Why Ridgedale church of Christ Is Getting Slammed

NOTE: SOME TIME AFTER THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN, THE RIDGEDALE CHURCH OF CHRIST FACEBOOK PAGE WAS HACKED.  THE CONTENT THERE NOW CONSTITUTES AN 180-DEGREE TURN FROM WHAT THAT GOOD CONGREGATION BELIEVES.  DON’T BE DUPED BY THIS PERSON WHO, IN EFFECT, IS COMPOUNDING THE PERSECUTION UPON RIDGEDALE FOR SIMPLY TRYING TO FOLLOW GOD’S WORD.  –NEAL

 

Neal Pollard

In the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus wrote, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat. 5:12-13).  Persecution takes many forms, but if you want to see one form of it simply go to Ridgedale’s Facebook page and look at the dozens of examples of tolerance from broad-minded people as they help that congregation face what the world thinks of them.

An article by Kevin Hardy in today’s Times Free Press online (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/21/repent-or-leave/), which reflects some basic ignorance of what the Bible teaches about church discipline, unleashed a firestorm of hateful response by readers who are on Facebook and who in turn posted their remarks on the aforementioned page.  My prediction is that things will get worse before they get better for the good people at Ridgedale.  Understanding that we do not have all the facts of the case and would not expect a person in the world to give them to us, what we should do is focus on what is alleged.  A professed lesbian’s family that attended Ridgedale was approached by church leaders after the woman’s mother publicly supported her daughter as she sought same-sex benefits from the city of Collegedale.  As the family’s support of their daughter was public, the church felt compelled by scriptural mandate to ask the family to repent or be subject to church discipline.  The family publicly made their exit and a congregational matter is now being splashed across news outlets.  But, why is this congregation facing such an outcry and disapproval?  The answer will differ from individual to individual, but here are some broad reasons evidenced from people’s responses.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of the cultural sickness of subjectivity.   One woman writes, “I think the decision makers of this church will one day pay for their sins…” Another woman writes, “I think the Cooper’s will be far better off without a church who punish’s them for not turning their back on their child….” Another puts it, “In my world, my God accepts, doesn’t judge and loves all his children!” Still another says, “Wow! I guess we know different Gods. My God offers unconditional love and tells me not to judge others….” (misspellings and grammatical errors made by the original writers). Others’ subjectivity is more subtly expressed, but here is the common thread.  People think they get to co-opt God and make Him over in their image.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of society’s warped view of tolerance.  Certainly, so many who commented on that page are not tolerant of anyone who interprets Scripture literally.  They are not tolerant of this congregation’s autonomy. They are not tolerant of the view that homosexuality is a sin.  It is abundantly clear from the comments.  You will read such slurs as “bigot,” “hoping the church burns in hell,” “Scumbag Church,” “group of horrible people,” and more.  This is dripping with irony.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because the average person does not know the Bible.   People speak of God loving unconditionally, Jesus accepting everyone, and that one’s sexuality does not matter.  There is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord in our land (cf. Amos 8:11). Such lack of knowledge will destroy a people (Hosea 4:6).  God’s unconditional love does not mean unconditional acceptance if someone lives in rebellion to His will.  Jesus will not accept everyone.  To the majority, He will say, “Depart from Me” (see Mat. 7:13-14, 21-23).  Apparently, one’s sexuality does matter (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). But people are grossly uninformed about the only book that reveals the heart and mind of God.

Please pray for Ridgedale.  Encourage them and show them love.  The detractors are popular and validated by a world separated from God.  Let us have the courage to stand by God’s people who are willing to stand up for His will.

About Neal Pollard

preacher, Bear Valley church of Christ, Denver, Colorado
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145 Responses to Why Ridgedale church of Christ Is Getting Slammed

  1. Jess Simpson says:

    Amen brother Neal! God has called us to be “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Sadly, I have no doubt that there will soon be comments on this article of yours (as I’ve been seeing spread rampantly across facebook due to this news story), reflecting the exact same disregard for God’s word you just wrote about. People will take verses out of context and will side with the god of this world against you, rather than the holy God of heaven. You will be reviled for being a spokesperson for God on this matter, just as the members at Ridgedale already are. With Facebook the way that it is there’s a good chance that you’ll receive more negative feedback for telling God’s truth than praise for siding with God on this issue. So I just want to say thank you brother for spreading the only word that can save my soul! Keep up the good work!

    Lord, I pray that we all hold up the mirror of Your word as we lovingly spread God’s truth to this dark world and to the members of Christ’s body.

  2. kenandjean92 says:

    It’s a crying shame as Christians we aren’t allowed to speak up or out about almost anything these days but yet we are condemned and criticized for standing up for the very principles this country was founded on. We are not opposed to the people but to the sin they are involved in and only pray that they repent and come to an understanding of what the Lord what’s for their lives.

  3. Pollard, you are wrong. The actions of the church in condemning a woman who supported her daughter show the false American understanding of Christianity at its worst. I hope you live to realise how wrong you have been. God save you.

    • Clare, thank you for taking the time to read and reply. If the Bible contains axiomatic, objective truth (it certainly does), are we wrong to uphold it? It is never right to hate or exercise unrighteous judgment, but righteous judgment is approved by Jesus (John 7:24). You judged and condemned my article. To do so, you drew on some standard. It just was not the Bible. May God bless you as you seek to follow His Word.

      • Well.

        Most of the Biblical lines on gay sex are about men, and not women, but Romans 1, which mentions women, is about sex during idol worship rather than the love of a lesbian couple. These arguments are tedious- battle lines are drawn, with great detail on the internet- but the end will be that just as Evangelicals no longer use the Bible to support slavery, nor will they use it to condemn gay love.

        My standard is also a Biblical standard.

      • Clare, what you argue is something that cannot be successfully argued from the text. The epistle to Philemon and other New Testament exhortations about slavery contain principles that would make the continuation of slavery untenable. There is not the same parallel with homosexuality in Romans 1. Homosexuality is said to be contrary to nature and the condemnation is not said (in the text) in connection with religious practices. That there is tedium on the matter is certain, but that is because of a timeless tendency of humankind to remake scripture and God into our own image. I certainly did not mean to insult you or imply that you did not revere Scripture. Your interest in spiritual matters is palpable. Your sincerity is transparent and I appreciate it greatly!

      • GladNot ToBe You says:

        When was the last time your church “withdrew” from someone who violated the Sabbath? What about spreading false information about politicians they don’t like – also known as bearing false witness? There are hundreds of commandments in the Bible that good Christians routinely, blatantly and proudly ignore. Yet the only sins that you care about involve someone else’s personal (sex!) life. Go read the words of Jesus in any of the gospels.

        Then, you had better exclude men with damaged private parts and menstruating women from your services in accordance with God’s holy word, or he will get really mad.

      • Dear Glad,
        We are not under the Old Covenant. Every one of your examples (except for the one about politicians(?) ) are from the Law of Moses, which Christ nailed to the cross (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14). The sins specified in 1 Corinthians 5 are more than sexual sins, but include them.

    • Ray McCullough says:

      So Claire, why do you believe the actions of the Church were wrong? Where in the Bible does this understanding of how wrong they are come from or is this your opinion of what you feel is right? Are we as Christians supposed to support sin?

  4. Bruce Ligon says:

    Simply put, we should not expect the world to understand or appreciate what is done by the Lord’s church. These leaders of the Ridgedale understand their responsibility to the Lord. We understand the motive behind the action of the church (love for their souls), but the world (being lead by the media) chooses to view as only a hateful and vengeful action. Bemoaning how this is being played in the media is really a waste of time. A wiser use of our time and energies is to use the example of the Ridgedale church to encourage us to be more alert to our responsibilities to our brethren.

  5. Randall K. Maxwell says:

    Oh Boy that is a difficult situation! I commend the congregation there in Tennessee for attempting to deal with sin! Unfortunately you have made some grevious errors in the way you approached the problem. I am not being critical here, just trying to help and show you how to get out of the bad situation. The elders should have put on the table that the resolution could be found by it being taken to the whole church, every member as there is where the wisdom is found to resolve such issues (Matt. 18:17 note the spiritual organization of the church is Christ.. the High Priest.. then the royal priesthood, everyone else Rev. 1:5, 6). The whole church, not apostles, not elect ladies, not elders, not preachers must decide issues such as withdrawal (cf. 2 John 10). And the issue should be about “fornication” NOT homosexuality as we must be as gentle as possible! My advise as a gospel preacher (James 3:1: 13-18) is for the church there to immediately appolige to the family, for not putting “church discipline” in the hands of the church where it belongs. Beg them to forgive you, and then to allow the whole church to find a solution, if they are not willing to be quiet on the issue.

  6. Robert says:

    These days “church” discipline will not work…church. on every corner.

    • I suppose, brother. But, we still are commanded to do it. I think it’s going to get even harder for congregations to muster the courage to do it in the current environment.

    • Adam Faughn says:

      I understand your thought-process here, but I disagree. The real work is not in discipline. The real work is in building a true sense of community and family, so that if (God forbid) discipline is needed, the one withdrawn from feels a true sense of loss.

    • tmm says:

      The burden is on the elders, not the whole congregation, so I disagree with Randall. It is the responsibility and duty of the elders to make these hard decisions, and they are the ones that will be held accountable for them…and their flock.

    • Steve Vice says:

      Since God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:5-7) does not always bring a soul back to faithfulness, should God stop chastening his children? Church discipline does work when practiced according to God’s pattern. It is true that it does not always bring about the repentance of an erring brother or sister (but sometimes it does), it certainly works to keep the church pure according to 1 Cor. 5. It also imparts to the members a sense of dedication to God’s plan by the leadership, as opposed to following man’s wisdom about how to treat erring brethren. God’s wisdom is always better. Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?” When people rely upon their own reasoning to cease to follow God’s revealed way of doing things it always leads to trouble and to sin. Just ask Nadab and Abihu, or Uzzah.

  7. Drew Milligan says:

    Supporting any type of sin, whether it be homosexuality, abortion, lying, etc is NOT biblical period. Clare, God is clear about this and all sin. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Genesis 2 talks about how a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife. Homosexuality is not of God, God does not condone it, just take a look at what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Do we hate homosexuals? Absolutely not, we pray for them that they will repent of their sin and will live for God.

  8. Rusty Dawson says:

    I am glad to learn more details about this. “Support” is a vague word, and we expect families to offer some support to family members. It did seem a little over the top to discipline the ones who were not in sin. However, the extent and public nature of their support does seem to place the church family in the position of taking action.

  9. Carl Cooper says:

    Thank God for elders like these,you cannot compromise no matter what the world says!

  10. Pamela says:

    After reading your posting I went to Facebook and looked up Ridgedale’s Facebook page I was disappointed to see that it seems to of been overtaken with the unbiblical view of the truth. It doesn’t matter the subject people always have trouble separating the subject from the person. I think we as brethren need to stand up and support the truth and those who proclaim it. I will pray for the church there in that area that they remain firm and steadfast and area congregations will ralley around their stance on the gospel.

  11. mammat says:

    They deleted all previous posts and are now posting tolerance and ignorance.

  12. Tim Howard says:

    Paul concludes the thought in Romans chapter one by saying “that those who practice such things (such as homosexuality) are worthy of (spiritual) death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (verse 32)

  13. I was trying to figure out exactly where Jesus said either you should not support your children, or that receiving benefits from a city (under any conditions) is a sin. Go figure…

  14. If God is for us who can be against us? You are doing God’s will. I will pray for your congregation. God bless you all!

  15. Joe McNair says:

    When I was a child being brainwashed into the teachings of the Church of Christ I was forced to study a book entitled “Why I am a Member of the Church of Christ”. Since leaving that denomination my degree in Biblical Studies has become worthless and I lost all my friends, some of them I had known for 40 years, do you know how hard it is to make new friends when you are over 50? . Well this story reminds me of why I gave up my comfortable church life and moved on. This is just one of the many reasons why I can no longer be a member of the Church of Christ.

    • Joe, I’m not interested in being in a denomination. I want to follow God’s Word, attempt to properly understand and interpret it, and share His good news with as many people as I can. No, it’s not all warm and fuzzy, but God’s grace is what a world of people struggling with self and sin needs. Grace is not cheap, but it’s worth the self-denial it calls us to exercise. Thanks for touching base. I hope to hear from you again.

  16. Joseph says:

    The bible also says that God hates divorce, but I don’t see anyone out there getting so worked up over divorce like they are gay marriage. Go figure, just another example of Christians picking and choosing what parts of the bible they want to follow.

    • Joseph, I certainly cannot speak for others but I teach Matthew 19:1-9 as Jesus taught it. Inconsistency is definitely harmful. Picking and choosing isn’t our prerogative. Psalm 119:160 says the sum of God’s Word is truth. But, neither that doesn’t make homosexual marriage right.

      • dfrano says:

        Ah, you are avoiding the question here, Preacher Pollard. Does Ridgedale church ALSO chastise and require the family members of all divorced persons to get up in front of the church and confess their “sins”? Do they toss out all the family members of every divorced family until they recant and remarry their original spouse? If not, then THEY are picking and choosing and they have chosen to ignore something that Christ Himself condemned (He said nothing about homosexuality).

      • Donna, I cannot answer for what another, autonomous congregation does or does not do. If you read Matthew 19:1-9, you will see that there is an exception that allows one to divorce and remarry without there being sin. You would have to ask them if they accept into fellowship those in adulterous marriages. We do not.
        As to what Jesus did or did not say, it would seem you have operate from a flawed premise. The Holy Spirit inspired every one who wrote the Bible to write (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because this is true, God spoke about this through Paul in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. You seem to be one who has faith in Christ. If so, you will remember what He told His disciples in John 14:26 and John 16:13, that the Holy Spirit would guide them to write the things He (Christ) had taught them. While the gospels have no explicit words of condemnation from Christ about the matter of homosexuality, heaven’s view toward a multitude of matters (including homosexuality) is clearly revealed in Matthew-Revelation, not just Matthew-John. Thank you for your thoughts and taking the time to comment.

      • dfrano says:

        Just remember Preacher Pollard. Every time that you chose to “interpret” a biblical passage in a way that is acceptable to you, YOU too are doing exactly what you denigrate in your comments above. “People think they get to co-opt God and make Him over in their image.” Anytime any human chooses to take the Bible and hit another human over the head with it, they are doing exactly that – co-opting God and making Him over in their image i.e. throwing the first stone. In a culture where more and more young people are turning away from the church, literally running them out of the church actually seems counterproductive to me. But hey, it’s your church. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need the churches to flourish and at the moment, I would say the Holy Spirit is healthy and thriving outside the church much more than in it.

      • Donna, everyone chooses to interpret a biblical passage. The question is, “Can one interpret a passage incorrectly? Can one interpret a passage correctly?” Logic and common sense drive us to answer “yes” to both questions.
        Just because a hearer is offended or responds sensitively to a message does not necessarily mean the speaker was offensive. Scripture can certainly offend. Stephen and Paul were stoned for the message they taught, which message was that salvation is only in Christ and because we’re all sinners we need that salvation.
        Acts 20:28 tells us the church was purchased by Jesus’ blood. Ephesians 1:22-23 calls the church the body of Christ. Ephesians 5:22-33 likens the church to the bride of Christ. Perhaps we should not be quick to dismiss its value.
        The limitation of written communication is that we cannot hear tone or see body language. I assure you that I am not seeking to be sarcastic or comical. I believe you to be very committed and sincere in your faith. Your passion is commendable. I would welcome any additional comments you have on this or any other matter.

      • dfrano says:

        Oh, but Preacherpollard, you shouldn’t allow me to speak up here at all, based on Timothy 2:11 “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Timothy 2:11

        Again, by your very behavior in allowing women to speak out equally here, you are cherry-picking the verses that you feel should be applied,. I could pull out a few others, but the bigger issue to me is, when there are so many spiritual evils, when the Savior EXHORTS us to care for the poor and the needy, we seem to be wasting a great deal of effort on something that He did not concern himself with at all.

        I don’t think the Christ cared very much about the sins of the body so much as the sins of the soul. If I conceded (and I don’t) that homosexuality is a sin, I STILL feel that all this angst and anxiety and anger over it is misplaced and is a distraction from what real Christians should be concerned with – the poor, the sick, the desperate who need our aid. We sit in our little pompous churches with our offering plates full of money passing judgment on sexual sins while children die.

        John 11:35 – Jesus wept.

      • Donna, we follow what 1 Timothy 2:11 teaches in our assemblies and leadership as “household of God” matters (per 1 Timothy 3:15). I do not look at this as a matter where you are trying to have authority over me in any way. You and I are discussing a biblical matter.
        What we do not want to do is ever fall for the “either/or” fallacy. We cannot choose obedience to difficult commands or teachings (like those that include sexual sin) or helping the poor and needy. We need to do both! The early church was helping their community while submitting to God’s will for proper worship, teaching, and morality (Romans 1:26-27 stubbornly being a part of that). You may recall that while they were sometimes embraced by their community, other times they were derided and treated with hostility.
        My heart breaks for any pompous church with plates full of money who are neglecting the needy and desperate. They are neglecting God’s will by doing so! My heart also breaks for any pompous church/member who presumes to change truth that God has bound on any matter. To call “right” what God calls “wrong” is the height of pride (Isaiah 5:20). And for both, Jesus weeps.
        Donna, you seem to have a big heart. I appreciate that. I look forward to hearing from you again. May God bless you with a wonderful day.

  17. Trae says:

    Thank you Neal, this horrible division and depraved sin in our society is only growing worse, and if the Lord’s church doesn’t take a stand, it will overcome us!

  18. Eric says:

    I appreciate your comments and agree with you, as I believe the Word is Truth. I greatly appreciate your capacity to deliver the Word so boldly and effectively. I pray for your continued success and for that of the Church for which you/we stand.

  19. Neal, a fellow-preacher here…

    I have studied and discussed the subject of homosexuality for several years now. I am very familiar with the “arguments” and the Scriptures that are twisted by those attempting to defend same-sex sexual conduct; some of which Miss Flourish mentions above. I have written to and asked questions of some of the most capable defenders of the “gay agenda” like Mel White of soulforce; Dr. Peter Gomez of Harvard Divinity; Dr. Daniel Helminiak and other “degreed” persons.

    Many of these exchanges and related articles can be read at balancedpreaching.com. I have also done three YouTube videos in response to the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” a pro-homosexual film. The simple approach I have take and the (3) basic questions I have asked have yet to be answered by any of these defenders.

    I’m not mentioning these things (the articles & videos) to promote myself. I believe they have & will expose the futility of trying to hold to homosexual conduct and the Bible simultaneously. The bottom line is God will not accept any form sexual immorality whether heterosexual, homosexual or any others. (P.S. I have also addressed the issue of marriage & whether it can be same-sex).

  20. Nancy Fryer says:

    God bless you for following God’s word!!! So many have perverted it to where they have no idea what it says. Ours prayers are with you.

  21. Scott says:

    We live in a “public” (really a “mass” society to quote C. Wright Mills), and I think this matters. While I agree that homosexuality is a sin, like drunkenness, adultery, and fornication, etc., as long as the church accepts “tax free” status and meets in the ‘government-style buildings’ introduced by Constantine, then troublemakers will have a field day, because we are playing in their ‘stadium.’

    The church needs to ‘come home’ literally. The Western Church became a hybrid of state hundreds of years ago and we have modified somewhat, but we are still playing by ‘government rules.’ Could people still raise a ruckus? Sure, but with house churches scattered throughout the cities, people who pay taxes on their property like everyone else, and removal of our style of clergy, people probably would not bother. Maybe I’m wrong, but at least we would be playing in our stadium, or ‘at home.” Sorry, that was irresistible.

    I was not raised in churches of Christ, but obeyed the gospel 14 years ago. I went to the MSOP, became a professional Christian for about 10 years and developed a sound understanding of coC’s. I have learned that coC’s do not apply to themselves other truths, not of an immoral nature, but all truth matters, right?

    The collection of 1 Cor. 16:1-4 was private collections ‘at home.’ This is a huge truth ignored to maintain the “public” or institutional nature I mentioned at the beginning of this post. We have a clergy who we pay just like all of forms of Western Christianity. We perform the Lord’s Supper similarly to the Catholics from whom we indirectly inherited it, and do not eat at the Lord’s Table as is found in the NT.

    These are the problems I have, and perhaps others do, too, with coC’s–not our stand on moral issues. These however, are “matters of faith,” etc., or truth, just as important as homosexuality, which just happens to be the popular sin of the day, right now. I am glad RcoC took a stand, whether imperfectly or not, I don’t know, but as long as coC’s continue to deny the truth about what does apply to us, then we cannot realistically expect to convert anyone else, especially once they learn more truth as I did.

    I hope these comments contribute to unity in the Lord based on integrity whether moral or amoral issues are in view. Our credibility is at stake.

    Thanks for letting me comment.

    Scott

  22. Jauneze Gist says:

    Thank God for Ridgedale church! God is alive and well in Georgia. I’m praying for you and stand with you on what God spells out as sin in the Bible. I have a niece that turned to that type of sin for years in front if her kids and family. Every time I had a chance to talk to her I told her how much I loved her and would never stop until she came back to God and us. We talked on this sin and I just kept repeating what the Bible said. Now years later she has been restored. Praise God and thank him. Your sister in Christ.

  23. Iris Curran, Madeira Beach. Florida says:

    God bless you and the church where you preach! We can do nothing but follow God’s word. G.K. Wallace once preached at the congregation in Branden Florida, he constantly watched for diversion from the new Bibles being written and preached on the errors he found. We must use the King James Version where possible. He also spoke constantly of people trying to change the meaning of God’s word! This may look like disaster for now but it will cause more christain to revisit the Bible and ultimately help the Church. We have to continually pray for the wisdom to read and learn the Lord’s way…..however God does the judging and for that I am thankful. Keep up the good work Brother!

    • LadyD says:

      I know this is a bit side-tracked but I sincerely urge you to study the history of the King James Bible. I am very much against it especially since it wasn’t the first English translation but first AUTHORIZED English translation. Not only were the supposed scholars who were rounded up to undergo this task part of the Church of England, they were instructed to take the slant of translating to fit into the C of E’s practices and beliefs. The more I learn of the King James the more I can not accept its usage. However saying that, I also believe one should have several translations to verify and cross-reference.

  24. Paul Smith says:

    Neal, there are so many questions pertaining to information that the average person does not have that gives me pause before either condoning or condemning this congregation’s actions. First, was the biblical teaching about “going to your brother (or sister) privately, then as a small group, and only then before the congregation” followed? Was this family given the opportunity to state whether they accepted or rejected the biblical teachings regarding homosexuality before they were told to “repent?” How extensive was the conversation with this family, and was it designed to restore them to a fuller understanding of fellowship, or simply to “purify the church?” If the mother had stood beside a son or daughter accused of murder, and offered the same support, would she have been told to “repent” for such support? If the issue here is one of broad support for the LGBT agenda, then what occurred can be understood in one light. However, if the issue is far more nuanced (and I have an idea that it is) then the action of the congregation can be viewed as being far more destructive than constructive.

    I have no sympathy for the LGBT agenda, and what I believe is their ultimate goal of silencing any kind of biblical corrective to their lifestyle. However, uncritical support for unchristian behavior is no better than uncritical condemnation for Christian behavior. As I understand the article, this family had a long-standing history with the congregation. Was the daughter’s lifestyle totally hidden before this incident? Was there any previous attempt to reach her, or her parents?

    Perhaps all of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, and in such a case, their final decision can be supported. If there were any missteps the leadership needs to be honest and confront those missteps. This issue is simply too important, and too emotionally volatile, for careless or unthinking actions.

    As Jesus said, we must be wise as serpents – and I believe that means we must absolutely stand for the truth of Scripture in every aspect of our lives, but we must also be as innocent as doves. A gentle rebuke can go much further than a harsh condemnation, and we must be careful that in our defense of truth we are not guilty of shooting the wounded.

  25. It’s scary to see how Satan has taken a sexual appetite and turned it into a lifestyle, one that demands public recognition, health benefits and 401k entitlements! My prayers will be lifted on behalf of our brothers and sisters striving to do God’s will and not man’s will. I pray the family repents and is restored before it is everlasting too late.

  26. Brett Carter says:

    It’s sad to see sincere people persecuted for showing a family that they care enough about their souls to withdraw their fellowship from them as a way to encourage their repentance and obedience to God. So many people in the world (and often in the church) misunderstand church discipline and how heartbreaking it is for those of us who have to withdraw from the sinner. It’s understandable that a family wants to maintain a relationship with their daughter as she struggles with a sinful lifestyle in the hope that they could lead her back to God; I don’t think anyone would fault them for that. However, supporting that lifestyle by demanding that a city acknowledge it as legitimate indicates acceptance and not merely tolerance. There is a difference. Jesus tolerated those who were sinful in that he continued to love them, but he did not accept their sin nor allow them to think that they could remain as they were and still have salvation. He had no problem telling people that they were in sin, and even told them that if they wish to come after Him, they would have to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). In the case at Ridgedale, it appears that the family of this woman just didn’t get that you can’t serve two masters; that you can’t be lukewarm where the will of God is concerned. It appears that they wanted to put on the appearance of serving the living God while appeasing the world and their own desire to fit in where they should instead stand out. The fact that they decided to make their departure public after they were approached by the elders of the congregation indicates that they know that the world at large is on their side in this matter. That alone should alert them to the fact that they are on the wrong side. After all, the bible tells us in Matthew 7 that the gate is straight and the way is narrow that leads to life, and that few will find it; and that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. Is it really so hard for people to see? I hope my brothers and sisters will stay strong and keep standing for right. I hope they keep responding to their critics lovingly with the gospel because there is no greater power and no greater force for good in this world. Finally, I pray for those who are in the wrong; that God’s providence in response to our fervent prayers will somehow work in their lives to humble them and to bring them to repentance and obedience, and back into a good relationship with Him and their christian family.

  27. Richard S says:

    Neal, as you said earlier JESUS gave His answer on marriage and divorce to the Pharisees in Matt 19:1-9. In HIS response HE told them GOD’s plan from the beginning, that marriage is between a man and woman. As you and I know, when GOD tells us how to do something HE doesn’t have to tell us what not to do. But the world doesn’t really care what God says anyway.
    Keep up the good work.
    Your brother in CHRIST, Richard.

  28. AmyLu says:

    I would like to mention that many confuse our speaking against homosexuality as an action of hatred toward others. We do not hate anyone…we can hate choices a person makes, actions in which they participate, but we love every soul. It is our goal as the Lord’s church to bring as many as we can to the knowledge of the Truth. We speak out against sin.

  29. Stacey says:

    My question is this: Was this family causing problems other than by supporting their daughter? One would hope sinners are never turned away from church when you never know what day, what moment, what sermon may lead that person to come to Christ completely. I never want a person to walk away from salvation because they were shunned by organized religion. I don’t think we should ever be afraid to preach scripture in church regardless of whether or not it is politically correct. But church is not just a place Christians to come together in worship. It should also be a place where sinners come to FIND GOD. Someone please clarify for me. Is there more to this story?

  30. Francis says:

    While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Ridgedale is a Pharisee.

    • Beth says:

      Actually that last verse reads: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. …. Note that Jesus called sinners, not in some vague general way but specifically He called sinners to REPENTANCE. That is, His purpose was for them to repent of their sins. Which is exactly what the goal of discipline is as well.

    • dfrano says:

      I agree with you Francis. Not only that, but I will bet that there are many members of the Ridgedale congregation who are divorced and remarried (and not because of sexual immorality on the part of their former spouse) and yet they sit there in their church pews, in adultery, not being “disciplined” by their church at all. And THAT was a sin that Jesus actually talked about, as opposed to Paul, who never met Jesus and never heard Him speak a word. AND I will bet you there are a lot of rich folks in that congregation as well. And no one disciplines them. And Jesus said they had practically NO chance of getting into heaven, period. Pharisees and hypocrites whose absurd fascination with sexual “sins” reveals more about them than about the “sinners”. (Just like Paul.)

      • Our problem here is a fundamental disagreement about the nature of Scripture. What Jesus said was recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Luke tells us Paul and Jesus did meet (Acts 9). Paul says he received his revelation directly from Christ (Gal. 1:15-23). Be careful in disparaging one who was an apostle and one whom Peter calls “our beloved brother” (2 Pet. 3:15ff). You seem intent on trying to pit the Bible vs. the Bible. All of it is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). While every individual is going to be judged based on their deeds done in the body (including letting wealth come before Christ, anyone who is unscripturally divorced and remarried–you are making an argument without basis regarding whether there are those who are divorced and remarried without biblical grounds in the Ridgedale church since you do not know), Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5, and 2 Thessalonians 3 gives the church to follow a process that can end in withdrawing fellowship from one who refuses to let go of sin (not just sexual sins, but see those mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:11-12 and 6:9-10).

      • JD says:

        Dfrano, take a look at yourself. You are pointing fingers and judging people you know nearly nothing about. According to what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, they will not be judged by your standard, but you will be judged by your own standard, which is full of condemnation and ungracious judgment.

      • dfrano says:

        JD – Take a look at yourself and PreacherPollard. One minute you are supporting the “law” laid down in the Old Testament, if it suits your purpose, the next you are tossing it away because Jesus did so on the cross. You can’t have it both ways. And my comment about the congregation in this instance was “I bet”. My bet is a pretty good one, from Vegas standards, based on the divorce rates in the US and on the incomes of most church going individuals in the south, so I don’t consider this “ungracious judgment” but reasoned discussion. I simply stated that, assuming there are divorced individuals and rich individuals among the congregation, then this congregation is passing judgment in a very unfair and unrighteous manner. Odd that they would care more about the “leaven” of people supporting a loved one through a difficult situation than the “leaven” of people accepting other sins. It is funny that the moment people point out this inconsistency in judgment, fingers suddenly start pointing at them and THEY are accused of being judgmental. I would say, see to your own house JD, and I will see to mine. There are fingers pointing in both directions.

      • Donna, please show me where I have once stated or implied that we live under the rule of the Old Law today. I do not now nor have I ever believed we live under Moses’ Law generally or the Ten Commandments specifically. Christ brought forward all those principles (minus the Sabbath). Your argument is with Scripture. “Leaven” is what the Bible says, not what I say.
        There must be seen to be a difference between everyone being imperfect but everyone striving to be obedient to what Christ says. I am a-political in my nature and the older I get, the less I care about politics. My salvation is in Christ. This is not simply a political or cultural issue with which we are dealing. God’s Word has plainly stated God’s view on the matter. Our task is simply to submit to that. Thanks for your continued interest, Donna. May the Lord bless you as you seek to know His will for your life and may that be our singular goal.

      • dfrano says:

        Yes, I argue with scripture. Contrary to what a lot of fundamentalist and evangelical churches believe, you cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible is the word of God. It is not a good argument. It is like using the fact that A Course in Miracles says it is divinely inspired to prove A Course in Miracles is really divinely inspired. But you know that. You are an intelligent person.

        I disagree with a lot of what Paul wrote, simply because he wrote it based on the culture he lived in and his own personal beliefs. I COMPLETELY disagree with his attitude toward women and find it abhorrent, but then again, a lot of women do. One of the reasons I walked away from organized religion, in the form of the Methodist Church (although I have attended many different denominations), was that some female Sunday School teacher (Do you think that Paul would allow that?) hit me over the head with the Bible telling me that it said that interracial dating and marriage were sins in the eyes of God. (Her particular twisted interpretation of something in Acts.) I walked out and never went back. You see, I was dating a sweet and wonderful university student at the time who happened to be Chinese-American. I am pretty sure she only meant one particular race, but at that point I was fed up with churches of all faiths using and abusing the Bible to support their own cultural beliefs. I believe that is the case here as well.

        Best wishes in your pursuit of the Truth. I hope the Holy Spirit lights your way.

  31. Jay Clement says:

    I wonder how people come to the conclusion that God has changed when His word plainly states “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” How can He change while in between? The sins that were considered an abomination during the time of Sodam and Ghamorra are abominations today. The Bible speaks plainly to be wary and to not follow worldly ways. The church gave them a choice to repent and stop commiting the sin….they made their choice.

    what society thinks, thiswer. By uunderstanding, they didn’t just kick them out……they rightfully approached them

    • Jay Clement says:

      My phone messed up in the previous comment. To all who try to justify homosexuality, by pointing out Jesus ate with sinners and came for sinners etc.,where is there one scripture where He told them to return to their sin? You’ll not find one. Jesus was, nor is a fool. He came here to be an example of a perfect life on earth and to teach us how to attain a reward and only through Him can we reach heaven. We mess up daily and ONLY His blood can wash the stain of sin away, but nowhere in the Bible do I know where there is an example of anyone being saved while returning to previous sins. Adam and Eve never returned to the garden of Eden. Moses never set foot in Cannan. The harlot, who was about to be stoned, was told to go “and sin no more.” Why is this confusing?

  32. mark says:

    Stay out of people’s private lives. You don’t know everything that is in the private lives of your memebrs, ministers, and elders. This just happened to be made public. You also should never hold someone responsible for someone else’s sins. When did supporting one’s daughter become wrong?

    I hope they find a welcoming Christian church nearby.

  33. Paul says:

    I’m very impressed with this blog and the responses to messages here. There is a lot of ignorance in the world especially about the Bible. Everyone likes to quote “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” from John 8 but conveniently leaves out the last thing Jesus said “Go and sin no more.”

  34. Andy says:

    “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.”
    Good plan? Gods plan!

  35. Andy says:

    Exodus 21:17 ESV / 26 helpful votes

    “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

  36. Andy says:

    Those born of an illicit union shall not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.
    (Deut. 23:2)
    If your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandma wasn’t married to your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa, you are going to burn in hell. Sorry, God says so, not me.

    • JD says:

      Shows how important this was doesn’t it? Sexual integrity is also community integrity. Sexual sins are connected to the breakdown of a society. So it was serious from a practical standpoint, but even more significant is that it is clearly a sin, according to scripture, to engage in sexual immorality. The fact that at one time God made it a capital crime shows how offensive and serious it was to God.

  37. Andy says:

    Happy shall he be who taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Psalms 137:9

  38. Andy says:

    Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. Numbers 31: 15-18

  39. Andy says:

    We are not under the Old Covenant. Every one of your examples (except for the one about politicians(?) ) are from the Law of Moses, which Christ nailed to the cross.
    Like the ten commandments?

    • We are not under the 10 commandments. That’s part of the old law. Hebrews 8:6-7 says Christ gave us a new and better covenant. As your previous comments indicate, there were different, specific instructions under that first covenant. In addition to the ones you isolated and chose, there was animal sacrifice, pilgrimages to Jerusalem for feast days, worship on Saturday (sabbath), etc. Those have been done away with under Christ. Your example from Psalms, a book of poetry, is “imprecatory” (like hyperbole or metaphor). But, it, too, belongs to the Old Testament. If you would like to study about this further, I’d love to discuss it.

    • JD says:

      Read Romans 1, homosexuality is still wrong and still a sin, that has not changed. It goes against God’s design for relationships as he created them.

  40. irishb16 says:

    I am deeply encouraged by our brethrens at Ridgedale Church of Christ congregation.. They stood up for God’s truth.. How he hates homosexuality sin. totally abomination to God.. They are setting good example to all congregations worldwide not to tolerate sin and maintain purity of our Lord’s church. We are not part of this world.. Satan is now using other people who are not aware of God’s way to attack Jesus Christ’s churches. Persecutions will indeed come our way when we stand firm on God’s truth. I even currenty experience online on facebook groups when I share the gospel to those who are liberals. Hold-on the faith in God brethrens.. God is with us! Let’s all remain faithful until the end. I have asked my brethren’s prayers for Ridgedale Church of Christ.. Be strong in the Lord.. We’ll always be here for you. Let’s encourage one another to obey GOD not the world…
    Im a member of the Lord’s church here in Jurong Church of Christ Singapore…
    Greetings brethrens. God bless you all.

  41. irishb16 says:

    Dear brethrens, we salute Ridgedale Church of Christ congregation for standing up for God’s words and truth… You’ve been a great encouragement to all congregations of Churches of Christ worldwide.. Keep the faith and be strong in the Lord! Btw, Im a member of Jurong Church of Christ Singapore. Greetings to all of our brethrens.. I have asked my brethrens prayers as well. Please be strong in the Lord and keep the faith until Jesus comes. We all know that Satan want to destroy Lord’s churches purity. He is now using those who are in the world and those who doesn’t fully study God’s words and now are being deceived and abusing God’s grace. We all know God loves everyone but cannot tolerate the sin and wickedness.. that’s why Sodom abd Gomorrah was destroyed.. and Noah’s Ark happened to cleanse His land with disobedience and wickedness.. These people who are now against your stand is truly against God’s words.. against GOD. let’s just pray for them that they may see the light and truth before the end comes.. Let’s all stay faithful and encourage one another. Thanking Ridgedale Church of Christ congregation for standing firm with God. continue the faith and never be shaken by the world. God is truly with us!!! May God bless you all more… Thank you again for setting a good example to all worldwide…

    Romans 12:1-2 ESV

    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    1 Peter 1:14 ESV

    As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

    1 John 2:15-17 ESV

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

    John 15:19
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

    John 15:18-19

    New King James Version (NKJV)
    The World’s Hatred

    18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

    • tmm says:

      Agree wholeheartedly, and my family and I are encouraged that this church had the courage to do the right thing in this matter. I’d like to add Matthew 10:34-37

      34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
      “‘a man against his father,
      a daughter against her mother,
      a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
      36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
      37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

  42. michael Smith says:

    Riverdale Church has taken judgment out of the hands of the Lord. In doing so they have put themselves in the place of the Lord. This is blasphemy.

    • I disagree. Paul urges Corinth to “judge” in the matter in 1 Corinthians 5. Blasphemy, “to speak evil of,” doesn’t fit what Ridgedale did.

    • JD says:

      So, no one can ever call a sin a sin? Read Matthew 7, and don’t stop with just the first verse. If you are going to know them by their fruit, is that not a judgment? Besides, what do you do with Mt 18, where Jesus says to treat the unrepentant sinner as a tax collector or pagan? What about 2 Thess 3 where we are instructed to withdraw fellowship from the unruly? These are not cases of judgment, but of discipline. We are not in the punishment or vengeance business, that is God’s business. However, we are in the discipline business to restore the sinner. Besides, 1 Cor 5 also says that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, and to clean out the old leaven. So if we allow sin to continue and do nothing, sin will spread and infect others. We need to stay pure, which will not happen unless well call sin a sin and excercize discipline when needed.

  43. Johnathan Deere says:

    What I see is people picking and choosing what they want from the Bible. Yes, the bible says homosexuality is a sin, but it also tells us to stone our disobedient children, as well as those people who work on the sabbath, wear different kinds of cloth, etc etc. If you use the bible to say something is wrong then don’t pick and choose. Also, before you say that was the old testament then remember that Jesus said that “not one jot nor tittle shall be taken from the word till all be fulfilled.” And the world has yet to end so not all has been fulfilled, so that means you need to kill your children if they talk back to you.

    • Ephesians 2:14-16 says, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
      We should not pick and choose what we want from the Bible, but we need to be able to “handle it aright” (2 Tim. 2:15). Matthew 5:17 says nothing about “all be fulfilled” referring to the end of the world. Please show me from Scripture, not opinion, how such a conclusion is drawn?

    • JD says:

      The covenant under Moses was given to Israel, not to the church. Eph 2; 2 COr 3; Rom 7; and other passages say that we are not under that law. It was never meant to be permanent. It acts as a schoolmaster or tutor to bring us to Christ according to Gal 3:24. The law given to Israel was MUCH MORE humane than any of the laws and practices of the nations around them. For instance, in other countries, they would dismember, dip someone in hot tar, castrate, or do something else for certain offenses. In other countries, slaves were not entitled to a day off like everyone else. And the list goes on and one. But, the law was not the IDEAL, but a step TOWARD the ideal. In the New Testament Church, slaves are called brethren, and masters could be found serving their slaves! Slaves are freed because they are brethren. This is a redemptive move toward the ideal. A better example might be Jesus on marriage. He goes back to the beginning of creation when God created the first humans in Matthew 19. He didn’t refer to the law, it was not the ideal. The ideal from creation was one man and one woman equal one flesh for life. Due to sin, God made a plan for redemption and reformation, which took time. (Think about it, how law did it take our own country to move toward the ideal??? It would be 100 years after the founding of the country to free the slaves, and still another 100 years before people began to change inwardly and to treat the former slaves with equal human dignity.) All of this to simply say, the Old Testament was only a step toward the ideal, not the ideal itself and was temporary. It now acts as a schoolmaster.

  44. greg says:

    greg hughes
    I been a member of the coc for a long time. Let’s just say long enough to know if the truth is beening taught or not.The Bible is a very hard book to understand as a whole and no one will ever understand it all.This is a matter even against nature itself.The Bible is very clear on this matter,God is against this sin,when you people that or coming down on the c.o.c. get yourselves out of the way and obey Gods teaching you to could see how God disapproves of this action.In a loving and kind way I encourage you to seek out Gods word in a more understanding way that unity can prevail for all that truly believe. John 12:48

  45. Zach D. says:

    You “Christians” are so unlike your Christ. Pathetic.

    • greg says:

      I don”t believe following the word of God makes one pathetic.Matter of fact the Bible teaches us that the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.If following Gods word makes one pathetic your saying Christ himself is pathetic because he did the same thing.In the end God will show you who is the pathetic ones are.Again I leave with love in my heart for your soul can you say the same for me?
      Please remember when we reject Christ word we our rejecting Him. John 12:48

    • Steve says:

      Jesus Christ is the apex of God’s love for the World (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). There is no greater love to be found in the world (John 15:13). Yet, even Jesus understood that sin separated a person from God (see Isaiah 59:1-2). Therefore, when the woman was caught in adultery, Jesus’ last words were, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Paul was very clear in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that homosexuality is a sin that will bar a person from entering the kingdom of heaven. It is listed with such sins as idolatry and murder. Paul preached this, not to condemn people, no. He preached it so that they might be saved. In the next verse he said that some of those Christians had been practicing those sins, but they had repented, and been washed in the blood of Jesus. When Paul called for repentance from sins was he also “so unlike Christ”? When Jesus preached for people to repent of sin in Matthew 4:17 was he also “so unlike Christ” and “Pathetic”?

      True love will call for repentance of sin in order that a soul may be restored to a saved relationship with God. This is the greatest love. Sin is of Satan. Repentance and righteousness is of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ calls people turn from Sin and follow Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 3:19). Paul said, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not. How shall we who died to sin live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2.) It was Jesus who inspired Paul to write these words (Galatians 1:12). I submit, seeing that Jesus called people to repentance, and Peter and the aposltes called people to repentance, and Paul called people to repentance from sin; and that their words were words of love, that the preaching of repentance from sin and the call to follow after the righteousness of God for salvation is the epitome of God’s love for man. God does not save man in his sins. He saves man from his sins. Thank God for the message of love that calls man to repentance from sin.

  46. marybell says:

    I am the mother of a son who is lost in the homosexual lifestyle. I love him with all my heart, and he knows it. He is respectful of our beliefs and knows we do not approve, yet he also understands that we are here for him. We pray for him daily, and as his father says, as long as there is life, there is hope. The hearts of parents with children in these situations are broken and hopes and dreams shattered. I would not go with my child to a public hearing such as the one this parent did; but I will not desert my son by being hateful toward him and his friends. They need our love and prayers. One reason so many leave the church is that they find no help, only condemnation. Our son said he felt, as a 13-year-old, like a piece of trash as he sat in church. He was suicidal several times. Do we leave him in that case? Some of our friends have a son who is a murderer, serving a life sentence. Should they never see him, or should they not have gone to court with him? He has been baptized and tries to help others learn the truth of the Gospel. Please, fellow Christians, do not lose yourself so much in fighting over what Jesus said or didn’t say that you lose sight of the fact that people who struggle with same sex attractions are human beings. I have never met one of them who wanted the orientation, and many, like our son, fought mightily to change things but could not. If you do not have first-hand experience with any of this, with all due respect, you cannot fully understand the struggle and the heartbreak, as it affects all members of the family. We have stayed in the church because we know the truth, but we also love our son. It is a hard path, but heaven will be worth it all.

    • Steve Vice says:

      Marybell thank you for your love and compassion for your son. The struggle is, no doubt, a difficult one for you and your husband, as well as for your son. When a person chooses to follow sin, any sin, it is always hard on those who love that person.

      Hatred for sin should never be mistaken as dislike or disrespect for a soul. I speak with the compassion of a father who has faced difficult struggles in the family as well. The sin of homosexuality is not so much unlike someone who has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, or is in a committed but adulterous relationship. But if a person believes that he or she has no choice in a sin then that changes the way people look at a given situation. Alcoholism has become a disease. Many adulterers are claiming that they are predisposed (born that way) to sex, and, thus, adultery, i.e., Tiger Woods. Sex addiction treatment is becoming the next “Betty Ford Clinic” of our day. And “everyone knows” that a disease is not sin. A disease can’t be helped or avoided. But God, because of His love, says otherwise. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-23; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31, and other places show that sin can be stopped.

      All of these sins, if a person has a properly trained conscience, will often make a person feel like “a piece of trash.” That feeling will be brought to the surface in an audience of people who are striving to live a godly life and are listening to sermons on choosing righteousness. But the same will feel at home with those who practice the same sins or condone such behavior. But God still calls all men to repentance (Acts 17:30). Should we stop preaching against sin so everyone will feel feel good about themselves in the assembly of the saints? Joel Osteen has perfected the art of “preaching” where no one will feel guilty. But the master teacher sometimes offended people with his preaching (Matthew 15:12).

      The love of God and the gift of life through the blood of Jesus Christ are truly the only things that can take away the feeling of worthlessness (trash) and give a feeling that God, the greatest being in existence, thinks you are more valuable than all the physical creation, and more valuable than all the emotions in the world (including the emotion of God allowing his only begotten Son to die on the cross for the everyone in the world).

      I honor you for your commitment to truth, to the church, and to God. When going through a particular difficulty (I do not mean to make light of the situation) we often feel as if no one understands, no one can empathize unless they are in this particular situation. But please consider that this particular struggle and heartbreak is not so unique when compared to other equally devastating heartbreaks a loved one may bring to a family. Adultery and divorce has been described as a death without a funeral; a soul who has turned the back to God and to those who have loved him or her. Addiction is a love affair with a feeling gotten from a chemical that often leads to the alienation of loved ones and, eventually, to the destruction of the person addicted. But there is hope. As your husband has so aptly and eloquently said, “as long as there is life, there is hope.” Amen! May your son find that path of repentance and come back to the open arms of Jesus Christ (and open arms of the brethren as well). And may your hearts be comforted in the peace that passes all understanding in Jesus Christ.

      • I just have to come back on this.

        I know we are supposed to “love the sinner, abhor the sin”, but in your case, Steve, the sin has completely taken you over. There is no humanity left. I abhor your lies, I abhor your hatred, and if there is anything left in you which is not abhorrent in the sight of God, you have not shown it here. You twist the Bible to support your hate, you mouth the word “compassion” without any understanding of it. I would say God help you, but perhaps you are beyond help.

      • dfrano says:

        (1) Not a single homosexual I have ever met CHOSE to be so. Why in God’s name would they, given their treatment at the hands of the likes of you and others of your ilk? Why in God’s name would they subject themselves to the hatred and revilement they face from people like you? Why would they want to be rejected by their families or have their families mistreated by people like you? (2) If they do not chose this orientation, which clearly they do not, then obviously God must have designed them this way. (3) If God designed them this way, then (a) God is whimsical and enjoys a good joke at the cost of his creation or (b) God loves his entire creation and could care less how his creatures express their affection for each other. Again and again you strain at a gnat and swallow an elephant. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. That is all He asked of us. Until Paul came along and ruined it for everyone. .

      • Steve says:

        God asks us to choose righteousness (Acts 17:30-31). He asks us to love him more than we love anyone else (Matthew 22:37-38). This is the first and great commandment. And Jesus said that if we love him we will keep His commandments (John 14:23-24). Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Jesus is the one who looked back to the beginning of creation, to God’s oringinal pattern for marriage. In Matthew 19:3-6 he said, “Have you not read…” implying they ought to have known this. “That He who made them at the beginning made them male and female. and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’ ? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        In connection with this, remember it was Jesus who appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and selected him to be his messenger to the Gentiles (Acts 9). Peter mentioned Paul in 2 Peter 3:16, calling him “our beloved brother Paul.” and referred to his writings as “the wisdom given to him [by God].” Earlier in this epistle Peter had said that God, “by His divine power, has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” It was said earlier that Paul “knew nothing of long term gay relationships.” Whether that is true or not, I do not know. But Paul received his teaching by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12). He wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” So, the question is not whether or not Paul knew anything about such relationships, but whether or not God knew.

        In order to be a disciple of Jesus a person must abide in the words of Jesus (John 8:31). The writer of Hebrews said, “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28). Now we are no longer under the law of Moses (Romans 7:4; 10:4). But that law included laws excluding homosexuality. Today we are under the covenant (law) of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:15-17; 13:20; 1 Corinthians 9:21). Now, having said what he did about the law of Moses in Hebrews 10:28, listen to what he says in verse 29. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Just as Israel had to follow the law of Moses in order to maintian a faithful relationship with God in the Old Testment, so also must we follow the new covenant in order to be in a covenant relationship with God and Jesus Christ. John wrote, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). To reject Paul because we do not agree with his teaching is parrallel to the Jews rejecting Moses because they did not like the law God gave to them through Moses. Hosea wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6). Please, please do not let the same thing happen to us.

  47. Steve Vice says:

    Dear Clare Flourish, your zeal is evident. But I am at a loss to understand it. Perhaps I am too dense. Therefore, it would be helpful to me if you would share with me the lies I have written specifically. It would also be helpful to me if you would point out where I have twisted the Bible and what the correct understanding would be of the Bible references I have made. What is “the sin” that has taken me over? I am sure that your loving heart and your desire to help someone who needs God’s help so acutely will motivate your assistance in my case.

    • It is the phrase “the sin of homosexuality” and your encouraging marybell in her rejection of her son.

      Do you ever cite Romans 1? Paul sees that Romans spend a great deal of time and effort in worship, and deduces that they see God naturally, from God’s creation. Yet they worship idols. He then says that the idol worship has led them astray, and “Therefore” (a key word) they… have sex with their own sex.

      That is, sex in idol worship, for example the rites of Cybele. It has nothing to do with gay marriage. It twists the Bible to use it to condemn gay marriage.

      The twisting of the Bible to condemn so many of God’s children for who we are naturally is vile. But you have memorised an answer to that: people are naturally liars, or adulterers, and so nature does not excuse anything, you say. The flaw in that is that lying harms the liar and others, and lovemaking does not- not absolutely always, anyway, as you would assert.

      By the way, Neal, the hack of the church facebook page has ended.

      • Steve Vice says:

        Thank you for your reply. Four questions: 1) Is it idolatry that is against nature in Romans 1 or is it a man with a man or a woman with a woman that is against nature? (Romans 1:24-27). 2) What was vile and shameful, only the idolatry, or the also the sexual immorality that they engaged in? 3) In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 would homosexuals be excluded from the kingdom only if they were engaged in the practice if it was part of the idolatry rituals also listed as a sin in these verses? Now in thinking about this, would stealing only be a sin if it was a ritual stealing associated with idolatry? It is needful that we consider such questions in our quest to go to heaven. I am not the one who called homosexuality as vile. God did that in Romans 1.

      • Rather than answering your questions- you could answer them yourself, if you had good will- I will address your contention that “God called homosexuality as vile”. No, God didn’t. You did. It is your choice to imagine that homosexuality is vile.

      • Steve Vice says:

        Please, please hear What the inspired Paul has written. “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” (Romans 1:26-27) the Revised Version says “vile passions.” The ASV says “Vile passions.” Young’s Literal Translation says, “dishonorable passions.” The Bible is clear about this. This activity is “against nature.” God made male and female in the beginning (Genesis 1 & 2; Matthew 19:3-9) A wife is bound to her husband (Romans 7:1-3). Each husband is to have his own wife and each wife is to have her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). That is God’s natural design. There is not one example of God being pleased with another type of “marriage.” God’s plan is clear. It is the evil passions of mankind that have sought to change it into what is corruptible (Romans 1).

      • You are wrong. Possibly, before you die, you will realise you are wrong. Meanwhile, you persecute gay people and give comfort to other persecutors, and you encourage parents to distance themselves from their gay children. God forgive you.

      • dfrano says:

        Clare, I am right there with you. And yes Steve, Paul was wrong. Paul was wrong about so very many things that there are many Biblical scholars who believe he was a fake apostle who led the early church astray and had contentious relationships with the true apostles of Christ. Have you noticed that out of the 22 times he is called an apostle in the New Testament, only two times came from someone besides him? He was a pompous, argumentative, egotistical braggart and he is the source of most of the pain in the version of Christianity that he created. It is sad that so many people are following Paul instead of Christ and DO NOT REALIZE IT.

        May the Holy Spirit lead you to look into your heart and acknowledge His truth and love.

      • Donna, what version of Christianity do you follow? How do you know it is true? If we do not accept the Bible, at face value, as being the Word of God, then what becomes the basis of making any decision? If you say the Holy Spirit, how do you know it is the Holy Spirit that is leading you (and not something or someone else)? If you say it is your feelings, then you are essentially saying that you are the authority or standard in religion. Such subjectivity is so far beyond dangerous that it makes literally anything and everything permissible for the one who feels it is right.

      • Steve Vice says:

        To Donna: If Paul was wrong, then I suppose that Moses was also wrong in Leviticus 18:22. But if he was wrong, then maybe Jesus was wrong when he defined marriage as between a male and a female in Matthew 19:4-6? But Jesus was also wrong then maybe God made a mistake when He created them in the beginning a male and female? I agree that some “scholars” have come to the conclusion that Paul was wrong. But these “scholars” have been led astray of the devil and fallen into the pit of the wisdom of men that Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 1:20 and following. God’s wisdom is far above man’s wisdom (Isaiah 55:8-9).

  48. Steve Vice says:

    If I am wrong, was Paul also wrong? Was Paul also a persecutor of gay people? I commended Marybell for her love for her son. God loves all people (John 3:16) And in His great love He still desires all people to repent of sin (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 17:30-31). The goodness of God leads a person to repentance (Romans 2:4). The question is, who gets to define what is sin and what is not? It is certainly not me. I am merely a human being among other human beings, and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). John defined sin as a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4, KJV). And God’s law says that homosexuality is against nature, shameful and will keep a person out of the kingdom of heaven (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In Romans 1:32 Paul says that those who practice such things (things is plural and is inclusive of the sins listed in verses 18-31, not the singular sin of idolatry) are deserving of death. It is my true hearts desire to follow God’s word, not my own wisdom. His word is truth (John 17:17). His commandments are eternal life (John 12:50).

    • You misinterpret Paul, who knew nothing of long term gay relationships. Same sex prostitution, he condemned- malakoi, for example.

      You commended Marybell’s rejection of her son, and her condemnation. You bad man.

      • Steve Vice says:

        Clare, if malakoi was the only word that was used then it is possible (but not necessarily) that this would be the case. In only found the NIV to include prostitute in 1 Corinthians 6:9, but even there it translates sodomites as homosexuals. I looked at several other translations and none of them translated it as male prostitution. If you look at Thayer it does list homosexual prostitute as a possible translation, but is not the primary definition of malakoi. It is one possible sub definition. BAG does not even mention prostitution associated with malakoi.

        In 1 Corinthians 6:9 Paul also uses arsenokoites. This is directly translated as sodomite, and is translated “homosexual” in many translations, including the NIV. It does not imply prostitution or idolatry.

        In Romans 1 Paul malakoi or arsenokoites. He simply describes it as a woman burning in lust after a woman and men leaving the NATURAL USE of the woman to be with a man. This is not ritual prostitution associated with idolatry. It is lust and is described as “uncleanness,” “dishonor,” “vile passions,” “against nature,” “burned in their lust for one another,” “committing what is shameful,” error,” “a debased mind,” “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness,…”

        It is important to note that these had “exchanged the truth of God for the lie.” What truth? Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,’ Mat 19:5 and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’ ? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 9:4b-6.) God’s truth reveals that a God ordained marriage is to be between a male and a female. There is NO TRUTH FROM GOD that supports any other marriage relationship. A man with a man, or a woman with a woman is against nature and is with the approval of God.

  49. Steve Vice says:

    I meant to say “without the approval of God” in the last sentence of the previous post. Forgive my typographical errors.

    • By their fruits shall ye know them, Steve. You cause suffering. Go figure.

      • Steve Vice says:

        If suffering is the standard by which right or wrong is determined then Paul was certainly wrong for preaching the gospel. He surely suffered for doing so. He caused the Jews to suffer by preaching we are no longer under the law of Moses. He caused the Greeks and the Romans to suffer for preaching there was only one God. Jesus caused the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees to suffer by pointing out their errors in Matthew 22 and 23. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:15-17, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”

        Sin causes suffering. Coming to repentance is sometimes a great struggle. For example, a philanderer who has a proclivity for adultery; could that person say that since God made him or her that way it is not a sin and they do not have to repent? Couldn’t he or she just remain in that lifestyle if it makes that person happy?

        Jesus sometimes offended people with His teaching (Matthew 15:12). But He still told people to repent and follow Him. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Did Jesus intend for Peter to suffer by these words? But Peter had spoken words of love to Jesus in verse 22, telling Him that He would not suffer and die. But Jesus was offended by Peter’s words of love. They were not according to God’s revealed will (Matthew 26:52-54; Luke 24:44-46).

        True suffering will be found in the lake of fire by those who perish in the eternal destruction because they refused to repent at the word of our Lord (Luke 6:46; 13:3, 5; Revelation 21:8; Galatians 5:19-21).

        Paul said, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In this context Paul had made them sorry with a godly sorrow. That sorrow produced repentance that led to salvation, not to be regretted. Paul rejoiced in this

        In the end, the words of Jesus are life (John 6:63, 68). If we love Him we follow His commandments (John 14:23-24). Those who are of God hear His words. Those who do not… (John 8:47).

      • So- are you saying the suffering of gay children is a good thing?

      • Steve Vice says:

        I sincerely hope I wasn’t unclear. I said that suffering does not decide right or wrong; good or evil. God decides. Peter wrote, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?” (1 Peter 4:15-18) 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21 and Revelation 21:8 are three places (not the only places) that give to us God’s determination of what is sin.

        Hitler decided that the genocide of 6 million people was not sinful simply based upon their race. Did Hitler’s determination change God’s declaration on murder? Society today (to a large extent) has determined that adultery is no longer sinful, only a natural reaction to our evolutionary instinct to propagate our species, and, therefore, not sinful. Does man’s determination change God’s declaration that adultery is sinful? Society has determined that a baby in the womb is not a person and therefore has not rights and may be destroyed at the decision of the “mother” and it is not a sin. Does society’s determination alter the declaration of God? Is homosexuality exempt from this reasoning? If so, why?

        Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). The next verse is very interesting. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!”

        In 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul said, “For “WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?” But we have the mind of Christ.” When man takes it upon himself to determine what is right or wrong/good or evil, then he puts himself in the place of God while removing God as the ultimate authority. Homosexuality has been against nature and contrary to God’s design for marriage from the beginning of creation. But it seems in this current generation we have become wiser than God. Abortion is no longer evil. Marriage is no longer one man and one woman for one lifetime. And homosexuality has now changed from sin to righteousness. But are these the determination of God or man? The inspired words of 1 Corinthians 2:14 are true. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him…” The wiser we become in our own eyes the less we need the God of heaven.

      • Steve, it is quite simple. You want gay children and their parents to suffer. You want them distanced from each other. You want them miserable. All this Bible quoting you do- do you really think it obscures the truth?

      • Steve Vice says:

        “What is truth?” Pilot did not care to hear the answer. But Jesus has told us what truth is in John 17:17; “Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.”

        If I am condemned for misusing the Scriptures you will be my friend if you can show me in what way I have twisted them. So far there was a reference pointed out to me about “malakoi” which we went to the standard Greek Lexicons of Thayer and BAG to see how they defined the word and its associated word arsenokoites. It seems I had not twisted it. Commentators also agree (references available if needed).

        I have been called a liar, a sinner, abhorrent to God, a hater, a twister of scriptures, as being beyond help and a person who wants others to suffer. But I say with all sincerity, I want precisely what God wants: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul wrote that God “…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But that brings us back to the question, “What is truth?”

        Clare, thank you for this discussion. My desire for you, as well as for myself, is as David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

      • To the charges I add arrogance. You presume to know what God wants. Read Job 40-42.

      • dfrano says:

        Amen, Clare. Amen.

      • Steve says:

        I have read Job several times. Job did not understand the hurt he was suffering and wanted to question God. But he repented, saying he had spoken when he had no knowledge. Where have I PRESSUMED to know what God wants? I have attempted to give a verse for every biblical point I have made. I have attempted to use each passage of Scripture in the manner and spirit in which it was written.

        Also notice that God rebuked Jobs friends for falsely accusing him.

        Wouldn’t you agree that He wants people to come to the knowledge of the truth? Wouldn’t you agree that He wants people to follow His words and commands? Would you agree that He wants people to repent of sin? Don’t you agree that He wants all people to be saved? Would you agree that a wise person is one who hears the sayings of Jesus and does them, but the foolish person is the one who hears and does not do them? (Matthew 7:24-27). Which sayings? Well, verse 21 says, “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” If a person would be wise, then he or she must abide in the words of Jesus. If a person wishes to be a disiciple of Jesus he or she must abide in the words of Jesus (John 8:24). God’s will is given to us in the Bible. Nature reveals to us that there is a God (Psalm 19:1). But if a person desires to know the will of God then you must go to the inspired Scriptures. They are profittalbe for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished for every good work. Then, in chapter 4:1-2 he commanded Timothy in the name of God and of Jesus Christ to preach the word in season and out of season, to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffereing and doctrine. Verses 3 & 4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

      • Jesus healed the Centurion’s “boy”, Steve. Open your heart. The food is for the children, not the dogs, but Jesus healed the foreign, male lover. Praise God!

      • Steve Vice says:

        Clare, I was taken aback by your latest post about the Centurion’s “boy” as being a foreign male lover. I had not heard that before. So, I looked at Thayer and Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament and neither of them listed male lover as a meaning for boy (pais). Here is Thayer’s definition:
        1) a child, boy or girl
        1a) infants, children
        2) servant, slave
        2a) an attendant, servant, spec. a king’s attendant, minister
        Part of Speech: noun masculine or feminine

        From Thayer and others it is clear that not all male servants were their master’s lover.

        I do admit that a boy servant was sometimes used as a male lover, but the question is, was this servant a male lover? None of the commentaries I read included any mention of this boy being a slave prostitute or lover. None of the “Church Fathers” included this in their writings. Could it be an assumption on your part that this servant boy was a male lover? If it is not, then bring forth the evidence that shows that either this boy was a male lover to the Centurion, or show that all boy servants were male lovers to their master. In my studies I have not found such evidence.

        But even if he was a male lover that would not prevent Jesus from healing him. He healed all who came to him. God makes the sun to rise on both the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45). Mary Magdeline was a sinner (Luke 7:37). Catholic tradition says she was a prostitute (but the Scriptures do not confirm this). Yet Jesus cast out 7 demons from her. Question, did Mary (if prostitution was her trade) continue being a prostitute to support herself and her family? We know that the woman caught in adultery in John 8 was told by Jesus, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” What was her sin? Adultery. Did Jesus give her permission to continue committing adultery? No.

        It is important to note that the act of physical healing did not imply that salvation was given. In John 5 Jesus healed a paralyzed man, then told him to go and sin no more “lest a worst thing come upon you.” Then in chapter 6 He fed the the 5,000 men not counting the women and children. But by the end of the chapter, in verse 66, many of those people turned away from Jesus and walked with him no more. Why? They did not want to hear Jesus words about their being in bondage to sin.

        The fact that Jesus healed sinners of their physical ailments does not change the teaching of Jesus to repent of sins. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus’ first sermon was one that called the people to “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent of what? Well, Paul gave a list of sins that would keep a person out of the kingdom of heaven: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The people in the church were people who had repented of those sins: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (Verse 11). (Notice: “And such were some of you,” -past tense.)

        The Hebrew writer penned these words: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). Let it be so.

      • Steve I give up. You are incorrigible. Thank God, fewer and fewer people believe the rubbish you spout about God. I hope you come to know the truth before you die. I hope as you find yourself less and less able to hurt gay people, you will find the truth.

        Just google for it. Pais meaning catamite. It is not hard.

      • Steve Vice says:

        I did google it. Catamite is one possible meaning, but, again, is not the primary meaning. It goes back to the same question, does pais demand a male lover? I admitted it may possibly mean this, but it does not NECESSARILY mean this. Pais is used, not catamite. The primary meaning is a young slave.

        And even if he were a catamite, this would not condone the action anymore than Jesus condoned adultery. The question remains, are there sins that will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven? If so, then who decides what those sins are? I contend that it is God who decides. And He has revealed that to us in the New Testament.

      • So- to go back to our earlier point- you glory in the suffering you cause.

        There are so many sites you can find, to find the true meaning of the clobber passages, David’s love for Jonathan more than for women, etc, etc. The NT is far more pro-slavery than anti-gay marriage. But you do not seek to educate yourself. You do not have ears to hear, because you are deafened by your old prejudices.

      • Steve says:

        One of the great things about the Bible is that it reveals not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. David was guilty of adultery and murder. The Bible tells us so. It also tells us that David repented of those sins. Homosexuality was also against the law. But there is no mention of David either acknowleding or repenting of that sin.

        Is it possible for two men to have a deep love for one another and it not be sexual? The answer is obvious. There is no hint, no evidence of any kind that would lend any weight to your assumption about David and Jonathon. It was invented in the imagination of some who desire to justify themselves in their sin. Assuming facts that are not in evidence for the sake of religious belief is beyond “walking on thin ice.” It is jumping head long into the pit of ignorance. Depravity has its own eyes.

        But, even if it were true (which it is not), it would still have been AGAINST GOD’S LAW (Leviticus 18:22). Therefore, there is no justification found here even if a person believes they had an inappropriate relationship.

        Moses chose to suffer with the children of Israel rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25). Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” by God (2 Corinthians 12:7). Jesus said that there were some who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Matthew 19:12, there is that kingdom thing again). Jesus suffered, enduring the cross, all the while despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). Why? For the joy that was set before Him – going home to be with His Father in heaven. You have accused me of glorying in the suffering that “I cause.” I do not enjoy anyone’s suffering. But from the previous verses it is clear that God never promised a life free of suffering. In fact, Paul promised otherwise in 2 Timothy 3:12. But Paul understood that the sacrifices and suffering we endure in this life may be rewarded in the life to come and may be for our good (Romans 5:3). He wrote in Philippians 3:7-11: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

      • Oh crumbs.

        Now you’re citing Leviticus. Stone us, it says. Oh my God, Steve, now you want us dead?

      • dfrano says:

        When you can’t use the New Testament, use the Old. When you can’t use the Old, use the New. When you can’t use Christ’s words, use Paul’s. There is a playbook here, and you (PreacherPollard, Steve, David Roach, et al) accuse the individuals being who are being attacked and maligned of having an agenda. The only agenda they have is “This is the way I was born, this is the person I love, and I love Christ as well.” Apparently you don’t want these folks to love Christ. Is it any wonder they turn away? And how do you think Christ will feel about that?

        “You mean you turned away these because you thought they were committing sins of the flesh? They professed their love for me, but you turned them out? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?”

        It has been proven again and again and again that people hung up on other’s perceived sexual sins have issues of their own with those perceived sins. (I could list all the well-known religious folks who have been caught in the midst of sexual sin, but I won’t.) Glass houses. Stones. And so on.

        Meanwhile, children are dying in the Middle East because of weapons we provide, churches are building huge elaborate buildings while children in their community starve, and the so-called Christians are having absolutely NO IMPACT on the issues that really make a life and death difference in people’s lives today.

        The life you save today may be a soul you save tomorrow, but no, it is MUCH easier to wring your hands over perceived sexual sins. No, wait a minute, it is MUCH MORE TITILLATING to wring your hands over perceived sexual sins THAT MAY NOT EVEN BE SINS than to actually get your hands dirty helping people.

        Clare is right. You are the reason the organized church is dying. But I guess I should rejoice as this means Paul’s church is dying and perhaps Christ’s church will flourish.

      • What it quite telling to anyone who reads these exchanges with an open mind is that you and Clare have your own preformed agendas and ideologies and you allow them to trump all else. It would be interesting to know your view of the Bible, in total as well as under whose law or covenant we live today. Who or what is your authority for any religious matter (not just sexual matters, but every thing)? Anyone professing faith in Christ must have some standard or authority. What is yours?

      • Steve says:

        I admit to having an agenda. It is to preach the word in season and out of season according to the charge given in 2 Timothy 4:1-2. My agenda is to preach the truth so that souls in the bondage of sin might be set free in Jesus Christ (John 8:31-32).

        If we reject Paul as an apostle then we also have to reject Luke because he recorded Paul’s being called by Jesus Christ in Acts 9, 22 and 26. We would also have to reject Peter because Peter called Paul “our beloved brother” and referred to Paul’s epistles as being “wisdom given to hm [by God], and as being “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Would we also have to reject Jesus, since He is the one who called him to be an apostle, according to the Scriptures? For it was Jesus who said to Paul, “I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17-18).

        “If you don’t like the message then shoot the messenger.”

        Why is it that those who promote homosexuality, yet want to follow Chirst, shy away from Matthew 19:3-6 and Mark 10:2-9? Why is there little or no talk of obeying God’s will (Matthew 7:21), and of what that will is? Could it be that they realize that if they shoot this messenger then that will eliminate the path to God? Yet it was Jesus Himself who defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. He is the one who said that it was God who did this; it was God who joined them tegether. Jesus also established this as the pattern given by God when He said, “from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8).

        It has been said, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” But this is not accurate. It should be stated, “God said it. That settles it. I had better believe it.” If the Bible “ceases” to be the word of God, what hope do we have? Why should anyone believe in Jesus Christ? For, if you want to learn about Jesus, His life, and His teachings, you must go to the Bible. But if the Bible is not reliable, then those who follow it are foolish indeed. Paul said as much in 1 Corinthians 15. Wow, what a chapter on the resurrection; the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of those who follow Him. And what about 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 where Paul describes the second coming of Jesus. The clouds will be rolled back, the arch angel will shout, and the trumpet of God will sound, and the resurrection will take place. Oh, how I thank God for Paul’s writtings. And, wasn’t it Paul who was appointed to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. Where would we be without the inspired apostle Paul? The Jews also tried to silence him, …kill him. What do you want to do with Paul?

      • Steve says:

        Again, I am being falsely accused. David and Jonathon lived under the law of Moses. I simply replied to your unsubstantiated and false claim that David and Jonathon were in an inappropriate relationship. Which, either way, would not justify your position. We are under the New Covenant; the one established with the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:14-17, 24-27; 13;20; Matthew 26:28). Jesus died [suffered] to establish that covenant. It is called the “perfect law of liberty” in James 1:25. The “law of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 9:21. We will be judged by His words (John 12:48). Those who do not obey him will not receive salvation, but those who do will have eternal life (Matthew 7:21; HEbrews 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

      • You quoted Leviticus, Steve. It says men who lie with men should be stoned. Tell me, do you still want a stoning, or would you hang people, to save time and effort?

        If you do not want gay people dead, Steve, don’t quote Leviticus against us.

        And keep your language civil. You talk about false accusations and unsubstantiated and false claims. I know that you condemn gay people, and want to restrict us, but I am careful not to speak falsehood and do not take kindly to being accused of falsehood.

      • Steve Vice says:

        I will certainly try harder to keep my language civil. Forgive me if I was offensive.

        Also, I apologize if I was not clear on the fact that the Law of Moses ended when Christ died on the cross. That includes Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (I had stated this earlier.) Romans 7:1-4, 7; 10:4; Colossians 2:14-16; Ephesians 2:14; Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 9:15-17; 8:13 and other verses plainly say that the Law of Moses ended when Christ died on the cross and the New Covenant came into power. Paul said, “We are dead to the law through the body of Christ that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24-25). The law was a tutor to bring us to Christ. I hope that is clear. If not I will be happy to revisit this again in more detail.

        It might be noted that I made reference to Leviticus 18:22. This verse makes no mention of stoning. But let me be absolutely clear, I referenced it as it applied to the lives of David and Jonathon only. They lived under the Law of Moses. We do not live under the Law of Moses today.

        Can we agree that if David and Jonathon had of had a homosexual relationship (which they did not), that this would have been a violation of the Law of Moses? I would appreciate a direct answer to this question.

        The issue before us is this, does God give approval to homosexual relationships in His revealed word–the Bible, specifically for us today, in the New Testament?

        Romans 1:18-32 clearly teaches that God does not approve of homosexual relationships. Men with men and women with women is against nature; not against culture, but against nature. To say that this only applied only to idolatrous rituals ignores that fact that this action was against nature (God’s created norm). If a person says that the “men with men” and the “women with women” only applies to ritualistic idolatry, what happens to the other sins listed in verses 29-31? Shall we also limit envy, strife, proud, disobedient to parents and murderers also to ritualistic idolatry? In Verse 32 Paul says that those who practice such things (plural not singular) “are deserving of death.” That is not my judgment. Paul says in this verse that this is the “righteous judgment of God.” This judgment will not be exercised by men, but by Jesus on the Day of Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

        It was said earlier that Paul knew nothing about long term homosexual relationships. Is this an admission that the New Testament does not address the subject? If it is then it must be noted that silence is not approval. (1 Corinthians 4:6 and Hebrews 7:11-14 make that argument that silence is not permission.)

        Secondly, to say that Paul knew nothing of long term homosexual relationships is to neglect that it was God who inspired Paul to write these things (1 Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Did God know about such things? Certainly. So, that brings us back to the question, “Does God give approval of homosexual relationships in His Word?” Again, that answer is, No.

        Has God revealed to us his plan for sexual relationships? Yes. In Hebrews 13:4 He said, “Marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled.” But doesn’t the word “all” include homosexuals? Not if you go to God’s revealed instruction on marriage. God’s instruction says, “Therefore a man (iysh – male person) shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (ishshah – woman, wife, female), and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus affirmed the union of male and female as husband and wife in Matthew 19:4-6. Paul followed this pattern of male and female in marriage in Ephesians 5:31, where he also quoted Genesis 2:24. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 he gives instructions for the husband and the wife, man (aner – male) and women (gune – female) in marriage. In Romans 7:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 he says that it is law that a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If he dies then she is free to marry another. What law binds her? God’s law on marriage that Jesus referred to in Matthew 19 when He said, “from the beginning.” All these things point men and women back to God’s revealed will for marriage from the beginning. There is no other approval given for a different kind of marriage.

        It should be noted that God does not approve of any sexual relationships outside of marriage (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Fornication, adultery, pedophilia and bestiality are also sins that will send a soul to hell and must be repented of. Is adultery still sinful in the eyes of God?

        Why did John the Baptist say to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have her” concerning Herodias, his bother Phillip’s wife? (Matthew 14:4). Did he want Herod and Herodias to be unhappy? Did he want them to suffer? Did he want Salome to suffer? Didn’t John realize that his words would cause pain and heartache for this family? Shouldn’t he have just minded his own business and kept out of other people’s private lives? Lest we forget, his message was “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Did John get what he deserved for “meddling”?

        The wise man who built his house upon the rock is the one who heard the words of Jesus and did them (Matthew 7:24-27). The foolish man heard, but did not do. Paul warned us not to even think beyond what was written (1 Corinthians 4:6). We are to “Prove [test] all things. “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The way to test it is found in Acts 17:11, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” The words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 should be carefully considered. “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

      • I am glad you don’t want me dead- and now you are talking of bestiality and paedophilia. Sigh.

        Paedophilia is the abuse of children. Bestiality is sex with animals. How you could possibly imagine these things have anything to do with loving consensual adult relationships, entirely bamboozles me.

      • Steve Vice says:

        Clare, you seem to me to be knowledgeable about Greek. I suppose that you are familiar with the Greek word “pornia.” This word is inclusive of all forms of illicit sexual intercourse. In the King James Version it is translated “fornication.” In some newer versions it is translated as “sexual immorality. Pornia is inclusive of adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality and such things that are contrary to God’s revealed plan for marriage (see Thayer’s Lexicon, #4202). We are to “flee fornication” (pornia) for it is a sin against the body (1 Corinthians 6:18). in Verse 13 it says, “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality (pornia) but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” The connection is this. They are all sinful. The conclusion that I drew is not that those who engage in all of these sins are equal in their actions or mindset as far as their actions go. My point is that all these sins are outside God’s design for marriage and and anyone of them will prevent a soul from entering the kingdom of heaven. When you look at a person involved in any of these sexual sins, who also seek to “follow Christ,” they will use the same arguments that have been used here to dodge God’s word, to redefine God’s word, and to try to get around God’s word. But in the end, God’s word will judge us for the Bible says, “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4b). In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 it says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality (pornia); that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.”

        Clare, if you would like address the biblical arguments, well and good. I will continue. If not, there is no need to continue. Frankly, I am surprised that preacher pollard has allowed it to continue as it has. But I am thankful he has.

        And, Clare, thank you for this discussion. I have learned some things that are helpful to me. But unless there is a biblical point you would like to discuss, or a point you would like to make clarification on, or receive clarification, I do not see the need to continue on with this discussion.

      • OK. Is something “good” because God says so, or does God call good what is good? If the former, there might be an entirely random morality, though I would say God is love so the diktats would be Loving; if the latter, we must be able to show why something is Good, and be able to see that from something other than the Bible- see Romans 1 for natural theology.

        You cannot argue that there is any “good” in the condemnation of homosexual love, beyond discredited interpretations of isolated Bible verses. I too see no point in continuing.

      • Steve says:

        I appreciate a substantive dialogue. In Genesis 1, when God spoke into existence the creation, He said, “It is good.” After completing the creation with Adam and Eve, God said, “It is very good.” Under the Law of Moses God (again, we are not under this law, this is only an illustration) God instructed the priests to use the fire from the altar of burnt offerings. Nadab and Abihu brought “strange fire” which God had not commanded. In Leviticus 10:2 God destroyed them. Isn’t fire fire? What is the difference? It was God who determined which fire was to be used. In Numbers 20 God told Moses to take the rod, take Aaron, call the people together, and to speak to the rock. Moses took the rod, the took Aaron, gathered the people, but instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock. In verse 12 God asked Moses why did you not believe me? He did not allow Moses to cross the Jordan River because of this disobedience.

        Putting the cart before the horse: When someone allows theology to dictate their understanding of the Bible then it is backwards. It is the Bible that determines theology. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 God’s word says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

        Now, if it is true that God has provide “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) then it is the apex of huberuis to think that we must have outside confirmation other than the Bible for what is good.

        I have never claimed that love is wrong, bad or sinful. The Bible has revealed to us that God is love. My contention is that homosexuality is sinful. It is sex outside of marriage. It is sexual immorality (pornia). It is against nature and vile passion-lust of the flesh. This is revealed in the Bible. You mentioned that some verses have been “discredited.” Would that include 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says, “all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God…”? Does it include 1 Corinthians 14:37 which says, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet of spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write to you are the commandments of God”?

      • No, Steve, I never said verses had been discredited, only interpretations. But- you are so close to the Truth! God saw what God had made, and behold, it was very Good. Including gay people, our sexuality, our idiosyncrasies and ways of being.

        Then you cite Nadab and Abihu, whom God killed for- offering a sacrifice God had not commanded. And yet, Jesus never killed anyone.

        Oh, Steve, please do turn. I don’t know if you are gay yourself, but if so, stop torturing yourself. It is not God’s will.

      • Steve says:

        Isn’t Jesus God? (John 10:30.) Isn’t He part of the Godhead? (Colossians 2:8; Romans 1:1-2, 20.) Didn’t God become flesh? (John 1:1, 14.) And, although JEsus never caused a life to cease while in this world, will He, at the end of time, prevent some from entering into the kingdom of heaven? (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Timothy 4:1.) And who is it that will not enter into the kingdom? “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

        Clare, as much as it pains me, I have come to the conclusion that Romans 1:24-27 is applicable here. It says, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

      • Why does it pain you?

      • Steve Vice says:

        My pain is similar to what Paul felt in Romans 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”

        The rich young ruler was very near to eternal life. The Bible says that Jesus loved him (Mark 10:17-23). But the rich young ruler loved something in this world more than he loved Jesus. He turned away. Jesus did not chase him down.

        The Jews in John 8 believed in Jesus (John 8:31). But they refused to hear God’s words, were offended at Jesus’ words, and sought to justify themselves rather than hear God’s truth and repent. Jesus said, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

        The Bible clearly states that those who practice sin will not inherit eternal life. Those sins include, but are not limited to, sexual immorality (pornia), homosexuals (malakos), and sodomites (arsenokoites). (These sins are not more evil than others listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 or other places. But these have direct application to the discussion at hand.) Ezekiel wrote, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23.)

        This is my last post on this string.

      • Bye, Steve. Thank you for sharing.

  50. David Roach says:

    Steve, as pessimistic as it sounds, getting those who attempt to defend homosexual sexual relations to answer any questions that exposes the fallacy of that position, is near impossible. They will far too often attack the questioner or question their motive as has been done on this thread over & over again. Nonetheless we should keep asking the questions because there will be honest and rational persons at times who will see the futility of trying to defend such conduct while simultaneously trying to hold to the Bible; even if the majority is blind or perhaps simply dishonest.

    • Steve says:

      David, thank you for your support. I want to make the discussion a substantive one that addresses the issues, not one of personal opinions. I hope I have reflected that desire. God will judge. And we trust that “the truth will set you free.” Amen.

  51. David Roach says:

    In my judgment the issue of homosexuality, aka sexual relations between two persons of the same gender, is not complicated. Three simple basic Bible questions cut through all the “scripture twisting” and assertions.

    1. Does the Bible, specifically the New Covenant, condemn fornication aka sexual immorality?

    2. According to the Bible, specifically the New Covenant, if a man and a woman, both unmarried, engage in consensual sexual relations with each other, would such relations constitute fornication, aka sexual immorality?

    3. According to the Bible, specifically the New Covenant, if a woman and a woman, both unmarried, engage in consensual sexual relations with each other, would such relations constitute fornication, aka sexual immorality?

    The answers to the above questions are all “Yes”.

    The issue now becomes marriage. The only way sexual relations between same sex persons could even possibly be moral is IF those persons can enter the marriage relationship.

    Under the New Covenant the marriage relationship involves one man (male) and one woman (female); that’s it. If there is any other combination or quantity I have yet to discover it.

    Since two or more persons of the same gender cannot enter the marriage relationship consensual sexual relations between them can never be moral.

  52. violetwisp says:

    Can I ask if this church allows divorced and remarried couples, and families who support and accept their divorced and remarried relatives, to attend? I assume for the sake of consistency, the church would feel compelled by scriptural mandate to ask all such people to repent or be subject to church discipline.

    • Steve Vice says:

      Jesus was asked a similar question. Hear how our Lord and king responded. “The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,’ and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’ ? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” (Matthew 19:3-12).

      Having said that, the question is, “… if this church allows divorced and remarried couples, and families who support and accept their divorced and remarried relatives, to attend?” All are welcome to attend worship services. Jesus ate with sinners and publicans. Mark 2:17 says, “When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

      When those who had given their voice to put Jesus to death heard the gospel and believed it asked Peter and the apostles what they should do, Peter answer, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:36-38). In verse 41 they that gladly received these words were baptized and were added to them. In verse 47 it says that they were added to the church. The Lord is the one who adds people to the church. He is also the one who may take a person’s name out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5; 22:19).

      The withdrawing of fellowship is for members of a local congregation who are practicing sin and will not repent. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 18:15-17, that a person who will not repent after the second and third admonition is to be treated as a heathen and a tax collector. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul said to “deliver such a one [fornicator] to Satan,” “to purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump” and to “judge those that are within.” In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Paul gave a commandment in the name of Jesus Christ that we “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” This is a withdrawal of social fellowship, not a ban from assembling with the church. We want people come and hear the preaching of God’s word in the hopes that repentance will come, and a soul will be saved (see Matthew 18:15-17). We do not hate those who have been withdrawn from. But in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 we are to admonish them as an erring brother or sister.

      The call to repentance from sin is a most loving gesture. in Galatians 6:1 the Bible says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. James said, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). God’s way is better than man’s ways. Let us follow Him. Amen.

      • Excellently answered, Steve. Thanks.

      • violetwisp says:

        “The withdrawing of fellowship is for members of a local congregation who are practicing sin and will not repent. ” So anyone committing the sin of adultery in a second or third marriage (or anyone who publicly supports another person who has this lifestyle) has to withdraw from the fellowship of your church? Or does this rule only come into play for same sex couples?

  53. Steve Vice says:

    Consider for a moment, what if it was the public support had been by the mother of a pedophile? Would you be in favor of the withdrawing of fellowship if this person refused to repent, offering as a defense that she believed her child had been born that way? Would it make a difference?

    I cannot answer for every congregation. Churches of Christ are autonomous congregations. But, hypothetically speaking, if a member of a congregation where I was an elder publicly promoted, or publicly supported things that the Bible says are sinful, whether it be homosexuality, adultery, pedophilia, drunkenness, idolatry, thievery, arson, bribery, or any other sin that is contrary to the Scriptures the elders would call this person in and have a discussion with them in much the same fashion as the Ridgedale elders did with this member. You may be surprised to learn that there are a lot of churches of Christ who practice church discipline equally to all that are under their care because they are in submission to the head of the church–our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-24). Church discipline is commanded in His name (2 Thessalonians 3:6). And elders will also have to give an answer to God for the souls under their care on the day of judgment (Hebrews 13:17).

    Question: Is Jesus still the head of the church? Jesus also asked a very revealing question in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” If he is the one who commanded the withdrawing of fellowship, should we pass it by because it seems distasteful or unloving to us? If that was the case then someone needs to instruct God that casting sinners into a lake of fire must be taken out of the Bible.

    Remember the parable about the shepherd who had 100 sheep, and one became lost. He left the 99 and went to find that one sheep that was lost (Matthew 18:12-14). That is one part of the work elders are given to do.

    Another consideration, even if a congregation did not practice church discipline evenhandedly, would that justify a member who was involved in public sin? Would it help this person go to heaven who is involved in publicly supporting sin? Or, would it condemn the congregation for not obeying Jesus command? 2 Thessalonians 3:6 says, “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.”

    One might argue that this mother had done nothing wrong. But consider, if you will, 2 John 1:9-11. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, said, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” A good and faithful mother will never stop loving her child. But supporting a child in their sin will not help that child go to heaven. Should a mother support a son in his desire to be a pedophile?

  54. okechukwu says:

    Thank you for you good work, may good God continue to bless you. it is true that truth is bitter, no matter how human being strive to turn the bible to suit their false believe the truth can never be change. God will continue to strengthen you.

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