“Homosexuality and the Church in the Crossfire” A comprehensive paper dealing the outstanding issues, problems and suggested

solutions On Homosexuality

By, Prakash Bashyal (B.TH) Box No: 64

Our Sexuality: Lecturer: Dr. Tony Lim

Malaysia Bible Seminary December 16th, 2009 1.0 Introduction: “Homosexuality” is no longer a strange term in today’s context. It has become one of the most widely discussed, debated, and deliberated public policy issues. Among many countries which used to consider the homosexuality as punishable crime, some of them have now already accepted it as legal. Whether in the countries in the West or the East, high priority talks, discussion, and reconsideration are going on among the legislature committees to affirm homosexuality and homosexual marriages as legitimate as heterosexual marriages. The talks and concern on homosexuality have not only drawn the attention of the legislatures of the nations but it has also introduced a kind of vibration in the environment of the churches. In recent years, the churches have become highly captivated in the dilemma concerning its stance on the issues of homosexuality. The church stands in the midst of human beings; the living society and it will lose its significance if it remains deaf and mute in regard to the contemporary social issues. As we analyze the scenario of the church today, we can see a deep polarization between proponents and opponents of the traditional Christian teaching on the topics of homosexuality. In this paper we will try to figure out some of the contemporary issues and problems on the topics of homosexuality and would try to suggest some solutions on this ethical dilemma. 2.0 The Meaning of Homosexuality and its cause: Before heading to the paper in depth, let us have a look on some of the definitions of homosexuality. Homosexuality is primarily an emotional/sexual attraction toward others of the same sex, which may or may not be expressed in sexual activity.1 The term Homosexuality refers basically to the preference for sexual partners of the same sex or to the situation in which erotic feelings are nearly exclusively triggered by persons of one’s own sex.2 Standing on these definitions of the homosexuality we can agree that

1 2

Richard F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church, London: The Lamp Press, 1978, p. 144. Stanley Grenz, Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1998, p.225.


a homosexual person is one who sustains “a predominant, persistent, and exclusive psychosexual attraction toward members of the same sex…feel sexual desire for and a sexual responsiveness to persons of the same sex and who seeks or would like to seek actual sexual fulfillment of this desire by sexual acts with a person of the same sex.3 In a brief sense we can portrait that a homosexual person is someone who is “homoerotic.” As we are dealing with the studies of Homosexuality it would better to have some basic understanding about the term such as Transsexual, Transvestite, Intersex. Transsexual is a person who undergoes surgical and hormonal interventions to reassign his/her sex (WHO, 2002).4 Transvestite is a person who achieves sexual gratification from wearing clothes of the opposite sex.5 Intersex refers to rare medical conditions where people are born with ambiguous sexual characteristics, and nearly always due to physiological causes. 2.1 The Causes of Homosexuality: Often the homosexuals: Gays (Male homosexual) or lesbians (female homosexual) regard themselves as males or female born in the “wrong” body. However, the scientific researches show that over 99.98% of the individuals are obvious at birth, either male or female sex if defined by physical characteristics (the presence of a vagina or a penis). In a very small number, sex may be unclear due to ambiguous genitalia as a result of medication conditions (Hermaphroditism).6 The recent studies have shown the facts that even the biological factors need certain environmental stimuli for the homosexual orientation. Irwin Bieber suggests that disturbances in child development, especially in the area of parent child relationship, are responsible for homosexuality orientation. Such disturbance result in confusion concerning the child’s sexual identity and which could lead to a same-sex preference.7 Some

Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 p.3. 4 Class note, Our Sexuality: Cause for celebration or source of temptation? , p.27 5 Richard Meier, Sex in the Christian Marriage, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 141. 6 Class note, Our Sexuality: Cause for celebration or source of temptation? , p. 1,29 7 Stanley Grenz, Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1998, p.226.


examples of psychological factors are: parental rejection, absence of father during childhood, having emotionally-distant father, peer pressure, perfectionism, media images, self-rejection and poor self-esteem which may be reinforced by hostile reception from society.8 In many cases homosexualities are related with deficit in parent children relationship and its consequences of arrested development. On the basis of her work with homosexual persons Psychologist Elizabeth Moberly concluded, “one constant underlying principle suggests itself: that the homosexualwhether man or woman-has suffered from some deficit in the relationship with the parent of the same sex; and that there is a corresponding drive to make good this deficit- through the medium of same-sex, or ‘homosexual,’ relationships.”9 I personally have witnessed some of these disturbances in some people. Mr. A, a young Christian boy seemingly was showing a Transvestite personality, and as I studied his background I found that he was brought up in a broken family, with his mother, sisters and aunties. The absence of male figure in his family apparently confused him with his gender identity and led him to transvestite attitudes. Miss L, a thirteen year child who is under my mentoring one day mentioned to me that she has a good girl friend who acts like a boy and shows interest on girls and recently found that she is lesbian but Miss L do find comfortable being with her. Further more Miss L. mentioned to me that she hates all boys. Miss L is the only daughter of single parent, Mrs. S who broke off with her husband due to his permissive sexual behaviors. Mrs. S keeps on mentioning that all most all the men are betrayer and keeps a very low view about men which in result have effected Miss L’s perception about men and now as a teenager is in danger of appreciating homosexual relationship. Sexual abuse is another common shaping factor of homosexuality. Sexual abuse is one of the foremost shaping factors that result in adult lesbianism, several Exodus leaders estimate that 80 to 90
8 9

Class note, Our Sexuality: Cause for celebration or source of temptation? , p. 1,29 Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 p.17.


percent of the women coming for help to ex-gay ministries have been victimized. 10 This fact not only applies to lesbians only but it is surprisingly common in gay men too. Typically, boys who are abused repeatedly experience some physical pleasure, and may seek to repeat the acts with other boys in order to duplicate the feelings of sexual pleasure and physical closeness.11The women who are abused by adult male (mostly close relative) in childhood are more likely to develop lesbian relationship because of the horrible experience of their childhood. The failure and frustration on Heterosexual relationship could also lead a person to homosexual relationship. The rebellion towards the patriarchy in quite number of cases has led the female to proclaim themselves as lesbians. Homosexuality is also an expression of learned behavior.12 During late childhood or adolescent, the physical changes in the body bring erotic sexual desire and in order to release the erotic expression the adolescents may express themselves in a homosexual manner and pursue subsequent experiences on this basis which later may confine them as homosexual. The pleasure positively reinforces behavior by encouraging its repetition. In quite number of cases homosexuality is the result of unemployment. The youths frustrated with unemployment have ended themselves as homosexual sex-workers on the street of big cities. So it would be very flaccid to assume homosexuality solely as a result of biological factor. Most of the studies on homosexual individual both male and female provide support for this theory (homosexuality is often the result of psychological factors).13 Basically, it would be wise to mention that homosexuality is rarely the result of biological (Physiological) factor alone and often it is the outcome of environmental (psychological) inducement and nurture.

Anita Worthen and Bob Davies, Someone I Love is Guy: How family and friends can respond, Illinois, InterVarsity, 1996, p.82. 11 Ibid, p.84 12 Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, p.18. 13 Charles W. Keysor, What You Should Know about Homosexuality, Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1979, 147.


3.0 Contemporary issues and problems: Generally in past majority of psychiatrics used to term homosexual phenomenon as Gender identity disorder, meanwhile some members of the medical and psychiatric community began to speak up against the prevailing assumption that homosexuality is an illness, and when the trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the category of mental illness, religious proponents of the active homosexual life-style gained important support for their position.14 As we ponder on the debates on homosexuality, the main issue in the root is, “Is Homosexuality something natural or is it a phobia?”, “Is Homosexuality a sin or a normal phenomenon?” The proponents of homosexuality by all means are trying to articulate that homosexuality is something very natural and as acceptable as heterosexuality or even better, while the opponents of homosexuality are trying to wallop with a dogmatic answer that the homosexuality is completely a phobia and nothing more than that. In the mean time, the social debates on the homosexuality such as the civil rights of homosexual pairs, legalization of homosexuality and homosexual marriage (same sex marriage), acceptance of homosexuals as third gender human being and, religious identity and rights of homosexual are prevalent. Debate on homosexuality is no more a under carpet debate. Historically the event at the Stonewall Inn is often viewed as marking the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing struggle over the issue of homosexuality, the “gay activist era.”15 It was the event on June 28, 1969 in New York, where the person of homosexual orientations in Stonewall Inn retaliated against the police raid. In the present day context homosexuality has turned to an open crossfire debate not only in USA but has been one of the prominent social and contemporary issues in Asian countries like Nepal too. In Nepal, the NGO such as, “Blue

14 15

Richard F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church, London: The Lamp Press, 1978, p. 30. Stanley Grenz, Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1998, p.223.


Diamond Society” is collectively fighting for the rights of Homosexuals.16 As the country is in the process of writing a new constitution, the Blue Diamond society is trying it’s best to seek attention of the legislatures of the nation so that the rights of homosexual would be insured through the new constitution.17 Even in Muslim dominated country Malaysia, a survey taken in 2000 estimated that there were 50,000 transsexuals in the country and Muslim transsexuals formed the majority of population.18 The numbers of people publicly proclaiming themselves as Homosexual are increasing everyday while more and more collective voices are being raised for the support of homosexual and homosexuality (LGBT)19. The increase in homosexual relationship has resulted in an even greater incidence of venereal diseases and socially, on the breakage of family. But some reply that recognition of homosexual marriage rights would lead to more stable homosexual relationships and actually help limit the spread of venereal disease20 and breakage of family. Support for homosexuality, specifically the same-sex marriage is often based upon what is regarded as a universal human rights issue, mental and physical health concerns, equality before the law, and the goal of normalizing LGBT relationships. According to Mr David Kuria, the coordinator of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, homosexuals should have been "expressly listed" among the minority and marginalized groups deserving of special protection.21 Basically, the advocators of homosexuality are trying to gain corroboration and endorsement for the homosexual campaign on humanitarian (a universal human right) basis. While the opponents of homosexuality specifically point the same sex marriage as a process of dehumanization and battle against family, society and humanity.

http://www.bds.org.np/aboutus.html, accessed:2009, November 30 Nepal, A weekly Nepali Magazine, Kathmandu: Kantipur Publication, 2009, October 15. 18 Class note, Our Sexuality: Cause for celebration or source of temptation? , p. 27 19 Lesbian, guy, bisexual and transsexual 20 Charles W. Keysor, What You Should Know About Homosexuality, Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1979, p.173. 21 http://www.othersheep.org, Other Sheep eNews, December 1, 2009


In this present scenario, the main problem today with the church is in its dilemma on how the church should respond on the issues of homosexuality. The church today has been caught in the crossfire of the two extremism opinions of homosexuality within the church and externally by the liberal secular attitude towards the homosexuality. Many of the countries compared to the past have taken more soften stance towards their attitudes regarding homosexuality. The legislature on some countries has already legalized the homosexual marriage (same-sex marriage). The church had never been in so much controversy and in catch 22 on the issue of homosexuality. The tradition position on homosexual behavior has just appeared: Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?22To another extreme, the modern Christian liberal view demands affirmation of all kind of homosexual behaviors as if Homosexuality is the ultimate plan of creator for human sexuality. The heated friction between these two views have caused many churches to affirm the homosexuality while another pole of the view are condemning homosexuality in an aggressive manner never exposed to that degree ever before. Conservatives are insisting the Bible unequivocally outlaws homosexuality, while liberals believe the Bible should be reinterpreted in the light of contemporary wisdom. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) which in the past used to hold the stance that homosexuality is sin has recently changed its stance and has no objection on ordaining the monogamous ministers for church ministry. It has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection. 23 In spite of the 2007 summit of Anglican leaders in Tanzania had urged the Episcopal Church to bar the consecration of openly gay bishops as well as official blessings of same-sex union, very recently, 2009, December 5th the Anglican Church faces the same kind of turmoil that erupted in

Richard F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church, London: The Lamp Press, 1978, p. 51 “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” A Social Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church adopted August 19, 2009, p. 10


2003 when openly gay Reverend Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was elected bishop, sparking joy from liberals but outrage among traditionalists, particularly in Africa. Ms Glasspool , a lesbian was elected on Saturday as an assistant bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles.24 Recently, the organization such as “Other Sheep” headed by Rev. Steve Parelli, Bronx, NY is very active on condemning the anti-homosexual speech within and out side the church. The news letter of Other Sheep mentions, “In March 2008, Warren told Ugandan media that he supported a boycott of the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion by Uganda's bishops over the issue of homosexuality -- even though Warren is a Southern Baptist. Warren also said homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right and added, "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all."25 On the other hand, Rick Warren who has a very strong tie with the Christians in Uganda refused to give his comment on the Anti-Homosexuality bill being prepared by legislature of Uganda which demand the punishment up to the death penalty for certain type of homosexuality activities. These are the very few examples of the widening conflict between the proponents of traditional and modern liberal church view on the issue of homosexuality. All these recent activities within the church have pushed the church and Christianity as a whole in a conflict and controversy. The increasing numbers of ordination of homosexual Bishops, Pastors, ministers and affirmation of same sex-marriage has raised a serious question on the direction of where the church is heading. Is homosexuality something natural or is it phobia? Is there just male and female gender of human being or there can be some exception of it? Can homosexuals be changed? Is homosexuality against the Christian Sexual Ethics? Does a

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8398043.stm From the email sent to prayash22@yahoo.com by sparelli2002@yahoo.com.



homosexual person need to be changed after being Christian or can he remain as homosexual? What does the Bible really says about homosexuality? How should a church respond to the homosexuals? How should a church respond to the needs and right of homosexuals? These are very few questions which sound simple but need a complex studies and analysis. Either the conservative or liberal, when they approach these questions their effort to search the answers must not be out of rivalry but it must be grounded on the foundation of the scripture (the bible) and must speak to the real lives issues. 4.0 What the Bible says about Homosexuality? It will be Christian to return back to the scripture to find the answer for the ethical dilemmas. Should the Bible be interpreted in the light of present day context or not in another issue but what it real matters is, “what does the Bible say about homosexuality?” The Bible no where affirms homosexuality and mentions homosexuality as the plan of God the creator. The Bible is very clear that God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27). The Bible describes human sexuality only in the two orientation-male and female. If so then what is the stance of the bible regarding homosexuality? It is true that homosexuality conduct is not a major theme in the Bible; certain biblical passages do in fact speak of some types of same sex acts

and it is sufficient to found a unified biblical outlook on homosexuality, especially within the area of teaching of human sexuality. Five texts in the Bible directly teach that homosexual behavior is contrary to the will of God (Gen. 19:1-13(The story of lot and Sodom); Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Corinthian. 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10).27 Standing on the foundation of these texts, the church tradition has found a moral standard that the Bible rejects all genital homosexual behavior. The holiness code in Lev.18:22, 20:13 are richly clear in the rejection of

Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 p.35. 27 Richard F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church, London: The Lamp Press, 1978, p. 87.


homosexuality as a practice or a proclivity. Concerning the story of Lot and Sodom (Gen. 19:411), the liberal scholar argue that the sin of Sodom and Gibeah involved inhospitality, attempted rape, or even the desire to cohabitate with angel28 and it doesn’t point to Homosexuality as sin. These arguments of the liberals may convince some that the passage is talking about the idolatrous sexual relations not the sin of Homosexuality but the truth in the meantime is clear that these passages are in no means affirmation of homosexuality. In the same manner, Despite of the effort of liberal scholar to uncover a deeper-lying story of homosexual love, most scholars remain unconvinced29 that David and Jonathan were bound in homosexual relation. Instead the language used describes their relationship as typical of the treaty terminology of the day.30 The New Testament is also quite clear in its stance on homosexuality. Paul in Rom. 1:26-27 condemns the same-sex relations practiced within the context of his critique of the pagan society of his day. Through this passage the intention of Paul is to show that homosexual relations, whether between men or women, are “against nature,” because they are contrary to God’s intention for woman and man. Paul’s list of sins in the Corinthian epistle (1 Corinthian. 6:9) occurs in the wider context of matters related to proper sexual conduct and the believing community.31 That points to the fact that Paul was certain that the only proper context for sexual intercourse was heterosexual marriage. Some liberals view that Jesus’ silence on the topic of homosexual teaching as affirmation of homosexuality. But as we cautiously study the teaching of Jesus this assumption gets futile. Jesus did indeed speak about the proper expression of human sexuality and he condemned sexual immorality (Mark 7:21). When Jesus mentioned sexual immorality he referred to all kinds of sexual conduct and even the sexual thoughts outside of a
28 29

Ibid, p.35 Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 p.60. 30 Ibid.p.60 31 ibid, p.59


heterosexual marriage. (Matthew 5:28). Moreover, whenever Jesus engaged with questions involving human sexual conduct, he appealed to God’s intention in creation, male and female relationship (e.g., Mark 10:11-12; Matt.19:4-9). 32 It is true that homosexuality was not prevalent in the degree it does exit today during the time of Biblical writers in Old Testament and during the time of Paul. There were neither the concept of same sex marriages nor were homosexual activists advocating the homosexual issues in media. But the Bible condemns all kind of homosexual acts in whatsoever form they exist during that time. The Bible is clear on the matter that heterosexual marriage is the sole and ultimate plan of God for human being (Human sexuality) since the beginning of creation of humanity. (Genesis 1:27) Whenever the Bible mentions of homosexuality, the message is clear that homosexuality is contrary to God’s intention for woman and man. Though the liberals may demand a new interpretation of the Bible, the Bible is clear in its stance that homosexuality is a sin. 5.0 Christian Response: It was weakness in the part of church for blindly forbidding discussion on the topics of Homosexuality while keeping less concern on the studies of the causes of homosexuality and effort towards the minimization of the homosexual trend. In the present day context, it would be insufficient just to mention homosexuality as sin and have no further discussion on it. The Bible is clear in it stance that homosexuality is a sin but how do we respond to this reality in the present day scenario? If homosexuality is a sin then what is the responsibility of the church towards the homosexuals? Is it enough for a church just to point to few verses of the Bible to condemn homosexuality or does a church have wider role than that? The issue on homosexuality demands a greater role of church rather than being a mere messenger that homosexuality is a sin. Below are few suggested areas on which I believe the church need to have more of its effort.



i. Sex Education for the Children and Youths: As we have already discussed in the cause of homosexuality that homosexuality is rarely the result of biological (Physiological) factor alone and often it is the out come of environmental (psychological) inducement and nurture. The question here arises, “How can we protect our children and youths from the environmental inducement that may lead them to homosexuality?” The answer is quite clear, “Give them the age appropriate sound Biblical and biological education on the topic of sex.” This will help the growing children and adolescents in learning about their bodies and human sexuality in very natural way. If the Christian parents and church fail to do so the children and youths will acquire the distorted truth about human sexuality from the secular world. The honest discussion of the reproductive and sexual organs would be very much in aid to understand the human sexuality as a whole. It will help them to understand what it mean to be created as male and female. What sexual orientation is all about? Christian view of sex, gender, and its relationship to marriage and family when imputed to the children and youths, it will enable them to resist the environmental inducement to homosexual orientation to certain degree. In the same manner, this will build up a strong bond between the children, parents and church relationship which will ease the children and youths to share their situation if they are physically abused; as a result it will reduce the possibility of Sexual abuse as common shaping factor of homosexuality33. The growing children and adolescents do have a certain kind of affirmation and appreciation towards their friend of same sex which usually they would love to call, “Best Friend or Buddy”. The liberal’s teaching that the “gay” person is more whole than heterosexual34 or every human being by nature have homosexual tendency therefore there is nothing wrong to practice it; this kind of teachings may

Anita Worthen and Bob Davies, Someone I Love is Guy: How family and friends can respond, Illinois, InterVarsity, 1996, p.82. 34 Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 p.31.


confuse the children and adolescents that their affirmation and appreciation towards their best friend is an outcome of their homosexual orientation and eventually deteriorate the situation and encourage them to be a homosexual. The norms and values implanted in the childhood and youth are the milestones that human being usually follow through out their life. Sadly, quite often the churches are busy condemning homosexuality but haven’t been able to realize the necessity of sound Biblical and biological education on the topic of sex (sex orientation) for children and youths. It would be wise if churches would be able too see their responsibility in this area. ii. The Church must build up a clear, appropriate stance on the issue of Homosexuality and on its approach of ministry for homosexual: The problem with most of the traditionalists is not on their affirmation that homosexuality is sin but the problem is in their way of behavior and attitudes towards the homosexuals. Sometime our attitude is such that as if homosexuality is not a forgivable sin at all. In the same manner the liberals are heading towards the path of being a condoner of homosexuality. It would be unchristian to say that the Bible is wrong in its stance regarding homosexual. If the Bible is not wrong in its stance regarding homosexuality then what should be our attitude and approach of ministry towards homosexual. a) Jesus Model of Ministry (Welcoming but not affirming): Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors, adulterers, prostitutes (Luke 7:34, 35) but yet he was sinless and holy. That is Jesus ministered all kind of sinners but never condoned, compromised and practiced any form of sins. As the church is the body of Christ it is to follow its master in its attitude of ministry. A true church in action affirms its unity in relationship, reflects the holiness in its life, opens the door for all, submits to the rule of the apostolic scriptures, practices preaching of Christ in word, and honors Christ as the center of sacrament. A church ministering to homosexual doesn’t make the church condoner of homosexuality. Welcoming does not mean affirming. Walking on the path of


Jesus to confront any social issue is not an easy task to perform but as a body of Christ it would be wise for a church to refer to Jesus’ model of ministry. John 7:53-8:11, the woman caught in adultery is clearly on the opposite side of the line to Jesus (Matthew 5:27, 28). But still Jesus showed amazing social tolerance. Jesus was the only one who could condemn the woman but he showed supreme social tolerance. Jesus showed the social tolerance for the woman by not condemning her and neither did he condone her act. That is Jesus showed social tolerance but didn’t show intellectual tolerance; he did not say, “It is alright for you to go and seek love with other people’s husband.” Jesus hasn’t condemned her but doesn’t condone her sin too, instead he says, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” The action of Jesus shows the social tolerance; respect for other even if their view is very difference, but the action of Jesus also shows that intellectual tolerance (the idea that all views are equally valid) is wrong35. The churches today must learn to have social tolerance but must not show intellectual tolerance to the things which Bible says it is wrong. This perspective applies to the issue of homosexuality too. The Christian must learnt to have a line between social tolerance and intellectual tolerance. The Bible no where says that homosexual practice is any worst sin than heterosexual sex outside of marriage. It would be wrong to evaluate that homosexual practice is greater sin than heterosexual sin. However, the church must have a clear stance that homosexual practice is a sin and condoning homosexuality is against the Bible. In the mean time, the church must be humble enough to learn to have a social tolerance and deny any form of intellectual tolerance concerning homosexuality. The church must oppose to civil discrimination against homosexual (in respect of human rights and employment). This will in true sense reflect the commandment of Lord Jesus to love our


A sermon by Jago Wynne. Knot, on http://www.allsouls.org/ascm/allsouls/static/sermons........ Accessed: October 19, 2008


neighbor and even enemy. The problem today with the church is in the scenario that the traditional viewers are reluctant even to the point of accepting the social tolerance while the liberals are advocating not only for social tolerance but for all form of intellectual tolerance (same-sex marriage, ordination of guy ministers) regarding homosexuality. It has in return deeply polarized the church as condemner and condoner of homosexuality. Welcoming but not affirming, only this kind of attitudes would be able to bring transformation in the life of homosexuals. iii. Counseling and care for the homosexual: From the discussion made on the causes of homosexuality we can summarize few of the concerns which can be brought under the umbrella of counseling and care. Besides a very few cases of Hermaphroditism most of the causes of homosexuality are connected with the psychological factors. Homosexuality is usually the out come of deficit in parent children relationship, media images, self-rejection, poor self-esteem, envy, fear, failure and frustration on Heterosexual relationship, learned behavior and sexual abuse. If we view at the factors, the root causes of homosexuality, we would come to a realization that a sound counseling is essential in order to help the persons who are struggling with homosexual feelings and desire. Both the Christian who are still struggling with their homosexual behaviors and who have recently been able to refute their homosexual lives require a certain social and psychological adjustment. A thoughtful counseling provides a proper environment for the struggling and recovered homosexuals to retain and adapt a social and psychological adjustment as they tend to live a straight life style. Counseling and friendship from a good, spiritual, heterosexual same sex friend in most cases has been found helpful for homosexual to retain a straight way of live. But the problem with we Christians lies in the fact that we try to refrain ourselves from all socially disillusions. On the other hand, we do forget that


to be a godly person doesn’t simply mean to cling on a dogmatic thought without an element called forgiveness. Counseling a homosexual (Ex/ Present) is not a mere duty of a Christian professional counselor alone. A rightful attitude towards Gospel and people would provide a proper sight to the Christian to deal with homosexuals. Couple a number of counselors and psychoanalysts believe that homosexual orientation can be changed if the root cause are addressed and treated. Psychologist Irving Bieber mentions, “The therapeutic results of our study provided reason for an optimistic outlook. Many homosexuals became exclusively heterosexual in psychoanalytic treatment………….a heterosexual shift is a possibility for all homosexuals who are strongly motivated to change.”36 Richard Meirer in his book, “Sex in the Christian Marriage” presents an exclusive real life story of a Pastor whose homosexual orientation was changed as his root problems were analyzed and treated. There are many successful stories of homosexual oriented persons being healed and converted to heterosexuals after getting a proper counseling, psycho-therapy and care. However, we must not misunderstood ex-homosexuals if they choose to remain single as a celibate. The recovery may not always mean to end up to a heterosexual marriage. The convert Homosexuals may still have a bit of inclinations and temptations to it which I will consider that it wouldn’t be a sin if the person doesn’t give himself/herself to his/her temptation. It will be good to understand this in the light that temptation is real for all heterosexuals too; temptation itself doesn’t make a heterosexual person adulterer but to fantasize and to give up to temptation is the all that matters. Changing a sexual orientation of homosexual is not an easy task but in the mean time it is not an impossible task too. Counseling motivates and helps a person to be changed while care and love from the community of faith helps the ex-homosexual to sustain with the straight way


Stanley J. Grenz, Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998, p.25.


of life. The counseling the homosexuals is a difficult and cautious task and it is more complicated in case of hermaphrodites and transsexual. Though complicated, counseling is equally important for hermaphrodites (sex may be unclear due to ambiguous genitalia as a result of medication conditions) and transsexuals. The Christian hermaphrodites and transsexuals do have a great struggle regarding their sexuality. If a person had changed his/her sex (Through surgery and hormone intervention) before becoming a Christian, are they suppose undergo surgery and hormone intervention to reverse the action if they become Christian later in their life or are they suppose to live ever after as transsexual ? These are the few complicated cases where we won’t be able to find a rigid, solid and dogmatic ethical answer. Nevertheless, counseling helps to decide the Hermaphrodites and transsexual a better way of choice for their life. It would be wrong for a Christian to think that it is hard or almost impossible for homosexuals to change their orientation therefore the Church must avoid and close the door for homosexuals; and it would be wrong for a Christian to think that it is hard or almost impossible for homosexuals to change their orientation therefore they must continue being homosexuals even after receiving Christ in their life. I won’t proclaim that counseling and care are always 100 % successful in changing the orientation of homosexuals but proper Christian counseling and care are of great help in this regard. 7.0 Conclusion: As we look on the present day scenario, it seems as if the church is under attack by the rampant debate on the topics of homosexuality. Many churches have reconstructed their views regarding homosexuality. However, the good part of this debate is at least the churches have come out from its sleep and negligence and have started to take the issue homosexuality in a serious and deeper concern. The contemporary debates on homosexuality have offered the church an opportunity to think through the Christian sexual ethic clearly and carefully. Running


away from a problem and categorizing homosexuality as a forbidden topic for discussion neither helps a church nor brings transformation in the life of homosexuals. If the churches are to exist as a part of society it must act as an agent of Salvation and address the uncompromising demand of social issue like homosexuality in love. To be Prophets means to participate, involve and make identification. To neglect to do so and to choose to stay within the security of a ritual and legal religion unsoiled by proximity to the dust and sweat of real life would be disloyalty to the core of the Gospel of Jesus and refusal to be his church. God created Human being as heterosexual being and homosexuality is one of the results of fall of human being but this doesn’t mean that we are not to have social tolerance against homosexuals. We are to recognize and acknowledge these aspects of our fallen state and to seek to bring our smudge lives to the will and purpose of God. Our Christian calling is to acknowledge every person as a recipient of God’s compassion, concern, and love37and this calling doesn’t excludes homosexuals. While as Lord’s disciple we must be willing to leave behind old sinful practices, including unchaste sexual behaviors (Both Homosexual practices and heterosexual sins). It will be wise for both the traditionalists and liberals to reconsider and rethink on their approach of ministry (perspectives) for homosexuals by being grounded on the foundation of the Scripture and opened in the light of Gospel. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command; “Love your neighbour as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5:13, 14, 15)


Ibid , p.156.


Bibliography: Class note, Our Sexuality: Cause for celebration or source of temptation?


Grenz, Stanley. Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1998 Grenz, Stanley J. Welcoming but not affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” A Social Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church adopted August 19, 2009 Keysor, Charles W. What You Should Know about Homosexuality, Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1979 Lovelace, Richard F. Homosexuality and the Church, London: The Lamp Press, 1978 Meier, Richard Sex in the Christian Marriage, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989 Nepal, A weekly Nepali Magazine, Kathmandu: Kantipur Publication, 2009, October 15 Worthen, Anita. And Davies, Bob. Someone I Love is Guy: How family and friends can respond, Illinois, InterVarsity, 1996 Electronic Media: http://www.bds.org.np/aboutus.html, Accessed: 2009, November 30 http://www.othersheep.org, Other Sheep eNews, December 1, 2009, Accessed 2009, November 30 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8398043.stm From the email sent to prayash22@yahoo.com by sparelli2002@yahoo.com. http://www.allsouls.org/ascm/allsouls/static/sermons........ Accessed: October 19, 2008

Appendix 1:

Anglican church leader worried by US gay bishop


The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his concern at the election of the second openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church.

Rowan Williams said the move raised "very serious questions" for both the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Communion as a whole.

Rowan Williams advocates a period of "gracious restraint"

But he noted that the election of the Reverend Mary Glasspool in the diocese of Los Angeles had yet to be confirmed.

The 2003 election of the first openly gay bishop created a massive rift.

Ms Glasspool was elected on Saturday as an assistant bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles.

ANALYSIS Robert Pigott, BBC religious affairs correspondent Despite intense pressure to maintain a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops - the Episcopal Church's ruling convention voted in July to allow homosexual men or women to become bishops.

She needs a majority of national Episcopal Church heads to back her consecration.

The Episcopal Church leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has said she will consecrate any bishop whose election follows the rules.

'Important implications'

This clarification of the Church's policy
In a statement posted on his website Dr Williams said the election "raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole".

makes it all the more likely that Mary Glasspool's election will be confirmed by its bishops and a committee representing the Church's lay and clergy members.

"The process of selection however is only part complete," he said.

If it is confirmed, Canon Glasspool's election will set back attempts to preserve worldwide Anglicanism intact and makes it more probable that the American Church will be consigned to membership of the second of a twotier Communion.

"The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications."


Bishops of the US Episcopal Church voted in July to overturn a three-year ban on the appointment of gay bishops.

Anglican leaders had asked the Church to observe the moratorium.

"The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold," said Dr Williams.

Ms Glasspool, 55, has been a canon in the Diocese of Maryland for eight years, according to a statement by her on the website of the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles.

It says she has been with her partner, Becki Sander, since 1988.

Traditionalists have already expressed opposition to the latest election.

Conservatives insist the Bible unequivocally outlaws homosexuality, while liberals believe the Bible should be reinterpreted in the light of contemporary wisdom.

Conservatives were incensed by the election of the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, six years ago

The row led to the formation of a conservative breakaway Episcopal movement in the US - the Anglican Church in North America.

As head of the worldwide Anglican community, Dr Williams has been under pressure to recognise it.

The traditionalists have formed a range of new alliances, often with conservative churches in Africa.

Appendix 2:

“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust”
A Social Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church adopted August 19, 2009
Lifelong monogamous same-gender relationships Within the last decades, this church has begun to understand and experience in new ways the need of same-gender-oriented


individuals to seek relationships of lifelong companionship and commitment as well as public accountability and legal support for those commitments. At the same time, public debates and deliberations have continued regarding evolving understandings of human sexuality in medicine, social science, and corresponding public policy about same-gender relationships. We in the ELCA recognize that many of our sisters and brothers in same-gender relationships sincerely desire the support of other Christians for living faithfully in all aspects of their lives, including their sexual fidelity. In response, we have drawn deeply on our Lutheran theological heritage and Scripture. This has led, however, to differing and conscience-bound understandings about the place of such relationships within the Christian community. We have come to various conclusions concerning how to regard lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships, including whether and how to publicly recognize their lifelong commitments. While Lutherans hold various convictions regarding lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, this church is united on many critical issues.24 It opposes all forms of verbal or physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public services. It has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection. The ELCA recognizes that it has a pastoral responsibility to all children of God. This includes a pastoral responsibility to those who are same-gender in their orientation and to those who are seeking counsel about their sexual self-understanding. All are encouraged to avail themselves of the means of grace and pastoral care.

Appendix 3: Press Announcement: Society of Biblical Literature member charges religious publisher with anti-gay hate speech
Tue, November 24, 2009 5:57:30 AM From: Other Sheep <sparelli2002@yahoo.com> Add to Contacts To: prayash22@yahoo.com

PRESS RELEASE November 23, 2009

For Immediate Release Contact: Rev. Steve Parelli Other Sheep Executive Director 718-360-0884

Blatant hate speech against homosexuals in Zondervan's Africa Bible Commentary cited at Society of Biblical Literature2009 Annual Meeting

Panel respondant reports churches in South Africa "are hungry" to know what the Bible really says about homosexuality
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISANNA - November 23, 2009 The African Biblical Hermeneutics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) featured a paper today at the SBL annual meeting centered around the "Lot and Abraham Story" from the Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 2006). The respondent to the paper, Gerald O. West of Kwa-Zulu Natal University, in his remarks, made a brief reference to the Africa Bible Commentary's featured article entitled "Homosexuality," found in the Romans section of the single volume commentary, to illustrate how the "Lot and Abraham Story" of the Africa Bible Commentary is predisposed to the evangelical anti-homosexual position. During the open discussion that followed the papers, Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, said the publisher, Zondervan, was guilty of "hate speech" against homosexuals. Parelli said the Zondervan Africa Bible Commentary article quotes uncritically a so-called common-enough view held in Africa that "homosexuals are worse than beasts." The Africa Bible Commentary article further states, said Parelli, that "the Anglican Church in Africa has rejected Bishop Tutu's call for tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals." Parelli said, because the Africa Bible Commentary article links, uncritically, the two statements that "homosexuals are worse than beasts" and that "the Anglican Church rejected Tutu's call for tolerance" that the article is hate speech against homosexuals, that the evangelical Nigerian author of the article, because he is uncritical of the quotes he uses, owns the quotes as his own viewpoint. Parelli said Rick Warren of the United States, John Stott of England, and Douglas Carew of Nairobi, Kenya, have all endorsed the Africa Bible Commentary. Parelli, citing Uganda as an evangelical country, tied the evangelical view of homosexuality to the current criminal Anti-Homosexuality Bill of Uganda that calls for the death sentence and life imprisonment of homosexuals who meet certain conditions. Another attendant of the SBL session, sitting at the rear of the room, who did not identify himself when he spoke and who left early, thanked the audience for their comments on the Africa Bible Commentary and said that the "insensitivities" of the Africa Bible Commentary as noted in this meeting would be taken into consideration. Apparently, from his remarks, the gentleman is somehow associated with Zondervan. West, in his final reply to the audience as the respondent, thanked Parelli for his comments on theAfrica Bible Commentary and related his own disappointments with the volumn. In addition, West gave an account of how religious groups within South Africa are forming meetings around the study of the issue of homosexuality and the church in Africa in order to discuss seriously the Biblical texts traditionally associated with homosexuality. West said South Africans "are hungry" to really know, and not assume, what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality especially in light of the very really present situation that their South African constitution provides for the right of same-sex marriage. Robert Wafula, Drew University, and Robert Wafawanaka, Virginia Union University, each gave a paper and West responded to each paper separately. Elelwani Farisani, University of South Africa, presided. In 2008, Parelli and his same-sex spouse, Jose Ortiz, conducted Other Sheep seminars on the Bible and homosexuality in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.


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