My journey to understanding human sexuality as it relates to spirituality and absolute conviction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been long and hard. For many years I watched people who were engulfed by a lifestyle completely inconsistent with Christian living, simply because they were convinced that there was no sense even trying to live for God. After all, they were told that they were headed for Hell in a hand basket anyway. What's worse than being gay?
The reality is, within contemporary society it is highly unlikely that anyone living does not have an LGBT person touching their life in some small way. Whether it be a Gay hairdresser, Transgendered neighbor, or closeted cousin; one way or another we must face the reality that people of a sexual orientation or gender identification different than our own exist. And they are much nearer to us than we may realize. So many are forced into hiding or camouflaging the truth about themselves in an effort to maintain harmony in their families, to allay possible harassment or mistreatment by schoolmates, or to avoid being disenfranchised by their churches or faith communities.
The time has come for the church to begin to seriously reexamine it’s position on this substantial segment of our human population. Simple, misguided, and erroneous stereotypes will not continue to work. We cannot continue to say that Gay-Lesbian people are godless heathens who serve pleasure and abhor God, when in reality all the evidence to the contrary exists that any sincere soul could ever wish to see. LGBT people are struggling to embrace a lifestyle and standard of living that is comparable to that of mainstream heterosexual Christians. Many embrace monogomy, family, morality, sobriety, etc. The largest, and one of the oldest, LGBT organizations in the world is the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Gay-Lesbian Christian church founded in the late 1960's.
My own ministry was to take a daring controversial turn in 1993. As early as 1989, I felt God speaking to my spirit that He wanted me to start a ministry that reached out to the G,L,T communities. I would not listen. I even fought the Lord. I knew all the traditional arguments and stood convinced the Bible was emphatically anti-homosexual. When the Lord began to help me understand that I was not understanding the nature of grace and His merciful role as an understanding Creator who was fully cognitive of each and every one of His creations, suddenly I began to experience a massive, life changing transformation. A change, for which, I am more deeply grateful with every passing day. The Lord finally stepped in and helped me to realize several major things...
ONE: The Adam & Eve verses "Adam & Steve" argument. The Scriptures make very clear God's purpose in creating the woman Eve. "It is not good that man should be alone" was the Lord's clear logic in creating her (Genesis 2:18-22). The same chapter in the book of Genesis makes clear to us the fact that Eve was NOT created for the purpose of procreation. Firstly, procreation was not at all an issue until after the fall, when man assumed his animalistic (flesh and blood, fallen) nature and became subject to death. Without the presence of death, there is absolutely no need for procreation, which is life seeking to continue in the face of mortality.
We know that the author of Genesis was not physically present to witness the events of which he wrote, therefore, it was necessary that God reveal to Moses by the Spirit those things that had transpired many centuries before he himself lived. Like John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and author of the book of Revelation, Moses had to describe what he saw in the Spirit in the best possible and most recognizable terms of his day. We know that Genesis was in no wise written in perfect chronological form. After all, we read of the creation of man and woman in Genesis one, only to read again, with much greater detail, of man’s creation in chapter two. It is then perfectly logical and reasonable to assume that not every statement we read, spoken by the Lord to Adam and Eve, was necessarily spoken prior to the fall, but rather, it is much more likely and sensible that many of the statements we generally attribute to pre-fall conversations did not actually occur until after the fall, when such conversations and subject matter would have become pertinent.
For example: When did the Lord say to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply?” (Genesis 1:28) It only stands to reason that this statement would have been made AFTER Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Why? After all, prior to the fall, the following facts were true: 1) Adam and Eve would live forever, 2) These two individuals were confined to and given the responsibility of caring for the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8,15), 3) The tree of life which would sustain them for eternity was located in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22). Now, these things being true… Can you imagine the population overload that would have occurred within that one relatively small parcel of land, which we know as the Garden of Eden? No one would ever die, so every new birth would simply be adding souls to that already limited space. No one was able to leave the garden as the tree of life was there.
Think about it - After the fall it became necessary that Adam and Eve procreate like the animals. After the fall God told Eve of her fate as a woman who would experience pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16). The painful bearing of children was by no means God’s punishment on woman, but rather it was the natural byproduct of man’s being demoted from a supernatural existence to a natural existence, just like every other beast in God’s creation. Prior to their disobedience, Adam and Eve knew only what it was to have a supernatural, spiritual body. The apostle Paul acknowledged that “there is a physical body and there is a spiritual body.” (I Cor. 15:43-45) The same identical existence which we shall one day come to know after the resurrection of the saints when God’s people are restored to Adam’s first position, a “living soul” without sin. The Lord taught us that after the resurrection, “there is neither marriage, neither is anyone given in marriage.” (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35) Human sexuality is the byproduct of our fallen nature. Heterosexual or homosexual, you are only sexual at all because we share the fallen nature assumed by our grandparents after they had disobeyed God.
This is, in reality, what I believe Moses meant when he wrote that Adam and Eve did not realize they were naked. It was not about having no clothes on. It was about the fact that they had a nature very different from everything else around them. This is why God had said, “In the day that thou eatest of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) He did not say they would die that day. He said, the day they ate of the tree, THEY WOULD SURELY DIE. Death would become a reality for them on the very day that they ate of the tree. Why? Because, on that day, they would be demoted in nature to share the nature of the animals (hence we as human beings are classified scientifically as animals). The Bible declares that God gave them skins for a covering. (Genesis 3:21) Upon further research I have discovered that the term used in the Hebrew, interpreted “skins,” can literally mean flesh. God gave them flesh. And in so doing He guaranteed that very day that death would assuredly come to his now fallen creation.
The need for companionship and the need for a helper, assistant, “help mate” are universal. Nowhere in the Bible is it ever suggested that these needs have not been met, nor cannot, be met by a member of the same gender. Look at Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18), or David and Jonathon. (II Samuel 1:26) Had God created Adam and Steve, they still could have been for one another everything that Eve had been designed to be; again, that is if we accept honestly the clear logic employed by the Lord that Eve was created 1.) Because “it was not good that man should be alone (Companion), and 2) “I will make for him a help meet.” (Helper, Assistant) Genesis 2:17-19
TWO: The church has historically sought to demonize certain groups of people as it sought through carnal, less than Scriptural means, to elevate itself and create a sense of self-righteousness which satisfies the fallible human being by making him or her to believe that they are somehow more perfect, righteous, or holy because they do not have the same experience or condition as another whom they have labeled as evil, ungodly, or unholy. For centuries individuals who had been forced to divorce a mate were made to feel unclean and were unwelcome in many churches. Blacks in America were for centuries thought not even to posses a soul and were devalued as human beings by “good, godly, Christian men and women” with the presumed blessing of Scripture. People of color, various Indian tribes indigenous to the Americas, and obscure tribes in the African content were labeled barbaric and heathen because they did not wear clothing akin to that worn by their European observers. And yet, the Bible plainly teaches that where there is no law, there is no sin. If these people embraced nudity as a lifestyle and knew no law, moral or otherwise, that challenged their position, then in their innocence they were without guilt.
The church loves to look at others and see in them despicable sin so that it might feel better about itself, after all, by comparison, they may be as evil as Satan himself, but at least they don’t do this, or aren’t like that. Remember the story of Jesus? The Pharisee who entered the temple and said, “Lord I thank you that I am not like that man there.” (Luke 18:9-11) And yet the Lord said it was that very man, whom the Pharisee condemned, who walked away from the altar justified as in his sin, he humbly acknowledged his need for God’s love and grace. God’s church is not ever in a position to make a judgment relative to the salvation of another who sincerely seeks to “work out his own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12) If an individual’s conduct is disruptive to the ministry or fellowship, then there are very specific guidelines offered to us by the apostles as to how such disturbances ought to be addressed. If however, another’s skin color, culture, dress, or sexual orientation is not in keeping with your own beliefs relative to those matters, we are as children of God called to love one another and embrace one another in spite of our differences and cling to our common faith in the blood of Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished at Calvary! (By the way, whether straight or Gay, sexual orientation ought never to be played or acted out in public in such a manner as to even become a concern of anyone except the person living with that orientation)
THREE: Mainline Christianity has grossly misrepresented the issue of homosexuality within the Bible. Sodom is not once clearly identified as a "homosexual city." It is however; clearly represented as a decadent and godless city, given over to idolatry, gross immorality, and spiritual decline. The people of Sodom and it's sister cities not only committed fraud, compassionless, and lawless acts against one another freely, but they rejoiced in those who committed such acts. (Genesis 19:1-29; Isaiah 3:5-9; Jeremiah 23:10-14; Ezekiel 16:49-50) Furthermore, unlike the position taken by most churches and ministers, homosexuality is nowhere represented in Scripture as being any more a sin than eating shellfish or committing adultery. The Roman Catholic concept of one transgression being greater in nature than another is clearly unscriptural (James 2:10). In Jesus recorded lifetime, He not once mentioned anything relative to homosexuality. Even if you first embrace the misrepresented notions relative to Sodom, the fate of Sodom is several times said to be better than that of the hypocrite and heathen (Matt. 10:15; 11:23-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12). If it were so gross an evil, surely He would have said so. He did however preach against hypocrisy and frequently derided divorce and remarriage as being contrary to all God had originally designed for humanity. (Matt. 23:13-33; 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Deut. 24:1-4; I Cor. 7:8-9; 10-15; 27-28) Ministering to the Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender communities is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. Most have been so indoctrinated with a variety of lies and untruths relative to this aspect of the human condition that they cannot see the truths of faith, grace, and love as it relates to the homosexual. Paul acknowledged that he had a "thorn in the flesh" which he was incapable of overcoming. In spite of his oft' crying out to God for deliverance and aid, God chose to leave this "thorn" in place, citing that His (God's) "grace was sufficient." (II Cor. 12:7-10)
FOUR: Homosexuality, as it has been represented (or misrepresented) by ministers and churches is not the real issue with which we must reckon. Anymore than is alcoholism, drug addiction, divorce and remarriage, or mental illness. GRACE is. The Lord was slowly able to bring me to this understanding. Most churches talk grace, preach grace, and sing about God's "amazing grace;" but unfortunately, they do not genuinely UNDERSTAND grace! (Rom. 5:15; 6:15; Eph. 2:8; Isaiah 40:28; I Sam. 16:7; Psalm 103:14) Grace does for humanity what humanity cannot do for itself (Psalm 103:1-14). God expects us to embrace and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having done that, we are required by that Gospel to live a godly and moral life (Eph. 4:28; Heb. 12:14; James 4:17; I Peter 3:11; Gal. 6:10). Morality has nothing to do with whom you engage in intimacy. Morality finds its basis in the greatest of the commandments, "Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul; and, love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31) Morality, therefore, is firmly established in a care and concern for the health, success, and well being of your fellow human being. Immorality is acting in a manner that cares about none of these. America is swiftly becoming a grossly immoral nation by this definition. Hollywood would go out of business were it not for the fact that most Americans not only engage in immoral behaviors, but also are actually entertained by watching such actions being portrayed on the "big silver screen." (Romans 1:32; Ephesians 5:12) Mankind without God acts without any concern for reprisal. They treat one another with utter disdain and care not for the hurt, pain, suffering, or loss they cause to their neighbor. A Christian on the other hand behaves in a manner completely opposite. We are concerned about both our actions and their potential repercussions. We seek to be a blessing to all those about us, rather than a curse. We are the "Good Samaritans," outcasts and misfits, who minister to the needs of the world around us, rather than the hypocrites and religious zealots who walk pompously past their suffering neighbor. (Luke 10)
FIVE: The message of the Gospel is clearly "Good News" in the hearing of every individual who might hear it preached. It is not hope for one and condemnation for another. It is indeed hope for all! To reduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some powerless facade of grace by preaching that faith and obedience to this wonderful Gospel are all that God requires for one to be saved, devoid of any human effort or "works," and then in the very next breath to suggest that an individual MUST change an aspect of their humanity which even the greatest and most notable of scientific minds have acknowledged is nearly impossible, is to speak out of two sides of our mouth and claim in the process that we are speaking for the Lord, whom I can assure you does not now or ever speak out of both sides of His mouth. The message of the Gospel is clear. "Whosoever will, let him come."(Revelation 22:17) "Whosoever believeth on Him shall be saved" (John 3:15-16) Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37), nor shall they be ashamed."(Romans 9:33) You can be Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Christian. It's not about your orientation. It is about your faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And that faith is manifest in our lives by godly living and an adherence to a TRUE moral standard that rises above the "dog eat dog" world in which we live. "Survival of the fittest" is not our motto, but rather, "To be like Jesus." (For a complete outline of the basic teachings and doctrines of our ministry, there use this "Statement of Faith" link)
LASTLY: Jesus Christ has declared that He came to liberate, not to bind up. His message was clear, “Come unto me all ye that are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News.” Matthew 11:28-30 It is not good news for the heterosexual and condemnation for the homosexual. It is heart changing, life-altering, love-inspiring good news for all upon whose ears this wonderful message of grace shall fall! When any preacher preaches a message that falls upon the ear of the hearer as heavy and binding, that preacher is not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the woman caught in the very act of adultery, “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” John 8:11 He never acted as His peers thought He ought. He ate with publicans and sinners. He held no condemnation for those caught in the very act of sin. He acknowledged people in their present state, without speaking a discouraging or condemning word. (John 4:17) And the church is called to emulate Him!
When God’s church stops assuming the role of judge and starts assuming the role of the Good Samaritan, then our world will be a better place. The Samaritan didn’t ask where his wounded neighbor was coming from, where he was heading, what color was his skin, or why did he put himself in the position to be so victimized; he merely ministered in love to the man’s needs and left any other questions to the Lord to ask. We are called to be that Good Samaritan. Luke 10:30-37 The Lord told that story as a means of helping us to understand our place in the world. When will we learn that the Good news of the Gospel is exciting, positive, and powerful for all who hear?
Dear friend, rediscover your place in the faith today, no matter who you are. Search the Scriptures for yourself (II Timothy 2:15; John 5:39). Stop letting traditional viewpoints and popular opinion within the church keep you out of the Lord's service (Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7). Fight your way into the kingdom if you must. Jesus Christ promised us this, "He that believeth on me as the Scriptures hath said, will in no wise be cast out." (My paraphrase - John 3:16; 6:37; Romans 9:33)