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  • James Pate

Differences of opinion.

Dear friends

From time to time, I get emails from LGBT+ people who want to know my opinion.

They’ve been told that they are sinful.

They’ve been told, perhaps, that God loves them but “we have to do what the Bible says.” I try to present a different point of view.

I’m not going to go into the way I interpret the Bible here. I’ve done that before and I’m happy to discuss it with anyone.

But I do want to make an appeal to anyone who will listen. Can we all acknowledge, please, regardless of our point of view, that there is a range of opinions on these matters?

A couple of examples from recent publications:

“O Lord, please help those in church leadership to stand firm on the biblical truth that marriage is between one man and one woman and resist pressures to accept other definitions in the name of equality and tolerance. May we be gracious to those who disagree without compromising this crucial Christian doctrine.” (CARE Prayer Diary, July 2023)

“The Christian view that sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman is a sin seems to be under attack all over the world.” (“Heresy!” in August 2023 Christianity Magazine.)

Please may I ask that we don’t write or speak like this. If we are going to talk about ‘the biblical truth’ or ‘the Christian view,’ let’s all acknowledge that not everyone shares our interpretation. Let’s learn to worship with those who think differently. Let’s trust those who have come to a different conclusion to us, that they are honestly seeking God’s will and that they love the Bible as much as we do.

And let’s not be afraid of debate. Let’s listen to those who think differently to us. Let’s hear those who have different priorities. Let’s see the good in everyone.

Let’s be his people, together.

As we say in our Inclusion Statement: We believe in a church where we can discuss matters freely. We do not let differences of opinion harm our relationships with each other.

In his grace, James

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