Hi there, I’m brand new to RZIM Connect.
I recently responded to a post on social media from a family member of mine that affirmed Christians for showing up at gay pride parades to say sorry to the LGBTQ community for the hurt the Christian church has caused them. My point of view was this: God loves all people and forgives all sins. But he is not in the business of affirming and celebrating sin. And nor should believers. This turned into a long back and forth (some fruitful, some not) between myself and believers who support the LGBTQ movement. I also see gay pride parades as nothing short of debauchery in public view. I read an article recently from a gay man who wrote about why parents shouldn’t take their young children to these parades. With this said, it seems like my point of view is in the extreme minority (even increasingly so in the Church). I don’t believe God’s Word has been misinterpreted for thousands of years and, now that the secular world affirms homosexuality and transgenderism, we have somehow discovered that we’ve misinterpreted the Bible all along (verses like Romans 1:26-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 for example). Am I in the minority here or is it simply where I live (the far left liberal west coast of the US)?
Hi there, I’m brand new to RZIM Connect.
Hey Jammy! @jdodger26
I’ve been feeling the same way… and I live on the far East side of the US …in Pennsylvania. But, have many friends and family living in Jersey.
I’d say progressive Christianity is making it’s way into most communities these days.
I can’t wrap my head around it - affirming the sin, and “love is love” statements made by many friends professing to be Believers.
It seems so straight forward in the Bible, right?
Saddens me to see so many choosing what they want to be true, rather than reading the Bible, and wrestling with the scriptures.
It’s not always easy- but, then again, following Christ does mean taking the road less traveled, making the hard choices when everyone else seems to do what “feels” good.
I believe we need to love our friends dealing with homosexuality and gender issues…we need to find a way to make them know our love and care, but that we can’t affirm their actions.
Thanks for posting… it’s certainly relevant to this day and culture in the US.
Curious what others in this group from around the world may be experiencing in regards to this issue.
You’re certainly not alone. And I thank @HeidiMitchell for what she has put forward. It’s not just the US. I live in New Zealand and am part of the Anglican Diocese that has just removed itself from the wider New Zealand Anglican Church and formed a new Anglican Diocese with the same issue presenting itself.
Increasingly, sadly, even the church is bowing to public opinion rather than leaning on the Bible as our authority. As Heidi said, we must love and support everyone. But being loving and supportive does certainly not mean affirming people in whatever they choose to do or who they are. There are things in the Bible that are very clearly wrong and it is not the loving thing to do to encourage people to continue in those things to the potential detriment of their own salvation.
What I think we have to do as followers of Christ is to be able to confront these ideas (which is not easy), but to do so in a loving and gracious manner.
I have had a number of conversations around this issue with believers and non-believers alike. Some have gone well… some have decidedly not gone well. I pray for you and all of us that God would give us the grace and wisdom in what to say when faced with these discussions.
I am a Christian who was delivered from homosexuality. Your concerns are valid and should not be ignored. I think one issue is the lack clear direction and understanding.
God has given us the Word; it is His word, which we should always turn to for direction and wisdom when addressing any subject. Especially the hotly debated and complex topic that has divided the Body of Christ, bought about great confusion, shaken foundations and compelled some to question or re-examine their beliefs on the subject of homosexuality. It is normal for us to examine our understandings and convictions concerning such matters, especially when it “hits close to home.” So long as we turn to prayer, meditate upon scripture and seek God’s guidance through honest questioning, can we confirm our convictions as well as correct bad attitudes and assumptions that do not reflect the Holy Spirit living within us.
We need to be cautions when the opposition calls us hateful, bigoted and intolerant for our “inability to embrace and accept the homosexual.” Recall the story of Stephen in the book of Acts chapter 6 & 7. Stephen accused of blasphemy, and falsely accused of claiming Jesus said He would destroy the Temple and throw out the Law of Moses, was dragged out of the city and stoned to death. Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit prayed to Jesus during the stoning, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60 NIV). Stephen, even as he lay dying had a forgiving heart, never lost faith nor betrayed his purpose. We must remain faithful, as did Stephen and remember our purpose is to share the Gospel, love God and love our neighbor. Stay calm, do not repay evil with evil, speak the truth and to walk with integrity and honor.
We should remember a perceived attack upon our character is actually an attack upon the Word of God. It is not the Christian who says homosexuality is wrong or claims to have the authority to set the rules governing man’s behavior. God is the only one who gets to make those rules! It is not the individual that is unacceptable but the behavior, which is unacceptable. We all are created in the image of God, regardless of our sexual orientation. God deeply and unconditionally loves us all, regardless of our “story.” There are no exceptions; we are all infected with a terminal illness. The only cure is repentance and it is then only through God’s love and grace do we find forgiveness.
So exactly, how do we tear down walls of division? “Jesus said to Peter the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:17, ESV).
It is my belief; feeding Jesus’ sheep is more than showing Christ love by sharing the Gospel and the truth of God’s word. We are to love by truly giving of ourselves. To really listen to hearts. To walk with others, guiding them by Christ’s light that is in us through the darkness of their valley of despair and desperation. Throughout Jesus’ entire ministry, He tore down walls of division by reaching out to those who were outcast and estranged. There is such beauty found in the love and compassion Jesus extended towards the outcasts of society. He went out of His way, disobeyed laws, balked at tradition to let women, the poor, oppressed, racial enemies, rejected, undesirable, unwanted and unclean know just how valuable and truly loved they were. Jesus turned the entire social structure upside down and inside out when he said, “ so the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Mat 20:16, NIV). With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in the same way.
Just as Christ took the more dangerous rode to meet the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, we too also need to go out of our way to meet those struggling with their sexual identity. What I mean by this is we need to have a better understanding of their perspective and beliefs. For example, the definition of choice is the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. The act of “choice” is at the core of differencing opinions between the two varying perspectives and beliefs. Christians believe individuals chose homosexuality over the truth of God’s word. Individuals who engage in homosexual behavior claim, it is not a choice because they were born gay.
The two roads meet in the middle when we understand, temptation is not a choice but to act upon the temptation is a choice. The individual who believes they were born gay, believe they were born gay because of the temptation. Many believe man has misinterpreted scripture because they also have a desperate desire for a relationship with Christ. Why else would such a fundamental part of being human, be denied to them? Why else would they be tempted in such a manner that “condemns” them to live a life of solitude? Why is there such conflict between God’s purpose and design and ones humanity? For this reason, it is important to acknowledge and attempt to understand from what was the temptation manifested. We must have the heart of Christ.
Hi Pam! @Pk4short
Your wisdom and journey is invaluable to this discussion. You’ve been there, felt that heartache.
Thank you for speaking into how the person who feels they are born gay must feel so rejected- and how life is unfair.
There are so many sin dispositions we can find ourselves in…
I agree with you… We need to be a light and love of Jesus to people who are struggling.
Your testimony dealing with your faith and homosexuality- I’m sure would be inspiring and helpful to many…even in this very community.
There is a section for testimonies too by the way If you felt so inclined.
Hi Heidi, Thank you for the suggestion. Testimony posted. I get a bit giddy when I get to share. So excited for others to know what God is capable of doing. I think one thing those who advocate for LGBT are missing is that it is NOT God who places same sex attraction desires (temptation) in hearts. God does not tempt man kind nor does give us desires contrary to His word. Those who proclaim, “If I am made in the image of God and am gay then it is God who made me gay” do not understand what it means to be made in the image of God.
You’re an inspiration Pam! Thank you all for your kind thoughtful responses. Very encouraged
Thank you for not only your testimony. Moreover thank you for a wonderful insight into the feelings and thoughts of both the Christian & basically any sinner. The struggle of which I have is to sum up my fourteen year old granddaughter (of which she & her younger sister are in my custody.) So, not only has her age a factor in her identity crisis of her belief system but in our area, in “The Bible Belt” & myself as a member of the Church of God. All I knew when I filled for Emergency Custody (2015) was they had to know someone in our family loved them, unconditionally. The same was true when she decided to “come out” to me. My immediate response was of my love for her as my granddaughter and the beautiful, talented young person she is. However it has been a very rocky path… I believe a medical condition from possibly being molested as a young child brought her to this place. However I feel that it isn’t “how we come into a situation that’s an issue,” but where do we go from here. I do love her, & her younger sister as my own. I love my daughter, their mother. I know I cannot change people. Yet, I know God can. If they desire & seek change. The second part of my/our struggle, I am a disabled widow. However I press on — I take them to church regularly. Insist they are involved in extra curricular activities as much as possible.
So, God knows I need both children to know I love them & respect them. However, I desire to be loved and respected as well. Outside of a few, I have kept her feelings to myself & constantly seek the Lords guidance. I hope I’m not doing her a disservice by simply accepting her… (because her mother took the opposite approach and told her she was going to Hell.) Here again, helping these girls know a family member loves them is still primary to me. Again, thank you for sharing. Also, any thoughts re: dealing with this situation in a way pleasing to God would be helpful. If not, please pray for us.
What a mighty loving heart you have! Loving your granddaughter is not the same as accepting her sexuality. Keep on loving her, letting her know you love her but more importantly let her know God loves her! For me it was understanding my identity in Christ that changed everything. It was not until I embraced the truth of this was I able to see. You have two battles…society telling her it is ok and her self image. I would recommend if you can get her set up with a Christian counselor. Some parter up with local churches if money is an issue. Please do not stand alone. Reach out to trusted brothers and sisters in Christ for support. This is a difficult situation for all. Lifting you and your family in prayer. Pam
Bless you so much. I needed these words of encouragement today. I believe Lillie was saved at age 5. Without complete guidance in her life. However after she came to live with me, she rededicated her life to God. One evening we were reading Revelation ch. 21. Belle said, Nanny I want to go to that city!! So we prayed & thank God, she was saved and baptized at age eight!! I know God has his mighty hand on these girls. Thank you again- He will never leave nor forsake me, and w am very grateful! I know He’s still working on all of us. As this body is rapidly decaying, I know He isn’t finished w/me. My foot was shattered when they came to me. Oh, God knows what we need. I may have still been laying there, alone ~ but God. I believe He isn’t finished with Lillie either. She is musically inclined in many instruments. Piano, bass guitar, guitar, tuba… writes her own lyrics and music!! Sings like an angel and can hand draw w/a pencil better than many adults. Idk if their previous counselor was Christian (who jus quit) however I will be certain that they are placed with a Christian counselor this time.
May God Alone Bring You Special Blessings Today!!
Thank you so much, Pam, for your testimony and encouragement. If we aren’t all grappling with these issues, then we probably should be.
Deborah – your loving home for your granddaughters is so wonderful to hear about. I know you will all be blessed.
This issue has been on my heart a lot. A couple of years ago I attended the wedding of my cousin and her life partner. Both women had lived together for many years and each has a daughter through a donor bank. They are a beautiful and loving family. My cousin was not raised in the church, nor have their children attended.
I chose to go the the wedding because I felt that their last chapter has not yet been written. They are not currently living in God’s will but that does not mean that they never will. Not loving them fully and celebrating this with them, felt as though it would do more harm to the outcome I want for them all, a saving faith in Jesus Christ. As it was, only one of Cindy’s three siblings attended the wedding and it was a great disappointment for the couple. You’ll notice that my “feelings” were integral to my decision to attend, whether or not they should have been. Many will disagree with my decision.
Over the last year I’ve watched every video by Sam Allberry that I can get my hands on. He’s a speaker associated with RZIM and I highly recommend anyone interested in the topic might search his name on youtube and check out his content on this topic. He’s also part of the website: livingout.org. Sam is clergy and same-sex attracted and chooses to live out his faith according to God’s word as a celibate man.
I recently completed the RZIM course on What it Means to Be Human. Sam did the lecture on Identity and Sexuality. Several things he said really resonated with me.
– God’s word is good for same-sex attracted persons
– “In Christ” we are a new creation – we are not defined by sin, but by Christ
– Our identity in Christ is really who we are – therefore striving to be holy is going with the grain of who we really are and NOT against the grain
– If we think homosexual persons are being asked to give up more to follow Christ than heterosexual persons, then perhaps we are not really understanding what God is asking us to give up to follow Him in our lives. Discipleship is not easy and if it’s been too easy, then maybe we’re not really understanding the fullness of the Gospel.
He also tells us that gay persons that come to a saving faith often feel homeless. That they no longer really fit in the gay community and don’t really fit (or often feel welcome) in the church community. Sam made the point that in Mark 10:28-32, [Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.] followers of Christ are promised more family than they left behind. We, the church, are part of that promise. We are to be family to those who have left family and community behind.
Honestly, I question whether we’ve made ourselves ready to help fulfill that promise (speaking of my own church). But it certainly is something I want to be better at. I’m so thankful that RZIM provides opportunities to learn more and open our hearts and minds to really seeking truth.
Pam, do these points resonate with you? Did you have trouble fitting in at church?
Thanks for sharing your experiences Jennifer. I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to attend a gay wedding. I completely understand your reasoning but I see a gay wedding as a blasphemy to Gods most treasured human relationship and a picture of Christ and his church. By attending a wedding you are endorsing it, celebrating it, and promising to hold the couple accountable to their union. I know you must have certainly grappled with this in your own heart.
Here’s a question for all: How do we show our love for the gay community WITHOUT being seen to accept and celebrate their lifestyle choice, which I believe can ultimately lead to the capitulation of our Christian faith and commitment to scripture.
Thank you for your thought proving and honest post.
I must start out by saying each person who engages in the homosexual lifestyle do so for different reasons. Straight or gay, we all find something attractive in others of the same gender. This attraction is a gift from God which draws us into friendships. Society tells us our value as humans is found in relationships with other people. We are made to feel unworthy or insignificant if we don’t have someone in our life who validates our worthiness to be loved. We buy into the lies our value is determined by the people in our lives. For me, I was not attracted to men, matter of fact I was repulsed to the point I wanted to die. What should have been as God had designed was severely damaged by the abuse I endured. My natural attraction towards women was twisted into something that fulfilled societies “standards of value and worthiness” and to fulfill the void in my life.
I can only speak for myself. I do not identify as a Christian with same sex attraction. I am a Child of God, redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. Through God’s great mercy and grace I was delivered from homosexuality. I now know that my “same sex attraction” was a distortion of God’s gift of natural attraction.
No, I do not feel homeless. It took me about ten months to find a church home. I knew early on I was being called to share God’s powerful and beautiful story of redemption. I also knew that I needed a church home that stood firm in the truth of God’s word regardless of secular society rhetoric and the Reformation Project agenda. I have been accepted and embraced by the church I call home. I do not hide my past, in fact I am rather vocal about it. I have no shame. My lack of shame has led several parents facing this issue to find comfort in the fact they are not alone and there is hope for their child. If there is shame, it is not mine to claim. It belongs to anyone who remains in judgement over my sins which the Almighty has already covered.
Is it sometimes lonely, yes. Most definitely but not the type of lonely in respect to companionship. I find my self lonely for fellowship. It really isn’t even lonely. It is more like starving for the type of fellowship you walk away from the table so full of the Holy Spirit you need to loosen your belt.
The only real loneliness I experience is when there is no one to share in the joy of those “God winks” as I like to call it and needing to share a praise. However, I just save those things for when I get with my sisters in Christ and we just have a grand time praising God’s awesomeness.
We “celebrate” by taking part in something. Loving someone as Christ loves us is not the same as celebrating in someone’s willful and deliberate participation in sin.
Hi Pam, thanks for being so elaborate with what God has done in your life. Its encouraging to listen to your testimony. I’m blessed.
I really do appreciate your point of view. Perhaps I would have thought differently about attending the wedding if it had been held in a church, I think that would have been more of an endorsement to a watered down version of Christianity. I don’t think that loving my cousin changes my commitment to Christ or capitulates my faith. My choice was about my cousin, not the institution.
My ultimate desire for all persons is that they find the joy I have in Jesus. That all come to know Him as their savior. I also grieve the fact that not all will, even precious family members. But that free choice comes from the Very God of Very Gods and even my deep desire cannot bridge that gap. God honors their choice, he allows them to live as they choose and forfeit eternal life. An if you are from the reformed belief, then you recognize that not all are destined to salvation. That being said I believe we are still called to love them throughout their life with heartfelt Christian charity and continue to pray for their salvation. If I thought that staying away from the wedding would draw them closer to choosing Christ I would have stayed away. But I was pretty sure the opposite was true for them, that they are now less likely to shut down any dialog that could help to open their eyes.
Jesus came in grace and truth. If we are all grace without truth then we are not living out the Gospel. If we are all truth and no grace we are also not living out the “good news.” Never would I profess to them that I believe their lifestyle is okay with God. Scripture doesn’t leave much wiggle room on that subject. But I do live in the hope that one day they will see the truth, embrace the truth and come to a living faith.
I’m certainly not preaching here, just trying to clarify where my head and heart are in all of this.
Let me ask a question, Jammy, because I think it’s somewhat relevant and I’m interested in your viewpoint. Have you ever visited a heterosexual couple that live together outside of the bonds of marriage? Would you consider that the same kind of endorsement of a lifestyle unacceptable to God? What if they were professing Christians?
Thank you for your helpful and enlightening response. I’m on a real learning curve here. I really feel called to open myself up to deeper understanding, and your sharing is very meaningful to me.
I myself have been divorced and celibate for thirty years, I guess by now that’s proof that it hasn’t killed me (some told me it would–LOL). Although it has not been without some struggles and temptations. I’m not suggesting that it’s relevant to this discussion, just thought after your genuine sharing I should open up also.
I do think I understand what you were trying to say about the difference between being lonely and loneliness. I’m not unhappy at all and I feel the presence of God in my life everyday, but there are times I crave more human interaction. Ironically my nephew came to live with me a couple of years ago and I should not be lonely but he does not participate in conversation, so there you go.
I’m glad to hear that you are deeply rooted in a church and fully accepted for just who you are. Too many Christians put on a false self in church, not realizing it’s THE place where their true self can shine. I am likewise blessed to be in a wonderful community of God.
I’ve been using the term same-sex attracted because that is what I’ve been hearing on the RZIM videos and other places. I guess I’ve been using it in an effort to be as sensitive as possible. I love that your identity is securely a “Child of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.” I say AMEN to that. Me too!
Do you think it’s a good term to use? Or is it a lame attempt at sensitivity?
Jennifer, I think the term “same sex attracted” is pefertly acceptable. Thank you for your openness! Blessings, Pam
By “visited” do you mean in their home? Yes I for sure have. I’ve also hiked and went to events where I know there will be folks living the gay lifestyle. I think the difference is whether or not a wedding is just another event to you or not. To me, it is where a couple acknowledges to God their covenant to each other. Now a non-believing couple may not make a commitment to God, but I do think their marriage still embodies Christ and the Church. A homosexual wedding though does not. That’s the difference for me.
Christ is pretty clear on this when he quotes Genesis 2 in Matthew 19 what a marriage is and what it is for. At a wedding a lot of time there is prayer that God would bless the wedding and hold it firmly together for life. What would you pray for at a gay wedding? The opposite? That the couple would turn from sin and break off the marriage? That’s a mind bender for me
Here’s a question for everyone on this thread (impossible to know for sure but I’d be interested in all your thoughts): would Christ have attended a gay wedding? A pride parade? If so, in what capacity?
Thanks for the thought provoking dialogue Jennifer!
@jdodger26, Boy now that is an awesome thought provoking question. “would Christ have attended a gay wedding? A pride parade? If so, in what capacity?” Jesus did not come to save the righteous (Luke 5:32) so yes I do believe he would have attended however in no way do I believe He would have sat and quietly observed as a spectator! I invision Jesus walking into the middle of the crowed with many recognizing Him as the great I AM and falling to their knees as did the Roman soldiers and Judas in John 18:4-6. If the wedding was in a place of worship, I could see him entering and “cleansing” the place of worship as He did at the Temple of Jerusalem. I truly believe His presence would be known, many would attempt to stone Him as the Jews in John 10:30-33. When Christ walked this earth in the flesh He left us plenty of examples for us to follow. Our problem is the “me” gets in the way and our actions too often reflect the “me” instead of Christ living in us.