now wrote:

    God is righteous in all He does so for me to be depressed shows I am not totally sold out to what He is doing in the difficulties and trials of my life.

    Yah, a good friend also told me that when I was in the worst throes of PTSD, and she was a medical doctor. I left her friendship along with two other friends who voiced similar sentiments. Years later I discovered that God was completely different than my friends insisted.

    There’s no way on God’s green earth that I will ever attend a church again. I would not be able to bear it.

    Patrice, I am sorry you had PTSD.

    I personally believe my depression, rage, whatever it happens to be at the time, no matter how much I hate the circumstances are not pleasing to God who wants me to be thankful always. That’s tough for me because I like to complain too much, which is another sin.

    I don’t want to minimize anyone’s pain. Although I definitely need more work on this, God’s command to be joyful and thankful for all things and in all things is how God wants me to live. It is how the apostle Paul lived and told us to live. He had the credentials to tell me to rejoice always because his circumstances were awful and not desirable. In prison, chained, away from his churches, beaten, stoned, lied about (there is a whole list in the Bible about his sufferings)yet he praised God and rejoiced. He was one who was mature in the faith.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. There may actually be a cause of depression that is organic, that is unavoidable. I am not saying that is sinful thinking. I had to come off of nine months of hydrocodone recently (or lose my job) because of what it was doing to my mood. Things subsided after a few weeks of getting off of it.

    I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.


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    numo wrote:

    think you are profoundly misinformed about celibacy. There isn’t a soul out here -asexual folks aside – in possession of a “gift” that negates sexual desire. Not. a. single. one.

    How do you know this? I commented that the gift is being able to live your whole life without sex and it doesn’t frustrate you. That could include “low heat”. I actually met a guy who told me he didn’t think he burned like other men (for women) but nevertheless wanted to marry and did.

    It is a supernatural gift so anything is possible. I don’t see the amount of desire being the issue. They can be single, that’s the point. They can be content that way, naturally. It is hard to fathom because it is supernatural, for those who have it. A great gift and for the profit of the church.

    No one should take a vow of celibacy. What is the point of that? If you can be single, do it, if you can’t, try to get married.


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    Josh wrote:

    By my behavior, I’m living completely in line with what the evangelical church expects. The only reason I’d be cast aside is if they have the same misconceptions that Single4Now has, believing that the orientation / attraction itself is a sin, when it is clearly not (perhaps he should read James and find out that temptation isn’t a sin).

    What could be a positive about SSA? I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that is something to desire.


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    @ Single4Now:
    Have you ever been part of what you term “liberal church”? If not, how can you possibly know what it’s like?

    The more you talk, the more you contradict yourself. Not sure you realize it, but from out here, it’s fairly evident.

    Also, I don’t see anything about sexual orientation in the Gospels. Do you, and if so, could you please point it out?


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    Single4Now wrote:

    God determines whether of not He wants someone healed of sickness. If you are implying that SSA is a sickness that needs to be healed (I don’t know if you are or aren’t)then I would say that it isn’t a sickness per se, but is a flaw of our nature due to the curse of the original sin that manifests itself in some people but not others, due to circumstances of who knows what. I don’t think it is something God wants to stay that way as I don’t think He approves of it since it is not how He made us to view the same sex (If SSA has a sexual element to it).

    Okay – so it sounds like you are saying that SSA is something God does not want to stay that way, so He will always ‘fix’ the one who seriously asks for it…But, sickness and disease God doesn’t care so much about so he may or may not heal. It sounds like you saying God is more concerned about correcting, as you say, flaws in our nature than he is concerned about flaws in out bodies. Are you really so absolutely certain that you have a lock on what causes SSA in all cases that you can unequivocally determine what God will and will not do in all cases? Do you understand that you are telling someone who has SSA and has taken it to God and has seriously asked for help that if they do not have your proscribed outcome, it must be because they were not serious enough? Do you not see the foundational arrogance of this position? Are you truly qualified to determine, without error, what is going on in someone’s heart between them and God?

    There are a lot of things in this world, as deeply within the church as without, that are not likely how God would prefer. However, he does not ‘fix’ them all. I do not believe it was God’s will, for instance, that I be molested throughout my prepubescent years. Nevertheless, it happened and he did not stop it. And I have been told by some that if it happened, it was because God designed it to happen and it was his will. That was something I had to take to him and wrestle with, because to my way of thinking, someone who sets their child up for that is no better than the ones who did the deed. And I can say with confidence that it was not God will or plan or design that those things be done to me.

    So, I have damage – both physical and psychological – due to the abuse of my childhood. And Some of it will not completely heal. Does that mean I was not serious about being healed of these things? Please consider that those who hold a position that you do not agree with do not hold it because they have not sought God and studied what the bible says. Many of us have gotten to the place we are because we did exactly that.

    /end rant.

    All of that said, I do appreciate that you are sticking around and continuing to engage respectfully in the conversation. Thank you.


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    @ Single4Now:
    Single4Now wrote:

    I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.

    Nope. Most depression is caused by faulty neurochemicals.


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    @ Single4Now:
    Let me ask you another question: have you ever taken an introductory level course in psychology? It seems to me that you would find it helpful, albeit possibly difficult, if only because it will upend some of your ideas and (maybe) convince you that mental illness actually exists.

    There is a difference between having transient feelings of depression, etc. and actually meeting the criteria for a *medical* diagnosis of depression, or of an anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder, or PTSD, or (fill in the blank).


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.

    Okay- I can’t let this slide, either. I grew up in church hearing this and it greatly contributed to my distress then and later in life – and actually delayed my ability to honestly look at and begin dealing with the issues (the childhood abuse) that caused so much of my mental issues. I would ask you to consider how you words might sound to someone who is suffering from depression that is a result of a lifetime of being abused – I can tell you from experience the effect it has – it reinforces the belief (first introduced by the abuser) that the person is worthless, weak, and drives them away from God and into despair. Please don’t make blanket statements like this – especially when they fly in the face of facts.

    And just to clarify – depression is not the same thing as ‘having a down day,’ or ‘feeling sad.’ It is much deeper and not something you can just sing away. I know. I’ve tried. All this teaching did for me growing up was train me to hide what I really felt and pretend that everything was okay. This did as much damage as the abuse itself.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    Single4Now wrote:

    I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.

    Sometimes we are depressed because our life circumstances are indeed depressing. I have a close friend who lost one child to a genetic disease and is now losing two more. I really don’t think God expects her to give thanks for these anguishing losses. He sorrows with her. And please do not tell me that she isn’t a good Christian because she is and the most devoted and loving mother I have ever seen.

    It must seem like I am picking on you and I don’t mean to be doing that but I just don’t understand your thinking.

    Paul praised Jesus because of what He has done for us, not because he was thankful for the persecution he suffered. He was willing to suffer to share the Gospel, but I am sure Paul would have preferred that his persecutors cease their persecution and turn to Jesus, as he himself did.


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.

    Paul was honest about how he was feeling.

    Rom 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,
    Rom 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.

    He didn’t pretend to always be joyful nor did he expect others would be. We are to join others in their joy and weep with them in their sorrow.

    Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep

    My goodness, even Jesus wept. It’s unreasonable to think God wants us always to deny our feelings. He knows them, after all.

    Feelings are right or wrong; good or bad; THEY JUST ARE!


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    Josh wrote:

    a person who is gay will notice attractive people of their own gender all their life,

    That reminds me of the humorous “Black Books” skit when Fran goes out on a date and cannot keep his attention as he’s too busy looking at the waiter etc (beaker or nick will probably get the reference)


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    I would imagine any number of us can think of people we knew even before high school, even going back to pre-puberty, who were “different” and who ultimately described themselves gay as adults. Would that not tie into a number of studies that support an organic element? Many gay people report feeling different even from childhood, before puberty and even thinking about sexuality. Studies are important. They help reveal the truth of our natural world.

    An organic element of desire does not necessarily make something right, but it sure the heck should allow one to view a situation differently. You see, if it’s not a choice, then it’s as natural to them as your own heterosexual attraction. As someone who had depression related to a low thyroid issue, I can certainly appreciate what chemicals do to our brains. Was I sinning during that period where I was chemically depressed? The good Lord surely knew I was overcome by something bigger than any desire to “be different”.

    There have been ministries sincerely, completely, and absolutely devoted to the notion that you could “pray the gay away”. Guess what? After a couple decades, they finally had to admit that “changing” wasn’t possible for the vast majority. Yes, there are a few stories of people who changed. That is likely related to their unique, individual cause, likely different from the typical gay person. Because these ministries couldn’t succeed at changing people, they morphed into a sort of support for those dealing with SSA who wanted to live pure lives. Ultimately, a number of these ministries closed.

    Read the testimony of Justin Lee and other Christians who have SSA. When you see how much these people wanted to be different, you may view this “choice” philosophy differently. Also, when I understand how much these folks love the Bible, study the Bible, and want to please The Lord, I embrace them as my brethren. It is not my place to say who is “in” and who is “out” of kingdom.

    I do think a Christian life will bear good fruit and that blatant disregard for His commandments over time should cause someone to ponder their status in the Lord. This applies to ALL of us, gay or straight.

    There are homosexuals who live purely, either abstaining, or they believe that since God made them that way they are permitted a life-long “spouse” either in spirit or legally too depending on laws in their state. I realize many feel that is not Biblical. I am sympathic though given how humans as a group are wired for romantic companionship and also Paul’s writing of celibacy as a “gift”, meaning it is exceptional. I am still working through that issue but I feel too many are looking at SSA and proclaiming they have be lonely their whole lives, while privately knowing they themselves could not live like that. In orders words, straight Christians saying to gay Christinas, live under these hard rules, while thinking “Sure sucks to be you.”


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    Single4Now wrote:

    I personally believe my depression, rage, whatever it happens to be at the time, no matter how much I hate the circumstances are not pleasing to God who wants me to be thankful always. That’s tough for me because I like to complain too much, which is another sin.

    I don’t want to minimize anyone’s pain. Although I definitely need more work on this, God’s command to be joyful and thankful for all things and in all things is how God wants me to live. It is how the apostle Paul lived and told us to live….I think most depression is caused by faulty thinking like not taking all of life’s circumstances with thankfulness. That can make us very angry too. I only say this because there is biblical support for it, and I that is where I want to get truth.

    Single4Now, God suffers with us when we suffer. It grieves Him because He made us for joy and that is what He longs for us. But He almost never takes suffering away from us. I have asked for healing from the remaining damage from PTSD and from the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis but He hasn’t taken them away. He seldom does for anyone, you know. That is not how it works for humans on this earth.

    Nor is God a cruel father who would allow a sadist into his children’s lives in order to teach them lessons he thinks they need to learn. I know that God will make good out of my suffering someday on the new earth. He will make useful what I’ve been forced to experience. But that is a redemption of evil, not “allowing it for my own good”. God has no truck with evil. None. Nada.

    In the same way, a good father would never demand that a suffering child be happy about her pain. He wouldn’t require that his child turn around and say, “thank you sir, can I have another?” That just doesn’t happen with someone who is all goodness, who also goes by the name “Love”.

    Paul wrote about joy in his suffering because he was passionate about his calling, and any troubles that came along with it were nothing compared to the delight of his calling. I feel that way about making art because it is my calling. Along with all the good of it, troubles occur: things go wrong in some art pieces, I have been rejected from art shows, I have to scrape money together for new paints, I have often been too sick to work, etc. But I am full willing to put up with these troubles because I am delighted with my calling. Paul wasn’t speaking of depression, the struggles of a gay person, having to manage paralysis after an accident, or the flashbacks of PTSD.

    I wish very much that you could learn to hear the bird song in the forest of your heart. It is the song of God—His love, mercy, gentleness, generosity. I hope you will begin the long chase to find Him. When you finally meet Him, you will be overwhelmed by His kindness. He is astonishingly great and He loves you. Everything else falls away.


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    dee wrote:

    dee UNITED STATES on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:36 AM said:

    Single4Now wrote:

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is born homosexual. It is a matter of choices.

    Really? Where is your evidence for that? Should our while understanding of this issue be based on a “belief” or on research and facts?

    Actually, I’d like to hear Single4Now speak of his or her “beliefs” on homosexuality and SSA from the perspective of what he/she has learned from relationships with gay family members, friends and colleagues.


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    Just so this thread is aware, Dee put Single4Now in moderation when she went to bed. She was concerned about where this conversation was going. She posted it on the wrong thread.

    This conversation is certainly giving me a gut wrench!


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    Dee said –

    “Single For Now

    I am heading off to bed. I am concerned about the trajectory of your comments. You show precious little love to those who struggle but you sure know how right you are. You must feel really good about your own life and you seem to enjoy telling everyone else who are not as godly as you. I bet you are sure that you do not come across like that because, by telling everyone the harsh truth, you are keeping them from hell.
    I want you to contemplate Josh’s words. He does not feel welcome by you or the church. And I think you can do better than that.
    I am going to put your comments into moderation because I do not want things to deteriorate any further. Unless one of us is awake, your comments will not be approved until morning.”


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    Bridget wrote:

    Just so this thread is aware, Dee put Single4Now in moderation when she went to bed. She was concerned about where this conversation was going. She posted it on the wrong thread.
    This conversation is certainly giving me a gut wrench!

    This thread sure was developing quickly! 😮

    Needless to say, you all make me feel welcome here. People like Single4Now are thankfully an aberration. Environments like this one give me hope for the direction the church as a whole is headed, regardless of what the SBC and fundamentalist head honchos say. I’m not a hugging kind of person, but for those of you who are, *hugs*. Otherwise, you have my verbal appreciation! 😀


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    @ Single4Now:

    By what you have preached here, your sister must not have been a Christian, because prayer did not take away her cancer. That is folly, but that is what your posts continually put forward. She had cancer and it must have been her fault due to sin in her life. Wow, glad you are not my brother. What a hateful person you are.


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    @ Single4Now:

    Being alive precedes action. Being alive precedes lust.

    Being attracted to someone is not lust. It may precede lust, but it is not lust. Sin is when someone begins to think about what having sex with a person would be like.

    We do not control the subconscious. And that is where attraction begins. It is when we bring it to consciousness and dwell on it, making plans, etc., that it becomes sin.

    I met a pretty young lady in a Sunday School class. She was nicely dressed, willing to speak up in the class, and when she did, she was obviously intelligent. She was attractive to me as someone I wanted to get to know better. Over lunch we found we shared many ideas and attitudes. I asked her to a church event and we had fun together. We spent an afternoon drive together on an errand I needed to run and had dinner. Four weeks after we me, we became engaged. There was no pre-marital sex! We were married three months after we met. Thirty plus years ago.

    I have met others whom I find attractive, but I have never imagined or pursued the thought of what sex with them would be like.

    Finding that someone is attractive is not a sin. Lusting after them is.


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    Haitch wrote:

    That reminds me of the humorous “Black Books” skit when Fran goes out on a date and cannot keep his attention as he’s too busy looking at the waiter etc (beaker or nick will probably get the reference)

    Can’t speak for Beaks, of course, but Nick certainly did.

    On reflection, “Speak for Beaks” sounds so good it should be a Thing. I’m thinking along the lines of a competition of some kind in aid of a Beakerj-supported good cause.

    I realise, of course, that I’m opening a can of worms here. There are numerous words that rhyme with “Nick”, for instance, and not all of them are good.


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    Haitch wrote:

    That reminds me of the humorous “Black Books” skit

    As a post-script, Lesley and I went to see Bill Bailey live at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow years ago. The set included a lot of material from his then-recent TV series “Is it Bill Bailey?”, so his routines dealing with the historical influence of Cockney music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQyR0HRxNEA) weren’t as funny as they would’ve been had I not seen them before. But after his encore, based on a parody of Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet, I was crying with laughter.


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    An Attorney wrote:

    @ Single4Now: …
    Wow, glad you are not my brother. What a hateful person you are.

    I can’t agree with that, An Attorney. I say this with some pause, because a) this isn’t my blog and b) nobody asked me to speak for them, but as a community I think we can both uphold a clear standard that is Deebs’ Prime Directive and be gracious to those who don’t quite get it. There have been some manifestly hateful people bungeeing in here, but I don’t think Single4TheNoo is one of them. Rather, the overall shape of his comments suggest to me a person who is trapped in legalism.

    I should emphasise how serious that is. Legalism is sometimes considered (here, at least) merely as an over-zealous or over-detailed application of standards, whereas in fact it is a deadly and full-on counterfeit gospel. Because the volume of scripture setting out laws and standards is so small, compared to (for instance) the whole body of law required by a modern-day state, legalism necessarily reduces to some very crude and simplistic assumptions.

    This is what I see in Single4TheNoo’s comments. There have been several “No true Scotsman” instances – his theology may be sincere, but it’s all text and no Spirit. Therefore it can’t cope with the exceptions and complexities that arise where the text doesn’t work. Whereas TWW by its very nature draws people who find themselves having to deal with them. Secondly, I think he honestly believes that life in Christ comes down to obedience to the law. But because nobody, himself included, has ever managed to do that by sincerely desiring to obey the bible, we see the inevitable loop-holes and caveats that the leg