Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gays in Church Leadership


The question of who should be allowed into Church leadership has always been a heavily debated topic. For a long time only the most educated men of the higher classes were allowed to partake in Church leadership. It was in the 16th century that Martin Luther advocated for the "priesthood of all believers" (so long as they weren't women). It was not until nearly 500 years later that women were allowed into leadership positions in the Church; and many churches today still will not allow a woman into the pulpit. Only recently have certain churches from the Presbyterian and Episcopal denominations begun allowing gays into the pulpit. But of course today "Church leadership" means something far different from "pastor" or "priest."

The new model of Church leadership enlists qualified (or semi-qualified) people from the congregation and plants them into a ministry. Usually a governing board, or some other authority in the church, finds a person with the giftings required for a particular ministry, and places them in the leadership role over that ministry. The leader is given a crash course in leadership and ministry and then kicked out of the nest to fly. This undermines the past system where the Senior Pastor or Priest was head over the entire church. I think this is a good model of Church leadership for two reasons: 1. A pastor/priest is not a jack of all trades and will not function well as a leader over every ministry, 2. This was the model Jesus used. Jesus did not hoard the leadership responsibilities but passed them around to his disciples. Just look at the story of the feeding of the five-thousand. Did Jesus feed the five-thousand all by himself? Absolutely not. Jesus had some of his disciples in charge of the dining room ministry where they divided up the people and had them sit in particular groups. He had some of his disciples lead the kitchen ministry where they took the food from the little boy and gave it to Jesus, and then passed it out when it was blessed. He had some over the left-over committee, and so on. We know that Judas was in charge of their money as the treasurer of the disciples. So when we do church leadership in this way, it seems perfectly biblical.

But now we get into the question of who should be allowed into Church leadership. This is a broad based question that will require more than this blog can handle in order to answer. We know there are certain regulations Paul places down in 1 Timothy 3 in order for one to be an "overseer" of the church. I will not address the difficulties with translating "overseer" here. What I will say is that Paul's regulations are relevant to his culture, and that they are a step backward from what Jesus did. First of all, Paul states that the overseer must by the husband of one wife (v 2), assuming that the overseer can only be a man. But we know that Jesus placed disciples in leadership positions that were either not married or that were women. Mary and Martha, Lazarus' sisters were disciples of Jesus and hosted gatherings, very obviously acting in some leadership capacity. Mary Magdalene certainly held a leadership position in Jesus' Church. When we get into the book of Acts and into some of Paul's letters, we even read that Priscilla was the leader over a house Church. So it is obvious that a person's sexual orientation did not matter to Jesus when placing a person in a leadership role; what mattered was that person's devotion to him. If a person was devoted to Jesus and worked to please him in every way, the persons sexual orientation did not matter to him. Placing only straight men in leadership roles in the Church until recently has been a purely cultural thing based on our Western patriarchal society, and not on the model Jesus gave us.

In the post Is Homosexuality a Sin? I showed that homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible. But I am realistic enough to know that many churches are not evolved enough to acknowledge this truth. So the next strand of my argument is particularly for those churches. When we look at the individual people Jesus used as the future leaders of his Church, we see a bunch of rag-tag people, men and women, who were viewed as the most sinful of people in his culture. We see prostitutes and tax collectors. We even see murderers (in Paul and I might even argue in Peter). And if that is not enough, Jesus picked someone he knew would steal and cheat and betray him to oversee their finances: Judas Iscariot. So a person's sins did not matter to Jesus when he enlisted them into his kingdom. Public perception, to Jesus, especially the perception of the religious leaders of his time effected him in that he turned those perspectives on their heads. If the religious leaders called someone a sinner, Jesus called them saved. If the religious leaders called someone unworthy, he called them most valuable of all.

Looking at today's situation, it is the gays who the religious leaders are calling unworthy to take up leadership roles. It is the gays who the religious leaders are calling most sinful of all. From my analysis, then, it is the gays who are most valuable to be leaders in the church and it is the gays who are the most saved. The Christian gay population today, the Christians of LGBT community are dying to take up leadership roles in the Church. They long to serve the LORD in such deep and intimate ways. I know if Jesus was around today, because of the way the current Church leadership is treating the gay population, it would be them who he would pick to lead the ministries he set up. It's time the Church stopped following the tradition of men and looked at what Jesus did.
Blessings,
-Brandon

24 comments:

  1. Lets say that homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible. If that is true, the fact remains that iis is still an abomonation in the eyes of God.

    Personally, I believe that homosexuality is not genetic, but is driven by overwhelming obsessions that are a result of negative programming in the brain. I believe that it is beyond their control to overcome. BUT, to promote it and glorify it is wrong. No matter how you look at it, it isn't right.

    I am ok with homosexuality, but I do not it being promoted as a desirable lifestyle. That being said, I believe that it is OK for a homosexual to be in a place of church leadershap as long as he does not flaunt, promote and glorify his lifestyle.

    We are all sinners and nobody is perfect. Those who live in glass houses......

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  2. In response to your first comment, if homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible, how can you make the claim that it is still an abomination in God's eyes. To me, that just shows you rely more on your own biases than the word of God. Our guide for what is an is not an abomination to God is the Holy Scripture; so if it is not condemned in the Bible, it cannot be an abomination to God.

    Whether homosexuality is genetic or not, if it is something beyond their control to overcome, they cannot be found guilty for it (if it is a sin, something I obviously do not believe).

    I think being honest and true to ourselves and to God is something to be promoted and glorified, not homosexuality in itself as if everyone should be gay. I think our personal identities should be glorified, and if that means being gay or being straight, so be it.

    I certainly agree with your last statement that we are all sinners. Therefore, we should not lift up any one sin above another (if you do consider homosexuality to be a sin). Therefore homosexuals should not be singled out in their exclusion from ministry or worship or any other function within the body of Christ.
    Blessings,
    -Brandon

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    1. its all over the bible ..no sex men on men, woman on woman, its nasty..are you gay

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  3. Can you please explain your statement that homosexuality is not condemned in the bible? There seem to be many examples that it is. Also if we are to use Jesus' example where is the example that Jesus placed someone that is Gay in a leadership position?

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  4. Thank you for your questions. I explain my position on what the Bible says about homosexuality in the blog http://whatjesusdiddo.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-homosexuality-sin.html
    There are only 5 places where homosexuality is mentioned in the bible, two in the OT and three in the NT. Two of the places in the NT are mistranstlations and the third is always taken out of context. You can see my argument by clicking on the link.

    Jesus never mentions homosexuality one way or the other. What he did do was place those in leadership that were always excluded from leadership in by the religious elite of his day, namely women. Women were treated as third-class citizens (below men and children) and were most definitely not allowed to participate in leadership. And yet Jesus included women such as Mary and Martha into his fold and even to have leadership positions. He also allowed "sinners" to be leaders in the church. He told Peter that he would be the rock upon which the Church would be built, and this was knowing full well that Peter would deny Jesus. He made Judas Iscariot the treasurer knowing that he would betray Jesus. If Jesus placed these "sinners" in leadership roles, then the model he gave us should allow homosexuals to be leaders in the Church even if we believe they are sinners.
    Blessings,
    -Brandon

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  5. Brandon,
    Jesus did not come to abolish the law, he came to fulfill it!(Mathew 5:17) Though Civil and Ceremonial laws may still not apply, the Moral laws still do. Paul said to the Corinthians that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God(1 Corinthians 6:9) You said that because Jesus did not mention homosexual practices it must not be a sin. However, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is God-breathed. We should not judge the people who are sexually immoral, God will.(Hebrews 13:4) Many people who are bound by gay desires grew up fatherless or did not have a good relationship with a parent of the same sex. The good news is that God wants to be a father to the fatherless! (Psalm 68:5) I pray that you will find the truth about the destructive nature of the gay lifestle, and how it is causing seperation amongst the church, Satan's plan. Truly a sign of the end times. God bless.

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  6. As long as we live in the flesh we will have sinful desires,for some, homosexual desires. However, one chooses to act apon those desires. Like Martin Luther said, "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can sure keep them from building a nest in your hair!" The Bible says, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind". No one is born gay, and on the day of judgment we will be held accountable for the choices that we made, despite what felt good in the flesh. WE are all without excuse!
    Praise be to God,
    Anthony

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    1. How can A Homoseual teach god word to you and go home to his or her lover.Sleep and make love with his or her lover.and get up and teach the word of god to you ,.when god said that he will or she will not even enter in to the kingdom of god along with the liar-etc.

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  7. You said that those who practice homosexuality should be allowed to preach in the church. However scripture says the contrary! 1 Corinthians 5:11 Pual says, "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone who calls themselves a brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extorioner-not even to eat with such a person."

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    1. I can't see where you are inferring homosexuality here in this Corinthians text. I assume you are saying that homosexuality is "sexually immoral," but that is your own inference, rather than a biblical truth. We are so acculturated into thinking of homosexuality as immoral that we lose sight of what the text actually says. I pray for a day when we, as Christians, can read the scriptures with fresh eyes and hopefully get closer to God's vision for humanity.

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  8. To the first anonymous commenter, you say that homosexuals are not born that way, but the consensus is now that they are, even among most Christian groups. It has been proven that it is a part of their DNA. It is not something they can help. That is truly their orientation, not their choice. A person should not be condemned for their orientation.

    For anonymous # 2, you are already assuming in your premise that homosexuality is sexually immoral activity as there is nothing in I Corinthians 5:11 to indicate that Paul is specifically addressing homosexuality. Please refer to my earlier articles for showing how the passages specifically referring to "homosexuality" (only 5 in total) cannot be trusted.

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    1. Brandon,

      I noticed that you did not reply to the Feb. 11, 2012 post on Lev. 20:13. Also, I would like to see a reply to March 15, 2012 @ 11:23.

      And for my comment I first of all do not judge other people for I am not God, but the Holy word is the one and only word and we cannot misinterpret Lev. 20:13, Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, 1 Corinth. 7:2 & 12. Also, Romans 1:27 (NIV) Says In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. You see, If I want to know the truth about the life I go to the Holy bible, not what what men are saying. There is no exception to God's word, no matter how it is twisted around.

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    2. Minister Hunter,
      When was the last time you stoned someone for being gay? I am not misinterpreting Leviticus when it calls us to enact this punishment. I also wonder if you have noticed on any of your clothing tags that you wear anything that is satin/cotton blend, because Leviticus also tells not to where blended materials. Leviticus tells us to do a lot of things we aren't doing today. Not only that but what the OT forbids as homosexual behavior is not all that clear in today's age.

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    3. Hi Brandon,

      Anyone who knows the word knows that the new testament gives us free will but that does not dismiss the 10 commandments does it. I thought we were having a discussion and not going on the defense. Furthermore, Leviticus is not the only scripture that I referred to, Romans is in the New Testament, Hmmm? I am not condemning anyone but the word does. God loves all of us but wants us to, in layman terms, follow the leader. You are trying to dismiss the fact than no where, not in one place does Our Father ok homosexuality. I have an associate or two who live that lifestyle but it is not for me to judge them. No sin is larger or smaller than another, a sin is a sin and I am a sinner and Jesus died on the cross so that we all my be forgiven and live. He without sin cast the first stone... I certainly cannot. But as a minister I will spread the Word of God just as it is written and when I have sinned I do not make an excuse because I like doing it, I repent!

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    4. Minister Hunter, Forgive me for coming off glib in my reply to you; that is not how I intended to sound. Homosexuality is only mentioned in Scripture 5 times, none of which is it really clear what is meant by homosexual. There was not a term in the original languages of scripture to denote homosexuality, so the terms that we now translate as homosexual are not very clear to us. I address all of the Scriptures you are referring to in my previous post "Is Homosexuality a Sin," and I refer you to that post for my response. If you feel that post does not answer your questions, feel free to engage me again, and I will answer your questions.
      Blessings,
      -Brandon

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    5. P.S. I think it is significant that Jesus never broaches the topic of homosexuality one way or another. And I believe that the lack of forbidding it doesn't mean it isn't condoned.

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    6. Good afternoon Brandon,

      First of all I appreciate the apology. Second, I feel that someone here needs a understanding and it could very well be me, maybe or maybe not. But are you listening to what you are saying? The definition of forbidden means not allowed and condoned means to pardon or overlook. So, if it isn't condoned that means that it is not pardoned or overlooked. I do not believe but I know that the key word in your reply is, "I believe", but it is not what neither you or I believe but what GOD SAYS (The Holy Word).

      You also keep stating that Jesus never brings up the topic of homosexuality for discussion. Well, what matters right now is that Romans 1:27 as clear as a sunny day rebukes men partnering with men. Romans is the road map to eternal life and as I stated above I want to spread the word truthfully. See, when Jesus comes back and it will certainly be soon, He is coming for the church without a spot or a wrinkle and all leaders will be held accountable for misleading their flocks. I don't want to be in that number. So, here I am engaging with you again. But this time I would also like to see a response to Pastor Briggs' comments on March 15 and 16, she seems to be quite the intelligent minister.

      I hope I am not degrading you Brandon but looking through the post it seems as if you pick and choose who you want to respond to. I say that because you don't respond to those who you have commented on the same scriptures or comments but leaving out the fact that what you are saying is not making sense to a lot of people. God's words are clearly understood but you keep saying it basically is not, you keep stating how many times something is mentioned in the Bible and no one cares how many time 1 or 1000 it is what is says and how you are twisting it around.

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    7. Minister Hunter,
      It is impossible for us to keep our beliefs out of Scripture. For instance, you believe Scripture to be inerrant even when the Bible never calls itself inerrant. The passage in Timothy that refers to Scripture as being God breathed and all that is referring to the Jewish Scriptures since the New Testament was not out yet, and even if you do quote that as your reason for call Scripture inerrant, you must first believe the bible to be inerrant before just accepting a passage that refers to it as inerrant.

      I address Romans 1:27 in previous posts. Paul is setting up his Jewish audience to show them in Romans 2 that they are just as much sinners as those they judge sinners for being gay (read Romans 1:27 in the context of Romans 2:1). Paul is not calling homosexuality a sin to condemn it, he is calling homosexuality a sin to set a condemnation of those who condemn homosexuals. What you are practicing is called biblioidolatry, setting up the bible as god. But the Word of God we are called to follow is Jesus Christ, not the bible. Once again, you would not stone a gay man today, and yet Leviticus tells us that is what we must too. You are the one picking and choosing which Scripture to abide by.
      -Brandon

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    8. Jesus said in Matthew 19:4 " that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate." Also the sexually immoral is anyone acting sexually outside the marriage on one man and one woman. No where in scripture does it ever mention or give any inclination that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is condoned by God. If Jesus wanted to change what was put into the Mosaic Law he would have addressed it, however He said that he came to fulfill it not abolish it and those subjects he felt needed changing he clearly stated as in "You have heard that it was said "do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. You have heard that it was said Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.But I tell you "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. You have heard that it was said Do not murder.. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." Those all come from Matthew chapter 5. No where does it say " you have heard that marriage in only between a man and woman But I tell you two men or two women can marry." Jesus never condoned homosexuality. He loves those who are trapped in any sin but He never condones it.

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  9. Let us be mindful of the fact that all in the Clergy are not Holy Ghost filled individuals. The Seminary is called the Cemetary because little is taught on HOLINESS. Most go to the Seminary, not because they have been called by God, but because it's what they wanted to do and it's a PAYCHECK; so they are hierlings and will speak what people want them to speak, instead of what God says. God is immutable, He never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. It's not about what man thinks, but about what God says and means.
    1 Cor 2:12-16 says Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches comparing spiritual things to spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the Mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the Mind of Christ. God created marriage to be between a man and a woman in Gen 2:23-25, things haven't changed. Homosexuality is sexual sin, that came about like any other sin caused by the Fall of Man. But when you have become truly saved, born again and Holy Ghost filled, you REPENT and want to live God's way. Jesus shed His Precious Blood for all sinners; past, present and future. God hates the Sin not the person, that's why Jesus had too die for everybody born into this world, that we might be saved through Him. 1 Cor 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. If God says to FLEE FORNICATION, he that commits ADULTERY with a WOMAN lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul. But I say to you, whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart; these scriptures apply to everyone heterosexual or homosexual. People must also understand that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. That's why we must PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, that we might be able to stand against the wiles (plots, plans, schemes of the devil). Noone but God knows why some are afflicted with one thing and another afflicted with something else. But know this, that God loves any homosexual or lesbian as should any true Christian, but we must speak God's Truth. God wants no man, woman or child to perish. We all will face judgment. Cast all your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you.
    Rev 21:7 says he that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
    Eph 5:3-6 says But fornication all uncleanness, let it not be named among you as becometh Saints. No whoremonger has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words and not to be partakers with them. No Clergy or anyone in a leadership position in the Church should be in ACTIVE sexual sin.
    That's why people must also remember Jesus is coming back for a Church without a spot or wrinkle, not a Church with all these manmade denominations, but HIS CHURCH-THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. It's timeout for all these worldly opinions and time to do what THUS SAITH THE LORD!!

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    1. Pastor Janice BriggsMarch 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      My name is Pastor Janice Briggs and I when I first submitted this blog on 03/15/12 at 11:23 p.m., I didn't realize that you just needed to submit your name and not the URL also; that might be the reason you(Brandon) are the only one that is not anonymous. But I would like to add that I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as long as God allows me to have breath in my body, I will be a strong soldier in HIS ARMY, speaking His (inerrant-free from error or mistake) Word. A perfect God gave us His instructions to live by; but as I said in the blog, God's Word is FOOLISHNESS to the natural man. You will be held responsible for the people you cause to fall with your nonsense.
      I encourage ALL, no matter your affliction to remember that JESUS not only died and shed His Blood for our Salvation, but for Healing in our minds, bodies, souls and spirits.
      STOP believing what others say and how they interpret God's Word. 1 Tim 2:15 says to study to show Yourself APPROVED UNTO GOD (not man) rightly dividing the Word (Bible) of Truth. I pray that this and the other comments according to Scripture has helped someone; because there is nothing that God can't fix, when you renew you mind through His Word and present your body a living sacrifice Holy and Acceptable unto God, which is Your reasonable service. I thank God for Jesus and I thank God for you.

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    2. Pastor Briggs, I am not trying to ignore you but I find posts such as yours way to long to respond to, especially since I have dealt with many of your comments in past blogs. Please read those and if you still have questions I am happy to address them. I also deal with some of your comments in my replies to Minister Hunter.
      -Brandon

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  10. Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage, Genesis 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family.
    The Bible alone, however, does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history.

    History argues against gay marriage.
    Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another.
    In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well- adjusted children.
    Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can fulfill this purpose.
    Nature argues against gay marriage.
    So, if the Bible, history, psychology, and nature all argue for marriage being between a man and a woman
    why is there such a controversy today?
    Why are those who are opposed to gay marriage/same-sex marriage labeled as hateful, intolerant bigots, no matter how respectfully the opposition is presented?
    Why is the gay rights movement so aggressively pushing for gay marriage/same-sex marriage when most people, religious and non-religious, are supportive of or at least far less opposed to gay couples having all the same legal rights as married couples with some form of civil union?
    The answer, according to the Bible, is that everyone inherently knows that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural, and the only way to suppress this inherent knowledge is by normalizing homosexuality and attacking any and all opposition to it. The best way to normalize homosexuality is by placing gay marriage/same-sex marriage on an equal plane with traditional opposite gender marriage. Romans 1:18-32 illustrates this. The truth is known because God has made it plain. The truth is rejected and replaced with a lie. The lie is then promoted and the truth suppressed and attacked. The vehemence and anger expressed by many in the gay rights movement to any who oppose them is, in fact, an indication that they know their position is indefensible. Trying to overcome a weak position by raising your voice is the oldest trick in the debating book. There is perhaps no more accurate description of the modern gay rights agenda than Romans 1:31, “they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”
    To give sanction to gay marriage/same-sex marriage would be to give approval to the homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible clearly and consistently condemns as sinful. Christians should stand firmly against the idea of gay marriage/same-sex marriage. Further, there are strong and logical arguments against gay marriage/same-sex marriage from contexts completely separated from the Bible. One does not have to be an evangelical Christian to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman.

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