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A More Light Church

What does it mean to be a More Light Presbyterian church? It means to be affirming and welcoming of people in the LGBTQIA+ community.

More and more biblical scholars and other Christians are convinced that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Scriptures, is calling the church to full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. A few of the reasons: Reading in literary and historical context: The texts often used to condemn homosexual practice were not dealing with the issues we address today – the morality of responsible sexual expression between persons who are not heterosexual in their sexual orientation. The Bible condones sexual practices that the church today rejects, such as polygamy, concubinage, and levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5); it condemns some practices the church now allows, such as intercourse during menstruation and remarriage following divorce. To be faithful today, we must try to understand the principles underlying specific biblical provisions, and seek to apply those principles to our circumstances. The witness of Jesus Christ: Jesus consistently welcomed, indeed sought out, persons who were labeled outcast by his society. Criticized himself as a lawbreaker, he challenged self-righteousness, judgmentalism, and legalism, making it clear that the purpose of the Law is the protection of human welfare; human beings are not made to keep the Law regardless of its detrimental effects on the wellbeing of people (Mark 2:23-3:6). Jesus summarized the Law as loving God with one’s whole being, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself. The rule of love: Even though it is not intended as such by Christians of goodwill, the presumption that same-sex behavior is always wrong does great damage to many, including some who have never engaged in it: young people unable to will or pray away the attraction they’ve been taught is evil (even if they don’t act on their feelings, they may still grow up with self-loathing); parents despairing about where they “went wrong,” when the explanation for anyone’s sexual orientation is still a mystery; relationships torn apart by rejection; families which are not whole due to the dishonesty of remaining hidden in the closet. The taboo against homosexuality can lead to loneliness, both overt and subtle discrimination, and even verbal and physical violence. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10 The New Testament abolition of categories of “clean” and “unclean”: In the Torah’s Holiness Code, homosexual practice is a matter of uncleanness, along with eating blood and other dietary restrictions, contact with bodily discharges, wearing certain fabrics, and other prohibitions. Jesus challenged his culture and religion’s focus on ritual cleanness by associating with women, lepers, “outcasts and sinners” (see also Mark 7). Jesus laid the foundation for the distinction between moral law – that which pertains to the rule of love – and purity law, which is culturally conditioned. The Book of Acts relates the early church’s struggle to appropriate this principle. A good example is in Acts 10-11: Peter learns through a vision and an encounter with a Gentile, Cornelius, that “what God has called clean, you must not call profane.” Witnessing the gift of the Holy Spirit to those his tradition has considered unclean, Peter concludes: “If then God gave them the same gift that God gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” (From “What Does the Bible Tell Us About LGBT Inclusion?” by Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network of Presbyterians )


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