LGBTQ+ and the Bible: Interview with Pastor Sam Jones

I set out on this adventure as a personal development project. I knew that, at some point, I would approach the subject of how the Bible, and those who believe in it, see homosexuality.

Our local pridefest is this week, so I’m skipping a few daily reading posts to discuss the topic from a variety of angles. I’m not claiming to represent the entire LGBTQ+ community. These are my opinions and beliefs and I’m not going to pretend they apply to an entire group of people.

Today’s video (which will likely be the longest one I ever do) is an interview with Pastor Sam Jones of Faith Baptist Church in Hudson, Iowa. He and I have completely (and admittedly) different views on homosexuality and the role of a church in the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.

However, I thought it was really important to sit down and have this conversation. I learned about Pastor Sam through social media and, after a little background research, approached him to have and record this conversation. I was comfortable, based on my research, that he and I could have a civil conversation without our different viewpoints around this emotionally charged topic being a barrier.

I’m incredibly happy with the conversation. We actually talked for another 30 or 40 minutes after recording as well. I think it’s important to be able to sit down across from someone with differing ideas than you and talk with mutual respect. And that’s what we did.

Now I have a better understanding of where he’s coming from. I still disagree with it, but I can better understand it. And I hope he feels the same. I know he still disagrees with me, but I’d like to think he understands me and my viewpoints a little better.

 

Turn Anger into Understanding

When I first heard Pastor Sam sharing his views on social media, I was filled with anger. I was so upset that someone could feel the need to save our souls just because of who we’re attracted to or how we identify. I let my anger fester for a few days. And I didn’t like that feeling. So I reframed it.

Most of my anger came from not understanding how someone could still hold beliefs that I saw as old-school and intolerant. So I took that curiosity and I did something about it. I reached out to Pastor Sam for an interview, laying out that my views were different and that I wanted an open conversation, and he immediately said yes. No questions asked.

We both walked into the conversation knowing that we’d leave with the same convictions we walked in with. I knew I wasn’t going to convince him that homosexuality isn’t a sin (nor did I try), and he knew he wasn’t going to change my gay-ness (nor did he try).

I know the video is long, but I’d recommend taking the chance to watch it through. No matter which “side” you fall on, or how you feel about the topic, I think everyone can learn a little something from watching. I mean, I’m biased; it’s my content, after all. But I know what the conversation did for me, and I hope watching can help others.

 

Clarification on Gender

There is one thing I want to clarify from the discussion. We skimmed right over it and moved onto other topics and during the interview didn’t feel like the right time to circle back (I mean, come on, it’s already 40 minutes).

Pastor Sam discussed gender identity as being fixed when we were talking about whether homosexuality is a choice. This is another point we disagree on, but again, the conversation just naturally moved along to another topic. I believe “sex” refers to the biological factors like reproductive parts, hormones, and all the other science stuff. However, I think “gender” refers to how you identify. And I believe gender is a spectrum and not limited to just male and female. It’s not that black and white.

Again, a point we disagree on, but I needed to clarify my standpoint there.

While I’m on the topic of gender, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of exposure to the transgender world. I’m learning and continuing to get involved in all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, but I am aware of how my approach to this topic focuses on sexual orientation as opposed to gender identity. It’s what I know.

 

Share Your Thoughts

As always, if there are sources I should read that will help me explore this topic, please share. It’s a monster of an issue and hard to sift through what’s out there.

I’m excited to see the conversation around this topic. However, no hateful, derogatory, offensive, or otherwise aggressive comments will be accepted. Be nice. You can share your thoughts in the comments below, or, as always, you can send me a private message. This is an emotionally charged topic and many of you will want to keep your thoughts off a public platform.

 

Further Reading/Listening

You can read and listen to more of Pastor Sam’s viewpoints at The Shining Light Ministries.

 


This post is brought to you by this piece of magic, which will most certainly be 99% of my wardrobe for this winter.

                   comfy blanket

I normally wear hoodies, but now that I work from home, this bad boy will be all up on me con-stant-ly.


 

Video Transcript

Megan: Hey, guys. Megan, and here I am excited a day to talk to Pastor Sam Jones, with Faith Baptist Church in Hudson. Thank you, Sam. Welcome.

Sam: Hello. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Megan: Of course. I’m excited for this conversation. It’s a topic that combines a lot of things going on in my life. We’ve got the Bible, which of course, everyone watching this video knows that I’m reading through this year. Then we’ve got the crossing point there then of homosexuality, and I’m pretty involved in that in the community, and it’s a topic close to my heart.

The first thing that I want to talk about, and I understand that we won’t get to any sort of answer in a lot of this, is homosexuality as a sin. We’re just going to dive right in there. Do you want to talk a bit about your beliefs there as far as what the Bible says about homosexuality?

Sam: Yes. I believe the Bible has been consistent on homosexuality, from the beginning, that it is a sin. It starts off, of course, in Genesis where it says that God created then male and female in Genesis 1, it says that.

Genesis 2, it goes into the idea of marriage at the very end it, that man should leave his father and mother and the two should become one, with his wife there. Then it goes and it gives the idea of going and procreating. Of course, we know that biologically homosexuals can’t procreate at least together, so that’s one thing there where I think it’s pretty clear.

Then it continues on in the story of Genesis, and of course, we come to Sodom and Gomorra. I think looking at your reading plan you’re probably pretty close to that in your reading plan. I didn’t check if that was.

Megan: Yes, I just hit that. I think that was yesterday actually.

Sam: Okay, yes. Then Sodom and Gomorrah; it’s actually funny, I just read that in my Bible reading, too, yesterday, so that’s kind of funny we’re crossing paths there on that.

Megan: What I found interesting that the giving of the virgin, his daughters, was more acceptable in that stance than men being with men. I thought that was really interesting.

Sam: Yes. That’s something that’s always gone and stuck out to me too is how wrong Lot was to even going to do that. I guess the justification in Lot’s mind was the idea that he didn’t want these angels to be given over in that way, knowing that they are messengers from God, but the idea, of course, God judged Sodom and Gomorrah for the homosexuality.

Even going into the Levitical Law, it talks about I think in Leviticus 18, I think is what it is, it says that it’s an abomination. A lot of people say, “You have to throw that out because we don’t eat shellfish also,” is a big there.

To look at the context around it, the verse just before, it talks about sacrificing children to Molech, and that was actually a horrific thing that they did. They would go and they would put children inside of a brazen cow, basically, and they would go and they’d light a fire underneath it and cook children alive. Of course, nobody is for that.

Megan: I can’t wait to get there.

Sam: Yes. That wasn’t Israel, that was the people in the land of Canaan that was doing that and God was saying, “Don’t be like them.” In the few other verses surrounding that, it also goes and talks about incest and how that’s an abomination, and also talked about bestiality as how that’s an abomination there in Leviticus 18 right in there with that.

When people go on and say, “Throw that away,” I go, “Well, we don’t throw these other things away either.”

[crosstalk]

Sam: I’m sorry, what was that?

Megan: But we do throw away things like the two cloth, not using two cloths, some of those other — at least Christians, Judaism obviously sticks with the Old Testament, but as far as Christianity goes.

Circumcision is another one. Some people say it’s cancelled out by the New Testament but some people say it’s not. That I know is another kind of hotly debated Old Testament-New Testament controversy as well.

Sam: It gets interesting when it comes to that ceremonial law and what others would call the “moral law” and looking at that. Then continuing down through the story of the Bible, you get into the New Testament, and even Jesus when he goes and talks about divorce, it’s in Matthew, I can’t think of what the chapter is right off the top of my head, in talking about that they say, “Is it right to divorce,” and he says, “No, it’s not,” and then they go and they say, “Well, but Moses permitted divorce.”

He says, “And that was wrong,” and he points that too and he says, “It was wrong from the beginning.” Of course, he’s pointing back to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, because that’s where we have the beginning.

In the Pauline epistles, the epistles they wrote by the apostle Paul, he gets into the idea in Romans 4 where he says it’s unnatural, and it was men leaving the natural use of the women and women leaving the natural use of men and going after one another. He goes and says that was unnatural and wrong.

In the book of Jude 1:7, it goes and refers back to Sodom and Gomorrah and says that it’s was strange [mumbling]. That’s where I would come from by saying that the Bible would go and say that homosexuality is a sin.

Megan: Sure. Those are, the New Testament verses are the ones I hear most often that men lie men in Romans. I have definitely seen different interpretations. Yours is the very, literal isn’t quite the right word, but the traditional sound of the interpretation and there are other interpretations, which how open is the Bible to interpretation in general, and I think that’s changing.

Sam: Yes. That’s a debate that’s gone on for a long time with different interpretations, of course.

Megan: Yes. You’ve got some podcasts on homosexuality, especially related to how the church handles it. What’s your goal in speaking out on this topic?

Sam: Thank you for asking me that question because I can sure tell you it’s not because it’s fun to speak out against it, there have been definitely a lot of backlash that had come from that.

To answer that question, I would go and actually tell my, what I would call would be my testimony. When I was seven-years-old, and it starts off as a little bit of a sad story, my dad went to church early, I remember. He had a meeting to go to. My mum took me and she also took three of my cousins with me to church.

We hadn’t got very far outside of town. In fact, it was probably only about a mile, a mile-and-a-half outside the town, and we hit black ice. The van went and it rolled, and my cousin who was sitting next to me; she was my best friend, she was the same age I was, we were seven, she got thrown through the windshield and she died.

Megan: Oh, I’m sorry.

Sam: Yes, like I said, it’s a sad story in that sense. Now, praise to the Lord, she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior just a few days before, the Wednesday before. For the next two weeks, I was asking myself, “Where would I go if I were to die?”

Of course, I’ve been taught the Bible teaches that that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and the wages or what we earn from this sin is death. I knew that just because of my sins I had gone and violated God’s character, and because of that I deserved death. But God loved me enough it says in Romans 5:8; that he demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

My mom turned to me, it’s actually December 24th 1999, easy to remember that date being Christmas Eve, and she asked me what would have happened if that would have been me. I answered that I would have gone to hell because I hadn’t accepted Christ as my Savior. She asked me, “Would you like to accept Christ as your Savior.”

I did as what it says in Roman 10:9, I confessed with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and I believed in my heart that God has raised Christ from the dead, and then it tells me that I’m saved. That invitation is open to everyone in the Bible.

That’s the genesis point of me being a Christian. It’s one of those things that stuck with me that it’s not just that Christ died for my sins, but I had to see my best friend die in order for me to come to Christ. I don’t want that to happen to anybody.

I would much rather people come to Christ right away, and so I go and take a bold stand and go out, and I believe it’s in love, going in asking people to accept Christ as their Savior, and pray for people to accept Christ as their Savior.

Megan: Sure. Well, I’m sorry to hear about that experience,

but glad it changed your life for the better in some instances. So, ’99? The accident you were seven. When was it when your mum asked you what would have happened if that had been you?

Sam: Yes, it was two weeks later or 12 days later; since December 12 the day the accident happened and Christmas Eve that same year.

Megan: That’s a hard-hitting question for a seven-year-old.

Sam: Yes. Yes, it is [chuckles].

Megan: Yes. Okay. You’re out to let people know that their soul is in danger because of their sinning. I’m I interpreting that correctly?

Sam: Yes. It is not just one sin, I mean it’s every sin, I will say that too.

Megan: Sure. That’s where some of the arguments come to a standstill when the starting point is it is a sin/it isn’t a sin. Well, then, you can’t have the conversation further because then the arguments don’t align, and again, different interpretations.

You touched on this a bit, but to me I was raised in an incredibly loving home, also a religious home, and one of the things that we talked about religion wise were very much the values of acceptance, love thy neighbor, don’t judge, treat people the way you want to be treated, the all-golden rule; how do you feel those play in when you’re out speaking about the homosexuality topic?

Sam: Right. That’s a great question. With that, would it be fair to put grace and mercy in that same echelon there?

Megan: Yes.

Sam: Yes, because I think love, grace, and mercy, they all three really go together. One thing I’d say about love is love, of course, it tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, it tells us that it’s kind and all these other things, but I would say that it’s impossible to love someone without telling them the truth. Now it is very possible, of course, to tell somebody the truth without being in love. I think that that’s a fair statement.

In looking at that idea of grace, grace is something that we don’t deserve, it’s an unmerited favor, is how the Bible would define it. What we don’t deserve, I would say within the context of the Bible which is where I would hold my belief, is that we don’t deserve heaven which is something that is, it’s hard. I’m not saying that just one person doesn’t deserve, I’m saying all of humanity doesn’t deserve heaven.

Mercy is holding back what we do deserve; and, of course, what we do deserve if we don’t deserve heaven the logical conclusion would be we do deserve hell. Now, Christ goes and threw his sacrifice on the cross, makes a way to provide for heaven, but the Bible tells us in Roman 6:23 that it’s the gift of God. What we have to do for a gift is we have to receive it.

What I would say is, is loving, and gracious, and merciful would be to tell people the truth. Now, there’s [sic] obviously people out there who don’t tell the truth and love. I think of Westboro Baptist Church would be one of the big ones; if you haven’t heard of them, they’re the people who like picket things.

That’s why I think it’s important to tell people the truth, but to say it not in a manner of screaming and yelling but to say it in a manner of loving and caring for them; because if you’re going to believe that everyone is destined for hell unless they turn to Christ, the loving thing to do would be to tell them about Christ.

Megan: Sure. My philosophy on life is how my life affects others and others affects mine as far as sins go, so things like murder, rape, things that affect other people’s lives are the sins that I care about there being laws around and us putting a kibosh on.

The things that don’t impact other people; who I marry, who I’m with, what I do in my own home are those potential sins that don’t have an impact on anyone else, and if somebody else does it, it doesn’t have an impact on me; so I feel more inclined to live and let live. Everyone has a different opinion than everyone else, and that’s okay.

I’ve found a lot comfort in just giving that up to say that’s theirs, that’s how they live their life, even if I disagree with it.

Sam: The deal, the description, or adage that’s often used is, if somebody was in a burning house, would we want somebody to tell us if we were in a burning house we want somebody to tell us that our house is on fire, or just let us be in there?

I guess that’s the motivation that I would have is that our lives and our sins are spiritually on fire or destined for the flames, spiritually, and so I would much rather even if it made myself uncomfortable or the other person comfortable, to tell them, “Hey, you’re in danger.” I think that’s the most loving thing that can be done.

Megan: Sure. We’re talking about homosexuality, but does that extend to other sins then that you, maybe, tell people about that they don’t know will condemn them, or like what other type of sins fall in that same category would you say?

Sam: Actually, I would say at least 95% of the time; I’ll give myself at least a 5% window just in case there I’m forgetting something. At least 95% of the time when I’m preaching at church and I preach on homosexuality, I also go right into the idea of Ephesians 5 where it talks about at the very end, husbands are to love their wives and wives are to respect their husbands, and go and preach that if we’re not living in Ephesians 5 marriage, we’re committing the same kind of atrocity against God.

It’s the same thing that is against our own soul and our own life, and it gets us to the same place. We need to make sure that we’re going and living in Ephesians 5 marriage. With that, a lot of people go and change around some of the things in Ephesians 5, but it’s one of those things that are really going and you have husbands loving your wives, wives respecting your husbands, and things like that, and having a more refined marriage that glorified merging.

Megan: Sure, okay. Actually, related to that, because that brings us to the word of love versus respect, and the gender roles of members as women. The Bible was written thousands of years ago and over a long period of time, and we’ve adapted several of those views.

Slavery was very much a part of the stories of the Bible. The role of women was incredibly different than where we are today; either that we’ve progressed beyond the literal interpretation of how the Bible talks about those specific topics. How do you feel about those adapting versus adapting to the topic of homosexuality, and changing knowing that the context of the book was in a society very different from our own?

Sam: Right. I think that’s important understand is the context of the culture of the Bible. We in the American culture we’ve used slavery in one specific way, and of course, that’s basically the idea of the Black slaves historically what we had, of course there’s abolition from that and no one advocates that idea of slavery — well, there, unfortunately, are some people who’d advocate that idea, should be careful with that.

In Bible’s time, it was a completely different type of slavery. It’s important to get the cultural lens of what they had, because pretty much in modern times we’ve had what we’d call a “middle class”, whether that was in Europe or rather that was in America.

In Bible times, they didn’t have a middle class, there was the rich, and there was the poor; and so the question a lot of times wasn’t, “Are you going to become a slave and you lose all your rights,” it was the idea of going, “I’ll be a slave so that I can have food on my table and have a roof over my head, or I can be free but not have food and not have a roof over my head,” and that will, of course, wouldn’t be very comfortable; a lot of times it would have lead to death.

In fact, so much so that in Bible times that’s what you call a “bond slave”, which is what the Apostle Paul constantly refers to himself at the beginning of epistles and says, “Paul a slave, or a bondservant, or the record is “doulos” there of Christ, and that was actually one that would go and say, “I’m willingly, even though you don’t owe me, I go and willingly give myself to be a slave.”

It was essential that slavery in the Bible, these people were essentially the middle class of the time. Now, of course they didn’t

own property and things like that, but they had a much better economic standing than somebody who wasn’t a slave. That’s one thing. The Bible talks about slavery, it’s talking about something completely different.

Then in the role of women and men in that idea of genders going and working together, I would say that the Bible actually advocates a complementarian role; it just goes and has different things that each gender would go and do.

To look at Ephesians 5, the best marriage advice that I ever got was from a guy who said, Ephesians 5:21 comes before Ephesians 5:22. Now, Ephesians 5:21 is “Submit yourself together as to the Lord,” and Ephesians 5:22 talks about “Wife submit yourself to your husband.”

Now, we like to go and just pull out the idea of submitting or respect and then versus love for the husband, but in the description of love it goes and says, “Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” So, in truly loving, you must submit to the needs, and even I would say preferences of the wife, for the husband.

It’s going and it’s saying there actually a lot more of complementarian view instead of the lording over. Now, unfortunately throughout history, there have been people who have perverted that role biblically and have gone and, of course, used that to go on to put men above women, to lord over them, but there are truly not any biblical evidence of men lording over women, but rather to lead and to love them by giving themselves to their wife.

Megan: Sure, happy wife happy life?

Sam: Yes.

Megan: I remember going to, I had two wedding in college that I went to where they used those verses as part of their wedding ceremony. Of course, they were religious wedding ceremonies. I guess it got me antsy in my seat, just the word “submit” and seeing the wife as a lesser to the husband is how I had always interpreted it.

I think the way you look at it is much more respectful and much more I think along the lines of what I would want to see in a relationship, because I know when I heard those I would get very uncomfortable, and angry, and weddings weren’t a place to spell that, but that has definitely upset me in the past.

Sam: Does anyone object and you get up and you say that, but not to the wedding, to the pastor?

Megan: Yes. “Excuse me. I don’t like you using this passage at your wedding.” No. Again, it’s their life, it’s the marriage that they want to build, they’re building it in Christ, and I have absolutely no problem with that at all. I was there and friends, very supportive, happy; I’m a wedding crier so I’m going to tear up no matter what.

Also on the line and I’m transitioning from incredibly strict and conservative to a little bit more open. I listened to your podcast talking about churches being an open and a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community, and that’s something that you’re not a big fan of. Could you talk a bit about that?

I, of course, have enjoyed watching churches say, “We accept everyone. Come as you are, you will be loved. Just come have a relationship with God. We’re not going to judge you. Come be part of our congregation.” I really liked seeing that, but I would love to hear your side of that story as well.

Sam: Yes. With the idea of not being a safe space, it’s not being a safe space of the people that I’m upset about, it’s the idea of I think that we should accept everyone to come in, but it’s not a “Come as you are, stay as you are,” it’s a “Come as you are and become more like Christ.”

The big one, and this is why this one gets put up so much, is because the hot topic is the LGBTQ question. I would go ahead and say, I wouldn’t be okay with the idea of saying, “Come as you are as a compulsive liar,” and being a safe space for that. Now, come as you are, of course, but then don’t stay as you are because Christ said he’s the way, the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father but by him in John 14:6, and so we have to become closer to the truth.

It’s the idea of going, “We’re not to go into harbor sin, any kind of sin,” and that’s the problem that I would go and say with a lot of churches today is that they go and they say, “Come as you are and stay as you are.” I think that the Bible would teach, “Come as you are and become more like Christ.” That’s why I say that, because we all come as sinners to Christ and the idea is, is of course Christ changes us into his image.

Megan: Sure. Then that also goes back to how you view, or whether you view homosexuality then a sin, and whether that is something to repent for or not. I would argue then that these churches who are being that open place, “Come as you are,” as far as the LGBTQ goes, “Stay as you are,” I would argue that they are interpreting homosexuality not as a sin; would you agree with that then like maybe that interpretation starts there at the foundation?

Sam: I think that’s probably a pretty good place, or at least where the dividing line would go for different churches, would be if you view that as a sin or not, for sure.

Megan: Sure. I would agree that I wouldn’t expect a church to say, “Murders, come on in,” without the murder repenting, and asking for forgiveness, and changing. I would then think [chuckles] that’d be a really weird church. My guess is that that starts at the foundation, that really divisive line of sin or no sin.

God made all of us. That’s pretty clear. He made us in His image, therefore, He made people who — and I’m going to say this, and we may disagree on this point as well, but I believe we’re born this way; we cannot choose whether we’re homosexual or not. I think that’s part that’s ingrained in us; it’s something that we’re born with.

From that stand point, it’s hard for me to see how God would not accept us and love us when He has created us this way. What’s your opinion on that — and the opinion maybe we are not born this way, I’d like to hear that.

Sam: Right. I find it interesting because the creaser position where we would differ on would be those would believe in LGBTQ lifestyle would say that sexual orientation is fixed but gender is fluid. The creaser position that I would come with is that gender is fixed and that sexual orientation is fluid, and that makes it the exact opposite on those side of things, and that would give us a different answer.

I’d say biologically, the gender side is fixed. Then the idea of also sexual orientation, of course, people can be attracted to somebody different, but I would say that that’s fluid. There’s reports of people who once were one side of it and now have a different sexual orientation, and so I’d say that we are made with that sexual orientation of being homosexual, and so that would be the different point. I would say that God didn’t make us that way because of that creaser position.

Megan: Sure. Tell that to 12-year-old Megan. When you’re 12 and having those thoughts, and yet you being told pretty consistently that that’s wrong, that’s bad, that’s not okay, but that’s how you feel, as a 12-years-old that is very stressful. It’s very hurtful. It causes a lot of inner angst. How would you speak then speak then about a young person?

I think now that youth are being more exposed to the LGBTQ community, they may be able to recognize earlier that they maybe have a different sexual orientation, a little bit earlier than maybe in the past. How would you respond to how those, basically kids at that age, are affected by hearing this, “That’s a sin, that’s negative, you have to repent that”?

How do you

approach that with a younger, fragile mind?

Sam: I think that’s a really good way to put it, “the younger, fragile mind” because this is obviously something that is a very emotionally-charged subject. I see this, and tread carefully, because I don’t want to sound accusatory when I say this.

There are definitely certain things that we would agree are bad. One thing I’d say with that idea feelings, are all feelings good? What about someone who’d have the idea of pedophilia as their view; do we go and have feelings, does that make that okay, and where do we draw the line, would be one question.

I would also go and point to just some statistics from the CDC, and once again like I said, I have to be careful on this because it’s an emotionally-charged issue. I was just looking this up actually, even before I saw your request to do the interview, so it wasn’t for this. It was homosexual teens have a 33%, and I think this was in 2016 statistics from the CDC, 33% chance of attempting suicide, and 43% chance of considering suicide.

Whereas then you look at the counterpart of the heterosexual teen is 6% attempting, and 15% strongly considering. I think it was also in 2016, just for an overall landscape of it, I think it was just under 45,000 suicides happened in the United States. It’s a big thing. Some people would probably go and say, “Well, 45,000 isn’t that many,” but of course, all of us would go and say–

Megan: Too many?

Sam: Yes, one is too many. I would go and also would point out, and there would be I’m sure differences on the foundational belief of that on this, but I would say that the homosexual lifestyle brings to a lesser, or I should say lesser, a more dangerous state of mind, and one that’s more susceptible to suicide.

Now, I understand that would be pretty hard to prove without more data looking at specific things, but that would be how I would interpret that data. I understand sitting across from me, you would go and probably interpret that data differently.

Megan: Yes, I would interpret it as that those teens who are in the higher percentage echelon, the people who identify and have those LGBTQ+ identifications, I would argue that — having gone through this, honestly — the things you’re hearing and saying about how bad it is, and about how you’re wrong and how it’s bad, and you have to change, or maybe you just shouldn’t be here at all, I would say that would play a big role.

I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12 as well, so around the same time, but it’s genetic. I’ve been on meds my whole life. I’m very open about it, and I don’t think the two are related between my homosexuality and the depression.

I recall having a very tough — I was in town of 180 people, incredibly Red County. Everything I heard from both the church as well as at school was very homophobic, very, “If I found out anybody in this school was gay, I’d beat him up.” That’s not easy to sit there and listen to when you’re having those thoughts.

I would argue that that higher suicide rate could be the lack of openness, the lack of acceptance coming from external forces.

Sam: Yes. I figured you’d come from that point of view. Just casting the worst problem because obviously I think we could all agree that the suicide rate is way too high. For anybody, one suicide is too many, no matter who the person is.

My advice for the young teen, and this would for be no matter if it’s homosexuality, no matter what it is for, for whatever they’re struggling with, I would go and really present the idea of finding their identity in Christ and not finding your identity in a sexuality or in something like that, which I think is the Christian point of view.

The biblical point of view is that we’re not to find our identity even in a sexual orientation but would have first be a Christian to Christ.

Megan: Sure. I think that’s hard, because again, church, small town, where I was raised, my identity in Christ was so — I questioned it at such a young age because of the things I was hearing related to this and related to the not being loving, and open, and accepting, that I don’t think I’m alone in LGBTQ+ people living a relationship with God because of this one singular topic.

Looking back, that stinks because maybe a relationship with God would have really improved my high school life, my college life. It could have changed it, but this sticking point was really a big thing for me that had me walk away at a really young age and really not feel welcome or comfortable in a church environment.

Sam: It’s interesting, if you look at statistics, it’s not just the LGBTQ community that has found the church to fail, but it is actually two or three generations in a row that has flooded mass exodus from the church. A lot of that, I think, is because they don’t come back to the idea of why do we believe the things that we believe.

There’s a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of subsistence within the Bible going and saying, “This is why I believe this or this is why I believe this.”

Megan: I think going back to the role you fill when you’re speaking out on this topic, I think you’re in a tight spot because you come from love; you’re doing this out of love. A lot of the manifestations, even locally here in [unintelligible 00:37:20] valley, but certainly nationally come very much from a place of violence, of hate, of intolerance. I think that almost overshadows any work that you feel like is making a positive difference.

I will say that you and I have very different viewpoints here. Like I said, walking into this, we’re both going to walk away with our same view points, but I’m so happy to have the conversation. I do appreciate that you’re coming at it from a sense of stability, a sense of love, a sense of kindness.

I don’t think that’s the norm in people who are speaking out about the things that you are. While we disagree on a lot of different things, I really respect and appreciate the approach you take.

Sam: Well, thank you. Of course, if you went through the comments of the video that I post on Facebook, which I wouldn’t suggest you do [chuckles].

Megan: No, I did. It was benign and I did [laughs]. I did go through them.

Sam: The love isn’t always perceived or felt, and that’s unfortunate. I think that definitely on a passionate issue, people can perceive passion as different things, and sometimes people display passion as different things. There, undoubtedly, are those people who’d come out at this from hate from this perspective and that’s why they preach against it.

Then I think there are some out there that definitely do preach out of love. The key is, I think of John Quincy Adams, and I say this quote quite a bit, he was known as The Hellhound of Abolition in Congress.

Actually, his last year in Congress, he discipled a young statesman named Abraham Lincoln; we know how that all worked out, but John Quincy Adams said when asked, “Why do you keep bringing up with the gag rule?” because they had it so that they couldn’t talk about slavery, and he says, “Well, the reason I keep bringing this up,” in the idea he says is, “Duty is ours, but results are God’s.”

That’s really the perspective that I come from is, no matter who hates me or takes their shots at me or whatnot, or even those who might say that they’re on my side and are coming from a perspective of hate,

it’s to keep doing what God has called us to do, and to see what the results are for God.

Obviously, the best thing even in this disagreement, I think that we could both agree on, the best thing that could happen is that the church is perceived as loving, it comes across as loving, even if they are speaking out against an issue. I think that’s probably the best place that we could be on.

Megan: Yes. I also think that it’s unfair that the LGBTQ comments come back as hateful toward you because that’s everything we’ve been fighting against for decades.

Like I said, just like living let live, can’t we just get along, love each other? It is a hot button issue, but I think talking to people with different points of view is really, really important for personal growth, and just having an understanding of where another point of view is coming from.

Sam: Right. I think that the national, both the conservative media and the liberal media would actually do well to accept that advice that you just gave, and the idea of we need to actually have discussions, because most of the time it’s throwing a dart at somebody and running away, and then going and watching for a reaction from both perspectives. That doesn’t create anything other than running at a circle, and it doesn’t need to be done.

Megan: Right. Luckily, I’m not going for ratings here or viewership. I also think it’s a hard to have these conversations knowing that, this sounds harsh, but knowing that nothing is going to change.

Again, like I said, walking into this, I knew that you are going to walk out with the same opinion. I knew I was going to walk out with the same opinion. I think knowing that walking in and not showing up to the conversation attempting to change each other’s minds, just helped us have a good, positive, understanding conversation as supposed to fighting and shouting, and a lot of the things that happen when this topic comes up.

Sam: Right. Yes.

Megan: All right. Well, I appreciate you taking the time here. I think it was a good conversation. Hopefully, some people can learn something from it.

Sam: Yes. I hope so. Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate that. I look forward to see how it comes out and to reading more of your blog through going through the Bible in a year. That’s been interesting to read your thoughts on that.

Megan: Thanks. It’s been interesting so far.

About Megan Horn

I'm spending portions of the next 365 days reading the Bible. And document my thoughts as I work through the Holy Book.

5 thoughts on “LGBTQ+ and the Bible: Interview with Pastor Sam Jones

  1. Sin is a consequence of our rejection of Christ. Sin is not just how it effects or who it effects but without Christ sin creates spiritual death in us which in the ends effects those we are around. There is nothing good in us without Christ living in us so when we do good works or believe we are showing love without having Christ in us we are are just good in the sight of man but not justified in the site of God.
    God says if you love me you will obey my commandments. You may not murder or steal but you may have idols before him or commit homosexual acts. All sin is worthy of Hell not because the sin sends us to Hell but the refusal to submit your heart to Christ and follow after Him. We cannot pick and choose for God what is and is not sin. If we say we love Him but do not follow after Him and turn from those things which causes Spiritual death we cannot say we know him.

  2. Half way through, and I’ll post more thoughts later, but to what you said about choice, exactly. After all when did I choose to be straight? I didn’t. It’s just always been that way which shows me these things arent a choice.

    1. Justin, because of my life experiences, and my friends who are a part of the lgbtq community, I would agree with that statement wholeheartedly. One of my closest friends is a lesbian. She is married and they have two beautiful children and a very happy home. They even go to church and their older child goes to Awana. In her story, she tried very hard not to be gay. As soon as she realized she had romantic feelings for other women, she tried everything she could think of to not be gay. She attended church, read the Bible, prayed, and as a last resort, tried dating a woman who she was absolutely NOT attracted to to try to “cure” her of her gayness, thinking that if it was an unpleasant experience, she’d then become straight. As soon as she accepted who she was, her life changed for the better and she was happy. Truly. What if this woman denied her true nature, married a man, and was miserable the rest of her life? There are many things in our lives that we do not choose. There are things which, sometimes, for whatever reason, we simply ARE, not matter what. It is simply unfair to say that it is a choice if you personally have never been gay. If you have been heterosexual your whole life, how can you possibly say that it is just a choice? SOME PEOPLE ARE HOMOSEXUAL. You cannot change that no matter how hard you try. It comes down to how you view it. Unfortunately, some people view that as a sin and even though they will deny it, quote Bible scripture, explain away their reasoning, it really does just come down to the interpretation. The other thing to remember is that we are not a Christian nation or even a Christian community in the Cedar Valley. Oh I know, there are many, many denominations of Christian churches in our beautiful community, but that is not the only religion represented. And in some of the other religions represented, homosexuality is not an issue at all. And I don’t care what religion you are, you have absolutely no proof that your religion is the only “right” one. So, let go of that ego and respect that there are beliefs other than your own.

  3. It’s nice to see that two sides of this issue can have a civil discussion nevertheless. Kudos!

    Besides your differences on gender as you explained, what points of disagreement did you have with his answers? Which points do you think he is clearly wrong on? And why?
    Also, were there times during this discussion where you perhaps felt yourself changing your mind about the topic? Or at least times where you thought he presented a convincing argument?
    And were there times where you saw points of agreement with each other?

    1. Hi Jason. Thank you!

      I think the main difference is actually a core difference: he believes homosexuality is a sin and I don’t. Once that disagreement is established, it’s hard to find agreement in anything after that.

      I’m also not OK with how the suicide rate of LGBTQ+ teens was discussed. I think I made my thoughts pretty clear on that in the video, though.

      As I expected walking into the convo, my mind hasn’t changed on anything. And I doubt Pastor Sam’s mind has changed on anything either. But that doesn’t mean the discussion wasn’t a positive one.

      Megan

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