John Byron on the Centurion’s Slave and Homosexuality in the New Testament

John Byron has offered a great response on his blog to my post about the New Testament’s relative lack of interest in the topic of homosexuality. He agrees with me on the point that at times it is appropriate to view a matter differently than New Testament authors did. And he makes the point that an argument from silence is unworkable. Even though most will understand that my argument from Jesus’ silence was aimed primarily at poking fun at those who claim to be his followers and yet seem to never share his silence on his topic, John’s point is an important one to take to heart if it is not to be misunderstood. And I agree with him that the possibility of a sexual relationship between the centurion and his servant is just that, a possibility, not something that is certain.

Click through to read John’s post, and let me know what you think of it!

  • Anon

    Often we talk about giving someone the silent treatment, which often means that we disagree concerning some aspect of their behaviour. But I don’t think this is what is meant here, nor is the lack of verbalisation an unaware stand point for Jesus,. He show often in the text that he knew more about those around him And what they were thinking or visibly doing. Can we not say that Jesus was not there to condem the world rather save it? from my former point concerning his “supernatural” awareness of Peoples state, one would have expected from a fundamentalist perspective that he would have been going from person to person condemning them for a plethora of many sins they were engaged in but we don’t see this ( maybe a lesson for Jesus in what he didn’t do WJDD) yet when confronted with the woman who had committed adultery, he said “neither do I condem you” and to keep everyone in line here about where he stood on sexual sin he said “go and sin no more” making much about any particular sin is sin its self in that we point to the speck in someone eye………………….. You know the rest. Jesus didn’t condem but he didn’t say that she was not sinful either concerning what she was accused of or the fact that maybe that day she may well have stolen a cookie out of the cookie jar too

  • Theo

    Jesus was not silent, He explicitly affirmed marriage as between a man and a woman referring to Genesis which gives the template of a man and a woman the two becoming one. By affirming this as God’s created order He logically and necessarily disaffirms any other claim which then has the burden of proof which they cannot fulfill is also necessarily considered false until they do fulfill their burden of proof which cannot be done.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Well, the point he makes from that story – which is one that uses the symbolism of a person being split in two in order to depict human beings as finding our “other half” – is about faithfulness and a prohibition of divorce, not about gender per se. To claim that the text says more than it does, and then say that anyone who disagrees with you has a burden of proof that they cannot ever meet, seems to close down discussion more quickly than the relevant considerations warrant.

      • Theo

        That’s the very point James, Jesus explicitly affirmed Genesis as the covenant foundation of human sexuality and marriage in Matthew 19 as did Paul in Romans 1. Jesus states when asked about divorce to refer to Genesis of one man and one woman becoming one flesh. Even the Hebrew here for one, ‘echad’ has the subdefinition of ‘only’ here. You said Jesus was silent, the point is that is false, He wasnt, He explicitly confirmed that the covenant for humans sexuality was given in Genesis limited to one man and one woman. Accordingly, you or anyone else saying differently has the burden of proof which you did not and cannot meet, that is the very point! Because you cannot meet it means the presumption of doubt assigned to your claim by your assertion, stays in effect until you fulfill your burden of proof to overcome the presumption of doubt. That’s how the logic works. You act like you have a special exemption from logic and can assert without incurring a burden of proof and if you cannot meet it then it is unfair. You dont have any exemption from logic and the fact you cannot meet your burden of proof means your assertion is necessarily dismissed. Jesus was not silent, you erred seriously on this.

        As well, Jesus was silent on beastiality so your logic would endorse beastiality which clearly, just like homosexuality, is prohibited in the OT. Dan Wallace points this out in his article refuting White on homosexuality and the Bible which also refutes you on this.

        And it is disingenuous to assert that I am just arbitrarily assigning the burden of proof to anyone that disagrees with me. False assertion, the burden of proof is to anyone saying Jesus was silent on homosexuality as you did when He clearly was not in Matthew 19, affirming Genesis as the covenant for sexuality and marriage between only one man and one woman which logically excludes all else. Period.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          The story in Genesis features a man and a woman – how else could it be written, if it were to be a story that involves subsequent generations? Jesus uses that story to make a point about divorce. You seem to be treating these texts as though they are magical oracles which provide timeless answers to questions that may not have been asked in the same way at the times they were written.

          The key message of the Genesis story is that it is not good for human beings to be alone, and to tell a symbolic story about the human experience of “finding our other half.”

          The key question I would ask you is whether you disagree with Genesis and think that it is good for gays and lesbians to be alone.

          • Theo

            James, you are reasoning from a priori, emotional biases which you then try to impose onto God’s word, eisogesis. We are to get our theology from God’s word, I know you know this but apparently it needs to be clearly stated. You ignore that Jesus in Matthew 19, that Paul in Romans 1, affirm Genesis as the covenant foundation for human sexuality and marriaage. You ignore that your eisogesis and logic would allow beastiality. You ignore that homosexuality for men and women is clearly and unmistakenly identified as sin in Romans 1 (which darkens the mind) using generic language to do so (and not the specific language available deceivers use to try to claim slave trade, prostitution, etc.). You argue from your emotions and try to impose them on God’s word trying to bend and adapt it to modern, cultural mores which are recent, the historical church never accepted what you are claiming. And so God’s word, morals, His right and wrong is plastic and His truth changes and evolves? So everyone has been wrong for thousands of years until these recent mores socially evolved.

            And logically, you still have the burden of proof which you havent fulfilled. You have merely emoted using unsound methodology to assert.

            Stop and think. You are influencing others with this and need to consider the ramifications of this if you are wrong. Teachers incur a stricter judgment. When God the Son, our Lord and Savior gives His imprimatur on a passage as the foundational covenant used to answer such questions, the debate is over.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              When you read later concepts like “God the Son” back into the New Testament, how can you accuse someone else of eisegesis?

              When Paul worked hard to find a loophole to allow Gentiles into the people of God, he was surely accused in the same way if reading Scripture through the lens of Hellenistic values of inclusiveness. I wonder if anyone suggested that if you open the door for Gentiles in the church, you cannot logically exclude animals from it…

              • Theo

                Now you make silly pedantic excuses trying to use inane semantics in red herring fallacies to try to avoid the issue which you have not, because you cannot deal with. Can you ever stick on topic without going down inane rabbit trails? This is just tacit concession that you cannot fulfill your burden of proof, that Jesus did confirm Genesis is literal and the foundational covenant by which to answer questions about human sexuality and marriage in Matthew 19 as well as Paul in Romans 1. Paul makes it crystal clear, homosexuality results from idolatry, both of which corrupt the mind as idolatry is to abandon and exchange God for false Gods resulting in men and women abandoning the natural use of the opposite sex and exchanging it for the same sex. Paul included lesbianism here citing creation as the foundation explicitly referring back to Genesis.

                No one is reading later concepts back into the New Testament, Hebrews 1 states Jesus is the Son, John 1:18 states Jesus is the only begotten God, and it is clear that Jesus is God throughout the Gospels, notably in John. That comment reeks of the the scoffer nonsense that it wasnt until Nicea that Jesus was made to be God claiming the word trinity isnt in the Bible ignoring the patristic, ante-nicene statements from the late first century by the fathers John taught, through the second century of the divinity of Jesus.

                And no, there was no claim against Paul including the gentiles having to work hard to find a loophole as you blindly assert, this is more of your emotionalism that you cannot back up. The Old Testament clearly taught that the gentiles would be included into the covenant of Isreal starting with the Israelites who were to be an example to ‘the nations’ i.e. gentiles to make them desire YHWH as their God and which were prophesied to be in the New Jerusalem. Jeremiah directly speaks of the inclusion of the gentiles into the covenant of Israel and the great commission of Matthew 28 is to baptize all the nations.

                You appear to have your emotions made up and dont want to be confused with historical fact or sound exegesis preferring eisogesis to ignore the clear condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible and choose instead to promote sin.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Genesis clearly requires the circumcision of any male who is to be part of Abraham’s household, whether his offspring or his slaves. Paul and the rest of the early church discerned that they would not be following that. Modern fundamentalists choose to side with Paul’s opponents rather than on the side of Christianity.

                  Do you really think that a story about two people becoming one flesh is being understood “literally”?

                  Now will you or will you not answer the question about the core principle in the story in Genesis 2? Is it or is it not good for gays and lesbians to be alone?


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