What do LGT (Last Generation Theology) and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) have in common?Read More
Samuel had changed. All of his co-workers had noticed. As a foreman at the local flour mill, it was his duty to inspect the transactions and conduct of those under him.Read More
The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding “gay marriage” brings great cause for celebration, if you are not a Christian. And if you are a Christian and celebrating a union that God’s Holy Word describes as an abomination, it is unlikely you see God’s Word as His love letter to us for all time.Read More
I’ve lived most of my life as an active gay man. I don’t remember a day I wasn’t same-sex attracted. Not able to make sense out of God’s word and my “feelings,” I left God and the church when I was eighteen.Read More
As I read negative reports in publications such as Spectrum Magazine and articles from SDA Kinship, there is something quite blazingly apparent to me. The accepted rule of faith and practice appears to be that of “political correctness” and “conventional thinking” rather than a plain “thus saith the Lord.”Read More
Hollywood’s propaganda machine is in overtime, but why? Is the purpose of this agenda to simply ruin God’s creation? Or, in the spiritual realm, is there a more sinister plan behind the homosexual agenda?Read More
As much has already been said about the sermon, both pro and con, I would like to focus briefly upon the conclusion of the presentation and the appeal. Henderson’s appeal was that a safe place be established for “Adam and Steve,” at Pacific Union College. But more than that, it should not be a designated area on the campus, but rather that the college itself should be that safe place.Read More
Pacific Union College chaplain and PUC Church associate pastor Jonathan Henderson was the featured speaker at PUC's Fall Revival last week, an annual fall quarter week of spiritual emphasis, focused on relationships. Monday began with Adam and God, and Tuesday followed with Adam and Eve, but on Wednesday, Henderson focused his attention on the issue of homosexuality in a sermon titled "Adam and Steve."Read More
There has been little discussion regarding same-sex attraction and “homosexuality” in our church’s history. For many years we considered it a sin so vile that few dared to speak of it. Enter Satan. From the cover of darkness, Satan advances his war against our Creator. He hopes no one notices His clever lies imposed upon those waiting to “feel” good.Read More
City of Pasadena's Public Health Director Eric Walsh, who is also an associate pastor at the Altadena Seventh-day Adventist Church, has come under intense criticism for comments made in sermons he delivered in church. Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck has placed Dr. Walsh on paid administrative leave while the city investigates his sermons.Read More
A very popular social columnist recently suggested that we not refer to homosexuality as a sexual preference, but rather as a sexual orientation. Until this statement, I had really never given much thought to the difference between the two terms. They seemed synonymous, but obviously to the columnist there is a difference, a clear distinction between the two terms.Read More
A new website sponsored by Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition and Seventh-Gay Adventists Documentary claims lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) Adventists are being prevented from sharing their stories at the 'In God's Image:' Scripture, Sexuality, and Society Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, this month. The summit will discuss the challenges the church faces with issues surrounding alternative sexualities.Read More
How well I remember the isolation and feelings designating me as the “odd one” in my church, church school and denominational hospital throughout my childhood. I dreaded going anywhere I would be in the presence of a group of people.Read More
The Press Enterprise, a newspaper covering Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Calif., covered a story about a group of gay and lesbian students trying to become an officially recognized club at La Sierra University.
A group of gay and lesbian students at La Sierra University is trying again to gain official recognition for their club, six months after the university denied it because of Seventh-day Adventist Church teachings on homosexuality.
The club, Prism, reapplied for recognition last month, hoping that attitudes of members of the 2,400-student Adventist university's Student Life Committee have changed, said Prism president Rebecca Kern. "It's also a way for us to say out loud that we're not going away," said Kern, 23, a fourth-year student who is lesbian and Adventist. Prism members are holding their first public event Saturday, Nov. 17, but the mix of workshops and entertainment is taking place at UC Riverside because La Sierra doesn't permit non-sanctioned clubs to hold events on campus.
Non-approved clubs cannot promote their events on campus with leaflets or postings in university buildings, and they cannot reserve campus meeting rooms.
La Sierra spokesman Larry Becker said organizations viewed as violating Adventist beliefs cannot gain recognition.
"The committee felt that while the university values all students and is against harassment in all forms, this group's mission does not align with Seventh-day Adventist beliefs on sexuality," he said. "La Sierra is a Seventh-day Adventist university, so we support the values of the SDA Church. That is why they were turned down." (Read more)
One of our readers alerted us to a recent posting on The Student Movement website, the official newspaper for Andrews University. The words "sexual orientation" were added to a list of personal characteristics protected from harassment and discrimination; however, the change has confused some gay students because they felt the school was acknowledging their presence, but limiting their freedom to express their relationships as heterosexual couples. The handbook states on page 176, “We expect students to refrain from all premarital and extramarital sexual relationships and inappropriate displays of affection, including displays of romantic affection between individuals of the same sex.”
One gay student said, "As a gay student on campus, there is no support for students or faculty that identify as LGBT." The article doesn't specify what kind of support they're looking for. Are these students who acknowledge that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and they want freedom from their sins? Or are they wanting a club that makes them feel good about their lifestyle?
There's a lot of talk in the church about how we should treat homosexuals in the church. One issue that complicates this discussion is that the church is dealing with what appears to be an increasing number of homosexuals and supporters that no longer think the homosexual lifestyle is sinful. Are churches following the biblical steps outlined in the Church Manual for members who engage in sin and refuse to repent and turn from their sin?
No church officer should advise, no committee should recommend, nor should any church vote, that the name of a wrongdoer shall be removed from the church books, until the instruction given by Christ has been faith- fully followed. When this instruction has been followed, the church has cleared herself before God. The evil must then be made to appear as it is, and must be removed, that it may not become more and more widespread. The health and purity of the church must be preserved, that she may stand before God unsullied, clad in the robes of Christ’s righteousness....
“‘Verily I say unto you,’ Christ continued, ‘whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Page 57
Our universities and colleges should do absolutely nothing that encourages students to continue in their sins, but be ever diligent in loving and encouraging them to over come their sins. Creating clubs that promote sin is not the answer.
I applaud Andrews University for recognizing the need to protect gay students from harassment, but also drawing the line.
This year, Andrews University edited policies in the Student Handbook on pages 174, 176, and 184, of the 2012-2013 Student Handbook, adding the words “sexual orientation,” to the list of personal characteristics protected from acts of harassment and discrimination. This has rekindled an ongoing debate regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students on campus.
Steve Yeagley, Associate Dean for Student Life, said, “We wanted to clarify the position of the church.“
According to Yeagley, a task force, comprised of AU’s faculty, staff, and legal team, came together to adjust the harassment and discrimination clauses in the Student Handbook. Yeagley believes the reason for the change was not the result of previous harassment or discrimination cases. He says that regarding sexual orientation, he is “not aware of any cases that have been formally brought to the [Student Life] office.” He explains, “Students were saying to us they wanted to know how they are protected, [and] what their rights were, especially when it came to how the university would protect them.”
The changes in the handbook occur in a few places. The harassment section simply adds the words “sexual orientation” to a list of traits including race, color, disability, religion and age. The discrimination section on the other hand, is more detailed. An entire paragraph was added regarding sexual orientation. The paragraph specifies that while sexual orientation is not legally protected in the state of Michigan, it is still protected under Andrews policy, “except as necessary to upholding the University’s commitment to the moral propriety as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (pg. 174).” The paragraph then goes on to warn, “However, promoting or engaging in certain behaviors is prohibited (pg.174).”
LGBT students are confused by the handbook changes. An anonymous gay student said, “It’s like [AU] is acknowledging that we are here, and we are gay, but we still can’t act like it or show it. We can’t have a relationship like any of these other couples walking around campus. ”
The student also believes that, while all couples on campus are held to the standards of the church, homosexual students would receive harsher punishment. This assertion stems from the Student Handbook changes on page 176, under Rights to Relationships. The handbook states, “We expect students to refrain from all premarital and extramarital sexual relationships and inappropriate displays of affection, including displays of romantic affection between individuals of the same sex.” This is also stated again on page 184, under Code of Student Conduct. To the LGBT students, there is a clear distinction between the “inappropriate” romantic behavior for heterosexual students, and “displays of romantic affection” regarding homosexual students.
Victor D. Perez Andino, a junior architecture student who is gay, comments, “It is a good thing for the church to have put this in the handbook, but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t hold hands with someone if I wanted to.”
Yeagley addresses the issue saying, “We claim the 1st amendment right to discriminate based on our faith-based belief.” As this is an issue that many religious institutions face, Yeagley clarifies, “We need to be aware of the comfort levels of everyone involved.” He explains, “Homosexuality is one of those conversations that the church is just now bringing into the open. […]”
This recent development occurred on October 17, when the Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirmed its stance opposing homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage, but emphasized compassion and love towards all people. Yeagley reiterates this decision, saying “We have theological positions that we take, but there are pastoral issues that need to be looked at.” Yeagley supports the church’s stance when stating that being part of the LGBT community is not a sin, rather the practice of romantic behavior between same-sex attracted individuals is. Yeagley says, “The problem is the distinction that we make inside the church between orientation and behavior.”
Yeagley underlines his main point saying, “The question, I think, is how we can be as supportive as we can of the church’s position, but also be supportive of students on our campus. […] What we are facing right now is society around us changing.”
This seems to be the core issue for LGBT students as well. A gay student, who is waiting to officially come out, declares that, “As a gay student on campus, there is no support for students or faculty that identify as LGBT.” Since acting on any feelings or attractions would be considered a sin, LGBT members must commit themselves to a life of celibacy in order to be in alignment with the Adventist Church’s views. The student goes on to state, “If the Church and the University are going to take such a stance, they should realize that support groups must be maintained for gay students and faculty. […] We should have a Gay-Straight Alliance that is an approved club on campus.” The student describes the lifelong dilemma of the LGBT community within the church saying, “Imagine that you will never be able to experience the joy of children, or waking up with the person you love. That’s a very difficult thing to deal with.”
Jearmaine Semeleer, a junior marketing major, feels like he understands both perspectives. “I think ‘Why not’? If [LGBT] students are willing to notice that they need help, the church should do everything in their might to help them.” But he continues saying, “The way they word [the handbook] could be offensive, but God is the center of this school.”
Dr. Nancy Carbonell, a psychology and counseling professor at AU’s Graduate School of Education, was a part of the task force that revised the 2012 Student Handbook. She agrees that there needs to be support for LGBT students on campus, and she is proud of AU for revising the handbook. “It’s a step in the right direction,” she remarks, “It might not cover all the issues, but it lets students know they can report their concerns.”
Let your voice be heard. Read the official same-sex union statement (issued by the church), and share your opinions about the subject on our website ausmnews.com.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10
Regardless of your position as individuals in the film "Seventh-Gay Adventists," I commend you for your honesty and boldness in sharing what has undoubtedly been a difficult walk for each of you. Without question God loves you. And as a child of God, I love you with His love also.
The fallout from the church’s silence on this biblical issue has been devastating. I was a victim of Satan’s lies and deceptions as well. There was no hope or help delivered from the church during my childhood, teenage years and adult life. Because of this silence I was propelled into a sensual abyss. I desperately wanted to be wanted, needed and loved. Yet in the midst of Christ’s believers, I was isolated, alienated and rejected. The loneliness was overwhelming and it took very little to tempt me with the feelings that resulted in “acceptance” by the gay community.
In the spring of 2009, I was struck with a contemplation one day that was inspired by the Holy Spirit without any question whatsoever. God spoke to me and asked me to consider the relationship that He had desired from me all along. Unquestionable clarity was revealed to me. It was not about me. I had had it all backwards. It is about Jesus Christ, my redeemer and creator and how to live according to His plan. Not mine. As I surrendered fully to Him, He revealed truth after truth and gave me strength to begin to continually abide and depend on Him. Each day He revealed more and more of His love to me. As I studied and prayed, I wondered how I could have missed what He had wanted to convey to me since childhood. Satan had deceived me with lies of being unwanted, unloved and unimportant. My day of rejoicing had arrived.
I gave myself to Jesus Christ and became a “New Creation” in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). This requires dying to self daily. I didn’t have any idea that the church still seemed to be in the dark regarding how to reach out to those with same-sex attraction. We need to consider here that there has been a hundred and fifty year history of silence and ignorance. What we don’t talk about, grows like a bacteria in the dark. In fact during the silence, an entire culture and community of gays developed.
Emerging victorious in Jesus, I began to openly share the clarity revealed to me by God and His Word. Now if we don’t believe that God’s Word is inspired by Him, we are at great risk. We then might as well believe in anything. But God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Matthew 24:3, Hebrews 13:8. If we don’t believe God’s Word, this is where the danger begins.
In the fall of 2009 I was invited to share my testimony at Andrews University during the conference on Marriage, Homosexuality and the Church. Daneen Akers and Stephen Ayers, (producers of "Seventh Gay Adventists") were present at the conference and their work had begun on the film. They heard my testimony and I had contacted them about the film, not realizing the intended angle. By January, it seemed apparent that they were not seeking any testimonies from same-sex attracted individuals who have been redeemed and are choosing to live sexually pure through Christ.
I wrote an article for the Adventist Review which appeared in the April 15, 2010 issue conveying my concern that the film would not represent those who have given their lives to Christ and live sexually pure. The film’s producers contacted me and the Review’s editor asking for a retraction to be printed. Since this film is about loving those who are same-sex attracted, my question is why haven’t they given a voice to those who also suffered so many years of alienation by the church, but have returned to worship God and interact with His family while living a sexually pure life?
So this brings us to the core of what the film is about: God’s approval or disapproval of homosexual sex. If you read His Word there is no question as to where God stands on this issue. I was recently contacted by a “Gay Christian” who pointed out to me that God loves him and his same-sex partner just the way they are, and that they are familiar with the nine “hate verses” regarding homosexuality in God’s Word. Our God is a God of love and He has not compiled “hate verses,” but has given instruction on sins that are displeasing to Him. Due to the fact that gays and homosexuals have not seen the reflection of God’s love in His people, one can begin to realize why more and more alienated souls have gathered together in their spiritual darkness and created their own truths and are seeking to manipulate God’s approval.
But God’s Word is clear about His desires. He asks that we cast all our burdens upon Him. He asks for our trust and our faith regardless of what our feelings are telling us. There are a lot of feelings that come naturally to people that wouldn’t meet God’s approval much less man’s approval. But for some reason, many are seeking to make an exception for this clearly defined sinful behavior.
With such strong feelings of desire, lust, love, etc., Bible-banging is not going to make any of those feelings less intense. So what actually brings a soul into living according to God’s will? We have got to see the reflection of the love of Jesus in those who claim to be His children. Leading a soul to Christ must be done gently and lovingly under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.
John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” It doesn’t say your feelings will set you free. But if we are not personally and intimately connected to Christ, we are not likely going to be able to help a struggling soul engage with Him in the relationship He intended.
Jesus loves each and every one of us as His own precious child. A child for whom He shed blood and died for while we were still sinning (Romans 5:8). What are we willing to give up for Jesus? Every mention of homosexuality in God’s Word is in a negative connotation. There is no sanctified instruction from God for homosexual unions as there are for unions between a man and a woman. Why would one even venture to take over for God? Doesn’t this sound much like Lucifer saying that he knows better, or has a better plan? Do you see the terminal risk involved? Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” We cannot afford to trust our feelings, especially under the duress and deception of Satan.
Sin is natural. We were all born with it. Choosing Christ is unnatural. It is everything that Satan claims is impossible. We are at the end of this great controversy between Christ and Satan. We are exactly where Christ has told Satan there will be a people who will remain steadfast in truth and trust regardless what they feel. “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40: 1-3).
Without self-denial and without a love-relationship with Jesus stemming from humility, we will fail to see His plan for us.
Dear precious children of God, this is not a constructed prayer that begs for the same-sex attracted person to miraculously become straight. This is a humbling of ourselves before our Creator and asking Him to help us fall more in love with Him each day. Thy will, not my will. Lay your heart in His hands. Surrender completely to Him and let Him make you a “New Creation” in Him. Allow the change to be one that draws you to holiness. Then listen as He guides and directs you. Yes… it’s possible. He may want you to live a celibate life for Him, whether you are attracted to the opposite sex or the same sex. But let Him decide what He wants for you that is in accordance with His Word. Insisting that we know better than Him will only align us with the enemy.
Is it painful? Sometimes. Sometimes my carnal nature just wants to be next to warm flesh that says I love you. But Jesus would rather that I know He loves me. His love, and my trust in that love, brings eternal life and a relationship that will grow forever and ever. Shaping my relationships around what currently feels or seems good, ends here. God is seeking those… those precious few who will make Him their God and obey Him out of love. These are the ones He wants to spend eternity with. Do you see the difference? Can you see how always putting self first is too dangerous for God to allow?
I want you to know with all my heart, that with Christ all things are possible to them that love Him (Philippians 4:13), all things that are according to His plan, not ours. Job endured horrendous trials and mental pain. As we have been given Job as an example, how can we seek our own pleasure in this modern age? How can we not come to God and say, "Lord, I am yours; do with me as you will. Make me a servant of yours?” If that sounds impossible to you, think about it. Pray about it. Invite Him to take control of your life. He’ll do it! I promise! There isn’t anything that He won’t do for you that is better than what you can possibly imagine for yourself. But be careful not to play God. Be careful not to listen to the power of suggestion rather than the love and truth of Jesus.
Experience this: "you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). He deeply desires a one-on-one intimate relationship with you. He died to save you. He knew you and chose you … before you were born.
I am passionate about God’s love and redemption regardless of the sin. I want to ask you, whoever might be reading, whether you have been in the church your whole life or if you have shaped your life around your own truths and feelings, to consider this, forgive and seek forgiveness. Everyone of us are ignorant. We have much to learn. Let’s heal together. Not a single person on this earth can claim perfection in and of their own. Jesus offers us His righteousness if we will accept it. It is a lifelong transforming process. But He asks us to model ourselves after Him. Live as He lived. Resist temptation. Surrender. Abide in Him.
As for the film “Seventh Gay Adventists,” ask God to put love in your heart that will draw all sinners to Him, not condone their sin. Be careful not to put your own salvation at risk by sympathizing with the sin rather than the sinner. Love deeply with the love of Jesus. Love is a two-way relationship. Because of our love for Christ, He will grow us and we will want to obey His commands. He is righteous and He is just. He is the Almighty.
If you are a pastor, leader or teacher and you are interested in presentations that exemplify the changing love of our beautiful Savior through those He has redeemed, please do not hesitate to contact me. Four ministries under the umbrella, "Coming Out Ministries," are available to come to wherever you are. We give weekend presentations, week of prayer, and college presentations that bring to light the changing power of God.
This article originally appeared at Know His Love as "Seventh Gay Adventists--Movie vs God's reality." It is reprinted by permission of the author.
Seventh-Gay Adventists, a documentary film advocating for the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, asks Adventists to think twice about what it means to love their neighbor. The independent film follows three gay and lesbian individuals, as they attempt to reconcile their Adventist identity with their sexuality. David, Marcos and Sherri express their struggles with coming out in an Adventist community, yet attempting to remain in it. All of them relate that at one time they had tried to become straight, but with no success. David tried for five years, eventually leaving fellowship with the Adventist church and finding a non-denominational church with his new partner Colin.
Marcos also leaves the church after being fired as a minister for cheating on his wife with another man. He eventually finds and begins attending Second Wind, a church created by Greg & Shasta Nelson. Later in the film the church closes for financial reasons, and seizing the opportunity, Marcos realizes his dream of being a pastor again and begins his own church.
Sherri and Jill’s story is different because they continue to fellowship with a Seventh-day Adventist church. They tell of the mixed reactions they received from members, but that over all, the church has been very accepting, even allowing Jill to head up the new Adventurer club, which no one was willing to lead out in. There is some initial apprehension when their current pastor Loren Seibold leaves, because they are unsure how the new pastor will treat them. Their eldest daughter is baptised by the new pastor later in the film.
Producers and married couple Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer do a masterful job at provoking an emotional sympathy for the struggles and pain each couple experienced at the hand of individuals and leaders within the church.
“The ultimate question we wanted to ask is how do we treat each other,” Eyer says. “We wanted to begin a conversation that would break stereotypes, and allow gays to tell their story, and not just have a film talking about gays.”
Akers and Eyer originally had planned to do an issues film, inspired by the political buzz generated by Proposition 8 in California. The proposition says only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. They initially were angry with Proposition 8, but after delving into the personal stories they were following, they decided to tone the film down and focus exclusively on the individuals.
“We wanted to start a thoughtful conversation through story,” says Akers.
The couple spent three years following the lives of about 12 individuals, eventually narrowing it down to the three seen in the film.
Stories are a powerful form of propaganda. The film tells stories in a very non-confrontational style, but the message is loud and clear. With the exception of a few intimate scenes of the couples kissing and a protracted scene of David receiving a backrub from Colin without his shirt, there’s not much to take offense at. The film shows the very mundane activities of each couple. The stereotypes of gay and lesbians as uncommitted, promiscuous sex fiends are absent.
While the film did produce some food for thought, the manner in which the subject is presented is biased against the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s understanding of the biblical view on homosexual behavior. The film is deceptive and artful in its normative presentation of homosexual behavior. It presents homosexual behavior in the most benign way with little regard for the plain texts in the Bible, which prohibit it.
The premise of the film shows you can be gay and Adventist. However, it is impossible to reconcile homosexual behavior with being a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, and here is where the film completely misses the boat. Christians cannot identify with sin while calling themselves Christian. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (NASB). A gay Adventist is an oxymoron. When we’ve died to self and become a new creature in Christ, we will no longer identify ourselves with the sins of our past. Yet the film attempts to place sexual identity and the desire to be with someone over the Bible and our need to place God’s will before our own. It’s not a film about dying to self and coming into a loving and obedient relationship with Jesus, it’s about taking any measures to please and appease self.
Consider Akers, a fifth generation Adventist, who hasn’t attended an official Adventist church in years. Due to their work on this film, Akers and Eyers have found it difficult to find a church to attend, according to Akers. While she and her husband appear to identify themselves with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, they are opposed to the church theologically regarding homosexuality, which puts them at a disadvantage in the conversation about the intersect of Adventism and homosexuality.*
“Ultimately it’s a question of hermeneutics--how do we interpret the Bible,” Akers said during the Palm Springs screening.
She couldn’t be more correct, but the film doesn’t address what the Bible says with any depth, relying exclusively on emotion appeal.
And the lack of representation from individuals who have overcome homosexual behavior is concerning.
“Initially Daneen [Akers] told me I was the person they were considering to represent those who had been living the gay lifestyle and were now celibate,” Wayne Blakely of Know His Love Ministry said. Blakely is also participating in a merger of ministries dealing with homosexuality called Coming Out.
Blakely said he and his colleagues offered Akers and Eyer their stories of freedom, but the producers didn’t want anything to do with them.
“If [Eyer and Akers] are calling for a reconciliation, is it a reconciliation to God or to the world?” said Blakely. “God's word is not a message of hate, but a message of love. Some Christians are accused of being homophobic, because they’re not placing their stamp of approval on someone's lifestyle. You say you're unable to love your child without condoning their behavior? My parents’ loved me while I was living a gay lifestyle, but they never stopped praying for me and they never condoned my lifestyle.”
Blakely is concerned the film doesn’t give any representation to those who have started a new life in Jesus, and who have overcome homosexuality through the power of Jesus’ healing and restoring grace. This doesn’t mean anyone has labels of gay or straight; it means they are a new creature in Jesus, denying self, ready to be obedient to what a loving God asks in His word.
In response to this lack of representation, Akers said: “A film is really an exploration of a question, and our questions were: how does someone reconcile being both Adventist and gay, and is there a home in the Adventist church for those who are on the margins? The story of celibate gays also deserve attention, as all of our stories do, but it's a very different story because celibate gays live within the church's prescribed standards. That just wasn't the intersection we ultimately wanted to explore because that's not where the real identity challenge is.... We didn't connect with anyone who seemed appropriate to profile in depth with the rigor that participating in a film like this requires.”
It doesn’t appear the producers were interested in how Blakely and others had overcome their sin, but were more interested in promoting stories that nicely condone homosexual behavior in the church, while at the same time desensitizing people to the serious nature of sin. The film pushes a homosexual-behavior-is-acceptable agenda, and doesn’t give a gay person any resources or hope for overcoming sin.
There is no doubt the church has not always dealt with the issue of homosexuality in a loving manner. The church needs to ask forgiveness, and those who have been wronged need to forgive, even if not asked.
Too often “love the sinner but hate the sin” is repeated, but without any knowledge of how this plays out practically. What does it look like to love a brother or sister in Christ who chooses to participate in homosexual behavior and yet hate the sin? It’s a challenge all Christians ask who have friends or family choosing a gay lifestyle.
What’s dangerous about this film is its treatment of homosexuality. Unlike other sins that are universally recognized as such, homosexual behavior is no longer being considered a sin by an increasing number in the church. That poses a problem for the church. The church has not educated its membership adequately, and hopefully this film will stir the laity and church leaders to be more proactive in teaching what the Bible says about how we should love each other and what appropriate boundaries should be made both in the church and in personal relationships with people who choose to live in sin.
Unfortunately, this film will do more to desensitize members to sin than anything else, and if the church remains complacent about the film’s influence, it will also hold some responsibility for the souls it did not educate or help. Even if the producers are misguided, at least they are speaking. We are to be hot or cold, not somewhere in the politically-correct middle.
* UPDATE 5/7/12 Clarification as to why Akers and Eyer no longer regularly fellowship at a Seventh-day Adventist Church.