Joe Hays

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from brklyn to the lou; from preaching to teaching

homosexuality and the gentiles

I ended my last post by saying that I get, totally, how someone might come to the conclusion that homosexuality is wrong based upon the creation stories and Romans 1. I also noted in my last post that those other scriptures that some rely upon to make a case against homosexuality are tricky and are hardly worth using to back an anti-homosexuality argument.

So how in the world do I get to a place where I think homosexuals should be welcomed and affirmed, as they are, in church and in the Christian community at large? Acts 15. That’s how. Let me sum it up for you.

Peter, Paul, Barnabas and others shared the good news of Jesus Christ with gentiles. (Gentiles are anyone who aren’t Jews.) They (Peter, Paul…) were shocked when the gentiles received the good news of Jesus Christ and were even more shocked to see the Holy Spirit work through them. But there it was, gentiles were believers! Well, word got back to the “powers” in Jerusalem and they weren’t happy. Why? Because scripture said that to be included in God’s kingdom, these gentiles had to radically transform themselves from being gentiles to being law abiding Jews. There had to be a total change of self. It wasn’t enough, according to scripture, to just declare belief. There had to be circumcision, adherence to sabbath laws, etc… So the powers in Jerusalem called in the rogue disciples of Peter, Paul and Barnabas and said, “what gives? These so called believers aren’t following the law!”

The powers had scripture on their side! The same scripture that time and again Jesus declared was good! In this Jerusalem council, the powers were throwing around scripture. Once they were done, the council turned to Peter, Paul and Barnabas to hear their side of the story. You know what they had? Nothing but stories. They just simply reported what they experienced; what they saw. It was as if they were saying, “Look, I know that you have scripture on your side and we adhere to the laws just as you do but you should see the work of God in these gentiles!”

And you know what won that day? Story. Story trumped scripture.

So when I think of homosexuality, I think of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. I hear the opposition saying, “we’ve got scripture on our side! It’s so clear what needs to happen. God loves homosexuals but they need to radically change their behaviors if they want to be considered God’s. They need to abstain from their unnatural desires and follow the rules! In short, they need a total change of self!” And then I hear the chorus of ministers like myself who time and again have seen God’s work and the movement of the Holy Spirit in homosexuals. Along with Peter, I say to you, the council, “And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

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Filed under: Bible

7 Responses

  1. Jon Arnold says:

    Joe, thanks for sharing. Love you brother.

  2. […] then, I’d like to share a post from Joe’s blog titled “Homosexuality and the Gentiles.”  It’s a really provocative thought about why homosexuals should be both welcomed and […]

  3. […] “homosexuality and the gentiles” on JOE HAYS […]

  4. ck says:

    Once again thank you. I am coming increasingly closer to sharing “me” with my family and your posts are helping my heart immensely as I struggle to understand the Bible in light of who I am. I love The Lord, He is my light and my salvation… It has been so difficult coming to terms with myself and how to simultaneously honor Jesus with my life. As I dig into Scripture and other books to help me navigate… As I speak with my Baptist pastor who believes as you do and is helping me along… I start to believe everything *might* be okay. The beautiful thing is that I know God sees my heart… He made me and loves me and knows I choose Him above all else. That is truly all that matters in the end. Just thank you Joe for your boldness in sharing.

    P.s. Have you read the books “Cross in the Closet” or “Torn”…? Just ordered them.

  5. tia says:

    Joe. Thank u.

  6. TryN2 says:

    Not sure how to do this (replying stuff) but ck’s note struck me I’m sure not wrestling with big issues like my sexuality but we all carry some burden and my best thought and prayer for you is to not “over think” the situation. I may be being to simplistic but but I assume you Love God/Jesus I can assure you he (she it etc) loves you, always has always will.
    Maybe it’s none of my business but don’t wait around till you have ALL the answers you think you need. It’s better to do 100 things 80% right than to do 10 things perfect ( my mantra- doesn’t have to be yours)
    But if you’ve got the love stuff down (see above) then the DOING will always be better than the THINKING.. Like Joe wrote, the stories of the ACTIONS of the new gentile Christians trumped the stagnant scriptures.

  7. ck says:

    Thank you TryN2 for your response. It’s really amazing what God is doing in my heart and life as I move along in this journey. My faith is literally growing more EACH and EVERY day as I embrace myself… The Gospel is so amazing and so very simple. LOVE LOVE LOVE… I believe we (i.e. many Christians who think being gay is wrong) are missing the forest for the trees. I just can’t bring myself to believe that gender trumps sacred, honorable love between two people… that a dysfunctional marriage between a man & woman is more *right* than a loving & healthy marriage between 2 women or 2 men simply because of the gender of the two parties. Loving as Jesus Christ loved… THAT is the Gospel.

    I am gay and yet I believe wholeheartedly in Christ… I am not one or the other… I am both. Gay and Christian DO NOT have to be mutually exclusive, Lord may I be a light of this truth and help YOUR love grow beyond current boundaries that man has constructed.

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