Author Topic: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?  (Read 15937 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #165 on: November 27, 2019, 06:37:03 PM »

Pastor Speckhard, in your response to my posting, you said, “What if homosexuality really is contrary to God's will, as the near-universal witness of Christendom would say?” Was it not that the “near-universal witness of Christendom” once sanctioned slavery, women as chattel and so forth?
                        
RogerMartin, thanks for your input. I agree this has been a good discussion.

I just want to respond to the above snippet. I know you meant it as a rhetorical question, but in fact, no, that is not true. It is closer to the exact opposite of the truth. If women were once treated as chattel, it was Christianity that differed with the world on that by not going along with it. Slavery was ubiquitous except where Christianity held sway, and it was abolished in Christendom before anywhere else, re-introduced by Enlightenment thinking, and only ever retroactively justified by some Christians in very limited contexts. In short, in some very localized and time-bound instances, a global minority of Christians justified slavery; it was never the near-universal witness of Christendom. To paraphrase Chesterton, to say that the near-universal witness of Christendom is discredited by slavery and mistreatment of women, you may as well say the ark was discredited by the flood. What I refer to as the near universal witness of Christendom cannot be so easily or breezily dismissed. The churches that today endorse gay marriage, transgenderism, and the rest of the LGBTQ+ agenda are theologically and ecumenically more akin to those churches that tried to endorse slavery or mistreatment of women by seeking to adapt Christianity to local cultural conditions rather than transforming cultural conditions with Christianity.

   

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #166 on: November 27, 2019, 07:38:11 PM »
perhaps unusual but morally and biologically neutral, like having red hair,

Pick another biological marker.  Having two brothers with red hair, I have heard the various theories of why through the course of world history "red" was viewed as "bad."  Just because, well, biology be darned, those redheads were different, weird, and frankly heretical.  So this:  45,000 women were killed between the years 1483 and 1784 for witchcraft. All of them had red hair. Why? Well redheaded women were believed to be practitioners of dark magic (for no other reason than their appearance) and would be “hunted” and burned at the stake in front of discriminating audiences.

Although not on point to the discussion, it does make the point that biology was destiny for redheads for a long time.

Dave Benke

Can you provide the source for that quote? 

Rev Mathew Andersen

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #167 on: November 28, 2019, 05:08:39 AM »

......I think it is a mistake to dismiss it as whining and complaining when Christians condemn one solution without having a better one of their own. The teaching of the church needs to be Biblical. If you don't know the right answer, but know for certain that the proposed answer is definitely wrong, you have to say so. I don't know what to do about the homeless who are mentally ill. But I do know that euthanizing them is not an acceptable answer. So if I condemn some program of euthanizing the mentally ill, that condemnation is perfectly necessary, Biblical, and salutary even if I have no idea myself what to do about them. So it is with sexual immorality. I know for certain that treating a man having sex with a man the same as a man having sex with a woman is wrong, bad, and in all other ways unacceptable. It is part of my vocation to teach the 6th Commandment properly. And I can't wait until I have a solution for all the difficulties that people tempted toward that behavior face before I teach what God has revealed. I can try to nurture a community within which all know they are welcome as forgiven sinners. But the rest of the community is comprised of sinners, too, with other problems besides same-sex attraction. If I preach against, say, spousal abuse, I can't wait until I have the perfect community to compensate for whatever it is that makes someone feel the urge to abuse their spouse, which might be cultural, psychological, or medicinal at root, but which needs to stop. The behavior is condemned by the Commandments. The community that nurtures such sinners is an ongoing project.
......

As for conversion therapy, I don't really know the ins and outs of how it is supposed to work. Your explanation is helpful. Taking as read that it doesn't work, of course it should not be done. But the people doing it were obviously not taking as read that it didn't work, and were not bad for wanting to do it. There are body parts meant for sex and procreation the way eyes are meant to see. When there is a tragic problem inhibiting a normal biological function, it is perfectly natural to want to fix it. It might not be fixable, agreed, but the desire to fix it is innocent. Parents want their children to have children because they love their children and want to love their grandchildren. The parents' desire might cause hurt when it isn't going to happen, but it is a genuine, natural, normal, and loving desire.     

Let me address the second part first:  Yes, there was something bad in wanting to change orientation and it lay in the reason WHY it was considered desirable to produce that change.  There is a huge difference between wanting to repair a person's eyes so that they can see and wanting to repair a person's eyes so they can fit in and not be a source of shame to their parents' and community - a real situation in biblical times, by the way, as evidenced by the incident when Christ healed the blind man at the temple.  So, also, had conversion therapy simply wished to afford a way to make opposite sex marriage and family a comfortable option for those who wished it, yes, it might have been commendable to try.  But the emphasis was never on making a person sexually emotionally functional with a person of the opposite sex.  The pressure to change orientation was so that the individual would fit in, the message was that THIS was the way to finally be loved by parents, the Church and God.  Remember this the roots of conversion therapy developed at a time when homosexuals (not just those out and having sex but anyone who was attracted to their own sex) could not join boy scouts, could not join the military, could not hold government jobs or even a job in a company contracted to do government work, could not be portrayed in a positive light in movies or the media and were assumed to be likely child molesters in campaigns like "save our children" in Florida.  The goal was not to make someone functional in marriage nor to help them bear the image of Christ. The goal was to do an end run around the Law and Gospel of the Bible and to make people like everyone else and thus to make them acceptable.  Maybe you have to have been a LGBT person involved in the whole Exodus thing to truly understand the intense pressure that was put on the individual to change and the bizarre lengths people were willing to go to in order to be changed and to finally feel loved. It was really a very sick and frightening atmosphere now that I look back at it.  In fact, those of us who said, "I am comfortable with celibacy and am handling my temptations OK, i don't think I really need to be attracted to women" were often scolded for "giving in to the devil and not desiring the things of God." It was really really scary and you can't separate that out and say "but the goals were good" when the goals themselves were, in fact, tied up with a very non-biblical attempt to make people feel loved by God by wanting to screw the opposite sex. In the abstract, one could imagine a therapist who just wanted to help someone overcome an inhibition toward a natural function.  But we do not live in an abstract world and such an animal does not exist in real life.

I do have to give credit to the LCMS, by the way.  At the time they were developing the document "A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and their Families" I inadvertently wound up helping to develop the final draft through a couple of letters I wrote.  At the time I was really into the whole reparative therapy stuff myself and was confident it would work and I would be straight.  I included a bunch of that in my letters but the task force intentionally cut it all saying that it was still unproven and they were more interested in providing spiritual support than therapy.  As far as I know the LCMS is the only church body that has a history of intentionally rejecting conversion therapy.  The LCMS is also, I think, the only conservative Church body to officially vote on a national level to allow LGBT people with a biblical view of marriage and sex to take a leadership role in developing ministry materials as was done this last summer when resolution 11-03a passed.  We will see how that goes.  So while the LCMS doesn't exactly have a history of opposing conversion therapy, we certainly have a history of refusing to endorse it.

Now, as to whether it is whining when we oppose a bad solution without offering a better - that would be true if we did not, in fact, have a better solution to offer.  But when we do have a better solution and do not offer it then, yes, it is pissing and moaning to do nothing but oppose.  As part of the time period when I was attending Exodus support groups and conferences, I happened to go to a group in Denver for a few years.  It is true that they had a rapartive therapy base to their ideology.  But they used the Moberly version and very little of Nicolosi.  Moberly's proposal was that the Church could offer organic support for gay people where Nicolosi developed a clinical approach that became the reparative therapy that is practiced today.  Though Moberly's basis was incorrect, much of her proposed solution was actually more in line with Christianity and, by the way, would not be outlawed by any legislation that forbid conversion therapy for the simple fact that it was not therapy.  Anyway, this group took her suggestion that the Church should offer simple friendship and support to gay people and built their program around it.  They met once a week and always went for coffee after the support meetings.  Before every meeting a restaurant was chosen and anyone who desired could come and join the group for dinner.  The meetings themselves were usually based around some kind of need gay people who are single and celibate might have.  For instance, single gay people often have little physical human contact. So, at one meeting, a massage therapist came and told the group what massage therapy offers and offered reduced price massages for any group members.  Once very six month members were allowed to bring their pastor if they so wished.  And every month there would be some group activity scheduled such as a visit to the Denver zoo or Elitch Gardens or just a game night.  I think the most fun I ever had was the night an Opera singer who was friends with one of the members sang Christmas carols.  They also did not worry a whole lot if you agreed with their view on sex or not.  They made it clear that they were primarily there to support people with a biblical view of sex.  But if someone with the opposite view wanted to join in for the fellowship, that was fine, no big deal.  Sadly, in the time I attended, I only knew of 3 pastors who had come on "bring your pastor night" and not church in Denver was really willing to pick up the ball and do something similar to this group.  But it is precisely this kind of inclusion and fellowship that the Church could offer as opposed to the solutions of the world and doesn't.  So yes, when the Church has so much to offer and so simply and yet does nothing beyond complain about the efforts of the world to keep kids alive, then I will certainly call it whining and pissing and moaning and dismiss it. 

By the way, if any pastor really wants to do something to help it would be really easy.  Just make the following offer a few Sundays in a row: "If any one in this congregation experiences attraction to their own sex or difficulties feeling like they fit their body's gender, I would like to invite you come talk to me.  I won't pretend I have any answers but I also won't scold you.  I just want to hear from you, learn what your experience is like and maybe ask some question to understand you better and to see how we, as a church, might be able to help you"  I once asked in an online support group of 200 same sex attracted men who believed sex was reserved for marriage between a man and a woman what their response would be if their pastor made that offer.  There were dozens of replies that they would be in their pastor's office as soon as possible.  Pastors have members wanting to talk to them about these thing.  They just have to make the offer and promise they won't shame them.  And even if, ultimately, the person makes a decision that takes them in a different path than the one the pastor might want, it is better to have the communication early than wait until the person is leaving the church in anger.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 05:16:52 AM by Matt Andersen »

Charles Austin

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #168 on: November 28, 2019, 08:17:39 AM »
This is an excellent post by Matt Anderson. I appreciate how he shares his experiences.
One reaction:
He writes, concerning a gay man meeting with a pastor...
And even if, ultimately, the person makes a decision that takes them in a different path than the one the pastor might want, it is better to have the communication early than wait until the person is leaving the church in anger.
I only note that in the view of many of us, that person may leave that congregation, but may not be leaving the Church. There are other congregations who will provide a welcome.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dave Benke

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #169 on: November 28, 2019, 09:26:44 AM »
perhaps unusual but morally and biologically neutral, like having red hair,

Pick another biological marker.  Having two brothers with red hair, I have heard the various theories of why through the course of world history "red" was viewed as "bad."  Just because, well, biology be darned, those redheads were different, weird, and frankly heretical.  So this:  45,000 women were killed between the years 1483 and 1784 for witchcraft. All of them had red hair. Why? Well redheaded women were believed to be practitioners of dark magic (for no other reason than their appearance) and would be “hunted” and burned at the stake in front of discriminating audiences.

Although not on point to the discussion, it does make the point that biology was destiny for redheads for a long time.

Dave Benke

Can you provide the source for that quote?

"Facts about redheads."  Although it's hard to believe ALL the witches had red hair.  Maybe they included auburn or burnt sienna.

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #170 on: November 28, 2019, 11:02:52 AM »

......I think it is a mistake to dismiss it as whining and complaining when Christians condemn one solution without having a better one of their own. The teaching of the church needs to be Biblical. If you don't know the right answer, but know for certain that the proposed answer is definitely wrong, you have to say so. I don't know what to do about the homeless who are mentally ill. But I do know that euthanizing them is not an acceptable answer. So if I condemn some program of euthanizing the mentally ill, that condemnation is perfectly necessary, Biblical, and salutary even if I have no idea myself what to do about them. So it is with sexual immorality. I know for certain that treating a man having sex with a man the same as a man having sex with a woman is wrong, bad, and in all other ways unacceptable. It is part of my vocation to teach the 6th Commandment properly. And I can't wait until I have a solution for all the difficulties that people tempted toward that behavior face before I teach what God has revealed. I can try to nurture a community within which all know they are welcome as forgiven sinners. But the rest of the community is comprised of sinners, too, with other problems besides same-sex attraction. If I preach against, say, spousal abuse, I can't wait until I have the perfect community to compensate for whatever it is that makes someone feel the urge to abuse their spouse, which might be cultural, psychological, or medicinal at root, but which needs to stop. The behavior is condemned by the Commandments. The community that nurtures such sinners is an ongoing project.
......

As for conversion therapy, I don't really know the ins and outs of how it is supposed to work. Your explanation is helpful. Taking as read that it doesn't work, of course it should not be done. But the people doing it were obviously not taking as read that it didn't work, and were not bad for wanting to do it. There are body parts meant for sex and procreation the way eyes are meant to see. When there is a tragic problem inhibiting a normal biological function, it is perfectly natural to want to fix it. It might not be fixable, agreed, but the desire to fix it is innocent. Parents want their children to have children because they love their children and want to love their grandchildren. The parents' desire might cause hurt when it isn't going to happen, but it is a genuine, natural, normal, and loving desire.     

Let me address the second part first:  Yes, there was something bad in wanting to change orientation and it lay in the reason WHY it was considered desirable to produce that change.  There is a huge difference between wanting to repair a person's eyes so that they can see and wanting to repair a person's eyes so they can fit in and not be a source of shame to their parents' and community - a real situation in biblical times, by the way, as evidenced by the incident when Christ healed the blind man at the temple.  So, also, had conversion therapy simply wished to afford a way to make opposite sex marriage and family a comfortable option for those who wished it, yes, it might have been commendable to try.  But the emphasis was never on making a person sexually emotionally functional with a person of the opposite sex.  The pressure to change orientation was so that the individual would fit in, the message was that THIS was the way to finally be loved by parents, the Church and God.  Remember this the roots of conversion therapy developed at a time when homosexuals (not just those out and having sex but anyone who was attracted to their own sex) could not join boy scouts, could not join the military, could not hold government jobs or even a job in a company contracted to do government work, could not be portrayed in a positive light in movies or the media and were assumed to be likely child molesters in campaigns like "save our children" in Florida.  The goal was not to make someone functional in marriage nor to help them bear the image of Christ. The goal was to do an end run around the Law and Gospel of the Bible and to make people like everyone else and thus to make them acceptable.  Maybe you have to have been a LGBT person involved in the whole Exodus thing to truly understand the intense pressure that was put on the individual to change and the bizarre lengths people were willing to go to in order to be changed and to finally feel loved. It was really a very sick and frightening atmosphere now that I look back at it.  In fact, those of us who said, "I am comfortable with celibacy and am handling my temptations OK, i don't think I really need to be attracted to women" were often scolded for "giving in to the devil and not desiring the things of God." It was really really scary and you can't separate that out and say "but the goals were good" when the goals themselves were, in fact, tied up with a very non-biblical attempt to make people feel loved by God by wanting to screw the opposite sex. In the abstract, one could imagine a therapist who just wanted to help someone overcome an inhibition toward a natural function.  But we do not live in an abstract world and such an animal does not exist in real life.

I do have to give credit to the LCMS, by the way.  At the time they were developing the document "A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and their Families" I inadvertently wound up helping to develop the final draft through a couple of letters I wrote.  At the time I was really into the whole reparative therapy stuff myself and was confident it would work and I would be straight.  I included a bunch of that in my letters but the task force intentionally cut it all saying that it was still unproven and they were more interested in providing spiritual support than therapy.  As far as I know the LCMS is the only church body that has a history of intentionally rejecting conversion therapy.  The LCMS is also, I think, the only conservative Church body to officially vote on a national level to allow LGBT people with a biblical view of marriage and sex to take a leadership role in developing ministry materials as was done this last summer when resolution 11-03a passed.  We will see how that goes.  So while the LCMS doesn't exactly have a history of opposing conversion therapy, we certainly have a history of refusing to endorse it.

Now, as to whether it is whining when we oppose a bad solution without offering a better - that would be true if we did not, in fact, have a better solution to offer.  But when we do have a better solution and do not offer it then, yes, it is pissing and moaning to do nothing but oppose.  As part of the time period when I was attending Exodus support groups and conferences, I happened to go to a group in Denver for a few years.  It is true that they had a rapartive therapy base to their ideology.  But they used the Moberly version and very little of Nicolosi.  Moberly's proposal was that the Church could offer organic support for gay people where Nicolosi developed a clinical approach that became the reparative therapy that is practiced today.  Though Moberly's basis was incorrect, much of her proposed solution was actually more in line with Christianity and, by the way, would not be outlawed by any legislation that forbid conversion therapy for the simple fact that it was not therapy.  Anyway, this group took her suggestion that the Church should offer simple friendship and support to gay people and built their program around it.  They met once a week and always went for coffee after the support meetings.  Before every meeting a restaurant was chosen and anyone who desired could come and join the group for dinner.  The meetings themselves were usually based around some kind of need gay people who are single and celibate might have.  For instance, single gay people often have little physical human contact. So, at one meeting, a massage therapist came and told the group what massage therapy offers and offered reduced price massages for any group members.  Once very six month members were allowed to bring their pastor if they so wished.  And every month there would be some group activity scheduled such as a visit to the Denver zoo or Elitch Gardens or just a game night.  I think the most fun I ever had was the night an Opera singer who was friends with one of the members sang Christmas carols.  They also did not worry a whole lot if you agreed with their view on sex or not.  They made it clear that they were primarily there to support people with a biblical view of sex.  But if someone with the opposite view wanted to join in for the fellowship, that was fine, no big deal.  Sadly, in the time I attended, I only knew of 3 pastors who had come on "bring your pastor night" and not church in Denver was really willing to pick up the ball and do something similar to this group.  But it is precisely this kind of inclusion and fellowship that the Church could offer as opposed to the solutions of the world and doesn't.  So yes, when the Church has so much to offer and so simply and yet does nothing beyond complain about the efforts of the world to keep kids alive, then I will certainly call it whining and pissing and moaning and dismiss it. 

By the way, if any pastor really wants to do something to help it would be really easy.  Just make the following offer a few Sundays in a row: "If any one in this congregation experiences attraction to their own sex or difficulties feeling like they fit their body's gender, I would like to invite you come talk to me.  I won't pretend I have any answers but I also won't scold you.  I just want to hear from you, learn what your experience is like and maybe ask some question to understand you better and to see how we, as a church, might be able to help you"  I once asked in an online support group of 200 same sex attracted men who believed sex was reserved for marriage between a man and a woman what their response would be if their pastor made that offer.  There were dozens of replies that they would be in their pastor's office as soon as possible.  Pastors have members wanting to talk to them about these thing.  They just have to make the offer and promise they won't shame them.  And even if, ultimately, the person makes a decision that takes them in a different path than the one the pastor might want, it is better to have the communication early than wait until the person is leaving the church in anger.
I’m going to do something like this. Thanks.

Tom Eckstein

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #171 on: November 28, 2019, 01:04:51 PM »

......I think it is a mistake to dismiss it as whining and complaining when Christians condemn one solution without having a better one of their own. The teaching of the church needs to be Biblical. If you don't know the right answer, but know for certain that the proposed answer is definitely wrong, you have to say so. I don't know what to do about the homeless who are mentally ill. But I do know that euthanizing them is not an acceptable answer. So if I condemn some program of euthanizing the mentally ill, that condemnation is perfectly necessary, Biblical, and salutary even if I have no idea myself what to do about them. So it is with sexual immorality. I know for certain that treating a man having sex with a man the same as a man having sex with a woman is wrong, bad, and in all other ways unacceptable. It is part of my vocation to teach the 6th Commandment properly. And I can't wait until I have a solution for all the difficulties that people tempted toward that behavior face before I teach what God has revealed. I can try to nurture a community within which all know they are welcome as forgiven sinners. But the rest of the community is comprised of sinners, too, with other problems besides same-sex attraction. If I preach against, say, spousal abuse, I can't wait until I have the perfect community to compensate for whatever it is that makes someone feel the urge to abuse their spouse, which might be cultural, psychological, or medicinal at root, but which needs to stop. The behavior is condemned by the Commandments. The community that nurtures such sinners is an ongoing project.
......

As for conversion therapy, I don't really know the ins and outs of how it is supposed to work. Your explanation is helpful. Taking as read that it doesn't work, of course it should not be done. But the people doing it were obviously not taking as read that it didn't work, and were not bad for wanting to do it. There are body parts meant for sex and procreation the way eyes are meant to see. When there is a tragic problem inhibiting a normal biological function, it is perfectly natural to want to fix it. It might not be fixable, agreed, but the desire to fix it is innocent. Parents want their children to have children because they love their children and want to love their grandchildren. The parents' desire might cause hurt when it isn't going to happen, but it is a genuine, natural, normal, and loving desire.     

Let me address the second part first:  Yes, there was something bad in wanting to change orientation and it lay in the reason WHY it was considered desirable to produce that change.  There is a huge difference between wanting to repair a person's eyes so that they can see and wanting to repair a person's eyes so they can fit in and not be a source of shame to their parents' and community - a real situation in biblical times, by the way, as evidenced by the incident when Christ healed the blind man at the temple.  So, also, had conversion therapy simply wished to afford a way to make opposite sex marriage and family a comfortable option for those who wished it, yes, it might have been commendable to try.  But the emphasis was never on making a person sexually emotionally functional with a person of the opposite sex.  The pressure to change orientation was so that the individual would fit in, the message was that THIS was the way to finally be loved by parents, the Church and God.  Remember this the roots of conversion therapy developed at a time when homosexuals (not just those out and having sex but anyone who was attracted to their own sex) could not join boy scouts, could not join the military, could not hold government jobs or even a job in a company contracted to do government work, could not be portrayed in a positive light in movies or the media and were assumed to be likely child molesters in campaigns like "save our children" in Florida.  The goal was not to make someone functional in marriage nor to help them bear the image of Christ. The goal was to do an end run around the Law and Gospel of the Bible and to make people like everyone else and thus to make them acceptable.  Maybe you have to have been a LGBT person involved in the whole Exodus thing to truly understand the intense pressure that was put on the individual to change and the bizarre lengths people were willing to go to in order to be changed and to finally feel loved. It was really a very sick and frightening atmosphere now that I look back at it.  In fact, those of us who said, "I am comfortable with celibacy and am handling my temptations OK, i don't think I really need to be attracted to women" were often scolded for "giving in to the devil and not desiring the things of God." It was really really scary and you can't separate that out and say "but the goals were good" when the goals themselves were, in fact, tied up with a very non-biblical attempt to make people feel loved by God by wanting to screw the opposite sex. In the abstract, one could imagine a therapist who just wanted to help someone overcome an inhibition toward a natural function.  But we do not live in an abstract world and such an animal does not exist in real life.

I do have to give credit to the LCMS, by the way.  At the time they were developing the document "A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and their Families" I inadvertently wound up helping to develop the final draft through a couple of letters I wrote.  At the time I was really into the whole reparative therapy stuff myself and was confident it would work and I would be straight.  I included a bunch of that in my letters but the task force intentionally cut it all saying that it was still unproven and they were more interested in providing spiritual support than therapy.  As far as I know the LCMS is the only church body that has a history of intentionally rejecting conversion therapy.  The LCMS is also, I think, the only conservative Church body to officially vote on a national level to allow LGBT people with a biblical view of marriage and sex to take a leadership role in developing ministry materials as was done this last summer when resolution 11-03a passed.  We will see how that goes.  So while the LCMS doesn't exactly have a history of opposing conversion therapy, we certainly have a history of refusing to endorse it.

Now, as to whether it is whining when we oppose a bad solution without offering a better - that would be true if we did not, in fact, have a better solution to offer.  But when we do have a better solution and do not offer it then, yes, it is pissing and moaning to do nothing but oppose.  As part of the time period when I was attending Exodus support groups and conferences, I happened to go to a group in Denver for a few years.  It is true that they had a rapartive therapy base to their ideology.  But they used the Moberly version and very little of Nicolosi.  Moberly's proposal was that the Church could offer organic support for gay people where Nicolosi developed a clinical approach that became the reparative therapy that is practiced today.  Though Moberly's basis was incorrect, much of her proposed solution was actually more in line with Christianity and, by the way, would not be outlawed by any legislation that forbid conversion therapy for the simple fact that it was not therapy.  Anyway, this group took her suggestion that the Church should offer simple friendship and support to gay people and built their program around it.  They met once a week and always went for coffee after the support meetings.  Before every meeting a restaurant was chosen and anyone who desired could come and join the group for dinner.  The meetings themselves were usually based around some kind of need gay people who are single and celibate might have.  For instance, single gay people often have little physical human contact. So, at one meeting, a massage therapist came and told the group what massage therapy offers and offered reduced price massages for any group members.  Once very six month members were allowed to bring their pastor if they so wished.  And every month there would be some group activity scheduled such as a visit to the Denver zoo or Elitch Gardens or just a game night.  I think the most fun I ever had was the night an Opera singer who was friends with one of the members sang Christmas carols.  They also did not worry a whole lot if you agreed with their view on sex or not.  They made it clear that they were primarily there to support people with a biblical view of sex.  But if someone with the opposite view wanted to join in for the fellowship, that was fine, no big deal.  Sadly, in the time I attended, I only knew of 3 pastors who had come on "bring your pastor night" and not church in Denver was really willing to pick up the ball and do something similar to this group.  But it is precisely this kind of inclusion and fellowship that the Church could offer as opposed to the solutions of the world and doesn't.  So yes, when the Church has so much to offer and so simply and yet does nothing beyond complain about the efforts of the world to keep kids alive, then I will certainly call it whining and pissing and moaning and dismiss it. 

By the way, if any pastor really wants to do something to help it would be really easy.  Just make the following offer a few Sundays in a row: "If any one in this congregation experiences attraction to their own sex or difficulties feeling like they fit their body's gender, I would like to invite you come talk to me.  I won't pretend I have any answers but I also won't scold you.  I just want to hear from you, learn what your experience is like and maybe ask some question to understand you better and to see how we, as a church, might be able to help you"  I once asked in an online support group of 200 same sex attracted men who believed sex was reserved for marriage between a man and a woman what their response would be if their pastor made that offer.  There were dozens of replies that they would be in their pastor's office as soon as possible.  Pastors have members wanting to talk to them about these thing.  They just have to make the offer and promise they won't shame them.  And even if, ultimately, the person makes a decision that takes them in a different path than the one the pastor might want, it is better to have the communication early than wait until the person is leaving the church in anger.

Matt, in regard to your last paragraph above, over the almost 30 years of my ministry I've done what you suggest - with the difference being that I don't offer such an invitation exclusively to those who have same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria but to fellow sinners who struggle with various sexual and non-sexual sinful desires and behaviors.  The result is that I have had people coming to me in private for support and help - including those who had same-sex attraction.  Now, I will confess that I have not always done this perfectly (thank God for His forgiveness!).  But as we pastors do our best to let our people know that we pastors are fellow sinners who happen to be in the Pastoral Office and that we are here to help them in the midst of their sin struggles (whatever they may be) and point them to Christ whose sacrifice brings us home to the loving arms of the Father, I've found that many people will trust us and come to us for help.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 01:06:36 PM by Tom Eckstein »
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

readselerttoo

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #172 on: November 28, 2019, 05:17:45 PM »
Jesus is the living Savior, a person, who calls you turn to himself and be saved.  He calls each of us who are weary and heavy-laden with burdens, sin and guilt.  He promises to deliver you.  I can testify that he tells the truth.  He has saved me and continues to guide and save.  Repent and believe in the Gospel!

Rev Mathew Andersen

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #173 on: December 02, 2019, 07:49:51 AM »
Jesus is the living Savior, a person, who calls you turn to himself and be saved.  He calls each of us who are weary and heavy-laden with burdens, sin and guilt.  He promises to deliver you.  I can testify that he tells the truth.  He has saved me and continues to guide and save.  Repent and believe in the Gospel!
I was reading an interesting article the other day about Schizophrenia and how those who have Schizophrenia in developing countries have have a much higher success rate in terms of having a useful place in society and a satisfying life compared to Western societies with all our advanced drugs and treatment programs.  Scans of brain activity demonstrated that people in societies which have a high value on social interaction and belonging have brain activity more similar to people with Schizophrenia.  In Schizophrenia, one of the components is difficulty separating the concept of self from the concept of the other.  People with Schizophrenia can also be quite sensitive to and accurate in reading the feelings of others.  These traits can be advantageous in cultures that place higher values on social belonging and lower values on independence.

It led me to thinking about how modern Christianity puts so much emphasis on the individual and on personal experience.  Even to the point that the Gospel tends to be focused on the individual.  The modern Gospel focuses on what we are saved FROM, personal sin and guilt, but doesn't much talk about what we are saved FOR, well other than personal sanctification or, in extreme cases, our best life now.

I think we forget what we are saved TO: into the Body of Christ.  We see many today saying that the basic human relationship is that of marriage or family.  Within the Church, biblically speaking, this is wrong.  The basic human unit is the Body of Christ itself, the Church, the unity of believers.    It is here that my complaints lie, within the neglect of the concept of the Body by modern western Christianity.  When there are specific problems in a person's life such as a divorce, depression, loss, mental illness, homosexuality, etc, that is when the absence of the concept of the Body is most evident.  What should supply help and support is missing and the individual is left more on their own rather than less. 

Of course there are those who ply the opposite complaint, crying that the Body is broken into many denominations and we should not allow things like doctrine to keep us apart.  But this is as destructive to the Body as neglect.  It is akin to the abusive spouse crying that their former husband or wife was unwilling to remain in an abusive marriage.

Overall, I have found a much larger percentage of people with same sex attraction and gender dysphoria who have deeply repented and have had strong faiths compared to general society.  But the Church called them to be "fixed" rather than offering the actual support of the Body in living for Christ.  it was this lack of community rather than a lack of repentance or belief that drove many away from a Church where they were alone and into a place where community was offered.

Rev Mathew Andersen

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #174 on: December 02, 2019, 08:41:59 AM »

Matt, in regard to your last paragraph above, over the almost 30 years of my ministry I've done what you suggest - with the difference being that I don't offer such an invitation exclusively to those who have same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria but to fellow sinners who struggle with various sexual and non-sexual sinful desires and behaviors.  The result is that I have had people coming to me in private for support and help - including those who had same-sex attraction.  Now, I will confess that I have not always done this perfectly (thank God for His forgiveness!).  But as we pastors do our best to let our people know that we pastors are fellow sinners who happen to be in the Pastoral Office and that we are here to help them in the midst of their sin struggles (whatever they may be) and point them to Christ whose sacrifice brings us home to the loving arms of the Father, I've found that many people will trust us and come to us for help.
That's fine.  Certainly no one should make the offer exclusively to LGBT people.  But, when you have a group who has been generally treated by Christians as "other" you do need to actually be specific that LGBT people are included in the offer or they will be far less likely to come, assuming you really mean everyone but them.  In the online group I mentioned, most had good and caring pastors whom they admired.  They all wanted to talk to their pastor.  Only 2 had ever done so for the simple fact their pastor had not specifically indicated he would care for them as he did his other members.

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #175 on: December 02, 2019, 10:31:06 AM »

Matt, in regard to your last paragraph above, over the almost 30 years of my ministry I've done what you suggest - with the difference being that I don't offer such an invitation exclusively to those who have same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria but to fellow sinners who struggle with various sexual and non-sexual sinful desires and behaviors.  The result is that I have had people coming to me in private for support and help - including those who had same-sex attraction.  Now, I will confess that I have not always done this perfectly (thank God for His forgiveness!).  But as we pastors do our best to let our people know that we pastors are fellow sinners who happen to be in the Pastoral Office and that we are here to help them in the midst of their sin struggles (whatever they may be) and point them to Christ whose sacrifice brings us home to the loving arms of the Father, I've found that many people will trust us and come to us for help.
That's fine.  Certainly no one should make the offer exclusively to LGBT people.  But, when you have a group who has been generally treated by Christians as "other" you do need to actually be specific that LGBT people are included in the offer or they will be far less likely to come, assuming you really mean everyone but them.  In the online group I mentioned, most had good and caring pastors whom they admired.  They all wanted to talk to their pastor.  Only 2 had ever done so for the simple fact their pastor had not specifically indicated he would care for them as he did his other members.
I've done this before for those struggling with pornography in their lives, and some (albeit not overwhelming) success. And for the past few years I've taught confirmation class with the mental assumption that at least one of the kids in the room is privately same-sex attracted, and tried to teach the 6th commandment with that in mind. But I think an overt, singling out of homosexuals for this invitation would be salutary not only for them but also for the rest of the congregation to hear.


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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #176 on: December 02, 2019, 12:01:33 PM »
perhaps unusual but morally and biologically neutral, like having red hair,

Pick another biological marker.  Having two brothers with red hair, I have heard the various theories of why through the course of world history "red" was viewed as "bad."  Just because, well, biology be darned, those redheads were different, weird, and frankly heretical.  So this:  45,000 women were killed between the years 1483 and 1784 for witchcraft. All of them had red hair. Why? Well redheaded women were believed to be practitioners of dark magic (for no other reason than their appearance) and would be “hunted” and burned at the stake in front of discriminating audiences.

Although not on point to the discussion, it does make the point that biology was destiny for redheads for a long time.

Dave Benke

Can you provide the source for that quote?

"Facts about redheads."  Although it's hard to believe ALL the witches had red hair.  Maybe they included auburn or burnt sienna.

Dave Benke

Is that a book, an article, your neighbor's letter to the editor, or what? 

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #177 on: December 02, 2019, 01:07:35 PM »
Jesus is the living Savior, a person, who calls you turn to himself and be saved.  He calls each of us who are weary and heavy-laden with burdens, sin and guilt.  He promises to deliver you.  I can testify that he tells the truth.  He has saved me and continues to guide and save.  Repent and believe in the Gospel!
I was reading an interesting article the other day about Schizophrenia and how those who have Schizophrenia in developing countries have have a much higher success rate in terms of having a useful place in society and a satisfying life compared to Western societies with all our advanced drugs and treatment programs.  Scans of brain activity demonstrated that people in societies which have a high value on social interaction and belonging have brain activity more similar to people with Schizophrenia.  In Schizophrenia, one of the components is difficulty separating the concept of self from the concept of the other.  People with Schizophrenia can also be quite sensitive to and accurate in reading the feelings of others.  These traits can be advantageous in cultures that place higher values on social belonging and lower values on independence.

It led me to thinking about how modern Christianity puts so much emphasis on the individual and on personal experience.  Even to the point that the Gospel tends to be focused on the individual.  The modern Gospel focuses on what we are saved FROM, personal sin and guilt, but doesn't much talk about what we are saved FOR, well other than personal sanctification or, in extreme cases, our best life now.

I think we forget what we are saved TO: into the Body of Christ.  We see many today saying that the basic human relationship is that of marriage or family.  Within the Church, biblically speaking, this is wrong.  The basic human unit is the Body of Christ itself, the Church, the unity of believers.    It is here that my complaints lie, within the neglect of the concept of the Body by modern western Christianity.  When there are specific problems in a person's life such as a divorce, depression, loss, mental illness, homosexuality, etc, that is when the absence of the concept of the Body is most evident.  What should supply help and support is missing and the individual is left more on their own rather than less. 

Of course there are those who ply the opposite complaint, crying that the Body is broken into many denominations and we should not allow things like doctrine to keep us apart.  But this is as destructive to the Body as neglect.  It is akin to the abusive spouse crying that their former husband or wife was unwilling to remain in an abusive marriage.

Overall, I have found a much larger percentage of people with same sex attraction and gender dysphoria who have deeply repented and have had strong faiths compared to general society.  But the Church called them to be "fixed" rather than offering the actual support of the Body in living for Christ.  it was this lack of community rather than a lack of repentance or belief that drove many away from a Church where they were alone and into a place where community was offered.


I wonder what differences it might make in our sense of being the body of Christ if events like weddings and funerals were part of the Sunday morning worship experience rather than separate events. We strongly encourage (and some insist) that baptisms take place during the normal worship time because it is a community event. The newly baptized becomes part of the community of believers.


I've read suggestions of having the community celebrate other events in people's lives besides baptism and confirmation; like graduations, retirements, getting a driver's license, diagnosis of cancer, etc. Our rejoicing with each other and suffering with each other is not as much a part of the community as I think it was when Paul wrote those words.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #178 on: December 02, 2019, 06:34:25 PM »
Pastor Bohler, anyone who Has read anything about witchcraft in former times knows that having red hair made some suspect that one was a witch.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

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Re: Can Someone Wrong about a Teaching Still Be Christian?
« Reply #179 on: December 02, 2019, 07:11:52 PM »
Pastor Bohler, anyone who Has read anything about witchcraft in former times knows that having red hair made some suspect that one was a witch.
Which is irrelevant to the question of whether every witch burned had hair. The real question us what makes the dark arts so irresistible to red heads? ;)