My name is Daniel Payne, and I facilitate a six-hour seminar on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Church. I am a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Bachelors) and Nations University (Masters), and grew up in the Free Will Baptist denomination, so I am closely acquainted with conservative, non-affirming views. I am also a gay Christian (now in the Episcopalian tradition), and through a life-long study of scripture in its cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts, have come to understand that the Bible cannot be said to unequivocally condemn homosexuality or other non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities.
The conversation about LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church is perhaps the most divisive – and crucial – conversation among Christians today. My seminar, entitled Why the Bible Does Not Condemn Same-Sex Relationships, focuses on the seven passages traditionally used to condemn homosexuality (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9; and I Timothy 1:10) as well as various passages that can be understood to support the inclusion of sexual minorities in the body of Christ.