Can You Be Christian and Gay?

Here is the video of Jennifer Knapp’s appearance on “Larry King Live” last night. The video above is a short excerpt. The video below (which may take some time to load) is a longer version available on the “Larry King Live” podcast. Unfortunately, neither of these has the entire program, and both are missing Ted Haggard’s remarks. A transcript of the entire show can be found here.

King wanted to discuss the question, “Can you be Christian and gay?”  King asked Knapp if she was still a Christian, and she said that she was a “person of faith.” She also said that there’s no contradiction with being a Christian and homosexual. At one point, Knapp appealed to the Greek New Testament to justify homosexual behavior (malakos and arsenokoit?s in 1 Corinthians 6:9), but it was clear that her understanding of this was  a bit muddled. In any case, she doesn’t think that homosexual acts are a sin.

Pastor Bob Botsford was trying to speak biblical truth into the conversation, though King was able to corner him a couple of times on some important points. Ted Haggard’s contribution was patently unhelpful. He couldn’t sound a clear note on any salient point. Instead, he tried to affirm both Knapp and Botsford’s positions. It was a poor showing on Haggard’s part. He did not represent the faith well at all.

I’ll be interested to hear what you all think.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

65 Responses to Can You Be Christian and Gay?

  1. Lucas Knisely April 24, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I think her exchange with the pastor shows underlying anger and sin that runs deeper than something as simple as her homosexuality. She interrupts him at every turn and when he attempts to speak over her just one time she snaps, “don’t interrupt me”. And she clearly misunderstands Greek and Hebrew translation as being interpretation.

  2. Jeremy April 24, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    The real question is… Can you work at CNN and spell Christian? (in the subtitle to the first video)

  3. mike April 24, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    @lucas

    just sharing a thought, but for the record, every biblical linguist i’ve ever known is quick to tell you that translations are interpretations. as someone who’s pressed on through a few ancient languages, i would have to agree. unfortunately, i’m not sure what she said about that because my old desk top won’t load the 2nd video. and btw, i’m not defending her actions or beliefs, but arguing that translations aren’t interpretations probably isn’t the best way to handle her premises or positions. like i said, just a thought

  4. Joe Blackmon April 24, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Can you be a unrepentant bankrobber and be a Christian? Can you be an unrepentant child molester and be a Christian?

    Of course not.

    Can a Christian experience homosexual temptation and that be something they have to deal with for the rest of their lives? Yes, that could happen. Can they be an unrepentant, practicing homosexual? No way, Jose’.

  5. Denny Burk April 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Joe, You are correct, and that is the point that Botsford was having trouble with. Yes, we’re all sinners. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that Christians live lives of daily repentance of their daily sins. Non-Christians do not. That’s what Pastor Botsford wanted to say, but couldn’t quite get it out.

  6. Mark April 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Can you be a Christian and gay? No, if you mean by gay someone who willfully and habitually engages in homosexual activity with no sense of repentance.

  7. Derek April 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    She repeatedly talked about her faith in terms that were very self-deterministic, which she also described as being incredibly liberating. Sounds to me like God answers to Jennifer, not the other way around.

  8. John Starke April 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    here is the transcript to the whole show – Ted Haggard and all.
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1004/23/lkl.01.html

  9. El Bryan Libre April 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    A similar question would be can you be a Christian and own slaves?

    Of course you see the point of that question but I’d be interested in what your response is when people throw out the problem of using the Bible to condemn homosexuality given the fact that it does not condemn slavery.

  10. Mark April 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Actually, slavery in the biblical period was not like the slavery system in the American south (but that is a discussion for another time).

    Aside from that, I think people who ask “Can you be a Christian and own slaves?” are trying to swerve away from the real issue that homosexual behavior is condemned in Scripture.

  11. Denny Burk April 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Thanks, John. I’ll post a link in the main post.

  12. Donald Johnson April 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    The SBC was FORMED over the issue whether someone could be a Christian in good standing and own slaves, and they split from the northern baptists by answering YES WE CAN.

    So it is at least a valid question to ask, why do you think those people in 1850 were wrong? What mistakes did they make and how can we be assured we are not making similar ones today?

  13. El Bryan Libre April 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Mark:
    That’s an interesting response to the slavery question. Essentially you have said that the slavery in the biblical period isn’t like the slavery in more modern history. Isn’t that the same argument that people are using in favor of homosexuality? That what we call homosexuality in biblical times is quite different from modern homosexuality (or at least the modern homosexual marriage)? It the “it’s not the same thing” kind of argument.

    I wouldn’t say it’s swerving the discussion away from the real issue. Ethical issues in the Bible can’t be considered in isolation from each other. They’re related to each other in that we need an answer why one thing is ok and another not when it seems the Bible treats them in the same manner.

  14. Donald Johnson April 24, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I read the transcript and Botsford is wrong about Acts 10. Peter NEVER eats anything unclean.

  15. Derek April 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Donald Johnson, I think Botsford used poor terminology in reference to Acts 10 – it makes me cringe when people say things like “God changed His mind” in reference to the OT law. This implies that if God had to do it over again, He wouldn’t use the law to point to Christ and indeed, our need for Christ. Pastor Botsford needs to re-read Hebrews. This is the part of his statement that made me shudder.

    But it seems to me that he is correct in saying that Acts 10 does have implications on the necessity of following Jewish dietary laws – especially for gentiles.

  16. Donald Johnson April 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Gentiles never needed to follow Jewish dietary laws, but Peter NOT eating unclean food (3 times) in Acts 10 certainly cannot be used as a reason for Jews to eat it.

  17. Derek April 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    I’m having a hard time squaring what you’re saying with Romans 14, starting with vv. 2-4:

    One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?

    He then goes on to say in v. 14: I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat.
    Are we to suppose that Paul is only speaking to Gentiles here?

    Now I will grant this- the main idea of the vision in Acts 10 has to do with God’s inclusion of Gentiles into His plan of salvation (although Peter should have sufficiently understood this from the story of Jonah and many other OT passages). But Romans 14 and Acts 10 seem to be very harmonious, if we’re talking about the topic of dietary laws.

  18. Robert April 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    1 Corinthians 2:13-15 (NIV).

  19. Donald Johnson April 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    A first point is that the verses are contrasting being an omnivore including meat eating with being a vegetarian, this is the context.

    Also, what is food to a Jew? It can only be what is called kosher, as a Jew does not consider pork, for example, to be food. We should always strive to understand verses as the original audience would have and in this case the audience would have included both gentile and Jewish believers in Jesus/Yeshua.

  20. Derek April 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    I do believer you’re splitting hairs or grasping at straws now. A plain reading of this text clearly shows that the reference to vegetarianism is for the purposes of a “for instance”. The scope of this passage is definitely not limited to “omnivores” vs. “vegetarians”.
    I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat.
    Sounds pretty definitive and comprehensive to me. No clauses, no exclusions. Paul is not like John, who did speak in broad sweeping terms at times. When clauses and exclusions were called for, Paul gave them. But he didn’t do that at all here. And we know from a very similar passage (I Cor 8) that he even includes food that may have been offered to idols. That certainly isn’t kosher. Finally, who was his audience in Romans? Was it not a mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles? So I don’t buy the assumption that he is limiting this discussion to kosher only foods.

  21. rafael mcneal April 25, 2010 at 2:52 am #

    You can watch the whole interview on youtube.

  22. Denny Burk April 25, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Attention, everyone. The entire interview is now posted. See above in the original post.

    (Thanks for the heads-up, rafael!)

  23. Donald Johnson April 25, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Derek,

    You missed my point, the term “food” should be understood as EACH reader/hearer would have understood it back then. To a Jew, that would mean what we call kosher food, cuz if it was not kosher, it was not considered food. To a gentile, there was a larger number of things considered food. Paul is specifically saying such differences are OK, do not worry about someone else’s faith in this area.

    A giant mistake is commonly made (I make it also) when we come to some text to think “What would it mean if I said that?” and assume it MEANS that, but this is leaving out the vital step of asking what it would have meant to the original audience.

  24. Donald Johnson April 25, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    On the Greek arsenokoites and malakos, my understanding is that these were “slang” terms used for males who acted the male and female respectively in same sex acts. However, there was a whole sexual domination/submission thing going on as well and was a part of the meaning of those terms, the “male actor” was considered to be humiliating the other. Whether to disentangle these aspects when APPLYING these verses today is a fair question to be asked.

  25. Lucas Knisely April 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Mike,

    you said:”just sharing a thought, but for the record, every biblical linguist i’ve ever known is quick to tell you that translations are interpretations. as someone who’s pressed on through a few ancient languages, i would have to agree.

    The problem with allowing this broad definition on the table is that it is an easy scape goat to get away from literally any passage of scripture we don’t like. The plain translation of Romans 1 does not need very much assistance from the interpretive viewpoint of the translator to see clearly that Paul is condemning homosexual behavior.

  26. Derek April 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    I consulted three of my commentaries and can’t find a shred of evidence to support what you said here.
    Everything I’ve read points to the contrary. There was a debate and disagreement between the Jews and Gentiles on what exactly was permissible to eat and what was not. Paul shocks his mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles by agreeing with the Gentile’s definition of what kinds of food was edible for a believer (v. 14). Everyone in his audience knew that there were differing views on what kinds of foods were kosher and those that were not.

    There is no rule for Gentiles and separate rules for Jews. There is freedom (“on the authority of Christ”) for all believers. The only demarcation that exists is between that of “weaker” and “stronger” believers. The “weaker” believers are permitted to abide by dietary restrictions and the stronger ones are not permitted to impose their rules on others.

    Donald – once in a while, it is ok for you to admit that you mis-spoke or are simply wrong. You might try it, you won’t die, I promise. :)

  27. Donald Johnson April 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    I have been wrong before, but I do not think I am this time. I suggest you read some commentaries outside your circle of belief, such as by Messianics.

    There most certainly are separate rules for gentiles and Jews; Paul was ALWAYS a Jew, he became what we might call a Messianic Jew today, but he continued to go to temple, celebrate the festivals, etc.

    Look at Acts 21 where Paul pays for the costs of Nazirite vows of others to refute the charges that he teaches others to forsake Moses.
    And it is Moses that teaches the Israelite/Jewish food rules.

    There IS freedom, to choose to remain Jewish. It is not required to choose this to be a believer, but it is not required to act like a gentile either.

  28. Derek April 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    I’m very familiar with these passages, largely because I have a close friend who does follow all of the OT dietary laws, as well as the Sabbath and other observances. We’ve had detailed discussions on these passages.
    I’ve had great interactions with Messianiacs and have never had reason to question their practices, theology or motives. Also, I’d love to get my hands on a good commentary from a Messianic perspective. Let me know if you have any you recommend.
    Again, I’m very familiar with Acts 21 where he led a group of Gentiles who also joined Paul in the Nazirite vows and observance of OT Law. This passage actually underscores my point that the real distinction is not between Jew and Gentile, but between a “weak” and “strong” believer.
    Other than that, I have no reason to disagree with your last comment. What I think is inaccurate is what you said in #16: “Gentiles never needed to follow Jewish dietary laws, but Peter NOT eating unclean food (3 times) in Acts 10 certainly cannot be used as a reason for Jews to eat it.”. Also, no one is saying that Jews and Gentiles operated from the same basis on what is food and what is not acceptable/kosher food. That’s besides the point. The point is that both sides were painfully aware of what the OTHER group considered to be kosher. Paul settled this debate very forcefully in Romans 14 and I Cor 8, both of which dovetail with Peter’s vision in Acts 8. Jews and Gentiles alike can choose to abide by OT dietary laws. Perhaps even today, it may be beneficial to do so. But it is clearly not OK to judge either Jew or Gentile for not doing so.

  29. Derek April 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    Correction: I meant Acts 10 in my last comment.

  30. Kody April 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Has anyone noticed that Derek Webb has been touring with JNAPP? Or that she has been tourning with him. Denny I always enjoy your commentary. Maybe you could provide a blog post about Derek. I’ve been wondering for about a year now where he stands on some things.

  31. Donald Johnson April 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Why do you think I would be judging anyone?

    Peter NOT eating in his vision cannot be used as justification for Jews to eat non-kosher; NOT eating does not prove anything about what can be eaten and the vision was a puzzle anyway which Peter solves by figuring out the mapping.

    I do not see Acts 21 having gentiles follow Nazirite vows, the Nazirite vow is a vow WITHIN the Mosaic covenant(s); that is why paying for this shows to others that Paul is following Moses.

    If someone does not want to follow Moses’ food rules, they get no argument from me UNLESS they also want to claim that they ARE following them; that is simply inconsistent.

  32. Derek April 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    I wasn’t saying that you were judging anyone- I was describing my interpretation of these passages.

    There is more I could say about Acts 21 to explain my position, but let’s go back to Acts 10 because I honestly want to understand your interpretation, because I genuinely don’t see how this works in your construct – several parts to my question (quoting from the NASB – maybe that matters to you here, you tell me):
    1) what is the meaning of the command “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”?
    2) What is the meaning of “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
    3) Do either of these statements have any implications for either a Jew or Gentile’s dietary practices? If so, what?

  33. Donald Johnson April 26, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    OK, I will. Here is how I understand it, your mileage may vary.

    First I want to point out that when some text of Scripture is misunderstood, there are 2 results:

    1. You believe something that Scripture does not teach.

    2. You do not believe something that Scripture actually teaches.

    So a mistake can be a double whammy.

    Acts 10, 11, and 15 have text about the so-called gentile Pentecost and when something is stated 3 times, it is important and worth spending time on to get right.

    My premises include Scripture being the inspired word of God, this means it cannot contradict itself and if one thinks it does, it means one needs to dig deeper. Also, the Spirit is essential to help. Also, any text needs to first be understood by doing one’s best to understand it as an original reader would have understood it, this includes their culture, which being 1000′s of years ago can mean something obvious to someone then is not so obvious to us now without work.

    And we are limited, the original readers may have known key things that the original readers knew that we simply do not know, for example, I am not a member of the 1st century church at Corinth, neither am I Timothy at Ephesus; so I need to be humble while trying to do my best. I expect to have some questions for Jesus and Paul, etc. even after doing my best.

    Lev 10:10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean,

    In regards to food, unclean animals can never be made clean, but clean animals can be processed in a kosher way to allow eating as common kosher food and then additional processing for holy food, that is, temple kosher.

    Act 10:14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

    I see this as Peter asserting that he ONLY eats holy or temple kosher food, that is, food that is prepared in a way that would be allowed to be eaten in temple ceremonies.

    The Jews categorized people into 3 groups, Jews, pagan gentiles and God-fearing gentiles. This latter group had taken some of the steps to become Jewish but for whatever reason had declined to go futher. Since they were not pagans as they honored God; they were seen as having a part in the age to come; since they were not Jews, they did not get all the advantages of being Jewish, they would need to convert for that. For example, going to a gentile house was considered to make one unclean, as they would not be expected to know all the rules. This is why it takes the Spirit to convince Peter to go to Cornelius’ house.

    Act 10:28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

    In this case, I see “unlawful” as referring to the so-called Oral Torah of the Pharisees. And this also contains the explanation of the vision. That is, there is a mapping that Peter had made. The unclean animals in the vision represented the pagan gentiles, the common food represented the God fearing gentiles, and the holy food represented the Jews. The Spirit says there are not 2 classes of believers, just 1 class, ala Paul and “no Jew nor Greek” in Gal 3:28. When God enters someone’s life, they are no longer unclean and no even common, they are holy.

    Act 10:15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

    On Act 10:13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

    Peter obeys Torah of Moses, and does not eat 3 times. This sheet has every kind of animal, including vultures, etc. 3 times shows that his choice is deliberate in Hebrew thinking, he is NOT just happening to not eat, he is deliberately choosing to not eat and obey Torah. This is also a clue that he should obey Torah in regards to gentiles and NOT adhere to the Pharisees’ traditions that say to avoid going to their homes.

  34. Kelly April 26, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    Can you be a Christian and Gay?
    The Christian denominations that did not witch hunt away their best and brightest scholars in a so called “resurgance”, from the Episcopalians to the Presbyterians to the Lutherans to the United Church of Christ, say yes. And they make better arguements from what I have seen. The opinions of much of American society in general, and the Church (big C) in particular, are shifting accordingly.

    Please, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this echo chamber reflects the opinions of all, or even most Christians, or that the Southern Baptists are the standard bearers here. It is not true.

  35. Cristina April 26, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    How can anyone say they believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, yet say His Word isn’t clear or doesn’t mean what it says? Sexual sin is the greatest deception man faces in this world. God destroyed an entire city because of man’s refusal to turn from sexual sin. God is clear about his creation of man and woman and His sacred instituion of marriage. God even says He “hates divorce”. The truth is always confirmed in our hearts, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Don’t be fooled. These are the end days when every evil thing will rise up and say it’s of God. Be careful of your weaknesses and hidden desires. The devil knows them all and will tempt you and get his foothold on you. The best thing any believer can do is confess their weaknesses and struggles with other believers, so there is a strong support system to protect them.

  36. Cristina April 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I think many of us in the “Christian” family resemble the Pharassies of the Bible. We argue the law instead of teaching about grace. Jesus came to the Earth as man to fulfill the law. He said anyone who confesses with their mouth that He is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved. (Romans 10) The question is, can a person believe Jesus is Lord of their life, yet refuse to turn from their sin or even try? That’s like saying, “You rule my life, but not what I do in my life”.

  37. Matt Beatty April 26, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Why is it that so many Christian pastors can’t communicate the truth of gospel REPENTANCE?

  38. Donald Johnson April 26, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I can say that IN SOME CASES, God’s word is not clear to us today, altho the original readers would have understood the original primary meaning.

    You exhibit this yourself, it does not appear that you are aware that “fulfill the law” was terminology used by rabbis meaning “correctly interpret Torah”.

  39. Andrea April 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Ted Haggard says Jennifer needs to go through a process just like everyone…through my understanding of his words, it’s to find out what is right for her and if God will judge her as sinful for homosexuality. The Bible is clear on the topic, as it is with murder, lying, and all other sins. So if I personally don’t feel that murder is wrong and that it is a natural desire of mine, should I then be allowed to live my desires without reproof? Is it then judging me if I am told that murder is wrong? Absolutely not, it is the responsibility of those who know the truth to share His light with a world in darkness.

    And do I believe that she can be a Christian and homosexual? Absolutely, because everyone has sins they struggle with. However, if she isn’t feeling any guilt over the practice or homosexuality or the need for repentance, I question the validity of her faith just as I would anyone with unrepentant sin in their life. We’re to put away the flesh and all desires that are out of line with God’s will and commands.

    I fervently hope and pray that she will open her eyes and see the truth. Her song “Undo Me” has spoken to me time and again about my failures as a follower of Christ. Perhaps God will use her own song to speak to her heart.

    “And it’s time to get down on my knees and pray, ‘Lord, undo me!’ Put away this flesh and bone ’til You own this spirit through me, Lord. Undo me.”

  40. Derek April 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Kelly,
    As you say, the echo chamber of popular media, the culture and the mainline denominations are nearly indistinguishable.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Men and women who have Biblical, true spiritual discernment recognize that this is a huge red flag, not something to be happy and proud of.

  41. Derek April 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Donald Johnson,
    The explanation helps me understand your framework better. I agree with much of what you’ve said here, but I do not agree that Peter’s ‘not eating’ is the key here. Why?
    Several reasons:
    1. If we drew conclusions on the basis of a Bible character’s response, we’d be all over the map. In fact, we’d probably see more evidence of incomplete obedience or total disobedience. So I’d rather go with God’s words here (e.g. “Kill and eat”) rather than Peter’s response/non-response as the key to the map.
    2. We know that Peter was a pretty stubborn guy. He did go to Cornelius’ house, but then later in Galatians, he reverted to this extra-Biblical standard (of not eating with Gentiles). I don’t think Peter ate because he was simply not ready to follow all of the implications of this vision right away. It seems that it took many years for him to fully absorb the implications of this dream.
    3. If we had no other passage with which to draw upon, I might be inclined to agree with your interpretation as laid out here. But we have at least Romans 14 and I Cor 8, where Paul does legitimize an interpretation that Acts 10 speaks both to OT dietary practices in addition to the “cleanness” of Gentile believers.

    Now, I agree 100% that we need to carefully look at context and demonstrate humility as we unpack Scripture. But there is also a danger in thinking that Scripture is like a puzzle that only a scholar can decipher. Many times, there are multiple implications that can be drawn for a passage – in this case, that the vision speaks to the inclusion of Gentiles into a New Covenant relationship; and that the old practice of inviting Gentiles into this covenant via the Mosaic Law has been replaced or superseded. There are a cascade of implications here, too many to name; but one of the key ones appears to be an implication regarding dietary laws for both Jew and Gentile believers, who now share equally in this new covenant by means of Christ. I believe that to be the case here and my sampling of diverse commentaries indicates that I’m not alone.

  42. Nathan April 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Not true. Read Ezekial 16:49-50

  43. Nathan April 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    christian #35 said, “God destroyed an entire city because of man’s refusal to turn from sexual sin.”

    Not true. Read Ezekial 16:49-50

    (Sorry for the repost, I didn’t do the blockquote correctly…)

  44. Denis April 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Regarding the question of slavery that was raised earlier, the style of slavery practised in the 1800′s is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments (see Ex 21:16 & 1 Tim 1:10).

    In the same way, the Bible clearly condemns homosexual behaviour.

  45. Donald Johnson April 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    I do not know how diverse the 3 commentaries that you looked are are, esp. as you did not mention them. I do know that if one reads only books by people one agrees with, one will only be reinforced in one’s beliefs; it takes reading OUTSIDE one’s own beliefs to see if one is perhaps missing something. So I choose to do this, I read things by people I already know I disagree with on some things, for example, Messianics who believe that Torah is mandatory for all believers. I think they are wrong on this, but I also get to see some insights I have not found elsewhere.

    On your point 1, it is only the 2nd sentence the voice says in the 2nd account in Acts 11 that Peter identifies as being “from heaven”, that is, aligned with God’s will. For the first sentence “Kill and eat” it is simply a voice in a vision. And what should ANYONE do when one thinks something might be from God, check the Scriptures and see if it aligns with God there. Peter does exactly this in refusing to eat vulture pie. But if anyone thinks different, I cannot stop them.

    On point 2 Gal tells us Peter regressed due to “some from James” influencing him.

    On point 3, we can discuss those texts if you wish, but do not just assume they mean eating anything is OK, there can be other things going on and in these cases I think there is.

  46. Paul April 26, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    How did Jennifer get to this position? I will answer this question in a moment. Different interpretations of the Bible plagues all of us.

    The Roman Catholic Church believes that one function of the church is to be the authorized interpreter of Scripture. They believe that not only do we have an infallible Bible but we also have an infallible interpretation of the Bible.

    That somewhat ameliorates the problem, although it doesn’t eliminate it altogether. You still have those of us who have to interpret the infallible interpretations of the Bible.

    Sooner or later it gets down to those of us who are not infallible to sort it out. We have this dilemma because there are hosts of differences in interpretations of what the popes say and of what the church councils say, just as there are hosts of different interpretations of what the Bible says.

    Some people almost despair, saying that “if the theologians can’t agree on this, how am I, a simple Christian, going to be able to understand who’s telling me the truth?”

    We find these same differences of opinion in medicine. One doctor says you need an operation, and the other doctor says you don’t. How will I find out which doctor is telling me the truth? I’m betting my life on which doctor I trust at this point.

    It’s troublesome to have experts differ on important matters, and these matters of biblical interpretation are far more important than whether or not I need my appendix out. What do you do when you have a case like that with variant opinions rendered by physicians? You go to a third physician. You try to investigate, try to look at their credentials to see who has the best training, who’s the most reliable doctor; then you listen to the case that the doctor presents for his position and judge which you are persuaded is more cogent.

    I’d say the same thing goes with differences of biblical interpretations. The first thing I want to know is, Who’s giving the interpretation? Is he educated? I turn on the internet and in particular the website that Jennifer refers to gaychurch.org and see all kinds of teaching going on who, quite frankly, simply are not trained in technical theology or biblical studies. It becomes very obvious when you look closely at what and how they interpret scripture. I was stunned by how the author of this website treated Romans 1:26 and the phrase “natural relations.” So Jennifer and many others simply fall into sin based on pure deception.

    These sites and TV programs don’t list, state or have the academic qualifications. I know that people without academic qualifications can have a sound interpretation of the Bible, but they’re not as likely to be as accurate as those who have spent years and years of careful research and disciplined training in order to deal with the difficult matters of biblical interpretation.

    The Bible is an open book for everybody, and everybody has a fair shot of coming up with whatever they want to find in it. We’ve got to see the credentials of the teachers.

    Not only that, but we don’t want to rely on just one person’s opinion. That’s why when it comes to a biblical interpretation, I often counsel people to check as many sound sources as they can and then not just contemporary sources, but the great minds, the recognized minds of Christian history.

    It’s amazing to me the tremendous amount of agreement there is among Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards—the recognized titans of church history. I and others always consult those because they’re the best. If you want to know something, go to the pros and perhaps save yourself going into dark alleys of deception for years.

  47. Cristina April 27, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Donald Johnson – I’ve never been the kind of person who could put up with small-minded people like you. I struggle in that area; patience and unconditional love. I don’t even like calling myself a Christian because that word doesn’t mean anything to people any more. I love Jesus Christ. I believe every single word in the Bible as truth. You can’t fool. The world can’t fool me. If you don’t want to believe it. Fine. More room at the table for me during the big feast which I’m looking forward real soon. Just you wait and see what’s right and what’s wrong. Try and tell God he’s a liar to His face when you’re standing naked in front of him.

  48. Cristina April 27, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I publicly would like to thank Rev. Ray Chamberlain, the late pastor of Delmarva Evangelistic Church in Salisbury, MD for the fire He poured apon my soul many years ago when I was young. He taught me to go out in the world and tell people the truth, to bravely stand up against the angels of Hell, to not fear, to boldly rise up against the cancer of sin that destroys souls, and to tell people how they can be free from the chains that bind them and the darkness that blinds them from knowing the true God. I have decided to serve God again. This Jennifer Knapp thing is just what I needed to get that tiny flame ignited again. Look out Devil, I’m covered in the blood and filled with a consuming fire. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into to it, and they are saved.” Blessed be the name of Lord.

  49. Kelly April 27, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Derek, I was refering to the echo chamber of this blog site. Not the real world. But, I think you know that.

    Long and short of it, from the young lady in question to the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, there are a lot of Good Christians in the world who also happen to be gay.

    the mainline denominations have been leaders in this fight to see all of Gods children, including the gay ones, as equal and full members of the Church. It has not always been a popular decision. Unlike the Baptists, they have not played to the crowd to keep membership high.

    They were also in the leadership of equality of women, and for civil rights…just like the Southern Baptists…oh, wait. Sorry, I forgot.

    Don’t worry. With time, after society has moved enough, you will ‘soften’ you opposition on this topic to. Hey, how many Baptist pastors already ‘tone it down’ on this issue, knowing that there are gay Baptists in the pews, their relatives……and that the church place needs to be filled?

    Time.

  50. Donald Johnson April 27, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    I have no idea why you think I am small minded. I do believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, but it needs to be read in context and not out of context. Out of context any text can become a pretext for almost anything.

    God is not a liar. Let God be true and every man a liar. Rom 3:4.

  51. Lucas Knisely April 27, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    All the hair splitting people do over the words being “slang” or meaning something else can be completely thrown out the window when you take a very wooden translation of Romans 1:18-32. The real fear some of you should have is Romans 1:32

  52. Derek April 27, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Donald Johnson,
    I don’t think it’s fair of you to assert that just because I don’t agree with your interpretation, that it is because I am insular. I listen and read perspectives from all over the map – some would probably say too many. Plus, I see no need to expand on what I already stated in #28. I have tremendous love and respect for Messianic believers.

    Again, on point 1 – we can say that the voice was not a deceiving voice because it lines up with the passages I’ve mentioned.

    On point 2, I don’t see what James’ influence has to do with what we’re talking about. The point I continue to stand behind is that it is very dicey business to use human response – especially from Peter in this instance – as the “key to the map”. In other words, you choose to ignore the straightforward interpretation that many diligent Bible readers will take at face value, favoring instead an interpretation that hinges on Peter’s lack of response? How is this faithful or model exegesis, I beg? Apply this approach to other texts and you will get yourself into even more trouble.

    On point 3, I’m open to other interpretations, especially on some of the finer points here. But I just think it is dangerous to do a lot of hair splitting here to justify a particular hermeneutic, when the reality sitting squarely before us like an elephant in the room is that there were a variety of ideas on what was kosher and what was not. Paul stepped into this very heated debate and stated “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” I just don’t know how he could have settled this argument or debate more forcefully. Especially not when you see an expansion on these comments in I Cor 8 to include even food sacrificed to idols. This certainly seems like an instance where the actual circumstances and context justifies taking Paul’s words at face value – not for parsing them for very nuanced and obtuse exclusions and clauses.

  53. Kelly April 27, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    correction with apologies. I meant to say church plates, not church place, in post # 50.

  54. Donald Johnson April 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I think every word in Scripture is there for a reason. What you think of as hair splitting, I might consider careful exegesis.

    The first sentence was NOT a deceiving voice, it was a testing voice. We are ALWAYS supposed to test such things and see if they align with the Bible.

    I agree we should not blindly follow Peter. But he even tells us what the interpretation is, to go beyond that is risky, as I see it. I cannot stop anyone else from going beyond it, but I will not.

    This whole area of clean and unclean is one where it is very easy to misunderstand due to a lack of knowledge about what was being said in the 1st century.

    There is simply WAY TOO MUCH of “this is what it means to me (without knowing the context) so this is what it means as God does not want to trick me” type of thinking. It is true that God does not want to trick us, but that does not excuse us from being lazy, rather we should be diligent to understand the original context.

    We can discuss other texts if you wish or not.

  55. Donald Johnson April 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    P.S. I DO map arsenokoitai and malakoi to homosexual acts, so I see these are something for a believer to repent from. But that is not my temptation, so I am wary of talking a lot about a non-temptation as it might be a way to avoid talking about a temptation I do have and perhaps thinking I am better than another because I do not have that specific one. I am a sinner saved by grace.

  56. Bethany April 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Can you be a Christian and Gay?
    Repentance is what stands out to me as well. Can you be a Christian and have homosexual temptation? (a question raised above) Yes, just like any other sin, you can be tempted. Assuming Jennifer has read Romans (she wrote a song called Romans), I don’t see how she could read Romans 1 and not clearly see that homosexuality is wrong. If she chooses to continue in the lifestyle as she is doing right now, she either a) isn’t a Christian or b) is a Christian but is really good at hiding the torment of conviction she is having over this sin. Props to Pastor Bob Botsford for saying God is the judge, for acknowledging that all have sinned, and for going on public television to voice these truths.

  57. Aly April 30, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    It’s like me stealing candy from a convenience store and saying, “But it was translated from Greek and Hebrew…maybe God said stealing is not a sin! He was referring to something else!”

    If a person does not believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God, based on that–what God considers sin and what He doesn’t, that person should not call himself/herself a Christian.

    If that person does not struggle against his/her sin, instead defends/justifies/rationalises it, that person is in big trouble. In this case, this person is choosing her desires over God.

    “I have faith.” Faith in what/whom?

    Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
    but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
    Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name,
    cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
    And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:13-27

    They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
    That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.
    And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
    Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.
    Romans 1:25-28

  58. Aly April 30, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    there is nothing wrong with being a gay christian is like saying there is nothing wrong with being a lying christian or there is nothing wrong with being an adulterous christian or there is nothing wrong with being a wife-beating christian. Sin is sin. We all slip, that’s why we are so dependent on Christ. But to not acknowledge what God says is sin is….well…yet another sin.

    adulterouschurch.org anyone?

    PS i have gay friends, dont get me wrong, i love them very much, and vice versa. They are all struggling with their sin just like i struggle with mine. And the difference here is that they -know- homosexual sex is a sin in God’s eyes, unlike Ms Knapp who believes otherwise.

  59. Ben Neumann April 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    I’m not sure if the ambiguity of some of Jeniffer’s replies or the journalistic feast this is for Larry King is more frustrating. Journalists thrive and make their living finding conflict to create story, and it’s sad to see, as is normally the case, the loving pastor shot through with constant quick-bang questions from Larry King, i.e. “Do you believe Jeniffer is gonna go to hell?” God is much bigger than televised journalism though, and his love much stronger than any skewed perception of a loving pastor as portrayed by media.

  60. Paul May 18, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Gay lifestyle is a sin, so is fornication. My late Uncle Bobby died from AIDS. He lived a homosexual lifestyle. He never told me he was gay. He knew my stand on the gay lifestyle. Jeniffer Knapp has chosen this path. For us in the world and for us who believe in God’s message on our own lives as well, we all will be judged by God. Jeniffer Knapp will be judged just like all of us will be judged.

  61. Paul May 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    The Bible says when we sin our heart becomes hard. Where there is rebellion, or a persistent immoral response of some sort (check the lyrics of jennifer’s new songs, such as resentment, hatred vanity, unforgiveness, or abject pride and when that rebellion is deep or protracted for eight years…what do you think is the result? One devastating form of rebellion is chronic sexual misbehaviour. Historic studies by Paul Johnson and E.Michael Jones corroborate Aldous Huxley’s claim that the desire to justify one’s immoral sexual practices has motivated many people to embrace cultural relativism and religious skepticism. This is a formula if there ever was one, for producing a depraved mind (Romans 1:28) as the apostle Paul puts it, which is capable of even “exchanging the truth for a lie” (Romans 1:25).

  62. Douglas J. Bender May 23, 2010 at 7:15 am #

    I consider the question, “Can you be Christian and Gay?”, to be exactly equivalent to the question, “Can you be Christian and an adulterer?”.

  63. Jaime August 4, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    What stands out to me from all of these comments is the impersonal and pretty cold way they are approached and delivered. I read them all, and none of you seem to have had any real conversations with gay people. That is a red flag right there. Forget the red flags that gay people should be noticing in their life of sin, we as a church have grievously separated ourselves from those who make us uncomfortable, those who actually might make us ask God some tough and exposing questions. God wants us to be one people. He didn’t say be one only if you agree with each other. He said be one. How can we point out the “sin” of homosexuality without realizing the damage our polarizing finger pointing does to our own faith. Jesus does not make a whole lot very clear. He stirs things up. He breaks rules that people thought were extremely important. He diverts attention. He enters peoples’ homes and enters their lives and listens to them. It’s much more messy than the law that we want so badly to tell us what is right and wrong and where to draw lines. Love requires much more work and much more faith. I challenge the church to listen rather than speak. To love and live together with people that make things less sure. The only thing that Jesus made truly truly clear is that He is Lord and He died for us that we might know God. The way Jesus lived His life shows us that human beings are complicated and that Love offers its time, its personal comfort, and its own self in order to give dignity to that fact.

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