Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Homosexuality: Blessing or Sin?

The Facts Many Pro Same-Sex Christians Are Keeping Very Quiet.





By
John McWilliams




                                         
WARNING:  Much of the information contained in this paper is highly inappropriate for children and should not fall into their hands.  This paper is intended to be read only by adults


Comments From Some Who’ve Already Read The Paper

     “The information included in this paper will be new to many people and should be included in any intellectually honest debate regarding homosexuality and same-sex relationships.”
Dr. Derek Richman, Presbyterian Pastor, Omaha, Nebraska. 

     “Informative and enlightening, John McWilliams coherently sheds light on an often ignored, but important aspect of homosexual relations."     
Dr. Sarah Jones, Family Physician, Sacramento, California.

     “If you think you have ‘been there, done that,’ heard it all or read it all about the issues and concerns of homosexuality as a healthy alternative lifestyle, it's highly probable that you are still missing the information that John McWilliams' article brings to light.”
Dr. Nancy Heche, Nationally recognized author and former Director of Women’s Ministries, Bonita Springs, Florida.

     An honest, scientific and clear presentation on the facts of homosexual behavior.  As difficult as it may be, this is a must read for every concerned Christian.”
Dr. James Hazlett, Presbyterian Pastor, Puyallup, Washington."

     Although much has been written about homosexuality and the Christian faith, Pastor John McWilliams provides a bold and fresh new perspective on what's really involved in what some in the faith have called 'the blessing' of same sex marriage. Given the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, this article is timely and offers an honest, yet compassionate and well-reasoned counterpoint to those wishing to bless such unions.  
Dr. Alfred R.  Barrow, Ph.D.    Director of Spiritual Life, Bonita Springs, Florida

     “John McWilliams explores the whole matter of whether committed, homosexual relationships qualify as God-designed blessings and exhibits a pastoral sensitivity for the part of the debate that is rarely considered.”
Dr. Robert Jack, Presbyterian Pastor, Charlotte, North Carolina.



Homosexuality: Blessing or Sin?

The Facts Many Pro Same-Sex Christians Are Keeping 

Very Quiet.


     This paper is being written primarily for Christians, although it may be of interest to anyone who comes across it.  It deals with the ongoing debate in many denominations and congregations with regard to the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

     The issue this paper will address is whether normal same-sex sexual relations between two healthy, committed and monogamous people and normal heterosexual sexual relationships between two healthy, committed and monogamous people, are equally blessed and equally God designed relationships.  Many Christians today have come to the conclusion that they are indeed the same and equal in every respect.

     If asked if same-sex sexual relationships are sinful, many Christians would say yes and always yes. 

     However, other Christians have come to the conclusion that in the context of a committed, monogamous same-sex relationship, normal same-sex sexual behavior is a good thing.  They claim that the Scriptures forbidding same-sex relationships were never meant to be applied to people in loving, committed, monogamous relationships.

     In that context they claim that in fact, normal same-sex sexual relations are a healthy, equally blessed, God-designed alternative to that of normal sexual relations in a committed, monogamous heterosexual marriage.   

     In this paper, I invite you to take a close look at that claim.

     After all, for pro same-sex Christians, that claim has to be accurate if their position is to have any credibility.  It seems to me that anyone who affirms that claim would have to be convinced beyond any doubt that that claim is correct and that no credible evidence exists to the contrary.  

     If in fact normal same-sex sexual behavior within a committed, monogamous same-sex relationship is really a healthy and equally blessed, God-designed, alternative to normal sexual behavior in a monogamous, committed heterosexual relationship, calling it sin would be wrong.

     On the other hand, if it’s not, calling it a God-designed blessing would be just as wrong. 

     As I said, opinions out there on this subject within the Christian community vary.  Yet it’s only logical that one’s opinion, whatever it may be, should be based on and backed up by actual facts versus what people may simply be claiming to be fact. History has shown us many times that just because thousands or even millions of people say something is true, doesn’t necessarily make it so.  

     Galileo certainly found that out.  For centuries people confidently claimed as a matter of fact that the sun revolved around the earth and the earth was the center
of the universe.  We are now aware that in fact that was wrong.  Galileo produced the scientific evidence which showed that what millions had accepted as fact, was actually false. 

     Yet, even after he competently researched and reported the facts, many who already had their opinions formed on the issue, simply rationalized, ignored or denied the facts.  They just kept stating as fact, that which was false. 

     Actually, Galileo’s position so offended the Pope that he was officially tried by The Church and found guilty of being vehemently suspect of heresy and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.  Under threat of execution he was forced to recant his position even though his position was correct.  So much for the facts.
    
     Galileo wasn’t alone.  In a more modern example, for decades millions of people felt smoking wasn’t really that dangerous.  The big tobacco companies spent millions of dollars on advertising and continued to push their product as if dangers connected to it were pretty much non-existent.  Then some folks began to compile and report the facts. The scientific facts which came out of the lives of smokers told a very different story. 

     Though many people still ignore the facts about smoking today, that doesn’t make smoking safe.  If you smoke you greatly endanger your health.  That’s not just an opinion.  It’s a scientific fact.  

     Fortunately, in the case of both normal heterosexual and normal homosexual sexual behavior, there is a large body of accurate, unbiased and scientific facts available to us.  Real and accurate comparisons can be made.  These facts can assist Christians in determining whether normal same-sex sexual behavior in a committed, monogamous relationship does fit the definition of being a God-designed blessing or whether it’s something else.
    
    It seems to me that anyone who claims it is a God-designed blessing ought to be willing to have that claim examined in the light of that significant body of empirical evidence and scientific fact which is openly available to all of us.

     Experience shows that for many, the facts presented in this paper will be new and that’s fine.  Yet as you'll see, they come from competent and trustworthy sources and can be verified online and through the various organizations and agencies listed throughout this paper.   


Connecting The Dots Between Claim And Reality

     It makes sense to me that one should connect the dots between what they claim regarding this subject and the reality of this subject.  It seems only logical that what one claims should match reality, thereby making the claim and the reality one and the same thing.
    
     If the facts show that your claim and reality are the same thing, your claim should be fully affirmed.  However, if it turns out that the reality fails to match your claim, that would indicate that for whatever reason, what you’re claiming isn’t really accurate.  

    One thing is for sure.  We can’t have it both ways.  Normal same-sex sexual behavior between two committed, monogamous and healthy partners is either a healthy, alternative, God-designed blessing or it’s not.  I assume you’d agree that there’s certainly no Biblical integrity or intellectual honesty in claiming something to be true if the facts clearly show otherwise.  


Some Things To Consider At The Outset  

     Whatever position you currently take on the subject of same-sex relationships I’d encourage you to consider the following.

     First, the good news is that there is a wealth of trustworthy, unbiased scientific research and data available on this subject which fairly and accurately portrays virtually all aspects of normal same-sex sexual relations.
  
     Second, as you’ll see in this paper and contrary to the picture often painted of same-sex relationships by pro same-sex Christians, the research clearly shows there are some serious and inherent dangers that always apply to normal same-sex sexual relations, which never apply to normal heterosexual sexual relations.  More important, these dangers apply particularly to men and they always apply, even if these men are healthy and in a committed, monogamous same-sex relationship.

          Third, as you’ll see later in the paper, pro same-sex Christians who are aware of these dangers, for various reasons, simply refuse to discuss them.  Many actually refuse to even acknowledge they exist.  They are keeping them very quiet. 
    
     That clearly raises some questions of integrity, especially since the non-Christian gay community regularly acknowledges, discusses and writes about these dangers all the time in pamphlets, books and on websites.   

          The bottom line is that one has to wonder how any Christian can come to an informed choice about whether same-sex relationships are a blessing designed by God, when much of the critical data and facts necessary to make that choice are purposefully censored and left out of the discussion by pro same-sex Christians. Later in the paper I’ll address what might be behind all the secrecy. 


A Brief Statement About The Bible On This Subject
     
     Simply put, Christians who oppose same-sex relationships will tell you that Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual behavior in all circumstances is something God forbids.  They base their position on traditional and historic interpretations of Scriptures like Romans 1:26-32.  

     Yet, those in favor of same-sex relationships support a more modern interpretation of Scripture which in essence, explains that what the Apostle Paul wrote in places like Romans 1 was never intended by him to be applied to gay people who were in committed, monogamous relationships and who were willing to live in a marriage guided by Christian morals and ethics in the same way any heterosexual couple might do.  Therefore in that light, our view of Scripture should be updated and reinterpreted in ways which see normal same-sex relationships between two committed, monogamous people as an alternative, healthy and God-designed blessing.

     If he could be consulted, Galileo would likely tell us that the Biblical interpretation to go with here would be the one that turns out to be reinforced, rather than contradicted by the empirical evidence and unbiased scientific facts on the subject.  After all, when it’s all said and done, if the empirical evidence and scientific facts regarding same-sex sexual relationships don’t support your Biblical interpretation, it’s not the facts that are flawed.

     Real facts don’t come with any specific theological agenda attached to them.  They are simply facts and they inform us of what’s real.  If we actually study the facts, as Galileo did, they enlighten our position, assisting us to make the right choices in very important issues like the one before us.


What We’re Being Asked To Consider

     Virtually every Christian Church for over 2,000 years has held that under all circumstances, the practice of homosexuality is sinful and therefore not a blessing. Yet tens of thousands of people are now saying that isn't true and the Christian Church has been wrong about this for all of those 20 plus centuries.

     It seems to me that in order for a person in good conscience to advocate for a reversal of that 2,000 year position, they must first be sincerely convinced of the following claim.

     “Normal same-sex sexual behavior within a committed, monogamous relationship declared to be a marriage, is in fact an alternative, healthy and God-designed blessing, equal to that of normal heterosexual sexual behavior within a committed, monogamous relationship declared to be a marriage.  Therefore it is not sinful.”

     For a Christian, it would obviously be theologically inconsistent to support same-sex relationships unless one was absolutely convinced of the above claim.  Yet, as I said previously, if one is convinced of that claim, it’s also absolutely critical to make sure the claim matches up with the facts.

     Otherwise we can fall prey to the problem most of us have faced at one time or another of not doing all our homework on a particular subject and as a result, coming to a conclusion which albeit sincere, is sincerely wrong.


The Facts Many Pro Same-Sex Christians Are Keeping Very Quiet.

     So what are the facts which many pro same-sex Christians are keeping very quiet?   Simply put, they are the facts that deal with the aforementioned numerous confirmed negative consequences and ramifications of normal same-sex sexual relationships, including between healthy, monogamous people and especially between males.  I’ve yet to find a pro- gay Christian who was willing to discuss these facts with any competence or seriousness.  When the facts are brought up, they avoid them like the plague.  If you insist on discussing them you may quickly be labeled as homophobic, judgmental, a hater or worse. 

     More important, I’ve never heard any pro same-sex Christian make a reasoned or Biblical case for why these negative consequences exist in the midst of a relationship which they claim is a God-designed blessing.  More on this later.
    
      There are many Christians, including many in leadership positions, who have never read, researched or even heard about these facts.  I can certainly relate to that since that was my case for many years.  Yet as I said, there is a wealth of credible unbiased, scientific and empirical data on this subject and if you read it, you’ll see it comes from very competent, trustworthy and clearly non-homophobic sources.  

     I admit up front that discussing these dangers can be sensitive.  Yet, if we're going to have open dialogue, full disclosure, intellectual honesty and integrity on this important topic, this information and data has to be included in the discussion.
Without it, it’s impossible for any Christian to make a fully informed determination regarding same-sex relationships and whether they actually do fit the definition of being a blessing from God. 


Two Questions From Dr. Mark Achtemeier

     In the second chapter of Genesis it’s clear that God created both man and woman and intends for them to share the gift of an intimate heterosexual sexual relationship. However, in considering same-sex relationships, Dr. Mark Achtemeier, professor at Dubuque Theological Seminary, considered this passage and said he wondered as to whether same-gender relationships might be an alternative form of that original gift of intimacy.

     He gets right to the point by posing the following two questions.  He says,

     “What if same-gender orientation, (rather) than being a disease of some sort, is simply (an) alternative form which this gift takes from time to time?. . . So isn’t what we’re dealing with here an alternative form of God’s gift of life created for communion with another, with a life-partner?" [i]

     Fair enough.  If the answer to those questions is yes, it stands to reason that the empirical evidence and scientific research with regard to normal same-sex sexual relations between two healthy, committed and monogamous men for instance, would clearly bear that out. 

     In other words, if as Dr. Achtemeier suggests, such a relationship is “an alternative form of God’s gift of life created for communion with another, with a life-partner,” one would certainly expect the facts and research to reflect the stamp of God’s design and blessing on such relationships.


 Definition Of A Blessing

     If you look up the word "blessing" in the dictionary, it says that a blessing is “a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness. [ii]  It’s probably fair to say that most Christians would agree that a normal heterosexual sexual relationship between a committed, healthy and monogamous husband and wife fits the definition of being a blessing from God.  Namely, it’s a gift from God that brings happiness to the couple and it deepens their relationship and love for each other.

     Notice also that a blessing is something which brings happiness without posing any inherent physical or emotional dangers to the ones being blessed.  The word “inherent” is important since it literally means “involved in the constitution or essential character of something." [iii]  Therefore, normal heterosexual sexual behavior between a healthy, committed and monogamous husband and wife is something which God designed to bring happiness to the couple.  In and of itself, it does not present as part of its essential character, any physical or emotional dangers to either person.

     Let’s be honest and this is important.  If normal sexual relations regularly presented any couple with inherent physical and or emotional dangers, it’s safe to say one probably wouldn’t call that a God-designed blessing.

     To listen to many pro same-sex advocates today, one can easily get the impression that the practice and results of normal sexual relations between two healthy, committed, monogamous gay men for instance, are virtually indistinguishable from the practice and results of normal sexual relations between a healthy, committed, monogamous husband and wife.  Even though the mechanics may be a bit different, we're told that normal same-sex sexual relationships are an alternative, healthy and equally God-designed and God-blessed way of two people loving each other.  If that is in fact the case, it should hold up to “an apples to apples” comparison which is fairly simple to do.


Apples To Apples

     What I'm doing in this paper is comparing apples to apples.  That is I’m comparing the empirical evidence and results of normal sexual relations between healthy, committed, monogamous heterosexuals with that of normal sexual relations between healthy, committed, monogamous homosexuals.  Then based on those factual comparisons I’m going to be asking some sincere questions.

     Please note that I have been and will be using the term "healthy" when referring to people in this paper.  It’s obvious that unhealthy people of any sexual orientation, can present problems to any sexual partner they might have.   Also please note that I will not be discussing at all the issue of HIV/AIDS in this paper.  The issues and evidence dealt with in this paper are separate from and have virtually nothing to do with HIV/AIDS. The inherent dangers I’ll be talking about, the empirical scientific evidence and the questions I’ll ask as a result of that evidence, would still be valid even if HIV/AIDS didn’t exist. 

     Also, from this point on I will be using the term “monogamous” without the term “committed” in front of it because I’m assuming for the purposes of this paper, that if two people are monogamous they are committed to each other exclusively.

     One more thing should be noted.  As you read through the paper you’ll see my illustrations and facts pertain to male same-sex relationships.  I've purposely not spent any time in this paper addressing the subject of homosexual women.  Although different than men, there is also ample empirical evidence which shows that lesbians also experience unique and serious psychological and health issues as a result of their same-sex relationships.  For instance, studies have shown that lesbians who considered themselves "married" and in a long term committed relationships, actually have a much higher divorce rate than both heterosexual and male homosexual couples.  Lesbians also have a significantly higher rate of drug abuse and major mood disorders than both their male homosexual and heterosexual counterparts.  In any event, a more detailed look at the lesbian side of the homosexual discussion is perhaps a subject for another day.


A Warning!

     That being said let me warn the reader at this point that if you continue reading this paper, you will read specifically about the research and facts which many pro same-sex Christians are keeping very quiet.  What is presented isn't information that originated with me, but rather a compilation of documented facts based on solid data, empirical evidence and unbiased, documented scientific research.  However be warned that for some, it can be unpleasant, upsetting and quite difficult to read!

     All this information is openly available.  You can find it yourself all over the Internet on numerous straight and gay websites alike, as well as in various credible studies, books, articles and scientific journals.  If you do read it, I invite and encourage you to verify it all for yourself.  The sources of all references in this paper are listed either in the body of the paper itself or in the endnotes.


Actual Facts And Honest Questions

     Over the years, numerous studies have consistently and clearly indicated, that it’s a fact that when two men engage in normal same-sex sexual activity, anal sex, particularly anal intercourse, is often a part of that sexual relationship.  Studies show that anal intercourse is normative behavior among many gay men.  

     Note:  Anal intercourse is only one form of anal sex.  Other forms of anal sex, which also carry various dangers, will be discussed a bit further down in the paper.
  
     In his book, Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men, gay activist and author Gabriel Rotello makes it clear that anal intercourse is the “sine qua non” [iv] (essential element) of sex for many gay men.      

    A study done by George Mason and Indiana Universities also shows this to be the case.  This study was a large one involving nearly 25,000 men.  It asked men who have sex with men to describe what sexual behaviors they experienced in their most recent sexual encounter.  Nearly 40% said they took part in anal intercourse in their most recent sexual encounter.  Translated to numbers, that means that of the nearly 25,000 men in the study, nearly 10,000 took part in anal intercourse during their most recent sexual experience.

     Since those men also reported a total combination of over 1,300 different sexual practices they shared with each other, common sense tells you it would be na├»ve to assume that simply because they didn’t report having anal intercourse in their most recent encounter, doesn’t mean they never do.  Based on previous studies, chances are good that if you asked the same group of men how many of them do participate in anal intercourse, even if it is only occasionally, the overall numbers would likely go up.

     Be that as it may, the fact is that many Christians, who claim that homosexuality is a blessing from God, also see anal intercourse as being part of that healthy, God-designed relationship, as long as those engaging in it feel it's the way they would like to express their love for each other.

     Many will tell you that anal intercourse between two men is a viable and equally healthy God-designed alternative to vaginal intercourse between two heterosexuals.  They will tell you it’s simply how God designed things for same-sex couples to be able to enjoy sex.  It is certainly the closest thing two men can get to vaginal intercourse between heterosexuals.
     
     Yet, as you’ll see, according to the facts from experts on both sides of the issue, anal intercourse, even between two totally healthy and monogamous men, is always physically dangerous.  In spite of what precautions may be taken, it can never be rendered completely safe.  The research and empirical evidence on this is undeniable and clearly shows that anal intercourse is in fact, inherently dangerous and as you’ll see, the dangers are many.

     One then has to raise the question as to why something that is being held up by pro same-sex Christians as a God-designed blessing, is fraught with so many inherent dangers and can never be made completely safe.  

     Moreover, these same dangers are never present with normal heterosexual vaginal intercourse between a healthy monogamous husband and wife.  You have to admit that seems a bit odd on God’s part.  Why would He design the body so that normal sexual relations between a healthy and monogamous man and woman are safe, while normal sexual relations between two healthy and monogamous men are fraught with numerous inherent dangerous?

     In fact, for normal sexual relations between two monogamous heterosexuals, the only reason to use a condom would be to prevent a pregnancy.
    
      Yet, the experts clearly state that when two men have anal intercourse, condoms should always be used, even between monogamous, healthy men.  Why is that?  If anal intercourse for gay men is a God-designed, equally blessed and healthy alternative to vaginal intercourse, it stands to reason that two healthy, monogamous males should be able to safely engage in such relations without condoms and numerous other safeguards, especially since for them, the risk of pregnancy is zero.

     Yet again, as you’ll see, that is clearly not the case and the reasons and facts behind that are numerous.  As I pointed out previously, those reasons and facts are fully acknowledged, and regularly warned against by the secular gay community, but oddly enough are being kept very quiet by many pro same-sex Christians. 

     Actually, there are many surgeons and emergency room personnel, who are atheists, who will tell you that in their expert opinion, it’s clear that the human body is definitely not designed for anal intercourse.  They will tell you that to practice anal intercourse is to engage in something that goes against the design of the body and always presents a multitude of serious dangers, even between two healthy, monogamous and disease free men.  

     That in fact is why men are advised to use protection even when they are healthy and monogamous.  Yet, even if they use protection along with plenty of artificial lubrication, the person who is being penetrated is still at a high risk for various other injuries and infections which are never encountered through normal vaginal intercourse between a healthy monogamous man and woman.
     
     John R. Diggs, M. D. is a Christian, a respected board certified internist, sexual health expert and sought after lecturer.  He puts it this way.

     "Men having sex with other men leads to greater health risks than men having sex with women." [vi]

     I’m sure there are both gay and straight folks alike who might outright disagree with that statement.  Yet, let me respectfully suggest that to disagree with that statement usually indicates one is either uneducated in the facts or chooses to ignore them.  As you’ll see, the scientific evidence backing that statement is as solid and verified as the evidence that shows the dangers of smoking to be real.

     Dr. Diggs, among many others, makes the claim that the body isn't designed by God for anal intercourse and to engage in it is to do something that is contrary to God’s design of the body.  He puts it in the following way.  

     “. . . Yet human physiology makes it clear that the body was not designed to accommodate this activity.  The rectum is significantly different from the vagina with regard to suitability for penetration by a penis.  The vagina has natural lubricants and is supported by a network of muscles.  It is composed of a mucus membrane with a multi-layer  stratified squamous epithelium that allows it to endure friction without damage and to resist the immunological actions caused by semen and sperm.  In comparison, the anus is a delicate mechanism of small muscles that comprise an 'exit-only' passage.  With repeated trauma, friction and stretching, the sphincter loses its tone and its ability to maintain a tight seal.  Consequently, anal intercourse leads to leakage of fecal material that can easily become chronic.  The potential for injury is exacerbated by the fact that the intestine has only a single layer of cells separating it from highly vascular tissue, that is, blood. Therefore, any organisms that are introduced into the rectum have a much easier time establishing a foothold for infection than they would in a vagina.  The single layer tissue cannot withstand the friction associated with penile penetration, resulting in traumas that expose both participants to blood, organisms in feces, and a mixing of bodily fluids." [vii]

Going Against The Design Of The Sphincter Muscle

     The mention by Dr. Diggs of the sphincter muscle is particularly important.  There are actually two sphincter muscles located beyond the anal opening.  One is the exterior and the other the internal sphincter muscle.  The internal sphincter muscle works, as Dr. Diggs explained, to provide an "exit only" passage of fecal and waste materials from the body.
    
     The interior sphincter muscle is not supposed to be penetrated from the outside. If it is, it always involuntarily and automatically responds by tensing up and recoiling in an effort to prevent the penetration from happening.  If that muscle is repeatedly penetrated from the opposite direction, it will be stretched out of shape, become weak and unable to seal off the anus as it should.  Then the issue of continual anal leakage or anal incontinence becomes a nasty problem for the person, sometimes necessitating the use of adult diapers 24 hours a day.


Important Facts From A Respected Surgeon

     Even the most same-sex friendly surgeons in the country, like Dr. Stephen E. Goldstone of New York City, constantly explain how risky and dangerous anal sex is. Surgeons and other experts on both sides of the issue have gone on record as saying that anal intercourse is one of the most risky and dangerous sexual activities of all.  So again the question.  Why would one consider something so dangerous, to be a blessing from God?
     Dr. Goldstone is a highly respected surgeon in his field.  He himself is openly gay and has written a book called “The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex.”  In that book he gives numerous warnings with regard to anal intercourse and the many dangers it involves. Notice how he, like Dr. Diggs, also points out the injury that happens to the internal sphincter muscle through anal intercourse.  Here are a few quotations from his book.

     “[An] anus is the highest risk place for STDs [sexually transmitted diseases].” [viii]

Anal Fissure
     “An anal fissure is a tear or cut in the anal lining and usually begins as an extremely painful event… Anal fissures most often result from a hard bowel movement tearing the sensitive lining of the anal canal … In gay men, other common causes of fissures are trauma from anal intercourse or fingers and [sex] toys as well as ulcers related to HIV … If a fissure occurs during anal sex, stop immediately.  Avoid any attempt at further intercourse or manipulation of the anus until healing occurs.  If pain is severe or if fever develops, it could mean that a penis (or toy) tore through your sphincter into the delicate tissue surrounding your anus.  Seek medical attention immediately, because infection will usually result and antibiotics and/or surgery will be required…" [ix]

     Please note here that what Dr. Goldstone is saying is that normal same-sex sexual relations, even between two monogamous and healthy men, come with inherent dangers that can and do cause injury to a person that can even require surgery to repair. That is never the case with normal vaginal intercourse between a healthy man and woman.

Incontinence from ‘Injurious’ Anal Sex
     “In one medical study of men who practiced anoreceptive intercourse [being the receiving “bottom” in anal sex], 25 percent reported at least isolated episodes of fecal incontinence.  An age-similar group of heterosexual men had only a 3 percent incontinence rate. … Incontinence in men who practice anal sex is thought to result from repeated injury to their internal sphincter muscle. … Again, although a penis is often the size of a large bowel movement, your sphincter involuntarily relaxes to allow the bowel movement to pass and your muscle is not injured.  Insertion of a penis, however, causes your muscle to contract involuntarily.  Repeated insertion through a contracted internal sphincter muscle may cause cumulative damage so that the muscle loses its ability to seal the anorectal canal tightly. [x]

Battering Ram
     “Just as your internal sphincter muscle involuntarily relaxes when feces enter your rectum, it involuntarily contracts when a penis or other object attempts to enter from the outside … An anal tear can occur during the initial phase of anal sex precisely because your partner pushes his penis through a closed sphincter.  Think of his penis as a battering ram, one for which your internal sphincter is no match.” [xi]

     Nothing could be clearer.  The internal sphincter muscle simply isn’t designed to be penetrated from the outside by anything and that includes a penis or sex toys etc.  Both Drs. Diggs and Goldstone clearly state the dangers involved.  Dr. Goldstone shows that the sphincter always and involuntarily resists this action and points out that when this happens repeatedly, it can permanently damage this muscle.  
     If God designed this muscle to be penetrated during sexual relations, why would it always resist that penetration?  Nothing like this ever happens in normal vaginal sex between a healthy man and woman. 
     As you’ll see below, Dr. Goldstone goes on to describe the even more serious injury of an “an acute anal fissure” that also can and does come from normal same-sex sexual behavior between two otherwise healthy monogamous men.

Direct Injury’ and Sphincterotomies           
     “Gay men who practice anoreceptive intercourse may develop an acute fissure from direct injury … The fissure usually will heal if the surgeon removes the scar tissue and closes the tear with a few stitches.  Keep this in mind if a surgeon tells you a sphincterotomy is necessary.  In this instance, you might be placing yourself at a higher risk for incontinence because your sphincter is already loose.  You can always go back for a sphincterotomy if your fissure doesn’t heal after a simple closure.” [xii]
     So the facts are that men who have anoreceptive intercourse are always at risk for anal fissures, some of which may be acute.  Acute fissures require surgery to fix and if they don’t heal through simple surgery, a “sphincterotomy” has to be done.  In that case, the surgeon actually cuts through a section of the internal sphincter muscle to purposefully lower the resting pressure of the muscle, which in turn, improves blood flow to the area so that the fissure can have a much better chance of healing.  This procedure has proved to be highly successful.  However, as Dr. Goldstone pointed out, it can also increase the chances of permanent anal incontinence.  
     Again, maybe I’m wrong, but I fail to see how it’s a blessing from God when a person’s normal sexual relations result in anal fissures that have to be surgically repaired, possibly to the point that their internal anal sphincter muscle has to be cut and for the rest of their life they may have to deal with anal incontinence.
     Those who do advocate anal sex will sometimes tell you that the internal sphincter muscle will return to normal after penetration, but as Dr. Goldstone, among others points out, repeated penetration of this muscle runs the risk of serious consequences.

     Based on the facts, I would suggest that anal intercourse isn't something that the body takes to naturally, and if you are going to do it, you have to try to override God’s design of the body and the body's natural resistance to it and minimize the dangers as best you can. 

     In essence, you have to try to override what the internal sphincter muscle is designed to do and by trying to do that you can permanently damage that muscle and the function it was designed to play in the body.  No comparable warnings like this are ever given regarding normal vaginal sex between a healthy man and woman.

     Interestingly enough, if you put the words "dangers of anal sex" in an Internet search engine, you will get pages and pages of sites that detail those dangers.  On the other hand, if you put the words "dangers of vaginal sex" in the same search engine, you get virtually nothing that warns against it, unless those taking part are unhealthy, or who prior to having vaginal sex, have been taking part in what are considered unhealthy sexual practices, which include anal intercourse.


Experts On Opposite Sides Of The Issue Agree.

     I find it speaks volumes that Dr. Goldstone, an openly gay non-Christian and Dr. Diggs, a heterosexual conservative Christian, both highly respected in their fields, agree with regard to the inherent dangers of normal same-sex sexual relations, even between two healthy, monogamous men.

 More Research

     Students at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who have done advanced studies in sexuality, also came to some specific conclusions on this subject.  These students do not represent any particular religion or philosophy and they consider themselves neutral in what they report.  Their conclusions are available through the website they maintain called SexInfoOnline.com which they describe in the following way.

     “SexInfoOnline is a website devoted to comprehensive sex education based on the best research we have to date.  The site is maintained by university students from the University of California, Santa Barbara who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality.” [xiii]

   Based on their research, this is what they report regarding anal intercourse.

     "Many people believe that things should only exit the anus, not enter it, because of hygienic reasons.  This is a valid concern.  Both the anus and rectum do contain bacteria and fecal matter, which can spread diseases and infections." [xiv]
     
     “It is important to remember that the anus is very different from the vagina, and therefore anal intercourse should be practiced differently from vaginal intercourse. Unlike the vagina, the anus has no ability to produce a natural lubricant.  Inserting the penis (or a finger or sex toy) into the anus without using generous amounts of lubrication can easily cause small tears or fissures in the anal tissue as well as considerable pain to the receiving partner.” [xv]
     
     "The risks that anal sex poses to one’s health are very serious, which makes maintaining sexual safety important." [xvi]

     "The small tears in the delicate anal tissue are open pathways for transmission of STD’s and viruses, including HIV." [xvii]

     "Even if lubrication is used, these small tears in the anal tissue can still occur which is why it is very important to always wear a condom when engaging in anal intercourse.” [xviii]

"Anal sex is one of the riskiest forms of sexual behavior. [xix]             

     Of course, using a condom during anal intercourse can protect both partners against many diseases contracted in this manner, but even using such protection doesn't stop other serious problems for the person being penetrated such as the aforementioned damage to the internal sphincter muscle, tears and fissures in the anal wall, anorectal trauma, anal leakage, hemorrhoids and anal warts.
     
     Moreover, if the protection fails, the partner using the protection is immediately exposed to numerous dangers of infection and disease even if his partner is otherwise healthy.  Why?  Because he now finds himself in a situation where his unprotected penis is in the middle of an anus full of bacteria and other dangerous fecal materials.


Impossible To Eliminate The Risks

     From the Lesbian and Gay Transgendered Health Channel we read the following warning regarding anal intercourse.

     
"Lubrication, cleanliness, and condoms reduce the chance of tearing and minimize the risk of transmitting disease during anal sex.  The anus does not produce lubrication; it must be applied.  Anal skin and tissue is likely to tear when it is dry, so lubrication is important before penetration." [xx]

     Notice they use the words "reduce” and “minimize the risk", but they never say "eliminate" the risk and that's because the risk can never be eliminated.  They also say clearly "the anus does not produce lubrication; it must be applied."  That is significant.  It means something.  It means the anus wasn't designed by God to be used for sex because if it was, like the vagina, it would produce the necessary lubrication to safely accommodate penetration during sexual relations.

     In addition to the real possibility of physical injury, anal intercourse also means contact with and exposure to fecal wastes and all the infectious dangers that implies. The facts are clear.  Anal intercourse is always dangerous even when protection is used.

     When it comes to two healthy, monogamous heterosexuals having normal vaginal intercourse, this is never the case.  Healthy gay men practicing anal sex, are advised to literally disinfect themselves both before and afterwards to protect themselves from contracting Hepatitis or a variety of other diseases.  In gay men, these diseases are often the direct result of their normal homosexual sexual relations.  Numerous gay men actually give themselves an enema before anal intercourse to clean out their anus and rectum.  Moreover, as you’ll see, the contraction of the above mentioned diseases, along with others, is not limited to the practice of just anal intercourse.


 Unaware Of Or Ignoring The Facts

     In my opinion, those who would advocate for anal intercourse are either unaware of the facts and dangers (which for many may be the case) or they are ignoring them for various reasons.  One may be able to reduce the dangers to a certain degree, but as stated above, without exception, certain serious dangers are always present, in a way that are never present with normal vaginal intercourse.
    
     In fact, there is even a specific prostate infection called “prostatitis” that can be passed from one man to another through engaging in anal intercourse.  When was the last time a man caught a prostate infection by having vaginal intercourse with his wife?  Yet the dangers of anal intercourse aren’t the only problems connected with gay sexual behavior.


Additional Serious Dangerous Behaviors

     In addition to anal intercourse, other same-sex sexual practices, regularly present those who take part in them, with a whole set of additional dangers.

     Dr. Rand R. Wilcox, renowned British researcher and Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California, put it this way in an article called “Sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted disease patterns in male homosexuals.”

     "Male homosexual behaviour is not simply either 'active' or 'passive,' since penile-anal, mouth-penile, and hand-anal sexual contact is usual for both partners, and mouth-anal contact is not infrequent. . . . Mouth-anal contact is the reason for the relatively high incidence of diseases caused by bowel pathogens in male homosexuals. . . .”  [xxi]

     Below, Dr. Diggs speaks of a practice called anilingus, commonly called “rimming.”

     "'Rimming' is the street name given to oral-anal contact. . . . Combined with anal intercourse and other homosexual practices, 'rimming' provides a rich opportunity for a variety of infections.” [xxii]

    Due to oral-anal contact and hand-anal contact male homosexuals have a much higher rate of disease than the heterosexual community.  Gonorrhea, anal warts, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are much more frequent among gay men than any other group of people.  Research confirms this to be a direct result of normal sexual behaviors practiced by gay men.

     Also a practice called "fisting" does take place among a small percentage of homosexual partners.  It can be very dangerous as one might expect after hearing it described by Dr. Diggs as follows.
     
     "'Fisting' refers to the insertion of a hand or forearm into the rectum, and is far more damaging than anal intercourse.  Tears can occur, along with incompetence of the anal sphincter.  The result can include infections, inflammation and, consequently, enhanced susceptibility to future STDs.” [xxiii]


Results Of The Research

     In light of the abundant empirical evidence and scientific research openly accepted by both sides of the issue, it’s clear to see that normal same-sex sexual relations between two healthy and even monogamous men are always dangerous and never completely safe.  To claim otherwise is to ignore the facts, the dangers and the documented scientific empirical evidence.

     On June 12, 2007 an Internet blogger who calls himself "Half-Sigma" wrote the following on his Internet blog.

     "Advising men on how to have safe gay sex is, therefore, like advising people how to safely drive drunk, or how to safely smoke crack." [xxiv]
  
     In fact, due to the danger of so many diseases being carried and transmitted by gay men, the entire population of gay men in the U. S. has been forbidden to donate blood since 1985.  In June of 2010 a government health agency said there may be some flaws in that policy which should be addressed, but they still recommended keeping the ban in place.  Three years later the policy was reviewed again and the recommendation was once again to keep the ban in place.  

     The facts are the facts and one can certainly choose to deny or ignore them.  People ignore facts all the time.  In spite of overwhelming conclusive scientific evidence, people do keep smoking, drinking to excess and abusing drugs.  The evidence and data on the dangers of normal same-sex sexual relations, especially among men, is equally scientifically documented, factual and should no more be denied than the fact that we went to the moon, but there are still people who say we never went to the moon.  The Flat Earth Society actually still exists today too.  As of July 2014 they had about 500 members. 
      
     It has been said that if normal same-sex relations between two healthy monogamous men was anything else, it would come with a serious health warning from the Surgeon General.  However, as I said earlier many pro same-sex Christians, continue to keep these facts very quiet.

     A bit later I’ll give my opinion as to why they do that, but the problem with keeping the facts quiet is that doing so actually amounts to endangering the lives of our brothers and sisters both in and outside the church.  Why would we do that?
     
     These facts show without question, that normal same-sex sexual relations between two otherwise healthy and monogamous men, result in a much higher rate of measurable physical danger than those of normal heterosexual sexual relations.  From their normal sexual activities, gay men face a significantly and statistically documented increased risk of disease and serious physical harm. 
     
     That being the case, it seems to me with regard to Dr. Achtemeier’s previous question as to whether what we’re dealing with is simply an alternative form of God’s gift of life, the answer is no, we’re not.
     
     Based on the facts, normal same-sex sexual relations, even between healthy and monogamous men are inherently dangerous.  They put people at an increased risk for infection, serious injury and disease.  Therefore they cannot be considered an alternative, healthy and God-designed blessing, equal to that of normal heterosexual sexual relationships.  That’s not some obscure or arbitrary opinion.  It’s a scientific fact.

     Perhaps I’m missing something here and I mean that sincerely, but I don’t see how such dangers fit the definition of being a blessing designed by God.  When God forbids something it’s because He has a good reason to do so and is trying to avoid harm coming to His people.  The scientific data with regard to normal same-sex relations overwhelmingly shows why God would say in His Word that such relations are not designed by Him and cannot be considered an equal and alternative blessing to heterosexual sexual relations and should be avoided in all circumstances.

     So, based on the unbiased facts as they are, I must respectfully pose the following questions to Christians.


Questions All Christians Should Ask Themselves

     How can we as Christians affirm as a blessing, sexual behavior that regularly puts so many of our brothers and sisters, Christian or not, in serious physical danger and at serious risk for injury and disease?

     If normal same-sex sexual relations between two healthy, monogamous men for instance, are an alternative healthy and God-designed blessing, why are they fraught with so many inherent dangers?  

     Why would God design something that is supposed to be so wonderful and yet make it something which can literally threaten a person's health and life when they engage in it?

      I fully realize that some people will read this paper and label me a mean-spirited person and a homophobe and that's what I'd be if what I was putting forth in this paper  was false and without merit.  However, the research on this issue is extensive, trustworthy and accurate and comes from experts on both sides of the issue.  Even the most pro gay secular organizations on the planet, regularly warn against the very dangers being detailed in this paper.

     Moreover, homophobia actually means that one is irrationally afraid of homosexuality without cause and that such fears are unfounded.  So, homophobia isn’t the right word to use here, because the fears and dangers raised in this paper are not irrational or unfounded.  They are real and they unquestionably threaten our gay brothers and sisters all the time. 
    
     Yet so many Christians who support same-sex relationships, are keeping quiet about these dangers, dangers that threaten the very lives of the brothers and sisters they claim to be supporting.  Other than being completely ignorant of these facts, what possible reason could they have for not proactively warning people about these dangers, rather than asking us to affirm them and assign them the status of being a blessing from God?

     To their credit, the secular gay community makes these dangers of normal same-sex sexual relations very much a part of the discussion.  They warn people about these dangers all the time in books, on their websites etc.  They have a real sense of honesty, integrity and responsibility with regard to warning people about these dangers. 

     Yet I have found time and again that pro same-sex pastors and Christians do not have that same integrity and honesty.  In fact, they often act as if these dangers don’t even exist.  Moreover, people like myself who do bring them up are often quickly labeled as homophobic and are written off as irresponsible mean spirited people who are concerned more with hate than love.  You have to wonder why they act that way.

     Before I give you my take on that question, let me give you some actual examples of how pro same-sex Christians keep these facts very quiet.  

     I have personally presented these findings to seemingly responsible pro same-sex pastors and national leaders of large denominational pro gay organizations and I’ve been amazed at their indifference and purposeful avoidance of the facts.  

     For instance, I asked the Executive Director and the Board of Directors of “More Light Presbyterians” to respond to these dangers and to tell me why they never appropriately post any of these facts on their website to assist and protect our gay brothers and sisters.  What follows is their official response and I quote. 
     
     “The Board of More Light Presbyterians has made the determination that your concerns lie outside the scope of our mission.” 

     Really?  Protecting our gay brothers and sisters from such dangers is outside the scope of a Christian mission?
    
     At the time, the Executive Director of “More Light Presbyterians” was Dr. Michael Adee.  He told me that he felt my facts may be from homophobic sources.  Really?  It seems a bit strange to label a nationally recognized gay surgeon as a homophobic source. 

     Dr. Adee argued that that there are no significant differences between normal homosexual and normal heterosexual sexual relations.  As you’ll see below and as I shared with him, various non-homophobic organizations seem to disagree with that assessment, including the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and National Health Society of England among others.
    
     The CDC says “Members of the LGBT community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers 1-5]."
     
     “Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended by CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) because of higher rates of infection among gay and bisexual men.” http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/for-your-health.htm

     If there are no basic differences between gay and heterosexual sex, why doesn't the CDC advise heterosexual couples to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B?

     The CDC also says, “Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at elevated risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.  Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, many MSM have not been adequately vaccinated against viral hepatitis.  Approximately 15%–25% of all new Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in the United States are among MSM.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccination for MSM.  Because of higher rates of infection among this population, CDC also recommends testing MSM for chronic HBV infection.” http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Populations/msm.htm
     
     Notice again that this warning is only for MSM and not for heterosexual couples.
If Dr. Adee is correct, it seems to me that the warnings above should also be issued for heterosexual couples.

     It's clear to see that non-homophobic organizations like CDC clearly see and recognize that there are critical differences between normal same-sex and normal heterosexual sexual relations and that those differences pose serious threats and dangers to those who engage in same-sex sexual relations.

     The CDC reports that “the rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men.” http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/for-your-health.htm.

Look what The GLMA has to say.

     In a resolution adopted in April 1999, the GLMA Board of Directors called for universal vaccination against hepatitis A and B for men who have sex with men.  

     “It is in the spirit of this resolution that the GLMA presents the following information on hepatitis and the vaccinations and other protection options which should be considered by all men who have sex with men.  Hepatitis is a family of serious diseases, and men who have sex with men are infected much more often than the general public.  Protect yourself, and protect those you care for." http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=590

     One has to wonder how Dr. Adee could possibly consider this GLMA warning homophobic.  It seems clear that if normal same-sex relations between two monogamous and healthy men were as safe as normal sexual relations between a monogamous healthy man and women, these warnings would be unnecessary. 

Here Are Some Statements From National Health Services in England

     “Although gay and bisexual people share the same health needs as heterosexuals, there are some key differences.  Research shows higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as syphilis and gonorrhea, among gay or bisexual men.”
     
     NHS of England seems to recognize some “key differences” between gay and  heterosexual sexual practices that Dr. Adee refuses to admit.
     
     The following quotation comes from the NHS website section on gay health. “Anal sex without a condom is an absolute no-no.”  http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Sexualhealth/Pages/RichardFairbrass.aspx
     
     There is no such warning given concerning normal vaginal heterosexual sexual relations.
     
     Then there is the CDC’s report on the Shigelli Sonnei outbreak among gay men in London in 2004.  Note how the gay media and volunteer organizations assisted in getting the word out to protect the gay community.

     “Although the earliest identified case occurred in January 2004, S. sonnei PTQ may have been circulating among the MSM community for a longer period.  The discovery of an outbreak of a novel phage type underlines the importance of prompt strain-typing for public health investigations and the benefit of good links between local clinicians, laboratories, and public health professionals.  Additionally, local gay media and voluntary organizations were valuable partners for disseminating preventative health messages across London when the outbreak was in the early stages.  This outbreak raises the possibility that the mobility and increased high-risk sexual practices among MSM in Europe (4) might facilitate mixing between sexual networks, thus causing potential for international outbreaks of sexually transmitted infection.”  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/9/060282_article.htm

     After showing these types of facts to Dr. Adee and others, they had to change their tune.  By that I mean they had to stop accusing me of using facts from sources that were homophobic.  So they changed their tactic to attacking me as unloving and mean-spirited for bringing up such things in the first place, as if ignoring or keeping the dangers quiet would make the dangers go away.  I’m just amazed at how many pro same-sex Christians simply ignore these irrefutable facts and go on as if I and others were making them up.

     If multiple secular health organizations and multiple gay websites and respected gay experts like Dr. Goldstone are routinely writing about and warning the gay community of these very real dangers of normal same-sex sexual relations, why do so many pro same-sex pastors and Christians keep these dangers quiet, acting as if they don’t exist and refusing to discuss them?

     As I said early on in this paper, if normal sexual relations regularly presented any couple with inherent physical and or emotional dangers, it’s safe to say one probably wouldn’t call that a blessing.
    
     So if you do affirm the claim that normal same-sex sexual relations between two monogamous men for instance, are in fact a healthy, God-designed and God-blessed alternative to normal heterosexual sexual relations, what do you do with these documented and troubling facts?

     One has to wonder what theology would sustain God purposefully designing such incredible dangers into His people’s lives especially at the point of their most intimate relationships.

     When a healthy monogamous husband and wife engage in normal sexual activity, even without condoms, they don’t have to worry about contracting various forms of Hepatitis, nor do they have to be concerned about anal fissures, anal warts, damaged internal sphincter muscles, anal incontinence and so much more.  It seems to me that when those kinds of things are faced every time two people have sex, something is very wrong with those sexual practices and it certainly isn’t a form of sex I see God having designed. 
    
     Granted there are some gay men who are aware of these dangers and as a direct result of them avoid anal intercourse.  However, in doing so they must give up what for gay men is the best substitute for vaginal sex available and they therefore must settle for less satisfying methods of sexual pleasure. 
    
     This would be the equivalent of a heterosexual couple giving up vaginal sex because it was inherently dangerous.  If vaginal sex was inherently dangerous we would not consider it a blessing from God.  Moreover, as stated above, even if anal intercourse is given up, other normal gay sexual practices expose people to various other serious diseases and health issues, never encountered by heterosexuals engaged in normal heterosexual sexual practices.

To quote Dr. Diggs again,

     “People who engage in homosexuality have the same basic sexual equipment as people who do not.  Even a cursory perusal shows the biological imperative is heterosexual.  Without it, there are no people.  The body parts of males and females have a natural affinity which is clearly lacking in same sex relationships.  Therefore, while a variety of sexual practices is possible, the anatomy obviously favors male-female sexuality.” [xxv]

     Some of the most basic things in the world affirm the biological imperative and natural affinity to be male/female.  For instance look at a simple extension cord.  It has both a male and female end.  You can’t buy one that has 2 male or 2 female ends. One with 2 male ends would be dangerous as it would turn the entire cord into one live wire.  One with 2 female ends wouldn’t work at all since a positive connection can’t be made using only 2 female plug


Predisposition And Blessing
             
     It should also be noted, that science has tried for years to find proof of a genetic predisposition or specific physical cause for homosexuality.  In other words they are looking for proof that our gay brothers and sisters are born already same-sex oriented.  But that has yet to happen.  Even scientists who affirm same-sex relationships have admitted that as hard as they’ve tried, no one has yet discovered a genetic predisposition or physical cause for same-sex orientation.  If research had made that kind of finding, we’d be hearing about it all the time with the documentation to back it up.

     However, even if a genetic predisposition or physical cause for same-sex orientation is found, it still won’t erase the volumes of scientific evidence clearly showing that normal same-sex sexual practices are in fact inherently dangerous.

     Moreover, a genetic predisposition or physical cause for something doesn’t automatically qualify it as a blessing from God.  From a theological point of view, the issue of The Fall has to be taken into account.  Case in point:  Even though science has indeed found a genetic predisposition for alcoholism, it still isn't something being declared to be a blessing from God.  I doubt that anyone would welcome a non-repentant, self-affirming, practicing alcoholic as pastor of their church who maintained he was born that way and who claimed that being a practicing alcoholic was a good thing and a blessing from God.  To put it another way, there are no alcoholic pride parades.
     

Serious Integrity Issues On Both Sides.     

     In my opinion, there are some serious integrity issues happening on both sides of this issue.  For instance those who support same-sex relationships often state as fact, that our gay brothers and sisters are born gay.  That may be your opinion and certainly you have a right to your opinion.  Yet to pronounce it as fact when it has never been proven to be fact is misleading and irresponsible.  My research and experience shows that some do this out of ignorance of the facts, while others do it purposefully in spite of the facts. The latter is cause for greater concern as it is clearly tantamount to intellectual dishonesty.  

     The opposite also happens far too often.  Those who are not in favor of same-sex relationships state as fact that our gay brothers and sisters were never born gay but instead choose to be gay.  Yet those folks have nothing factual to back that up either.  

     We are certainly all entitled to our opinions, but we are not entitled to proclaim our opinions as fact until the facts are established. 


The American Psychological Association puts it plainly.
      
     “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation.  Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.  Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”

     It seems to me that until we have actual facts to back up our opinions, none of us should state as fact, that people are born gay or the opposite, that they choose to be gay. 

     Yet to complicate matters further, after incorrectly proclaiming as fact that people are born gay, many Christians who favor same-sex relationships take it a step further.
    
     They go on to claim with impunity and without any proof, that since a person is born gay, it obviously means God purposefully designed them that way and therefore their same-sex orientation is in fact a gift from God.
    
     Consider this example from the Oprah Winfrey Show where two ministers did that very thing.  One was The Rev. Ed Bacon, Rector of the 4,000 member All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.  The other was The Rev. Michael Beckwith, Pastor of the 8,000 member church called the Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, California.  

     Through a live video feed, they were talking with Sedrick, a gay man calling into the show from his friend's house in Decatur, Georgia.  At one point in the conversation, Rev. Bacon simply pronounced as fact "Being gay is a gift from God."

     Completely surprised by that comment, Oprah said, "Well you are the first minister I've ever heard say that being gay is a gift from God," to which Rev. Beckwith said, "Now you'll hear two."

     After the two ministers exchanged a high five and lots of audience applause, Oprah said, "You are the first two ministers I ever heard say being gay is a gift from God."  Rev. Bacon then said "Well of course it is," to which Rev. Beckwith said "Absolutely."  Rev Beckwith then went on to proclaim as fact, "People don't just happen to be gay," to which Rev. Bacon responded , "Right."  Then referring to the caller Sedric, Rev. Beckwith said, "You know, when people are born, they have that type of orientation.  So he is gay by divine right.   .   .   ."

     All this was said and presented as fact without a single shred of evidence to back it up.  For two pastors in responsible leadership positions to make such an irresponsible statement to a national television audience is seriously uninformed, extremely unprofessional and dangerously misleading.  

     One of the most convincing pieces of evidence that people are never born gay is the information we can gain from the studies of identical or correctly termed monozygotic twins.  Monozygotic twins have the same genetic constitution. Therefore if being gay is solely genetically driven and caused, if one twin is gay, it stands to reason that the other twin would also have to be gay.  However, there are many examples of one identical twin being gay and the other being straight.  So, the theory of one being born gay simply fails to hold up.  Other factors are obviously at play in a person developing a same-sex orientation.  Claiming otherwise is really irresponsible and at best amounts to junk science.

      So I'd like to respectfully suggest that in our ongoing discussion on same-sex relationships it's best to stick to proclaiming as fact only things that actually are facts.

     Dr. David Myers is a professor of psychology at Hope College which is a Christian school.  His work has been nationally recognized in his field and he is an advocate for gay marriage.  When I shared what is in this paper  with him he responded to these dangers by saying he had no special expertise in the differences between gay and straight sex.  Yet in spite of that he is promoting same-sex marriage on a regular basis as a good thing at a Christian college. 

     One might assume that a person of his position and training may have already done the homework on this subject, but be that as it may, one would at least assume that once presented with the facts, he would adjust his message to at least responsibly warn others about the inherent dangers of same-sex relations.  Yet he would have none of it.  The facts were obviously inconvenient facts which ran counter to his already well entrenched, but errant position.  So like a spiritual ostrich he simply stuck his face back in the spiritual sand and politely ended our conversation. 
    
    John Shore is a pastor in the Progressive Christian Alliance Church and lives in San Diego, California.  He’s also an author and a leading national figure in support of same-sex relationships and marriage.  He and I were in a brief E-Mail conversation regarding his position on same-sex marriage until I shared some of the facts with him from this paper.  I respectfully asked him to give me a theological reason and response for why these dangers exist.  Suffice it to say that Pastor Shore has joined the growing list of pro same-sex Christians who refuse to discuss or even respond to this part of the issue and who continue to work to keep these facts quiet. 

    Claiming that normal same-sex sexual relations are an alternative, healthy and God-designed blessing, (no different in outcome and consequence than normal heterosexual sexual relations) is flat out irresponsible and actually puts people in real danger.  It’s misguided at best and at worst is purposefully dishonest and deceptive.  It flies in the face of reason and reality.

     Unlike many pro same-sex Christians, Dr. Diggs feels compelled in his professional situation to tell his patients the facts.

     "As a physician, it is my duty to assess behaviors for their impact on health and well-being.  When something is beneficial, such as exercise, good nutrition or adequate sleep, it is my duty to recommend it.  Likewise, when something is harmful, such as smoking, overeating, alcohol or drug abuse, it is my duty to discourage it.  As a physician, it is my duty to inform patients of the health risks of homosexual sex, and to discourage them from indulging in harmful behaviors.” [xxvi]


Refusal To Take The Facts Seriously And Trying To Change Sin Into A Blessing

     Some would argue that taking the position I’m taking in this paper is wrong because I’m singling out one sin and making it more important than others.  Actually that’s not the case.  Homosexuality is no worse than any other serious sin listed in Scripture and that includes the plentiful amount of serious heterosexual sin that exists, sexual or otherwise.  

     The problem here isn’t the sin.  The problem is pretending there is no problem when the evidence and facts clearly indicate otherwise.  The problem is trying to get a particular sin taken off the sin list and transferred to the blessing list.                                                                     
    The problem is that even when pro same-sex Christians do learn about the facts presented in this paper, many if not most, still refuse to admit and take them seriously.  They are like those who heard Galileo’s facts, but still stuck to their preconceived false assumptions.  They're like people who in spite of all the facts available, still deny the Holocaust ever happened.  

     When presented with these facts, many pro same-sex Christians act like you just handed them a box of spiritual Kryptonite.  It really is the Achilles Heel of their theological position. 

     From a Christian perspective it seems important to responsibly and theologically address actual facts like those being presented in this paper, but as I said earlier, I’ve yet to have a single pro same-sex Christian be willing to do so from their perspective. Perhaps someone reading this paper will be the first to do so.


Some Simple Questions For Pro Same-Sex Pastors And Laypeople

     Therefore, I would respectfully like to ask pastors and laypeople who support same-sex relationships these two questions and if you have an answer please E-Mail it to me.  My E-Mail is listed at the end of the article.

1.  Why would God design a method of sexual relationship that is inherently dangerous and that literally threatens the health and lives of our gay brothers and sisters?  I would sincerely like to hear a reasoned Biblical and theological answer to that question.   

2.  Moreover, why do so many pro same-sex pastors and laypeople keep the facts about the inherent dangers of normal same-sex relationships so quiet and so often refuse to admit and discuss them, while non-Christian gay organizations admit, discuss and warn the gay community about them all the time?     

     Here’s my take on it.  It doesn’t bode well for your theological position if you claim that a normal same-sex sexual relationship between two healthy, monogamous men is as God-designed and God-blessed as a normal heterosexual sexual relationship between a healthy, monogamous man and woman, and then have to add a caveat admitting that the same-sex couple’s relationship always comes with serious inherent physical dangers which the heterosexual couple never has to face.                                                                                                                             
     After all, if God has designed and blessed same-sex and opposite-sex relationships equally, why does one always come with inherent dangers while the other does not?
Why would that be?  Why would God do that?

     On the other hand, it makes total sense as to why non-Christian pro same-sex organizations regularly and openly acknowledge and warn about these dangers.  Since they aren’t trying to present same-sex relationships as something which God designed and pronounced good, they have no theological position to defend which these dangers clearly contradict.  They simply recognize the dangers for what they are and deal with them as best they can, free from having to justify or explain them Biblically or theologically.  

     There must be someone out there who would be responsible enough and have the spiritual integrity to address this issue theologically.  Someone should be able to explain why the very thing pro same-sex Christians claim as a blessing from God is also filled with inherent dangers. 
    
     Yet even if the pro same-sex Christian community is unwilling or unable to address these dangers theologically, the least you would assume they might be willing to do is warn gay Christians about these dangers in responsible and pastoral ways instead of sweeping them under the rug.  Keeping quiet about these dangers fails to make them go away.  Attacking me or others who speak about them also does nothing to make them go away either.
    
     In fact, those who purposefully keep them quiet are choosing to unnecessarily put gay Christians at risk in ways which are irresponsible, dangerous and avoidable. 
    
     It’s time for pro same-sex Christians to face the music and be held accountable for refusing to address these inherent dangers theologically and for refusing to give  some credible rationale for why they exist and why they would be part of a God-designed and God-blessed relationship.  It’s also way past the time to hold them accountable for purposefully refusing to warn Christian gay brothers and sisters about these dangers.

     This is serious stuff and when faced with it, pro same-sex Christians just can’t stand there with their fingers in their ears singing La, La, La, La, La!

     Yet, Christians like Dr. Achtemeier just keeps telling his story and talking about how he came to see same-sex relations as an “alternative form of God’s gift of life” even though he offers absolutely nothing in the way of empirical evidence or facts to back that up.  Maybe it’s one of those “if we say it often enough and loud enough, people will buy it” kind of things.
   
     He speaks of how he developed an interpretation of Scripture which allows him to make better sense of what he personally experiences and what he sees in his encounters and conversations with gay Christians.  He speaks about encountering gays who are wonderfully faithful and devout people.  
    
     On that we can agree, because the issue isn’t about whether there are gay brothers and sisters who are devout, God loving, talented, and gifted people.  There are.  Yet, there are also devout, God loving, talented, and gifted heterosexuals in the church who regularly struggle with and commit sins;  sins like lying, adultery, stealing, drug abuse, drinking too much etc., all of which the empirical facts show to be bad things.

     Yet, the difference is that as far as I’m aware, none of them is officially asking The Church to consider declaring any of those sins a blessing!

     The problem is that even in the face of overwhelming scientific and unbiased evidence to the contrary, people still insist on claiming that normal same-sex sexual behavior is basically no different than normal heterosexual sexual behavior and therefore has to be a blessing from God. 

     However, to be fair, there are many well educated, highly experienced pastors and laypeople who have never heard of many of the facts in this paper and therefore are making well-intentioned, but highly uninformed statements about same-sex relationships.

      In fairness to Dr. Achtemeier perhaps he is one of those people.  I have no doubt that Dr. Achtemeier is sincere in what he says.  I’m sure his motives are genuine and his desire to minister and be supportive is very real.  However, what does he do with the irrefutable facts that show that normal same-sex sexual relations, especially between men are inherently dangerous?   All I can say is that since he’s ignored my numerous letters and invitations to have him address these facts, I have to assume he too isn't interested in responsibly and theologically addressing them. 

     I have found that many Christians who say they support same-sex relationships are genuinely well meaning people, but most have never dealt with all the facts. They say things like, “Hey, leave these nice folks alone.  What they do may not necessarily be for me, but why should I say it’s not for them?  Why is what they do considered wrong anyway?”  I doubt if these same folks would make similar comments about people who are stealing, lying or committing adultery.  In those cases they accept the facts and act accordingly.
    
     So when it comes to homosexuality for pro same-sex Christians, why is the solution to ignore or deny the facts and declare it a blessing?  If the solution to a particular sin is to ignore the facts about it and proclaim it a blessing, there would be a line of people out the door waiting their turn to speak about which sin they’d like declared a blessing next.

     The solution is rather to agree with God about the sin, seek His Grace to overcome it and let Him lead you out and away from it.  Many of our gay brothers and sisters have testified to the fact that that is possible and God has done that for them.


God Can Do What We Can’t

     I'm certainly not naive enough to say that changing one’s sexual orientation or even just not acting on it is an easy thing to do.  It isn't.

    Those who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction tell us how difficult it is on a daily basis to overcome such addictions.  Some say that God instantly and miraculously took away their desire to drink or to take drugs and He set them free.  However, most claim it’s a continuing struggle that has to be won daily through God’s Spirit giving them the power and ability to stay away from alcohol or drugs.  

     In a similar way, some of our gay brothers and sisters claim to have been changed by God miraculously in a moment of time with God miraculously taking their same-sex attraction away.  Yet most who desire to change find the journey to be a long and difficult one. 

     I also realize that groups like Exodus International have caused serious damage to people in ways they never should have done.  They made promises they never should have made and proclaimed as facts things that were not facts.

     Yet one thing seems fairly certain.  Whatever our sexual orientation might be, it certainly isn’t something that can be easily changed. 
          
     It seems to me that changing one’s sexual orientation is much more difficult since sexual orientation seems to be much more deeply seated in us.  After all, if changing one’s sexual orientation could be accomplished with the same level of commitment and counseling as overcoming alcoholism or drugs, we’d be seeing a lot more people being successful in changing their sexual orientation than we do.

     Yet in Colossians 1:9-14 God promises us victory over all sin.  So I do feel that those who get the proper Christian counseling, love and support can have success over unwanted same-sex attraction.  Yet He doesn’t promise instant victory. 

     Dealing with same-sex attraction is a battle that has to be waged and won every single day.  There are those who testify that with God that is happening.  Some say God has assisted them to be celibate and they are happy with that choice.  Some claim they are actually seeing a change in their sexual orientation to the point where they are at least free of same-sex attraction, even though they have yet to feel attracted to the opposite sex.  Some claim a complete sexual reorientation and attraction to the opposite sex.  Some are in various stages in between. 

      Of course if Scripture and the scientific evidence backed up the claim that same-sex relationships were a God-designed blessing, seeking to change one’s sexual orientation would be foolish.  However, Scripture and the irrefutable facts shared in this paper, show a very different picture than is normally painted by the pro same-sex Christian community.  It shows that normal same-sex sexual relationships are in fact inherently dangerous and ignoring and acting as if those facts are biased and part of a homophobic attack on the gay community won’t lessen those dangers one bit.

     So I am humbled by those gay brothers and sisters who take on the daily spiritual struggle to be obedient to God’s Word.  How pleased God must be with them as they take the difficult and narrow road of seeking His Spirit to enable them to obey His Word, rather than the wide and easy road of rewriting His Word to justify doing what He has warned isn’t from Him.   
     
     However, if our brothers and sisters who are dealing with same-sex attraction are going to make strides and see progress in their lives, it’s God’s people, who should be there for them and assist and love them.  Yet unfortunately, Christians are so often anything but what they should be to affirm and assist our gay brothers and sisters in their walk. 


What Real Love Does

     Again, I'm fully aware of the fact that many who read this paper may label me a spreader of hate and an intolerant person who likes to unfairly judge people.  They would tell me that if I really loved our gay brothers and sisters, I would affirm them, because that's what real love does; it affirms.  I agree that real love does affirm, but real love doesn't affirm and endorse behaviors and lifestyles that clearly and regularly harm people.  Real love does not stand idly by and watch as the lives of so many of our gay brothers and sisters are being threatened.

     Parents constantly warn their children against doing certain things that are proven to harm them and nobody calls that hate or unfair judgment.  They call it love and good parenting.  On the other hand, if parents regularly encouraged their children to do things that clearly put them in physical danger, they’d be charged with child abuse and their kids would be taken away from them.
    
     Would you stand by and watch a woman being physically abused by her husband and say nothing?  Would you say nothing to a friend who was addicted to alcohol or drugs?  My guess is you’d do all you could to love and support them, but also because you really do love them, you’d share your concerns with them for their well-being, which would not include enabling and affirming them in a dangerous and destructive lifestyle.

     This is a real dilemma for me.  How can I endorse something that does such harm to my brothers and sisters in Christ?  How can I look the other way and pretend that this is not happening or worse, say that it's something good, when the facts clearly show otherwise?

     Certain physical laws do dictate what we do in this life.  Engaging in normal same-sex sexual relations while convinced there are no real dangers involved, is like jumping off a roof convinced gravity won’t play a role in the outcome.

The Sin Of The Church

     To our shame, many Christians simply write off our gay brothers and sisters in disgust and uncalled for judgment.  That is sin of which The Church must repent. Nothing could be further from what Christ would have us do than turning our backs on the gay community.  Yet far too many Christians do just that.  They write off these dear brothers and sisters as if they’re worthless, when in fact they are as precious to Christ as anyone else.  

     They write them off in ways they would never write off an alcoholic or someone who smokes or abuses drugs.  Instead, without compromising what Scripture says about this subject, we should lovingly warn our gay brothers and sisters about the dangers of same-sex relationships, while loving and supporting them in every way we can.  

     The Church should be ministering healing when dealing with same-sex attraction.  A friend and colleague of mine Dr. Bill Campbell is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  His book “Homosexuality and the Church: Overcoming Controversy With Compassionate Ministry” was released by Zondervan in October of 2010.  It is full of ways congregations can compassionately minister to those who are struggling with same-sex orientation.
    
     Another colleague of mine, Dr. Nancy Heche has written a number of books on this subject.  Her latest book which she co-authored with Joe Dallas is entitled “The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality.”  Her goal is also that of sharing ways congregations can minister to our gay brothers and sisters both in and outside The Church.

     These two friends have gone to great lengths to share with the world that ministry to the gay community is exactly what Christ would have us doing as His people and His Church.  I couldn’t agree more.

     Yet, at the same time, to present a reasoned rejection not of homosexuals, but of homosexual sexual behavior as I've done in this paper, should not be seen as synonymous with homophobia or the rejection of our gay brothers and sisters.  Jesus condemned the woman's behavior who was caught in adultery, but He didn't condemn her as a person.  He wasn’t adultryphobic.  He confronted her sin, but also welcomed and loved her as a child of God and shared The Gospel with her in a way that transformed her life.  When it comes to our gay brothers and sisters, we must do the same.

      Perhaps St. Augustine put it best when he said the following.

     “Love not in the man his error, but the man:  for the man God made, the error the man himself made.  Love that which God made, love not that which the man himself made.” [xxvii]

     Based on the facts, in my opinion, pro same-sex Christians are now asking us to consider loving not just the person, but also loving and affirming his or her error as well.  To me that is something that can only harm the person, displease God and open the door for whatever sin is next on someone’s agenda to be declared a blessing.


The Facts Don't Lie

     The facts presented in this paper are just that, facts.  They aren’t merely speculation or someone’s arbitrary opinion.  They are real and they certainly make a good case for why God would be against same-sex sexual behavior.  Making God the architect of something so dangerous and destructive and calling it a blessing to be affirmed by God’s Church is something I respectfully cannot affirm.

     As I said at the start of this paper it’s really important for you to be honest and to ask yourself whether your position regarding normal same-sex sexual behavior is affirmed or challenged by the actual facts.  Now that you’ve read the facts how does your Scriptural interpretation line up with the facts on this subject?  Do the facts affirm it or challenge it?

     It is also possible that much of what is in this paper may be new to you and it therefore may take some time for you to process it all.  It’s possible that you may find these facts stand over and against what you previously felt was a very well reasoned position on this subject.  In light of those facts, your previous position may now have to be reconsidered. 
    
     Whatever  the case, my prayer would be that we would all prayerfully seek The Holy Spirit’s leading and be informed by the facts as we strive to come to the conclusions on this subject that would most please and honor God.



A WORD ABOUT THE USE OF THIS PAPER:

     In my opinion, abhorrent treatment of homosexuals in our country or any country is unacceptable.  Nothing in this paper should ever be used by anyone to justify, legitimize or encourage despicable behavior toward gays or anyone else for that matter.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


     John McWilliams is a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA.  He is a graduate of Rowan University and Princeton Theological Seminary.  He served as pastor of two different congregations in New Hampshire and New York for 21 years.

     In 1998 he left the pastorate for a calling to full time mission work where his main responsibilities have focused on the training of pastors, Christian leaders and laypeople both overseas and in the U. S.  He has taught and preached and ministered numerous times in Russia and Costa Rica, as well as in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the Bahamas and most recently Cuba. 
    
     He also travels regularly by invitation to teach, preach, and train pastors and Church leaders in congregations around the U. S.

    He has also recorded special training seminars for pastors and Christian leaders in the area of Pastoral and Practical Theology.  Third Millennium Ministries at WWW.Thirdmill.org has posted them on their website, along with some of his sermons and other articles to make them available worldwide to pastors and Christian leaders.  To access them just put his last name in the search box on the website.

    
     He also was responsible for producing a new Christian video called “The Medal of Honor:  Robert Maxwell’s Story.”  It is a live interview with Robert Maxwell who is currently our nation’s oldest living recipient of The Congressional Medal of Honor.  He threw himself on a live German hand grenade to save the lives of three of his fellow soldiers.  Bob has a great story of faith and courage to share in this video and a clear presentation of The Gospel is woven into the film so it can be used as a tool for evangelism. You can simply Google the tile and it will pop up.
    
     Pastor John’s first book entitled “Hanging In The Balance” came out in October of 2015.

     If you would like to contact Pastor John about this paper or any other subject please feel free to write him at PastorJohn@integrity.com


A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

     Early in 2010 I wrote and published a previous paper entitled "Homosexuality: Blessing or Sin?  The Part Of The Discussion We Never Really Seem To Discuss."  For all intents and purposes this current paper updates and supplants that previous one.

Endnotes:

[i] Achtemeier, Mark. “And Grace Will Lead Me Home.”  2009 Covenant Conference.  Covenant Network Presbyterians.  Cleveland, Ohio.  5 November 2009.

[ii] Dictionary.com.  November 23 2010 .   http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blessing.

[iii] Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  November 23 2010. http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/inherent

[iv] ROTELLOGabriel, Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men.  New York:   Penguin, 1998. 366 p.

[v] MMWR Weekly.  November 23 2010.  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056314.htm

[vi] John R. Diggs, MD, “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,”  Corporate Resource Council paper copyright 2002, p. 2.

[vii] John R. Diggs, M.D., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,”  Corporate Resource Council paper  copyright 2002, p. 3.

[viii] GOLDSTONEStephen.  The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex.  New York:  Dell, 1999.  288 p.

[ix] GOLDSTONEStephen.  ibid.

[x] GOLDSTONE, Stephen.  ibid.

[xi] GOLDSTONE, Stephen.  ibid.

[xii] GOLDSTONE, Stephen.  ibid.

[xiii]SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xiv] SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xv]SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xvi] SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xvii] SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xviii] SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xix] SexInfoOnline.  November 23 2010.  http://www.sexinfoonline.com

[xx] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgendered Health Channel.  November 23, 2010. http://www.lgbthealth.healthcommunities.com

[xxi] R. R. Wilcox, “Sexual Behaviour and Sexually Transmitted Disease Patterns in Male Homosexuals,”  British Journal of Venereal Diseases, 57(3):  167-169, 167  (1981).

[xxii] John R. Diggs, Jr. M.D., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,”  Corporate Resource Council paper copyright  2002,  p. 5.

[xxiii] John R. Diggs, Jr. M.D., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,”  Corporate Resource Council paper copyright  2002,  p. 5

[xxiv] Half Sigma.  November 23, 2010.  http://www.halfsigma.com/2007/06/gay_sex_inheren.html

[xxv] Massnews.com.  November 23, 2010. http://www.massnews.com/past_issues/2000/9_Sept/900fist3.htm

[xxvi] John R. Diggs, Jr. M.D., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,” Corporate Resource Council paper copyright  2002, Preface.

[xxvii] St. Augustine, “Lectures or Tractates On The Gospel According To St. John,”  578 p.