Letters November 2013

Move beyond questions to answers 

Re “Will you officiate our wedding?” (Features, September). In view of his particular context of ministry, John Neufeld tries very hard to convey a sense of openness on the gay issue by raising questions. Why the silence on several of the most pressing issues that ministers face?

If the homosexual act is a transgression (sin) according to Scripture, what direction does your counselling take?

If a gay couple claiming to be Christian asks you to marry them, do you bless their union? (Our “love conversations” will probably sound like a “gong and clanging cymbal,” unless we proceed to unify them in marriage.)

This fall, as the conference meets to discuss issues relating to human sexuality, I hope our leadership will speak with clarity, conviction, and direction to the critical issues, and not just turn the matter back to the local congregation for action, as we have done in the past on some of our pressing concerns.

It’s time to move beyond the questions and proceed to the answers. Our ministers are waiting.

Vic Neufeld

Followers of Jesus, not cultural trends

Re “Will you officiate our wedding?” (Features, September). Spending time in Winnipeg in my 20s gave me much respect for John Neufeld of The Meeting Place, but we differ on our view of homosexuality. While John has many great points in his article, I take exception with several, and hope those reading the Herald and attending the BFL study conference on human sexuality consider the following.

1) John’s comments about being more concerned about heterosexual behaviours than homosexual behaviours appears to be contradictory to his later point about Christians constructing a hierarchy of sinful behaviour. Is he not doing the same thing with these statements?

2) John mentions that sex is a spiritual act linked to a covenant relationship with another person. I haven’t been able to find anything of that nature in Scripture. I believe Scripture links sex to a covenant relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

3) Canadian culture and law affirm same-sex marriage, John observes, then adds that same-sex couples will find and follow Jesus. I don’t see that as possible, for Jesus never blesses same-sex marriage.

To add to the obvious, Jesus didn’t follow culture for culture’s sake. If we are “Jesus followers,” why would we follow culture?

Ken Driedger
Abbotsford, B.C.

Unsafe conversation 

Re “Will you officiate our wedding?” (Features, September). Thank you for the timely articles on same-sex marriage and homosexuality. I’m glad the conference is addressing this issue that the church has ignored while young men and women have been lost to us and often to suicide.

I’m sad that when I broach the subject of my gay grandson, whom I love dearly, with my “church” friends, I get silence or a Bible verse or a book given to me.

Not so with my young friends or non-Christian friends.

I will attend my grandson’s wedding, but I have kept that quiet from my close friends because that conversation is unsafe.

Thank you, Herald and conference for beginning the conversation.

Alice Esau

Hope for “a new era”

Re “It’s a new day” (Editorial, September). Reflecting on Laura Kalmar’s editorial on human sexuality and other articles in the recent Herald moved me to think there may soon come a time when we in the Mennonite Brethren church will be able to sincerely and humbly listen to our lesbian, gay, and bisexual brothers and sisters.

Perhaps influenced by the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington advocating civil rights, I imagine a time when we in the church will, with open arms, welcome and include into the fabric of our worshipping communities those whom we formerly found unacceptable. I imagine a time when we will publicly apologize for judgmental statements and actions, similar in spirit to the apologies expressed by Alan Chambers of the recently closed Exodus International, Wendy Gritter of New Direction Ministries of Canada, and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.

Thank you, Laura and your team, for the courage to open this topic. I pray that our ensuing dialogue, however, will move beyond words to concrete actions that will indeed represent what you call “a new era of generosity, grace, and reconciliation.”

Steve Thiessen
Abbotsford, B.C.

Not a marriage

Re Human sexuality: Honouring God with the body (September). The Bible plainly states that marriage is between a man and a woman who become legally united on a permanent basis. It is a religious rite.

If they require a legal procedure to live together, they should go to a government representative and sign a partnership agreement.

I am not anti-homosexual and I think most people are not, and my only complaint about same-sex partners is that they continue to use a holy word to describe their union.

Gene Janzen
Nanaimo, B.C.

Honest obedience isn’t easy

Re “Why don’t young adults go to church?” (Viewpoint, August). I wonder if the honesty young adults express about church is not so much honest reflection as honest selfishness. Can you imagine this kind of honesty in a marriage? “I love you but you’re boring. I don’t really want to spend time with you.”

Going to church and serving the Bride of Christ are acts of obedience. Obeying isn’t always easy; but Jesus is our example. In the garden, he was honest: “Take this cup from me,” he prayed. Then he got up, was betrayed by his friends, brutally tortured, and nailed alive to a cross. He died in honest obedience.

Sometimes being committed to the Bride of Christ is painful. It can cut us into pieces. But faith without works is dead. If we love Jesus, he will give us the strength to love and serve his Bride.

Verena Bergen
Pitt Meadows, B.C.

Holding to a blessed hope

Re “Film’s mockery belittles theology” (Crosscurrents, September) and “Film on hot topic questions actions arising from belief” (Crosscurrents, July). Hell was the problem Jesus came to solve, and he did. The Bible is our primary evidence for a victorious view of God’s plan for humanity. Confessions of faith and such documents are important, but they are not inspired.

Some would argue that the Bible informs us hell will be the unfortunate end of many. To this we reply: only if that is the expectation with which one comes to the Bible. If, however, one comes to the Bible with the view that the cure is greater than the disease, the second Adam is more powerful to save than the first Adam was to lose, and God will only be satisfied with total victory, then the Bible becomes a beautiful history of this plan.

I believe that God will get everything he wants – and that is nothing less than all. Hellbound? is an important catalyst in opening discussion on this topic. There are believers of every denominational stripe who hold to this “blessed hope.”

Rick Janzen
Black Creek, B.C.

Misled by spiritual forces?

Re “Does the church need Superman?” (Crosscurrents, August). I agree with Mr. Ferguson’s statement: “In a sense, this film could be asking Christians why we are not more like our Saviour.” I believe it’s because we are not following him as closely as we should.

I think we have become lax and forget there’s a spiritual war going on.

In fact, I’m in the process of ridding my home of my near-25-year comic book collection. “The Replacement Gods,” a video by Little Light studios opened my eyes to the hidden messages within the comic book realm.

We have been duped by spiritual forces. Is it not plausible that Satan has infiltrated the movie industry and has even influenced the studios to market this to Christians?

Dan Lanyon

One Comment on “Letters November 2013

  1. I’m disappointed that the MB Herald would publish letters about listening “humbly” to unrepentant homosexuals, attending their “wedding,” and having no complaints about same-sex partners apart from their use of the word “marriage.”

    The Bible describes homosexual sexual activity as detestable, defiling, sinful, impure, degrading, shameful, unnatural, indecent, perversion, wicked, excluded from the kingdom of God, lawbreaking, rebellious, ungodly, unholy, irreligious, contrary to sound doctrine, immorality (Leviticus 18:22,24-30; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; Jude 7). If we downplay this pervasive teaching of Scripture, we are simply unfaithful to God and his Word.

    Of course, there is forgiveness and cleansing for homosexuals who repent, just as (praise God!) there is forgiveness and cleansing for all of us sinners if we repent. But we do people no favours if we condone their sin or pretend it’s not a serious barrier between them and their Creator.

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