Tag Archives: sexual orientation

First Steps Out — a Book for Wounded Families

In First Steps Out: How Christians Can Respond to a Loved One’s Struggle with Homosexuality, Christy McFerron has written a powerful book about living the Christian life in a culture that is aggressively anti-Christian. She tells her personal story of the journey through a temptation to homosexuality and back to normal life. She shares her personal testimony of faith and shares what family and friends did that supported her and encouraged her and comforted her through the dark days. This author lays herself bare and invites close examination of her own experience of feeling a homosexual attraction. She explains the spiritual transformation that led her to return to a heterosexual orientation and marriage.

Along the way McFerron addresses the fractures in her family. Her journey was long and painful, and her family suffered with her. Yet both of her parents add their own testimonies at the end of the book, capping off the author’s message of hope and love with their own experiences.

Christy McFerron’s story is riveting. Even more riveting is her biblical teaching as she narrates her own journey from enslavement by a destructive emotional attachment to freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit. Readers will find her parents’ stories equally important. Anyone whose family is faced with the discovery that a loved one is entangled in the lure of homosexuality will be encouraged and enlightened by this book. The author never judges anyone whose journey or choices are different from her own. She shares her story with love and respect for everyone involved, modeling the kind of love Christ himself asked us to give to everyone.

I came to this book looking for help. I wanted to understand what could have motivated my church to declare that the Bible has nothing to say to us about homosexuality, and that the church has nothing to say to people dealing with that temptation. Christy McFerron has reassured me that the Bible has a great deal to say to families, and she has reassured me that there is hope for families fractured by both cultural and political activism in support of declaring homosexuality to be normal human behavior.

While McFerron did not develop any material on the widely publicized idea that homosexuals are “born this way,” her own story demonstrates that it is not the case. Her story is not opinion; it is experience.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants the inside story on homosexuality and who wants to know if there is hope for a family that is shattered by it.

I received this book at no charge for the purpose of writing a review. I was not obligated to provide a favorable review. This review is my own opinion.

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Marriage — God’s Truth Has Not Changed

Every day more and more people are lured to believe that secular ideas “make sense” in public life. Every day more and more Christians are lured to believe that they should not “impose” their worldview on other people. One of the ways that goal of secular political activists is achieved is the use of the word equality.

For example, the latest distortion of that word is its use in the campaign to redefine the word marriage. There is a fierce campaign nationwide to change the definition of marriage by using the allure of the word equality to legitimize the change. Activists for the change no longer use the word homosexual or even the word gay in their campaigns. They talk about marriage equality. The basis for this equality is the claim that marriage is a universal human right, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The change in verbiage allows activists for the redefinition of marriage to use an appealing argument. They simply ask, “Don’t you think everyone is equal?” or “Don’t you believe in equal rights for everyone?” or “Do you think people who love each other should be denied equal rights if they want to be married?” Nobody explains when or how marriage ever became a universal human right.

If marriage is a universal human right, then the next step is to examine the meaning of the word marriage. The commonly accepted definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is assaulted on two fronts – legal and religious. Until recently, it was not necessary to have a legal definition of marriage, because people assumed that the word marriage meant the union of a man and a woman. In the past ten years, LGBT political activists have tried to assert that marriage means any union of people who claim to love each other, regardless of the gender of the parties to the union. Further, until recently, Christians assumed that the biblical definition of marriage was the union of a man and a woman. This Biblical teaching is also under assault in more than one Christian denomination. Over the past few years, activists for the LGBT political agenda have actually worked on both the political and the spiritual fronts to achieve their goals. They have had some successes on both fronts.

For example, even though the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has yet to redefine the word marriage, the ELCA does roster homosexuals if they are living in an active homosexual union (there are terms and conditions surrounding this decision, but the bottom line is that active, public homosexuals will be placed in the pulpit in the office of word and sacrament in ELCA churches). This decision required the adoption of a statement on human sexuality that redefined biblical teachings that have stood firm for 2000 years. It is logical to assume that once the roster for clergy is salted with enough active homosexuals, the ELCA will be compelled to redefine marriage as well. The ELCA is not the only denomination to dip a toe into these waters.

On the political front, LGBT political activists have been able to win some legislative battles and pass laws legitimizing gay marriage. Interestingly, when such laws are tested at the polls, voters assert the traditional definition of marriage. Voters consistently reject the notion that the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a denial of equality. Voters consistently reject a redefinition of equality as a justification to redefine marriage. Voters say that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Christians do not consider voters to be authoritative for their theological positions; however, the evidence shows that the preponderance of voters choose the socially traditional definition of marriage just as the preponderance of Christians choose the theologically traditional definition of marriage.

Sadly, anyone who opposes the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions is subject to be called a bigot and a homophobe. It may be a shock to Christians when they hear pastors use such words from the pulpit, but it is happening. Many Christians, stunned and dismayed by this state of affairs, have asked when God changed his revelation of truth in the Bible and started saying such things.

The Bible has not changed. Secular thinking has changed. The Bible’s truth does not evolve or change with the times. Secular thinking evolves and changes with the times.

Christians experience both alarm and sadness when their spiritual leaders begin to speak like the political activists in the nightly news. Such things have happened before. In ancient Israel prophets lied to people while claiming to speak for God. In Nazi Germany, Lutheran pastors lied to people while claiming to speak for God. Today in the USA some religious leaders are lying to their congregations while claiming to speak for God.

The secular culture says that the idea that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is old-fashioned. To refuse to define unions of people of the same gender who love each other as marriage is, says the LGBT, an example of unequal treatment. In fact, they assert that heterosexual oppression of minority views is equivalent to racial persecution. The latest thrust in the battle to destroy the traditional definition of marriage is to call the campaign for marriage equality the sexual equivalent of Martin Luther King’s civil rights campaign.

How do Christians even talk with people who are confused by the LGBT political agenda? There are three lines of reasoning that establish marriage as the union of a man and a woman and refute any argument that the union of two homosexuals is a marriage.

The first path ought to be quite acceptable to the secular culture. It doesn’t involve God or the Bible. The history of humankind shows a consistent practice of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. From the most primitive cultures still in existence today to the most technologically advanced, the union of a man and a woman in marriage is the foundation of the society. Around the world, the union of a man and a woman is surrounded with a universe of religious and legal structures. Vastly more people define marriage as the union of a man and a woman than choose any other definition. Archeologists find artifacts that validate the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman far back to the dawn of human society. Marriage is a human institution that human beings have valued and protected as long as there have been human beings. The union of a man and a woman is the definition of marriage that has been the foundation of society and the nurturing environment for children. Many variations on that theme have been attempted, but no other variant has been consistently recognized by humans around the world. Marriage is naturally defined by human history and culture as the union of a man and a woman.

Second, the tradition of human societies is based on the biological truth that there is no accommodation in human biology for same-gender sexual expression or for the transmission of genetic predisposition to same-gender sexuality. If the weight of time means anything in this regard, humans have had plenty of time to study and observe if there is any reason to believe that same-gender sex is part of nature’s plan or to find a way to transmit congenital conditions without progeny. Genes that are not transmitted from one generation to the next by reproduction die out. Until now, cultures accepted the guidance of biology along with the natural social appreciation for the outcome of a union of a man and a woman in marriage.

The third path is important for Christians. The teaching of the Bible, God’s revealed truth for the guidance of humankind, demonstrates that God blesses the union of a man and a woman as marriage and rejects any other variant. Students of the Bible can easily find proscriptions of homosexual conduct inside or outside of a committed relationship. There is a whole arsenal of LGBT re-interpretations of these proscriptions that purports to defuse any effort to use old laws and customs to throw stones at the idea of homosexuality. It is not necessary, however, to rely on the negative to demonstrate God’s design for human sexuality. The Bible is filled with positive evidence of God’s blessing of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The images of God’s blessing of this union are not duplicated by imagery of non-heterosexual unions.

In the beginning of the Bible, at the beginning of time, God created humankind male and female. When he created the first man, Adam, Adam was alone. To alleviate that loneliness, God created the first woman, Eve. God blessed that union and it was the union of man and woman throughout the Bible that God blessed with his promises and with children. This union is so powerful and so good for people that God uses it as the model of his relationship with people throughout the Bible. Every time God speaks of his relationship with the people of Israel or with the church, he speaks of himself as the husband or the bridegroom. God speaks of the nation or the church as the bride.In the book of Revelation the marriage feast of male bridegroom and female bride is the celebration of God’s eternal victory over evil and the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth. Male and female. Man and woman. This revelation is positive and power-packed. Bible students who recognize the sexual power embodied in the relationship between a man and a woman will also recognize what God is saying about the power of a human relationship with him.

What should Christians conclude from Bible study? God blesses marriage, the union of a man and a woman. No other union is equal to that union. Political activism notwithstanding, inventing the idea that every sort of union is the same as marriage is not truth, and defining marriage as only one kind of union, the union of a man and a woman, is not inequality.

Christians who fervently believe the Bible feel bombarded when the LGBT agenda is adopted by political leaders, but they feel deeply betrayed when their spiritual leaders join in. They need to remember that the Bible does not evolve or change with the times. This sort of thing has happened before. The Bible itself records the fact that some people will garb themselves as spiritual leaders while actually speaking and acting in collaboration with evil agendas. Christians must not believe lies, even when pastors speak them. During the years of Nazi power in Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others spoke out against the state church of Germany because its leaders had thrown in their lot with the Nazis. Christians in the USA who believe the Bible rather than politics may find themselves as thoroughly maligned by their church leaders as Bonhoeffer was. Worry not. The God “who is and who was and who is to come” has not changed his eternal truth, and he will bless and strengthen those who hold his truth fast.

A Verse for Meditation

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:26-27

  • What does this passage tell you about the reasons for the creation of human beings?
  • What do you think it means that God created humans in his own image? Colossians 1:15,          Philippians 2:6-8
  • If Christ, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, is the image of God, how is the image of God expressed in me?
  • What can I do that looks like God?
  • What does this passage tell you about God’s definition of marriage and family?

Holy Troublemakers

Readings for Sunday, July 15, 2012
Amos 7:7-15     Psalm 85:8-13     Ephesians 1:3-14     Mark 6_14-29

 Has anyone ever told you something true that you wished you did not know? It is a common problem. A wife hears the truth that her husband prefers another woman. A father hears that his son has been killed in an auto accident. A young girl discovers that her best friend has begun dating the boy she dreams of. A mother is told that her baby was stillborn.

Most of us try to live by the principle of telling the truth, but we don’t always like the truth.

Some people avoid the truth by pretending it is not so. Some enforce their willful ignorance of the truth by abusing other people who refuse to play along. The prophet Amos and John the Baptist both faced that problem. They spoke the truth as God instructed them to do. People who preferred lies forcefully rejected them.

Amos, a Judean, showed up in Israel and began to preach that God was mad at neighboring countries. The Israelites were glad to hear that God was angry with their enemies. That truth sounded good, and they were eager to hear more of the same. However, when Amos announced that God thought Israel was out of line, not true when measured by a plumb line, the people of the northern kingdom took offense. They told him to go prophesy in Judah, and never to come back to Israel, because they did not like the kind of truth Amos told. Amos accused them of selfishness and greed and addiction to personal pleasure. He said God thought their sacrifices, offerings and worship activities were completely dishonest shams. He accused them of not actually worshiping God, no matter how good things looked. Amos was made persona non grata in Israel, because he was a loudmouth troublemaker.

John the Baptist offended a lot of people, too. He called the religious leaders vipers and he accused the king of adultery. Unlike Amos who was simply run out of town, John was actually arrested. Ultimately he was beheaded, because he, too, was a loudmouth troublemaker.

When standing for truth might cost someone power or celebrity status, many people reject the truth and pretend it isn’t so. When Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice,” to which Pilate responded, “What is truth?” Pilate knew that Jesus was speaking truth, and Pilate knew that the religious leaders and their mob were speaking lies, but Pilate did not want to deal with the truth. His job was to keep riots down. In his worldview, Jesus, the itinerant rabbi that had the whole world in an uproar, was nothing but another loudmouth troublemaker. Jesus was executed, because Pilate could not accept truth.

As Christians we, too, are called to be troublemakers. We are to be little Christs, sprinkled around in the culture like salt sprinkled on a stew. We are supposed to be busy telling the truth all the time. The truth about God. The truth about Christ. The truth about our life in relationship with Christ. We are to reject lies and live truth, and if we do that some people will hate us. If we say that an unborn baby is a living human being, we might be hated, even though we speak truth. If we say that a human embryo is a living human being, we might be even more hated, even though we speak truth. If we say that God does not create people with a genetic identity that runs counter to God’s own model for family structures, then we will be hated, even though we speak truth. If we say that we cannot show kindness to anyone without doing it in the name of Christ, and that therefore, we cannot ever perform completely secular service, we will be scorned, if not hated, and we may suffer some social and legal consequences.

Nevertheless, we are called to be troublemakers. Loving, peaceful, kind, truthful little Christlike troublemakers. We must expect the consequences the culture visits on troublemakers.