published Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Becker, Thomas: Local Presbyterian pastors call for unity

By Laura Becker and Clay Thomas

We are ministers serving the Presbyterian Church USA churches in the Chattanooga area. We serve big churches and small churches. We are disciples of Jesus Christ, seeking to love the Lord, our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and our neighbors as ourselves. We all believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

We do not all agree about same-sex marriage.

Last week, the national representative governing body of our denomination, the General Assembly, met in Detroit to discuss and vote on matters related to the church and our ministries near and far. In the spirit of the vote two years ago to allow gays and lesbians to be ordained, the General Assembly voted to allow ministers to officiate same-sex marriages in states where such marriages are legal. At the same time, they affirmed that each minister and congregation has the freedom not to participate in officiating same-sex marriages, even though the state may legally permit it.

Some of us and some of our church members grieve this change, and some of us celebrate it. None of us wish to be defined by this decision. Instead, we believe our common belief in the Lordship of Christ takes priority over our differences. As in any family, we disagree about many issues, but in church our disagreements are done in love. Some will cast stones at Presbyterians for this decision and other actions made by the General Assembly. Some people will say Presbyterians who affirm these decisions have turned away from the scriptures and rejected God. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all affirm the authority of scripture and seek the Spirit’s guidance as we study and interpret it. At General Assembly and among our small circle, scriptures inform the rationale for and against same-sex marriage.

We know we are not all going to agree on all matters of faith. One of the beautiful things about being Presbyterian is that we believe “God alone is the Lord of the conscience.” That means our congregations represent the spectrum of theological stances on contemporary issues. But the Apostle Paul charges us to bear with one another in love as members of the body of Christ. We also affirm that the Spirit of God works best through communal discernment and that we are stronger when a diversity of voices are at the table.

In boldness we declare that we are disciples of Christ sharing the gospel in word and deed. In humility we confess we are a gathering of God’s beautifully messy people, seeking to be the body of Christ together. We are united in our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and we seek to live out and share the good news of his grace in our churches, in our communities, and in our world.

The Rev. Laura Becker is pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Clay Thomas pastors Rivermont Presbyterian Church. This letter also is endorsed by the Rev. Perry McCallen, Second Presbyterian Church; Diane Stocker, parish associate, Second Presbyterian Church; Dr. Donald Grohman, Mowbray Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Dave Kivett, Northside Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Jennie Barber, Rivermont Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Lina Hart, parish associate, Rivermont Presbyterian Church.

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conservative said...

The caption gets to the heart of the matter.

These "pastors" want unity at the expense of truth.

The "unity" these "pastors" have in mind is to allow the gross sin of Homosexuality/sodomy in their congregations.

These "pastors" are apostates!

June 28, 2014 at 7:10 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Ah, con man. Fighting for TROO Christianity. It is a thankless job, but someone has to do it.

June 28, 2014 at 8:15 a.m.

Fundy-NutZ like Conservative always make the case for agnosticism and atheism.

Imagine all the troubles in the world.

And all Jehovah and the Fundy-NutZ can do is worry about genitalia.

Does Conservative wear his shiny silver badge that reads "God's Penis Patrol" to church and playgrounds?

Warn your children about Fundy-NutZ.

June 28, 2014 at 8:18 a.m.
conservative said...

Now, note how these two apostates, Laura Becker and Clay Thomas begin to justify their apostasy:

"We are disciples of Jesus Christ, seeking to love the Lord, our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and our neighbors as ourselves. We all believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God."

This is the basic tactic of all apostates when they try to justify the gross and evil sin of Homosexuality/sodomy.

They falsely claim to love others and Jesus and God!

They falsely claim to love others and Jesus and God and his word!

June 28, 2014 at 8:34 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

ConMan is like the gay Batman (Orr is the gay Robin). Anytime they see anything about homosexuals, they "spring" into action.

June 28, 2014 at 8:35 a.m.
Easy123 said...

I'd bet more "Christians" participate in sodomy (the heterosexual and homosexual versions) than any other religious group.

June 28, 2014 at 12:37 p.m.

If any other book contained as much sexual violence, rape, incest, and sexual slavery of women as the BIble, the fundies would want to ban it from schools.

But when that sexual violence, rape, incest and sexual slavery of women is approved by Jehovah, it's God's will.

Maybe the fundy churches, in addition to gyms, coffee shops, and xian souvenir shops could add an adult book store featuring depictions of those sacred sexcapades and sex toys of the saints.

June 28, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.
alansmithee said...

Apostate...hah, that's awesome. Word of the day - thanks to our LDS friends who attempt to question authority.

Well, let's look at the words of Leviticus...shall we?

If one has a tattoo. That person is an abomination. If one eats pork. That person is an abomination.

Old Testament not your thing? Paul wrote about the same stuff regarding homosexuality? Okay...let's read on.

The Apostle Paul wrote to treat our slaves kindly. I'll go out and enslave a human being. It'll be all good though, I'll treat him/her well.

He also wrote to keep women at the back of the church indicating second class citizens. I guess people forget that without women helping Paul out, his ministry wouldn't have taken hold anywhere. Whatevs.

Back to the Old Testament.

King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. It's in the bible. I only had one wife. I guess I should go get more. Concubine? Female slave. Yep, that's awesome. I'll find those too.

King David, his son, and included in the lineage of that Jesus dude, wanted to sleep with Bathsheba. So what did he do? He ordered her husband to fight in the front lines of a war. Her husband was killed. David is awesome.

These idiots only want to read what they want to read.

It's nice to see that a denomination evolving to include everyone, because the last time I read that book, God is love.

And those that don't love, don't know God.

June 28, 2014 at 3:11 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

What a cop-out of a letter! The authors really haven't said anything other than, "Well, gee, we're all just 'beautifully messy' brothers and sisters in Jesus, so whether you're a gay hater or a gay lover, or for or against gay marriage, it's all okay, as long as you follow whatever path Jesus leads you on."

Come on, Revs. Becker, Thomas, et al, take a stand! The problem with you "progressive" Christians is that you are too cowardly and too accepting of the bigots, the haters, and the anti-science lunatics within your ranks. You want to be truly transformative Christians? Then stop pretending that it's all okay as long as you are "united in (your) faith in (your) Lord Jesus Christ." Christianity today is far too big an umbrella, giving cover to far too many types of Christians. The very term "Christian" has become so ambiguous as to be almost meaningless. It's not enough to say simply that your belief in Jesus gives you a common bond with other Christians.

If you like to think that your Jesus was all about love, then take a firm, definitive stand against those who use Christianity as an excuse to hate! And while you're at it, you might give some serious thought to the notion that love does not require belief in a "messiah" or a guru of 2000 years ago to justify itself. Love flows freely and abundantly, in the here and now. Truth is truth, just because it is - not because somebody named Jesus supposedly lived and supposedly died on a cross and supposedly rose from the dead and is supposedly coming back.

June 28, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.
conservative said...

These two very Liberal "pastors", Laura Becker and Clay Thomas, are apostates, for they teach and lead others away from the word of God which clearly condemns Homosexuality/sodomy.

From Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology:

"Defection from the faith, an act of unpardonable rebellion against God and his truth. The sin of apostasy results in the abandonment of Christian doctrine and conduct."

Homosexuality/sodomy is condemned in Scripture.

Those who practice Homosexuality/sodomy will not inherit the Kingdom of God!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS

Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22-23, Leviticus 20:13.

June 28, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Go crawl back under the rock you slithered out of, con-man. You are the sort of "Christian" these so-called "liberal" Christians need to speak out against more forcefully. If I claimed to be a Christian I would be ashamed for people to think I had anything whatsoever in common with you and your twisted beliefs.

June 28, 2014 at 3:48 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Jesus contradicted himself on almost every issue. That is why it is so easy for people of antithetical ideologies to claim him as their own. Conservatives/gun lovers/war mongers like to cite something Jesus said in favor of taking up swords (arms) and his followers like to think of themselves as warriors for God or as Christian "soldiers,", while peaceniks and liberals can cite something he said about laying down swords (arms) and thus justify their belief in striving for peace and love above all else. Capitalists can cite something he said that justifies in their minds God's desire for a capitalist America, while socialists can cite something he said or did that justifies living in a socialistic state. Libertarians like to think that he stood for individual freedom and was opposed to all authority other than God.

Jesus is a chameleon that is used to justify whatever broad ranging beliefs happen to suit the particular color and hue of the believer. It's not enough to claim to be a Christian. True morality lies in thinking for oneself and determining what is right or wrong outside the narrow box of blind faith in some mythical savior of 2000 years ago.

June 28, 2014 at 4:10 p.m.
conservative said...

It just amazes me how these two apostate "pastors" Laura Becker and Clay Thomas brazenly lie when trying to justify the gross sin of Homosexuality/sodomy.

They wrote:

"At General Assembly and among our small circle, scriptures inform the rationale for and against same-sex marriage"

Now, that is one gigantic lie from the pits of Hell!

Scripture condemns Homosexuality/ sodomy and those who practice Homosexuality/sodomy, see 3:44 p.m. comment.

Does Scripture inform the rationale for and against adultery? No!

Does Scripture inform the rationale for and against murder? No!

Does Scripture inform the rationale for and against lying? No!

Does Scripture inform the rationale for and against fornication? No!

Does Scripture inform the rationale for and against Homosexuality/sodomy? No!

Did these two apostate "pastors" Laura Becker and Clay Thomas provide any Scripture to support their claim? No!

None exists.

June 28, 2014 at 5:09 p.m.

conservative said...

"Now, that is one gigantic lie from the pits of Hell!"

Thanks for telling everyone about where you live, but most people already guessed. How's the fire and brimstone? Hot enough for you?

You've never offered any evidence for your claims of Jehovah, Jesus, and the Bible as reality. You know why?

"None exists."

But I laugh at your frothing at the mouth. Spend much on Windex for cleaning spittle off the computer screen and keyboard?

"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." Matthew 19:12

Which kind of eunuch are you, Conservative? And do you give or receive? Top or bottom?

Weren't you in last year's "Eunuchs for Jesus" parade? Wasn't that you in the purple spandex twirling a baton? How did you step so lively in those 8" stilettos? And I've never heard a castrato sing "The Old Rugged Cross" any better— three octaves above middle C.

You're a credit to your race.

Neutered Fundy-NutZ are funny.

June 28, 2014 at 6:27 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

We dusted our shoes of connie.

For the others who read, ask yourself a question, " How do you understand what is written in scripture?"

Many of us believe that to do that we are guided by the Holy Spirit. It leads our prayerful discernment. In the end, regardless of your theological position, it is conscience of a dedicated sinner that makes the conclusion of right and wrong.

We get to the meaning of scripture in several ways:

  1. Read the scripture in its original language.
  2. Understand exactly what the context of the passage is and what it is addressing and how it impacts current time.
  3. Are there conflicting passages?
  4. If so, consider the entire body of the Gospel and what it teaches; then prayerfully decide how that whole body of scripture enlightens the difficult passage and resolves the conflict over a verse.

Anyone who, as con-man does, falls back on the position, "I read and know what the scripture means for you and me" is using a historical Roman Catholic argument that one person alone is in a position to tell another how to guide one's conscience, or to judge another as a sinner (implying the judger is sin-free), or what scripture means.

To go beyond the rule of conscience guided by the Holy Spirit argued above, is to embrace theological dictatorship, to ask the bible be translated into some gibberish only that one person can understand, something Hitler did with the German Lutheran church. I'll have none of that, thank you.

Note con-man overlooks the question, "Does scripture authorize one to judge another's sins?"

Beware of absolutism.

June 28, 2014 at 8:55 p.m.
conservative said...

Inquirinmind

Who do you think you are fooling?

You cannot defend a Homosexual lifestyle and that is why you don't try.

You instead try to deceive others with gibberish and reading Scripture in the original language which you can not.

Now, tell me why Homosexual/sodomy is not sin and why 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 does not say and mean what it clearly says and means.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS

June 28, 2014 at 9:29 p.m.
conservative said...

Inquiringmind

Are you still sticking to this outrageous claim?

"So Paul himself admits it is possible for a non-believer to enter heaven."

I certainly hope you don't claim that God the Holy Spirit gave you that lie.

June 28, 2014 at 9:46 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

The wind is blowing hard today...

June 28, 2014 at 9:51 p.m.
conservative said...

Inquiringmind

When you come to a conclusion that is contradictory to Scripture it NEVER comes from God the Holy Spirit.

June 28, 2014 at 9:52 p.m.
conservative said...

inquiringmind said...

The wind is blowing hard today...

=============================

No, that is not a defense of Homosexuality/sodomy.

June 28, 2014 at 9:54 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

no, it is a defense against pointless futility...to a person who is blinded to the HS. You seem to have serious issues to resolve with your maker.

Grace and peace and hope for your peace,

June 28, 2014 at 11:27 p.m.
conservative said...

inquiringmind

"to a person who is blinded to the HS"

You can't write Holy Spirit?

You can't defend the gross sin of Homosexuality/sodomy either.

Who do you think you are fooling?

June 29, 2014 at 7:04 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

Again, if you take that verse from Corinthians to heart, ConMan, as you proclaim. And there "are no homosexuals at your 'real' church", then there shouldn't be any divorcees at your "real church". If you don't "speak out" against divorce (or thievery, or drinking, etc.), as you do of the "gross sin of Homosexuality/sodomy" that makes you a hypocrite and a biblical cherry picker. And if you ever received oral (which may have never happened with you) or fornicated in a position other then the missionary (which may have never happened with you), you have committed "sodomy".

June 29, 2014 at 9:41 a.m.

Conservative the Eunuch is with his fellow impotents this morning at "The First Church of Don't Touch Your Pee-Pee" and will be unable to respond with more bible lunacy until services are over.

His regularly scheduled drivel will return this afternoon after Jesus and Jehovah meet with him to discuss genitalia.

June 29, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.
conservative said...

GaussianInteger said...

"Again, if you take that verse from Corinthians to heart, ConMan, as you proclaim."

===================

You don't take the verses to heart because....

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS

June 29, 2014 at 2:06 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

ayb, gaus, ricko, do not waste your breath on con-man, he does not know what he is doing.

Funny thing about Presbyterians, they actually believe we are all sinners to the point that they publicly express it in prayers of worship. A friend passed along this prayer they used today:

"God, be merciful to me, a sinner, a sinner in the company of sinners. Too often we hide beneath the veil of religion or trust in the good things we do. Seemingly safe in our pews, we look down on those who are not here, thankful that we are not like them. Yet, the truth is, we are. We have all sinned. We have fallen short of the people you call us to be. Cleanse us, restore us for the sake of Jesus our Savior. Amen."

Perhaps the judge connie might consider that prayer and come on down with the rest of us hypocrites.

June 29, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.
conservative said...

inquiringmind

"Perhaps the judge connie might consider that prayer and come on down with the rest of us hypocrites"

===============

Of course that is not true. I have no power to judge you for Homosexuality/sodomy or any other sin.

You feel judged by the word of God which I only pointed you to. His word is authoritative, not mine.

Again:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS

June 29, 2014 at 2:42 p.m.

Christian fundamentalism is based on a doctrinal assumption of being born guilty of sin. Imagine the disturbed people who subscribe to that idiotic doctrine and you get the likes of Conservative and Orr.

Makes one wonder what mental perversions and aberrations exist in their demented minds that they find it necessary to see their same perversions in everyone else.

Neither should be trusted with children or pets, nor as examples of living a good and moral life.

June 29, 2014 at 2:49 p.m.
conservative said...

Inquiringmind

Do you consider the practice of Homosexuality/sodomy to be sin?

June 29, 2014 at 3:18 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

The notion of "original sin" is one of the most ludicrous, horrendous, and damaging lies ever to be foisted on the human race. And to think that humans have willingly inflicted it upon themselves! And they continue to do so! It's somewhat understandable that ignorant primitive peoples who knew no better might ascribe to the doctrine, but there really is no excuse for mature adults here in the 21st century to cling to such a preposterous concept.

June 29, 2014 at 3:33 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

It also boggles my mind that somebody like con-man and Ken Orr and the other blind-faith fundies actually think that a God so magnanimous as to have created the universe and life in such abundance could be so petty as to actually worry about what two people do willingly between themselves behind closed doors. The only "sins" of people that we should concern ourselves with are those that do willful, malicious harm to others. What two people do willingly between themselves in private should be of no concern to anyone. And if you worship a God who you think worries about such petty things, then your God is anything but great and magnanimous. Looks like he has some serious perversions and psychological issues himself.

June 29, 2014 at 3:51 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

ayb, we have all fallen short of the glory of God

June 29, 2014 at 4:40 p.m.
conservative said...

Inquiringmind

Do you consider the practice of Homosexuality/sodomy to be sin?

June 29, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.

inquiringmind said... "ayb, we have all fallen short of the glory of God."

For me there are no gods. That's not to say there might be something like a god in the vast universe, but certainly Jehovah, Jesus, and the rest of that crew as supernatural beings doesn't exist.

I can appreciate those progressive and liberal Christians who read the Bible as metaphor and attempt to "do unto others and love their neighbor" but those messages do not require gods and were said and repeated countless times before Christianity was created.

I have yet to meet a Fundy-Nutz Christian who radiated joy, peace, and tranquility. Most fall between Fred Phelps and Jerry Falwell on the high scale of hatred, bigotry, ignorance and love of violence against everyone else. Conservative and Orr represent this type of impotent small-minded, self-deluded Fundy-NutZ.

I have known liberal Christians who have taken a message of peace, brotherhood, and joy they perceive from the Bible and acted accordingly. Or course, the Fundy-NutZ hate them as well as agnostics and atheists.

I understand your position Inquiringmind, and do appreciate the message behind your words. It is up to you and others of the liberal and progressive mindset to speak out and rail against the fundamentalists of all religions that use their doctrine and dogma of hate as weapons against everyone else.

June 29, 2014 at 5:25 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"You don't take the verses to heart because...."

Have you ever gotten a BJ? If so, that's sodomy pal.

June 29, 2014 at 8:23 p.m.

GaussianInteger said... "You don't take the verses to heart because...."

"Have you ever gotten a BJ? If so, that's sodomy pal."

With the moral hypocrites like Conservative and Ted Haggard it's probably the other way round.

Reminds me of a joke.

A guy goes into a bar and tells the barkeep to line up 12 shots of whiskey. The guy then knocks back all and wipes his mouth.

The barkeep say, "What's the occasion?"

The guy says, "I'm celebrating my first blow job."

"That's great! Let me get you another one on the house!" said the barkeep.

"No thanks," says the guy. "If the first twelve didn't get the taste out of my mouth, nothing will."

June 29, 2014 at 8:46 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

ayb, i agree there are no gods.

June 29, 2014 at 9:15 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Only one

June 30, 2014 at 6:17 a.m.
conservative said...

Inquiringmind

Do you consider the practice of Homosexuality/sodomy to be sin?

June 30, 2014 at 7:01 a.m.
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