(image courtesy ChristArt)
By Spencer D Gear
It is standard fare to hear of theological liberals who accept and even promote the homosexual lifestyle. But getting acceptance from a supposed Bible-believing pastor is quite another thing. Former homosexual, Joe Dallas, wrote in 1995 in “Answering Pro-Gay Theology”, “The debate over homosexuality and the Bible – specifically, whether or not the Bible condemns homosexual acts in all cases – will do no less than rip the body of Christ apart in the next decade. It will force believers to declare, in black and white terms, where they stand on issues of sexuality and Biblical interpretation” (p. 172). Joe hit the mark – big time!
A theologically liberal Anglican clergyman
We saw this in Brisbane with a liberal Anglican clergyman, Peter Catt, supporting the Queensland Bill for the legalising of homosexual civil unions. See the article, “Anglican Church’s Peter Catt backs gay civil unions at Queensland parliamentary hearing” (Courier-Mail, 11 November 2011). What were some of his arguments?
- The same-sex unions’ Bill does not denigrate the legitimacy of marriage;
- It extended “liberties” to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples;
- “I really don’t see that this impinges on marriage at all”;
- This will mean that children in same-sex unions are in a relationship with good values;
- Bad marriages did more to undermine the institution of marriage.
- He said, “To some extent … [I’m] putting my neck on a chopping block”;
Rev. Dr. Peter Catt is the Anglican Dean of Brisbane. This link provides a reflection on what liberal Anglicanism means: “We strive for open-minded conversation, seek to practice inclusion, and reflect on how we might see our beliefs put into action”. Open-minded, inclusive practice means that homosexuals are included in the name of inclusion, tolerance and open-mindedness. Do you notice what he missed out in what was reported?
The Courier-Mail did not provide one statement from Rev. Dr. Catt on what the Bible says about homosexuality. There was not a word about the content of anything in I Corinthians 6:9-11,
9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (ESV).
Liberal, inclusive, open-mindedness means that the full story of God’s view of homosexuality (and all other sin) as portrayed in the Bible is censored. Also, theological liberalism has a low view of the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God, so it’s not surprising that that this liberal view downplays the importance of a biblical view of sexuality, including homosexuality. Now, I expect that from a liberal Anglican, but I did not expect something similar from a charismatic preacher.
What about the ‘tolerance’ view from a leading charismatic minister?
Rob Buckingham is the senior pastor at the large charismatic Bayside Church, Cheltenham, Victoria. The Sunday Herald Sun, 17 November 2011, reported on his approach to homosexuals in, “Preaching tolerance bayside”. You can hear this message by Rob Buckingham at Youtube online, ‘Real Christianity is accepting‘. It was preached in 2009. What is your view on this approach?
What some other churches are concluding
a. Australia: There is an assumption among some that the Bible and religious tradition do not teach that homosexual relationships are contrary to God’s plan. A brochure, representative of the Uniting Church in Australia, stated that ‘Homosexuality is a good part of God’s diverse creation’. Adelaide’s new Anglican Bishop, Dr Tim Harris, supports homosexual clergy but they must follow church guidelines and not engage in homosexual sex.
b. The USA: The United Church of Christ’s General Synod (USA), in 2005, affirmed a resolution that there should be “equal marriage rights for all people regardless of gender”, but that denomination does not require pastors to perform homosexual marriage. The United Church of Canada urged its federal government in Ottawa to recognise same-sex relationships. The Presbyterian Church USA in 2011 ratified support for homosexual clergy, stating that
“persons in a same-gender relationship can be considered for ordination,” General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons told the Presbyterian News Service. “The gist of our ordination standards is that officers submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and ordaining bodies (presbyteries for ministers and sessions for elders and deacons) have the responsibility to examine each candidate individually to ensure that all candidates do so with no blanket judgments”.
c. Canada: The United Church of Canada has developed a resource that “offers four workshops to help a congregation or a group within the congregation to explore civil recognition of same-sex relationships from a faith and justice perspective. It also offers a process for congregational decision making on same-sex marriage”.
d. Europe: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany has affirmed that
Gay and lesbian Lutheran ministers in the conservative German state of Bavaria may live with their partners in parish parsonages, but only if they enter into a state-sanctioned civil union. Although the move may seem bold for what is generally considered one of Germany’s most traditional states, Bishop Johannes Friedrich of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria said it was no great departure from existing policies. He noted that the church had already welcomed openly gay ministers and same-sex unions. “We had only left out that a couple could live in a civil union in the parsonage,” he said. To abide by the ruling, gay or lesbian ministers must receive a church blessing for their union and enter into a civil union officially recognized by government officials.
(image courtesy openclipart)
Of the Church of Scotland, the Herald Scotland reported:
THE Church of Scotland is being starved of donations due to the growing schism in the Kirk over moves to allow gay ministers. The Church has been riven with internal divisions since its decision to set up a special commission on same-sex relationship in the ministry in 2009. An internal report by Glasgow Presbytery described how in one church – St George’s Tron in Glasgow – the “general disquiet and sadness about the Church of Scotland’s decision to set up a special commission on this matter had been a contributory factor in several members directing their sacrificial giving and tithing towards the congregation’s evangelical ministry and outreach, rather than the central funds of the Church of Scotland…. “Someone,” he says, “said to me recently, ‘I’m in the wrong church.’ I know a lot of people are feeling like that”.
The largest Protestant church in Africa grabbed the world’s attention when it publically denounced homosexuality and said people who support gay rights were not welcome in the church—and neither was their money. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) posted a notice on its Web site entitled: Church rejects homosexuality. “Those in same sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT,” a press release states. “We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support.” In addition the fastest-growing church in Africa with 5.3 million members said it “supports all those around the world who oppose churches that have taken the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.” This loud warning was seen as a prelude to split from its main financial partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which now supports gay rights. In Uganda in 2010, African Anglican bishops forcefully opposed homosexuality in the church: The question of homosexuality reared its head for the umpteenth time this week at the all African Anglican Church conference that is taking place in Entebbe. Despite pressure from the western world, African bishops have renewed their condemnation of the practice of homosexuality in the church. The widely criticised practice in Africa has been viewed as a threat to the unity of the church. Homosexuality and ordination of women prelates are two of the underpinning practices that have put the Anglican Church at cross-roads over how its pastoral commitments should be exercised. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of the province of Nigeria says the church has always had differences of opinion over certain issues. Breeding disunity “Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon in the society but the only trouble is that the issues dividing us (church) now are very difficult to handle. They are threatening the unity of the church because they disobey the authority of the scriptures,” says Bishop Okoh. He says homosexuality is a result of some people engaged in making their culture to be superior to the biblical teachings. “It is two sided; while some people want to be obedient to their culture to determine the content of the church, others say no and it must be the guidance of the bible,” he added. The primates describe homosexuality as an imposed interpretation and alien culture that has hindered the growth of an authentic church which could respond to its people. “We are saying homosexuality is not compatible with the word of God. We are saying that this culture of other people is against the traditional belief of marriage held by the Anglican Communion,” says the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi. Bishop Orombi says that the Anglican Church will never accept homosexuality because the scriptures too do not allow people of same sex to join in marriage.
f. South America: Time magazine reported in 2010 that
the legislators of the South American nation passed a law on Thursday, July 15 , that made Argentina the 10th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. By a vote of 33 to 27, they gave homosexual couples the same inheritance and adoption rights as heterosexual ones. Against the intense and sustained opposition of the church, President Cristina Fernández staked her political reputation on passing the law, deepening her often bitter feud with the country’s Catholic hierarchy. “I am very satisfied. It has been a positive vote,” said the President in Shanghai, where she is on an official tour of China. “This is a positive step that defends the right of a minority.” Her Cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández was slightly more effusive, posting on Twitter, “Same-sex marriage is law in Argentina. Don’t worry, be happy”.
g. However, these views contradict the biblical Scriptures which state that God’s plan for love and sexuality does not include homosexual relationships, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament. See Genesis 19:1-29; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11. The Bible is clear that from the beginning of time, expressions of sexual intimacy were designed for a man and a woman in marriage and there were severe consequences for the practice of homosexuality. h. Heterosexual sin and homosexual sin are so serious that people who continue to practise these sins ‘will not inherit the kingdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 6:9). i. Jesus Christ defined marriage: ‘“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’ (Matthew 19:4-6). j. A nation that dares to promote the violation of God Almighty’s laws, is calling for judgment (see Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:5-6). k. ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’ (Psalm 33:12). The New Testament teaches that homosexuals need to be changed by the living Christ and “such were some of you”. Yes, God changes homosexuals. Read the story of a lesbian whom God radically changed: “One woman’s journey out of lesbianism: An interview with Jeanette Howard”.
 This is from a chapter in the book, Michael Mazzalongo (ed) 1995. Gay Rights or Wrongs: A Christian’s Guide to Homosexual Issues and Ministry. Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company.
 Uniting Network, NSW/ACT, ‘Gay and Lesbian Couples: Prayers and blessings’, available at: http://www.unitingnetworkaustralia.org.au/resources/UN%20NSW%20Gay%20and%20Lesbian%20Couples.pdf (Accessed 12 March 2012).
 David Jean, The Advertiser, ‘New Anglican bishop welcomes homosexual ministry’, November 19, 2011, available at: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/gay-clergy-practice-what-we-preach/story-e6frea83-1226199415441 (Accessed 12 March 2012).
 See the BBC News report, 5 July 2005, US Church backs same-sex marriage, available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4651803.stm (Accessed 12 March 2012).
 See the United Church of Canada, available at: http://www.bible.ca/cr-united-Can.htm (Accessed 12 March 2012).
 Neils Sorrells 2011. German church allows gay pastors to live with partners. The Huffington Post, 25 May. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/german-church-allows-gay-_n_784518.html (Accessed 15 March 2012).
 Herald Scotland 2011. The gay divide, 28 May. Available at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/the-gay-divide.13864698 (Accessed 15 March 2012).
 Wayne M. Anderson n.d. African church waivers on homosexuality. Gnesio [Lutheran], available at: http://gnesiolutheran.com/african-church-waivers-on-homosexuality/ (Accessed 15 March 2012).
 Ephraim Kasozi 2012. Uganda: African bishops unite to denounce homosexuality. The Monitor (All Africa). 29 August. Available at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201008290002.html (Accessed 15 March 2012).
 Uki Goñi / Buenos Aires 2010. Defying church, Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage. Time, July 15. Available at: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2004036,00.html (Accessed 15 March 2012).
Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 23 October 2018.