SPREAD THIS: 40 Answers for Christians Who Made Their Profile Pictures Into a Rainbow
This is a response to an article found on Conservative Tribune entitled “SPREAD THIS: 40 Questions for for Christians Who Made Their Profile Pictures Into a Rainbow and the same article found at The Gospel Coalition entitled “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. Those articles have made their way around social media which means that at least some of the people reading and sharing them find them profound. I personally found the questions to be somewhat patronizing and silly. I also found the questions very easy to answer. The author claims that the reasoning is to “provoke thought and introspection on the part of Bible-believing followers of Christ on all sides of the same-sex marriage issue“. I personally think that the author’s reasoning is to continue pushing this anti-gay agenda. So I accept the author’s challenge and will thoughtfully and introspectively answer the questions. I don’t think the author will like my answers though. I guess time will tell. Either way I challenge him/her to a discussion regarding these questions if he/she is so inclined. Keep in mind, however, that this is the topic that I did my PhD thesis on.
1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
Well first, I think that acceptance is vastly different from “celebrated”. Your use of the word “celebrated” screams ‘bait and switch fallacy’, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve believed that gay marriage as something to be accepted since about May 2013 when I finished my research on homosexuality from a scriptural perspective and found a paralyzing lack of evidence for the claims made by the greater Christian community about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I don’t know that I “celebrate” it per se, but I do accept it and embrace it.
2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
All of them that talk about the topic – Genesis 2, Genesis 19, Judges 19, 1 Kings 15, 1 Kings 22, Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, Deuteronomy 22, Ruth, 1 Samuel 20, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1. They are all manipulated to fit the anti-gay marriage agenda and I can prove it. They are discussed in my thesis and on this website.
3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
Again, your used of the word “celebrated” feels like a trap. Accepted fits better. This question is really the question I spend the entirety of my doctoral thesis answering. As such, it’s difficult to summarize it succinctly enough to answering this question thoroughly in this short format. What I can say, however, is that people have severely misrepresented those scriptures to fit an agenda. This agenda is perpetuated by ideology rather than scriptural truths. I can also tell you in general that the way those verses (mentioned in the answer to your previous question) have been interpreted is NOT accurate and, again, I can prove it.
4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
The same verses used to show that marriage between a man and women can adequately depict Christ and the church. Those verses are about Christ and the church not marriage. Marriage is just used as an analogy. These are two completely different topics. Marriage is just a symbol of Christ’s relationship with the church. It’s not a sexual relationship, but one of covenant and commitment. That defines ALL marriage, including homosexual marriage, NOT just heterosexual marriage.
5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
He didn’t. I don’t know where you got that from. There is no Genesis definition of marriage.
7. When Jesus spoke against porneia, what sins do you think he was forbidding?
Adultery and fornication (sex outside of marriage). This isn’t what I “think”, but what it actually means. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t really matter what anyone “thinks” it means, but only what scripture tells us it means. When proper etymology is performed, you will realize that – pornea – has been ascribed meanings to it which aren’t accurate.
8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
In Romans 1, Paul is giving a history lesson (see verse 20) not a new set of commands or standards. He is reminding the Roman Christians what happens when they choose to ignore God’s instinctive and distinctive truths (1:19) and follow their own sinful desires. He is reminding his readers that sin distorts our view of what is right and wrong and if left unchecked will lead us down a path of sinful destruction. See verse 24: “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired” (NLT). Because of their stubborn refusal to obey God (in ALL matters not just sexuality – I’m not sure why you and others like you pull out sexual sin from that long list and focus in on it and ignore all the others) and their continued defiance of Him, God let them do what they wanted. THAT’s when they turned to even more wicked and shameful ways.
This passage isn’t a diatribe about gaining righteousness through observance of behaviors or the avoidance of homosexual activity, as many Christians claim, but a warning about the effects of sin in general. Paul included sexual sins in the list because of their prevalence in his society at that time and because of its effects on, not only the body, but also the mind (see 1 Corinthians 6:18). He was talking about ALL sexual sin. There is nothing in this passage that overtly singles out homosexuality. At most this could be about illicit homosexual behaviors. There is nothing that could even hint at monogamous same sex marriage and homosexual behaviors in the context of a committed homosexual marriage.
9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?
No. There is no unforgivable sin. See John 3:16. All that’s required for heaven is faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
You’ve missed the point of those passages, probably because you have pulled them out of context and focused in on ONE sin in a long list of sins. The reasons allude me. I can only surmise that it’s because it fits your agenda against homosexuality.
These verses are talking about unbelievers (See 1 Corinthians 6:11 – 9-11 for context). Sexual (or any other) sin won’t keep anyone out of heaven, but they can keep someone from receiving Christ. But that’s not our concern. That’s the concern of the Holy Spirit. We aren’t allowed to play the role of the Holy Spirit. You’re responsible for your sin and I’m responsible for mine. You aren’t allowed to judge others regarding their sin.
Again, it doesn’t matter what I “think” those verses are referring to. It doesn’t matter what you or anyone else “thinks” they are referring to. What matters is what they ARE referring to. Those texts state clearly that unbelievers are distracted by the pull of their fleshly desires. The authors are simply giving some examples of what dangerous fleshly desires are and giving caution to watch out for them. Sexual issues are included, not because they are somehow worse sins than other sins, but because of the culture in which they were written. The term “sexual immorality” is used because it is subjective. It’s our responsibility to define for ourselves (NOT others) what is sexual immorality. Some argue that homosexuality isn’t immoral in and of itself – I’m one of them. The moral issue in homosexuality, just like heterosexuality, comes from what one does with that desire/impulse/orientation NOT in the desire/impulse/orientation itself.
11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther failed to grasp?
This is an argument from traditions fallacy and is rooted in traditional beliefs not what the Bible says. Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther (if they really did disapprove of same-sex sexual activity) may have gotten it wrong.
The information on this website explain the topic using resources that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther didn’t have access to.
The other thing to refute here is the claim of “near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity“. I’m not sure how you know that. One would have to be omniscient to know that. That’s a pretty bold claim to knowledge, a claim that I don’t think you can make. Regardless of that point, there are a few things to consider:
- This is a cyclical issue. There is so much disapproval because there has always been so much disapproval so it doesn’t really matter. Disapproval can bread more disapproval because:
- traditions and beliefs are passed down through generations. When truth finally emerges it takes a long time for people to break traditional beliefs and cling to truth
- homosexuals were forced into hiding because of those disapprovals. It wasn’t a legitimate disapproval, just a bullying from the majority
- anytime a majority rules it looks like “universal disapproval” when in actuality it’s just majority rule
12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?
I don’t know what Christians in Africa, Asia and South America understand about homosexuality so I don’t know. If they came to me with similar questions I’d answer them in the say way that I’m answering you. Culture is only one small piece of the puzzle and isn’t the end all be all of the issue.
13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?
I have no opinion on this matter. I don’t really care what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama think about the definition of marriage nor do I allow it what they think to influence what I think. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are politicians and politicians are notorious for switching their positions on topics depending on the political atmosphere and what’s conducive to their popularity. They aren’t motivated by truth and especially not scriptural truth so, again I don’t put much weight on what they tell us.
14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
Some probably do. Others probably don’t. Let me answer this question with my own question… Do you think it’s better for a child to be with heterosexual parents that involves an abusive and/or absent parent or loving committed homosexual parents? See, that cuts both ways.
15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
The unfortunate reality is that there just isn’t enough research available to answer this question. There is some – a quick search on Google scholar will reveal many of them – but there isn’t much. The reason there isn’t much research to point to isn’t that the research shows negative outcomes, but because there isn’t enough sampling to draw from. This issue to just too new and there aren’t that many examples to study. There would be more research to draw from if homosexual couples weren’t forced into hiding and suppressed from being parents.
I could ask you the same thing though. What research would you point to in support of your conclusion? Why are we to shoulder the burden of proof?
16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?
The church should not be in the business of playing that role. I find no support for this in scriptures.
17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?
Yes of course – procreation (although I feel that this is a bait question).
18. How would you define marriage?
Monogamous, committed, long-term relationship joined in marital union in the eyes of God and the law.
19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
No. I’m not sure what that has to do with homosexuality.
20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
Yes. Again, I’m not sure what that has to do with homosexuality.
21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?
Oh, OK… I see what you’re getting at. These arguments are what we call a slippery slope fallacy. Those are separate issues unrelated to the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. They only serve to distract from the issue. As such, I decline to entertain them unless you can provide a justification for connecting them.
22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?
Yes. Again, I’m not sure what that has to do with homosexuality.
23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?
24. If not, why not?
By definition equality is not limitless. Common sense dictates that “meaningful relationship” is not the only reason for marriage (see answer to #18 above).
25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution or coercion?
Yes. I will ask you the same question… Should YOUR brothers and sisters in Christ who AGREE with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution or coercion?
26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?
It depends on why their jobs, accreditation, reputation and their freedoms are threatened. If those things are threatened because they are judgmentally rejecting people, refusing to love people as Christ commanded we love people and disobeying the law than no, I won’t speak up for them. If the reverse is true and they have done nothing wrong then yes, I will speak up for them if the situation presents itself.
27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against evangelicals and Catholics?
Yes. Will YOU?
28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take un-biblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?
I’m not sure that the evangelical church as failed in this way. I’m not sure why you think it has. We take these things very seriously, but they are largely out of our control. As such, there’s isn’t much we can do about it. Even so, the church shouldn’t be in the business of taking these steps. We aren’t allowed to play the role of judge or the role of the Holy Spirit. It is not the responsibility of the church to “ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles”.
Regardless, you’ve effectively just argued against your position on this issue. The church has been doing the exact opposite of “ensuring that gay marriages are healthy and in accord with Scriptural principles, by rejecting and judging homosexuals. I would argue that it is the church’s historic and blatant discrimination and hate (the exact opposite of what we are called to do) of homosexuals that has pushed them away and into the fight they are in with this issue. It is our fault, because of the way we have historically treated homosexuals, that they don’t feel they can trust what we teach and preach regarding healthy marriage. Christians are the ones who need to fix that and rebuilt trust. As someone once said: No one has ever gotten closer to another by pushing them away.
29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?
No. Church discipline isn’t for this purpose (see Matthew 18).
30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
Yes, but it’s not my (nor your) place to judge that. That’s between the individual and God.
31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography and adultery wherever they are found?
Since I can’t predict the future I don’t know how to answer this question. I have no idea what these churches will do.
32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?
The definition of love won’t change. Love is a feeling and also a choice. The same definition applies to all. It is a universal concept.
33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?
1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 5:43-38, Luke 6:27, 1 Peter 4:8 – among others
34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
I guess we could also say that love requires a commitment and in the context of a committed marriage we chose to love (and act in loving ways) whether or not we feel love. Again, this should happen regardless of the “type” of relationship.
35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?
36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?
Not really. It has been my maturity in my faith that has caused me to support homosexuality and same sex marriage. My faith is strong enough to withstand this issue and whether or not homosexuals get married has no bearing on the way I understand faith.
On a similar note, please know that my faith changes constantly. It evolves and matures. That’s called sanctification and true believers are being sanctified. It’s an on going process. I would submit to you that those who think they have all the answers probably aren’t growing in their faith.
37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?
I would answer this two ways:
1: It hasn’t. I’m not sure there’s even a connection. There are other things I rely on to keep me passionate about “traditional evangelical distinctives“.
By the way… being born again and Christ’s work on the cross are NOT “traditional” distinctives. They are absolutes of the faith and unchangeable. I think you may need a refresher on what constitutes tradition vs. absolutes.
2: If I can make a connection I would say that it hasn’t been my support for gay marriage that has helped me become more passionate about evangelical distinctives, but the reverse. My passion for the truth of evangelical distinctives has fueled my change for supporting homosexual marriage. When we truly understand Christ’s work on the cross, grace, mercy and the sanctification process, things like homosexuality and same-sex marriage pale in comparision. When that happens, one can comfortably support homosexuality and same-sex marriage and not feel that they have become a traitor to their faith.
38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?
I know of several United Methodist and Universal Unitarian churches that have tremendous impact for Christ in all those areas. There’s a United Methodist church about 20 minutes from where I live that does all those things.
Let me throw that question back at you. I would ask you: What closed and non-affirming church’s would you point to where homosexual people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, etc. (or do you not think that homosexuals are worthy of that focus?) The Homosexual community contains “unreached peoples” too (largely due to the way Christianity has treated them and rejected them). On what authority do you get to pick and choose which set of “unreached peoples” you reach out to?
Besides, not all are called to those tasks. Some are called for exhortation, teaching, etc. (See Romans 12)
39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?
40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?
This passage is written for unrepentant unbelievers – for the answer to “what sins” See my answer to #8 above.