Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pentecostal Christian leaders, come down to earth...

An article published in the Swedish Christian daily, DAGEN, a week ago and signed by 22 Pentecostal pastors claimed that persons who engage in homosexual relationships are hell bound. The claim brought an immediate response suggesting that such thinking is out of sync with today's Christian thought (and of no interest to society in general). Below is today's response published in the same newspaper.

An honest, Christian, radical and strong faith means that we establish our departure point in love and a clear focus on Jesus.

It has happened before and it will happen again. Nor will that be the last time it happens. Some religious leaders - 22 Pentecostal pastors - have put their foot down and showed where the cabinet ought to be placed. (Newspaper – The Day 9/4). The argument is based on the established acceptance of the virtue which leads to a conservative Bible interpretation. The most coveted identity, it appears, that a Pentecostal may possess.

Many of us are Pentecostals, and we all confess to Christ. We don’t believe we have any problems in the world being radical, advocates for "outdated" values ​​or being the only ones who believe in God among our acquaintances. Nor do we a problem to exhort our friends if we believe it is necessary.

But when conservatism is an intrinsic value in itself, then the entire spiritual internal ‘works’ twist and cramps and nausea follows. Jesus was not conservative. He was brave, demonstrative and challenging. He flicked the Pharisees on the nose.

To change one’s mind regarding a position, or not thinking as the “church” has always thought (and taught), should not be equated with interpreting the Bible liberally or being a revisionist. That these words are now used as ‘terms of abuse’ is yet more proof of the extreme ideal conservatism has become.

The point is that the 22 Pentecostal pastors make it all too easy for themselves. Interpretation must begin somewhere and an interpretation has been made, even if they do not want to admit it.  If they stop denying this perhaps we can actually have an intellectually and theologically honest debate where we, as sisters and brothers in union, attempt to understand how this issue might be processed.

Are we liberals and revisionist if we maintain our belief in a woman's right to teach in the church fellowship? Or do we risk a “bypass heaven" sentence (land in  hell) then? If we love Jesus and live a life full of faith, a faith that includes endorsing women’s right to teach, will we then be allowed to enter heaven?

Just as homosexuality can be discussed, issues concerning a woman's right to teach ought also be discussed. And if we believe that Christian homosexuals risk heaven’s exclusion, then we can’t know for certain the outcome of those who endorse female leadership.

It is true, honorable, faith: to dare and allow God to shake our segmented perceptions and bring us deeper into the gospel. Who knows what we'll find there?

An honest, Christian, radical and strong faith means that we establish our departure point in love and a clear focus on Jesus. Jesus who both changed and strengthened the Word. Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, but always spoke about the love of one’s neighbor.

We must dare to (explore) progress in humility. We have to recognize that we now have more knowledge-wisdom than we’ve ever had aft any time in history.

To affirm the Bible's literal words is to  also stand against women’s authority to teach (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35) and “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” (Titus 1:12). Interpretation must begin somewhere, because if we were to take everything literally, we would have drowned long ago.

We therefore ask you, Christian leaders, to stop posturing on the barricades showcasing how elevated you hold the word of God while all others tumble. We beg you to go out on the city’s streets, meet people and dare to reconsider. What if there's something we don’t yet know, something we don’t yet understand? What if God wants to teach us (reveal) and our congregations something new?

It is true, honorable, faith. That is, to dare to let God shake our segmented perceptions and bring us deeper into the gospel. Who knows what we'll find there?

Julia Tideström, psychology student at the University of Gothenburg.

Daniel Sturesson, Member, Regional Council of Skåne, for the Christian Democrats.

Ellinor Carlberg Mehren, assistant pastor of the Swedish Church.

Samuel Wolf, Magic edutainer.

Maja Johansson, youth leader in Equmeniakyrkan.

Patrik Otterman, Corps Officer, the Salvation Army in Malmö.

Anna Lundström, psychology student.

Ce Lyrehed, a priest in the Swedish Church.

Birger Stepped Norderstedt, entrepreneur, Chairman EKHO around the country.

Irina Sartakova, cantor in the Swedish Church.

Jesper Magnell student voice actors.

Dan Tideström, Congregation pedagog in the Swedish Church.

Sara Lisa Sandberg, former youth worker.

Malin Sultan, law student at the University of Gothenburg.

Jenny Berging, warden in Equmeniakyrkan.

Sofia Bertilsson, church music student.

Maria Rudin, primary school teacher.

Amelie Roof, a student in public health, lecturers.

Rebecca Martinius, medical secretary.

Sofia Olofsgård, PE teachers.

Linnea Synnöve Carlsson, bio-engineer.

Translation: Sven Ljungholm 
I've taken minimum liberties to make certain the English translation conforms closely to the author's intent; symantic concerns


Anonymous said...

Why is homosexuality ALWAYS the default/go to wedge issue? How about the ongoing sin of Christians who habitually sin everyday and seek forgiveness for Sunday morning and resume with the same sin after the closing prayer is prayed?

Anonymous said...

I think it's featured today because ut was such a big news in Sweden. And I thank Ljungholm for the good translation.

Christian pastors in Sweden who hold to such old ideas are laughed at. And because they always get headlines people think all Swedish christians are also not thinking. These pentecost embarrass many christians.

Anonymous said...

Soon there will be no individual thoughts, no evidence of spiritual convictions, we will all be cloned into singing from the same hymn sheet, with all individualism stifled to satisfy the glbtq lobby. What gives them the right to claim the lightbulb?

Anonymous said...


They're PEOPLE who just happen to sin differently from you. What are your habitual and ongoing sin so that you too can be denigrated, bashed, humiliated in public by loving Christians?

Anonymous said...

"What gives them the right to claim the lightbulb?" Perhaps the same right Black people felt and continue to feel despite what the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA has determined...that racism is a thing of the past in the United States?

Anonymous said...

What are your habitual and ongoing sin .... sins that I confess daily and ask for forgiveness, and try NOT to do any more, so help me God. The trouble is, this (glbtq) is not regarded by liberals as being SIN - they say they are born that way, God still loves them, He won't mind that they can't help it blah,blah,blah, (you've read it in different 'liberalising' articles for some time now on this website) and that's the difference. What is wrong by conviction in one person's eyes will not be changed by seeing one sin accepted over all the rest. It's got nothing to do with prejudice or homophobia, just a different outlook on what is sin and what isn't. I like to think that people come to church to be changed, to be better people, to be more Christlike: I can't accept that people are happy with (what I see as) their sexual lifestyle choice which I believe is wrong. I can't help it - I too am born that way. Once glbtq people have universal acceptance, what next? Giving the green light to pedophiles, to zoophiliacs? After all, they must be born that way as well. They are all sexual perversions, far removed from God's blueprint for his children.

Anonymous said...

"Sins that I confess daily and try not to do anymore"

I presume you continue to sin? How's that working out for you? You still continue to sin! So who in your life (family, friends, fellow Christians maybe?) openly mock and degrade you? Who in your life want to cause bodily harm or even death to you because of your ongoing sin? I get it, all you need to do is say Abracadabra Hey Presto and your sin is wiped clean... Until you repeat it again and again and again...

"Universal acceptance, what's next? Green light to pedophiles and zoo what?" Jesus! I'm sorry I don't have an answer for that one. I will say that I am able to not lessen a persons life or want death for him or her based on who they love... And by that I don't mean little children or zoo animals.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame commenter 7 could not avoid blasphemy in his/her comments. I was surprised to read the name of Jesus written in this way. In quality newspapers I read, naughty words are always replaced with asterisks. I hear enough blasphemy in my daily life without having to read it on a Christian website.