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  • Patti

The Overarching Message of the New Testament

In that first year, I searched for clarity. I watched YouTube videos of debates that had been held at churches and in Christian colleges. I looked at websites of churches and para-church organizations and tried to better understand what was behind each of the views. So much of the debate centered on words, on translations, on what has “always been” and on that “slippery slope”. Even though there was no “final answer” to be found, there remained a tug on my heart telling me that Jesus had already made himself clear.

During those months, as I sat through church services, sang the same worship songs and listened to sermons, all that came to my mind was, “these words and songs and atmosphere is perfect for the LGBTQ community.” It seemed so obvious that the message that God sent to the world was for “all” people. The words never spelled out that the Good News was only for straight people. This was my sense, my gut, a mother’s intuition. But I did have another source to consider - the New Testament.

If there are over 31,000 verses in the Bible and only 6 that “touch” on the topic of LGBTQ, then what do the others say? Could I find the truth in what is not said, rather on what is written?

I began with the four gospels and looked for verses that encouraged. Verses that didn’t separate people based on who they loved or what their gender identity might be. Book by book, I counted and recorded and added them to my website. It made sense to me that if people were clobbering LGBTQ people like my son with 6 verses, that they should be able to look and be encouraged by all the other verses.

I found over 370 specific verses in the New Testament that would be encouraging. Verses like:

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls! For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them. “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

Luke 6:37 And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

Do you see anything that specifies gender identity or sexuality?

Next, I read all the red letters, the words of Jesus. In reading Jesus’ words I found only acceptance. I saw him talk about a eunuch and recognize that some people are born that way and some are made to be eunuchs. I saw that the Ethiopian Eunuch mentioned in the book of Acts was saved without any hesitation. No call to repentance. No questioning of his sexuality. Why call out that he was a eunuch, a sexual minority? I realize that this prevented him from entering parts of the temple, but God could have chosen a different person to be the first baptized from another continent. Why did he choose a sexual minority if it was not to reassure others that that they, too, have a place in the kingdom? Can we apply that today? If not, then why not?

The only groups that I saw Jesus turn away from were groups of religious leaders, pharisees and those zealous for the law but neglectful of people and relationships. Jesus followed the law, but found times when the law was to be overlooked such as in healing on the sabbath. With that pattern, wouldn’t it make sense that there would be some grace available to LGBTQ believers who want to be a part of the church?

There were also those passages in the New Testament that talked about the inclusion of Gentiles. It was a huge challenge for the Jewish believers to welcome Gentiles and not hold them to the Jewish norms of circumcision and dietary laws. Peter had that problem in Acts 10. Galatians 3:28 says that there is no differentiation between Jew and Greek, slave and free or male and female. This is a challenge to believers that they need to think outside what was standard to the Jewish followers of Christ. This seems to describe something similar to today’s heterosexuals having a problem with sexual and gender minorities.

So, the overarching message of the New Testament seemed to me to be one of love and acceptance. Love is love is love. Isn’t it?

If you want to see the encouraging verses for yourself you can look here.

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