An atheist has called out a Christian pastor for ignoring Bible passages condemning homosexuality to argue that gays can go to heaven.
"If Christians support that (putting LGBT individuals on equal footing), that's great, but it's going to happen in spite of what the Bible says, not because of it," said Hemant Mehta, also known as the Friendly Atheist, in a recent blog post.
Mehta was referring to commentary written by Pastor Craig Gross, founder of XXXchurch.com. Gross suggested that there will be gays in heaven just as there will be fat people and other sinners.
"Why do they (religious folks) believe that the gay guy goes to hell but the fat preacher who builds some of the largest churches in the world makes it to heaven?" he posed in his commentary.
"God loves gays and Jesus is for them. God loves the fat preacher. Homosexual activity and overeating are both sins – just like speeding, gossip, lying and cheating," Gross continued. "All are forgivable in Christ and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be changed. Just remember that change does not happen overnight.
"When it comes to the Lord, it's nothing less than a journey of sanctification. And wherever you are at on that journey, I think there should be a place for you at church. Because there's probably one in heaven."
Mehta, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay, doesn't accept Gross' argument. While Gross quoted the Bible to make his case, Mehta couldn't get past the fact that the XXXchurch.com pastor missed the verses in Scripture that seem to undermine his argument.
The atheist pointed specifically to 1 Cor. 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
"[T]he Bible talks about how gay men (who don't change their ways) will most certainly NOT go to Heaven, directly contradicting what Gross writes in the rest of his essay," the Friendly Atheist pointed out.
Mehta told The Christian Post that while he applauds Christians who support the LGBT community, he says such believers can only do so by "taking a non-literal interpretation of the Bible" or by ignoring certain Bible passages.
"But it seems very hypocritical to me when a liberal Christian says the Bible is God's Word... but then simply ignores the verses that say untrue or un-politically-correct things," he said in an email to CP. "It's either God's Word or it's not. As an atheist, I believe it's not."
Gross, whose ministry helps those addicted to pornography, affirms that homosexuality is a sin but he told The Christian Post that "gays, fat people, addicts, murderers, all can get into heaven if they accept Christ."
"If you know Christ you go to heaven. If you know Christ and [you're] fat you still get in right?"
"He came to give us all life that none should perish," he stressed. "Coming to Christ does not mean all your struggles disappear."
But Matt Moore, a 23-year-old Christian blogger who struggles with homosexual temptations but chooses not to act on them, doesn't believe the grace of God covers the lifestyle of unrepentant, active sinful behavior.
He cited 1 John 3:4-6, among other passages: "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him."
"This all ultimately comes back to the question, what is the Christian life supposed to look like? The Scriptures are clear that those who are legitimate Children of God are radically transformed," said Moore. "They live a life of faith, in continual repentance from sin and they grow in holiness. But many voices from within the Church deny these truths by saying a simple profession of faith with the mouth is all it takes to be saved…… again, this sounds great, but not true. There is such thing as vain faith, and it will not save."
For Gross, he believes that churches need to approach the issue differently altogether.
"Jesus came for the sick not the healthy. Churches should be hospitals and not country clubs," he stated in an email to CP.
"The deal is we don't have doctors leading our hospitals; we have [fallen] patients who ... need ... help and that should be the mentality of our pastors that they don't have all the answers or problems solved either."