Karl Barth, the premier theologian of this century for Germany, and the major contributor to the document that freed the German Church from Hitler’s influence, said that all Christian theology must begin and end with the person of Jesus Christ, or it is not Christian theology. To this I would add, and I do not think that Karl Barth would object, in that journey from beginning to end, Christian theology must center on the person of Jesus Christ, as well.
Unfortunately, the gospels do not record any saying of Jesus about the issue of homosexuality. Consequently, we must start by speculating about Jesus’ position on the issue on the basis of what we do know about Him.
The most definitive statement about the person of Jesus Christ is found in John 3:16 &17, which reads;
For God so loved the world that He gave His own begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV)
This statement does not say, “…whosoever except for gays, bisexuals and transgender persons…” It just says “…whosoever…” that is, “…who-so-ever…”; (I have Candace Chellew, editor of the on-line bi-monthly magazine WHOSOEVER, to thank for pointing that one out.)
Now it is time for the anti-inclusion position to respond with its “Yeah, but’s…”
- “Yeah, but if a gay, upon accepting Christ as Savior, doesn’t immediately leave the gay life style, that gay hasn’t really accepted Christ as Savior;” or,
- “Yeah, but if a gay, after accepting Christ as savior, continues to sin by living the gay life-style, that gay should not be accepted into the church on the same status as one who does not practice sin.”
That one doesn’t get us too far. The law still has its say, so let us begin our journey, remembering to keep the Person of Jesus Christ at the center of our theological attempts.
A popular saying among many Christians today, both conservative and liberal, is “What Would Jesus Do?” You can now purchase bracelets and necklaces displaying the first letters of; those words: “W.W.J.D.” which serve to remind the wearers of this motto. So, what would Jesus do about homosexuality?
If Jesus were alive and walking the earth today, would he refuse to accept a gay, a bisexual or a transgender person into his band of disciples?
If Jesus understood the current scientific conclusions, that the gay, the bisexual or the transgender are a result of genetic make up, would he conclude that these people are sinners, unfit to join him?
I can cite numerous examples of how Jesus went against the social norms of the day. Jesus accepted and affirmed people whom the rest of the Jews would not include in their circle of friends, or even acquaintances.
The anti-inclusion position can still cite the law found in Leviticus and Paul’s statements found in Romans chapter one. They can still argue, and quite convincingly, that Jesus came not to destroy these laws, but to fulfill them.
Again, we’ve reached an impasse.
Let us return to the person of Jesus Christ, and forget our speculation based on what we think we know about what Jesus might have done. Let us do this by rephrasing that question and asking, “What HAS Jesus DONE?”
If I can find just one gay, one bisexual or one transgender person who:
- has not only accepted Jesus as Savior, but has also sought to make this very same Jesus his or her Lord…
- is able to revel in the Love of Jesus just as Snoopy revels in a spring day…
- is a member of the family of Christ and knows that this is where he or she belongs…
If I can find just one gay, one bisexual or one transgender person who fits any one of the above descriptions, then I am forced to conclude that Jesus has accepted this person on the same ground as myself, with all the same rights, privileges and responsibilities If Jesus has indeed accepted the one, then the possibility exists that Jesus is prepared to accept others, that — in fact — Jesus has accepted others.; If this is true, then I find myself compelled to paraphrase Isaiah’s remark about eunuchs and prophesy; “neither let the gay, the bisexual and the transgender say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’ For thus saith the Lord unto the gay, the bisexual and the transgender that keep my Sabbaths and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant: ‘Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of the sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.'” (Isaiah 56:4-6, KJV Italicized words are my changes to this text.)
I have known several gay Christians who are far more spiritual than I am. I have known several gay Christians who exude the love of Christ to the same degree as the teen boy exudes the cologne of the day while out on his first date. I have also known several straight Christians who match that description, line for line. And…I have also known several Christians, both straight and gay, who make me look exceptionally spiritual; Christians, both straight and gay, who are so afraid of offending God that they attach themselves to some other human to mold them, to teach them how to behave, what to think and even when to breath. So, I must conclude that gayness, or lack of gayness has nothing to do with either saving faith or spirituality.
We have gone full circle, beginning with the Person of Jesus Christ as he and his mission are described with the words that the gospel writer John put into this mouth, ending with the Person of Jesus Christ as revealed by the work of the Holy Spirit who serves to glorify Christ, and centering ourselves on the person of Jesus Christ as we speculate about how he might have handled the question were he physically here today. In all three portions of this journey, the beginning, the middle and the end, the overwhelming evidence is in favor of including the gay, the bisexual and the transgender into the church.; But…the most compelling evidence of all is the action of Jesus Christ today, as he demonstrates his acceptance of the gay, the bisexual and the transgender by allowing such people to know the joy of salvation, and to serve to the same degree as any spiritual person that we may decide to use for a measuring stick.
If Jesus Christ, through the person of the Holy Spirit of God, is willing to accept the gay, the bisexual or the transgender, can I…no, can we do less? Even the Bible teaches that, in the final analysis, it matters not what the Bible says, it matters not what the Church (or churches) says, it matters not what good sound doctrine or dogma says. No, in the final analysis, the only thing that matters is what Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit of God, is doing in the world today, even as I write, and as you read this document. In the words of Peter, when he was asked to defend his actions in the house of Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, “Forasmuch, then, as God gave them the same gift as he did unto us, who believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could withstand God?” (Acts 12:17, KJV)
Writing as “Uthur, from the Town by the Sea,” the author contributed to Whosoever while attending church in a UCC congregation in the Pacific Northwest Conference.