“Would You Answer Some Questions About Hate and LGBT?”

I am a high school student writing a paper for English over some hatred issues across America and I was wondering if you would answer some questions about marriage equality, gender issues, etc.

Why do you, personally, dislike homosexual behavior?

For the same reason I dislike heterosexual behavior (like using pornography or unmarried or extramarital sex) that is outside of God’s plan and purpose for our bodies and souls: it is harmful to the person(s) engaging in it. Sex is so powerful, like electricity, that it needs to be contained within the safe confines of marriage between a man and a woman who have committed to each other for life. Outside of that containment, the power of sex is more like lightning, which does damage instead of being channeled into serving us.

But homosexual behavior is not just about sex. There is also a lot of emotional dependency in same-sex relationships, especially between girls and women, when their friendship has overflowed the banks of what is healthy. Emotionally dependent relationships are intense (which becomes exhausting), chaotic (which drains people further), controlling and manipulative (which is hurtful to the people and to the relationship). I dislike this behavior because it is harmful to the people engaging in it as well. I love people and hate to see them get hurt. That’s why I dislike the behavior that contributes (eventually) to heartache.

If anyone of your family members became homosexual, how would you react?

That already happened, when one of my relatives was seduced into lesbian relationships and started seeing herself as part of the LGBT community. I continued to love her, encourage her, delight in her . . . even though we don’t talk about her relationships or her involvement in LGBT.

I have two grown sons, though, which is the closer kind of family I think you may be thinking of. If either one of them announced they were gay, I would weep that he had been deceived by our spiritual enemy into thinking falsehoods about himself, and I would pray every day for his eyes to be open to the truth, even as I continued to love him like I do now.

Why do you think God doesn’t love homosexual people and their behaviors?

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God dearly and tenderly loves those who struggle with same-sex attraction, those who have embraced a gay identity, and even those who have fully immersed themselves in the LGBT world. I’m thinking of one young man in particular who went on a two-week bender, prostituting himself for gay sex so he could buy drugs and keep himself high. I know that his decisions grieved God’s heart deeply (especially when he became HIV+ during that 2 weeks), but He never left the man or stopped loving him, and was there waiting patiently for him to come to his senses . . . which he did. And now their relationship is stronger than ever.

If God loved people, ALL people, enough to send His only Son into the world to be nailed to a cross, taking our place and paying the penalty for our sin and then raising Him from the dead, then I think He continues to love all of us in our messy, sinful rebellion. But He never endorses or accepts our sinful behavior, though He fully accepts US. Acceptance and approval of choices and behaviors are not the same.

You may have noticed I went from talking about homosexuals to US . . . because we are all in the same predicament: messy, sinful, rebellious people who desperately need God. There is no us/them differentiation—we are all alike in our need for God, and we are all alike in the fact that He loves us more than we can imagine.

Do you believe in abortion, and why?

I think it is a heinous thing to murder a baby, whether he or she lives inside the mother or outside the mother. Abortion is taking the life of an innocent child, and it’s wrong to murder.

And do you consider Probe Ministries a hate group?

Absolutely not! We were tagged a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because we don’t agree with the LGBT agenda. We align ourselves with the Bible’s standards that all sex outside of marriage violates God’s commands for human sexuality. Unfortunately, these days mere disagreement is called hate. I have repeatedly invited people to identify the hate-filled words on our website so I can change them, but no one has ever identified any. I believe that is because you won’t find words of hate on our website, or our podcasts, or any of our recorded messages. (And I do know what hate sounds like. Westboro Baptist Church makes me sick.)

I’m the primary writer and speaker about homosexuality and gender issues for Probe. It might be helpful for you to know that for 18 years I have also served with Living Hope Ministries, which is a Christian organization that helps people deal with unwanted homosexuality, and the family members of those who have chosen to embrace a gay identity. I have known and grown to love more people than I can count, people who are my heroes as they fight their feelings and instead, pursue intimacy with Jesus Christ. I have watched so many people’s hearts change over time, and I have walked with a lot of women as they process the reasons for their attractions and experience a shift in their beliefs and attitudes (and sometimes attractions as well, though not always). They are so very dear to me, and I love being their cheerleader and encourager.

That’s the opposite of hate. That’s what love looks like, and that’s what is the foundation of everything I write and say on this issue.

It might also be helpful for you to know that I have run everything I write and say through the filter of trusted friends who were once part of the LGBT community, asking them to identify anything that is unintentionally hurtful or rude or even untrue so I can change it before it becomes public.

I’m glad you asked, and I am thankful for the opportunity to provide you with some answers.

Have a good day.

Warmly,
Mrs. Bohlin

Posted Oct. 2016
© 2016 Probe Ministries


“What About an Inter-racial, Inter-faith, Same-sex Marriage?”

Dear Mrs. Bohlin,

What is your position and/or your church’s position on inter-racial marriage? And the same on marriage between religious faiths? How would you advise me to respond to a relative who has stated intentions to marry an atheist, of the same sex and of a different racial and ethnic background?

I agree with my church’s position on inter-racial marriage, which is that biblically there is no prohibition against it—the prohibition is about believers in Christ marrying unbelievers. realtruthrealquick.com/interracial-marriage-christian/

Concerning inter-faith marriage, that depends on your definition of inter-faith. Some make a distinction between Christian denominations and say, for example, that Presbyterians shouldn’t marry Episcopalians. I don’t think that is inter-faith, that would be intra-faith marriage. But when we’re talking about, for example, a Christian marrying a Hindu, that is clearly prohibited in scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments. The children of Israel were instructed never to marry any pagan neighbors, and we are told in 2 Cor. 6:14 not to be unequally yoked, believer to unbeliever.

Concerning your relative: is s/he a believer in Jesus? Then I would ask them how they are dealing with the Bible’s teaching not to marry a unbeliever, and the Biblical pattern of marriage as strictly between husband and wife (with no exceptions). Most of the time, people who do what they please regardless of what the Bible says, do so because they don’t know what God has said in His word . . . or if they do, they dismiss it for a variety of reasons, all because they want what they want. There is a heart of rebellion there. If your relative is a believer, the biggest issue is the authority of the Bible and their refusal to submit to it.

If the relative is not a believer, God’s standards and commands are STILL given “that it may go well with you,” (stated 8 times in Deuteronomy)—they function like guardrails on a treacherous mountain road. If we stay inside of the guardrails, we are protected from careening off the cliff to disaster below. But this person’s relationship with God—or rather, the lack of one—is the most important issue. If they’re not a believer, they probably don’t care what God has said, mistakenly thinking that the Bible’s commands and restrictions don’t apply to them. But that’s like thinking, “If I don’t believe in gravity, I can do what I please and get away with it.” No. No one gets away with trying to violate the law of gravity . . . and eventually, they discover they can’t get away with violating the law of God either. Their biggest need is salvation. They need to know that God’s Son, Jesus, died for his/her sins, was buried and rose from the dead three days later so s/he could be reconciled to God. That need overshadows questions about who they want to marry.

I send this with a prayer that you will be able to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to your relative, and he or she will have ears to hear.

Blessings,
Sue

Posted Nov. 22, 2015
© 2015 Probe Ministries


“Which Countries Deny Religious Freedom?”

I understand there are six countries who deny religious freedom. I have Burma, China, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and North Korea. Is this list correct? Are there more, or is this complete?

Your list is accurate, but I think it might be better to list the countries that deny any form of freedom to their citizens. Each year Freedom House posts a list of the countries that are free, partially free, or not free. You can see the list and the map of the world on their Web site (www.freedomhouse.org).

The list of not free countries is very long. Here is the 2001-2002 list just of the countries whose names that start with the first letters of the alphabet:

Afghanistan
Algeria
Angola
Bahrain
Belarus
Bhutan
Brunei
Burma
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chad
China
Congo
Cuba

As you can see, the list is very long of countries that deny freedom (religious freedom or other freedoms).

Addendum added March 25, 2015:
A better place to get a handle on religious freedom is www.uscirf.gov which is the site of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Freedom House site deals more with political freedom rather than religious freedom. From the 2015 report, we get the following summary of the nations who are particularly offensive to the ideas of religious liberty.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal advisory body the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) created to monitor religious freedom abuses abroad, released its 2014 Annual Report, and recommended that the State Department add eight more nations to its list of “countries of particular concern,” defined under law as countries where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are tolerated or perpetrated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

USCIRF also recommended that the following eight countries be re-designated as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

Kerby Anderson


“What’s Your Take on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?”

What’s Your Take on Fifty Shades of Grey?

The bottom line for me is that this verbal porn (and now visual as well, with the release of the movie) doesn’t pass the “Philippians 4:8 test”: “[W]hatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”

But writer and speaker Dannah Gresh blogged about it so well, I’ll just send you to it: “I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”

There are some disheartening comments on her blog post, which are reasonably rebutted:

“You shouldn’t judge a book you haven’t read.” There’s enough information out there about this book series to make an informed judgment. Consider God’s command in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They didn’t know evil personally and experientially, but God still commanded them to stay away from it. God wasn’t going to buy the argument, “How can we decide whether or not to partake if we’ve never tasted evil?”

“I don’t question my faith after reading these books.” Okay, but did they bring you closer to the Lord and to His call to purity? How did they impact your view of God’s standards for sexuality? If you enjoyed books that glorify what God calls sin, how do you not see the discrepancy for a Christ-follower?

“It’s just a fictional book, for crying out loud!” This is the most disturbing of all, because it shows the writer doesn’t understand the power of story. People’s minds and hearts are not swayed by a list of facts and statistics nearly as much as they are by story, whether in a book or a film or video. The power of story is that it can slip past the “watchful dragons” of one’s belief system and turn the heart, both for evil and for good. All we have to do is watch how the values of a TV audience change over time by watching certain TV shows. We need to be more careful about novels and movies, not less.

Sue Bohlin

Added February 13, 2015:

My pastor answered the question “Is It Okay for a Christian to Go See Fifty Shades of Grey” in this 7-minute episode of Real Truth Real Quick:

Posted July 8, 2012; Updated Feb. 13, 2015
© 2012 Probe Ministries


“How Do You Respond to Vicky Beeching’s Coming Out as Gay and Proud?”

Dear Sue,

Did you happen to see this in the past few days? Vicky Beeching, Star of the Christian Rock Scene: I’m Gay. God Loves Me Just the Way I Am

What am I supposed to make of it? I have searched the scriptures, poured my heart out to God over the years and still struggling. I cannot work out how she came up with this view, but it is really rocking my world view and I am in serious danger of coming unstuck. I am starting to wonder if my understanding of Scripture, of this being wrong and the reasons why for all these years is incorrect and it has made me so depressed since I read this article.

My heart hurts for Vicky.

Yes, she experiences same-sex attraction (SSA) and yes, God loves her just the way she is, but He loves her too much to leave her there. Her SSA is like the red light on the dashboard of a car. It means something is wrong under the hood that needs attention. God loves her just the way she is but He wants to bring healing to her heart. She may identify as gay, but God won’t agree to that identity. He would say, “You are My beloved daughter, created in My image and for My glory.”

100 years from today, when she is in heaven, she will not be saying she’s gay. Sexuality is only for this earth. If something about us is temporary, then it shouldn’t be our identity. That’s why God, who doesn’t make anyone gay (anymore than He makes anyone selfish or bigoted or self-centered), won’t agree with her confusion about her identity.

I think it’s good to acknowledge when one has a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). But saying it is good and it’s fine and God accepts it as His intention and design is wrong. It would be better to say, “I experience same-sex attraction, and I need help to find out where it came from and what to do about it.” And I would say, after fifteen years of helping people deal with unwanted SSA, that the way to deal with the holes in one’s heart is intimacy with the Father and the Son and the Spirit. The problem driving SSA is a sense of disconnection, of not belonging or being attached. The way that is resolved is by focusing on Jesus, who said in John 14:23 of His Father, “We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Resting in the indwelling Father, Son and Spirit is how that hole is filled.

Blessing you,

Sue Bohlin

Posted Sept. 2014

© 2014 Probe Ministries


“Is Animal Homosexuality Proof that It’s Normal?”

A teenage girl in my church has just been confronted by discussions on homosexuality in her high school classroom. When she told the class that homosexuality was not “normal” behavior because it did not exist among animals, the teacher said that studies have “proven” that homosexuality is prevalent among animals, esp. elephants. While browsing on the web, I have found this to be a widely used “proof.” What would you answer? How can I help this girl?

First of all, I would encourage her to ask with humility and softness (i.e., no edge in her voice) where she can find the studies that “prove” the prevalence of homosexuality in animals. People toss off assertions all the time (such as, “science has proven homosexuality is genetic”) but when we ask where the articles are, they don’t have an answer. They’re just parroting what they’ve heard.

Same-sex behavior DOES exist in the animal kingdom, for a number of reasons. Usually, it’s either playful antics, or dominance behavior to assert hierarchy. For one male to mount, or attempt to mount, another male is a very powerful way to communicate his higher position in the “pecking order” of the community. But if you bring in a female in heat, suddenly the male-male behavior is abandoned in favor of the female. Sometimes males mount other males in a type of practice before the females come into heat.

Secondly, I have read of same-sex attachments in animals, but the fact that they exist doesn’t make it normal any more than the fact that cystic fibrosis or diabetes exists makes those diseases normal. From a Christian perspective, we live in a fallen world, and that falleness extends to the entire creation on the planet. It would make sense that things would go wrong even among the animals. For instance, I understand that a hormonal imbalance can result in homosexual behavior in some animals. (Here are links to a couple of articles concerning that. Note the naturalistic bias underlying them: “What is, is normal and natural and therefore to be embraced.” http://www.noglstp.org/bulletin/1997spring.html and http://www.libchrist.com/other/homosexual/sheepandanimals.html )

Even from a godless evolutionary perspective, there is no benefit to homosexual behavior since those who engage in it do not reproduce, and from an evolutionary perspective, the only purpose in life is to make babies (the bottom line for the more scientific-sounding “survive and reproduce”).

I recently discovered an excellent article on the “animal homosexuality myth” at the NARTH (National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality) website. This article points out that we can find occurrences of “homosexuality,” cannibalism and infanticide in the animal kingdom, but the fact that these aberrant behaviors exist should not lead us to deduce that they are acceptable and normal HUMAN behaviors to engage in! www.narth.org/docs/animalmyth.html

Hope this helps!

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Published Oct. 2002, updated Aug. 2014


“Why Was Jesus Crucified Outside Jerusalem?”

What is the meaning behind Jesus being crucified outside Jerusalem?

There is an interesting passage in Hebrews 13:10-14 which speaks of Jesus suffering “outside the gate” of Jerusalem. Since this letter was originally written to Jewish believers who were tempted to abandon their Christian faith and return to Judaism and the Temple, the author seems to be encouraging his readers to share Christ’s humiliation and rejection by the Jewish community. This is symbolized by their going “outside” the Jewish community and sharing in Christ’s sufferings. As one commentator puts it, “In essence, the author’s command to ‘go forth to’ Christ was a command to abandon Judaism. Anyone found with Christ—outside of the city gate—would be considered outside the Jewish community.”

Shalom,

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries


“I’m a Mormon and I Have Questions about Your Article”

I read your article A Short Look at Six World Religions and it said that many of Joseph Smith’s prophecies never came true. Which prophecies are those?

I also read, “Both of these religions teach salvation by works, not God’s grace.” I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 8 years of age, and I have always been taught that we are saved by the grace of God. However, salvation is not free. For example, if one chooses to not live the commandments that God has given, then how can he be worthy to live in the presence of God? Here is a quote from the Book of Mormon: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all that we can do.” (page 99-100). Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins, but we must do out part to accept his atonement and live his commandments. Accepting his atonement is not enough. Through the grace of our loving Savior we can be redeemed from our sins and return to the presence of our Heavenly Father clean from all sin, again if we keep his commandments the best we know how. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are the perfect examples of mercy.

Have a good day and thank you for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is my best friend.

Hello ______,

Jesus is my best friend too! <smile>

I read your A Short Look at Six World Religions and it said that many of Joseph Smith’s prophecies never came true. Which prophecies are those?

I cited a few of them in a response to an e-mail about my article. Your question prompted me to add a link to that article at the end of the one you read, but here’s a direct link for you.

I also read, “Both of these religions teach salvation by works, not God’s grace.” I have been a member of the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 8 years of age, and I have always been taught that we are saved by the grace of God. However, salvation is not free.

I would agree that salvation was not free for God, for whom it cost Him EVERYTHING. But it is a free gift for us. Please note Ephesians 2:8,9:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

This scripture is diametrically opposed to Mormon doctrine. We cannot do anything to contribute to our salvation. Isaiah 64:6 says that all our righteousness is as filthy rags; what can we possibly give to God that will overcome the heinous sin of requiring the death of His Son to be reconciled to Him? If someone came in here and murdered one of my sons and then said, “Hey, I don’t want you to be mad at me. . . let me do something to help me get myself in your good graces. Here’s a nickel. . .”—Well, guess what? That wouldn’t work! And it doesn’t work with God either.

______, I pray the Lord will open your eyes to see that trying to earn salvation with our paltry efforts—even WITH His grace—is a slap in the face of our God. He wants us to come to Him with empty hands and the realization that we do not deserve and cannot earn the gift of eternal life that comes ONLY through trusting in the Lord Jesus.

Warmly,

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries


“John 8 is a Condemnation of Capital Punishment!”

In your commentary on capital punishment you completely miss the point of John 8:1-11. This passage is a condemnation of capital punishment and the hypocrisy that is inherent in it. You say, “Since He did teach that a stone be thrown (John 8:7), this is not an abolition of the death penalty.” Jesus knew that none of them were without sin, just as none of us are without sin. Jesus knew that his answer would lead to no stones being thrown, just as he intends for us (today) to not throw stones. An example of “throwing stones” today, is sitting on a jury and sentencing someone to death (since we don’t stone criminals today). You seem to think this passage is in the Bible simply to illustrate Jesus’ craftiness at conflict avoidance.

Thank you for writing about my radio program on capital punishment. Although I taped that radio program back in 1992, it amazes me that I still receive e-mails about the transcript posted on the Probe website.

I believe this is the first time I have received a response to my passing comment on John 8. When you are doing a radio program with a set time limit, words are at a premium. So I welcome the opportunity to elaborate on my very short comment in the midst of a week of radio programs devoted to the issue of capital punishment.

First, I should point out that this passage in John 8 is a disputed text. There are very few disputed texts in the New Testament. This is one of them. The passage is not found in any of the important Greek texts. So I think it would be fair to say that most Bible scholars do not believe it was in the original.

Whether you believe it was or was not in the original, I think you would have to admit that it is a disputed text. And a basic principle of biblical exegesis is to never build a doctrine on a disputed text. In other words, I wouldn’t use this passage in John 8 to argue for or against capital punishment.

Second, I only mentioned the passage in passing because there are a number of opponents of capital punishment who have tried to use this biblical passage to argue against capital punishment. It does not. In fact, you can make the point (as I did) that it argues just the opposite.

Third, I am not the first person to point out that Jesus did not set aside capital punishment in this passage since “He did teach that a stone be thrown.” In one of his early books on ethics, Dr. Charles Ryrie makes a similar point. He argued that since Jesus said a stone should be thrown, he was not forbidding the Old Testament practice of capital punishment. Dr. Ryrie is the author of the Ryrie Study Bible and former professor of theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. I think it is safe to say that Dr. Ryrie knows more about New Testament theology and exegesis than both of us combined.

Finally, the Pharisees were indeed trying to trap Jesus between the Roman law and the Mosaic law. If Jesus said that they should stone her, He would break the Roman law. If He refused to allow them to stone her, He would break the Mosaic law. I don’t believe that the passage is (to use your words) about “Jesus’ craftiness at conflict avoidance.” But I do believe it shows His response to a deliberate trap set by His enemies.

This passage does not forbid capital punishment, despite what some opponents might try to make it say. Since it is a disputed passage in the Bible, I would not base a doctrine on it anyway. But even if you accept its authenticity, the passage doesn’t teach what you say it does.

Kerby Anderson
Probe Ministries


“How Do I Convince My Friends to Be Saved?”

I have some really good friends who claim that they are Christians but I know for a fact that they aren’t saved and I’m not exactly sure how to talk to them about Christ and getting saved. I also hear some of them who claim to be Christians say that they are glad that their parents don’t go to church because then they wouldn’t be able to sleep in on Sundays. I have brought a couple of them to my church but they acted like they didn’t like it. How should I convince them that they should believe in Christ?

My second question is this: I have a friend who always talks about Christ and how he has changed her life. But I know that she hasn’t been saved. Do you have to be saved go to heaven?

Having an attitude of trying to convince people to believe in Christ will seldom be successful. There needs to be a sincere desire to seek the truth. Your time would be well spent demonstrating an attractive vision of the Savior through your life and be ready to discuss and answer their eventual questions. Those who are indifferent to Christianity—or even hostile—need to to see a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ which faithfully follows 1 Peter 3:15: a life that sanctifies Jesus as Lord of their lives and is always ready to give an answer for the hope that they have and yet do so with gentleness and respect. Evidence and arguments will rarely make an impact unless there is an inquisitiveness first.

And yes, we must be saved to spend eternity in heaven. Be careful however, about being certain in judging someone’s salvation. Even the greatest saints still sin and while there should be a pattern of good works to verify someon’s salvation, we all go through periods of rebellion. Also, only Christ can judge the true condition of a person’s heart.

If a person truly thinks they are saved and seeems to at least have a basic understanding of salvation through Christ, we should take them at their word until something incontrovertible happens that leads you to believe they have been living a lie. I’m just asking that you be careful in making these kinds of judgments and that as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Rom. 12:18).

Respectfully,

Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries