Rob Bell Voices Support for Gay Marriage

While speaking at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral (the Episcopal Cathedral of the Diocese of California) this Sunday, author and pastor Rob Bell was asked about his position on gay marriage. He responded to the question directly, saying, "I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man … I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are."

Bell went on to explain some other thoughts about traditional evangelicalism and its influence on social issues: "I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn't work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told ‘we're gonna change the thing’ and they haven't … And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we've done it in the name of God and we need to repent.” The full audio from the discussion is available here ...

24 Comments

Joel Kessler

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Joel Kessler commented…

It's not that anyone says something is "ok." It's not okay for me to be a liar, or a cheat, or a murderer, but God loves just the same. I think that's really the point. It's to stop judging their sin like it's worse than yours. At the end of the day, we're told to love everyone-period- and let God do the judging on what is "ok" and what is not. . . "I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man … I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are." This is intrinsically not a political answer, but a kingdom of God answer. We should stop trying to look at the world with political, "power-over," "if only we had the right laws to change people's hearts" lenses, and start with "where people are at," affirm the goodness of God in their lives, and help incarnate the love of Christ for them so that they can by the power of the Holy Spirit love others. . . .Leave the judging up to God. . . .Is it true that God originally intended man to be with woman? YES! Has Satan messed with our DNA? Hmmm, let's see: down's syndrome, cancer, missing limbs, and attraction to the other sex. But the person with down's syndrome, we still educate them to their fullest! the person with cancer, we still live every moment to the fullest! The person with missing limbs are taught how to be mobile to the fullest! And the person with off-kilter attraction we should be asking them how they could love to their fullest. . . .I like Rob's non-political, Kingdom answer. Viva La Revolucion!!!!

nathalie

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nathalie replied to Joel Kessler's comment

I like this perspective. I think we often are too concerned with politics and not concerned with building a loving world/kingdom of God.

Gary Bickerstaff

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Gary Bickerstaff replied to nathalie's comment

I think the difference here is that people with Down's (I have two sons with autism) are not sinning by living the way they were "born". We try to heal people with cancer. We don't say "OK, you have cancer; but that's OK 'cos we love you. Just go ahead and keep smoking." No, true love, Godly love, "Kingdom" love means stopping people from doing things that will harm them and helping them heal. Now, if you don't think homosexuality is harmful, that's a different discussion. But I don't think those of us who believe homosexuality is a sin can, in good conscience, stand silent out of "love", any more than we can let our children play in traffic because we confuse our love for them with being "nice" and leaving them to their own devices. And my desire to confront homosexuality does not mean that I think their sin is worse than mine. If that were the case, we could never take a stand against adultery, greed, or any other sin. Not sure who said this, (Lewis maybe?), and this is surely a paraphrase: God accepts us as we are; but he loves us too much to leave us that way. That's Kingdom Love.

Jordan Kalt

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Jordan Kalt commented…

Loving people who are practicing homosexual lifestyles is the most important thing at stake here. It's the thing that we should all be able to agree on. What the church will not always agree with the rest of the world on is the *definition* of love. Is it love to encourage a person to live however they want to live? Or is it love to compassionately reveal to a person that the way they are living is sinful? The latter is love; it is what "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15) looks like.

Yes, speaking this truth has not always been done in love, and we're all familiar with what that looks like especially for those in homosexual sins. Recognizing that other sexual sins pervade our lives is good, too. We must not, however, abandon speaking the truth that homosexuality is sinful just because we find that our hands are also dirty, or because we have not always spoken compassionately. In fact, recognizing the state of our own flesh should helpfully inform the compassion with which we speak this truth into the lives of our friends.

Klint

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Klint replied to Jordan Kalt's comment

Good thoughts, Jordan. The difficulty I see in loving the sinner and hating the sin in regards to homosexuality is that people with a gay orientation find their identity in that particular sin. To hate their sin is to hate them. And for them to deny their homosexual desires, in their mind, would be living a lie. And it doesn't help that our culture is convinced that the definition of a hypocrite is acting contrary to how we feel. Our emotions, although important and valid, are too fragile to be good judges of reality.

This issue is extremely complicated and it's hard to know how to respond. As God's child, I will never encourage anyone to pursue a homosexual identity, but, like you said, speak the truth in love and continue to point them toward Christ, to find their fulfillment in Him.

Edward Mar

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Edward Mar replied to Klint's comment

I think you hit the nail on the head. It's definitely difficult to get a handle on a clear cut way to do this. As much as we are called to love, loving people is also telling people how much at risk a particular behavior is. This is a simple analogy but if I were to see my friends or family members engage in dangerous or fatal activities I would definitely tell them to cease and desist immediately regardless how they feel because I care for their well-being. We must be the same with everyone. We are all sinners and fallen short to the glory of God. However praise God for the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. What we need to do as believers is to lead our homosexual brothers and sisters into a relationship with our Lord so that He will transform them from the inside out in all ways.

Ticiany Freischlad

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Ticiany Freischlad commented…

Once you start choosing and picking from the Bible instead of taking the whole of it seriously and fighting to truly understand the difficult parts, this is the kind of mind set you come up with.
Rob Bell`s answer doesn't shock me, for he was taking the pick and choose venue since while ago.
His answer is not a Kingdom answer as someone pointed out, it is a political answer of someone who prefers to go with the flow than to stand with the minority who takes God seriously.
Sexual immorality has always been a terrible sin in the eyes of God, from the beginning to the end of the Bible.
It doesn't matter how it expresses itself. Jesus raised the bar in his teachings: not only what you do with your body is wrong, what you think and you feel out of the context that God created sexuality to fit in, is also wrong.
But he is right to say there is a minority that is more radical.
It has always been like that, and it will always be like that.
If we want to be in front of the Lamb with washed clothes and a clean conscience, we will love the sinners, and teach them the true whole word of the Lord, with the parts that talk about sexual immorality, eternal condemnation, rebellion against God as well as the parts that talk about loving the lost, forgiving the sinner, and serving the poor and needy with compassion.
We need to turn our hearts to His whole word, and not just the parts that are "politically correct".

Doug Jolly

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Doug Jolly commented…

Wow ... an ex-pastor who is trying to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood makes a statement supporting gay marriage. What were the odds?

Shannon Marie Molina

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Shannon Marie Molina commented…

I get the "love everybody" mentality. But there is a big difference between loving the person and loving their sin. We can agree to love homosexuals without condoning their sin. That is the big picture and THAT is kingdom thinking. I have friends who are homosexual. I would never shun someone for that. That is like someone shunning someone for being fat (a glutton) or a drunk or a liar. All of us sin on a daily basis. It's just that some sins we like to brush under the rug or are more private and some are more out there and visible. We are called to love people regardless of their sin so that that love would draw them to the love of the Father who will show them where they are wrong. They will be compelled to change when they meet Jesus. For us to shout in the faces of people and ignore them and hate them will never really show them the way. Compassion and love are seriously lacking in a lot of Christian circles these days.

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