Paths to an Acceptance of “Gay” Christianity

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.

http://www.thegodarticle.com/7/post/2011/10/clobbering-biblical-gay-bashing.html

http://queeringthechurch.com/2010/03/02/clobber-texts-a-new-reading-of-leviticus/

[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.

 

https://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php

http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/leviticus.html

http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/

 

4) Agree with the text but dismiss it for the sake of modern sensibilities.

The Phyllis Tickle interview with Andrew Marin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOQQPC_SsEs&list=FLcqHu8ilKp75pBGfY-UxaAQ&index=11

“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

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/

“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.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/

“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.”

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/#ixzz3Iab25EDQ

 

7) Re-direct attention from the texts by focusing on what Jesus did not say.

“Hello, Scott.

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

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/gays-and-christianity/3299076052001

[This link was dead a few weeks ago. The same sentiments are easy to validated through his writings.]

 

9) Maintaining a neutral position

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/death-of-evangelicalism/

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 keyNo more neutrality allowed. It was declared that hiring a married homosexual shall now be considered as equally egregious to officiating the wedding yourself.”

 

 

The Scripture Bypass Defense

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.

Michael Brown and T. D. Jakes: An Unfortunate Interview and a Failed Rebuke

Michael BrownOprah JakesI 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!

Oprah and Rob Bell: The Beast and Her False Prophet

Rob Bell Suggests Bible Not Relevant to Today’s Culture – US – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 – CBN.com.

Few things are more sickening than listening to people speak disparagingly about the Church who themselves have no spiritual credibility to speak of; no right to touch or judge the body of Christ.

For Oprah to ask Rob Bell, “When is the Church going to get this” in reference to the normalcy of homosexuality, is nauseating. Rob Bell is practically blasphemous in this video. He is a prophet of some Church other than the true one. Error is one thing, but falsehood and treachery are different matters!

 

via Oprah and Rob Bell: The Beast and Her False Prophet.

Victoria Osteen: Worship For Yourself or Worship Yourself? Same Thing!

Victoria OsteenThere is a serious problem with Victoria Osteen’s “worship for yourself” theology. At first it may seem nuanced or even about semantics. But in reality, there is a wide chasm between right theology and the Osteen gospel.

God Does Want It To Go Well With Us!

It is true that when we worship God and obey Him, we do benefit. And it is true that God is passionate about our obedience for the sake of our lives and the lives of our children “going well.”

23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leading men of your tribes and your elders came to me. 24 And you said, “The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him. 25 But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer. 26 For what mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? 27 Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”28 The Lord heard you when you spoke to me and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever (Deuteronomy 5:23–29)!

So, yes! God is passionate about our lives going well as a result of our connection with Him. However, if I approach God and say, “Ok, I want my life to go well, so I will surrender to God’s wishes” that is equivalent to an immature turning toward God in order to avoid hell. We could call it a “fire insurance” level of maturity. In such a case we might say, “Well, it’s a start.” But to have this as the core motivating factor worshiping God belies at best a severe immaturity and at worst a humanistic “use” of God that is actually more akin to a worship of ourselves than it is the true worship of the living God!

When a man finds the woman of his dreams, he doesn’t say, “Look at all the cool things I will get if I marry this woman!” On the contrary, he says, “I would be willing to suffer the loss of everything in order to marry this woman!” Why? Because he has encountered someone who captures his heart! Because he has recognized the woman’s great beauty, inside and out! The difference is palpable!

Only a minor investigation into what is known as the “prosperity” gospel reveals exactly this kind of twisted theology that places self on the throne. It also goes hand in hand with what is known as “hyper-grace” theology which refuses to deal properly with sin. Both of these streams converge in the Osteen gospel.

The Enlightenment Turn To The Subject

For some time now I have been documenting what is known as the “turn to the subject” or the “Copernican turn.” In short, the turn to the subject is the Enlightenment era rejection of the authority of the Church and the Bible, and an embracing of the self. The turn to the subject is explained well in the following quote:

It was, however, the modern “turn to the subject” that proved decisive. Kant’s call for “autonomy,” for the individual’s “release from a self-incurred tutelage” to such heteronymous authorities as the Bible and the Church, embodied the spirit of the Enlightenment. Increasingly, individual reason and conscience became the arbiters of religious truth. Although the Romantics rejected the appeal to autonomous “reason alone,” they nevertheless shifted the source of spiritual authority to the “religious self-consciousness,” that is, to religious experience. The entire nineteenth century can be viewed as an effort to resolve the increasingly problematic issue of authority. 2

So, what does the “turn to the subject” look like in the church in the twenty first century? I believe it manifests itself in the form of liberation theology, the social gospel, gay Christianity, the prosperity gospel, hyper-grace, just to name a few of its ill-effects!

 

1 Livingston, Fiorenza, Coakley, and Evans, Jr., Modern Christian Thought: The Twentieth Century, (Fortress Press: 2006), page 2.

The Victoria Osteen Gaffe Demonstrates Why Theology Matters!

The message from Victoria Osteen (VO) is that we worship God for ourselves. Here’s the quote:victoria-victoria-osteen

So, I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize, when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—(I mean that’s one way to look at it)—we’re doing it for ourself because God takes pleasure when we’re happy! That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning. So I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself! Because that’s what makes God happy! Amen?

Watch the video

Why is this statement so obviously wrong and troubling? It is because it  takes our worship of God and the purpose for that worship and centers it in the self. What are some of the ramifications of such a theology? It makes our happiness the test of true worship. It says as long as I am happy, God is happy. VO said , “That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning.”

To be fair, VO did make a follow-up statement a few hours after the video began to go viral:

God is all-powerful and does not require our worship or approval to be Who He is. God was God before we even existed. When we choose to worship Him and live in obedience to Him we do so for our own benefit, so that we may be in right standing with Him and enjoy His favor. Therefore, glorify Him in everything you do and let your life be worship to Him, so that one day He will say to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Unfortunately for VO, she did not help herself with this statement. Why? The seed of selfishness remains in her theology: “When we choose to worship Him and live in obedience to Him we do so for our own benefit…” It is the unabashed worship of self that so characterizes all of the Osteen “Your best life now” theology. Are there benefits to worshiping God? Absolutely! Does God want our lives to go well? Yes! But we worship God because He is worthy of worship; because in worshiping God we leave ourselves behind! The problem with the hyper-grace, prosperity theology is that it places self on the throne!