I pray for those "who are conflicted in their desires...and would like to determine themselves differently..."

(Tim) Pastor Sam Andreades, a longtime member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, now serves New York's Village Church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. Recently, Pastor Andreades did a five minute spot on WFMU's Seven Second Delay radio show concerning Village Church's willingness to help those "who are conflicted in their desires and their identity and would like to determine themselves differently." (Here's a pic from the occasion.)

Near the end, Pastor Andreades was asked if he wanted to lead in prayer? The interview begins around 18:30 and the concluding prayer at 23:30. Here's Pastor Andreades' prayer:

HOST: Sam, would you like to lead a prayer?

SAM ANDREADES: Uh, I'd be willing to pray if nobody laughs; if we can do it reverently.

HOST: Sure, let's give it a try and see what happens, OK? Ready?

SAM ANDREADES: OK Uh... Heavenly Father, I lift up my friend Mark to you; and... uh... you know, in our discussions, as he thinks through these things; I do ask that you clarify his relationship with you cause that's foremost; I pray that he would know how much you want him--apart from these other issues; apart from any kind of change in behavior, thinking things about sexuality--that you want him; I pray that he know the the faith of his youth again... uh... and that that would help him in the ways that he's going.

I pray for all those who are listening who are conflicted in... uh... their desires and their identity and... uh... would like to determine themselves differently; I pray that you find them a supportive community; and... uh... I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would be present; And... And I really want to also thank you for Ken and Andy's show and the way they try to do things by experiment, uh... (host says "especially me" and, with Pastor Andreades, laughs) especially them; I pray that You... uh... continue to bless this show... uh... just for what they're willing to try to do; and I pray that... uh... the creative spirit of holiness would infuse it. I pray this all in Christ's Name, Amen.

* * *

If the link to the audio dies, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Comments

Wow, does that trumpet have an uncertain sound?

I seem to remember our Lord refusing to perform a miracle when called to do so by the Pharisees--a lesson that Pastor Andreades ought perhaps to have heeded if he knew he bore an uncertain trumpet.

It's great that the host asked him to pray. Too bad he didn't take advantage of it.

Is prayer meant to be our request to God, or a sermon preached to others with our eyes closed? If it's the former I'd say his prayer was an adequate response.

Sam,

Does God want the homosexual apart from any change in his thinking about homosexuality?

My comment was a response to the notion that somehow he failed at his prayer because he did not use it as a soap box. Like I said, prayer that is really only a blindfolded-sermon doesn't seem to fit the Biblical pattern for how we should pray.

God cleanses and justifies those sinners that he wants apart from any work. As His children, the Spirit works to change our thinking. I would not want to conflate the act of Justification and the process of Sanctification.

Just to make sure we're not talking past each other. Incidentally, I just wrote a blog on this general issue.

Can a homosexual come to Christ? Yes. Can he come without repentance? No. Saving faith is accompanied by repentance --it is not a justification / sanctification issue.

Does this mean he is given immediate victory over all homosexual desires or that he may never stumble and have a homosexual encounter? Of course not. Sin is powerful. Christians sin in all sorts of ways, and old sins die hard.

But, what is repentance, in the first place? It is a change of mind about sin: from acceptable to unacceptable, from morally inoffensive to seeing that it is an offense against God.

We ought to be compassionate towards homosexuals and aim at rescuing them from sin and condemnation. I am glad people are engaged in ex-gay ministries --a very difficult and thankless task, I am sure.

Yet there is a line where we stumble so much not to give offense that we mislead people into thinking one can come to Christ apart from particular repentance.

Ken,

I don't think we are in real disagreement. I think we just need to look for an appropriate response to the Gospel. I once heard a good pastor friend pointed out that when he was a new christian the idea that watching pornography was a sin shocked him (after all he wasn't actually having sex with anyone). As a genuine Spirit-led man he allowed the word of God to change his thinking and effect his life, so that he rightly understood that pornography was a sin.

Someone can come to faith and at first not see sex outside of marriage as sin. Their lack of wisdom does not negate their salvation. What is need to come to Christ is an understanding of our need for him, and the submission to the Spirit's refinement, but I'm not sure that I would say that at someone's conversion they must understand and agree to every particular sin.

Sam,

What some us are wondering - O.K. what I am wondering - is how a Christian pastor... a Reformed/Augustinian pastor... could be given the opportunity to solicit God for this man's soul, which according to St. Paul (1Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10) is in open rebellion and come up with this. That's what I'm wondering.

Does Pastor Andreades love the man, or not?

We're not talking about a Fred Phelps "Burn, Faggot, Burn" rant... just a prayer where the Bible's teaching on sin, repentance, the glorious forgiveness offered in Christ to ALL the sexually immoral is clearly evident.

This is not clear. And if it isn't clear, we have no reason to expect genuine repentance to follow.

Regards,
Matt

I listened to the prayer and thought it was an pastor's honest request that God would change this man's heart. It was a message for God, not the audience, and I think thats a fine thing.

* "it was a pastor's honest"

Sam,

I just went and listened to the audio and I would respectfully disagree. I know what you mean about prayers that are meant for God (true prayer) and those that are mini-sermons meant to impress those listening... and I agree.

I also applaud Pastor Andreades' courage and willingness to go into this particular "lion's den" and do battle.

I'm not all all sure that the message was clear. He's not alone in this regard, but the prayer was too vague. The Bible's teaching on homosexuality presupposes a "moral universe" that many have long abandoned... the way back is through Jesus Christ who doesn't merely "meet your needs" but changes them altogether.

It appeared to me (at least) that Rev. Andreades was offering the man a the spiritual equivalent of an oil change or tune-up when what he needs is a rebuilt engine, transmission, frame reweld, etc. - all accomplished by the mighty Christ who heals the (sexually) sick and gives sight to the (sexually) blind.

I'm with the Sams on this one, I think. And who knows -- maybe this is how Rev. Andreades gets his foot in the door without getting it immediately slammed in his face. There is certainly an offense to the Gospel, but there's no need to add to it ourselves.

"My comment was a response to the notion that somehow he failed at his prayer because he did not use it as a soap box."

I can't think of a more "soap box" prayer than this, perfectly tuned for the ears of those listening.

Romans 8:26 and Psalm 1 both seem applicable here. I pray that none of us will be found in the seat of scoffers. Because ALL of our prayers are pitifully inadequate without Christ interceding for us and with us. I pray that we will speak clearly and without mockery when rebuking those in the faith we think need it.

Perfect observation on Stephen Baker's part.

I dunno about that.

I agree - speaking in a way that people can understand ---when they ask you to pray! is very different than simply rolling over.

Sam and Rae,

More than the prayer was said. In reading Village Church's statement on homosexuality, as well as listening to this, it does concern me.

Is it not possible, in our day and age, to say, respectfully, something along the lines of:

You know I am a Christian minister, and I believe the Bible to be true. (I find, in my limited experience, if you set it in context of worldview, it comes across correctly --namely that YOU are not judging the person, but on an equal plane with him).

According to the Scriptures, homosexual lust and practice is sinful.

Like all other sin, it places one under the just condemnation of God's law, as well as destroying those enslaved to it.

Christ forgives delivers from this sin and all other sins, for those who will come to him.

I have actually had a very respectful conversation with a homosexual on just that plane. It seems to me you can show respect, and yet advance the truth if you remember that you are not trying to win an argument but a person --which comes through as love.

I don't see the apostles soft-pedaling anything even in their hyper-sexualized Greco-Roman context. Yes, doors were slammed in their faces, on occasion, but many people were delivered.

The lawful use of the law is to convict of sin, right? And then, offer the grace of both forgiveness and rescue.

I was already to jump on him for being too soft on this issue but then I checked out the Village Church's site and their "statement" on homosexual issues. And while it was worded kind of softly - probably with good intent - it does actually say what I think true Christians would want it to say.

http://stage.villagechurchnyc.com/statement-on-homosexuality/

They affirm cross-gender marriage! And they flat out say they don't agree with same-sex marriage - that it's not Biblical. I think they make a very strong case for traditional marraige and they make a strong case against same-sex marriage. They spend a whole paragraph on it - so it's not just a quick passing blurb - that you might miss if you're not paying close attention.

And in the next paragraph they make a strong statement against any sex outside of marriage and against same-sex sex. And then they flat out state that "we cannot affirm same-sex unions as God's will for followers of Christ."

Wow! I applaud them for a very strong and unequivocal statement on that! And I have to say it surprised me. When I read the first paragraph I didn't think this is the direction they were going to go in!

And then they make this totally unexpected statement (at least if your expectations were based on the first paragraph), when they say:

"Finally, the Village Church vehemently resists the denial of choice to those seeking change."

At first I thought he must mean people seeking sex-change! I thought perhaps they were saying they resisted "denial of choice" to those seeking a sex change operation.

But I was happily corrected by the rest of the paragraph where they're talking about their strong belief that changing your behavior and your sexual orientation from gay to straight is possible for those who have UNWANTED same-sex desires.

With a statement like that I really can't find anything to disagree with them on, other than possibly style. But I don't really even disagree with them on that because I know the environment they're operating in. I think this statement is pretty close to what all of us would like to see from a Bible-believing church operating in the capital of American homosexual culture.

yikes! typo in the very second word. I mean to say "I was all ready to..." not "I was already". Sorry.

Jonathan,

Actually, there is much ambiguity in their statement.

E.g., “The Village Church stands against any form of evil, including prejudice, bigotry and violence. We believe that moral disagreement is not a license for slander or harassment of any contrary group.”

Prejudice, etc. is listed as a “moral evil”, but they appear to frame the matter of homosexual conduct as a mere “moral disagreement.”

Also, “[T]hose of us who are heterosexual in desire are not more righteous or more entitled to the grace of Jesus Christ than those of us who are homosexual.” “Those of us?” Does not 1 Corinthians 6 identify homosexuality in the past tense for those who are true followers of Jesus Christ?

Again, we see ambiguity in statements such as, “In short, Christian marriage is given to be between one man and one woman.” Is not every marriage to be only between a man and a women? Such fuzziness opens the door to those who does not wish to be under a “Christian marriage.”

Similarly, they state, “[W]e cannot affirm same-sex unions as God’s will for followers of Christ.” Again, in their fuzziness they seem to limit this sort of behavior to only Christians. Are same-sex unions OK for those who do not choose to follow Christ?

It’s also unfortunate that it took a defensive posture in the opening lines.

The Pastor was clearly flustered, but that was because he was afraid to pray in public the prayer he prays in private for homosexuals. Or, less charitably, he doesn't pray in private for homosexuals, so he didn't know at all what to pray.

That should be a lesson to us to pray about our main subject just before going on a show like that.

>>is possible for those who have UNWANTED same-sex desires. With a statement like that I really can't find anything to disagree with them on...

This is the heart of the matter. Part of the reason I posted this prayer and a link to the interview and the church web site is this constant theme I'd found in everything they do aimed at the sodomite community, that their ministry is for those who aren't comfortable with their desires/gender identity/gay lifestyle/etc.

Did Jesus ask the Woman at the Well if she was satisfied with her poly-amorous lifestyle? No. He simply asked about her husband, thereby condemning her wickedness and giving her an opportunity to confess it--which she did. From love/out of love/in love/motivated by love... It wasn't that His pointing out her wickedness was done in a loving manner, but that his pointing out her wickedness was the only possible proof and the only possible fruit of His love.

Had He not loved, He would never have pointed out this sexual wickedness, forcing this beloved adulteress to confess it and repent and believe. He didn't go on and on about the wickedness of adultery; rather, he called her to confess her wickedness--which, once it was out in the open, was used by the Holy Spirit for her repentance and faith.

See, if sodomy is only wrong for those who aren't quite satisfied with their identity/desires/lifestyle, then it's not wrong for anyone. Either the law of God applies to those who love greed, gossip, fornication, and sodomy, or it applies to no one at all.

Sin--all sin--is bondage. We love rebellion and pride; we hate God the Father. We defy Him and give ourselves whole hog to our sin. It really is what we love--our sin, that is. So the Gospel call to repentance should never be limited to those who are conflicted in their desires and would like to determine themselves differently. It is the rebel who loves his sin and wants to die in it and go to Hell we should hope and pray and preach for.

Lots more to say on this theme, but an elders meeting approaches....

Love,

PS: By the way, enough with this talk about what a different context these men in New York City minister within! Their context is little different from mine and thousands upon thousands of other men called and set apart by God for pastoral ministry. Within our congregations, most of us have a number of men and women tempted and/or repenting and departing from same-sex physical intimacy. And there are any number of us who live in communities and pastor congregations that have a higher percentage of sodomites than New York City and Redeemer or Village Church.

So as I said, enough with this talk about pastors of New York City ministering in a different cultural context. My Dad grew up in NYC, I spent the first eight years of my life in Philly, and my wife and I have lived and worked in Madison, Boulder, Boston, and now Bloomington. Our entire lives we've worked with men and women tempted and repenting of homosexual sin; and when I lived in San Diego, I shared a house with a cocker spaniel and her owner who was a male homosexual prostitute.

So, as I said, enough of this cheap talk about who lives in what culture and how that limits what they can do or say in proclaiming the Gospel. We're all in Kansas now, and Kansas is queer. Or as all previous generations of Christians would have said, we're all Lot living in Sodom, now.

Last week, I was in classroom of high school men and women in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, and I told the students that, in our church, we men make a practice of kissing each other. That given the high percentage of gay men in Bloomington, we kiss one another partly in order to de-eroticize male intimacy.

So, Sunday mornings, many of us men kiss each other. On the face. Touch. Men touching men.

The teacher of those high school students then asked me, "But it's not sexual touch, right?"

"No, it's not sexual touch," I answered.

So like I said, enough with this perpetual blather about how no one outside of Manhattan or Greenwich Village knows how hard it is to communicate in their unique culture.

Bogus. We all know how hard it is because we've all been doing it from the day we began to give an answer for the hope that is within us.

Yes, of course I do believe in contextualization. But as I read people talking about it (contextualization, that is), the principle utility it has in the church today seems to be to justify our scratching of itching ears.

In other words, the sort of contextualization the Apostle Paul did in the Areopagus, where he used the surrounding culture to sharpen his wielding of the Sword of the Spirit, is unheard of today. We use contextualization to dull our witness--never to sharpen it.

But as I said, the elders meeting approaches and we have some very heavy work to do--including the discipline and instruction and loving care of sodomites.

Tim,
Who tried to used context as a justification? And who tried to blame Pastor Andreades' on him being in NYC? I found a pastor's willingness to speak in such a market place wise, and I found his willingness to enter into a serious prayer--a good thing, despite the fact that I did not hear an entire sermon in that 5 minute audio tape.

>>Who tried to used context as a justification?

Did you read the comments? Specifically, "I don't really even disagree with them on that because I know the environment they're operating in."

>>I did not hear an entire sermon in that 5 minute audio tape.

Did you read what I wrote? "He simply asked about her husband..." and "He didn't go on and on about the wickedness of adultery..."

Please engage the things actually written. That would help further the discussion.

Love,

Tim,

Thanks for your teaching on this.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend lunch with a man that has been intentionally mutilated to appear as a woman, and lives as a lesbian.

This man is not at all conflicted in his desires, and Sam Andreades would seem to have nothing to say to him.

But by the grace of God, with fear and trembling, I was able to call him to repent from his rebellion against his creator and judge.

Pray for this man. As you would expect, he is deeply deceived.

Ohh...now I see the problem.....

>>Ohh...now I see the problem.....

Dear Sam,

You made two false claims which were corrected, and now you mock? Or am I misreading you?

Regardless, you still have avoided engaging the substance of the matter. Why not give it a try?

Love,

Tim Albrecht: "Does not 1 Corinthians 6 identify homosexuality in the past tense for those who are true followers of Jesus Christ?"

It has always been explained to me that homosexuality, as listed in 1 Corinthians 6, described behavior. It's why older translations use terms such as "sodomite" or "abusers of men." That should certainly be in the past tense for believers, and I think the church's statement treats it as such. I think the purpose of their statement was to say that there are repentant, believing Christians who still experience same-sex desires as opposed to heterosexual ones, and that there is no difference between the two.

Homosexual temptation is often a lifelong struggle, and I certainly know several people (including myself) for whom heterosexual desires have simply not developed despite abstinence from homosexual sex, pornography and lust. I think when dealing with this issue, it's important to not creating a hierarchy between single and married, heterosexually-tempted and homosexually-tempted. That can often happen in churches, although I do agree that their statement could be a lot more clear than it is.

And I definitely give a hearty, "Amen!" to Pastor Bayly's assertion that this is not a "unique" context by any means.

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