Skip to comments.People dealing with same-sex attraction by being faithful to Scripture called 'heroes...
Posted on 06/20/2006 2:12:47 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
217th General Assembly (of the Presbyterian Church USA) Birmingham, Ala.
BIRMINGHAM -- "Persons who deal with same-sex attraction in a way that is faithful to Scripture are heroes of the church," Dr. Robert Gagnon said Monday afternoon, because they take "very seriously" the message of the Gospel.
Gagnon, a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, told more than 100 people packed into a meeting room at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex for the OneByOne luncheon that "it's a straightforward call to discipleship. 'Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple,'" he said, referring to the Luke 14:27 passage.
"That passage shows the great inclusive love of Jesus," Gagnon said, "the great, gracious, inclusive love of Jesus that goes out to all. But his demand is total. To take up one's cross is to deny one's self - so much for the way self-fulfillment is defined in the church today. If we seek to gain our life in this world, we will lose it."
He said that Paul "took this injunction very seriously." He referred to Galatians 2:19-20: "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
"Paul," Gagnon said, "says he no longer lives, but that Christ lives in him. The great reorientation that matters is the reorientation of one's entire life in faith to God, putting to death one's entire orientation and having God live in us."
He then gave a definition of faith. "I must die," Gagnon said, "in order that Christ must live in me. That means I don't get to do when I want to do with whom I want to do it with."
In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, "after the Beatitudes, there are six antitheses." Gagnon said that here, Jesus said, "I'm closing these loopholes and making the order of God more insistent."
"Two of those six have to do with sex," Gagnon said, referring to Matthew 5:28 ("But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.") and Matthew 5:32 ("But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.")
That, he said, "is the intensification of the sexual ethics of God in Jesus' ministry. That two of them have to do with sex seems to make it a pretty important part of Jesus' ministry."
There also is "no record of any violation of the prerequisite in the covenant bond of marriage between man and a woman anywhere in this period." Jesus, though, "narrowed it even further," he said. "He made more rigorous the demand of God."
That is why, Gagnon said, that "people working through same-sex attraction consistent with the Gospel are wonderful paradigms of what we should be working through in the church. The witness of Jesus and Scripture on this issue is crystal clear."
If you ever get a chance to hear him speak or debate, do it! He can cut any liberal churchman to ribbons on the homosexual issue...this guy really knows his bible.
Just like theft is temptation for a klepto. The inclination is not sin, but acting on it is.
Very relevant to Anglicans too. Gagnon is terrific. Please post to the Anglican ping list.
Agreed. Some deal with anger. Others with greed. This is no different.
If people who choose the homosexual lifestyle took Scripture seriously, they would fall on their knees, confess their sin, and change their ways by remaining strictly abstainent.
Hear, Hear! (to both comments). Why such a perspective is never heard publicly on the homosexual issue is beyond me.
And apparently these people are doing just that. God can take their "addiction" from them if they will just promise Him they will "die to themselves" so that Christ can live through them. God is good, praise His Holy Name.
Liberals like to say that homosexuality is a 'natural thing' since some people are born with that tendency. I'd say, some people are born with anti-social behavior tendency, it doesn't mean we can accept what they do if they follow the tendency.
Precisely. It actually relates to the classical Christian doctrine of original sin (long ago forsaken by liberal Christians).
If every human is born a sinner....and each person is unique, than each of our patterns of temptation are slightly different. Of course we all have common sins, but some are tempted in ways I cannot imagine...due to genetics? The family you were born into? The culture and country? All these things make everyone different.
But to say that to be unprejudiced means winking at particular sexual perversions...so as not to offend or chase away those who have such inclinations (be it inherited or not....) is ridiculous.
As Dr. Gagnon says above, the Christian life from beginning to end is about dying to self, or as Martin Luther put it,
"When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said to "Repent" He meant that the entire life of the believer is to be one of repentence." (First of the 95 Theses.)
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15
This temptation is NOT sin--acting on it IS.
I completely agree with you. How many of us decline to act on an inclination to bash somebodies head in when they cut you off in traffic or rude people at the DMV. Or pass up the opportunity to cheat on your spouse? Or walk out of Walmart without paying for something and then bring it back in because it is not paid for? Resist the Devil and he will flee.
Actually, that is well said. We reorient our entire nature. It is a complete and total change of character from sin to righteousness. We die so that Christ can live in and through us. Anyone seeking faith as a mere therapy for one problem or another, or as some eternal assurance without present-day change is putting their faith in a false gospel. The change is a complete reorientation for all of us.
That said, I have some issues with the validity of the concept of sexual orientation. I think sinful thoughts and deeds can become habits, but the real orientation problem is a sin orientation. Anyway....Christianity is a total character change for any sinner who accepts it.
This is one of the most needed statements in the Christian world today.
Not when you are calling it an orientation. We don't say someone has a dishonesty-orientation or a thieving-orientation or a murder-orientation or an adultery-orientation or a fornication-orientation. We have friendly-ed up a sinful desire by calling it orientation.
Let me ask you this. Is it a sin to have a sin nature? We have to reorient our entire sin nature. I think that's the point here. You don't just change your outward behavior; you change your desires. You change from the inside, out.
Good early call -- many do post before actually reading the article.
Although "Hero" may a bit over the top, the point is well-made. When you have an abberative personality AND society tells you not only is it OK to induldge yourself but that you should celebrate doing so, it must be difficult.
To follow the Word of God and fight against that tide is impressive indeed and desereving of positive reinforcement and recognition.
I think hero is a good word for it. As in, someone to look up to and try to be like. Someone that is sacrificing his own (sinful) self for the glory of the Lord is a hero, mentor, paragon.
Unfortunately, the PCUSA seems determined to go down the same deceitful road that has led to the destruction of the Episcopal Church.
The PCUSA General Assembly just passed a measure that would allow a "local option" to ordain active homosexuals, despite the fact that the PCUSA constitution expressly prohibits it.
Well the title and the first sentence did have me a bit gun shy about reading the rest of the story.
Only because of what has been going on over the past few days.