Monday, April 20, 2015

SWEDISH CHURCHMEN DEBATE # 5



We are part of the Church

Again and again you’ve condemned us, and our love is portrayed as the biggest threat to a "healthy" Christian faith.  (Written by 24 Christian homosexuals)


Recently, we have had a healthy debate, we who are Christians and homosexuals. After Joel Halldorfs’ ‘header’ text which sought a deeper exchange there came a response from Anders Gerdmar, who argued that sexuality is a "lifestyle issue." Following that, a group of ten pastors, wanting to appear generous/gracious responded, the gist of their text was nonetheless neither: "You are welcome to join with us if you are willing to see yourself as broken, and you have a homosexual relationship recognizing that you can never be considered a real Christian".

And, finally, there was also a letter to the Editor from 22 pastors who stated firmly that "active" homosexuality leads to hell.

Would any of these pastors who commented seriously consider trying to reinstate slavery, racial segregation or sanction discrimination against women, and to do so on biblical grounds? The question sounds preposterous, but the fact remains that these injustices were practiced and supported with direct reference to the Bible. Slavery was considered, for example, to be quite in order by Church Fathers, eg.  Augustine, and American Christians argued in the 1800s that their personal relationship with Jesus "gave them authority" to keep people as slaves.
Today, when we see the fruits of this, the pain that it caused, it is difficult for us to comprehend that one could use the Bible with which to support these injustices. It is so obviously wrong, cruel, and ungodly. No one would argue that these Christians radiated a Christ fragrance to their contemporaries. Or that the proponents of segregation in the American South in the 1960s stood "tall for Christ." And yet: history repeats itself.

Dear Pastors, it is not because you are "Radical for Christ" that you are challenged and meet with opposition in the media. It is because you preach things in the name of God that hurts other people. To claim that the Bible is unequivocal about homosexuality is dishonest and irresponsible theology. And just as in the above cases, people in the future will ask: "How could they preach this and call themselves Christians?"

In the various inputs the pastors stressed the need to "tell it like it is." That it is their duty to share the word of the Bible as it is, i.e., as interpreted by them. However, they do not seem to think it is their duty to consider the consequences of their teaching. What is the fruit - the outcome? If one would only dare look at the results you would find: lifelong lies, suicide, anxiety, self-loathing, deprivation, physical abuse and so on. A reprehensible result.

Another consequence is that the Church repels the "world" away from the gospel by showing itself unloving and judgmental. In some US states, it has recently become legal for business owners with religious beliefs to refuse to provide service to homosexuals. It’s a change in the law with the strong support of conservative Christians. Even in Sweden, we can see that the resistance against homosexuals is what the public has begun to associate with the Free Church (not the formal authority represented by the Swedish state church- Church of Sweden).

Homosexuals in the church and especially the Free Church have  long been all too invisible, for obvious reasons. Many of us have hidden a part of ourselves for many years before we finally found reality (authenticity) in "The truth shall make you free." We come from different parts of the church, with different experiences, we are of different ages and backgrounds. But what we have in common is that we discovered that our sexual identity is different from the majority. And in the church that would be our spiritual home, there are many who do not want to see us there.

Christ’s undemanding love-Grace was ‘changed’ (by the church) beyond any recognition to a human yardstick, which says that parts of our inner being (design) are sick and sinful. Many of us have sat in church pews in cringed  prayer for years and years and asked ourselves about a loving God who’d condemn us to a life without the opportunity to demonstrate our love.

In the end we have, through various methods, come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is no, and that it is not God who has a problem with us. It's people. And we have been able to join in the words of Psalm 139: 14; "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

That is our belief. And for that reason, some of us had to resign from the responsibility (vocation) we previously had in the church because it was not acceptable to have, for instance, a gay youth group leader. Some (in the church) accept homosexual Christians with the verb ‘homosexuality’ being no worse than any other sin. It is a perverse reasoning because the gist of it is that we are sinners who choose to remain in our sin. No, we believe that we are created by God just as we are.
The issue of homosexuality has for some reason become the largest watershed in modern Christianity. Again and again we are condemned, and our love is portrayed as the biggest threat to a "sound-healthy" Christian faith. Yet, we choose to remain ... At least some of us. Other ‘Christians’ have effectively caused many of us to leave our faith in God through their cocksure and judicial theology.


So why do we write this? Because we are some of those who still cling to the faith, to remind you that we homosexuals always existed in the Church and above all, to give an encouragement to you in the church who’ve not yet dared "come out". You, whose anxiety is black as night, who know condemnation from pastors and spiritual (leaders) authority. You are not alone, there is nothing wrong with you and through transparency, the oppressive weight will dissipate/disperse.

There will be voices raised in the church that say, we do not belong there, but they will be drowned out by the loving voice that whispered through the millennia "He who comes to Me I will in no wise cast out".

Translation: Kjell-Erik Edlund – Sven Ljungholm



Johan Mauritzson, art director and musician, Oskarshamn.
Anders Mårtensson, singer, vocal teacher, Stockholm.
Daniel Zetterstrom, language teacher, Falun.
Frederick Sällberg, bus driver, Falun.
Sara Malmberg, parental social worker, Stockholm.
Magnus Johansson, teacher, craftsman and musician, Stockholm.
Viktor Petersson, copywriter, Boras.
Mattias Högberg, Operator, Falkenberg.
Alexander Håkansson, student, Markaryd.
Martin Kronbäck, cook, Gothenburg.
Stefan Albinsson, pastor, Stockholm.
Lasse Vallarta Moss, pastor, Uppsala.
Niclas Hjorth, general manager, Enskede.
Hugo Bäckelid, administrator, Stockholm.
Daniel Andersson, student, Oskarshamn.
Camilla Granelid, high school teacher, Falun.
Bengt Waldemarsson, musician and former Salvation Army officer, Stockholm.
Henrik Fransson, pastor, Acting overseers, Gothenburg.
Joel Kunto, social worker student, Orebro.
Tina Trends, counselor and therapist, Stockholm.
Frederick Degeryd, sound engineer, Karlstad.
Ce Lyrehed, priest, Karlstad.
Joachim Stahl, technical analyst, Stockholm
Erica, (anonymous)

1 comment:

FORMER SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS FELLOWSHIP said...

When it comes to homosexuals, heterosexuals and those on the fences, our desire for them is not heterosexuality, but holiness, He transforms their life and ours from the inside out.

1. Don't call homosexuality a choice. It's not. This is hard to swallow for many Christians. Although homosexual behavior is a choice, homosexual attraction is not. When you say homosexuality is a choice, this is a tip-off that you don't understand homosexuality or homosexuals.

2. Avoid the cliché, "God loves the sinner, but hates the sin."

3. Accept it- Homosexuality is here to stay. In fact, it's becoming more a part of our culture every day. And each successive generation is more accepting of the gay lifestyle.

4. When it comes to homosexuals, our desire for them is not heterosexuality, but holiness. We're not trying to make gays straight. We're trying to lead them straight to Jesus, just as we would anyone else.

He will transform those aspect He deems sinful in their life and ours from the inside out.