Question:When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he did not distinguish between gay and straight, sinner or saint. He said love your neighbor. I have gay and straight neighbors. Jesus himself welcomed "sinners." The article treats homosexuals as if they were a great downfall to society. I know of homosexuals who choose to remain chaste and are better Christians than most. You yourself said we are judged on their actions. Are they going to hell because they found themselves homosexual, yet remained chaste? I know of men who say they don't want to be that way, but remain chaste to stay in the Lord. Am I to say to them "Oh well, since you claim you're gay, you're going to hell." Your reference to gay lifestyle is an unneeded generalization. You are making a judgment which has nothing to do with the argument of homosexuality being a sin. You can hold your stance without judging a whole group of people. Jesus accepted prostitutes and those guilty of adultery. Can you accept homosexuals? Jesus told me to love my neighbor. I do not condone homosexual offenses, but I know many homosexual men who are better men than I, and judging on their actions, I hope to see them in the kingdom of heaven.
A classic response straight from the Episcopal play book.
Before getting into the issues raised, I found it fascinating that while you made common, but unsupported, claims in your prior note about "proven facts." I went out of my way to cite documented studies and you dismiss them as "unneeded generalization." Thus you show the world that studies are only meaningful to you if they support your position. This same attitude creeps into the way you handle the Scriptures as well. When you can find a phrase that you believe supports your position you frantically wave it, but it doesn't bother you at all to ignore the passages that places things into perspective and shows you don't know what you are talking about.
Is there a distinction between saint and sinner?
It is true that Christians are to be polite and kind even to the worse sinner. "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:18-21).
However, "love your neighbor," as I pointed out before, does not imply accepting a person in their sins. Sin is the breaking of God's law (I John 3:4). Sinners who remain in their sins are doomed to eternal death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). By your own definition, no sinner is going to hell and all sinners need to be accept while they remain in their sins. In other words, the logical conclusion of your position is that sin make no difference in a person's life -- now or in the future. Thus you contradict what God has said. "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
The fact remains that you do not love your neighbor. You see people every day who are walking the pathway of sin. You know that their destiny is hell if they don't get off the path, but you do nothing about it. Instead, you assure your doomed neighbor that God loves them just as they are. What kind of love is that? "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (II Corinthians 5:10-11).
The church of the Lord is not composed of sinners; it is composed of former sinners. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
Are we judged by action only?
It is apparent, though, that you see the flaw in your basic reasoning because you seek to distinguish those who act as homosexuals from those who think they are homosexual. You selected the portion of my note that mentions that God judges actions, but you ignored the part where I showed from the Bible that God judges the thoughts and motives of the heart as well. "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God" (I Corinthians 4:5).
Sin is the breaking of law, but in his sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). You make the same basic blunder the Jews in Jesus' time did; you assume that sin only exists in the action taken, but Jesus said that sin starts in the desire to commit sin. Thus the sin of stealing doesn't only exist when an item is taken from a store, it starts when the thief decides he wants to take an item from the store. Jesus further explains, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:20-23).
Therefore, your distinction is too narrow. You want to be able to claim that so long as someone doesn't act as a homosexual, they are safe from God's wrath, but it doesn't matter what they think. Jesus said it our thoughts do matter. A person who wants to do homosexual acts, but either lacks the opportunity or lacks the will at the moment because he fears the consequences is still lusting after evil.
If a man claims to be a homosexual, but neither acts or thinks like one, is he still a homosexual?
I'm guessing that despite all that has been shown, you will claim that someone can be homosexual and yet neither act as one, or have the desire to have sex with a person of the same gender. Obviously this is not the definition of homosexuality and I suspect it would be difficult to find anyone claiming to be homosexual without at least the desire for homosexuality.
Let me address this with another, similar sin. If a person does not commit fornication, nor has the desire to have sex outside of marriage, is that person a fornicator anyway? The answer is obviously no. For the same reason a person who neither acts nor desires a homosexual act is not a homosexual.