I find this discussion interesting, because homosexuality is one of those things that is so obviously wrong, at least in my view. Yet others just don't see it that way.
What is at stake is God’s authority, but here is novel teaching on a matter of large importance to human happiness and in clear opposition to His Word. We aren’t arguing about trivia. Paul is speaking in his authority as an apostle of Christ Jesus “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you” …(2 Tim 1.13,14). We can't cherry-pick, I'm afraid. These teachings and instructions are in black and white; we hear them loud and clear and they don't need watering down. Sin is sin. I am the worst sinner, hence the constant need of God's mercy (I do not say this lightly, I struggle every day..) so, I am not pointing the finger at anyone. On a BBC 2 programme, I heard someone being interviewed and they were saying (regarding what is said in Leviticus regarding homosexuality and other sexual conduct
- in other words, I'm not singling out this particular sin) that if we were to apply that, we would still be stoning adulterers and not wearing clothes with mixed fibres. My sadness is not with that argument but the lack of a reasoned argument against it. For example, I'm sure most (if not all) here will spot immediately that adultery being a sin hasn't changed.
Here is some food thought..
If the letter to Galatians was published in Christianity Today (okay, I'm not a fan of "Christianity today", but..)
Dear Christianity Today:
In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.
Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI
How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?
Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS
I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.
Ken Groener; San Diego, CA
To the Editors:
Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!
Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO
Dear Christianity Today:
The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.
William Zenby; Richmond, VA
I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.
Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey
EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.