It started in June of last year, and lasted until the end of August. On a much-visited “fundamentalist” website I found a thread titled “Luke 17:34 – 36,” initiated in 2006 by a poster who asked the question, “In the light of the current flurry of threads on homosexuality, how did the choice of ‘two men in a bed’ ever get into scripture?”
As you can imagine, I was quite happy to walk through that door. (To read my explanation of the four elements in Luke’s Gay Apocalypse, click here.) For two months I discussed the gays and lesbians in Luke 17:34-35, usually on a daily basis, often several times a day. After several flawed rebuttals of “two men in one bed,” a host of posters took turns at me, warning me, rebuking me, pleading with me, and scolding me.
For weeks I logged onto the site to read their heartfelt concerns and criticisms.
I choose to stick by the WORD. And you would do well to do so as well. Your soul is at stake, sir!
Ronald Goetz, YOU are a false teacher. You are what the Bible warns Christians about. You should be marked as such and shunned.
I binged [googled] Ronald Goetz and I am totally appalled at what I found. It just about makes me vomit.
You come here to promote your agenda, and if people follow your agenda, they will be lead by you to the very gates of Hell.
What he preaches is so full of poison, it should be avoided at all cost.
Is it love to suggest to a person that their damnable heresy is not damnable? Would you have us to be liars as well? Or would you have us acquiesce to such vileness as if somehow homosexuality deserves special treatment- until the sinner grows comfortable in their sin and dies clinging to it?
This is definitely an attempt on Ronald Goetz’s part to promote a pro homosexual agenda. He just released a book on the subject this year. He intentionally resurrected this thread that had been dormant for years. He is an apologist for homosexuality.
I’m just a lonely struggling saint, but I gotta tell you, in Jesus Love, you’re wrong dear Ronald, you’re thesis is wrong, I say that in love, and I say this in love, you could be possibly leading many many dear souls to eternal peril, could you live with that possibility? Just consider what I’ve written…please?
I will revisit this episode in the days to come. There were a variety of comments, and several of the responses, ones I haven’t quoted here, actually resonated for me. What I’d like to comment on now is just one way the two-month episode affected me personally.
Self-Doubt and Depression
In short, I became depressed. The continual bombardment of hostility, negativity, and rejection took a toll. Even the few people who didn’t see themselves as hateful toward gays and lesbians, and didn’t like over-the-top anti-gay rhetoric, felt compelled to voice their stern disapproval of my interpretation of Luke 17.
Predictably, as the second month ground onward, it got worse. I began to doubt myself. I experienced once again the scholarly doubt about my thesis, whether the couples in Luke 17 really were gay, and whether I had concocted an outlandish notion out of some obsession with homosexuality, which they said was the case. I wondered if I should be disturbing these simple, dogmatic believers with a notion that didn’t disturb my spiritual state, but obviously disturbed theirs. I considered the possibility that I really was the perverse monster they said I was.
They really didn’t want me there, and expressed that as many ways as they knew how. And when I left, my departure was held as further evidence of my wickedness. This is quite typical of the closure groups seek when someone leaves. An explanation is eventually generated to explain what happened and dispel any sense of the group’s responsibility. This process is much harder for actual congregations, and those congregations who have publicly driven one of their own out of the fellowship will later find it extremely difficult to repent of sin of scapegoating one of their own.
What I want to emphasize now is something I shared with my wife and my pastor. For a period of weeks, I had a small taste of what many gay and lesbian believers live with for years, and even decades if they don’t succumb to that dark blanket of rejection. When I felt there was no more I could contribute to that online community, I had the option of leaving. I don’t really know them, and they don’t know me.
No Real Comparison
But LGBT Christians can’t just walk away from actual faith communities, from their families and childhood friends. There is no way to insulate themselves from the pain when emotional and spiritual ties are cut when their communities cut them off. Suicide is far too common among these innocent, but somehow dangerous, pariahs. To compare my brief, self-chosen experience with theirs is almost ludicrous.
I made some decisions, came to some conclusions, shook off the self-doubt and depression, and voluntarily left that community. I just stopped posting. When I went to check them out a little later, I couldn’t log in. They had cancelled my account.
I am pleased to say that I didn’t respond in kind. I may not have done this perfectly, but I am temperamentally attracted to the proverb, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. But my gentle answers couldn’t turn away wrath after weeks and weeks.
On numerous occasions I thanked people for their concern for my eternal welfare. For me, I try to acknowledge the fact that they were responding to me according to their best lights, no matter how faulty those lights seem to me.
When the damage is done to others, however, I have a responsibility to speak up. Scripture commands it.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
This is a volatile subject. Respond freely, and please be nice to one another!