How should the Christian church respond to homosexuality?

Poll

What should be the message from the Christian church to the homosexual community?

  • God loves you and thinks you're perfectly fine just the way you are.
  • All homosexuals will be thrown into a lake of fire to burn forever.
  • God loves you and wants you to accept the free gift of eternal life (no strings attached).
  • God loves you and wants you to accept the free gift of eternal life, but first you must stop sinning.
  • Other
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Overview

How do we as a church deal with the topic of homosexuality? Where is God leading us as we deal both intellectually and socially with this issue? Over time, we've seen responses that range from permissive to violent from those who claim to be followers of Christ. Why is that? Is the Bible really that confusing where this issue is concerned? I do think that most of us read the Bible looking to support something we already believe to be true. We can bump into a single verse that seems to communicate what we want to hear and walk away saying to ourselves, "Case closed." But maybe the Bible should be studied in a more wholistic manner rather than focusing on each piece separately.

The Christian church is fairly polarized on this issue, with some who preach condemnation and others who preach acceptance. But, I don't believe that the message of the Bible is on either extreme. Instead, the Bible itself gives us a balanced approach which follows the balanced nature of God Himself. Two laws that seem diametrically opposed both are able to peacefully coexist, intricately woven into the nature of God: justice and grace. They are so tightly connected that we should always view one in light of the other. I believe that this issue of homosexuality must also be viewed from both prisms, otherwise we will have a skewed perspective which could cause us to act in a way that is in opposition to God's will for us.

So, let's examine what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and do our best to discern together what our response should be as a church.

A Common Standard

According to multiple passages in the Old and New Testaments, homosexual behavior is sin. But before we consider that, I think the first and most important thing to examine is what God says about sin in general. We know everyone is guilty of sin (Romans 3:23); none of us can claim that we have been good enough to deserve to go to heaven on our own. A single sin is enough to condemn us, and it doesn’t matter which sin it is. We are reminded by the verse below that Jesus paid for all types of sin—every form of disobedience.

“But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7) NLT

So how does homosexuality fit into this? Many of us are confused about what homosexuality really is. The secular world wants us to believe that homosexuality is an identity—that it’s who you are. Even some of us in the church have followed their lead and have adopted this way of thinking. We may think of homosexuality as a label that defines the person. But the Bible teaches that homosexuality is not who you are but rather what you do (or what you have done). According to Jesus, your identity is defined one of two ways: before salvation and after salvation.

“Jesus told them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God… Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to do so! For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does...” (John 8:42-44) NLT

From Jesus’ perspective, we are either identified with God if we are saved or the Devil if we are not saved. A person is not defined by their sin but rather by who their “father” is. When we are saved, God adopts us into His family and we become children of God, heirs of eternal life. Jesus came to "adopt" all men regardless of their spiritual condition at the time. Many of us know that but are unable to mentally apply that truth to those who have lived in homosexuality. And yet nowhere in the Bible does it stipulate that your salvation is contingent on you cleaning yourself up first. Even Paul struggled with recurring sin in his life.

“When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:19) NLT

I’ve heard many people teach that homosexuals must stop sinning in order to be saved, but holiness is not something we just choose and go implement without God's help. We can't be holy on our own. It’s based on the ongoing work of God in our lives as we lean into Him relationally! When Jesus called his disciples, he didn’t demand that they stop sinning in order to follow. The life change they experienced was because of their relationship with Him. We choose to follow first! Then change will happen over time. Sin should never be encouraged or swept under the rug. It always brings consequences and it dishonors God who sent His son to save us. We should partner with God to rid ourselves of it over time. But as we are in the process of doing that, amidst the struggles there must be grace for our failures. The church should not present a double standard when it comes to salvation (or the grace of God, for that matter). There’s only one path to righteousness, and it’s the same for everyone.

The Legacy of Sodom

Many Bible teachers use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to show that God in fact hates homosexuality so much that he was willing to destroy two entire cities over it. This certainly seems reasonable based on the text in Genesis. But there's a rarely discussed background detail related to this story that makes clear the full scope of God's frustration with Sodom. The story begins with two angels meeting Abraham’s nephew, Lot in the city of Sodom. He insisted that they stay at his home for the night. They had a great time! Until…. [cue sinister music]

“After the meal, as they were preparing to retire for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out so we can have sex with them… Then [the angels] blinded the men of Sodom so they couldn’t find the doorway. ‘Do you have any other relatives here in the city?’ the angels asked. ‘Get them out of this place—sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we will destroy the city completely. The stench of the place has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.’” (Genesis 19:4-5, 11-13) NLT

So here we have an entire city of men wanting to sleep with two angels. Suddenly God is going to destroy the city. Clearly God is so upset with their homosexuality that the entire city must go. That may be the impression we get from the account in Genesis, but that’s not the whole story. Ezekiel gives us more detail into what happened to Sodom.

“As surely as I live, says the Lord, Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters. Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and did loathsome things, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50) NLT

God was unhappy with Sodom for many reasons. As an entire city, they were doing things that made God unable to bear it any longer. While clearly homosexuality was on the list based on the account in Genesis, it wasn’t explicitly named on Ezekiel’s list at all. This doesn’t minimize or excuse the sin of homosexuality, but I think it does put it in its proper perspective. God hates all sin. While some sins have greater or more lasting consequences, no sin is excusable and no sin is irredeemable.


The Bottom Line

So what does the Bible say about homosexuality, and what is the bottom line? Let's briefly examine some key verses related to this topic. The verse below is taken from the Mosaic Law given to Moses at Mount Sinai. We are no longer under the law and the legal consequences of this act are not applicable anymore, but we do see that homosexuality is not accepted by God. In fact it was one of the offenses that would result in death.

“The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have committed a detestable act and are guilty of a capital offense.” (Leviticus 20:13) NLT

Other examples of offenses in this same chapter that also resulted in death under the law are:

  • Anyone who curses their father or mother (died)
  • A man who commits adultery with another man’s wife (both die)
  • A man who has intercourse with his father’s wife (both die)
  • A man who has intercourse with an animal (both die; very sad for the animal all the way around)

The death penalty was not something set aside for homosexuality specifically. It was used for several other sins as well.
In the New Testament, Paul makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin, just as theft, greed, and adultery are sins.

“Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God…” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) NLT

The key to understanding this passage is not stopping in the middle. Otherwise we might think that people who do these things have no hope! But that is not the intent here. The labels that Paul uses here are for those who are not followers of Jesus. He does not consider a follower of Jesus to be in this list, not because we’re perfect now but because we have been forgiven. We were declared to be righteous even though we still sin. And over time, God removes the sin in us as we submit to His authority and lean into Him relationally. The important point in the verse as it relates to homosexuality is that it is sin like other sins. It is not unforgiveable any more than stealing or adultery.

It seems foolish to think that God is unable to love a person because of their sin knowing what Jesus did on the cross for all of us. God certainly despises their sin just as He does yours and mine, but He loves all of us anyway. He doesn't wait for us to clean ourselves up completely in order to begin a relationship, regardless of what it is that we've done. As followers of God, shouldn't we follow His lead? Maybe we should love them too, despite their sin, as we were loved despite ours. Maybe we should respect them, pray for them, and guide them to Jesus. If we can’t do that, I think we should ask ourselves why. Are we in a position to decide for God who is worthy of His forgiveness?

Over and over I’ve heard stories of homosexual men and women who followed God, chose to identify with Him rather than the label they’ve always worn, and have since found joy and fulfillment in heterosexual relationships. There are many Christians who stepped out of their homosexual patterns and still fight same-sex-attraction urges. Fighting is a huge step. Those who are moving in God’s direction will need someone to come alongside and support them as they re-learn how to be connected with another human being the way God intended. Who will do that? The secular world? Rather than pretending it doesn’t exist or despising them for being sinners (like we were), we should encourage them and pray for them. Struggling homosexuals deserve be treated the same as struggling adulterers, struggling liars, struggling addicts... Don't we all struggle with some sin? They certainly need accountability like we all do. But it should be done with love and respect, not judgment and scorn. Jesus died for them too, after all.

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Comments 57 comments

TattedKajun profile image

TattedKajun 5 years ago from TEXAS

This is excellent! Im a believer and was in a dispute with the publisher of a hub that wanted to pray for Gods wrath and anger over the gays getting married in NY. I offered to pray, though I would only pray for the gays to see the error of their ways, repent, and seek the Lord. I will not pray for harm of others. This person insisted it was our duty as Christians to judge these people! I cant, as a Christian, judge anyone. All I can do is offer to show them why I believe what they are doing is wrong. My Uncle is gay. I love him with all my heart. But he knows how I feel. I dont hate on him, I just ask him to repent and ask for forgiveness sometime before he passes so his soul will be saved.

It took me 29 years to come to the Lord, but I made it, and He still loves me. Hopefully others will see what they've been missing and reach out to the Lord.


American Romance profile image

American Romance 5 years ago from America

I didn't see the verse that says if a man lay with a man he will believe a lie and be damned!..........I think God put it bluntly on that one! Answer solved! Can a gay man or woman repent and return to the Lord? Yes! I only know of one unforgivable sin.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Kajun,

Thanks. I totally agree that it's not rational or Christ-like to pray for God's wrath to befall anyone. I would certainly pray for someone to fully experience the negative consequences of their sin so they can learn from it as quickly as possible and go running into the open arms of Jesus. There's nothing wrong with that. But I would say that talk of "send the wrath" has no place in the church. According to Paul, we are to be judging and monitoring those within the church while God judges those on the outside (1 Cor. 5:9-13). The publisher you were talking to seems to be confused.

Thanks for stopping by!


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

American Romance,

I think you're talking about 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2, but that passage is talking specifically about the end times (antichrist, etc.) and never mentions homosexuality. Is there another verse you're thinking of?

Thanks for sharing!


TattedKajun profile image

TattedKajun 5 years ago from TEXAS

Thats the scripture I was looking for...1Cor...i was all over the place. Mostly in Romans 2. But you are absolutely correct, we are to judge those IN the church. The publisher is CalebSparks, title: Will some God-fearing believers in Jesus Christ join me in prayer today? Look it up when you get a chance and see if you can help. Thanks again.


Rebekah Wrachford 5 years ago

Homosexuality is clearly wrong in God's eyes. In fact, when the Lord destroyed Sodom in the book of Genesis, homosexuality was one of the major sins that the city was guilty of. Have you ever wondered why homosexuals are called "sodomites" ? It rooted from that. And if God was displeased so much as to rain fire and brimstone and destroy that complete, massive city, I would say that God still is very grieved at the sinful actions of many today, for He is an Unchangeable God (Hebrews 13:8). And if homosexuality was a horrid, wicked and punishment-deserving sin in the OT, it most certainly is just as bad and even worse today in 2011. But God does not delight in having to rain His wrath on the wicked. Psalm 103:8 says, " The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. " But, although God is a merciful, kind, and loving God, that does not excuse or make homosexuality less sinful. It is only because of God's incredible and Divine store of abundant love and care for these sinful people that He has not "struck them dead" in their tracks for their wickedness of going against God's pure and perfect plan for a marriage, which He very sweetly and clearly set up at the very start of this world. All I can say is that it is of the LORD'S mercies that they are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22). Praise the Lord that we have a loving, heavenly Father, who is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2Peter 3:9). In closing, I will say that my main prayer for these homosexuals, who are sinning against God, is that God would move and work in their hearts, and that they would see the wickedness of the lives that they are living, and would repent and turn to God, who is willing to forgive them, and give them a brand-new life, free from the bondage of rebellion against His Holy plan for marriage. Certainly, there is a penalty for all sin, and if a homosexual continues to commit this terrible wickedness against God, then there WILL be consequences. Homosexuals will indeed be brought before the Lord one day and give account for their actions, but it is our job, as lovers of God, to stand up for what God has clearly established as right. We must lovingly tell these people, whom the Lord loves, the clear truth, but then what they do with that truth is the key. I pray that these dear people would see their need to repent, so that God does not have to pour His wrath out on them, which would grieve Him very greatly.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Rebehah,

Thanks for your comment. You seem to have ignored the actual hub though and just presented your own opinions. Which is ok I guess, but not helpful for us to get on the same page. As I said in the hub, Sodom had many sins for which they were judged. Also, you seem to believe that the sin of homosexuals is significantly worse than the sin of heterosexuals? I'm wondering why that is? Won't your indiscretions be judged equally with theirs? Just wondering.

Also, are you saying that they must stop sinning altogether in order to be saved? If so, have you actually stopped sinning altogether yet? I think it's important to get the plank out of our own eye, as Jesus said.

Thanks for visiting!


Rebekah Wrachford 5 years ago

Sonfollowers,

I'm very sorry if I seemed to "ignore the the actual hub" =)... I did not read it thoroughly for sake of time, but more or less skimmed through it. So yes, probably what I wrote seemed to be merely comments on the topic of homosexuality.

To answer your question.. I believe that heterosexuals are being just as sinful as homosexuals. God is not pleased with any of these, and sin is SIN in God's eyes, no matter what the "title" of the sin maybe. Heterosexuals will give an account for their actions, just as much as homosexuals will. And I believe that they are just as equally wrong -- if anything goes against the Word of God as contrary to being what He has established as right and Holy, it is evil in the Lord's eyes. I'm sorry if I came across as believing that heterosexuals were "less in the wrong" than homosexuals are. No, I believe that they are both very displeasing to the Lord, and are worthy of punishment as only the Lord sees fit. I hope that clears up any confusion I may caused in that regard. =)

TO answer your other question, when any person receives the gift of salvation, they are indeed still a sinner! And they will remain one until they are made to be perfect like the Lord Jesus Christ when they receive their glorified body in Heaven. But the difference is, when they receive Christ into their hearts as their personal Savior, they then become a "sinner saved by grace"!! And the Lord desires them to act like one! Although they certainly will not be perfect, God longs for them to grow in Him, learning about how to act more and more like Christ all the time. I truly believe that if one of these precious souls who may be a homosexual, etc., calls on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, that the Lord will very soon work in their hearts in regards to their wicked lifestyle. He wants them to be a shining light, bearing His name to a dark and wicked world, not bringing shame to His name by living in such an unholy and ungodly fashion. It will take time for them to grow, but if they have the Lord Jesus in their hearts, He will very soon give them an unrest and no peace about the way they are living. That is the way that the Holy Spirit works... moving in hearts, and convincing men of sin. And if one of these people have NO PROBLEM with the way that they are living or are not at least somewhat bothered by such a lifestyle, then something is wrong, and should really search out their hearts. If Jesus Christ is truly living in their heart, then it will grieve Him deeply for them to live like that. After all, a Christian's body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), and they must seek to honor Him with it.


Carolyn Moe profile image

Carolyn Moe 5 years ago

I was caught up in homosexual sin in my twenties then started following the teachings/ministry of Desert Stream Ministry out of Los Angeles (now KC/MO)... the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much and I am happy to say I am no longer in those relationships as I think they are sin as well.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Rebekah, thanks very much for your clarification. I certainly agree with you that we all should be striving to live in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. And I also agree that when Jesus saves us we are saved warts and all. Over time we will become who God wants us to be, and it won't be because we gritted our teeth to make it happen on our own. He will literally make us better people and the change will be something that springs out of that relationship with Him. Do we have responsibility? Of course. We have to cultivate the relationship and we have to learn to lean into Him and not on our own understanding.

Holiness is like a garden. We fertilize it, pull the weeds, etc. But it won't grow without that sunlight. Keep a plant in the darkness and what happens? You can fertilize it and pull weeds all day but you're not getting anywhere good. Holiness is just like that. You need God's light to grow.

Thanks for saying hi!


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Carolyn,

Thanks for sharing something here so personal. I love that. You are a light to those who continue to struggle in this area and are still praying and trusting God to deliver them and give them freedom and peace. I'm assuming it was a difficult thing to get out of your life? Did you spend time where you believed that homosexuality was simply who you were? If those questions are too personal I totally understand. I'm very happy for you and glad that you were able to find a way out. I hope there is peace and contentment for you now.

Thanks for being here!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Homosexual actions are wrong and are sinful. The sin is no worse than other sin, it is sin all the same. When a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, he or she must repent-Definition of REPENT intransitive verb 1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life 2a : to feel regret or contrition b : to change one's mind.

Continuing to repeat the sin over and over is choice and conscious free will and that person is not changing his lifestyle to show his conversion. The verse in 1 John say: “But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7) NLT

Living in His presence is not possible for people who choose to sin and live a life outside of God's directives.

I used to be a terrible sinner and still sin. The Holy Spirit corrects me and I repent and work hard not to do that again. I do NOT continue the behaviors I used to follow. Homosexuals are loved by God in any state and are saved under grace if they accept Christ and repent.

There is not much time left before Jesus returns. All the signs are showing that His return is most likely soon. And every soul is too precious for us to waste time trying to "not offend" someone or to be "politically correct". All must choose to live a righteous life in line with the Word of God.

We ARE what we do. Homosexuality is what a person is when they choose to commit that act. We only become more when we choose what was done FOR us by the blood of Jesus.

This sin must not be handled with kid gloves. It is wrong and those who choose it will indeed be unacceptable in the Kingdom of God and will be cast into Hell. One who, through Christ, leaves this life behind is cleansed and brought into the presence of the Father. That is the place He wants all of us to be. He died to give us that place. It is the choice of each person where he or she will spend eternity.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Hyphenbird,

Greetings! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the constructive feedback. I do have a couple questions:

"This sin must not be handled with kid gloves. It is wrong and those who choose it will indeed be unacceptable in the Kingdom of God and will be cast into Hell."

I think what you may have meant was that "Sin must not be handled with kid gloves"? I'm assuming "This sin" was an error since you said that it is "no worse than other sin."

So are you saying that you've never committed a particular sin more than once since your salvation experience? I'm guessing that you believe that you can have a salvation experience and later sin your way into hell anyway? Some do. You seem to be in that camp. I personally don't think that's what the Bible teaches. I agree that continuing to sin with no remorse would be an indication that a salvation experience was not genuine. But, a Christian dealing with an addiction for one reason or another may struggle with sin but still feel guilt and remorse. Even Paul admitted to struggling to do the right thing while also admitting that he knew what the right thing was! It's less cut and dry than you suggest, I think.

Ultimately salvation is about grace and not based on our works or our conduct. Our conduct is of course important and we disrespect God if we willfully choose a life of pleasure rather than a life of holiness. But you're basically suggesting that we still remain under law rather than under grace. You would have to discount Paul's letters in order to make that case. Salvation is attained one way, and that is faith. Any other addendums to that would be a misunderstanding of the gospel. Do you not agree?


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I said "this sin" because that is the subject of this Hub. I do believe I could sin my way into Hell by refusing to live in the grace that Christ freely purchased for me. That is rejection of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Himself.

While I, like every person in the Kingdom of God, must strive daily to live up to my Christ commitment, I do not struggle with guilt and remorse. Once I honestly confront my mistakes, they are left at the cross and my burden is there also. All of us have that gift. We must know the promises and blessings of God. His Grace requires our faith. It is free of works, but not of responsibility.

I hope this helps explain my position. Joy, Hyphenbird.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Hyphenbird,

"I do believe I could sin my way into Hell by refusing to live in the grace that Christ freely purchased for me."

The problem with this idea is that the Holy Spirit doesn't work that way. Once you have believed, confessed, and turned toward God, you will receive the Holy Spirit who is like a down payment or deposit that guarantees Heaven for you.

“Having believed, you were marked in him with a SEAL, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a DEPOSIT GUARANTEEING OUR INHERITANCE until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The Holy Spirit is like a tattoo. Once you have received the Holy Spirit, He doesn't go away. His presence is a sign of your permanent relationship with Jesus. Salvation is a transaction that can’t be undone. This is not a license to sin though. That would be disrespectful of the incredible gift you’ve been given. Instead, it’s a reason to love God even more! How incredible that your salvation is not your responsibility to maintain! God makes it permanent so that your relationship is one of love and acceptance instead of fear and anxiety. You are completely accepted, not based on your impressiveness, but based on His forgiveness. The only way you could have a "salvation experience" and still go to hell is that the salvation experience was not genuine. Once you receive the Holy Spirit, the deal is done.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

We could go back and forth however that is not my purpose for being here. So I simply will say, "Welcome to HubPages". Be prepared, many people jump on anything Christian related and start all kinds of battles. Don't become drawn into it with them or they will hijack your Hub and that makes Satan very happy when chaos and confusion reign. Joy in Jesus, Hyphenbird.


TattedKajun profile image

TattedKajun 5 years ago from TEXAS

Son, Im having a hard time with something. I see you're from Georgia, do you have "Cowboy Churches" like we do in Texas? When I got out of prison in November I wanted to attend one of these churches. I had heard good things about them, and was told I would be accepted regardless of my past. Its suppose to be a down home atmosphere, where Wranglers and boots are proper attire.

When I returned home I was ready to go to this church only to find out these people had rallied against homosexuals, fallen soldiers who were gay, they rallied at their funerals, they rallied against Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Im still a baby when it comes to Our Lord. I study my Bible and discern scriptures the best I can. What I dont understand I put in prayer. Perhaps you can help me with a few scriptures.....1 Cor. 4:6- "Do not go beyond what is written.." To me that is saying "Dont read too much into it. Dont try to read between the lines. Do as it instructs." So if we are not to go beyond what is written, why is it so hard for some believers to follow basic instructions? Such as Do not judge? 1 Cor 5:12-13- "What business is it of mine to judge those OUTSIDE the church? Are you not to judge those INSIDE? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you." Now, if we are not to judge those outside the church, why should we care who is a homosexual? Our salvation is not dependent on the actions of non-believers, right? Why can't we, as believers, abide by 1 Thess. 4:11- "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, and to work with your hands."?

Am I alone on this, or is there something Im not understanding...maybe I didn't get the memo..


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Hyphenbird,

Thanks for the welcome! I'm definitely enjoying it here.

Yeah, I don't really like arguments either. But, I love good conversation. I think it's the best way for us to learn from each other and find common ground. As long as it's respectful and constructive I think it's a great thing. Iron sharpens iron, right?

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I hope you have an awesome Sunday!


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Kajun,

I'll give you a real response tomorrow. :) I'm taking a break from thinking today. Enjoy your Sunday!


TattedKajun profile image

TattedKajun 5 years ago from TEXAS

Take your time. I appreciate it.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Kajun,

Nope, not aware of any cowboy churches. We do have country churches, especially when you get further away from the big cities. But, I think church is pretty much the same wherever you go. We're all a little messed up (Christians and non-Christians). We expect church people to have it all together but they don't really. God doesn't magically solve all of our quirks when we move in His direction. We become better people over time as a result of a relationship with Him, but it doesn't happen all at once like we might think it should. So part of the problem is our expectation of people in the church. It just needs to be dialed down a bit. It will help our frustration level (believe me that I've struggled with that in the past as well). A wise person once told me that if you don't like the way things are in the church, roll up your sleeves, jump in, and help do something about it. :)

The other part is the tendency of people in the church to cover up their faults as if those faults invalidate the message of the church somehow. We act like we're perfect and have it all figured out, AND we point fingers at those around us to try to create a little misdirection. It's pretty dumb really, because anyone with sense can see through that. We look fake and dishonest, which does in fact hurt the message of the church.

I think you'll be interested in a hub I wrote earlier this week ("Words for the Argumentative Christian"). It talks about some of this.

More on the verses you mentioned later this evening.

Mike


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Kajun,

About 1 Cor 4:6, it's a good verse to consider. I've seen it used to try to invalidate new worship styles within the church, which I think is a poor application of this verse. This verse is basically saying don't pass judgment based on your own thoughts or opinions--lean on the book. Which is funny, because it's the opposite of how I've seen some people use it.

I like the 1 Thes 4 verse as well, as long as we don't apply that to relationships with those inside the church. Paul is specifically talking about relationships with outsiders here. Elsewhere, he says we are to be monitoring each other within the church and confronting each other as necessary. It's a tough thing but it's important to get sin out of the church so the church can be as pure as possible and an even brighter light to the world. Even so, we still need to be as loving and respectful as possible in our application of that.

Those are my thoughts. Good verses. Thanks for sharing.


Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

Believe in Christ, believe in Your God. Just remember that the teachings of these Bible followers also "punished(murdered) many Pagans. Is murder not a sin?

Secondly. If humans are sinful for being Homosexual, then so are animals, even the ones with no level of self choice. Penguins especially have been seen to have life long homosexual partners.

Well written hub but we will have to agree to disagree on most points.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Ddraigcoch,

I'm assuming you're talking about how Israelites of the Old Testament took the "promised land" and had to wage war to do it. I think it's clear that there is a distinction made between murder and what happens on the battlefield, which I think is reasonable. For instance, I wouldn't classify what our military did to Bin Laden as murder since he was an enemy combatant. I know some would disagree, but that's ok.

About gay animals, I personally think this is a pretty weak argument. There is no evidence of homosexual animals (ie. animals that are purely homosexual for life). There is evidence of homosexual acts (one male mounting another male), but this does not fit the profile of a homosexual as far as humans are concerned. Ultimately the male will go find himself a female to mate with. Even the "homosexual penguins" in the California zoo ultimately found female mating partners.

Regardless, I'm not sure how it's reasonable to argue that since animals do something it's normal for humans to do it also. I wouldn't expect a lion to have a moral center. Sometimes they eat their young, for crying out loud. I don't hear anyone arguing that we should go ahead and legalize that.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

I think more homosexuals are turned away from Christ because of those who judge them. Those who judge forget Jesus' words, "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

I wrote a hub along the same lines and was attacked by those who believe judging is all right. Also, one person placed his referral tracker on my hub so he could get some credit for the clicks. It was a bad deal, but it showed that his heart was not in the right place.

God loves all of us unconditionally and like the ultimate parent, He punishes and rewards us accordingly. We each have a purpose.

Good hub! :-)


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

sholland10,

Thanks! Yeah, I think it's easy for Christians to develop a double standard where grace and judgment are concerned. We want God to treat us with as much grace and mercy as possible but disobedience in those outside the church will not be tolerated. One of my other hubs talks about that in more detail ("Words for the Argumentative Christian"). I think the bottom line is that beating up non-Christians is not a valid implementation of the great commission.

The one balancing thought I have related to that is that ultimately we all have to repent to be saved according to both Jesus and the apostles. So, we shouldn't just sweep sin under the rug in our attempt to not be viewed as judgmental. There's a balance. We still need to recognize that we need a savior, which means we have to recognize our sin. In the end, God loves them and so should we. Part of loving someone is telling them the truth.

Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are very much appreciated.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

This is certainly a sticky issue in our culture and in the Church today. First of all, I think the bible is absolutely clear that non-Christians do not need to clean up their act before they can come to Christ. It is by the Holy Spirit's work in one's life that man can be transfromed. They cannot be transformed without first asking Christ to come into their lives and change them. However, as you stated to shooland10, one needs to repent of their life of sin and turn to God to seek that transformation.

Secondly, God loves all people, murders, pedophiles, adulterers, homosexuals, fornicators, drunkards, and every garden variety sinner. "For God so loved the world"

I think it is an unbiblical misnomer that all sins are equal. Say if you (a Christian) went to the store, and the clerk accidently gives you a dollar extra in change and you although you know it is wrong, you go ahead and keep it. That is definitely a sin.

Now, a highly respected Christian man has an affair with the born-again organist in the church, is that the same as the former sin? The adulterers may sin willfully, or they may convince themselves that this is okay because their spouses have been abusive or unfaithful or whatever.

I think this goes to the idea of venial sin vs mortal sin. I recently read that "In his trial before Pilate, Jesus remarked that the one who handed him over was guilty of a greater sin than Pilate’s (John 19:11) . Similarly, warning against officiousness, Jesus says: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:5). Beam and mote are both sins, but the sin of the hypocrite is greater than the fault he or she would correct in another."

I see it this way, and I believe it's biblical: Homosexuality is a sin, believer or not. Let's say there is a professing Christian, who loves Christ, reads his word daily, prays for Him go guide her in every way, and for all intents and purposes, is a fairly moral woman. However, she is gay. She has searched the scriptures for years, heard every argument, theological view, and still contends that God made her that way, and blesses that union, therefore she will continue in her lifelong relationship with her same sex partner with God's stamp of approval. She has convinced herself sincerely and completely that her relationship is blessed by God, and in fact that she is in the will of God. She often quotes Leviticus passages that say things like children should be stoned for disobeying their parents, so of course that is not required now, so it doesn't apply to homosexuality either. So, the way I see it, and I believe this is biblical, she is choosing to place this relationship above her relationship with God, even though she is convinced after reading and praying, that she her relationship is fine. This partner, and this relationship, are her allegiance more than God. It is a moral matter.

Repentance is needed . If one continues in an immorality and claim to be a Christ follower, no matter how decieved, they are not going to find eternity in heaven.

This is not to say we should be hateful or unkind. We must love them as Christ loves all. But I think you summed it up perfectly when you said "In the end, God loves them and so should we. Part of loving someone is telling them the truth."

I belive this is true with other moral sins, such as the one's above.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

lambservant,

Well, we weren't likely to agree on everything, right? :)

1. Holy Spirit produces transformation. (agreed)

2. God loves all sinners (agreed)

3. mortal sins vs. venial sins

I understand where you're coming from on this. We do see this a little differently. From my perspective, all sins are mortal sins. Even the slightest sin is enough to condemn us if we have not chosen to repent and believe. We know Paul said that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and that "the wages of sin is death." So even if there are venial sins, Paul says we've all committed sins that separate us from God. I am going to make this a topic of personal study so I can better understand the supporting scripture for the idea of venial sins. I'm sure that will be an interesting study, and I wouldn't be surprised if a hub pops out at the end of that as well.

4. "If one continues in an immorality and claim to be a Christ follower, no matter how decieved, they are not going to find eternity in heaven."

I'm actually working on another hub to going into more detail on this. I'll definitely be interested in your perspective on it. For now, I think that the Bible describes salvation as a transaction (ex. Romans 10:8-10, Acts 2:38, Acts 10:47-48) which requires repentance and belief. As part of this transaction, we receive the Holy Spirit and are considered "adopted" by God. In Acts, we see that new Christians received the Holy Spirit immediately (receiving Holy Spirit is based on belief and repentance in the moment, not life long performance). In the passage below, Paul says that the Holy Spirit is like a downpayment on our inheritance.

“And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) NLT

If my understanding of this is correct, then the Holy Spirit is like a tattoo. Once you receive Him, He doesn't go away. And, His presence is a sign of your permanent relationship with Jesus. Salvation is a transaction that can't be undone.

This is just a quick note on where I'm coming from on this. I'll go into more detail later when I publish this hub.

Thanks for your comments. They are very much appreciated. I love feedback and good conversation.


X-Con profile image

X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

I like your balanced approach to the subject. I was looking for something to link a hub I'm writing now about the time I spent in prison and conflicts between homosexuals and Christians and I found this. It's perfect!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Sonfollower, I stumbled back upon this hub and read my previous comments and your responses. I remember after that I talked about this to my pastor. He said exactly what you said. I have thought and prayed and read the scriptures some more and I think you are right. A sin is a sin, and they all separate us from God. I am going to continue to study and pray on this issue.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

lambservant,

Thanks for your response. It definitely is an interesting topic (and an important one). It's great that your'e praying about it and digging in yourself. The important thing for all of us I think is to keep seeking, turning over one rock at a time. One thing's for sure... There certainly are an awful lot of rocks!

Thanks for saying hi!


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

X-Con,

Thanks. :) I totally agree that balance is an important thing. I think sometimes we forget that our Heavenly Father is a perfect balance of love and justice--grace and accountability. Our theology often leans heavily in one direction or another but I don't believe that's what we see in the scripture when we study who God is Himself. Good point.

Thanks for visiting!


hookedhuntress profile image

hookedhuntress 4 years ago

Hi Sonfollowers,

I have been finding your hubs very interesting.

In a few posts back you said,

"Salvation is a transaction that can't be undone."

I was wondering what your thoughts would be on John 15,

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If one looks at the text, it says the branches are "in Christ".

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away."

A branch that is cut off was in the Vine to begin with, else how could it be cut off?

That sounds to me like Salvation can be undone.?..or am I mistaken?

Every branch in me(You are in Christ Jesus) that beareth not fruit(You do NOT bear fruit)

is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.(Sounds like you lose Salvation and are cast forth and burned in fire?)

I am looking forward to your thoughts on this.

:)


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

hookedhuntress,

Great question. I'm actually going on vacation for a week. I'll get back to you after that.

In the meantime, check out my hub "How to be Saved According to the Bible." This should at least give you an idea of where I'm coming from.

More soon...

Thanks!


B. A. Williams profile image

B. A. Williams 4 years ago from USA

I have a different view on this, and think its a genetic imbalance and not something someone sets out to be. Its probably not a popular view but that's how I see it. Very nice article it certainly made me think..well written.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

hookedhuntress,

I'm glad you found what you needed in my other hub. From my perspective, there are a couple interesting things about this.

1. He was speaking to them before the Holy Spirit was given to man. So contextually speaking, he would not have gone into the post-pentecost reality we live in today because they wouldn't have gotten it anyway. He was speaking to them where they were. Anything else would have made it too complicated in my opinion.

2. Paul's words later are clear theological teaching without a lot of grey area. What Jesus gives here, as he often did, is an illustration that is very open to interpretation. When interpreting scripture, my tendency is to lean toward the verses that have the least ambiguity to resolve the tension with those that do have ambiguity.

Hopefully that makes sense. Thanks for the visit, and sorry it took so long to respond.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

B. A. Williams,

Our personal views certainly don't have to be popular! Sometimes I worry if my views are the popular views... I don't really trust the popular majority. :)

We do differ some, but that's no big deal. To me, there doesn't appear to be clear information regarding how homosexuality is triggered (genetics, environmental, combination of the two, etc.). Nothing has really been nailed down. Most of us have an opinion, of course. In my gut, I would say it's likely a balance of genetics and environment/circumstances. I tend to cater to environment because to me the environmental impact on kids is more clear cut. The other requires more faith in my opinion. I certainly don't discount genetics. I just don't think we have enough data to say for certain that this is a factor. And, it seems sometimes that people dismiss environment as even a factor without proof that genetics is a significant factor at all. That's my opinion.

Thanks for reading!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I want to recognize the hard work you put into writing this article. You have communicated your position very well.

I'd like to point out one thing about how you interpreted the Bible at one point. "maybe the Bible should be studied in a more wholistic manner rather than focusing on each piece separately." In addition to that, you said "I don't believe that the message of the Bible is on either extreme. Instead, the Bible itself gives us a balanced approach which follows the balanced nature of God Himself. Two laws that seem diametrically opposed both are able to peacefully coexist, intricately woven into the nature of God: justice and grace." This sounds very nice.

But, the fact is, the Bible does say explicitly, that homosexuals in OT times were to be killed. Not only were the Israelites to kill them, but God did so directly at Sodom and Gomorah. That it is under the old covenant is irrelevant. According to the Bible, it happened.

My question is this: Is the Bible only the Word of God in the Wholistic sense or is it the Word of God also in the particulars?

I don't believe it is proper biblical interpretation to calculate the average when multiple positions are presented in the Bible. That does damage to the parts and leads to a skewed wholistic view.

Having said that, I have to admit to speaking only of the Bible as literature. I do not accept it as the Word of God. I simply believe that it should be handled in a scholarly way. You obviously have demonstrated the ability to handle the Bible well. I just believe on this point, you have attempted to present the Bible in a way that it does not present itself.

Thanks for enduring this comment. I do not argue about these things. But I will enter into a respectful discussion.

As I said, you have done a fine job of presenting your case. voted up and helpful.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

cam8510,

Thanks for stopping by. I certainly do believe that the Bible is the Word of God in both the wholistic sense as well as in the particulars (but then you knew that already). I undertand your concern. If you look at Leviticus in isolation, it certainly does look like the love of God is limited to a select group of recipients.

About Sodom, I feel like I resolved my position on that in my hub. Sodom wasn't actually destroyed because of homosexuality according to Exekiel. I know it's tricky because the account in Genesis leaves the impression that homosexuality was the reason for the demise of these cities, but the reasons specified in Ezekiel don't actually list homosexuality at all.

In Romans 7, Paul says that the law essentially shows us that we don't measure up on our own and that we need a savior. The law was not the plan itself but rather a precursor to the plan. It was the setup. While the law does show us right and wrong from God's perspective, He knows that it's impossible for us to measure up. Adam's sin unleashed a sin nature in us that makes us slaves to the power of sin. We can't be good enough to keep the whole law. The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the love letter from God that nullifies the power of the law. While the definition of sin is no different than it was in the Old Testament, the consequences are very, very different. Salvation is a game changer and is a free gift of love to everyone. Salvation isn't just for the Jews, the heterosexuals, or for any other group. It's a gift for all of us.

But, each of us must accept the gift (heterosexuals and homosexuals alike). It's very relational. The key is that the gift is available for everyone. All they have to do is accept it. It's like the U.S. Government giving a convict a get-out-of-jail-free card, but he has to reach his hand through the bars to get it. It's not an unreasonable expectation. If we choose to reject the gift, then we accept the consequences. The payment was still made. Our rejection of it doesn't nullify the love associated with the gift.

Hopefully that makes sense.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

One more thing... I do recognize that I'm not speaking to someone who buys into the Bible itself as a love letter from God. I'm primarily clarifying my position so that it hopefully makes more sense. I do appreciate the respect you show to those with whom you disagree. It's something I wish we had more of around here.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

sonfollowers, Thank you for that clear explanation. I understand the Ezekial reference. This explains that the homosexuality of S&G was only one of several sinful conditions that led to its destruction by God. According to this, God is so Holy that He will unleash his wrath and destroy whole populations of His human creation.

This is the larger issue. God expresses his holiness by killing people and sending them to an eternal, godless torment. Men, women and children. Women carrying unborn children. All suffered the same fate regardless of whether or not they participated in the sinful acts. We can be reasonably certain of this because the entire population died. Every person, no matter their age, was killed by God because of the presence of several sinful conditions in their midst.

Any moral, thinking person should have a problem with this situation.

One of the reasons I am no longer a part of the Evangelical community is that I got tired of attempting to convince myself and others that the holiness of God could justifiably be demonstrated by genocide ("the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group." Wikipedia).

Please understand that I am not arguing. I have accepted your explanation. I understand your position because it is identical, so far, to how I once believed. I will stop here, because I think we understand each other. I will leave you with the link to one of my hubs which will explain a bit about me if you are interested. Thanks for the exchange. http://hub.me/adiJs


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

cam8510,

Yeah, I hear this a lot. It's not an argument that says "I don't think the God of the Bible exists." Instead, it says "I don't like God very much." So for the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that the Biblical account is entirely true.

When the government acts in a way that is contrary to the interests of the people, we say that's a sucky government. We expect those in authority to be accountable to us. At the very least, we expect them to be accountable to someone. CEOs are accountable to the board of directors. We look at God and expect him to be accountable to how we believe He should act. I just don't believe that's reasonable. I can be angry at God and that's fine (believe me, I've done it). But, ultimately I am not in charge of telling Him how to behave. If God is the creator of everything including me, doesn't He get to make the rules? We want to hold God accountable to the rules for man as if He is one of us, part of His own creation.

In the end, I don't really think that's what pisses us off anyway (at least not most of us). It's that God has the gall to not leave us alone to do whatever we want. He doesn't want to be a spectator in the stands watching with his binoculars saying things like "Hmmmm, that's interesting." He actually wants to be in a relationship with us in which we would be under authority. We do not under any circumstances want to be under authority. We don't want God making rules for us or telling us how life works best. We're really not all that interested in advice. Why? Because we are large and in charge. Or, at least we feel like it.

I think that is the key frustration man faces when he stares across the aisle at who God is according to the Bible. Recognizing who God is would force us to recognize who we are not. If the universe revolves around God then that means it does not revolve around us. If God does exist, we want Him to do our bidding and fix all of our problems. We certainly don't want to do anything for Him. Maybe more to the point, we want to reduce God down to our size. We want to make Him a peer. If He can't be that, then who needs Him? Isn't that the bottom line?

That's my take on it. Thanks for the conversation.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I think you are describing very accurately how many people feel and think about God and the Bible. When I discuss or write about these issues, I think I muddy the waters a bit and am misunderstood. That is my own fault for not finding an effective way of communicating. What I am saying is that I am not an atheist. I don't want a God that is my peer. I need a God who is greater than me. I am personally in deep doo doo if that is the case. I believe in God today just as strongly as I ever did.

I believe the ancient mid east was pretty much the way the Bible describes it in terms of nations, governments and historical events. As I look at how the OT uses God, that is where I have a problem. When I speak of God committing genocide, I don't actually believe He did any such thing. In my view, God did not destroy S&G. Something tragic may have happened to those cities. I believe these two cities existed. The Bible has been proven right many times when it comes to the ancient world. What happened, again in my view, is that the Hebrew people and their leaders interpreted events much like some Christians do today. Some Christians believe that certain catastrophes are judgements of God. Examples are hurricane Katrina. Muslims, Jews and Christians referred to it as a judgement of God on America. 9/11 has been depicted that way. Aids, the same. If we do it today and are wrong, why couldn't the Hebrew people and their leaders have made the same mistake. They wrote it down in their scriptures as an interpretation of real history.

One does not have to abandon God or shrink God as a result of rejecting some of what the Bible claims to be true.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 4 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

I certainly don't support the Christian assertion that Katrina, HIV, tsunamis, and earthquakes are a "judgment of God." Suddenly everyone thinks their a prophet. At the same time I would never say they could not be acts of God. I have no data one way or the other.

Obviously you and I disagree on S&G, but then you knew that. You do have an interesting perspective. I'm wondering what your perspective is then on the New Testament. Do you have similar objections to the N.T. as well? Just wondering. Thanks for stopping by!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

In the New Testament I'm interested in what Jesus was really up to. I know he made the rather baffling statement to Peter that "upon this rock I will build my Church." Of course there is the debate about the "Rock". Is it Peter? Is it Peter's claim that Jesus was the Messiah? But that isn't really my point. What did Jesus mean by Church? What was He talking about building. I have a sneaking suspicion that sometime after all the Apostles were gone things took a turn......for the worse. By that I mean politics and hierarchy. And the problem is that it is during this time of the politicization of the Church that the New and Old Testaments were canonized. I know the conventional wisdom of Christianity is that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers and that He also oversaw the compilation of the Bible and has kept it up to now. That is fine to believe, but we certainly don't have direct scriptural authority for that position. It seems to me that Evangelicals have no alternative but to believe that. They have this book in their hands. Everything they believe is based on the book. They either defend it by claiming divine oversight, not only of inspiration but of compilation and transmission throughout the centuries, or they admit they have a book that, while interesting and full of good stuff, is very likely flawed. My problem with divine transmission is this. God was able to inspire the scriptures in first place so that they were without error in the original manuscripts. Why wasn't the same Holy Spirit able to bring about the same result in the transmission of the scriptures? We don't have a Bible in English or any other that is without error. I know the errors are small. An added Greek article here, one missing there. An inserted section in the Lord's Prayer in one of the Gospels. There are other examples. I'm sorry. I'm rambling.

The New Testament, while it doesn't have the violence of the Old, has other problems, some of which I have mentioned. Other than that, I'd like to hear what you have to say about another of my hubs. This one is on Hell. http://hub.me/adcd6. It will explain itself.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 3 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

All interesting points. Here's my perspective on it (I'm sure none of this is new; just being clear):

We have thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament and small errors were made when they were copied. Errors here and there aren't surprising. It's not like they had a printing press. When you make that many copies of something that big, you're going to make small mistakes here and there. Those are easily resolved when you compare the copies to each other.

When you compare the gospels to each other, there certainly are discrepancies in the narrative as well. Its easy to find places in the gospels where the details are very different from gospel to gospel regarding the same story. Often the dialogue is completely different between gospel accounts. Take the accounts of Jesus calling Peter to be his disciple:

Matthew 4:18-20

Mark 1:16-17

Luke 5:1-11

John 1:40-42

If you read these accounts, they are very different, right? The account in John especially doesn't really resemble the others. This might be considered a discrepancy, but in truth all of the stories peacefully coexist. The account in John does not end with "Hey, come follow me." It's likely that the account in John happened first and the account in the other three gospels happened later. But if you are looking for a discrepancy, you can easily find it here. Regardless, there is no contradiction--only differences in the way the story was told. They never disagree on key details (ex. "Jesus and Martha dated for a while", "One day Jesus snapped from the pressure and killed a pharisee", etc.).

Differences like this do not invalidate the story or the message. From my perspective, this is actually a good thing. It's exactly what you would expect to see from four guys writing from memory about events they experienced in the past. Each one focused on different details and events that were important to them. If God were dictating the content, why would we need four different versions of the story? Each gave us the details they believed were important. Together, they make a tapestry with which to view the story in a more complete way. I believe that God protected the message that He was sending. That's all that's important. Mistakes like this simply do not invalidate the message. They are in fact irrelevant (in my opinion).

But here's the key for me:

Everyone agrees that the Old Testament scriptures were written hundreds (some thousands) of years before Jesus showed up. The Old Testament itself is full of forshadowing and prophecy pointing to events and details which perfectly intersect at the person of Jesus. How could that happen without God's guidance? Someone who knew the future would have to be involved in the process. Even secular historians corroborate some significant events found in the gospels, including the death and rumored resurrection of Jesus. Isn't what we believe about and how we respond to the account of Jesus' death and resurrection the only thing that really matters? It seems so to me. Either He is who the Bible says He is or He's not. Everything else is background noise until that question is answered.

About your hub on hell, that's my next stop. :) I look forward to discussing that as well. I've written about that topic as well. http://hub.me/abEoJ. Reading that would give you a head start on where I'm coming from. Until next time...


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 3 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Hmmmm... The link doesn't seem to work for me. Not sure why. I see two hubs on hell in your profile. "Christianity teaches..." and the one on Egyptian origin of hell. Which one are you wanting to discuss?


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

The Egyptian link


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Hold on fella. You're doing a lot of writing for nothing in some places. Sometimes when there are apparent disagreements between the Gospels, it is merely that the writers were not describing the same, but a similar event. The Sermon on the Mount in one place and the Sermon on a level place in another. No error there. I also agree that what some call errors are actually different perspectives by four men of the same event. That is all fine.

The OT is very difficult. Most Christians don't even bother questioning. They've been told that David wrote the Psalms, but there were others involved. Moses is credited with the Pentateuch, but his own death is recorded there. There were obviously unknown people involved at some points, which is fine by me. I don't consider that a problem. Isaiah has always been a big problem. Half written in the past tense, the other supposedly written about future events as if they had already happened. Were there two different people writing? One writing the first half after the things described had happened and one later writing in the same way about events after they happened? Probably.

My real problems from beginning to end are that some things don't match up. Jesus of the New Testament is Yahweh/Jehovah or whichever of the OT. Same guy. Jesus loved children. He pronounced serious judgement on anyone who would lead a child astray. There is a question about what that means exactly, but it shows his heartfelt concern for children. In the OT, He, Jesus, Yahweh, murdered them by the thousands. Not only children, but unborn children being carried by their mothers. There is no way that there were no pregnant women in Canaan when Joshua marched through with his army. Same guy. Jesus and Yahweh. That is a serious inconsistency. I refuse to refer to genocide and every other possible "cide" as the act of God striking out in holiness against sinful people. With Yahweh's record, He wouldn't be accepted into the Right to Life organization today. Holiness is not measured by the number of body bags God filled. Those are the inconsistencies that bother me.

Actually, what I believe is that God had nothing to do with those slaughters. Joshua's conquest was no different than the Crusades which were blamed on God as well. It was always man claiming that God did it or commanded it, but it was not God's fingerprints on those weapons that slaughtered tens of thousands in Canaan, it was the fingerprints of men. What got recorded in the OT was man's words crediting God with those acts.


FSlovenec profile image

FSlovenec 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA

You are so right, I live in San Francisco. I think it is the devil that has us focused on this one particular sin it is like any sin that brings us to death. We have a fast growing church in San Francisco, Bible and payer based, Pentecostal, we like nothing more than to welcome all people seeking God. People are turned away from God because of us, the us being the haters, Jesus message is to love everyone into the Kingdom, Jesus died on the cross for all of us individually, For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God...God will who the world by making San Francisco His light city for the world to see and experience, you are welcome to come to the revival!! Glad Tidings Church San Francisco (www.gtsy.org) and Glad Tidings Men in Ministry International (www.gtmmi.com) thank you for this wonderful hub..


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 3 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

FSlovenec,

That's awesome. It sounds like God is doing great things there through you. God is good, He loves each of us, and He calls each of us to come as we are. If only we could all remember that.

Peace, and blessings to all of you out there in San Fran.


shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Another great hub! I am so pleased to have discovered your hubs. And what a response - I have not read any of the comments yet - but I am going to print it out if ok with you. I say amen for hitting the nail on the head. Sin is sin and the Lord works in us and changes each one of us once we have believed, repented, confessed. With our Lord, nothing is impossible.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 3 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

shofarcall,

Thanks! I do think it is a very important message that we simply don't hear much in evangelical circles. And please print it out if you want. Whatever works for you. Have a great day!


Charis kosmon 2 years ago

First of all I'm a believer and I'm not gay this commentary was very helpful and well put together.

I am deeply moved by the topic I feel as if sinners have been mistreated far too long and the presupposition that has been determined through tradition rather than concise exegesis has crippled the church in loving man that sin. I honestly decided to come onto hubpages to possibly write a similar blog but I feel as if I could not top what was written here. I have family members that are sitting in this way and they most likely don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ yet. I have forwarded this link to every gay person I know hoping that clearer understanding through the Holy Spirit may come to them. I call them gay because it just describes their behavior and not who they are. I agree fully with the commentary about what their actions really are, it does not make them any different than me at all.

Thank you for your effort in their behalf of people starving from love.


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 2 years ago from Alpharetta, GA Author

Hey, Charis! Thanks for stopping by!

That's so great that you have a heart to reach out to the homosexuals around you and help them see that God wants them to feel invited rather than ostracized. Pretty much all humans are messed up to to some degree, and that includes those of us in the church. I think a big part of the problem is churches that are insider-focused rather than outsider-focused. Insider-focused churches start to become more like a club or a little members-only community. You start to belong to something (ie. an organization) rather than somebody (ie. God, Jesus, etc.). "Look at Jesus!" turns into "Look at us!" and ultimately "Look at those people!" All kinds of bad things happen when we take our eyes off of Him and the grace and mercy we were given. If people (gay and straight alike) would evaluate Jesus for who He is rather than evaluating Him based on what they see in the church, I think a lot more people would move in His direction. That's my opinion.

It's nice to meet you!


Gods Provision profile image

Gods Provision 2 years ago from Texas

To God, sin is sin. One sin, of any kind, keeps up separated from Him. God reached out in love to take care of our sin for us. Doesn't matter what sin it is. God paid the price for EVERYONE! (with the exception of final blasphemy... the refusal to accept His offer of paying the debt for your sins)


Gods Provision profile image

Gods Provision 2 years ago from Texas

Therefore, we too should reach out to homosexuals and EVERYONE in love. The urge to stopping any wrong-doing comes through the conviction of the Holy Spirit... not our insults.

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