Beliefs Culture Fortified Faith

Must Christianity change its sexual ethics? History may hold the key (COMMENTARY)

Trevin Wax is managing editor of the Gospel Project and author of multiple books, including “Clear Winter Nights: A Journey Into Truth, Doubt and What Comes After.” Photo courtesy of LifeWay Media

(RNS) Whenever people today say that Christianity needs to update and adapt its moral standards for the 21st century, I hear echoes from 100 years ago. Back then, the calls for change had less to do with morality and more to do with miracles. But the motivation was similar, and the results are instructive.

What rocked the early 20th century was the call of many church leaders to adapt the Christian faith to the scientific age of discovery. One could not expect thinking men and women to accept at face value all the miracles in the Bible, the thinking went. The biblical testimony of the miraculous was embarrassing to an educated mindset.

In order to rescue Christianity from superstitious irrelevance, many church leaders sought to distinguish the kernel of Christianity (the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man) from the shell of Christianity (miracle stories that came from another cultural vantage point). One could still maintain the moral center of Christianity while disregarding the events that required suspension of disbelief.

As this adaptation spread, belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus was reinterpreted and given a solely spiritual meaning (he is alive in the hearts of good people). Miracle stories such as Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 were given a moral twist (the true miracle is that suddenly everyone shared). The Virgin Birth was rejected altogether.

Meanwhile, churches outside the West were appalled to hear “Christians” reject the clear testimony of Scripture and what the church had always believed. In North America, the rise of the evangelical movement was due, in part, to a desire to reclaim the center of Christianity and refuse to allow contemporary sensibilities to alter the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.”

Presbyterian minister and theologian J. Gresham Machen made the case that this refashioning of Christianity was no longer Christianity at all, but a substitute religion with a Christian veneer.

Over time, the effort to save the kernel of Christianity and leave aside its shell had the opposite effect. The distinctiveness of Christian teaching disappeared, and the shell of church rituals was all that remained. This is why, even today in some denominations, bishops and pastors and parishioners openly reject the core tenets of the faith but continue to attend worship and go through certain rites. The denominations that followed this course have since entered a sharp and steady decline.

One hundred years later, the church is once again being rocked. This time, many Christians are calling for us to rethink the “embarrassing” parts of Christianity — specifically, our distinctive sexual ethic. After all, many of the moral guidelines we read in the New Testament were written from another cultural vantage point and are no longer authoritative or relevant today. If Christianity is to survive and thrive in the next century, many of our ancient prohibitions (sex outside of marriage, homosexual practice, the significance of gender, etc.) must be set aside.

Outside the West, this enthusiasm for rejecting Christian moral precepts that have been accepted by all Christians, everywhere, for 2,000 years is mind-boggling.

Churches that accept society’s dogma on marriage and sexuality may think of themselves as “affirming,” but the global church sees them as “apostate.” Meanwhile, it is the height of imperialistic narrowness for a rapidly shrinking subset of white churches in the West to lecture the rest of the world — including those places where Christianity is exploding in growth or where Christians are being martyred — on why they are wrong and how everyone else in Christian history has misread Scripture regarding the meaning of marriage.

Nestled within our own times, it is easy to think the trajectory of history will lead to an inevitable change within the global Christian church. But history’s lesson is the opposite. A century ago, the modernists believed that the triumph of naturalism would lead to the total transformation of Christianity.

It must have seemed thrilling for these leaders to think they were at the vanguard of reformation, that they were the pivot point of Christianity’s inevitable future. But such was not the case. Traditional stalwarts like Machen and G.K. Chesterton (who were criticized as hopelessly “backward” back then) still have books in print. The names of most of their once-fashionable opponents are largely unrecognizable.

Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project and author of multiple books, including "Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After. " Photo courtesy of LifeWay Media

Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project and author of multiple books, including “Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After. ” Photo courtesy of LifeWay Media

It’s commonplace to assume that contemporary society’s redefinition of marriage, gender and the purpose for sexuality will eventually persuade the church to follow along. But if we were to jump forward into the 22nd century, I wonder what we would see.

Most likely, we would see a world in which the explosive growth of Christians in South America, China and Africa has dwarfed the churches of North America and Europe. And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.

(Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project and author of multiple books, including “Clear Winter Nights: A Journey Into Truth, Doubt and What Comes After.”)


About the author

Trevin Wax


Click here to post a comment

  • The growth of Christianity in the “global south” is largely due to white Christians bringing the faith there. It’s a little ironic that you would _now_ criticize those white Christians’ descendants for telling them how to practice.

  • The question is,
    Should the word of God influence people’s lives or should the lives of people influence the word of God?

  • Citing historical precedent is tricky, and much depends on which precedent one cites. The current sexual ethics could be like the Scriptural interpretation issue the author cites. But the current sexual revolution could also be like the political revolutions of the 19th c. toppling monarchies and Catholic states, especially the papal states. The popes condemned freedom of conscience, of religion, of the press, condemned separation of church and state, defended slavery in some cases, and condemned representative democracy. They were sure that Scripture was on their side, and that modern secular revolutionary trends had to be condemned. They were pretty much wrong across the board. When you’re in the midst of a revolution (political or sexual), it is hard to make sense of what is going on. The track record of church officials, in making sense of ongoing revolutions, is very mixed. Only time will tell, and I’m hesitant to make predictions. Thanks for the provocative article.

  • Christianity is not a white religion.

    It is a bit racist and inappropriate to use the labeling “white Christians.”

    When seeing the warring history of conquest and genocide of non-Europeans BY world-wide marauding Europeans, and the tribal wars of Europeans versus Europeans throughout the ages . . . it is quite the miracle that “whites” ever became “Christians” or stayed Christian for any length of time.

    I believe that South Korea sends more missionaries into the world than any other country, including the USA. And within a very short period of time, China and the Chinese will be/have the most Christians of any country on earth.

  • Fundamentalist vs. Modernist controversy all over again and the same worn-out mythology about the ‘true’ churches holding on while the ‘untrue’ churches decline. This time though the results of Western Colonialism are coming back to roost since the Global South is holding onto repressive and conservative forms of Christianity that were adopted during colonialist periods and which now, ironically, provide for stability and reaction in a neoliberal, global economy. The church is not being told it must change, rather, many churches, proudly — like the PC(USA), UCC, and the Episcopal Church have responded to the call of the Holy Spirit and learned the meaning of welcome and the invitation to the Great Feast. Try reading someting by +Sara Miles or +Spong sometime…

  • I believe Christianity has already changed its sexual ethics. About a week ago, I watched a news interview where a shop owner said they would not serve LGBT customers. The reporter said, “Well, what about a divorced couple?”
    The shop owner said yes, they would serve a divorcee, because, “…that’s a different kind of sin.”

    I believe that shop owner was correct: divorce and adultery ARE different kinds of sins – they’re sins that Jesus actually talked about, A LOT!
    While Jesus didn’t say one word about homosexuality – he had a lot to say about the ethics of loving, committed relationships. I believe the same set of sexual ethics applies across the board, both to heterosexual and to homosexual relationships.

    I’m not suggesting that we return to the era of excommunicating people for being divorced. Not at all. I’m suggesting that we remove the veneer of hypocrisy when it comes to how we deal with our LGBT brothers and sisters.

  • Unless the New Testament is outlawed or deceptively and dishonestly rewritten, and a secularized-dumbed down society duped completely, there is only one form of Christian sexuality in Christian truth and reality. No matter the dates on the calendar a marriage and “Christian” sexual behavior is man and woman as husband and wife.

    No matter what “pop culture” is Christian truth is immutable.

  • Unless you can produce Adultery Pride Parade footage (other than the Academy Awards), than please allow logic to rule.

    There is NO adultery activists demanding that their sexual promiscuity is a “born that way” excuse for their behavior to be forced on everyone else.

  • As to “white Christians,” I was adopting the author’s language. And I was speaking historically of missionary influence on the rest of the world. As to South Korea, I’ve actually read the opposite: that it’s second to the US. Where these statistics are coming from, whether that’s per capita of national population vs. hard numbers, is unclear.

  • Mary the mother of Jesus married between 13 and 16 because in her society marriage coincided with sexual maturity. There was no need for teaching abstinence to young people. Do Christians rethink its rules on pre-marital sex or encourage marriage before 16-17?

  • Speaking of “deceptively and dishonestly rewritten” bibles… you are aware that when King James authorized the first English translation of the Bible he insisted that it emphasize the divine right of kings… and so it does. Today most bibles emphasize the theology of their “translators”, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there are still some out there that are biased in their sponsor’s direction politically. I don’t mean to suggest that this is typically intentional deceit; translators just “see” what they believe to be true and overlook those aspects that don’t agree with their own point of view.
    Some segment of society has always shaped biblical interpretation. That’s where the author of the article goes wrong. The time frame he uses is too short. His point works only because he picks a certain period where the facts line up with what he believes. Secondly, he confuses popularity with truth; that’s a mistake that has always plagued Christianity.

  • What? The scriptures are clear that multiple marriage is OK. The patriarchs had multiple marriage, and Jesus hims spoke about marriage many times, never condemning multiple marriage. How is that not clear? That goes for the whole new testament, right?

  • Each time I read this guy, I wonder if he also on some level favors slavery, or would at least tolerate it, given that slavery is repeatedly condoned throughout the Bible. I wonder if he’d consider modern humanity’s evolution beyond slavery as retrograde as modern humanity’s recognition of homosexuality as a normal orientation for a percentage of virtually all species, including humans.

  • Do you have any proof of that? Mary was Elizabeth’s cousin (John the Baptist’s Mother).

    The Gospel of Luke includes an account of John’s infancy, introducing him as the son of Zechariah who was an old man, and his wife Elizabeth, who was barren.

    Mary was a very young teenager with a very old cousin? I guess Elizabeth could be a teenager that was barren but c’mon now.

    Just asking.

  • If you are going to throw evolution and nature into the mix, nature does not see homosexual animals as part of its future. They don’t breed. No selfish genes from same gender mating. They are aberrations and abnormalities.

    Shall we head down that path with “gay” (homosexuality) rights?

  • Really, Karla. don’t you think it’s time you stop pretending that you are multiple people?

  • “It’s commonplace to assume that contemporary society’s redefinition of marriage, gender and the purpose for sexuality will eventually persuade the church to follow along.”

    Marriage hasn’t been redefined. gay people are being redefined– as no longer your moral and human inferiors.

    Gender hasn’t been redefined either. I am most assuredly a man. I am most assuredly a gay man.

    the purpose of sexuality? Even Christians don’t believe there is just one purpose.

    You’d be surprised just how many people really wouldn’t care about Christianity, if some of Christianity didn’t insist on legislating its purely theological positions upon people who don’t share those beliefs. Your whole argument is just a long statement of the “no true Christian” fallacy.

  • Christianity confronted the sexual morays in the 1st century in the Roman Empire. Child abandonment was encouraged as well as all the attitudes toward sex that are widespread currently. The Gospel of Jesus Christ met all of these head-on. Many died for their faith because they were labeled atheists for not honoring or acknowledging other pantheons of gods and goddesses. So the confrontation is not one of ignorance on the Christian’s part but the ignorance stems from persons that believe all the unbridled promiscuity is something new that the Christian does not know how to change with it or assimilate it. The Gospel gave dignity to all of life-ecology, women’s rights, just economics and aided in the freeing of attitudes towards slavery.What Christians face today is a revival of this old hedonistic, atheistic and agnostic spirit of the age! We are still prepared through the grace of God and His WORD to speak the truth in love.

  • Child abandonment didn’t end or even was remotely prevented as a general practice by Christians. In fact it was still by and large well into practice well into modernity. Hence the creation of orphanages and use of churches/monasteries/convents as safe places to abandon babies.

    “Atheism” meant subversion of religion in antiquity. Its definition has changed dramatically since then.

    “The Gospel gave dignity to all of life-ecology, women’s rights, just economics and aided in the freeing of attitudes towards slavery”

    Unless you were an adherent to one of those “timeless” sects which did not budge towards modernity. Then it opposed women’s rights, supported slavery and encouraged sectarian slaughter and genocide. The very types of sects and thinking Mr. Wax decries, are the ones he wants to take credit for. The sects he thinks will fade away if they don’t accept his reactionary ideas.

  • “They don’t breed. No selfish genes from same gender mating. ”

    No overpopulation and breeding yourself to extinction. Extra hands in care of young. There are studies that show that siblings of gay people may be actually extra-fertile in comparison to others.

    “Shall we head down that path with “gay” (homosexuality) rights?”

    Indeed we should. After all your religious prejudices have no bearing on our laws. Religious freedom means no faith gets to have its views given color of law. Nobody ever has to be forced to give a flying crap what you think God has to say on a given subject.

  • Why would anyone read such vapid rubbish? The decadent denominations have long shown that they wouldn’t know eternal life from an open sewer.

  • Karla-

    None of those condemn polygamy. 1Cor 5 simply says not to marry your mother in law. 1 Cor 6, Luke 13, 1 Rom, etc, all say not to have sex outside of marriage – they don’t say you can’t be married to more than one person. 1 Cor 7 simply says to be married if you are lustful (lustful men must have a wife, and lustful women must have a husband). None of them say you can’t have more than one spouse.

    However, the scriptures do say not to lie. Are you not lying by using a sockpuppet name?

  • The election parties of anyone running on a Christian conservative platform is a clear celebration of lying thievery and adultery.

    “There is NO adultery activists demanding that their sexual promiscuity is a “born that way” excuse for their behavior to be forced on everyone else.”

    Great so now you know there is a difference between adultery and homosexuality. At least you got one thing right.

  • The morality of slavery was asserted by all of the mainline denominations in the South prior to the US Civil War. In every instance, the pastors and theologians used the Bible to support their view that slavery was morally justifiable. They were right, of course, that the Bible does not condemn and even supports slavery in both Old and New Testaments. But the morality of slavery was and is rejected by most Christians today. Did the Bible change? No, only the way it is interpreted. In a similar manner, in the early 20th century, biblical arguments were used to morally justify racism in the church. Those who argued in this way used God’s choice of Israel as a special chosen people as a way to justify whites as God’s special chosen people. But now most Christians think racism is morally reprehensible. Did the Bible change? No, only our way of interpreting it. So to argue that the church universal will not change in relation to the changing morals of the world is foolish at…

  • LOL. What do adulterers need a “pride parade” for? We let serial adulterers run for president, but a gay person can be fired for simply being gay.

    Adultery activists just get divorced and move on, and their adultery allies conveniently forget what Jesus said because “she’s my sister” or “it’s not my business,” but continue to treat gay people as less and not realize the hypocrisy there in.

  • Given the sexual ethics and beliefs of the new Christians, the white Christians carrying the faith to them are very likely not among those who seek to redefine the sexual mores of the Christian Church to be in line with those of upper class white liberals in the Euro-centric west many of whom are very likely not Christians.
    Christianity in the white liberal west has lost its way.

  • Indeed .. the early Christians navigated a culture which in many ways was even more sexually degenerate than our own. At least our culture makes a pretense of valuing fidelity in marriage, abhors prostitution even where legal, and does not allow child marriage, infanticide or the forcing of abortions upon women by their husbands.

    Of course, how long that will continue to be the case is an open question.

  • Christian abolitionism did not begin during the Civil War era, Rev. It began in antiquity and ended slavery in the west not once but twice.

  • Excellent point. The author makes an interesting argument but leaves important counterpoints unaddressed: this may lead readers to incomplete or incorrect conclusions. And I say this as a reader who was about to do so.

  • If what you say is true and homosexuality will not last because homosexuals do not breed, how would you propose explaining the existence of homosexual behavior in other species at all? If I understand your way of thinking, it should never have occurred. And yet, it does exist.

    And what of people who are sterile? They don’t get to breed. Should their right to marry or peacefully exist in society be limited as well?

  • Would you please explain how your religion’s scripture gave dignity to the things you claim it did?

  • Abolition was the outlier of the faith for most of its existence. All of the major sects were either indifferent to slavery or supported it. So the idea of attributing abolitionism to Christianity in the general sense is extremely misleading at best, outright fiction at worst. Give credit to the specific sects where its due.

    Slavery didn’t actually end in the West with the rise of Christendom. The Roman empire certainly didn’t abolish it when it became officially Christian. When that fell, slavery had to be tweaked into a more manageable form with serfdom due to the lack of ability to recover fugitive slaves. Outright chattel slavery of non-christians in practice for centuries well into until the 19th century.

    Those old “timeless” sects Mr. Wax seems to extol were the supporters of slavery. Not those “modernist” ones willing to change with the times. The ones Mr. Wax claims are doomed if they don’t become reactionary right this second.

  • Christians aren’t obliged to favor slavery, though it condoned in the OT and are told not to rebel against it in the NT. On the other hand, a Christian is obliged to view homosexuality as a sin and to not practice it.

  • It does not. That is what you interpreted from it. At best, it implies that a church leader is to have only one wife.

    “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, “

  • I did not claim that Christians invented abolitionism, or that it was invented during the Civil War. I also did not claim Christianity ended slavery.

    My point was that Christians used the Bible then to morally justify behaviors and attitudes that are now viewed as anti-Christian. The only change is how the Bible is viewed in relation to behaviors and attitudes.

    The same thing is and will continue to happen with gay marriage and the LGBTQ community in general. I think it should. A lot of what we have in the Bible is culture specific – much like many so-called Christian practices in North America.

  • “We let serial adulterers run for president…”

    Well, we let Christianity-Betraying liberal dictators run for President too (and we even let one win!!), despite the fact that said win has effectively sealed this nation’s doom.

  • Karla-

    As others have pointed out, 1 Tm only says that the pastor is to have only one wife, not others – and if you read it in context, it’s clearly an admonition against affluence of pastors. Additional wives were seen just like other types of property, such as having multiple houses, etc. Even the 10 commandments makes it clear that wives are property (as are slaves). That’s why 1 Tm lists the multiple wives along with other affluence/wealth. Compare with the Bishop of bling.

    Also – Karla – you didn’t answer my question about lying.

  • “I did not claim that Christians invented abolitionism, or that it was invented during the Civil War. I also did not claim Christianity ended slavery.”

    I know you didn’t claim all that. I did.

    My problem with your post is that you are implying that the church as a whole repudiated slavery in response to the “changing morals of the world.” The truth is exactly the opposite. Slavery is a natural default setting of the human race. It was practiced by literally every culture on the face of the pre-christian earth, and still continues today in many places. That the west rejects slavery today is owing entirely to the influence of Judeo-Christianity in the west. Only Christianity was ever able to come up with a compelling rationale for abolishing it.

  • Not any more that the Church preaching to Jews who missed their Messiah.
    Just because the children squander their patrimony doesn’t mean someone else can’t value it

  • This is a good article, my only comment being that at least the Catholic Church has not followed the pattern of the Protestant Christians that the author speaks of.

  • When we believe that God is for the things we’re for and against the things we’re against, then we’ve made God in our image. We’ve made an idol. When we use the bible as a weapon, to judge others, then we’ve made the bible an idol. The Word was made flesh; not text.

    In Joshua 5:13-15, before the battle of Jericho, Joshua sees, “…one facing him, drawn sword in hand.” Joshua asks him “Are you one of us or of our enemies?”
    The man replies, “Neither. I am the Captain of the Host of the Lord.”

    Neither??? The Captain of God’s army is NOT on the side of the Israelites? What can this tell us?

    Perhaps it’s telling us that God is on humanity’s side. God is FOR all of us.

    Jesus left us one rule: Love God and love others as ourselves. How would it look if Christian churches did that? It might look a lot like baking cakes and making floral arrangements for same-sex weddings. It might look a lot like having diverse, affirming congregations full of…

  • “My problem with your post is that you are implying that the church as a whole repudiated slavery in response to the “changing morals of the world.””

    The Southern Baptist Convention didn’t repudiate it until 1990. Timeless indeed!

    “That the west rejects slavery today is owing entirely to the influence of Judeo-Christianity in the west”

    That is far too general. “Judeo-Christianity” as you would say encompasses the supporters of slavery as well. It renders your statement to falsehood.

    Only some sects opposed slavery. The ones which were far from the mainstream. Far from those of “timeless values” Mr. Wax appears to be promoting. It was abolished due to the efforts of those “modernist sects” he claims will disappear entirely for forsaking such basic understood principles. The ones who saw the spirit of the times and fought the majority orthodox religious thinking at the time.

    Not your type of Christians.

  • The first Christians were Jews preaching to their fellow Jews. For the most part those Jews rejected it, on the merits. But Christianity was spread in the global south (not counting indigenous movements of late antiquity) by white European Christians. The author apparently had no problem with that because I guess it’s part of the Great Commission, as you allude. Yet those same white Europeans are being “imperialist” by trying to influence the church’s direction on LGBT issues. I call that hypocrisy on the author’s part.

  • “Predictions are ALWAYS difficult, particularly about the future.” – seen on an IBM bulletin board in 1999.

  • Umm, then why did God let Joshua win? The fact is that God, while loving everybody, clearly helped Joshua win. Helped him clearly destroy an entire city, in fact. That means God was on somebody’s side. Namely, Joshua’s.

    But Joshua put high priority on obeying God’s Word. That’s why he WIN big, while today’s Christians LOSE big. You can’t be letting these gay cultists re-write and mess-up your Bibles; you can’t be kowtowing and asking THEIR permission on which Bible texts to take seriously.

    We don’t need Judgmentalism, but we don’t need Jive either. We need to fight back!!

  • What do you do with the definition of marriage He(!) gives in Matthew 19.5? It is repeated twice, elsewhere in the Bible, and doesn’t allow SameSexMarriage.

  • So says you — in fact, as a member of a mainline church I see life, healing and passionate belief in the living Christ as “author of our salvation” and the “one, true and living God.” Go meander in your fantasy brother and I will pray for you. @Matthew

  • As an American you woudn’t know a dictator if one put you in prison. Get a grip on reality. You hate Obama because he’s a democrat and black.

  • Just one rule, eh? Right in the middle of what He left is His purpose statement which says He did not come to destroy the law (Matthew 5:18).

  • Garson, you are correct. So. Korea is the second to the U.S. for sending Christian missionaries to other parts of the world. I am a So. Korean born American who grew up there in the 70’s. If you look at the religions of So Korea today in context, 46% of Koreans are unaffiliated or atheists, 29% Christians and 23% Buddhists. In other words, So Korea is largely secular with no religious majority (also the lowest religious hostilities in the world). So why So Korea’s small percentage of Christians are responsible for producing the second largest number of missionaries are a little puzzling to me. And as an atheist, I find that statistics sad and hope that the rest of 69% non-Christian population in Korea maintain their secularism and religious peace.

  • @Matthew–

    Open sewer, huh? another reviled and slanderer goes unchallenged by our resident good Christians.


  • Larry, as I’ve painstakingly pointed out before, the story of Christian abolitionism is not contained within the pages of a high school American history book. The entire western world under the medieval church repudiated slavery during the early middle ages, through the efforts of the earliest anti-slavery crusaders and the more quiet and steady efforts of the clergy. Slavery was revived for a time due to increasing exposure to other world cultures during the age of exploration — and again Christianity stepped up to the plate to fight it down. If any “sect” can claim to be the most responsible for its second death it was Methodism, whose forefathers John and Charles Wesley exerted profound influence upon William Wilberforce.

  • “That is far too general. “Judeo-Christianity” as you would say encompasses the supporters of slavery as well. It renders your statement to falsehood.”

    Indeed? Well then, let’s see the long list of atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. voices that competed with Christian ones in the struggle against slavery….

  • Doc, I think we MUST routinely question which biblical texts to take seriously. Jesus did. And sometimes, when they didn’t make sense, and when they didn’t follow the litmus test of love, he disregarded them or flat out violated them (i.e., picking grain on the sabbath; healing on the sabbath).

    This drove the Pharisees nuts! But the lesson we must take from this is that to practice Love the way that Jesus commanded us to requires constant evaluation and seeking. This is why we’re not given a list of rules to follow, but rather one rule – Love – which we must apply to each new situation that we encounter.

    If God stopped speaking when the biblical canon was sealed and set in stone, then God is dead.

    Thank you for letting me share my opinion.

  • Luther, the better question is why should the word of your God have any influence on people’s lives outside of your sectarian tribe? In this country, it is your right to believe whatever you think your God told you to think or do and it is also my right to completely ignore your religious beliefs and dogmas. Most of the time, that neutral relationship works. However, it becomes a problem when one particular religious belief is used as an excuse to deny someone else’s fundamental right to marry whom he/she loves. BTW, people influenced the word of God all throughout the history of mankind. If we didn’t, we’d still have slavery (see Exodus, Ephesians, and Timothy), men would have many wives and concubines (er, king Solomon and David, anyone?) and women would be silenced in church (Corinthians). Personally, I am very glad that people have been influencing the word of God and correcting many social wrongs that were perfectly endorsed by God.

  • Savannah, those rules that Jesus disregarded were HUMAN rules, not commands of God. The OT said not to work on the Sabbath. It did not say that you couldn’t pick off a few grains to eat as you passed through a field. It similarly did not say that a supernatural healing was a no-no on the Sabbath.

    Actually, Jesus had something to say about setting aside God’s commands to follow our own traditions–and it wasn’t complimentary.

  • No Shawnie you repeat the same nonsense. Constantly trying to take credit for Christian sects whose take on the Bible you gladly attack as not being “orthodox” or “Scripturally accurate”. Fellows of the faith you have shown open contempt for in any kind of modern situation.

    No the medieval world did not repudiate slavery, they changed it to a more manageable form in serfdom and kept slavery of Non-Christians where possible. When Europeans found large numbers of non-Christians, the first thing they did was enslave them or kill them en masse.

    By claiming Christianity as a whole and the fictitious “Judeo-Christianity”, you lump the abolitionists with the slavers. To the benefit of the slavers. The slavers being people who always had the mainstream acceptance and the power of state backing. The traditionalists. The “timeless” Christians Mr, Wax extols. A more honest approach would be to specify the sects rather than taking credit for the entire faith.

  • If you didn’t spend so much time attacking Liberal and Progressive sects of Christianity as not allegedly being true to the faith or not really Christian, then you might be able to glom off the success of the religious civil rights leaders. But you can’t.

    You throw your towel in with the crowd that attacks civil rights, supports discrimination and engages in petty sectarian sniping. You are the kind of Christian Mr. Wax is supporting. But not the type of Christian who can make any claim on the events you want to take credit for,

    They aren’t your kind of Christians. You hold that kind of Christian in utter contempt and insult them constantly.

  • Exactly! God’s principles, guidelines and commandments as found in the Bible never change, and neither does He! We should follow suit and do our best, in our imperfect state, to follow them.

  • Umm…you should probably become better acquainted with Bible and theology before making such lame comments parroting other misinformed commentators. No, I am not going to give you specifics. Excellent articles have already been written concerning your views and the Bible itself is not in agreement with your points. Check it out – it is life altering. 🙂

  • “they changed it to a more manageable form in serfdom”

    Larry, if you ever faced the prospect of having your life taken at the whim of another with no accountablility, or of being sold away from your spouse and children or vice versa, you would understand the difference between slavery and serfdom.

    “When Europeans found large numbers of non-Christians, the first thing they did was enslave them or kill them en masse.”

    When adventurers got far enough away (an ocean or so) from the church’s ability to hold them accountable, yes. Throughout the middle ages in Europe, though, slavery was an ancient relic that most people were thankful to have behind them.

    “The slavers being people who always had the mainstream acceptance and the power of state backing ”

    As I have already demonstrated, that was not the case for hundreds of years of Christendom — when slavery had no backing at all because it didn’t exist.

  • You are the kind of Christian Mr. Wax is supporting. But not the type of Christian who can make any claim on the events you want to take credit for, They aren’t your kind of Christians.”

    They aren’t exactly my kind of Christians, no. They are the kind that mocked Wilberforce for his zeal and complained that it had no place in government: “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.’ –Lord Melbourne, Wilberforce’s fellow Parliamentarian and future Prime Minister. (Where have we heard that theme before???)

    And they CAN’T take credit for the heavy lifting that others did any more now than they could then.

    And they

  • I wonder what you think those words mean. If your theology has been formed by Spong, et al, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of there being any substance to them. You keep chasing those good feelings (or better yet, study the scriptures and the tradition properly, and repent). I hope they’ll be of some use to you when the time comes for the master to check your work.

  • Jesus said that before He returns that the love of many (so called Christians) will grow cold. Paul wrote that in the last days they will no longer endure sound doctrine. We could go on and on about these days being foretold long ago. We are setting the stage for the anti-Christ who himself “will not regard the desire of women” which many interpret to mean he is homosexual. The spirit of the antichrist is already at work among us. Jesus is the truth, the antichrist is a liar. Do you prefer lies to the truth? Many do today.. But some of us are still fighting the good fight. We need to receive Jesus as our only hope for heaven because of what He did for us on the cross. And we need to abide in Him by following His Word and walking in the power of The Holy Spirit. God Bless

  • As pointed out to you on numerous occasions, slavery was different from serfdom because slavery could not be enforced in the fractious Medieval environment. Bondage remained. Serfs were bound to the land and treated practically as property of the estate holders. None of those changes came from any kind of moral awakening as you falsely claim. It was the impracticality of the system which doomed slavery.

    That was, until nation/states formed and more non-Christians could be found to enslave. Once it became practical again, mainstream Christianity threw itself whole hog into supporting it.

    You omit much and try to take credit where it is not due.

    You are not the type of Christian who supports civil liberties, respect among faiths, or even the basics of “love thy neighbor” You can stop pretending to be part of that crowd. Your contempt for them is rife.

  • Amen, Too often we attempt to bend the word of God our own slant. One of the main constants I have held on to in my seventy-five years, and experienced is the Love of God and the call to accept everyone in the light of the teachings of Jesus Christ. We don’t need civil religion to give us the stamp of approval. Hatred is the cancer eating away at persons on all levels of this debate.

  • @Randy, oh I am very familiar with the Christian theology and Bible. I am all ears for your counter argument on what I said. Your refusal to state the specifics for supporting your point against my comment is…umm…how would I say…yea, just a noise. Many excellent books and literatures, some written by Christian theologians, are also available that support my view. Looking at your religion with complete intellectual honesty can really open your eyes and change your life.

  • “slavery could not be enforced in the fractious Medieval environment. ”

    That’s nonsense. Slavery wasn’t harder to enforced than serfdom. Slavery has never been terribly hard for ANY society to enforce, fractious or not, since every single society has practiced it.

    The ONLY reason slavery disappeared from Europe was because of the steady, and some might say underhanded, efforts of the clergy, who convinced that slavery-steeped culture, little by little and person by person, that one could not enslave a Christian brother and since everyone in that society was at least nominally Christian that put an effective end to the whole thing. Once it was gone, Chrisendom was still squeamish about having it on their soil — which was why it became characteristic of the colonies far removed from the Church’s influence and facilitated by the Muslim slave trade.

    Still waiting for that list of non-Christians who made significant contributions to the abolitionist effort…

  • @Matthew I will pray for you and love you brother. I hope that the Author of Salvation will lead you “out of error into truth.”

  • “Slavery wasn’t harder to enforced than serfdom.”

    Wrong on that. Without a large empire infrastructure and fractious governments, fugitive slaves (the bulk were agricultural workers) could not be recovered. In an agrarian economy serfdom was enforced through lack of infrastructure common to the manorial system. Serfdom was only abolished when it became economically burdensome. Much like how slavery was phased out.

    Slavery did not disappear from Europe until it became to burdensome to maintain. Christianity didn’t ban slavery. They just banned use of Christians as slaves. Once it became economically viable again, it was resumed with vigor, WITH FULL SANCTION OF THE CHURCHES.

    I am still waiting for you to acknowledge the churches which supported slavery. To claim abolitionism for “Judeo-Christianity” instead of its small outlier sects is like claiming that being sapient bipedal mammals was a significant factor to abolitionism. Too general to be accurate.

  • So owning human beings as chattel property is either fully condoned or mildly rebuked by Christianity but consensual relations among 2 adults is to be condemned vociferously.

    That is some really messed up priorities there.

    This is why I do not take anyone seriously when they say their moral guidance comes from Christianity.

  • Not true Roxy
    The Varieties of Biblical Marriage

    1. A man has more than one wife.

    2. The brother-in-law and widow who is without heir (compulsory)

    3. A man, a woman and her property — a female slave

    4. A man, one or more wives, and some concubines

    5. A male soldier and a female prisoner of war

    6. A male rapist and his victim

    7. A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.

    8. And then you have one man and one woman.

    The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.

    So there you go. The next time someone says that we need to stick with biblical marriage in this country, you can ask them which of the eight kinds they would prefer, and why.

  • “Personally, I am very glad that people have been influencing the word of God and correcting many social wrongs that were perfectly endorsed by God.”

    Not sure the “God” you speak of here, Liz, that perfectly endorses social wrongs. Are you referring to Luther as God? Or Luther’s words as God?

    What is God, Liz? If you don’t believe in “God” … how can he endorse social wrongs?

  • Sorry Karla, but repeating your claim (again without evidence) again after it’s been shown wrong only makes you look illogical. Several people have pointed out that 1 Tm only applies to pastors, and now Larry has provided a good overview of what a “Biblical” marriage means – and it includes polygamy. I see that you still haven’t addressed your problem of posting under a false name.

  • Until the last few decades, LGBT people were commonly beaten to death, “in the name of the Lord”, upon discovery; or, if lucky, merely fined, imprisoned, and their lives and careers destroyed.

    It’s rank and utter hypocrisy for Christians to blame any portion of this conflict on “hate” or “intolerance” by LGBT people.

  • … another “Good Christian” being Christ-like.

    I know there are many good Christians in the world, but … “when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

  • LOL, um is that “creation science” you’re spouting? It must be, as it makes no sense whatsoever.

    If homosexuality weren’t normal, it wouldn’t be present in virtually all species, *despite* the fact we do not breed children.

  • So, slavery is OK, just like the subjugation of women, and ostracism for homosexuals (and presumably bans on shellfish and mixed-fiber clothing).

    Thank you for clearing up what *you* consider to be “christian” behavior. At some point, though, you may want to notice that Jesus Christ spoke not a single word in support of your views, and several condemning them.

    In the end, though, that’s between you and He. Good luck when the Judgment comes.

  • “Hatred is the cancer eating away at persons on all levels of this debate.”

    Sorry, but NO NO NO!

    I don’t know any gay person personally who hates Christians, though I do know OF a few online. I don’t hate Christians. I don’t want them imprisoned. I don’t revile and slander them. I don’t blame them for things they couldn’t possibly have a thing to do with. I don’t make up stuff about Christians, and then use the story I just made up to harm them. I’d bake a Christian a cake, if I was much of a baker.

    I do understand the few people I have known online who hate Christians.
    Like a good Christian, I don’t hate who they are. I hate what what some of them DO. I hate their willingness to repeat and vile slandering lie as long as it harms gay people and improves their own sense of superiority. I hate their hypocrisy when they tell me how much they “loooooooooooooove” me, and then go on to repeat their lies and work their slanders.

    95% of the hate is coming from one…

  • “Without a large empire infrastructure and fractious governments, fugitive slaves (the bulk were agricultural workers) could not be recovered.”


    Larry, you’re straining so hard you are going to give yourself varicosities.

    There was no large empire infrastructure in pre-Colombian North America. They had slavery nevertheless.

    There was no large empire infrastructure in Greece during the age of the city-states and yet slavery flourished.

    There was no large empire infrastructure among the pre-Islamic bedouin societies of the middle east, yet slavery flourished among them — they were, in fact, renowned slave-traders.

    Do I really have to go on? Are you really going to argue that Europe was the only place on the face of the earth where slavery was “unmanageable?” You’d be laughed out of a college history class.

    In any case, it is no harder to recover an escaped slave than an escaped serf.

    And I asked you FIRST…who were the non-Christian voices against…

  • I agree with the author of this article. It’s about time that we shed these archaic notions. As a matter of fact, why don’t we just do away with the concept of sin altogether? Let’s not stand for anything. Forget Christian principles and ethics. Why should we care if a persons actions send them to Hell? Hey, as long as they feel good we shouldn’t interrupt their good times with such ugly concepts as sin and morals. The actions of another Christian apologist in action.

  • direction only. Brian fischer, Pat Robertson, Lonnie Latham, Ted Haggard (before his conversion) tony perkins, Steve Swanson, Harry Jackson, John Hagee, Cardinal George, Geroge rekers, Paul Cameron, James Dobson, are just a few of the names off the top of my head.

  • So we should change our beliefs to coincide with whatever is socially acceptable? Perhaps we should call it “the floating christian ethic”. If bigamy was socially acceptable and we lowered the age of consent to twelve (which it is in some countries) then, as Christians, we should support it? So the Bible is really just a set of guidelines to be loosely interpreted however one pleases? Well that certainly makes being a Christian much easier. As long as you believe in God and Jesus (if it’s socially acceptable), and if society deems it as “acceptable”, anything goes.

  • As usual following you down the rabbit hole ends up with personal insults and you going deeper and deeper into terrible fact free excuses and equivocation. All you are telling me is that you are unfamiliar with history other than Christian apologia

    “There was no large empire infrastructure in pre-Colombian North America. They had slavery nevertheless.”

    They didn’t have chattel slavery. Captured people were absorbed into tribes.

    “There was no large empire infrastructure in Greece during the age of the city-states and yet slavery flourished.”

    Actually it flourished well in the two states which had an imperial aspirations. Athens and Sparta. Both states had control of more than just their city/states.

    “There was no large empire infrastructure among the pre-Islamic bedouin societies of the middle east, yet slavery flourished among them ”

    Those areas were part of the Persian Empire!

    Why do I bother?

  • “They didn’t have chattel slavery. Captured people were absorbed into tribes.”

    Some were absorbed. Many were not. They served their masters and were exchanged like any other currency — if they were fortunate enough to not be ceremonially tortured to death.

    “Actually it flourished well in the two states which had an imperial aspirations.”

    It flourished everywhere in Greece — and everywhere else in the ancient world. Since when do “imperial aspirations” equal “imperial infrastructure?”

    “Those areas were part of the Persian Empire!”

    The Persian Empire did not exist until the 6th century BC. Bedouin culture and slave-trading was far, far older than that.

    “Why do I bother?”

    I’m sure I don’t know. You’ve done nothing but spin your wheels and have not answered a single question. Thanks for nothing.

  • The “white Christians” didn’t just bring faith; just brought a superiority complex which has never fully subsided, and which is being pointed out by the article writer above as something to be eclipsed by the virtues of Church-on-the-rise in the twenty-first century, that is, from those who have developed and expressed Christian faith through carrying their crosses despite such oppression and have something to teach “white (‘western’) Christians” in return.

  • We are to be the Body of Christ, enfleshing the Word. It’s a symbiotic relationship rather than an either/or as you’ve written it.

    The Word of God says nothing to us without entering the filter of our reception of it. Even if it were objective and absolute, we could not ingest it that way. Our reception of the Word of God is influenced by our lives and living. Of course, we ingest it, on the other hand, because we know it to be formational and foundational nutrition for our faith.

  • Did Jesus say nothing besides what record we have of what He said? He didn’t have to say anything to correct a Jewish faith that already taught against homosexuality. His silence does not mean an issue was less important.

  • Scripture is tricky business. How can you expect to understand the ways of a god.

  • A lot of Christians come to me with fleas. Heck, some of them are pretty much fleas themselves.

  • Christians have long been discarding outworn moral beliefs.

    * Perhaps the first to go was the belief that usury was always wrong. That inconvenient teaching was modified by the invention of interest (usury lite) while the word usury was reserved for loan sharks.
    * A second belief to go was the witch slaughter text.
    * A third belief to go, was the teaching in both Testaments that slavery was OK.

    We don’t think twice about those beliefs any more. However, the traditional sexual teachings of the churches are still accepted by many Christians.

    In the West, many traditional church teachings, for better or worse, have become an irrelevance. However, the rights of divorcees, gays and the transgendered are increasingly recognised, and a firm line has been drawn against the sexual exploitation of children and female genital mutilation.

    These new moral insights are just as strong as the older moral teachings of the churches.

  • Liz and others like-minded,
    The atheist/sexual liberation movement does not need the embarrassment of terrible arguments such as “the fundamental right to marry whom he/she loves.” Please don’t make your position look ridiculous by making absurd, simplistic statements like that one. There is a fundamental right for any person to love whomever he/she loves. (Note: “love” is not synonymous with “have sex with.”) A person does not have a fundamental right to marry whomever he/she loves, because the person/object of affection could be a biological parent, sibling, pet, or plant. I hope you would agree that any society would be regressive (not progressive) by allowing a father to marry his son(s) and/or daughter(s), or a woman to marry her cat(s).

  • Since you don’t seem to be aware of it, here’s what the Episcopal Church has to say about same-sex relationships: “We expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.”

    I frankly cannot fathom why anybody should object to this, or call it “a change in ethics” – unless he was dead-set on making sure that gay people were kept forever outside the fold and away from the healing and transformation that Christ extends to all people.

    And that is the actual problem…..

  • You say that you cannot fathom why anyone would object? Really? Let me clue you in. It is because God condemns it! Does that help you at all, or do you really not care what God says about it? This so called “church’ that you are quoting, do they really claim to represent God? I can assure you that they do NOT! They are leading you and their members straight to hell. Unless you repent from your way of thinking you will surely end up there. I suggest you take God seriously and stop playing games with Him, because He will not be manipulated. Repent, and receive Christ as Savior and Lord, and you will not be condemned. And you will know His peace, and His righteousness, and joy.

  • Fran–How do you know that hell is merely a human invention? Your idea that there is no hell is also a human invention. How do you know that your idea is true? Can you point me to peer-reviewed scientific experiments that have conclusively confirmed that hell does not exist? If not, then your belief that there is no hell is merely an unproven opinion.

    I would suggest that you read scientific studies of Near Death Experiences–you might be surprised to find that some NDE survivors, from a variety of cultures, have literally gone through hell. So have mystics from many different religions and cultures.

    Speaking of cultures, the concept of post-mortem punishment of the souls of evil people is not limited to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Various conceptions of hell, demons, etc. are common amongst nearly all religions, including non-theistic ones, such as Taoism and Buddhism.

  • Sorry Liz, but your comments about the “Word of God” in regard to slavery are wrong. Slavery is a man-made practice, not a divine one. It has been used for millenia across all cultures. The OT laws regarding slavery were based around the existential reality of slavery. It is the same with divorce. There were laws around divorce, not because God likes divorce, but because it was an everyday reality and therefore needed addressing.

    Likewise, Solomon did not have many wives because the Word Of God told him to. In fact, if you read the whole story, his polygamy was part of his downfall and the split of the Jewish kingdom; that wasn’t the wish of God

    No, people have not influenced the Wotd of God, which is immutable. some people have chosen to change their understanding of it under pressure from secular values. Either that, or they have read the Bible selectively without understanding it, or simply deliberately choose to misrepresent its message to suit their own worldview.

  • Guess what, Mark? Some of us don’t read the Bible the way you do – nor are we required to. People have interpreted the Bible in different ways throughout history; this is nothing new. Conservative Judaism is divided on this very topic, for instance. So don’t just scream at me; make an argument. Deal with the facts and the issues at hand, for once.

    But thanks for more proof that “sexual ethics” is a smokescreen for (so-called) “Biblical literalism.” Because when you talk about “ethics,” you have to think things through – and that’s exactly what’s NOT happening in this discussion.

  • Hellfire is a man-made doctrine not based on the Bible since it (along with Sheol and Hades) is the common grave of mankind (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10; Psalm 146:4; John 11:11, 13, 14), where the dead are not aware of anything and are sleeping or resting in peace.

  • Amen. The church must grow up or be seen as not relevant in today’s world. We Christians act like we know it all, when we don’t!
    I suggest that readers look at Brian D. McLaren’s works for some new mental food.
    Jesus welcomed the woman at the well, mended the ear of the high priest’s Guard and said nothing about homosexuality.
    The inclusion movement within the Christian Family will not end. God created all people, including LGBT people. God loves all of God’s creation and will not allow theology which is human-made to stop the process of inclusion!

  • Sheol/Hades could both be rendered the grave, yes. Tartarus/Gehenna and descriptions of torment “day and night without ceasing” and where “the smoke of their torment rises forever” and where “the worm never dies” and “the eternal fire” are clearly describing something more vivid than mere decomposition.

  • Question: Can a follower of Christ be a homosexual? I have heard “No!” as the answer. Reason: a repentant homosexual must turn from their lifestyle. Ok, what about other sins and sinners? Does the heterosexual repentant-fully, completely and in-errantly-from lying? Or lusting? Or thievery? So, is homosexuality a “worse” sin? Where does it say so? And, how can a church refuse anyone-specifically homosexuals-from worship? Where is that in the Bible? The thesis that the straight-as-an-arrow church desired by the writer will grow and prosper–counting on legalism, fundamentalism and a following objectively distanced from society and culture–lacks any historical evidence. The church in China…the church in Africa…are much more accepting. They are. Go there–and see for yourself–instead of simply making preposterous claims. Now, back to the questions…any answers? Blessings, a follower of Christ, waging peace, Harold

  • Mark, as evidenced by your response to Barbara’s thoughtful comment, you are relying on literalism–a practice that willfully dismisses the reality of societal context and the reality of Scriptures as both inspired and human. I am sure you will agree Christ is 100% God–100% human, right? If so, how can the Scriptures be any different. Christ became part of the society of 1 AD. He was a Jew (not white, with blue eyes, pale skin and flowing long hair) and was part of the culture–practicing the same rituals (even baptism though he did not need to “repent”) The writers of the Scriptures–numerous scribes and others, interpreting the earliest original texts produced what God intended and purposed–a “living” Word that must be viewed in its context and interpreted through a contextual reading and understanding, through the Holy Spirit, of the applicability to life in the present. If you believe the Bible is literal-you have a lot of contradictions and challenges…you do…

  • Mark, you wrote “Do you prefer lies to the truth?” So, tell me how the literal interpretation of the Scriptures fits when it comes to things like two different sets of the Ten Commandments? The Exodus version-as quoted from the stone tablets given to Moses on Sinai-are altered and amended in Deuteronomy. Check it out. Why? Because Israel in their own “land” needed to hear clarification-a change to fit the culture and time? The Exodus version was in the wilderness–the Deuteronomy version after gaining access to the land of “milk and honey.” Does this make either wrong? No, if read contextually. But, literally speaking, how can you argue that the very words…the LAW…would be revised and applicable for editing? The answer: Context–societal, historical and the writer’s own intentions, purposes and audience. Timing makes a difference-all inspired Scriptures poured out through man…100% God’s word–100% man written. Argument? Or do I need to show more literal…

  • “Dana”-I am a heterosexual. And, ask the question because as a follower of Christ, I find myself each day purposefully or unthinkingly “sinning.” I tell lies. I get angry and judge others. You? Are you sinless? The “way” we are is through Christ, right??? My point. If you hold true to your perspective-if we sin after being “in Christ” all are lost? That’s not grace in Christ. I am saved and part of Christ even though I am justified by His death, burial, resurrection and ascension–all based on Him. Explain how homosexuality is worse if someone fails to “repent” from the other sins? How can someone–a murderer, a rapist, a homosexual…or a garden variety sinner like you and me–ever be covered by grace using your judgmental logic??? Explain…please. “All are sinners” right? So, again, is homosexuality simply the sin YOU can’t forgive and choose to judge, disregarding other rebellions against God???

  • “Dana”- you wrote, “1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists thieves, liars/gossips, the sexually immoral and getting drunk/drunkards right along with homosexuals as those who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven! If we say one sin is okay we have to say all sin is okay and no sin is okay.” So, I am assuming you do not “steal” (that includes any “theft” of any type)? I assume you do not lie? I assume from what you say you do not gossip? I assume you never lust or do anything “sexually immoral.” I assume you do not drink alcohol? So, if you did ANY ONE of these–are you lost? Is grace not real? Could you not repent–and sin again–and still be “in Christ”? I think you are missing out on what Christ did–not we can attempt to imperfectly do–in understanding “GRACE.” Christ died for our sins–ALL sins, not just the ones you or I don’t practice with repetition or like.

  • Dana, the original posting: Question: Can a follower of Christ be a homosexual? What’ your answer? Now, can a murderer be a follower of Christ? Can a rapist? Can a thief? Can a liar? Can a gossip? Can a “drunkard” (your term)? The point actually mirrors your own: all sins are sin. So, are any of these sins exclusive to jettisoning the grace and love offered through Jesus Christ? If a person lies, and continues to lie, after being called by God, receiving grace and the Holy Spirit, lose their “grace”? Big question–be careful on the answer…you just may be putting your literal interpretation of Scripture in jeopardy of counting all as lost… Is that what you believe? What good is grace? What reason was there for the crucifixion if you believe grace is applicable to some sins, but not to others? I really want to hear–so does God who is here and there…tell us how faulty grace is in your opinion?

  • So–you are saying…one more sin and done? Going to hell? Dana, you need to think about verses such as “Judge not” and look in the mirror, as I do. What do you see? A sinner? If so, you can be redeemed in Christ, even though you sin, sin and sin some more. Are you perfect? Is that it? If we sin we are lost–after accepting the grace of Christ? I’m simply trying to point out that your perspective recognizes one sin more than others. Again, have you lied today? Yesterday? Does this make you lost? Outside of Christ? Dana, if you believe this are you not subjecting Christ to the test-claiming His gift of grace was not sufficient? Think again, one more time. Is a lie any different than a theft? Is a sexual sin of the heterosexual kind any worse than a homosexual sin? Both can repent–but still likely “fail” and rely on grace…right?

  • So, have you repented of, let’s say, lying? That’s a tough one. Any lie is a sin, right? “How do I look today?” Answer, even though you see a person looking less-than-their-best: “You look great!” Example may not be perfect, but neither is yours. So, do you still lie? Even once in a month…a year? Yet, you repented. And, you still sin. So, are you lost??? You repented. How could you still lie? How could you still SIN–any sin–according to your thinking? Where does grace come in…only on “day one” of accepting? Grace is deep–deep enough to cover any sin. And, God knows the heart of each…so who are you to judge?

  • Dana, I posted to open people’s minds to the reality of grace. Yes-repentance is part of the consequence of grace…but never did repentance be listed as “non-negotiable.” And, God judges the hearts–not the external appearances of those trying to look like they do not sin but then carry hate, anger, lust, greed and judgment toward others in their heart. In Christ, we are redeemed. Not because we are perfect-repenters, but because Christ IS perfect and sufficient for our sins and transgressions–past present and future. If you judge someone, as you appear to do, being outside of Christ because of “non-repentance”, the question stands: Who has been perfect in repentance? Have you? I haven’t–I need Christ every minute and pray for forgiveness. Repentance is an ongoing consequence of accepting God’s grace–just as the grace in Christ is ongoing…now and eternally…for those accepting grace.

    How can you judge some as lost any more than others?????

  • Dana, in all love and sincerity, you are avoiding answering my questions. Are you perfect in repenting? Is anyone? So, how can one type of sin exclude a person who is in Christ? Forget homosexuality for a minute–think about any sin. Like the example I gave: do you lie? Did you not repent of lying? Yet, you lie, and God forgives you. As far as “fruit” that is up to God to judge, wouldn’t you say? I am simply trying to point out the hypocrisy of saying, “Oh, well, that sin is unforgiveable.” A pastor at a local church–a very “fruitful” Christian, truly–continues to acknowledge he has an internet porn addiction. But, he fights it–and through grace overcomes it, but then falls back. Are you going to judge this person? Are you saying his faith is not real because he simply admits his faults, publicly? Again, do you lie? If so, did you not repent from lying? And, if you lie now…are you lost and “fruitless”? Sorry, you need to answer my questions instead of…

  • god also condemns not believing that jesus died for your sins, and not believing it will get you a lovely spot on the eternal BBQ.

    Somehow, I just suspect that you are not commenting on any article anywhere where people of different faiths talk about their religion.

    One might even suspect that this has absolutely nothing to do with your sincere religious beliefs. but it sure gives a good smokescreen to an ancient, vicious, and hard-to-kill prejudice,

  • “We are setting the stage for the anti-Christ who himself “will not regard the desire of women” which many interpret to mean he is homosexual.”

    And isn’t that interpretation just so very convenient for anti-gay theo-politics?

  • Afraid to answer my questions? “Nobody is perfect” is the point–and grace the answer, right? So, how can YOU judge as you did on your earlier posts, challenging the sufficiency of grace to cover various sins–some you deemed less likely than others???

    Ok, Dana, you are not making any sense Scripturally or sharing your “faith” and trust. Repeating “Repeat!” appears to exclude God’s continuing grace from your interpretation(s).

    Can we agree Christ will judge those who have “truly” repented and accepted the grace offered in Him? Yes or No

    If “Yes”…now, please answer the question: Can a person that sporadically tells a lie–not being “perfect” as you note– be a Christian? Yes or No

  • The mysteriously missing Dana-Dana posted 7 separate posts/responses in the thread and evidently found the perspectives lacking and deleted his/her comments. A few simple questions from 1 Christian to another professing Christian should not be such a causal reason to delete posts and fail to respond to simple questions. But, this is not the first time. “Judge not” is simply a quote many Christians do not want to be reminded of-judging is part of their religion. And, that is not up to them-judgment is up to God, not the self-righteous, religious that point their finger in condemnation without thinking of the example Christ offered for love,tolerance,humility and service to others. Dana, if you’re out there, think about the questions. Take them to your pastor/preacher/minister/priest and discuss them. If the only answer is “Repent!” without any thought of the deep, continuing grace necessary to redeem sinners like us, you may have put faith in a religion instead of Christ

  • Ben sadly the postings by primarily fundamentalist evangelicals who see the Bible as a “literal” document that is only open for their own interpretation to judge, condemn and ridicule others, will refuse to actually read the Scriptures for what they are and, as a consequence, pervert the Scriptures meaning and context. Their understanding of the Scriptures is truly in the context of their own biases, hate, prejudice and anger-instead of in God’s love, grace and forgiveness. The similar perversion of interpretation of the Scriptures twisted Biblical teachings to support slavery, to burn women as witches and in the present day to practice prejudice and hate against people they simply choose to dislike on a personal, prejudiced level. Ben, do not believe the hate filled rants, judgmental attitude and response(s) are representative of Christ or the redemption God offers to ALL or that all followers of Christ share these same faulty, religious beliefs. Thanks for your comments.

  • You both are playing games with the Word of God. You speak as though the matter is unclear. Homosexual behavior is condemned from Genesis to Revelation by God. What good is the Bible to you when you deny what is there? There is clearly no biblical defense for homosexual behavior. It is condemned. Not metaphorically, nor allegorically or symbolically or in any other imaginary way. God means what He says. You are deceiving yourselves and trying to deceive others. You need to repent.

  • Mark, So, I take it you believe homosexuality is a sin that is not covered by the grace offered in Jesus Christ??? Yes or No. “Repent” is an interesting word you use like a weapon. I’m not debating you about sin and sinners, I am assuming we agree that all sin and fall short, we are all sinners. Right? What I am interested in is your interpretation of “grace.” A few questions for you, Can a person that has accepted Jesus Christ and God’s grace, but is sporadically GREEDY be a Christian? What about a person that sporadically LIES? They repented–they accepted Christ, but sin is sin and it creeps back in, right? What about a follower of Christ, who happens to be a minister, leading a large church, but publicly acknowledges his battle with internet PORNOGRAPHY? He repented, but continues to struggle…is this person saved or condemned in your interpretation? And, last question, are all sins the same-or are some worse?

  • Ya think? They are just perverting and twisting Scripture to represent their own biases and fears? Quelle Surprise!!!!!

    I really do appreciate your comment here. I am an atheist, but I have no problem with people and their religions, except when they use their so called faith as a club against others.

    I certainly do not believe their hate filled rants, nor so I believe they actually represent the God Who is Love that they claim to worship. I just wonder why, if their lives are so filled with god’s love, they have any time left over to obsess about mine.

  • I don’t see dana’s comments. But I doubt ?Dana is as committed to condemning the reviling and slander of Carr and Doc.

    It just underlines the absolute hypocrisy of these so-called Christians. they are more than willing to tell me as a gay man what is wrong with my life, citing Corinthians, and yet find it well within their hearts and faith to ignore the repeated reviling and slandering of Carr and Doc.

  • Harold, you talk as though you understand God’s grace and you understand what sin is. Well, lets make sure you do. Does God condemn homosexual behavior? Its a simple question. What is the answer?

  • It is a pity that true-believers such as Trevin pretend that what is now called the “official” institutional Christian church, and more importantly in this case, the “official” version of Christian dogma and doctrine, has existed for 2000 years, when in fact what is now the “official” form of both of these only became solidified approximately 1700 years ago under (and after) the auspices of Constantine’s famous conversion.
    Prior to that the emerging Christian movement was full of a multitude of conflicting and contradictory ideas and practices. And of course once the “official” institutional version gained the necessary worldly power it systematically (over the years, decades and centuries) eliminated all dissenting and “heretical” voices, via the business end of a sword.

    That having been said why not do a Google on the topic the sex lives of the pope’s – remembering that these chaps were supposed to be the living embodiment of Christian virtue. And what about the…

  • The Rev. Never specified who was hating whom. He was merely stating that “hatred is the cancer eating away at persons on all levels of this debate”. He did not specify whether or not the hatred was from Christians, LGBT, etc.. or to whom the hatred was specific towards. He specified the hatred was at ALL levels.
    I read his comment to basically state we need to let go of the hate and learn to love as Christ loved, regardless of who you encounter. I don’t recall Christ ever specifying that you have to like or agree with each other, just that you should love one another. Be willing to help your fellow man regardless of who you believe they are. After all, we are all sinners and not one sin is worse than another in the eyes of the lord (with the exception of blasphemy), a sin is a sin is a sin. And whether or not they person I am helping or speaking to at that moment agrees is none of my concern. I will still help as best I can provided they are willing to accept. Love is always…