About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Before I say anything on this very sensitive subject, I need to preface my remarks. First of all, I take my thinking from what I understand the Bible says on this subject. In all I think, I always ask myself, "what does the Bible say"? If you have difficulties with what I say, you either have a problem with how I understand the Bible, or you have a problem with the Bible itself.

In this article I am not picking on homosexuals. I have no hatred towards homosexuals, as some might suggest. I view homosexuality as one of a number of sins that the Bible calls sins.

I understand the debate that is taking place in our society today. I also understand that the present day gay movement for the most part is politically orientated. That is to say, the gay community has entered into the political arena in order to bring change to society. I have no real problem with their attempt to bring change, (I think we still have a measure freedom of speech in our society) even though I do not believe in the changes they want to make. By the same token, those holding to a Christian conservative Biblical view should have the same privilege to promote their thinking. This is where I see a problem. Our freedom to promote our view is being eroded away under the guise of tolerance.

I also do not emphasize homosexuality over any other kind of sexual deviation from Godís plan for mankind. In my thinking there is no difference between homosexual sex and adultery between heterosexual couples. I am sure that merely using the word "deviation" angers many in the gay community.

When I use the term "God", I am speaking of the God of the Bible, who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I believe that our God is not the same God that other religions claim to serve and worship. The Bible clearly states that the Christian God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This places an emphasis on who Jesus is. Jesus is in fact God in human flesh. This is the distinguishing mark between Christians and everyone else. So to make it clear, when I speak of God, it is this God I am speaking of.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans says this, "God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity to the degrading of their own bodies with one anotherÖ. God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men Ö He (God) gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done (Romans 1:24-29).

What is Paul saying under what Christians call the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? He says that both men and women have left "natural" sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations. Sexual relations between men and women are natural, and sexual relations between men and men, or women and women are not natural. I am only repeating what Paul says in Scripture. I know that this sounds very archaic by todayís standards.

Beyond being unnatural, same sex relations are "shameful, impure and indecent" according to Paul. The idea that sexual deviation is shameful, impure and indecent has pretty well been lost in our progressive and evolutionary thinking. More than being lost, it has been systematically and thoughtfully removed from our societal conscience.

Because men and women were bent of doing "things they ought not to do, God gave them over" (Rom. 1:28) to these things. This simply means that if this kind of activity is what you want to do, then go ahead and do it all you want. God has given us free will to do whatever we want, to whatever extreme we want. It is as if He washes His hands clean of us and our wrong doing.

The idea of "free will" and God giving us over to shameful things is not new. Godís thinking on this matter was evident in creation. At the time of creation, God gave man a choice to obey Him, or disobey Him. This was inherent in His command, "you are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die." (Gen. 2:16-17) The first words of this command are, "you are free". This was Godís original intent for us, that is freedom in all respects of life He wanted us to be free from doing evil and even the knowledge of evil.

By placing the forbidden tree in the garden, and by giving man the command not to eat from it, God gave man the choice to obey Him, or to disobey Him. This is called "free will". If He had not have placed the tree in the garden, He would not have given the command, but He did plant the tree and give the command. The nature of any command is such that once it is spoken, the hearer has the choice to obey or disobey. Man chose to disobey, resulting in Godís penalty of death. It is thus clear that God, at creation, gave us the choice to obey, or disobey. The same is true for us today. We are free agents. We are free to choose our own lifestyles, yet with the understanding that God has the final word on all things, and we will reap what we sow. We will also have to give account of our actions to God some day.

So God gives us free will to choose. Once we choose not to obey, and then persist in a lifestyle of blatant disobedience, at some point He has the prerogative to give us over to this disobedience. The "giving over" process is the process by which God steps back from us, removing any and all blessings from His presence in our lives. I believe Scripture tells us that God can choose to step back from us as individuals, or as nations and communities of people.

It is clear from Paulís words, along with many other Biblical passages, including words from Jesus, that all sexual deviation, whether it is homosexually orientated or heterosexually orientated, is wrong. Cheating on our wives or husbands is no different than homosexual sin. Sex before marriage is also no different. In Godís sight, these are all wrong, yet still our choice.

In conclusion, we as Christians should view homosexual sin no differently than heterosexual sin. Sometimes I think we talk as if it is the worst sin ever committed. Letís treat this sin the same as we would adultery.

We should also recognize that all men and women have the God given responsibility to make their own choices, with the understanding that someday we all will have to give account to God for these choices. If someone chooses to be gay, that is their choice. Even by saying this I know that many feel being gay is not a choice but a biological predisposition. That is another topic for another day. God in Rev. 22:11 says, "let them who does wrong continue to do wrong". It appears by this verse that God tells us to join Him in the "giving over" process. If He has "truly" stepped back from certain people, so should we. Paul himself on a "few" occasions did this very thing.

Before criticizing those who are gay, or any other person for their wrong choices, explain the gospel to them. Sexual deviation is not the worst sin. The worst sin is unbelief, or rejecting Jesus. We need to deal with unbelief in people before we try to clean their lives up. Faith, or giving oneís life to Jesus is the most important question in an unregenerate person.

Even with this in mind we should not step back from promoting our views in society on this matter. The homosexual community has chosen to bring this discussion into the forefront of public life. We as Christians therefore have the same right and responsibility to respond with similar fervor. We should not be afraid to speak up for what we view as the truth, no matter what the results are. At the moment there still remains a free marketplace for ideas and values to be discussed in our society. This may not always be the case. We should do our best at the present time to promote what we feel is the truth, before we loose this opportunity completely, which could easily happen.

I have made and operate a wedding service web site for my brother in Niagara Falls. The following are a few emails that I have recently received in response to our policy of not performing same sex weddings. You can see by these emails that those writing them are very passionate. You can also see that they do not understand what the Bible actually says on this subject, even though some claim to know God and claim faith in Jesus. You can also see that they are highly critical and have less tolerance towards me than I have towards them, even though they most likely promote tolerance. In all cases, I have tried unsuccessfully to carry on a rational dialogue with these people. They have all refused a kindly motivated discussion.

Concerning Christian love, which some of these writers claim I donít have, I feel that I have demonstrated more kindness towards them than they have towards me in my communications with them. This tells me that Christians are beginning to suffer undue criticism for their beliefs. Most likely in the future this criticism will only get worse.

The following are comments posted to www.niagaraweddingscanada.com, or emailed to gary@niagaraweddingscanada.

"As a Christian myself, it saddens me that your personal belief system harbors hate and exclusivity. Perhaps one day you will see that God is about love and not judgment."

"I am saddened that you choose to exclude same sex marriages from your business. It is legal in Ontario and I think you are being 100% non Christian in your views. I would think you would recognize that love is love and that as a business person you would see that excluding a segment of society is bad business as well as judgmental and self righteous."

"No I am sorry that as a Christian you find the only way to hear God's word is through the Bible and not through your own heart. I hear God's voice everyday. I know he loves me and I know that he created me just as I am for a purpose. It is impossible for someone coming from your perspective to know the inner torment gay people go through growing up. I can remember being nine years old having homosexual feelings and praying to God every single night to heal me from them. Steve I prayed for years and years. I tried denying myself by dating women, it didn't change anything and had I continued down that path it would have been unfair for both them and myself. If our loving, all powerful God, which he is, truly wished for me to be heterosexual he would have made this so. So it is not that I have turned my back on God, I am not ignoring what is in the Bible, I know what God has chosen for me. He has shown me himself, time and time again. We all walk our own spiritual path in this life Steve, some of us need guides from peers, such as priests, or from texts like the Bible, but some of us know enough to listen to what God tells us in our heart, even if there are some that claim he feels otherwise, it is always best to go to the source. It is always best to listen to the voice of God, not to other's interpretation of him. Perhaps one day you will be able to understand the broader meaning of God's love."

"My same sex partner and I are interested in getting married in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Monday, March 29, 2004 in the afternoon. We plan to get our marriage license that morning at city hall. Does your facility handle same-sex marriages? Also, we are both practicing Roman Catholics and would like to have a religious (Christian) ceremony. Would that be possible?

Thank you."

"There are many who hold "Christian beliefs" who do hold same-sex marriages and civil unions. In fact, a Christian minister is uniting me and my partner of ten years just three weeks from now. May you find that your "Christian beliefs" broaden to embrace the full message of Jesus."


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