It’s Not about Love; It’s about the Truth – Profession of a Homosexual Sinner on the BJS Site, by Pr. Rossow

Our BJS website is very blessed to have a truthful, revealing and Scriptural profession of a man who struggles with the sin of homosexuality. His words are instructive for all of us as to what homosexuality is and how it is to be addressed.

His name is Andrew and he has become a regular commenter on the site. The specific comment I am referring to was made on a post from August 15th. It is actually two comments. They were given in response to two telling liberal comments in defense of the ELCA’s position on sexuality. Before getting to Andrew’s comments let’s consider the liberal battle slogans to which he responded.

They both came from a commenter by the name of Sig Arneson. Here is his first sloganized attempt to defend the unbiblical position of the ELCA.

“new occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth.” So wrote Jas. Russell Lowell 1819-1891) Scriptures have been utilized by reactionaries to seek to promote or deny slavery, women’s full participation, hair styles, jewelry, round earth,food restrictions,miscegnation,right of kings, and many more matters now seen as totally dated and irrelevant. What lasts is “let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry. Micah 5:24) Three cheers for the ELCA that has sought to do just that! (comment #21)

This is the liberal slogan of “peace and justice.” In this approach the Scriptures are reduced to mere moralism. Here is how this works. Because the forgiveness of sins through the blood atonement of Christ is considered an obsolete and unenlightened idea by the liberals, they are left with little more than the moralism that says we are to be good people, and in the case of “peace and justice,” to be especially good to the poor and those discriminated against.

Here is Andrew’s response to this call to let peace and justice flow…

Um, no thanks. Justice would send me to hell. I would rather have forgiveness, if you don’t mind. Praise God for the LCMS which is one of the few denominations where forgiveness through Christ in the Means of Grace is still the central message. (comment #23)

Another sloganized approach in support of the unscriptural ELCA approach to sexuality is the hundred year old theology of “Gospel reductionism.” Sig Arneson put it this way:

Well, I thought that ”Love your neighbor as yourself” took a pretty high place on the theological pecking order and was not the “road to hell” as Andrew suggests. Jesus made loving neighbor a very direct litmus test of how we should conduct ourselves in God’s world, not deny women the right to proclaim the Word or castigate gays for who they are or any of the many of the other adiaphoral issues. (comment #32)

This approach reduces God’s word of law and Gospel to the Gospel only. The law is seen as antiquated, culturally generated, harsh and obtrusive. God is love and so anything done in the name of love is acceptable, including homosexual love. This approach rejects the notion that all of God’s word is inerrant. It is only words of Gospel, love and forgiveness that are considered truly from God.

Here is Andrew’s response to the Gospel reduction approach.

I said justice is the road to hell. God’s justice proclaims us all sinners deserving of condemnation.

And homosexuality is hardly an adiaphoral issue for me. As I have posted on this blog before, I am homosexual.

But God’s Word says that homosexual intercourse is wrong. I have looked at all the pro-gay interpretation of the relevant Scripture passages and, frankly, they violate just about every rule of scriptural interpretation and common sense.

Therefore, a person who truly loves me will tell me that homosexual sex is a sin, call me to repentance should I happen to fall, offer me the forgiveness of Christ and give me their fellowship. And, for the record, I have never met a single LCMS pastor who did not do these things for me in a very loving and forgiving manner. I have been very pleased with all the LCMS pastors to whom I have confessed and with whom I have spoken.

A person who does not do this does not love me. (comment #33)

Andrew bases his notion of sexuality on all of God’s word. He recognizes that there is sin, that it must be confessed and that God’s forgiveness of confessed sin results in power to overcome the temptation. Andrew’s approach is simple, Godly and Scriptural and we thank him for his courage and for his knowledge.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

It’s Not about Love; It’s about the Truth – Profession of a Homosexual Sinner on the BJS Site, by Pr. Rossow — 22 Comments

  1. I thank God for Andrew’s witness and example. Let us confess to GOd all those sins we struggle with, and trust in His mercy, rather than try to re-write Christianity to fit my sinful worldview. 1 John 1:8-10.

  2. “Jesus made loving neighbor a very direct litmus test of how we should conduct ourselves in God’s world, not deny women the right to proclaim the Word…”

    So…if I take a knife out of my 1 year old’s hand, am I hating my neighbor.

    I guess love’s a matter of perspective, eh? How can a preacher of relativism stand up and be so bold as to condemn all views other than his as backwards and unloving? Strange fiction this.

  3. Andrew, what courage and conviction that God has worked in you to speak the truth in love. You have the respect and admiration of many on this board. Thank you for your openess and honesty.

    The grave error that the ELCA has made is to codify and bless homosexuality as an coveted identity. We Christians find not our identity in our sin, but “in Christ”, in His baptism, death, resurrection and life everlasting. We are in Him who takes our filthy rags and makes us whiter than snow . Yes, I myself am in Christ. I myself am a Christian. I myself am a sinner, a mean, nasty, arrogant lout who has broken all the commanments 1000 times over. But I am a forgiven sinner, claiming nothing, but resting soley on the grace of God. My pride is in the forgivness that Christ won for me, never my sin. So for my identity. That is the way I understand your confession when you say you are a “homosexual”. You recognize the struggle of temptation, but not to the point of lordship and control hence identify. Not so with ELCA.

    Once again. God’s peace and Spirit be with you to mold you into the person He wants you to be.

  4. The longer I live, the more I see the truth of Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

    Andrew, thank you for sharing your struggles with us. I think they serve as a good example to others who struggle with that same sin–which is probably one of the hardest to confess to.
    I suspect that in some Romans 8:28 fashion, your confession may help others who struggle with that particular sin to repent also. God works in mysterious ways!

    I look forward to meeting you at a future BJS function/chatting with you on this site.
    You are always welcome! [And yeah, aren’t those faithful LCMS pastors such blessings from God? Pretty cool, huh?]

    P.S. I know it’s a contemporary Christian song, but I like “Forgiven” by Sanctus Real.
    It touches on what Pr. Piper was saying above. You might have a sinner-identity, but you have a forgiven-identity if you believe in Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection and confess your sin, trusting in His mercy.

  5. And FORNICATION is hardly an adiaphoral issue for me. As I have posted on this blog before, I am a FORNICATOR.

    But God’s Word says that FORNICATION is wrong. I have looked at all the pro-FORNICATOR interpretation of the relevant Scripture passages and, frankly, they violate just about every rule of scriptural interpretation and common sense.

    Therefore, a person who truly loves me will tell me that FORNICATION is a sin, call me to repentance should I happen to fall, offer me the forgiveness of Christ and give me their fellowship. And, for the record, I have never met a single LCMS pastor who did not do these things for me in a very loving and forgiving manner. I have been very pleased with all the LCMS pastors to whom I have confessed and with whom I have spoken.

    *I changed one word and it still works….fill in any sin…and it still works.* Thank God for faithful pastors.

  6. “It’s not about love, it’s about the Truth.” Personally, I cannot think of a greater or more loving act, than loving someone enough, than to tell & speak the Truth to them.
    How can any respectful or deep love possibly exist , without open & honest Truth? It can’t.
    When we all, share w/others, the message of the Gospel, sin must always be part of that. For the simple reason, how can the basic understanding begin or be found for the reason for Grace, if you do not know what you were saved from?
    Sex sins, are still that, sins. Society & culture have never agreed nor understood the basic concepts of sin, let alone those which are rooted in sex. This current issue, is no execption.

    Changing or altering Scripture, in any way, to accomodate sin, of any kind, is the most hateful & selfish act an individual or church can inflict on another human being.
    That cheats & steals, by a great & terrible lie, the Repentence, Salvation, Redemption, & Absolution, of another human being! I cannot think of a more hatefilled act, than do that.

  7. Sooth is soothing. The word sooth means truth or comforting. Forsooth, a soothsayer originally meant one who tells the truth to another. May the Comforter bring you truth and strength, Andrew.

  8. Rose,
    You should take a peek at, the M.W. or Oxford definition of “sooth-forsooth”.
    It doesn’t mean or is defined by what you imply here. The definitions are as follows:

    Merriam Webster definition of (for)sooth-indeed, often used to imply contempt or doubt.

    Oxford Dictionary definition of (for)sooth-adverb, archaic or humorous indeed. often used ironically.

    That cannot be what you intended here. Rose, do a double ck, when you choose to define a term. Your posts, stick on the Web w/this. Take a great amount of care, when defining terms. You erred in this. Sarcasm, is not warranted here, nor is error. Not in this, Rose.

    I know ya didn’t intend this, but others, may not be as generous. (Sooth)-saying, is a bad thing. look at the root word. Which, considering the above, is rather evident. I am chief of offenders, when it comes to this. Learn from Dutch’s mistakes, always backcheck & double check.
    Others, most certainly will.

  9. @Dutch #8
    This is off topic, and for that I apologize, but Dutch’s rather pointed correction of Rose needs to be addressed.

    Dictionary.com is a great resource for definitions and word origins, and it disagrees with Dutch in its definition of Forsooth:

    “for•sooth
    –adverb Archaic .
    (now used in derision or to express disbelief) in truth; in fact; indeed.
    Origin: bef. 900; ME forsothe, OE fors?th. See for, sooth
    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

    World English Dictionary
    forsooth
    — adv archaic in truth; indeed
    [Old English fors?th ]
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
    2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
    Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

    Word Origin & History
    forsooth
    O.E. forsoð, from for-, intensive prefix, + soð “truth” (see sooth).
    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper’
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/forsooth

    In turn the Dictionary.com definition of SOOTH

    sooth
    –noun
    1. truth, reality, or fact.
    –adjective
    2. soothing, soft, or sweet.
    3. true or real.
    Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE s?th; c. OS s?th, ON sannr, Goth sunjis true, Skt sat, sant true, real; akin to is
    —Related forms
    soothly, adverb
    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

    World English Dictionary
    sooth
    — n
    4. truth or reality (esp in the phrase in sooth )
    — adj
    5. true or real
    6. smooth
    [Old English s?th; related to Old Norse sathr true, Old High German sand, Gothic sunja truth, Latin s?ns guilty, sonticus critical]

    ‘soothly
    — adv
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
    2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
    Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
    Cite This Source

    sooth
    O.E. soð “truth,” noun use of soþ (adj.) “true,” originally *sonþ-, from P.Gmc. *santhaz (cf. O.N. sannr , O.S. soth , O.H.G. sand “true,” Goth. sunja “truth”), and thus cognate with O.E. synn “sin” and L. sontis “guilty” (truth is related to guilt via “being the one;” see sin), from PIE *es-ont- “being, existence,” thus “real, true,” from prp. of base *es-, the s-form of the verb “to be” (see be), preserved in L. sunt “they are” and Ger. sind. Archaic in Eng., it is the root of modern words for “true” in Swed. ( sann ) and Dan. ( sand ). In common use until c.1650, then obsolete until revived as an archaism early 19c. by Scott, etc. Soothsayer is attested from 1340, from O.E. seðan “declare (the truth).”
    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper”
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sooth

    The Wiktionary entry for Sooth provides a clear etymology as well, that supports the root being “truth”:
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sooth

  10. I think that in the years to come, BJS and its contributors will look back on this particular thread, and remember it as a watershed “moment” or “event”, if you will. We have been instructed and “the eyes of our hearts have been enlightened”, to misquote Ephesians 1:18. Andrew has etched this issue in bold relief for all of us, in clear unequivocal terms.

    Thank you, Andrew.

    Johannes

  11. @Dutch #8

    I didn’t see Rose’s comments as anything but genuine–no humor, no sarcasm. Looked fine to me.

    Johannes (getting a sooth-ache, already)

  12. @revfisk #2

    I had a similar thought. If I am allowed to define “loving” outside the bounds of the Scriptures, then it is possible that my pulling a knife out of my neighbor after plunging it into their body is “loving them as I love myself.” I know the example is extreme, but not off mark if we consider how the culture around us “loves” one another. A woman can run off and get an abortion, murdering a real person in the name of “love.” The problem with the ELCA and the countless others who have been bitten with the false doctrine of Gospel reductionism is that they embrace lover of neighbor and forget that Jesus instructed us that love of neighbor is preceded by love for God (Matthew 22:37-40). Of course, if one has rejected the Holy Scriptures as the inerrant, infallible, word of God, then abiding in the words of Christ (see John 15:1-7) has little to no meaning. After all, the question then becomes which words are Christ’s and which are merely traditions of men?

    As an aside, I have always been puzzled (even when I was an atheist) by the mental gymnastics theological liberals go through to get around Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. They argue that homosexuality, given the context of that day, was wrong. It is amazing how they lift the words “men who practice homosexuality” out of context and toss them aside with no thought as to what they are doing. Surrounding those words are condemnations of other sins, such as adultery, idolatry, thievery, drunkenness, and greed. So, are we supposed to believe that the condemnations of those sins are also limited to historical context and not relevant to us today? Can I dismiss thievery as being a sin, if I suffer from kleptomania and just so long as the culture at large is accepting of that sin on the basis of that diagnosis?

  13. “I’m reading a lot about “the problems of the ELCA” and hoping those in the AFLC, AALC, LCMS, ELS, WELS, CLC and other synods do not look down upon the ELCA, thanking God we are so much better than them. I’m not saying I’m seeing it here–I’m just warning that some assume it of us when they see the words “the problem of the ELCA.”

    In this regard, I see three problems:

    1.) How do we help those leaving the ELCA but joining microsynods which fall short of embracing the doctrine of the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture? And how do we help these smaller church bodies in this same regard? How do we welcome them up, out of the sinking ship, without endorsing their support of doctrines such as Women’s Ordination?

    2) How do we love and help those who have stayed in the ELCA to shepherd those who otherwise would be “sheep without a shepherd?” Can we assist them with their attempted witness to the post-August 2009 ELCA? Or is it more important to try to help them recognize the ship is sinking, and go into rescue mode?

    3) How do we make sure that we are not merely admonishing a group that would ordain practicing homosexuals to the Ordained Ministry, but that we are also addressing these issues of sexuality among ourselves as well, working through these issues in light of Holy Scripture, and not merely closing our eyes to what is going on in society in the world around us? How can our churches truly love ALL sinners by lovingly reaching them with the Law and Gospel, and genuinely caring for them as they struggle with their very real temptations. How can we concretely love them with the love of Christ our Lord, and help all recovering sinners to live as a new creation in this realm of simul iustus et peccator?

  14. Rick :“I’m reading a lot about “the problems of the ELCA” and hoping those in the AFLC, AALC, LCMS, ELS, WELS, CLC and other synods do not look down upon the ELCA, thanking God we are so much better than them. I’m not saying I’m seeing it here–I’m just warning that some assume it of us when they see the words “the problem of the ELCA.”

    Rick, since you are quoting from my post above with “the problem of the ELCA” let me respond that you are correct. We don’t want to be Pharisees and thank God that we aren’t sinners “like them.” And, I should have been more clear and not have referred to the blatant sin and apostasy embraced in the ELCA as “the problem of the ELCA.” I should not have minimized the severity of the falling away from God’s word we see happening in the ELCA. For that I do apologize.

  15. @Rick #13
    It’s not as complicated as we sometimes make it.

    All that is really needed is the simple witness of the Word of God, the Law, the Gospel and the application of the means of Grace.

    We get into trouble when we try to make these things do better what God has already given them the power to do.

    Mistake #1 we try to make the Law more powerful by debating people into agreeing with it. While we do have to defend the Word of God and offer reasonable expositions of the Law, we will never win by weight of evidence or logic. When we think it is our job to argue people into accepting the Law then we wind up stuck on the Law – we forget to show how the Law is connected to the Gospel. Just proclaim the Law.

    Mistake #2 We make the Gospel offer more than it can. we make it seem that if only a person believes God will fix them right up. “1,2,3 you are free – go be straight, date and mate!” But the hope in the Gospel is in the love and mercy of Christ and in eternity, not in what might be offered here on earth. Here on earth the only sure promise we are given is of a cross.

    Mistake #3 We think our job is to counsel people instead of simply offering them the means of grace and fellowship. Sorry, pastors, counseling the homosexual is a specific and complex task. You are not trained to do it so don’t try. Your calling is to offer absolution and the assurance of Christ’s grace in communion and baptism. your calling is to offer the compassion of the Body of Christ. Stick to what you are called to do because it is, by far, the better portion

    Mistake #4 We judge our success or failures by political events in the world. you know what? the world is the world and it is going to do what is natural. It will always run straight to the most degrading, the most sensual, the most sinful activities it can find. We are not called to change the world. We are not called to sanctify the old Adam. We are called to preach the Word in season and out of season. OK, it’s out of season. but don’t worry about the petitions, the letters to the editor and the sermons bemoaning the state of society. just preach the Word to God’s flock. Our success is in proclaiming Christ and administering the Sacraments in accordance to His Word. If we do that we have succeeded regardless of the size of the congregation or what the world does.

    Each of these mistakes takes our eyes off the cross and leads us to forget the importance of compassion for the sake of Christ. If we want to reach those in the ELCA or any of these splinter groups then the best way to do so is to not worry about what to say to them or how to relate to them but simply to do what God has called us to do – give His grace to one another through Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace.

    It’s not that complicated and it is oh so very powerful.

  16. THe elca sees no sin, ‘just a human condition that needs acceptance. No sin no need for The Christ, who in fact had a LOT to say about sin and hell.

  17. How interesting, how rather telling & peculiar, terms & definitions can be. Rarely, do I endevor to bait a hook, (old & rusty it may be) but, I’m not above doing so.
    How rather telling. How rather forgetfull, how rather…..naive. I’ve been here at BJS for quite some time. Quibbling over old & outdated definitions, plays into the hands of those who use that same & said arguement, w/us Confessionals.

    O’Young, a very curt & simple, “what was your intent” would have sufficed. How typical we all still are, in the eyes of those, who still oppose, what we encourage here.

    No worries, O’Young, you just took the bait on a hook, or rather paper. Not so much that is was set, is just wasn’t made objectively & “Confessionally” clear. Oxford, outside our little realm, is still very much in force, as to the unaltered definitions. Those are so easily changed. So much for technology. No worries, just giving a bit of discenting view.

  18. @Dutch #17
    The pot calls the kettle black…

    Dutch – You could just as easily have asked, in a clear and concise manner (though you tend not to), what Rose’s intent was.

    I saw no bait on a hook, or even a web page, but rather a condescending attempt at correction, that I felt needed to be addressed. And again, in this your current comment, I have to wonder what was your intent – it certainly is not clear.

    I too have been here watching, reading and contributing, on occasion, for some time. You are the one that strove to correct Rose. My post was simply to clarify that Rose’s use and definition of sooth is perfectly correct, when one considers the word’s etymology. I also apologized to the larger BJS community for the digression.

    While you are correct that Merriam-Webster mentions that forsooth is often used to imply contempt or doubt, you left out the full entry:

    Definition of FORSOOTH
    : in truth : indeed —often used to imply contempt or doubt
    (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forsooth)

    “Often” used does not, however, mean always. The etymology still stands at “truth” as Rose stated.

    Oh, the use and conventions of a language that is so often abused. Being particular has great merit, not just in the use of language…

    By the way, there is no apostrophe between the O and Y of my online name.

  19. O Young,
    I stand corrected, my references, are rather dated. But the issue you state, as to my
    “clear & concise” manner? Not here, but elsewhere on BJS, most certainly. On an active thread, to boot.
    Google is a wonderful double ck, for me. I can go back, quite far, to ck what I have written here at BJS. In all it gore or glory. I don’t always use this medium, to define or refer.
    I stand corrected, but really, was such vitrol warranted by you?
    I think this subject, as much in the realm, in which we both dwell, has great issue, with defining terms, with this subject. Does it not?
    No worries w/me, just don’t know about you. I am most often wrong, I’m just filling a pew. What exactly is it I’m expected to state, defend, or know, w/this?

  20. A Beggar #20,
    Oh…forsooth, too true, oh how true thou speakest, of such!

    Not anon, however…
    Not Shakespeare, mind you. LOL

  21. @Dutch #19
    Sorry for this on going digression…

    Dutch, the use of the word “vitriol”, is rather strong; vitriol: something highly caustic or severe in effect, as in criticism, as, I assume, used in your post (seeing that word always makes think of Graham Greene’s “Brighton Rock.”). I don’t think my comments were any more caustic or severe than yours.

    My original intent was to support Rose’s use and definition of a word. You’re the one that fired the first shot in criticizing her, I provided support for her position, you then came back with a curious response; a second shot, I responded to what you posted based on what I could interpret of your writing, and once again you came back with another curious comment, and now my final response.

    Certainly, not being face to face causes challenges in making sure that what is communicated is understandable to the receiver. When writing in this type of forum, as with many forms of communication, it behooves the writer to consider how the message will be received; choice of words, structure and grammar – will the message be understood as intended. I try to do this by re-reading my comments before hitting the submit button.

    Well, while this bandying has been… curious, I am now done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.