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Homosexuality: Can Christians agree to disagree?

Homosexuality: Can Christians agree to disagree?

Mentors are awesome!!!!

As a pastor, sometimes it’s tough to ask questions because I’m supposed to be the guy that has the answers to the questions.  That’s part of why I started this blog.  Sometimes I need the dialogue and unfortunately I sometimes have to resort to anonymity in order to get that honest dialogue.

My mentor though, is another great resource.  He lets me use him as a sounding board.  He’s somebody that I can ask questions without being judged.  Somebody that I can ask questions that other people would be offended by.

This is a conversation that he and I had last week via text message.  I tried to clean up the text language a bit but it’s still kinda rough.  You should be able to get the idea though.

Me: Okay so I’m trying to figure out where the line is.  Romans 14 says don’t judge one another, especially when it comes to Christian Freedom.  1Cor 5 Paul calls out a guy in sin and says kick him out.  Where’s the line, we are allowed to disagree on the Ten Commandments (sabbath) and on clean food but not on other things.  I’m struggling to see the difference.  Could homosexuality by a “Christian Freedom”? If not… Why?

Him: I think the line is where there is clear do’s and don’ts in the Bible.  Don’t murder is pretty clear.  But no clear teaching on smoking for instance.  Of course, some see the sexuality passages as nebulous but they really aren’t.

Me: So Christians can disagree on food and the Sabbath but can Christians disagree on hermeneutics?  Cause I think that’s what a lot of the sexuality stuff is.

Him: Hmmmm.  How is it hermeneutics?  Do you think it’s a matter of interpretation?  Or do you think that it is an issue of bibliology/authority of Scripture?  Trying to understand.

Me: I think there is a growing group within the church that holds to the authority of scripture but doesn’t see the bible condemning monogamous homosexual relationships.  They are reading the same Bible as me but they are reading it differently.

Him: Well I agree those folks are growing in number.  The issue is what is causing them to read it differently?  What commitments do u/they have that are different?  Those differences are not necessarily just hermeneutic in nature.  Could be value of scripture, theory of inspiration, etc. See what I mean?

Me:  I get what you mean but I don’t know that I see them making a different decision related to inspiration, or authority, it’s cultural context, that is debated.  Namely that orientation wasn’t a thing first century and that homosexuality then was predominantly homosexual rape.  If that’s the case, which I’m not yet convinced of, then I can see how they can argue that the Bible doesn’t condemn same sex monogamy but rather same sex rape.  At the end of the day I’m not convinced by their arguments but I’m also not convinced by Calvinism or Complementarianism.

Him: Hmmmm Interesting but nothing in the Biblical passages speaks of coercion or forced sex.  I think you have to eisegete that into the text.  The OT condemns rape and then separately condemns homosexuality.  It would then follow that prohibitions against homosexuality in the OT don’t assume non consesual sex.  First century Jews were more shaped by the OT than Greco Roman categories.  So as Paul writes he is more likely to be thinking OT than cultural practices.  Their argument requires eisegesis and special pleading and is just thin – nearly an argument from silence.

Me: I agree that the argument is thin but how do we deal with those that don’t agree.  Romans 14 principle seems to say don’t judge, let God deal with them.  1 Cor 5 principle seems to say kick them out.

Him: Well don’t judge doesn’t mean don’t condemn sin.  We are supposed to correct those who don’t repent of sin (Matt 18) even to the point of denying them fellowship (1 Cor 5).  Condemnation/judging seems to be final declaration of eternal death sentence with no intent to further encouragement to repent and return to God.

Me: Any possibility that the issue of homosexuality is the modern equivalent of first century circumcision?  I don’t want to be the foolish Galatian that adds being straight to the gospel of faith alone in Christ alone.  Matthew 18 seems to be someone who has offended and refuses to strive for unity intentionally dividing the body.  Modern homosexual Christians seem to be fighting for unity while conservatives push them away.  Maybe I’m off track but it seems different.

Him: Different categories.  Jesus and Paul base their sexual ethics on creation order.  That is the standard and basis they continually go back to.  This isn’t a unity issue.  My citation of Matt 18 was simply to show that sin is to be confronted.  There is no doubt in my mind that homosexual behavior is sin based upon my exegesis and consideration of the other interpretations as well.  You know me.  I am always open to revisit positions. I have on this issue and I have just not been convinced by the new understanding.

Me:  That’s why I process with you and not somebody else.  1st century Jews were pretty convinced that circumcision was significant.  Also pretty passionate about their view of the Sabbath.  Paul said that neither issue was as important as they thought.

Him:  Because they had been fulfilled by Jesus – not because they weren’t initially important.  Jesus met the requirement of the ritual law.  All believers were still called to recognize the morality of God’s values.  Plus in the circumcision debate at the Jerusalem council gentiles were still asked to abstain from sexual immorality (according to Jewish preconceptions of that category) in acts 15.

Me: Okay that makes sense, so what do I do with someone like Rachel Evans.  Evangelical, holds to biblical authority but is convinced by the new pro homosexual arguments.  Is she still a Christian, is she still evangelical, can I treat her and those that agree with her as brothers and sisters or do I call out sin and then distance myself from those who refuse to repent?

Him: Well her interpretation is wrong and you can recognize that as such.  Is she a Christian?  I would think so.  She is just in error.  And we are called to reprove, rebuke and admonish etc.. (2 Tim 3:16-17).  But here’s reality, she is probably not going to agree with you.  I read lots of authors I disagree with.  But honestly with her I think her doctrine of inspiration might not be just like mine so I recognize that when I read and spit out the bones as I digest what she wants me to hear.

Me: Cause for break of fellowship if it’s somebody in my church?

Him: I need to ponder that.  I would probably preclude them from teaching and sit down and study the issue with them.

So here are my takeaways.

The categorical stuff makes sense to me now but hadn’t been explained before.

Homosexuality is in a different category than circumcision or Sabbath rules because it falls under sexual ethics rather than OT law.  If we put it in the OT law category, then maybe we can throw it out when we throw out the no bacon rule.  But if we put it in the sexual ethics category, which both Paul and Jesus link to the creation order, it’s something that sticks around.

What I loved most about my mentors responses is something that I’ve always respected about him.  When I asked if this issue was a cause for break of fellowship his response was not yes or no.  It was let’s sit down and talk about it.  I think that’s the thing that is missing most in this debate.  There are lots of people talking AT each other or worse hurling insults, but there are very few people that are publicly discussing it and in love, working through the issues.  I’m not saying that it will be easy but I think hearts on both sides need to soften a bit and fight for unity in an attempt to understand and support one another.

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Bible, church, Religion, Sex

 

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Is God Logical?

Lets get straight to the point.  All of us cling to traditions that were part of our lives growing up and now some of us are challenging those traditions.  Whether these traditions are religious or just other ways to live out life.  I’m going to attempt to add to what James was saying about looking at the Bible and reality.  I’m going to add culture to the equation (which is part of biblical interpretation) and try to help us all understand this difficult cluster of life’s crap we are all trying to balance out.

First, let me make clear that I believe all of God’s decisions are logical.  Lets not forget that we are merely human and God created logic and reason (if you believe in a God).  In life we all experience moments that seem so illogical to us that it must be certain that God forgot what he was doing.  This brings us to ask questions about religion, God, the Bible, eternity, or whatever we put our faith in.  God wants us to ask question and use the brain he gave us to grow in our faith and challenge ourselves as well as others. If we just go through life never questioning our own beliefs than shame on us.

Now that we have gotten to the point of questioning our belief system, as Christians we look to the Bible first.  We look to the Bible to find answers. Guess what? Most of the time we find the answers we are looking for.  The problem is that we find answers that we want to hear and stop there. Again shame on all of us for doing this (I’m including myself).  This is where bad traditions in the church and the “Christian life” come from and start to screw everything up.  We misinterpret the Bible and create a belief based on false foundations.

As Christians we distort reality or distort the Bible to fit our liking.  I became a writer of this blog to stop this from happening.  I’m sick of the “Christian life” and living the way the church tells me to live.  These ways of living are distorted and have created so much turmoil among the Christian community it makes me beyond angry.

Now this is where culture needs to get added to the equation.  The reality is that culture changes and since the Bible was written culture has changed a lot (that is an understatement).  I will use slavery for an example since it was used in previous comments on the last post.  Slavery in the Bible never seems to be a problem or a sin but we choose as American Christians that slavery is wrong. I totally agree with the previous statement and I’m sure most people do.  This is a great example of Christians using their own brains and questioning their beliefs.  The problem is that we stop using our brains when defining the correct way to live out our lives as believers in Christ.

I want to challenge Christians to reevaluate their traditions, church culture, and walk with Jesus.  Actually read the Bible for what it is and keep it in context.  See how the Bible can work in today’s reality and culture.  Talk to people with a different belief system and learn more about life outside the church and Christianity.  Question ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  I also want to challenge people of others beliefs to share your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  Share with us how you perceive Christians and dialog with us.  The GodDamblog Team wants to here everyone’s thoughts.

~K.R. Morris

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Bible, church, Logic, Religion

 

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I’m probably the best Christian I know

I am basically a super-Christian.  Growing up I was in Cubbies, Sparkies, Pals, Pioneers, and even continued on into Junior Varsity (For those of you who don’t know these were all part of a program called AWANA which is basically Christian boy scouts.  You get patches for Bible verse memory and I had a frickin butload of them). I had so many awards for Bible Memory that they asked me to represent our church in the Bible Bowl.  I played in the worship band when I was in junior high, not because I was great on guitar but because I loved Jesus that much. I started leading worship in youth group when I was a freshman in high school. I never forgot my Bible and I took pride in reading it every day. It was highlighted, underlined, marked up, and written in on almost ever page.  (I stayed away from Song of Solomon, that’s only for married people…see Ashers post “Sex is Not a four letter word”.) I was almost always the first person to find the passage in sword drills (my personal favorite bible game), and I was always the first person to correct bad theology in my classmates. In high school I was a leader in my youth group as well as with fellowship of Christian athletes at school and I made fun of people who I knew were Christians that didn’t take their faith as seriously as I did. My freshman year I participated in the annual See you at the Pole rally (which is actually coming up soon 9/28/11), there were 2 of us. The next year there were over 50, and in my own mind I took credit for it because they were all coming to the youth group where I led worship. I went to a Christian camp every summer of my life and every summer I looked down on the kids that came to “have fun”… I came to get to know Jesus better (I hope you can feel the snoby-ness by now, I’m laying it on pretty thick). Some summers I even went to two different Christian camps. I had a bobble head Jesus on my guitar amp and I rocked Christian T-shirts like I was getting sponsored by Family Christian Book store. (To tell the truth I was terrified of the idea that anyone would ever question whether or not I was a Christian) I was a sexually abstinent, cocky prude.  To put it bluntly DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak” was actually written about me… 😉

When college started I chose a Christian College and was a Christian Ministries major. I quickly switched to Biblical Studies because the classes were harder and it was for students that took God’s word seriously. I was predestined to be a Bible Major.  I bullied people with theology and enjoyed being theologically and intellectually superior to those around me.  I became a pastor at the age of 19. NINETEEN!!! My friends were struggling to get internships or jobs at Sonic while trying to break their most recent Call of Duty kill counts and I was working part-time, which quickly turned to almost full-time  as  a bona-fide Pastor (do people still say bona-fide?).  I joked with friends that I was a “professional   Christian” and that me and God were “like this” (*fingers crossed to visually display how tight we were). I was only partly kidding and the thought of being a professional Christian only fed my ego.  I was arrogantly theological, narcissisticly self-righteous, and  completely infatuated with my own good deeds. I was the greatest Christian that I knew.

Thankfully my pride has been slowly waning since my sophomore year of college.  A year or two of ministry  at the age of nineteen and twenty, being challenged by brilliant professors, getting married, becoming a father, and being forced into the very cruel and very real world can have that effect on a person.

For all of you who struggle with pride like I do…

Mar 9:33  They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way? 34  But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35  Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Hit me like a ton of bricks.

Christian culture seems to have a tendency toward legalism, rules, comparing my morality to that of others etc… The mark of true spirituality is measured by the fruit produced by each persons life.  I don’t mean to throw that concept out the window because there is some truth to it.  But when Christ was asked about what was most important, it all boiled down to loving God and loving people. (Matt 22:36-40)  He didn’t talk about the importance of theology, or scripture memorization, or leadership in church, or anything else.  He talked about love.  We’ve missed that, and continue to miss that in church culture today.

~James

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Bible, Religion

 

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