Blessings I feel the same as what is written by Ron Woolsey. That Gods power can pull us out of any sin or trouble.
The year was 1999, and a denominational publishing house heard my conversion story from homosexuality, and asked me to submit my story for publication, as a resource for our denomination. I was given a deadline of four weeks.
After much prayer and fourteen-hour days of writing, I met their deadline. After many months, I finally called for a status report.
“Oh! You haven’t received your manuscript? It was supposed to have been returned to you.”
“Why would it be returned?” I asked.
“It was rejected. The book committee decided they wanted a more balanced view.”
“Balanced view of what?” I asked. “I was asked to submit my story. Are you suggesting it is unbalanced?” I was alarmed.
“No, they just thought it would be better to have more stories to put into one book in order to present a balanced view,” came the reply.
I wondered aloud, “So stories of victory and success must be balanced out with stories of failure? Why?”
For fifteen years now I have continued to face the conundrum of the balanced view, this puzzle, as time after time I have been inhibited by the need to present a balanced view of the subject of homosexuality and the church. Ironically, I had to have my book published by an outside publisher who in turn sold it back to the denominational publisher to facilitate placing it in all the English-speaking ABCs around the world.
A few years ago I was invited to share my testimony at a conference on Marriage, Homosexuality and the Church. Sadly, I was discredited by one who promoted a view of “once gay, always gay,” and my presentation was therefore reduced to a mere interview. During the conference, this same individual replaced me on a panel addressing the university student body to present “a balanced view”. Critics and skeptics have repeatedly dismissed me as a perfectionist because I share of my personal experience of victory over homosexuality and how God offers salvation from sin rather than in sin.
Through the years, as opportunities to share were becoming less and less, I had made it a matter of prayer to ask God that whatever time I am given, the Lord will make it count. And at this specific conference on Marriage, Homosexuality and the Church, He did. In the closing presentation the speaker stated, “When Ron Woolsey stood here opening night, held up his Bible, and said that he found everything he needed in the word of God to turn and walk away from homosexuality, that set the tone for this entire conference.”
Once again I faced the conundrum of the balanced view when invited to speak at one of our denominational universities. This time the invitation was held up in committees for months, because of the very “controversial” nature of my story.
“But there are two sides to this issue…” they insisted.
“OK! So, why don’t we present the second side, God’s side…?”
I pointed out that I had graduated from their university, with a degree in theology, with honors, and that I was a conference pastor. Therefore, if straight/gay alliances are allowed on campus, why can’t I be trusted on campus with God’s perspective? Eventually approval came through, and the student body, filled with great interest and appreciation for my message, warmly received me.
Two issues especially caught my attention at the recent North American Division Ministers Convention and break out sessions preceding the General Conference Session--women’s ordination and homosexuality.
Though leadership had commissioned much study over the past few years, the “pro side” of the issue was promoted while the “con side” was ignored and even suppressed. The absence of a balanced view was noteworthy.
There were three different seminars addressing the LGBT issue. My ministry, “Coming Out Ministries”, was originally scheduled to have two of these sessions, but one was taken away due to “controversy”. Again, we prayed that the Lord would make whatever time we had, really count, and I truly believe He did.
However, when another seminar, with a very different message, was given more than twice the time we were given, many people who attended both sessions expressed confusion. I explained that both seminars were in fact presenting the same message, but only to a point. Both seminars presented a message of love and acceptance. However, Coming Out Ministries teaches the full gospel - that acceptance from God is conditional upon an entire surrender of the will, including the need of repentance, surrender, discipleship, transformation of character and victory over the sin of homosexuality, as with any other sin issue. Therefore, along these lines, the two seminars parted ways.
At the same North American Division Ministers’ Convention, a lesbian Adventist, a gay Adventist church elder, and the parents of a gay man married to another man presented testimonies. In fact, a gay Adventist was given time for a power point presentation denouncing all efforts to lead homosexuals to victory and transformation. Sadly, no testimony of victory was given. A psychologist even testified that she had never seen anyone overcome homosexuality. Some in attendance turned and waved at me, for I was redeemed 24 years ago and have been married now for 23 years and am the father of five children.
One of the organizers defended these presentations, saying that the gay issue has more than one ideology and therefore, they needed to present a balanced view. However, such a balanced view left many unsettled.
Do we need to present a balanced view by giving equal time to political correctness, conventional wisdom or social sciences?
Is not God’s view balanced in itself? God teaches us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (King James Version, Jeremiah 17:9).
In 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 we read, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”
In Proverbs 20:23 we read, “Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good.” God help us if we are weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
We read in Revelation 6:5, “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.”
Sadly, “not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven…Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:21-24).
Apparently, balance with God is not found between two opposing views, but rather between truth and acceptance, between the law and obedience, between God’s expressed will and our compliance.
You see, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). The only way we can be found righteous is in the Lord, (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16). Perfect balance is found within justification and sanctification, and within pardon/forgiveness and cleansing/transformation.
Christ’s righteousness is imputed, or attributed to us at the point of confession and repentance. In addition, Christ’s righteousness is imparted, or created in us through His grace, His transforming power, when we surrender to Him and to the process. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Notice the balance here.
Micah 7:19 reads, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
Ellen White explains, “Satan stands at the head of all the accusers of the brethren; but when he presents the sins of the people of God, what does the Lord answer? He says, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?... They were therefore standing before God clothed with the garments of Christ’s righteousness…Every sin of which they had been guilty was forgiven, and they stood before God as chosen and true, as innocent, as perfect, as though they had never sinned” (RH August 29, 1893).
We read in Acts of the Apostles that “John saw the mercy, the tenderness and the love of God blending with His holiness, justice, and power” (White,489)
“When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice.” (White, 333).
Now this, I contend, is a balanced view.
"..Lev 18:22 in the Good News Translation makes God position with the act of homosexuality very clear:
No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that.
How should we understand the spirit or the principle of love in this passage?..."
...and here you are applying selective reading towards scripture.
To answer your question by applying the proper context to the verse and not ignore the context as context is very important. Context here:
a) Why was it said? Lev. 18:1-3:The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.
God tells us why. He gives these rules to separate israelites from the surrounding cultures.
b) This leads us to the historical context where we find that throughout history homosexuality if it was practiced was not practiced as an act of love or even as acts of relationships. Quite contrary. It was done out of domination in case of war, in case of inhospitality and so on. We even find examples of that context reflected within scripture in Gen. 19 and Judges 19. So we are not talking about homosexuality as we know and understand it today.
c) What else is said in Leviticus and how do we interpret it for our times and what is not said? Lev 19:19 talks about mixing of fabrics. Lev 19:20 allows sex outside of marriage with slave. Lev 19:27 forbids to shave. Nothing in Lev 18 forbids polygamy or sex outside of marriage. And so on. So does this all apply to us today or is it just this one verse you select out of the many and apply and the rest we just dismiss? Interesting and very selective..
d) Romans 13:8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Now you are right Jesus did not come to abolish the laws he came to fulfill them. However when you act out of love you will not steal from someone. You will not murder someone you love. You will not lie to someone who you love. Neither will you have sex outside marriage with someone else when you love your spouse you will commit to one another and so on. If people act out of love they will fulfill the law this includes committed loving christ centered same-sex marriages and we shall know them by their fruits and if you are lucky and a little bit more open minded you might get to know such a couple and can judge the fruits on your own. (Luke 6:43-44).
Especially in that context i find it surprisingly fitting that we find something else in scripture:
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. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.(1 Tim 4:1-6)
Now today we forbid people to marry, love and commit to one another just so we can call them out and declare "sex outside the marriage...".. Fitting...
a) Thats the point.
b) You willingly keep ignoring that the type of hmosexual relations we are talking today never existed. It does not have to be "crime" (even tho rape was not considered a crime in many cases of warfare) even in ancient greek and rome it was always a sexual act in addition to a heterosexual marriage. So no homosexuality back than and homosexuality today are not the same. Historical context matters and all verses in regards to homosexuality have such a context even clearly in front or close to the verse you select you just ignore it.
c) Leviticus in general forbids or allows many things which we do not follow today. Stop trying to argue around that. You are cherry picking your verses.
d) Look at a-c.
As we said already we disagree and thats that.
Your interpretation is not a message of love.
Your interpretation kills our youth and drives them away from Christ.
As Jesus said the fruits of the tree or the message in this case are self evident and in case of the Church and your interpretation self condemning.
Have a nice day
I can not find one text in the Bible that says that a Homosexual act is condoned by God? To the contrary there is many texts that condemn homosexual acts.
Manuela, trying to see if I'm following you right, your saying homosexual relations are different today is because it's done out of love??
Homosexual relations is a man or women having sexual relations with the same gender. How do you believe that's different than what was done in the past?
How do you know all homosexual relations in the past wasn't out of love from the same gender of people had for one another?
By studying the historical context. Exactly for that we have Archeology, Anthropolgy, Sociology and many more fields. Many of these fields one needs to touch at least in out theological schools and without applying the proper context the true meaning is lost.
Whether it's out of love or from a barbaric people it's still the same, homosexuality, which the Bible forbids.
Now, if a man finds comfort and love with the company of another man, then that's not homosexual, that's like a bromance to the extreme, but the act of sexual relations is homosexual, that's a sin Manuela.
Homosexuality is a sin, whether it's done in love or not... This shouldn't drive anybody away, if their driven away it's because the Bible doesn't condone homosexual relations. But if they understand homosexual relations is a sin, just like everybody else dealing with some form of sin, we have to pull away from what the Bible calls sin.
We disagree here.
The context of the verses where it talks from what we translate today as "homsexuality" is not what we understand today as homosexuals.
Furthermore being a Christian means being "Christ like". Show me where Jesus condemned any homosexual or even a homosexual couple for that matter in the bible like we do today in our Church.
I sincerely hope nobody around you is struggling with homosexuality especially not the young because with this kind of messaging you are causing real and true damage around you.
Manuela: " By studying the historical context. Exactly for that we have Archeology, Anthropolgy, Sociology and many more fields. Many of these fields one needs to touch at least in out theological schools and without applying the proper context the true meaning is lost."
Manuela: "The context of the verses where it talks from what we translate today as "homsexuality" is not what we understand today as homosexuals."
I agree, and the context is if having sex with someone of the same gender is allowed today, is it still a sin like the Bible says it is?
What I get from you is that having sex with someone of the same gender in the Bible past was done out of crime which made it a sin, and today it's done out of love which makes it permissible and not a sin. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Manuela: "Furthermore being a Christian means being "Christ like". Show me where Jesus condemned any homosexual or even a homosexual couple for that matter in the bible like we do today in our Church. I sincerely hope nobody around you is struggling with homosexuality especially not the young because with this kind of messaging you are causing real and true damage around you."
This/what kind messaging? the messaging I'm talking about is from the Bible Manuela, your the one who seems to think having sex with someone of the same gender is allowed because it's done in and out of love.
"Furthermore" and for the record I'm not condemning anyone for being a homosexual, I agree we need to be understanding to how they feel inside and the love they have, but that doesn't change the fact that the act of having sex with someone of the same gender is a sin, the Bible clearly says it's a sin.
There are people who use to have sex with people of the same gender that knows the Bible clearly says it's a sin and they are living an non-homosexual lifestyle now.. Pastor Steve Wohlberg has a program with former homosexuals who talk about their struggle and how they pulled away from that sin. Well known gospel artist Donnie McClurkin, a former homosexual said he had been "delivered" from homosexuality. So there are homosexuals who knows it's a sin according to the Bible, many understand the messaging well Manuela, and what's that? That according to the Bible, it's a sin to have sex with someone of the same gender!!!
Ofcourse with any sinner like you say, they must be dealt with in a Christlike manner, because in reality if you fornicate then you are a homosexual, if you are a glutton you are a homosexual, if you steal, kill, bear false witness you are a homosexual, because the bible says if you offend in one part of the law you offend in all... I pray for Mercy and forgiveness, but I still sin, things I know is wrong, it may not be a major sin, but that's the thing a sin is a sin, we're all on the same boat.
Thank GOD we have someone to get us off that boat and wash us clean, He knows our struggle with sin, He showed us believing in Him we can overcome all sin. It's our choice, whom shall we serve?
Manuela, if your stuck on believing having sex with someone of the same gender is ok to do and not a sin in this day in age because it's done out of love then your mistaken, and what I have written won't mean anything to you, but it's so crystal clear the Bible says it's a sin I can't believe I'm discussing with you whether or not it is a sin. But hey, lets see where it goes..
Blessings to you!! :)
Proverbs 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.
You are right not everyone will be saved especially not those guilty of this abomination of Proverbs 20:10
Yet here you are advocating do break this even tho the context in this case is not even disputed..
Interesting but go ahead.
I will be there to try and help those who these messages hurt . Sadly we will lose a lot of those who you and the Church hurts.
Thats what the "forum warriors" here seem to forget. We are talking real people here not a theoretical discussion and these messages do not bring death in an abstract sense they bring death in a very literal sense every single day to our youth by constantly spitting out vicious and hateful messages in our Churches without even knowing who really is homosexual. More often than not its your brother or sister sitting next to you on Sabbath...
Yup. LOL With that process, you need to raise your left hand to save your watch.