From: Iain Strachan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 21:36:12 EST
On Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:27:55
John or Carol Burgeson wrote:
>Someone wanted to know who "Roy Clements" was after I posted an essay by
>His web site is at http://www.royclements.co.uk/index.htm
>We have a mutual friend (George Hopper) in the UK but beyond the website
>I do not know more about him.
I've jumped in a little late on this thread, but would like to offer my thoughts on this issue. Essentially there are two contrasting thoughts.
(1) Leaving aside the issue of whether or not the bible condemns long term loving same-sex relationships, I think what has been overlooked is that Clements abandoned his wife and family in order to pursue his chosen same-sex relationship (he has two children in their twenties; so earlier comments about homosexuals not reproducing don't seem all that relevant). Clements' wife was absolutely devastated by what happened (as were most of his church). Now, I'm not one to go condemning people; we are all sinners, but one thing I'm certain of is that the bible is absolutely clear about marriage. One may be able to argue that the bible passages that condemn homosexuality are referring to a general context of debauchery and idolatory, and not to a long term faithful loving same-sex relationship. However, one can't really argue under any circumstances that the Bible condones leaving a faithful partner for someone else; whatever their gender.
(2) However, rather than just condemning him out of hand, I'd like to examine it from another viewpoint. I also saw Clements preach frequently at the CICCU (Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union) when I was an undergrad. Clements was one of the clearest and best evangelical preachers; at the time many of the CICCU executive committee attended Eden Baptist church (the church of which Clements was the pastor). There is no doubt that during his ministry he did excellent work for the Lord, and he would have encouraged thousands of people (the CICCU Saturday meetings were always packed out), and doubtless brought many people to faith.
Now if you read his own testimony on the website that Burgy has indicated, you will find that right from the earliest times he struggled tremendously against homosexual feelings; just couldn't get rid of the intense longing to be loved by another man. During the struggle he contemplated suicide, regularly cried himself to sleep, prayed for a miracle, was prayed over, etc etc. He also attempted to go "straight", got married, and had two children. People who might want to criticise him for finally choosing to be a Gay Christian (he would say "admitting" to being a Gay Christian) , should perhaps reflect on the fact that for 20+ years he chose _not_ to be one, despite the suffering and sacrifice that entailed; and that during that time he had such a great ministry that helped so many people.
I agree fully with Michael Roberts that it is irritating to be called homophobic for believing that homosexuality is morally wrong. I think on balance I still do think so. But it seems to me that the response of the Christian community does contain elements of homophobia. It's my understanding from his website that various Christian publishers (e.g. Kingsway) now decline to publish any of his books (including ones written before he "came out" as a homosexual). To reject such excellent books, which we now know were written during a troubled ministry, to my mind is a disgrace, and fully justifies the charge of "homophobia".
I think he should be celebrated for what he achieved, not condemned for what he has done now.
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