Respectful FaceBook

Respectful FaceBook

imagesA long time friend of mine posts fairly regularly on her FaceBook page concerning her conviction that it is not congruent with a relationship with God for one to engage in a gay relationship. She posts links from articles she finds that support her convictions and belief.


Karen is friends with several people who are gay but have chosen to pursue the route of celibacy and some who would say they are happier with their lives living within celibacy or marriage to someone of the opposite sex.


We have dialogues on FaceBook at times and I’ve decided to post one of our dialogues for you to see that people can discuss this matter with respect of one another.


This week she posted a link to an article by Robert Mohler. Robert is addressing the recent decision of Tony Campolo to come out as a supporter and advocate of gay people and their covenantal same sex relationships.


This is my first response to Karen’s post:


The earth is flat, (heretics challenged this belief):  Slavery is backed by the Bible (heretics challenged this belief): Women should remain silent in church (heretics challenged this belief)


I find it interesting that respected, well heeled, prayerful, Bible honoring, Christian leaders are looking more deeply into the true message of the Bible on same gender covenantal intimate, God honoring relationships. Tony Campolo did not come to this place captiously, or quickly. In his own words, he waited, prayed, studied, prayed, and has now come to say he believes we should welcome same-sex relationships into the church fellowship with full inclusion.


There will be those who will remain on what they say is the “narrow road” of truth, but those numbers are shrinking.


We will soon come to accept that a same sex covenantal relationship can be both God honoring and moral in the very same way an opposite sex covenantal relationship is.


Biblical interpretation and understanding has always been an evolving thing. We need only to look through our most recent history to see that over time our interpretation of certain long held beliefs has changed, leaving the truth of the gospel unchanged.


From Karen:

To my FaceBook friends who will read John’s comment……you know, I could delete his comment so no one can see it, and he would not know. But, I’m letting it stand for a couple of reasons…..one is because John and I have been friends for many years, and though I disagree with him vehemently, I consider him a friend, still. Secondly, I’m hoping that if some of you respond, it will be respectfully and thoughtfully. I post many articles regarding this issue, but I rarely editorialize. I post them because of my hope that some of my homosexual friends and their supporters will allow their hearts to be pierced by the truth and then repent.


My second response:


I have found Karen to always be respectful and I hope to respond with equal respect. As Karen has stated, we disagree on whether or not a gay relationship can be part of a person’s walk of faith and can glorify God in the process.


My husband has two master’s degrees in theology, and a Doctorate in Pentecostal eschatology. He has been a bible teacher in the Church of God, licensed by the Church of God in ministry, and very well respected by those in his childhood church and many in his denomination. Like many very conservative Christians, Larry has deeply studied homosexuality from all perspectives and has an entire library on homosexuality and faith by men and women of conservative faith. He spent 52 years as a celibate Christian who struggled his entire life with being gay, and being a conservative Christian.


Larry’s story is not rare, and becoming even more common as more and more information is available through Christian believers who have taken the time to pray, listen, study, and study some more, on homosexuality.


As Karen knows, I have been in full time ministry to those who are gay for over 25 years. I’ve seen it all, all experiences, all walks of life, all diverse expressions of homosexuality within the Christian faith. I’ve known those who believe they can change, those who commit to celibacy, those who are in committed monogamous relationships, and those who live promiscuously.


I’ve experienced the pain, the anguish, the desperation and in my own personal walk with God have come to the conclusion that the Bible is unclear on a gay relationship, therefore like many, I have chosen to trust more in God’s love and character on this part of my life.


Some would vehemently argue this point as though it were taking away the very gospel of Christ to be gay, and embrace a same sex spouse. Others see this as secondary to the gospel and therefore are less passionate about it.


However, the destruction I’ve seen in relationships with God and others when a belief against gay relationships is held tightly is myriad, and exponential – not only in the individual’s life, but in their families and friends. In no way do I see the spirit of God through this type of resistance to opening ones heart to prayer, thought, and potentially a change of viewpoint.


I’ve seen parents enter into deep depression over having a gay child, a depression that lasts for many years. I’ve seen that depression lift when a change to trust God with their gay child and begin to loosen up on their opposition to them as people, gay people.


I’ve seen men and women die haunting deaths over being gay and people of faith. I do not see this as the spirit of God.


I’ve seen people develop psychological disorders over their angst with this issue. I’ve seen the psychosis diminish and at times dissipate completely when they begin to accept their homosexuality and trust God’s grace in their lives enough to embrace one of life’s most tremendous joys, a love relationship of depth and intimacy with someone of the same sex. I believe this is within the context of the spirit of God’s desire for us as his children.


I could go on and on, but I’ve seen it all to a great level of depth.


I wonder how many who hold themselves far away from any movement to accept gay relationships as congruent with faith in God and God’s grace for humanity, have experienced all of this in study and life example? And yet, they continue to shake their fist at any thought of God’s acceptance of a gay covenantal relationship.


Personally, I’m tremendously thankful for men and women of God who have invested the time and prayer into thinking this through to an extent where they see that it’s okay to be gay and love God. I could list the growing numbers of faith filled men and women who have written from their studies.


Thank you Karen for your respect.


**********************


Karen’s second response:


And, I have friends who WERE involved with homosexuality who have turned from it and are happy and complete.


I replied, “I’ve known them as well.”


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2 Responses to “Respectful FaceBook”

  1. Jeremy Marks says:

    Well written John; I can concur with all you said.

    And thanks to Karen also for maintaining a spirit of respectful disagreement.

    To God be the glory.

  2. Brian Hager says:

    In so much of the discussion about “Same Gender Attraction” and the need for “repentance,” what I sense more than anything else is the expression of God as the essence of “Conditional Love;” he will reward or punish us based on how good we are.

    Good people obey the Law … Bad people disobey the Law. In Jesus’ time, the people of the Law were the Pharisees. Ultimately, Israel (according to their theology) was punished for not “keeping” the Commandments. This is a kindergarten level understanding of what God is all about and why He created us.

    Original Sin, our fall from Grace, according to most churches, was the direct result of Adam eatting from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. One “sin” and humanity is punished for eternity… Supposedly we are given the opportunity to regain was our “first parents” lost for us by our repentance. This is a rather sad misinterpretation of what Original Sin was/is and the equally shallow understanding of what the Bible is; what purpose it serves for the benefit of the community of believers. I offer my opinion based on my own Conversion and the Gift of Faith it has given me.

    In the Fall of ‘92, my Credal Faith was stripped away and in the ensuing vacuum, I received a “New Faith.” It took the form of a living and dynamic RELATIONSHIP with Jesus (the Higher Power of my understanding). In the months and years which followed, Jesus revealed to me a deepening understanding of different verses from the Old and New Testament. It eventually led me to see the Bible as an anthology of the Faith Stories; Experiences of the early peoples who came before us. The most significant consequence of this was a personal revelation of God as the Essence of Unconditional Love. Just as He gave me the Gift of Faith, I appreciate how much He gives me the entirety of His being (what we call Grace).

    God LOVED us first. We did nothing to deserve it. We can NEVER lose it. It is the nature of Unconditional Love to give away what it is, I consider this to be the essential reason for God creating the Universe.

    Why do I say Unconditional Love? Because God is the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. God never changes. Free Will is the greatest single gift we received. Free Will is not a matter of saying we are free to do this or that, go here or there. Free Will is the ability to respond YES or NO to God’s incredible Gift of who He is; what we call Grace. No matter how many times a person rejects this incredible Gift, God continues to give it; to shower Grace down upon us in infinite abundance. So all that is necessary for “any sinner” to receive Grace again, is the once again accept it by saying YES.

    No matter who we are or what we are, God blesses us all with the Grace of who He is. This is “worked out” in the walk of Faith between each individual and the Creator. TRUTH is not some objective something which exists outside of the Faith Experience, TRUTH dwells in the person of Jesus. By his own declaration he told us that He IS the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. This is part of the story of my own Faith Journey.

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