This is a response to the inaccurate remarks made by Rev. Jeff Pullium, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer, in the June 26 Your Faith section of The Augusta Chronicle. In his guest column ("Love of Christ can be seen in gay pride"), he criticized the South Augusta Pastors' Alliance -- not "Association" -- and the recent mini-seminar that was hosted by the pastors on the topic of homosexuality.
THE REV. PULLIUM stated that he feared the seminar "was gathered to present one-sided interpretations of Scripture and reparative therapy." It did no such thing. In fact, the reparative therapy that he bashes several times in his article was never discussed nor promoted at the seminar.
Let me describe the "dangerous" and "hateful" seminar that the Rev. Pullium disliked so much, even though he wasn't there. It was open to the public and was well attended by pastors, news media and other interested parties.
The presenters at the Truth Ministry Seminar were individuals, male and female, who honestly and powerfully shared their very real and long-term struggles with same-sex attraction and how they have dealt with it. They also described their personal victories, with the help of Jesus Christ, over a variety of uncontrollable circumstances that had a profound impact on them.
Since the seminar was an ecumenical event with a variety of supporting churches, both Catholic and Protestant, there was no specific "dogma" or church doctrine promoted, especially not one of "hate" as the Rev. Pullium would have us believe. If there were any Christian core beliefs presented, it was that the love of Jesus brings healing, blessing and forgiveness -- and a new life.
All of the presenters had experienced this healing, blessing and forgiveness and now are living new lives -- and they obviously love the results. This is pretty dangerous stuff, especially if someone is promoting the active homosexual lifestyle.
ONE OF THE CORE Christian beliefs that was presented was that homosexual sin is no more or less grievous to God than is heterosexual sin. Problems arise when someone tries to justify any kind of a sinful behavior, as defined by Scripture, by declaring that the behavior really isn't sinful any more.
- Being homosexual isn't sinful, but performing homosexual acts is, just as unmarried sex (a heterosexual act sometimes called fornication) is sinful.
- By "sin," I mean acts that are displeasing to God and somehow contrary to His will and plan as revealed in the Bible. In the end, all guilt for sinful behavior is determined by God and not by us.
Jesus really is about love, just as the Rev. Pullium asserts, but telling someone that it is OK to live or act in a way that opposes God's standards as revealed in Scripture, and in nature, is not love.
The seminar presenters made it clear that when homosexual acts (or sinful heterosexual acts) are somehow redefined as to now be OK with God and therefore not sinful, there is some real spiritual danger. Before anyone can repent and turn away from their wrong actions, they must first be able to know that what they did is an offense to God and therefore sinful.
Lots of political energy and money have gone into this redefining process. I suppose this is because we now live in a politically correct world and have to deal with the consequences. The Truth Ministry Seminar helps make sense out of what is, for many, a very confusing subject.
Finally, at the seminar I learned that in April 2010 the American College of Pediatrics sent a letter to every American public school supervisor warning of the clear evidence that homosexual practice runs a significantly higher mental health and physical health risk.
THEY WARNED that, in light of the normal gender confusion that 25 percent or more of all adolescents experience, to encourage premature experimentation is putting these children at great risk. The reader may want to draw his or her own conclusions from this, but it could at least be said that homosexual practice jeopardizes both mental and physical health, at least as far as the ACP is concerned.
I highly encourage pastors who want to educate their congregations and parishes on loving ways to reach out to those who experience same-sex attraction and/or homosexuality to contact Mr. McKrae Game at www.truthministry.org. They have a very positive story to tell that is both interesting and informative -- and not judgmental or hateful in any way. A Truth Ministry Seminar is easy to organize, and is a very interesting and informative event -- and, in many ways, is a "game changer." Those who sponsor one will not be disappointed.
I pray we will soon see across the CSRA many more informative seminars like this one and, perhaps, in other areas such as the damaging impact of pornography. Education and prayer are some of the best means of preparation for challenging times. We are in challenging times now, so it is a very appropriate and good time to get educated and start praying.
(The writer is moderator of the South Augusta Pastors' Alliance.)