This must be the most grievous thing I’ve ever written in exposing one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever witnessed from a so-called Christian. Unfortunately there are critics, mainly those who are afraid and passive, who believe it is unnecessary or even unkind to expose or talk about the tragic morphing of Alan Chambers into a gay-identified “Christian” and his influence of leading people back into homosexuality. They are at the very least terribly naive, and at the worst blatant cowards (Rev. 21:8). I am writing this post today with great sorrow, having grieved deeply since 2011 over the betrayal of trust from the Exodus board and the subsequent demise of Exodus. The Scripture actually teaches otherwise about the need to bring correction, we are to rebuke and correct if we sincerely love like God. The following Scriptures were used as a pathway in rebuking and correcting Alan Chambers, Clark Whitten and the Board of Exodus in 2012: Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1-4, Prov. 27:5-6, Prov. 28:23, 1 Tim. 5:20-21, 2 Tim. 2:23-26, 2 Tim. 4:1-4. Unfortunately, our pleas were to no avail as Exodus later closed its doors forever. Against all the ministry leaders throughout the Exodus network, the Exodus Board dismissed all cautions, hardened their hearts and pursued their own will in empowering Alan Chambers.
Paul the Apostle has named names and written in his letters open rebukes and warnings which will remain forever as Scripture of those with much lesser offenses than that of Alan Chambers and Clark Whitten. Do you understand that Chambers and Whitten are now teaching the damnable heresy that practicing homosexuals can go to heaven under their perverted message of grace?
Alan Chambers once communicated that he believed the Bible. But now, Alan Chambers has morphed into a gay activist forsaking Biblical Orthodoxy and presenting “gay Christianity.” Chambers was hired to serve the ministries of Exodus. However, Chambers had other plans. He and his pastor Clark Whitten devised a careful plan to systematically change the by-laws of Exodus so Alan could take complete control and have the leading ownership of Exodus International.
Today Chambers’ idea of “freedom,” is being freed from what he calls “religious slavery,” which translates that no moral laws need to be obeyed in his doctrine of “grace.” His new book, “My Exodus: Leaving the Slavery of Religion, Loving the Image of God in Everyone” is soon to be released. (Update September 2015: book title changed to: “My Exodus: From Fear to Grace”) Chambers’ book is being published by Zondervan who has been cautioned that he is not Biblical and promotes homosexuality. Yet Zondervan’s response to me was a complete endorsement of Alan Chambers in full knowledge of Alan Chambers’ unbiblical beliefs. This tragic morphing and mutation has Chambers believing he is righteous and loving in convincing young people to embrace homosexuality. Alan also speaks for God and proclaims that God Almighty is “cool” with Jeff Chu’s homosexual behavior and his gay “marriage.” It might be hard to believe, but you can hear all this for yourself in the video posted below: “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2”.
Very few people knew about what was happening in the secret world of Alan Chambers in 2008 through 2011, which was more than half of his tenure as President of Exodus International. However, in the videos below, it is very clear now that Alan deceived many, as he actually did not believe the Bible (hear in his own words “I never believed…”). In 2010, I started telling close friends and leaders (all who eventually helped start the new Restored Hope Network) that I was concerned about the direction and teaching I was hearing from the Exodus office. I was the volunteer Chairman of the Exodus Ministry Council and felt obligated in protecting the truth, the vision and ministry of Exodus as a network. Unfortunately, not one board member did anything during the implosion to stop Chambers or Whitten.
Clark Whitten (former Exodus Board Chairman & Alan’s mentor for over 15 years) began sharing his version of grace teachings to Exodus Ministry Directors in leadership meetings starting in 2007 all the way through the demise and implosion of Exodus. It was during this internal debacle that the process of confrontation started. I and several ministry directors and other Christian leaders joined together to start the process of confronting the heretical teachings of Clark Whitten and Alan Chambers. (Matthew 18:15-17). Unfortunately, to no avail because Chambers and Whitten had already put the plan in place in changing the by-laws of Exodus to make Exodus a “ministry” possession of Alan Chambers. The other tragic part of this scenario were the leaders who naively were more loyal to Chambers than to the Word of God during the implosion, many who mocked me, and continue to dislike any attention to this serious situation.
You can now clearly hear in his own words in the videos and the other source links below for confirmation of the direction of Alan Chambers and his morphed beliefs of today. It is revealing now that Alan Chambers as Exodus President, hearing from his own words he didn’t actually believe the Bible. Alan calls it being set free from religious slavery and bondage. Ironically what he calls “freedom” is actually a manifestation in Chambers embracing his “gay self” once again and the gay community as his own, the community who pridefully enjoys sexual slavery and bondage. Alan believes he has received a revelation from God, or perhaps better communicated, a revelation from his pastor Clark Whitten. This so-called divine revelation that Clark Whitten believes he has received, is supposedly greater than all the Church reformers on the subject of grace. They actually believe that grace gives them such liberty they no longer need to acknowledge their sins before God or confess their sins.  These teachings and doctrines are nothing new. It is simply antinomianism repackaged. It is a perverse cheap grace message at Grace Orlando Church that now allows for practicing homosexuals to go to heaven. This is true for Randy Thomas (former Vice President of Exodus), who has also embraced being gay again, who is also praying and pining away for his husband as revealed in a recent Facebook post. Both Chambers and Thomas attend Grace Orlando and have been mentored by Clark Whitten. There is no fear of God because they teach that repentance isn’t really necessary and fearing God is religious bondage. Alan communicates our only needs as Christians are to believe in the historical facts about Jesus and to say you love Him. Chambers continues to communicate his love for Jesus and also turns around and tells people they can live in complete disobedience to Jesus by living in homosexuality. Chambers and Whitten both communicate with Christian terminology and Christianese but mean something different than sincere Bible-believing Christians; now tragically they are leading people astray under this perverse grace teaching. Please watch the following videos in full and read the additional hyperlinked articles below for a complete understanding of the tragic implosion of Exodus International and the failed leadership of Alan Chambers under the mentorship of his pastor Clark Whitten.♦
In Alan Chambers’ Own Words (Part 1) Released in 2012.
In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2 Released 2015
“Alan Chambers: A Cautionary Tale” was produced to give a revealing and short glimpse into Alan Chambers’ narcism as he communicates “I Think” over 50 times and yet does not refer to what “God Thinks” even once from the Word of God.
Alan Chambers Proclaims His Gospel – A shorter video edited from the “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2” for a quick understanding of the egregious nature of the Chambers’ heretical messaging.
The following paragraphs are in part from an article written by Laurie Higgins in June of 2013 with Illinois Family Institute and are used with permission.
The president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, has announced in an extended apology to homosexuals, and that he is closing Exodus International, the ministry for those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, and from its ashes he is creating a new organization titled “Reduce Fear.” [This past year Alan abandoned “Reduce Fear” as an organization and merely promotes himself now]. The “fear” to which the name refers emanates from theologically orthodox churches that teach the whole counsel of God, including the pesky parts about God’s condemnation of homosexual acts. Apparently, Chambers doesn’t want to scare those who affirm homosexuality with bothersome biblical truths about eternity.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have been closely watching Chambers’ slow abandonment of orthodoxy and his concomitant embrace of the “gay Christian” movement, which promotes the heresy that Christians may affirm a homosexual identity and remain in homosexual relationships.
Chambers communicated in June of 2012 in an interview with The Atlantic, he articulated a tidbit of his exegetically questionable theology:
Atlantic: Does that mean a person living a gay lifestyle won’t go to hell, as long as he or she accepts Jesus Christ as personal savior?
Chambers: My personal belief is that everyone has the opportunity to know Christ, and that while behavior matters, those things don’t interrupt someone’s relationship with Christ. But that’s a touchy issue in the conservative group I run with. (emphasis added)
For those who remain uncertain about Chambers’ deviation from the path of theological soundness, please make sure to watch Part 1 and 2 of “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words” above.
Chambers’ transition to heresy has been accompanied by dizzying changes to Exodus’ Board of Directors over the past two years. Here’s a glimpse into that protean board.
Feb. 2011 board included Dennis Jernigan, Ron Dennis, and Jeff Winter
By June 2011 board had added John Warren and Don & Diana Schmierer
By Oct. 2011 board had lost Ron Dennis and Jeff Winter and added Mike Goeke and Patrick Peyton
By Dec. 2011 board had added Kathy Koch
By June 2012 board had lost Dennis Jernigan
By August 2012 board had lost Mike Goeke and Patrick Payton
By March 2013 board had added Bob Ragan
By April 2013 board had lost Bob Ragan
By June 2013 board had added Tony Moore
The closing board of Exodus consisted of: Clark & Martha Whitten, Don & Diana Schmierer, Kathy Koch, and Tony Moore. This is the group that empowered Alan Chambers through the implosion and closure of Exodus International.
The troubling constant on the board is board chairman Rev. Clark Whitten about whose theology Dr. Robert A. Gagnon has warned here and here. Clark Whitten has been influencing Alan Chambers for over 15 years as his pastor and the board chairman of Exodus. Alan Chambers is the fruit of Clark Whitten’s oversight and ministry. Clark has referred to Alan, “like a son.”
It gets dirtier!
Alan Chambers now calls “evangelical” a “dirty word” that he no longer applies to Exodus or to himself (“Guests in an Ever Changing Culture—Letter from Alan Chambers March 2013”). He complains that Evangelicalism is too “black and white” and he assures us that God is not “black and white,” which presumably means that God’s aim is to shade the light into gray. The story of Christ is now the story of Gray breaking into the darkness.
Evangelicalism, Mr. Chambers complains, gives too much attention to “right and wrong” and requires one to “take a stand” on moral issues. Chambers cries: “Gone are the days of evangelizing through scare tactics, moral legislation, and church discipline.” So instead the Exodus leadership prefers to assure self-professed Christians who engage in unrepentant homosexual practice that they are going to heaven irrespective of whether they bring their life into line with a confession of Christ’s lordship. The Exodus leadership refuses to take a stand against “gay marriage” even as it takes public policy stances on issues that homosexual activists support. And the Exodus leadership categorically rejects church discipline despite the fact that it is commanded by Jesus and Paul.
In June of 2013 Alan Chambers even went so far as to insert secretly the e-mail address of Jeremy Hooper, an abrasive homosexual activist, into the middle of a private group email thread containing a number of pro-family leaders (including mine). This led to a number of misrepresentations online by homosexual activist sites and even Salon.com. This deceitful alignment with a person who maligns those who believe in a male-female foundation for marriage is not exactly a model for Christian conduct, certainly not for someone leading what is supposed to be a Christian ministry.
In an Exodus post Leslie Chambers affirmed her husband’s severance of the transformed life from genuine saving faith, saying that while obedience to God is preferred it is not “required”. Neither Leslie nor Alan appears to realize that a necessary byproduct of true faith is a life lived for God.
As Dr. Gagnon mentioned, Chambers’ dissolution of Exodus was accompanied by his serious ethical lapse regarding an email group. A couple of months ago, a well-known and well-respected conservative author sent an email to a group of conservatives. Chambers responded to the entire group, angry that a person or persons in this large group have allegedly used terms in some context that Chambers finds offensive. He never identified the person or persons who used the term/s, nor did he identify the context.
One of the email recipients noticed that Chambers had surreptitiously added homosexual activist Jeremy Hooper, who has a blog titled Good As You (G.A.Y.). When confronted about the stealth addition of Hooper, Alan defensively admitted that he had, indeed, done so in the hope that Hooper would report on the email exchange and that the “good and decent people” on the list would be shamed into publicly exposing and rebuking others whom they may not know for offenses Chambers would not reveal.
I asked Chambers the following questions, which he refused to answer:
- Who are the people who deserve public rebuking and what specifically did they do to deserve to be rebuked?
- If he thought there was something “unrighteous” and “evil” (Chambers’ terms) going on, why didn’t he expose it himself and publicly rebuke the person or persons whom he believed deserved public rebuking?
- How did he justify betraying a trust and trying to publicly shame “good and decent” people for what he perceived as their failure to rebuke unnamed people for using words he viewed as inappropriate in unidentified contexts—actions, by the way, that he had not done?
No ministry should ever tell those who experience same-sex attraction or any other sin inclination that there’s a human way to eradicate all sinful impulses. If Exodus staff conveyed that unbiblical idea to those to whom they ministered, they erred.
Conversely no Christian should be told that God will not free them from same-sex attraction or that they will never experience heterosexual attraction, for those too are erroneous ideas.
Scripture tells us that God will free us from bondage to sin, but that full sanctification does not come in this life. We are promised that in this life, God will give us the power to resist our sinful impulses, which for most of us persist at least in attenuating strength.
God does not, however, give us permission to affirm our sinful impulses or act upon them. We are to pursue lives of holiness—which will never include homosexual relationships.
Since Exodus has abandoned orthodoxy, it is a good thing that it is shuttering its doors. Fortunately, a far better ministry exists to fill a desperate need: Restored Hope Network
When we read about prior heresies, they seem like distant historical curiosities, but right now we are eyewitnesses to the birth and growth of a heresy in our lifetime. Let’s hope and pray that it’s soon relegated to the dustbin of heresies.♦
The reason for the creation of the “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words, Part 1 and Part 2 is to reveal the morphing heresy. Part 1 is from 2011 and 2012 interviews and Part 2 is from Alan Chambers’ interview from the Level Ground – February 2015 and from his own words when speaking at the Glory Tabernacle, October 2014. He clearly communicates heresy and leading people astray. In Alan Chambers’ Own Words Part 1 and Part 2 were also created from a Scriptural mandate to correct, rebuke and expose those who are teaching false doctrines leading souls to hell. Matt. 18:17, Acts 20:29-31, Jude 1:4, Gal. 1:6-8, 1 Tim. 5:20-21, Titus1:10-16, 2 Peter 2:1-22, 2 Peter 3:14-18. Both Parts, 1 and 2 of Alan Chambers’ in His Own Words were also created to warn leaders in the Church globally of the perverse grace teachings of Clark Whitten, former Exodus Board Chairman and Alan Chambers’ pastor. These videos reveal Alan Chambers’ inconsistencies in his own words and expose his grave heretical teaching of perverse grace leading souls astray. These videos were also created to call the Board of Directors with Exodus to accountability and responsibility.
Exodus may have imploded, but, there is hope! There is the Restored Hope Network with many ministries and counselors to help overcome and find last freedom in a legitimate relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord. The Exodus Board of 2013 thought they were closing down ministry for good, but they were wrong! The Exodus Board of Directors from 2012 and 2013 did not heed the warnings from the RHN founders and many others. Now the very warnings have come to pass. Alan is promoting “gay Christianity.” However, there are more people today helping people overcome homosexuality with orthodox biblical clarity, much more than that of the former days of Exodus. Therefore, we will rejoice in the Lord our God and for His Truth!
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psa. 33:18-19
 Hymenaeus, Alexander, (1 Tim. 1:20) Phygellus, Hermogenes, (2 Tim. 1:15) Hymenaeus, Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17), Demas (2 Tim. 4:9-10), Alexander (2 Tim. 4:14), Cretans (Titus 1:12) 9 names mentioned whose offenses were much less than that of Clark Whitten and Alan Chambers. As the Apostle Paul said of Alexander the Coopersmith, these men have done the Body of Christ much harm.
Sources on the History of the Demise of Exodus
- A New Organization for Ex-Gays and How the World Sees the Church and Why[interview with Stephen Black] with Dr. Michael Brown (radio interview)
- 6 Lessons From the Collapse of Exodus International by Michael Brown (web article)
- Exodus on a Collision Course with Jesus by Dr. Robert Gagnon (web article)
- ‘Ex-gay’ therapy takes a hit with the collapse of Exodus International: A Christian ministry self-destructs over theological differences and poor leadership [interview with Anne Paulk, Executive Director, Restored Hope Ministries] by Lianne Laurence (web article)
- ‘Gay’ Recovery Group Returns to Bondage by Scott Lively (web article)
- A Response to Exodus: Don’t Apologize for the Truth by J. Lee Grady (web article)
- Exodus International Closes Its Doors Following Troubling Leadership of Alan Chambers by Laurie Higgins (web article)
- Exodus International Flees the Promised Land by Rev. Mark H. Creech (web article)
- The Unfortunate Demise of Exodus International by Nathan Cherry (web article)
- Exodus International Closes After Alan Chambers’ Apology by Erin Roach (web article)
- Dr. Robert Gagnon from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary discusses the closing of Exodus International with Janet Mefferd (radio interview)
- Anderson Cooper Interviews Alan Chambers on Denny Burk’s blog (video interviews)
- Exodus International to Shut Down; Ministry President Apologizes to Gay Community by Sam Storms (blog post)
- Citizen Link Interview of Anne Paulk Concerning the Exodus Closure (web interview)
- Time for a Change of Leadership at Exodus?by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- Cheap (Perverse) Grace Masquerading as Pure Grace by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- Initial DSM Response to Exodus by Andrew Comiskey (PDF)
- Exodus: Letting Go, Hope Rising by Andrew Comiskey (Blog)
- Being a “Simple-Minded Jesus Lover” Is No Excuse for Really Bad Theology. Alan Chambers dodges the real issue at hand and inadvertently plays the role of judge.by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- The Gospel of False Assurance, and More Evidence of the Slippery Slope by Dr. Michael Brown on Line of Fire (Audio)
For over ten years I lived the homosexual lifestyle and for 34 years I have not. And there are very good reasons for that difference. To those who suggest that I never was homosexual, my response is, “Does sleeping with over 1,000 men count?”
Oh yes. I was homosexual, though like most, I never wanted to have such attractions. I saw the narcissism and arrested emotional development all around me, and in me. Guys flitting around like Peter Pan were sometimes cute and funny, and certainly nonthreatening, but I wanted to be a grown up. I wanted to be a man. I wanted to be strong, solid, stable and reliable.
I recognized the obsession with youth and beauty that drove their fantasies and lusts and knew that once I entered my thirties, the thrill of being wanted would quickly come to an end. I cringed at the epidemic of perverse sexual behaviors commonly practiced and celebrated by gay culture and wanted nothing to do with them.
Such behaviors were so obviously perverse. Simple anatomical design declared it. A man was designed to interact sexually with a woman. That’s the design. And when sex is practiced outside of that design, physical damage and a legion of diseases are unleashed – not to mention the judgments of the Lord described in Romans 1:24-32:
God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual immorality.
God gave them over to shameful lusts….
….. receiving into themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
and in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10…….
the sexually immoral…..those who practice homosexuality…..will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
God created a man and a woman to become one flesh in a lifelong covenant of love (i.e., “marriage”), and to be fruitful and multiply when possible. God invented marriage. He designed it as a prefigurement of the marriage between Jesus and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32), and laid out its parameters from the dawn of time. Even cultures that do not know Him have followed that design from the beginning. There is no ambiguity about His design nor His description of it in the Scriptures. Indeed, every departure from that model is universally condemned and forbidden by Him, for what it does to our bodies, our souls and to the image of God that is stamped into the one flesh, marital union of male and female.
Having same-sex desires is a great trial – there is no doubt about it. The feelings have as great an intensity as those found in the alcoholic for alcohol, the drug addict for drugs, the smoker for nicotine. And in all such cases, it seems unfair to the natural mind that God would allow us to have such intense desires yet not allow us to act on them.
The idea floated by so-called “gay theology” that God created people to be homosexual (i.e., that He is the cause for such desires) is as ridiculous for the homosexual as it is for the drug addict. The Scriptures are clear about what God designed and what He desires. They are also clear that because of the sinful actions of our forebears, we are born with a sin nature that pulls us strongly in various destructive directions. Homosexual desire, born from a complicated convergence of our fallen nature, idolatry, rebellion, temperament, environment, experiences and developmental factors is just one more way that happens.
It does no good to pretend that it is good and natural and holy. That’s called denial. Statistics overflow with evidence that homosexual sex causes damage to body, soul and spirit. It actually damages the body of the partner. It tears at the body in ways that result in homosexual sex being the number one risk factor for contracting AIDS in this country. In fact, an entire cottage industry of scientific study and medical care has arisen from the proliferation of gay sex in our modern culture.
Homosexual behavior also tears at the soul, causing much higher rates for substance abuse, suicide, depression, domestic violence, early death – even in the most gay-friendly regions of the globe. Why? Because active homosexuals are trying to find something through gay relationships that can never be found there. The happiness that they seek can only be found in submitting their sexuality to the Lordship of Christ and allowing Him to bring healing to the broken areas that have caused their homosexual desires. Yes – it’s a slow and sometimes arduous path to take, just as it is for the addict, but the only one that leads to joy, peace and eternal life with God.
All that to say – the term “gay marriage” is an oxymoron. It is an invention of broken man in defiance against the expressed desire and design of God for mankind. It is the fallen creature trying to tell the omniscient Creator how things should be. Even the misnamed “gay Christian” – those who practice homosexuality without repentance and therefore are not Christian – are examples of man praising God with his lips while his heart is far from Him (Matthew 15:7-9) – calling Him Lord, Lord, while refusing to do what He says (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46) – turning the grace of God into a license for immorality (Jude 1:4). To invent a form of marriage that defies the natural and spiritual order is insanity and can only lead to the destruction of those involved, and according to Scripture, even the society that allows it to happen (Genesis 19:1-29; Jude 1:-7; Romans 1:32).
We all know that marriage is in a bad state these days. Our population has laid the groundwork for faux marriages by practicing adultery and in other ways rebelling against the meaning and purpose of sex and marriage. But inventing and sanctioning homosexual marriages is a logarithmic jump in rebellion and consequent disaster.
In a high percentage of marriages these days, the children will spend a part of their childhood without their original mother or father, and that is very sad and can be very harmful for them. But in so-called “gay marriages” you are guaranteeing that the children will grow up without a mother or father in the home. You are guaranteeing it! You are state-sanctioning that deprivation and becoming a co-conspirator in the consequent damage to their well-being.
And yet the gay-controlled media presses on with its relentless drumbeat, promoting homosexual behavior, relationships and so-called marriage just as ferociously as it promotes the destruction of children in their mother’s wombs.
Our newly released 2-hour documentary called “Such Were Some of You” (www.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org) attempts to counter that agenda with truth. In it, twenty-nine former homosexuals expose the facts about homosexuality, its causes and how Jesus has set them free from it. The film opens with people on the street giving their opinion about claims that are made by activist homosexuals in the press, followed by expert teaching on those same questions by Christian leaders like Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Neil T. Anderson, as well as theological correctives from the worlds top scholar on the biblical texts concerning sexual behavior – Dr. Robert Gagnon.
But what makes this film so powerful are the moving stories of being saved, set free, healed, and delivered from the brokenness of homosexuality by those who have gone through that great trial. With love and sensitivity for friends still trapped in the gay lifestyle, they also describe the process by which God has brought healing to the brokenness that created their same-sex desires in the first place.
As the Scriptures promise in Revelation 12, they have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. God also says in Rev 21:6-7: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
And to the reader, hear the word of God found in 1st Corinthians 6:11 (speaking of practicing homosexuals, among others):
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
To see the trailer of “Such Were Some of You”, go to: http://youtu.be/XUXhKbHMGJg
David Kyle Foster is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M-Div) and Trinity School for Ministry (D-Min). His autobiography (Love Hunger) has just been released. He is also the author of Sexual Healing and Transformed Into His Image and the producer/director of www.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org.
A Thorough and Scholarly Video Presentation of The Bible and Homosexual Practice — by Dr. Robert Gagnon
There are very few men who are as thorough and scholarly on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality. Dr. Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of the New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is one such scholar. Based upon Dr. Gagnon’s fantastic work, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, an excellent video presentation is presented here to give clear answers from the Bible texts and Bible hermeneutics. This presentation also gives a clear historical background in context that is very helpful. This video series is very clear that the Bible teaches a prohibition against homosexual behavior, to argue otherwise is disingenuous. There is also a clear warning that should be listened to from the Bible for those who embrace homosexual behavior and those who teach an acceptance of homosexuality. Do you really want a thorough understanding? Do you really want to know the truth? Please review the following videos for a scholarly and thorough teaching on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible. This video series is an excellent resource for the student of God’s word, the theologian or for anyone desiring to gain understanding in this day when many are embracing homosexuality. Please watch this entire +3 1/2 hours of video with your Bible in hand and ready to take notes!
Part 1 of 7
Part 2 of 7
Part 3 of 7
Part 4 of 7
Part 5 of 7
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Part 7 of 7
A Message to Pastoral Care Leaders Processing The Gospel and “Gay Christianity.”by Stephen Black, Executive Director, First Stone Ministries
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the same message for a gay-identified person, an idolater, an adulterer, a fornicator, a pornographer, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a slanderer or a murderer. The message of good news–redemption into a love relationship with God–is the same for all sinners. Many “Christian” leaders [see note 40 ] communicate a message that is not Biblical, but instead is deceptive and eternally dangerous. It is certainly not a message of love to lead a person into a false hope. Unfortunately, this misleading message of “gay Christianity” is spread by perhaps well-meaning but Biblically-illiterate leaders who present a message based not on the truth of the Bible, but on a man-made theology. Other leaders purposefully and deceptively spread this message, which is a much graver offense. Deception–which leads people astray–is not love; it’s evil. I share this concern with the same grief-filled compassion as expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Romans in Romans 9:1-3 when he wrote “with a great heavy heart and many tears.” Sincerely I write this article after much heart-ache and many tears. Paul reminded us that many will fall away from the faith in the last days. This perversion of The Gospel is an example of the message of ease, love of pleasure and living unrepentantly with which many will go astray. This article is equipped with many end-notes of Biblical references to back up the emphatic statements and is a Bible study with over 150 verses. Please read the Scripture references with this article and let God’s word be your guide.
GOOD NEWS or BAD?
The Gospel is Good News from Creator God, the Father in Heaven revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is an amazing message of love given to fallen humanity. By truly believing in and being in Christ, believers’ relationship with Holy God is restored to the way it was before “the fall.” The Good News is that God the Father has made a way for all mankind to be restored to His original divine intent of an intimate loving relationship that is greater than any we will experience in this fallen world. His desire is for this relationship to be forever with Him. Many proclaim a message that totally contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can be a practicing sexually-immoral person or a practicing homosexual and go to heaven. The Bible speaks directly to this, with uncompromised clarity. The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:5 is clear: you can know with certainty that no one who practices sexual immorality will go to heaven. Interestingly, the Bible often follows these types of passages with the reminder that we should NOT be deceived by people giving us empty promises or words that contradict the truth. Jesus came to save us from and out of our sins, not leave us in them. A person who struggles with and against sin differs from a person who embraces and freely practices sin. The Good News is Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously over death, hell and the devil. When Christ rose from the dead, He gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit of Grace, assuring us that the Holy Spirit would come and live in those truly born of God unto eternal life. The Holy Spirit of Grace empowers true believers to live holy repentant lives in a devout relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. However, the Spirit does not live in people who are hostile towards God and disobedient, walking in and embracing and practicing sexual immorality. The Bible tells us He–the Holy Spirit–is given to those who obey God. The Bible also tells us that all sexual immorality grieves God. Holy God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit will neverabide with, or approve of any immoral behavior. God opposes the proud and gives His grace, the Spirit of Grace, to those who humble themselves and see their need for Christ. Anyone who says otherwise is not teaching the Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be giving bad news instead of the good news.
The Son of God’s Beginning Message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand,” Should also be Our First Message
God’s message, revealed to us in human form through His Son, Jesus the Holy One, is very simple: turn from your ways and turn to Me. Biblically we know that turning or repenting is the evidence of true faith and a belief in God that ultimately produces obedience to God in a loving relationship. Through repentance, we replace our belief systems, our worldly thoughts, the flesh and the devil’s ways, and our minds are renewed by God’s word and by His Spirit. This “believing” in the mind and heart turns the behavior away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to BELIEVE in Christ for salvation. Believing and repentance may unfold differently in each person, depending on his or her history, but God’s grace is truly amazing as it will produce a life becoming more and more like Christ. His grace always convicts the real believer of sin, and reminds the believer of the righteousness of God and the judgment to come. If this heart-change does not happen, self-examination is in order to see whether or not you are truly born again. True faith in God is believing the Word of God and believing in Jesus Christ; such beliefs will result in a changed and righteous life. Paul’s letter to Timothy makes it clear that the Gospel Message must be based upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, which conforms the soul to godliness. The goal of this message is to mature the hearer into having pure love, an undefiled clear conscience and a sincere and devoted faith. I rely on Jesus’ words for leadership and filter all teachings through His words. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and FEW find it. Broad is the way of destruction and MANY will go on its path.” I also rely on Jesus’ statistics. In the parable of the sower, Jesus’ statistic is only 25% would actually bear good fruit after hearing the word of God. Shouldn’t we teach the same narrow way that leads to eternal life? If anyone–and I mean anyone–teaches otherwise, they are NOT teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never teach people that they are justified to live in sin and an unrepentant life, a belief that is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, many leaders today teach contradictions. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, warns of this danger in his epistle, 1 John. “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light,as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned,we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” (1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:4-6). John also reminds us of the importance of obedience in his Gospel, in the very words of Jesus: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus), for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil (practices) hates the Light (hates Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus) for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” “He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:17-21 v. 36)
Follow Me to the End
My story of true conversion began in February 1983. After praying with people that were completely surrendered to Christ, I was confronted with the Word of God in many ways, two of which I’ll share here.
First, Jesus spoke to me in the power of His Spirit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; my heart was pounding and I felt very strange. I heard in my mind a voice I know now as the Holy Spirit, telling me that if I did not surrender to Christ, I was going to die. The fear of the Lord gripped my heart. I knew in my soul that I did not know Jesus Christ like these people. They spoke in terms of a relationship with God that I thought was crazy. They told me that Jesus was answering their prayers, speaking to their hearts, that He was consistently known and felt in their home. I had never experienced Christ in that way, but I wanted to. They prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
Later that evening in the car going home, my friend who had been with me and witnessed my surrender to Christ, asked me; “Does this mean you will stop being gay?” I told her I didn’t know for sure, that I wanted to follow whatever Jesus had for me. At home that night I got out the big table-Bible, our only family Bible. Holding it my lap, I prayed and asked God to show me in His Word whether homosexuality was a sin. After all, the gay Catholic priest from my parent’s parish had told me God loved me just the way I was as a gay man; and he stated all the more reason to visit him at mass. God heard my prayer for truth and revealed it to me through His Word found in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to me through the Bible. As I opened the Bible, it fell directly upon Leviticus with the heading, “Laws on Sexual Immorality.” There it was right before my eyes: chapter 18, verse 22. It was undeniable that God detests homosexual behavior. Initially, I was angry. I could clearly see that I was worthy of death. However, I also understood now that Jesus Christ paid for all my sins in His death on the cross and that He loved me. He saved me from destruction and death.
In the summer of 1983, we began to hear of a strange disease being reported by the news in Oklahoma City hospitals. At that time, the doctors were calling it G.R.I.D.–Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (syndrome)–or G.R.I.D.s. Many of my friends, people who had seemed so vibrant and healthy, were now dying. In fact, more than half the people I knew in the Oklahoma City gay community died within the next few years. In the midst of this tragedy, the fear of God instructed me and gave me life. God spared me and revealed His mercy.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anyone claiming to declare the Gospel, but excluding the fear of the Lord–the very beginning of wisdom–is immediately suspect to me. I look first to see if a messenger/teacher knows and demonstrates the fear of God, as this is how the Gospel was presented to me by the Holy Spirit. Does the messenger teach that God is holy? Does the teacher instruct that we must turn to God in intimate relationship to become holy because God commands it? These questions must be answered with an emphatic “Yes!” We must respect the word of God. Yes, we must know the kindness, but we also must know the severity of God, for no immoral person or idolater will be in Heaven.
Many times I have been asked if I ever considered returning to the gay lifestyle. I decided in 1983 that I would rather live celibately than return to a life that clearly is not God’s divine intent. However, I am married now with three adult children, and grandchildren. I truly believe God’s word concerning homosexuality. I know He is holy, and I tremble when I think of the fate of people who choose to continue to live in immorality. The Scripture is very clear. No one who practices sexual immorality will go to Heaven. Yet, false teachers, under the guise of hope and kindness, persist in spreading a message that is contrary to God’s Word. Therefore I embrace the words of Jesus Christ for clarity: “And many false (pastors) teachers will arise, and lead many astray (they will tell you can be a gay Christian), and because lawlessness (the practice of sin) will be increased,the love (real love) of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:11-14.
Will you endure to the end with me and the many others who will never go back to sexual immorality? We must endure to the end in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the pearl of great price. Even if we live to be 100, this life is a mere vapor. I will never be sorry I embraced Christ, His word and repentance from all immorality. Even if I am wrong, even if there is a remote possibility that a Christian could be gay, I have merely denied myself in pursuit of obedience. But, if the gay Christian or teacher of gay Christianity is wrong, the consequence may be eternal death. That’s not a gamble I am willing to take. Are you? Even if you struggle with homosexual temptation to the end, if you deny the fleshly desires out of love for Christ, isn’t eternal life better than hell? Isn’t loving Christ instead of the world or our pleasure the better choice?
Assurance of Salvation and Answers to Prayer
You can have assurance of salvation. The Bible is clear we can have security IN Christ. If you repent of your sins and put your faith completely in Jesus Christ for your salvation and you continue in this faith in Him, you WILL have eternal life. The promise is found in 1 John 5:13-15: “…to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Unfortunately there are doctrines and traditions of men and churches that communicate a relationship with Christ by praying a prayer, or being a member, or being present in an organization. Jesus never taught praying prayers to receive Him as Savior; He taught discipleship and Lordship. Although we should pray to receive Christ, it is not merely praying a prayer that gives us an assurance of salvation. A devoted relationship, a sincere faith in Christ resulting in righteous repentant living and becoming His disciple are the Biblical truths for an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation to a sexually immoral person may begin by praying a prayer, but if not accompanied with a sincere faith producing the fruit of repentance, giving an assurance of eternal life would be a very dangerous teaching in leading people into a false hope. Would you like to be prepared on judgment day to give an account of leading people into a false hope of salvation based upon the traditions and doctrines of men? Would you like to give an answer to God for giving a message that actually sent people to hell?
What Will Be The Message? A Biblical Message or Man’s Theologies?
Several church leaders embrace the emergent message of gay Christianity and present a gay Gospel. Their teachings are not based upon the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or New Testament Biblical instruction. They choose to embrace a false social gospel of a more palatable feel-good-God, a man-made theology, yet they do ‘good things’ under the banner of Christianity. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of self-denial that produces a Spirit-filled life that really does do good, they are embracing a man-made theology promoting gay Christianity. Which gospel message will you embrace? Will you follow a Biblical message that allows the human heart and soul to be transformed by the Word of God or a man-made theology that allows men to live in self-centeredness and indulgence? Shall we teach people that just praying a prayer and being a part of a community saves them eternally? Or shall we teach a true belief, that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and following Him in discipleship will result in a life of righteousness? Which Gospel will you teach or follow? The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to life, or a gay gospel according to man’s words, which leads to death? “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death.”
More Recommended Reading on this topic:
Dr. Robert Gagnon’s Online Library of Articles <– Excellent Resource
Mastering Life Ministries Online Library of Articles and Video’s by Pure Passion TV <– Excellent Resource
End-notes: (Please read the following scriptures in context of this article:)
 – i.e. Adam Hamilton, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz, Andrew Marin, Troy Perry, Mel White, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Reba Rambo-McGuire, Gene Robinson, Alan Chambers, Justin Lee & Neill Spurgin (Neill Spurgin Coffman)
Introduction ~by Stephen Black
A perfect title by Andy Comiskey with Desert Stream Ministries: “The Whole Gospel for Gays,” for God forbid that anyone would give anything less to someone, gay or otherwise, than the WHOLE Gospel. When we sincerely care about people and knowing the holiness of God, His severity and His mercy, true believers are compelled to give the WHOLE Gospel. I am incredibly grateful that I received THE WHOLE GOSPEL in 1983 that transformed my life by those who were not afraid to give me the whole counsel of God’s word. It was a message of hope (and still is) that called for my immediate repentance to surrender my life to Christ. I am sincerely grateful to men like Andy Comiskey and Robert Gagnon who are willing to tell the truth. Love is holy and transforming, not merely a human orientation that allows for people to remain in their brokenness.
Unfortunately there are those who think themselves wiser than the word of God. The Apostle Paul reminded the Romans, Galatians and Ephesians about his own revelation of Jesus Christ that compelled the Apostle by the love of God to preach the truth, knowing the severity and the mercy of God; that he would be held accountable to God for his message. (Romans 5, Romans 11:16-24, Galatians 1:6-10) I am also compel to preach the whole Gospel with the bright light of eternity break forth on the horizon. The longer I live this life, the closer I am to eternity; each of us grow closer day by day; therefore we must preach the whole Gospel to everyone! When shall we give an account to the Creator concerning our life, our very existence? It could be tomorrow.
I have become increasingly concerned and alarmed by the emergent movement of a social gospel that removes repentance from the WHOLE Gospel message. Yet repentance is absolutely necessary in a saving faith. The fruit of a sincere faith in Christ and His perfect substitutionary atonement, His death on the cross and resurrection will always produce a repentant life. Yet the “new social emergent gospel” presents the nicer, kinder, more palatable Jesus, the social club of gatherers, rather than true devoted followers, disciples, true believers in Jesus Christ. The whole Gospel requires believers to live a disciplined life of self-denial.
Unfortunately there is a “new message” of simple belief in historical facts with no repentance, however there is nothing new about it. It is simply an old lie from the very beginning. There is a reason Christians are to be called “believers”. Christians are actually mandated to believe God, believe HIM, believe the Holy Scriptures as inspired, infallible and the inerrant Truth. It is a belief that is synonymous with obedience to Christ and HIS words. However there are those who have crept in to malign at different levels, they attack fundamental truths, especially about what God’s word teaches concerning morality and human sexuality. I am very grateful for Andy Comiskey and Robert Gagnon for addressing this issue head on, especially the “Love Is An Orientation” crowd, although they are sincere with human compassion, yet they are marching to the muddying-up of the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Presenting the Whole Gospel for Gays is biblical mercy, compassion and biblical love! Please read the following wonderful article by my friend Andy Comiskey.
The Whole Gospel for Gays ~by Andy Comiskey
Part 1 of 4
What is the good news for the homosexual in the American Church today? In our efforts to reach the lost, have we have lost the liberating power of the Gospel?
I do not mean a simple triumphalism in which saying ‘yes’ to Christ means instant reorientation. I mean the power of Christ Crucified to assume the weight of wounding, sin and shame that resides at the heart of every gay man or lesbian, and the power of Christ Resurrected to restore the integrity of His child’s image-bearing humanity. Over time. In fear and trembling. From glory to glory.
To be sure, that power can only be described as strength in weakness: God’s weakness on the cross, our weakness in surrender to His vulnerability. But it is the truest expression of power and wisdom: Paul describes the cross as the weakness of God that surpasses human strength, the foolishness of God that surpasses our wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:24, 25)
My closest friends and I who have submitted our homosexuality to Christ can attest to the simple message of the cross: die and you will live. The cross demands a death—the surrender of our identities–in order for a new life to be raised up. We have found that yielding our gay agenda has been the threshold for the boldest and most creative expressions of restoration we have yet experienced.
Strangely, the power of the cross to break the husk of the ‘gay self’ and to reclaim the treasure of one’s true humanity is rarely if ever heard in the American Church today. What we do hear is a banal message of compassion which rightly upholds the dignity of the struggler but fails to tell of their need for radical restoration. Like all people.
In an effort to repair decades of insensitivity toward those inclined to their gender, this new, cool Gospel is limited to anemic pronouncements of God’s love divorced from the truth of Scripture and the Christian tradition. In practice, God is rendered passive, unable to offer real transformation to the sexually broken.
What a gutless Gospel, a message devoid of the cross and thus of Jesus Christ altogether. In the forthcoming weeks, I will highlight examples of this ‘watering’ down of the Gospel in order to reach gays. I will include critiques of writings by Adam Hamilton, pastor of the largest church in Kansas City (and the largest Methodist church in the USA), Andrew Marin and his book ‘Love is an Orientation’, as well as other churchmen who represent the ‘love means never having to admit you are a sinner’ approach to homosexuals.
What matters to me is how I go about disagreeing with these colleagues in Christ. Each of them is a human being deeply loved by Christ and called according to His service. I would like to exhibit toward them what Richard Mouw defines as ‘convicted civility’—clarifying one’s convictions in a spirit of respect and humility toward those who believe differently.
That means countering one plank of Hamilton’s or Marin’s system of beliefs as expressed in their writings; it is not a character assassination (vilifying their motives or their humanity).
To me, ‘humanity’ is precisely what is at stake in this whole question of the Gospel we present to gays. Do we see them through the eyes of their Creator and Redeemer, or through the social construct they have created?
That makes all the difference. We can suffer long with homosexuals while we walk together the long road from Egypt to the Father’s house. But we must not blunt or soften Christ’s call to walk that road. We run the risk of losing precisely what Christ died for—the reclaiming of our true humanity from the grip of sin and deception.
Such a loss of vision has deeper implications. Losing sight of how God defines our humanity and its reclamation means that we have also lost our grip on the whole Gospel. That was precisely Paul’s concern for the Corinthians; in justifying sexual immorality, they ran the risk of losing Christ Crucified and Resurrected. So Paul declared to them once more the whole Gospel, and its implications for their humanity, sexual and otherwise.
We are in similar trouble today. The American Church has so perfected its ‘seeker-friendly’ rap that it has lost the language of repentance—the call and will to die—in order to live for the only One worthy of our devotion. Instead we swath our spirituality in the language of pop psychology and gauge our well-being by whether or not we feel good.
Kierkegaard said it best in regards to the Church of his day: ‘It is all love and love…because God is Love and Love—nothing at all about rigorousness must be heard; it must all be the free language and nature of love…God’s love easily becomes a fabulous and childish conception, the figure of Christ too mild and sickly sweet for it to be true that Christ was and is an offense…’
The cross is offensive. It calls us to die to what seems like ‘life’ to us, in order to call us into a life of love that is defined by Him. Maybe Christ has another agenda: not our feeling good but our genuine good, based on His eternal purposes for our humanity.
He wants to save us! Our God has the power to save lives! That is the message not being heard by gays in the Church today. What they hear is that God will help preserve one’s good ‘gay’ life. What a lie. What a cowardly church!
How grateful I am for the amazing men and women who told me the whole truth: they embraced me while they mirrored gently the truth of my sin. That hurt, but it resonated with the ‘sin-sickness’ already destroying me. Their whole Gospel broke the ground for mercy to mature in me.
My first son recently married an amazing woman, next year my second son weds an equally fine bride. I am currently reaping what God sowed in me when he called me to stop pursuing men sexually and to fall down before Himself. What I lost is nothing in contrast to the life He has given me. And through me, to an amazing wife and a host of sons and daughters.
Part 2 of 4
Demoralizing the Gospel: My Take on Adam Hamilton’s ‘When Christians Get it Wrong’
Morality is a bad word these days. It connotes finger-pointing fundamentalists who lurk in church corners, ready to skewer the disobedient. After all, morality involves ascribing good or evil to particular actions.
That can be a bitter pill for sexual sinners to swallow. The New Testament regards sexual activity outside of marriage as grounds for jeopardizing one’s entrance into God’s Kingdom.
Christian morality does not stop there; it understands that the way of life and action of Jesus Christ is the highest expression of morality. Jesus Himself said in the Sermon on the Mount that He came to fulfill the moral law, that unless His followers were more righteous than the most scrupulous moralists, they would not make it to heaven. (Matt. 5:17-20)
But wasn’t Jesus’ morality summed up in one word: love? Aren’t moral judgments at odds with the God-man who took up the case of the immoral, who claimed that the prostitutes would enter heaven before the Pharisees? (Matt. 21:31)
The answer is simple. Holy love is transformational; God inspires the sinner to fulfill the moral law by persuading him/her that His love is better than one’s old life. Jesus manifested that love in the vast amounts of energy He spent drawing the immoral to Himself. He offered Himself as the target for their turning; in His very being, He fulfilled the Law and the deep longing of wayward hearts.
Robert Gagnon says it best in his masterpiece The Bible and Homosexual Practice: ‘Jesus balanced the Father’s ethical demands with God’s self-sacrificing outreach to transform sinners… His ministry proves that the Church can practice radical love without sacrificing God’s demand for righteous conduct.’
Why then do powerful, decent and otherwise loving men like Adam Hamilton demoralize the Gospel, as he does in his book When Christians Get It Wrong? The pastor of the largest evangelical church in Kansas City, and the largest Methodist Church in the USA, guts the Gospel of its truth by insisting that Jesus simply loves ‘His gay children’; He requires of them no repentance, and thus no transformation unto righteousness.
Hamilton preaches a love designed for a generation that is particularly allergic to any notion that homosexuality is sin. He dedicated his book to ‘John’, a twenty-something heterosexual so influenced by a gay-affirming culture that he defines himself significantly by his defense of homosexual practice. Hamilton quotes John as saying: ‘I fully support those who chose [homosexuality] as their lifestyle…it has become something that is accepted…I don’t see anything wrong with it.’
Neither does Hamilton, if his chapter on homosexuality is an accurate indication. To support his demoralized love, Hamilton mimics the rationale employed by mainline Protestant denominations of the last 40 years to support homosexual practice. Love conquers all, including the Bible’s sexual morality.
(To be fair, Hamilton stops short of blessing same-sex unions. To be true, however, he lays the groundwork for doing just that by removing any biblical objection to homosexual practice. He rightfully prophesies that in 10 years the evangelical world will be as divided as the Protestant denominations in regards to homosexuality, a divide widened by Hamilton’s own demoralized Gospel.)
More specifically, Hamilton claims that Jesus puts people over rules and that Scripture offers us many examples of ‘progressive revelation’. Citing outdated dietary and ceremonial laws, as well as changing ethical ones, like women’s ordination and outlawing slavery, Hamilton challenges the notion that the Scripture has anything binding to say about homosexuality.
Agreed, many Old Testament laws concerning ritual and diet lose force in the New, and God’s image in both women and the enslaved has been progressively liberated from cultural ties that have bound them, ties that the Apostle Paul was slow to disrupt in lieu of other priorities.
But Scripture from start to finish upholds God’s image in humanity as the duality of male and female, a fullness manifest from Genesis One’s Adam and Eve to Christ the Bridegroom returning for His bride at the end of Revelation.
The truth of Scripture and Church tradition points only to marital union as blessed; any other sexual configuration is a violation of God’s will for humanity. Gagnon again: ‘The scriptural witness for heterosexual monogamy and against same-sex practice is strong, pervasive, absolute, and counter-cultural.’
Where Hamilton and I agree is that Jesus’ love applies pointedly to those with same-sex attraction. Where we disagree mightily is in demoralizing that love in order to make the truth of the Gospel acceptable to them and their ‘John-like’ friends.
I want ‘John’ and his friends, whether inclined toward the same or opposite gender, to know the transformational truth of love: how Jesus sets people free from violating themselves and others through sexual immorality. I would cite John 4—Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman–as one such biblical, transformational model.
Paradoxically, that very passage from which we derived the essence of ‘Living Waters’, our main healing course, is the same one Hamilton cites as his approach to gays!
In the passage, Hamilton sees only a loving encounter between a shameful woman and Christ, who poses no challenge to her immorality whatsoever. I see the stern and splendid and altogether compassionate advance of God’s Kingdom; grace and truth converge in Christ as He extends ‘living water’ to the Samaritan then exposes the folly of her multiple partnerships. In truth, it is only after Jesus reveals her immoral state that she proclaims Him as Lord.
Holy love transforms; worldly love caters to the consumer, and allows him or her to conform spirituality to whatever (s)he wants it to be. ‘John’ may prefer Hamilton’s demoralized love, but it cannot transform him; demoralized love fails to call one to anything higher than his own self-interests.
The US Catholic Catechism for Adults says it best: “Love alone, set adrift from moral direction, can easily descend into sentimentality that puts us at the mercy of our feelings… In our permissive culture, love is sometimes so romanticized that it is separated from sacrifice. Because of this, tough moral choices cannot be faced. The absence of sacrificial love dooms the possibility of an authentic moral life.’ And I would add, an authentic Christian life.
One more agreement with Hamilton: he is absolutely right in claiming that young adults today will tend to use a negative view of homosexuality as one reason why they reject orthodox Christianity. But rather than conform the message of the Gospel to the cultural flow, let us go against the current and offer them transformation, something worth dying for.
Christine is a good friend of mine, a pre-Christian seeking the truth. We speak of Jesus often; she said to me yesterday that she would never oppose gay marriage because people should be able to do what they want.
I looked her straight in the eyes and told her the whole painful, shameful, marvelous story of how God loved me so much that He called me to repent of my homosexual identity and practice then follow Him on an adventure of healing in order to discover who He really is and who I really am as a beautiful, broken part of God’s heterosexual creation. (Whew!)
‘Surrender to His love, Christine, that’s all He asks. He accepts our weakness, our fears, and our questions, but He refuses to give us duo passports. You either follow Jesus and serve God’s Kingdom, or you are under the mastery of the Kingdom of this world.’ For the first time in one of our conversations, her eyes widened and filled with tears. She heard the whole message.
Adam Hamilton, you are a good man. Just stick to the whole Gospel. In demoralizing it in When Christians Get it Wrong, you get it wrong and sadly extend your error to a generation that deserves better.
Part 3 of 4
The Gospel Abridged: A review of Andrew Marin’s ‘Love is an Orientation’
This is the third article I have written in a four-part effort to present a whole gospel to gays, and to point out a couple of trends that distort that gospel. One such lop-sided approach is described in ‘Love is an Orientation’ by Andrew Marin.
The book interested me for several reasons. First, it is published by IVP, a solidly evangelical press that happens to be my publisher. Second, ‘Love is an Orientation’ has been very popular among progressive evangelical pastors. Some asked my opinion on it; I write this review to respond to their request.
The book’s theme corresponds with what I observe to be the lopsided approach of many churches to gays: embrace them with a broad message of ‘love’ but provide no clear track for their restoration once inside the church.
The deficit? Evangelism with no discipleship—new life without the cost, a personal resurrection requiring no crucifixion. On such uneven ground, some evangelical churches I know have begun to shift the boundary lines of truth concerning (homo)sexuality. Unwittingly, Marin’s book may encourage that shift, especially with Christians seeking to resolve the tension they feel between gay loved ones and their ‘old ideas’ of sexual morality.
Andrew Marin is a young evangelical who has sought to build a bridge between Christians and the GLBT (gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender) community. His love for that community is more apparent than his love of truth, which skews the good news he offers them. Embrace his heart for the lost while walking carefully: the bridge he builds to unite the church with the gay community is missing some significant planks.
Too bad. His heart at times shines through the pages. He is an evangelist with a background in sociology. His expressed purpose is to ‘elevate the conversation’ with the gay community by ‘humbly learning and listening’ to them.
All good. No evangelical I relate to would deny that a heavy-handed approach to a community that exists in reaction to (its perception of) the church won’t work. Marin wisely suggests that sensitive and patient relating is key to making Him known.
The question is: how do we become the new body that Jesus employs to replace the gay identity and community? Making that transition is tough for all concerned, especially for a gay person baptized and confirmed as a member of a queer nation. How do we lovingly help him or her shed the gay self for the truth?
That has been our challenge from day one at Desert Stream–providing a bridge for the men and women of West Hollywood to the Vineyard Westside. Though the church was just a few miles away, for many it seemed like a bridge too far.
Andrew Marin falters at helping the church become the new community. Instead he focuses on how to keep the conversation going with gay neighbors, yet remains cryptic about crucial points in that dialogue.
I became aware of Andrew a few years back when we were both slated to share on ministry to gays at a conference for urban youth. I wanted to find out where he was coming from, as his course description was vague. He wouldn’t tell me.
That lack of clarity pervades his book, which could be subtitled: ‘If gays ask, don’t tell.’ Marin advises Christians to stay away from pointed conversation with gays about sexuality and ethics as many will use such dialogue to write Christians off.
So Marin remains mysterious in his sexual morality; his book is confusing as to how he understands the transformation Jesus and His body bring to gays.
Gays seeking Jesus face some pretty big decisions about identity, community, etc. Marin advises that instead of sharing our views we simply ‘let it all be in the Lord’s hands and plans as He sees it to be good.’(p.113) Not helpful for the 18-year-old Bible college student about to jump ship and move in with a more ‘realized’ gay man, or the young woman bonding sexually with a fellow athlete, herself a proud member of the GLBT community. (We as a ministry have had to address both cases.)
In light of 30-years of beholding the increase of gay options for at-risk youth (never mind the intervention I have had to do with my own kids for related issues!), I asked myself: Can we do better than a Zen-like surrender of our loved ones to the apparently unknown God?
I say unknown, not because Marin does not manifest the deeply personal love Jesus imparts to His followers; he simply refuses to comment on whether or not Jesus cares about sexual immorality and/or the indignities it engenders on all involved.
How else can he say: ‘If a GLBT person has indicated that it is OK to be gay, the Christian community has to deeply trust and rely on the knowledge that we can never know the end to God’s best journey for someone else’s life.’ (pp. 110, 111)
That may involve turning from homosexuality; it may involve turning toward it. Marin’s gospel will not disclose. In his kingdom, the only solid line one dare not cross is to act as if one knows the way, sexually-speaking, and can help another to find it.
In line with his ‘who knows?’ approach to sexual decision-making, Marin shortchanges the scriptural references to homosexuality. His chapter on the topic does all a disservice. He misinterprets scripture to support his penchant for the GLBT community. He may win their hearts but seriously distorts the meaning of the texts.
Marin frames the 5 obvious references in Scripture that prohibit homosexual behavior as open doors for dialogue with the gay community. He does this by interpreting them in light of his call to build bridges, while stripping the texts of much if any ethical weight in regards to their clear prohibition of gay behavior.
The main sin he warns us of is our homophobia; clear the way, so that gays can ‘choose for God’, says Marin. He is silent as to whether these verses can or should have any authority in deterring those who have chosen Him from repenting of what Paul considers grounds for dismissal from God’s Kingdom.
Dr. Robert Gagnon said it well: ‘The Christian faith cannot be held hostage in its full proclamation of the Gospel because some interest group finds offensive part of that message.’ (For more on Gagnon’s take on Marin’s scriptural errors, click here)
The GLBT community is being held hostage by lies that only the truthful love of Jesus and His community can break. Marin genuinely cares for them; his book manifests that care.
My problem, however, is that he limits that love by so pandering to the GLBT community (in Marin’s own words: ‘I have never met a more loving community…’ Really!?) that he obscures the bridge between them and the church.
Marin the evangelist must meet Marin the pastor who actually walks out the process of integration with gays who surrender their lives to Christ there. He would have to answer the hard questions of morality and self-definition for former members of the GLBT tribe, as well as the joys of inclusion and the possibility of exclusion.
If Marin ever wants to hear real life horror stories of how difficult it is to integrate a group of politicized gay men and women into the local church, just give me a call. Docile seekers roar when they discover you have no intention to bless their same-sex unions.
Marin glorifies the gay kingdom; he romances the GLBT community by amplifying its ‘we-them’ defense—gay is glorious, compassionate and dimensional, straight is flat and provincial. Unwittingly, he perpetuates the divide between ‘gay and straight’.
That is a shame. Jesus and Paul would insist on both groups finding common ground in one body through the cross. Marin overlooks a real key in reaching the gay community: Christians reaching beneath the surface of their ‘straight’ selves, discovering the damage done then repenting unto the Crucified.
If we lived honestly (and many churches do) in this day of fractured families, multiple heterosexual partnerships, Internet porn, the ravages of abuse, and growing numbers of people with same-sex attraction, we would not throw stones at a particular community. We would make ample room next to us for whoever cries for mercy.
What Marin does is challenge us to make a bridge between the GLBT community and ours. I hear that challenge. His witness of love inspires me to take it.
Yet in a day when the world and the worldly church is only too quick to confirm young teens as gay, ordain gays as bishops, and bless homosexual ‘marriage’ as a triumph of justice, we evangelicals cannot afford to be cryptic like Marin about God’s clear message of grace and truth for same-sex strugglers. His bridge is too weak to undergird the pilgrims he invites into the community of faith. I thus cannot recommend this book.
Despite the deficiencies of Marin’s gospel, the man conveys a passionate, provocative heart for people who will perish without the love of Christ’s body. May God continue to grow him and all of us in truthful love.
‘If our Gospel be hidden, it is hid toward those who are perishing.’ (2 Cor 4:3)
Part 4 of 4
Towards a Whole Gospel for Gays: The Mercy that Disciplines
‘This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.’ (Phil. 1:9-11)
The other day, a good friend of mine attended a ministry fair at a large seeker-sensitive church in Kansas City. (He was representing an annual gathering for men seeking to overcome sexual addiction.) When one of the church elders saw that his mission statement included the words ‘biblical sexuality’, the elder asked him to pack up and exit the church on the grounds that such language would be offensive to gays.
Our challenge as churchmen is to abound in love for gays in an age only too eager to grant them what they demand, not what they need. Worldly love lacks both discernment and discipline; no-where is this more apparent than in the church’s witness to gay today.
Let us begin with what gays need. The answer transcends any cultural era and must be kept front and center. In spite of foolish reactions to those who still dare to think biblical morality is relevant to gays, we can never forget that the church has tended to smack same-sex strugglers with her truth, rather than to employ it as a guide to the holy love one needs.
We who have lived with the shame of same-sex attraction need love badly. One cannot readily grasp the accusatory power of the enemy toward us, and the self-hatred that ensues. In the darkness of the unexpressed, same-sex attraction leeches life; it sidetracks the pilgrim onto a compulsive quest for love in the mirror image of oneself.
Here the shaming power of others, especially Christians, can contribute to the ‘gay self’ and community. 33-years-ago as a just born Christian, girlish and arrogant in self-defense, I recall the scrutiny of a pastor whose eyes and words bore through my defense only to shame me further. His discernment over my sorry state was not married to mercy but judgment. I recalled in his glare the shame I endured from accusations over my queer state throughout my teen years.
I never returned to that church. It was worldly, no more an answer to my cry for help than bullies on the playground. Jesus said it best: ‘You have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of men.’ (Mark 7:8)
I was reminded of this recently when a pastor leading a men’s support group noted how uncomfortable the ‘normal’ men were when a man joined who confessed to same-sex attraction and addiction. The men shamed him with disconcerting glances at each other, and an unwillingness to look the newcomer in the eyes. These guys could give grace only according to what they knew; the ‘otherness’ of their brother tempted them to wall him off as an exotic sinner in need of a grace they did not possess in their normal idolatry.
It became a holy juncture; the pastor deftly navigated the courageous brother’s disclosure until the others recognized his need was more like theirs than not. They needed mercy, one to another, as unexpressed conflicts came into the light. Worldly judgments burned off like embankments of fog. Same-sex affection and advocacy granted every member what each needed. And it freed the same-sex struggler to need men as friends, not lovers. Love heals.
I do not trivialize the depth of same-sex attraction. I live with it. 34 years later, I am still perplexed by profound needs that can surface in me, and tempt me to worship the old gods and their demands. But I know the God of Almighty Mercy; He has persuaded me through His people that His loving kindness is better than life in Egypt. That truth is the anchor of my soul, its foundation. Neither shame nor self-hatred nor unsatisfied yearnings can separate me from the Love that abounds.
This is my boast, my hope, that the body of Christ can offer the fullness of love that dares to discipline the same-sex struggler. I needed that discipline. As a young man without restraint in his sexuality, narcissistic and impulsive, I needed discipline. I thank God for the loving friends who spoke the truth that eluded my immature conscience.
I would bristle at their challenges to my fleshly actions and attitudes but took the knocks. Why? My counselors were sinners who included me in what became our quest for purity. Jesus loved us. We loved each other in truth. We embraced the Jesus of Rev. 3:19 who said: ‘Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.’
Such merciful discipline is the only antidote to the gay self and its demands upon the world and the church. Those demands are best summarized by the young angry man who upon returning home from University declared to his pastor: ‘The only problem with homosexuality is the one you have with it…’
In the last thirty years, gay insistence for unqualified acceptance has grown from a whisper to a howl. And the church has surrendered her truth to those demands. In essence, we have capitulated to the deception that gays make up a distinctive ethnic group. Here one is assumed to be natively ‘gay’, morally neutral, deserving all the rights and privileges due to members of an oppressed minority. The challenge of ‘biblical sexuality’ is framed as further oppression.
Instead of the love that discerns and disciplines, the church today embodies the weak love of a parent that gives the spoiled child another cookie to stop him from squalling. How else do you explain:
Evangelical pastors who refuse to declare their position on homosexuality on the ground that ‘God is not about positions but dialogue’? (I have heard this more times than I can count now…)
Evangelical pastors who refuse to allow congregants to testify of healing from homosexuality because it would be offensive to gays and their loved ones?
Evangelical pastors who refuse to take a stand on ‘gay marriage’ because they don’t want to give the impression that they are ‘anti-gay’? (Note the progression: the gay person wants something that is not even remotely his to claim; if we disagree, we are ‘anti’ his humanity. Why is upholding marriage anti-anyone? In truth, it is good for all, including the gay community, whose greed it restrains.)
Evangelical pastors who refuse to use the language of ‘biblical sexuality’ for fear of offending gays? A conservative national organization geared to justice related to sexuality recently banned such language from its mission statement in order to not offend the gay community.
Jesus said it best: ‘You have let go of the commands of God, and are holding onto the traditions of men.’ (Mark 7:8)
Paul’s warning to those deceived at Colossae should warn us as well: ‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.’ (Col. 2: 8)
30 years ago, the main tradition of the church toward same-sex strugglers would have been fear and shame; today her tradition is a form of secular justice derived from the gay self and its community. Its thesis? ‘I, a gay man or lesbian, am intrinsically homosexual, and the only just thing you can do is confirm me in my gay self and its relationships. If you don’t, you contribute to my suffering …’
To accept that tradition, the church must forego her theological and anthropological traditions, which include: humans are made in God’s image as male and female, which points to virtuous heterosexual relating as the primary goal for every human being.
Barriers to such a virtuous duality abound, most involving perverse expressions of heterosexuality. Sin has skewed all of our self-offerings; those who attest to same-sex attraction bear witness of sin’s disorder in a way that can be understood alongside lust, fear of sex, or inordinate desire of any kind.
That same-sex attraction would become the basis for a self and a community which demands every right accorded to heterosexuals is an arbitrary construct that has no basis in a biblical understanding of human beings. The gay self and its community are alien to the witness of creation, to Scripture, and to historic church tradition.
From a genuinely Christian perspective, there is no such thing as a gay or lesbian person per se, only those bearers of God’s image who also bear certain wounds, needs, and longings, and who may sadly have been duped by a secular belief system that has confined them to a dead-end identity.
When that identity is conceived in same-sex unions, it gives birth to death, pure and simple. Robert Gagnon said it best: ‘Same-sex intercourse constitutes an inexcusable rebellion against the intentional design of the created order.’ His words are intended to discipline the unrestrained; they thus function as an arm of God’s severe mercy: ‘There can be no transformation while homosexuals live in a world of unreality, including false notions about Scripture’s view of homosexuality.’
We the church must resist the tradition of the gay self and its community. Otherwise we mute the truth – indeed the foundational truths that underlie the historic church – that could be their freedom. I encourage you to reclaim the reality that all are sexually broken and all are in need of the grace that abounds
It is up to us, the church, to ensure the clarity of our theological and anthropological traditions. They provide the track on which we can guide beautiful, broken ones toward a grace-filled transformation of life.
When God’s image in humanity is broken , we cry out for mercy. But when we the church concede the definition of that image to falsehood, there is no mercy. What is broken is framed as whole, perversion becomes a destiny, and redemption affronts one’s personal ‘right’. No truth that disciplines, no mercy that transforms.
We as the church can do better. Let me give you a fresh example. Last month, a team of 8 participated in our second annual Living Waters Training in Bahrain. Mid week at our host’s church service, we led 200 beautifully broken expressions of God’s image from Asia, Africa and the Arab world to the ‘living water’. The team shared their testimonies, a spectrum of sin and brokenness that included homosexual and heterosexual adultery, sexual addictions and abuse of all kinds, as well as more subtle crimes of the heart like self-hatred, rejection of one’s own gender, and religious arrogance.
The team included husband and wife, father and daughter, and father and son. Beyond the breach in our families and in our dignity, we shared the beauty of God’s grace and its transforming power in all of our lives.
When it came time to repent before the cross, most of the church came forward. The waters of mercy rose in that place like a flood. Mercy primed weary hearts that sobbed out years of shame and sorrow.
Jesus came to save sinful people like us. Let us not forsake the truth of that sin and brokenness for anyone’s agenda. The mercy is too good, its power to transform too real to squander by placating deceived ones. Extending the mercy that disciplines is our good news, the whole Gospel that Jesus has entrusted to us.
‘Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord Your God disciplines you.’ (Deut. 8:5)
‘For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.’ (Luke 19:10)
I have been communicating over and over that the purposed hate crimes legislation was unnecessary because laws are already in place to prosecute hate crime in all 50 states. Finally someone who is much more articulate has written a terrific and very clear article on this subject. Please read Dr. Gagnon’s article below.
Hate crimes legislation is not about hate crimes; it is a political agenda to normalize homosexuality at the same status of equality in our society as heterosexuality. Hate crimes legislation is a gay political agenda to stealthily bring civil rights status to homosexuality. This legislation makes homosexuality and many other sexual practices equal to gender and race. This is very bad news for ministries like the one I am involved. There are politically motivated gay activists whose sole existence is the demise of any ministry that proclaims freedom from homosexuality. Is President Obama and/or the Democrats really naive as to the intention here of gay political activists or are they very calculated? I believe the later. I believe President Obama, and you should too; when he said he desired to not merely bring change, but REMAKE AMERICA. He desires to make this a different country. I am not sure we can recover from 4 years of Obama policies fiscally and/or morally.
Dr. Robert Gagnon has written another well thought out excellent article on this subject. I plead with you, please read this article; do not be naive as to the intention of this legislation. This legislation, if passed, is destructive to our country. Please call your Senator’s now and say NO to Hate Crimes!
Why a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity “Hate Crimes” Law Is Bad for You
Promoting hatred of people opposed to homosexual practice and transgenderism
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D. May 28, 2009
The so-called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act” (H.R. 1913), passed by the U.S. House of Representatives along party lines on Apr. 29 and introduced into the U.S. Senate shortly thereafter by Ted Kennedy (S. 909), is improperly named. The bill is really a hate-promotion bill as regards the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” among the groupings slated to receive special protection.
Supporters of this bill who rightly believe homosexual practice to be unnatural and sinful have been duped into thinking that this bill is primarily about protecting homosexual and transgendered persons from violence. They hear the rubric “hate crimes” and think: Who can be for violence toward homosexual and transgendered persons?
The real objectives of the “hate crimes” bill (hint: it’s not about crime)
Supporters of this bill who believe homosexual practice to be immoral rarely stop to consider that all necessary laws are already in place protecting everyone from violent physical attacks or verbal threats to do bodily harm, including persons who engage in homosexual and transgendered behavior. Even homosexual columnist Andrew Sullivan has recently commented: “The real reason for hate crime laws is not the defense of human beings from crime. There are already laws against that—and Matthew Shepard’s murderers were successfully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in a state with no hate crimes law at the time.” There is absolutely no evidence that state prosecutors are systematically ignoring genuine crimes against homosexual and transgendered persons, once reported to law enforcement officials.
So why pass “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” so-called “hate crime” legislation? The reason has more to do with foisting an expansive homosexualist agenda on the nation than with concerns about crime. The bill serves the following vital aims of that agenda:
- It gets the federal government to enshrine in federal law “sexual orientation” (i.e. homosexuality and bisexuality) and “gender identity” (i.e. transsexualism and cross-dressing) as identity markers worthy of special protection and promotion alongside racial and gender diversity.
- This in turn gives federal backing to hatred of all persons who express opposition to homosexual practice and transgenderism as the moral equivalent of racists and misogynists (sexists), no matter how loving that expression of opposition may be.
- It also lays the foundation for a litany of future “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” bills that will markedly abridge the civil liberties of all who express moral disapproval of homosexual practice and transgenderism.
The foot in the door
This “hate crimes” bill is the proverbial foot in the door or camel nose in the tent that makes possible—indeed inevitable—all future laws involving “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” By simply placing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” alongside of “race,” “color,” “national origin,” “gender,” and “disability,” this “hate crime” bill does most of its damage. It ensconces in federal law the principle that homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality are as benign as race, gender, and disability—an aspect of human diversity that must be affirmed and celebrated. Those who refuse to go along with this principle then become encoded in law as hateful, discriminatory bigots.
Note that while “religion” (an identity marker involving choice) is one of the protected categories of this “hate crime” bill, the bill mainly makes a connection between “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” on the one hand and a host of benign innate conditions on the other (i.e. the five other protected categories of the bill). I’ve never heard an advocate for homosexual practice and transgenderism make the connection between these behaviors and religious belief. The analogy is always made with race and gender.
The thought crime of “prejudice” against homosexual and transgender behavior
Make no mistake about the fact that this is an Orwellian thought-crimes bill. Suppose a young man and a 70-year-old grandmother push each at roughly the same time. The man does so after shouting out “You bigoted homophobe!” while the grandmother does so after responding “Well then, you are a sexual pervert!”
This “hate crime” bill would apply only to the grandmother and would do so solely on the basis that she believed that homosexual practice was a perversion of the natural sexual order. For the bill establishes this conviction to be a “prejudice,” stating that the federal government can intervene when “a crime of violence … is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived … sexual orientation [or] gender identity … of the victim” (emphasis added). The bill effectively (but wrongly, go here) declares this conviction to be a hate that society must prosecute vigorously by enhancing penalties and calling for massive federal intervention.
However, the bill shows no concern for classifying as hateful prejudice the alternative conviction; namely, that advocates of a male-female requirement for sexual relations are hateful, ignorant bigots. Rather, the bill promotes this alternative conviction to society at large. It essentially declares to all sectors of society that it is “open season” on hating and ostracizing persons who find homosexual behavior and transsexualism to be morally repugnant, much as society hates and ostracizes members of the Klu Klux Klan or skinhead Nazi groups.
Recent cases in point are the widespread intimidation tactics employed by homosexualist opponents of California’s Proposition 8 against its supporters (for example, go here, here, here, here, here) and the smear campaign against Miss California, Carrie Prejean, for daring to disagree with a homosexual pageant judge’s affirmation of “gay marriage” (note that the point holds whatever Prejean’s deficiencies may be as a role model for Christian sexual modesty). Why shouldn’t those opposed to homosexual practice or transsexualism get special protection from the federal government? The reason is simple: They’re bigots.
The analogy of other sexual orientations
This bill thus goes beyond protection of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered persons (who are already protected) to promotion of hatred—hatred toward those opposed to homosexual and transgendered behavior. If you have any doubt about that, consider whether adding pedophilia (‘pedosexuality’) to the list would imply promotion of pedophilic behavior by the state and antagonism by the state toward perceived opponents of pedophiles. Surely it would.
Sadly, this may not be the best example since Rep. Steven King unsuccessfully introduced an amendment to the “hate crimes” bill in the House that would have excluded pedophilia from the definition of “sexual orientation.” If you can believe it, the Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee defeated the amendment along party lines, 13-10. To be sure, the Democrats are right that both “pedosexuality,” sexual desire for children, and “polysexuality,” sexual desire for more than one person concurrently, are “sexual orientations.” Where the Democrats err is in failing to recognize that this is a good reason for not having a “sexual orientation” provision.
Conclusion for part 1
So don’t fall for the line that, if you really love “gay,” lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, you will support this “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” “hate crime” bill. No, support for this bill does not mean that you oppose hateful, violent acts against persons who self-identify as homosexuals, transsexuals, and cross-dressers. Existing laws already make that point. Rather, it means that you support stigmatizing, marginalizing, and penalizing people who, lovingly or not, oppose homosexual practice and transgenderism. This is a hate-promotion bill.
Proponents of the current “hate crimes” bill before the U.S. Senate argue that it is a lie that this bill will abridge in any way free speech protections for those who publicly express opposition to homosexual practice without causing, or attempting to cause, bodily harm. This claim is both irrelevant and inaccurate.
The first step of getting “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in federal law
It is irrelevant because, as noted in Part 1, this bill does most of its damage in creating, for the first time in federal law, the special legal-protective categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The first hurdle is the biggest: getting the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” on the books. A “hate crimes” bill functions as—no double entendre intended—the Trojan horse of an aggressive gay/transgender lobby, offering to the public the “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” law least likely to meet with massive public resistance.
Once the Trojan Horse is within the city walls, the rest of the task is relatively easy. If “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are special civil rights categories in federal law, then many other “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” laws must be passed if society is going to turn back the “homophobic hate” and “discrimination” that makes bodily crimes against homosexual and transgendered persons possible in the first place. President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have already indicated their eagerness to advance this agenda (go here, here, here, and here).
Removing the explicit free-speech protection in the bill
The claim that this bill will not lead to an abridgement of free speech is not only irrelevant but also inaccurate. It is inaccurate, first, because the bill itself does not provide much in the way of protection of free speech rights. When it was first introduced into the House the bill contained this provision:
Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution. (bold added)
Democrats in committee removed the material in boldface so that what was voted on by the full House no longer contained the explicit mention of free speech and free exercise. The remaining phrase “expressive conduct protected …by the Constitution” begs the question about what “expressive conduct” is protected. No piece of legislation could abridge the Constitution anyway so the phrase is useless. The issue is what constitutes abridgement and that is not spelled out in this bill.
U.S. Code stipulating that inducement is as liable as commission
Second, it is inaccurate to claim that free speech will not be abridged inasmuch as other existing legislation requires an extension beyond actual physical violence.
United States Code Title 18, Section 2, stipulates that “whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.” Statements that “abet,” “counsel,” or “induce the commission” of bodily injury are thus not protected by the Constitution.
The omission of “any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses” makes it that much easier to prosecute strong statements against homosexual practice as abetting or counseling violence or as inducing its commission. There is nothing in this bill that explicitly prevents any homosexualist-activist judge, of which there are many, from ruling that calling homosexual acts a grave “abomination” by appeal to Levitical prohibitions constitutes an inducement to violence.
The existence of state and local “hate crimes” law that include mere disturbance
Third, this “hate crimes” bill puts free speech in jeopardy because some state and local “hate crime” laws already make simple assault or intimidation prosecutable offenses.
For example, the Illinois Hate Crime Law permits prosecution for mere assault (i.e., a threat or action that puts a person in apprehension of bodily harm prior to any actual harm), property trespass, “disorderly conduct,” or “harassment by telephone” or “electronic communications.” “Disorderly conduct” is defined in Illinois law as a person who “does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace” (emphasis added).
In 2007 two 16-year old girls from Crystal Lake South High School (Ill.) were arrested on felony hate crime charges for distributing about 40 fliers on cars in the student parking lot of their high school. The fliers contained an anti-homosex slur (the media have not reported what precisely the slur was) and a photo of two boys kissing, one of whom was identified as a classmate. The fliers contained no threats of violence. One of the girls was apparently getting back at a boy with whom she had once been best friend.
Assistant state’s attorney for McHenry County, Thomas Carroll, commented: “You can be charged with a hate crime if you make a statement or take an action that inflicts injury or incites a breach of the peace based on a person’s race, creed, gender, or perceived sexual orientation.” Another assistant state’s attorney, Robert Windon, said: “We do not feel this type of behavior is what the First Amendment protects.” State’s attorney Lou Bianchi insisted: “This is a classic case of the kind of conduct that the state legislature was directing the law against. This is what the legislators wanted to stop, this kind of activity.”
The girls spent 18 days in jail (a juvenile detention center) and appeared in court for their hearing with shackles on their ankles. They were ordered by the judge to remain in home detention on electronic monitoring until the court sentenced them some months later. Relieved that they would be allowed to return home for the time being, the girls sobbed uncontrollably in court. Prosecutors eventually dropped the felony hate-crime charge in exchange for a plea bargain, in which the girls pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest (the girls fled the scene when a police officer arrived; they did not strike an officer).
The girls were sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to write letters of apology for distributing anti-gay fliers to the boy and the arresting officer, required to do 40 hours of community service, and given a two-week suspended sentence in the McHenry County Jail (to be implemented if the girls violated probation). The girls told the court that the whole matter was a joke that they took too far. State Attorney Louis Bianchi told the press that he still felt the hate crime charge was justified, while acknowledging that the plea bargain was fair for juveniles.
Conclusion of Part 2
Claims that the homosexual and transsexual “hate crimes” bill soon to be voted on by the U.S. Senate will not lead to an abridgement of free speech rights and other liberties are both irrelevant and inaccurate.
They are irrelevant because the primary purpose of this bill is not to reduce “hate crimes” against homosexual and transgendered persons (laws against violent acts are already in place) but rather to establish “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as specially protected classifications in federal law. This establishment will make possible—indeed, inevitable—an avalanche of other “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” laws that in turn make “hateful bigots” of anyone who opposes homosexual and transsexual behavior.
They are inaccurate because (1) the bill has already had stripped from it explicit free-speech protection; (2) the U.S. legal code already stipulates that verbal “inducement” of a crime makes the inducer “punishable as a principal”; and (3) the federal “hate crimes” law will work in tandem with state and local “hate crime” laws, some of which already make prosecutable any “alarming” or “disturbing” of another.
In Part 3 we will look at other instances where “sexual orientation” laws have led to the curtailment of civil liberties and explain why religious exemption clauses are worthless.
Many proponents of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” legislation contend that “sexual orientation” legislation will not endanger civil liberties in the United States—in Europe, Canada, and Brazil, but not in the United States. The evidence to date suggests otherwise.
An example of hate-speech prosecution in Philadelphia
In Part 2 I cited the example of two teenage girls being prosecuted for sexual orientation “hate speech” under Illinois law. Another example occurred in Philadelphia a few years ago. District Attorney Lynne Abraham prosecuted a small group of Christians who were peacefully demonstrating at a homosexual parade in Philadelphia in 2004 (go here for video). The group comprised eleven persons from an organization called “Repent America,” including two grandmothers and a 17-year-old girl. All eleven spent 21 hours in jail. After a preliminary hearing Judge William Meehan ordered four of the eleven to stand trial on three felony charges and five misdemeanor charges (a fifth person, the teenage girl, was required to stand trial in juvenile court). The three felony charges were “ethnic intimidation” (proclaiming that homosexual practice was a sin), possession of instruments of crime (a bullhorn), and inciting a riot (reading from the Bible passages dealing with homosexual practice). These four Christian defendants faced up to 47 years in prison and fines of $90,000 each.
Although Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe subsequently dismissed the criminal charges (after comparing the Repent America group to Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan), had the prosecutor Lynne Abraham been the judge (or perhaps had Judge Meehan been the judge instead of Dembe), the verdict would have been quite different. That the prosecution was undertaken at all indicates that some legal authorities already believe that peaceful speech against homosexual practice is prosecutable. Expect judges to side with city prosecutors as the homosexualist agenda gains greater ascendancy through the passage of national “sexual orientation” legislation. Of note is the fact that in 2007 U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel ruled that the city of Philadelphia had a right to “exclude persons expressing contrary messages” from the vicinity of the “Outfest” parade even though the event was a admittedly a “public forum” conducted in a “public place” (namely city-owned streets and sidewalks; go here).
Other instances where “sexual orientation” legislation has already led to an abridgement of civil liberties
Certainly infringements of speech liberties have already taken place in all other Western democracies that have “sexual orientation” “hate crime” laws. In Canada, for example, among those fined thousands of dollars and threatened with imprisonment for repeat offenses of speech are:
- Father Alphonse de Valk and Catholic Insight Magazine for speaking against homosexual behavior.
- Bill Whatcott, a Catholic activist, for producing pamphlets that called homosexual practice immoral (Whatcott was also “banned for life” from criticizing homosexuality).
- Stephen Boisson, a pastor, for a letter to a newspaper denouncing homosexual practice as immoral (also ordered to desist from expressing his views on homosexual practice in any public forum; for a video go here).
The argument that free speech protections in the U.S. Constitution will prevent such abuses from taking place rings hollow in view of the inducement to violence provision in Title 18.2 and in view of the fact that even U.S. Supreme Court justices have taken to citing precedents in foreign law (e.g., with regard to the Lawrence sodomy decision). Moreover, we already have instances in the U.S. where “sexual orientation” laws have led to abridgements of other liberties in three main areas:
- Mandatory indoctrination of children in public schools. Owing to state and local “sexual orientation” laws, children in many school systems throughout the country now face compulsory indoctrination, from first grade on, regarding the acceptability of both homosexual practice and transgenderism. Teachers are forbidden to say anything critical about any “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” and must undergo “sensitivity training” that normalizes such practices. Curricula are at all levels are required to celebrate the homosexual and transgendered life. Provisions for parental notification and child opt-out provisions are refused on the grounds that the state has already declared “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to be specially protected legal classifications. For examples go here, here, here, here, and here.
- Terminating employees critical of homosexual practice. In 2008 an African-American woman, Crystal Dixon, was removed from her position as associate vice president for human resources at the University of Toledo simply because she wrote an op-ed in a newspaper saying that homosexual behavior should not be compared to being black (go here). In 2007-8 a community college professor in California, June Sheldon, was fired for leading a brief discussion on the nature vs. nurture debate as regards homosexuality. Rolf Szabo, Richard Peterson, Kenneth Gee, Annie Coffey-Montes, and Albert Buonanno are previous examples of persons fired from their corporate or government jobs for not wanting to “celebrate” at their work station “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” diversity. For details go here, here, here (pp. 10-17).
- Forcing people against their conscience to promote the homosexual agenda through goods and services. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission just this past year ordered a female photographer to pay over $6000 to a lesbian couple for declining to photograph their commitment ceremony on the grounds that it violated her Christian beliefs. A national Christian dating service (Harmony.com) was dragged into several years of litigation by the state of New Jersey for not providing services for homosexual partnering, until finally, out of financial desperation, the company capitulated to the state a couple earlier this year. A Christian ministry in New Jersey has been subject to state investigation for refusing to allow a lesbian civil union ceremony to be conducted on its property. In California a doctor was sued for declining to artificially inseminate a woman in a lesbian relationship. In Georgia a counselor was fired just for referring a lesbian woman to another counselor for relationship advice. The Boy Scouts in Boston were no longer allowed free use of city facilities as a result of their policy against having scout leaders attracted to the same sex; they now had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to use the same facilities for which they previously paid not a cent. In New York City a school of medicine under Orthodox Jewish auspices was forced to rent married housing to homosexual couples under a “sexual orientation nondiscrimination” law, while in California a Lutheran high school was sued for expelling two girls in a lesbian relationship. Catholic Charities of Boston had to get out of the adoption business because it did not want to place children with persons engaged in a homosexual relationship. For details and further examples, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here (2nd half), here, here.
Even legal experts who support homosexualist causes such as Eugene Volokh (UCLA) and Chai Feldblum (Georgetown University) have acknowledged that sexual orientation laws and their inevitable corollary, “gay marriage,” will ultimately force the end of “discriminatory” practices against homosexual persons by even “private entities, including Boy-Scout-like organizations, churches, religious universities, and other institutions” (so Volokh; go here and here).
Don’t be fooled by “religious exemptions”
Even if religious exemptions were to be added to any piece of “sexual orientation” legislation, they would be of little help, for two reasons.
First, religious exemptions are used as bait-and-switch tactics. As homosexualist forces tighten their hold on political rule expect such exemptions to be whittled away and ultimately eliminated. Just these past few weeks the New Hampshire House initially balked at providing the religious exemptions asked for by the governor in connection with a “gay marriage” bill. Eventually the House had to compromise with the governor to get the bill passed. The point here is that if homosexualist forces had the votes, they wouldn’t even have considered the exemptions. As culture continues to change, they and other legislative bodies will have the votes to refuse exemptions or overturn existing exemptions.
Second, in the interim let’s not forget that religious persons overwhelmingly work in secular venues where “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” laws and policies coerce their conscience and marginalize their existence to the equivalent of racists.
What does the future hold?
What else can we expect for the future? Religious institutions that “discriminate” against homosexual and transgender persons, including churches, will probably lose tax-exempt status. Religious schools will likely lose, in addition, federal grant money, access to student loans, and accreditation. Certainly these penalties already apply to religious institutions that discriminate on the basis of race (so the case of Bob Jones University). “Sexual orientation” laws equate sexual orientation with race as benign congenital conditions. Therefore we should expect the same rules to apply to religious institutions when they “discriminate” on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” All employers will have to subsidize homosexual relationships. Professional licensure for lawyers, mental health workers, etc. will require affirmation of homosexual unions and transgenderism. The list goes on and on.
Final – Conclusion
Don’t believe anyone who claims that this “hate crimes” bill, with its special protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” won’t lead down the road to an abridgement of civil liberties for those who disapprove of homosexual and transgender behavior. All the evidence suggests otherwise. If you are tired of fighting these battles, just tell yourself that you haven’t seen anything yet. If this bill passes, the situation will continue worsening, not only for you but also (and especially) for your children. Is this an important issue, even a litmus test issue for determining which candidates for political office you will vote for? Well, can you think of any other religious belief that you hold for which you and your children could some day be ostracized, fined, fired, or worse? I can’t.
Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D. is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press) and co-author of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Fortress Press).
When you look at the roots of homosexuality it becomes clear, especially for those of us who have come full-circle in leaving it behind, that there is a very distorted broken element of narcissism and the desire to repair the longings for connection to the same sex parent. I must say that the Lord Jesus Christ has been very kind to me in pointing out the condition of my own emotional, relational and spiritual state in coming out of my sexual distortions and homosexuality. This posted statement is in no way a reflection of condemnation, but one of presenting truth, compassionately as one who has struggled; even as difficult as it may be to face; the truth can set you free. Does anyone really like looking at their own sin? However in looking at it honestly before God there is freedom in yielding to Him, in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Dr. Gagnon has written a very compelling article in processing and reasoning out the problem of embracing of homosexuality and normalizing homosexuality to the level of race or gender. This is what is being purposed by the United States Congress in legislating “Hate Crimes.” I agree with Dr. Gagnon’s conclusion in this article. For me personally I see the conclusion of this legislation for revamping the USA society into a very distorted way of entering into relationships and sexuality, and thus it will continue to erode our society into characterlessness for the pleasures of being hedonistic. We are fast becoming a society that is hostile towards Judeo-Christian laws and morality. Please read Dr. Gagnon’s case
Why Homosexual Behavior Is More like Consensual Incest and Polyamory than Race or Gender
A Reasoned and Reasonable Case for Secular Society
Part 1: The Initial Case
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
May 18, 2009
On Apr. 29 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act” which places “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” “real or perceived,” alongside of “race,” “national origin,” “gender,” and “disability” as benign conditions for which society should provide special protections in federal law. Those who oppose homosexual practice are, by analogy, implicitly identified in law as discriminatory bigots, akin to racists and misogynists.
The problem is that the analogy to race and gender doesn’t work well. Race and gender are 100% heritable, absolutely immutable, and primarily non-behavioral conditions of life, and therefore, intrinsically benign. Homosexuality and transsexuality are none of these things. While there probably are some biological risk factors for some homosexual development and even transgenderism, science has failed to establish that homosexuality and transsexuality develop deterministically like race and gender. Even the Kinsey Institute has acknowledged that at least one shift in the Kinsey spectrum of 0 to 6 is the norm over the course of life for those who identity as homosexual (75%). Most importantly, unlike race and gender, homosexuality and transsexuality are in the first instance impulses to engage in behavior that is structurally discordant with embodied existence (as male and female). They are therefore not intrinsically benign conditions.
I contend that a better analogy (i.e., with more points of substantive correspondence) can be made between homosexuality and transsexuality on the one hand and polysexuality (an orientation toward multiple sexual partners) and incest (here I am thinking of an adult-committed sort) on the other hand. The latter are, after all, two other sexual behaviors that are incongruent with embodied existence that, despite such incongruence, can still be conducted as committed, caring relationships between adults. If incest and polyamory are indeed better analogues to homosexuality and transgenderism, then it is clear that placing the latter alongside race and gender as conditions worthy of special protections and benefits becomes, well, misplaced.
In making these remarks, I trust that people of faith know that it is just as wrong to hate and commit violence against persons who engage in adult-consensual relationships with close kin or with multiple partners as it is to hate persons who engage in same-sex intercourse or who otherwise attempt to override their sex or gender given at birth. It is not right to hate anyone or commit violence against anyone.
As regards a logical connection to polyamory, the limitation of the number of persons in a valid sexual union to two persons at any one time is predicated on the natural “twoness” of the sexes, “male and female” or “man and woman.” This was certainly Jesus’ view in Mark 10 and Matthew 19, where he cited “God made them male and female” as the reason for overthrowing concurrent and serial polygamy). Polyamorous behavior and homosexual behavior alike violate the natural pair constituted by the existence of two primary, complementary sexes, even when they are conducted in the context of consensual, adult-committed relationships. The very sex act itself, which accommodates only one act of penetration at a time, illustrates the essential sexual “twoness” of a sexual bond predicated on two (and only two) complementary sexes.
As regards a logical connection to incest, incestuous behavior and homosexual behavior alike violate a requisite principle of embodied otherness within embodied sameness, even when such sexual behaviors are conducted consensually between committed adults. Incest is sex between persons who are too much structurally or formally alike as regards kinship. The high risk of birth defects that attend incestuous births is the symptom of the root problem: too much identity on the level of kinship between the sexual partners. That is why society rejects incestuous sexual relationships even when it occurs between consenting adults who either cannot procreate (whether because one partner is infertile or because both partners are of the same sex) or take active birth-control precautions. The structural impossibility of births arising from homosexual intercourse is likewise not so much the problem as the symptom of the root problem: namely, too much formal or structural identity between the participants and not enough complementary otherness, here as regards sex or gender.
In Part 2 I will look at what disproportionately high rates of measurable harms associated with homosexual relationships indicate for the unnatural character of homosexual relations.
Please Read the Concluding parts of Dr. Gagnon’s article:
Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D. is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press) and co-author of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Fortress Press). His website www.robgagnon.net contains new material and updates to published work.