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Anti-gays: theological disagreement about homosexuality bars you from Heaven

Timothy Kincaid

September 7th, 2012

I have long understood that the issue for those who are so infuriated about homosexuality is not really what one is doing with one’s body parts. Their primary contention is not who one boinks, but whether one feels guilty about it. If you come on bended knee to repent of last night’s orgy with four men and a pit bull, God is gracious and loving and quick to forgive. And though he may admonish you, the anti-gay will forgive you too (and pat himself on the back for doing so).

But if you say that you believe that God honors and respects your loving relationship with your legally married spouse to whom you have been faithful for decades, well then you are “shaking your fist at God”.

But now they’ve taken it a step further.

Now it seems that one need not ever have had sex at all with anyone, anywhere, in order to be the enemy of Christ. Simply believing that God could honor a same-sex relationship is indication of perversion and a reprobate mind. And proving that point is an exchange between Janet Mefferd, a conservative Christian radio host, and Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International.

Mefferd had called for Chambers’ resignation after he said that one could be gay and be Christian. Chambers had met with the Gay Christian Network and had some of his assumptions challenged. Consequently, although Alan believes homosexuality to be sinful, he was leaving it up to the Holy Spirit, not the holier than thou, to convict of sin and inspire one to live a more holy life.

But Alan’s “leave that between you and God” attitude wasn’t flying with Mefferd. (Christian Post)

Mefferd: If you believe that you have to turn from your sin and turn to Christ … how can you simultaneously hold that somebody who is an unrepentant homosexual can go to heaven?

Chambers: I don’t think you know Justin Lee (founder of the Gay Christian Network). Justin is someone who identifies as gay.

Mefferd: But has he repented of his homosexuality?

Chambers: He is not involved in homosexual relationships. He is a celibate man.

Mefferd: But has he repented of his homosexuality?

Chambers: It depends on what you mean by repenting of homosexuality. He’s not involved in homosexuality.

Mefferd: OK. But he is not repentant about homosexuality being a sin? In other words, by your definition of repentance, he has not agreed with God on what God says about homosexuality.

Chambers: Right … What I think the crux of the issue is … I can’t tell someone that they do know Christ or that they don’t know Christ. What I believe about Justin, having had numerous conversations with him is that he knows Jesus, is that he has a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t know what people do with Scripture on issues related to homosexuality or anything else where so clearly they are living differently than Scripture teaches. I can’t say to Justin, you don’t know Jesus.

Mefferd: Why not?

Chambers: Because I don’t know that he doesn’t know Jesus.

Mefferd: You could talk to him; you could probe what he believes. The fact that he is living … a celibate life is immaterial because if he says homosexuality is not sinful and something to be repented of and instead something to be celebrated so much so that he found something called the Gay Christian Network, that would indicate that he does not agree with God about homosexuality being sinful.

In other words, if Justin Lee disagrees with Mefferd’s take on scripture, then he doesn’t know Jesus. But therein lies a problem (other than the obvious one that Janet Mefferd isn’t God).

A good many Christians disagree with Mefferd. Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and even some Baptists, Mormons and Catholics. A good many Christians have taken a look at Scripture and searched the oldest texts and considered culture and context and came up with a different conclusion.

Some support committed relationships, and some may only believe in celibacy, but they all find that homosexuality itself – the condition of being same-sex attracted and acknowledging that fact – is not sinful. Some of these people otherwise agree entirely with Mefferd’s theology and are as orthodox in belief as she could ask for. Which raises an interesting question.

When others Christians disagree with Mefferd over the meaning of Scriptural passages that may relate to homosexuality, is that clear indication that they too do not know Jesus?

Or is that an observation that is reserved for those who are gay?

Comments

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David Roberts
September 7th, 2012 | LINK

She flatly said that temptation was sin, which I had never heard anyone — even in that nutty crowd — say before.

It is only fair to mention that Alan has said very much the same thing not so long ago (2009).  And I know that around the same time he also said that simply being celibate and gay was just as sinful as being sexually active.  I can’t remember right now if it was in his last book as well or if it was in a blog post.  I’m sure we have it in our archives somewhere.

If he has changed his mind on this then it is up to him to say so — and I would suggest he do that. Mefferd is one of those people that can make the Gospel sound like the bad news — a harsh inquisitor.

Dante
September 7th, 2012 | LINK

Mefferd is effectively asserting that her Christianity is a sex religion, wherein salvation is contingent on being heterosexual.

This strongly parallels the worship of Cybele/Attis or the Great Mother, though more extreme. In that faith, Cybele, the Great Mother, rewarded her followers for their sexual acts with blessings of fertility on their crops, livestock and families.

For this, Paul used them as a scathing example in the begining of his letter to the church at Rome.

Meffert has embraced the very thing Paul rebukes in Romans 1.

TwirlyGirly
September 7th, 2012 | LINK

I am a Christian, and I am neither gay nor have I ever had an abortion.

I have belonged to a Yahoo “debate” group (and I’m intentionally using the term “debate” loosely) for many years, and have been told NUMEROUS times by other members of the group that I am NOT a “true” Christian because I support marriage equality and freedom of choice. As a matter of fact, I have also been told unequivocally by the group’s owner (who fancies himself a “good” Christian) that I am most assuredly going to Hell because of my beliefs, and furthermore, he can’t wait to see it happen!

So, it’s NOT just those who are gay who are told they can’t POSSIBLY know Jesus if they are pro-marriage equality and pro-choice.

David Waite
September 7th, 2012 | LINK

Speaking out of my personal experience growing up as a Dominionist missionary couple’s abominable spawn, I can assure you that all who think other than as does Mefferd the Utterly Holy know not her precious Jesus. Furthermore, of the eight denominations you named, only the Baptists could come close to knowing her Jesus, and if those Baptists are preaching that God is love they too know not her Jesus.

Mefferd’s Jesus is concerned with sin. Only sin. No one can find Mefferd’s Jesus in any of the many iterations of the New Testament. Mefferd’s Jesus exists only in her demon-haunted and disordered brain. Mefferd, by her definition of valid Christianity, is the only living Christian, the only Christian ever.

Don’t take it personally. It isn’t our unrepentant gayness that pre-condemns us to unsavability and inevitable hell, it is our non-Mefferdness. Holy, Holy Mefferd.

You poor, hell-bound creature. You can’t see the glow of righteousness radiating from her image on this page. You can’t see her halo. Don’t lie and pretend you can see her halo either; if you could see her righteousness your wicked Questioning would cease.

Emcee, cubed
September 7th, 2012 | LINK

It isn’t just the gay thing, but does tend to revolve around the “Big 4″. You can disagree about almost anything, as long you have the right position on homosexuality, abortion, evolution, and enviromentalism. As long as you are against all these things, you are a member of the Tribe. But deviate in any way, even in the slightest, on any of these four things, and you will be shunned and demonized until (or unless) you humble yourself and beg and grovel and make atonement by publicly and loudly proclaiming you opposition to all four of these things.

SharonB
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

You know, what we really need to do is have an Inquisition.

And witch trials.

We need to burn the heretics with fire, to purify them in this life that they may be saved in the life to come.

Yup, not enough suffering in this world. You will know that they are Kristians by their autos da fe.

WWJB?

Ben in Oakland
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

I may not be remembering this exactly correctly, but I think it,a in Matthew.

“woe unto you who would bar the gates of heaven. Sinners and prostitutes shall enter before you.”

Steve
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

This goes back to Jesus saying that lust is the same as committing adultery. Punishing thought crimes is a huge thing in fundamentalist Christianity, so this is hardly new or surprising.

Punishing sexual thoughts is a great way for churches to dominate people. It’s something they have no control over, so the church knows with certainty that everyone will sin. Then they condemn that, which of course erodes people’s self-confidence and instills in immense amount of shame and guilt. That then makes them easier to manipulate and control.

Michael C
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

This interview began as I was pulling up to The Eagle for karaoke. I ended up sitting in my car in front of the bar for over twenty minutes listening to this garbage. I listen to conservative Christian radio often, but it is rare that I am truly horrified by what is being said. While I’m not usually team Chambers, I found myself wholeheartedly in his corner during their discussion. By the time I walked into the bar I was fuming. Thank you beer and Brandi Carlile, you saved my night.

The next morning I emailed Ms. Mefferd. I’ve no doubt my words will mean anything to her but, for my own sanity, I had to do it.

iDavid
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

Fear bars one from heaven/love. let’s Know God, get closer to God through hating our sexuality..let’s know Heaven/love through hell/ hate….it doesn’t get any more psychotic than that. Sounds like the minions of hell just want company since their fear has barred then from heaven. Glad you didn’t buy it.

William
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

Well, I listened to Mefferd’s interview with Chambers, which can be found here:

http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2012/09/05/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20120905-hr-2/

Frankly, she strikes me as an obsessive screwball who squirms with rage and hatred at the idea of gays being happy.

TampaZeke
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

I’m sorry but this shit makes my head hurt. It’s like listening to two people self-righteously arguing over whether Unicorns or Centars are more powerful and sacred. One argues that Unicorns are more powerful and sacred; the other argues that Centaurs HAVE to be more powerful and sacred because Unicorns don’t really exist.

Ugh!

TampaZeke
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

One argues that a gay person can’t be happy and go to heaven because they haven’t renounced and repented of homosexuality; the other claims that he can be happy and can go to heaven BECAUSE he’s celibate.

William
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

Listen also to this broadcast of the following day, in which Mefferd accuses Chambers not just of misinterpreting what she said, but of LYING about her.

http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2012/09/06/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20120906-hr-2/

When proponents of the “ex-gay” philosophy start getting at each other’s throats in this way, I reckon that the movement’s days are numbered. Let it soon pass into the dustbin of history.

Ben In Oakland
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

Zeke…

my leprechauns can clean the clocks of your centaurs and your unicorns.

Eric in Oakland
September 8th, 2012 | LINK

I would have thought these people would take the Ten Commandments a little more seriously. I mean, supposedly they are the most important moral statements ever made — so important God wrote them in stone. Yet they condemn gays and lesbians simply for being honest about their attractions instead of falsely pretending to be straight. Bearing false witness is one of the big ten, but I don’t see same sex attraction there. Even if they believe that acting on those desires is wrong, I don’t understand the condemnation of celibate homosexuals. In effect they are demanding that gays and lesbians violate one of the ten commandments in order to satisfy the delicate sensibilities of the self righteous.

Dave H
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Janet, you ignorant slut!

Whether or not someone “knows Jesus” is between that person and Jesus. Janet Mefferd has no say in the matter. For her to think she has the authority to decide someone else’s faith or salvation is the ultimate heresy.

I have no more time for this ignorant bigot.

ZRAinSWVA
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Mefferd wrote, “The fact that he is living … a celibate life is immaterial because if he says homosexuality is not sinful and something to be repented of…”.

What does that really mean? So, okay, you’re homosexual and you’ve repented for same…but you’re still going to be homosexual. So what does the repentance gain you? Does one have to walk through life continuously repenting for being homosexual? At what point does the repentance actually accomplish anything? I mean, if you commit adultery and then repent and never commit adultery again, sure, you can move on with your live. But if the ‘sin’ involves something innate…

And speaking of the Ten Commandments graven in stone (as well as similar gold plaques), where are they? We find and restore papyrus scrolls that are thousands of years old, but these very important documents cast in very durable materials just somehow disappear and are never seen again? What’s up with that?

Priya Lynn
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

ZRAinSWVA, excellent point about the missing stone tablets. That never occurred to me before.

William
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

@ ZRAinSWVA

“Does one have to walk through life continuously repenting for being homosexual?”

Yes, I think that is what Mefferd does mean, or if not precisely that, then at least that one must walk through life regarding one’s homosexuality as a moral handicap which needs to be continually fought against and somehow surmounted or bypassed. Teaching people to treat themselves in this way is, of course, spiritual abuse par excellence.

Since the historicity both of Moses and of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the desert are both historically problematic, there is little reason to take seriously the stone tablets which Moses brought down with him from Mount Sinai. I would guess that they are as mythical as Joseph Smith’s golden plates with the Book of Mormon engraved on them.

Robert
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

ZRAinSWVA and Priya Lynn

The Ten Commandments were placed in the Arc of The Covenant and were hidden away in the Temple in Heaven. It’s noted in revelations that the Temple of God in Heaven was opened and the Arc of the Covenant was revealed to be there. It also contained a pot of Manna, Aaron’s rod, that had budded (started to grow)-I’ll loeave that to others to make the puns about-and the broken tablets of the Covenant ie the Ten Commandments.

They are, Biblicly speaking, no longer of the earth and reside in Heaven.

That is their story and they are sticking with it.

Rebecca Ashling
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Or the Ark of the Covenant currently resides in Aksum, Ethiopia.

Robert
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Rebecca,

I didn’t mention Akum because the only one supposedly to see it in person is the Holy Monk. I know it’s rumored to be there, but as far as I have found, there are no actual reports of anyone else seeing it. There was a reported story about it possibly being moved due to a leak in the Chapel it was in, in 2011…It’s also rumored to be in other locations too, much like other biblical antiquities.

Rebecca Ashling
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Personally, I prefer to believe that the Ark lies in the Black Vault of Warehouse 13, sharing space with such deadly artifacts as Sylvia Plath’s typewriter.

Robert
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Rebecca,

Now THAT’S funny!!

Timothy Kincaid
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Seriously? We have that many ignorant people?

The Ark is stored in a government warehouse, exactly where it has been since Indiana Jones rescued it from the Nazis! Geeez!

Jess
September 9th, 2012 | LINK

Rebecca, they should totally make an episode about the ark, I wonder what it’s power would be?

mark
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

A truly spiritual person would never say such things.

Better to be in the oneness that is your nature.

That’s the infinite bliss that is already eternal.

If you are not there now it’s not far away.

This is spirituality 101 and yes many are ignorant.

If this woman is ignorant I would not allow her erroneous concepts anywhere near my inner courtyard.

Michael C
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Robert, there are “no actual reports of anyone else seeing it” because those who have seen it no longer have faces. They were melted off.

TampaZeke
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Ben, DAMN you and your lucky charms! I demand a rematch!

TampaZeke
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Unitaurprechanpocolyps 2012!

Jarred
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Janet, you ignorant slut!

Um, no. Please don’t attack women — even women whose views that you, I, and everyone else here might find downright morally repugnant — by calling them “sluts.” Thank you.

Timothy Kincaid
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Jared, that’s actually a cultural reference, it was a regular bit on Saturday Night Live in the late 70′s.

And God do I feel old.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs

Andrew R
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

The thing that really makes me angry isn’t the whole mess about whether or not they think that one can be gay and saved. It’s the fact that this conversation occurred because they started discussing Justin…WITHOUT HIM THERE. They weren’t commenting on a public address he made, they weren’t critiquing a blog post he wrote, they were purely and simply talking about him behind his back, without him there to defend himself.

That, to me, is the most despicable part of this whole mess, and something that they are both in the wrong about.

Donny D.
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

William wrote,

Since the historicity both of Moses and of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the desert are both historically problematic, there is little reason to take seriously the stone tablets which Moses brought down with him from Mount Sinai. I would guess that they are as mythical as Joseph Smith’s golden plates with the Book of Mormon engraved on them.

My impression is that before the Romans, no ancient “Western civilization” thought recording literal truth for historical purposes was in and of itself a good thing.

Arynne
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

*unlurks*

The Greeks, you mean–history as a discipline really started with Thucydides.

*relurks*

Donny D.
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote,

Jared, that’s actually a cultural reference, it was a regular bit on Saturday Night Live in the late 70′s.

And God do I feel old.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs

And that’s my problem with Saturday Night Live, at least earlier SNL: their tendency to attack members of marginalized groups as such. I’m about as old at Timothy, and remember all too well.

So no, something unpleasant doesn’t suddenly become cute because it came from Saturday Night Live.

(Btw, this post is not directed at Timothy in particular. This is directed generally to the readers of this comments section.)

Donny D.
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

William wrote,

@ ZRAinSWVA

“Does one have to walk through life continuously repenting for being homosexual?”

Yes, I think that is what Mefferd does mean, or if not precisely that, then at least that one must walk through life regarding one’s homosexuality as a moral handicap which needs to be continually fought against and somehow surmounted or bypassed. Teaching people to treat themselves in this way is, of course, spiritual abuse par excellence.

I don’t see anything in the transcribed excerpt to suggest Mefferd means anything other than what people like her typically think about bisexual, lesbian and gay people who call themselves Christian. People like Mefferd only accept LGB people as Christian if we wallow continuously in guilt about our homosexuality. Tney want LGB people seriously lacking in self-esteem due to our realization of the sinfulness of our homosexuality. They want us to have been “taken down a few pegs” by the Lord.

They want us to feel “less than” good decent normal folks like Janet Mefferd.

Unhumble LGB people are not alright with people like Mefferd. The unspoken social contract they seem to offer is that they won’t be openly hostile toward LGB people if we are properly humble(d), repentant believers in a form of Christianity that they accept as genuine — unless they are in a pissy mood, in which case we have to accept their nasty little digs with grace and equanimity.

They mostly don’t wonder why so few of us want to follow their Christianity. Whether or not they’ll ever admit it, they understand that their Christianity is against homosexual people, not just our sexuality. And they don’t see their Christianity as at all separate from their social hostility toward us.

Donny D.
September 10th, 2012 | LINK

Arynne wrote,

*unlurks*

The Greeks, you mean–history as a discipline really started with Thucydides.

*relurks*

If that’s the case, then that’s what I do mean, as far as “the West” is concerned. Thank you, Arynne.

(I include the qualification because, as with just about everything else, the Chinese probably got there two or three thousand years before “Western civilization” did.)

Ben in Oakland
September 11th, 2012 | LINK

Someone once asked Gandhi what he thought of western civilization.

He said he thought it would be a good idea.

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