mē genoito

May it never be! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” (Ro 3:4)

Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question

I am a bit late to comment on McLaren’s article in Leadership Journal on January 23 2006. I’ve only come across it recently while researching the Emerging church movement. Actually, I stumbled onto the debate as a result of his initial article on out of Ur. The subtitle of his article, How should pastors respond to “the Homosexual Question”?, generated a torrent of praises and criticisms. Three follow on postings were devoted to this topic. McLaren was given the last post to respond to his critics.

I mainly want to make some observations and comments on McLaren’s response. Before I do that, let me set the stage a little bit. When Brian posted his first article that touch off this firestorm, one of the critics of McLaren was Mark Driscoll. Mark’s comment was posted as the third installment in this series. Mark Driscoll, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt apparently used to be friends but Mark has distance himself from Brian and Doug over their theological agenda.

Driscoll: But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.

I kinda want to be that proverbial fly on the wall and hear what McLaren really thinks of Driscoll when no one is listening. I imagine McLaren can’t be please with Mark for giving us an inside view of Brian’s inner circle, instead of his public persona. Calling God as a “chick”? That is blasphemous.

Kimball: The reason they were starting “Emergent” was because Leadership Network had orginally formed a theological working group as part of their Young Leaders Network. In this original group with Leadership Network, some key people were Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Chris Seay, Mark Driscoll and Doug Pagitt (and several others).

The irony is that Brian is very proud of his conservative evangelical roots that he is now so fervently criticizing. Yet, Mark was one of his earlier Network members who is rejecting his new Christianity for that conservative root that Brian has rejected. I am just curious if Brian feels betrayed in the same way that he has turned his back on conservative Christians?

Anyway, Mark’s comment on Brian’s article was strong and blunt. There was one sentence that was apparently despicably offensive to Brian. The moderator of LJ thinks the sentence was causing comments to veer off topic because of that sentence, so the moderator deleted that sentence. I have not seen that sentence so I can’ comment on it. As to the rest of Mark’s criticism, it was blunt and maybe even crass at times but it was an honest discernment of Brian and Doug’s approach to Christianity. I think it is fair and admirable for Mark to take Brian to task. Brian makes himself a target for criticism when he is out there giving interviews, writing book and giving talks on why other evangelicals are uncaring, dupes, unsophisticated and rightwing nut jobs. I will concede that Brian is a smooth and crafty communicator.

As an observer of this dispute between these two friends, Brian and Mark, McLaren’s last posting seems to be directed at Driscoll, and yet he never mentions him by name. It is vintage McLaren, stealthy criticism with finesse. After two short sentences in the first paragraph, Brian wastes no time in getting into Mark’s (presumably) comments. Brian expresses his disapproval of the editors for allowing what he calls, a despicable comment, toward his friend Doug Pagitt. This is what he said about the editors and the despicable comment.

Speaking of rudeness, I would also like to express my dismay that the editors allowed my friend Doug Pagitt to be treated despicably in one response. I’m glad they removed the most offensive sentence, but I find it stunning that people would applaud that kind of thing. I would much rather stand with Doug as ones being insulted than stand with those casting or celebrating the insults.

I wonder if Brian’s expressed outrage was a hidden attack at Mark, implying that friends should stick up for friends even over the fidelity of the Word of God. Brian is sending Mark a message criticizing him for his lack of loyalty to friends. Brian chastises Mark for caring more about some black and white words in a 2000 year old book than the brother that is right in front of him. Does it sound far fetch? Maybe, but we all know McLaren’s priority when it comes to the doctrines of the Bible and his pastoral interactions with human beings.

Anyway, I agree with Brian in this, there is no place for offensive sentences and despicable treatment of anyone. If McLaren was referring to Driscoll’s comment as despicable, it leaves me slightly puzzled. Putting the removed sentence aside, I fail to see what was despicable about the rest of Mark’s comment. Mark did use the term tonto in reference to Doug and Brian’s relationship, but can you really call that despicable? And I don’t think the term, tonto, is entirely inaccurate. Most people know that Brian is the godfather of the emerging church and the Emergent conversation. I think most everyone in the emerging culture look up to Brian as the next Martin Luther of postmodernism. I am not saying that I condone Mark’s language but to refer to it as despicable seems to be intended to shut down dialogue, and I think that’s not a good thing. [Sarcasm alert] The only thing I would fault Mark for is his misplaced priority of thinking that he would serve God first and then the culture. Brian on the other hand has the priority right, serve his culture first and then as a result of serving his culture that will serve God. I think Brian would agree we are to love God and love our neighbors. Mark needs to get a copy of Brian’s Bible that said, “ ‘Love your neighbor with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your God as yourself.’”

Brian on the other hand is serving his culture first and then as a result of serving his culture that will serve God. I think Brian would agree we are to love God and love our neighbor. Mark might have a misconception that the Bible actually said, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”. I suggest Mark should rethink his interpretation of this verse under Brian’s postmodern paradigm.


There are many things you can admire about Brian. One of them is his slick communication style. e.g. Six months earlier, he gave an interview to PBS’s
RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY. During the interview he mentioned that he grew up as a fundamentalist in a world of fundamentalism. He praises the fundamentalist as wonderful, God loving people. Brian thanks God for his conservative heritage. He goes on to explain.

McLaren on PBS: One of the things I gained from my heritage is an understanding that there is a lot of vigorous debate, especially in the fundamentalist sectors, and the language gets pretty hot pretty fast sometimes. I have tried to not indulge in that kind of language myself. I don’t think that’s the best way to conduct dialogue. Sometimes the language is intended to shut down dialogue, and I think that’s not a good thing.

As a fundamentalist and a conservative one at that, I agree with Brian. I appreciate his pastoral heart to encourage dialogue and not shut it down. He said fundamentalist are wonderful people, but they are hot heads. Thanks for the compliment Brian. Maybe what Brian meant was fundamentalists are often too straightforward and honest in expressing their opinions. Brian’s approach to dialogue is polite and eloquent. His words have an uplifting quality, even when his dagger is slipping into your ribcage. Delivering death with a smile might be Brian’s motto. I also think Brian strides to keep fidelity to his understanding of the Christian message. An example of Brian’s fidelity to the Christian message can be seen in his application of Scripture in this manner.

Second, a number of responders suggested I lack concern for being Biblical or caring about truth. These readers must have missed this sentence, “To put it biblically, we want to be sure our answers are ‘seasoned with salt’ and appropriate ‘to the need of the moment’ (Col. 4, Eph. 4),” where I refer to Scripture to support the main point of the article (which was not the legitimacy of homosexual behavior, but rather the need for pastoral sensitivity).

The careless reader will often miss Brian’s subtle faithfulness to the Bible, as in his quotation of those three words from Col 4:6. Some people might object to his kind of fidelity to Scripture, as taking words out of context and adding words to a verse that seems to change its meaning. Adding words like ‘to the need of the moment’ which is not found in Col 4:6.

Brian is a smart guy. He knows that those words are not in the Scripture. He added those 6 words to give the appearance of belonging in that verse to give it clarification as he interprets it. The easiest way to shut down dialogue is to quote the Bible in context, like this.
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Col 4:2-6

By quoting ‘seasoned with salt’ in context, people might notice that Paul was giving instructions on a variety of things. Paul mentioned prayer, thanksgiving, intercessory prayer for Paul to declare the gospel messages for which he would be imprison for. So Paul say that your speech should be gracious, seasoned with salt, could he possibly be referring to Jesus’ teaching of the beatitudes?
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Mt 5:12-13

Jesus said to be salt and light is to invite persecution. Paul was being persecuted for preaching the gospel message and equates that as seasoning with salt. There seems to be some parallel between the Lord and Paul’s usage of salt. It seems that both the Lord and Paul at the minimum is saying that salt causes a change in taste of the environment that it is added into.

Brian on the other hand looks at ‘seasoned with salt’ as having pastoral sensitivity to homosexual behavior. This pastoral sensitivity precludes him to declare that homosexual behavior is a sin. It might be offensive to any gay seekers. It is true that Jesus and Paul spoke offensive messages and pointed out people’s sin and their need for repentance. That was a different time. Brian probably thinks that Jesus and Paul was wrong for not making it clear that their style of communication was only applicable to their time. We live in a postmodern age with the knowledge of genetics and different social and cultural gender sensitivity. Pastoral sensitivity means we can no longer call something sin, when the Bible calls it sin.

I am sure Brian understands that by putting those three words in context will make things look too black and white, and that just shuts down dialogue. By pulling those three words out of context, Brian is able to continue the dialogue with individuals having homosexual behaviors. Brian doesn’t have to see the seasoning of salt as a force for change. Rather these three words can now be interpreted under Brian’s understanding as pastoral sensitivity. To further illustrate what Brian means by pastoral sensitivity, let’s go back to that PBS interview six months ago. Brian made it clear what he thinks is that problem on this issue of homosexuality. Which is, ”the religious community is being manipulated by the political world.” The only reason why the religious community think homosexuality is wrong is not because the Bible said it is wrong. We are being manipulated by the political world and we don’t even know it. Brian goes on to say in that interview.

McLaren on PBS: a young man who’s raised in a wonderful Christian family and says, “Look, you know, I’m 19 years old. I’ve never been attracted to women. I didn’t ask for this. I’ve been ashamed to tell anybody. You’re the first person I’ve ever told.” Well, when I have a conversation like that, or with a young woman who grew up — her father is a minister, and she lived with this deep self-hatred for many, many years. She considered suicide and all the rest. When you have conversations like that, you can’t just walk around making pronouncements like so many people in the media do. You realize these are real human beings we’re talking about.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that Brian is a compassionate loving man. His love and compassion probably exceed what most of us can muster. My guess is that if a young woman who grew up – her father is a faith healer, and she has cancer. She has learned to embrace and love her cancer but she can’t tell anyone. Brian is the first person she’s ever told. Brian in loving compassion and pastoral sensitivity will say,you can’t just walk around making pronouncements like so many people in the media do. He realize she a real human beings who has embraced a disease that will kill her and she is in need of a physician, but because of pastoral sensitivity he won’t tell her that.

Taking a page from Brian’s fictional flare. Let’s take a look at what the future might be like for this 19 year old young man.

    This picture might look a little bit different when these people are standing before the judgment throne of God. And God asks them “Why didn’t you repent of your sin of homosexuality and accept My Son as the physician to heal your sin?”. That 19 year old young man might say, “Brian McLaren didn’t tell me that it was a sin. Brian said,

    McLaren on PBS: I think, as I said before, when an issue is badly framed, we’re not wise to just rush in and try to answer it. And I think the issue of homosexuality is badly framed.

    He then told me “that the issue of homosexuality is so complex”. Brian gave me the impression that it is fine to have homosexual behaviors, depending how you interpret the Bible.

    McLaren on PBS: add to that the biblical dimension of it and the way of interpreting the Bible that yields these very easy, black-and-white [answers]

    Brian also pointed me to his friend Doug Pagitt, who gave me the same impression that homosexuality is not a sin. Doug said we live in different times than the Biblical times and we know about genetics.

    Pagitt: …our times are different. I do not mean that we are a more or less sexual culture, but one that knows more about the genetic, social and cultural issues surrounding sexuality and gender than any previous culture. Christianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not boldly integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology.

    God may ask this young man, “If you believe Doug is correct then it must mean that I didn’t write the Bible. If people believe that I AM the One Who created the universe and all the living things on this tiny planet Earth. Does it make sense that I don’t know about genetics? Does it make sense that I would call something sin when it is just a genetic predisposition? The other option is to claim that I didn’t write the Bible. If I didn’t write the Bible, why bother with the façade of Christianity, and why does Brian hypocritically quote the Bible?”

    God may at this point ask this young man, “Aren’t you afraid that by changing what I call sin as not sin, you will suffer the consequences of hell?” This young man will then answer, “No God. Brian McLaren told me that the concept of hell makes you look like a torturer.”

    McLaren on PBS: but that for some people the traditional view of hell makes God look like a torturer. It makes God look like somebody who just can’t wait to torture you for everything you’ve done wrong.

    So I was not worried about having unrepentant sin because I didn’t want to make you look like an anxious torturer.

    God would then ask, “why do you think I sent My Son to die on the cross for those who would believe?” The young man answers, “to show that You love us.” God looks at the young man and said, “If that is all I wanted to do then according to your story, all I need was to send pastor (you can do no wrong) McLaren. Did I not warn you about false prophets? 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Je 6:14”

Now let’s get back to reality here.
I would encourage both fans and critics of McLaren to heed his wish that we would take more care in reading what he actually said.

where I refer to Scripture to support the main point of the article (which was not the legitimacy of homosexual behavior, but rather the need for pastoral sensitivity).

I was not confused about Brian’s pastoral sensitivity. I might be slightly confused with his claim regarding “the legitimacy of homosexuality”. Is McLaren saying the main point of the article is about pastoral sensitivity toward the legitimacy of homosexuality? Or is the main point about pastoral sensitivity toward the illegitimacy of homosexuality? I think if Brian was to be honest about it, he is in the first position. I will show you the reasoning for this in just a minute. First I need to make this point. If Brian is claiming to be agnostic on the sinfulness of homosexuality then he is essentially condoning homosexuality. Just as all agnostics are practicing atheists, all agnostics on sins are practicing sin proponents.

Why do I think Brian actually believe homosexuality is not a sin? The above dialogue was fictitious but the quotes from McLaren and Pagitt are factual. McLaren probably thinks that his vagueness on homosexuality enables him to have one foot in Christianity and the other in postmodern culture. The problem is Christianity doesn’t work that way. God will spit out those who are lukewarm. You are either for God or against God; one cannot serve two masters. Can you imagine the Lord giving the kind of answer that McLaren gives? If someone asks the Lord do you think it is wrong to murder? Do you think the Lord will answer saying “I think the issue is badly framed. It is not wise to just rush in and try to answer it. And I think the issue of murder is badly framed.” For that matter if McLaren answers the question about murder in this way, does anyone thinks that he is not condoning murder?

Moving on with his response in LJ blog.

Many readers seem to assume that by quoting verses from Leviticus, Romans, and 1 Corinthians, they have solved the problem. It looks like an open-and-shut case to them, and the only reason they can surmise for the fact that some of us find the issue more complex

Well Brian, if you were honest, you have to admit this sound like you are leaving the door open for the legitimacy of homosexuality. Fortunately Brian does clarify himself with this strong conservative Christian statement.

Please be assured that as a pastor and as someone who loves and seeks to follow the Bible,

That sound great, but if memory serves. You also said that you didn’t think hell was real and the idea of hell makes God look like an anxious torturer. So to be fair, shouldn’t you say this instead? “be assured that as a pastor and as someone who loves and seeks to follow the Bible, according to my own postmodern concept of interpretation” I can almost hear Brian with his retort, but everyone interprets the Bible and many scholars differ on hermeneutics. I agree that there are some things in the Bible that are hard to understand, but the doctrines of sin, salvation, heaven, hell and creation are perspicuous. A pastor who loves and seek to follow the Bible should seek to clarify the teaching not to obscure it. What Brian’s postmodern theology does is to take the few ambiguities in the Bible and obfuscate the clear teachings of the Bible. If he doesn’t believe that any teaching of the Bible is straightforward and clear then he should not complain about others misinterpreting what he said. If it is impossible to interpret absolute Truths from the Bible then it is impossible to communicate. We can basically take McLaren’s writings and interpret it anyway we see fit. We can interpret the ambiguity of McLaren’s style to mean that he supports anarchism. McLaren supports the idea of doing whatever is right in your own eyes, whether it be murder, rape, hate, steal and anything else you can imagine. This is the message that McLaren is promoting in his books and writings. This is how I interpret McLaren’s writings and no one can tell me that it is wrong because we have different methods of hermeneutics. If this is not fair to read McLaren that way, then please do not do that to the Creator of the Universe Who has given us His divine revelation.

The question then becomes what is McLaren’s objection to recognizing homosexuality as a sin?

I am aware of Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and related texts. Believe me, I have read them and prayerfully pondered them, and have read extensively on all the many sides of the issue. I understand that for many people, these verses end all dialogue and people like me must seem horribly stupid not to see what’s there so clearly to them. I wish they could understand that some of us encounter additional levels of complexity when we try honestly and faithfully to face these texts. We have become aware of as-yet unanswered scholarly questions, such as questions about the precise meaning of malakoi and arsenokoitai in Paul’s writings, and we wonder why these words were used in place of paiderasste, the meaning of which would be much clearer if Paul’s intent were to address behavior more like what we would call homosexuality.

Hey Brian most of us fundamentalist are not as sophisticated as you are. We don’t know Greek. When you talk about scholarly questions and throw in Greek words, it is just intimidating. I hope that was not meant to shut down dialogue. I am neither a Greek scholar nor fluent in Greek, what can I do? I don’t want to end the dialogue. I guess I can do a word study and rely on the translations by Biblical language scholars to determine the proper meaning of these words. Second, I can search through scholarly journals and writing to evaluate the evidence for the proper interpretation and context of these words.

What did I find in my research into these Greek words malakoi, arsenokoitai and paiderasste using scholarly journals and references? I just want to make a couple of points before I begin. I don’t have the resources to do an exhaustible research into this subject. Although my research is not exhaustive I do have many more references than what I will present below. The summary below, in my opinion, is representative of the kind of polemics on both sides of this issue.

Second, Brian’s argument that the use of malakos, arsenokoitēs instead of paiderastia is indicative that Paul was not speaking about homosexuality in general. I doubt that is a valid argument. He must realize that no matter which of these words Paul uses there will still be those who argue it does not apply to homosexuality.1 The problem I would submit, does not begin with hermeneutics, but it begins from a cultural agenda to accept homosexuality in search of a hermeneutics. I think the arguments below should demonstrate that it would be irrelevant whether paiderastia was used or not.

Certainly the Greek language and specifically Koine Greek has a lot more nuance than our modern English. We can begin with the Lexical definition of these 3 words.
3120 μαλακός [malakos /mal•ak•os/] adj. Of uncertain affinity; GK 3434; Four occurrences; AV translates as “soft” three times, and “effeminate” once. 1 soft, soft to the touch. 2 metaph. in a bad sense. 2A effeminate. 2A1 of a catamite. 2A2 of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man. 2A3 of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness. 2A4 of a male prostitute.

733 ἀρσενοκοίτης [arsenokoites /ar•sen•ok•oy•tace/] n m. From 730 and 2845; GK 780; Two occurrences; AV translates as “abuser of (one’s) self with mankind” once, and “defile (one’s) self with mankind” once. 1 one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.

ped•er•ast ˈpe-də-ˌrast noun
[Greek paiderastēs, literally, lover of boys, from paid- ped- + erastēs lover, from erasthai to love — more at EROS]
(circa 1736)
: one that practices anal intercourse especially with a boy

The first thing to notice in all three definitions of these words is that they involve homosexual acts. There might be variation of the object of this behavior such as adult male to adult male or adult male to male boy. Malakos has the nuance meaning of a boy male prostitute. Would the word paiderastēs made it clearer that Paul was referring to homosexuality? I don’t think so. The use of Malakos should be sufficient to cover the use of pederast. Paul’s use of arsenokoites is even more appropriate for communicating the idea of homosexuality. This is how the Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament defines arsenokoites
ἀρσενοκοίτης, ου, ὁ an adult male who practices sexual intercourse with another adult male or a boy homosexual, sodomite, pederast

Next, take look at an excerpt from an academic journal. I have color-coded the con/pro arguments to indicate whether Paul was referring to homosexuality or did he mean something else. Magenta text represents arguments against the interpretation that Paul is referring to homosexuality. Blue text represents the traditional argument that Paul is referring to homosexuality.

The prohibition against homosexuality is mentioned three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10). In 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy two Greek words—μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης—are usually translated “homosexual.” Prohomosexual advocates insist that μαλακός/malakos means “soft” or “weak” with the implication of moral softness or moral laxity. They insist that ἀρσενοκοίτης/arsenokoitēs means “males who go to bed,” or “male prostitutes.

    There is no reason to believe that either “μαλακος/malakos “ or “αρσενοκοιται/arsenokoitēs” connoted homosexuality in the time of Paul or for centuries thereafter, and every reason to suppose that, whatever they came to mean, they were not determinative of Christian opinion on the morality of homosexual acts.2

These two words are hotly contested words in gay theology. Most Bible translators have rendered them “effeminate” and “homosexuals,” respectively. A proper understanding of the words is essential.

Μαλακος
Both words are found in 1 Corinthians. Μαλακός/malakos means (1) “soft of things, clothes,” or (2) “persons; soft, effeminate especially of catamites, men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.” The Greeks used the word with a nuance, probably similar to the way people today use the word “fairy” or “sissy.” They took this word which can have feminine overtones, and applied it to a man. According to the context it can have the idea of being weak or loose morally and being effeminate. This may relate to the Greek practice of paiderastia (“lover of boys”), which involved homosexual relations between men and boys. Pederasty was common in the Greek educational system. It was not uncommon for a strong sexual union to result between a young man and an elder teacher who was his model, guide, and initiator. In classical Greek, μαλακός/malakos was also used to refer to boys and men who allowed themselves to be used homosexually. It was also applied to a man taking the female or passive role in homosexuality.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who wrote Roman Antiquities around 7 B.C., described Aristodemus of Cumae as μαλακός/malakos because he had been “effeminate” (θηλυδρίας/thēlydrias) as a child and had undergone the things associated with women. In classical literature the word μαλακός/malakos is sometimes applied to obviously gay persons. Lucian describes the blood of some priests he condemns for passive homosexual behavior as μαλακός/malakos. This cannot be dismissed as not indicating anything about the sexuality of the individuals in question. These were priests who spent their time seeking group sexual encounters.

While there is some ambiguity with regard to μαλακός/malakos, it is not beyond reason to see the word representing the passive parties in homosexual intercourse. This is even more reasonable when it is in juxtaposition with ἀρσενοκοιτής/arsenokoitēs which does imply an active homosexual role. It is interesting that in Aristotle’s Problems, a lengthy discussion of the origins of homosexual passivity, he employs the word μαλακός/malakos. In its general sense the word does mean “unrestrained,” but not without any particularly homosexual context.

Ἀρσενοκοιτης
The second Greek word, ἀρσενοκοίτης/arsenokoitēs, appears both in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. It is a compound of two Greek words. The first, ἄρσην/arsēn means “male,” with a strong emphasis on sex. It can refer to the sexual nature of man. The second word, κοίτη/koitē, means “bed” in general but it is also a “euphemism for sexual intercourse.” Arndt and Gingrich translate ἀρσενοκοίτης/arsenokoitēs as a “male homosexual” or a “pederast.” Some try to dismiss the statements of these scholars.

    The authors of most lexica, including all the standard English ones, have traditionally contented themselves with corroborating the inference of biblical translators by giving the definition as “sodomite.” There is a double irony to this since—as is now generally recognized—the Sodomites were not punished for homosexuality, and since “αρσενοκοίται” had only a tangential relation, if any, to homosexuality.3

Three things should be said concerning this statement. First, one should be cautious when going against the tide of scholarly opinion. “The authors of most lexica, including all the standard English ones” have understood the word to refer to homosexuality. Second, it is an assumption based on erroneous exegesis to see the Sodomites not being punished for homosexuality. Third, even if ἀρσενοκοίτης had only a tangential relation to homosexuality, it could have easily become a euphemism for homosexuality. This is even more understandable when it is considered that Paul already used words like “fornicator” (πόρνος/pornos), “adulterer” (μοιχός/moichos), “effeminate” (μαλακός/malakos), along with ἀρσενοκοίτης/arsenokoitēs. The second half of the compound, κοίτη/koitē, is a coarse word. It denotes base or licentious sexual activities (Romans 13:13). The word is rare, not only in biblical usage but also in other literature. But a strong possible translation for both μαλακός/malakos and ἀρσενοκοίτης/arsenokoitēs is “the morally loose (effeminate) who allow themselves to be used homosexually” and “the person who is a practicing homosexual.”4 transliterated words have been added next to the Greek to advert font compatibility problems)

This post is getting too long. I think I have addressed McLaren’s main position on homosexuality and how he approaches Scripture. McLaren and those with a pro-gay agenda did not begin with a problem in hermeneutics; rather they went in search of a dispute in hermeneutics to support their agenda. They have a committed view of accepting homosexual behavior; therefore they manufacture a controversy to give their theology some Biblical cover. I think this is a fair accessment of Emergent’s motivation, in light of their comments adapting to the culture and appeal to unsubstantiated claims of genetics.

I will defer my comments on the rest of Brian’s post. However, I want to make one last point. McLaren quotes the Bible liberally, but out of context, claims to take Scripture seriously, loves Jesus and want to be a faithful pastors. In spite of McLaren’s flowery speech, it is nothing more that poison in disguise. I am not saying this to be invective but I am only making an observation. e.g. Take a look at this quote from Brian.

We acknowledge the sincerity and good faith of our brothers and sisters who find that this all resolves very simply in black and white and without any shadow of doubt; we only wish they could extend the same grace and not assume or assert things about us that aren’t true.

While Brian uses flowery words like sincere and good faith to refer to his brothers and sisters. In that same breath he makes the implication that these same brothers and sisters are not gracious and makes false accusation about him? This is vintage McLaren, where he uses flattering words to slap people who disagree with him.

In this same vein, when he says he takes Scripture seriously, it is just a euphemism. It is not possible for him to take Scripture seriously by deconstructing it and claim that it is open to obscure interpretations, on perspicuous teachings like hell, atonement and sin. I realize his claim that these are disputable doctrines, but they are only in dispute because he needs to find ways to interpret it to allow for this theological agenda.

He said he loves Jesus, but he denies His power. How can Brian claim to love Jesus if he will not affirm what Jesus said, that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to God and NO ONE can come to the Father except through Him. He can’t claim to love Jesus when he denies the reality of hell and claim that if the Biblical concept of hell is real, then God is like an anxious torturer. That is not loving Jesus but blaspheming against the Lord.

Brian manufactures controversy on these doctrines not with Scriptural justification, but with his anecdotal rhetoric from a postmodern culture. It is my opinion that he is conforming to the culture and not being transformed by his relationship with God. This is not meant to be insulting but it is a sober observation of the man’s words and his actions. If Brian is truly interested in an open and honest dialogue, he can’t accuse his critics as invective when they make reasoned criticism of his words and actions. Brian cannot frame the discussion only by his pluralistic framework, where we must accept his rhetoric as having merits even if it is diametrically opposite to that of orthodox Christianity. When Brian frames the discussion this way he is essentially silencing those with an exclusive view of Christianity. Fundamentalist like me will no longer be able to say that his rhetoric is blasphemous and anti-Biblical. As soon as I say that he will accuse me of using hot and hateful language. The implication is that because of my hate filled language, whatever I say has no merit. By setting up this kind of framework, Brian is shutting down dialogue and criticism. The truth is that pointing out Brian’s mistakes is not hateful but it stems from our love of God, first and foremost, and love of others so that they will not fall into the trap that Brian has fallen into. It is because of our love for a lost and dying culture that we tell them the truth, even if we are hated for doing so. By hiding the truth from them they will miss out on the great love of God and the glory of knowing their Creator who can call them out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

1 Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality
2John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 353.
3ibid pp. 341-42.
4Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983; 2002). Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 140 (140:350). Dallas Theological Seminary

10 Responses to “Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question”

  • inunison says:

    hi teleologist,

    This is such a “hot” topic and no wonder many fingers are being burned. It also indicates a type of twisting or clouding of clear Biblical teaching, not just about homosexuality but of caracter of God too. This problem of homosexuality (if it is a problem) cannot be taken away from overall picture of Sin, Judgement and as I mentioned, caracter of God.

    Every Christian should recognize that EVERY human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we should seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. I believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word.

    I believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev. 20:7-21; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?” So they are no longer two, but one'” (Matt. 19:4-6, NIV). For these reasons I am opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.

    Saying that, we must endeavor to follow the instruction and example of Jesus. He affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices. Bacause we Christians fall far behind in this (I am generalizing) we are perceived as unloving and judgemental and maybe this is the result, we trivialize serious issues (like Sin, Judgement etc.) in order to appear loving. That may be Brian’s problem.

  • inunison says:

    “For the grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all mankind; and by it we are disciplined to renounce godless ways and worldly desires, and to live a life of temperance, honesty, and godliness in the present age, looking forward to the happy fulfilment of our hope when the splendor of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus will appear. He it is who sacrificed himself for us, to set us free from all wickedness and to make us a pure people marked out for his own, eager to do good.”—Titus 2:11-14, NEB. (See also 2 Peter 3:11-14.)

    Forgot to mention one thing that you touched upon in your post. Power of God. Our God is NOT dead and he is able to give us power to overcome. If Brian realy believes that, as a pastor he would than chalenge sinful behaviour and point people (whom he obviously love) towards Jesus Christ who can heal and encourage. But above text in Titus says it all.

    Another point, even if this behaviour or sexual state is in our genes (oh my dear, I can smell Mr. Dawkins’ meme) we should (pastors in particular) give power of God opportunity to manifest itself.

  • teleologist says:

    Hi inunison,

    I thank you for your faith exegesis of the Word. We live in a time of postmodern correctness, where our self-absorbed narcissistic materialist culture’s prime directive is to be wealthy and happy. We will compromise our principles for the appearance of peace; let’s all just get along.

    I appreciate your tracking of marriage back to Genesis and what are acceptable sexual relationships according to the Bible. This is a scorching subject that is so politically incorrect that people tend to avoid it like the plague. However, as you have pointed out, homosexuality is just one sin out of a myriad of sins that we human being commit everyday. Our culture has singled this out as if this is some how more significant than murder, adultery, idol worship, orgies and drunkenness, dissension and jealousy, and any number of sins. People like McLaren pretends to be loving by tell people their sinful behavior is not sin, in fact he is destroying their existence. You are so right that we need to extend our loving arms to those who struggle with sin, but we must affirm that any type of sin is not acceptable to a Holy God.

    This is but a small sample of the emerging church that I’ve been working on. I still have some ways to go before I complete my report on that movement. While McLaren might want to equate himself with Martin Luther, he is more like Arius, Pelagius and Arminius. (What is it with names that ends in ‘ius’ that is so synonymous with heretics) 😆

  • inunison says:

    hmm…

    Main Entry: her·e·tic
    Pronunciation: ˈher-ə-ˌtik, ˈhe-rə-
    Function: noun
    1 : a dissenter from established religious dogma; especially : a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who disavows a revealed truth

    Well than, I am one. I guess I better change my nick to inunisonius!

  • teleologist says:

    I guess it depends on who’s doing the defining.

    Irenaeus writes of heretics as follows: “Admitting the sacred Scriptures they distort the interpretations” (Lib. iii., cap. 12, n. 12).
    Augustine: “Heresies have arisen, and certain perverse views ensnaring souls and precipitating them into the abyss only when the Scriptures, good in themselves, are not properly understood” (In Evang. Joan., tract xviii., cap. 5, n. I).

    catholic. A term literally meaning “universal” or “worldwide.” The word is most often associated with Roman Catholicism but originally became standardized in Christian theology through the formula appearing in early Christian creeds that affirms belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” To affirm the church’s catholicity is to suggest that the church is universal in scope. In other words, the church is not restricted to any one ethnic group or geographical location but is open to Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female (Gal 3:28), with its gospel message being directed to “all nations.”

    Grenz, S., Guretzki, D., & Nordling, C. F. (1999). Pocket dictionary of theological terms (24). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

    It wasn’t so bad at one point.

  • teleologist says:

    Which shows the danger of using secular dictionary for religious definitions. 😆

  • inunison says:

    Heresy
    her´e-si, her´ē̇-si (αἵρεσις, haíresis, from verb αἱρέω, hairéō, “to choose”):

    Roman Catholics, regarding all professed Christians who are not in their communion as heretics, modify their doctrine on this point by distinguishing between Formal and terial Heresy, the former being unconscious and unintentional, and between different degrees of each of these classes (Cath. Encyclopedia, VII, 256ff). For the development of the ecclesiastical meaning, see Suicer’s Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, I, 119-23.

  • inunison says:

    This testimony is quite revealing, but understandably long. Feel free to dispose of it.

    HOMOSEXUALS CAN BE MADE WHOLE!
    Victor J. Adamson (A pseudonym)

    If you had asked me nine years ago why I had chosen to be gay, I would have
    answered you as I did countless times before, “I did not choose to be gay! I chose to be
    a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. I chose to be educated in Seventh-day Adventist
    Christian schools. I chose to be a student missionary. I chose to earn a degree in
    Theology and to graduate with honors. I chose to marry a Seventh-day Adventist young
    lady. I chose to have Seventh-day Adventist babies. I did not choose to be gay! I just
    finally came to grips with reality and accepted the fact that I was gay. I came to believe
    that I was born gay.”
    For years after my “coming out” of the closet and experiencing the devastating
    breakup of my home, I dared anyone to tell me that my “condition” was a matter of choice.
    I had made all the right “choice” in my life. While struggling with the nagging yearnings of
    my heart, I had prayed relentlessly that God would “Create in me a clean heart, and
    renew a right spirit within me.” I wanted God to help me to love and to be in love with my
    wife. But, all my efforts were of no avail.
    Finally, I succumbed to those nagging yearnings and fell into the “gay” life of
    homosexual relationships, totally convinced that my “condition,” or “behavior,” was not
    the result of my wilful choice. What Christian would willingly choose to be so radically out
    of sync with society, and the church? I had to be either the victim of my own
    environment, or just born that way.
    My parents, friends, and family all thought of me as a gentle person, thoughtful and
    considerate of others. In their eyes I was intelligent, likeable, courteous, and talented in
    many areas. Most of all, I was known to be deeply spiritual.
    The Tensions of My “Gay” Lifestyle
    Upon entering the “gay” lifestyle, I still live up to that image, except that I was no
    longer “deeply spiritual.” I refused to be a hypocrite. There was no way I could reconcile
    my homosexuality with the calling to be part of the Remnant people who love God and
    keep His commandments. To me the Bible was very clear in teaching that “homosexual
    offenders” will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9)
    Looking back upon the years spent in the “gay” lifestyle, I can honestly say that
    my life became full of disgusting, depraved, and perverted behavior. Like every
    homosexual I knew, I became lustful and obsessed with sex. In public and among
    friends, however, I masterfully maintained the image of a decent, gentle, thoughtful, polite,
    considerate person, both loving and lovable.
    Before returning to God, for sixteen years I blamed Him for everything wrong with
    my life, especially my homosexuality, because I had prayed that He would take it away,
    and He had not. So, I reason, It was God’s fault, not my own if I was “gay.”
    During those self-serving years of “love,” promiscuity, pleasure, self-exaltation,
    and self-gratification, I experienced much loneliness, misery and heartache. However, my
    parents and family never made me feel unloved, unappreciated, or unaccepted. In His
    mercy and patience, the Lord worked through my family members to reveal to me the true
    meaning of unconditional love toward me, a sinner, without condoning my sinful lifestyle.
    They manifested their unconditional love and acceptance, not only toward me, but also
    toward my friends and lovers. Their unconditional acceptance of me demonstrated the
    meaning of Jesus’ words: “Neither do I condemn thee.”
    In their loving acceptance, however, they did not dismiss the rest of Jesus’ statement:
    “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
    Some Troubling Questions and a Dream
    The unconditional acceptance of my family members eventually led me to stop
    blaming God for my condition. Instead, I began to look honestly at myself. After all, I
    thought, I can blame God all my life and still be lost. I asked myself: “What is the point is
    to pretend there are no consequences to my lifestyle, or that I could be saved in spite of
    it?” Gradually I became aware that I was deceiving myself. I needed to stop running and
    hiding from God, seek instead guidance in His Word.
    The statement “All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them
    to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome b y
    Satan (GC 620), seem to speak to my own predicament. That was me. I had become
    totally overcome by Satan.
    I began to think, “Wouldn’t it be tragic to find myself standing some day outside the
    New Jerusalem, with “a good excuse.” For several years I was troubled by a recurring
    dream in which I experienced the horror of being lost as I gazed into the face of Jesus
    coming in the clouds of glory. Apparently Jesus used this dream to reach out to me, a
    homosexual, saying, “My son, give me thine heart, before it is too late.” Incidentally,
    since coming back to Him, I have never experienced again the nightmare of that dream!
    Jesus warns us about the fate of the wicked, saying, “Depart from me, you
    evildoers. . . .you cursed, into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew
    7:23; 25:41). Tragically, the lake of fire will contain an innumerable host whom God dearly
    loves unconditionally. He loves them so much that He gave His only begotten Son that
    they need not perish. But they choose to reject the gift of eternal life. God honors their
    choice. The result is their eternal separation from the Source of eternal life.
    The Challenge of Beginning a New Life
    In childlike reasoning and logic, I prayerfully studied God’s Word to find either
    justification for my homosexuality, or the remedy for it. Try as I might, I could not find
    justification anywhere in God’s word for continuing my homosexual lifestyle. More I
    studied Scripture and more I became convinced that God designed marriage to be a union
    of one man with one woman, the two becoming one flesh.
    The intimate relationship of a man with a man or a woman with a woman cannot
    fulfill God’s purpose for marriage. Furthermore, the Scripture condemns same sex
    relationships as “abomination” (Lev 20:13), which will prevent entrance into God’s
    Kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-10). These and other texts convinced me that there was no way for
    me to legitimize my homosexual lifestyle.
    It was presumptuous for me to live as though I had the gift of eternal life when in
    reality I was knowingly earning the wages of sin “death.” As I began pondering my
    eternal destiny, gradually I became convinced that my life had to be changed. But, I felt
    powerless to make that change. In retrospect, I can understand that the sense of
    helplessness resulting from my violating God’s moral principles, was designed to awaken
    within me a realization of my need for a Savior.
    In my helplessness I found reassurance in the fact that God is the omnipotent
    Creator and Re-Creator of our lives. Through the enlightening of His Word and the
    enabling power of His Spirit, I sensed that I could be cleansed and made whole. I came to
    realize that it does not matter whether I was born homosexual or I had chosen to become
    one. Every descendant of Adam is born with tendencies to sin. I gained reassurance in
    the promise that God’s grace could enable me to overcome both inherited and cultivated
    sinful tendencies.
    As I continued to study and pray, I sensed more and more God’s unconditional
    love for me, though I was a homosexual. I sensed that no matter how sinful my past hadbeen, God could forgive and cleanse me. What I needed to do was to develop a hate for
    sin and a love for truth and righteousness.
    I was given the assurance in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that I could be cured of my
    homosexuality. Paul speaks of this very sin, among others, when he says: “And such
    WERE some of you [past tense]; but ye ARE washed [present tense], but ye ARE
    sanctified, but ye ARE justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, [How?] and by the Spirit of
    our God.”
    As I continued my self-evaluation, I came to realize more and more that I had been
    deceived into thinking that I was living a life of freedom, when in actuality I had been in
    terrible bondage. What I desperately needed, was not freedom from God’s law, but
    freedom from the bondage of sin: my addictive sexual perversion. Such freedom became
    possible through the enabling power of God’s grace which can bring “into captivity every
    thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). Thank God for His amazing grace that
    restored a sinner like me into the family of God and made me a productive, working
    member of His cause.
    Perhaps the greatest challenge in beginning a new life, was convincing my
    Adventist fellow believers that by God’s grace I was no longer a homosexual. My attitude
    and sexual orientation had changed. How distressing it was for me to hear ministers and
    laity alike discrediting my conversion experience by saying, “Sure, I believe in victory
    over sin. But gay people never change! I have never known anyone coming out of the
    gay lifestyle who has remained straight for more than two years! Beware of him and to
    keep your children away from him.” Such critical comments reveal a lack of faith in God’s
    power to forgive us and to cleanse penitent sinners from all sinful practices, including
    homosexuality.
    Soul Searching Questions
    The sarcastic comments I often heard from fellow believers, caused me to search
    my soul and frequently ask myself: “Have my feelings and emotions toward men
    miraculously changed upon my conversion? Have I really experienced a radical change
    of attitude, a psychological change in my sexual orientation? Or, do I still have the same
    gender orientation?
    These questions are of paramount importance for those who are sincerely seeking
    for deliverance from besetting sins of whatever nature. They deserve a definitive
    explanation. But the answer is not always easy to find, especially when someone, like
    myself, had undergone a traumatic experience. I terminate my relationship with the man
    whom I deeply loved. My feelings and emotions toward him at all had not changed, but
    my attitude toward the Man Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Word had radically
    changed.
    The Struggle of a New Life
    Being faced with a choice between my male lover and the Man Jesus, I decided to
    follow my Savior, regardless of consequences. Like the words of the popular hymn, for
    me it became a matter of “Trust and Obey.” I began to trust my Creator, realizing that
    “Father truly does know best.” And in
    this ever increasing trust, I began to obey Him in spite of my feelings and emotions,
    knowing that His will for me was for my own present and eternal happiness.
    I accepted the biblical truth that “the just shall live by faith,” not by feelings and
    emotions. In practicing this Biblical principle, I discovered that the right feelings and
    emotions did not emerge immediately. They came gradually as I learned to accept by faith
    the will of my Creator for my life. Had I waited until I had gained victory over my sinful
    inclinations before trusting and obeying Christ, then I no longer need a Savior!
    As a homosexual, I needed to be saved from my sin, just as an unfaithful spouse,
    a thief, a murderer, or a liar need to be saved from their sins. Salvation from sin is not a
    human achievement, but a divine provision of grace. It is a work of work of divine therapy,
    reprogramming, redirection, recreation.
    Leaving behind the love of my sinful life, I entered my new world as a helpless,
    newborn babe. As an infant begins his life with inherited tendencies to evil, I began my
    new life with all the same tendencies I had cultivated during my previous life. But,
    trusting God, my Father and Christ, my Savior, I renounced my homosexuality and
    submitted myself to divine directives and sought fellowship within the family of God.
    One important principle that I learned was to “protect my new environment.” The
    inherited and cultivated evil tendencies are somewhat like a ravenous lion seeking whom
    he may devour. That “beast” must be starved while another, the Lamb of God, is to be
    nurtured and cultivated. Evil must be replaced with good. Perverted feelings and
    emotions can be gradually starved out and replaced by right feelings and emotions when
    we follow the instructions laid out for us in the ‘Operator’s Manual” given us by the
    Creator of sexuality.
    The new struggle I faced when I decided to turn my back upon everything and
    everyone I had known, reminded me of the struggle I faced when fleeing from God earlier
    in my life. I had to separate myself totally from the gay scene and lifestyle, fleeing from
    them for my very life, as it were fleeing from doomed Sodom and Gomorrah.
    I started a new life surrounding myself with everything I knew to be right for me.
    These were not necessarily everything I wanted around me! But, no Christian can afford
    to depend on what feels right. Neither could I! The spiritual mind is to rule over and bring
    into subjection the lusts of the flesh.
    Guarding the Avenues of My Mind.
    I learned the importance of guarding well the avenues to my mind, by not placing
    myself in the path of temptation. This entails being careful over what I watch, what I
    read, and what I listen to. It requires a daily determination not to give Satan any
    advantage over me. Like the apostle Paul, I, too, must “die daily” (1 Cor 15:21), and
    continue to “pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should
    be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
    And when Satan plants those impure thoughts and desires into the heart, (and he
    does…!), God’s enabling grace is sufficient for my struggle against homosexuality. His
    grace enables me, as Paul puts it, to bring ‘into captivity every thought to the obedience
    of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). I practice using my power of choice to ” turn the page,” and to
    ‘ change the subject.” God helps me do this, when I place my will in His hands.
    The biblical injunction to ‘Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and
    he will flee from you” (James 4:7), has become very meaningful to me. When tempted, I
    repeat the words of Philippians 4:8: ‘Whatsoever things are true, …honest, …just,
    whatsoever things are pure, …lovely, …of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there
    be any praise, think on these things.”
    Another principle I learned to put into practice is to accept with gratitude the gift of a
    female companion offered to me by God. In the Garden of Eden, God created a woman,
    not a man, as an helpmate for Adam. In His infinite wisdom and love God gave man the
    gift of a woman to be by his side. There was no better alternative. God did not make a
    mistake. He knew what He was doing when He designed a female partner for man. Can
    we not trust God with His own creative plan?
    God went to great lengths to provide for man the wonderful gift of a woman. Some
    of men have turned up their noses at this gift, and, instead, burn in their own lust for one
    another (Rom 1:27). I was one of them. Did God stop loving me? No! Of course not! He continued to love me though I chose to use my sexuality to love a man rather than a
    woman. It is with great disappointment that the Creator sees men perverting the intended
    use of their sexuality.
    It is not a sin for a person to live without the gift of a marital partner. For different
    reasons many people end up living their entire lives without the pleasures of marriage.
    But it is wrong for people to indulge in sexual behavior outside of marriage. And it is
    wrong for us men to pervert the gift of our sexuality which was designed for a
    procreational and relational functions. It is equally wrong for a woman to lust and covet
    after another woman whom God has created for man. It has taken time for me to learn to
    be grateful to god for what He has provided for my best interest.
    Overcoming Homosexuality
    The secret to overcoming the sin of homosexuality, or any other besetting sin, is to
    be found in helping someone else to overcome sin. This premise is based upon the
    Biblical principle for happiness: self-less-ness. True happiness comes in helping
    someone else to be happy: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last, creates the
    acronym for JOY.
    Joseph, far from home in the land of his captivity, never forgot this principle. ‘How
    can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” he cried as he fled from the
    temptation of Potiphar’s wife. His concern was not ‘fear of punishment,” nor was it ‘hope
    of reward.” No; his faithfulness in obedience resulted in disgrace and confinement in a
    dungeon. Joseph’s concern was a total self-less interest in the will and honor of his God;
    regardless of consequences. He also loved and honored his master Potiphar, putting his
    master’s interests above his own.
    All the heavenly host are focused upon the happiness and well-being of others,
    including you and me. Except for sinful man, all unfallen creatures live for the benefit of the
    rest of creation. This principle of self-less-ness has been of great value in the process of
    reconditioning myself from my former homosexual lifestyle It has helped me to abandon
    the old practice of self-gratification, seeking instead fulfillment within the sacred realm of
    marriage.
    By practicing these and other Biblical principles, I have become totally comfortable
    in my new life as a heterosexual. The thought of returning to my old life has become
    foreign and repugnant to me. Submitting myself to divine reconditioning and therapy has
    truly resulted in a new creation. And I rejoice in the words of Paul about my new life in
    Christ: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed
    away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17)
    Why should Christians doubt that this promise can be true for the homosexual as
    well as for anyone else? My new victorious heterosexual life is a testimony to the power
    of God to save people from the depth of their sins. And I praise Him every day for
    demonstrating the power of His grace in forgiving, cleansing, and renewing my life.
    By cleansing and renewing my life, the Savior has commissioned me in the same
    words He spoke to the cleansed demoniac in Mark 5:19, ‘Go home to thy friends, and tell
    them
    how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”
    Accordingly, I love to tell the story through the spoken word and my published
    autobiography That Kind Can Never change! Can They? of how the Lord has rescued
    me from the depths of degradation, into a new life of service for Him.
    This story of my pilgrimage from bondage to freedom, is designed to encourage not
    only homosexuals seeking divine deliverance, but also anyone struggling with besetting
    sins of whatever nature. In this book I share those Biblical principles which have helped
    me to gain victory over homosexuality and now sustain me in heterosexuality.
    In closing I wish to testify that my life was changed not through human reasoning,
    logic, philosophy and counseling, but through the Word of God and the saving grace of
    Jesus Christ. By His grace, this homosexual prodigal child has been delivered from his
    sin and redirected into a productive and fruitful new life of service as a Seventh-day
    Adventist minister of the gospel. I am happily married with children.
    I praise the Lord for His compassion, mercy and marvelous power manifested in
    saving even me from my life of sin! To those who believe that gay people never change,
    may I say: ‘Yes, they can change. God’s transforming power and grace can make them
    whole. This is what He did for me.”

  • inunison says:

    I am very sorry for this bad formating, teleologist

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