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Local commentary: A talent for misleading

Seeing an article in the Feb. 25 Sun Tribune, "Author, theologian to speak about sexuality and Christianity," I wondered what would be presented at the Senior Center in Morris and UMM last Thursday and Friday, and to what end. A speaker whose credentials were listed and whose talents were described would speak on "Paying it Forward: The Christian Basis for Welcoming to LGBT Persons."

As pastor of my congregation, and as a Christian in the community, I determined I should research his background and work and listen to his presentation. For all who wondered about this speaker and his message, I will share what I found out.

David Weiss is a product of his environment and training. He is a member of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn.; a radical congregation which was disciplined by the ELCA for having ordained a lesbian, Anita Hill, as pastor several years ago. He went to a liberal ELCA seminary and a liberal Catholic university, where he was taught theology from a "Higher Criticism" point of view - doubting God's Word as inspired and true; and learned ethics - "situation ethics," a way of rationalizing right and wrong according to circumstances.

A look at his website shows that he has not separated himself from his background. The book he has written is based on the liberal things he has learned and is highly praised by a group of people who might well comprise a "who's who" list of pro-gay and lesbian activists and supporters.

I attended the Thursday evening presentation at the Senior Center. As he spoke to a room filled with people ranging from high school and college level through retirees, it was evident that he is gifted as a writer and speaker: he is smooth, confident and can turn a phrase. The problem is that he uses these gifts to do a great disservice to God's Word and misleads those who hear him or read his book.

He began on a personal note, telling of a Sunday school teacher whose prayers he admired, and those fellow seminar students who showed support and understanding when he was struggling over pastoral training versus being a writer - and they all happened to be gay or lesbian. He saw their plight, and was moved to gain them justice. He claimed he had no agenda in his studies or work, yet it appears that all he does with what he has learned is to try to gain the LGBT community acceptance and rights, including gay marriage, which will be considered in the Legislature this year.

His method is to dismiss what he calls the "terror passages" of the Bible, that condemn homosexual practices as a sin against God's expressed will - he seeks to narrow the meaning of said passages until he can claim none of them apply today to consenting, loving same-sex relationships. Having so undermined the Law, he turns to distorting the Gospel. He presents the truth that salvation was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, that Jesus graciously welcomed all. He then falsely concludes that today's Christians need to welcome the LGBT community and approve of all their practices, despite the Bible's call to repent of sin and turn from it, trusting in Christ for forgiveness and life.

Regarding this man's efforts to win hearts and minds to this cause, I share St. John's warning: "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray...." (1 John 3:7-9).