Everyone in Every Church is in the Same Pickle

According to my daily calendar that features an uplifting quotation in the spirit of “Keep Calm and Carry On,” American lieutenant general Lewis “Chesty” Puller was the one who first said, “We’re all in the same pickle.” It came to my mind as I pondered a provocative comment by a conservative pastor friend of mine.

He shared this story twice in one conversation; that’s how much this weighs upon him. He said with despair: “When I visit new people in our neighborhood, the one thing they all say about the church is that we hate gay people.” Polling, indeed, bears this out, especially among young people—one thing people know about the church is that it hates gay people.

It’s not just my friend who sees this clearly now and takes it seriously. Many prominent Christians who have long opposed full inclusion of LGBT people in church and society have gotten the same message. And, we are all beginning to see how this common assumption that church hates gay people is distancing us from the surging acceptance of LGBT people both inside and outside the church. Pope Francis has backed away from a harsh tone toward LGBT people. The director of Exodus International, long the advocate for changing people from gay to straight, has apologized for hurting people.

Of course, the progressive part of the Body of Christ from which I come has seen for decades—with alarm equal to my conservative friend—this growing view of the church as hating gay people. I confess I harbor substantial doubt about our conservative colleagues’ commitment to meet forthrightly this twisted, distorted travesty of the Gospel now planted in so many minds. At the same time, I also recognize that those outside the church do not make a distinction between left and right, conservative and progressive. Those who say the church hates gay people are saying this about us all. We—everyone in any church—are all in the same pickle.

In this, the only difference between the conservative and the progressive wings of the church is that liberal Christians have been trying to get out of this pickle longer. We saw long ago how any stance that breeds hate cannot be the Gospel and have tried in all kinds of ways to restore the proclamation of the church. So what wisdom can we share with our brothers and sisters who now join us in our despair over what Christianity (and therefore Christ) has come to mean to so many?

I begin with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not.” Christian summer campfires lead me there.


Every year, eager young people circle these fires seeking meaning, camaraderie and an articulation of their spiritual awakening. A ring of witnesses, friends, schoolmates —and families at home—will absorb from them what they soak up these summer nights. There are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people among them; some know it already, and some don’t. Everyone there, at some point, will go through a discernment process to discover where in this social scheme of sexual orientation and gender identity God places him or her.

I expect most of them, if not all, know LGBT people whom they love. When there is even a whiff of judgment toward gay people during these spiritual, religious or communal teachings, their worry begins. As a church, we may be speaking about them or about a loved one or simply someone they know. Here is where the seed is planted that can eventually grow into the conclusion: the church hates gay people.

And I would also suggest that it is an easy step for young people, and for us all, from seeing the church judging gay people to the church judging me, whether I am LGBT or not. What we, who long have been prayerfully reflecting on these matters, have discerned over the years is this: best leave the judging to God. Jesus commands us to, after all, and He came to show us that God is love. By teaching and exemplifying Jesus’ message of God’s love, we have done our best to make sure the seed that grows into “God probably hates me” is not planted in the first place. Let’s all work together on this.

I also remind myself that there is a side to “Judge not” we do well to heed and explore together. It has been all too easy for us to judge the other wings of our church family; all of us have done a fair share of that, for sure. When church strife reaches ears beyond our church family, the same dynamic can begin: if they treat each another so hatefully, how will they treat me?

When we in the church appear to hate one another, those beyond the church can easily conclude that they will hate me, once they get to know me well. Christians across the board must stop judging one another.

We are all in this pickle we created. How about starting our repentance by obeying Jesus’ command to “Judge not”? Once we stop judging, we can begin to wind back together this egregious notion that the church hates gay people. For surely we can agree: Jesus does not.

40 Responses
  • Donna on August 23, 2013

    All you have to do is: imagine being in the other person’s shoes.

    Imagine being the only conservative in a group of liberals, or vice versa. Everyone knows what that feels like. Ever been the only white person in an African American church? I have. Ever been the only gay person in a group of non-gays (or better, unfriendly non-gays)? I have. Ever been the only woman or man in a group of the opposite gender? I have. Ever *have* to ask someone to treat you with respect and dignity? I have. (That last one *really* upsets them…)

    Every day I am that one person alone in a group of others who are different than me, and they hate me. The pressure of being hated so is nearly intolerable, so that every day I wonder if I’ll make it another day, if the stress will translate into a heart attack, and every day I do make it through, but only with God’s grace.

    People who hate so much that they cannot even treat another person with respect and dignity only want separation – the object of their hate removed. In smaller circles and situations that is possible, but not with the church, lest the whole church splinter.

    You are right. The only course of action is to love and not judge, but what do you do when people love to hate?


  • Bill on August 28, 2013

    Donna, Because I believe what the Bible says, and I believe it IS Gods word does NOT mean I hate Homosexuals. That is the biggest lie ever put out by whoever started it. We can disagree in friendship.

  • Bill on August 28, 2013

    Question: “What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?”

    Answer: This is an issue that has confused many people. On one hand, we are commanded by the Lord Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). On the other hand, the Bible also exhorts us to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. How are we to discern who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about them?

    Christians are often accused of “judging” whenever they speak out against a sinful activity. However, that is not the meaning of the Scripture verses that state, “Do not judge.” There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise—with careful discernment (John 7:24). When Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7:1), He was telling us not to judge hypocritically. Matthew 7:2-5 declares, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” What Jesus was condemning here was hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.

    In Matthew 7:2-5, Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. That is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do. If a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17). This is not judging, but rather pointing out the truth in hope—and with the ultimate goal—of bringing repentance in the other person (James 5:20) and restoration to the fellowship. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We are to proclaim what God’s Word says about sin. 2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” We are to “judge” sin, but always with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences—the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

    Read more:

  • Donna on August 28, 2013


    Simple question: would you rather be in a church (or a world) without glbt people in it?


  • Bill on August 28, 2013

    Hi Donna. Simple answer: Nope!
    Longer answer: I personally dont know a single Christian that hates Gays…..Gods says we are NOT to hate anyone. However we dont have to agree with each other. I dont know maybe I am the only Bible believer on the planet……LOL

  • Janet Edwards on August 29, 2013

    Dear Donna and Bill,

    Thank you both so much for your lively conversation! Before I weigh in a little, I want to point out that you are not addressing the question I asked.

    I asked what do we do when SO MANY PEOPLE THINK THE CHURCH HATES GAYS. I, myself, do not find, “No, we don’t” or even “No, I don’t” to be an adequate response. It has been the actions of the church that have led to this assessment; I think it will be actions, not words, that will have any meaning. What might they be? Or what else can you think of?

    While you may not be one of them, Bill, we do know there are those who call themselves Christian who claim, “God hates gays” (Westboro Baptist Church is one example and there are others). From that, we all (even those like you, Bill, and me who would claim we do not hate gays) are painted with the same brush by this widespread public opinion. This is one of the reasons this intrigues me so much–you and I are in the same spot. How can we help one another?

    Thank you both in advance for your responses. Peace, Janet

  • Donna on August 29, 2013

    Hi Bill,

    Well that’s good news! So you just want glbt people to give up what you interpret the Bible as saying is a sin, right? That’s where the disagreement is, right? Just because glbt people interpret the Bible differently doesn’t mean that your way of interpreting is absolutely correct. I was taught *very* fundamentalist when I was young and remember hearing that “all Catholics were going to hell because they worship Mary” and have saints, icons, etc., all of which were interpreted by my pastors back then to be “graven images.” There’s no way I believe that. Maybe you do or don’t. But the point is interpretation and logic. How do we interpret “graven images” today? Are they different than the golden calf and fertility gods and goddesses of old? What about the role of women in the church?

    I think it’s quite clear, that despite how much we may protest, God didn’t cause the Bible to come into existence to be the be all and end all of our knowing Him. God is a living God and has brought us all from the days of old until now, forever attempting to reach us all so that we are in relationship with Him. Where once slavery was justified, it no longer is. Where once women were denied any role in the church, women are pastors and ministers and elders. There are great sins in this world because they do damage to self or others, but being glbt harms no one.

    Hi Janet,

    I thought I did have something constructive to say in an illustrative way, but perhaps not.

    Maybe something for any anti-gay Christian to try is to imagine oneself as the only Christian in a room full of radical Muslims – a sect that condemns Christians – so that one must defend one’s faith, even though both sides essentially believe in the same God Who is the root of both religions. Could you love them though they may say your beliefs about communion or resurrection are profane? Could you love them though they call you Satan?

    That’s a little more drastic than anti-gay Christians quibbling over seven pieces of the entire Bible with gay Christians, but the end result, of gay Christians having to prove their faithfulness and love for Jesus over and over and over again to people who refuse to accept it, is the same.


  • Bill on August 29, 2013

    Hi Donna. And that I’m afraid is why we will most likely never agree. The Bible is the Word of God. And what it says, it says. People can twist it to say or not say what they want it to. If a person doesnt believe the entire Bible then they believe themselves and not God. So, how can one claim to be a Christian if they dont believe the Bible……they cant. I’m sorry for your struggles, truely. But what if you did believe the Bible, could it change your life for the better? I believe God when he says yes…..I’m sorry you dont.

  • Donna on August 29, 2013


    The hate you’re talking about doesn’t happen in all churches. The only best answer for myself and anyone who is looking to be in a Christian church without the possibility of experiencing any hate is to tell them about the MCC Church or any of the affirming UCC churches. These are churches who have effectively dealt with glbt inclusion and they welcome everyone, gay or not.


  • Bill on August 29, 2013

    I’d also like to point out that not one time does the Bible condone slavery. Slavery was a fact of life in that time and place. God attempted to regulate it and then do away with it.

  • Bill on August 29, 2013

    Hi Janet.
    The problem as I see it is once again everyone “interprets” the Bible to their liking. Westboro is a great example. If people would stop “interpreting” the Bible and just read what it says, then there wouldnt be so much division, or hate. As long as this “interpreting” carries on the division, hate, and whatever else will continue to grow….sad really.

  • Donna on August 29, 2013


    If we did all of what the Bible says, Old and New Testament, we’d be Orthodox Christian Jews or Christian Orthodox Jews, whichever term would be correct I don’t know. So, which is it? What are we, as Paul argued, free from the law or under both old and new law? Paul, I think, was a hybrid of both (very steeped in Jewish Law and yet a new convert to Christianity) and brought some “old” thinking into the mix, which is why I don’t much admire him – he was the only one to do so in terms of homosexuality (I think) that is in the New Testament.


  • Donna on August 29, 2013

    I also remember writing here or perhaps it was in conversation, that you, Janet, as a Presbyterian minister, do carry the weight of both “sides” in terms of the entirety of the church. You represent the whole as well as the lgbt faction. It was not a criticism as much as a caution in terms of political method.

    How do you represent both to someone who paints the whole as “hating?”

  • Bill on August 30, 2013

    Since I dont type well, I’m going to “borrow” anothers writings..

    What Does the New Testament Teach About Law And Grace?

    What is the meaning of grace? Does it nullify—“do away with”—the law? Is grace a “license” to sin? Does “not under the law” mean grace has replaced it—and removed any need for Christians to produce good works? What did Christ and His apostles teach? What does the Bible really say?
    What is the New Testament teaching on “law and grace”? Is it one or the other—law versus grace—or both—law and grace? This is a subject of great controversy, leaving many confused. This need not be. Here is the plain Bible teaching!

    The meaning of grace in the New Testament has nothing to do with abolishing God’s laws. False teachers who promote “grace” over obedience are unaware that the New Testament was written for those whom God calls to assume roles of great responsibility in His kingdom. These false teachers misunderstand because God has neither opened their minds nor given them His Holy Spirit, which is necessary to comprehend His truth.

    The Christian calling (Rom. 8:29-30) is based on grace—unmerited pardon of past sins and forgiveness upon genuine repentance. Christians understand that the very salvation offered to them is a gift, and that they must continue to live a lifetime of obedience (Acts 5:32, John 14:15) and overcoming.

    The Law in Perspective

    Most religionists claim that God’s law was abolished by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. They think that mankind is no longer burdened by the stringent requirements of that “harsh law” that stands in their way of freedom—of “having a good time.” But the Apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.” Most churchmen have traditionally condemned the law while absolving sin. However, it is not the law that is at fault, but sin. On our own, we cannot discover God’s perfect law. God has to reveal and teach it to us.

    Leaders of professing Christianity insist that God’s spiritual law—the Ten Commandments—is done away. They call it the “law of Moses,” claiming that it was abolished by Christ’s sacrifice. But they do not know the difference between the Levitical sacrificial rituals, the law of Moses and the law of God.

    The Ten Commandments were not called the law of Moses, but rather the law of God. The law of Moses consisted of: (1) the civil laws—the statutes and judgments that Moses relayed to the people from God, recorded in Exodus 21-23 and the remaining books of the Law—and (2) the ritualistic laws (Greek: ergon) added later, summarized in Hebrews 9:10. These ordinances regulated the Levitical sacrifices (Lev. 1-7) and related duties. Ergon means “works,” as in the “works of the law” (Gal. 2:16). This referred to the labor involving Levitical rituals abolished by Christ’s sacrifice.

    The Ten Commandments were never part of the law of Moses or the Levitical sacrificial system. The civil laws and sacrifices were based on God’s Commandments, which make up the core of God’s laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments precede and transcend every lesser law based upon them—statutes, judgments, precepts and ordinances. Most professing Christians falsely brand the Ten Commandments as the “Old Covenant.” However, the Old Covenant was based on the Ten Commandments, which preceded and transcended the Old Covenant.

    Consider this analogy: The idea promoted by most professing Christians—that God’s spiritual law, the Ten Commandments, has been abolished—is as ridiculous as claiming that the physical laws of gravity and inertia are no longer enforced. Theologians cannot negate God’s law any more than scientists can void the laws of gravity and inertia.

    How did the leaders of the New Testament Church view the laws of God? Paul wrote, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). The Apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). And Christ summed up the matter, saying, “…if you will enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).

    In Matthew 7:21, He also said, “Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven”!

    Christ and the apostles did not dismiss God’s law. Counterfeit Christianity took this drastic step in the first century—the world has blindly followed ever since.

    The “Grace” of False Christianity

    Let’s examine traditional Christianity’s teaching of grace. It teaches that the Old Covenant was the Ten Commandments. It maintains that Christ came to establish a “new covenant” containing only grace and promises—liberty to do whatever one pleases. Law is not included in their package. In their own minds, these creative religionists have devised a way to “have a good time” and have a clear conscience. They had to eliminate the source of their gnawing guilt. The solution was simple: “Grace alone ‘saves’ men. The burden of commandment-keeping is no longer necessary.”

    This diabolical teaching would lead you to believe that the law of God is harsh and cruel. It proclaims that the fault of the Old Covenant was with the law, and since God gave the law, the fault must have been His. Read what Christ says to those who follow these false precepts: “Howbeit in vain do you worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7-9).

    Notice the warning that God inspired in the book of Jude: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).

    Even before the New Testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept into the Church in an attempt to corrupt it by turning grace into lasciviousness. This was precisely the false gospel taught by Simon Magus, Nicholas of Samaria, Cerinthus and other “founders” of counterfeit Christianity.

    Lasciviousness means “license to sin.” It could also be defined as “unrestrained liberty” or “abuse of privilege.” In essence, this meant license to do what seems right in one’s own eyes, according to one’s own conscience.

    Just as Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24) and others turned God’s grace into license to disobey His law, this same attitude permeates the minds of most professing Christians today.

    The universal message from most pulpits falsely tells people that Christ abolished His Father’s law—but your Bible says otherwise. No one can be born into God’s kingdom unless he completely submits to God’s authority.

    Grace—The True Definition

    Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines grace as “favor, kindness and mercy.” The ecclesiastical usage is defined as “divine mercy and forgiveness.” No mention is made about grace being license to disobey God’s law. To be “under grace” means to be extended mercy and forgiveness as a result of sincere repentance and resolve to obey God.

    This is explained further in Roman 6:14-15: “For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Many misunderstand the concept of “under the law,” which means under the penalty of the law. Notice Galatians 5:18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” You are under the penalty of the law if you violate it as a way of life.

    But a person led by God’s Spirit will strive to follow that law. When he occasionally sins, he repents and is forgiven (I John 1:8-10). By virtue of obedience and grace, he is not under the penalty of the law.

    When an individual seeks to obey God and come under the “umbrella” of grace, the blood of Christ justifies, or forgives, all past transgressions. Repentance shows God the direction a Christian chooses to take from that time forward. Having been made right with God by His mercy and forgiveness, a Christian embarks on a new course in life—he is saved by Christ’s life, not His death!

    Consider! Only if Christ has risen from the dead can His Spirit guide and strengthen new converts, for it is the Holy Spirit that leads Christians. Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

    This means that Christ, as our living, active High Priest in Heaven, sends the Holy Spirit to those whom the Father calls and begets. As High Priest, Christ is our living Intercessor and Advocate, who sees us through life as we seek to overcome and endure to the end. The fact that Christ is alive allows Him to function as an Advocate for Christians. In this way, we are saved by His life. Repentance is a continual state of mind. Thus, forgiveness is also continual. Also, it is the Spirit of the living Christ in Christians that will change them at the resurrection (Rom. 8:14-17), so that they can receive eternal life.

    Romans 6:23 explains that the wages of sin is death. Upon repentance, baptism and conversion, a Christian is forgiven by the blood of Christ and immediately saved from the penalty of PAST sins. So, in one sense, the person has been “saved,” at that moment, from death.

    There are two more applications of when and how a person is saved. The word salvation is derived from the word saved. So, the second way is the most obvious—salvation at the resurrection upon Christ’s Return (I Cor. 15:50-55; I Thes. 4:13-18).

    The third way one is saved is that he is “being saved.” No one receives salvation in this life without first undergoing much trial, testing, learning, growing and overcoming. Salvation is an ongoing process—throughout one’s lifetime.

    Notice what Paul wrote in Romans 5: “Much more then being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (vs. 9-10).

    Salvation results from grace—unmerited pardon. The calling to and the gift of repentance are not earned by works. God’s grace is not earned by works. All that human beings have earned is death. To be under grace does not mean that we have already achieved salvation. It means we have been given unmerited pardon and are in the process of overcoming and enduring. Those who endure to the end of this physical existence are saved—saved from eternal death. No one can boast that he has achieved salvation in this life. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Having endured and overcome means that one has “qualified.” It also means that one can disqualify himself by failing to endure or overcome. Yet, the calling, the justification—this grace is a gift. Salvation results from God’s grace.

    The false idea that “once under grace, we are already saved” is not founded upon scripture. Grace is God’s willingness to forgive past sins, as summarized in Ephesians 1:7: “…in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

    Now examine a key scripture: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). The faith “not of yourselves,” instrumental to salvation, is not your own human faith. It is the gift of God—the faith of Christ in us (Gal. 2:20). Jesus Christ, our High Priest, looks down and observes our sincerity and effort, and imparts His faith to us through His grace—divine favor and mercy. Those who receive this faith have no grounds for boasting of their works.

    Notice the following: “…for it is God which works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). God provides Christians with the willpower, faith of Christ and motivation to do His good pleasure. God the Father and Jesus Christ have gone to great lengths to provide the grace—favor and divine mercy—to help Christians succeed in their calling. But they expect results! That is the message of Ephesians 2: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (vs. 10).

    How plain the Bible becomes when we let it interpret itself! It is ironic that most professing Christians stop at this point and miss the very core of Paul’s statement.

    The Bible tells us to beware of false teachers and false churches that teach a “feel good” message.

  • Bill on August 30, 2013

    WOW! Janet, Donna, sorry about the way it displayed..I dont know what to do to fix it either.

  • Bill on August 30, 2013

    Hi Donna, may I ask you what you expect from a sermon? I go to church to learn what God expects from me, what I’m doing wrong ( so I can correct it) and what if anything I’m doing right. Is this the same for you? Janet is that what your sermons are about?

  • Janet Edwards on August 31, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    I suggest you start a new thread as this different format for conversation is not conducive to long comments after awhile.

    Peace, Janet

  • Janet Edwards on August 31, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    We come again, as we have so many times, to a dead end over whether humans interpret Scripture or not. This is not what this post nor, I hope, this conversation is about. I hope we can put that to rest right here.

    This post is about the documented fact (by research and experience) that a majority of Americans and a huge majority of young Americans see “the church as hating gay people.” They don’t care whether some of us (like you and me) say, “No, we don’t.” We are all perceived the same. What shall we do?

    Donna suggests that we inspire those who “hate” gay people to come to stand in the shoes of LGBT folk so that they empathize with the situation of being oppressed. I agree with her in this and see the sustained, courageous coming out of more and more people helping to do this as fewer and fewer people can claim that they do not know and love an LGBT person. What troubles me is that this empathy has not moved from LGBT people to the church, as far as I can see. But perhaps I have misunderstood Donna.

    You have suggested that we say, “No, I don’t hate gay people, I do judge them as sinners.” You judge them. And I have said, this judging is read by many, many people, both gay and straight, as meaning the church hates gay people. There is a melding in people’s minds between hating and judging–that is the situation we in the church face.

    I am asking, “Can you just stop SAYING OUT LOUD,” what you read the Bible as saying?” Can you? You can read Scripture that way, you can think this in your heart. Can you stop proclaiming it?

    What is the heart of the Gospel that we are to proclaim? I think Jesus came to show us, as human and divine, God’s love for us, to bring us back into right relationship with God. I want to start there. Can you join me? Why or why not?

    Thank you in advance for your reply and thanks to anyone else who wants to add to this conversation.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on August 31, 2013

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for posting an analysis of Biblical law, namely:

    “Most religionists claim that God’s law was abolished by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice…They call it the “law of Moses,” claiming that it was abolished by Christ’s sacrifice. But they do not know the difference between the Levitical sacrificial rituals, the law of Moses and the law of God.

    The Ten Commandments were not called the law of Moses, but rather the law of God. The law of Moses consisted of: (1) the civil laws—the statutes and judgments that Moses relayed to the people from God, recorded in Exodus 21-23 and the remaining books of the Law—and (2) the ritualistic laws (Greek: ergon) added later, summarized in Hebrews 9:10. These ordinances regulated the Levitical sacrifices (Lev. 1-7) and related duties. Ergon means “works,” as in the “works of the law” (Gal. 2:16). This referred to the labor involving Levitical rituals abolished by Christ’s sacrifice.

    The Ten Commandments were never part of the law of Moses or the Levitical sacrificial system. The civil laws and sacrifices were based on God’s Commandments, which make up the core of God’s laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments precede and transcend every lesser law based upon them—statutes, judgments, precepts and ordinances…”

    This is my point exactly: that the use of Levitical texts against homosexuality were retained and through Paul (well-school in his Jewish religion and tradition) it resurfaced into Christianity.

    I’m not and I know Janet is not claiming that the Ten Commandments were abolished by Jesus. But by the reasoning you quote here, the law against homosexuality was not God’s Law, but man’s law – Moses’ Law, ritualistic and civil code.

    Throughout His ministry, Jesus challenges not God’s Law but the Laws of Moses, over and over and over again. His challenging of the Laws of Moses is by reason that they are derived by men (human) even though they were originally based on the Ten Commandments. It brings Jesus to declare a stark difference between the two in Mark, which you quote:

    “Read what Christ says to those who follow these false precepts: “Howbeit in vain do you worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7-9).

    This is why people paint all Christians as haters – because, for example, in the case of homosexuality, they deny the commandment of God and hold to tradition of condemning homosexuality.

    Bill, I agree with you 100% that the Ten Commandments are holy and without reproach, and that Jesus came to fulfill God’s Law, and not abolish it. Jesus did, however, challenge man’s law – the Law of Moses, and all of its ritualistic and civil codes.

    People today are able to read and understand that for themselves and so they reject teachings based on tradition. They can look at, for example, Jesus’ defense of the adulteress in John 8:2-12, and understand that the woman’s sin is against God’s Law while the punishment is Moses’ Law. It’s very clear in the text. I think it’s correct to say that Jesus responds accordingly because ultimately the punishment is also a sin according to God’s Law (killing someone by stoning them to death). There are no exceptions in “Thou shall not kill.”

    There is no commandment or condemnation of homosexuality as a sin in the Ten Commandments (God’s Law) or in the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel, and people do read this for themselves because the illustrations of Jesus’ love and His fulfillment of God’s Law are very plain. Furthermore they know that glbt people do no harm to anyone in being glbt.

    This does not mean, Bill, that glbt people are free to sin, but love is not a sin – loving someone of the same gender is the same as loving someone of the opposite gender. To complete the above teaching in Mark 7, Jesus explains to the disciples: “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.”

    All people (gay or straight) sin according to God’s Law, Bill. The sin of lust or fornication by having casual sex can be committed by gay and straight people, and is, as are all other sins. The point is that love for an adult, consenting life-partner in a relationship that does no harm to anyone on this earth is also the same for both.

    Just because I’m gay, Bill, that doesn’t mean I believe that I can do no wrong. In God’s eyes I’m sure there is consistency as there was in Jesus’ eyes: love is love and sin is sin. Just because I’m gay that doesn’t mean I can go and have sex with a different person every night, or lie, or steal, or cheat, or kill – being gay isn’t a license to do harm to anyone. I wonder if that’s what bothers you and others?

    In any case, I believe there is a hunger in this world for more disciplined living based on sound Biblical principles of love – and that is why the pews grow empty.


  • Bill on August 31, 2013

    Thanks……..that made my eyes hurt…LOL

  • Bill on August 31, 2013

    Hi Janet.
    I will give this some thought. To me the “main” idea Jesus was trying to point out was that people are dependent on God. I’m not saying he didnt preach love. He did! But that we need God to enter his kingdom…does that make sense?
    The First Beatitude , “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Bill on August 31, 2013

    Janet, according to the Bible. Mathew 4:17

    “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
    This was the first mission statement that came from Jesus mouth.

    verb \ri-ˈpent\

    Definition of REPENT

    intransitive verb


    : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life


    a: to feel regret or contrition

    b: to change one’s mind
    transitive verb


    : to cause to feel regret or contrition


    : to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for

    — re·pent·ernoun

    So shouldnt we being doing the same?

  • Bill on September 3, 2013

    Here is ONE reason why the Bible warns against liberalism;

    What one generation finds immoral, but tolerates , the next accepts it. And on and on. Until eventually everything is accepted in the name of “love and tolerance” Thoughts?

  • Donna on September 3, 2013

    Bill, I think I like sermons that have history and context in them, sermons about God’s love, sermons that give practical examples on how we can love like God loves, sermons on how to avoid sinning.


  • Donna on September 3, 2013

    So, Bill, what are you trying to say with these posts?

    I don’t think anyone here advocates adults having sex with underage people (children). I personally don’t, and I don’t support abortion either. I used to but I don’t anymore due to advances in medicine and technology. And the last about the bakery, I find that kind of behavior horrible – to destroy someone’s livelihood.

    So, they won’t bake you a gay cake. Why did you ask a Christian bakery to do it anyway? So they *would* say no? Support the gay community and go to a gay bakery that will, and will do a *more fabulous* job to boot. The same sort of thing happened in my city not too long ago to a donut maker. It’s shameful and equivalent to gay-bashing. It just makes the whole gay community look militant and freakish.

    Which brings us to the point of Janet’s message: conversation is what is needed, an attempt to be Christ-like toward each other, rather than bashing and condemning each other to hell, ruining each other’s livelihoods.

    Personally, what I think is needed is more presence: more glbt mass walks or marches or other such events that create a positive effect – a gay Christian rights march or a even a glbt brand March for MS, a glbt carnival for the Children’s Hospital or Museum…and invite everyone to participate…

    This other stuff is just nonsense and doesn’t contribute to anyone’s wellbeing.


  • Donna on September 3, 2013

    I would rather you read and respond to what I had to say in conversation with you about what you had to say….


  • Bill on September 4, 2013

    I posted because I wanted to know what you and Janet or anyone else reading this thought…..
    In a weak attempt to try and understand the liberal mind.

  • Bill on September 4, 2013

    I’ve tried that and it doesnt work well. Let me explain.
    I am a Christian, which means I follow Christs teachings. ( as best I can,I have my days when I dont do so well). Jesus said to NOT remove or add to the Bible. He said it and I believe it. So when I try to converse with you and you admit that you dont believe all of the Bible, it makes it really hard to talk to you. If I try to use scripture and its a passage you dont believe, then I have no other arguement. I really dont care what happens in 2 adults bedrooms…..
    But I believe Jesus…..
    The Bible is clear as a bell how we should view shedding innocent blood. Thou shalt not kill. Further reading tells us that in our day and time it would be appropriate to say “Thou shalt not commit murder”. If a person takes another persons life unjustly ( murder), then that person must forfiet their own life by the hand of man. The Bible tells us we must protect those that cannot protect themselves, especially children. The Bible tells us when life begins, ( its all about the blood). And then you promote the UCC as being very inclusive, fact is, it’s so inclusive it supports abortion. Which anyway you look at it is murdering children.
    So how am I supposed respond to you……?

  • Bill on September 4, 2013

    Or maybe we need more Christians believing the Bible?

  • Donna on September 4, 2013

    Well Bill I think we have more in common than not, and that you are mistaking “belief” in the Bible with “interpretation” of the Bible, and I’m having a difficult time understanding how I interpret something can cause you to be unable to communicate or converse.

    I’m a gay Republican, Bill. I believe in many conservative ideals. I’m anti-abortion. I believe in small government and capitalism. I believe in gay rights, but I don’t believe in gay terrorism, or that glbt people get a “get out of hell free” card just because we suffered at the hands of ignorance. Yes, spiritual, emotional, and physical pain (and death) suffered because one is glbt is *real* but as wrong as it is, it is wrong to cause others suffer too. It just makes matters worse.

    What will make a difference is mass, peaceful presence, prayer and unity – all with the aim of drawing others to Christ – and not to defeat anyone else, because if anyone “loses” in this situation, then Christ loses, the Kingdom of God loses. Jesus gathered 5,000 around Him as He taught (not counting women and children). Can you imagine say 10,000 people gathering at the next GA?

    You’ll have to tell me where I’ve added to or taken away from the Bible. What I see in this thread is that you have tried to use the words of Christ against glbt inclusion, and I’ve shown that His words, in context, were being used against the established church at the time, bent on clinging to tradition, much as the church is today.

    Please don’t mistake me Bill. I know the evangelical experience – I lived it and forsook it – and in the past few years have regained nearly all the ground I’d forsaken, because it is who I am. So I know where you’re coming from, even in the case of glbt inclusion, but I wholeheartedly disagree with you and the conservative standpoint on glbt people, because the reasons for that traditional hatred/condemnation are not logically justifiable by scripture in context. Neither are they justifiable in my own experience and walk with God. But you would negate my entire experience and understanding of God because I’m a lesbian and therefore in your mind I’m somehow incapable of knowing God and God’s will. And yet I attempt conversation with you…because there is more common ground between us than not, more possibility and opportunity than shutting down and bowing out.

    Wishing you the best…


  • Rev Janet Edwards on September 5, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you for your purpose of trying to understand me. I appreciate it though it does seem to me that you would have more questions to ask about what I and others say here–given that desire– rather than always responding with your view on Scripture which ends any further discussion.

    In addition to wanting to understand you, I have a further purpose in my yearning for good conversation with you and others here. Every morning, I ask God to use whatever faculties or strengths I have to share in a communion of love with everyone. You are included in everyone. This is one reason I am so loath to tell you to stop sharing here even though you often stray away from the subject being considered and we always seem to go down the same dead end street in our dialogue.

    I confess I do not see you sharing that goal of wanting to share in a communion of love with me but, perhaps I am wrong.

    Back to the topic at hand here, I say, once again, that both you and I suffer from the perception of the church right now. The church is viewed in a way that makes proclaiming the Gospel extremely difficult for you and for me.
    In my opinion, this can only be repaired by our working together. How can we do that is what I am asking you and others reading this.

    I continue to be eager for you answer.

    Peace, Janet

  • Bill on September 9, 2013

    Hi Donna. I have said several times you and I have more in common than not. And it is unfortunate that we only see each other when we are on this subject. Beleive me it does not occupy as much of my life as you might think ( from seeing my posts here). LOL.
    The internet is a poor place to communicate IMO.

    And believe it or not, I do share on here out of love and concern for you as well as others reading this. There is a quote and I foget who said it but it goes something like: “I would rather hurt your feelings with truth than to comfort you with lies”. AND, I firmly believe that many churches today are doing that very thing.

    2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV / 91 helpful votes

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

    Romans 16:17 ESV / 89 helpful votes

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

    1 John 4:1 ESV / 72 helpful votes

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    Matthew 7:15-20 ESV / 52 helpful votes

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. …

    1 John 4:1-3 ESV / 51 helpful votes

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

    1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV / 43 helpful votes

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

    2 Timothy 4:3 ESV / 35 helpful votes

    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

    1 Timothy 6:20-21 ESV / 33 helpful votes

    O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

    2 John 1:7-11 ESV / 30 helpful votes

    For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

    HelpfulNot Helpful

    Revelation 22:18 ESV / 21 helpful votes

    I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

  • Bill on September 9, 2013

    SORRY!!! I did it again…….

  • Bill on September 10, 2013

    Hi Janet. I do appologize for coming across as NOT caring. That is not my intention. However, I have no doubt that you are preaching a false gospel. I am so sure in fact, that I have given up in frustration in times past and said I wouldnt be back. But because I do care I keep trying. Scripture tells us that when we learn the truth we will rebel. Scripture tells us God wants unity, this subject has caused great division in your church as well as the nation.
    My faith in God extends all the way to the Bible being written as he wanted it. The only time people disagree about what it says is when we want to prove our way of thinking is the right way. So it may seem to you that I dont comment out of love, but that is so far from the truth……
    Now to your subject: I agree that we all need to work together. what do you propose we do?

  • Rev Janet Edwards on September 10, 2013

    Dear Bill,

    I have proposed that we follow Jesus’ will for us and leave judging others (LGBT people and Christians who disagree with us on various matters) to Him.

    What do you propose other that agreeing with you?

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. Peace, Janet

  • Donna on September 10, 2013

    Hi Bill and Janet,

    Wow, hey, you changed the format!

    Bill, I don’t know what to say when you post all of that scripture…It would be better if you elaborated what your point was for each one…And it would be fabulous if you left them in context.

    You see, the problem is, at least from my standpoint, that I am 99% agreement with you, except for the issue of homosexuality. I’m a gay Christian, Bill. I believe that Jesus saved me and forgave my sins, but I also believe and *know* that God made me who I am, and that my sexuality is not His concern when within the realm of love (lust, what I would call sex for the sake of sex, I believe to be a sin, whether gay or straight). So, when I read those scriptures above, I don’t consider them as speaking out against me as a lesbian or gay Christians, but rather teachers who corrupt the divinity of Christ, atheists and satanists, and distort His teaching, His Redemption, etc.

    Bill, there was a time when Christianity was divided over race and used scripture saying “you shall not be unevenly yoked” (anyone, namely white, intermarrying with Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, etc.). There was a time when women weren’t allowed to teach Christianity, or speak in Church – Christianity is still divided over this – some Protestants say ok, Catholics, no way – and that is based Paul’s teachings, not Jesus’ teachings. Indeed, there is division among Christians today over whether and how to teach Revelations or the second coming of Christ, over whether such texts as Jonah and Job in the Old Testament were literature or history, and so on. But, despite all of this division, Christianity remains, unity remains on the vital question of Christ’s divinity, death, and resurrection. And this is not something that being gay affects one way or the other. You say it does, and I say it does not.

    I’m sorry, Bill, but I’m talking from experience here. My being gay has not adversely affected my belief or faith in Christ – it has, in fact, made my faith stronger, open, and more willing to be an instrument of God. It is others, man, people who think so highly of themselves that they can stand in God’s place and say whether I am a worthy to be a Christian or not that serves to try to diminish my relationship with God.

    Spiritually, being gay is a non-issue to me, Bill. It only becomes an issue in ecclesiastic (man-made political, hierarchical body-of-Christ) circles. On my own I’m as free as a bird in God’s love and care.

    If ever you all can agree to disagree and be about winning souls for Christ who are hungry for His hope, His mercy, His healing and Redemption, that’s when people will start returning to church. That is what church is about, after all. Yes?

    God bless you both…and Janet God bless you with all the strength you need. You have the unenviable task of representing a church that you love for the Jesus that you love, under laws made by man that restrict both you and God. I agree – let God be the judge.


  • Rev Janet Edwards on September 13, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    Deepest thanks for your clear and honest sharing of your Christian faith and experience! And thanks for your affirmation of my ministry, Donna.

    I agree that the church is a human and therefore flawed attempt at building the Body of Christ on earth in this time between the times. I also understand living in community to being essential to life in Christ. It certainly teaches humility and patience. When Jesus prays that we should be one, I simply can not be someone who counts any believer out.

    Not judging definitely helps us be together. What else?

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on September 13, 2013

    Oh dear, did I go overboard?


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