More GBW Backlash

Filed under News, Revolution & Justice on July 21st, 2009 by M. French

Editor’s Note: Matt Comer, editor of the gay newspaper Q-Notes, and one of the authors attacking GBW and its leaders, will be appearing on Dr. Brown’s Line of Fire radio show on Thursday July 23rd from 3-4 PM EST to air his concerns.

The God Has a Better Way event has seen a new wave of backlash over the last few weeks, following the July 5th event with Lou Engle and our subsequent interview with him concerning his vision for the event and a proposed house of prayer in Charlotte.  While the recent wave of articles, primarily on gay activist websites, is in many ways inaccurate, containing blatant falsehoods and gross misrepresentations that we will hopefully be able to respond to as time allows (I’ve purposefully left out quotes from or links to these articles so we can deal with them on an individual basis), they do point to the fact that a nerve has been hit with this event and with the personalities that are leading it.

With accusations being made toward those affiliated with the God Has a Better Way event surfacing in numerous venues, I thought it would be important to take a look at the Terms of Involvement that are on the event’s website:

TERMS OF INVOLVEMENT

As a representative of the Lord Jesus and His Church at God Has a Better Way on July 25th, 2009, I make this commitment before God:

1) I will not engage in hate speech, name-calling, or angry rhetoric

2) I will speak the truth in love

3) I will seek to befriend those who oppose me

4) I will seek to overcome bad attitudes with good attitudes

5) I will seek to be a living example of Jesus

6) I will not compromise biblical standards or convictions

7) I will not violate the law

Name _____________________________________________________________________

Signed ____________________________________________________________________

Date ______________________________________________________________________

Remember: Our battle is not with people but with spiritual forces.

Remember: We are called to bless those who curse us.

Remember: We must reach out to homosexual men and women with kindness, and sensitivity.

Remember: God had mercy on us when we were in darkness, calling us to repentance when we had no interest in Him at all. Let us extend the same grace to others.

Remember: Our compassion must be louder than our confrontation.

Clearly, those affiliated with this event will NOT be mean-spirited or violent, and rather than a den of lions, anyone from the Pride event that comes to the God Has a Better Way rally will find themselves in a den of lambs.



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  1. As an X-Catholic -> It Amazes me that in OUR Galaxy of over a Billion Stars/Suns, with Billions and Billions of planets & Life forms yet to be discovered…in a Universe with 100′s of Billions of Galaxies, and Lifeforms yet to be discovered, that it’s beyond our Imaginations…that YOU PEOPLE actually think that some mythical SKY GOD cares so much about this tiny little nothing of a planet,and seem to have to tell others (fellow humans) what to do with thier hoo-hoos and pee-pees?  Please Get a Life! 

  2. “in OUR Galaxy of over a Billion Stars/Suns, with Billions and Billions of planets & Life forms yet to be discovered…in a Universe with 100’s of Billions of Galaxies, and Lifeforms yet to be discovered, that it’s beyond our Imaginations…”
    Hey JRC when you put it like that it makes me all the more amazed and in awe that this creator of all of that takes any time to think anything of us ‘tiny little nothings’ in the first place.  Since we’ve offended this God in the first place, that in our sinful nature we can’t even approach him but yet he stoops low enough to our ‘puny little world’ and wants to make a way for us to be right with him…..wow…

    Thank you (sincerely) for provoking me to thought about the wonders of our God and the universe He created.

    Steve

  3. I used to identify as a Christian. I no longer use identifiers, but I am still a spiritual person. I don’t believe in the concept of original sin – at least not one that is centered on a sort of spiritual debt. I have a degree in theology and a degree in physics. I am not surprised at any of the curious ways people describe this universe. Religions and theories rise and fall with the ages. We now have more knowledge about the universe than ever before (as far aw we can tell). Billions of star systems – and only “G-O-D” knows how many forms of life.  I understand that you have experienced a miraculous conversion process that shapes the way you see the world and that for you this entails certain “convictions.”

    I only have one thought to chew on. When Jesus first began to cast out demons, he was accused of doing it with the power of Satan. Scripture says that Jesus knew what was in their hearts and said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” As someone who is not a Christian, and yet not a complete outsider, that the finest examples of “Christians” I have met in my life have been openly gay people. I have benefited from their generosity and kindness in times when I had little but my frustrations to offer the world. I do not think that this was done outside of the will of “G-O-D.” These individuals were in monogamous relationships and I believe that I benefited from their relationship with Jesus.

    I only say this, because I believe that your “house” might be somewhat larger than you expected. I knew some people that owned an old house in TN. After years of living there there was a flood and work had to be done reconstructing various portions of the house. What they found was a sealed room that before had been unknown to them. Judging from the history and location, they believed that it was used to help runaway slaves in the underground railway. For all those years, there was a part of their home that was locked away from them and unattended. Indeed they had even purchased the house believing it to have approximately 200 fewer square feet in it than it actually contained. When they had they house appraised and insured, they did so without these extra feet in place. You could call it a “conviction” of sorts. After all, once you measure a house, its not the sort of thing that tends to grow (unless of course you live in a tree). The extra footage was found at just the right time – they needed additional floor space for storage and would have expanded the house on another side had they not found that they had no need to.

    Let me share something with you – I do believe we are in miraculous times. Gay people are being counted in a way that has never before happened. In time, when I find the right person to spend my life with, I plan on adopting. My uncle and his partner have adopted two children and in doing so I have witnessed a sort of “miracle.” Four lives have been completely transformed by a conviction they all share – “love.” Right now there are thousands and thousands of children in my own state that are without parents – the problem is experienced in American soil, but the need is even greater in countries in Africa that have been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. I believe that now is the time when our convictions must grow. Our houses must expand – or rooms must be found – so that Children are not abandoned to starvation and death.

  4. Greetings Judson,

    I can tell you as a Christian that we don’t take delight in knowing that our message will always be misconstrued whenever we state that homosexuality is a sin.  We try very hard to separate individuals from their actions and experiences, and we believe that Jesus came to redeem both heterosexual and homosexual alike.

    As for my own experiences, I have a mother and a sister that both embraced homosexuality on the heels of my parents’ divorce.  I know what it means to agonize over these issues and come to the conclusion that God’s ways are indeed best–even if it means that I have to acknowledge that my own mother and sister are living in sin.

    At the very heart of the gospel is the belief that pleasure and joy are often at odds, and that it is both necessary and worthwhile to sacrifice one at the cost of the other.  My heart goes out to everyone–homosexual and heterosexual– who think that by increasing one that they can achieve the other.

  5. I believe very firmly that God’s way is best. I believe his way is Love. I would doubt that any marriage is without difficulties – gay or straight. God gave us pleasure, he gave us our bodies so that we may enjoy our time on earth. If God had wanted  us to suffer, he would not have sent Jesus to heal  the sick. Jesus turned water into wine, so I doubt that he found pleasure independently offensive. What I believe is at the heart of the Gospel is that pleasure obtained from exploitation is wrong – whether it was unfair taxation, temple prostitution, or of a “spiritual” nature . My life in the spirit has been one of both pleasure and joy. It has helped me in the times I have faced opposition and difficulty from a diverse group of people -  sometimes my fellow Christians. I am not surprised that some have difficulty with the nature of pleasure and sin – Jesus however sacrificed so that we could be whole.  The gender you experience marriage with I believe is irrelevant – There is neither man nor woman in Christ. I believe Christ came to set us free from the Law.

    Paul warns us that not even all Christians will be able to understand our Freedom in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 for instance, he says not to allow it to become a stumbling block to others. I pray for those who do not understand the freedom that Christ has given them. I pray for those who do not see his transformation and restoration in mankind. One day this will all be but a shadow in God’s grand design. I am confident that In knowing God’s love I have known God. I pray with my whole heart that others can be freed with his love as well.

  6. Thanks for the response Judson.

    The refusal to distinguish between joy and pleasure theologically cuts right to the core of why queer theology is so unorthodox.  It is only in our hedonistic culture that we get the idea that “God wants us to be happy” regardless of the object of our happiness. What sort of apologetic would you offer pedophiles/polygamists/drug addicts?

    Your paraphrase of Paul in Galatians 3:28 is not a sufficient explanation for an erasing of gender/sex distinctions.  Why does Paul continue to distinguish between male and female (Colossians 3:18-19), Jew and Greek (Romans 2:9-10), slave and free (Ephesians 6:9)?

  7. He says more specifically that God does not distinguish between people because of these things… slaves, men and women, are all allowed to come to him. As for pedophilia, polygamy, and drug addiction, these are all forms of pleasure that are based on exploitation. Homosexual relations are simply not exploitive any more than heterosexual ones are (though any relationship can become exploitive). Why do you believe God wants you to be unhappy? If you read my post carefully you will see that I did not say God wanted us to be happy regardless of the cost – I specifically point out that Christ condemned exploitation. I am sorry that Christ’s words are not enough for you.

    Also the notions you  are quoting concerning pleasure being wrong are not biblical. Those were actually adopted from Platonic and Aristotelian notions of philosophy that were interjected into Christianity throughout the middle ages. There was a major push within the Christian world of theology in the middle ages to remove any apparent discrepancies between the teachings of Plato and Aristotle and teachings of the Bible. The original “apologists” were people like Athanasius, Agustine, Aquinas, and others adopting concepts from Hellenism into Christianity. This wasn’t done maliciously… to them Plato et all described the world in physical terms that made sense. The Bible also made sense to them, so they attempted to reconcile the two. The result was everything after the Nicene creed.  The very notion of pleasure itself being “evil” or “lesser” is a Hellenistic one. Remember it was the Greek philosophers that segregated the world  into the spiritual and physical and made one lesser. If God had a problem with pleasure you would not have Song of Solomon, Christ turning water into wine, or Paul allowing marriage so that partners could satisfy themselves. Pleasure is an accepted aspect of the world. It is sin that tries to pervert it – through exploitation. People become addicted to a thing and they are willing to have it any cost.

    Homosexuality is not an addiction. Modern homosexuality is not referenced in the Bible. The closest thing we have to homosexuality being described was the horribly exploitive practice of temple prostitution that Paul condemns. Straight young men and women (and in many cases children) were used as sexual objects of the wealthy under the guise of religion.

    Whether or not you are aware, there was also an analagous custom in Canaan. Priests in ancient canaanite culture are believed to have gained social power by coercing promiment male members of society to “play the part of the woman.” This was seen as establishing a power differential between the two. In this area of the world at the time, the sexual position one was in (i.e. passive/active) conveyed social status and dominance. These practices were also connected to “ritual orgies” that involved them inseminating people and animals at various times the of the year. I won’t bother with the details as they are somewhat peculiar. Prohibitions in the Hebrew cannon were reserved to prevent Priest’s in Israel from controlling the men of Israel in the same way or falling into strange sex and fertility rituals (usually practiced in the Spring). The Israelites wanted men coming to God in equal terms.

    There is no “homosexual” counterpart in the new testament. “Arsenkoites” the word that is often translated to mean homosexual, is not used before Paul uses it so we can only guess at its meaning (it does not appear in any other greek texts prior to this, and only several following its usage over the next sevearl hundred years). It seems to be a derivative of the hebrew words used in Leviticus. Interestingly he only uses it in the context of idolatry and temple prostitution.

    The concept of two men living in a monagamous relationship together was not what Paul was talking about and is not discussed in the Bible.

  8. Judson,

    I’d encourage you to check out Dr. Brown’s lecture on the “The Bible and Homosexual Practice” here: http://coalitionofconscience.askdrbrown.org/resources/2007_lecture_monday.html.  After watching that, if you still feel the way you do about the subject, I’d like to hear why.

    Thanks!

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    Regarding the Bible’s condemnation of Homosexuality: I would suggest that you watch Dr. Brown’s presentation.  The arsenokoites and Levitical and objections that you have presented are covered in detail.  The video is on his website,
    http://askdrbrown.org and look for “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Separating Fact from Fiction.”

    As for pleasure: I am taking exception to the popular hedonistic argument that fulfillment can be derived from pleasure; that this applies to sexuality; and that, as a Christian, I am denying the rights of homosexuals to be happy or fulfilled by condemning homosexual practice. I am coming from the presupposition that on theological grounds, pleasure is not synonymous with joy or spiritual fulfillment.  (Although pleasure and joy are used interchangeably throughout the bible when referring to God, passages dealing with God’s sovereignty suggests that God has to be recognized as the source before temporal blessings can be granted.)
    I’m not making a categorical statement condemning all forms of pleasure; I am arguing that a failure to distinguish between the two is the sin of idolatry.  This argument has biblical warrant (Deut 28:47-48; Phil 3:19).  As far as I’m concerned, the place that pleasure has in our lives is a different question from whether or not it is forbidden–which would be a great topic for Monasticism or Gnosticism.  On that note, feel free to take it up with Plato or Thomas Aquinas. :)
    The use of wine in the bible is a great example of something pleasurable in moderation, but is harshly comdemned when it is used in excess.  My argument is that sexuality is analogous: It is pleasurable, but it was not intended to be used in such a way as to grant fulfillment. Much of the rhetoric coming from the GLBT community is that the pleasure obtained from a relationship is interchangeable with happiness, joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment; which leaves very little enjoyment to be unique to God (Psalm 16:11; Isiaiah 40:25).  This is especially true of the Christian GLBT community–who don’t seem to be very keen on correcting their secular counterparts.

  10. Yikes, sorry about the terrible formatting job.  That’s the last time I paste something from microsoft word :p

  11. Why do you protest only homosexuality?  What about all the adulterers out there, some of which I’m sure are some of your followers.  What about all the other “sins” in Leviticus that “Christians” seem to pick out only homosexuality and not eating shelfish, working on the sabath and slavery being ok. 

    “Christians” like you and your followers are the reason most gay people want nothing to do with organized religion, myself included.

  12. I have become convinced that the whole thing is, in a nutshell, the following:

    People who want biblical excuses to have sex outside of a god-approved marriage.

  13. Hey BJ, check out the video.

  14. An excuse? I don’t need an excuse for the way I was born. The Bible has condoned at various times, polygamy, incest, and genocide at various times. Do you know what the punishment for rape was in the “Old Testament” … it was marriage. How man wives did King David have? What about Saul? Jesus himself never put a stop to these practices. What about when the hebrew people were commanded to kill all the canaanites down to the infants? The Bible is filled with contradictions. The last 2000 years of Christian history are filled with war and and contradictions. I still find value in the book because it, like the humans that wrote it, are a work in progress. I don’t take the Bible literally – even the first two chapters completely contradict themselves: two different creation stories with man and woman being created at different times for different purposes by two different “God”s. I watched a few minutes of the video, but I didn’t see anything I didn’t discuss ad nauseum when I got my theology degree. I believe most of the passages in the Bible that condemn specific types of homosexual interactions are either involving exploitation or idolatry. Like I said previously – I don’t identify with Christianity. You’re views on pleasure are actually very similar to Gnostic beliefs – The denegration of the flesh leading to the spiritual enlightment. Most original gnostic communities would have agreed with you. There is nothing static about Jewish and Christian beliefs – either in the bible, or in extra biblical history. This is just a fact. Marriage, and virtually every other moral has continued to shift with human culture and conflict. What I worry myself with is whether or not what I do comes at the exploitation of another person. A committed relationship that seeks to build the two individuals into better people is not exploitive, and in the case of same sex individuals this relationship IS NOT covered in the Bible anywhere. We are living in a modern world with modern questions. Yes I believe the Bible was inspired by God- but if God was done healing/changing human culture we wouldn’t have the last 6,000 years of human history. The fact is we are not a perfect people yet and the Bible doesn’t represent any group of people that had actually achieved this. We are all still human. Is this heretical by your standards…. probably. I am assuming you subscribe to the Nicene creed. But why sign  your faith away to a vote by a bunch of deceased bickering bishops who were hung up on Hellenistic philosophy? If you are concerned about these things, then I think you have truly lost the point of the Scripture to begin with.

    You only really see the advancement of that the scriptures made when you look at the context people were writting in anyway… For instance, in the “old testament” we find that women could be accused and tried of adultery at the mere suspicion of her husband. The woman was stripped down in front of all the people and forced to drink a potion made from the dust of the tabernacle floor. This curious ritual is barbaric by todays standards… Of course the culture of the surrounding canaanites didn’t involve a potion – it involved throwing her into a moving stream of water to see if she drowned. Is the “old testament” way barbaric? YES. Was it still an improvement over the surrounding culture? Probably/definitely!
    Ask yourself… why did it take so long for Jesus to show  up? Why does he wait now? Because people are just not ready. People change, they adapt, and things do get better.

    This is where a hint of Buddhist philosophy can really clarify things : what is the point of asking what the afterlife will be like or asking what will happen to your soul after you die? as long as you are alive you should be focused on this life – where you are – and the good you can do now. You only waste your precious time trying to fit gay people into a role you were born into and they weren’t.

    You can engineer gay animals in every mammalian species that remain that way throughout life. The INH3 region of the brain – the preoptic portion – controls the physical paramaters that one finds attractive. This part of the brain develops in a very brief window in development and later becomes unresponsive to hormones. A developing fetus’s own body or that of the mother’s can influence the hormones and receptors of the brain for only a few short days (hence the nature/nurturer debate).  It then becomes unresponsive to adjustment throughout the rest of the life.

    This is built into the human race for its benefit. Think about it! Its a built in adoption method.

    An example of geese. Geese in a particular lake in Canada were found to have a 50% survivability of their offspring. Scientists studying the group however noted that two large males nested together and were found taking eggs from the other nests. Since males in a population of geese determine the size of the nesting territory, these two males had the largest and best “real estate” on the lake. The eggs that they took from their neighbors had an 80% survivability because of location and additional food they were able to catch and procure for the chicklets (geeselets?!). In taking the eggs from the other nests, they actually raised the genetic expression of all the other nests in the area. Genetics that allow for homosexuality are perpetuated in the species because those that express the characteristic signfigantly raise the survivability of their closely related kin. If  my sister and her husband can only raise 3 kids, but me and my partner help them raise more, then I have perpetuated my own genes: my sister has half my genetic code. From the stand point of biology me raising and having my own kids (50% of my genetic material) is the same as me helping my sister – she has the same genetic proportion of my dna as my own children.

    Human’s have developed incredibly complicated and frankly advanced hormonal/feedback mechanisms to regulate the exact proportion of reproducing and non reproducing individuals in a population. You might find this sort of evolutionary biology to be heretical and scary – I find it awe inspiring and the mark of the Divine.

    To each his own.

  15. Sorry about the poor grammar and misspelling – i don’t feel well today.

  16. [...] fans enraged, notice some of the quotes from gay activist websites we have been talking about : Homosexuals planning for tomorrow’s Pride Charlotte festival in Charlotte, N.C., are enraged [...]

  17. BJ,

    It’s up to you, but just know that you can’t put forth arguments comparing homosexuality to the Sabbath, ceremonial cleanliness and shellfish if you haven’t heard a scholarly response to it.

  18. No. Actually there are a number of scholars that would disagree with you. I had a number of them as professors. Bottom line: the bible really doesn’t discuss homosexuality in the sense we know it. Its almost completely silent on lesbians… aside from Paul’s condemnation of temple prostitution (and here the condemnation is idolatrous acts).
    I assume we could debate what “scholarly”  means… I am confident in the wisdom of those that taught me.

  19. Hey Judson,

    The Torah states that bottom feeding animals are unclean for eating, but it is completely silent on bacon that has been deep fried; Paul and Jesus condemned sexual immorality but never once mentioned Internet pornography. It is an argument from silence to state that contemporary homosexual practice isn’t condemned.  The bible condemns homosexual practice broadly, so no painstaking details are necessary.

    On the question of whether or not the Gay lifestyle is marked by monogamous commitment, I would suggest picking up a book entitled Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women by Allan P. Bell and Martin S. Weinberg.

  20. Judson W —-

    I should have been more specific. My comment was about homsexuals that claim to be followers of Christ, while insisting the bible allows them to have a sexual relationship outside of a man-woman marriage as clearly described by Jesus in Matthew 19. If you do not claim to be a follower of Christ or the bible, then it wouldn’t apply. My apologies for not being clearer. Let me explain a bit of where I’m coming from.

    The bible is pretty clear to me. Of all the sexual activities criticized in the bible, every one of them involves people who are not married to each other.

    I do not believe God made rules for sex just to be a mean nasty control freak, or to deny pleasure to anybody. I think his rules make a lot of sense, when I look around me and see the results of not living by those rules. The STD rate would be almost nil if people stayed virgins until marriage, and stayed faithful after marriage. That would be one sexual partner per person for life. There would be almost no way for STD’s to get spread around, if people did not sleep around. It’s really that simple. STD’s are just an example of the bad effects of promiscuity among human beings. I do not have this point of view because I think sex is icky or dirty, I have this point of view because promiscuity is a risky behavior.

    God made me the way I am too. I am single now & choose to remain that way, but I still have urges. Hetero- or homosexual doesn’t matter. As humans, we operate on a higher intellectual level than the animals in your post, and we have the ability to control our impulses. The rules against sex outside of marriage apply to ALL Christians, regardless of who they are sexually attracted to.

    I cannot allow posers to stand up publicly and claim the bible allows or even endorses sex outside of marriage. It does not do so.

  21. First of all, the context is important in EACH one of those cases. If you argue otherwise, I have a word for you to look up: Eisegesis.

    Also marriage has changed throughout the Bible. Originally rape was punished by forcing the victim to marry the man that raped her. The act of sex was considered a marriage act so long as the woman didn’t belong to anybody else. We’ve come so far… to suggest that the Bible has only condoned sex within marriage is to completely misunderstand what marriage was in the Bible. It was property. Originally even sex within marriage was condemned by the Church. Virgin females were considered to be outside the bounds of sin that marriage perpetuated – i.e. producing more children in a world of sin and were once regarded as the greatest property of the Church (I think it was Origen that said this, but don’t quote me on it).

    I also don’t need your stereotypes and figures about Gay marriage and monogamy. I know plenty of men and women in monogamous long term relationships. You refuse to give our relationships the same status as yours, and then claim we don’t meet the standards you don’t believe we are even entitled to. Not to mention the fact: 50% of all marriages, even Christian ones end in divorce. I know plenty of married straight men that have a lot of sex outside of their marriage. If you want to measure gay people by the standards “You” (and in this case I mean, reflexively, “Straight” society that you are differentiating me from) are failing at, then you at least have to give them the opportunity to take the same vows. OTherwise, its just not a fair comparison. I will discuss Christian theology with you. I will not continue to debate stereotypes promoted about my people that make us out to be YOUR worst nightmare. This is no longer a fruitful discussion, but I thank you for the parts that were. I pray that your hearts will be convicted, but I have said all I have to say.

  22. Judson:

    I’m curious, did you bother watching Dr. Brown’s presentation?  It is very exegetical.

  23. Judson —

    Yes, context is very important when studying bible verses. What I refer to when I say “the bible criticizes people who have sex outside of marriage” is the *overall* context of how sex-outside-of-marriage is regarded in the bible, which is just as important. It is roundly condemned.

    Your third paragraph seems to indicate you think my previous post concerning STDs and promiscuity was directed ONLY at homosexuals. It was not. STDs and promiscuity do not limit themselves to any one particular group. My post was worded to reflect that.

  24. Judson —

    As I was getting ready to sleep, some other thoughts occurred to me since I made my last post.

    After considering the part of your post discussing the non-hetero behavior of normally hetero animals, I have to ask:

    Do you want to be treated as an animal in our human society, with no conscious choice? Or do you want to be treated as a human being with choice and volition of your own?

    I think it is dangerous ground to imply that since some animals act homosexually, that it is ok or normal for humans to do so as well. Animals also do other things that humans would find unacceptable: gerbils eat their young if the mother feels threatened. Male lions have been known to kill cub offspring of other male lions. And so on. Human beings use their intellect to rise above their base survival instinct. If we didn’t, there would probably be anarchy and pandemonium.

  25. [...] Charlotte, where Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience, shared the goals and terms of involvement for the rally, described as a “Spirit-birthed response to Charlotte’s annual gay pride [...]

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