Saturday, October 15, 2005

20 Questions: Ask Pastor Dan

For my debut episode of Godscrum, I will be interviewing Pastor Dan Burchett of Open Door Ministries, a gay-friendly church in Southern California. Feel free to submit your questions over the next few days and I will be happy to ask Pastor Dan. Dan's a thoughtful, open dude so just let it out and I'm sure he'll answer honestly.

For those who are interested in learning more about Open Door's teachings on homosexuality, Pastor Dan has a study series available for download. I'm not taking a position on his teaching one way or another, as I'm committed to providing grace to gays amidst my own questions and doubts about how to fully integrate gays into the church. I don't have to have all these questions answered to my satisfaction.

I'll post here when the podcast is up, and you can download it at Godscrum.

47 Comments:

At 8:04 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

My question is somewhat two fold. First, if he does consider homosexuality a sin, how then can he have a church in which he promotes an unrepentive lifestyle within his congregation. We are not talking about grace bestowed upon sinners, we all deserve that. We are talking about church discipline. It is biblically mandated that one who lives in unrepentive sin, and has no intention of changing, is to be kicked out of the church.

If however, he does not consider homosexuality to be sin, I would then ask how he explains away the passages by Paul and John that state no homosexual will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I have never been given a response to this. I'm not saying I've never received a satisfactory answer (as if I was the judge of satisfaction or not). I have never received an answer at all. It has always been a plea for mercy and grace upon sinners. But this does not answer my question. Murderers are given mercy and grace by our LORD, but they are required to 'go forth and sin no more'. They cannot continue to live their lives of sin pleading constantly upon mercy and grace for allowance to continue in sin.

I do have a question for you Zeke. Do you believe homosexuality to be sin? I am not wanting you to say that you understand where both views come from within Scripture. Obviously Scripture cannot teach that homosexuality is both sin and not sin. Therefore, you MUST have an opinion. If you haven't an opinion (as in you truly do not know if it is or not), don't you think it would behoove you to take the safest course and shy away from allowing homosexuality. It is better to be wrong and not allow it, than to be wrong and allow it.

I'm somewhat rambling...

ok bye. :)

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Adam, I will pass your questions on to Pastor Dan.

As for your question to me, I believe that all sexuality outside of God's standard--which is for a married man and woman, neither of who has left behind a living former spouse--is sin.

Now, as for repentance... let me reiterate that I married my wife, who is divorced, with the full knowledge of what Jesus said about divorce and remarriage. Furthermore, I would do it again anew every day. By that measure, I am unrepentant in my sin of adultery.

I don't mention myself and my case to point out the hypocrisy of the church with regard to divorce, but to highlight its grace towards divorcees. Many of whom, my friend, remain as unrepentant as I am.

I have no answer for you that will satisfy. I can see that it would sound like abiding in sin to be in fellowship with a gay Christian, but it is my opinion--and it is only that, however strongly held--that an attitude and practice of grace is what is called for. That we teach the Bible as the unalloyed, uncompromising word of God, and practice grace in our relationships with those gay Christians who believe differently. And by the way, many gay Christians do believe that gay sex is sinful. They are locked in a powerful struggle that maybe Paul--who after all cried out, "Who will rescue me from this body of death!"--could sympathize with.

I am of the conviction, as you know, that the response of the evangelical church to gays has been at times ugly and ungraceful, and consistently, reliably ineffective. Ineffective at changing gays and ineffective at delivering the gospel to those who need it.

For my part Adam, I am just done with that. I've been there, done that with the traditional "holding the line" against gays. It's insane, to the extent that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results qualifies as insanity. It just doesn't work, bro. I'm planning on giving grace a try, and I'll continue reporting here on how it works out.

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger Wasp Jerky said...

Sofyst,

Another blog I read (Jesus Politics) has been wrestling with the verses in Corintians to which you're referring. Here's what someone there had to say:

"(2) - 1 Cor 6:9 - homosexual = arsenokoites {ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace}

The translation of arsenokoites as "homosexual" is totally and completely unwarranted. You can make all the baseless assumptions you want, but real scholars admit that we do not know what the word actually means. It isn't used anywhere else, not in the Bible or any other extant Greek manuscript.

Some scholars think it may refer to male prostitutes who serviced female customers, but that's a guess on their part. For most of the last thousand years or so, the word was translated as "masturbators" - Martin Luther translated it this way. It wasn't until the 20th century that the word began to be translated as "homosexual". The word is some sort of slang term, the real meaning of which has been lost for centuries.

As for the term malakoi, it simply means "soft". The early Church fathers used it so refer to people who were lax in their faith. It's used in Matthew 11:7-8 and Luke 7:24-25 in reference to soft clothing, no reference to homosexuality at all.

Unless, of course, you think that Jesus was calling John the Baptist a queer."

If this poster is correct, then it seems the translation of that word has more to do with our current sociocultural and political climate than it does with the truth of the Bible.

Regarding the justification of homosexuality by certain people in the church, the church justifies other sins all the time. The Bible is pretty clear on not killing people, for instance. Yet Christians have found all sorts of justifications for why it is perfectly acceptable to go to war and kill people. (And if you want to point out that God allowed war in the Old Testament, then you also have to accept that God also sort of allowed polygamy and even told his people to use virgins captured in wars essentially as sex slaves. Does that mean Christians can do those things now as well?) Likewise, the Bible calls charging interest an abomination. Yet the church does not boycott banks or shun those who work in banks. Why not?

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Zeke, I do not understand you. You admit openly to living in a completley unrepentent life and yet you see absolutely nothing wrong with this?

Let me ask you something. Since you say that you are unrepentent in your sin of adultery, how would you take Paul's words here:

1 Corinthians 5:9-13:

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler - not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.


If you are to say that you and your wife are within an adulterous relationship, and you are likewise to say that you would continue to do this (hence being unrepentive), then how can you ignore the command of Paul for every Christian to discontinue fellowship with you?

Paul does not seem to allow for 'grace and mercy' here. His words are pretty strong, 'remove the wicked man from among you'.

 
At 11:07 PM, Blogger Wasp Jerky said...

I thought Jesus associated with immoral people. Should we follow Jesus or Paul?

 
At 11:08 PM, Blogger SocraticFool said...

Kevin Who are the "real scholars" ?

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Wasp Jerky said...

I didn't make the post, so I dunno socraticfool.

 
At 11:12 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Jesus did not associate with 'any so-called brother'. If you confess the name of Christ, you cannot live an adulterous unrepentive lifestyle. Jesus and Paul are not at odds with this.

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Wasp Jerky said...

What about Judas? Jesus associated with him and he was obviously not a real brother. Wasn't he stealing from the moneybox?

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Piper says it better than I when dealing with why Paul says to ostracize them, and yet Jesus seems not to:

"The issue here becomes whether your brother is a professing believer or not. If he is, then this text is very relevant. So is 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15:

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

This is perhaps not what you or your mother, not to mention your dad, would want to hear, namely, that if Larry (not his real name) insists he is a believer, then your ostracism that Paul counsels is more extensive than you are already applying. In other words, if a professing believer lives in open, persistent, unrepented sin, then we are to treat him with an aching separation, that longs for his repentance and return, but does not spend time together in casual ways as if nothing seriously were not amiss.

Whereas if Larry is not a professing believer, then you would treat him like you would most other unbelievers, and not rule out having him for dinner in the hope that your friendship would win him to Christ. But loving ostracism and loving connections are ways of winning. But Paul proposes one for professing believers and another for professing unbelievers."


Read more: http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/homosexuality/letter.html

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

That is the very point. Judas was not a real brother. Hence a different treatment.

We treat sinners with grace and mercy. If they do not confess Christ, then we dine with them. We dine with the whores and tax collectors as Jesus did.

However, if they do confess Christ, we shun them. We do not associate with them. If they profess to be a believer, and yet will not repent of their sin, we no longer commune with them. Hence Paul's command.

The reason for such is to help with their sanctification process. If we allow for them to continue in their sin, and not attempt to help them through it, we are at fault. They will be judged for their unrepentance. However, if we discontinue communion with them, then perhaps the seriousness of their sin will take affect, and they will repent of their ways and return to the LORD.

Zeke, I am not arguing that you and your wife need to seperate. I think you have misinterpreted Jesus' words.

However, even if you have interpreted correctly, you cannot deny the Scripture which commands we as Christians to no longer communion with you as you are in blatant unrepentive sin.

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Zeke, I am not arguing that you and your wife need to seperate. I think you have misinterpreted Jesus' words.

However, even if you have interpreted correctly, you cannot deny the Scripture which commands we as Christians to no longer communion with you as you are in blatant unrepentive sin.


Adam, you are hanging an awful lot on precisely one verse from Paul. Besides, the question of discontinuing fellowship is not for me, but for you. I'm the unrepentant one. You're the one that has to decide whether to kick me away from the table.

My personal conviction is that my marriage to my divorced wife is like the hungry disciples picking grain on the sabbath... or healing on the sabbath... or pulling a donkey from a ditch on the sabbath. It is an example where loving God and loving my neighbor means breaking the law. What is owed to me here is not a scriptural accomodation--that I've misinterpreted Jesus' words, which could not have been clearer--but the humble grace that one lawbreaker owes to another. What I do with my wife blesses my congregation and neighbors far more than it curses, and at the end of the day doesn't that matter more than the law?

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

And it is actually not one verse, it is two at least.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Zeke, I have provided two Scriptural proofs that command the withdrawal of fellowship from an unrepentant child of God. Paul commanding twice to not associate with the believer that refuses to repent of his sin.

Have you ANY scriptural proof that suggests otherwise? Do you have any Scripture that says we, as Christians, should apply grace to the unrepentant brother. Do you have any Scripture which contradicts Paul's words here?

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

First, your Thessalonian verse referred to lazy Christians that don't contribute. Tell me we don't massively violate that scripture in pretty much every "felt needs meeting" evangelical church. If I obeyed that one, I'd be kicking out most of my congregation. And then next week, they'd kick me out because I'd left the men's breakfast without leaving a donation or cleaning the tables off.

Have you ANY scriptural proof that suggests otherwise? Do you have any Scripture that says we, as Christians, should apply grace to the unrepentant brother. Do you have any Scripture which contradicts Paul's words here?

And here we arrive at the crux of the matter, Adam. One of the reasons that Jesus so confounded the Pharisees and Saducees is because he lived the spirit of the law, which in their eyes meant that sometimes he was a lawbreaker--because they didn't understand the scriptures that they read and didn't recognize the one they should have been looking for. Don't you think that same danger faces us today?

Here's the scripture I'll leave you with as the best one I can come up with for you this morning by way of response, from Matthew 18:

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]

23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."


Love covers over a multitude of sins. Look, I understand why sometimes we need to turn an unrepentant sinner out of the fellowship; they can be like yeast in the dough and destroy a fellowship. But I think that these circumstances are exceedingly rare, and they are true only of the so-called believer that doesn't live like they actually believe and who is shown to be destructive to the congregation. I would take great care in trying to exercise that Corinthians verse, Adam. And frankly, I don't think it applies to the divorced believer or the gay believer. In both cases, I believe grace should reign.

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Yet, in both cases Paul seems to think that grace does not apply here. He seems to suggest that rebuke should be a better action so as to help with their sanctification process. He says exclude the immoral (which would both be the adulterous and the homosexual) from the congregation.

I do believe that I will stick with Paul on this issue. My apologies, he has much more credit than your argument.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

I do believe that I will stick with Paul on this issue. My apologies, he has much more credit than your argument.

Then I look forward to your report on how you act to exclude the unrepentant divorcees from your congregation, Adam. For my part, I understand where you are coming from but I don't envy you the price that living under that law will require of you and those in your fellowship.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Kc said...

I have no question to ask but I do appreciate this dialog between Adam and Kevin and commend both for their respect and honesty. I have found that these blogs are an excellent forum for sharing our understanding and I have been blessed by the dialog here. I would like to contribute in the hope that my understanding of scripture will be as thoroughly critiqued, as I too desire to better serve God.

Please know that this is my understanding of the scripture and not my personal condemnation or a judgment for anyone but myself. I find that homosexual activity is condemned in the scripture as an indecent act born out of degrading passions and performed by persons having a depraved mind (Romans 1). I also find divorce to be condemned as well and likewise adultery and murder. I do not find any of these acts to indicate a continuous state of being. An adulteress is so called for having committed the act once, just as a murderer or homosexual is so called. I find the grace of God extended to all as the means by which we as sinners might escape the consequence of our sins, not the means or permission whereby we are allowed to continue in sin. I find the instruction by Paul a personal admonition to every believer, not authority for any formal action by the Church. This equates to the social act of “shunning” any brethren involved in immoral activity and each believer is responsible to God for their decision to participate, as is the case in all matters of faith. I find the parable of the unmerciful servant to illustrate that our grace should be extended to those who sincerely desire our patience as they strive to correct their misgiving, not an illustration that we should justify the misgiving.

My personal conviction then being borne out of my understanding of scripture is that I shall not have anything to do with a professing believer who would seek to justify the sin in their own life or the lives of others yet if that believer repent I will gladly have fellowship with them.

On a very personal note Kevin I agree with Adam concerning your personal situation in that I think you might misunderstand it and I hope we have an opportunity to discuss that in the future.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

On a very personal note Kevin I agree with Adam concerning your personal situation in that I think you might misunderstand it and I hope we have an opportunity to discuss that in the future.

I'm open to how I may have misunderstood Jesus' teaching on divorce and remarriage, so feel free to share your thoughts.

While I'm not sure that I want to take on the debate over homosexuality in the Bible as I've yet to take a firm position on the myriad opinions about it, I will say that the issue is far more complex than a straightforward reading of the text would suggest. I don't believe that there's any real basis, for instance kc, for assuming that homosexuality is the product of a depraved state of mind. I think that the abundance of evidence suggests that homosexual tendencies manifest at the same time sexual desire does; in other words, if gays are depraved then they are depraved before they even understand what depravity is.

I will say that because of the nature of male sexuality--we're all basically perverts out of the box, and women provide the primary means of restraint against our wild tendencies--if you get two guys together, you are more likely to end up with a downward spiral of depravity. We all know the stories; no need to reiterate them here.

We need to begin to understand that to be gay and a Christian is often a source of incredible internal turmoil. I don't fully understand it, and neither do they, but it is my conviction that it will not do me or the church harm by making the conscious decision to extend grace to them and fellowship with them as to better understand them. No question in my mind, they have been mistreated at the hands of the church, and we will have to make an account for that.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Kevin. It seems you consider you and Mrs. Zeke to be living in sin as opposed to having committed one. I know you don’t teach divorce and remarriage as an acceptable alternative to God’s plan for the permanency of marriage but rather that under the circumstance it was the best choice for all involved in which case of course given the same circumstance your choice would be the same. While you claim to be unrepentant I know from your own words that for your part you have repented of the depraved life you were living that lead to that circumstance and I could be wrong but I suspect that Mrs. Zeke has likewise repented of her part in her failed marriage even if her part was only in her choice of a husband. Neither of you are actively involved in adultery although you may have once committed it, in which case if you repent and strive never to commit adultery (which in my heart I believe you have) then your fellowship, with God and with me, is in tact.

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Not to stop this interesting discussion, but I have a question for the "gay Pastor"...

First let me qualify:
A person can be a homosexual (or have that tendency) but not participate in the 'act' of homosexuality. To me there is nothing wrong with that. It's no different than a teenage boy or girl having sexual tendencies toward each other, and not acting on it. By refusing to act on the desire, the two have refused sin, just as the gay who refuses to commit the act.

With this in mind, how is the 'act' of homosexual intercourse not a sin according to scripture? The bible is clear regarding ANY type of sexual union/relationship outside of the bonds of marriage, right? It's fornication. Also, the bible concludes that marriage is a man leaving his father & mother and cleaving unto his wife. So this may be a question of what is real marriage in God's eyes... but that's not where I'm going.

So how can 2 unmarried people of the same sex participate in homosexual relations sexually without breaking God's law/sinning? Even if homosexuality is "ok" in God's eyes, isn't this still fornication, since it occurs outside of covenant?

This is especially interesting in light of the illegality of homosexual unions in many states...

--------------------------
2nd question:

As gay-Christian, can you define 'marriage' according to scripture?

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Thanks, Jeff. I'll forward your questions to Pastor Dan.

Here's what I have so far:

1. (From Sofyst): Do you consider homosexuality a sin? If so, how can you have a church in which you promote an unrepentant lifestyle? If not, how do you explain away the passages by Paul and John that state that no homosexual will enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

2. (From Kevin): Jesus associated with immoral people. Should we follow Jesus or Paul?

3. (Paraphrased from kc): While we must extend grace to the repentant believing sinner, shouldn't we shun the unrepentant sinner, such as the believing homosexual who continues to have gay sex? Can there be a place in the congregation for such a professing believer?

4. (From Jeff): How can two unmarried people of the same sex participate in homosexual relations sexually without breaking God's law/sinning? Even if homosexuality is "ok" in God's eyes, isn't this still fornication, since it occurs outside of covenant?

5. (From Jeff): As gay-Christian, can you define 'marriage' according to scripture?

Thanks for these questions, everyone. I can promise you an enlightening podcast, published by next weekend.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

A person can be a homosexual (or have that tendency) but not participate in the 'act' of homosexuality.

Well said...

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

A person can be a homosexual (or have that tendency) but not participate in the 'act' of homosexuality.

Well said...


I'm sure Pastor Dan will be addressing this issue directly, so stay tuned.

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Do you agree with this statement Zeke?

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

If it wasn't a sin, there'd be no need for grace.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger pecheur said...

Zeke,

thanks for stopping by my place. I've been away from the computer for the weekend. I would really like to continue our talk over at my place. If I could buy you a beer I would just to make up for it. =)

BTW I really don;t have any questions for Pastor Dan.

Take care. I am sure I will be back here.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

I don't really have a question for Pastor Dan. Sorry. I would be interested in attending his church sometime, though. :) Too bad I live too far away.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Steve said...

So what efforts are his church making in reaching out and building bridges to the gay community?

Also, what reactions are occuring within his heterosexual church members as more gay people are beginning to attend? What "challenges" or "victories" so far has the church experienced?

Finally, what advice would he give to a church that wanted to integrate this type of philosophy into their church?

Sorry I had three questions... hope that's cool.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Sorry I had three questions... hope that's cool.

That's great, and frankly I think Pastor Dan will be relieved to address something other than the sinfulness question. I know that's not all I want to talk to about him.

By the way, our interview is scheduled for this Wednesday afternoon, and I should be posting it a day or so afterwards at www.godscrum.com.

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger dorsey said...

I have an orientation to be greedy. I can't help it. I was born this way. I tried a rehabilitation program, but it didn't work. I haven't overcharged a customer lately, but I still tend to grab the biggest piece of chicken at the dinner table (so I guess I'm a glutton, too). Given the opportunity, I'd do it again. Oh yeah, I'm also battling hatred against this one person (according to X, that makes me a murderer), and I think Kiera Knightly is incredibly hot (adulterer!)

Would I be welcome at this church? What about Adam's church?

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Kc said...

To stress the point are child pornographers to be extended this grace as well? I ask because my issue isn’t with any particular sin, rather with the idea of removing ourselves from fellowship with those who willfully sin. (Dorsey you’re not welcome at my place for supper! hehe)

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Mrs Zeke said...

When we look at the entire Bible we see a common theme. No matter how much we study we are not perfect in our
understanding as Christ was, because we are not Christ.

So im ripping some passages without the whole spectrum of God's word and you can see very different things. For instance lets look at Paul in 1 Timothy "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." on its own without the support of the rest of the Bible we are left with the understanding that Paul is the worst sinner and Christ saved him. Worst means worst...no other before or today can surpass Paul. Unless what Paul writes is a lie so if Paul has hope so does the Gay man or women. It does not tell us Paul was cured of every evil thought or way just that he was the worst and saved.

In his letter to Corinthians "1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature[a] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. " What does this say to you? Pay attention to the end of this statement "5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature[a] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. " On its own it says that the soul will be saved period , not if he turns away not when he turns away but will be saved. Of course the rest of the Bible deals with clarification of that but I am using passages for point.

Further Paul does not just include sexual impurity he also includes these "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat."

So I would say if you have every lied then you might as well exile yourself to an island because eating with your brother or sister in Christ is a stumbling block in which Paul also warns against in Romans

"13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. " it does not say the pure or almost perfect it says "anyone" who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God. Being gay does not mean you are not in service.

Let bring John into this 1 John "8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

Without the benefit of the entire word of God then John says if you or I or anyone says I have no sin then we lie and Paul says not to sit with anyone who has done the above. If you ever said "say im not here" when someone called you a liar and should not take part with your brother and sisters because you may be a stumbling block and this would mean you would do something dis-pleasing to God.

I say to you if you follow that striclty there will be no one at the table to eat not one because only Christ was and is perfect. But start to bring in the full words and some of the things you read balance.

Paul " 1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing. "

Further from Paul Love is "4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. " Focus on always perseveres, not sometimes not maybe but always!

John says "9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him[c] to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. " We know that we are warned against casting Judgment on our borthers and sisters that no one except God knows the hearts of men. So why do we not follow the liar around checking all his words for truth but assume a gay person to be committing the crime or that a church they may attend be promotiing such a life?

Jesus Chirst himself says
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Who is more poor in spirit then those who struggle with a sin they can themselves not rid themselves of or the one who walks away form sin in witch has never held his breath?

who mourns more then those who have changed in such a way that everyone they have ever loved turnes away form them leaving them isolated and alone then runs to Christ and His children to also be left isolated and alone or the one who when changing is accepted because he wears the law well?

who is more meek then a worst sinner with trembling fear appraoching the alter of God because they know how bad there sins are or the one who says Im gald im not him?

who hungers more for truth then the one that wants it so he may become more like God or the one who wants it so he may bash others with it?

who shows more mercy the one who says even you my fellow human bieng who has taken part in all sorts of sins have hope or the one who says off with you until you have proven yourself clean for we must assume you not?

who is more pure in heart then the one who is open about his flesh or the one who points at others flesh as if there flesh is pure?

who is more the peacmaker the one watering the wheat until God's sickle comes down or the one pulling the weeds not worring about the wheat that came with it?

who is more persecuted the one who dares to be open and honest and persecuted by his own family or the one that is only persectued when they don't follow the law of comfort?

Jesus further says " 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. " We as a family are in danger of being a Pharisees when we use single Bible passage's to point out others flaws and or sins and it does not say you will get slapped it says "you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
when we point at our brother while looking past ourselves in the mirror we are in danger of not being able to enter heaven, that should be unthinkable to us as Christians.

Look at this from Joseph to his brother in Gen 50 " 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid...." We need to be very careful that we do not harm more then anything else how painful would it be to have God say to us you meant to harm but I intended it for good. Not much else could break my heart so easy.

The Bible ripped in passages to prove a point becomes very flat. It is either law and judgment or love and grace. In its wholeness it is a perfect circle both love and law but considering the strong statments made by Jesus, Paul and John and many other it is better to lean on the love side. Because without love you have nothing.

In regards to Zeke's and my marriage to him what no one here knows but Zeke is we knew each other 7 years before getting married and did not engage in the sinful life many couples do. In fact I left Zeke after the first two years because I did not want to bring him into sin but God had different plans. I did not call Zeke for years and to make sure I did God took everything away in my life including my health and I frankly only called him to tell him goodbye and that he was a good and decent man. God however took that and it became crystal clear to us both that God had His own design on our lives. I will not tell you here all the amazing things that have happened or how many countless people have been reached for God because of our marriage I am not interested in man's accolades or proving a point, or being right only in storing up my treasure chest in heaven because for me and Zeke that is the only thing that matters.
I have stood confused and on my knees in prayer crying so hard for God to take Zeke elsewhere so the sin of adultry would not hang around his neck because of me. I have look back on our years of marriage, a marriage that most would have run from , many good decent never before married people would have left and Zeke and I just get more and more grace the harder it gets around us. Without are permission or even asking we are so glued that I would never want the breaking point tested considering what has already come. There is not doubt God authored this union because He does not work against himself.

Even so we approach God with humbleness not assuming anything along with thankfulness. I know what evil is because I can say I would argue with Paul on who is the worst ever, me or him and knowing that it makes Grace crystal clear and I will always be dumbfounded why God would ever care about someone like me, not you or Zeke but me. Even in that I hold His perfect word with every bit of faith I have that He too died for me as amazing, painful, honest and loving as that is and I will never assume that any other could not be covered. The day I do that would be the day I have turned my back on my only hope . God.
People who are gay may be gay but we have no right to assume they will go on and sin anymmore then you or I. Either God can change or He can not. I would say to a divorced friend do not marry but if that friend was clearly and without doubt being moved over a number of years to a person then who am I to say to God "but you said" as if I understand with perfect understanding. We stand in sin Zeke and I cause John says so, we are covered in grace and mercy cause God says so, let it never be anything we withhold from others if so then shame on us.



Love you Zeke don't lose your way baby, just remember "help without doing harm" and you will be fine.


My question for Pastor Dan

How can your brothers in sisters in Christ work within the gay community with the idea of not engaging in homosexual acts, keeping themselves free of that sin without passing the message that because they are gay they are without hope?

Mrs Zeke

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

kc, the question of excluding gays (or for that matter, anyone) who have sex outside of a sanctioned marriage (between man and woman, neither of whom have been previously married) is already on the table.

Dorse, I'm sure you would be welcome at Pastor Dan's church, even if you wore your inflatable princess suit.

Mrs. Zeke, what can I say? You are awesome. I'd marry you again every day. And let's just consider me the "spelling" half of the relationship. LOL...

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Mrs Zeke said...

Well I keep forgetting I need an editor don't I for spelling :) I still refuse to put microsoft on my computer more then I have to so I guess the online spell checks are not perfect just like me. Glad there is no spelling needed to get into heaven I would be damned!

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Kc said...

I suspect my previous comment taken alone could cause serious harm. By “this grace” I was referring to the implication that we as believers should overlook any sinful practice, meaning an unrepentant habitual sin willfully committed and defended as just by a professing believer. I know those who have read my writing are aware that I believe the grace of God, which is through faith in Jesus Christ, is more than sufficient to redeem even the vilest of sinners including child pornographers and me.

I honestly strive to judge no one but myself and to that end my question persist. I am seeking your understanding of the scripture for our edification, not for the judgment of others however since it is off topic I will withdraw it here. Zeke I apologize for steering discussion away from your selected subject.

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

OK, final question tally:

1. (From Sofyst): Do you consider homosexuality a sin? If so, how can you have a church in which you promote an unrepentant lifestyle? If not, how do you explain away the passages by Paul and John that state that no homosexual will enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

2. (From Kevin): Jesus associated with immoral people. Should we follow Jesus or Paul?

3. (Paraphrased from kc): While we must extend grace to the repentant believing sinner, shouldn't we shun the unrepentant sinner, such as the believing homosexual who continues to have gay sex? Can there be a place in the congregation for such a professing believer?

4. (From Jeff): How can two unmarried people of the same sex participate in homosexual relations sexually without breaking God's law/sinning? Even if homosexuality is "ok" in God's eyes, isn't this still fornication, since it occurs outside of covenant?

5. (From Jeff): As gay-Christian, can you define 'marriage' according to scripture?

6. (From Steve): So what efforts are his church making in reaching out and building bridges to the gay community?

7. (From Steve): Also, what reactions are occuring within his heterosexual church members as more gay people are beginning to attend? What "challenges" or "victories" so far has the church experienced?

8. (From Steve): Finally, what advice would he give to a church that wanted to integrate this type of philosophy into their church?

 
At 2:46 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I have a question for Pastor Zeke, when will you update?

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

I conducted the interview yesterday afternoon, and I'll put the podcast up by this weekend (the interview was over an hour, and I have a lot of editing to do). I'll post here when it's up. Give it a listen; your question may have already been answered. Thanks, Adam.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger retroreat said...

It's interesting that many people, Christian or not, cannot seem to accept that some of us are just hard-wired differently. There are many anomalies in the universe, in nature, and people seem to accept those as just a part of The Fall of Man but they draw the line when it comes to homosexuality. There's all this discussion about it being a choice, etc. How lame is that? Do people actually think that someone would make a conscious choice to be THAT different? That they would say, at usually a very early age, "Yeah, sign me up for all that hatred and persecution for the rest of my life?" C'mon, let's get real here. People don't choose to be gay anymore than they choose the rest of their genetic make-up.

So I say, go ahead and kick me out of your hypocrytical churches. I know what the Bible says and since I believe it is the inerrant Word of God, I know what He says...He says he loves me. He says that salvation is mine and I will be with Him one day in Heaven. Gay, straight, pink, orange or blue...my question is, "Why does it matter to you?" All each of us ever needs to think about is our own journey and our own destiny. We shouldn't take up so much time being concerned with what other people do or how they spend their life...we should only be concerned with our own life, our own answers, our own accountability. Some day we'll all know the answer and we'll all be surprised to know that it really didn't warrant all this discussion.

Frankly, the God I worship and have given my heart to, is bigger than what many so-called Christians believe He is. Why do they put Him in a box and say, "Well, this is what God wants." Like they have some exclusive insight that none of the rest of us have. P-L-E-A-S-E! It just does not matter that much because one day it will all be revealed to all of us. Suprise! What you thought was soooo important is not what God was judging on at all...it was your own heart and how you treated others.

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Retroreat, you would be welcome to eat at my table. I completed the interview with Pastor Dan yesterday, and I should have it up at www.godscrum.com over the next couple of days.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you come back again. And welcome to the blogging world!

 
At 10:07 PM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

'We shouldn't take up so much time being concerned with what other people do or how they spend their life...we should only be concerned with our own life, our own answers, our own accountability. '

So...you deny the whole idea of entering into the community that we call Christianity? It really would be great to have this completely monastic faith where we just go into caves by ourselves, but sadly, our LORD has given us brothers and sisters of which we are to love and care for...shame it is really...I would have liked to just be all alone with no one else to care for or look after but myself. I mean isn't that what it is all about? Me?

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

So...you deny the whole idea of entering into the community that we call Christianity? It really would be great to have this completely monastic faith where we just go into caves by ourselves, but sadly, our LORD has given us brothers and sisters of which we are to love and care for...

Adam, I think "love and care for" is the operative clause in what you said. That should not include judging ('judge not lest ye be judged', speck/plank, etc.).

I doubt I'm jumping to conclusions when I say that retro is probably appreciative of the people in his/her life that love and care for retro. Retro's probably not as appreciative of those that rush to judgment. In fact I think that's an obvious conclusion, but you apparently missed it.

And I think your assumption that retro would "deny the whole idea of entering into the community that we call Christianity" was pretty baseless. In fact, I only say "pretty baseless" instead of "totally baseless" because I'm trying to be charitable. But maybe you translate retro's "go ahead, kick me out of your hypocritical churches" lament as denying "the whole idea of entering into the community we call Christianity." In other words, "you can't fire me, I quit" sounds the same to you as not wanting a job.

Man, you really need to hear the interview with Pastor Dan. I think you could use a dose of compassion to go with your head knowledge. No seminary degree should be without it.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Zeke-e-poo, I am beginning a topic series of which I think you will be highly interested to read...

And, you are highly mistaken. Simply because one 'judges' by no means signifies that they are without 'love and compassion'. Paul even tells us that we do not judge those outside the congregation, but rather those within (1 Cor. 5:12). And Jesus' words of 'judge not lest you be judged' cannot be divorced from His following words of 'first remove the plank within your own eye AND THEN remove the speck from your brothers'. Jesus does not say do not judge at all, or do not attempt to remove the speck from your brother's eye at all. Rather, He says that FIRST clean your own eye so you can see clearly to clean your brothers.

Are you seriously going to tell me that if your wife or your closest friend or brother is caught up within some deadly practice, perhaps drug addiction that you are not going to do everything within your power to stop them?

Sometimes people within dangerous practices need more than an affection kiss or carress... they need to know that you love them so much, that you care for them so deeply, that you are going to go to any extreme to stop them, or rather, to help them.

Ever notice how they handle drug addicts? It is not by simply hugging them and playing with them all day. It is rather by excluding them from not only that which they are addicted to (drugs), but likewise everything else.

You mustn't look at church discipline as to be done out of hatred, if it is, then it is not the Scriptural discipline. The only reason a church disciplines their fellow believers is because they love them so much, they care for them so deeply, that they are willing to exclude them from the good things (fellowship, communion) so as to help them realize that they are within deadly practices...

But, we have hashed this all before.

And I somewhat am offended that you would think of me without compassion. I guess it only speaks to how much you really do not know me. Simply because one is learned or with a seminary degree, by no means signifies that they are compassionless and unloving. The staunchest calvinist/determinist (of which I am), still cries himself to sleep thinking about his love for his estranged father, and about his soul.

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Simply because one 'judges' by no means signifies that they are without 'love and compassion'...

Are you seriously going to tell me that if your wife or your closest friend or brother is caught up within some deadly practice, perhaps drug addiction that you are not going to do everything within your power to stop them?...

You mustn't look at church discipline as to be done out of hatred...

And I somewhat am offended that you would think of me without compassion...

Simply because one is learned or with a seminary degree, by no means signifies that they are compassionless and unloving...


What I think about you, Adam, is that you are prone to absolutes. As these quotes I clipped demonstrate, I think.

And frankly--and I am reluctant to admit it--I do have to fight the temptation to write you off as a 21-year-old seminary student who doesn't have enough years and tears under his belt to temper his conclusions. Sorry, it really is only partly true. I'd be blowing smoke up your hiney if I told you that the thought never entered my mind.

But I do believe that you can process all this with wisdom and discretion. And I don't doubt that you have compassion, I just wish you had more of it in this area. Do I think you're out of balance? Sure, otherwise I wouldn't be having this conversation with you. Of course I think I'm more in balance about this. But it's all cool... I totally respect how you have hung in there on this. Let's just cut each other some slack in the assumptions department.

Peace, bro.

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

The podcast is up. Thanks for submitting your questions. Enjoy!

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Zeke, just want to say thanks for doing this interview and for the comments you've made here, especially those in response to Adam.

I do take issue with this:
I will say that because of the nature of male sexuality--we're all basically perverts out of the box, and women provide the primary means of restraint against our wild tendencies--if you get two guys together, you are more likely to end up with a downward spiral of depravity. We all know the stories; no need to reiterate them here.

This is definitely not true of all gay guys. I know many who have not gone this route. We all "know the stories" because those are the most sensational stories that people talk about. This also doesn't take into account lesbians. What are your thoughts on lesbians? If women provide the restraint, then what happens when two women love each other?

Sometimes I'm not sure whether I'm happy that Christians sort of ignore lesbians or whether I should be offended by it. :)

But it does say some pretty interesting things about our male-dominated culture...

Anyway, just wanted to add my thoughts. Thanks for your obvious kindness and compassion for all God's children...

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

risingup, no question that the stories of excess are not true of all gays--thus the "more likely" qualification.

And I take your point about how lesbians are treated differently, and how I failed to mention them. I guess it's fair to say that lesbians are less likely to provoke the kind of fearful reaction that gays are; after all, it wasn't the women of Sodom who were out in the streets.

 

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