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12 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An objective review of this topic, 16 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Permanent, Faithful, Stable: Christian Same-Sex Marriage - New Edition (Paperback)
I myself am a Christian who has come out of a life of deep bondage including homosexuality. I am 58 years old and my homosexuality goes back to my boarding school days and carried on until i became a Christian in my early 50s. I had entered into a dialogue with Jeffrey John at St Albans Cathedral about the topic of homosexual marriage and he reccommended his book to me. I had and have many profound objections to homosexual marriage and indeed any form of homosexual sexual expression. My stance comes from not only my experience of the devatating effects my homosexuality had on my life but also from a scriptural point of view. Jeffrey John told me that his book should help to irradicte my scriptural questions. I have a number of problems with this claim by Jeffrey John not least that Mr John has corresponded to me that there are a number of really fundamental parts od the bible that he simply does not believe. If this is the case, a leading church of England dean not believing in fundamental scritural truths leads me to question how Mr John can defend his homosexual position on a scriptural basis.

My second point is that mr Johns book contains no scriptures which condone homoseuality and the few he mentions are ones which forbid homosexuality and he trys to interpret them in a way that can condone it.

I have written a complete page by page review if anyone is interested at rbonzo2000@yahoo.com.

Finally, at one point Mr John trys to compare homosexuality, he includes homosexual sexual expression which will include sodomy and fellatio, with the creative will that a person with no arms uses when they paint a picture with their feet. I must admit when I saw that passage in his book I wondered if i was seeing things but I am afraid that was the general tone of the whole book. The whole thing was very light weight and verging on the rediculous and that Mr John was apparently in the running to be the bishop of Southward perhaps the most amazingly historical cathedral in london is very worrying. That he is the dean of the church that in on the site of the earliest place of Christian worship in England is also very troubling to me.
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Showing 1-10 of 37 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Dec 2012 17:19:04 GMT
Well, you're certainly right about one thing: there are no scriptures that condone homosexuality. There are only a few passages in the Bible that mention the subject at all, although the few that do mention it condemn it, and there is one horrific verse (Leviticus 20:13) which calls for the judicial murder of men who have gay sex. There are, however, plenty of passages in the scriptures which condone polygamy. Exactly why our sexual ethics should be set in stone by a collection of ancient documents, many of unknown or uncertain provenance, is a mystery to me.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Dec 2012 21:06:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Dec 2012 21:07:36 GMT
Richard says:
The law including the one that you quote was given by God Himself to His people to instruct them how to keep themselves as holy and as free from sin as humanly possible. Yes in the bible particularly the old testament there is much death war and suffering. All of it in response to mans rebellion against God and almost all of it as a direct result of sin. Sodomy was just one of those sinful behaviours that God commanded us to avoid. Rebellion against God is nothing new and the current state of the world and its morals is nothing new. Most of Pauls letters in the new testament were written to churches where the prevailing moral climate was dire and practices such as sodomy, bestiality and orgies were very run of the mill.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2012 18:29:40 GMT
Certainly the unknown authors of the Pentateuch claim - although they do not disclose the source of their information - that the so-called Mosaic Law was dictated by a Hebrew deity to a man called Moses (whose historical existence is problematical). I see no particular reason to believe the claim, but this much I will say: if indeed this Hebrew deity commanded that men should be put to death for having gay sex, then it would be wrong to worship a god who had issued such a wicked command.

Paul's allusions to homosexual sex are few in number and are peripheral to his message. If his remarks in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans are intended to refer to homosexuality in general, then they show a very limited understanding of the subject, and I can see no reason why we should be constrained by them nearly 2,000 years later.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Dec 2012 21:06:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Dec 2012 21:07:46 GMT
Richard says:
With respect Mr Fisher I am not trying to change anyone who is not a Christian. As as Christian I believe that the bible is the inerrant Word of God. I know that is not a popular or fashionable view in some religious quarters but it is my belief. I believe that I serve a living God who has given us a living Word to guide and educate us. The old testament is just a sign post to Jesus and i do not have a problem with God in His wisdom saying that for the benefit of the many, sin, in this instance sodomy and homosexual practices, needed to be rooted out of the tribes of Israel, by putting them to death if necessary. When I was living in my homosexual sin this law would have applied to me had I lived in Mosaic times. However the Lord Jesus died for my sins and upon repentance I came in to Gods grace and was forgiven. However I had to repent first. I would refer you to 1 Corinthinas chapter 6 verse 9-11 where Paul is saying that sodomites and homosexuals, he makes distinction there, will not inherit the kingdom of God and goes on to say that " such WERE some of you , but you were sanctified and justified in the name of the lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." They were, ie they had repented and turned from their sin. As far as I am aware there is no redemption nor salvation without repentance. Unfortunately people such as Jeffrey John preach a salvation without repentance which is not what Jesus preached and is found in His Gospels. As i say my comments are aimed at people who believe in the need of salvation and a Saviour.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2013 15:12:27 GMT
Steampunk says:
Many thanks for your (excellent) review and your subsequent comments. I only wish there were more voices like yours in this whole debate.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2013 21:26:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Aug 2013 22:28:16 BDT
I assume from your testimony that you think that all people with homosexual sexuality will be healed of this on conversion to Christian faith. I suspect however that you were and are capable of being attracted to both genders and that therefore it was possible for you to shut off the homosexual part of your sexual activities in favour of heterosexual practises. Your position becomes very weak if it is true that there are some people who cannot do this, (such as Jeffrey John) who will always be attracted to their own gender. I find John's argument that Paul was referring to the common practise of pederasty in the Graeco-Roman world very persuasive. The church has never been able to base it's moral stance purely on scripture, but has always needed to interpret what the bible says in the light of a) the world in which it was written and b) developments in understanding since the time of writing. That is why we allow women to enter church without hats on and why we allow them to preach etc. That's why we don't argue for the death penalty for both homosexual acts and for cheeky children (Exodus 21 v 17). That's why we don't treat all mental conditions as evidence of demonic possession. It is worth reflecting on the truth that as a man Jesus was limited by the knowledge of his time. He knew nothing of penicillin for example in fact he had little or no medical knowledge. So he demonstrates the divine nature, not by being a know it all, but by working within the customs and knowledge of his time, and by loving those who were marginalised or outcasts. I realise that I won't convince you to temper your view with a little humility and reflection. I imagine from what I've read that you probably support the hounding and physical intimidation of christian gay men and women in the third world. But your hard line view will not win the day. Just like women priests and soon women bishops, the church will eventually accept that it cannot continue to withhold support from gay men and women who are committed to a lifelong loving relationship. You probably find this morally reprehensible, but our children's generation will find your views indefensible. And they will be right!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2013 22:54:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Aug 2013 22:56:21 BDT
Hi William. I don't know what your religious position or affiliations are. I've been a lifelong follower of Jesus and to begin with was probably as judgemental and fundamentalist as our friend the reviewer. More recently my views have tempered. Of course what we read in the Old Testament is a record of difficult times in a primitive world where different racial groups were seeking to establish identity and territory in a limited geographical area. So just like mods and rockers, or goths and preps the Hebrews needed to identify practices that the surrounding nations did and which they would not do, and of course they needed authority to punish people who engaged in such aberrant behaviour. Such authority in a theocracy inevitably comes from God. How do we respond to this? Well we can say, 'If that's what God is like I'll have nothing to do with religion.' That is a fair response. But one might equally say, 'Just like all other areas of knowledge isn't our understanding of the divine nature going to be modified over the course of time?' I guess that's where I am now. I can see such frightful passages in the O.T. for what they are, and still derive some benefit from them. This was the Hebrew scholar Paul's position really; he said that we should 'Put to death that which is earthly.' And he said something very pertinent to this discussion - 'There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.' It is a tragedy that the current inhabitants of Israel/Palestine are still fighting the wars of 6000 years ago and calling on their respective gods to bless them. If as men and women of faith we are not on the side of justice, freedom and equality, we do not stand with God!.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2013 23:24:58 BDT
Richard says:
Dear Mr Hague, Thank you for your post. I have been looking at the most recent government statsitics relating to dissolution of civil same sex partnerships since thier creation around 10 years ago and year on year the percentages are rising markedly. I think it will be interesting to see if the same applies to same sex marriage.

In this months Christianity magazine there is a fantastic article article written by 3 youngish Christians called " a different kind of coming out ". Each of the guys are evangelical church leaders who experience same sex attraction and describe themselves as either celibate or post gay. One of them Sean Doherty has now married and has 3 children. I am certainly not celibate and find that I personally am comfortable with the "label" post gay. It is a very good article and would suggest any Christian struggling with the issue to read it.

In answer to your question, no I do not think since becoming a Christian that I have been attracted to men particularly allthough I have to be on my guard most definitely, as I do with looking at women. The Lord has blessed me with a real discernable healing in all areas of my sexual life. I cannot speak for Dean John nor anyone else for that matter but. I wonder if he has ever tried celibacy.

I believe that Jesus was God so i think the chances are that he probably did know about Penecillin and as my creator and saviour also probably had good idea of what made me tick.

I have always hated violence of any description and find it frightening and having once been on the recieving end of a mob I almost always side with the underdog so no I do not side with the hounding of homosexuals in Africa.

For me it boils down to what the Gospel really means to me in my day to day life. I like to think that it means as Jesus says that I should turn away as well as I can from all my sinful behaviour and trust in Jesus as the risen Christ to be my saviour. I have nothing against 2 men having a loving relationship and that relationship can last a lifetime. I try and love quite a few guys in my church and other fellowships I attend. However I believe there is a line that is crossed when that relationship becomes sexualised. I believe it becomes unhealthy and outside of Gods intentions that sex should be between a married man and woman under Gods protective umbrella, for the good of those people.

When I stand before God I want to be able to say that through the terrible pain and destruction that my sexuality wrought upon my life and those who loved me, that i was able to try and warn as many people as possible, the perils and pain that follow living the homosexual lifestyle. I intend to do that for the rest of my days and I will be content with that and whether your childrens generation find my veiws indefensible worrys me not one bit

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2013 00:06:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Aug 2013 00:08:56 BDT
So Richard - What else did Jesus know about? String theory? Quantum mechanics? Your theology is amazing for its naivety. Jesus was 100% man and as such had all the limitations of man and that includes limited knowledge. Yes he was 100% God but he did not have all the properties that we associate with God. He was not omnipresent, not Omnipotent, and as I say not omniscient. I do see what your position is now however. I think that it's, if you are a christian and gay you should pray for the gift of heterosexuality, and if that gift is withheld you should be celibate. You are perfectly entitled to that view, but celibacy is a gift and if that gifting is not present in the life of an individual he or she must either
a) Give up being a christian. or
b) Resort to a clandestine relationship and a secret sexuality
I am wondering what was so damaging about your homosexual lifestyle. Was the problem factors associated with homosexuality such as promiscuity, drugs??? I don't know. I can't see that a loving, lifelong committed relationship could possibly be damaging. Perhaps your own homosexual phase simply didn't include such a possibility. Or maybe you are saying that gays can't be stable.
Your statistical points regarding dissolutions of civil partnerships no more negate the value of same sex union than divorce statistics negate the value of marriage. By the way you seem not to want to discuss why this particular scriptural prohibition is so important, but not those prohibitions regarding the conduct and potentials for women by the way. If the reason that men who love one another, or women who love one another cannot express that love physically is because the bible says so. Why is it OK for me to wear long hair, or for my wife not to where a hat in church. Why is it OK for women to be priests? Even though Paul forbids it in unequivocal terms?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2013 11:32:05 BDT
Richard says:
Hi Andrew, I forgive you for mocking me but your statement that Jesus was 100% God but did not have all the attributes of God does not make sense. Either He was or He was not God.

Yup you are right my position is that if you feel that you wish with your heart to try and walk as a Christian and are engaging in sodomy or other homosexual practices such as cottaging, mutual masturbation, erotic kissing, fellatio etc, that person should stop those practices and seek counselling and as difficult as it may be to remain celibate. Jesus said that walking as a Chrisian was not going to be easy.

I would add that if there was a heterosexual couple who were also engaging in anal sex or using pornography I would also say that they should stop and seek counselling.

My view is that Christian who is really trying to overcome his or her same sex attractions and sexual practices should not give up on being a Christian but should seek support from their brothers and sisters in the church.
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