By Norman S. Edwards
From SVM – Spring 2015 – 3
November 28, 2014
I want to commend you on the latest issue of Shepherd’s Voice Magazine. I am just overjoyed about the third paragraph in the left hand column of page 17 where you state the Bible does not teach that homosexuality is somehow greater than all other evils, that the Old Testament gave it the same penalty as cursing God, adultery or striking one’s parents. Here in the south especially, I hear such awful statements against them by our own people, Sabbath keepers, professing to follow in the steps of our Savior. I wrote a poem I plan to read every opportunity I get and I am sending it to you. I am hoping to cause some to stop and think. I also plan to copy the page in your magazine and put it into some hands.
Thank you for writing those words. I have enclosed a small donation which I feel will be put to good use. Also, the article about Learning from the Samaritans is so needful. And the one by Dave Havir on “Love is More Important than Biblical Interpretation”. The whole issue is full of needful admonition for the churches and assemblies. Thank you. I hope you have time to read my poem, taking note of the punctuation to get the feel of it.L.D.
Thank you for encouraging us in these truths. One of the difficulties facing all religious groups is exclusion. Jesus was faulted on one side for befriending tax collectors, prostitutes or other known sinners. He was faulted on the other side for dining with self-righteous Pharisees. The early church took years to accept non-Israelite believers. We all have tendencies to class certain people as “good” and others as “bad”, and then feel good about shunning the “bad.”
I read your poem—over 100 lines long! It accurately describes many of the sins that we tolerate in our congregations—especially when the people acknowledge that they are struggling to become free of the sin. I also agree with its point regarding believers rejecting people with homosexual tendencies before even attempting to find out if they are seeking recovery.
The Bible teaches the removal of flagrant sinners from a congregation. This includes people unconcerned with repenting, those with a noticeable negative impact on others and those who are a danger to others. If people are openly committing adultery with little care that it is sin, or if they are leading others to do it or if they are preying on innocent victims, they must be removed from a congregation quickly. So it should be with homosexuals. One who claims it is a good lifestyle, who encourages others to do it or who preys on others must be required to leave. But the one who is repentant and seeking recovery should be welcomed and encouraged.
We are glad that so much of our magazine has been an encouragement to you. We hope to continue to be a blessing to you and many others.