New Church Vision - Sin and Homosexuality

An Open Letter to Bishop Hagiya

New Church Vision – United Methodist Church

What Kind of Compassion?

We as United Methodists are concerned about reality and those who are being harmed by whatever circumstance and and how we can help through Jesus Christ and how government can help or get out of the way. However, I submit to you that there is a gaping hole in our gospel. A gaping hole that has been partly addressed, but needs to be fully addressed. What is it you ask. First I must digress slightly, but not really. Our Book of Resolutions talks of HIV/AIDS and that it is an epidemic (Book of Resolutions, 2008, a) and mostly caused by sexual transmission.(Book of Resolutions, 2008, b) Now bear with me, Voice of America quoting the Center for Disease control states that a group of people that are 2-4% of the US population is causing half of all new cases of HIV. (VOA, 2011) Also, this group is 44 TIMES more likely to catch HIV that leads to AIDS which leads to death. (CDC, 2011) That group is men having sex with men. Attempts have been made for safe sex, but to no avail for the most part. (Book of Resolutions, 2008, c) Women do not get off scott free either because a common malady can “increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the HIV virus.” (CDC, 2010) Monogamous homosexual relations are also found to be a myth by a study of 11,000 homosexual males. (Whitehead, 2011, a)

You may say they were born that way and “A constant stream of media articles–several per year–assures us that there is a link between homosexuality and biological features [hypothalmus,etc]…twin studies refute it” (Whitehead, 2010). Twin studies are the most reliable studies. “In fact, twin studies remain one of the best ways of identifying genetic markers linked to complex behavioral traits, according to researchers such as John DeFries, PhD, founder of the journal Behavioral Genetics and former director of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.” (Benson, 2004) The analysis of all twin studies shows only a weak relation between genes and homosexuality. (Whitehead 2011, b)- Not something to hang your hat on.

You may say there is love. However, love does not justify every last thing. Love does not justify fornication, nor does it justify adultry. There is harm done by not speaking the truth in love. We must be a healing, transforming church that the book “Unwanted Harvest?” (Riley & Sargent, 1995) and the Karen Booth’s web site “Transforming Congregations” talk about. (Booth, 2012) This is the partial gaping hole in our gospel of which I speak. You may say I am anti-gay or homophobic – nothing could be further from the truth. I am not afraid of homosexuals, I am afraid for them. Also heterosexual marriages where anal sex is used are in danger. “There are also serious medical risks associated with anal sex, including the danger of bacterial and viral infections of the vagina, penis, rectum and anus. That’s not to mention that rectal tissue is more delicate and thus more vulnerable to tearing and abrasion than vaginal tissue. With these points in mind, we would strongly caution couples against this practice.” (Focus on Family, 2010)

Dr. Jeffery Satinover says “…without any intervention WHATSOEVER [emphasis added] three out of four boys who think they’re gay at age 16 aren’t by 25.(Satinover, 2003)..30% of men who, at age 20, identified themselves as gay, will be either HIV positive or dead of AIDS by age 30″ (Satinover, 1996)
For material that is current – and being updated on an ongoing basis please see (Whitehead, 2012)

Jesus actually did speak of homosexuality in Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21. when He spoke of sexual immorality – pornea in the Greek – which includes homosexuality. Jesus therefore called homosexuality a sin. Some say the Wesley Quadrilateral can be used to help understand it since homosexuality is a “new thing”. It is not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination. It is not progressive, it is regressive. (Conserve, 2012) We need to allow homosexuals into our church, show them compassion, convict them of sin, and help them to get rid of their addictions. This is the compassion that sees the person of sacred worth and wants to help them out of their distress.

Paul in 1Cor 6:9-13 spoke of how homosexuals had come out of homosexuality and were part of the church. Paul had come very close to being stoned to death himself (Acts 14:19 and 2 Corinthians 11:23*) to go to them to provide the opportunity to allow the homosexuals to come out of homosexuality. Again, Paul almost died on the road more than once to come to the Corinthians to encourage those who had been in sins which included homosexuality. We have many who have come out of that lifestyle in present times. “Stephen Bennett, an ex-gay himself now for 15 years, happily married for 14 years to his wife Irene and the father of their two children” (Bennett, 2012), “Joe and his wife Renee reside in Orange County, California, with their two sons.” (Dallas, 2012), Ellen DeGeneris’ former homosexual partner (Wikipedia, 2012), And many more:
“They are not talking theory but real lives of real people.
Out of Egypt by Jeanette Howard Escape from Lesbianism
Charlene E. Cothran is an Ex-gay activist Venus Magazine
Anthony Fatzarano Ex-Gay PFM Ministries book And Such Were Some of You.
Michael Glatze- ex-gay
Alan Chambers book is Leaving Homosexuality
GREG QUINLAN
Jackie Clune on Leaving Lesbianism
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Ph.D.
Danny Wallace you tube
Melissa Fryrear
Vicki Duffy
Janet Boynes Lesbian Lifestyle Left Behind
Why did it take so long?
First they had to live it.
Then they had to leave it.
Now they come to tell their story.” (d, 2012) Are we not to have compassion and praise for them?

Moreover, we must also have compassion for those who are the straight spouses of homosexuals. These are even more forgotten. (Support, 2012), (People, 2012)

This is an important issue. It does appear to be clear. God created Adam and Eve and created marriage – Genesis 2:24 -between one man and one woman and called it good. Even though we have the other examples in the Bible, Jesus reaffirmed that marriage was to be between one man and one woman in Matthew 19, just as God had demonstrated in the beginning.

Marriage outside of ethnicity was in Old Testament times to be marrying someone outside of your faith. The notable exception being Ruth who said “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16b NASB. She was part of the lineage of Christ. Paul said “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 – meaning a believer has no business marrying an unbeliever. For the two to become one, they must be evenly yoked. This is the New Testament expression of the same intent. This is above and beyond that marriage is to be a man with a woman.

As far as how homosexual “marriage” affects children and marriage in general, there are also many (77) non-religious reasons that marriage should not be redefined. (Ruth Institute, 2012)

There needs to be a healing church. One that points out sin – including homosexuality – speaking the truth in love – and showing compassion, then helping those with addictions to come out of those addictions through Christ’s power.

This is the new vision that must help form the United Methodist Church. Not a compassion that says let them be when doing so causes disease and early death and sin. Jesus gives life and gives it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Is the United Methodist Church up to the challenge? Through God’s help – yes. It does take relearning for all. This new compassion must be toward the true situation – not what activists would have us believe. And “judge not” from Matthew 7 is tempered with how to rightly judge those within the church as in Matthew 18. A compassion that seeks to free people of sacred worth from addictions that debilitate and kill. Praise be to God that that compassion is available from a healing transforming church.

respectfully,

Wesley M. Steinbrink, member Silverdale United Methodist Church [at the time of the letter]

References:

*”But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead” Acts 14:19 NASB and “Are they servants of Christ?– I speak as if insane– I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.” 2 Corinthians 11:23 NASB

Bennett, (2012) “Sorry Exodus, Homosexuals Can COMPLETELY Change”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/944023451.html

Benson, E. S. (2004 April), “Behavioral genetics: meet molecular biology”, Retrieved May 12, 2012 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr04/second.aspx

(Book of Resolutions, 2008, a) {{Para 3243. The Church and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic} In response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, The United Methodist Church will work cooperatively with colleague churches in every region. The Bible is replete with calls to nations, religious leaders, and faithful people to address the needs of those who are suffering, ill, and in distress. Jesus Christ reached out and healed those who came to him, including people who were despised and rejected because of their illnesses and afflictions. His identification with suffering people was made clear when he said that “whatsoever you do to the least of these, you also do to me” (Matthew 25:40, paraphrased). His commandment to “do to others as you would have them doe to you” (Matthew 7:12) is a basis for the church for full involvement and compassionate response.

(Book of Resolutions, 2008, b) -The Global Impact of HIV/AIDS-
The global statistics are grim. At the end of 2006, 39.5 million adults and children were living with HIV/AIDS in the world; of these 37.2 million were adults and 2.3 million were children.
At this time, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. It is mainly spread through intimate sexual contact with an infected person, by needle-sharing among injecting drug users, and less commonly, through transfusions of infected blood or blood clotting factors….
Of the 40 million persons living with HIV, two or three million are injecting drug users. **Pages 391-394}
**Page 391}

(Book of Resolutions, 2008, c) {{Para 3243. The Church and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic}…
A research study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse revealed that of the 15- to 24-year-olds surveyed:
x 50 percent say “people their age” mix alcohol or drugs and sex “a lot”;
x percent believe that their peers often don’t use condoms when alcohol and drugs are in the picture;
x percent want more information about how alcohol or drugs might affect their decisions about having sex. **Page 394}

Booth, K. (2012), Welcome…to the Transforming Congregations website”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.transcong.org/

CDC Fact Sheet (2010, September), “Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm

CDC Fact Sheet (2011, September), HIV and AIDS among Gay and Bisexual Men, Retrieved January 23, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/FastFacts-MSM-FINAL508COMP.pdf

Conserve, (2012, August 10) “Homosexuality” Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.conservapedia.com/Homosexuality

d (2012) “Actually the conference was not fair and balanced”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.gc2012conversations.com/2012/05/03/it-was-honest-about-our-disagreement/

Dallas, (2012) “BIOGRAPHY – About Genesis Counselling” Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.joedallas.com/about-joe-dallas.cfm

Focus on Family, (2010, September 12), “What is Focus on the Family’s perspective on the issues of oral and anal sex?”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://family.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25923

People, (2012), “People Can Change, A Wife’s Healing Journey – a healing weekend”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.peoplecanchange.com/wives/

Riley, M. & Sargent, B. (1995) “Unwanted Harvest?: Eventually, Every Christian Will Encounter Someone Who Is Struggling With Homosexuality. Your Response Is Critical to Encouraging”, Broadman & Holman Publishers; Nashville, Tennessee.

Ruth Institute (2012) “77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.ruthinstitute.org/77Reasons/index.html

Satinover, J., (1996) Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth

Satinover, J., (2003 April 28), Dr. Jeffrey Satinover Testifies Before Massachusetts Senate Committee Studying Gay Marriage – Parenting and Family, Retrieved February 5, 2012 from http://www.narth.com/docs/senatecommittee.html

Support, (2012) “Supportive Straight Spouses”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://straightspouses.org/

VOA, (2011, June), “CDC: Too Many Americans Underestimate HIV Risk”, Retrieved May 24, 2012 from http://www.voanews.com/content/cdc-too-many-americans-underestimate-hiv-risk-123034913/171494.html

Whitehead, (2011, August), “Gays with a “main partner” have concurrent casual sexual relationships”, Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/MainPartners.htm

Whitehead, N.E., (2010) “The Importance of Twin Studies”, Retrieved May 12, 2012 from http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead2.html

Whitehead, N. E. & Whitehead, B., (2012) “Homosexuality and the scientific evidence”, Retrieved May 12, 2012 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/

Whitehead, N.E., (2011) “Neither Genes nor Choice: Same-Sex Attraction Is Mostly a Unique Reaction to Environmental Factors”, Retrieved October 7, 2012 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/whitehead_twinjhs.pdf

Wikipedia, (2012) “Ann Heche” Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Heche

Other Pertinent Quotations from the Book of Resolutions, 2008):

[15] {{161 II. THE NURTURING COMMUNITY} We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in God’s image.

The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.
We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.
 We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.
We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends.
We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
**Page 97}

{{HUMAN SEXUALITY 2041.
 Church to Be in Ministry to Persons of All Sexual Orientations} We also believe that homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth and that all persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self.
An individual confronting his or her own minority sexual orientation and/or that of a close family member, friend, or associate often experiences isolation, confusion, and fear when he or she needs information, guidance, and support;…
and we recognize that teens dealing with questions about sexual orientation are at a greater risk for suicide..
The teachings and actions of Jesus demonstrated radical inclusion of those rejected by mainstream society, we are called to renew our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the common life and work…
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Methodist Church dedicate itself to a ministry of Christ-like hospitality and compassion to persons of all sexual orientations, and to a vision of unity through openness to the spiritual gifts of all those who have been baptized into the Body of Jesus Christ.
Such ministry and openness may include: welcoming sexual minorities, their friends, and families into our churches and demonstrating our faith in a loving God;
willingness to listen and open our hearts to their stories and struggles in our churches, districts, annual conferences, and General conference;
encouraging study and dialogue around issues of sexuality;
and praying for all those who are in pain and discord over our Christian response to this controversial issue. **Page 130}

{{2042 Report of the Task Force on Homosexuality and the Unity of the Church}
Whereas , the United Methodist Church has struggled for many years over the issue of homosexuality, and
Whereas, the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (GCCUIC) remains committed to pursuing unity within the church as a gift and calling of God, and…
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church receives the report of the Task Force…
Be if further resolved, that the 2004 General Conference encourages further dialogue throughout The United Methodist Church designed with worship at the center to lead to greater understanding, love, and care for each other, and with the hope that our struggles with these concerns will take a more civil character to the benefit of us all. **Pages 131-132}

{{2043 Opposition to Homophobia and Heterosexism}
Whereas homophobia is the discrimination of people to be perceived to be nonheterosexual, regardless of the victim’s actual sexual orientation or sexual identity; and
Whereas, heterosexism is a self-justifying system of homophobia…
Therefore, be it resolved, that the United Methodist Church strengthen its advocacy of the eradication of sexism by opposing all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual practice, or sexual orientation; and
 Be it further resolved, the the General Board of Church and Society provide resources and materials aimed at educating members of the local churches about the reality, issues, and effects of homophobia and heterosexism and the need for Christian witness against these facets of marginalization. **Pages 132-133}
{{2103. Affirmation for the Historic Doctrines of the Christian Faith}
Whereas, The United Methodist Church has long been guided by the teachings of the Scripture, the United Methodist Articles of Religion, the historical creeds of the Church, and the theological heritage of the Wesleyan tradition; and…
Whereas, the clergy covenant agreed to by all clergy entering the denomination includes the following question: “In covenant with other elders, will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline, defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word, and accepting the authority of those who are appointed to supervise your ministry? (The United Methodist Book of Worship, p. 676, c.f.p. 666, also c.f. Book of Discipline, Para. 304.1.i.); and
Whereas, we affirm that abiding by our rules and upholding the doctrines of Christianity, is critical to the peace and unity both within The United Methodist Church globally;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2004 General Conference affirms its commitment to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the Scripture, and in the United Methodist Articles of Religion, and in the sermons of John Wesley. **Pages 157-158}

{{Para 162. III. THE SOCIAL COMMUNITY}
…U) Persons Living with HIV and AIDS – Persons diagnosed as positive for Human Immune Virus (HIV) and with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) often face rejection from their families and friends and various communities in which they work and interact.
**Pages 177-178}
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One thought on “An Open Letter to Bishop Hagiya”

Wesley Steinbrink on October 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm said:

Furthermore, in addition to the 77 non-religious reasons of the Ruth Institute, the Harvard Journal Article is online – please download and read the 43 pages. It doesn’t take too long and is very scholarly and well thought out. It covers Equality, Justice and the Heart of the Debate, — If Not Same-Sex Couples, Why Infertile Ones, — Challenges for Revisionists — and Isn’t It Only Natural — among all other related topics. It never uses religion to make any of its points.

On page 13 it also references another prominent paper delineating research results: “Ten Principles on Marriage and the Public Good, signed by some seventy scholars, which corroborates the philosophical case for marriage with extensive evidence from the social sciences about the welfare of children and adults. The Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles 9-19 (2008), available at http://www.winst.org/family_marriage_and_democracy/WI_Marriage.pdf”

(All from “What is Marriage?” by Sherif Girgis*, Robert P. George**, & Ryan T. Anderson***, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy Vol 34, No. 1. Winter 2011.)

* Ph.D .Candidate in Philosophy, Princeton University.

** McCormick Professor of Jusrisprudence, Princeton University.

*** Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Retrieved Oct 26, 2012 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155## [Click on “Download this Paper”]