(The author of this content prefers to remain anonymous, but it is being shared with the author’s permission.)
The Hesed Project believes that a reading of Scripture which robs the church of much good fruit perpetuates harm — against LGBTQ+ Christians and against the entire body of Christ.
I’m not a scientist but I have a pretty good grasp of the basics of inquiry:
- Formulate a thesis.
- Test that thesis through experimentation and observation.
- Either confirm your thesis regarding the nature of reality OR, having learned that reality does not conform to your predictions, alter your assumptions.
It’s not rocket science (although they do use the same methodology in rocket science):
If something is true then it should bear the scrutiny of observation.
Thus, if those with whom this dude doesn’t Abide are correct, we should observe in those churches with affirming theologies a lack of fruit.
The problem with the thesis is that when we observe LGBTQ+ Christians we notice a specific abundance of fruit.
Worship of the triune God, a deeply rooted faith that is centered on the Word, a relationship with Jesus that understands the fullness of the atonement, repentance, a desire to live a life of gratitude in observance of the Law, the fruits of the Spirit, the support of the body of Christ, healthy communion, missionary activity, discipling, and leading people to Jesus, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, setting the prisoner free, raising children in covenant faithfulness, growing in members who are all declaring the headship of Christ.
In fact, in every way and by every measure, these LGBTQ+ Christians and affirming churches look like every other church.
How can that be?
If this is abomination, if this is the worst thing ever, if this is completely antithetical to what we ought Abide in then we should see the opposite.
If you are not tied to the vine then you ought not produce fruit.
I hate to be the bearer of Occam’s Razor here but the simple explanation to this is that the original thesis is wrong and that there must be something fundamentally flawed in our interpretation of Scripture.
(I’ve already demonstrated that there is as have many excellent Biblical scholars who are simply looking at the historical texts and evidence and recognizing rightly that the Scriptures aren’t dealing with what we’re talking about today. This ain’t that.)
I’ve posed this argument to many fundamentalists. Most have no answer, dodge the question, or try to pivot their way back to their comfortable talking points.
Every once in a while, however, one of them lets their guard down and says the part that they don’t want to say out loud:
It’s not fruit.
The serpent has tempted them or they have deceived themselves but all of this abundant harvest isn’t real.
They don’t really worship God. They don’t really hold to the historic faith. They don’t know Jesus. They aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit. They don’t actually demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit. They don’t share the Gospel. They don’t honor the Word of God.
These are not LGBTQ+ Christians and these are not affirming “churches”.
They are ALL false.
This is not reductio ad absurdum. This is the position that you MUST hold in order to deny the evidence of fruit in LGBTQ+ Christians and affirming churches.
You must say that the evidence, plainly seen, is illusory, and worse, an awful deception.
There is a deeply disturbing implication of this: those who argue that those who are LGBTQ+ and affirming ought leave traditional denominations to join the other churches more in line with their views are being disingenuous because they don’t actually believe that those are true Christian churches.
They are simply casting the unclean out into the world. If God “heals” them and they come back that’s great. If not – winnowing fires and the comforting warmth of hell and damnation.
Is this really where the evidence leads?
There is a story in Matthew 12 where Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed man. He couldn’t speak and he couldn’t see and now, because of what Jesus had done, he could.
Rather than acknowledging the goodness of the miracle (Demon, gone. Suffering, alleviated. Observable good.) the Pharisees decided to go the route of NOT.
This couldn’t possibly be the work of God because it doesn’t conform to our thesis of how everything must work. Jesus must be following Beelzebul, the prince of demons.
Jesus says this: “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”
You don’t need an advanced degree in theology to understand this. This is plain teaching. If the fruit is good – then the tree is good.
…and the fruit is good.
I’ve been at this a long time. I have dear friends who are LGBTQ+ Christians, those who are gay and married clergy, I’ve worshipped in affirming churches, and I’ve laboured with them in the building of Kingdom in many contexts.
I’ve only observed good fruit. Love. Kindness. Repentance. Thanksgiving. Patience. Perseverance. Self-control. Neighbour loving neighbour. The lost being found. Every good gift that comes from God above.
The Holy Spirit at work in and through LGBTQ+ Christians or affirming churches – or more correctly – Christians and churches just like all of us.
Satan cannot drive out Satan. The idea of false fruit is inconsistent with the testimony of God’s word. The thesis does not Abide with reality. It must be rejected and the improper reading of Scripture must be corrected.
It’s not rocket science.