Openly practicing "gay" couples and the Church

How is the church supposed to respond to a heterosexual couple who visits the church, expresses belief in the gospel, and a desire to join this church AND let's us know, right up front, that they are not married, but living together as if they were, and with no intention of ever getting married?


And what if that couple also lets us know that not only are they not married, they are each still married to other people, having never been divorced because, they say, they don't believe in divorce? Do we graciously accept them as members, with the knowledge that they are living together, sharing "the marriage bed" without being married?


Would it be correct to say that we would not accept a couple who are openly practicing adultry as members of our congregation? And how, pray tell, would we not accept them, but at the same time be loving, compassionate and accepting of them as lost human beings? Or as Christians who are knowingly living contrary to the Scriptural standards of Christian behavior?


We tell people whom we want to be saved, that they must repent! Or at least we should be telling them that. Are we to make exceptions for the openly practicing "gay" couples who come our way? I assure you I am not being contentious. I am asking all who agree with the author ... for example, Carlos Santiago ... I would love to hear your answer on this issue. Considering all that you said in your post. Just how do we "connect" with the openly (and defiant) members of the LGBTQ community? Without compromising?


Gay churches have come into existence because they are accepted just as they are, and their members are not only allowed, but encouraged to continue in their homosexual activities, because they are teaching that homosexuality is just as "normal" as anyone else, and that their life-style is perfectly accepatable to God, because, after all, God made them that way.


Please, seriously ... I just want to know how to connect with all that. So, we have authorities now telling us how wrong we have been in our dealings with the gay community, and how we need to be loving and compassionate and understanding. Okay, I can understand that ... but that does not tell us, or instruct us as to how to deal with their sexual behaviors. Are we going to start telling them that their attractions are okay, and they can just keep right on keeping on as always. Serious and sencere questions.


Riley Brown Added Aug 18, 2018 - 2:59pm
Chuck, no apology is needed, I don't see any overt attempts to be insulting, and consider all else to be acceptable, even satire and humor aimed at me.
Your question one, I have no confidence that the stories in the bible were truly given to us by God, but also no proof that they aren't.  I suspect they were created by man but temper my beliefs and my actions with a healthy respect for the possibility that they were and a belief that even if they weren't they can be used to inspire and comfort millions of people. 
# 2, I believe whatever God or creator exists is the same for everyone, no just Christians.  They may not all recognize that, but I don't believe there are competing creators serving people of different religions.
#3, I know the Jews place an extreme value on replicating the Torah exactly as it was given to them, character by character, and that is probably why it's possible to view copies that are thousands of years apart and see no changes. 
That being true I had a class in the bible that focused on it as a historically accurate document, not on it's religious content or teachings.  I don't remember everything that I learned, but it was taught from a Jewish point of view.  Lots of what we learned about was detailed in the Talmud.  As things seem to have turned out I saw plenty of evidence that the stories in the Old Testament are not what would have been there if the scholars who assembled it knew then what we know now.  The Talmud includes a lot of discussion, and the arguments describing what they wanted to include, including which versions of the stories, what order it should be in, and what didn't belong in it.
First with regard to the order of the stories, some are not in the right order, and we know because more modern scholars have figured out that some of the stories are not as old or older than others, based on content that was not as closely scrutinized by the scholars who put in on paper.  They used the presence of words, phrases, and things that helped date the works, like we might do if we noticed someone in a story used the internet and inferred that couldn't happen in 1965.  I wish I could remember a good example.
As things turn out some of the New Testament stories should have been in the Old Testament.   As for which versions of the stories, well it's tough, the Hebrew that it was written in, in the Torah, was a dead language for a long long time before it was translated into other languages.  Very well meaning and educated scholars combine their best interpreting skills with guesses about what they think God would have said, to come up with what we read today.  There is a lot of room for guessing, and a lot of room to be wrong.
Very Orthodox Jews have lots of rules based on the most cautious and respectful interpretation they can imagine, causing them to believe things like that it's bad to even say God's name.  They don't mix meat with dairy, and that to reminds me how cautious people can be when they when it comes to making sure what they say God wants, can never be too strictly interpreted.  God never said don't mix milk with meat, and very possibly didn't say a lot of other things that are attributed to him or her.
Than you for the discussion.
C.L.(Chuck)Troupe Added Aug 18, 2018 - 7:14pm
And thank you Riley for your comments. Earlier in my former life (before retirement) ... I was probably still in my late 30s, pushing 40 (my memories fade sometimes) I had taken a semester of New Testament Greek (Koine Greek) and a few months later a week-long workshop on the documents of the Old and New Testaments.
We had two Rabbis teaching the Old Testament part of the workshop ... of course, they did not call it the "Old" Testament.
They presented according to their belief that the books of Genesis through Malachi WAS, IS and ALWAYS WILL BE, The Word of The Living God.  One of the Rabbis was Orthodox, and the other (not sure) might have been Reformed or something like that.
One would say, or pronounce the Tetragram as "Yah-Veh" or "Ya-Way" and the other (the orthodox) would not, but would say, "Adonai."
Anyway, BOTH of these Rabbis agreed that the Talmud is NOT inspired as was the Torah and the rest of the Bible, but was an account, or an on-going, multi-volume record, of a series of writings (or discussions) among Rabbis and other Jewish Scholars.
Some of them disagreed with many portions of the writings of Genesis through Malachi, but most of them did not.
I would suppose that if some publisher could legally do it, they could take ALL the writings of ALL the CHRISTIAN commentaries (many of which totally disagree with each other) and put them all together in a multi-volume series and we would have something pretty darn close to a Christian style version of the Talmud.
In today's world of "Christendom," there are many churches that no longer believe in the Authority of the Bible ... not even as much as you do.  One of them is the Unitarian/Universalist church.
These two churches merged back in the early part of the last century. The Universalists were a legitimate Christian church that believed that ultimately, ALL people, regardless of belief or unbelief, and regardless of behaviors or life-styles, will be saved. And they DID believe that the Bible was the ultimate authority for all matters pertaining to Christian faith and doctrine.
The Unitarian church was never a Christian church. They never believed that the Bible was of any particular importance at all. And they have always been practitioners of séances and other occultic rituals.
Why they merged I have no idea. But now the two (U/U) are both the same in every area of faith and doctrine.  In other words, they are both totally Unitarian.  They believe whatever they wish. Which is just about anything but the Bible.
I am not disparaging them, just giving an example of the fact that there are churches (once Christian in every sense of the term), that have now become something totally different, yet still maintain that they are Christians.
I am a bit on the run again today, so I will close with one question that might be a bit multi-phased.
In the area of the Bible (both testaments) can you cite any particular statements, or teachings that, according to some scholars, should not have been included?  Or that should have been excluded?
In the area of translation (from the Hebrew or the Greek) can you cite any particular verses or (even parts of verses) that were NOT translated accurately?
OR any portions of Scripture that simply should not be there at all, but because some of the existing manuscript copies do not have those portions of Scripture while others do?
These Scriptural issues (and questions) have to do with an area of theology known as "Apologetics."  This is something that I have been involved with for about 20 to 30 years ... Or thereabouts.
No, I am not "lettered" in the subject, just a very much interested and enthusiastic practitioner.  
I wish there was a way to hold these discussions privately. In this format, or forum, anyone who sees this may join in and make comments.  I don't mind if they are respectful and civil, and sensible.  But those that are not ... I will simply delete.  And if the deleted individuals complain about being deleted, I will delete those complains also.
Take care, be safe, and God Bless..............................!
C.L.(Chuck)Troupe Added Aug 18, 2018 - 7:17pm
Riley, please be advised ... just a reminder, I am going to keep only the last two or three postings of our ongoing dialog. And I will probably not respond to any new comments on that very 1st posting that Ms. Autumn Cote posted for me.  We are doing a totally new thread now.
Riley Brown Added Aug 18, 2018 - 9:27pm
Chuck, you asked about possible mistranslations and one I remember well was prompted by your own recollection of a Rabbi who used the word Ya-Way to represent the name of God.
First, generally the more Orthodox Jews would never refer to God by his name, that would be disrespectful, so the Rabbi who refereed to him using the descriptive adjective, Adonai was much more in line with traditional Judaism than the "Rabbi" who for whatever reason called him Ya-Way.  I may not be quoting the proper English term but Adonai is to the name of God just like President is to Trump today, not the name, just a respectful reference that in religious context would always refer to God.
I've never heard a member of the Jewish clergy call God Ya-Way, but if that Rabbi did, it makes me wonder about his background and intent.  Other more contemporary, none Jewish religions have tried to figure out God's actual name and did come up with something like Ya-Way, but virtually all the Jewish Scholars agree that their pronunciation is based on a lack of understanding of Hebrew language.  Real Jewish scholars tell us that the word being pronounced that way would never have been said that way because it defies traditional Jewish rules of grammar and pronunciation.  The character and vowel combinations they are interpreting are not uncommon in other words in very common Jewish prayers that have not changed for thousands of years, and we do know how they are pronounced. 
The translation is not as straight forward as it sounds like it should be.  The Hebrew alphabet is simple but compounded by vowels and the Torah has  none of the vowels because the people who lived when it was written knew the words so well that there was no reason to include them in written texts.  However without them the literal pronunciation would be quite different.  Here is an English example.
Suppose you didn't read English and saw the word atypical.  The A could be pronounce a long A like the sound of the name of the letter or short A more like in the name Author.  In Hebrew vowels under the letters tell us how letters should be pronounced, but as with the word Atypical in English, fluent readers don't need them
Ya-Way is a mistake made by non-Jews who don't understand what they are reading well enough to correctly pick the correct pronunciation.