DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

There Is Now No Condemnation . . .

Written by: on March 23, 2017

Andrew Marin—Love Is An Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community

Introduction

“Andrew Marin founded the Marin Foundation for the purpose of systematically building a bridge between the broader gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and conservative Christian communities through scientific research and biblical and social education.” [1] The net result being peaceful, productive, and sustainable bridge building between these two disparate communities, by incorporating God’s eternal principles.  For Marin, the way forward with the GLBT community is through discourses on intimacy with God, not debating the meaning of biblical passages.

Summary


Marin declares that the chief arguments of same-sex sexual behavior between the GLBT and the Christian communities stem from interpretations of the five biblical texts below:

“Genesis 19—The Sodom and Gomorrah story

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13—sections of the Holiness Code that prohibit same-sex behavior and list the punishment for those behaviors

Romans 1:26-27—determining what is sexually natural and unnatural

I Corinthians 6:9-11—same-sex sexual behavior’s non-inclusion to the Kingdom of God

I Timothy 1:9-11—the need for sound doctrine in opposition to false teachers of the law; condemning same-sex sexual behavior as part of a larger group” [2]

He felt compelled to study these passages in depth with a focus on what is being conveyed about God and His will for our lives.  A set of eternal principles emerged on how to draw near to God and have a more intimate relationship with Him, which are applicable in building bridges with GLBT people and to the five biblical texts listed above.

MIND-FRAME-SHIFT PRINCIPLE (Genesis 19)

Marin considers this as the first eternal principle of bridge building with gays and lesbians. It is understood that the Kingdom of God comprises those who have shifted their mind frame away from earthly things and onto what is of eternal significance. That is, seeking God over and above everything else.

CROSSROADS PRINCIPLE: THE HOLINESS CODE (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)

Everyone comes to a crossroads of belief when they make a choice to live exclusively for God or not.  “God is calling the GLBT community to make a willful, knowledgeable, and cognizant decision to live distinctly for Him in all facets of life.” [3] Marin feels the body of Christ can be instrumental in assisting the GLBT community in realizing the importance of the Crossroads eternal principle by highlighting that their identity is rooted in Christ first. “They are able to live counterculturally as a distinct believer who doesn’t have to conform to the accepted means of mainstream culture.” [4]

THE ONENESS PRINCIPLE (Romans 1:26-27)

For gays and lesbians who make a choice for God, the Christian community is obligated to expand their knowledge of God, enabling them to enter into an intimate, one-on-one relationship with Him. They “begin the process of integrating their faith with a daily life that is permeated by God, who meets them, speaks to them, and hears them, personally and individually telling each of His beloved children what He feels is best for their life.” [5]

THE GREAT CHRISTIAN DEBATE (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

What determines when to relinquish responsibility for someone else’s life?  Marin concludes that once there is belief with GLBT persons and the Holy Spirit calls them to a Christian witness in their daily lives, they have been “washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [6] For Marin, that is when responsibility for another’s eternal life ends. But, love and grace abound while trusting God to orchestrate their faith journey.

THINK-BIG-PICTURE PRINCIPLE (I Timothy 1:9-11)

This principle encourages Christians to persevere in our calling and stand steadfast in the faith, trusting God’s eternal purposes. A person has until their very last breath for God to accomplish His will in their life.

Marin answers five recurring questions that arise in GLBT and Christian discussions.

  1. Do you think that gays and lesbians are born that way?

Marin’s response is that they are created to be a child of God whether they were born gay or straight.

  1. Do you think homosexuality is a sin?

Marin takes a circuitous approach to answering this question, but nevertheless answers it appropriately.  He points to Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [7] No human being has been able to meet God’s standard.  James 2:10 indicates, “Whosoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Mathew 7:1-2 declares, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” [8] He adds that the good news is that a person’s eternal security is established by a one-on-one relationship with God, not sinlessness.

  1. Can a GLBT person change their sexual orientation?

Marin responds that change typically occurs when Jesus is involved. Sometimes there is a continuum of change from “secular to spiritual, non-Christian to Christian, sexually active to celibate, or gay to straight.” [9] Religious identity and sexual identity can be reflected on a continuum of change relative to a person’s relationship with God.

  1. Do you think someone can be gay and Christian?

Marin states, “Ultimately, anyone involved in the Christian community –gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian—should be taken at their word about where they spiritually find themselves because only God really knows someone’s faith and the intent behind all their actions.” [10] Our job is not to convict or judge, but to love.

  1. Are GLBT people going to hell?

Marin references Matthew 7:21-23 to emphasize that only God determines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell; God is the ultimate Judge. Entering God’s kingdom only comes through authentic relationships with Him that He acknowledges.

Reflection

I view this book as being spiritually enlightening and scripturally sound. Its practical application has the potential of being a powerful catalyst in initiating and sustaining the conversation between the GLBT and Christian communities. With the openness, love, and authenticity the Marin approach espouses it appears to be a win-win outcome for many engaging in the conversation. The wisdom I take away from this book is that Christians are called to love the GLBT community “unconditionally, tangibly, and measurably.” [11] Our mission does not require us to be the solution to a person’s salvation. As Billy Graham commented, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” [12]

Notes

[1]  Andrew Marin, Love Is An Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009) Back Cover.

[2]  Ibid., 114.

[3]  Ibid., 126.

[4]  Ibid.

[5]  Ibid., 129.

[6]  Ibid., 130.

[7]  Ibid., 182.

[8]  Ibid., 183.

[9]  Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 185.

[11] Ibid., 187.

[12] Ibid., 108.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Claire Appiah

6 responses to “There Is Now No Condemnation . . .”

  1. Thank you Claire for this clear outline and summary of the book. It helps me have greater understanding of the book and the Bible.
    You mentioned in our last Zoom that you knew what it was like to be discriminated against. Do you find any links between your personal experiences and the stories in this book?

    • Claire Appiah says:

      Aaron,
      I would say the link between my experience as an African-American and that of the GLBT community is that both groups have had to live their lives on the periphery of our mainstream American culture due to ostracism and a deliberate denial of full participation in that culture. Neither group has been equated as having the same value as other human beings and therefore, deemed unfit for inclusion in cultural practices.

  2. Claire,

    Wow you are so good at writing. This outline is so much clearer than mine. Your question and answer style is very helpful and clear. I like that you clarified at the end that you found this book to be scripturally sound and spiritually enlightened. At the beginning of the book I thought the “attack” toward Christians or the church was pretty straight forward but as we got to the end of the book he really did bring it back around to faith and trusting God to be the judge.

    Thanks for your work.

    Kevin

    • Claire Appiah says:

      Kevin,
      Thanks for replying to my blog and for your kind words; I’m glad it added to your understanding of the book. I think one thing Marin emphasizes is that Christians are not allowed to “play God” in our evaluation of and interrelationships with others.

  3. Pablo Morales says:

    Claire,
    I always enjoy reading your blogs because I know I will find a good summary of the flow of the book. This time was no exception.

    Like you, I liked the main point of Marin’s book about reaching out to the GLBT community. We must keep in mind that there are many unbelievers who are seeking God but cannot access him in the four walls of a church that rejects them. It was a good reminder that the world needs to know God’s love through our actions.

    Overall I liked Marin’s Scriptural approach, but I was hoping to find more insights in two of the passages: Leviticus 18 and Genesis 19. The last two books we have read addressed the same passages, yet they both omit the same important information. On the section about Genesis 19, I was surprised that neither author made the connection with Jude 1:7. Also, in the section about Leviticus 18, they fail to mention that God is destroying entire civilizations for practicing the sexual behaviors listed in the chapter, even though these civilizations did not have the Mosaic law. Leviticus 18 makes evident that God’s expectations about sexual morality transcend the covenant with Israel. Those who simply argue that the Mosaic law does not apply to us because we are not Israel, are missing a very important point. We do not have to be Israel to be accountable for our sexual practices.

    Thank you for a good blog!
    Pablo

  4. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Claire,

    Yes, we are called to love unconditionally. If a person that you’ve known only a week or two opens up and says, “I am a lesbian, do you think that’s a sin” how would you answer? (I am challenged working this through in my mind. Marin’s challenge not to argue and to build bridges has really caused me to think about this question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *