I stumbled onto your site searching for a lucid explanation of humility (true humility) versus pride/arrogance. I found Neil Ellis Orts article Pride, Shame, Humility very insightful…very helpful…
Nancy (not gay, not a traditional Christian – whatever that may be – but trying to learn to be more humble)
I wanted to write and thank you for [Candace Chellew’s] beautiful article, The Only Thing That Counts.
I have been struggling since I became a believer last September regarding how to handle my sexuality. Your words have helped me understand God’s priorities and taken away a huge amount of anxiety.
Thanks also for the site. It is very inspirational. I don’t have any Christian friends and it’s good to find others who love God.
Thank you sooo much for the wonderful & sensible web page. I wandered onto your page after learning that a friend I hadn’t spoke to in years is gay and “coming out”. I am a Lutheran pastors’ wife (ELCA) and was searching for a place to help him walk without a spiritual limp because of his sexuality. I FOUND IT !! I am a new Christian myself and my husband was as clueless as I as to finding support resources to send to my friend. (We are 2500 miles away) Thank you for putting into words how my husband & I both feel about the bible and what it says about being a Christian and Gay!! I’m emailing my friend this website link immediately!!!
Editor: [Your magazine] opened my eyes as to how many false teachers and prideful people there are that create their own religions to suit whatever sin they do not want to face…hoping they can trick God into putting sincereity (sic) above truth and righteousness.
[Take] the life story of Dack Rambo [for example]. The famous actor who (in his own words) “chose” a life of homosexuality, yet later was delivered from that sin and then started Dack Rambo Ministries in order to help others to be freed from the bondage he was in. (I saw this on a couple of web-sites and saw him speak on this on television before he died). Of course you would have to be open to the truth and be unbiased in order to provide such help to others.
Thankfully, just CLAIMING to be a Christian doesn’t make you one – not even those claiming to be ordained. We are taught what a true Christian is in scripture. The KKK who brag about their hatred claim to be Christians. People who shoot doctors claim to be Christians. People who kill babies claim to be Christians. People who abuse children claim to be Christians. People who do not attend church claim to be Christians. Homosexuals claim to be Christians. People can claim all of the above sins as not being sin, but that does not make it so. Pedophiles can claim they were “born that way”, but it doesn’t make it true.
As Jesus taught us, the majority of people will never see heaven. “Few will find it”. And he gave very strong warnings not only for participating in such sins, but also for CONDONING them. If that does not convict you, then nothing on this earth will.
You will not sway or change the hearts of those who have received the Holy Spirit by trying to water down the gospel. Real Christians see the empty claims from all walks of life, and they continue to pray for you, in the hopes that the truth will set you free.
May each one of you who openly condone that which God despises feel the conviction of the great responsibility that you have been given.
If you wish to live a life contrary to scripture, you are free to do that. But heed the warnings in scripture about the accountibility (sic) you will face by teaching that which is untrue and unholy.
Editor Candace Chellew responds:
Thanks for your visiting the magazine and filling out our reader survey.
I get plenty of letters from people like you, arrogant people who are so quick to condemn people who do not believe exactly as they do. You accuse me of being prideful but your letter is brimming with your own pride … pride that YOU have a lock on God … pride that YOU have discovered what it is that makes a “true” Christian. It’s interesting that you tell us scripture teaches us what a true Christian is but then you do not tell us where in the scriptures that this teaching can be found.
Let us then search for ourselves. As a Christian (and, yes, you can disagree with me using that term, but you cannot take it from me) my definition for what being a “true” Christian is comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-40, when a Pharisee asked what which commandment was the greatest.
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
Now, hopefully we can agree that “true” Christians would follow Jesus’ commandments since “all the law and the prophets” depend on them.
With that as our criteria, let us turn to your categories of those whom you believe to NOT be “true” Christians. Do they fulfill the criteria?
The KKK: While some members of this group may truly love God with all their heart, soul and mind, it doesn’t seem to translate into finding it in their hearts to love their neighbors. Especially if those neighbors are black, gay, Hispanic, Jewish or any other race or creed that is not Anglo-Saxon Protestant. In short, they love only their own kind. As Jesus reminds us: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
People who shoot doctors: Okay, this category is unclear, but I suppose I’ll have to assume that you mean anti-abortion protestors who kill abortion doctors. Again, these people may love God with all their heart, mind and soul — but we again see that this does not translate into a love of neighbor. Such people resort to violent action to end something that they see as an affront to God. Are they Christians? Well, I suppose we can judge them by their fruits. Killing another person is wrong … and does not show us any good fruits. The good news, however, is that God forgives them if they repent.
People who kill babies: Again, you haven’t quite defined your terms here, but judging from those on your list I would suspect that you are referring to women who have abortions and not despots who attack villages and kill babies, or serial killers who prey on babies. This is a tougher category to weigh. There are myriad of reasons why a woman might choose to have an abortion. Maybe she will die if she gives birth. Maybe the baby is the product of a brutal rape, or incest. The woman involved may be a devout Christian, and only through much anguish and prayer has she finally received God’s guidance that abortion is the best route for herself and for the innocent life she carries.
As for the doctor who performs the abortion, can they be Christian? Why not? Their love of God has translated into a love of neighbor … they are compelled to help the woman who has been so abused, or is in danger of losing her own life. Most often these doctors act out of compassion for others, while putting their own lives at risk. They truly represent Jesus’ words as those who would “lay down their lives” for others.
People who abuse children: As with all the other categories, we cannot know for certain that these people do not love God with all their heart, mind, and soul … but again, something gets lost in translation. Those who abuse children have not learned to love themselves, so they cannot love their neighbors, who are the little children they so horribly abuse.
People who do not attend church: Okay, you’ve lost me here. There is NO instruction in the Bible that says we have to go to church. Some of the best Christians I’ve met in my life hardly darken the doorway of a church. You can love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself without ever seeing a church sanctuary. Being in church does not make you a Christian.
Homosexuals: Ah, now we get to the crux of the matter. Since you don’t spell it out, I’m going to assume that the reason you don’t think gay and lesbian people can be Christians is because of their sexual activity. I suppose I should not be amazed anymore that people like you reduce homosexual people to sexual acts that they may, or may not, perform with one another. People like you become obsessed with what we may, or may not, do in bed. Did you know that you can be a homosexual without ever having homosexual sex?
How can I make people like you understand that sexual activity is such a small part of who gay and lesbian people are? Do you spend your days thinking about when you’ll get your next sexual thrill? Do you spend your life trying to just find sex? Granted, some people do behave this way … many heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. But, the vast majority of gay and lesbian people, as well as straight people, are NOT hedonists looking for their next sexual experience. We are people searching for that true, lasting, and fulfilling relationship that will sustain us throughout our lives. In the meantime, we build careers, buy cars and homes, pay our taxes and generally live as normal, everyday citizens of whatever country we happen live in.
Sexual attraction is such a complex thing. Something that turns me on will completely revolt someone else and vice versa. How we are sexually wired as human beings has been the subject of much research and much of that research is inconclusive, or educated guesses at best. Kinsey produced a continuum of sexual attraction that, to me, makes the most sense. You, with your personal disgust over homosexual acts, might fall into Kinsey’s “exclusively heterosexual” category on the continuum. Me, because I can still find a man at least aesthetically pleasing, might fall into the “mostly homosexual” category. Those, like Dack Rambo, who seem to “come out” of homosexuality or say that they “chose” to be homosexual, would fall into Kinsey’s “bisexual” category. These are people who can “choose” which gender they will finally form a bond with. According to Kinsey, sexuality is fluid … we can move up and down the continuum during our lifetime. Who knows, Mark, one day you might find a man who really turns you on!
So, are homosexuals Christians? They certainly can be. Given Christ’s criteria, a homosexual Christian is one who loves God with all their heart, mind, and soul and who loves their neighbor as themselves. We see this phenomenon among gay and lesbian Christians across the globe. There are gay and lesbian churches doing outreach to the poor, the homeless, the abused, and the youth who have been kicked out of their homes by “true” Christian parents who hate their children’s “sinful lifestyle.” There are gay Christians like Mel White who fight for justice within the church for gay and lesbian believers. There are lesbian Christians like Janie Spahr who fight for gay and lesbian Christians who feel called by God to preach the gospel. There are gay Christians like Troy Perry, who in the face of great opposition, founded a denomination of churches for gay and lesbian Christians that now spans the globe!
The fruit of the spirit is evident in many gay and lesbian Christians. According to Christ’s criteria, they qualify … they keep the commandments. They are far from living “contrary to scripture.”
Pedophiles: Yes, some pedophiles may claim to be born that way, and maybe they are. But the problem with pedophilia is that children, unlike adults, cannot freely choose to be in a sexual relationship. They do not have the capacity to make such a decision. Sexual relationships between children and adults are never healthy, unlike sexual relationships between consenting adults, be they of the opposite or the same gender. A healthy relationship, be it gay or straight, is formed on the basis of love and consideration for one another. A pedophile is not concerned with love or consideration for the object of his abuse. His actions prove neither a love of God, nor a love of neighbor. A pedophile is concerned with power … the power they can have to influence a child and abuse them. But, again, God’s grace and forgiveness is available to even the worst offender. Pedophiles who get help for their illness and refrain from abusing children can certainly be Christians.
The bottom line in all these categories is that grace is freely available to all who seek it. The KKK member, people who shoot doctors, kill babies, abuse children or don’t go to church, homosexuals and pedophiles all can come under grace. But, with that grace comes the responsibility to love the neighbor as we love ourselves. When this kind of love manifests itself, we see the fruit of the spirit in action … “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22)
Where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in your letter, Mark? I cannot seem to find it. However, I will refrain from saying that you are not a Christian. Why? Because, ultimately, that is not my judgment to make. Yet, you do seem to share some of the flaws that those listed above exhibit. Like the KKK member, you love your own. Only those who agree with you and your view of God are “true” Christians. You like your world in black and white with set answers about what is right and wrong. You refuse to see the shades of gray in the world. Many of those in your list above suffer the same malady, even, sadly, some homosexuals. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, I cannot say you, and the others on your list are not Christians, for that is not my right. I can however say you and the others are bad Christians, poor examples of what followers of Christ are supposed to embody, if they take Jesus’ words in Matthew seriously.
You, and Christians like you, follow a God of Law, a God fond of shouting “Thou shalt!” and “Thou shalt not!” You, and Christians like you, will gladly negate the grace of God to desperately preserve just one Levitican law while disregarding the rest. Paul reminds us that Christ died for nothing if we believe we must continue to obey the law. You, and Christians like you, searching for sure biblical condemnation of gay and lesbian people, will stop reading Romans after the first chapter, missing the entire point of Paul’s letter that we are all sinners who are saved only by faith in Christ and that no one is God’s favorite.
I follow a God of Love who says “seek and you shall find.” I would rather believe in a God of the honest search, a God of Love who is not overly concerned that I get the letter of the law right as long as I don’t violate its spirit. I fully believe that when I stand before God on judgment day, God will say to me “you got this right, but you were totally wrong about this. For what you did right, you are blessed. For what you did wrong, you are forgiven. Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I cannot believe in a God of Law who will so easily disregard my earnest search for God’s will simply because I have a life-partner who, like me, is a woman. What a small and mean-spirited God you believe in.
Mark, I urge you to seek out God in everyone you see. I see God in you. I see someone who desperately wants to be on God’s good side, so you’ll do whatever it takes, believe whatever your church or denomination says you’re supposed to believe, and will stridently tell those whom you believe to be on the wrong side of grace to repent or perish. You are certainly zealous for what you believe in, but I believe your zealotry has blinded you to the work of God in all creation. Open your eyes, and open your heart, Mark. God is bigger than a book, bigger than any religion, even Christianity. God is in all things and through all things. God is our very ground of being. We are all God’s children, but we must take our responsibilities as God’s children seriously. We must bear good fruit or we are lost.
Where is your good fruit, Mark?
Please after having read [Angela Rose’s] response to Lisa in Whosoever, do not perceive your TG lifestyle to be in obedience to the will of God for your life. Jesus can deliver everyone from disobedience. You see I was delivered from transsexuality (MTF) in [the past year], which incidently coinsides with my being born again of the spirit. This is not an easy struggle, for I know first hand all the trials and tribulations. I love you.
In Great Anticipation,
Angela Rose responds:
I went back through to see just which letter you were referring to. I did find it, I believe, the Reverent Response letter 11? I certainly cannot accuse you of failing to read in-depth or at length, as the TS issue is a very small part of the letter as a whole, and well at the end. Certainly TSity was not the central issue in that letter, but no matter.
I would like to say first off that I am very happy and overjoyed that you were able to find a path through your struggles of GID that led to your being able to avoid transitioning. I trust in the integrity of your relationship with God to be willing to believe that He has led you exactly where he wanted you to be. That is a very cool thing, and I cannot be happier that you have found a peace in life and with Him. I have other friends who have had similar experiences, able to remain in male role to greater or lesser degree, either from direct intervention of God or other circumstances, such as keeping the family intact or a stable career. You will not find me to be one that says any and everyone who suffers from transsexuality absolutely must transition. There are those who have been able, in whatever way, to remain in their birth sex. And I am totally comfortable with that. It is their own life and their own personal relationship with God, and if the two of them are cool with what’s going on, I have no problem at all with that. If God wishes to reach down and directly touch someone and remove the angst of TSism in any way He chooses, I am certainly not one to question, but to rejoice, as it’s not often God acts so decisively, directly and dynamically.
I would respectfully demand the same consideration and trust of my integrity in my relationship with God and how He has chosen to lead me through and deliver me from the suffering of TSism. There is a quotation that comes to mind from C. S. Lewis:
“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons — marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”
It is very very easy to fall into the trap of believing that God’s personal will for your individual life and circumstance is exactly the same as God’s personal will for everyone else’s life and circumstances. And that is very naive at best, arrogant at worst. For it is saying that You have a direct pipeline from God’s mouth to Your ear concerning His will for the lives of His other children.
In another letter on Whosoever, you’ll find my “GID bio,” if you will, and how God chose to deal with that situation in my life. In many ways it’s very similar to the story of other TS Christians, who after so many years of fighting God, saying, “I will never, ever transition,” eventually learn to pray, “God, Your will be done.” And His will for them, and me, was transition. That’s fine. It’s different from your experience, and that’s ok. It is not acceptable to say, “Because it’s not MY experience, it CAN’T be yours.” Either for you or for me.
When I made my decision for Christ, some fifteen years ago, I had a similar “deliverance” from the GID stuff – for about six months. Same held true after I got married the first time. But I soon realized that it wasn’t a deliverance, but just enough euphoria from other areas of my life that caused the GID to take a back seat for a while. Then when life calmed down again and I “came down from the mountaintop,” the old pains and feelings were still there. I wasn’t delivered, and they weren’t removed. Eventually they got to a point where I couldn’t deal with them, and just surrendered to God and asked Him to take the pain and the feelings and do whatever He wanted to do with them. Not transitioning would have been so much easier. I have lost much to follow His will in my life, but have gained so much more. The fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23) has been never more evident in my life. He has given me a capacity to forgive as I have never had before. He has allowed a bitter spirit I held towards others to be softened. He has softened a critical spirit that was within me.
Thank you for your taking time to write me. Again, I rejoice with you as God has found a way to help you through the misery of transsexualism to a place of joy and harmony in your life.
Praise the Lord. Tears of joy are pouring from my eyes. I came to your site to gather information for a posting about being Gay AND Christian. I needed some rock solid information to help in my conversations with some who insist the two are not possible. I found what I was looking for. I knew I would. I had been to the site before. Thank you.
But I also found much more. I found renewal of my own faith. Instead of just gathering the info I needed I explored Whosoever for a while. The more I read the more I prayed. And the realization came to me. I could quote scripture and argue theology forever and never scratch the surface. Such arguments are not likely to change the mind of a fundamentalist. No, I must reach out with our shared faith and love of God. While I will still use the material I found here it will be my personal testimony of my relationship with Christ that will say much more.
I am a Gay man together with my partner of nearly twenty years. It was when we decided to have a ceremony and became involved in church that our lives became truly blessed. We’ve drifted a way a bit and missed a few services. Sunday we will be back. I miss the fellowship of other Christians. Thank you again for your wonderful site. God gave you a great mission and you are serving him well.
“Sharing in Christ’s Loving Arms”