Resolution on the Status of Membership Guidelines passes

2015 7 3 Delegates discuss in table groups
Delegates discuss the Resolution on the Status of Membership Guidelines in table groups at the assembly in Kansas City on July 2. Photo by Abby Graber.

By Meg Short

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. (Mennonite Church USA) — Over 1,000 attended the afternoon delegate session on July 2. Introducing the membership guideline resolution for delegates to discuss were two Mennonite Church USA board members, David Sutter and Yvonne Diaz. They reported that the resolution was both written and approved by the Executive Board (EB) only.

The membership resolution sought to uphold the guidelines regarding church membership and same-sex marriages adopted by the Delegate Assembly in 2001, upon the formation of Mennonite Church USA.

According to the resolution, “the delegate assembly will not entertain changes to the membership guidelines for the next four years, in order to exercise forbearance on matters that divide us and to focus attention on the missional vision that unites us.”

The board’s intent was for this resolution to be a companion to the aforementioned forbearance resolution.

“It seeks to find a way forward while addressing the polity questions of our church,” Diaz said. “It also intends to provide concrete ways we can live into the forbearance resolution through strengthening our discernment practices.”

The pair acknowledged that this resolution would be a compromise for some, but according to EB bylaws, the board must act in the interest of the whole of the church at any given time.

“We’ve heard credentialed leaders speak passionately from clearly different places,” Sutter said. “Ultimately, there was no consensus. Many of us see no clear direction. We acknowledge that this is painfully hard for those who feel that this is clear. But as a whole, we do not.”

Jane Hoober Peifer, serving as the assembly discernment guide, then asked delegates to hold the tensions of “both/and instead of either/or thinking in the church.”

“This is not a new challenge; we do it often in our congregations,” she said. “Think of the other times in your lives where you’ve had to hold two different convictions, and how you experienced the movement of the Spirit.” She then asked table leaders to pray before beginning discussions as small groups.

Delegates raised concerns and asked for clarification on several different parts of the resolution during the open mic time. Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, referred to a list of Frequently Asked Questions prepared for delegates and released on June 18.

“If both of these resolutions pass, the Executive Board will see it as a mandate to hold together the traditional stance of our church with an approach that grants freedom to congregations and area conferences to work things out in their own context, with mutual accountability with the CLC,” Stutzman explained.

Patricia Shelly, moderator-elect, led the hymn “Lord, listen to your children praying” as the pastors in red stoles continued to walk the floor, holding up hands in prayer. The resolution passed by 60 percent. Of the 811 delegate votes cast, 473 voted yes and 310 voted no. There were 28 delegates who abstained.

Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, moderator, asked delegates to receive the results in silence and gave time for table groups to reflect on the decision together. “We have discerned together,” she said. “Now the board has a mandate to continue working at these documents in a very humble way. May the documents not be used to divide us, but may the Spirit of God, the Maker of us all, be the one who brings us together.”

Another part of the resolution presumes that “area conferences will grant ministerial credentials consistent with the guidelines in A Shared Understanding of Church Leadership,” a shared polity manual of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. Terry Shue and Nancy Kauffmann of the leadership development team of Mennonite Church USA invited delegates to give written feedback to the manual. Soto Albrecht emphasized that this is a working document.

The afternoon session began with a testimony from MennoMedia, the publishing and media agency of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. CEO Russ Eanes spoke of his Harrisonburg, Virginia, office’s commitment to pray together daily, and encouraged others to take up this practice. He also acknowledged that MennoMedia’s success is not due their own cleverness or strategies, but to God’s intercession.

Read the full issue of the KC Currents, the daily convention newssheet here.

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Delegates discuss the Resolution on the Status of Membership Guidelines in table groups at the assembly in Kansas City on July 2. Photo by Abby Graber.

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142 thoughts on “Resolution on the Status of Membership Guidelines passes

  1. As a member of Salford Mennonite, and the wife and mother of two members, I speak for my family in saying that the four of is are heartbroken over having to wait more years, having to pray for more years to see everyone truly welcomed and included into our Lord’s Kingdom,, with the love and welcome, healing and feeding of His sheep that He asked of us to give without judgment. These are people He has brought to us, asking us to be His hands and feet, these are our family, our neighbors, and, most heartbreaking to me, these are the very children we raised in this church, not just our congregation, but in all of our congregations, children we held as infants, read the Bible storybooks to and made the crafts with, saw singing up front on Sunday mornings their tiny faces lit up with the real glow of the knowledge of, “Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me…..the Bible tells me so….” and helped them go on mission trips and service projects and camps and weekend retreats, all teaching them all about the way this Jesus loves them and how He wants them to love Him too and serve Him and we make them part of our family, and then, when the way Jesus has created them to be attracted to and love someone turns out to be the same sex, which we now know is natural, biologically, and which we can’t agree on how the verses should be translated or interpreted,, now, these kids who have trusted us their whole lives are excluded from our church family, and can’t marry inside their faith, another believer who is also the same sex. These kids, and the kids in our church they have grown up with who love them, their friends, cousins, siblings, must be so hurt and confused, and, yes, angry. And we don’t want them confusing their anger at us with an anger at God. For we are the body and face of God to the world, and we want that to be love.

    1. Thank you for your heart felt letter. I agree with what you say. I have a daughter who is 40 years old and a lesbian. She does not attend our church because when someone, anyone disagrees with her way of life she does not fight for what she knows. She prefers to be quiet and be around people who accept her. I love my daughter and want her at church with us and I am very disappointed in the four year wait. She is a faithful Christian and she has gone down many roads to find acceptance in her lifetime. At this point she wants to attend the Mennonite church and hopefully will find one where she is accepted.

  2. The recently reaffirmed 2001 Membership Guidelines point to the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (1995) as a guiding document, and used to justify the MC USA’s stance on same-sex marriage.

    There is another line in the document that is pertinent to this discussion and important to remember that it is a prerequisite for membership in the Church.

    Peace and justice are not optional teachings, counsel that Christians can take or leave. They belong to the heart of gospel message.

    A person is duty bound to actively strive for justice; globally, locally, within the MC USA, and within their individual congregation.

    1. Clarification: I meant the comment (above) in reply to Jennifer Gorman’s note above, not in regard to the article itself. The continued resistance of the Mennonite church to be welcoming to all is not beautiful, though it is heart breaking.

  3. What is heartbreaking is the advocated departure from scriptural truth in favor of cultural relativism and calling sin good.

    1. That is the thing. Theologians and Biblical historians are finding new meanings, new insights into the language and how it is translated, and the cultural differences and references, and the history behind why Paul and Peter wrote what they did to specific groups of people having specific issues at a specific point in time using a language which has been lost over these centuries and centuries, and we no longer have much of the original manuscript. Now of course we all use what they wrote as a guide and light for our daily lives, my own life and faith is a testament to the ability of the Word to help hold a tornado of a life into a teapot, but I will always, always, stand for Jesus, and what He asks, to love God and my neighbor as the most important things. So I, as one Mennonite mother, will always choose the way of Jesus, I will choose the way of love, I will choose grace, I will choose healing, I will choose hope, and I will choose to feed His sheep, starting with my own kids, their friends, my church, and beyond.

      1. Yes, Jesus showed love to the woman caught in adultery and did not condemn her. He rebuked those who would stone her. And yet, afterward he told her to go and sin no more. Jesus requires love, but He also requires repentance and turning from sin. The problem with cultural relativists is that they don’t see ho0mosexual behavior as sin, in direct contradiction to what the scriptures teach. Despite all the protestations to the contrary, science has not discovered a homosexual gene. Homosexuality is a behavior, not an inborn condition. We are called to love everybody but not to condone sin, any sin, whether homosexual sin or heterosexual.

        1. Thank you for bringing up this passage of scripture. Problems of interpreting it are fresh in my mind because it was one of the primary passages I drew upon for a sermon just before the convention on gender injustice in the church.

          I’d like to invite you to compare John 8:11 with the parallel saying in John 5:14. There, Jesus told the man who was carrying his bed in the Temple on the Sabbath to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” There are two possible interpretations for this. Many would say Jesus meant the man’s previous disability was caused by his sin, and could return if he sinned again, although there is no support for that in the text. The sin mentioned in the immediate context was carrying his bed on the Sabbath – the sin for which the religious authorities sought to punish the man was carrying his bed on the Sabbath.

          Do you think Jesus meant the same thing in counseling both people who had received his grace and mercy? As a woman who has tried to see myself in the John 8 story, I think Jesus was telling both these people to “mind their Ps and Qs” because from then on they would be targeted for extra scrutiny by Jesus’ antagonists. In other words, “Go, and be careful out there because next time I may not be able to protect you.”

          1. All through the Bible, including the case of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, God considers sin inherently wrong, not just wrong because of the effect one’s actions might have on ruling authorities! God hates sin; it is against His holy nature, and it is rebellion against Him. Jesus told the woman not to do that anymore — not because of how the authorities might react but because God expects and requires repentance and turning away from sin, from that which is inherently wrong.

          2. In light of your interpretation of John 8:11, would you interpret John 5:14 as Jesus telling the man to stop carrying his bed on the Sabbath?

          3. You are serious about this but it just boggles my mind how someone could consider Jesus to be significantly concerned with avoiding disturbing the religious and political authorities. He was crucified for doing just that, right? As he said: “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

          4. He was killed by the religious leaders who were immersed in following Gods law to the jot and tittle.

          5. @Richard Worden Wilson, you missed the point. Jesus was concerned for the man and the woman, not for the religious authorities.

          6. My apologies if I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I don’t think I missed the point completely since my point was that Jesus wasn’t just saying ‘avoid antagonizing the authorities’ “because next time I may not be able to protect you.,” he was actually saying what he said: “go and sin no more.” Minimizing the reality that Jesus’ concern for people (eg., the man and the woman you reference) was explicitly expressed in his saying that people avoid sin for the sake of avoiding sin doesn’t seem to me to be helpful or accurate. Jesus was just as concerned that “religious authorities” avoid sin as well, since his love and compassion are not exclusive. If you wish to clarify what you are trying to say please do so.

          7. @Richard Worden Wilson

            Thank you for inviting clarification. Conversation, even in written form, often leaves out important pieces and/or leads to misunderstanding, so I’ll try first to address your concern: “Minimizing the reality that Jesus’ concern for people (eg., the man and the woman you reference) was explicitly expressed in his saying that people avoid sin for the sake of avoiding sin doesn’t seem to me to be helpful or accurate.”

            I actually didn’t mean to minimize the reality of Jesus’ concern for people. I was suggesting that the way we think Jesus showed concern for both the woman in John 8 and the man in John 5 may depend on how we choose to identify the particular sin Jesus meant when he said, “Sin no more.” In the case of the man, his only identified sin was carrying his bed on the Sabbath. In the case of the woman, the identified sin was adultery. In order to fairly compare the two sayings in a scholarly way, it may be necessary for us to realize that our modern definition of adultery differs from the definition of the Jewish scribes and Pharisees as much as our modern concept of working on the Sabbath differs from theirs. There is some overlap, but we actually don’t know whether the “adultery” of which the woman was accused fits our modern definition.

            Incredulity modern readers often express for the statement the woman was “caught in the very act” (especially in view of the fact that no man was brought to trial with her) may possibly be explained by one of these differences. In studying the John 8 pericope several years ago, I found it remarkable that every commentary I could find with a female author referred to Genesis 18 as a parallel story, while not one commentary with a male author made this connection. The parallel between the two passages is related to the “agunah problem” in Jewish law. Tamar was guilty of adultery because, as a childless widow whose late husband still had a living brother, she was an agunah. Naomi explains the agunah problem in Ruth 1:11-13. The more common situation making a woman agunah in the first century and today is that either her husband has disappeared and his death cannot be proved or that he has left her and refused to give her a get as required by Deuteronomy 24:1. An agunah who lived as if married, showed affection in public to a man after being warned, or became pregnant could be said to be “caught in the very act,” just as Tamar’s guilt was established. Yet in the end, Judah declared, “She was more righteous than I.” (For this reason, I think a good case can be made that Genesis 38 was what Jesus was writing on the ground.) Jesus said he did not judge the woman, but “go and sin no more.” Jesus didn’t inquire into her circumstances, although one of the accusers may have been the man who refused her a get. This would give “sin no more” a whole different nuance from W. Wrenn’s judgmental nuance.

            We modern readers, assuming a different definition of adultery – one that applies equally to men as to women, and one that has no agunah problem – make assumptions about the exact nature of this woman’s sin that are as unwarranted as ay assumptions we might make about the exact nature of the man’s sin in John 5.

            I think you hit the nail on the head when you say, “Jesus was just as concerned that ‘religious authorities’ avoid sin as well, since his love and compassion are not exclusive.” Although Jesus did not condemn them, either, he did encourage them to examine whether they were qualified to judge the woman. They seem to have each individually reached the same conclusion Judah reached near the end of Genesis 38. Would they then do right by the woman, as Judah did? Would they instead encourage her (ex)husband to give her a get so she could marry the man she was living with?

          8. By you and others of your ilk falsely charging me with being judgmental for upholding scriptural truth, you are being judgmental yourself. Can you say “hypocrisy”? Is this an example of liberal “tolerance”?

          9. Wow, uh, that was a rather detailed explanation, and should be sufficient for understanding, and I now understand better your studiously complex reasons for saying what you have, at least mostly. Personally I’m more inclined toward simpler and more direct understanding of biblical stories and their significance. For instance, I don’t feel the need to identify “the particular sin” Jesus said to avoid. I’m pretty sure Jesus thought we should avoid all sins, and hence his concluding comments about not sinning again were just that, admonishments to avoid sin, period.

            As for the man in John 5 it is not inconceivable that Jesus thought his infirmity was the result of sin–neither Jesus nor New Testament authors rejects the idea in general. When Jesus says “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you” he may in fact be implying that his infirmity was the result of sin.

            As for the woman in John 8 the simpler the explanation the better, most likely. That she and whoever the he was were caught in the act seems rather straightforward. The story is not about resolving some abstruse rabbinic argument about the challenges faced by women in particularly legalistic circumstances (no hint of that in the text), but about not judging to death those who happen to get caught when all of the judges except Jesus are just as guilty of capital sins as she was. My inclination on the simpler side of the textual debate would be to point out that for Jesus both parties in an adultery are adulterers by definition, and in fact. “Go and sin no more” would apply to adultery and every other kind of sin.

            No need to complicate things by having to decide which particular sin Jesus wanted people to avoid when he obviously wanted people to avoid all sin.

          10. @W. Wrenn, I had to look hard for the place I “charged you with being judgmental.” I assume you meant this: “Jesus didn’t inquire into her circumstances, although one of the accusers may have been the man who refused her a get. This would give “sin no more” a whole different nuance from W. Wrenn’s judgmental nuance.”

            If this is what you had in mind, I hope you’ll read it more carefully. I said your interpretation of “sin no more” included a judgmental nuance. I did not in any way mean to attack your character. I was simply contrasting the nuance different hermeneutics may give to the saying, “sin no more.”

            Jesus told both the man in John 5 and the woman in John 8 to “sin no more.” If this phrase necessarily implies Jesus had made a judgment that they both were sinning, then I would describe that as a judgmental nuance in its interpretation. That does not imply anything about the interpreter’s personal character. If Jesus was not making that judgment, then the phrase has a non-judgmental nuance. That, similarly, does not imply anything about the interpreter’s character.

            My hermeneutic leaves room for several possible nuances as a result of interpreting the phrase in a broader context that compares other scriptures, rather than strictly according to connotations that might be drawn only within the narrow context of the pericope itself.

            I’ve explained my hermeneutic in a fair bit of detail, and asked you and Mr. Wilson what conclusions you draw from the phrase “sin no more” in John 5. I’ve suggested at least two plausible ways to interpret the phrase consistently in both passages, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of more. I’ve invited you both to give your interpretation. Yet neither of you has accepted my invitation.

            I’m sorry I was not clear enough that my statement was intended to note the nuances resulting from your hermeneutic, rather than your personal character.

    2. Francis Schaeffer suggested: “Christians are not to love their believing brothers to the exclusion of their non-believing fellowmen. That is ugly. We are to have the example of the good Samaritan consciously in mind at all times.

      If as W. Wrenn says this an issue about sin, then the church is not inviting those they see “sinning” into the gospel.

      However, I say this is an issue about unity and what the church did is selfish.

      There was a feast prepared by a generous host that could feed hundreds of thousands. The banquet hall was filled with guest and all were seated at the sumptuous tables. There were farm raised meats, and fresh vegetables and pies. The guest ate what the host had prepared and while they were eating others gathered outside the banquet hall and knocked. they asked if they could please come in and share the bounteous meal. The tables still had half carved turkeys and prime ribs and wait staff were standing with more platters. One of the guests said wait I am not sure every one in the banquet hall will be comfortable if we let these late comers in. We will not let them in until we have a unanimous vote. The crowd outside had gathered in growing numbers and shared stale lunches and sipped water together and sang while they waited. The group inside continued to satiate their hunger with the pies and coffee. This discussion continued for decades as those inside the banquet hall decide that now this was their right/rite and they couldn’t let others in. They said amongst themselves that the host would surely not be honored if they let in others. Finally the noise and hunger outside made some inside uncomfortable and they called for a vote. The vote was ammended to a vote that they would not talk about the hungry crowd outside for four more years. Then maybe they would be comfortable if they only had time to digest all the scrumptious delights the host had served them. They were shocked at the anger of those being held outside. They said “this is our feast” we will not risk angering one person who is already seated in order to feed those who were not included at the beginning.

      My question to you? Who is worse those who want to exclude the hungry, or those who do not want to offend the group recommending exclusion?

      Whose feast is this? Why do the attendees decide what is right and acceptable for the host?

      How can a church survive by exclusion? This is not a sign of life and peace.

      1. No, the issue is this: The Bible says homosexual acts are sin. God and Jesus require repentance for sin. Cultural relativists deny that homosexual sex is sinful. They thus deny scripture. If practicing homosexuals should be included in the church, then so should practicing adulterers, alcoholics, murderers, fornicators, and all unrepentant sinners. Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, did not condemn her, but told her to sin no more. The problem we are dealing with here is, as I said, the unwillingness to believe that homosexual acts are sinful. That is the bottom line.

        1. You will not find that anywhere in the gospels. Jesus healed and forgave people sins with no repentance .

          In addition your understanding of grace is legalistic requirement of Old Testament law. There is nothing Mennonite about that approach to scripture, With a very literal and traditional approach to scripture, Are you going to live with rules of fabric, shellfish, and the Sabbath? New Testament Romans 1 sins include a list of sins which you and I are guilty and should be excluded from the church.

          A better reading of all of the passages that have been applied to LGBTQ realizes that the use of any sex as part of temple worship and idolatry.

          I would encourage you to Read with an open heart Matthew Vine.

          Your words and hardline stance in response to a the parable I shared so why I am concerned about the heart of Christ in the church.

          I don’t see in your words that I am your neighbor, or that you treat my daughter, my friends, like Jesus treated sinners like Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Zaccheus.

          1. That is absolutely false. Have you not been following the conversation? Or do you just willingly ignore it and what Jesus taught? I can prove you wrong by referring again to what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery: Go and SIN NO MORE. He did not condemn her, but He required that she repent and stop sinning. Of course the problem with you and those of your ilk is that you deny that homosexual acts are sinful, in clear contradiction to scripture.

            You reject the clear teaching of Jesus, Paul, and the Bible in favor of a cultural relativism and hedonism, and you attempt to cover that up by falsely charging those who adhere to scriptural truth with legalism. And you call yourself “Rev”. You should be ashamed of yourself. You have departed from Christianity.

          2. I have to respectfully disagree. Leviticus chapter 18 makes it pretty clear it is a sin. Just because it doesn’t show up in the new testament doesn’t mean God’s word should not be followed. Please do jot ignore God due to pop culture. Homosexuality is a sin…

    3. I think you should read this column, W. Wrenn. Is homosexuality a greater sin than not loving all of God’s children equally? No matter how much we speak of “loving the sinner, not the sin,” it does not and will not ever feel loving to those “sinners”.

      “Jesus’ love, even if it came with hard words, somehow always seemed and felt like love. People were seen. They were heard. They were touched. They were left with more dignity than when they started. I’m not sure LGBT people can say the same about their encounters with most Christians.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-pavlovitz/distorted-love-the-toll-of-our-christian-theology-on-the-lgbt-community_b_5988938.html

      1. Homosexuality is not a greater sin than any other. The problem is that advocates of it deny it is any sin at all. See, that’s the bottom line. Jesus loved the woman caught in adultery and did not condemn her. BUT, He also told her to GO AND SIN NO MORE!

        You don’t love anyone by telling them that their sin is okay, that it doesn’t matter, go ahead and continue in it and God will accept you anyway. That’s not what God or Jesus said. You love a person by telling him/her the truth.

        1. You are absolutely right, we don’t call it sin – because it is not!!! There are many who choose (yes, choose) to believe that other people “choose” not to be heterosexual, but that is based on a combination of fear, misinformation, unfamiliarity, and I don’t know what else. I have lived alongside the pain of my gay/lesbian friends and relatives and know that not ONE of them CHOSE not to be heterosexual!

          There is no child who does not want to fit in and be like everyone else, few children who don’t grow up with the aspiration of marrying and having children as their parents did and as society expects. I am heterosexual but have never met the right man to marry, and I know the pain of not fitting in because I am still single and our culture is geared towards married partners.

          It grieves me greatly that you and others like you are so certain that you have the only correct reading of the Bible, that calling homosexuality a sin is more important than loving God’s children AS THEY ARE. I also grieve for you because you will eventually lose that certainty as you come to see that there are more important things than reading certain words in a certain way. I believe that NOTHING in God’s words is more important than loving, accepting, nurturing, caring, embracing, celebrating each other as we are. Which means that though it is difficult, I strive to embrace you and all those who believe as you do. Will you not do the same for the wounded souls who want so badly to experience God’s unconditional love in the flesh from their kindred?

          And in response to another of your comments, I am not afraid – I know my relationship to God and my fellow humans, and while I am far from perfect I strive every day to live according to Jesus’ example. I think that is all God asks of any of us, not to sit in judgment on each other and berate and be unkind, etc. Love in the sense of accepting each of us as we are, warts and all. is really all there is.

          1. Clarification: I did not mean “unconditional love in the flesh” in a sexual manner, I simply meant to be regarded, cared for, held and touched when needed, etc.

          2. Homosexual behavior is sin, as it is called throughout the Bible. There may be a predisposition to homosexual acts and attraction, just as there may be a predisposition to alcoholism. But just as the latter must resist alcoholism, so also the former must resist the temptation to engage in homosexual acts. Both actions and habits are sinful. Jesus loves us all, but He calls us to repentance and to forsake sin.

            There is no homosexual gene. No one is “born that way”.

            God destroyed a city because of sodomy. You are not loving anyone by encouraging them to continue in their sin. This is NOT what Jesus did.

          3. I may have ceded my right to comment here when I began to think of my Mennonite heritage as an ethnicity rather than a viable faith that I could embrace and practice, upon my own acknowledgement that I am gay. I grew up steeped in the teachings of the Mennonite church and graduated from one of its institutions of higher learning. The values of peace, service and love remain at my core. However, I will not cross the threshold of any church that insists that I must live a life of celibacy and separation from the love of another human being if I desire to sin no more. All of my life I have had to struggle with whether I am worthy of the love of God, simply by being who I am. Feel free to sit on your lofty perch, enjoying the privileges of having been born heterosexual and telling me your truths but also know that you have denied me access to a branch of Christianity that speaks other truths that might heal this divisive world we live in. I will continue to seek religious and spiritual communities that are more broad-minded and to forgive.

    4. Scriptures are written by many people over time. We can hear and see the variant perspectives from gospel to gospel. And we are reading scripture in translation. The story of the centurion in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 is just such an example. We know these passages in English. A centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant. But the word the soldier uses in Greek is “pais,” which Plato, Thucydides, and others use to refer to a male lover, one who may be a slave in the cultural context of the time. What we have here is a story of a Roman coming to Jesus to ask him to heal his pais. We know the rest of the story. Jesus does not call them sinners, he does not condemn them. In fact, it seems as if he blesses them and restores the man’s beloved to health.

  4. God requires love… Not acceptance of sin. Do not let the devil in the back door. Stop embracing sin but embrace the sinner and help them correct their ways.

    1. Exactly. But those who call for “inclusion” do not believe homosexual acts are sinful. They thus deny what scripture teaches. If unrepentant sinners are to be included in the church, then in reality there would be no church. There would be no difference between the church and the world.

      1. This inclusion will be the fall of the church. People need to stop justifying this sin…

        1. The only way it can be justified is by ignoring, denying, and/or twisting the scriptures. In the place of the scriptures, they substitute cultural relativism and pseudo-science. They have denied and abandoned the Christian faith.

          There has been a rapid acceleration in apostasy of individuals, churches, and entire denominations, and there is no reason to believe this will not continue. The mass exodus from denominations that have abandoned the faith, or are in the process of doing so, will continue. When a denomination begins to “dialogue” about homosexuality, “study” the issue, “pray for guidance” about it, and vote on it, the beginning of the end has started.

          As a contrast, the Mennonite Brethren will not even discuss the issue. For them, it is settled — by God as revealed in scripture.

    1. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. You better be worshipping on the sabbath not wearing mixed fabric clothes no sex for a week after menstruation no shellfish no bacon.

      1. Scoff if you want, but you still deny the very words of Jesus. Yes, he said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. He did not let the people stone the woman caught in adultery. But then He told her to GO AND SIN NO MORE.

        Your advocacy of a Christianity without repentance, turning from sin, and trying to live a life of holiness is not Christianity. Your opening the doors of the church to unrepentant sinners destroys the church. You represent an apostate Christianity, a cultural relativism, hedonistic, do-what-feels-good, Godless “Christianity”. Woe unto you and anyone who calls sin good. You spit on God and Jesus by doing this.

        We are all sinners, but Jesus calls us all to repentance.

        1. Your arrogance and self righteousness that you have the final word on scripture that there can be no other interpretation is distinctly evangelical in nature and not anabaptistic in the slightest. You want no conversation because you are the final authority. Theologians and spirit filled men and women disagree about some passages but the anger hostility are not Christ like and you take the place of judge that is not rightfully yours. Galatians 6. If you think there is sin you are supposed to approach it in a spirit of meekness considering your own propensity for sin

      2. Further, you are obfuscating, or being intentionally dishonest. You know full well that there were OT precepts that were intended for the Jews only and at that time. But there were other precepts and laws that are universal and timeless. The 10 commandments are such, and so are the laws about homosexuality. This is confirmed in the New Testament.

        No homosexual gene has ever been discovered by scientists. Homosexual acts are behaviors, not something inborn.

        1. Brother Wrenn, something can be biologically based without having a specific gene that causes it.

          I don’t know if you were in Kansas City but if you were I hope you sat with some of our Pink Menno sisters and brothers, listened to their pain, and shared in their tears and soul touching singing. Until more of us are willing to sit with them in their pain and listen to their stories, learn from them and ask how we might be God with skin on for each other, I fear we grieve the Holy Spirit.

          1. We grieve the Holy Spirit and harm people by not coupling love with a call to repentance and forsaking sin.

          2. So if you were to leave the denomination you will find somewhere more conservative. My queer daughter and I will not find somewhere else. Your unwillingness to rub shoulders with someone who you think has “worse” sins than you have, means that many of us will leave the church for good.

          3. Rev Virtue,
            Please don’t let the ignorance and sin (yes, I mean sin!) of those like WWrenn force you out of the church. There are many of us who believe the commandment to love others as you love yourself takes precedence over nitpicking about who your primary relationships are with. Perhaps, though, the problem is that persons like Wrenn don’t truly love themselves and so are not truly capable of loving others in a Christ-like way?

            I do know that it is more important for us to recognize our own sins (that whole plank in your eye thing) and work on those than to be examining everyone else’s life for what they need to “fix”, and that all this dissension and strife is not Christ-like, nor even Mennonite in the traditional values of reconciliation and peace.

            I grieve that our supposed peace church cannot find a way to make peace, but instead have groups who must form new denominations because they reject some as not worthy and I guess fear being “tainted” by them?

            Question for WWrenn – what truly is your fear if the LGBTQ community is fully accepted? Is God going to smite us if we love them too? I am sincere in asking – I would like to understand the underlying concern, besides sin, because as others have pointed out, there are many sins we all commit so that can’t be the real issue.

          4. Yeah, everybody commits sin, as I have mentioned previously. But ALL are expected and required to REPENT of that sin. God requires it, and Jesus required it in the NT. Do you really believe that the church should not call people to repentance, that the church should be made up of unrepentant sinners, that is should be full of unrepentant murderers, alcoholics, adulterers, fornicators, haters, etc? If so, that is not the church.

            What are YOU afraid of? That asking someone to repent of sins is an unjust requirement? Are you afraid to follow the scriptures? Are you afraid of being called an unloving sinful bigot, as you believe I am?

            The real unloving people are people like you who would not ask anyone to repent of their sins in order to be a part of the church.

          5. Klong thank you for your encouragement. Today I met with our delegate and he encouraged me that the direction of the church is moving toward love and inclusion.

          6. And as it continues to move toward apostasy, those holding to God’s standards will increasingly leave.

  5. Just because we are sinful does not mean we give others a pass on theirs. The church can not afford to waiver on this. Stop the devil now or he will gain a foothold even deeper.

    1. Feel free to take your time, research some of the answers, work on it with a friend or use any tools that help. With that, I give you:

      15 Questions for Someone Religious Struggling with Gay Marriage
      15. Sally and Jen move in next door to you with their two kids. How does this end up affecting your marriage? How does this affect your relationship with your own children?
      14. Greg’s husband of 30 years, Jack, sadly passes away unexpectedly and there is no will written. Should Greg be able to inherit what his husband Jack leaves behind?
      13. John had a terrible marriage with Cindy and after about a year they divorced. In a few years both John and Cindy found love again, married these new partners and just couldn’t be happier. Are they adulterers as the bible states they are?
      12. Being no one can live according to the rules of the Old Testament in 2015, most (read: All) Christians live their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. Does Jesus ever mention homosexuals or homosexual activity?
      11. During the abomination of slavery in this country, many slave owners turned to a famous book to uphold their practice. What was this book? What were those passages? How do you feel about their picking of passages to uphold the practice of slavery?
      10. Do you feel that religion is dying with younger generations? If so, why do you think that is? And furthermore, could churches stand to be more inclusive in spreading the word of God and teachings of Christ?
      9. When someone tries to take something away from you that you love, how do you feel?
      8. What is the “Golden Rule?”
      7. Now that you’ve researched the “Golden Rule,” does question 9 feel different?
      6. Are you happily married? If so, how good does it feel to bask in the joy of your marriage?
      5. What is the Golden Rule?
      4. How do you feel about those who believed in segregation/not allowing mixed races to marry?
      3. Do you believe strongly in legacy? How do you want your children/grandchildren to think of you?
      2. How did marriage start?
      A. A religious institution.
      B. A man and a woman in love.
      C. An arranged alliance between families to increase land and/or power.
      1. After finding the answer to Question 7, do you think marriage has evolved since its “creation?”

      1. Every denomination that has gone down this path has declined and shrunk as the people in the pews vote with their feet.

        1. For one thing, the Greek words that Paul used it turns out are not able to be directly translated into our modern word homosexuality, so, no, the Bible translation on this is not that cut and dry. Not all translators and Biblical historians feel Paul’s words should be translated in that way, I am speaking of his words in Romans about what is translated homosexuality, as well as elsewhere. As Rev. Virtue has pointed out, read the works of Matthew Vine online and his Restoration Project, as well as David Gushee. And, I, for one “of that ilk” as you put it, do believe in sin and adultery. Being a homosexual does not mean you have a pass to have a free for all. Homosexual men and women can be and are just as committed to their purity before marriage as heterosexuals, and as committed to their vows to their marriage partners afterwards, just as they are just as devoted to their love of Christ. Premarital sex and adultery are sin, period., and no one is saying any different. But what two men or two women who have entered the covenant of marriage do in their own bed after their wedding ceremony, as long as it is not abusive, that is no one business but theirs and God’s, who sees it as an expression of love just like in a heterosexual couple. Paul also talked about women never speaking in church or cutting their hair, both of which most people realize were things he were directing to a specific group of people facing a specific issue between members at a specific time in history with certain cultural norms. The same is, quite frankly, true of homosexuality. Then it was used to rape and shame slaves and conquests in battle, and was hurting young innocent boys with no way out of their slavery. There was no open same sex relationships or marriage. But now we know better that it is a healthy, normal part of life, just different than some people are used to seeing. It is just a biological variation in some people like artistic ability, fashion sense, mathematical prowess, brown eyes, or autism, or speaking ability, stubbornness, and unkindness., or an unwillingness to accept change or people who are different than themselves. You are making wide assumptions that those of us who are supporting and want to welcome and include our LBGTQ people already in our midst and those who will come seeking the Love of Jesus are people who just bend to the wind of any popular fad. Our faith and love of Jesus and our dedication to following His Way and our knowledge of Scripture can be just as strong as any other Christian’s. I have been a believer since 1988, and a member of Salford since 1989. I truly love reading articles about Mennonite theology and Biblical history, not to mention the Bible itself. Just because some people see a certain part of Scripture differently, or have read research about that passage and research about the issue and have life experiences with loved ones that support what they have learned, and Holy Spirit is working inside their hearts and lives showing them more and more clarity,…………Just because someone’s view on an issue is different and because there will be people allowed into the church that might make you uncomfortable, does not mean that the whole church is falling apart or that we are less of a Christian, any of us, on either side. We all need to remember that we love and serve the same Jesus and each other first and foremost.

          1. Jennifer Gorman,
            True, as you say: “Not all translators and Biblical historians feel Paul’s words should be translated in that way.” However, saying not all doesn’t begin to give the reasonable reader justification for accepting the view of those few who go against 2000 years of unwavering tradition on these particular matters. The scholars who dismiss the words translated as homosexual as not meaning that usually go on to reinterpret the words in ways that very few other scholars accept. Yes, there are some few who are arguing around what church teachers and leaders have understood the words to mean without confusion since the New Testament was written. Those who think ancient native Greek speakers didn’t know what the Apostles and NT authors meant, didn’t know as well as these few today trying to reinterpret the NT to say something it has never before been understood by any significant segment of the Church to mean, are, I think, the mistaken few.

            As for things Paul wrote about that “were things … direct[ed] to a specific group of people facing a specific issue between members at a specific time in history with certain cultural norms.” None of those things were moral matters. So, “the same is” NOT “true of homosexuality.” Think about this. It is often pointed out that Jesus didn’t even talk about homosexuality, right? But the reason he didn’t say anything about it was because there was no debate on the question among the various Jewish traditions of the time with which he interacted. It had been clear and settled since establishment of Old Covenant Law for the Jews. As for pagans, there actually were same sex marriages known among the Roman around the time the NT was written. But for followers of Christ there was never an acceptance of homosexual behavior until recently, when people started thinking “now we know better.” Be sure to read carefully scholars who have reviewed scriptural teaching again and have responded to the divergent new thinking on these matters; there are plenty of them out there, even among Mennonite, like Willard Swartley and Mark Nation.

      2. Um… I find your response to my statement very interesting. You didn’t address the actual statement. Homosexuality is sinful… I dont know how much more clear it can be? May God guide your heart back to him.

        1. It is, in fact, not sinful. That is the whole point. The Greek word that Paul used can be translated in other ways, the situations he was talking about are not the same as someone who is a devoted follower of Christ who also happens to be wanting to date someone of their own sex or of either sex, instead of the opposite, or who has chosen a different or unclear gender identity, but who is saving themselves, is staying pure until marriage. That is something entirely and completely different than what Paul was speaking of, not something that is going to drive your heart away in it’s obsession, from focusing on Jesus and His love, which is the point of the passage. And there still is the point that Jesus Himself did not address this issue, and He certainly could have if He thought it was important. He thought divorce was important enough, and adultery was important enough, which is where He referenced men and women being married as an illustration because that was the norm at the time. But He knew the hearts of man, John says in his gospel, so if He thought this was big deal, I kinda think He might of mentioned it directly. Instead He talks of loving each other, teaching, each other, welcoming the children, healing and feeding each other, being servants to each other, and NOT judging, and most of all to love God with all out hearts and minds and souls and strength. We don’t dare let Him down by not feeding EVERY single one of His sheep that He has called.

          1. God does call for love absolutely. Not acceptance of sin. And you can let society define what is right and wrong in God’s eyes.? I will pray for you and others who are being misguided by society.

          2. Thank you for your prayers, but I am not letting society guide me at all. Jesus guides me, with the Holy Spirit in everything I do, as does love as Paul writes. in Collosians. Just because we have differing views on how a particular piece of Scripture, one that was not even from Jesus Himself, is to be either translated or applied does not mean that I am swayed by society. I have both a brain in my head of my own, to read the Bible and have God move in my own heart as to what it means to life, and the faith and strength and courage and love to back that reading up, following my Jesus every step of the way. I will always choose Him, choose love, choose my church family and my own children, real people, over the Law. The Law without Love is nothing, and when that law does not even apply, I have nothing to be repenting or turning back to Him over. I have never, ever left Him in the last 27 years since I have began loving Him and following Him wherever He leads me in this life, whether it is through severe ongoing illness, raising an autistic son, or family members coming out within the last year, or a scary biopsy in two days time. Jesus has brought me to all of these places, and guided me through them, and shown me the wonders of all of them, and brought me wonderful new people into my life and stronger relationships because of all of these things, including the homosexuality and bisexuality in my family. Those people are some the most devoted followers of Jesus He has ever called, and some of the most honest and sure of their faith because it has been so tested and questioned and shamed and yet they still are devoted to Him, still clinging to His promises and grace and sharing Him and His love with others, are Salt and Light to the rest of the world, exactly as He has asked.

          3. Jennifer Gorman,
            The idea “that Jesus Himself did not address this issue, and He certainly could have if He thought it was important,” is what is known as a _non sequitur_, meaning the conclusion doesn’t follow from the argument, there is a disconnect between the premise and the conclusion. Jesus didn’t talk about stealing, or even murder _per se_, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t think that part of the Torah was important. What he does say about human sexual relations is as clear and as important as that he thought it was to be between a man and a woman “from the beginning.” It is often pointed out that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, right? But the reason he didn’t say anything about it was because there was no debate on the question among the various Jewish traditions of the time with which he interacted. It had been clear and settled since establishment of Old Covenant Law for the Jews, more than 3000 years ago. For followers of Christ there was never an acceptance of homosexual behavior until recently, when people started thinking “now we know better.” That this is the frame of reference that use to argue around biblical teaching to get to the conclusions you want is implied also when you say “that was the norm at the time,” as though the norm that stood for more than 3000 years can be waived with a casual–that was then and this is now. Rather than teaching that his followers shouldn’t judge at all he says rather ” Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.” NET or ” Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” ESV John 7:24

  6. God will not be mocked.
    Hold fast to loving the sinner but not the sin.
    Thank goodness I do not have a Rev. on here as my pastor.
    Pray people pray for the church all over America to turn totally back to God, as our nation needs to do as well.

  7. I’m shocked at how many on here are defending sodomy. But I guess I shouldn’t be. Mennonite Church USA is far down the path that ELCA, PCUSA, The Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, and others are on. And the people in the pews will continue to vote with their feet.

  8. Richard Worden Wilson, I will be very brief because I am in extreme physical pain today from my diseases and also have a biopsy early in the morning so I am resting. Homosexuality most certainly would have been around, just not openly in the time of Jesus, as it is a natural thing, and he would have been aware of it, because, as I said, He knew, as John wrote, the hearts of men, both then, and now, it makes sense He has created us, and loves us (our sexual orientation and all, actually). And since He was the friend of sinners and outcasts, I can only imagine all the more how he had heard of it. And just because an idea has been found relatively recently among historians and translators, does not make it wrong. If new information has been discovered or new ways of thought have proven to be true, how is that not benefiting mankind? The Holy Spirit works among the translators and historians and theologians giving them new insights and truths as much as the Spirit moves among the rest of God’s Kingdom, moving us to show His world His love and grace.

    1. The word of God changed? Where can I get the decoder ring to see this new information? Wait. The word of God didn’t change but the devil was let in to your heart and apparently several others.

  9. The Word has obviously never changed, but it was written 2000 years ago in a language that no one now speaks or writes, the original manuscripts are lost, the people who wrote them and who they were written to are not here to explain what they meant or what was happening, the exact context. So now when we can piece together new understanding of the original Greek words, how people used the words in context at that time culturally, historically, how they should be translated more accurately, well, yes, that knowledge can certainly and hopefully grow in depth and strength, and with the Holy Spirit helping those who are doing this important research.

    1. Jennifer Gorman,
      Your thinking that scripture “was written 2000 years ago in a language that no one now speaks or writes” is simply not true. I’ve met and studied with many who read and write it quite well. If you are mistaken in this perhaps there is much more you don’t understand about the 2000 year tradition sustained by scripture which has proscribed homosexual relations during those years. 2000 years of Christian thought and history is not easy to grasp but you will better understand it if you work at it. Yours in Christ.

      1. I studied in a conservative seminary that believes in literal interpretation and when I studied 6 terms of Greek and 4 terms of Hebrew we were taught that these are dead languages that are neither written or spoken any more. Literally we spoke and wrote some made up sounds during these classes but the languages are dead. Even in that ultra conservative seminary during my PhD courses I learned that new research showed that all of the talk about Greek aorist tense that had been taught for two centuries was completely wrong. There is no continuous connection of people speaking the language so we don’t know what it means for certain without comparing to other texts. The more we unearth in archeology the more we learn about Greek Hebrew and Aramaic.

        1. Paul A virtue Sr.,
          I’m sure there are different perspectives on ancient versus modern Hebrew language, but to call it dead would likely bring a chorus of complaints from those speaking and studying it today. Languages evolve; this is true of Hebrew also. Biblical Hebrew has been preserved through liturgical use and study of the Torah continuously for centuries, and was revived in light of that continuity.

          Even modern Greek readers are said to be able to understand the New Testament (there is substantial continuity in the Greek Orthodox tradition after all). So, dead is probably not the right term for that language either.

          Yes, there may be more discontinuity in pronunciation in Greek than Hebrew today, but comprehension of meaning is far from dead. I’m sure we’re learning little bits more here and there about these ancient languages, but saying either is a dead language seems more designed for obfuscation than edification.

          Ultimately, 2000 years of continuity of Christian teaching regarding homosexual behavior, and another 1000-1400 years of Jewish understanding of the texts of Torah regarding that, are not so easily dismissed. It would be best if those who argue for full inclusion of sexually active LGBTQ+ in Christian congregations were honest about the history of exclusion and state clearly that they think the biblical authors, including Jesus and the Apostles and other New Testament authors, were wrong about God’s will regarding sexual relations, or that God’s will has changed and those who for full inclusion are the new prophets speaking for God on these matters.

          1. Clearly no consensus because you have a different opinion but I would love to see a scholar who says the languages are not dead.

          2. Oh, why no comment on honesty regarding Jewish and Christian traditions on homosexual relations?

          3. Also, regardless of whether or not most scholars characterize the biblical languages and technically dead (as in none of those who spoke it then are still alive?) there are very few that argue that it is extremely unlikely or impossible to know what the original authors meant. That is why obfuscation seems to be involved in arguing that we can’t know what the original authors meant.

          4. For the love of God is broader
            Than the measure of our mind;
            And the heart of the Eternal
            Is most wonderfully kind.

            There is plentiful redemption
            In the blood that has been shed;
            There is joy for all the members
            In the sorrows of the Head.

            ’Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
            It is something more than all;
            Greater good because of evil,
            Larger mercy through the fall.

            If our love were but more simple,
            We should take Him at His word;
            And our lives would be all sunshine
            In the sweetness of our Lord.

            Souls of men! why will ye scatter
            Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
            Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
            From a love so true and deep?

            It is God: His love looks mighty,
            But is mightier than it seems;
            ’Tis our Father: and His fondness
            Goes far out beyond our dreams.

            But we make His love too narrow
            By false limits of our own;
            And we magnify His strictness
            With a zeal He will not own.

            Was there ever kinder shepherd
            Half so gentle, half so sweet,
            As the Savior who would have us
            Come and gather at His feet?

    2. Oh, I may be wrong, no doubt about that, but in any case: “let God be found true, though every man may be a liar” Romans 3:4

  10. If the misinterpretation by the kjv team in 1611 gives you what you think God meant then your trust is in a bunch of 17th century English men who had a bad Greek text to work with. That is not God being true that is King James being true

  11. WWrenn, this entire discussion grieves me, but I find it interesting that you never answered my sincere question of what you (and the others who cannot accept homosexuality as possibly not a sin but a facet of a person) fear? What is it that you fear will happen if we accept all of God’s children? Those of us who love our LGBT friends/family need to understand to help facilitate this important conversation. “Loving the sinner and hating the sin” tells them they are unworthy of God’s grace if it is an innate part of them, (as I believe it is) and I don’t think that gels with Jesus words and actions as they are recorded for us. Please take the time to answer this question – Rose A and any others as well. What is driving your fear? I know it’s based on the scripture as you’ve been taught them (and as I was, as well), but that doesn’t answer the question. Yes, I know you believe homosexuality is a sin, or at least sodomy (which should clear lesbians, since that isn’t an act they can perform together), but as others have pointed out, there are multitudes of sins listed in the Bible that we have chosen to ignore or adapt to our current lives (divorce being the most obvious.

    You’ve said people are walking away because of accepting homosexuality, but my congregation (First Menno in Denver) has been growing.

    1. You opened the conversation to “any others as well” and since the questions you ask aren’t new or unanswerable I’ll give it a try.

      First I would like to point out that the idea that we should “fear the Lord God and obey him only” is not merely an extremely common theme in the Old Testament, but not absent from the New Testament as well. As noted in Acts as believers were “walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit,” the Church “multiplied.” (Acts 9:31) As Paul said “knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.” (2 Corinthians 5:11) Not to put to fine a point on it, I think that among those who claim that homosexual behavior (which is a completely separate issue from that of “orientation”) is to be commended there does not seem to be much sense that God is to be feared and obeyed. Even Jesus said “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) Yes, John said that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”(I John 4:18) But who among us claims to have achieved a perfect love of God? Jesus said teach them to observe/obey all that I have taught, yet the congregations I know of who offer full inclusion of LGBTQ+ as members and even pastors aren’t engaged in the disciplinary practice Jesus told us to follow regarding those engaged in sinful behaviors. (Matt. 18:15 ff) It seems to me that calling those who fear God rather than humans “homophobic” does an injustice to those committed to obeying God rather than men. What does it mean to love God first rather than people first in the midst of this cultural debate and conflict? Remember “in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:35)

      Second, as you and many similarly argue: “there are multitudes of sins listed in the Bible that we have chosen to ignore or adapt to our current lives (divorce being the most obvious.” So, is this possibly an argument for ignoring calling any sin a sin? That is what it looks like. Churches are ignoring other sins so why should homosexual acts be considered sin? I realize that no one bringing this particular line of reasoning recognizes the implications of what they are saying, how self-contradictory it is, so I won’t even call this argument sinful (a little tongue in cheek here). But really, inclusive churches as far as I know aren’t engaged in any discipline regarding sexual relationships outside of marriage, so doesn’t that mean they are sinning by not obeying Jesus in not dealing with sins at all? Divorce may not be something many churches are dealing with scripturally but again, is that a valid reason for ignoring scriptural prohibitions regarding homosexuality? “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1)

      Third, an inclination toward any particular sin may be natural to that particular sinner, and we all may have an orientation toward particular sins in accordance with our natures, but claiming someone is not a sinner because they are innately sinners doesn’t and can’t ever justify engaging in something identified as sin by the Word of God. We are all sinful and are called as believers in Christ to be those endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our natures and live according the new nature as new creations in Christ. The line of reasoning that says homosexuality is natural and therefore not a sin is a dead end, having no reasonable theological or biblical justification. I really don’t think many have thought clearly or deeply about the implications of justifying or baptizing as non-sinful acts that are clearly described as such in scripture on the basis of that sin being innate.

      1. Richard,

        Those who consider homosexuality to be a sin have overlooked Jesus instruction to remove the beam from their own eye.

        If you think all things should be dealt with why not push for a no divorce clause as a starting point and deal with a more prevalent issue across all,congregations.

        I would guess it’s because you can understand divorce but you think gay men are yucky. I have found this too be true for most people when they dig into it they would rather tackle something that they don’t deal with and have never been tempted with than to dig into their own pride, gossip, lack,of gratitude, sewing discord among the brethren, etc…

        Why not these more common and obvious sins of the spirit. Why the obsession on sexuality? Seems like God was more upset at David for pride in counting the people then adultery. Judah the forefather of the Messiah slept with his widowed daughter in law and God was angry that he didn’t take care of the woman by providing a son, not a word about the prostitution. Maybe we should start caring for all the gay people in our community and not worry about their sex lives.

        1. Nonsense. Show me the beam in my eye and I’ll show you your splinter.

          The divorce issue has an “except for…” clause. It is not just a “no divorce” matter. I have consistently promoted an obedience to Christ’s and the Apostles’ teaching on divorce whenever the issue arises. If you’d like to discuss that further please ask.

          Rather than guess what I think please ask first before making assumptions and arguing against a preconceived straw man.

          David repented of his adultery so your argument doesn’t make sense to me.

          I’m not obsessed with homosexual sins and do my best to deal with sins in myself and others in every way I can. It seems rather that our whole USAmerican culture is obsessed with denying the sinfulness of any and every kind of sexual relationship, and many who call themselves Christian seem to think that is commendable.

          There are ways of caring for people engaged in sinful behaviors that affirm and conform to the Word of God as recorded in scripture and there others that don’t. Divergence from scripture is sinful.

          Being concerned about other Christians who are engaged in sinful behaviors that may exclude them from the eternal kingdom of God is perhaps the highest form of caring for them. “Not worry[ing] about their sex lives” may be the least caring thing one can do.

        2. Obsession on sexuality? That would be the homosexual lobby who does that, as if the center of the Christian faith revolves around genitalia. This is depravity at its worst.

      2. Richard Worden Wilson, you still have not answered the question: what do YOU fear? You keep spitting out Biblical references to support your viewpoint, but WHAT IS IT THAT YOU FEAR WILL HAPPEN?? I cannot get a sincere, thoughtful answer to that question, merely the spouting of more verses about sin. Do you fear that God will destroy the US or the world? (We’re already doing a pretty fine job of that ourselves – do you consider that a sin?) If you are assured of a place in heaven, does it matter if God does destroy the world? I have known a wide variety of Mennonites in my 54 years, having been raised in a family who can trace their Mennonite roots back to the beginning, and I don’t for a minute believe that all of the conservative Christians, Menno or otherwise, are afraid the world will be destroyed before everyone can be converted to Christianity. So, what is it?? Please answer the question asked instead of quoting yet more verses, or the same ones over and over. Please!

        1. You mean besides fearing that I/we/some of us will hear that fateful “I never knew you” because we have failed to obey God in Christ and fallen into persistent iniquity? How more sincere do I need to be? It is OK to quote scripture and still be thoughtful isn’t it?

          1. Okay, let me be more clear. What will happen to you, or to those you love? How does allowing LGBT people to live full lives impact YOUR life? Is it possibly brushing elbows with a sinner who is somehow different than other sinners? Is God going to forsake the church? If you and those you love have not “fallen into persistent iniquity” by being in a non-heterosexual relationship, how does it impact you? And, again, don’t ask me to believe that you care in more than an abstract way about each every one of “the fallen” who “will hear that fateful ‘I never knew you'”.

          2. Your line of questioning seems to imply that I am only interested in myself and those who love me, or maybe that everyone is only interested in her/his self, and then you clearly say that you could never believe that I care about others lives, our common relationship with God, or our eternal destinies. I’m not getting the impression that you actually want to know what I think or feel, and wonder whether we have a relationship in common with Christ together. It doesn’t seem we share the same commitment to Jesus as Lord, as the God to whom we owe obedience. Do we?

          3. OK,, Richard Worden Wilson, you care about “others lives, our common relationship with God, or our eternal destinies.” Maybe what I don’t understand is how accepting those who are not heterosexual as full members of the church will change “our eternal destinies”. If their eternal destiny is the concern, shunning or rejecting them will not help, will it? And I can’t see how their lives affect anyone else’s eternal destiny. Can you help me to understand that?

            The Christ I have a relationship with said the greatest of all the commandments were to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is what I strive to do, all day, every day, and to me that means bringing the stranger, the outcast, the sinner, etc., in from the cold, welcoming him or her with open arms, showing by the example of love who God is. I also see many Biblical passages saying that judgment and vengeance belong to God, not to us, so how can we decide what sins make a person unworthy of belonging to our group? Are there no unwed couples living together who attend your church? Or have they all been cast out and denied membership because they continue to sin with no intention of changing? If not, how is that any different than loving LGBT partners? For all you know, it could be 2 men/women who are celibate but love each other as life partners. Is that a sin?

          4. OK, let me be as clear as I can. If I am a member of a congregation that is not accepting and implementing the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles regarding dealing with clearly identified sins (yes, include the whole nine yards of sins identified in the New Testament!), if I don’t affirm and do my best to implement Jesus’ teachings including Matt. 18:15ff regarding how to deal with fellow disciples who are engaging in sinful behaviors, then I am not obeying Jesus as Lord and God. If I am not obeying what he has clearly told us to do then I am sinning, right? Living in sin, ignoring what God has said to do and not do, will result in eternal consequences, right? The purpose of engaging in the disciplinary process described by Jesus has the purpose of winning the sinning person to obedience to Christ; if someone refuses to obey Christ after the individual and others and the whole church has entreated them to stop sinning then their eternal destiny is their responsibility alone. If an individual or a group or congregation acquiesces in condoning or by approving a sinful behavior it is the same as participating in the sin.

            Hear the word Christ spoke to the church in Thyritira: Revelation 2:19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality…. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”

            The greatest of the commandments is to love God. Jesus says that “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” Your main argument is what is called a _non sequitur_ your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premise. You said:
            “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is what I strive to do, all day, every day, and to me that means bringing the stranger, the outcast, the sinner, etc., in from the cold, welcoming him or her with open arms, showing by the example of love who God is. I also see many Biblical passages saying that judgment and vengeance belong to God, not to us, so how can we decide what sins make a person unworthy of belonging to our group?”

            Loving God means obeying him. Yes, caring for those in need is loving him by loving them. That doesn’t mean that obeying and upholding what he says means judging or doing vengeance, and it isn’t up to us to decide what sins are not acceptable within the church. God is who decides what sins are not acceptable. Instead, we have mere humans deciding that behaviors God has declared unacceptably sinful are fully acceptable within the churches. You say it isn’t up to us, but approving of those who are deciding for themselves instead of accepting God’s expressed written words is exactly that; it is precisely the “we” you refer to who are deciding for themselves who is acceptable. Those who call sin sin and believe the Matt 18 process should be obeyed in dealing with sexual sins are being considered sinful because they are trying to obey the word of Christ. So, it seems to me your argument is a bit like trying to stand on you head without using your arms; if we just follow our head (or hearts) without the support of the strong arm of scripture and the supportive arm of 2000-3400 years of tradition we are going to fall into disobedience to God.

          5. OK, missed this last all too common and all too fallacious an argument, in which you say:
            “Are there no unwed couples living together who attend your church? Or have they all been cast out and denied membership because they continue to sin with no intention of changing? If not, how is that any different than loving LGBT partners?”

            If there are unwed couples living together in my church they should be engaged in a discipleship process according to Matt 18:15ff. If the sin weren’t ended then the result should be according to scripture. I hear this argument all the time but I really think it is sick. It seems to be an argument for ignoring all sinful behavior because some is ignored. Please explain to me why I shouldn’t consider this an argument for ignoring calling any sin a sin? That is what it looks like. Churches are ignoring other sins so why should homosexual acts be considered sin? I realize that no one bringing this particular line of reasoning recognizes the implications of what they are saying, how self-contradictory it is, so I won’t even call this argument sinful (a little tongue in cheek here). But really, inclusive churches as far as I know aren’t engaged in any discipline regarding sexual relationships outside of marriage, so doesn’t that mean they are sinning by not obeying Jesus in not dealing with sins at all? Divorce may not be something many churches are dealing with scripturally but again, is that a valid reason for ignoring scriptural prohibitions regarding homosexuality? “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1) Ridiculous.

    2. I don’t know of anyone that calls divorce good, or alcoholism good, or any sin good — but those who plead for the acceptance of homosexual behavior call such behavior good. God says otherwise. Like the Quakers, I believe the Light of Christ is in every human being. But humans must accept that Light, choose to repent of sin and forsake it, and follow Jesus Christ. No one is born homosexual; science has never found a homosexual gene.

      As I have said before, there is a great chasm between those who call homosexual behavior what God calls it – sin — and those who deny it is a sin and call it good. Those who do so are endangering people’s souls. You ask what I fear? I fear for people’s souls.

      1. If you fear for our souls it seems you might find a way to show that. From your words I perceive that you despise me and you fear for some impurity that might impact you if the church isn’t cleansed of yucky gay men.

        1. I don’t despise you or anyone. You love someone by telling them the truth, not some sugarcoated lie. If I didn’t care about someone’s soul, I could tell them to go ahead and do whatever makes them feel good because God doesn’t mind; He just wants them to feel happy whatever they choose to do. Pedophilia makes you feel good? You say you were born that way? Well go ahead; God will not expect you to change. The same for alcoholics, adulterers, liars, cheaters. You say you have an anger problem and abuse your spouse? You say you inherited that? Why, God doesn’t accuse you; he accepts you just the way you are.

          You say you are a bisexual? You were born that way? So, do what makes you feel good.

          BTW, no one is born bisexual unless that person is born with two sets of genitals.

          People have fooled themselves. They have given themselves over to hedonism. God is not pleased or mocked.

          1. Wow typical self righteous response throw pedophilia into a conversation about LGBTQ because you’ve been taught that gay men molest children.

            So offensive and why the church as a whole has damned thousands of gay people with their self righteous platitudes and no humility.

            Nothing you have said sounds like Jesus

          2. Stop mischaracterizing what I said and putting words in my mouth! And stop calling me self-righteous. You are a liar. I said nothing about gay men molesting children. I listed some sins in making my point. Those who plead for homosexuality always bring racism and sexism into the conversation when the issue has nothing to do with those things, so how dare you falsely accuse me of something I did not do.

            You are dishonest and have no integrity. You have falsely accused me of something and done it by name calling.

            Nothing YOU have said sounds like Jesus. You have borne false witness.

            You call sin good and falsely accuse your opponents. You should be ashamed. You should not call yourself a minister. If you had any honor, you would resign from the ministry.

          3. Mr (I’m assuming) Wrenn, you are being vicious! Is there no room for difference of opinion, different readings of scripture (actually a traditional Mennonite position) in your world? You suggest that Rev. Virtue should resign the ministry because he doesn’t agree with you – how is that your judgment to make? Isn’t that the decision of his congregation, conscience, and God?

            And pedophiles are made, not born, and they cause suffering of the children, which Jesus was 100% against. Homosexuals are consenting adults, not abusers. I realize you believe homosexuals are “made” also, but have you ever honestly considered why a person would deliberately choose such a difficult life? Have you ever considered that God can grow and change? Maybe when God sees pain and suffering because of something that was written thousands of years ago, God decides that there are other sins that are greater.

            And you still haven’t answered my sincere question: What do you fear? It isn’t just that you believe homosexuality is a sin, because there are many sins that we all commit daily. We aren’t Catholics who rank sins in order, and you may view homosexuality as a more grievous sin than others, but that still isn’t enough to explain the harshness, anger, and fear.

          4. I answered your question. Maybe you should go back and read it.

            God does not change. Anything that was ever a sin still is. It’s humans who try to change what God has said. It’s called cultural relativism and hedonism.

            There is no science to support that anyone is born a homosexual, or bisexual. People may have inclinations toward that, as they do toward alcoholism, but no one is born a homosexual, or an alcoholic.

          5. This is the answer you gave. No matter how many times I read it, it does NOT answer my question. What do you fear will happen, to you, to the church, to the world, if non-heterosexual persons are fully accepted as God’s children? The answer of not repenting of our sins (and I assume that there are some cohabiting couples in your church who apparently are not repenting of their sins enough to stop doing so – how does that differ again?) doesn’t cut it – the only soul you have to worry about is your own, and I suppose your loved ones. So how does it affect you, personally, if the church allows LGBT persons full acceptance? I’m asking for a real answer.

            “Yeah, everybody commits sin, as I have mentioned previously. But ALL are expected and required to REPENT of that sin. God requires it, and Jesus required it in the NT. Do you really believe that the church should not call people to repentance, that the church should be made up of unrepentant sinners, that is should be full of unrepentant murderers, alcoholics, adulterers, fornicators, haters, etc? If so, that is not the church.

            What are YOU afraid of? That asking someone to repent of sins is an unjust requirement? Are you afraid to follow the scriptures? Are you afraid of being called an unloving sinful bigot, as you believe I am?

            The real unloving people are people like you who would not ask anyone to repent of their sins in order to be a part of the church.”

          6. It affects me personally because I care what happens to people’s souls. I grieve for people.

          7. I point them to Jesus by pointing them to His words and actions and God’s words and actions in the Bible — Jesus and God who are unchanging and unchangeable, the Jesus Who is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever, Whose words, actions, and being cannot be changed by 21st century cultural relativists to legitimize their hedonistic philosophy and behavior which can only lead to ruin. Jesus loves with a love unsurpassed, and He requires holiness and a turning from and forsaking of sin — all sin.

          8. None of your words or actions seem like what Jesus would say or do. No words of comfort or healing just judgement

          9. What do you think “go and sin no more” means”? Do you think Jesus was being judgmental when He told the woman caught in adultery that? The way to be healed is to have our sins forgiven and begin to live lives in accord with God’s standards, not ours.

          10. But you are insisting your understanding of sin is the only acceptable one.

          11. No, I’m insisting that God’s definition of sin in the Bible is the only acceptable one. God doesn’t change. You either believe what God says and go by it, or you shouldn’t call yourself a Christian. The Bible, especially the New Testament, is the sourcebook of our faith, not 21st century cultural relativism that wants to change God’s standards.

          12. Love is not having the best intentions for someone or some feelings. Love is actions of care that are demonstrably loving to the recipient.

          13. I guess I never answered the questions you asked of me. “What are YOU afraid of? That asking someone to repent of sins is an unjust requirement? Are you afraid to follow the scriptures? Are you afraid of being called an unloving sinful bigot, as you believe I am?”

            Last one first – I don’t believe you are an unloving sinful bigot. I believe you are frightened by a world that is changing around you despite what you believe to your toes is right and true, and which you feel powerless to stop. I believe that you are probably very loving to those around you, family and otherwise, and strive to follow God as you understand the scriptures.

            I don’t believe asking someone to repent of sin is unjust – but I do believe that we each know when we sin and my sin may not be your sin, even if we did exactly the same thing. I believe that there are many, many things that could be called sin,, many of which have been in the Bible but that we no longer attend to. I believe that the greatest sins are harming other people because we are all God’s children. My greatest sin, frankly, is getting frustrated and not being kind to those who seem to have no desire to try to see what life is like in another’s shoes.

            I’m not afraid to follow the scriptures, but I also know that we don’t follow all of them – NONE of us do. We would not be able to function if we did. For example, I have had short hair for over 40 years, and I’ve never worn the covering at church – but I do try to live the Golden Rule (though, as I said, I struggle with some viewpoints).

            In short, I’m not actually afraid of anything except the tearing apart of each other and the Mennonite church. Violence in all its forms terrifies me, but more because of the harm it does to all those around and its pernicious effects that last far longer than the immediate violence.

            So, I will ask one more time: how would accepting those who are not heterosexual into the body of the church change the eternal destinies of the other church members? I can’t see it, so I’d love an explanation. It can’t just be that they are sinners, or we would eject all the unmarried couples who live together – they certainly are sinning all day every day according to scriptures.

          14. And I would not be in favor of unmarried heterosexual couples who are living together being members of the church.

            No unrepentant sinner should be a member of the church. If that is to be the case, then there is no difference between the church and the world.

  12. Jesus referring to Hosea 6:6 said. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    If you are in a place where you are so certain of the kingdom of God that you can begin to pull out the tares from the wheat in the spring, perhaps you are not in need of mercy yourself and can not offer it to others,

    1. It sounds like you are certain that those who call biblical sins sin are doing ritual sacrifices (in what way?) but not showing mercy, right? So, if the sexually immoral, those not agreeing with scripture but practicing what it proscribes, are the “righteous” in your eyes, and those not accepting behaviors proscribed by scripture are the sinners, it seems that you are calling good evil and evil good. I’m not condemning anyone or violently excluding those who reject scriptural norms from participation in the church/kingdom, just reflecting what scripture says rather than deciding for myself what is good (the “original” sin).

  13. Okay, WWrenn and Richard Worden Wilson, I’ll ask one more time: how does not rejecting someone who is sinning (which, again, includes all of us, probably every day) from the church impact the church itself? Does God then reject the entire congregation/church/people therein? Does it bring Armageddon?

    Remember there are many hidden sins, not obvious by looking, that each member could potentially be committing and be unrepentant of, at least in the sense I gather from your comments of never committing said sin again. I know we expect each person to ensure their conscience is clear prior to taking communion, for example, but there is no way to know if they are, is there? How, then, do you cleanse the church of any unrepentant sinners? And, again, what does God do if there are such persons in the church?

    1. Surely you know there is a difference in hidden sins and openly embracing known sin, advocating for it, and calling it good.

      1. Firstly, no, I don’t know that. Does God see hidden sins differently?

        Secondly, still no answer to my questions: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE CHURCH ITSELF? WILL GOD REJECT THE ENTIRE CONGREGATION/CHURCH/PEOPLE THEREIN? DOES IT BRING ARMAGEDDON?

        Why can’t you or Mr. Wrenn answer that?

        1. When was the last time you saw an alcoholics pride parade, or a wife abusers’ pride parade, or an adulterers’ rally?

          Of course the difference, and the crux of the matter, is that you refuse to call homosexual acts sin.

          What will happen to the church? Maybe the same thing that has happened to denominations that have gone down this path — a mass exodus.

        2. God will reject those who see sin and say nothing of it or act as if it doesn’t exist. You are being obtuse by asking questions over and over even after they have been answered.

          1. So are you saying God will reject MCUSA if sinners are included. How will he reject them. Will he send us all to hell if we include sinners, will he send natural disasters to destroy our property? What will happen?

          2. He will reject those who do nothing about sin..That is what I posted already. You are judged by what you do…stop putting words into people mouths. I did not say the MCUSA. so stop being obtuse. I am a proud Christian and Mennonite and my ancestors didn’t burn to at the stake in Switzerland for a group of people to twist the word of God and let the devil through the door through the sin of Homosexuality.

          3. Well, we clearly still are not able to communicate in words that have the same meanings to all of us, so I will cease with my efforts on this. No, I will never call being homosexual a sin, because I have too many friends and relatives whom I love dearly and who have done nothing but try to live their lives as the people they are. I refuse to believe that God frowns on a love between two equal people, that judging is more important than love and acceptance of all of God’s children, and that the true church will suffer from welcoming all comers.

            I am as ethnic Mennonite as anyone, with several ancestors traced back to Switzerland as well, and I believe that even if homosexuality were a sin that it is less grievous than things like child abuse, child sexual abuse, allowing our neighbors to go hungry, unclothed, unhoused, etc. If anything “lets the devil through the door”, I’d go with sins of greed and violence before a loving, consenting relationship between 2 adults.

          4. The devil is already in your house. And as I have said before and as God has, homosexuality is a sin.

      2. It would seem MCUSA perpetuated cover ups of a multitude of sins. It would seem the cover up is far worse see Aninias and Saphirra.

          1. I wasn’t being sarcastic but it seems you are. Homosexuality is not a sin unlike drunkeness

    2. I would add that for years the church covered up Dr Yoder’s impurities and sin against women. It is only now almost two decades after his death that the church is publicly acknowledging its failings and caring for those who were abused by him.

        1. My point is that God is merciful and didn’t destroy the Mennonites for hiding sin. If this is the God of the Old Testament it would seem the sin hidden in our tent would destroy us. So what is it you think God will do to the church specifically MCUSA. If they lovingly accept people with the grace and mercy of God. Forgiving others as our own trespasses are forgiven us.

          1. Look at what’s happened to other denominations which have continually moved further and further from the truth and teachings of God’s written word. Their churches are empty, closed down, or in the process of emptying, as people vote with their feet. The church is expected to forgive and show mercy, but it is also expected to call people to repentance.

          2. As a new Mennonite I have sincere questions? What is the average age of Mennonite church members, how many more members does MCUSA have now in comparison to two years ago.

            The churches I left that had a view of church purity like yours have closed almost half of their churches in the last thirty years. Three of their colleges and two seminaries closed in the last two years. They have the highest level of calling to repentance but they are dying faster than the mainline churches.

            If the sign of Gods judgement is fewer people, should we follow Joel Osteen or another mega church?

          3. Statistic show that the only denominations growing are the conservative ones. The liberal ones are dying, and the more liberal they get, the faster they are dying.

          4. I am studying church growth for a PhD and would love to see any of the statistics you have come across.

          5. “For anyone who has ever sincerely prayed about ‘what to do’about the ‘LGBTQ issue,’ I find myself thinking: God sent thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender AND a questioning people of faith to your doorstep. What more do you need?

            How many more faithful will come to you for your care, asking for your protection and fellowship, before you realize that God has answered your prayers about what to do next?” -Jennifer Knapp

  14. I am praying for those of you who seem so bound and blinded by your fear of homosexuality, and other’s sins in general. It must be so very hard to take back the yoke of hard work being Judge of us all, that our Savior has so lovingly already taken from us. Yes, I for one, and many, many others have read both The Word and what has been researched about it, and find that homosexuality is not a sin. Yes, there is a great deal of sin in this broken world and we need to teach others about what Jesus wants from us. But living in your private barricaded world of hatred and shame and pointing fingers and putting walls around your little corner of what you think Jesus wants must not be very warm or safe or peaceful, it must get very dark, lonely and cold after awhile. We can all read the Bible, we can all apply the things we feel God is saying are sins to our own lives and work with the Spirit every day on keeping those things out. In the end those things are between us and God. I as one Mennonite mother at least, and I am saying this again, will keep choosing love. Jesus will never find me lukewarm and spit me out. But know this. I personally know of one teenage LBGTQ precious, precious member of the Mennonite church, someone who is kind, loving, brave and who follows Jesus every minute, every single day and who, by the way is choosing to stay pure until marriage, not that it’s any of your business, who was both at Kansas City and who has since read all the vile nastiness you have written about him and it absolutely devastated him. To the point that his depression that he battles every day was horrible for days. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is strong in him and he pulled himself back out of it. The MYF of our congregation that were in Kansas City gave our service this last Sunday, and he gave half of the sermon. In that sermon he said, “We need to be the physical body of Christ in the presence of each other.” I want you to think about that Christ that he clings to and loves so very much. Think about the times all through the Gospels when sinners approached Him everywhere He went. And all the people He met were sinners. Did he have them start filling out a checklist of what had to be right in their life first? Did He start listing their sins to them and refuse to heal them, refuse to speak and feed them, to love them, to eat with them, pray with them????? And He knew what those sins were, too, for each of those people, right? The Samaritan Woman at the well, Zaccheus, Matthew, the bleeding woman who touched Him in a crowd, the Roman Centurion whose servant needed healing, the man whose friends cut a hole in the roof to lower him down to Jesus, to these people He loved first, and taught them, forgave them, kept loving them. It’s this funny weird topsy turvy, totally insane Way of His, but, guys, He is dead serious about it. It’s called Grace, It’s called Love, It’s called Mercy, it’s called Truth, It’s called Faith that He means what He says. Love each other, don’t judge, love. Judging is His job. He’s not asking for volunteers or opinions. It’s His Kingdom, not a democracy.

    1. And thanks for showing YOUR true colors, which I knew about you already but which you were almost successful at hiding. When you falsely charge us with such things as being a “Judge”, and say things such as this about us: “living in your private barricaded world of hatred and shame and pointing fingers and putting walls around your little corner of what you think Jesus wants”, just shows who is really the intolerant, hypocritical, hating, Bible-denying, Jesus-denying bigot. You far-left apostates really like to present yourselves as so loving and tolerant, but your own words eventually show just what and who you are. You may think you can change God’s standards, but you cannot.

      For anyone choosing homosexual behavior, they need to hear the truth. And the truth is this: Such behavior is sin, according to God’s own words. Science has discovered NO homosexual gene. God loves homosexuals, as he loves everyone, but He requires them and every one of us to forsake our sins and repent. If you tell them anything different, you are harming them, body and soul. You are NOT loving them by telling them a lie. Jesus invites us to come as we are, but then He CHANGES who we are, regenerates us, fills us with His Spirit, and tells us to forsake our sins and follow Him. Cultural relativism and hedonism are from the pit. This is counterfeit love and a lie.

  15. But we make His love too narrow
    By false limits of our own;
    And we magnify His strictness
    With a zeal He will not own.

    From. There’s a wide mess in God’s mercy. By Frederick Faber

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