MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BP)–The testimony of a Christian student who said he is a former homosexual highlighted a two-hour dialogue on the “Bible and homosexuality” at Middle Tennessee State University April 3.
Pastor Mark Caldwell and associate pastor April Baker, a lesbian, of Nashville’s Glendale Baptist Church spoke to a group of some 90 students, explaining their belief that the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality are unclear. The church may be expelled from the Nashville Baptist Association for its hiring of Baker.
Caldwell spent 30 minutes giving his interpretations of passages that mention homosexuality, concluding that the Bible knows nothing of “sexual orientation” and that all of Scripture should be viewed through the teachings of Jesus. He claimed that Christ had nothing to say about sexual ethics.
During the question-and-answer period, a university student spoke up, asserting that homosexuality is not an orientation but instead a lifestyle. The student, Brandon Farrar, said Christ delivered him from homosexuality.
“I agree with you when you say that Christianity and Christians should not exile people of the homosexual orientation,” he calmly said, addressing Baker and Caldwell. “As a former homosexual, I am glad that my church was so supportive of me when I needed it.”
He said it was not his decision to come out of homosexuality but instead “a conviction from God.” Farrar also disagreed with Caldwell’s overall interpretation of the Bible. Referring to ancient Israelite law, Caldwell had said that if inerrantists were consistent they would support the death penalty for homosexuals.
“You are comparing the Old Covenant to the New Covenant,” Farrar told him. “The New Covenant … says that we don’t kill people. … We are under a New Covenant. We are not under the Old Covenant. … Jesus came to fulfill the law.”
Farrar later told Baptist Press that he is a member of Grace Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and that he was a homosexual until about two and a half years ago.
Responding to Farrar, Caldwell said, “I am pleased that you have a community that is welcoming.” But Caldwell said he hoped churches also would welcome, embrace and not criticize those who believe they are born homosexuals.
One female student, saying she is a “bisexual” Christian, told of having struggled with the apostle Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1.
“Paul does degrade it,” she said, crying. “… [But] I believe you’re born that way.”
But after hearing Caldwell’s presentation, she said, “I feel a lot better about it know.”
A Southern Baptist professor contacted by Baptist Press said churches such as Glendale offer false hope to homosexuals.
“I tremble to think of a young struggling homosexual who may have listened to such preaching,” said Russell D. Moore, assistant professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. “He is given a message of peace when there is no peace.
“He is not offered the transforming word of the Gospel of Christ — a Gospel that can free him from the slavery to his disordered passions. There are millions in such slavery to sin. Do we love homosexuals? If so, we owe them the truth — the truth that sets sinners free.”
Glendale Baptist claims affiliation with three national bodies — the SBC, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists. The later two are comprised of churches and people that separated from the Southern Baptist Convention during or after the conservative resurgence. The Alliance of Baptists supports the ordination of homosexuals.