Here are some of the most prominent ways people find to support “Gay” Christianity with the Bible.
1) Re-translate the text.
See the following website for a treatment of the word physikos in Romans 1 where the writer claims that Paul is actually talking about people operating opposite to the way they were born. Thus, persons not born gay but engaging in homosexual activity are violating God’s law, suggesting to the writer that a gay person in relationship with another gay person is what God intends. All of this because the author claims that the word lying beneath “nature” or “natural” has been mis-translated.
[The above links are now dead or have been reworked. Nevertheless, the website https://queerchurch.wordpress.com/ is still there.]
2) Re-interpret the text.
See James V. Brownson’s book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality, where the author reinterprets the texts by recovering the underlying “moral logic” of the text.
3) Apply the text differently in light of modern culture, particularly the view that “loving, monogamous, same-sex” relationship were not in view.
4) Agree with the text but dismiss it for the sake of modern sensibilities.
The Phyllis Tickle interview with Andrew Marin
“the Church itself is gonna have to come to grips with the fact that we have changed over the years, we have evolved, the law. We now admit divorce. Our Lord does not speak much about sexuality, but He’s very clear about divorce. It’s the only thing He’s really clear about. [As concerns sexuality?] And we have managed because out of compassion, and I certainly am for that change, out of compassion and out of common sense and out of a recognition that our times and ways of being are different from those. We have managed to get around the divorce issue and now even ordain divorced clergy, and that kind of thing. The same thing is going to happen with the gay issue. It’s in process.”
5) Marginalize the text as non-essential
“Evangelicals have a hate problem when it comes to homosexuality. Period. I know that’s extreme language. But it’s true. We can disagree over an issue and still find common ground in aiding the very poor and disenfranchised. We can work side-by-side in the work of Christ and not agree on every single marginal issue. And homosexuality, as it relates to the Bible’s message and meaning, is marginal. There are 31,000 verses. Only around 8 or 9 can really be said to have anything to do with homosexuality. (None are actually about homosexuality — monogamous, committed relations — as we understand it.) That’s around 0.026% of Scripture. And yet that fraction of Scripture has become central to the public identity of evangelicalism. They have placed homophobia at the center of the Gospel”.
6) Lessen the importance of the texts by emphasizing love, poverty, acceptance.
“The way evangelicals treat LGBTQ+ people is wrong. It is extreme. It is sinful. It is hateful. And it is absolutely terrifying. In the past 24 hours, we just witnessed the extent evangelicals will go to keep LGBTQ+ people marginalized, to keep an organization from the simple thing of recognizing their already legal marriages. They will starve children. They will deprive impoverished communities of aid and help. So, no, I don’t blame World Vision. Its leaders did exactly what everyone urged them to do — both on the left and the right.They thought of how it would affect the children. Rather, I blame the far-right evangelicals who held World Vision hostage to their homophobic agenda. These evangelicals held a gun to the head of World Vision. They forced an organization to choose between aiding hungry children and offering a small step towards equality for gay and lesbian people who work for them. And no matter what World Vision chose, these evangelicals were always going to pull the trigger on one of the hostages.”
7) Re-direct attention from the texts by focusing on what Jesus did not say.
I follow your distinction between pre-marital sex and adultery: in adultery, the partners are betraying their spouses and children. But- when two women love each other, there are no victims like that. I would say that therefore, because there are no victims, the sin is less- or nonexistent. I am delighted that my church lobbied the UK government to allow church weddings for gay people, and the Government will allow that for any denomination which opts in. Many churches will.
Jesus said that if a man look at a woman with lust in his heart, he had already committed adultery. He did not say the same if a man look at a man.” https://ccithink.com/2013/03/31/why-the-focus-on-homosexuality-abortion-evolution-arent-all-sins-the-same-in-gods-eyes-part-1/
8) Placate the text by compartmentalizing between principle and practice.
See the video featuring Justin Lee, president and founder of the Gay Christian Network
[This link was dead a few weeks ago. The same sentiments are easy to validated through his writings.]
9) Maintaining a neutral position
Benjamin Corey wrote:
“We always knew that the sides against same sex marriage and the sides for same sex marriage would never see eye-to-eye (fine, there’s room for both of us), but what we saw yesterday went one step further: it was declared that Evangelicals are not allowed to take a neutral position on the issue. That’s the key. No more neutrality allowed. It was declared that hiring a married homosexual shall now be considered as equally egregious to officiating the wedding yourself.”
Many today are looking for ways to discount the Bible and all it has to say about how we should live. I have noticed a particular, observable progression in “reasoning” that reveals where many land when it comes to the Bible. I call it the Scripture Bypass Defense. Here it is:
- Scripture does not say what we think it says.
- Scripture says what we think it says but does not mean what we think it means.
- Scripture says what we think it says, and it means what we think it means, it just does not apply to our modern situation.
- Scripture says what we think it says, and it means what we think it means, and it applies to our modern situation, but it is just too difficult to obey so the Holy Spirit lets us out of it.
In this article Dr. Castaldo ponders whether Pope Francis’s silence about Jesus during his American visit was in keeping with the phrase (mistakenly) attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, which says, ““Preach the gospel at all times, and use words if necessary.”
I admit that I reject the premise of this axiom for one simple reason: it is always, always, ALWAYS necessary to use words when preaching the gospel.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15, NIV/1984)
Dr. Castaldo writes from deep knowledge of Catholicism. You can also check out Dr. Castaldo’s blog and learn more about him www.chriscastaldo.com
I believe several things dynamics are at work in the Huffington Post interview with T. D. Jakes. The interview was first posted on the Huff Post website on August 4. The topic of discussion was Jakes’ new book, then turned to the LGBT community and the black church.
After personally transcribing the interview myself, I tend to think that several dynamics were at play in the interview. First of all, I think two conversations were going on. The interviewer, Marc Lamont-Hill, academic, journalist, author, activist, and television personality and Distinguished Professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, was looking for Jakes to endorse the LGBT community and to admit to an acceptance of homosexuality. Jakes, it seems to me, was trying to be benevolent with his “Jump the Broom” theology (if you don’t know what that means check out this post). The interview spurred what Jakes referred to as “a virulent diatribe in cyber-Christian-land” which demanded a reiteration of his stance on that old diversion, same-sex marriage.
Jakes may think the criticism unfair, but the proof is in the pudding: the Huff Post article accompanying the video. In sum, the article claims that Jakes thinks it is absolutely possible for the black church and the LGBT community to co-exist, that Jakes’ own views on homosexuality have evolved and are still evolving, and that LGBT people should find a church that aligns with their own views on faith.
While Jakes was waxing eloquent on the separation of church and state, the republic, and pluralism, Hill heard him endorsing homosexuality.
Jakes can be irritated at the outcry from cyber-Christian-land, but in reality the force of his interview was simply to placate the LGBT community and give quarter to the concept of gay Christianity.
Michael Brown called Jakes out asking him to clarify his stance on homosexuality. This elicited a “reiteration” of Jakes’ stance on same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, Jakes didn’t answer the question and Brown let him off the hook.
In his article, “Oprah, Osteen, Jakes, and Homophobia,” Brown is somehow encouraged that Oprah still welcomes Osteen and Jakes after they openly claimed homosexuality to be a sin. First of all, there is little to be worried about with inviting Osteen on your show. He is not going to be polarizing. Second of all, T. D. Jakes is a powerful, popular black man with a feel good theology. Oprah would never reject him. Neither of these men have ever stood up to Oprah and called her out for her new age religiosity or her pro-gay stance. Why wouldn’t she welcome them? Brown ends his article with a pointer on how not to be labeled a homophobe. Anyone who unequivocally takes a stand against homosexuality as a lifestyle (which Jakes did not do in his interview) is going to be labelled a homophobe and a hater.
While I have no problem with Jakes “reiteration,” and I do not think he supports homosexuality, he absolutely encouraged gay Christianity. Here is a quote from the interview:
“If you don’t like those convictions and values and you totally disagree with it, don’t try to change my house, move into your own. And establish that sort of thing and find someone that gets what you get about faith.”
The answer for the American culture that rejects truth from the Word of God is not “find a place to go where people agree with you”! My goodness, this only feeds America’s twisted definition of tolerance. The answer is, “Go to a Bible believing church and sit there until God changes you! Immerse yourself in the Presence, the Power, the Word, and the worship of the True God!” Yes the church must be accepting and loving. But sending the LGBT community into inclusive churches where they can be surrounded with people who agree with them (which as a community they are wont to do anyway) is an unfortunate message!
Post Script: Once again the issue has gotten side-tracked by the diversion of same-sex marriage. The issue is gay Christianity!
This article was written a couple of years ago, but was never placed on the blog. It is being submitted now as support to another article concerning T. D. Jakes.
Something goes wrong when we give eternal weight to temporal human triumph. The problem is that we have such proclivity to search out and enjoy a story for the sake of entertainment or inspiration that we immerse ourselves in the story and we fail to consider the compromises or the message of the story teller.
Is the T.D. Jakes movie, Jumping the Broom, going to be entertaining? It looks like it. Is it going to be suggestive sexually? The trailer took care of that. But the question I am asking is how much compromise are we willing to engage in for the outside hope that someone in the world might possibly think about considering Christian faith?
When we tell a story that shows such grace and love and understanding for things like premarital sex, adultery, manipulation, deception, all in the name of a God who only loves, the audience leaves thinking that God does not require anything of them; that they are “OK” in their present state. The message isn’t that God is calling and wants to transform your life, it is that God has already come and He is with you right now in the life you are currently living. No need to change. Just give a shout out to the “man upstairs.”
Joyful Noise, once again sexually compromising and suggestive, wants us to place at the pinnacle of our hopes, our goals, and our aspirations, the triumph of the human spirit—the value of humans inspiring humans—as though this is man’s chief purpose. It casts a vision for a better humanity with the inclusion of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and various other pop songs all mixed in with occasional songs that almost pass for Christian.
In a review of the movie written by Ari Karpel, Dolly Parton expresses her feeling that God used Todd Graff, the openly gay 52 year old writer and director of the movie. From the review:
Ms. Parton attested: “He has been! [a vessel, presumably of God] God worked through him, that’s what I told him. I would joke, ‘What is this, Jews for Jesus?’ ”
Ms. Parton’s statement implies that some work of God has been done through this film and begs the question, “What did Dolly feel that God was trying to accomplish in this movie?” Somehow, Christians think that any mention of Jesus or any depiction of faith, no matter how convoluted or unscriptural, will somehow lead magically to someone getting saved and thus warrants any amount of compromise necessary, particularly if it means Jesus gets to go to the “Silver Screen,” which belies our underlying desire for fame and fortune.
Perhaps Dolly felt that Mr. Graff might consider Christian faith if he worked on a movie that loosely depicted some version of Christian faith, not thinking that if he did consider faith, he would be considering, not a faith based on the Bible, but one based on a compromised, bottom-up vision of spirituality with Saint Michael Jackson headlining from the loft of heaven, singing about a man in the mirror. A brand of self-improvement style, look-the-other-way spirituality with the name of Jesus tacked on for good measure, but it’s OK because evangelical Christians are just so tickled to be noticed because we so badly want to be in the movies and to be in the White House so that we can reveal to the world just how much we are willing to compromise just to be liked! We are Sally Field at the 1985 Oscars, gushing, “We’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect!”
Michael Ealy, star of the USA Network television show Common Law, is also the star of a new movie Unconditional, put together by Harbinger Media Partners and designed to inspire movie goers to “pursue God and serve others.” So here is another opportunity to examine a typical answer to Niebuhr’s question about what to do with Christ and Culture. This movie, however noble an attempt it may be at drawing people to God (not hard to do when roughly 88% of the world’s population believe in God. Drawing them to Jesus? Now that’s another thing altogether…), has chosen as one of its stars a man who’s role on the USA series Common Law was that of an over-sexed, self-serving cop. But, because perhaps he has some name recognition and has endeared himself to his audiences with some notable roles, the “church” decides it would be good to make him a headliner in one of its movies as it attempts one more time to provide what is presumably a movie with Christian values in “theaters everywhere.”
I have to ask, “What are we really after here?” Is it simply that we feel like we should have good clean movies in our theaters so that Christians can go to wholesome movies instead of worldly ones (because we are going to the movies either way”)? Is it that we really think that if we remind the culture of some good moral values and tag on some mentions of God, or show someone going to church, etc., that there will somehow be a massive return to what we as a nation have forgotten and become a Christian nation again? Has this worked in the past (if the movies Joyful Noise and Jump the Broom are any indicators I think we know the answer)? Sure, the movies by Alex Kendrick and Sherwood Pictures have been inspiring, true to Christian values, and widely received by the evangelical church, but they are obviously Christian and not headliners for those doubling as sex maniacs—thus not the best acting but still worth watching. Are we trying to prove to Hollywood and the world that we can do it too?
Deeper still is the question of why we wink at Hollywood’s sin in those rare moments when they are willing to throw the church a bone? This movie endorses Hollywood’s behavior—or at least shows that we are willing to look the other way under the guise of grace—not in its content but because it features an actor who is obviously still willing to do whatever Hollywood wants him to do in order to be a star and get a part. Is it so important that we get another tepid message about “God” into the theaters that we are willing to say to the world “Yes, we think Michael Ealy is good in that T.V. show too and we know that God forgives human sexual weakness so we’re going to compromise ourselves in real life so that we can attempt to depict grace on the big shiny silver screen which we are so desperate to succeed at.
It is a real Christ intersecting-with-culture situation in which the “church” is again trying to solve the issue of what to do about human culture. Do we separate ourselves entirely and enter into Niebuhr’s “Christ against Culture” scenario, or do we simply get in there with the world and label everything as good because it came from humans and humans were created by God so therefore what they do must have some redemptive value—besides there is no hell anyway right Mr. Bell?
So the movie trailer looks interesting enough and will probably be inspirational. There is nothing wrong with that. If this were a movie produced by Hollywood there would be reason to cheer. However, it seems to be an effort by some well-meaning men who want to bring help to those who are suffering and want to create some movies with good moral values. Again, nothing wrong with that. My concern is that when people take it on themselves the duty of pointing people to God, and all they can muster are general images and references to God and His grace but never go the full distance to pointing them to Christ, we only strengthen the “I’m ok, you’re ok” mentality that says everyone is fine. God would never judge someone who has been through so much pain or who is obviously weak and unable to keep from falling.
This article was written in response to an article by Jonathan Rauch in The Daily News. I submitted it to The Daily News as a rebuttal but, alas, they did not need it. Here it is anyway! You can read Rauch’s article here. (Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.)
Jonathan Rauch’s Op-Ed in the Daily News, “The Last Gay-Marriage Holdouts,” demonstrates many of the misunderstandings, assumptions, and wrong opinions that float to the top when people discuss evangelicals and homosexuality.
First of all, Rauch misses the nuance involved when he refers to those “young people who disagree with their elders who disproportionately [prioritize] anti-gay rhetoric and doctrine.” The “disproportion” he refers to has to do with those in the church who ask, “Why do you focus only on the sin of homosexuality and not the sin of lying, etc.?” The issue here is that, when addressing those who support homosexuality—either inside or outside of the church—we are not dealing with people who admit that homosexuality is a sin. We are, instead, dealing with those who say it is normal. So when people try to make this distinction they are invariably comparing apples to oranges. The church does speak out against lying and adultery and hatred and all manner of sins. But the Supreme Court did not meet recently in order to say that lying is a basic human right or that murder is protected by the fourteenth amendment. To those who agree that homosexuality is sin, we can talk about where it ranks among sin. But to those who want to compromise the Bible and normalize homosexuality, the traditional evangelicals cannot help but speak out.
Second, these days a distinction must be made between what is passing for evangelicalism in the media and traditional evangelicalism. Traditional evangelicals are not worried or concerned about becoming “cultural strangers in their own land.” Genuine, Bible-believing Christians have never made cultural acceptance their number one goal. Going forward, anyone wanting to be intellectually honest will need to observe the distinction between the new liberal evangelicals, and those genuine, traditional evangelicals who still hold to the authority of Scripture.
Third, Rauch claims that all evangelical congregations include openly gay members. This is simply not true. For one thing, I assume that this is simply a sloppy use of the word “member.” Show me the evangelical church that has openly gay members—people accepted into membership with full knowledge that they were practicing homosexuals—and I will show you a church that is not evangelical.
Next, to compare Jesus’ interaction and approach to the woman at the well who was living in adultery (John 4) and the current debate over the acceptance of homosexuality and, further, to connect it with the concept of inclusiveness, is simply bad hermeneutics. Jesus did not offer inclusion to the woman at the well! He confronted her sin and invited her to come clean. When the church takes this approach to homosexuality it is referred to as homophobic!
The next subtle assumption comes with the question, “Why would God create gay people for a life without sexual intimacy and loving companionship?” The traditional evangelical answer? He didn’t. He didn’t create people gay. They were not born that way. Nevertheless, in order for those with same-sex attraction to be in right standing before God they will have to renounce homosexuality conceptually and in practice, daily crucify same-sex desire, and may very well have to live their lives as ones chosen by God to be single. People throughout history have been able to live without sexual intimacy for reasons not as lofty as a right standing before God. And to assume that sex must be a part of a fulfilled life is to sell humanity short.
What is happening in evangelicalism is a purification process. Those young “evangelical” pastors who are suffering from the pains of “cognitive dissonance” and the agonizing conflict between “head and heart” on this issue are simply not evangelicals. Not because traditional evangelicals don’t care about those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. Many of us do; all of us should. But allowing sympathy to trump truth is to take a fools path. Americans need to learn again that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that he or she hates you. That type of thinking represents an arrested emotional development.
Finally, Rauch is right about one thing: American evangelicalism is on a collision course with itself. When it is over, true evangelicals will continue to stand behind the Bible. The rest can join those American Catholics, mainline Protestants, Mormons, and the Pope whom Rauch indicates all support homosexuality.
Jimmy Carter, who most people would say is the only President in modern times in the running with Obama for “Worst President” just proved one more time why he is a contender!