Dear Brother Holt,
I am sending the enclosed for your comments. If the enclosed tract from A Capella Chorus is the first you have heard of such a group, the reason might well be that the "papers" and schools don't want to admit that there are gay men and lesbians in the schools and congregations around the country. The only "paper" I have seen deal with the subject [without self-righteous sarcasm) is Restoration Review, edited by Leroy Garrett - That is not to say it is subject/issue only within the "grace-unity" faction. As I understand it ACC's publication Holy Kiss goes out to gays and lesbians in every segment with the possible exception of those holding the one cup" point of view.
Can the subject be dealt with in the Examiner? Your comments in a letter would be welcome, however, I wish not to reveal my name.
My heart goes out to this person. Herewith I present the entire tract from the A Capella Chorus. Afterwards I will offer some comments.
Churches of Christ are a part of the Restoration Movement, an effort beginning in the early 19th century to restore New Testament Christianity and the unity of all Christians. As a part of that movement, churches of Christ have attempted to be nondenominational and place emphasis on congregational autonomy. As a result, congregations holding to a common faith may vary from place to place in the expressions of worship; we are bound to Christians everywhere by faith, not ritual.
In 1979, gay and lesbian members of the Houston area Churches of Christ formed a fellowship to provide educational and spiritual support to each other and the Church as a whole. Since then, additional fellowships have formed in many large urban centers. Named an A Capella Chorus because most congregations of our fellowship have no instrumental music, the organization also serves as a network for gay people in small towns and rural areas.
Most gays in the Church and many gays in the larger community have the same spiritual needs and feelings as the whole Church. We believe in the same one God, have similar spiritual goals, similar hopes. We rejoice when friends commit their lives to Christ and join in prayer for our oppressors as well as those we love.
How disappointing it is, then, when we are rejected not only by the world, but also by the Church that has taught and nurtured us. Sometimes through open hostility, other times through 'tolerant compassion,' oppression serves to keep gay people in hiding, lonely and self-hating. It is difficult, if not impossible, to fully celebrate Christ in our lives, let alone encourage others to know the selfless love of Jesus, in a church that rejects, or at best ignores, Christians because of the norms of general society.
Gay Christians seek the opportunity to worship the one God in peace and love supported by the Church as we are supported by God. We seek no more, but no less, than acceptance, as does everyone else who believes, in the fellowship of those who are striving to do God's will.
While our study of scripture leads us to no single conclusion regarding homosexuality, it is clear the sin of idolatry is at the basis of the most explicit condemnations of homosexual behavior in the Bible. We recognize that the worship of the creature rather than the creator is a mark of some homosexual, as well as heterosexual, behavior and is therefore disruptive in the relationship between God and the person involved. The point is that sexuality itself, while a gift of God through creation, is an aspect of our humanity that is susceptible to exploitative manipulation for selfish ends.
Scripture in the past has been used to condemn and/or justify a wide range of human actions based upon the social norms of the period: slavery, the Crusades, persecution of Jews and Catholics, the inquisition, and on and on. Even today, as mentioned above, there are wide interpretations of scripture in the Church: some refuse to play cards or attend Sunday schools, others encourage Church support of orphanages, etc.
The Church needs to reassess its attitudes towards homosexuality in the larger context of the full range of issues relating to human sexuality. We encourage further studies on individual scriptures traditionally thought to be anti-gay. We encourage the Church to face honestly and forthrightly the questions and needs of gay and lesbian people, both within the Church and those who have left, in light of the failings of Christians to understand them.
An A Capella Chorus/Houston publishes a bulletin every other month which is mailed to gay members of the Church in 27 states, South Africa and Micronesia. It is also mailed to non-gays within the Church nationally to enlighten their consciousness. Additional Chorus fellowships have begun in Los Angeles, Nashville and Seattle. Numerous social outings, luncheons, homecomings, gospel meetings, singings and clothing drives for the homeless are held annually. Tracts are available on topics ranging from "About Coming Out" to "Answers to a Parent's Questions about Homosexuality."
While we do not seek to change anyone's sexual attraction, we invite those who share our spiritual goals to write for additional information such as the tracts mentioned above.
At the end of the tract, four addresses are given where one may write for further information. Apparently there are "chapters" in at least four cities: Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tampa. It seems that they are very active in the advocacy of "Gay Rights" and in seeking acceptance of their lifestyle by Churches of Christ. Of course, this is but a small part of the vast movement in our nation and the world to encourage and promote the "rights" and acceptance of Gays and Lesbians.
I want now to offer some observations on this subject. In my view, God has spoken plainly on the subject of homosexuality, lesbianism, and effeminancy. In fact, in Scripture those who practice such things are called "unrighteous" (I Cor. 6:9-11). Look at the passage with me.
First, Paul warns against deception: "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals....shall inherit the kingdom of God." That clearly says that practicing effiminates and homosexuals shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Period!
Second, Paul says, "Such were some of you..." Some of the Corinthians had practiced such, thus they were, in time past, effeminate and homosexuals. But they had ceased these sinful practices. Therefore, such practices can be stopped and they must be stopped in order to please God and go to heaven.
Third, Paul says that they "were washed...you were sanctified, [and] you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." They had turned from these evil practices and had been saved by Jesus Christ; "washed...sanctified...justified," meaning they had been forgiven of their sins. There is no doubt that these practices were -and still are - sins that will bar the practitioner from heaven. How can anyone deny this plain teaching of God's word? Just like those who practice fornication, adultery, idolatry, coveteousness, swindling, and stealing (thieves), those with perverted sexual orientations must repent and stop such wickedness; and be washed, sanctified (made holy or separate from such), and justified in order to enter the eternal kingdom of our God. People are not "born" thieves, fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers; they learn by practice to be such. Neither are people "born" with a homosexual or lesbian lifestyle or orientation.
Romans 1:24-32: The apostle Paul also deals plainly with this subject in setting forth the moral corruption of the Gentile world in general. This passage is a description of their condition and identifies the contributing evils and wickedness. Read the passage.
(1.) God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. Homosexuality and lesbianism are evil lusts of the heart that God calls impurity (v. 24).
(2.) In such practices, the truth of God relative to these practices is "exchanged...for a lie..." These perversions are a lie; and when the wild claim is made that some are just born this way and can't "change' to "straight" it is a lie! (vs. 25).
(3.) "God gave them over to degrading passions" (v. 26). All of these sins when practiced are "degrading" to men and women. They are all un-natural, not according to the nature God designed into male and female. They are "passions" that degrade and destroy morally, spiritually, and physically. The AIDS epidemic is an example of the physical degrading, with its suffering and death. In view of the facts, how any knowledgeable, honest person can deny that these practices are degrading and contrary to human nature, as well as opposed to God, I cannot understand. It is unbelief.
(4.) Note well the explicit language used to describe this wickedness: "for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural..." (v. 26) Lesbian practices are "unnatural," not in accordance with the way God designed the woman.
(5.) "...in the same way also men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error" (v. 27). Plain language, telling it like it is as God sees it. Note that men "abandon" the natural function of the woman, and attempt to satisfy sexual cravings with other men'. They burn in their desire for one another. Totally unnatural and contrary to God's will.
(6.) "Men with men committing indecent acts" is the way the apostle put it. Homosexual practices are just that, "indecent" and contrary to God's will.
(7.) Note well that as a result of such sinful behavior they will receive "in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Sin has its penalty hereafter to be sure, but sometimes there is also "due penalty" in the here and now. In my view, this is seen in AIDS among homosexuals. And from them it spreads to other innocent (unsuspecting) people. Thousands of gays over the world are paying the price and receiving now part of "the due penalty" for practicing this evil.
Does the horrible disease make them want to stop this sinful practice? No! They want to continue in their sin but want (even demand) a cure found for AIDS! Let them continue their wicked ways, but the rest of us are to be put at risk along with them. They are spreading this horrible disease to thousands. So "the innocent," "straight" people are to pour out millions of dollars to find a cure or preventive so they can go on in their sin without risk! AIDS victims and carriers should be required by law to declare themselves as such to any and all who may be put at risk by any relationship or association with them. An AIDS victim or carrier who fails or refuses to tell those at risk of their danger, may be rightly viewed as a murderer! If not, why not? Certainly the golden rule would be effective and expected in such cases.
Is there a solution? Yes, and the control and "cure" is clear and plain. Stop all these perverted, sinful practices. That is God's way. Homosexuals and lesbians, as well as the rest of us, have been warned. We are seeing the horrible results of the evil practices. We must take the proper, necessary action to protect the innocent (babies, children, those who depend upon blood transfusions, those planning to be married, etc.).
Yes, we must love and be concerned about these people. Christians must be willing to help those who desire our help in any acceptable way. But we also need to declare God's teaching about these, and all other evil practices and teachings; and in clear, plain words. We must love the sinner, but hate the sin - even as God does.
The evidence presented above, and there is more of it, shows us that Gays are active with their stand as "gay and lesbian members of the Churches of Christ." They insist on remaining what and as they are, but want to be accepted by us as faithful and righteous before God. God's children they may be, but they are engaged in wickedness and evil, and such practices must be plainly denounced. May they open their eyes and hearts to the truth and the necessity of turning from their wicked ways. - CAH.