Your “Come As You Are” flier was left at my GC booth in my brief absence on Friday, July 8, with the cover text, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV) I trust that a response on my part will be well taken.
This text speaks to all who are weary and burdened with the weight of sin and guilt. Jesus invites you to come to Him for “rest” (Gr. Anapauo), the root words “Ana” and “Pauo” meaning “reversal”, “to stop”, “restrain”, “quit”, “desist”, “come to an end”, “cease”, “leave”, “refrain”, “recreation” (re-creation). As one through the grace of God, (through His divine power), ceases his practice of sinful thought, word, and behavior he finds rest and repose from that burden of sin and guilt and consequences. He allows Jesus to be Lord of his thoughts, Lord of his desires, and Lord of his behavior.
“Recreation” in the dictionary is defined in one sense as “refreshment of body and mind” and comes from the word “recreate”, meaning, “to create anew”.
Your cover text quoted from the New International Version speaks with great clarity of the power of Jesus to personally save His people from their sins of homosexuality as well as from any other sin, not in their sins.
The inside cover statement reads, “You ARE Loved! Gay Christians are wholly loved and accepted by God.”
You are quite correct on this point. I could not agree with you more. However, the truth of your statement is not the whole truth. We need to know and teach “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Let me clarify my point:
In my mission work in Romania I am repeatedly confronted by the scenes of the street children who have been put out of their homes as young as 5 & 6 years of age because of poverty. They scavenge the streets and garbage containers at night for food. They are dirty and ragged and appear to me to be miserable. I struggle with the urge to adopt one of them. Why? Because I love them and accept them just the way they are. My heart goes out to them and aches for them.
Should I ever be able to satisfy my urge to adopt one, I would bring him/her home to a new way of life. I would burn the clothes, shave the head to rid it of lice, and soak him in a tub of hot, soapy water for a week. I would give him a new diet, new clothes, new environment, new friends, new family. I would give him the best possible education. And why would I do all this? So that I could come to love and accept him? Or, because I already love and accept him? The answer is clear. Because of my love and acceptance of him in his miserable condition, (which condition, by the way, he is used to and quite comfortable with), I want to transform the little street urchin into a noble and respectable human being with a bright and glorious future, both for now and for eternity.
Therefore, I believe our message should go farther than “love and acceptance” to include “transformation.” After all, we expect that in regards to the other nine commandments. Why should we doubt the grace (divine power) of God to transform one in regards to the 7th commandment as well?
One of my favorite texts of Scripture reads: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (a new creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV)
In other words, “The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up… The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies.” (RH April 12, 1892) “God makes no compromise with sin. A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” (Letter 105, 1893)
Later in your pamphlet the statement is made, “The Bible never mentions homosexuality or sexual orientation.”
In this you are correct, but only if the King James Version of the Bible is your rule of faith and practice. Those words and terms are not used in the King James Version, (the version of my own personal preference). However, the behavior and practice are spelled out quite in detail in several places in the Bible, with all of which you are familiar. Might I point out other words or terms that also are not mentioned in the Bible as they randomly come to my mind: bisexual, masturbation, incest, pornography, pedophilia, Sunday, cuss words, drug abuse, alcohol, smoking, marijuana, pot, heroine, cocaine, child abuse, sex, sex addict, addiction, sexual abuse, spousal abuse, immaculate conception, purgatory, rapture, secret rapture, homicide, genocide, infanticide, abortion, ad infinitum.
However, if you use other Bible translations, such as the NIV, (which is quoted in your cover text), you will see clearly that “homosexuals”, unfortunately, are listed among those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And please note that this is not based upon my own opinion, criticism, judgment, prejudice or bias, for I myself was once one like you.
For example, The New International Version (NIV), the one used in your own flier, says, “ Do not be deceived: Neither…male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were…”
(Note: “homosexual offenders are those who offend the law of God in at least one point, that of homosexuality. They are not those who offend the “gift of homosexuality.” James 2:10 reads, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”)
The New American Standard Bible, for example, says clearly, “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, …nor adulterers, nor effeminate, norhomosexuals shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
(Effeminate: catamite, a boy used in sodomy. Sodomy: Unnatural sexual relations, especially between male persons… Standard College Dictionary)
The Living Bible paraphrase says, “ Don’t fool yourselves. Those…who are adulterers or homosexuals —will have no share in his kingdom. …There was a time when some of you were just like that but now your sins are washed away.”
The New King James Version says, “ Do not be deceived. Neither… homosexuals, nor sodomites …will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The problem I see with your line of reasoning, (that homosexuality is not mentioned in the Bible), is the same problem I see with many theologians who can talk about sin all day long and make lists of sins all day long and never acknowledge the authority of the 4th commandment. They never get to the root of the sin issue. Why? Because they ignore the one text of scripture that defines sin as “the transgression of the law.” One can quibble over words forever and never address the real issue, which is the principle of the Word. Languages change from generation to generation, and word meanings change. For example, the word “Gay” today means something entirely different than it did in the previous generations. “Bad” means good today. And “good” is something to be mocked. Slang words mean something totally different from what they originally meant. But God never changes. His standards remain the same. His Word is infallible.
Finally, I would like to address your statement, “Research tells us that one in ten people find themselves attracted to members of their own sex… There are over 12 million baptized adults [within your denomination]. This means that there are 1.2 million gay [members in your church]!”
This truly is a preposterous statement. Your “Research” is neither identified nor documented. And there is other research that shows this to be a very inflated, exaggerated number put forth by the homosexual community to suit their own purposes and agenda. For example, “Four researchers with the Alan Guttmacher Institute conducted a scientific survey involving 3,321 American men in their twenties and thirties. Only 1 percent of the men surveyed claimed to be exclusively homosexual. 2.3 percent of the men claimed to have ever had same-sex experience within the past ten years. Similar studies conducted by France in 1992 concur with these most recent findings. [Cf. Jerry Adler, “Sex In the Snoring ’90s,” Newsweek, (April 26, 1993), 55; Kim Painter, “Only 1 Percent of Men Say They Are Gay,” USA Today, April 15, 1993), 1D.]
The above scientific research was not conducted within a special interest group such as a church denomination. Therefore, its numbers would most likely be higher than those within a denomination teaching the identity of sin as the transgression of the law, and how to have victory as overcomers.
It was also suggested to me by an SDA Kinship member visiting at my booth that since I had been married and fathered children before going into the gay lifestyle that I had not been truly gay, but rather bisexual. If that is true, then the number of gays must be discounted for every “gay” who has ever been married and had children or has had sex with one of the opposite gender. I also know of a number of the members and leaders of your own organization who have been previously married and fathered children. So, by this type of reasoning, then they, too, can be transformed, even as I have been for they must not truly be “gay” either.
The very fact that this 10 percent claim is so recklessly made and passed out in a flier for the public, clearly indicates an agenda is being given higher priority than truth, that study of God’s word is being made to support one’s already clearly established opinion rather than to honestly search out truth. Let us never forget that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, forinstruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
In Christian love and understanding I leave you with these words of the apostle Peter:
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14-18)