Slavery And The Scriptures
My move to Atlanta in 1994 gave me my first exposure to the remarkable colonial history of the East Coast. When people living in South Carolina speak of the War, they could mean the Civil War or the Revolutionary War.
It is a fascinating region.
With one exception.
While traveling in Charleston one day, my wife, Janet, and I came upon the slave trading warehouse, the place where slaves were brought to America on ships and sold at market. I can still remember the building and my revulsion upon seeing it.
I believe that racism is the greatest sin in America, the failure that keeps us from addressing our other failures. Racism makes crime in south Dallas a black problem and drug abuse in north Dallas a white problemwhen theyre allour problems.
Given our tragic history with racism, treating the subject of slavery in the Bible is a bit repugnant for us. However, a very common assertion regarding the topic of homosexuality and the word of God is that the biblical injunctions against this lifestyle are outdated, as is its acceptance of slavery. If we can prove that the Bible was wrong on the latter, we can believe that it is wrong on the former.
The issue of slavery in the Bible is a large and comprehensive subject, far more wide-ranging than we will consider in this article. Ill try to limit our study to the barest of essentials so we can relate it to the larger question that brings it to our attention.
An Issue Of Hospitality Or Homosexuality
After warning Abraham of the impending destruction of Sodom, the writer Moses indicates God says: The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy. In contention is the nature of the very heavy sin mentioned. Of course it has been easy to triangulate that the sin was homosexuality as once angels are brought to Lots home all the boys and men of Sodom show up with the intention of participating in a gang rape. But even before that account the men of Sodom had not been spoken of in the best light: And the men of Sodom were bad and were gross sinners against God. So it wasnt just the inhabitants that were wicked, but it was the men of Sodom that seemed to keep getting singled out.In an effort to soften that accounts possible condemnation of homosexuals, some point to Ezekiel 16:49: Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned they did not help the poor and needy. Often the gay Christian community seizes on this stating the lack of hospitality and general human decency as the faults that led to Sodoms destruction. However verse 50 continues: They were haughty and did detestable things before me.
But wait! Maybe Genesis was only condemning bad, promiscuous homosexuals. Fingers crossed.
The Best Case For The Bible Not Condemning Homosexuality
God does not ask us to choose between compassion and faith in the Bible.
Compassion for others is the fundamental cornerstone of Christian ethics the Bible is the bedrock of the Christian faith. What Christian can possibly choose between the two?
Reconciling the Bible with unqualified acceptance and equality for LGBT people does not necessitate discounting, recasting, deconstructing or reinterpreting the Bible. All it takes is reading those passages of the Bible wherein homosexuality is mentioned with the same care we would any other passage of the book.
We can trust God we can trust that God is loving.
And we can trust that we can — and that we certainly should — take God, in this matter, as in all things, at his Word.
If there is no clearly stated directive in the Bible to marginalize and ostracize gay people, then Christians continuing to do so is morally indefensible, and must cease.
Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community’s treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as the most important commandment from God: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.
Homosexuality is briefly mentioned in only six or seven of the Bible’s 31,173 verses. The fact that homosexuality is so rarely mentioned in the Bible should be an indication to us of the degree of importance ascribed it by the authors of the Bible.
“The greatest of these is love.”
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The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality Seriously It Doesnt
The word homosexuality didnt even show up in English translations of the Bible until 1946, so why do we say the Bible condemns it?
Billy Grahams son is terrified that President Obama and a whole host of us have chucked out our Bibles in order to support marriage equality. This week he was at it again , railing against the assault on
Seek The Intended Meaning Of The Bible
And so I must begin with an interpretive word.
When I taught principles of biblical interpretation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I often told my students, The Bible can never mean what it never meant. We must seek the intended meaning of the text as understood in its original context.
I also said often, The only word God is obligated to bless is his word. What matters to us today is not my opinions or yours, but Gods.
Such a position is not held universally on this subject.
For instance, Dr. Walter Wink states in his thoughtful booklet, Homosexuality and the Bible, Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct .
Dr. Wink then compares homosexuality to the issue of slavery: he argues that the Bible condones slavery, states that the Bible was wrong on that subject, and concludes that it is equally wrong on the issue before us .
I greatly respect Dr. Winks enormous contributions to New Testament studies, especially on the subjects of spiritual warfare and nonviolence. But I could not disagree more strongly with his assertion, The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct.
For my purposes, the only question well seek to answer is: What does the Bible intend to teach on this subject?
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What The New Testament Says About Homosexuality
Volume 21-3May-June 2008
Mainline Christian denominations in this country are bitterly divided over the question of homosexuality. For this reason it is important to ask what light, if any, the New Testament sheds on this controversial issue. Most people apparently assume that the New Testament expresses strong opposition to homosexuality, but this simply is not the case. The six propositions that follow, considered cumulatively, lead to the conclusion that the New Testament does not provide any direct guidance for understanding and making judgments about homosexuality in the modern world.
How To Talk About The Bible And Lgbtq Inclusion
How to Talk About the Bible and LGBTQ Inclusion is a 70-page booklet designed to give readers a concise but comprehensive overview of the biblical case for LGBTQ inclusion.
Covering topics ranging from experience, tradition, celibacy, and gender complementarity to the six main Bible passages at dispute over same-sex relationships, this resource will help you both to better understand the relevant theological issues and to make a clear, compelling case for LGBTQ affirmation to those in your life who disagree with you. The booklet also contains feature sections on ex-gay ministries, bisexual Christians, transgender Christians, and queer Christians of color.
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Why We Dont Condemn Mortgages
Before the reformation, about 500 years ago, the church pretty universally thought that moneylending was wrong, and always wrong. And they thought the Bible said that it was always wrong.
Money-lending, usury, was a mortal sin. You couldnt get a Christian burial if you lent money for profit. And this carried on into the reformation. Martin Luther denounced lending money for profit. He saw it as wicked.
But in the reformation, lots of people began to question this. Lots of reasons for this, to do with economic change. Anyway, a friend of Calvins wrote to him, asking him if lending money for interest could ever be OK.
And Calvin wrote back saying yes, in certain circumstances, it might be. This was incendiary stuff the letter itself remained private until a decade after Calvins death.
But how did Calvin reach this conclusion?
His answer covered a range of areas these include the authority of the Bible compared with interpretations of the Bible the need to understand what the writings meant in their original context and to their original audience that you need to look behind prohibitions to see what the purpose of them is and also how does all this fit in with justice and love.
Does The Sin Of Sodom Condemn Homosexuality
The Supreme Court made history on June 27, 2003, when it struck down the sodomy laws of the state of Texas. In a 6-3 decision, the justices reversed course from a ruling seventeen years ago that states could punish homosexuals for private consensual sex. Such activity is typically called sodomy because of the text well study today.
In a survey of passages typically cited on the divisive issue of homosexuality, Genesis 19 and the sin of Sodom is usually listed first. Lot entertained two angels who came to the city to investigate its sins. These angels appeared as men. Before they went to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodomboth young and oldsurrounded the house. They called to Lot, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them . For such sin, the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah , destroying them.
Is this text a condemnation of homosexuality?
Dr. Walter Wink believes not: That was a case of ostensibly heterosexual males intent on humiliating strangers by treating them like women, thus demasculinizing them . However, Dr. Wink offers no textual evidence that the men were ostensibly heterosexual. His view is only conjectural and stands against the vast majority of interpretation across the centuries.
A Genetic Analysis Of Almost Half A Million People Has Concluded There Is No Single Gay Gene
29 August 2019
Five specific genetic variants were found to be particularly associated with same-sex behaviour, including one linked to the biological pathway for smell, and others to those for sex hormones.
But together they only accounted for under 1% of same-sex behaviour.
David Curtis, honorary professor at the UCL Genetics Institute, University College London, said: This study clearly shows that there is no such thing as a gay gene.
There is no genetic variant in the population which has any substantial effect on sexual orientation.
Now, in my opinion, in order to be more politically correct, the researchers indicated that there was some genetic influence, but it was not more than 8-25%and that is an overstatement. There is no proof that genes make one LGBTQ.
Here is another report:
Under 1 percent! And even then, that also is not proof, but conjecture.
This born this way argument helped the LGBTQ crowd get sympathy and win over various courts, academics, and government officials.
Now that the LGBTQ crowd has essentially won legal acceptance in many places around the world, it will no longer feel it needs to push this born this way, no choice but to be gay argument.
Similarly, the LGBTQ crowd will push other reasons, like human rights to push their agenda and rely less on their false genetic arguments.
Well, the reason why not is because sexual immorality is unhealthy and biblically immoral .
Four Things You Didnt Know About God And Same
Christians who oppose same-sex marriage say it goes against the biblical conception of marriage and sexuality, but theyre wrong.
Last week, Iowa and Vermont joined Connecticut and Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriage. Progressive religious voices and civil rights groups worked hard to help achieve these victories, moving us closer to our nations promise of equality and justice for all. Even so, conservative religious opponents are criticizing the victories, claiming that same-sex marriage violates the biblical definition of marriage. They are wrong, and heres why.
1. There are few biblical verses that address homosexuality at all, and most of those are not directed at homosexuality per se. Opponents of same-sex marriage routinely cite seven verses in the Christian Bible as condemning homosexuality and calling it a sin. But when taken in context, these lessons speak not against homosexuality itself, but rather against rape, child molestation, bestiality, and other practices that hurt others and compromise a persons relationship with God.
2. Jesus never said one word against homosexuality. In all of his teachings, Jesus uplifted actions and attitudes of justice, love, humility, mercy, and compassion. He condemned violence, oppression, cold-heartedness, and social injustice. Never once did Jesus refer to what we call homosexuality as a sin.
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Kinder Gentler Christianity To The Rescue Right
Of course when Jesus arrived he came to set aside the levitical Law and introduced the Law of Love. So if there were ever an opportunity to set matter straights this wouldve been a perfect time for it. Fingers crossed. Again.
In some ways I feel sorry for the unfortunate closeted gay Jew, forced into a loveless marriage by the community and now hanging on each word coming from Jesus mouth. That guy was probably at every sermon he could attend, hoping beyond all hope that Jesus would clarify things. Pretty please?
Jesus doesnt, of course.
Now the Jesus-Loves-Gay-People ministries will argue that the fact Jesus never condemned homosexuality means he tacitly approved of it. Again, even as a gay man, this seems to be somewhat of a colossal stretch. What we do get from Jesus is consistent support of heterosexual relationships. At Matthew 19:5 he reaches all the way back to the Bibles first statement about marriage and quotes it verbatim: For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.
See. Like father, like son.
Thats a mere 34 words that literally wouldve prevented centuries of the pain, heartache, hatred, violence and death perpetrated against millions of gay kids, teens and adults. If I could cobble those 34 words together over the span of 5 minutes, Im sure that the God of the Bible was capable of doing so.
The Abominable Gay Man
As the average person is aware Jewish law consists of a dizzying array of rules spelling out every important aspect of Hebrew living. Leviticus 18 specifically delves into sexual practices prohibited under the law. Of note is verse 22. Here it is, as it appears in the Tanauk: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination.
When one uses the argument that the account at Sodom is only condemning sexual excesses, its still difficult to ignore the fact that this edict seems to identify any same sex relationship whether committed, monogamous, non-gang-rape related or whatever other normalizing term one would use as abomination.
According to Strongs concordance the English word abomination is translated from the Hebrew word toebah or towebah. In every sense in which its used in the Old Testament there is a negative connotation associated with toebah. Strongs Exhaustive concordance adds its indicative of something disgusting .
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A Homosexual Person Deserves To Be Treated With Dignity And Respect
He or she is acting out a lifestyle that many of us understand to be unbiblicalbut so are any of us who practice slander, gossip, heterosexual lust, or egotistical pride.
So-called gay bashing is always wrong. Any action or attitude that demeans a person or makes them less valuable is the opposite of the grace and unconditional love of Christ.
How Can God Ask You To Change Who You Are
Two important things here: The gospel demands that you change who you are. Better yet, Christ changes who you are. Every single person is commanded to leave their previous identity of sin behind them and to walk in a new identity given to them in Christ. We all have to change who we are when we become Christians. This is true regardless of the sins with which a person might struggle.
Second, this question assumes that ones sexuality is ones identity. This is not true. You are not your temptations. Homosexuality is only an act. It is not an identity. Even when the Bible uses the phrase homosexual it is not using it as an identity but as a moniker for one who practices acts of homosexuality. If someone does a cartwheel, they are not a cartwheeler with an identity of cartwheeling that can never change. Doing a cartwheel is only an act. The same is true with homosexuality.
In that sense you are not being asked to change who you are the truth is, you actually misidentified who you were to begin with. You were never a homosexual rather, you were merely someone who committed the sinful act of homosexuality.
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Is Homosexual Desire Sinful Even If I Dont Act On It
There are two things to realize in this question. On the one hand, to be tempted toward something and resist it is righteous and is not sinful. In that sense, you are not sinning you are doing exactly what the Bible commands. On the other hand, we have to realize that the only reason anyone has homosexual desires in the first place is due to the fall of man. In this sense, homosexual desire is sinful. In eternity, a Christian wont struggle with this sinful desire. So, to be tempted is not sinful, but this temptation is a desire that is contrary to Gods will . In this sense even our temptations can be sinful because they come from a heart corrupted by sin.
Those without sin could be tempted, but only from the outside . This is why the devil has to come to them to try to trick them. We, however, have a sin-nature and are tempted by things inside of us that are contrary to Gods word.