- Old Testament Laws Today
- Sexual Immorality
- Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender
- Jesus and Homosexuality
- Does God Love Me?
- Final Thoughts
- Other Viewpoints
- Out LGBTQ Christians
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I’m out (as in, no longer hiding in the closet, no longer trying to be ex-gay, no longer trying to be someone I am not).
❧ I am a Christian lesbian (or is it gay Christian?). However, this is just one aspect of my story. I’m much more complicated, layered, and complex to spell out in simple terms who I am. Ask me questions if you want to know specifics.
❧ It took me many years to become me, and I’m still becoming (aren’t we all?).
❧ The older I become and the more I reflect on my experiences (relationship with God, with others, my education, and events along my journey), the more I feel compelled to speak my truth.
❧ I believe every generation must take steps towards what they believe God is calling them to do. Sometimes those steps are far outside the norm of previous generations.
❧ By faith, as a teenager my great grandmother accepted her new life in Christ at the cost of having to leave her atheist family home.
❧ By faith, countless Pentecostals (including some of my ancestors) were forced out from their home churches due to theological differences (not accepting speaking in tongues).
❧ By faith, the disciples dropped their fishing nets, left their families and their livelihoods, and chose to leave the religion of their ancestors in order to follow Jesus into the unknown.
❧ By faith, I feel empowered to live the life I’m living. It has been a very long journey that I’ve almost always taken soberly, with fear and trepidation at times, and by seeking Truth and Wisdom.
❧ By faith, I feel compelled to speak up and tell others what I believe to be true – even though it is contrary to the ways of my ancestors.
❧ My spiritual journey began while I grew up as a minister’s daughter. While exposed to many facets of the Church and Christianity, apart from this, I’ve had an intimate relationship with Jesus since I was 6 years old. This occurred when I was alone, walking along the driveway by my home in Selbyville, DE. There was no altar call. No one “led me to the Lord.” Instead, Jesus approached me and asked me to follow Him. And I said “yes.” I have countless mini-testimonies of faith in action that I could share. The Holy Spirit has been with me, even to this day in the life I live.
❧ As this journey progresses, the more compelled I feel to stand up unashamed and advocate for the gay community. This is what I feel called to do.
❧ I’ve felt this way since 1994 (actually, sooner than this. My story is too long to describe here). One of many examples… I remember wanting to participate in the AIDS outreach support project when I was a student at Millersville University. I didn’t do it because I was scared to go against the norm of my ancestors. I’ve always regretted not acting on this desire.
❧ While I’ve always wanted to please my family and to please God, there have been plenty of times I’ve blatantly sinned and fallen short of everyone’s expectations. But overall, my goal in life has been to follow Jesus.
❧ In all seriousness, I would not be alive today if not for Jesus. (I say this as someone who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, someone who was depressed since teenage years, someone who has attempted suicide, and has struggled with suicidal thoughts at various points in this journey.)
❧ I agree to disagree with those who believe homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity. I love and accept you any way.
Preface: This is an edited response I gave to someone who asked me why I think homosexuality is okay according to the Bible. Also, to show my point of view, I consider my method of biblical interpretation to align with Progressive Christianity.
Old Testament Laws Today
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First of all, I want to express my understanding of the Law and how it applies to us today:
Paul said that without the Law, we would not know what sin is (Rom 7:7). Both Jeremiah and Paul state that Law has been written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33 and Rom. 2:15). Furthermore, Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matt 5:17).
In Galatians, Paul talks about the Judaizers who insisted that the Gentiles practice the Law (specifically, circumcision) in order to achieve holiness. To prove otherwise, Paul specifically focused on Abraham, how he believed God, and the promise he received (that his Seed would be blessed) as a result of believing God (Gal. 3:6).
In context, the word “believed” is not an activity of thought, but of action. Everything – the good, bad, and ugly (Abraham lied about his relationship with his wife in order to protect his life) – every action he took was in response to his relationship with God. And, because of this, God considered Abraham a righteous man – even before the Law.
In Galatians, Paul attempts to show the Judaizers that it’s not the Law that makes one Holy, but relationship with God (believing, following, and the intimacy involved with such actions) –Galatians chapter 3. The evidence of such things, as Paul says, is the fruit of the Spirit – and against such there is no Law (Gal. 5:22-23). Paul specifically states that those trying to be justified by the Law have fallen away from grace (Gal. 5:4). Ultimately, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6).
Rightly so, Paul reminds us to not use our freedom to indulge in the flesh (Gal. 5:13). Paul goes on to explain what the works of the flesh looks like and their consequences (Gal. 5:19-21). In this list of works of the flesh, sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery are mentioned.
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Secondly, I want to express my understanding of sexual immorality:
In the Gospels, Jesus addresses divorce (Mt. 5:31-32), lust and adultery (Mt. 5:27-28), and multiple marriage / sexual partners (Jn. 4:16-18). Hebrews 13:4 confirms the sanctity of marriage, and the consequences for adultery and sexual immorality.
In the Books of Acts, when the Jewish believers were deciding how to integrate with Gentile believers, they narrowed down a few specific things from the Law that the Gentile believers were to follow, which included abstaining from sexual immorality (Acts 21:25).
Like the writer of Hebrews, I believe the marriage bed should be kept pure (therefore, I believe adultery is a sin). Likewise, I believe marriage should be honored by all (therefore, I believe in a monogamous, committed relationship that is recognized by family, friends, and community). Like Jesus, I believe lust and multiple sexual partners are aspects of Sin (therefore, I believe in self-control of one’s sexual desires and behaviors).
Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender
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Thirdly, I want to express my understanding of marriage, sexuality, and gender:
Paul specifically told Timothy that a leader in the church should be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2). In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus quotes Gen. 1:27 and Gen. 2:24 regarding marriage between one man and one woman.
In discussing marriage and divorce with the Pharisees, Jesus said that anyone who divorces his wife except for reasons other than sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery (Mt. 19:9). In response, the disciples asked Jesus if it’s better not to marry (Mt. 19:10). Jesus replied with this:
“Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Mt. 19:11-12).
In biblical times, eunuchs were the sexual and gender minority – they did not fit the heterosexual, male/female gender binary norm. Some (theologians, scholars, and others) believe eunuchs also included homosexuals:
Conversely, some believe eunuchs lived celibate lives (Bible History: Eunuch). There is historical evidence to support both beliefs. Regardless of sexual activity, it is clear that sexual and gender minorities exist (past, present, and future). Also, it is clear that Jesus did not condemn sexual/gender minorities, and that he asked for those who can accept this, to do so.
Jesus and Homosexuality
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Fourth, I want to express my understanding of what Jesus said in the Gospels about homosexuality:
Nothing. Not one verse explicitly reveals Jesus’ thoughts, beliefs, etc. about homosexuals or homosexual behavior. Except for this: The story of Jesus and the Centurion.
In his sermon “How Can I Be Sure That God Loves Me, Too?” Rev. Dr. Mel White makes a reference to the Centurion (Roman soldier) who asks Jesus to heal his servant. (FYI… Soulforce is a pro-gay activist organization and Rev. Dr. Mel White is associated with the Metropolitan Community Church which is historically pro-gay). White prefaces his interpretation of the passage by saying that he does read into it. He points out that the Greek word for servant used in the passage was not doulos (Greek = servant), but pais. Rev. White interprets the word pais as “special friend, or beloved.”
Does God Love Me?
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How Can I Be Sure God Loves Me Too? by Rev. Dr. Mel White
In pointing out the unique relationship, White implies that the Centurion’s servant is actually his male lover. Historically, White says, many Roman military officers and soldiers were gay. On long deployments, the officers would bring their male lovers with them. Rev. White suggests that the Centurion is asking Jesus to heal his sick male lover. If this is true, then the story has an interesting twist. After the Centurion asks Jesus to say the word, to heal the servant, Jesus replies, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:10).
In Bible college, I studied New Testament Greek for two years. So, I have some resources in my personal library. I looked up the passages in the Greek-English New Testament. The Matthew passage uses the word pais; Luke uses doulos. In the Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T., the word pais is defined as: “a child, boy, or girl” and in some cases, “servant.” Now, this is simply the equivalent of a Webster’s dictionary definition. To properly study a NT Greek word, one must study the surrounding words in context, as well as how the word was used at the time. I have yet to do this, but given my background knowledge, I tend to agree with Rev. White’s interpretation.
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I understand there are various viewpoints and beliefs regarding homosexuality and biblical interpretation. I did not go through my process lightly, but with a wholehearted devotion and desire to know God and His Word, to follow Jesus, and to have an intimate relationship with Spirit.
I understand that there are those who strongly believe homosexuality is a sin, and that unless one repents from homosexual behavior, he/she will spend eternity in hell. I understand that there are those who strongly believe the opposite, and there are various degrees of beliefs in between the extremes.
I was raised to believe homosexual activity is a sin, punishable by death (the wages of sin is death). I was raised to believe that I am to be and act like a godly (feminine) woman, either single and celibate or married to a godly (masculine) man.
It is because of my upbringing and my personal relationship with Jesus that I carefully studied scripture and carefully sought wise counsel. Admittedly, there have been times in my life when I did act lustfully and committed fornication (sex outside of marriage). Out of spiritual conviction, I’ve repented of those things.
Also, out of religious conviction and desire to honor my upbringing, in the past I have pursued an ex-gay way of life (dated men, read ex-gay books, received counseling, etc.) This ex-gay process systematically destroyed parts of my soul (and I don’t mean my flesh; I mean my personhood, the person God designed me to be). It was while I was going through the ex-gay process that I began writing about how to reconcile my life, faith, and sexuality. In solitude, without being in any romantic relationship, I sought God’s Word and Will for my life. Through this, I felt the same Holy Spirit, who has guided me always; ask me to stop trying to be ex-gay. By studying and re-studying things I’ve learned before, during, and after Bible college, I began to understand that there is more to life than an Evangelical or Fundamentalist understanding of heterosexual marriage, and what is considered masculine and feminine.
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Each one of us is accountable to God and to what God asks of us individually. Throughout Scripture (Old and New Testament), there have been exceptions to the norm. In each case, the individuals involved followed what they believed God was telling them to do.
No one, no denomination, no theologian, etc. owns the perfect interpretation of Scripture. Each one of us must study the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and teach us accordingly.
Ultimately, I am accountable to God and must walk according to my faith. It was by faith that I have journeyed through many of the hard things I’ve endured in life. It was by faith that I have studied Scripture and asked Jesus to be real to me. It was by faith that I left my mother and father in order to live the life I feel God wants me to live. This makes me no more deceived or confused than anyone else who has stepped away from the norm in order to follow God according to what he/she believes to be true.
I refuse to put down others who believe homosexuality is a sin. I believe they have the same right to believe their convictions as much as I do. I have accepted some very hard things, including the fact that some people will never approve of my life or give me their blessing. It has taken me a long time to accept this. However, there comes a point in everyone’s life when he/she must separate themselves from their family / religion of origin in order to follow Jesus. This is what my path looks like.
I am at peace with God. With this peace, I do not feel the need to prove to others through my words that I am following God. Instead, I choose to show through my actions.
Instead of using Scripture to prove “gay is good,” I choose to show that I am a Christian by my love, by the fruit of the Spirit, and by living the Truth alive in me. I have the head and heart knowledge to be a Bible-thumper, but Jesus alive in me directs me to be meek and gentle with God’s Holy Word. I believe God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105), and I believe God’s Word is to be meditated upon in order not to sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).
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- Studies on Paul and Homosexuality: Bible translations of and commentary views on Malakoi and Arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
- Documentary: “For the Bible Tells Me So“
- Movie (Based on a True Story): “Prayers for Bobby”
- Canyonwalker Connections: Repairing the breach between the Church and the LGBT Christian Community (a blog written by a straight Evangelical Christian woman)
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Three different viewpoints on “Can I be Gay and Christian?”
Out LGBTQ Christians
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- Anthony Venn-Brown (“…a former Australian evangelist in the Assemblies of God”)
- Yvette Flunder (founded City of Refuge UCC)