The New Christians

The New Christians


Announcing Queermergent

posted by Tony Jones

Adele Sakler, whom I’ve known for a few years, has started yet another “hyphenated” group within the emergent network-of-networks.  She’s calling it “Queermergent,” and, as you might guess, it’s focused on GLBTQ issues.



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Theresa Seeber

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:00 am


Hey, thanks for putting up a shout out for Adele. She is my friend too, although not yet for as long as you. God bless you Tony.



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Existential Punk

posted January 19, 2009 at 7:08 am


Thank you, Tony, for the shout out! i hope we can maintain respect, dignity and maturity without preaching the same old sermons that we are sinful and going to hell. Hopefully we can really learn from one another.
Theresa, thanks for your support!
Warm Regards,
Adele



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Valkyrie

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:56 pm


We’re so glad that Tony Jones is helping get us gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender born-again Christians out of the closet. For too long evangelicalism has repressed creative sexuality under its cloak of patriarchy/hate. The revolution has begun and any fundamentalists who think they’re going to stop it now can think again. We’re here, we’re queer and we’re carrying Bibles, so get over it. And don’t think your homophobic churches will be allowed to continue either, spreading the gospel of hate. All is one. One is all. That is the new gospel. All others need to be shut down. Blessed be, Tony Jones. You are a Godsend.



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Terry T

posted January 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm


I guess I just don’t get it guys. Whatever happened to God’s word? Leviticus, Romans 1?
I am not saying we should “bash” people, treat them differently based on prejudice. NO, but the scriptures are clear, sin is sin regardless of our individual desire to have our “pet issue” not be called sin.
Adultery is sin as is sex outside of marriage (fornication) and homosexuality. We would not more promote adultery as a lifestyle option than we would any other sexual sin or sin of any kind.
From my view this illustrates exactly the fundamental error with the “emergent conversation”. Emergents have abandoned the authority of scripture in favor of their own ideas. To illlustrate, Ms. Sakler herself indicated in a response on her blog that she doesn’t believe sex should be between two married persons, she further stated that she had no theological basis for that, it was simply where she was at in her life. I could just as easily use that type of reasoning to say I want more than one wife or that I am “committed” to another woman and so since we both love each other it is okay to have sexual relations even though we are married to another person.
The justifications you put forth for sinful actions may be appealing to many so that they can continue on in and with sinful actions but there is just no foundation in scripture for your positions.
Again, I am not trying to be unkind here, blunt yes, I believe , based on scripture, that as believers we must call ALL to repentance and faith if they are unredeemed, if they are believers who are disobedient then we must repent of our sin and seek to be transformed by the grace of God – remembering that none of us are without sin.
Thank you for listening and I welcome the discussion with you on your positions.



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Steve

posted January 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm


The new gospel: All churches that teach homosexuality is a sin (just like the Bible does) should be shut down? Wow. How draconian.
Any Christian who reads his Bible knows that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle that will land its practitioner in hell unless he or she repents. It is the Christian’s duty to speak this truth, in love, and pray that these sinners will come to repentance.
Anyone who teaches that practicing homosexuals can be bona-fide heavenbound Christians is a liar.



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Fanfaron

posted January 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm


News Bulletin: God has made it abundantly clear on this issue… there is a great cold heartedness in the world today with an “anything goes” attitude. Beware, God is not mocked and there will ultimately be hell to pay.



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cjdradical

posted January 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm


Valkyrie,
Looks like you’ve got your own brand of persecution and hate here:
“And don’t think your homophobic churches will be allowed to continue either, spreading the gospel of hate. All is one. One is all. That is the new gospel. All others need to be shut down…”
Shut down? Isn’t that encroaching on someone’s first amendment rights, or is that not important to you anymore?



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Dave

posted January 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm


And don’t think your homophobic churches will be allowed to continue either, spreading the gospel of hate. All is one. One is all. That is the new gospel.
Wow. Paul said in Gal 1
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Looks like you’ll need to lump Paul (you know, the writer of Romans) in with that ‘gospel of hate’ as you called it. Friend, there is great hope for you! Please see 1 Cor 6:9-10 and then particularly the next verse:
11 And such were some of you.
And “such” was I. But Christ in His glorious mercy saved even me (me – in contention for the title “chief of sinners”). Why? So Jesus would amaze the world that He would forgive someone as base as myself. And the transformational work of His Spirit is real. I am living proof. Go to the Lord, humbly, seeking His mercy, and He will not turn you away. He will over time remove your enslavement to sin, as He did mine. But you must do the hardest thing you will ever do – die to self. Repent of your cherished sin. But trust me – our gracious Lord will change your heart (mind, emotions, will) and one day you will never miss it, having exchanged a lie for the true treasure of Christ. May the Lord grant you repentance, as He did me.



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Valkyrie

posted January 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm


I shouldn’t have said, “shut down”. What I really meant was that thanks to the tireless work of Tony Jones and his friends, fundamentalists will become increasingly marginalized and viewed as the fringy crazies that they are. The enlightened, new Christianity will be all inclusive and the path to God won’t be a narrow little on any longer. Tony Jones believes in the wide path to God, and it’s a good thing because there are more of us on it than you would dream!



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Andy

posted January 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm


VALKYRIE SAID:
“The enlightened, new Christianity will be all inclusive and the path to God won’t be a narrow little on any longer. Tony Jones believes in the wide path to God, and it’s a good thing because there are more of us on it than you would dream!”
JESUS SAID:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Boy, it doesn’t get any clearer than that!
Valkyrie,
This is America, so you are allowed to call us ‘fringie crazys’ if you’d like. You are allowed to believe that you are the ‘enlightened’ ones, and the ‘inclusive’ ones if you want.
What you are not allowed to do is call yourself Christian. Jesus himself said that His followers would be on the narrow path, and you just PROUDLY PROCLAIMED that you want to be on the wide road.
Oh, and since obviously you haven’t read this part of Matthew 7, you probably also haven’t read a little further along (and you should, since, unless you repent, you’ll be hearing it from Jesus directly):
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’



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Your Name

posted January 19, 2009 at 9:45 pm


Mr Tony Jones,
Do you not read your Bible, or is it the Bible that you read from?
Have you ever heard of the words in Romans Chapter One?
What are you going to say to Him who created you, and the time that He gave you to believe and only believe the words of Scripture, and in fact His Word?
On another note, I think that those two words ‘Queer’ and ‘Emergent’ belong together alright! ‘Emergent’ has only been ever since its coinage ‘Queer’ at most with its abherent use of Scripture, with its additions to it, with its ideas of other godheads (like humans), like crying down every manner of fundamental doctrine as taught in the Scriptures, and now, it is all about gender, trans-gender, same-sex attraction, same-sex marriage and the list goes on. When are we going to see other types of ‘Emergence’. Are other types of sexual activities going to be brought in?
I am deeply, deeply offended by you for you say that this is christian, when it is not. I am an ex-homosexual. I loved what I was doing; I could not wait to go out and look at other men, endlessly searching for someone who would make me happy, and well, I was in NO WAY ‘gay’ in the true sense of the term. All I got was broken relationships, I lost friends, unfulfilled in every way, lost and I soon found out what that meant! Sin is anything that is contrary to God. Do you not believe in sin? Is not homosexuality a sin?
What are you going to say to Him at the end of time?
If you are a christian, do you expect your works to stand the test of His burning? Are they going to last, or are they going to burned up?
Repent, and I say again to you, repent!
In Isaiah 5:18-23 we read these words:
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes,
[ 19 ] who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!”
[ 20 ] Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
[ 21 ] Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
[ 22 ] Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
[ 23 ] who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!
This passage makes me thing of those ‘Pride Marches’.
I hope I hear from you.
Stephen Archer



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andy

posted January 19, 2009 at 10:09 pm


Corker of a quote on the link by queeremergent in the comments..
“Our society has taken on the idea from the Bible that sex should be between two married people. i no longer personally believe people have to be married to have sex. i don’t have a theological answer to base this view on”
Classic
Yeah we just read what Jesus said about marriage,then made it all up Haha..Least you were honest, about not having a theological answer sheesh..
Come on Tony even you must have a problem with that quote ;-)..



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JB

posted January 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm


andy,
This is going to be typical. How could queeremergent feels the fundamental truth of fornication would be wrong, that would mean that same sex sex is sin just under that Biblical principal and so is opposite sex sex is sin unless married but that would be just another principal that clearly states a truth that would be tossed out as not relevant for these times or there seems to be so many people that FEEL that it is not truth because they find them self in it. And despite the current emergent of non-truth marriage is between man and woman remember it’s in the BIBLE, The Final authority…..



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Doug

posted January 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm


Can we now officially say that the floodgates are open?
Soon enough we’ll be seeing “NAMBLA-mergent”.
Our God is a consuming fire and I would hazard to say that He is not pleased with us.



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Preson

posted January 20, 2009 at 12:05 am


Alright, I’m done.
Many of us have been involved in this conversation for a very long time. We defended it with the hope that it would truly become something that would represent a true organic holistic Christianity.
I just can’t walk with you beyond this step.
The emerging church movement saved my faith, and gave me a reason to be excited about my faith again. After reading “Generous Orthodoxy”, I realized how huge the kingdom of God truly is. I gave up my tired way of legalistic Christian faith, and embraced a LIVING faith. And I now pastor of an urban church where the gospel is preached in word AND in deed. A faith that doesn’t strain out gnats while swallowing camels. Many lives are being changed, and people are coming to Jesus and being freed from addictions and lives destroyed by sin… and I owe (some of) it to the emerging church conversation.
I understand sensitivity in approaching people, and I understand the fact that people need to come to Jesus and not morality. I believe that Jesus can deliver people from anything, and that the spirit will teach to live right. I understand not taking sides on “sin management”, but rather than standing around and naming sin, we should proclaim Christ crucified out of a love for His people, and wanting them to be forgiven and to connect with Him. I even voted against an amendment to stop gay marriage because I don’t think that forcing people to live moral lives brings them closer to Jesus in any way shape or form.
But now you’ve let the pendelum swing in the completely opposite direction. Instead of telling people to look to Jesus for their moral compass, you have taken it from “condemning” to “encouraging” a lifestyle that is clearly not what God has for us regarding holy and good relationships. You are promoting a lifestyle that will not fulfill the purpose of a healthy sexual relationship, and it will leave people feeling empty and unfulfilled.
You are leading people away from living at peace with God.
I understand that some people are born with certain things that they will always struggle with… but we are not taught to give in. I understand that some people are born with both male and female physicality’s, and that these things should be approached with prayer and mercy and grace… but this is not that case.
This is not where most of us are… and you will most definately alienate us.
(btw…What happened to your “5 year moratorium”?)
Many of us would like to continue this conversation. Please sir, bring it back to the center, where we can all have a part in it.



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CJDRADICAL

posted January 20, 2009 at 2:56 am


Jesus said
“If your eye offends you, pluck it out. It is better to enter into heaven with only one eye, than to enter Hell with two good eyes, and if your hand offends you, cut it off…”
“He that will not forsake his Mother, Father and Family to follow Me is not worthy of Me…”
Whatever thing(s) that you cherish in this life that are keeping you from God need to be rooted out of your life.



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thebelmontemergent

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:02 am


is this really so terrible? is it so wrong to affirm people as they are? i guess you can just pack me aside as one of those uber-liberal christians that characterize the “wrongness” of postmodern christianity, but i won’t apologize for looking at homosexuals and affirming who they are within the broader scope of christ’s love.
and “preson”, if you’ve never looked into, a conversation doesn’t cease to exist because someone disagrees with a point made within. it’s not like the emerging church conversation just stops because you’ve got your panties in a wad over some emerging queer theologians. honestly, if you’re worried about being alienated over some queer theology then you must not really be involved in this conversation. i’m pretty sure the emerging church tries to take a different approach to christianity. or at least that’s how i interpret it.
i guess what i’m really trying to get across is the idea that no one will agree with everything said in a conversation. but that’s no excuse to give up or start throwing slanderous turd-balls at anyone else involved in the dialog. it’s okay to disagree.
some people actually hold the belief that homosexuals are just as valid believers as heterosexuals. and to me, a recovering southern baptist, i think that’s a pretty beautiful thing.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:37 am


To all who have been posting, I am a gay male. I was born gay, by God.
I did not have a domineering mother nor a passive father.
I was not sexually abused by a male at an early age.
I was not raised as a girl.
My family life was essentially like “Father Knows Best” – the perfect example of a nuclear family.
I grew up going to church each Sunday.
I was popular and dated girls in school.
Every part of my life supported and promoted a heterosexual life.
In my late 20’s, I realized I was not a heterosexual. I sought out counseling and prayed to God to “take this cup away”. Fortunately, I had a loving family and supportive group of friends. I avoided the pitfalls (and escapism) of alcoholism and drugs.
I am a medical professional who has been in a 17 year old relationship with another man, whom I love dearly.
God does not abhor me, He does not condemn who I am, He blesses my life every day and is a constant presence.



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eellama

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:49 am


My heart breaks for where this emergent conversation has gone. It has followed its logical course of abandonment of what God has said.
To make a god of our own liking is to break the command of God. He has revealed who He is, both merciful and judge. It is not for us to pick and choose the attributes we like and place ourselves in the position of judging God.
His position is clear. Whatever propensity to sin we are born with (or not), we are guilty when we yield to temptation. We need not affirm someone’s propensity toward thievery, lust, slander, or any other sin…and it is God who tells us what is against His law. To dismiss what God has said is to invite judgment.
Romans 1 makes God’s position clear:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
–Romans 1:13-32



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Zach

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:49 am


CJDRADICAL said…
“Whatever thing(s) that you cherish in this life that are keeping you from God need to be rooted out of your life.”
Precisely why our theological positions should always be held with open hands and not clinched fists. Too many Christians love their interpretation of the Bible more than they love their neighbor…whom Jesus defined as EVERYONE.
What a statement like this assumes is that God is out there in some objective sense. God is not out there, God is in you and I and in the people you either exclude or embrace. To exclude the homosexual or anyone else is to exclude the presence of God and ultimately your very self. (same can be said for all of the created) Why do you think Jesus summed up religion in a relational matrix? (Greatest commandments)
My lingering question for those who will not walk any further (Preson) is, “What are you afraid of?” What repercussions do you fear? That your heavenly access pass will get revoked? That brimstone will fall from the sky upon your household? That God will remove “His” hand from you and calamity will be soon to follow? Wasn’t that kind of retribution de-bunked in Job? And what kind of God is that anyway?
For me, If God is going to condemn me to hell for lovingly accepting another who is different, then I am not interested in being in heaven with that God. If I can imagine a way to be more compassionate than my God, then I need a new God. And, if the afterlife is only for the people who get it right, then we’re all screwed. I personally don’t think that’s the case, but I am using a measure of hyperbole which, by the way, Jesus is using in the proof text quoted by CJDRADICAL.
I usually avoid a response on this kind of thing because I am not interested in convincing someone of my perspective. Presuppositionally it all boils down to us preferring one interpretation of things over another. My prejudice is on the side of living in right relationship with my neighbor (whom I believe to be the actual presence of God/Jesus.) I could be wrong in my embrace of the LGBT community, but I am willing to pay a price for that…If I truly do get damned to hell.
Please stay put Preson. JB please continue to assume that your interpretation of the Bible is the final authority. Doug, stay close by your eternally disappointed performance-based God. CJDRADICAL please continue relating to the Scriptures as a propositional machine gun. Do what you need to do to live the life of faith as you need to. Those of us who are queer-loving haters of absolute truth and biblical authority will keep wandering out between the trenches of the culture wars only to find we’re in the cross-hairs of those in our own trenches, and that many on the other side are actually decent human beings who only took up arms because they were shot at first.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:02 am


“Whatever propensity to sin we are born with (or not), we are guilty when we yield to temptation.”
And I will not yield to the “temptation” of a heterosexual sexually life. It is not as God made me.
I find it interesting that the standard response was always “being gay is a choice”. Now that more information (and individuals) is coming out saying that it is the way a person is born, its in their genes, its HOW GOD MADE THEM, the standard response is that the gay person is somehow yielding to temptation.
God gives gifts of great beauty (such as music and art) to some individuals. Are those individuals “yielding to temptation” by using their gifts?



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Sara

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:09 am


To Mark,
You were born gay, indeed. You were born with sin. We aren’t exempt just because we are born with a struggle. And yes, being gay is a struggle, as is lying, stealing, sleeping around with the same sex, murdering unborn babies, and the list goes on and on. The problem is that this is a “habitual” sin. This is the type of sin that the Word tells us to get rid of. We are to be Holy as God is Holy, to be set apart for His use. Are you saying that God is gay? Because you are made in His Image. God doesn’t care about sexuality, it’s a gift. When will homosexuals understand this. Our life, is called to be pure, and have priorities. Our number one priority is to put God on the Throne of our hearts, not our struggles.
If someone says, I can’t stop sinning, they are not from God. It’s the harsh reality. You think that back in 2003, I wanted to get rid of my struggle? You don’t think it tore me apart, having to choose between God and my struggle? Of course it was. But out of obedience, because I saw God, and heard His Voice asking me to give up my struggle, I finally chose God. And I will admit, I died. But I was “born again”. This is not by accident, that Jesus calls it that. Because dying to your struggle will hurt like hell. But you know what? I’d rather hurt like hell for one moment of my life, considering that my life is but a vapor, than burn in hell for eternity, because I didn’t obey God. It comes to putting aside our struggles, dying to them on the cross (as to follow Christ on that path), and then being raised up back with Him to dwell in Light.
Do you want to continue on following your struggles (darkness)? Then God will give you what you follow….nothing short of darkness.
Your sister in Christ,
Sara



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:54 am


Sara:
I do not know what your “struggle” was or is at this time as you have neglected to tell me.
“God doesn’t care about sexuality, it’s a gift.”
Then WHY do SO many, alleged “Christians” make it such a HUGH part of their life? Why do they (like you) feel they can dictate peoples lives? And if He doesn’t care, then there is NO PROBLEM.
“Do you want to continue on following your struggles (darkness)?”
I need to ask you the same thing. You yourself said God doesn’t care about this, why do you? Why are you so quick to judge others? Why are you so quick to place yourself so far above others? Why are you so quick to condemn others?
And it only took “a moment” for you to change? truly a miracle indeed.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 11:39 am


Mark,
I think one of the main reasons the homosexual issue comes up so much in Christian circles is the fact that it is being justified by churches more and more today.
For the most part, you don’t have pastors getting up and saying, “I steal all the time, and I believe there’s nothing wrong with stealing, and since God made me a thief, who are you to judge”
If we had multitudes of pastors saying that, and trying to link their churches with pro-stealing groups, then we’d talk about that all the time.
And the reason: since stealing is a sin, and if people were to stand up and unrepentantly claim that stealing was good and right, we’d almost have to assume that those people were not born again and given a new nature by God; otherwise they would in no way desire to justify and flaunt their sin.
It’s kind of ironic, if what the bible says is true, and homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God, then it would appear that all those who are seen as hateful and judgmental are really the most loving (i.e. trying to warn people about eternity in hell); while those who seem to be the most loving and tolerant are actually terrible monsters (i.e. letting people stay unchallenged in their sin so that they can spend eternity in hell)



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 11:58 am


Andy:
Its very sad that you equate homosexuality to stealing.
And, exactly where does it say in the Bible that homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of God?
And “trying to warn people about eternity in hell” is one thing, passing legislation to make earth a hell is another.
When I meet God, I know I will need to answer for my sins, as we all will. I also know, that I will error in the way of love and understanding. If I am wrong about homosexuality, than I will need to answer myself.
If you are wrong (which I believe you are), you will have born false witness against your brother and done him (and her) harm.



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Phil Shepherd

posted January 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm


I find it interesting that when it comes to the conversation of homosexuality there is no conversation. We can claim to have a rhetoric of reimagination (a Pagitt term) reimaging theology, church, Christianity, and do I dare say even hope, but when we come to the subject of homosexuality there seems to be no room at our tables for dialogue. We draw lines, we take a stances on one side or another, or we simply ignore the subject all together barring our heads in the sand falling into the sin of indifference. From the beginning of this thing that we call emergent we have always called it a conversation but when did it stop being a conversation? When did concrete absolutes become a pillar of our conversation? When did we stop wanting to tackle hard questions? What are we afraid of? Why is homosexuality the metaphorical sword people are willing to fall on? We can deconstruct theories of atonement, but not the idea and ideals of homosexuality? This simply absurd to me. We need to learn to make room out our tables for this conversation. Homosexuality is not going away and the Church needs to no longer ignore it, because it will no longer will allow itself to be ignored.



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curmudgeon

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm


Mark;
“And, exactly where does it say in the Bible that homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of God?”
How about 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality”



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James

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm


Mark,
1 Corinthians 6:9 (New International Version)
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.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm


Mark:
You have tried to warn me that I might be bearing false witness (according to YOUR standard, which others have since proven to be wrong). But, I have a higher standard to listen to:
Ezekiel 33:7-9
Now son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore listen to what I say and warn them for me.
If I announce that some wicked people are about to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths.
But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you have saved yourself.
You see, I am COMMANDED BY GOD to warn people. I don’t have a choice.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm


This is not Jesus speaking. And, you do know, that 1 Corinthians 7:1 advises people not to get married.
And there are many verses that tell people not to judge each other.
You really believe gays are damned to hell? Fine, then I will never change your mind. But thank you for driving people away from the church, for promoting violence against your fellow man, and being guilty of sin yourself. You use God’s word and Bible, not to educate, not to promote love but to bludgeon, to control, to belittle, to malign. And those who stand up to you, you accuse of being in league with Satan and then pat yourselves on the back that you aren’t like those sinners over there. Hypocrites.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm


Mark,
You have shown that you have very little understanding of the bible. First of all, Paul said that it was better not to marry, (to spread the gospel) but he certainly didn’t forbid it.
Also, Paul said that we ARE to judge those inside of the church, and he spoke that in the context of someone who was practicing sexual immorality.
As for driving people away from the church – the bible says that the gospel is offensive, and it’s offensive to men for EXACTLY the reason it is offensive to you – Men want to hold on to their sin and count on their own goodness to make them right before God. The gospel requires that we admit our sin and submit to God’s way to make us right in His eyes – which includes admitting sin, and repenting and turning from sin. (Which obviously you don’t want to do)
It’s ironic that you tell us that the bible says not to judge, then you yourself spend the next paragraph standing in judgment over us. You say that we are guilty of sin ourselves, but where did you get the standard to say that? It has to be from the bible, but the bible says that it is you who are sinning. So, do you believe the bible or not.
Let me bottom line this for you, Mark. You are free to believe whatever you want. You are free to act however you want and have sex with whomever you want whenever you want to and I promise you this – I will never do one thing to stop you. This is America, you are allowed all of those things if you’d like.
Just know this, however, if you choose that road, then, by the words of Jesus Christ himself, you ARE NOT a Christian. Here is what Jesus said on the subject: (Matt. 7:21-23)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm


Andy :
“You have shown that you have very little understanding of the bible.”
Well, I do know that it should be a capital “B”.
And no where in the Bible are loving, gay relationships banned.
I have studied the Bible extensively. I am aware that for the first few centuries, it was spoken. It was translated from one language to another. It was copied over and over, often by people who could not read.
And I am very sorry that you continue to spew hate. You DO have a choice in ALL things. You can choose to mis-interpret the Bible to promote evil or you can study the Bible and look for the true meaning.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm


Mark,
The bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You yourself asked just a few posts ago where it says that homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and several posters immediately showed you exactly where to find it.
Now you say that homosexual relationships aren’t banned anywhere in the bible, but I’m going to prove you wrong again:
Romans 1:27
And men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.
Leviticus 18:22
You shall not lay with a man as you lay with a woman. It is an abomination.
You see, the bible CLEARLY condemns ALL homosexual behavior.
Amazingly, you show everyone here the massive level of your self-deception by encouraging me to study the very same bible which you yourself refuse to acknowledge.
Just answer this question: Are these and the other bible verses others shared with you true or not? Simple question. Awaiting your answer….(which is sure to include something about how unloving I am because I believe God’s word, since you yourself don’t want to admit that you don’t believe it.)



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm


Andy :
I will answer you but I am aware that you will not agree. As I have said, I have studied the Bible (again, with a capital “B”).
In reference to Leviticus 18:22:
This actually refers to Rabbinical law and refers to the use of male prostitutes, not a loving gay relationship. There are also many Levitical laws that are usually overlooked (such as wearing a cotton-polyester blend shirt).
Romans 1:27:
Unfortunately, you cannot understand Romans 1 without proceeding to Romans 2 (otherwise, its taken out of context). In Romans 1, Paul is using an “attention grabbing” technique. The people he was addressing at the time probably responded to the list of sin with disgust, that other people would do such things. He then comes back with (Romans 2:1) “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Paul was using it as a teaching tool regarding judging the behavior of others.
I do not doubt you believe the word of God. But word meanings change over years and in different situations. An example is: referring to a man as Gay in 1900 would mean he was fun loving. To refer to one as gay in 2009, means someone who prefers the company of other men.



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Liz

posted January 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm


Andy – I think using the Leviticus scripture is invalid unless you also believe that children who curse their parents should be put to death (Lev. 20:9), or that it is wrong to have intercourse with your wife while she is menustrating (Lev . 20:18), or that slavery is okay in certain conditions (Lev 25:44-45) or that a man’s beard should be trimmed in a certain way (Lev 19:27). I could go on – but you I feel that my point has sufficiently been made. I would also like to point out that the term “abomination” found in Lev 18:22 and 20:13 was used to describe eating shrimp and lobster (Lev. 11:10 – 12)
As far as the Romans passage you referred to: I believe that Paul was referring to what happened to idolators that refused to turn back to God (The first chapter of Romans is about idolatry) and that he
was condemning immoral homosexual acts not necessarily homosexuality in general. In fact, he may have been referring to heterosexual men who were committing homosexual acts with other men in the
pagan temples where they had sex orgies going on and calling it worship. Whatever the complete explanation I find it hard to come to the conclusion that this scripture is condemning homosexuality
across the board.
The fact is that if you study scripture and context and culture (without bias) you have to come to the conclusion that scripture is NOT clear. Therefore, I propose that without proper evidence it is NOT in line with the heart of God to condemn or oppress a whole group of people.



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Dave C

posted January 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm


ALL scripture is good for reproof and encouragement, even old testament texts. Just because we don’t follow the law as the Jews did in the old testament times, that doesn’t mean that God’s views on things are rendered null and void or have changed–because God is UNchanging. Remember, Jesus didn’t come to take the law away, he came to fullfill it.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm


Liz :
Thank you for those words. That was the point I was trying to make.
Dave C:
God is unchanging but we must strive to understand His word. Even Jews do not take the bible as a literal source. There is interpretation and review that is needed.



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Charles

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:32 pm


Mark,
Some of your historical understanding of the Bible is wrong.
The Old Testament was written, beginning with Moses. The letters of the New Testament were always written. Of the 27 books, only 5 were oral before being written, the Gospels and Acts. And they were written by eyewitnesses, within a generation of the crucifixion.
The illiterate did not copy the Bible, as you said. The Jewish scribes were highly educated, and most Jews of the first century were literate. In the latter half of the first century they began mandatory schooling for Jewish males, so they were all literate.
There was no Rabbinical tradition when Leviticus was written, so 18:22 could not have referred to Rabbinical law. Aside from that, this was part of the covenant between God and Israel, not manmade regulation. Those other laws, such as a garment of two kinds of thread, or ritual cleanness were removed when the Gentiles became part of the church.
Sexual morality is reinforced in the new testament, in many forms. One difference between this law and those is that they are not mentioned in the NT. But that’s not the major issue, but the difference between sin and ritual uncleanness. Is incest okay now? What about rape? Those were mentioned alongside homosexuality in the OT law. Are they acceptable now?
No, because they go against greater messages of Scripture, just as homosexuality – even loving,monogamous homosexuality – goes against the created order in Genesis, and the affirmations of marriage in the NT.
As for understanding Romans 1 through Romans 2, the things mentioned in Romans 1 are still sin. And your reference to the changing meaning of “gay” is irrelevant, because the Bible was written in Greek and Hebrew. They didn’t use the word “gay”. And the word “homosexual” means the same now as it did when it was first used.
Liz,
While I agree with you that the primary focus of Romans 1 is idolatry, but he still used a slew of negative terms to describe the homosexual acts: impurity, degrading, shameful, unnatural, indecent, perversion. The men “abandoned natural relations with women.” That means more than at the temple. And in the last portion of the chapter, Paul includes disobeying your parents in the list of “wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.”
Andy only has to “believe that children who curse their parents should be put to death” if he believes homosexuals should be put to death. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. So you should toss this argument out. There are much stronger ones out there.
The slavery referred to in the OT is generally equivalent to “indentured servanthood”, which is more like taking out a loan. Indentured servants received care and shelter, and were set free after their debts were paid.
When talking about relationships, we should remember the created order, that man should leave his parents and be united with his wife. That man and woman were created for each other. This isn’t just about pointing out what is and isn’t sin, but striving to live out God’s plan in creation.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm


Charles:
I apologize, I meant that Leviticus was more related to the Priesthood and represented more ritual law.
While Jews may have been highly educated, there are studies that question how literate early Christians were. As all books had to be copied by hand, there are suggestions that many of these scribes were not able to read, or skipped lines or even dropped words.
“And the word “homosexual” means the same now as it did when it was first used.”
You are incorrect as the word “homosexuality” didn’t even exist until 1869.
So what is meant in the Old Testament? The word “toevah” is usually what is translated into the word “abomination”. In fact, it refers to a ritual impurity. When the Bible was translated into Greek, the Greek word “bdelygma” was used for “toevah”. Fully consistent with the Hebrew, the Greek “bdelygma” means a ritual impurity. The Greeks did not use the word “anomia”, meaning a violation of law or a wrong or a sin.
People often say Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality. That is true. Although, some interpret Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 (the story of the centurion and his slave) as a story of a same sex couple. If the words used meant “beloved”, it is possible that Jesus blessed this slave and had no problem with the relationship.
“The slavery referred to in the OT is generally equivalent to “indentured servant hood”, which is more like taking out a loan”
As for these comments on slavery – I believe you are really stretching the understanding of what the Bible tells us. In any case, it’s nice to see that you believe that there may be some interpretation regarding the Bible and not to just take it at face (literal) value.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm


Mark,
Thanks for showing us all you know how to google. Earlier today, you asked ‘where in the bible does it say that homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven?’
You say you’ve studied the bible extensively, but I would think almost everyone here knows that the bible specifically says that, as proven by the fact that immediately people came and corrected you.
Then, when I shared some other scripture, your response was ‘This is not Jesus speaking.’, showing even the most basic biblical understanding that ALL SCRIPTURE is breathed by God, and true.
You also then said, “And, you do know, that 1 Corinthians 7:1 advises people not to get married.” Which of course is ridiculous, and again, almost everyone who’s even read the bible a little knows that Paul never forbade marriage (which was the context we were discussing)
Now, all of sudden, you are a scholar of ancient Greek and Hebrew. Uh, I doubt it.
Here’s what happened: When I showed you plainly from scripture that you were wrong because you didn’t like what it said, you got on google, and found other pro-gay websites who have for decades tried to change what has always been taught about homosexuality in the bible.
Then, you cut and pasted some stuff to make yourself look smart, stuff which you probably believe because it fits YOUR IDEA of what God should think about you.
Here’s the problem: You may get some others, who similarly don’t like what the bible says, to agree with you; but again, THAT IS NOT HOW GOD FEELS ON THE SUBJECT.
He has made it abundantly clear that homosexuality is unnatural, an abomination, and a sinful act.
God’s Word has been under attack forever, and it will continue to be. You’ll always be able to find someone who disagrees with ANYTHING the bible teaches.
But, unfortunately, we have to sort all that out and live the way God has commanded us to live in His Word, not the way we want to live (this is the essence of genuine conversion).
If we don’t, no matter how many internet sites we find to tell us that we’re allowed to sin however we want to, because of some unclear Greek, we still have to face Jesus Christ on judgment day and hear him say, “Depart me, you who practice lawlessness”



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm


Andy :
Wow, I didn’t know you knew SO much about me. I guess you showed me. I guess I shouldn’t have been researching the Bible or reading books for years, I could have just run out and googled some information.
Funny, though. In NONE of this last rant of you, do you even TRY to refute anything that was said. You just keep repeating over and over again how God said homosexuality is wrong despite the fact that I am giving evidence that your interpretation may be, harmfully, wrong.
Additionally, I don’t believe I said anything about Paul forbidding marriage (do you now resort to lying to prove your points?) He merely advises: 1 Corinthians 7:1 – “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.” or another definition: “”It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” Google that, since you OBVIOUSLY don’t know what the verse says.
And you dare to call me out when you don’t have the FIRST IDEA of what God truly says? Liz brings up slavery and the Bible. You brush it off, stating that the Bible really doesn’t support slavery and go on. Please then, describe how you can interpret:
Leviticus 25:44 – “You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life” or
Exodus 21:4 – “If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.”
Does this REALLY sound like “indentured servant hood”?
And I suggest you read ALL of Matthew 7 as you seem to enjoy taking Matthew 7:23 out of context. Pay particular attention to Matthew 7:1-5.



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Mark

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm


Andy:
I do apologize regarding the slavery issue. I see that you did not write this originally. You just sound a lot like Charles.



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EricW

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm


Since
* The first time God blesses anything or anyone is when He says to His newly-created sea creatures and birds and humans, “Be fruitful and multiply,” and
* Paul likens the relationship between a man and a woman in marriage to the relationship of Christ with His church, and
* This same union/relationship is again depicted in Revelation re: Christ and His Church (i.e., His Bride, the New Jerusalem), and
* God created mankind – male and female – in God’s image (i.e., God’s image is expressed by male-female), and
* Male was in a “not good” state when he was “alone,” and that was remedied by making for him a female, and
* These two images – man created as male-female, and Christ being united with His Bride – bookend the Scriptures, showing that in the end God fulfills what He began “In The Beginning,”
well, as much as I’d like all things to be equal, all things do NOT appear to be equal, and I think it’s going to be hard to find Biblical justification for “blessing” same-sex unions.



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Andy

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm


Mark,
As far as refuting the things you said were correct interpretations of the bible, it’s been done to death. You think you’re the first person to google why homosexuality is OK? No, it’s been biblically refuted many, many times by men who show clearly that the pro-gay interpretation that God never really meant homosexuals but rather temple prostitutes or gay rape is wrong, based on the language.
Now, I could go get all that stuff if you’d like, but you don’t even believe what Paul says in Romans 1 which CLEARLY condemns homosexual behavior. Your response: Paul is using it as a teaching tool.
Huh? A teaching tool? What?
So, you’re saying that Paul knew homosexual behavior was OK by God, by he said it wasn’t to show others that they should not judge?
THAT’S your way around that? Look how far you have to go to avoid the simple, biblical truth that homosexual behavior is wrong. WOW.



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Charles

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm


Mark,
I’ll have to deepen my understanding of Old Testament slavery, but much of the use of the word for slavery can be related to paying off a debt.
You didn’t demonstrate that “homosexual” means something different than it did in 1869. You also jumped straight from that to translation of words into “abomination”. The two are unrelated.
Also, one of the significant differences between sexual sin and ritual uncleanness, despite the use of the same word to describe it, is that, as Paul said, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 8:54 am


EricW:
If the only reason to be married is to “go forth and multiply”, then my parents must separate, my sister must leave her husband of 20 years and we must prevent any Iraq vet who was injured (and now impotent) from marrying.
Andy:
Since you didn’t respond, I assume you can’t respond. And your assumption that all I do is “Google” is really sad. You can’t adequately respond to my statements so you go after my person.
Charles:
From my readings of the OT, I can’t begin to see how slavery was indebtedness, especially Leviticus 25:44. Being able to retain the off spring of your slave, seems like slavery to me.
It is true, that the term “homosexual” means the same as it did in 1869 (at least, for what I have read). But the fact of the matter is the word was not around prior to that time. The word was coined by Karl-Maria Kertbeny as a way to describe an inborn trait and to differentiate these individuals from the other sexual orientations. Saying that the Bible is anti-homosexual is not a reasonable argument.
And if there is no relationship between “homosexual” and “abomination” then most of the arguments against gay sex in the Bible are mute. What I was trying to point out, is that much of what is used as an argument against same sex orientation uses words such as “abomination” which has been mistranslated. The term used in Leviticus and other places refers to ritual impurity not to overall impurity.
The problem with such comments as “Flee from sexual immorality” is that you already presume that homosexuality is immoral. It’s a circular argument. You define gay sex as immoral and then say that immorality involves gay sex.
I would, however, like the reference to the comments you made regarding Paul. I assume that they are in Corinthians but I can’t find the phrase.



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EricW

posted January 21, 2009 at 9:25 am


Mark wrote:
EricW: If the only reason to be married is to “go forth and multiply”, then my parents must separate, my sister must leave her husband of 20 years and we must prevent any Iraq vet who was injured (and now impotent) from marrying.
You misunderstand my point. I did not say that the only reason to be married was to go forth and multiply.
My point was/is that the God-ordered or ordained setups on this earth are, or are to be, copies and shadows of the heavenly realities. You don’t look at the shadow to understand the Real Thing; you have to see the Real Thing in order to understand how and why its copy/shadow is to be the way it is.
And the Real Thing we see in the Eternals is Christ married to His Bride, the Church, and that’s a male-female union. Hence, earthly “marriage” as far as the Church is concerned is in its copying and shadowing and imaging of the Real to be expressive of that Reality, and male-female expresses the relationship of Christ with His Church in a way that male-male or female-female cannot do. There is in reality One Real Marriage, that between Christ and His Church. All other marriages are merely copies and shadows of that. But in the church, its members’ marriages are to imitate and express the Real and Eternal Marriage. That is why male-female gets God’s blessing, and male-male or female-female do not. The one expresses the Reality of Christ; the others do not.
Or so I think.
I.e., it’s not about multiplication. It’s about image-bearing. It’s a great mystery, but a Spiritual Reality and Truth nevertheless.



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 9:51 am


EricW :
Thank you for clarifying. But I disagree with the point you are trying to make. It seems circular to me: i.e. the relationship of Jesus to the church is expressed in terms relating to marriage so therefore, the relationship of Jesus to the church is like a marriage. I see Jesus relationship to the church as a very loving relationship, one that is paralleled to marriage but that the marriage can be either different sexes or the same sex. A relationship built on love is a true and good relationship.



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EricW

posted January 21, 2009 at 9:59 am


Mark:
The reason it can’t be same sex has to do with Image Bearing, and what Image mankind was created in and what Image he is to bear in his life and in the church. Male-Female expresses on earth the Heavenly Image of Christ and His Church. There is a reason Christ was born of a female, but as a Male, and not as a female.



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 10:10 am


EricW :
I am not trying to be difficult but I have learned over my life that image doesn’t matter as much as substance. There are people (such as Ted Haggard) who give the image of a happily married heterosexual couple when, under the surface, he is gay (or at least bi-sexual).
“Male-Female expresses on earth the Heavenly Image of Christ and His Church.”
I don’t see it. Perhaps it was because I was raised in a Protestant church.
But, if Jesus really wanted to promote this ideal, would he not have gotten married or really emphasized this point?



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EricW

posted January 21, 2009 at 10:29 am


Mark:
The Ideal Jesus is promoting is the Kingdom of God. At one point, he even says that some make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, and at another point He says that the children of the resurrection are like the angels, who neither marry nor are given in marriage. It was very easy for the early church to take these statements, as well as Paul’s statements about how it’s better not to marry, to encourage celibacy and virginity to the point that marriage came to be disparaged. The same mindset appears in holiness groups from time to time. Paul sees in marriage the Mystery of Christ and His Church, a Mystery that was further revealed, though symbolically, to John in Revelation. I.e., man and woman marry and become one flesh because that is the ultimate intention and purpose of God for His Son and His Church, which was born from the blood and water that poured out from His Son’s side as Eve was taken from Adam’s side.
I do understand your point that male-male and female-female can express within a committed union/relationship the kind of self-giving and cherishing love that Christ expects husbands and wives to express, and in that sense fulfill or meet that part of what Christ expects and calls us to, but I still think that there is a valid reason that “marriage” for a church and the Christian is and has to remain a male-female thing, and not a male-male or female-female thing.
And I, too, have spent most of my Christian life in Protestant churches.
This is an interesting dialogue/discussion, and despite my being on the male-female-marriage-only side of the discussion, I listen to the other side(s). It’s one the church will have to engage in. As Lincoln said about the Civil War, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Both sides claim to be on God’s side. May we learn from each other which is God’s side.



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 10:39 am


EricW :
I too appreciate the discussion. And I do agree, “marriage” for the church, as a religious sacrament, may always be viewed as only between a man and a woman. However, I do strongly feel that in the secular and legal world, that marriage must also be between two men or two women. I realize that some people do not like the term “marriage” when referring to same sex individuals. The problem is is that many of our laws refer to marriage (not unions or partnerships) and to make a separate but equal state means changing thousands of laws.
I realize that this changes the point a bit. It is why I get very passionate about this issue.
“May we learn from each other which is God’s side.” Or if God has even picked sides. ;-)



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EricW

posted January 21, 2009 at 10:42 am


“Or if God has even picked sides. ;-)”
Yes, I, too, was going to conclude with something like that. Some of our fights God apparently doesn’t even have a dog in.



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 10:57 am


“doesn’t even have a dog in.” ? That’s an interesting phrase. Where does that come from?



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Adam Wilson

posted January 21, 2009 at 11:01 am


Wow. That is so gay.



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EricW

posted January 21, 2009 at 11:15 am


President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker used “I don’t have a dog in that fight” in the 1980s and 1990s. It means “I don’t have an interest in this matter.” It is not known where or when the saying originated.
I’m a transplant to Dallas, by way of Kansas City, by way of Iowa. I never heard the phrase until I got here, though, and per the place I found the above explanation:
http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/texas/entry/i_dont_have_a_dog_in_that_fight/
it’s apparently Texas thing.
Now I’m fixin’ to get back to work.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm


Wow.. I hate being a Christian sometimes and being ecclesially affiliated with hateful people like some of those who comment here.



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Mike Morrell

posted January 22, 2009 at 10:24 am


Well, I’m coming in on this discussion late – which is probably merciful. I think that, before posting on such things, we need to do a quick blood-pressure check. If its too high, then it’s probably not the Holy Spirit, no matter *what* our views on Subject XYZ are!
For some reason as I write this comment, Preson Phillips is the one most on the forefront here. I feel like yours was one of the most pained responses, like were having to give up a good friend because they messed up your parents house while partying for the last time. But I have to ask: Why is *this* of all things the Conversation-killer? We all agree that human sexuality is God-given and very important…so let’s stay engaged. (Oh, and everyone knows that ‘Valkyrie’ toward the top was being very sarcastic and just trying to stir the hornets nest…right? I feel like s/he got these comments started on combative terms with some hyperbolic statements in Tony’s ‘favor’)
What follows is not an attempt to change anyone’s mind about the sinfulness or blessedness of homosexual orientation and practice. We all have our perspectives, and they change like glaciers, not ice cubes. Rather, I want to lay out in as concise a manner as possible my own readings, prayer, and reflection in this these past few years, showing essentially four different options people of faith have in this regard. I’m pretty sure we all fall into one of these four understandings. My goal in showing them in a descriptive, matter-of-fact manner is to humanize all four perspectives, so that we don’t demonize one another.
By way of a quick prelude: I will not be handling any Old Testament passages that describe or seem to describe homosexual activity as an ‘abomination.’ That is because these very same passages (as GodHatesShrimp.com humorously points out) describe many other things as ‘abominations,’ our English translations belying the fact that this word simply denotes that which is cultically unacceptable to the ritual purity of set-apart Israel. So I will exclusively look at the three New Testament passages, which all happen to be by Paul (Jesus doesn’t mention homosexuality in the Gospels). I’m not even going to go into Paul’s passages in-depth, but they’re the ones in I Corinthians 6, Romans 1 and 1 Timothy 1:10.
The four options, as I’ve seen them, is as follows:
1.) Paul *is* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation/practice and this *does* matter
2.) Paul *is* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation/practice and this *doesn’t* matter
3.) Paul *isn’t* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation/practice and that *does* matter
4.) Paul *isn’t* addressing contemporary homosexual orientation/practice and it *doesn’t* matter
1.) This is the standard view in most evangelical churches as well as the official Roman Catholic and East Orthodox perspective. In essence, our English translations of ‘homosexual’ in the NT are to be trusted and affirmed as addressing precisely the same kind of homosexual orientation and activity as we see today among monogamous and non-married homosexual persons. Because Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching, we should see this as prescriptive for moral and Godly living today, teaching it accordingly.
2.) Paul is talking about contemporary homosexual orientation/action, but it’s up to us, the Church, to decide whether this is binding for today. Now lest you think this is an option only for hippie-dippy liberal revisionists, think again: The church *always* interprets Scripture for today. The evangelical church, for instance, decided that was Jesus told one guy (Nicodemus) about being ‘born again’ was binding on all people everywhere, whereas what he told another guy (the rich young ruler) about selling all possessions and giving them to the poor was virtually never applicable! We’ve also decided that Peter’s admonition of women not to wear braids or jewelry because of sinful pride was culturally-conditioned and temporary, as is Paul’s admonition of women to wear head-coverings, even though he seems to appeal to some pretty cosmic and universal principles for doing so. In the same manner, some good Christian people (and churches) conclude that Paul was simply mistaken about homosexual orientation & practice, or that his teaching was culturally-appropriate for his era but actually harmful and contrary to the Gospel for ours. We the Church are always ‘binding an loosing’ interpretations of our Holy Writ…an awesome and wonderful responsibility.
3.) Many biblical scholars puzzle over the actual meaning of arsenokoitai, the Greek word Paul used which is translated from King James on as ‘homosexuals.’ (See explanation) In short, many think that Paul is writing about pedastry – man-boy love – and temple prostitution where otherwise ‘straight’ people become ‘gay for a day’ (only not really) to engage in debasing pagan rituals. So Paul is in fact, according to this perspective, writing about the primacy of love and consideration, and against harmful idolatry. 2,000 years of translation later and we lose sight of context and original intent. Most sociologists agree that contemporary loving, monogamous homosexual orientation didn’t even exist until relatively contemporary times…therefore we are dealing with, strictly speaking, an ‘extra-biblical’ phenomenon that should, perhaps, be looked at through a different lens than seemingly ‘obvious’ passages in Scripture. We should instead appeal to Jesus and Paul’s clear teaching on love, freedom and liberty of conscience, while upholding healthy Christian standards of monogamy and sexuality that we’d encourage anyone of *any* orientation to keep as best as possible.
4.) Number 4 is a bit of a non-sequitur, as I think you can see. : )
My personal .02: I think it’s possible to hold any of these four (really three) perspectives with love and integrity, shining Christ’s life into everyone we meet. I also think it’s possible to hold any of these with pride, fear, and hostility, using them as battering rams to force those who disagree into feeling marginalized, sinful, and ‘less than.’ One of the things I’ve appreciated about certain trends emerging expressions of faith is that people who hold to all three of the above (and yes, there are plenty of ‘emergers’ who hold to #1) can peacefully coexist and even encourage one another. Thanks Tony for your (sometimes-seemingly futile) attempts to create a spiritually hospitable place for everyone.



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Your Name

posted January 23, 2009 at 8:14 am


Gospel – means good news. The Bible has 4 gospels right? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, These are th stoies of Jesus’ life. Pauls words are not gospel. The gospel he preached was the gospel of Jesus.
There is no gospel of Paul or Peter. The church has rejected many things these men stood for. Why do you still hld so stongly to this issue?



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Matt Nadler

posted January 23, 2009 at 10:18 am


check out Robert Gagnon. He shows that biblical theology, especially that of the Gospels, excludes homosexual practice.



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Mark

posted January 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm


Mike Morrell:
Interesting way of looking at the issue, thank you.
Matt Nadler :
In reading Robert Gagnon’s article, I get the impression that any sexual contact (male to female, male to male, female to female) is sinful and we all must refrain from such “sins of the flesh”. What we are now seeing is a change in the argument by those who feel homosexuality is a sin. It used to be, its a sin. As more information comes out that sexual orientation is a genetic / inborn part of a person, part of their very soul, people who are against gays now say, “well, they may be born that way, but they shouldn’t act on it”. They then attempt to justify it with other verses where the Bible describes the relationship between men and women. But Mathew 5:28 actually refutes this claim of Mr. Gagnon’s: its not actions but inner intentions. So, even if a person never acts on their sexuality, they can still sin if they even think about it.
He also goes on to say homosexuality is “sexual narcissism” and then states that is how it is defined theologically. He reaches that conclusion because “homo” means same and “homosexuals” love their own sex, i.e. narcissism. The logic makes no sense and has no basis in reality.
A look at his web site shows he obvious feels homosexuality is a sin and that it must be stopped. Hardly an unbiased review of Biblical information relating to homosexuality.



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Dave Higson

posted January 26, 2009 at 10:16 am


There’s a problem with trying to slice doctrine by confining Jesus’ views to the three years of His ministry in the Gospels. We’re all guilty of accepting this argument. However, as Christians, we believe that Jesus is God and was the creator (John 1:1ff)
By this token, all the Old Testament strictures and laws were implemented not just by the Father but by Jesus too. We cannot throw out the OT references to ungodly practices and lifestyles by dismissing them to some kind of “pre-Jesus” condition. After all, He claimed that He wasn’t here to abolish even one jot or tittle from the Law. So, it is erroneous to claim that Jesus said nothing in the Old Testament. His Word is His Word.



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Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

posted February 3, 2009 at 2:27 pm


The Bible takes a much more wholesome view of sexuality–and anybody who derives their opposition to homosexual relationships from a gaggle of texts is selling the Bible short.
The idea of male and female and the male-female union (marriage as a reflection of God’s character and relationship to man) is integrated so fully into the thrust of the Bible that its overall conclusion is inescapable.
When we read about that and about the general tone towards such relationships in the Bible (unanimously negative), we can come to a generalized conclusion about what the Bible says that has many more legs to stand on than just a few texts people wish away with clever gymnastics and sly suppositions.
You can read Peter Ould for more about this.
http://www.peter-ould.net/



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Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

posted February 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm


the “dog in this fight” phrase is a very common one–and may come from…well…dog fighting of course.
I highly doubt it comes from Texas.
As to this:
” Valkyrie
January 19, 2009 6:48 PM
I shouldn’t have said, “shut down”. What I really meant was that thanks to the tireless work of Tony Jones and his friends, fundamentalists will become increasingly marginalized and viewed as the fringy crazies that they are. The enlightened, new Christianity will be all inclusive and the path to God won’t be a narrow little on any longer. Tony Jones believes in the wide path to God, and it’s a good thing because there are more of us on it than you would dream!’



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Mark

posted February 3, 2009 at 7:53 pm


Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!:
I am not sure I understand what you are saying in your post. Are you saying that that Bible is “unanimously negative” against gay relationships or straight ones?
The view of the Bible regarding male-female relationships is extremely variable and not always positive. The Bible mentions at least 3 potentially same sex relationships and speaks pretty highly of all of them.



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Jack

posted February 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm


I Just thank God these things are finally finally taking place and all the falling away that Paul wrote about is really true you know why it overjoys me because soon and very soon we shall see the King and he will not come in peace this time but with a sword and will separate the sheep from the goats ………..so keep up the good work sheep and GOOD RIDDANCE GOATS!!!!!



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Jack

posted February 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm


You are racing to the judgment homosexuality is still an abomination to God



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Husband

posted March 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm


Terry T.
“I could just as easily use that type of reasoning to say I want more than one wife or that I am “committed” to another woman and so since we both love each other it is okay to have sexual relations even though we are married to another person.”
If you actually believe that, you must have a strange definition of the word “commitment”. For most of us, it means, ‘I choose you, as opposed to a bunch of people.’



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Eku

posted May 19, 2009 at 10:12 am


“Tony Jones believes in the wide path to God, and it’s a good thing because there are more of us on it than you would dream!'”
I think Valkyrie has your number, Tony. Boy talk about an in-you-face wake up call. Now, the question is, are you listening Tony? Are you ready to adhere to sound doctrine, or are you completely content on the broad path that leads to destruction. Oh wait! That’s right, Emergents don’t care much for scripture so I guess you’re ok. (not!).



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