Daniel Lee Schinzing believes he has irrefutable evidence that homosexuals are not going to hell, and has written a book with the audacious title: “Homosexuals Aren’t Going to Hell: Here’s the Proof!”
The book was inconspicuously displayed on a lower shelf in the Smyrna, Delaware, Acorn Books store that is, sadly, going out of business. I bought it along with a copy of Oswald Chambers’ classic, “My Utmost for His Highest” and got significant discounts on each volume.
I had hoped to find some scholarly writing in Schinzing’s book that might help support the argument that we are all God’s children and, through God’s grace, recipients of divine acceptance. Schinzing does, in fact, dive into the Bible to dredge out specific verses to make his point (e.g., Romans 3.23-24: “… since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”). However, the direction he takes is not what I would have expected. Nor is it anything I think I could use effectively in a public forum.
While I’m only about halfway through this 214-page paperback I can see that Mr. S. is clearly a theological universalist. In other words, he argues that, since Christ died for the sins of the whole world (no exceptions), and since it was God who offered grace to humanity (i.e., God initiated the action), everyone is automatically saved and needs to make no personal decision one way or the other. “I put forth to you,” he writes, “that grace came by what Jesus did and not by your acceptance of it, for if you did something to get it, that means it was merited and not unmerited favor” (pg. 95). So, sit back. Relax. We’ll all be on the train bound for Glory when we die. Even (as he emphasizes with a touch of humor) homosexuals “and authors.”
I have no argument with Schinzing’s affirming that it’s because of God’s grace that we have the hope of eternal life. But I do have a problem when he ignores the many verses of scripture that clearly state our part in the process: 1) Romans 10.9: “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” 2) Matthew 19.21 (Jesus speaking): “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
There’s more: 3) Matthew 25.34-35 (a parable of Jesus): “… Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 4) James 4.17: “Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin” (emphases mine).
I could go on and on, but I think this small sampling is enough to establish the argument that we are expected to respond to God’s grace by doing something. God’s grace doesn’t automatically cover us so that, regardless of how we live, we can expect to find ourselves at the feet of Jesus in heaven when we die. In fact, Jesus at times spoke of a place where there would be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” for those who turned away from God.
Now, let me be clear: do I believe homosexuals can go to heaven? Absolutely. I know from having befriended numerous gay persons over the years that the Christian faith dwells more deeply in their hearts and souls than in those of many of our regularly-attending Sunday morning pew-sitters. Salvation has less to do with sexual orientation than it does with how we respond to the grace that God offers us.
So, Schinzing is correct that homosexuals are not — necessarily — going to hell, but not because of some “blanket insurance policy” that guarantees we’re all going up instead of down, as pleasant as that would be to believe. When a gay person finds him- or herself at the pearly gates, it will be because s/he made an intentional decision to say yes to God’s grace. In other words, they DID something. They did not assume that all is well with everyone because of the grace that God offers.
Interestingly, Schinzing self-published his book. I think I can understand why.