How to get arrested at Central Bible College. Plus: The Unremarked Transgendered Issue

How to get arrested at Central Bible College. Plus: The Unremarked Transgendered Issue

I was surprised to read of a recent arrest at Central Bible College when some folks arranged a non-violent protest and an attempt to “dialog” with allegedly “homophobic” school officials over Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered issues recently:

Central Bible College: Our First Act of Civil Disobedience (via Soulforce)

The blogger, Brandy Daniels from Wheaton, writes:

We arrived to Springfield, Illinois [knowing] at the beginning that it was likely that Central Bible College would not be as pleasant a stop. We relentlessly pursued conversation with the administrators at the school, who told us again and again that our voice was not welcome, that this was a conversation that the school did not need or want.

Arriving at CBC, the protesters found the school ready, with police and security from Evangel, CBC, and the General Concil all around (all hands on deck, apparently). After loitering on the sidewalks just off campus for several hours, silently reading their bibles, Abigail Reikow and Brandy Daniels entered campus through the main gate, walking toward the chapel when they were arrested, frisked, sent downtown and charged with a misdemeanor trespassing violation. The group left around noon. Apparently even non-violent protests give way to lunchtime hunger-pangs.

Prior to this, the Springfield News-Leader quoted campus pastor Ron Bradley:

“We have no difficulty discussing this issue (of homosexuality),” said Bradley. Instead, it is the organization and its method that led to the decision, he said. “Their track record has been ignoble at best. … “Our concern, having studied their patterns … is while their initial contact calls for dialogue, their pattern has been much more combative and on some campuses, deceptive.”

I don’t know what dialog this group hopes to foster, and I’m too pressed for time to research their claims or their theology. However, whatever one believes about sexual “orientation,” I believe it’s clear that Scriptures teach that it’s not the impulse to sin that marks the sinner (we all are tempted) but the behavior itself and the act of entertaining the temptations — nurturing sin in our hearts. Just by analogy, straight men are sexually tempted as well, but it’s not the temptation to have sex that marks the straight man as a sinner or even unregenerate: it is the behavior and the lust that defile.

Thus, I believe it’s possible to be a believer and a disciple while experiencing same-sex attraction — or any-sex attraction. Yet if obedience to Christ is the mark of a disciple, I am not as agnostic about salvation and the practice of gay and lesbian lifestyle choices.

But all that’s been discussed elsewhere and on other fora ad nauseum. If you want to see what the A/G teaches about it, review their extensive ephemera at the site here.

But the transgendered issue is still a relatively open discussion. There’s virtually nothing about it on the site, and there’s certainly no position paper on it.

Elsewhere, I own and moderate an email-based A/G discussion group. One of the long-time members of that group was a transgendered (male to female) participant who had not disclosed his/her gender mashup until another enterprising member discovered it and disclosed it publicly on the forum and called for an ousting. This was back in late 2003.

If it were just that a member on the forum were cross-dressing or undergoing gender reassignment, it wouldn’t have been a huge issue for me. We have sinners of all stripes on our message boards. Being an unbeliever, a pagan, or a sinner wasn’t a reason to get kicked off the forum or castigated. What made the ousting a bigger issue, for me, was that the individual involved was involved in lay-ministry at her local Assemblies of God church


So, I found myself struggling with the question: Is it possible to be a post-operative transsexual and remain a Christian?

I wasn’t sure, and still am not entirely certain of my position, but I suspect maybe the answer is similar to this question’s conclusion: Is it possible to divorce and remarry while your first spouse is alive and remain a Christian?

Personal View

My personal view is that the transgendered operation should only be embraced by those who are born hermaphrodites or whose sexual genitalia are opposite their genetic endowments. I do not currently buy the view that being “mentally” or psychologically a woman and “physically” a male (or vice-versa) somehow justifies surgical change. The mental phenomenon may or may not be legitimate, but that’s irrelevant to me. For a believer, I don’t believe the experience justifies the surgery.

By analogy, a mental or genetic predisposition to violence doesn’t justify abuse. Similarly, a mental or genetic predisposition to thinking like the opposite sex, or being attracted to the opposite sex, also doesn’t justify cross- dressing, transsexualism, or homosexuality.

I don’t endorse the view that “God doesn’t make mistakes, therefore, nobody is ever born with homosexual or transsexual desires.” Clearly, children are born with physical defects and abnormalities, as are others are born with mental defects and abnormalities.

Current research, while controversial, seems to deny that there is a “gay gene” or a truly gay “brain shape.” And I am not certain there is such a thing as an opposing-gendered mind trapped in the wrong-gendered body. But, however the research pans out, maybe it’s possible there is a truly homosexual brain formation, or a truly transsexual self-image reflected in deep mental structures. But whether homosexuality or transsexualism does or does not have an ultimate basis in biology is irrelevant to me.

In the first case, I believe the homosexual behavior is sinful, and that would be true regardless of any biological justification. After all, biologists have been telling us for years that males are driven by biology to have sex with as many females as possible. So what? Our values and morals are not founded on biology in a fallen world. Rather, they are based on God’s Word and his nature.

In the second case, I believe that acting out a sexuality or gender that is at odds with one’s physical genitalia creates a self- contradictory gender image — and this does violence to the “image of God” within.

Marriage, by Analogy

Bear with me as I take a slight digression to reveal my thinking here. I believe the fundamental reason divorce is unlawful in God’s eyes is because he created Male and Female to not only bear his Image independently, but also to bear his Image in union — through marriage. The marital union is the only relationship on Earth that mirrors and symbolizes the relationship between God and his Bride, the church.

In the same way that murdering another person violates the image of God within that person, divorce similarly violates the image of God within the marital union. Marriage is sacred, not just because of the vows surrounding the ceremony, but it is sacred because the image of God, and God himself, is present in the marital union in a way that it is not present in any other kind of relationship we know and enjoy.

Gender and the Image of God

But marriage of this kind requires the two genders that God created to be joined as one. God created male and female, from the beginning of time, to not only bear his image independently but to combine to symbolize his relationship to Man.

In light of gender being a fundamental part of God’s design for his creation, and in light of gender being an indispensable part of the marital union and all that is symbolized therein, I therefore believe that to deny one’s gender or to confuse the matter by switching genders, violates God’s design and intention.

Tentative Conclusion

Is it possible to have committed this sin and remain a Christian? Probably. Is it possible to fail to repent of this sin and remain a Christian? I don’t know. I wished I did.

But on the safe side, I follow the example shown in the early Church. If God has poured out his Spirit on and individual and that person bears the evidences the fruit of the Spirit in discipleship — especially obedience and chastity  — then I’ll treat that person like a child of God.

But, meanwhile, I feel it’s necessary to draw the line at ministry leadership. In the same way that divorced and remarried men and women are not allowed to hold ministerial papers in the A/G (I know many here will disagree with this), I would posit that transgendered or cross-dressing men and women also not hold positions of ministry. In my mind, that would include teaching Sunday School, leading outreach ministries, writing devotionals (with a byline), and so on.

This is one of those contemporary issues made possible by advanced medical technology that never faced the early church. Sure, I expect there were homosexuals and even cross-dresses in every age of mankind, but the ability to cross-dress the flesh itself is new. And the Church, by and large, has yet to figure out how to respond to this.

Interestingly, in 2003 and beyond, I know that the executive A/G leadership has been made aware of this issue. And yet, no studies have commenced, no committees formed, and no positional papers issued.

I suspect that’s going to have to change. And soon.


Read along with me:

[tags]BlogRodent, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Theology, Central-Bible-College, CBC, Protest, Non-Violent Protest, Springfield, Springfield-Missouri, Missouri, Soulforce, arrest, civil-disobedience, divorce, remarriage, marriage, ministry, GLBT, Springfield-News-Leader, morality, sin, leadership, Bible-College, Christianity, Religion, Pentecostal, Assemblies-of-God, Assembly-of-God[/tags]

45 thoughts on “How to get arrested at Central Bible College. Plus: The Unremarked Transgendered Issue

  1. Pingback: Fr. Don Clark: Spirit Filled Life

  2. carl

    I respect that CBC has the right to police its campus but I wish that a pentecostal school could have come up with something more than police action.

  3. SLW


    Interesting. I would guess from your comments that the sins in question, whether divorce or dressing cross-gendered, when committed in a former life, would permanently disqualify a convert in later life from ever holding leadership roles. Conversion would not erase the blackboard.

    Or am I assuming what isn’t so?

  4. Rich Post author


    Right. It’s unlikely they were terrorists. The police action sent a message about as clearly as the protest itself. Personally, it’s not how I would have handled it.


    Since Paul was responsible for the death of Christians before becoming a missionary / apostle and was, therefore, guilty of murder, apparently his sins were forgiven him. And, I believe, under OT law, murder was the only sin which could not be atoned for by making monetary or other forms of restitution. So, by my way of thinking, if Paul could be given a fresh start and endorsed for ministry by the first Church council and by no less than God himself, I suspect sexual sins and such committed before coming to faith would also not necessarily demerit one from ministry or leadership. I do think that needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis, and I know I don’t want to be the one doing the determining!

    As far as former cross-dressing and homosexuality are concerned, these are ultimately behavioral issues. If the behavior has stopped and there is no ongoing mental fascination with it, I would consider it a closed issue.

    And as far as post-operative sexual reassignment goes, I would expect that the believer would need to stop taking the medication to maintain the gender reassignment. Once the hormones are no longer flooding the system, I understand the body begins to revert to its “natural” state. The thorny question that would remain is whether the surgical procedures should even be attempted to be reversed, and I don’t know the answer to that one.

    As for marriage ocurring before salvation, I do have to wonder, what constitutes marriage? I don’t know, really, whether “unsanctified” marriages are the same in God’s eyes as marriages entered into by believers. I mean, if they are, then every homosexual marriage is on equal footing with every straight marriage. And I have a sense that this, really, is not the case. Just because a culture labels a particular style of relating a “marriage,” does that necessarily make it a marriage? I tend to think not, but that’s where I think there’s room to compromise on the hard-line stance of the A/G.

    Nevertheless, I can’t take a really firm position on the divorce-and-remarriage issue that occurs before salvation because while Paul proscribes ministry (pastoral) leadership to “a one woman man,” and while I believe that refers to a man who has not been divorced and remarried, I also have to question whether today’s secular marriages are on the same footing as the kind of relationships Paul had in mind. And I haven’t done the studies to take a firm position. After all, if taken literally, Paul’s proscription could just as easily forbid anybody who’s ever had sex outside of marriage before salvation from ever entering ministry.

    And I suspect if that were the case the number of ministers in the A/G that would have to be yanked would be stunning.


    Note, an alert reader has pointed out that in recent years the A/G has in fact softened its stance on credentialling ministers whose divorce occurred prior to salvation. That’s true, I had forgotten that the last General Council, I believe, made that resolution.

    Standard for offices of bishop, or elder, and deacon. Since the New Testament restricts divorced and remarried believers from the church offices of bishop, or elder, and deacon, we recommend that this standard be upheld by all our assemblies (1 Timothy 3:12; Titus 1:5—9), except when the divorce occurred prior to conversion (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, we recommend that all other opportunities for Christian service for which these believers may be qualified be made available to them.

    Prerogative of local assemblies. It is understood that recommendations are not binding, but local assemblies shall maintain the prerogative of setting their own standards (in accord with provisions of Article XI of the Constitution).


    We disapprove of any married persons holding ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God or district councils granting credentials to such, if either marriage partner has a former spouse living, unless the divorce occurred prior to his or her conversion except as hereinafter provided.


  5. Pingback: The DIP Shtick: Time for a discussion in the church about Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Issues

  6. Michelle

    I do not currently buy the view that being “mentally” or psychologically a woman and “physically” a male (or vice-versa) somehow justifies surgical change.

    If it is not immoral or unjustified to align someone’s physical genitals with a specific gender when the genitals themselves are ambiguous, then why is it any different for someone whose psychological makeup is transposed with their biology?

    While it may be difficult for you to imagine such a state, and the anxiety and stress that it imposes upon those with it, it seems to me that trivializing it “because it’s in their heads” does a grave disservice to those people as human beings.

    To date, gender role transition and (for some) surgical alignment of the genital region are the only known treatment path to successfully alleviate the conflict that transsexuals experience.

  7. Rich Post author

    Hi, Michelle, thanks for commenting.

    You asked:

    If it is not immoral or unjustified to align someone’s physical genitals with a specific gender when the genitals themselves are ambiguous, then why is it any different for someone whose psychological makeup is transposed with their biology?

    My comment is that when gender as expressed by DNA is at odds with genitalia, I don’t see that as an unjustified surgical and hormonal change.

    It’s only with modern technology that comfort now triumphs over adversity and challenge.

    Now we are being told that anxiety and mental suffering over one’s sexual identity is the moral evil equivalent of, say, a malignant tumor that must be excised to prevent the death. The proposed solution to gender identity anxiety, then, is to fix the body.

    And why not? After all, if a pregnancy is distressing, our secular moral gatekeepers tell us that the offending parasite can easily be removed, and the pregnant woman’s mental anguish thereby resolved.

    Do you overeat and are you suffering because mentally you are thin but physically you are obese? No problem, again. Surgery can remove the fat and staples can prevent you from eating too much ever again.

    Perhaps you are distressed because you are not attractive enough. You want bigger breasts. We have the technology. Please stand in line.

    Perhaps, the emails tell me, I want to satisfy my lover and I’m uncomfortable because my “manhood” is not equine enough? Again, I am promised, a little money, a little time, perhaps a little surgery, and my sex love is improved. Poof! There goes my insecurity!

    I get it that people feel anxiety, pain, and distress. Sometimes it’s over their sense of identity sometimes something else. And, sure, I’ll never understand the pain of feeling like a woman trapped inside a man’s body, or vice versa. But why do feelings — whatever their source — require that we transform our bodies?

    As believers, we should expect transformation of the mind and soul, instead.

    We refuse our “thorns in the flesh” today because we think we can. God’s grace is simply no longer sufficient. Augmentation through surgery, instead, paves the way.

    Note, I am not saying that I reject medical advances to cure disease, to heal, and to resolve disabilities. But what if gender dysphoria is a feature, not a bug? What if God designed some of us this way? Maybe the belivers suffering from this gender confusion would have something powerful to teach us from their wilderness of pain and confusion?

    You write that I have trivialized this issue by claiming that I have written that it’s only a problem “in their heads.” I feel you have mischaracterized my position and this is not what I’ve implied nor stated. You have inferred it.

    You closed by stating:

    To date, gender role transition and (for some) surgical alignment of the genital region are the only known treatment path to successfully alleviate the conflict that transsexuals experience.

    And again, I ask, why is it morally necessary to alleviate this conflict through bodily modification, whatever its source? As a straight married man in a sexually charged society, I face conflict every time I am tempted to lust after a shapely woman. I face conflict every time I am tempted to go beyond lust and experience sexual satisfaction with someone not my wife. Shucks, I face conflict every time I turn on the TV. Maybe there’s a talk therapy and prescription that would successfully eliminate these temptations. But every man I’ve ever spoken with struggles with the same conflict. Wouldn’t it be a more beautiful and peaceful world if we could only snip a few things here and there and remove those desires, thus alleviating ourselves of such conflict?

    Or would it be better for us to trust in God’s sufficient grace?

    Sure, rail against me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that surgery is absolutely necessary. But in doing so you must necessarily conclude that God’s grace simply is not sufficient.

    And no surgery in the world can fix that belief.


  8. carl

    Michelle, for me the short answer is that we were created with the correct physical identity. Jesus can bring the correct mental identity. Those who choose to not take that route are not suitable for ministry for that alone.

    rich – equine manhood? yikes!

  9. SLW

    Rich & Carl,

    Great responses.

    As long as everything in human experience is cast within the framework of secular psychology, none of it will be dealt with in terms of sin, or on a scale natural vs. unnatural, or really, anything that makes common sense. Our fascination with the abnormal becomes our comfort, becomes our acceptance, becomes…

    God forbid, our adoption of it.

  10. Common Swift

    Several issues are being lumped together here, like the actions of Soulforce the Transgendered and links that take me to the discussion of homosexuality in general.

    Each needs it’s own discussion, but I want to touch on each separatley.

    Ron Bradley’s quote of;

    “We have no difficulty discussing this issue (of homosexuality),” said Bradley. Instead, it is the organization and its method that led to the decision, he said. “Their track record has been ignoble at best. … Our concern, having studied their patterns … is while their initial contact calls for dialogue, their pattern has been much more combative and on some campuses, deceptive.”

    This is simply untrue. The actions of Soulforce are well documented on video and in photo galleries on the various blogs out there, not only where they non-combative at the various campuses they visited, but they showed amazing restraint with many times it ending with soulforce members and the schools alumni praying together after engaging in civil dialogue.

    Whatever helps you sleep at night Ron…

    I really can’t make a judgment call on the transgendered issue, I just don’t know enough about this complex issue to speak on people’s very lives other than to say the Presbyterian Church had a predicament in the fall of ’96 with one of its ministers being transgenderd. After 16 months of intense debate and study, including the individual speaking on his/her behalf, they voted to sustain the ecclesiastical ordination of the individual. Since I don’t believe my beloved AoG is more stubborn as a Church body than the Presbyterians (at least I hope not), I would love a similiar situation played out with us.

    Now, On the issue of Homosexuality in general.

    I have posted on Blogrodent for a good few months now and I say this to point out that I am not a stranger here. Homosexuality has not come up on these boards directly (the Haggard post came close) and since it has not, I never felt a need to out myself, untill now.

    Two points I want to clarify.

    It is not a choice. And for those who would argue with me, who would know, you or me?


    Alaskan crab fishermen who live on a boat 6 months out of a year live a “Lifestyle.” What you call a “lifestyle” for me is getting up every morning, dealing with everyday problems, enjoying everyday blessings, going to the word of God to find everyday answers, seeking the face of God and thanking my Savior I am saved by grace before falling asleep usually without brushing my teeth first.

    Some “Gay Agenda” I’m promoting huh?

  11. carl

    common swift

    I appreciate the civil discourse though I do take exception to several of your points.

    I hope that the AG is more stubborn than the Presbyterians and refuse to deviate from the teachings of Scripture. For an organization that still requires its ministers to not take a sip of alcohol for any reason, I doubt you will see a GLBT minister in the pulpit any time soon.

    I also take exception with the notion that only practicing homosexuals have any authority regarding homosexuality. There are too many people who successfully resist same sex attraction, and are far happier because of it, to say that only those who succumb to the desires have any insight.

    Again, we defer not to our feelings or emotions, we defer to the teachings of scripture on these notions. How can one know if they are deceived? We test our beliefs against the bible and give it the final authority.

  12. SLW

    Common Swift:

    Identical twin studies prove, beyond a doubt it seems to me, that homosexuality is not genetically determined. For there to be no choice in the matter, one would have to argue that the developmental issues that cause it are so powerful as to be irreversible and unassailable.

    The Bible teaches that homosexual acts are sin, period! Christians believe that Christ came to take away sin (not change its definition). For a Christian to agree with you about the lack of choice, he would have to deny both the mission of Christ to do away with sin, and the resurrection of Christ which has the power to create life after sin. That change may be difficult no one would argue, but to say change is impossible is faithless.

  13. Common Swift


    I would like to know how the Presbyterian Assembly came to the decision it did.
    I doubt the church would turn it’s back on scripture just to accomodate one individual with all the rest of the Christian world to see. Remember, they came to this conclusion after 16 months of extensive research and debate. They obviously felt they where not going against the Word of God in coming to thier decision.


    “I also take exception with the notion that only practicing homosexuals have any authority regarding homosexuality. There are too many people who successfully resist same sex attraction, and are far happier because of it, to say that only those who succumb to the desires have any insight. “

    Where are these people? I challange you to give me even one name of an individual who is not associated with the likes of organizations like P-FLAG and EXODUS International and it’s affiliates. You have been fed a line Carl, by those who tell you what you want to hear, plain and simple. is an excellent resource for looking into the claims of these groups and there ‘ex-gay’ spokespeople they put out there for the media. Check it out. You need to be given the right information along with what the Holy Spirit is saying in your heart.

  14. Common Swift


    The Bailey and Pillard 1991 “Twin Study” you referance said no such thing.

    I’ll quote from the New York Times of April 21, 2007:

    “A new study of twins provides the strongest evidence yet that homosexuality has a genetic basis, researchers say, though they say other factors like social conditioning may be important.

    The study, published in the December issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, adds to evidence that sexual orientation does not result from a maladjustment or moral defect, one author said.

    “We found 52 percent of identical twin brothers of gay men also were gay, compared with 22 percent of fraternal twins, compared with 11 percent of genetically unrelated brothers,” said J. Michael Bailey, an assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, “which is exactly the kind of pattern you would want to see if something genetic were going on.” By “unrelated,” Dr. Bailey was referring to brothers by adoption.

    “The genetically most similar brothers were also the ones most likely to be gay, by a large margin,” he added.”

    Please do not bare false witness to get your point across. Let me ask you SLW, have you ever bothered to make peace with scriptures that, from the surface, seem discriminatory? To single out, isolate, discriminate and condemn men and women on such a grand scale because of two hard-to-translate Greek words in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians and the “against nature” argument in Romans (if that were taken in context, is clearly in the framework of idolatry and exploitation). I have to believe there is something else at work here other than good intentions from the well-meaning believers. The world maybe lost but it’s not completely stupid. It sees the empty and in-between-the-lines judgmental parroting of Bible verses and juvenile catch phrases like “Adam and EVE not Adam and STEVE” as void of any sense, with no leading by the Holy Spirit (keep in mind Satan quoted scriptural ?words? correctly to Jesus in the wilderness but that he quoted incorrectly in framework).

    I guess the love Jesus said would be the measuring rod to tell the world we are his, as well as the love Paul said is the only thing that will endure after everything else has fallen away, is not a high priority when it comes to if “Joe is sleeping with Jim.” God forgive the spectacle the church has made of itself! It breaks my heart to know the world doesn?t see a beautiful bride of Christ it’s drawn to but instead sees a hypocritical Bridezilla it’s scared of.

  15. carl


    “You have been fed a line Carl, by those who tell you what you want to hear, plain and simple.”

    I so wish you had been part of a ministry that operated in the power of God to transform sinful lives. I have nothing to prove. Those who choose to believe a reality that is a contradiction to the truth cannot be convinced with words. However, I assure you that I am not talking about people I heard in a conference or read about online, though I have talked with them.

    I am talking about people I have pastored who recognized that they had sinful thoughts, desires, and actions and have allowed themselves to be transformed by the grace of God. It is this grace that I wish you would not resist.

    The question about the genetics of homosexuality are irrelevant to me. If someone has a genetic defect and is born blind, should we not pray that they receive sight? Of course not. We pray that they can see.

    And again, you try to disqualify anyone as an authority on homosexuality who has not given up on God. You do not have the authority to do that.

    The people who have both known the temptation of sin, and the power of God to overcome sin, are the very people who should lead the debate.

    I have stated what I believe. What do you believe? Is there such a thing as sin? Do you believe that people will suffer in an eternal hell if they do not repent of those sins (by sins, I am including actions that God has told us not to commit)? Do you believe the Bible is to be taken literally (At least the words of Jesus)?

    I have no plans to debate the answers to these questions. As with you, I imagine, my answers are unwavering.

    And, I think I agree with the Presbyterian view of homosexuality almost completely.

  16. SLW

    Common Swift:

    The study you cite proves the opposite of what you propose. 100% of identical twins have the same colored eyes or hair. Those traits are genetically determined. The fact that half of identical twins do not share the same sexual orientation proves it is not genetically determined, but is determined by environmental and personal influences after conception. When you add to it the statistics regarding fraternal twins, who are no more genetically similar than any other siblings, you prove (if anything) that sharing the “culture” of the womb is more likely to produce homosexuals than not sharing time in utero! As for the scripture you are entirely in error. Not only do I depend on more than two verses to understand what’s taught on the subject, the translation of exactly what Paul meant in his NT statements is abundantly clear to anyone reading with an honest mind. And I feel compelled to tell you, sir, unless you repent and cease dragging others with you on this path to abomination, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God, and that would truly be a shame.

  17. Common Swift


    I wish you could see the wonderfull fruits in the lives of Gay Christians I have witnessed, including my own. Your right though, words can not change a hard heart if you refuse to see how the Holy Spirit can work in these lives. All I can tell you is truth, if you decide to accept it, I praise God for it.

    From my own personal experience with those gay men and women who seek to change, a vast majority of them come from abusive backgrounds with drugs, alcohol and promiscuity playing no small part. They link these behaviors with thier homosexual feelings instead of seeing these specific behaviors for what they simply are; bad behaviors, regardless of orientation. Never will a happy homosexual seek out your care. So that leaves you with a skewered view of what it means being gay.

    I didn’t bring up genetic’s SLW did, and I agree, it is irrelevant.

    I have not “Given up on God” because I do not desire to be with a female. This is what you made up in your OWN mind. Once again, unfortunately.

    Funny that you give such authority to these handfulls of “ex-gays,” since they are as rare a a unicorn, I guess they DO have some importance, certainley more than mine according to you. Actually I believe those who should be in the forefront of the debate should be those who have left being “ex-gay” and now embrace Salvation with a gay identity. They of all people know what it’s like being “ex-gay” and its resulting failure being played out to its end. I can put you in contact with tons of those people if you really want to be fair with this issue.

    Oh, and a big YES to all of your questions, bet you didn’t expect that did you?

  18. Common Swift


    It doesn’t have to be a 100% to show a link. If it were all environment, then identical twins would both be gay as often as fraternal twins. The researchers themselves claim a link, so forgive me if I go with their own claim, on their own study, instead of your personal interpretation.

    These are the numbers;

    Bailey and Pillard (1991): occurrence of homosexuality among brothers

    • 52% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual men were likewise homosexual
    • 22% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
    • 11% of adoptive brothers of homosexual men were likewise homosexual

    — J.M. Bailey and R.C. Pillard, “A genetic study of male sexual orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 48:1089-1096, December 1991.

    Bailey and Pillard (1993): occurrence of homosexuality among sisters

    • 48% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual women were likewise homosexual (lesbian)
    • 16% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
    • 6% of adoptive sisters of homosexual women were likewise homosexual

    — Bailey, J. M. and D. S. Benishay (1993), “Familial Aggregation of Female Sexual Orientation,” American Journal of Psychiatry 150(2): 272-277.

    The words in scripture I reference, MALAKOI (Lit. “Softie”) in 1 Corinthians, ARSENKOITAI (Lit. “Male lying the bed”) in 1 Timothy and PARA PHYSIN (Lit. “Against Nature”) in Romans, are the only places the in the whole of the New Testament one could say might refer to homosexuality. But, tradition and not sound exegesis is behind how they evolved into a condemnation for all gay men and women. I don’t know what else your reading to get what your getting from Paul.

    SLW, you may disagree with me on on this topic all you like, but be very carefull with making such claims of me going to hell and dragging others with me.

    “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
    —Jude 1:9

  19. carl

    @Rich, I have effectively hijacked your post. please forgive me. But I find this conversation interesting.

    [No worries, Carl, if I feel things are out of hand, I’ll step in or shut off comments. It’s a worthwhile dialog in my opinion. Thanks for your concern! — Rich]


    I appreciate the civil discourse and have a few follow up comments and questions.

    I have no fantasy of “converting you” from your current state, though I wish I could. I am not trying to bait you and hope you are not flamed as a result.

    It has been my experience that when people have deeply embedded sins, sins that change their outlook on their faith, their view of God, their relationships with other people, their interpretation of scripture etc, God first begins to touch their heart and deal with other things first. I have never met someone who came to me and said God wants me to stop being gay. This same sex attraction comes up much later.

    And happiness is no gauge. I submit to you that only people who are unhappy are beginning to yield to the conviction of God. Lots of lost people say that only drug addicts and weak people need “religion.” You use the same accusation against people who leave the gay lifestyle.

    And again, I don’t think a person’s happiness is any gauge of their godliness. I have known lots of really nice, loving, caring, long suffering hell bound people.

    But here is what I really wonder. How does a person who lives a gay lifestyle know the conviction of the Holy Spirit? And can you say with any authority that any behavior is bad? If you reject a literal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 what could be off limits?

    I honestly do not believe you when you say you accept a literal interpretation of the bible in one sentence then say fornication is ok in another. Could you reconcile that for me?

  20. Common Swift

    I am all too happy to give you the answers you seek Carl. You have legitimate questions, but you also have to be open for the answers. Like I said, I trust the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

    I never thought you were trying to convert me. Besides, how do you convert the already converted? I once posted my testimony on the Internet and the response was nothing short of phenomenal. I would like to do that here, but feel it has nothing to do with the topic of the transgendered; so maybe Rich can start a separate topic on being gay and Christian. I do want to give one excerpt here because I believe it will give you the answer of where I stand on the word of God:

    My sexuality didn’t change, I changed. Let me emphasize, and I cannot do it enough: Obedience to the word of God is first and foremost, above any personal revelation or feelings. All the more the reason we need to understand exactly what it says, so we can make a, “just judgment” (John.7:24).

    I truly believe what I wrote Carl.

    Before we go any further, I ask that you please stop using the term “gay lifestyle;” it is a myth. I thought I clarified that in my first post. The use of the term makes a distinction between you and me in how we live our day to day life, a distinction that does not exist; a boogie man to see me as an “other than us.”

    Self-hatred for being gay will manifest itself with destructive behaviors and that’s probably what you are seeing with those who come to you. You say no one comes to you saying “God wants me to stop being gay,” but wanting to change is a given because of churches’ stance on the issue; they really don’t need it spelled out for them. I have known happy people who have come to salvation because of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, so unhappiness is not a gauge either.

    I absolutely believe 1 Corinthians, but you are on the assumption it is speaking of homosexuals. It’s reading into the text with what can only be called a translation that is severely lacking. What you want me to see as “fornication” I see as a loving, monogamous, 19-year relationship. I have committed to my Lord and Savior and this has absolutely nothing to do with 1 Corinthians. I also don’t know why you bring up the Presbyterian church’s view on homosexuality; the issue was the transgendered, totally different from homosexuality, as it should be.

    Peace be with you.

    P.S. Correction folks, I meant to say P-FOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) and not the wonderful P-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) in a previous post. I gotta stop writing these things when I’m so tired.

    I also want to say this to the readers here: This is an open forum for the public to read, believer and unbeliever. How you speak to me reflects on the God we both profess as King of our life. Do not confuse moral fortitude with immoral foolishness, which brings reproach to our Savior; that has been done enough.

  21. Rich Post author

    A couple notes, first, I haven’t posted in several days because over the weekend I and my family went to Michigan to celebrate my Bride’s birthday. And she came home sporting a severely sprained ankle. So, I’ve been busy.

    Second, I had a lengthy reply already written, but my text editor died, and ate it. :: sigh :: I’ll try again.

    @Common Swift

    I am not convinced Soulforce truly wanted dialog more than they wanted press. Similarly, your quibble over Ron Bradley’s accusation that the Soulforce agenda shows evidence of combativeness and deception may be to the point of whether Soulforce truly wanted dialog, or press. Further, “combative” is a soft term, open to a lot of interpretation. For certain, one may perceive combativeness where none was intended, but that doesn’t invalidate the perception.

    I’m familiar with some of the press around Erin Swenson’s ordination in the PCUSA. Sadly, this issue continues to divide the PCUSA as it has divided the global Anglican church. Unlike you, I truly hope the A/G doesn’t have to face this issue in a public forum like this. I’d much prefer we formalize our position before it becomes a media-juicy scenario.

    I could go on (and in my former missive, I did) about my position on GLBT and ministry, but I’ll let my post speak for itself. I’ve probably said enough there.

    Your assertion that homosexuality “is not a choice” may very well be true. After all, for many of us, our identity as heterosexuals, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, or Muslims also was not initiated by any singular, identifiable choice. For whatever reason, we may find ourselves in our identity each moment as though we had “just arrived.” That said, I’m not certain it matters whether you can identify any choice you ever made to identify as a homosexual, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a pending choice (and continuing line of choices) that must be made to counter the situation you find yourself in. Though he may have never made a choice to worship as a Muslim, once confronted with the Gospel and the claims of Jesus, the Muslim now finds himself in a predicament and the question is being asked of him: will you now make a choice?

    If biblical morality is a function of our biology, then your choice or lack of choice is a non-issue. You simply function as your biology dictates, whether your biology is a natural condition of Divine creation or the simple intersection of nurture, hormones, formation, and genetics. But I suspect that the righteousness God calls us to goes beyond biology  — sometimes frustratingly so. Maybe impossibly so because we are called to be perfect even as Christ is perfect. Is that truly attainable for you and me right here right now? That kind of behavioral and moral perfect is probably factually impossible, but that doesn’t in any way diminish our moral and godly responsibility to work toward the perfection God wants to see completed in us.

    As I’m sure that every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered believer can attest  — along with every straight, single, married, celibate, and sexual believer  — Paul the Apostle’s conflict applies:

    I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Romans 7:14-16)

    As for your comments about “lifestyle:” I wouldn’t protest too much about this. It’s shorthand for the way various GLBT advocates view the world and live accordingly. Sure, parts of your life “style” may be indistinguishable from mine save for your sexual identity and/or practice, but those essential differences and the biblical views you advocate are the core of what is spoken of as the GLBT “lifestyle.” When I use the term, myself, I’m thinking specifically of the worldview and behaviors promoted or defended by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered proponents and allies.

    Regarding how the “Presbyterian Assembly came to the decision it did” regarding Erin Swenson, you wrote that:

    I doubt the church would turn it’s back on Scripture just to accommodate one individual with all the rest of the Christian world to see. Remember, they came to this conclusion after 16 months of extensive research and debate. They obviously felt they where not going against the Word of God in coming to their decision.

    I wouldn’t necessarily come to the same conclusion as you. Erik Swenson, before having his gender reassigned, spent those sixteen months personally lobbying with individuals who would ultimately be needed to support the vote. The decision, as I read it, rested largely on the character and personality of Erik (now Erin) Swenson more than on any Biblical case that was made. If anything, the major plank of argumentation in this area rests on the Bible’s relative silence on this and related issues more than any passage which advocates gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered ministers.

    You issued a challenge to “give me even one name of an individual who is not associated with the likes of organizations like P-FLAG and EXODUS International and it’s affiliates” who is a successfully “converted” ex-gay. I infer that you believe that anyone influenced by these ministries must either be lying, hiding, or brainwashed. Since these are the primary umbrella organizations sponsoring reparative therapies, this kind of covers the waterfront, and many of the claims against these organizations say that the ex-gays are simply hiding the truth, and it may take a dozen or more years for the truth to be revealed. But there do seem to be folks who have renounced their homosexuality and are free from it, like worship singer and , previously the pastor of Specialized Youth Issues, at Calvary Assembly of God in Winter Park, FL. I believe he’s now the president of Exodus, so naturally that invalidates his testimony.

    But the problem is like the old ‘eternal security’ debate: If I can produce an ex-gay testimony, one can claim that he or she was either never really gay to begin with, or he’s still gay but not admitting it.

    Regarding the twin studies and conclusions about homosexuality, honestly, I view such studies with grain of suspicion. After all, such studies have also shown that twins often marry women with the same name, or that they inadvertently marry sisters even though the twins were separated at birth, or that they chose nearly identical careers.

    To the determinist, twin studies are the proof that life, our urges, and our choices are ultimately all biologically driven. If a twin study revealed that identical twins also demonstrated a high degree of correspondence over other traits such as, say, pedophilia, would that therefore excuse the pedophilia as morally acceptable because it’s merely biologically driven and “does not result from a maladjustment or moral defect?”

    To me, this doesn’t really “prove” anything except to say that identical twins are an interesting mystery to explore.

    Regarding biblical terms:

    Para physin (Romans 1:18-32, specifically 1:26), I agree that “against nature” is a close translation of this phrase. Para, the preposition, adds a variety of nuances to the words it modifies. I would prefer, though, “apart from what is natural” or “apart from what is instinctive.” In this context, the issue of “choice” over sexuality is interesting. Since, as a cultural “whole,” the godless have rejected God and his laws, he has given them over to a mind-set. So, it seems clear from Paul’s perspective, that there may well be a lack of intentionality in choosing sinful behaviors in light of one’s overall worldview and mind-set.

    Malakoi (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), I can buy “softie” for this passage since its literal meaning refers to soft or fine clothing. And I agree that its figurative usage is unclear, but because this term is part of behavioral sins (many of them sexual) I must conclude that Paul has observable behavior in mind, not inner mind-sets or temptations. (Even “covetous,” pleonektes, implies defrauding behavior more than merely desiring monetary gain.) Again, this goes to my point that it is not the sense of identity or temptation that is, itself, the sin, but the act of “unsanctioned” sex itself.

    Arsenokoitai (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10), I don’t buy your literal translation as “male lying the bed.” True, the arsen prefix is the masculine adjective or noun, as in Matthew 19:4, where Christ describes the creation of “male” and “female.” But the suffix, koitai is more than simply “laying down.” When used figuratively, as it is here, it implies the marriage bed, as in Hebrews 13:4 or conception as in Romans 9:10.

    I would accept as a more accurate translation: “male coitus.”

    Again, what is in view here is not a way of thinking that is “gay,” but sexual acts between the same gender. One could argue that the way of thinking must precede the way of relating sexually and is therefore guilty by association, as thievery follows from covetous thoughts, or adultery follows from lust. That may be, and I don’t think the Bible addresses this apart from lust and impure thoughts.

    For myself, I reject your characterization as these passages being unfairly used to support “condemnation for all gay men and women.” Rather, these passages condemn homosexual acts.

    As to whether you’re going to Hell, or not, I don’t know you and it’s not my business to decide that. Whether you think Paul’s strictures apply to you and your sinfulness or lack thereof is between you and God. I would only suggest that if you are not celibate you are flirting with eternal danger if not outright dancing with it. And I don’t believe a case can be made that a monogamous homosexual relationship including coitus is truly being celibate.

    Finally, regarding this comment area as an “open forum,” it’s true that it’s a forum, and it is currently open, but it is open at my whim and pleasure. Nobody but me has a “right” to post their comments here, and I reserve the right to edit, cut, delete, or close all comments. As this is my online publication, I am its editor. I am, nevertheless, a benign editor, I hope, and I don’t change wording. If I do anything, I might simply delete inappropriate comments and let the writer know they can try again. I can say that, regarding this post and its comments, I have approved all submitted comments and have only made some minor edits, such as converting high-bit unprintable characters to their low-bit counterparts, or encapsulating some quoted material in blockquote tags for easier readability.

    I enjoy the dialog, and I think the exchange can be helpful. So, carry on, please.


    Carl wrote:

    And happiness is no gauge

    Ain’t that the truth! I know more happy pagans than I do happy churchgoers. I like Denis Prager’s quote on this:

    I once asked a deeply religious man if he considered himself a truly pious person. He responded that while he aspired to be one, he felt that he fell short in two areas. One of those areas, he said, was his not being a happy enough person to be considered truly pious.

    His point was that unhappy religious people reflect poorly on their religion and on their Creator. He was right; in fact, unhappy religious people pose a real challenge to faith. If their faith is so impressive, why aren’t these devoted adherents happy? There are only two possible reasons: either they are not practicing their faith correctly, or they are practicing their faith correctly and the religion itself is not conducive to happiness. Most outsiders assume the latter reason. Unhappy religious people should therefore think about how important being happy is—if not for themselves, then for the sake of their religion. Unhappy, let alone angry, religious people provide more persuasive arguments for atheism and secularism than do all the arguments of atheists.

    —Dennis Prager, talk show host, author, columnist , Happiness Is a Serious Problem (Regan Books, 1998), p.4;

    Carl also asked:

    If you reject a literal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 what could be off limits?

    I would like to add two thoughts to this:

    First: I don’t believe in a literal interpretation for every verse and every term. The text of Scripture should be interpreted according to its genre. Some genres are literal and should be approached that way. Others are poetic and should be approached poetically and figuratively. However, even similes and metaphors use literal terms and even didactic passages use similes. For example, Common Swift points out the problems interpreting “Malakoi,” which appears to be a figurative term that has provided considerable difficulty for interpretation. Some have translated the term to mean homosexuals, others homosexual prostitutes, others effeminate. Maybe somebody will suggest the modern portmanteau, “metrosexual” as a viable term. Who knows?

    But I don’t think the debate about gay and lesbian sexual relations turn on that one word.

    Second: if one accepts that biology determines one’s worldview and choices and that there is literally no choice to be made regarding how one acts out their sexual identity or sexual inclination, or that such choices are devoid of moral significance, then we must accept that other choices arising out of biology are also bereft of any taint of sin.

    The alcoholic with a genetic predisposition to drunkenness need only worry about his health and harming others. There’s no need to worry about the righteousness of a serious bender now and then. The pederast with a genetic predisposition for sexual relations with young boys need only worry about finding a willing partner, never mind the ethics of sex with minors. The teacher who abuses her position of authority by engaging in sex with her young charges need only be concerned that it was consensual sex, nothing more. The sociopath, apparently born without a sense of morality over anything, need only worry about not getting caught, really, since his depravity may be said to be innate, not acquired. And if it was acquired, it was done as such an early age as to be irremediable.

    If we accept that marriage, by Divine design, is acceptable between men and men or women and women, then there really is no boundary that cannot be crossed as long as all partners are loving and God-fearing. Why not polyandry or polygamy? Why not bestiality? Even if there’s no sex involved, why not marry a dolphin?

    Well, actually, already “married” a dolphin (err … she’s ).

    Yes, this is a slippery slope argument, taking something to it’s logically absurd conclusions, and this is a somewhat unfair tactic in argumentation. But, unfortunately, life has already taken us there and it’s no longer a mere rhetorical trick.

    If biology truly trumps morality then we might as well throw the Bible out with the bilge water.



  22. Kathi Sharpe

    You issued a challenge to “give me even one name of an individual who is not associated with the likes of organizations like P-FLAG and EXODUS International and it’s affiliates” who is a successfully “converted” ex-gay.

    Ex-bisexual here – when I came to Christ, those feelings left immediately (as evidenced by the fact that the very next day on the beach my head did not turn at the sight of any bikini-clad gals… where the morning before my head would have spun off at such a sight! and further evidenced by over six years of being “ex” in this department.)

    Successfully converted? Oh yes. Affiliated with or influenced by any group, support system, etc? Nope.

  23. SLW

    Common Swift:
    My last comment to you never got through, so let me attempt this again, with as much civility as I can muster.

    I stand by my analysis of the statistics you cited. Adding lesbians to the mix only goes further to prove my point. You said there is no choice, that is genetic determinism. The statistics belie that point. Half of those with identical genes don’t end up being homosexual. If it’s genes causing the half that do, what is it that’s causing the half that aren’t? If they aren’t, with the same genetics, it means something after conception is actually the determiner and there is a choice. You may say it’s a complicated interaction of genes leading to tendency or predisposition, fine, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt (though I don’t actually believe that), but that doesn’t excuse it from a moral standpoint. The predisposition to alcoholism doesn’t make drunkenness non-sinful (as both Rich and Carl have pointed out). We are all driven by things we don’t understand the genesis of, that doesn’t mean we let the flesh or urge dictate what is acceptable to God.

    On the scripture, you miss the elephant in the room. Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews. His viewpoint of right and wrong (particularly as regards sex) was informed by the Hebrew canon. He didn’t pull something new out of the air without regard to what HE KNEW WAS THE ESTABLISHED WORD OF GOD. Leviticus 20:13 is unmistakealbly clear in this matter. Rich ably dealt with the NT texts on the subject, but let me be clear on this: there is no way anyone of honest mind and goodwill can miss the obvious intent of what the scriptures say in this matter. To do so, one must willfully engage in exegetical alchemy.

    I won’t talk about eternal consequences again, but let me say this: you should be more concerned about what you approve (Rom 1:32, 14:22) than what me or any supposed homophobe disapproves.

  24. Common Swift

    I do know this is your blog Rich, your face is all over the thing for one; so edit, cut, make paper Mache out of it if you want, who is stopping you my brother? ; )

    I would agree with you that “Combativeness” is in the eye of the beholder, but the claim from Mr. Bradley just does not hold water. And anti-gay Christian groups do not seek press? That is how they get their bread buttered. If these Christian political groups across the country spent even one fraction of the effort, time and money that they spend on poverty, or even those that are just lost in this world, that they spend on picketing, conferences, letter writing, boycotting, lobbying and feeding this juggernaut of political organizing and fundraising against homosexuality, can you imagine how that would benefit the world? What about how unbelievers will look at us as a tangible example of Jesus on earth? Instead, they fight legislation that would keep gay kids from being picked on in high schools (a current effort of P-FOX) and telling parents they should not let their kids go to Disneyland because they have a “gay marriage package;” to name just two. Please tell me how any of this is helping the cause of Christ? So many broken souls falling by the wayside, so this strange fixation on homosexuality by the church can be met.

    You saying that it’s not a choice is kinda surprising to me; most of your anti-gay brethren would disagree with you in no uncertain terms. Since I have to call these people my brethren, I would like you to know that I think of them as the relatives I never talk about.

    I have to disagree with your next point Rich, being a Muslim, Buddhist, IS a choice, just as much as my accepting Salvation is a choice. The innate desire to be with a male or female is not. Making a “continuing line of choices” does not apply here. Did you make a “choice” to see a woman as attractive or desirable? No, it “popped-up” (for lack of a better term) within you, without conscious effort. You CAN deny feelings, but alas, you cannot stop the place of origin from where those feelings originate. While the God I worship is absolutely a choice.


    “If biblical morality is a function of our biology, then your choice or lack of choice is a non-issue. You simply function as your biology dictates, whether your biology is a natural condition of Divine creation or the simple intersection of nurture, hormones, formation, and genetics. But I suspect that the righteousness God calls us to goes beyond biology — sometimes frustratingly so. Maybe impossibly so because we are called to be perfect even as Christ is perfect. Is that truly attainable for you and me right here right now? That kind of behavioral and moral perfect[ion] is probably factually impossible, but that doesn’t in any way diminish our moral and godly responsibility to work toward the perfection God wants to see completed in us.”

    I agree and beautifully said.

    Let me ask you something Rich, would you still use the term “gay lifestyle” even if I ask you not to out of respect for me? Is it really that important to continue using a term that is meant to demonize me just because you yourself don’t find is offensive? Is the term regarding you or me? Since I do find it offensive, I think “treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated” should dictate here my brother.

    Ultimately it came down to they felt they where not going against the Word of God with sustaining Swensen. Lobbying can only go so far if the person’s convictions aren’t there. It’s a body of believers we’re talking about here, not a group of congressional representatives.

    I don’t invalidate Alan Chambers because of his testimony, I invalidate him because of his double-speak and fantastic claims he cannot back up, of which I am very familiar with by the way. And yes, he is President of Exodus International. I also read the testimony of Dennis and sure enough, he states he was taken advantage of by older men, starting at the age of five in a public restroom and proves my point in the previous post of someone calling themselves “ex-gay” blaming bad experiences on homosexuality, instead of seeing them for what they are, bad experiences. I wouldn’t brag about reparative therapies either. By there own estimation they only have a 33% success rate and even that is questionable because they refuse to do follow-ups on those who claimed change immediately after leaving therapy (Source: NARTH). As I said before, you would be hard-up to find a non- “ex-gay-for-pay.” I will concede though, the threat of hell can make people do some incredible and scary things. Some of the early saints who mutilated themselves come to mind.

    I don’t care about the twin study, I didn’t bring it up. Besides, I could point to more current studies (regarding pheromones) that show how I probably DO have a pre-disposition that is out of my control, but what’s the point? Interesting though that many anti-gay Christians groups will point to these kind of studies if it showed no pre-disposition (even twisting the results of studies, as James Dobson was recently caught doing), but if it IS shown, these same groups will come back with “Who cares, it’s all sin to overcome anyways…”

    Now let’s talk Bible,

    Rome was the center of the Mother-Goddess Cybal/Attis cult and her priests were called the Galli who, to transcend gender, would work himself or herself up into such an orgasmic frenzy, they often castrated themselves to find union with the God Cybal — who myth said also castrated himself. Paul’s use of the term of “Kateragazomai” in verse 27 in Romans 1, means to “work up to it by labor” or having to “psych” oneself up to do something. This describes perfectly the actions of the Galli in how they had to “work-up” to do what they did to themselves by what the historical record says of there rituals. Romans 1 is clearly in the context of idolatry. Look at the sequence, Idolatry = Homosexuality, not Homosexuality = idolatry. Divorce Idolatry from the equation and have the Roman text saying nothing of homosexuality, in, and of, itself. Also, in Chapter 14:24-27 of the book “Wisdom of Solomon” (a book that was in Paul’s Old Testament “Bible”) is what is almost verbatim to Romans.1:25,26 in equating idolatry to “changing of kind.”

    Note: Romans 1:23 mentions, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Guess what creatures represented the Cybal/Attis cult? Roosters, lions, and snakes!

    As for Malakoi and Arsenokoitai, I defer to Yale scholar of Religious Studies, Dale B. Martin and his balanced and exhaustive take on the 2 words in the resource library at . I think you can find him under “” of the library.

    I am more than confidant I have the Word on my side with what is sound understanding on this issue. You would be hard pressed to find anything about homosexuality outside of exploitation, rape, or idolatry in the Biblical account. Do you really think I am going to fool myself when my very soul is at stake? I came to this years ago, willing to accept what I would find, either way, and so should all of you. But since it is not a personal issue for most here, I doubt that will happen.

    “Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an ax with moral indignation, then it becomes something else.”
    —Flannery O’Connor.

  25. Common Swift


    You desired BOTH sexes, all of a sudden being focused on just one does not make a change from one orientation to another. Nice try though.

    It’s not a silly question, but let me turn it around and ask; Why do people assume genetically caused = bad?

  26. Common Swift

    Now we’re talking SLW! Though civility should not be such an effort.

    Ugh! The “Twin” study again! Independent researchers looked at it and it was clear that “something” genetic was going on. How much though, is open for debate. But like I told Rich and Carl, I don’t care. Equating homosexuality with alcoholism is comparing apples and oranges and is just a straw man argument to throw into the mix; let’s stick to the specific issue.

    You’re confusing the old Saul with the converted Paul. Paul’s whole ministry was to the Gentiles, a group the Hebrew cannon excluded. You can’t keep pulling out Old Testament prohibitions when it’s convenient for you otherwise we would have to allow ownership by rape for one. Rich really didn’t contradict me, he simply had a different take on some meanings that could go either way and I more than made up for it in my follow-up post. I do want to talk about Leviticus though.

    Leviticus was written when the children of Israel lived among the Canaanites. The “do not lie with a man” in Lev.18:22 is prefaced with “Do not give your children as sacrifices to Moloch” in verse 21, to tell you what context these prohibitions where given: the idolatry of the Canaanites. Other places in chapters 18-20 back that up. EVERY prohibition whose penalty is death in Leviticus is re-stated in Deuteronomy, except for ONE, guess which one? Homosexuality. Deuteronomy states these prohibitions as moral absolutes outside of the context of the idolatry of the Canaanites in Leviticus. If God wanted to prohibit homosexuality in general, he would have put it Deuteronomy or even elsewhere, but he doesn’t. The fact lesbianism is not mentioned is telling. The idolatry practices of the Canaanite priests did not involve women.

    You’re indirectly condemning me now SLW. Nice touch, but those scriptures don’t apply to me and “goodwill” is the farthest thing people have done with regard to these scriptures.

    In all seriousness, SLW, you stand up for the word of God as you see it and I can’t but help but have respect for that.

  27. SLW

    Common Swift:

    You are a law unto yourself! I owed your soul this debate, and was glad, with Rich’s forbearance to pursue it, but it’s obvious this is getting nowhere. So, the proverbial dust is getting brushed off my feet even now. For what it’s worth, I do pray that you will have a change of heart, I would sorely love to meet you in the air when the last trump sounds.

  28. Common Swift

    Are we looking at the same debate?

    “We can easily reduce our detractors to absurdity and show them their hostility is groundless. But what does this prove? That their hatred is real. When every slander has been rebutted, every misconception cleared up, every false opinion about us overcome, intolerance itself will remain finally irrefutable.”

    —Moritz Goldstein

  29. carl


    First you try to frame who is and is not an authority on homosexuality based on your arbitrary judgment. Then you try to get me change my verbiage based on your life choices.

    I am sorry but your biblical hopscotch does not equate to biblical authority. I haven’t seen anything that you have posted that justifies your lifestyle other than it happens to make you happy.

    Then you make a post suggesting that those who disagree with you have hidden hatred. The last time I checked Moritz Goldstein did not write any of the Scriptures and I am fairly confident that in the end his opinion will not matter.

    I hope that you will see through the Holy Spirit that you have exalted many things over the Word of God. No doubt the deception you live in will fall shortly after that.

    Since you have chosen not to address the questions regarding scriptural interpretation and have resorted to ad hominem attacks I too will have to check out of this discussion.


  30. SLW

    Common Swift:

    Don’t flatter yourself. I disagree with every point you’ve made, disagree with every aspect of your Bible “interpretation,” and contend with every “fact” you presented. I am not, unfortunately, able to persuade you with any of my points, so this doesn’t seem fruitful to continue. Usually, if it’s just a doctrinal debate, as I might have with a cessationist, I could agree to disagree and go on with life. You can go to heaven without speaking in tongues.

    But with you Common, I was arguing for life, for I am quite certain from the Word that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. I really don’t want to lose you to hell, but I have neither the words nor anointing to save you. I wish I did.

  31. Common Swift

    I can just FEEL the anger coming from yours and SLW’s posts. Your whole tone has changed Carl. now I don’t know if I am talking to you or SLW; too bad. My Savior is right, the judgmental leaven of the Pharisees DOES spread along way. Once again, you fall back into what others have told you with your claim of my “Life Choices” instead of hearing it from the horse’s mouth. In addition, I HAVE been talking from Scripture; talking about scriptures relating only to homosexuality is not “hopscotch.” If we are talking about the Rapture, I would only talk about the relevant scriptures on the Rapture. If you and SLW decide to cover your ears and drown out what I have to say, I cannot do anything about that. It grieves me though. I stopped underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit long ago and I know with all my heart the words I have posted here will not fall on deaf ears.

    You and SLW are replacing the truth with your own made-up truth; a perfect example is SLW’s take on the “twin study” and how I was “owned” and now you’re saying I didn’t address Biblical interpretation. Are you and SLW reading from a pre-written script? Please do not fool yourself. Show me the ad homonym attacks on my post on you or SLW. I have been nothing but civil on this thread, even when accused of “Dragging people down to hell with me” and “fornication.” I have been the one defending myself against all of YOU. By projecting on me what you yourself are doing is a tactic by those who don’t like the way things are going.

    God forgive you both.

  32. carl

    @Rich – Doesn’t this discussion remind you of the Pearson one?

    To those who are willing to engage people who reject the Bible , notice that there are always the same trends. First there is something that is exalted as authority other than the bible. In this case it is physical and emotional pleasure. In the Pearson debate it was human reasoning.

    The next phase is almost always a return to scripture but at best unorthodox interpretations of passages taken out of context. They did that a little better in the pearson discussion because in this one the bible was mentioned but not quoted or directly referenced in support of any point.

    The final phase is to attack all those who disagree as hateful with the “I’ll pray for you” nonsense added to the end.

    I don’t know why the pearson people would pray for me since, in their view, I am going to heaven anyway. In this case I am to be forgiven for believing that God made reproductive organs as a means of reproducing. Nonsense.

    Rich – Why these people troll your blog I do not know. I know that I respond because I am called to preach the Word.

    Every honest preacher knows what it is like to exegete a scripture for a message only to find out it does not mean what he thought it meant and now must face the decision to either sound good or be doctrinally sound. We all have sin. We all have error.

    But as Christians, it should be our hearts desire to have that error and sin rooted out, not justified.

    At some point I will avoid these discussions. But I am not there yet.

  33. Common Swift


    “I don’t know why the Pearson people would pray for me since, in their view, I am going to heaven anyway. In this case I am to be forgiven for believing that God made reproductive organs as a means of reproducing. Nonsense.”

    “The final phase is to attack all those who disagree as hateful with the “I’ll pray for you” nonsense added to the end.”

    Very telling about you Carl and a far different face from how you wanted to be seen at the beginning of this thread.

  34. Walk Alongside Ministries

    I agree with you, Rick.

    There is a long story behind all this. Briefly, that my girlfriend from college has lived through this with her husband of over 30 years. They are now divorced.

    During the process of walking alongside her I have researched this TG and “TG Christian” issue. I have had the occasion to address it with the Southern Californa AG district re: a transgendered person at an AG church who referred to his/her AG church on his/her ‘ministry’ web site. In response to the concern I expressed through the Southern CA AG district, the name of the church with AG reference was removed from the web site.

    You are right, there is no AG position paper or addressing of it … yet. I asked if there was an AG position paper yet, and were there plans to develop one? Answer from SoCA dist official was: “No, this doesn’t happen very often.” They will need to do so. Their denial does not change the issue at hand. Other countries are addressing it. An evangelical ministry to transgenders that is connected with YWAM in the United Kingdom has been active to help the Evangelicals in the UK take a stand on this issue.

    Wonder what it will take to get some action in the US?

  35. Common Swift


    “…I have researched this TG and “TG Christian” issue. I have had the occasion to address it with the Southern Californa AG district re: a transgendered person at an AG church who referred to his/her AG church on his/her ‘ministry’ web site. In response to the concern I expressed through the Southern CA AG district, the name of the church with AG reference was removed from the web site.”

    My Lord! Do you know Portland, Oregon has one of the highest rates of homeless youth in the Nation and THIS is what you approach the AoG in California with?

  36. Pingback: BlogRodent: Sexual Conversion: Gender dysphoria, the UMC and the transgendered minister

  37. Douglas Anderson

    You said:

    So, I found myself struggling with the question: Is it possible to be a post-operative transsexual and remain a Christian?

    I wasn’t sure, and still am not entirely certain of my position, but I suspect maybe the answer is similar to this question’s conclusion: Is it possible to divorce and remarry while your first spouse is alive and remain a Christian?

    Rich, these questions aren’t similar at all. Divorce requires the action of two people, and often one of the two is completely innocent. How would it compromise your Christianity if your ex had an affair and filed for divorce?

  38. Rich Post author

    Good catch Douglas. I was thinking more in terms of today’s typical “no-fault” divorce whose former participants go on to marry while their spouse is still alive. I was not thinking specifically of divorces where there is a clearly injured party, where there is biblically allowable grounds for divorce, and where remarriage is biblically allowable.

    You know this, but I have to say it for clarity’s sake and to express that you know I’m with you on this: Scripture does not forbid divorce, it sets boundaries on it. It manages it. On the other hand, I believe there are no grounds for voluntary gender reassignment through surgery with the possible exception of hermaphroditism or a where gender expressed in DNA conflicts with physical gender traits.

    Thanks for helping me clarify my thinking.


  39. Marti Abernathey

    Looking to scripture, the answer to the transgender question is easy.

    Matthew 19:11-12
    11Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    Many will say he didn’t mean this literally but…

    Matthew 5:27-30
    27″You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.'[e] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

    Don’t believe Jesus? Early Church father, Origen self castrated himself. To those who can accept it…indeed.

  40. Sophie Walker

    I found this thread interesting, but feel it dodged the major issue at the end.

    The issue as i see it is the huge amount of uncertanty that lies behind the themes raised. Particular words in biblical texts are disputed by many scholars, and even whole texts themselves. For example koitai has been likened to the modern term ‘user’ rather than the themes identified in earlier posts. Even the canon of scripture can be argued to be incomplete. e.g. the omission of Thomas the twin! It can safely be said that whatever our interpretation of scripture we cannot properly know what it meant to the people who wrote it in the same way as they would have only a dim understanding of how modern people speak to each other.

    For many on this side of the atlantic believers or not it is a puzzle as to why the American Churches are so hooked up on a particular translation of both testaments of the bible which dates from 17th century england. (St James version)

    There are many new translations which if anything show a great deal of diversity in early texts from the second and third centuries. (Some omit vitaly important verses such as the one in John concerning the trinity) And historians constantly show us more about how the canon was decided upon. e.g. the callous hand of Constantine at nicea which later murded people he had offered forgiveness.

    As I read conversations like this one I find it hard to understand how a religion based on loving ones neighbour can generate so much intolerance of those neighbours, unless you take into account that a good deal of theology from the fourth century onwards seems intended to concentrate power in the hands of ‘bishops’ and other vested interests.

    In the context of this saving souls becomes a matter of asking your heart rather than relying on ‘biblical’ interpretation which owes more to the politics of long gone centuries than to the intended meaning of the text.

    My heart finds itself able to feel Christian without condemning lifestyles and identities different from my own, and being able to learn from women men homosexuals transgender and others about how they interpret and learn from scripture in their lives.

    Interpretation of anything depends entirely on where you are standing when you make it…

  41. Vivian

    These people came with the express intentions of causing trouble. Why else would they come on campus? They intended to cause chaos.


    From reading this and other articles you have posted, you clearly do not have a full understanding of beihg transgendered nor of the research confirming the existence of brain differentiation between a transgendered individual and their cisgendered counterpart. It is not my intention to educate you. Please do some serious research before making any more comments that are injurious to the cause of Christ. I am transgendered and am transitioning. I continue to maintain my Christian faith. I see no difficulty in doing so even if most “Christians” are unwilling to open their hearts and minds.

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