A central Christian teaching, going back to Jesus himself, is without doubt of utmost importance to all Christians and especially to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians. That teaching is freedom of conscience. This teaching is based on Jesus' promise to his followers to send them the Holy Spirit who will dwell in their hearts and lead them into all truth. At the last supper Jesus promised: "I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete (The Greek word means advocate) to be with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth whom the world can never accept since it never sees nor knows him, but you know him" (John 14: 16-17). Jesus declared further: "I have said these things to you while still with you, but the (Advocate) the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you" (John 14:26-26). The title Advocate which Jesus gives the Spirit means a lawyer, one who speaks with us and for us, one who will plead our cause.
Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, sees Jesus' gift of the Spirit as the fulfillment of this prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah:
Look, the days are coming, Yahwey declared, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Israel when those days have come.... Then I shall plant my Law, writing it in their heart. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people. There will be no further need for everyone to teach neighbor or brother, saying, "Learn to know Yahwey"! No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest...since I shall forgive their guilt, and never more call their sin to mind (Jer. 31: 31-34).
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Books by Fr John McNeill: