Can you be a Christian and still believe … ?

December 28, 2012 in Theology · 45 comments

Chi RhoGuess what? You can still be a Chris­t­ian even if you believe that:

  1. Evo­lu­tion is true.
  2. The Bible isn’t inerrant.
  3. Women have the same rights as men.
  4. Homo­sex­u­al­ity isn’t a sin.
  5. Own­ing a gun isn’t a God-given right.
  6. Amer­ica isn’t God’s cho­sen country.
  7. Repub­li­cans aren’t God’s cho­sen polit­i­cal party.
  8. The mod­ern state of Israel isn’t God’s cho­sen people.
  9. Deci­sions about abor­tion should be left up to indi­vid­ual women.
  10. Non-Christians won’t burn for eter­nity in hell.

And you just might be a bit closer to the King­dom of God if you do believe some of those things.

Update #1:
For those of you on Face­book, I’ve cre­ated a nice lit­tle meme of this post.

Update #2:
I’ve pro­vided a list of resources regard­ing these beliefs in my follow-up post, coin­ci­den­tally titled: Follow-Up: Can you be a Chris­t­ian and still believe … ?

45 comments… read them below or add one

Ellen December 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

Thank you. A lot of those are 9/10ths of the reason why I avoided Christianity for so long. Who would want to join a faith that insults my intelligence?

Reply

Jennifer Edwards December 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

Not only do I believe it, I attend a church that also believes it.

Reply

becky backert December 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Ah, the truth!!!! If only we could agree that God is non denominational, non judgemental, non dual, non partisan and unconditionally loving, then we might start loving each other and the planet. What a concept!

Reply

Nancy Nance December 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

My feelings exactly.

Reply

Sue Petersen December 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I agree totally, but most institutional Christian churches don’t support most of these items. I’m a lifelong Methodist, active in lay-leadership roles for 40 years, but I have been on the verge of moving to Unitarian because of the hateful, exclusionary and judgemental views and activities of many “Christians”. I stay in order to continue the conversation in support of others who agree with me and hope the Church will eventually be enlightened as to what and who Jesus would be supporting today.

Reply

Jennifer Edwards December 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Try the Episcopal Church or United Church of Christ. Both denominations are very inclusionary.

Reply

Todd Frederick December 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Sue and Jennifer….I’m in a similar situation in the same denomination and live much too far from either an Episcopal or a UCC to be practical. As a child I grew up in the Episcopal Church and was in the UCC throughout college. Very good options. The Methodist Church is supposed to be “progressive” but that really only on paper; not in action. I also wish this article gave some good “talking point” on each of the 10 items listed to use when speaking with friends who don’t agree.

Reply

John Shore December 29, 2012 at 12:13 am

I don’t know if this is anything you can use, but just to let you know of something I recently discovered: if you get naked you can count to 11.

Reply

John Shore December 29, 2012 at 12:15 am

(Whoops; that was meant for Dan.)

Reply

ArW December 31, 2012 at 10:56 am

My My….has anyone here actually read any part of any version the Bible? It would appear not. As an alternative as anyone here actually spoken to anyone who has studied the Bible enough to understand why and how the 10 items above are erroneous? It would be good to be very careful about what you believe.

Reply

Dan December 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm

The Bible? I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. I’m all in favor of being as slapdash and uncritical with my beliefs as possible.

Reply

Jill December 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm

brilliant!

Reply

stasisonline December 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Yea I reckon a Christian can believe at least some of the ten items, but most of them represent dangerous waters, or come with caveats. EG the one on homosexuality. Of course same-sex attracted people can be Christians. The Bible does not mention sexual orientation. But we do know that continuing to engage in gay sex will exclude you from Gods kingdom though (1 Corinthians 6:9). I realise there are people who find excuses for not interpreting that passage at face value, but even red letter Christians agree that Jesus portrayed Christianity as tough and that few would achieve it (Matthew 7).

Reply

jill December 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm

There are plenty of scriptures that Christians do not take at face value, stasisonline. This is not a revelation. But when we are given discernment to understand the statutes, we understand there is a much bigger picture than simply the words found on a page.

Reply

stasisonline December 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Granted there are some scriptures that nobody takes at face value, due to other scriptures indicating not to do so. But other than those, there are few scriptures that serious Christians simply disregard. Am I wrong?

Reply

Donald Rappe December 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Reply

stasisonline January 1, 2013 at 3:19 am

Yep execution of witches is an example of a scripture (Exodus 22:18) which is in tension with other scriptures. There are many scriptures in the Old Testament that call for the death penalty for various sins. But as far as Im aware, following Jesus’ introduction of the new covenant (Hebrews 8), Christians generally believe that God’s grace mitigated the harsh approach of the Old Testament. Christians have tended to follow Jesus example in John chapter 8, where despite the Old Testament prescribing the death penalty to the woman caught in adultery (Leviticus 20:10), Jesus told the crowds not to execute her. Yes, through the ages Christians have executed witches and others, but the decision on whether to execute is not usually a matter of mindlessly disregarding one scripture or another, but rather of either thorough Biblical literacy, or a question of which of the scriptures in tension are given the most weight. Usually for Christians, where Jesus is recorded having disagreed with the Old Testament, Jesus’ way wins.

Reply

Jill January 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I’m thinking of the verses about obeying your slave masters, for one example. (1 Tim 6:1)

Reply

stasisonline January 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Apparently slavery still exists in pockets of Africa, and I would imagine a conservative Christian African slave over there trying to obey that Scripture. Granted there are some scriptures which no Christian takes at face value, but I still percieve the number of such scriptures to be few.

Reply

Jill January 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Unfortunately this world is filled with slavery– it is called human trafficking if you weren’t aware of it.

And whether you perceive there are many or few scriptures to be taken as literal is immaterial. This discussion here remains to honor a higher law. That higher law means that no one absolutely exempt from the Kingdom of God, whether you choose that belief or not. That decision is Christ’s alone.

It’s really unfortunate that you’ve seemed to miss the point of Dan’s post entirely. I haven’t, and my Christian gay friends know they’re just fine in God’s eyes. Peace to you in the new year, statisonline.

Reply

stasisonline January 2, 2013 at 4:54 am

Jill, Im intregued that I may have missed the point of Dan’s post. Here is what I think his point was: “That right-wing culture has a perception of what a Christian is, and that perception is different from the true definition of what a Christian is.” And I think he’s correct about that. He seems to have identified how right-wing views fuse with Christianity to create a biased right-wing-Christian theology. But I think there is another layer to this. I think his left-wing views have fused with his interpretation of Christianity and that his list is reflective of a biased left-wing-Christian theology. If your perception of Dan’s point differs from mine, Id be interested to read yours.

I agree that it’s up to God who inherits his Kingdom. But I believe that the Bible is authoritative when it cites Jesus and others saying that certain behaviours preclude people from inheriting his Kingdom.

Peace to you for 2013 too, Jill. I appreciate your pleasant tone.

Reply

Jill January 2, 2013 at 6:42 am

I’m merely suggesting that while you are discussing labels and absolutes, Dan’s point is about removing labels and absolute judgments to get to the *real person inside*. There remains a larger Christian story than the one that is still too involved in categorizing, and yes, still shunning.

I believe Dan is referring to the difference between an outdated and a corrected understanding Christian theology (my ‘label’, if you will).

(And I don’t mean to misinterpret or overly simplify your point, Dan. Feel free to correct me!)

While our culture is kept so busy worrying about who’s having consensual sex with whom, we fail to see the human being in all their amazingness. I read nothing in Christ’s message that preoccupies about sexuality. That’s all about labeling and separating people into categories, not a habit of Jesus’ while he was down here.

If you believe all is said and clearly interpreted on this subject, that’s up to you. But if you have ears to listen, I would encourage talking to people you know who identify GLBTQ about how outdated Christian theology has impacted their lives, and be prepared for their answer.

Reply

Dan January 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

Thanks for this dialogue, I really do appreciate the irenic tone. There are a lot of complex issues here that belie the simplicity of my original post — issues of soteriology and hermeneutics and authority and hamartiology and on and on. The point of this post isn’t about any of the specific issues on the list. Of course the list is intentionally provocative towards conservative Christianity — it’s taking a jab at the status quo and asking us to look beyond certain issues that have become (wrongly?) conflated with Christian belief. As I tried to clarify in my follow-up post, “What you believe about these things doesn’t include you in or exclude you from the Kingdom of God.” I do think that what we believe matters, and I realize that re-examining our beliefs may put us in “dangerous waters.” But it seems to me that at some point we must be willing to swim out of the shallow end of the pool and seek deeper waters. The difference between “deep” and “dangerous” isn’t always clear, but that is precisely why we must remain tethered to Christ.

But to say that “we do know that continuing to engage in gay sex will exclude you from Gods kingdom” is to slide over a slew of exegetical and hermeneutical issues in order to arrive at firm conclusion about who’s “in” and who’s “out.” Regardless of precisely what Paul was or wasn’t saying to the church in Corinth in this passage, it’s simply not our job as Christians to run around making these sorts of definitive judgments about others.

Reply

stasisonline January 3, 2013 at 6:47 am

Thanks Dan,

Although your initial post above did trouble me, I do recognise great value in its theme. I mean, it’s very easy to percieve your favourite pastors, teachers and parents as having a direct line to God as though everthing they preach is correct. And likewise, if politicians and others drop a few “God bless America” types of comments, it can be easy to percieve them to be fully in tune with God as well, and to mistakenly fuse modern politics and religion as though they are one thing. We should always be carefully evaluating whether what we believe, and what our leaders believe, is congruent with the scriptures (Acts 17:11).

But Im also cautious about your above comment that suggests I may be sliding “over a slew of exegetical and hermeneutical issues in order to arrive at firm conclusion …” I agree that it’s unwise to jump to conclusions. But it’s also unwise to be too cautious; to be so open minded that you dont actually commit to believing anything. After all, for Christianity, faith is fundamental (Ephesians 2:8). It matters what we believe, and it matters that we DO believe, rather than sitting on the fence. And when it comes to homosexual sex, we have quite a number of scriptural references desribing it as sin. We also have scriptural references refering to lifelong heterosexual relationships as the endorsed relationship model (Matthew 19) based on the foundation of Genesis 2, so it’s fairly clear.

I also dont entirely agree with your comment that “it’s simply not our job as Christians to run around making these sorts of definitive judgments about others.” Judging others is of course a multi-layered concept in the Bible. IE on the one hand the Bible tells us not to judge (Matthew 7:1) but on the other hand the Bible encourages us to judge (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians towards holiness (Galations 6:1-5, James 5:19-20). So if you are saying it’s inappropriate to point the finger at others hypocritically or in a nasty way, then I agree with you (Matthew 7:5). But if you are saying its inappropriate to evaluate whether gay sex is or is not sinful, then I disagree with you. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 even indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically Christians in sexual sin. And in Revelation chapter 2, suggests that Christians are required to not tolerate teachers who lead others into sexual sin.

Thanks again for this thought provoking post.

Reply

Dan January 3, 2013 at 11:06 am

I agree with much of what you have to say. I think we should try to arrive at conclusions and should hold firmly to certain beliefs and should make decisions about what is right and what is wrong — and I think we should do all of that in light of what the Bible has to say. But the issue of homosexuality is tangential to this discussion (not that it’s a “non-issue,” just that it strays significantly beyond the more narrow point I’ve been trying to make). Can you be a Christian and believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin? Yes. Can you be a Christian and also a homosexual? Yes. But is homosexuality (or homosexual practice) a sin? And is it incumbent upon Christians who believe it is sinful to “correct” those who believe it isn’t? These are questions that are dividing the church at this very moment. If you think the Bible is 80% clear on the issue of homosexuality, what impact does the 20% have in how you interact with others of differing opinions on the matter? And do we allow issues surrounding homosexuality to supersede all other issues within the church — to essentially define what it means to be Christian?

Reply

stasisonline January 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Yes I see wisdom in those questions, Dan. Yes, given the bits of grey, obviously it’s particuarly important to proceed with love, though without impinging on holiness.

Do we allow issues surrounding homosexuality to supersede all other issues within the church — to essentially define what it means to be Christian? I would say ‘no’. Some of the conservative “cultural warriors” of recent decades would have us believe that God’s top enemies are homosexuality and abortion. I think such a warping of Christianity is what your post was correctly identifying. But I think we also need to recognise why the debate on homosexuality has become such a focal point of conflict in the church. In recent centuries, as far as Im aware, the points of difference between many of the big Christian groups, were fairly minor and were debatable. EG whether baptism must be by immersion or not, whether to speak in tongues or not, whether a line of prophets from Peter continues or not, the finer details of the godhead etc etc. The issue of homosexual relationships seems to be to be more of a turning point, because much more of a deviation from scripture than previous points of contention. For conservative Christians, the conflict within the church about homosexual relationships is not really about homosexual relationships, but rather about whether the Bible defines Christian belief. To conservative Christians, the embracing of homosexual relatinships within the church is often symbolic of a departure from the centrality of scripture. As Ive said in other posts in this thread, the New Testament presents homosexual relationships as a seriously important issue, although you are right in so far as it’s not amongst the top few most important issues.

Can you be a Christian and believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin? Well I think it depends a little on how you define ‘homosexuality’. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary offers two definitions – the first focusing on sexual attraction, and the second focusing on sexual interaction. After thinking through the logic, I tend to think that the Bible would be using the second definition. IE it doesnt matter which gender you are attracted to (with attraction perhaps being what the Bible refers to as mere ‘temptation’) but rather what seems to matter is the actual lusting and the sex act, as per Romans chapter 1 etc. So if my line of thinking is correct, I think it’s doubtful that you can be a Christian and believe that homosexual sex isn’t a sin. If you believe that homosexual sex isnt a sin, it seems to me that you dont believe Scripture. And if Scripture doesnt define Christianity, then what does? If Christianity diverges too much from what Christ stood for, then it’s just not Christian any more.

Reply

Dan January 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

You’re framing the discussion of homosexuality and the church as a discussion of authority…and in many ways I agree that it is. But I don’t think it falls neatly under the heading of Biblical authority. You are aware that there are valid, Biblically-based arguments for the conclusion that the Bible does not describe faithful, committed homosexual relationships as sinful? You may not agree with such arguments, but it is not simply a matter of equating the rejection of homosexual practice as sinful with the rejection of the authority of Scripture.Indeed, I think a powerful argument can be made that positions on homosexuality are often shaped more by tradition, experience and emotion rather than a pure faithfulness to the Biblical text.

You say “If you believe that homosexual sex isnt a sin, it seems to me that you dont believe Scripture.” But what does it mean to “believe” Scripture? Isn’t that just an oblique way of saying “unless you agree with my particular understanding of certain Biblical texts, you aren’t really a Christian”? Does such a hermeneutic extend to other passages? If you believe that women should be allowed to speak in church (1 Tim. 2.12, 1 Cor. 14.34-35), do you no longer “believe” in Scripture and therefore aren’t a Christian? If you don’t “believe” that slavery is a permissible practice (Lev. 25.44-46, 1 Pet. 2.18, Col. 3.22, Eph. 6.5), do you no longer “believe” in Scripture and therefore aren’t a Christian? Or if you don’t believe that creation happened in six twenty-four hour days 6,000 years ago (Gen. 1), do you no longer “believe” in Scripture and therefore aren’t a Christian? Why is it that one’s understanding of the Biblical depiction of homosexual behavior functions as the standard by which we measure one’s relationship with God?

You say “I think it’s doubtful that you can be a Christian and believe that homosexual sex isn’t a sin.” “Believe in the Lord Jesus and that homosexual sex isn’t a sin, and you will be saved — you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, NAHT)

Reply

stasisonline January 4, 2013 at 5:57 am

And lo there was suddenly no ‘Reply’ button! Well hopefully what Im now writing will appear in approximately the right place.

Yes Im aware that there are people who try to argue that the Bible does not describe faithful, committed homosexual relationships as sinful. But Ive yet to come across such an argument that is compelling in the face of a thorough grasp of what the Bible states. I suggest that if such arguments are not compelling, it’s not reasonable to refer to them as ‘valid’. If you know of any such arguments that you find to be compelling, and which are wholly available online, please let direct me to them. My guess is that the leader in that field in recent years has been Matthew Vines, but his presentation has been widely critiqued as being one sided and flawed, and was rejected by both his former denomination, and the denomination within which it was produced.

I agree with you that positions on homosexuality are often shaped more by tradition, experience and emotion rather than a pure faithfulness to the Biblical text. And why is this the case? Why is it that online discussions about this topic on Christian forums are so seldom filled with Bible references? It’s because so few Christians know their Bibles thoroughly, that they are often more swayed by dominant currents in the wider culture.

I suggest that the issues of women speaking in church, slavery and the creation narrative are not directly comparable hermeneutics. Reviewing them one at a time, ….
There is no clear support expressed in the Bible for homosexual relationships, but there is some clear support for women speaking out (Acts 2:17).
The New Testament does not require Christians to own slaves, but rather the New Testament presents it as permissable (if done ‘fairly’ – Collosians 4:1), unlike homosexual sex for which there is no clear scripture stating it’s permissable.
A six day creation, unlike slavery and women speaking in church, is not a human behaviour, so it’s a different category. I cant think of anything in the New Testament that indicates a stance on six day creation has a bearing on one’s salvation. But as I keep saying, there are New Testament references that indicate that engaging in homosexual sex has a bearing on salvation (eg 1 Cor. 6:9). And while a mental stance on an issue is not the same as as actually engaging in a sin, we all know that for those who are tempted, the former often has a huge bearing on whether the latter results.

Reply

Dan January 4, 2013 at 11:22 am

Valid arguments are not necessarily sound. That an argument isn’t “compelling” to you does not render it invalid — it likely means that you think one or more of the premises are false (though it could also mean that you don’t understand the argument or that you aren’t rationally evaluating the argument). The fact that you’re looking for arguments that are “wholly available online” and offer up Matthew Vines as “the leader in that field” tells me that you’re not really serious about investigating the issue for yourself. Blog posts and YouTube videos have their place, but they’re no substitute for serious scholarship. In that vein, I’m really not interested in debating the specific issue of homosexuality with you or providing you with resources for further research on the topic — they are readily available if you seek them out. I realize we have significantly different views on the matter and it seems unlikely that we will arrive at any meaningful common ground.

You dismiss my Biblical examples as not being “directly comparable hermeneutics.” But you also think that “belief in Scripture” is synonymous with being a Christian. You said that “it’s doubtful that you can be a Christian and believe that homosexual sex isn’t a sin. If you believe that homosexual sex isnt a sin, it seems to me that you dont believe Scripture. And if Scripture doesnt define Christianity, then what does?” But whether or not a specific Biblical text has a direct soteriological context hardly disqualifies it as being relevant to a discussion of contextual understanding and Biblical authority. Yes, the NT endorses women prophesying, but do you think they must remain silent in church in all other circumstances? Do you really think it is permissible to own slaves? If I reject young earth creationism, am I not on the slippery slope of rejecting a literal Adam — a position that might have dire Christological (Lk. 3.38) and soteriological consequences (Rom 5.14, 1 Cor. 15.22)?

I’m fascinated (and disturbed) by the extent to which homosexuality seems to be an issue of paramount importance to you. Paul mentions thieves and the greedy and drunkards and slanderers and swindlers in 1 Cor. 6.9 — indeed from that verse alone, it seems that no one who is unrighteous has any hope of salvation. I understand that you believe the Bible teaches that homosexual practice is a sinful behavior. But to maintain that those with differing understandings regarding Biblical teaching on homosexuality may have entirely forfeited their relationship with God seems to me to be an entirely untenable position.

Reply

stasisonline January 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Ok, I recognise that you wish this discussion to come to a close, so I will gracefully move on. But in closing, please let me point out that I am not saying that to believe that homosexual sex is sinful, is to directly and immediately forfeit salvation. As in your citation of what I wrote earlier, “I think it’s doubtful that you can be a Christian and believe that homosexual sex isn’t a sin.” Yes, ‘doubtful’, not ‘definate’. And yes, I think 1 Cor. 6:9 contributes to the doctrine that the unrighteous are not saved. Hence why following Christ is challenging, requiring dedication and discipline. Thankfully Christians are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8-9) and God’s grace, but 1 Cor. 6:9 and other passages remind us that those who indulge in a lifestyle of sin are not saved.

Reply

Dan January 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

Thanks for the discussion. It’s not that I don’t want to discuss anymore, it’s just that I see little way forward when we have such foundational disagreements. For you, a homosexual “lifestyle” = ongoing unrepentant sin = unrighteousness = exclusion from God’s kingdom. For me, I don’t think God’s grace and love can be abrogated by a person’s sexual orientation.

stasisonline January 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Youre right about this discussion not progressing much – we have started to go around in circles. Ive previously indicated that I dont think God’s love is abrogated simply by a person’s sexual orientation, but rather it’s the gender combination in the sexual act that’s the issue rather than the orientation. IE I think God loves those with a homosexual orientation just as much as he loves those with a heterosexual orientation, but a persons sexuality turns to sin if they have sex outside of a married heterosexual relationship.

Thank you for continuing the discussion as long as you did. Best wishes for 2013.

stasisonline January 3, 2013 at 6:10 am

Thanks Jill, Ive pondered your response, but regretfully I dont relate. I dont percieve Dan’s post to be about labelling, and Im not sure what you mean by “the real person inside” or the significance of that. Im not a big advocate of labels though, and I dont think Jesus was either. If we take the homosexual issue as an example again, I dont think Jesus cares much about whether someone calls themself a ‘homosexual’, ie use of the label. Rather, the Bible indicates that what matters to him on this topic is not the label, but whether you actually engage in gay sex.

Do I think all is clear on the subject of the Biblical position on homosexuality? No, not 100% clear, but perhaps 80% clear. Like you, I dont percieve Christ’s message to include a preoccupation about sexuality. A preoccupation would arguably be an extreme position. But I percieve Dan’s position to be the opposite extreme; suggesting that homosexuality is a non-issue. As I wrote previously, that is starkly different to St Paul, who includes it in a list of actions that can preclude you from joining Gods kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9). And although we dont have records of Christ specifically mentioning homosexuality, we do have records of him stating that sexual purity is important (Mark 7:21) and him promoting life-long heterosexual relationships or abstinence as the only options he sanctions (Matthew 7).

I watched a video today where a gay male talked of how he tried to become straight and couldnt achieve his goal. He even attempted suicide. Clearly, same-sex attraction can be very tough on someone who wants to follow Jesus 100%. But that doesnt mean that it’s not tough for heterosexuals to follow Jesus 100%. Much of the Christian church does have a double-standard, where certain sins are tolerated and other sins are not tolerated. Im not advocating that double-standard. Liberals are aware of the double-standard, and now tend to theorize that if the church is already tolerant of some sins, then they should ‘evolve’ to be tolerant of congregants engaging in gay sex too. My perspective is to ask why it’s a good idea to create a level playing field by lowering standards and risking holy rejection (Revelation 3:16). Why not create a level playing field by raising standards?

Reply

Jill January 3, 2013 at 8:45 am

I would simply allow Dan’s clear message to be the final word on our discussion, statisonline, “Regardless of precisely what Paul was or wasn’t saying to the church in Corinth in this passage, it’s simply not our job as Christians to run around making these sorts of definitive judgments about others.”

Reply

stasisonline January 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Well, Id only repeat what I wrote before about judging. IE that judging others is a multi-layered concept in the Bible. IE on the one hand the Bible tells us not to judge (Matthew 7:1) but on the other hand the Bible encourages us to judge (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians towards holiness (Galations 6:1-5, James 5:19-20). So if you are saying it’s inappropriate to point the finger at others hypocritically or in a nasty way, then I agree (Matthew 7:5). But if you are saying its inappropriate to evaluate whether gay sex is or is not sinful, then I disagree. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 even indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically Christians in sexual sin. And in Revelation chapter 2, suggests that Christians are required to not tolerate teachers who lead others into sexual sin.

If you are bowing out of this thread, then I thank you for your interaction and your pleasant tone. Best regards.

Reply

Dan January 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

If we start just cutting and pasting whole paragraphs from our previous comments, are we really engaging in productive dialogue any more?

Reply

stasisonline January 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

It genuinely seemed to me that she hadnt read the bit that I then reposted, and that it was worth reiterating.

Reply

Lana January 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

LOVE THIS

Reply

Corinna November 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm

The Bible offers some really awesome guidance on righteous living. However, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Does that mean it’s a free for all? Of course not but we need to start somewhere. The closer we draw to God, the more we will be drawn to that way of living. I think God knows our hearts and will judge us based on our own convictions, therefore, I think it’s OK to “agree to disagree” as we are all convicted differently based on our spiritual maturity. I also believe that God meets us where we are spiritually and will grow us in His own time. Believing that God sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins and implementing God’s two greatest commandments (involving LOVE) is a terrific start! It’s a very personal relationship. I really enjoyed reading this discussion but what I love most is that you all care about what God wants even if you disagree on what that is.

Reply

Dan November 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Thanks Corinna…I couldn’t agree more!

Reply

don matthews March 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I would have hoped we would be further along in our faith in the Church as evidenced in Hebrews moving further along from fundamental doctrines.We apparently are still not joined together in one mind and purpose of the Holy Spirit.Because of our disunity is the message we’re sending to the world.Signs and wonders is what will bring in the world,,,Not division and fighting,,lets be about our Fathers business while it is still light and we can work .Let us love one another not in word only but in deeds…FYI to directly answer your Question yes you can be a Christian cause were saved by grace but we also can believe any kind of devilish things we want to and try to be like the world or fit into it….at what cost though ? Holy Spirit will not agree nor draw close to us…my life is one lived before God as my Savior,Lord God and Judge…There are eternal consequences to our beliefs thoughts and actions…I choose to live do try to please my Father…The just shall live by faith

Reply

theblueridgeblog April 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Thank you Dan for this post. When I find thoughtful works by progressive Christians, like yours, I feel refreshed…like I have stumbled upon a ‘stream in the desert.’ Keep up your good work! It means a lot to many of us.

Reply

Dan April 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Thank you!

Reply

Rebecca August 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm

In my 60s, I am trying to find my way through the Judeo-Christian heritage and man it is a schlep. I have a pastor, a Methodist, who leads me through the gospels, line by line, asking me to search for the message. I buy into your list, hook, line, and sinker. I feel fortunate, as a lifelong Unitarian, that these arguments about homosexuality as a sin ad nauseum do not distract me from the power of my search for meaning, for the holy. Please, let us move on.

Reply

Dan September 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Hopefully arguments about peripheral issues never distract us from that search … unfortunately it’s not always clear which issues are peripheral and which ones aren’t!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Previous post:

Next post: