Church, You Have Got To Take a Stand on Sexuality

By Tom Gilson Published on October 21, 2017

“I don’t know, Tom. I don’t like debate.”

I’d been talking with a pastor about his church’s position on homosexuality and gay marriage. His own position was conservative and biblical, but someone else in leadership had fired a gay-affirming shot across the church’s bow. I wondered what he was going to do about it.

“Would you think of opening up a simple pastor-guided conversation,” I asked him, “just to clarify matters for people who might wonder, ‘what now?’”

His distaste for disagreement led him to decline.

Speaking With One Clear Voice

Debate is risky, there’s no denying it. The Episcopal denomination fractured wide open over this issue. Presbyterian congregations have left the PCUSA over it. The United Methodists are in imminent danger of losing the “United” part of their name.

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Gay activism is both loud and forceful, even in the churches. It would seem easier to keep your head down. Avoid the subject. Don’t make it an issue. Strive for peace and unity.

Keep It Under the Radar? Forget About It

Sorry, but it won’t work. Not for long; not if you hold to the biblical/traditional view on marriage and morality. Someone is going to bring up the issue in a way you just can’t evade.

A gay couple is going to come to church. They’re going to ask questions in Sunday School, and someone is going to have to answer. Or they’re going to work quietly to build a following — which won’t be hard, if you haven’t stated a strong position on the matter — then volunteer for a teaching position.

Evading it won’t work. Not for long; not if you hold to the biblical/traditional view on marriage and morality.

Wait until then to say no, and it’s going to explode around you. You can count on it.

Will that happen at your church? Maybe not. Maybe instead a student leader will identify as gay. Maybe a gay or lesbian who’s been a good friend to kids in your youth group will give up on being bullied at school and commit suicide. (It’s happened where I’ve lived.)

Prepared or Unprepared, What’s Your Preference?

I don’t know how it’s going to come up in your church, but it will. You don’t dare let it catch you unprepared. You’ll come under sudden and extremely heavy fire. You’ll find yourself in the untenable position of trying to explain your position calmly, biblically and rationally, while emotions are flaring all around you, and accusations are raging: “You’re a homophobe! You hate these people!” Not an enviable place to be.

Far better to take the heat now in the form of a more controlled burn, taking time to address the question carefully, thoughtfully and thoroughly. The accusations will still come — you can count on that — but not in such incendiary circumstances.

You’re in good company. Jesus was falsely accused.

Don’t forget, Jesus was falsely accused. You’ll be in good company. You won’t be well-liked by everyone. That’s okay. Neither was Jesus. Your church may shrink. So did Jesus’ following, as recorded in John 6. You’re still in good company.

And it isn’t as if you can hold on to the status quo forever anyway. Churches may lose members for stating their positions clearly. Churches that wait for the crisis, though, are at high risk of splitting right down the middle. Which would you prefer?

You can answer, “I’ll take option C: Neither!” But you’d better call that what it is: Wishful thinking. A vain hope. Blindly unrealistic in our day.

Not Divisive. Courageous.

A small group of gay activists has just launched an online project demanding “clarity.” Despite serious shortcomings in their approach, as Denny Burk has pointed out, there’s still something to be said for taking a stand.

Yes, clarifying your position can be divisive. You need not take the blame for that, though; not if you teach the truth with grace, compassion and clarity. You’re not the one who’s doing the dividing. Remember: The Church spoke with one clear undivided voice on this issue for almost two full millennia. Now some people say the Church was wrong all along. Who’s separating from the historic faith? Not you, if you hold firm to the truth. It’s the LGBT crowd that’s walking away.

And with all due respect to pastors who want to keep this matter under the radar, the Bible does speak (Acts 20:27) of not shrinking back from declaring the whole purpose or counsel of God. That’s a word of courage, besides being a word of faithfulness to God’s Word.

When the pastor told me he didn’t like debate, I answered him this way: “Pastor, you’re going to have to get ahead of this controversy, or it’s going to get ahead of you. You can’t avoid it. Because it isn’t slowing down for anyone.”

It’s been around long enough. It’s got biblical ramifications flowing all through it. Isn’t it time you took a public stand on it? Isn’t it time you stood up for what you believe?

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  • Chip Crawford

    Where is YOUR public stand? This is not it.
    You are a leader; how about leading — in deed, not just telling others what you should be doing yourself since you have that conviction.

    • My public stand is easy to find on The Stream, my Thinking Christian blog, and my book Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality With Teens, as well as a large number of podcast radio interviews.

      I can’t post links here per comment rules on The Stream, but with a little looking it shouldn’t be hard to locate enough info to answer your question.

      Thanks for asking.

      • Tim Pan

        Wow you just pricked someone conscience!

        • Chip Crawford

          Great; now you can start making up for lost time Tim !

          • Would this be a good time to remind us all there are more important battles to fight?

          • Tim Pan

            Lot anger there Chip.

    • Dean Bruckner

      Practicing Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals won’t take you where you think they will.

    • Kevin Quillen

      after seeing Mr Gilson’s answer, will you apologize?

  • Andrew Mason

    John the Baptist’s stand again marriage equality cost him his head, while Jesus said He came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Unity is great, but it isn’t the be all and end all, in fact pursuing unity can be contrary to Scripture.

  • JP

    Christians should never be afraid to take a stand against this. One is the reason is that the opposition really has no good arguments for their position. Christians need to know how to argue against homosexuality on 3-4 fronts which are not the difficult to understand. They need to know how to argue from:
    1-Scripture. Homosexuality is spoken against in all places its mentioned.
    2-Science-no “gay gene”.
    3- health consequences of homosexuality. Look at the CDC stats on homosexuality.
    4- the illogic of homosexual “marriage”. To have a marriage you must have a husband and wife, Only a man can be a husband and a woman a wife. Without each of these you don’t have a marriage.

    • NellieIrene

      I would just add a couple of things to your list. The way the Creator designed the human body which clearly shows who he intended to be together in a sexual relationship. And the fact that we live in a fallen world and are broken. Which explains why there are so many different types of aberrant sexualities.

    • Trilemma

      1. The Bible never mentions same sex attraction. The Bible never mentions sex between two women.
      2. There’s no left handedness gene either. Homosexuality is more than just DNA. It also has to do with gene expression and developmental variations.
      3. There are no health consequences for being attracted to someone of the same sex.
      4. Christians are free to define their own marriages any way they want. It’s illogical for Christians to define other people’s marriages.

      • GPS Daddy

        You are a bold-faced liar, Trilemma. The bible absolutely mentioned same-sex attraction in Romans 1.
        While your right there are no health consequences as in sexually transmitted diseases for JUST being attracted to the same sex it clear that the LBTG community is in pain and there is significant problems of sexually transmitted diseases within that community.

        Marriage is more that just what Christians define it as. There is a natrual order to marriage that is defined by the natrual order of creation and the way biology work, LIKE IT OR NOT. THATS the way things are.

        It takes ONE man and ONE woman to make a baby. That baby has the RIGHT to life AND the right to be raised by their birth father and mother. LIKE IT OR NOT, that reality. In addition to this children NEED BOTH a Father and a Mother. Two fathers and two mothers do not cut it… no matter what the LGTB community says about it.

        Child rearing is HARD work. Even today its HARD work. Thats why the father earns the living while the mother stays at home… tried and true for generations and generations and generations and generations and generations. That life.

        So take a child pill and get with the game of life, Trilemma.

        • Andrew Mason

          Actually I’m going to agree partially with Trilemma here. The Bible doesn’t mention same-sex attraction, nor does it mention paedophilic attraction, but neither is a sin – temptation is temptation, sin is sin. Romans 1 refers to same sex intercourse. The Bible does mention sex between females in Romans too. As for no diseases being specific to homosexuality, that may be true, but certain diseases seem to transmit more easily via sodomy.

          Handedness isn’t a moral issue. Choosing a homosexual lifestyle is. As to what the basis of the temptation is, that’s unlikely to ever be conclusively resolved.

          Acts, not temptation are what matter.

          Why should Christians be constrained in defining their own marriages? Why are they not permitted to have their own definition of marriage? And if it so happens that the Christian definition of marriage accords with the natural definition – shared by Chinese, Muslims, and various other cultures and groups, why should that definition not be considered effectively universal? Why should the legal definition imposed by an elite on a minority of nations be used instead?

          • GPS Daddy

            Rom 1:27, ” and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another”

            Same-sex attraction.

          • Trilemma

            I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your
            love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. – 2Samuel 1:26 NIV

            Same sex attraction?

          • Kevin Quillen

            you are reaching. Look up the original language and you will find you cannot make you queer argument from this verse. Nice try though.

          • Andrew Mason

            Or reflecting brotherly love was greater than sisterly affection.

          • Trilemma

            I think David was describing a love that was stronger than brotherly or sisterly love.

          • Vince

            How sad that gays cannot imagine non-sexual love.
            And that’s a good reason they should never be allowed to adopt children.

          • Andrew Mason

            Agape love? I don’t think it’s ever used between 2 men so brotherly love would be the most possible. Homosexual desire doesn’t constitute love.

          • Trilemma

            For 2Samuel 1:26, the LXX translates the Hebrew into Greek using a form of agape and not phileo.

          • Andrew Mason

            I’ll take your word that agape is used. I find it odd, but agape still excludes eros and thus homosexuality.

          • GPS Daddy

            Now your really pulling out the new atheist arguments, Trilemma.
            You have really undermined your credibility intellectually if your serious about that verse.

          • Trilemma

            It’s obvious from this verse and others that Jonathan and David had a strong love and desire for each other. But I don’t think it was sexual. My point is that men having a desire for each other as in Jonathan and David and as in Romans 1:27 does not mean their relationships are sexual.

          • GPS Daddy

            Rom 1 is very, clearly sexual.

          • Trilemma

            Romans 1:26 says God gave them over to disgraceful passions not sexually immoral passions. The word translated “disgraceful” is also used in 1Corinthians 11:14 to describe long hair on a man. Romans 1:27 says the men worked shameful acts with each other not sexually immoral acts. If Paul was trying to talk about sexual immorality, he would have used the word for sexual immorality.

          • GPS Daddy

            Verse 24: …lusts of their hearts…

            Verse 26: …degrading passions…

            Verse 26:…women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural…

            verse 27: …men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another…

            The context of the chapter is lusts of the hearts.
            Women exchanged “natural function” for unnatrual functions. As yet we do not know what that is but we DO know it relates to a natrual function of the body.
            Now in the next verse we see that men adbandoned natrual function with women… what natrual function of the body that relates to lust does a man and women have? SEX! Thats the ONLY answer. Instead they burned with lust for other men.., same sex attraction.

            Not hard. Clearly sexual. Your bias and the sin of your heart is deciving you, Trillemma.

          • Andrew Mason

            Except that’s not the complete passage. Note the second part – men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

            Yes there was SSA, but it wasn’t the sum total of the problem but merely the reorientation. Men moved from desiring women, to pursuing men, having carnal relations, and consequently suffering the consequences.

          • GPS Daddy

            SSA in Romans 1 is the consequence of abandoning the knowledge of God.
            Wpuld you say that our culture has abandoned the knowledge of God?

          • Andrew Mason

            Oh I would unquestionably agree that our culture is abandoning all knowledge of God. In fact I’d go so far as to say that increasingly the West is demonising knowledge of God.

          • GPS Daddy

            OK, so your addressed nothing that undermines my original post with Trillemma.

          • GPS Daddy

            Trillemma wrote:

            >>The Bible never mentions same sex attraction. The Bible never mentions sex between two women.

            Romes 1 is clearly both.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Why should Christians be constrained in defining their own marriages

            The nature of marriage in the larger society must include procreation with respect to law. Same-sex couples who “marry” have wanted to adopt or to have an opposite sex person be a partner in producing a child. This is a violation of the child’s rights. A child has the right to have a father and a mother. It takes a father and a mother for the child to come into existence. There is WAY more that a father gives to a child that a mother does not and vis versa. Of someone wants to define a marriage in some other way than the natural marriage then they can but it should NOT carry legal force.

          • Kevin Quillen

            “Acts, not temptation are what matter.”
            You certainly do not understand the new covenant. Christ went beyond the law and made “intention” paramount. Queer lust is just as sinful as normal lust.

          • Andrew Mason

            But does temptation count as intention? Pursuing temptation is an act, being tempted is not, or are you saying that Jesus acted sinfully?

            Agreed homosexual lust is just as sinful as any other kind of lust, but is it temptation, an act, or can it be both?

        • Trilemma

          Romans 1:26 says women left the their natural use for unnatural. The natural use of the woman was to stay at home and push out babies for her husband. These women were leaving home to pursue feminism which Paul considered unnatural. The women were not being condemned for sinful behavior. Romans 1:27 says men were leaving home to do shameful things together. Shameful does not mean sinful. They were most likely out partying with the guys and getting drunk possibly at some pagan festival. The recompense of such shameful behavior would be getting sick and vomiting and being hung over. Shameful but not necessarily sinful. So, Romans 1 doesn’t really mention same sex sexual attraction.

          STDs are the result of unsafe sex not homosexuality.

          The natural order of creation and biology do not need marriage to work. Nor do they define marriage. They simply define reproduction. If it can be proven in a court of law that children are harmed by being raised by same sex couples more than by mixed sex couples, then same sex couples should not be allowed to raise children.

          Most families today cannot afford for the mother to stay at home.

          • Andrew Mason

            You do like strawman arguments. There is nothing in the verse in question about babies, or feminism. As for shameful not equaling sinful, the passage in question talks about man being given over to impurity and unrighteousness, being filled with evil, and deserving to die – yes I’m summarising. Romans 1 is pretty clear that homosexuality is a focus.

            True homosexuality isn’t the sole cause of STDs, but it is the primary cause except in countries where homosexuality is suppressed.

            While it can definitely be proven in court that SS parenting disadvantages kids, the case will never go to trial as it’s a political issue.

            Many families do revolve around the breadwinner father, stay at home mother model, but I agree society is increasingly shifting to a model that makes children unsustainable.

          • Trilemma

            Romans 1 describes a progression. First, they were given over to shameful behaviors, verses 26 and 27. Progressing further, they were given over to a debased or depraved mind resulting in sinful behaviors deserving of death, verses 28-32.

            The rate of STD infection among lesbians is lower than the general population. If homosexuality is the primary cause of STDs then infection among lesbians should be much higher.

            The research on harm to children caused by being raised by same sex couples is currently mixed so I don’t think it can be proven in a court of law yet. Currently, it’s a big social experiment.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>push out babies for her husband

            hmm, is there some resentment there?

            >>The women were not being condemned for sinful behavior

            Yep, Paul lumps the women in the with men. Thats clear from the context.

            >> They were most likely out partying with the guys and getting drunk possibly at some pagan festival

            Wrong, The context is sexual relations.

            >> They were most likely out partying with the guys and getting drunk possibly at some pagan festival

            Only by the twisting your doing to the text.

            >>They simply define reproduction

            This is the mantra and downfall of the LGTB movement. Yep, reproduction and marriage are tied. Not every couple will be able to have children but the lack of children does not undermine purpose and design.

      • Kevin Carr

        Then why does the Bible say Adam and Eve were created as a pair and Adam knew her and the term is in an intimate, sexual way. Why does it say for this reason a man will leave father and mother and cleave to his wife, and all other instances there was a man and wife?

        • Trilemma

          If you want to use that to support your Christian definition of marriage that’s fine. But why should Christians have the right to define marriage for non-Christians?

          • Kevin Quillen

            put all the queer men on one island and all the queer women on another and see what happens. Extinction. Normal, natural, harmless? Even evolution is not so dumb as to do this.

          • Trilemma

            What does that have to do with marriage?

      • Linda

        Romans 1 26 For this reason God allowed their shameful passions to control them. Their women have exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 Likewise, their men have given up natural sexual relations with women and burn with lust for each other. Men commit indecent acts with men, so they experience among themselves the punishment they deserve for their perversion.

        • Trilemma

          These two verses are talking about heterosexuals. There’s no same sex sexual attraction going on here.

      • Libby K

        You are ignorant of the Bible. Leviticus is very specific in its prohibition of men having sex with men and women having sex with women. So is Romans.

        Go learn about a religion before you bash it.

        As for “health consequences,” the CDC says 1 in 6 gay men in the US is infected with HIV. Getting “married” has not changed that.

        • Trilemma

          Where in Leviticus is it very specific in its prohibition of women having sex with women?

  • Paul

    “Wait until then to say no, and it’s going to explode around you. You can count on it.”

    Yes, and in the case of PCUSA you lose if it has gotten too large. Especially need to say no to any hints in the leadership, that’s the worst infection. Also saying no must include action to reinforce that no, or else the no is meaningless.

    This isn’t about unity, it’s about right and wrong.

  • PilgrimGirl

    The problem lies in preachers having compromised the Gospel – the Person and work of Christ – in some way. They leave some part of salvation to the will and work of the sinner. Where the Lord Jesus Christ is not preached in all his glory, you’re herding goats anyway.

    • Jennifer Hartline

      PilgrimGirl, is “once saved, always saved” your belief? Is there anything a person does that can “lose” him or her salvation? Just curious.

      • PilgrimGirl

        The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Salvation, from start to finish, is the work of God. Salvation is of the LORD.

        • Jennifer Hartline

          That doesn’t really answer my question. What is required of the sinner? Anything at all? Is it “once saved, always saved” regardless of how a person lives?

          • PilgrimGirl

            All we do is sin; our righteousness is filthy rags, we cannot produce righteousness that He can accept. I lament with Paul in Romans 7.

            Read Isaiah 45. Look and live.

            There were two transgressors crucified at the time our Lord was on the cross. They both railed against him…at first. Then one rebuked the other and made his plea to the Lord. What made the difference? Who made the change in that guilty sinner?

            Christ saved his people by his substitutionary death. He was made sin for them and died in their place. He was raised again for (because of) their justification. To believe that he died to save all mankind yet some go to hell anyway is to make the Lord of glory a failure. It’s to say he didn’t redeem anybody but left some part of the work to the sinner. What makes the difference in your salvation? Something you do? Anything you do? If so, then you’ve become your own savior. He won’t have it. His glory he will not give to another.

            Christ is ALL my salvation, ALL my hope. I don’t look to myself for any part of it because salvation isn’t in me; salvation is in Christ. He is all my righteousness, he is the Lord my righteousness. I glory
            only in Him.

          • Kevin Quillen

            Heb 12:2 is one of my favorite verses. “for the JOY set before Him”
            He could not have that JOY if He only “saved” a small percentage of humanity. He WILL redeem ALL. 1 Cor 15:22
            Preach it sister!

          • Kevin Quillen

            This is the true Gospel message that will change the world. Oh, if only more would see it!!! And preach it!!!

      • Kevin Quillen

        What is “salvation”? What is one saved from? My answer; one is saved from the wrath of God if one accepts the gift that Christ died to give us, and lives a life in accordance with will of God. This will allow us to go straight to be with the Father upon death. Saved from wrath. Those who do not accept Christ’s gift will face the wrath of God(not a pleasant thought) upon death. But, the question is….will God’s wrath last forever? My answer; No. A loving Father could never punish a child forever! Eternal punishment has NO PURPOSE! The purpose of punishment is to produce repentance. Once a child is repentant, the punishment ends. We should not limit Jesus. He can and will reach ALL, in this life or the next if necessary. Praise God!!

        • PilgrimGirl

          Like the Bereans, we must test what people say by God’s word to see if those things are so.

          God is not the Father of everyone. What did our Lord tell those to whom he was speaking in John 8:44? “Ye are of your father the devil”.

          You say, “one is saved from the wrath of God IF……”. In doing so, you make Christ’s atoning sacrifice dependent upon the will and work of the sinner. No, Christ finished the work of saving his people by himself.

          Did Christ die to atone for all mankind without exception? No, not according to our Lord’s words in John 10. There are other scriptures as well.

          “…once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9 “He bore the sins of many”; it does not say all.

          Is there hope of salvation for anyone who leaves this world without the life in Christ? No, there is no purgatory. That’s something the RCC invented to fleece people of their money while giving them false hope for their dead loved ones.
          “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…and these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25

          • Kevin Quillen

            study the original language for “eternal”, and “everlasting” Hell is a man made doctrine to keep people in line and tithing.

          • PilgrimGirl

            Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of hell:
            “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

            “And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

            “And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

            “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

            “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

            “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

            “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

            “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

            “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

            “For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

            “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

            “And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

            “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
            Luke 16:19-31

        • m-nj

          Sorry, you have a twisted theology, and are promoting the heresy of Rob Bell et al., from the “Love Wins” book … it has a whole cult following because it sets forth what itching ears want to hear, rather than the Biblical truth. Just because you want to put God’s love above God’s justice and holiness doesn’t make it correct.

    • Andrew Mason

      Getting fairly far afield, but that’s quite inconsistent with my own reading. What of those who’ve never heard the Gospel – Muslims for instance, who have an encounter with Jesus? And what of those raised Christian, and who walk and talk the life until a radical change in direction e.g. conversion to the LGBT lifestyle?

      • PilgrimGirl

        People who’ve never heard the Gospel don’t have “an encounter with Jesus” nor are people “raised Christian”. Salvation isn’t a religious experience although many are religious and call it salvation. Perhaps our Lord’s words in John 17 will help…

        “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent…”

        He has power over all flesh.

        • Andrew Mason

          Except that directly contradicts the testimony of ex-Muslim Christians, people whose sole exposure to Jesus is via the Koran. When questing for greater intimacy with Allah they may start having dreams which lead them to the Gospel, and Scripture, but Jesus is their starting point. In a sense it’s not unlike SaulPaul whose first encounter with Jesus was prior to listening to the Gospel. I’ve a book somewhere if you want specifics?

          As for people not being raised Christian, I disagree. People are born into Christian households, raised with Christian values, and live Christian lives. Whether they choose to embrace or reject Christ isn’t apparent from the outside, unless they rock the boat.

          I personally prefer John 3:16b – whosoever believeth in him [Jesus] should not perish, but have everlasting life. Yes it is this response that is the critical distinction, but humans cannot read the heart of another, we can only judge by words and deeds.

          • PilgrimGirl

            Anything that directly contradicts the Word of the LORD is error. Period. Let God be true and every man a liar.
            As for Saul/Paul, a Pharisee, he knew the scriptures – the Old Testament which is all about Christ – but he didn’t know Christ. Many know the Bible but don’t know Christ. They’ve no eyes to see Him. (Matt 11:27, John 3:3)
            One’s family heritage has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with being born spiritually. The LORD quickens (gives spiritual life) to whom He will. (John 5:21) He called Abram out of his father’s house, out of idolatry.

          • Andrew Mason

            I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. What contradiction are you talking about?

            Yes SaulPaul knew the OT very well, but knowing a text =/= knowing God.

            I disagree. It’s a matter of probability. If you’re raised in a Christian environment your odds of responding to the Gospel are far greater than if you live in a region where you will never hear it.

          • PilgrimGirl

            The contradiction I was talking about was the one you said in that, “Except that directly contradicts the testimony of ex-Muslim Christians, people whose sole exposure to Jesus is via the Koran.” The Koran is not God’s word. The Holy Scriptures, the Bible, is God’s word.

            Responding to the Gospel is not a matter of probability. It’s the work of God.

            “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8

          • Andrew Mason

            Ah. If it seemed like I was attempting to claim the Koran as divinely inspired I apologise – that was definitely not my goal. I was simply pointing out that Muslims who have no access to Bibles can only learn about Jesus via the Koran, or a divine encounter.

            Okay lets try rephrasing. Decisions are not a matter of probability, but the number of those who have made choices is a matter of statistics. Most Christians live in the West, or did, because that’s where the Gospel was heard. With the Gospel now being available in most parts of the world – whether legal or not, the number of non-Western Christians probably exceeds the number of Western Christians, as does their faith.

          • PilgrimGirl

            It’s as though you’ve heard nothing that I’ve said, to you or anybody else in this discussion, so let’s try a little experiment.

            Go buy a gift, Andrew, and then take it to your local cemetery and offer it to the dead. When one of the dead resurrects him/herself and decides to accept your gift, you let me know.

          • Andrew Mason

            I agree we seem to be speaking at cross purposes.

            Is this a debate over Arminianism v Calvinism v Lutheranism?

            Rather than argue further it’ll be more productive to determine what you’re on about.

        • Kevin Quillen

          God Bless you sister! Jesus was given ALL. He will give eternal life to ALL! We must not limit Him to our time frames.

  • Tom Gilson uses the word “church” as if it was a single monolithic entity. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a bazillion different denominations.

    Which reminds me of a joke:

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”

    He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

    He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me too! Protestant or Catholic?”

    He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! What denomination?”

    He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me too!”

    “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” I said, “Die heretic!” And I pushed him over.

    • Tim Pan

      I prefer the term Body of Christ.

    • NellieIrene

      There are a “bazillion different denominations”. It shouldn’t be that way. Paul speaks against that type of division. But they have been relatively minor and inconsequential divisions concerning things like baptism, church procedure, whether there will be a rapture or when it will occur, pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. But the embrace of homosexuality is a recent phenomenon within some church denominations. And it has been resisted within those denominations as I’m sure you must be aware. The bible teaches that in the last days there will be an apostasy, so it is hardly surprising that there is now a falling away from traditional teachings on morality. It also shows the blindness in those churches. They are surely aware of the scriptures related to the apostasy. And I often wonder who they think those scriptures are referring to.

      • “But the embrace of homosexuality is a recent phenomenon within some church denominations.”

        That probably has to do with the fact that the acceptance of homosexuality as a normal and natural variant of human sexuality is comparatively recent also. Anyone with LGBT friends knows this to be the case. And it begs the question: Do ALL of the social traditions of ancient Israel necessarily have to be applicable to a more enlightened 21st century world?

        • NellieIrene

          homosexualtiy is a “….normal and natural variant of human sexualitiy…”

          No. It is a sign of a broken world and a fallen people. Sexuality goes beyond the “social traditions of ancient Israel.” It goes beyond the “old laws”. As I said elsewhere, we all know by the design of the human body that it is men and women who are created to be together sexually. All other couplings are deviations and a sign of the stain of sin in our broken world.

          • What is this mumbo-jumbo about a “broken world” and “fallen people”?

          • NellieIrene

            I have seen your posts on Charisma for years. And you post regularly on The Stream. And you seem to post exclusively on articles about homosexuality. Are you really going to feign ignorance of the Christian worldview of the fall of man in Eden? Or is it just sarcasm?

            Whether you view it as a fairy tale or not, it is clear that men and women are the ones who are designed to be together sexually.

          • “It is clear that men and women are the ones who are designed to be together sexually.”

            Sure, if they are heterosexual to begin with, as most people obviously are. But it’s still normal and natural for compatible Gay couples to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives together also.

          • NellieIrene

            “Sure, if they are heterosexual to begin with, ”

            Your statement has nothing to do with what I said. If we are designed to be with the opposite sex then all other couplings are deviations. And no amount of psychobabble is going to change that fact. Doesn’t mean we can’t engage ourselves in other types of couplings or thruplings or whatever, in accordance with our own desires.

            This is a simple fact. It does not rely on Christianity to be true. Or “folklore” as you put it.

          • For ME, marrying someone of the opposite sex would be perversion. That’s a simple fact.

          • It’s also normal for human beings to sin, and yet our Christian faith tells us not.

          • If by “sinning,” you mean that some people behave abominably toward others, that some people treat people treat other people in ways they would not wish to be treated themselves, then YES, it happens. People kill, steal, lie, cheat. It is the exception, not the norm.

          • Yes, and the Christian faith tells us not, just like it tells us not to engage in homosexual acts. Those are sins too.

        • Kevin Quillen

          Chuck; Put all the male queers on one island and all the female queers on another. Come back in 100 years and see how many people are there. There will be ZERO! Normal?????

    • Tom Gilson

      Chuck, what does that even have to do with what I wrote?

    • Patmos

      “as if it was a single monolithic entity”

      Actually it is, but thanks for playing.

      • Patmos

        And there is scripture behind this truth, see: Upon this rock I will build my church.

        Or what, did you think a person’s faith was measured by their denomination? An internal conviction measured by an external label? What a foolish conclusion. Maybe next time use knowledge and logic instead of throwing them away.

    • Elizabeth Litts

      Not funny! I have stopped refering to myself as a ‘Christian’ –I prefer Christ Follower..We cannot afford to be devided-especially now. Scripture should be our final word–and Christ our final athority. If we agree on the Real basics-Salvation through what was done on the Cross—then we are not divided.

      • Good answer- though I encourage you to call yourself a Christian! Redeem the term. It is more meaningful, being “as Christ”. Christ in us and us in Him. The term “Christ follower” puts us on the outside. It misses the idea of being a new creation (2Cor.5:17) and a partaker of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4)

    • Andrew Mason

      You keep assuming that denomination is an exclusive thing. Most Christians don’t see it that way.

  • Elizabeth Litts

    Jesus made it clear that ‘the student is no better than The Master. If they percuted Him than we should expect it. People’s souls are at stake here and we have to stop being afraid of man’s opinion and Man’s acceptance, or lack of it for the sake of saving the Lost. That is real love. ‘To tell the truth.

  • tz1

    I’m not sure if this is a parody post.
    We are now at the Transgender stage where biological men can insist on using the ladies’ room.
    LGBT was lost – there was a proposition and it won in CA but the court – one gay judge – overturned it (187? Brendan Eich was ejected from Mozilla).

    But what about those other issues like Divorce, which is man-fault frivorce? Or contraception that until 1930 was universally condemned throughout Christendom, and now just a few edgy Protestants, and Catholics (often with a wink and nod) object to.

    What is the Biblical meaning of Marriage? Is it a sacrament of Holy Matrimony, or a civil contract easily broken (more easily than student loan debt). And is procreation – the possibility of life, a new soul, essential, or irrelevant?

    What is sex for? Telos?

    How do you even pretend to credibly fight LGBT, even marriage, when it has been redefined into a temporary, sterile, civic contract? With celebration of that new idea of Marriage foreign to the Church and even earlier through Jewish tradition. See what Christ sad about Divorce.

    Take a stand now? This is like if the North waited until Lee and Jackson were ready to overthrow Philadelphia or New York City or Boston before raising an army. You’ve dimmed the beacon, played a quiet, uncertain trumpet, hoping you could draw the line somewhere after the pagans, atheists, and barbarians took the high ground.

    • bfast

      Tz1, you have spoken wisely. Yes, we have slid down a moral slide — badly. It is not time to stand our ground, we have far too little ground to stand on. It is time to retake old territory.

      The verse that speaks for today is: Matthew 5:13
      You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

      We are getting trampled on, folks. We are getting trampled on because we have lost our saltiness.

    • We have been asleep. We have lost enormous ground as a result, including pretty much what you wrote here.

      I refuse to believe it’s too late to make a difference, though.

      • tz1

        It is not too late to make a difference, but trying to remove the fruit from a mature poison tree is futile. You have to cut at the roots. Which means returning to the biblical definition of marriage even if that would offend the eugencists pushing contraception, or the feminist pushing careers, and the emotion uber alles pushing no-fault divorce.

        There will be hope when the Church insists Marriage is a permanent covenant for the creation and nurturing of life instead of allowing contraception and divorce.

  • JoeDallas

    Good points Tom. I’ve found that churches lose a few notches of credibility when they hold off on stating their positions on homosexuality until they absolutely have to. Then it becomes a defensive move rather than an initiative one. It is very, very naive to think you can duck this issue in 2017 and beyond. It’s better to clarify up front where you stand, in respectful, easy to understand terms. To do less is, often, to arouse suspicion of cowardliness or indecisiveness or general weakness.

  • Amused

    The CHURCH?

    The Catholic Church…. A age old cult obsessed with sex….Known for coruption and pedophilia….

    Sorry. You lost me at “The CHURCH!”

    • Andrew Mason

      Who said anything about Catholicism?

  • Dean Bruckner

    Our church elders prayed and set the agenda for the next year ( last year) and a key part of that was to declare the whole truth of Scripture on sex and marriage and family and men and women’s roles. There was a series of sermons on that, and these declarations and explanations were both brave and true. These sermons are posted online like every other one. The elders also led several initiatives to help men of the church develop into godly leaders, and to be morally pure.

    Our church attendance has nearly doubled since these acts of faith and obedience.

  • Libby K

    The liberal Lutherans (ELCA) lost 500,000 members – yep, a half-million – in the 2-year period after they began ordaining homosexuals.

    See how “inclusive” works? They meant to drive the Christians aways, and by gum they did it very well. Funny how “inclusive” churches always exclude the people who actually believe in the New Testament.

    Every pro-gay church is shrinking. No exceptions. It’s the road to extinction.

  • Concerned Christian

    Seems like no one seems to ask:

    1. Are anti-gay churches growing?
    2. Are those folks leaving liberal pro-gay churches going to conservative churches?
    3. Are conservative churches attracting/gaining new Christians?

    It seems like Christians are trying to defend a belief as opposed to share a belief in the arena of ideas?

  • Jeremy L

    If it is not merely a hypothetical, can you tell me more about the gay kid who committed suicide? Are you suggesting a “gay is bad” sermon would have prevented that suicide?

  • bbb

    What does the church in America stand for today?
    God? Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit?
    There is no debate.
    God is unchangeable, eternal and infinite. If He said it, he meant it.
    A church that ignores what God said is phony.
    What makes anyone think that trying to hide from God in the air-conditioned modern tax-exempt mini-Eden with a steeple and bell will be any more successful than it was with Adam and Eve?

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