He Loves Me Not

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Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
August 7, 2010, 04:38

Anthony recently shared two emails received from readers of ‘A Life of Unlearning’. One was negative, one was positive.

The negative one actually raises an issue which it seems no one wants to discuss. I previously described it as ‘the elephant in the room’.

Freedom2b targets folk from evangelical/pentecostal faith backgrounds in respect to our gay journey. (Most pentecostal theology can be described as ‘evangelical with a little bit tacked on’ !!)

We have now come to a place (or are on the way) of reconciling the fact that we can be gay AND a Christian. Fine.

Let’s put aside those living in a committed same-sex (‘marriage-like’) relationship.

THE ISSUE THEN IS: what is the biblical standard of morality in respect to sexual relationships for BOTH straight and gay single (not ‘married’) evangelical Christians. Surely there is no difference to the answer whether gay or straight?

The fact that single straight Christians AND single gay Christians do have sex outside of marriage doesn’t make it correct if our evangelical biblical understanding says otherwise.

In my lifetime, there has been a much-needed move in understanding within evangelical/pentecostal circles from LAW to GRACE. (Only some cults and a few very conservative churches remain wedded to the LAW, the “Thou shalt not .. .. “, approach of former years.)

But, have we now allowed the pendulum to swing from LAW .. .. to .. .. GRACE .. .. to LICENSE. The anything goes, if it feels good it must be OK, as long as it is done in love, approach. Some pastors are now so scared of being accused of being lawful, that they hesitate to even give clear scriptural guidelines on matters of morality.

Aside from any graphic descriptions of behavior, I suspect that the writer of the email to Anthony found that – in the absence of any comment to the contrary – some of what is written is an endorsement of actions which he perceives as unacceptable according to his evangelical understanding of scripture.

So, what do we think? How then should we behave?

Joined in 2008
August 7, 2010, 21:50

I think this is a worthy question to explore and seek understanding and wisdom from a sociological and theological viewpoint. In todays society we are bombarded with messages, both directly and indirectly , about sex in the media. You can’t escape it. The temptation to partake is always there, regardless of our marital status or sexual orientation.

We need to consider the fact that sexuality is part of our identity ie who we are. The challenge is to develop a healthy and sustainable framework, based on sound theological principles, that works for us individually and is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Our beliefs and values should also form an integral part of that framework. Values such as dignity, integrity and respect can all be found somewhere in the bible. Once we have established this framework and link it with our beliefs and values, I think we can move beyond the point of divide between gay and straight, single and married.

Too often we compromise and/or sabotage our beliefs and values for something that we perceive will bring us happiness and/or satisfaction, however temporary that may be. We have all possibly done it at some stage in our lives. I like to think that we all have an in-built filter, one purpose of which is to determine what (or who) we let in or block out in our lives.

As a single gay guy, I’m especially prone to certain messages of a sexual nature. Messages that would label and/or stereotype me IF I was to go down that path. As a christian growing up but now no longer attending church, with the help of freedom2b[e], I have come to understand that I can integrate my faith and sexuality based on sound choices and mutual respect of others who may or may not agree with me.

Would love to hear other’s views on this most important topic 🙂

Joined in 2010
August 7, 2010, 23:29


That’s the thing: Biblical law does not differentiate between gay and straight: sex before marriage, irregardless of your sexual orientation, should be avoided and sexual liaisons should only be between two consenting adults in the bonds of committed, loving matrimony.

Just because society says “if it feels good, do it”, does not mean that a person whose faith says otherwise should acclimate to it’s (society’s) standards.

Religious devotion is as much a discipline of the will as it is a discipline of the soul and mind.

Joined in 2009
August 8, 2010, 16:50


I believe the same moral standards apply in Scripture whether a person is gay or straight. Yes it is absolutely fine to be gay and Christian.

For me the key was a study of the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures of the Bible. I used exactly the same lexicons as I used when studying for the Baptist ministry and I found that what was in most translations was not what was in the original languages. In some cases they had actually inserted words that didn’t even exist in the original languages just to help people be homophobic. That is just totally unacceptable.

In brief – There is not one verse in scripture that says God destroyed Sodom because of homosexuality or that it even occurred there.

If people quote Lev 18:22 and 20:13 to condemn homosexual practice, they have to explain how they obey Lev 19:37, 20:22, Gal 3:10 and 5:3 and obey every single Old Testament law. They do not get a choice. God Himself says people cannot go through the OT law putting ticks and crosses on the bits they like and the bits they don’t.

1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 hinges on the translation of the Gk arsenokoitai which was a new word Paul invented. Even the translators of the NIV couldn’t make up their mind on what it meant as they translated it as “homosexual offenders” in 1 Cor and “perverts” in 1 Tim. These are two very different things. The word for homosexuals in NT times was arrenomanes and that doesn’t appear in the NT anywhere. It is perfectly acceptable to translate it as “male prostitutes” in both places.

I believe Rom 1 when taken in context only applies to gays (us) when they have known the Lord and rejected Him and worshipped idols. Rom 1 says “therefore” – “because of this”. Then Paul talks about those who have had a heterosexual orientation, rejected that and practiced homosexuality (notice nothing about orientation). How can Paul or anyone accuse gays of abandoning something they have never had?

There are two things in scripture which are against nature. In Rom 1, Paul talks about those who have known the Lord and rejected Him, and worshipped idols, had a straight orientation, rejected that and PRACTICED homosexuality. The second is men with long hair in 1 Cor 11:14. People MUST be consistent and treat both the same.

The WHOLE POINT of Rom 1 is Rom 2:1 “You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else”

I wrote a paper on this and in the first month 350 gays wrote in to say they planned to take their own life over this and had decided against it. That is what God did. I didn’t have much to do with it really. We matter to God.

I strongly support gay marriage so long as Rom 1 does not apply when taken in context (see above). Intimacy within gay marriage is a wonderful way of communicating the love of two people for each another. I believe sex outside marriage is wrong whether people are gay or straight. Exclusivity is a hallmark of true and genuine love.

I too have left the church permanently.

I hope this is helpful.

Joined in 2008
August 8, 2010, 23:34

Thanks Raul and David for your comments and insights 🙂

In the absence of any laws allowing gay marriage in Australia, GLBT people face a dilemna that no heterosexual person faces. How do I commit my life to another person who loves me without it being recognised by a court of law? From an international human rights perspective, the United Nations endorsed Yogyakarta Principles and in particular principles two and three in my opinion, quite clearly indicate that marriage as defined by a country’s constitutional arrangements should be available to GLBT people. Other developed countries around the world have recognised this. Why are we so backward here in Australia?

Could I also take this opportunity to bring the concept of emotional intimacy into the discussion. We need to consider the emotional needs of GLBT people in a committed relationship, whether that be holy matrimony, civil union or other partnership ceremony. Sure there are scriptural guidelines pertaining to adultery and fornication, and I think there is a lot more work that we should be doing in faith circles for GLBT people who need connection, dialogue and/or information in these areas. We all desire intimacy in our lives. The absence of a man-made law should not prevent us from leading healthy and emotionally satisfying lives.

Joined in 2007
August 9, 2010, 00:12

De facto relationships are recognized in Australia now whether they are heterosexual or same sex. That is one way in which we can, for the time being commit ourselves in a recognized relationship. It’s not the same as marriage, at all, but it is better than nothing and seriously as I read it, marriages in the Bible were very like what we today call “de facto” there was no priest or church, or government papers to sign: “Adam went into his wife and knew her and they became man and wife.” That’s basically what happens in a de facto relationship, isn’t it? Two people commit themselves to each other and the law recognizes them.

I have filled in several forms recently where I named Sandra as my ‘spouse’ and no one has batted an eyelid. It’s just that one last stubborn little sticking point we need to surmount.

As for the question raised in the original post, I believe that the Bible is clear. If you’re single, you should abstain from sexual intercourse. Sex should take place within a nurturing, respectful, loving and stable relationship as an expression of that bond between the couple.

Joined in 2010
August 9, 2010, 01:10

I believe Rom 1 when taken in context only applies to gays (us) when they have known the Lord and rejected Him and worshiped idols.

Precisely, David. This was not a condemnation of homosexuality. It was a condemnation of cultural practices performed by the Greco-Roman culture the early Christians were surrounded by, it was a condemnation of breaking the first Commandment.

As you can see, the Word does not condemn homosexuality at all. It does however admonish society and warns people of faith that they must fight to resist the temptation to objectify others as society does, to resist the urge turn a blind eye to injustice as society tends to, to reject utterly living only for material gain as society insists we must.

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
August 9, 2010, 06:34

Oops! We seem to have gone off onto two different streams of discussion – which was not my intention. And all comments are valuable.

My main issue for discussion relates to “how then should we behave” (in areas of sexual itimacy) ??

[ We are NOT talking about “married” people – i.e., including same-sex committed living partnerships. And we have agreed that the same biblical rules apply to straight & gay singles. ]

So, what does the evangelical interpretation of the Bible demand of single (unmarried) Christian people? [Maz probably expresses that traditional view most clearly.]

It sort of seems to me that we have moved away from previous held biblical views – especially, but not exclusively, for gay evangelical Christians. But, we have moved without saying so, or why. And we seem to not want to discuss it.

If the traditional view still holds, then not only do we need to continue to help each other come to terms with holding onto faith whilst accepting our gayness, but we also need help each other (well, the singles amongst us) to understand that traditional biblical code of behaviour .. .. .. and the implications (if any) for breaching that ??

[ By the way, MRG, as a former youth pastor, and in light of your current interest, I’d be interested in how you would handle that in the context of how you handled general sexual stuff amongst the young people you pastored. ]

I appreciate all that had been said so far. Cheers. [The original post was sent from Tallinn; this one from Riga.]

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 9, 2010, 11:24

nice that you are getting time during your travels forestgrey to pop in and say hi.

it is an important topic for sure and one I have spoken at several conferences. Our gay and lesbian youth are looking for some leadership in the area of morality I believe. it would be remiss of us not to address this.

The major hurdle I think we have to get over is most people from Christian backgrounds have only one model for morality……and that is a heterosexual one. I am with you when you say that our sexuality doesn’t give us licence to do anything we want.

considering that over 90% of christian heterosexual couples are not virgins when they marry….it raises the question. Are we placing an unrealistic expectation on gay and lesbian people to abstain till married. We are often told that the bible says sex outside of marriage is a sin….but of course when christians say that to us they haven’t logically thought that one through. We can’t get married. Hello!

Even in the gay christian movement there is division on this issue…..the side A and side B debate.

There are some behavours i would not encourage.

here is the introduction to an article I wrote on this. I wont post it up here as it has personal details in it. yes even more personal than my autobiography. :bigsmile: I think I have shared enough publicly….but in some contexts it is appopriate to share more. If anyone wants the full article then you can email me [email protected] and put Sexual Ethics & Morality for GLB Christians in the subject line…..and I’ll be happy to email you a PDF of it.

Sexual Ethics & Morality for GLB Christians

Anthony Venn-Brown


From what I’ve observed, in some ‘gay’ churches, there has been little difference between what happens sexually in that context and the lifestyle of what has become known as the stereotypical gay man or lesbian. Of course these are only stereotypes. There is as broad a spectrum of sexual expression within the heterosexual community as there is within the GLB (gay, lesbian, bisexual) community. Heterosexuals have their sex venues, chat rooms, swingers clubs and fetish subcultures as well as open relationships. Within the GLB community we have everything from celibacy, monogamous long-term relationships through to the sexual expressions mentioned above. A spectrum of morality exists in both worlds and is not determined by ones sexual orientation but an individual’s sense of morality or conformity to the perceived group norm. Certainly there is a high level of sexual activity amongst many gay males but there is a simple explanation for this. If you haven’t worked out what that is yet then do some research on the differences of the sexual make up of males and females and you’ll find the answer.

It’s not my place to judge other people who are on a life journey, or dictate what two consenting adults do in privacy with their own bodies, but it seems incongruous for many of us that the sexual ethos in some ‘gay’ churches basically mimics the ‘gay scene’. If you are going to call yourself a Christian/follower of Jesus Christ then aren’t you saying that your life and behaviours are different than those who are not?

When I spoke at the TEN Conference last year in the USA, celebrating a generation of gay Christianity, the title of my presentation was Celebrating Our Future and I spoke of five challenges that lie ahead of the gay Christian movement. One of those was: Giving gay & lesbian Christian youth a sense of morality.

We are more than familiar with the heterosexual model in a Christian context. One sexual partner for life (hopefully); your opposite sex spouse. Anything out of that context is considered immoral, promiscuous and adulterous. Currently, in Australia, gay men and lesbians can’t get married or even have a civil union. So are gay or lesbian Christians forced to live a life of celibacy?

Heterosexual Christian young people are being encouraged to make vows of chastity so that they will remain virgins till marriage. Whilst this might appear very noble, when surveyed anonymously, abstinence/purity programs have little impact on young people’s sexual behaviour and may in fact create greater stress and contribute to teenage pregnancies and STI’s. In churches, often a blind eye is turned towards heterosexual young people’s sexual indiscretions, whereas young people who have shared with their pastor or youth leader that they are gay or lesbian, are watched like hawks or put into strong monitoring/accountability relationships . This is a double standard and hypocritical.

If anyone wants the full article then you can email me [email protected] and put Sexual Ethics & Morality for GLB Christians in the subject line…..and I’ll be happy to email you a PDF of it.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 9, 2010, 11:33

For those who are interested here are the two emails forestgrey has mentioned that appeared in my recent newsletter.

He Loves Me Not


Dear Mr. Venn-Brown,

Your book came up on automated suggested reading on my account. I went to your website and pre-viewed the book, I might add that with the pre-view I was very excited about your book, purchased it and impatiently awaited it’s arrival. The day it arrived I sat down and read it cover to cover.

Just a little background here, my Father is a high level evangelical minister and I was in Church the Sunday following my birth, every Sunday morning, Sunday night and of course Wednesday night and any and every other event that they had planned up until the time I left home ON MY 18th BIRTHDAY. My parents LIVE what they believe, being the Gay son in this environment is not ever going to be accepted or condoned. Graduating from high School at age 15 I was shipped off to the Church College with the schools age admission rules overturned due to the standing that my Father and Mother have in the church organization. I was asked to leave that school when some gay reading materials were found when they searched my room.

The Dean, who was also good friend of my Father for some 30 years prior” picked up the phone in front of me and said ” You know how far your Father and I go back, so I’m going to call him and ask him what were going to do about this.” I reached up and yanked the phone out of his hand and informed him that

#1. My Dad will get in his car and come here and that will take him 10 hours and I will not be here when he get’s here and you nor anybody _____ else can stop me. Thus ruining the relationship with my parents.

# 2. Given my parents positions in the organization they could not live with this embarrassment.

#3 and lastly, when I signed the contract with this_____ _____ school, who I now owe over $4000, I was a minor making it not legal and/or binding, therefore HELL will freeze before you ever receive 1 red cent from me if you call them. I was then asked to gather my things get off of their campus and NEVER return. WHAT CHRIST LIKE BEHAVIOR!

I currently am in a relationship of 14 years, I consider myself a Gay Christian. Many years ago I came out to my Mother at which time I was sworn to secrecy about my lifestyle from my Father by her, at which time she stated “You may take yourself to Hell but you will not take me with you.”

Now for your book! It was my hope that your book would be one that I could give to my parents and say ” Look Here, read this!” However; due to the graphic nature in which you wrote your book, that could never happen. Not only that, but due to your explicitness in describing your extramarital affairs you not only affirmed the way in which the Pentecostal Churches view homosexuality but you substantiated it.

Then after which you have the audacity to ask the Pentecostal Church I.e. Assemblies of God to accept it and your behaviour. Now mind you my life situations and the Gay experiences that I have had could read exactly like the pages of your book. However; I am not asking the Church to condone and/or accept it. I do not mean to be negative to you, but it is my heartfelt feeling that God gave you the position and the opportunity to make positive changes in the view of Homosexuality within the Pentecostal Church’s and yet you choose via your book to turn it into no more than an Explicit Gay Romance Novel.

In my opinion, God gave you the opportunity and the platform to build a bridge between those of us struggling with being Gay and wanting to serve Christ. You had the opportunity to show the Church’s that A. It is not a choice B. That homosexuals can serve God & Christ just like anyone else. Instead you choose to flaunt the Gay bar scene and the promiscuous side of the gay lifestyle and yet at the same time asking the Church to approve of it.

Now Sir, I do not mean to judge for I am far from without SIN! However; it is my hope and my prayer that given the life experiences that you have, you will take the opportunity to re-write your book and focus on the fact that you can be a Homosexual and serve God at the same time. It is my opinion that given the high position that you held as an Evangelist within the Assemblies of God and the fact that you followed the part of your nature as you felt it.

You above most peoples could make an impact within the Gay community and it’s relationship with God and the Church, not to mention the Church’s view on homosexuality.

Perhaps my expectations of your book, life and ministries were over exaggerated within my own mind, however; upon reading the exerts from your book reviews prior to purchase, I felt finally “Here is a Man of God that is and has struggled with the same sexual identity problems that I have had”. For you see I have been in numerous relationships with women just trying to fit the norm, but always returning to my true desire that of men.

Please do not look upon the negative side of this e-mail for that is truly not my intention, to hurt you with words and/or to judge you. I just really feel that given your life circumstances (Not much different than my own, except I have never been in the pulpit) you have the ability to be a VOICE between the Church and Gays that want to serve Christ the world over.

I know that you can receive 100 e-mails with positive response and 1 with a negative and that 1 is the one that will eat upon you soul. So that said, one more time don’t go to the negative.

Anyway, I hope this finds you and yours doing well. I wish you the very best that life has to offer and I hope that you will take my e-mail with the utmost positive criticism.

Name withheld and identifying details removed.

It may have helped if he read this first

She Loves Me


Dear Tony

I have just read your book, It was wonderful. I was a teenager in the mid 80’s and was involved with XXXXX Church in Melbourne for a few years doing all the Youth Alive stuff. I was in Sydney the night you preached at the first rally at Town Hall and later the Hordern Pavilion. I loved the music everything and hung out to hear you speak. Whenever I heard you were coming to our local church to preach I would make sure I got there early so I got a good seat, your passion was something I admired.

Then in late 1980’s my parents gave me an ultimatum either leave the church or they would have me admitted into the psychiatric section in the hospital (I had become fanatical in their opinion and it wasn’t healthy). So with a heavy heart I went. The funny thing was that when I left there was only 1 person who bothered to keep in contact with me and that is my husband. Everyone I held important and dear deserted me as I had deserted them.

In the early 90’s I married and began my family and assumed my sister would do the same. Then the bombshell came when she said she no longer believed in God and came out as a lesbian. By this time we had moved and I was involved with the Baptist church (more conservative although still not what my atheist parents wanted). As I shared with my so called friends about my sister their reaction was to “cut her off, to teach her right from wrong”. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t care what they told me as my opinion was; I don’t talk about what goes on behind my bedroom door and neither does she. She was still the same person as the day before she told me: I just knew something else about her.

Then my first marriage fell apart and my drug/alcohol dependent husband left and within a few months I started to see XXXX and fell pregnant. Ooooh what a sin. The men in the church gave XXXX a hard time and the women became cold towards me and my children. They expected me to stay in a “bad marriage” cos till death do us part.

Life today is wonderful. My 10 year old son who has so many gay traits. The older kids are sometime embarrassed by him and his femininity. But, if thats the way he is who cares as long as he is a decent human being thats all any parent can ask.

I look at my years in the church with no anger because at the end of the day the only one I am accountable to is my God. There is only a sadness but that has lessened as time goes on.

Thank you for the honesty of your book. I did hear rumours over the years, and it was lovely to hear your side of the story.

When I used to hear you preach, you would at times smile my way, but I always thought you were too good for me to speak to and I was not worthy.

It nice to see you’re human.

Take Care

Name withheld and identifying details removed.

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