Would St Paul Call It Sin If Love Was Involved
Given the approach that Paul took toward the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5, St. Paul obviously did not think all adult sexual behavior, motivated by a loving disposition, should be considered morally clean.
As Dr. Gagnon states, if Paul, along with the rest of the leadership of early Christianity, believed that he was following Jesus in viewing same-sex intercourse as the epitome of Gentile sexual uncleanness, then there is little or no chance that Jesus harbored a secret acceptance of such behavior.
Again, keep in mind that NO first-century Jew could have spoken of porneiai without having in mind the list of forbidden sexual offenses in Lev. 18 and 20, particularly incest, adultery, same-sex intercourse and bestiality.
Pauls strong opposition to same-sex intercourse is no more an isolated view of the New Testament than his intense rejection of incest.
Historically speaking, it is the ONLY view.
Every narrative, moral exhortation, and metaphor in the New Testament that has anything to do with human sexuality presumes the sole legitimacy of opposite-sex unions.
The fact that Rom. 1:26 indicts female-female sex undermines the supposition that Paul was concerned only with certain exploitative forms.
In Rom. 1:27 Paul speaks of the mutual gratification of the participants: the males were inflamed with their yearning for one another, males with males
Every kind of homosexual union imaginable existed in Pauls day.
Sex is to be confined to male-female marriage.
While We Wish To Offer The Dignity And Respect Of Christian Grace To All Persons We Cannot Truly Love Them While Endorsing That Which Is Unbiblical In Their Lives
As intolerant as the next sentence may seem, it is honestly motivated by a sincere desire to speak the truth in love: we can and should pray for those in the homosexual lifestyle to come to repentance and transformation.
After including homosexuality in his list of sins , Paul next told the Corinthians: And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God .
I recognize that some will read this paragraph as bigoted prejudice. However, any of us would want to help those we care about to practice a biblical lifestyle that leads to the fullest abundance of Christs joy . This is the honest motivation behind my suggestion that such intercession is appropriate for the gay people we know and love.
I must offer one last suggestion, a statement that will engender further resistance from many in the gay community:
Jesus’s Discussion Of Marriage
In Matthew 19 and parallel in Mark 10, Jesus is asked if a man can divorce his wife. In that context, Jesus replies:
He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Theologian Robert A. J. Gagnon argues that Jesus’s back-to-back references to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 show that he “presupposed a two-sex requirement for marriage”. On the other hand, Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, states of Jesus’s references to Genesis 1 and 2, ” not actually defining marriage. He’s answering a specific question.” Ehrman notes further “And here the conversation is quite easy. In our surviving records Jesus says nothing about same-sex acts or sexual orientation. Nothing. Nada.”
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Why God And The Gay Christian Is Wrong About The Bible And Same
In March 2012, Matthew Vines posted a video on YouTube suggesting that “being gay is not a sin,” and that the Bible “does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships.” He spoke eloquently from the heart with poise, conviction and vulnerability. The video quickly went viral.
Vines is a bright young man raised in a Christian home. At age 19, he left Harvard University after his third semester so that he could come out to his family and friends in Wichita. He knew that his father would not agree with the way he reconciled his sexuality with Scripture. So Vines sought to arm himself with biblical scholarship on the affirmation of same-sex relationships and strove to convince his family and church that they were wrongthat homosexuality is not a sin.
Vines’s new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, expounds further on the arguments made in his video. His aim is not to present new information, but to synthesize gay-affirming arguments and make them accessible for a broader and younger audience. Vines does a good job fulfilling this goal. Unfortunately, his book consists of some logical and exegetical fallacies, and it does not address the shortcomings of the authors to whom it is most indebted. And although Vines professes a “high view” of the Bible, he ultimately fails to apply uncomfortable biblical truths in a way that embraces a costly discipleship.
Good and Bad Fruit
It Takes Discipline Scholarship Prayer And Sometimes Creativity To Interpret The Bible In A Way That Makes Sense To Us Today
This scholarly obsession reached its zenith last week when former president Jimmy Carter said that Jesus would approve of gay marriage. Predictably, and rather quickly, commentators on various sides issued statements either agreeing or disagreeing or kind of agreeing with the former president, all of them using the scriptures to make their case.
And so continues Americas favorite pastime of declaring unequivocally what Jesus would do.
Revisionist hermeneutics can seem pretty silly when we consider who Jesus was. Jesus, a first-century Jewish theologian, would almost certainly have held the traditional Jewish belief about same-sex relationsthat is, he would have believed such sexual activity was sinful. Had Jesus departed significantly from Jewish tradition on this front, we can be sure that his disagreement would have been recorded . None of his biographers include a single instance of Jesus challenging the mainstream Jewish understanding of homosexuality, and Jesus more than once affirmed a male-female pattern of coupling as the proper domestic arrangement its safe to conclude, then, that Christ would have agreed with the Levitical assessment of homosexuality as a sin. Any confusion about this seems motivated by contemporary politics, not ancient history.
So, if Jesus would have been against homosexuality, then, at least for Christians, that ends the debate, right?
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What About Leviticus 1: 22
The next text typically cited on our subject is Leviticus 18:22, and it is far less ambiguous: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman that is detestable. The Hebrew is as clear as the English translation.
The obvious sense of the command seems to be: homosexual sexual relations are forbidden by Scripture. This is the way the text has typically been understood by Jewish and Christian interpreters across the centuries. It is the way most read the text still today.
But those who advocate homosexuality as an acceptable biblical lifestyle have found ways to dissent. Dr. Walter Wink admits that this text unequivocally condemn same-sex sexual behavior. But he theorizes that the ancient Hebrews saw any sexual activity which could not lead to the creation of life as a form of abortion or murder. He adds that the Jews would have seen homosexuality as alien behavior, representing yet one more incursion of pagan civilization into Jewish life.
And thats not all. Other critics see the Levitical laws as expressive of worship codes, not universal moral standards. And they argue that all such laws were intended only for their day and time, such as kosher dietary laws and harvest regulations.
How Should Christians Respond To Gay Friends Or Family Members
Biola Magazine Staff December 31, 2015
Kaltenbachs unique story is detailed in his new book Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction and landed him on the front page of the New York Times in June. Biola Magazine reached out to him to talk about his book and his perspective on how Christians can better navigate the complexities of this issue with truth and grace.
In your book you say that its time for Christians to own the issue of homosexuality. What do you mean by this? How would you like to see this play out?
You challenge Christians to stop avoiding or merely tolerating LGBT people, but to engage in meaningful relationships with them. What should that look like?
You write that one definition of love is holding the tension of grace and truth. What do you mean by this and who do you think models this sort of love well?
What happens if our love is not accepted at all because we still hold to truth? What would you say to an LGBT person who argues that acceptance but not approval is not actually love? Isnt that the direction society is moving, that anything short of full approval is actually bigotry?
How should and how shouldnt Christians respond if someone in their life or church community confides in them about same sex attraction?
How should a Christian respond if invited to a same-sex marriage ceremony? Is attending a gay wedding a tacit affirmation of the sacredness of the vows being exchanged?
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The Plain Meaning Of Scripture
Most of the time, our problem with the Bible isnt trying to understand it, but trying to follow it in our daily lives. Love God and love your neighbour are simple and straightforward. But we keep on trying to obey, and keep on failing, and keep on throwing ourselves on Gods mercy.
Understanding is straightforward, doing is hard so hard we need grace.
Theres the grand protestant tradition of expecting everyone, not just priests or academics, to read scripture, relying on its plain meaning. And most of the time, that is right.
Most of the time but not every time.
If we apply our modern, cultural understanding of sexuality when we read the Bible it will mislead us.
Occasionally, we can get tripped up, and not even realise that how we understand the plain meaning of a passage is utterly different from what people in the first century would have understood to be the plain meaning.
What Else Does The Bible Say
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
These three references indicate that homosexual passions and acts are unnatural, shameful, contrary to sound doctrine and deny entrance to the Kingdom of God. This being so they cannot be the basis of a Christian marriage sanctioned by Gods Church. The Church exists to save people, not to bless the means of their damnation. No marriage can be sanctioned by the Church if the very basis of the marriage involves acts that put the couple outside of eternal salvation. No matter what our society may legislate, the law of God is clearthat a marriage is not a godly if it is a same sex union.
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Homosexuality In The New Testament: Romans : 26
The first is Romans 1:26-27: Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
At first reading, Paul seems clearly to consider homosexual activity to be unbiblical. But there is another way to interpret the passage, suggested by those who support homosexuality as a biblical lifestyle.
In their reading, Paul is addressing the issue of heterosexual men and women who choose homosexual activity, which is unnatural for them. If this is true, Pauls statement bears no relevance to those who consider themselves homosexual by innate or natural orientation.
Is such an interpretation the most objective way to read the text?
No, for two reasons.
First, Paul describes homosexual acts themselves as shameful lusts , indecent acts, and perversion . To suggest that his descriptions relate only to the decision to engage in such activity by heterosexuals is to strain the Greek syntax beyond its meaning.
What On Earth Is A Born Eunuch
When we define what it means to be a born eunuch, honesty requires that we be historically accurate. What did Jesus mean by the term born eunuch.
If one is born a eunuch, then being a eunuch was NOT the result of personal choice or too much or too little estrogen or testosterone in the womb or nurture by parents or influence by society, right? Which possibility below is most historically accurate and which option best fits what Jesus said?
Dr. Robert Gagnon, the world’s leading anti-gay evangelical scholar affirms that born eunuchs probably were homosexual and that same sex cult prostitutes existed in ancient Israel.
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Proposition : Even If 1 Corinthians : 910 And 1 Timothy : 811 Do Refer To Homosexuality What They Likely Have In Mind Is Not Homosexuality Per Se But Rather One Particular Form Of Homosexuality That Was Regarded As Especially Exploitative And Degrading
Some scholars have suggested that malakoi designates attractive young men, or boys, whose sexual services were either purchased or coerced by older men, and that arsenokoitai designates these older men who thus used or exploited the younger men.9 According to this interpretation, malakoi and arsenokoitai do refer to male homosexuality, but the objection is not necessarily to male homosexual activity per se, but rather to the prostitution, coercion, and/or exploitation that typically accompanied one particular type of male homosexuality. And this, too, is consistent with Martins conclusion that arsenokoitai refers more specifically to exploitation than it does to sex. Furthermore, if this is the case, then we simply have no way of knowing what the New Testament writers might have said about a non-exploitive, non-coercive, loving, committed, monogamous homosexual relationship. We cannot know because New Testament writers are not talking about that kind of homosexual relationship.
In the final analysis, we cannot be certain that these passages refer to homosexuality at all. And if they do, they do so only in passing in more-or-less miscellaneous catalogues of various types of behaviors that are regarded as unacceptable.
God Will Not Let You Be Tempted Beyond What You Are Able
All people meet trials and difficulties in life, both in their physical circumstances and in their spiritual life. Not living according to ones innate homosexual orientation can require a huge sacrifice. But God blesses those who live wholly for Him. Nobody who has truly given up everything to serve God will regret it. He only wants the best for us.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Even though Gods Word may appear radical, God also loves each sinner, no matter who they are, what their background is, or what they have done. He loves each one of us more than we can comprehend. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our sins, and has shown us the way of escape.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30.
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What Does The Bible Actually Say About Gay Marriage
Several days ago, a historic vote in the state of New York, pushed aggressively by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, legalized the practice of same-sex marriage. Such an action was certainly a momentous decision for marriage equality rights in the LGBT community. The vote was not exactly sui generis, but the fact that it occurred in a large and populous state in the country drew more media attention than, say, Vermont. The media focus is a double-edged sword for the issue of same-sex marriage: it exhibits an enlightening progress in our culture concerning the LGBT community, and it also gives voice to the cacophonous opposition, not only directed towards same-sex unions but towards same-sex orientation itself.
Second, the Bible does not clearly endorse one form of marriage over another. Adam and Eve as the divine groom and bride is one Biblical arrow in the quiver of same-sex union opponents. The Yahwist creation story in Genesis has God forming Eve out of Adam’s rib, and Adam exclaiming their unity . This is a gender creation story, not a creation of marriage story. Adam and Eve do not exchange rings, say “I do” and have a jazz band reception in Paradise.
For further reading:
There are voluminous secondary sources to consider, but one of the concise and best treatments can be found in Victor Paul Furnish’s The Moral Teachings of Paul: Selected Issues