Saturday, February 14, 2015

THE SALVATION ARMY - Clarification; Position on Homosexuality V REVISITED


In writing these several closing articles in this 3rd LGBT series I’ve drawn primarily on my own multi-cultural practical Christian experience. And that consists of a number of important factors; I’ve reflected on the powerful Christian examples and love represented by gay and lesbian friends. And there’s my own too often staunch Salvationism ‘tainted’ a smidgeon by my Jesuit education. But most of all, it’s a conviction to simply share what’s on my heart – And these next three posts will be ‘high risk’, with potential for a lively flare up because the decisive final step and response is yours!

Our LGBT series has achieved a type of ‘flare up’ status, albeit in the form of a cyber space ‘pamphlet warfare’, and far from private. In our three LGBT series the FSAOF has posted more than 50 articles, hundreds of comments responding to articles from the more than 30,000 FSAOF blog visitors.

Wesley and Whitefield were able to reconcile to a certain extent, and I’m pleased that we can announce similar amiable results up to this point!

So what’s next?

The Salvation Army corrects itself


It is hard to think of a community of people in history that the church (The SA) has not more actively alienated and ostracized than the gay community. In his book UnChristian, the result of a three-year study of what young Americans think about Christianity, David Kinnaman discovered that, 91% of young Americans chose anti-homosexual from a list of 21 positive and negative descriptors as the best word to describe present day Christianity. And this is the target group that most evangelical churches are hoping to reach, but the obvious question is - in what way?

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures.

Yet, a new nationally representative survey of 1,197 LGBT adults offers testimony to the many ways they feel they have been stigmatized by society. About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship.

As Salvationists we may distance ourselves individually from this description, but we must acknowledge that there is no perception of a collective shift in thinking or any seismic behavioral change as an Army. The preferred default perception of our SA folk should be that the Army is a welcoming, loving family that respects and values all who come through our doors. There is a shift among some, the ‘under 40s’, students, recent graduates and those who’ve entered the cosmopolitan work places in the last decade or so.

They appear to be marching to a different drummer than those clinging tight to tradition.

In a lecture I attended some years ago, in part focusing on his book of the same title, Between Two Worlds, Rev. John H.W. Stott warned: “We are exposed to cultural pressures incompatible with the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which, nevertheless, are demanding from us a capitulation that we are not prepared to give. And “if we do capitulate to the pressures of society around us, then we compromise our integrity, we blunt our testimony, and we suffocate our spiritual life.”

In the early days of re-opening the work of the Salvation Army in Russia in 1991 we had to maneuver through many levels of government bureaucracy. At every step there was red tape and an inordinate amount of documents requiring approval, government stamps and in some cases, even a wax seal with the double-headed Eagle insignia! With only two persons assigned to pioneer the re-opening of the Army’s work in Moscow, after an absence of 70 years, we, my then wife Kathie and I, did everything possible to reduce the amount of ‘officialdom’. To speed up the process I sometimes asked if there was any possibility of a ‘compromise’. The immediate response, most often coming from someone dressed smartly in a Soviet Union uniform, was always, “Kapitan, the word compromise does not exist in the Russian language!” 
After a few months of listening to my translators speaking the Russian language, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, I was soon able to pick up some functional key words, including the word “kompromiss”! The word no doubt exists in every language and can be applied as necessary in many situations… And therein lies our dilemma, at least in large part.

Compromise!
Many in SA uniforms, soldiers, officers, all theologians of a sort, and SA leaders are being challenged to become more open to adjustments, variations, and to compromise our conservative holiness theology to accommodate the secular philosophy, giving in to cultural pressures.  It’s a break-through that has some in our ranks wondering if “we may have had it wrong”, and that the liberal theology that has intoxicated so many churches must ‘come roll over us'.

Under the attack and pressure of cultural ethicists we’ve allowed ourselves to side step our individual and corporate responsibilities. IHQ announce two years ago that a new positional statement was a’comin and we became observers asa other denominations moved forward, insolated stand-bys, not needing our thinking caps to combat the intellectual challenges representing the new authority adopted by the modern Christian (church). We’ve watched and waited for our older, more powerful and wiser brothers and sister churches to step up and to speak for and act in the place of those on the fence.  Confused, uncertain, weakened, and with no voice in the debate we’ve inherited a ‘brief of compromises’ from some, and a ‘withdrawal order’ by others! We've divorced ourselves from our societies' questions, cultural adaptions and legal wranglings.


A BRIEF RECAP (Compromise -Cultural Driven Ethics - Informed Theological Position?)
It’s now been one decade since same-sex marriage was legalized in the USA. And support for same-sex marriage has jumped 21 percentage points from 2003 when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, to 2013. Currently, a majority (53%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. By contrast in 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing gay and lesbian people to legally marry, compared to nearly 6-in-10 (59%) who opposed.

Today roughly equal numbers of Americans say they strongly favor (22%) legalizing same-sex marriage as those who say they strongly oppose it (20%). By contrast, a decade earlier strong opponents (35%) outnumbered strong supporters (9%) by roughly a 4-to-1 ratio.

In 2003, all major religious groups opposed same-sex marriage. Today, there are major religious groups on both sides of the issue. Mainline Protestants (62%), white Catholics (58%), and Hispanic Catholics (56%) all favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. A majority (83%) of Jewish Americans also favor legalizing same-sex marriage. Hispanic Protestants are divided; 46% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry and 49% oppose. By contrast, nearly 7-in-10 (69%) white evangelical Protestants and nearly 6-in-10 (59%) black Protestants oppose same-sex marriage. Only 27% of white evangelical Protestants and 35% of black Protestants support same-sex marriage.

Today, nearly 7-in-10 (69%) Millennials (ages 18 to 33) favor same-sex marriage, compared to 37% of Americans who are part of the Silent Generation (ages 68 and older).

White evangelical Protestant Millennials are more than twice as likely to favor same- sex marriage as the oldest generation of white evangelical Protestants (43% vs. 19%).

Regular churchgoers (those who attend at least once or twice a month), particularly those who belong to religious groups that are supportive of same-sex marriage, are likely to over- estimate opposition for same-sex marriage in their churches by 20 percentage points or more.

Roughly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. Support has increased substantially since 1999, when 38% of Americans favored allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children. The partisan divisions on attitudes toward adoption largely mirror the findings on support for same-sex marriage.

Majorities of Americans perceive three religious groups to be unfriendly to LGBT people: the Catholic Church (58%), the Mormon church (53%), and evangelical Christian churches (51%).

Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues. Seven-in-ten (70%) Millennials believe that religious groups are alienating young adults by being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues.

Among Millennials who no longer identify with their childhood religion, nearly one-third say that negative teachings about, or treatment of, gay and lesbian people was either a somewhat important (17%) or very important (14%) factor in their disaffiliation from religion.

The current survey, using self-identification, finds 5.1% of the adult population identifies as either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Notably, Americans overestimate the size of the LGBT population by a factor of 4 (20% median estimate). Only 14% of Americans accurately estimate the gay and lesbian population at 5% or less.
(Contact me for a copy of the entire survey)

MSNBC’s Jane Timm reported two weeks ago that one third of young people who left organized religion did so because of anti-gay teachings or treatment within their churches, according to a new study. While not surprising it’s no secret that younger Americans are more accepting of gay people. A full 31% of young people (ages 18 to 33) who left organized religion said “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay people was a “somewhat important” or “very important” factor in their departure, as surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute

A strong majority (58%) of Americans also said religious groups are “alienating” young people by “being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues.” A full 70% of young people said the same.

Young people seeking a voice in the church accuse traditionalists of “acting like Old Testament heretics”, with some threatening a ‘take-over bid’!

Andrew Strom wrote in his well-received book (2008), ‘Entertaining Ourselves to Death: Crisis in Christian Youth Culture; “It is my belief that in recent years, many of our Christian youth leaders have essentially reacted against the old straight-laced style of Christian (leadership), and have instead gone right over to the other extreme (i.e.,  they had become over-accommodating and completely anti-authoritarian, wanting to be seen as modern, open-minded, hip, and dynamic. The result of this vacuum of real church leadership and authority is a mindless and rebellious compromise without considering the cost.)

The arrival of gay marriage as a present day, legally accepted norm in our society has ignited the debate across church divides, with some acquiescing to its legal claim of validity. Some of us are re-examining our understanding of sexuality from a biblical perspective with specific regard to homosexuality as an orientation and as a sexual practice. In wanting to hold faithfully to the Bible, the Army is reconsidering our own historical understanding and more directly, determining our own behavior toward the LGBTQ community and their expectations. 

Stott asks; “What are the pressures of our culture to which we are forbidden to conform? What are the contemporary trends which threaten to envelop and engulf the church and against which we need to be on guard… there is the challenge of moral relativism: the church is called to be a community of righteousness.”

Are there changes on the horizon for us, the result of the Holy Spirit’s prompting or are we as a 150 year old God inspired movement bowing to modern-day cultural pressures? 

It is a testimony to the long established role of religion in our societal structure that many within the gay and lesbian movement seek the blessing of a marriage in our religious institutions. Seeking the approval of such blessings reflects their expectation of both equality with heterosexual married couples but also the inclusivity symbolized in being ‘members of the body of Christ’. Church blessings also embody an immediate inherent approval of issues currently agitating most conservative churches; same-sex genital relationships.  And it appears their wishes for a chapel wedding will soon become a reality everywhere. The LGBT’s powerful lobby’s is spreading its massive influences forcing even unwilling governments to enact ‘umbrella’ laws sanctioning both same sex nuptials and in some countries, mandating that churches open their doors to same sex marriages and instructing clergy to officiate and pronounce such blessings or they’ll be closed down!

These are a part of the profound challenges - and opportunities - confronting the worldwide Salvation Army today: ‘a community of righteousness.’

Ed Koch was a popular New York City Mayor with whom the Army worked closely in the late 1980s, when the city started recognizing domestic partners, gay and straight, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Koch issued an executive order agreed to by the SA Greater NY Division, but quashed by NHQ (reportedly the result of Nat’l. Advisory Board pressure) Koch’s favorite quote, and his opening line on his weekly ‘call in’ show was, “How am I doin’?”  And New Yorkers were quick to tell him!

In view of the Army’s back-peddling to correct the embarrassing statements in Australia about homosexuality, and the inconsistent statements on whether homosexuality is a sin or not, and that it’s a ‘condition therapy can correct, if the Army had asked the question, How are we doing a few months back, we’d be red faced and running for cover to avoid embarrassment.

The SA had long labeled homosexuality a sin, and only after the media and LGBT lobbyists challenged the Army was the distinction made between homosexual orientation and acting on his/her same sex preference.

So, how am I doing? Can you spot where this is headed?

Tomorrow:
“With globalisation, religions are becoming less regional” - and “they are also becoming less hierarchal as lay leadership and initiative flourish. In so doing many are becoming less dogmatic and more practical. “Religious people today are more interested in ethical guidelines and spiritual disciplines than in doctrines.” Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith

Sven Ljungholm

Liverpool

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sven, you had me at hello! I'm really out of sync with the Army I love..I say, let them marry, create families, become soldiers, officers, whatever, as the children of the God that created them.

Anonymous said...

Well researched and documented! We - the SA - are between a rock and a hard place! What next and your forecast?

Cadet SFOT Chicago iL

Anonymous said...

'create families' - physically impossible within the 'monogamous' same sex union. Fact. Have to rely on an outsider to 'oblige'. Is that in God's plan? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Some of these articles contain 'snippets' of comments by Dr John Stott. He has written a number of articles on this subject - some extracts of one of them are below. There are 3 postings due to the content: read and be challenged!

Heterosexual intercourse is much more than a union of bodies; it is a blending of complementary personalities through which the rich, created oneness of human being is experienced again. And the complementarity of male and female sexual organs is only a physical symbol of a much deeper spiritual complementarity.
In order to become one flesh, however, and experience this sacred mystery, "a man" (the singular indicates that marriage is an exclusive union between two individuals) "shall leave his father and mother " (a public social occasion is in view) "and cleave to his wife" (marriage is a loving, cleaving commitment or covenant, which is heterosexual and permanent), "and they will become one flesh" (marriage must be consummated in sexual intercourse, which is a sign and seal of the marriage covenant).
Jesus himself later endorsed this teaching. He quoted Genesis 2:24, declaring that such a lifelong union between a man and his wife was God's intention from the beginning, and added, "what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:4-9).
Thus Scripture defines the marriage God instituted in terms of heterosexual monogamy - the union of one man with one woman, which must be publicly acknowledged (the leaving of parents), permanently sealed (he will "cleave to his wife"), and physically consummated ("one flesh"). Scripture envisages no other kind of marriage or sexual intercourse, for God provided no alternative.
Christians should not therefore single out homosexual intercourse for special condemnation. Every sexual relationship or act that deviates from God's revealed intention is *ipso facto* displeasing to him and under his judgment. This includes polygamy and polyandry, clandestine unions casual encounters and temporary liaisons, adultery and many divorces, and homosexual partnerships (which violate the statement that "a man" shall be joined to "his wife"). The only "one flesh" experience that God intends and Scripture contemplates is the sexual union of a man with his wife, whom he recognizes as "flesh of his flesh."


Homosexual Christians are not, however, satisfied with this biblical teaching. They bring forward a number of objections in order to defend the legitimacy of homosexual partnerships.
1. The argument about Scripture and culture.
First, The biblical authors were addressing questions relevant to their own circumstances, very different from ours. In the Sodom and Gibeah stories, they were preoccupied either with conventions of hospitality in the ancient Near East that are now obsolete or (if the sin was sexual at all) with the extremely unusual phenomenon of homosexual gang rape. In the Levitical laws the concern was with antiquated fertility rituals, while Paul was addressing the particular sexual preferences of Greek pederasts.
(cont.........)

Anonymous said...

....cont....

Heterosexual intercourse is much more than a union of bodies; it is a blending of complementary personalities through which the rich, created oneness of human being is experienced again. And the complementarity of male and female sexual organs is only a physical symbol of a much deeper spiritual complementarity.
In order to become one flesh, however, and experience this sacred mystery, "a man" (the singular indicates that marriage is an exclusive union between two individuals) "shall leave his father and mother " (a public social occasion is in view) "and cleave to his wife" (marriage is a loving, cleaving commitment or covenant, which is heterosexual and permanent), "and they will become one flesh" (marriage must be consummated in sexual intercourse, which is a sign and seal of the marriage covenant).
Jesus himself later endorsed this teaching. He quoted Genesis 2:24, declaring that such a lifelong union between a man and his wife was God's intention from the beginning, and added, "what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:4-9).
Thus Scripture defines the marriage God instituted in terms of heterosexual monogamy - the union of one man with one woman, which must be publicly acknowledged (the leaving of parents), permanently sealed (he will "cleave to his wife"), and physically consummated ("one flesh"). Scripture envisages no other kind of marriage or sexual intercourse, for God provided no alternative.
Christians should not therefore single out homosexual intercourse for special condemnation. Every sexual relationship or act that deviates from God's revealed intention is *ipso facto* displeasing to him and under his judgment. This includes polygamy and polyandry, clandestine unions casual encounters and temporary liaisons, adultery and many divorces, and homosexual partnerships (which violate the statement that "a man" shall be joined to "his wife"). The only "one flesh" experience that God intends and Scripture contemplates is the sexual union of a man with his wife, whom he recognizes as "flesh of his flesh."


Homosexual Christians are not, however, satisfied with this biblical teaching. They bring forward a number of objections in order to defend the legitimacy of homosexual partnerships.
1. The argument about Scripture and culture.
First, The biblical authors were addressing questions relevant to their own circumstances, very different from ours. In the Sodom and Gibeah stories, they were preoccupied either with conventions of hospitality in the ancient Near East that are now obsolete or (if the sin was sexual at all) with the extremely unusual phenomenon of homosexual gang rape. In the Levitical laws the concern was with antiquated fertility rituals, while Paul was addressing the particular sexual preferences of Greek pederasts.
(cont......

Anonymous said...

....cont....

3. The argument about quality of relationships.
Gay Christian activists borrow from Scripture the truth that love is the greatest thing in the world (which it is) and from the "new morality" or "situation ethics of the 1960's the notion that love is an adequate criterion by which to judge every relationship (which it is not).
In his "Time for Consent," liberal theologian Norman Pittenger lists six characteristics of a truly loving relationship. They are: (1) commitment (the free self-giving of each to the other); (2) mutuality in giving and receiving (a sharing in which each finds his or her self in the other); (3) tenderness (no coercion or cruelty); (4) faithfulness (the intention of a lifelong relationship); (5) hopefulness (each serving the other's maturity); and (6) desire for union.
If then a homosexual relationship, either between two men or two women, is characterized by these qualities of love, surely (the argument goes) it must be affirmed as good and not rejected as evil. It rescues people from loneliness, selfishness, and promiscuity. It can be as rich and responsible, as liberating and fulfilling, as a heterosexual marriage.
But the biblical Christian cannot accept the basic premise on which this case rests, namely that love is the only absolute, that beside it all moral law is abolished, and that whatever seems to be compatible with love is ipso facto good, irrespective of all other considerations. This cannot be so, for love needs law to guide it. In emphasizing love for God and neighbor as the two Great Commandments, Jesus and his apostles did not discard all other commandments. On the contrary, Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments," and Paul wrote, "Love is the fulfilling [not the abrogating] of the law."
A married man has told me he has fallen in love with another woman. When I gently remonstrated with him, he responded in words like these: "I already have a wife and family, but this new relationship is the real thing. We were made for each other. Our love for each other has a quality and a depth we have never known before. It *must* be right." But no, it is not right. No man is justified in breaking his marriage covenant with his wife on the ground of the quality of his love for another woman. Quality of love is not the only yardstick by which to measure what is good or right.
Similarly, I do not deny the claim that homosexual relationships can be loving (although a priori I do not see how they can attain the same richness as the heterosexual mutuality God has ordained). But their love quality is not sufficient to justify them. Indeed, they are incompatible with true love because they are incompatible with God's law. Love is concerned for the highest welfare of the beloved. And our highest human welfare is found in obedience to God's law and purpose, not in revolt against them.

(cont......

Anonymous said...

....cont....

4. The argument about acceptance and the gospel.
"Surely," some say, "it is the duty of heterosexual Christians to accept homosexual Christians. Paul told us to accept - indeed welcome -one another. If God has welcomed somebody, who are we to pass judgment on him (Rom. 14:1ff.)? Norman Pittenger further declares that those who reject homosexual people "have utterly failed to understand the Christian gospel." We do not receive the grace of God because we are good and confess our sins, he says; it is the other way round. "It's always God's grace which comes *first* ... his forgiveness awakens our repentance. The whole point of the Christian gospel is that God loves and accepts us just as we are."
This is a very confused statement of the gospel. God does indeed accept us "just as we are," and we do not have to make ourselves good first -indeed we cannot. But his "acceptance" means that he fully and freely forgives all who repent and believe, not that he condones our continuance in sin. Again, it is true that we must accept one another, but only as fellow penitents and fellow pilgrims, not as fellow sinners who are resolved to persist in our sinning. No acceptance, either by God or by the church, is promised to us if we harden our hearts against God's word and will. Only judgment.

Sorry for the length - but to my mind this is what we should live by, however painful it might be for us.

Anonymous said...

It seems that sex has always been the elephant in the room for the Holiness Movement. As a result it has fostered a culture of fear, hypocrisy and denial. John Wesley expressed anxiety about his nocturnal dreams. The Victorian Methodists warned teen agers that masturbation could cause warts on their hands, dark circles under their eyes and eventual blindness. The Booths ordered Salvationist couples not to kiss each other until they were engaged to be married. Frank Buchman told the Oxford movement that absolute purity required that sex was strictly for the procreation of children. The most pressing debate on Christian universities a generation ago was "To pet or not to pet that is the question". Necking was OK, petting was not.

What was the result? Pre-marital sex still occurred, pregnant girls were whisked away to shelters run by the sanctified, hid from society, expected to care for every need of their caregivers, and their children were adopted never to be seen again. The alternative was to be shunned by the community, shamed and disciplined by their churches, and then forced into shot gun marriages. Divorce was out of the question except for adultery. Women were encouraged to live in abusive relationships in order to "sanctify" their husbands. Extra-marital affairs were well known, many taking place in high ranking places in leadership. Others remained in unhappy marriages their whole life long.

As for those in the LGBT community they lived in constant fear of being discovered. The lesbians could find refuge in TSA where they were sent out as officers two by two and stationed as couples for their whole careers. Gays were encouraged to get married as a means of grace to overcome their affliction while those who remained single were constantly under suspicion. Pedophiles where sheltered, the only discipline they received was a rebuke and then shunted off to a new appointment where they repeated their abuse, which many can testify, and is now only coming to the light. And in all this the Holiness churches were preaching entire sanctification as the solution to the problem, as if it could be eradicated by a second trip to the mercy seat or Holiness table.

All that changed with the advent of birth control. Condoms still had to be kept under the counter and only available upon request of the Pharmacist causing embarrassment to the uninitiated. Then the birth control pill appeared lessening the fear of pregnancy outside of marriage and providing the opportunity for recreational sex in marriage. Eventually pre-marital sex became the norm rather than the exception, and one would be hard pressed today to find many virgins before marriage even in the evangelical and Holiness communities. Extra-marital affairs take place in the hope they will remain secret. And we are informed on this site that gay sex takes place among officers and local officers, some in high places, and yet we close our eyes and remain in denial.

The Holiness movement has never really dealt with the issue of sex or come up with what a sanctified sex ethic would be. It is not even talked about in polite company, in fact it is repressed and supressed as if it does not even exist. Let's get real, sex exists and it is acted out in a variety of orientations in a variety of ways. Is it too much to suggest that monogamy be the ideal for both sexes and for both the heterosexual and homosexual communities? That seems to me to be the only realistic ethic that the Holiness movement can expect of its members and adherents. In the meantime, let's say goodbye to the fear, denial, and hypocrisy that have got us into the present dilemma and be honest with each other. The cat is out of the bag, and barring a miracle, no one is likely to put it back.

Anonymous said...

Judging by these comments, it would appear that we are just going around in circles. No matter what either side says, very few on either side will be swayed. It does appear, as I have said before, that the only way forward is a split of some kind. Liberals are reaching the point where they feel they cannot obey God whilst belonging to a denomination that pushes conservatism and prevents them showing the love of God to all, and conservatives feel that to embrace liberals as Brothers and Sisters in Christ is a rejection of God. Both sides cannot even agree on what God's love is.

Baring a miracle, I fail to see how both sides can live together, accepting each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yours in Christ,
Graeme Randall
Former Australian East in London

FORMER SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS FELLOWSHIP said...

Graeme, from the article: "Currently, a majority (53%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. By contrast in 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing gay and lesbian people to legally marry, compared to nearly 6-in-10 (59%) who opposed."

To what or to whom should the credit for this dramatic change be given? Did the general public all invest in courses of self-education on gay issues or by the informed opinions presented in forums such as ours, along with LGBT campaigns - or a combination? In this regard your own very insightful articles and comments have been invaluable.

The surveys posted some weeks ago point to the change of attitudes by those within our own fellowship and blog visitors in general.

I concur with your observations of what might be the final outcome primarily because 'conservative' Salvationists outnumber those we might label 'liberal' by around 8-1. This, along with other decisive statistics will be shared in the next article.

Sven Ljungholm
Former Officer
FSAOF Founder and blog administrator
Liverpool

Anonymous said...

For once, I agree wholeheartedly with Graeme Randall. Groundhog day comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

It's really time to put this series to bed - enough is enough. Regretfully, the only reason I access this site now is to see whether the series has ended. I'm always disappointed. There's nothing spiritually edifying about it, and there's nothing new to say.

Anonymous said...

T0: Time for bed!

It appears that 11 comments to your one, suggest you're still out in left field , Come back in, shall we say, late April?! Be well- FSAOF member- USA

Anonymous said...

To the "nothing new" person: "A law permitting same-sex marriage in England and Wales received Royal Assent in July, 2013 and the first same-sex weddings are due to take place in England and Wales in less than two weeks, from 29 March, but the law specifies that the CofE will not conduct them.

The Church's official teaching is that marriage must be between a man and a woman. Anglican clergy of the same sex are allowed by the Church to enter civil partnerships, but only on the understanding that they will remain celibate.

Under the terms of the bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offer gay weddings - (Religious groups, eg. The Salvation Army, can "opt in" to offer gay marriages) but the Church of England and the Church in Wales are banned from doing so.

One question frequently asked is: "Who can Salvationists marry?" - and people are often surprised that the answer is: "Anybody that the law permits".

NOTHING NEW?

Anonymous said...

Nothing new - no. Those who follow the news are well aware of the SS marriage act in July 2013. As we are now in March 2014, this is not new - neither is it 'news'. And 'news-savvy' people are also aware of the 'marriages' due to take place currently, as well as the 'opt-in' clause. The conservatives among as are just waiting for the first 'christian' LGBT couple to challenge the church ruling, as inevitably they will, and they will in all probability win their case on 'human rights' grounds. So no - there is nothing new - just a sad observation that Christian standards are being eroded right left and centre while Christians sleep on. Very soon the Christian church will be indistinguishable from any other secular establishment.
My comment about 'nothing new' related to the comments published. As Graeme Randall said, we are going round in circles because of the intransigence of both sides, and all I can see is more of the same, because unless you have someone who tugs at your heart strings because they have 'come out' and you can't bear for them not to be accepted, there is no change of mindset, nor will there be. So I may well take the advice of the FSAOF member above to leave the site - thanks for that. I will add that I was quite shocked at his/her comment, and I found it to be quite hurtful, but I can see that the views of people like myself are not welcome, and you only want people to agree with you, especially on this subject, which has obsessed you for almost three months, and which has totally wrapped itself around you like clinging vine leaves. But it has only strengthened my resolve to stick to my principles. I will understand if you don't print this, but I had to voice my opinion one last time. May God bless you and guide you in His way.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that's not new is the return of the chap who 'wasn't coming back until…" What a sad case! But, since you can't stay away and know everything in advance, what is the TC going to tell the territory in his news release at the end of this week? C'mon- share your news!

Anonymous said...

i agree with enough is enough
I say to LGBT start your own Salvation Army
I would attend unless you allow sexual predators to stand behind the pulpit