Reason Six: The Biblical Passages Typically Used To Condemn Lgb Relationships Are Not Talking About Lgb Relationships:
While I’m not trying to sound like a Biblical scholar or know-it-all, it irks me how blind so many Christians are to the historical context of the stories from the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures which are typically used to condemn gay people and the fact of being gay.
Below are the some facts about the Biblical time periods, in which the “Clobber Passages” were written. These texts are typically interpreted as saying: “The Bible clearly states that being gay is a sin.” Take note, as you might learn something new about Biblical ambiguities in the Scripture.
Why do I call these passages âridiculously-usedâ? Check out these passages :
What Does The Bible Say
Attitudes about homosexuality may vary from one culture to the next or from one time period to another. But Christians arent governed by popular opinion or carried here and there by every wind of teaching. Instead, they base their view of homosexual conduct on the standards set forth in the Bible.
The Bibles standard regarding homosexual acts is clear. Gods Word says:
You must not lie down with a male in the same way that you lie down with a woman.Leviticus 18:22.
God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, . . . gave them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature.Romans 1:24, 26.
Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit Gods Kingdom.1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
In reality, Gods standards apply to all people, whether they have homosexual desires or heterosexual desires. The fact is, everyone must exercise self-restraint when it comes to urges to engage in conduct that displeases God.Colossians 3:5.
The Lgbt Rights Movement Is Coercive
The third reason we must oppose the special rights movement is because it is relentlessly coercive. Its members persistently lobby legislatures and clog courthouses demanding their own rights, but feel absolutely no regret as they relentlessly coerce and compel others to accept and even celebrate their lifestyle.
Hundreds of gay rights and hate crimes laws have been enacted at all levels in the United States. Some first world governments are now forcing churches to hire and protect homosexuals, even if doing so violates their most cherished beliefs. Governments are forcing people to rent to homosexual couples, even if the property owners can demonstrate that their religious beliefs are being violated. Increasingly, opposition to the special rights agenda results in terrorism directed against individuals and organizations.
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God Is The Highest Authority
Our personalities, inclinations, reactions, orientations, viewpoints, opinions etc. are complex. Some of these are hardwired in our genes, whereas others are influenced by our environment, circumstances, education, upbringing, and other factors.
Societies, cultures and norms are continuously changing and evolving, but God and His Word and the Spirit in the Word remain unchanged. When God specifically forbade homosexual activity and other sexual immorality, it wasnt because He was unenlightened, naïve, or intolerant. The law was given because people had strayed from His original purpose and blessing. What was immoral by Gods standards then has not become moral today just because the majority tolerates and accepts it.
We are fortunate in this day and age that human rights and freedoms have been in focus, clamping down on oppression, abuse and injustice. Every person has the right to choose their own faith, outlook on life and way of life, and that must be respected. However, if we want to live as believing Christians, Gods Word cannot be ignored. The Bible gives us many promises, but also conditions, for a good and happy life. God is our Creator, and it is only His will, as expressed in the Bible, that is unchanging and perfect in time and eternity.
Innate Awareness Of Evil
People have an innate awareness that evil of the breadth and scale described in verses 2831 deserves Gods punishment. This means not just a slap on the wrist but the full wages of sin banishment from Gods presence and the eternal punishment that accompanies it. Paul describes this explicitly elsewhere: They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might . The human condition as described here is perilous in the extreme.
But as bad as it is for those who practice such things, it is even worse for those who give approval to those who practice them. It is one thing to condemn oneself. But in a religion whose second great commandment is to love others, to give approval and thereby encouragement to others in their lawlessness is the ultimate in loveless treachery. Elsewhere Scripture teaches, Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins . Paul describes the opposite situation: sinners condoning others abominable, self-destructive behavior, thereby ginning up mans rush into the multitude of sins that Romans 1:2831 has surveyed.
Little wonder, then, that this section began with the warning that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven . Gods response is the inexorable consequence of human bad decisions and behavior.
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What About Leviticus : 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.
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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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What About Environmental Conditions
Studies have been conducted of identical twins who were separated at birth, where one developed a homosexual lifestyle but the other did not. Particular family or circumstantial patterns are sometimes seen in these cases to contribute to sexual orientation. But again, other interpreters disagree with such conclusions.
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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Background To The Verses
So whats going on in the two verses that were looking at? First of all, these verses are addressed only to males there is no mention here of two women. Secondly, how are the Israelite people going to be distinct from, different from their neighbours by putting these into practice?
Well, in the surrounding cultures, the major socially acceptable form of same-sex activity was with male shrine prostitutes as part of temple worship to pagan gods and goddesses. And there is repeated rhetoric against these shrine prostitutes at different parts of the Hebrew Bible .
Looking wider afield, there were cultures like Ancient Greece, where the dominant form of male-male intercourse was men with boys pederasty. And did you notice that the verses said a man lying with a male, not a man lying with a man?
Now, occasionally Ive seen some commentators claim that this is trying to link it back to Genesis , but if so it is rather strange that female isnt used its as with a woman and not female.
I think it more likely that male is used here precisely because it can include lying with boys as well as men.
So two main contexts for the Israelite people to be different from male-male intercourse linked with pagan temple goddess worship, and pederasty.
Note how different these are from what we are looking at today with faithful, loving, committed relationships.
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.
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What Do Jehovahs Witnesses Believe
Jehovahs Witnesses believe that the Bibles moral code is the best standard for living, and they choose to abide by that code. This means that Jehovahs Witnesses reject all sexual misconduct, including homosexuality. That is the Witnesses lifestyle choice, and they have a right to it.
Jehovahs Witnesses strive to follow the Golden Rule by treating others the way they themselves would like to be treated
At the same time, Jehovahs Witnesses strive to pursue peace with all people. While they reject homosexual acts, Jehovahs Witnesses do not force their view on others, nor do they participate in homophobic hate crimes or rejoice when they hear of them. Jehovahs Witnesses strive to follow the Golden Rule by treating others the way they themselves would like to be treated.Matthew 7:12.
The Lust Of The Heart
How low can people go? While in recent years same-sex relations have been glamorized in some sectors of society, Jesus confirmed that Gods will for marriage has always been lifelong heterosexual monogamy .1Alternatives may be fashionable, but they are expressions of Gods abandoning people to the lusts of their hearts and to impurity, which can also be translated vileness .
These verses reflect not a low but rather a high view of sexuality. Dishonoring . . . their bodies by same-sex erotics implies that opposite-sex relations can have the effect of honoring human bodies. God intended marital relations that have the potential for fruitfulness and population of the earth . Old Testament teaching affirms the virtue and joy of physical intimacy in marriage . Elsewhere Paul condemns the forbidding of heterosexual marriage . Paul is not sour on sex. He seeks to warn readers of the grimy origins and consequences of misuse of one of Gods greatest gifts: human sexuality.
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The Best Christian Argument For Marriage Equality Is That The Bible Got It Wrong
How often did Jesus get things wrong?
For many Christians, opposing homosexuality is as simple as opening the Bible.
You could be reading the Old Testament, for example, and come across this particularly harsh passage from Leviticus: If a man lies with another man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death. Or you might be studying Pauls first letter to the Corinthians and read something like this: Do not be deceived,writes Paul neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality will inherit the kingdom of God.
Now, its possible to read Pauls rhetoric here as something other than a condemnation of same-sex relationships, and many trained theologians have been doing so for years. Its possible, too, that other biblical passages that have historically been used against gay people, like the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, could be similarly re-imagined in less anti-gay ways.
For decades now, the halls of academia have teemed with well-meaning scholars and bible commentators anxious to show that, actually, the Bible isnt as anti-gay as we think, and that if we all just followed their hermeneutical lead, wed see that both the Old and New Testaments speak positivelyalbeit codedlyof homosexual love.
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The Gay Rights Movement Is Violent
Fifth, the special rights movement is extremely violent. When a government gives a group of people a false permission to engage in any kind of promiscuous sexual activity, such coddling eventually leads to a complete loss of selfdiscipline. This inability to control oneself naturally leads from sexual misconduct to total disregard for all of the ordinances of both God and man. Activist homosexuals commit many more violent crimes in general than the rest of the population, as we will see.
Homosexuals are also much more likely to commit suicide or to meet a violent death themselves than are other people, and the homosexual lifestyle has caused gays to lose fifty million years of productive life in the United States since 1985.7
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What Does All This Mean For Those Who Deal With Homosexuality On A Personal Basis
Those who practice homosexuality seem to fall into two categories.
Some can remember decisions, choices, and circumstances by which they moved into this lifestyle. Others believe this lifestyle to be a sexual orientation which, for them, existed from birth or prior to conscious choice and intention. It is obviously both impossible and wrong for me to say which category is appropriate to a specific individual.
At the same time, it seems clear to me that homosexuality is an unbiblical lifestyle. So, what practical conclusions can guide those who interpret Scripture as I do as we seek to relate biblically and positively to those who are homosexual?
First, I need to state clearly that homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin .
The only sin God cannot forgive is that sin that rejects his forgiveness. To be more specific, the Holy Spirit works to convict us of our need for salvation through Christ. If we refuse this offer of saving grace, God cannot forgive us, as we have rejected the only means by which his forgiveness can be given.
As a result, whether homosexuality is a persons choice or orientation, he or she does not stand outside of the grace and love of God. Such sexual activity is no more unbiblical than many other sins listed in Scripture, including hatred, slander, gossip, and gluttony. We are wrong to reject the person because he or she is practicing a lifestyle we consider unbiblical. In other ways, so are we.