Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Jesus and Homosexuality 1

posted by xscot mcknight

Life is not law. For Jesus at least. The place to begin a constructive understanding of how Christians should relate to persons with same-sex orientation and think about homosexuality is with Jesus’ practice of table fellowship. Why? Because it represents how life is encountered, of how a first century person would have come to understand Jesus’ own vision for the kingdom of God. Not all would begin here. I have on my desk six books on this topic; none of them begins this way. Each of them begins either with personal story or with the historical and biblical commandments. The latter are treating the Bible, too frequently, as a law book. I do not dispute the importance of these texts, even as commandments, but I don’t think that is how we are to begin. (Eventually, we’ll get to those texts — but I think from a healthier perspective.)
Humans are Eikons; humans are people; they are not morality acts or immorality acts. That is my point. If we believe, as I do, in God’s embracing grace that awakens in us the capacity to embrace God, ourselves, others, and the world (see Embracing Grace), then we will begin each and every moral discussion with the fact that humans are Eikons of God, persons, people, relationally-charged folks whose central need is to relate to God, self, others, and the world.
So, I begin right here: How would Jesus have “treated” homosexuals? The answer to that question is incredibly simple: he would have treated them as Eikons, as human beings made in God’s image who are designed to reflect God’s glory in this world by relating to God lovingly, to themselves lovingly, to others lovingly, and to the world lovingly. They would have been welcomed at the table of discussion, they would have been invited to listen to him, to interact with him, to follow him, and to fellowship with his followers. They would have been challenged to live before God as Jesus taught. In short, they would have been loved by Jesus. Not shunned; not humiliated; not ostracized; but given a seat for as long as they cared to be with him. He would have told everyone and anyone that there was a seat (or place; they didn’t use chairs) at the table for them.
And all this in the context of relationships.
Since Jesus does not discuss same-sex orientation or practice, we are given the freedom to explore what he did say about following him in the kingdom of God. Our exploration will take as its guiding lights five central themes of Jesus’ teachings on morality: (1) each will explore what Jesus does say; (2) each will explore the logic of Jesus’ moral teachings; (3) and each will compare Jesus’ teachings and moral logic to the teachings and moral logic of those who both teach against and who teach for the legitimacy of same-sex orientation and practices for Christians. Along the way we will find opportunities to bring in the texts of the rest of the Bible.
Here’s my first consideration: What was Jesus’ table fellowship practice like? Who was it for? How did it work?
First of all, there can be no question that everyone, regardless of who they were and what they had done or how they were living, was invited to the table. Mark 2:13-17 tells us that Jesus had a dinner with tax collectors and ‘sinners’.
Second, Jesus’ own practice of table fellowship with everyone was considered shameful and unacceptable by the religious elites of his day. Thus, in Mark 2:16 the scribal Pharisees were disgusted with Jesus’ practice of associating with sinners. In Matthew 11:16-19 we see that Jesus was “labeled” for his association with tax collectors and sinners.
Third, Jesus’ act of inclusive table fellowship is not an act of political tolerance, but the creation of an alternative society around him. In other words, this is not multiculturalism or diversity for the sake of multiculturalism or diversity, but inclusion for the sake of relational, redemptive work. It is a kingdom society. The Table of Jesus embodies his vision of God’s redemptive work in this world.
Fourth, Jesus’ table fellowship has a telos: a goal. To redeem folks, to invite others into relationship with God, with Jesus, with self, with others — all in order to establish a beachhead for the kingdom of God. No one, it hardly needs to be said, would be left unchanged; no one would be unchallenged; everyone would learn at this table with Jesus that life will be given a new foundation and a new set of relationships. Everyone and everything will find its proper place in relationship to God’s new work in the kingdom; anything that challenges the leadership of Jesus and thwarts the kingdom of God will be challenged. No one comes to the table of Jesus on their own terms; the table of Jesus lives out the terms of Jesus. Those terms offend and those terms redeem.
The place to begin this discussion, in other words, is with Jesus. Jesus is the only first thing we as followers of Jesus have to offer.
If I may, I’d like to draw a significant conclusion at this point: the walls around Jesus were permeable. The walls of most churches are impermeable. Those in and those out are clear. I find the recent trend of many Christians, many of whom are “emerging” folk, to create environments where the walls are permeable to be one of the most significant features of the emerging movement and these environments have the capacity to unleash kingdom power. Jesus’ table fellowship, which is the heart of his mission, is more like coffee discussions at coffee shops or what a student calls “party evangelism” or “porch missions” than it is like “church” as we now know it and do it.
The purity code constructed by impermeable walls is inconsistent with Jesus’ own practice. It is the absolute distinction that concerns me, not the distinction.
If you are looking for a good book on table fellowship, I recommend Craig Blomberg, Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ meals with Sinners.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(82)
post a comment
Ted Gossard,

posted January 26, 2006 at 6:22 am


Yes! On those walls. I’m nearly done with “No Perfect People Allowed” by John Burke. Really good on how they as a church have permeable walls. And how God has redeemed the lives of those who would never darken the door of church as most of us have known it. Very good.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard,

posted January 26, 2006 at 6:23 am


I must add, homosexuals are included in the story of what’s going on at Gateway in that book.



report abuse
 

Duane Young

posted January 26, 2006 at 7:09 am


OK, but what about “church membership?” Should we get rid of the notion? Should access to it also be permeable? Is it appropriate to require “certain standards” for it?
What about communion? Is it wrong to “cut the table?” Bar any from the table? Discourage them? Baptism? Are there any (appropriate) prerequisites–for either communion or baptism? Are there clear or easy answers to these questions? These issues probably go beyond where you wanted to go with this thread, but the emerge quite insistently. [Sorry!]



report abuse
 

Denny Burk

posted January 26, 2006 at 7:54 am


Scot,
What do you make of Jesus’ reference to one dressed in soft clothing (EN MALAKOI) in Mt 11:8 and Lk 7:25? Could this be a reference to Herod that associates him with homosexuality? Perhaps the MALAKOI could be a link to a behavior that is in compromise with the Gentiles?
There’s a passage in Philo that rebukes young men who dress as women and who are involved in pederasty (De Specialibus Legibus 3.37). Do you think that this reference to EN MALAKOI in Mt and Lk could link Herod to homosexual behavior?
I’m not convinced there’s a link, but I was wondering what you thought.
Thanks,
Denny



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted January 26, 2006 at 8:09 am


At Gateway the confession of faith upon baptism would include the acknowledgement that homosexual intercourse is sin. I mean here agreeing with that. I think that’s clear from my read of Burke. I’m not sure what they do with communion except I’d think it’s related to what they’d do with baptism.
And I agree with that.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted January 26, 2006 at 8:13 am


But the permeability there: the acceptance of gays and lesbians at Gateway is very real and powerful.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted January 26, 2006 at 8:25 am


Duane,
In due course.
Denny,
I don’t think it is impossible; the problem is that it is indirect at best and perhaps nothing more than “finery.” So, it’s a footnote in the discussion.



report abuse
 

Mark Perry

posted January 26, 2006 at 8:46 am


What I like about the focus of table fellowship is that the concern of how a person lives doesn’t seem to be our concern anymore. The mere act of fellowshipping with Jesus, being in His presence reveals our imperfections (cracked eikonness). The wonder of Christ is that this revelation about ourselves comes at the same time Christ reveals His absolute love, acceptance, and desire to restore. Our challenge is to be that Christ in our churches thus attracting people for the right reasons.



report abuse
 

Call Me Ishmael

posted January 26, 2006 at 8:50 am


The law-book hermeneutic has indeed been the source of much misery in the church throughout its history.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted January 26, 2006 at 9:04 am


sorry, I probably “jumped the gun”.



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 26, 2006 at 9:29 am


Table fellowship is easier said than done. I found so much that needed to be changed in me when I was standing in the bedroom of a gay couple we met at our block party. The triggering event that spawned my own investigation of this topic.
It’s easy to talk about sins but when you actually place them inside other Eikons, it’s a whole different story. Thanks for bringing that out.



report abuse
 

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted January 26, 2006 at 10:42 am


Bob,
Well said! Table fellowship is difficult within the church half the time, not to mention with those outside the faith community. As you say, it invariably changes us. Perhaps that is what scares so many away from it. We see ourselves as agents bringing change to those outside so they can fit inside, rather than seeing that all our salvation is caught up together. “Easier said than done”, but well worth it- if you’re willing to pay the price.
Peace,
Jamie



report abuse
 

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted January 26, 2006 at 10:50 am


Denny,
I don’t want to stray for the core topic, but re: “el malakoi”, I do not think, given historical context, that this could be a reference to homosexuality. It more than likely refers to cross-dressing (commonly and mistakenly taken today as equivalent to homosexuality, but that is another story) or the Greek practice of pederasty- the relationship and bond between an adolescent boy and an adult man outside of his immediate family, and was constructed as a moral and educational institution. This relationship often became sexual, but is far too complex and unique to consider it a reference to homosexuality.
I stand with Scot’s statement: “Since Jesus does not discuss same-sex orientation or practice, we are given the freedom to explore what he did say about following him in the kingdom of God.”
Peace,
Jamie



report abuse
 

Denny Burk

posted January 26, 2006 at 11:06 am


Jamie,
With respect to your remarks in #13, there is one perspective that says MALAKOS has to do narrowly with pederasty (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9), but this is far from settled in the literature. BDAG and some of the most learned commentaries still treat MALAKOS as a more generic term that refers to the passive actor in any homosexual encounter.
Thanks for the feedback.
Sincerely,
Denny



report abuse
 

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted January 26, 2006 at 11:19 am


Denny,
Fair enough. I have read some of the view supporting that interpretation, but I tend to lean toward a different understanding, based on other (equally learned) commentaries. However, I am not claiming that as a certainty, by any means.
Peace,
Jamie



report abuse
 

Curt

posted January 26, 2006 at 1:25 pm


“If you are looking for a good book on table fellowship, I recommend Craig Blomberg, Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ meals with Sinners.”
Just ordered it! What would we do without Amazon?



report abuse
 

Ron McK

posted January 26, 2006 at 2:41 pm


Homosexuality is a cursemore than a sin.
Ron



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 26, 2006 at 3:24 pm


“The place to begin this discussion, in other words, is with Jesus. Jesus is the only first thing we as followers of Jesus have to offer.”
Scot; If we lived before the death and resurrection of Jesus your approach would be correct, but since we do not, I believe your approach is mistaken. We have clear, unambiguous apostolic instructions on dealing with sin and sinners both within and without the Church. It appears that you are trying to do an end run around the direct and inspired apostolic commands with this approach.
Also; The term “table of Jesus” is easily confused with the Church and it’s mandated practice of partaking of the Bread and Wine until Christ returns.
I don’t know if this is intentional on your part or not but I would like to see some justification of the former (general approach) and clarification of the later (confusion of terms).
Thanks; Greg



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 26, 2006 at 3:26 pm


Scot, I just wanted to clarify. Are you saying that how Jesus goes out to meet sinners on the street should be the same way we do church? Is Jesus in church? Can you show me where He is worshiping God with all these people? I think I would make a distinction between what is evangelism and what is worship and who should be accepted into each (everyone in the former, only repentant believers in the latter). Otherwise, do you believe that Paul is contradicting Jesus’ ministry with 1 Cor 5-6? Isn’t this based on what Jesus Himself said? Based on these, it would seem that the church is supposed to be exclusively for the repentant. I might also add that the repentant sinners (not just anyone regardless) are the ones Jesus accepts. Those who are not (like some of the religious leaders) are so accepted at the table (unless you want to include acceptace as name calling and condemnation while you eat your meal–i.e., “you brood of vipers,” “sons of the devil,” etc.). Are you going to make a distinction between these things: 1. Church (interaction among repentant believers) and evangelism (interaction of believers with the world); and 2. Whether or not Jesus accepted people into His table fellowship if they were unrepentant/self-justifying/etc.? thanks



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted January 26, 2006 at 3:59 pm


Greg,
“Begin” not “end” or “only Jesus.” You’ll have to stay with me.
Bryan,
I’m suggesting only that Jesus’ table fellowship become the model for how we interact with others. If you read my blog, you’ll know I’m an advocate for permeable walls eventually working its way into the inner sanctum, which is clearly for believers. Check out John Burke’s No Perfect People Allowed. That is what I have maintained all along.
Eventually I’ll have more to say.
But, I sense you are jumping the gun again. Speaking about the walls around churches is not a full-blown ecclesiology.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 26, 2006 at 4:17 pm


It still seems like special pleading to begin where you have, taking the silence of Jesus as license to reinterpret (overthrow?) the clear and specific teaching on this issue. I think you have it back wards.
What about the confusion regarding “table” terminology, are you just going to let that ride?



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 26, 2006 at 4:43 pm


Perhaps our “problem” with this and other similar topics is bound up in this: Third, Jesus’ act of inclusive table fellowship is not an act of political tolerance, but the creation of an alternative society around him.
Jesus could do this but we cannot.
When we as humans work in this world, we can only act on the level of tolerance/intolerance. Only Jesus has the power to Create. Yet we take this responsibilty in our own hands and attempt to create either an accepting or a pure bride. Whether we act in acceptance for evangelism and in purity in worship, we are still putting ourselves as the gatekeepers (creators) of those realms.
Can we consciously rely on Jesus as the creative element?



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 26, 2006 at 5:15 pm


Fair enough, Scot. I had a feeling I was getting ahead again and probably just need to wait further. Thanks again.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted January 26, 2006 at 5:25 pm


Greg,
False accusation in #21. That’s all that I can say. I have not used Jesus’ silence as a pretext; I’ve used it as an opportunity to use his principles to guide the discussion. If you wait until I’m done you might have something completely different to say.
I’ll have more on “table” later; for now you’ll have to live with what I’ve said.
Part of this process is that blogging isn’t book writing; and I’m working one thing at a time; some of you’d like conclusions. They come later. Hang on and work with the ideas that are presented; we’ll all be better off that way and I won’t have to keep saying this.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 26, 2006 at 5:56 pm


“I have not used Jesus’ silence as a pretext; I’ve used it as an opportunity to use his principles to guide the discussion.”
I did not use the word “pretext” but perhaps the “re” in re-interpretation was a little hasty. Certainly; the method you have chosen is a hermetical novelty as you noted; no one else has used this approach. I think there are good reasons for that being the case. Do you think WWJD? (What would Jesus do?) is different from WWPD? with P being Paul?
Speaking again of Tables is there not a distintion to be made between Jesus actions prior to, and after establishing the New Covenant Church?



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 26, 2006 at 5:57 pm


“I have not used Jesus’ silence as a pretext; I’ve used it as an opportunity to use his principles to guide the discussion.”
I did not use the word “pretext” but perhaps the “re” in re-interpretation was a little hasty. Certainly; the method you have chosen is a hermetical novelty as you noted; no one else has used this approach. I think there are good reasons for that being the case. Do you think WWJD? (What would Jesus do?) is different from WWPD? with P being Paul?
Speaking again of Tables is there not a distinction to be made between Jesus actions prior to, and after establishing the New Covenant Church?



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 26, 2006 at 6:01 pm


Sorry for the double post I tried to catch it but it posted anyway. If there is a “distinction” to be made, delete the one with the splelling mistake.
:)



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard,

posted January 26, 2006 at 6:25 pm


Scot, I’m sorry I spoke on what Burke and Gateway was doing (from John Burke, “No Perfect People Allowed”). Though I thought, based on what I had read that I was right, I found out in reading this afternoon that I was wrong. Sorry to everyone else as well.
Actually I think how Gateway goes about it is very Scriptural and helpful. And I think most all who read the entire book (though I’m not yet quite finished) will find Burke’s thinking and the church’s practice helpful. I’ll say no more on this.
Ted



report abuse
 

Gary Davis

posted January 27, 2006 at 1:59 am


I have been reading lots of your stuff (none of your books unfortunately because I am dirt poor) and I have to say that this is by far one of the most thought provoking, challenging, and personally painful topics you have covered since I started reading.



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 27, 2006 at 11:27 am


We were talking about this last night and noticed that in “the old days” (before gay activism) homosexuality was culturally taboo. The church seemed to have a don’t ask/don’t tell policy concerning homosexuals. Do you remember the “different” music minister from your church growing up?
Now, as gay activism and awareness is on the rise, cultural acceptance has grown and the church’s has retreated. The church seems to have circled the wagons (or built impermeable walls) against this “threat”. Do you know of a church that has exposed and dismissed an “openly gay” music minister?
(Sorry to pick on music ministers–an admittedly homophobic stereotype used only for illustration.)
In our pursuit of taking a stand, we’ve lost the humanness that our music minister had. Now he has been categorized and dealt with. I realize I’m jumping ahead from table fellowship to church membership but I was struck by the net effect of the cultural shift.



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 12:12 pm


Bob, I don’t think the church’s problem with this practice is simply a reaction against culture (although some of it is). Take this quote from Tertullian, which is representative of the Fathers’ view and the view of the church throughout its history:
“[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human] bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities” (Modesty 4 [A.D. 220]).



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 27, 2006 at 1:23 pm


Bryan,
I guess I wasn’t calling into question the church’s stance on homosexuality. I more noticed the difference in reaction when the sin went from hidden to overt. It seems the church was ok with homosexuals as long as “they kept it to themselves”.
What’s the difference between being prideful in my heart and confessing it? When I hide it, my judgement comes from God. When I reveal it, my judgement comes from the church? (Hope that doesn’t fall under the category of analogy.)
I’m not saying we should hide our sins and “leave it between us and God”. I’m just reflecting on how we react when we see others’ sins.



report abuse
 

Jeff Meyer

posted January 27, 2006 at 1:55 pm


I must agree with Greg here. It seems as though what is being presented here is that even if something is explicitly forbidden by other Scripture, we can still explore the possibilities if Jesus doesn’t say anything about it. Jesus, if I remember correctly, doesn’t say anything about having intercourse with animals, but should we “open the table” to those engaged in bestiality?
It is funny how people get so focused on the “mission” of Jesus (however we tend to define it) and miss the fact that Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God and that the entirety of Scripture, which was breathed out by God, is in a very real sense, that which became flesh and dwelt among us. I heard a term “hyper-red-letterism” that referred to people who thought that if their Biblical text was not printed in red letters, it was somehow less authoritative. That is the feeling I get here, and I hope I am wrong about that! But if any church is seriously considering whether or not to allow an unrepentant homosexual into their membership, it’s time to leave that church! As Paul wrote:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
Seems to me that those who are washed, sanctified, and justified, will turn from their sinful ways and repent (“such WERE some of you”, not “such ARE some of you”).
Now, I’m not saying that we should not have any interaction with “sinners” – quite the contrary, and for the same reasons that Scot mentioned – Jesus did not only associate with the righteous. What I am saying is that when people were unrepentant or tried to force their agenda on Him, Jesus had no problem turning them away and going on about His mission – to seek and save His lost sheep. Proper “table fellowship” has nothing to do with a healthy worship environment, it is not “communion”, it is not “membership”, it is simply reaching out to those in need. If we start equating it with “communion” or “membership”, we are doing the very One whom we are trying to emulate a great disservice! Our worship halls ought to be filled with the praises of the sheep of the Shepherd, not the baying of the goats of the evil one.
Coram Deo,
Jeff.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:21 pm


Bob..
1 Tim 5:24 “Some men’s sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some men also they follow after.”
It’s impossible to know what sins lay in the hearts of people. When sin becomes open; then it needs to be dealt with by the elders, but always with the goal of engendering repentance and reconciliation. Homosexual sin may not be greater than other sins, but open sexual sin within the Church (both Hetero and Homo) pollutes the entire Body and destroys our witness to the world.
1 Cor 5:11- “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.”



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:38 pm


So as I sit in the safety and secrecy of my sin (which as a believer will literally be tearing me in two) what motivation do I have to share it?
I was an elder for three years in a church of 1,000. In my term we had one case of “unrepentant sin” and the brother was “removed”. (How many more went unrevealed?) I will go to my grave second-guessing our course of action. The words written here cannot be proudly held up as a mandate. Rather they should be feared as a most horrible responsibility.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:39 pm


Jeff Thanks for that. In defense of Scot, (though he hardly needs me to defend him) I think he’s going to get to these issues. The red letter issue did come to my mind as well but he has made it clear that this is only his starting point. I look forward to hearing “the rest of the story” :)
I find the “table” terminology to be confusing because of it’s dual usage within and without the Church as distinguished by Paul in 1 Cor 5: I’m confident Scot will note the distinction eventually but it would have been good to see it in the initial post.
McLarens latest salvo on Homosexuality is going to force some who generally embrace the Emergent movement to fish or cut bait. There are not going to be any moratoriums.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:42 pm


I think some of us here are misunderstanding the nature of what Scot is doing. It is an unfolding of sorts.
I don’t see how you guys can say what you’re saying, when this series is not done. How can you judge this series until it’s done.
And, by the way, if you would read John Burke’s book, “No Perfect People Allowed” you would be surprised at the answers and take that is there. From what I read here, none of you who are so uptight in thinking that this series is tolerant of sin has really read that book.
I hope there’s an openness here to redemptive thought and belief that sees Jesus change people’s lives.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:45 pm


Bob the “motivation” is forgiveness, reconciliation, fellowship and compassion to wards those who are struggling with the same things.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 2:52 pm


Ted I think you are right we need to wait (hard as that is) but there is a distinct agenda on the part of some people both within and without Emergent to normalize and receive homosexuality into the Church. Not just the pews but also into the pulpits.
Not saying that is the purpose here, but it clearly is with McLaren. If “God made them Gay” who are we to argue with God?



report abuse
 

Saint

posted January 27, 2006 at 3:23 pm


I have a serious problem with the idea that unrepentant sinners should not be allowed in church: There is no such thing as a wholly repentant sinner, which is exactly why we needed Jesus to begin with.
If it were possible to wholly repent of every sin we have ever committed or are currently committing, we wouldn’t need Christ to purify or redeem us, we’d be doing that ourselves already. And if anyone thinks that the average Church elder/deacon/pastor/whatever has no unrepentant sin in his or her life, you’re fooling yourself.
The issue isn’t one of removing unrepentant sinners from the church registry (a ridiculous man-made notion as it is), it is one of “which sins are more politically acceptable within the church than others?”. I say “political” because Church “membership” has far more in common with wordly politics than it does with the Church that Jesus came to establish.
The fact is that most “church” leaders greatly espouse and are generally praised for being legalistic, judgemental, uncharitable, self-righteous and graceless. The revelation that an elder is alcoholic or abuses his/her spouse due to “anger issues” might prompt a “private” prayer meeting for people to pray against the “spirit of addiction” or the “spirit of anger” in the person’s life, and do everything in their power to “lift them up in prayer”, whether they ever stop doing what they are doing or not.
But dare to be afflicted with the spirit of homosexuality, and its “I’m sorry but we can’t allow your kind into our great church building, because Jesus lives here and your presence might hinder the redemptive power of the son of God over the more religiously acceptable sinners who come in here.”
I guess I shouldn’t be overly surprised that “church”y people are so given to discarding undesirables, though, as this sort of attitude is 100% consistant with human nature. And seeing as the modern-day concept of “church” is pretty well 100% man-made, this makes a lot of sense.



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 3:35 pm


Saint, please read 1 Cor 5-6 and Matt 18:15-20 and then comment on what you think it means. Please remember that repentance in the Bible does not mean you have become perfect. It is an attitude of disfavor upon one’s sin that causes one to take action against doing it. This is only when one is AWARE of what they are doing is sin. So it has to do with how one reacts when corrected for sin. I don’t know how one could read the NT and not see the message of redemption coming solely to those who repent. That is the message of the gospel: “Repent and believe,” not just “come into a warm relationship with Jesus who doesn’t care what you do because we’re all sinners anyway.” In other words, redemption is from sin and Christ redeems those who want to be. How can anyone be redeemed from sin if they refuse to acknowledge that they need to be?



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 3:39 pm


Also I think that people are bringing a lot of baggage into this discussion because of personal experiences with various churches. I can only comment that I think any unrepentance of any sin is serious enough for church discipline. I don’t think it is fair however to characterize what is being said here as though a corrupt church is saying it. Perhaps they would be hypocritical in applying what I said, but I’m not.



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 4:09 pm


Bob, maybe this would be helpful to you as I also struggled to understand these issues as a Pastor. Church discipline really is about rebellion. The Church, because it is not able to read minds, cannot deal with secret rebellion, and when it does not know, it should not presume. Maybe that is why you saw a “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing going on before. But when sin is known, the Church (in obedience to the Lord’s own command) must both purify the community and communicate to both the offender and the whole church that one cannot have a genuine claim to being under the Lordship of Christ and in unrepentant rebellion against Christ at the same time. That really is the message sent by the shunning of those who persist in open rebellion (on any issue of sin). Those who are not seen must be judged by God. The Church can only be faithful with what is placed before it openly. What seems temporally unloving is, according to Christ, the most loving thing you can do because of its eternal hope (1 Cor 5:5). The corrupt church boasts about how accepting it is (5:1, 6), but the faithful church is concerned about how this person and the community will fair on judgment day. Preserving the person and people is far more important than the bad feeling we have about the situation because we look like jerks by doing it. I certainly would rather avoid myself, but the church is not ours to do with what WE think is right. It belongs to Another, who understands far more about love and what is good than we do.



report abuse
 

Scott M

posted January 27, 2006 at 4:55 pm


Greg Mc and Bryan,
At this juncture and on this post, I really only have one question for you right now.
Have you removed all the openly covetous people from your congregation and placed them outside your impermeable walls? Really? In all its many forms? How about those known for saying negative things about other people? How about those who demonstrate every day of their lives outside church that something else is more important to them than God, who devote their lives to something else? How about all those who have divorced and remarried?
Of course, the list goes on and on, but I focus on those because they are some of the ones specifically mentioned in the one sentence of Paul’s I tend to hear most quoted. If you expel all those who demonstrate the above and do not actively repent, then your actions may be consistent with your words here. I will grant that.
But it has been my observation that God transforms people and makes them more like his son over the course of their whole lives. And that most people, myself included, has areas of unrepentant sins in their lives to which they remain blind (however often they hear someone talk about it) until the time to tackle that area has come. Or do you truly believe someone is completely changed in an instant, no matter where they start from?
I think I’ve wandered off Scot’s intent in this post, but that’s the heart I see behind the manner in which Jesus approached and still approaches people. He knows them. He loves them. He sees them as God intended them to be. And he sees how sin has damaged them. He invites them to spend time with him at his table where instead of making him unclean, he can make the unclean clean again.
Or at least that’s how I’ve always read the gospels. Nor do I see Paul as being dramatically different. People tend to pull out pieces where he is dealing with one specific problem or another and sometimes miss, I think, the general tone and backdrop of everything he writes.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 5:17 pm


ScottM: Within the last month my wife confronted a close friend of ours from Church about slander and gossip and the person thankfully acknowledged the sin and even thanked my wife for having the courage to confront her. That said; even if we are inconsistent in our practice that would not change the truth of how we should respond it would merely be inconsistent. We fail to do what we should all the time, but that does not absolve us of our responsibility.
[Scot McKnight edited the address for it seems to me that Greg is talking to ScottM and not “Scot” with one “t”. Correct me if I’m wrong Greg.]



report abuse
 

Scott M

posted January 27, 2006 at 5:45 pm


Yeah, I’m sure Greg was talking to me. The sin that is rampant in our culture is that of covetousness, greed, and selfishness. Further, I find hardly any people without large unrepentant areas of it in their lives. I know God continues to reveal areas of my life dominated by consumerism or materialism or even selfishness in small doses. Yet people like that are not only not rejected, but actively embraced in our churches.
Further, gluttony is also rampant in our churches. And it is not only in the pews, but behind the pulpit. And our churches not only accept it, but bring on the donuts and desserts while joking about the sin.
When you choose to use the Bible as a lawbook, watch out for that plank in your own eye. If it’s large enough, you’ll have no credibility in the eyes of those who see just a little differently than you.
Some of the people around Jesus repented. Others did not. And with some we’re simply not told. Characterizing all those he welcomed at his table as repentant is a mistake. Yet he welcomed them.
I don’t know your church, but I know our culture. And if you don’t see many people, probably most, in your church with openly unrepentant areas of sin in their lives (probably because the Spirit has not yet helped them connect the dots to see that particular area as sin), I have to wonder. Don’t look for the big ticket sins du jour. Look for the ones our culture ignores or even considers a positive attribute. Those are the ones that are hardest to see.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 6:25 pm


Thanks Scot I noticed the mistake after it was too late. I was responding to Scott M.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 6:31 pm


Scott M
Much of what you say is true. So are you saying the Church should just throw the doors open to any and all that want to join regardless of any overt unrepentant sin. Do you have any Scriptural warrant for such a position?



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:08 pm


Scott M, that might be nice for someone who is not put over the church to take care of it, but I’m a Pastor and I need to conduct church in the way the Lord has instructed (not through my personal observations of inconsistency that would by your very argument undermine Paul as well). I assure you the process of discipline is not so casually encountered and executed, but since I’m not a Wesleyian, I don’t have to wait until we’re all dead to see if a person repents in order to obey the Lord. If a person claims to have a submissive relationship to Christ, and does not have the Holy Spirit convicting him or her when they are corrected numerous times by the church, then that claim is false and I don’t believe they will be “growing” in the future unless they hand their lives over to Christ. Your problem is with God and how He has explicitly commanded us to deal with these issues (consistent or not). BTW, if you read what I said, the issue in church discipline is rebellion. It does not matter from what flavor that rebellion stems.
I think a lot of this stems from the false idea in the church that you can have Jesus as your Savior without having Him as your Lord, who commands you what to do. I know this is way of Scot’s intent for this, so I will say no more, but I believe one enters into a relationship with Christ through REPENTANCE and BELIEF, not just belief. I think the NT is clear on that matter. Unfortunately, popular religion isn’t.



report abuse
 

Saint

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:28 pm


I also have a problem with the way most Christians define the word “church”. The buildings that most of us go to on a weekly basis, and what Bryan is “put over to take care of” is not “the church”. We do not have any say or power over who becomes or ceases to be a member of Christ’s church, as the only pre-requisite to membership is that we be saved through Christ, thus only Christ determines who is or is not a part of it. To imply that any person, pastor or otherwise, is qualified to make decisions about who is allowed in the church, is the height of arrogance and blasphemy as far as I am concerned.
This “church” you speak of, which is the thing you are so eager to kick all the gays out of, is something different. The true church is not an institution and it does not have anything to do with hierarchy or politics. It is a family, with one head – Christ, under whom we are all members of one body. Since you want to make a distinction between “the table of Jesus” and “the Church”, I will agree that there is a difference. Christ’s church accepts only those who are redeemed in Christ’s eye, and since we are expressly forbidden from making judging about the state of a person’s heart and soul, this really isn’t something anyone should be overly concerned about.
But the TABLE of Christ – the gathering together of sinners for fellowship, is open to all, repentant or unrepentant alike. The “church” that some attend and some pastor is actually an expression of Christ’s table, and is for this reason that anyone who wishes to, whether gay, alcoholic, perverted, drug addicted, abuser, abusee, adulterer, or whatever, should be welcomed.
So in answer to the question “So are you saying the Church [institution] should just throw the doors open to any and all that want to join regardless of any overt unrepentant sin.” the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. Who are you to decide who is welcome and who is not?
Keep in mind I am not saying that we should ignore sin – that is a major mistake that so-called “Liberals” make, loving the sinner to the exclusion of acknowledging their sin. We are definately called to lovingly correct those within the body of Christ who are living righteous lives. But there is a big difference between counselling and upholding a person in their woundedness and sin and casting them out of our church.
I maintain that there is no such thing as a person with no hint of unrepented sin in their lives, such a thing defies what the Bible tells us of the human condition, and denies the continual need for Christ in our lives.



report abuse
 

Scott M

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:33 pm


Greg,
I’m simply saying that we need to approach individual as an Eikon of God and a person, different from all other people, in a different situation than all others. We should avoid turning the Bible into an undifferentiating rulebook highlighting only those things we feel should be considered unclean. And yes, I have abundant scriptural warrant for that perspective (it’s not really a position), but I think you can find it with little difficulty. Nor do I particularly appreciate your effort to caricaturize what I was trying to say.
My essential point, taking this post and the contextual ones that have set the stage, is that there is no blanket category or situation called “homosexual”. Each is unique and must be approached that way. Further, though you feel it is always the most awful sin in a person’s life and must immediately be addressed, I’m not at all convinced God agrees. In fact, I have known people in situations where a decision to immediately quit their “lifestyle” because of Christianity would have caused more damage to them and innocents than not.
God does not always choose to do things the way we believe he should. A good example is the movie, End of the Spear. While many people have been screaming about the fact that Chad Allen is a gay activist, I found the words of Steve Saint in this article a truer example of Christian honor, love, and submission.
Now, I would tend to say, from scripture, that promiscuous sex is highly damaging both to the person and in ripples all around. That’s true whether the sex is heterosexual or homosexual. It devalues our body and destroys our ability to love the way God would have us love. And further, it’s not the negative statements we should most look toward, but the picture in the bible of the marriage of one husband and one wife as something that helps us mold our love into God’s love and reveals, though partially a mystery, some manner of how Jesus relates to us and the church. (In that I agree with Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical on Christian love. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not read it.)
So if the issue is promiscuous sex, I find it is often an area God wishes to address early. It is highly destructive. However, scripture is full of situations that fail to meet the ultimate expression of love, yet have been accepted, used, and even blessed. He accepted divorce, though it broke that ideal. He accepted polygamy, though it violated that plan. He accepted concubines and handmaidens used for sex, though that strikes me as even further astray. And there are situations where I do not believe that a monogamous homosexual relationship would be the area that God deems the most damaging or immediate area of sin to address. Can we not to some extent trust God and the Holy Spirit? And treat people as cracked Eikons, but Eikons nonetheless, rather than “sinners”?
It’s not so much the idea that sometimes confrontation, exclusion, or some sort of intervention is required (out of love), but rather lumping this category “homosexuality” into a group that always requires such action while leaving other sins in categories that rarely or never require any action. And pushing this group away, saying horrible things about them, drawing offensive analogies, and otherwise acting in ways I cannot imagine Jesus acting.



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:34 pm


Saint, please read Matt 18:15-20 and tell me if Christ is telling us to blaspheme by saying the church has His authority to judge these matters and even cast one out.
I’m also wondering what you think of Christ’s statement that whoever the apostle’s say is forgiven is and whoever they say are not aren’t?



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 7:38 pm


BTW, when I say “church” I’m talking about the people. I never assumed otherwise.



report abuse
 

Dana Ames

posted January 27, 2006 at 8:47 pm


As regards Matthew 18, the portion in question is concerned in general with the forgiveness and reconciliation that is to characterize Jesus’ followers. Scot’s remarks about table fellowship are making a point about how Jesus treated “tax collectors and sinners”.
I greatly appreciate the idea that there is no separate species of human being to be labeled “homosexual”. Already that has helped me to stop objectifying these humans as The Other. I’ve wanted to be able to do that, but have lacked the creativity needed for it. Thanks Scot.
Dana



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 27, 2006 at 9:31 pm


I don’t want to draw conclusions since Scot isn’t finished yet but I think we find ourselves here: a group of cracked Eikons seated around the “Table”. There are two camps: 1) the camp that says unholy things will defile the holy 2) the camp that says the holy things will make the unholy clean.
I laud Greg and Bryan’s devotion to the holiness of the Temple and their dedication to keeping it pure. I also recognize Scot’s premise that it is the presence of Jesus at that table that “creates an alternative society” of the redeemed.
Do we subscribe to the Old Testament concept of becoming unclean or the New Testament concept of becoming clean? Is it the offering that makes the altar holy or the one who the altar represents that makes the offering holy?
For a fact, if we sit at the table without Christ, we will all become corrupt. But if He is at the center, we will all be made clean.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted January 27, 2006 at 9:36 pm


Bob,
Thanks much for this. I can’t tell you how much I resonate with Jesus’ knocking down of purity walls in order to spread purity. Jesus opposed the notion that you get yourself pure and then you can eat with me and offered an eat with me and I’ll make you pure approach. Both affirm holiness and purity; each, however, differs dramatically on how to get there. Jesus’ approach is by way of grace creating purity.



report abuse
 

Denny Burk

posted January 27, 2006 at 9:48 pm


ScottM [Denny originally assigned Comment #51 to Scot McKnight, but Scot McKnight didn’t write #51:]
In #51 you wrote: “lumping this category ‘homosexuality’ into a group that always requires such action while leaving other sins in categories that rarely or never require any action.”
I have to say that in my experience in evangelical churches, I have never seen a person disciplined for homosexual behavior. I have seen a man disciplined for forsaking the church and his family for alcohol. I have seen a man disciplined for living with a woman he wasn’t married to. And most recently, I’ve seen a music minister receive a public rebuke from the pastor for his extra-marital flirtations (1 Tim 5:20). It just doesn’t ring true to me to claim that Christians treat homosexuality harsher than they do other sins when the other sins are the ones that people often get disciplined for in evangelical churches.
Like ScottM [not McKnight], I would also direct readers to the Christianity Today website where a Christian man who still struggles with homosexuality makes a plea: “As a person who struggled as a pastor for 17 years (though not currently) and as a homosexual for more than 40, I can only testify from my own experience that it is not more understanding from Christians that I need; it is more of Christ, and He comes with both truth and grace. . . Until I am confronted with the truth of who and what I am – not from a theological perspective, but from a Divine one – I cannot truly receive forgiveness for what makes me what I am. . . it is both grace AND truth that I and my fellow-travelers need. Either without the other is insufficient. I need the accountability of those who will hold my behavior up to the plumb line of truth and show me my erring; I need the support of those who bring God’s grace to life by binding my wounds and caring for me when the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy” (Source: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur).
This former pastor is correct. The confrontation with sin that the Gospel brings is something we all need, and it is no less true for homosexuals. If a person is not ready to be confronted with the truth about sin and grace, then he or she is not ready to receive the gospel–no matter what his/her sexual orientation.
I can receive all kinds of broken EIKONS at my table for the sake of the Kingdom. This is good and right. But I have no fellowship at the Lord’s table with those who do not confess Him as Lord (see the very early Jesus creed in Rom 10:9-10), and it would be unloving and dishonest to allow them to think that I do.
Christians ought to shine the light of God’s grace in every place and to every person they meet, even when that light exposes cherished idols. At the end of the day, it is exceedingly cruel and hateful if we don’t. How does it help a person to allow them to continue in the delusion that God is okay with their idol?
Some of the most sublime words in all of the New Testament occur in a passage where the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian Christians that the “unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Among those with no inheritance in the Kingdom are the “effeminate” and “homosexuals.” And then the spendid words follow: “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes–including homosexuals. This is the message that homosexuals need to hear–a gospel that is powerful enough even to break down the strongholds of their sin.
Thanks,
Denny



report abuse
 

Denny Burk

posted January 27, 2006 at 9:54 pm


To Bob in #55 and Scot in #56,
I agree, as long as we still make room for the Lord’s command in 1 Corinthians 5. Sometimes the purity of the fellowship is maintained when the Lord’s people hand the unrepentant brother over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. The Lord says through Paul those who refuse to put such people out of the fellowship are arrogant (1 Cor 5:2).
Thanks,
Denny



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 10:09 pm


Bob and Scot [Bryan, do you mean McKnight here? I don’t think I, McKnight, have said much about OT], I’m surprised that you guys made this an OT issue. I quoted NT passages (not that I think the two should be torn apart in some Marcionite way, so I’m not sure why you guys are doing that). I think you’re going to have a real struggle with a lot of statements the NT makes about fellowship with God and unrepentant sin if you believe people via spiritual osmosis become holy even though they don’t want to be. People are made clean by Jesus when they enter into a relationship with Him and the entrance of that gate says, “Forsake yourself, forsake your sin.” I made no statement about making yourself clean. My statements concern how one enters a relationship with Christ in order to be cleaned.



report abuse
 

Bryan Hodge

posted January 27, 2006 at 10:14 pm


Denny, that’s a good point. I’ve only counseled individuals who struggled with homosexuality, but never had to discipline one. My discipline experience has been more with brawlers and drunkards (to use the old KJV rendering). In fact, having been in a variety of denoms throughout my life, I’ve never known one person to be disciplined for homosexuality in any of the churches I’ve been to.



report abuse
 

Bob

posted January 27, 2006 at 10:57 pm


Bryan, You can’t put Scot and me together. We’re in different leagues. (I’ll let you guess who’s in the Majors and who missed the first cut in Li’l Sluggers.)



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 11:36 pm


Saint;
“The buildings that most of us go to on a weekly basis, and what Bryan is “put over to take care of” is not “the church”.”
No one thinks that bricks and mortar is the Church, at lest no one around here.
“To imply that any person, pastor or otherwise, is qualified to make decisions about who is allowed in the church, is the height of arrogance and blasphemy as far as I am concerned.”
So would you say that Paul was an arrogant blasphemer when he commands the elders in Corinth to do exactly that?
“So in answer to the question “So are you saying the Church [institution] should just throw the doors open to any and all that want to join regardless of any overt unrepentant sin.” the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. Who are you to decide who is welcome and who is not?”
Notice I did not use the word “institution” you added that yourself. If you are going to quote me, please do it without adding to my words.
Who am I? I am a nobody, but the Scriptures are the revelation of Gods will and He clearly disagrees with you.
“I maintain that there is no such thing as a person with no hint of unrepented sin in their lives, such a thing defies what the Bible tells us of the human condition, and denies the continual need for Christ in our lives.”
I agree with you on this last point, but you can’t use that as an excuse to do anything you want. Sanctification is a process that all believers go through as long as we are alive. I am not denying that for myself or anyone else and there is no special standard for Homosexuals.
“But there is a big difference between counselling and upholding a person in their woundedness and sin and casting them out of our church.”
Unbelievers do not see themselves as wounded but that’s the problem isn’t it? Why should they repent when they don’t think they have done anything wrong?



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 11:53 pm


To ScottM [not McKnight]:
So are you saying the Church should just throw the doors open to any and all that want to join regardless of any overt unrepentant sin? Do you have any Scriptural warrant for such a position?
You replied: “yes, I have abundant scriptural warrant for that perspective (it’s not really a position), but I think you can find it with little difficulty. Nor do I particularly appreciate your effort to caricaturize what I was trying to say.
First I just asked a question to clarify what I thought you were saying. Second I would like to see the scriptures that say unrepentant sinners should be welcomed into fellowship in a local Church. A great deal of the Epistles were written to counter exactly that type of teaching.
“Further, though you feel it is always the most awful sin in a person’s life and must immediately be addressed, I’m not at all convinced God agrees.”
Where did I say or even imply that? Are doing what you just asked me not to do to you?
“It’s not so much the idea that sometimes confrontation, exclusion, or some sort of intervention is required (out of love), but rather lumping this category “homosexuality” into a group that always requires such action while leaving other sins in categories that rarely or never require any action. And pushing this group away, saying horrible things about them, drawing offensive analogies, and otherwise acting in ways I cannot imagine Jesus acting.”
Again I don’t have a special category for Homosexuals and I have not said anything horrible. If I have let me know where would you?



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 27, 2006 at 11:56 pm


The last post should have been identified as being addressed to ScottM
Sorry for my awkward posting.
Greg



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 28, 2006 at 12:07 am


Bob;
Thanks but I think I would take issue with your idea that the simple presence of Jesus does anything at all. It certainly didn’t do much for many of the unbelieving scribes
“it is the presence of Jesus at that table that “creates an alternative society” of the redeemed.”
Do we subscribe to the Old Testament concept of becoming unclean or the New Testament concept of becoming clean?
I subscribe to the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ received by grace alone through the empty hand of faith alone. Have I somehow given you the impression that I believe in some form of Human works righteousness?



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 28, 2006 at 12:13 am


Denny in 57-58
Good stuff.
Have you seen the Denny Crane character on Boston Legal? :)
Greg



report abuse
 

Sudo Nim

posted January 28, 2006 at 1:56 am


Ok, apparently my words are not supposed to come through. This is my 3rd attempt, and the last 2 didn’t work.
Let me just say I am one of the “them” talked about here. I found a degree of freedom from it a couple years ago, spiritually and psychologically the pieces coming together. I find it amusing and weird when people get in a frenzy, talking about “them’s” of which I am one.
Hi. My name is Becky. I will try to figure out, another day, how I can keep involved in this blog with my real name. For those who recognize me – hi, it’s me.



report abuse
 

Becky

posted January 28, 2006 at 6:23 am


I first wondered if I had lesbian tendencies when I was in High School. I tried thing after thing to fix this, what I thought was wrong, for 30 yrs. Finally a couple years ago I was referred to a woman who helps those wanting freedom, as such can be in this life, from lesbian attraction. At the same time I was in therapy and realized my attraction was an idealized fantasy that I would get the mother love from another woman, that I never got from my mom. Sex is about as close as you can get to another person, so that’s how it looked attractive to me. I was learning how to let go of trying to get mother substitutes, in many ways it comes out in me, combined with learning that when a sexual thought about a woman starts up, I need not go there, stop, say no. Because I know I didn’t get that desired love from my mom and another person at this time can not make up for it. I can not get what I never got. I can not turn back time, I can not make my mom what I wanted. It would not have been enough just to learn how to say “no” to this attraction. I had to find out what the itch is, and figure out how reality lines up to it, and what way I can turn so the itch gets taken care of. Part of that is saying “sorry, you don’t have a mom, you can’t get a mom.”
30 yrs I struggled with this. A sincere christian, as much as anyone without this tendency. It wasn’t a matter of proper repentance and turning from this sin. God works with us all bit by bit. I got to where I could get a handle on this, with God’s help. As long as all of us sin, and we all do daily till we die, we can not make a differentiation between our sin and the sin of homosexual attraction. We can not stop all our sinning today, no matter how sincere our desire and repentance. We all struggle with the split of wanting to see ourselves in the heart of God, but fleeing it too, with various distractions.
I want to add that in the context of looking for another person to fill a hole in me, the sin is idolatry. It is not what genitals do with another set of genitals. When talk about those with same sex attraction comes up, what seems focused is the sex content. That isn’t it, it’s idolatry. I have turned to the golden calf because it looks like it fills the deep emotional need faster. Thus the sameness with all of us, as I wrote above in my last line. We all struggle with the split of wanting to see ourselves in the heart of God, but flee it too, with various distractions. In my 30 yrs of dealing with this, my experience is that those with same sex attraction are looking to another person to fill a psychologicalspiritual hole. And I ran those 2 words together intentionally, cuz in real life they can not be split into 2 areas, they are intertwined in who we are, one affecting the other, wed.
I am in a small church. I think there are 20 of us now. Some of us have known each other 28 yrs. Someone who has been there 5 yrs or so, we found out last week that she’s had an affair for 9 months, and is leaving her hubby and her kids to deal with it. She’s going to a man who has had 3 marriages and multiple affairs. Her current husband isn’t abusive in any way, doesn’t do drugs or alcohol. She is an adult child of alcoholics. This is such typical behavior of an unhealed acoa. Wanting and fearing closeness, trying through this new man, to get what she wanted from her daddy. From her childhood, she has complex issues to work through, issues that touch her in ways she doesn’t know yet. But she can work through them to the point that she doesn’t make such stupid choices spurred by her pain. She feels a dissatisfaction and is looking for stuff outside herself to fix the dissatisfaction. It is not enough that I would just tell her leaving her hubby and kids is wrong, having the affair is wrong. My words to her is to take care of her wounds, to stop blaming dissatisfaction on stuff outside herself. In this, she is making those people she thinks will quench her thirst, scratch her itch, she is making them the golden calf, an idol. “I am afraid and so I will turn to this fix in front of my face that looks mighty inviting.” Go to person after person – fix me, fill me, cure my dissatisfaction. So, idolatry runs in us all when we flee the heart of God and run to other things to distract. So, yes, she has this complex psyche from the alcoholic home she grew up in. But, she has a choice. When someone says to her to go into counseling and deal with this and that. Then she has a choice. And healing is available. Even woundedness from our parents doesn’t make us who we ‘have’ to be. And so with all. Never complete healing in this life, but sufficient.
See, there isn’t this category over here, homosexual, to discourse over “their” sin and what we do with “their” sin. We are them. How are we them ? We all turn from the heart of God to look for the fixes closer to our faces, that look like they will be the drug that soothes. We want to see ourselves in the heart of God and we fear it at the same time. So we turn to things that distract temporarily, looking for the balm. Our golden calves we make. And when we dance around our golden calves, we are the whores who have left our Lover/God.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted January 28, 2006 at 8:39 am


Becky, this is Kris writing on my husband’s, Scot’s, account:
Thank you for sharing your story and being open and vulnerable about your struggles. I believe you get to the very heart of these tough issues; that is, how we humans look to other people, things, etc. to fill holes in us that only God can fill. It can be through same-sex attractions, opposite-sex relationships, alcohol, drugs, material things, etc. etc. etc – anything to distract our internal pain that only God can heal. Your story is that of many people who struggle with same-sex attractions and they begin to understand the dynamics (complicated and multi-faceted that they are) which include attempts (unconscious much of the time) to get mother/father emotional needs met. I know the homosexual struggle is much more complicated than my words here, but I applaud your openness in telling your story. Your story also helps us understand that change, at times, occurs over many, many years. And you are so right – “we are them.” We are all sinners who need God’s grace.



report abuse
 

Greg Mc

posted January 28, 2006 at 1:15 pm


Becky; thanks for sincerity in telling us about your personal struggle. I think if everyone could honestly tell their own story it would be similar to both yours and your friends.
I make my living as a potter so I think of Humans in terms of cracked Pots some of us are leak more than others but we are all broken. As you noted, we try to fill ourselves up with anything that comes along but we just keep leaking and never get full.
The word “sincere” can mean “without wax” and it gets it’s origin from the practice of merchants who would seal cracked pots with wax so that they would hold water long enough to sell them to some unsuspecting customer. But as soon as any heat was put to the pot the wax would melt and the leaks would become obvious. There is a lot of wax floating around in the Church people hide their cracks because they fear no one would love them if they knew about their flaws.
In the Orient sometimes they fill cracks with gold or amalgam to show the cracks off. They herald the flaws as a touch from something transcendent. The idea being (although they would not personify it) God did this lets show it off.
The thing is; once a pot is fired it is no longer mold-able clay it has changed to become a new material. It becomes as hard as a stone and the process cannot be reversed. The best that Human effort can accomplish is to hide or herald the flaws but true healing is not Humanly possible.
But God!
Oh how that phrase from Ephesians 2:4- makes my heart leap! We who were dead; hardened and without hope can be healed by grace through faith in the only one who has the power to re-create in us a heart of flesh.
Some people want to hide their sin and some people want to herald it; show it off as something good because “God made them that way” The Church can only deal indirectly with hidden sin, but it has a mandate to confront open and public sin, openly and directly. Your friend is a good example, perhaps a better one because it has less cultural baggage than Homosexuality but the standard is exactly the same in both cases. The goal is always healing, reconciliation and restoration to fellowship to wards the individual but there is also a larger concern for the protection and purity of the Body as a whole. It’s only after exhausting all efforts to bring restoration that Church discipline in the form of removing the person from the fellowship takes place and even that is ultimately aimed at reconciliation.
Sorry for the long post. Thanks for listening
Greg



report abuse
 

Scott M

posted January 28, 2006 at 1:23 pm


Becky,
Thank you for the grace and vulnerability you’ve shown in choosing to share some part of your story. I think you really demonstrated in it the idea I was attempting to put into words and apparently not doing well at all. Our sexual identity is much more than physical and is intertwined with our whole being, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Whatever the physical behavior, it is rarely if ever just about that. And in his deep, intimate love for us, God transforms us each bit by bit, in the manner and order which we require. That’s really all I was trying to say.



report abuse
 

Becky

posted January 29, 2006 at 5:29 am


Kris, GregM, Scot, thank you for the gracious responses. Thanks to all of you for the opportunity to try to express all I have learned so far in this. The woman who helped to spiritually guide me through this a couple years ago, Andrea, I want to give her credit for all the words and concepts she poured into me. I stand on the shoulders of many others.
Andrea would say to me the problem isn’t “this sin,” the problem is “sin in us.” Stop expressing it in this one way, it pops out in another place. She is the one who would say we are the whores dancing around our golden calves, when we turn from the heart of God. And, so, it isn’t about a sin over here called homosexual, because we all have sin in us, and we all turn from the heart of God and we all have golden calves we dance around.
In the work I did with Andrea, I went into it feeling like I was being led by the Spirit to look into dying with Christ and living in the Spirit. It is something I was doing in my life to an extent already. But in this one place, I felt I didn’t know how to use it in a way that made the effect I was looking for. When I know my heart is full when immersed in God, it gives something to turn to when I say “no” to a sin. When I say “no” to indulging in that which turns me away from intimacy with God, I have the intimacy with God to turn to. It is a life long journey to continue identifying those things we use to turn from the heart of God. Then may we be able to say “no” to them and turn to God more fully.
GregM, I threw pots at one time in my life. I could make forms, not good ones, but I could make them. I love doing it, was thinking of taking a class just to be able to do it again. I have got the most spiritual analogy, from that first step when the clay is on the wheel and you are pressing to make it whole, centered. I see that as the pressure God puts on us to conform us to the clay we need to be so we can be the pot he makes us to be.
May we all have the grace to show our cracks.
in his arms,
Becky



report abuse
 

Dan

posted January 29, 2006 at 10:47 am


Dr. McKnight,
Starting with table-fellowship, eh? I like it! As you know, this is a topic near and dear to me and I’ll be sure to check out Blomberg’s book… somehow I missed that one when researching my paper.
I’m still looking forward to seeing where you are going with this thread. I’m quite amazed by the number of comments you are getting along the way, especially considering that you’ve just scratched the surface and have a long way yet to go.
Peace,
Dan



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted February 1, 2006 at 12:16 am


Sacred Journey » Blog Archive » McLaren, Driscoll, & McKnight on Homosexuality – Blog of Mark Traphagen

[…] In the midst of this, I was once again stunned by the sweet wisdom of Scot McKnight. In typical fashion, while everyone else is arguing between Homosexual–>Bad! and Homosexual–>Who Knows?, McKnight turns us back to Jesus (remember him?). In this post he contends that the church is far to eager to revert to the Law. Before we go to the strong and very clear passages condemning homosexual behavior, McKnight says we must first go to Jesus. And we don’t find Jesus speaking out on this subject. What we do find is him sitting down at table with the worst sinners of his day. In future posts McKnight promises to make clear that he is not proposing that this “permeability” extends all the way to the capital “T” Table (the Table of Communion), but must be applied by Christians to their small “t” tables of fellowship. […]



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted March 11, 2006 at 11:25 pm


internetmonk.com » Blog Archive » Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

[…] I’ll be putting an essay in this space in a few days, but until then, check out Scot Mcknoght’s blog, and especially the series of posts on “Jesus and Homosexuality.” Here are two quotes” So, I begin right here: How would Jesus have “treated” homosexuals? The answer to that question is incredibly simple: he would have treated them as Eikons, as human beings made in God’s image who are designed to reflect God’s glory in this world by relating to God lovingly, to themselves lovingly, to others lovingly, and to the world lovingly. They would have been welcomed at the table of discussion, they would have been invited to listen to him, to interact with him, to follow him, and to fellowship with his followers. They would have been challenged to live before God as Jesus taught. In short, they would have been loved by Jesus. Not shunned; not humiliated; not ostracized; but given a seat for as long as they cared to be with him. He would have told everyone and anyone that there was a seat (or place; they didn’t use chairs) at the table for them. […]



report abuse
 

James

posted March 13, 2006 at 2:47 pm


The “church’s” stand on homosexuality is irrelevant, and by the quotes I mean those who proclaim to be part of God’s Church but clearly do not practice or are governed by the Word of God. The TRUE church’s stand on homosexuality has been and always will be that homosexuality is wrong and is a sin. If you read through Romans Paul is explicitly clear that man’s problem all along has been that he has EXCHANGED the glory of God for something else. He has saught out his own ways to please himself. In v. 23 of Rom. 1 we see they “exchanged the the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” In v. 25, we see again that they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” In v. 27 we now see that “IN THE SAME WAY also the men ABANDONED the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, MEN WITH MEN committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” God’s Word is what reigns supreme, not mans rationalizations. We cannot excuse this in any way. Does this mean we hate homosexuals? NO – in no way. I am sure Paul would have loved and cared for their souls enough to share with them the truth of what God says about homosexuality. TOLERANCE is the horrible word used in the place of LOVE. But true LOVE is pointing out to people that if they continue in their sins without repentance they will go to hell. Let’s not let the world and culture dictate how we as Christians should act, but rather hold everything up to the light of Scripture!
In regards to communion and church membership. I am appalled by the lack of conviction by these comments! No one who is a homosexual can partake in communion for the blood of Christ does not apply to them unless they repent. Let’s not forget I Cor. 11:26-30, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. BUT LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
Let’s not fool ourselves. We as Christians are called to love the unrighteous, for at one point we were as well. However, let’s call homosexuality for what it is: SIN. And no that no homosexual will enter the kingdom of heaven. Let’s love them by telling them that rather than rationalizing it for them and deceiving them right into hell.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted March 17, 2006 at 4:28 am


A Bob’s Life » Blog Archive » Permeable Walls

2006 Camaro Concept/
If you’re looking for info on a 2006 Concept Camaro, we’re your answer—–
[…] That’s how Scot describes Jesus’ view of relationships. I like that description. Scot is talking about Jesus and homosexuality, but he’s primarily focusing on how Jesus approached relationships. Jesus opened up his table of fellowship to anyone who wanted to join. Ironically, we sometimes fail to note that Jesus’ table was open to the religious leaders he often criticized, though they did not want to “dirty” themselves at Jesus’ table. Too often we’re more worried about getting dirty by associating with the wrong people. Jesus wasn’t worried about that. He knew who He was and what He was about. Our concern comes from losing track of who God has made us to be…new creations. Nowhere does Scot say that Jesus OK’d people’s sin. Jesus didn’t seem that worried about it because He came offering grace. […]



report abuse
 

youngdeacon

posted March 30, 2006 at 2:06 pm


Hebrews 12:14
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Romans 1:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
1 corinthians 6:
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Adj. 1. effeminate – having unsuitable feminine qualities
cissy, emasculate, sissified, sissy, sissyish, epicene
unmanful, unmanlike, unmanly – not possessing qualities befitting a man
2. effeminate – characterized by excessive softness or self-indulgence; “an effeminate civilization”
weak
soft – metaphorically soft; “my father is a soft touch”; “soft light”; “a soft rain”; “a soft Southern drawl”; “soft brown eyes”; “a soft glance”
Revelations 3:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Jesus Christ would have never welcomed these homosexuals with His followers sending a mixed message to them both. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. He would have given them a chance to repent, to be delivered, and follow Him as He commanded. You cannot be a sinner and a saint, you cannot be lukewarm. You have to choose who you are going to serve, hot or cold as the Bible says.
Oh and lets not forget the homosexuals in Genesis.
Genesis 19:
1And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
4But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
6And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
7And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
8Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
9And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
10But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
11And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
12And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:
13For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
14And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
15And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
16And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
17And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
18And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD:
19Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
20Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.
21And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.
22Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
23The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.



report abuse
 

youngdeacon

posted March 30, 2006 at 2:09 pm


Jesus Christ the Saviour, God the Father, and the Holy Ghost do not in any way, shape, or form, condone sin or sinful acts, or anything that would cause you to sin.
If that was true then Jesus Christ would have stayed in Heaven, and would have never even bothered with being tortured and being crucified.



report abuse
 

gay sex

posted July 20, 2006 at 7:19 pm


hey man, cool site you have there
rock on :)



report abuse
 

jordan collin

posted July 27, 2006 at 4:16 am

Pingback: On the Road Between Ephesus and Thyatira: An Alternative Model to Ken Wilson’s in ALTMC, Part 3 - Think Theology : Think Theology

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.