Concordia Portland Issues a Statement Changing the Name and Purpose of the Gay Straight Alliance Club. Is this Change Sufficient? by Pr. Rossow

October 14th, 2010 Post by

A few weeks ago we reported that Concordia Portland had started a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. We have now received the following statement from Concordia about the group:

Concordia University [Portland, Oregon] recognizes the Unity Club, a student club that provides a safe gathering place for discussion of issues related to homosexual orientation, in particular the harassment, discrimination or otherwise un-Christian treatment of marginalized groups.

The club provides the campus community with opportunities for discussion and education, while honoring and upholding The Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod’s teaching about sexuality, sexual orientation and human care (found in the December 2009 Report of the Commission on
Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:
http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/creators%20tapestry.pdf ).

The club aims to help all students grow in friendship, knowledge, faith and service, making the University an even more safe place to study, understand and minister for all.

The club recently changed its name to Unity Club to ensure that the club does not inadvertently align itself with any other local or national organizations that may have (a) different purpose(s) or agenda(s).

 Here is how the May, 2010 Student Chronicles (a student publication from Concordia, Portland) described the club:

The GSA was created by students at Concordia in order to ensure that our university is a safer, more inclusive place. The purpose of the club is as follows: “To create an open, honest, safe, and non-threatening environment where dialogue can occur in issues related to sexual orientation, to support students in crisis and/or those who feel unsafe/threatened/harassed because of their sexual orientation, and to create public awareness of current discrimination and prejudice toward GLBT students.”

The club wants the Concordia community to know that it is not attempting to force anyone to accept or approve of homosexuality. Simply put, this club has been created by students for students. It wants to give a voice to gay students and their allies, who up until this point have had no representation or support at our university. (Vol. IX, Issue VII)

Notice how the recent statement tones down the purpose of the group as reported by the student paper in May. My guess is that after feeling some pressure the administration of the university changed the stated purpose of the club.

The new statement has a lot of apple pie and motherhood in it. Who would be against growing in “grace, knowledge, faith and service, making the University an even more safe place to study, understand and minister for all.” We fear the students understanding of this group as reported back in May might be how the group is perceived by its members.

We are glad to see the official purpose of the group has changed and assume the administration gets credit for that. What is odd however is that there needs to be such a group at all. Grace, knowledge, faith and service ought to be the normal course of preaching and teaching at the university. (“Friendship” should be taken out of the list since Paul tells us not to associate with the sexually immoral.) Why would there be such a group set up for the specific issue of gay and lesbian rights? Is there a known problem of abuse of gay students at Concordia? If so, the administration should deal with it as they would any other outburst of sinful behavior, with God’s law and Gospel. If there is such a problem, does anyone really think setting a club like this will change anything? Where is the club to protect the rights of oppressed sinners of other types – fornicators, haters, adulterers, those who lust? Of all the clubs a university would sponsor, this particular one just does not seem to rise to the top of needs on teh campus of a confessional, conservative, Bible-believing university such as one of our Concordias.

Of course, if there were regular club meetings for the “Lusters Club,” because of our fundamental belief in Biblical morality, each club meeting would begin with a straight-forward denunciation of the sin of lust and encouragement for all club members, whether they are lusters or not to resist the temptation to lust. That would be the Biblical solution to the problem, that is, confront the sin and help those involved in it to overcome the temptation with God’s law and Gospel. There is no excuse for non-lusters to discriminate against the lusters, but the basic Christian response to the issue of lusting is to speak against it and help believers who fall prey to Satan’s trap to lust, to stand strong and resist the temptation.

Of course this little example about the “Lusters Club” is silly. Hopefully it demonstrates how silly it is for Concordia to promote a group like the “Unity Club.” Let’s all work to grow in grace toward all people and to take a firm stand on the law of God as well. That should be the approach of a Lutheran university toward sexually immoral behavior. I am not sure the Unity Club will accomplish that.






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  1. John
    October 18th, 2010 at 11:49 | #1

    rev. a. eckert :
    John,Please answer those who have said “Commitment to a homosexual relationship is the opposite of repentance of homosexuality.” I believe that Andrew, Jim, and now Rev. Sterle have all said that. Please show how a person can be committed to be faithful to something yet also repent of it.

    Please assume this is a response to all.

    As a Lutheran, I understand that sin is the condition of each person. As a Lutheran, I understand there no distinction among the infinite varieties by which humans are able to commit sinful acts – except for the sin against the Holy Spirit. As a Lutheran, I understand that, in my confession, I renounce my sinful nature and the sins that I have committed – known and unknown, acts of commission and acts of omission. As a Lutheran, I understand that the Church, acting in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, has the authority and does forgive my sins. As a Lutheran, I understand that, even while I am hearing the words of absolution and while I am receiving Christ’s body and blood, I am a sinner. As a Lutheran, I understand that God makes no distinctions – He loves each of us the same (based on Luke 15, we might conclude that He loves the impenitent even more); He relates personally with each of us through His creating, redeeming and sanctifying work; and, He, thus forgiven and empowered, He calls each of us into the Body of Christ.

    To answer your question, specifically, I do not know. But, I am confident that the church has no authority to make a blanket determination that all people who live in committed and faithful same-gender relationships are impenitent. I also am confident that, if the church insists on making blanket condemnations about homosexuality as sin, then it must also clearly proclaim the Gospel and do so such that the hearers are able to hear the Gospel above the Law. Otherwise the message serves no useful purpose.

  2. John
    October 18th, 2010 at 12:09 | #2

    Rev. Roger D. Sterle :
    John,It is civil religion which would state that what you print is correct …

    We all face the temptation to put too much confidence in our own opinions and the opinions of those with whom we agree. We all face the temptation to confuse faith with certitude. We also face the temptation to reject grace because it has a tendency to undermine the efforts of religion to reward the good guys.

    Having said that, I will acknowledge that I am not welcome here. But, before I leave, I’d like to request that each of you prayerfully study the LCMS Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families. That is the source of the quote that I posted in #141.

  3. rev. a. eckert
    October 18th, 2010 at 12:10 | #3

    So let me summarize:

    You do not know how a person can be penitent and yet committed to a homosexual relationship. Yet you insist that the church cannot determine that a person so committed is impenitent.

    In this case, it behooves you to yield the point, since you, by your own admission, can give no support to the idea that a person can be in a committed relationship yet also be repentant of same.

    But of course you do not. Instead you go right on to insist that committed and faithful same-gender relationships may be penitent after all. Evidence: none.

    Your previous task that you failed at is to show that quotes from Scripture showing that homosexuality are a sin were taken out of context. You have given no evidence that this is so, in spite of detailed exegesis of passages by Andrew, for one. If you cannot show evidence, but merely insist upon your position, then you should also yield that point.

  4. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 13:10 | #4

    John :
    Having said that, I will acknowledge that I am not welcome here. But, before I leave, I’d like to request that each of you prayerfully study the LCMS Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families. That is the source of the quote that I posted in #141.

    I am very well aware of what that document says as I helped write it.

    That document never once implies that homosexual behavior would cease to be sin if it took place in a committed or faithful relationship. Nor does ever it imply that a person can repent of a sin while simultaneously committing himself to continue in sinful behavior.

  5. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 13:39 | #5

    John,

    It is not that you are not welcome but you are trying to get us to do two things neither of which is Gospel.

    1: You are trying to get us to believe that a committed and faithful relationship somehow makes homosexual sex Ok. We can not agree to this because the Bible is clear that sex outside of monogamous, lifelong, heterosexual marriage is sinful – always. It would be very unloving to agree with you because it would mean lying to sinners instead of forgiving them.

    2: You are trying get us to believe that a person could commit to using sex in a sinful way while simultaneously repenting of doing that very thing. this also is not loving – it is, in fact, precisely what Paul chastised the Corinthians (chapter 5) for. They had in their midst a man who was sinning in such way that even the surrounding pagans realized it was a sin – yet they were proud. That chapter would clearly seem to indicate that this man was using forgiveness as an excuse to continue in a sin rather than being repentant for it. Paul tells the Corinthians that to continue in this manner is a very unloving as it will eventually result in the man’s own destruction. You are asking us to allow people to use forgiveness as an excuse to commit themselves to further sin. We simply can not do that because it is an unloving thing to do.

    In both points you would ask us to believe the burden of sexual sin does not exist – that is not the same thing as helping bear it – not by a long shot.

    true love mourns with the sinner, prays with the sinner, loves the sinner, agonizes with the sinner, struggles with the sinner and forgives the sinner – and forgives him again and again and again. It bears the burden. It doesn’t lie to the sinner or help him look for excuses. that is not love – it’s just niceness and niceness doesn’t save anyone.

  6. October 18th, 2010 at 14:28 | #6

    @rev. a. eckert #142

    Thank you for the kind words and for your good contributions to this thread.

  7. John
    October 18th, 2010 at 15:33 | #7

    @andrew #155

    Andrew – if you helped write that document, would you please explain how it was correctly used if it forced Exile’s parents to have to choose between membership in LCMS and their son?

    I am not asking you to believe that homosexual sex is ok. I am telling you that, within the context of a committed relationship, I cannot condemn it as you do. I am also saying that our obligation is to love the sinner. I do not see in the Lutheran understanding of the Office of the Keys any suggestion that ceasing sinning is a requirement of repentance. And, in reading the document that you helped write, unless I missed it, I did not read that celibacy is a requirement for homosexuals to be accepted in fellowship within the Body of Christ. If we agree that celibacy is not a requirement for fellowship, then we have some shared understanding about how the issue relates with what Lutherans teach about Baptism and the Office of Keys. And, in comparison, the things about which we disagree are of little consequence. However, if I correctly understand most of the responses to my posts, the regular participants in this forum have already concluded that celibacy is a prerequisite for fellowship, even for people unkown to them. I can’t go there because I would be condemning myself as well.

  8. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 18:28 | #8

    John :
    @andrew #155
    Andrew – if you helped write that document, would you please explain how it was correctly used if it forced Exile’s parents to have to choose between membership in LCMS and their son?

    It didn’t. No one made them make that choice. Since I don’t know all of exile’s background I can only make two guesses.

    1: They told him he either had to give up homosexuality or leave the family. If so, then the sin was on their side and they made that choice without the urging of the church in any way.

    2: He insisted that they either approve of his homosexuality or he would leave them. In which case the sin was on his side.

    Which of the two happened I do not know but it certainly was not approved of by either the LCMS or that document.

    I am not asking you to believe that homosexual sex is ok. I am telling you that, within the context of a committed relationship, I cannot condemn it as you do.

    And that is the problem – because the moment you make that statement you have stepped outside of Scripture. Scripture is very very clear. Sexual intercourse between two men is sin. Leviticus and 1 Corinthians are categorical. The wording and the context allow no exceptions.

    I do not see in the Lutheran understanding of the Office of the Keys any suggestion that ceasing sinning is a requirement of repentance. And, in reading the document that you helped write, unless I missed it, I did not read that celibacy is a requirement for homosexuals to be accepted in fellowship within the Body of Christ.

    Nobody in this entire debate has said that either ceasing to sin or celibacy is a requirement for membership in the Body of Christ. But you keep putting up a self contradictory illustration – that person can repent and yet still be in a “committed” homosexual relationship. It is that word “committed” that is the problem. Such a word indicates that the person has every intention to remain within a sexual relationship even while repenting. Since repenting by definition includes the intention (though not necessarily the power) to stop having sex with another man it is contradictory that a person could repent and still purposely intend to continue in what he has just repented of.

    You are trying to say that a person can intend and plan to have sex and intend and plan to avoid sex at the same time and we are saying that he can not because that is logically impossible.

    Of course a person will continue to sin in all kinds of ways even while repenting of those sins. And every person who repents knows that, because he is a sinner and weak, he will probably fall into sin again and again. But a person can not repent and at the same time obstinately and willfully plan to continue to sin.

    if I correctly understand most of the responses to my posts, the regular participants in this forum have already concluded that celibacy is a prerequisite for fellowship, even for people unkown to them. I can’t go there because I would be condemning myself as well.

    In that case you have not understood any of the responses to your posts since celibacy has never been the issue in a single one of them. It is the issue of intention that is the issue and that is a major problem. You can not repent and consciously commit to continue in what you repent of.

    I can’t go there because I would be condemning myself as well.

    Excellent – then do so because that is the Christian way – to condemn ourselves. To condemn oneself is to repent. In doing so you would be doing exactly what we ask all Christians, including homosexuals, to do. Till we condemn ourselves we can not understand what forgiveness is.

  9. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 18:53 | #9

    John,

    I am sorry to seem so angry at you but I am approaching a time in my life that is very dangerous. Many men come out of the closet find themselves gay partners in their late teens or early twenties. But the mid fifties and older is another, perhaps even more, dangerous time. Men like Mel White found themselves unable to maintain families and entered the gay lifestyle as they near retirement age. In fact, I have personally known more who did that in their late middle age than did that in their early adulthood. Even Henri Nouwen found it increasingly hard to face homosexuality as he aged.

    As I approach that dangerous time of life I really hope that those around me will remain true to scripture and keep calling me to repentance and faith. I truly truly hope none of my acquaintances will tell me that I can repent and have a committed homosexual relationship at the same time. It may be that I will fall. If so, I hope those who care about me will call be to repentance each time and offer me forgiveness. I really hope they will not try to comfort me by telling me it’s ok, as long as I was committed.

    So I am sorry to be angry but you are hitting a nerve very close to home.

  10. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 18:58 | #10

    oops – misspelled my email on a post before the last one and it is now awaiting moderation – which means the last one about seeming angry wont make a lot of sense – please wait for the previous post to be approved

  11. October 18th, 2010 at 21:05 | #11

    andrew,
    Your comments here have been tremendously helpful. I must confess to to this being a gray area in my thinking. I have several friends and family who are gay and I have struggled on the best way to communicate Jesus with them. (so far that topic is avoided) Many are former LCMS and have felt ostracized by the church so broaching that subject is a little difficult. Thank you for your thoughtful postings.

    God’s blessings to you.

    Andrew

  12. andrew
    October 18th, 2010 at 21:52 | #12

    @Andrew Strickland #161
    If I can make a suggestion, begin by asking questions.

    Be honest upfront that you are on the opposite side they are on this issue – otherwise they will feel you have manipulated them when they find that out later.

    But then move on quickly to ask them about themselves. Admit that you are curious. Ask what it was like to grow up “gay,” when did they first realize they were gay, what response did others have to finding out they were gay, how did their parents respond, etc. don’t ask with an intention to find ways to tell them about Christ. Just ask because you want to know

    The only questions you should not ask is whether or not they are attracted to you and whether they are attracted to children. Those two questions only create barriers.

    You will find out some interesting stuff. Also you will find that are many areas of your own life that relate to their experience which will, in turn, make it more natural to witness to them by talking about what Christ has meant to you.

    asking questions and listening sends a clear message that you are interested in them as an individual and a person so that when the subject of your faith comes up – and it will, what you say will flow naturally and be a message of mercy rather than a barrier.

  13. Our God Reigns
    October 18th, 2010 at 22:36 | #13

    Serious question for Andrew. How do you feel about those men and women in prison who regularly practice same sex relations? I mean, do you consider them homosexuals and lesbians or just bored? And if they can turn it on and off, can those who are not in prison do the same? I know that there are and always have been homosexuals, but Christ said he came to make all things new again. And Christians are a set apart, holy people who are asked to do things differently from the world. How do you look at this particular sin objectively? For example do think that those who practice homosexuality are in God’s will when He specifically forbids fornication and adultery or do you think they have the right to skirt God’s plan for men and women to satisfy personal lust? I am not suggesting that is what you do, I am asking how you deal with this very real issue? There is nothing in the bible that guarantees us a right to have sex and many people for physical or emotional reasons or personal decisions never have sex outside of the marital bounds so does that excuse the gay or lesbian person who chooses to throw the fornication issue in God’s face? This is a tough issue which will not be solved here, but I do agree that there needs to be a safe place to discuss this, but not a safe place to condone such practice. We all have our crosses to bear and refraining from same sex relations could be one many have to carry.

  14. Davy
    October 19th, 2010 at 04:58 | #14

    I have noticed that some folks on here seem too interested in testing the waters of that which is right and wrong. It’s more simple than all of this talk. Homosexualtiy is sinful and wrong. Period. To actively decide to live in this lifestyle is damning. If you think of a “what if this…” or “what if that” situation, the answer should be “better safe than sorry”, so let’s not try to justify it by creative scenarios. Accept homosexuality as sin. We ALL agree it is sinful and evil. So, that’s it-it is sinful. Why would somone play with fire and try to look for certain ways to justify it? It is sin. Period. Err on this side-recognition of all sin, whether desired or not, and cling to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. That is all. Let’s not try to play God. Let’s just see what God says and make it no more complicated than that.

  15. Carl Vehse
    October 19th, 2010 at 08:27 | #15

    Concordia-Portland is not the only “Lutheran” college with an Alliance Club (“To create an open, honest, safe, and non-threatening environment… and to to create public awareness of current discrimination and prejudice toward GLBT students.”). Wartburg College (E_CA), Waverly, IA, also has an Alliance Club (“…a student-run organization that seeks to generate awareness about LGBT issues and advocate for more inclusive environments on campus, locally, and nationally.”).

    Earlier this year, Wartburg College hosted its 5th Annual Drag Show at Neumann Auditorium and sponsored by the Wartburg Alliance Club.

    It would be no surprise if Concordia-Portland’s “1st Annual Drag Show” is close behind.

  16. Andrew Strickland
    October 19th, 2010 at 08:31 | #16

    @andrew #162
    Andrew,
    Many of these people are family and some are friends. While we talk freely about many topics, there seems to be an unspoken rule that we will not talk about church things. That is the main difficulty. These people grew up in the church and are running from the teaching that it is a sin and have bowed to the pressures of society that.
    Thank you for your response.
    Andrew Strickland

  17. andrew
    October 19th, 2010 at 10:10 | #17

    Our God Reigns :
    Serious question for Andrew. How do you feel about those men and women in prison who regularly practice same sex relations? I mean, do you consider them homosexuals and lesbians or just bored? And if they can turn it on and off, can those who are not in prison do the same?

    First of all, I am not sure why you ask “For example do think that those who practice homosexuality are in God’s will when He specifically forbids fornication and adultery or do you think they have the right to skirt God’s plan for men and women to satisfy personal lust?” since I have already answered that question multiple times in this thread. But just to make absolutely sureand to be very very clear been very very clear I will repeat – any sexual intercourse outside of heterosexual, monogamous, lifelong marriage is sin. Sex between two men is always sin – period

    Now to answer your questions about people in prison etc – Here is one of the major problems with the way this topic is handled – we have used a psychological word to translate a theological concept.

    The word “homosexual” was coined in the late 1800 to describe a condition, a person who is sexually attracted to their own gender. This word applies whether or not the person actually has sexual relations with another person of their own gender and whether or not a person is repentant. So, a person who is a virgin and is also repentant for any mental sins of lust they may have committed is still a homosexual under the proper meaning of the word as it is understood by the vast majority of society. On the other hand, according to the proper meaning of the word, a man in prison who has sex with another inmate but is not actually attracted to other males is not homosexual.

    This is not the same as the Biblical term.

    When Paul in 1st Corinthians talks about men who have sex with men, he uses a very specific word that refers only to action “arsenkoietes” literally, “a man lying with men.” He also includes another terms in the same passage “malachoi” or “soft ones.” (Together these are translated in the ESV as “homosexual offenders”) He probably uses this distinction because the Rabbinical debates about when and how to apply the Levitical penalty, with which he was familiar, divided the homosexual act into the one penetrating and the one being penetrated. Therefore, Paul was forced to use two words to describe an act we today would describe with one word or one phrase.

    Notice then, how Paul concentrated on the act regardless of the “orientation.” So for Paul, the man in prison would be “arsenkoites” just like the person with a homosexual orientation who has sex with another male. And for Paul, the teen who is attracted to other males but has not followed through on that desire and is trying to keep from sin is neither arsenkoietes nor malachoi.

    So the act is always wrong – every time – period. The orientation does not matter. The commitment of the relationship does not matter. the faithfulness of the relationship does not matter. the act of having sex with another person outside of heterosexual marriage is always wrong – no excuses, not exceptions.

    Here, however, is where we get into a problem in the way we preach. Davvy said, “Homosexualtiy is sinful and wrong.” Many pastors make similar statetments. But the word “homosexuality” does not match with “arsenkoites.” The man in prison will not hear that statement as condemning him. He does not actually consider himself “homosexual.” Meanwhile, the teen who is committed to fighting against his desires has just been condemned by that statement because he does fit under the common meaning of “homosexual.”

    We need to be careful to preach in such a way that people know we honor and respect those who desire to stand against their sinful desires while condemning the commission of the act by any person regardless of what desire was behind it.

    At the same time, we also have to understand that the old adam in us is real and does not die until we die. As long as we live we will be affected by sin. The repentant person struggling to overcome the sin of homosexual sex may have a very hard road. I know one man who struggled for 10 years, fell into sin again and again during that time and felt guilty every single time. He wasn’t able to just turn it off. No one can except God as He creates faith in us. That is why Christians are to call one another to constant repentance and repeatedly offer forgiveness – even, as Christ said, seven times per day. this is not an excuse to continue in sin (which is why it is impossible to repent of sin and yet commit to continue in that sin). It is the cure for sin.

    To our shame, most in the homosexual community hear the church preaching the first part of that cure – repentance, but do not see the Church offering the second and most important part of that cure – forgiveness. For this reason they see us condemning without offering hope. this has to change. We must preach against the act AND offer hope through giving forgiveness to those who repent.

  18. andrew
    October 19th, 2010 at 10:35 | #18

    Andrew Strickland :
    @andrew #162
    Andrew,
    Many of these people are family and some are friends. While we talk freely about many topics, there seems to be an unspoken rule that we will not talk about church things. That is the main difficulty. These people grew up in the church and are running from the teaching that it is a sin and have bowed to the pressures of society that.
    Thank you for your response.
    Andrew Strickland

    Andrew, I doubt they are running merely from the preaching that it is sin or bowing to the pressures of society. We Christians like to think that because it takes the burden of guilt off of ourselves. but the fact is that if we had preached forgiveness like we should have many of those people would have found the strength to stay out of the gay lifestyle.

    When these people were 14 or 15 year old kids they desperately wanted help. but all they heard was that homosexuality is wrong. They almost never heard anything about Christ forgiving homosexuals. It is much harder to reach a person who has committed himself to the gay lifestyle than it would have been to reach them in their teens when they were still looking for help. the church needs to take a hard look at how we approach this subject and make sure we really are offering forgiveness and help before it is too late.

    For those, like your family members, who are already in the gay lifestyle, all you can do is to open the door. And like I said, a good way to do that is to begin asking questions. It will not only let them know you are really interested in getting to know them as people but, as they talk about what they perceived the Church saying to them, it will open your eyes to what a lousy job we have done in conveying the cross. I think you will find that the conversation will flow naturally into opportunities to talk about religion, to apologize for times when the Church neglected the Gospel and to witness to the hope you have in Christ. the effect will not be immediate – but at least they will have the message of hope so that some day when they are beaten down by the effects of sin they will know where to turn.

  19. helen
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:01 | #19

    @andrew #145
    Dear andrew…what you answered was not the point of what I said.
    [there is a neat way of saying that you didn't get it which i have mislaid at the moment] ;)

    If you don’t mind, we’ll let my Pastors worry
    about my standing with the church. It’s their job.

  20. andrew
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:21 | #20

    helen :
    @andrew #145
    Dear andrew…what you answered was not the point of what I said.

    What I replied fit exactly what you said. If what you said is not what you meant then perhaps you should express yourself more clearly in the future.

  21. Davy
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:31 | #21

    @andrew #167

    What is “preachy” about the factual statement that homosexuality is sinful and wrong? I am getting sick and tired of these semantics. Homosexuality thought and deed are wrong. Period. Let God deal with the grey area. News flash…nobody here is God.

  22. Lifelong Lutheran
    October 19th, 2010 at 12:39 | #22

    I don’t understand. Isn’t gluttony a sin? Isn’t covetous a sin? Isn’t lust in our heart a sin? Aren’t these sins that most of us commit regularly, over and over? Why are homosexual acts so terrible, but gluttony (overeating) isn’t? I was taught that we are all sinners, and we need to repent but that we will continue to sin because of the Old Adam in us. We are all sinners, we are all saved by grace, through faith.

  23. Rev. Roger D. Sterle
    October 19th, 2010 at 14:23 | #23

    @Lifelong Lutheran #172
    I am not too sure that what most are saying is that homosexuality is so terrible, but that those who practice same do not see it as sin at all! Thus, directly contradicting a bunch of Scripture.

  24. John Klieve
    October 19th, 2010 at 14:59 | #24

    Lifelong – “Why are homosexual acts so terrible, but gluttony isn’t?”

    I would concede your point, if I were God, (which I am not). God has in His infinite wisdom made the first table of the commandments take precedence (as Jesus points out) God is also the one who has chosen to sanctify marriage as a man and a woman, He has chosen to make it clear that adultery is wrong, He has chosen to order thing as He has. He has chosen to have Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride. We are not God, He is. He has chosen to set aside marriage and sex for special protection. We may not like how He has done it, but He has.

  25. helen
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:13 | #25

    @Lifelong Lutheran #172

    Actually, the most widely discussed sermon in my youth [still remembered] was one which equated gluttony with drunkeness. To appreciate the local astonishment you need to know that 1. the good Germans of that locality appreciated their beer but heartily disapproved of overindulgence and 2. the time was post depression [in the current sense; the banks were A-OK] and anyone who could manage to put a little flesh on his family was admired as sufficiently employed. [They did it w/sausage and potatoes fried in lard, BTW; homegrown, so cheap.]
    Further truth: these Germans were equipped with efficient metabolisms to the 3rd and 4th generation so that any calorie above starvation level was stored away against the next lean time.
    Being ‘born’ that way can be proved by multi generational pictures taken in good times and bad. Nevertheless, the attitude toward obesity is the only acceptable form of bigotry left today. When the teachers chime in with the bullies, there will be another reason for suicide, if it hasn’t happened already. [Meanwhile, the hereditarily thin will consume 3-5X the calories of the "glutton" w/o reproach.]

    WAY OFF TOPIC?

  26. Davy
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:25 | #26

    @Lifelong Lutheran #172
    “As we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, forgives our sins…” Sound familiar? If we confess any sin, homosexual acts and gluttony alike, but continue to justify the lifestyle, we are not really confessing at all and are in reality unrepentant. You can’t trick God with word games. I think his credentials are a little higher than that. This discussion is so much more simple than the 175 posts have made it seem. When sins are justified rather than repented of, they are potentially damning. Why play with fire?

  27. Our God Reigns
    October 19th, 2010 at 15:37 | #27

    Thank you Andrew for your explanation. It was a serious question on my part and I appreciate you answering it seriously and with the background you gave. It was interesting.

    Others have pointed out that homosexuality (the practice of) should not be differentiated from the other sins, but I know for a fact that God does hold sexual sins of all kinds above others as being more aggregious (sp) in HIS sight. It is in scripture whether we like it or not. The sticking point in the discussion of sin and repentance is that the thief that repeatedly steals or the adulterer who repeatedly commits adultery or the one who takes God’s name in vain over and over again etc should all have their repentance called into question. Repeatedly committing the same sins seems to at least hint that one has not truly repented although one has been forgiven over and over again. I know that I have a personal problem with a certain “besetting” sin and although I confess it and receive forgiveness, it never seems to leave me. I wonder if I have truly repented. I don’t know. I do know that when one has a sin problem of a certain kind, it is difficult to overcome it. However, we cannot excuse our sins and ask others to just take us as we are. God will not be mocked and I cannot continue in the same sin praying His patience though I know he is long-suffering and merciful. It harms our relationship as I see it.

  28. andrew
    October 19th, 2010 at 17:20 | #28

    Davy :
    @andrew #167
    What is “preachy” about the factual statement that homosexuality is sinful and wrong? I am getting sick and tired of these semantics. Homosexuality thought and deed are wrong. Period. Let God deal with the grey area. News flash…nobody here is God.

    I don’t really care if you are sick of semantics because semantics is where the sin of the Church lies on this issue. the church has sinned and sinned both grievously and damnably because we have been lazy with semantics and have totally removed all hope of the salvation from thousands of teens.

    Homosexual thoughts and deeds are wrong – correct. And if we stuck with that we would be fine. But THAT IS NOT WHAT THE WORD “HOMOSEXUALITY” MEANS. It is not what it was invented to mean. It is not what it ever meant. It is not what it means now. HOMOSEXUALITY DOES NOT MEAN JUST THOUGHTS AND DEEDS. And nobody outside the Church thinks it does or has ever thought it does. We would not have a problem with “semantics” as you call it if we had not been too stupid or lazy to accurately translate Moses and Paul.

    I will repeat, “homosexuality” is a psychological word invented by psychologist – not Christians. It indicates a person who has a tendency to experience a particular type of temptation – it doesn’t refer just to behavior either of the mind or body. By using the word “homosexuality” we have something satanic.

    With all sins we preach that behavior is wrong

    With a few sins, including homosexual sins, we preach that thoughts are wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the temptation itself is wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the tendency to experience the temptation is wrong.

    Even this would be acceptable if pastors could be bothered to stop and say that we all suffer from original sin and therefore all have the tendency to experience all kinds of specific temptations. But pastors almost never can be bothered to do that

    We are just too lazy to be accurate and use the word “homosexuality” instead of the “homosexual offenses” or “homosexual behavior” as if a few extra syllables were too much of burden.

    By being stupid enough or lazy enough that we adopted a psychological word instead of accurately translating the Bible we have treated “homosexuality” as different than all other sins and human conditions. In doing so we have convinced teens that the Gospel does not apply to them, that no matter where they turn, how much they repent or what they do, because the can not get away from the tendency to experience this particular temptation they are damned without hope – thus totally destroying any possibility of creating faith in thousands of kids who hear themselves condemned at level we condemn no one else. It would have been much better if we had just stuck with the word “Sodomy” as that actually is a Biblical word describing pretty accurately the actions mentioned in Leviticus and 1 Corinthians.

    Now is it clear?

  29. andrew
    October 19th, 2010 at 17:25 | #29

    And after that rand don’t anyone dare tell me how Christ preached against lust in the Sermon on the mount.

    That sermon was not aimed at the sinners and tax collectors as if to make sure they were know just how deeply they were sinful. It was aimed at the average Jewish listener who thought himself better than the tax collectors and sinners because they only “thought” about adultery instead of committing it.

    That sermon would not have been aimed at the homosexually tempted kid in the pew who is already squirming in guilt but at the pastor and elders who single out homosexuality to be treated in a different way than any other sin.

  30. Davy
    October 19th, 2010 at 19:53 | #30

    @andrew #179
    It’s not fair to say, “we do this” and “we do that” when referring to all pastors. You don’t know how all pastors deal with this situation.

    You wrote:

    “With all sins we preach that behavior is wrong

    With a few sins, including homosexual sins, we preach that thoughts are wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the temptation itself is wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the tendency to experience the temptation is wrong.

    Even this would be acceptable if pastors could be bothered to stop and say that we all suffer from original sin and therefore all have the tendency to experience all kinds of specific temptations. But pastors almost never can be bothered to do that

    We are just too lazy to be accurate and use the word “homosexuality” instead of the “homosexual offenses” or “homosexual behavior” as if a few extra syllables were too much of burden.”

    This is inaccurate and not fair to generalize all pastors and churches in this manner. Or anyone for that matter.

    My question is this: Why would you introduce yourself as the “same sex attracted” guy to people and then not expect them to make some type of a judgement? Why tell your friends about this knowing it is tough for some to understand, if you are looking to make soem friends? Why would someone feel the need to exclaim this struggle to the world?

    When people say they were born gay, even if that were true, (Which I don’t believe to be true) does it change anything? We are born sinful, but we do not justify it by saying “I was born this way, so it’s all good.”

    Where am I wrong?

  31. Old Time St. John’s
    October 19th, 2010 at 19:57 | #31

    <strong We are born sinful, but we do not justify it by saying “I was born this way, so it’s all good.”
    Where am I wrong?

    This is unfair. Andrew has never said that it’s ‘all good’ nor has he defended that position. Quite the contrary, in fact. That’s where you’re wrong.

  32. October 19th, 2010 at 20:36 | #32

    @Davy #180

    Davy,

    I have to concur with “Old Time St. John’s.” Andrew is not condoning the behavior, rather he is raising concerns with how we approach the sin of homosexuality.

  33. Davy
    October 19th, 2010 at 21:06 | #33

    So will somone tell me what the concern is? My pastors are crystal clear on this issue and how they handle it. What should we do any differently than what we already do? How ought we “approach the sin?” Why is everyone okay with someone saying the church has been stupid and lazy, and all pastors are handling the situation poorly.

    “With all sins we preach that behavior is wrong

    With a few sins, including homosexual sins, we preach that thoughts are wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the temptation itself is wrong

    With only homosexuality do we preach that the tendency to experience the temptation is wrong.

    Even this would be acceptable if pastors could be bothered to stop and say that we all suffer from original sin and therefore all have the tendency to experience all kinds of specific temptations. But pastors almost never can be bothered to do that

    We are just too lazy to be accurate and use the word “homosexuality” instead of the “homosexual offenses” or “homosexual behavior” as if a few extra syllables were too much of burden.”

    Who else agrees with this statement?

  34. Rev. Roger D. Sterle
    October 19th, 2010 at 22:30 | #34

    In so many of the comments, which appear to look with some kind of favor upon committed homosexual relationship, I see nothing but the post modern thought of “that’s your truth, but it is not mine.” I do not think that it takes mighty muscles of mentalness to come to the conclusion that all have sinned against God–period. Not once in Scripture is there an example from Christ’s ministry time of Him saying to someone in an unnatural relationship–go and sin no more. Rather we have pointed words from Scripture of how much unnatural relations of men to men and women to women are wrong/sinful. Does this mean that we should put more emphasis on sexual sins as opposed to other kinds of sins–I would say not. “Whoever looks at a woman with lust in his heart has commited adultery with her.” This would seem to be saying that even the act of thinking it is sin. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer in his heart.” Has anyone actually been killed. No–but the thought is still the same as if the actual murder had taken place.

    I do not think that God’s Word gives us license to make changes in what He has stated so that it fits better with a social parameter, or with political correctness. Already in Canada they have become so politically correct that ministers of the Gospel at not allowed to speak of homosexuality as a sin [this could be only in Quebec]. So is that were some on this thread want us to head?

    I am convinced that the church’s inability to say sin is sin and that it should be avoided or the person will face the eternal consequences, has led the church in the wrong direction. Congregations tell their pastors if a couple are living together–that is okay=it is none of your business, just marry them. Already in several states we have seen marriage licenses no longer mention husband and wife but partner and partner!!! Again, the Christian church has not stood up for God’s Word and we are reaping the results–as has been evidenced by some of the discussion on this thread.

    Will it change because I have written something. Not in my lifetime. But unless the church begins anew to stand only on the Word of God and not the political correctness of society, we will continue to reap what we have sown.

  35. Rev. Weinkauf
    October 19th, 2010 at 22:49 | #35

    Go to Todd Wilken’s post here January 15, 2010 “License & Legalism” exceptional read for many issues here raised.

  36. October 19th, 2010 at 22:56 | #36

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #184

    Amen! We don’t give anything but the law to the unrepentant sinner and then gospel once their consciences are terrified. Homosexuals have to be approached just like any other sinner and that is with a proper distinction of law and gospel.

  37. Tom
    October 20th, 2010 at 00:18 | #37

    @Davy #180

    Davy :
    @andrew #179
    My question is this: Why would you introduce yourself as the “same sex attracted” guy to people and then not expect them to make some type of a judgement? Why tell your friends about this knowing it is tough for some to understand, if you are looking to make soem friends? Why would someone feel the need to exclaim this struggle to the world?
    When people say they were born gay, even if that were true, (Which I don’t believe to be true) does it change anything? We are born sinful, but we do not justify it by saying “I was born this way, so it’s all good.”
    Where am I wrong?

    I doubt that Andrew introduces himself as “the same sex attracted guy” as you assume. It is not something that many people advertise openly to everyone they meet, however in a predominately heterosexual society most people assume that everyone around them is also heterosexual and this is what leads to those types of conversation. Even the most well intentioned people can “force” this conversation without even realizing it. Questions like “Do you have a girlfriend?” or “Are you married?” can lead to the disclosure of the temptation. If the response is “No” some people take that at face value, while others will pursue the “Why not?” until the only options left are to become evasive, lie, or disclose that you are struggling with homosexual temptation. Other conversations like “Don’t you think she’s attractive? might lead to a “Well, yeah, I guess so” response or a “I don’t know” and the other person may respond with “You don’t know? What are you, gay?” in an attempt to make fun of the person being asked.

    Long story short, we need to put the homosexual stereotypes out of our heads and understand that the majority of people that you will encounter who are struggling with this temptation will in no way resemble what you see on TV or in movies. They will be just like everyone else you know until one day you have a forced conversation like above or they finally trust you enough to confide in you the struggle they’re having. Hopefully it is the latter which may provide you with the opportunity to speak God’s clear Law and Gospel to them and support them in the same way that any other brother or sister Christian would be supported if they admitted a struggle with temptation.

  38. Davy
    October 20th, 2010 at 11:49 | #38

    “Speaking once again as a same-sex-attracted Lutheran, no the change to the club is not enough.”

    This is how he introduced himself to this group, Tom. See his very first post. Nobody has yet stated if they agree with the statements about what “we” do that Andrew made earlier.

  39. helen
    October 20th, 2010 at 11:52 | #39

    @Tom #187
    doubt that Andrew introduces himself as “the same sex attracted guy” as you assume.

    I am inclined [surprise!] to agree with this.

    That’s because my single straight friends say it’s often assumed w/o discussion.
    In the church one would sometimes think that only Christ and St Paul believed single celibacy is possible. :(

    I would add that those who are not “struggling” may ‘be just like everyone else you know’, too, as casual acquaintances, unless your ‘antenna’ are much better tuned than mine!

  40. helen
    October 20th, 2010 at 12:13 | #40

    @Davy #188
    This is how he introduced himself to this group, …

    Davy, andrew did that because regular readers have heard from him on this subject before.
    On this topic, it is appropriate, to know where he’s coming from.

    I’m not sure who the ‘we’ are in your last sentence.

  41. davy
    October 20th, 2010 at 13:44 | #41

    “With all sins WE preach that behavior is wrong

    With a few sins, including homosexual sins, WE preach that thoughts are wrong

    With only homosexuality do WE preach that the temptation itself is wrong

    “With only homosexuality do WE preach that the tendency to experience the temptation is wrong.

    Even this would be acceptable if pastors could be bothered to stop and say that we all suffer from original sin and therefore all have the tendency to experience all kinds of specific temptations. But pastors almost never can be bothered to do that

    We are just too lazy to be accurate and use the word “homosexuality” instead of the “homosexual offenses” or “homosexual behavior” as if a few extra syllables were too much of burden.”

    Andrew wrote this, Helen. I feel that this is a terribly unfair way to generalize every church pastor in this way, and doesn’t do justice the efforts of good churches who attempt to deal with this.

  42. helen
    October 20th, 2010 at 15:17 | #42

    @davy #191
    Andrew wrote this, Helen. I feel that this is a terribly unfair way to generalize every church pastor in this way, and doesn’t do justice the efforts of good churches who attempt to deal with this.

    davy,
    i didn’t find this when i went back but i remember it.
    you’re right, of course. i have heard sermons about ‘lusting’ and other sins of thought and word before we were conscious that homosexuality as a deed existed. [sheltered life? or less talk]

    Christ said it and so we heard about it!

    like penney, andrew is relating what he sees ; now we need a paul harvey…

  43. Old Time St. John’s
    October 20th, 2010 at 16:35 | #43

    Helen and Davy, Actually I think that Andrew is on to something here, and I don’t think you’re quite understanding what he is saying (based on your responses). Andrew wrote:

    “With all sins WE preach that behavior is wrong

    With a few sins, including homosexual sins, WE preach that thoughts are wrong

    With only homosexuality do WE preach that the temptation itself is wrong

    With only homosexuality do WE preach that the tendency to experience the temptation is wrong.”

    I think you followed him up through line 2 of the above quote, and maybe missed the rest.

    Remember that the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, but did not sin.
    That would imply that being tempted, and, further, having the tendency to be tempted, is not wrong in and of itself, right? It’s wallowing in that temptation, dwelling on it, lusting in our minds, and/or acting on it that are wrong.

    I believe that Andrew is pointing that out, and also pointing out that wrt the homosexual issue it’s pretty common to have the temptations themselves, and the tendency to experience them, taught to be wrong in our LCMS churches; and that that is sloppy, incorrect, and damaging to the Christian life of those, like him, who are dedicated to resisting that temptation.

    I think he is right about that.

    Certainly it’s also very, very damaging to teach that the thoughts and behavior are OK, as many ELCA churches do. Andrew has pointed that out, very strongly, as well.

    He’s right about that, too.

    This is a tough and awkward issue all the way around. We have to get it exactly right. There is a lot to think about here, and it’s not a comfortable subject from any perspective. I give Andrew a lot of credit for having thought it through so thoroughly and Biblically.

  44. Sue Wilson
    October 21st, 2010 at 11:27 | #44

    We don’t need a campus club or organization for gays and lesbians. Its existence implies an acceptance of the lifestyle.
    We do need to help college student who are homosexual or have homosexual tendencies. What we need is a support group like AA, for instance, where students can go and talk about the pain of knowing their actions or thoughts are sinful and not being able to stop. Support groups like AA also have mentors. In a support group a college student with this sexual problem could hook up with a straight mentor who he or she could call any time and meet any time that things get too tough to handle (including the hateful berating that some of these students have to endure).
    We can provide a great deal of help, support, companionship, opportunity to visit with others with the same problem–without seeming to support homosexualiity with social clubs that only encourage the problem. We must show the strength of loving the sinner out of his or her sin.
    Sin has trapped us all at some time–was there someone there to help you? What if the only “support” you had were either the “friends” of Rehoboam or the “friends” of Job–there is a middle ground and we need to pursue it.

  45. October 30th, 2010 at 21:34 | #45

    @John #51

    John, you wrote: “I would appreciate reading a complete list of Scripture passages, including the context in which those passages occur, that speak to the matter of two persons of the same gender living together in an intimate, faithful and committed relationship.”

    I deal with all these Scripture passages (and more!) in my upcoming book “Bearing Their Burden.” You will be able to get it from LuLu (www.lulu.com) by mid-November (and from amazon.com after the 1st of the year).

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