Gay Marriage

People are going to hate me for this.  Probably from both sides.  Either way, this is what I believe wholeheartedly.  If you disagree, please let’s talk about it, like adults.

I agree with the legalisation of same sex marriage.

This is on the back of previous posts.  Firstly, not all Christians believe same sex relationships are wrong.  But let’s say for arguments sake that it is wrong.  This doesn’t mean it should not be legalised.  If we take the viewpoint I have talked about in previous posts, it should absolutely be legalised.  Jesus asked people to follow him and follow his guidelines for life.  But if they chose to walk away and not follow him, he let them.  He didn’t chase after them and demand they abide by his rules, he just let them leave and choose their own lifestyles.  If non-Christians are choosing same sex relationships, who are Christians to come along and tell them they are living in sin according to their rules, which the people they are yelling at did not sign up for?

Terrible sentence structure there I know…  But you get my point.

People who have not signed up for Christian standards should not have those standards applied to them.  It’s not fair, and it’s not biblical.  And that’s only assuming being gay is anti-biblical.  I know most Christians would say it is anti-biblical, but I’m not totally convinced.  I’m honestly unconvinced either way.  I’ve heard great biblical reasoning for both.  Please ask me about this if you’re interested and I can refer you to good people who have done more research on the topic than I have.  Thankfully it’s not something I’ve ever had to grapple with myself.  Although having said that, I am close to people who have, so it’s a topic I care very much about.

As a human, I simply cannot understand how something so arbitrary (yes, I mean arbitrary) like sexual preference could have such a huge impact on someone’s ability to be a child of God.  And I really believe that it doesn’t.  Even if it is a sin, God forgives me for so much (and according to the Bible all sins are equal), so gays are no more wrong than me.  This is not coming out properly (pun not intended, but I like it anyway!).  I don’t mean we should just do whatever we feel like because we get forgiven, so screw it, live however you like.  I am absolutely not saying this.  I am saying that good intentioned people who are living a gay lifestyle with a clear conscience are not the enemy.  It’s ok to think they are wrong, it’s not ok to hate them and treat them like they have some sort of disease.  And I think God loves them and will forgive them if they’re honestly getting it wrong.  And yes, there is something to be said for reprimanding your fellow believer, saying when you think they are wrong and talking about it, trying to bring them back into line as the Bible says we ought.  But if they still disagree with you, you cannot force them to change their mind.

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be gay and Christian.  It must be a painful and isolating experience.  And it is from what I hear.  Which is sad.  I think the Bible is pretty clear on love and forgiveness.

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109 Replies to “Gay Marriage”

  1. Good on you Megan for speaking up, as a christian I reckon It can be pretty daunting to speak against what appears to be the overwhelming majority view that comes from christianity. I am not convinced that that view is an overwhelming majority, probably just the noisiest, so I reckon it’s high time for others to speak up.

    I too have been wanting to say something and struggling a bit with what to say cos it can get messy trying to represent your view without offending somebody and looking like a bit of a dick. I reckon you did pretty good.

    1. Um, I have a problem with this the same way I have a problem with other sins (not forgetting that sin is sin is sin – to God, He doesn’t judge the way we do, there is no sin that is larger or nastier than another, except that of offending the Holy Spirit, so I’m as guilty as any other when it comes to sinning).

      So, from my point-of-view, given Sodom and Gomorrah, homosexuality is sin.

      Also, if you’re in for gay marriage, look at the other side of the coin – what’s so wrong about marrying a child? They do in many other cultures, after all. Helps guarantee virginity, doesn’t it? Feeling a bit sick in the stomach yet? Because I am at the thought.

      While we’re on paedophilia, how about we say it’s okay to have pornography released on the web properly – so anyone can access it – after all, it’s freedom of speech and we should be able to feel and think what we like. And then we can all show visitors from overseas how open we are, with our paedophilia porn available for anyone to buy.

      Satan’s Bible. Now there’s a good start in freedom of speech. Let’s have that published and available too.

      I’m sure, given time, I could think of a lot more examples of 21st Century idealogues gone wrong. So could you. Let’s not let the aethistic liberals take over Christianity.

      Thankyou for your time and trouble.

      Dominus tecum
      Leonie

      1. Leonie, with all due respect, are you arguing that we should still be following everything literally as it is written in the Bible?

        From your name I guess you are female. If you’re keen to follow the examples of Sodom and Gomorrah, how about you give 1 Corinthians 14:34 – 35 a try:
        “34. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
        35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

        I must say, it is a shame for anyone to hear anyone compare a same-sex marriage to paedophilia – in the church, or anywhere else.

      2. So many forms of upset…

        So many foolish statements there Leonie

        There are many biblical warnigns about an uncontrolled tongue. Please be aware of the hurt you can cause with these statements. Coz it’s just not okay…

  2. A great piece Megan.

    I could write many jokes related to this, but I will save them for the end. The simple fact is, what two people get up to in bed with each other is up to them. Anyone who thinks it concerns them really should question their moral values. If two people love each other enough to want to spend the rest of their lives together, isn’t that better than an endless number of one night stands?
    If we are all made in the image of a god, then that would make said god at least bisexual. I think your line that to do what Jesus did makes the best point in this whole debate. Also, if marriage works so well for heterosexual people, why is the divorce rate so high?

    As for the jokes:
    Straights don’t want Gays getting married, because they know they’ll have far better reception parties.

    God only made homosexuality a sin, because his boyfriend found it kinky.

    The best thing about being in a Gay relationship is, you instantly double the size of your clothing options.

    1. Personally I don’t think that’s a very good argument for what you’re saying. Marriage and endless one night stands are not the only two options. And if you have to bribe someone with marriage to stop them having one night stands there are many more issues and they should NOT be getting married!
      And no, God is not bisexual. God is asexual, both male and female. A complicated issue in itself which I won’t go into here.
      And the divorce rate amongst heterosexuals is awful, but certainly no reason to legalise homosexual marriage. The badness of one thing is no reason to bring in another variable which is likely to be just as bad.

  3. You know that makes me sad Megan. Where was the part about repentance in order to receive the forgiveness? They are connected, not exclusive. In regard to the ‘not imposing our views’ on non-christians; this area is more black and white than our culture is saying and as Christians we compromise to say otherwise. If we don’t stand up for the laws of our history which were founded on the biblical standard, we will have the secular standard imposed on us, who disagree with these laws. Not everything we want is good for us individually as well as corporately. A case in point is what Brumby recently did with the abortion laws that he brought into Victorian law. The politicians were forced to sit throughout the night until the law was passed making them tired and weakened in their resolve. The law denied any doctor to have the right to express a conscience descision to refer a patient for counselling and / or refuse to be the doctor to refer her to an abortion clinic. When we surrender our rights to keep our laws based on our biblical history, we have laws imposed on us to cooperate with a law that is against our religious beliefs. Again, self-centred laws are rarely for the corporate greater good.

    1. I don’t think it’s right to compare same sex marriage to abortion laws. I am strongly opposed to abortion laws because that is a law that makes choices for someone who doesn’t have a voice (ie the unborn child). In that case we are taking away the right to choose from the vulnerable who need our protection.

      Gay marriage is a totally separate issue. It is giving the right to choose to those who do not choose Biblical standards. If you can show me from the Bible where it says that everyone should abide by Christian standards, or that Christians should impose our standards on those who don’t choose it, I’d be interested. Because I’ve never seen it.

      1. I think you missed the point of Diane’s example. She wasn’t comparing abortion with gay marriage, nor was she talking about Christians enforcing their beliefs on others. She was using an example of how law can force people to act in a way that they strictly oppose. In this case, that the new abortion laws took away a Christian’s right to live the way that they were taught to live.

        So, in effect, she made the same point you just made, but reversed the effected parties.

    2. Diane, you may be interested to read section 116 of the Australian constitution, it is freely available on the internet.

      To put it basically, and as supported by decisions in the High Court of Australia, there is no such thing as biblical law in this country. We have a separation of church and state in Australia. No religious group can impose a law on another, and no laws can be passed based solely on religious beliefs.

      One of the best things about this secular standing in the constitution of our country is, you are free to express your view on the matter at hand, and will not be persecuted for having a view that differs from the law of the country.

      1. Personally, I find the concept of “separation of church and state” to be a ridiculous concept. Every law, every enforced rule, comes from a worldview. It is impossible for any party to draw up a set of standards objectively, and any reasons given make statements about the nature of reality as seen by those who agree upon it.

        The “separation of church and state” as it were (which doesn’t actually apply in Australia the same way it does in America) simply states Christians cannot have a say based on their true beliefs, but those that subscribe to other worldviews can.

        Just felt a need to interject with that.

  4. I understand your reasons, sis (or at least perceive I do), but I find myself disagreeing quite strongly.

    The concept of legalizing marriage in the understanding that people can choose to walk their own path away from God doesn’t really hold water to me.

    Regarding matters that do not deal with the direct, immediately apparent harm of others or individuals, there is an inescapable grey area when exploring any legal responsibilities. Homosexual marriage deals with something that, ignoring the subject of adoption and abandoning Biblical application, does not have any immediately obvious negative effects. So why not legalize marriage between two parties of the same sex?

    I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ll attempt to explain what I feel are Biblical grounds for the rejection of this proposal. What I will not be addressing in any real detail is the Biblical commentary on homosexuality (it marks it as sin, often in the context of idolatry), nor the often used “ripple effect” argument (“If two men can get married, why not a man and a robot?”).

    When dealing with why Christians should take a particular stance on an issue, we must assume, for arguments sake, that what the Bible says is true. If we do this, then we assume that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman instated by God in the beginning that carries with it special significance and meaning.

    Marriage is, first and foremost, a union before God. It is His, and He is very clear about what a healthy, God-inspired marriage looks like.

    So when discussing marriage, from the Christian perspective, we are discussing something much more specific than a mere legal contract, and much more sacred in our faith. To request the church to allow and condone two people to knowingly enter into a union that explicitly goes against God’s teachings on marriage? Well, that’s just not cricket.

    By this logic, there is absolutely nothing preventing homosexual couples from pursuing a long-term relationship under a different name with it’s own definitions apart from marriage, but as Christians we must guard the sanctity of what marriage is as it has been laid before us by God. And God is very clear about what that is.

    Mind you this is not a discussion of whether or not this stance is just (which I believe it absolutely is), but whether it is Biblical and, in turn, Christian.

    – – – –

    I also feel compelled to address some minor points from your original post, sis. No disrespect intended, of course, just some healthy counter-points.

    [i]“As a human, I simply cannot understand how something so arbitrary (yes, I mean arbitrary) like sexual preference could have such a huge impact on someone’s ability to be a child of God.  And I really believe that it doesn’t.  Even if it is a sin, God forgives me for so much (and according to the Bible all sins are equal), so gays are no more wrong than me.”[/i]

    Correct, but homosexuality is not a singular act in time, but an ongoing decision or state. If I were to choose Jesus and give my life to him but continue to, let’s say, collecting and enjoying pornography… well, I haven’t really given my life to him, have I?

    I’m still holding onto sin, the sin which Jesus died to save me from. So if I won’t hand it over, how can I be saved by his blood? I’m not really walking in his footsteps.

    [i] And I think God loves them and will forgive them if they’re honestly getting it wrong.[/i]

    I agree, but if they remain complacent and simply “feel that’s how it should be” without honestly seeking God’s heart on this obviously important issue… then was it really honest?

    
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

    – – – – –

    I feel a lot of your opinions on homosexual marriage are driven emotionally rather than Biblically or spiritually, perhaps due to your first hand encounters with people in a homosexual lifestyle.

    Not to suggest in any way that this somehow diminishes the worth of your opinions. Quite the contrary, it adds weight to them. But I feel, on this particular matter, your thoughts are muddied and confused by some of the more charismatic homosexual apologists.

    1. damn… that wasnt meant to finish.. lol…
      But who are we to say that they cant be Christian on the things that they do?? Who says that it is any different to any other sin that a lot of Christians practice every day of their life. God’s grace is much bigger than what we could ever imagine. It’s time that a lot of Christians actually came out of their hole, and start loving instead of condemning. They have no place.
      you are great

      1. Sorry, just jumping in here with a quick couple of points.

        “But who are we to say that they cant be Christian on the things that they do??”

        In order to be a Christian we must live as the Bible teaches us to live. That is what makes us Christian at all (the process of accepting Jesus into your heart means little unless you proceed to learn who He is). So we do not “say so”, the text on which we base our entire faith on does.

        “Who says that it is any different to any other sin that a lot of Christians practice every day of their life.”

        A very true statement, but you seem to have missed the point of it. You do not emphasise the equality of sin to justify any single area of it, you would only do so to encourage other Christians not to take their own sin lightly in comparison to homosexuality.

        Repentance is always the Christian response to an act of sin, or at least it always should be.

        “God’s grace is much bigger than what we could ever imagine. It’s time that a lot of Christians actually came out of their hole, and start loving instead of condemning.”

        There are two points here. Firstly, yes, God’s grace IS much bigger than what we could ever imagine, but in order to accept his grace we must let go of our sinful nature, in order to let go of our sinful nature we must acknowledge our sin.

        On the second point regarding Christian’s less-than-loving attitude to homosexuals (the people, not the act of homosexuality), I agree wholeheartedly. Who are we to look down upon and hate them? We are sinners too, last time I checked.

        The difference is separating the love of the man for the love of the act he performs.

  5. There are quite a few different issues wrapped up in this post and I couldn’t address them all in this little space, so I replied with a blog post:
    http://rollo75.blogspot.com/2011/03/horse-1164-what-right-do-christians.html

    The summary is that Christians are Christ’s Ambassadors, charged with the job of speaking out and speaking up on behalf of God and his purposes; to fail to do so is a dereliction of duty. This general principle not only counts for just the case of same-sex marriage, but EVERYTHING.

  6. The principle of separation of church and state has been misused of late to try to exclude Christian leaders from having a say on political issues, or against Christian politicians, whose faith informs their calling to public life. In my view it’s unreasonable to expect them to set aside their beliefs on the grounds that their religious beliefs somehow impair their judgement.

    I visited a church recently where I sat behind one of them, and met another one in the visitor’s lounge after the service. Pretty exciting, huh?

    1. Separation of church and state is a very simple concept, and not one about stopping people from having their views.

      It means that a parliament, elected by the people, are the ones who decide what is law and what is not in the country. Their decisions can be guided by public opinion, but at the end of the day, it is the politician who has the final vote.

      The separation means that a church can not decide a law and force it into power, because they are not the elected government. Mind you, if enough people get elected from a church, then they could have a say in government.

      If you think that religion is under represented in the represented parliament we have, just consider this basic fact; Only 3% of the general public attend church services on a regular basis, yet 34% of politicians do.

      If a church had the right to pass laws, then I bet you would want to belong to that church, because I am sure they would pass laws that are more beneficial to their members. This is not a go at any church, it is exactly what governments do and have always done.

      If you think religious law would work better than the current system, just look around at the countries that do have religious law ruling their countries. Which system is better? No system is perfect, but at least the one we have allows for freedoms, and prohibits a single group, that is not the elected government, from running the country.

  7. People have been saying a lot and I’m finding it hard to respond to it all. I appreciate the robust discussion!
    I think I made my points in my original post. Everything that has been countered seems to be a disagreement with me (or in some cases agreement!) rather than exploring a different part of the issue, so in response to what people have written I’ll say I think I answered it all in my original post.
    I really don’t think God tells us to apply his standards to those who don’t choose him, and it is not up to us to make them abode by something they haven’t chosen. Then it just become forced choices, there is no heart movement towards God, which is what he’s after. He is after people choosing him, not people obeying his rules without wanting to be in relationship with him. And yes, it is up to us to promote God’s laws and rules for living, but not at the cost of free will. If God gives free will, why do we think we get to take it away?

    1. Sorry, but that is a completely inadequate response.

      You answered nothing in your original post and have completely ignored the numerous points brought against your position. Simply brushing these off as “agree to disagree” is frankly weak seeing that YOU were the one to publicly raise un-Biblical doctrine in the first place.

      You haven’t responded to my response at all, and I expected that from you at least.

      As a Christian it is your duty to take the points brought against you very seriously and provide reasons, privately if you must, why you continue to hold your ground.

      As far as I see, you have been sufficiently proven wrong on the grounds that you subscribe to the teachings of the Bible, and the Bible is very clear on this issue.

      1. Let me try and go through it again then.

        The ‘ripple effect’ argument is foundation-less I believe. You can use that argument for anything and it doesn’t hold up. And it’s insulting to the people involved.

        Yes, I believe the Bible is true. Other don’t. There is no biblical mandate for us to make the live by Biblical standards. Which I’ve already said.

        “Marriage is, first and foremost, a union before God. It is His, and He is very clear about what a healthy, God-inspired marriage looks like.”
        I believe it was to begin with. But now it isn’t for those not subscribing to Christians values, again, they see it differently, and this is imposing one view on someone who does not agree or choose it.

        No one is saying the church has to condone same sex marriage. They can refuse to do it. There are other places to get married other than a church. Father Bob said that he wasn’t allowed to perform same sex marriage. Fair enough. The church doesn’t have to condone it or perform it, but they should stop it happening.

        Allowing homosexual couples to be in long term relationships without allowing it to be marriage seems like semantics to be. It denies them the legal rights that married people have. And it means you’re still allowing them to ‘live in sin’. So if you’re really against homosexuality, shouldn’t you be against the relationships in general, not just marriage versions of?

        “Correct, but homosexuality is not a singular act in time, but an ongoing decision or state. If I were to choose Jesus and give my life to him but continue to, let’s say, collecting and enjoying pornography… well, I haven’t really given my life to him, have I?”
        That is not a fair statement. I know gay Christians who honestly don’t believe they are living in sin. It’s not as black and white as you may think. We translate many words from the Greek and Hebrew as ‘homosexual’ that in fact have many meanings with many different contexts. Good exegesis understands what the passage meant to the people at the time. We must understand historical context when reading that homosexuality is a sin. It never actually means two people of the same gender in a committed homosexual monogamous relationship.

        Yes, I mentioned how I feel, but that’s relevant, it’s about my opinion. I didn’t base my arguments on how I feel, I just bought that into my statement. Which I think it’s ok.

        
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
        Great verse.

        “I feel a lot of your opinions on homosexual marriage are driven emotionally rather than Biblically or spiritually, perhaps due to your first hand encounters with people in a homosexual lifestyle.”
        I have no idea how you made this statement. Yes I spoke about how I feel, but I clearly gave many reasoned and Biblical reasons for saying what I said.

      1. You are of course free to disagree with the conclusions, but it’s best if you elucidate why.
        Robust discussion never occurs unless people adequately state their case.

  8. Rebecca, yes I’m a Christian. I think it’s a good thing that we have Christian politicians, however, I’m not a theocrat. Some Christians, not including me, believe in dominion theology, whereby it’s the job of the church to take over governments, and in effect set up the kingdom of God on earth so it’s ready to be handed over to Jesus at the end of history.

  9. Rollo, I think it’s a positive thing for us to disagree 🙂 That’s one of the ways we get such robust discussion. I think if we disagree it’s ok, even healthy, as long as it doesn’t become a point of division.

    1. I too value the importance of robust discussion between opposing parties, but it should never, EVER exist for the sake of the discussion itself, but always to educate and correct one another when an incorrect conclusion has been reached.

      Only when a party changes it’s stance or reaches a point where they lack sufficient information to continue should a “robust discussion” end.

      Robust discussion for any other reason is in grave danger of mistaking the means for the end!

      Otherwise it is called “listening”.

      1. Isn’t Scripture itself useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that God’s servant are then equipped to do good works?

        A chap called Pauly wrote that in a letter to a guy called Timbo if I remember correctly.

    2. “I think that’s an over simplification of discussion. There are not just two options for how to end a discussion.”

      You are correct. I retract my remark concerning the number of ways the discussion can and should end. There are, in fact, many more ways.

      Sorry.

  10. This is a long reply, yes, but the subject demands it. Please read it when you have time and consider your response precisely.

    “I believe [marriage] was [God’s] to begin with. But now it isn’t for those not subscribing to Christians values, again, they see it differently, and this is imposing one view on someone who does not agree or choose it.”

    So you believe that something God created only belongs to Him until man decides to claim it for themselves and create a new definition? This isn’t a rhetorical question, because it seems that this is what you’re actually suggesting.

    I would respond to this by saying that marriage always has been and always will be God’s as he outlined it in the beginning, regardless of more recent secular re-definitions. Christians are not imposing their beliefs on those who hold a different opinion to their own. That is a twisted view of the issue. It is secularists that are attempting to impose their beliefs on Christians, since God charged us to keep marriage as he outlined explicitly.

    Again I say, there is nothing preventing homosexual couples from pursuing a long-term relationship under a different name with it’s own definitions apart from marriage?

    – – – – –

    “Allowing homosexual couples to be in long term relationships without allowing it to be marriage seems like semantics to be. It denies them the legal rights that married people have. And it means you’re still allowing them to ‘live in sin’. So if you’re really against homosexuality, shouldn’t you be against the relationships in general, not just marriage versions of?”

    Did you really just ask that? Of course I’m against homosexuality in general! I subscribe to the teachings of the Bible! I believe that a healthy relationship is between a man and a woman following the teachings of Jesus Christ! It… surprises me you phrased that as though it was a counter-point of some sort.

    The difference here is that being in a homosexual relationship does not involve earthly law, but recognized marriage does. Perhaps this is where your point of contention is?

    – – – – –

    “I know gay Christians who honestly don’t believe they are living in sin.”

    I trust that they don’t, and that is a very serious matter.

    – – – – –

    “It’s not as black and white as you may think. We translate many words from the Greek and Hebrew as ‘homosexual’ that in fact have many meanings with many different contexts. Good exegesis understands what the passage meant to the people at the time. We must understand historical context when reading that homosexuality is a sin. It never actually means two people of the same gender in a committed homosexual monogamous relationship.”

    I will assume your key point here was to suggest that the Bible does not, in-fact, condemn monogamous homosexual relationships, thus it does not require repentance.

    Yes, all passages in the Bible have historical context, and in order to fully and fairly understand them we must consult theologians who devote their lives to upholding the original intend of the Word. But this is where I think you completely deviate from anything Biblical and start applying false doctrine from alternative sources.

    There is no confusion as to what the Bible says about homosexuality. At many different points throughout the Bible it very clearly, without any vagueness, teaches on the reality of a homosexual relationship. Here are a few from the New Testament:

    “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.”
    —Romans 1:26-27 (NKJV)

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    — 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)

    “Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,”
    — 1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NKJV)

    Yes, there are numerous papers written by men and women that attempt to explain how none of these passages (and several others) actually mean what they plainly say. And yes, I’ve read the “incorrect or simplified translation” counter-points, a technique often used by heretical teachers. But even if we ignore all this condemnation, the Bible is always crystal clear on what a Godly marriage DOES look like, and you cannot simply substitute the genders.

    Many respected and well-learned theologians have long-since effectively countered these blatantly false interpretations of the Bible, and tacking the word monogamous to a homosexual relationship to get around what the Bible solidly states to be a sinful act seems… dishonest at best, blasphemous at worst.

    – – – – –

    “I have no idea how you [came to the conclusion that my opinions were driven emotionally as opposed to Biblically or spiritually]. Yes I spoke about how I feel, but I clearly gave many reasoned and Biblical reasons for saying what I said.”

    Allow me to explain my reasons for suggesting that. Stripping away the personal testimony, your original post appeared to consist of three key points.

    Christians should vote to legalize same-sex marriage so as not to force our beliefs on those who oppose them.
    You are undecided on whether or not homosexuality is a sin.
    You believe that even if homosexuality is a sin, God will forgive them regardless so it doesn’t matter.

    The first point is easily your strongest point, but although it welled up from good intention, I feel it comes from a misunderstanding of scripture. But I have already addressed this, so I’ll move on.

    Regarding the second point, I think you have awfully strong opinions on this matter for someone who is supposed to be undecided. To enter into such a big discussion without even knowing what you believe about what is at the core of it is… well, I think your first priority should be to look a bit deeper until you HAVE decided.

    I understand that your central point does not require a definitive belief on this, but the second we disassemble your argument the discussion requires an opinion on the matter to progress any further. If you intend on entering further public discussions and proposing such a serious course of action, I ask that you have your answer first to avoid compromising the validity of your position.

    Your third point, that God will forgive them regardless, is completely the opposite of what Jesus taught. That’s Universalism, and absolutely un-Biblical. It also assumes we have the ability to know what is just or unjust in God’s judgement of us, or even what He will judge them to be!

    Jesus died for us that we might REPENT and be cleansed by his blood. Do you find this to be untrue? Do you believe we, as Christians, can have full access to His Word and the Holy Spirit for edification AND BE SAVED even if we do not acknowledge and surrender our sin, especially that of an ongoing nature? If so, what is your basis for such a position?

    My reason for feeling your opinions were being more emotionally driven than Biblical or spiritual is that you tend to base a lot of your arguments on what you “feel” should be the case, rather than referring to what the Bible says “is”.

    The fact that you have such strong opinions without even knowing what you believe about homosexuality shows (to me) that you are more effected by the sad stories of those unable to consummate their homosexual relationships than the call to uncover what those relationships are.

    That, and I recognize a lot of very liberal motives behind your arguments, ones that stem from a desire to eliminate conflict via compromise, none of which having a basis in Jesus’ teachings. They are very man-first, God-second mentalities.

    – – – –

    I apologize for such an exhaustive reply, but your opinions on this matter seem drawn from either liberal idealism, or seriously misunderstood scripture akin to Universalism. If that is the case, you are a teacher and a role model for many impressionable minds. If you insist on blogging about the topic where it can be read by your own students, it is essential that this be rectified.

    1. Hi Luke,
      Just wondering something from your post.

      Now I’ll admit that I am agnostic, and that even though I have no proof, I would happily concede that you are far more versed in the bible than I am. But a question does remain for me from the points you make.

      You say that marriage belongs to god. If this is the case, was there marriage before the bible, and if not, does that mean everyone was living in sin? If there was, where was the definition of what marriage was? If it is defined, surely there would be some surviving history of it in some form.

      How is it in places that do not follow one god, for example Hindu India, are people able to be married according to the rules of that religion. If marriage belongs to god and god alone, surely these people would be committing some kind of crime or sin.

      If such a clear instruction exists, I would like to know of it. After all, facts are always more interesting than myths.

      1. Awesome questions! I love anything that forces me to do a little additional research into the matter.

        God commands on marriage existed well before the Bible itself was actually written down. The Old Testament is in fact a historical document, a transcription of that which was passed down generation to generation with incredible precision to ensure not a single detail was altered. The words were considered utterly sacred to our Jewish ancestors would work tirelessly to make sure any Rabbi who added, adjusted or removed anything was quickly edified.

        It also contains detailed genealogies tracing back to the beginning of human history… to Adam and Eve themselves.

        So the Biblical definition of marriage is the very same definition first handed down by God to His people all those years ago, just written down. The Bible itself is the surviving history.

        At it’s most basic, the Bible says that marriage is the union of a man and woman under God. Here’s one passage from Genesis:

        The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

        But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,‘ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:18-25

        So Adam and Eve were the first married couple, a union directly instated by God Himself! A pretty awesome wedding if you ask me. Shame about the lack of relatives able to attend, though.

        As we advance through human history in the Old Testament we see more and more instructions on marriage passed down from God to ensure it remained Holy and healthy, since man kept slipping in some bad teachings and drifting away from what a good, strong marriage was. God understood that as fallen beings we tend to slip up a bit and need a little help every now and then to stay upright.

        But the discipline of man is like a tree, branching off as men decide to go their own way and invent their own rules and definitions, moving further and further from the seed that spawned them. While we might prune some of these dangerous branches, The Old Testament chronicles how we failed to prune them all and soon man was divided by land, belief and even language, ultimately going to war with each other over their opposing beliefs.

        So what does this have to do with marriage? Well, as different collectives of men decided upon their own doctrine they also decided on what marriage would look like. Honestly, I couldn’t even begin to recite the immense variables of what shape those marriages took on.

        So I guess the remaining question is… does that mean all these marriages forged under un-Biblical doctrines, all those couples in loving, long-term relationships, are they in sin?

        Honest answer? I don’t know. I believe, like many issues facing us today, the matter is of such intricate complexity that it would take a far wiser man than me to answer this fairly. But I would, if you’d indulge me, like to offer a passing thought.

        Marriage is spread across cultures and peoples and far and wide as… well, as the Earth. Many of these married couples are simply subscribing to the life they were raised to live, pursuing marriage for the best reasons they were exposed to. I believe that Jesus judges us based on the cards we were dealt, and the quality of our hearts. I refer to the story of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) in which Jesus does not treat the man with 5000 talents (dollars) any differently than the man with 1000 talents (dollars). He judges them based on how they acted with what they were given.

        This is not to negate the importance of acknowledging our sin, our mistakes, and repenting, but I believe earnestly that there is a reason were to commanded not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-6). Only God has the knowledge and the ability to judge us fairly. Only He knows the depths of our heart (Luke 16:15 and many other passages), so who are we to say how every man and woman in a marriage outside of a Christian culture will be judged?

        Again, I do not pretend to know the answer, but that is where I currently stand based on the limited wisdom I possess.

        Was this a satisfactory response?

  11. Way to go Megan, you’ve woken something here 😛 And that something is mostly Luke.

    Luke, there is a part of me that wants to respond to what you have to say and there is another part of me that feels like it just isn’t worth it. That may not be fair on you but I get the impression that your mind is made up on the matter and If I was to debate doctrine with you I’d lose.

    My mind is not made up, I have doubts but I try not to rely on scripture alone. I have searched for years to try and understand where God stands and there are so many interpretations from theologians of verses and context that I find it hard to decide on what is true. So it’s my heart, my spirit, my connection to God – in combination with my mind that I must consult with to form a belief.

    So when Jesus (whom I will rely on more than I will Paul) says nothing on homosexuals and when God gives me no reason to believe (in my heart) that homosexuality is sinful then my current belief is that for some reason some people are born that way and who I am to deny them certain rights.

    My wife said recently on the topic ‘I’ve decided that it’s not my place to decide wether it’s a sin or not, only wether how I respond to them is sinful or not’. She acknowledges that it can be construed that seen to be allowing homosexuality could be seen as a sin.

    Why shouldn’t we be able to express how we feel on the matter? I believe wisdom comes from the heart and mind together and from God. I know it makes it hard to refute what I have to say because you have no reason to believe that I have that sort of relationship with God that I can gain insight from (likewise I am sceptical of others claims that God has spoken to them or speaks through them). I’m not sure that I do have that good a line to God to be honest, it’s pretty much all I have to go on though. Certainty is difficult for me when it comes to spiritual understanding.

    Am I wicked for trying to undermine that certainty in your faith by proposing the question ‘don’t you have doubts?’

    So In summing up I’ve come to believe that homosexuality is natural and that my reservations against this came from being indoctrinated that way. I’m more doubtful when it comes to gay marriage but accepting homosexuality doesn’t leave me with much of a leg to stand on to argue against that – so I don’t. Besides, I’m married and I don’t feel that gay marriage threatens me or undermines what I have. But other people feel differently and I don’t want to say that what they feel is not valid.

    Let’s see, what else should you know about me if you are itching to respond…I believe the Bible was inspired by God and even approved of by God for the truth within it but I don’t follow everything I read in it as a literal truth. I am a Chaplain, so there are students that might look up to me as well and I will always encourage them to use their own minds…and hearts…in the search for truth. And if you don’t think I should call myself a Christian for what I believe, I might just agree with you,

    1. A very wise response indeed. You certainly have articulated yourself well and I respect your approach to the discussion greatly. But know that I believe that it’s never too late to admit when you’ve put the dinosaur together wrong. Sometimes, despite what we might want to believe, it’s not a Triceratops.

      In fact, just over the weekend I have completely changed my stance on the teachings and authority of Rob Bell as I was present with a new, well-researched paper dissecting his book Velvet Elvis. But that’s another matter.

      There appears to be only two points in which we have reached different conclusions:

      1) A low view of scripture vs a high view of scripture.

      2) That homosexuality is a “natural” state.

      Regarding the first point, I believe that God’s Word is God’s Word, down to the last detail. I believe in the absolute authority of the God-inspired writings within it’s pages. I am aware of increasingly popular views that diminish God’s involvement in the Word, but I am still not convinced. Many of the more popular evidences to support the idea seem to be pretty easily deconstructed by experienced theologists. But this is a whole other topic, and not one that belongs here.

      Regarding the second point, I never understood how people can believe this honestly. I often find myself attracted to married women, does this mean I was born an adulterer and it is something I cannot change or correct? What about pedophiles? By the same logic, aren’t they born that way too? Is it fair, then, to condemn their actions?

      Note that I am not entering into a series of comparisons here, but an analysis of what we deem a “natural state”, an immovable attribute of ourselves. What are you thoughts on this?

      I feel the need to also explain that I have doubts on a wide range of issues, especially those in which I am lacking research, but I am yet to encounter a satisfactory piece on how homosexuality is a “naturally-occurring” state nor how it is not a sin according to Biblical teachings.

      Again, I very much respect the manner in which you have shared your thoughts.

      1. Luke, I am incredibly sad to hear that you now are against the teachings of Rob Bell. I read that article and I strongly disagree with it’s conclusions. Just because he isn’t a fundamentalist, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. I think he’s got it more right than a lot of traditional preachers.

        I certainly don’t have a low view of Scripture. What I have a low view of is many interpretations of Scripture. God obviously made the bible difficult to understand so we had to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’. The very nature of this search for truth means there will be disagreement as we seek to understand his meaning. It is rarely plain. This is how I think about the Bible’s view of homosexuality. I don’t think it’s clear cut at all. Like I said, we translate many words to say the one thing, when in fact they rarely mean the same thing at all. For example, one of the ways we translate homosexuality isn’t ‘being gay’ at all. It was about men raping other men after the conquered the city as a sign of dominance. God said it was detestable. That was about rape, not about being gay.

        Saying homosexuality is a ‘natural state’ is an interesting one too. I think in a perfect world, no one would be gay. I don’t think it’s God’s plan A for anyone. But we live in a fallen world. That means morally, physically and environmentally. I believe that there are certain people born gay. Whether than be because of hormones, genes, brain chemistry, whatever. Just like I’ve never been attracted to a girl, neither have some men. Therefore, it is a ‘natural state’ for them.

        Your comment about (and comparison to) adulterers and pedophiles is frankly ridiculous. In that case people are being hurt and abused. There is a marriage contract or a duty of care that is being broken. Two consensual adults choosing to be in a homosexual relationship is a completely different matter.

        In terms of hearing good Biblical reasoning for why it isn’t a sin, well I don’t have all the answers coz I haven’t done the research myself, but I started talking about that earlier when I was writing about how the word ‘homosexual’ means many, many different things in the bible. It doesn’t mean being attracted to people of the same gender.

      2. And my original point was not about whether it is right or wrong, but rather that it is wrong to force Christian values onto those who don’t choose Christianity. Please show me one example of Jesus doing it.

  12. I am heartened that you seem to think that we may have more in common than otherwise, I would certainly hope for and trust that to be the case even though I might be a lot more liberal in my faith than yourself.

    The low view of scripture is not so much a low view of it but a low view in some intances of the literal truth it conveys. I’ve held this viewpoint for a long time. Simple example: Genesis…I believe in creation but being quite scientifically minded I don’t believe in 6 days about 6-10,000 years ago (Not to say God couldn’t do that). I prefer my version where God takes his time (if time is the right term). And for God being outside of time I don’t see us as being here in this linear moment as an afterthought, rather just as a moment of his choosing. There are other examples but what it comes down to for me is that myth will have a seed of truth to it.

    Granted, a lot of the bible is a literal record and in those instances that just don’t sit right with me and my understanding of God I can lose some respect in it. So yes I guess I do remove God’s involvement from time to time and put it down to man. Is that right? Not in many peoples eyes but it’s what I do.

    Mostly I try and draw on Jesus, that seems to be a pretty good way to go.

    Homosexuality being a natural state…I stood against this for a long time and battled with what I believed and through knowing homosexual people and discussing it with them I eventually found it difficult to see it as a choice for them. Also through asking God over and over to make it clear to me I never once felt that there was anything wrong with it. So I concluded that my reservations were due to society educating me otherwise. I might be wrong, maybe you should pray for God to make it clearer to me 😛

    But if that’s where I stand then I feel like I should stand up for that.

    Biblically about all I can give you is in Matthew Chapter 19 when Jesus is referring to eunuchs which some interpret as some of them being effeminate men and he says that some were made that way.

    I wish Homosexuals would come up with their own union and kill the debate but that’s not what they want and so I won’t try and deny them.

    I certainly don’t approve of much of the displayed homosexual culture which comes across as decadent and immoral. But heterosexuals can be just as decadent and immoral. God to me it is clear is against sexual immorality but I don’t see being born homosexual as immoral.

    Could say more but I don’t know where this discussion is going?

    I think for anyone to change anothers point of view there needs to be a strong relationship or trust in that person as an authority on the issue. I think most of us have explored this issue a fair bit and are at where we are at. At least this discussion here doesn’t look like descending into what you see a lot of in public debates where they become slanging matches and everyone gets even more grounded in their views.

    1. I would concede that Homosexuality is a natural state for some people. I would also concede that mankind generally is sinful and given the opportunity will naturally descend into all sort of horribleness and depravity.

      If you read through Romans 1:18-23, we find that mankind actively rejects God and “For This Reason” (v24) he hands people over to their sinful desires.
      It’s akin to God saying, “You’ve made a choice, now you live it out… and bear the consequences”.
      God is quite active in the way he deals with people, and if people deliberately choose to defy Him, then he will let them… for a time.

      I personally don’t think that anyone is born either gay or straight. Science has never found any conclusive evidence for anything in this respect. There are likely to genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences at play here, but underlying everything is mankind’s central tendancy to sin; and of that, we’re all hopeless and in need of a saviour.

      I don’t think we should blame gay people or slander them either. Kris’ comment that: “heterosexuals can be just as decadent and immoral” is 100% right on the mark.

  13. Could I come any later to the party?!

    I think you have been building to this post for a while now, so when I’ve been thinking about what you’re saying I have treated ‘Sad’, ‘Thou shalt not command’ and ‘Gay Marriage’ as effectively one long piece.

    Since replying to all that makes for a long response, some of which others have already said, I hope what I have to say is new grist for the mill. I won’t actually dump it all here, instead here are links to three pieces covering a few aspects of this debate:

    The argument from Jesus’ interaction with the rich man – http://www.box.net/shared/82pbq3ypp0

    The question of whether we can/should mandate ‘Christian behaviour’ in society – http://www.box.net/shared/1jz91x596v

    Faith and Politics – http://www.box.net/shared/f6d378ohvg

    They aren’t polished and fully rendered theologies but the more I sit here and look at them, the more I want to write. The more I want to write leads to widening the scope of the original question which leads to the more I want to write. You can see where this is going…

    I honesty I must say that I think Luke has the right of it in saying that if you really are uncertain on how God views homosexuality (though you do seem to strongly advocate one view) then you are asking the question about Gay Marriage prematurely. As a Christian, surely God’s view defines how we respond to an issue – even if there is diversity on what that response should be.

    1. Welcome to the party 🙂
      And you’re right, those three blogs have really been three parts of the same thing.
      I just don’t know where to start on responding… There is so much to say.
      I’ll read your things and get back to you Brent.

  14. This article gives you a good idea of what the gay subculture looks like from an insider’s point of view. Just be aware of the disclaimer on the header.

    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles8/Lee-The-Truth-About-The-Homosexual-Rights-Movement.php#

    As I read the grand narrative of the Bible, and how it describes God’s unfolding plan of redemption, I see that God want us to walk in wholeness, not brokeness. To live like this is to be less than God made you to be. I actually said this to a church friend who has been struggling with his sexuality. I told him that I’m still his friend. This sounded reasonable to him. I also passed on this anecdote to an unchurched person, and he was surprised to hear such a response. He was under the impression that all Christians were fundy firebrands along the lines of Westboro Baptist Church.

    1. Wow, long article, sort of as I expected. I still find it hard to reconcile imposing my morals on others even when there seems to be such a void of morals there that something should fill it. I resonated with its portrayal of the Gay and Lesbian movement as strongly manipulative. But I often feel that Christianity pushes its agenda in peoples faces too. Is hoping that both sides can come together and try to understand eachother hoping for too much? The homosexual subculture (generalising) could learn much from christianity in how to live a life worth living and I would hope that christianity could learn how to be more loving.

  15. Hi Luke,
    It is not for me to judge if the response is satisfactory or not, but I do thank you for clarifying those points in an articulated way.

    I do have two more questions, the second in two parts, for which I will allow you the last word, with no replies from myself.

    1. Which version of the bible do you use? Is it one of the seven main versions, New International Version, New American Standard Version, New King James Version, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, The Living Bible, New Century Version or one of the over fifty other versions?

    2. How do you know god is a he? Would you find it disrespectful if someone used female or gender neutral pronouns when describing god?

    I thank you if you choose to reply.

    1. I must say I have loved your questions and, in turn, our discourse. I only hope I have been able to do them justice!

      Regarding which version of the Bible to use, well, I would say as many as you can take! If you really wanna go nuts and get to the bottom of the Word, the key is in understanding why each version exists in the first place.

      Personally I use the King James Version, the New King James Version, the New International Version and The Message.

      The KJV is the most literal, word-for-word translation from the original Hebrew and Greek respectively I know of. It is a very old translation and often what you hear anti-religious people quote to make the Bible sound as outdated as possible (it uses a lot of “thou”s and “shalt”s and whatnot, words we don’t use anymore). But it does tend to word verses very articulately.

      The NKJV is pretty much the same thing but minus the “thou”s and “shalt”s. Less ancient language and it helps to understand the original KJV.

      The NIV is probably the most commonly used in churches today. It is effectively the Bible translated from the original Hebrew and Greek to completely modern English. Unlike the KJV, it opts for understandability and a focus on the meaning of the original passages, rather than being strictly word-for-word since some of the more subtle stuff can get lost in translation (often stuff that causes points of division amongst some Christians).

      The Message I would refer to more as an “exercise in insight” rather than a definitive copy of the Bible. Rather than translate the Bible word-for-word or even strictly verse-for-verse, it paraphrases. It will take a paragraph and, factoring in an understanding of historical context and the intent of the message at it’s core, re-write it to best convey what the passage was really on about in plain, readable terms. I adore The Message, but I usually only use it to gain more insight into the Word, rather than treat it as the Word itself.

      As for referring to God as a He, it is never taken to suggest he is a man or any gender for that matter. It is purely a way of referring to him in the same way we often refer to the human race as “man” or “mankind”. We do not mean it is comprised entirely of males, but is makes for easier comprehension.

      I hope this was helpful… and accurate. If I have poorly defined or am completely misinformed as to the origin of said Bible versions, I would greatly appreciate a correction from anyone reading this. 🙂

  16. Oh, and my apologies to Megan if I have appeared to have hijacked this thread, and taken it in a different direction. I am simply enjoying the discussion with Luke, and his well thought out answers, even if our views differ.

  17. Actually, one question i’ve been hanging to ask since you posted ‘Thou shalt not command’, is this. You write there that “The writers of the Bible are often quoting non-Jewish/Christian poets and philosophers because they are talking about the things of God, they just aren’t calling it ‘God’.” but i’m at a loss to when this happens. Beyond Paul appealing to the ‘the unknown god’ not a single other instance springs to mind – let alone it “often” happening. Can you give some verse references or something?

      1. Sure thing – it’s a massive claim to make with huge implications about knowledge of God, the reliability of the Bible and the line between special and general revelation. In other words, it’s the sort of thing I would want to be taking a hard and critical approach to and definitely want to be able to back-up substantially.

    1. I recognise her point being directly from Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis (if not, then it’s coincidentally the exact same point) whereby he explains how Paul uses a proverb from a non-Christian religion to help them understand something about Christ.

      But I see no conflict here. Paul was merely using it to help those familiar with the proverb understand Christ, the true way. Well, if Rob Bell is indeed correct, that is.

  18. Brent, I’ve read your pieces now.
    The first one, the rich man. I wasn’t meaning to say at all that Jesus washes his hands of the man after he doesn’t do what is asked of him. Quite the opposite. I believe there are endless examples of people who won’t choose God’s way and never does Jesus say ‘To hell with you then!’ (quite literally!). What I mean is that he still allows the man the choice, he doesn’t then legislate that anyone with a certain amount of wealth has to sell it all and give it to the poor. He asks much, but never demands. This is the principle I think we should follow. I think we are called to stay in dialogue with people and talk through very serious issues, but never to demand that they do things our way.

    I very strongly agree with your last paragraph but can’t copy and paste it from box. Maybe you should post that here!

    I agree with pretty much everything in your second piece. Very well written. I understand your point that it seems right to be against the legislation of things that take people from God, but I’d argue they are already far from God. I don’t see how allowing gay people to marry would take them further from God. Their hearts are already there anyway. But apart from that, a beautiful piece everyone should read. I might post it as a separate post if that’s ok?

    I think you misunderstood me in the third one. I was not saying faith and politics should be separate. On the contrary I think our beliefs should strongly influence the way we vote and see our country run. But there is a spectrum within this as to creating laws that impinge on others free will. That was a terrible sentence…
    I mean that there are some things that are basic human rights like minimum wage, immigration, aid, social welfare, education, the list is endless. There are also a whole heap of things that do not affect society at large, but do affect individuals strongly. I believe gay marriage is in this category. Same sex couples getting married does not affect your marriage, but our education system will affect you. I hope I’m making myself clear, but probably not.
    Some legislation affects all people, some of it affects individuals.
    I believe allowing same sex marriage is the Christian thing to do, because it is advocating free will. I don’t think it’s loving to mandate against a consenting adult who is sad and angry that they can’t live as they choose. Of course this rule only applies as far as it does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others.
    I’m sure I’m saying this terribly, but I hope I’m making myself clear.

  19. I’m glad you think so highly of what i’ve written 🙂 If you really do think you’d like to post the second article here then i’d like to give it a second read-over first and make sure i’m saying what i want in a way i like.

    Up for another scrabble game?

  20. Well, for a start you responded to the wrong post. That one was directed at Kris. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts regarding my earlier response to your statements, but I shall respond to this one too.

    “Luke, I am incredibly sad to hear that you now are against the teachings of Rob Bell. I read that article and I strongly disagree with it’s conclusions. Just because he isn’t a fundamentalist, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. I think he’s got it more right than a lot of traditional preachers.”

    Well, I certainly wasn’t convinced by that initial article we received via email. I found it to be completely pointless, as you did. What I WAS convinced by was the paper titled “Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show” by Mark Edward Sohmer. It is one of the most eloquently argued and piercingly honest dissections of a written work I have ever read. That is not to say Rob Bell doesn’t have valuable things to say. I still feel some of his material has been very educational to me. But the damage he is doing through his dangerously heretical teachings far outweighs the good.

    Frankly, I feel utterly embarrassed that, reading all of his books and watching all of his DVDs, that I couldn’t even see it. I was totally swept up in his charisma and gifted storytelling. As someone who takes seeking truth very seriously this disturbs me.

    Please, if you ever trust me on anything, trust me when I say you need to read this paper. You simply must.

    – – – – –

    “I certainly don’t have a low view of Scripture. What I have a low view of is many interpretations of Scripture. God obviously made the bible difficult to understand so we had to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’. The very nature of this search for truth means there will be disagreement as we seek to understand his meaning. It is rarely plain. This is how I think about the Bible’s view of homosexuality. I don’t think it’s clear cut at all. Like I said, we translate many words to say the one thing, when in fact they rarely mean the same thing at all. For example, one of the ways we translate homosexuality isn’t ‘being gay’ at all. It was about men raping other men after the conquered the city as a sign of dominance. God said it was detestable. That was about rape, not about being gay.”

    Well, I never said you had a low view of scripture, but I’ve already covered this.

    Your example of this misinterpretation is very vague and while I understand how complex it is to simply recite from memory, it appears central to your entire position. As a result, this is what must be addressed the most harshly.

    I know this might seem unfair, especially given your busy schedule, but could you please provide some more detailed and substantial examples of this along with where it comes from? Or at least provide a link to someone who already has.

    – – – –

    “Saying homosexuality is a ‘natural state’ is an interesting one too. I think in a perfect world, no one would be gay. I don’t think it’s God’s plan A for anyone. But we live in a fallen world. That means morally, physically and environmentally. I believe that there are certain people born gay. Whether than be because of hormones, genes, brain chemistry, whatever. Just like I’ve never been attracted to a girl, neither have some men. Therefore, it is a ‘natural state’ for them.”

    I’ve heard this one many times before. In terms of hormones and brain chemistry, these are an incredibly small number of cases and are medically recognized as deformities, things that have arisen due to an error in early development. To label these people as “gay” is extremely misleading and is not medically supported at all. These people possess physical deformities that do not, by their very nature, assure the individual’s attraction to the same sex, regardless of their physical chemistry.

    To use minority case deformities to argue this point does not help your position. It weakens it.

    As for “genes”, there is no science to even suggest the existence of such influences. I’d be more careful when citing specific physical reasons to support your case, as you are arguing for the validity of all homosexuality and referring to medically recognized “deformities” in a small number of cases is the wrong way to go about it.

    – – – – –

    “Your comment about (and comparison to) adulterers and pedophiles is frankly ridiculous. In that case people are being hurt and abused. There is a marriage contract or a duty of care that is being broken. Two consensual adults choosing to be in a homosexual relationship is a completely different matter.”

    You have not read what I wrote carefully and have missed the point entirely. I will restate my disclaimer.

    “Note that I am not entering into a series of comparisons here, but an analysis of what we deem a “natural state”, an immovable attribute of ourselves. What are you thoughts on this?”

    I will attempt to make my point clearer.

    If the validity of homosexuality is defined by the attraction individuals have to the same sex, and is treated as an immovable attribute of their character, what grounds do you have for denying the validity of the feelings of pedophiles, zoophiles and adulterers?

    In other words, what grounds do you have for drawing a distinction? And I remind you, you cannot use the abhorrent nature of the acts as a counter-point since we are strictly addressing the urges themselves.

    – – – –

    “And my original point was not about whether it is right or wrong, but rather that it is wrong to force Christian values onto those who don’t choose Christianity. Please show me one example of Jesus doing it.”

    You have ignored my points again. I already provided sufficient grounds for the refusal by Christians to legalize homosexual marriage which you have yet to answer to and even provided an alternate solution you also have yet to address.

    I will state them again more succinctly than before, as it’s a royal pain in the rear sifting through old posts…

    1) Marriage is a God-instated union that Christians are commanded to keep Holy. To legalize homosexual marriage is to actively corrupt the very definition of marriage as it is outlined in the Word, and you basis for ignoring this fact appears to be because the sinful act involves “two consensual adults”.

    2) By this logic, there is absolutely nothing preventing homosexual couples from pursuing a long-term relationship under a different name with it’s own definitions apart from marriage. The key is that the institution of marriage we were commanded to uphold is not compatible with homosexuality.

    But you wanted an example of Jesus “doing it”. Fair enough, but allow me to correct the the definition of the evidence required. What is needed to support my points is an example of Jesus refusing to compromise the institution of marriage to allow for that which is against God’s will.

    I refer you to Matthew 19:3-12. Not only is this a very good example of Jesus’ teachings on the sacredness of marriage, but a perfect example of Jesus condemning past corruptions of marriage.

    In the interest of fair play, I request you provide an example of Jesus altering God’s previous instructions to allow room for sin. And don’t refer to His death and resurrection, seeing as they were to wash away the sins of those who showed repentance.

    1. Confused with your whole thing on the validity of homosexuality as an immovable attribute of their character and how does that differ from denying pedophiles etc.

      If we are defined by these immovable attributes why did you not include heterosexuality in that list? And how do we deny the validity of or how do we draw a distinction? I may be playing into your hands but it seems clear to me that we make that distinction through discrimination. We draw a line in the sand. Discrimination is not a dirty word, it is considered right by our societal and christian standards to discriminate against pedophilia. Not everyone is in agreeance regarding where the line should be drawn in relation to homosexuality however, hence the discussion.

      To say that moving a line in the sand in relation to homosexuality will suddenly open the door for the approval of pedophilia (others have been insinuating this) seems absurd fearmongering to me. To say that secular movements like this could further corrupt our ideal of society (christian doctors having to approve abortions for example-which I am dumbfounded at) I will accept, but let’s not go over the top.

      1. A very interesting point to raise! Why is it heterosexuality itself was not included as a factor when discussing the validity of urges?

        I must confess I only have two reasons that, in my understanding, heterosexuality be treated as, and forgive me for phrasing this so ordinarily, “a given”. Biological and Biblical.

        No matter how you frame it, men and women posses sexual organs that are designed for each other and play a vital role in the reproduction of our species. It is about as natural as a state gets. There are many other research papers and just regular books exploring the seemingly endless ways men and women seem to differ, yet compliment each other. It’s one of the few things I think we can all agree on if we simply observe… well… the entire course of human history.

        Biblically it’s… well, it’s the only form of romantic relationship discussed in the context of being good.

        I should say I don’t really place much importance on the “snowball effect” view that if you allow homosexual couples to marry it will all go downhill from there. Not that I disagree with it, I just don’t think it bares much relevance on the actual discussion at hand. It’s purely speculation about a scenario that hasn’t even been suggested yet.

        I suppose the purpose of my question is, what criteria do we use to draw a line in the sand? I mean, in order to satisfy reason?

        And I don’t think using “whether or not it has an immediately obvious and clear negative effect” is a solid enough basis (often used to draw the distinction between homosexuality and other desires such as pedophilia). I mean, how does the ethical nature of the act we are driven to perform have any impact on the changeable or unchangeable nature of the urges to perform them?

        Sorry, this is a tough one to put into words. I hope I’m being clear. So far it seems I haven’t explained myself very well so far…

      2. My housemate suggested re-arranging my last question to make it more understandable, specifically as a statement rather than a rhetorical question.

        When discussing the changeable or unchangeable nature of an attraction, the ethical nature of the act does not factor into it as it has no effect on the urges themselves.

        So, within that context, where do we draw the line in the sand?

    2. I’ve already talked to you about that article on Velvet Elvis. I think it misrepresents Rob Bell’s meanings, and I also disagree with the conclusions it comes to. But I emailed you about that, so let’s more on.

      In terms of how the Bible talks about homosexuality and the original meanings of the words, I am not the best person to answer that. I’ll put you on to people who have done the research on this themselves, and I have really only heard it from them. I’ll email you about that.

      “I’ve heard this one many times before. In terms of hormones and brain chemistry, these are an incredibly small number of cases and are medically recognized as deformities, things that have arisen due to an error in early development. To label these people as “gay” is extremely misleading and is not medically supported at all. These people possess physical deformities that do not, by their very nature, assure the individual’s attraction to the same sex, regardless of their physical chemistry.”
      I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. I was not talking about some sort of developmental deformity. I was talking about differing levels of hormone production, which is very common. I was also talking about the chemicals that our brains produce. This also differs from person to person. ANd I never mentioned genes. There is no proven ‘gay gene’, but that doesn’t mean same sex attraction isn’t often biological, it means it’s not genetic. They are very different things. Sometimes homosexuality is a result of something psychological, but sometimes it’s not.

      “If the validity of homosexuality is defined by the attraction individuals have to the same sex, and is treated as an immovable attribute of their character, what grounds do you have for denying the validity of the feelings of pedophiles, zoophiles and adulterers?”
      I already covered this. One is the action of two consenting adults choosing to be together, the others are about the abuse of others where there is not an equality and a mutual choosing.

      “I already provided sufficient grounds for the refusal by Christians to legalize homosexual marriage which you have yet to answer to and even provided an alternate solution you also have yet to address.”
      I disagree, I think I absolutely addressed this. We just disagree. I disagree with your reasoning for Christians to stop it’s legalisation.

      “Marriage is a God-instated union that Christians are commanded to keep Holy. To legalize homosexual marriage is to actively corrupt the very definition of marriage as it is outlined in the Word, and you basis for ignoring this fact appears to be because the sinful act involves “two consensual adults”.”
      I would say this applies to marriage as ordained by the church. There are so many people these days who are married by the state, not the church. The church can refuse to perform same sex marriage without stopping the state from doing it. Non-Christian heterosexual couples aren’t entering into a covenant with God when they get married.

      “By this logic, there is absolutely nothing preventing homosexual couples from pursuing a long-term relationship under a different name with it’s own definitions apart from marriage. The key is that the institution of marriage we were commanded to uphold is not compatible with homosexuality.”
      The previous answer addresses this.

      “I refer you to Matthew 19:3-12. Not only is this a very good example of Jesus’ teachings on the sacredness of marriage, but a perfect example of Jesus condemning past corruptions of marriage.”
      Surely this is EXACTLY my point! Jesus is providing guidelines for marriage and saying what is best for us, but then he says others have been doing the wrong thing, and they are allowed to do it. Sure, it’s not best for them and it’s not advisable, but he lets them choose their own way.

      “In the interest of fair play, I request you provide an example of Jesus altering God’s previous instructions to allow room for sin. And don’t refer to His death and resurrection, seeing as they were to wash away the sins of those who showed repentance.”
      I don’t think Jesus ever does this. When have I ever suggested that Jesus makes room for our sin so that it is ok? I am suggesting that Jesus lets us choose against his best for us and doesn’t force us to follow his rules. Jesus is quite clear that his way is best for everyone, but he never makes anyone choose it who doesn’t do it freely. He wants us to come to him freely, with our whole heart. He doesn’t want us to come coerced and resentful. And coercion and resentfulness almost always go together.

  21. Alright, I’ll probably regret wading in here, but here we go…

    There’s been a long, lengthy discussion here, and I don’t think I can add much too it than to say I agree to a large majority of Luke’s comments. To clarify my position (not argue it, as that will repeat what has already been said), I personally am definitely against the legalisation of gay marriage.

    Having said this, what I will put forward is this:
    We as Christians are called to communion with Christ. We are, in effect, not really a part of this world. Therefore there are two ways of looking at it. One is your way Megan, that we have God, and it’s up to everyone else what they choose to do, despite what we would have them believe. Or, the way I see it, is that the world is God’s, even in its fallen state. Therefore, as Christians, it is our role to effectively bring heaven to earth. As Christians, we want to live in a society free from our (God’s) definition of sin. Is it wrong of us to want to influence our leaders to live in such a society?

    This isn’t really clear, so I’ll put it this way: if we were to compromise on our moral ideals as we see it, regardless of religion, whose moral ideals shall we live by? In a democratic society, we should stand up for how we believe our society should operate. I’m more than happy if the majority of people in this country were to approve of gay marriage for the law to pass, however this does not mean I do not have the right to vote against it according to my faith.

    I personally don’t understand why we have to call it marriage, why can’t we call it something else? Then everyone can be happy and everyone can have equal rights. Most Christians who are against gay marriage aren’t fighting against the “marriage” bit (although we strongly disagree with it and generally don’t want it in our churches, for the most part), just that it’s what we perceive to be our word for it. We don’t want to discriminate against or specifically judge people, but a lot of us believe this is something special given to us by God. By changing its definition, we are changing what God has laid out for us, which generally makes Christians unhappy.

    For clarification on the constitution comments, my understanding of section 116 leads me to believe it has nothing to do with this particular topic. It prevents new laws from being created that enforce observance of religion. I think anybody would be hard pressed to find a precedent that old established laws are subjected to this, rather that they were based on accepted societal standards at the time of it’s creation. Law actually does contain a lot of Christian references, but this in relation to societal standards at the time, rather than biblical expectations.

    I get the feeling this will all be mis-interpreted, so feel free to ask questions so I can elaborate properly…

  22. Luke, In reply to what criteria do we use it seems many of us use different criteria. I think Megan was suggesting that her criteria was that with consenting adults she wouldn’t impose her moral standards on them and was suggesting that christianity as a whole should do likewise.

    I am in her camp on a personal level. I don’t mind her making her statement that way, I like it. While I wouldn’t presume to speak for all christians and as Luke H states above, vote how you see fit, I like it because it feels like for too long that christianity has acted like it can speak for me. I get frustrated that one view dominates and it’s often a view that I don’t resonate with. I guess I am enjoying this discussion because the ‘not all like that’ christians are getting a voice.

    This blog may not be reaching a wide audience but it is still in the public arena. I don’t really hope to change anyones personal opinion, I only hope to change the perception that we’re all the same (not wanting to cause division-wanting differences to be accepted). Does that mean I have a personal agenda of wanting to be heard that drives me to participate in this? Does it mean I am claiming that I am part of an opressed minority? I don’t want to be that person and so I have struggled with how to represent myself and wether I even should, should I just continue being quite? Right or wrong I’ve decided to have a go at raising my voice and was encouraged to see Megan do so. Think I might be done with this thread though…

    1. I’ll respect your decision to withdraw, and to make it easier I won’t attempt to get in the last word.

      I must confess I got involved for the same reason I get involved in all discussions of this sort… to either convince others of their error or be convinced of my own error. I find it highly disheartening when people get involved in these discussions just to say their two cents and not seek a resolution.

      That is primarily why such topics are still the matter of such conflict, no one listens to truly engages with what the other side believes.

      Perhaps this is due to my high view of absolute truth, and my utter distain for post-modern philosophy. I believe there is a always right answer, even if that answer is “it’s subjective” (an answer that should not be come to lightly). I believe all conflicts can be traced back to a diversion in deeply-laid presuppositions that, given the respective parties’ willingness to truly engage, can be fully understood.

      Sometimes the answer immediately brings an end to the conflict, sometimes the knowing the answer doesn’t change a thing, and sometimes the answer reveals we’ve been wrong about everything, but we must always follow the evidence wherever it leads and be willing to admit when we got it wrong as new information comes to light.

      Teachability must always be paramount, pride must be struck down.

      I just thought I’d give a little insight into my reasons for being so… persistent. 😛

      1. I don’t need to get the last word in either…really I don’t 😛 I don’t think I was very clear, I’ve enjoyed our discussion, I always enjoy these sorts of discussions, its through discourse with others that I have built and remodeled my faith when things click. A lot of what has been said has challenged where I stand. But I think I’m spending too much time on it…best to let it rattle round my brain for a while.

        I think labelling it as getting my two cents in isn’t quite right though I get how you could get that from my post. When I say I don’t really hope to influence views, I do…it’s just that I don’t hold out much hope that I will and that’s fine. But I have started speaking up because I feel that others generally don’t speak for me, I would hop that that is a noble enough reason. Cheers.

    2. An addition:

      Upon thinking about it I must admit that even I cannot follow that discipline in every circumstance for a very specific reason I am still wrestling with.

      My mother.

      She has taught me that just because someone does not possess the ability to defend or even effectively articulate the reasons for their beliefs, it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. This is problematic on many levels because it introduces a new problem… who is intuitively right (through either spiritual intervention or natural intuition) and who is just ignorant, and how do we tell the difference?

      On many (MANY) occasions Mum has expressed her views on a particular topic and I will be honest is saying I felt sorry for her simple, misguided view of the matter.

      I was, unknowingly, judging her.

      She lacked the intellect to argue her case at all and often cited very weak external sources to support her. But as the years have passed, as I have grown older and wiser, I have come to discover through my own study and research that… she was right. Not about everything (at least not yet), but about a disturbingly large number of topics.

      She had accomplished intuitively (I now believe with the help of the Holy Spirit) what took me years of dedicated searching using rational logic and reason.

      And then there were the matters that could not be addressed rationally… the matters that required pure faith. She, someone I once deemed of lower intellect, took to these like a duck to water while I banged my head against a wall.

      I have come to hold a dramatically different view of my mother in the past year. I envy her simple faith and connection to something far stronger than my intellect, and come to wonder if she’s the one that’s got it right. At very least, she’s got something right… something I would be a fool to ignore.

      So yeah, I felt the need to share that. Despite how I may appear in my online persona, I am far from a man set in his ways. I am always wrestling.

  23. Hi I just thought I would weigh in here with one particular point. The argument that we should not accept homosexuality as Christians because “if we accept homosexuality then why wouldn’t we accept pedophilia, where do we draw the line?” is completely misguided, and kind of abhorrent.
    True, both are defined by attraction states (as is heterosexuality). If you subscribe to the biological debate, there is substantial evidence to suggest that there are biological links for each ‘condition’ (including the heterosexual condition!).

    HOWEVER, in the psychological literature, pedophilia is NOT considered a sexuality. It does NOT follow the same patterns as a sexuality does. In the DSM-IV-TR (what psychologists use to diagnose disorders) pedophilia is listed as a paraphilia. Paraphilias include things such as fetishism. It is my understanding from the literature (which could potentially be misguided) and from talking to people who work with pedophiles is that pedophilia has more in common (in terms of biology, brain chemistry, and patterns of behaviour) with a fetish than it does with a sexuality. This is arguable, however i do not believe it is arguable that homosexuality, or the possible reasons behind it (either biological or environmental) could be considered similar to the reasons (either biological or environmental) for pedophilia.
    Homosexuality on the other hand was removed from the DSM many many years ago. It does not follow the pattern of a paraphilia, or a fetish, nor does it follow the same pattern as pedophilia does. I personally think that to use an argument that suggests that condoning homosexuality could lead to accepting pedophilia is a really homophobic, and misguided, offensive one. They are completely different, and have different biological and environmental aetiologies.

    Just wanted to make my point clear

  24. Well, thank goodness no one WAS comparing the two.

    Thank you for finally understanding the point of the question! To uncover the lines we use to differentiate the attractions.

    If you don’t mind me asking, do you know more information regarding bestiality from the same biological and psychological standpoint?

  25. I don’t know a lot about bestiality in terms of brain chemistry / biology etc… It’s not really an area of interest for me. All I know is that it is listed as a paraphilia not-otherwise-specified in the DSM, but is referred to as zoophilia. I would therefore assume it shares some of the biological/brain chemistry factors as some of the other paraphilias, however that is just an assumption, and i’m really not sure about that particular area.
    Information regarding paraphilias and brain chemistry, genetics etc is an exciting relatively new area of neuropsychology that is currently fairly in-vogue. There is plenty of new information about this, at least in regards to pedophilia. There is also some interesting new research coming out about the biology of homosexuality. If you are interested in acquiring such literature, it’s easy to find through a search of a PsychINFO database search if you have access to that. Or alternatively, I am happy to give you info/references separately at another time.

  26. Megan – you rock. I loved your blog and think your perspective should be shared far and wide in the Christian community. I see the love of God expressed so clearly in your views, as you truly accept people as they are, without judgment or arrogance, despite disagreement.

    I agree with Kris Adams (comment above) that there are a lot of Christians in Melbourne who passionately disagree with what a noisy minority of Christians are saying about the LGBT community, but don’t know how to speak up. I was told about your blog by a group of friends who were discussing it today (they don’t even know you but someone else told them about it and said they should read it). We are all so encouraged by your views and wish that there was a way for Christians who are in favour of same sex marriage to stand together and make a practical difference on this issue so that we might make the LGBT community feel welcomed and accepted by the Church. Please keep championing the cause of grace through your blog and don’t be discouraged – there are more people who agree with you than you think!

  27. I just want to add my support and agreement to what Victoria and others have said. Megan, it is a credit to you that you have had the courage to stand up on this issue. I heard a particularly beautiful sermon a few weeks ago at my local church which emphasised the role of the church was to go forward, with love, to welcome and accept those in our community who are marginalised or in a minority. After all, what is the message of Jesus if not one of reconciliation and love? It is my sincere hope that people in the church today can reflect the love and grace of Jesus, and one way I believe we can do this is by loving and accepting the LGBT community wholeheartedly- for who they are. Keep up the good work… your words give life, encouragement and hope to many people in our Christian community.

    1. I find it curious that you feel Christians can’t love someone if they partake in a sinful act.

      I would have thought, rather than ignoring the sin we love them in spite of it.

      1. I don’t think Jess was saying that Christians can’t love sinners (afterall we all are!). I think she was saying that often Christians don’t. Or at least if they do, their actions imply that they don’t.

  28. Hmmm. If so, I apologise. I misunderstood.

    I suppose I am hearing a lot of people who affirm you emphasising two things. Jesus taught that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves (an absolutely true statement), and that the act of supporting homosexual marriage is “courageous”.

    I don’t really see anything “courageous” about taking the popular stance on an issue, nor do I see what the call to love others has to do with legalising homosexual marriage…

    But this has dragged on long enough. I’ll stop.

  29. Luke I don’t think that Megans views are the popular stance on the issue. The church currently is widely rejecting of LGBT people, and not just on the marriage issue, but on everything to do with who they are. Megan is being courageous because she is challenging popular opinion of the wider church community. In my opinion it is her willingness to question popular opinion in search of the Truth that makes her someone I can talk to about my struggles with sexuality, and i always feel loved, unjudged, and understood (as much as possible). Megan would never simply agree with me and tell me what I want to hear, and that’s good! But I love the fact that she questions popular opinion in an honest search of what’s right and just. That makes her courageous.
    You seem to criticize your sister for being influenced by her life experience of knowing and listening and attempting to understand people personally who struggle with homosexuality. I wonder how many people you’ve really listened to and REALLY tried to understand what they go through. It seems to me it’s very easy for someone who isn’t homosexual to talk about how wrong it is and how homosexuals should be denied the right of marriage. I wonder if it would be different if you’d ever had to think about the issue in a personal way? The way I have been forced to, or the way Megan has CHOSEN to.
    Good on you Megan, I’ll keep questioning with you! 🙂

  30. I want to write in support of Megan’s post. I am a Christian who supports the legalisation of gay marriage. Thank you Megan, for standing up for what I’m sure many Christians believe, but are too intimidated to voice. I am very saddened (though not surprised) by some of the cutting, bigoted posts that I have read here in response to your piece. The church can be a harsh community to be a part of. I pray that one day, things will change.

  31. Megan, like all prophets your words have challenged and upset many who like to subscribe to heterodoxy and the status quo. And like all prophets your are experiencing rejection and spiteful responses.

    You have outlined a well reasoned and thoughtful ‘moderate’ response to a complicated issue. You are right in saying that Christian’s standards can not be enforced in the secular realm. I also agree with you that sexual orientation has no impact and discipleship and following Jesus. I also agree that it is difficult to be gay in our culture and particularly the church.

    Jess, victoria, Rebecca and Kris, I was greatly encouraged by your responses. They were well considered and sensitive to all. I apologize in advance that mine are not so sensitive and extremely long winded. However, I am unfortunately a latecomer to the conversation.

    While I affirm all of you guys in your courageous responses I must disagree with the following:

    Dianne your comment that we need to be praying for Megan (comment on Rollo’s blog) is not only insulting but incorrect. We need to be praying that Megan and other thoughtful Christian voices are heard in the broader community on this issue.

    Leonie, your example of Sodom and Gomorrah is ill informed and misrepresents the message of that story. It reminds me of the way the story of the curse of Ham was used to kill, imprison and oppress our indigenous population during colonial times. Megan, your later interpretation of this story is spot on.

    The discussion on pedophilia (and others which mention bestiality and rape) are ridiculous on many grounds. The most obvious being that these are examples of abuse and power and do not involve consent on any level. In this way homosexual relationships can be more equal than heterosexual ones as they have the opportunity to remove even the power imbalance between males and females.

    This also raises the issue of gender specific language. The fact that Luke defends referring to God as He by citing mankind, or man as representative pronouns shows that he misses the point entirely. This highlights the imbalance in gender specific language by suggesting that women can be represented by man, mankind (God as he), but males cannot be represented by woman, womankind (God as she).

    Luke, your point that the Bible is an historical document is grossly misinformed and one that very few theologians and Biblical scholars would agree with. Your comments:

    “God commands on marriage existed well before the Bible itself was actually written down. The Old Testament is in fact a historical document, a transcription of that which was passed down generation to generation with incredible precision to ensure not a single detail was altered. The words were considered utterly sacred to our Jewish ancestors would work tirelessly to make sure any Rabbi who added, adjusted or removed anything was quickly edified.

    It also contains detailed genealogies tracing back to the beginning of human history… to Adam and Eve themselves.

    So the Biblical definition of marriage is the very same definition first handed down by God to His people all those years ago, just written down. The Bible itself is the surviving history.

    At it’s most basic, the Bible says that marriage is the union of a man and woman under God. Here’s one passage from Genesis:

    The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

    But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,‘ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:18-25

    So Adam and Eve were the first married couple, a union directly instated by God Himself! A pretty awesome wedding if you ask me. Shame about the lack of relatives able to attend, though.

    As we advance through human history in the Old Testament we see more and more instructions on marriage passed down from God to ensure it remained Holy and healthy, since man kept slipping in some bad teachings and drifting away from what a good, strong marriage was. God understood that as fallen beings we tend to slip up a bit and need a little help every now and then to stay upright.

    But the discipline of man is like a tree, branching off as men decide to go their own way and invent their own rules and definitions, moving further and further from the seed that spawned them. While we might prune some of these dangerous branches, The Old Testament chronicles how we failed to prune them all and soon man was divided by land, belief and even language, ultimately going to war with each other over their opposing beliefs…..”

    These are reminiscent of modern thought and while I understand your stance about Biblical authority and the importance of developing doctrine around the Biblical narrative, I can’t affirm with you your literal hermeneutic nor your approach of claiming things as unbiblical. We must realise that the Bible is itself a discussion that was willing to debate, discuss and disagree on almost every issue. Therefore I believe that agreeing to disagree is not selling out or being weak but a core Biblical value.

    The entire Hebrew Bible was an ongoing debate and was only set in stone after the time of Jesus. Your response to Rebecca is not only irresponsible but incorrect. And for the record, the King James, or even New King James are so far from being the best Biblical translation it is ridiculous. But that is another matter.

    While some take a non-literal view of the Bible this does not mean that they take the Bible less seriously. A literal view of Scripture and a low view of Scripture are no longer synonymous.

    While we are on the record I would like to relate my perspective on the actual issue that homosexuality is a natural state and in no way a sin, nor is it an obstacle to following Christ in an authentic way.

    Luke, despite your claim, you leave very little space to be convinced of your error because you base your opinions in your interpretation of ‘God’s literal inerrant words’. Your confession to subscribing to absolute truth and rejecting postmodern philosophy highlights your inability to be changed or transformed by your faith or by prophetic voices which challenge heterodoxy and the status quo. Your stance on this is in fact legalistic and against Jesus’ teaching.

    Jesus’ teaching were in no way heterodox or in full alignment with Jewish law and practice. He was a non-compromising, self-professing heretic to the legalism and practice of Pharisaic and temple controlled theology.

    Megan, good on you for being a prophetic voice in the church and let’s pray that while we are challenged by differing opinions we are encouraged to live a life of radical discipleship that asks more of us than subscribing to ‘good doctrine’ and ‘heterodox theology’.

    Let’s pray that we can be the people that Jesus called us to be in standing up for the oppressed and marginalized – minority groups including homosexuals included.

    Let’s be ambassadors for Christ by standing with our LGBT brothers and sisters against oppression and inequality, rather than decrying their sexual identity as sinful and ‘unclean’ like the Pharisees would.

  32. Thanks Megan, and sorry. I meant to include you in my affirmations alongside Jess, victoria, Rebecca and Kris. I too am saddened by the harshness and bigotry I’ve seen here.

  33. A big topic to try to get our little heads around and I think Megan and others provides some refreshingly honest thoughts. Thoughts that are usually not mentioned in Christian circles, or if they are, are shot down pretty quickly! This case in point. The responses might be passionate but sadly, i find them to be extremely patronising. Thanks though, it’s provided me with a bit more clarity, as sometimes it’s easier to figure out what one doesn’t want believe or aspire to, than what one does believe or aspire to. It’s also reminded me of the importance of humility…

    1. I agree that some of the posts here have come across as very patronising and personally attacking at times. I hope I haven’t been one of those people, but I may have inadvertently been. I think disagreement is really healthy and I love robust discussion. What I don’t like is when people get so passionate about something they turn to attack to make their point. Condescension is never helpful. Although I understand those who fall prey to being condescending out of frustration (because I do it myself! Even though I wish I wouldn’t.).

      1. You, no (and the fact that you even thought that, makes the no even bigger!) Let’s just say that Luke’s comments have been embarrassing.

  34. Oh, wow. I feel like I’m being drawn into a drama triangle (hence I should probably refrain from commenting) because there is a part of me that wants to defend Luke here. I noticed that family can tend to fight like family at times. But I found Luke to be passionate and frustrating and contrary a lot to how I see things but he was respectful towards me.

    I don’t want to diminish what Mark said (especially as it meant so much to Matt) but Mark I am intrigued as to why if you applaud others sensitivity that you think it is ok for you to not be sensitive? As you said, it is a very complicated issue. Do any of us have it completely worked out? Do any of us respond well to being told we are in error, to being condescended to? As you said Megan, we can all fall into that trap. But Mark if you fully aware that you are moving into that territory why not think twice?

    Mark I agree with MUCH of what you said and how you backed up your arguments (and maybe I should focus more on that) but…just to nitpick, God as a he or she or it, is this moving into nitpicking PC territory or is that others not being sensitive enough? Cos I couldn’t care less.

    And to suggest that homosexual couples are more equal than heterosexual couples by removing the power imbalance between male and female irked me a bit. Possibly true though I doubt homosexual couples are immune to power struggles. I cherish the differences between me and my wife. We are not the same but we deserve to be treated as equally and respectfully as human and precious. All of us do.

    (I feel like ending with a cheesy ‘God bless us everyone’ 🙂

    1. Kris I don’t wish to get involved in a slinging match or drama club either. I m very aware that family can fight like family sometimes but this isn’t the kitchen table, it’s a public forum.

      For this reason I reacted abruptly, for as we have seen there are others that may be reading. There is at least one gay person reading this thread, perhaps more. Maybe we should start listening to those voices some more.

      Matt has said some deeply moving things both here and elsewher. I have no idea what it means to be a gay man, neither does Luke and neither do you Kris. So let’s assume that Matt have more invested in this debate and lift their voices up rather than clanging on like we know.

    2. I’d like to echo everything Kris just said.
      I adore Luke and I’d like to make it clear that I know him well enough to say he’s not intending to be malicious, even if he does come across as forthright. He has good intentions. The internet is a hard place to be heard ‘well’.
      If we demand sensitivity, we must also show it.

  35. Thanks for the considered response Kris. I did think twice, even three times about my forwardness, but felt in this case that it was necessary.

    It is one thing to be abrupt and insensitive when debating an issue and a whole other thong to be so when discussing another’s identity and sexuality. Therefore, I am willing to applaud other’s sensitivity as I am aware of my lack thereof.

    To resond, gender inclusive language is far more than just pc. While it matters little to you it does matter a great deal to others, hence it is important.

    On the equality point, that was used largely to illustrate the point that there is consent in homosexual relationships, whereas there is not in pedophile and other abhorant sexual practices.

    I too cherish the differences between my wife and myself but I am wary of falling into the trap of exploiting any power imbalance I might have as a male.

    1. Thanks for explaining the reasons behind your method Mark. It helps me to know why. It is interesting where to draw the line between free and robust debate and being sensitive and caring to others.

      I try to use gender inclusive language I just don’t think that most ppl who don’t are doing so to be exclusive, it’s just become a habit and so I generally give em’ the benefit of the doubt.

      So I will shut up now and not knowing what it is like to be gay I would be very happy to hear more from Matt…do you have your own blog perchance?

  36. I’d like to pick up on just one of Mark Payne’s points that I think is really relevant to this entire discussion. This should also help me answer the question that Megan put to me when I first posted as to how I found out about this blog.

    Mark issued a very important reminder to the regular readers and contributors to this blog: this isn’t the kitchen table, it is a public forum. I was surprised Megan to hear that you didn’t know that people who you were unacquainted with were reading your blog. I heard about your blog at a party on the weekend, and to the best of my knowledge, no one there knew you personally. Rather, the people discussing it had associated this blog with the baptist church that many of you attend. I hope this helps explain why, what has been most disturbing about this blog for me is that many of you worship together and stand with gay members of your community on a Sunday (one of whom has been brave enough to post on this blog in his own defense) and yet have come onto this site and voiced such hostile opinions against the LGBT community! That sends a very strange message about what your community stands for, and makes me worried about how someone like Matt could go back to your church and feel safe. It is just plain hypocrisy.

    Next time, I hope we will all think about the damaging and far reaching potential of blogs to send a negative and hurtful message, before we rush to voice extreme opinions.

    Megan – again, I applaud you for your courage and stand with Irene in saying that in no way have you been insensitive in your remarks. Keep standing up for what you believe in, and take heart that there are many more people reading this blog than you would have imagined, and they’re agreeing with you!

  37. Yeah I agree Victoria, I think my main issue with this thread was that it was a public debate that was available to those being discussed, not an abstract discussion in private or even classroom setting. I am all for public theology but there must come a point when we reflect on the consequences of our words and actions.

    Megan I understand your defence of Luke, but whether or not his intent was to be malicious, that fact is that he was. I do not believe that condemning minority groups publicly, whether we agree with their practice/lifestyle/sexual identity is acceptable.

    Shalom.

    1. Sorry to double up, but I was just reminded of the words of Pete Rollins when he was asked if his post-modern theology is denying the resurrection of Christ. Whether you agree with his broader theology or not these are powerful words that very eloquently describe how I feel about this issue.:

      “I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.”

  38. Just wanted to weigh in and say Victoria is right, LOTS of people are reading your blog Megan! Thankyou for having the courage to start such a debate, it’s wonderful to see Christians challenging the ‘popular’ Christian view. And when I say ‘popular’ I mean the view of those with the loudest voices.  
    I’m really glad that more recent posts have represented a more caring approach to this debate. It makes me both sad and angry when I see Christians discussing things is such harsh, ‘absolute truth’ terms with no consideration for who may be reading their words (including people who attend their church). Thankyou Matt for being brave enough to respond to those who would treat you in this thoughtless way. 
    To clarify, I’d like to add that I believe that gay marriage should be legalised, and that homosexuals can be born that way, and are born that way (…that sounded confused…). Lastly, although I think it’s important to have these discussions, and I’m glad you brought it up Megan, I also think there is far too much chatter about ‘sexual sin’ in Christian circles in general. Although it may appear, and maybe it is, hypocritical of me to then weigh into this debate, but the bible speaks relatively few times about our sex lives in comparison to other things (charging interest on a loan for example!). Perhaps those of us who are caught up in the vital importance of weeding out sexual immorality need to take a step back and realise that there are more important issues to get up in each others faces about. Just a thought.     

  39. Hey everyone, just a friendly reminder to be gentle and loving in our words to one another… In the interest of everyone involved in the discussion, lets not talk about particular people or churches on this forum.
    Also just to remind everyone before anyone says too much, that there are potentially issues of confidentiality and privacy at stake. Especially when discussing things like homosexuality with reference to those who might prefer to remain ‘in the closet’. In the case of those attending churches or belonging to small communities even generic and general statements can be used as identifiers, or in some cases really cause anxiety for the people under discussion (trust me, been there).

    After all, this issue is not an issue that defines any one of us, or any church. Not to mention too, it’s cyberspace, so things said in the heat of a moment cannot be erased.

    Just wanted to flag that friendly reminder!

    P.S. Kris, I don’t have my own blog, but thanks for asking.

  40. Hi Matt ,

    I completely agree about the right of all people – not just gays – to have the right to complete privacy when it comes to their sexual preference.

    My comments were not intended to ‘out’ a particular church or any particular persons. Statistically, almost all churches have at least one gay member, and so most people who attend churches are guilty of sweeping these issues under the rug on a Sunday in order to preserve congregational unity (which, in and of itself, is not a bad desire). This was a side point to my larger concern:

    The issue I was more wanting to raise is that confidentiality is extremely hard to preserve when one is using public forums to air one’s opinions, and when sibling affiliations and church connections are referred to, either implicitly or explicitly, on a public site. I was hoping my comments would act as a reminder to us all (not just the regular readers of this blog) that these issues are never ‘depersonalized’ or neutral, especially when it is clear, as it has been from your own and many others’ posts on this site, that people who know one another are willing to say things in a public forum that may be deeply hurtful.

    I hope this clarifies my post. 🙂

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