Rev. Dr. Jean Orost Responds
Your letter to Whosoever has stimulated much thought and prayer. I see from your closing, that you take Psalm 150:6 and John 3:16 as your identifying scriptures. Perhaps we could start there, as we, too, at Whosoever have adopted John 3:16 as our theme. We believe in God's Word, as you do, and affirm wholeheartedly the scripture that "God sent his only beloved Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." And we take those words literally, like you appear to do with other passages, believing that God meant "whosoever," when God said "whosoever." To me, that means anyone and everyone who believes.
In Romans 10:9-10, we read "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." This passage goes on to say that in Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for God is gracious to all who call upon Him (v.11-13). How great a salvation this is. Even my own righteousness is not earned, but is given to me, through the blood of Christ, and becomes mine when I just believe it. I have accepted this great and wonderful gift of God's grace, and believe that you, who call me friend, are also my brother in Christ.
Now, in Jesus' day, to tell a Jew that he was like a Greek or a Gentile in any way was to insult him. The Jews, as God's chosen people, had come to believe all kinds of rumors and ideas about what those "awful sinners" did and how they lived their lives. Those who were the sexually approved (circumcised) shunned and condemned the sexual outcasts (uncircumcised, eunuchs, sterile, adulterers, etc.). So when God said there was no distinction between them anymore, many were outraged. How could God possibly love sinners such as those? Indeed! How could God love sinners such as you and I? Yet, God, in His infinite kindness, chose to offer the free gift of salvation to all. And some of those who have accepted that gift happen to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered, or any one of a dozen different categories to which people have been born or assigned. Yes, Don, Jesus came that "whosoever will may come" to Him.
You know, Peter doubted this message for a while, too. We read in Acts 10 that Peter was praying and went into a trance and God told him to eat all kinds of creeping things that the Scriptures told him not ever to eat. Peter refused God, telling Him he was wrong! But God said, "What I have cleansed, call thou not unclean" (v.15). God's immutable laws were changed by the new covenant. Peter, like you, was not easily convinced, so God had to give him the message over again. Peter was finally convinced by God's revelation and interpreted it to mean that even those foul, unclean Gentiles, who do all those disgusting things, could be saved by the Gospel. And do you know, not one of those lobsters God told Peter to eat, was transformed into a fish! And in Acts 15, we read that none of those Gentiles had to be converted to Judaism either in order to be considered members of the Family of God. Praise God that the message of the Gospel is for all people, including homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, men and women, slave or free, rich or poor. And, since none of us can claim salvation through our own righteousness, that puts us all on equal footing before God.
Yes, Don, I am, and have known many gay and lesbian Christians, men and women who love the Lord and have devoted their lives to serving God. Men like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Hans Christian Andersen, Walt Whitman, and Alexander Hamilton, all of whom you know for their wonderful contributions to our civilization, were all gay. Christian women like Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Florence Nightingale were all lesbians. And there are thousands more, nameless and often unrecognized, who are gay and Christian, serving faithfully as pastors, teachers, organists, choir directors, deacons, elders, custodians, counselors, and clerks in your and others' churches. Do not think that you don't know any gay Christians, just because they may not think you are a safe enough person to come out to. I pray that you will get to know some of these fine people, because you sound like a person who believes in your own life experiences.
To get back to your theme scriptures, Ps. 150: 6 exhorts everyone who has breath to praise God. God, who breathed Spirit into each of us, has showered out many blessings for which we should all praise God, including our sexuality. You asked for illustrations of animals that sexually engage their same sex. I have a male dog, and I have known many others, who mount other dogs, male and female, and even the male cat. Cows mount each other when they are in heat. You could learn about other examples from The Learning Channel or The Discovery Channel, or Animal Planet. But let's look at humans, who God created to return His love and fellowship. As a sexual person yourself, it is likely that very rarely have your sexual activities resulted in creating another human being. God did not give us this great gift for procreation alone, but as a means of expressing our love and devotion to the wellbeing and satisfaction of our beloved. This human feeling is not restricted to only one sex or only one orientation. And yes, homosexual people do sometimes procreate. Moreover, it had been my observation that as parents and other relatives age and need assistance, it is frequently the devoted gay or lesbian daughter, nephew, or grandson who, not having children, takes on the major responsibility for the care of the aging relative. What a Christian thing to do, despite the frequent and persistent rejection they may have received in that family.
I hope that I have answered many of your concerns. I will continue to pray for God's blessing upon your own Christian witness.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost