Dialogue re: Gays
by Rev. John Price
NDERF COMMENTARY: David H's NDE, Number 145 sparked some controversy when a reader gave her biblical comments on gayness. Below is the Dialogue that ensued between her remarks and Rev. John Price. I not only learned a lot from this dialogue, but I appreciated the love for all with which it was delivered. How many others don't stop judging homosexuals, yet flagrantly ignore what Jesus taught - do not judge.
Click on the link below or continue to scroll down:
Dialogue with Jody
Jody with NDERF forwarded your message to me and asked me to share my point of view with you.
First a word about who I am. I am an Episcopal minister in Houston, a Chaplain at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and have been ordained 37 years, married to my wife 36 years, with 3 great kids and 2 grandsons. I've worked closely with clergy of all denominations both in the military (retired Colonel, Chaplain Corps) and in hospital and community life.
I have talked to 77 people so far who have had a "near-death experience" and been resuscitated, or who spontaneously came back to life. I didn't believe the first 3 who told me about their experiences, but the 4th one was so innocent and grateful tome for helping him out of a terrible jam that he shared his precious story with me. You can find that story in "Rev. John Price's Corner" on the NDERF website. About halfway down the 1st page you'll find a link to "my corner" and this young soldier's story is in there.
READER: I have read many NDE's, summarizing my conclusion is that God is so incredibly forgiving and merciful, he does not want anyone to go to Hell.
I thoroughly agree with you, but I would add one word: Loving. So that it would read: "God is so incredibly Loving (in Agape' Love, as the New Testament word in Greek explains God's selfless giving), therefore forgiving and merciful, he does not want anyone to go to Hell." We agree.
READER: I believe people that have NDE's are given an opportunity to verify the fact that there is life after death. That the soul continues on.
That's my conclusion as well, as I have seen so many people whose lives have turned around thoroughly, from meanness to Love. I've seen others who lived only a short time longer, but were able to tell others about their experience and it had a profound effect on all involved.
READER: I believe that Gays per se are not bad people, but as it is Biblically stated the act of being partnered with the same sex is an abomination toward God.
Here, however, you would have to say: "I BELIEVE IT IS Biblically stated..." because there are debates not settled, won't be settled, over what the Bible says on this. Yes, it is stated in Leviticus that homosexual acts are an abomination to God, but it is also stated in that same book that we are not to eat ham or shellfish, for it is an abomination to God. There's more, a lot more in Leviticus: we can sell our daughters into slavery, women are not to speak up, women are not to wear red clothing, women are not to wear cotton and wool together, we are to put to death anyone who works on the Sabbath, and so on. Many more.
We Christians don't follow Leviticus' teaching anymore or Deuteronomy's except for the 10 Commandments, because Jesus has fulfilled the Law, the 750-odd do's and don'ts of the Old Testament. That's what the Council of Jerusalem in 64 AD, mentioned in the Book of Acts, when the Apostles gathered and, led by the Holy Spirit, determined that a non-Jew didn't have to become a Jew in order to be a Christian, that a Jew or non-Jew didn't have to follow the minutiae of the Old Testament Holiness Code anymore. Thank God, because I don't want to HAVE to kill my non-believing neighbor who is working on the Sabbath. Or see my neighbors sell their daughters into slavery. It's there, look it up.
If you take it from I Cor 6:9, you will find that is one statement in a long list of people Paul assembles who have no part of the kingdom of Heaven, including people who are divisive, who get angry, and so on. When you assemble Paul's whole list, you'll find everyone, everyone including you and me are in there many times. Finally Paul concludes, "all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." And the answer Paul states is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So don't take a statement or two of Paul's out of the whole context of his listing all faults that people have which show how we fall short of the Glory of God.
READER: I know a lot of Psychologist say they are born that way, but I don't think that is
Well, that's a difference of opinion. I happen to agree with them. And when that boy-child is regularly abused and molested, when his father is absent and his mother is a mean, dominating, emasculating person mad at all men, the child is so very likely to grow up into even hating women. Are you going to tell him HE is a sinner for not wanting to have a woman as sexual partner, but for being automatically attracted to a gentle, sensitive man? I've talked to many gays in my ministry whose stories are just that. But I also know some who grow up in loving, sensitive homes, but still, their automatic turn-on is for men, not women. And the women have their own stories as to why they automatically prefer women to men.
My conclusion: we live in a broken world, and clergy like me will never be out of business, trying to bring God's Love and Peace to this broken world, and try to get people to see that to Love God, love their neighbor as they love themselves is God's aim for us. Jesus said so.
READER: For example my son when he was 4, he stole a toy from a store, and I had
to explain to him that you don't take things that don't belong to you.
Desiring and stealing a toy on the one hand, and having an automatic response to a good-looking person of the same sex are not equal. Re-read my paragraph beginning, "Well, that's a difference of opinion...."
READER: It was a revelation that kids don't know any better until they are taught. They
think they can go places and if they like things, they can just take it. He didn't understand until I explained that he had to pay for it. People are not born with morals, they have to be taught them.
READER: I think the Gay man was given the opportunity to see the other side, so that he could come to a realization that there is a God. He called out to God when the negative spirit bit him.
But there are other accounts of gay men being in Heaven and NDE'rs visiting them and returning. How did the gay men get there? God lovingly admitted them. Yes, he forgave them, just as he forgives you? Why can God only forgive you and not them? Didn't Jesus tell us not to judge? God the Father is the Judge, not us, and I'm personally very glad of that. You know how thoroughly short of God's righteousness every human being ever born is. We'd better hope God forgives whom He chooses to forgive, or we're all in deep trouble. And from what I read of the NDE experiences, I don't think we are. The only ones who have a terrible experience, and there are many, are people who were - to use a four-letter word - mean. Meanness seems to be common to all the people whose accounts I have read who had terrible NDE's.
READER: When people are in trouble, it seems that even when they don't believe in God, they know there only hope is to call out to God.
READER: A lot of people don't want to choose God, because they know that it will be a moral and lifestyle change that comes along with accepting God, or Jesus Christ as their savior. I think the demonic being bit the Gay man, as it would have continued to torture the man in the after life if he remained dead in the natural. There are demonic beings in this world which hate the human race.
READER: They hate the human race because the human race has power over them through Jesus Christ, and the human race has the opportunity through choice to get into Heaven. The demonic and negative realm as fallen angels from Heaven, choosing to follow Satan, know that their time is short and that they will be cast into Hell, as Hell was made for them. The demonic beings want others to suffer with them and destroy the human race that was made in the image of God, as they hate God.
No problem with this. NDErs affirm that, at least the ones with terrible experiences.
READER: God is so incredibly merciful as He knows what Hell is like, that I believe he gives people, even evil people multiple opportunities to change and come to know Him.
What amazed me was to learn - repeatedly - from people who'd had terrible NDE's that God even gives us the opportunity after that moment of death of the body to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Read all of them.
READER: But as God tells in the Bible, if you do not accept Jesus into your heart, ask him to forgive you for your sins, that you cannot enter into Heaven.
Yes, but read the terrible NDEs and see that this choice is still operative after the death of the body. That's the amazing part. Why do we think that God is not still dealing with our immortal souls after they are freed from a body that had failed them?
READER: God gives us that opportunity and is not a bad God for allowing people to go to Hell.
I think it deeply pains God for someone to choose to go to Hell.
READER: People choose to be disassociated to God by their lack of unbelief,...
I think you meant lack of belief...
READER: ... and unfortunately they actually choose to go to Hell. God is pure, loving, full of light, and does not lie, Hell would be the opposite, and I believe demonic beings are very active today, encouraging people in their wrong and selfish thinking and causing the evil that we see in the World today.
No argument there. Just don't project your own angers onto God. Enough gay men and lesbians have told me of having a physical death and winding up in the most beautiful place, with the most beautiful music, being welcomed by dear departed friends and relatives, some of whom were gay, having their review of their life and seeing where they hurt or helped people and feeling the hurt of the warmth they brought about and being told it wasn't their time, and they wake up in their bodies, fully convinced there is a God, who
Loves them, forgives everything they ever did, and welcomes them to that temporary experience and is waiting for us to return Home.
I've served in Churches for 37 years so far and the military (National Guard) for 30, consecutively. I've seen that non-mean gay people in my various churches were never the terrible people who ran people off, destroyed churches, destroyed clergymen's careers, and kept churches from growing. It was people of whatever orientation (although always
heterosexuals, as it turns out) who were, in a word, mean, who did these terrible things.
Amazingly, as you can read in "Rev. John's Corner," a group of just such mean people who I stood up to in my 3rd year in my 1st church of which I was pastor, left the church in a huff and tried yet again to destroy the church. Others were so sick of their fighting they stayed, and we rebuilt the church rapidly, with all the fighting people gone. And to everyone's amazement, 8 years later they came back, apologized, and were docile, loving, and cooperative.
Then one of them had an NDE. Read the account in "Rev.John's Corner" and see what happened. It's a heartwarming story. And it happened, to me.
READER: Please contact me
anytime, and I can back up in scripture if necessary. Sincerely, Reader.
Well, there it is. And I'll be glad to correspond with you.
I'm always glad to discuss things with people. I'll answer your question in this dialogue e-mail, like before:
READER: Dear Rev. John, Thank you for writing me back and giving me this insight, in which brings further and new revelation to me.
I'm glad to help.
READER: I have a deep love for people in general, and am open to your opinion, and more findings in the area NDE's with different back grounds.
I've found it is first-hand experience with God Himself. Did you look up the websites I recommended?
READER: I certainly agree with you that God is LOVE ...
I John 3, in two places: God is Love
READER: ...and that people when abused or exposed to the negative things you described, may
become Gays or Lesbians.
Or other behavior patterns, galore.
READER: I have known a few in my lifetime who have been very nice, but most very promiscuous.
I've known some of those as well, but I also know quite a few in our church in Houston, one of several that are open to gays and lesbians, who are committed to their partners as much as any heterosexual couple. I hope it does not shock the socks off you, but promiscuity is not something practiced solely by gays. if you are going to be repulsed by such activity, don't have anything to do with most heterosexuals either. I would say that 80-90% of the couples who've come to me to be married over the years have been living together before marriage. And I observe it does not make a lot of difference, rather it's been shown that such activity before marriage is most likely to result in divorce, and the divorce rate in our country is 56%, which is far more horrifying to me than the fact that 10% of men are gay. I think our concerns are way out of kilter if homosexuality is the great fear factor in the Church today. Divorce should be. And not that couples shouldn't' get a divorce, it is rather that they should work on their marriages using the Love of God in their marriage. My wife and I've been married since 1966.
READER: When I stated that the act was an abomination toward God, as Biblically stated,...
Careful now. You think it is. I don't.
READER: ... I concluded that perhaps not the love for another of the same sex is an abomination, but rather the act itself.
The four gay friends of the NDE-er on the NDERF website were "active." And they were in Paradise.
READER: Also, perhaps that this was because I believe that our bodies do not actually belong to us, they belong to the Lord, and when you commit fornication, or perverse behavior, or harm yourself you are sinning against yourself, and God. Personally, I don't know any Gays or Lesbians that believe in God.
I'm sorry you don't have that experience. I first met gays and lesbians when my church in Austin became an inner-city church in the mid-'70's. It was an eye-opener for me, and since then I've met many, many. Are you aware there is a country-wide denomination called the Metropolitan Community Church which is totally gay and lesbian? They are rather more Pentecostal oriented, and who are we to say they don't love the Lord? Remember, remember, Jesus said not to judge. I think we have to leave the benefit of the doubt to them that they love the Lord.
READERS: Perhaps they don't out of guilt, knowing that the act is not Biblically accepted.
Remember, I made the point to you that this is not a universally accepted interpretation. Just because everyone you know interprets it the way you do doesn't mean that everyone does.
READERS: I know there are some Gays and Lesbians out there that go to Church, and perhaps love the Lord.
READERS: Also vice versa there are many people in general that go to Church and really are not believers, saved, or love the Lord and cause dissention in the Church.
They thought/think they do. Who am I to judge. Are you thinking that just because someone has given their lives to the Lord, that they don't sin after that? Paul and Jesus disagree with you thoroughly. Paul: "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
READER: This is an area in which I would like to do more research and reading and I truly appreciate your scriptural comparisons and insight as I am open minded. My concern is really
for the soul of individuals and it is so wonderful to read that the Lord give some even at death an opportunity to accept Him. The only thing I would never do was to encourage someone to be Gay or a Lesbian, as I would be concerned for their soul.
Are you projecting your own point of view onto the Lord? That's a form of judging. I am so glad I don't decide who goes to one place or the other.
READER: I would not want to be responsible for their soul for miss advising them or telling them that I think it is ok to continue in their choice. There is an extraordinary story that I think you should read by Mary Baxter, called A Divine Revelation of the Spirit Realm. In this book there is a few pages which contain the story of a gay gentleman who although had accepted Christ into his heart, he could not change from his homosexual behavior. Eventually he was completely delivered of homosexuality after having the spirit rebuked out of him in which an actual mass came out of him.
I have heard many such stories. I do know that miracles occur, several have happened in my ministry, three of them to me personally. I also know of a number of men who prayed earnestly for deliverance from this scourge, because it is very difficult living in our society with its stance about homosexuality. I know of others who, when their automatic orientation didn't go away, committed suicide, which I think is horrible. I would rather preach to someone that the Lord loves them even if they are gay or lesbian, and that they don't need to kill themselves rather than hold out some feeble hope to them that they can be "cured" of this, since I pray for people regularly in my hospital ministry who die, even though we prayed for them to live.
READER: It is a story and Book that I think will be a great blessing to you and many who you come across. Please tell me what you think after you read the book.
I will try to find the book.
READER: The story is on page 112 and 120. I will keep in touch, and I will love to visit your sight. If you have any further information of recommended reading please let me know.
Dialogue with Jody
Hi, Jody -
You've done a good job with that website. I like the discussion brought out.
Jody: David talks to me occasionally, although he hasn't responded to the last e-mail.
Well, try him anyway. Give him this website you just gave me so he can see where I am on the subject, and that I won't reject him.
Jody: My take is that David is still gay and learning to speak up for himself.
I got that impression from what he said. Nothing in his NDE told him to stop.
Jody: His experience was wonderful and did not change his sexual orientation. I guess in heaven it isn't a core issue when being soaked in pure universal love.
You know, that's really the principal point: it isn't a core issue in heaven when one is immersed in pure universal love.
Jody: The only issues that gayness seems to bring up is either guilt or anger, then it is dealt with in the life review - self judged of course.
And that is something that our society has imposed on them, self-hatred and guilt. Great job on the website and maybe we can deal with some substantive issues.
Copyright1999 by Dr. Jeff and Jody Long
e-mail: Webmaster: Jody A. Long