3/08/2009

How we came to ordain homosexuals

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So what would you say to the people respresented in this denomination describing "How we came to ordain practicing homosexuals?"

keith drury

32 comments:

vanilla said...

—“we’re all practicing sinners and we all deserve acceptance and grace.”

Only our self-centeredness allows us to believe we "deserve" grace.
Grace, by definition, is unmerited.

davide said...

I would add step 0:

0. We stopped believing that, and living like the entire Bible is the word of God for the 21st century.

My recommendation to a member of a church represented by this column would be to leave the ungodly church and find a church who practices a Biblical attitude toward steps zero thru two at a minimum.

God did not give Lot an asbestos umbrella and ask him to pray for the revival of Sodom.

Ed said...

This is a sobering article. If it accurately represents the slide to ordaining homosexuals then just about every conservative denomination I know is somewhere around step 5-6-7 on this already. I guess maybe that's your point: our early decisions on theology set the sail for later decisions on homosexuality. My denomination loves to condemn those who ordain homosexuals--but we have leaped down this list pretty far already. We think we'll draw a line and go no further but I'm not so sure we can hold the line.

Chap said...

Good thought provoking article that reinforces that the slippery slope does really exist. I can't imagine our denomination giving up the line on this one--but we also are guilty of some of these slides into biblical illiteracy. I would take issue however with divorce when it comes to biblical exceptions.

I also think it would be reasonable to add "ordaining women" to the list as well. I know this will stir the pot...but it could be considered a part of the slide towards sexual role confusion.

dan said...

Coach,
Good post, for me the biggest point is the belief that we cannot be transformed, or freed from our sin. Once we give in on this point, everything else is a logical development.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I would take exception on adding "ordaining women" to this discussion since nowhere in all of Scripture can I find that listed as a sin.

Anonymous said...

When one "writes-in" sin not explicitly defined as sin in the text with full "theological justification" then the "explicitly defined" sins mean nothing any longer!

Do you suppose that is why it says not to add nor take away from the Text as given?

Gee, what a novel throught for an inspired man of God to write.

Wes McCallum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wes,

You amaze me.....we became! That says is all. The "be's" of Scripture are no longer the "be's" of the church's belief or the life it lives!

Face it, God is no longer God and we are no longer His people. It happened to the Jews as well.

Christianity, like the Jewish pharisees, now has organized religion!

Honesty always helps!

By the way, I was just talking with someone yesterday. She had an interesting thought about the christian leadership with which she mingles. It was, "In times like these, how is loving God and loving people represented by all the Benz's in the parking lot?"

Interesting coming from someone with tatoos and tongue and nose piercings.

We all find our God in different ways and places....even in the control and manipulation of others to grow our egos and make us feel "Godly" and righteous!

The problem, there is such a great hunger but because of the spiritual famine in the land, there is no longer any spiritual food and the natives are starving.

So much for church growth seminars! What ever happened to teaching the Text? What a novel "Jesus" thought!

Anonymous said...

In case anyone hasn't taken notice, not only is there a spiritual famine in the land, with the drought, one should expect a food famine!

The cute 30-day famines for hunger to soothe our conscience and egos may become a daily event.

By the way, while I'm on the subject, did anyone notice the psychologist who said chimps have a conscience because they can plan to throw rocks at people! Ha! Conscience isn't the ability think and do it is the ability to assess right/wrong, understand sin and feel guilty for offending the God of heaven!

Truly, there is no longer any God in the land. If there is no God, there is no reason for that God to take care of His creation! Think about it!

Philip Brown said...

Keith & Chris wrote:

Once we held to John Wesley’s doctrine of “Christian perfection” (teaching could deliver a Christian from their natural inclination toward sin enabling obedient living). When we abandoned that doctrine we had little to say to a person who believed they were “naturally” a homosexual.

I am satisfied that Scripture teaches a believer can be cleansed from self-centeredness (inherited depravity).

I don't see, however, Scripture teaching that such a cleansing removes susceptibility to temptation to homosexual thoughts or actions.

We don't expect a normal man to be freed from heterosexual temptation even after entire sanctification. Are you implying that those who experience abnormal desires (like homosexual desires) will be freed from those desires by entire sanctification?

John Mark said...

I had lunch with a pastor last Weds. The church he is pastor of was formerly led by a lady who was suspected early on of being homosexual. The initial response from the congregation was, when this began to be talked about, "She does well in the pulpit, and came to visit me when I was in the hospital, so leave her alone."
At some point, she began to fold some of her beliefs into her sermons, which resulted in a mass exodus, until there were only a handful of people left when my friend arrived.
This kind of story is going to repeat itself again and again, and your post is right on, especially in light of how we have handled divorce. I honestly don't know what the right approach is on divorce at this point, but homosexuals I have talked to rightly insist that heterosexuals have done more to damage marriage than the "gay movement" has, to this point. They are right.

Ben Robinson said...

What is "homosexual desire?" How is such a "desire" to be understood?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment that ordaining women as pastors is part of the direction taken toward ordaining homosexuals. I agree that it is not called out as "sin", but the bible is not solely a book of sin. It is actually an account of God and who He is and how He has set things in order. Sin distorts that order and confuses how things should be in church and in our families. I believe the church should have more discussions on what should be because it is God's intended way and not whether or not it is only a sin. If we base our beliefs only on what is and isn't sin then we miss the part of not abusing our freedom to the harm of our brothers. The roles of men and women is about interpretation and application of God's word and at any point that we stray from God's way we start down many slipper slopes.

Anonymous said...

The bible says we are "dead to sin" and that we are to submit our selves to the master of rightousness. It also says we are to renew are mind and Paul says though he had not obtained perfection he strived for it and that we were to strive for it. So I say Yes a hetersexual man is to be continually striving and seeing progress in being tempted by desires. Now what I have found is once there is victory in certain areas I have other areas I am tempted in those need to be taken to the cross and over come by renewing my mind and the power of God' love and grace in my life. Again I say absolutely if we are saved in Christ and sealed by the Holy spirit that the transformation in our lives should be that of overcoming sin and desires. It will be diffrent for all, but I think the point from this article is that we don't even challenge our selves or others in the church to strive for overcoming sin and desires that lead us to sin.

Chap said...

I would also submit that in the slippery sloped arguments towards ordaining homosexuals, denominational officials will always cite the advancment of ordaining women (the current article cited civil rights) as article #1 in reasons to ordain homosexuals.

I would not paint all denominations with a broad brush (e.g. weslyans, nazarenes, assembly of God etc..) would never consider ordaining homosexuals even though they ordain women.

However 50 years ago Methodists, ELCA lutherans would have never conceived of it either.

At a minimum, I think that the precedence of ordaining women is a fairly good argument for at least ordaining a celibate "gay in orientation" male.

Brian La Croix said...

My father-in-law "came out" a number of years back.

Not once did anyone in my family and extended family start to soften their stance on the sin because we loved him.

This hurt, because he chose to believe that if we did not accept that God made him that way, we were homophobic.

We told him we loved him, welcomed him into our homes, modeled love and acceptance of HIM (though not his sin) to our children, etc.

Our youngest children don't know he was a homosexual; and for all they know, he is just their grandpa who wasn't living with grandma.

I think a lot of folks expected us to be more accepting of homosexuality because of him. They were (are) disappointed because we still feel that God didn't change His mind about homosexuality simply because it is more acceptable than ever.

One of my mantras: "Truth is not determined by majority opinion." Another is: "Acceptance by society does not necessarily equal acceptance by God."

I pray that my father-in-law was able to repent during his final hours and that I will see him in heaven when it's my turn to meet God!

Hugh said...

1.So, we should sanction those who have been through divorce?
2.Is it a common belief that people can just change their sexual orientation through faith or therapy?
3.What about "it is not good that man should be alone"?
4.We don't have a response for "God made me this way"
5.Didn't see any real "parsing" going on in this article, either.
6.What difference would it make if we called it something else?
7.We ARE more liberal with those we love...we should take a lesson from it.
8.So, why are we talking about it now?
9.Has worked for years in the military.
10.So, even if they are non-practicing, they still shouldn't have a place of service? Damned if you do, damned if you don't?
11.What's wrong with standing up for other's civil rights?
12.To some degree, it is their own business
13-15.Time for all of us who don't want to work this whole issue through to go join Westboro Baptist in Topeka, KS

Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend watching the indie flick on the life of Lonnie Frisbee - The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher. Chuck Smith Jr. apparently has come around to approve homosexual ordination! In fact, he partially blames Lonnie's demise on the Calvary Chapel/Vineyard movement pushing him into the dark shadows instead of embracing his orientation.

Brian La Croix said...

Hugh,

In response to some of your comments because I don't have time today to visit about all of them:

2. Sexual orientation can and has been changed in many people. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of work. You can contact Exodus International for more information about how it works.

3. "It is not good for man to be alone" is answered by God's provision of Eve - a WOMAN.

4. Keith's point isn't that there isn't an answer, it's that those who originally opposed ordination didn't have the answer. The answer is that God didn't make anyone that way. Homosexual attraction is a result of the sinful nature of humans, not of any action by God. God did not create a homosexual orientation any more than he created a pedophile orientation or pyromaniac orientation.

7. See my previous response - loving someone does not mean we excuse or condone their sin. If my daughter decided to become a prostitute, I would not be advocating the legalization of prostitution in my state.

11. You might want to consult with the civil rights folks from the 60's. They happen to be furious about the idea of gay "rights" being equated with their struggle. Why? Because their discrimination was based on a non-changeable trait - skin color. Homosexuals want "civil rights" based on behavior.

13-15. Not sure what you're saying here. Are you saying that anyone not willing to ordain homosexuals is in the same category as those at Westboro Baptist? If so, that is hardly a fair characterization. I don't "hate fags." I have had a number of homosexual friends, two of which have died of AIDS. These were guys I cared for and loved. If they were still alive, they would tell you that.

Dan said...

There seems to be more heat than light here on this subject. I'm not suggesting we all hold hands and sing Kum by Yah, but what outcomes were hoped for by the author and commentors?

Hugh said...

Brian, thanks for taking time to respond to my post. I have more questions than answers on this topic and so most of my points were a sort of thinking out loud, except for the last one about Westboro, which was simply a poke at those who don't want to talk about this at all.

Keith Drury said...

DAN, I'll chime in here to answer your question about what outcomes the authors expected. In discussions with laity & ministers in denominations where they have come to ordain homosexuals we've observed a disconnect between the issue of homosexuality and the long path that led a denomination to where it is. For instance, some cling to their all-sin-is-the-same doctrine then when confronted with homosexuals who say that back they want to blow the whistle Our intention was to remind us all that that doctrine matters and a denomination lays the tracks years ahead of the time when they face issues like ordaining practicing homosexuals.

And of course since both of us are proponents of a Wesleyan view of sin and holiness, our objective was to show that to abandon the doctrine that sin is overcomable leads places those who happily abandon it never intended.

Anonymous said...

I think the most telling point is the parallel between how the church dealt with divorce and with how the church is dealing with homosexuality. I think most serious biblical students/scholars would say there is a much stronger and clearer scriptural prohibition of divorce & remarriage than there is of homosexuality.

I think the whole thing boils down to a clear understanding of Christian marital ethics. God's intention was one man and one woman in a loving relationship for life. There are any number of ways that standard can be broken. All of them are sinful. We need to be reminded of such from time to time.

The question then for me is what we do with those who are openly living in violation of that ethic? Is the person who divorced and remarried less or more qualified for ordination than a homosexual?

How about if a Christian is divorced and wants to remarry? Though that is clearly non-scriptural and against the established ethic, should the church condone it?

And what does repentance look like in any of these situations. How do you make things right? For the homosexual? For the divorced and remarried person?

It just makes my head swim. I'm certainly glad there are people much brighter than me to help unpack this rather jam packed suitcase.

Brian La Croix said...

Hugh,

Thanks for responding to my response. I, too, have questions. But most of my questions are along the lines of how to lovingly communicate the standards of sexual behavior to those who wish to violate them. This goes for heterosexuals as well.

It's easy to show Scriptures condemning homosexual behavior. What's infinitely harder is walking with someone through the struggles of the flesh as they seek the holiness that God demands of us and makes possible through the Spirit.

Again, this goes for heterosexual behavior as well. I'm a pastor and I'm constantly confronted with attitudes that it's okay to sleep together because "that's how we show our love for each other." (I've never figured out how deliberately sinning against God is showing love for each other...)

Part of the fight includes the erroneous idea that "love" equals "agreement," which was at the base of the strained relationship with my father-in-law.

Another misconception thrown around in church circles today is that "compassion" equals "acceptance."

But as one of my former pastors (and one of the wisest people I've ever met) said when confronted with this (paraphrase here), "It's much more compassionate to help someone leave a lifestyle that's likely to kill him in his 40's than to sit by and encourage him in it."

Anonymous said...

When I think of 'how we came to ordain homosexuals' I think the foundational element has to be, "we forgot Who GOD is." We don't understand His nature or the implications of that nature. A God who is "Holy, Holy, Holy" rightly demands a people who are to be 'holy as their Heavenly Father is holy.' When we lose sight of who God is we will quickly lose sight of why we have the 'rules' we do. B/c He is changeless, having God as the foundation of our 'rules' is the only way to ensure we don't 'slide down the slippery slope'

Keith Drury said...

Thanks for the interesting discussion this week... and to those of you who may add your comments after this. It has pointed out to me that our doctrine of sin sometimes comes back to bite us when dealing with homosexual behavior. If I may immodestly suggest another item on the subject perhaps it might be helpful to
read this.

Sharon said...

"I also think it would be reasonable to add "ordaining women" to the list as well. I know this will stir the pot...but it could be considered a part of the slide towards sexual role confusion.." "At a minimum, I think that the precedence of ordaining women is a fairly good argument for at least ordaining a celibate "gay in orientation" male." I find it interesting that there has been no comment to challenge this perspective as it is highly offensive to women who are called by God and ordained by the church.
Let me recommend the book Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by William J. Webb. You will find if you read this book that this concern is unfounded and a result of poor hermeneutics. These comments makes me wonder if the male clergy person is so threatened that he will protect himself and his position at all cost even to include women in the same category as he would what he considers an acting sinner.

Pastor Ray said...

I would echo Sharon's sentiments concerning women in ministry. Both my wife and I are ordained and are partners in pastoral ministry. Moreover, she is a third generation female minister. The theological basis for women in ministry is solid, and to call into question the calling of a woman is to throw into disarray the entire concept of 'being called'.

The bigger issue right now, though, is that we minister in Vermont. This is the most unchurched state in the nation and yesterday same-sex marriage became legal here. Many churches here are so called "gay friendly". We are finding that the creeping effect is that our world is literally being turned upside-down. Good is bad, bad is good, and is not limited to sexual issues. I think part of the problem is that the sinner so identifies with the sin, that to condemn the one is to condemn the other in his or her eyes. To place it in another context, to call alcoholism a sin does not mean that we condemn the alcoholic. We struggle to minister in a setting where telling someone homosexuality is a sin can be regarded as 'hate speech', even when done in the most loving and caring manner possible.

Chap said...

Let me defend my position by saying I have read Webb's book and although it is very insightful it also can also lead to some dangerous precedents in hermenuetics. I would challenge people also to read Wayne Grudem's book(s) called Evangelical Feminism.

Grudem makes a very compelling argument that evangelical egalitarianism leads eventually to abandoning biblical inerrancy.

It's unfortunate that often we can't have reasoned debate on these issues without being castigated as knuckle-dragging misogynist.

Chap said...

Sharon, you'll also notice that I did not identify ordaining women as equal to an "acting sinnier". I identified it as sexual/gender role confusion issue that our culture suffers from.

I also defined (female ordination)as the slide towards "at least ordaining a celibate gay clergy. Gay in oriention does not make one a sinner.

Finally, I also was disappointed that know one choose to take issue with the reality that denominational officials do cite the ordination of women as a gateway to the ordination of homosexuals.

Jenna Dewhurst said...

wow~this was so good for me to read! However, I think this argument is sort'of like arguing christianity with someone who doesn't believe Jesus is God. You will get nowhere. You can argue all day but in the end if one person believes Jesus is God and the other person doesn't, there really is no discussion! That being said, my point is that either you belive the Bible is true in its entirety or not. The Bible is clear on how God feels about homosexuals... When you have a church who doesn't believe the Bible is ALL true, then of cource things start leaking in. I wish people would just call themselves a religious club...and come up with another form of the Bible. To call yourself something and then not practice it just doesn't make sense. The issue is not whether or not we all deserve acceptance, or any other argument. The issue is, do you or do you not choose to believe the Bible in full!?