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Old 07-14-2007, 02:51 PM   #316
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




but you have -- you've basically said that we sin until we come to christ. i've been trying to get you to answer the question as to whether or not "coming to christ" would make one stop being homosexual, which is the implication, even though all of the diamond articles have yet to show anyone actually changing their sexual orientation. they become celibate, and that's just lovely, but the sin still exists.

.
A Song of Hope
by Dennis Jernigan

View a pdf of this testimony. Copies may be distributed free of charge.

From my earliest memories, I felt different from other boys. I was gifted musically, and labeled "sissy" by other boys. By the time I was nine years old, I was playing regularly for the worship times at First Baptist Church in Boynton, OK. I learned to play the piano from my grandmother. We lived far from any town with a piano teacher, so I learned to play "by ear" by listening to melodies and mimicking them without seeing any music. Grandma was very patient with me as I practiced daily at her house, and I grew close to her. I didn't feel as close to my parents. We were not an affectionate family and I never remember receiving physical affection from my father. I found it hard to believe that he loved me, and I felt worthless. When I was nine years old, Jesus began calling me to Himself. On Sept. 8, 1968, I asked my mother how to be saved. She explained that we were all sinners and that we deserved to perish in hell. But, through the death of Jesus on the cross, we could come into a relationship with God. I asked Jesus into my life that afternoon and was baptized that evening. But, not perceiving love from my earthly father, I couldn't fully receive God's acceptance and forgiveness. So I tried to earn love by being "the best" at whatever I did. I made straight A's in school; my basketball team played in three state tournaments; I was valedictorian of my high school class. But what people thought was so good--my outward performance--only hid the deepest hurts of my heart. Rejection permeated every part of my life, including my sexuality. As a boy I needed a role model to show me the way to manhood. I began to yearn for intimacy with other men in perverse ways. Because of this wrong thinking, I came to believe that I was a homosexual.
At the same time, I knew God had something else for me. After I first became a Christian, I sensed Him telling me that someday I would have a large family of my own ... with nine children! That's crazy, I thought. How can I have children if I'm a homosexual?

At church, I heard people say, "All homosexuals should be shipped out of the country--they deserve to go to hell!" I felt condemned by their remarks, and had no idea where to turn for help. So I hid my same-sex desires through high school. In college, I discovered other students who were also struggling with homosexual desires. We gravitated toward one another, and I became entrenched in the physical and emotional aspects of homosexuality. But the more I believed homosexuality was my "real" identity, the more miserable I became.

During my sophomore year, I met the woman who would one day become my wife. I thought Melinda was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Something drew me to her, something I had never felt before. But, even though we dated on and off through college, I still had sexual encounters with other men on the side.

By my senior year, I was totally confused and frustrated. I decided that my life was not worth living. After all, I had begged God since childhood to remove these feelings and it seemed like nothing had happened.

One night during my last semester of school, as I sat in my little apartment alone, I decided I would rather be dead than living "this life." After extinguishing the pilot light, I turned on the gas in my little heater, lay down, and waited to die.

However, after a few minutes, I grew very fearful and turned off the gas. What does eternity hold? I wondered. Whatever it is, I'm not ready.

Soon afterward, I broke up with Melinda and told her I never wanted to see her again. That summer after graduation, I fully embraced my homosexuality and plunged into a three-month relationship with another man.

"This is who I am," I told myself. "I was born homosexual, and this kind of life is what God intended for me." But, instead of finding happiness, I just became more miserable.

I applied for seminary, thinking that more schooling might provide some answers. But three days before seminary began, a friend phoned me. "Dennis, God has brought you to mind a lot lately. In fact, I had a dream about you this week." In the dream, he explained, God was giving me all kinds of songs. I thought he was crazy, but was startled by his next remark: "What's more, my mother had the same dream this week!"

I abandoned plans for seminary and accepted this friend's invitation to live with his family in Oklahoma City. With my music degree, I had trouble finding a job, finally becoming employed as a school-bus driver. Between my morning and afternoon routes, I had several free hours which I used to cry out to God. I knew He was real, and that He was trying to say something to me.

At first I set my Bible on the piano and would sing the Psalms of David back to God. I saw that David had an intimate and honest relationship with God--something I had desired my whole life. David exposed feelings and attitudes that I thought "good" people would hide. Yet God called him "a man after My heart" (Acts 13:22). Soon I was singing my own thoughts and prayers, emptying my soul to Him as I exposed the hurts I had kept inside for so many years.

Then a well-known Christian group called "Second Chapter of Acts" came to our area and I felt an inner prompting to attend. During their concert, I was captivated by their sincerity and love for God.

Then, in the middle of one song, they suddenly stopped. "God has put something on my heart," one member said. "There is somebody here who is hiding something so hurtful, so terrible, that they would be devastated if anyone found out about it. But God wants you to know that He sees it and He loves you anyway." Then we were encouraged to lift our burdens up to the Lord as we raised our hands to Him.

This type of worship was new to me, but as I lifted my hands, God became more real to me than I had ever imagined! I realized that Jesus had lifted His hands for me--spreading them upon the cross. I knew that He was right beside me, willing to walk with me. I could be honest with Him.

"Lord Jesus," I cried inside, "I can't change me or the mess I've gotten myself into--but You can." In that moment, I turned everything in my life over to Jesus: my thoughts, my emotions, my physical body ... and my past.

For the first time, I realized that homosexuality was a sin that Jesus died for. I heard him say in my heart, "Dennis, I'm making you somebody brand new. My blood has paid your debt. You are free."

That night over 15 years ago was the beginning of my "incredible journey." For the first time, I saw myself as forgiven and cleansed. The power of homosexuality in my life had been broken. From that moment, Jesus began to change my sexually perverse thoughts and desires with holy and pure thoughts about what sexual love was all about.

During this same time in my life, a close friend found out about my past. When he confronted me, I ran from the house, certain that I would be disgraced. I looked up into the darkness of the evening sky, pleading with God to speak to me. My eyes were drawn to a puffy white cloud floating above. It looked like an old man with outstretched arms. Nearby was a smaller cloud in the shape of a lamb. As I watched, the man engulfed the little lamb in his arms.

Immediately I knew that God was demonstrating what He wanted to do for me in this time of need. I returned to the house to face my friend, who reaffirmed his love for me. And God began to bring others into my life who were willing to love me unconditionally as I sought complete healing.

One year passed, and I sensed God's prompting to contact Melinda again. I loved her and knew I wanted to marry her. After several months I proposed and she accepted. I assumed that, since I considered myself to be healed from homosexuality, there was no need to share my past with her.

In July 1988, I realized that God wanted to take the greatest failures and weaknesses of my life and make them my greatest strengths. Not only this, but if I confessed my past freely, Satan would have no ammunition against me. No longer would I have to live in fear of others finding out about my homosexual background.

So I shared my past with Melinda. Although she had questions, she was grateful that I felt secure enough in her love to share my most intimate past sins. Then, three days later, I spoke in church about my past--and something beautiful took place. Afterward, people began to approach me who had deep wounds from their past, such as homosexuality, incest, rape and abortion. As they confessed their sins and hurts, Jesus began healing them.

A year later, I realized in a new way God's calling upon my life. After leading worship at the Boynton Community Center in my hometown, one of my grandma's old prayer partners said to me, "Isn't it wonderful how your grandmother's prayers have been answered?"

"What prayers?" I asked.

"Didn't you know?" she answered. "Your grandmother told me she would stand behind you as you practiced the piano at her house each day, asking God to use you mightily in His kingdom to lead in music and worship!"

In the years since then, God has certainly answered those prayers. By His power and grace, God has enabled me to make over a dozen praise and worship recordings, with thousands of copies distributed worldwide. I have had the privilege of sharing my story with audiences all over the world through live concerts, television interviews like "The 700 Club," and magazine articles like Charisma & Christian Life. Today, my wife and I have nine children. He is bringing His perfect plan for my life to pass.

I have a Heavenly Father who will never leave me or forsake me (Heb. 13:5). I want to spend the rest of my life singing praise and worship to Him for all that He has done.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:55 PM   #317
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diamond, if you want to participate in discussion, then I suggest you do so. Your drive-by article postings of what is essentially the same "point" over and over are unproductive and add nothing of value. If you have an opinion, voice it and then have the courage to back it up without resorting to spam. Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:59 PM   #318
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
he seems like kind of a genocidal asshole to me.
The Hungarian mathematician, Paul Erdős, who was known for his rather idiosyncratic vocabulary, used to refer to "God" as the "Supreme Fascist" (SF). This was because when Hungarian troops set out to join the Germans in the attack of Yugoslavia in 1941, a prince of the Hungarian Catholic church was on hand to give his blessings, and apparently, such a scene apparently disgusted Erdős for the rest of his life.

I can understand Erdős' anger, but, at the same time, we have to separate "God" from what institutions say that He is. An outside example would be on the issue of Germanic mythology, something that I find interesting, much like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis enjoyed in their days. Over the last few decades, most mentions of Germanic mythology inevitably conjure up images of Nazism, as Nazi Germany heavily misappropriated its mythology for propaganda purposes. Tolkien, himself, is noted to have said that he hated the Nazis, if just for the fact that they ruined the reputation of his lifelong passion of Germanic mythology forever.

Likewise, I see much of the same with many people who despise what fundamentalist Protestantism has done to the reputation of Christianity, and the predominant sentiment seems to be that if you are sickened by the actions of fundamentalist Christians, then you must rid yourself of God. However, in the case of Germanic mythology, enough time has passed that the Nazi connotations are fading away, and more decent people are studying it again. Perhaps not enough time has passed, but I hope, someday, that people will be able to separate God and "true Christianity" from the sickening corruptions of it that many conservative Christians espouse.

God is not a genocidal asshole. He has just been a convenient banner for genocidal assholes to hold up high and escape criticism.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:02 PM   #319
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
diamond, if you want to participate in discussion, then I suggest you do so. Your drive-by article postings of what is essentially the same "point" over and over are unproductive and add nothing of value. If you have an opinion, voice it and then have the courage to back it up without resorting to spam. Thanks.
Can we also ban diamond as we would a spammer?
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:14 PM   #320
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

but i don't see you engaging Ormus at all.

I think Ormus and I have gone back and forth quite a bit on the subject in the past. I admit, I have nothing new to add.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:15 PM   #321
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I don't think that one can seperate any God from the religion, it seems any attempt to remove God from the flaws that humans imbued the concept through it's gradual creation transforms faith into some vague humanism without any claim to absolute revealed truth. I think that I get why people are willing to cling to narrow minded and bigoted religious beliefs and resist anything that upsets them but at the same time I find those pimping progressive faith to be wrong, albeit in a less dangerous way.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:16 PM   #322
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
I think Ormus and I have gone back and forth quite a bit on the subject in the past. I admit, I have nothing new to add.
I admit that I prefer this response to going in circles repeating myself, so, at the very least, thanks for that.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:20 PM   #323
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus



Likewise, I see much of the same with many people who despise what fundamentalist Protestantism has done to the reputation of Christianity
These threads have helped me understand how poorly fundamental Protestantism is received in many communities. As a former Catholic, part-time Gnostic - I can relate to those feelings.

I am curious what aspects about traditional Protestantism theology you despise. Forget the actual people (the televangelists, the politicians), what is it about their overall theology and approach to life do you take issue with?
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:24 PM   #324
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I don't think that one can seperate any God from the religion, it seems any attempt to remove God from the flaws that humans imbued the concept through it's gradual creation transforms faith into some vague humanism without any claim to absolute revealed truth. I think that I get why people are willing to cling to narrow minded and bigoted religious beliefs and resist anything that upsets them but at the same time I find those pimping progressive faith to be wrong, albeit in a less dangerous way.
I think that line about "vague humanism" is the result of intellectual laziness, frankly. Most people have little knowledge of philosophy, whether it be ancient Greek philosophy, medieval Christian philosophy, or 20th century philosophy like modernism and postmodernism. Certainly, many people can recognize the word "postmodernism" and usually start conjuring up some unsavory connotations, but even a cursory reading of their "criticisms" usually reveal that they know absolutely nothing about their target of scorn.

Modern Christians can certainly avoid that "vague humanism" by appealing to either past philosophy or schools of thought that are more favorable, or--an act that requires even more vigorous study and intellectual discipline--create a whole new philosophy and school of thought in Christianity. Frankly, I think the latter is what we really need. Our unconscious tendency to cling to outdated medieval Christian theology is probably why Christianity today just seems....well, "medieval."
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:26 PM   #325
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The neo-Nazis today still like to use Germanic and Viking imagery, words/names and symbols.
I very much like the Vikings, and if it is only because my namesake was Leif Eriksson and I've very much liked the sagas about Erik the Red.

Sometimes I've the impression that part of America is catching up on the medieval times and therefore overtly-conservative when it comes to religion. I'm worried that Ormus's analogy to the Ash'ari is quite fitting.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:28 PM   #326
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
I am curious what aspects about traditional Protestantism theology you despise. Forget the actual people (the televangelists, the politicians), what is it about their overall theology and approach to life do you take issue with?
I find myself already coming up with several answers to this question in my head as I write this, but I wish to give this question some thought and contemplation--which, for me, requires evaluating my opinions to separate out my thoughts from what is valid and can be substantiated from which ones are just knee-jerk reactions that might have nothing to do with Protestantism specifically.

I will respond in due time.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:31 PM   #327
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
The neo-Nazis today still like to use Germanic and Viking imagery, words/names and symbols.
I very much like the Vikings, and if it is only because my namesake was Leif Eriksson and I've very much liked the sagas about Erik the Red.
Hell, my namesake was a powerful Goth (who has a Norse saga and German epic all his own), so I completely understand the feeling!
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:34 PM   #328
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Intellectual lazyness! it is 5am in the morning here

But the points that you raise are quite valid, although I have no horse in the race at all since I don't see the need for religion in a world that doesn't need God.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:36 PM   #329
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Intellectual lazyness! it is 5am in the morning here
I wasn't referring to you specifically.
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:38 PM   #330
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So your attacking others at the same time? I am outraged sir
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