Biblical Literalism, Gluttony and Homosexuality

I like pieces that make me think.  Doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with them.  Like this one from Rachael Held Evans.  Rachael is a provocateur, even more so than I am.

Read this excerpt from her, and let me know what you think.  Is there some truth in what she’s saying?

Do we, as a Christian community, hand-pick sins to be vocally against?

Is it more difficult to condemn sins when we know people in their clutch (like gluttony or divorce)?  Is it just easier to fight the latest cultural sin that we’re totally disconnected from (like homosexuality)?

What do you think?


So why do so many Christians focus on the so-called “clobber verses” related to homosexuality while ignoring “clobber verses” related to gluttony or greed, head coverings or divorce?  Why is homosexuality the great biblical debate of this decade and not slavery, (as it once was) or the increasing problem of materialism and inequity? Why do so many advocate making gay marriage illegal but not divorce, when Jesus never referenced the former but spoke quite negatively about the latter?

While there are certainly important hermeneutical and cultural issues at play, I can’t help but wonder if something more nefarious is also at work.  I can’t help but wonder if biblical condemnation is often a numbers game.

Though it affects more of us than we tend to realize, statistically, homosexuality affects far fewer of us than gluttony, materialism, or divorce. And as Jesus pointed out so often in his ministry, we like to focus on the biblical violations (real or perceived) of the minority rather than our own.

In short, we like to gang up.  We like to fashion weapons out of the verses that affect us the least and then “clobber” the minority with them. Or better yet, conjure up some saccharine language about speaking the truth in love before breaking out our spec-removing tweezers to help get our minds off of these uncomfortable logs in our own eyes.

We see this in the story of the religious leaders who ganged up on the woman caught in adultery. She was such an easy target: a woman, probably poor, disempowered, and charged with the go-to favorite of the self-righteous—sexual sin.   When they brought her to Jesus, they were using her as an example to test him, to see how “biblical” his response to her would be. (See Deuteronomy 22:23-14.)  Jesus knelt down and scribbled in the sand before saying, “He who is without sin can cast the first stone.” They dropped their stones.

While self-righteousness avoidance certainly affects our selective literalism , we also have good reasons for not condemning one another for the more ubiquitous biblical violations (again, real or perceived) in our culture.

It’s hard for me to flatly condemn divorce, for example, when I know of several women whose lives, and the lives of their children, may have been saved by it, or when I hear from people who tell me they would have rather come from a broken home than grown up in one. We have a natural revulsion to the idea of checking people’s BMI before accepting them into the Church, especially when obesity is not necessarily reflective of gluttony (often, in this country, it is a result of poverty), and when we know from our own experiences or the experiences of those we love that an unhealthy weight can result from a variety of factors—from genetics to psychological components—and when some of our favorite people in the world (or when we ourselves) wrestle with a complicated relationship with food, whether it’s through overeating or under-eating.

Again, it’s a numbers game. It’s hard to “other” the people we know and love the most. It’s become a cliché, but everything changes when it’s your brother or sister who gets divorced, when it’s your son or daughter who is gay, when it’s your best friend who struggles with addiction, when it’s your husband or wife asking some good questions about Christianity you never thought about before.


Read more here.





  • Rev. K.A. Christian July 8, 2013 Reply

    Todd, this article raises some good questions… I’ve always stated the church is hypocritical in our judgment of sin… Especially when it comes down to homosexuals… Sin is sin in God’s eyes… but man is selective on which sins he wants to condone and what sins he wants to condemn…

  • Sue July 8, 2013 Reply

    Thank you, and you and Rachel are right – and what you say lays bare the truth that we really prefer a “gospel” of condemnation + fear over the scandal of what God really did for us in Jesus. It is so commonplace it must be the real kernel of “the flesh,” as you sat, “othering” people. Lord, have mercy on us.

  • Chris July 8, 2013 Reply

    Rachel consistently ignores massive pieces of context both with scripture and her interpretation of societal activity. For example, several times I’ve seen her reference the story of the woman caught in adultery and her rescue by Jesus, but never once have I seen her recognize his statement to her, “Go and sin no more.” and while it is possible she had referenced it in an article I simply haven’t read, the number of times I have seen her reference the story while leaving out that key line is astonishing. Beyond that, her entire theology seems to be built on a system which recognizes Jesus’ rescue of the woman but never acknowledges his warning to her. She also fails to recognize factors such as the fact that there are no societal movements at work trying to get the Church and society at large to condone and endorse divorce or gluttony and that homosexuality is not being debated because the church has randomly taken up the cause. She glosses over that the church has been dealing with the issue in response to a cultural movement to normalize and moralize homosexual behavior and a systematic attempt to ostracize and belittle anyone who has problems with that movement. Rachel’s assertion that the church chooses to ignore the issue of divorce, likewise, ignores the historic criticism of the church in America over the course of the last century where divorce was often assigned a scarlet letter regardless of the reasons for it. In short, she writes in a compelling fashion but either chooses or fails to ignore large contextual clues when conducting her analysis.

    In this instance, Rachel’s assertion that we like to gang up on people and that we are less likely to “judge” someone if we know them is, in general, true of everyone, American Christian or not, but doesn’t really have legs in the context she has chosen. in fact, considering the social context, her continued use of this particular analogy calls into question her ability to perform the societal analysis necessary to perform the prophetic work she so ardently attempts.

    • Rob Nieves July 8, 2013 Reply

      Your make EXCELLENT observations. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mike July 8, 2013 Reply

      Great response, Chris well thought out and stated.

    • Esther July 10, 2013 Reply

      This response comes as an objective and accurate feedback to the assertions made by the writer of the article. Well said in simple truth and straight forward manner.

  • Jeff Ruble July 8, 2013 Reply

    First of homosexuality is the most profiled today. For the subject of obesity. Haven’t we been beating that dead horse for to long.

  • Jeff Ruble July 8, 2013 Reply

    Not only is it the most profiled. But homosexuality. brings about moral decline.

  • Dan Moore July 8, 2013 Reply

    Pastors are called to preach the whole counsel of God. Yet sometimes the culture often intrudes or causes us to take a stand. It is not all one-sided. Sometimes is it the culture getting into the face of the church saying, “What do you say about this?” I remember when abortion was the hot topic and many Christians were picketing abortion clinics. I believe it was right for pastors to speak out against the practice of abortion but I disagreed with picketing. I always took the approach that we are to disciple our own and evangelize the lost so that the right choices would be made. Remember, Paul preached and taught the Gospel in Ephesus to the point that the silversmiths lost business selling silver idols. When it comes to marriage, many people will flock to the church to marry. When it comes to contemplating divorce, they rarely come to the church. And are we teaching our folks well so they are divorce-proof before they marry? There are a lot of practices non-Christians engage in that the Bible calls sin. We cannot ignore that. However, once a person crosses the line and becomes a believer in Christ, we are held to a higher standard. It is not judgmental to confront a brother or sister engaging in sinful practices. In fact, Jesus teaches that one even gives up attending worship to go privately to confront that person and seek reconciliation. I suspect Ms. Evans may find some of Paul’s letters difficult to deal with as he had a habit of being a bit ‘judgmental’ of churches and individuals.

  • davepatchin July 8, 2013 Reply

    Couple quick responses:
    1) Rachel ignores the cultural movement to accept homosexuality as on par with heterosexual marriage because she is part of it. Her agenda is to sway believers to reject to the clear teaching of Scripture in favor of a “compassionate” response. Her use of the terms literalism, “clobber verses” and picking out obesity as comparable shows her goal clearly.
    2) She dismisses the central hermeneutical issue of what the Bible teaches (“hermeneutical questions remain”) then powers on presuming the answer; there is no biblical reason for calling sex outside of heterosexual marriage sin.
    3) She pretends Jesus has nothing to say on gay marriage while quoting the passage in regards to divorce only (Matt 19, Mark 10) Jesus clearly asserts marriage is for one man and one woman, and quotes Genesis 2:23…but she ignores that monstrous fact easily.

    Rachel is a great writer and a master of using a web of compassion and hermeneutical dismissiveness to subjugate central questions to the periphery and promote her goal as the loving option. If you agree with her, she’s great. If not, well…

  • Dane Gressett July 8, 2013 Reply

    I have always interpreted the woman “caught” in adultery as “caught in the trap the Pharisees” had laid for Jesus.

    The Pharisees were not so much making a statement against sex outside of marriage or harlotry. They were carrying on a multi-level crusade against the prophet from Nazareth. They were condemning Jesus- and using the prostitute as the bait. Just read the story again everybody.

    They did not have it in for the harlot. They had it in for Jesus. Jesus would not condone their “respectful” sins…nor did He condone the woman’s immorality. Jesus is not affirming the woman’s harlotry here. He is just not letting the Pharisees throw her under the bus in their attempts to condemn Him. He is the One who condemns them for their unsanctioned divorces (see Matt 19:3). And he is the One who condemns lust secretly hidden in the human heart. And He is the One who died to save us from all sin. Not just some sins.

    The fundies and LGBT’s all need to stop using Jesus to justify their agendas. And let us all just repent and fall down before Him the way the harlot did…and leave our lives of sin…all sin.

  • Jeff Ruble July 8, 2013 Reply

    Amen dane amen.amended

  • Alberto Medrano July 8, 2013 Reply

    Great comments here. I read her posts when they’re interesting. But if it comes off as, “the majority of Christians are wrong and here’s why”, and fires of on a little rant, I skip it. No need to read and comment. Here, as one had said, didn’t quote Jesus’s last words to the Which isemale adulterer, “Now don’t sin anymore.” So, Jesus agreed with the religious leaders that she was a sinner and needed to stop what she was doing.

    Now, the church doesn’t simply just choose random topics to support and verses Rio support that topic. Obviously not. Instead, depending on what the church and culture don’t agree on, whatever issue that may be, that’s when the church brings with it a biblical case for where they stand. I’d this was 100 years ago, we wouldn’t be discussing homosexuality. That’s not an issue the culture was having at that time. The church responds to a current issue, and they should. To differentiate our beliefs and theirs.

    Two topics that non-Christians and “progressive” Christians bring up is divorce and gluttony. Always. This is just an argument to justify the allowance of homosexual practice. My response is that one, the church doesn’t condone divorce. Churches usually take preventative measures to keep married couples from going through a divorce. They don’t celebrate it, and they don’t just let it happen. Two, I’ve said before, gluttony is the socially acceptable sin in the American church. This I believe we the church needs to make huge efforts at health and wellness. We need that to be a ministry that we begin seeing offered at churches. But, just because the church has been silent on it doesn’t mean we need to continue to be silent about other sins the bible so declares.

    As with all sins, we come with truth and grace. We love on each human being, no matter where they stand. We throw up a “welcome” sign to all sinners. We each our to them with good news. Yet, at appropriate times, we share what it means to follow Christ, to become a disciple. Which is to repent, leaving the old lifestyle of sin, and taking a step of faith into a new kind of life.

  • Chuck July 8, 2013 Reply

    Rachael is intoxicated with herself.

  • trish July 8, 2013 Reply

    Oh my gosh you couldn’t have said it better. The reason I believe homosexuality is on the forefront is because the enemy wants to get us caught up in fighting and we lose focus of all the other truths we should be teaching our children and how we should love all sinners to Christ. And as you said we should be in an uproar about divorce etc. Thank you.

  • autumn July 8, 2013 Reply

    I think it is obvious that sexual sin is considered a BIG sin by many, if not most Christians, but favoritism isn’t considered to be sin at all. That’s just one example of how we ‘hand pick’ our sins~

  • Jeff Ruble July 8, 2013 Reply

    Yep. soundd to mr like she had a personal problem with people who are divorced and obesity. And this could be a way for satan to get the church off track. But how many times have you heard divorced or obese people try to right a wrong becase Gods word says it is wrong.
    The gay say that God made them gay, then they say animals are gay half our forefathers were, that Jesus was, so were the disciples, then they say that Jesus never said anything about it.But you never hear that from the group. she is ranting. about. my adivce to her would be take the four gospels and wash it down with prayer.

  • dguy July 8, 2013 Reply

    +1 to Chris, Jeff, Dan, Dave, Alberto, & Chuck!!!

    Homosexuality and gluttony are not moral equivalents, except in the mind of Rachel Held Evans, and others like her.

  • Steve Long July 8, 2013 Reply

    Sin is when we do not think, act or make decisions like our Creator would. It shows up with various definitions like lying, homosexuality, fighting, envy, lust, murder etc. The actions that are apparent spring from attitudes that we carry in our spiritual nature. Sin is a bad attitude that God detects within us. Jesus attempted to set us on the right track when He told us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind strength and soul. Our attitude is what desperately needs to be fixed. The Holy Spirit is part of the fix helping us to become ‘sanctified’, or made saintly (Holy). When Jesus tells a woman to go sin no more our take is that He was telling her to quit her harlotry but He didn’t say that. He asked for something more extreme, a different attitude of heart. Sin no more means exactly that; no more bad thoughts, no more pornography, no more cheating on the taxes, no more letting the eyes wander and the mind imagining. We cannot possibly ‘go and sin no more’ without God’s help.
    Most of the comments in this queue have been aimed at the product of sinful attitudes – our actions. Actions have been given relative values and excuses have been submitted as to why we should make a public stand about this sinful behavior over that one. People who do not recognize the Creator see this hypocricy and argue that we are just aiming at their sinful behavior and not our own. All sin comes from a bad (disobedient) attitude and the mildest sin separates us from God eternally. The prognosis for bad thoughts is bad behavior ultimately leading to death (or eternal separation to darkness and ignorance away from the light and life of God.
    What I love about communion is that I am forced, by the reality that the elements represent, to carefully examine my own attitudes to see whether I am on the road to bad behavior and to confess that to My Creator and then ask for help for today. When I look around the congregation as we share in the Lord’s supper communally I know that I am among people just like myself, who wrestle with bad thoughts and bad attitudes who desperately want to think like their Daddy in Heaven again.
    Homosexuality and Gay marriage are legal issues. I am pretty sure God recognizes a spiritual marriage when He sees one. The Emperor Caligula made his favorite horse Incitatus a Roman Senator. Same thing. We and God know a marriage when we see it. Marriage has nothing to do with rights and legalities. Rights and legalities are State functions, and all of the States will be burned up in the judgment. States can do whatever mischief that they want to because they are not eternal creations. Making an issue about Gay marriage to a disobedient public is like spraying water at a flame instead of the source of combustion. It makes church folks feel real good like they are doing what Jesus wants them to do…church folks who have never told their neighbor about how good God is to them…church folks who have never introduced anyone to Jesus. The have taken the 2 talents that their master gave them and used them to buy a nicer house and a new car when Jesu plainly said (Matthew 28), “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” No where in there is there a mandate to enact laws (outward conformity) in the dominion of the State. If the inside is still a mess an outwardly behaving person still goes to Hell.

    The power of the Gospel is dying in the United States because it has been replaced by political activism in the Church. People do not believe that a simple message like Jesus died for my sins and I love Him for it has as much power as a law against abortion or gay marriage. II Timothy 3, “ 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable,malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;Avoid such men as these.”
    See the words “holding to a form of Godliness, although they deny it’s power.” That is the condition of much of the Church. They believe that there is mor power in political realms than in Spiritual ones. The world is full of people with evil intentions. Laws cannot give life. That is the argument of Romans and Galatians. That is why God invented the Gospel.

    • Sue July 8, 2013 Reply

      I might quibble with a word choice or two, Steve, but I think you’ve teased out something very important there.
      I still don’t understand how homosexuality is MORE immoral than many other things we don’t have much to say about (which is, of course, the point of the article). Many comments say it is, but I don’t hear why.

      • July 8, 2013 Reply

        Maybe Sue its because homosexuality is changing our lives and it feels as tho it is being force on us that’s why people are more vocal? hmm when I think about they are changing laws an you cant speak against it because you are showing prejudice against them???

      • davepatchin July 8, 2013 Reply

        Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own… (1 Corinthians 6:18-19)

    • davepatchin July 8, 2013 Reply

      No one, include Ms. Evans, argued for a political solution, or that one action or another should be legal or illegal. The issue is does your gospel condone or condemn homosexual behavior? My gospel comes from the Scriptures of Jesus…and he says marriage is between one man and one woman. That was my point.

      • Sue July 8, 2013 Reply

        is that the issue? I thought the issue was that we ‘pile on’ people whose sins are different from ours…and that we ought to repent of that and stop pointing out the specks in people’s eyes until we’ve dealt with our planks.

        • Chris July 8, 2013 Reply

          No Sue, Rachel tries to make that the issue so that we will remain silent on the biblical stance toward homosexuality. But, as pointed out in numerous comments, including my own and Dave’s response to you above, this is a false argument. Homosexuality is a hot-button issue at the moment, not because the church has decided to “pile on” people whose sins are different than ours but because society is currently demanding that the church condone and embrace homosexuality. No one is actively advocating that the church drop its stance on gluttony or adultery or favoritism. However, hordes of people are demanding that the church drop its stance on homosexuality, which is why it is currently discussed so often.

          • Sue July 9, 2013

            But again, society is demanding we accept all manner of sin – and the point is, we do. Ours. It might be better to spend less time on Rachel’s motives here, and accept the challenge to look at ourselves. Speak truth about homosexuality as you must, but do it with the compassion of one who knows what it is to do battle with sin and the flesh.

        • Chris July 9, 2013 Reply

          First, you cannot honestly tell me that our society is just as interested in the church dropping its stance on gluttony and idolatry and coveting as it is in pressuring the church to stop its stance on homosexuality. If you truly believe that after taking a good look around then we might as well end the conversation now because we are coming from such radically different analytical points of view it wool be extremely difficult to find common ground.

          Second, the idea that we should shut out mouths because we obviously accept our own sin is poppicock. I can’t say where you are in your own life, but my sin breaks my heart. I rage against it and pray against it and seek the Spirit’s power and guidance to avoid it in the future. That is the nature of Discipleship. Do I discuss it publicly? When appropriate. But the discussion about homosexuality is trading in the public forum because the church is being confronted with the issue, not because the church has chosen to accept all of her own sins but reject that one.

          Third, this entire discussion began because we were asked about our reactions to Rachel’s article. Therefore it is entirely appropriate to respond to Rachel’s motivations as she had demonstrated them through her writing in the past and through this article in particular. You seem very concerned with us accepting our own sin but not accepting the sins of those around us. Again, in this case with Rachel, that is a false argument. Rachel claims to be a part of the church. She claims to be a believer and yet she argues that we should accept sin. It doesn’t matter whether it is our sin or someone else’s sin. It is sin and she wants us to embrace it.

          Too many people within the church, I would argue Rachel included, have bought into the lie that accepting the sinner means accepting their sin. This is demonstrated over and over by the repeated use of the story of the woman caught in adultery without any mention of Jesus’s expectations afterwards. Jesus does accept the sinner. Jesus died for the sinner. But Jesus did so in order to remove the power of sin.

          No sin has any place in the church, whether it be “ours” or “theirs.” I know numerous believers who have fought and continue to fight their own sins with the power of the Holy Spirit but those fights aren’t public because most people aren’t interested in Beth’s gluttony or James’s idolatry or Mark’s lust. But the issue of homosexuality is an issue where people believe they can exercise power over the church and hence over God because it is a sin they believe they have physiological justification for. It is a sin they believe they can use to prove the impotence of Christianity and the bigotry of the Bible. and so they use it.

          Those of us here who have responded to the issue have responded because we have been asked to respond to this particular article which references sexual sin and homosexuality in particular, not because we are rejecting that one sin or pushing it down anyone else’s throat or in order to make ourselves more comfortable with our own sinfulness.

          You said that we must speak with the compassion of one who knows what it is to battle sin and the flesh which I believe is good advice. The problem is that speaking the truth, however compassionate, rarely feels compassionate to the one who hears it, especially when they are set in their sin. and the “compassionate” solution that seems to have been put forth is to stop speaking. Even here in this place where we have been asked for our opinion there are those ( including you based on my interpretation of our discussion so far) who would just assume we stop taking about this issue altogether. If that is the reaction when we have been asked to discuss it here among believers, I can’t imagine how quickly we would be asked and told to shut up when an unbeliever asks.

          Rather than speaking the truth in love, which needs to be done but I don’t really believe is the problem most of the time, we must learn not to throw our pearls before swine and stop wasting our time with people who aren’t actually interested in hearing what we have to say. Maybe it’s time I took my own advice.

          • Sue July 9, 2013

            It seems to me that it was the Pharisees who wanted Jesus to inveigh against sinners and tax collectors instead of eat with them. But I think Jesus saw the woman’s adultery or any sin as part of a whole slavery to sin from which we can’t extricate ourselves – so what good does it do to indict someone of ONE sin when they are still enslaved? Jesus rescued us from all of it, and the right response is to ‘come into the light’ and be ‘born again’ in Jesus so as to be rescued. If homosexuals stop having sex, does that make them not-sinners? No. That’s why I think we are better off not fighting that particular fight unless we absolutely have to (as in, the government really DOES ‘make us’ marry gays or something – which ISN’T happenng), in favor of being like Jesus, healing those in need of healing and demonstrating love and compassion. Jesus could have stood up and proclaimed about a lot of sin, but he mostly didn’t do that – because the problem is bigger than that. So it seems to me Rachel is asking us to back up and realize that we’re doing a lot of damage to the testimony of Jesus, by doing what Jesus wouldn’t do, in his name. Jesus didn’t ‘accept’ adultery, but he accepted a woman caught in it – and ‘go and sin no more’ is not the whole message of that story. It is ‘not stoning her’ even though he was the only one who met the specifications. Sometimes the evangelical world comes off as overly eager to start throwing stones. The cultural ship has sailed on the issue of homosexuality – how then will we be witnesses to what we’ve seen and heard of Jesus? Getting gays not to marry will not get them one step closer to the kingdom of God, if they don’t know Jesus.

  • Steve Long July 9, 2013 Reply

    You missed the whole point of my comment. The problem we all have is SIN, not this sin or that sin and we are not just having Homosexuality ‘thrust down our throats’. We having thrust down our throat a lowest common denominator society (reality T.V.), a substance abusing society (ant that is doing 1000% more damage than Homosexuality), an aggressive society (wars under the guise of establishing democracy—heaven and the church are theocracies/Road rage/gang activity), a penitentiary society (we have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world—even higher than China’s). You have chosen to pick the smallest, rattiest patch of rebellion to fix as your target. It also happens to be the one that most people who call themselves Christian have the least problem with (I might have ‘said’ that with tongue in cheek).
    As for your misuse of the text in I Corinthians 6, “ Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” The apostle is not saying that sexual sin is the worst sin. He is saying it is of different and more subtle charactar. Most sins derive from evil motives alone. Sexual sins are especially deadly because they are driven by body chemistry which operates below our conscious detection and before we realize our danger our thoughts are already in line with our chemistry. The Apostle is telling us something that humans did not otherwise know about the body in his day, that there is a chemistry part of their operation and it is purely based in our flesh. Ignorance of it and carelessness with sexual chemistry changes the way our brains function because sexual license changes chemical pathways in our brain from country lanes to superhighways. Our flesh gets addicted to its own chemistry (orgasm) as well as it does to opiates. Ask anyone who has been addicted to pornography why it is so hard to break from it and one of the major reasons is that they cannot get aroused without it, they can’t be satisfied with the country road. If there were meth factories in Paul’s day we might find a warning to flee from substance abuse in I Corinthians 6 because it is sin against the body also. It exchanges the bodies natural pain fighting chemistry (endorphins) for much more powerful synthetic ones. Going ‘cold turkey’ means going for a period of time without synthetics OR endorphins and feeling sick and full of pain because if the body senses that it doesn’t need endorphis it quits making them. Talk about a major physical change! When we mess with our body chemistry through sexual or synthetic chemistry activity it takes a long time to clean up the wreckage. It is hard to get back to ‘normal’ and stay there.
    God is not telling us through Paul that He hates sexual sins more. He is warning us that they are a sins that are harder to fix if we get ensnared in them because more than a change of heart, mind and direction are needed to fix them. Somehow we have to let a sex superhighway become overgrown and daily be content with the country lane. Rathe than indicting homosexuals as you seem to be doing we should pity them. They cannot even see the powerful trap that they have gotten themselves into.
    My point above was that only Good News has any hope for people caught in SIN, any kind of sin. You are wasting precious time and eternity is at stake if you are fretting about what guv’mint or the Law is doing.
    If you are a citizen of Heaven, which you are if you follow Jesus, then you would do well to follow His example and spend more time writing in the sand and less time writing to your congressman.

    • davepatchin July 9, 2013 Reply

      Steve, It seems we are doing a good job of talking past one another. You said I missed the whole point of your post, and I can assure you that your presumptions about me are false.

      I find it odd that you claim I misused 1 Cor 6:18-19 when all I did was quote it. Your invention of how I used it is your own, nothing more.

      I have wasted no “precious time” worrying about what the “guv’mint.” Is doing. Again, you presume something I have written nothing about.

      With those disagreements aside, I agree the goal is to proclaim Christ to a hurting, confused, and destructive generation with compassion and grace. Yet, I won’t sacrifice the truth on the alter of cultural acceptance, as I think Ms. Evans piece does. Sin is sin…we all have issues and pretending some sin is not sin won’t make Jesus more comely.

  • Steve Long July 10, 2013 Reply

    When that passage is used as a foil it is almost always used to make sexual sins out to be the top of the heirarchy of sin and in a previous post you made the point that according to your gospel homosexuality is a sin. I don’t think anyone in the comment queue hear has any problem with the biblical/eternal reality that it is sin. I Corinthians 6 mentions a specific sin to flee from and it is not homosexuality. I am comfortable that homosexuality or any other sin that is influenced by body or ingested chemistry would not hurt the point that Paul is making. But Paul indict’s fornication here and that word has a very specific usage in the original language. So that is why I question your use of the passage to take aim specifically at Homosexuality. Even if ‘sexual sins’ can be extrapolated from the larger context of the surrounding chapters one seldom hears invective aimed at adultery or pornography connected to the passage—just homosexuality.
    In this area my concern mirrors Sue’s. Our mission is not to fight a cultural war using the conventional tools. It is to convince anyone that we can that any kind of sin wrecks us up. Most people have experienced the wreckage part and that is what makes the Good News attractive. We have made a terrible mistake by making an impersonal national effort to manage a certain set of sins because we have neglected the example of Jesus who made every challenge and accusation personally. People looked for Him and according to their internal situation he responded…face to face.. and in love.
    My point about the chemistry of sex and sexual sin is that making a special identification of homosexuality as sinful to people with reprobate minds makes them plug their ears with more determination to anything else that we might have to say to them. I used to have a reprobate mind. Maybe you did too.
    Sexual sins are enslaving. Homosexuals truly believe they are made (at the fundamental DNA level) that way at some point in their lives so they cease to struggle against that notion. Telling them that they are bound for Hell just isn’t going to change any hearts but perhaps telling them (from a personal relationship with them) that their Creator loves them and He has their best interest at heart has the best chance of getting them to reconsider their position. I know this to be true because I knw a lesbian shaman who now is a devout follower of Jesus because I built a relationship with her and encouraged her to read the Bible (I bought one for her—sorry KJV lovers, it was NASB). If you can get people to do that then the work is a lot easier because it no longer is your work. You just do the introductions and the Holy Spirit does the rest.

    • Chris July 10, 2013 Reply

      But, Steve, that is exactly the problem. You and Sue are not responding to what Dave said or what I said. You are both responding to why other people might have said at some other point. How can you possibly have a dialogue that accomplishes what you want when you aren’t responding to what has actually been said. And if you can’t listen or read well enough to respond to what your brothers and sisters in Christ are actually saying, how can you have any confidence that you are responding to the actual concerns of the people you are talking to? How can they have any confidence when they see conversations like this?

    • davepatchin July 10, 2013 Reply

      I hear your heart for reaching those who are broken and messed up…just like me, and based on your statements, you. We agree there.

      We disagree on the meaning of the Greek word, “porneia,” which is translated broadly as “immorality: in the NASB and “sexual immorality” in the NIV. You want it to be fornication but it has a wider meaning of sexual sin, which I think includes pornography, prostitution, homosexual sex, fornication, adultery, etc. Regardless, sexual sin is against both God and our own bodies….so it merits some special consideration in our quest for holiness.

      Other than that, you are arguing against a phantom, not me. You claim I am “making a special identification of homosexuality as sinful.” I have done no such thing. I am merely maintaining that despite Ms. Evans attempts to obfuscate, it is indeed still sin. If you agree it is sin and want to discuss the best way to reach our culture is NOT a culture war, nor to elevate homosexual sex to a higher class of offense, we agree.

  • stevedlongSteve Long July 15, 2013 Reply

    I am responding to what Dave said but not in the manner that you would think. There are 2 views being expressed in this comment queue. Dave and a few others, kinda’ including you, have emphasized the sinful nature of homosexuality. I don’t think even Sue would dispute the unrighteousness of it but Sue and I ask a valid question which is,’ Why the emphasis on it?’
    On July 8 Dave made this comment, “My gospel comes from the Scriptures of Jesus…and he says marriage is between one man and one woman. That was my point.” Jesus did not say it exactly like that. Here is a closer quote. “ And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” So the word ‘one’ is absent from the passage. He is saying from God’s perspective (which is the only one that counts) is that when the two complimentary parts that God designed come together they make a whole again that God designed.
    Governments can call a potato a chicken but anyone who knows anything knows that it is not so. It the government wants to call a potato a chicken in a legal contract they can do that. It doesn’t have the actual effect of turning a potato in to a chicken. So Issue # 1 I have with Dave is his artistic ..usage, shall we say of Jesus’ words. It is not ‘one’ but ‘man and woman’ we add the ‘a’.
    The second is more serious. Loosely using the words of Paul he says, “my gospel” and then proceeds to imply that the gospel says that homosexuality is wrong. That is sanctimonious pure and simple. Sin is exclusively bad news, the gospel is exclusively good news. There are three times in scripture when Paul uses that phrase and Dave’s use of it runs counter to every scriptural use. It caught my eye and it fit the tenor of the surrounding comments so actually – no, I am not talking around him and you. You may not intend to but you both sound a bit self righteous, and that takes me to Paul’s first usage of the phrase “my gospel.’
    The first chapter: exchanging glory for lust-impurity-believing lies-reprobate mind-increasing depravity-same gender burning with desire…after that portion more depravity….”to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;” Do you see the depravity that FOLLOWS sexual depravity. None of it is sex related.
    So in chapter 2 Paul takes a turn in his commentary. Talking to the Christians he warns them to be careful about using his previous comments to become judgmental because most of us have some kind of background in one or several items on the list. 2:3 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Passing judgment brings condemnation to self because to one degree or another we have all sinned whether outside the Law or inside.
    He reminds us that God knows hearts and that is where judgment is rendered, at the heart level…Romans 2: 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. According to Paul’s gospel God is the Judge not us. This is a good thing because men cannot see into other mens hearts.
    The second usage is in Romans 16
    25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
    In this passage Paul says ‘my gospel’ establishes us leading to the obedience of Faith. This is a good thing because “without Faith no one will see God.”
    The third usage is in II Timothy 2:8 and it suggests the most complete summary of the gospel. “8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel”. Now there is very good news. Every good thing that we hope for hinges on that sentence. A more complete version of it is found in I Corinthians 15:1-8 where the gospel is found to be Jesus dead, buried, risen and seen by a whole slew of folks which excites our hope for eternal life for ourselves. This is most excellent news. According to Dave’s gospel, which he got from Jesus marriage is between one man and one woman. If that is the gospel he preaches then not one soul will be saved by him. Paul’s words mis-used this way are sanctimonious.
    Paul’s gospel:
    -Indicts judgmentalism
    -Promises Hope and
    -Specifically identifies the source and proof of our salvation.

  • Jennifer Schantz March 6, 2016 Reply


    I have a different perspective than the many people commenting here, particularly those seeing acceptance of homosexuality as part of a moral decline in America. As a psychologist who has the privilege of working with lots of different people with different beliefs and identities, I will tell you that the research and my personal experience suggest that when gay folks accept and embrace who they are, their well-being psychologically improves. In my experience, it leads them to their best life – a life where they feel good about who they are, they feel whole, and they are able to use that positivity to be their spiritual and emotional best selves. Conversely, people subjected to the “your ‘lifestyle’ is a sin” message tend to suffer greatly, and tend to have higher levels of mental illness and propensity for self-destruction. While gluttony is a sin most people readily understand and forgive, one could argue that it ultimately is not good for individuals, as it is typically associated with negative physical and often psychological outcomes. I am not suggesting that we stop attacking gay folks and turn our attention to the obese. But I do think we need to seriously consider the social and emotional consequences of selecting what we interpret as anti-gay Biblical verses and using them to condone anti-gay behavior, messages and legislation. Furthermore, there is a whole other population who suffers as a result of anti-gay religious messages. The family members and loved ones of LGBT folks are put into very bad quandaries in that they often see how healthy and happy their loved one is when they embrace who they are, and yet they are told that accepting their loved one’s relationship is tantamount to condoning sin and ensuring their loved one may not be saved. I have had the privilege to support many relatives who face this horrible dilemma. Just some thoughts for consideration. Thank you.

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