March 20, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage and Missing Churches

Religion News Service’s Lauren Markoe authored a story yesterday on the Presbyterian Church (USA) decision to permit same-sex marriages and how, according to a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a majority of Mainline Protestants now support the practice.

At the same time, the article notes that the majority of church-affiliated Americans belong to denominations that forbid gay marriage, including Roman Catholics, most Baptists, Pentecostals, evangelicals and Mormons. Markoe also reports that Mainline Protestants have lost ground in recent decades to other denominations and to independent churches.

Accompanying the article is a denominational chart of same-sex marriage support, with some interesting inclusions – and omissions. Taken together, the missing churches constitute tens of millions of members – a significant slice of the U.S. religious pie – all on record opposing redefinition of marriage. Meanwhile, all denominations nationally and globally that support same-sex marriage are in a state of decline.

Alongside Mainline Protestant and some Jewish groups, the chart reports support from the Alliance of Baptists for same-sex marriage. The liberal group of 130 congregations split off from the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s and reports 65,000 members.

The RNS chart cites the LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign as the source of their data, which may itself be troubling. HRC is motivated to show momentum among religious groups for an embrace of same-sex marriage. By elevating tiny groups like the Alliance of Baptists that favor same-sex marriage while excluding significantly larger churches that oppose it, RNS conveys the HRC data in such a way that it appears 40 percent of these religious groups affirm the practice, when in reality a tiny minority do.

In the same chart, the large Assemblies of God goes unmentioned (apparently lumped into the more generic “Pentecostal” category). All but one historically African American denomination is omitted. What about the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod? The Evangelical Presbyterian Church? The Anglican Church in North America? All are significantly larger than the Alliance of Baptists yet go unmentioned, as do Evangelical churches such as the Church of the Nazarene, Salvation Army and Wesleyan Church.

Perhaps the most puzzling part of the chart is Orthodox Christianity, correctly listed as opposed to same-sex marriage, but with the word “most” in parenthesis next to it. Are we aware of any Orthodox Christian denomination that is on-record supporting redefinition of marriage? I have no doubt that there are some Christians worshipping in Orthodox churches who support same-sex marriage, but this chart is ostensibly about denominational policy, so why the “most” qualification for that tradition and not for others?

Below is a list I have compiled of several churches missing from the RNS charts, all of which are larger than the Alliance of Baptists and oppose the redefinition of marriage:

Church of God in Christ                                                8,000,000
African Methodist Episcopal Church                         2,510,000
Church of the Nazarene                                                2,295,106
Assemblies of God                                                         1,755,872
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church               1,400,000
Salvation Army                                                              1,150,666
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church                    850,000
Christian and Missionary Alliance                            417,000
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod                   380,728
Foursquare Church                                                       353,995
Evangelical Free Church                                              371,191
Wesleyan Church                                                           194,000
Association of Vineyard Churches                             189,000
Baptist General Conference                                        147,500
Evangelical Presbyterian Church                              145,000
North American Lutheran Church                            140,000
Anglican Church in North America                           112,504
Free Methodist Church                                                 75,586


175 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage and Missing Churches

  1. Neil Bragg says:

    The inclusion of Conservative Judaism in the HRC’s list is no doubt intended to give the impression that a conservative religious group is supportive of SSM. If you know anything about Conservative Jews, they are not conservative at all, they are just slightly less liberal than the ultra-liberal reform Jews. Also, the so-called Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is most definitely NOT evangelical as the term is usually understood.

    In the end, though, the HRC list should mean nothing at all to Christians. We are not called to conform to the secular world’s norms – in fact, just the opposite. Any church that gives its support to a practice that is unequivocably condemned in the Bible and has been condemned by Christian ethicists for 2000 years is not Christian, period.

    • Stephen Ede says:

      Eating shellfish is even more condemned. I wonder whether you or any of these other people abstain form eating shellfish?
      And how many of you work on the Sabbath – that would be Saturday by the way. The Sunday shift was a political manuver from when Christianity became the Roman State Religion.

      • Palamas says:

        Did you know that Christians also practice cannibalism? Says so right in their Scriptures. Their Messiah says that we have to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” is we are to be associated with him. You arguments (and “facts”)–long, long ago refuted–are about as cogent and relevant to the subject under discussion as those of Celsus in the second century.

        • Paul Macfarlane says:

          Your accusation of there being a cannabalustic element in Christian worship is purely specious name-calling. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ are and always have been purely metaphorical of becoming His true disciples. Isn’t this obvious? Christ implemented the exercise of this symbolism at the time of the Last Supper, at which time He personally administered bread and wine as the symbolic elements.

          • Stephen Ede says:

            Precisely. While the proscription on Shellfish is quite firm. and nothing at all metaphoric about it.
            I have no problem with Christians recognising that the Proscription on Shellfish was a practical dietary restriction for the time and place… but if people are going to go claiming the support of the bible to justify various desires to discriminate thenthey can expect to have there hypocrisy pointed out that.

            PS. I’d point out that the bible doesn’t have a specific proscription against same sex marriage, unlike the proscription against eating Shellfish.

          • Palamas says:

            The proscription on shellfish is also abrogated in the New Testament, both in the Book of Acts and by Paul. Nowhere in the NT is the moral law, and particularly the law with regard to sexual purity, set aside.

            PS–The Bible also doesn’t have a “specific proscription” against Internet porn, the use of nuclear weapons, or killing people with automobiles. What’s your point?

          • Tony Seel says:

            Again, please read the Book of Acts; your argument from ignorance should embarrass you.

          • I don’t think he’ll be embarrassed. Far from it – he seems to be reveling in his ignorance.

          • Kangaroo52 says:

            The food laws are no longer binding, the New Testament makes that clear. When you dispute the Bible with people who have actually READ it, you look like a fool.

          • fredx2 says:

            You cannot be considered serious. The shellfish argument is soo dumb, and merely indicates you do not understand the bible at all.

          • Palamas says:

            I think you’ve missed my point. The early opponents of Christianity quoted from the Gospel of John and claimed that Christians were cannibals. It was a nonsensical charge that was only possible because those opponents didn’t understand anything about interpreting Scripture. Mr. Ede falls in the same category.

          • Guest says:

            Not to mention the cannibalism was one of the earliest rumors spread in order to discredit Christianity. Didn’t work.

      • Equating Old Testament dietary restrictions to natural law teaching on the traditional family is about as fatuous as fatuous gets.

        • Stephen Ede says:

          “Natural law”? Let me gues, that’s the bit whee you say “this is the way things are clearly supposed to work in my opinion (or the opinion of people in my faith) therefore it is clearly meant to be so”.
          You want me to go with your “Natural Law” provide an argument that doesn’t rest on your bible. Of course if you could then the court cases attempting to stop same-sex marriage would’ve been much more successful. Instead they’ve had to rely on some very thin support from the bible and Animus, which is why they’ve been losing.

        • mikehorn says:

          “Natural Law” is ill defined. What do you mean by the term?

        • charles k wainwright III says:

          About as fatuous as Christians deciding what parts of the Bible to ignore and which parts to use according to their own whims at the time. Certainly all Christians ignore Leviticus and Paul’s rather misogynistic role for women. Many even think Adam and Eve were the actual first people despite what the Bible states.

      • RobinHMasters says:

        Yawn. Is that the best you’ve got?

        • irene woodard says:

          So…what do YOU have, RobinHMasters? I don’t see the secular world as a particularly happy place. Suicide is on the rise.

        • Kangaroo52 says:

          Yes. They cut and paste things from atheist and gay websites. They seem to assume that we’re as ignorant of the Bible as they are.

      • Nancy Staab says:

        The “Sunday shift” is because Jesus was resurrected on Sunday. And “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Meaning God intended it for a day of rest, but knowing that some, such as hospital workers and moms will have to “work” on The Sabbath, but will need some day set aside for rest. As for what we eat, all food was declared “clean” in the New Testament. (Mark 7:19) The prohibition towards homosexuality was carried from the Old Testament through the New Testament as was God’s design for marriage. (Mark 10:6). All sin is wrong and is equal in God’s sight but repented sin (as in I agree I have sinned, I need forgiveness, and I am making an effort to stop sinning) is forgiven for those who accept Jesus as their Savior.

        • Augustine summed up the scriptural case for traditional marriage quite beautifully here:

          Forasmuch as each man is a part of the human race and human nature is something social and has, for a great and natural good, the power also of friendship; on this account God willed to create all men out of one in order that they might be held in their society,
          not only by likeness of kind, but also by bond of kindred. Therefore the first natural bond of human society is man and wife. Nor did God create these each by himself and join them together as alien by birth: but He created the one out of the other, setting a sign also of the power of the union in the side, whence she was drawn, was formed. For they are joined one to another side by side, who walk together and look together whither they walk.

          St Augustine, On the Good of Marriage

          • Stephen Ede says:

            St Augustine also considered Women to be inferior to men, and his thoughts on the matter are one of the mainstays of the Christian predjudice against women down through the centuries. You want to keep selling that rubbish today go for it. Just don’t be surprised if you get ignored or mocked. His views on sexuality and marriage were part and parcel.

            That said I have no problems with you having those beliefs, so long as you don’t try and force your religious beliefs on me with the law.

          • Kangaroo52 says:

            You gays consider women to be inferior to men, so buzz off. Do you realize how ironic that is – men who find women disgusting, but you’re always sounding off about how you care about women? Too funny. You care nothing for women. Christian men marry women and make kids with them. All you clowns do is sleep around and create viruses. No “equality” there, is it?

          • That reply about Augustine ‘considering women to be inferior’ is pure anti-Christian boilerplate. The quote itself refers to man and woman walking together ‘side by side’.

          • mikehorn says:

            “I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes procreation. If woman is not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?”

            -Augustine

          • JustNTyme says:

            You are stupid and ignorant. More women than men attend church – in every denomination, in every congregation, from the New Testament period to the present. No one forces them to go, they choose to go, often without their husbands. Liberals are such fools and so averse to facts that they cannot explain this basic fact: more women than men find Christianity attractive. Left-wing homosexuals can scream “Christianity oppresses women” until you’re blue in the face, obviously billions of women worldwide do not feel it oppresses them, nor do they need atheist homosexuals speaking on their behalf. If the church is “sexist” and “patricharchal,” then it’s very odd that more women than men choose to be part of it.

          • mikehorn says:

            As a hetero, are people of our own gender supposed to be disgusting and not worth caring about?

            That comment shows basic ignorance of homosexuality. Sexual attraction to anything has no bearing on your opinion on others you are not attracted to. As a hetero male, I still find worth and companionship in other hetero males. A gay man most likely has many women in his life that he spends time with, is friends or colleagues with.

          • fredx2 says:

            On the contrary. Although St. Augustine did say some things that indicated women had different qualities than men, in no way were they “mainstays of a Christian prejudice against women” Such a claim is nonsensical, since all societies, in all cultures, with different religions or no religion, had those same ideas about women. Women’s equaliy is a very recent thing, and it seems to have been mostly adopted in the Christian countries.

        • Stephen Ede says:

          If the shift of the Sabbath was to Sunday was for the reason you specified then why did it not happen until the Christianity became the official religion of Rome? Sorry but your claim is very much an excuse after the fact. “We are shifting it to Sunday, find me a scriptural reason to support this”. Otherwise known as practical politics.

          • Palamas says:

            It’s actually based on Paul referring to the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day.” You sound as though you got all your information on Christianity from Dan Brown.

          • Nancy Staab says:

            I will be happy to give you some Scriptual references to Christian’s worshipping on Sunday. Mark 16:2 first of all states Jesus rose from the dead on “The first day of the week.” This was also the day He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, and to the two men on the road to Emasus. Christ also met with His disciples on Sunday – John 20:19 and then the following Sunday (John 20:26 – 8 days later and the Jewish calendar makes this another Sunday.). The early church met on Sunday (Acts 20:7 – on the first day of the week, this was 15 years after Jesus’ resurrection. Also 1 Corinthians 16:2 the early church is taking a collection on the first day of the week. Jesus gave the Great Commission on a Sunday John 20:21 (“as the Father has sent Me, I also send you”) and in Acts 2 we read about Pentecost which is the “birthday of the Church” when the Holy Spirit came and resided in the hearts of believers. Pentecost is 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection which works out to a Sunday.
            As for Constatine in 322 AD, he made Sunday an “official day of rest.” The early church had already vbeen worshipping on Sundays for 2 centuries before this and Constatine just officially gave people the day off from work so they could worship as they had been doing.
            The Sabbath is not the same as Sunday. The Sabbath was the day assigned by God for His chosen people the Jews to rest. (Exodus 31 spells it out as a covenant between God and the sons of Israel.) Christians were given Sunday as the day to celebrate Jesus’ redemptive work at the cross. Christians are released from the “Law of the Sabbath” – Colossians 2:16. Here the Sabbath is declared just a shadow of things to come – the substance is Christ.

      • Namyriah says:

        The kosher food laws are voided in the New Testament. Jesus himself declared all foods “clean.”

        Your side can’t do any better than “Nyah nyah, you’re not supposed to eat shellfish.”

        • Stephen Ede says:

          Care to show me where Jesus spoke against same sex marriage?

          • Tony Seel says:

            Care to show us where in Scripture there is a positive word spoken about homosexuality?

          • It’s pretty clear that snide ‘Oh yeah?’ and ‘You too!’ posts are all he’s got going for him.

            Found this a while ago, still one of the best things I’ve read on the subject of the ongoing war against the traditional underpinnings of our society:

            Secularism is dangerous because it destroys human life. It destroys essential notions related to human life, such as the family. One can argue about the role of the church. One can even argue about the existence of God; we cannot prove that God exists to those who don’t want to believe that God exists. But when the difference in the world outlook touches very basic notions such as family, it no longer has to do with theological truths; it has to do with anthropological issues. And our debate with secularism is not about theology; it’s about anthropology. It’s about the present and the future of the human race. And here we disagree with atheist secularism in some areas very strongly, and we believe that it destroys something very essential about human life.

            Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, Russian Orthodox Church

          • yolo says:

            Atheists contend that people who support the traditional family do so only because of what the bible commands, yet there is no other explanation for why Atheists oppose the anthropology that is the traditional family than because it is consistent with Christianity. I posit that if the traditional family were not consistent with Christianity that Atheists wouldn’t be leading this destructive drive against it.

          • yolo says:

            were should be was

          • Possibly. Although their misanthropy might lead them down the same transgressive, destructive path regardless.

          • mikehorn says:

            Strawman and false witness again.

            Atheism answers exactly one question, nothing else: do you accept any of the current religious claims about any God? If the answer is yes, you are a believer. If no, you are an atheist.

            Anthropology is a separate question, evidence-based in the real world with nothing to do with any theology or belief. Anthropology suggests we are mostly hetero and mostly monogamous, but not completely. For instance, life expectancy was too short until very recently to support any inherited trait about marriages lasting 60 years. At best you could argue 10-20. Wives died in childbirth, men in various accidents, all from illness. Survivors needed the ability to move on if they were still young enough. Monogamy is not a requirement. Also coming to light is that when agriculture began, there is a male genetic bottleneck, meaning successful farmers had multiple wives, cutting out non-farmers. Polygamy has strong historical roots as well, usually related to wealth. Homosexuality is demonstrated historically and in the wider animal kingdom as occurring naturally in small numbers. There appear to be multiple genetic paths to homosexuality.

            Pure monogamy is a religious or cultural thing only loosely related to anthropology. Anthropology allows for some pure monogamy, but also shows other relationship types.

          • fredx2 says:

            You keep telling yourself that. You sound foolish, but apparently you don’t mind that.

          • mikehorn says:

            How does secularism destroy human life? You assert a strawman, then tear it down. Your post was false witness from that statement on, which means you violated your own OT rules.

          • Palamas says:

            Care to show me where Jesus spoke against bestiality? Necrophilia? Sex trafficking? How about global warming? Nuclear weapons? Pardon me for saying so, but your understanding of the Bible seems to be a cross between an village atheist and a fundamentalist.

          • Kangaroo52 says:

            The burden is on your side to prove divine approval. If Jesus intended to alter the Jewish standard of sexual morality, there is no record of it. In fact, he made the ethic more recognize, telling people it was a sin to lose in their hearts. Given homosexuals’ addiction to porn (plus alcohol and drugs), Jesus is pretty clear. You can’t lead a trash life and be a Christian, that’s that.

          • mikehorn says:

            Demonstrate the porn addiction. Or that porn addiction is even a real thing.

            Every survey I’ve seen has the highest incidence of porn use (and prostitute use) in regions with the highest religious rate. The Deep South here in America. This also corresponds to the highest STD rates and the highest teen pregnancy rates. All correspond to deeply religious cultures.

          • kccoallday says:

            Troll
            F-ggot
            Go back to your kiddie porn, creepo.

          • mikehorn says:

            ?

            Near as I can tell, my comments are Germaine, on point, and not insulting. How bout yours?

            Never mentioned child porn anywhere. What is your point? Hatred and bile? Do you react this way in all disagreements?

            Might want to look up christian views on anger.

          • fredx2 says:

            Yeah, right.

          • charles k wainwright III says:

            I rarely say anything so derogatory but to say Gays are more addicted to porn, alcohol, and drugs is just stupid, your uninformed opinion.

          • theflowerfades says:

            not to threadjack here (but I totally do), but what do you think of the fact Jesus defines marriage implicitly in Matthew 19 (But from the beginning it was not so)?

          • John John says:

            “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”—Mark 10

            Jesus did not need to tell his Jewish audience that homosexual behavior was an “abomination”; that had been made crystal clear by God through Moses. Notice that He DID uphold what marital union meant to the Father.

            I pointed this out to someone else who asked it and it didn’t make a dent in their silliness. For all I know it might have been you, lol.

            At least think about it.

          • Mark Syman says:

            Agreed. Jesus came to the Earth primarily to be the Sacrificial Lamb for our sins, not to reiterate well-accepted laws on sexual behavior.

            But his Disciples still found some breath to reiterate some continuing prohibitions:

            “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” 1 Cor 6:9

            “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals” 1 Tim 1:9-10

            Not even the merely effeminate shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

            God gives us one life to decide if we are with Him or against Him.

          • charles k wainwright III says:

            Paul wasn’t a disciple. He was a good Jewish salesman who had a traumatic psychological experience on the road to Damascus. To his credit without his efforts there would be no Christian religion today if it is still legitimately Christian by the original definition.

          • charles k wainwright III says:

            You raise some interesting points. Did Moses actually talk to God face to face on the mount? It’s doubtful. We ignore almost everything in Leviticus and give the word abomination two different meanings. We should either follow the whole book of Leviticus or ignore the whole thing entirely rather than nitpicking it to support our own opinions.

          • John John says:

            “We should either follow the whole book of Leviticus or ignore the whole thing entirely rather than nitpicking it to support our own opinions.”

            I cannot agree with that, as Jesus initially came to the Jews but then, through His apostles post-resurrection, brought salvation to the Gentiles. Through Paul, for example, Jesus DID speak about sexual immorality and perversion. The Gentile believers were specifically warned against sexual sins, not shellfish (also in Leviticus).

            Many play a weird game of pitting Jesus’ earthly ministry to the Jews against Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. It would be absurd to listen to Paul if the RISEN Christ had NOT chosen him as His servant. Since He did, Paul’s teaching has real authority.

            PS: I’m not minimizing the other apostles, just using Paul as my example here…

          • charles k wainwright III says:

            If I understand you correctly you are saying it is OK to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we follow. You are also saying Jesus spoke through Paul.

          • John John says:

            “If I understand you correctly you are saying it is OK to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we follow.”

            What I find interesting is the conceit of some that THEY have a more nuanced and open-minded view of life, yet when it comes to Scripture they shrink down into the most doctrinaire legalists, straining out gnats and swallowing camels.

            To the subject at hand—marriage and sexuality—it is obvious from a reading of the new testament that God’s design for marriage and sexual purity did not change. Still stands. We are not ancient Israel, being led by God in the cloud, being given a distinction as a people (e.g. do not eat shellfish, circumcision, etc.).

            It would be picking and choosing “which parts to follow” if God had not given the Gospel to the Gentiles, while hardening (in part) Israel. THAT changed things.

            “You are also saying Jesus spoke through Paul.”

            Correct, just as God the Father spoke through Moses (you seem to consider him authoritative). Yet reading below, I see your statement…

            “Paul wasn’t a disciple. He was a good Jewish salesman who had a traumatic psychological experience on the road to Damascus. To his credit without his efforts there would be no Christian religion today if it is still legitimately Christian by the original definition.”

            …and assume further chat would be futile. Take care!

          • cken says:

            OK I was being a bit tongue in cheek about Paul, but he wasn’t a disciple.
            I guess this is semantics; I could say Paul’s writings were inspired, but I don’t understand your concept of Jesus spoke through him.
            I guess when it comes to gays I just don’t understand why God made them and yet some see fit to condemn them. I can’t juxtapose that rationally. Clearly if you know any gays then you know for them it wasn’t a choice and more often than not it was a major struggle for them to accept themselves for what they are. Now for bisexuals and the lipstick lesbians yes that is a choice which I think is reprehensible, but they are a very small minority in the homosexual community.

          • John John says:

            “….but I don’t understand your concept of Jesus spoke through him.”

            “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man (Paul) is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)

            This was the risen Christ speaking, Paul was not one of the 12, as you noted, but learned his Gospel directly from the Lord: “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8)

            “Now for bisexuals and the lipstick lesbians yes that is a choice which I think is reprehensible, but they are a very small minority in the homosexual community.”

            How judgmental! “Reprehensible”? Why, because they’re just plain greedy? I’ve seen interviews with some of history’s weirdest, sickest people and many of them look and sound very reasonable. Bisexuals and lipstick lesbians have their calm defenders as well, and would be offended at your suggestion that they have CHOSEN. It is simply who they ARE. Don’t judge…

            Being a little sarcastic here. Yet I find no basis for promoting homosexuality (carefree or monogamous) while prudishly barring other sexual rebellion.

            As Christians we should just love people, period. All over the world this is happening despite accusations of our harsh judgmentalism. So do we then promote as a standard anything that is not of The Way. No way. We don’t bend sound doctrine re: sin of any kind. That is the worst form of hate, if God is who He says He is.

          • cken says:

            I understand Paul was chosen by the Lord be that Jesus or God. That is quite different from saying Jesus spoke through Paul as if Paul was a medium. I find it hard to believe Paul’s letters chosen to be in the Bible are Gods holy word while those of his letters that were left out were not. Paul intoned some profound wisdom but some of what he wrote was clearly his opinion which is why we only follow some of what he wrote. To believe 600 or so bishops decided what was God’s holy word and what wasn’t, regardless of their guidelines, stretches ones credulity.

          • fredx2 says:

            All Christians who understand the religion realize that the bible does not consist merely of the statements of Jesus. All of scrpture, including the epistles , are considered authoritative, and it is an attempt to start a new religion to say “We only go by what Jesus said”.
            Jesus says nothing about pedophilia either. Using your logic, we can then assume that pedophilia is OK? No, I thought not.

          • Leftthecoast4Texas says:

            Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18″For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.…”Matthew 5:17

        • mikehorn says:

          Exactly where did Jesus say anything about LGBT? If not, then all you have are OT. The gospels give contradictory evidence on whether Jesus said to follow the old rules or not.

          • kccoallday says:

            Troll

          • mikehorn says:

            How so? Disagreement and debate do not equate to trolling behavior.

          • Mark Syman says:

            Nothing contradictory here:

            “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” 1 Cor 6:9

            “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals” 1 Tim 1:9-10

          • charles k wainwright III says:

            @ Mark It is always interesting what we pick and choose to venerate from Paul’s writings. No doubt he had some profundities, but he incorporated many Jewish concepts, and his opinions of the era into his writings. I often wonder what Paul would have said if someone told him to be careful of what he wrote because some day some of his letters would be called scripture. BTW it doesn’t say “nor homosexuals”.

          • James says:

            The first verse that you quote is from Leviticus, not 1 Corinthians. Whenever you see the word “homosexual” in your Bible, then you do not have a Bible, but a paraphrase of the Bible. That said, animosity toward lgbt people is incompatible with the Gospel of Christ – treat others as you wish to be treated. The Golden Rule overrules some of the Old Testament laws, as well as some of the opinions of the epistle writers.

          • fredx2 says:

            Have you ever heard of a little thing called the Epistles?

          • Leftthecoast4Texas says:

            Oh, really? “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17

      • DaleVM14W says:

        Just give up Christianity. Become a Wotanist instead.

      • Tony Seel says:

        The Shellfish argument again? Please read Acts, particularly Peter’s vision that the Church received as authentic. Sheesh.

    • kaufmannphillips says:

      Anybody who thinks that the bible and tradition define what is “Christian,” does not understand what Christianity is, exclamation point!

      • Kangaroo52 says:

        No kidding? What should we base Christianity on? The Koran? Mao’s Little Red Book? The DimocRat party platform?

        • kaufmannphillips says:

          Yep – doesn’t understand.

          • James Stagg says:

            Why don’t you explain yourself, then? Cryptic remarks go well with cryptologists, not us “simple” Christians..

          • kaufmannphillips says:

            K-52 asks “What should we base Christianity on?” “What” is, categorically, the wrong question.

            K-52 mockingly proposes other texts/traditions. But it’s not “Biblianity,” or “Textianity,” or “Traditianity.”

            Shouldn’t need a cryptologist to figure out the rest!

          • JustNTyme says:

            Funny how atheists wish to dictate to Christians. When they have political power to do so, they kill them.

          • kaufmannphillips says:

            What atheists?

          • Charles D. Winkelman says:

            Stalin and Mao for two.

        • mikehorn says:

          Trying to define who is and isn’t christian is often a fools errand. Do they believe Jesus existed and was somehow related to the Jewish God in a messiah way, and then revere Jesus in some sort of worship/prayer way? Sounds christian to me, the other things are just details.

          Note this excludes Islam, which counts Jesus as just another prophet. It includes LDS, which teaches Jesus was the son of God and reveres him as divine.

          What they do and do or not Sunday mornings doesn’t matter to the definition. If you think it does, you have problems.

      • charles k wainwright III says:

        The theology of Christianity is set forth in the gospels, and they simply expound on and exemplify the two great commandments, and as the wise man said all the rest is commentary.
        My way of saying I agree with you Mr. Kaufman. I think the definition in there but few so called Christians know how to read and understand the Bible.

      • Tony Seel says:

        Philip, what you are proposing is gnosticism. The Church dispensed with that in the second century, although it keeps popping up in different forms.

        • kaufmannphillips says:

          Seel, not really. It’s simple taxonomy.

          • Tony Seel says:

            No, really, it’s gnosticism.

          • kaufmannphillips says:

            No, really, it’s taxonomy. Gnosticism makes religious claims. Taxonomy classifies religious claims.

          • Tony Seel says:

            That’s an interesting way to look at it, but the Church started by Jesus Christ continued with those He appointed, the apostles. Their interest was spreading the good news about Jesus Christ and planting churches that would be made of fellow disciples. A few of the apostles and other godly men gave us a written account of Christ’s ministry, including the words, “if you love me you will keep my commands.” Gnosticism moves beyond what Jesus taught and is outside the founding beliefs as they are contained in Scripture.

          • kaufmannphillips says:

            It is common for social movements to have subsects; and it is common for these subsects to try to establish themselves as the in-group and other subsects as out-groups.

            Who is the “real” Republican? Who is the “real” Star Trek fan? Who is the “real” Church/Christian?

            Impartial parties do not get caught up in these internecine struggles, and can identify what the essential common factor is for a social movement, despite its internal controversies.

        • charles k wainwright III says:

          It is sad gnosticism was suppressed. I understand by the second century the church didn’t want Christians to think, just listen and do what you are told. I don’t know which is worse but I think seeking knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual growth as the Gnostics promulgated would be a good thing for Christianity to adopt in this era.

      • fredx2 says:

        No! Of course, left wing politics and making up your own bible and your own tradition are what Christianity is all about!

        • kaufmannphillips says:

          No matter which bible you use, the majority of Christians use a different one. After all, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants all have different books in their bibles. And the same goes for bodies of tradition.

          There are many branches and forms of Christianity. There is one common element, and it is neither the bible nor a body of tradition.

        • charles k wainwright III says:

          I agree with Kaufman on this one there are many Christian Bibles. What is really sad is they are all virtually ignored or not read. Mans doctrine, creeds, rules, and rituals have become more highly regarded than the Bible.

      • Thelastdon says:

        Where do you get the authority to make such a statement? Give me a source, a verse? God has given us the Bible, His Word, at this time to reveal himself to us.

        All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
        2 Timothy 3:16

      • thushjz says:

        No, lets base it on the oneness of the almighty cosmic consciousness once and for all come to delude you and any one else that’s so biblically illiterate…

    • JustChris1976 says:

      The non-Christian churches are making themselves extinct. Just as gay couples are sterile by definition, so pro-gay churches fail to produce new members, or even retain the ones they have. Demographically and spiritually, gays are a dead end (pardon the pun).

      • kaufmannphillips says:

        In non-ethnic demographics, evangelical and mainline Protestants are posting basically the same “market share” for persons under the age of 50.

        • fredx2 says:

          So that is why the Episcopalians have declined by 30% in the last ten years.

          Because they are maintaining market share. Interesting.

          Episcopal Church suffered the worst loss of membership from 1992-2002 — plunging from 3.4 million members to 2.3 million for a 32 percent loss.

    • DaleVM14W says:

      Just proves me and my WNist kamerade’s point that one group endorses another.

      Didn’t anyone know that the Washington DC B’nai B’rith and the so-called “Human Rights Campaign” share the same building?

  2. MarcoPolo says:

    Ah yes, the ebb and flow of denominational membership will no doubt continue over this issue and others to come.

    It should be interesting to watch over the next twenty years, just how these numbers will shift.

    • Jeff Walton says:

      Please keep the discussion civil. Everyone is welcome to offer comment on this site, but we ask everyone to show respect for others.

      • yolo says:

        He does have a point, although worded differently. I predict Mainline demise by 2050. There will be one atheist Christianity “church”. I have read that in the Netherlands “reformed ministers” are mostly atheist, like something out of Ripley’s believe it or not.

      • mitchw7959 says:

        Mr. Walton, your polite admonition should also be directed toward kccoallday’s response to mikehorn, above:

        “Troll
        F-ggot
        Go back to your kiddie porn, creepo.”

        Or are kccoallday’s remarks within IRD’s guidelines for respect and civil debate?

    • MarcoPolo says:

      I love everyone!
      You’ll notice that if you’re following me at all!

  3. Jeremy Long says:

    It’s funny to see Alliance of Baptists on the same list as Islam – millions of Muslims globally, and a tiny group of American Baptists, talk about mixing apples and oranges.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      I think on this particular issue, Fundamentalism is Fundamentalism!

      • Guest says:

        The irony about that is which denoms are the most defensive of everything else Islamic. You have made no case how Mainliners are less “fundamentalist”. I contend that they are just as “fundamentalist” as anyone else, they just shout ‘science’ or some other nonsense to justify their fundamentalism on global warming, eating organic, opposing water fluoridation in Oregon, or convulsing over eating food that has genetic modification in it.

        • MarcoPolo says:

          Agreed, there is an irony.
          The “extremists” can be found on all sides of any equation. be they Conservative or Liberal. Although it is difficult to suggest that there is any extremism in the “Centrist” position.

          Perhaps that is where we should strive to be… in the middle? But one could say that is too compromising.

    • If the HRC had broken out all the various schools of Islamic tradition individually, it would have looked even worse for them.

  4. Mark Brooks says:

    Truth is, after all, the first casualty. So that the HRC should engage in such tactics is not really surprising.

    • Yes, they do seem to have a history of specious arguments or convenient omissions of fact when it comes to their advocacy.

      This is a great case in point – ‘Most Christians now agree with gay marriage (except for the ones who don’t)’

  5. Greg says:

    Might as well report that the gals from “The View” have convened an ecumenical Church council and told everyone to just “get on board” with the whole gay marriage thing.

  6. Daveevad1 says:

    It’s interesting that the HRC list shows the LDS Church as amenable to homosexual marriage, but the text indicates the opposite. Did the author intend to refer to the United Church of Christ?

  7. tony kiar says:

    People are not finding what they are seeking in churches that work a ‘social gospel’ Nor do they find it in churches that provide a security blanket of inflexible doctrine and ‘hard line’ views. So they wander like lost sheep. Searching, settling for a while in places that seem to offer respite and then they move on. https://scrapbookwithtony.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/searching-for-something-anything/

  8. tony kiar says:

    The church needs more fornicators, drinkers, addicts, thugs and thieves! The church needs more people who know (and confess) they are sinners and are sold out for Jesus because their very lives depend on HIM! Jesus said; “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17) http://walkingwithtony.blogspot.ca/2012/12/church-growth-modest-proposal.html

    • theflowerfades says:

      well I’d argue if we search deep enough we’d find plenty of those in the current masses. Dark, yes. But sadly close to the truth.

    • fredx2 says:

      The church needs more of those that stop those behaviors. Not those that continue those behaviors.

      • tony kiar says:

        It is always helpful to read what was actually stated before replying. However – best of luck to your’ man centered’ approach. As for me – Jesus is the only Person that healed me of ‘those behaviors’

  9. kaufmannphillips says:

    Under the age of 50, white evangelical affiliation and white mainline affiliation are running about on par. The disparity in “market share” really shows up when it comes to members over the age of 50 – and that disparity has got a limited shelf-life.

    Factor in the tendency for younger persons to be relatively more inclined to support same-sex marriage, and it’ll be interesting to see who’s “in decline” thirty years from now.

    • fredx2 says:

      You cite no sources for your spurious statistics.
      You don’t mention that people usually become more conservative as they grow older.
      etc. etc.

      • kaufmannphillips says:

        The source is listed in small print at the bottom of the graphic. You list no sources for deeming the stats “spurious.”

        People generally become more conservative *and* more liberal as they grow older, depending on the issue. You don’t see a lot of people adopting more conservative views on interracial marriage as they grow older.

  10. kaufmannphillips says:

    Under the age of 50, white evangelical affiliation and white mainline affiliation are running about on par. The disparity in “market share” really shows up when it comes to members over the age of 50 – and that disparity has got a limited shelf-life.

    Factor in the tendency for younger persons to be relatively more inclined to support same-sex marriage, and it’ll be interesting to see who’s “in decline” thirty years from now.

    • yolo says:

      This generation of young people are more inclined to support cheating. So what’s your point? That isn’t the rock that the church is built in. You might be right about thirty years from now, but it won’t be Christianity that is preached. It will be a mix of Marxism and other Earth worship. This drab, Malthusian-ism fails for a reason. Either way, none of this changes my prediction that in 500 years there will be the church and there will be non-belief, even if that is organized at buildings that used to be churches. That is reformation at 500.

    • Sandra K Jenner says:

      What young people believe has nothing whatever to do with Christianity. A religion cannot be poll-driven. It is what it is. Young people are free to except the Christian sexual ethic or stay away. A watered-down faith is no faith at all. If they find the ethic too strict, they can choose a different religion.

  11. charles k wainwright III says:

    I think it is good the SSM supportive denominations are in decline. It separates the wheat from the chafe. The real Christ like Christians stay, the pretenders leave. In Biblical days SSM was not good because it inhibited procreation or because, depending on the era, homosexuality was practiced as hedonistic debauchery. Obviously SSM is not hedonistic debauchery and perpetuation of the species for survival is no longer an issue. Thus the Christ like Christians remaining in the declining denominations love their neighbor as themselves. I am sure Jesus will welcome the remaining members into heaven.

    • fredx2 says:

      Google “gay marriage monogamy” What you will find are numerous articles detailing how gay marriages are often set up to allow for sexual activity outside the marriage. In other words, the “hedonistic debauchery” continues.

      As for perpetuation of the species being no problem, see the declining birth rates in increasingly secular Europe,a nd realize that Musliims are expected to be the majority there about the year 2100.

      • charles k wainwright III says:

        Yes there are straight and gay marriages that are “open”, but far and away most gays are monogamous.

        We are all homo-sapiens regardless of religion and the world population is exploding so no procreation is not an issue. You may not like a segment which is reproducing most rapidly but that is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Population growth is of great concern for any planet to contend with. So does it really matter which group of people are procreating more than any other?

        I’m starting to hear some fear from Christians (especially WASP congregants) about the shift in cultural diversity.

        Not every sexual encounter deserves to culminate in creating another baby.

  12. silence will fall says:

    Correlation does not equal causation. There are a myriad of reasons that attendance in mainline denominations has dropped — and same-sex marriage is the least of these. Rather, the appeal is largely the rise of more modern services, with contemporary music instead of traditional hymns, more relaxed atmosphere, etc. In addition, what’s not being said in this article is that overall church attendance is down over the last several decades. Frankly, many people are just “over” religion. Lives are much more hectic, people often work on Sundays, and those that don’t relish what little time off they have.

    I say this as someone who has sought out and enjoys a traditional church service, eschews the contemporary model, and appreciates that my church welcomes and loves everyone, without question. Indeed, it is what pulled me back into the church, after many, many years “in the wilderness”, believing that there was a false dichotomy of exclusion or avoidance.

    • fredx2 says:

      But in fact, the churches that reject the modernist, gay marriage, women priests, etc liberal approach are thriving, and the churches that go for those things are dying, because they make no sense, and because people instinctively realize this is really a rejection of Christianity.

      Those megachurches did not come out of nowwhere. They are there. The Catholic church continues to grow, both in the US and around the world, and whether you include immigration in the figures or not.

      Nice try, but no cigar

  13. CoreConservative says:

    Not exactly news! Gay marriage violates the Biblical covenant of marriage and no Bible believing Christian would remain in a church that openly embraces gay marriage.

    • mikehorn says:

      So don’t. But let others who don’t believe as you do live their lives.

      • Noel Weymouth says:

        Right, let people live their lives.
        Let Christians do as we like, we don’t need coaching from meddlesome atheists, and yet they keep sticking their noses into our affairs. So that makes them hypocrites.

        • mikehorn says:

          How is letting gays get married outside your church getting in your business? Seems the opposite is true. Christians try to prevent gays from marrying, prevent contraceptives from being used, non christian kids going to schools free of mandatory prayer, science being taught in science classrooms… None of those occur inside your church, and all affect people who freely choose their own religion, yet Christians seek religious dominance over things NOT their business. When those of us who didn’t choose conservative churches get annoyed by religious fundamentalists trying to stick religious things into everyday life for the rest of us, Christians claim persecution.

          When religion tries to dominate the freedom of others, expect a fight. And expect to lose.

          • Norman Lane says:

            Here you are trolling Christian websites.
            Sad creatures, atheists – no life at all.

          • mikehorn says:

            Not trolling, engaging. After what Christians have put me through, you bet I engage. Sometimes people actually listen, those aware that Christians aren’t even the only people in America. I’ve experienced christian persecution both as a civilian and as an active duty military person. I engage, because I want my children to have a better world, maybe with fewer dreary, nasty, hateful Christians in it.

            The hate spewed by Christians. even in this comment thread. I’ve been told to go die of AIDS. And worse. I’m reminded of the Native American chief when, just prior to being executed by missionaries, was given a final chance to convert and go to heaven. He asked “Are there Christians in heaven?” The missionaries assured him only christians went there. He then said he never wanted to be around Christians again, and refused baptism for the last time.

          • fredx2 says:

            So funny! The problem is that you believe so many things that simply are not true. In fact, Christian Missionaries were routinely murdered by the Indians they were trying to convert. Before being killed, They were tortured in the most astounding ways, They had red hot hatchets pressed to their flesh, had their entrails taken out and tied around trees, etc. All because the native Indian tribes considered this normal behavior. And yet, in your bizarre learning, the exact opposite was the case! It was the Christian Missionaries that were killing the Indians. Get a book on the Jesusit Missionaries among the Huron.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            I believe Mikehorn’s point is lost with some of the commenters.
            In my opinion, the whole Missionary idea is an intrusion into cultures that already had plan for operating successfully.
            Yet, the Christian ‘crusade’ keeps on pushing?!

          • JustNTyme says:

            No one can out-hate homosexuals, you are the gold standard in that area. You hate each other, as proven by the spread of AIDS.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            That comment makes no sense what so ever!
            I suppose a common cold being spread amongst a Sunday School class is an indication of Christian apathy or hate?

          • Jeremy Long says:

            People hate when they have no love inside them. Unfortunately, this seems to be typical of homosexuals. If Christians suddenly disappeared from the earth, homosexuals would experience an emotional void, having no scapegoats to hate. Christians provide them with an emotional center.

      • fredx2 says:

        That’s fine. If they want their church to promote gay marriage and they want to do so even though it kills off their church, go for it. Just be aware that this is what happens before you take that step.

      • CoreConservative says:

        Who is trying to undo 2000 years of traditional marriage definition … who is forcing their value system on others? Not the church, but rather the gay and lesbian community. Regardless of your belief system New Testament scripture is very clear – husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church. Gay unions yes … marriage in the Biblical sense … never! Got it? I doubt it and frankly I don’t need to hear your warped response!

    • MarcoPolo says:

      Let the schism begin!

  14. mikehorn says:

    Why do we care which churches do and do not support gay marriage? Do we care which support atheist marriage or Jewish marriage or Hindu marriage or Shinto marriage? At least one church supports atheist marriage -Unitarian. But why care? A catholic priest will not marry two baptists for theological reasons. Catholics won’t go to a Pentecostal church seeking a wedding. Two gay men or two lesbians aren’t looking to have a hostile church perform their wedding. They just want to get married and live. Why do we care which churches will or won’t perform different weddings?

    For the record, I’ve been married 16 years to a fellow atheist. We went to a courthouse. The judge wanted to pray over us, we said no, just sign the papers. We had a wedding in our large backyard. My very Catholic family doesn’t like it, but they like my wife so they accept. Why make this any different than a gay wedding? Let other people be, live your life and leave them in peace.

    • kccoallday says:

      BFD
      Dumb bored old troll

    • fredx2 says:

      If you don’t understand the difference between one thing, which is naturally fruitful and uniformly monogamous, and another thing, that is completely incapable of being fruitful, and is typically non-monogamous, then there really is not much one can say to you.

      • mikehorn says:

        If a hetero couple marries in their 50s, are they procreative? Should infertile people of any age be able to marry? What about a naturally infertile couple using IVF to bust the “natural” state?

        If humans were only animals that lived in isolation, you would have a point. But every human has value beyond their ability to make babies. Women are more than brood mares, men more than breeding bulls. We are animals, but we are social animals. That means the contract between adults (marriage is, ethically and legally, a type of contract) is at least as important as the breeding ability. Making teams allows synergy, often through the avoidance of double work for the same goal. Marriage is far more than breeding. If you are married, hopefully you learned this.

        Many human endeavors produce nothing solid. Music, for one. A scientist is often more valuable to humanity for ideas than children, though id hope the best pass on their genetics too.

      • Paul Hoskins says:

        They hate and envy normal couples. They don’t associate sex with love, and they certainly don’t associate sex with life.

  15. Rjschundlr says:

    At one time the Presbyterian Church was the church of leadership in the community. The English in 1774 refered to the unrest in North America as the Revolt of the Presbyterians. However, over the years it tired of leading, in the late 1940s the Presbyterians led the movenemt to take GOD out of the Public Schools, now they want to void the meaning of Marriage. I have always considered myself as a Prebyterian, but now it is time to leave … I am too old to change the Presbyterian Church, and the church has lost it soul and leadership role.

  16. ithakavi says:

    St. Paul’s admonition to not conform ourselves to the spirit of the world (Romans 12:2) has always fallen on deaf ears. Modernists mistake “tolerance” (in this instance a type of spiritual sloth) for Charity. Mainline Protestantism has simply fallen into one huge solecism. Such people continue to conform Christ to their own image and then wonder why their churches are empty. How predictable. How tragic.

  17. John S. says:

    The perception of reality is reality.

  18. fredx2 says:

    One has to assume that PRRI is a liberal organization dedicated to advocacy, not neutral poll taking. The man in charge of PRRI is a former executive at People for the American Way, a very liberal group. It is always a bad sign when your supposedly neutral organization is led by people who worked at advocacy organizations.

    RNS is pretty lame, Their advocacy of various left wing causes is similarly obvious. Their reporters are notoriously biased, and their stories are usually not-too-carefully disguised advocacy pieces.

    But one thing stands out – if you want your church to commit suicide, have it endorse gay marriage. It is a church killer.

  19. oldag22 says:

    I don’t see the United Methodist church on either list, arguably one of the largest denominations in the world.

  20. Wayne Scott says:

    how about all the Brethren denominations?

  21. ken says:

    The “momentum” that the HRC refers to isn’t exactly proven by their very skewed table.

    On the other hand, here’s some hard data that the left, whether secular or religious, would prefer to ignore, showing the decline of liberal (i.e., gay-friendly) denominations, and the growth of conservative denominations, contrasting membership figures for 1960 and 2009. The data for 1960 and 2009 are from the Association of Religion Data Archives
    http://www.arda.com

    Assemblies of God (very conservative)
    1960: 508,000
    2009: 2,914,000

    United Pentecostal (very conservative)
    1960: 175,000
    2009: 646,000

    Church of God (ultra conservative)
    1960: 170,000
    2009: 1,076,000

    Presbyterian Church in America (broke away from the liberal Presbys)
    1973: 41,322
    2009: 341,210

    Evangelical Free Church
    1960: 31,543
    2008: 356,000

    Church of the Nazarene
    1960: 307,000
    2009: 645,000

    Christian and Missionary Alliance
    1960: 59,000
    2009: 432,000

    Mormons (not orthodox in theology, but conservative on social issues)
    1960: 1,486,000
    2009: 6,058,000

    Seventh-Day Adventists (not orthodox in theology, but conservative on social issues)
    1960: 317,000
    2009: 1,043,000

    By contrast, the liberals:

    Episcopalians
    1960: 3.2 million (1.8% of US population)
    2012: 1.8 million (0.66%)

    United Church of Christ
    1960: 2,056,000
    2012: 998,080,000
    More than half its members in 50 years.

    United Methodist
    1960: 11,026,000
    2009: 7,774,000

    Presbyterian Church USA
    1983 (year of their merger): 3.1 million
    2012: 1.8 million

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    1987 (year of their merger): 5.2 million
    2013: 3.9 million

    Disciples of Christ
    1960: 1.8 million
    2009: 658,000

    A truism for the past several decades is “Liberal churches are dying.” It’s not a truism, it’s a FACT. However, when told that liberal churches are dying, the usual liberal response is “Well, sure, but ALL churches are losing members.” No, ALL churches are not, as the data shows.

    Never argue with numbers.

  22. George O. Wood says:

    Actually the Assemblies of God has 3.1 million adherents in the USA, 67.5 million world-wide.

  23. Richard S. Bell says:

    I agree with my fellow conservative evangelicals that the writers of the Bible were inspired and meant just what they wrote. But homosexual practice as such is not prohibited by God’s moral law revealed in the Bible. God’s moral law prohibits only the full expression of sexual desire outside marriage. Christian sexual morality of commitment governs homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. So, God wills marriage for all (homosexual or heterosexual) who do not have the gift of sexual continency. Do you think I am wrong about this? Almost certainly. Is your mind the least bit open to change, or will you subject your opinion to testing? If so, send me a request for an essay I have written. Christians as smart and learned and mature as you or I have read it and criticized it, but none has found my argument unsound. rsbell@ameritech.net

    • mikeg says:

      It won’t wash.
      God forbids males having sex with males (which is clear in the Bible) but two males with a marriage license having sex is OK (not one word in the Bible to support that)? Nope!

      Sorry, we can’t base Christian ethics on “This is how I would like it to be ….” Inventing your own religion custom-made to fit your behavior is what the Unitarians and other loopy religions do. America is an open market in religions. If you want to you can start your own religion where sex with males is mandatory, or where membership is only open to gays and lesbians with marriage licenses. You can do that, but it won’t be Christianity.

      If you don’t love God enough to let Him govern your behavior, then you don’t love God, period. Christianity is about being in a relationship with God. There’s no such thing as a relationship where the other party has no influence on your behavior. Most people want a DOG (who doesn’t give a rip how you behave) instead of a GOD.

      • Richard S. Bell says:

        Mike, I love God more than enough to let him govern my behavior.
        Very smart and mature conservative Christians (neither Unitarian nor loopy) have read my essay and find no fatal error in its reasoning. Will you read my essay to learn better about how God want us to behave? If so, just ask. Or will you dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as a person inventing his own non-Christian religion? If so, do not ask.

        • Chris says:

          Does your essay override the Bible?

          • Richard S. Bell says:

            Chris, I am not sure what you mean by “override” but I assure you that my argument is entirely about interpretations of the Bible; I am a believer in the Reformed tradition of sola scriptura. You have my email address. If you want to read my essay and decide for yourself, just ask.

  24. Tippy Tan says:

    There is a lot of argument about the Bible in this comment space. I wonder how many have actually read the Bible, cover-to-cover. One way I practice Christianity is I read the Bible every year. It’s more than mere edification, and I recommend it to all.

    Since most of the demonizers of GLBT persons stand on the Levitical proscription of homosexuality as abomination, it makes sense to exam it closely. First, to’evah (traditionally translated as abomination) is used again and again in the OT. It first appears in Gen. 43:32. where Egyptians find eating with Hebrews an abomination. What we find in the dozens of uses of this term is that it varies over time and circumstance. What we also find is that there is abomination and then there is abomination to God (to’evah YHWH). The verses in Leviticus are not abominations to God. And so, the prejudice of the demonizers crumbles. Now let those who know better know shame, and those who cling to their prejudice know willful sin.

    “I believe in religious freedom, and if religious leaders want to speak out against homosexuals, I suppose it’s their right. But they are not locked into that position by the Bible. It’s their personal religious choice.” ~ Joel M. Hoffman PhD

  25. ken says:

    Christians are constantly being charged with “cherry-picking” the Bible, because Christians often quote Leviticus 18:22, the verse condemning homosexuality, and we’re told we are hypocrites because we don’t abide by the other laws in Leviticus. First off, the kosher food laws in Leviticus 11 are clearly annulled in the New Testament (Mark 7:18-20, Acts 10:15, Romans 14:14, Colossians 2:16, 1 Timothy 4:3, Titus1:15). Second, the apostles’ council (Acts 15) annulled the ritual laws – but specifically required Christians to abstain from sexual immorality (Acts 15:20). Third, the Letter to the Hebrews makes it clear that the Jewish system of sacrifices and holy days is no longer binding on Christians. To say that Christians today engage in cherry-picking is to say the apostles did. We don’t offer sacrifices, mandate circumcision, eat kosher, or observe the Jewish holy days because the first Christians didn’t. There is no record in the early Christian writings of Christians carrying out the death penalties mandated in Leviticus. We don’t need to quote Leviticus 18:22 in our debates over homosexuality, because it is clearly condemned in Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. I often hear critics say that Leviticus 18:22 was directed as the homosexual acts associated with pagan worship of the Canaanites. There may be some truth to that, BUT in Romans 1, Paul wasn’t thinking about pagan worship, because the pagan religions of his day did not include homosexual acts. Paul looked at the bigger picture – homosexuality was para phusin, “against nature,” and a sign that man’s relationship with God was badly out of whack. The fact that Paul quotes the pagan poets Epimenides and Aratus in Acts 17 suggests that Paul was not just some narrow provincial Jew, he had some acquaintance with pagan literature and may well have read Plato and Aristotle and been aware of their negative view of homosexuality, which Plato refers to with the same words, para phusin, “against nature.” I’m in favor of Christians dropping any reference to Leviticus 18:22, because quoting it inevitably leads right into the accusation, “Ah ha, you don’t obey ALL the laws in Leviticus!” Stick with Paul’s verses, plus Jesus’ view of male and female forming one flesh in marriage. We don’t need to be constantly fighting the Leviticus War.

  26. ken says:

    The folks who compiled this table are not very well versed in Christian terminology, which tends to be true of all people on the left, including the religious left. The list has “Orthodox Christians.” I’m pretty sure that’s referring to Eastern Orthodoxy, not to those of us who are orthodox in our beliefs, but the fact that no one at HRC understands the nuances is pretty revealing. It’s amazing in a nation that is predominantly Christian, with millions of people attending church on any given Sunday, that such ignorance of religion exists. I guess part of the reason is that the religious people themselves are ashamed of who they are and rarely talk about religion.

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