“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.
I have the proud privilege to say that first of all I am not Gay and that yes God loves every body. God will accept us as we are but change is required of us to continue this walk with him. We must take up our cross deny ourselves and follow him and not man. We must be careful in the things that we do and say claiming that it is acceptable with God. Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind as if with a woman both of them have committed an abomination”. The bible still says that the wages of sin is death and it does not alleviate homosexuals. The bible also says in Romans that there were men with men working that which is unseemly and would receive in themselves that recompense of their error. The bible goes on again in 1Tim 4:2 That in the latter times some would depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Editor, I hope that you truly come to know Jesus in the power of his might that he break through that demonic bondage of rebellion called homosexuality. It a shame that there is such a website endorsing such abomination, without repentance of these deeds you will lift your eyes in Hell and all of the individuals that you encourage to follow along God will hold you accountable please do not make this awful mistake.
May God deliver and set you free is my prayer,
Victor V. Strange
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost responds: Dear Mr. Strange,
The editor of Whosoever has asked me to respond to your letter. I would like to respond to some of your specific concerns before ending with one of Jesus’ parables, inspired by your letter’s introduction.
We agree that God loves us all and accepts us as we are. God loves us so much, that he accepts us, even embraces us, every moment of our lives, wherever life takes us and whatever becomes of us. When we learn to embrace that tremendous kind of unconditional love, we draw closer to God, learn to love Jesus as our savior, and slowly grow more and more like Him in our walk. God is the one who transforms us. I do not make the claim to be acceptable on my own merits. God has declared it to be so.
Yes, indeed, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:21), but Romans has also laid out the conditions of salvation and has told EVERYONE, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, or any other category, that therefore, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). Since God does not condemn me, I feel free to tell you that your condemnation does not affect me. I do hope, however, that you may be open to looking at some of the specific charges that you raise.
You begin your condemnations with a quotation from Leviticus, a book which includes many laws and prescriptions, called the Holiness code. There was a great concern in that day for purity and cleanliness as characteristics of godliness, as well as a concern with the idolatrous practices of many of the religions of the surrounding cultures. If you read some of the books in our bibliography or other sites on our website, I’m sure you’ll find much informative material to aid your studies of the subject. Now, let’s look at that word “abomination.” In the Hebrew, this word means filthy or detestable, and is generally defined as idolatry, meaning practices associated with worshipping other gods. That said, then, the same-sex behavior you are concerned about had something to do with idol worship. A little more study on your part might reveal more about this. I might also add that this particular passage in Leviticus lists many other abominations, such as eating shellfish, wearing clothing of mixed fabric, allowing disabled or illegitimate people into the temple, having sex with a menstrous woman or with relatives, and sowing two different seeds in the same field. In order for your attention to detail in the Bible to be consistent, you would need to condemn all these poor folk now worshipping in our churches to an early death. I’m sure if you read this chapter and those immediately following it in Leviticus, you will find yourself and some of your own loved ones included in the guilty category. That is why we need to rejoice at so great a salvation, that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And now, as we are living within the new covenant, our focus is on the mercy and lovingkindness of our God, not on the details of the purity code.
You quote Timothy, inferring that our conscience has been seared with a hot iron. But I wonder if your own conscience has been so seared that you can condemn people (mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters) who you do not even know. Do you enjoy others’ suffering? Now, that sounds more like a seared conscience to me, than the soul searching and humility of the G/L/B/T Christians I know.
In response to your concern about our editor, Candace Chellew, I affirm that she truly knows, loves, and serves Jesus faithfully, in spite of the abuse and condemnation she receives. The scriptures predict that there will come a time when believers are thrown out of the synagogues (churches) by those who think that they are serving God (John 16:2, see also Matt. 10:16-23, a passage which has brought me comfort). Speaking for myself, the bondage of rebellion in which I hid for may years was the resistance to God’s call to give up all the privileges and good reputation of pretending to be heterosexual. That’s real bondage (as the rich young ruler experienced)!
I’m sure that, in your imagination, you have imagined that gay or lesbian people do all sorts of “deeds” that you would not enjoy or will not allow yourself to believe are acceptable, things you consider disgusting (remember the definition of abominations). Please do not do these things, or violate your own conscience in your sexual activity, which is a gift for the expression of love, not disgust. Gay and Lesbian Christians also have standards of loving and not hurtful behavior toward each other. The bottom line is the standard set by Jesus when he summed up all the laws into just two: love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. I would like you to consider me your neighbor.
And now the parable, from Luke 18: 9-14:
And Jesus spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes into heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
May God write the truth upon your heart, and pour out mercy and lovingkindness upon you.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost
Maarten van den Driest responds: Dear Mr. Strange,
I am not the editor of the Whosoever online magazine. I am a member of the Reverent Responses council. I hope you will hear my answer.
Editor, I have the proud privilege to say that first of all I am not Gay and that yes God loves every body.
It is said we should love the sinner but hate his sins. I hate your proudness and your boasting. Psalm 101:5b has it: “him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” For you, acknowledging that God loves everybody is easy. You apparently stand on the right side of things and turn your own human scorn to those who are wrong in your human eyes. You have found the mote in your brother’s eyes… recognise that one?
God will accept us as we are but change is required of us to continue this walk with him. We must take up our cross deny ourselves and follow him and not man.
Eminently right but still an easy thing to say. I see you only following your own heart. Would not God Almighty deal with us Himself if we wronged Him? Why do you see the need to defend Him against perceived wrongdoings of others? Jesus did actually take up the cross. He took our sins on Himself. He did not focus solely on the lives of others in order to forget His own. I hate the way you strike out to people who haven’t hurt you, who haven’t done anything to offend you other than try to be Christians.
We must be careful in the things that we do and say claiming that it is acceptable with God. Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind as if with a woman both of them have committed an abomination”.
My dear man, the very fact that you quote this verse shows a tremendous lack of respect. We have answered this quote time and again on our own site and it was answered by countless other gay Christians all over the Net as well as in real life. You don’t know the answer? Very well, I will explain it again. This is a verse that uses a very difficult word that probably points to homosexual ritual prostitution. Even gay prostitutes aren’t into sex for any ritual, homosexual people of both genders even less. We are simply not covered by this verse. The Bible has a lot to say about straight prostitution, by the way, far more than in the verses that some people make out to be anti-gay. Those are indeed clear in their tone. Why don’t you go and warn heterosexual people about their wrongs then? Who keeps all those female prostitutes in business? Not us gay men. Not us lesbian women. I hate your lack of respect and I hate your abuse of the Holy Bible to suit your own whims.
The bible still says that the wages of sin is death and it does not alleviate homosexuals. The bible also says in Romans that there were men with men working that which is unseemly and would receive in themselves that recompense of their error.
I now see a man working that which is unseemly but still I won’t give you a death sentence. Vague words, Victor. That which is unseemly is far more likely to be going to female prostitutes in my eyes. Who told you that some hard to understand old Greek words mean ‘all gay people’? Explain that to me. You are judging – although you must have read Romans 2:1 – a large part of the world population because of some out-of-context obscure biblical texts that point out unclear wrongs. I grant you that gay men and lesbian women making the wrong choices are wrong but the whole fact that they are gay doesn’t make them wrong. There isn’t a sort of standard bonus sin level for homosexuals. You try and point out a verse that says that.
I hate the easy way with which you condemn, against biblical instruction, a large part of your fellow humans, a large part of your family, friends, colleagues and children.
The bible goes on again in 1Tim 4:2 That in the latter times some would depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
Somehow I doubt that true faith is badgering good other people with words that can only cripple them emotionally, to go to other humans and tell them that the very core of their being is ugly. Although I do hate the way you treat me and millions of other gay people, I will not do that. I believe in you, in a core, a soul that only needs to be freed from the bonds of sinful behaviour. I will try my best to help you in any way you would want to ask of me.
Somehow I doubt those departing from the faith will be gay and those staying in will all be straight. Isn’t that a bit too easy, a bit too suited to your own emotional needs? I am not the one speaking hypocrisy here. I am actually not one to use Bible texts like that but you quoted it. It’s your responsibility.
Editor, I hope that you truly come to know Jesus in the power of his might that he break through that demonic bondage of rebellion called homosexuality.
I also hate your chosen stupidity. Some people are below average intelligence and they can’t help it but you choose freely to ignore the information around you. You refuse to think in favour of upholding your own needs. That is in my eyes very egocentric and certainly not very Christian. Homosexuality is not a rebellion. I do not know if you missed this or just ignored it but this is a Christian site. We try to build the road toward the kingdom of God here, by partially providing a refuge for gay people that are unwelcome anywhere else. On top of other ministry.
Consider a 17-year-old girl who returns home one afternoon to find all the locks on the house closed. End of story. Consider a 16-year-old boy who made the mistake of trusting his parents and came out to them. They made him kiss their feet and beg for forgiveness just in order to be able to stay in the house. These are true stories. Not of Christian people but of rebels against God, whatever they call themselves.
We are not the rebels, Victor. We do not try to push people away in our hurry to reach His throne. We normally don’t have the crippled emotional state that makes us want to hurt other people to feel good about ourselves. Or else we were wounded, by straight people most of the time.
I am not against straight people, that would be ludicrous. I also don’t hold a grudge. I am simply telling you what I see around me.
It a shame that there is such a website endorsing such abomination, without repentance of these deeds you will lift your eyes in Hell and all of the individuals that you encourage to follow along God will hold you accountable please do not make this awful mistake.
It is a shame we tell people they are basically okay when the world murders them? I thought I’d get compliments for doing acts of mercy but no, you make me out to be a recruiter of hell. Let me guess, Victor, You actually cherish the thought of all those vile gay people in hell, don’t you? You hate our parades, the way we dress, they way we work against your country and try to bring civilisation down. Well, we don’t. We don’t do all that. We are far too busy keeping people like you at bay and making a living. We pay taxes too, don’t you know. We actually help build the countries that then make up laws to destroy us. You can disregard my entire letter with the single thought that it’s all lies from a devil-possessed homo anyway. But that thought will be an act of will, Victor, it will have been a choice.
When you make that choice then be sure you are totally aware of the results of your choice. It is your life and it is your mind and soul we are speaking about so I won’t push you any way. You can either choose to seriously look at the gay people around you – because they are there – and see how they love, how they cherish life despite all those that hate them, how they uphold relationships for years despite whole families working against them, see how they go to their jobs happily in the morning, despite the risk of being fired on the spot. You can choose to see gay Christians, worshipping God in true passion and faith. Or you can choose to go on and see us as sinners completely apart from God. I realise now that there is nothing at all I can say to make you sway to my side of the story. Nothing at all and I have peace with that.
This is entirely your own choice.
I do love you. I have seen more souls in pain in this life than I would care to count. However, I try to reach out to them anyway. You don’t have to change for me, Victor. I wouldn’t ask you to become gay, even if you could. I will not ask you to change your views or even apologise for the pain you caused us. I will ask you to look to the next gay person you meet and realise that you love him. Love the sinner, right? Then act on that love.
If you ever want to write to me again, I will be there. If you ever want to send another letter full of ranting, I will be there, witnessing. If you ever realise that you were a bit too harsh, I will be there, ready to tell you it’s okay. But, above all, realise that you are a living human and therefore holy. Act on that, we usually treat holy things with respect. You got your heart and your mind from the Almighty. So treat those with respect and love, too.
All the best in life, love and work.
Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Dear Victor,
I praise God that you are aware that God loves every person, and that in your God-given sexuality you are content. God surely does expect change in our lives as we walk daily with our Creator. Sometimes those changes are subtle, and other times they are the result of dramatic events in our lives. But the lives, attitudes and understanding of all Christians should be in a state of flux due to God’s movement in each person’s life. You are correct in the statement that sometimes we are asked to deny ourselves. This is especially true if what we have sought in the past has been primarily for our own satisfaction and not for God’s glory. The beatitudes list those things that are acceptable in God’s sight, but seem appalling in our own understanding.
The text you have quoted from Leviticus 20:13 is but part of a list of taboos, and refers to the practise of Temple prostitution, in which fertility rites were celebrated to ensure good harvests and healthy flocks. From verse nine to verse twenty-one of this chapter a variety of sexual taboos are proclaimed and the penalty for each of these is horrific, and would never be considered in today’s society. Instead of concentrating on a passage which relates to a form a cultic worship which has no place in our society I would refer you to verses seven and eight of this passage, which read: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
The passage you have quoted from 1st. Timothy Chapter four does indeed warn us to be on our guard against any who would be led by deceiving spirits. I thank you for reminding me of these people at this point in the world’s history. The following verses, three and four, list the deceptions that such people proclaim. “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
Once again I offer you my gratitude, and I will go before God with thanksgiving my creation just as I am, a homosexual who is consecrated by the word of God and by prayer.
My prayers go with you, that you too may know the Christ who sustains me,
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.