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What is our church doing about this?


olger

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taken from Philadelphia weekly. (11-20-07)

Quote:
(Philadelphia) – Outgoing Mayor John Street’s decision to perform a same-sex commitment ceremony on Saturday at City Hall offers a further explanation in the course Philadelphia has taken in the past several years. Today the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a statewide group which supports Pennsylvania’s one man, one woman marriage law and the effort to pass a Marriage Protection Amendment to the PA Constitution, faxed the mayor a letter of concern outlining the wrong messages that will be sent by his involvement in Saturday’s activities.

“Mayor Street has drifted off course during his political career. Once a strong advocate for traditional values, he can no longer be trusted to uphold those values that are supposedly part of his belief system,” said Diane Gramley, President of the AFA of PA.

Mayor Street is a practicing Seventh Day Adventist. Their beliefs include, “Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus Christ to be both monogamous and heterosexual, a lifelong union of loving companionship between a man and a woman. . . . . To this biblical view of marriage the Seventh-day Adventist Church adheres without reservation, believing that any lowering of this high view is to that extent a lowering of the heavenly ideal.”

Street needs to be disfellowshipped immediately, if we are to have any credibility in our world. Unaddressed, this will damage our Adventist youth even further.

olger

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Street needs to be disfellowshipped immediately, if we are to have any credibility in our world. Unaddressed, this will damage our Adventist youth even further.

Oh...so what ONE church member does, defines the whole church?

Hmmmmm.....interesting premise.....

Biblical principles being what they are, if you have a beef with your fellow church member, you NEED to go TALK TO HIM, rather to us and air your beef.....After all, the source of your information might be wrong....and I have had that happen too many times and compounded the problem....

Sage advice...go talk to your brother....find out from the source why he did what he did, if he did....

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Olger said:

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Street needs to be disfellowshipped immediately, if we are to have any credibility in our world. Unaddressed, this will damage our Adventist youth even further.

dontgetit.gif

1. Why would disfellowshipping this man produce credibility of Adventists in the world? Would we advertise the fact to the news media so they can report such a monumental action was taken by the church against one person?

2. Why would Mr. Street's actions damage Adventist youth "even further"?

3. Mr. Street is not MARRYING these two same-sex people. That is against the law in Pennsylvania. He is merely giving them the opportunity to openly commit themselves to each other. That's better than tar and feathers.

duno

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When other Christian believers look up what Adventists believe to understand this man's action, we have a public disgrace on our hands.

It would have been far better if they were looking up Adventist doctrine because they were drawn to the fact that we stand for Biblical marriage. Experiments in morality will get people killed.

As to youth, our youth are crying out for illustrations of Biblical fidelity, speaking the truth in love, and Christian standards. Pitching his tent towards Sodom, cost Lot most of his family (Genesis 13:12). I conducted a seminar in Nashville, TN last weekend, and after meeting many who attended I am struck with the opportunity we have to lead our children to higher ground. This is love in action, instead of the homicide of moral compromise. May God bless their hearts, and give them Biblical answers amidst these terribly confusing times. The actions of the mayor of philly illustrate all too well the weakness of following man's evil ways. Pitching his tent towards Sodom, cost Lot most of his family (Genesis 13:12).

But for the truth of God's word, we would probably all have pitched our tent in Sodom by now. God is good, and He's not playing games with people. Read the first 10 chapters of Isaiah for some perspective.

your friend,

olger

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When I came to this country in 1955 there weren't many Asians studying in this country. Many people used ask me why I have wavy hair instead of straight hair. When I did something which was strange to them they used to ask me "is this what all the Koreans do?"

My point is that each of us SDAs represent our denomination to this world. The people around you get to know our church through our individual action no matter how relevant, it may not have any thing to do with our doctrine. Doesn't this behoove each of us to behave and speak carefully and responsibly. Mayor Street is(if) a practicing SDA, others will get impression of our church doctrine through this one man's behavior(espeicially he is holding a responsible position). Every organization has a set of standard every member should uphold, if one does not comply with this standard the organization has the responsibility and duty to do some thing about it.

Won

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I don't know if Mayor Street is an ordained minister or not. If he is, than something most certainly should be done. If he is just a member, I would just let it slide. His local congregation that holds his membership can deal with it. If they choose not to, well, that is their decision and not anyone else's.

Publicly it looks like it is being handled well. It is being reported just like Senator Kerry's position on abortion. Kerry's position is different than that of his church. The church still allows Kerry to be a member and partake in communion. Street's position is also different than the church. He is being allowed to remain in membership and, of course, partake in communion. I don't see that the story gives the Adventist church a black eye.

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Several things strike me on this act. First off, while Mayor Street may go to a Seventh-day Adventist church and may claim to be an Adventist in good standing, he is NOT a true representative of the Adventist beliefs.

While the Bible tells us that God hates the sin, He does love the sinner. However, He NEVER gives the impression that it is OK to encourage, condone, facilitate nor promote sin. This is where Mayor Street has crossed the line.

It's another sad day for the Adventist church, and for Protestantism as a whole. Yet another public figure falling under the influence of public opinion and popular culture, driven to subdue or reject the Biblical teaching on homosexuality.

May God help us. America is truly on the same path as Rome once was.

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I agree Mayor Street crossed a line. It is a case of bad judgment and misplaced sympathies. However I don't see the organized church as blessing his actions. If he is an ordained minister, I suspect he will have consequences to deal with. However if he is not, it really is an issue to be dealt with on the local church level.

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If a person of any religion also works in politics they should keep the two separate. To filter all political decisions through religious beliefs is not keeping with the separation of church and state. A politician has to represent all the people not just the some who keep the same religious beliefs. Right?

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I tend to agree with you, Amelia. If an SDA were president, he would naturally be sworn to protect the constitution of the US and therefore he would have to do quite a few things he would not want to do as an Adventist. For instance, he might have to send soldiers into battle, etc., or declare war.

In the case of Mayor Street, it seems to me that the church should send representatives to him and find out why he did what he did. Maybe there is a reasonable, acceptable explanation. On the other hand, if he says that he personally believes in marrying or uniting of a man with a man or a woman with a woman, that would be something completely different, and then the church would need to seriously consider disfellowshipping him.

When sins are done in the open and in public, and a person refuses to repent, then the church has to correct the situation or God considers the whole church responsible. We learn this in Num. 11 and Joshua 7.

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...go talk to your brother....find out from the source why he did what he did, if he did....

Good principle from the Word. Another one taken from our native born Americans. Don't sit in judgement upon another until you have walked X amount of days in his moccasins.

Many of us say what we would do if it had been left up to us, not recognizing that God didn't choose us to have that responsibility, probably because He knew how we would have handled it.

Since Mayor Street has already undergone the litmus test, the next best thing we can do is as you have pointed out, Neil, go to our brother and inquire what we can do together to contain the collateral damage.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts." Proverbs 21:2 KJV

"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

Judges 21:25 NKJV

Maybe mayor Overstreet hasn't paid a lot of attention to his Bible since putting his hand on it while making the oath of office to the community.

Seems like I remember the brother of Moses made a similar mistake

and I don't think he was disfellowshipped, and I don't think there was any confusion about whether he had done something wrong.

Regards! flower

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Thanks LHC and Neil ....

Good comments. It is often that we can understand the other side if ONLY we GIVE then a CHANCE ....

I will propose just one way to look at this rather than to condemn. Consider what SDA Chaplains do ... They have committed to serve ALL faiths. This "may" mean that they would do something they do not believe in ... this would be done for Catholics or for Jews ... or for Mormons ... whoever they are serving at the time.

In this scenario that I have outlined ... they may actually baptize a Baby for instance. I think there could be many NON- SDA rites that they might perform.What about communion to a Catholic? Let's be considerate to our brothers in Christ. Do we kick our Chaplains out of the church? Well then ... I don't see the Mayor as any different. But anyway ... before we crucify him ... lets be Christian enough to get his side. Then if we don't like what he says ... then we can stone him.

Where is our good friend Gregory Matthews? Gregory ... could you help us out and confirm or deny what I have said?

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If a person of any religion also works in politics they should keep the two separate.

I don't see how this is possible. Our religion, Seventh-day Adventism, believes in religious liberty. We have no conflict between our personal practice of religion, and allowing other people to practice theirs. So for us to serve in the political arena does not present a conflict between religion and public policy.

The Constitution of the United States does not establish a separation between church and state. President Jefferson used that terminology to characterize the free-exercise clause in the First Amendment. The Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." That provides a degree of separation of church and state but certainly does not required elected officials to abandon their moral convictions because they are based in religion.

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This topic seems to be another fine example of what Bravus posted that conservatives are obsessing over all the time...

As for the repeated reference to pitching a tent toward Sodom, the sin of Sodom was not what is popularly assumed:

Quote:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. - Ezekiel 16:49,50.

Hmmm...

Tom

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Ok, I don't understand....

Where is this facination complex coming from? I have a lot of straight friends...they are not facinated with homosexuality...Who believes that this is an everyday topic with some sort of intense discussion?

I tend to think that this is a repeated topic that media is promoting because it is different... There is a lot of assumption being generated by being different...Homosexuality is definately different...and yes, it causes some to explore that area because it is different [i also tend to believe that if you painted green spots on yourself and make it fun that there would be imitators as well, and thus perpetuating the problem of painting green spots on yourself.]....I also think that there is enough noisy gays and lesbians to get the publicity that they need to attract the 'rebels' in society...And I haven't met too many who were not rebels in someway...

But as for straights being fasinated with homosexuality, I am sorry...it is not that facinating....It is a problem of tolerance...of allowing people to go thier own ways....of allowing them to make choices that we don't agree with...

And that's the problem, isn't it? Defending someone's right to freedom and free speach, even if you don't agree with thier non-harmful behavior or speaking for something that you don't agree with.....

All this furor over an SDA man celebrating the union of two homosexuals....

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Personally, I find Mr. Street's action to be non-offensive in the least. However, I have to wonder if he wasn't making a personal statement to his own professed faith in performing this ceremony on a Sabbath.

I can't presume to know his internal, personal thoughts on his actions, but there seems to be something speaking louder to his heart than is touched upon in this thread.

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. they may actually baptize a Baby for instance. I think there could be many NON- SDA rites that they might perform.What about communion to a Catholic? Let's be considerate to our brothers in Christ. Do we kick our Chaplains out of the church? Well then ... I don't see the Mayor as any different. But anyway ... before we crucify him ... lets be Christian enough to get his side.

Good points Red.

In 2005 I baptized a dying baby at 4am because the mother was catholic and she asked me to do it. In 2006 I performed a worship service with an gay priest at a hospital worship service.

I guess If some here had heard that I as an SDA pastor was performing baby baptisms or doing worship services with gays they would want my credentials and my membership revoked.

Last year I sat in the same row as Mayor Street in the church where he is a member. I didn't see any of the signs of an apostacy . I guess I'd want to ask him about it before I would call for his being disfellowshiped.

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I agree, Cricket...

That is why, if one were to follow Christ's example in recifying arguements, you go to the source and ask and discuss with him your problem with his actions...If you do that, you find out from him where he is coming from and what is going on in his mind....and you can allay any suspecions to rest or go the next step....

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I guess If some here had heard that I as an SDA pastor was performing baby baptisms or doing worship services with gays they would want my credentials and my membership revoked.

If your superiors were to hear of these things from a source other than you, it certainly would be appropriate for them to inquire what the circumstances were that caused you to do these things. However if you were not employed by the church or an ordained pastor, it should be an issue left up to the local church and the conference, union or division needn't get involved.

The militant gays are in-our-face with their agenda. It is not enough for us to be tolerant. They want us to accept and promote their behavior. This is evidenced by their desire for gay marriage and favorable role in media.

If Mayor Street understood the destructiveness of the gay lifestyle, like Pastor Woolsey does, I doubt he would have been involved with the service. He is most likely guilty of misplaced sympathy. He likely views being gay as an alternative lifestyle. Some view being gay like being Catholic, Lutheran or Muslim. Since we Adventists are advocates of religious liberty and civil rights, he may feel his actions are consistent with the spirit of Adventism. Or he may confuse being gay with being black and view gay rights in the same light as civil rights. However being black is not a destructive lifestyle, not sinful and cannot be changed. In either case, it is an issue of misplaced sympathy.

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This topic seems to be another fine example of what Bravus posted that conservatives are obsessing over all the time...

As for the repeated reference to pitching a tent toward Sodom, the sin of Sodom was not what is popularly assumed:

Quote:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. - Ezekiel 16:49,50.

Hmmm...

Tom

`lo Tom. "Detestable" things are the context in this thread AND in the Ezekiel 16 account.

That pride lay at the foundation of Sodom's homosexual moral failures shouldn't shock us - a nation revulsed by Gay pride week. Here's the right hand of the Ezekiel passage.

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities" (Jude 7-8).

Thanks,

olger

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Well Ger, the Hebrew word translated as "despicable" is a more general adjective which could refer to many awful things, but does not appear to have as part of its direct meaning or by implication anything of a sexual nature.

And similarly the Greek words translated in the KJV as "strange flesh" in Jude address broadly sexual immorality and perversion, but not specifically homosexual behavior.

Tom

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It isn't that hard to figure out.

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." (Ezekiel 16:49,50)

OK, here in Ezekiel we have it that Sodom was haughty and did detestable things.

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities" (Jude 7-8).

OK, now in Jude we have it clear that they were fornicators.

"...the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter. "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them... Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof." (Genesis 19:4, 5, 8)

OK, Genesis is pretty clear the men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels and wouldn't settle for Lot's virgin daughters. When we put Ezekiel, Jude and Genesis together we come up with same-sex relations as one of Sodom's sins. It wasn't their only sin but it was one of their sins. So the faith of our fathers is trustworthy in this regard.

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Yada, Yada, Yada...

That's Hebrew, for "I know, I know, I know..."

And that's the word of many meanings and uses that appears in Genesis 19 to refer to what the mob (both men and women, because it also says, "all the people from every quarter") of Sodom wanted to do with the angels in Lot's house. (And who was worse, the mob or Lot, who preferred they rape his daughters rather than his guests!?!?)

And that is what it was all about - r-a-p-e. As has often been pointed out, the crime of rape is not an act of sex, but an act of violence. So it seems that despite the superficial mechanical resemblance to gay sex, men gang raping another man is as close to homosexuality as a group of men forcibly sodomizing and gang raping a young girl is to heterosexuality. Same weapon, different victim, but the same despicable crime against humanity.

Tom

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