|The rise of gay evangelical charismatics|
In the Fridae article 08 Aug 2011, the former Evangelical Baptist pastor Steve Parelli talks about his ex-gay and coming out experience. He came out in his mid-40s, and that was about 10 years ago. Steve spoke about the need to re-think the whole evangelical theology, and not only adjust our scriptures on the same sex parts. Coming out however is slowly moving away from just a Queer theology of progressive/liberal churches into new churches with a Progressive Protestanism. This is surprising since the anti-gay movement has been led by the Evangelicals. However, the leading of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatics changes perceptions.
The evangelical theology of Protestanism has descended to be little different from the Catholics/Orthodoxy and the strict Jewish faiths. The Reformation calls for Faith in the grace of God, they have added in the law for which by Gays have become the most condemed. Hence, such evangelical faith became mere participation in the routine religious sacraments and repetitive quoting of scriptures without insight. However, the Holy Spirit has been bringing revival through the new wave of Modern Protestanism in the last 50 years and this move of God is now spreading to the GLBT community.
Christianity is not made up of the Evangelical versus Progressive/Liberal divide per say. It is a Catholic/Orthodoxy world (70%). Progressives/Liberals only make up of less than 2% (US Episcopal, UM, UCC etc). The Gay churches has hitherto came from progressive movement where the conversation is about how to re-think the entire evangelical theology in light of our coming out.
However, In the last 10 years, with outing of prominent charismatic evangelicals such as Roberts liardon, there is new peculiar wave of gay charismatic evangelicals. It appears that the "revival" of the GLBT Christian community is taking upon a more charismatic and evangelical tone to the disdain of many progressives seeing it as abandoning liberal theological integrity.
Ironically, those who move by the Holy Spirit of God should have been the first to discern the acceptance of God of the GLBT community. Rather than living by the letter of the law we should move by the Spirit of the Law.
There is a rethinking of theology focusing on the grace of God in Christ Jesus rather than the religious laws which has become a bondage. Without the Holy Spirit of God, it is difficult to live out the ministry of Christ with grace nor interpret the bible consistently for our modern times/context. The grace of God is not really a teaching, but it is Christ the person. The churches are moving to a greater understanding of God's grace, the heart of God which will eventually include the GLBT community.
(Mat 19:12 NKJV) "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."
The Jewish religious laws did forbade same sex acts as unclean because it was commonly associated with the pagan priests making themselves eunuchs and the people of faith would have anal sex with these castrated priests to join themselves with the demonic spirits.
Hence, same sex acts in the usual idol worship context was a religious abomination where the men who worship the gods was frowned upon. Gays were commonly known as natural Eunuchs in contrast to those who castrate themselves in the name of religion. As Jesus said sarcastically "there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake".
23:17 KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a
sodomite of the sons of Israel.
The Christian Right often mentions that permitting homosexuality would result in gays having sex with dogs. Hence, the likes of Pastor Rony Tan has likened gays to dogs. This is a gross distortion of religious history. In the bible, in religious faith worship of pagan gods, the dogs of the temple are young men, that would help the priests by availing themselves to have anal sex with the worshippers of the demonic deities.
The evangelicals are deluding themselves when they say they interpret the bible literally (few people do!). For example, in Deu 23:17, they would interpret "Sodomites" as Gays, but literally the hebrew word used for Sodomites or "Kadesh" is a Canaanite religious male religious prostitute. Reading Deu 23:17,18 together, the children of Israel shall not be made to serve in the temples of these gods which is an abomination to the God of Israel. It's not about same sex orientation, rather sex with the deities. On the other extreme, Progressives deny themselves understanding the meaning of the verses all together by not believing in the reality of demonic entitities, and generalising that we could not believe in the bible literally or that God is a mystery.
The OT biblical laws have no grace, but grace came in through Jesus Christ. Eg if you accidentally killed another person, you are liable with an eye for an eye punishment. Jesus is a picture of the OT cities of refuge where one could escape to avoid punishment under the law since they were actually innocent. Likewise gays are innocent.
11:5 NKJV) "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a
vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by
four corners; and it came to me.
For the Charismatic Evangelicals or modern protestanism/ Anglicanism where the ministry of the Holy Spirit becomes paramount, we are reminded that the first Christians were Jewish. Yet, it was the Spirit of God who commanded Peter to break the OT scripture by eating unclean animals whom Peter later summised as ministering to the Gentiles.
It was the Holy Spirit of God who moved upon the Roman Centurion who asked for Peter's presence and when Peter preached the good news, the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentile believers and they begin to speak in tongues.
The Holy Spirit is proclaiming the Gospel of Salvation in Christ alone. Jesus is God's grace. He is moving in the hearts of Christians breaking their hearts of legalism and self righteousness exemplified by their anti-gay crusade.
It was the Holy Spirit of God, whose still and quiet voice confronted me that I was Gay. I already knew. God was asking me to accept my own sexual orientation. I was the problem, and not God because I wanted to belong, and being gay would meant being an outcast. Being Gay and Christian broke through all my self righteousness and pride. God knew, and God had accepted me. Who am I, to reject myself when God already had accepted my sexuality. I was accepted in the beloved, accepted in tJesus Christ.
There is a wind blowing, a mighty wind, it is the Holy Spirit of God moving amongsts Gay Charismatic Evangelical Christians to come out. For today is your day, your destiny in God's grace. The time of tarrying before God is over. Our generation have had to wait for the freedom to come out. We got lost in the desert of our closets, our theological baggages, fears, hurts and pain too difficult to bear. We live in the era where to survive was hiding the closet. The desert destroyed us from within.
Today, the younger generation have much more acceptance and freedom coming out as gays. It will get much better. God is doing a mighty move this day. New GLBT Churches are arising in the US and Asia, that will move in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and by God's love, grace and mercy. They are starting to move out of the progressive/liberal fold.
They will be praising God aloud with tongues filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Modern Protestanism/Anglicanism just like the Jews of old will be amazed how God could be moving in the gay community whom they had previously condemned as sinners. God's amazing grace is coming.
The grace of God which has hitherto extended to the Gentiles, will now be extended to Eunuch who are born like that. They will bring along an extended revelation of God's grace, a breakdown of the discrimanatory religious/societal structures, and a deeper respect for human worth and dignity, and a focus on loving and accepting ourselves as being created beautifully in the image of God.
A detailed breakdown from Wikipedia of Christianity is as follows:-
a. Catholicism - 1.2 billion
b. Protestanism - 650 million
1. Historical Protestanism 350m (Baptist 100m, Lutheran 75m, Methodist 75m, Reformed 75m). United Church of Christ 1.2m. United Methodist 12m.
2. Moden Protestanism 274m (Pentecostalism 130m, non denominational 80m)
c. Eastern Orthodoxy - 230 million
d. Oriental Orthodoxy - 82 million
e. Anglicanism - 82 million (US Espiscopal church 2.4m)