1. A Thinker says:

    As an ex-member of SVC, who has had an occasional intellectual curiosity in your views, I came across your essay yesterday.

    I was really impressed.

    It is very refreshing and inspiring to read a combination of Scripture, scholarly interpretation and the latest science. Especially from a Pastor of a local church ( who I have myself heard preach).

    That takes a lot of guts to change your views on a big subject, after so many years, and risk criticism from SVC members and also from within the local Christian community.

    Also I respect you for writing this essay as part of a course, where your tutor held strongly opposing views.

    No “better scholar” could have written it better because it has been written with your heart as well as your mind.

    I strongly sense that Jesus is guiding you.

    It has clarified my views on same-sex marriage ( which have been confused since I became a Christian.)

    I will certainly read the referenced articles, and any other articles that you post here.

    I hope that a version of this essay can be shared in time with the wider non-Christian community.

    Can I finish by recommending that you , and anyone else reading , watch the recent Mayor Pete Buttigieg TV interview on Ellen DeGeneres show.

    It ties in with your essay and I found it equally inspiring.

  2. Paul Penney says:

    Thank you for your essay. To say it touched me, would be an understatement. I am terrified of the church and of the future. I have been through various Christian conversion therapies. Married a woman at the command of the men of God in my church. Then had four children, the marriage came to a very mutual end and I had to leave the church or be disfellowship. I wandered lost meeting men and desperately searching for Jesus. I love him and God with my whole heart but knew that I was a dark failure, as was said to me, “You will never make a disciple! ” I avoided church for ten years or more. Slowly a frond encouraged me to attend a Vineyard church. It wa swarm and loving and appear e to be accepting. Eventually I was asked to work for the church. My faith was growing and I was thrilled. However over to me, and being single, I had with the help of the couple who led the church, I Covenantedto be single and live a celibate love fe. I failed in secret. I started drinking in secrecy and mentally began to fall apart. I asked The Mumfords where they stood as www told quite clearly on the bible. I resigned from church and never went back. I ended up needing therapy for my mental illness and am now much much better. I met a man four years ago and fell in love. We married and are very happy. We moved to Southampton a year ago. I love this city. I still pray, I am madly in love with Jesus. God still leads people to me and I get to pray with them and see God bless them. I study the bible and wrestle with it. I am terrified of church. The thought of it leaves me cold and I still have dreadful nightmares. Your essay has shone a ray of hope into my heart. i thank you for your bravery, your honesty and you compassion. I hope that there will be more like you in the church and many many damaged, lost ones like me will find a home in a family. Thank you.

  3. Dave Thorpe says:

    Essay response to Same sex marriage.
    How worrying this is for the evangelical church when pastors embrace ungodly practices for fear of being seen as unloving. Jesus drove the merchants from the temple, he challenged the misguided beliefs and practices of the pharisees, calling them, snakes, and white washed tombs? Did he stop loving these people? Wasn’t his motive to point out the error of their ways? Were in days and times when clear biblical God inspired leadership is needed, rather than moral confusion.
    If it were Jack and John in the garden or Debbie and Jill, we wouldn’t even be here. God made man and woman, and together they made babies. That’s Gods perfect plan and design for mankind and the only marriage that God recognises. The government can change laws and churches like Vineyard can embrace those changes, but don’t for one moment think that Gods is happy about it.
    Has Vineyard considered the wider implications of embracing gay marriage? The pastor says there are no victims. There’s his own church for one. Children can be the victims. Every child has a biological parent, a mother and a father. To deprive a child of either is failing the children. Both mothers and fathers bring something special and unique to the child. Redefining marriage is an injustice to the child. Two gay men or women, raising children, no matter how loving, will never be able to fully meet the child’s needs like a mother and father. Gods plan is perfect, so why embrace something that is flawed.
    Jesus did not need to mention homosexuality; these acts were dealt with under sinfulness. He said to the woman caught in adultery, “I don’t condemn you, but go sin no more”. This should be any pastors message to ungodly behaviour, “stop what you’re doing and repent”. Love is tough, it’s saying stuff that hurts, it’s going against the grain of society which demand love and respect for everyone no matter how they behave. Yes, everyone should be free to lead their life as they please, this is God’s love. But when someone’s choice of behaviour or lifestyle impacts on others to the point of being bullied and offended, they have a right to challenge and oppose and to do this without being called angry bigoted fear mongers.
    The Bible is clear. Homosexuality is condemned as an immoral practice. Of course, there were abusive practices carried out by men on boys, this still happens today. But it seems that you have misused and manipulated scripture to support your feelings. I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong in making it clear where you stand on LGBTQ+ issues. However, pastors are in a position of influence, so have a God given responsibility to being led by the holy spirit in what they teach.
    The argument, “I was born gay” is an excuse. There is no Gay gene, which is a massive problem for “I was born this way” homosexual. It’s a chosen behaviour, a chosen life style, that brings us into conflict with God. Most of the Lesbian mothers and children I have worked with and now in same sex relationships had chosen the gay lifestyle after failed marriages to men. They were not born gay.
    The mind boggles with the thought of the temple prostitutes being married, “What did you do at the office today dear”? “The usual”. God was opposed to these practices, whatever the nation, pagan or otherwise, because they were, and still are an abomination. He gave us the perfect model of love in the garden of Eden and Gethsemane and nothing’s changed.
    When a church embraces Gay marriage, they embrace the whole LGBTQ+ package which takes the church onto a slippery slope of moral liberalism. God never blesses sin; he calls us to repent of it. The joy of knowing Christ, is knowing that whatever the sin he graciously forgives those who truly repent.

  4. Matthew Thomas says:

    “I will be impressed if you print my comment, Here it is “isn’t the Apple in the garden a ‘victimless crime’?”

    It would be very easy to be convinced that it was a victimless crime. In fact it wasn’t. Homosexuality has so many victims it is hard to count. However, even if you were correct and it was a victimless crime. What about the garden. The victim is the Lord. All sin is against Him. You have been deceived but for all the right reasons. It is almost nice that you have been deceived, as it shows compassion however, you must be very clear. You truly HAVE been deceived. Like the anorexic, like the alcoholic who thinks he can handle it, like the etc etc. It’s nice but return to His word.”

  5. Matt Hyam says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Thank you. Why would I not print your comment? We are all free to disagree!

    The garden was not victimless at all. The choice to make our decisions about right and wrong has led to every argument, every conflict and every war in history, because we all think that our version of right is the correct one.

    For the record, I did not say that homosexuality was a “victimless crime”. I said a life-long committed relationship between two people of the same sex. Sadly, there are many child victims, as you say, but I would suggest that this is mainly due to people being forced to deny or hide who they are and seek to live a heterosexual life, for fear of judgement. Surely, the crime is that they were forced to do this, not that they finally were able to be themselves?

    I would like to think that what I have done is to diligently study “the word”. You may disagree with my conclusions, which is fair enough, but please do not resort to patronising statements like “return to the word” as is is in danger of smacking of arrogance to assume that I have done anything other than this.

  6. Matt Hyam says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for your response. Obviously, I disagree, but I appreciate you taking the time to state your views.

    The statement “the Bible is clear” is a very dangerous one to make (about anything), especially when it requires you to ignore historical facts, ignore exegesis and to take the passages you cite out of their context.

    I really hope that I have not “embrace[d] ungodly practices for fear of being seen as unloving.” Fear has never been a motivation for me at all. In fact, I have embraced this because, after study, research and due diligence, I genuinely had to conclude that it was true. When I finally sat down and studied it properly, it changed my mind. I would argue that, if you apply standard, basic evangelical Bible study methods to these passages, you cannot, with integrity, conclude what you are saying.

    It is very interesting that you cite Jesus actions in the temple. As I am sure that you know, Jesus’ anger in the temple was because the Jewish people had showed such disdain for those outside by setting up their stalls in the place where the gentiles were meant to come to learn about YHWH – in other words, they had built barriers to people coming to him. Similarly, the only people that Jesus ever condemned were the religious leaders who sat in judgement on others whom they considered to be ungodly sinners.

  7. Greg W. says:

    I have been wrestling with my traditional understanding of homosexuality for years. I have come to many of the same conclusions as you. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I was already done with my graduate work, so I have yet to be required to write out my thoughts.

    You have done this well, and succinctly.

    Thank you for the courage it took to expose yourself to those who will angrily disagree.

  8. Carol Moore (was playle) says:

    Matt thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to print this essay. Thank you for working to cut through cultural lenses hundreds of years old and see scripture in the context it was written. Thank you for therefore allowing me to once again consider that maybe, just maybe church could one day be a safe space. I am not lgbt but many many of my loved ones are. I had to face this issue about 3 years ago – to remain part of church or to show Gods love to my loved ones. I chose the latter. It broke me, and my faith, that I could no longer correlate the God I know and the church ( wider church that is) I was seeing day in day out. Please know that it was svc that held my faith together as long as it did, because I could see His love in every one of you. I am sad I no longer live locally, because this essay has once again given me hope in Cburch ( my hope in God never left.). Thank you for freeing g me

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