Hello friends, family and fellow believers! I can't believe this panel discussion is almost a year old. With today's news cycle and short attention spans, eleven-month old news is almost like announcing the advent of the pneumatic tire. Our apologies for not reporting on it sooner.
The panel discussion took place on December 3, and 13 at LLUC. The topic was a favorite hot-button issue of Adventist liberals: The normalization of homosexuality.
- Jon Paulien, PhD Dean School of Religion LLU;
- Jim Walters, Professor School of Religion LLU;
- David Larson, Dmin. Phd, Professor of Ethical Studies;
- Han Von Walter, MD Psychiatrist Resident;
- Grace Oie MD, Pediatric Critical Care;
- Daneen Akers, Film Director: Seventh-gay Adventist.
Jon Paulien: Jon introduces the topic with a story when he was 7 years old post WWII and an aunt came to live with them who was sexually abused at the age of 16 by Russian soldiers and hated men. She later brought a lesbian friend to live with them. (Anecdotal story has nothing to do with the theological proscription of deviant sexuality.)
(1:00:11) The ideal is based on creation – a man and a woman in life long relationship – generally accepted throughout the scriptures. (True. Correct, Jon.)
“The texts that speak specifically to this issue are not as clear as they might on the surface be… A surface reading of those texts, such as you allowed us to have here, will definitely, like you said, leave us in a bind with some of the things we experience. …I think most Biblical scholars would agree with this, that looking at the large trend of scripture, whenever it speaks about heterosexual marriage, the scripture is always positive. Whenever it speaks about same sex relationships, it’s always negative.” (It's simple. We will either accept the Bible as the truth about God's will, or we won't.)
(1:02:11) “However, what do we do with that becomes the question. And the second side of scripture is that it also portrays the real. It portrays that humanity is broken. .. no ideal heterosexual marriage… we are all broken people… short of God’s ideal.” Romans 3:23. “The ideal, at best, is rare in this life, if it occurs at all.” (So because a grumpy lady at potluck is rude to another old lady, we should have a homosexual pastor, or allow homosexual members? I think not, that is relativizing morality to the lowest level. God calls us to high standards.)
(1:36:48) Regarding the clobber texts, “the way they are read on the surface is often far from what they are actually saying. And I think the church has a lot of learning to do when it comes to the Scriptures, still.” (The term "Clobber texts" was coined by the radical homosexual agenda. We do the cause of truth very little credit by allowing the radical LGBT agenda to control the nomenclature.)
Jim Walters: (Minute 3:23) “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons deserve respect. Our general church recognizes that, but the general church does not see that these individuals are to be granted the same sort of rights that the United States Supreme Court has granted when it comes to marriage for same sex individuals.” (This is paving the way for the capitulation of Christian conscience to secular law, the very thing Adventists have warned the world about for 160-years.)
(56:48) Read 2 typical Bible passages: Leviticus 18:19-23 and Romans 1:26-27, first part. “That is the Biblical record. The understanding of the Bible writers was clear, it seems to me. And passages like this are cited in the Adventist statement on marriage, and it being reserved for heterosexuals, not for those of a same-sex attraction. Isn’t that rather clear?” Acknowledged a “disconnect” with those who have spoken here today.
(1:15:19) The view of sexual orientation in Bible times is binary—different from what we know today about the human condition (i.e.: ambiguous genitalia at birth). We now use terms more descriptive (like gender dysphoria) than terms indicating right or wrong (like gender identity disorder).
(1:22:05) Regarding abominations of Leviticus 18, we say some of them are overturned or for “back then,” but we choose to not override the one about homosexuality.
(1:37:39) (Agreeing with an author’s views) “The view of the human person and one’s sexuality was different in that time than it is today… In light of that, we understand the Bible differently; we understand these clobber texts very differently …” (In other words, the Bible hasn't changed. What has changed is the climate of opinion in our wicked culture, forcing progressives to come with creative ways of explaining away the Bible passages on homosexual abomination.)
David R. Larson: (48:55) “I have learned that when people get really upset about this issue, it’s almost always because they have sexual uncertainties and insecurities of their own. The higher the volume and the greater the intensity of concern…” the more likely.
(49:37) “We’re looking at this the wrong way around. The real issue here is heterosexual white males; they’re the dangerous people here.” Asked when any gay person has beat up non-gays. “The real threats here are not gay people, they’re straight people.” (So the problem is heterosexual white men. Fantastically unhelpful leftist statement.)
(50:54-55:52) “Another thing, though, has changed, and that is the church…” Describes “real development” (of acceptance of LGBT) at grassroots level - making very good progress - largely due to the marvelous work of Daneen and her husband Stephen."
“The bad news is that at the very top leadership of our church, things are moving in a wrong direction... There are other kinds of leaders who understand themselves to be called by God, not to be leaders but to be dividers.”
“Elder Wilson, Elder Ted N. C. Wilson, genuinely understands his calling to be a divider. His way of dealing with issues of a controversial nature has to be respected. Everyone says that Elder Wilson is unfailingly cordial and courteous… works very hard and is very efficient… honest… does his work sincerely.” (Ted Wilson has drawn the thankless task of holding the Church together in the face of a roiling liberal uprising, yourself included. For that he should be commended and supported. If he would be supported by an humbled liberal faction, the uprising will collapse into unity. If they can't humble themselves, then the honorable thing is to move on.)
“But he understands himself to be a divider. He understands his role to be that of helping to separate the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares, the right and the wrong, the true and the false. Now Jesus said not to do that.” (Truth is a dividing sword among an idolatrous generation, bent on moral license. Elder Wilson is not separating people from the Community of truth that we call the Church, their choices are separating themselves, and it is the duty of a good manager or leader to allow them the freedom to make harmful choices, and then hold them accountable for the choices they make. What you are campaigning for is the right of a seditious minority to redefine the standards for the whole. No successful business or organization in the world would see that as a reasonable demand.)
(1:51:45) (In answer to question, can a person be both Adventist and a practicing LGBT?) “Yes.” (This statement is an abomination to God. That is all we can say.)
Han Von Walter: (24:08) “I am here to bring the perspective of someone who did grow up gay, as well as someone who grew up in the Adventist church. Knowing people and having a connection to someone who has gone through the experience often makes us sympathetic to the experience itself.” Cites polls on the acceptance of gay marriage in this country. (26:35) …slowly realized “that something was off about me… this is not something that I could just ignore.” Read his Bible, prayed, preached sermons tried to commit life to God, but nothing put him on “the path that was straight and narrow.” Fear and depression abated as he gradually came out as gay. He values being “true to ourselves.” (God created us to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God, not be true to our own 'feelings and impulses' which are quite often deceptive.)
(1:39:04) “No one’s interpretation of the Bible… is infallible.” That opens the door for a person to prayerfully interpret it based on their own mental health dictates, the culture they’re in, etc. “The Bible can still work in your life without it having to be a conflict of interest.” Because the Bible has so many iterations and translations, “we really need to take a critical look at how we decide we want to use texts like these… (Addressed to struggling gay persons) “think about the big picture of, um, like, what we are meant to get out of the Bible, which is to love one another, love each other, um… and that includes ourselves. You don’t have to hate yourself to be a good person.” (Two words: Pure Babylon.)
Grace Oie: The SDA church must accept LGBT individuals as members, because they are Seventh-day Adventists, believe in Jesus, committed to the bible and core teachings of the church. Pope Francis is our model; his words must be our guide. (Minute 33:00)
(1:20:54) Discussed the problem of interpreting the Bible too literally: if Leviticus 18:22 were taken for only what it literally says, lesbian relations aren’t listed as abomination, so a lesbian relationship is allowed? (Jim added the example of the 10 Commandments, which prohibit men from activities like coveting another man’s wife, but not women coveting a neighbor’s husband.) We “abstract moral and ethical principles for our life today..."
Daneen Akers: Jesus had two fathers; we affirm the LGBT lifestyle (Minute 1:32:06)
(1:10:57) He (Jesus) continually and constantly expanded a view of love and a kingdom of God that was for everyone. The only people Jesus had harsh words for were the religious authorities trying to take God’s name in vain… to exclude and marginalize.” (So Jesus has or had no 'harsh' words for cherished sin and rebellion, otherwise known as disobedience? If He is coming back to "take vengeance on those who obey not the gospel", His eradication of sin from the universe by fire--after the Judgment--is cosmically tough [or harsh] on all sin, be it liberalism or legalism disobedience.)
(1:52:11) Challenged broad, generic language such as “practicing LGBT” or “the gay lifestyle.” Prefers the specific term “same-sex sexual intimacy.” “What’s to practice? I am.” “LGBT people are reduced to a sex act (by the broad language). Transgender people are reduced to a piece of genitalia.” “What people hear is, ‘There’s something wrong with me. There’s something broken in me.’ And we do not see each other as images of the divine.” OK to have differences of opinion & theology, as long as no one experiences “that there is something in them that is not reflective in them of the image of God,” or inherently wrong."
(2:05:37) Believes the health care profession has “kept Adventism from becoming a fringe cult denomination… because you deal with people in real life.” (The Health Care System has done a lot of good, and also has been an avenue through which many dangerous practices have come into the church. Look for a review of the excellent book Deceived by The New Age in the near future.)