*UPDATED, June 15 - Thank you to all who submitted questions following our message on Sunday, June 10th, "When Jesus is Not Clear." Below you will find the questions submitted with answers from Allan. Even though the open Q & A forum is complete, should you still have questions, you can contact us through our email contact form. Thank you.
I was really moved by your message and feel so blessed to be a part of the community. However, I do really struggle with the references to homosexuality in scripture. Not one of the messages is in reference to a monogamous relationship between a same sex couple. To me they apply to an individual who is being unfaithful to their spouse, "lying" with another. Can you provide any additional insight?
- Like I said on Sunday, either we choose to view these passages as unclear or clear. It seems like you’re not ignoring them but digging into them, which is great. It seems to me, however, that there is a clear distinction between unfaithful as one issue, and homosexuality as a separate issue. If it was all about unfaithfulness then I’m not sure there would have been a need to mention same sex relationships.
How is gay marriage viewed in scripture and should the church allow same sex marriages?
- Gay marriage is not mentioned in scripture – it consistently elevates marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That is the only union that MPCC will officiate.
Do you believe homosexuality is a form of physical retardation, possibly a genetic malformation or maybe even a chemical imbalance?
- No I do not – but I’m certainly no expert on brain chemistry. We all have different sexual preferences, which are a combination of natural tendencies and cultural circumstances. If our sexual preferences pull us outside of God’s boundaries for sexual relationships, then we need to guard our actions.
My question has to do with the oppositional side of Same-Sex-Marriage. Throughout the debate of same sex marriage I have heard Christians state that same sex marriages will destroy the importance we place on "Families." If you can share any additional information on this belief it would be helpful. Also, if same sex marriage would destroy the "importance" of family shouldn’t we fight against same sex marriage or any other laws that would hurt the family structure?
- Our church places a high value on helping and encouraging families. Many same sex relationships are significantly healthier and more mature than many heterosexual ones. And many children are more loved in same sex relationships than in troubled or broken traditional homes. But none of that means it is God’s plan for the family. Any drifting that a culture makes away from God’s design will eventually destroy families. Homosexuality is one TINY example of the many ways we stray from God’s design. Furthermore, I’m not interested in fighting “against” same sex marriages. My hope is that we as a church will fight “for” healthy families.
If someone who is on death row for murder, and at the very end asks God for forgiveness and accepts Jesus as his savior, then he could be saved. Yet he has not changed his way - he was placed somewhere where he did not have the opportunity to murder. Yet it is said that a homosexual can change his way and be forgiven. How is that right? The murderer really didn't change his ways. What is your opinion on this?
- I think this is where the ever-so-damaging judging comes in. We have the tendency to evaluate someone’s heart by his or her actions. But God has the ability to truly see our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). He knew the hearts of the criminals on either side of him. And he knows our hearts as we wrestle with our sin.
About three years ago, my son told his father and me that he was gay. It broke our hearts. I can say that out of fear I probably did not handle it as well as I should have. And his father basically did not say much. We both told him that we loved him no matter what. This has fractured our relationship. My son was saved when he was a child; he knows the truth and at one time was seeking God for his life. Because of what scripture says about this, he has completely denied Christ. He is convinced that God does not exist. Which breaks my heart all the more. I can't even speak of God in any way, without him rolling his eyes and checking out of the conversation. He still lives at home while attending college. We are trying to repair our relationship but certain topics are off limits because they become just arguments about differences of opinions. One of the hardest things for me as a mother is that I feel like I can't tell anyone. My unbelieving friends would encourage me to accept him as being created that way. And I'm not really sure how my believing friends will react. I'm not sure I really have a question. But where do friends and family go for support and encouragement when you are weary of praying and seeing no answer, when you know they are going to places where other gay people hang out, when your relationship is fractured because you "can't accept them for who they are"? I really just don't know. I appreciate our church talking about this topic and having a forum for questions and discussion. Thank you.
- We have others in our church that have gone through or are going through similar situations. Feel free to identify yourself through an email to me and I’ll try to connect you with others if you’re interested.
Does Mountain Park welcome gay people into its church community?
- Absolutely! We all have a lot to learn from each other.
Pastor Allan equated homosexuality to adultery. The church appears to be forgiving/accepting of those who have committed adultery. However, it does not appear to be as forgiving/accepting of those who are gay. Why the hypocrisy? I am gay and because of this, have struggled on whether or not I should call Mountain Park home. After all, if church leaders/members were fully aware of my sexual orientation, I don't believe I would be looked at/treated the same. This issue has also prevented other friends, who happen to be gay, from attending church & developing their faith.
- I’m interested in what ways MPCC has not been forgiving/accepting of those who are gay? For whatever reason we are coming across that way, I apologize and am eager to repent. Thank you kindly for participating in the website discussion. That indicates to me that you are healthy enough to talk some of this through. Our church needs your voice as we navigate this together.
My question is why would Pastor Allan take two isolated scriptures to try really, really hard to make a case for discrimination. As a member of two groups that have been historically discriminated against, with the Bible being used as justification, I just can't believe you think that Jesus would agree with you. Your arguments were sooooo weak and shaky. So many inconsistencies and you glossed over lots of "truths" in the Bible that we no longer adhere to as a church or society. So disappointed in you and pray for your enlightenment on this issue. Yep, it's hateful and I honestly wish I didn't know how you really feel about this topic and "we could have agreed to disagree." You let down so many people today.
- Thanks for submitting a comment even though Sunday was obviously difficult for you. I don’t believe discrimination is a fair word, however. Discrimination is the unfair treatment of a person based on a certain characteristic. The message on Sunday was about God’s design for sexuality, not how any person should be treated. Whether you sin or not – whether you call something sin or not – you are a treasured and valued child of the Creator of the universe. Identifying sin is different that treatment of the individuals. I do appreciate your prayers for my enlightenment – I continue to need it on a regular basis.
It says in the sermon notes "The way our church handles it is an enormous test of our community." What does that mean? That some will leave if Allan shares, what in fact, the Bible clearly says? When a church is a "seeker" church it will always have to choose whether to teach what scripture says, or try to step around it, to be more concerned with what people are comfortable with, then if they have a confrontation with the truth we all desperately need. We are glad Allan stated what the scripture teaches about this subject, but it seemed a lowlight of the sermon compared w/ the large amount of time he spent, before & after, almost apologizing for it. This has happened many times & makes us wonder each week whether we can make this our church home. :(
- What I mean by this being a test is that we can fight with each other, call each other names and separate from each other based on this very divisive issue… or we can respectfully love and listen to one another. My intent was to clearly communicate what I believe the Bible says about homosexuality but do it in a way that honors those who are wrestling with this and landing in a different place. The world is full of people who can offer a concise and harsh summary of God’s view of homosexuality. My hope is that Mountain Park is more loving and empathetic than that.
When Allan says some people are "born hard wired to have sex with children," (maybe Allan could have chosen an example less sensationalistic? Pretty disturbing to the group. And why not use "pedophile," a term less accessible to younger people, and less graphic for the adults?) is that supposed to mean God made them/allowed them to be formed that way? And wouldn't claiming that tempt gay people (or pedophiles) to believe that it's not their "fault," the common premise that homosexuals use, and that they were "just born that way." Then they go on to "celebrate" & "embrace" it, as one would accept their height, eye color, etc. Sounds dangerously close to saying some people are born gay (or as pedophiles, etc). Is that what Allan meant?
- Forgive me for coming across as sensationalistic. Perhaps “pedophile” would have been a more appropriate word. But, yes, I am saying that we are all born into sin. We don’t become sinners as we get older; we’re born into it. God didn’t make us this way – he gave us the amazing gift of free will. And our legacy is that we used free will to disobey him. I am born with sinful tendencies that are not my “fault.” But I get to choose what I do with them. I can try to manage it all on my own (and fail). Or I can surrender my imperfection to the one who purifies me (1 Corinthians 6:11).
I guess I was hoping that Allan would of said that this is not God's design for family and marriage. I have many Gay friends; my kids have friends that have gay parents. They are amazing people, family and amazing kids. I always tell my young boys that families are all different. Some have two moms, some have two dads, and some have a grandma or grandpa who raise them. We have a mom and a dad because we believe in God’s word, "Gods word is Truth," God wants us to have a mom and a dad. Love God Love Others! We know that is what this world is about. What does a Bible believing church say about homosexuality?? That, I guess, is the question I need answered today. MPCC is a safe place but lets also not change Gods word just so people feel comfortable attending.
- I actually intended to say that. My apologies if I did not come across as clear enough for you. I did say at the beginning that some were going to wish I was more clear and direct on the issue – and some were going to wish I was more gracious and open-minded. Based on the variety of responses here on the website, it looks like I was, unfortunately, correct.
Can a homosexual lead a small group at MPCC?
- Great question. Every one of our small groups is led by a sinner – even (especially) the one that meets at my house. We do not have a checklist of sins for small group leaders where list “A” is ok but list “B” is not. Our aim is to train small group leaders to do their job well. It would not surprise me if a group were currently being led by a homosexual. Again, we don’t ask persons to fill out a questionnaire. If the leadership of the church became aware of such a situation, it would lead to a conversation that, I hope, would be a healthy one. It would depend on the leader’s heart and attitude with regard to how things would go from there.
If we are to be consistent in the application of scripture, where does the church stand on Leviticus 10:11 that says we can't eat pork? Or Leviticus 18:27 about hair cutting? Thank you for giving us a place to ask questions.