Book Review Series, Children Desiring God, Christian Marriage, Complementarianism, Desiring God, Doctrine as Idol, Egalitarianism, Extra-Biblical Nonsense, Gender Roles, God's Design for the Family, Homosexuality, John Piper, Uncategorized

Children’s Book “God’s Design” and its Teachings on Homosexuality as a Distortion of God’s Design

God’s Design, Homosexuality, Complementarianism, John Piper & Wayne Grudem’s Influence

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-by Kathi

This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below are chapters in the book.

This week children, we will talk about homosexuality. This topic may potentially become heated. I ask that discussion please be civil and hope that we can acknowledge that as fellow Christians (better yet, as fellow human beings), we recognize that we may come to different conclusions. I ask that in our discussion we always maintain that it is the person that God created that is most valued and not our ideas or theology.

God’s Good Design Distorted

This chapter starts off by explaining that male and female elephants make baby elephants and it is against God’s design for an elephant and a camel to come together to make a baby. Well, that makes sense. I mean, can you imagine a camel trying to mate with an elephant?  But how do you explain how a mule is made? Sure, a horse and donkey are similar enough to mate, but they are not the same exact species.

Continuing, the authors talk about how it takes a married man and woman to make a baby. Well, unmarried men and women can make babies too, right? But, yes, it does take a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm to make a baby. And, if continuing the human population is all that sex is about, then I guess the book has made its point.

The authors define homosexuality as a girl loves a girl, and a boy loves a boy. Homosexuality is against God’s design and it “brings much sadness and pain.” Just like it is against nature for a camel to elephant to join together. Whispers have s.e.x. If we’re using animals as the example, homosexual courtship and sex is not uncommon in the animal kingdom. The most widely known animals to engage in homosexual activity are giraffes, killer whales, snails, flamingos and dolphins. Of course there’s also Stan and Olli, king penguins at the Berlin Zoo who have never shown interest in other female penguins. How is this part of nature explained to children?

God’s Design teaches children that people who are LGBTQ think they know what is right better than God: they are foolish, their thinking is “mixed up,” they don’t respect God, and they are sinful and sad. It is fully understandable when people do not agree or understand homosexuality. The problem is in the language of “you are foolish” or “you cannot change what God created” or “you are sinful.” This language causes too much heartache in the LGBTQ community as well as resulting suicide, shunning and homelessness.

At the end of this chapter, the authors recommend the book, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Ames Nicolosi, as if homosexuality can be prevented.

The following activity is also recommended:

With your family, list ten good things about being a boy and ten good things about being a girl. Fathers, do an activity with your son that affirms his manhood; mothers, do an activity with your daughter that affirms her womanhood. Thank God for His good design in your life.

What activities can you think of that affirm gender?

Recovering God’s Good Design

How does one change distorted views of manhood and womanhood? Trust. Trust and obey…for there’s no other way…

The rest of this chapter sets up the next six chapters of the book by explaining what it means to be a man and a woman. When it comes to being a man, the authors refer to John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. God wants a man to “lead, provide for and protect” his family. If you want to be a godly man, you must:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16: 13, ESV)

Or, is it the NIV version?

Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corithians 16: 13)

Or, the ISV version?

Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong. (1 Corinthians 16: 13)

Or, better yet, The Message version?

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. (1 Corinthians 16: 13)

As far as being a woman, again, the authors refer to Piper’s definition of true womanhood. God made women to “be content to support, accept and encourage strength and leadership in a man.” Women seem to have no autonomy but are defined solely by the men in their lives.

To become a godly woman, it is advised to follow:

Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3: 3 -4, ESV)

And with these, dear children,  we learn to trust Jesus and grow to become the people God designed us to be.

Your final activity from this chapter is:

Boys – talk with your dad about how you can start to practice leading, providing, and protecting your family. Take a practical step toward biblical manhood this week. Girls – talk with your mom about how you can start to practice supporting, encouraging, and helping. Take a practical step toward biblical womanhood this week.

Can you imagine the light bulb turning on for some little boy when he sees how much power he can have over his sister? If a little boy is practicing biblical manhood, does that mean mom has to submit to him? For girls practicing biblical womanhood, what is the line of submitting as a child and submitting as a woman/wife?

****

If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters:

Know Thyself, Creature

Headship, Helper, and an Answer We Already Knew

Rebellion, a.k.a. It’s All Her Fault!

257 thoughts on “Children’s Book “God’s Design” and its Teachings on Homosexuality as a Distortion of God’s Design”

  1. KAS, how do you deal with David? David was a “man after God’s own heart”. That phrase is repeated throughout David’s life.

    Yet, David multiplied wives, collected cattle, committed adultery, then murdered to cover that up.

    Did he cease being saved only to then be restored, or was he a saved murderer?

    When we receive our heart of flesh, the rest of our flesh is still corrupted. The process of sanctification starts from where we are – a sinner with God’s spirit in us. If I’m a homosexual before being saved, I’m a homosexual after being saved. The difference is that I now have the desire to become more like Jesus by putting away that sin.

    The process of sanctification is where God convicts us of some sin in our lives, and gives us the desire to repent of that sin and work to remove it. We see that not all Christians become 100% perfect in this life, so it is a process that is only complete when we die and are glorified. Just because “Christians” label certain sins (e.g. homosexuality / drunkenness / murder) as the worst sins ever, that doesn’t mean that God won’t choose to work on different sins first. Paul, for example, centers on his covetousness. What if Paul was homosexual and covetous, and God worked on the covetousness first?

    I’m sure there are sins I have that I don’t even desire to change. There are other sins I never really struggled with and there are sins that God shoves in my face everyday. Does that mean I’m not saved because I have “unrepentant sin”?

    Salty, I think the clearer passages interpret the less clear. Jesus himself said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

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  2. KAS, I read your comments over time here and think you know so little of human history and end up constantly moving goal posts to seek a win. This is not about winning a theological point. It’s not black and white, either. I don’t forget your earlier point that “God does not love unbelievers”. Everyone is an unbeliever until some are not. There are no grandchildren in this respect. Every single generation must seek truth. We could prepare them better, I think, by encouraging independent thinking and personal responsibility. Not conformity.

    I get you about dumbing down sin in the church. But it seems like you want to insist that people are not properly afraid of God and churches don’t teach sin. That is nothing new! Just different tactics and definitions of sin. When the church institutionalized, you could wipe out sins with forms of penance where a special human called a priest absolved you and that morphed into indulgences and caused a political Reformation. It couldn’t be anything else because of church state. Too much money going to fat cats in Rome feeding at the trough. Science was once a sin. Peasants reading scripture was a sin. In Geneva, criticizing Calvin was a sin with a punishment. The Puritans declared attempts to alleviate pain in childbirth as sin. The list is so long we could be here all week. And they all used twisted scripture to back them up. Probably reading Hebrews 13:17. :o)

    We tend to dismiss so much of evil church history as “the times” as if the Holy Spirit was AWOL for a thousand years. The irony of all these historical sin church definitions is that they did not include the arrogance of such religious leaders who thought them up and implemented them! None of it us new. But at least it is all voluntary for us now. Praise God!!!

    So let’s define sin. Can we even start with good/evil and right/wrong? Can we boil it down to 2 overarching themes? Or do we go into perpetuity sin sniffing one another even those who don’t profess Christ. If you want to meet more decent human beings who profess Christ, I can no longer recommend most churches.

    So what else is new, really? If you look at history, going back to the OT, it was the outliers who warned and changed things. The prophets were not in the in-group. Some were bizarre. JTB disdained the 2nd Temple set in Jerusalem and our Savior chose Nazareth, of all places, to grow up.

    I honestly don’t think church is where it is at anymore. Was it ever, really?

    Do I think homosexuality is God’s intention? No. But so what? They have the civil right to self government in our system. (I am not for special rights for any group including women) Do you want to change that? My guess is you would probably help one in need without condemning them. In some Islamic countries they kill them. But my question to you is how do you go about addressing homosexuals they are in sin? Do you think they don’t know many think that? How many charlatan pastors don’t know their greed and entitlement mentality is sin? Seriously? They can rationalize with the best of them.
    .
    So all through history, did God love unbelievers? Did God love evil tyrannical believers who lorded over other believers with no power? Did He love the “believers” who burned supposed heretics at the stake? We tend to excuse them with platitudes saying, oh, we are all sinners and no one is perfect and such. Did they have a choice in their actions? Yes. And God is a God of pure Justice. Love includes justice. Remember, I don’t subscribe to the legal forensic view of the Trinity band the law/grace dichotomy. God has not changed. He has historically provided rescue to everyone. He even came here to prove it.

    Again, I say God is Hesed and I don’t really understand because church is full of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s in the pews and on the stages.

    But then the church is not the same as the Body of Christ. That is much harder.

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  3. I think we tend to focus on certain attributes of God and tend to ignore others. So, let’s take the Stanford rapist. The judge had mercy on the Stanford rapist and only gave him six months in jail. If we focus on mercy alone, that judge was wonderful, but, that judge also needed to be JUST! Was justice served by allowing that rapist to walk free after six months when his victim was scarred for life? I think not. God not be merciful only, but he must also be just. Justice will be served for the thousands of Christians martyred in Germany, Russia and China.

    That is a picture in Revelation. Martyrs before God’s throne saying, how long will it be before we get justice? God’s response? Wait a little longer. Justice will be served.

    I’m sure I’m skewed towards the harshness – that’s the environment I grew up in, so definitely need to understand love and mercy more 🙂

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  4. Lydia, I think the parable of the wheat and the tares is really relevant. The tares are allowed to grow up next to the wheat, because the wheat might get uprooted by their removal. Instead, they grow up together until harvest time.

    I find it somewhat comforting in all this that God’s purpose is not to really beat up the Christians in this life and make sure they earn Heaven, but to protect them, and the best way he can protect them is to, unfortunately, let them grow up next to the sons of Satan.

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  5. “f we focus on mercy alone, that judge was wonderful, but, that judge also needed to be JUST.”

    Mercy for whom? The victim?

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  6. I don’t think “mercy” really applies to the victim. The victim wanted (and deserved) justice for the crime, but received none due to the judge. The judge was merciful, but not just.

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  7. There is a third component, beyond justice and mercy, and that is protecting future victims. This is an area where churches often miss.

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  8. Lea, that’s a whole other discussion. On one hand, I don’t know that it’s right to make an example by punishing severely, but on the other hand it sends a message that something is unacceptable.

    In this case, it’s the worst of all worlds. The only reason that guy was caught was because good samaritans saw what he was doing and took action. She was unconscious. She bravely stands up and testifies against him and what happens? He’s given barely a slap on the wrist.

    Women already have big incentives to cover it up. For example, at BYU, women are getting kicked out of school for being raped and going to the police. Also, police often do nothing when women come forward. The DA may decide there’s not a compelling case. If all the stars align, they still have to confront the man who raped them in court with a defense lawyer who is going to do everything to get his client off, which means digging up as much dirt as he can to make her look like a fraud.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of women are just not willing to go through that. I know one woman who was sexually abused, and she may never be strong enough to stand up to her accuser. Her church (should I even say it) covered it up and re-victimized her. While the abuser was given a slap on the wrist, she got repeated counseling sessions and discipline cause she couldn’t whitewash her emotions.

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  9. “don’t think “mercy” really applies to the victim. The victim wanted (and deserved) justice for the crime, but received none due to the judge. The judge was merciful, but not just”

    We are not on the same page about mercy at all. Proper Justice IS mercy and compassion for victims. It says, you are valuable and they should not be allowed to get by with it lightly. It also says that since the perp was barbaric enough to do it once, they won’t be given the chance to do it again.

    Mercy in this instance is more like life in prison. Remember, there is a high bar to convict in the first place.

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  10. On one hand, I don’t know that it’s right to make an example by punishing severely, but on the other hand it sends a message that something is unacceptable.

    The example is one part, the other is stopping that guy from offending again! Simply by keeping him off the streets.

    I’ll admit that case was a bit difficult for me because I’ve been comfortable with the fact that rape is hard to prove and women have to protect themselves and watch out – but this guy was literally caught in the act, reported immediately, witnesses, convicted!!! And still.

    Textbook case for not reporting.

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  11. Lydia, you are 100% correct:

    “We are not on the same page about mercy at all. Proper Justice IS mercy and compassion for victims. It says, you are valuable and they should not be allowed to get by with it lightly. It also says that since the perp was barbaric enough to do it once, they won’t be given the chance to do it again.

    Mercy in this instance is more like life in prison. Remember, there is a high bar to convict in the first place.”

    Judges are fickle, I guess, and I can’t always gauge where their sympathies, despite evidence, lies. But, as a general rule, compassion and mercy should be shown the victim first, and that includes every woman who has ever been, and will still be, abused in the institutionalized church. Turning a blind eye, or encouraging it, directly or indirectly (as this God’s Design book does; however camouflaged), is criminal in my eyes.

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  12. “Lydia, I think the parable of the wheat and the tares is really relevant. The tares are allowed to grow up next to the wheat, because the wheat might get uprooted by their removal. Instead, they grow up together until harvest time.”
    .just some food for thought. The wheat/tare problem is in the harvesting. You have to allow them to grow next to the wheat because you don’t know they are tares until the ear (bloom?) appears. It is poisonous.

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  13. Lydia00 – I’m nor sure there is much point simply in trying to win an argument.

    My existing view on the love of God and unbelievers can be misunderstood as though he doesn’t want the best for all of mankind. The ‘God loves you unconditionally and has a wonderful plan for your life’ does not come from the pages of the NT, and is misleading to both believer and unbeliever alike.

    I wonder if more fear of God just might make complacent Christians think again before they go on a ministry ego trip, fleece the sheep, or abuse others or cover abuse up.

    Have you ever stopped to consider that Jesus’ warnings about hell were directed towards his disciples rather than the world around? He was saying ‘make sure you don’t end up there’. This isn’t salvation by works, rather by continuing in the faith. He who endures to the end will be saved. We need forgiveness and holiness – without which … .

    I’m sure some very ‘anointed’ charismatics are going to be in for a shock at the end of the age, but so too are church leaders and members who in their hearts left the faith for a life of sinning, even if covered up by a façade of church respectability.

    I know this is sombre and unpopular amongst evangelicals today, but at the very least we ought to stop giving the false assurance that you can do what you like but because you made a ‘decision’ 24 years ago you are guaranteed acceptance with God regardless of what you have done in the meantime.

    The Calvinist might say you were never saved in the first place, and the Arminian you have forfeited your salvation, but the end result is the same in both cases.

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  14. I think we agree about what should have been done, but we don’t agree what aspects of God’s character are in play.

    When someone wrongs me, I’m look for God to be just and avenge that wrong. When I do something wrong, I look for God’s mercy in not giving me the penalty I deserve. So, I guess I think of justice applying when I’m wronged, and mercy applying when I’ve wronged. Compassion is more what I think you’re getting at – compassion, to me, seems more like God finding that right balance between the two parties.

    I guess the overall point got lost that when we talk of something like Hell as punishment, there are three perspectives to consider. There is the victim, the guilty and the witness. When we say, no one deserves eternal punishment, we are looking at it more from the perspective of the guilty than the perspective of the victim.

    If I go back to this being an analogy, what mercy/justice does God get when people rape him? I think we tend to “consider the person” in that case, and say, God is really big and powerful and he should just suck it up when people abuse him.

    I think that is why Jesus was so harsh against the Pharisees. We treat sexual sin as the worst, but we don’t have God’s perspective on what the Pharisees were doing. They were carrying out abuse and injustice in God’s name. Think about the money they vowed to God that would have gone to help their parents. What does that say about God? Just like churches today that tell wives to go back to their abusive husbands. The leaders are slandering God’s character by telling people the opposite of what God would.

    It reminds me that a church discipline “form” in my old church said something like, “you have given the enemies of God occasion to mock”. Many times, it has been the discipline itself that has given the occasion to mock, and not the offense. Usually the “offense” is insubordination, and it’s insubordination to something the elders have no right to command.

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  15. Lydia: “The wheat/tare problem is in the harvesting.”

    I think the Bible differs with you on this:
    “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.”

    It seems that the angels know the difference. The problem seems to be that the process of prematurely rooting out evil would have an effect that some of the just would not have been just. I always seem to fall short with analogies, but perhaps the evil perpetrated in 9/11 had an effect of bringing some to repentance that might not otherwise have repented.

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  16. lydia00 wrote:
    “So let’s define sin. Can we even start with good/evil and right/wrong? Can we boil it down to 2 overarching themes? Or do we go into perpetuity sin sniffing one another even those who don’t profess Christ. If you want to meet more decent human beings who profess Christ, I can no longer recommend most churches.

    2 overarching themes? In my opinion, an affirmative YES:
    1) Be a Mensch (Yiddish for good person and genuine human being)
    2) Don’t do the kinds of things to others you wouldn’t want done to yourself.
    The rest is just commentary.

    And don’t get me started on the subject of decent human beings who don’t profess Christ and yet practice him anyway (Romans chap. 2).

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  17. “My existing view on the love of God and unbelievers can be misunderstood as though he doesn’t want the best for all of mankind. The ‘God loves you unconditionally and has a wonderful plan for your life’ does not come from the pages of the NT, and is misleading to both believer and unbeliever alike.”

    That is a silly platitude that ignores such facts like children die of cancer. Gods plan might be for us to use our brains and resources for a cure for these precious ones.

    I get your point but you said God does not love unbelievers.

    Muff brought up Romans 2. Great point about unbelievers choosing to do right because right/wrong (referred to as law) is written on their conscious whether they act on it or not. How is that not love? So we have the “ability” to do right or wrong even as unbelievers . ….yet, doing right as an unbeliever cannot please God,? Personally, I think God is pleased when anyone does good. We get a glimpse of Him in the act.

    In Romans, Paul is referring to Gentiles who did not have the law and the Jews were concerned they could even understand such things. How could they ever know Yahweh?

    “I wonder if more fear of God just might make complacent Christians think again before they go on a ministry ego trip, fleece the sheep, or abuse others or cover abuse up.”

    KAS, you have been the one here insisting on the authority of church leaders and obeying them. Where do think this bad behavior comes from? It is inherent in the systems we set up. Just being in a stage all the time with people in rapt attention is not good for most people. You can start thinking people should listen to you,! :o)

    “Have you ever stopped to consider that Jesus’ warnings about hell were directed towards his disciples rather than the world around? “.
    .oh yeah. Tell me about it. I am not. Cal nor a OSAS person.
    .

    “. He who endures to the end will be saved. We need forgiveness and holiness – without which … .”

    .Good luck with that when it comes to others. You might want to start with pastors. :o)..

    Hebrew 10 was written to believers, too.

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  18. I haven’t read all the posts on here since I last posted to this thread. I’m just skimming my way backwards – I’m at the bottom of the page, scrolling back up to see the most recent remarks.
    I don’t know if I want to read every post since I was last here.

    KAS said,

    The ‘God loves you unconditionally and has a wonderful plan for your life’ does not come from the pages of the NT, and is misleading to both believer and unbeliever alike.

    Hmmm. I don’t know.

    This is one of yet a billion topics Christians cannot agree on.

    Here is Jeremiah 29:11:

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Christians will run around saying, for instance, that Jeremiah 29:11 is not for believers today but was meant ONLY for Jews in the diaspora way back when, or what have you. (I forget the details surrounding that verse).

    Yet other Christians argue that stuff like Jer 29:11 does or can apply to people today.

    I’ve heard Christians in the last few years say that when they were at a real low point in their life God led them to that verse as if to say, “this is for you right now.”

    Then, some Christians say similar things – such as, God does not want you to be happy – God supposedly only wants you to “be holy.” ~That annoys me. The Bible doesn’t really say either way on the happiness issue.

    I don’t see where the Bible teaches God wants people to be unhappy and miserable.

    The Bible does not say God promises you a cake walk for your time on earth and nothing but dew drops and rain bows, but it also doesn’t say God wants you to suffer constantly.

    Jesus did say he wants his followers to have “the abundant life” or “life to the full.”

    Which does not sound to me as though Jesus was saying,
    “I am sending a lot of suffering your way to whip you into spiritual shape. I don’t give a rat’s rear end about your psychological well being or happiness. Happiness? Phooey on the concept of Happiness.”

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  19. Kas, “I wonder if more fear of God just might make complacent Christians think again before they go on a ministry ego trip, fleece the sheep, or abuse others or cover abuse up.”

    You are very optimistic about the ability to reach deceiver’s hearts. I do not think they will respond to fear anymore than they respond to love or to truth. The problem is, the fear message gets passed onto and absorbed by those who do care, who already care, and it adds a weight of worry and guilt to their shoulders they do not need.

    “The one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1John

    When you love someone, you don’t want to let them down. An expression of disappointment on their face can cut you to the heart. If you don’t love them, all the fear in the world is not going to produce the same result.

    “He who is forgiven much, loves much.” The more we know him, the more we love him.

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  20. To get back to the original topic – which is this hideous, hideous complementarian book: complementarianism is pure doody, and it’s dreadful that complementarians are writing books aimed at younger and younger ages to start brainwashing them early.

    Some percentage of girls are never, ever going to fit the stereotype female ideal complementarians present as “biblical womanhood.”

    (Complementarians have to define what “biblical womanhood” is themselves, because, for the most part, the Bible does NOT SAY what it is.)

    Goodness knows I tried for years (living up to gender comp definitions of what it means to be a girl or a woman), because my mother believed in this crap and encouraged me to buy into it.
    The Christian material my Mom brought home – books and magazines by Christian authors – all assumed, or argued for, the complementarian view.

    Try as hard as I might, I never fully fit the gender complementarian “biblical womanhood” role (and I did try really really hard to abide by it).

    At times, I fit it okay, but it was exhausting having to be something and someone I was not, or had no interest in being.

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  21. “The problem is, the fear message gets passed onto and absorbed by those who do care, who already care, and it adds a weight of worry and guilt to their shoulders they do not need.”

    Wow. That is an excellent point! Exactly.

    Just like bad people ignore the spirit of laws so we have to have more laws to get more and more specific which they still find ways to get around.

    The bad “Christians” are either calloused, don’t care or rationalized their entitlement to be exempt. We all have access to the Holy Spirit.

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  22. Kas, “The modern unbeliever in the West despises a God of love, who is seen as a weak and sentimental grandmother. “

    Kas, I’m not sure how you can make a blanket statement like that about a huge, diverse group of people. There may be some people out there who feel that way, but what significance is that? People are individuals who feel all sorts of different ways. Unbelievers have many different reasons for not believing, lots of them are very good arguments, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard someone say this was his/her reason for not believing. It kind of sounds like something Mark Driscoll would have said.

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  23. ” It kind of sounds like something Mark Driscoll would have said.”

    It is very Neo Cal. I heard it all the time from, ‘ ‘ ‘you believe in a wimpy grandpa God to a wishy washy hand wringing God’ and so on. It comes out of the control issue.

    But what do they do with Jesus Christ as ‘the full representation of God’? That is inconvenient. He was pretty caustic with the religious leaders but different with the tax collectors and society’s cast off’s. Even the 12 were NOT the cream of the Religious crop or they would have all been on the Rabbi track, like Paul. They were working which means they did not make the cut at age 14. Then, irony of ironies, Paul the Jewish scholar is spending most of his time with Gentiles!

    Love it. Upside down.

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  24. Shy1 – More fear of God might make some complacent Christians think twice. I certainly wouldn’t claim it as some kind of cure for all the ills in the church. There is a kind of presumption abroad that whatever we do, it will be alright in the end.

    I’m all for Christians being fully under grace, free from legalism, and secure in the love of God. That they can approach God with confidence, and without a cringing kind of fear that they might not be good enough. That, clothed in the righteousness of God, they are now as welcome into the very presence of God as Jesus himself is.

    This must be balanced with fear in the sense of awe and respect. If you want examples of how this is so often missing, just lurk around discussions on the theme of this thread, or egalitarians discussing gender roles, divorce and remarriage. I think you will find all too often this occurs at a human level only. Feelings or emotions rule, or how those who are outside the church might not like us; the will of God and how to discover it and put it in to action is conspicuous by its absence. RHE’s site is often a good example of this, but she is not alone.

    As for unbelievers despising a God of love only, you only need to see how those around you treat Christian things – more often than not with contempt. Any religious discussion will bring this out. Demands for explanations of why God allows this to happen, as though humantity has the right to put God in the dock and accuse him. Maybe this is in part the church’s fault – there are supposed leaders whose God really is a kind of grandmother. The charismatic movement may have some responsibility here as well – making God too familiar.

    So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samar′ia had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied. Fear and comfort at the same time – the perfect NT balance!

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  25. Lydia00 KAS, you have been the one here insisting on the authority of church leaders and obeying them. Where do think this bad behavior comes from?

    I’m not an apostle! The obedience and yielding to church leaders, those who speak the word of God, is not unconditional. If what they say runs counter to the bible as the word of God (And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.) then the bible takes priority. Obeying God rather than man. Similarly for wives and husbands, where submission is not unconditional.

    Elders who overstep the mark shoud be told, in love, to get stuffed!

    Bad behaviour stems from a false view of God as detailed above, and imo unsaved church members and church leaders. (I think you need to aim your criticisms at more than just church leaders.) This might be more common than thought. I knew an Anglican clergyman who had been in the ministry for 14 years before he became a Christian – and he reckoned there were no genuine born-again believers in his deanery. What kind of gospel could they preach to their congregations? German theology, treating the bible like any other book, can do enormous damage, and wreck evangelicals with a strong faith turning them into liberals with no real convictions any more.

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  26. “I knew an Anglican clergyman who had been in the ministry for 14 years before he became a Christian – and he reckoned there were no genuine born-again believers in his deanery.”

    Reminds me of Amy Carmichael’s biography. There’s a moment she visits some CMS Anglican missionaries in an Indian city. Her words confirmed what I already thought of that strain of the virus.

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  27. I’m not an apostle! The obedience and yielding to church leaders, those who speak the word of God, is not unconditional. If what they say runs counter to the bible as the word of God (And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.) then the bible takes priority. Obeying God rather than man. Similarly for wives and husbands, where submission is not unconditional.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Oops, that last comment was a mistake. Start over:

    “I’m not an apostle! The obedience and yielding to church leaders, those who speak the word of God, is not unconditional. If what they say runs counter to the bible as the word of God (And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.) then the bible takes priority. Obeying God rather than man. Similarly for wives and husbands, where submission is not unconditional.”

    What do we call this? An oxymoron, cognitive dissonance, what? ..

    If one is wise enough or studied enough to know their “leader, teacher, elder or pastor” is outside the bounds then why would they need such people at all as a leader or for teaching? It makes no sense.

    It’s just another reason why I think we get the whole Body of Christ thing wrong when we turn it into avregulated caste structure. The typical comeback to the question is, because the Bible says so. The Bible also tells you to greet your brothers with a holy kiss. It also says this which was written to all believers in that area. Not just an elder or pastor:
    .
    I am writing to you, dear children,
    because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
    13 I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
    I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.
    14 I write to you, dear children,
    because you know the Father.
    I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
    I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God lives in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.
    On Not Loving the World
    15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
    18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[e] 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

    24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

    26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    KAS, history has taught us to view functions within the body, that are not static, but linear and studied enough to recognize false teaching as positional “offices”. I might be a pastor next week, if need be. Some may look to salty as an elder of a group, for a time. And so on.

    But if I am wise enough, Discerning enough, and studied enough to recognize any level of questionable teaching then why am I bothering? In the Body of Christ actual interaction is preferable. Sermons seem like indoctrinating. Every teacher and in the case of church, preacher, should be in a venue where they can be questioned.

    The word of God is Jesus Christ, not scripture. Scripture is not referred to as the word of God. Jesus would say, as it is written….and stuff like that. Jesus always take second place, it seems to Scripture!. He is the Word of God as He was there in the beginning and came to earth as the full representation of God.

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  29. “I knew an Anglican clergyman who had been in the ministry for 14 years before he became a Christian – and he reckoned there were no genuine born-again believers in his deanery. What kind of gospel could they preach to their congregations? German theology, treating the bible like any other book, can do enormous damage, and wreck evangelicals with a strong faith turning them into liberals with no real convictions any mire”
    .
    .Get used to it. NT Wright talked about the open secret of athiest theologians at Oxford. Here, the Neo Cal movement is producing more athiests than any seeker movement ever did. Some were pastors! I keep meeting former rabid Neo Cals who are now atheist. In My Free Will background we had tons of “back backsliders” but none of them became atheist!

    I keep picking up on clues in your comments that lead me to think certain things such as “German Theology” treating the Bible like any other book. This was standard thought at the very Neo Cal SBTS from profs. Which sort of cracks me up considering the whole Reformed trajectory from Augustine to Calvin. The entire underpinning of that philosophy is paganism merged with Christianity so what do folks expect. But then again, what about Barth? Bonhoeffer? Whike we might not agree with them jot and tittle, there is something to glean, no?
    .
    But Scripture is not the 4th person of the Trinity or without error as we don’t have the originals.So what category do we put it in? The inerrancy movement and the literalists are ruining scripture enjoyment and study for everyone. Shame on them!

    True conservative hermeneutics take everything into consideration from language. Grammer , historical context. Word meaning changes, etc.

    This is why I find Ancients Scholars and linguists much more interesting to listen to than a pastor preach. They tend to give me a deeper understanding of what was going on in the backdrop of what I am reading in in Scripture.

    I used to read a Blog of Bible translators and was overwhelmed with what they grapple with translating into other languages only to find the English translation did not do justice to the concept communicated.

    People get very frustrated with all of it. They don’t think they can understand it or they understand it for the rest of us in a wrong way. And part of the problem is because they have turned scripture into Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We tend to forget the early Christians for centuries did not have the New Testament and the Gentiles knew nothing of the old. So how did they do it? How could they possibly be real Christians? We are blessed to have scripture so why do we turn it into a process manual or baseball bat?

    Maybe we could learn from the early believers.

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  30. As for unbelievers despising a God of love only, you only need to see how those around you treat Christian things – more often than not with contempt.

    But is that because Christians preach a “God of love only”? Or is it because Christians behave in a manner that deserves contempt?

    I remember reading an article on the Huffington Post, describing how Mahaney and his cronies at SGM were hiding behind the Constitution, and insisting that the state had no right to interfere in the way they “counselled” members. Even if their actions violated the law, their advice was beyond the law’s reach, they said. Oh, the comments on that article… now there was some real contempt for Christianity, and it had nothing to do with focusing on God’s love and mercy.

    Demands for explanations of why God allows this to happen, as though humanity has the right to put God in the dock and accuse him.

    And if we were to talk about God’s wrath and justice, do you think this attitude would simply vanish? I doubt it. Most people have some basic sense of justice, and when they see the innocent suffering, they’ll very naturally wonder why an all-powerful and just God would allow it. I don’t blame them — sometimes I do, too.

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  31. In My Free Will background we had tons of “back backsliders” but none of them became atheist!

    I think it is much easier to stay a Christian when you are allowed to have doubts, to not know things, to ignore the things you think are wrong, etc.. And as pertains to salvation, it is much easier to remain if you don’t find yourself getting worried about whether you were chosen or not. If you had free will, you can continue to believe. And that’s enough.

    But is that because Christians preach a “God of love only”? Or is it because Christians behave in a manner that deserves contempt?

    I think it’s more the second one. Goodness, I see story after story about youth pastors arrested for various abuses. I see the ‘pastors’ on the internet who seem like bad people. I see women treated as chattel, with only one purpose. This is not a religion I would willingly join if I thought all were like that.

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  32. “I think it is much easier to stay a Christian when you are allowed to have doubts, to not know things, to ignore the things you think are wrong, etc.. And as pertains to salvation, it is much easier to remain if you don’t find yourself getting worried about whether you were chosen or not. If you had free will, you can continue to believe. And that’s enough.”

    This is so true. Doubt is not a sin. It can be a path toward wisdom. Not the path to excommunication as is the case again in history and currently! But the main point is a free will instead of doctrine over people –which always ends in tyranny.

    I have often wanted to encourage “fruit alone” instead of “faith alone” but many believe fruit are things like attending church, numbers witnessing and/or inviting people to churches. And others claim it works salvation not the hopeful result of true salvation. So, Why aren’t the Christians known as decent, trustworthy, responsible, hard working, fair/just neighbors today? They are known for their special structures, programs, cliques, molesting children, cheap grace for themselves, rules, against divorce (not abuse) and so on.

    I am not sure of the provenance as is the case with many ancient letters but I have found this ancient letter instructive concerning the early Christians from a pagan point of view around 200 AD

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diognetus.html

    We have it so much easier than the early Christians, too, considering our form of government.

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  33. Lydia00 – Why is it so quiet today, I wonder? 🙂

    I would differentiate German theology from German Christians, the latter produced a number of outstanding examples who stood up to the Hitler dictatorship and paid for it with their lives.

    German theology is the documentary hypothesis, JEPD, or form criticism and Sitz im Leben. Some of its original underpinnings have been made untenable, and even if it may have some limited use in understanding the bible, the usual result of it is to turn strong believers into doubting liberals. It is one of the great sins of the German nation.

    I don’t think more preaching of God’s wrath against sin would automatically lead to a reduction in abuse, but it might help. The God loves you regardless of what you do after ‘conversion’ is very definitely not helping imo. It creates a ‘Christianity’ where the focus has turned not very subtley from God to man. This is a characteristic of many homosexuality revisionist ideas, and egalitarian claims to be able to ignore certain passages in the NT because it would interfer with their personal fullfillment, as though Christian ministry were about realising your potential or empowerment.

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  34. KAS, I don’t believe questioning, doubts, seeking answers, studying different views etc, etc is sin.

    You have attempted to lump homosexuality and mutuality into categorical sin. When that happens over and over as you have done frequently in convos on various threads, It is time to bow out. I realize it is conventional wisdom in some traditions to do such but I find it ignorant and unseemly. So I am done wasting my time.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Lydia00 You have attempted to lump homosexuality and mutuality into categorical sin.

    No I haven’t! I said that when homosexuality and egalitarianism are being discussed, the frame of reference all too often is not the revealed will of God, but emotions, feelings, the focus being on man (or woman!) rather than God. This is extraordinarily common on both issues. How many egalitarians I have read are arguing from a position of personal fullfillment, of wanting to be affirmed, and who regard pastoring and being teachers a kind of right, rather than a privilege that it is only the preserve of God to give in the first place.

    I agree wtih you that questioning and studying differieng views is not sinful. I’m not sure where you have got the impression I would think it is from. I actually think it healthy! “I know that I am right” is a hallmark of deception.

    When both Christian husbands and wives reject what Christ says to them through his apostle, they are displeasing the Lord, and making themselves vulnerable to spiritual attack, and loss of blessing.

    Homosexuality will keep you out of the kingdom of God altogether, and I take the warning not to be deceived on this seriously. It is not as though God has not told us, and told us clearly, what he thinks about this so that we will not forfeit the good he intends for us.

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  36. How many egalitarians I have read are arguing from a position of personal fullfillment, of wanting to be affirmed, and who regard pastoring and being teachers a kind of right, rather than a privilege that it is only the preserve of God to give in the first place.

    But if God has given women the gifts of teaching, knowledge and leadership, why would He then demand that they smother it? It makes no sense, and it leads me to the conclusion that the traditional interpretations of gender comp clobber verses must be wrong. That’s based on reason and the Bible, not emotion.

    When both Christian husbands and wives reject what Christ says to them through his apostle, they are displeasing the Lord, and making themselves vulnerable to spiritual attack, and loss of blessing.

    Funny. Robert Morris of Gateway Church (Dallas) has used this very same scare tactic on his own parishioners. According to him, believers are vulnerable to “demonic attack” unless they tithe a set percentage of their gross income — a percentage which he gets to determine (of course, since he’s the ManaGAWD, y’know with all the superior knowledge ‘n’ wisdom ‘n’ stuff).

    http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.jp/2013/10/robert-morris-lays-down-law-non-tithers.html

    Isn’t it handy to have God as your personal enforcer to threaten people with? At least, “Robber” Morris seems to think so. I can’t find it in me to take his threats seriously, KAS, and see no reason take yours seriously, either.

    Homosexuality will keep you out of the kingdom of God altogether, and I take the warning not to be deceived on this seriously. It is not as though God has not told us, and told us clearly, what he thinks about this so that we will not forfeit the good he intends for us.

    Michael Hansen took those apparent warnings very seriously, too. And in his life, they seem to have done him harm and absolutely no good at all. The idea that his very existence was an affront to God caused him ceaseless anxiety and fear, and convinced him that he deserved the sexual abuse that he suffered as a teenager. He even attempted to take his own life, but thanks be to God, he failed. I’m grateful that he survived to tell everyone his story.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/11/09/testimonies-of-sexual-abuse-by-a-youth-worker-in-a-memphis-church

    And his story is one of many reasons why I question the traditional Christian understanding of homosexuality.

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  37. “When both Christian husbands and wives reject what Christ says to them through his apostle, they are displeasing the Lord, and making themselves vulnerable to spiritual attack, and loss of blessing.”

    Perhaps they simply disagree with the proof texting and interpretations by other humans concerning what is really being communicated in Scripture?
    .
    I fail to see how desiring to be and arguing to be on top in a spiritual caste is not “emotional”.
    .
    I understand your emotional desire to put those who disagree with your hermeneutic stance on Jesus Christ and mutualism into the sin category. I just don’t agree.

    Btw, i am still waiting for the OT law that clearly prohibits women from teaching or leading men. You mentioned there is one several threads back. I keep asking but you keep ignoring but then also keep declaring mutualism is on par with practicing homosexuality.

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  38. Serving Kids: Saying that God has given gifts of leadership to women begs the question. If Paul’s restriction is for everyone everywhere, then this is how we know what ‘role’ women may or may not assume. I have recently become wary of calling verses ‘clobber verses’.

    As for disobeying the apostles on marriage, Peter explicitly states prayer will be hindered by husbands not doing their part, and I see no reason not to think the same for wives. We may be under grace and not law (evangelical or otherwise) but does God ever bless disobedience? This is not a threat, has nothing to do with tithing (and I am against compulsory tithing). It’s how I see scripture, and to some extent born out in church life.

    You link to the story of Mike Hansen. For the sake of argument I’ll accept it as accurate, not having access to how others might see the same events. It strikes me there are two things going on here.

    The first is the church and people involved did not deal with this properly, to say the least. This may be a legitimate criticism of many evangelicals on the subject of homosexuality. That said, have you never considered that the gay lifestyle itself might be the cause of depression or inability to integrate in a church? Isn’t blaming others as old as Gen 3? That is not to make light of the abuse, which was itself homosexual.

    The second thing is the church’s view of homosexuality must stem from studying the relevant scriptures on the subject, and that alone. Not the experiences of gays amongst some evangelicals or their subjective ‘stories’.

    I have carefully read the revisionist interpretations, and find them unconvincing, often special pleading. You can argue about where SSA comes from and how to try to deal with it, but embracing homosexuality in practice is sinful. It’s not unforgivable, but I don’t see how a practicing homosexual could fit in with a church any more than an adulterer or gossip-mongerer could.

    The victim hasn’t begun to get over his experience, of forgiving the perpetrator (their actions are unforgivable). We all come at this from different angles and experiences, and if you think I am being glib (which I don’t intend) it might be because in my own church acquaintance I can think of two people homosexually abused for whom, while it might have left some long-term scars, was not a life-dominating causing life-long damage.

    Finally, you can’t blame the bible for the suffering of homosexuals. On the contrary, it offers a message of hope for homosexual sinners, as it does for all other sinners. However, its truth needs to be spoken in love, and with wisdom.

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  39. KAS: “As for disobeying the apostles on marriage, Peter explicitly states prayer will be hindered by husbands not doing their part, and I see no reason not to think the same for wives.”

    The problem here is that you are viewing the Bible through a complementarian lens.

    Consider these verses:

    “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house…” (Deut 24:1)

    “If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” (1 Cor 14:35)

    The question is how to interpret them from a larger perspective. The Jews of Jesus’s day saw the OT law as blanket permission to divorce, and it reinforced their ideas that women were property, and that they could be sent away when they were no longer favored. Instead, Jesus said, the opposite was true the verse was not a justification, but a result – the Jews were going to divorce anyway, so the women needed at least some form of protection. Does that make sense? The law was not a reinforcement of patriarchy, it was a protection from the results of patriarchy. Patriarchy was “the hardness of their hearts”. Jesus said, essentially, if you weren’t so patriarchal, there would be no need for this law.

    Now, many Christians look at the letters to the churches as some form of “perfect law”, unlike the OT law with all sorts of weird regulations, but, what if it’s the same? What if Paul is writing not what should be true for all times and all places, but something that is specific, again, to Christians living in a first century Patriarchal society. What if the propriety of women talking in church wasn’t a spiritual issue, but a cultural issue? We don’t have a follow-on set of scriptures to then give commentary to the writings of Paul, but we do see Jesus’s commentary on the OT law. The OT law made accommodations for the hard-hearted patriarchy inherent in OT society, why do we assume that the NT commands make no such accommodation?

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  40. Saying that God has given gifts of leadership to women begs the question. If Paul’s restriction is for everyone everywhere, then this is how we know what ‘role’ women may or may not assume.

    I can’t accept your assumption that Paul’s restriction was for everyone everywhere. I can’t make it fit with Jesus’ treatment of women, and with the tenor of the Bible in general. Women can be prophets and evangelists (both of which involve teaching and preaching), but can’t be teachers and preachers? Again, it makes no sense to me.

    As for disobeying the apostles on marriage, Peter explicitly states prayer will be hindered by husbands not doing their part, and I see no reason not to think the same for wives.

    That’s not the same as “spiritual attack”. Those were your words, and they were very much like Morris’. If you don’t want be lumped in with the likes of him, you might want to be more careful in your choice of phrasing.

    You link to the story of Mike Hansen. For the sake of argument I’ll accept it as accurate, not having access to how others might see the same events.

    What “same events”? If you’re referring to what was going on in Michael’s heart at the time, who else could possibly see that? Why wouldn’t you accept his account as accurate?

    That said, have you never considered that the gay lifestyle itself might be the cause of depression or inability to integrate in a church?

    “Gay lifestyle”? What exactly do you mean by that? And what does it have to do with Mike’s story? He was in Grade 5 when he realized he was “different”, and in Grade 7 when he learned simultaneously what to call it and how much God hated it. That’s when his anguish started, because he was convinced that he was guilty of the worst possible sin against God. How could Mike have had a “gay lifestyle” at this point? He was still in middle school, terrified of admitting to anyone what he was, and praying desperately for God to make his desires go away.

    That is not to make light of the abuse, which was itself homosexual.

    No, it wasn’t. A homosexual act is between two consenting men. This was an act of criminal violence by a man against a boy.

    The second thing is the church’s view of homosexuality must stem from studying the relevant scriptures on the subject, and that alone. Not the experiences of gays amongst some evangelicals or their subjective ‘stories’.

    I refuse to accept that. That sounds far too much like “Doctrine Over Person”, which is one of Dr. Robert Lifton’s criteria for identifying thought reform. This involves convincing us that people’s emotions and experiences are invalid, or “aren’t as real” as the accepted doctrine, and that if they conflict, the experiences must simply be discarded or ignored in favour of the doctrine.

    I reject this attitude on two grounds. First, I find that scripture itself speaks against it, especially in the story of Job. Second, I detest it when people do it to me — try to tell me that my experiences “don’t count”, or that my pain “can’t be that bad”. So I’m not interested in doing it to someone else.

    Finally, you can’t blame the bible for the suffering of homosexuals.

    And I don’t. I blame that on cruel and evil people.

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  41. And I don’t. I blame that on cruel and evil people.

    I should amend this. I blame it on the cruel and evil, and on the well-intentioned who wind up saying and doing cruel things to homosexuals.

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  42. can think of two people homosexually abused for whom, while it might have left some long-term scars, was not a life-dominating causing life-long damage.

    I cannot believe you said ‘might’. Abuse leaves scars. Period.

    And you keep alluding to people you know who are fine as a way of slamming people who aren’t fine. Or maybe who just want use their experience to protect others from what they went through! Which is noble. But you should know that just because you know somebody who had something traumatic happen and they don’t mention it everytime you see them? That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still affect them. And probably their children.

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  43. Lea – And you keep alluding to people you know who are fine as a way of slamming people who aren’t fine.

    No I don’t. I’m not slamming anyone, but I am bringing into play the fact that real-world cases of abuse personally known to me this did not become a life-dominating thing. That’s is not the same thing as putting down what anyone else has experienced.

    I do think though that it is right not to regard abuse as some special category of sin and being sinned against that means it has to dominate for the rest of someone’s natural life. Surely it is right to give encouragement to hope, hope that change and liberation can be achieved.

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  44. Sorry, late in the game on this but in regards to two things mentioned in the comments here, the Bible is very clear.
    1. Original sin, In Romans chapter 5 Paul makes it very clear that we inherited our sin nature from Adam. This is why Jesus was born of a virgin. He was not corrupted by our gene pool.
    2. Jesus speaking about Eternal damnation. Salty, I have read through the comments and I did not see the one reference that I think clearly refutes (although I really think that they all do) the concept of annihalation. In Luke chapter 16 the fire is felt as torment to the point that the man begs Abraham (not experiencing the torment) to tell his family so they they would not go through the same thing.

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