Will you hear his story? A Baptist pastor reviews a gay author

CowbowsArmageddonandtheTruthA year ago, I had a brief email correspondence with author Scott Terry about evangelicals and homosexuality. The following is a review and response to his book, Cowboys Armageddon, and the Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion

Note: Parts of this post are rewritten, with permission, from my personal correspondence with the author. In that section, I refer to him by his first name.

 

How I came to read the book

My initial contact with Terry was regarding an art piece that he created that quoted various hateful and homophobic statements about LGBT people. I had emailed him to correct a misquote, but our conversation quickly moved to the broader issue of evangelicals and homosexuality and his own experience with religious people. He was incredibly gracious to me and I personally benefited from our interaction.

In the process of our conversation, Terry invited me to read two of his blog pieces on the Huffington post. His articles gave me some insight into how he framed the issues surrounding homosexuality and gay marriage and how he felt and had formed those feelings toward “fundamentalist” Christians (which, in his use, included me). His article, “Gay Man Seeks Straight Wife,” really struck a chord with me. Not only did Terry do a good job making his point in a humorous way, he shared his personal experience with evangelicals. What impacted me most in this article was his reaction to a “Born-Again” Christian at one of his book signings. This person stood in line just to tell him that she would pray for him but she didn’t buy his book. Terry remarks,

I suppose she didn’t buy my book because she wasn’t interested in understanding who I am or where I come from. I think her only interest is in being committed to misunderstanding people like me. Many of you religious people are like that.”

Ouch! Have I been guilty of that? Well, I certainly didn’t want to be. So, before I emailed him again, I downloaded the kindle edition and over the next two weeks read his book.

 

A Short Review

In the book, Terry gives an account of his life as a child in an abusive, religious home. He also describes how he came to discover and embrace a gay identity. The book is an intensely personal account of his experience and I gained from reading his story. Although his abusers were Jehovah’s Witness and not evangelical (a meaningless distinction in Terry’s view, we are just different versions of fundamentalist Christians), there is much for evangelicals to hear.

Let me first begin by saying that Terry is a great writer. His story is compelling, his style is engaging, and he really brings the reader into his experience. Many of the scenes are intense. A few places near the end were admittedly more explicit than I am comfortable with. Overall, though, Terry helps you to understand both his experiences and the impact they had on him. One feature I especially liked was use of italics throughout the book to speak in his “child” voice and perspective. I thought that feature added much to the impact of the story itself.

I felt personally connected to Terry as I read. On every page, there was so much I wanted to say to him in response to his experience. I also kept wanting to skip to the ending chapter, “The Point of All This,” but I refrained and instead allowed the story to unfold. His telling was emotionally gripping. As I read, I felt with him and for him. Throughout the first two-thirds of the book, I wanted desperately to rescue him from his abusers. I was angry at many places. My eyes teared up at parts. I rejoiced when, in his story, he finally escaped his situation. Though his account ended with him “escaping” religion and now embracing his life as a gay man, I was nevertheless moved by his story. I especially appreciated his reflection in the closing chapter of the “point of all this” (no spoilers, you’ll have to read the book).

His account is compelling. The way Terry writes, I was personally drawn into his world. I finished the book feeling like I now knew him, but of course I didn’t. I only knew his story and only that part of it he had shared in the book. I was sure, though, that if we met I would like him and that if we lived in proximity he would be the kind of person I would want to count among my friends.

 

My reflection and shared thoughts

As I allowed the impact of the book to sink in, I reflected on how Scott’s story intersected with my own and how the gospel speaks into the stories of LGBT people. The following are a few of my thoughts as I shared them with the author.

The first is the reminder that behind every issue and every label are real people with personal stories. Our discussions about any of the issues of the day, including homosexuality or gay marriage, cannot be separated from the very real feelings, needs and experiences of the people involved. If I was to address Scott, I must do so as person to person and not treat him as a category with generalizations and stereotypes. Further, I must do so with respect toward him as a person of intrinsic worth and value as one created in the image of God. I can neither dismiss his experience or point of view out of hand but seek first to understand then be understood. Scott’s story is worth telling and being heard and I am the better for hearing it.

Second, I felt the need to say to him, “I’m sorry.” I apologized to him as a representative of the church as a whole, and included my own participation in many of the things he experienced from Christians in the past.  I was sorry for how we had treated him as a label and not a person. I was sorry that we evangelicals have tended to treat gay persons as untouchables and outcasts rather than showing genuine love toward them. I was sorry for our own brand of homophobia that has no interest in understanding or listening but oversimplifies the issues and speaks without compassion or empathy. I was sorry that we have failed to communicate the message that God loves Scott, that He died for him, that He desires a relationship with him, and that He accepts all who will come to him in faith. I was sorry that in our efforts to call all sinners to repentance that we have failed to show love. I was sorry that we have sometimes used the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” as an excuse for our mistreatment of LGBT persons rather than a humble desire to offer the hope of the gospel to persons for whom we genuinely care and love. I was sorry that we have somehow communicated a message of hate rather than the gospel of God’s grace and love – that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). I was sorry that we have emphasized that the “wages of sin is death” without offering the hope that “the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom 6:23). I was sorry that we have not reached out to the gay community or to gay persons in genuine friendship. I was sorry that in my desire to share the message of God’s hope, I’ve often come across as self-righteous and condescending.

I also shared with him that I cannot join with the progressives and affirm gay sex as legitimate and pleasing to God. Indeed, I do believe that homosexual sex violates God’s creative purposes and, like all forms of sin, is a rejection of God and his ways. But I understand that that message itself is offensive enough on its own. Every person (gay or straight) is separated from God because of sin. All must turn to God in faith that he died for that sin and rose again to give us new life. People take offense to that message (even if it is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us). I pray God and LGBT people will forgive us evangelicals for the times we have shown a lack of humility in sharing the gospel message. That Christians do in fact have the truth is not something that we should be prideful, haughty, condescending, or self-righteous about – for we too need God’s grace and ought to offer that same grace humbly to others.

 

Final Thoughts

In the end, I was touched to the core by Scott’s story and am sorry for the suffering he faced at the hands of religious people – the very ones who should have loved him the most. While the book has ended, however, Scott’s story has not. Perhaps, Scott will someday return to a belief in God. I pray that he does. I do believe that the Christian gospel is truth – not the kind of truth that says I’m right and you’re wrong, but the kind that says God is real and He is there and he offers Himself in a very real way. I hope Scott will come to know that truth and the person who is truth. I hope too that I will learn to share gospel in a way that communicates the love of Christ to LGBT people, including Scott, so that they too might “be reconciled to God.”

In the end, I am happy to have made the connection with Scott. I have benefited from our correspondence and from his writings. The invitation for him to turn to Christ is open and genuine. But, even if he never does, I am grateful to have been introduced to him and hear his story.

 

Comments

  1. Chief Katie says

    Todd,

    Could you please clarify for me what you meant here?

    ”I also shared with him that I cannot join with the progressives and affirm gay sex as legitimate and pleasing to God. Indeed, I do believe that homosexual sex violates God’s creative purposes and, like all forms of sin, is a rejection of God and his ways. But I understand that that message itself is offensive enough on its own. Every person (gay or straight) is separated from God because of sin.”

    I, like you, hold that all sin can be forgiven and homosexual acts are no different. Perhaps I’m reading something into your statement that isn’t there, but the Biblical truth is not offensive. I understand they (homosexuals) view it as such. I think we should not concede any ground on this. Our schools, businesses and even our civil rights are at stake.

    If I’m being over-sensitive, I’ll accept correction.

    In His Amazing Grace,

    Katie

  2. Todd Benkert says

    What I mean is that people without Jesus find the gospel itself offensive (1 Cor 1:23, 1 Peter 2:8). If they stumble, it should be at the gospel itself, not because of my unloving, haughty, condescending, self-righteous, offending demeanor and behavior.

  3. Billy Bradford says

    “I cannot join with the progressives and affirm gay sex as legitimate and pleasing to God.” WE ARE NOT GAY SEX. We are gay people, in good and loving relationships, and we are legitimate families no matter what nonsense you spread in the name of Jesus. Therefore I cannot join with the fundamentalists and affirm faith-based bigotry as pleasing to God.

    • Todd Benkert says

      It’s clear that we hold opposing worldviews and beliefs about homosexuality. I believe what the Bible says about God’s purpose in creation and sexual relationships. I get that you find that offensive and nonsense and am not at all surprised by that. I share what I do because of my desire to see gay and straight people alike come to faith in Christ and find forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God. I tell you that your sin separates you from God, not out of a heart of bigotry, but out of a conviction that Jesus died to save sinners and bring them into relationship with him.

      I read and shared Scott’s story precisely because I believe that you should be treated as a person of inherent dignity and worth with a story that is worth hearing. I want Jesus’ story to intersect your story in such a way that you come to know him and know that his ways are good and righteous. Jesus died for gay people. He loves gay people, and in that love he calls them to repent and believe the good news.

      • says

        Unfortunately Todd, there are a significant number of people within the homosexual community (this is also true for nearly every group that holds fast to their sins believing them to be good and normal), that cannot grasp that one can be respectful of a person and yet not support their actions or lifestyle. For many, to not accept their choices is to not respect them as a person. To be sure, many who oppose homosexuality have not showed respect, but that does not and should not taint the actions of the rest who do show respect. Ultimately, no amount of kind words will ever change the hearts of those who are so closed off to, and resentful of the Gospel and those who proclaim it in love and respect. That is a job that only God Himself, through the Spirit, by the blood of the Son can do. People like Billy here will never believe that you speak to him with respect no matter what you say, until and unless you say his lifestyle is acceptable. But as I am sure you are aware, that should not change our actions. Be kind, even to those who refuse to accept such kindness, is a mark of a follower of Christ.

        • Todd Benkert says

          I think that the kind of love that breaks down those kinds of barriers must be demonstrated and this is done best in the context of relationships. I doubt Billy or others will be won over by words in a blog article or comment stream.

          The audience for this piece is not the gay community but my fellow evangelicals. My appeal is for us believers to engage with our LGBT neighbors in a way that is humble and loving and willing to hear their stories, even as we tell them God’s story and invite them to be reconciled to God. In the past, we have largely failed to do that.

    • says

      The word “affirm” is the operative word. We affirm that which we hold to be the basis of our belief system and hence our behavior. For me that is scripture. Therefore it is not “bigotry” when I assert what the scripture says on any subject.

    • Chris Roberts says

      I don’t understand liberal Christianity. What the Bible says is clear enough, and if the Bible is rejected (as ultimately occurs from those who try to affirm both the Bible and homosexuality), what’s the point? Just become atheists, a position in which homosexuality is simply not an issue and in which reality is embraced.

      • Todd Benkert says

        I agree with your assessment of liberal Christianity, Chris, but would encourage going in the other direction. Instead of joining you in becoming atheists, I pray they repent (i.e. change their mind about sin and God) and believe the good news about Jesus. That is my prayer for you as well.

      • says

        Chris,
        Usually those that call themselves Christian and yet hold to doctrines that are anti-biblical do not see the Bible as the authoritative book as do true Christians. Thus they feel the freedom to sit on judgment on the Bible, ‘correcting’ it to their self thought more superior sense of truth and justice and God.

        Reality of course is one thing, but the perception of it varies among people. So while you see what you think is a reality where there is no god, I see a reality where I perceive there is a God.

        How do you know there isn’t a God?

        • says

          Mike,

          I get that they do not see the Bible as authoritative, and that’s sort of my point. If you’re going to worship a deity who is invisible, untouchable, untestable, how can you possibly claim to know anything about him unless he reveals it in some way? Granted, there is no reason to believe the Bible is truly from God, so we’re left with no evidence and an unreliable source, which is why I encourage the liberal Christian to align themselves with atheism.

          As for your question, I don’t believe in God because there is no evidence to support said belief. Individual perception is of limited value because the possibility for error is so high, which is why the more rigorous tools of science are helpful. And that’ll be my last contribution in this post on why I do/don’t believe in God.

          • says

            Mike….homosexuals need you to do better than this statement….”If you’re going to worship a deity who is invisible, untouchable, untestable, how can you possibly claim to know anything about him unless he reveals it in some way?”

            God is Spirit, has been touched, and tested like no other. You are simply ignorant of history and the reality of Jesus Christ on this earth. If you are going to be an atheist, at least get the facts right.

          • David (NAS) Rogers says

            No evidence, huh? You have just revealed both ignorance and uncuriosity for yourself.

      • says

        Chris, you have articulated well just one of the differences of a person that knows God, and the person that pretends He does not exist. True Christians really do love the person that is trapped in homosexual behavior and lifestyle, where the atheist would rather ignore an easily discernible sexual perversion. It is a dilemma for some atheists that still know the difference between perverted behavior and true passion.

        God has it right here. Degrading passion should not be recognized as normal, loving, and caring.

        • says

          Some behaviors are easily identifiable as harmful. Others are outside cultural norms, which does not make them harmful, just different. Still others fit within normal cultural expectations.

          Most of us are fine with that third category. Even sinful behaviors from that category are regularly practiced by many who call themselves Christian. The first category has its advocates, but most people easily spot the problems with their actions and arguments. Which leaves the second category in which many people react against such choices not because they are truly wrong but because (1) someone viewed as an authority said it was wrong, or (2) their own discomfort at such actions. This is clearly where homosexuality falls. For most people, opposition comes for both those reasons: God said it was wrong, and it’s just icky. But the ick factor is no judge of morality, leaving only divine command. When we realize there is no such thing as a divine command, then nothing stands in the way of homosexuality being an acceptable lifestyle. That’s not to say it doesn’t carry its own problems that need to be addressed (as does every choice, every lifestyle), but those challenges don’t make the behavior inherently wrong.

          • says

            Katie,

            “That’s not to say it doesn’t carry its own problems that need to be addressed (as does every choice, every lifestyle), but those challenges don’t make the behavior inherently wrong.”

          • says

            Chris, you always set up your own straw man as if there is some historical facts to your rhetoric. Your categories are obviously artificial. Degrading passion is an easy definition. Natural, God created sexuality is historically defined and is not in any sense like degrading passion. An atheist may be just fine with making two opposing definitions exist naturally. Yet, reality disagrees with the atheist’s fabrication.

            Bottom line is that the atheist does not care much for the homosexual.

        • Jon says

          Chris Roberts, you stated that the ick factor is no judge for morality, and I agree that someone thinking something is icky is not enough to make it immoral. But what do you use as a judge for morality now that you have become an atheist?

          • Jon says

            And let me clarify, I’m not asking this question to start an argument or anything, I’m genuinely curious. When you claimed to be a Christian I assume you at least tried to base your morals off of Scripture. Now that you have rejected God and Scripture, what you do use as the standard for moral judgments?

          • Les Prouty says

            Good luck getting Chris to answer that question Jon. I tried on another post. He won’t. Claims it’s too involved.

            Les

          • says

            Les,

            It can only mean one thing! I must have no answer so I resort to dodging and obfuscating! I must secretly know my worldview is vacuous but I’m trying to hide myself from that fact!

            …or it has nothing to do with the current discussion and would spark a rather lengthy discussion of its own that wouldn’t really be welcome.

        • says

          Chris R,…you have given yourself two ways to approach the question. Which one do you select? We really should not have to ask you these types of questions, about answering questions, btw.

  4. David Gibbs says

    Todd – what was the purpose of someone like yourself who is opposed to people with same-sex attractions in every way to e-mail/interview and read the autobiography of a gay person? Most if what you wrote was judgmental and condescending, but I don’t know that you could ever see it the way most of us do. You say you’d want to call this man a friend, but yet you insist on condemning him to his face. I wish you could see that your words and tone are just as unhelpful as the Jehovah’s Witnesses in his life. You keep saying that you benefited from your interactions with this man yet you aren’t changed. You don’t realize how you are guilty of pushing people like this author away from God.

    • Todd Benkert says

      You and I are not going to agree on the worldview issues that are at stake here, David. Over the years, my perspective has changed while my position has not. Two questions I think are relevant. (1) If I truly believe that you are in sin and your sin condemns you, is it more loving to appeal to you to come to God or to leave you alone to die in your sins? (2) If you cannot change the mind of evangelicals to affirm the legitimacy of homosexuality, would you rather that evangelicals be rude, nasty, and hateful, or to be kind, gracious and humble even while we disagree? I am striving for the latter. I tell gay (and straight) people about Jesus because I love people and want to see them come to know Jesus. I am also called (2 Cor 5) to be an “ambassador” of Christ, appealing on Christ’s behalf for you to be reconciled to God. You may perceive that as condemnation, but what I am offering is God’s grace.

    • says

      David, how is disagreeing with someone regarding a lifestyle because one agrees with what the bible says about it condemning them?

      • says

        Jeff,

        If I were to tell you that your Christianity amounted to a moral evil, had a detrimental effect on society, and if unchanged would contribute to your eternal suffering, would you seriously consider that a respectful disagreement and not condemning?

        • says

          And that, my friends, what Chris Roberts just said….is why the lost will never be understanding and okay with us, as Christians, and the message that we must preach. That’s why the world hates us, and Jesus says that they’ll hate us. And, there’s really no way around that…no matter how nice and kind and loving we are towards them.

          At the end of the day, the message of the Bible does condemn their lost, sinful lifestyles and actions….and, I’m talking about all lost people, not just the homosexuals. And, most lost people are not gonna like it….that we believe that their behavior is wrong and sinful in the eyes of God. And, they don’t like being told to turn from their rebellious, sinful ways. And, they don’t like hearing that Hell is gonna be their eternal future.

          So, yes, we need to treat other people with respect, and kindness, and love…homosexuals included…..but, we also don’t need to think that it’s gonna make them like Christians, or the Bible, or Christianity, any better….cuz it’s not.

          David

          • says

            David,

            So what’s different from what I said about Christianity and what you might say about any given sin (other than the fact that you actually believe it whereas mine was meant as an example)?

          • D.L. Payton says

            Volfan

            You make a good clear argument. I agree. IMO it is extremely rare that when one is confronted with his sin, that he will view it as a loving encounter. People living in total rebellion against God do not have the spiritual apparatus necessary to accept a correction in any way other than a negative one. Scripture will “offend” him.

          • says

            No doubt about it David. If the world isn’t hatin’ on you, then we need to do a check of the mirror. What we must be sure of is that the hate is for His names sake, not our attitude or behavior

          • Todd Benkert says

            David is right. Only the Holy Spirit will change hearts. Kindness alone will not change people’s minds. However, kindness is the right thing to do and is the way of Christ. And, pragmatically, here is what kindness and a willingness to hear people’s stories CAN do:

            1. It can keep from adding additional barriers to the gospel beyond the gospel itself.

            2. It may gain a hearing for the gospel from a person who might otherwise be closed to it.

            3. It communicates to a world that we care about them as people and not just about being right.

            4. It can change our own hearts toward people who need Jesus so that we see people not as adversaries and enemies but as fellow sinners in need of a savior.

        • says

          It depends on your worldview, Chris. Christians are told their worldview is detrimental to society (among other things) which is condemning. As a Christian, this type of condemnation for my beliefs does not feel respectful. Are we then at a stand-off with no solutions? As difficult as dialogue can be in certain situations, I don’t think we have to be at a stand-off or to carry around offense. Besides, Christianity offers a solution through Christ; what do the others offer?

          • says

            Mark,

            Perhaps you miss my point. We’re not talking about who offers which solution, but whether or not particular ways of confronting competing views are respectful. Christians claim they are respectful when saying such things about homosexuality, while saying that any such claims made about Christianity are disrespectful if not almost on the level of soft persecution. It’s one of those double standards I keep talking about.

          • Todd Benkert says

            I think Chris has a point here. We cannot walk around offended all the time and then balk when others take offense at us.

          • says

            Chris R.,

            I’m not suggesting a double-standard claiming that Christians should be able to confront a differing worldview without someone being offended while calling for offense themselves. I was merely pointing out that the other side of Christians being offended exists which is why I stated the Christian solution.

            But again, one’s worldview through which these things are understood matters. People from two competing worldviews are going to be offended at times. Each person believes their worldview is superior to the other or, presumably, they would not hold their view but the other.

            I don’t think Christians should walk around being offended all the time. I think we should expect offense as our Scriptures say. I expect those with contra-Christian views to be offended at times. If the simple message offends then we should strive to at least make the way we share our views less offensive.

            Ironically, the offense/double-standard cuts both ways when people in each party is offended.

          • says

            Mark,

            That comment had been intended for Jeff above, I clicked the wrong reply link. At any rate, I largely agree with you. When worldviews collide, some degree of offense is inevitable. My point is just to say that Christians commonly call opposition “hate from the world” but when Christians oppose the world, they call it loving respect. That’s the double standard I see.

          • toddbenkert says

            “If the simple message offends then we should strive to at least make the way we share our views less offensive.”

            Yes!

  5. says

    I think we can all agree that Christians and atheists are both becoming more unpopular, largely for their beliefs in objective truth in this post-modern era

    • D.L. Payton says

      Adam

      I find your comment re. atheists interesting. Please elaborate on that. I am not disagreeing, I simply would like to hear more.

      • Adam G. in NC says

        D.L.,
        christianity and atheism both base their beliefs on facts and truths that they have come to trust (however different facts). We live in a world that increasingly abhors any type of exclusive truth-claiming. The world views both as arrogant and insensitive.

  6. Todd Benkert says

    152 Facebook shares of my review, but will anybody buy Scott’s book? You should!

    Follow Scott on twitter at @ScottTerryWrite (follow me at @toddbenkert)

  7. says

    I am going to try and fill the gap of misunderstanding.. I am a Christ following woman, and I am bisexual. *holds for gasps of shocks*. Now, hears the deal. Gay people feel critizised and told the life they are living is a giant sin because they are gay, and with prayer, they can be fixed. Now, I’m sorry, but you cannot fix being gay, the same way you cannot change being straight. Go ahead and test it out. For 24 hours, make yourself attracted to the same sex and tell me how that works out for you. Let me guess… it didn’t. Just like a gay person can’t make them self like the opposite gender.

    Now because of this Christians seem to think its OK to sling fire and brimstone speeches at the GLBT community, which puts me more on their side than yours, because seriously, you guys sound like bigger bigoted haters than anybody else. And then you wonder why people don’t want to follow Jesus. Maybe try preaching love instead of hell and condemnation.

    And lastly, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Not just the sins of the straight people that chose to follow him, but every single living human being on earth. And to Him,, all sins look the same. They are all just as bad, whether you killed someone, robbed a bank, lied to your dog, or kissed another man, they are all the same to God and he is perfect and holy and cannot be around sin which is why we can ask for forgiveness.

    Please, don’t hesitate with your questions.

    • Todd Benkert says

      Monica, would you be willing to share your personal experience with evangelicals? How have you been treated?

    • volfan007 says

      Monica,

      We can’t live in sexual sin, and still be close to God. There’s no way that can be. And, any sexual activity outside of the marriage of a man and a woman is a sin against God. That’s what the Bible teaches….it’s not just what some “bigoted hater” thinks and preaches. It’s EXACTLY what the Bible teaches….very clearly teaches, I might add. So, believing that gay sex is a sin against God is what a true, Christ Follower will believe… because it’s what His LORD tells him, or her.

      Secondly, Jesus did die for our sins, and He will forgive all of those people, who are willing to repent(turn) from their sinful, rebellious ways, and put their faith in Him. Yes, that is true. But, we must be willing to repent and put our faith in Jesus….Acts 20:20-21.

      Thirdly, about God “making you that way,” and you can’t help but be a bisexual, is just not true. God didn’t make you that way. God didn’t make any homosexual that way. Sin doing it’s awful thing in our world has caused people to go the wrong way in life. Did you know that adulterers could say that they were just made that way, and can’t help but commit adultery? People who are bank robbers could say that they were just made that way and can’t help it? People who are liars could just say that they just can’t help it, because they’re just born that way? Because, all of those people could say what a homosexual says….this is just the way I feel inside. It’s just the way I am. I have to commit adultery. I have to rob banks. I have to lie to people. Why is this? because all people are born sinners, and our sins just ooze out of us in all kinds of ways. But, God doesn’t excuse our sins. He wants to forgive us, and change our hearts….give us a new heart that wants to live for Jesus….a heart that wants to serve the Lord….a heart that wants to deny the feelings and temptations they feel, and OBEY God.

      David

    • D.L. Payton says

      Monica
      Just so I understand, are you saying that there is no difference in the sin of kicking your dog and say child molestation?

      • says

        While I don’t agree with anything else she said, I would semi-agree with her point on all sin is equal. That is, before God’s Holy presence, no sin is tolerated, ALL sin keeps us from Him. Now of course, when it comes to earthly consequences for sins, some are more repugnant than others. Some do and should hold more criminal punishment or social rebuke. But yes, I do believe that an unrepentant animal abuser who claims to follow Christ is in the same hot water as an unrepentant child molester who claims to follow Christ. I would call both person’s claim to follow Christ as suspect because their actions do not mesh with one who has been Sanctified by the Lord. Everyone sins, but believers are resentful and remorseful when they do. If there is no repentance, no remorse, I dare say there is no salvation there. That goes for child molesters OR animal abusers.

        • Jess says

          Unrepentant animal abuser, and an unrepentant child abuser is in the same hot water. Wow! I’ve heard everything now.

          Animal rights groups say that the chicken you eat is a direct result of abuse. They say, that chickens are killed in a inhumane way. If we listen to animal lovers they will starve us to death.

          Children belong to God, and always will. Animals are given to man to subdue. Children are to be loved with all our hearts, and are to be treated in a very special way, according to the Biblical instructions. Children have souls that are, and can be saved when the time comes, animals don’t.

          I’ll have to say, you never cease to amaze me, and yet I love to read Liberals comments.

          • says

            Wow…I’m a liberal? I notice how you did not actually deal with the substance of what I said, only had to resort to ad hominem attacks. Care to actually deal with what I said in that ALL SIN IS EQUAL IN GOD’S EYES!

            PS…Dont call me a liberal again.

        • D.L. Payton says

          SVM
          Yes all sin separates us from God. However, i have trouble saying that kicking a dog and molesting a child is the same in God’s eyes. Admittedly I have to think awhile to find some scripture, but still…… The closest I can come now is the Judgement seat of Christ. I understand this to be for the purpose of rewards. I would think a child molester would have fewer rewards that a dog kicker.

          Let me think awhile an i will get back to you.

          • says

            Breaking any part of the Law of God, His High Holy standard, breaks all of it. The law is one.
            James 2

            8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

          • says

            My problem, and my point, is if we start putting sins on a “ladder” with some “worse” than others, then we start having people compare their lives to others. That leads to the error of people believing that simply being “good” is enough for getting to heaven. People don’t like the idea of someone like Hitler, if with his last breath, repented and accepted Christ Jesus as their savior, is in heaven right now. Where as if someone like Ghandi, died denying Christ as Lord, is in hell. After all, one lived a “good” life, one lived a “bad” life. Surely Hitler would never be allowed in heaven, and Ghandi is because he was good right?

            The monogamous heterosexual christian couple who had sex before marriage does not like being told that their sin is the same, in God’s eyes, as the monogamous homosexual couples sin. And that gets to the root of this issue right now and part of Todd’s point. Homoxexuals and others living worldly lives see the hypocrisy in many Christian’s words and actions. They hear us condemn homosexuality, but be relatively silent on premarital heteroseuxal sex, or with adultery, or with divorce and remarriage. When they see this hypocrisy why should they even give us 5 seconds of time to talk with them?

            This gets to the what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-6. How can we call out sin in other peoples lives (even when it is indeed sin) when we have not confronted the sin in ours? How can we call for homosexuals to repent when we won’t demand the same accountability from the adulterers, the premarital sex having youth, the road rage having deacons, the gossiping ladies in church, the argumentative/disruptive 50 year legacy member, ect ect ect.

            And yes, if the it is possible for such a person to exist, the one who is a animal abuser, with that being their only sin, who dies not knowing Jesus, they will go to hell. While a repeat child molester, who dies confessing Jesus, will be in Heaven. What is more, in heaven, we won’t care what sins anyone else committed. We won’t care if we are glorifying God next to a child molester. Why? Because we both will be worshiping in the very presence of God.

          • John Wylie says

            SVM,

            I can assure you that I have heard just as much preaching against pre marital sex as I have against homosexuality.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Parsonsmike
            You are correct however, the context of the discuss as I understand it is a follower of Christ, a Christian. Also my context was the Judgement seat of Christ. Unrepentant sinners do not appear there, they appear at the Great White throne.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Parsonsmike
            I understand WHAT you are saying, I am not sure I understand WHY.

            Are you responding to someone or adding new concepts into the discussion?

          • D.L. Payton says

            John
            Speaking strictly for myself, I have heard more. That is just a comment not a commentary.

          • says

            DL,
            Someone who calls evil good is not a Christian. So whether they abuse an animal, tell a lie, or hurt a child, they are hell bound and need a savior.

            In one sense sin is sin, transgressing the law and earning condemnation.
            In another sense, some sins are evidence of the greater depravity of the sinner and will not the Righteous Judge of all judge righteously?

    • Jess says

      Monica,

      There is no such thing as a Christ following woman who also is bi-sexual. I hate to be the one who bursts your bubble, but what I’m telling you is true. You cannot be saved and bi-sexual at the same time. Nowhere does the Bible condone such an arrangement. Either you love God and hate the sin of this world, or you hate God and love the sin of this world.

      We Christians are to have love for all people, and be a witness to all people in hope of seeing them get saved from sin’s destruction. Either you can choose God or the sin in the world, but you cannot choose both.

    • says

      Monica,
      One mark of a Christ-loving sinner is an attitude of repentance of sin AND a renunciation of sinful practices.
      Attraction to someone of the same sex or to someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse in and of itself is not a sin. Acting on it both in the mind and/or the body is a sin.
      The problem with many [most?] ‘Christian’ homosexuals is that they make allowances for their attraction and justify their sexual sin. They are not putting Jesus first, but rather themselves first.
      This undercuts the Gospel which begins with the understanding that we have broken God’s standard and inserted our own. So that in coming to Jesus as savior of our soul it MUST be done concurrently with the humbling our self before Him as our Lord.
      mike

      • Monica Luna J. Abbott says

        This replies to everyone who responded so far! ?

        Todd, as you can see from the comments, I get reactions like these. I get told to burn in hell, that Im a demon, that Im not worth living, that I should die, that God could never love or make someone like me, that I will never have a chance at redemption, that I will rot for eternity, etc, etc. This from people who are told by the same Bible I read to spread God’s love and light, and instead focusing on something they don’t like and telling me I need to stop breathing because of it. I don’t like when people are rude to others, but I certainly don’t say things like this to other people. Ive been told very clearly Im not welcome in some churches because of this and because I like pants with chains on them (different topic for a different day). But I know Jesus loves me and lives in my heart and if I were to die right now, I would have no fear because I know where Im going, and its not where everyone else seems to think Im going. I will be spending my eternity worshiping my Creator.

        Volfan007, Now hold up. We cant live in ANY sin and be close to God, and every single person on this Earth sins and falls short of the glory of God. Being gay is not the end all be all of not being able to be near God. Am I Bisexual? Yes. Do I find woman attractive? Yes. Am I actively pursuing them? No. Yes, I like women and men the same, but I don’t have relationships with women because I know God doesnt want me to. I only date men. God knows my heart on this and its honestly between me and him and I don’t care what any other human being has to say or think. Because youre human. Humans judgment is flawed and God’s is not. He is perfect. By the way, I know what marriage is and I am active for one man one woman marriages and equal right domestic partnerships. And I already said Jesus died for our sins.
        And God did make me the way I am. I am perfectly made, might I add. Now there is free choice as well, which plays a part in our lives, and can have people choose a wrong path, but you cant just pray away the gay, trust me, Ive tried for years. Society likes to shame people like me into thinking being gay is one of the worse possible things you could be. That’s wrong. Im not a killer, Im not a rapist. I lead a normal life, I go to work, I earn everything I have, and I follow the Lord and obey Him. I just happen to like the same gender. Im sure everyone commenting has lied, so remember that everytime you point a finger, three point back at you.

        D.L. Payton, To me, there is a HUGE difference. I would beat the crap out of the child molester, and kick the other guy a couple of times. To God, there is no difference. Both sinned, both did something wrong, he cant be around either till they ask forgiveness, and I am now in the same category for my vengeance on them both.

        Jess, I didn’t realize you knew what was in everyone’s hearts, or that you WERE God. Thanks for informing me. Because I can assure you, and sorry to burst your bubble doll, that I am saved. That’s between me and God. I don’t act on my urges. I ask forgiveness for having them, but they are there. And nice Holier than thou act by the way. Its not a good look on anyone. This is why people don’t like churches. And no one ever said I liked that I was this way. I don’t find it fun to sin against God with every breath I take. But tell me, how does that cross feel since you are so perfect and have apparently never sinned. Because you cant apparently be a sinner and love Jesus at the same time. And ‘we Christians are to have love for all’ then why are you showing me any love or compassion? Don’t tell me what my life is or isn’t. Don’t tell me what I am or am not.

        Parsonsmike, one, Im not married, so Im fine there. Two, I repent for it..often, and don’t act upon it ever. I do not put myself first.

        • says

          Monica,
          I didn’t mean to imply you put yourself before the Lord, only that most in your shoes do.
          I am glad you live a life of repentance and i will keep you in my prayers until we meet with Him.

        • says

          Monica, you said, “Todd, as you can see from the comments, I get reactions like these. I get told to burn in hell, that Im a demon, that Im not worth living, that I should die, that God could never love or make someone like me, that I will never have a chance at redemption, that I will rot for eternity, etc, etc.” NO ONE told you to burn in Hell…we just told you where lost people spend eternity. NO ONE called you a demon. NO ONE said that you weren’t worth living. NO ONE told you that God could never love you, or that you had no chance at redemption. NO ONE.

          So, why did you choose to say all of that, from what was really said to you?

          David

          • says

            Also, Monica, notice that I said LIVE in sin….not just fail God and commit a sin. There’s a huge difference. I sin too much. I wish I didn’t sin as much as I do. I wish that I never failed God. But, I do. But, as a Follower of Christ, I confess my sins, and turn from them. I don’t continue to wallow around in them. I don’t LIVE in them, anymore.

            Also, Monica, as Parson Mike said, we’re not talking about the attraction. You may have that attraction to the same sex, and it would be very tempting to you. Okay. We’re not saying that the temptation is a sin. But, acting upon that temptation would be a sin. And, in your first comment….that got all of this started…it sounded like you were involved, or at least defending, gay sex. It really looks like you were saying that it’s just the way that God made you. And, of course, God did NOT make you that way, no more than He made a fornicator, or an adulterer, or a liar, to be those ways, either. All of the sins that we are TEMPTED to commit are the results of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. We’re born with a sin nature, because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden. And, that’s why we’re tempted to do evil. That’s why we can get so warped and out of line with God’s design for us.

            Now, are we fearfully and wonderfully made by God, as human beings? Most certainly! Are you a creation of God? YES! Am I a creation of God! Yes! And, does God love us so much that He wants us to be saved? to know Him? to worship Him? Yes, He most certainly does.

            But, we cannot be close to God, and LIVE in sin. We cannot LIVE in a rebellious way, by living in things that God calls sin, and still be close to God, and walk with God. It cannot be. Now, please don’t misunderstand me….I’m not saying that you can pray away the gay…..of course, temptation will always be with us, as long as we live in these Earthly bodies down here on this Earth. We will always be tempted to do all kinds of sins. But, God doesn’t want us to live in them. God doesn’t want us to act upon the temptations.

            Do you agree?

            David

          • Monica Luna J. Abbott says

            Parsonsmike, thank you ?
            Volfan007, I know that no one on here said all these things, but his questions was also my experiences. Those things are said to me on a daily basis. That my life isn’t worth having. That I wasn’t supposed to be made and that I am a mistake. This from strangers. Every day of my life. Strangers who say they spread love. That is not love when it brings depression into someone elses life. I struggled with suicide for years because of things like this and Jesus and my mother were the only things that helped me.
            And thank you so much for FINALLY being one of the only strangers to ever agree with me when I say you cant pray away the gay. I know my temptation will always be there but I do not act on it, and will not act on it because one less sin committed in my life the better.

          • volfan007 says

            Monica,

            We’re all tempted by something. And, it is true that we’ll never escape temptation this side of Heaven. And, Monica, you are worth something to God. He made you, and He really does love you.

            David

  8. says

    Chris R.,

    Your comment makes more sense now. One problem with the double-standard charge is that when the world opposes Christianity it does so believing itself to be loving also calling the Christian view unloving. I don’t see either side as believing the other as expressing the ultimate form of love.

  9. says

    Chris, perhaps you (and frankly everyone else needs to watch as well) need to look up Penn Jillette’s EPIC defense of evangelism/proselytizing. Oh…and he is an atheist.

    Boiled down, he simply says, “If you believe that unbelief will lead to hell, how much do you have to hate someone not to share, what you believe is truth, with them?”

    • says

      I’m familiar with it. I get his point, but he misses the broader point I made in my since deleted comment: there is nothing loving about trying to lead a person into a pointless life devoted to serving a non-existent deity under threat of suffering forever in a pretend Hell all while claiming a massive passive-aggressive idea of love.

      • Jess says

        Chris Roberts,

        I don’t know your story, but I would like to know your story about when you supposedly accepted Christ, and when you supposedly stopped believing. I would sincerely love to comment with you, but I can not, because it would only be one sided conversation, “mine”. I want to hear your side. I would also like to know about your Pastorate.

  10. says

    Chris,
    And how do you know there isn’t a God?

    by faith of course.
    But a faith that has less evidence than Christianity does.

    Speaking of pointless lives, if we are all here by chance and a human has no more right to life than a weed, then you are playing the hypocrite.

    But do you also believe in green elephants?
    No one who disbelieves in green elephants bothers to argue against them.

    But here you are on a Christian blog site.
    Are you sure you don’t believe that there is a god?

    • Monica Luna J. Abbott says

      Ok but not every gay person is gay because of some trauma that can just be ‘fixed’. Yes congratulations to her on her healing and finding the Lord but this is not a cookie cutter situation.

    • says

      Monica,
      I agree the same testimony does not fit all. But Jesus died for all and can save us all.

      With a sinful addiction or tendency, when a person is saved it seems to me that one of two things usually happen.
      Let me use the example of alcohol addiction.

      First, some alcoholics get saved and immediately lose any desire for alcohol.
      The desire for alcohol seems to be immediately and forever taken away.
      The person lives in complete freedom from alcohol.

      Second, however, some alcoholics get saved and leave their alcoholism.
      But the desire for alcohol remains and they have to struggle with / against that desire (addiction, demon) for the rest of their lives.
      Although that desire for alcohol may lessen with time.

      Of course, we would probably all prefer solution number one, but that does not always happen.
      And as has already been stated, we all have sinful tendencies.
      Those tendencies just vary from person to person.
      What we do with those sinful tendencies is up to us.
      Also, those sinful tendencies do not necessarily have to be shared with everyone.

      Another consideration, the person with homosexual tendencies is not asked to do any more than the single heterosexual.
      Biblically both are to live a celibate lifestyle unless married in a one man / one woman marriage.

      http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2012/05/jesus-christ-on-same-sex-marriage.html
      David R. Brumbelow

      • Monica Luna J. Abbott says

        I truly do like the addiction comparison. We’ll say mine is more like example two. Still there, but I still struggle with it. That is definitely a good example to use though.

  11. Jess says

    I would like to hear what you all have to say about the story I’m about to tell. I know a Christian man that thinks the Big Bang Theory is the funniest show on television, he laughs almost uncontrollably when watching the show. His wife even bought him a tee-shirt with Sheldon’s picture on it because Sheldon is his favorite actor on the show.

    Come to find out, Sheldon is gay. Should the Christian man continue to wear the Sheldon shirt? Personally, I don’t think so, I wouldn’t have worn it to begin with. I just don’t believe in wearing anything with someone’s picture on it, not even an image that suppose to represent Jesus, because no one knows what Jesus looks like.

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