Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)
Note: All letters are posted as they were received. No spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. Links to responses are at the end of the letter.
It’s amazing how a group of supposedly intelligent “Christian” people can go the Bible and try to make a Doctrine out of one scripture, which for all homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals is Galatians 3:28, which, by the way is so conveniently misinterpreted, to suit the needs of the group and also conveniently ignore the multitude of other scriptures that condemn their acts, such as : 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Rom. 1: 21, 26, 27; 1 Tim. 1: 10, 11; Rom. 6: 11,-14, 22, just to name a few. In 2 Tim. 3: 3, the Bible warns us that in the last days, men “will think nothing of immorality.” Homosexuality is a serious offense which led to the death penalty for violators in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:22; 20:13.) I love you people, but I, as Jesus, hate your sin. The word of God calls homosexuality an abomination because it is a rebellion against God’s original plan of one man and one woman united together for life. In the authority of Jesus, I will be praying for the binding of lust and homosexual desire. I pray for you to be free from sin and to find victory and newness of life in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
PS: I forgot to interpret your organizations scripture for you. True, all of us are one in Jesus Christ, but there is no sin in Jesus Christ, and there is no one else’s sin in Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ does not condone sin, no matter who it is, Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. And if you want, I can give you plenty of scriptures that tell you that homosexuality is a sin. So don’t try to misinterpret Scripture to your own liking. God bless.
Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Dear VanQuartermain,
Your letter puzzles me. Are you suggesting that Paul’s words to the church at Galatia, as recorded in Galatians 3: 28, have been misinterpreted? To me the passage seems very clear, that in Christ all humanly contrived differences are resolved and that we are but one people. There is no suggestion of condoning any sin in these verses, or of attributing sin to Jesus the Christ. As far as verses which “tell you that homosexuality is a sin,” I fear you are in error. There is no verse of scripture in which the word homosexuality is used.
There are verses in scripture that condemn any sexual act which is unloving, manipulative and which contravenes the natural sexuality of any person. There are verses which condemn Temple prostitution which occurred not only in New Testament times, but was also evident in the worship rituals of many of the nations which surrounded Israel throughout her history. There are also many verses, in fact a sizable amount of verses, that deal with heterosexual sexual acts, in fact while Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, he certainly had a lot to say about heterosexual relationships. Look at the gentle manner in which he approached the Samaritan woman by the well at Shiloh. Though he challenged her about her “marital” status, his words were gentled by the non-judgemental love of God. To the woman taken in the act of adultery he acted as arbitrator and shield. He defied any of her accusers to first examine their own lives seeking any stain of sin before they passed sentence on her. Have you ever wondered about the man who was found with her, what happened to him?
Jesus does not condone sin; in fact it was sin, your sin and mine combined with the sins of the entire world, which cost Jesus his life. To be our Redeemer and bridge back to God our Parent, Jesus allowed his crucifixion to proceed; when with a word he could have called hosts of angels to protect himself. But Jesus knew, as do all who serve him, that love for others often costs us dearly. I agree that in the last days there will be those who condone and practise immoral acts – we see evidence of this in our courts even now. Jesus warned, as did many of the prophets, of the collapse of the moral code of world society and of the rise of many so-called “messiahs” as Christ’s second advent approached. Our doctrine, rather than being based on Galatians 3: 28, is based on the very words of Jesus, as recorded in John’s Gospel chapter three verse sixteen: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I would go further and say that for us the words of verse twenty-one of the same chapter could be used to describe our lives: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he has done has been done through God.”
Though it may be helpful for you to pray for the binding of lust and homosexual desire and for our freedom from sin, I believe that you are confusing a sexual act with a sexual identity. For many homosexuals sexual fulfilment is not an option. I know of couples who have lived a life-time together which does not involve any sexual contact. To my understanding, lust is unbridled passion, and I do not know any homosexual people who are driven by lust, but perhaps you have met some. Indeed, it is lust in heterosexual contacts, including lust that involves young children in sexual acts, which the Bible soundly condemns. Statistics prove that it is not the lurking homosexual who is the predator to be feared, but family members or friends who lustfully violate children’s bodies. Thank you for the concern you have shown in your letter; it may be that in reading this response you are challenged and allow God to open your heart to the full meaning of the verses you have quoted.
Maarten van den Driest responds: Dear VanQuartermain,
Just as a precaution: I will ask you a lot of questions in my response to your letter to Whosoever. I sense that you live your life by answers, answers that are unchangeable for you. I live by questions myself. There is one thing that I am sure of and that is my belief in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
“For I am certain that not death, or life, or angels, or rulers, or things present, or things to come, or powers, Or things on high, or things under the earth, or anything which is made, will be able to come between us and the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
The rest is decoration.
You say, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” What do you mean with this? Have we proclaimed God is mocked? Do we mock God with our words? Surely not, we could not do that even if we tried. And we don’t try. With our words, published on Whosoever, we attempt to build a house for people who have been denied the Grace that was given to them by the Almighty Himself, denied by people.
My next question: Why your condescending tone? Why do you accuse us of misinterpreting and making the Bible suit our needs? Do you not see I could say the same to you? We could shout at each other, hurl insults and epithets – some people do! – and we could even accuse each other of ‘not even being Christians’. We would be in a world of hurt and nothing would be gained.
You write down a string of Bible verses. “1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Rom. 1: 21, 26, 27; 1 Tim. 1: 10, 11; Rom. 6:11-14, 22, just to name a few.” Just to name a few? Apparently you know much more. Then why do you not tell us? Why do you not support your view that we misinterpret those verses with evidence? It is quite possible that I misinterpret Bible verses. I wouldn’t allow myself the arrogance of claiming I understood them all. But why no explanations? Do you think that we should only read and then see the light? Many of us have done precisely that. Most people here at Whosoever come from homes where they could never give up their secret, many of us come from families that started praying for our speedy deaths as soon as they found out. All of us have lived all our lives in countries where we heard from our parents, family, siblings, media, peers, teachers etc., etc. that we were the filth of the earth, not even worthy to live. We turned to God’s word and saw the light. It’s not easy. Being a Christian doesn’t mean – at least for me – that everything suddenly becomes clear. Standing up every day and facing a world of hate and oppression is still a daunting, sometimes desperate task.
But I did see the light. I found that I belong with God. I found that He doesn’t care about the gender of whom I love. We all did. Now you come and try to rob us of that? Is that building God’s Kingdom?
Let us consider 2 Tim. 3: 3 then. What has “immorality” to do with homosexuality? It is okay for you maybe to think that a word like ‘immorality’ is the same as ‘being gay’ but not for me. That would be twisting the word of God to suit your needs. 2 Timothy 3 speaks of more than just immorality. It speaks also of boasters, the proud and of false accusers. According to Levitical Law it was possible to swear an oath of being not guilty. The accuser would then have to come with solid evidence or rest his case. I charge you to prove that homosexuality is immoral.
Don’t start about HIV or prostitution. Don’t start about child abuse. Do you know how many children have to be taken from their parents by the authorities each year? Do you know how many straight guys infect girls with HIV each year by claiming it is a ‘gay disease’? Did you know how many heterosexual women are abused right into suicide each year by their heterosexual husbands? What right do you have to this blanket accusation of immorality??
The Levitical law speaks of ritual temple prostitution. I do not claim to understand all the verses that people tell me condemn homosexuality but what I do know is that not one single verse in the entire Bible condemns two men or two women in a loving, nurturing relationship. There is none.
You say, “I love you people, but I, as Jesus, hate your sin.”
Show us your love! Show that you respect us as individual humans, show that you listen to our concerns, that you suffer with us. Show that you want to share our fate and be with us, stand with us against our accusers. Isn’t that what love means?
Please stop about lust. Lust has nothing to do with it. Of course I enjoyed sex when I was still in a relationship. I did, it is wonderful. But don’t you enjoy the pleasures of the flesh? I never let myself be guided by lust, however. Others have but most of them aren’t homosexual. Who rapes all those women each year? Not the homosexuals. Who uses women as simple sex objects? Not the homosexuals. Who watches programs like Studs and Baywatch? Surely not the homosexuals. Go preach to straight people about the binding of lust. We know everything about it, especially about the bloodlust we see in the eyes of the ‘righteous’ when they come to picket our funerals, when they ban us from visiting our loved ones in the hospital. When they tell us they hate our sins… but love us?
You say, “The word of God calls homosexuality an abomination because it is a rebellion against God’s original plan of one man and one woman united together for life.” The word of God calls arrogance an abomination too. The word of God tells us that we can never hold the entire law and that we break all of it when we break one bit. The word of God tells us that we can all seek refuge with Christ.
God’s plan is unknown. We have the story in Genesis of course where a man and a woman are made for each other. Fine, I do not deny men and women are made for each other. There are however women made for women. If we use the Creation stories as our guide then why are there people of different skin colour? Most white people will assume Adam and Eve were white. Of course we will never know but it is strangely convenient for white heterosexual married people. But then, of course, Adam and Eve never married. Marriage in the Old Testament is mostly a matter of one man buying the daughter of another man. All the laws against different types of sex in Leviticus are, in my humble point of view, meant as the safe-guarding of men’s possessions – namely the wives – and some as guards against the worshipping of other gods. Leviticus isn’t interested in a ‘wholesome family’. God, in His wisdom, made those ritual rules such that we can use them as an inspiration for our families. They aren’t worthless, we do however have to be careful with using them against other people.
You say, “In the authority of Jesus, I will be praying for the binding of lust and homosexual desire.” I have a lot of trouble with this sentence. You clothe yourself in the authority of Jesus? By what right? By what right, tell me, can you pray against another Christian’s earnest prayers? I believe one should never pray against another. I pray for the binding of homosexual and heterosexual arrogance, condescension, blindness, lack of love, fear. I pray for the release of all people from their bonds of fear and suffering. I pray for wisdom for us both, for mankind.
You say you love us. Go to a homosexual man or woman that you know, shake hands and say “I love you.” Then act it. Show that you love that person.
Oh, yes, as an afterthought: We know what our dedication scripture means. It is John 3:16. It says God gave his only Son for all people. It doesn’t say for all sinless people or even for all straight people. It says for all. I seek refuge with my Lord from my attackers.
I sin a lot. My sins are quite ordinary – although not any less serious – and range from anger, blindness of others’ needs to hardness of the heart and many more. My sins do not include being gay. Being gay in itself is a blessing, a chance to show the world a special kind of love. But I do sin. I confess this freely. Please confess with me and share my fate.
Your friend in Christ,
Peter Padilla responds: Friend,
Galatians 3:28 is indeed a favorite scripture of mine: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” I love the idea that our differences no longer separate or isolate us, but rather in Christ we are joined. No one need be alone, for accepting the Son of God as our brother and savior.
I believe that the most important message to be received in the New Testament is that God loves us, Jesus loves us, and we are admonished to love one another as He has loved us. Every time somebody asked Jesus what was important, he returned to this message of love. Jesus’ love, though, does not come through judgment or condemnation. He drew to his side the disenfranchised, and those viewed as sinful by the greater community. I’ve not ever seen hate attributed to Christ, and generally he taught lessons through parables and discussions, rather than with violence or judgment. Though certain behaviors are forbidden in the Old Testament, Jesus himself was silent on the point of homosexuality. We are left to interpret that fact that Jesus did not repeat any Old Testament condemnation against homosexuality, while he did remind us of behaviors that were unacceptable in the eyes of God.
There is so much text in scripture, and it was written over such a length of time, that it is difficult to cite the intended meaning of every word attributed to God. Scholars have disagreed for centuries about the source and lesson of each passage. As we each try to understand and interpret scripture, we apply our experience and reason to the text. I try to read every verse remembering that the underlying message is one of love. The action that is sinful, then, is causing harm to – or failing to love – another of God’s children.
I’ve not been granted any specific authority by Christ, but you will be in my prayers. I pray, as I do for all of God’s children, that your heart will be open to the love of God. Through that love, we will be guided to care for our brothers and sisters, rather than condemn them. Through His strength, may we become worthy of that love, which is granted to us without judgment or price.
I struggle, as always, to be driven by Christ’s love,
Angela Rose responds: Hi VanQuartermain!
Glad you dropped by Whosoever! I hope you have visited again and prayerfully read the many articles contained within.
It’s amazing how a group of supposedly intelligent “Christian” people can go the Bible and try to make a Doctrine out of one scripture,
It certainly does amaze me as well how that happens. I was thrown out of a church three years ago for being transsexual, and there was only one verse which the pastor could quote to me, Deuteronomy 22:5, which has even an inkling to say about crossgenderedness. It is a verse that most people only use to condemn males stepping out of societal bounds of what is deemed appropriate clothing. The verse makes the same admonition to women; however, it is not used to condemn women. It is a verse that also says nothing about one’s being transsexual. It’s actually a verse that more probably talks about not putting women on the battlefront in armor or men avoiding military service by dressing of the opposite sex. The other interpretation of that verse I’ve often heard is that is an admonition against cross-dressing in pagan fertility rites. Over one misinterpreted, misused, and unequally applied verse, I was told I was blinded by the powers of Satan, had never been a “real Christian” in the first place, and if I didn’t repent of my sin and rebellion against God I would find myself in hell. All because a group of supposedly intelligent “Christian” people went to the Bible and tried to make a doctrine out of one Scripture.
which for all homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals is Galatians 3:28, which, by the way is so conveniently misinterpreted, to suit the needs of the group
That’s a good verse, I agree. I also love Mark 12:29-31. John 9:1-12 is a passage that gives me great hope and comfort. James 4:12. Proverbs 17:17. Just for a real quick list of some favorites of mine. And just for completeness’ sake, I do most of my personal study from NIV, which when I’m quoting scripture in this letter, it’s from that translation.
Galatians 3:28 misinterpreted, though? Galatians 3:28-29 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (NIV) So since “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Acts 2:21) and as Christians, gay or straight, black or white, male or female, making such a call, we have all therefore equally accepted God’s gift of salvation. And thank you for making me take a look at that verse. Verse 29 seems to me to offer even more hope and grace to everyone. I wouldn’t have noticed verse 29 without your having me read verse 28.
and also conveniently ignore the multitude of other scriptures that condemn their acts, such as : 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Rom. 1: 21, 26, 27; 1 Tim. 1: 10, 11; Rom. 6: 11,-14, 22, just to name a few.
Well, I personally would hardly call four references a “multitude.” And besides, depending on the particular version of Bible you happen to pick up, that 1 Cor 6:9 has been used against transgenders as well, though in reality it has nothing to do with either sexual orientation or gender identity. The word “effeminate” you’re probably referring to (you haven’t cited which translation of the Bible you’re using) is from the Greek malakos, which is more accurately defined as “licentious.” From the KJV era, when women were considered to be not as able to control their passions as men, the idea of malakos might be more accurately interpreted as “womanizer.” How the NIV got from the KJV’s “effeminate” to “homosexual offenders” I’ll never be sure. As for your “naming just a few” verses, I’d be interested to know what other verses there are. Also, I’d be interested to here your opinion of the interpretations of these verses that are found in the pages of Whosoever. They, far better than I can ever hope to do, offer explanations of these verses.
In 2 Tim. 3: 3, the Bible warns us that in the last days, men “will think nothing of immorality.” Homosexuality is a serious offense which led to the death penalty for violators in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:22; 20:13.
See our section titled What The Bible Says About Homosexuality. Please offer your thoughts to the explanation there, as again it’s done far better than I can do. And while you research that, if my stepson is disobedient, I will get the men in my town together and stone him. A child’s disrespect of his parents’ authority is a serious offense which led to the death penalty for violators in the Old Testament. (Deut 21:18-21) (author’s note: This is sarcasm. Please do not report my wife and me to the authorities. We will not have our children stoned, nor shall we ever.)
And I love you people, but I, as Jesus, hate your sin. The word of God calls homosexuality an abomination because it is a rebellion against God’s original plan of one man and one woman united together for life.
Where is it stated in the Bible the reason for homosexuality considered an abomination is because in your eyes it is rebellion against God’s plan for everyone’s lives? My first marriage was one that you would call “God’s plan for one man and one woman,” my being the man and she the woman. However, that marriage was filled with nothing but venom, destruction, misery, hatred, and discouragement. I am remarried now to another woman and am in a same-sex marriage (as I have undergone gender transition), and it is a marriage of love, compassion, caring, encouragement and strengthening. But somehow, in your opinion of God’s will for our lives, this relationship is outside of God’s will? I can’t believe God would have preferred my staying in a destructive marriage in a life role that would have caused nothing but misery, rather than living a life role of correctness, joy and peace with another woman who encourages me and I her. It is by the fruit of the marriages I see the marriages’ worthiness and goodness, akin to the idea portrayed in Matthew 7:16-17.
In the authority of Jesus, I will be praying for the binding of lust and homosexual desire.
My relationship is not a lustful one, and I’m very content with my wife, and she with her wife. God brought the two of us into each other’s lives for just the encouragement and love we both needed, which is based on nearly everything except the sex acts with which you seem preoccupied.
I pray for you to be free from sin and to find victory and newness of life in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks! I do so for you as well! Such a newness of life He has given me, too, in leading me through my gender transition and to have a loving spouse by my side and for me to stand beside.
I forgot to interpret your organizations scripture for you.
I thought it was everyone’s scripture? I’m happy to hear your particular interpretation, though simply because you or I interpret a scripture does not automatically mean that it is God’s meaning or intent for our own or others’ lives.
True, all of us are one in Jesus Christ, but there is no sin in Jesus Christ, and there is no one else’s sin in Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ does not condone sin, no matter who it is, Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23). If I had tried living in denial as I had for so long, I would never have had many of these fruits in my life. By following the path I have, I have received all these gifts in increasing quantity and quality. So by the fruit that I have been blessed with, and shown by their manifestation in my life, I see that I am in line with what God’s will for my life is.
And if you want, I can give you plenty of scriptures that tell you that homosexuality is a sin. So don’t try to misinterpret Scripture to your own liking. God bless.
I thought the “multitude” of scriptures you offered before was all there was to demonstrate your viewpoint? And there are alternative ways to look at those scriptures, rather than what may be your own misinterpretations.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time looking at this issue through my own life, rather than making a lot of general statements. I don’t really feel right making statements about other people’s lives too much. I figure that the fruit their lives bear is witness to the Spirit within them. I’ve seen many same-sex and opposite-sex couples be blessings to each other, to myself, and to others around them. I’ve also seen both same-sex and opposite sex couples be hurtful and destructive to each other, to myself, and to others around them. I prefer to pray in thankfulness for and continued blessing upon the strong relationships, and for healing and compassion in the relationships that are in need of God’s loving touch.
Founder of Motley Mystic and the Jubilee! Circle interfaith spiritual community In Columbia, S.C., Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008). Founder and Editor Emeritus of Whosoever, she earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained by Gentle Spirit Christian Church in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She is also a musician and animal lover.