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Jesus Creed


Jennifer Knapp, Now Out

posted by Scot McKnight

From Christianity Today, in an interview with Mark Moring:

Seven years ago, while at the top of her game, Jennifer Knapp announced what seemed to many a sudden decision: She was stepping away from Christian music, taking an indefinite hiatus. Rumors began to swirl–she was burned out, she needed a rest, she was upset about something, she was gay. Turns out that all the rumors were true, as Knapp reveals in this rambling, exclusive interview withChristianity Today. The one-time Grammy nominee ended her hiatus in late 2009with a few small shows, an updated website, and an announcement that she was writing new songs. Many of those songs will be featured on Letting Go, releasing May 11, her first album since 2001′s The Way I Am………. [click to the link above for full interview.]


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Collin Simula

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm


I read this article yesterday, and I have to say that it was incredibly respectful. And the way she answers the questions immediately elevates the conversation above our typical LGBT conversation.
The way she talks about her Christ-center, and the way she talks about how much joy she is living in., regardless of mine or anyones views on being gay, is astounding, beautiful, and graceful.



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Scott Smith

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm


Hey Scot.
Had quite a go-round over this on my Facebook page and blog last night.
My take essentially is that we need to take a step back before making her another Michael English, or worse. I know there will be plenty of debate, but I believe while homosexuality is wrong, I don’t see it as registering as a greater offense than other numerated sins. On that basis alone, I think we need to think carefully before throwing stones.
FWIW, my blog post…. http://sarcasticxtian.blogspot.com/2010/04/so-jennifer-knapp-is-lesbian.html



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Barb

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm


I was just reading this on CT and clicked back over here for a change of subject. :)



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Adrienne

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm


Like Collin #1, I was touched by the willingness of CT’s editors to let Jennifer be “real.”
I grew up thinking that being gay was a choice, or the result of a horrific childhood. I was never exposed to the thoughts of a sensitive, healthy person who deeply loves Jesus and feels same-sex attraction.
I don’t think this has to lead to the LGBT lifestyle becoming acceptable in Christianity. I DO think it should lead to Christians recognizing that gays and straights are equally valued by God (and therefore, us).



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William Birch

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm


It isn’t her “being gay” that bothers me as much as her “living gay.” For me, from what I’ve read in Scripture, acting out homosexuality is sin, as is acting out adultery, or heterosexual fornication, or a host of other sins — homosexuality being no worse or less sinful than any other sin.
But Jennifer isn’t merely struggling with homosexuality, she’s engaged in it. This saddens me, because I believe that the Bible calls it a sin. She, and Ray Boltz, and many others I’m sure disagree with me. I certainly don’t condemn her. The Lord will be the Judge of such things. But I am saddened nonetheless — saddened not because she has a homosexual bent, per se, but saddened because there is no struggle against it, something I see as sinful. I still pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy upon her life.



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Jason Derr

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm


It pleases my heart to see an artist of faith step out and joyfully declare the image of God they were made in.
I wonder if the CCM world is slowly starting to accept LGBT folks – Knapp, Ray Boltz, Tonex and Jason and Demarco all being ‘out’ we seem to be developing an LGBT-CCM scene.



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Sacred Frenzy

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm


It’s interesting that “choice” came up numerous times in the interview:
“But there are people I care about within the church community who would seek to throw me out simply because of who I’ve chosen to spend my life with.”
“The struggle I’ve been through?and I don’t know if I will ever be fully out of it?is feeling like I have to justify my faith or the decisions that I’ve made to choose to love who I choose to love.”
“…for me to choose to do so would be a denial of my faith.”



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Wolf Paul

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm


I agree with William Birch. Read a few other threads on this same topic/situation, and the point is often made that Christians treat the homosexual life as a worse sin than many others which they tolerate.
True, but …
While the church tolerates many sins, generally we don’t find many people who argue that they aren’t really sins. We just quietly acknowledge that people overeat, gossip, etc — we don’t affirm or praise these behaviours as laudable or healthy. With homosexuality, however, there is a push by some to make it not just acceptable but to get it affirmed, as a valid, healthy choice. That’s why there is this push for gay marriage, because then, finally, there would be a stamp of approval that it really is o.k., wholesome, blessed, holy.
That’s one reason why many Christians react more strongly to homosexual sin than other sinful behaviors, and I believe it is justified.
Another reason, and I will be very honest here, is the fact that some heterosexual men, myself included, find the thought of sex with another man both strangely tempting and at the same time disgusting and revolting. It’s a bit like violence: it also has a certain appeal for many men, while their better nature is revolted by it. I believe that this predominantly male reaction is one reason why women generally don’t get so worked up about the topic; it’s also why the topic is so much hotter now than it used to be: when homosexuals “out” themselves they force everyone to think about what they do in their bedrooms at night, and many of us don’t handle that very well. Personally, I don’t care either for heterosexuals whose conduct keeps reminding me of what they do in their bedrooms; I don’t really want to think about anybody’s sex life other than my wife’s and mine.
Anyway, as has been pointed out in many of the threads on the topic I have read, we always need to examine our reaction to the sins of others to be sure that we are not condemning in others what we ourselves could easily be guilty of — an attitude of “There but for the grace of God go I” is always a good one to take.



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Bryan

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm


What if I came out an announced I am a rapiset-murderer (relax, I am not). How many professing saints would applaud my decision? We have abandoned the Bible in favor of feel good religion and have forgotten that God of is love also says that without holiness we will not see him.



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Richard

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm


@9 Bryan
It’s a good thing we have Christ’s holiness to cover all of our ugliness huh? Good thing he’s righteous even when we’re not, eh?



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Larry

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm


Bryan are you honestly trying to compare being a rapist and a murderer with being gay?



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Bill

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:05 pm


Check out David Fitch’s blog – this is also related to the GLBT discussion (reclaimingthemission.com)



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Jjoe

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm


Probably everyone here knows a gay Christian, you just don’t know they’re gay. If there are 100 people in the pews, there’s 1 or 2 or 5 right there mixed in.
We do embrace and celebrate the sin of greed. Our entire nation is founded on the concept that the quest for more money will produce the best social outcomes. It is clearly “affirmed as a valid, healthy choice.”



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William Birch

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Jjoe made a great point. I know of five people in our church of 300 in Virginia that are gay. They don’t live out that “gayness”. They struggle against it and believe it is sin. They actually hate it and wish that they were not gay. But they also do not tell people that they’re gay.
How do I know that they’re gay? Because they tell me. (It’s like I’m wearing a sign on my forehead that only some people can see, you know? The sign reads: You can tell me anything, really!)
: ) God bless.



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Bill

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm


wow Me that’s hard don’t you think. I see your point, say with Ted Haggard, but to draw a line “as long as blatantly practicing admitted sin” may very likely throw all of us behind the wall. Do we now have to be parsing what sin – and we all have sin in our lives, doesn’t 1 John 1 make that pretty clear – is so terrible as to require stepping down, not doing anything in public, or for that matter if you push it to the limit, worshipping, prayer, and such things.



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RD

posted April 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm


I think a large part of the problem is rooted in the way that homosexuality has been allowed to be defined for us by conservative political and religious entities. Certain media, certain Bible teachers and preachers have managed to equate homosexuality with predatory, perverse behavior. Homosexuals are depicted as deviants who CHOOSE to engage in perverse behavior (see Mike Huckabee’s discussions equating homosexuality with pedophilia) in much the same way that a young thug chooses to rob a convenience store. To honestly discuss it in light of scripture, I think we have to change the focus from “choice” to “being”. If there are genetic, biological, chemical determinants involved with a human being’s sexual orientation (as there are with determining a human beings skin tone/color, eye color, height, etc..) then someone who is homosexual simply “is”. Choice plays no role.
When I read scripture I see admonishment against hurtful, destructive, selfish, ego driven, personal pleasure seeking behavior. Taking wine with communion is a far cry from dowing a bottle of Ripple inside twenty minutes to see what kind of buzz it will provide. Acts of homosexual sex engaged in for purely selfish reasons (or hurtful and destructive reasons, Re: Sodom) are the sins to which Romans 1 refers. Heterosexual acts that are hurtful or rooted in selfishness are sinful acts. But I have to ask, how is a committed homosexual couple, living in partnership together, working in the community, contributing to the general welfare of the city you live in, hurtful to anyone?
Science is daily opening more and more doors that are shedding light on the nature of sexual orientation. I think the Church is going to have to re-examine the way we’ve always interpreted scriptures about this issue.



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Mo

posted April 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm


I was so shocked to hear this.
Her music was such a huge influence in my life. Like everyone else,I wondered where she’d been hiding all these years. I wondered if she’d fallen away from God, but there was no information either way, so I just waited. And like all her fans, I was so thrilled to see her back.
How sad to now learn she has turned away from Christ and living this immoral lifestyle. And she doesn’t even seem ashamed of it! That’s what gets me the most. It’s one thing to struggle with homosexual feelings/attractions. I don’t believe that’s necessarily a sin. We ALL struggle with things in our lives. If you say you don’t, you’re just lying. We all have our deep pain and brokenness and sin.
What gets me is that she’s openly in this relationship and has been for years, and apparently sees no conflict between that and her Christian faith.
This is so heartbreaking.



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William Birch

posted April 14, 2010 at 7:35 pm


RD,
But I have to ask, how is a committed homosexual couple, living in partnership together, working in the community, contributing to the general welfare of the city you live in, hurtful to anyone?
I’m not sure we see this paradigm laid out for us in Scripture — i.e. as long as your homosexual relationship isn’t “hurtful,” then it is fine with the Lord.
If 1 Corinthians 6:9 speaks to this situation, then I have trouble reconciling it with this notion: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves . . . will inherit the kingdom of God” (NASB). If many scholars are correct about the Greek words for “effeminate” and “homosexuals” respectively, then Paul is addressing the dominate person and the submissive person within a homosexual relationship. Such will not inherit the kingdom of God.
He adds: “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. 6:11 NASB).
It appears that with such people there has been a change; they no longer live in that manner. Your thoughts?



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Mike

posted April 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm


The main problem I have is people justify that if being gay “makes me happy” then how could it be sin? I’m sorry to say but sin can be fun too (I don’t know why people equate bad things as not fun and good things as fun). I’m not just some Christian who has it against homosexuals because I, myself, personally struggle in this area. Yes, I use the word struggle because that is what it is. It’s easy for me to say, “This is too hard and I don’t believe God would make something this hard if it was wrong,” however we forget that we are fighting against an adversary, Satan, that wants to see us fail. God didn’t say we would have a perfect, easy life so I don’t know why people are surprised when we struggle with things in our life. We need to keep things in perspective here because we could take this same type of reasoning and apply it to murderers, child molesters, and rapists. We don’t like to compare to those things because those seem like such bad things but these people often struggle against impulsions to kill or rape. Why don’t we give them the same pass if they are fighting against their own desires? It would be nice to not have struggles but if you spend any time in the Old Testament studying the nation of Israel and how often they fell away from God, it’s easy to see that people get complacent and selfish over time. They begin living for themselves and not for God. Struggles are definitely a way to refine us and develop the type of character that God intends for our life but they are rarely fun while they are happening. Even Jesus asked for the Father to take the cup away from Him before He went through the crucifixion process but even Jesus knew that comfort is not always the right thing to do. If life was about our comfort then Jesus would not have been so adversarial to the scribes and pharisees and the disciples would have stopped preaching the gospel when people threatened their life. They knew that comfort was not what God promised. Jesus even told them in Luke 21 that they would be hated because the world hated Jesus.
I think because we are using a toddler’s view of sin and saying God loves me for who I am instead of “He loves me and not my sin”. Its easy to start justifying that no matter what we do God loves us. This statement is true but this also leads a person towards willingly sinning so that grace may abound more according to Paul. We cannot use sin, or even the pleasure of sin, to justify our actions. When Jesus was brought a woman caught in adultery in John 8 the teachers of the law and pharisees were trying to trap him. They wanted to show him as merciless (punish the sinner) or all sin to abound (throw out the law of Moses), however He made some good parallels. He said to let him who has no sin cast the first stone. Eventually no one was left. Jesus showed His grace to this woman caught in sin by pointing out to people that we are no more righteous than anyone else, however He stilled told her to “sin no more” in verse 11. God shows grace on the sinner but does not disregard His own holiness and righteousness. God knows we don’t measure up but He still tells us to not sin. I think we all tend to think “if we can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and that is not what Jesus taught. I’m sorry to say it but life isn’t about us and many people justify their sin because they have the “God wants me to be happy” syndrome.
Jennifer Knapp has a valid point about people using “‘clobber verses’ to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they’re eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics…” however she is not dealing with their valid points either. As she says all over her interview, she always messes up and makes mistakes but pointing out flaws in another person doesn’t erase your own sins. Simply because people may judge her for her actions does not dismiss her actions altogether. Also, just because a relationship is loving doesn’t mean God approves of it. An affair can be loving between a married man and single woman, but does that justify it? A human could even have a loving relationship with an animal, but is that right? God has standards even through His grace. James is not pointing out that our works save us but rather that a true believer’s works will be a demonstration of their faith. You can’t have faith but your life does not demonstrate it, yet works alone do not demonstrate that you have faith.
When we get to the point where we simply balance pros versus cons to decide whether something is right or wrong we have lost our spiritual bearings. God doesn’t say, “If you can list more positive things than negative things, then it is ok.” An analogy I like to use is with a child and parent. A child asks the parent for candy but the parent says no. The child becomes upset because they really like candy. The parent knows that candy does not provide nutritional value for the child and instead offers them some carrots. The child then refuses because they wanted CANDY not carrots. The child may think the parent doesn’t care about what they want or the fact that they do not even like eating carrots, however, the parent has the longterm benefits in mind not just the immediate benefits.
In a more infinitely larger sense God understands that we really want to do certain things but enjoyment alone does not justify His approval. He wants what is best for us based on His infinite wisdom not our own finite wisdom. Like this child we think getting our way whenever we want something is the logic decision. However, if this were so, how many of us would have grown up to be cowboys, astronauts, ballerinas, pirates, princes, or princesses? I laugh when I think how glad I am that God did not ratify my choice as a five year old, but sadly we still think this way as adults because we believe we have much better logic and reasoning than as a child.
Again, I struggle in this area nearly every day and I have often asked God why I struggle so much. But can I honestly say my struggles compared even close to Jesus’ struggles? Until I can, maybe I should be grateful that He show mercy by not giving me what I really deserve (because He chose to save us, He didn’t have to). Life is hard and I don’t discount that but hardship but doing the right thing should never be based on the situation.



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Jeremy

posted April 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm


Interesting article. I’m not quite sure what to think on the whole homosexual thing.
On the one hand, I find it hard to wriggle out of it being a sin. As best I can tell, it would take some theological gymnastics that I’m extremely uncomfortable with.
On the other, I think we as Christians really downplay the role sexuality in general plays in our personal identities. Homosexuality is a complex thing that is more than a choice and the internal conflict between sexuality and faith is something beyond what most of us can comprehend. We are not talking about sin like heterosexual promiscuity here or kicking the neighbor’s dog. We’re talking telling someone that they cannot be who they are in a very fundamental way. We do not apply our own sexual nature to their predicament, but prefer to cheapen it to something of no import.
While I’m not about to say it isn’t sin, I’m going to shy away from statements like Mo’s (17). I think a whole lot of us, myself included, are actively involved in holding on to sin by denying it’s sin at all. Jennifer’s faith is a matter between her and God. I am not about to declare that she has “turned away from God” based on where she is in her struggle to understand who she is and where God fits into it all. If her faith is authentic, He will either address it or He won’t.



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Mark

posted April 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm


I think that those of you who struggle with this issue need to do more reading of the Bible and less struggling. Right and wrong is not defined by man. Right and wrong is defined by God period. One of the biggest problems that man has always had is that man always tends to supplant the rules regulation and morality of God with his own.
The examples of right and wrong are scattered through out the bible. I have never seen right or wrong defined as how a certian individual feels about somthing at the moment. Things that are wrong are either plainly stated as wrong or attached to various obvious and negative consequences. In accordance with this point it is written that a man shall not sleep with a man as does a man sleep with a woman. That seems pretty plain and simple to me. There is also the example of the corrupt societies of Sodom and Gohmora (guess where the term soddomy was derived). Those people choose to live their lives accorrding to their own desires and were judged by God himself accordingly.
Now here is the difference between homosexuality and other forms of sin. God created a man and a woman to be a part of a holy union on earth. Homosexality is a preversion of this union. Furthermore, in regular sin, a man commits some singular transgression, acknowldeges that what he did is wrong asks forgiveness and does his best to stop sinning. A homosexual defines his or her entire life based on this preversion of God’s intent. They in essence not only embrace this act but define their entire lives by it. This is not just an infringement of one of God’s rules it is a continuous mockery that infests everything about that person. Now what happens as a result of that sin or mockery is between God and the sinner. Our only part is to point out that the sin is wrong and morally incorrect and cut these people off socailly. Now we can still minister to them etc, but as far as haning out and being involved in any part of that act, their social lives or passive accaptance of it or inviting the act into our homes and familes is somthing that should not be done.



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Mike Nyman

posted April 14, 2010 at 10:45 pm


While you’re all busy rehashing the same arguments, I’m going to go pre-order her new music on iTunes. I’m glad she’s back.



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The Charismanglican

posted April 14, 2010 at 11:20 pm


love her all the more.



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Mike M

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:14 am


I’m with Mike N: I just downloaded one of her new songs at iTunes. Apparently Christians are mean and hide behind that meanness by saying “if God doesn’t like it then I don’t either.” I researched “sexual sins” in the bible and a woman having sex with another woman isn’t one of them. Nor is a father sleeping with his daughter. Go figure.



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chad m

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:52 am


a wise friend of mine replied to this news in another venue: “i’m sad she’s not in the church. i hope it’s not because she doesn’t feel accepted.” in the ongoing, never-ending, often times ugly conversation about homosexuality, i hope there is always a place in the body of Christ for sinners. i hope this because i need it to be true. don’t we all?



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katz

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:20 am


I’m with Pam W. While I think homosexuality is a sin, we place a vastly disproportionate condemnation on it.
Consider pride. Mark, consider: Pride is a perversion of God’s intent for the entire universe, centering it around oneself instead of around God. I know an awful lot of Christians who are prideful. And it isn’t an incidental thing that they fall into and repent of now and then: They live pride-centered lifestyles.
They and their pastors and everyone else acknowledge that this is wrong and that it’s something they need to work on, and that’s that. It’s left as a “could be better” situation, something that hopefully will get dealt with as the person is further sanctified. If a very prideful person wanted to become a Christian, nobody would have a problem with this. Few people would say that becoming a Christian requires him/her absolutely ceasing his/her prideful lifestyle, and certainly nobody would say that prideful people can’t become Christians.
Yet the attitude towards homosexuality is just that way. I suspect this issue cuts both ways; our laxity towards pride is probably at least as much of the problem as our strictness towards homosexuality. But the inequality is there.



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J-M

posted April 15, 2010 at 6:08 am


Mike M you need to actually try reading the Bible instead of just doing an internet search. The Bible is very clear that any sexual activity outside of marriage, which is clearly defined as between one man & one woman (Genesis 2:23 & 24), is sin. None of us is perfect, that’s why we need the forgiveness offered to us thru the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But, we are called to repent & turn from our sin. Jesus paid the price for atonement, not so we could be free to sin, but so we could be free from the bondage of our sin. We as Christians offer love, prayer, support & truth to each other. To encourage a fellow Christian to continue in sin is not love, or truth, but death & destruction.



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RD

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:22 am


To William Birch @ 18
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, there is no question that there are certain verses that directly address the issue of homosexuality. I think that most of them (and there really aren?t that many) address promiscuous, selfish, hurtful homosexual activity and we read that to apply to committed, respectful, responsible homosexual union.
But, as in the verses you?ve quoted in 1 Cor, there are times when we have to seek the spirit of the scripture and not necessarily the literal words. For example: ?Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you: from them you may buy slaves?You can will them to your children as inherited property and make slaves of them for life?? Leviticus 25:43 There?s no need to elaborate on how many people over the years have used this verse to justify slavery. It clearly states (and it?s GOD himself speaking) that one group of people can own other groups as property. Why do we not continue this practice? Even though Jesus never reverses the thinking about slavery by addressing it, nor does Paul, we still now find the idea repugnant. As a society we have grown in our understanding and realize that even though the Bible literally condones the practice, the spirit of the scriptures does not (Jesus came to embrace the marginalized, the ?other?). I think we have to apply 21st century understanding and knowledge to the issue of sexual orientation. And we can?t be afraid to take Paul to task on the matter and say that his views were based more in his prejudice and the prejudice of his times, than in the spirit of the Kingdom of God.



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RD

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:37 am


I?ve been reading a lot of comments where people say, essentially, these types of things: If we say homosexuality isn?t a sin then what?s to keep us from saying that it?s okay for a married man to enter into a loving relationship with a single woman? Or for a man who loves his goat more than any other being on the planet to decide to express that love sexually with the animal? Or if we say gay sex isn?t sin then how can we say that murder or rape or incest isn?t sin? This line of reasoning seems to be the most common among Christians (and non-Christians) who think that homosexual orientation is a sin. There is, however, a huge difference. The sins used as comparison ALL involve hurting, disrespecting, subverting, dominating or controlling another being. The married man dishonors his vows and intentionally runs the risk of hurting his spouse. The man who engages with animals is dominating a creature who has no say or no means of equal rebuttal. Murder, incest, rape, robbery, gluttony, cheating, etc etc etc ALL are actions that are rooted in hurtful and destructive behavior. Two human beings who find themselves to be soul-mates, who care for each other and commit themselves to loving the other unconditionally is a behavior rooted in unselfishness, trust and love. Whether that engagement is between a man and a woman or two men or two women is really only a matter of mechanics.



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Clay Waters

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:55 am


@JM 27, speaking of reading the Bible, where is the condemnation of polygamy you seem to find? God offered King David more wives if he’d not been satisfied:
2 Samuel 12:7-8
7: And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8: And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.



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Hillsideslide

posted April 15, 2010 at 10:09 am


This news just made my day!
Love her.



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Karl

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:23 am


RD at #29, if the only criteria is whether the actions involve hurting, disrespecting, subverting, dominating or controlling another being, then what would you say about polyamory (a group of any number of people, all adults, willingly and lovingly in an open sexual relationship with each other) or about polygamy – not forced polygamy with male dominance/control but polygamy in which the multiple wives (or husbands) enter willingly and lovingly and they’re all adults and they’re all ok with it? Is there any scriptural reason to say that those are wrong? If so, why are they wrong? Or does the same logic you use in #29 lead to saying those kinds of unions are ok, too?



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Josiah

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm


Anyone who claims to be a Christian is under the authority of Christ. He will not be accepted as a Savior without being accepted for who He truly is, Lord of the universe as declared in Ephesians 1:20-23. It is through faith that we receive grace, for everyone who believes. And no one will earn one shred of this grace by their own righteousness. Still, in following Jesus we must repent and renounce sin continually. This is the outworking of our faith; never perfect in this life but always growing. We will sin in new and numerous ways each day, and when God brings conviction on us through His Word we repent, turn away from our sin, and run to Jesus and thank Him for his never-ending mercies. But we do not wink at sin and say “God loves me just the way I am, so I don’t have to change”.
In II Timothy 3:16-17 Paul tells us that all scripture has the authority and purpose to teach, train, correct, and rebuke us because it is God breathed. Paul in Romans 1 uses homosexuality (and YES EVEN LESBIANISM) as an example of something shameful and sinful, clearly condemning the practice. Jesus defines marriage as between a man and a woman in Matthew 19 (yes in the context of divorce, but still relevant). Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 6 states that homosexual offenders (unrepentant unregenerate offenders) will not inherit the Kingdom.
Also, one chapter earlier in 1 Corinthains 5, Paul takes a bold stance against sexual immorality. In this example, he commands the church to expel the immoral brother (who was sleeping with his stepmom) and hand him over to Satan, in the hopes that this judgment will lead to this mans repentance and eternal salvation. Paul goes on to say that believers are not to associate with sexually immoral people, that is sexually immoral believers (verse 11). We can and should welcome all into our church, especially the worst of nonbelieving sinners. But once a person has professed faith in Christ, they need to be living a lifestyle of repentance from dead works. If Jennifer Knapp had said she was not a Christian, we should draw her in with love and preach the gospel to her. But since she claims she is a Christian (unless i misread the article), and yet is living out of line with the gospel, we need to show her how serious her sin is. This was Paul’s hope for the unbeliever -repentance- and it is our hope for Jennifer. If she (as many people do) professed to be a Christian, and admitted that living this lifestyle was wrong and that she still struggles with sinning in this way, we would lovingly come alongside her, encourage her in every way, pray for her (as in any case), and welcome her in the church. Christianity does not demand perfection in our actions, but it does demand that we abandon all to follow Christ and through faith receive grace.



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Josiah

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm


I rather should have said that Paul takes a bold stance in I Corinthians 5 towards the believers in Corinth who did not practice church discipline in this case by excommunication. He was opposed to the immoral man’s actions, but he was probably at least as equally as opposed to the believers who sat idly by while this man headed for damnation.



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Tim

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm


Notice how the “sorting narrative” plays itself out here. Wiser people than I beautifully demonstrate its biblical correctness. Then I see how the narrative is implemented in practice.



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Scot McKnight

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm


Tim,
and you illustrate the inevitabe: Did you not just sort?
Yes I get your point but it is not an if but a how..



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kevin s.

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm


A couple comments here refer to Christians “comparing” homosexuality to polygamy, incest or pedophilia. While I have no doubt that some have made this comparison, the more popular meme is to draw an analogy, for the purpose of exposing a certain kind of logic.
In particular, this has been applied to the autonomy argument for legal gay marriage. Advocates state that people ought to have the right to marry whomever they choose. A proper response, then, is to note obvious examples whereby that right has been inhibited by the state, without protest.
This is NOT the same as comparing a homosexual to a pedophile. It solely speaks to the efficacy of the autonomy argument.



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Prisca

posted April 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm


I saw JK in concert at her first show on her tour w/Derek Webb in NYC and reviewed it and posted video on my blog. I have now posted a response to Jen’s latest revelation. I welcome all discussion on both sides of the issue.



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Tim

posted April 15, 2010 at 6:11 pm


Confession… people I love are atheists and gay. In regards to the former, my heart is broken, and I struggle to come to grips with their conclusions and “belief”. As to the latter, my hearts breaks for them and what they have suffered.
I am genuine when I say that I greatly appreciate Scot and David’s writing related to judgment and discernment. When I said that the two of you were wiser, I was not being sarcastic, by the way. I worry that you are not hearing my tone of voice. I am saying, “Amen, amen, amen!” to your insights. So why is it that I won’t give it a rest, perhaps annoying all of you?
Unfortunately, I am in a hard place. People I care about are in the DAMNED category, based upon the typical Bible-based criteria. The pain of the father in the Luke 15 story is mine. This story used to be very theoretical. Mostly my part in the story had been the elder brother and sometimes the younger brother. Playing the father in the story (not that I am like Abba!) sucks. I desperately want to embrace the DAMNED younger brother and his DAMNED older brother. I apologize for trying to “sort this out” (hahaha!) among you all.



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RD

posted April 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Karl @32
Thanks for weighing in with your observations. In all honesty the situations you ask about are, in light of scripture, the most troubling. There actually seems to be at least some kind of ?nod? of approval from God with regard to multiple marriage partners in certain instances. Clay @30 makes reference to one such notation. Of course sometime and somewhere between King Solomon and the Apostle Paul, the cultural view on that practice changed and so the biblical admonitions changed. The writer of the Timothies (I?m not sure it was Paul) made note that a man should be the husband of only one wife. So clearly there are at least two biblical sides to this one.
You ask in your comments at #32 if the logic I put forth in comment #29 holds with regard to polygamy or polyamory. I am no psychiatrist but it seems to me that human beings are somehow ?wired? to share?what I call?soul-mate-hood with only one other individual at a time. Even if two or more women willingly agreed to enter into a marriage relationship with a man and sincerely believed that they were open enough and loving enough to share the intimacy with others, I can?t help but believe that at least one of the members of the union would end up being emotionally hurt or denigrated in some other form or fashion.
I think we attempt to use these arguments as a way of justifying our unwillingness to be honest with an ancient scripture in light of 21st century issues. Again, the whole notion of how Christians are to view homosexuals (and I?m not referring here to promiscuous, carefree homosexual activity, but committed, stable relationships), it seems to me, must be reconsidered in light of the fact that we now know beyond a reasonable doubt that a person?s sexual orientation is beyond their own choosing. I can?t control that I am heterosexual and attracted to women. It?s how I was created. A true homosexual can?t control their sexual orientation, either. They are homosexual because of some genetic, chemical, structural or biological reason (not because they simply choose to be), in the same way that they are right handed or left handed or blue-eyed or whatever. It is a matter of ?being? not ?doing?. It would be as if God looked down and decreed that it is a sin to be British or Black or Asian. A person has absolutely no control over these matters.



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Jeremy

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm


Kevin (37): The only problem is that the analogy is loaded with extremely negative connotations and it misses one extremely vital piece of the argument: Free and informed consent. Children and animals are not able to give it and have protected status, so are therefore free and clear of any slippery slope implications. There’s no rational way to make the leap without ignoring a whole mountain of other protections against just such an occurrence.
Anyway, I’ll just pay attention to the fruit. If Jennifer’s music is uplifting and God speaks through it, far be it from me to sit in God’s seat and judge her soul. He has a way of getting to people who honestly seek him, yeah?



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kevin s.

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:39 pm


“The only problem is that the analogy is loaded with extremely negative connotations and it misses one extremely vital piece of the argument: Free and informed consent.”
Valid arguments against a comparison. Against an analogy, no. The most compelling argument you can make for gay marriage is that people should be able to do what they want and, therefore, marry whomever they want. Free and informed consent applies to polygamy and many forms of incest.
“Children and animals are not able to give it and have protected status, so are therefore free and clear of any slippery slope implications.”
Do you seriously think that the only thing wrong with bestiality is the fact that animals cannot give consent? That’s the only barrier to marrying a goat? What are you trying to argue here? I mean, we can kill animals with rocks. That is totally allowed.
“Anyway, I’ll just pay attention to the fruit. If Jennifer’s music is uplifting and God speaks through it, far be it from me to sit in God’s seat and judge her soul.”
You are welcome to enjoy her music. I am just making the point that there is a difference between an analogy and a comparison. You seem to concede that point, but want to make this about something else.
“He has a way of getting to people who honestly seek him, yeah?”
Doesn’t stop people from making things up about him.



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Alison

posted April 16, 2010 at 9:07 am


This might be idealistic, but I go back to what Billy Graham is reputed to have said, on precisely the subject of homosexuality: “It’s God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, and my job to love”. While he believed that homosexuality was sin, he never “clobbered” anyone over the head with that belief, as so many of us are wont to do. I think his idea about his job only being to love is so perfect here.
All we can do is love people. If God calls us, as part of that challenge, to share with them His persective on what they’re doing, then we should do that, but we need to make sure we are motivated by LOVE, not hubris or prejudice. The best resource I’ve found on this topic is Andrew Marin’s Love is an Orientation–definitely gives a path out of the minefield that this discussion is becoming.



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RD

posted April 16, 2010 at 11:20 am


Kevin S. @42
You wrote: “The most compelling argument you can make for gay marriage is that people should be able to do what they want and, therefore, marry whomever they want.”
I have to take acception to this statement. I think the most compelling argument for gay marriage is that the premise on which our country has been founded mandates it: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights….” Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address began with the over-riding premise that, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” As free citizens of the United States of America homosexual couples live under a discrimination that is no longer tolerated for women, blacks or other minorities. The most compelling argument for gay marriage is that sexual orientation is not a choice but a state of being (like being black or having blue eyes), and that in the context of responsible, committed, stable relationships, their union is a violation of their rights.



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RD

posted April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am


I meant to say: The most compelling argument for gay marriage is that sexual orientation is not a choice but a state of being (like being black or having blue eyes), and that in the context of responsible, committed, stable relationships, TO DENY their union is a violation of their rights.



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Jeremy

posted April 16, 2010 at 11:58 am


Kevin:
You’re putting words in my mouth. Please refrain from doing that. Those are not even remotely the “best” or even “only” arguments I can forward. It is however one of the major differentiations between the two. You are correct that we can kill animals with rocks, however, we cannot torture or abuse them without facing a felony (in most of the US anyway).
And no, I don’t accept that one can slide out of being responsible for using highly loaded, negative words by claiming analogy. Whether or not it is intended, using bestiality or pedophilia as analogy de facto compares or equates them to homosexuality.
Free and informed consent does have its problems, but considering I wasn’t addressing polygamy or incest, that doesn’t much matter.
“Doesn’t stop people from making things up about him.”
Paul said an awful lot of abusable stuff, but he never seemed awfully concerned about it. People making up crap about God means absolutely zero to His power to overcome it.
Anyway, my point was simply that we need to be careful about what we use as either comparison or analogy. It is extremely unhelpful when we use things that are pretty universally abhorrent. It’s also going for the easy win by avoiding the harder to prove ones. If we want to address the wrongness of homosexuality, we need to do so in love and analogies involving pedophilia, murder or bestiality aren’t very loving.



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm


@Jeremy
“You are correct that we can kill animals with rocks, however, we cannot torture or abuse them without facing a felony (in most of the US anyway).”
Laws against bestiality precede laws against animal abuse. Bestiality is illegal because it is perverse. If an animal could consent to sex, it would still be illegal to have sex with an animal. Do you think that should not be the case?
“And no, I don’t accept that one can slide out of being responsible for using highly loaded, negative words by claiming analogy.”
It’s not a claim. There is, literally, a difference between a comparison and an analogy, the purpose of which is to refute logic, and not to introduce loaded language. There is no other way to express the argument.
“If we want to address the wrongness of homosexuality, we need to do so in love and analogies involving pedophilia, murder or bestiality aren’t very loving.”
If we are discussing the wrongness of homosexuality, the Bible will suffice, and the vast majority of those arguing that it is wrong simply rely on scripture. However, scripture is insufficient to argue in opposition to legal gay marriage. You have to address the autonomy question, and there is no way of doing so without discussing, at minimum, polygamy or incest.
You cannot craft law based on imprecise logic, simply because the arguments refuting that logic might hurt someone’s feelings. If you can think of another way to express the argument, let’s hear it.



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm


@RD,
More or less, you are just fleshing out the autonomy argument. And, really, this isn’t a debate about gay marriage. I was responding to the insinuation that Christians are being intentionally hurtful by comparing gay relationships to incestuous relationships.



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Jeremy

posted April 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm


Again, the analogous connection between gay marriage and bestiality/pedophilia is tenuous. The problem with analogies is that they are comparisons on some level, otherwise they would make no sense. They add nothing to the conversation, so the only purpose (for most people) for going there is to draw parallels intended to malign. Really, I don’t know where you’re from, but there is absolutely no good will (or precise logic) involved in these analogies where I’m from.
Anyway, this will totally derail the purpose of the post.



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm


“Again, the analogous connection between gay marriage and bestiality/pedophilia is tenuous. The problem with analogies is that they are comparisons on some level, otherwise they would make no sense.”
No. Consider the expression “like cutting your nose off to spite your face”. The expression is an analogy to any act that denotes a major sacrifice in exchange for modest personal game. A boy who breaks his toys so as to be not compelled share them with his brother cannot be reasonably compared to someone literally disfiguring himself out of spite. The analogy still stands.
“They add nothing to the conversation, so the only purpose (for most people) for going there is to draw parallels intended to malign.”
Analogies add nothing to a conversation, and exist only to malign? That is ridiculous. You are consigning a very important component of contemporary logic and cognitive reasoning (not to mention a whole section of the SAT) to the cultural dustbin simply because some analogies might hurt the feelings of those actively seeking to have their feelings hurt.
“Really, I don’t know where you’re from, but there is absolutely no good will (or precise logic) involved in these analogies where I’m from.”
I ask again, please locate another way of expressing my argument without using the analogy I’ve described. If there is a way of doing so without hurting someone’s feelings, I’ll gladly adopt it.



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Jeremy

posted April 16, 2010 at 11:54 pm


Sorry, misspoke there. I was speaking of the specific analogy, not analogies in general. That would be rather ridiculous, yes.
Anyway, as a point of order, I introduced bestiality into the conversation, which you did not. I apologize. I must have picked it up somewhere, so lets drop it and move on.
“Cutting your nose off to spite your face” illustrates my point exactly. It isn’t loaded. There are no immediately slanderous or insulting implications in the analogy. We aren’t insulted at the hint of comparison. Maybe the analogy is valid, but we’re dealing with people. The problem is that we’ve become entirely too concerned with making great arguments and cared very little about treating people with love and respect.
If we can’t find analogies that aren’t loaded with nasty little insinuations, maybe we need to think really hard about whether the argument is even worth making. So far, all it’s getting us is a nice smug feeling that our rationale is solid.



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Liz

posted April 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm


Most of the comments here make me sad and angry. The scripture that people use to say that same sex relationships are sinful is riddled with problems when you consider the original language and the historical context which leaves us with insufficient evidence to condemn which makes us unjust when we insist on condemning without sufficient evidence as the burden of proof lies with those who wish to condemn and oppress.
My position: I’m glad Jennifer Knapp is producing music again, I’m glad that she is courageously being open about being a lesbian and the relationship that she is in and I’m glad that she is standing up against those who attempt to condemn and oppress her with courage and grace.



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Len Sunukjian CAI Board Member

posted April 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm


I have read Andrew Marin’s book “Love is an Orientation” and find it insightful, courageous and compassionate.
I could only wish that he and others would comment on Genesis 1:26-28 which seems to to state/equate that being made in God’s image(our dignity)necessitates heterosexual union to fully embrace His image in us.
For me the crux of the discussion needs to start with our male/femalecreation(which Jesus affirms – cf. Matt. 19:4-6)not Mosaic legislation or Pauline instruction(though I regard these as authoritative Scripture regardless how one interprets them).
In this area , as in other sensitive (“sticky”) areas of behavior I could wish that I exemplified what John stated about the essential glory/character of Christ “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) Un fortunately I tend to err one way or the other ; that is why I need you, the Church/the community of Christ followers to dialogue Scripture and discern the Spirit’s wisdom from above.



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Gordon

posted October 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm


Every bible scholar from here to Timbuktu knows that the Greek words were (intentionally or unintentionally) mistranslated to depict homosexuals. Homosexuals are never mentioned in the original Greek or Hebrew. Even if it were, what kind of idiot would trust a book that says it okay to sell your daughter as a slave? It takes a real sick and twiste pervert to be a Christian.



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