Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Saddleback: Homosexuals Not Welcome As Members

A statement on the Saddleback Church website declares, “someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church.” The full statement on homosexuality:

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.
“Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin.” (Lev. 18:22 TLB)
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV)
While all sin is destructive, Romans 6 warns us of the great dangers in sexual sin when it says, “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Cor 6:18 NLT) This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.
I’ve heard it asked, “Isn’t being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?” First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that’s obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.
Finally, a word about being judgmental. It’s not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that’s just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are … that’s being judgmental.
Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.
In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives

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Rob the Rev

posted December 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Who gives a rip about what the Saddleback Church and Rick Warren believe about homosexuality. It’s a bunch of medieval and Stone Age balderdash. NOT ME! BTW, Saddleback is an interesting name for a anti-gay church. Any Gays and straights “in the know” understand what I mean. Usually those who object most noisily to homosexuality often have tendencies in that direction. Remember Ted Haggard?
For GLBT resources to support GLBT folks and their straight allies go to

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posted December 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Speaking as a Christian in a sacramental tradition — I always find the membership “tests” of some churches amusing…like rushing a sorority or fraternity. Well, the Saddleback folks can rest assured that my partner and I have no interest in joining their church, ever. But they could certainly become part of our congregation if they chose.

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posted December 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Every church has the right to determine who they accept as members. A church is not a social club. The pastor is supposed to be instructing about the Bible. If you don’t like it don’t go. I don’t understand why some homosexuals openly taunt and anger people and then wonder at the consequences.

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The Pilgrim

posted December 21, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Read it again. Take off your blinders and drop the preconceived stereotypes from your heart.
It says anyone who is unrepentant, and unwilling to give up the lifestyle is not welcome as a member. You are more than welcome to come as often as you want, you just can’t join until you repent.
Stop twisting the words. If you don’t want to join — and if you are defiantly gay I don’t know why you would want to — then don’t. But don’t lie about their rules to otehr people who may be looking for an out from the sadness of the “gay” lifestyle.

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posted December 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Someone should say Mr. Warren, that Saddleback is probably the gayest name of any given church possible..

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posted December 21, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Did Jesus exclude anybody from his church?
Just wondering why anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus would go to church or associate in any significant way with a bunch of intolerant, hateful bigots.

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posted December 22, 2008 at 1:41 am

There was no excuse for Warren comparing homosexuality to incest.
Consider the commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” in Matthew 19:19 and Matthew 22:39 – Mark 12:31 – Luke 10:27. Or “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged” in Matthew 7:1 – Luke 6:37.
Is being heterosexual something that a person is physically born with? Is there scientific proof?
What does being born with both female and male sexual organs mean?
Why did it take until 1946 for the word “homosexual” to appear in the Bible?
It was someone’s interpretation to change the Bible.
Why are people born with many different disorders that cannot be explained.
1) There is no single word in Hebrew or Greek which lends itself to a simple word-for-word translation of “homosexual.” The word appeared in English for the first time in 1912 and in the Bible for the first time in the 1946 RSV in 1 Corinthians 6:9.
2) Biblical texts do not deal with homosexuality as a psycho-sexual orientation determined at birth or developed as a relationship between consenting adults.
3) No Biblical text presents an extensive discussion of same-gender behavior or same-gender relationships.
4) No Biblical text deals with the issue of homosexuality and ministry.
5) There is no reference to homosexuality in the four gospels.
6) Arguments from “silence” are inconclusive and should be weighed carefully. Some interpreters will state, for example, that Jesus had the opportunity to speak on behalf of homosexuals but did not. Others will claim that Jesus’ silence meant he did not condemn homosexuality.
*The translations differ because the translators were seeking to identify Paul’s intended meaning of two Greek words: malakoi and arsenokoitai. The former meant “soft” with derivative meanings of “effeminate” or “passive” or a male who plays the part of a woman, hence “catamite.” The latter was a compound word of “male” and “bed” which had the connotation of a male who lies with a male, hence “sodomite.” This is the earliest known occurrence of arsenokoitai.

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Existential Punk

posted December 22, 2008 at 2:40 am

It appears this has been removed from their site. Maybe the outcry over Warren being invited to do the prayer at his Inauguration caused them to take it off? Why, if this is something they so adamantly believe? i had it up and Firefox shut down my browser. So when i re-opened my windows, the page here must have refreshed and i can no longer find this.
i am a queer Christ-follower and do not see a healthy part of my identity as sin. It is not sinful to be queer and in a loving relationship. i am happily married to my partner and we do not need to repent for being queer.
@Tittytwister – Saddleback Church gets its name because it is in Saddleback, California.

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posted December 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Excellent points, all. Thank you so much for making them. Now I’ll sit back and hope some of the people who really need to read them, well, read them.

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posted December 28, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Following the link provided at the beginning of the article:
Yields no mention of homosexuality at all.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

What is Saddleback’s policy regarding greed and membership? The Bible has many more passages condemning wealthy people and people who don’t share that it does on homosexuality. Does Saddleback allow greedy people to be members? Does it tell its members, as Jesus did, to renounce their wealth and to give it all to the poor?
Here are some key passages: “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
See: Matthew 19:23-24, Mark 10:24-25 and Luke 18:24-25.
The Book of Acts is also very clear that wealth is a sin.
So how does Saddleback deal with its rich members given the clear statements in the bible about their sinfulness?

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Amy Barlow Liberatore

posted January 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm

AN OPEN LETTER TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS (I used your deletes, thanks)
OK, I admit it. I’m one cranky straight Christian woman who has never stopped believing that inviting Rev. Warren to the Inauguration (in effect, crowning him the next Billy Graham) was an insult to LBGT people and their allies, as well as women in general. Part of this was a gut feeling; after all the Purpose-Driven Life books and workbooks and calendars and cookbooks and Chicken Soup Books and hubcaps and toilet paper and other paraphenalia, it smelled more like a franchise than a faith – and I don’t CARE that he lives off the profits and doesn’t take a dime from his lily-white mega-church, etc. Money should have nothing to do with this issue.
Am I the only one who’s been getting deluged with “Melissa Etheridge is right” emails? Apparently, she is the one and only LGBT spokesperson, or at least the only credible person read by the general public. I’ve heard: If you don’t stop picking on Rick Warren, you do not have the proper spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. You are too cynical. (The basic premise: If you don’t welcome Warren to the Inauguration, you don’t really believe in The Welcoming Table of our Welcoming Lord.)
I believe we are all welcome, no matter WHO we are or WHERE we are on life’s journey. And right now, Rick Warren is in the part of his journey where he is deleting the worst stuff off his website before Melissa reads it (for her, I have included it beow). I will not be bullied into accepting the false premises of a proven bully who clothes himself in “the armor of Christ” and then takes up arms against good, peaceful people who simply want to have their civil rights. So when Rick Warren gets up to give the Invocation, I hope God will forgive my standing up and turning my back on the TV.
Am I the only doubting Thomas who scoffs when Rick Warren says, “Just don’t call it marriage! God said 5,000 years ago that marriage was between ONE man and ONE woman.” Hello, Pastor, a man could have as many wives, and cattle, and sheep as he wanted – in no particular order, because women and livestock all had the same rights. Honest to Pete, where did this guy get his theological degree, by mail order? Has this man not heard of Plessy v. Ferguson or Brown v. Board of Education?
Rick Warren is at the very least a wolf in sheep’s clothing – and at the very worst, a false prophet (if you go in for that sort of ethos). Melissa was schmoozed, but I don’t blame her, she’s a nice person and believes in peace. (Note to Melissa: Find out when the Warrens plan to invite Dykes on Bikes cookout after you and your family get face time!)
IF I am wrong, and Rick Warren turns out to be ‘all that and the back of chips’ everyone is lining up to declare him to be, I will eat my words. But for my money, Jim Wallis and Bill Moyers should have been in the running for the invocation long, long before the likes of Rick Warren.

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Your Name

posted January 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Almost all these comments miss the point. The Bible clearly lays out the arguement against homosexual behavior. It doesn’t say that people should hate or abuse homosexual persons it say we should avoid the behavior just as we should avoid drunkeness for example, or other types of sexual sin. You can throw the Bible out as your basis for morality or as the basis of your church, but that does not change what is written.
Quit making excuses!

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Your Name

posted January 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I would like to see Saddleback Church take an inventory to see how many of their upper middle class, Southern California members fall under the following:
1.) greedy
2.) slanderer
3.) swindler
Being a member of a church should not mean that you have given up sin. It should mean that you’ve accepted the grace of Christ. The church should support not exclude. No matter how many books Warren sells, he and his church are no judge of a person’s heart or soul. Excluding gays because of a handful of verses that barely touch on the subject is a prejudicial practice reminiscent of the Mormon church excluding blacks.
The church will always be a pariah until it starts understanding and living the meaning of grace, instead of claiming to bestow it on people as if the church were Christ himself.
“Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

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posted January 19, 2009 at 9:40 am

I hate how some people say the Bible so clearly speaks of homosexual. Jesus himself did not mention it once, but so strongly condemned divorce – saying that if you couldn’t handle the consequences that once you get a divorce it will be sin and you cannot remarry, then don’t enter into it. Yet divorce is the least on half of these church member’s worries (especially in California) because when it comes to that it’s “all about the context in which it was written, you have to look at the times back then, yadda yadda bull”.
I am gay in my early twenties with a Degree of Ministry from a very respectable AOG college who didn’t necessarily support my lifestyle but I love the Lord and accept Him as my savior and quite frankly, I couldn’t give a flying frog about this church except that it continues to publish a message of hatred and discrimination.
Maybe one day they will realize the truth of Christ’ love and by the work of the Holy Spirit, be truly touched and changed.
God’s peace be with you all.

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posted January 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

As a pastor I would like to ask how can you be part of an AOG church that believes strongly against homosexuality. Secondly can you prove that homosexuality is acceptable in the sight of God? Just curious.

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posted February 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Does anyone know if the Saddleback Church disallows divorced and remarried people? I wonder if they have the courage of their convictions and apply their interpretation of Christianity on straight divorced people.

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Your Name

posted March 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I completely agree with the first statement…if a church does not allow a homosexual person because they are a “sinner,” then they would not be allowed to have any members at all. The Bible clearly states that we are ALL sinners. Our church would welcome homosexual persons simply based on the fact that they should have a place to come and repent just like the rest of us! We are all God’s children and we are loved by Him despite our sinful natures. I love the Purpose Driven Life, but I am very disappointed in the decisions of the Saddleback Church and Rick Warren’s ministries (if these allegations are actually true).

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Amy Barlow Liberatore

posted March 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Please don’t pick on Shane. Believe me, as the mom of an LGBT child, I know they take enough hassling from straights, starting from the playground.
I also believe that, as the accusor, the onus is on you, Phil, to prove that homosexuality is NOT acceptable in the sight of God. The comment filed under, “Your Name,” has it right, in my opinion. We are all “wonderfully and fearfully made,” and we all sin.
The difference is that some of us cloak our sins in slick language. Take, for example, Rev. Warren. He says he doesn’t take a nickel in salary from Saddleback Church, yet claims a $600,000 housing deduction of the top of his taxable income to keep up his many mansions.
In my Father’s mansion, there are many rooms… seems to me Rev. Warren has the context a bit skewed! Peace, Amy

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Your Name

posted April 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Take note, it talks about someone who remains unwilling to repent and talks about membership. It does not say they are not welcome to come to church. I am a Christian from the Anglican tradition in the persecuted church. I believe, as does Saddleback I am sure, that the doors of the Church are open to all of us, as someone pointed out – all have sinned and fall short, but membership in terms of you performing ministries in the church, pastoring, counselling should be held as revered positions and responsibilities which are given to prayerfully chosen people appointed by God and the Holy Spriit who revealed to the writers of the Epistles that homosexuality is wrong, will not change His mind simply because this is the 21st C. The reason Jesus condemned divorce was because it went against the sanctity of the union between one man and woman. They did not ask him the blasphemous question about homosexuality, you see they remembered why the flood came in Genesis, it was sexual perversion NOT BETWEEN ONE MAN AND WOMAN, they remembered SODOM AND GOMORRHA again NOT BETWEEN ONE MAN ONE WOMAN. We have forgotten not only those narratives in the WORD OF GOD, but have also forgotten to ask Jesus, the sadducees asked Jesus and so he answered them. Why dont you try to ask Him. Do you honestly think that Jesus will say to you go ahead and redefine creation and appointment of roles in marital relationships? If so I ask you to please re discover the Gospels, re read them and come in touch with the JEsus who is appearing to 100s of 1000s of people in the Muslim world and revealing to them a holy santified lifestyle and redefining their take of polygamy. The doors to the Church are open, just, I do not think I would like to go to a Church where the Sunday School teachers are in a gay marriage, just the way I would not like to go to a Church where my kids go to a sunday school which says Allah and Jesus is the same. Its about changing Jesus to suit my needs and my carnal understanding and desires and thats wrong.

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posted November 15, 2009 at 12:29 am

Homosexuality is abominable, perverted, disgraceful and UNNATURAL, and all a homosexual has to do is look at his or her genitals to know that they were MADE for the OPPOSITE genitalia. Small children know that they are different than members of the opposite sex, so how it that homosexuals get around this? A REPROBATE MIND, just as the Bible says. One CANNOT be a practicing homosexual and be a genuine Christian, no matter how a homosexual twists the scripture he is twisting it to his own destruction and his sexual perversion will land him in hell for all eternity along with murderers, liars, adulterers, and sorcerers. God has commanded men everywhere to REPENT, and this INCLUDES HOMOSEXUALS. God says men shall not lay with another man as he would lay with a woman, this one verse is enough to tell men everywhere that homosexuality is sinful and results in God’s judgement if not repented of, hence Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s penalty for homosexuality, and adultery were DEATH in the old testament, God is the same yesterday and today and forever and therefore He has not changed His mind on homosexuality. Eternal death is the sentence this kind of depravity. Therefore it behooves homosexuals everywhere to repent and be cleansed of this vile practice.

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posted November 15, 2009 at 12:59 am

I forgot one thing, to the homosexual who used divorce as an excuse to divert attention away from his vile practice of homosexuality, I got news for you, homosexality is singled out in the Bible for the severest of punishments….again Sodom and Gomorrah, and God did not overthrow these cities for heterosexual sin but for HOMOSEXUALITY. Is your perverse sexual pleasure really worth going to hell for all eternity?

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posted July 23, 2010 at 11:06 am

Donna: You are most guilty of posting lies about what the Bible
says. Jesus never said one word about homosexuality…He spoke
many words about LOVE. How sad to just pick out the parts
of the Bible that YOU think validate your own personal agenda.
Sad…and blasphemous. Those who think and speak as do you,
are horrific examples of the Love of Christ.
No where does the Bible call one sin greater or lesser than
another. No where does the Bible teach us that the
punishment for one sin will be greater or lesser than
that for another. That is what sinful men WANT it to
say to validate their own “little” sins.

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posted October 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I am very greatful god lead me to the church he lead me to I am not here to judge saddleback church I will say that their comments are not very inviting and very judgemental I would never attend their church after this i dont care who they exclude from their church it can be people who where green shirts any exclusion is wrong But I have good news for the people who go to Saddleback Church Jesus died to save them

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