Several ministers in Burlington have responded to my letter of two weeks ago called What the Bible Really Says. They are calling their letter Healing and Deliverance. Here is the letter (my response to their letter is at the very end).
We clergy persons in the city of Burlington make this reply to the letter of the Rev. Jane Willan printed July 13 in The Hawk Eye. Rev. Willan was responding to a June 27 letter in which Margarette Jackson states “being gay is a sin because the Bible says it is.”
Rev. Willan disagrees with Margarette Jackson. We agree with the conclusion of Margarette Jackson.
How do we approach this matter?
We start with the statement in 1 Corinthians 6: 18 that we should “Flee sexual immorality,” just as Joseph in the Old Testament fled the improper sexual advances of Potifer’s wife.
Our next task is to search the scriptures to find what God calls “sexual immorality” and we find that God is quite strict in these matters. Rev. Willan should not take issue with Margarette Jackson, but should understand what God permits and what God does not. God does not approve of any sexual contact outside of the marriage covenant, marriage being one man and one woman.
We should be sobered up by the realization that our American culture is overwhelmed by the nature and amount of sexual immorality that has become all too commonplace in recent decades.
In that same sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us, “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God”. (1 Cor. 6: 9-10).
Jesus Christ can bring healing and deliverance to every person. Jesus died on the cruel cross so that we can have new life in him.
We are appalled to find that Rev. Willan states the Bible “mandates” rape, slavery and human sacrifice. God hates sin and God hates rape, slavery and human sacrifice and all the other sin that enslaves human beings. One hundred fifty years ago Southern slave owners attempted to say the Bible approved slavery and we all know how wrong they were.
Finally, Rev. Willan states that Jesus healed an openly gay man, that man being the servant of the Roman centurion. Various versions of the Bible call that man a “servant” or a “slave,” but no standard translation of the Bible calls him an “openly gay man.”
Of course, had the man been a slave, a victim of human cruelty, that would not have barred him from being healed. Nothing bars any person from being healed, saved, forgiven, justified and sanctified. Jesus frequently told people who were healed at his ministry that their faith had healed them, their faith had made them whole, and that they could go and sin no more.
The Rev. MORRIS HURD, the Rev. DAVID SELMON, the Rev. WAYNE RYAN and Superintendent FRED STARLING
Thank you, gentlemen, for your thoughtful reply. Here is the difference between us. You think God wrote the bible. I think people wrote the bible (lots of people over a few thousand years). You think the bible is without error. I think it is full of error. That’s what I like about the bible—fallible people like you and me wrote the thing and I can relate to these people; they were struggling on a journey of faith and so am I. You think being gay is a sin. I think it is a part of being created in God’s image. You think Paul is an authority. I think he said some good things but sometimes, the guy was just insufferable. I have a proposition for the four of you. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Burlington is putting together a panel of clergy called “Gay or Nay: Where Does Your Church Stand?” There will be several mainline liberal Protestant clergy there so we need a little “leavening” (as Jesus once said). Would you participate on the panel? Call me. You would be very welcome. REV. JANE WILLAN