Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach knows the debate over traditional Christian teaching and LGBTQ issues quite well, as both his mom and dad came out as gay and divorced when he was a toddler — and he was subsequently raised going to gay pride parades.
At first, he loathed Christianity. But something changed for Kaltenbach when he decided to attend a Bible study at his high school in an effort to try and debunk scriptural arguments, as he told “The Church Boys” podcast.
“I grew up in high school hating Christians, and so I decided that I wanted to attack Christianity,” he said. “Here [was] my plan, and it didn’t work out too well. I got invited to this Bible study by a friend … so I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to go pretend to be a Christian, I’m going to learn about the Bible and I’m going to dismantle their arguments because no one should follow somebody like Jesus who hates people.”
Once he got into the Bible study, though, Kaltenbach said he was confronted with a shocking reality: Jesus isn’t the hateful person he had come to expect.
And that was stunning, considering how badly he said he saw some people who claimed to be Christians treating his mom, her partner and his father.
“Jesus definitely has standards that he calls us to for holy living, but as far as the way that I had seen people in my mom’s community treated, there was truth but no grace, love, compassion,” he told “The Church Boys.” “So, I just saw Jesus in a different light.”
In the end, Kaltenbach was so moved by the love he observed that something else pretty shocking happened: “I gave my life to the Lord.” Later, he became a pastor.
Listen to him describe all that — including his parents’ reaction to his conversion — at the 45:30-mark below:
Kaltenbach, who wrote a book on these topics called, “Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction,” also recently appeared on Dallas Theological Seminary’s “The Table” podcast with Professor Darrell Bock, where he further addressed these issues — and offered some advice for Christians.
“I believe that we are called to accept everybody as an individual. That does not mean we approve of every life choice that somebody makes,” Kaltenbach said, according to The Christian Post. “Every Sunday, anybody should be able to walk through my church doors when I preach and attend our church. But I already know that I shake hands every Sunday with people that have made life choices that week that I wouldn’t approve of, but that doesn’t mean that I accept them any less.”
While many Christians work hard to understand culture before serving as missionaries and engaging nonbelievers, Kaltenbach said that this isn’t always the case with it comes to the LGBTQ community.
“They have to engage culture — not as a means to water down the gospel, but as a means to use culture as a vessel to share the gospel, to communicate it,” he said. “And I think that a lot of Christians are not, for one reason or another, willing to do that when it comes to certain people, including the LGBT community.”
In the end, despite Kaltenbach’s experiences, he believes that “God designed sexual intimacy to be expressed in the context of marriage between one man and one woman.”
(H/T: Christian Post)