Homosexuals in Heaven

24 05 2008

General SuperintendantsHere’s a somewhat controversial question.  Will there be homosexuals in heaven?  I think many christians will be surprised when they get there to find the answer is yes.

I was interested to read in a blog that I have started following called Emergent Nazarenes about a new letter to pastors put out by the General Superintendants in the Church of the Nazarene on the topic of Homosexuality.  I read the post and then went on to read the entire pamphlet for myself.  I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at some of what I read.

You can read the pamphlet yourself here, but some of the quotes are as follows:

“The Bible does not homosexual orientation. What the Bible does talk about are homosexual acts.  We need to be clear about this, and to not say more than the Bible says.  One of the problems in the destructive debates that are taking place is lack of clarity on this very point.”

“What we do know from walking with people in a fallen world is that homosexuality is real, it tends to begin early, and it is rarely a choice.”

“Sexual orientation is not usually a willful choice.  (Can the heterosexual point to a time they chose their sexual orientation?)”

“Americans tend to be greedy as an influence of our consumer society.  We didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be greedy.  We were born into a greedy world and this sticky sin stuck to us.  …homosexuality is a sin because it reflects the fallenness of our world.  Like greed, it is something we are called to respond to by grace according to the character of God.  The person who is homosexually oriented does not need a church that condemns their orientation, but rather a church that calls for a response that is in keeping with the character of God.”

Our refusing to come alongside in the complexity of the journey too often results in two wrong responses.  The first is to naively believe that homosexuality is a simple matter to be fixed by one serious trip to the altar…The second wrong response is to simply cave in to the belief that homosexuality is irreversible, homosexual behavior is natural, ‘just who I am’, and therefore we offer no help at all”.

“The reoriented or celibate single homosexual will be invited to full participation in the life and ministry of the church, leading ministries, serving on boards, and singing in choirs.”

This is just a sampling of the contents of the letter, but I thought it showed the general theme.  I was pretty happy with the tone of the letter.  I think a lot of Christians might be surprised to hear some of what was said.  I know I was.  I was happy to hear them acknowledge that homosexuality is most-likely not a choice.  I don’t believe I have ever heard that inside the walls of a Nazarene church before.  I was glad to read that they make a distinction between homosexual orientation (most likely not a choice) and homosexual behavior (a choice).  And, I think the comparison to greed (in this country especially) is very valid.  It creates an equality for a behavior that carries with it a huge stigma with a behavior that has become extremely commonplace in many christians’ lives.  Finally, I appreciate the statement that homosexuals should be included completely in all areas of ministry in the church.  Not only should they be let in the doors, but they should be allowed, perhaps even expected, to participate in all areas of ministry.

I am pretty happy with the stance the general superintendants in the Church of the Nazarene took with this issue.  So, what do you think?  Will there will be homosexuals in heaven?