Shirley Phelps-Roper (in response to my publicist's inquiry)
Good morning Ms. Arthur –My response to Ms Phelps-Roper
While I’m a never say die kind of person, and I’ll try anything at least once, there is a problem with the conditions – actually only one.
1. We will agree to make no conclusions.
The discussion you want to have is one wherein you bring together people in a “religious” setting to discuss in an “open” and “honest” and “save” environment a matter. That sounds so very good and fluffy and more.
However, when the question amounts to this: Can you fit what God calls ABOMINATION (two fags living together in a type of husband/wife relationship) into any notion whatsoever of serving God, and making your way eventually to heaven.
Paul instructed us in at least two ways about such a discussion, to wit:
2Ti 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
2Co 1:17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
Further, CHRIST said that if we do not do that (RENDER an opinion and be prepared to defend it, as in a CONCLUSION and a DECISION) it is because we have an evil agenda.
Mt 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
This foolish nation sits around as you are being undone, piece by piece, that will not end till you have been fully vomited out of this land, discussion GOD’s commandments as if they are on the table to discuss. Looking at it this way and that way to try and find a way to get around plain words of instruction and commandment. It will NOT happen.
While I would engage in discussion, my conversation HAS a conclusion. God did not leave us walking in darkness about this matter. WE say NO, NO, NO! Sodom will destroy the nation and damn the soul to hell for eternity where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched and the smoke of your torment ascends up for ever and ever! NEVER ending!
So NO please. Thank you for the invite, but once I found your letter enclosed in the package, and saw the book and the fag saying that he is a “Gay” “Conservative” I realized what you are all up to! A filthy, disobedient, practicing pervert and rebel against God, by any other name and with any fluffy photo is still a filthy, disobedient, practicing pervert and rebel against God!
WE will not do that! We will NOT let anyone take our crown and we will not let anyone make us agree that there is no conclusion! The last chapter of the last book of the Bible says that the first category of rebels against God that will NEVER see heaven are the fags! That includes their enablers!
The entire Word of God from the first book (Genesis) to the last book (The Revelation) and all the words of Christ that touch upon the subject matter (see Luke 17, Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21 and more – just read the words) are ALL one way! BAD, BAD, BAD! Genesis 19 – God destroyed Sodom! Judges 19-21 – God almost wiped out the tribe of Benjamin – the prophets (Isaiah 1; more, more, read the words) warned and connected the filthy Sodomites (see Amos 3 and read it all, short and powerful and good) with the utter destruction of Israel and the Babylonian Captivity of Judah) and it is the sin for which this generation has brought upon themselves horrors of afflictions that have never been seen in this earth, nor ever will be, and that day is in sight now! WOE, WOE, WOE unto this nation and this generation! You should NEVER have put your hand to touch this subject matter! You should have FLED the other direction as fast as you could get there!
Thanks for writing.
I am so very grateful for your well stated reply and truly appreciate the opportunity to converse with you in more detail. Moreover, thank you for also agreeing to allow for a publicly open dialogue. I am certain that the points of our conversation will serve to be very informative to many who have similar curiosities on this incredibly relevant issue in our Churches and our greater society.
To your first concern of the Over Coffee Conversation event, that we will agree to make no conclusions, I hope you will permit me to clarify. It goes without saying that almost every person has a very clear conclusion on the matter of gay partnership in the Church. The intention of our Over Coffee Conversations event is to provide an opportunity for leaders and fellow persons of conservative faith to feel like they can dialogue about gay partnership without feeling like they might be put on the spot or be forced to agree with my position, or any other position.
Thank you for your reflection on this condition. We are investigating a way to more clearly state this that better reflects our intentions. Currently we are considering: "We all agree to provide room for disagreement." What do you think? This may provide a better expression of our intentions for an open dialogue.
Regarding your concern about the question of "two fags living together in a type of husband/wife relationship" as being foolish, I would ask for a small liberty here to make a brief clarification of terms. As the word "fag" is not to be found anywhere in the entirety of Scripture, and as it is only principally used in our English language as a curse word, or a demeaning term, may I suggest we use the term gay, or even homosexual (which is at least in our English Bibles)? I'm sure you would agree with the apostle Paul in Col 3:8 "But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." So in hopes of maintaining a context of Christ-likeness I would prefer to use the word "gay" or "homosexual" to more accurately talk about people who find themselves unable to be attracted to the opposite gender.
Onto the foolish and unlearned questions. I would certainly agree that unlearned questions are something to avoid. Generally speaking it doesn't do much good to entertain debate unless one has become learned on the particular subject matter. For instance, I would agree with you that it would be unlearned of someone to suggest that a conservative reading of the Creation story would suggest that God intended Adam & Steve. It seems very clear within a conservative interpretation that God separates Adam into two genders for the purpose of providing his relationship with Eve. In that 'Garden' state without the genetic or environmental consequence of the Fall (the unintended state of Creation) I would say the conversation should end there. But the reality is that we live in a world full of 'unintended' (to translate the greek word for sin) realities.
This moves me to the question, as you state it, "Can you fit what God calls ABOMINATION into any notion whatsoever of serving God, and making your way eventually to heaven?"
First, I must note where heaven is concerned, that I don't believe there is anything that we can 'do' to earn the free gift of salvation and reconciliation provided by the sacrifice of Christ. To continue with you in quoting Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians (2:8), "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." We are all imperfect and the only standard for heaven, as it were, is perfection. As you would no doubt agree, that perfection has already been met for us as a result of Jesus' death and intercession, a keystone tenant of our Christian faith. So I would agree with you that at some point it becomes a foolish and unlearned question to debate which person's unintended (sinful) condition is more imperfect than the others. Forgive the crass example, but it is a little like two cow-pies debating over who makes the pasture cleaner.
To reply to your question, I would say yes. Yes, in point of fact, Jesus in Matthew 19 fits what God 'hates' (in Malachi 2:8 - divorce) into a notion of serving God. But let us recall that Jesus is dealing with a situation where the ideal is no longer possible. In that case of infidelity in marriage, the ideal of the marriage has been made non-ideal. Since it is unlikely that a person would be unable to be celibate the remainder of their lives, Jesus seems to have permitted remarriage, even though it was imperfect, not ideal.
I would like to make a special note here that we are not talking about a world where decisions are made between perfection and imperfection. The only decision between perfect and imperfect was the first one that Eve and Adam made in eating the fruit they were forbidden to eat. So decisions after that point are made between the spectrum of imperfect or even-more-imperfect. In the case of a divorced man who comes to the church, we would not expect him to never marry. To do so would be to violate God's very first moral order that "man should not be alone." If he is gifted with the ability for celibacy, then he should consider that as an option. But just because his situation is imperfect, it does not mean that we should make matters worse (more imperfect) by setting him up for complete failure. No. Instead, we should equip him to be less imperfect and in-so-doing provide him a better ability to actually have a better chance for living a more right life.
Such is the case with persons who are only able to be attracted to the same gender. Even the most conservative group, NARTH.org, recognizes that this is an unchangeable condition for many gay persons. Why would we presume that they are somehow able to be celibate when we would never assume that of people who are attracted to the opposite gender. Jesus, in point of fact, was talking to all people when he suggested the gift of celibacy.
Last, please note what I am NOT suggesting here. I am not suggesting that the sacrament of marriage in the Church (as distinct from the secular, legal, and economic context of marriage) needs to include relationships of the same gender. I think there is something important about distinctly and sacramentally recognizing the creative intention of God's separation of humankind into opposite genders, there coupling being His initial purpose. This does not mean we cannot provide room on the pew for the very small percentage of relationships in our congregations between people who are actually incapable of attraction to the opposite gender and who are also not gifted for celibacy.
In closing, please allow me to reiterate that I am very hopeful that we can continue these conversations, eventually in person. As you so careful noted, "Anathema Maranatha," it is also my eager endeavor to protect those teachings of our faith. What is more, as one of the ninety-nine sheep (Luke 15), I hope to never say to the Good Shepherd, "We're glad you found your lost sheep, but we just don't like the color of his fleece."
Your Brother in Faith,