Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

 (Vicky Beeching is a relatively well-known Christian singer songwriter who is now better known for being gay and an advocate of the LGBT agenda within the church.   When she came out as gay she knew that her career on the American Christian music scene was over, but she now has a new career as a darling of the regressive establishment, as they continue their ‘redefinition’ of the Christian faith. Her new career has resulted in numerous media appearances, an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury and a new book. ‘Undivided’ has just been published to a mixed reception. This is my review in the form of an open letter. )

Dear Vicky,

y450-300Thank you for your book. You will understand that I, as someone who holds to the view that LGBTI teachings go against the teachings of the Bible, approached reading this with a degree of trepidation. But as you urged people like me at the beginning “thank you for giving this book a chance. I hope you’ll keep the door of your heart open as you travel through its pages.”

 I’m not quite sure what you mean by the door of my heart, but I hope it is always open to reflect the glory of the God who is love. I also want to keep open the door of my mind and be open to reason, evidence and persuasion. Reading your book you come across as a lovely person who has had a horrible time. Something for which I can only feel empathy and sorrow. But that is not enough to make me overturn what the Bible says. I’m not sure why my heart – or indeed yours- should overrule the word of our loving God? After all my heart is, as that word says, ‘deceitful and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9).  So I am sure you will forgive and not judge me, for looking at what you actually say – not what I am supposed to feel!

Firstly let me say that this is a well-written and moving book. I found it really easy to read and indeed to empathise with your plight in many ways. There was also a great deal of truth in some of your observations.   However overall I found Undivided overwhelmingly depressing – here’s why.

The Horror

This is a horrible story for so many reasons.  It tells of a life lived under enormous pressure which you describe as “My heart stood like an abandoned building. Empty and echoey.”

Some of the abuse and mistreatment you have received is dreadful. “Others said I was a danger to the church, leading people into sin, and that I’d be better off dead. Some even went as far as to hurl death threats at me. “ By definition someone who hurls death threats at you is not a follower of the One who told us to love even our enemies.   I hope that you are not using the classic ad hom tactic of taking a few stupid and evil threats and then implying that anyone who disagrees with you is somehow responsible for, or endorsing them.

I can empathise a little with you because each week I receive hate mail and abuse through social media.   Don’t you think this is the nature of the beast? I’m not so sure that it is wise to blame the whole evangelical movement or evangelical theology for abuse received ‘in the name of Christ’. Any Christians who have abused you should be thoroughly ashamed.  If I, or people like me, have in any sense contributed to that then please accept my apologies.

The Hypocrisy

The Church – Some of the things you describe are horrendous. I too have seen the hypocrisy you describe. Your description of being sexually abused by a priest in Wycliffe hall is something that made me really angry. What a horrendous experience that must have been. You also write: “Within the college, lots of unmarried seminary students were having sex, and a handful of married students were having affairs with other students. The shiny façade of evangelical morality seemed to be crumbling in front of my eyes. This was not what I’d expected to see at an evangelical college. “   Nor I. You have done us a great service by pointing out the hypocrisy.  Although I should point out that all this is dependent on your memories being correct (married students having affairs, lots of unmarried students having sex) and also subject to the caveat that you cannot condemn the whole institution for a handful of rotten apples – after all it would hardly be fair of me to condemn all gay people just because I have known some who have committed rape or abuse!)

The Music Scene – Your description of the American Christian music scene is also profoundly depressing. It comes across as just a pale imitation of the world’s music scene – with very little Christian about it at all. You kind of confirmed my fears about ‘Christian’ music. (By the way I’m not sure what Christian music is anymore than I am sure what a Christian building or a Christian meal is!).  The pursuit of money, fame and celebrity are the antithesis of the Gospel of Christ. I am sorry that your life was lost in that idolatrous and largely fake world.  But this is the world that you wanted so much that you were prepared to suppress your ‘identity’ in order to be part of it. In passing I note that you seem to want what I despise in the evangelical world and despise what I love!

 Society – I suspect you didn’t mean this but your book also shows up the hypocrisy of our society. They were not remotely interested in you when you were just a Christian singer – but the minute you come out as an LGBTQI+ spokesperson, they are all over you. They didn’t want to hear about your Christianity before, now they want to hear about your views – not because your views are Christian, but because they reflect theirs and they can now use your views to attack and demonise further Christians who hold to the Bible’s teaching. You are exhibit number 1 of how evangelical Christianity ‘oppresses and suppresses’. They love you for providing them with that ammunition.

But there is another hypocrisy that comes across in the book. Your own.   You knew you were attracted to people of the same sex. You knew you were gay. You also knew that you wanted a career in a world (the American Christian music scene) where coming out as gay would prevent that. You made the choice to stay ‘in the closet’. This was not a choice that was forced upon you. You were the person who decided that your career was more important than your ‘identity’. But in this book you turn the tables and claim that you were the one being victimised by hypocrites.

One moment I was seen as an insider in my evangelical Christian world; the next, I was treated as an outsider. People I’d known my entire life suddenly saw me as different, because my orientation did not match theirs.

 I think you are wrong in this comment – which incidentally is very judgemental – presuming to know others motives and making judgements based upon that. I, like many others, do not see you as different because of your sexual orientation (I know many fine Christians who are gay and who live fine Christian lives), but I disagree with your theology and to be honest your practice. You admit that you pretended to be one thing and then came out as another – but why blame the church for your hypocrisy! I’m sorry for using such a strong word, but I want to be as honest as you are in your (correct) accusations of the hypocrisy of some within the church.    It’s as though you are seeking to justify your hypocrisy by saying ‘they made me do it’!   It’s like a small child when confronted with a particular wrongdoing saying ‘the devil made me do it’ – only in this case the devil is the evangelical church – which in the eyes of your new friends, (gay activists and liberal Christians) is pretty well the same thing!

You speak about the church as being responsible for doctrines you imply you no longer agree with – apparently it was the ‘church’ (the evangelical one which you are now rejecting) not the bible which taught that sex before marriage was wrong, that pornography was wrong, that married pastors who had affairs should be fired. Do you  now accept these things as legitimate? How far down the socially progressive rabbit hole have you gone? You seem to have bought into the complete ‘regressive’ package (the church is always behind the times and needs to become more like society, the bible is not the infallible word of God etc. – you even add a footnote to the book apologising for using male pronouns for God!).

Vicky we don’t disagree with you because of your sexual orientation, but rather because of your theological orientation.

The Bible

None more so than in your new way of reading the bible –

As I read about Peter’s vision, I felt as though I were there myself, looking at the sheet falling from the sky. For me, the “unclean things” on that sheet represented my gay orientation. And, like Peter, I was arguing with God, saying, “Lord, I’ve never so much as touched a person of the same sex romantically. I’ve kept your law and commandments. I would never disobey your word.” And what God had said to Peter, I felt he said to me too: “Do not call unclean what I have made clean.”

From my newfound point of view, believing that a person could be gay and Christian, these chapters in Acts seemed to have multiple layers of meaning. I couldn’t help thinking it had overlap with the place of LGBTQ+ people in the church today.

Now you read the Bible entirely through the lens of what you want and what you feel. I realise that that is a common danger for us all – but you have gone full post modern on it. Do you really think that Luke (the author of Acts) or Peter thought that when this was recorded they were really writing about sexual orientation? Where did God declare that what he had previously described as sinful (sex outside marriage – including homosexual sex) was now fine?   You ‘felt’ God said to you. But he didn’t. It was your feelings projected on to God.   You will now read everything from your ‘newfound point of view’. But what if it’s wrong? Why should your feelings determine the Word of God? St Augustine is wise. “If you believe in the Gospel what you like, and leave out what you don’t like, its not the Gospel you believe, but yourself”

History

And of course this new found point of view becomes the lens through which you read everything – including history.

I understood their desire to honor God, and knew many of them had good intentions, but with the help of my new perspective, I could see that the mantras “we’ve always done it this way” and “the Bible clearly says” were both reminiscent of the arguments about slavery and women’s rights, and I recalled how painfully wrong the church had been before.

 As a historian I am very familiar with this narrow and simplistic way of looking at history. It is as depressing as it is dumbed down. What happens is that people who want to justify a particular point of view in the 21st Century read that point of view back into previous centuries. It’s a form of confirmation bias. You simplify and demonise anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being backward and as using arguments like ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and ‘the Bible clearly says’.   But your position on history, whilst it accurately describes some people and views in the past, is not accurate. To equate same sex marriage with slavery is a logical absurdity that only makes sense if we accept your pre-suppositions in the first place. You are engaging in the kind of circular simplistic arguments that we have come to expect from the Progressive fundamentalists.

Strange Fruit

 Your evidence for your views on sex and sexuality include the claim – How could I have produced this good fruit if being gay was so sinful? Surely that would make me a “bad tree” and I should’ve been producing bad fruit.

 Again here we are back to your theology and your misunderstanding of the Bible. I love your song ‘the wonder of the Cross’ – and will continue to sing it. But you can easily produce ‘fruit’ like that and yet be sinful. I love the Psalms of David, but he committed adultery and murder – do you think he could justify himself by saying ‘but look how many people have been helped by my songs!”   Ultimately Jesus is the only judge of our fruit – not us.      “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!(Matthew 7:21-23). They did many wonderful things in the name of Jesus, but he did not know them.

Knowing Christ

Which brings me on to my major concern. Knowing Christ and being known by Christ.

Some want to say that you have left the Christian faith. You deny that and just say that you have developed to a more mature understanding. But when I read your book there is another more obvious thought that crosses my mind – I don’t think you have left the Christian faith because I’m not sure you were ever in it – other than at a very superficial level. You may have been in the faith in a broadly cultural sense, but were you ever in Christ? (Paul’s favourite description of a Christian). I don’t mean to be insulting but it’s your own words that lead me to this conclusion. Only the Lord knows your heart but the evidence is clear – at least from this book.

My life seemed a monotonous drone of work with no one to come home to. I kept my friends and family at arm’s length, because my core identity was something they couldn’t know about, and most likely wouldn’t understand.  

“Why do I have to choose between such core aspects of my identity?” I often asked myself, sobbing into my pillow at night. “Why can’t I pursue my Christian music career and also be able to date and marry someone of the same sex?”

I’d made my career the sole focus of my life, having shelved all hopes of dating, marriage, and a family of my own. It was scary to sense my job was no longer filling the hole in my heart that it once had.

I don’t deny that at times as a Christian I can feel an emptiness or a loneliness.  But it is not because of career or sex shaped hole – it’s because I have wandered away from Christ.   A Christian is someone whose ‘core identity’ is in Christ, not in their sexuality, nor in their ‘ministry’ or career. Augustine’s famous quote is apposite here – “our hearts were made for Thee, and they are restless until they find their rest in Thee”.   You attempted to fill the hole in your heart through your status as a ‘Christian’ music celebrity, but you found that very lonely. Now you are attempting to fill the hole in your heart through your newfound status as an LGBTI celebrity. That won’t work either.

Your Christianity seems to have been an outer clothing, a cultural badge, but in your own words it was clearly not your heart. You loved the things and the fruit of Christianity but you didn’t love Christ. Or at least there is no evidence of that. The idols of celebrity, family, self and culture were pre-dominant. You may say that that is not fair and that that would preclude many professing Christians. I think it would. And I need to ask myself whether career, identity, culture, family or any thing else is at the centre of my heart rather than Christ.  It is a challenge for us all.  Do you think Christ is being harsh when he says to those who had done many wonderful things in his name ‘away from me. I never knew you!”?

The Hope

 In one sense your book is hopeless. Despite being subtitled’ Coming out, Living Whole and Living Free From Shame” this is a book that offers no Christian hope at all. Any hope offered is just from the kind of meaningless truisms that our contemporary society is based on.

What is crucial, though, is this: we need to love and accept who we are. It’s about making peace with ourselves. ….. It’s a heart-warming reminder that God longs for us to simply be ourselves.

But it’s a reminder of a lie. The primary thing is to make peace with God – not with ourselves. God does not ‘long for us simply to be ourselves’. He longs for us to be holy – and our ‘selves’ are sinful. In the name of the Gospel you have stated precisely the opposite of the Gospel.  Even in secular terms it doesn’t make sense. What if my ‘self’ is racist? Homophobic? Abusive? Does your principle that ‘God longs for us simply to be ourselves’ still apply?

 Another example of this false hope and false Gospel you offer is in your closing paragraph.

Wherever I find myself these days, whether at corporate conferences giving keynotes on diversity or in one-to-one conversations with pastors helping them embrace LGBTQ+ equality, my message is the same: We become our most beautiful, powerful, irreplaceable selves when we allow our diversity to shine. This can only happen when we refuse to feel shame about the things that make us unique and different, when we gather together the fragmented pieces of who we are and boldly unite them into a self that is congruent and in harmony. Vulnerability is difficult, but crucial. Radical, raw, heartfelt authenticity is tough, but worth it. Freed from shame and fear, we are finally able to live, and love, from a place of wholeness. We find peace. We become complete. We become people who are, at our deepest core, undivided.

 You offer a beauty which is ugly, a diversity which is uniformity, a freedom from shame which is an enslavement to sin, an ‘authenticity’ that is fake, a wholeness which is broken, a peace that is war. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

 Another example of the twisted theology you espouse in this book is when you suggest that there is hope in not knowing.

When I read the final sentence of that story, an unexpected smile crept across my face. Truly Abbot Joseph alone has found the way, for he replied that he knows not.

Of course it couldn’t—but this was a big departure from the culture of certainty I’d been raised in. The obsession with fixed answers felt increasingly wrong to me: if God can fit into a box, it’s no longer God we are dealing with but someone made in our own image.

“It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.”

 There are people who will think this is profound and true…because in some senses it is. How can we possibly ‘know’ an Almighty, omniscient, omnipotent being whose ways and thoughts are far beyond ours?    But the trouble is that you claim uncertainty whilst being very certain. You are certain that God would approve of gay relationships, you are certain of your new found liberal theology, you are certain that you are no longer ‘divided’. There is not an ounce of doubt in your book about these things.   And you do provide ‘easy answers’ to the key questions you ask. Love is love. Freedom from shame. Freedom to be who you are. These are all easy answers that fit neatly into our world’s narrative. You have replaced the certainty of Christ and his word, with your own new certainties. But your new foundation is very shaky – ‘On Christ, the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand’. You are in the quagmire.

A Different Stage

You love the stage. You love to perform. Now you are just doing the same thing for a different audience.   You delight in working for corporations and big companies to help them with their ‘diversity’ programmes (what I would call indoctrination and intimidation programmes). It seems to me that you have replaced the stage of the Corporate Christian music scene for the stage of the Capitalist Corporations seeking to virtue signal and impose their ideologies about society, whilst they get on with exploiting as many people as they can.

Campaigning for LGBTQ+ equality was becoming a big part of my life. I was especially passionate about seeing a ban on conversion therapy—the attempt to turn gay or bisexual people straight. Why would you do that?  I don’t agree with conversion therapy but why would I want to ban it? Where is the tolerance in that? What about those people who want help to deal with their thoughts? Why would you deny them that choice? What right do you have to impose your views by law upon everyone else? What kind of tolerance and diversity is this?

Its strange that you talk about diversity and tolerance and yet at the same time see a day when only your view will prevail in the church – We were a generation seeing LGBTQ+ history being made in front of our eyes. I knew someday the church would unanimously support same-sex marriage; it was just a question of time. Note again your absolute certainty – not only about the past and the present but now the future! You just know that one day the church will unanimously support SSM. On what basis do you have that knowledge? Like most of your new knowledge it is based upon your feelings not facts. I feel and fear that the tide against the biblical position is overwhelming and yet I know that the biblical position will remain and the Church of Jesus Christ will continue – not because of my feelings but because Jesus says that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

So in all of this mess – where is the hope?

I found hope, as you did, in the story of your Granddad.   He comes across as a lovely and Godly man who loves you and yet remains faithful to God’s word, despite your attempts to manipulate him towards your point of view. When he suggested to you that celibacy was an option you dismissed that because ‘celibacy is a choice not a command”. But celibacy is a command for those who cannot marry within the biblical constraints. And it is a gift of God to be celebrated, not mourned.  Your demeaning of those who are single may be unintentional but it is real.

Granddad is a hero to me and always will be. In our relationship I’ve caught a glimpse of something wider too: it’s given me hope for the parts of the church that don’t theologically agree. Yes, that’s a complex situation indeed, but perhaps there is a way for the church to remain united, and to see love triumph over judgment.

But note again what you have done. You have even take your Granddad’s love and turned it into a judgemental comment. Your book is full of judgements – the church will not be united if parts of it adopt your theology (not just about sexuality – but the whole ‘progressive’ package you have swallowed).

I also found some hope in this comment:

Evangelical theology didn’t have much room for anger or grief; it mainly promoted forgiveness and gratitude and being gentle and gracious to everyone. Anger was an unattractive emotion in those circles. I found solace in the Psalms where David shouted at God and railed against injustice.

 It may be that the superficial and shallow theology that you experienced on the Christian music circuit did not have much room for anger or grief – but biblical theology does. I love the Psalms – they are part of my spiritual DNA – and I read or sing one every day. My hope as always is to return to the word that brings me the Hope.

Another person who loves the Psalms is Dr Rosaria Butterfield. Like you she is opposed to conversion therapy but as a former Lesbian postmodern professor of Queer studies and gender theory, she has a very different and much more biblical take on this whole issue. Have a look at this short video.

Vicky – I love your song The Wonder of the Cross. And I will continue to sing it. But it seems to me that you have lost that wonder. Doubtless in your new progressive theology you can no longer speak of ‘history being split in two’ – BC and AD are now replaced by BCE and CE.   Your view of the atonement will now line up with Steve Chalke (another former evangelical leading parts of the Church down the Regressive route) as being just ‘cosmic child abuse’.   The Cross will no longer be the centre of all things – but just one religious way into the great Unknown, along with many others.   The only hope for me and for you is to return to the wonder of the Cross. A cross that is a stumbling block to the religious and foolishness to the non-religious.   A cross where God does not say ‘I want you to be yourself’ but ‘I want to forgive you and bring you to Myself’. A cross where truth and righteousness kiss. A cross that can reconcile, fill and unite the most bitter, empty and divided heart. Your newfound theology and worldview will not bring you peace – nor will it result in an undivided heart or world. Only Christ and his Cross can do that. Remember the wonder of the Cross,

I wish you all the best,

In and for the Love and Glory of Christ,
David

(An unknown Scottish minister who doesn’t get to do diversity training for the big Corporations or governments but who does care that you should come to know Christ)

Ps….here is a wee gift for you – this clip is of my church singing your song.

 

 An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church about Vicky Beeching and ‘Gay Christianity’

The Soft and Hard Intimidation of the Church – A revealing 24 Hours….

 

221 thoughts on “Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

  1. I get where you’re coming from WeeFlea – I used to hold the same views as yourself for many years (I’m not gay btw and never have been) – some of those years were when I used to belong of a very legalistic fundamental “church” (cult actually) which damaged me with their spiritual abuse (won’t bore with details) and I ended up having a break down 15 years after I left the cult. It was only when I personally experienced that mental breakdown ten years ago that I began to re-examine my attitude to gay people because I thought well what if my attitude towards them damages them the way I had been damaged, and I didn’t want that to be the case.

    I also then began to try and learn a bit more about homosexuality and consider it from a different perspective – I decided to accept that if someone knew they were gay (many know from a young age) then that was how it was, and it does seem that about 3% of the population are gay (this was reflected in my personal circle of friends), and that it must have been this way since the beginning of time, so I researched how different cultures/countries and ancient cultures approached it.

    Obviously in biblical times there were eunuchs – they were often used to keep the harems so I wonder if these were gay men or asexual men? (I mean, who would put a straight man in charge of 1000 women?!! ….and I wonder what went on in those harems between the women, sexually starved as they had to share one husband often between 1000!!)

    Then I saw something of a pattern in the bible that the kind of homosexuality the bible condemned was when straight men committed “sodomy” – this was a frequent practice by straight men in ancient cultures: in religious rituals (shrine prostitutes) and also in war etc where they straight men would sexually abuse their victims to assert their authority over them (for example when the men were returned to David with half their beards cut off: in fact that was an outward sign of shame that they had been abused by their victors).

    In fact Wiki have some interesting facts about how ancient cultures and different cultures have dealt with homosexuality down the ages – all very fascinating.

    I am pleased UK laws are changing about how gay people are treated it as it’s not the church’s prerogative to leglislate. I thought it was shameful the way Alan Turin was treated: he saved the lives of thousands of people through his brilliant mind, but the “treatment” given to him for his sexuality damaged him. I would not like to belong to a society that treated people like that. I am pleased the Queen awarded Alan Turin a posthumous OBE.

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  2. I was interested in reading what David had to say but the fact that, in the preamble and at the end he made comments which did not seem to indicate a loving attitude towards Ms Beeching, this rather coloured my view of the whole piece. I have not read the book but I do not feel that it is our job as Christians to judge. If Jesus didn’t come to condemn then why would we think we should? Why should gay people be denied the happiness of a loving relationship with another human being? David is basically telling this young woman that she can’t have what he has…..a wife, children and grandchildren unless she conforms to his interpretation of scripture. I do not believe that marriage should have been re-defined but if a same sex couple live in a loving relationship who am I to judge them? I leave that to God. Why should gay people remain celibate? If you follow the argument that only people within a marriage can have sex then is masturbation a sin as well? If that’s the case then pretty much all of us have committed sexual sin. Jesus only mentioned adultery as sexual sin. And He didn’t judge the woman at the well even though she had had numerous husbands and was living with a man that she was not married to…..in fact she spread the Good News. Would she have done that if she hadn’t felt loved and accepted by Jesus? As Christians we are called to love and care for our fellow human beings and tell them about the love of Christ. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘comments which did not seem to indicate a loving attitude towards Ms Beeching’. Please enlighten. I find that people find it remarkably easy to judge and accuse of being unloving – and its almost impossible to answer because I never know what they are referring to.

      What do you mean that Jesus didn’t condemn? Did he never make any judgement?

      Why do you think that it is wrong to state that unless you are married you should not have sex or indeed bring children into this world? Whats wrong with Gods standards? You could use your argument to justify polygamy and incest…as well as a number of other sexual practices which someone feels they ‘are’.

      I’m afraid that you are also correct in this. All of us have committed sexual sin (by Jesus’s standard)…that does not make the sin right! And who says that he did not judge the woman at the well? Do you think he was approving of her having several husbands? Loved and accepted does not mean that Christ endorses our sin or accepts us as we are without changing us (otherwise what is the point of the new birth?). It is indeed the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin – and also to convert (unless you are born of the Spirit you cannot even see the kingdom of God)….but the Holy Spirit uses means – most of all the preaching of the Word he inspired…..

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    2. When will people stop telling Christians that they must not judge? It is clear from 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 that judging those within the Church is exactly what we should do. Vicky says she is a Christian which means that she has been born again and “is a new creature; old things have passed away and everything has become new”. That being so, we have a duty to judge what she does and what she says about spiritual and Biblical matters. If Vicky renounces her Christian faith, the situation changes and it is only then that we no longer have the responsibility to judge (v13).

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      1. Actually he did provide caveats – a couple of verses later he says ‘do not cast your pearls before swine’! He also warns us about false teachers and tells us to protect the church from them. Thats good enough for me!

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      2. Because immediately after saying not to judge – Jesus tells them to judge…go figure! Does Vicky claim to be a prophet? If not then she can’t be a false one. However I do state that her teaching is false and harmful – that is what I am opposed to. I don’t care about her sexuality…as I said in the article (which I assume you have read)…its not her sexual orientation that bothers me – its her theological orientation.

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      3. Since her sexual orientation has informed her theological orientation it seems to me that you are concerned with her sexual orientation. I am assuming that your standpoint is that fulfilling a SSA by engaging in an intimate relationship with a person of the same sex is sinful. Vicky is saying that it is not. And because of Vicky’s viewpoint you are questioning if she ever was in Christ. You are also saying that she should rather not be fulfilled by having what you and I have, a happy, intimate relationship with our spouses but should go through life single and celibate because her sexual orientation does not allow her to be married according to Biblical standards as you interpret them. Vicky is campaigning for people who are SSA to be accepted by the church and have their monogamous relationships sanctified. You are saying that this is not possible because it is sinful. So even though Vicky was presumably born this way and fought against it for a long time, God did not take these feelings away. And now she has had a revelation that actually God does accept her as she is and that her sexual orientation can be fulfilled with a loving monogamous relationship. My viewpoint is that I am not God, I cannot judge if her revelation from God is true and I certainly would not presume to question her faith and relationship with God.

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      4. Carol – that is a very revealing statement – “her sexual orientation has informed her theological orientation”. I totally agree. And that is the problem. Our theological orientation should be informed by Scripture – nothing else.

        Also can I ask that you respond to what I say – not to what I do not say. I never said that Vicky was not in Christ because of her sexual orientation. If you read the review you will see why I questioned that. I won’t repeat myself so just read it there.

        I also don’t buy into the narrative of born this way – and even if I did so what. Could a polygamist or paedophile or adulterer or violent person claim that they were ‘born this way’ and therefore it just has to be accepted?

        I don’t think she has ‘had a revelation’ – rather that what you said at the beginning has happened. Her sexual orientation has informed her ‘revelation’.

        And yes it does sound as though you are judging her ‘revelation’ as true. As for not judging – if someone said I have had a revelation that ‘white people are superior’ would you say ‘I cannot judge if your revelation is true? and I cannot presume to question your faith and relationship with God?

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      5. Sadly, Carol’s reasoning is faulty in that she states that Jesus only mentioned adultery as sexual sin, but He also referred to fornication (Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9 and Mark 7:21, not to mention the Bible’s other 35 references to it). So even if Vicky’s reinterpretation of the Bible’s references to homosexuality is accepted, Vicky and those who support her theology must still deal with the Bible’s condemnation of fornication which is defined as sexual relations between people who are not married (marriage being defined by Christ in Matthew 19:4-6).

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    3. Carol – Jesus did not need to teach on sexual sin as any Jew already understood the teaching on sexual immorality and certainly about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. He did teach that he could forgive sin as in the encounter with the woman caught in adultery who was going to be stoned – he told her to go and sin no more. He did not say “because you love this person carry on with your relationship”. Vicky Beeching has the same responsibility that all Christians have – to turn from sin and turn to Christ. Unfortunately she is setting herself against the teachings of Jesus and is grieving the Holy Spirit. She needs to repent and pick up her cross and follow him – there is no other way.

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      1. Tricia, in your opinion she is going against the teachings of Jesus. I can honestly say that my reading of the words of Jesus gives me no clear guidance on homosexual monogamous, loving relationships. The story of Soddom and Gomorrah describes a city eaten up with promiscuity and lust, that is not what we are talking about here. If you read into the meaning of fornication in the original Greek it is referring to prostitution, particularly the religious shrines where sex took place as part of the religious practice. The meanings of words change as we know, over time. All of this gives me cause to listen sympathetically to the pleas of homosexual Christians to be accepted and to enjoy intimate monogamous relationships. If that is not your opinion then, obviously I do not challenge your right to hold that opinion.

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      2. Carol. What does Jesus actually teach about marriage? Is there any indication at all that he supports homosexual ‘marriage’? The trouble is that you are reading back into Scripture your own cultural prejudices. Do you read biblical Greek? Or are you just citing the views of those who agree with you? What your, mine or Tricia’s ‘opinion’ is doesn’t ultimately matter. What matters is what God says. No unbiased reading of Scripture would lead to any doubt. The only question is whether we accept what God says or not.

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  3. I flinch at David’s polytheistic talk, eg ‘the god’ & ‘our loving god’, but blame Bible translation at large—the CEV leads the NT way IMO. Some words Vicky didn’t like were right, and some were wrong, but while we should disagree with the wrong we should not assert that the ideologically faulty are by definition “not a follower”, which would rule out Vicky Beeching ipso facto: are not most of us bad followers? Later Vicky is explicitly (perhaps too soon) all but ruled out as a never-been, but David has at least righty acknowledged that some are both Christian and homosexual; saint and sinner: Galatians & Ephesians are loaded with urging to Christians to drop vices and pick up virtues—we are under construction as we yield to the builder. Is she not simply a bad (misguided and misguiding) Christian? Sinfully wilful, sure, but still perhaps a Christian howbeit a poor disciple?
    I hate the “you were gay” affirmation; hey, I’m often gay but I’ve never been homosexual, the more scientific term that leaves heterosexuals and homosexuals free to be merry and gay. “Male pronouns” should be ‘masculine pronouns’—we can bypass the sexual but not the gender. I disagree with [same sex marriage] put without qualification—the unqualified affirms the concept. I hold that the concept, SSM, lacks potential ontological validation, ie irrespective of ethics it simply can’t exist in the real world, if that is the concept [God] is valid and validly comes through the Bible; we may called a cat & mouse married, but they are not since they cannot be so. And to dismiss the concept, God, is to dismiss the concept, ethics in favour of nihilism, the abolition of man, the fish freed from water to die.
    By and large I think that I see where David is coming from and going, and think that I agree with him by and large, but I would disallow some of the conversation.
    PS: If Vicky truly reflected her Bible College she didn’t reflect mine, but ex-homosexual Dr John White once noted that sexual mores had gotten about as bad within the church as without (Rm.12:1-2), but some sectors are better preserved than others.

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  4. I do find this review rather unsatisfactory in places.

    ‘Reading your book you come across as a lovely person.’ This statement sits ills with much of the critique – Vicky Beeching has written a book that actively promotes a new understanding of the gospel whereby shame and guilt are taken away by God declaring that the actions causing these feelings are acceptable and Scripture is re-interpreted accordingly, so far as it can be. Paul in his open letter was more forthright: ‘Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached, let him be accursed.’

    ‘To equate same sex marriage with slavery is a logical absurdity.’ As I read the context, VB equates opposition to sex marriage with defending slavery.
    ‘I love your song ‘the wonder of the Cross’ – and will continue to sing it. … Ps. Here is a wee gift for you – this clip is of my church singing your song.’ To be juxtaposed with ‘I don’t think you have left the Christian faith because I’m not sure you were ever in it – other than at a very superficial level.’ Listening to this previously unfamiliar song and reading the words, it seems to me entirely within its genre. Like so many modern choruses the music is banal and the lyrics are doggerel. But of course they deal with what is mysterious and precious, so the worshipper is persuaded that, despite the banality, he is entering into something profound. Superficially it appears meaningful and spiritual – but actually the dullness of the music and the insincerity of the words (‘left speechless watching wide eyed at the cost’) speak of something else. This is not spirituality peculiar to VB – it is typical of the spirituality expressed in evangelical churches up and down the country every Sunday. Simulating the appearance of intimacy with God through the ersatz.
    VB’s volte-face shows up not merely the shallowness of her own faith, before she turned, but of the whole culture that gave rise to her as a celebrity. Her cause already has enormous traction within the church, because for decades leaders, immature themselves, have been content to keep their congregations in a state of spiritual infancy. Christian leaders who know better should be asking themselves today: How well do my congregation know the Lord and love each other? How well rooted are they in Christ, able to withstand affliction and to discern good from evil? How sincerely do they seek to live holy lives, separating themselves from the culture that turns murder and adultery into entertainment? How well do they understand the whole counsel of God? How well do I myself understand it? “I have learned to an even greater extent,” David says elsewhere, “just how deep is the rot in the contemporary church.” Yes, the rot is very deep. God bless you, David, for you are right to be alarmed and are one of the few offering some resistance.

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  5. David, please also do not remark on what I didn’t say. I said her viewpoint lead you to question if she was ever in Christ. Not her sexual orientation. And you constantly compare the homosexual orientation with paedophilia which I really cannot agree with. So I think we will have to agree to disagree.

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    1. You were talking about her viewpoint re sexual orientation. I was talking about what she wrote about her identity and what she loved. Christ and his word did not come into that. I don’t compare homosexual orientation with paedophila except to point out that both are sexual orientations, like hetrosexuality…

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    2. Carol – you refer to intimate monogamous relationships. The act is not accepted by God whether you indulge with one or more persons. Love cannot be cited either as a father who loves his child would claim the right to a sexual relationship, or a person may love 2 people and want to marry them both. Christian teaching is that marriage and sex are to be between one man and one woman for life. Now many many people fail and we have divorce, but we do not celebrate adultery. I do not say that people cannot live their lives as they see fit, but to say you are a Gay Christian is an oxymoron, the 2 are not compatible.

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      1. Again, you are giving your interpretation of scripture as the only possible one. I agree that Jesus, in a teaching about divorce, said that men couldn’t divorce their wives just because they felt like it. He took it back to the one man, one woman scenario of Adam and Eve to emphasise that marriage should not be polygamous and that divorce should only be allowed if the wife committed adultery. Obviously Jesus was talking to men here because they were allowed to divorce their wives quite easily at the time and I would assume this applies to the wife as well if her husband commits adultery. In view of this teaching I do have reservations about redefining marriage but in this teaching I do not find condemnation of a SSA couple who want to live in a loving, monogamous relationship. Clearly you do and that is your opinion and I would not argue with your right to an opinion. What I suggest is that the church might look at some kind of sanctification ceremony for such a relationship. I do take issue though with your assertion that gay Christian is an oxymoron. Since adultery is definitely a sexual sin, Jesus did make that very clear, and it is in the 10 commandments, then by this logic an adulterous person can also not be a Christian, in fact anyone committing any sin, sexual or otherwise, can not be a Christian. I am sure that you don’t believe this to be true so why do you assert that a person who feels sexually attracted to the same sex cannot be a Christian? Or are you saying that only if they express those feelings with actual sexual acts that they can’t be a Christian? However, to go back to the adultery comparison. An adulterer is expressing her or his feelings by a sexual act. So do they then cease to be a Christian? Jesus welcomes all to accept Him as saviour and I would not presume to exclude anybody from being able to accept that most precious gift.

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      2. Sex outside marriage is adultery. Marriage is between a man and a woman. The Bible states clearly that homosexual sex (though not orientation) is a sin. If we say that we love Christ then we will do what he commands…This is love for God, to obey his commands. We don’t become Christians through obeying the commands – but once we are, we will. All Christians sin – but those who deliberately go against what Christ says, indicate that they do NOT accept Christ as Lord.

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      3. I have nothing but admiration for David in never tiring to answer the points that are made to him, even though he often has to repeat himself time after time, not only to different people but in many cases (e.g. Carol) to the same person. I would be sorely tempted to quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:37:
        “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” particularity as the things that he wrote include teaching on marriage in the same Epistle (Chapter 7). Or perhaps, “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

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      4. In actual fact I decided to stop conversing with David as I could see that we had to agree to disagree. My last two or three posts were directed to Tricia and Lovesong 7 but David decided to answer them. Just as he decided to write the Open Letter to Vicky without invitation. I think we are seeing a pattern here. I know that your message was to David but you did mention me by name which I thought was actually quite rude and patronising.

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      5. Carol…this is my personal blog and if people choose to comment on here I feel perfectly at liberty to comment on their comments! Just as I feel perfectly at liberty to comment when someone like Vicky Beeching write in public attacking the church and seeking to exploit her own story in order to undermine and destroy those churches which seek to remain faithful to the Bible. Yes – there is a pattern..I will also counter error with the truth of God’s Word – when that error is proclaimed in public!

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    3. Totally agreed Carol. The arrogance displayed by people assuming that their reading of Scripture is the only way, I would argue is rather pharisaical. Also, the way in which this review seems to highlight Vicky “choosing” to stay in the closet when she could apparently so easily have come out. Has anyone been to a right wing conservative evangelical church recently? I think I’d feel safer coming out as a paeodophile than admitting same sex attraction – after all it is the unforgivable sin (I jest). If her book is so glaringly and obviously theologically incorrect (which isn’t my view) then why bother spending so much time reviewing it and engaging in debate with Vicky – if it’s so glaringly obvious then people will see through it. And my final point would be there seems to be a distinct sense of bitterness, in the signing off comment, that the reviewer doesn’t get the opportunity to speak in big corporations etc….this rather reflects a little sin called jealousy.

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      1. Do you think that its arrogant that you think your way of interpreting Scripture is the right way? Do you think its arrogant to claim that A can be none A?

        I’m not sure if anyone has been to a right wing conservative evangelical church lately. I don’t know any – do you ? Or were you just name calling?

        Why bother spending time reviewing a book which is theologically incorrect – because it is theologically incorrect and because many people don’t have the discernment or if they do, they are not sure how to argue against it – without being called names!

        Your last sentence is a nasty snide judgemental comment….of the type I have become very used to. FYI I have no desire whatsoever to speak in the board rooms of big corporations i order to reinforce their values – I regard the big corporations as corporate leeches, living off the backs of the poor and using their power to exploit. Don’t try to judge others motives out of ignorance. Stick to what is being said…

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      2. Thank you for this comment. I agree with much that you say and the seeming bitterness both in the end comments and the preamble where David refers to Vicky as the ‘darling of the regressive’. This is what I was referring to in my first comment but didn’t like to be too direct. I also saw a comparison with the Pharisees. However all of that is between David and God and it is not my place to judge. I am not God, I cannot see what is in a person’s heart. My job is to love my neighbour.

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  6. I do find this review rather unsatisfactory in places.

    ‘Reading your book you come across as a lovely person.’ This statement sits ills with much of the critique – Vicky Beeching has written a book that actively promotes a new understanding of the gospel whereby shame and guilt are taken away by God declaring that the actions causing these feelings are acceptable and Scripture is re-interpreted accordingly, so far as it can be. Paul in his open letter was more forthright: ‘Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached, let him be accursed.’

    ‘To equate same sex marriage with slavery is a logical absurdity.’ As I read the context, VB equates opposition to sex marriage with defending slavery.

    ‘I love your song ‘the wonder of the Cross’ – and will continue to sing it. … Ps. Here is a wee gift for you – this clip is of my church singing your song.’ To be juxtaposed with ‘I don’t think you have left the Christian faith because I’m not sure you were ever in it – other than at a very superficial level.’ Listening to this previously unfamiliar song and reading the words, it seems to me entirely within its genre. Like so many modern choruses the music is banal and the lyrics doggerel. But of course they deal with what is mysterious and precious, so the worshipper is persuaded that, despite the banality, he is entering into something profound. Superficially it appears meaningful and spiritual – but actually the dullness of the music and the insincerity of the words (‘left speechless watching wide eyed at the cost’) speak of something else. This is not spirituality peculiar to VB – it is typical of the spirituality expressed in evangelical churches up and down the country every Sunday. Simulating intimacy with God through the ersatz.

    VB’s volte-face shows up not merely the shallowness of her own faith, before she turned, but of the whole culture that gave rise to her as a celebrity. Her cause already has enormous traction within the church, because for decades leaders, immature themselves, have been content to keep their congregations in a state of spiritual infancy. Christian leaders who know better should be asking themselves today: How well do my congregation know the Lord and love each other? How well rooted are they in Christ, able to withstand affliction and to discern good from evil? How sincerely do they seek to live holy lives, separating themselves from the culture that turns murder and adultery into entertainment? How well do they understand the whole counsel of God? How well do I myself understand it? “I have learned to an even greater extent,” David says elsewhere, “just how deep is the rot in the contemporary church.” Yes, the rot is very deep. God bless you, David. You are right to be alarmed and are one of the few offering some resistance.

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  7. What would you do if one of your children came out as gay and said they were in a relationship? Shun them?

    Also what do you think of the perspective that the kind of homosexuality the bible condemned was straight men committing a sexual act with other men in order to either assert their authority over them, or as part of heathen worship (ie shrine prostitutes)?

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    1. Of course `i would not shun them, but I would not agree with them. Just as I would not shun them if they were in an adulterous relationship….

      Your latter sentence is what people are spinning in order to try and justify homosexual practices….

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      1. As I understand it its not so much spin but something to do with hermeneutics (which I confess I know nothing about!) but I do believe it is historically recorded that sacred prostitution in pagan shrines involving just men is a fact. It’s also a pattern in the bible that when strangers come into a city the men of that city want to assert their authority over strangers by having sex with them – weird I know, but that was the culture of those pagan cities, it’s a historical fact as I understand it (not spin), and that kind of behaviour was not allowed by God (I hate that story of the concubine who was cut into twelve pieces, one of the most saddest stories in Scripture). No wonder God hated the practice.

        Yes as a parent the instinct is not to shun our children, but your church would reject them unless they towed the line. But what if towing the church line made your gay child sick? (mentally and physically, as it did Vicky?) If one of your children came out as gay, as Vicky has done, they would be unwelcome in your church, if not in your home, so being gay nearly ALWAYS INVOLVES LOSS (sorry for capitals – not meaning to shout but can’t do bold on here). Loss is not easy to cope with emotionally for most people, and gay people are no exception – if they tow the evangelical church line they lose the hope of love and intimacy and have to resign themselves to celibacy and being alone and single until they die (which is a hard choice for some gay people), but if they come out and choose a relationship they lose the approval of their church and possibly friends and family, and in Vicky’s case, lose their living.

        I have to admit that if I were a priest I would struggle to “marry” two people of the same sex, but I have no problem with civil partnership (which has same benefits as marriage legally) as it celebrates their difference and allows gay people to have intimacy in a healthy way, and I think it’s better for people to be honest about their sexuality rather than stifle it and suppress it, and live a lie.

        I confess I struggle more understanding transgender people transitioning physically and find it confusing – not that I do not care about them – but a lot of transitions I’ve seen aren’t really that successful and you’re always aware of the person’s original sexuality, and some cases after they’ve transitioned they regret it bitterly, but its an area I wouldn’t like to judge anyone on as I’ve never had to walk that path…….the saying is true, until you’ve walked in someone else moccasins you can’t really know how you would feel.

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      2. Thanks…. The fact that there were religious temple prostitutes does not take away from the fact that Paul was writing about all homosexual acts as being wrong. There were also heterosexual temple prostitutes – why not mention them?

        My church would not ‘reject’ anyone. We treat everyone equally and ask all who profess faith in Christ to follow the teaching of Christ. If someone said they were a Christian but wanted to be a racist, or adulterer we would not permit them to be members. Would you regard that as unloving?

        All people are welcome in our church. That does not mean that we endorse or support unbiblical and harmful lifestyles. Being against Gods law always involves loss.

        I find it rather bizarre – this obsession with sex as the only way to have love and intimacy. That would mean that Jesus and Paul did not know love and intimacy!

        I’m not sure what you mean by ‘intimacy in a healthy way’. For me to go against the Makers instructions is always unhealthy.

        You are right about the lack of success of transition – its about 80% failure rate. So why are we being bombarded with trans propaganda from the State?

        If your criteria is that you cannot judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes – does that mean you cannot judge a murderer because you’ve never killed someone?!

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      3. “There were also heterosexual temple prostitutes – why not mention them?” – as I understand it that also was forbidden.

        “My church would not ‘reject’ anyone. We treat everyone equally and ask all who profess faith in Christ to follow the teaching of Christ. If someone said they were a Christian but wanted to be a racist, or adulterer we would not permit them to be members. Would you regard that as unloving?”

        Excommunication is a subject thankfully I am not responsible for – its an autonomous decision of the church, Paul wanted to excommunicate the incestuous brother in Corinth, the Corinthians would have none of it (I would love to see their letter back to Paul!) and in the end he came round to their acceptance of him – maybe they knew something Paul didn’t. I excommunicated myself from my church (aka cult) because I married “out” of the “faith” (not an unbeliever, but one who did not belong to their little brand of christianity).

        So to answer your question – it might be unloving to excommunicate them it might not – without knowing its not my place to say.

        “Being against Gods law always involves loss.”

        That is so true WeeFlea – though I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the “being against God’s law” – that is the problem for gay people, its what they are being – they are being gay because they are gay (not a choice for most of them, though some I do believe make the choice to experiment for wing reasons).

        This “being gay” and a Christian creates a cognitive dissonance: how do they resolve what they are and accept themselves in the love of God? (I think Jeanette Winterson’s autobiographical book “Why be happy when you could be normal?” examine that I’m not sure I haven’t read it yet.

        “I find it rather bizarre – this obsession with sex as the only way to have love and intimacy. That would mean that Jesus and Paul did not know love and intimacy!”
        Yes I am talking about sexual intimacy – Paul may have been married we don’t know for sure. As Jesus said, some people are eunuchs by birth- asexual – not needing or wanting sex at all. Most people though have something called a sex drive? (Libido) – driven by hormones, it can get out of control, but is best managed within a loving monogamous relationship, though there’s always masturbation for single people to relieve themselves, and also married people trapped in a sexless marriage – also using sex toys is an option. I don’t know if you’re married or not, but if you are imagine forcing yourself to be single because your gay and managing your sex drive?

        but the church never talks about what to do with sex drives – rightly so I guess, its a very private matter I guess.

        “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘intimacy in a healthy way’. For me to go against the Makers instructions is always unhealthy.” – I mean is it better for gay person to be in a loving monogamous relationship rather than out in gay clubs looking for a one-night stand to relieve their sex drive – this also applies to heterosexuals of course.

        “You are right about the lack of success of transition – its about 80% failure rate. So why are we being bombarded with trans propaganda from the State?” – I have no idea, I also believe that if someone wants to seriously transition they should pay for it themselves. There are more pressing health issues to be funded by the NHS. Maybe in 20 or more years time the State will change its mind when it has evidence that transitioning doesn’t really solve issues and that the healthier choice is to embrace and accept the body we were born with – the transgender people I have come into contact with have always had a major trauma of some kind inter lives, i thinks its a way of managing inner pain – to be someone new, someone totally different. I do understand this – during my breakdown i didn’t want to be me and in fact I do believe that Carl Jung was correct in that women have an inner male (the animus he called it) and men have an inner female (the anima) – during my breakdown I experienced this to be true as my inner male manifested himself big time (quite involuntarily) and I wanted to be him and inhabit him (which happened in a some kind of weird fantasy life I created when i was ill with it) – but it passed, though he’s still there, I am not more at peace with myself as a woman.

        “If your criteria is that you cannot judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes – does that mean you cannot judge a murderer because you’ve never killed someone?!” ……..ah now you are sounding like my husband lol, in the 24 years of our marriage he has not changed his views about homosexuality (I’m the one that change after my breakdown when I got an insight into what it’s like to cope with low self-esteem, rejection and spiritual unhappiness). whenever we talk about this subject that is the argument he uses too.

        I do think – personally – it is faulty logic to compare gay people with pedophiles and murderers – in fact I believe its very insulting and degrading to do that because you’re not comparing like with like. You cannot compare someone who is gay to a murderer. ….back to Alan Turing again who saved many many lives, he was a good-willed person who was forced to be chemically castrated (ejected with hormones to reduce his libido) – is that what you believe society should go back to: how do you suggest gay people manage with their sex drives? How would you manage your sex drive if you weren’t married? Testosterone is a very powerful hormone.

        Of course we judge murderers and put them away as they are harmful and cause harm. But to judge a gay christian and condemn them to a life of celibacy – no I personally can’t go there, its between them and God who will be the Judge of all the earth.

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  8. “Please stop playing the hurt card and stop trying to intimidate and bully” is what you literally said, David. I’m leaving out the rest of the sentence because you say the other comment by Andrew is calling you hateful when that word does not appear in his comment. Who’s really misrepresenting who, now?

    Afraid to engage?

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  9. Hey. I just read your review, read the aftermath from your point of view and listened to the author (Vicky) on a podcast on her experiences in Christianity and her book. Whilst I agree with some of your more theological points, I think some of your points on possible reasons why Vicky may or may not have done stuff is at times: wrong (she has clarified some points in the podcast such as why she went into praise and worship) or too personal to be considered factual. By this I mean unless the author has stated the personal points you have raised are indeed correct, to me they can be dismissed them as your own thoughts as there needs to be qualitative evidence to back this up. I think the book is correct in stating that:

    1) More churches are hypocritical in their message than churches that are not. As a historian, you can appreciate societies and groups that espouse one value but practice something else. Biblically even Paul pointed out in Romans how people are hypocritical even when they do not want to be. This is a fundamental part of the human experience and even though we are called to do better it is our reluctance to accept that (look at cognitive dissonance for further clarity).

    2) The pain of rejection and abuse is far more damaging than one realizes.
    A large theme in the LGBTQ community is one of rejection and pain. It is natural for people who arguably (and I only say this because even in the academic, secular field there is scant research and acceptance) cannot help how they feel but hated and vilified by all people, to react strongly even sometimes attacking others who disagree. I do not endeavor to come up with strategies since what you may tolerate and do is different to what I may tolerate and do. However it is important to note that you have perhaps had a sample of what she may have been exposed to when coming out. It is par for the course when on that platform but so is racism in a white dominated country. Does not make it right nor acceptable.

    3) We can teach the word not tell them what the word is.
    There is an ancient Japanese saying which goes along the lines of: do not do what the masters do, rather seek what they were achieving. As I have alluded to, we are all not perfect. Which means none of us are in a position to truly comment on what good looks like. Only the word of God can do that. Going back to Jesus and examining his race, we can see his life was a loving one and mission led, but he did not condone sin. Instead it was his life and teachings that ensured his disciples and us the future followers, understood and continue to understand the joy of the gospel and the love we can show to God by our continuous (and continuously failing) obedience. A life that is right with God is a full life and easy to distinguish no?

    I think when it comes down to it, wisdom is very important in these situations and we need that James type of wisdom: pure, peace loving considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Don’t you agree?

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  10. (For some reason I can’t leave replies to your replies WeeFlea – hence new comment sorry about that might be my laptop)

    “Who is talking about excommunication?” – sorry I thought you were when you said you would not allow adulterers and murderers to be a member of your church, so I assumed you would excommunicate them and by implication excommunicate a practising gay person.

    “Why do you think celibacy is condemnation?” – because it robs a person who is probably wired to need physical love and sexual intimacy. As I said, imagine your life without such a thing. Some people can stand it, but most people need physical and sexual love – its a deep basic human need God has put there, fuelled by hormones.

    “As I said I do stick by God the Judge….lets do what he says not what we just make up…” I’m not making anything up – as I said the church is rubbish at helping people deal with guilt and shame, but it is excellent at piling guilt and shame people who’s orthropraxy does not fit in with their hermeneutics.

    Therein lies the cognitive dissonance maybe. Personally I lose much more before God if I pile guilt and shame on christian gay people – I would rather embrace them and leave it between them and God what they practice in the privacy of their own homes.

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    1. WE only excommunicate people who are already members who persist in known sin and refuse to repent…..I think in 35 years we have only ever got that far once.

      I don’t think that people are ‘wired’ to anything. What if they were wired to alcoholism or violence? Do you think they should obey their chemistry?!

      I think the biblical church is great at helping people deal with guilt and shame – that is what the cross is all about. However you seem to be suggesting the worlds view – there is no need for guilt and shame because you are not guilty and have done nothing shameful!

      The privacy of their own homes – is of course an unChristian comment. But even if true its not what we are talking about here….we are talking about SSM and the whole public teaching of homosexuality….

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      1. I do believe God created us to love, so yes in that sense I believe we are “wired” to love from birth.

        Yes guilt can be a healthy thing if channelled and dealt with correctly – but is being gay anything to be guilty of? This is the issue. If so, what is the charge against them for being gay (even if they choose celibacy)?

        As for shame, obviously there lies the crux of the matter – christian gay people feel no shame for who they are, but the church puts it on them. Is that shame the church puts on them realistic? You would argue yes it is because being gay and practicing it is shameful. Gay people would say no, God made me this way, I have nothing to be ashamed of to express sexual love to someone I am committed to.

        Therefore the issues of guilt and shame will never be resolved ever, because gay people and evangelical Christianity are just not on the same page as each other on those issues.

        This is why evangelical churches are toxic places for gay people who are comfortable about their orientation and SSM.

        I’m unsure Vicky is trying to teach anything publicly about homosexuality? I could be wrong, I thought her autobiography was just her personal journey and how her perspective of interpreting various Scriptures have shaped her acceptance of herself as she is (after she’d had tried exorcism and conversion therapy which failed to helped her).

        I don’t believe there will be gender in the Kingdom – its purely for procreation, and procreational sex and recreational sex are gifts to be enjoyed in mortal life within healthy boundaries…..but obviously the interpretation of what those boundaries are is problematical for evangelical when it comes to SSM ……. I can only ever foresee it never being resolved, christian gap=y people will just have to leave evangelicals where they are and move on to churches that have different hermeneutics 🙂

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      2. I am not arguing that it is sinful to be homosexual…I am arguing that it is sinful to engage in homosexual acts.

        If you are not sure whether Vicky is trying to teach anything publicly about homosexuality then you clearly have not read her book – or you are at such a level of denial that no further reasonable conversation is possible.

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  11. I agree theologically with a lot of the stuff on the blog, but I feel sad that Vicky is being criticised publicly about this. It says in the bible that it is ‘the kindness of God that leads people to repentance’- not arguing. No amount of arguing ever convinces people of sin- in fact it just does the opposite- it makes people angrier. As Vicky says she is a Christian we must pray for her. She is a sister in Christ- and love must come first. Don’t forget that our battle is never against human beings- but it against the devil and his schemes against people. Truth must come along with love. There are some great christians that are speaking great wisdom into this area. Really recommend this message by Kris Vallotton who speaks truth in a loving way:

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    1. Judith – As I have explained many times I am responding publicly to a public book which contains a great deal of accusations and indeed false teaching. Someone saying they are a Christian is not sufficient – by their fruits you shall know them. And of course we pray for Vicky and others. The devil uses people. I think its a little unfair for you to complain that criticising a public writing in public is unloving, when you then go on to criticise a public writing in public. Would you regard your own post as unloving?

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      1. Hi, I don’t feel I’ve said anything against you personally. Sorry if you interpreted it that way. I didn’t realise that your blog was about you- I thought it was about Vicky. Vicky wrote a book about herself- you wrote a blog about someone else. That’s a bit different don’t you think

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      2. I don’t really know what you are talking about! YOu complained that I responded to your comment on my blog – I just pointed out that since it is my blog, I feel quite entitled to respond. My blog was a review of her book and theology….

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  12. let’s just leave it there. I won’t try to explain any further. Perhaps it just shows that communicating online is sometimes not helpful as things get misinterpreted/ misunderstood. Let’s just agree to disagree.

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  13. Dear Pastor:

    Thank you for your review of Vicky’s book. My impression is that Vicky wants the church (all Christians) to accept homosexuality. Like you, I don’t believe the Bible supports that. I think her argument really is against God’s Word. Everyone can express their points of view. What really matters is God’s Word. God bless you for standing for God’s Word in this.

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  14. Well even if Vicky is attempting to publicly teach her own interpretation of Scripture then she’s free to do that, there are many voices out there doing the same. i haven’t read her book as you rightly determine, but your letter gave an insight into her journey at looking into the Scriptures, and that was my perspective on it that she was sharing her personal revelations.

    The Bible never institutes the rite of marriage anyhow as I recall, though ancient cultures were more in betrothal? And Rebekah just went into Jacob’s tent “and he loved her”. No marriage ceremony. No ritual.

    The Bible never said Jesus was born in a stable either – but crikey what to nativity plays all over the country portray? Very amusing!

    At the end of the day people can read into Scripture what they want – especially if they idolise it. Yes when the Bible is idolised it can be used as a weapon of abuse and it’s very subtle: spiritual abuse is very very subtle, it is so subtle the abuser and the abused do not even know that the Bible has become a weapon of abuse, so it does need careful handling by all concerned.

    Yes will clock out now, but thanks for engaging!

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    1. Of course she is free to do that – as I am free to critique it – I was just answering your point that that was not what I was doing!

      Your recollection of the Bible is wrong. The Bible clearly teaches that God gave us marriage (ie. the teaching of Jesus is Mark 10). To compare that to Jesus not being born in a stable is facetious.

      And yes people can read into Scripture what they want – not if they idolise it – but rather if they idolise themselves and think they have the liberty to change it. That is where the real spiritual abuse occurs.

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      1. Thank you Wee Flea yes I agree Scripture cannot be changed, but it is open to interpretation.

        I wasn’t comparing marriage to Jesus being born in a stable!! I was just saying how people can read things things into Scripture which isn’t there, sorry that was a bad example.

        I do know that your letter knocked Vicky for six (on top of all the terrible trolling she receives from so-called Christians on twitter and in her inbox) , though maybe that was your intention.

        I guess, if I am going to be honest, I did find your open letter to her somewhat incongruous in that it was warm and fuzzy one minute (eg “Your’e a lovely person” “I love your music” etc) but then you turned and nipped her in the heels, so to be honest I felt the pain in it: I guess you would label that pain “conviction ” – however I perceived it more as abuse, sorry about that, but that’s how it came across, but obviously there’s stalemate over this issue, I just hope you never have to experience anything conflicting in your life.

        Thanks for the replies, I do appreciate your responses.

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      2. I am sorry if it caused Vicky any pain – but I don’t think her pain can be used to silence people who disagree with her. Likewise she needs to consider the pain that other people feel – every time I see her go on TV attacking the church – and attacking the teaching of the Christ I love – I find that very painful. And I often experience conflicting things in my life (being gay isn’t the only pain!)

        The stable is not about ‘interpretation’ – it is adding something that is not there in scripture and it is easily sorted. The same applies with the teaching of Jesus about marriage – there is no way that anyone can honestly read Mark 10 and think that Jesus supports SSM! To do so is what we call ‘eisegesis’ – reading into Scripture what is not there – not exegesis – taking out what is.

        Thanks again for your comments.

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  15. ….. I have seen Vicky only on one TV programme and I also heard her on “Sunday” Radio 4, but I didn’t pick up she was attacking the church (certainly I never heard her attacking Christ) – but rather exposing the treatment she had received from the church, and exposing how they had rejected her, and challenging the church to ban conversion therapy and exorcism to “treat” gay christians.

    What do you want gay people to do? What would make you happy? For them to remain celibate and keep quiet about it?

    Twenty five years ago I belonged to a sect/cult which silenced women – women were not allowed to speak even in “Business Meetings” – we had to write down any thoughts on a bit of paper for a “brother” to read out. Women were forbidden to pray, preach or teach or read the bible (except in “Sister’s Class”), we had to wear head coverings and we were not allowed to wear trousers, because we were taught that this was the teaching of the Christ we all loved (in fact it is still like that to this day in the particular “ecclesia” I belonged to, it remains to this day very “conservative” even though I left many years ago, I still know people that attend) – so we all swallowed the practice regarding women without challenging it.

    However about ten years ago there were more liberal people emerging that began to question this teaching of Christ (though actually it was more the teaching of Paul) saying women were equal to men in the ecclesia – it began in Australia oddly enough, which then spread to the UK, and some of the ecclesias began to allow women to pray out loud read the bible out loud in the “meeting”, and to speak and – horror of horrors – to even teach at Memorial meetings and conferences (they were accused of usurping the authority of a man no less!!) …. and also some churches began to allow women not to wear a head covering if they chose not to,…….

    ….now, so what is my point in recounting all this hoo-hah? Well, it is that all of this upset over the “role of women” caused an enormous amount of pain and hurt to those who wanted to keep women “as the bride of Christ” silent and covered. The conservative believers were most deeply offended and incredibly hurt by those who challenged the teaching and practice regarding women, and accused them of going against the teachings of Christ, and accused them of being worldly and humanistic etc – and it all got very ugly indeed, so ugly in fact that there were excommunications and all kinds of horrid things going on, it split families and caused terrible distress – so yes, changing and challenging long held traditional Bible teachings and Scriptures will always get ugly and cause great pain and anguish on both sides unfortunately, its just the way it is.

    But one thing I do know is that both sides dearly loved Christ: that was evident (it all got played out on the internet which was a platform for the liberals to get their voice heard) – the liberals accused the conservatives of being legalistic and the conservatives accused the liberals of being just as legalistic in an inverted way – the sad thing is, that is quite true: the liberals do have to stand on some kind of legalistic turf to get their voices heard and to get the challenge out there (I ditched the lot in the end and came out of it, thankfully!)

    But this kind of thing is hurtful and most unpleasant isn’t it?

    Divorce is another issue which causes great hurt and offence to conservative believers, some of whom get very precious about Christ’s teaching on it: they can only ever view it in black and white – until it happens in their own back yard and oh my goodness have I seen how they change their understanding and perspective when divorce happens to them or members of their family!! – they who were so opposed to divorce suddenly are running around the church trying to get the others to understand it from a different perspective, they soon change their tune!

    Silencing and gagging members is ultimately very damaging so freedom on both sides to express and explore issues is necessary, painful though it is on both sides.

    Vicky’s not a member of your church anyhow, so I’m not sure why your’e so sensitive about it? I doubt her book will have much influence in changing the views of Christians who oppose SSM so I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you or stress over it, its not worth it – Vicky is not your responsibility, and SSM is not your responsibility either – or mine thankfully – it’s God’s responsibility. But at least her book has been able to raise awareness about conversion therapy and get it banned which is a good thing because conversion therapy is a form of abuse and doesn’t have a high success rate as I understand it.

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    1. I have heard her on numerous programmes and articles – and yes she is attacking the church by using her story. She promotes the LGBT agenda of Stonewall and the liberal elites, she endorses their narrative and demonises all of us who hold to the biblical position on sex and sexuality. Yes she wants to ban ‘conversion therapy’ but she doesn’t say what she means by that. At one point she says that even praying for gay people who want to change should be banned! And she does attack Christ – because when she attacks his teaching, she is attacking him.

      What do I want homosexual people to do? The same as heterosexual people. Come to know Christ. If they are Christians, to obey his word.

      Your story about the cult you belonged to is interesting and could be repeated by many. But it is not equivalent. The biblical teaching about marriage is not equivalent to women being forbidden to pray and it is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that it is…The latter can clearly be demonstrated to be wrong from the Scriptures (as can some of the attitudes you describe). With gay marriage you have to rewrite Scripture and dismiss the teaching of Jesus. At which point it is no longer God you believe, but yourself.

      Vicky is not my responsibility (although now you appear to have changed your tune because before you were saying she was – and that I shouldn’t hurt her etc by going against her teaching) . But it is my responsibility to challenge false teaching (which is what Vicky is doing)….

      As for it not being my responsibility. Ultimately yes – just as slavery/racism/poverty/spreading the Gospel are not ultimately my responsibility. But at a secondary level they are – because God uses instruments. In his providence he has given me a voice and I do have a responsibility to use it to proclaim his truth and to defend the church from false prophets.

      Finally as regards conversion therapy – Vicky’s book does not raise awareness of it, does not define it and just allows people to emote their prejudice.

      Thanks for your replies but they do indicate why I need to speak out – when there is such confusion within the church.

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      1. Ah yes sorry as soon I hit the button I realised I should have said I wasn’t trying to equate gay issues with women issues in the church – but rather the purpose was to illustrate I understand very much how hurt and pained you feel, because for about seven long years I was on the conservative side of the sect (crikey I wasted so much time on forums and Facebook groups debating to uphold the teachings of Scripture on the issue of women, divorce and remarriage and also a little about the same sex relationships as it was just becoming an issue), so I know how it feels to be hurt by people who claim to be Christians yet who challenge what I thought were very clear black and white teachings of Christ and Paul. 



        We (the conservatives) accused the “liberals” (for want fo a better word) of preaching “another Jesus”. In fact when I look back – and this is a self accusation – I was rather arrogant but I couldn’t see it then. I believed I was serving Christ and I used terms like “My Bible says…….” “My God does not allow……” “My Jesus teaches…….” and things like that, well I’m pleased in some ways I had my breakdown as I’d probably still be up there battling for the Lord trying to do him a favour by correcting all these erroneous people. 

And it is with regret I even stood outside my son’s primary school (20 years ago) as the parents came out getting them to sign a petition to keep Section 28. I would not do such a thing nowadays. I am sorry I did that now if I’m honest.

        
In fact in truth I didn’t really like the person I had become – I’m not really a militant type person by nature – but I got drawn into “defending the Word” etc – I who did not believe women should teach was indeed trying to teach left right and centre on forums and goodness knows what!

        The catalyst for my massive shift in paradigm and perspective to explore, examine and accept different understandings came with my breakdown – and at the root of my breakdown was to do with the damage conservative religion had done to me. It had turned me into someone I didn’t want to be as my heart and my head were in conflict (though I was in denial about it). 

 I can’t even begin to explain why and how my breakdown changed my perspective. But it did and it gave me an insight into how brutal conservative teachings are on the soul without even knowing it. I had to ask: is that what God wanted for me ? To damage me psychologically and make me ill? 



        And so through the breakdown I somehow morphed from being a fairly militant conservative into an accepting liberal and it was the most fascinating and personal journey I’ve ever been on and it happened quite involuntarily, though at the beginning of my breakdown (which lasted about 5 years) it was extremely difficult to navigate because I was suicidal for nearly a year, I just wanted to die (to stop the pain) and I can tell you that is not a good place to be – its very hard also on family. 

I won’t go on to reveal things which have helped my recovery, except that one of them has been to realise I no longer have any conflict within about people who are different to me or who hold different views: the iron grip that which conservatism had over my mind evaporated with my breakdown, and it freed my heart to love them in a different way – yes a more human way (which is frowned upon I know in conservative circles, but well, we are human).



        Are we our brother’s keeper? Are we Christ’s keeper? As you say yes we do have responsibilities, but I think my point was just leave them where they’re at when there’s no meeting of hearts and minds and there’s extreme polarity. Vicky’s involvement with Stonewall is up to her – they are a millitant group yes, its sad it has to come to such a group feeling they had to form – their name says it all though, it is indeed like a hitting a stonewall to get straight people to understand what its like to be gay, and experience life as a gay person.

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      2. Forgive me saying this but you are twisting the situation to suit your own narrative. I don’t accept at all that your belonging to a cult is equivalent to my seeking to uphold biblical teaching (the teaching that has been the position of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches throughout the ages).

        Its a neat but cheap trick to say that seeking to be faithful to the bible is the same as belonging to a cult which abused that bible.

        Your use of the expression ‘my God….and my bible’ – indicates what is wrong. It is irrelevant what ‘my God or bible says’ where the emphasis is on the my. It matters what God says and what the Bible says – no matter what I say, think or feel. I note that you still seem to have the same problem. You are still using your experience to read the Scriptures rather than evaluating the Scriptures through your experience.

        I am not a psychoanalyst or psychologist and I do not know you – so I cannot comment on what caused your illness. Except to say that I have experienced many who have had the experience of ‘breakdown’ and have my own experiences to reflect on. Breakdown can happen to anyone and is usually for a multiplicity of reasons. (I am delighted that you have recovered). But I notice that you blame it on ‘conservative theology’. I would question that. If you mean the teaching and practice you experienced in the cult – then you are probably right. If you mean the teaching of the Bible then you are wrong. The word of God heals – although it often wounds – it does so in order to bind up.

        I don’t believe that you ‘no longer have any conflict with people who hold different views’. You have just developed a new conservatism…(or liberalism – it doesn’t matter the label – it is still a philosophy by which you live and judge others).

        And no – I have no intention of ‘leaving people where they are at’. Is that really what Christ came to do? I thought he came to make us a new creation…to put a new heart and a new spirit within us?

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    2. Dear Lovesong7, I am so sorry that you were in that cult and suffered that abuse. I am also glad that you were able to leave. The point you are making is well made and I think rather brushed aside by David. All those behaviours expected by the cult are expressed in scripture by Paul. However we realise now that those scriptures were of their time and in a particular context. We can also cite Paul in saying that wives should submit to their husbands. However I am sure that in most Christian marriages today husband and wife are equals as Peter said “treat your wives as equals so that your prayers may be answered “. Revealing that that particular scripture is rarely preached on by men! So, the church does presently not adhere slavishly to all of Paul’s writings because we see that they are not sensible or necessary in today’s context. The word used by Paul for homosexuality in his list of sins was the Greek word arsenokoitai. This was a word which cannot be found in writings before Paul used it and there are several other words he could have used. Some scholars see a connection with the word used in Leviticus and here I quote : that in the first century, Jewish religious leaders understood arsenos-koiten as used in Leviticus 20:13, as condemning shrine prostitutes and the sex rituals which accompanied their worship of false gods.
      So there is evidence that Paul was not talking about the homosexuality that we are talking about today. Two people of the same sex who are wanting to live in a loving monogamous relationship. The point I and you are making is that Scripture can be interpreted differently and with equal scholarly merit. The Holy Spirit must be our guide and our love for God and our neighbour. Heated arguments and harsh judgements are not going to win people for Christ. The video that David shared with the former lesbian English professor, I am sorry but I do not remember her name, the pastor who led her to Christ seems to me to have done exactly that. Loved God and his neighbour and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

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      1. Carol – no all these behaviour expected by the cult are NOT expressed in scripture by Paul. To suggest that is both superficial and dishonest.

        You misquote Peter. He actually says “wives in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives@. Before them going on to say “Husbands , in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:1-7). Your wee conspiracy theory that it is ‘revealing ‘ that this particular scripture is rarely preached on by men is just false.

        Your use of others writing about arsenokoitai is the same. Basically you have an opinion and you just take whatever confirmation bias you can get to affirm that opinion. Scripture cannot be interpreted ‘differently’ and with equal scholarly merit. Unless by differently you mean that Scripture can be made to mean whatever you want it to mean.

        The pastor who led Rosario to Christ spoke clearly about and upheld the biblical position. She herself, as a former lesbian professor of Queer theory utterly repudiates what you have just said above – I would suggest you read her books.

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      2. David, I quoted Peter exactly from ‘The Message’. A translation written by a very eminent scholar of the ancient texts in the original languages. Which just goes to prove my point that Scripture can be translated/interpreted in different ways. So I am assuming from this then that you also think wives must submit to their husbands but that would be a different discussion. Paul does say that women must be quiet in church, they must cover their heads, must not have authority over men, can only teach women and children. 1 Corinthians 14:2, 1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 11:6. In most versions it does command women to be silent in church but in ‘The Message’ it explains it better asking them not to talk during worship which, once again proves my point that there are different translations/interpretations. Certainly this cult must have taken the instructions literally and therefore abused women. If ‘The Message ‘ interprets Paul correctly then why do you say that it misquotes Peter?

        With regard to the Greek word used/ invented by Paul for homosexuality I researched and found very convincing scholarly articles that argued for the explanation I gave. There were also other arguments veering to your opinion but we have had that argument already put forward, I am putting an equally valid alternative explanation forward. And once again you are not answering what I actually wrote about Rosaria. I was talking about the way in which the pastor dealt with her, not her beliefs which obviously conflict with Vicky’s.

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  16. Thank you Carol and Wee Flea – I do confirm that the behaviour in the sect (they were Christadelphians) were directly expressed in Scripture (women wearing head coverings – very clear teaching in Paul’s letter, women not being allowed to speak in church at all – again very clear a women must keep silent in church in Paul’s letters, women not usurping the authority of a man, and women being under their husband’s rule at home – all very clear so won’t quote chapter and verse ) – I am sure you both know the Scriptures directly involved with those teachings. The one about women not being allowed to wear trousers is a little more obscure – its in Leviticus about not wearing clothes of the opposite gender.

    Then there was wider church teaching linked to Christ’s teaching about self-denial which ground down the soul: to deny oneself, take up your cross and serve others – a little favourite one preached was that the best way to achieve JOY was Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. A theological recipe which rather naive and gullible people like myself tried for many years to put into practice, but got burnt out running round doing things for other people which I really wasn’t cut out for, neglecting my own vineyard. A big step in my recovery was I had to learn to be a bit more selfish: to nurture myself, do things which made ME happy (oooops yes there it is again, that me/my/I word, how terrible) …… Then you just have to stop, and think what on earth is going on here, why am I ill when I am trying to carry out Christ’s teachings to the letter? ……that’s when I could see how gay people could be affected, how following the bible’s teachings to the T can actually be very depleting and you end up sick. As Vicky has experienced.

    I agree Carol that the type of homosexuality the bible condemns (I’ve already mentioned it in some of my previous posts) is not the same issue as accepting two people in a loving stable relationship.

    About the “hurt card” – Wee Flea: you said to someone a while back “stop playing the hurt card”. But you just did the same a few posts back (though you used the word pain – pain/hurt – same difference) I quote: “attacking the teaching of the Christ I love – I find that very painful” – again you accuse me of using the “my” word – you used the “I” word – we can pick nits forever over the use of words, but I concede you are very clever at drawing people in with a kind little word followed by a sweet little nip in the heels!

    I am unsure it is productive to do that, and as such I am unsure your letter to Vicky is really a critique as such: it’s rather more a personal criticism of her (subtle difference I know). I think that’s why I took the bait and responded, sorry it’s taking up such a lot of time for both of us, we really must, as someone said, just agree to disagree at the end of the day, which is the best way forward. I’d love to time-travel 200 years ahead and see how things are with this issue then.

    I always remember Chick Yuill (a former Salvationist) about 18 years ago at Spring Harvest in Minehead giving a talk about paradigms. I wondered what on earth he was talking about at the time, but I get it now. Oddly enough that year at Spring Harvest they had big open discussions about the gay issue: whether they had got drift about Vicky I have no idea, and although I was dead against any form of gayness, I remember most people were fine with it, so I think it was the leaders/organisers who couldn’t tolerate a gay worship leader…….

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    1. Yes – I did play the ‘hurt card’ to show you how easily it can be played! ALthough in my case I was referring not to personal hurt because you attacked me but the fact that you attack Christ and his gospel. The Christadelphians are not Christians…they are a cult

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      1. I don’t attack you or Christ when I say I identify with gay people because I have experienced what it feels like to be discriminated against. Yes Christadelphians are a cult I did say that way back – but that has no bearing at all on the discrimination and rejection I experienced in their patriarchal system. Discrimination and rejection happen in mainstream churches.

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      2. I’m afraid that is a meaningless complaint. Of course there will be ‘discrimination and rejection’ in any church, organisation, social grouping, family. Every society has its rules and those who do not accept them by definition will feel discriminated against. For example no one who is a racist can be a member of my church….do you think that I am discriminating against and rejecting them. In the church we go by Christ’s standards – which means that those who don’t want those standards will complain about discrimination.

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  17. …..just to correct a typo: it was about 10 years ago I went to Spring Harvest when there were open discussions about gay issues, (not 18 years ago! ….I’d never have set foot in such a place as Spring Harvest 18 years ago considering it to be too mainstream! )

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  18. Carol – (for some reason I can’t reply to your reply directly so hence having to post a new comment) – I do believe you are right about time and context, it was one thing I had to educate myself about and accept that ancient cultures had very very different mannerisms and behaviours and social structures to what we have today, and it was very interesting because those cultures were radically different socially to modern day life.

    Before my breakdown I had never experienced any mental health issues at all – I was always a very steady, confident, capable, and emotionally stable person, and thankfully I got through my breakdown with no medication – though I did have six sessions of “Talking Therapy” on the NHS, plus two CBT sessions (which I found very challenging and painful as it got to the root of my problems: low self-esteem, something I’d never suffered from ever and I had to go away and think that through, but it was actually bang on) but then I still wasn’t quite right and still having intrusive thoughts so I paid private to see a counsellor and that was immensely helpful and got me on the road to recovery again because through those sessions I learnt to accept myself for who I was and it gave me permission to begin to feel emotions I had suppressed, and the sessions gave me permission to love and nurture myself – an important lesson of Christ neglected in churches: love your neighbour as you LOVE YOURSELF!

    My breakdown was multi-layered I agree with Wee Flea about that, but a lot of it was indeed to do with trying to follow the teachings in Scripture regarding being a woman: and some of it was a lot of shame I had imbibed unconsciously because Scripture taught women couldn’t teach because of Eve’s sin, and we had to wear head coverings because of our shame: in fact head coverings were a badge of shame in many ways – so somehow I unconsciously perceived that women were not as good as men, and not worthy to teach, speak or challenge your husband.

    I’m not playing the shame card (to use Wee Flea’s language) to equate being a woman with being gay: no not at all, but when I began to recover I suppose what it gave me an insight into was I could identify with how a Christian gay person might feel when they’ve reached the end of themselves trying to obey the teachings of Scripture.

    I well remember during my “dark night of soul” praying to God and confessing to Him that I was sorry but I just can’t do it any more, that I wasn’t the right stuff to be a the sort of Christian demanded of me in Scripture and please would He forgive me, but I just haven’t got the strength anymore, I’m weak and haven’t got what it takes.

    And if I’m honest as my faith evaporated even more I got to the point where I really didn’t care what God thought about me – I know that sounds terrible but its true, and I just knew for my own sanity and for the good of my family I had to stop trying to “obey” the Scriptures to the point where it had made me sick.

    And I can well imagine a gay person reaching a crisis point like that (albeit from a totally different angle) – some christian people are strong and can go on and on living under Scriptural rules denying themselves pleasure and happiness, but some of us get ill when we constantly deny our needs, and develop really low self-esteems being unacceptable to God as we are unless we earn His merit by obedience.

    Of course we need to have a moral codes: I’m not saying there shouldn’t be laws, but unbelievers can have better moral codes than some believers to be frank, I have seen that many times.

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  19. @ lovesong 7 & Carol. Hope I’m not butting in here into this conversation. I understand that these are sensitive issues and I too am sorry Lovesong7 that you had to go through what you did. All the same, sometimes our journey through life can be absurdly cruel and hazardous and, that’s life! There may be many reasons for your pain and hurt but God’s Word isn’t written to destroy you but to build you up. It is Satan who is the destroyer. I won’t take up space with describing my own journey but I do understand. It is hard to assign blame because we are all in this ‘see through a glass darkly’ journey. The only sure hope we have is the light of God’s Word to be a “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path” – and we are all ultimately responsible for our own response to God’s revealed will as is shown in Scripture. If I check my attitude to God’s revealed will – I find instantly that I want my own way. I want to serve myself and get all the things that make me happy. I see what others have and I covet – and the spirit of the age affirms that I am entitled to my ‘rights’. I find this to be true of myself basically every day. But I also believe that God’s Word is better than my ways – so I’m back at that Rom 7:15ff place day after day. My feelings don’t make God’s Word untrue.

    Speaking of Paul – I was reading 1 Corinthians. Paul laid down his rights. 1 Cor 10:33 “Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage. but that of many, that they may be saved.” and 9:29 “I discipline my body and keep it under control lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified”. Paul had a right to take a believing wife (9:5) but he didn’t because he dedicated himself fully to serving the cause of the gospel (Jesus Christ and him crucified 2:2). He knew he deserved financial support but even laid down that ‘right’. 9:15 “But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting” – (boast in the Lord only 1:31)”. Paul was not anti-women – he was an amazing person. In the letter to the Philippians he said 4:2ff “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord….these women who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel….. That is a statement of equality! I will not get into church roles here because it would take up too much space (but I agree there are differences but no difference in the amount of zeal, intelligence, work, fruit ) – but imagine being Paul’s fellow worker for the gospel! In that sentence he makes no differentiation between the guys and the girls.
    But Carol you have raised a comparable analogy, for the purpose of this blog, with regard to roles in marriage. You said that not many Christian couples practice “wives submitting to their husbands”. (Eph 5:22) I believe it is a verse that has been abused in the past by men so the see-saw should be balanced with “husbands love your wives” v 25 – but if we add the rest “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – the see saw slams down on the ground on the other side and the man hits the ground with a devastating bump. I truly think men get the short straw in those verses! If we then note the following “..to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”…the husband is to be concerned with his wife’s sanctification. This truly makes him the priest of the home – a responsibility of a priest, huge, painful, difficult responsibility – but not a sergeant major. Jesus is gentle. He doesn’t force us to do anything.
    But, obedience is key. Each are responsible for their obedience to the Lord in this respect. She is not responsible for his obedience nor he for hers. It is not a competition. With respect to ‘submission’, I cannot deny it is there in Scripture. We are even told to be like Sarah when she called her husband ‘master’. It does raise a question for me though, when she asked Abraham to lie with Hagar to provide a child…and he did it! So I suppose even Sarah and Abraham had the same struggles and weaknesses as us all.

    With regards to submission, I am the most unlikely woman to submit. My personal history, my personality and foibles don’t make me ‘cut out’ to submit to my husband. I hate to say it, but I am far more forceful than he. God must have a sense of humour if he thinks we are going to fit the biblical image of marriage. But I fully accept that God’s Word is there for ‘teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness’ (2 Tim 3:16 ff). In fact that verse is key because I believe the rest of the verse – “all Scripture is breathed out by God”. And “is profitable for teaching, reproof, etc…..so “that the man of God, may be complete, equipped for every good work). If I think the word ‘man’ in that verse only applied to men, I could let myself off the hook (why did women ever want to change the use of the word ‘man’ in Scripture – we could have got off the hook for loads of things!!). But I know better, that I am included in the scriptures pertaining to ‘man’ but not ‘men’.
    However, I’m wandering. If submitting to my husband doesn’t come naturally to me and I really don’t like it – then as a Christian – something according to those verses must change.
    Either I decide, because it grates against me so much, that the verse must be wrong, that Scripture is not God-breathed, the verse is old-fashioned, cultural, Paul is anti-women etc etc.
    Or I decide that something is wrong with the translation. I’m sure I could find scholars who would confirm this to me. I could re-write the whole Bible to back up my assertions.
    Or I look around and nobody else is obeying that so obviously it is archaic male oppressive nonsense and I seek to be independent, modern, free and successful unlike those naive, silly Christian women who do submit to their husbands and I don’t want to be laughed at.
    Or I realize that this is God’s design and that me fighting against it merely shows me my sin and rebellion or my misunderstanding of those verses. (Because the working out of those commands to husbands and wives will be different in each home according to different gifts, abilities and personalities and ultimately God has my best interests at heart).
    But the point I am making is that I believe we are all asked to conform our behaviour to Scriptural commands and patterns and just because we may find that terribly difficult doesn’t negate God’s commands. I am no holy moly but believing God’s Word and commands is a start. Next step is obeying….oh dear.
    If I don’t submit to my husband but I believe that this is God’s command – am I a hypocrite? I don’t think so. I am a sinner.
    If I tell other women to submit to their husbands while not doing so myself – then I would be a hypocrite.
    But there is another scenario. If I decide that the obvious interpretation of this command is wrong, because I really don’t like it or see the point of it, and that our family would work much better if I was the head and my husband submitted to me – and I reinterpret the Bible accordingly – and write a book with my new theology and justify my theology and back it up with all sorts of personal anecdotes and personal revelations from God, stories of horrible men who told me to submit to my husband and hurt my feelings, true stories about abusive situations, stories of how hurt I got when we put the ‘traditional’ interpretation into practice. – if I do that and write the book then I am not a hypocrite – but what am I?
    What am I? I could be a number of things. A rebel – but a rebel against who? If this is God’s Word, then I am rebelling against God himself. Not only that, but by writing a book and getting it published, I am leading others to do the same.
    But let’s not forget that God is gentle and wants what is best for us. He is not a brute forcing us to undertake cruel, oppressive paths in life. Perhaps God’s desire for our best good, happiness, fulfilment and pleasure is what we fail to see most of all? I know I do.
    Psalm 73 talks of our struggle – v 13 “surely in vain I have kept my heart pure”. But the words in vs 21-24 are encouraging and enlightening – and give an eternal perspective.

    “When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
    I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
    Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
    You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.”

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    1. Thank you Martha for a loving and considered response. I am afraid that I cannot agree with all you say but I appreciate your input.

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      1. Thanks for reading my comment Carol (it was very long!) and for your reply. If you care to mention – which aspect/s of my comment do you think were untrue? I think we avoid using the word ‘truth’ a lot these days because we have bought into relativism – more than we know! I don’t mind if you don’t respond to this question – because I don’t want to break the ‘flow’ of your conversation with David and Lovesong7 – just thought I’d add my tuppence -ha’penny worth!

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      2. Dear Martha, I have said in several previous comments what my position is. I suggest you go back and read them. My last answer to David hasn’t been published yet. It is still awaiting ‘moderation’, while yours have been published. Make of that what you will but there is no point in discussing further if my posts are not going to be published. Yours in Christ, Carol.

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      3. Hi Carol, just because you mentioned that you cannot agree with ‘all I say’ made me wonder which bits in particular. I have been following the conversation…..and like I said…I chipped in. It has been a long conversation so I wouldn’t have gone back and compared your comments to mine…..took a shortcut….and asked you directly. But I guess this conversation could go on….for ever! I haven’t read The Message…..I use the ESV Study Bible a lot and I’m choosey about who I will let influence me because it is a minefield…especially now we have the internet. But…and I don’t mean to force my beliefs on you…..seeking ‘truth’ is the most important thing and we can be very self-deceived when we think we are seeking ‘truth’ – i.e. God’s truth – because it usually requires a response from us.

        We suspect the change required will mean dull, burdened, pleasure-less lives but ultimately the change required will result in burdens being lifted off us, blessings bestowed on us, we will be released from external pressures that God never put on us. Jesus did say that his “yoke is sweet and his burden light”. But I don’t agree that this is Vicky Beeching’s message at all. That is why, although hard words to receive, David Robertson was right when he said she offers a ‘beauty that is ugly and a freedom that enslaves’. Vicky has bought into lies and I think she will suffer as a result – not blossom.

        I remember asking advice about something from a godly Christian man, and I was shocked at his response because he exposed my selfishness with his reply. I remember I didn’t reply to him straight away but I was mad….really mad…. I could have slammed his desk, shouted accusations at him, stormed off and slammed his door. On reflection I knew he was right. I’m amazed he had the courage to confront me. But he did the godly thing. Sometimes Jesus does not bring peace…but a sword! Sometimes the sword of the Word of God….makes us really mad! Because………………..? I’ll let you answer that one yourself!!

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    2. Thank you Martha for sharing your story, yes I was exactly at that point myself before my breakdown – one of my replies which is still awaiting moderation details how I came to realise I just couldn’t do it any longer – it’s quite a long reply, if Wee Flea allows it, how I just reached the end of myself, and so that’s how I understand gay people can get to the same point, you try obeying the bible to the letter for many years often, but when it doesn’t work (though it does for some) you just have to admit defeat: some of us just aren’t strong enough to stick it out or we’re not cut out for it, so it’s better to be honest about it and admit it to God rather than risk getting ill by neglecting our needs.

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      1. @Lovesong7 I don’t know what church/cult you belonged to – which you described in an earlier post. It doesn’t sound like anything I would adhere to – and sounds very controlling and like ‘heavy shepherding’. I’m also surprised at your description of going from that legalistic extreme set-up to a liberal theology. I have no need to abandon my beliefs because I love God’s word – its depth – its wisdom – its beauty – its purity – its plan of salvation – the truth of it. Something like Vicky Beeching’s theology does disturb and unsettle me – not because I’m not secure in my beliefs but because she is distorting God’s word. This causes conflict. It requires a response – but that is also the Christian life. There is also the question of how much an individual Christian can engage with the world and that varies from Christian to Christian.
        When you say you were at the same point as me before your breakdown of sorts – then I’m not sure that I agree because I don’t belong to a group as such. My firm belief that God has spoken in the Bible is shared with many Christians but also something I sometimes find Christians disagree with or at least to varying degrees! I would say I hold to Reformed Theology but I have a mind of my own, and ultimately everyone has their own theology – I wonder if anybody’s theology is identical!!?? I can’t agree or disagree with your comment above about “obeying the bible to the letter” and what you mean by “when it doesn’t work you just have to admit defeat” because I have no idea what you mean by that in practice. Was it all done on your own strength? It does sound like your were under some sort of heavy legalism perhaps devoid of love? I like the description Alistair Begg gives regarding truth – which goes something like this “Truth without love is cold and hard but love without truth is mere sentimentalism”. But I believe truth is ultimately what this is all about. The bible is full of talk about truth – “the truth shall set you free”…”I am the way the truth etc”.. and Eph “speaking the truth in love”. But maybe quoting bible verses brings back bad memories for you of those things you experienced! But ultimately my trust is not in God’s word itself but in God himself – but how could I possibly know what he is like without reading the bible or how could I trust his promises if I didn’t know them? So when I take a step out and trust he knows best in his commands and always does what he promises – then that is faith (trust).

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  20. Hi Martha – it was the Christadelphians, I did say in previous post but David decided not to publish that, which is fine, its his blog so he has the right not to post all comments. …..talking of rights, well no I won’t go there!! (I did a bible study on rights once as we were taught we have no rights as christians, but I discovered there are rights and they do feature in Scripture – particularly in the book of Proverbs).

    The Christadelphians were not into “heavy shepherding” as such, I wouldn’t describe it as that (I have known Christians who have suffered heavy shepherding and their issues were quite different) – but the conservative wing of the Christadelphians were very legalistic, and they also had an awful doctrine called “guilt by association”.

    I was only a member for about three years (I only joined because they were the only “church” I knew which had some kind of understanding about Israel the the Jews), but then I resigned because I married “out”, I had to marry out because the Christadelphians practiced a “closed table” and my husband was not allowed to take the emblems because he wasn’t a Christadelphian so I left. But after I married we (my husband and I) didn’t belong to any church as neither of us particularly liked denominationalism – though we did attend some churches regularly we were never signed-up members, but we both upheld the teachings of Scripture very strongly (my husband still does – its me that’s changed, he hasn’t changed his beliefs at all). I could write a book about it all but its all very boring really haha!

    I suppose the crux of my little story is that I guess what I experienced as a woman in the Christadelphians was low-grade discrimination (though I didn’t perceive it as such at the time and accepted it as the teachings of Christ) – however discrimination is damaging (some people weather it better than others) and so I guess I understand how it feels and how it can really affect your mental health.

    Unfortunately, and rightly or wrongly, when people who have been discriminated against challenge those who discriminate again them and start reacting they get labelled as bullies or legalists, so sadly I can’t ever see this issue being resolved with a good outcome, and the polite thing to do is to part company and leave each in peace to follow their own path before God.

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    1. The Christadelphians are not Christian – they are not Trinitarian…and it is not helpful for you to use them as an example to question the validity of orthodox biblical teaching.

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      1. The fact that the Christadelphians weren’t trinitarian is neither here nor there really David, discrimination and rejection is discrimination and it damages people whether it is in Christian circles or not.

        Also the teaching on how women should behave in church has absolutely nothing to do with trinitarianism – and actually it was widely practiced 60-100 years ago by many trinitarian denominations (the brethren for example, Methodists also used to be that way originally and other off-wing trinitarian denominations from the past, probably also your own denomination – just look at this picture and tell me if you an see a woman? http://ecclegen.com/documents/ )

        The bible teaching is very clear regarding women: they must not teach, they ought to have their heads covered when praying, they must obey their husbands, they are the “weaker vessel” (supposedly) – all because Eve was in transgression first, but can be saved through child-bearing. I could quote all the verses but would have to look them up, I’m sure you know them all .

        If you look at the history of your own church going back to the 1840s I am sure you will see it was extremely patriarchal: most of the breakaway churches of the 1840s had schisms and horrid things going on – all led by men. Its nothing to do with trinitarianism: its the culture underlying the church structure which has been male-lead and patriarchal.

        Thankfully things have changed and are changing!

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      2. See my earlier answer re discrimination.

        And no – the bible teaching re head covering, not teaching etc is not as black and white as your cult made out.

        And I’m a little tired of the patriarchal meme – by the way are you not discriminating against the patriarchy? How dare you!

        I happen to believe that the Bible is right is teaching that men and women are both equal (made in the image of God) and different (that we have different bodies, roles and functions within society and the church). This is a perfectly normal and rational position – much more so than the ludicrous ideology that says there is no difference between men and women.

        It seems to me that you have just exchanged one fundamentalist ideology for another – and scream ‘discrimination’ every time anyone goes against that ideology….

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  21. The conversation has become hard to follow because so many different issues have been brought into it. I can see the sense in David keeping comments back after he has read them, if he sees the need to reply to that person directly – a response which would take a bit of time especially as he is incredibly busy. Hence he can post the comment and his response together – otherwise the conversation would get hopelessly confused. There is only room for one reply to each comment.
    I can see Carol & Lovesong7 (if you read this) that you were commenting in defence of VB because you felt that DR was harsh towards her. I am commenting in defence of DR, although I am not in his church or denomination. I believe he was defending biblical orthodoxy (not the same as what has been described by Christadelphian teachings or some of Carol’s comments). If somebody was a maths professor and there was someone out there influencing, teaching and advocating junk maths to teens and uni students then I would expect that maths professor to respond, correcting the faulty maths, denounce the bad teacher, and defend good maths and seek to reinstate good maths into the education system and all places of influence. I have deliberately chosen maths as the least emotive subject I could think of – although some of the knock-on effects of bad maths could be really emotive, but I’m not going to waste time and space going there.
    My point is that in every subject we need good teachers, experts and specialists. In every field we need people of integrity. Isn’t it ‘integrity’ that we are starved of in the age we live in? Whom can we trust in any field? History, science, medicine!? In my opinion, expertise and integrity are especially needed in theology because it pertains to the very essence of life itself, the flourishing of people, the nature of God, the destiny of man (this includes woman!!!). Nobody is infallible except God. I trust that God is true and every man a liar (Rom 3:4) but I also need to dig deep to let God birth truth deep within me and face up to my deep self-deception. If we read Psalm 51 do we not agree with it? (KJV because it is more poetic) v6 “Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom”.
    Do we want well educated, trained, devoted, caring, gifted, courageous, integrous (is that a word?) hardworking – teachers, evangelists, counsellors, children’s teachers, preachers, shepherds and overseers? Or do we just want our ears tickled? Are we only interested in ‘wholeness’ but not ‘holiness’ “without which no-one will see the Lord”!?(Heb 12:14)
    I will not keep quiet when the holy standards of Scripture are distorted and when a great man like Paul, who gave his all to birth Christ in people and spread the gospel at a personal cost we will never experience, is slated and slandered – and when a brave and good man like DR who at great personal cost publicly defends biblical orthodoxy and protects the lambs from false teaching – gets unjustly slandered, criticised, abused and attacked – like reporting him for supporting child abuse – while VB is hailed, hallowed and upheld while she teaches and preaches licentiousness. She may be sincere, but she’s sincerely wrong. I need to pray for the LGBTQ Christians. It is wrong of people to call her names and DR does not endorse that but she has, numerically and socially, far more support than he has. Her family are out of the line of fire but his aren’t.
    Thanks be to God though, that the churches which were ashamed of the gospel, embraced the liberal, licentious teachings and denied orthodox doctrines are dwindling – while DR’s own church was full to overflowing last Sunday! That must be of some comfort and encouragement to him. God has given him the fruit of his labours. May God continue to bless his ministries and his family, church and denomination.

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  22. Thank you Lovesong7 for your latest reply. It is clear and logical. And I totally agree with your sentiments that we must leave it here and go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

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  23. @Lovesong7 I was amused regarding the picture you provided a link to. David provided that link before, and I scrutinized the picture for exactly the same reason as you. But, to my surprise, there are several women in that picture if you look closely. They are sitting together, and they have their heads covered. This is a picture, supposedly of the first Assembly! So I think it’s fairly radical that women are even there! Because if you look at the Free Church website – and the photo of the more recent Assembly, there are no women that I can see – except maybe one over on the left. In the picture of the first Assembly, to me what is more surprising is that there is one child, a boy, over on the right. There are a few looking in the skylight, not sure if they are urchins! I think we have a problem in churches regarding roles – and I agree women have been very hurt in churches. I think that the growth of a church is stunted when it excludes women from the adult spiritual life of the church. But women have to have knowledge…..not enough women in church have a grasp of theology. Us women have a lot of power, we can destroy a man despite not being physically stronger. The role problem must be worked out together – not imposed. I think there is a problem when women are excluded from church meetings where there are men only – behind closed doors. Women should be included, but not as ministers. Influence is a tremendous power, having the capacity to direct a church either for good or bad.
    I believe that authority is very important for society and for church. Isn’t that one of the problems we have now – lack of respect for authority – and the subsequent chaos? I believe men were given authority in the church and the home, but not to feed their own sense of superiority. Authority is given to us to provide order and safety. It’s a beautiful, godly gift which can be abused or unused – both extremes have bad consequences. In our present society, where we have the breakdown of authority in homes, schools and society – we also see the rise of authoritarian government the like of which I have never before seen in my lifetime. Will we tolerate tyranny? Because it’s there and growing…..

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  24. Dear David
    Can you not respectfully suggest to Martha, Lovesong7 and Carol that they exchange e-mail addresses in order to carry on their discussions which have moved so far away from your original post that they have become irrelevant and tiresome. And before anyone says that I don’t need to read their comments, I DO wish to hear what others say about Vicky Beeching’s book and your responses!

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  25. Dear Alan (and lovesong7 & and Carol too as I hope you read what is written later on in this posts )
    Sometimes the conversation does go off course and I think that’s alright.
    If you have read the responses in the article ‘open letter to the evangelical church regarding Vicky Beeching’ and gay Christianity’ – you will see that Arkenaten and John Kilpatrick have another conversation going on altogether, for ages! I read them all, even having to frequently use a dictionary for John K’s posts as his vocabulary is so extensive (his patience astounding!). Other contributor’s comments are still posted alongside. John K and Arkenaten turn up randomly in several comments section and have a prolonged spat. It has been going on for ages and, it’s good fun, perhaps David Robertson wouldn’t be without Arkenaten now!! It’s still very interesting and you can learn a vast amount of ‘stuff’ in the comments sections!!
    Perhaps the subject matter that has been addressed in the more recent posts here has been more emotive though than chats about ‘creation’. I realize that for myself, it is a bone of contention – regarding women’s roles. I had a bit of an epiphany at the weekend regarding this! Just because some spiritually immature men use certain scriptures to bolster a sense of importance and superiority for men and also use scripture to undermine and belittle women – doesn’t mean that I need to take the bait – which is what I have been doing. Because we wrestle not against “flesh and blood but powers and principalities …spiritual wickedness in high places”. It’s Satan’s bait – designed to cause strife and division.
    I can vouch that David Robertson seeks to adhere to biblical outlines regarding women’s roles because I have read some of what he has written and listened to some of what he has said. He doesn’t do so with rigid legalism either but creatively, while upholding biblical outlines, so I commend him for doing so. Whenever I saw the opportunity within this blog to voice my resentment and anger at being belittled by men in the past, I immediately seized it to make my voice heard. So I apologise to David for adding to strife in this respect because he is not the instigator of belittling women.
    Obviously there is a need to speak out against injustice, abuse, lies, twisting of scriptures, misapplication of scriptures – but I’m talking about within the church – where the scriptures regarding men and women come into play. To react angrily and go on the offensive, is not reinforcing the dignity of womanhood and femininity – it is taking the bait and contributing to strife and division. Nobody wins. So I learned something new. When I rise above someone else’s immaturity, and react with grace and dignity – I reinforce the dignity of femininity and strengthen myself in the process. I am at my happiest and most liberated when I live within the boundaries that God has outlined for me. It is Satan’s temptation to think there is something better outside those boundaries.
    It is not easy for men or women who seek to apply the biblical teaching on those roles in the current climate – because for men to do so is to appear domineering, patriachal, mysogynistic, and for women it is to be ridiculed, accused of perpetuating the oppression of women, pandering to men’s tendancies to dominate. As men and women of God we need to reinforce and uphold biblical masculinity and femininity not least of all because the Western world has gone crazy in this respect, but most of all for the glory of Christ!
    I know Carol that you are seeking to love like Christ and that is commendable. I read this morning, “knowledge puffs up” but “love builds up”, written by none other than Paul! I know you disagree with my interpretation and application of Scripture as I described in previous comments . I am always tempted to side with my sisters, it’s a woman thing! But I strongly believe that I should obey God, when I understand what God expects of me as revealed in Scripture.
    Lovesong7, what you experienced in the cult was nothing short of abuse. But that didn’t come from God or Paul either. The Word of God is a sword but not to be used to slice women to pieces and put burdens on them to the point of mental and emotional exhaustion. I don’t know if you believe in the devil, but Satan is mentioned in Scripture often, and he uses Scripture too! A good example of how Scripture can be misused! He told Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple – and trust the angels to catch him. He was trying to kill him, and better still get him to kill himself. That is Satan’s goal for us, to steal, kill and destroy by any means, better if he can get us to destroy or kill ourselves. The wrong Scriptures at the wrong time can have catastrophic effects. That doesn’t make Scripture bad – that necessitates the need for good teachers and preachers, and commentaries.
    Vicky Beeching’s book – looks to me like to a very personal issue – examined and developed within a theological context. ( Her own attraction to the same sex – No big surprise there, we all have struggles. Let us not heap more shame on one than another. No room for prejudice within the church. God does not grade sin, neither should we. )
    But she seems to frame her journey in a theological context in her book. We all draw lines within which we feel it is ok to act, and our theological lines may be different. It would seem that VB’s lines on this subject, encroach beyond DR’s understanding of biblical orthodoxy and the lines drawn therein on the subject of sexuality and sexual behaviour. He is a staunch defender of biblical orthodoxy, an associate director of Solas (centre for public Christianity) and we shouldn’t ask him to be anything else if that is what he is. We might suggest his theology is wrong but he has a right to define his own understanding of biblical orthodoxy – he does so within the context of biblical teaching – not people’s feelings – neither his own feelings or anybody else’s. Biblical teaching is at odds with our culture – no doubt about that.
    In the course of defending biblical orthodoxy, VB’s book provides a challenge. Her book is public not private. He needs to push back the lines she has drawn because she is claiming biblical orthodoxy, the territory he defends. Therefore, in defending biblical orthodoxy he has to frame his response within the context of the theology of her book as presented in a personal context. She has provided the context and he can do no other than respond in that context. Therefore it looks like he is making a personal attack but he is not – he is correcting her theology. He cares about her because bad theology is dangerous.

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    1. …can I add to my last comment….at the end I said “Therefore it looks like he is making a personal attack but he is not….. I don’t believe it looks like a personal attack – but rather because it is a personal story in a theological context, she will receive the review personally rather than objectively (theological).

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    2. Thank you Martha – well I dropped out of the conversation because of DR’s language to me and his reference to “memes” (heard all that before). I only caught up again because a weird thing happened – despite me unsubscribing from comments from this blog, I got an email to say a “cartographer7” had liked one of my posts and replied to it – an interesting reply which I didn’t understand – so I checked in again but its disappeared from the thread so not sure what happened there, but saw your reply.

      Yes there might be a small group of women in the picture with head coverings on somewhere (but why only small with head-coverings though? …..because of what it said in the Bible about head coverings and women must not usurp the authority of man), but it is still very patriarchal and oh my what a struggle there’s been to get head coverings lifted and women accepted for ordination etc. Oh “The Horror” !!!

      Regarding DR’s “defence” of the Bible – I am fine with that he if feels he has to defend God’s Word and he is perfectly entitled to do that – and yes bad theology is dangerous as I have experienced as a woman in a cult with them pushing biblical doctrine on how women should dress and behave in church.

      However what I was uncomfortable with is DR’s language – several people – not just myself – have commented that he is quite aggressive and abusive (in an odd sort of way) – and it suddenly dawned on me why this was (I’ve come across it before): he often refers to VB as “attacking” Christ – and that he is “defending” the Bible – and my discernment on it was because he believes he is not fighting “flesh and blood” but “principalities and powers in the heavenly realms” – hence he can be rude and aggressive to the the principalities and power in the heavenly realms and be a bully towards the devil and his demons (of which I and VB are in league with according to that understanding ), and so I personally do not think he cares about VB as a person to be honest, because he wouldn’t be so derogatory to a fellow human being, but he’s fine doing it to demons…..

      …..but I won’t go there, he will have to figure it out for himself …..

      ( as a side issue ……cartographer7’s reply to me was puzzling – whoever they were seemed to suggest one of DRs children was gay and had a blog? ….can’t believe that is true surely?)

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      1. What a sad and nasty post. I only allow it here to let people see the kind of wickedness we have to put up with. You make assumptions about my motivation which you have no right to do. You then sit in judgement on your made up assumptions and make further pronouncements.

        For the record.

        1) I deny that I was being derogatory to Vicky. Can you provide one example?

        2). I don’t think you can be ‘rude to the principalities and powers’ (have you read Jude?). I don’t think you are in ‘league with the devil’.

        3). When you go somewhere and then say ‘I-won’t go there’ you are being dishonest.

        4). None of my children have a blog and none are gay. You have reached a new low when you spread such gossip and use my children to attack me. (Putting a question mark after an accusation does not make it any less an accusation.).

        The least you can do is apologise. I may be robust and disagree with you (I don’t think that’s rude etc) but at least I’m not a judgemental gossip who makes things up.

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  26. having read the book and now the blog trail I have come to the conclusion that the whole dialogue is predicated upon the premise that one viewpoint is right and the other viewpoint is wrong.
    I am mindful that Jesus spoke most harshly to those who thought they were right and most gently to the outcast and the broken.
    In this debate who is outcast and who is broken?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you think your viewpoint is right and the opposite viewpoint is right?! What you are mindful of is just not there….its not good to make things up according to your own imagination and then project it on to Jesus….and neither you nor I are in the position to say who is the outcast and who is the most broken! Although I would say that all of us are broken….as for who is the outcast? Is it the person who is invited on the TV programmes and who is being lauded as a fine example to the whole of society?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear have I touched a raw nerve? Why so defensive and aggressive? I didn’t offer personal opinion but just commented on the stance taken by both ‘sides’.
        I’m afraid your compassionate words are looking dubious

        Liked by 1 person

      2. why so judgemental?! Why do you think you have the power, ability and right to determine that I was defensive and aggressive? Merely disagreeing with you does not constitute such. Why are you not willing to engage with what is said? Why do you sit in judgement upon everyone?

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Well I was only trying to understand why your letter to Vicky is so disempowering to read, so that was the conclusion I came to about the demons – and yes I do apologise if i misjudged you, I am sorry. Maybe the words of Robbie Burns – “Oh would the power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us” might be more appropriate in that case – obviously you don’t see how you come across int eh Open Letter to Vicky.

    When I say “I won’t go there” – I meant on the subject of the devil and demons! I don’t want to start a new discussion on that topic! (That’s all I meant – there is nothing dishonest about it, its just a subject I do not want to discuss as its a can of worms).

    As for cartographer7’s comment – well maybe you can shed light on it for me then? I don’t think I can post up a screen shot of the email I received informing me of it so I will have to type it up: the email (which is a mystery as to why I received it as I had unsubscribed from all comments) was “cartographer7 liked your comment on Undivided: “What would you do if one of your children came out as gay and said they were in a relationship?” (that was my comment way back) and the comment by cartographer 7 was “You might want to go and see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked your comment!” ……..but when I tried to find that comment here on your blog I couldn’t find it? ….so not sure what to make of it? its a bit of a mystery……

    We can all be judgemental – we are told to exercise judgment, I don’t think you are overly judgemental as you are entitled to your opinion, but rather I personally felt in your open letter to VB that the style of writing was most unhelpful: “The Horror” “The Hypocrisy” “Strange Fruit” – these titles and the accusation she is self-serving – they made me question that approach, but that’s just my opinion.

    I do support you in having the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples however, and I can understand you resisting that pressure. As I have said before if I were a minister it is something I could not personally do, not because I do not believe gay people are not equal or that they ore of less value than heterosexual couples, but because I believe they are *different* (something to be celebrated), and civil partnership (which has equal status to marriage) should be sufficient – it acknowledges and celebrates their difference; but marrying people of the same sex as “husband and husband” or “wife and wife” I admit I struggle with that concept on several levels, but I do agree gay people should have the opportunity to have a ceremony to acknowledge their love and commitment to one partner and have the same rights as married couples regards all the legal things etc.

    I hope that helps to explain a little more?

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    1. Despite your attack on me – involving dishonesty and horrible speculation about my children – you continue! You say that I don’t see how I come across in my letter to Vicky….what you mean is how that comes across to you. But why should your feelings be determinative of truth? Everything for you is about feelings – primarily yours. You seem to have no qualms about trampling on the feelings of others! You need to be really careful about making your feelings the arbiter of all things. I have no idea what you mean about my letter to Vicky being ‘disempowering to read’. To whom?

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  28. …also if I may must saying addition to my last reply and in my own defence I don’t think I have sunk to a “new low” as you put it – but rather I was trying to process exactly what it is I found so unhelpful and hurtful about your letter to VB and your replies (yes sorry to use the word “hurt” again, I know you are hurting too) and so the thought just crossed my mind the lack of empathy was linked to the demon theory, but as I say I do apologise for getting that perspective wrong.

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    1. Thanks your apology is accepted but you should pause next time before you pass on gossip /speculate/you make things up. Don’t let ‘the thoughts that pass your mind’ be presented as truth. And don’t ever use my children to speculate against me..

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  29. @Lovesong 7. I counted 39-40 women in that picture of the First Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. The reason I mentioned heads covered – was because it was to indicate how to identify them – but it is not a church service or perhaps even a church – so the head coverings are probably the fashion of the day. I still think their being there is radical. Presumably lots more women could have been there if they had been interested enough to attend – perhaps they were home with their children? Interestingly the door seems to be open with daylight shining in, on the right, and people are in the hallway, so it looks very much like a community event which generated a lot of interest.
    Women’s role in church is defined in Scripture – and yes, it has to be interpreted carefully – and there is definitely some cultural and historical context especially with regard to head coverings. What you went through in the cult seems extreme to say the least. But I believe, as a Christian, that I cannot throw out the parts of Scripture that I don’t like – we all have to conform our behaviour to Biblical standards – not the other way round – which is what VB has done. Thankfully DR is speaking out in our day.
    I don’t think DR is aggressive at all – have you listened to him speak or preach?
    I hope Lovesong7 that you find that Scripture is there for our benefit – not to hurt us. All the best.

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    1. What you have to remember is that the Bible was written by men from a patriarchal culture. The context of scripture and the actual words used are also up for debate as language evolves so quickly that it is really difficult to know exact meanings. The position of women in society is illustrated very graphically by the treatment of the Levite’s concubine in Judges. We have moved on as a society, thank goodness, and scripture must be read in that light. Marriages are equal partnerships now. Women are in church leadership and quite rightly so. Some men may not like this because they have had to relinquish their control over women and their reproductive rights but it is definitely progress which I believe is essential and I also believe Jesus wholeheartedly approves. Remember how he championed womens’ rights when he was on Earth? Women were the first witnesses of the resurrection at a time when women weren’t allowed to be witnesses in a court of law. Mary Magdelena was the first Apostle. Martha recieved one of the most profound theological statements Jesus made. He defended Mary who chose to sit at his feet and listen to him teach. He defended the woman who poured costly perfume over him. Jesus was curtailing the bad behaviour of men when he was teaching about divorce. He is my feminist hero as well as my saviour! And Scripture tells us that if you know Jesus then you know God.

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      1. What a classic example of reading into Scripture what you want it to say rather than what is there! You make the fundamental error of reading Scripture through the eyes of your culture – rather than reading the culture through the eyes of Scripture. Women being in church leadership has nothing to do with ‘reproductive rights’ (a euphemism for being able to kill your own child!). The fact that you think Jesus wholeheartedly approves of killing babies in the womb only shows that you don’t believe in Jesus – other than the one you have just made up to suit your politics. Mary Magdelena was not the first apostle (where did you pick that gem up from?). Scripture does tell us that if you know Jesus you know God – but it also lets us know that we don’t get to make up our own personal Jesus. You should be ashamed of yourself…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I should be ashamed of myself……..my goodness, what a judgemental statement! I don’t know Jesus……..how dare you presume to know about my relationship with the Lord. I was not talking about abortion which I would not consider for myself because of my beliefs but would not force my views on other women, it must be their choice, and the Catholic Church officially recognised Mary Magdelena as the first Apostle a couple of years ago. You have chosen to answer by discussing an issue I didn’t even mention while not addressing the issues I am raising.

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      3. Carol – everything we write when we disagree (or agree) with one another is a judgement and can easily be dismissed as judgemental.

        When you talk about ‘reproductive rights’ – surely you know that is the standard code for abortion? So you were talking about abortion and telling us that Jesus supported it. As regarding your view that you are against abortion but you would not impose your views on other women – would you apply the same to slavery (you are against it but wouldn’t impose your views on those who wanted slaves) or murder?

        The Catholic church never officially recognised Mary Magdelena as an Apostle – where did you get that piece of misinformation? The Catholic church still holds to male only priesthood and apostolic succession.

        I have only discussed the issues you raised.

        Are you now withdrawing your claim that Jesus supports ‘reproductive rights’?

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      4. Carol – I’m afraid this is not evidence that the Catholic church announced that Mary was an apostle (in the sense of the 12 apostles/disciples). Can you provide something from the Vatican not the society of Mary Magdalene? You need to check your sources.

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      5. The post says that the statement is from the Vatican, by Pope Francis. I don’t understand what more you want?

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      6. I don’t believe everything that is on the internet. I want the actual statement from the Vatican stating that Mary Magdalene is an additional Apostle and then the follow up that woman are of course now allowed to be priests in the Apostolic sucession….because it seems as though the RC church missed that!

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      7. It is clear to anyone who has been following this dialogue from the beginning that both Lovesong7 and Carol’s ‘theology’ is based on nothing more than their feelings and a liberal (i.e. anti-Christian) view of Scripture. Lovesong7’s opinions seem to have been formed by an unfortunate experience with a cult and a “breakdown” (to which she refers repeatedly) that she suffered some 15 years after leaving it. Carol maintains that sexual orientation determines one’s theological beliefs. Both come short of supporting ‘gay marriage’ but have no objection to homosexual “civil partnerships” or “same sex couples living in a loving relationship”, as if having a legal document or a verbal agreement not only justifies but celebrates the sort of bedroom activity which is so abhorrent to those who know God. And knowing God is what this is all about. Those who have genuinely experienced the new birth and Christ’s life in them KNOW within their spirit with unwavering certainty (without reference to any Biblical texts on the subject) that the homosexual sexual act is wrong and that it prevents participants from having a truthful and meaningful relationship with God.

        The founder of a so-called ‘Gay Christian’ website states that one can be in a homosexual marriage “and still be godly Spirit-filled Christians because we have come humbly to God in repentance and Biblical faith and have had our senses exercised to discern good and evil.” When people are living in unashamed and unconfessed sin and they make comments like that about ‘their Christianity’, it simply does not ring true. It always sounds as if they are repeating a mantra that they have heard from someone else, that it is the ‘right’ thing to say because it sounds good and so they imitate what Christians believe. It reminds me of the famous line in ‘Hamlet’, “[Thou] doth protest too much, methinks” because those sort of statements come from an attempt to assuage a seared conscience and are not something that Christians need to tell each other. We recognize other Christians by their lifestyle and the truth of what they say, not by them telling us that they are godly or Spirit-filled or have repented or have discernment. Are those who support gay ‘living together in sin’ lifestyles guilty of the same type of rationalization?

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      8. I never meant abortion in terms of reproductive rights, that was your interpretation. Once again you feel you have the right to misinterpret and still hold to that even when I have told you otherwise. And quite frankly to compare abortion to murder or slavery is ridiculous. A pregnant woman has the foetus growing inside her body. She is the one who has to go through with the pregnancy, give birth and then care for the child once born or give up for adoption. I would offer counselling and hope that the decision was made to go through with the pregnancy but ultimately it is her decision. So no I don’t think that Jesus would want an abortion to go ahead and that is not what I asserted in the first place. You have decided to argue on an issue that wasn’t even mentioned and ignore the rest.
        And as far as I am aware Mary Magdelena was recognised as the first Apostle recently. And you still have not answered the other issues raised.

        To Alan, I have not said that your sexual orientation determines your theology. Vicky Beeching feels tbat God has told her that being homosexual is not sinful. I have said that I do not know because I cannot find in scripture any clear guidelines concerning faithful, loving, monogamous relationships between same-sex couples. The Bible contains so many contradictions. Wisdom is knowing when to apply which. And since I do not wish to have my relationship with Christ questioned or to be treated like a child and told I should be ashamed of myself I will not be commenting again. Mature and respectful discussion is one thing but this is a waste of my time.

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      9. So if ‘reproductive rights’ does not mean abortion – what does it mean? And can you give us examples of people using that term when they do not mean abortion?

        The comparison with slavery and murder stands (after all is the taking of human life within the womb not murder?) but you miss the point. You stated that whilst you were opposed to something you would not force your views on others. I was simply asking if that moral criteria only applies to abortion or to other things you do not approve of?

        And you did say that Jesus would support ‘reproductive rights’ (with no evidence for that assertion).

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      10. Carol, you stated in your post of 22 July that Vicky Beeching had a “revelation” which caused you to conclude that “her sexual orientation has informed her theological orientation” and it is apparent from your continued support of her and those of similar persuasion that you consider that conclusion be a legitimate approach to the theology of the issue. This is confirmed by your post of 24 July in which you “suggest that the Church might look at some kind of sanctification ceremony for such a [same sex] relationship” and that in Scripture you “do not find condemnation of a SSA couple who want to live in a loving monogamous relationship.” Clearly, therefore, your position is that Christians should form a theological view of committed sexual relationships based on sexual orientation.

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