Seeds of Hope

Will I Go to Hell for Being Gay


[Posted on January 3, 2000]

Rev. Turner:

I'm a gay female who is having a *really* hard time dealing with being Christian and gay.

I grew up in a very religious family that are almost all born-again Christians. A big focus of a lot of my religious background centered around the second coming of Christ, and if you want to be taken into heaven when he comes, you must have accepted Jesus into your heart. I accepted Jesus when I was young, and still do to this day.

The main issue that I am dealing with is that I won't go to heaven because I'm gay, and that thought scares me and keeps me up at night, particularly now that religious groups are starting to discuss the possibility of the millennium being the second coming. These thoughts are eating me up inside.

This is extremely frustrating for me because I don't feel as if I chose to be gay. I actually wish that I was attracted to men, then I wouldn't be having this struggle. While I don't always succeed, I make every effort to be a humble, kind and giving person to anyone I meet. I also try to accept people for who they are, and make efforts to seek out the positive in people. But, that just doesn't seem to be enough.

I've only been out of the closet for about 3 1/2 years (I'm 25). Getting to that point was a struggle for me. I was constantly denying my attraction towards women. I have dated men, but I always knew that something just didn't seem right. I haven't told my family, and don't plan on doing so for quite sometime for fear that I will be disowned.

I'm currently in a loving relationship with a woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with. She is not a Christian, but she knows of my beliefs (to some extent) and my religious upbringing. I just don't understand how my love for this woman can be wrong, yet I am continually questioning it (if that makes any sense). I haven't been able to discuss this struggle I'm dealing with to her, but I will eventually have to, since this seems to be consuming my thoughts a great deal.

If you have the time, I would appreciate some insight. I don't know who to talk to or where to go.

Thanks in advance.

Becky


Hi, this won't be too long, I promise. please forgive the lack of capitalization, also. the point is this, I was raised southern Baptist, and my grandfather told me under no uncertain terms that upon my death I would spend an eternity in hell. I know that people can say that god loves everyone, and back it up with scripture... but there are those who say that god hates fags ( Fred Phelps...) and he can back it up too. the point is this, why should I believe if no one can say one way or another? I am right now without religion, and I don't like that so if you would... HELP

Mike


Dear Becky and Mike,

I hope you both will forgive me for answering your letters together, however the questions you both raise are essentially the same although coming at it from different points on the map. Both your questions appear to involve fear about where you will end up after death. You both fear that if you pursue the life of your orientation will you end up in this place that some call hell.

I have come to recognize that your fears and concerns are rooted in the way you were taught to view God. So in essence, the only way that you will be able to get past those fears is to change the way you view God. So let's see if we can help with that.

I have recently been reading a book written by Bruce Bawer, called Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity. From this book I have come to understand the real source of our fears when it comes to sexuality. The source of this fear is the difference between an attitude of love and an attitude of law. On page 5 of this book Mr. Bawer states:

"Simply stated, conservative Christianity focuses primarily on law, doctrine, and authority; liberal Christianity focuses on love, spiritual experience and... the priesthood of all believers. If conservative Christians emphasize the Great Commission--the resurrected Christ's injunction, at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew, 'go to all the nations and make them my disciples'--liberal Christians place more emphasis on the Great Commandment, which in Luke's Gospel reads as follows; 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.'"

What these few words means is that we have a choice as to whether we see God as a strict authoritarian who demands that all come to God in a specify way or we see God as a loving Creator who desires that all would come to God and would treat each other accordingly.

What both of you are focused on is a point of view that is based on the law and authority figures who have decided they speak on behalf of God. Yes, you have to make a choice as to how you shall view God and who you will choose to believe. However, I must tell you to believe that God would create something with free will and then ultimately destroy that creation because it didn't follow the law is rubbish. If this were true, why provide Jesus the Christ as Savior? Why provide a doctrine of Grace which says one is saved by Grace alone and not by what they do? Why did Jesus, when asked state that the Greatest Commandment was, say to Love God and to love your Neighbor? He never said in order to be okay with God and not go to hell you must obey the law of the day, rather he spent all of his ministry telling folks to love God and giving them example after example of how they could show and could live that love. The women caught in adultery, the raising of Lazarus, the blind person healed, the Roman Centurion slave healed, the women with the issue of blood healed.

Listen to Jesus' words:

"When you have done this to the least of my brothers or sisters you have done this to me."
--Matthew 25:40

"Be not be judges of others, and you will not be judged. For as you have been judging, so you will be judged, and with your measure will it be measured to you. And why do you take note of the grain of dust in your brother's eye, but take no note of the bit of wood which is in your eye?"
--Matthew 7: 1-3

"Then Jesus said to the people and to his disciples: The scribes and the Pharisees have the authority of Moses; All things, then, which they give you orders to do, these do and keep: but do not take their works as your example, for they say and do not. They make hard laws and put great weights on men's backs; but they themselves will not put a finger to them...
Matthew 23:1-4

"But a curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! because you are shutting the kingdom of heaven against men: for you do not go in yourselves, and those who are going in, you keep back. A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you go about land and sea to get one disciple and, having him, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. A curse is on you, blind guides, who say, Whoever takes an oath by the Temple, it is nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gold of the Temple, he is responsible. You foolish ones and blind: which is greater, the gold, or the Temple which makes the gold holy?"
--Matthew 23: 13-17

Yes, my dear children of God you can chose to live in fear by the law and the authority of those around you or you can choose to live by the words of Jesus and his examples.

You can belong to the church of the Pharisees, Scribes and Paul or you can belong to the Church that Jesus spent his ministry building and ultimately died for. A church that was to include all those whom people said were not part of God. I challenge you both to read the words of Jesus and see that all fear has been cast out and in it's place given that of perfect love

God Bless,

Pastor Paul


Rev. Turner is Sr. Pastor at Gentle Spirit Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are seeking guidance and pastoral care on your journey to fullness as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person, please contact Pastor Paul directly at pastorpaul@whosoever.org.