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Deep Thinking about The Flaws in the Logic of Matthew Vines

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/inklingations/2014/11/21/on-matthew-vines-and-telling-the-truth-about-dissenters/


Reformation Project Goes into High Gear

In November, Matthew Vines’ Reformation Project held a second conference, this time in Washington DC.

This one featured the infamous David Gushee, who we have critiqued here. In smaller roles were others with poor theology whose work we have also critiqued, such as James Brownson, Justin Lee and Susan Cottrell.

The key-note sermon delivered at the opening of the conference perhaps set the tone, and matched that of the general thrust of Vines, when it stated -

I believe that people like us and churches like ours – churches that affirm the lives, relationships, and ministries of LGBTQ people …

The closing key-note by David Gushee was equally certain of gay relationships not being inherently sinful. IE the Reformation Project inherently believes in affirming homosexual relationships. And people who are familiar with the Reformation Project would respond “duh, of course it does.” But the intriguing thing is, that most of their logic, their Scriptural analysis, as I see it, is not about why gay relationships should be affirmed. Rather it’s about why they believe it’s not certain that the Bible condemns gay relationships. For example, in approximately the same week that Gushee was expressing how he believes that gay relationships are ok, he had an article published where he wrote -

I now believe that the traditional interpretation of the most cited passages is questionable

Do you see my point? The Scriptural analysis is a little on the fence, but the preaching isnt. There is a mysterious leap from being on the fence, in comparison with affirming gay relationships. If you were to challenge the Reformation Project leadership about this, my guess is that they would respond almost dismissively  that if it’s not clear whether the Bible condemns gay relationships and if God is love, then logically He must support gay relationships. Oh what a tangled web some weave.

Ironically, the sermon also talked of leading -

the churches into a new era of fidelity to the gospel …

Yea right. Although interestingly, the final Keynote Address, by David Gushee, was particularly conservative when he called for

Celibacy outside of lifetime covenantal marriage, monogamous fidelity within lifetime covenantal marriage. That norm, as I argue in my book, applies to all Christians.

Such a position runs counter to the prevailing doctrines that operate in gay Christendom, eg within the Gay Christian Network. Gushee’s conservative position on this element may endear him to straight Christians who equate homosexuality with licentiousness. But gays are not known to be conservative when it comes to sexual relations, so how will they respond? The Reformation Project may suffer a decline in interest. Or perhaps gays will rally around the radical message. But if they do rally around, I predict that it will result in a starkly young demographic in the pews, as more mature people will feel conflicted and troubled over the reality that gay men seldom achieve long term monogamy, even if they are Christians.


Problems with David Gushee’s column at Baptist News Global

This post is largely a record of feedback to David Gushee’s recent column at Baptist News Global, about homosexuality. The column has coincided with a bit of a stir in Christian media and gay media outlets, eg here. Over a dozen editions of the column have been published, each allowing online public feedback for a small time. Some weeks back, most of the feedback to the column seemed critical of what Gushee had written. Then suddenly all feedback on the first dozen or so posts, disappeared. Yep,  vanished. That’s the feedback in the Disqus section, AND in the Facebook section – two systems wiped. So Im now keeping a record of my feedback here, where it is less likely to go missing. This means I can also easily paste my feedback back again, as I have now done for many of the entries that vanished.

Gushee openly states that in some respects he follows in the footsteps of gay sex apologist Dr Brownson (http://baptistnews.com/opinion/columns/item/28943-what-exactly-is-the-issue-the-lgbt-issue-part-2). Gushee also notes in part 2 that “My goal is to think through this issue from a Christian perspective and in public with the hope of increasing “convictional clarity,” and for those readers who have already worked through these issues and come down firmly on the full affirmation/acceptance/revisionist side, please try not to lose patience with those who have not made that journey and/or need to think about these issues from the ground up, and maybe for the first time. That is the audience I am primarily aiming at in this series.” IE this seems to mean that he is trying to persuade the reader to commit to the “affirmation/acceptance/revisionist side”. Gushee has noted elsewhere that -

Evangelical Christians, such as Denny Burk and Robert Gagnon, are criticizing me because I’m now “pro-LGBT.” They want to shift the discussion immediately to the debate on same-sex relationships and the proper interpretation of those six or seven most cited Bible passages. I want to move right back to what really matters the most to me — loving this particular 5 percent of the population in exactly the same way that Christians are called to love everyone. That means attending to what most harms them and doing something about it. And that means offering full acceptance of LGBT people, ending religion-based harm and contempt, helping families accept the sexual orientation of their own children, and helping churches be a safe and welcoming place for every one of God’s children.

Does he realise that such a position puts him at odds with common understanding of what it is to be evangelical? You cant be evangelical, and not care much about what the Bible states! Yet he continues to be referred to as ‘evangelical’ in media articles, and to call himself ‘evangelical’. In this column and elsewhere, he likes to affirm the scriptures which bring comfort, and to downplay the Scriptures which portray homosexual relations as being sinful. When discussing the Scriptures which refer to homosexuality, he will tend towards obfuscation in an effort to dismiss them as being unclear, while he will oversimplify other Scriptures where it suits him. He likes to portray scholarly interpretations of Scripture as not opposing homosexual relations  and he likes to portray those who disagree with him, as being closed minded and less educated. Like Vines, he is a little incoherent in the sense that on one hand they both say that we should be “open minded” about whether the Bible teaches that homosexual relations are inherently sinful, and yet at the same time, they contradict this open-mindedness, by saying that the Bible does not teach that homosexual relations are inherently sinful. Here is the record of my feedback (some of it slightly modified the second time I added it) -

Starting a conversation: The LGBT Issue, part 1

I wonder whether this issue is without precedent in regards to a groundswell movement that is so determined and goes to such lengths to reinterpret Scripture in order to redefine a sin as not being a sin? Is there a precedent of comparative scale? I also posted again, writing –  The sentence “This new literature is producing resistance among those who seek to refute the particular claims of evangelical revisionists and try to define them ipso facto as no longer evangelical, or Christian” troubles me. Surely it’s unreasonable to portray the reported rejecting of the label ‘evangelical’, as an ipso facto act. There is reasoning behind the rejection of the label. IE those who claim the revisionists are no longer evangelical, explain that the revisionists are not Biblically compliant. Entire books have been written detailing this reasoning. That’s hardly ipso facto. And since there is controversy over whether the revisionists are evangelical, shouldnt this article take an unbiased approach? In examining the very question, why does the article take a side and continue to refer to them as ‘evangelical’? What happened to unbiased reporting?

What exactly is the issue? The LGBT issue, part 2

I think the author of this column is correct that Christians much take into consideration the findings of psychological research and clinical conclusions. But I think the challenge that many of us face, is distinguishing genuine and valid psychological insight, from politics and bias. In the same way that this column was written by someone with a gay sister, so often when we hear medical pronouncements about homosexuality, the news is filtered not only by the medial practitioners, but by journalists and editors who are seeking to persuade. So often the news is transformed into a biased account; one that fits the ethos of the media outlet, and what they think their audience should or wants to hear. In this column we see doubt expressed about whether the relevant Bible scriptures should be interpreted at face value. But do we seem the same level of scepticism when a news article states or implies that homosexual marriage is equivalent to heterosexual marriage, despite all the evidence to the contrary?

Gay Christians exist: The LGBT issue, part 4

The line “Side A Christians believe it is possible for gay believers to enter covenantal same-sex relationships with God’s blessing” seems misleading. Especially when it follows the line “I, for one, have been deeply changed not just by meeting and getting to know numerous gay Christians, but by discovering that some of them are theologically more conservative than I am.” Sure there are some Christians who are same-sex attracted, who are very theologically conservative. And sure, there are some Side A adherents who believe it is possible for gay believers to enter covenantal same-sex relationships with God’s blessing. But such a conservative position is not a balanced characterisation of the mainstream of Side A adherents. The majority of Side A adherents are at least as liberal as those who regard themselves as straight Christians. IE they believe that they can get away with sex outside of a committed relationship, and their behaviour is consistent with that belief. And a not-insignificant proportion of them are not even committed to monogamy.

The Sins of Sodom (and Gibeah): The LGBT Issue, part 9

10603723_2233400753230_3505308387966869816_nIn part 7 we are told that; “The least interesting interlocutors are those who seem to have learned nothing from our own conflicted history, and who therefore repeat that history over and over again in their certainty that their reading of a text is God’s Own Truth.” And now in part 9, we are told dogmatically that Jude 6-8 and the parallel text in 2 Peter 2:6-7 about Sodom, are not about homosexual sex but rather “represent fragments of tradition referring to unholy human interest in sex with angels, a theme derived from the book of Enoch, with reference back to the mysterious Genesis 6 story about the Nephilim.” The author is now contradicting the advice he provided in part 7, about their reading of the text being the only correct version. I note that as above, the author points to the angelic nature of the desired victims, as being a key explanation of why the events were regarded as sinful. But in the second to last paragraph, the story is portrayed as being all about ill-treatment of men. So is it about ill-treatment of angels or of men? We see the dogmatism again in the closing paragraph where it states; “Genesis 19 and Judges 19 … have nothing to do with the morality of loving, covenantal same-sex relationships.” Certainly there is a vast difference between violent rape, and a loving expression of homosexuality. But to claim that one has “nothing to do” with the other, is dismissive of the fact that Scripture presents the events of Sodom as being particularly heinous, thereby at least raising suspicion that the same-sex element of it was part of the problem. A suspicion that is reinforced by common readings of Jude 7. It is also dismissive of how the story presents Lot’s belief that rape of his own daughters is better than the rape of the visiting men – again giving a sense that same-sex intercourse might be being condemned. The author explains away common readings by appealing to the experts; “But now few serious biblical interpreters think this story is about ‘homosexuality’ at all.” And yes there is an element of truth to this claim. Theologians recognise that the sins of Sodom were various. And we dont tend to see contemporary experiences of homosexual orientation play out as is illustrated in the story of Sodom. But I question whether a majority would feel the story is not about homosexuality “at all”. If few serious biblical interpreters think this story is about homosexuality at all, could we have some broad statistics to back up this claim please? Otherwise how do we know it’s accurate?

Leviticus, abomination, and Jesus: The LGBT issue, part 10

The author of this commentary asks “Do Christians quoting Leviticus 20:13 support the death penalty for those committing same-sex acts? If not, why not?” Given that much of this series is fairly in-depth, why does he pose this question and not suggest answers? Is he suggesting it’s a question without answers? It seems strange that he goes in-depth in some areas, but not in areas such as this one. Does he want to present the Leviticus text as problematic, inferring it’s too hard to deal with, meaning its sensible to sweep it under the carpet for now? My suggested answer to the question is that Christians follow Christ, and Christ demonstrated a disdain for the death penalty (John 8:1-22). So in general while we continue to regard the sins of the Old Testament for which the death penalty was prescribed (eg adultery), to remain sinful, we no longer apply the Old Testament penalty. See, that explanation wasnt hard, was it? It’s certainly not a question without answers. The author then moves on to ask how Christians should decide which laws of the Old Testament should remain valid. He suggests that there is no clear-cut method, again seeming to imply that it’s all to hard to worry about for now. Im not a theologian, but I actually do see his point to some degree. He writes “It is also not as simple as saying that Christians accept the moral laws offered in the Old Testament, just not the ceremonial, cultic, dietary or civil laws”. However, I also note that often Christian leaders DO claim that Christians ought to follow that very policy. The author objects that “Any differentiation of authority in terms of categories of Old Testament legal materials is foreign to the materials themselves.” Yes of course. But that is a Jewish perspective. From a Christian perspective, we see that Jesus and St Paul regarded elements of the Old Testament to be valid and other elements to be invalid. Logically modern Christians should take the same perspective. And as the New Testament depicts homosexual relations as sinful, the implication is that the Old Testament references to the same, are also still regarded as sinful. The author finishes this post, by writing “the two sentences in Leviticus (18:22/20:13) are duly noted. … But they do not resolve the LGBT issue.” So is the author going to largely raise questions and cast doubt on the utility of Leviticus and then simply move on, basically echoing the serpent of Genesis 3:1, who asked “did God really say?” I thought Christianity was about promoting faith and conviction, rather than promoting doubt and uncertainty like this?

Two odd little words: the LGBT issue, part 11 (Revised)

It troubles me to see this tendency to take an element of doubt and to magnify it. Sure, some Greek words are difficult to translate. But it seems misleading to me, for Dr Gushee to talk of the word ‘arsenokoitai’ as being of unclear meaning, while not revealing to the reader that it’s comprised of the composite words ‘men’ and ‘bed’. Obviously a combination of ‘men’ and ‘bed’, gives an impression of males in an intimate situation. And am I being overly negative, or am I right to feel misled when Dr Gushee repeatedly cites from authors who are gay, without actually stating they are gay?

God made them male and female: The LGBT issue, part 12

So in summary, this article consists of: 1) An argument that seems to disagree with 2 Tim. 3:16, by implying that Genesis is not “God breathed”, but is instead somewhat mythological. 2) An evaluation of the Genesis reference to Judaic marriage being inherently heterosexual, that misleadingly fails to state the highly pertinent point that Jesus affirmed that same reference as being authoritative and applicable for Christians. 3) A listing of possible reasons not to interpret Romans 1 at face value, followed by a conclusion that focuses on echoing gay theologians who argue that St Paul’s references to homosexuality are irrelevant to gay Christians today? 4) A conclusion that talks of “traditionalists, who link Paul’s teaching here to the other texts in the canon that we have explored, notably the creation/design theme, thus decontextualizing Paul’s teaching considerably”. Yet the framing of this article decontextualizes Paul’s words by not mentioning that Paul was preaching a theology which as per my point #2, is built in part on Christ preaching that Christian marriage is inherently heterosexual. There is scant reason to believe that Christ repudiated the well-established Jewish teaching that homosexual relations are sinful. And this article decontextualizes Paul by not observing that he repeatedly presents Christian couples as exclusively being in heterosexual relationships, and presents all references to homosexual activity as being unacceptable. If APBnews become a mouthpeace for gay apologetics, then I suppose the above is a balanced approach for meeting that goal. But if APBnews aims for a middle-of-the-road approach, can we now expect some material to be posted that provides balance, by offering the other side of the story?

Creation, sexual orientation, and God’s will: The LGBT issue, part 13

There is a lot I like about proposal #3. Yes we do live in a fallen world. We are no longer in a Garden of Eden and not everyone is born as either simply male or female. Parts of the church need to have this pointed out. But we dont live in a Genesis 3 world either. Instead we live in a New Covenant world of the New Testament. As such, I suggest Christians should look to Jesus in this regard. Jesus and St Paul did not teach that everyone should marry the opposite sex. St Paul in particular advocated remaining single where practical (1 Corinthians 7) and Jesus perhaps inferred the same for those who felt unable to commit to lifelong monogamous heterosexual marriage (Matthew 19). It saddens me that a Christian website like this, downplays Christ’s perspective on these issues. Im less enthusiastic about proposal #2, which I interpret as basically being a call to not rely on Scripture for sexual ethics. Proposal #1 also concerns me. It implies that to truly comply with what Scripture teaches about sexual orientation, requires you to “[throw] out the stubborn facts, such as the reported experiences of real LGBT people, and related research”. What experiences exactly? What research exactly? I doubt that such a path requires throwing out facts. Lets consider that there have been and continue to be a few supposedly “scientific facts” about LGBT people that are actually quazi-scientific or are not scientific facts at all. Anyone remember the now refuted claims that 10% of the population are gay? Or that a gay gene was almost pinned down? Yes there are references in Scripture to the sun moving around the earth. That doesnt mean that Christians must refuse to accept that the earth revolves around the sun. We just accept that the Scriptural references were written from a standard subjective perspective – what we perceive as human beings each day, when we gaze skyward. Being quick to dismiss elements of Scripture, seems to be a foundational principle employed in this column.

Toward covenant: The LGBT issue, part 14

10418499_10152828012579669_3350764771730629096_nIt seems to me that the thrust of this article is not to dissimilar to much other contemporary gay activism within Christian circles today. IE to first (legitimately) point out the Christians who experience same-sex attraction, find their homosexual circumstances to be quite a trial, and then to portray the relevant Scriptures as being of debatable interpretation, and then to conclude by recommending that the Church change to instead affirm homosexual relations. However this article seems to me to portray the problem in a grossly inaccurate way, using the sentence “Let’s say the total ban based on incorrect sexual orientation is provisionally lifted.” If there are any churches that have a total ban on homosexual orientation, surely such churches are a minority amongst most churches? Surely they are a minority even amongst conservative churches? Most conservative churches do not ban homosexual orientation. Rather they ban homosexual practice. IE celibate homosexuals remain welcome. This is the official policy of the Catholic church, for example, and the same is official policy for many denominations. The author of the article seems to be aware that it’s a strawman claim, as evidenced by the later contradictory sentence “We don’t do them any favors when our welcome to them comes accompanied by ….” Huh? Didnt the earlier sentence say they were not welcome? Im also troubled by the generalised comparison between gay and straight people, in the section worded as follows. “But there are also LGBT Christians who want to make — and some in fact have made — a lifetime covenant with one person, in an effort to be faithful to the witness of the Christian tradition. This is admirable, and far exceeds the moral rigor of most Americans, including many American Christians.” This seems to characterise LGBT Christians as wanting lifetime marriage convenants, in contrast with others who supposedly have less moral rigor. Such characterisations are belied by the statistics on the monogamy levels of gay people verses straight people. Of course generalisations have their limitations, as there are usually exceptions, but based on my observations, male Christians who are practising homosexuals tend to be just as non-monogamous in their relationships as non-Christian homosexuals. And research tells us that around half of gay men who marry each other report that they continue to be non-monogamous. The author encourages “dialogue and study” on this topic. Good idea. But lets keep it honest and balanced.

Transformative encounters and paradigm leaps: The LGBT issue, part 15

Quote;

“Those of us who are in the process of making a paradigm leap toward full solidarity with LGBT Christians are sometimes accused of “abandoning the gospel.” This is a very serious charge. Are those who level it saying that the Good News that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19), and that “God so loved the world that he have his only Son, so that everyone who believes him may not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16) is compromised when Christians rethink the interpretation of six passages about sexual ethics, or move forward other texts for deeper consideration?”

No, those who level it are not necessarily saying that 2 Cor. 5:19 or Jn. 3:16 are compromised when Christians rethink the interpretation of six passages about sexual ethics, or move forward other texts for deeper consideration. There is nothing wrong with rethinking or with deep consideration, per se. But there is something wrong with a lack of balanced thinking. In this series, much of the thinking has been drawn from gay theologians and has been framed in ways that draw the reader into their way of thinking; into doubt about relevant Scriptures, sometimes without providing a reasonable counterbalance. In so doing, Jn. 3:16 is compromised, because it says that those who gain eternal life are those who “believe him” – something that is difficult to do in the face of being told that Scriptures probably dont mean what they appear to say at face value. It is highly relevant that this article cites Acts 10:34-36 “God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him …. Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all”. IE God shows no partiality but in every nation any person of minority sexual orientation (or anyone else) who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him …. Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all. But for a person of minority sexual orientation (or anyone else), who does not do what is acceptable to Him, Jesus is not his Lord.

A dual-narrative tour: The LGBT issue, part 16

Again this column portrays a false dichotomy in regards to Christian attitudes towards gay and lesbian people. The final paragraph constructs two options; 1; “treating people the way Christ did.” Including treating gays and lesbians as equals and as kin. The broader context suggests this means regarding homosexual relations as being non-sinful. or 2; embracing an anything-goes ethic. But there are many Christians who already ideologically support much of option 1, without regarding homosexual relations as being non-sinful. Official doctrine of the Catholic church and other denominations is that those with same-sex attraction should be welcomed, loved, embraced, supported and treated as equals and as kin, so long as they do not actually engage in homosexual relations.


Patheos – Hosting the Propaganda?

Patheos is a website that features a variety of authors who write on religious themes. They market themselves as “Patheos – Hosting the Conversation on Faith”.

However, sometimes it’s a very one-way conversation. A writer might write a post, allow feedback, and then delete the feedback which disagrees with viewpoints that the original writer prefers. That’s not much of a conversation, if you ask me.

Here are examples of this -

On this page, one Susan Cottrell wrote a reasonably lengthy post, which included content such as a quote from someone else about abominations, and then Susan’s thoughts on this, and other content such as -

If you are worried about ‘being party’ to abominations, then let me ask you this: Do you eat any type of pork? Do you eat shellfish? Do you wear any polyblend or other mixed-fabric shirt? All of those are abominations. Do you have any contact with your wife or daughters during or two weeks after their period? That is an abomination. Do you watch football, which is men handling a pigskin, which is an abomination. I could go on.

Objecting to misrepresentation of Scripture and misinterpretation of others, I took advantage of the feedback section to write -

There is so much to talk about on this page. But Ill try to keep this to only a few points.

Firstly, the quote “You Are Endorsing What God Calls an Abomination” sounds like it’s a reference to a behaviour. But Susan, you have responded “What kind of love is it to call a fellow human being, maybe even your own child, an abomination?” That is not reflective of the original statement. The original statement seems to be a reference to a behaviour, but your framing of it makes it a reference to a person themselves.

And you claim that eating pork or shellfish are abominations. These are the sorts of claims that non-Christians make. You dont realise that Jesus said that Christians can eat anything? See Mark 7. The Bible says “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Christians need to know their Bibles.

My feedback went through an approvals process, and eventually displayed on the site. Someone else even replied to what I wrote. But within 24 hours, an administrator had removed my feedback. It no longer displays.

During the same period, I also wrote feedback in regards to a post by Susan about whether Churches should be welcoming to sinners. I wrote -

Yes! The church should absolutely welcome everyone initially. Hospitality and welcome are Christian essentials. And the welcomed people should be discipled and taught Christian ways. However, what if the welcomed party refuses to turn from their sin? And what if there are so many people welcomed in, who refuse to conform to Christian teaching, that they then become the majority of a congregation? By that point the church is no longer a real church. To avoid this, there is a line that must be drawn. IE those who refuse to comply must be separated from the true Christians. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically those in sexual sin. Christians are supposed to encourage other Christians to be holy (Gal 6:1-5, James 5:19-20, Titus 1:13) while not judging non-christians though (1 Cor 5:12). I suppose some Christians try to draw the line too early though, before giving others a fair opportunity to learn and repent.

However, as with my other feedback, it was removed within 24 hours by an administrator, and is no longer displayed. Factually incorrect statements in the original posts remain, but feedback which politely challenges those falsehoods, has been removed.

The next day, one of the above one-sided articles was featured on the facebook page of the group Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented. So over 70,000 fans of that group were linked to the biased information, with my feedback missing. And so the misinformation spreads unchecked. That’s not “hosting the conversation…” It’s propaganda. There are some who are not troubled by this though – the following week, she sat (pictured 4th from right) on a panel of advisors at the Reformation Project conference in Washington.

RFP_Washington


Have the Southern Baptists Compromised?

In October 214, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission department of the Southern Baptists held a national conference, titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage”. It was noted for exhibiting a higher level of compassion toward those burdened with homosexual temptation, and for a downplaying of the virtue/value of reparative therapy for homosexuals.

I think that overall, the themes and achievements of the conference were a great thing. However there were other conservative evangelicals who were not so impressed, in particular perhaps, those more aligned with Restored Hope Network theology, IE the belief that homosexual orientation is not okay, and the belief that its existence as an ongoing inclination, should be denied by those who are burdened by it. And those who hold to this theology are able to articulate their position fairly well. One person explained -

We are set free [from sin such as homosexual expression] because the Bible says we are. Read Romans 6, which says that we should count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Just because we are tempted with sin does not mean that we are not free from sin. Christ Jesus died and rose from the dead to give us a new spirit, a spirit free from sin. We are new Creations in Christ Jesus. What we have to do once we are made new in Christ is to renew our mind to God’s Word according to Romans 12:1-2. We must share the truth of God’s Word no matter what others might experience. Our experiences do not negate the Word of God. But as I believe the Word and choose to walk by faith and not by my senses, the Word will cause a change in my mind and body which will cause my experiences to change to line up with the Word of God. The thorn of St Paul was a spirit sent to buffet Him and that is what the devil does with all of us who Call on the Name of Jesus. He wants to camouflage the Truth so that we want believe and receive what Christ Jesus has done for us. Christians who struggle with homosexuality are not the only people who are tempted with the sin they were set free from. Fornicators, who decide to live a celibate life are tempted to return to their former lives. Former drug addicts are sometimes tempted to return to drugging after they have received Jesus Christ and His freedom. There are some people who have struggled with all the above but are never tempted again in that area of sin but are tempted with other sins. The truth still remains the same, we have been set free from all sin but we live in a world where sin abounds. Thank God the Word says where sin abound graces does much more abound. God has given us the grace to say no to sin and yes to Him.

And such an argument is quite Biblical. But on the other hand, the opposite might be argued from Scriptures such as Romans 7. So what do we do? Are Christians set free from sinful inclinations or is the inclination something that sometimes sticks with us? Can I suggest that the following line of thinking may be helpful in some way. We accept the fact that Christians with cancer often die of cancer. This is despite Scriptures such as Is 53:5, Mat 10:8 etc telling us that we neednt settle for sickness. It’s interesting to contrast how we accept this lack of healing, but we struggle to accept that there are a lot of same-sex attracted Christians who despite prayer, fasting, exorcism etc etc, have found that the Lord has not taken the burden from them. Why do we accept the former but not the latter? Why is it regarded as compromise to recognise that a Christian will continue to battle homosexual inclination, and yet not compromise to recognise that a Christian may die of cancer?


Homosexual Rape

I have four male acquaintances who have spoken of being sexually assaulted. I have zero female acquaintances who have spoken of being sexually assaulted. I never expected this gender-based disparity to be the case, and it still surprises me. The first time a male friend of mine spoke of being raped, it all sounded kinda unlikely. But it happens. In most of the cases where one of my friends has been sexually assaulted, both the victim and perpetrator would be classified as MSM and were either in a relationship with each other, on a date with each other, or were “hooking up” with each other. In all cases the victims were traumatised. In at least one case it finished with a hospital visit for bodily damage – and I dont mean from infection.

Sometimes male sexual assault sounds a bit “Sodom & Gomorrah”. Like this recent example -

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/16/police-teen-seriously-injured-in-videotaped-sexual-assault/17386597/

Some news outlets referred to the above case as a “group rape”, which of course sounds more stark than “assault”, and may be a very valid reference for it.


A Bit Less Deformation please, GLAAD

According to Wikipedia,

“GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organisation founded by LGBT people in the media.” 

And yes it’s quite apparent that defamation is off the radar at GLAAD these days. On their website, an article dated October 17 stated -

“Raymond Burke, … was interviewed by LifeSiteNews, an anti-LGBT news site …”

And then on October 20, they published another article online, with a title that began -

“Vatican scraps inclusion of LGBT people …”

So errr same-sex-attracted people cant work at the Vatican now? Or cant visit the Vatican? No, neither interpretation of the headline is correct. The level of inclusion of LGBT people by the Vatican is basically the same as it’s been for centuries. So long as LGBT people do not actually engage in homosexual sex, they are included much the same as anyone else. This is not the case for those wishing to enter the priesthood, but that is not what the GLAAD article was about.

No, what we have hear is GLAAD portraying traditional Christian/Catholic values in a particularly negative light. A misleadingly negative light, even. Both LifeSiteNews and the Vatican hold to standard Catholic teaching that while homosexual relations are sinful, gay people “must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” The approach taken by GLAAD is particularly surprising given that their director of news describes himself as a Christian.

It’s an overstatement lacking in nuance, to describe LifeSiteNews as an anti-LGBT news site. And the same is the case for the claim that the Vatican does not include LGBT people.


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